LIFE'S GREATEST PUZZLES:
Who am I? Where did I come from?
What is the purpose of my life? Where do I go when I die?
Understanding God's Great Plan of Redemption is the key to our happiness and peace of mind.
God's great plan of redemption is also referred to in the scriptures as the plan of salvation, the plan of happiness and the plan of mercy. In total, these designations reveal the plan's magnificent purpose. Our great hope and happiness now and in the future lie in knowing who we are, where we came from, and where we can go when we leave this life. We are eternal beings, spirit children of an eternal God. Our lives can be compared to a three-act play: premortal life (before we came to earth), mortal life (our time here on earth), and postmortal life (where we go after we die). God has had a plan for our lives since the beginning of the first act—a plan that, if followed, provides comfort and guidance now, as well as salvation and eternal happiness in our postmortal life.
Today's living apostles and prophets teach us vital true facts from God about His plan, lost or misunderstood for centuries, but restored to its fullness in our time. We invite you to study them carefully:
1- God, Our Heavenly Father, is the supreme being that is the ultimate creator, ruler, and judge of all things. He is perfect, has all power, and knows all things. He is an exalted being and has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's.
2- God is the literal Father of our spirits. We are created in His image. We have a divine nature and destiny.
3- Before we were born, we lived with God, the Father of our spirits. All persons on earth are literally brothers and sisters in the family of God.
4-Our life on earth has real meaning and purpose. Coming to earth is part of God's plan for us to gain a physical body and learn to choose between good and evil.
5- Our Heavenly Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior and show us the way to live according to God's plan.
6- Following God's plan is the surest way to find happiness and endure life's challenges.
7- Our lives will not end when we die. Our future lives are determined by the way we live our lives now.
• Adapted from "Gospel Topics" - www.lds.org
Man’s Search For Happiness
Sometimes in your search for happiness, you ponder the meaning of your life. You sift your memory for beginnings, you send your mind ahead for directions, but all you really know is “now.” And you are lost in the present.
Who am I? How did I come to be? Time. Where does it take me? Towards death? And then what? Where did I come from?
To understand why you are here, you must first your beginnings. At birth, you did not suddenly flare into existence, out of nowhere. You have always lived. In pre-earth life, you were with your Heavenly Father. There as His spirit sons and daughters, you lived until you were ready to come to earth. As the poet Wordsworth said,
“Our birth is but a sleep, and a forgetting. The soul that rises with us – our life's star – hath had elsewhere its setting, and cometh from afar. Not in entire forgetfulness, and not in utter nakedness, but trailing clouds of glory do we come, from God, who is our home.”
Upon entering mortal life, the memory of your life before birth was blotted out, that you might life by faith and further prepare for the everlastingness of [life]. This mortal body in which your spirit now dwells, is subject to pain, to difficulties, to death. For it is in opposition that you grow in strength of character. You must know pain to appreciate well-being; difficulties to develop courage; death to understand eternal life.
You then, whoever you are, are related not only to every person upon this earth who lives, who has lived, who will yet live, but to God the Father of us all, and to His Son our Savior. With your acceptance of the responsibility of earth life, you were given a wonderous mortal body, in the likeness of God. So, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them.” And, “the spirit and the body are the soul of man.”
As sons and daughters of God, is it any wonder that you are an eternal part of His plan and purpose; and coming from such a noble heritage, that you have possibilities far beyond your greatest dreams. Be assured that your personal search for happiness has real purpose. Be assured that your life is worth living.
Life offers you two precious gifts; one is time, the other freedom of choice. The freedom to buy with your time what you will. You are free to exchange your allotment of time for thrills. You may trade it for base desires. You may invest it in greed. You may purchase with it vanity. You may spend your time in pursuit of material things. Yours is the freedom to choose. But these are no bargains. For in them you find no lasting satisfaction.
Every day, every hour, every minute of your span of mortal years must sometime be accounted for; and it is “in this life” that you “walk by faith” and prove yourself able to choose good over evil, right over wrong, enduring happiness over mere amusement; and your eternal award will be according to your choosing.
A prophet of God has said, “Men are that they might have joy”—a joy that includes a fullness of life; a life dedicated to service; to love and harmony in the home; and the fruits of honest toil; an acceptance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of its requirements and commandments. Only in these will you find true happiness; a happiness which doesn't fade with the lights and the music and the crowds. ("Of course. Our Father in Heaven, we thank thee for this food; we ask thee to bless it...")
God has placed you on earth without memory of your pre-mortal past. But He hasn't left you without hope, or without faith in life after death.
This He has promised you, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” ("...that believeth in me, shall never die...")
One of the best attested facts of sacred history is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Three days following his crucifixion, the disciples were gathered together, as recorded in scripture. “Then the same say at evening, being the first day of the week, when he doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, came Jesus and stood in the midst; and saith unto them, 'Peace be unto you.' And when he had so said he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord.”
Just as you lived before mortal birth, just as you now live in this life, so thru the love and sacrifice of your Savior do you continue to live after death.
Like every member of the human race, you were born and you must die. Your birth is a matter of record, you take it for granted. But death, that uncertain door that leads ahead, has been for man an awesome mystery. Life's greatest test comes with the death of a loved one. And without faith in the immortality of the soul, the separation of death looms forever comfortless.
After death, though your mortal body lies in the earth, you, your spirit self—being eternal—continue to live. Your memory of this life will remain with you, and the knowledge of your life before birth will be restored.
Like coming out of a darkened room into light–through death you will emerge in a place of reawakening–and find loved ones waiting to welcome you.
There with your loved ones, you will await the resurrection—which is the reuniting of your spirit and your body. There you will continue towards the limitless opportunities of everlasting life.
So here you are on earth, with no memory of what went before, and only faith to whisper what comes after. ("Are you ready? Yeah. Let's go.")
Be assured that you are here, not by accident or chance; but as part of a glorious everlasting plan.
By a “still small voice” within you, and through revelation to his appointed prophets, God our Eternal Father guides the affairs of His children, today as in the past. In 1830 God reestablished His Church, and restored the fullness of His Gospel once more among men, through a modern prophet, Joseph Smith.
By revelation, our Savior made known again, the Plan of Salvation and Exaltation. Salvation comes as a gift to every man through Jesus the Christ. But Exaltation, which is the highest of eternal opportunities, you must earn. It is not enough just to believe in Jesus Christ, you must work and learn, search and pray, repent and improve, know his laws and live them.
This is the way to peace and happiness, and the fullness of everlasting life. It is your Heavenly Father's way. We invite you to explore it, to test it, to pray and search and seriously consider. “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good.” Only if you are unafraid of truth can you find it; but it leads to limitless opportunities—with your loved ones with you—always and forever. Therein lies your happiness; a happiness deeper than passing pleasure; a happiness beyond the understanding of man; a happiness, not of the moment, but, of eternity.
This is every man's search; this is the purpose of life; this is the key to happiness—for the God and Father of us all has said, “This is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”
Film narration by Richard L. Evans, "Man's Search for Happiness", 1965 New York Wolds Fair
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