Thank you all for coming today. My name is Sister Caroline Whitney and I will be serving in the Salt Lake West Mission. You might wonder why the Church needs missionaries in Salt Lake City Utah. My purpose will be to help families to become forever families, and to bring people unto Christ.
I will be talking today about The Plan of Salvation. Have you ever wondered where you came from before you were born? A friend of mine told me this story When her daughter was a toddler she asked her mother, “Mommy, where was I before I was born?”
My friend said, “Honey, you weren’t anywhere.”
“Mommy, No! Where was I before I was born?”
So her mom apologized and said, “Oh dear, I don’t know what to tell you—you didn’t exist.”
Her little daughter insisted, “NO! I had to exist.”
So she said, “Well dear, before you were born you were stardust up in the sky.”
That is a sweet story that the little girl loved, but it is not the truth. It amazes me that this little girl knew that she did exist before her life on earth. I am so grateful that we have the knowledge of Where we came from? What the purpose of life is? And Where we are going after this life?
As a child I sang a song about our pre-earth life. It was so simple. It goes–I lived in Heaven a long time ago, lived there and loved there with people I know, so did you; then Heavenly Father presented a beautiful plan, all about earth and eternal salvation for man. Father said He needed someone who had enough love to give his life so we all could return there above. There was another who sought for the honor divine…Jesus said, Father, send me and the glory be thine; Jesus was chosen and as the messiah he came; Conquering evil and death though His glorious name. Giving us hope of a wonderful life yet to be….Home in that Heaven where Father is waiting for me. D&C 138: 56
“We earned the privilege of coming to this earth at the Council in Heaven when we chose to follow the plan of our Father in Heaven as carried out by His Son, Jesus Christ. Because of that faithfulness, we are here today. We don’t remember anything about our pre-earth life when we chose to follow Jesus Christ,” but through the prophets words in the scriptures we learn about our life in Heaven with our Heavenly Father, and about Christ’s mission on this earth. One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible talks about how much Jesus loves us: 1 John 4: 7-11.
Christ did what He said He would do. I am grateful for his humble life and perfect example. His life was part of His mission to show Heavenly Father’s love for us.
I think that Heavenly Father gives us glimpses of the love that we felt in Heaven at certain times in our life…when we are in the temple, when we do what is right, when we serve others and with our families in our homes.
Here on earth
As part of the plan our Heavenly Father made this beautiful world for us. We come down to learn how to be more like Heavenly Father, to gain a body, and to be tested.
“We are here for a tiny speck of mortal time to see where our hearts really are with God.”
Just as Free-agency was an important part in our pre-earth life it is a big part of the plan of Happiness here on the earth. As we learn about making good choices we come to understand that consequences follow our choices that we make.
Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden and walked and talked with Heavenly Father and Jesus. They were clean and pure. Then they ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. In doing so, they transgressed against a commandment of God. Because of this they fell from God’s presence and death came into the world. The consequence of their choice was two deaths: Spiritual death and Physical death.
Spiritual Death happens when we sin. Our sins make us unclean and so we can’t be in the presence of our Heavenly Father, because “no unclean can enter into the Kingdom of God.”
Physical death is when our spirit leaves our body and goes to the Spirit World where we await our resurrection and judgment.
“Adam Fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy.” This joy comes because our Savior, Jesus Christ suffered for our sins to make us clean, and to satisfy the demands of Justice. We apply Christ’s Atonement in our lives as we repent of our sins and allow His Mercy to work to heal our souls from Spiritual Death. Because Jesus was resurrected we will all be redeemed from Physical Death.
The ATONEMENT is the central point of Heavenly Father’s plan of Happiness. It is an individual thing that Jesus did for me and for you. It is infinite for all those who come unto Him and repent, and it is eternal with the power of the atonement reaching forward and backward in time. All he asks is that we come unto him and repent. READ PAMPHLET:
Because of the atonement we can be healed from our pains, sicknesses, sorrows and sins. All that seems unjust and unfair God will make right through the Atonement as we exercise our faith in Him. “If you were the only person on earth Christ would have still died—just for you.” He loves each of us that much.
One part of the Plan of Salvation that is really close to my heart is that we can live together as a family. And we can be sealed to be together forever in the temple. Our Fathers and Mothers work together to nurture, teach and care for their children. We learn obedience, faith, sacrifice, service, kindness, forgiveness, patience, and perseverance in our families.
An example of this is when I went to live with my dad in Alaska, it was so hard! The culture was so different. It was a small town, with no trees, lots of snow, and food was flown in by airplane. I was there to earn money for my mission. My dad helped me to have faith and patience as I worked hard each day. I am grateful for my time there, and learned that trials help us be grateful for what we have and help us trust in God.
While at work there was many times that I was able to have some great discussions about our church. My friend, Diane said that she respected us, but that she did not want to know anything about my religion. The very next week she came up to me and asked about my weekend. I wasn’t going to let this missionary opportunity pass me by, so I talked about going to church and she asked many questions about our church. I was able to share my testimony about the restoration and many principles of the Gospel with her. I shared a Book of Mormon with another friend, and answered many other questions my friends asked while I was there. Even though it was hard, I am glad that I was able to go there and meet these people. I feel God’s love when He humbles me, because I know he wants me to learn something, and this experience helped me to be better prepared for my mission.
This is our time to prepare to meet God, as we follow Jesus and try to be like Him. It is up to us to decide where we will go after we are resurrected. Jesus will be our judge. He will judge our thoughts, our words, and our actions.
Alma said, “Then if our hearts have been hardened, against the word, then will our state be awful, for then we shall be condemned and it shall be as though there had been no redemption made; for they cannot be redeemed according to God’s justice.” Nephi adds, “O the greatness and the justice of our God! For he executeth all his words, and his law must be fulfilled. But, behold, the righteous, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared or them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.” I know that Christ’s judgments are just and fair. There are three degrees of glory that we can obtain after this life:
Celestial Kingdom and exaltation
I hope that we all can live our lives in such a way that will be pleasing to Heavenly Father. That we can fulfill our missions in life valiantly; that we can love and help each other along the way. The gospel is beautiful. God’s plan of happiness is such a beautiful plan. We are all children of God, He loves each of us so much. I hope that everyone knows this and feels it. There is no doubt. We can turn to him for anything.
I am an ordinary girl that just wants to do what is right, and follow God’s plan for me. When I was listening to President Monson at October Conference I was surprised when the spirit said, “you’re going on a mission.” I am honored that Heavenly Father has so much trust in me to be able to share His gospel…Because I love God, I want to go out and make a difference, and bring others to Christ.
I want to challenge each of you to take a Book of Mormon and write your testimony in it. Prayerfully ask Heavenly Father to help you give it to someone who is prepared to read it. And if you don’t have an extra copy of the Book of Mormon—ask the Missionaries; they can help you!
I say these things humbly, in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ AMEN