Sunday Sermon: The Plan of Happiness (Part 1)
The Questions of Life
The greatest thinkers and scientists couldn't answer these questions, but the doctrine found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has been answering these very questions ever since the beginning of time. Every story has a beginning, everything that exists has to have a start. God made the earth in six days, and rested on the seventh, sure. BUT, what about before the earth was created? Just where did we come from before this earth life?
“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee…” -Jeremiah 1:5 Before we lived on earth with our earthly family, we lived in Heaven with our Heavenly Father and heavenly family. We call this period the Pre-Earth Life. In this life, we lived as spirits, because God is the father of our spirits, we are all spiritual brothers and sisters. Life in heaven was great, no pain, no sorrow, we all knew each other and we were happy. We learned many things there too, but while we may have been happy, there was no progression. In order to truly be happy, we needed bodies. Our heavenly Father has a resurrected body, but we didn’t.
While we learned things in heaven, we couldn’t apply them. Its like reading the manual for how to build a car, a lego set, or be a parent. Sure, you could memorize it front and back, know all the answers, but actually physically putting it together, or raising kids is a whole different story. You gain experience. This is what we needed to truly be happy, and in order to gain that physical experience, we needed physical bodies
“And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.” Abraham 3:24-26
A council was held, and a plan presented
One day in Heaven, God called a council. He had news for us: We would be able to go down to an earth, and gain physical bodies to gain experience, learn and grow. This was an exciting announcement for everyone, but there are always risks involved. Part of God’s plan for our happiness was a very special gift called Agency, or the ability to choose for ourselves. Part of the plan for us to come to Earth is to gain experience and learn, but in order to completely understand everything we would need to to progress, there would have to be an opposition in all things.
While opposition allows us to learn and grow, and as we make mistakes we can learn from them, ultimately gaining that knowledge and experience we so badly need, there is a problem: We make mistakes, and no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God. We are mortal, we are stained with sin, and we cannot atone for ourselves. We needed a Savoir, someone who could come to earth, lead a perfect life, and would be willing to take upon himself the payment of Justice for all our sins.
The War in Heaven
God presented the plan, he told us of the risks, but assured us that a Savior would be provided for us. “And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first. And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him.” -Abraham 3:27-28
Lucifer, which name means “Son of the Morning”, objected to God’s plan. He wanted to be the Savior, but not in the way God intended. You see, Satan knew the risks of having Agency, he promised us that should he be the Savior, not a single soul would be lost, and we could all return to live in Heaven with God again. However, for this to happen, we wouldn’t have our free gift of Agency. We wouldn’t be able to choose for ourselves, there would be no opposition, and in turn, no progression. To top it all off, Lucifer wanted all the glory for himself. This was his plan, and he wanted to be God. Jehovah, Jesus, selflessly accepted God’s plan, and gave the Glory to the Father. Because of Lucifer’s rebellion, he was cast out of heaven, after convincing 1/3 of the hosts to follow after him. “…for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency; And they were thrust down, and thus came the devil and his angels;” Doctorine and Covenants 29:36-37
Satan was cast out, the war in heaven is over, and we won! If you are sitting at a computer right now, or holding a tablet, or reading from your phone, know that you were on that winning team in heaven. You have a body! And how glorious it is! In consequence for his rebellion, Satan and his followers were denied the privilege of a body, and now they are miserable. They seek to tempt us, to persuade us to do evil, so that they can make us miserable like themselves. Ever heard the phrase “Misery loves company”?
So, the earth was created, and the remaining 2/3rds of the hosts of Heaven are given the privilege to come here to earth, to be tested and tried, and exercise our agency. However, as we were sent down, we passed through whats called “The Veil”, which prevents us from remembering our life before earth. Everything we’d learned has been blocked from our memory during this mortal trial. Why? Why would we learn so much, only to have to re-learn it? Well, mortality is a test. Whats the point of taking a taking a test if you have the answers right beside you? You don’t learn anything that way. But just because we’ve forgotten the answers and things we’ve learned, doesn’t mean we don’t have them. Ever wonder why some people are just born with amazing talent? Because they’ve practiced those skills before they came to earth, we just need to find them again.
Another amazing gift we have is that of the Spirit. The Holy Ghost was another spirit on the council in Heaven, however, he forewent obtaining a body like we do, so that he can manifest his presence to us of things that we need to know. He manifests truth, warns us of danger, or even helps us recall those things we’ve forgotten. Deja vous anyone?
We've only just scratched the surface of this journey into The Plan of Happiness. For what purpose are we here on Earth? And what happens after we die? If you'd like to continue the adventure, Part 2 can be found here