- It is not even enough for us to be convinced of the gospel; we must act and think so that we are converted by it.
He shares that when we die and we all enter God's presence during the final judgement, we will be judge based on what we did with the knowledge we were given. Our judgement will not be a list of good and bad things we did but more of a review of who we became through the adversities of life.
- The Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become.
The plan of salvation leads us to what our Heavenly Father wants us to become. Our focus should be on how we are becoming more like our Father in Heaven through our earthly experiences.
- The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become.
- The gospel of Jesus Christ is the plan by which we can become what children of God are supposed to become.
President Oaks shares that our family relationships will have more effect on who we become spiritually than any calling, service, or event that we have in our lives. The day to day family trials, teach us more about becoming like our Heavenly Father than any other venue we could find ourselves in. It is no wonder that we are being encouraged today to make our homes a place where the spirit can be felt.
- Now is the time for each of us to work toward our personal conversion, toward becoming what our Heavenly Father desires us to become. As we do so, we should remember that our family relationships—even more than our Church callings—are the setting in which the most important part of that development can occur. The conversion we must achieve requires us to be a good husband and father or a good wife and mother. Being a successful Church leader is not enough. Exaltation is an eternal family experience, and it is our mortal family experiences that are best suited to prepare us for it.
- I hope the importance of conversion and becoming will cause our local leaders to reduce their concentration on statistical measures of actions and to focus more on what our brothers and sisters are and what they are striving to become.
A list of challenges in life is given that could cause us much pain, concern, and heartache. President Oaks says that these experiences cause us to learn what God wants and needs us to become.
- Most of us experience some measure of what the scriptures call “the furnace of affliction.” Some are submerged in service to a disadvantaged family member. Others suffer the death of a loved one or the loss or postponement of a righteous goal like marriage or childbearing. Still others struggle with personal impairments or with feelings of rejection, inadequacy, or depression. Through the justice and mercy of a loving Father in Heaven, the refinement and sanctification possible through such experiences can help us achieve what God desires us to become.
It is not enough for each of us to do the right things. It is vital that we learn how to do the right things for the right reasons. This requires a deeper understanding of the Father's purpose for us.
- We are challenged to move through a process of conversion toward that status and condition called eternal life. This is achieved not just by doing what is right, but by doing it for the right reason—for the pure love of Christ.
President Oaks speaks about the parable fo the laborer. Some people labored all day long, while some labored just a few hours, but in the end, all were paid the same amount agreed upon. He shares that God's process of making us something takes some people longer than others and we should never be discouraged or saddened by someone receiving the same blessings we receive even if those lessons are learned very late in life. He encourages us to never give up, never stop striving, and we will become more and more like our Father in Heaven day by day.
- Instead of being judgmental about others, we should be concerned about ourselves. We must not give up hope. We must not stop striving. We are children of God, and it is possible for us to become what our Heavenly Father would have us become.
There are two ways that we can know we are on the right path leading us to become more like our Heavenly Father. President Oaks shares:
- If we are losing our desire to do evil, we are progressing toward our heavenly goal.
- I understand this to mean that persons who are proceeding toward the needed conversion are beginning to see things as our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, see them. They are hearing His voice instead of the voice of the world, and they are doing things in His way instead of by the ways of the world.
What a great reminder that we need to worry about ourselves and not worry about others process of conversion. Our Father in Heaven is mindful of each of His children both in and out of the church. He is working with those inside and outside the church to become more than they currently are. He is preparing those that need the gospel and He is preparing those that have the gospel to help those that don't. We are naive to think that we are the only ones that our Father in Heaven is concerned with and we should never be discouraged that others took a different path to finding our Father than we took. The gospel plan helps us to become what God wants us to become. People inside and outside the church are progressing towards that goal of what our Father wants them to become.