- Through prophets past and present, God has revealed the doctrines of his “great plan of happiness.” It consists of infinite, eternal, absolute, unchanging principles. From Alma we learn that “God gave unto them commandments, after having made known … the plan of redemption.” The plan teaches that all who have or will live on earth are the spirit children of heavenly parents. We lived with them before coming to this earth to receive our bodies of flesh and bone.
- Our Father’s plan provides for redemption from the Fall through the atonement of Jesus Christ. As the Only Begotten Son of God and the only sinless person to live on this earth, he made a perfect atonement for all mankind. It applies to everyone unconditionally as it pertains to the resurrection from temporal, or physical, death, for all shall rise from the dead with immortal bodies as a result of the Atonement. However, the Atonement is conditional as it pertains to each person’s individual sins. It touches everyone to the degree that he or she has faith in Jesus Christ, repents, and obeys the gospel. Exaltation and eternal life with God are reserved for those who keep the commandments.
- Mortality, then, is the time to test our ability to understand our Heavenly Father’s plan and, of course, our willingness to be obedient. Obedience is essential to obtain exaltation and eternal life.
God has this great plan but has removed our recollection of our premortal life. But without this memory, He has not left us without guidance and direction on how to find happiness and joy.
- Even though our present long-range view of eternity is limited, the Lord has not left us without direction. He has provided scriptures and Apostles and prophets through whom he has revealed his plan for our exaltation and eternal life. And we have the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, to guide us.
One thing that is hard to understand is the suffering in the world and why God allows those things to happen. Elder Ballard says that without an eternal perspective, it is easy to look to blame God for this misery and pain. But the answer is found in having an eternal perspective and knowing that God allows things to happen because of the agency we all have to ease the burdens of the world.
- One cannot look at suffering, regardless of its causes or origins, without feeling pain and compassion. I can understand why someone who lacks an eternal perspective might see the horrifying news footage of starving children and man’s inhumanity to man and shake a fist at the heavens and cry, “If there is a God, how could he allow such things to happen?”
- The answer is not easy, but it isn’t that complicated, either. God has put his plan in motion. It proceeds through natural laws that are, in fact, God’s laws. Since they are his, he is bound by them, as are we. I recognize for purposes we mortals may not understand, the Lord can control the elements. For the most part, however, he does not cause but he allows nature to run its course. In this imperfect world, bad things sometimes happen. The earth’s rocky underpinnings occasionally shift and move, resulting in earthquakes. Certain weather patterns cause hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and drought.
- Much adversity is man-made. Men’s hearts turn cold, and the spirit of Satan controls their actions. In foreseeing the day of suffering in our time, the Savior said, “The love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound.” Violence, immorality, and other evils run rampant on the earth. Much adversity has its origin in the principle of agency.
Elder Ballard says that the plan of happiness is for all of us. If the world lived by the principles of the plan, much of the pain and suffering would be removed from the world.
- The plan of happiness is available to all of his children. If the world would embrace and live it, peace, joy, and plenty would abound on the earth. Much of the suffering we know today would be eliminated if people throughout the world would understand and live the gospel.
We can find lasting peace and comfort in the great plan our Father has given us.
- Dealing with adversity is one of the chief ways we are tested. Our faith in our Heavenly Father and his beloved Son, Jesus Christ, is the source of inner strength. Through faith we can find peace, comfort, and the courage to endure.
Hope is given to us as we find faith in our Heavenly Father's plan.
- Hope grows out of faith and gives meaning and purpose to all we do. It can give us comfort in the face of adversity, strength in times of trial, and peace when we have reason for doubt or anguish.
The ultimate ability to find peace and happiness is only found in living the principles of the gospel. Jesus Christ is the source of all happiness and by turning to Him, our lives will be blessed and happiness achievable.
- When the plan of our Heavenly Father is understood, the answers to life’s questions are found in the gospel of Christ. May we learn to accept with faith the doctrines and teachings of the gospel and accept the plan of salvation with believing hearts and minds. Always know, brothers and sisters, that the leaders of the Church understand and accept the gospel plan and will defend it at all times and in all places.
He concludes with this final comment about the peace the Savior gives us.
- The Lord’s promise of peace comes from knowing and living the principles of our Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness.
The only way to find true peace in this life is by living the principles of the gospel. There is no other source of eternal happiness except the Savior. If we place our trust in our Heavenly Father's plan, we will find lasting peace and happiness. That does not mean we will not have trials and difficulties, but the trials will be reduced, the pain will be lessened, and the time for happiness will come sooner. Find peace in your life by turning to the Savior. He is the only source of lasting peace and happiness.