- The ultimate noble purpose of God’s plan of happiness is for righteous disciples and covenant families to be united in love, harmony, and peace in this life and attain celestial glory in the eternities with God the Father, our Creator; and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Elder Cook discusses trials in our lives and how we can prepare for them.
- The storms and temptations of this life are often unpredictable. But this we know: they will come! In order to overcome the challenges and temptations that each of us inevitably faces, it will require righteous preparation and the use of divinely provided protections. We must determine to be temple worthy regardless of what befalls us. If we are prepared, we shall not fear. Happiness in this life and happiness in the life to come are interconnected by righteousness.
Preparation for the trials of life is expected of us. The Savior taught this in His mortal ministry.
- As disciples of the Savior, we are expected to plan and prepare. In the plan of happiness, moral agency is a central organizing principle and our choices matter. The Savior emphasized this throughout His ministry, including in His parables of the foolish virgins and the talents. In each of these, the Lord commended preparation and action and condemned procrastination and idleness.
Elder Cook asks us how we are to prepare for the storms of life. He says that in addition to being temple worthy, there are additional things we can do to be more righteous. He emphasizes three.
First: Righteous Self-Control and Conduct
- Avoiding something tempting once will help you develop the ability to resist other temptations in the future. A principle of eternal progression is that exercising self-control and living righteously strengthen our ability to resist temptation. This is true both in the spiritual realm and in temporal matters.
- All of us need to develop and demonstrate conduct and appearance that declare we are true followers of Christ. Those who abandon either righteous conduct or a wholesome, modest appearance expose themselves to lifestyles that bring neither joy nor happiness. The restored gospel gives us the blueprint of the plan of happiness and an incentive to understand and exercise self-control and avoid temptation. It also teaches us how to repent when violations have occurred.
Second: Honoring the Sabbath Will Increase Righteousness and Be a Protection
for the Family
- For Jews and Christians, the Sabbath symbolizes the mighty works of God.
- For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, honoring the Sabbath is a form of righteousness that will bless and strengthen families, connect us with our Creator, and increase happiness. The Sabbath can help separate us from that which is frivolous, inappropriate, or immoral. It allows us to be in the world but not of the world.
- Many members understand that truly keeping the Sabbath day holy is a refuge from the storms of this life. It is also a sign of our devotion to our Father in Heaven and an increased understanding of the sacredness of sacrament meeting. Still, we have a long way to go, but we have a wonderful beginning. I challenge all of us to continue to embrace this counsel and improve our Sabbath worship.
Third: Divine Protections Are Provided When We Are Righteous
- As part of God’s divine plan, we are blessed with the gift of the Holy Ghost. This gift “is the right to have, whenever one is worthy, the companionship of the Holy Ghost.” This member of the Godhead serves as a cleansing agent if the gospel is first in our lives. He also is a voice of warning against evil and a voice of protection against danger. As we navigate the seas of life, following the impressions of the Holy Ghost is essential. The Spirit will help us avoid temptations and dangers, and comfort and lead us through challenges.
Elder Cook reminds us of a basic truth of keeping the commandments.
- Adherence to sacred gospel principles will allow us to be temple worthy, enable us to find happiness in this life, and lead us back to our heavenly home.
Finally, Elder Cook concludes with these words.
- We may hit the bottom and even be tipped over on our sides. Amid such trials, I promise you that living and maintaining temple-worthy lives will hold together all that really matters. The sweet blessings of peace, happiness, and joy, along with the blessings of eternal life and celestial glory with our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, will be realized.
This talk really emphasizes that life is full of challenges and we can handle those challenges better when we are living the gospel of Jesus Christ. How grateful I am to have an eternal perspective when it comes to handling trials and temptations in my life. No matter what the challenge, we have a loving Father in Heaven that sends the Holy Ghost to help us, instruct us, and guide us down life's bumpy highways. Keeping our covenants, living the gospel, and having an eternal perspective, will lead us to happiness in this life and eternal life to come.