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The Law in Heaven and on Earth


We read a familiar scripture in priesthood meeting:

There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated–And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated (D&C 130:20–21).

We had the usual discussion about the scripture. It seems that there is a lawfulness to the distribution of heavenly blessings.

For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world (D&C 132:5).

It is comforting to know that God is not capricious; we will not be rewarded or denied because of some baseless whim.

The instructor invited other comments on the “irrevocably decreed” scripture. I thought back to a time when my dad taught me another interpretation of that scripture. “Notice that the scripture says that there is a law upon which all blessings are predicated. Maybe one meaning of the scripture is that all heavenly blessings depend on only one law.”

My dad loved to talk about the scriptures and the Lord. Even in the last days of his life, as his voice was failing him, he whispered his testimony of his Savior. He continued: “One law: Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything good flows from obedience to that law.”

I was tempted to share my dad’s idea with my priesthood brethren—but I was not sure if I could trust my emotions. My dad had only been gone a year. And I miss him. But I found that by speaking very slowly my tender feelings could be confined to well-hidden mini-sobs between my words.

I began: “My dad used to wonder if one meaning of the well-known scripture is that there is one central law upon which all blessings are predicated. An angel instructed Adam and Eve that ‘thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore’ (Moses 5:8). That is a pretty good summary of all our covenant obligations.”

I felt a wave of joy as my soul joined with my dad’s in honoring that name most blessed above all names. I thought back to our son’s wedding breakfast, which Dad attended with assistance. After the meal the guests were invited to share their feelings and tributes. Many expressed their love for Andy and Natalie. The gathering was about to conclude when my dad nodded to me that he would like to make a comment. I helped him to his feet and steadied him. In a hoarse but earnest voice he began, “I love the Lord Jesus Christ.” Dad caught his breath. “I know that he lives.” There was a special emphasis to the word know.

Dad’s few words brought tears to the eyes of those who have been blessed by his lifelong testimony. To his last breath Dad would testify of Christ.

And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen (2 Nephi 31:21).

As the days of our lives pass we discover new patterns in scripture. I continue to be surprised at the consistency of a simple pattern. When earthly wanderers are touched by the message of redemption, they cry out for mercy.

  • Alma:O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me . . . (Alma 36:18).
  • King Benjamin’s people: “O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ . . .” (Mosiah 4:2).
  • The penitent publican: “God be merciful to me a sinner.” (Luke 18:13).

All kinds of sinners cried out to him for mercy. So did the blind, the possessed, and the leprous. He is the healing balm for every malady.

. . . there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no apostasy, no crime exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness. That is the promise of the atonement of Christ” (Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, November 1995, p. 21).

As an adolescent who wanted to improve continually, I kept a journal in which I briefly listed the events of each day and graded myself in each of about twenty areas from kindness to my sister (I usually got an “F”) to efficient use of time (I usually got a “D.”) The system was intended to help me identify my shortcomings and focus my energy for improvement; instead it left me demoralized. While I still stand quite ready to grade myself harshly, my earthly father and Heavenly Father have taught me a better system for improvement.

And now, my son, I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness (Alma 38:9).

When I was a child our family home evenings seemed like object lessons in eternal suffering. (Is it possible to get seven children simultaneously attentive and non-combative?) Yet mom and dad demonstrated with their lives their joyfulness in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I cannot count the number of people in need whom my father has gladly helped. Mom led us in Primary songs as we drove from place to place. As we grew older Dad asked us our opinions about gospel principles. He never tired of talking of Christ.

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins (2 Nephi 25:26).

I am grateful that my father and mother have taught me to love that Perfect Source. There may be other laws upon which our heavenly blessings are predicated, but there is none as basic as faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

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3 Comments

  • Reply Candleman October 31, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Wally, I think you’re right on the money here. Too often, myself included, we want life and it’s blessings to be like a merit badge system. I do this and God does that. It follows though, that I get some sort of credit for what I’ve accomplished in that sort of system.

    Having discovered my own nothingness before God, I’m sure all blessings are centered in Christ and result from putting our trust in Him.

  • Reply Diana Gourley November 17, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Thanks for this beautiful tribute to your father. I am learning the same lesson. There is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. It makes sense then that there truly is only one law–to love God with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. All other laws are but appendages to this one. I believe; and because I do, my heart is filled with His love both from and for Him.

    • Reply admin November 20, 2008 at 10:16 am

      You discerned how much I love my Dad and how grateful I am to him! Dad consistently pointed me to Father. My patriarchal blessing tells me that it “is so important to know that they {my mom and dad} are right.” They are right. There is no hope and no happiness apart from God. Blessings to you.

      -Wally

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