Welcoming Heaven into Today

If God is the smartest person in the universe, then His doctrines should be unexpectedly expansive. If God is the kindest person in eternity, then His plan should be refreshingly redemptive. Indeed, He stands as the smartest and kindest Person in this entire expanse of time and space.

“The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth” (Exodus 34:6).

We may test any doctrine for its truthfulness by looking for His telltale fingerprints. When a doctrine seems squalid and limiting, we have good reason to believe that it owes its design to puny mortals. When a doctrine startles us with its wisdom and goodness, we have reason to suspect that God is behind it.

His relentless redemptiveness

Thus we are equipped to test any doctrine. Joseph Smith observed that “our Heavenly Father is more liberal in his views, and boundless in his mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive; and, at the same time, is more terrible to the workers of iniquity, more awful in the executions of his punishments, and more ready to detect every false way, than we are apt to suppose him to be” (TPJS p. 257).
God honors both justice and mercy. His great plan of happiness ingeniously provides us personal experience with both good and evil while offering us redemption through His Beloved Son.

“And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption” (Alma 34:16).

If we respond to His invitations, we will find blessings beyond our wildest dreams. After all, even “the glory of the telestial . . . surpasses all understanding” (D&C 76:89). One of the surest testimonies of God’s goodness is the fact that He will take those who were “liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers” (D&C 76:103) and straighten them out in the spirit world before delivering them to a glory that we cannot comprehend in our wildest dreams—a place where the Holy Ghost has full sway.

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).

One of the doctrines that amazes me every time I experience it is His determination to rescue us. According to Elder Maxwell, “his relentless redemptiveness exceeds [our] recurring wrongs” (“Jesus of Nazareth, Savior and King,” Ensign, May 1976, pp. 26–27).
Although we live in a world where sin is an ever-present danger, consider one set of ways in which God has set us up for success.

We are set up for success

Father has sent His left-hand man, the third in command, a member of the Godhead as our personal mentor. He will be with us every moment of every day to guide and sustain us as long as we are within the covenant. Can you imagine that we have the full attention and help of a God? Can we comprehend the condescension of God to dedicate such heavenly resources to guide every moment of our journey?
Parley P. Pratt detailed the work of the Holy Ghost:

The gift of the Holy Spirit . . . quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions and affections; and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates and matures all the fine-toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness and charity. It develops beauty of person, form and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation and social feeling. It develops and invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens, invigorates, and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being (Key to the Science of Theology, pp.100–101).

A heavenly helper

God also provides His holy helper as a reminder that we are in relationship with Him. We do not have to wonder if we are outside the holy contract that binds us to Him. “If we experience the gifts of the Spirit or the influence of the Holy Ghost, we can know that we are in the covenant relationship, for the gifts and companionship of the Holy Ghost are given to none else” (Robinson, Believing Christ, p. 94). What sweet comfort! Every time any one of us feels a hint of the Holy Ghost, God is reassuring us that our offering is acceptable. If I do not flee the covenant, He will get me home. What sweet assurance! What welcome encouragement! It is no wonder that the Holy Ghost is called the Comforter.
But the Holy Ghost does more than mentor, teach, and reassure us. He also cleanses us. What a blessing! When we set him loose in our souls, He will gather up and haul off the pests that bedevil our mortality. Then He takes the next step in our spiritual reformation. He will deliver that perfection that Christ gladly lends us when we are in the covenant. As long as we are in the covenant, the Holy Ghost reassures us that we are perfect in Christ. (See Believing Christ for a superb discussion of this principle.) Heaven be praised!
It is not surprising that a member of the Godhead would have so many positive effects any time He visits. What a blessing that God would assign him to keep us constant company.
Imagine a dear friend who, whenever he comes to visit, helps you sort out your house. He does not condemn or cajole you. He washes a few dishes. He bakes a few cookies. He sorts the laundry. He never visits without leaving the place better for His visiting. He leaves us feeling hopeful and peaceful.
Thus it is with the Holy Ghost. Whenever He visits us, He burns out a few imperfections, sets our thinking in order, and refines our feelings. On His best days—those when we give him free reign—he fills us with the greatest of heavenly gifts: charity.
The good news

Satan has every reason to be discouraged every time we glimpse the redemptive goodness of the First Presidency of heaven. God’s loving goodness, manifest most clearly in His Great Plan of Happiness, energizes our journey. Surely every knee should bow and every tongue confess in the face of such divine graciousness.
Never was there sweeter doctrine than that which teaches that God has set us up for success. He wants us back home with him and He has provided the way to get us there.
God took errant (and humbled) Peter, filled him with the Holy Ghost, and made him president of the ancient church. God surprised enemy Paul, sent him to a local official for tutoring, and made him the church’s doctrinal spokesman. God snatched Alma and the sons of Mosiah from their destructive ways and made them messengers of joy.
He is doing something similar for each of us. In ways that we may not understand (or even perceive), He is taking us from our puny pursuits and turning us into and toward something nobler.
I gladly acknowledge my weak, imperfect understanding of His doctrine. Yet I feel sure that the truth is still finer, sweeter, and more inviting than I ever imagined. The participation of the Holy Ghost in our lives is so unexpectedly expansive and refreshingly redemptive that it must be true. May we welcome that messenger from heaven into our lives every day.

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  • Reply Lynn March 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    “Every time any one of us feels a hint of the Holy Ghost, God is reassuring us that our offering is acceptable.” I felt that very thing not half an hour ago while completing a small errand, and again when I read this in your post. Thank you for reminding me.

  • Reply kristen March 14, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    “When a doctrine seems squalid and limiting, we have good reason to believe that it owes its design to puny mortals. When a doctrine startles us with its wisdom and goodness, we have reason to suspect that God is behind it.”

    This statement you made, feels true and right to me. But the one doctrine that seems squalid and limiting to me, polygamy, was designed by God. People tell me (and I also tell myself this!) that some things are not meant to be understood now. And, by commenting about this here, I don’t want to frame myself as a person who looks for points to dispute. Please don’t misunderstand me.

    I would like to know what part of this doctrine is merciful, wise, and kind to women, God’s precious daughters, and to men as well.

    • Reply Lynn March 15, 2009 at 10:00 pm

      I have a copy of OSC’s “Saintspeak”, which is his LDS response to Ambrose Bierce’s “The Devil’s Dictionary”. In it he wryly defines *polygamy* as “The family system in which a lustful man surrounds himself with ever younger wives so that none of the older wives ever dares to get too uppity. [See *plural marriage*.] *Plural marriage* is “The family system in which a man marries a lot of women, so that each wife gets enough time away from her husband that she can get something useful done. [See *polygamy*.]

      That may not have been the answer you were looking for. You should see his definition of *osmondize*.

    • Reply admin March 19, 2009 at 12:01 pm

      You are asking a very challenging question. I do not have an easy answer. For me the question is somewhat like, what will God do with all the children sealed to parents who later divorced and, perhaps, remarried? We create messes that don’t seem to offer tidy solutions. Plural marriage is not the same thing but has a challenge inherent in it. When we see it through the lens of mortality we feel that women are again diminished. We chafe at the thought. If we could remove the mortal lens through which we see plural marriage (including jealousy and scarcity mentality), would plural marriage start to look like a real blessing for both men AND women? I can’t say for sure since I still have those flawed mortal lenses. But maybe this will be like asking who is more blessed, the one who has few friends or many? Maybe plural marriage will be a community of love where more partners enrich all parties.

      Of course, after all is said and done, I don’t have a complete answer. This is one of those places that I trust God. Nothing He does will be anything but a blessing!


  • Reply kristen March 21, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Thanks, Wally. I appreciate how you give God the benefit of the doubt. Doing the same would be an exercise of faith for me. I should, and will, do that!

    Remembering that God seeks to bless us, not cause us pain or confusion, is really key to this—even though it may not be until later that we see the blessing.

  • Reply Momnmb April 27, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    Thank you for reminding me that I can know when my offering is acceptable, and about the infinite mind boggling goodness of God. You offer some unique metaphors. This is beautiful article.

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