Friday, October 30, 2020

President Dallin H. Oaks on the growth experiences of mortality

President Dallin H. Oaks (born August 12, 1932) served as president of BYU from 1971-1980.  He was then appointed as a justice of the Utah Supreme Court, and resigned when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984. He became President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and also 1st Counselor in the First Presidency in January 2018.
"The divine plan for us to become what we are destined to become requires us to make choices to reject the evil opposition that tempts mortals to act contrary to God’s commandments and His plan. It also requires that we be subject to other mortal opposition, such as from the sins of others or from some defects of birth. Sometimes our needed growth is achieved better by suffering and adversity than by comfort and tranquility. And none of this mortal opposition could achieve its eternal purpose if divine intervention relieved us from all the adverse consequences of mortality....

"God’s plan gives us four great assurances to assist our journey through mortality. All are given to us through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the centerpiece of the plan. The first assures us that through His suffering for the sins of which we repent, we can be cleansed of those sins. Then the merciful final judge will 'remember them no more' (D&C 58:42).

"Second, as part of our Savior’s Atonement, He took upon Him all other mortal infirmities. This allows us to receive divine help and strength to bear the inevitable burdens of mortality, personal and general, such as war and pestilence....

"Third, the Savior, through His infinite Atonement, revokes the finality of death and gives us the joyful assurance that all of us will be resurrected....

"Fourth and finally, modern revelation teaches us that our progress need not conclude with the end of mortality."

- Dallin H. Oaks, "The Great Plan," General Conference April 2020, Sunday afternoon

In discussing the doctrines of mortality and our purpose in this life, President Oaks expressed concern that far too many don't understand the most basic doctrines of the Gospel. He expressed that in the troubling year 2020, our vision of the past might be 20/20, but our vision of the future is not nearly so clear.

One important key is understanding the role and purposes of suffering and adversity in that plan. It is wrong to assume that the righteous will never have problems or challenges in life:
Through the power of the Atonement of Christ, we have these assurances:
  • we can be cleansed of sin when we repent
  • we can receive divine help in bearing the burdens of mortality
  • we will be resurrected
  • progress can continue in the life to come
Those are powerful promises, and understanding them helps to put our mortal experience in proper perspective. We would do well to ponder those principles and their place in our personal life!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2020)

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