Friday, August 13, 2021

Elder D. Todd Christofferson on the purpose of life and the blessing of agency

Elder D. Todd Christofferson (1945- ) was called to the Seventy in 1993, and as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2008.
"Thanks to our Heavenly Father, we had already become spirit beings. Now He was offering us a path to complete or perfect that being. The addition of the physical element is essential to the fulness of being and glory that God Himself enjoys. If, while with God in the premortal spirit world, we would agree to participate in His plan—or in other words 'keep [our] first estate'—we would 'be added upon' with a physical body as we came to dwell on the earth that He created for us.
"If, then in the course of our mortal experience, we chose to 'do all things whatsoever the Lord [our] God [should] command [us],' we would have kept our 'second estate.' This means that by our choices we would demonstrate to God (and to ourselves) our commitment and capacity to live His celestial law while outside His presence and in a physical body with all its powers, appetites, and passions. Could we bridle the flesh so that it became the instrument rather than the master of the spirit? Could we be trusted both in time and eternity with godly powers, including power to create life? Would we individually overcome evil? Those who did would 'have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever'—a very significant aspect of that glory being a resurrected, immortal, and glorified physical body. No wonder we 'shouted for joy' (Job 38:7) at these magnificent possibilities and promises....
"Knowing why we left the presence of our Heavenly Father and what it takes to return and be exalted with Him, it becomes very clear that nothing relative to our time on earth can be more important than physical birth and spiritual rebirth, the two prerequisites of eternal life."
- D. Todd Christofferson, "Why Marriage, Why Family," General Conference, April 2015
Click here to read the full talk

Elder Christofferson reviewed the doctrines of "the plan of happiness" in order to set context for his discussion of families and marriage. :"Keeping our first estate" refers to the description from Abraham 3 of those who chose to follow the Savior's plan in the pre-mortal life, and were blessed by the opportunity to live in this world and obtain a physical body.

And that leads to the "second estate"—our current existence—where we now have the opportunity to grow and learn, as well as to demonstrate our love and desire to voluntarily follow God's plan. This was a wonderful summary of what we are about in this life:

What a beautiful description of the challenge presented to us in this "second estate"! Truly we should shout for joy at this opportunity, as we did long ago.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
April 29, 2015

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