Sunday, November 25, 2012

President's Weekly Letter #13

(1 Nephi 18:1)

Belgium/Netherlands Mission


God is our Heavenly Father and we are his spirit children.  He has a glorified, perfect body of flesh and bones and he loves us.  In the pre-existence we grew and developed becoming more like him. He proposed a loving plan that allowed us to continue progressing.  His plan gave us our agency and opportunity for an earthly experience outside his presence.  We would gain essential learning and growth from our choices through personal experiences of work, successes, regrets, love, trials, adversity, sorrow, etc.  We would receive a mortal body of flesh and bones and could prove ourselves to show we would do all things whatsoever the Lord commands us.
Heavenly Father knew we would make mistakes during our earthly experience and that we would learn through our mistakes and course corrections.  He also knew that no unclean thing can enter his presence.  So once we sin, the punishment would be we would never be able to return to live with him.  He also knew we would die and leave our imperfect body of flesh and bones behind.  
Therefore, the heart of his plan included the atonement.  A Savior would be provided who, through his suffering, would take upon himself the sins of the world, pay the penalty or consequence for sin as demanded by the law of justice and offer us mercy in return.  This sacrifice of Jesus Christ involved suffering that was real.
“Though He suffered beyond comprehension – so much so that he bled from every pore and asked whether it were possible that this burden be lifted from Him…” (PMG, p.52)
Thanks to his sacrifice, we would then not be punished (never be able to return to live in his presence) for our sins and be welcomed back into the presence of God.  All he asks in return for standing in our place and suffered the penalty for our sins is our accepting saving ordinances and enduring to the end.  Also; through the atonement we would receive our body back but in a perfect and immortal form.
“…whoso taketh upon him my name, and endureth to the end, the same shall be saved at the last day…no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.” (3 Nephi 27:6,19)
“…the death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death.” (Alma 11:42)
We read in Moses more detail about the Plan and its selection process.  Satan proposed an alternate plan where everyone would be saved through force.  In Satan’s plan: Satan would destroy our agency, Satan wanted glory and power and there would be no Redeemer necessary.
Satan came saying, “…behold, here am I, send me, I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost…I will do it.…give me thine honor.”  Then Christ said, “Father thy will be done and the glory be thine forever.” (Moses 4:1-2)
The record also states that Satan was cast down,
 “…because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also that I should give unto him mine own power.” (Moses 4:3)
President Thomas S. Monson explains the two plans as follows and which clarifies our early dependence on and the deep root of the Law of Sacrifice embedded in the atonement:
“We know that we had our agency before this world was and that Lucifer attempted to take it from us. He had no confidence in the principle of agency or in us and argued for imposed salvation. He insisted that with his plan none would be lost, but he seemed not to recognize—or perhaps not to care—that in addition, none would be any wiser, any stronger, any more compassionate, or any more grateful if his plan were followed.
We who chose the Savior’s plan knew that we would be embarking on a precarious, difficult journey, for we walk the ways of the world and sin and stumble, cutting us off from our Father. But the Firstborn in the Spirit.” offered Himself as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of all. Through unspeakable suffering He became the great Redeemer, the Savior of all mankind, thus making possible our successful return to our Father.”
Elders and Sisters, Part 2 – The Offer, follows next week.  Operation Build a Stake as of Nov.18, 2012 has 24 baptisms with 426 remaining.
President Robinson

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