God's great plan of happiness brings comfort

"Life's most challenging questions seem to be those that begin with the word why," said Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve at the April 1995 general conference. " Why is life so hard?'Why is there so much sorrow, hate, and unhappiness in the world?' Why does death take the young?' AndWhy must the innocent suffer?' "

Elder Ballard said that he believes the only satisfying answers to such questions "come from the comforting perspective of faith in our Heavenly Father and His eternal plan for our happiness.""Through prophets past and present, God has revealed the doctrines of His great plan of happiness.' It consists of infinite, eternal, absolute, unchanging principles. From Alma we learn thatGod gave unto them commandments, after having made known . . . the plan of redemption.' (Alma 12:32; italics added.) The plan teaches that all who have or will live on earth are the spirit children of heavenly parents. We lived with them before coming to this earth to receive our bodies of flesh and bone.

" `If Adam [and Eve] had not transgressed [they] would not have fallen, but [they] would have remained in the garden of Eden. . . .

" `And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy. . . .

" `Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.' (2 Ne. 2:22-23, 25.)

"After the Fall," Elder Ballard continued, "God instructed Adam to cleave unto his wife, Eve (see Gen. 2:24; Moses 3:24; D&C 42:22.) `God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth' (Gen. 1:28), a commandment that has never been rescinded.

"Our Father's plan provides for redemption from the Fall through the atonement of Jesus Christ. As the Only Begotten Son of God and the only sinless person to live on this earth, He made a perfect atonement for all mankind. It applies to everyone unconditionally as it pertains to the resurrection from temporal, or physical, death, for all shall rise from the dead with immortal bodies as a result of the Atonement. However, the Atonement is conditional as it pertains to each person's individual sins. It touches everyone to the degree that he or she has faith in Jesus Christ, repents, and obeys the gospel. Exaltation and eternal life with God are reserved for those who keep the commandments.

"Mortality, then, is the time to test our ability to understand our Heavenly Father's plan and, of course, our willingness to be obedient."

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