Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles declared that God's plan of happiness is for "righteous disciples" and "covenant families" to be united in love and harmony in this life — and obtain celestial glory in the eternities with the Father and the Son.
The apostle began by sharing a memory from his mission to England. The ships docked in the port of Bristol had to be well built to endure the port's extreme tides. Such nautical readiness spawned the term "Shipshape and Bristol Fashion."
"While the fluctuation of the tide in the Bristol Channel is somewhat predictable and can be prepared for, the storms and temptations of life are often unpredictable," he said. "But this we know — they will come.
"In order to overcome the challenges and temptations that each of us inevitably face, it will require righteous preparation and the use of divinely provided protections. We must determine to be temple worthy, regardless of what befalls us. If we are prepared, we shall not fear."
Happiness in this life and the life to come are interconnected by righteousness. For centuries, Christ's gospel has inspired beliefs and established standards of conduct as to what is righteous and moral and results in happiness and joy.
"However, the principles and basic morality the Savior taught us are under serious attack in today's world," he said. "A world that emphasizes self-aggrandizement and secularism is cause for great concern."
The happiness promised in God's plan may seem beyond the reach of struggling disciples, he added. Temptations and distractions are strong. But a true understanding of the Father's plan reveals that the rewards of righteousness are available.
Elder Cook presented three principles that can help people remain prepared during difficult times.
1. Righteous self-control and conduct
"A principle of eternal progression is that exercising self-control and living righteously strengthens our ability to resist temptation," he said. "This is true in the spiritual realm and in temporal matters."
Elder Cook spoke of the approximately 230,000 young people who are currently serving as missionaries or have returned from missionary service in the last five years.
"They have developed remarkable spiritual strength and self-discipline that needs to be continually exercised or these qualities will atrophy just like muscles that are not used. All of us need to develop and demonstrate conduct and appearance that declare we are true followers of Christ. Those who abandon either righteous conduct or wholesome, modest appearance expose themselves to lifestyles that bring neither joy nor happiness."
2. Honoring the Sabbath will increase righteousness and be a protection for the family
"Many members understand that truly keeping the Sabbath day holy is a refuge from the storms of this life. It is also a sign of our devotion to our Father in Heaven and an increased understanding of the sacredness of sacrament meeting."
3. Divine protections are provided when we are righteous
"As we navigate the seas of life, following the impressions of the Holy Ghost is essential. The Spirit will help us avoid temptations and dangers, and comfort and lead us through challenges."