Understanding the plan of salvation is crucial to navigating many of the social issues facing Church members today, Elder Marcus B. Nash, General Authority Seventy, taught during a campus devotional at Brigham Young University on Feb. 2.
“This plan of salvation was — and is — based upon law and truths that have always existed, that make God what He is and heaven what it is,” he said.
Beginning his remarks by explaining the plan of salvation, Elder Nash said it is like a personal GPS, that by faith, will unerringly guide all safely home to their Father in Heaven.
“While it is good to know the plan, that alone is not enough,” he said. "We must also apply it to our thinking, to our decisions and our actions — and that requires faith. Faith is confidence and trust that moves us to act; indeed, it is the ‘moving principle of action in all intelligent beings.'”
Speaking of a world where many are starving spiritually and don’t know about — or have forgotten — the plan, Elder Nash encouraged assembly members to exercise their faith and put their trust in the Lord — especially when examining some of the current social issues.
First, he spoke of marriage and family and of Satan's constant attacks as he seeks to destroy proper understanding and practice of marriage and family.
“Our Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation — making eternal life possible for us — is the greatest expression of love ever made,” he said. “If we choose by faith to live according to His law despite our human weakness, we will one day receive all that the Father has! Thus, to stand for the Father’s plan is not hatred or bigotry; rather, it is to express God’s love.”
Second, Elder Nash spoke of the “societal concern about equality of woman and man.”
“While I do not pretend to know all the answers, I do know that, according to the plan of salvation, the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children and that the ultimate expression of priesthood power is in the eternal union of woman and man,” he said. “While we do not fully know what administrative structure will exist in the next life, we do know that families sealed in the temple will exist in the next life.
“When we contemplate mortality against the backdrop of eternity, we should remember that the title of our God is not ‘president,’ but ‘Father.’ That alone speaks volumes about the organizational structure that most matters in the celestial kingdom and in eternity. So, let’s not get too distracted by temporal administrative structure.”
The ultimate purpose of the plan is that a husband and wife are happy at home, sealed for time and eternity so that they may receive eternal life, Elder Nash taught.
Just as the “key to our success in the premortal life was to support the Father’s plan,” Elder Nash said the key to success in this life is the same — supporting the Father’s plan. Crucial to supporting the Father’s plan is the protective, moving power of faith — something that Satan knows and tries hard to counteract.
Referring to the New Testament account of Peter walking on water as he looked to the Savior, Elder Nash spoke of the potentially debilitating impact of doubt.
“Too many of our members have walked on water spiritually and do not know it. Or, if they did know it once, they — like Peter — have taken their eyes from the Savior, and pay more attention to the doubt suggested by some towering waves of secular thinking," he said. "Too many do not exercise faith in the God and eternal truths they know to be good and true; instead, they operate from the perspective of culture, or worse yet, from the position of fear or doubt.”
Still, others conflate the idea of questions with the concept of doubt, Elder Nash taught.
“Questions and doubt are not the same thing — we can seek answers to good questions with doubt, or we can do so with faith. The choice is ours,” he said. “To do so through doubt is, frankly, to put ourselves and others at the risk of spiritual paralysis.”
To do so through faith is to progress, learn and grow, Elder Nash declared.
“Having faith means that we do not know all the answers to all the questions all of the time, but choose to live our lives consistent with the gospel truths we do know because we trust our God,” he said.
He encouraged members of the audience to not heed the mocking and often condescending voices of those who have lost faith; instead "with the light of your faith, engage your reason, study prayerfully, patiently and keep yourself anchored in the scriptures and in the guidance of the Spirit. ...
“I promise that if you choose to exercise faith by daily reference to the plan of salvation and obedience to the truths of the gospel, you too will live — and that eternally. You will experience peace in this life and eternal life — God’s life — in the world to come. You will be guided safely home.”
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