I'd like to start just writing down my thoughts that come to me as I attend church on Sundays or as I study my scriptures during the week. I think it's important to record the insights that I gain so I can remember them. Hopefully they will also be of benefit to others.
Today's lesson was on the plan of salvation. How grateful I am for my knowledge of this plan. Today and also earlier in the week as I was reading the scriptures, it became plain to me that really the purpose of this life is to prepare ourselves to be comfortable in God's presence. The plan is for us to return to Him, but because we are fallen and will make mistakes, a way had to be provided for us to be able to be comfortable in His presence. No unclean thing can dwell with God. So we needed a Savior to make us clean again.
I read in 2 Ne. 9 about the resurrection and how we will be restored to our bodies, delivered from physical death through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Alma 11 we read that our spirits and bodies will be reunited again in their perfect form. In both chapters it states that we will be restored to a perfect knowledge of all our guilt.
2 Ne. 9:14 says, "Wherefore, we shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness; and the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness."
Are the righteous those who have not sinned? No, all have sinned and come short of perfection. What is the difference? The righteous have repented and sought the Lord's will and thus are "covered" through the Atonement of Christ. I love the allusion to Adam and Eve, who after transgressing, became aware of their nakedness and hid from the Lord. But the Lord clothed them with coats of skin and covered their nakedness. The righteous are spared from this recollection of their guilt through the power of the Atonement. They are able to dwell in the Lord's presence and feel comfortable there because they have prepared themselves through obedience and repentance and thus through the Atonement and the grace and mercy of God, they are forgiven and made clean again.
I love the quote from Brad Wilcox, who in answer to someone's claim that we Mormons are trying to "earn" heaven, responded that we are "not trying to earn heaven, but to learn heaven." We are seeking to prepare ourselves to feel comfortable there. To align our will with that of our Heavenly Father so that we will want to be there with Him. When we go somewhere that we don't feel comfortable, we don't usually want to stay. The Lord wants us to live with Him again, so we must learn to apply the Atonement in our lives so that we may be made clean and able to withstand His glory.
I love this understanding. The great judgement day will not consist of someone who wants to be with God being told they just didn't measure up, rather we will be our own judges in the sense that we will only be able to attain that glory which we have prepared ourselves to be comfortable in. When we read in the scriptures that the wicked will be burned when Christ comes again, I believe this means that they will not be able to withstand His great glory and thus it will be as fire to them. They will not withstand His presence. Only those who have sought to become like Him and are changed through the Atonement of Christ will be able to endure His glory and be partakers in it.
We must seek to do all we can to prepare and to learn the ways of heaven. 2 Ne. 9:46 says: "Prepare your souls for that glorious day when justice shall be administered unto the righteous, even the day of judgement, that ye may not shrink with awful fear; that ye may not remember your awful guilt in perfectness..."
I don't know about you, but there are certainly things I don't want to remember in that day. It is comforting to me to know that the Atonement can clean us and make us pure and that we nor the Lord will remember our sins. D&C 58:42 says: "Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more."
What a wonderful plan for our salvation--for our eternal happiness! How merciful is our Lord to teach us of His ways and to provide the means whereby we may be made clean again--through the Savior, Jesus Christ. How grateful I am for Him and for this knowledge! How earnestly I desire to be made like Him that I will feel comfortable in His presence and partake of His goodness and glory. I pray that this will be the desire of many, that we may all return to Him and fulfill this great plan of mercy and that our dear Savior's sacrifice for us will not be for naught, but will be embraced by each of us and applied in our lives and result in our salvation and eternal happiness.