Sunday, July 25, 2010

Prerequisite Two: God Has a Plan for Us (Part Four)

The Spirit World

Our life on Earth ends, of course, with death. Sooner or later each of us must let our tabernacle of clay return to the dust. But death is not the end of our existence, just the end of mortality. Our spirits, everything except our physical bodies, will live on in a place of waiting called the Spirit World.

In the Spirit World, the dead await the resurrection, which is possible through Jesus Christ. There are two divisions in the Spirit World: Paradise and Outer Darkness, also called Spirit Prison or Hell. When we die, we will be judged according to what we did with the light and knowledge which we received on the Earth. If we were righteous, we will go to Paradise (Alma 40:11–12). If we were not, we will go to Spirit Prison (1 Peter 3:19). These assignments are temporary and last only until our bodies and spirits reunite in the resurrection. Further, these divisions have more to do with our relationship with God than they do with geographical locations. Everyone who lived a righteous life, even if they did not receive the fullness of the Gospel, are entitled to some portion of God’s Spirit. Those who lived a wicked life are not and will be cut off from His presence. The separation from God’s presence, as we’ll discuss at length later, is truly Hell.

What few recognize, though, is that the Spirit World is really an extension of mortality. Those there have the opportunity to be taught, to exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, to repent, to be baptized, to receive the remission of their sins, to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and to receive Temple Ordinances and Covenants. But even though they can learn of Jesus Christ, exercise faith in Him, and repent in the Spirit World, they cannot receive the Ordinances and Covenants of the Gospel without help.

The Ordinances and Covenants of the Gospel pertain solely to mortality. We cannot receive them unless we have physical bodies. For example, we can’t be baptized without being immersed in water. And that creates a problem for the billions of people who lived on Earth who never had the opportunity to receive the fullness of the Gospel. But God is just and will not punish someone simply because she was born in a place where the fullness of the Gospel was not available. So God allows members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to receive the Covenants and Ordinances of the Gospel for them vicariously in Holy Temples. Members research names of the dead and submit them to Temples. Then they receive the Covenants and Ordinances of the Gospel in their place. The dead then have the choice of whether or not to accept the work that has been done for them.

Lest you wonder how the dead can receive Covenants and Ordinances vicariously, remember that Jesus Christ suffered for our sins vicariously. So if Jesus Christ can suffer in our place, there is no reason to doubt that we can receive Covenants and Ordinances in the place of those who have died.

After everyone in the Spirit World has the opportunity to accept or reject the fullness of the Gospel, everyone will be resurrected. That is, our spirits and our physical bodies will be united, never again to be separated.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Prerequisite Two: God Has a Plan for Us (Part Three)

Enduring well means doing more than walking around and looking like we’re sucking lemons. Now, I know that I’ve just gone on for pages about how hard life is. But, notwithstanding C-3PO’s lament in Star Wars, we were not made to suffer; it is not our lot in life. In fact, “[we] are, that [we] might have joy” (2 Ne. 2:25). So how can we have joy despite life’s trials?
When I say joy, I'm not talking about the proximate pleasures of the flesh. Rather, I'm talking about the abiding happiness that comes only through the power of God. (See John 15:11; Helaman 5:44).
God is happy. In fact, the nature of God is the nature of happiness. (Alma 41:11). And because He is happy, He knows how to make His children happy. After all, He's already given Jesus the "fullness of joy." (3 Nephi 28:10). The only true way to be happy, therefore, is to partake of the nature of God. But how can we though? The answer is simple: obey.
Jesus was perfectly obedient. And Jesus commands us to be like Him, (3 Nephi 27:27) even to be perfect. (Matthew 5:48; 3 Nephi 12:48). Jesus wasn't taunting us. You see, He wants us to be happy, and the only true way for us to be happy is to be like Him. “Take my yoke upon you,” He pleaded, “and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30). A yoke is a device people used to harness beasts of burden―horses, oxen, donkeys, and cattle―together. It forced the animals to work together. And by working together, they could pull more weight individually than they could if they were not yoked to other animals. So if two oxen each had an individual-maximum pulling strength of four tons, by yoking them together they could pull nine or ten tons. So when we are yoked with Christ, His yoke is easy and His burden is light because He is pulling so much more than we ever could! Remember that pioneer boy who, when he could go no further, his handcart began pushing him. But if we break the yoke that binds us to Christ, we will be left to pull the weight of life alone.
And we become yoked with Christ when we accept the fullness of His Gospel, are baptized, and commit to live all of the commandment. There are two kinds of commandments: preparatory commandments and what I'll call complete commandments. Complete commandments are harder to keep. Compare the Mosaic injunction against adultery, (Exodus 20:14), to Jesus' prohibition against lusting (Matthew 5:27-28). And to me, it would be much easier to provide the occasional sacrificial lamb instead of offering up my "whole soul" (Omni 1:26) with "a broken heart and a contrite spirit" to God. (See 3 Nephi 9:20). So because of the difficulty of living the complete commandments, we insist on living the preparatory commandments.
But obedience to preparatory commandments can only bring us preparatory joy. And lest we be ever preparing and never coming to the fullness of joy, we must accept and live all of God's complete commandments. Still, living the preparatory commandments is better than not living the commandments at all. For disobedience brings only misery and captivity.
It will take time, however, to live all the complete commandments. Jesus knew we couldn't do it right away. That's why He suffered for us and provided the gift of the Atonement, thus making repentance and forgiveness possible, which, by the way, also bring great joy. (Luke 15:10; D&C 18:10-16). He knows we need help. And He helps in so many ways.
As I said, Jesus performed the matchless Atonement and made it possible to receive forgiveness of our sins. But through His Grace, He also gives us strength to keep the commandments. Moroni, that last Book of Mormon prophet, invited us:
[C]ome unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

(Moroni 10:32-33).

Jesus is both the way and the means to eternal joy!

And Jesus often uses others to help us become happy. For example, He used Alma the younger to help Corianton, Alma's youngest son. While serving as a missionary with his father and older brother, Corianton visited a prostitute named Isabel. (Alma 39:1-3). His actions were not only self-destructive but became the excuse for many to disbelieve the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Alma 39:11). Alma sat Corianton down and unequivocally denounced Corianton's sexual promiscuity as an abomination. (Alma 39:5). And for four chapters Alma reproves and counsels his son about eternal justice and the mercy that comes only through Christ. (See Alma 39-42). Finally, Alma said,

O my son, I desire that ye should deny the justice of God no more. Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice of God; but do you let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility.

And now, O my son, ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people. And now, my son, go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them. And may God grant unto you even according to my words.

(Alma 42:30-31).
Alma's talk with Corianton worked. Corianton repented and, for the rest of his life, taught repentance and the Plan of Happiness through Jesus Christ.
There are times when we will be like Corianton, in need of loving correction. And there are times when we will be like Alma, in need of giving loving correction. Both present dangers. So often, the truth is hard to bear, and when a loved one confronts us and calls us to come to Jesus, we may lash out against them. On the other hand, we must be careful that our attempt to correct doesn't become a stoning. Also, if you know the story of Alma the younger, you'll know that he once sought to destroy the Church of Jesus Christ. (Alma 36:6). He was a vile man. And it took the visitation of an angel to get him to repent. (Alma 36:6-24). The danger of being called a hypocrite was there and very real.
Thankfully for Corianton, Alma loved him too much to look away and ignore his bad behavior. Thus, Corianton started walking again along the stepping stones of the Plan of Happiness with the help of his Savior and his father.
So if we want to be happy, we must keep the commandments. All of them. We mustn't lash out against those who deliver them to us. And we shouldn't lash out against those who call our sins to our attention, even if they are hypocrites.
For it is through obedience to the commandments that we learn the nature of happiness. And by learning the nature of happiness we partake of the Nature of God until God gives us eternal joy, even the fullness of joy. And only He can give it.
Let me share with you the great blessings and happiness that I have received because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The greatest joy in my life is my relationship with God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. I know Them, that They live, that They know me personally, that They love me, and that They want me to return to Them with my family to receive all of the blessings of eternal life. I have not seen Their faces in this life. But that is all that I lack to have perfect knowledge of Their existence and character. I received this knowledge primarily through the Book of Mormon, through obedience to the commandments, and through my service in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Church). It is through Jesus Christ that I have received the remission of my sins, and through Him, I am becoming the man who He needs me to be.
After my relationship with my God and Savior, the greatest blessing in my life is my wife. We met at church. I had just returned home from my service as a missionary Ecuador and was assigned to give a talk during sacrament meeting (the main meeting for Mormons each Sunday). My wife had been home from her mission in Hong Kong for six months and was a member of the same ward (local congregation) my family attended. She had been assigned to speak at a different ward. I saw her in the foyer of the chapel as she waited for her mother so they could go to her assignment. She wore a black silk Chinese dress with red embroidery and caught me as I was looking at her. Five months later, we were married in the Salt Lake Temple and covenanted with God and each that we would be faithful to each other and to Him. We received the promise that we will be together throughout all eternity as husband and wife. My love for her has grown daily. She is amazing. It is because of her that I am who I am. She has been my strength and greatest supporter. I can’t imagine life without her. And had we not been going to church and living the Gospel, we wouldn’t be together.
And my wife has given me three beautiful children. Admittedly, sometimes my kids frustrate me, but I love being a dad. I love snuggling with my kids. I love seeing them accomplish their goals. And I love seeing them develop a relationship with God. They will be my children forever because my wife and I were married in the Temple and have received the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My children are my joy.
I’m also who I am because of the Gospel. My dad was not born a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But soon after he graduated from High School, he was baptized and yoked himself with Christ. A little while later he was serving as a missionary in the Netherlands. At the same time, my mom, who had been born to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and had been baptized when she was eight, was struggling as her mother died of cancer. As the oldest daughter, she became the mother to her younger siblings. Her older brother, Jan, was also on a mission in the Netherlands and had been assigned to be the junior companion to my dad. Through Uncle Jan, my parents started writing each other. And after forty-six years of marriage, eleven children, twenty-nine grandchildren, and one great-grandchild, Mom and Dad are currently serving together as senior missionaries in the Netherlands. If my dad had not joined the Church, I would not be here. I love my parents. They have been a blessing and a source of great joy for me throughout my life.
I could go on, but I don’t have the time right now. Just know that every good thing, every blessing worth having, I have received it through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Prerequisite Two: God Has a Plan for Us (Part Two)

Our Life on Earth

As promised, life is a test. It’s hard, full of horror, pain, sickness, death, sorrow, heartache, and depression. But remember, it was a test we chose to take. Because all of us accepted our Heavenly Father’s plan for us, we are here on the Earth. And life is difficult by design.

Thankfully, we don’t have to face the difficulty of life alone. To help us return home to Him, Heavenly Father has called prophets, apostles, and even His Son to teach us what we must do to live with Him some day. They have taught us that Jesus Christ has fulfilled the mission He was sent to do on the Earth. He has paid for our sins, but our ability to receive the benefit of His sacrifice depends on whether we do all He has asked us to do.
First, we must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Second, we must repent of our sins. Third, we must be baptized by one who possesses the authority of the Priesthood, which was restored to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Baptism is a covenant, a two-way promise, in which we promise to keep the commandments and God promises to give us eternal life. Fourth, we must receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Articles of Faith 1:4). These first principles and ordinances of the gospel place us on the straight and narrow path which leads to our Heavenly Home, but they are not our final destination (2 Nephi 31:19). To make it Home, we must "press forward with a steadfastness in Christ," keeping the commandments of God contained in the scriptures and delivered to us by modern prophets and apostles (2 Nephi 31:20).
None of these works pay for our sins. Jesus did, and it is only by His grace that we are saved. Good works are the means by which we submit our wills to the will of the Father until we are ultimately born again by the grace of Jesus Christ and are worthy to return Home.
Additionally, to become like our Heavenly Father, He has commanded that we make more covenants within Temples. And if we are true and faithful to these covenants, God has promised to give us all He has (Revelation 21:7; D&C 84:36–38).
During our lives on Earth, we are free to choose whether we will follow God’s plan for us or not (2 Nephi 2:27). We are also free to believe what we want to believe. But we will be held accountable for all our actions (Mosiah 4:30). Still, all of us can choose to follow God’s plan and keep His commandments.
And we can choose because God gave us all free will or agency. In fact, we had agency before we came to Earth. During our pre-Earth life, agency was so important to God, that He allowed a third part of the hosts of heaven led by Lucifer to rebel and fight against Him, and because they rebelled, they were cast out of heaven. (Revelation 12:7-11; D&C 29:36). And now, they are here striving to make us miserable by tempting us to choose evil. (2 Ne. 2:27).
Adam and Eve were the first on Earth to exercise their agency when they choice to eat the forbidden fruit or not. Joshua counseled Israel to choose to serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15). And the Book of Mormon teaches that we have been instructed to know good from evil and that we are free to choose liberty and eternal life through Jesus Christ or captivity and death through the power of the devil. (2 Nephi 2:5, 27).
But there is a problem with agency: Inevitably someone will choose evil, and we know too well the horrors that mankind has inflicted on others, sometimes in the name of God. Innocent suffer. People starve. Many suffer from diseases.
Mankind is capable of unspeakable atrocity, especially when motivated by the temptations of the devil.
But we can't attribute that evil to God be cause He gave us the right to choose. We can’t say, “Why didn’t God stop this?” The prophet Enoch had a vision that revealed what God thinks about the destruction, evil, and carnage that fills the Earth:

And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; . . . [And He said to Enoch:] Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;

And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood; . . .

But behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of mine hands; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?

(Moses 7: 28-37).

It is not God's will that motivates the horrors that mankind afflicts on each other.

It seems strange then that God wants to us love and serve one another and that He weeps when He sees what we do to each other but He won't stop us. But we must remember this life is a test to see if we will choose to serve Him. (Abraham 3:24-25). And there will be a final judgment. (See Revelation 14:7).

How could God judge us if He didn't allow us to act? We would all be spotless because He never allowed us to sin. And if He sent us to Hell, it would be unjust because we never did anything wrong.

But I don't think we recognize the gift that God has given us in our agency. None of us like being forced to do something. And that is exactly what He will not do. He loves us enough to let us do what we will. Yet He longs for us to choose Him, to love Him, to serve Him, and that mean loving and serving our fellow man.

That is what life is about: learning to choose God.
And learning to choose God necessitates opposition and adversity. There must be opposition in all things because if we never tasted bitter, we could not taste sweet. If we never experienced sorrow, how could we recognize joy? If we never felt anxiety, we could never know peace. (See 2 Nephi 2:11-13).
Joseph Smith was imprisoned unjustly for several months in Liberty Jail. At the same time, the Mormons in Missouri were driven out under an extermination order. Joseph's jailers were abusive and at one time even tried to feed him human flesh. But God was with Him:
My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; . . .

And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?

(D&C 121:7-8; 122:5-8).

Life is hard. And even harder is that usually the only way through a trial is through it! But there is good in our suffering. And I have learned that during and after a trial I am closer to God than before.
My own ancestors were Mormon pioneers who crossed the American plains pulling handcarts. They started late and were caught in an awful snowstorm on the high plains of Wyoming. Many in their handcart company died. Of those who survived, most lost fingers, toes, feet, hands, legs, etc . . . to frostbite. Years later, members of the Church criticized the leaders of the Church for allowing my ancestors and their company to go through such an awful trial. A man who was in that company stood and rebuked them for speaking about things they did not understand. He acknowledged the unwise decision to leave so late in the season and the extreme suffering he experienced. Then he revealed the miracle of adversity:
I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it.

I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.

Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.

(Quoted in James E. Faust, "The Refiner’s Fire," Ensign, May 1979, 53).

The price of knowing God is to pass through the trials of life. But know that God is with us. There are unseen forces helping us. And They will continue to help us, if we let them.
Remember also that not even Jesus Christ was exempt from trials. He is the Son of God and the only perfect person to have ever walked the Earth. He went about doing good. He healed the sick, raised the dead, and caused the lame to leap, the blind to see, and the dumb to speak. He forgave sins. And He blessed children.
Yet His own community rejected Him. His brothers and sisters, although they did eventually believe in Him, rejected Him. The ruling classes of the Jews sought to destroy Him. Some tried to stone Him.
In Gethsemane, Jesus' suffering for the sins of the world was so great that He bled from every pore, and one of His best friends, Judas Iscariot, betrayed Him for thirty pieces of silver. He was taken and judged by the rulers of the Jews. They mocked Him, beat Him, spit on Him, and delivered Him to Pilate to be crucified.
Pilate sent Jesus to be scourged. Chunks of His flesh were torn away by the whip the Roman soldiers used. Then the soldiers made a crown of thorns and forced it onto His head. They mocked Him and eventually laid a cross on His back. The strain was so great that He could not carry it and a spectator was forced to carry the cross for Him.
The Roman soldiers nailed Him to a cross. Passers by continued to mock Him. And in the darkness of Golgotha, God Himself forsook Jesus.
He was alone in His agony.
But He did not suffer in vain. His willing sacrifice saved us. And on the third day, He arose from the tomb, triumphant over suffering, sorrow, death, and hell.
No one was or will be better than Jesus. And no one has or will suffer more than Him. Take comfort in knowing that not even the Best Person who ever lived, even God's own Son, escaped suffering and sorrow.
Yes life is hard, but God has promised that if we endure it well, we will be exalted on high. So endure it well, trusting in God the Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Better things await us if we will.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Prerequisite Two: God Has a Plan for Us (Part One)

We Learned of God's Plan Before We Came to Earth

God's Plan for us began before He created the world. We are our God’s spirit sons and daughters and lived with Him before we came to Earth. He is our Heavenly Father. And more than anything else, our He wants us to come home to Him

While we lived with our Heavenly Father, life was similar to what we experience here: We had friendships; we learned; we progressed, and, although we cannot remember, we developed a very personal relationship with our Heavenly Father. In fact, Ezra Taft Benson, a Prophet and Apostle of Jesus Christ, said, "Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father and how familiar His face is to us" (Ensign, Dec. 1988).

Our proximity to our Heavenly Father also taught us that we were not like Him. He possessed a perfect, immortal, physical body (D&C 130:22), but we were spirits. He had a fulness of joy and glory that we did not. And He was perfect in every way, unlike us.

But as our children have the capacity to become like us, Heavenly Father knew that we had the capacity to become like Him: perfect. (Consider Psalm 82:1,6; Matthew 5:48; Romans 8: 16–17; Doctrine and Covenants 84:36–38). And He wanted us to receive the fulness of joy that He had. So Father called a council and outlined His Plan, the Plan of Salvation, through which we could become like Him. We would come to Earth for a body and to be given agency—the power to choose (see 2 Nephi 2:27; Helaman 14:30)—whereby we would be tested if we would choose to follow God (see Abraham 3:24-26).

The power to choose for ourselves was central to this Plan. We could not become like God at once. We would need to learn from our choices to be obedient (Hebrews 5:8). Only by obeying could we progress until we became who our Father knew we could be. Without agency, no growth or progress would be possible.

Heavenly Father also told us of obstacles that would impede our progress. Although He would create a paradisiacal Earth free of sickness, suffering, sin, and death, He taught that its first inhabitants would be given a choice to either remain in paradise or pass through mortality, and if they chose mortality, mankind would be lost unless He sent a Savior, "[His] Beloved and Chosen from the beginning" (Moses 4:2), Jehovah, who would be known in the flesh as Jesus Christ. Furthermore, because we would have the power to choose, at times we would choose to sin. Our sins would also cut us off forever from the presence of our Heavenly Father. And without Jesus, we had no hope to overcome them.

Our Heavenly Father’s Plan hinged on the future sacrifice of Jesus Christ which would overcome death and sin. Father testified that "there [would] be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation [could] come unto [us], only in and through the name of Christ, . . ." (see Mosiah 3:17).

Heavenly Father gave each of us the choice to accept His plan for us. And to accept the Plan of Salvation required faith in our Father’s promises and in the ability of Jehovah, Jesus Christ, to effect the Atonement.

Lucifer, one of our spirit brothers who was in authority among the hosts of heaven (D&C 76:25), offered a variation to the Plan: He would take away our agency to prevent us from sinning so that none of us would be cut off. But he wasn’t interested in helping us to progress until we became like God with a fulness of joy. In fact, the only one he cared about was himself (see Moses 4:1-3). Lucifer’s plan enticed some to follow him even though it would not allow us to become like our Heavenly Father.

And war erupted, polarizing the hosts of heaven (Revelation 12:7-12).

The war that ensued wasn’t fought with sword and shield but with words. And even though Heavenly Father had gathered us together in the Great Pre-mortal Council to present the Plan of Salvation, I do not believe that it was first time that we had heard it; nor do I believe that it was a surprise that He presented His Firstborn, Jehovah, to be our Savior. I am certain that there were those among us who were already exercising great faith in Jesus Christ and who took every opportunity to learn the exalting doctrines of the Plan of Salvation, among whom were you and I. And when we heard Lucifer attack God’s plan and His Anointed, we stood and testified that Jehovah would do the Father’s will as He had promised. We were victorious, and Revelation 12:10-11 teaches that "[we] overcame [Lucifer and his legions] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of [our] testimony [of the Atonement of Jesus Christ]. . . ."

Many feel that those who chose to follow Lucifer did so because they doubted their ability to follow the Plan to become like our Heavenly Father. Certainly, Lucifer must have cited our weakness to discourage us, but I do not believe that it was his most potent weapon. We need to remember that without the Atonement, the "corruption [of mortality brought on by the future fall] could not put on incorruption . . . [and our] flesh must [lie] down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more. . . . And we [would] become devils, . . . to be shut out from the presence of our God, . . . in misery, . . ." (2 Nephi 9:7-9).

If the Savior failed, all would be lost, and Lucifer did everything he could to destroy faith in Jesus Christ. Ultimately, those who had faith in Christ followed God’s Plan, and those who did not were cast out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12; Revelation 12:7-10).