Sister Reeves: Boldly Testify to World of Marriage, God's Plan
Contributed By Sister Linda S. Reeves of the Relief Society general presidency
- We can be a light to the world by boldly testifying of the Plan of Salvation and the doctrine of eternal marriage.
“As we pray for guidance and approach others with love and sincerity, our Heavenly Father will help us to testify of His eternal truths.” —Linda S. Reeves of the Relief Society general presidency
What a loving, humbling and profound declaration our Father in Heaven makes when he proclaims, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).
How remarkable that our all-powerful, omniscient eternal Father loves each of us so much that everything He does is directly related to bringing you and me back home to his presence so that He can share all that He has, all that He knows, and all that He does. Because of His great love for us, He sent His Beloved Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, to atone for your sins and mine. These truths are central to His plan, the Plan of Salvation.
This month marks the 19th anniversary of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Authored by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the Proclamation testifies of our Father's plan—even “The Great Plan of Happiness,” and the promised blessings of eternal life and exaltation that come through obedience (see Dallin H. Oaks, “The Great Plan of Happiness,” Oct. 1993 general conference). In order to qualify for these blessings, eternal marriage between husband and wife is essential and follows the pattern set by our Father. For some, marriage may not be possible in this life, but will be realized by all who are faithful to their covenants.
When it comes to this marriage relationship, some have asked, “Why can't we be more compassionate? Why do we have to be so unbending? Can't we let people live their own lives and make their own decisions?” These are serious and challenging questions. Many of us have loved ones who are very dear to us whose feelings may be in opposition to our doctrine. We so desire to treat them with love, respect, kindness, and acceptance and never offend. As we pray for guidance and approach others with love and sincerity, our Heavenly Father will help us to testify of His eternal truths. He loves each of His children beyond our ability to comprehend and He wants all of his children back home to live with Him eternally.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are over 7 billion of our Father's children upon the earth. With over 15 million members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, each member represents approximately one in every 477 people. I have often wondered, “What if our Heavenly Father gave each of us the responsibility of leading and guiding the other 476 people back home to His presence?” As members of our Savior’s church, we are so blessed to know the way back to our Father and the promised blessings through following His plan.
Are we not like the keeper of a lighthouse, with the responsibility of shining the beacon light to guide all of our Heavenly Father’s children safely home? How will His sons and daughters know how to qualify to return if we do not testify of the plan? We must be like the burning beacon of light emanating from the lighthouse, guiding our Father's children through the stormy seas of life, so that they may return safely to shore.
As we testify, let us embrace the instruction of our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson: “I admonish you to be . . . good neighbors in your communities, reaching out to those of other faiths as well as to our own. May we be tolerant of, as well as kind and loving to, those who do not share our beliefs and our standards. . . . May we ever follow [our Savior’s] example” (“Until We Meet Again,” April 2013 general conference). Our Savior testified to the Nephites, “Therefore, hold up your light that it might shine unto the world” (3 Nephi 18:24).
President Henry B. Eyring has testified, “Each of you will be a model of a priesthood man [or woman], whether you want to be or not. You became a lighted candle when you accepted . . . priesthood [covenants]. The Lord put you on the candlestick to light the way for everyone who surrounds you” (“The Priesthood Man,” April 2014 general conference).
As we members of the Savior's church boldly testify of our Father's Plan and act as the keeper of the lighthouse and the candle upon the candlestick, His sons and daughters can feel the power of the Holy Ghost testifying of the truths of the Plan of Salvation, including the doctrine of eternal marriage, truths that each one of our Father’s children embraced in our pre-mortal life. As our Father’s children come to know, accept, and live it, they will know how to qualify to return to our Father’s presence and receive all that He has prepared for them that love Him. How grateful we will be as we feel our Savior’s embrace and fall at His feet in reverence, gratitude, and love, knowing that we have helped to lead our brothers and sisters back home.