Quotes on God’s Plan

Usually the Lord gives us the overall objectives to be accomplished and some guidelines to follow, but he expects us to work out most of the details and methods.  The methods and procedures are usually developed through study and prayer and by living so that we can obtain and follow the promptings of the Spirit.  Less spiritually advanced people, such as those in the days of Moses, had to be commanded in many things.  Today those spiritually alert look at the objectives, check the guidelines laid down by the Lord and his prophets, and then prayerfully act – without having to be commanded “in all things.”

This attitude prepares men for godhood.  Sometimes the Lord hopefully waits on his children to act on their own, and when they do not, they lose the greater prize, and the Lord will either drop the entire matter and let them suffer the consequences or else he will have to spell it out in greater detail.  Usually, I fear, the more he has to spell it out, the smaller is our reward. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, April 1965, pp. 121-22

The foundation of the work laid by the Prophet Joseph Smith was laid in eternal truth.  It cannot be overthrown.  It is like the house built on the rock.  The storms may beat upon it, the rains may descend, the tempests may come, the hearts of men may be stirred up to anger and to persecution against it; but it is as firm as the everlasting hills, because it is built upon the truth.  Honesty, virtue, purity of life, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His resurrection, obedience to the commandments of God, are cardinal principles of our belief.  We know that the doctrine is true.  (Proceedings at the Dedication of the Joseph Smith Memorial Monument: At Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, December 23, 1905, 41-42.) Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 1998, p. 14

It was all part of God’s plan – the coming of Columbus, the colonization, wise men raised up to frame the Constitution, Joseph Smith prepared for his part in the restoration of the gospel, even the persecution which drove the Saints to the Rocky Mountains where the Church could continue to grow.

What does all this mean to you and me as individuals?  It means that God, as our Father, made all these arrangements for you and me.  We were part of his eternal scheme. And so it is not enough merely to observe these various anniversaries, but we must recommit  and rededicate ourselves to uphold the convictions and the principles upon which the blessings we enjoy are predicated.  We too must be prepared to sacrifice, where necessary, to keep our freedoms inviolate.  My father used to say: “The true way to honor the past is to improve upon it.”

Therefore, we should love God more.  We should serve our fellowmen better.  We should keep all the commandments.  We should be better prepared as parents to teach our children to pray and to walk uprightly before the Lord, and to assume their responsibilities.  It would be tragic if for fear of the challenge involved the descendants of those who gave so liberally and sacrificed so much shrank from the duties of their day and time. — President N. Eldon Tanner, “Pioneers Are Still Needed,” Ensign, July 1976, p. 2

But bear in mind that the Lord is directing this world.  We are frequently reminded that conditions have been so developed in the powers of warfare that an accident or a rash move could set in operation those powers which might destroy our civilization.  But let us bear in mind that this world is in the hands of God.  All these things will happen only so far as they are in accordance with his plans and his purposes.  And let us not waste our time and our energy and get into a nervous condition about what is going to happen to the world.  That is not our sphere of responsibility.  The Lord will take care of that.  It remains for us to be devoted to the upbuilding of his kingdom and facing whatever conditions may come to us. — Elder George Q. Morris, Conference Report, April 1959, p. 102

Remember that ofttimes the wisdom of God appears as foolishness to men, but the greatest single lesson we can learn in mortality is that when God speaks and a man obeys, that man will always be right.

May we ever follow the Prince of Peace, who literally showed the way for us to follow, for by doing so, we will survive these turbulent times.  His divine plan can save us from the dangers which surround us on every side.  His example points the way.  When faced with temptation, He shunned it.  When offered the world, He declined it.  When asked for His life, He gave it.

Now is the time.  This is the place.  May we follow Him, I pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.  — President Thomas S. Monson, General Conference, April 2005

Yes, I repeat, righteousness is an indispensable ingredient to  liberty.  Virtuous people elect wise and good representatives.  Good representatives make good laws and then wisely administer them.  This tends to preserve righteousness.  An unvirtuous citizenry tend to elect  representatives who will pander to their covetous lustings.  The burden of self-government is a great responsibility.  It calls for restraint, righteousness, responsibility, and reliance upon God.  It is a truism from the Lord that “when the wicked rule, the people mourn.” (D&C 98:9) — President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, 1976

Just after the Israelites had walked across the Jordan River from Moab into Canaan, Joshua instructed twelve men, one from each tribe, to each take a stone from the dry riverbed of the Jordan to build a memorial unto the children of Israel forever.  Paraphrasing Joshua, he said:

“When your children ask you what these stones mean, you will tell them about the time when Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.  Tell them that the Lord your God dried up the water of the Jordan for you until you had crossed, just as He dried up the Red Sea for us.  Because of this, everyone on earth will know how great the Lord’s power is, and you will honor the Lord your God forever.” (See Josh. 4:21–24.)

The Bible is replete with admonitions to remember the mighty acts of God as He has intervened in history for His people.  We are witnesses of His mighty, intervening hand in the world even today.

God is our Father.  He is concerned about the welfare of His children everywhere. But even a patient, loving Heavenly Father must weary of tolerating ungodliness as evidenced when “the Lord rained upon Sodom and . . . Gomorrah brimstone and fire from . . . out of heaven.” (Gen. 19:24) — Elder David B. Haight, Ensign, May 1990

Our message is so imperative, when you stop to think that the salvation, the eternal salvation of the world, rests upon the shoulders of this Church.  When all is said and done, if the world is going to be saved, we have to do it.   There is no escaping from that.  No other people in the history of the world have received the kind of mandate that we have received.  We are responsible for all who have lived upon the earth.  That involves our family history and temple work.  We are responsible for all who now live upon the earth, and that involves our missionary work.  And we are going to be responsible for all who will yet live upon the earth. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Church News, 3 July 1999, p. 3

Your lives, your friendships, your marriages, your families, your neighbors and coworkers currently constitute the sample of humanity which God has given you.  We are each other’s clinical material, and we make a mistake when we disregard that sober fact. . . . These special moments – one-on-one, in small groups, in corridors, hallways, or wherever – do something so subtle that we are scarcely aware that it is happening.  Yet these help to further define our relationships with the Lord and with each other.  It is often the one-liners that come from these special moments which have such a long shelf life and which help us long after the dispersal of those friends has occurred. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Jesus, the Perfect Mentor,” Ensign, February 2001, p. 8

As beneficiaries of the divine Creation, what shall we do?  We should care for the earth, be wise stewards over it, and preserve it for future generations.   And we are to love and care for one another.

We are to be creators in our own right – builders of an individual faith in God, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and faith in His Church.  We are to build families and be sealed in holy temples.  We are to build the Church and kingdom of God upon the earth.  We are to prepare for our own divine destiny – glory, immortality, and eternal lives.  These supernal blessings can all be ours, through our faithfulness. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “The Creation,” Ensign, May 2000, p. 84

What we mortals encounter as the unforeseen, God has already seen, such as how the oil deposits of this earth would shape the latter-day conflicts among nations.  God’s “is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations” (Isa. 14:26 ).  He likewise foresaw all the awful famines, some resulting from the unwise, unnecessary erosions of precious topsoil.  He surely foresaw the terrible persecutions of the Jews.  Having created the earth, He has anticipated the impact of continental drifts on the frequency and intensity of latter-day earthquakes.

He who analogized that “the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest” (Isa. 57:20 ) also knows where and when, in latter days, the seas’ tidal waves will heave themselves savagely “beyond their bounds” (D &C 88:90). — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “‘Yet Thou Art There’,” Ensign, November 1987, p. 30

He [Heavenly Father] is our perfect Father.  He loves us beyond our capacity to understand.  He knows what is best for us.  He sees the end from the beginning.  He wants us to act to gain needed experience:  When He answers yes, it is to give us confidence. When He answers no, it is to prevent error.  When He withholds an answer, it is to have us grow through faith in Him, obedience to His commandments, and a willingness to act on truth. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “Learning to Recognize Answers to Prayer,” Ensign, November 1989, p. 30

I want to impress upon your hearts . . . that you can make no sacrifice but what sooner or later the reward will come to you, either in time or in eternity, and almost without exception when we make any sacrifices in the line of duty in performing those things that are pleasing in the sight of God, we get our reward during our lives. — Teachings of the Prophets: Heber J. Grant

All down the ages men bearing the authority of the Holy Priesthood, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and others, have officiated in the name of the Lord, doing the things that he required of them; and outside the pale of their activities other good and great men, not bearing the Priesthood but possessing profundity of thought, great wisdom, and a desire to uplift their fellows, have been sent by the Almighty into many nations, to give them not the fulness of the Gospel, but that portion of truth that they were able to receive and wisely use.

Such men as Confucius, the Chinese philosopher; Zoroaster, the Persian sage; Gautama or Buddha, of the Hindus; Socrates and Plato, of the Greeks; these all had some of the light that is universally diffused, and concerning which we have this day heard.  They were servants of the Lord in a lesser sense, and were sent to those pagan or heathen nations to give them the measure of truth that a wise Providence had allotted to them. — Elder Orson F. Whitney, Conference Report, April 1921, p. 33

How many Gods there are, I do not know.  But there never was a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and when men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing through.  That course has been from all eternity, and it is and will be to all eternity.  You cannot comprehend this; but when you can, it will be to you a matter of great consolation. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, October 8, 1859, 7:333-34

Our aim is high.  We aim at eternal life; we aim at immortal glory; we aim at a place in the celestial Kingdom of our God, with God and Christ and those who have kept the celestial law.  In order to get there, we have got to keep the same law that has exalted those who have gone before us.  This is not our home.  We were kept in the spirit world until this generation, and have been brought forth, through the loins of Joseph and Ephraim, to stand in the flesh and to bear off the Kingdom, to hold the Holy Priesthood, to do the works of righteousness, to build temples, to redeem our dead, and to attend to those ordinances which the God of heaven has declared we shall perform.  This is our work.  We have a long eternity before us. — President Wilford Woodruff, 60th Annual Conference, April 1889

Should we be surprised if we are called upon to endure a little criticism, to make some small sacrifice for our faith, when our forebears paid so great a price for theirs?

Without contention, without argument, without offense, let us pursue a steady course, moving forward to build the kingdom of God.  If there is trouble, let us face it calmly.  Let us overcome evil with good.  This is God’s work.  It will continue to strengthen over the earth, touching for good the lives of countless thousands whose hearts will respond to the message of truth.  No power under heaven can stop it.  This is my faith and this is my testimony. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Conference Report, April, 1970

The great work of God our Father was creation.  He brought us into being; we were born as members of his family; and by his power the earth and all things thereon came into existence.  And God has done his work perfectly.

The great work of Christ was redemption.  Through his atoning sacrifice all men are raised in immortality, while those who believe and obey the whole law of the whole gospel are raised unto eternal life.  And Christ has done his work perfectly.

The great work of every man is to believe the gospel, to keep the commandments, and to create and perfect an eternal family unit.  And the Latter-day Saints are seeking to do their work as near to perfection as they can. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Conference Report April, 1970

The Lord’s greatest gift to mortal man is threefold:  first, the right to immortality and eternal life; second, the plan by which he can gain it; third, his free agency to choose what he will do.  The Lord gave us the plan which will bring us the greatest joy and happiness while on this earth, and which will prepare us for eternal life.  All we have to do to enjoy this is to obey the law and keep his commandments. — President N. Eldon Tanner, Conference Report, April 1970

Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes, and even as the infant son of an earthly father and mother is capable in due time of becoming a man, so the undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable, by experience through ages and eons, of evolving into a God.  [See D&C 76:58, 132:20-24.] — President Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund, Improvement Era, November 1909, pp. 75-81

It is reported that Count Leo Tolstoy, in speaking of the Mormons said:  “Their principles teach the people not only of heaven and its attendant glories, but how to live so that their social and economic relations with each other are placed on a sound basis.  If the people follow the teachings of this church, nothing can stop their progress – it will be limitless.  There have been great movements started in the past but they have died or been modified before they reached maturity.  If Mormonism is able to endure, unmodified, until it reaches the third and fourth generation, it is destined to become the greatest power the world has ever known.”  — Count Leo Tolstoy, Improvement Era, Feb 1939, p. 94

We know in part, and see in part, and comprehend in part; and many of the things of God are hid from our view, both things that are past, things that are present, and things that are to come.  Hence the world in general sits in judgment upon the actions of God that are passing among them, they make use of the weak judgment that God has given them to scan the designs of God, to unravel the mysteries that are past, and things that are still hid, forgetting that no man knows the things of God but by the Spirit of God; forgetting that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God; forgetting that no man in and of himself is competent to unravel the designs and know the purposes of Jehovah, whether in relation to the past, present or future; and hence, forgetting this, they fall into all kinds of blunders; they blunder over things that are contained in the Scriptures, some of which are a representation of the follies and weaknesses of men, and some of them perhaps may be the wisdom and intelligence of God, that are as far above their wisdom and intelligence as the heavens are above the earth. — President John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 1:368

What is the message of the Old Testament?  From the first to the last, in the Pentateuch, in the historical books, in the poetical books, and in the prophets, it teaches the existence of a personal God, the Maker of the heavens and the earth, the Father of the human race.  It teaches that the earth and all things upon it are provided for man’s benefit but that man must obey law, divine law, to secure the blessings he desires.  It teaches that obedience to the moral law, given by God for human conduct, involving faith in God, not to be compared with man-made, ethical, selfish codes of action, is the most important concern of man.  It is the message of messages for humankind. — President John A. Widtsoe, “Evidences and Reconciliations,” Improvement Era, p. 135

When we reflect that light and intelligence have beamed forth from the heavens, that God in his mercy has made manifest His will to the human family; that in the plenitude of His mercy and goodness He has restored the Holy Priesthood, and placed us in communication with Himself; that he has taught us not only how to pray but how to approach unto him for the forgiveness of our sins, for the reception of the Holy Ghost, for instruction and guidance in relation to all matters pertaining to our fathers, relative to this world and to the world that is to come, we certainly have great cause of gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the many mercies and blessings He has conferred upon us. — President John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 11:21

Learning the lessons of the past allows you to walk boldly in the light without running the risk of stumbling in the darkness.  This is the way it’s supposed to work.  This is God’s plan: father and mother, grandfather and grandmother teaching their children; children learning from them and then becoming a more righteous generation through their own personal experiences and opportunities.  Learning the lessons of the past allows you to build personal testimony on a solid bedrock of obedience, faith, and the witness of the Spirit. — Elder M. Russell Ballard, Ensign, May 2009, pp. 33-34

How you deal with life’s trials is part of the development of your faith.  Strength comes when you remember that you have a divine nature, an inheritance of infinite worth. The Lord has reminded you, your children, and your grandchildren that you are lawful heirs, that you have been reserved in heaven for your specific time and place to be born, to grow and become His standard bearers and covenant people.  As you walk in the Lord’s path of righteousness, you will be blessed to continue in His goodness and be a light and a savior unto His people. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Face the Future With Faith,” Ensign, April 2011

If there ever was a thing revealed to man perfectly, clearly, so that there could be

no doubt or dubiety, this was revealed to me, and it came in these words:  “As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be.”  This may appear to some minds as something very strange and remarkable, but it is in perfect harmony with the teachings of Jesus Christ and with His promises. — President Lorenzo Snow, General Conference, October 1898

The life of God the eternal, exalted life we all seek is inherently concerned with the salvation of souls.  It is the work and glory of God to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.  It is by bringing about the conditions necessary for the salvation of his children that God glorifies himself, progresses, and expands his dominions. — Elder Jack H. Goaslind, Ensign, November 1983, p. 32

Principles which have been revealed, for the salvation and exaltation of the children of men, . . are principles you cannot annihilate.  They are principles that no combination of men [or women] can destroy.  They are principles that can never die. . . . They are beyond the reach of man to handle or to destroy. . . . It is not in the power of the whole world put together to destroy those principles. . . . Not one jot or tittle of these principles will ever be destroyed. — President Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 22:342

Every law and principle and power, every belief, every ordinance and ordination, every covenant, every sermon and every sacrament, every counsel and correction, the sealings, the calls, the releases, the service – all these have as their ultimate purpose the perfection of the individual and the family, for the Lord has said, “This is my work and my glory – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). — President Boyd K. Packer, “The Power of the Priesthood,” Ensign, May 2010, pp. 9-10

We`re not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be?  — C. S. Lewis

When we understand the plan of salvation, we also understand the purpose and effect of the commandments God has given his children.  He teaches us correct principles and invites us to govern ourselves.  We do this by the choices we make in mortality. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, November 1993

What is the gospel then? . . . So often I hear my brethren saying something that I wish we would not say quite that way – that the gospel is a way of life.  It is not a way of life – it is the way to eternal life.  It is the science of salvation. — President Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, April 1959, p. 68

The foreseeing of those who will accept the gospel in mortality, gladly and with alacrity, is based upon their parallel responsiveness in the premortal world. . . . The Lord, who was able to say to his disciples, “Cast the net on the right side of the ship” (John 21:6), knew beforehand that there was a multitude of fishes there.  If he knew beforehand the movements and whereabouts of fishes in the little Sea of Tiberias, should it offend us that he knows beforehand which mortals will come into the gospel net?

It does no violence even to our frail human logic to observe that there cannot be a grand plan of salvation for all mankind, unless there is also a plan for each individual.  The salvational sum will reflect all its parts.  Once the believer acknowledges that the past, present, and future are before God simultaneously – even though we do not understand how – then the doctrine of foreordination may be seen somewhat more clearly. For instance, it was necessary for God to know  how the economic difficulties and crop failures of the Joseph Smith, Sr. family in New England would move this special family to the Cumorah vicinity where the Book of Mormon plates were buried.  God’s plans could scarcely have so unfolded if – willy-nilly – the Smiths had been born Manchurians and if, meanwhile, the plates had been buried in Belgium! — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “A More Determined Discipleship,” Ensign, February 1979, p. 71

Salvation is an eternal goal we gain by a process of constant upward change.  Doubt is spiritual poison that stunts eternal growth.  We must first feel our way before we can see it with any clarity. We prove ourselves by making numerous correct decisions without being absolutely sure; then comes a greater knowledge and assurance, not before.  Happiness is created.  Love is its center.  Its principal ingredients are sincere faith, true repentance, full obedience, and selfless service. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “Happiness Now and Forever,” Ensign, November 1979, p. 70

The purpose of scripture or the doctrines of religion is to keep people from dwindling in unbelief and to ultimately help bring their souls into a state of cleanliness, that they may dwell with their Father in heaven in the eternities.  It is a step-by-step process. — Elder John H. Vandenberg, “To Cleanse Our Souls,” Ensign, November 1975, p. 42

Salvation is an eternal goal we gain by a process of constant upward change.  Doubt is spiritual poison that stunts eternal growth.  We must first feel our way before we can see it with any clarity.  We prove ourselves by making numerous correct decisions without being absolutely sure; then comes a greater knowledge and assurance, not before.  Happiness is created.  Love is its center.  Its principal ingredients are sincere faith, true repentance, full obedience, and selfless service. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “Happiness Now and Forever,” Ensign, November 1979, p. 70

Our faith is concentrated in the Son of God and through him in the Father, and the Holy Ghost is a minister to bring truths to our remembrance, to reveal new truths to us and teach, guide, direct the course of every mind.  Jesus is our captain and leader, Jesus, Savior of the World, the Christ that we believe in. — Elder John A. Widtsoe, Conference Report, April 1947, p. 74