We do because of what we believe. But we know because of what we have done.
If we say that we believe, but we do not act, then we do not really believe the thing of which we claim to believe. If we do not act based on belief, then we either do not act or we act based solely on fear.
The doctrine of exaltation.
I want to discuss with you a hard doctrine, especially for those of us who love deeply.
How does Pres. Nelson explain it:
Jesus Christ teaches the way back to our eternal home. He understands our Heavenly Father’s plan of eternal progression better than any of us… Repeatedly, scriptures record that despite all kinds of sins from all kinds of people, His arms are outstretched still.2
The spirit in each of us naturally yearns for family love to last forever. Love songs perpetuate a false hope that love is all you need if you want to be together forever. And some erroneously believe that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ provides a promise that all people will be with their loved ones after death.
In truth, the Savior Himself has made it abundantly clear that while His Resurrection assures that every person who ever lived will indeed be resurrected and live forever,3 much more is required if we want to have the high privilege of exaltation. Salvation is an individual matter, but exaltation is a family matter.
Families can be together forever through Heavenly Father’s plan, but families are not automatically granted forever status.
So, what is required for a family to be exalted forever? We qualify for that privilege by making covenants with God, keeping those covenants, and receiving essential ordinances.
This has been true since the beginning of time. Adam and Eve, Noah and his wife, Abraham and Sarah, Lehi and Sariah, and all other devoted disciples of Jesus Christ—since the world was created—have made the same covenants with God. They have received the same ordinances that we as members of the Lord’s restored Church today have made: those covenants that we receive at baptism and in the temple.
The Savior invites all to follow Him into the waters of baptism and, in time, to make additional covenants with God in the temple and receive and be faithful to those further essential ordinances. All these are required if we want to be exalted with our families and with God forever.
We Cannot Compel Anyone to Accept the Christ’s Invitation: Come, Follow Me.
What makes this hard? It is that we have family outside of the covenant path.
In our anxious longings to secure the blessings of exaltation for all of our family members, we cannot set aside our own righteousness with the vain hope of securing another’s righteousness. We must not, and we cannot safely step off the covenant path and hope to have the strength to pull another to where we want them to be.
Listen to the words of persuasion used by Pres. Nelson:
How I wish I could visit with them and invite them to consider seriously the enabling laws of the Lord. I’ve wondered what I could possibly say so they would feel how much the Savior loves them and know how much I love them and come to recognize how covenant-keeping women and men can receive a “fulness of joy.”8
They need to understand that while there is a place for them hereafter—with wonderful men and women who also chose not to make covenants with God—that is not the place where families will be reunited and be given the privilege to live and progress forever. That is not the kingdom where they will experience the fulness of joy—of never-ending progression and happiness.9 Those consummate blessings can come only by living in an exalted celestial realm with God, our Eternal Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and our wonderful, worthy, and qualified family members.
Having Experiences with God.
Doing the spiritual work to come to know God.
Your physical body, your mind and heart have never been in the presence of God, but your spirit which gives your body life, came from the presence of God. It received lessons and instruction before you came in possession of a physical body. As you study the word of God and as you pray, you may begin to have experiences that are un-explainable to you, not because they are strange, but because they are familiar to you. You will recognize those feelings of familiarity and struggle to reason within yourself how these things can be, because they will seem new to you.
The reality is that God is our loving Father, and he painstakingly prepared each one of us for the experience of mortality. He could not give our minds or our hearts any pre-recorded messages, because that would void the very purpose of mortality: to see if we could recognize truth, to see if our spirits could recognize truth when housed inside a mortal body.
Brothers and Sisters, let us remember that what we do, is a direct reflection of what we believe. And that a testimony of the truth can only be gained by doing the truth.
Yet let no man deceive you into believe that the day of faith has passed, for exaltation is the work of lifetime and beyond. It will require faith all our days, action because of what we believe, to receive the knowledge or that final and crowning gift of life eternal.
…I plead with you who have distanced yourselves from the Church and with you who have not yet really sought to know that the Savior’s Church has been restored. Do the spiritual work to find out for yourselves, and please do it now. Time is running out.