“Pursuing the Path of Happiness,” Liahona, January 2022
Many years ago, some of my younger cousins were assigned to do a service project at our Grandpa Crozier Kimball’s farm. As a reward, they were promised Grandma Clara’s1 fabulous homemade cake.
When they had completed their tasks, they headed to the kitchen for their reward. Grandpa, however, blocked the kitchen door. My cousin Kathy Galloway, who was about 14 at the time, recalls that he sat down on a piano bench and invited the cousins to sit on the floor. He thanked them for their hard work and then said he had something important to share before they ate their cake.
“There will come a time in your lives when you will need to know and act on what I am about to share with you,” he said.
He explained that his grandfather Heber C. Kimball (1801–68) and other pioneer ancestors had faced arduous physical challenges. Grandpa said the pioneers quickly learned that to survive, they had to work together and love and serve each other.
“This is one of the great legacies they left to you!” he said as tears began to roll down his cheeks.
“In my calling as a patriarch and as your grandfather, when I look down the corridors of time, … my heart aches for you,” he said. “You will face emotional and spiritual challenges that most of your pioneer ancestors could never have imagined.”
Unless the younger generation honors the pioneers’ great legacy of love and service, he added, “many of you will fail because you will not be able to survive on your own.”
Then, with a spirit-to-spirit connection, Grandpa Kimball concluded: “We need each other. In addition to sharing our testimonies of the gospel with one another, our duty is to love and serve and strengthen and nourish and support and sustain each other, … especially in our family. Please remember that in the last days, your very survival may depend on your willingness to work together and to love and serve each other. Now, let us go eat cake!”
As illustrated by the worldly commotion that surrounds us, and just as Grandpa Crozier Kimball foresaw, we need each other. We need loving families, service-filled quorums and Relief Societies, and supportive branches, wards, and stakes.
“God wants us to work together and help each other,” President Nelson has said. “That is why He sends us to earth in families and organizes us into wards and stakes. That is why He asks us to serve and minister to each other. That is why He asks us to live in the world but not be of the world. We can accomplish so much more together than we can alone.”2
Life in our second estate is difficult. Because of the Fall of Adam and Eve, we face thorns and thistles, trials and temptations. Such experiences are part of the plan of happiness, but we help each other weather the storms of life.
Like Adam and Eve, who were “sent … forth from the garden of Eden” (Genesis 3:23), we have been sent forth from our preparatory premortal home to this fallen earth. And like Adam and Eve, we rejoice in our knowledge of God’s plan for His children:
“And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.
“And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient” (Moses 5:10–11; see also 2 Nephi 2:25).
The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have declared that as spirit sons and daughters in our premortal realm, we “knew and worshipped God as [our] Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life.”4 And President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, recently taught, “Under the plan of our Heavenly Father, [Jesus Christ] ‘created the heavens and the earth’ (Doctrine and Covenants 14:9) so that each of us could have the mortal experience necessary to seek our divine destiny.”5
The scriptures and latter-day prophets make clear the essential role our bodies play in God’s plan. Our destiny is to return to His presence with resurrected, exalted bodies and to live as families forever.
“Our relationships with other people, our capacity to recognize and act in accordance with truth, and our ability to obey the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ are amplified through our physical bodies,” said Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “In the school of mortality, we experience tenderness, love, kindness, happiness, sorrow, disappointment, pain, and even the challenges of physical limitations in ways that prepare us for eternity.”6
In these days of doubt and uncertainty, knowledge of the plan of happiness is vital to our spiritual survival. But we cannot expect the world to nourish our children with principles of eternal happiness. As parents, we need to teach our children about their divine origin and divine destiny.
We begin by helping them develop a testimony of Jesus Christ and His Atonement, which are central to the plan of salvation. I believe we can raise righteous, hopeful children anywhere in the world if they have a firm foundation in the Savior.
In home evening, during family prayer and scripture study, through family activities and traditions, and even at times of correction, “we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, … that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26).
We help our children understand that in the plan of salvation, repentance is a “lifetime curriculum”7 that brings hope and healing as it unburdens the soul and brightens the future.
As our children develop faith in Christ’s Atonement, they will come to know that all is never lost and that the Lord awaits them with open arms. We help them understand that “whatever [we] must leave behind to follow the path to [our] heavenly home will one day seem like no sacrifice at all.”8
We do not reach our divine destiny alone. As Latter-day Saints, we have a special duty to invite others on our journey to our heavenly home. The world needs Latter-day Saints who are willing to let the light of the Restoration shine through their testimonies, examples, and willingness to share the gospel. When we shine, we gather.
“When we speak of the gathering,” said President Nelson, “we are simply saying this fundamental truth: every one of our Heavenly Father’s children, on both sides of the veil, deserves to hear the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. They decide for themselves if they want to know more.”9
And so, as Grandpa Crozier counseled, we share our testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We love and serve, strengthen and nourish, and support and sustain our loved ones and our neighbors.
As we help others along the path to their divine destiny, we help ourselves along that same path, “to be received into the kingdom of the Father to go no more out, but to dwell with God eternally in the heavens” (3 Nephi 28:40).