Because of my perspective of the restored gospel, I take a very positive view of human nature. As I read the scriptures, and especially the revelations to Joseph Smith, Mormonism presents a philosophy that elevates the self beyond any other system of thought.
The problem? Often times we don’t see ourselves for who we really are – as daughters and sons of an awesome and incredible God. And I’m not using hyperbole when I use the words “awesome” and “incredible.” I use those words in their most expansive and comprehensive definitions. As I read modern-day revelation on God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ, I am filled with awe and wonder at their plan of salvation and exaltation for their children.
The LDS conception of God is powerful. We learn that Heavenly Father has within Him all the powers of life, intelligence, truth, and glory, attributes tangible and visually manifest in the First Vision. They are part of His being as well as a product of His mind. Heavenly Father is the supreme intelligence. He is the power by which all things were created in heaven or earth, a gift to us from Heavenly Father made to come to pass through Christ, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” (Colossians 1:16)
(By the way, when I read of Heavenly Father in the scriptures I’ve learned that really means Heavenly Parents, and the same descriptions of attributes and daily activities apply to our Heavenly Mother.)
But you say to yourself, good for them, but look at me. “I’m a nobody.”
Honestly, if that’s how you feel, you are not seeing yourself in the true light of your nature or the source of that nature. I recommend reading the scriptures in the light of His work and glory – to bring to pass your immortality and eternal life. And to give you a boost of confidence, you must realize that “there is nothing that the Lord thy God shall take in his heart to do but what he will do it.” (Abraham 3:17)
The Mystery of Our Being
The truth of our nature is that we are God’s children, lovingly cast as daughters and sons in the very tangible yet fiery images of all-knowing, all-benevolent, all-loving, perfected Heavenly Parents who “move in majesty and power” (D&C 88:47) through the eternities desiring that we become like them.
Yet to us, life and the human condition can be mysterious if we have not done the hard work and heavy lifting to understand our divine destiny and divine identity.
Lord Byron, the English romantic poet mused, “let me but be taught the mystery of my being.” The poet John Keats penned the lines, “We are straining at particles of light in the midst of great darkness.” And the apostle Paul wrote about our perceptions in life that, “We see through a glass darkly.”
People ask, “What is the meaning life?” The starting point is easy. The meaning of life is hidden in unearthing our divine destiny and divine identity.
Historian and philosopher Will Durant wrote, “‘Life has meaning,’ we feel with Browning – ‘to find its meaning is my meat and drink.’…we strive with the chaos about us and within; but we would believe all the while that there is something vital and significant in us, could we but decipher our own souls.”
In my opinion, it is with knowledge of the restored gospel that we can see things of this life more clearly – and know the mystery of our being. This includes our eternal natures, from even before our pre-mortal birth and existence as spirit children of Heavenly Parents, who continue to nurture us on to eternal, glorified resurrected states where we can be like Christ, filled with light, truth, intelligence, and glory, ever creating and expanding, and yes eternally progressing like our Heavenly Parents.
Seedlings from the Tree of Life
Just as mighty oaks springs from the tiniest and seemingly most insignificant acorns, we as daughters and sons are seedlings dropped as it were from the tree of life. As we awake to ourselves we emerge from the dust of the earth as the light of heaven shines down upon us. ‘Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)
Our mortal lives are difficult stages of growth that we need to pass through. When I was married I thought all my troubles were behind me. But in addition to the psychological voices and themes that I’ve allowed to creep into my life that drive me from the shadows, I’ve had my share of shaping situations that have helped me come unto Christ for refuge.
I innocently found myself as the lynch pin in a $3 million law suit brought upon me and my client by a corrupt law firm. (We lost the case but two years later won on appeal – talk about a trial.) I had a son battle depression and suicide for years. I had a daughter born prematurely with handicaps who died at age 17. And when I thought I was done with trials I had another son who has caused us more struggle and trial.
As LDS psychologist Dr. John Lund says facetiously, people either give birth to or marry their biggest challenge. My wife received trials from both ends of the spectrum.
So when you begin to doubt yourself, or if Heavenly Father is there for you, find a sacred space and ponder over who you were before you were “conceived in sin” (Moses 6:55) and now live under the powers of the Fall. Great things await you as you humbly and obedient follow the Master! One of my favorite quotes is from the Prophet Joseph Smith “All your losses will be made up to you in the resurrection, provided you continue faithful. By the vision of the Almighty I have seen it.”
David Olsen graduated from BYU with an undergraduate degree and masters degree in marketing and communications. While a student at BYU, he wrote The Words You Should Know. Last year he published The 801 Things You Should Know. After leaving BYU he moved to Washington DC where he worked for a few PR firms and started his own firm in 1997 working with Black & Decker and other consumer product companies. His firm does lots of marketing writing for his clients. On behalf of Black & Decker and other clients, he has appeared on TV and radio, as well as conducted phone interviews with the media.