I have long liked a picture book by Rachel Ann Nunes that carries a simple message. It’s called Daughter of A King.
Daughter of a King follows the life of a girl from childhood to old age. She lives her life as best she can and when she nears the end of her journey she grows anxious of being accepted by the King when she meets him. She turns to her husband. “Will it be enough? Will I/my life- have been acceptable?” she asks him. I always tear up at that part. It mirrors my own uncertainty. Of course, the Father/King welcomes them with open arms.
I recently read, and am now rereading more slowly, Odds Are, You’re Going To Be Exalted. Knowing my propensity for worrying about many things, and this thing in particular, my husband deemed it a good gift.
In the opening chapter of Odds Are, You’re going to be Exalted, Alonzo L. Gaskill (assistant professor of Church History and doctrine at BYU), sights the temple interview questions as his inspiration for writing the book. He relates how many people’s response to the last interview question, of whether or not they feel worthy in every way, is to squirm, or try to qualify their answer somehow. Even after answering all the other questions correctly, it’s hard for them to say, “Yes, I am worthy.”
Brother Gaskill uses words from prophets and leaders, past and present, to extol an optimistic view of judgement. Two of the quotes I especially liked were:
- From the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Our Heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive.”From this I get that I can feel confident in knowing that He, at least, will know the intent of my heart in every messup/screwup I’ve ever made, even when things didn’t turn out even remotely like I planned.
- From J. Reuben Clark, Jr., “I believe that in His justice and mercy he will give us the maximum reward for our acts, give us all that he can give, and in the reverse, I believe that he will impose upon us the minimum penalty which it is possible for him to impose.”
I like that. Maximum reward. I’m all for that.
Minimum penalty possible. I can’t say I’m excited about the thought of any penalty, but I’m confident that, unlike in this life, the Judge in the next, knows all the circumstance surrounding my actions, including the intents of my heart. And I feel confident too, that any judgement will be doled out with love, for my benefit just like everything else He does.
Brother Gaskill points out that the Plan of Salvation is God’s plan and as such it’s purpose is to succeed in saving His children. God plans to succeed. Not by force, mind you, like Satan’s plan was, but He (God) planned to succeed. Brother Gaskill asserts that it would not have been aptly named the Plan of Redemption, or the Plan of Happiness, if it’s primary affect were to damn the majority of God’s children. That was an eye opener for me. Of course! What a ridiculous name Plan of Happiness WOULD HAVE BEEN if it were to result in the damning or permanently halting the progression of most of His children.
The book highlights, and sheds light, on parts of the atonement that I had not thought of before. It made it easier for me to grasp how exaltation is possible, for myself, or for anyone.
I certainly can’t tell you the whole book here. But, in my opinion, very worth reading.