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Will My Efforts Be Enough for Exaltation?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Pattyann March 20, 2011, 9:30 am

    I loved this article. It is so easy to convince ourselves how hopeless we are. How the mistakes that we have made have ruined every chance we could possibly have had to live with Him again. It is easy to forget how wondrous the Atonement really is. I will definitely be reading this book.
    Thank you for your words today!
    Pattyann recently posted…Fasting – Isnt very fastMy Profile

  • Darcee Yates March 20, 2011, 11:51 am

    Pattyann- Thank you! I enjoyed sharing. I’ve seen the book in the stores for a long time but I never picked it up. I’m grateful my husband finally did it for me.
    BTW- I love the pretty look of your blog! I just switched over to wordpress and am trying to ‘fix’ myself a blog and I am remembering, belatedly that the ‘pretty’ options aren’t so plentiful at wordpress as they are on blogger. Plus I’m having some difficulty navigating and arranging the page like I did on blogger. I hope I’m not going to regret the move.

  • MB March 20, 2011, 3:48 pm

    Who said…something to the effect that Jesus and Satan are polar opposites in the following way:

    Satan does all he can to minimize the gravity and seriousness of sin and, when you do sin, does all he can to persuade you that you are horrible and/or seriously lacking, are a lost cause and declares that now, for you, there’s no way you really ever can come to complete reconciliation with God.

    Jesus, on the other hand, is totally honest about the gravity, darkness and seriousness of sin and, when you do sin, does all he can to persuade you that you are known and loved, knows certainly that you are not a lost cause, provides a universally accessible way for you to become truly completely reconciled with God and has the power to make it so.

    Can’t remember where I heard that but it’s good for me to remember.

  • Darcee Yates March 20, 2011, 5:02 pm

    MB- That is so beautiful. I love it! And no, I don’t think I’ve ever heard it put quite that way before. But it’s a definite copy and paste for me. Thanks!

  • Alison Moore Smith March 20, 2011, 5:35 pm

    Just came across a comment I made a couple of years ago on the old Quest for Perfection thread. Maybe it will be helpful here as well.

    Great insight! Another couple of books that I highly recommend on this topic are Stephen Robinson’s Believing Christ: The Parable of the Bicycle and Following Christ: The Parable of the Divers and More Good News. If you’re feeling like a hopeless mess that will never measure up in the realm of righteousness, these books can turn your life around.

    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Lifestyle DesignMy Profile

  • Lisa March 21, 2011, 4:38 am

    I will have to pick up that book! I thoroughly enjoy your thought provoking discussions, and completely feel that your views are given with love and compassion.

    I just had a friend visit for a few days and the doctrinal discussions we had left me uplifted. I get that from you, too…Thank you!

  • Last Lemming March 21, 2011, 8:21 am

    He relates how many people’s response to the last interview question, of whether or not they feel worthy in every way

    Did Brother Gaskill really restate the last question that way? The question is “Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord’s house and participate in temple ordinances?” It has never been about feelings. Also, the “in every way” was dropped in 1996.

    Feeling worthy and considering yourself worthy are very different things–not the least of which is that the former is quite impossible for some of us, while the latter is not.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 21, 2011, 9:38 am

    Hi Last Lemming. Welcome to MM.

    Darcee can answer your question directly, but personally I can tell you that the last question has alway given me grief. Sure, the “in every way” was worse, but I still hate two of the questions — that being one of them. “Worthy” is such a fuzzy word. And when — every stupid time I get the interview — I protest, the interviewer seems to have dealt with the negative response before. 🙂

    I have a dear friend — who is probably among the most “worthy” on the planet — who also feels that way. (She’s on a mission with her husband right now.) Once we were talking about our shared discomfort with the question. She gave me her answer and I’ve used it ever since. “I believe I am minimally qualified.”
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Amazing Life- Just One Extra DegreeMy Profile

  • Darcee Yates March 21, 2011, 5:33 pm

    Last Lemming- I thought Alison answered your question very well-but, I’ll just add this.

    The actual wording from the intro to Brother Gaskill’s book reads:
    “Some years ago while renewing my temple recommend…I was asked the last of the recommend questions which at the time read: ‘Do you consider yourself worthy in every way to enter the temple….?'”

  • Darcee Yates March 21, 2011, 5:42 pm

    OH! and by the way- from my thesaurus app:

    The verb feel:
    ” 6.–he feels that he should go to the meeting: believe, think, consider (it right), be of the opinion, hold, maintain, judge; informal reckon, figure.”

    just saying
    Darcee Yates recently posted…So You want to Be A Flight AttendantMy Profile

  • Janiel Miller March 24, 2011, 2:30 pm

    Thanks for the book recommendation, Darcee, Love the quotes from Joseph Smith and J Reuben Clark. Also, really like what MB had to say. Thanks for sharing this.

    BTW, I popped over to your blog–since you are a fellow convert from Blogger–and I like your banner! So nice. I just want you to know I feel your pain. It’s not as straight forward as Blogger. But it is more powerful and looks more professional, so soldier on, my friend.

    Also – I noticed that you’re an aspiring fiction writer. I don’t know if you get to Utah much, but there’s a great, little-known but upward-rising writer’s conference in American Fork at the end of April each year. The classes are excellent with a lot of good info, and it is VERY inexpensive. Like $39 or so. Most conferences are in the $100’s. It’s a one day event, with an optional boot-camp the day before. Here’s the link: http://calebwarnock.blogspot.com/2011/03/updated-spring-conference-for-writers.html
    Janiel Miller recently posted…My Qualifications As A Writer Stand BackMy Profile

  • Janiel Miller March 24, 2011, 4:58 pm

    Eep. You live in Utah, don’t you. Heh heh.

  • Darcee Yates March 24, 2011, 8:53 pm

    Janiel- Thanks for the conference link. It looks like that would fit into my schedule perfectly! (I finish a trip in Salt lake on the 29th). Will you be there? It would be so cool to actually meet a cyber-friend.
    Darcee Yates recently posted…MARCH 17- ST PATTYS DayMy Profile

  • Darcee Yates March 24, 2011, 8:58 pm

    O.K. I just switched my website reference on my profile so this is a test to see if it fixes it here.
    Darcee Yates recently posted…San Antonio and Big- Texas DreadlocksMy Profile

  • Janiel Miller March 26, 2011, 8:31 am

    I will in fact be there. The conference founder was my writing instructor for a class I was in for a while, and now he is a critique partner in my crit-group. The group tends to act as the board for the conference and helps put it on. This year I am actually going to attend classes instead of running around making sure there’s toilet paper in the bathrooms. So, I’ll look forward to meeting you there. How fun!
    Janiel Miller recently posted…Lame-Patootie PoetryMy Profile

  • Darcee Yates March 26, 2011, 10:49 am

    I’ve lost my gravatar and don’t know where to find her.
    Darcee Yates recently posted…San Antonio and Big- Texas DreadlocksMy Profile

  • Darcee Yates March 26, 2011, 10:50 am

    And….. she’s back.
    Darcee Yates recently posted…San Antonio and Big- Texas DreadlocksMy Profile

  • GG May 20, 2011, 9:41 am

    Concerning the question “will my efforts be enough” you should read what Jesus has to say about it in the book of Luke, chapter 18, verses 10-14.
    With Love,

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