Mortality is the centerpiece of our eternal lives. We lived with God before we were born and we’ll live in Heaven after we die. The time in between is mortality, and it is a time planned for learning, growing, loving, and giving. Thomas S. Monson, president and prophet of the Mormons, talks about this special middle portion of our lives.
When compared to eternal verities, the questions of daily living are really rather trivial. What shall we have for dinner? Is there a good movie playing tonight? Have you seen the television log? Where shall we go on Saturday? These questions pale into insignificance when times of crisis arise, when loved ones are wounded, when pain enters the house of good health, or when life’s candle dims and darkness threatens. Then truth and trivia are soon separated. The soul of man reaches heavenward, seeking a divine response to life’s greatest questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where do we go after we leave this life? Answers to these questions are not discovered within the covers of academia’s textbooks, by dialing information, in tossing a coin, or through random selection of multiple-choice responses. These questions transcend mortality. They embrace eternity.
Thomas S. Monson, “Invitation to Exaltation,” Ensign, Jun 1993, 2
On sunlit days during the noon hour, the streets of Salt Lake City abound with men and women who for a moment leave the confines of the tall office buildings and engage in that universal delight called window shopping. On occasion I, too, am a participant.
One Wednesday I paused before the elegant show window of a prestigious furniture store. That which caught and held my attention was not the beautifully designed sofa nor the comfortable appearing chair that stood at its side. Neither was it the beautiful chandelier positioned overhead. Rather, my eyes rested on a small sign that had been placed at the bottom right-hand corner of the window. Its message was brief: “Finishers Wanted.”
The store had need of those persons who possessed the talent and the skill to make ready for final sale the expensive furniture the firm manufactured and sold. “Finishers Wanted.” The words remained with me as I returned to the pressing activities of the day.
In life, as in business, there has always been a need for those persons who could be called finishers. Their ranks are few, their opportunities many, their contributions great.
From the very beginning to the present time, a fundamental question remains to be answered by each who runs the race of life. Shall I falter, or shall I finish? On the answer await the blessings of joy and happiness here in mortality and eternal life in the world to come.
Thomas S. Monson, “‘Finishers Wanted’,” Ensign, Jun 1989, 2
What we need, as we journey along through this period known as mortality, is a compass to chart our course, a map to guide our footsteps, and a pattern whereby we might mold and shape our very lives. May I share with you a formula that in my judgment will help you and help me to journey well through mortality and to that great reward of exaltation in the celestial kingdom of our Heavenly Father.
First, fill your mind with truth; second, fill your life with service; and third, fill your heart with love.
Thomas S. Monson, “Formula for Success,” Ensign, Mar 1996, 2
“A just man and perfect in his generations,” one who “walked with God,” was the prophet Noah. Ordained to the priesthood at an early age, “he became a preacher of righteousness and declared the gospel of Jesus Christ, … teaching faith, repentance, baptism, and the reception of the Holy Ghost.” He warned that failure to heed his message would bring floods upon those who heard his voice, and yet they hearkened not to his words.
Noah heeded God’s command to build an ark that he and his family might be spared destruction. He followed God’s instructions to gather into the ark two or more of every living creature that they also might be saved from the floodwaters.
President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) taught in general conference more than half a century ago: “As yet there was no evidence of rain and flood. … [Noah’s] warnings were considered irrational. … How foolish to build an ark on dry ground with the sun shining and life moving forward as usual! But time ran out. … The floods came. The disobedient … were drowned. The miracle of the ark followed the faith manifested in its building.”
Noah had the unwavering faith to follow God’s commandments. May we ever do likewise. May we remember that the wisdom of God ofttimes appears as foolishness to men; but the greatest lesson we can learn in mortality is that when God speaks and we obey, we will always be right.
Thomas S. Monson, “They Marked the Path to Follow,” Ensign, Oct 2007, 4–9
Years ago the Church brought help to young men and young women with a program featuring posters and wallet-size cards which contained specific messages of truth and encouragement. The series carried the heading “Be Honest with Yourself!” One message featured was the provocative and penetrating truth “Virtue is its own reward.”
“Learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.”
Temptation is a part of life and will be experienced in one way or another by every traveler through mortality. However, the Apostle Paul, acknowledging this truth, gave us this assurance: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
It has been said that conscience warns us as a friend before it punishes us as a judge. The expression of one young man is a sermon in itself. When asked when he was happiest, he replied, “I’m happiest when I don’t have a guilty conscience.”
Thomas S. Monson, “Happiness—The Universal Quest,” Ensign, Oct 1993, 2
The decision to change one’s life and come unto Christ is, perhaps, the most important decision of mortality. Such a dramatic change is taking place daily throughout the world.
Alma chapter 5, verse 13, describes this personal miracle: “And behold, … a mighty change was … wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God.” [Alma 5:13]
The covenant of baptism spoken of by Alma causes all of us to probe the depths of our souls:
“Now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
“Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places …
“Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?”