Sunday, March 26, 2017


I have never considered myself anything more than ‘a researcher during times of need’. I always admired those who were able to immerse themselves into a subject until they had exhausted every available word or revelation that had been written about it. But, alas, other than writing my thesis for my Master’s degree and my dissertation for my Doctorate, I don't believe I ever scratched the surface of any subject beyond the immediate need to be prepared to teach the next class I would be teaching.

During this past year, I have watched Kathleen read and sometimes reread the talks of the early leaders of the restored church found in the Journal of Discourses. Beginning with the first talk in volume one and continuing onward with the goal of reading every talk in all 26 volumes, I have often had the thought go through my mind – ‘I could never do that’. I was always consistent in being a ‘researcher during time of need’, with my use of the Journals just as I had with all resources during my life. When I wanted to know what the Early Brethren had said on a given subject I went to the index and then explored the talks which had addressed that subject.

With that exhausting explanation and confession of one of my many shortcomings, I will introduce my approach to this week’s Thought.

Time has erased the exact stimuli which caused me to dig into what the Early Brethren had said about the principle of Harmony or Unity, but I do remember that it was with some frequency that they used these words in connection with their teachings about maximizing the benefits of Heavenly Father’s Plan.

We all understand, since confusion cannot be part of His plan, there can be only one plan which makes provision for the independent variety of paths each of His children will take as they, with the exception of His Only Begotten Son in the Flesh, wander here and there during the stages of their existence.

Since I am almost positive these words will be read by those of us who are in the second stage of our existence, affectionately called mortality, I will confine my Thoughts to how His Universal and Eternal Plan applies to us in our present condition and what I understand the principle of Harmony has to do with our progress during this stage of being proven.

Although, as I previously stated, there is but one plan the prophets throughout the ages have used various descriptive words when talking about His Plan. The prophets through the ages have talked about points of His Plan in various ways. It has been referred to as the Plan of Happiness, The Plan of Salvation and The Plan of Exaltation.

For our purposes this Sabbath Day we will be using these sub titles for His Plan as I will now define them.

Plan of Happiness – The principles and doctrines which when lived will maximize our chances of happiness during mortality.

Plan of Salvation – The principles and doctrines which will help me qualify for the full benefits of the Atonement of Jesus the Christ.

Plan of Exaltation
– The principles and doctrines which will help me come to know God and increase my desire to become like Him.


If we believe that we are a duel being, one part a spirit body is an off spring of Deity and the other a physical body born of mortal parents;

If we believe that our spirit body progressed and passed its first stage of existence, at least to a sufficient degree to have earned passage into its second stage;

Since we know that misery, conflict and dissension are antithetic to happiness, and since the spirit portion of our body has already proven itself to some degree by accepting and covenanting to live Heavenly Father’s Plan;

There needs be a Plan to guide the mortal part of our being into Harmony with the state of our pre mortal spirit body.

Since, if it were left to each individual to determine ‘the best’ path for our mortal journey we would end up with billions of paths, there needs be an Eternal Universal path.

Hence, the Path of Happiness is, by bringing my mortal body into Harmony with the principles and doctrines of the Gospel which the Spirit body knows to be true and has chosen to live, I will thereby be eliminating the conflicts and dissensions which cause the two parts of my soul misery and I will have achieved happiness.


If we were an island and we all lived alone in our little glass house, the Plan of Happiness as it relates to Harmony, would be the end of ends of His Plan. However, since none of that is true there must be more to Heavenly Father’s Plan than the principles and doctrines which bring my mortal body into Harmony with my spirit body.

There has to be a reason why the Savior taught that besides loving God, if we wanted to live all the commandments, we likewise had to love our neighbors and by so doing we would thereby be living all the commandments. I think it was the Savior’s desire to cement that concept into all of our hearts by giving us His last commandment ‘to love one another’.

It should already be obvious where I am going, but bear with me in all patience. Just like bringing Harmony to my whole being is essential to Happiness, coming into Harmony with my neighbor by eliminating discontent, dissension and division becomes the beginning of the pathway to qualify for all the benefits of the Atonement.

It is true that the Savior by summing up the qualifications for receiving all of the benefits of His Atoning act, said that we must love one another. I have come to believe that He easily could have said, it is essential that you come into Harmony with one another by striving to help one another walk upon ‘My Path’.

Hence, the essence of the Plan of Salvation is that just as we seek happiness by bringing our spirit body into Harmony with our mortal body, in order to receive all the benefits of the Atonement of the Son of God, we also must be about the ultimate act of love by helping our neighbor come unto Christ and thereby bring all of us into Harmony one with another.


The prophet of the restoration, Joseph Smith, taught in The Lectures on Faith, that it is essential to come to know the attributes, characteristics and perfections of God, that it is essential to believe He has all these attributes, characteristics and perfections in their ultimate and total state, and that in order to become one with God, we need to be striving to put upon ourselves those attributes, characteristics and perfections.

In his Sermon on the Mount the Savior admonished us to be about the business of becoming perfect like our Father who is in Heaven,

As long as there is a significant difference between the degree to which we understand and live a characteristic, attribute or perfection of God and His Eternal Exalted state, to that degree, we will be out of Harmony with Him.

Since our Father cannot diminish His Exaltedness in order be in Harmony with us, any movement toward being in Harmony with Him must come from us.

Hence, even though our pace may be slow, cumbersome, halting, misguided or repetitive, every minuscule movement toward understanding and putting on a characteristic, attribute or perfection which He is possesses, puts us just a tiny bit closer to being in Harmony with this part of Heavenly Father’s Plan.


If we truly love ourselves – we will do all in our power to bring our mortal being into Harmony with our spirit being!

If we truly love our neighbors – we will strive to bring them into Harmony with the teachings of the Savior, so that they can be beneficiaries of that which the Plan of Salvation provides through the Atonement of the Son of God.

If we truly love God – we will learn of His characteristics, attributes and perfections and strive to take them upon ourselves so that we can in some degree approach being in Harmony with Him.



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