In the Oct. 2014 conference, Elder Packer gave a talk called, " The Book ". In this talk he explains that he and his wife had recently traveled to other countries and they had to prepare their passports and other documents. He explained how they obtained shots, medical exams, visas and stamps.
He said in this talk, " Qualifying for exaltation is like entering another country, we must each obtain our spiritual passport. We do not set the requirements, but individually we must meet all of them."
My family experiences the affects of one of our family members literally not being be prepared to meet the requirements of traveling into another country this past Christmas. As our family met up at the Dallas airport, ready to fly to Mexico and enjoy a Christmas on the beach together; our excitement quickly left upon presenting our passports to board the plane to Mexico. My twenty-year old nephew, although he had been told all that he needed to do in order to be ready for the trip; had forgotten a key part that he was told; but did not listen too. He brought his wallet passport which only allows to travel into another country by boat; not airplane. This was devastating to be going on a trip and having to leave my husband's brother's son all alone at the airport, only to know that he would be missing out on this fun trip for the next few days as he would have to get a new passport in Dallas, where was not currently living.
I can not imagine what it will be like if we end up having to leave some of our family behind in the eternities because they have not properly prepared; however; it is only up to them. Ultimately we can not force anyone to prepare themselves.
I can not imagine how hard it must have been for Mormon as he explains his sadness so many times for the consequences that he knows were going to come to his people that refused to repent; and do all that properly prepares us to receive the Lords help, guidance and eternal life. As Mormon states in Mormon 2:15, 2:27, and 2:19 as he says, " and wo is me because of their wickedness; for my heart has been filled with sorrow because of their wickedness, all my days; nevertheless I know that I shall be lifted up at the last day."
As Mormon literally beheld that the people were in open rebellion against God, he did much work of patience, charity and enduring to the end with these people; as he continually prepared them to battle ; yet wishing, yet watching them never make an ounce of progression in terms of their spiritual preparations; the preparations that could have allowed them to be spared.
The greatest lesson that we learn from these chapters in 4 Nephi and Mormon are that although these people finally had the fulness of the gospel that Jesus Christ Himself had organized for these people; the church or the organization is only part of the way that we gain exhaltation; the church organization is a requirement; but so is a fully converted and repentant heart.
Elder Packard stated it best when he said,
" As explained in the church handbook, in fulfilling it's purpose to help individuals and families qualify for exhaltation the church focuses on divinely appointed responsibilities. These include helping members live the gospel or Jesus Christ, gathering Israel through missionary work, caring for the poor and needy, and enabling salvation of the dead by building temples and performing vicarious ordinances and all other laws, commandments and ordinances are required and not option through the atonement of Christ and by doing each of these we are adding required stamps to our spiritual passports."
My own insights to this example that Elder Packard gave are the comparison that although one may have paid the price for the initial passport; it is still up to them to bring it; save money for their trip; pack correct clothing, do the necessary research, thus obtaining proper ordinances is vital but not all inclusive of obtaining exhalation.
Allan F. Packer states, " The church helps but can not do it for us. Qualifying for exaltation becomes a quest of a lifetime."
These things I have pondered about have also reminded me of the example of Lehi's group leaving Jerusalem. Just as Lehi was able to facilitate Divine direction about what direction that his family should flee into, and that fact that they should; and just as Nephi was able to receive divine revelation on how he should build a boat and instruct his brothers on how they should build it; even as they entered the boat; it was still up to them to gain their testimony and to be fully converted; and not only believing after they had been chastised by angels of God.
Just as we are provided all that we need in the gospel to obtain exhaltation, even after we are baptized we still must be on our knees daily in true, Godly sorrow repentance. We still must go to church weekly to take the sacrament. It is up to us to not only be sealed in the temple to our spouse but to also be continually worthy to hold a current recommend and continue to go back to the temple with them often.
In my own life I can feel a daily need for me to remember these things as I try daily to be a positive influence on those around me. I am reminded that no matter how worthy that I try to be of the spirit, and no matter how many opportunities that I try to provide for my husband and children to feel of the spirit; it is still up to them to have a humble, soft, and open enough heart to allow more light to shine; thus providing real truth.
I am thankful for the example of Mormon being patient and loving; and the fact that He knew despite these people's rebellion and unbelief; He knew that God was with him personally.
I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.