THE COACH

From an address given by Elder Boyd K Packer in October 1983:

When we comprehend the doctrine of premortal life,
we know that we are the children of God,
that we lived with him in spirit form
before entering mortality.

We know that this life is a test,
that life did not begin with birth,
nor will it end with death.

Then life begins to make sense,
with meaning and purpose
even in all of the chaotic mischief
that mankind creates for itself.

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Imagine that you are attending a football game.

The teams seem evenly matched.

One team has been trained to follow the rules;

the other, to do just the opposite.
They are committed to cheat
and disobey every rule of sportsmanlike conduct.

While the game ends in a tie,
it is determined
that it must continue
until one side wins
decisively.

Soon the field is a quagmire.

muddyplayers

Players on both sides are being ground into the mud.

The cheating of the opposing team turns to brutality.

Players are carried off the field.

Some have been injured critically;

others, it is whispered, fatally.

It ceases to be a game
and becomes a battle.

realbattle

You become very frustrated and upset.

“Why let this go on?
Neither team can win.
It must be stopped.”

Imagine that you confront the sponsor of the game
and demand that he stop this useless, futile battle.

You say it is senseless and without purpose.

Has he no regard at all for the players?

yellatref

He calmly replies that he will not call the game.

You are mistaken.

There is a great purpose in it.

You have not understood.

He tells you that this is not a spectator sport—
it is for the participants.

It is for their sake
that he permits the game to continue.

Great benefit may come to them
because of the challenges they face.

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He points to players sitting on the bench,
suited up, eager to enter the game.

“When each one of them has been in,

when each has met the day
for which he has prepared so long
and trained so hard,

then,
and only then,
will I call the game.”

waitingplayers

Until then,
it may not matter which team seems to be ahead.

The present score is really not crucial.

There are games within games, you know.

Whatever is happening to the team,

each player will have his day.

Cherry Creek Eaglecrest football scoreboard

Those players on the team
that keeps the rules
will not be eternally disadvantaged
by the appearance
that their team
somehow
always seems to be
losing.

dance

In the field of destiny,
no team
or player
will be eternally disadvantaged
because they keep the rules.

They may be cornered
or misused,
even defeated
for a time.

But individual players
on that team,
regardless of what appears
on the scoreboard,
may already be
victorious.

victoryrain

Each player
will have a test
sufficient to his needs;

how each responds is the test.

When the game is finally over,
you and they will see

purpose in it all,

may even express
gratitude
for having been on the field
during
the darkest part of the contest.

battlefield

I do not think the Lord
is quite so hopeless
about what’s going on
in the world
as we are.

He could
put a stop
to all of it
any moment.

But He will not!

Not until every player
has a chance
to meet the test
for which
we were preparing
before the world was,
before we came into mortality.

refiner

The same testing in troubled times
can have
quite opposite effects
on individuals.

Three verses
from the Book of Mormon,
which is another testament of Christ,
teach us that
“they had wars,
and bloodsheds,
and famine,
and affliction,
for the space of many years.

“And there had been murders,
and contentions,
and dissensions,
and all manner of iniquity
among the people of Nephi;

nevertheless

for the righteous’ sake,
yea, because of the prayers
of the righteous,
they were spared.

soldiercrying

“But behold,

because of the exceedingly great length
of the war between the Nephites and the Lamanites
many had become hardened,
because of the exceedingly great length of the war;
and many were softened
because of their afflictions,
insomuch that they did humble themselves before God,
even in the depth of humility.” 
(Alma 62:39–41)

Surely
you know some
whose lives have been filled
with adversity
who have been mellowed
and strengthened
and refined by it,

while others
have come away
from the same test
bitter
and blistered
and unhappy.

Optimist or Pessimist

There is no way
to make sense out of life
without a knowledge
of the doctrine
of premortal life.

THE KINGDOM

From the prophet Joseph Smith, Jr

Were a king
to extend his dominion
over the habitable earth,
and send forth his laws
which were the most perfect kind,
and
command his subjects
one and all
to yield obedience
to the same,

king

and add
as a reward
to those who obeyed them,
that at a certain period
they should be called
to attend the marriage of his son,
who in due time was to receive the kingdom,
and they
should be made equal
with him
in the same;

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and fix as a penalty
for disobedience

that every individual
guilty of it

should be cast out at the marriage feast,
and have no part nor portion with his government,

what rational mind
could for a moment
accuse the king
with injustice
for punishing
such rebellious subjects?

banish

In the first place
his laws were just,
easy to be complied with,
and perfect:

nothing
of a tyrannical nature
was required of them;

but the very construction of the laws
was equity and beauty;
and
when obeyed
would produce
the happiest condition possible
to all who adhered to them,

beside the last great benefit
of sitting down
with a royal robe
in the presence of the king
at the great, grand marriage supper
of his son,
and be made equal
with him
in all affairs
of the kingdom.

thrones

When these royal laws
were issued,
and promulgated throughout the vast dominion,
every subject,
when interrogated whether he believed them to be
from his sovereign or not,
answered,

Yes;
I know they are,
I am acquainted with the signature,
for it is as usual.
Thus saith the King!

This admitted,
the subject
is bound
by every consideration of honor
to his country,
his king,
and his own personal character,
to observe
in the strictest sense
every requisition
in the royal edict.

heraldertrumpet

Should any escape
the search
of the ambassadors of the king,
and never hear
these last laws,
giving his subjects
such exalted privileges,
an excuse might be urged in their behalf,
and they escape the censure of the king.

deafman

But for those who had heard,
who had
admitted,
and who had
promised obedience
to these just laws

no excuse
could be urged,

and
when brought into the presence of the king
certainly,
justice
would require
that they should suffer
a penalty.

judgement

Could that king be just
in admitting these rebellious individuals
into the full enjoyment and privileges
with his son,
and
those who had been obedient
to his commandments?
Certainly not.

Because they disregarded
the voice of their lawful king;
they had no regard
for his virtuous laws,
for his dignity,
nor for the honor of his name;
neither for the honor of their country,
nor their private virtue.
They regarded not his authority
enough to obey him,
neither did they regard
the immediate advantages and blessings
arising from these laws
if kept,
so destitute were they
of virtue and goodness;

jezebel

and above all,
they regarded so little
the joy
and satisfaction
of a legal seat
in the presence of the king’s only son,
and
to be made equal with him
in all
the blessings,
honors,
comforts,
and felicities
of his kingdom,
that they turned away from
a participation in them,
and
considered that they
were beneath their present notice,
though they had no doubt
as to the real authenticity
of the royal edict.

crowns

How could a government
be conducted with harmony
if its administrators
were possessed
with such different dispositions
and different principles?
Could it prosper?
Could it flourish?
Would harmony prevail?
Would order be established,
and could justice be executed in righteousness
in all branches of its departments?
No!
In it were two classes of men
as dissimilar
as light and darkness,
virtue and vice,
justice and injustice,
truth and falsehood,
holiness and sin.

threesisters

One class
were perfectly harmless
and virtuous:
they knew what virtue was
for they had lived in the fullest enjoyment of it,
and
their fidelity to truth
had been fairly tested
by a series of
years
of faithful obedience
to
all
its heavenly precepts.

cordelia

They knew
what good order was,
for they had been orderly
and obedient
to the laws imposed on them
by their wise sovereign,
and
had experienced
the benefits
arising from a life
spent in his government
till he has now seen proper
to make them
equal with his son.

Such individuals
would indeed
adorn any court
where perfection
was one of its main springs of action,
and
shine
far more fair
than the richest gem
in the diadem
of the prince.

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“Your joy in life 
depends upon 
your trust in Heavenly Father and His holy Son, 
your conviction that 
their plan of happiness 
truly
can
bring you
joy.”

– Richard G Scott

 

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