The Simplicity of the Gospel
God existsGod is a real
God loves us
God loves us individually. He loves all of us. His love is deeper and stronger than we can experience here on earth—stronger even than a mother’s love for her child, or a husband’s love for his wife. Much stronger.
God’s primary goal is our happiness
Because God loves us so deeply, what he wants most is our joy and our happiness. God has told us this over and over. For example, God has said “Happiness is the object and design of our existence” and “Men are that they might have joy”. God's work and glory is to bring us joy and happiness.
God teaches and guides us
God created our physical bodies. However, he didn't create us—we existed in the beginning with God, yet separate from him. God uses the word ‘intelligences’ to describe what we were before he started working with us. He began working with us a long, long time ago. We considered him our father then, as we do now—our ‘Heavenly Father’. Under God's love and tutelage, we are growing and developing, progressing along a path to maximum joy—a path that he has laid out for us. God has been like a teacher, setting problems for us to work so we can develop to our maximum potential. The end goal is for us to become like God, full of love and joy and knowledge and power.
God gave us this life
One of the ‘problems’ that God proposed for us is the life we're now experiencing. God tells us that this life is a ‘test’. We're given difficult problems and circumstances to face, and we learn as we respond to them. The goal is not to improve our ability to deal with hardship, since in the long run we will have no hardship. Instead, the goal is to test and improve our ability to act with trust in God, which is known as ‘faith’. As we trust in God, we see the results, and our ability to trust in him grows. We come to believe that God is “a rewarder of them that diligently seek him”.
God veiled our memory
With our permission, God temporarily blocked our memory of what went before. If he had not done so, many of the challenges of this life would not be as challenging as they need to be to reach our full potential. This is somewhat like requiring that students not open their textbooks during an exam.
God talks with us
God asks us to call on him and trust him in all things. Sometimes he gives us specific guidance. Other times he leaves it to us to make a decision on our own. Sometimes he talks to us directly. Other times he talks to us through other people, such as prophets called to the entire world, or perhaps friends or family speaking under the inspiration of God. Over time we learn to trust God. We learn to trust what God tells us directly, we learn to trust his prophets, and we learn to trust those around us who are inspired by his spirit.
God knows joy and happiness result from overcoming adversity
God understands us completely. He knows that joy and happiness come from overcoming adversity. Joy comes from success in difficulty, and from the love felt as we work together with God to overcome difficulty. People who step up to meet a challenge—and who overcome—feel happy. This is part of our nature.
God’s plan is optimal
God knows everything and has all wisdom. God’s understanding is far beyond our own, just as an adult’s understanding is far beyond that of a one-year-old child. We are asked to be humble and trust in God's wisdom, recognizing that sometimes we are wrong. God knows the best path that each of us should take to achieve maximum joy. God knows which obstacles must occur for maximum growth, and how to help us past those obstacles. God knows the exact degree of difficulty each of us needs to experience, and God never gives us anything too hard or too easy for us. Specifically, God asks us to trust that if there were an easier way to our maximum joy and happiness, then he would have chosen it.
God asks us to trust his plan
God explains some of what he does for us, but many things he leaves unexplained. God says “my ways are higher than your ways” and makes it clear that his vision, wisdom and understanding are far beyond our ability to perceive. God tells us that the end result for all of us will be indescribable glory—glory beyond our ability to comprehend.
God shows his love for us through the savior
God wanted to show his great love for us, and also wanted us to succeed despite our imperfections. God asked for a volunteer to be our savior, and Jesus Christ said he would do it. The plan required Christ to unjustly endure extreme hardship, relying on Christ's love for us to get him through it. What Christ endured was exactly what was necessary for us to know that God’s love for us is real, deep and abiding—no more and no less.
God has great things in store for us
God has told us that if we learn to trust him, “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him”. In other words: our future will be so wonderful, so marvelous, so joyous, so fantastic, that we cannot at this time even imagine how great it will be.
God also gives us peace in this life as we trust him
God’s promises for learning to trust him do not apply only to the distant future. Day-by-day as we put our hand in his, we find many hours of joy and happiness interspersed between the sadness and trials. We find peace in trusting that God knows best.
I have experienced God’s love
I know that trusting in God brings peace and joy. Many times, I have wondered at what God asks of me, and thought I knew a better way. When I trusted and did it God's way, I was blessed with joy, with God's spirit, with great happiness. I know that this test won’t be over for me for many years. I'm willing to continue the journey—learning, growing, helping others find joy—because not only does God love me, but also I love God, I love my family, and I love all my brothers and sisters in this world.
We choose to believe
It is our choice to believe that God is good and loving, or to believe otherwise. When we see difficult things in the world, we can say “I trust that God knows what he’s doing”—or not. Choosing to trust is a choice. It influences our thoughts and our actions. Choosing to trust God leads to happiness.