I had an institute teacher who changed my life in more ways than one. One big way being that he helped me see for myself that this whole God-and-Jesus-Christ-Plan-of-Salvation thing is real. It’s not fluffy. It’s not comfort seeking. It’s not imaginary. It’s not theory. It’s real life.
He told us a story once (which I relate as best as memory can). He (we’ll call him Ty) was in seminary when they were learning about the three kingdoms of heaven. As the lesson progressed, the teacher moved to explain the Celestial Kingdom and that this is where we want to end up after this life.
Ty raised his hand. “Why do I want end up in the Celestial Kingdom?”
Great question. The teacher and the class proceeded to make the list: you can live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again, you can live with your family forever, you can continue to have children, you inherit all that the Father has, etc.
Ty raised his hand again. “But why do I want that?”
The teacher gave him a look. “You will become as God is–a god yourself, Ty. Do you realize how amazing of a blessing that is?”
“I understand that part, too.” Ty remarked. “But I don’t understand why I want that.”
I remember finally understanding what Ty was really asking. Like his teacher, I too was pulling out my list of factual benefits of celestial glory. But Ty wasn’t ignorant of the promised blessings of the Celestial Kingdom. He was aware. He probably even believed they were desirable. But he wasn’t sure why he should desire for those things.
My institute lesson that day continued on about what my teacher (Ty) had come to learn about the “why”. I don’t remember anything that I he said, but I have never forgotten my mind’s shift that day when I, too, started to seek further light and knowledge for why I wanted the blessings that come only in the Celestial Kingdom. And you know, the more I have come to learn about my “why”, the more of an active goal celestial glory has become in my life. It’s something that I consciously strive after, not something that I just believe in. I don’t just want celestial glory; I want to be ready for it. I have learned a lot about what is expected of me in order to not only be awarded the Celestial Kingdom, but also what is required of my character and of my perspective in order to be able to enjoy a celestial life. These realizations have become foundations of some of my greatest and smallest decisions. I’m sure we’ll discuss some of those decisions along our way of blogging, but I leave those discussion for another day, secretly hoping it will encourage someone else to ask Heavenly Father to show them and teach them why they should desire the celestial.