The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

By , on October 26, 2016

General Authorities, Happiness, Scott

Recently I awoke from a most disturbing dream. I ached physically, was saturated with perspiration, and my heart was pounding. Every sense was sharpened. The transition from sleep to wakefulness was imperceptible. I have come to recognize that as an indication of a significant spiritual experience in a dream. I had been taught lessons that would change my life. Although the actual dream was extensive, the key lessons communicated can be summarized by reference to a few specific experiences in the dream.

In it I found myself in a very different and unknown environment. Everything was strange to me. I could not recognize where I was or any of the individuals who surrounded me. I was anxiously seeking my wife, Jeanene. We had been separated, and I wanted very much to find her. Each individual I encountered said that I would not be able to do that. Repeatedly as I sought in different directions to find her, I was emphatically told to forget her for she would not be found. I was frustrated at every turn. One said, “She is no longer the same individual. There isn’t a Jeanene like you knew.”

I thought, that is impossible. I know her, and I know she will never change.

Then I was told, “You are not the same. There is no individual by the name of Richard Scott, and soon all of the memories you’ve had of Jeanene, your children, and other loved ones will be eradicated.”

Fear entered my heart, accompanied by a horrifying feeling. Then came the thought: “No, that is impossible. Those relationships are enduring and unchanging. As long as we live righteously, they cannot be eliminated. They are eternally fixed.”

As more encounters came I realized that I was surrounded with evil individuals who were completely unhappy, with no purpose save that of frustrating the happiness of others so that they too would become miserable. These wicked ones were striving to manipulate those persons over whom they sought to exercise control. I somehow was conscious that those who believed their lies were being led through treachery and deceit from what they wanted most. They soon began to believe that their individuality, their experience, and their relationships as families and friends were being altered and lost. They became angry, aggressive, and engulfed by feelings of hopelessness.

The pressure became more intense to accept as reality that what I had been no longer existed and that my cherished wife was no longer the same. Should I encounter her she wouldn’t recognize me nor want me. I resisted those thoughts with every capacity that I could find. I was determined to find her. I knew that there must be a way and was resolute in searching no matter what the cost in time or effort.

It was then that I broke out of that oppressive surrounding and could see that it was an ugly, artificial, contrived environment. So intense were the feelings generated by what I had been told by those bent on destroying my hope to take me captive that I had not realized the forces of opposition that made my efforts appear fruitless could have no power over me unless I yielded through fear or abandonment of my principles. The environment appeared real, yet it had been generated from fear and threat. Although it was simulated, to those who let themselves believe the falsehoods thrust upon them it became reality.

. . . .

Our Father’s love, his perfections, and his perfect righteousness are absolute guarantees that we will ever exist as an individual entity, an intelligence clothed with spirit and body with latent divine capacities that mature and flower through obedience to his plan and his commandments. We have in his Son a perfect example of willing obedience and perfect love. How hopeless life would be without the absolute assurance of justice centered in fixed laws that are the bedrock foundation of the Father’s plan. What is true one day cannot be manipulated to be something else by the whim or command of another personage. Your happiness is absolutely guaranteed as you willingly obey his commandments, receive all of the necessary ordinances, and are obedient to them, for he is a perfect, loving Father who will never change.

Somehow during that horrifying experience, I glimpsed how except for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which lets us rectify mistakes through his plan of redemption, justice would demand a recompense for every error committed in life that we could not fulfill. Thus we could not return to Father in Heaven’s presence. We would be left under the dominion of Lucifer, whose intent is to capture us and to destroy everything that is good and righteous in our beings. Over time we would become like Satan because we would lose all hope of returning to Father in Heaven and of benefiting from his righteousness, his mercy, and his perfect love.

Although I would not welcome another like experience, this dream has taught me how easy it is to take for granted our relationship with our Father in Heaven and his Beloved Son, our Master and Savior. Oh, how blessed are we that they are as they say they are, perfect in every possible capacity and attribute. Fundamental to their purpose is that you “might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25).

Elder Richard G. Scott
Finding Happiness, a devotional address given at Brigham Young University on 19 August 1997

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