People sometimes look at our plan of happiness graphic and ask, "But where is Christ? Jesus is the only way to God!"
It's a great question, and they're absolutely right. Jesus taught, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the father but by me."
In no way is this simple drawing meant to remove Christ from our journey. In fact Christ is central to God's great plan of happiness. Everything about the plan of salvation would be null and void without the essential role Jesus plays in it.
Maybe the best answer is that the graphic is not so much a description of how to return to God, but a map of places and events all God's children will pass through on the way back to God's presence.
Jesus is in every step of the plan:
- In the great council in heaven before the earth was created, Jesus volunteered to be the savior of mankind. “Thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever."
- Just like each of us, Jesus was born into the world and received a body of flesh and blood.
- Jesus lived life on earth and experienced temptation, hunger, fatigue, happiness, pain and more, just as we do. He lived an unblemished life, and most importantly he endured the atonement, taking upon himself the sins, suffering and pains of the world.
- Christ died on the cross – willingly gave up his mortal life – so that we might live.
- Between the time of his death and resurrection, Jesus visited the spirit world where organized the church so that his gospel could be preached to those who had not accepted him during their mortal lives.
- Christ's glorious resurrection made it possible for all mortals to be raised from the dead.
- When each of us faces final judgement, we will stand at the pleasing bar of Christ with a perfect recollection of all our life's deeds and the intentions of our hearts.
- At that point, we will know with certainty how much of Christ's influence we are comfortable with as we are assigned to an eternal degree of glory.
Even in outer darkness where the influence of Jesus will never be felt, those sons of perdition are consigned to eternal damnation because they rejected Christ.
So, where is Jesus in the plan of happiness? He is everywhere! He was there before we came to earth and he will be there at the very end.
It is also comforting to know that he is here with us now. Not only does he personally lead the church through living prophets and apostles, he has a profound influence on the lives of those individuals who earnestly seek him and allow him into their lives through prayer, repentance and obedience to his commandments.
Surely, this is the way to happiness.