If you've been paying attention in Primary, Sunday School, and Priesthood/Relief Society lessons, no doubt you are aware of God's Great Plan of Happiness for us. The plan includes the three estates of our eternal existence: pre-earth life, where as spirit children of a loving Heavenly Father we learned of the plan of salvation; our second estate, our life here on earth, life right now, where we are tested and tried and tempted to see if we will be valiant in the cause of Christ; and finally, our third estate, where after we die and are resurrected, we will be judged according to our works and the righteous desires of our hearts and assigned to the appropriate degree of glory.
The Mormon Third Eye sees deeper than this, however, and has discovered another “mini-plan” of happiness within the second estate of all men and women who serve fulltime missions as young adults. I call it the plan of eternal missionary life. It goes something like this:
- First, there is the “pre-mission life.” It is remarkably similar to our first estate in many, but not all ways. Just like our pre-earth existence, in our pre-mission existence we learned about the joys and obligations of fulltime missionary service in our primary classes, our family home evenings, and our youth activity nights. Just as coming to earth would require faith that we could endure the unknown rigors of a mortal existence, we learned that serving a mission would require a similar type of faith to endure the unknown rigors of real rejection; slammed doors, dogs left off of leashes, straying girlfriends, and good men and women turning their backs on the message. The leap from pre-mission to mission life is a leap of faith not unlike the decision all of us made to leave the spirit world and seek the experiences of earth life.
- Next comes “mission life.” Good missionaries throw their bodies, hearts, and souls in the work of saving souls, and during that short two years of service they develop habits of scripture study, prayer, and hard work that bless them for the rest of their lives. Much like our second estate, while our mission life is an incredibly short two years in the perspective of the long march of mortality, it is also incredibly important because of the decisions we are allowed to make.
- Finally, there is “post-mission life.” I'll admit that here the analogy breaks down somewhat. We are not resurrected with perfect bodies when we come home from a mission, but the process has been cleverly compared to the passage of death; when missionaries “die,” they are finishing their missions and returning home. Much like the passage to our Third Estate, our success in post-mission life is wholly dependent on how well we served in our mission life.
In both plans, success depends on two critical factors; how diligently we love and serve others instead of ourselves, and the atonement of Jesus Christ.
For your information, I'm enjoying post-mission life right now. I have a wonderful life with a wonderful family I enjoy now because of decisions and sacrifices I made in the pre-mission and mission life.