All of us must walk the same strait and narrow path, know the same kind of experiences as those we would seek to lead and to serve. There is not one strait and narrow path for the officers-the chosen-and another for the enlisted men. We are all to experience life "according to the flesh"; there is no other way, for it is the way to immortality and eternal life. Given the resplendent riches of the promised kingdom, why would anyone wish to walk another path than the one that leads us back to our gracious and merciful Father in Heaven?
Naive optimism and pervasive pessimism are both to be avoided, therefore. It's not an easy balance to maintain, to be asked to work away in the Ninevehs of our lives without being so conscious of the coming cataclysm that we are not serious citizens of our communities and nations. By living and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are doing the most relevant thing we can do by way of helping. (There are civic and other chores to be done, of course.) Day in and day out, the gospel is the one thing that is most relevant, and we are to be of good cheer.
Listen to these wounds of pain put in the form of questions to me by a young woman who had had two abortions: "I wonder about the spirits of those I had aborted, if they were there, if they were hurt? I was under three months each time, but a mother feels life before she feels movement." "I wonder if they are lost and alone?" "I wonder if they will ever have a body?" "I wonder if I will ever have a chance again to bring those spirits back as mine?" Alas, brothers and sisters, "wickedness never was happiness" (Alma 41:10).
It is one of the ironies of religious history that many mortals err in their understanding of the nature of God and end up rejecting not the real God but their own erroneous and stereotypical image of God. Frequently this is because they have thought of God solely in terms of thunderings at Sinai without pondering substance. . . .