When you began investigating the church, you followed a carefully created plan that would lead you to the right choices. You accepted an invitation to learn, studied with missionaries and perhaps other members, attended church, read scriptures and prayed for a testimony. You had an interview with someone to declare your worthiness for baptism.
To some extent, this plan was made by others, and you agreed to carry it out. Now that you are a new member, you are responsible for making your own plan to live the gospel. Without a plan, things may not go the way you intended and you may find yourself falling away.
Think of major events in your life that you carried out—a large party, a major school or work project, anything that took many steps. If you simply leaped into it without thinking it through, it’s likely the project or event didn’t go well. When you plan, you are more likely to remember all the steps and to be prepared for the unexpected.
The gospel is very complex. There are many new rules to keep, many new duties to accept, and many new truths to internalize. Without a plan, you can become overwhelmed. Without a plan, you will find yourself making mistakes that slow your progress unnecessarily.
You might begin by drawing your own straight and narrow path. In the Book of Mormon, the straight and narrow path represents the path we must stay on to return to our Heavenly Father. Draw one and label it with the major things you want to accomplish—baptism, the temple, and so on. Then decide what you have to be doing to reach each of those goals. For instance, a teenager might say, “I want to marry in the temple.” What do you have to do in order to make that happen? You might decide not to date anyone who wasn’t temple-worthy and to not take even the smallest step toward immorality. A parent who decided she wanted her children to have a testimony might choose aspects of gospel living to incorporate into her family life and to decorate her home with gospel pictures.
When you make a careful, detailed plan of how you will live the gospel, you increase your chances of success. You know exactly what needs to be done and where the potential roadblocks might be. You’re careful not to take small steps off the path, because this can cause you to lose your way.
Plan for righteousness by following God’s plan.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.