To me the essence of the Gospel is this: our Heavenly Parents desire nothing more than that their children live with them in eternal joy, but as nascent spirits living in their presence and without understanding of good and bad, hope and despair, pleasure and pain it was not possible for us to grow and develop to become like them and experience the joy that they experience. So they sent us to a world where we would know pain and sorrow so that we could also know peace and happiness; where we would not be in their personal presence, or even have the memory of it, so that we could learn of our own accord to act in accordance with the principles that lead to joy; where we could be part of families so that we could in a small way play the roles that they play and learn to love as they love.
Impurity through sin, which would make us unfit to live in the presence of deity, and death of the mortal body were inevitable consequences of their sending us to this world. So they sent their perfect son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to overcome death unconditionally and sin contingent on our making and keeping covenants to the best of our ability. Through this gift of grace we will be resurrected and gain immortal bodies and become eligible to return to live in the presence of our Heavenly Parents.
So that we could know what it takes to reach our divine potential, yet still have the benefit of living without perfect knowledge of our Heavenly Parents, the Spirit communicates to us and confirms to us the truthfullness of the teachings of prophets.
More than anything, it is the elegant beauty of this plan and experiences that I regard as confirmation by the Spirit of its truthfulness that form the foundation of my faith. As I read over what I have written, hundreds of why and how questions come to mind. And examining the history of how this plan came to be known, of the men who have taught and propagated it, and of the institutional Church, hundreds of other questions come to mind. There are some questions for which I have answers that are satisfactory to me and others for which I don’t. But I believe that the big Gospel picture that came out of it all is beautiful and true.