Kingdoms of Glory
Saviors on Mt. Zion
By Nate Richardson
A Member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Available free at RichardsonStudies.com
Table of Contents
- Introduction. 3
- God’s People are His Glory: A Key to Knowledge of Eternity. 4
- Exaltation Analysis (add refs) 6
- The Essential Foot Soldier 8
- Exaltation Theory. 13
- Godhead discussion. 18
- The Church of the Firstborn: Words of the Prophets. 19
- Heavenly Father has a Father 53
- Godhead, Kingdoms, and Family as Types of Progression. 61
- Man is Become as God: Spiritual Capitalism & Why Life is Hard. 66
- Adoption to The Household of the Gods. 71
The doctrine of exaltation was taught by the ancient prophets, as well as the early Christian fathers. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints whole heartedly embraces this doctrine! As God is, man may become, and as man is, God once was! As God’s children, we have every expectation of becoming like him in the eternal worlds!
Which actions calculate our eternal success most favorably? The answer is the family. This work covers many subjects related to exaltation, but dwells particularly on the central role of family life, which is the key to our spiritual development. Of all the titles of God, the one He prefers most is Father! Is God married? Obviously yes! Marriage & childbearing are absolutely critical and the single most worth-while endeavor in life. The thought of postponing them becomes ridiculous when we understand their importance. Family isn’t just the basis of society, it’s the basis of heaven.
This life is the great test to see if we will do all things that God commands: it is the school of the Gods, preparing us to dwell with and as they do. Truly there be Gods many and Lords many, but to us, we worship our Lord Jesus Christ, and God our Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ is the prototypical example of how to become as God. In pre-mortality, we were as the Holy Ghost. In mortality, as Jehovah Jesus Christ. In eternity, as Elohim our Heavenly Father. Come study with me these impressive doctrines which have great power to bring us into a state of excited motivation about life!
Explore with me ideas including the nature of agency, Lucifer’s fall, God’s progression, the Godhead as a type of our pre-mortal, mortal, & post-mortal progress, and much more.
“And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one;” (3 Nephi 28:10)
“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38; Cf. Isaiah 58:11)
“Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God— Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. And they shall overcome all things.” (D&C 76:58-60)
Mormon 8:15 defines the glory of God as his covenant people. God is full of glory, having a numerous people, and his glory grows forever, the more people come follow him. He continues to have children. He doesn’t rule over anyone save they are his child. That is how heaven works. It’s structured in families, and the grand law of the universe is the never-ending cycle of children becoming parents. Parenthood in this setting is the code word for exaltation.
This doctrine explains much of who God is, what he does, and why he does it. It also opens the door to understanding exaltation, that as God has children who bring him glory, so us becoming glorious and powerful like him doesn’t take away from God, but adds to him.
Lucifer had it backwards; rather than working to become like God (which is the only way to become like God), he wanted to just step in and take over the show. Rather than being tutored by God his great head, he wanted to kick God out and take his place. In reality, the eternal order is that of family, that children become like their parents. They don’t throw out their parents, or recreate morality; they seek to uphold the eternal laws of morality as taught by their parents. Lucifer would have been a tyrant ruler, allowing what he willed, requiring what he willed, rather than being a ruler governed by a set of laws.
God is God because he upholds justice, which is the law of the universe. That’s why he provided Jesus Christ a savior, so we could have mercy without robbing justice. Jesus Christ takes up the bill, and renegotiates a merciful contract with us – he can do this only because he pays the bill; he can’t delete the bill, then justice wouldn’t be served – but he can pay the bill as a 3rd party. God the Father can’t pay the bill because he is the banker; the teller; the governor; for mercy to be available a 3rd party is needed to intervene, intercede, advocate our cause, suffer in our behalf. Lucifer wasn’t interested in suffering for anyone, he just wanted power authority and glory. To read more about this very subject, it was majestically expounded by Elder Christofferson in a 2017 BYU devotional titled “A Message at Christmas Time.”
The moral of the story is that God’s plan is perfect, and enables us to become like him. It is the plan of the universe which He himself 1st followed, as instructed by his parents. God ever grows in glory via his posterity. He has all knowledge and power, but there is no limit to the glory he can gain, through us and what we do, and our posterity, and so on. Us becoming Gods like him doesn’t make him less, it makes him greater! Each rules over their creations in the ever growing universe.
When asked when it all began after teaching the doctrine of God himself having a father, Joseph Smith answered by taking off his ring, and showing the circular pattern, demonstrating that it is one eternal round, every father has a son, every son has a father; there is no beginning, and there is no end. If there was a beginning, there would have to be an end. Our minds cannot at present comprehend this, it’s part of the veil put over our understanding here to test our ability to walk in faith. In a later day, this will be clear as crystal.
- Knowledge rises with you in the resurrection, and those who have gained more knowledge in this life will be so far the advantage in the next life (D&C)
2. Jesus learned obedience by the things he suffered (NT)
3. If we are to gain salvation, it is by the very same way that Jesus gained it: full obedience. (JS) Repentance is also one of our laws via contract with Christ, and we must obey it.
4. In the next life we will have a lot more learning to do before we reach godhood (JS)
5. learning and knowledge apply to more than book knowledge. (based on point 2)
6. Jesus has perfect empathy, knowing what it’s like to go through any given thing which any given person has ever gone through. (NT etc.) How hard it is to consistently and completely resist the weight of temptation. Those who hold out the longest know the most about how hard it is.
7. We are to become joint heirs with Christ (NT)
8. Christ has received all his father has (NT)
9. We will receive all Heavenly Father has (based on point 7 and 8).
10.Heavenly Father has all power dominion glory knowledge empathy etc.
11. We will become Gods like Heavenly Father (based on points 7-10)
12. We get help from Jesus in getting salvation (NT), but we still must go through the needed things for attaining Godhood (point 3).
13. We can access grace for salvation, but when it comes to exaltation, we must earn that (LDS Prophet. See also point 3)
14. WE WILL BECOME LIKE GOD, KNOWING ALL, HAVING SUFFERED ALL, HAVING GONE BENEATH ALL THINGS, BEING JUST LIKE JESUS, ABLE TO RULE OVER ALL OUR CREATIONS, AND THE LEARNING FOR THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN IN THIS LIFE OR THE NEXT. THE CRITICAL CRITERIA FOR ADVANCEMENT TO ATTAIN THIS IS SUFFERING. THE SUFFERING IS WHAT BRINGS THE KNOWLEDGE. ONCE YOU HAVE SUFFERED ALL, NOT FOR YOUR SAKE BUT FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS, YOU WILL HAVE LEARNED ALL EMPATHY, AND BECOME LIKE HEAVENLY FATHER.
15. We will see our spirit posterity through experiences akin to what we go through at this time (LDS Doctrines of the Gospel Manual)
16. Children have the capacity to attain what their parents have (common sense). We are the children of God (NT, OT, BoM, D&C, etc.). We can become the Children of Christ by covenant (NT, BoM, D&C, etc.). This covenant is valid unless we sin (Mosiah 4; 5). Repentance isn’t to be taken lightly or played with as a game (ref). But for the sincere, hope is abundant (ref).
This life is like getting the high school diploma; that’s what we need to focus on before going on for the college degree. You can’t even enter unto a college until you’ve obtained a high school degree.
You say “I’m not very excited about suffering, I’m not looking forward to that. I’m looking forward to the rest from all cares and sorrows as promised in the scriptures.” I say, very well! As you should! But recall, even God, weeps! (see the book of Moses relating the Enoch account ref).
Also, this life has suffering, doesn’t it? Yes. But before we came to this stage, we voted to come here, and we shouted for joy at the opportunity (see Job). We recognized it as the only path to becoming like our Heavenly Father.
This life is the main testing ground. MORTALITY IS THE POINT OF NO RETURN. THIS IS THE FINAL SHOWDOWN. THIS IS THE BIG LEAGUES. 1/3 of God’s spirit children didn’t make it this far. That’s a 1/3 leaving, and it wasn’t you that left! Remarkable! Remember what Joseph Smith said: when you climb a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and do one rung at a time before you can be able to step up the next wrung.
After this life, the test is over for this period. Then we go to the next period. After this life, we rest from all care and sorrow which applies unto this mortal life period. This is not to say that the next period won’t have it’s labors… indeed, prophets have said the contrary!
Remember Joseph Smith said that there is still much work to do, much knowledge to get, in the next life. One way we get knowledge is by suffering, but only what we can bear, and are ready, willing, and optimistically volunteering for. There are not multiple mortalities, this is it. Then we go on to things different in the eternal world with resurrected bodies.
Another key to remember is thus: you will never have to do anything you don’t want to. You’ll always sign up for it. You’ll always be happy to do it. Why does an accomplished writer write another book? Doesn’t he know it will be painful? Why does a mother have another child? Same reason. The rewards are so much more than the cost.
Also, upon the thought of enduring suffering, consider that suffering in increments is a viable way toward progression. Being tired after 7pm in this life is a form of suffering, and it thus refines and schools us even though it is not entirely overwhelming. It is all part of the program, it is all for the master sculptor, critical though tiny lines carved into the mold of our souls.
You won’t do something you aren’t able to do. For us in this life, we do all we can. (“it is by grace we are saved after all we can do” 2 Ne. 25). Did Jesus do all he can do, and thus be saved? Yes! The Atonement pushed him to his max, and by doing this thing which pleased the Father, he inherited all the Father hath. We likewise will inherit all the Father hath as we do all we can do, however small that may be.
But what then, how will we attain unto Godhood, where we can relate to others (Jesus has perfect empathy from performing the Atonement, but we don’t)? Once we are in heaven by the grace of Christ, it’s time to further perfect ourselves; time to become Gods; time to use the new power that we will have received for passing this life’s trials (by being true to our capacities here).
As we pass one level, our strength grows, and so does our burden. Brigham Young said pray not for lighter loads but for stronger backs. How will you ever get a back strong as Gods if you never push against the same weight he has pushed against in order to gain his muscle? It can’t be done. Joseph Smith taught that we need to get salvation by the same way Jesus did: by obedience.
To clarify: Jesus gets us to heaven. It is not by our own merit that we are saved from OUR sins. Jesus saves us from OUR sins. Then, once saved, we bear the burdens of OTHERS, and thus become like God. You see, part of being a God is “learning”, aka developing, charity (how do we learn it? By suffering. Charity by nature is sacrifice). We, as Christ, grow from grace to grace (ref), and rely on God for strength. Christ as well as Father, and the Holy Ghost, are Gods to us.
Jesus proved his charity by saving us, thus he is exalted, and we are saved from our sins. Now what? It’s time for us to learn (more) charity, and, as Joseph Smith said, go on, on to perfection! THAT is why it’s so key that the D&C says whatever we “learn” in this life, it rises with us in the resurrection and is so much the “advantage” to us in the next life! It’s not just book smarts, its learning character!
“Every faithful man’s labor will continue as long as the labor of Jesus, until all things are redeemed that can be redeemed, and presented to the Father. There is a great work before us (DBY,378).” (Teachings of The Presidents of The Church: Brigham Young: Ch 38; https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-38?lang=eng)
Thesis: Like a soldier acting in his assignment will lead to victory in the battlefield, so a humble family centered life is the key to fulfilling God’s plan, including the attainment of Godhood for all who qualify. Jesus Christ & Lucifer are prototypical examples of how any person can select either exaltation or damnation.
The Master taught that the way to salvation is the plain road. Similarly, we should not let worldly ambitions and aspirations get in the way of fulfilling standard family and religious duties in life. Good simple people are what God needs. Elder Bednar frequently describes himself as a simple man.
The kingdom of god is thus: A military commander needs 1,000-foot soldiers, 2 air soldiers, 2 computer soldiers, 1 supply soldier, etc. If the foot soldier lusts for a different position than his assignment, the commander is short 1 needed foot soldier, and loses the war. Foot soldiers are not negotiable. Whatever your life calling is, it must be done. No calling is to be taken lightly, each is needed. Unnecessary zeal for a thing results in frustrating the plans of the commander, and you do not aid him like you could have. To render the full aid one is capable of rendering is to lift where assigned. President Hinckley said that your work in your calling is as important as his calling in his (ref).
God needs millions even billions of men of family, 1 man of administration, 1 man of science, and a few other branches. the majority are in place not because they can’t measure up to the administrative or some other role, but because the role of the men of family is so large, that the vast majority of men have been assigned to it, prepared for it pre-mortally, etc. If one leaves his assignment, he jeopardizes the plan, and one more humble than he must step in and attempt to fill the role of 2 men of family because of the neglect of the other. This is a source of frustration to the commander, yet a reality which is dealt with.
We can and should pursue talents in science, arts, crafts and other interests, but this is to be done concurrently with family life. Many great composers such as Bach had very large families. Family is the setting for exploration. If other callings mean serious family procrastination and neglect, reconsider.
The scripture says that “to obey is better than to sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams”. This means that if we want to leave our duty to do some fancy special thing which in our view is better than our assigned duty, it is less serviceable than attending to the simple duty we had been asked to fulfill in the first place. Whatever our ideas of ideal, they are skewed when held up the ideas of the great commander in chief, Jesus Christ.
By things that seem “small and simple” to us, Christ brings world peace. Satan sews seeds into the field, lies suggesting that some path other than duty is the key to world peace. He can be very convincing. What are these seemingly small and simple things rather which Christ uses? They are the commandments. They are family centered lives where father and mother’s chief preoccupation is the welfare (not the spoiling) of the children. The colorful feathers of fancy fall by the wayside when the vision being set on the goal. The righteous are trees which nourish only the branches, letting the weeds die of thirst.
What must a man give to save his soul? His time. When considering what difference they lack between their lives and that of Christ, many conclude that Christ simply used his time in the Father’s service, whereas most of us live much of our day distracted. Christ begs us to use family structures to bring Zion in its power. Raise up children in the truth and strength of the gospel, not seeking to please the world. Stand for good causes. Be an honest person, and work with the Lord in His vineyard.
What is the usual affliction of the soul of man? He doesn’t give enough time to appropriate causes. The fear of myself and every other person in this world is “have I given what I was ordained to give?” This is healthy fear, the type of fear spoken of in the scriptures known as “the fear of God” which is “the beginning of wisdom”. (ref)
Of course, whenever someone gives their time to a/the worthy cause, it is given back to him usually 10-fold in this life, but always 1000-fold in the resurrection. This goes on until the obedient person has all, knows all, and has power over all, being a creator for the sake of the created, enjoying the ultimate bliss that brings, and working with the most pleasant of associates.
The battle in this life is led by Jesus Christ, the God of this world. Mankind may wish to lead battles, it is only natural for the children of God to wish to behave like God and be the commander themselves, seeking a different role. This current battle calls us for ranking soldiers. Yes, all things will come in their time. We must pass through all things, and hold the various positions in their season. The thrill of each of these is promised for the faithful, all in due time. For example, one ought never shirk if a certain calling does not come to them in this stage. We do not counsel the Lord our God as the kingdom expands according to his perfect wisdom. Hugh Nibley speaks of how he himself never held calling in the church, despite being an avid defender of it all his days. Kings, queens, priests, priestesses, these royal roles will be filled by the covenant followers of Christ in the millennium, and even more so beyond that, as the children of God put on the full nature of God their father.
Is it too large of an aspiration to want to become a God? Answer this question: Do you love children? If you’ve answered yes, then you want to be a God. If no, then let’s just say I invite you to reconsider your priorities, and to experiment with the joy children can bring to your life. The prophets have made it clear that the only condition wherein a person will be able to have children in eternity is in the condition of exaltation, meaning Godhood. Are you catching on? The exciting news is that to be a parent is to be a God! Family life is the lifestyle of the Gods! No wonder Satanist Aleister Crowly said the family is public enemy number one. Satan loathes family, every part of it is the antithesis of the life he heads. Will the wicked have children or marriage in eternity? Neither. The Doctrine and Covenants 131:1-4 reveals, “In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; And if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.” It’s that simple: children are so precious that they are the essence of the reward of the exalted! Being a God is no more strange than being a parent. The restoration removes the mystery of God, it uncovers the place of his pavilion, and motivates us to, like him, put family first. God, after all, prefers to be called Father.
The scripture says that Paul hoped for and urged us toward becoming Gods. He said, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God” (Philippians 3:14). This means that he wanted to be in ONE OF the positions (plural) called “God”. He didn’t want to take Gods place. In other words, he is a son (we are all children of God) who looks up to his dad (Jesus instructed us to pray “Our FATHER who art in heaven”) and wants to be like dad when he grows up (this takes a while, including some time after mortal life). We must not abandon our duties today for more seemingly meaningful things. This is because the only way to find the max potential is in acting obediently in each stage.
Since God has infinite posterity (they’re numbered but will never cease to increase) and those posterity can qualify for infinite posterity (the promise to Abraham), the potential number of Gods is endless. Paul knew the office called “God” could come for him and everyone else who “applied unto it”. Being a God is an office of the priesthood. There are Deacons Teachers Priests Elders High Priests Seventies Apostles and Gods. God is the highest priesthood office, and it is not limited enrollment! It is all accomplished in wisdom and order as the kingdoms of righteousness expand.
Suffering is the school of the Gods. Salvation is about what Christ did for us, but exaltation is about what we do for others. Whenever you do something for someone else, it is inconvenient, and a form of suffering. Of course the Holy Ghost comes and turns much of what would be suffering into supernal delight. Additionally, the family unit is the factory which God has ordained for humans to learn to suffer for each other’s welfare out of pure love. Love, and thereby holy suffering, is no where more evident than in long term committed relationships of marriage and parenting. Thankfully, this divine equation also permits the most transcendent joy.
Lucifer wanted to be like God, but he sought it in the wrong way, without sacrifice, without suffering, without the depth of love which is only created in suffering for someone else’s welfare. He mistook Gods position to be one of pure ease and commanding rather than government by love, persuasion, and self sacrifice. Lucifer attempted a shortcut to Godhood. He took up enrollment at a different school called The University of Entitlement. The reason Lucifer wanted to take away the agency of man so he could organize ‘easy salvation’, universal income to a much larger scale than sending rain on the just and the unjust, and to eliminate the need for atonement on both large and small scales. “If no one was allowed to make mistakes, everyone would be perfect, and no sins would need be paid for” he thought. But he missed this critical element: though man could be sinless if he had no agency (a state similar to the garden of Eden), he could never progress. (see Elder D Todd Christofferson BYU 2017 Christmas devotional for a majestic presentation on more similar ideas)
Lucifer was satisfied with himself being God, and the rest of humanity being subordinates the rest of eternity. He wanted to replace God instead of grow to become like God in the same ordained path that God used too become God, which is the holy unending structure of the rulers of the universe. As more children are born and earths created to house them, there will be space for plenty of Gods to govern as needed, according to the holy blessings of the priesthood and the eternal seeds. We not fight over it. The universe is ever expanding. The only issue is that we must not be proud, seeking to be the best, to have more power than any other. As Joseph Smith taught, whenever there is an intelligence, there is always a greater (ref D&C). Intelligence here means rulership. The Gods know all things, and only differ in their location, time in office, and therefore posterity. A wicked person wants to climb to more power more quickly than he ought, so seeks to subvert it in ways not respectful to the human race. A righteous person also wants power, but they seek and obtain it in the timing and methods which Heavenly Father has established, and with perfect intention.
Heavenly Father’s plan (of which Jesus Christ (whom we are called to follow) is the engine) is the plan which had always existed, the plan which allowed the ONLY scenario for humans to progress to the divine. We call the plan “Heavenly Father’s Plan” because Heavenly Father endorsed the plan, just like His Fathers had in eons past. The plan is the one espoused by all those who operate with the eternal title of Heavenly Father. This plan would of course would require a Savior (Jesus Christ), and at some point, interested candidates would start becoming little saviors themselves until they would, as according to the plan from the beginning, grow “unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). To think that the desire for Godhood is evil is to think that light is darkness and darkness light. It’s all about the technique: will you force your way into Godhood like Lucifer attempted, or will you go through the appointed proper channels like Jesus Christ? Though Christ was the only sinless person, others have reached Godhood including Abraham Isaac and Jacob. D&C 132:17 says that these men have become Gods: “Abraham…as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.”. We can be saved and exalted through obedience to the laws of the gospel, which fortunately for us, includes the law of repentance. No wonder we use the word “gospel” meaning good news to describe Christ’s successful execution of Heavenly Father’s plan for us!
God can’t just exalt whoever he wants. Exaltation (becoming a God, aka reaching the highest achievement and order) is, by the laws of the universe which have existed longer than even the amount of time which Heavenly Father has held the rank of Eternal God, yes, these eternal laws of the universe which God obeys, these eternal laws demand that the only way progression occurs, is by choices of each individual (see Elder D Todd Christofferson BYU 2017 Christmas devotional). Lucifer went to a bogus communist university (while skipping class at the true university) which taught the idea that the eternal laws of the universe could be bent to accommodate him. It could be said that Lucifer was the one who rose up to lead that school of thought. Lucifer wasn’t the first with these ideas, they were had in previous systems of rebellion as well. The graduates of this school of thought were not offered positions as Gods, but it was a bogus degree, offering something which it couldn’t deliver. They were the 1/3 cast to outer darkness, the Sons of Perdition. They were fed on fear, self doubt, and doubt toward Father’s plan. These lies were perpetuated to an ultra-tragic extent.
If someone tries to save mankind in a way other than the ordained plan of God, he will lose his his eventual eternal Godhood. This is why we take God’s commandments seriously. This life is the testing grounds. This is the point of no return. Our entire eternity is calculated upon our performance in these handful of years, like a class with a 1-hour exam at the end, so is pre-mortality leading into mortality. Yes there is progression after this life, but Alma is clear that now is when we are to get on the path to be going sincerely in the right direction (ref). Yes the ignorant will learn, such is the obvious scenario in a just kingdom. But most of us do not qualify any longer as ignorant, for this end is the gospel preached. Gods plan isn’t on hold for some later date. Now is the operation, the accountability, the witness of the Holy Ghost, the exercise of agency, the choice, the calling, and the election made sure.
It’s hard to work for God and man at the same time; they both expect you to give so much, but you have to do it.
Brigham Young said that no matter who you are you must become a good philosopher. That’s in part what the Apostles are; they explain things with much wisdom (though they do so with power and authority, not like the scribes who often entangle truth with falsehood).
I also learned this- at the final judgement we will have all knowledge of our deeds, and see the negative and positive effects of everything we’ve done in our lives through eternity. Surely the good must overpower the bad being so much larger if we are to hope for exaltation. Salvation is much easier, and most people will receive it to some degree. Yes, most! Praise the Lord, God is love! But the fullness of salvation called exaltation is a much greater object.This is what I see: the negative one has done has its effects; those are exponential as one thing effects another; on the other hand the good works exponentially as well.
Each person needs to do so much good that it overpowers the bad. Surely our net good effect must overcome our net bad, such that it fills all existence with so much persuasion, so much gentleness, so much pure love, that it reaches into the far depths of the pain that I have caused, and brings divine healing there. Remember we are talking about exaltation here, not just salvation. Only through Christ can a person gain that power. Only Christ’s grace can optimize us so our influence expands. The place where Jesus Christ’s Atonement comes in is making you a good person as you apply unto it. This accounts for everything; this accounts for justice, as it is no mere sweeping away of the consequences of your negative actions. Christ’s intercession for us is both payment and enabling.
Christ enables us to make that net good effect, and much more. It also would have the effect of making a person an eternal judge; this means that a person will have this encompassing good effect. It means that he can be trusted by all of his creations. He has been born again, completely recalibrated by the help of the Atonement. Such shall be the case for all who reach exaltation. They are fully pure, powerful, compassionate, and with time, as they reach exaltation, good has so much of an effect flowing out from them that it eliminates all the bad, the good having a reverberating and exponential and reflective effect on a person. Good brings more good like something pulling on another, perhaps like a magnet (D&C speaks of this, charity cleaving to charity, etc. (ref)).
Now there is the question of Jesus, how did he live a perfect life in mortality? He was already purified before he came to this earth. He had already worked out his salvation according to eternal gospel principles. Why would we spurn at the idea of a person having progressed to this status before being born onto this earth? Is it not possible for a person to progress in pre-mortality? Yes, it is. Jesus Christ was one who was able to make it full circle in pre-mortality. He was that gifted. That is why he was who he was. He is more intelligent than us all (POGP ref). That is why he was selected as the engine of God’s gospel for us who have not progressed to the point that he has. God saw that Jesus Christ had progressed full circle in the pre-earth life, and hence he became the first born son of God in the Spirit; he was the first of all the spirits under the direction of God to progress full circle, to use intelligence to progress to perfection. That is why he was the first born in the spirit of God.
Is it now written that man was also in the beginning with God? You see, as a man progresses, in intelligence and goodness, he is more capable of helping others to progress. It’s an eternal understanding that seems to be so at home to us- namely that when we find something we love, we always want to share it with others. When we have progressed, we will seek to aid others in their progression above all else.
Now hear this, don’t hate yourself because you have not come full circle yet like Jesus Christ has. Don’t be angry about how you are not yet a pure stream of good which fills all space by its exponential behavior. Rather appreciate the experiences you are having, and realize that every God in all eternity has gone through breathtakingly similar experiences as you are going through at this present time. You have made some mistakes via misuse of your intelligence, seeking to jump when you should have waited for more refinement and stability. Or perhaps your mistake was in waiting when you should have jumped. Either way, your mistakes are manifestations of holes in your character and understanding and practice in performance or intelligence, and you must continue onward, correcting your ways, eliminating the ill tendencies in your soul and replacing them rather with good tendencies. Gods in all of eternity are carved out of a rough mountain side, and by and by they become smooth, or perfect. Those who have already become Gods are those who have yielded their intelligence to light and submitted their agency unto applied intelligence.
And I tell you this also, there is nothing more humiliating than an awareness that you have a certain level of intelligence but that you are not using it. That is a terrible way to live, although it is the way most of us submit to doing. I also tell you this key, that is that you need to train yourself to react to difficult situations and even failures with humility. You need to slow down and stop to think about where you are and how you got there, and what you are going to do to bring some goodness to the situation.
Now remember this- dispute your errors, should you continue to develop, you can reach the status of Jehovah and Elohim. In other words, you can be a person who is without guilt from all eternity past to all eternity present. This I say because once you have refined yourself to a certain state, you are become an unchangeable thing. You no matter which direction you walk in, you will emanate or radiate good, perfect good, complete good, perfect justice, perfect understanding, perfect wisdom, everything perfect. You will have become a being who is unable to commit error because of the spirit he has listed to, and the laws which govern his creature. Making worlds etc. are only the beginning to exaltation. Exaltation is the realization of every hope your soul has ever known.
Now you may ask of this point, well what if my soul has hoped for evil in a certain period? Will I get to indulge? No, because your hope for an evil thing was really a hope for a good thing, for humans are only capable of hoping for good things. Every hope for an evil thing is in reality a hope for a good thing, but seeking to obtain that good thing via corrupt means, usually connotating a short cut, or less skill than the correct way would require. Hope is good. There is no such thing as bad hope or hope for bad things. When a person does not have hope for good things, he is not really experiencing hope. He is experiencing immaturity and squandered intelligence. He is experiencing a lack of patience and understanding. He is expressing his damnation, or in other words, his unwillingness to progress. His insisting that he receive the reward of justice while not going through the step which lead to such.
Now I teach you this: Lucifer in the pre-earth life had not come full circle like Jehovah had. Lucifer had reached a certain point, a high point indeed, and then ceased to be willing to continue in light truth intelligence patience and all that is required of progressing spirit beings and all their potential. Yes, I tell you, Lucifer shunned at the experience of Atonement, and was not willing to embrace the eternal truth that a good being/person loses himself in every sense for the progression of those around him. Ken Bowers suggested that though very knowledgeable, since intelligence is light and truth, Satan has no intelligence. When I speak of intelligence, pure intelligence, it of a necessity constitutes doing the correct thing (it’s not just knowing what the correct thing is). The more intelligent thing is to follow the gospel of God. This is the most pure type of intelligence, that we do what is right.
We do not possess truth and light by knowing stuff, but by doing it. This is reflected in President Kimball’s suggested word change in the I Am A Child of God song from “teach me all that I must KNOW” to “teach me all that I must DO”. The suggestion was adopted, and thus we sing to this day. And following the gospel of God, his teachings, was for us, in the pre-mortal sphere, an expression of how we valued exaltation, or circles, completions, for we saw God and chose to pursue the path that would lead us to becoming like him. Yes, the path that would allow our spirits to progress along the course of light truth and virtue.
Now Lucifer has grown in his learning, and indeed he knows more than what is taught at schools. His intelligence in that respect is massive, even beyond our comprehension. But his intelligence in the aspect of the most pure form of intelligence, namely that he would follow the most bright light if you will, this is an area of intelligence wherein you and I, residents of this earth who continue in progression in characteristics resembling those which God possesses, far exceed that of Lucifer. Because of this progression, we have bodies. That is part of the progression. Lucifer never reached that point in progression. All with bodies have progressed further in eternity than has Lucifer or any of his other followers who do not have bodies. You see persons with bodies have power over those who do not (Packer, JS), and this is because they are further along in their pursuit of intelligence.
The damnation of a soul is like a river that has been stopped in its course. Damnation of a person comes when they refuse to continue onward, and put a wall in their own path. No one puts this wall in but themselves, and it is a conscious act (and the consciousness of that action is one which far too many people are willing to admit (which is to say, don’t think that just because someone doesn’t recognize that they are damning themselves does not mean that they are damning themselves.)). Who holds the key to Satan’s prison cell? Truman G. Madsen famously taught in his great lectures on philosophy that the holder of that key is none other than Satan himself. No part of his nature wants to use it. In his pride he insists on ignoring the facts, and remaining a law unto himself, an unruly whimsical tyrant. He is invited to the party, but he doesn’t want to come. His die is cast, the summer is over, and his soul is not saved. In his eternal non-corporal form, his soul remains forever wanting, and his eternal domain the sides of a pit.
Now who will hear more? Who will go on to eternity, choosing to seek and thus find the hidden things kept secret from before the foundation of the world? Who will meditate upon the scriptures after having read them? Who will allow themselves to be fallible enough to let themselves be taught? Who will not cease to search for understanding until it has been found in every instance? This is the type of character a person needs to possess in order to progress on to eternity. I ask it again, where is the person that is willing to leave father and mother, and come follow Christ? Yea I ask it, wife friend neighbor and anything else that may be damning ones brain from progression that would otherwise flow smoothly and without restraint? I’m not asking to you isolate yourselves, not to not jump because the water isn’t at a perfect temperature. Do the jumping where the jumping is needed (marriage etc.). But be willing to leave the philosophies of the world behind. I would tell you a thousand times- seek to understand the points of the gospel of God which are at present unclear to your minds. Get the Spirit of God in you, and it will embolden you to not only act according to the needs of your present circumstances, but to peel your mind away from every learned thing you have heard, and to start fresh with God and the revelations recognized by the Church and Kingdom of God. If you have truth, add to it. If not, start again. Don’t hold onto garbage. Who will be with the Lord when night falls? Who will seek him in the morning? Who will put aside a few material benefits in order to benefit his soul with meditation and searching of God’s word and every other good book which does not contend against the gospel of God? Remember the things pertaining to the gospel of God are those of greatest import. So here I say it: searching is a key ingredient to exaltation, for no person can be saved in ignorance. If you love the prophet whom the Spirit of True Intelligence (The Holy Ghost) has led you to follow, even the leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, then seek to do as he, and let your mind expand. Let it reach the heavens, and pass the riff raft of floating sectarian or evil-tarian doctrines which are a dime a dozen with sugar on top. No don’t be deceived by the offering of sweet things to your belly, or to the corrupt belly of your mind. Be turned rather to heaven, the which is light, and eternity, and pure intelligence; the which cannot cease to inspire. This search is exhausting, and though great progress can be made in a day, exaltation will only come to those who embrace these principles, which are correct and the only ones which will take you from step current to step next, daily. Yes, I tell you daily embrace these principals, in whatever maddened way you can, for this may appear to be a maddened search given the level of concentration and devotion it demands of our lives. This is why no man has reached heaven who was attracted to mammon. Money has its proper place and in the end a man will be damned without having provided for his own, but oh the small place in the wedge of life that money occupies for the faithful! Judge no man, for ye hardly know what these things mean. Trust in the leaders of God’s Church.
All things of progression and beginnings are to your pleasure for the having so far as understanding of such things go, for the Holy Ghost is with you.
Q: Jesus makes us one with him? Yes but only because he is one with the father. He has accepted the way of perfection which Elohim reached before him. Now we humans are on the path to progression. Jesus has already crossed the finish line, we follow his example to get to the finish line.
Q: The Holy Ghost what is it? It is a male deity without a body, but whose spirit resembles that of a body (all spirits resemble the body).
Q: The Godhead do we worship each of them? In the sense that they have reached perfection yes. We admire (another word for worship) Jesus because he helps us get to Elohim.
Q: Why does Jehovah speak as Elohim to Moses in the Pearl of Great Price? Because like one that cannot attend a meeting, so he has another person read his message verbatim, so is this. Elohim cannot attend us himself because of the Fall of Adam. Before the fall of Adam, Elohim would appear to Adam and walk and talk with him. Ever since the Fall of Adam, Jehovah has interacted with the people of earth directly. Ever since the Fall of Adam, we are in a telestial state of existence. This means God the Father doesn’t visit us. He only does so to introduce Jehovah on rare occasion like to Joseph Smith when Smith was called to lead this dispensation.
Q: Who is God? There are 3. Elohim Jehovah and the Holy Ghost. The foremost of these is Elohim, whom organized the way that we humans can get exalted. Elohim is the author of the plan of salvation. The means that he brings about that salvation is by employing Jehovah and the Holy Ghost. Elohim is the leader. The supreme Governor. Jehovah is one of his sons, and thus inherits all that he has, and eventually becomes like him in every way. The Holy Ghost testifies to persons that these beings are the way to salvation. That is the role of the Holy Ghost in salvation. The Holy Ghost also plays a role in sanctifying persons who apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Q: Is God independent? Yes. Independent in that he needs no help to keep the laws of the universe/eternity. He is able to do his duty fully. He can take care of himself. He acts in union with others ( Each of these 3 Gods with each other, and other righteous volunteers) to save souls, because saving souls in all eternity has ever been a joint enterprise.
Like several roles in a play, so this is. Just because there needs to be several actors to illustrate a play on stage doesn’t mean that any of the actors are imperfect. The actors could do their role perfectly. But that doesn’t mean that one actor can perform the entire play. A perfect person uses his resources to make perfect and beautiful things happen.
The reason Jehovah is taking direction from Elohim in the creation of this earth etc. is because he is interested in participating with Elohim with the exaltation of his creations. In playing one of the essential roles to saving souls. Elohim is the one who is at the head. He is overseeing exaltation of his creations.
Exaltation is not possible without a Savior. Because humans make mistakes, we need a Savior. Elohim is the judge in the court. Jehovah is the person who appeals to the court judge asking for the welfare of the humans because the humans fell short. Because Jehovah is a God, he is able to appeal to Elohim, another God, and buy the freedom of the humans, he having fulfilled the requirements.
It is my opinion that it may stand to reason that Jehovah will one day act in a capacity that Elohim does now (that of leader in a Godhead, in other words, not the first councilor in a presidency, but the president of that presidency), and that Jehovah will have a person be a Savior for his literal offspring just like how Elohim has Jehovah be the Savior for his literal offspring (I say literal offspring meaning to include physical children which are born as a result of nurturing of spirits by a certain director, in our case Elohim, before they attain a body).
To be exalted, humans must meet the requirements for exaltation.
Q: What are the requirements? That every law be kept.
Q: Do humans keep every law? No, not at first. So they have a merciful being step in to pay that price for them if they manifest correction in behavior. Joseph Smith said that if a person gets exalted it has to happen in the same way that Jesus got exalted, that of obedience. We must repent if we are to be saved.
Q: Who makes repentance possible? Jesus Christ, aka Jehovah, that God who mercifully uses the power he has attained to help us because he loves us.
Q: Does Elohim love us? Yes. For God so loved that world that he gave his only begotten son.
In a study of The Church of the Firstborn, one may also look for phrases with a similar meaning such as the following:
the Second Comforter
calling and election made sure
the more sure word of prophecy
sealed up unto eternal life
joint heirs with Christ
offspring of God
the school of the prophets
fullness of the Priesthood
council of fifty
kings and priests unto God
-“And the general assembly of the church of the firstborn shall come down out of heaven, and possess the earth, and shall have place until the end come. And this is mine everlasting covenant, which I made with thy father Enoch.” (JST Gen. 9:23)(https://www.lds.org/scriptures/jst/jst-gen/9?lang=eng)
-50 And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just—
51 “They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—
52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;
53 And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.
54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.
55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—
56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;
57 And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son.
58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God—
59 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
60 And they shall overcome all things.
61 Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.
62 These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.
63 These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.” (D&C 76:50-63, especially 54 and 63)
-“The Church of the Firstborn is Christ’s heavenly church, and its members are exalted beings who gain an inheritance in the highest heaven of the celestial world and for whom the family continues in eternity.
In the scriptures Jesus Christ is called the Firstborn. He was the first spirit child born of God the Father in the premortal existence and was in the beginning with God (John 1:1-5, 14). Christ also became the Firstborn from the dead, the first person resurrected, “that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18; Acts 26:23; 1 Cor. 15:23; Rev. 1:5). Even as the first principles and ordinances, including baptism in water and the reception of the Holy Ghost, constitute the gate into the earthly Church of Jesus Christ, so higher ordinances of the priesthood constitute the gate into the Church of the Firstborn. To secure the blessings that pertain to the Church of the Firstborn, one must obey the gospel from the heart, receive all of the ordinances that pertain to the house of the Lord, and be sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise in the Celestial Kingdom of God (D&C 76:67, 71, 94;77:11;78:21;88:1-5; TPJS, p. 237).
Revelations to the Prophet Joseph Smith supplement those of the New Testament to indicate that the Church of the Firstborn consists of those who have the inheritance of the Firstborn and become joint-heirs with Christ in receiving all that the Father has (Rom. 8:14-17; D&C 84:33-38; see Heirs: Heirs of God). The Lord said, “If you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; …I…am the Firstborn; …And all those who are begotten through me are partakers of the glory of the same, and are the Church of the Firstborn” (D&C 93:20-22). The Church of the Firstborn is the divine patriarchal order in its eternal form. Building the priesthood family order on this earth by receiving sealings in the temple is a preparation and foundation for this blessing in eternity (see Gospel of Abraham).
When persons have proved themselves faithful in all things required by the Lord, it is their privilege to receive covenants and obligations that will enable them to be heirs of God as members of the Church of the Firstborn. They are “sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise” and are those “into whose hands the Father has given all things” (D&C 76:51-55). They will be priests and priestesses, kings and queens, receiving the Father’s glory, having the fulness of knowledge, wisdom, power, and dominion (D&C 76:56-62; cf. 107:19). At the second coming of Jesus Christ, the “general assembly of the Church of the Firstborn” will descend with him (Heb. 12:22-23; JST Gen. 9:23; D&C 76:54, 63).”
Smith, Joseph Fielding. DS, Vol. 2, pp. 8-9, 41-49. Salt Lake City, 1973.; IVAN J. BARRETT
” (Ivan J Barrett, Harold B. Lee Library, http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Church_of_the_Firstborn) (See this page in the original 1992 publication.)
• -“celestial heirs are Church of Firstborn: D&C 76:54, 67, 71, 94 .
• telestial heirs will not be caught up to Church of Firstborn: D&C 76:102 .
• as many as come will be brought to Church of Firstborn: D&C 77:11 .
• ye are Church of Firstborn: D&C 78:21 .
• celestial glory is glory of Church of Firstborn: D&C 88:5 .
• those who are begotten through Christ are Church of Firstborn: D&C 93:22 .
• priesthood to commune with Church of Firstborn: D&C 107:19 “
• (index to the triple combination, “Church of the Firstborn”, see https://www.lds.org/scriptures/triple-index/church-of-the-firstborn)
-“When the Lord revealed to Moses the great purpose of life, he expressed himself in these words:
“For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39.)
In other words, the Lord’s work is to bring about the resurrection (immortality) of all of his Father’s children and to make it possible for them to receive exaltation or godhood (eternal life). When one comes to understand these purposes, one’s heart rejoices in the knowledge that the greatest blessing available to man—godhood—may be received by those who desire it with all their hearts.
In a glorious sermon preached by the Prophet Joseph Smith, this same fundamental purpose of earth life was expressed—except that this time the other side of the matter, mankind’s responsibility, was emphasized: “You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Deseret Book Co., 1938, p. 346.)
Fundamental to our understanding of the reason for existence in mortality is our knowledge that men and women were born as spirit children of the Eternal Father and that Jesus Christ is our elder brother in the spirit. Because their status is transcendently greater than ours, we stand in awe at the thought of one day becoming as they. Nevertheless, we are begotten spirit children of the Eternal Father—born in the lineage of the gods—and we have within us the power, through the atonement of Jesus Christ, to rise to the heights of godhood.
Earth life, a necessary part of eternal progression, is the proving ground for the exalted-to-be, a state in which we are undergoing a period of testing and proving to see if we will do the Lord’s will. (See Abr. 3:22–26.) A modern revelation speaks of those who are valiant in the service of the Lord during this testing period:
“Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.” (D&C 132:20.)
What is necessary to receive this inestimable blessing? The Prophet Joseph said that one must begin at the beginning with the first principles of the gospel:
“When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel—you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave.” (Teachings, p. 348.)
Although the process of obtaining exaltation continues even into the spirit world, the knowledge that one will become exalted with the privileges of continuing on to eternal life can be certain in this life. This is what making one’s calling and election sure is all about.
Peter admonished the ancient saints to “make your calling and election sure,” and the apostle Paul also gave thanks to the Lord for providing such a sealing. (See 2 Pet. 1:10–11, Eph. 1:13–14.) In addition, the Prophet Joseph Smith used this same expression in discoursing upon Peter’s exposition and Paul’s teachings. (See Teachings, pp. 305, 149.)
Peter made it clear that a testimony of Jesus Christ is not in itself evidence that one’s calling and election has been made sure. Mentioning the manifestation on the Mount of Transfiguration with the Savior and his fellow apostles James and John (see Matt. 17:1–8), he said that although they had heard the voice of the Father declaring that Jesus was his Son, this was not sufficient to obtain the blessing—there was “a more sure word of prophecy”—the calling and election made sure. (See 2 Pet. 1:16–19.)
Concerning this instruction and testimony from Peter, Joseph Smith said: “Though they might hear the voice of God and know that Jesus was the Son of God, this would be no evidence that their election and calling was made sure. … They then would want that more sure word of prophecy, that they were sealed in the heavens and had the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of God. Then, having this promise sealed unto them, it was an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast. Though the thunders might roll and lightnings flash, and earthquakes bellow, and war gather thick around, yet this hope and knowledge would support the soul in every hour of trial, trouble and tribulation.” (Teachings, p. 298.)
What, then, is the calling and election made sure? The following scripture gives the definition:
“The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood.” (D&C 131:5.)
As expressed by Elder Bruce R. McConkie:
“To have one’s calling and election made sure is to be sealed up unto eternal life; it is to have the unconditional guarantee of exaltation in the highest heaven of the celestial world; it is to receive the assurance of godhood; it is, in effect, to have the day of judgment advanced, so that an inheritance of all the glory and honor of the Father’s kingdom is assured prior to the day when the faithful actually enter into the divine presence to sit with Christ in his throne, even as he is ‘set down’ with his ‘Father in his throne.’ (Rev. 3:21.) (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Bookcraft, 1973, 3:330–31.)
As Elder McConkie goes on to indicate, the “unconditional guarantee” means that a person’s actions have been fully approved, that “there are no more conditions to be met by the obedient person.” (P. 335.) When one has been thus sealed up unto eternal life, he is “sealed up against all manner of sin except blasphemy against the Holy Ghost and the shedding of innocent blood.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:46.)
The Prophet Joseph Smith’s exhortation to press forward to this goal of assured exaltation is as follows:
“I would exhort you to go on and continue to call upon God until you make your calling and election sure for yourselves, by obtaining this more sure word of prophecy, and wait patiently for the promise until you obtain it.” (Teachings, p. 299.)
“Wait patiently for the promise until you obtain it” implies that every effort will be made by the member of the Church to obtain it. An eternal compact was made in the premortal world that the sons and daughters of God would receive an eternal exaltation provided they were true and faithful to covenants made in this life. (See, e.g., Titus 1:1–2.) Keeping in mind Peter’s injunction to his dispensation, Joseph Smith said:
“We have no claim in our eternal compact, in relation to eternal things, unless our actions and contracts and all things tend to this. But after all this, you have got to make your calling and election sure. If this injunction would lie largely on those to whom it was spoken, how much more those of the present generation!” (Teachings, p. 306.)
What, then, is necessary to make one’s calling and election sure? At the foundation of all blessings lies acceptance of the atonement of Jesus Christ by obedience to the first principles and ordinances of the gospel—faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Then, following entry into the kingdom of God by baptism of water and of the Spirit, comes the need to overcome by faith to enter into certain sacred covenants by the power of the priesthood and be “sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true” (D&C 76:53), and to endure faithfully to the end in these covenants.
To overcome by faith through the righteousness of God and Jesus Christ is to become “partakers of the divine nature,” as Peter testified. (See 2 Pet. 1:1–4.) The way to this blessing, he said, is “through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” (2 Pet. 1:3.)
The knowledge of Christ in this context is the emulation of his life and teachings. And what are the virtues found in Jesus’ life to which Peter refers? After one has escaped the corruptions of the world by sincere repentance in becoming a member of the true church, he is to add to the principles and ordinances that admitted him into the kingdom of God by being diligent in his obedience. One adds to “faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
“And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
“And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” (2 Pet. 1:5–7; see also Teachings, p. 305.)
Obedience and the gradual acquisition of this impressive array of virtues brings one nearer and nearer to the stature of Christ. (See Eph. 4:13.)
However, in addition to these required qualities of character, those who would have hope of the calling and election made sure must also receive the ordinances of salvation (exaltation) in the temple of God.
The Prophet Joseph Smith gave an ultimate definition of salvation as having the power to overcome all enemies in this world (meaning the vices which are the opposites of gospel virtues) and “the knowledge to triumph over all evil spirits in the world to come.” (Teachings, p. 297.) He further stated that the triumph over one’s enemies would come only through a knowledge of the priesthood. (See Teachings, p. 305.)
If we are to triumph over all of our enemies in this world in preparation for exaltation, wherein does the priesthood make this possible? Obedience to “the mysteries of the kingdom”—the higher ordinances of the gospel—is the answer. Higher ordinances of the gospel suggest there are lesser ordinances, these being the first ordinances and all other performances outside of the temple.
Jesus taught his disciples that they were to receive the “mysteries of the kingdom” but that others were not to receive them because they were not prepared for them. (See Matt. 13:10–13.) Similarly, the prophet Alma said that these mysteries were known to some but others were to receive only that “portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.” (Alma 12:9.)
Because Joseph Smith received “the keys of the mysteries of those things which have been sealed” (D&C 35:18), and because these keys remain with the prophet of the Church today, the member who keeps the commandments may receive “the mysteries of my kingdom, and the same shall be in him a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life.” (D&C 63:23; see also D&C 42:65.)
Only through the priesthood may these blessings accrue to the member of the Church. The worthy male member must receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, which holds “the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God” (D&C 84:19; see also D&C 107:18–19), in order to receive these “mysteries.” Therein lies the key to the principal purpose of the higher priesthood—to reveal the principles of exaltation in the house of the Lord through ordinances, consisting of washings, anointings, the priesthood endowment, and marriage for eternity. (See D&C 124:37–42.) Marriage for eternity is an order of the priesthood “in which the participating parties are promised kingdoms and thrones if they are true and faithful to their obligations.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Ensign, December 1971, p. 98.) These blessings include the power to beget spirit children after the resurrection. In this regard, Joseph Smith said:
“The question is frequently asked, ‘Can we not be saved without going through with all those ordinances?’ I would answer, No, not the fulness of salvation. …
“If a man gets a fullness of the priesthood of God he has to get it in the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 331, 308.)
Both men and women receive the blessings of the “fullness of the priesthood” in the temple, even though women are not ordained to the priesthood; for as President Joseph Fielding Smith said:
“Women do not hold the priesthood, but if they are faithful and true, they will become priestesses and queens in the kingdom of God, and that implies that they will be given authority. The women do not hold the priesthood with their husbands, but they do reap the benefits coming from that priesthood.” (Doctrines of Salvation, Bookcraft, 1956, 3:178.)
Concomitant to participating in ordinances and holding the priesthood is the making of covenants. Divine covenants must be entered into and honored before a person can have his calling and election made sure. To ensure that we receive the blessings of covenants righteously entered into and followed, the Lord has established a means by which ordinances and covenants may be approved. This is through the sealing power of the Holy Spirit of Promise. When the Holy Spirit of Promise (which is the Holy Ghost) justifies a person’s performance with respect to a covenant entered into, that performance is ratified, making the covenant effective for salvation.
The influence of the Holy Ghost received by keeping the commandments also leads one to sanctification, or becoming holy and pure in heart, which involves forsaking all evil and learning to “love and serve God with all [our] mights, minds, and strength.” (D&C 20:31.) The process of sanctification comes gradually, over a long period of time, “overcoming every sin and bringing all into subjection to the law of Christ.” (Brigham Young, JD, 10:173.) It means yielding one’s heart to God, becoming one with the Savior in building his kingdom, and working for the eventual establishment of Zion. (See Hel. 3:35.) The member of the Church prepares himself by striving for sanctification; and when he has become just through the ratifying of his covenants by the Holy Ghost, and in the sight of the Lord has sanctified his life, he is a candidate for having his calling and election made sure.
From the Prophet Joseph Smith we learn that the faith necessary to become sanctified and make one’s calling and election sure is gained through strict obedience to the law of sacrifice:
“From the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life.” (Lectures on Faith, 6:58; see also D&C 98:11–15 and Teachings, p. 322.)
When faith is sufficient to sacrifice all earthly things, even life itself if necessary, it is possible for a person to know that he is accepted of the Lord for what he has done, and with this strong faith he may eventually receive eternal life.
Thus the Prophet Joseph said:
“After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure.” (Teachings, p. 150.)
Such a person eventually receives godhood and becomes a member of the “church of the Firstborn.” (D&C 76:54.)
Who were some of the saints who were accepted of the Lord through their sacrifices? The Prophet Joseph Smith indicated that when a person has been proved of the Lord by “hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God,” he may then have the privilege of receiving the Second Comforter. This Comforter is the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, “and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face.” Joseph Smith went on to say that this was the condition of a number of the ancient saints, naming Isaiah, Ezekiel, John the Revelator, Paul, and “all the saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn.” (See Teachings, pp. 150–51.)
The assurance of being accepted of the Lord was also known to many of the Nephites: Enos (see Enos 1:27), Alma the Elder (see Mosiah 26:20), the Three Nephites (see 3 Ne. 28:4–11), and others (see 3 Ne. 28: 1–3).
The promise of becoming a member of the church of the Firstborn is also made to Latter-day Saints. (See D&C 76:50–60.) In our dispensation many Saints have made their calling and election sure. (See, e.g., D&C 124:19.) Noteworthy among these was William Clayton, to whom the Prophet said:
“Your life is hid with Christ in God, and so are many others. Nothing but the unpardonable sin can prevent you from inheriting eternal life for you are sealed up by the power of the Priesthood unto eternal life, having taken the step necessary for that purpose.” (History of the Church, 5:391.)
Joseph Smith himself was told by the Lord that he had been sealed unto exaltation and that the Lord had prepared a throne for him “in the kingdom of my Father, with Abraham your father.” (D&C 132:49; see also Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:347–50 for further discussion.)
President Marion G. Romney, as a member of the Council of the Twelve, admonished the Saints in general conference to make their calling and election sure and said:
“The fullness of eternal life is not attainable in mortality, but the peace which is its harbinger and which comes as a result of making one’s calling and election sure is attainable in this life. The Lord has promised that ‘… he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.’ (D&C 59:23.)
“I think the peace here referred to is implicit in the Prophet’s statement, ‘I am going like a lamb to the slaughter, but I am calm as a summer’s morning. I have a conscience void of offense toward God and toward all men.’ (DHC, 6:555.)
“I also think it is implicit in this statement of the late Apostle Alonzo A. Hinckley which he wrote in a letter to the First Presidency after he had been advised by his physician that his illness would be fatal: ‘I assure you I am not deeply disturbed over the final results. I am reconciled and I reach my hands to take what my Father has for me, be it life or death. …
“As to the future, I have no misgivings. It is inviting and glorious, and I sense rather clearly what it means to be saved by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ and to be exalted by his power and be with him ever more.’ (The Deseret News Church Section, March 27, 1949, p. 24.)” (Conference Report, October 1965, p. 20.)
Inasmuch as the calling and election made sure is the greatest of all blessings received in this life, what greater counsel may Latter-day Saints receive than the following from the Prophet Joseph Smith:
“Then I would exhort you to go on and continue to call upon God until you make your calling and election sure for yourselves, by obtaining this more sure word of prophecy, and wait patiently for the promise until you obtain it.” (Teachings, p. 299.)
[illustration] Illustrated by Scott Rockwood
Roy W. Doxey, dean emeritus of Religious Instruction at Brigham Young University, serves as a Regional Representative of the Council of the Twelve. He lives in the Twenty-third ward, Provo Utah Stake.”
(Ensign 1976, Accepted of the Lord: The Doctrine of Making Your Calling and Election Sure
BY ROY W. DOXEY see https://www.lds.org/ensign/1976/07/accepted-of-the-lord-the-doctrine-of-making-your-calling-and-election-sure?lang=eng)
-“We are the servants of the Lord, his agents, his representatives. We have been endowed with power from on high. We hold either the Aaronic Priesthood, which is a preparatory, schooling order, or we hold the Melchizedek Priesthood, which is the highest and greatest power that the Lord gives to men on earth.
There are in this greater priesthood five offices or callings—elder, seventy, high priest, patriarch, and apostle—yet the priesthood is the same; and the priesthood is greater than any of its offices. We are a kingdom of brethren, a congregation of equals, all of whom are entitled to receive all of the blessings of the priesthood. There are no blessings reserved for apostles that are not freely available to all the elders of the kingdom; blessings come because of obedience and personal righteousness, not because of administrative positions.
I shall speak of these blessings—the ten priesthood blessings—which are available to all of us who hold the holy Melchizedek Priesthood.
Blessing one: We are members of the only true and living Church upon the face of the whole earth, and we have received the fulness of the everlasting gospel.
“This greater priesthood administereth the gospel.” It “continueth in the church of God in all generations, and is without beginning of days or end of years.” (D&C 84:19, 17.)
The gospel is the plan of salvation; it is the way and the means, provided by the Father, whereby his spirit children have power to advance and progress and become like him. The priesthood is the power and authority of God, delegated to man on earth, to act in all things for the salvation of men.
Where the Melchizedek Priesthood is, there is the Church and kingdom of God on earth; there is the gospel of salvation; and where there is no Melchizedek Priesthood, there is no true Church, and no power that will save men in the kingdom of God.
Blessing two: We have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and we are entitled to receive the gifts of the Spirit—those wondrous spiritual endowments which set us apart from the world and raise us above carnal things.
The gift of the Holy Ghost is the right to the constant companionship of that member of the Godhead based on faithfulness. It is the right to receive revelation, to see visions, to be in tune with the Infinite.
John, who held the Priesthood of Aaron, baptized with water for the remission of sins. Jesus, who was an high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek, baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire.
The Holy Ghost is a revelator; he bears witness of the Father and the Son, those Holy Beings whom to know is eternal life. Thus it is that “this greater priesthood … holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.” (D&C 84:19.)
The spiritual gifts are the signs which follow those that believe; they are the miracles and healings performed in the name of the Lord Jesus; they include marvelous outpourings of truth and light and revelation from God in heaven to man on earth.
Our revelations say that the Melchizedek Priesthood holds “the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church,” and that all those who hold this holy order “have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.” (D&C 107:18–19.)
Blessing three: We can be sanctified by the Spirit, have dross and evil burned out of us as though by fire, become clean and spotless, and be fit to dwell with gods and angels.
The Holy Ghost is the Sanctifier. Those who magnify their callings in the priesthood “are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies.” (D&C 84:33.) They are born again; they become new creatures of the Holy Ghost; they are alive in Christ.
Of such faithful persons among the ancients, Alma says: “They were called after this holy order”—that is, they held the Melchizedek Priesthood—“and [they] were sanctified, and their garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb. Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were many, exceeding great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God.” (Alma 13:11–12.)
Blessing four: We can stand in the place and stead of the Lord Jesus Christ in administering salvation to the children of men.
He preached the gospel; so can we. He spoke by the power of the Holy Ghost; so can we. He served as a missionary; so can we. He went about doing good; so can we. He performed the ordinances of salvation; so can we. He kept the commandments; so can we. He wrought miracles; such also is our privilege if we are true and faithful in all things.
We are his agents; we represent him; we are expected to do and say what he would do and say if he personally were ministering among men at this time.
Blessing five: We have power to become the sons of God, to be adopted into the family of the Lord Jesus Christ, to have him as our Father, to be one with him as he is one with his Father.
“Thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity,” the Lord said to Adam. “Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons.” (Moses 6:67–68.)
As the sons of God, we also have power to advance and progress until we become “joint-heirs with Christ,” until we have “conformed to the image” of God’s Son, as Paul expressed it. (Rom. 8:17, 29.)
Blessing six: We can enter into the patriarchal order, the order of eternal marriage, the order which enables the family unit to continue everlastingly in celestial glory.
To gain the highest heaven and to enjoy the fulness of that light and glory which comprise eternal life, we must “enter into” that “order of the priesthood” which bears the name “the new and everlasting covenant of marriage.” (D&C 131:2; see also D&C 131:1–4.)
Blessing seven: We have power to govern all things, both temporal and spiritual kingdoms of the world, and the elements and storms and powers of the earth.
With reference to this, our scriptures say: “For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course;
“To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.” (JST, Gen. 14:30–31.)
Indeed, the Melchizedek Priesthood is the very power that Christ himself will use to govern the nations in that day when “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Rev. 11:15.)
Blessing eight: We have power, through the priesthood, to gain eternal life, the greatest of all the gifts of God.
Eternal life is the name of the kind of life God lives. It consists, first, of the continuation of the family unit in eternity, and second, of an inheritance of the fulness of the glory of the Father.
All those who receive the Melchizedek Priesthood enter into a covenant with the Lord. Each such person solemnly promises:
I covenant to receive the priesthood;
I covenant to magnify my calling in the priesthood; and
I covenant to keep the commandments, to “live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.” (D&C 84:44.)
The Lord on his part covenants to give such faithful persons “all that my Father hath,” which is eternal life in the kingdom of God. (D&C 84:38; see also D&C 84:33–44.)
Then the Lord—to show the binding nature of his promise—swears with an oath that the promised reward shall be obtained.
This oath, as it pertained to the Son of God himself, is spoken of in these words: “The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Ps. 110:4.)
And with reference to all others who also receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, the scripture saith: “And all those who are ordained unto this priesthood are made like unto the Son of God, abiding a priest continually.” (JST, Heb. 7:3.) That is to say, they will be kings and priests forever; their priesthood will continue to all eternity; they will have eternal life.
“They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.
“They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—
“They are they who are priests and kings who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;
“And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son.
“Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God—
“Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” (D&C 76:54–59.)
Blessing nine: We have power to make our calling and election sure, so that while we yet dwell in mortality, having overcome the world and been true and faithful in all things, we shall be sealed up unto eternal life and have the unconditional promise of eternal life in the presence of Him whose we are.
Our revelations say: “The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood.” (D&C 131:5.)
During the latter years of his ministry, in particular, the Prophet Joseph Smith pleaded fervently with the Saints to press forward in righteousness until they made their calling and election sure, until they heard the heavenly voice proclaim: “Son, thou shalt be exalted.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 150.)
He himself became the pattern for all such attainment in this dispensation, when the voice from heaven said to him: “I am the Lord thy God, and will be with thee even unto the end of the world, and through all eternity; for verily I seal upon you your exaltation, and prepare a throne for you in the kingdom of my Father, with Abraham your father.” (D&C 132:49.)
Blessing ten: We have the power—and it is our privilege—so to live, that becoming pure in heart, we shall see the face of God while we yet dwell as mortals in a world of sin and sorrow.
This is the crowning blessing of mortality. It is offered by that God who is no respecter of persons to all the faithful in his kingdom.
“Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am.” (D&C 93:1.)
“And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry”—he is speaking now to those who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood—“that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual.
“For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God.
“Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind.
“Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected.” (D&C 67:10–13.)
These, then, are the ten blessings of the priesthood, the Holy Priesthood, after the order of the Son of God, the priesthood which the saints in ancient days called after Melchizedek to avoid the too frequent repetition of the name of Deity.
In this connection, these words from holy writ are appropriate:
“Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire.
“And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,
“It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God;
“And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name. …
“And now, Melchizedek was a priest of this order; therefore he obtained peace in Salem, and was called the Prince of peace.
“And his people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which God had before taken, separating it from the earth, having reserved it unto the latter days, or the end of the world;
“And hath said, and sworn with an oath, that the heavens and the earth should come together; and the sons of God should be tried so as by fire.
“And this Melchizedek, having thus established righteousness, was called the king of heaven by his people, or, in other words, the King of peace.
“And he lifted up his voice, and he blessed Abram. …
“And it came to pass, that God blessed Abram, and gave unto him riches, and honor, and lands for an everlasting possession; according to the covenant which he had made, and according to the blessing wherewith Melchizedek had blessed him.” (JST, Gen. 14:26–29, 33–37, 40.)
Now, my brethren, this is the priesthood which we hold. It will bless us as it blessed Melchizedek and Abraham. The priesthood of Almighty God is here. The doctrines which we teach are true, and by obedience to them we can enjoy the words of eternal life here and now and be inheritors of immortal glory hereafter.
I know, and you know, that as the heavens are above the earth, so are these truths of which we speak above all the ways of the world and all the honors which men can confer.
God grant that we may keep the commandments and be inheritors of all that a gracious Lord promises his people. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. (The Ten Blessings of the Priesthood BRUCE R. MCCONKIE) (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1977/10/the-ten-blessings-of-the-priesthood?lang=eng)
-“Our witness [during the partaking of the sacrament] that we are willing to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ has several different meanings. Some of these meanings are obvious, and well within the understanding of our children. Others are only evident to those who have searched the scriptures and pondered the wonders of eternal life. . . .
A third meaning appeals to the understanding of those mature enough to know that a follower of Christ is obligated to serve him. . . .
There are other meanings as well, deeper meanings that the more mature members of the Church should understand and ponder as he or she partakes of the sacrament.
It is significant that when we partake of the sacrament we do not witness that we take upon us the name of Jesus Christ. We witness that we are willing to do so. (See D&C 20:77.) The fact that we only witness to our willingness suggests that something else must happen before we actually take that sacred name upon us in the most important sense.
What future event or events could this covenant contemplate? The scriptures suggest two sacred possibilities, once concerning the authority of God, especially as exercised in the temples, and the other closely related concerning exaltation in the celestial kingdom.
The name of God is sacred. . . . All . . . references to ancient and modern temples as houses for “the name” of the Lord obviously involve something far more significant than a mere inscription of his sacred name on the structure. The scriptures speak of the Lord’s putting his name in a temple because he gives authority for his name to be used in the sacred ordinances of that house. That is the meaning of the Prophet’s reference to the Lord’s putting his name upon his people in that holy house. (See D&C 109:26.)
Willingness to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ can therefore be understood as willingness to take upon us the authority of Jesus Christ. According to this meaning, by partaking of the sacrament we witness our willingness to participate in the sacred ordinances of the temple and to receive the highest blessings available through the name and by the authority of the Savior when he chooses to confer them upon us.
. . . [T]hose who exercise faith in the sacred name of Jesus Christ and repent of their sins and enter into his covenant and keep his commandments (see Mosiah 5:8) can lay claim on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Those who do so will be called by his name at the last day. . . .
According to this meaning, when we witness our willingness to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ, we are signifying our commitment to do all that we can to achieve eternal life in the kingdom of our Father. We are expressing our candidacy our determination to strive for exaltation in the celestial kingdom.
Those who are found worthy to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ at the last day are described in the great revelations recorded in the ninety third and seventy sixth sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. Here the Savior revealed to Joseph Smith that in due time, if we keep the commandments of God, we can receive the “fulness” of the Father. (D&C 93:19 20.) Here the Savior bears record that “all those who are begotten through me are partakers of the glory of the [Father], and are the church of the Firstborn.” (D&C 93:22.) “They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things. . . . Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods” who “shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.” (D&C 76:55, 58, 62.) “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.” (John 17:3; see also D&C 88:4 5.) This is the ultimate significance of taking upon us the name of Jesus Christ. . . .
[O]ur witness [in the sacrament] relates to some future event or status who attainment is not self assumed, but depends on the authority or initiative of the Savior himself. . . .
[Among other meanings also, this] is what we should ponder as we partake of the sacred emblems of the sacrament. As we do so, we glory in the mission of the risen Lord, who lived and taught and suffered and died and rose again that all mankind might have immortality and eternal life.” (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Taking Upon Us the Name of Jesus Christ,” The Ensign (May1985), pp. 80 83 (italics in the original))
-“The Lord mentioned in a revelation on 1 November 1831 that he had granted unto his disciples the authority to “seal both on earth and in heaven” (D&C 1:8). During the same month he indicated that God the Father would reveal to his servants who should be sealed up “unto eternal life” by this power (D&C 68:12). The ordinance of the washing of feet was then introduced by the Lord as the means whereby someone could be rendered “clean from the blood of this generation” (D&C 88:138–141), and when Joseph Smith administered this ordinance, he stated that those who received it were not only “clean” in a ritual sense but were also “sealed up unto eternal life”” (HC, 1:323-24; see also MD, 829-32) (see also Matthew B. Brown, The Gate of Heaven, 235) (http://www.templestudy.com/2008/05/06/washing-of-feet/#footnote_0_279)
-“After reclining at the Passover table, Jesus and his apostolic friends ate the Passover meal with such portion of its rites and ceremonies as then suited their purposes. Then he introduced the gospel ordinance of the washing of feet. . . . To keep things in proper perspective, however, it is important to emphasize that the washing of feet came in the course of the meal, not at the beginning, and it was not simply an illustration of Godly humility, devised by Jesus to demonstrate his teachings about precedence, but was in fact the introduction of a new gospel ordinance.
John alone records such portions of what transpired relative to the foot-washing ordinance as have come down to us from biblical sources; our more extended knowledge relative thereto comes from latter-day revelation. . . . And the two ordinances about to be revealed—those of the washing of feet and of the partaking of the emblems of his flesh and blood—these two become an eternal manifestation of the grace and goodness and love of the Lord for the Twelve and for all who believe and obey the gospel, thereby making themselves worthy to receive each of these ordinances. . . .
. . . He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.”
This appears to be a general summary of all that transpired. What then follows are some of the particulars. As to these particulars, John says: “Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?” Jesus replied: “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.” That is: ‘You assume that I am acting only as any slave or host might, which is far from the case. I am about to perform a sacred ordinance, the meaning of which I will explain, and in due course you will know its true meaning.’ Still impulsive and reticent, the Chief Apostle said: “Thou“—our Master and Lord!—”Thou,” of all people, “needest not to wash my feet.” ‘Even though it be a sacred ordinance, let someone else do it instead!’ . . .
Jesus then said: “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” Catching a partial glimpse of the cleansing power of the new ordinance, Peter, ever impetuous, ever desiring to do all and more than need be, exclaimed “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.” Jesus replied: “He that has washed his hands and his head, needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit; and ye are clean, but not all.”
At this point, with reference to the ordinance itself, John explains: “Now this was the custom of the Jews under their law; wherefore, Jesus did this that the law might be fulfilled.” The full significance of this is not apparent to the casual reader, nor should it be, for the washing of feet is a sacred ordinance reserved to be done in holy places for those who make themselves worthy. It is evident, however, that the Jews also had sacred ordinances performed in their temple, a knowledge of which has not been preserved, nor could it be, in any literature that has come down to us.
What had he done? He had instituted—nay, reinstituted, for “the order of the house of God has been, and ever will be, the same” — he had reinstituted one of the holy ordinances of the everlasting gospel. Those who have been washed in the waters of baptism, who have been freed from sin and evil through the waters of regeneration, who have come forth thereby in a newness of life, and who then press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, keeping the commandments and walking in paths of truth and righteousness, qualify to have an eternal seal placed on their godly conduct. They are thus ready to be endowed with power from on high. Then, in holy places, they cleanse their hands and their feet, as the scripture saith, and become “clean from the blood of this wicked generation.” (D&C 88:74–75, D&C 88:137–41.) Then, as the scripture also saith, they receive anointings and washings and conversations and statutes and judgments. (D&C 124:37–40.) Then they receive what Jesus here gave the Twelve, for as the Prophet (Joseph Smith) said: “The house of the Lord must be prepared, . . . and in it we must attend to the ordinance of washing of feet. It was never intended for any but official members. It is calculated to unite our hearts, that we may be one in feeling and sentiment, and that our faith may be strong, so that Satan cannot overthrow us, nor have any power over us here. (Commentary 1:709.). . . . (see also Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 90 91.) It should be clear to all, however, that just as the act of immersion in water only hints at the true significance and power of baptism, so the act of the washing of feet is far more than the cleansing and refreshing of dusty and tired pedal extremities. It is an eternal ordinance, with eternal import, understood only by enlightened saints. That it might be continued by those having divine authorization to perform it, Jesus said:
Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. . . .
And in conclusion, well might we ask: If true disciples are to wash each other’s feet, where among the sects of Christendom is this done? And how could it be done except by revelation? Who would know all that is involved unless God revealed it? Is not this holy ordinance one of the many signs of the true Church?” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, vol. 4, 36-41) see also http://www.templestudy.com/2008/05/06/washing-of-feet/#footnote_5_279)
-“Washing of feet is a gospel ordinance; it is a holy and sacred rite, one performed by the saints in the seclusion of their temple sanctuaries. It is not done before the world or for worldly people. . . .
As part of the restoration of all things, the ordinance of washing of feet has been restored in the dispensation of the fulness of times. In keeping with the standard pattern of revealing principles and practices line upon line and precept upon precept, the Lord revealed his will concerning the washing of feet little by little until the full knowledge of the endowment and all temple ordinances had been given. . . .
Thus the knowledge relative to the washing of feet has been revealed step by step in this day until a full knowledge is now incorporated in the revealed ordinances of the Lord’s house. Obviously the apostate peoples of the world, being without revelation to guide them, cannot comply with our Lord’s command given on the occasion of the last supper.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, vol. 1, 708)
-“CALLING AND ELECTION
See also Election
Righteous followers of Christ can become numbered among the elect who gain the assurance of exaltation. This calling and election begins with repentance and baptism. It becomes complete when they “press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end” (2 Ne. 31:19–20). The scriptures call this process making our calling and election sure (2 Pet. 1:4–11; D&C 131:5–6).
• Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests: Ex. 19:5–6; ( Rev. 1:6; )
• God hath from the beginning chosen the elect for salvation: 2 Thes. 2:13;
• Give diligence to make your calling and election sure:2 Pet. 1:10;
• The Lord may seal you his: Mosiah 5:15;
• I covenant with thee that thou shalt have eternal life: Mosiah 26:20;
• Faithful priesthood holders become the church and kingdom and the elect of God: D&C 84:33–34;
• The more sure word of prophecy means knowing that one is sealed up unto eternal life: D&C 131:5–6;
• I seal upon you your exaltation: D&C 132:49;”
(Guide to The Scriptures, https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/calling-and-election)
-“These things I declare to you with the conviction Peter called the “more sure word of prophecy.”16 What was once a tiny seed of belief for me has grown into the tree of life, so if your faith is a little tested in this or any season, I invite you to lean on mine. I know this work is God’s very truth, and I know that only at our peril would we allow doubt or devils to sway us from its path. Hope on. Journey on. Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Lord I Believe” General Conference, Apr. 2013, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/lord-i-believe?lang=eng)
-“The more sure word of prophecy means knowing that one is sealed up unto eternal life:D&C 131:5–6;” (Guide to The Scriptures, “Calling and Election”, see https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/calling-and-election)
-“there was “a more sure word of prophecy”—the calling and election made sure. (See 2 Pet. 1:16–19.)” (“Accepted of the Lord: Making Your Calling and Election Sure” by Roy W. Doxey, Ensign, July 1976. https://www.lds.org/ensign/1976/07/accepted-of-the-lord-the-doctrine-of-making-your-calling-and-election-sure?lang=eng
-“The anointing and sealing is to be called, elected and made sure.”
(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 323.)
-“This room is reserved for the higher ordinances in the Priesthood relating to the exaltation of both living and dead.”
(The House of the Lord (1968 ed.), p. 163, Elder James E. Talmage’s Description of the Purpose of the Holy of Holies of the Salt Lake Temple)
-“Each person baptized into the Church is under obligation to keep the commandments of the Lord. He is under covenant, for baptism is a “new and an everlasting covenant.” (D&C 22:1.) When he has proved himself by a worthy life, having been faithful in all things required of him, then it is his privilege to receive other covenants and to take upon himself other obligations which will make of him an heir, `and he will become a member of the “Church of the Firstborn.” Into his hands “the Father has given all things.” He will be a priest and a king, receiving of the Father’s fullness and of his glory. Is this worth having? It cannot be obtained without some effort. It cannot be obtained without knowledge of the things of God. And the fullness of these blessings can only be obtained in the temple of the Lord!”
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Way To Perfection, 1931 ed., p. 208.)
-“While reclining at the Passover table, Jesus and His Apostles ate the meal and presumably observed the rites that attended that ceremony. He then introduced the ordinance of the washing of feet. After doing so, He questioned them, “Know ye what I have done to you?” (John 13:12.)
What He had done was to perform an ordinance found only in holy places where those who are to bear His name are cleansed from “the blood [and sins] of this wicked generation.” (See D&C 88:74 75, 137 41.) This was a manifestation of the Savior’s supreme love “to seal his friends up unto eternal life in his Father’s kingdom.” “((Bruce R. McConkie, The Mortal Messiah, 4 vols., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979 81, 48.) Elder David B. Haight, “Remembering the Savior’s Atonement,”
The Ensign (April 1988), pp. 7 8.)
-“Sunday, May 1, 1842. I preached in the grove, on the keys of the kingdom, charity, &c. The keys are certain signs and words by which [p. 20] false spirits and personages may be detected from true, which cannot be revealed to the Elders till the Temple is completed. The rich can only get them in the Temple, the poor may get them on the mountain top as did Moses. The rich cannot be saved without charity, giving to feed the poor when and how God requires, as well as building. There are signs in heaven, earth and hell; the Elders must know them all, to be endowed with power, to finish their work and prevent imposition. The devil knows many signs, but does not know the sign of the Son of Man, or Jesus. No one can truly say he knows God until he has handled something, and this can only be in the holiest of holies.”
(History of the Church, Vol. 4: 608.)
-“136 Behold, verily, I say unto you, this is an ensample unto you for a salutation to one another in the house of God, in the school of the prophets.
137 And ye are called to do this by prayer and thanksgiving, as the Spirit shall give utterance in all your doings in the house of the Lord, in the school of the prophets, that it may become a sanctuary, a tabernacle of the Holy Spirit to your edification.
138 And ye shall not receive any among you into this school save he is clean from the blood of this generation;
139 And he shall be received by the ordinance of the washing of feet, for unto this end was the ordinance of the washing of feet instituted.
140 And again, the ordinance of washing feet is to be administered by the president, or presiding elder of the church.
141 It is to be commenced with prayer; and after partaking of bread and wine, he is to gird himself according to the pattern given in the thirteenth chapter of John’s testimony concerning me. Amen.” (D&C 88:36-41)
-“The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood.” (D&C 131:5)
-“Wednesday, 4. I spent the day in the upper part of the store, that is in my private office *** in council with General James Adams, of Springfield, Patriarch Hyrum Smith, Bishops Newel K. Whitney and George Miller, and President Brigham Young and Elders Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards, instructing them in the principles and order of the Priesthood, attending to washings, anointings, endowments and the communication of keys pertaining to the Aaronic Priesthood, and so on to the highest order of the Melchizedek Priesthood, setting forth the order pertaining to the Ancient of Days, and all those plans and principles by which any one is enabled to secure the fullness of those blessings which have been prepared for the Church of the Firstborn, and come up and abide in the presence of the Eloheim [Hebrew for gods] in the eternal worlds. In this council was instituted the ancient order of things for the first time in these last days. And the communications I made to this council were of things spiritual, and to be received only by the spiritual minded: and there was nothing made known to these men but what will be made known to all the Saints of the last days, so soon as they are prepared to receive, and a proper place is prepared to communicate them, even to the weakest of the Saints; therefore let the Saints be diligent in building the Temple, and all houses which they have been, or shall hereafter be, commanded of God to build; and wait their time with patience in all meekness faith, perseverance unto the end, knowing assuredly that all these things referred to in this council are always governed by the principle of revelation.”
(History of the Church, Vol. 5: 1, 2.)
-“The whole earth is the Lord’s. The time will come when it will be translated and be filled with the spirit and power of God. The atmosphere around it will be the spirit of the Almighty. We will breathe that Spirit instead of the atmosphere that we now breathe. But now it is for us to make the preparation, that we may be worthy to be called into the house of the Lord and receive our second blessings. I do not want the presidents of Stakes to send any person to our Temples to receive the highest blessings that have ever been bestowed upon man since the world began, until it can be said of him, “He pays his full tithing.” When you find an honest, faithful Latter-day Saint who is worthy of receiving His blessings, send him along. I do not care how fast they come. The time is now at hand when the Latter-day Saints can be greatly and abundantly blessed, so that they can make the preparation in its fulness.”
(Millennial Star, Vol. 61: p. 546, President Lorenzo Snow,
May 8, 1899, in St. George, Utah on Tithing Talk Tour.)
-“We’ll wash and be washed, and with oil be anointed,
Withal not omitting the washing of feet;
For he that receiveth his penny appointed
Must surely be clean at the harvest of wheat.
We’ll sing and we’ll shout, (etc.)”
(History of the Church, 2: 426, LDS Hymn First Sung at the Dedication of the Kirtland Temple, “The Spirit of God like a fire is burning!” an older rendition of the hymn)
-“On the 23rd, we again assembled in conference; when, after much speaking, singing, praying, and praising God, all in tongues, we proceeded to the washing of feet (according to the practice recorded in the 13th chapter of John’s Gospel), as commanded of the Lord. Each Elder washed his own feet first, after which I girded myself with a towel and washed the feet of all of them, wiping them with the towel with which I was girded. Among the number, my father presented himself, but before I washed his feet, I asked of him a father’s blessing, which he granted by laying his hands upon my head, in the name of Jesus Christ, and declaring that I should continue in the Priest’s office until Christ comes. At the close of the scene, Brother Fredrick G. Williams, being moved upon by the Holy Ghost, washed my feet in token of his fixed determination to be with me in suffering, or in journeying, in life or in death, and to be continually on my right hand; in which I accepted him in the name of the Lord.
I then said to the Elders, As I have done so do ye; wash ye therefore, one another’s feet; and by the power of the Holy Ghost I pronounced them all clean from the blood of this generation; but if any of them should sin willfully after they were thus cleansed, and sealed up unto eternal life, they should be given over unto the buffetings of Satan until the day or redemption. Having continued all day in fasting, and prayer, and ordinances, we closed by partaking of the Lord’s Supper. I blessed the bread and wine in the name of the Lord, when we all ate and drank, and were filled; then we sung a hymn, and the meeting adjourned.”
(History of the Church, Vol. 1: 323, 324.)
-“Dear Brethren: It has been decided that it is no longer necessary for those going to the Temples to attend to ordinances therein to send their recommends to President Woodruff to be by him endorsed. The signatures of the Bishop and Stake President will be all that is required. This decision applies to all ordinances attended to in the House of the Lord, except Second Anointings, which last named will still require the approval of the President of the Church before they can be administered. This being the decision, Bishops of Wards and Presidents of Stakes will see the increased necessity for care, so that no unworthy person will be recommended for ordinances in the Temples.”
(Your Brethren, Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith November 6, 1891The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, Messages of the First Presidency, Vol. 3, P. 228.)
-“(to) Salt Lake City, Utah, April 14th, 1900.
Prest. David H. Cannon, St. George. Dear Brother: During the lifetime of the late President Wilford Woodruff a rule was established by him not to permit a woman to be anointed to a man unless she had lived with him as a wife. This was a restriction of the rule in such cases which obtained during the lifetime of Presidents Brigham Young and John Taylor. After considering the matter we have concluded to restore the practice as expressed in the following, and which will govern in such cases in the future: Any woman, who has been sealed to a man in life or by proxy, whether she has lived with him or not, shall have the privilege of being anointed to him inasmuch as he shall have had his second blessings. (Lorenzo Snow
George Q. Cannon
Joseph F. Smith
Messages of the First Presidency, Vol. 3: 325.)
“. . . Bishops are not to issue recommends for second anointings: that is the province of Presidents of Stakes, under approval of the President of the Church, and the individuals selected must not be informed until after the issuance of such recommend. As a general rule, such recommends are issued only in behalf of those who have had endowments in lifetime, and have been sealed and lived together faithfully as husband and wife, [p. 53] and who have been valiant in the defense of truth and active in all good works. . . .”
Your Brother in the Covenant,
Joseph F. Smith
(Messages of the First Presidency, Vol. 5: 110 12.)
-“We cannot speak too emphatically on this subject to our brethren who are on missions, by way of caution against the infraction of their covenants, and in condemnation of those who do this for the purpose of impressing others with their self-importance when they boast of having received “the highest blessings,” conveying the idea that they are more advanced in those things than some of their fellow laborers. “The secrets of the Lord are with them that fear him,” and they who do not “fear him” sufficiently to keep to themselves that which was only intended for them and which they are forbidden to make known to others, prove themselves unworthy to receive the fulfillment of the promise of God, to “crown them with honor, immortality, and eternal life.”” (Millennial Star, Vol. 71: 105, Charles W. Penrose.)
-“Conference Meeting For Priesthood Leadership: April 8, 1901 ***** After the opening exercises Prest Lorenzo Snow spoke upon the Subject of the giving of Second Anointings. He said that this blessing brought a person to a greater knowledge of the things pertaining to God and his purposes in the earth, that the glorious things of the kingdom were made clear to the understanding of man. Therefore it would be a very serious thing for a man to apostatize after he had received this great blessing. He warned the Presidents of Stakes that they should exercise great care when giving recommends to those of his stake to receive these great blessings and should know by their work their integrity and devotion to the cause of the Gospel, for the responsibility would rest upon them if any were recommended unworthily or that apostatized. ***** Prest. Jos. F. Smith then made a few remarks on the Subject of the Second Anointing. He said that it was the crowning blessing of and the highest gift to conferred by the Melchesidek Priesthood. Elders should do something to be worthy to receive this great blessing and their (sic) are many ways out of the ordinary routine duties by which a man could earn the good will of God to the obtaining of this blessing. Every man should be determined to place every thing on the altar even to the laying down of life itself for the gospel sake in order to be truly worthy of this blessing.”
(Journal of Thomas A. Clawson, 1895 1904 Book, pp, 226, 228. [p. 51])
-“Letter by First Presidency to Pres. C. R. Hakes, Mesa: August 1, 1902 2nd Annointing (sic) Qualifications: 1. Integrity to the work beyond question; for it would be very “unfortunate” to apostatize afterwards.
2. Age to be considered, but need not be “old” before receiving it.
3. Chief qualifications are worthiness, fitness and unshaken integrity; need not be presiding men, but the presiding officers (Stake President, High Council, Pres. High Priests, etc.) should qualify.
4. Name of man and wife or wives (dead or alive) to be annointed to him to be placed on usual recommend.”
(Declarations of the First Presidency on Temple Work, Vol 2:14)
-“Letter by First Presidency to Pres. S. L. Chipman, American Fork, June 16, 1905: Second annointing to those who have borne “the heat and burden of the day, and endured faithfully to the end.””
(Declarations of the First Presidency on Temple Work, Vol 2:57)
-“Letter by First Presidency, to President Lewis Anderson, Manti: March 14, 1907 1. Given only to couples (for the dead), who are faithful and lived together in life.
2. Given only to those who gather to Zion, non gatherers to be handled on other side.” (Declarations of the First Presidency on Temple Work, Vol 3:49 [p. 52])
-“February 25, 1909 Letter by George F. Gibbs to Pres. F. S. Bramwell, LeGrande: Only married men to be recommended for 2nd annointings (sic).”
(Declarations of the First Presidency on Temple Work, Vol 3:144)
-“Bishops are not to issue recommends for second annointings: that is the province of Presidents of Stakes, under approval of the President of the Church, and the individuals selected must not be informed until after the issuance of such recommend. As a general rule, such recommends are issued only in behalf of those who have had endowments in lifetime, and have been sealed and lived together faithfully as husband and wife, [p. 53] and who have been valiant in the defense of truth and active in all good works.” (Joseph F. Smith, Messages of the First Presidency, 1918, Vol. 5: 110 112.)
-“Oct 11th we were invited to the endowment house, where we were told that a school of the Prophets would be organized and that only those who are willing to observe the word of wisdom and observe all other laws, God has given us, could be admitted. We were told to come again the next day, fasting and with our bodies washed clean.
Oct 12th 1883 was a day to be long remembered by all who partook of the [p. 40] blessings that were then bestowed upon us.
Patriarch Zebedee Coltrin, who was the only surviving member of the school of the Prophets organized by the Prophet Joseph Smith at Kirtland washed the feet of President John Taylor and Prest Taylor in turn washed the feet of Zebedee Coltrin and then the feet of his Counselors, then of ten of the Apostles (Elders C C Rich and John H. Smith being absent the former sick, the later presiding in England) then the feet of Counselor D H. Wells (J W Young absent).
After that the remaining brethren were seated according to age and Prest Taylor washed the feet of twenty of the Presidents of Stakes, of Jno. B. Maiben Counselor to Prest Canute Peterson, of myself and of Geo Reynold private Secretary to Prest Taylor. The ceremony used by Prest Taylor was about as follows: “In the name of Jesus and by the authority of the holy priesthood I wash your feet in accordance with the pattern set by our Lord Jesus Christ when he washed his disciples feet and told them to wash each others’ feet, and also according to the pattern given by the Prophet Joseph Smith as an introductory ordinance to the School of the Prophets.
I pronounce you clean from the blood of this generation and say unto you, your sins are forgiven you and I seal upon you every blessing, gift, right and authority pertaining to this holy ordinance and I do it in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
After the washing of feet the Sacrament was administered, consisting of bread and wine. Of the latter we partook about one third of a Tumbler full each and of the former as much as our appetite would prompt us. After the sacrament we retired to a lower room and on returning were saluted [p. 41] by Pres’t Taylor with the words prescribed in Section VII of the D. & C. Pres’t George Q. Cannon in behalf of the members answered the salutation, We were then dismissed by prayer. ****
December 24th 1883 A school of the Prophets was organized in the Temple with Erastus Snow Prest and Jno D T. McAllister Prest in his absence The ceremonies were the same as those in Salt Lake City. The following were initiated by the washing of feet, Prest Woodruff officiating. John Lytle, Henry Harriman, Henry W. Miller, Wm Fawcett, John Pymm, D D. McArthur, Charles Smith, Walter Granger, Marius Ensign, Chas A Terry, D H Cannon, Thos L. Terry, Marcus Funk, Geo H Crosby, Wm A Bringhurst, Chas N. Smith, Wilson D Pace, M. F. Farnsworth, W H Thompson, A P Winsor, S. R Woodward. There were present also: Prest Woodruff, E Snow Geo, Teasdale, J D T. McAllister and myself all of whom had received membership in S. L. City. The names of the Prests of Stakes who received membership in Salt Lake City are as follows:
Wm Budge Prest of Bear Lake Stake
Jon R Murdock Beaver
Wm B. Preston Cache
Wm R. Smith Davis
C.G. Larson Emery
Wm Paxman Juab
L. John Nuttall Kanab
Ira N. Hinkley Millard
Willard G. Smith Morgan
Jesse W. Crosby Jr Panguitch
Thomas J. Jones Parowan
Angus M. Cannon Salt Lake
J. D T. McAllister St George
W W. Cluff Summit
Hugh S Gowens Tooele
A. 0. Smoot Utah
Abram. Hatch Wasatch
Levi W. Shurtliff Weber
Silas S. Smith San Luis
Christopher Layton St Joseph”
([p. 42] Journal of Henry Eyring, BYU Special Collections, Mor/M270.1/Ey67, pp. 51 54.)
-“If a person asks for these blessings, they are not worthy of them.” (President Heber J. Grant)
-“21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” (2 Cor. 1:21-22)
-“13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Eph. 1:13-14)
-“5 Therefore, I, John, the faithful witness, bear record of the things which were delivered me of the angel, and from Jesus Christ the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.
6 And unto him who loved us, be glory; who washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God, his Father. To him be glory and dominion, forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev. 1:5-6 JST)
-“9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” (Rev. 5:9-10)
-“But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (1 John 2: 27)
-“On the 23rd, we again assembled in conference; when, after much speaking, singing, praying, and praising God, all in tongues, we proceeded to the washing of feet (according to the practice recorded in the 13th chapter of John’s Gospel), as commanded of the Lord. Each Elder washed his own feet first, after which I girded myself with a towel and washed the feet of all of them, wiping them with the towel with which I was girded. Among the number, my father presented himself, but before I washed his feet, I asked of him a father’s blessing, which he granted by laying his hands upon my head, in the name of Jesus Christ, and declaring that I should continue in the Priest’s office until Christ comes. At the close of the scene, Brother Fredrick G. Williams, being moved upon by the Holy Ghost, washed my feet in token of his fixed determination to be with me in suffering, or in journeying, in life or in death, and to be continually on my right hand; in which I accepted him in the name of the Lord.
I then said to the Elders, As I have done so do ye; wash ye, therefore, one another’s feet; and by the power of the Holy Ghost I pronounced them all clean from the blood of this generation; but if any of them should sin willfully after they were thus cleansed, and sealed up unto eternal life, they should be given over unto the buffetings of Satan until the day or redemption. Having continued all day in fasting, and prayer, and ordinances, we closed by partaking of the Lord’s supper. I blessed the bread and wine in the name of the Lord, when we all ate and drank, and were filled; then we sung a hymn, and the meeting adjourned.” (History of the Church, 1: 323 24.)
-“The item to which I wish the more particularly to call your attention to night, is the ordinance of washing of feet. This we have not done as yet, but it is necessary now. as much as it was in the days of the Savior; and we must have a place prepared, that we may attend to this ordinance aside from the world. We have not desired as much from the hand of the Lord through faith and obedience, as we ought to have done, yet we have enjoyed great blessings, and we are not so sensible of this as we should be… When or where has God suffered one of the witnesses or first Elders of this Church to fall? Never, and nowhere. Amidst all the calamities and judgments that have befallen the inhabitants of the earth, His almighty arm has sustained us, men and devils have raged and spent their malice in vain. We must have all things prepared, and call our solemn assembly as the Lord has commanded us, that we may be able to accomplish His great work, and it must be done in God’s own way. …The endowment you are so anxious about you cannot comprehend now, nor could Gabriel explain it to the understanding of your dark minds; but strive to be prepared in your hearts, be faithful in all things, that when we meet in the solemn assembly, that is, when such as God shall name out of all the official members shall meet, we must be clean every whit. Let us be faithful and silent, brethren, and if God gives you a manifestation, keep it to yourselves; be watchful and prayerful, and you shall have a prelude of those joys that God will pour out on that day. Do not watch for iniquity in each other, if you do you will not get an endowment, for God will not bestow it on such. But if we are faithful, and live by every word that proceeds forth from the mouth of God, I will venture to prophesy that we shall get a blessing that will be worth remembering, if we should live as long as John the Revelator; our blessings will be such as we have not realized before, nor received in this generation. The order of the house of God has been, and ever will be, the same, even after Christ comes; and after the termination of the thousand years it will be the same; and we shall finally enter into the celestial kingdom of God, and enjoy it forever.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 90 91.)
-“Let the anointing of thy ministers be sealed upon them with power from on high. And let these, thine anointed ones, be clothed with salvation, and thy saints shout aloud for joy. Amen, and Amen.” (Joseph Smith, Dedication of Kirtland Temple, Doctrine and Covenants 109: 35, 80)
-“Soon after this, the word of the Lord came, through President Joseph Smith, Jun., that those who had entered the holy place, must not leave the house until morning, but send for such things as were necessary, and also, during our stay, we must cleanse our feet and partake of the Sacrament that we might be made holy before Him, and thereby be qualified to officiate in our calling, upon the morrow, in washing the feet of the Elders. Accordingly we proceeded to cleanse our faces and our feet, and then proceeded to wash one another’s feet. President Sidney Rigdon first washed President Joseph Smith, Junior’s feet, and then, in turn, was washed by him; after which President Rigdon washed President Joseph Smith, Sen., and Hyrum Smith. President Joseph Smith, Jun., washed President Frederick G. Williams, and then President Hyrum Smith washed President David Whitmer’s and President Oliver Cowdery’s feet. Then President David Whitmer washed President William W. Phelps’ feet, and in turn President Phelps washed President John Whitmer’s feet. The Bishops and their Counselors were then washed, after which we partook of the bread and wine. The Holy Spirit rested down upon us, and we continued in the Lord’s House all night, prophesying and giving glory to God.
Wednesday, 30. At eight o’clock, according to appointment, the Presidency, the Twelve, the Seventies, the High Council, the Bishops and their entire quorums, the Elders and all the official members in this stake of Zion, amounting to about three hundred, met in the Temple of the Lord to attend to the ordinance of washing of feet. I ascended the pulpit, and remarked to the congregation that we had passed through many trials and afflictions since the organization of the Church, and that this is a year of jubilee to us, and a time of rejoicing, and that it was expedient for us to prepare bread and wine sufficient to make our hearts glad, as we should not, probably, leave this house until morning; to this end we should call on the brethren to make a contribution. The stewards passed round and took up a liberal contribution, and messengers were dispatched for bread and wine.
Tubs, water, and towels were prepared, and I called the house to order, and the Presidency proceeded to wash the feet of the Twelve, pronouncing many prophecies and blessings upon them in the name of the Lord Jesus; and then the Twelve proceeded to wash the feet of the Presidents of the several quorums. The brethren began to prophesy upon each other’s heads, and upon the enemies of Christ, who inhabited Jackson county, Missouri; and continued prophesying, and blessing, and sealing them with hosanna and a men, until nearly seven o’clock in the evening.
The bread and the wine were then brought in, and I observed that we had fasted all the day, and lest we faint, as the Savior did so shall we do on this occasion; we shall bless the bread, and give it to the Twelve, and they to the multitude.” (History of the Church, Vol. 2: 429 31.)
-“And again I bear record of heavenly things,
Where virtue’s the value above all that is priz’d,
Of the truth of the gospel concerning the just,
That rise in the first resurrection of Christ.
Who receiv’d, and believ’d, and repented likewise,
And then were baptiz’d, as a man always was,
Who ask’d and receiv’d a remission of sin,
And honoured the kingdom by keeping its laws.
Being buried in water, as Jesus had been,
And keeping the whole of his holy commands,
They received the gift of the spirit of truth,
By the ordinance truly of laying on hands.
For these overcome, by their faith and their works,
Being tried in their life time, as purified gold,
And seal’d by the spirit of promise to life,
By men called of God, as was Aaron of old.
They are they, of the church of the first born of God,
And unto whose hands he committeth all things;
For they hold the keys of the kingdom of heav’n,
And reign with the Saviour, as priests and as kings.
They’re priests of the order of Melchisedec,
Like Jesus (from whom is this highest reward),
Receiving a fulness of glory and light;
As written they’re God’s, even sons of the Lord.”
(Joseph Smith’s Poetic Rendition of the Vision Concerning The Requirements for Exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom of Glory, Times and Seasons, Vol. 4: 81 85.)
-“All men who become heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ will have to receive the fulness of the ordinances of his kingdom; and those who will not receive all the ordinances will come short of the fulness of that glory, if they do not lose the whole. …In the resurrection, some are raised to be angels, others are raised to become Gods. These things are revealed in the most holy places in a Temple prepared for that purpose. Many of the sects cry out, “Oh, I have the testimony of Jesus; I have the spirit of God; but away with Joe Smith; he says he is a prophet; but there are to be no prophets or revelators in the last days.” Stop, sir! The Revelator says that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy; so by your own mouth you are condemned. But to the text. Why gather the people together in this place? For the same purpose that Jesus wanted to gather the Jews to receive the ordinances, the blessings, and glories that God has in store for His Saints.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 307 9, 311 12.)
-“The anointing and sealing is to be called, elected and made sure.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 323.)
-“The question is frequently asked, “Can we not be saved without going through with all those ordinances? I would answer, No, not the fulness of salvation. Jesus said, There are many mansions in my Father’s house, and I will go and prepare a place for you. House here named should have been translated kingdom; and any person who is exalted to the highest mansion has to abide a celestial law, and the whole law too.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 331)
-“(Sunday) Preached in the city. In the evening attended prayer meeting at the Assembly Room. My wife Mary Ann and I received our second anointing.
Met with the Quorum: Heber C. Kimball and his wife Vilate received their second anointing.”
(Manuscript History of Brigham Young, Watson, p. 158.)
-“(Sunday) I met in the Assembly Room with the Quorum, and administered to Parley P. Pratt his second anointing.”
(Manuscript History of Brigham Young, Watson, p. 158.)
-“On January 21st, Elder Woodruff records the fact that Apostle Parley P. Pratt had just received second anointings and that he had been instructed by the Prophet that it was his duty to have his wife sealed to him for eternity in order that his glory might by full.”
(Wilford Woodruff His Life and Labors, Matthias F. Cowley, pp. 197 98.)
“The Quorum met at my house: Orson Hyde received his second anointing.
26 The twelve met at my house: Orson Pratt received his second anointing.
27 We met at the Assembly Room: Willard Richards and his wife Jenetta were sealed and received their second anointing.
28 The Quorum met in the Assembly Room. Wilford Woodruff and his wife Phebe W. were sealed and received their second anointing.
30 The Quorum met at my house. John and Leonora Taylor were sealed and anointed.
31 I met with the Quorum at my house. George A. and Bathsheba W. Smith were anointed, having been sealed on the 20th inst.”
(Manuscript History of Brigham Young, Watson, p. 159.)
-“Now for Elijah. The spirit, power, and calling of Elijah is, that ye have power to hold the key of the revelation, ordinances, oracles, powers and endowments of the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood and of the kingdom of God on the earth; and to receive, obtain, and perform all the ordinances belonging to the kingdom of God, even unto the turning of the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the hearts of the children unto the fathers, even those who are in heaven. . . . Although David was a king, he never did obtain the spirit and power of Elijah and the fullness of the Priesthood; and the Priesthood that he received, and the throne and kingdom of David is to be taken from him and given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his lineage.”
(History of the Church, 6: 251, 253.)
-“The declaration this morning is, that as soon as the Temple and baptismal font are prepared, we calculate to give the Elders of Israel their washings and anointings, and attend to those last and more impressive ordinances, without which we cannot obtain celestial thrones. But there must be a holy place prepared for that purpose. There was a proclamation made during the time that the foundation of the Temple was laid to that effect, and there are provisions made until the work is completed, so that men may receive their endowments and be made kings and priests unto the Most High God, having nothing to do with temporal things, but their whole time will be taken up with things pertaining to the house of God. There must, however, be a place built expressly for that purpose, and for men to be baptized for their dead. It must be built in this central place; for every man who wishes to save his father, mother brothers, sisters and friends, must go through all the ordinances for each one of them separately, the same as for himself, from baptism to ordination, washing and anointings, and receive all the keys and powers of the Priesthood, the same as for himself.”
(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 362 63.)
-“I know there are those in our midst who will seek the lives of the Twelve as they did the lives of Joseph and Hyrum. We shall ordain others and give the fullness of the priesthood, so that if we are killed the fullness of the priesthood may remain.”
(History of the Church, 7: 230.)
-“Yes, brethren, we verily know and bear testimony, that a cloud of blessing and of endowment, and of the keys of the fullness of the priesthood, and of things pertaining to eternal life, is hanging over us, and ready to burst upon us or upon as many as live worthy of it, so soon as there is a place found on earth to receive it. Therefore, let no cunningly devised fable, no false delusive spirit, or vision, no man or set of men who go out from us, but are not of us, have any influence on your minds for a moment, to draw your minds away from this all important work. But enter steadily and regularly upon a strict observance of the law of tithing, and of freewill offerings, till Jehovah shall say it is enough; your offerings are accepted: then come up to the House of the Lord, and be taught in his ways, and walk in his paths; yea, enter his sanctuary; and receive the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”
(History of the Church, 7: 281)
-“This great and good man (Joseph Smith) was led, before his death, to call the Twelve together, from time to time, and to instruct them in all things pertaining to the kingdom, ordinances, and government of God. **** Said he,”I know not why; but for some reason I am constrained to hasten my preparations, and to confer upon the Twelve all the ordinances, keys, covenants, endowments, and sealing ordinances of the priesthood, and so set before them a pattern in all things pertaining to the sanctuary and the endowment therein.” ***** He proceeded to confer on elder Young, the President of the Twelve, the keys of the sealing power, as conferred in the last days by the spirit and power of Elijah, in order to seal the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth should be smitten with a curse.
This last key of the priesthood is the most sacred of all, and pertains exclusively to the first presidency of the church, without whose sanction and approval or authority, no sealing blessing shall be administered pertaining to things of the resurrection and the life to come.”
(Millennial Star, Vol. 5: 151. Written in New York, January lst, 1845, pub. March 1845. This is part of a proclammation issued by Elder Parley P. Pratt.)
-“To this city (New Jerusalem), and to its several branches or stakes, shall the Gentiles seek, as to a standard of light and knowledge; yea, the nations and their kings and nobles shall say Come, and let us go up to the Mount Zion, and to the temple of the Lord, where His holy Priesthood stand to minister more fully, and receive the ordinances of remission, and of sanctification, and redemption, and thus be adopted into the family of Israel, and identified in the same covenants of promise.
The despised and degraded son of the forest, who has wandered in dejection and sorrow, and suffered reproach, shall then drop his disguise and stand forth in manly dignity, and exclaim to the Gentiles who have envied and sold him ”I am Joseph; does my father yet live?” or, in other words, I am a descendant of that Joseph who was sold into Egypt. You have hated me, and sold me, and thought I was dead; but lo! I live and am heir to the inheritance, titles, honours, priesthood, sceptre, crown, throne, and eternal life and dignity of my fathers, who live for evermore.
He shall then be ordained, washed, anointed with holy oil, and arrayed in fine linen, even in the glorious and beautiful garments and royal robes of the high priesthood, which is after the order of the Son of God; and shall enter into the Holy of Holies, there to be crowned with authority and power which shall never end.
The spirit of the Lord shall then descend upon him like the dew upon the mountains of Hermon, and like refreshing showers of rain upon the flowers of Paradise.
His heart shall expand with knowledge, wide as eternity, and his mind shall comprehend the vast creations of his God, and his eternal purpose of redemption, glory, and exaltation, which was devised in heaven before the worlds were organized; but made manifest in these last days, for the fulness of the Gentiles, and for the exaltation of Israel.
He shall also behold his Redeemer, and be filled with His presence, while the cloud of His glory shall be seen in His temple.”
(Millennial Star Vol. 6, Appendix: pp. 9 10; Written in New York, April 6, 1845. This is from the proclammation of the Church commanded by the Lord in Doctrine and Covenants 124)
-“The Saints will not receive their crowns of glory until after their resurrection. When the curse in part shall be removed from the world; when wickedness and abomination shall be known no more in the land, then will the Saints come forth clothed with immortality, and be crowned with power and glory as a reward for all their labors. No person will be crowned with power in the eternal word, (we are to be kings and priests to God to all eternity,) unless they have been ordained thereto in this life, previous to their death, or by some friend acting as proxy for them afterwards, and receiving it for them. What is it to be kings and priests? It is to have honor, authority and dominion, having kingdoms to preside over, and subjects to govern, and possessing the ability ever to increase their authority and glory, and extend their dominion.”
(Orson Pratt in a funeral address: Times & Seasons, Vol. 6:920, publication date June 1st, 1845, see above for the date of the funeral address.)
-“Prest. (George A.) Smith, on rising, ***** alluded to councils which had been held in Nauvoo, and to the fact of the Prophet Joseph calling the Twelve together, and, at a meeting called for that purpose, of Joseph and Hyrum the Patriarch administering to Brigham Young, then President of the Twelve Apostles, what is known as the Second Anointing, and instructing him to administer in like manner to his brethren of the Twelve, which he did to the nine of the Twelve who were then at home.*****
Brother George A. Smith (of the First Presidency), in the foregoing recital, incidentally remarked that Elder Sidney Rigdon had never received the Second Anointing, nor the keys pertaining to baptism for the dead.”
(James G. Bleak, Clerk and Historian of the Southern Mission. Friday, December 25, 1874. Millennial Star Vol. 37: 66, Tuesday, February 2, 1875.)
-“Magnificant and moving is the promise to every man and boy who magnifies his calling as a holder of the priesthood. Said the Lord concerning you, they are to be “sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies. They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom and the elect of God.” (D&C 84:33 34.) Further, all that the Father hath shall be given unto them.
There is no greater promise than this. I have seen and known such men. I met some such the other day when I was at the St. George Temple. I have known and watched these brethren for many years. Their hair is now white, and they do not walk with that vitality which was once their characteristic. Those of whom I speak have never had much of wealth. But they have had much of wisdom, and they have had much of faith. They are men who since the days of their youth have held the priesthood of God, have walked in its light, and have magnified their callings. They have left home at personal sacrifice to serve as missionaries and as mission presidents. They have served as bishops and presidents of stakes. Wherever they have gone, whether in their vocational or ecclesiastical callings, they have touched a candle with the flame of their own faith and brought light where before there was darkness.
In season and out of season, in sunshine and in storm, in defeat as well as in victory, they have kept their eyes at the right end of the lens, magnifying their callings and bringing closer, as it were, the sacred and eternal things of God.”
(President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Magnify Your Calling,”)
-“1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:1-3)
-“I feel disposed to speak a few words more to you, my brethren, concerning the endowment: All who are prepared and are sufficiently pure to abide the presence of the Savior, will see Him in the solemn assembly.” (Joseph Smith, Hist. of the Church 2:307-310)
-“34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—
36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
38 Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.
39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.” (D&C 121:34-40)
-“First, I give unto you Hyrum Smith to be a patriarch unto you, to hold the sealing blessings of my church, even the Holy Spirit of promise, whereby ye are sealed up unto the day of redemption, that ye may not fall notwithstanding the hour of temptation that may come upon you.” (D&C 124:124)
“the great universe of stars has multiplied beyond the comprehension of men. Evidently each of these great systems is governed by divine law; with divine presiding Gods, for it would be unreasonable to assume that each was not so governed.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions 2:144, 1980)
-“The life that God lives is named eternal life. His name, one of them, is “Eternal,” using that word as a noun and not as an adjective, and he uses that name to identify the type of life that he lives. God’s life is eternal life, and eternal life is God’s life. They are one and the same. Eternal life is the reward we shall obtain if we believe and obey and walk uprightly before him. And eternal life consists of two things. It consists of life in the family unit, and, also, of inheriting, receiving, and possessing the fullness of the glory of the Father. Anyone who has each of these things is an inheritor and possessor of the greatest of all gifts of God, which is eternal life.
Eternal progression consists of living the kind of life God lives and of increasing in kingdoms and dominions everlastingly. Why anyone should suppose that an infinite and eternal being who has presided in our universe for almost 2,555,000,000 years, who made the sidereal heavens, whose creations are more numerous than the particles of the earth, and who is aware of the fall of every sparrow—why anyone would suppose that such a being has more to learn and new truths to discover in the laboratories of eternity is totally beyond my comprehension.
Will he one day learn something that will destroy the plan of salvation and turn man and the universe into an uncreated nothingness? Will he discover a better plan of salvation than the one he has already given to men in worlds without number?
The saving truth, as revealed to and taught, formally and officially, by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Lectures on Faith is that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He knows all things, he has all power, and he is everywhere present by the power of his Spirit. And unless we know and believe this doctrine we cannot gain faith unto life and salvation.” (Bruce R. McConkie, “The Seven Deadly Heresies”) (see http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=658)
-There is no doctrine of post-death second chances for Celestial Kingdom residence. “Those who reject the gospel in this life and then receive it in the spirit world go not to the celestial, but to the terrestrial kingdom.” (Bruce R. McConkie “The Seven Deadly Heresies”
-The Prophet Joseph Smith stated: “God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. He has power to institute laws to instruct the weaker intelligences, that they may be exalted with Himself, so that they might have one glory upon another, and all that knowledge, power, glory, and intelligence, which is requisite in order to save them in the world of spirits” (History of the Church, 6:312). (https://www.lds.org/manual/the-pearl-of-great-price-student-manual/the-book-of-abraham?lang=eng)
-“And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one;” (3 Nephi 28:10 The Book of Mormon)
-“Mankind are organized of element designed to endure to all eternity; it never had a beginning and never can have an end. There never was a time when this matter, of which you and I are composed, was not in existence, and there never can be a time when it will pass out of existence; it cannot be annihilated. It is brought together, organized, and capacitated to receive knowledge and intelligence, to be enthroned in glory, to be made angels, Gods—beings who will hold control over the elements, and have power by their word to command the creation and redemption of worlds, or to extinguish suns by their breath, and disorganize worlds, hurling them back into their chaotic state. This is what you and I are created for” (Discourses of Brigham Young, 48; see also D&C 93:29–33).
-The Prophet Joseph Smith himself publicly taught the doctrine the following year, 1844, during a funeral sermon of Elder King Follett: “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! … It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1938, pp. 345–46.) (https://www.lds.org/ensign/1982/02/i-have-a-question?lang=eng)
-“Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes, and even as the infant son of an earthly father and mother is capable in due time of becoming a man, so that undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable, by experience through ages and aeons, of evolving into a God.” (“MORMON” VIEW OF EVOLUTION: A Statement by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) (http://biology.byu.edu/DepartmentInfo/EvolutionandtheOriginofMan.aspx)
–Some from this earth Abraham etc. already are God’s exalted D&C132:37, “37 Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law; as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.”
-“And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one;” (3 Nephi 28:10 The Book of Mormon)
-Mirrors on both sides of the walls in the temple sealing (marriage) room suggest that the couple will not be married only for eternity, but for every eternity forever. (see Temple Mirrors of Eternity: A Testimony of Family (https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2010-10-2060-elder-gerrit-w-gong?lang=eng)
-“I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” Psalms 82:6
-“Jesus answered them, is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” John 10:34
-“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:14
-“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Rev. 3:21)
-“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Rom. 8:17
-“Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” Acts 17:29
-Don’t most children grow up to be like their parents? Indeed they have the capacity to do so if they so chose. All will to some extent, and many will to the fullest extent. So it is with becoming like God our Father in Heaven.
-“But unto him that keepeth my commandments I will give the mysteries of my kingdom, and the same shall be in him a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life.” (D&C 63:23)
-“These things remain to overcome through patience, that such may receive a more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, otherwise, a greater condemnation. Amen.” (D&C 63:66)
-“Our spirit birth gave us godlike capabilities. We were born in the image of God our Father; He begot us like unto Himself. There is the nature of deity in the composition of our spiritual organization; in our spiritual birth our Father transmitted to us the capabilities, powers and faculties which He Himself possessed — as much so as the child on its mother’s bosom possesses, although in an undeveloped state, the faculties, powers, and susceptibilities of its parent.” [Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p.4]
-“Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes, and even as the infant son of an earthly father and mother is capable in due time of becoming a man, so the undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable, by experience through ages and aeons, of evolving into a God.” [Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, Anthon H. Lund Messages of the First Presidency, 4:206]
-“We believe in the dignity and divine origin of man. Our faith is founded on the fact that God is our Father, and that we are his children, and that all men are brothers and sisters in the same eternal family.
As members of his family, we dwelt with him before the foundations of this earth were laid, and he ordained and established the plan of salvation whereby we gained the privilege of advancing and progressing as we are endeavoring to do.
The God we worship is a glorified Being in whom all power and perfection dwell, and he has created man in his own image and likeness, with those characteristics and attributes which he himself possesses.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, April 1970, p.4)
- Joseph Smith said in plain English that Heavenly Father has a Father, “I learned a testimony concerning Abraham, and he reasoned concerning the God of heaven. “In order to do that,” said he, “suppose we have two facts: that supposes another fact may exist—two men on the earth, one wiser than the other, would logically show that another who is wiser than the wisest may exist. Intelligences exist one above another, so that there is no end to them.” If Abraham reasoned thus—If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also. Where was there ever a son without a father? And where was there ever a father without first being a son? Whenever did a tree or anything spring into existence without a progenitor? And everything comes in this way. Paul says that which is earthly is in the likeness of that which is heavenly, hence if Jesus had a Father, can we not believe that He had a Father also? I despise the idea of being scared to death at such a doctrine, for the Bible is full of it. I want you to pay particular attention to what I am saying. Jesus said that the Father wrought precisely in the same way as His Father had done before Him. As the Father had done before? He laid down His life, and took it up the same as His Father had done before. He did as He was sent, to lay down His life and take it up again; and then was committed unto Him the keys. I know it is good reasoning.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith page 373, meeting of June 16, 1844)
- Rev. 1:6, “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (This could apply to either Christ and His Father, or Father and His Father.)
- Others like Brigham Young and Joseph Fielding Smith have also taught this doctrine. President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “Our Father in Heaven, according to the Prophet, had a Father, and since there has been a condition of this kind through all eternity, each Father had a Father.” (Doctrines of Salvation, Bookcraft, 1955, vol 2, pg. 47)
Brigham Young said that “there never was a time when there were not Gods and worlds and when men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing through.” (Deseret News, 16 Nov. 1859, page 290) see also Revelations 1:6.
- Joseph Smith taught “God the Father is an exalted man, native of another planet, who has acquired his divine status through a death similar to that of human beings, the necessary way to divinization (cf. TPJS, pp. 345-346).”
- Joseph Smith in the King Follet Sermon said, “God himself could not create himself.” (https://www.lds.org/ensign/1971/05/the-king-follett-sermon?lang=eng)
- “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! … It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1938, pp. 345–46.) (https://www.lds.org/ensign/1982/02/i-have-a-question?lang=eng)
- Elohim is a title, not a personal name. “Ahman” is Heavenly Father’s personal name based on D&C 78:15, 20 and Elder Orson Pratt, is a name of the Father (JD 2:342). The Egyptians had fragments of gospel truth (from Noah, Abraham, Moses, and others) and variations of Ahman are featured as names of their chief deities.
- BYU Magazine had an article “Hebrew School” where a leading LDS Biblical Hebrew scholar Donald Parry explained the Hebrew meanings of “Lord God” and their LDS implications of the power of God to create other Gods. Here is the quote: ““Lord God” in Hebrew is YHWH Elohim or Jehovah Elohim. The –im at the end of Elohim indicates a plural word (see also the Hebrew cherubim, seraphim, urim, and thummim). Elohim literally means “gods.” Some non-LDS biblical scholars maintain that Jehovah originates from the Hebrew “to be” verb (but a causative form); thus Jehovah Elohim, some scholars assert, may be translated “He will cause to be Elohim,” meaning, “He will cause gods to be.” For Latter-day Saints, this literal translation of “Lord God” is significant because of our doctrine; the translation signifies that the Lord is a creator of gods or the idea that females and males in mortality can become like God in eternity. “Lord God” is found hundreds of times in the Old Testament.” (https://magazine.byu.edu/article/hebrew-school/)
- one LDS man said, ‘but the bible and Book of Mormon don’t say that Heavenly Father has a Father’. To this I responded that the bible and Book of Mormon don’t say a lot of things, we aren’t limited to those. I’m puzzled at how basic of an understanding this man had suggested, that we would somehow reject any revelations not in the standard works? This is as silly as a Christian who rejects the Book of Mormon on the grounds that it’s not the bible!
10. When Joseph Smith was asked ‘where did it begin’ he removed his ring on his finger and said its one ongoing circle with no beginning and no end
- Since ‘as man is god once was and as god is man may become’, how could have Heavenly Father gone through that without a father? There’s no such thing as a person without parents. Even Adam and Eve had parents, and were transported here from another earth as stated by Brigham Young. President Kimball said the rib taken from Adam to make Eve “is of course figurative”
- Jesus Christ is the prototype of how to become like Heavenly Father. Heavenly Father (and now Jesus Christ) is (are) the prototype of an exalted man. All of Christendom and heathendom rack their brains over the great mystery of God, confused at who how what where and why is God, but let Mormonism bring the simple truth of eternity to your ears: God is an exalted man. He like us was in initiate in the ways of truth, and now, having proved himself a just candidate, has advanced to the status of God.
- As far as we are concerned, Heavenly Father is Lord of all. 1 Cor. 8:5-6 reads “5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”
- One argument often used by people to refute the doctrine of Heavenly Father having a Father is that they claim Heavenly Father made everything. Hear this from Joseph Smith in the King Follet sermon, where he illustrates that the intelligence of man is as eternal as God himself, that God did not create it: “I have another subject to dwell upon, which is calculated to exalt man; but it is impossible for me to say much on this subject. I shall therefore just touch upon it, for time will not permit me to say all. It is associated with the subject of the resurrection of the dead—namely, the soul—the mind of man —the immortal spirit. Where did it come from? All learned men and doctors of divinity say that God created it in the beginning; but it is not so: the very idea lessens man in my estimation. I do not believe the doctrine; I know better. Hear it, all ye ends of the world; for God has told me so; and if you don’t believe me, it will not make the truth without effect. I will make a man appear a fool before I get through; if he does not believe it. I am going to tell of things more noble. We say that God Himself is a self-existing being. Who told you so? It is correct enough; but how did it get into your heads? Who told you that man did not exist in like manner upon the same principles? Man does exist upon the same principles. God made a tabernacle and put a spirit into it, and it became a living soul. (Refers to the Bible.) How does it read in the Hebrew? It does not say in the Hebrew that God created the spirit of man. It says, “God made man out of the earth and put into him Adam’s spirit, and so became a living body.” The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is co-equal [co-eternal] with God himself. I know that my testimony is true”
- D&C 123:19-22 explains how mortals can become like God, which suggests the reciprocal of God attaining his status from where we are. “And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, . . .Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; . . . and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, . . . and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them. Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory. For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.”
- Abraham 4 from the Pearl of Great Price says the Gods, not the God, created: “1 And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth. 2 And the earth, after it was formed, was empty and desolate, because they had not formed anything but the earth; and darkness reigned upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of the Gods was brooding upon the face of the waters. 3 And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light; and there was light. 4 And they (the Gods) comprehended the light, for it was bright; and they divided the light, or caused it to be divided, from the darkness. 5 And the Gods called the light Day, and the darkness they called Night. And it came to pass that from the evening until morning they called night; and from the morning until the evening they called day; and this was the first, or the beginning, of that which they called day and night. 6 And the Gods also said: Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and it shall divide the waters from the waters. 7 And the Gods ordered the expanse…” AND SO FORTH.
- “Anyone who believes and teaches of God the Father, and accepts the divinity of Christ, and of the Holy Ghost, teaches a plurality of Gods.” (General Conference Adress “The Patturn of Our Parentage” by Elder Boyd K Packer of The Quorum of The 12 Apostles) (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1984/10/the-pattern-of-our-parentage?lang=eng&query=evolution)
- Some from this earth Abraham etc. already are exalted Gods: This indicates that the process of deification is not as long as many have thought, and further builds the case of a divine continually growing family of Gods. D&C132:37: “37 Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law; as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.”
- God hasn’t always been God. Consider these words of Joseph Smith & Bruce R McConkie which suggest He started around 2.5 billion years ago:
“Well, now, Brother William, when the house of Israel begins to come into the glorious mysteries of the kingdom, and find Jesus Christ, whose going forth, as the prophets said, have been from of old, from eternity: and that eternity, agreeably to the records found in the catacombs of Egypt, has been going on in this system, (not this world) almost two thousand five hundred and fifty-five millions of years: . . . it almost tempts the flesh to fly to God, or muster faith like Enoch to be translated and see and know as we are seen and known!” (William W. Phelps, Times and Seasons, January 1, 1845, Vol 5, No. 24)
Elder McConkie repeated Joseph Smith’s teaching of the 2.5, “The life that God lives is named eternal life. His name, one of them, is “Eternal,” using that word as a noun and not as an adjective, and he uses that name to identify the type of life that he lives. God’s life is eternal life, and eternal life is God’s life. They are one and the same. Eternal life is the reward we shall obtain if we believe and obey and walk uprightly before him. And eternal life consists of two things. It consists of life in the family unit, and, also, of inheriting, receiving, and possessing the fullness of the glory of the Father. Anyone who has each of these things is an inheritor and possessor of the greatest of all gifts of God, which is eternal life. Eternal progression consists of living the kind of life God lives and of increasing in kingdoms and dominions everlastingly. Why anyone should suppose that an infinite and eternal being who has presided in our universe for almost 2,555,000,000 years, who made the sidereal heavens, whose creations are more numerous than the particles of the earth, and who is aware of the fall of every sparrow—why anyone would suppose that such a being has more to learn and new truths to discover in the laboratories of eternity is totally beyond my comprehension. Will he one day learn something that will destroy the plan of salvation and turn man and the universe into an uncreated nothingness? Will he discover a better plan of salvation than the one he has already given to men in worlds without number? The saving truth, as revealed to and taught, formally and officially, by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Lectures on Faith is that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He knows all things, he has all power, and he is everywhere present by the power of his Spirit. And unless we know and believe this doctrine we cannot gain faith unto life and salvation.” (Bruce R. McConkie, “The Seven Deadly Heresies” (http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=658)
Added Points and Commentary: (sort these into main)
To one comment questioning the usefulness of this research, I said “It is noteworthy, as cited in my document above, that JS plainly taught that Heavenly Father has a Father. I don’t think JS was wasting his breath! But yes, this doctrine isn’t as critical as the doctrine of JC offering us salvation. The HF has a Father doctrine does however help the saints understand the broad plan of salvation, and give them courage to press through difficult trials. Philippians 3:14 may be suggesting that the title “God” is a calling, and even one we should seek: “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.””
2. A good comment on the article from one Stephen Douglas:
“Joseph was correct in saying, if God created man from absolutely nothing, not giving our eternal intelligence (psyche) a premortal spirit (pneuma) and then a physical body (soma), all three components mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, then we are nothing special, nothing more than biological toys created in a whim, which God apparently did after all past eternity of having done nothing. And, because He purposely created us to be so flawed we could not function, perfectly, having created us with innate certain fallibility, He then had to sacrifice His only real Son to save those few select biological toys He didn’t need to create, just so He could have said toys sit at His feet to sing Kumbaya to Him, for the REST of eternity.”
- “President Young said There never was any world created & Peopled Nor ever would be but what would be redeemed by the shedding of the blood of the Savior of the world. If we are Ever Exalted and Crowned in the presence of God we shall become Saviors of a world which we shall create & people. I know why the Blood of Jesus was shed. I know why the blood of Joseph, & Hiram & others was shed and the blood of theirs will be shed. It is all to answer a purpose and has its Effect. Adam made this world and Suffered himself to take a body and subject himself to sin that Redemption & Exaltation might come to a man. Without descending below all things we Cannot ascend above all things. There never will be any Change in the gospel of Salvation, It is an Eternal gospel and the same in all worlds and always will be to the Endless age of eternity. There will never was a period but what worlds existed & never will be, they all have the same Gospel & Law of salvation.” -Wilford Woodruff, Waiting For the World’s End, The Dairies of Wilford Woodruff, Edited by Susan Staker, Pg.290
4. After men have got their exaltations and their crowns – have become Gods, even the sons of God – are made Kings of kings and Lords of lords, they have the power
then of propagating their species in spirit; and that is the first of their operations with regard to organizing a world. Power is then given to them to organize the elements, and then commence the organization of tabernacles. How can they do it? Have they to go to that earth? Yes, an Adam will have to go there, and he cannot do without Eve; he must have Eve to commence the work of generation, and they will go into the garden, and continue to eat and drink of the fruits of the corporeal world, until this grosser matter is diffused sufficiently through their celestial bodies to enable them, according to the established laws, to produce mortal tabernacles for their spiritual children.
[Brigham Young Brigham Young, August 28, 1852 JoD 6:275:4]
5. One asks, where did it all begin? My response, “Joseph Smith took his ring from his finger and said it is one eternal round. Things with beginnings must have an end. There is no beginning, and no end. Also remember the doctrine that our spirits are co-eternal with God, God was advanced before us and ‘instituted laws’ to help us advance like himself. It’s in the Pearl of Great Price. Suggesting there has to be a first eventually means there has to be a last, which isn’t the case. BY and other modern prophets have taught that every person has a father, including every God…Yep it’s confusing. Something fun to chew on is that JS and later BR McConkie in his ‘7 Deadly Heresies’ sermon said that God has been in his station for 2.5 billion years. Have you ever read the book ‘the Kolob theorem’? it suggests a God at the helm of each galaxy, etc. (see my notes on that text elsewhere). Our song ‘if you could hie to Kolob’ presents this same mystery, where did it all begin? in that hymn it goes on to say ‘there is no beginning and end’ if I’m’ not mistaken. Trying to figure this stuff out is good clean fun isn’t it?
6. One person suggested the Adam God theory, that Adam is Christ’s Father, and Elohim is essentially Christ’s grandfather. I refute this theory. Here is my response, “ the temple actually refutes that theory… prophets taught HF lived on a different world than this one… since we’re not allowed to publicly discuss temple narratives, I’ll not argue this point any further. Are you somehow suggesting that Jehovah was working with his grandfather to instruct his father? Fathers teach sons, sons don’t teach fathers!… As for the Adam God theory, this has been denounced by modern prophets. For instance “We warn you against the dissemination of doctrines which are not according to the Scriptures and which are alleged to have been taught by some of the General Authorities of past generations. Such, for instance, is the Adam-God theory. We denounce that theory and hope that everyone will be cautioned against this and other kinds of false doctrine.” —Spencer W. Kimball, “Our Own Liahona,” Ensign (November 1976), 77 There’s plenty more where that came from, take a look at fairmormon.org on the subject. https://www.fairmormon.org/…/Repudiated…/Adam-God_theory I am active LDS and sustain the modern prophets’ teachings when there is any contradiction with past prophets’ teachings, particularly when such is taught repeatedly in our day opposing a doctrine taught in isolation in the past.
7. One questioned my sources in this document, but ToPJS, JofD, D&C, these are all good sources.
8. One Doug Hale commented on this article a useful idea along with a good quote from Brigham Young, “Why is it important to know that Christ’s Father was also the Savior of his world? Let’s first consider this: Matthew 5:48 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. ————-Before the Atonement, only The Father was perfect. 3 Nephi 12:48 48 Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect. ————After the Atonement, both The Father and The Son are perfect. So if it is the Atonement that perfected Christ’s Father and Christ, what perfects us? The same thing: “President Young said There never was any world created & Peopled Nor ever would be but what would be redeemed by the shedding of the blood of the Savior of the world. If we are Ever Exalted and Crowned in the presence of God we shall become Saviors of a world which we shall create & people. I know why the Blood of Jesus was shed. I know why the blood of Joseph, & Hiram & others was shed and the blood of theirs will be shed. It is all to answer a purpose and has its Effect. Adam made this world and Suffered himself to take a body and subject himself to sin that Redemption & Exaltation might come to a man. Without descending below all things we Cannot ascend above all things. There never will be any Change in the gospel of Salvation, It is an Eternal gospel and the same in all worlds and always will be to the Endless age of eternity. There will never was a period but what worlds existed & never will be, they all have the same Gospel & Law of salvation.” -Wilford Woodruff, Waiting For the World’s End, The Dairies of Wilford Woodruff, Edited by Susan Staker, Pg.290 . It is the Eternal Pattern, the way it has always been done and always will be done. There was never a Father that was not first a Son.”
- Let us prove that some people have already become God’s. Here is D&C 132:29, 37: “29 Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne. 37 Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law; as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.”
- Some say LDS are bad since they think they can become Gods and say Lucifer fell for that reason. No, Lucifer fell because he tried to kick God out and take his place. Lucifer tried to become a God without really putting in the work to attain that status. In essence, he wanted to take someone else’s kingdom rather than building his own, which is a lot of work and self-sacrifice. Elder Christofferson had a brilliant presentation on this topic in a BYU Christmas devotional in 2017. I have a key portion of that lecture in my article ‘The Need for a Savior: God’s Plan of Justice vs Lucifer’s Tyranny.
-(this is not intended to be a comprehensive study of all that has been revealed about the stages of existence called “The Plan of Salvation”. For that, see official resources of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For example, this link is to an LDS manual on the several kingdoms of heaven: https://www.lds.org/manual/doctrines-of-the-gospel-student-manual/chapter-33-kingdoms-of-glory-and-perdition?lang=eng. This document proposes 3 stages of existence, and that the purpose of each stage is similar to each member of the Godhead.
-Though all 3 Gods, the Father Son and Holy Ghost are exalted, they have different functions, and it can be likened unto the different earths we dwell on. God gives all things as symbols and signs to us to teach us the order of eternity.
Prep-Stage: Spirit realm: Premortality: Analogy of things coming into being and their preparations
-Heavenly Father (personal name Ahman), being more intelligent than the other intelligences present, gathered the intelligences and housed them in spirit tabernacles, organizing them to a more advanced state of being. He instituted laws for them wherein they could become like him. Those laws included premortal training, and mortal testing.
-This is the time to prepare for the final exam called ‘mortality.’ All needed preparations are completed here before one is dispatched to mortality. Contracts are signed, and all conditions of mortality are agreed upon and understood to a sufficient level as to make the experience of mortality a binding test measuring the soul of the individual to see if he will advance to the status of Heavenly Father or remain forever a servant.
-Jesus Christ attained status of God in this stage. We did not. Christ is not only the most intelligent of the Fathers children, he is more intelligent than the rest combined.
Stage 1: Telestial: Becoming as The Holy Ghost (Mortality)
[Note: this is also a good symbol of premortal, the unembodied stage.]
-Those who live in the telestial sphere (this earth) and whom receive the telestial kingdom of glory have right to the ministration of The Holy Ghost
-Prophets have taught that the earth we now live upon is in a telestial condition
-This is a telestial earth, we are learning the telestial thing.
The telestial earth we are on right now, that’s all about doing the similar function as the Holy Ghost: learning to testify of The Father and The Son.
-work out your salvation in the fear of God. Point of no return. This is the final exam which determines the unchanging assignment to a kingdom of God in eternity (only the involuntarily ignorant are exempt).
-this (telestial) life is when you gather people up, get everyone that you can, get them all in the good ship Zion, get them all ready for the school of the Gods, and help save as many people as you can,
-this stage the focus is the obedience and the proving that yes, I do want to be enrolled in the school, and that’s why this life is where you secure your salvation,
this is a testing ground.
-Although this stage is likened to becoming as The Holy Ghost, we are becoming as God The Father in that we are obtaining mortal bodies.
– here we teach others and we help others,
but a main purpose of this telestial earth is preach the gospel, tell people about it, be like the Holy Ghost, tell about The God, tell about the greatness of him, and so forth.
then the next stage, the terrestrial stage, is the becoming God, and the celestial stage is creating other Gods.
Stage 2: Terrestrial: Becoming as Jesus Christ (Millennium)
[We try to be as Christ now too.]
-Those who live in the terrestrial kingdom of glory have right to the ministration of Jesus Christ
-finishing the perfection
-The temple is a type of what this stage will be like; the temple is the connecting link between the present earth, and the heavens. it is the gateway; the bridge between earth and heaven; the unveiling of the future of existence of the human race.
-The Millennium will be a terrestrial stage of existence. It will last 1000 years (or slightly less).
-this is a new heaven and a new earth compared to the telestial earth.
-A terrestrial earth, like the Millennium time, will be for perfecting ourselves, for our working out our salvation; we work our salvation here on the telestial earth as well to a certain extent (all we can, in the fear of God!), but the terrestrial is where we become completely as Jesus. The great work that is done on this telestial earth must be done as mandatory preparation, but the perfecting and finishing of the work of the telesital realm is accomplished in the terrestrial realm.
-though this is the time for perfecting ourselves, persons are at various stages. Such a condition of variability is common to all stages.
-we focus on the knowledge of sciences and so forth, perfecting all of them, including those physical sciences and those spiritual sciences. The knowledge we get in mortality (telestial) is all the advantage in the terrestrial because a big purpose of the terrestrial is the knowledge, Brigham Young taught that during the Millennium only a few hours a day will be required for labors, and the rest of the time will be gaining knowledge.
-This life is the time to prepare to meet God, the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors, and then cometh the night of darkness wherein no labor can be performed. If you don’t qualify in this life, you’re out. This is the test. This is the final exam. Mortality is the final exam, this is the point of no return, its now or never. It is a heresy, one of the 7 deadly heresies, as taught by Elder Bruce R McConkie, that you cannot progress kingdoms; if you are assigned to a lower kingdom at the judgement bar, after this life, you CANNOT progress above that kingdom. This is taught in the latter sections of the Doctrine and Covenants (ref approx. 132), that if you don’t enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, if you don’t obtain these priesthoods (and the heathens if they didn’t know any better they can obtain these things in the spirit world so as to qualify for the celestial kingdom); but if you don’t chose it in this life, you can’t qualify for it in the next. Each kingdom has a law, and to live there you just abide that law.
The way Elder McConkie put it, if you reject the testimony of the Elders in this life after the gospel has been preached to you according to your understanding etc. then you cannot obtain the celestial kingdom and you will merely reside in the terrestrial.
-Exaltation is obtained by your grit, your labor. Salvation is the gift of God. Exaltation is the test of God; its the way that man imitate God, and give a gift to the human race. We must appeal to Christ as this exaltation cannot be done on your own, but we also must earn this by obedience to the laws of the gospel. The prophets have taught that exaltation is earned, and is not a free gift.
-Joseph Smith also taught that it is by obedience to the laws of the gospel that we obtain salvation, that we obtain it in the same way that Christ obtained it, and that is, by obedience to the laws of God. And this is the gospel of Jesus Christ. As Elder McConkie put it, the Plan of Salvation is a plan of justice. There is also mercy, lots of it, but overall it is a plan of justice. The reason for the overall being justice and not mercy is not to overrule Christ in the plan. As it’s been said before, we thank God the Father for the permission to repent, and we thank Jesus Christ the Son for the ability to repent. The mercy is to help get us to the justice. We are not supposed to plan on long term messing up; we are to plan on overcoming all things and putting all enemies under our feet. That is how Joseph Smith defined salvation (overcoming all things and putting all enemies under our feet). This includes overcoming our weaknesses.
One general authority taught it this way: there is no retirement in the Lord’s plan. In other words, we are not couch potatoes that go and ask Jesus for blessings. If we do bad, we repent, and start doing good. Mercy comes in via repentance. Will God forgive you for the same thing twice? That is between you and God, and God will not be taken lightly. He will not be mocked by those who take his commandments lightly. We do know that there is mercy for those who are sincere, “But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven.” (Moroni 6:8) Now lets talk about sincerity. Christ expressly stated in D&C 19 that those who don’t repent will suffer beyond mortal comprehension. God is not a cheap person. “For this is a day of warning, and not a day of many words. For I, the Lord, am not to be mocked in the last days.” (D&C 63:58) In “The Miracle of Forgiveness”, Spencer W Kimball speaks of the many sins of both commission and omission. Christ expects improvement, and he empowers improvement. So that is the gospel plan, it is a plan of progression. And you WILL get to where you are perfect. The D&C says that Abraham Isaac and Jacob are already Gods. They are done. They have arrived. It says specifically that they are seated on thrones, and are not angels but are Gods (ref). And to suppose that a God is still learning and growing into something better is another damnable heresy as rebuked by Elder McConkie (see “The 7 Deadly Heracies”). God gets more glory as he has more children praising him and becoming like him, but he isn’t improving, he is already perfect.
-One of the apostles on his death bed was asked ‘aren’t you glad that you’re done, you’ve done well and now can go to heaven.’ He said ‘oh no! It’s not over till it’s over! I’m not dead yet. I could still fall. It’s not over till it’s over.’ This illustrates the point in Ecclesiastes, that if you’re wicked for a long time but then turn around you’re alright, but if you’re good a long time then turn to evil, all is lost. This is not to say that we should procrastinate repentance, for we know not when death comes, and our souls are at stake! Also the heart hardens when we are unrighteous, and we eventually lose the desire to repent if we go on in that way. The plan of God becomes hazy, clouded by sin, so that vision is impaired, and before you know it, your soul is gone. Elder Anderson taught that this life is our testing time, however small. He compared it to the olimpian who trains their whole life for a 4 minute performance which everything hangs upon (April 2014 General Conference). Alma also teaches that this life is the day for repentance, not hereafter (ref).
Stage 3: Celestial: Becoming as Heavenly Father (Post Millennium)
-Those who live in the Celestial Kingdom have right to the ministration of Heavenly Father.
-They become Gods. Therefore, they work in the process of bringing to pass the exaltation (theosis) of others (Moses 1:19).
-This is the earth in its exalted state, after the telestial stage (current 6000-year period) and after the terrestrial stage (soon approaching millennium 1000-year period). The length of the celestial stage is indefinite, it never passes away. Once assigned to a kingdom of glory, that assignment is permanent.
-It is a new heaven and a new earth compared to the telestial earth. Another fire cleanses the earth to herald this change at the end of the millennium (just like the great fire at the beginning of the millennium that brought in the terrestrial stage). The earth is returned to the physical location of the presence of God the Father in person.
-When we have already become perfect (completed telestial and terrestrial stage), we then start passing that on to others (we do this in route as well but particularly so in these later stages after personal mastery is achieved). Now in each sphere we can do some of powers the others, and certain persons are more advanced in their salvation than others; however, there is a general order to things. Christ had become exalted (a God) even before coming to mortality.
-This is when you are the school master, when you are the headmaster, you own it, and you are now licensed to disperse it in every particular; you have been ordained unto Godhood. That’s where you have the eternal posterity, because you can.
-The Egyptian records show, and others etc. that there are some 690 endowments in eternity. We have an endowment on earth. I believe it was Brigham Young that said Heavenly Father’s power stems from the temple endowment he received when he was on an earth like us (ref Cowan temple bk beginning). There is a lot to learn, we will be busy and enjoying this very much. There is a lot more to go. Joseph Smith said you learn a lot even after death before you become a God. It may be a particular time of advancement during the millennium, perhaps by its end or thereabouts, we will have attained these knowledges and powers.
Theory 2: (modifies telestial and terrestrial into same stage)
Stage 1: Pre-mortality: becoming as the Holy Ghost
-Testifying, a war of words, trying to get others to hearken to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ
-You know where to go for the source of knowledge and truth
-Prepare for final exam called ‘mortality’
-No body yet
Stage 2: mortality: becoming as Jesus Christ: Telestial and Terrestrial
-this stage in its entirety is THE FINAL EXAM which determines our eternal assignment in Gods Kingdoms of Glory
-saving the human race: putting the plan of God into action
-overcoming all things
-seek knowledge and truth
-Millennium is to wrap up the work, finish last details of purification, ensure everyone has a chance
-includes post-mortal spirit world pre-judgement
-gain a body
-Some expedite this phase and attain a sure calling and election before the final judgement, but typically success in this sage involves faithfulness to the end of ones life.
Stage 3: post-mortality: becoming as Heavenly Father: Celestial
-you are now a God
-you are not on trial
-your business is to create Gods. The Hebrew translation for “Lord God” as seen in the scriptures is “Jehovah Elohim”. Jehovah means “he that causes to be”, Elohim means “the gods”. Therefore together they mean: “he that causes the creation of the Gods” (see Donald Parry BYU Magazine Article “Hebrew School” https://magazine.byu.edu/article/hebrew-school/)
-you have obtained all knowledge and know all truth
-dispensing the plan of the Gods to your ever growing posterity
-overseeing & aiding your posterity in their mortal journey
-keep your celestial resurrected body indefinitely
“Man is become as God” echoes Genesis 3:5, 22; Alma 42:3; Alma 12:34, 21 & other scriptures.
I ask, “God why is life so hard?” I hear no answer. I think to myself: ‘I sort of make it hard on myself, but the difficulty brings such rewards, that I chose to go through it.’ Then God told me, “this is true, and now you see, mankind is like unto God, for they make their own choices. The laws of the universe are set in that true rewards come high at costs, but you are free to choose to what degree you will suffer, and thus to what degree of reward you wish to receive. Think of it as spiritual and temporal capitalism. Your life doesn’t have to be this hard. I didn’t make it this hard. You’ve chosen for it to be this hard. For example, you didn’t sleep much this week because you wanted to go to school and to work on projects around your house.”
Well does the plan of salvation have various levels of heaven instead of 1 heaven or 1 hell! What we sew, that will we reap! Oh how many refuse to shoulder the weight of glory! D&C 132:16 speaks of someone who choses not to marry in the temple and is thus disqualified for exaltation, and speaks of the weight of glory they were not willing to bear, “Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory.”
In Egyptian hieroglyphs, the king often is depicted with a staff which his crown leans on to support it, which suggests he wears a very heavy crown, which suggests royalty and divinity aren’t just about inheritance, they’re about work!
The choice to reject glory is the very cause of the eventual weeping in the lower stations! Well did the poet say, “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been.’” (John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892))
This life is designed to be the perfect placement test for the human race. Pre-mortality was the training, now is the brief exam! (See Elder Stevenson April 2014 General Conference) We will all get exactly what we wish, and we will all confess that the judgement of God are just! The perfect genius God himself did not design a flawed test! Oh the great need for repentance! Oh praise God for sending Jesus Christ to be our Savior if we will believe in him and hearken to his words! Where we end up after this life will be “our fault, not God’s” as Elder Dale G. Renlund taught (2018 April General Conference, “Choose You This Day”).
On my mission when I would invite people to live the gospel, they often replied, “si dios quiere” (“God willing”, literally ‘if God will’s it so). But this does not accurately represent our destiny, as it is us, not God, who chose our destiny. I often told these people “Yes, God does want you to come to church etc., its up to you to chose to obey God.” Let it also be noted that doctrines of pre-destination or fore-ordination by God are false. Though God may chose someone to complete a mission in life before that person leaves the pre-mortal spirit realm to come to planet earth, the person still has the choice to accept or reject the mission to which God has called him.
Now you may ask, if striving to obey God is what makes life hard, why are people’s lives hard even when they don’t care about God? Well for one those are a different type of hard, a type of hard which Jesus expressed on the cross when the Father withdrew for a moment to show him what life was like without his companionship. Jesus then experienced what it was like to be a mortal without the companionship of God, akin to what happens to mankind when they ignore & disobey God. Compared to the moral guilt and other burdens of a godless life (which work against our subconscious if not our waking conscience), Christ’s yoke is easy, his burden light (Matt. 28:10?) (PS – sometimes the lives of those who don’t seek to serve God are easy in that they’re avoiding responsibility, and not using their resources to help others, never setting their own needs to the side for the sake of others). Now here is the final doctrine to understand which reveals why even those who don’t care about God suffer, and shows that yes, suffering is a result of trying to follow God: The doctrine is that everyone on earth chose to follow God in pre-mortality, and the suffering they experience in this life of having bodies is in from the choice they made in pre-mortality to follow God’s plan, which included obtaining a body on earth, and relying on the mercy of Christ. You see, 1/3 of those on planet heaven where we lived before we came to planet earth to get bodies chose not to follow God, and thus they were never sent to earth, and never did nor ever will obtain bodies. The leader of these fallen spirits is named Lucifer, more commonly known of as Satan, or The Devil. He and his fallen angels rejected God in the pre-earth life, thinking the plan of God too hard, and preferring an easier and more compulsory plan of forcing people to do good rather than allowing people to choose for themselves, which would mean inevitable war and suffering, but also would be the only way where the human race could make the real progress to becoming like God. To summarize, everyone who has come to earth, good or evil, chose good in the pre-mortal existence, and thus must go through the challenges of mortality, and WILL BE REWARDED for their trials of the body, as they will (everyone who came to earth) be resurrected, and have a body forever. President Packer taught that those who have bodies have power over those who do not. To have a body is infinitely better than to not have one, and the 1/3 who followed Satan get no bodies. Now of course the level of obedience to God in this life will determine how great those bodies are, but all will be rewarded with eternal bodies for having gone through the universal difficulty of this life.
It is possible that the Sons of Perdition who experience the “second death” do not get resurrected. Consider this passage: “36 These are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels— 37 And the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power; 38 Yea, verily, the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath. 39 For all the rest shall be brought forth by the resurrection of the dead, through the triumph and the glory of the Lamb, who was slain, who was in the bosom of the Father before the worlds were made.” (D&C 76:36-39)
So every time you choose good over evil, specifically Jesus Christ over Lucifer, you will be blessed, and that involves a level of difficulty. But the rewards are exponential. It is akin to the real joy and endurance of an athlete compared the fake joy of a sport watching couch potato. The athlete is independent and can do all things, the couch potato is 2 seconds away from diabetes and death, and therefore has very limited and short term choices. Yes, the life of the athlete is in some ways harder than the life of the potato. That’s why life is hard, especially if you chose the path of the saints. Many get baptized and think all their problems are over, but it is not so. They get baptized, and they’ve begun their studies in the school of the Gods, and a core subject in that school is pain for others.
Everyone in life goes through pain, but if you volunteer yourself for extra pain on behalf of others, that is when you become, with Jesus Christ, a savior on mount Zion, and as you continue on this path, your calling and election is sealed upon you, and your exaltation cometh in the morning! This isn’t akin to seeking extra trials, which isn’t appropriate. It means that we are, as commanded by Christ, looking for ways to do more good in the world: “26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. 27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; 28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward. 29 But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned. 30 Who am I that made man, saith the Lord, that will hold him guiltless that obeys not my commandments? 31 Who am I, saith the Lord, that have promised and have not fulfilled? 32 I command and men obey not; I revoke and they receive not the blessing. 33 Then they say in their hearts: This is not the work of the Lord, for his promises are not fulfilled. But wo unto such, for their reward lurketh beneath, and not from above. 34 And now I give unto you further directions concerning this land.” (D&C 58:26-34).
If and when you are exalted, have you obtained an existence free of pain? No, as seen in the Enoch account where he witnesses God weeping (ref). But know this: exaltation entails a fullness of joy (3 Ne. 28:10). One of the lessons that we need to learn is to get rid of the “retirement” mindset. We think we work now so we can be done working forever later. This is contrary to the status of God. One of the divine traits of God, and a reason God retains his status, is that God works. Work is part of eternity among those who enjoy forever felicity. The ones who don’t work are the damned in hell – they sit around being tortured by their minds, gnawing, clawing, wishing they had something useful to be doing! They wish they had not chosen the life they had, that they had not limited themselves to a prison cell!
Happily, the plan of God includes a release from hell for those wicked who have done their time. They graduate to the lowest kingdom of glory, which is infinitely inferior to the higher kingdoms of glory. God’s plan is so good that He doesn’t even leave the wicked in hell. The only exception to this is the sons of perdition, namely those who were in outright rebellion against God in pre-mortality (the 1/3 who were cast out with Satan to never come to earth and receive bodies), and a handful of people who made it to earth with bodies, but there entered an outright and mature rebellion against God. The Sons of Perdition acted not in ignorance, but knowing full well the character of God and turning against him for immediate pleasures which Lucifer cunningly offers.
2 Nephi 9:10-12 shows that through Christ, hell-dwellers other than the Sons of Perdition are eventually j: “O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit. 11 And because of the way of deliverance of our God, the Holy One of Israel, this death, of which I have spoken, which is the temporal, shall deliver up its dead; which death is the grave. 12 And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.”
The LDS Guide to the Scriptures in the topic “Hell” gives the following clarification of how hell can have 2 meanings, first, that place the wicked go to suffer 1000 years (during the Millennium) before being resurrected to telestial glory, and second, as the permanent residence of Lucifer and his angels (the pre-mortal 1/3, and the few chose perdition during mortal life):
“Latter-day revelation speaks of hell in at least two senses. First, it is the temporary abode in the spirit world for those who were disobedient in mortality. In this sense, hell has an end. The spirits there will be taught the gospel, and sometime following their repentance they will be resurrected to a degree of glory of which they are worthy. Those who will not repent, but are nevertheless not sons of perdition, will remain in hell throughout the Millennium. After these thousand years of torment, they will be resurrected to a telestial glory (D&C 76:81–86; 88:100–101).
The quote continues describing now the second meaning of hell:
“Second, it is the permanent location of those who are not redeemed by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. In this sense, hell is permanent. It is for those who are found “filthy still” (D&C 88:35, 102). This is the place where Satan, his angels, and the sons of perdition—those who have denied the Son after the Father has revealed Him—will dwell eternally (D&C 76:43–46).” (LDS Guide to the Scriptures, “Hell”, https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/hell?lang=eng)
These descriptions of hell show us that the “easier” life of the “couch potato” (apathetic towards religion) is not preferred to the “harder” life of the “athlete” (saint)!
I finish with this brief description of the reward of the saint since we have in part shown the punishment of those who elect to remain in sin.
D&C 76:92-95 describes the highest glory of the highest (celestial) kingdom of God, “92 And thus we saw the glory of the celestial, which excels in all things—where God, even the Father, reigns upon his throne forever and ever; 93 Before whose throne all things bow in humble reverence, and give him glory forever and ever. 94 They who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fulness and of his grace; 95 And he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion.“
D&C 132:20-24 speaks further about becoming Gods if we obey God in this life: “20 Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them. 21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory. 22 For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me. 23 But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I am ye shall be also. 24 This is eternal lives—to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am he. Receive ye, therefore, my law.”
D&C 132:28-33 shows that part of Godhood is having an innumerable posterity like that promised to Abraham, the which God obviously has (it’s always multiplying): “28 I am the Lord thy God, and will give unto thee the law of my Holy Priesthood, as was ordained by me and my Father before the world was. 29 Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne. 30 Abraham received promises concerning his seed, and of the fruit of his loins—from whose loins ye are, namely, my servant Joseph—which were to continue so long as they were in the world; and as touching Abraham and his seed, out of the world they should continue; both in the world and out of the world should they continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them. 31 This promise is yours also, because ye are of Abraham, and the promise was made unto Abraham; and by this law is the continuation of the works of my Father, wherein he glorifieth himself. 32 Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved. 33 But if ye enter not into my law ye cannot receive the promise of my Father, which he made unto Abraham.”
Part 1: PERPETUAL PARENTHOOD AS A PERPETUAL JOY
Part 2: ADOPTION INTO THE FAMILY OF YOUR CHOOSING UNTO EXALTATION OR DAMNATION
Part 3: HOW AN IMPERFECT MAN BECOMES A PERFECT GOD
Part 1: PERPETUAL PARENTHOOD AS A PERPETUAL JOY:
The parent who watches his children grow has joy and sorrow. Joy at their progress, sorrow at the days slipping away. Life would be depressing were it not for the assurance that we can be eternal parents.
When I say eternal parents I’m not just referring to being a steward over our handful of children forever, though that is an important part. I’m referring to having the experience of raising babies and children of all stages over and over.
It would be most depressing if we believed that this was our one and only chance in eternity to raise babies and children. The gospel message is that God is a continuous parent, and he invites us his children to be like him in that and every other capacity.
Now I can look upon my children only with joy as I consider that they are growing up to experience fullness of joy, which they couldn’t have as children. As one child grows, I look forward to the next arrival. Furthermore, the resurrection entails a perfect restoration of memories, so those joyous moments we had together will be forever ours. As we repent in fear and trembling before God, the bad memories will not pain us, as forgiveness will head the wounds of the penitent.
Circumstances of this life usually limit us to having only a handful of children, and as we age, we watch others take the role of raising children and babies, and we take a secondary role. However, this is NOT how the heavens are structured. In the heavens there is continual health for all persons, the body does not decay, and the capacity for siring children remains intact indefinitely.
Part 2: ADOPTION INTO THE FAMILY OF YOUR CHOISING UNTO EXALTATION OR DAMNATION:
It is no secret in the church that the children of God have the opportunity to become like God. It is plainly taught in the standard works, and plainly taught by the words of modern prophets.
We are children of God, and thus heirs of God: “15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:15-18)
The way we become heirs of God is entering holy temples to make promises to God. Astonishing promises are made: “Abraham … as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.” (D&C 132:37)
Though all are children of Heavenly Father, the followers of God enter a house called “Israel”, named after an earlier follower. Jesus Christ is the “father” of that house, the leader of that organization and way of life.
Another family we can be adopted into is the family of the devil. John 8:37-47 reads “37 I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. 38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. 39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. 41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”
Also consider Alma 5:25, 38-41 on the topic of being adopted into the family of the devil, “25 I say unto you, Nay; except ye make our Creator a liar from the beginning, or suppose that he is a liar from the beginning, ye cannot suppose that such can have place in the kingdom of heaven; but they shall be cast out for they are the children of the kingdom of the devil. 38 Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd. 39 And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye? Behold, I say unto you, that the devilis your shepherd, and ye are of his fold; and now, who can deny this? Behold, I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar and a child of the devil. 40 For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil. 41 Therefore, if a man bringeth forth good works he hearkeneth unto the voice of the good shepherd, and he doth follow him; but whosoever bringeth forth evil works, the same becometh a child of the devil, for he hearkeneth unto his voice, and doth follow him.”
Part 3: HOW AN IMPERFECT MAN BECOMES A PERFECT GOD:
How can a person who has a past of mistakes and error become like Heavenly Father? Joseph Smith taught that we are rough stones rolling, getting a rough edge knocked off here and there until we become polished. Once we are polished, those past rough edges have nothing to do with us. They are not a part of us. Isa. 54 was repeated by the Savior in 3 Nephi 22:4: “Fear not, for thou shalt not be ashamed; neither be thou confounded, for thou shalt not be put to shame; for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.”
As we repent, we are truly born again. If we are born again, a clean creature, we are qualified to enter and help govern the kingdom of God. Being born again is an absolute requirement for exaltation, which is the fullness of salvation. Moses 6:59 reads “That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;”
Jesus progressed from grace to grace (ref).
We can grow into the fullness of the stature of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-16 reads “11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”
As we become spiritually mature, our focus shifts from our needs to others’ needs. We learn that God will take care of our needs, and we start becoming like God in helping others.
Service is the essence of God. We serve primarily our families, then others. Salvation is about what Christ did for you, exaltation is about what you’ve done for others. We become a living witness that for those who rely on God, “as thy day shall demand, so thy succor shall be.” (ref)
Before we talk perfection, we talk progression. Our progress is not as fast as Christ, but may we progress nevertheless, doing the best we can. Christ progressed so much in pre-mortality that he attained the status of God even there. Thank God for His help in our journey. He was endowed with exceeding intelligence, and righteously applied unto it, which resulted in his becoming fully willing and qualified to be the engine of the Father’s plan. In our small ways, we seek to likewise play a critical role in the plan by following Christ’s example and teachings.
Joseph Smith said, “I advise all to go on to perfection” (ref). He also said “When we understand the character of God, and know how to come to Him, he begins to unfold the heavens to us, and to tell us all about it. When we are ready to come to him, he is ready to come to us.” (ref)
We need not only faith in grace, but works to be saved. The Joseph Smith Translation of Romans 4:16 reads “Therefore ye are justified of faith and works, through grace, to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to them only who are of the law, but to them also who are of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,” The idea that works are not a part of salvation is a sectarian idea, and has never been a principle of the gospel. Receiving grace is a principle of the gospel, it does not eliminate works as a requirement.
“The great universe of stars has multiplied beyond the comprehension of men. Evidently each of these great systems is governed by divine law; with divine presiding Gods, for it would be unreasonable to assume that each was not so governed.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions 2:144, 1980)
“God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. He has power to institute laws to instruct the weaker intelligences, that they may be exalted with Himself, so that they might have one glory upon another, and all that knowledge, power, glory, and intelligence, which is requisite in order to save them in the world of spirits” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 6:312). (https://www.lds.org/manual/the-pearl-of-great-price-student-manual/the-book-of-abraham?lang=eng)
“And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one;” (3 Nephi 28:10 The Book of Mormon) “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! … It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1938, pp. 345–46, https://www.lds.org/ensign/1982/02/i-have-a-question?lang=eng from the King Follett Sermon)
“Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes, and even as the infant son of an earthly father and mother is capable in due time of becoming a man, so that undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable, by experience through ages and aeons, of evolving into a God.” (First Presidency, http://biology.byu.edu/DepartmentInfo/EvolutionandtheOriginofMan.aspx)
“I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” Psalms 82:6
“Jesus answered them, is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” John 10:34
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:14
“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Rev. 3:21)
“We believe in the dignity and divine origin of man. Our faith is founded on the fact that God is our Father, and that we are his children, and that all men are brothers and sisters in the same eternal family.
As members of his family, we dwelt with him before the foundations of this earth were laid, and he ordained and established the plan of salvation whereby we gained the privilege of advancing and progressing as we are endeavoring to do. The God we worship is a glorified Being in whom all power and perfection dwell, and he has created man in his own image and likeness, with those characteristics and attributes which he himself possesses.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, April 1970, p.4)
Certainly not (in and of itself)! We know that the gospel of Jesus Christ includes the doctrine of repentance, and that the reach of mercy can be as deep as we are willing.
This reminds me of a couple who asked me on my mission if drinking coffee would keep them out of heaven. It was a return missionary and his wife whom he converted on his mission. I told them no, but that I was concerned about their church attendance, etc. Of course we do need to be worthy of a temple recommend to be “recommended to the Lord” (see Elder Rasband’s address at the 2020 October conference), and obeying Gods code of health is part of that, so they should work toward it. Another part of this is the definition of heaven – coffee drinking etc. doesn’t make you an evil person, so you’re not going to hell for it; it just shows an unwillingness to follow Gods laws, which can lead to you not going to the highest heaven. Of a truth there are various degrees of heaven. The question is: why are you hesitant to follow the counsels of the Lord? An unwillingness to serve the Lord throughout your life will certainly not result in qualifying for the blessings of exaltation in the celestial kingdom. Elder Holland gave a great sermon on this in the October 2020 general conference, where he taught that we shouldn’t think to side step the hard things and expect to end up like God and Christ, and be where they are.
The attitude of not being willing to serve God in what he asks of you puts you on a dangerous path; if you don’t develop the desire to serve God in whatever he asks, you aren’t ready for exaltation. Exaltation is no joke. But those who love God with all their hearts, even more than themselves, find it a joy, honor, and pleasure to serve God, even at great cost. When God asks hou to do things for him, and sometimes its big things (like mission, temple service, children, education, etc.), if you keep saying no, you won’t even want to live in His kingdom. Lets face it, God requires hard things.
God isn’t going to swallow a camel and strain at a gnat. The issue is that those who complain about the gnats are often those who have problems with the camels too. We don’t judge others, but we do need to be sensitive to whether we are, like President Russel M. Nelson, putting exclamation points after what the prophets counsel, rather than question marks.
Do you find yourself always doing the bare minimum of what God asks? Beware, your heart may be lacking understanding and willingness to live the gospel plan. The requirment of the heart is at the center of the plan. Joseph Smith taught that a religion which doesn’t ask one to give his all won’t have the power to save his soul (ref). One ought to be willing to serve not one, but many missions. Are you saving funds for a senior mission? Is your family and social life mission oriented?
The mission teaches a person to love God with the whole soul, and serve him selflessly. If you don’t serve a mission, there lies ahead of you a hard road, harder than the road of the mission itself, to get your heart to the place it needs to be to dwell with God. Those who preach that the way to God is easy are preaching false doctrine. The mission call is a wakeup call to see where a person is in their spirituality. It’s the same with baptism, sacrament, temple endowment, and temple marriage: these are checkpoints to see if you are spiritually on track. A mission itself isn’t an ordinance, but it is about helping others get ordinances (namely the first ordinance, baptism). Therefore, it shows whether you take Gods ordinances seriously, if you really care and believe that they are the path to heaven. True preachers of Christ declare the one and only living faith, which includes the authorized pathway to God. Covenants are the authorized path to God, and there is no other way.
We remember converts in the scriptures who had murderous pasts; they converted and qualified for all blessings of the gospel (which would include exaltation), as their hearts were truly changed, and they dedicated themselves to the gospel cause. But these people didn’t have the gospel before. Christ and others in the scriptures teach that for those who have yet reject the gospel, their state was worse than at first (ref). However, the way of repentance remains available so long as Christ so indicates (see Elder Anderson 2014 April Conference Report). Do not take God lightly, but also do not despair. The way is available back to Him if it is sincerely sought. Again we recall, “But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven.” (Moroni 6:8)
Alma says that this is the day of repentance to prepare to meet God (ref); modern prophets have clarified that if your choices in this life aren’t gospel centered, you’re unlikely to change your feelings about that in the life to come. Your disposition won’t change just because you die.
Remember David lost his exaltation from a serious sin he committed when he had great knowledge of the Lord. Know that there are limits and we should stay as far from them as possible.
See also essay “Man is Become as God: Spiritual Capitalism & Why Life is Hard”
Topics: salvation, suffering, joy, fear, Joseph Smith, Celestial Kingdom, lament, Jesus Christ, merit, grace, works
The thing that we fear most is joy. That is what we avoid. When we use drugs and alcohol it’s an obvious giveaway that we like to be happy but we’re too ashamed to do so and are right State of Mind. We don’t like to act like children because we take ourselves too seriously. The thing that everyone agrees we’ll bring the most Joy is to see God, yet this is also the thing that people fear the most. Indeed we are more afraid of heaven than of hell. Joy is available to any person who really wants it. But it’s not to be had in worldly ways, men whom have “had it all” will attest to that.
What do we do about suffering? We avoid it and have as little of it as possible and try to help other people to also have as little of it as possible. Suffering is a part of life and everyone will do plenty of it but no more than is necessary. That is the key of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that’s why the angel said to the Shepherds I bring you good tidings of great joy, but the Angels were afraid they saw that bright glorious person so much joy that it scared them and so the angel had to reassure them look I’m here solely to bring a happy message.
Sometimes we get discouraged and think that we’re not worthy of joy. That we have made so many mistakes and that were so incapable of the ideal that we should find some little corner to make a fire in rather than participate in the party. But the truth is that no one is Worthy of full Joy. That is where Jesus comes in he is our older brother who has agreed to give us a hand up at our moment of greatest crisis when we realized that truly we are never going to measure up by ourselves. So this happy news allows us to be jovial and joking and happy and to not take ourselves too seriously.
A lot of people criticize to Joseph Smith because they said he was too childish and not very serious when around other authority figures and they said that he was lazy because he was always making jokes etcetera, but he accomplished more in his life than ten men. People of Jesus’s day also criticized Jesus because they said Jesus wasn’t doing enough of their type of preferred chores he wasn’t productive enough in the religiosity the formal worship. Jesus was more worried about building God’s Kingdom. Jesus was a man as the scripture says a Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief. This makes it so that we don’t have to be. He gave us a gift and the last thing he would want us to do is not use that gift.
It is also lamentable to consider that many cling to the joy they have and won’t move on to a higher in fear that they will lose what they have already got. The Celestial Kingdom, aka the highest heaven, requires obedience to the Celestial law. Many live a lower law, a terrestrial or telestial law, and think “ah this is a pretty good place, I’ll get comfortable here.” And they won’t stretch themselves to live the higher law, wherein higher happiness is available exclusively. They also might say, “well I see a way to help the world in this way, I’ll stay here.” Refusing to give the higher help. We must remember the words of the prophet, that “to obey is better than to sacrifice.” God’s plan for how to help the world is in every way better and more effective than our own little ideas and grooves about how to heal the world. Yes, we have agency and creativity and those are inspired of God and we should pursue our ideas and follow our hearts, but when those things are in contradiction to the plan of God, we can identify them as false flags for happiness, and quickly trade them in for more lasting solutions.
Some think, “How can I be like Christ if I’ve never done an atonement? How can I become a God like he is?”
The answer is endowments.
Christ was endowed to be able to save us.
We are endowed now to be saved.
Both us and Christ therefore relied on endowments from Heavenly Father.
Joseph Smith taught that if we are to be saved it is in the same way that Christ was saved, namely obedience. But for us, obedience includes repentance.
Christ did his best. Now, we must do our best.
Heavenly Father knows that we are inferior to Christ. This is why Christ was selected as the Savior. We should not reject the gift that is Christ any more than Christ would reject the gift that is His superior intelligence.
Eventually we will become just like Heavenly Father. We, like Christ, are Heavenly Father’s spirit children. This means that we have the embryotic germ within us to become like Father in the fullest extent. Because we are children of Heavenly Father, we have the capacity to become like him. The capacity to accept the gifts that he offers. The capacity to receive the enabling grace of Christ to actually put off the natural man and do the works of Abraham.
I have said elsewhere that salvation comes to us as a fruit of Christ’s gift to us, and that exaltation comes to us as a fruit of the gifts we give to others. Certainly charity is a requirement for the valience of the celestial, but this analogy cannot be taken too far. Every blessing we receive is ultimately a gift. We do earn things, but our innate ability to earn then is because of a universal endowment from our Father in Heaven.
Is there one Christ per each planet? Many scriptures speak of Christ being sent to save the world. In a few scriptures, we could read them to say that Christ saves multiple worlds depending on how they are read. Perhaps there are a series of worlds Christ saves, or just this one, or somehow all of Father’s worlds. Either way, the atonement of Christ is infinite and we therefore worship Him, the author of our salvation.
Several prophets have spoken in favor of Christ being the savior of all of Father’s worlds. I believe they have based this off of a few key scriptures, which I will list in this essay. There are potentially several ways to interpret these scriptures. This essay looks at the pros cons and possibilities of various points of these theories.
The resurrection of Christ may hint toward this. No one on the earth can be resurrected until the savior of that earth is resurrected. It would seem most odd to consider a vast number of worlds without end from long past waiting around in the spirit world for Christ to be resurrected on this world. Further, during his 3-day ministry in the spirit world, he organized for the preaching in this world specifically. These facts point toward the role of savior being for one world only.
This being said, there are other possibilities. Perhaps many worlds DID wait a long time for Christ to be risen on this earth, however odd that seems. Perhaps other worlds had other arrangements somehow which allowed them to be resurrected before Christ. Perhaps the creations of Father are more recent than once thought, which wouldn’t leave them waiting so long. This is a most curious question.
The mystery of the atonement of Christ is in part resolved in the one Christ per world theory. How could Christ suffer for an ongoing number of people? He pays the debt, and it ought to be a finite debt for a finite group of people. The atonement is infinite in its ability to save us, but perhaps some have incorrectly applied that scripture to mean that the atonement is infinite in the sense of candidates all throughout space and time. This is what the restoration of the gospel is all about: bringing mysteries down to size, helping us understand the truth. Elder Ballard has said that things which are complicated are of the devil. Truth is simple. When we understand truth, we can better follow God’s plan.
This being said, there is a way which Christ could have atoned for a large number, or even untold number, of worlds. Some such as Ted Callister in his book The Infinite Atonement, suggest that an infinite amount of suffering could have occurred in a finite time. The specific spiritual debts of an untold number of people being covered in a single event in time. Of course we do not understand how this could work, but if its true, its true. I don’t know. But I am highly suspicious of modern physics theories of “singularities” (infinite material in a single point of space), and other such bazarities which violate the laws of physics (which were thrown together as ways of justifying the totally illogical and unscientific theories of evolution and atheism). Time is the test of all things and it cannot be manipulated as postulated by theoretical physicists such as Einstein. This being said, we know that the celestial laws of nature are higher than the telestial laws of nature, and this remains a point of question.
Some suggest that Christ has some sort of ongoing suffering forever and ever, which is how he pays the debt for an infinitely growing posterity of Heavenly Father. This seems strange, but some variation of it could in some way be true. Some say time doesn’t exist with God so it’s a moot point, but if time doesn’t exist with God, why did He wait until this earth to do the atonement, etc.?
Only World Wicked Enough to Crucify the Savior?
Some refer to the statements that this was the only world wicked enough to crucify God, and that the most righteous are sent here also. This theory may be speculation based on a Book of Mormon verse which is actually talking about the only wicked enough NATION, not the only wicked enough WORLD. Here is the verse, “Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ—for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name—should come among the Jews, among those who are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall crucify him—for thus it behooveth our God, and there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God.” (2 Ne. 10:3) Brigham’s statement about this being the most wicked world began with “I suppose”. He was speculating, not revealing. Joseph Smith clearly taught that a prophet is only a prophet when acting as such, not at all times, and can still have personal opinions and express such (ref). Another passage in Moses speaks of the wickedness of this earth, either indicating inter-planetary wickedness, or peak wickedness of the creations of this earth. I do not see that this passage necessarily indicates this world as the most wicked of worlds, but that rather the people of the season who killed Christ were the most wicked of all who had lived on this earth. God the Father is speaking: “Wherefore, I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made; and mine eye can pierce them also, and among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren.” (Moses 7:36)
This being said, it is possible that this IS the only world wicked enough to crucify their Lord. Some have taught that those who came to this earth are the worst, and the best. It is a possibility.
Some who support the universal savior theory have suggested that Christ must have an eternal amount of suffering that never ends. This seems quite tragic, and confusing.
Christ as Example:
Christ came to this earth. It is a historically established fact. We know where he lived, what he did. We know of his life, the conditions in which he lived, and so forth. This makes it easy for us to have a clear example of how we should live. But what of other earths? Christ did not live on those earths. Are and were they taught of a Savior which would help them on some distant earth? This seems odd and less personal. If each earth had its own savior it would seem easier to relate to.
This being said, it is not impossible that the savior which lived on this world be a savior for other worlds as well. For example, the Nephites who lived in a different nation than the Jews, were taught of a Savior which came and died for them, on the other side of the world. This other side of the world may as well have been another world, they knew little about it, and had nothing to do with it. It is not impossible that messengers would be sent to these other worlds, including the messenger of the covenant Jesus Christ himself, pre and post mortal, to declare the good tidings of salvation.
One Satan Per World:
One Satan per world also would fit well. Satan says he is doing just what has been done in other worlds. It makes sense that a leader for good and a leader for evil would rise out of the group of spirits in pre-mortality. In other words, one who would be the engine of the Father’s plan, and one who would lead those who opposed it.
The counsel in heaven before earth could have consisted of those destined to come to this earth. It is a finite number. There would be one of these counsels for each batch of spirit children. [Elder Bednar has recently pointed out that it wasn’t two plans presented in heaven of Jesus and Satan, but rather there was one plan presented. It was the Father’s Plan. Jesus accepted the plan. Satan rebelled against the plan. Jesus wasn’t presenting his own plan. Father wasn’t saying “what do ya’ll think we should do?”]
The spirit world is of interest here. Where were we before being born? On the spirit earth, or on the planet where God lives? In this theory, we might consider that it was in fact on this earth. We could suggest that those who will yet be born to this earth are already here in the spirit earth. But that does leave the question of “to where were Satan and his followers cast down?” Perhaps the answer is that they were cast from spirit paradise to spirit prison. We also know that to enter spirit paradise baptism is required, but perhaps that is a stipulation for post-mortals, nor pre-mortals.
We don’t know how many wives God has, but it is possible that he has more than one when we consider the laws of polygamy which are intended for raising up seed, which is a large part of what God does. It would make sense that those of each earth are from one wife in particular. The Family Proclamation mentions a universal Father and Mother in heaven, universal there could mean pertaining to this earth. Some ancient Jewish texts are said to indicate that God(s) has (have) thousands of wives, as far less men qualify for exaltation than women. Other factors such as the biological nature of the male vs female reproductive systems also indicate plurality as the original and perhaps eternal system. Perhaps one reason the title for God (Elohim) is plural is due to the nature of this marriage relationship. Naturally we strictly follow Gods instructions to the living prophet in these regards, and plurality is not currently legal here, in or out of the church.
The Only Begotten, of this Earth?
Christ was the only begotten in the flesh. Mary gave birth to him, that accomplishes this, while not making Adam a 2nd begotten in the flesh, despite Adam being a clone as well. Christ is the Only Begotten, but is that referring to this world, or everywhere/all time? We shall see.
Sacrificing the Son: A Pattern?
The test of eternity is to give up your son, as was evidenced by Abraham offering Isaac in obedience to God. It is the pattern of every world. [Note: Some claim that ancient records say Abraham actually did kill Isaac, and Isaac was then brought back to life, which makes the Abrahamic test even closer to reality. This being said, God can discern the heart, and could have known Abraham would obey before the final moment of execution, which would make the death unnecessary.]
It is a possibility that the spirits of a few key individuals in the plan of God are clones as well. This would include perhaps Christ, Adam, and Lucifer. Perhaps Eve is a clone of Mother in Heaven, but we do have the record stating that she was like Adam, just a female version, made from his DNA (rib). I don’t think the cloning of a spirit would be necessary, just the body in those particular cases mentioned, but it is a noteworthy idea.
Perhaps one element of “infinite” in the infinite atonement that the scholars and preachers are missing is that there are an infinite number of Christs with the same identity, all being clones of the same Heavenly Father, saving all the works of the Fathers hands. In this sense, God is saving all of his own creations, albeit through his divine Son.
Men and women do have the same number of ribs, so perhaps the rib part of the account is, as President Spencer W. Kimball suggested, figurative. However, it does sound a lot like cloning. But think about it: to clone, would God need the whole rib, or just a tiny speck from it? Yep, just a speck.
Our planet rotates around the sun. This is highly symbolic. Our earth is the only place in the solar system with human life (likely the only place in the system with any life). This is another strong indicator that each earth is saved by the savior / star / sun of that system. Joseph Fielding Smith taught that each star system must be governed by local deities. This could fit the idea that there is one savior per world, as there is one world with inhabitants per star system, “the great universe of stars has multiplied beyond the comprehension of men. Evidently each of these great systems is governed by divine law; with divine presiding Gods, for it would be unreasonable to assume that each was not so governed.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions 2:144, 1980)
No Multiple Mortalities:
I do not believe multiple mortality theories. Such an idea is another falsehood perpetuated in the Adam God teachings which have been dismissed by modern prophets as incorrect understandings. I do not believe each person must perform “an atonement”. Obedience to the gospel is sufficient, it is all we can do. Christ did all he can do, and we must also do all we can do. Joseph Smith said each person is saved in the same way Christ was, namely obedience. Fortunately for us, part of that contract is (sincere) repentance. Joseph Smith also taught that it would be insane to think that we can go live with and become like the Gods if we haven’t gone through hard things. Elder Holland echoed this in the 2020 October General Conference, teaching that we should not ask God to spare us from the very trials that will aid us to become as He is. Suffer we must, and it may well be said that suffering is the school of the Gods, but this life is the time. This life is the test, as Alma taught (ref). Yes, as Joseph Smith said, we will continue to learn (and serve) after this life and we have a ways to go before we reach the culmination, but we do know that some from this earth such as Abraham Isaac and Jacob are already exalted Gods on thrones (ref). It is not difficult to understand now, Christ’s words that the way is straight, and few there be that find it (ref). Salvation is a gift from Christ, but exaltation stems from using Christ’s gifts to truly become Christlike. In other words, our salvation is Christ’s gift to us, and our exaltation comes as a reflection of the gifts we give to others. This is why I tremble in my boots when people ask questions like, “but if I don’t serve a mission / drink coffee / marry in the temple / …, can’t I still go to heaven?” Sure, but if you’re heart isn’t fully committed to serving God at all hazard, you will not reach the highest level of the celestial kingdom, which is the only place of exaltation (the fullness of salvation).
Many Lords, but to us, One:
Perhaps this verse also indicates one savior per earth: “5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) 6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” (1 Cor. 8:5-6)
Scripture Passages Which May Indicate One Savior for All Worlds:
As before mentioned, there are opposing statements to this view. Several of the brethren have referred to Christ as the savior of many worlds. D&C 76:25 could either be referring to Christ saving all the works of His Father’s hands, or Christ saving all the works of His own hands. This section talks about how there is no savior beside Christ, but this could be referring to how he is the only savior for this world: “that by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.” (D&C 76:25)
Another passage potentially dealing with one savior for multiple earths comes from Moses 1. It seems to refer to many lands which are all a part of this earth, then mentions multiple earths: “27 And it came to pass, as the voice was still speaking, Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the Spirit of God. 28 And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sand upon the sea shore. 29 And he beheld many lands; and each land was called earth, and there were inhabitants on the face thereof. 30 And it came to pass that Moses called upon God, saying: Tell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them? 31 And behold, the glory of the Lord was upon Moses, so that Moses stood in the presence of God, and talked with him face to face. And the Lord God said unto Moses: For mine own purpose have I made these things. Here is wisdom and it remaineth in me. 32 And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth. 33 And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten. 34 And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many. 35 But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.” (Moses 1:27-35)
Another passage speaks of the Lord visiting various kingdoms in turn. This could indicate Christ as Savior of multiple worlds. However, verses earlier in the section might indicate that the “kingdoms” which these verses are only pertaining to this earth. It may be that here the reference to kingdoms refers 12 dispensations of the gospel. The Lord visits each one in its time: “58 And thus they all received the light of the countenance of their lord, every man in his hour, and in his time, and in his season— 59 Beginning at the first, and so on unto the last, and from the last unto the first, and from the first unto the last; 60 Every man in his own order, until his hour was finished, even according as his lord had commanded him, that his lord might be glorified in him, and he in his lord, that they all might be glorified. 61 Therefore, unto this parable I will liken all these kingdoms, and the inhabitants thereof—every kingdom in its hour, and in its time, and in its season, even according to the decree which God hath made.” (D&C 88:58-61)
There seems to be a lack of clarity on these points, and it seems we will need to wait for more instruction on the matter. Several passages which are traditionally used to claim one savior for all worlds are actually somewhat ambiguous, and could be interpreted in various ways, including the interpretation that there is one savior per world.
Some leading points in favor of one savior per world are the resurrection issue, the infinity issue, the example issue, and so on.
In my mind one savior per earth makes much more sense on several levels. I think God isn’t as mysterious as the protestants have long taught, and that God wants us to understand his ways.
I have sighted several scriptures which could go either way on this subject, but there have been numerous brethren who have specifically taught that Christ is the Savior of all the worlds of Heavenly Father; I am very reluctant to dismiss their words on this subject, though it is possible for them to err.
Either way, praise the Lord!
Special thanks to Owen Ira Terry who shared with me many ideas in this chapter.
Using big version
P93 taylor and young quotes of creation near Kolob and leaving that revolution
P95 romney on mult worlds savior
P96 nelson mult world specifically; Nibley too
97 orson pratt
98 j fi s
99 j field
152 section infinite suffering in finite time: time only to man alma 40:8. Other refs these pgs too.
155 life-giver cost forever suffering BH Roberts. Never ending suffering.
177 mcconkie res on other planets
178 fielding keys of res came at his res
Maxwell too somewhere
Res: maybe their, those ancient worlds, spirit world time is fast forwarded somehow so they didn’t have to wait so long
resurrection one is the biggest puzzler. for starters, mcconkie, fielding, nelson, maxwell, nibley, o pratt, m romney, they all taught of christ as savior of multiple worlds. But in my earlier message i sent the 3 scriptures which seemed to be what they based that on. But anyways: as for infinite suffering in a finite amount of time: some say its like a singularity, all packed in there. but still, TOTALLY mysterious. they say christ must have eternal suffering, that this eternal suffering is the cost of eternal life giving. perhaps exaltation and becoming like god entail lots of permanent suffering for this reason. i also dont’ understand how we can become gods without having done an atonement, as even jesus said his father did an atonement too (he does only what he saw his father do). the best i can come up with on that is that perhaps some day we will become strong enough to start making some big time sacrifices, like christ has done, and only then can we be exalted. idk. D&C says abraham is already exalted. also remind me: what is your view on God being at the center of the milky way galaxy vs god being at some distant center which the galaxy clusters etc revolve around? where are the other gods his forefathers? perhaps the universe is planar, and the other goes are just on top? as for christ not being present on other worlds and yet saving them, the nephites didn’t have christ live among them, and yet christ eventually came and said ‘i did this for you over there in this place you don’t know much about’. Could be similar to what he does visiting these other worlds. Perhaps for the past 2000 years, he has done 2 millennium visits to other worlds, now its time for his 1000 year visit to this world? Perhaps the resurrection of distant past worlds waiting for resurrection: perhaps their time in the spirit world was expedited so it wouldn’t seem so long? What of the scriptures that say there is no time with God? Perhaps the time thing is therefore a mute issue for spirit worlds etc., but then again we have a verse that says the spirits in absence of their bodies see that as a prison, and wait for the reuniting of the body, and when joseph smith was seen in vision in the spirit world, joseph was in a hurry to get things done as many were waiting on him. my final opinion on this is confusion, and i am extremely reluctant to dismis words of so many prophets which indicate one savior for several worlds.
See also Adoption; Children; Children of Light
sons of God saw the daughters of men, Gen. 6:2.
sons of God came to present themselves, Job 1:6.
all the sons of God shouted for joy, Job 38:7 (D&C 128:23).
Ye are gods … children of the most High, Ps. 82:6.
saith the Lord … Ask me … concerning my sons, Isa. 45:11.
Ye are the sons of the living God, Hosea 1:10.
gave he power to become the sons of God, John 1:12 (3 Ne. 9:17; Moro. 7:26; D&C 11:30; 35:2; 39:4; 42:52; 45:8).
as we are the offspring of God, Acts 17:29.
led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God, Rom. 8:14.
ye shall be my sons and daughters, 2 Cor. 6:18.
that we might receive the adoption of sons, Gal. 4:5.
thou art no more a servant, but a son, Gal. 4:7.
blameless and harmless, the sons of God, Philip. 2:15.
God dealeth with you as with sons, Heb. 12:7 (12:5–9).
now are we the sons of God, 1 Jn. 3:2.
be his God, and he shall be my son, Rev. 21:7.
ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, Mosiah 5:7.
being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters, Mosiah 27:25.
they shall become my sons and my daughters, Ether 3:14.
ye certainly will be a child of Christ, Moro. 7:19.
all those who receive my gospel are sons and daughters, D&C 25:1.
as many as would believe might become the sons of God, D&C 34:3.
are begotten sons and daughters unto God, D&C 76:24.
written, they are gods, even the sons of God, D&C 76:58.
I am a son of God, Moses 1:13.
Adam, who was the son of God, Moses 6:22.
thus may all become my sons, Moses 6:68.
many have believed and become the sons of God, Moses 7:1.
gave heed, and they were called the sons of God, Moses 8:13.
See also Deut. 14:1; Isa. 53:10; Matt. 5:9, 45; Luke 20:36; John 11:52; Rom. 9:8, 26; Gal. 3:26; Eph. 2:19; 1 Jn. 5:2; Mosiah 15:13; D&C 46:26; 50:41; 58:17; 138:39; Moses 6:8.
Chapter: Free Forever to Act for Themselves by Elder D. Todd Christofferson – Excerpt comment/shorten
Conf. Report 2014 Oct.
…”It is His plan and His will that we have the principal decision-making role in our own life’s drama. God will not live our lives for us nor control us as if we were His puppets, as Lucifer once proposed to do. Nor will His prophets accept the role of “puppet master” in God’s place. Brigham Young stated: “I do not wish any Latter Day Saint in this world, nor in heaven, to be satisfied with anything I do, unless the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ,—the spirit of revelation, makes them satisfied. I wish them to know for themselves and understand for themselves.” (Brigham Young, “Sermon,” Deseret News, Oct. 31, 1855, 267; quoted in Terryl Givens and Fiona Givens, The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest for Faith (2014), 63.)…
Christ died not to save indiscriminately but to offer repentance. We rely “wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save”19 in the process of repentance, but acting to repent is a self-willed change. So by making repentance a condition for receiving the gift of grace, God enables us to retain responsibility for ourselves. Repentance respects and sustains our moral agency: “And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.”20
Misunderstanding God’s justice and mercy is one thing; denying God’s existence or supremacy is another, but either will result in our achieving less—sometimes far less—than our full, divine potential. A God who makes no demands is the functional equivalent of a God who does not exist. A world without God, the living God who establishes moral laws to govern and perfect His children, is also a world without ultimate truth or justice. It is a world where moral relativism reigns supreme.
Relativism means each person is his or her own highest authority. Of course, it is not just those who deny God that subscribe to this philosophy. Some who believe in God still believe that they themselves, individually, decide what is right and wrong. One young adult expressed it this way: “I don’t think I could say that Hinduism is wrong or Catholicism is wrong or being Episcopalian is wrong—I think it just depends on what you believe. … I don’t think that there’s a right and wrong.”21 Another, asked about the basis for his religious beliefs, replied, “Myself—it really comes down to that. I mean, how could there be authority to what you believe?”22
To those who believe anything or everything could be true, the declaration of objective, fixed, and universal truth feels like coercion—“I shouldn’t be forced to believe something is true that I don’t like.” But that does not change reality. Resenting the law of gravity won’t keep a person from falling if he steps off a cliff. The same is true for eternal law and justice. Freedom comes not from resisting it but from applying it. That is fundamental to God’s own power. If it were not for the reality of fixed and immutable truths, the gift of agency would be meaningless since we would never be able to foresee and intend the consequences of our actions. As Lehi expressed it: “If ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.”23
In matters both temporal and spiritual, the opportunity to assume personal responsibility is a God-given gift without which we cannot realize our full potential as daughters and sons of God. Personal accountability becomes both a right and a duty that we must constantly defend; it has been under assault since before the Creation. We must defend accountability against persons and programs that would (sometimes with the best of intentions) make us dependent. And we must defend it against our own inclinations to avoid the work that is required to cultivate talents, abilities, and Christlike character.
The story is told of a man who simply would not work. He wanted to be taken care of in every need. To his way of thinking, the Church or the government, or both, owed him a living because he had paid his taxes and his tithing. He had nothing to eat but refused to work to care for himself. Out of desperation and disgust, those who had tried to help him decided that since he would not lift a finger to sustain himself, they might as well just take him to the cemetery and let him pass on. On the way to the cemetery, one man said, “We can’t do this. I have some corn I will give him.”
So they explained this to the man, and he asked, “Have the husks been removed?”
They responded, “No.”
“Well, then,” he said, “drive on.”
It is God’s will that we be free men and women enabled to rise to our full potential both temporally and spiritually, that we be free from the humiliating limitations of poverty and the bondage of sin, that we enjoy self-respect and independence, that we be prepared in all things to join Him in His celestial kingdom.
I am under no illusion that this can be achieved by our own efforts alone without His very substantial and constant help. “We know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”24 And we do not need to achieve some minimum level of capacity or goodness before God will help—divine aid can be ours every hour of every day, no matter where we are in the path of obedience. But I know that beyond desiring His help, we must exert ourselves, repent, and choose God for Him to be able to act in our lives consistent with justice and moral agency. My plea is simply to take responsibility and go to work so that there is something for God to help us with.
I bear witness that God the Father lives, that His Son, Jesus Christ, is our Redeemer, and that the Holy Spirit is present with us. Their desire to help us is undoubted, and Their capacity to do so is infinite. Let us “awake, and arise from the dust, … that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto [us] may be fulfilled.”25 In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
(Elder Christofferson, Conf. Report 2014 Oct., https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/free-forever-to-act-for-themselves?lang=eng#watch=video)