Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Doctrine 2017, LDS Doctrine, Temples

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 40: Finding Joy in Temple and Family History Work

1. The Spirit of Elijah is prompting people to turn their hearts to their ancestors.

A painting by Dan Lewis showing Elijah in a white robe, standing by a window inside the Kirtland Temple and talking to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.

The desire to discover one’s ancestors and complete temple ordinances for them is sometimes referred to as the Spirit of Elijah. In 1844 Joseph Smith asked, “What is this office and work of Elijah?” He then promptly answered his own question:

It is one of the greatest and most important subjects that God has revealed. This is the Spirit of Elijah, that we redeem our dead, and connect ourselves with our fathers which are in heaven. This is the power of Elijah.”

It is the Spirit of Elijah that motivates Church members, to perform proxy baptisms, temple endowments, and sealing ordinances on behalf of their ancestors .

But also the spirit of Elijah is the spirit of family kinship and unity. It is the spirit that motivates people – Saints and non- Saints throughout the world  to search out ancestral family members through family history.

At the conclusion of his mortal life, Elijah was translated; that is, he experienced some type of change from mortality without experiencing mortal death. A major reason for Elijah´s translation was to enable him to return to the earth to confer keys of authority on the three chief apostles before Jesus´ crucifixion and resurrection Since spirits cannot lay hands on mortal beings (D&C 129), and since Moses and Elijah could not return as resurrected beings because Jesus was the first to be resurrected  the need for the translation of Elijah and Moses is evident. On the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1–9), Elijah specifically restored the priesthood keys of sealing, the power that binds and validates in the heavens all ordinances performed on the earth.

On April 3, 1836, in a vision to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the newly completed Kirtland Temple, Elijah appeared and announced that the time had come when Malachi´s prophecy was to be fulfilled. He committed the sealing keys of the priesthood to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery (D&C 110:13–16). This restoration was necessary so that the sealing ordinances and covenants of God could be administered in righteousness upon the earth (DS 2:117). Joseph Smith explained:

The spirit, power, and calling of Elijah is, that ye have power to hold the key of the revelations, ordinances, oracles, powers and endowments of the fulness 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…. What you seal on earth, by the keys of Elijah, is sealed in heaven; and this is the power of Elijah [TPJS, pp. 337–38].

Watch: The Promised Blessings of Family History

Modern apostles, including David A. Bednar, Quentin L. Cook, Neil L. Andersen and Dale G. Renlund have promised many powerful blessings to those who participate in Family History and Temple Service. (3:11)

D&C 110:15 The mission of Elijah

“This sealing power bestowed upon Elijah, is the power which binds husbands and wives, and children to parents for time and eternity. It is the binding power existing in every Gospel ordinance. … It was the mission of Elijah to come, and restore it so that the curse of confusion and disorder would not exist in the kingdom of God.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Elijah the Prophet and His Mission, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957, p. 5.)

2. Each member of the Church can participate in temple and family history work.

“Saints in every temple district must be taught to provide their own names. Japanese people should provide the names for their own Tokyo temple. South American people should provide the names for their own Sao Paulo temple. Likewise in Mexico and Seattle and in every other established area. If they do so, then they will save their own dead. If they do not, and depend on Salt Lake City to send names…, they do not save their own dead, but instead they work on other people’s ancestry.” —Spencer W. Kimball, regional representatives seminar, Sept. 30, 1976

Watch: Now I’m Converted This video shows how the youth in one stake were blessed as they responded to Elder Bednar’s invitation to participate in family history. (4:21)

Watch: Teachings of Wilford Woodruff – Gather Family Records President Woodruff teaches the importance of finding the records of our ancestors and completing temple work for them. (1:46)

Watch: Find, Take, Teach Elder Quentin L. Cook outlined a new focus on finding a name, taking it to the temple, and teaching others to do the same. (1:17)

Watch: Sealed Together – The Manaus Temple Caravan

In the 1990s, Church members in Manaus, Brazil, were 4,000 kilometers from the nearest temple, which was in São Paulo. The rain forest, half the length of the Amazon, and most of the Brazilian coast lay in between, and yet their leaders dreamed of helping as many Saints as possible reach the temple. In 1992, they planned a six-day caravan by boat and bus that would make the dream of reaching the temple a reality for many.

In the temple, the Saints were sealed to their families and ancestors. Through the journey, they also developed spiritual strength and unity that laid a foundation for the future growth of the Church in Manaus.

3. The Church provides many resources to help us participate in temple and family history work.

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Watch: It’s About the Dash

Elder Bradley D. Foster demonstrates how easy family history can be, and discusses new changes to Familysearch.org (2:56)

Watch: He Was a Blacksmith This video shows how family history consultants find creative ways to involve an entire family in family history and temple work. (2:11)

Image result for The Church provides many resources to help us participate in temple and family history work.

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Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Doctrine 2017, LDS Doctrine, Temples

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 39: “The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn to Their Fathers”

1. Elijah: “The keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands.”

A painting by Dan Lewis showing Elijah in a white robe, standing by a window inside the Kirtland Temple and talking to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.

Watch: By the Hand of Elijah the Prophet

Elder Quentin L. Cook testifies of the mission of the prophet Elijah. The salvation of the whole human family is interdependent and interconnected—like the roots and branches of a great tree. (3:32)

‘The doctrine or sealing power of Elijah is as follows:-If you have power to seal on earth and in heaven, then we should be wise. The first thing you do, go and seal on earth your sons and daughters unto yourself, and yourself unto your fathers in eternal glory, and go ahead, and not go back, but use a little wisdom, and seal all you can, and when you get to heaven tell your Father that what you seal on earth should be sealed in heaven, according to his promise. I will walk through the gate of heaven and claim what I seal, and those that follow me and my counsel.’ (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 340)

D&C 110:13-16 Elijah

‘Today is April 1. Two days from now, April 3, marks 181 years from the day when Malachi’s prophecy was fulfilled. On that day, Elijah did come, and he gave to Joseph Smith the priesthood power to seal families eternally (see  D&C 110:13–16

From that day to this, interest in exploring one’s family history has grown exponentially. At ever-increasing rates, people seem drawn to their ancestry with more than just casual curiosity. Genealogical libraries, associations, and technologies have emerged around the world to support this interest. The internet’s power to enhance communications has enabled families to work together to do family history research with a speed and thoroughness never before possible.

Why is all of this happening? For lack of a better term, we call it the “spirit of Elijah.” We could also equally call it “fulfillment of prophecy.” I bear testimony that Elijah did come. The hearts of the children—of you and me—have turned to our fathers, our ancestors. The affection you feel for your ancestors is part of the fulfillment of that prophecy. It is deeply seated in your sense of who you are. But it has to do with more than just inherited DNA.

For example, as you follow the promptings to learn about your family history, you may discover that a distant relative shares some of your facial features or your interest in books or your talent for singing. This could be very interesting and even insightful. But if your work stops there, you will sense that something is missing. This is because to gather and unite God’s family requires more than just warm feelings. It requires sacred covenants made in connection with priesthood ordinances.

Many of your ancestors did not receive those ordinances. But in the providence of God, you did. And God knew that you would feel drawn to your ancestors in love and that you would have the technology necessary to identify them. He also knew that you would live in a time when access to holy temples, where the ordinances can be performed, would be greater than ever in history. And He knew that He could trust you to accomplish this work in behalf of your ancestors.’ (Henry B Eyring, General Conference, April 2017)

D&C 138:47. What Is Meant by the Phrase “Plant in the Hearts of the Children the Promises Made to Their Fathers”?

President Joseph Fielding Smith identified the “promises made to the fathers” as “the promise of the Lord made through Enoch, Isaiah, and the prophets, to the nations of the earth, that the time should come when the dead should be redeemed. And the turning of the hearts of the children is fulfilled in the performing of the vicarious temple work and in the preparation of their genealogies.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:154.)

2. President Wilford Woodruff: “Somebody has got to redeem them.”

A painting by H. E. Peterson of President Wilford Woodruff in a black suit sitting in a red armchair and resting one arm on a table.

Watch: Ministry of Wilford Woodruff – The Work of the Temple

‘Wilford Woodruff was one of the Church’s most successful missionaries and was also known for his prophetic insights and loyalty to the Church. He kept meticulous journals, which provide much information about the early history of the Church. He was serving as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles when John Taylor died, and almost two years later he was sustained as the President of the Church.

During his administration, the political crusade against the Latter-day Saints intensified, but the Church moved forward. Temples were operating in three Utah towns—St. George, Logan, and Manti—and the Salt Lake Temple was nearing completion. These houses of the Lord enabled thousands of Saints to obtain their endowments and do ordinance work for their kindred dead. President Woodruff had a lifelong interest in temple and family history work. He admonished the Saints on many occasions to perform ordinances in the temple for their ancestors.

The following incident emphasizes the importance of the work the Saints were performing for the dead. In May 1884, Bishop Henry Ballard of the Logan Second Ward was signing temple recommends at his home. Henry’s nine-year-old daughter, who was talking with friends on the sidewalk near her home, saw two elderly men approaching. They called to her, handed her a newspaper, and told her to take it to her father.

The girl did as she was asked. Bishop Ballard saw that the paper, the Newbury Weekly News, published in England, contained the names of more than 60 of his and his father’s acquaintances, along with genealogical information. This newspaper, dated 15 May 1884, had been given to him only three days after it was printed. In a time long before air transportation, when mail took several weeks to get from England to western America, this was a miracle.

The next day, Bishop Ballard took the newspaper to the temple and told the story of its arrival to Marriner W. Merrill, the temple president. President Merrill declared, “Brother Ballard, someone on the other side is anxious for their work to be done and they knew that you would do it if this paper got into your hands.”7 This newspaper is preserved in the Church Historical Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.’ (pages 98-99, Our Heritage)

‘Long before the Latter-day Saints founded a genealogical society, Church members gathered records documenting the lives of their dead ancestors. Wilford Woodruff, Orson Pratt, and Heber J. Grant are among those who obtained the names of thousands of ancestors for whom they performed temple ordinances. In 1894, the First Presidency directed that a genealogical society be organized with Elder Franklin D. Richards as its first leader. A library was established, and representatives of the society went throughout the world in search of names of people for whom temple ordinances could be performed. This society led to the creation of the Family History Department of the Church.

During the April 1894 general conference, President Woodruff announced that he had received a revelation about genealogical work. He declared that God wanted the Latter-day Saints “to trace their genealogies as far as they can, and to be sealed to their fathers and mothers. Have the children sealed to their parents and run this chain through as far as you can get it. … This is the will of the Lord to his people,” he said, “and I think when you come to reflect upon it you will find it to be true.”8 Latter-day Saints are still encouraged to seek out the records of their deceased ancestors and perform temple ordinances in their behalf.

From 1885 to 1900, many Church members served genealogical missions. They were invited to Salt Lake City to receive a blessing for their mission from a General Authority. They were also provided with a missionary card and a letter of appointment. They visited relatives, recorded names from gravestones, and studied parish records and family Bibles, returning to their homes with valuable information that allowed temple work to be performed. Many missionaries reported spiritual experiences that gave them the firm assurance that the Lord was with them and often directed them to a needed source or relative.‘ (page 101, Our Heritage)

Watch: Their Hearts are Bound to You

President Henry B. Eyring poignantly describes why our family are so important to us, not only now but for forever. The Mormon Tabernacle choir punctuates the doctrine in song. (3:15)

Watch: Sharing the Temple Challenge Elder Andersen talks about the many blessings and promises that come from accepting the challenge to find and take a name of one of your own ancestors to the temple. (3:19)

Watch: Your Fingers Have Been Trained

The youth have been prepared to participate in temple and family history work. (1:47)

Watch: Is Anything Too Hard for the Lord?

Elder Neil L. Andersen illustrates the vast work of bringing the ordinances of the gospel to every man, woman, and child who has ever lived on the earth. (3:31)

3. President Joseph F. Smith: “The eyes of my understanding were opened.”

A portrait by A. Salzbrenner of Joseph F. Smith in a black suit, white shirt, and glasses.

‘Death haunted mankind in 1918. The Great War, known today as World War I, was in the process of claiming more than nine million lives. That staggering figure paled in comparison with the number of people slain in even less time by a global influenza pandemic. Worldwide the virus reaped a grim harvest of perhaps fifty million souls. It killed more than 195,000 Americans in October 1918, the deadliest month in American history, the month the Lord revealed Doctrine and Covenants 138.

The “pervasiveness and ubiquity of death were overwhelming,” yet it is hard to grasp for those of us who live distant from what witnesses themselves could hardly imagine and what cultural historians have described as creating a terrible, gnawing emptiness in tens of thousands of families mourning the losses of loved ones whose bodies were never recovered from the war’s devastation or whose families were wiped out by disease.

In the midst of the dead and dying was Joseph F. Smith, president of the Church. His life’s experiences equipped him to grasp the enormity of death and its implications. His father, Hyrum, had been brutally shot to death when Joseph was five. Not many years later he lost his mother, “the sweetest soul that ever lived,” he wrote, “when I was only a boy.” Death marked his life. His first child, Mercy Josephine, died at age two, leaving Joseph “vacant, lonely, desolate, deserted.” His beloved eldest son died unexpectedly in January 1918, creating what President Smith called “my overwhelming burden of grief.” Between these untimely deaths, President Smith buried a wife and eleven other children. He tasted deeply the bitterness of death.

As general conference neared in October 1918, President Smith himself was less than two months from the end of his own mortality. Unwell, he surprised the Saints by appearing at conference on October 4. He spoke briefly, saying, “I have dwelt in the spirit of prayer, of supplication, of faith and of determination; and I have had my communications with the Spirit of the Lord continuously.” Indeed he had. Just the day before, the Lord had given him the revelation recorded now in Doctrine and Covenants 138. After conference he dictated it to his son Joseph Fielding Smith.’ (Steven C Harper, Making Sense of the Doctrine and Covenants)

Watch: Ministry of Joseph F Smith – A Vision of the Redemption of the Dead

Read: Revelations in Context – Susa Young Gates and the Vision of the Redemption of the Dead

4. President Gordon B. Hinckley: “We are determined … to take the temples to the people.”

A portrait of President Gordon B. Hinckley smiling in a black suit, white shirt, and glasses.

‘Connected with President Hinckley’s optimism and his focus on individuals was his prophetic vision for the future. Most profoundly, that vision concerned temples. The ordinances of the temple, President Hinckley emphasized, are “the crowning blessings the Church has to offer.”18

When he became President of the Church in 1995, there were 47 operating temples worldwide. Under his leadership, the Church more than doubled this number in a little over five years. His vision regarding temples was bold and expansive, but the entire purpose was to bless individuals one by one.

The inspiration for this new era of temple building came in 1997 when President Hinckley went to Colonia Juárez, Mexico, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of a Church-owned school. Afterward, during a long, dusty drive, he was contemplative. “It got quiet,” recalled his secretary, Don H. Staheli. “And then, as I understand it, the revelation started coming. He had thought about smaller temples in the past, but not in the way that he thought about them this time.”19

President Hinckley later described the process: “I began to ask myself what could be done to make it possible for these people to have a temple. … As I meditated on this, the thought came into my mind that … we can build all of the essential elements of a temple into a relatively small building. … I sketched out a plan. … The whole picture came into my mind very clearly. I believe with all my heart that it was inspiration, that it was revelation from the Lord. I came home and talked with my counselors about it, and they approved of it. I then presented it to the Twelve, and they approved of it.”20

Four months later in general conference, President Hinckley made the historic announcement that the Church would begin to build smaller temples in areas where there were not enough members to justify larger ones. “We are determined … to take the temples to the people and afford them every opportunity for the very precious blessings that come of temple worship,” he said.21

In the next general conference, President Hinckley made another historic announcement, saying that plans were going forward to have 100 temples in operation by the end of the year 2000. “We are moving on a scale the like of which we have never seen before,” he stated.22 When he reported on the progress of temple building in April 1999, he used a familiar phrase: “This is a tremendous undertaking, with many problems, but no matter the difficulty, things work out and I am confident we will reach our goal.”23

Gordon B. Hinckley and others at Boston Massachusetts Temple

In October 2000, President Hinckley traveled to Boston, Massachusetts, USA, to dedicate the Church’s 100th temple—one of 21 he dedicated that year on four continents. By the end of his life, 124 temples were completed and another 13 were announced or under construction.’ (Andrew D Olsen, Gordon B Hinckley, A prophet of Optimism and Vision, Ensign January 2017)

Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Doctrine 2017, LDS Doctrine, Prophets

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 37: “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet”

1. Our need for a living prophet

Watch: We Need Living Prophets Members of the Church across the world bear testimony of living prophets and apostles and speak of the blessings of peace and hope that arise from that knowledge.

Watch: Gods Words Never Cease Elder Jeffrey R. Holland testifies of the truth of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and continuing revelation from God to His children.

See: Prophets of the Restoration

“The very first [dispensation of the gospel] was in the time of Adam. Then came dispensations of Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and others. Each prophet had a divine commission to teach of the divinity and the doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ. In each age these teachings were meant to help the people. But their disobedience resulted in apostasy. …

“Thus a complete restoration was required. God the Father and Jesus Christ called upon the Prophet Joseph Smith to be the prophet of this dispensation. All divine powers of previous dispensations were to be restored through him” (Russell M Nelson in Conference Report, Oct. 2006).

“I say, in the deepest of humility, but also by the power and force of a burning testimony in my soul, that from the prophet of the Restoration to the prophet of our own year, the communication line is unbroken, the authority is continuous, a light, brilliant and penetrating, continues to shine. The sound of the voice of the Lord is a continuous melody and a thunderous appeal” (Spencer W Kimball in Conference Report, Apr. 1977).

2. The roles of our living prophet

Watch: Watchman on the Tower (Ezekiel 33:1-7) The Lord calls prophets to be the “watchmen” on the tower.

Watch: Ministry of Thomas S Monson – Rebuilding Lives An invitation to write an article for the Washington Post, ten years after the atrocities of 9/11, allows President Thomas S. Monson to speak to the world of forgiveness and hope.

D&C 1:38 Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same

‘I do not believe members of this Church can be in full harmony with the Savior without sustaining His living prophet on the earth, the President of the Church. If we do not sustain the living prophet, whoever he may be, we die spiritually. Ironically, some have died spiritually by exclusively following prophets who have long been dead. Others equivocate in their support of living prophets, trying to lift themselves up by putting down the living prophets, however subtly.

In our lifetime we have been favored with ongoing communication from the heavens, which have been open to the prophets of our time…This process of revelation comes to the Church very frequently. President Wilford Woodruff stated, “This power is in the bosom of Almighty God, and he imparts it to his servants the prophets as they stand in need of it day by day to build up Zion” (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, 56). This is necessary for the Church to fulfill its mission. Without it, we would fail.’ (James E Faust, “Continuing Revelation,” Ensign, Aug. 1996, 5)

D&C 21:1 A seer, a translator, a prophet

‘A prophet is a teacher of known truth; a seer is a perceiver of hidden truth, a revelator is a bearer of new truth. In the widest sense, the one most commonly used, the title, prophet, includes the other titles and makes of the prophet, a teacher, perceiver, and bearer of truth.’ (John A Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, p. 258)

D&C 107:91-92 Preside Over the Whole Church

‘The President of the Church directs the use of all of the keys and authority of the priesthood and is the only person who can exercise all of them, even though all of the ordained Apostles hold these keys, some of which are in latent form.

Brethren, I have been a member of the First Presidency for only a few days. It seems as though before I had this calling I had limited vision, but I have now put on glasses that allow me to see more clearly, in a small way, the magnitude of the responsibility of the President of the Church. I am afraid I am like the aristocrat who wore a monocle in one eye. Of him it was said, “He could see more than he could comprehend.” The men who see most clearly the big picture are these giants of the Lord, President Hinckley and President Monson, who have served many years faithfully as counselors to the previous Presidents of the Church.’ (James E Faust, Ensign, May 1995, 47)

3. Heeding the words of our living prophet

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Read: Give Heed Unto the Prophet’s Words Quentin L Cook, April 2008

“We have been promised that the President of the Church, as the revelator for the Church, will receive guidance for all of us. Our safety lies in paying heed to that which he says and following his counsel” (James E Faust, Ensign, Aug. 1996)

“It is no small thing, my brothers and sisters, to have a prophet of God in our midst. … When we hear the counsel of the Lord expressed through the words of the President of the Church, our response should be positive and prompt. History shows that there is safety, peace, prosperity, and happiness in responding to prophetic counsel as did Nephi of old: ‘I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded’ (1 Nephi 3:7).’ (Elder M Russell Ballard, General Conference, April 2001)

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D&C 21:4-6 His Word Ye Shall Receive

‘In other words, the Lord has said it was not only important that there be revelation to his Church through his mouthpiece, the one who held the keys, but his Church must also be founded on personal revelation, that every member of the Church who has been baptized and has received the Holy Ghost must be admonished so to live that each might receive a personal testimony and a witness of the divine calling of him who was called to lead as the President of the Church so that he will accept those words and that counsel as if from the mouth of the Lord himself. Otherwise, the gates of hell would prevail against that individual.’ (Harold B Lee, General Conference, April 1953)

4. Latter-day prophets’ example of Christlike love

Watch: Teachings of Spencer W Kimball – Man of Compassion Elder Spencer W. Kimball blesses a tiny Native American boy in Denver, Colorado. (0:56)

Watch: Ministry of Gordon B Hinckley – Love for the People While preparing for a ground-breaking ceremony, President Hinckley learns that an old missionary companion is in the audience. He seeks him out. (1:31)

Watch: Teachings of Thomas S Monson- Rescuing Those in Need Bishop Thomas Monson and his ward welcome a poor German family into their community, providing them with housing, warmth, and food for Christmas. (5:01)

Teachings of Joseph Smith:

A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race. (History of the Church, 4:227.)

It is a duty which every Saint ought to render to his brethren freely—to always love them, and ever succor them. (History of the Church, 2:229)

Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand, and watch over them with tenderness. When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what power it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind. (History of the Church, 5:23–24 (9 June 1842))

Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Doctrine 2017, LDS Doctrine, Temples

Gospel Doctrine 2017: Lesson 31: “Sealed … for Time and for All Eternity”

1. Eternal marriage is essential in Heavenly Father’s plan.

Watch: Celestial Marriage is Essential for Exaltation  President Hunter teaches celestial marriage is essential for exaltation (D&C 131:1-4). (1:22)

Watch: The Sealing Power (Malachi 4:5-6) A woman bears testimony of the sealing powers of the priesthood.

A bride with a red flower in her hair, standing and holding hands with the groom outside a temple in Hawaii.

D&C 131: 1 Celestial glory

‘There will be on the one hand those who are servants, who are ministering angels; there will be on the other hand exalted and glorified personages. The difference between these two categories-the one on the one hand, and the other on the other-the difference is the continuation of the family unit in eternity. By definition and in its nature, exaltation consists in the continuation of the family unit through all ages yet to be. If the family unit continues, if husband and wife go into the spirit world as a married couple and come up in the resurrection continuing as husband and wife, then exaltation is assured. If they go there separately and singly-either not having entered into this celestial order or, having entered into it, having not kept the terms and conditions and laws that appertain to it-they will have immortality only and not eternal life.’ (Bruce R McConkie, Conference Report, April 1957, Afternoon Meeting 20)

D&C 49:15 Marriage is ordained of God

President Joseph F. Smith once declared “that no man can be saved and exalted in the kingdom of God without the woman, and no woman can reach perfection and exaltation in the kingdom of God, alone. … God instituted marriage in the beginning. He made man in His own image and likeness, male and female, and in their creation it was designed that they should be united together in sacred bonds of marriage, and one is not perfect without the other.” (In Conference Report, April 1913, p. 118.)

D&C 132:7 The Holy Spirit of Promise

I will make an explanation of the expression, “Sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.” This does not have reference to marriage for time and all eternity only, but to every ordinance and blessing of the gospel. Baptism into the Church is sealed by this Spirit, likewise confirmation, ordination, and all ordinances as well as marriage for time and all eternity.

The meaning of this expression is this: Every covenant, contract, bond, obligation, oath, vow, and performance, that man receives through the covenants and blessings of the gospel, is sealed by the Holy Spirit with a promise. The promise is that the blessing will be obtained, if those who seek it are true and faithful to the end. If they are not faithful, then the Holy Spirit will withdraw the blessing, and the promise comes to an end. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:94-95)

Watch: Holy Spirit of Promise

2. Youth should prepare now for eternal marriage.

President Gordon B. Hinckley counseled: “Choose a companion of your own faith. You are much more likely to be happy. Choose a companion you can always honor, you can always respect, one who will complement you in your own life, one to whom you can give your entire heart, your entire love, your entire allegiance, your entire loyalty” (“Life’s Obligations,” Ensign, Feb. 1999, 2).

Image result for After a husband and wife are sealed in the temple, they must abide in the covenant to receive the promised blessings.

3. After a husband and wife are sealed in the temple, they must abide in the covenant to receive the promised blessings.

Watch: Marriage and Family Can Endure Forever Elder Nelson teaches how marriage and family can endure forever (D&C 132:15-24). (2:17)

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D&C 42:22 With all thy heart

“Marriage presupposes total allegiance and total fidelity. Each spouse takes the partner with the understanding that he or she gives totally to the spouse all the heart, strength, loyalty, honor, and affection, with all dignity. Any divergence is sin; any sharing of the heart is transgression. As we should have ‘an eye single to the glory of God,’ so should we have an eye, an ear, a heart single to the marriage and the spouse and family.” (Spencer W Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle,pp. 142–43.)

Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Doctrine 2017, Joseph Smith, LDS Church History, LDS Doctrine, Temples

Gospel Doctrine 2017- Lesson 30: “The Prisoners Shall Go Free”

1. Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord revealed the doctrine of priesthood ordinances for the dead.

Watch: Glad Tidings – The History of Baptisms for the Dead Joseph Smith’s struggle with his brother Alvin’s death led eventually to the introduction of baptisms for the dead. This new ordinance was embraced by saints in Nauvoo who did the first genealogical and family history research in Church history. (6:55)

Read: Revelations in Context – Letters on Baptism for the Dead

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‘On 15 August 1840, Joseph Smith preached the funeral sermon of Seymour Brunson, during which he declared for the first time the doctrine of baptism for the dead. It is not known precisely when the first proxy baptism or baptisms were performed; however, the first documented baptism for the dead was performed on 12 September 1840, when Jane Neyman requested that Harvey Olmstead baptize her in behalf of her deceased son Cyrus Livingston Neyman…. A short while later, upon learning the words Olmstead used in performing the baptism, Joseph Smith gave his approval of the ordinance. Later, instructions were given concerning proper procedures for performing and recording baptisms for the dead (see D&C 127-128), and it was clarified that “females should be baptised for females, and males for males” (Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 5:85). Doctrine and Covenants 124 (given five months after the first baptisms for the dead were performed) instructed that the practice of baptizing for the dead outside the Nauvoo Temple would be temporary [see vs. 29-34]. During the October 1841 general conference Joseph Smith announced, “There shall be no more baptisms for the dead, until the ordinance can be attended to in the Lord’s House…. For thus saith the Lord!” (History of the Church, 4:426). Allowance for the practice of performing proxy baptisms outside the temple lasted approximately thirteen and one-half months (15 August 1840-3 October 1841)….

On 8 November 1841, Brigham Young dedicated a temporary wooden baptismal font in the basement of the unfinished temple, and less than two weeks later, on 21 November, the first baptisms for the dead were performed in the temple by Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and John Taylor.’ (Largey, Doctrine and Covenants Reference Companion, p.838-839 (2012)

D&C 2:2 He shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers

‘In our preexistent state, in the day of the great council, we made a certain agreement with the Almighty. The Lord proposed a plan, conceived by him. We accepted it. Since the plan is intended for all men, we become parties to the salvation of every person under that plan. We agreed, right then and there, to be not only saviors for ourselves but measurably, saviors for the whole human family. We went into a partnership with the Lord. The working out of the plan became then not merely the Father’s work, and the Savior’s work, but also our work. The least of us, the humblest, is in partnership with the Almighty in achieving the purpose of the eternal plan of salvation.’ (John A Widtsoe, Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Oct. 1934, p. 189; see also History of the Church, 6:59-61)” (Doctrine and  Covenants Student Manual, 1981, p. 8)

2. The Lord commanded the Saints to build a temple in Nauvoo.

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D&C 124:28 What Is Meant by “The Fulness of the Priesthood”?

President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:

“Joseph Smith said … , ‘If a man gets a fulness 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.’ [History of the Church, 5:424.]

“I hope we understand that. If we want to receive the fullness of the Priesthood of God, then we must receive the fullness of the ordinances of the house of the Lord and keep His commandments. …“Let me put this in a little different way. I do not care what office you hold in this Church, you may be an apostle, you may be patriarch, a high priest, or anything else, and you cannot receive the fulness of the Priesthood unless you go into the temple of the Lord and receive these ordinances of which the Prophet speaks. No man can get the fulness of the Priesthood outside of the temple of the Lord. There was a time when that could be done, for the Lord could give these things on the mountain tops—no doubt that is where Moses got it, that is no doubt where Elijah got it—and the Lord said that in the days of poverty, when there was no house prepared in which to receive these things, that they can be received on the mountain tops. But now you will have to go into the house of the Lord, and you cannot get the fulness of the priesthood unless you go there.” (Elijah the Prophet, pp. 45–46.) (Doctrine and Covenants Institute Manual)

D&C 124:30 This ordinance belongeth to my house

Orson Pratt explained that a practical reason for centering the ordinance of baptism for the dead in the temple is that ‘the house of God is a house of order, the kingdom of God is a kingdom of order, and everything must be conducted with order, and with power and authority, so that when it is sealed on earth it is sealed in the heavens, that the records on earth and in heaven may agree-that the Priesthood on earth and in heaven may agree-that they may be one.'” (Hyrum L. Andrus, Principles of Perfection [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1970], 486)

A front side view of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple, with a bright, clear blue sky in the background and green lawns in the front of the temple.

“Today, facing west, on the high bluff overlooking the city of Nauvoo, thence across the Mississippi, and over the plains of Iowa, there stands Joseph’s temple, a magnificent house of God. Here in the Salt Lake Valley, facing east to that beautiful temple in Nauvoo, stands Brigham’s temple, the Salt Lake Temple. They look toward one another as bookends between which there are volumes that speak of the suffering, the sorrow, the sacrifice, even the deaths of thousands who made the long journey from the Mississippi River to the valley of the Great Salt Lake.” —Gordon B. Hinckley

3. We should be enthusiastic and joyful in our efforts to perform baptisms for the dead.

Watch: Temples Bless the Living and the Dead D&C 124:38-41) Temples bless the living and the dead. (1:02)

Watch: We Cannot Be Saved Without Our Dead Elder Nelson teaches that we cannot be saved without our dead (D&C 128:17-18). (1:52)

Watch: The Joy of Redeeming the Dead

Watch: Will I Do My Part? 

The key to freeing our ancestors from spirit prison is in our hands. We have the opportunity to put that key into action and bring the blessings of the Gospel to our families. (2:43)

D&C 128:14-18 Why Is Baptism for the Dead Such an Important Gospel Principle?

;In these verses, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught the following principles:

  1. The salvation of our dead ancestors is “essential to our salvation.” Our lives are closely tied to our ancestors’ lives, for we cannot become perfect without them nor they without us (D&C 128:15).
  2. Baptism for the dead is the “most glorious of all subjects belonging to the everlasting gospel” (v. 17). This doctrine shows the love and mercy of an all-wise Father in Heaven. Baptism for the dead and other vicarious work makes it possible for all our Father’s children to receive the same blessings, and be judged on the same terms, whether or not they had a chance to accept the gospel in mortality. President Rudger Clawson said: “Oh, the beauty of the justice and mercy of God, who is no respecter of persons! And let it be remembered that what it takes to save one who is living; it takes just that much to save one who is dead.” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1931, p. 79.)
  3. Baptism for the dead helps to prevent the earth from being smitten with a curse. As President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: “If Elijah had not come, we are led to believe that all the work of past ages would have been of little avail, for the Lord said the whole earth, under such conditions, would be utterly wasted at his coming. Therefore his mission was of vast importance to the world. It is not the question of baptism for the dead alone, but also the sealing of parents and children to parents, so that there should be a ‘whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories,’ from the beginning down to the end of time.

    “If this sealing power were not on the earth, then confusion would reign and disorder would take the place of order in that day when the Lord shall come, and, of course, this could not be, for all things are governed and controlled by perfect law in the kingdom of God. “Why would the earth be wasted? Simply because if there is not a welding link between the fathers and the children—which is the work for the dead—then we will all stand rejected; the whole work of God will fail and be utterly wasted. Such a condition, of course, shall not be.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:121–22.) (Doctrine and Covenants Institute Manual)

D&C 128:19-23 A Voice of Gladness

“In September 1842, the Prophet Joseph Smith was hiding in the house of Edward Hunter in Nauvoo… Yet it was in the cramped quarters of Edward Hunter’s home that Joseph penned the most majestic hymn of praise of the Restoration.

“Perhaps you have been to a symphony and listened to a piece of music that begins with a single, clear note played by a violin or a flute. The single instrument holds center stage for a time and then slowly, sometimes almost imperceptibly, is joined by other instruments. As the piece continues, the music swells as more and more instruments join in until all are playing and the whole hall is filled with the beauty of sound.

“Or perhaps you have listened to a great choir perform. Often a single soloist with a clear voice will begin to sing. As with the symphony, that single voice sounds in our ears without distraction. Then, slowly, other voices begin singing until, in a wonderful unity of sound, all are singing as one.

“This is the structure of Joseph Smith’s hymn of praise, only it is a hymn not of voice in song or note of violin but in words played upon the soul and recorded in the scriptures. Joseph’s hymn, too, begins with a single voice, ‘a voice of gladness.’ Listen to the words and see if you can hear the other voices join in to sing one unified song of praise for the blessings of the Restoration:  (quotes D&C 128:19-23.)

“What could have possibly been on Joseph Smith’s mind to bring forth from his pen such a beautiful summation of the Restoration? The central theme of D&C 128:1 is the salvation of the dead through the ordinances of the House of the Lord. Indeed, the verse immediately preceding Joseph’s song of gladness speaks of a ‘welding link . . . between the fathers and the children,’ a link that would be ‘whole and complete and perfect.’ (D&C 128:18.)

“Earlier in the letter, and serving as introduction to his song of praise, Joseph Smith told the Saints, ‘[The work of the temple] seems to occupy my mind, and press itself upon my feelings the strongest.’ He assured them, ‘These are principles in relation to the dead and the living that cannot be lightly passed over, as pertaining to our salvation.’ (D&C 128:1, 15.) Joseph understood that the culmination of the Restoration, the point to which all the voices were leading, was the temple and the redeeming work for both living and dead that would take place within its walls. Without that work, the song of the Restoration would have ‘become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.’ (1 Corinthians 13:1.) Or, as Malachi wrote, ‘The whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.’ (D&C 2:3.) Temple work was the soul of Joseph Smith’s song as it is the soul of the Restoration.” (S. Michael Wilcox, House of Glory: Finding Personal Meaning in the Temple [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 5-7)

Posted in LDS Doctrine, Priesthood, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 15: The Holy Priesthood

1. God has restored the priesthood and the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

Watch: Restoration of the Priesthood Church members share how they personally have been blessed because God’s priesthood authority has been restored to the earth.

Read: Revelations in Context – Restoring the Ancient Order

Read: Restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods

From the manual:

What experiences have helped you gain a testimony of these truths?

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2. The priesthood is the power and authority by which God accomplishes His work.

“Any ordinances performed without that authority are as invalid as a forged signature on a loan. Many baptisms and confirmations and other ordinances are performed by well-meaning people, but if those people lack the proper authority, they have no promise that the ordinance will be validated in this or the next life. Many, we fear, will be disillusioned when they arrive on the other side and find that the ordinances performed for them were invalid and the authority those who performed the ordinances thought they had is nonexistent. Sincerity or faith alone is not enough.” (Robert E Wells, The Mount and the Master [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 201.)

From the manual:

I love the priesthood of this Church. It is a vital, living thing. It is the very heart and strength of this work. It is the power and authority by which God, our Eternal Father, accomplishes His work in the earth.

How does this truth apply in stakes and wards? in quorums? in Relief Society?

3. The blessings of the priesthood are to be enjoyed by all.

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Watch: Blessings of the Priesthood The priesthood is the power of God, which is given to man to act in His name. (3:04)

Read: Joseph Smith’s Teachings about Priesthood, Temple, Women

Read: The Ten Blessings of the Priesthood Elder Bruce R McConkie

“I think we all know that the blessings of the priesthood are not confined to men alone. These blessings are also poured out upon our wives and daughters and upon all the faithful women of the Church. These good sisters can prepare themselves, by keeping the commandments and by serving in the Church, for the blessings of the house of the Lord. The Lord offers to his daughters every spiritual gift and blessing that can be obtained by his sons, for neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man in the Lord.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, In Conference Report, Apr. 1970, p. 59.)

From the manual:

In what ways have you experienced the power and blessings of the priesthood?

4. Sons of God who hold His divine authority must be true to the very best that is in them.

Watch or read: Walk with Me President Henry B Eyring

“This is not a plaything. The priesthood of God is the most serious thing in the world. It was by the priesthood the world was created. And it is by the priesthood that your world will be created; and if you ever become a God in a world of your own, with your wife, your family, it will be through the magnifying of this priesthood which you hold.” (Spencer W Kimball, In Conference Report, Stockholm Sweden Area Conference, Aug. 1974, p. 100.)

‘Priesthood is the authority and the power which God has granted to men on earth to act for Him. When priesthood authority is exercised properly, priesthood bearers do what He would do if He were present.

We have done very well at distributing the authority of the priesthood. We have priesthood authority planted nearly everywhere. We have quorums of elders and high priests worldwide. But distributing the authority of the priesthood has raced, I think, ahead of distributing the power of the priesthood. The priesthood does not have the strength that it should have and will not have until the power of the priesthood is firmly fixed in the families as it should be.’ (Elder Boyd K Packer)


From the manual:

What can we learn from President Hinckley’s teachings about the difference between priesthood authority and priesthood power?

5. A priesthood quorum can be an anchor of strength for its members.

From the manual:

What impresses you about President Hinckley’s descriptions of priesthood quorums and Relief Society?

6. In homes and in the Church, men and women work together to move the Lord’s kingdom forward.

‘In the temples of the Lord, sacred priesthood ordinances (e.g., washings, anointings, clothings) are administered to men by men and to women by women who have received the endowments of the priesthood in the temple (Teachings, p. 337) and have been given that specific priesthood responsibility. Women thus may act in priesthood power when called, set apart, and authorized by those who hold the keys; however, women officiators are not ordained to the priesthood or to an office in the priesthood to do this work.’ (See BYU Religious Studies Centre: Priesthood)

From the manual:

The men hold the priesthood, yes. But my wife is my companion. In this Church the man neither walks ahead of his wife nor behind his wife but at her side. They are co-equals in this life in a great enterprise.

Posted in Gospel Doctrine 2017, LDS Doctrine, Priesthood

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 25: Priesthood: “The Power of Godliness”

1. Order in the restoration of the priesthood and its offices

Read: Revelations in Context: Restoring the Ancient Order

Read: Joseph Smith’s Teachings about Priesthood, Temple, Women.

Read: Restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods

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‘What is the Priesthood? It is nothing more nor less than the power of God delegated to man by which man can act in the earth for the salvation of the human family, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, and act legitimately; not assuming that authority, not borrowing it from generations that are dead and gone, but authority that has been given in this day … by which they may baptize for the remission of sins and lay on hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and by which they can remit sin, with the sanction and blessing of Almighty God. It is the same power and Priesthood that was committed to the disciples of Christ while He was upon the earth; that whatsoever they should bind on earth should be bound in heaven, and whatsoever they should loose on earth should be loosed in heaven, and whomsoever they should bless should be blessed, and if they cursed, in the spirit of righteousness and meekness before God, God would confirm that curse’ (Joseph F Smith, Conference Report, October 1904, p. 97)

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2. The oath and covenant of the priesthood

Read: The Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood by S Brent Farley

‘As all of us know, a covenant is a contract and an agreement between at least two parties. In the case of gospel covenants, the parties are the Lord in heaven and men on earth. Men agree to keep the commandments and the Lord promises to reward them accordingly. The gospel itself is the new and everlasting covenant and embraces all of the agreements, promises, and rewards which the Lord offers to his people.

And so when we receive the Melchizedek Priesthood we do so by covenant. We solemnly promise to receive the priesthood, to magnify our callings in it, and to live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God. The Lord on his part promises us that if we keep the covenant, we shall receive all that the Father hath, which is life eternal. Can any of us conceive of a greater or more glorious agreement than this?’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, October 1970, Afternoon Meeting 91.)

D&C 84:33 Magnifying their calling

‘We need to serve! The essence of holding the priesthood is to magnify our calling (see  D&C 84:33) by serving others. Avoiding our most important duty to serve our wives and children, not accepting or passively fulfilling callings in the Church, or not caring about others unless it is convenient is not who we should be. The Savior declared, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind”  (Matthew 22:37) and later added, “If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me”  (D&C 42:29) Selfishness is the antithesis of priesthood responsibility, and if it is a trait of our character, we need to change.’ (Donald L Hallstrom, General Conference, April 2014)

“What does it mean to magnify a calling? It means to build it up in dignity and importance, to make it honorable and commendable in the eyes of all men, to enlarge and strengthen it, to let the light of heaven shine through it to the view of other men.’ (Thomas S Monson, General Conference, April 1986)

D&C 84:34 Sons of Moses and of Aaron

“‘Sons of Moses,’ and ‘sons of Aaron’ do not refer to their literal descendants only, for all who are faithful and obtain these Priesthoods, and magnify their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit and become the ‘sons’ of Moses and of Aaron, and the seed of Abraham, as well as the Church and Kingdom, and the elect of God (v. 34). Paul expresses this thought as follows, ‘Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham’ (Gal. 3:7).” (Smith and Sjodahl, Commentary, p. 504.)

D&C 84:38 All that my Father hath

‘Who in the name of the Lord can apprehend such language as this? Who can comprehend that, by obeying the celestial law, all that our Father has shall be given unto us-exaltations, thrones, principalities, power, dominion-who can comprehend it? Nevertheless it is here stated.’ (Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 22: 209 – 210.)

 

3. Principles for using the priesthood

Read: Revelations in Context: Within the Walls of Liberty Jail

Read or watch: Walk with Me by President Henry B Eyring

D&C 121:34 Why are they not chosen?

“I know of many cases where a man has gradually failed to magnify his priesthood and moved away from activity in the Church. As a result, a man who has been very active loses his testimony and the Spirit of the Lord withdraws from him, and he begins to criticize those in authority, and to persecute the saints, apostatize, and fight against God.” (N Eldon Tanner, In Conference Report, Apr. 1970, p. 52.)

D&C 121:35 Aspire to the honours of men

‘If there are any among you who aspire after their own aggrandizement, and seek their own opulence, while their brethren are groaning in poverty, and are under sore trials and temptations, they cannot be benefited by the intercession of the Holy Spirit…

We ought at all times to be very careful that such high-mindedness shall never have place in our hearts; but condescend to men of low estate, and with all long-suffering bear the infirmities of the weak. Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen… ‘ (Joseph Smith, Epistle to the Saints, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3: 299)

D&C 121:39 Unrighteous dominion

‘We simply cannot force others to do the right thing. The scriptures make it clear that this is not God’s way. Compulsion builds resentment. It conveys mistrust, and it makes people feel incompetent. Learning opportunities are lost when controlling persons pridefully assume they have all the right answers for others. The scriptures say that “it is the nature and disposition of almost all men” to engage in this “unrighteous dominion,”  Doctrine and Covenants 121:39 so we should be aware that it’s an easy trap to fall into. Women too may exercise unrighteous dominion, though the scriptures identify the problem especially with men.’ (Larry Y Wilson, General Conference, April 2012)

Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Doctrine 2017, LDS Doctrine, Word of Wisdom

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 22: The Word of Wisdom: “A Principle with Promise”

1. Why was the Word of Wisdom revealed?

See Revelations in Context – The Word of Wisdom

Video: Wisdom against conspiring men President Packer gives wisdom against conspiring men (D&C 89:1-4). (1:07)

D&C 89:4 Conspiring men

‘In 1997 Elder W. Eugene Hansen and I were asked to host the Honorable Michael Moore, attorney general of Mississippi, during a brief visit he made to Utah and Church headquarters. In a wide-ranging conversation with Mr. Moore, Elder Hansen and I raised questions about the lawsuit he had filed against the large American tobacco companies on behalf of the state of Mississippi. We knew Mississippi had recovered a sizable judgment and that other states, including Utah, were then undertaking similar action. We asked him specifically upon what legal theory the state of Mississippi’s claim had been based.

Much to our surprise, Mr. Moore informed us that the state’s cause of action had been based on a theory of “conspiracy,” which the evidence eventually conclusively showed existed among the tobacco companies and even among their lawyers. As Mr. Moore talked of his conspiracy theory and the efforts made by the tobacco companies to hide from the public the addictive and harmful effects of tobacco, my mind almost instinctively turned to section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants. A copy of that book of scripture was quickly located, and after briefly explaining the background and import of section 89, I asked Mr. Moore to read verse 4.

We listened attentively as he slowly and deliberately read that verse out loud in his appealing southern accent: “Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation” (italics added).

The scriptural reference to “conspiring men” was not lost on Mr. Moore. As he finished reading verse 4, a broad smile came across his face, and with a twinkle in his eyes he said, “I never dreamed in visiting Utah I might find 10 million people who would agree with my conspiracy theories!”

My heart burned within me that day and has many times since as I have thought about Joseph Smith’s gifts as a prophet and seer.’  (Marin K Jensen, Out of Obscurity, The LDS Church in the Twentieth Century, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2000], p. 9)

There is another part of this revelation that constitutes a pertinent warning to this modern generation: “In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation.” (D&C 89:4.)

The Lord foresaw the situation of today when motives for money would cause men to conspire to entice others to take noxious substances into their bodies. Advertisements which promote beer, wine, liquors, coffee, tobacco, and other harmful substances are examples of what the Lord foresaw. But the most pernicious example of an evil conspiracy in our time is those who induce young people into the use of drugs.

My young brothers and sisters, in all love, we give you warning that Satan and his emissaries will strive to entice you to use harmful substances, because they well know if you partake, your spiritual powers will be inhibited and you will be in their evil power. Stay away from those places or people which would influence you to break the commandments of God. Keep the commandments of God and you will have the wisdom to know and discern that which is evil. (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, April 1983, 54)

2. The Lord’s counsel about what is not good for the body

Read: Brother Notaro and the Word of Wisdom

Alcoholic Holding A Glass Of Alcohol Next To An Empty Bottle

D&C 89:5 Strong drink

“Over the earth … the demon drink is in control. Drunken with strong drink, men have lost their reason; their counsel has been destroyed; their judgment and vision are fled; they reel forward to destruction.

“Drink brings cruelty into the home; it walks arm in arm with poverty; its companions are disease and plague; it puts chastity to flight; and it knows neither honesty nor fair dealing; it is a total stranger to truth; it drowns conscience; it is the bodyguard of evil; it curses all who touch it.

“Drink has brought more woe and misery, broken more hearts, wrecked more homes, committed more crimes, filled more coffins than all the wars the world has suffered.” (J. Reuben Clark Jr., in Conference Report, Oct. 1942)

D&C 89:8 Tobacco

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‘Let me talk to you rather plainly, my young friends. As a physician, who for forty years has witnessed firsthand the truth of those statements in the Word of Wisdom, I testify that they are true.

The beautiful scenes in magazine advertisements are not what the end results of cigarette smoking prove to be. This advertising in these magazines and newspapers is very deceptive. The end results are not nearly so pretty. They are oxygen masks and intravenous medication and literally hours of pain, misery, and gasping for breath.

I had my own comment printed and pasted on all cigarette advertising in the magazines of my medical office waiting room. It states:

“Many of the ads in this magazine are misleading, deceptive, and are a rip-off. For example, smoking does not make one glamorous, macho, or athletic. It does make one sick, poor, and dead.”’ (Malcolm S Jeppsen, General Conference, April 1990)

D&C 89:9 Hot drinks

‘When the Word of Wisdom was first promulgated in 1833, the question was at once asked: What is the meaning of “hot drinks?” Was it an injunction against consuming beverages so hot as to burn the tongue or mouth? That did not seem reasonable. Did it mean that the consumption of warm drinks should be reduced? That did not, even in that day, seem so unreasonable, for it was recognized that the stomach lining might be made unduly sensitive by frequent large ingestions of hot liquids. In fact, some clinical results of the modern day indicate that hot beverages, continuously used, predispose the stomach to certain serious disorders.

The question concerning the meaning of “hot drinks,” as used in the Word of Wisdom, was at last brought to the Prophet Joseph Smith. He defined “hot drinks” as tea and coffee, the two common household beverages of the day. Joel H. Johnson, with whose family the Prophet was intimate, relates that on a Sabbath day in July (1833) following the giving of the “Word of Wisdom,” when both Joseph and Hyrum Smith were in the stand, the Prophet said to the Saints: “I understand that some of the people are excusing themselves in using tea and coffee, because the Lord only said ‘hot drinks’ in the revelation of the Word of Wisdom. Tea and coffee are what the Lord meant when he said ‘hot drinks'”

On March 17, 1838, when the body of Seventies were preparing for their pilgrimage to the “land of Zion,” they agreed that they should see to it that “the commandments are kept, and the Word of Wisdom heeded, that is, no tobacco, tea, coffee, snuff or ardent spirits of any kind to be taken internally”

Sometime later, in 1842, Hyrum Smith, the Prophet’s brother, in speaking upon the Word of Wisdom concerning the term “hot drinks” said, “There are many who wonder what this can mean, whether it refers to tea or coffee, or not. I say it does refer to tea and coffee”

Brigham Young, who, as the President of the Council of Twelve, was very near to the Prophet, always taught that “hot drinks” meant tea and coffee.

He once said:

“I have heard it argued that tea and coffee are not mentioned in the Word of Wisdom; that is very true; but what were the people in the habit of taking as hot drinks when that revelation was given? Tea and coffee. We were not in the habit of drinking water very hot, but tea and coffee—the beverages in common use.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 283)

Moreover, from the time that the Word of Wisdom was received, until the present day, the Church as a whole has understood and taught that the term “hot drinks” refers to tea and coffee and all similar beverages. This definition may be extended to include all drinks whether hot or cold in temperature which, like coffee and tea, contain any stimulating substance, for such are detrimental to health.

This definition of “hot drinks” furnishes the key to this part of the Word of Wisdom….

That the expression “hot drinks” was used in the Word of Wisdom rather than “coffee and tea,” is notable; for by so doing a host of other injurious habit-forming beverages now used (or that may be used) become subject to the Word of Wisdom. Indeed, the use of the words “hot drinks” implies a knowledge beyond that possessed by man when the Word of Wisdom was received. It is remarkable indeed that Joseph Smith could so boldly declare himself against coffee and tea, as against all similar hurtful beverages, at a time when the world’s learning could not safely make the statement.

Human experience, since that day, is all against the use of coffee and tea, and similar beverages. They gradually influence harmfully the mind and the body of the user, especially if excesses are indulged in, and the tendency of the habit is to demand more and more….

It is to be emphasized that cold or iced tea and coffee come under the ban of “hot drinks”. The drug contained is just as injurious in iced as in hot coffee or tea….

Wise people, especially Latter-day Saints, should lay aside the caffeine-habit, if formed, and should avoid the use of all such beverages in the home, as should the whole world. True physical and mental enjoyment, and complete health cannot be won by those who are subject to the habit of drinking “hot drinks”—coffee and tea and related beverages. The waste of money alone, for unnecessary and harmful products, justifies opposition to all caffeine products except for industrial and medical purposes.’ (John A Widtsoe, The Word of Wisdom, p.85-87, 99-101)

Caffeinated drinks

The Church has never officially taken a position on this matter, but the leaders of the Church have advised, and we do now specifically advise against the use of any drink containing harmful, habit-forming drugs under circumstances that would result in acquiring the habit. Any beverage that contains ingredients harmful to the body should be avoided. (First Presidency Priesthood Bulletin, February 1972).

3. The Lord’s counsel about what is good for the body

Cornucopia

D&C 89:11 In the season thereof

“The phrase ‘in the season thereof,’ referring to fruits and vegetables, has raised much speculation. It indicates simply the superior value of fresh foods as demonstrated by modern science, but does not necessarily prohibit the use of fruits or vegetables out of season if preserved by proper methods.” (John A Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations,3:157.)

D&C 89:12 To be used sparingly

‘The Lord admonishes us to eat meat sparingly, an admonition that is also verified by the findings of science today, since an excess of meat can contribute to cardiovascular diseases. However, he didn’t say that man should abstain totally from eating meat. In an earlier revelation he declared, “. . . whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God. For, behold, the beasts of the field and fowls of the air . . . are ordained for the use of man. . . . ” (D&C 49:18-19.) The key is found in the word “sparingly.”‘ (LeGrand Richards, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1950], 361.)

D&C 88:124 Cease to sleep longer than is needful

[When Marion G. Romney was called as a General Authortiy] he felt that he needed some advice, so he went to Elder Harold B. Lee, a relatively new member of the Quorum of the Twelve and a former contemporary as a stake president. Elder Romney asked him for advice about how to be successful as a General Authority.

Elder Lee spoke about the necessity of receiving personal revelation in order to be effective and said: “If you are to be successful as a General Authority, you will need to be inspired. You will need to receive revelation. I will give you one piece of advice: Go to bed early and get up early. If you do, your body and mind will become rested, and then in the quiet of those early-morning hours, you will receive more flashes of insight and inspiration than at any other time of the day.”

President Romney said: “From that day on, I put that counsel into practice, and I know it works. Whenever I have a serious problem, or some assignment of a creative nature with which I hope to receive the influence of the Spirit, I always receive more assistance in the early-morning hours than at any other time of the day. Following that counsel has helped me a great deal through the years.” (Joe J Christensen, “Ten Ideas to Increase Your Spirituality,” Ensign, Mar. 1999, 59)

4. Promised blessings for obedience to the Word of Wisdom

Video: Great treasures of knowledge President Packer teaches about great treasures of knowledge (D&C 89:18-21). (1:42)

D&C 89:18 Health

‘People are becoming increasingly health conscious. We have a running start on the world, a code so simple and easily understood. Not long ago I met Dr. James E. Enstrom of the University of California at Los Angeles. He is not a member of the Church. He speaks with complete objectivity. His studies indicate that actuarially speaking, Latter-day Saints live about 10 years longer than their peers.

Who can set a price on 10 years of life? What a remarkable and wonderful blessing is this Word of Wisdom. ‘ (Gordon B Hinckley, “Look to the Future,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 69)

D&C 89:20 Run and not be weary

‘The Lord promises that if we keep these commandments we “shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint”  D&C 89:20 italics added).

The Lord might be making us aware of another law of health—the need of proper exercise. Exercise such as walking and running and other forms of rhythmic action is important in maintaining cardiovascular fitness.

In our busy lives sometimes we are prone to excuse ourselves for not getting proper exercise by saying that we have neither the time nor opportunity. I know a busy young woman who exercises while listening to self-improvement tapes or memorizing scriptures. Almost anyone can do that.’  (Barbara A Smith, General Conference, April 1978)

D&C 89:21 The destroying angel shall pass by them

“This does not say and this does not mean, that to keep the Word of Wisdom is to insure us against death, for death is, in the eternal plan, co-equal with birth. This is the eternal decree. [1 Corinthians 15:22; 2 Nephi 9:6.] But it does mean that the destroying angel, he who comes to punish the unrighteous for their sins, as he in olden time afflicted the corrupt Egyptians in their wickedness [Exodus 12:23, 29], shall pass by the Saints, ‘who are walking in obedience to the commandments,’ and who ‘remember to keep and do these sayings.’ These promises do mean that all those who qualify themselves to enjoy them will be permitted so to live out their lives that they may gain the full experiences and get the full knowledge which they need in order to progress to the highest exaltation in eternity, all these will live until their work is finished and God calls them back to their eternal home, as a reward.” (J Reuben Clark Jr, In Conference Report, Oct. 1940, pp. 17–18.)

Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Doctrine 2017, Jesus Christ, LDS Doctrine

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 21: “Looking Forth for the Great Day of the Lord to Come”

1. The Savior will return to the earth in power and great glory.

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D&C 29:9 They that do wickedly shall be as stubble

‘For those who say “We’re not going to burn,” it would be prudent to remember that it wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark!’ (A Theodore Tuttle, Conference Report, April 1970, Afternoon Meeting 86.)

D&C 45:44 And, behold I will come

‘Our faith grows as we anticipate the glorious day of the Savior’s return to the earth. The thought of His coming stirs my soul. It will be breathtaking! The scope and grandeur, the vastness and magnificence, will exceed anything mortal eyes have ever seen or experienced.

In that day He will not come “wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger,”  Luke 2:12 but He will appear “in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory; with all the holy angels.” Doctrine and Covenants 45:44 We will hear “the voice of the archangel, and … the trump of God.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16 The sun and the moon will be transformed, and “stars [will] be hurled from their places.” Doctrine and Covenants 133:49 You and I, or those who follow us, “the saints … from [every quarter] of the earth,”Doctrine and Covenants 45:46 “shall be quickened and … caught up to meet him,” Doctrine and Covenants 88:96 and those who have died in righteousness, they too will “be caught up to meet him in the midst … of heaven.”Doctrine and Covenants 88:97

Then, a seemingly impossible experience: “All flesh,” the Lord says, “shall see me together.” Doctrine and Covenants 101:23 How will it happen? We do not know. But I testify it will happen—exactly as prophesied. We will kneel in reverence, “and the Lord shall utter his voice, and all the ends of the earth shall hear it.” Doctrine and Covenants 45:49 “It shall be … as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder.” Doctrine and Covenants 133:22 “[Then] the Lord, … the Savior, shall stand in the midst of his people.” Doctrine and Covenants 133:25

There will be unforgettable reunions with the angels of heaven and the Saints upon the earth.See  Moses 7:63 But most important, as Isaiah declares, “All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God,”  Isaiah 52:10 and He “shall reign over all flesh.”  Doctrine and Covenants 133:25

In that day the skeptics will be silent, “for every ear shall hear … , and every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess”  Doctrine and Covenants 88:104 that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world.’ (Neil L Andersen, General Conference, April 2015)

D&C 34:7 The time is soon at hand

‘Certainly there is no point in speculating concerning the day and the hour. Let us rather live each day so that if the Lord does come while we yet are upon the earth we shall be worthy…The God of heaven has ordained that day. The prophets of all dispensations have spoken of it. We know not when it will come, but its dawning is certain.’ (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 577.)

2. The Millennium will be a time of joy and peace.

D&C 101:23 Prepare for the revelation which is to come

‘Jesus will come in a cloud, or as is expressed here in the 40th chapter of Isaiah-“The glory of the Lord will be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.” It is also expressed in the revelations of St. John, that when he comes in a cloud every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him. [Rev. 1:7.] It seems then that the second advent of the Son of God is to be something . . . accompanied with great power and glory, something that will not be done in a small portion of the earth like Palestine, and seen only by a few; but it will be an event that will be seen by all-all flesh shall see the glory of the Lord; when he reveals himself the second time, every eye, not only those living at that time in the flesh, in mortality on the earth, but also the very dead themselves, they also who pierced him, those who lived eighteen hundred years ago, who were engaged in the cruel act of piercing his hands and his feet and his side, will also see him at that time.’ (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, March 26, 1876, 18:170)

D&C 101:24 Every corruptible thing ..shall be consumed

“As I understand this scripture, it means that the elements of corruption that have come into the world because of the Fall of Adam-these corrupt elements that bring decay, disintegration and death-will be purged and destroyed by the manifestation of Christ’s glory, when He comes. Hence, there will be no death, in the sense of the body’s disintegration. Men will not grow old so as to become bent and broken in body, but they will blossom in perpetual youth. There will, however, be a transition in which the person who is old in years will be changed from the millennial state to the state of resurrected life, where the fuller powers of celestial glory are organized into man.” (Hyrum L. Andrus, The Glory of God and Man’s Relation to Deity [Provo: BYU Extension Publications, 1964], 16)

D&C 101:25 How Will the Earth Be Burned by Fire?

‘The glory of a celestial being, of which the sun is typical (see D&C 76:70), is so radiant that to bring that glory to the earth will cause great burning. The cleansing of the earth by fire will be caused by the coming of the Savior to earth (see D&C 5:19; McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:368–69; Notes and Commentary for D&C 133:40–49). Those who are not changed to withstand the presence of the Savior will perish by fire.’ (Institute Doctrine and Covenants Manual)

D&C 101:26 The enmity of beasts

‘It is then that the enmity of the beasts of the field as well as that of all flesh will cease; (Isa. 11:6-9 Isa. 65:25 D&C 101:26) no more one beast of prey devouring and feasting upon another that is more harmless in its nature; no more will this enmity be found in the fish of the sea, or in the birds of the air. This change will be wrought upon all flesh when Jesus comes; not a change to immortality, but a change sufficient to alter the ferocious nature of beasts, birds and fishes. In those days the lion will eat straw like the ox; (Isa. 65:25) he will no more be the terror of the forest, but will be perfectly harmless, and gentleness will characterize all the wild and ferocious animals, as well as the venomous serpents, so much so that the little child might lead them and play with them, (Isa. 11:8) and nothing should hurt or destroy in all the holy mountain of the Lord; (Isa. 11:9) all things becoming, in some measure, as when they were first created. For it will be remembered that animals did not devour one another until after the fall, neither was there any death, until after the fall. (Moses 6:48) What did they eat, then? The Lord said, “To every beast of the field, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat.” (Gen. 1:30) The grass, and the herbs, and every green thing were their food. And Adam and Eve ate fruits and vegetables, not animal flesh. (Gen. 1:29) The whole earth will be restored; and man will be restored; and not only upon man, but upon all flesh the Spirit of God will be poured out (Joel 2:28) and they will eventually be restored to all that was lost by the fall of our first parents.’ (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses)

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D&C 101:27 Whatsoever any man shall ask

‘People sometimes pray for things they should not have. The Millennium will change that. People will ask only for righteous things, and all requests will be honored by Heavenly Father.’ (Institute Doctrine and Covenants Manual)

D&C 101:28 Satan shall not have power to tempt any man

‘It will make a great difference when Satan will have his power taken away during that period, but the inhabitants of the earth will still have their agency. We are taught that during that thousand years, men will not be compelled to believe and that there will be many, at least in the beginning, who will belong to the Protestant and Catholic churches. The Lord will not take away from them their right to believe as they will. However, if they persist in their unbelief under the conditions which will prevail, they will be condemned. Before that period is over all will have received the truth. We read again from Isaiah: They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11: 9.)’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957-1966], 5: 144)

3. We must prepare for the Second Coming.

Read: Preparing for the Second Coming

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D&C 61:38 The coming of the Son of Man

“Jesus Christ never did reveal to any man the precise time that He would come. Go and read the Scriptures, and you cannot find anything that specifies the exact hour He would come; and all that say so are false teachers.” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 6:254.)

‘I have been called as one of the Apostles to be a special witness of Christ in these exciting yet trying times, and I do not know when He is going to come again. As far as I know, none of my Brethren in the Council of the Twelve or even in the First Presidency knows. I would humbly suggest to you that if we do not know, then nobody knows, no matter how compelling their arguments or how reasonable their calculations. The Savior said that “of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36). I believe when the Lord says “no man” knows, it really means that no man knows. In 1844 Joseph Smith declared: “Jesus Christ never did reveal to any man the precise time that He would come. Go and read the scriptures, and you cannot find anything that specifies the exact hour He would come; and all that say so are false teachers” (History of the Church, 6:254). You should be extremely wary of anyone who claims to be an exception to divine decree.’ (M Russell Ballard, When Thou Art Converted)

D&C 45:9 Messenger before my face

‘We live in these days of the Lord’s “marvellous work and a wonder”  Isaiah 29:14 see  2 Nephi 25:17 We have been blessed to bring the gospel to our families and our posterity and to assist in preparing for the Second Coming of the Savior. The Lord described the purposes of the Restoration “to be a light to the world, … to be a standard for [us, His] people, … and to be a messenger before [His] face to prepare the way before [Him]”  D&C 45:9 Our responsibility is not trivial; it is not by chance that we are who we are; the keeping of our covenants in these days of destiny will be a badge of honor throughout all the eternities.’ (Neil L Andersen, General Conference, April 2009)

Posted in Doctrine and Covenants, Gospel Doctrine 2017, LDS Doctrine

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 20: The Kingdoms of Glory

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The kingdoms of glory and “the testimony of Jesus”

Read: Kingdoms of Glory

Read: Revelations in Context: The Vision

D&C 76:19 While we meditated upon these things

“Prophets have used the words diligently, pondering, meditating, and feasting to explain how we should approach the scriptures. Clearly we should read with careful thought and much pondering. Even when we are not reading we should reflect constantly on God’s word. The prophets have promised that this will lead to new spiritual insights and to greater righteousness.

“The scriptures show us that we can ponder in two ways: we can meditate on the scripture itself, or we can relate what we read to our personal lives.

“This kind of reflection can help all of us make commitments that will decrease darkness and increase light. We must ask questions as we read, questions such as, How does this apply in my life today? or What lesson can I learn from this?” (Dean Jarman, “Well of Living Water,” New Era, Nov. 1973, 29)

D&C 76: 20-244 The Testimony of Eyewitnesses

‘This testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon is a modern witness of the reality of the existence of the Father and the Son. Joseph and Sidney not only saw but heard, and their testimonies stand as a witness to all people. The phrase “last of all” is explained by Smith and Sjodahl as follows: “This is the last testimony to the fact that He lives, a resurrected and glorified Being; not the final testimony but the last up to the time of this vision” (Commentary, p. 448).’ )Doctrine and Covenants Institute Manual)

D&C 76:51 Believed on his name and were baptised

‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. This eternal truth settles the question of all men’s religion. A man may be saved, after the judgment, in the terrestrial kingdom, or in the telestial kingdom, but he can never see the celestial kingdom of God without being born of the water and the Spirit’. (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1: 283 – 284.)

Perdition

‘What must a man do to commit the unpardonable sin? He must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against Him. After a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance for him. He has got to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it; he has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it; and from that time he begins to be an enemy. This is the case with many apostates of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’  (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.358)

The telestial kingdom

“We are living in a telestial world, complete with telestial arts and entertainment which can fill our minds with telestial images. Those telestial images often stimulate telestial thoughts, which, if not rejected, will lead to telestial behavior. The eventual result can be a telestial person. We would be more healthy spiritually if we never consumed any evil. Every bit harms us.

“The prophets of the Lord understand this process and have given us this sharp admonition: ‘Come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things.’ (Alma 5:57.) (Lex de Azevedo, “A Closer Look at Popular Music,” Ensign, Mar. 1985, 40)

‘Those who enter into the telestial kingdom, where their glories differ as do the stars of heaven in their magnitude, and who are innumerable as the sands of the seashore, are the ungodly, the filthy who suffer the wrath of God on the earth, who are thrust down to hell where they will be required to pay the uttermost farthing before their redemption comes. These are they who receive not the gospel of Christ and consequently could not deny the Holy Spirit while living on the earth.

They have no part in the first resurrection and are not redeemed from the devil and his angels until the last resurrection, because of their wicked lives and their evil deeds. Nevertheless, even these are heirs of salvation, but before they are redeemed and enter into their kingdom, they must repent of their sins, and receive the gospel, and bow the knee, and acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer of the world.

In both the terrestrial and the telestial glories the inhabitants thereof will be limited in their powers, opportunities, and progression, because, like the sons of perdition, “they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received” (D&C 88:32).’ [Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:22] 1974, pp. 33–35.)

‘Selfishness is actually the detonator of all the cardinal sins. It is the hammer for the breaking of the Ten Commandments, whether by neglecting parents, the Sabbath, or by inducing false witness, murder, and envy. No wonder the selfish individual is often willing to break a covenant in order to fix an appetite. No wonder those who will later comprise the telestial kingdom, after they have paid a price, were once unrepentant adulterers, whoremongers, and those who both loved and made lies.’ (Neil A Maxwell,”Repent of [Our] Selfishness” (D&C 56:8),” Ensign, May 1999, p. 24)

D&C 76:81-85. Those Who Inherit the Telestial Glory Will Pass through Hell

Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained:

“That part of the spirit world inhabited by wicked spirits who are awaiting the eventual day of their resurrection is called hell. Between their death and resurrection, these souls of the wicked are cast out into outer darkness, into the gloomy depression of sheol, into the hades of waiting wicked spirits, into hell. There they suffer the torments of the damned; there they welter in the vengeance of eternal fire; there is found weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth; there the fiery indignation of the wrath of God is poured out upon the wicked. (Alma 40:11–14; D. & C. 76:103–106.)

“Hell will have an end. Viewing future events, John saw that ‘death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.’ (Rev. 20:13.) Jacob taught that this escape from death and hell meant the bringing of the body out of the grave and the spirit out of hell. ‘And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death,’ he said, ‘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.’ (2 Ne. 9:10–12.) It was in keeping with this principle for David to receive the promise: ‘Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell.’ (Psalms 16:10; Acts 2:27.)

“After their resurrection, the great majority of those who have suffered in hell will pass into the telestial kingdom; the balance, cursed as sons of perdition, will be consigned to partake of endless wo with the devil and his angels. …

“Who will go to hell? This query is abundantly answered in the scriptures. Since those going to a telestial kingdom travel to their destination through the depths of hell and as a result of obedience to telestial law, it follows that all those who live a telestial law will go to hell.” (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 349–50.)

The terrestrial kingdom

‘Those destined to inherit the terrestrial kingdom are: (1) those who died “without law”–those heathen and pagan people who do not hear the gospel in this life, and who would not accept it with all their hearts should they hear it; (2) those who hear and reject the gospel in this life and then accept it in the spirit world; (3) those “who are honorable men of the earth, who [are] blinded by the craftiness of men”; and (4) those who are lukewarm members of the true church and who have testimonies, but who are not true and faithful in all things. (See D&C 76:71-80.)’ [Bruce R McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.146]

“For those who do not have an opportunity to believe and obey the holy word in this life, the first chance to gain salvation will come in the spirit world. If those who hear the word for the first time in the realms ahead are the kind of people who would have accepted the gospel here, had the opportunity been afforded them, they will accept it there. …

“… 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,” in Speeches of the Year, 1980 [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1981], pp. 77–78.)

‘Into this kingdom will go all those who have lived clean lives, but were not willing to receive the gospel; also those who have lived clean lives but who, notwithstanding their membership in the Church, were not valiant, and those who refused to receive the gospel when they lived on the earth, but in the spirit world accepted the testimony of Jesus. All who enter this kingdom must be of that class who have been morally clean.’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol.2, p.209)

The celestial kingdom

Watch: Be valiant in your testimony

D&C 76:70 These are they whose bodies are celestial

‘We know quite a lot about celestial beings, as we have had a number of them appear to us upon this earth. And each time they have come, those who have received them have said that they are impossible to describe.

When the Prophet Joseph Smith had his vision of the Father and the Son, he said, “[Their] brightness and glory defy all description.” (JS-H 1:17) That is, we don’t have any background of knowledge; there isn’t a vocabulary to use in describing a celestial accomplishment.’ (Sterling W Sill, “To Die Well,” Ensign, Nov. 1976, 47)

D&C 76:53 Those who are just and true

“Those who are just and true.” What an apt expression for those valiant in the testimony of Jesus! They are courageous in defending truth and righteousness. These are members of the Church who magnify their callings in the Church (see D&C 84:33), pay their tithes and offerings, live morally clean lives, sustain their Church leaders by word and action, keep the Sabbath as a holy day, and obey all the commandments of God.

To these the Lord has promised that “all thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ” (D&C 121:29). [Ezra Taft Benson, “Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus,” Ensign, Feb. 1987, p. 2]

D&C 137:2-3 Why is God’s Presence Described As “Blazing” and “Like unto Circling Flames of Fire”?

‘The Prophet Joseph Smith in his account of the First Vision wrote that God’s “brightness and glory defy all description” (JS—H 1:17). He also taught that “God Almighty Himself dwells in eternal fire; flesh and blood cannot go there, for all corruption is devoured by the fire. ‘Our God is a consuming fire.’ [Heb. 12:29]. …

“… Immortality dwells in everlasting burnings.” (Teachings, p. 367.) President Joseph Fielding Smith stated: “God is full of energy, and should we mortals stand in his presence, unless his spirit was upon us to protect us we would be consumed. That is how much energy there is in a celestial body.” (Seek Ye Earnestly, p. 275.)’ (Institute Doctrine and Covenants Manual)