Calling and Election

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Kevin Kraut


Ogden Kraut


Table of Contents

Pioneer Publishing
1067 E Cumorah Dr
Genola, UT  84655




1         Introduction: To Be Called and Elected         .               .               .   7
2         The Love of God.                .           .               .               .               .               .  11
3         The Search for God              .               .               .  18
4         For Those Who Are Righteous          .               .               .               .               .  23
5         The Knowledge of God      .               .               .               .               .               .  32
6         The Holy Priesthood           .               .               .               .  41
7         Patriarchal Marriage           .               .               .               .               .               .  57
8         Revelation, and the More Sure Word of Prophecy                .               .  71
9         The Apostles of Christ        .               .               .               .               .               .  87
10      Prophets of God   .               .               .               .               .               .               . 102
11      Kings and Queens in Israel                .               .               .               .               . 118
12      First and Second Anointings              .               .               .               .               . 130
13      The First and Second Comforter      .               .               .               . 146
14      The Testimony of Jesus     .               .               .               .               .               . 169
15      The Church of the Firstborn              .               .               .               .               . 186
16      The Millennial Reign of Christ          .               .               .               . 196
17      Conclusion.      .               .               .               .               . 207

* * * * *


[5]                                PREFACE

There is a clash between the devil, who is the god of this world, and Jesus Christ, who is the Savior of the world. In reality, every man on earth is involved in this war, for there can be no neutrals. This conflict involves principles–right and wrong; good and evil; virtue and vice. The final outcome of this war will result in greater devastation and greater victories than any conflict on manmade battlefields.

In this conflict, the cause of Christ is limited to only a few faithful men, called and elected to His service. But that old serpent, the devil, is more successful in his recruitment. By subtle trickery, alluring temptations and strong delusions, Satan has gained controlling power over governments, armies, courts, religions and nearly every other facet of man’s life. He is the arch-demon of sin and sorrow. Once he was called Lucifer (the light-bearer), but he fell to became Satan (the prince of darkness). But we know him best as the master-tempter and super-deceiver of all mankind. Today his cunning artifice is more perfected than ever before, and his powers more awesome, and diabolical.

For thousands of years, Satan’s shrewd ingenuity has tempted men into wickedness through lust, riches, worldly honors, and numerous ocher allurements. The devil presents a multitude of devious pathways for men to follow, but there is only one straight and narrow path to Christ.

The moment a man enters the waters of baptism, taking upon himself the name of Christ, it is then that the trumpets of hell sound the alarm, and all Hades proclaims war upon that soul. From out of the pits and caverns of darkness, come the imps and demons to thwart that man from serving Christ. But a good man will cling only tighter to the truth and trust more in his Savior. By each small victory, he grows precept on precept, and line on line, until he wins the precious prize of making his calling and election sure–the most glorious and crowning achievement of all.

[6]                           I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philip. 3:14)

[7]                               Chapter 1



“Brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” (2 Peter 1:10)

The terms “called” and “elected” have a variety of definitions. Many men may be called to the service of their country, but not all will qualify for that election. Out of the multitude called into the military service, only a few are elected or qualified to be offices. Job positions may be open to a multitude of people, but only a few are chosen or elected. Again, some men are called to the candidacy as president of the United States, but only a few are ever elected to that office and calling.

Most callings by the Lord, however, have their foundation in the pre-existence. These “callings” follow us through mortality and continue through the resurrection. Parley P. Pratt defined the pre-existent nature of some of these God-given “callings”:

I do not take up the subject in the middle of it, like the natural man who knows little of the past or future, and who judges by the things present before his eyes. Such a one might suppose that it so happened that Abraham came along, and was picked up without any particular reference to the past, or to eternal principles, and was elected to office: that it might just as well have been somebody else instead of him. But instead of this, he was chosen before the world was, and came into the world for the very purpose which he fulfilled. But, not withstanding this pre-election in passing the veil, and entering a tabernacle of [8] flesh, he became a little child, forgot all he had once known in the heavens, and commenced anew to receive intelligence in this world, as is the case with all. He therefore was necessitated to come up by degrees, receive an experience, be tried and proved. And when he had been sufficiently proved according to the flesh, the Lord manifested to him the election before exercised towards him in the eternal world. He then renewed that election and covenant, and blessed him, and his seed after him. (J.D. 1:258-59)

The Apostle Peter also referred to this “pre-election” when he wrote to the “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God….” (I Peter 1:2) Alma also said that priests who were after the holy order were “called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the fore-knowledge of God.” (Alma 13:3)

Paul told members of the church that they had been “called to be Saints” (Rom. 1:7) and “called unto the fellowship of Jesus Christ”. (1 Cor. 1:9) The Lord also confirmed this calling to missionaries when He said, “Whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God (D. & C. 11:4), and they were “called of God in the Church unto the ministry”. (D. & C. 84:86) He also said there were “many whom I have called and sent forth to build up my church.” (D. & C. 84:32)

Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were “called and ordained even as Aaron” (D & C 27:8) by John the Baptist. Fredrick G. Williams was called “to be a high priest”, (D & C 81:1) while others were called to the office of a Bishop. (D & C 72:5)

An “appointment” was similar to a “calling” for the president of the Church was “appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church.” (See D & C 28:2 and 102:9) Other members of the church were appointed to “stewardships” (D & C 104:32), which included “spiritual things and temporal things.” (D & C 70:12)

[9]           It is apparent that many were “called” but only a few were “chosen” or elected to heed the call, or to remain faithful to it. When Joseph lost the first 116 pages of the Book of Mormon manuscript, the Lord said to him, “…thou was chosen to do the work of the Lord . . . and thou art still chosen, and art again called to the work….” (D & C 3:9-10) At a future time someone “called of God” will attempt to “steady the ark of God” (See D & C 85:8), but he would be smitten from his calling.

The Lord gave a revelation directing the Elders “whom he hath called and chosen” to go to the “remnant of Jacob” (D & C 52:1), because Jacobs was a “chosen” nation. Yet out of this great number of people who were “called”, only a few would prove worthy of becoming the “elect” or “chosen”. Elder Bruce R. McConkie aptly describes these “chosen” and “elected”:

The elect of God comprise a very select group, an inner circle of faithful members of the Church…. They are the portion of church members who are striving with all their hearts to keep the fulness of the gospel law in this life so that they can become inheritors of the fulness of gospel rewards in the life to come. (Mormon Doctrine, p. 217)

The “fulness of the gospel” refers to all of the laws and commandments of God. The Lord said that the scriptures were given for “the salvation of mine own elect; for they will hear my voice, and shall see me….” (D & C 35:20-21)

The principal object of the missionary net was firstly to gather fish of all kinds, and then to choose and gather out the best fish. The Lord said, “Ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear by voice and harden not their hearts.” (D & C 29:7)

[10]         The gospel serves as a test by which the Lord can appoint man to the resurrection of the just or resurrection of the unjust. All men will be appointed unto one or the other of these two resurrections. Some will be “appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory,” (D & C 132:16) or to be among the elect who will be appointed or elected to be “Gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.” (D. & C 132:20)

The Apostle Orson Hyde describes the course these elect must follow to become Gods:

The chosen vessels unto God are the kings and priests that are placed at the head of these kingdoms. These have received their washings and anointings in the time of God on this earth; they have been chosen, ordained, and anointed kings and priests, to reign as such in the resurrection of the just. Such as have not received the fulness of the priesthood, and have not been anointed and ordained in the temple of the Most High, may obtain salvation in the celestial kingdom, but not a celestial crown. Many are called to enjoy a celestial glory, yet few are chosen to wear a celestial crown, or rather, to be rulers in the celestial kingdom. (Mill. Star 9:23-24)

The rest of this book describes and outlines the pathway leading to one’s calling and election, and how the elect can make it sure!


[11]                              Chapter 2


And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. (II Thes. 3:5)

Man can find little real satisfaction for his soul in the tinsel and toys of this world. Riches, honors, lust, power, and the temporal glories of mortality still leave a man with a spiritual emptiness. It is only the love of God that gives man peace of mind and the contentment that his soul yearns for. The love of God should be the most intense desire in motivating mortal man. This was beautifully portrayed by an angel who talked to the prophet Nephi:

And the angel said unto me: Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which my father saw? And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore it is the most desirable above all things. And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and THE MOST JOYOUS TO THE SOUL. (I Nephi 11:21-23)

The “love of God” then, is “the most desirable above all things” and the “most joyous to the soul”. Jesus even listed this as the first great commandment by saying we should “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Mat. 22:37)

The second greatest commandment was “like unto it”, that we should “love thy neighbor as thyself”.

[12]         The love of God and the love of our fellowmen seem to be the theme for the Apostles of Christ in all their writings.

John the Beloved well deserved the name, for his writings are filled with this divine principle of love. The Bible commentator, Halley, noticed this–especially in two chapters of John’s epistles.

I John 3:13-24. Love. The dominant note of this Epistle is Love. We should Love One Another, 3:11. He that Loveth Not his Brother is Not of God, 3:10. We know that we have passed out of Death into Life because we Love the Brethren, 3:14. He that Loves Not abides in Death, 3:14. Whoever Hates his Brother is a Murderer, 3:15. Let us Love One Another, 4:7. Every one that Loves is begotten of God, and Knows God, 4:7. Love is of God, 4:7. We ought to Love One Another, 4:11. God is Love, 4:16. He that Abides in Love Abides in God, 4:17. If we Love One Another God Abides in us, 4:12. Perfect Love Casts Out Fear, 4:18. We Love because He first Loved Us, 4:19. If a man say, I Love God, and Hates his Brother, He Is a Liar, 4:20. He that Loves Not his Brother whom he has seen, How can he Love God Whom he has Not Seen? 4:20.

I John 4:7-21. Love. John returns to his favorite theme, Love, the keynote of the Epistle. He is very insistent that being Saved by the Grace of Christ Does Not Release us from the necessity of Obeying Christ’s Commandments. And Christ’s Chief Commandment is Love. We Know Christ if We Keep His Commandments, 2:3. He that says, I Know Him, and Keeps Not His Commandments, Is a Liar, 2:4. Whatsoever we Ask, we receive, because we Keep His Commandments, 3:22. This is His Commandment, that we Love One Another, 3:23. He that Keeps His Commandments Abides in Him, 3:24. This Commandment we have from God, [13] that he who Loves God Love his Brother also, 4:21. This is the Love of God, that we Keep His Commandments, 5:3. It is told of John that, when he was old and too feeble to walk, he would be carried into the Church, and, in speaking, would always say, “Little children, Love One Another. It is the Lord’s Commandment.” (Halley’s Bible Handbook, pp. 616-617)

The more righteous men become, the more they are drawn towards God and His association. But if a man is drawn towards the things of this world, he loses his love of God. Jesus condemned the Pharisees saying: “I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you”. (John 5:42) John the Apostle explained why they did not have the love of God. He wrote, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15) Conversely, we can reason that if a man loves God, then the love of the world or the things in the world, is not in him.

In his first letter to the Corinthian Saints, Paul also elaborated on this principle of love–as charity is accurately defined as the pure love of Christ.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity <love>, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity <love>, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity <love>, it profiteth me nothing. (I Cor. 13:1-3)

Then Paul added a few more sentences which were analyzed by Henry Drummond, author of The Greatest Thing in the World. He said a beam of light can be broken into a spectrum of colors by means of a prism, and also [14] the principle of love could be broken into various elements, as shown in the diagram below:

Patience–“Charity <love> suffereth long.”

Kindness–“And is kind.”

Generosity–“Charity <love> envieth not.”

Humility–“Charity <love> vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.” Love–Courtesy–“Doth not behave itself unseemly.”

Unselfishness–“Seeketh not her own.”

Good Temper–“Is not easily provoked.”

Without Guile–“Thinketh no evil.”

Virtue–“Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.”

(I Cor. 13:4-6)

It follows then that a man practicing these Godly attributes will soon become like God Himself. The more they think, speak and act like God, the more they are drawn towards Him, and He is drawn towards them.

Paul conceded that “love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Rom. 13:10) In other words, if you love God, you would not do anything to offend Him. If a man really loved God, he would have no other gods before Him, nor take His name in vain, nor desecrate His holy day. If you loved your neighbor, you would not steal from him, or bear false witness against him, or covet his goods, nor hurt him. If a man truly loved God and his neighbor, he would only do things that would please them. This is the fulfilling of that law.

The Prophet Joseph Smith acknowledged that:

Love is one of the chief characteristics of Deity, and ought to be manifested by those who aspire to be the sons of God. A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his [15] family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race. (TPJS, p. 174)

The Apostle John said, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments….” (I John 5:3); and Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) Conversely then, we can say that those who do not keep God’s commandments, do not love Him.

An important blessing was promised to those who keep His commandments: “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God….” (John 7:17) Thus, those who do the will of God and keep His commandments, will know true doctrine from false doctrines. The Prophet Joseph added:

Until we have perfect love, we are liable to fall and when we have a testimony that our names are sealed in the Lamb’s book of life, we have perfect love and then it is impossible for false Christs to deceive us…. (TPJS, p. 9)

This “perfect love” is difficult to acquire. Jesus said it is easy to love your neighbor, “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?” (Mat. 5:46) Then later he added, “thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Mat. 22:39) But “perfect love” exceeded this kind of love and came to be a “new commandment”. Toward the end of His ministry, Jesus introduced His “new commandment”. (John 13:34) He explained it by saying, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, AS I HAVE LOVED YOU. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13)

To love your neighbor as yourself is one kind of love, but to lay down your life for others is another and greater kind of love. Jesus would illustrate this in His own life when He would “lay down His own life for the sheep.” [16] (John 10:15) The Apostles had perfect love, too, for they all became martyrs. This was a final consecration to God.

A religion that does not require sacrifice of all things or a full consecration for God can never exalt a man.

Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; . . . When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has, for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice, because he seeks to do His will, he does know most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not nor will not seek His face in vain. (Lectures on Faith, No. 7)

One of the greatest blessings promised to those who have this perfect love, and are willing to “sacrifice all things”, is described in this scripture:

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:21)

To have the heavens opened and become a witness of the Savior of the world is the final proof of a man’s love for God. This is one of the great promises the Lord made to His disciples. But it is not just a privilege, as we will learn; it is a goal, a requirement, an obligation, and a necessity for God’s elected sons.

But there are many other blessings promised to those who achieve this perfect love for God:

[17]                         Eye hath not see, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (Paul, 1 Cor. 2:9)

In summary then, consider the importance of this “love of God” as beautifully and powerfully written in scripture:

  1. It is the first and greatest commandment.
  2. It is the most joyous to the soul.
  3. It is more desirable than anything else.
  4. Those who love God will know true doctrine from false doctrine.
  5. To love the things of this world is in opposition to the love of God.
  6. To love God causes a man to keep God’s commandments.
  7. It is the fulfillment of all the law and the prophets.
  8. The Savior will manifest Himself to those who love Him.
  9. The Father will also reveal Himself and abide with those who love Him.
  10. And finally the promise of unseen and untold blessings in heaven await those who have the love of God.

But before men can obtain a perfect love for God, they must learn who He is, what kind of person He is, and how they can approach Him–subjects covered in the following chapter.


[18]                              Chapter 3


Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. (Luke 13:24)

Men have taken long pilgrimages, gone on extended fasts, sacrificed fortunes, mortified their flesh, and even committed murder and war in their effort to serve their God. The history of man’s search for God has produced a strange and peculiar, if not sordid, catalog of blunders and oddities in the name of religion.

Idealistic philosophers such as Spinoza, Lock, Berkeley, Kant, and Hegel added their concepts of what and who God is. But our present society of religionists have shifted from the dogma and doctrine of religion to the “good will” ideology of humanism. In some arenas it requires men in emblazoned robes performing long liturgies and rituals, while others will even make human sacrifices to obtain salvation. Added to this, many of our modern divines now advocate the propaganda that a convert need only pronounce the magical words of “I believe” and his soul is transformed by some mystical power into an instantaneous “saved” condition. Television dramatists have created multi-million dollar businesses, but they still describe a god that was theorized by pristine philosophers.

It was Descartes, a distinguished Jesuit mathematician and philosopher who conceived an ideology, popular among Catholics and Protestants, that God was “omniscient, omnipresent, and infinite”. God was supposed to be neither here nor there, but everywhere. He had no body, no parts and no passions; he was as large as the universe and yet could dwell in the heart of a man.

[19]         Commenting on the verse in John 14:23, the Prophet Joseph Smith said:

The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false.

Also, D. & C. 130:1 says, “When the Savior shall appear, we shall see him as he is. We shall see that he is a man like ourselves.”

When the Prophet Joseph Smith announced the appearance of heavenly beings, such as those recorded in the Bible, he proclaimed a whole new concept of God to our generation. He explained:

What is the object of our coming into existence, then dying and falling away, to be here no more? It is but reasonable to suppose that God would reveal something in reference to the matter, and it is a subject we ought to study more than any other. We ought to study it day and night, for the world is ignorant in reference to their true condition and relation. If we have any claim on our Heavenly Father for anything, it is for knowledge on this important subject. Could we read and comprehend all that has been written from the days of Adam, on the relation of man to God and angels in a future state, we should know very little about it. Reading the experience of others, or the revelation given to them, can never give us a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God. Knowledge of these things can only be obtained by experience through the ordinances of God set forth for that purpose. Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject. (TPJS, p. 324)

[20]         Here was a man who did “gaze into heaven” and therefore knew what he was talking about. His knowledge and understanding were gained by experience, just as the ancient prophets had gained theirs. This modern Prophet explained that:

In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it. When we begin to learn this way, we begin to learn the only true God, and what kind of a being we have got to worship. Having a knowledge of God we begin to know how to approach him, and how to ask so as to receive an answer. When we understand the character of God, and know how to come to Him, He begins to unfold the heavens to us, and to tell us all about it. (TPJS, p. 350)

The Prophet Joseph took issue with many of the superstitions and philosophical idealisms that had crept into the Gospel of Christ. As a prophet, he had all the difficulties that the ancient prophets had. Teaching about the true God to a generation steeped in tradition and philosophical misunderstanding, has always aroused the contention and jealousies of the ignorant. But Joseph spoke as a prophet, not from the learning of the world as other ministers were doing. He rejected their theories by saying:

These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another, and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God Himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did; and I will show it from the Bible. (TPJS, p. 345-46)

[21]         Here was a prophet of God, attempting to teach men the correct description of the God of heaven. He was correcting the false notions of theologians and philosophers that had been growing for over a thousand years. Joseph said, “This is why Adam blessed his posterity; he wanted to bring them into the presence of God,” and that “Moses sought to bring the children of Israel into the presence of God, through the power of the Priesthood, but he could not.” (TPJS, p. 159)

And, as soon as this modern Prophet proclaimed that he had received a vision of the Father and Son, he was denounced. Although similar wonderful manifestations had occurred throughout the Bible, and upon which the whole Judeo-Christian religions were predicated, it was denounced as impossible. God had appeared to men anciently and all Christians admit that such appearances did occur, but they consider such an occurrence as preposterous in our time. Joseph then warned them: “I say to all those who are disposed to set up stakes for the Almighty, you will come short of the glory of God.” (TPJS, p. 321) All men assume that they will see God or Christ in heaven, but they have put up stakes that God cannot reveal Himself to man in this day and age. The ancient prophet Alma also said that–

For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. (Alma 43:42)

He was saying that men not only can but should prepare to meet God while in mortality.

Joseph Smith was not alone in obtaining this actual knowledge of God. Others were able to receive heavenly manifestations and revelations for a testimony of their own. The Lord also instructed the Saints that they should seek for this assurance by saying:

[22]                         Therefore, care not for the body, neither the life of the body; but care for the soul, and for the life of the soul. And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life.” (D. & C. 101:37-38)

Many revelations were given to encourage the people to obtain this certainty for themselves. The Prophet Joseph promised men that it could be done, and gave them Priesthood, ordinances, and teachings so they could accomplish it.


[23]                              Chapter 4


He that is righteous is favored of God. (I Nephi 17:35)

It is obvious that righteousness is the cornerstone of the gospel of Christ and the foundation upon which all blessings are predicated. It is a theme upon which all the prophets have expounded, and the Prophet Joseph Smith was no exception. In one of his sermons he gives the following counsel:

Most assuredly it is, however, that the ancients, though persecuted and afflicted by men, obtained from God promises of such weight and glory, that our hearts are often filled with gratitude that we are even permitted to look upon them while we contemplate that there is no respect of persons in His sight, and that in every nation, he that feareth God and worketh righteousness, is acceptable with Him. But from the few items previously quoted we can draw the conclusion that there is to be a day when all will be judged of their works, and rewarded according to the same; that those who have kept the faith will be crowned with a crown of righteousness; be clothed in white raiment; be admitted to the marriage feast; be free from every affliction, and reign with Christ on the earth, where, according to the ancient promise, they will partake of the fruit of the vine new in the glorious kingdom with Him; at least we find that such promises were made to the ancient Saints.

[24]                         And though we cannot claim these promises which were made to the ancients for they are not our property, merely because they were made to the ancient Saints, yet if we are the children of the Most High, and are called with the same calling with which they were called, and embrace the same covenant that they embraced, and are faithful to the testimony of our Lord as they were, we can approach the Father in the name of Christ as they approached Him, and for ourselves obtain the same promises. (TPJS, p. 65-66)

From this portion of his sermon we can summarize the following pertinent facts:

  1. God is no respecter of persons.
  2. Those who work righteousness are favored of God.
  3. We will be judged by our works.
  4. If we are faithful, we will be admitted to the marriage feast.
  5. We may reign with Christ on the earth.
  6. We will drink of the fruit of the vine with Christ personally in the new Kingdom.
  7. We cannot claim the same promises that the ancients did unless we are called with the same calling and embrace the same covenants they did.
  8. When we have proved faithful to the testimony of the Lord, we can approach the Father.
  9. We may expect to be persecuted by others as the ancient prophets were.
  10. We can obtain and enjoy the very same blessings that all the other true prophets had achieved.

[25]         These glorious privileges are not easily obtained, as the Prophet Joseph continues to explain:

When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel–you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave. (TPJS, p. 348)

The righteous may enjoy many blessings in mortality just as they will in heaven. One of the great promises made by the Lord, found in the Beatitudes, was–“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8) The Lord did not specify that this event was restricted only in heaven. Clarification of this promise in our own dispensation came in a revelation to Joseph Smith in which it is revealed:

. . . inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am–not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual.

For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God. Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind. Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected.

Let not your minds turn back; and when ye are worthy, in mine own due time, ye shall see and know that which was conferred upon you by [26] the hands of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun. (D. & C. 67:10-14)

Therefore, men, quickened by the spirit of God, can see God providing they have a “spiritual mind”. This was a promise to men in mortality.

But the promise that the “veil” would be rent, was predicated on certain rules of conduct, which the Lord also revealed. He gave these five stepping stones leading to the fulfillment of this great promise:

Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who <1> forsaketh his sins and <2> cometh unto me, and <3> calleth on my name, and <4> obeyeth my voice, and <5> keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am. (D. & C. 93:1)

Joseph Smith was a prophet, just as ancient prophets who saw God; but he did not discourage others from striving to attain the same blessings for themselves. Said he:

God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them! (TPJS, p. 149)

On another occasion the Prophet reinforced this idea by stating:

Fellow sojourners upon earth, it is your privilege to purify yourselves and come up to the same glory, and see for yourselves, and know for yourselves. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (DHC 1:284)

The Prophet Joseph clearly pointed out the constant and diligent labor required by men to keep all the com-[27]mandments that were necessary for obtaining these blessings:

. . . the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with Him. But we consider that this is a station to which no man ever arrived in a moment; he must have been instructed in the government and laws of that kingdom by proper degrees, until his mind is capable in some measure of comprehending the propriety, justice, equality, and consistency of the same. (TPJS, p. 51)

And again:

Thus we have no new commandment to give, but admonish elders and members to live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God, lest they come short of the glory that is reserved for the faithful. (TPJS, p. 306)

Men, therefore, must either progress to the obtaining of these promises, or they will retrogress, losing what they might have achieved. There can be no neutral ground.

As a man increases his abilities to keep the commandments of God, he gains an increase of the Spirit of the Lord. But by the same measure of disobedience to the commandments, he loses the spirit of the Lord. George Q. Cannon comments on this:

You have seen men and women in this Church who once were faithful and devoted to the work of God; but they fell into sin, and another spirit took possession of them. Men as high as [28] members of the First Presidency have done this. I remember very well William Law, counselor to the Prophet Joseph, a friend of the Prophet, a friend of God apparently, a staunch man in the Church; he committed sin, and that man, who had occupied that high and exalted station, compassed the death of the Prophet. He was one of the chief conspirators in arranging plans for his destruction, and took an active part in urging on his martyrdom. Members of the council of the Twelve Apostles also partook of the same spirit. It is the spirit that Satan possesses; for Jesus said of him that he was a liar and a murderer from the beginning. He is seeking constantly to destroy the work of God, filling men with his spirit, and urging them forward to acts of deadly hate, even to kill and to destroy. That is the spirit of Satan, and we see it manifested in men. (Mill. Star 60:214)

It will be noticed that the greatest enemies of Mormonism, or any church or government, are often people who were once its defenders. In December 1843, the Prophet said:

I am exposed to far greater danger from traitors among ourselves than from enemies without, although my life has been sought for many years by the civil and military authorities, priests and people of Missouri; and if I can escape from the ungrateful treachery of assassins, I can live as Caesar might have lived, were it not for a righthand Brutus. I have had pretended friends betray me. All the enemies upon the face of the earth may roar and exert all their power to bring about my death, but they can accomplish nothing, unless some who are among us, who have enjoyed our society, have been with us in our councils, participated in our confidence, taken us by the hand, called us brother, saluted us with a kiss, join with our enemies, turn our virtues into faults, and, by [29] falsehood and deceit, stir up their wrath and indignation against us, and bring their united vengeance upon our heads. All the hue and cry of the chief priests and elders against the Savior could not bring down the wrath of the Jewish nation upon his head, and thereby cause the crucifixion of the Son of God, until Judas said unto them, “Whomsoever I shall kiss he is the man; hold him fast.” Judas was one of the Twelve Apostles, even their treasurer, and dipped with their Master in the dish, and through his treachery, the crucifixion was brought about; and we have a Judas in our midst. (Life of Joseph Smith, by George Q. Cannon, p. 430)

As righteousness originally helped these men to gain the spirit of the Lord, so wickedness caused them to lose that spirit. Many such men became candidates for perdition. George Q. Cannon explained:

William and Wilson Law, Chauncey L. and Francis M. Higbee, Dr. Robert D. Foster, and others, were rank, bloodthirsty apostates. They were leagued together, and had for their associates men who were resolved to kill the prophet if they could. “Anti-Mormon” organizations and mobs could have had but little influence if all who had made profession of being Latter-day Saints had been true to their brethren and their religion. But these men had transgressed the laws of God, they had indulged in adultery, whoredom and lust, and had, therefore, lost the Spirit of the Lord. (Fate of the Persecutors, Lundwall, p. 80)

In proportion to the light men possess, they can become dark. No one can become a Judas or Benedict Arnold until they turn against the knowledge and position they once possessed. Individually or collectively, God withdraws his spirit from those who become wicked. The people of this world are turning against those things they know are true. Said the Prophet:

[30]                         The Lord declared to His servants, some eighteen months since, that He was then withdrawing His Spirit from the earth; and we can see that such is the fact, for not only the churches are dwindling away, but there are no conversions, or but very few: and this is not all; the governments of the earth are thrown into confusion and division; and Destruction, to the eye of the spiritual beholder, seems to be written by the finger of an invisible hand, in large capitals, upon almost every thing we behold. (TPJS, p. 16)

It is because of the wickedness of the world that God has been “withdrawing His Spirit from the earth”. It is also evident that it is more difficult now for men to achieve such glorious revelations and manifestations of the Savior. But by the same principle, it gives a good man an opportunity to receive the greatest blessings. The more temptations, deceptions, and delusions that a man overcomes, the more his faith increases and the more of the Holy Spirit he can obtain. Any man today who proves faithful through this maze of spiritually dark obstacles, will deserve the greatest right to inherit all those promised blessings. The Lord confirms this by saying:

And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.

Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will. (D. & C. 88:67-68)

And the Prophet Joseph added:

. . . but, trusting in that God who has said that these things are hid from the wise and prudent and revealed unto babes, I step forth into [31] the field to tell you what the Lord is doing, and what you must do, to enjoy the smiles of your Savior in these last days. (TPJS, p. 14)


[32]                              Chapter 5


To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. (D. & C. 46:13)

The human mind was created to be used in developing and expanding the character and understanding of man. It was not just to aid him in building the comforts of home, business, or recreation–but to help advance him in this world and in the next. The Prophet declared that “knowledge saves a man; and in the world of spirits no man can be exalted but by knowledge”; thus the mind must comprehend spiritual and temporal things. There are different kinds of knowledge; Paul the Apostle said that some men were “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth”. (2 Tim. 3:7) Hence, some knowledge is almost worthless to man, while other knowledge can save and exalt him. The Prophet Joseph adds:

It is not wisdom that we should have all knowledge at once presented before us; but that we should have a little at a time; then we can comprehend it.

The principle of knowledge is the principle of salvation. This principle can be comprehended by the faithful and diligent; and every one that does not obtain knowledge sufficient to be saved will be condemned. (TPJS, p. 297)

Nephi also followed this theme and said that God would give men “line upon line, precept upon precept” and [33] to “him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have”. (2 Nephi 28:30) Here then is one of the great dangers of knowledge–the moment we cease to receive more, we begin to digress. Joseph went further by saying:

As far as we degenerate from God, we descend to the devil and lose knowledge, and without knowledge we cannot be saved, and while our hearts are filled with evil, and we are studying evil, there is no room in our hearts for good, or studying good. * * *

A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world, as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power than many men who are on the earth. (TPJS, p. 217)

But Joseph even had trouble getting the Saints to learn the things of God. Once he burst out with:

Had I inspiration, revelation, and lungs to communicate what my soul has contemplated in times past, there is not a soul in this congregation but would go to their homes and shut their mouths in everlasting silence on religion till they had learned something. (TPJS, p. 320)

Then on another occasion he said:

I want to ask this congregation, every man, woman and child, to answer the question in their own heart, what kind of a being God is? Ask yourselves; turn your thoughts into your hearts, and say if any of you have seen, heard, or communed with him. This is a question that may occupy your attention for a long time. I again repeat the question–What kind of a being is God? [34] Does any man or woman know? Have any of you seen him, heard him, or communed with him? Here is the question that will, peradventure, from this time henceforth occupy your attention. The scriptures inform us that “This is life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.”

If any man does not know God, and inquires what kind of a being he is,–if he will search diligently his own heart–if the declaration of Jesus and the apostles be true, he will realize that he has not eternal life; for there can be eternal life on no other principle. (TPJS, pp. 343-344)

Turning onto the modern ministers of religion, Joseph Smith said they spoke of heaven and hell, God and the devil, but had never seen any of them. In reality, they were servants who didn’t know their master–employees of an employer with whom they were unacquainted.

But the things of God are not attained to that easy, for “the things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out.” (TPJS, p. 137) Each man must learn them for himself.

The Lord has said, “… this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3) Then later He said,

. . . no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and they to whom the Son will reveal himself; they shall see the Father also. (Matt. 11:28, Insp. Ver.)

Hence, if men do not receive this revelation, or knowledge, they may not be worthy of eternal life because of their ignorance.

[35]         Again, the Lord gave the parable of the bridegroom which pertained only to the children of His kingdom. Part of them came to meet the Savior and said, “Lord, Lord, open up unto us,” but he rejected them by saying, “Ye know me not.” (Matt. 25:11, Insp. Ver.)

To “know” the Lord means one has proved worthy to receive this knowledge of God. The Prophet adds:

Here, then, is eternal life–to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power. (TPJS, pp. 346-347)

Many people think their salvation is assured merely by saying “I believe”, while others feel the same sense of security by saying they “follow the prophet”. These are faithless excuses for not gaining their own knowledge and understanding of the Gospel. Some argue that we are to stay away from the “mysteries”, but this was nowhere advocated except to the missionaries who were sent out among the gentiles to “declare the first principles, and let mysteries alone”. (TPJS, p. 292) Jesus gave similar advice by telling his ministers to “give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine”. (Matt. 7:6) There is nothing wrong with searching out and gaining knowledge of the mysteries of God, for Nephi claimed to have a “great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God” (I Nephi 1:1), and advised that “he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them”. (I Nephi 10:19)

[36]         In our own dispensation the Lord revealed to the Saints that “unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom, but unto the world it is not given to know them.” (D. & C. 42:65) Also—

The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church–to have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant. (D. & C. 107:18-19)

This is the absolute knowledge that the Saints can have, but the rest of the world cannot. The world in general cares nothing about learning or gaining a greater knowledge of God or His laws and kingdom. Many of the Latter-day Saints also are mentally lazy and are ignorant about the Gospel they have embraced. A few years ago a professor gave an assignment to his students to conduct a survey to see how many Mormons had read the Book of Mormon. He was appalled to discover that only 6% had read it. Jesus said, “whosoever continueth not, to receive from him shall be taken away even that (which) he hath”. (Matt. 13:11) Alma made it a little clearer by saying:

And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing, concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell. (Alma 12:10-11)

[37]         No other people have been privileged to receive such grand and glorious testimonies of God as the Latter-day Saints. They are almost incomprehensible. The Prophet promises:

Having a knowledge of God, we begin to know how to approach him, and how to ask so as to receive an answer. (TPJS, p. 350)

Hence, those who add knowledge to their faith, and continue to learn the principles of truth, will finally gain eternal life with, the full knowledge of God. The brother of Jared had gained this great principle of knowledge.

. . . because of the knowledge of this man he could not be kept from beholding within the veil; and he saw . . . the Lord; and he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting.

Wherefore, having this perfect knowledge of God, he could not be kept from within the veil; therefore he saw Jesus; AND HE DID MINISTER UNTO HIM. (Ether 3:19-20)

But only a few men have an accurate understanding of this great mystery. The Saints have been like the Israelites anciently. The Prophet Joseph gave these admonitions:

There are a great many wise men and women too in our midst who are too wise to be taught; therefore they must die in their ignorance, and in the resurrection they will find their mistake. (TPJS, p. 309)

I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes [38] that is contrary to their traditions: they cannot stand the fire at all. (TPJS, p. 331)

Many men will say, “I will never forsake you, but will stand by you at all times.” But the moment you teach them some of the mysteries of the kingdom of God that are retained in the heavens and are to be revealed to the children of men when they are prepared for them, they will be the first to stone you and put you to death. It was this same principle that crucified the Lord Jesus Christ, and will cause the people to kill the prophets in this generation. (TPJS, p. 309)

If the Church knew all the commandments, one-half they would condemn through prejudice and ignorance. (TPJS, p. 112)

Along this same line, Brigham Young added:

I recollect, in Far West, Joseph, talking upon these matters, said: “The people cannot bear the revelations that the Lord has for them. There were a great many revelations if the people could bear them.” (JD 18:242)

And with regard to the conduct of this people–if an angel should come here and speak his feelings as plainly as I do, I think he would say, “O, Latter-day Saints! Why don’t you see, why don’t you open your eyes and behold the great work resting upon you and that you have entered into? You are blind, you are stupid, you are in the dark, in the mist and fog, wandering to and fro like the boat upon the water without sail, rudder or oar; and you know not whither you are going”. (JD 19:93-94)

And just as fast as you prove to Him that you will preserve everything secret that ought to [39] be–that you will deal out to your neighbors all which you ought, and no more, and learn how to dispense your knowledge to your families, friends, neighbors, and brethren, the Lord will bestow upon you, and give to you, and bestow upon you, until finally He will say to you, “You shall never fall; your salvation is sealed unto you; you are sealed up unto eternal life and salvation, through your integrity”. (JD 4:372)

Paul the Apostle had great difficulty teaching these deeper principles of the Gospel. He chastised those Saints whom he thought “ought to be teachers” by saying that someone ought to “teach you again which be the first principles” which he described as “milk”. He then added:

For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Heb. 5:13-14)

Jesus also spoke of “that meat which endureth unto everlasting life” (John 6:27), and gave a pertinent prophecy regarding this “meat” in the last days (just prior to his second coming).

And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, be ye therefore ready also; for the Son of Man cometh at an hour when ye think not. Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speaketh thou this parable unto us, or unto all? And the Lord said, I speak unto those who the Lord shall make rulers over this household, to give his children their portion of meat in due season. And they said, Who then is that faithful and wise servant? And the Lord said unto them, It is that servant who watcheth, to impart his portion of meat in due season. Blessed be that servant whom his Lord shall find, when he [40] cometh, so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. (Luke 12:47-52, Insp. Ver.)

The faithful servant is the one who “watcheth to impart his portion of meat.” In other words the Saint who knows the mysteries and watches for the “due season” or the right time and place to impart that “meat” of the Gospel. It is that faithful Saint who learns what the “meat” is and teaches it in its due season, that is the Saint who shall be made “ruler over all that he <God> hath.”

The Prophet Joseph made a final note on this subject by saying:

I advise all to go on to perfection, and search deeper and deeper into the mysteries of Godliness. (TPJS, p. 364)


[41]                              Chapter 6


A man can do nothing for himself unless God direct him in the right way; and the Priesthood is for that purpose. (Joseph Smith, TPJS, p. 364)

The holy Priesthood is mentioned all through the scriptures, as are all of the offices, principles, laws and ordinances connected therewith. However, the existence of the Priesthood is denied by all Protestants–simply because they do not understand or possess it. The Prophet Joseph explained the consequences of such a condition.

Respecting the Melchizedek Priesthood, the sectarians never professed to have it; consequently they never could save any one, and would all be damned together. (TPJS, p. 322)

Brigham Young explained being “damned” in this sense:

What Joseph meant by being damned was that people will go into the spirit world without the Priesthood, consequently they are under the power of Satan, and will have to be redeemed, or else they will be forever under his power. That is all there is about that. (JD 17:159, 1874)

[42] Changes in the Priesthood

The Catholics claim Priesthood because Christ and the Apostles possessed it, assuming that it continued down to the present time through them. But the Priesthood can be lost if certain conditions are not kept, as the Prophet Joseph explained:

We have not time to enter into the various abuses of the church of Rome, but will merely state that if they had continued pure, their priesthood would also have been pure; and their authority in the ordinances of the Priesthood would have been legal; NOT because they had a succession of popes, but in consequence of their adherance to the pure principles of the gospel, for the priesthood cannot continue when the gospel is perverted; . . . But as they have departed from his gospel, introduced the ordinances of men and neglected to teach the things that God commanded them, they have lost the authority, blessings and power of the Priesthood, their candlestick is removed out of its place, and Christ has ceased to be with them. (See Times and Seasons 4:9.)

It was not the sin of calling men by the name of Pope or Cardinal or some other title, but it was their failure to keep the laws of the Priesthood UNCHANGED.

Why have they wandered so far from the path of truth and rectitude? Because they left the Priesthood and have had no guide, no leader, no means of finding out what is true and what is NOT true. It is said the Priesthood was taken from the Church, but it is not so; THE CHURCH WENT FROM THE PRIESTHOOD, and continued to travel in the wilderness, turned from the commandments of the Lord, and instituted other ordinances. (Brigham Young, JD 12:69, 1867)

[43]                         The Priesthood has left the people, but in the first place the people left the Priesthood. They transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, and broke the everlasting covenant, AND THE PRIESTHOOD LEFT THEM; but not until they had left Priesthood. (Brigham Young, JD 16:186, 1873)

The apostasy of the early Christian Church did not just suddenly occur, but rather through a gradual weakening of the Priesthood through minor changes in the laws, principles and ordinances of the gospel. George Q. Cannon said:

Speaking of the cessation of miracles in the early Christian church, . . . the actual cessation was imperceptible, and like the rays in a summer’s evening, which, when the sun has set, may be seen to linger on the top of a mountain, though they have ceased to fall on the level country beneath …. They were not withdrawn all at once; but they gradually faded away like the rays of the declining sun until they disappeared altogether and darkness set in. (Gospel Truth, Vol. 1:188-189)

Catholicism is an excellent example of how men with good intentions attempt to improve upon the principles of the Gospel by making minor changes in them. Even though these changes were ever so small, they constituted apostasy and resulted in an organization that had been established by God changing into one in opposition to God.

Here we should recall the warning of the late Dean Inge: “History seems to show that the powers of evil have won their greatest triumphs by capturing the organizations which were formed to defeat them, and that when the devil has thus changed the contents of the bottles, he never alters the labels. The fort may have been captured by the enemy, but it still flies the flag of its defenders.” (Admiral Ben Moreel, Nov. 22, [44] 1963, as quoted in Prophets, Principles and National Survival, by Jerreld L. Newquist, p. 339)

Jedediah Grant explained:

No matter how near men may preach the Gospel, they must preach the same gospel, every part of it, every ordinance of it, every principle Jesus Christ revealed and His Apostles taught; if they do not, they teach another gospel, and if they teach another, says the Apostle, let them be accursed. (JD 2:231, 1854)

Three distinct references have been made by former presidents of the LDS Church which describe ways that the Priesthood can be lost:

  1. Give Blacks the Priesthood.

“Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood. . . .” (Abraham 1:27)

  1. Gain popularity with the wicked and worldly.

“When Mormonism finds favor with the wicked in this land, it will have gone into the shade; but until the power of the Priesthood is gone, Mormonism will never become popular with the wicked.” (Brigham Young, JD 4:38)

  1. Oppose plural marriage.

“You might as well deny `Mormonism’, and turn away from it, as to oppose the plurality of wives.”

“Let the Presidency of this Church, and the Twelve Apostles, and all the authorities unite and say with one voice that they will oppose that doctrine, and the whole of them would be damned.” (Heber C. Kimball, JD 5:203)

Thus, not only has the fate of the Priesthood in the Church become a matter of question, but also that of individuals in it.

[45] The Individual and the Priesthood

If the Church loses the Priesthood by changing the laws and principles of the Priesthood, how does this effect individuals in the Church? Individuals can lose their Priesthood only by sin–such as obeying incorrect or evil principles opposed to the laws of the Priesthood. John Taylor said, “You cannot take any man’s Priesthood away without transgression.” (Gospel Kingdom, p. 149) In the New Testament, John explained that “sin is the transgression of the law.” (I John 3:4) Clearly then if a man has not transgressed the laws of God, he cannot be condemned, nor will he lose his Priesthood. David sinned and lost his Priesthood, as the Prophet explained:

Although David was a king, he never did obtain the spirit and power of Elijah and the fullness of the Priesthood; and the Priesthood that he received, and the throne and kingdom of David is to be taken from him and given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his lineage. (TPJS, p. 339)

Men may be called or even elected to offices in God’s kingdom, but they can still transgress His laws enough to lose their Priesthood. The Lord said:

Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson–That the rights of the Priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness. That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of [46] men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the Priesthood or the authority of that man. Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God. We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. (D. & C. 121:34-39)

According to this 121st Section, then, let’s summarize those sins which endanger a man’s Priesthood:

  1. Setting their hearts on the things of this world.
  2. Aspiring to the honors of men.
  3. Covering or justifying their own sins.
  4. Gratifying or having pleasure in pride or vain ambition.
  5. Using unrighteous compulsion over men.

When these occur, then the resulting conditions follow:

  1. “The heavens withdraw themselves.”
  2. “The Spirit of the Lord is grieved.”
  3. “And amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.”
  4. They will fight against the true saints, God, and His laws.
  5. They will rule with unrighteous dominion.

An example of using unrighteous compulsion over men is found in the “test oaths” used in recent years to compel LDS Church members to submit to the teachings and program of the Church. Some leaders have written an affirmative oath of allegiance for the “questionable” members to sign or else their membership would be jeopardized.

[47]         The Inquisition of the Catholic Church was the result of the use of such forms of compulsion over the souls of men. The author was given the following test oath to sign, with the injunction that if he didn’t comply, some form of “action would be taken.”


This is to certify as follows:

  1. That I am a loyal member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, living the gospel to the best of my knowledge, and sustaining the present day program of the Church.
  2. That I accept fully and endorse and endeavor to make a part of my life, the present day teachings of the General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with headquarters at 47 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah. I am sincerely in harmony with these teachings, including both the prohibitions embraced in them as well as their positive phases.
  3. That I sustain the present day leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with headquarters at 47 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City, as the authorized servants of God upon the earth. In doing so I sustain and accept their teachings as coming from the Lord, and I do so without any reservation upon my part. I regard President Joseph Fielding Smith as the prophet, seer and revelator of the Lord, and I accept his policies and doctrines upon all subjects.
  4. With respect to the subject of plural marriage, may I say truthfully, wholeheartedly and of my own free will, that I do accept and endorse the present policies and teachings of the General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of [48] Latter-day Saints, with headquarters at 47 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City. I do not believe in, nor teach, nor in any way advocate the present day practice of plural marriage. I accept the Manifesto as published in the Doctrine and Covenants as the word of the Lord. I believe that it was published in harmony with a divine revelation instructing practice of plural marriage in the earth to be stopped, and that it was stopped upon the instruction of the Lord Himself. Therefore, I believe that any person who teaches the present day practice of that manner of life is preaching that which is opposed to the wishes and teachings of God himself, and that he is to that extent in rebellion against God.
  5. I sustain the laws of the State of Utah and the United States of America with respect to the practice of so-called plural marriage, recognizing that the laws of both the state and the nation make such marriage illegal and therefore adulterous.
  6. In view of the fact that both the laws of the land and the laws of God are opposed to the present day practice of so-called plural marriage, I consider those persons entering into such marriage as being adulterous in their practices.
  7. It is my intention to live my life in harmony with the present day policies and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with headquarters at 47 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City.

Joseph Smith certainly did not condone this method of compulsion over the members of the Church:

[49]                         Elder Pelatiah Brown, one of the wisest old heads we have among us, and whom I now see before me, has been preaching concerning the beast which was full of eyes before and behind; and for this he was hauled up for trial before the High Council.

I did not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine. It looks too much like the Methodists, and not like the Latter-day Saints. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be asked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammelled. It does not prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine. (DHC 5:340)

The spirit that seeks dominion and compulsion over others is the spirit that will destroy that which God has sanctioned. Men in holy callings can turn traitor and seek to destroy their own fellow beings. Brigham Young relates:

I told them that unless this people would humble themselves and cease their wickedness, God would not give them much more teaching, nor would it be long until the Priesthood would be hunted by those who now call themselves Saints. (Manuscript History 2:476)

The “Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” (D. & C. 1:31) Nevertheless, the Priesthood is not withdrawn from a man committing the least degree of sin. Every man on earth would lose his Priesthood if that were the ease. What happens then? The Priesthood cannot sanction the least degree of sin; and conversely when a man works righteousness, then the Priesthood honors and sanctions those acts. This may be called “magnifying your calling in the Priesthood,” or “magnifying the Priesthood.” But, when a sin is committed, then it is “Amen” or no sanction or approval from the Priesthood towards that act. The Priesthood is stopped from honoring [50] that act–not that the man loses his Priesthood! However, such an act might breed another sin, until that man falls into the hands of the devil and “ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God,” (D. & C. 121:38) thus losing the Priesthood.

If Priesthood is not handled upon the principles of righteousness, then it can become priestcraft.

“The rights of the Priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven.” Anything short of this beautiful ideal is not Priesthood; it is priestcraft. The line is sharp and well defined that divides the true from the false, the heavenly from its countertype; it is the dimness of our vision that sometimes makes it appear to us uncertain and indistinct; hence it is that Priesthood and priestcraft are often confounded, and the odium of the one is used to excuse and excite prejudice against the other. * * *

The Book of Mormon declares: “It must needs be that there be an opposition in all things.” Priesthood finds this opposition in priestcraft, which is always its enemy and often its counterfeit. Priestcraft simulates Priesthood for the purpose of destroying it. * * *

Priesthood elevates to the worthy of the true and living God; priestcraft degrades to the slavery of the soul. Priesthood saves; priestcraft destroys. (Contributor 10:254-55)

Three Grand Orders of the Priesthood

There are “three grand orders” in the Priesthood, yet “all priesthood is Melchizedek, but there are different portions or degrees of it.” (TPJS, p. 180) From the highest to lowest, the sequence of these orders is listed by the Prophet as being (1) Melchizedek, (2) Patriarchal, and (3) Levitical or Aaronic. (See TPJS, pp. 322-23) Beginning [51] with the lowest, the Prophet explains the power and authority of each of these Priesthood orders:

  1. Levitical or Aaronic Order

The Levitical or Aaronic is a lesser or preparatory Priesthood.

The spirit of Elias is to prepare the way for a greater revelation of God, which is the Priesthood of Elias, or the Priesthood that Aaron was ordained unto. And when God sends a man into the world to prepare for a greater work, holding the keys of the power of Elias, it was called the doctrine of Elias, even from the early ages of the world. * * *

That person who holds the keys of Elias hath a preparatory work. (TPJS, pp. 335-36)

John the Baptist was limited to preaching and baptizing, but Jesus and the Apostles came with a higher Priesthood calling and gave people the “fire and the Holy Ghost.”

  1. Patriarchal Order

The Prophet says, “The 2nd Priesthood is Patriarchal authority.” (TPJS, p. 323; see also Words of Joseph Smith, pp. 245 & 247.) When the Prophet clarified that Abraham’s endowment (Abraham Facsimile Number 2, Figs. 3 & 7) was greater than Aaron’s and Levi’s, he also said “that the Patriarchal Priesthood was not the same as the crowning ordinances of the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood.” (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 303)

This second order of Priesthood comes by patriarchal descent from father to son. The Prophet indicated that it comes by right of patriarchal lineage, thus descending “from father and mother,” or birthright. It is bestowed by father to son by patriarchal descent, and comes by birthright in lineage by mother.

[52]         Although this power and authority of the Priesthood includes the right to the endowment and patriarchal marriage, it does not necessarily mean it contains the fulness of the Priesthood.

Joseph Smith administered the first ordinances of the Patriarchal Priesthood on 4 May 1842 when he gave both the Aaronic and Melchizedek portions of the endowment to nine men in his store in Nauvoo. (See History of the Church, 5:1-2, or Teachings, p. 137.) By a year later, most of the nine received the ordinances of marriage for time and eternity. * * * But the higher ordinances that confer the fulness of the priesthood had not as yet been administered. However one month and a day after this 27 August 1843 discourse, Joseph and Emma received the anointing and ordination “of the highest and holiest order of the priesthood”. (Joseph Smith Diary, 28 September 1843, Church Archives) Hence by 27 August 1843, “Abraham’s patriarchal power . . . <was> the greatest yet experienced in <the> church.” (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 303)

And further:

On 6 August 1843, Brigham Young said, “If any in the church <have> the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood, <I do> not know it. For any person to have the fullness of that priesthood, he must be a king and priest.” * * * Brigham Young said of this third order of priesthood blessings, “Those who . . . come in here <the Nauvoo Temple> and have received their washing & anointing will <later, if faithful> be ordained Kings & Priests, and will then have received the fullness of the Priesthood, all that can be given on earth. For Brother Joseph said he had given us all that could be given to man on the earth.” (Heber C. Kimball Journal, kept by Wm. Clayton, 26 Dec. 1845, Church Archives) This [53] is the theological and historical context for the Prophet’s comments on the three orders of temple blessings outlined in this extremely important discourse. (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 304)

  1. Melchizedek Order

This order represents the highest of the three orders of Priesthood. “The power of Elijah is sufficient to make our calling and election sure; . . .” (TPJS, p. 338) This Priesthood comes “without father, without mother, without descent… ,” because he who has the fulness of this Priesthood order “holds the right from the eternal God, not by descent from father and mother; . . .” (TPJS, p. 323; see also Words of Joseph Smith, p. 244.)

From Joseph Smith’s Inspired Translation of the Bible, we read that the fulness of the Priesthood comes “not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God.” (Gen. 14:28) Willard Richards wrote in the Joseph Smith Diary that this Priesthood is for those who are–

. . . called, elected and made sure without father, etc.; a priesthood which holds the priesthood by right from the Eternal Gods–and not by descent from father and mother. (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 244)

And again, speaking of Hebrews 7:

Paul is here treating of three different priesthoods, namely the priesthood of Aaron <Levitical>, Abraham <patriarchal>, and Melchizedek. Abraham’s priesthood was of greater power than Levi’s, and Melchizedek’s was of greater power than that of Abraham. (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 245-246)

[54]         The Prophet Joseph stated that, “those holding the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood are kings and priests of the Most High God, . . .” (TPJS, p. 322) He further explained this Priesthood order as–

That of Melchisedek who had still greater power even power of an endless life of which was our Lord Jesus Christ which also Abraham obtained by the offering of his son Isaac which was not the power of a Prophet nor apostle nor Patriarch only but of King & Priest to God to open the windows of Heaven and pour out the peace & law of endless life to man, & no man can attain to the joint heirship with Jesus Christ without being administered to by one having the same power & authority of Melchisedec. (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 245)

In another instance, Joseph emphasized that the spirit of “Messiah is above the spirit and power of Elijah” (TPJS, p. 340), for–

…. this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God. *** For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live. (D. & C. 84:19 & 22)

In conclusion then, the Prophet stated that “the spirit of Elias is first, Elijah second, and Messiah last.” (TPJS, p. 340) This highest power and authority of Priesthood was the kingly Priesthood which Peter referred to as the “Royal Priesthood” (I Peter 2:9), confirmed by the King of Kings–the Messiah Himself.

Priesthood Commission

The procedure for using the Priesthood for Gospel ordinances is usually done by the commission of Priesthood. A commission is the authority passed through others from the one who gives it. An officer in the Army receives that authority from the U.S. President, but there [55] were other officers through which that authority came; therefore, it is a commission. If the President gives authority to someone personally, then it is no longer received by a commission but comes direct from the President.

In the Doctrine and Covenants the general use of the Priesthood in ordinance work is by commission. The Lord’s suggested wording to use in baptizing is–“Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you….” (D. & C. 20:73) But notice the difference in the wording for men who were prophets such as Alma, who said–“Helam, I baptize thee, having authority from the Almighty God….” (Mosiah 18:13)

Also, when the Savior personally visited Nephi to give him authority to administer the ordinances of the Gospel, Nephi was told by the Savior: “And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying: Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you….” (3 Nephi 11:24-25)

Thus, Priesthood holders use the words “having been commissioned” until they have been visited by the Savior; then they can say “having received authority from Jesus Christ.” The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “all the prophets had the Melchizedek Priesthood and were ordained by God Himself.” (TPJS, p. 180)

In our own dispensation this distinction between Priesthood qualifications is clearly noted in the following diary entry:

Prayer by President Orson Hyde. Following members of the board of the United Order were baptized by President Erastus Snow and confirmed by President Hyde. The following ceremony being used at the baptism: “Having authority given me of Jesus Christ I baptize you for the remission of your sins. . .” Then followed Apostle C. C. Rich, “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I [56] baptize thee for the remission of thy sins, etc.” (Diary of Milando Pratt, Sept. 4, 1886)


Those with the highest Priesthood may enjoy the following powers and privileges:

Those holding the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood are kings and priests of the Most High God, holding the keys of power and blessings. In fact, that Priesthood is a perfect law of theocracy, and stands as God to give laws to the people, administering endless lives to the sons and daughters of Adam. (TPJS, p. 322)

All men who become heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ will have to receive the fulness of the ordinances of his kingdom; and those who will not receive all the ordinances will come short of the fulness of that glory, if they do not lose the whole. (DHC 5:424)

The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church–to have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant. (D. & C. 107:18-19)

The object of every man should be to obtain the Priesthood and magnify his calling in that Priesthood until he proves himself worthy of the fulness of the ordinances of God’s kingdom. Only then can he possess the power to have the heavens opened to him and commune with God the Father and His Son.


[57]                              Chapter 7


The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy. Others attain unto a glory and may even be permitted to come into the presence of the Father and the Son; but they cannot reign as kings in glory, because they had blessings offered unto them, and they refused to accept them. (Brigham Young, J.D. 11:269)

All kings and queens need heirs from their own posterity to inherit their regal possessions and sovereignty. With care and vigilance, they take precautions to make sure their possessions and inheritance will not fall into the hands of strangers, enemies, aliens or other unauthorized persons. They also protect those inheritances from falling into the hands of any of their own children who would squander, misuse or waste them. God does the same.

When heaven and earth were created, God made a will and testament for His children: He promised an inheritance for those who would comply to the regulations and statutes of His will. If they did not obey the requirements of that testament, they accordingly would not receive the promised inheritance.

This family legacy was a system called the Patriarchal Order. It included fathers, mothers and children, and was governed by laws and statutes that would bring them both a temporal and eternal inheritance. This Patriarchal Order was best illustrated in the life of Father Abraham, who received the promised blessings of lands, riches and children—as well as wives.

[58]         Abraham had many wives in a marriage system approved and sustained by God. It is a part of the Patriarchal Order of Patriarchal Priesthood and was thus called Patriarchal Marriage. But Abraham and his wives were not the beginning of this order. No, it originated as a part of an eternal plan in man’s pre-existence.

A most interesting vision of the pre-existence was received and recorded by Mosiah Hancock. He saw that there were classes of learning in many fields of study. Some individuals excelled in arts or sciences, while others were inclined to government or some other avocation. These males and females were preparing to come to earth to experience joy and pain, bitter and sweet, good and evil. Without recollection, they would face these forces exercising their own free agency. Some would devote themselves to politics, music, science or something else. However, only a few would honor all of the laws of the Gospel and dedicate their lives and fortunes to the Father. Mosiah described that pre-mortal life much the same as it is here. Said he: “I saw there that those who were proficient in their classes were advanced more rapidly until they became most perfect in those heavenly teachings; but some males, even there in Heaven, would neglect their females and their classes and not meet with them. They would go off, arm in arm as men now go, not having any desire for their duties. I never saw a female leave her place in the class assigned her by the Father.”

In this vision, Mosiah Hancock saw that plural marriage came about as the result of rebellious men in the Spirit World who proved themselves unfit for marriage–not too dissimilar from our own present age of rebellious and wicked men. In this pre-existent world, they were offered the opportunity and the freedom to choose their own particular lifestyle. Some chose to live by righteous principles, while others chose to follow their own rebellious nature and unhallowed lust and greed.

[59]         There was a division among these pre-mortals, culminating in two main opposing forces–the same as men engaged in war today. Another similarity was that men fought each other, but women did not. The wicked and rebellious were banished from the realm of the righteous. This left a surplus of women. Mosiah, commenting on his vision, said: “I then saw that the notable ones, who had taken such an interest in the rights of the Father and the Son, were appointed to gather up those lone females whose companions had been cast down.” This was the beginning of the principle of plural marriage in divinely approved circumstances.

In this short mortal span on earth, it is important to learn that baptism is the gateway to the Celestial Kingdom, but Patriarchal Marriage is the gate to exaltation in that Celestial Kingdom. Those who have been married by the Priesthood know that they must continue to live up to all of the requirements of that law and ordinance. The covenants of that marriage ceremony require the couple to obey the Patriarchal law o[ Abraham which is plural marriage, also known as celestial marriage, patriarchal marriage, and the “new and everlasting covenant of marriage.” The importance of this law of the Priesthood cannot be overestimated, for it is one of the principles that exalt man.

The Lord has often directed men to obey this type of marriage covenant–both anciently and in our own dispensation. Bruce McConkie admitted:

From such fragmentary scriptural records as are now available, we learn that the Lord frequently did command his ancient saints to practice plural marriage. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob–among a host of others (D. & C. 132)–conformed to this ennobling and exalting principle; the whole history of ancient Israel was one in which plurality of wives was the divinely accepted and approved order of matrimony. Millions of those who entered [60] this order have, in and through it, gained for themselves eternal exaltation in the highest heaven of the celestial world.

In the early days of this dispensation, as part of the promised restitution of all things, the Lord revealed the principle of plural marriage to the Prophet. Later the Prophet and leading brethren were commanded to enter into the practice, which they did in all virtue and purity of heart despite the consequent animosity and prejudices of worldly people. * * *

Those married in the temple in the new and everlasting covenant of marriage enter into the patriarchal order and become inheritors of all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the patriarchs. If the participating parties abide in the eternal marriage covenant, they shall reap the full blessings of patriarchal heirship in eternity where the patriarchal order will be the order of government and rule. (Mormon Doctrine, McConkie, p. 505)

But no other doctrine or practice in Mormonism has created the furor, opposition, and confusion that plural marriage has. Arguments for it contend that it is “the law” or a “principle of the gospel”, that it was “a commandment” and one of the “necessary ordinances” or the “fulfillment of the marriage covenant.” Others attempt to use reason or logic to justify its practice because there “are more women than men”, or that “a woman has the right to a husband of her choice even if he is married”, and that such a practice “would stop prostitution.” However, these are not the only reasons why plural marriage has been practiced. Let’s consider why some of the ancient prophets obeyed it.

Solomon was a rich and wealthy man with a thousand wives and concubines. Most of them were “welfare wives” because their husbands had been killed in war and they had no means of support, and perhaps hadn’t much chance [61] for another marriage. David took some wives because he loved them or they loved him. Abraham and Jacob took additional wives to bear children because of the infertility of their wives. Many kings in Israel took plural wives because it was a recognized honor to have a king for a husband and to bear children that would be heirs to that throne. It was also a law in Israel that in war all their male enemies should be destroyed, leaving many women and children. By their law, the widows and orphans must be taken care of, so the Israelite soldiers brought them back home as wives and children of their own, which increased the dominions and numbers of Israel. But besides the many practical and temporal reasons, there were spiritual and eternal ones, too.

When a person enters into a marriage by the rights of the Priesthood, it is with an eternal covenant that they will “fulfill” all of the laws and rights pertaining to that order of marriage. This, like the first anointing, is fulfilled only in the second ordinance of that principle. A woman reaches the fulness of that marriage relationship when she is made a “Queen” in the patriarchal law of marriage. This, too, is an ordination pertaining to the Celestial Kingdom.

In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; and in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood <meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage>; and if he does not, he cannot obtain it.” (D & C 131:1-3)

Marriage, like baptism, is sealed with promised blessings, which are conditional upon the fulfillment of that contract or covenant. It was, of course, proper that the Lord would reveal in the same revelation both the doctrine of eternal marriage (or plural marriage) and being sealed up unto eternal life. They both pertain to the exaltation of man. The Lord revealed:

[62]                         And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife, and make a covenant with her for time and for all eternity, if that covenant is not by me or by my word, which is my law, and is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, through him whom I have anointed and appointed unto this power, then it is not valid neither of force when they are out of the world, because they are not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by my word; when they are out of the world it cannot be received there, because the angels and the gods are appointed there, by whom they cannot pass; they cannot, therefore, inherit my glory; for my house is a house of order, saith the Lord God.

And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them–Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominion, all heights and depths–then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.

Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto [63] them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory. (D. & C. 132:18-21)

So important was the doctrinal practice of plural marriage in Mormonism that it was taught as essential to exaltation. The editor of the Juvenile Instructor counseled the Saints:

So intimately interwoven is this precious doctrine (patriarchal marriage) with the exaltation of men and women in the great hereafter that it cannot be given up without giving up at the same time all hope of immortal glory. With as great consistency might the sons of God, who are to be crowned heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus, at the auspicious moment of their coronation, be asked by Satan to give up the thrones upon which they were being seated, or the glorious crowns with which their brows were being encircled, in order to please him.

The issue is in this way forced upon us, and the question presented before us is: Whom shall we obey? God gives us a command to obey: but man says we shall not obey it. To disobey God is to forfeit His favor and our eternal salvation. (Juvenile Instructor, May 1, 1885)

The story of the introduction to plural marriage in this dispensation is a most interesting one. It began when Joseph and Oliver were translating the Book of Mormon. While laboring on the manuscript in the book of Jacob, they questioned a passage which mentioned the wives of David, Solomon and others. It was then revealed to them the reason and purpose for plural marriage among the elect men of God. The first revelation on plural marriage was given before the Church was established and before the Book of Mormon had been translated. Oliver was willing to obey that law immediately, but Joseph said that the time had not yet arrived.

[64]         When the time did come, Joseph still hesitated. He hesitated so long that he was practically forced into it.

An angel with a flaming sword descended from the courts of glory, and confronting the Prophet, commanded him in the name of the Lord, to establish the principle so long concealed from the knowledge of the Saints and of the world. That principle was the law of celestial or plural marriage. Well knew the youthful Prophet the danger of his task. Well knew he the peril and penalty of disobedience. (Biography of Heber C. Kimball, see pp. 333-39.)

Mary Elizabeth Rollins (Lightner), who later became one of the wives of Joseph Smith, testified that Joseph postponed obeying that law until the angel had appeared and admonished him to obey that command three times, between the years 1834 and 1842.

It was eight years after the death of Joseph Smith before the Church accepted this principle. When they did, the Apostle Orson Pratt arose before the Saints in 1852 and said:

The Latter-day Saints have embraced the doctrine of the plurality of wives as part of their religious faith. We will show you that it is incorporated as a part of our religion, and necessary for our exaltation to the fullness of the Lord’s glory in the eternal world. (J.D. 1:54)

Some of the men in the Church later thought that plural marriage was an “incident” and “not essential” to the Gospel. However, such was not the teaching of the early leaders of the Church. Here is a brief sampling of the testimonies of those who really understood and practiced that principle:

[65] Brigham Young

The only men who become Gods, even the sons of God. are those who enter into polygamy. (J.D. 11:268)

Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned; and I will go still further and say, take this revelation, or any other revelation that the Lord has given, and deny it in your feelings, and I promise that you will be damned. (J.D. 3:266)

Joseph F. Smith

This doctrine of plural marriage is one of the most important doctrines ever revealed to man. Without it man would come to a full stop; without it we never could be exalted to associate with and become Gods, neither could we attain to the power of eternal increase. (J.D. 21:10)

Samuel Richards

. . . the great question is this–will we unite with the plurality Order of the Ancient Patriarchs, or will we consent voluntarily to be doomed to eternal celibacy? This is the true division of the question. One or the other we must choose. We cannot be married to our husbands for eternity, without subscribing to the law that admits a plurality of wives. (Mill. Star 15:226)

  1. W. Penrose

He showed that the revelation that had been the subject of attention (Section 132) was only one published on Celestial Marriage, and if the doctrine of plural marriage was repudiated, so must be the glorious principle of marriage for eternity, the two being indissolubly interwoven with each other. (Mill. Star 45:454)

[66] John Taylor

We have been taught and conscientiously believe that plural marriage is as much a part of our religion as faith, repentance and baptism. (Life of John Taylor, p. 357)

Orson Pratt

If the doctrine of polygamy, as revealed to the Latter-day Saints, is not true, I would not give a fig for all your other revelations that came through Joseph Smith the Prophet. (J.D. 17:224)

George Teasdale

I bear my solemn testimony that plural marriage is as true as any principle that has been revealed from the heavens. I bear my testimony that it is a necessity, and that the Church of Christ in its fulness, never existed without it. (J.D. 25:21)

Wilford Woodruff

If we do not embrace that principle (of plural marriage) soon, the keys will be turned against us. If we do not keep the same law that our Heavenly Father has kept, we cannot go with Him. * * *

The reason why the Church and Kingdom of God cannot advance without the Patriarchal Order of Marriage is that it belongs to this dispensation, just as baptism for the dead does, or any law or ordinance that belongs to a dispensation. Without it the Church cannot progress. The leading men of Israel who are presiding over stakes will have to obey the law of Abraham or they will have to resign. (Life of Wilford Woodruff, p. 542)

[67]                         President Woodruff called the Twelve together to consider several communications pleading for an end of the parade to prison. He asked for the views of every member present, beginning with the youngest. No one favored a retreat. “You have spoken right,” said President Woodruff. “Had we accepted this proposition <against plural marriage>, the Lord would have rejected us. The doctrine of plural marriage has come to stay for all time.” (Builders of the Kingdom, by Pusey; taken from the journal of Apostle John Henry Smith, Bk. 14, p. 45)

Heber C. Kimball

Plurality is a law which God established for his elect before the world was formed, for a continuation of seeds forever. (Mill. Star 28:190)

You might as well deny “Mormonism”, and turn away from it, as to oppose the plurality of wives. Let the Presidency of this Church, and the Twelve Apostles, and all the authorities unite and say with one voice that they will oppose that doctrine, and the whole of them would be damned. What are you opposing it for? It is a principle that God has revealed for the salvation of the human family. (J.D. 5:203)

Because of the pressure brought against the Church for plural marriage, many of the Saints began to weaken. A public announcement to strengthen the faith and testimony of members in this principle was published in 1885:

A violent and vicious attack is being made upon the doctrine and practice of patriarchal marriage. Those who have practiced this principle are assailed with a ferocity never before known. Those who make the attack, perhaps hope to drive the [68] people of God to renounce the doctrine and promise not to obey the revelation. Vain and delusive hope! Unless the Saints apostatize, such an action on their part is impossible. By doing so, they would deliberately shut the door of the celestial glory in their own faces. They would say by that action: “We do not have the valor necessary to sustain us in striving for the celestial glory, and we therefore are content to enter a terrestrial or telestial glory.” To comply with the request of our enemies would be to give up all hope of ever entering into the glory of God, the Father. and Jesus Christ, the Son. This is the prize which the Saints are asked to give for the world to cease their attacks upon them! Is it not a costly bargain which they are asked to make? To barter off all hope of eternal felicity with wives and children in the celestial presence of God and the Lamb for the miserable favor of the world! So intimately interwoven is this precious doctrine with the exaltation of men and women in the great hereafter that it cannot be given up without giving up at the same time all hope of immortal glory. (Juve. Instr., May 1, 1885, p. 136)

When the Church was at the critical juncture of either rejecting or continuing plural marriage, Wilford Woodruff appealed to the Lord as to what should be done about the plural marriage issue. The answer came “quick and strong” according to Woodruff’s scribe, L. John Nuttall:

Let not my servants who are called to the Presidency of my Church deny my word or my law, which concerns the salvation of the children of men ….

Place not yourselves in jeopardy to your enemies by promise. If the Saints will hearken unto my voice, and the counsel of my servants, the wicked shall not prevail.

[69]                         Let my servants who officiate as your counselors before the courts make their pleadings as they are moved upon by the Holy Spirit, without any further pledges from the Priesthood, and they shall be justified.

I, the Lord, will hold the courts, with the officers of government, and the nation responsible for their acts towards the inhabitants of Zion….

Fear not the wicked and ungodly….

I cannot deny my Word, neither in blessings nor judgments. Therefore, let mine anointed gird up their loins, watch and be sober, and keep my commandments. (L. John Nuttall Journal, Nov. 27, 1889; also recorded in My Kingdom Shall Roll Forth, LDS Church publication, p. 58)

This was the last written revelation to the Church.

Throughout the first 60 years of the Church, plural marriage was taught to be a “principle” of the Gospel. This sheds light on how very important it is to understand the nature of plurality of wives. William Clayton, a scribe to Joseph Smith, relates that–

From him (Joseph Smith) I learned that the doctrine of plural and celestial marriage is the most holy and important doctrine ever revealed to man on the earth, and that without obedience to that principle, no man can ever attain to the fulness of exaltation in celestial glory. (Historical Record, 6:226)

Then again from Joseph Smith:

A key: Every principle proceeding from God is eternal and any principle which is not eternal is of the devil. (T.P.J.S., p. 181)

The elect of God are aware that plural marriage is a true and eternal principle and is not to be done away. Even Wilford Woodruff acknowledged this:

[70]                         President Woodruff was quoted by Smith <John Henry Smith> as stating at a meeting in the Manti Temple in May of 1888 that we won’t quit practicing plural marriage until Christ shall come. (Utah Historical Quarterly, Fall 1971, p. 359; taken from John Henry Smith’s Journal, May 17, 1888)

Men and women today, then, have the important choice of whether or not to obey this exalting principle and law of celestial or plural marriage. Only a few–the elect–understand and obey this marriage covenant and are candidates for gaining an exalted celestial crown.

Those who strive to become kings and queens in Israel by being united in marriage, are obeying an important part of the law of the Priesthood. In that ceremony they pledge to fulfill all of the laws pertaining to that ordinance. As the first anointing is a preparation for the second anointing, so a monogamous marriage is preparatory for a plural marriage. Obedience to this law of Patriarchal Marriage places an individual in a position to receive a glorious and eternal inheritance.


[71]                              Chapter 8


And the More Sure Word of Prophecy

Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity–thou must commune with God. (TPJS, p. 137)

The spirit of revelation is the spirit of the Lord. It is the language of inspiration–the voice of reason–expanding the mind, building character and gently persuading man to do good. It will teach, guide and enlighten any troubled soul, for God is no respecter of persons. And if we will heed those whisperings, it will build upon our faith until we can someday bask in the full enjoyment and happiness of its kindly light.

Revelation comes through the power of the Holy Spirit, but there are many different mediums through which it can be revealed. God chooses different ways to communicate His will to man: by the still small voice, dreams, visions, an audible voice, Urim and Thummim, seer stones, angel visitations, or even by a personal manifestation. It is according to the nature of a man’s calling that determines which particular medium is selected, yet it is by faith that any of these means are used; for “He who hath faith to see shall see. He who hath faith to hear shall hear.” (D. & C. 42:49-50)

The spirit of revelation can, and should, be sought for; and according to Joseph, “The best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask it from books, but to go to [72] God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching.” (TPJS, p. 191) And the “Saints whose integrity has been tried and proved faithful, might know how to ask the Lord and receive an answer….” (TPJS, p. 226)

All revelations may be classified into two fundamental areas–circumstantial revelations and general revelations. When God directs men to build an ark, store food, translate plates, or build a temple, they may be classed as circumstantial revelations because they belong to a particular time, place or condition–and therefore do not apply to all men everywhere. On the other hand, revelations may be given that pertain to moral laws and principles of the Gospel; they are generally applicable to everyone at all times and do not change. Regarding these moral laws, God cannot give a revelation for men not to commit adultery and then 300 years later say that it is permissible.

These two laws are much the same as statutory law and common law in government. Legislatures may pass statutes which may change from time to time; i.e., driving at 55 miles per hour might revert back to 65 miles an hour. But common law covers sovereign rights–laws which are inalienable, unchangeable; i.e., the right to worship, speak, assemble, of the press, etc. A man might pay a penalty for not obeying a circumstantial law or a statutory law, but it will not be considered a great sin. Disobedience to common law and general laws is much more serious.

Communication with God was once considered one of the most important events in the life of men. Today it is generally repudiated or disclaimed. But “whatever we may think of revelation, without it we can neither know nor understand anything of God, or the devil,” said the Prophet Joseph. And “it is equally as plain that without a divine communication, they must remain in ignorance.” (TPJS, pp. 205-206) It is evident that most of the people of the world do not believe in the true God or that He [73] can reveal Himself in this day and age. Whatever inspiration or revelation they do obtain must come from another source. Perhaps Mark Twain was right when he said that “mankind ought to have more respect for the devil–after all he is the spiritual head of 4/5th of the human race.”

The Prophet Joseph explained that “Reading the experience of others, or the revelation given to them, can never give us a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God.” (TPJS, p. 324) With over a thousand contending religions all preaching different gospels and thereby proclaiming different heavens, it is only too obvious that they lack true revelation from God. Brigham Young expressed the importance of this principle both to Christendom and the Latter-day Saints when he said:

Look, O ye Latter-day Saints, at the nations of the earth, Christendom, look at them; but look at ourselves (although we have received a great deal) yet who is there here that has seen Jesus Christ, that have beheld angels, that have conversed with the spirits of just men made perfect, and the assembly of the Church of Enoch, and with God the judge of all? Who is there here that has been caught up to the third heavens and gazed upon the order and glory of the celestial world? Don’t you see brethren we have yet a great deal to learn, but is it not our privilege to be filled with all the fullness of Godliness? When you receive all that is for you, you will say, “O the blindness of Christendom! O the ignorance of the world!” (Times and Seasons, 1 July 1845, 6:954-955)

Today the powers of crystal ball gazers, astrologers, ouija boards, etc., are abounding because men have forsaken or rejected the true seers of God. Brigham explained:

[74]                         Thousands of people seek unto `wizards who peep and mutter’, etc., but they will not seek unto the living God. I can say to all the inhabitants of the earth that before what is called spiritualism was ever known in America, I told the people that if they would not believe the revelations that God had given, He would suffer the devil to give revelations that they–priests and people would follow after…. I told the people that as true as God lived, if they would not have the truth they would have error sent to them, and they would believe it. (Deseret News, June 18, 1871, p. 308)

The Prophet Joseph also added that “if we do not get revelations, we do not have the oracles of God; and if they have not the oracles of God, they are not the people of God.” (TPJS, p. 272) This is a clear explanation of where to find the oracles and people of God. In 1853 the editor of the Millennial Star elaborated on this:

He that is not for God and the principle of immediate revelation, will be inevitably ensnared, overcome and destroyed. Because he that is not for Him must be against Him. No man in any age was ever for God or even a friend of God, that did not hold intercourse with Him personally, and receive for himself the revelations of His will. The rock of revelation, by which Peter knew Jesus Christ, is the only basis upon which any man can escape the strong delusion which God will send among the nations, through Satan and his mediums and coadjutors.

Now has Jesus Christ ever revealed God the Father to you, dear reader? Be honest with yourself, and do not err in your answer to this most important question. However much the Son must have revealed the Father to Prophets, Patriarchs, and Apostles of old, the question still remains in full force–has he revealed Him to you? A revela-[75]tion to another man is by no means a revelation to you….

Now, reader, you need present revelation from God to your own dear self, in order to help you out of this nasty, confused labyrinth and to set your feet firmly upon the solid rock of revelation. Mere flesh and blood cannot help you now. It requires an Almighty arm to effect your deliverance. Therefore, put no more trust in man, for a curse rests upon him that will be guided by the precepts of man. (Mill. Star 15:276)

Brigham Young explained the principle of continued revelation to the Saints at Nauvoo on October 6, 1844, by saying that “The Lord will not cease to give revelations to the people, unless the people trample on His laws, and forsake and reject him.” Then he proceeded to affirm the rights of individuals to receive revelation:

I will not ascend any higher than a priest, and ask the priest what is your right. You have the right to receive the administration of angels. If an angel was to come to you and tell you what the Lord was going to do in this day, you would say you had a revelation. The president of the priests has a right to the Urim and Thummim, which gives revelation. He has the right of receiving visits from angels. Every priest then in the church has the right of receiving revelations. Every member has the right of receiving revelations for themselves, both male and female. It is the very life of the church of the living God, in all ages of the world. (DHC 7:285)

Revelations may be given to men in the Church for the guidance and work of the church; but revelation must also be given to individuals for their own guidance; so says Elder Bruce R. McConkie:

[76]                         Thus we learn that any man who obeys the law entitling him to receive revelation shall see and hear and know for himself. Revelation for the church comes through those who are prophets, seers, and revelators to the Church, but personal revelation, revelation for the guidance of the individual, revelation which says to a man and a woman, “Son, daughter, thou shalt be exalted; thou shalt have part and lot in my kingdom,” this revelation comes to them as individuals, alone and apart from all others. (Imp. Era, Dec. 1969, p. 85)

Often those who are spiritually blind, or morally unstable, place their confidence in someone else as a substitute for the spirit of revelation which they lack in themselves. Realizing their inability to achieve personal revelation, they then place their trust in someone else, expecting them to get revelation for them. Thus, they never will gain that needed foundation to gain exaltation and the crown they could have earned.

Latter-day Saints challenge the world to receive personal revelation by the power of the Holy Ghost so that they may know the truth of the Book of Mormon. But, so many Latter-day Saints fail miserably in using that same power for themselves. Too often they justify themselves by placing their salvation in the hands of “their brethren” or their mortal “file leader”. It was this same false ideology that brought a curse upon the children of Israel at the time of Moses. The Prophet Joseph said that “the Israelites prayed that God would speak to Moses and not to them; in consequence of which he cursed them with a carnal law.” (TPJS, p. 322) Today members of the Church say that God will speak to their prophet and he will speak to them, thus bringing upon them the same curse.

Personal revelation is just as important to individuals today as it was at the time of Moses, or in Christ’s dispensation. In fact, it was an imperative duty for salvation anciently as it is presently.

[77]         lt is strange that most people will not trust anyone else with a few dollars, but multitudes place their eternal salvation into the hands of another mortal. It was Ellen G. White who grasped this great danger for both lay members and leaders when she wrote:

. . . Satan seeks to divert men’s thoughts and affections from God, and to fix them upon human agencies; he leads them to honor the mere instrument, and to ignore the Hand that directs all the events of providence. Too often, religious leaders who are thus praised and reverenced lose sight of their dependence upon God, and are led to trust in themselves. As a result, they seek to control the minds and consciences of the people, who are disposed to look to them for guidance instead of looking to the word of God. (The Great Controversy, Ellen G. White, p. 193)

However, the real spiritual giants who understand the nature of God and the principles of salvation, will constantly warn of such dangers. Brigham Young clearly and wisely contended that–

. . . Salvation is an individual operation. I am the only person that can possibly save myself. When salvation is sent to me, I can reject or receive it. In receiving it, I yield implicit obedience and submission to its great Author throughout my life, and to those whom He shall appoint to instruct me; in rejecting it, I follow the dictates of my own will in preference to the will of my Creator. There are those among this people who are influenced, controlled, and biased in their thoughts, actions, and feelings by some other individual or family, on whom they place their dependence for spiritual and temporal instruction, and for salvation in the end. These persons do not depend upon themselves for salvation, but upon another of their poor, weak, fellow mortals. “I do not depend [78] upon any inherent goodness of my own,” say they, “to introduce me into the kingdom of glory, but I depend upon you, brother Joseph, upon you, brother Brigham, upon you, brother Heber, or upon you, brother James; I believe your judgment is superior to mine, and consequently I let you judge for me; your spirit is better than mine, therefore you can do good for me; I will submit myself wholly to you, and place in you all my confidence for life and salvation; where you go I will go, and where you tarry there I will stay; expecting that you will introduce me through the gates into the heavenly Jerusalem.”

. . .Now those men, or those women, who know no more about the power of God, and the influences of the Holy Spirit, than to be led entirely by another person, suspending their own understanding, and pinning their faith upon another’s sleeve, will never be capable of entering into the celestial glory, to be crowned as they anticipate; they will never be capable of becoming Gods. They cannot rule themselves, to say nothing of ruling others, but they must be dictated to in every trifle, like a child. They cannot control themselves in the least, but James, Peter, or somebody else must control them. They never can become Gods, nor be crowned as rulers with glory, immortality, and eternal lives. They never can hold sceptres of glory, majesty. and power in the celestial kingdom. Who will? Those who are valiant and inspired with the true independence of heaven, who will go forth boldly in the service of their God, leaving others to do as they please, determined to do right, though all mankind besides should take the opposite course. Will this apply to any of you? Your own hearts can answer. (JD 1:312)

The doctrine of unquestioned leadership has crept into all churches, including the Latter-day Saints. But all [79] positions of leadership are fallible, because mortals are subject to weakness, fault and error. Brigham Young continued by saying:

I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates or not. (Dis. of B.Y., p. 209)

Too often men teach others that they need only to “follow the leaders”, but this should be applied only to their function in an office or calling in the Church. The President should receive revelation pertaining to the missionary labors of the Apostles and Seventies; the administration of Stakes and Wards by the High Priests and Elders, etc. God never intended that all the members be subservient to the President for the daily direction of their lives. This would make them spiritual slaves, which is worse than physical slavery. Both are in bondage. There is no spiritual “file leader” other than Jesus Christ. The Prophet Brigham Young declared:

Thousands of times my soul has been lifted to God the Father, in the name of Jesus, to make that verily true in every sense of the word, that we may be led by the man Jesus Christ, through Joseph Smith the Prophet. (J.D. 9:149)

[80]                         . . . But the greatest and most important of all requirements of our Father in heaven and of his Son Jesus Christ, is, to his brethren or disciples, to believe in Jesus Christ, confess him, seek to him, cling to him, make friends with him. Take a course to open and keep open a communication with your Elder Brother or fileleader–our Saviour. (JD 8:339)

Every office and calling in the Church must be governed by the spirit and power of the Holy Ghost, for Jesus said to Peter, “flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my father which is in heaven,” and “upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Mat. 16:18) Catholics and Protestants have debated over the interpretation of the meaning of the “rock”, but the Prophet Joseph Smith emphatically said, “What rock? Revelation!” (TPJS, p. 274)

Every function and every calling in the Church must be governed by the dictates of the Holy Ghost, for “No man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations. The Holy Ghost is a revelator.” (TPJS, p. 328) For a few examples, consider these obligations for receiving revelation in the Church:

Teachers.                               “Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it.” (TPJS, p. 160) “… all men the world over, may know when they hear a sermon read from the pulpit, that God has no hand in that matter; and the preacher is not sent of God; and is not God’s servant.” (Editorial, Des. News, Sept. 4, 1852)

Missionaries.         “All are to preach the gospel, by the power and influence of the Holy Ghost; and no men can preach the Gospel without the Holy Ghost.” (TPJS. p. 112)

[81] Elders.            “It always has been given to the elders of my Church from the beginning, and ever shall be, to conduct all meetings as they are directed and guided by the Holy Spirit.” (D. & C. 46:2)

HighPriests.           “The duty of a High Priest is to administer in spiritual and holy things, and to hold communion with God….” (TPJS, p. 21)

Genealogy.            “A man may act as proxy for his own relatives; the ordinances of the Gospel which were laid out before the foundations of the world have thus been fulfilled by them, and we may be baptized for those whom we have much friendship for; but it must first be revealed to the man of God, lest we should run too far.” (TPJS, p. 367)

Marriage.                               “. . . if a man marry a wife, and make a covenant with her for time and for all eternity, if that covenant is not by me or by my word, which is my law, and is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise <revelation>, through him whom I have anointed and appointed unto this power, then it is not valid….” (D. & C. 132:18)

Calling and Election.           “Then I would exhort you to go on and continue to call upon God until you make your calling and election sure for yourselves, by obtaining this more sure word of prophecy, and wait patiently for the promise until you obtain it.” (TPJS, p. 299)

Eternal Life.          “The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the holy priesthood.” (TPJS, p. 301)

Second Comforter.              “… even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them, for the day must come when no man need say to his neighbor, [82] Know ye the Lord; for all shall know Him (who remain) from the least to the greatest. How is this to be done? It is to be done by this sealing power, and the other Comforter spoken of, which will be manifest by revelation.” (TPJS, p. 149)

* * *

The Prophet Joseph advised the Saints to:

Search the scriptures–search the revelations which we publish, and ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, to manifest the truth unto you, and if you do it with an eye single to His glory nothing doubting, He will answer you by the power of His Holy Spirit. You will then know for yourselves and not for another. You will not then be dependent on man for the knowledge of God; nor will there be any room for speculation. No; for when men receive their instruction from Him that made them, they know how He will save them. (TPJS, p. 11-12)

An astute and clear perception of this close connection between God and His children was written by scholars of the Zondervan Publishers. From them came this jewel:

The God of the Bible is the God who reveals Himself, who speaks for Himself through chosen prophets and apostles, who “addresses His words and truth to men…” and furthermore “Modern religious thought has no superior access to God of the ages; it can at best clarify the revelation of God in Christ and the Bible, but if it ignores the Bible and Christ in its exposition of divinity, it must inevitably substitute a modern deity for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and God manifest in Jesus Christ, and the best that can be said for such a deity is that it is subject to change [83] without notice and subject to burial without mourners. But with the Father of lights “is no variableness, neither shadow of turning”. (James 1:17) (Zondervan Enc. of Bible 2:758)

So important is this knowledge of God and Jesus Christ through revelation that it affects man’s salvation or eternal life; for to repeat, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.” (John 17:3) The Apostle Orson Pratt elaborated on receiving this knowledge through revelation:

Eternal life is not merely to believe on the testimony of others in the existence and attributes of God, but it is to obtain something more than a belief; it is to obtain a certain knowledge. Such knowledge can only be obtained by direct and immediate revelation. “No man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” (Matt. 11:27) All men can believe in the existence of God on the testimony of others; but no man can know God only by revelation. (Orson Pratt’s Works, p. 101)

The Prophet Joseph adds:

We believe that the holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and that holy men in these days speak by the same principle; we believe in its being a comforter and a witness bearer, that it brings things past to our remembrance, leads us into all truth, and shows us of things to come; we believe that “no man can know that Jesus is the Christ, but by the Holy Ghost.” (TPJS, p. 243)

President Smith arose and called the attention of the meeting to the 12th chapter of Corin-[84]thians–“Now concerning spiritual gifts, I would not have you ignorant.” Said that the passage in the third verse, which reads, “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” should be translated “no man can know that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” (TPJS, p. 223)

We have no claim in our eternal compact, in relation to eternal things, unless our actions and contracts and all things tend to this. But after all this, you have got to make your calling and election sure. If this injunction would lie largely on those to whom it was spoken, how much more those of the present generation!

And then the Prophet went on to explain three important keys pertaining to this doctrine, viz:

1st key: Knowledge is the power of salvation.

2nd key: Make your calling and election sure.

3rd key: It is one thing to be on the mount and hear the excellent voice, etc., and another to hear the voice declare to you, you have a part and lot in that kingdom! (TPJS, p. 306)

When a man reaches that point in life that the Lord tells him he “has a part and lot in his kingdom,” then he has received “the more sure word of prophecy” or revelation that tells him “he is sealed up unto eternal life.” That revelation to him is the spirit of prophecy foretelling his future destiny of eternal life.

The Lord has said that “all covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, . . . are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.” (D. & C. 132:7)

[85]         When the Holy Spirit of Promise is obtained, it is a promise of certain blessings pertaining to baptism, marriage or any other covenant. It is binding throughout eternity–by promise–on the condition that the person remains faithful to that covenant or ordinance. Being sealed up to eternal life by the Holy Spirit of Promise, and the more Sure Word of Prophecy, having met all of the conditions, a man thereby makes his calling and election sure. It is revealed to him, or to another, and that certain knowledge is made known by revelation.

The Lord has said, “It is impossible to be saved in ignorance.” (D. & C. 131:6) Does this mean that all brilliant men–men of learning and great knowledge–will be saved? Not so. This statement has reference to a man who has finally received the knowledge that he is “sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood.” (D. & C. 131:5) A very unlearned man may have the knowledge of his being saved. The Prophet added, “To everyone that does not obtain knowledge sufficient to be saved will be condemned.” (DHC 5:387) This is the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The Prophet continued:

Then knowledge through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom at heaven–that unlocks the heavens and puts in our possession the glories of the celestial world. (DHC 5:389)

And God Himself has explained how grand and glorious this manifestation and depth of knowledge would be:

Thus saith the Lord–I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end. Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory. And to them I will reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden [86] mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom. Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations. And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught. For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them secrets of my will–yea, even those things which eye has not see, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man. (D. & C. 76:5-10)

* * *

The sublime and glorious manifestation of the knowledge and works of God are incomprehensible to man. Nearly all men settle down with their comforts and miss the most crowning achievement in life. The majesty and beauty of the eternal worlds are beyond the scope of the man who is content with his Wednesday night bowling team, the camping trailer, or the evening television program. But it is in this life that man is given the opportunity to place his values upon important things–even eternal life and the knowledge and revelations of God the Father.


[87]                              Chapter 9


Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit…. (John 15:16)

The closest disciples of Christ were called Apostles. They numbered 12 to represent the dozen sons of Jacob or the 12 tribes of Israel. It was the duty of the Apostles to gather together these children of Jacob, “For the Lord hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.” (Psalm 135:4) The ministry of Christ was directed to gathering only the descendants of Israel.

These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samarians enter ye not; But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Mat. 10:5-6)

And the Apostle James wrote his epistle “to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad”. (James 1:1)

Paul placed the order of officers in the church in this manner: “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers” (I Cor. 12:28), which leads us to believe that the calling of an Apostle in the church was higher, or more necessary than a Prophet. These Apostles were given special powers or gifts to be used among the people. According to Paul:

Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. (II Cor. 12:12)

[88]         There were several callings imposed upon these Apostles, which were necessary for them to qualify for that office. Even the definition of the word Apostle has several meanings, such as “one who is sent,” or in other words, one who is representing, or commissioned, to act for another. These Apostles were sent of God as His representatives. (See Luke 11:49)

Further, the Apostles were called as “witnesses” of Christ:

Witness in Greek is Martus, or Martur; and signifies one that gives testimony to the truth at the expense of his life. It is in this sense that the word is mainly used in the New Testament, and our word martyr has come from this also. (Cruden’s Concordance, p. 754)

The Lord said that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (Mat. 18:16); thus He sent these witnesses out “two by two” into every place where He Himself would come. This was according to the legality of the ancient law (Deut. 17:6), to establish a valid testimony. Jesus said that these Apostles were His witnesses. (See Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8, 5:32)

But these witnesses were not merely qualified as witnesses who had seen Jesus while He was alive, but they were called to bear testimony that they had seen Him after His death and resurrection. This was a qualification generally understood and explained by most Biblical scholars. Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible (page 20) gives the following definitions of the word Apostle:

  1. It seems to have been essential to this high office that they should have seen the Lord, and have been eye and ear witnesses of what they testified to the world. Paul claims equal authority from having seen Jesus in a vision.

[89]         2. Called and chosen by the Lord Himself.

  1. Infallible inspiration.
  2. The power of working miracles.

And from another valid reference:

The first qualification for being an Apostle was to have “seen the Lord”. The witnessing of those who had “seen the Lord” supplied material for the New Testament writings (Luke 1:2) gave spirit and power to the early Church. (Acts 4:33) (Harper’s Bible Dictionary, p. 27)

When Jesus ordained twelve men to be His Apostles, He selected Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Thaddaeus, Simon and Judas. (Matt. 10:2-4)

Others also were ordained apostles–some to replenish the Quorum of Twelve in the Church, and others because of their worthiness and election. Those who saw Him after His death were qualified as Apostles or “witnesses” to the resurrected Christ. To quickly review some of these other Apostles:

Matthias took the place of Judas. (Acts 1:26)

Barnabas was an apostle. (Acts 14:14)

Joseph, called Barsabas, or Justus, was a witness. (Acts 1:23)

Silvanus and Timotheus were apostles. (I Thes. 1:1,6)

Paul was a witness who saw the resurrected Christ. (Acts 26:15-16; I Cor. 9:1, 15:8; see also Acts 14:14)

James was a witness but not of the Twelve. (I Cor. 15:7)

Andronicus and Junia were Apostles. (Rom. 16:7)

[90]         These men were either chosen and ordained to be Apostles because they had seen the resurrected Christ, or they were ordained and then expected to meet that criteria. It is noted at the selection between Joseph and Matthais to fill the vacancy left by Judas, that it was necessary that “one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. (Acts 1:22)

But this was not an unusual or exceptional privilege among the disciples of Christ, for we read that “He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once.” (I Cor. 15:6) Even many women were privileged to see the Savior as a resurrected being. (Matt. 28:1-10)

Zondervan said, “Particular stress is laid upon being a witness of the resurrection” (Acts 2:32 & 13:31) and “the responsibility for the universal witness was obligatory upon each believer, and not just upon the apostles and leaders”. (Enc. of the Bible 1:218, 223)

Paul considered his witness of Christ to be greatest experience because it completely changed his life. He spoke of it saying,

. . I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. (Phil. 3:8)

An interesting incident happened to two of the disciples of Christ while they were walking towards a little village called Emmaus. Travelling along the road, they discussed the events that had just occurred in the trial, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Suddenly “Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.” (Luke 24:15-16) They spoke to this stranger and told him about the crucifixion, but apparently with some dismay or lack of understanding. Then Jesus “expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (v. 27) From [91] what He told them, they understood that these events had been foretold by the ancient prophets, and it was necessary that they should have transpired.

When they arrived at the village, they sat down to eat. The stranger “took bread and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.” (v. 31) They then returned to Jerusalem within the same hour to meet with the eleven apostles and related to them that they had just seen and heard Christ.

On the western hemisphere Jesus appeared to the Nephites and chose twelve disciples (3 Nephi 12:1). Although these men were never called “apostles” in the Book of Mormon, yet they were ordained and were so qualified as “witnesses”. These twelve were not the only ones to witness Christ as a resurrected being, for many women and children also saw and touched him. (See 3 Nephi 17)

Nearly 2,000 years later, the Savior made another call for Apostles. They were ordained and sent out again as witnesses. He revealed:

The Twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world…. (D. & C. 107:23)

In 1835 when the Apostles of the Latter-days were ordained, Oliver Cowdery gave them the following charge of duties, which he declared were revealed to him “in visions”. Said he:

The ancients passed through the same experience. They had this testimony–that they had seen the Savior after He rose from the dead. You must bear the same testimony; or your mission, your labor, your toil, will be in vain. You must [92] bear the same testimony, that there is but one God, one Mediator; he that hath seen Him, will know Him, and testify of Him. (D.H.C. 2:193)

Cowdery continued with the importance of the calling of the Twelve to “see the face of God:”

You have been indebted to other men, in the first instance, for evidence; on that you have acted; but it is necessary that you receive a testimony from heaven for yourselves; so that you can bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and that you have seen the face of God. That is more than the testimony of an angel. When the proper time arrives, you shall be able to bear this testimony to the world. When you bear testimony that you have seen God, this testimony God will never suffer to fall, but will bear you out; although many will not give heed, yet others will. You will therefore see the necessity of getting this testimony from heaven.

Never cease striving until you have seen God face to face. Strengthen your faith; cast off your doubts, your sins, and all your unbelief; and nothing can prevent you from coming to God. Your ordination is not full and complete till God has laid His hand upon you. We require as much to qualify us as did those who have gone before us; God is the same. If the Savior in former days laid His hands upon His disciples, why not in latter days? (D.H.C. 2:195-196)

In conclusion, Oliver gave this admonition as both a privilege and a duty:

You have our best wishes, you have our most fervent prayers, that you may be able to bear this testimony that you have seen the face of God. Therefore call upon Him in faith in mighty prayer till you prevail, for it is your duty and your privilege to bear such testimony for yourselves. (D.H.C. 2:198)

[93]         Many ordained Apostles and other good men have failed to exert sufficient faith to obtain these greater blessings. There is a very thin vail between the mortal and immortal, which oftentimes requires only a little greater faith, a bit more righteousness, or a little greater portion of the spirit to obtain these richer blessings.

The Prophet Joseph once related:

I saw the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb, who are now upon the earth, who hold the keys of this last ministry, in foreign lands, standing together in a circle, much fatigued, with their clothes tattered and feet swollen, with their eyes cast downward, and Jesus standing in their midst, and they did not behold Him. The Savior looked upon them and wept. (D.H.C. 2:381)

When asked what difference the calling of the Apostles had “from other callings or offices of the Church,” the Prophet Joseph answered:

. . . to preside over the churches of the Saints, among the Gentiles, where there is no presidency established; and they are to travel and preach among the Gentiles, until the Lord shall command them to go to the Jews. (TPJS, p. 74)

And again:

President Joseph Smith stated that the Twelve will have no right to go into Zion, or any of the stakes, and there undertake to regulate the affairs thereof, where there is a standing high council; but it is their duty to go abroad and regulate all matters relative to the different branches of the Church. (TPJS, p. 74)

The Prophet acknowledged that the Twelve Apostles were “Prophets, Seers, Revelators, and special witnesses to all the nations of the earth. (TPJS, p. 109)

[94]         As special witnesses, Joseph and Oliver may have had a manifestation of the Savior when Section 6 of the Doctrine and Covenants was received:

Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet…. (D. & C. 6:36-37)

Sidney Rigdon was also a “witness” when he and Joseph Smith received the grand manifestation of the three degrees of glory. They wrote that they had seen Jesus–

–of whom we bear record; and the record which we bear is the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the Son, whom we saw and with whom we conversed in the heavenly vision. (D. & C. 76:14)

Many other men became witnesses of the Savior–and also of the Father. When the School of the Prophets was organized in 1833, an amazing experience was related by Zebedee Coltrin about 50 years later:

Bro. Zebedee Coltrin said: I believe I am the only living man now in the church who was connected with the School of the Prophets when it was organized in 1833, the year before we went up in Zion’s Camp.

The salutation, as written in the Doctrine and Covenants was carried out at that time, and at every meeting, and the washing of feet was attended to, the Sacrament was also administered at times when Joseph appointed, after the ancient order; that is, warm bread to break easy was provided, and broken into pieces as large as my fist and each person had a glass of wine and sat and ate the bread and drank the wine; and Joseph said that was the way that Jesus and his disciples partook of the bread and wine; and this was the [95] order of the church anciently, and until the church went into darkness. Every time we were called together to attend to any business, we came together in the morning about sunrise, fasting and partook of the Sacrament each time; and before going to school we washed ourselves and put on clean linen. At one of these meetings after the organization of the school, on the 23rd of January, 1833, when we were all together, Joseph having given instructions, and while engaged in silent prayer, kneeling, with hands uplifted each one praying in silence, no one whispered above his breath, a personage walked through the room from East to West, and Joseph asked if we saw him. I saw him and supposed the others did, and Joseph answered, “that is Jesus, the Son of God, our elder brother.” Afterward Joseph told us to resume our former position in prayer, which we did. Another person came through; He was surrounded as with a flame of fire. He <Coltrin> experienced a sensation that it might destroy the tabernacle as it was of consuming fire of great brightness. The Prophet Joseph said this was the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. I saw Him.

When asked about the kind of clothing the Father had on, Bro. Coltrin said, I did not discover His clothing for He was surrounded as with a flame of fire, which was so brilliant that I could not discover anything else but His person. I saw His hands, His legs, His feet, His eyes, nose, mouth, head and body in the shape and form of a perfect man. He sat in a chair as a man would sit in a chair, but this appearance was so grand and overwhelming that it seemed I should melt down in His presence and the sensation was so powerful that it thrilled through my whole system and I felt it in the marrow of my bones. The Prophet Joseph said: Brethren, NOW YOU ARE PREPARED TO BE THE APOSTLES OF JESUS CHRIST, FOR YOU HAVE SEEN BOTH THE FATHER AND THE SON, [96] AND KNOW THAT THEY EXIST and that They are two separate Personages. This appearance occurred about two or three weeks after the opening of the school. (Minutes of the Salt Lake School of the Prophets, pp. 37-39)

As mentioned on the first page of this chapter, Paul the Apostle placed the Apostleship first in the order of Priesthood offices. Brigham Young seemed to concur:

What ordination should a man receive to possess all the keys and powers of the Holy Priesthood that were delivered to the sons of Adam? He should be ordained an Apostle of Jesus Christ! That office puts him in possession of every key, every power, every authority, communication, benefit, blessing, glory and kingdom that was ever revealed to men!” (JD 9:87)

The Lord confirmed these ideas in a revelation to Wilford Woodruff in 1880:

And while my servant John Taylor is your President, I wish to ask the rest of my servants of the Apostles the question, although you have one to preside over your Quorum, which is the order of God in all generations, do you not, all of you, hold the apostleship, which is the highest authority ever given to men on earth? You do. Therefore you hold in common the Keys of the Kingdom of God in all the world. (Journal of Wilford Woodruff)

Brigham Young continued to explain the rights and powers of the Apostleship:

Joseph was ordained an Apostle–that you can read and understand. After he was ordained to this office, then he had the right to organize and build up the kingdom of God, for he had committed unto him the keys of the Priesthood, [97] which is after the order of Melchizedek–the High Priesthood, which is after the order of the Son of God. And this, remember, by being ordained an Apostle. (Contributor 10:361)

Could he <Joseph Smith> have built up the Kingdom of God without first being an Apostle? No, he never could. The keys of the eternal Priesthood, which is after the order of the Son of God, are comprehended by being an Apostle. All the Priesthood, ALL THE KEYS, all the gifts, all the endowments, and everything preparatory to entering into the presence of the Father and of the Son, are in, composed of, circumscribed by, or I might say incorporated within the circumference of, the Apostleship. (JD 1:135)

Others, such as Orson Pratt, took a similar stand:

In those days, some persons, ignorant of the authority of an Apostle, questioned the right of the Twelve to preside, but I would ask, what authority ever existed in the Church that the Twelve do not hold? I would further inquire, had the First Presidency any office that the Twelve had not? If they have, where did they get it? (JD 19:114)

But the ordination to the Apostleship does not make a man one whit better than he was before. Nor does being an Apostle make that man unerring, flawless, or without sin. The Apostleship is the authority and ordination in the Priesthood, but faithfulness to that calling depends on him. From an excellent treatise entitled “A Real Representative” comes the following:

One thing is certain–Divine Authority alone is not sufficient to make us representatives of God. Some men possess that, but nothing else. There is scarcely an attribute of Almighty God about them. They walk in the authority of their [98] appointment, but not in the virtue, the grace, or the righteousness of it. Strip such men of their authority, and there is nothing of God left to be counted. They may be successful managers, wise economists, and excellent teachers of the things of God, because the faith of their associates and the Saints draws the Spirit down upon them; and yet, otherwise, they have scarcely an enduring quality of righteousness in their possession. (Mill. Star 20:641; 1858)

Many men have talents, abilities and gifts which God can use, and He often gives men the chance to use them, but it still remains for that man to prove his integrity and faithfulness. The object of Priesthood and the apostleship is not the erection of a gigantic, prosperous organization that will be the envy of the world, but rather the celestialization of ourselves, our families and our brothers. Continuing on with this same article:

We cannot think that our ordinations or appointments have necessarily advanced us one particle towards celestial life, only so far as we have made them do it, by taking advantage of the rich opportunities and get an insight into the real sources of celestial life. Ordinations do not celestialize; appointments do not elevate; they only authorize us to be channels of light to others and to ourselves, if we will. Our present standing in the Priesthood, therefore, does not necessarily represent our progress in salvation, although there will come a day when it will; for eternal authority will, finally, only be vested where the eternal attributes of God exist. But under the present state of things, if the whole world were ordained Apostles, that in itself would not make it a whit more heavenly; that alone would not bring it forward towards celestial life; it would only put the means within its reach. (Mill. Star 29:643)

[99]         It is obvious that Apostles do err. Indeed, since the Meridian of Time, Apostles have always been subject to error, defects and blunders. Peter was convinced of his testimony and declared that he would be totally faithful to the Savior, but he never made it through the night without denying his knowledge of Jesus. The Savior told the rest of His Apostles that “all ye shall be offended because of me this night,” and they were. (See Matt. 26:31) Judas, of course, betrayed Him. Even John the Baptist, the forerunner to announce Jesus as the Messiah, in his last days sent word questioning Jesus if He was the One!

Brigham commented on these early Christian Apostles:

The principles of the gospel are perfect; but are the Apostles who teach it perfect? No, they are not. Now bringing the two together, what they taught is not for me to say; but it is enough to say this, that through the weaknesses in the lives of the Apostles, many were caused to err. (Des. News 16:266)

And it was no different in this dispensation. The Prophet Joseph Smith said:

Of the Twelve Apostles chosen in Kirtland, and ordained under the hands of Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and myself, there have been but two but what have lifted their heel against me–namely Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball. (DHC 5:412)

God may choose more than twelve men to be apostles at any one time. Brigham Young explained:

Because a man is ordained an Apostle it does not prove that he belongs to the quorum of the Apostles. I just mention that that you may understand it. (Des. News, Sept. 18, 1875)

[100] Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were ordained Apostles five years before there was a Quorum of Twelve. Brigham Young ordained his son, Brigham Jr., an Apostle more than four years before he was a member of the Twelve. Others, such as Amasa Lyman, John W. Young, Daniel H. Wells, Joseph A. Young, Joseph Fielding Smith, Sylvester Q. Cannon, and Alvin R. Dyer, were all ordained Apostles before they were members of the Council of Twelve. Jedediah M. Grant was ordained an Apostle in 1854 by Brigham Young, but never did become a member of the Twelve. John Taylor also found it necessary to ordain men to the Apostleship outside of the Quorum, and designated a special work and mission for them.

Later, men such as John W. Taylor, a faithful Apostle of the Church and a true Apostle of Christ, were shunned and even excommunicated by their own peers. Since that day to this, there have been more “true Apostles of Christ” outside of the Church Quorum of Twelve than in it.

This situation has occurred in both the early Christian church and in the latter-day church. Men in the Apostleship began to be divided in their doctrinal beliefs, their views on church management, and their temporal quests. Even the spirituality of some Apostles caused jealousy from others. Some men were hoisted into the Apostleship of the Church because of their great wealth or worldly learning, while others more spiritual and poor were ostracized. This caused a marked division between the Apostles of the church and the Apostles of Christ.

But it is through these chosen weak and fallible men that God brings about His purposes. Jesus told His disciples that “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26:41) It has been so ever since.

Paul said that “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and the weak to confound the things which are mighty.” (I Cor. 1:27) This was [101] repeated in our dispensation when the Lord said: “The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones….” (D. & C. 1:19)

So, God will often choose the weak and the unlearned to become His Apostles–His witnesses on the earth. They are usually shunned, slandered and dismissed as insignificant by the world. But let a man love and defend “every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God” and sacrifice all that he has for God’s word, and then he will be justly rewarded as a witness of Christ. God shall love him, bless him and eventually appear to him, and confirm his Priesthood. Then he shall be a true Apostle of Christ and His real representative on earth.


[102]                             Chapter 10


No man is a minister of Jesus Christ without being a Prophet. No man can be a minister of Jesus Christ except he has the testimony of Jesus; and this is the spirit of prophecy. (TPJS, p. 160)

It is often very difficult, because of the crafty deceptions of men, to recognize a true prophet of God. Some men are called to be prophets but never really qualify themselves for that distinction. Some claim to be prophets of God but are more qualified as prophets of the devil. Some men are gifted with the spirit and power of prophecy, but are in no way connected with God’s church. Some prophets are imprisoned, stoned and killed because of their teachings and prophecies.

It seems that all clergymen, from Protestants to Catholics, are at war with each other and condemn each other as false prophets, when in actuality nearly every religious group in the world today is a non-prophet organization.

There has always existed a great amount of ignorance and superstition surrounding the description, office, and calling of a true prophet. For example, Brigham Young said:

Perhaps it may make some of you stumble, were I to ask you a question–does a man being a Prophet in this Church prove that he shall be the President of it? I answer, no! A man may be a [103] Prophet, Seer and Revelator, and it may have nothing to do with his being the President of the Church. (JD 1:333)

This chapter, therefore, is devoted to shedding more light on this important subject of prophets, and is divided into the following areas:

  1. The calling of a prophet.
  2. The fallibility of a prophet.
  3. The distinction between true and false prophets.
  4. Obtaining the spirit and testimony of prophets.
  5. The Calling of a Prophet

The calling of a prophet is different from any other office or position–either in the LDS Church or out of it. However, it is much the same today as it was anciently. Zondervan describes this position of prophet:

The position of a prophet differed from that of a king or a priest, who generally received their positions through heredity. No one could ever be a prophet simply because his father was one. Kings, priests, and other officials might be appointed or elected by human instrumentality. No human individual or organization could enable a man to become a true prophet. * * * A church can ordain and install an evangelist or a pastor but no one can become a prophet in the full meaning of the word unless God chooses to give him a message with orders to pass it on. (Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible 4:876)

The calling of a prophet of God encompasses more than the agencies of man, or his status among men, or his genealogy. Prophets are the ministers of God and were chosen before they came to this earth. Jeremiah was told by the Lord that–


Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. (Jer. 1:5)

Abraham saw a great council of men in their previous life and saw God stand in the midst of many noble and good men saying, “These I will make my rulers.” (Abra. 3:23) The Prophet Joseph elaborated more on this council of chosen men, and said:

Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was. I suppose I was ordained to this very office in that Grand Council. (TPJS, p. 365)

Many people today say that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, but they do not believe in some of the revelations he received; yet they put full confidence in men whom they say are prophets, but who lack the qualifications of a prophet. In either case, it is unwise to render blind obedience to any prophet, genuine or otherwise.

President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel–said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church–that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls–applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall–that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves. (TPJS, pp. 327-28)

[105] If it was wrong to place their faith in the Prophet Joseph Smith at that time, then in which subsequent prophet would it be safe to place our trust?

From this we learn that the ancient Jewish church, especially at the time of Ezekiel, had fallen into a deplorable condition of “following the prophet”, without qualification or investigation of what he said and did. Some serious errors were thus involved:

  1. A prophet cannot deliver any soul into heaven other than his own. Therefore people cannot expect that any prophet will pull them through the celestial gate just because they pledged their allegiance to him.
  2. Each man must learn to stand on his own feet, learn to think for himself, and receive his own revelations for his stewardship.
  3. Prophets are not sent to run the personal lives of other people. God has established the gospel for individuals to learn and obey according to their own will and free agency.
  4. Prophets are mortal people, subject to their own opinions, desires and persuasions. They are not infallible and are laboring for their own salvation, subject to sin and even failure.

For these reasons the Lord has cautioned all men everywhere about putting their trust in the arm of flesh. (See D. & C. 1:19.)

  1. The Fallibility of a Prophet

Some suppose that when a man is ordained, set apart or called as a prophet, that he is almost infallible. But a prophet has all of the temptations, weaknesses, bias, opinions and personal preferences of any other man. All of [106] his words are not the words of God; indeed very few probably are the actual words of God. The Prophet Joseph wrote:

I was this morning introduced to a man from the east. After hearing my name, he remarked that I was nothing but a man, indicating by this expression, that he had supposed that a person to whom the Lord should see fit to reveal His will, must be something more than a man. (TPJS, p. 89)

And again:

Many persons think a prophet must be a great deal better than anybody else. Suppose I would condescend–yes, I will call it condescend–to be a great deal better than any of you, I would be raised up to the highest heaven; and who should I have to accompany me? (TPJS, p. 303)

And finally:

This morning I read German and visited with a brother and sister from Michigan, who thought that “a prophet is always a prophet;” but I told them that a prophet was a prophet only when he was acting as such. (DHC 5:265)

Here then is a clear description of a prophet–one who speaks and does the will of God.

If any prophet in this dispensation came close to infallibility it was Joseph Smith. But the Lord warned even him that he could fail or fall. (See D. & C. 3:6-11; 5:21-22; 35:17-18; 64:5; 93:47.) Joseph clearly understood his fallibility and remarked:

I told them I was but a man, and they must not expect me to be perfect; if they expected perfection from me, I should expect it from them. (TPJS, p. 268)

[107] Hence, it is not wise to place full confidence in any man, even if he is a true prophet. Everything he declares must be evaluated and discerned whether it be the word of God or the word of the man.

  1. The Distinction between True and False Prophets

A man might be ordained, confirmed, called, or even claimed as a prophet, and may exemplify the attributes and appearances of a prophet, yet not speak for God. However, there should be no separation between the office or title, and the spiritual gifts of a true prophet, although there often is.

Sometimes a distinction has been made between the prophetic office and the prophetic gift. Such a distinction has no foundation in time Bible or in any other ancient writing. Strictly speaking, the work of a prophet is not the fulfilling of an office, but the performance of a function. * * * The prophetic position is entirely a matter of relationship to God and cannot be enhanced or decreased by any human agency. (Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible 4:876)

To be called a prophet and to be a prophet may be two different things. By the same illustration, we may see men who are true prophets of Christ, yet not be recognized as such. The Prophet Joseph said:

Peter and John were Apostles, yet the Jewish court scourged them as impostors. Paul was both an Apostle and prophet, yet they stoned him and put him into prison. The people knew nothing about it, although he had in his possession the gift of the Holy Ghost. Our Savior was “anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows,” yet so far from the people knowing Him, they said He was Beelzebub and crucified Him as an impostor. (TPJS, p. 245)

[108] Many men may be true prophets, or speak by the spirit and power of prophecy; yet most people would not know it or believe it.

True Prophets

The spirit of God acts upon true prophets to give them the power of prophecy, the power of miracles and the gift of revelation. The Prophet Joseph Smith said: If any person should ask me if I were a prophet, I should not deny it, as that would give me the lie; for, according to John, the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy; therefore, if I profess to be a witness or teacher, and have not the spirit of prophecy, which is the testimony of Jesus, I must be a false witness; but if I be a true teacher and witness, I must possess the spirit of prophecy, and that constitutes a prophet; and any man who says he is a teacher or a preacher of righteousness, and denies the spirit of prophecy, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; and by this key false teachers and impostors may be detected. (TPJS, p. 269)

Thus, a true prophet has the spirit of prophecy and revelation to accomplish his mission among men. He has not only the privilege but an obligation to deliver the word of God–often against the wishes of the individual prophet himself. (See Jonah 1:1-3; Jer. 1:6; Ex. 4:10-16)

Prophets-usually have the mission to deliver the following obligations or messages:

  1. To prophesy of future events and warn of coming judgments, i.e., war, famine, plague, etc.

A true prophet will prophesy and have it fulfilled. For instance, God gave Jeremiah proof that Hananiah was a false prophet. First, Jeremiah told Hananiah that God had nothing to do with him. Secondly, he said that Hananiah would die that very year–which prophecy was fulfilled within two months.


  1. To perform miracles and wonders, and manifest powers of God, such as did Moses, Elijah, Jesus, etc.
  2. To deliver the revelations of God to the people–for many different reasons. (See D. & C. 1:18-30.)

A true prophet must speak in the name of the true God. If a man speaks in the name of any other god than the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, he is representing a false god. (See Deut. 18:20-22.)

The word of God is true and valid. If the message is mixed with error, superstition, or confusion, then it is not worthy of consideration. God’s word is clear and definite.

  1. To translate ancient records or inspired writings.
  2. To agree with previous prophets of God. It is necessary to check every man who claims to be a prophet of God by comparing his word with the word of God previously revealed. One prophet of God does not teach doctrines contrary to another prophet of God. True prophets will sustain and advocate the same doctrines, principles, and ordinances of the Gospel.
  3. To attempt to gather Israel together, establish the United Order among them, and seek to build up the Kingdom of God.

Joseph said that “the salvation of Israel in the last days, goes directly to show that it consists in the work of the gathering;” (TPJS, p. 83) and that “One of the most important points in the faith of the Church of the Latter-day Saints, through the fulness of the everlasting Gospel, is the gathering of Israel.” (TPJS, p. 92)

  1. To be ordained by God Himself–it was so anciently and it is so in our dispensation. Joseph said, “All the prophets had the Melchizedek priesthood and were ordained by God himself.” (TPJS, p. 180)

[110] False Prophets

The world has had more false prophets than true prophets. Furthermore, these impostors have always been more publicly accepted than the true servants of God. The Prophet Joseph contended:

The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets, and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and these had to hide themselves “in deserts and dens, and caves of the earth,” and though the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds, whilst they cherished, honored and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, impostors, and the basest of men. (TPJS, p. 206)

A false prophet is like counterfeit money; he is a very close imitation to the genuine article. Both may be almost impossible to detect except to the expert who has learned the difference. And, it will be noted that whenever a genuine coin is minted, a counterfeit usually shows up. Thus it also follows that when a true prophet of God is sent, false prophets follow close behind.

Joseph explained:

When a man goes about prophesying, and commands men to obey his teachings, he must either be a true or false prophet. False prophets always arise to oppose the true prophets and they will prophesy so very near the truth that they will deceive almost the very chosen ones. (TPJS, p. 365)

When Moses went to Pharaoh to perform the Lord’s miracles, he was met by magicians who duplicated many of those manifestations. The false prophets of Baal were men of great talent and knowledge, which made it almost impossible for the people to detect the true prophet of God.

[111] Anciently, the Lord forewarned His people of latter-day false prophets who would come showing great signs, claiming revelation, and proclaiming themselves to be prophets of God:

Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. * * * False prophets shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible they shall deceive the very elect. (Matt. 24:11, 24)

In other words, those who are the very elect will not be deceived, but those who are almost the very elect, will be!

What constitutes such a masterful deception? First, they speak and teach so near the truth that it sounds true. Second, they come in the appearance of prophets, claiming to be prophets. Others even testify that they are prophets. Third, they claim or bear testimony that God has spoken to them, that God has worked miracles for them, and that God has given them revelations. Fourth, they claim chosen lineage and proper ordinations. Fifth, they labor to lead and persuade people away from eternal doctrines, principles and ordinations established by the true prophets.

The following items are guidelines for detecting these impostors and counterfeits:

  1. Most false teachers or false prophets have a love of money. This is priestcraft, which is for the purpose “that they may get gain.” (2 Nephi 26:29) Men making a lucrative living from their religious positions fall into this category.
  2. Men who seek for “the praise of the world” (see 2 Nephi 26:29) also fall into that class of priestcrafters. James warned the disciples of Christ that “friendship of the world is enmity with God.” (James 4:4) False prophets thrive on favor with the world, and are wil-[112]ling to compromise doctrines, principles and ordinances for this praise and honor among men.
  3. Those who “preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world” (2 Nephi 26:29) are also in the devil’s trap. They advocate the doctrine that men are safe in following some man–that God will not allow them to be led astray and that we can put our trust in them. God said that “man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh.” (D. & C. 1:19; see also 2 Nephi 4:34.)
  4. False prophets will preach doctrines contrary to God’s established revelations. They say that the “changing times” require it, or that it may be a “progressive” achievement. But one of the signs of a false teacher is that he is “contradicting a former revelation.” (TPJS, p. 215)
  5. Impostors will say that by the right of their office and their priesthood and through new revelation, the Gospel ordinances and principles can be altered, changed, or modified to meet the circumstances of society. But the Prophet Joseph declared that God “set the ordinances to be the same forever and ever,” (TPJS, p. 168) and that the “gospel has always been the same, and the ordinances to fulfil its requirements, the same.” (TPJS, p. 264)
  6. False prophets do not preach or encourage the gathering of God’s people. Jeremiah writes: “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture, saith the Lord.” (Jer. 23:1)
  7. False prophets try to prophesy, but their prophecies usually fail. “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously; thou shalt not be afraid of him.” (Deut. 18:22) Some men who claim to be prophets never do prophesy.


  1. A false prophet will not have communication with God. He will be devoid of any personal visitation of the Lord. The Lord said, “If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.” (Num. 12:6)
  2. Counterfeit prophets do not serve the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob because they are opposed to the laws and lifestyle of those prophets. False prophets will tell you that the marriage style of Abraham, Jacob and other true prophets was not essential in the lives of the prophets, nor in our present society.
  3. The substance of revelations received by false prophets is a mixture of confusion and inconsistencies.

Brigham Young once explained the key by which a person could tell the source of a revelation. If the revelation was from God, it would be clear and to the point, and would pertain to matters at hand. If it was from the devil, it would be confusing, delving into strange and impractical things. And if a revelation came from the imaginations of a man, it would be exalting and praising the man. This is a day in which revelations from men and the devil seem to prevail–a day when there is a famine of hearing the word of the Lord.

  1. Obtaining the Spirit and Testimony of Prophets

The spirit and testimony of prophecy and revelation can be commonplace among the Saints themselves, as explained by Heber C. Kimball:

When the Holy Ghost dwells in us, it will enable us to discern between right and wrong, will show us things to come, and bring things to our remembrance, and will make every one of this people prophets and prophetesses of God. (JD 4:119)

[114] The same spirit that has influenced all the prophets of God can influence every righteous man in our day. Even the spirit and influence of those dead prophets can attend men who are now living.

The spirit and power that rested upon the first Presidency when Brother Jedediah was in the flesh are with Brother Brigham and me, and you cannot get them away from us. We have the keys of the kingdom of God, and they will be on this earth, even though there should be but one left of those who hold them.

You talk of angels and ministering spirits, and let me tell you that they are ready to abundantly minister to all who are faithful in their different callings. And if . . . all the officers of this Church will honor and magnify their respective callings, the spirit and power of those who have previously filled those stations with honor, but who are now behind the vail, will rest mightily upon them, and they will become a terror to evil doers. (Heber C. Kimball, JD 4:140-41)

The Prophet Joseph Smith confirmed this when he said:

The spirits of the just are exalted to a greater and more glorious work; hence they are blessed in their departure to the world of spirits. Enveloped in flaming fire, they are not far from us, and know and understand our thoughts, feelings and motions, and are often pained therewith. (TPJS, p. 326)

The Lord also confirms that the spirit of the prophets and many of the heavenly hosts are near to the people on earth who are believing and advocating the fulness of the gospel. Even the Lord Himself said He is near to those souls:


Let not your hearts be troubled. I am in your midst. I am your advocate with the Father. I have given mine angels charge concerning you. Mine eyes are upon you and the eyes of your heavenly Father, and the heavenly hosts and all justified spirits made perfect are watching over you. Your works are manifest before the face of my servants who have sealed their testimony with their blood, and before all my servants of the Apostles whom I have taken unto myself. The veil is taken from off their faces and they know your works. They await your coming when you have finished your testimony in the flesh. (“Revelation of 1880 to Wilford Woodruff”, Revelations 1880-1890, p. 6)

Then as though in a final word for the Saints, in 1889 the Lord concluded His last revelation to the Church with these sentiments:

Pray always and faint not; exercise faith in the Lord and in the promises of God; be valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ. The eyes of the Lord and the Heavenly Hosts are watching over you and your acts. Therefore, be faithful until I come. (Messages of the First Presidency 3:175-76)

It is not unreasonable to believe that all men could and should have the spirit and testimony of the prophets and prophecy. Furthermore, God and the prophets wish it were so. To illustrate, in ancient times the spirit of God rested down upon many of the elders in Israel and “they prophesied”. Later only two men were left in the camp, Eldad and Medad, and they continued to prophesy. A young man ran to Moses and said, “Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp;” and even Joshua turned to Moses and said, “My lord Moses, forbid them.” But Moses was not jealous of others having the spirit and power of prophecy, and he replied, “Enviest thou for my sake? Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!” (See Num. 11:25-29)

[116] In our own dispensation, the Lord also revealed that all men should have these gifts–that “every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world.” (D. & C. 1:20) This was the dispensation that was foretold by many ancient prophets, that such a thing would occur. The prophet Jeremiah said:

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer. 31:31-34)

The Lord stated further:

. . . I say unto you that mine eyes are upon you. I am in your midst and ye cannot see me; but the day soon cometh that ye shall see me, and know that I am; for the veil of darkness shall soon be rent, and he that is not purified shall not abide the day. Wherefore, gird up your loins and be prepared. (D. & C. 38:7-9)

Hence, men are commanded to act upon the spirit and testimony of all the ancient prophets by supporting and sustaining the same laws, principles and ordinances. Isaiah advised, “To the law and the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20)

[117] Therefore, those who speak according to the law and the testimony of the prophets, speak by the same spirit of the prophets. For the Lord said, “Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” (D. & C. 1:38) This is the spirit and power of the prophets.


[118]                             Chapter 11


I hear some of our elders saying, sometimes, that they are going to do great things–to be rulers in the kingdom of God, kings and priests to the Most High, and are again to exalt thousands of others to thrones, principalities, and powers, in the eternal worlds. But we cannot get them out of their nests to travel a few miles here. If they cannot do this, how will they ever learn to go from world to world? (John Taylor, Gospel Kingdom, p. 371)

Jesus was appointed to inherit the throne of King David. It was an inheritance of political dominion and power. At Christ’s birth, an angel came to Mary saying that Jesus would inherit “the throne of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:32-33) Shortly after this, wise men came to pay their tribute to the “King of the Jews” with the treasures normally presented to kings. It was because of this political recognition and governmental power being accorded to Christ, that Herod slew a multitude of male children. He was jealous and fearful of losing his throne to Jesus, the promised king.

Jesus was born in the lineage of kings and was honored and called a king. Indeed he was designated as the King of kings. John the Baptist announced and identified Jesus as the king and also announced the coming of His “kingdom” or government.

[119] Jesus exposed the corruptions of religious bigots and hypocrites, but more effective were His rebukes against political demagogues and wicked rulers. It was His kingly and priestly powers–both essential in the political and patriarchal domain over which He was to rule–that brought about the wrath of the Roman and Jewish empires.

When Jesus was brought before the Romans, it was on the charge of being a king. His accusers said, “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.” (Luke 23:2)

And when they brought Him before Pilate–

Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. (John 18:37)

During the trial of Christ, he was mocked as a king. He was forced to wear a purple robe–the royal colored robe of a king; and for a crown they placed upon His head a crown of thorns. His crime was claiming to be a king, so His crucifixion was based more upon political reasons than religious. They hung Him on a cross with His crime inscribed on the cross–“King of the Jews”.

Christ came through the lineage of kings. He was born and revered as a king, He spoke as a king, and claimed He had a kingdom. He lived honorably and died honorably as a king.

As the promised king, Christ came through the lineage of Israel–indeed the King of kings. However, most of the tribes of the House (or Kingdom) of Israel became dispersed and their identity was lost. Judah retained, for awhile, the legal and hereditary line for the rights to this regal power. According to an ancient prophecy, “The sceptre (insignia of supreme power) shall not depart from [120] Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh (the Messiah) come.” (Gen. 49:10) Through him there would remain the royal lineage to which a royal priesthood should continue with a rule of kings in the House of Israel.

But kings in Israel must have successors in order for their title and throne to continue. Without heirs to receive these thrones for an inheritance, there is an end to that kingdom. Abraham was promised that “kings shall come out of thee, and I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” (Gen. 17:6-7) God was not talking about the worldly and wicked kings of unauthorized thrones, but rather the “kings of Israel”–men who would honor God and His kingdom. For the promise was also given to Jacob when God said, “a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins.” (Gen. 35:11)

Christ called His disciples to be ordained kings because they were heirs according to the promises given to the literal descendants of Jacob. God had chosen from among the seed of Abraham and Jacob, His kings to be anointed on the earth. This promise included those men called by Jesus, for John the Beloved said that God “hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth”. (Rev. 5:10)

Jesus gave the “keys of the kingdom” to Peter (see Matt. 16:19), which were the keys of authority announced by John the Baptist. (see Matt. 3:2) When Jesus was resurrected and appeared to His apostles, they asked, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6) This was one of the prophetic events that would happen in the last days, which was a part of the “restitution of all things.” (see Acts 3:19-21) When that event transpired, it was announced by the Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith, when he said “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (D. & C. 33:10; 39:19), and acknowledged that “the keys of the kingdom have again [121] been committed unto man on earth.” (D. & C. 65:1-2; 81:1-2) When the final expansion of these keys and powers cover the earth, then will the prophecy of John the Revelator be fulfilled, wherein the “kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Rev. 11:15)

Wherever the laws of the Lord are obeyed as they are in heaven, there is the kingdom of God. There were short periods where the Lord had a theocratic government among men–often very small, but nevertheless it was a kingdom with His kings. Israel, too, had kings–some were ruthless and reckless, but others were chosen and elected by the Lord to those positions.

The Prophet Joseph Smith explained the nature of the kingdom of God among men by saying:

Whenever there has been a righteous man on earth unto whom God revealed his word and gave power and authority to administer in his name, and where there is a priest of God–a minister who has power and authority from God to administer in the ordinances of the gospel and officiate in the priesthood of God, there is the kingdom of God. * * *

What constitutes the kingdom of God? Where there is a prophet, a priest, or a righteous man unto whom God gives his oracles, there is the kingdom of God; and where the oracles of God are not, there the kingdom of God is not. * * *

Whenever men can find out the will of God and find an administrator legally authorized from God, there is the kingdom of God; but where these are not, the kingdom of God is not. All the ordinances, systems, and administrations on the earth are of no use to the children of men, unless they are ordained and authorized of God; for nothing will save a man but a legal administrator; for none others will be acknowledged either by God or angels. (See TPJS, pp. 271-274.)

[122] Thus, those who are called and ordained by the Lord to officiate in His ordinances are members of His kingdom. When men receive their second anointing, they are anointed and ordained as “kings” to administer the laws and ordinances of that kingdom. Joseph remarked:

But there must be a holy place prepared for that purpose, . . . that men may receive their endowments and be made kings and priests unto the Most High God, having nothing to do with temporal things, but their whole time will be taken up with things pertaining to the house of God. (DHC 6:319)

And again:

There was a proclamation made during the time that the foundation of the Temple was laid to that effect, and there are provisions made until the work is completed, so that men may receive their endowments and be made kings and priests unto the Most High God, . . . (TPJS, p. 362)

And Joseph taught that–

. . . but one king and priest could be anointed at one meeting in a private room dedicated by permission to anoint in, and but one person could be anointed in a day, but in the Temple several could be anointed in a day. (Journal History, Dec. 18, 1857)

Wilford Woodruff said the Twelve Apostles had received “their endowment, and actually received the keys of the Kingdom of God, and oracles of God, keys of revelation, and pattern of heavenly things. (Times and Seasons 5:698)

Orson Hyde said the Twelve Apostles had been given “the keys of the kingdom, and every gift, key and power that Joseph ever had, confirmed upon our heads by an anointing. (The Return 2:253)

[123] Joseph confirmed this by saying:

Those holding the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood are kings and priests of the Most High God, holding the keys of power and blessings. (TPJS, p. 322)

And again–

Here, then, is eternal life–to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you…. (TPJS, p. 346)

Brigham Young added:

For any person to have the fulness of that Priesthood, he must be a king and a priest. (Manuscript History of Brigham Young, Aug. 6, 1843)

William Smith, brother to the Prophet Joseph, testified of his own ordination and also the ordination of others:

I was present with Joseph at the last council that was held previous to the Twelve and others going on their electioneering campaign to the east and various other parts of the United States; it was at this time that I received my initiation into the highest priesthood lodge, was washed and anointed, and clad with the sacredotal robe of pure white, and ordained to be priest and king, and invested with all the power that any man on earth ever did possess; power entitling me to preach the gospel, to bind up the Kingdom of God on earth, among all nations, and people of every tongue. In consequence of these endowments and ordination received from under the hands of Joseph, I hold as much power and as many keys to seal and bind on earth, as can possibly belong to Brigham Young; the power was conferred equally on all the Twelve, [124] and not therefore bestowed on one. (William Smith’s letter to the Warsaw Signal, Jan. 7, 1846)

Joseph Smith bestowed these ordinations on others, as George Miller and William Smith testified:

Many of the Apostles and Elders having returned from England, Joseph washed and anointed as Kings and Priests to God, and over the House of Israel, the following named persons, as he said was commanded of God, viz: James Adams (of Springfield), William Law, William Marks, Willard Richards, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Newel K. Whitney, Hyrum Smith, and myself; and conferred on us Patriarchal Priesthood. This took place on the 5th and 6th of May, 1842. (Journal of George Miller, “De Tal Palo Tal Astilla,” p. 120-121)

In recognition of their kingship, pictures of five kings in Israel were displayed in the Coalville Tabernacle, with crowns over their heads–Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff. The ornate framework surrounding each picture was very impressive and symbolic. A sample of Brigham Young’s picture is shown here.

[125] This was also confirmed by Dan Jones:

Dan Jones heard Wilson Law…declare that while he (Mr. Smith) was once preaching from Daniel 2nd chapter, 44th verse, <he> said that the kingdom referred to was already set up, and that he was the king over it. (DHC 6:568-569)

Further evidence as to Joseph Smith’s being anointed a king was given by Parley P. Pratt:

This priesthood, including that of the Aaronic, holds the keys of revelation of the oracles of God to man upon the earth; the power and right to give laws and commandments to individuals, churches, rulers, nations and the world; to appoint, ordain, and establish constitutions and kingdoms; to appoint kings, presidents, governors or judges, and to ordain or anoint them to their several holy callings, also to instruct, warn, or reprove them by the word of the Lord. (Parley P. Pratt, Key to Theology, 1885, p. 66)

It was in this context that a man could become king of kings and lord of lords, as explained by Brigham Young:

We understand that we are to be made kings and priests unto God; now if I be made the king and lawgiver to my family, and if I have many sons, I shall become the father of many fathers, for they will have sons, and their sons will have sons, and so on, from generation to generation, and, in this way, I may become the father of many fathers, or the king of many kings. This will constitute every man a prince, king, lord, or whatever the Father sees fit to confer upon us.

In this way we can become king of kings, and lord of lords, or father of fathers, or prince of princes, and this is the only course, for another man is not going to raise up a kingdom for you. (JD 3:266)

[126] For this earth, however, God gave Christ the title of THE King of all kings and Lord of all lords.

* * *

These special blessings and callings were not just for the men. Many women were called to attend these ceremonies with their husbands. They were ordained queens and priestesses. Fanny Stenhouse said that after her husband was anointed, then–

. . . we two wives were anointed in like manner, and ordained Queens and Priestesses, to reign and rule with our husband over his kingdom in the celestial world. (An Englishwoman in Utah, p. 321)

Hyrum Andrus explained the nature of this special blessing to women:

A priestess is a female priest–one who exercises priestly rights and powers by virtue of the priesthood. In this context, a queen is a woman with a political status and power in the home, within the patriarchal order of the priesthood. (Doctrines of the Kingdom, p. 411)

John Taylor also revealed:

You have been ordained kings and queens, and priests and priestesses to your Lord; you have been put in possession of principles that all the kings, potentates, and power upon the earth are entirely ignorant of; they do not understand it; but you have received this from the hands of God. (JD 5:189)

This was no small matter, for the Prophet Joseph confirmed the importance and powers of these keys to the women of the Relief Society when–

[127]      He spoke of delivering the keys of the Priesthood to the Church, and said that the faithful members of the Relief Society should receive them in connection with their husbands, that the Saints whose integrity has been tried and proved faithful, might know how to ask the Lord and receive an answer; for according to his prayers, God had appointed him elsewhere. (DHC 4:604)

* * *

There have been only a few men who have been called and elected as “kings and priests” to God. This appointment is clearly evident in the scriptures; however, the modern ministers of Christendom seem to know nothing about it. Of the few Mormons who have heard of it, even fewer understand it. Nevertheless, these ordinations are the completion of the first temple endowment.

Before a temple was built in Manti, an Endowment House was built in nearby Spring City, which still stands today. It was here that marriages and other ordinances were performed. The Apostle Orson Hyde was in charge as overseer to the property. Over the building entrance was mounted a large panel with inscriptions as shown in the following photograph.

Next to the word “Liberty” is a reversed L. Liberty is the principal function of the kingdom of God. Any man belonging to the kingdom of God, more especially if he is a King, is obligated, under covenant, to support, defend and administer the principles of liberty.

Beside the word “Virtue” is a large V. Virtue is the same as righteousness and is the principal function and duty of the church of God. Any man who is a Priest is obligated by covenant to promote, encourage and teach the principles of virtue or righteousness.

[128] Thus, these two marks, the L and V are found on the garment of the Priesthood, indicating that they are a part of the ceremony or endowment of those who receive the higher ordinances. Those who receive those ordinances are bound by covenant to obey and advocate those two important principles of liberty and virtue.

This is a clear example of the covenant that God makes with His elect. A man who is ordained a King has the obligation to promote liberty in His kingdom. The ordination of Priest obligates him to promote righteousness or virtue in the Church. A man who is a King and a Priest has the duty to serve both the political and religious functions of the Kingdom. Thus men so ordained as Kings and Priests to God represent the Church and Government of God.

[129] The power and capacity of a King in Israel was almost casually mentioned by the Prophet Joseph when He was preparing men to explore the West. It was reported that:

Joseph asked for an exploration of all the mountain regions, Oregon and California by about 25 men, and said: “I want every man that goes to be a king and a priest. When he gets on the mountains, he may want to talk with his God; …” (TPJS, p. 333)

But these blessings, privileges, and callings are all but forgotten by this people today. Perhaps it would be well if we should repeat the words of John Taylor who queried:

Have you forgotten who you are, and what your object is? Have you forgotten that you profess to be Saints of the Most High God, clothed upon with the holy priesthood? Have you forgotten that you are aiming to become kings and priests to the Lord, and queens and priestesses to him? (JD 1:372)

This presents another timely question–why are not more people being ordained Kings and Priests, and Queens and Priestesses? That high and holy calling is being greatly neglected and certainly misunderstood.

This subject of kings and queens in Israel cannot be complete without discussing the Second Anointing, which is included in the following chapter.


[130]                             Chapter 12


The question is frequently asked, “Can we not be saved without going through with all those ordinances? I would answer, No, not the fulness of salvation. (TPJS, p. 331)

The Gospel is a system of laws and ordinances by which man may return again into the presence of God. These laws and ordinances have existed and will continue to exist as the means of abiding in celestial glory. Brigham Young explained:

Our religion is nothing more nor less than the pure order of heaven–the system of laws by which the gods and the angels are governed. (JD 14:280)

And again he said:

He (God) has instituted laws and ordinances for the government and benefit of the children of men, to see if they would obey them and prove themselves worthy of eternal life by the law of the celestial worlds. (JD 14:95)

Some of the initiatory principles and ordinances of the Gospel are faith, repentance, baptism, laying on hands for the Holy Ghost, confirmation of the Priesthood, administering to the sick, the Lord’s supper, marriage, and others. The ordinances such as the first and second anointing, sealing of children to parents and men to men, receiving the Second Comforter, etc., are considered to be the [131] “higher” blessings which only a few privileged persons ever achieve. These ordinances require a serious and profound understanding. Some will be understood only by those who have passed beyond the veil of mortality. However, spiritually minded saints should continue to pursue an understanding of these “mysteries” or “pearls” which were not meant to be understood by the “dogs” and “swine” of the world. Temporally minded men cannot comprehend first principles, and even many Saints do not realize the purpose and requirements of these doctrines of the Kingdom. The Prophet Joseph remarked:

But there has been a great difficulty in getting anything into the heads of this generation. It has been like splitting hemlock knots with a corn-dodger for a wedge, and a pumpkin for a beetle. Even the Saints are slow to understand.

I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions; they cannot stand the fire at all. How many will be able to abide a celestial law, and go through and receive their exaltation. I am unable to say, as many are called, but few are chosen. (Jan. 20, 1844; DHC 6:185)

We have no reason to find fault with those whose wisdom extends no further than to just “believe in Jesus”. Such men have reached the capacity of their understanding and are content to progress no further. Merely verbalizing a few words or expressions is the limit of their religion. Many others are content with paying tithing, attending their required meetings, and pledging allegiance to their leader or prophet–confident that salvation is assured in this way alone. But a true Israelite has a mind that is described as–


Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity–thou must commune with God. (TPJS, p. 137)

A true Israelite is obsessed with the desire to draw nearer to God through every principle, law, doctrine or ordinance ever revealed, as he knows that they all must be obeyed so he may someday speak “face to face <with God>, as a man speaketh unto his friend.” (Exodus 33:11)

These blessings are not confined to the Old and New Testament, but apply to the present and span the eternities.

In preparing the Saints to receive such glorious blessings, the Prophet Joseph said:

As soon as the Temple and baptismal font are prepared, we calculate to give the Elders of Israel their washings and anointings, and attend to those last and more impressive ordinances, without which we cannot obtain celestial thrones. (DHC 6:319)

Few members of the Church understood then what those “more impressive ordinances” were, or what they meant, and only a few do today. The nature and importance of these ordinances and laws were further elaborated upon by the Prophet:

He (God) set the ordinances to be the same forever and ever, and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from heaven to man, or to send angels to reveal them.

It signifies, then, that the ordinances must be kept in the very way God has appointed; otherwise their Priesthood will prove a cursing instead of a blessing. (TPJS, pp. 168 & 169)

[133] It is necessary, therefore, to understand these “last and more impressive ordinances”, two of which are the first and second anointings.

The First Anointing (or First Endowment)

One of the first directives from the Prophet Joseph to the Saints was, “You need an endowment, brethren, in order that you may be prepared and able to overcome all things.” (TPJS, p. 91) This endowment was complicated in its nature, but it was to help the spiritually minded to comprehend the powers and glories of God. The Prophet added:

The endowment you are so anxious about, you cannot comprehend now, nor could Gabriel explain it to the understanding of your dark minds; but strive to be prepared in your hearts, . . . (TPJS, p. 91)

Brigham Young, speaking in the Nauvoo Temple, said that there were specific reasons for the signs and tokens used in these ordinances. Said he:

There are four penal signs and four penal tokens, and should I want to address the throne to inquire after ancient things which transpired on planets before this planet came into existence, I should use my new name, which is ancient and refers to ancient things. If I wish to inquire for present things I should use my own name, which refers to present things; and should I wish to inquire for the future I should use the third name, which refers to the third token–the Melchizedek, or is the third token that is given, and refers to the Son. The second token of the Melchizedek Priesthood is to be given only in one place and nowhere else. These signs and tokens that pertain to the Priesthood should never be given anywhere, only in such places as belong to the Priesthood and [134] that too by none but such as belong to the order of the Priesthood. But there are not six persons that have gone through these ordinances that can offer them correctly; and some have the presumption to approach this veil, which is the most sacred ordinance that is performed in this House, and have marked the garments wrong, and levity has been used here which is not pleasing in the sight of the Lord. (Book B, Minutes of Seventies Record, Sunday, Dec. 29, 1845, pp. 135-36)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie’s explanation of the endowment follows:

Certain special, spiritual blessings given worthy and faithful saints in the temples are called endowments, because in and through them the recipients are endowed with power from on high. They receive an education relative to the Lord’s purposes and plans in the creation and peopling of the earth and are taught the things that must be done by man in order to gain exaltation in the world to come. They place themselves in a position to receive the sanctifying and cleansing power of the Holy Ghost, thus becoming clean and spotless before the Lord. So sacred and holy are the administrations performed that in every age when they have been revealed, the Lord has withheld them from the knowledge of the world and disclosed them only to the faithful saints in houses and places dedicated and selected for that purpose. (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 209-210)

Alvin R. Dyer describes the endowment and the promises connected therewith:

I call your attention now to the washing and anointing that you received in the Temple…. When you went into the washing and anointing room, where you were washed and anointed with water and oil, you were given a new name, and you [135] were promised that some day you would be called up to be a king and priest, or a queen and priestess. (From speech “For What Purpose”, March 18, 1961)

Thus, the first anointing is merely the promise to receive a second anointing. One is a promise–the other is its fulfillment.

The Second Anointing (or Second Endowment)

The purpose and blessing of the Second Anointing was explained by Joseph Musser:

. . . the second anointing is preparatory to receiving the Second Comforter, which completes their ordination. Sometimes this Second Comforter is given while in the Temple. Often it does not come until years after, even just at death. But they who have had their second anointings can see the face of the Lord and live, even though being in the flesh, as one sees and talks to another. (A Priesthood Issue, p. 8; see also JD 9:87.)

These blessings were first promised to the Saints by the Prophet Joseph who said:

I feel disposed to speak a few words more to you, my brethren, concerning the endowment: All who are prepared, and are sufficiently pure to abide the presence of the Savior, will see Him in the solemn assembly. (TPJS, p. 92)

This promise was consistent with what the Lord had revealed:

For behold, I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here; and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house. Yea, I will [136] appear unto my servants, and speak unto them with mine own voice, if my people will keep my commandments, and do not pollute this holy house. (D. & C. 110:1-8)

Referring to the days of Joseph Smith, John D. Lee said that “there were about forty men who attained to that order of the priesthood.” (Mormonism Unveiled, p. 169) But Heber C. Kimball said “there were 90 individuals that received their Second Anointings.” (Oliver B. Huntington Journal, Jan. 12, 1881)

Before the dedication of the Nauvoo Temple, there were Second Anointings administered in the Mansion House, the Red Brick Store, and in Brigham Young’s home.

In June 1842, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and others were “initialed into the ancient order and washed and anointed and sealed and ordained a Priest, and so forth….” (Heber C. Kimball Journal)

According to Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, the following individuals received their Second Anointings:

Heber C. and Vilate Kimball                             January 20, 1844

Parley P. Pratt                                                       January 21, 1844

Orson Hyde                                                                          January 25, 1844

Orson Pratt                                                                            January 26, 1844

Willard and Jenetta Richards                            January 27, 1844

Wilford and Phebe Woodruff                           January 28, 1844

John and Leonora Taylor                                  January 30, 1844

George A. and Bathsheba Smith                      January 31, 1844

W.W. Phelps and wife                                         February 2, 1844

Cornelius P. Lott and wife                 February 4, 1844


Then, over 20 years later, Woodruff also records that others received their Second Anointings, such as:

D.H. Wells and 4 wives                                       December 31, 1866

George Q. Cannon and 3 wives                        January 1, 1867

Joseph A. Young                                                  January 2, 1867

[137]Brigham Young, Jr.                                                    January 3, 1867

Joseph Fielding Smith and 2 wives   January 4, 1867

Joseph W. Young and 2 wives                          January 7, 1867

(See Journal of Wilford Woodruff, Pioneer Press, pp. 25-27; p. 161.)

A few other accounts of this very personal and sacred ordinance are also included below:

Wilford Woodruff

There’s Sister Bathsheba Smith; she and I (Wilford Woodruff) both had our endowments under the hands of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I had my second anointing and sealings under his hands. There is not a single principle in this Church that he did not lay the foundation for. (Young Women’s Journal, Aug. 1894, Vol. 5, No. 11)

Joseph Lee Robinson

February 12, 1868: This day I with three of my wives, namely Maria, Laurinda, and Lydia, received our second endowments in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. We do receive it as a very distinguished favor, and a wonderful blessing from heaven to get our second anointings under the servants of God in the Holy Priesthood.

Charles Walker

Tues., Mar. 13, 1877. Today I took Abigail and Sarah into the temple (St. George) and we received great and glorious blessings and powers which few of the children of Adam ever attained to. <They had already received their endowments.> (Journal of Charles Walker)

[138] Goudy Hogan

At the same time <that he was set apart as bishop, April 13, 1877> they <Brigham Young and Brigham Young, Jr.> recommended me (to) the temple for my second anointing, which I received with my two wives a few days later, great blessings being promised to us through this ordinance. (Journal of Goudy Hogan, p. 52)

From Abraham Cannon

Oct. 7th, 1889, Pres. Woodruff spoke in regard to second anointing and said the President of Stakes were to be judges of who were worthy to receive them, but it was an ordinance–of the eternal world which belonged particularly to old men. (Abraham Cannon Journal, Vol. XI, p. 129)

Joseph Musser

On December 1899, after receiving my “Second Blessings,” a messenger came to me from President Snow, stating I had been selected to enter plural marriage and to help keep the principle alive. (Journal of Joseph Musser)

This Second Anointing, sometimes called a Second Endowment, is not a special guarantee for exaltation, nor does it mean that those who obtain it can not apostatize. For example, Fanny Stenhouse, who later apostatized, published her account of being called to this ceremony which occurred after the Saints arrived in Utah:

Not long after this, my husband one day told me that a select few had been chosen to receive their Second Endowments, and that we were to be honored with the same privilege. This I was told was one of the highest honors that could be conferred upon us, as the Second Endowments had never been given to any one since the Mormons left Nauvoo. * * *


When we reached the Endowment House, we ladies were shown into one room and our husband into another. We then proceeded to array ourselves in our robes, caps, and aprons–the same as when we received our first Endowments–and when all was ready we were ushered into another room by one of the brethren, who was also dressed in his Temple robes. There we met our husband and several other brethren, all dressed in the same way. We sat down, and oil was then poured upon the head of our husband, by two of the brethren–Daniel H. Wells, and another–and he was then ordained a King and Priest to all eternity. After that, we two wives were anointed in like manner, and ordained Queens and Priestesses, to reign and rule with our husband over his kingdom in the celestial world. (Tell It All, Fanny Stenhouse, pp. 514 & 517)

Who, then, should receive these Second Anointings and what kind of men can qualify? This description was given by President Lorenzo Snow:

After the opening exercises, Pres. Lorenzo Snow spoke upon the subject of giving Second Anointings. He said that this blessing brought a person to a greater knowledge of things pertaining to God and His purposes in the earth, that the glorious things of the kingdom were made clear to the understanding of the man. Therefore it would be a very serious thing for a man to apostatize after he had received this great blessing. * * *

Elders should do something to be worthy to receive this great blessing and there are many ways out of the ordinary routine duties by which a man could earn the good will of God to the obtaining of this blessing. Every man should be determined to place everything on the altar, even to the laying down of life itself for the gospel’s sake in order to be truly worthy of this blessing. (Clawson Journal, April 8, 1901)

[140] This proof of valor to principle was a real test that only few have passed. Another outstanding example, however, that occurred after the 1890 Manifesto, was that of Warren M. Johnson, as told by his son, Price:

When they sent word for him (Warren) to give up his plural wife, he fasted for about a week. At the end of the week, he went down to the river to look at the boats. And he knelt down there and he said, “Father, I can’t give her up. She has been a faithful companion to me and has had these fine children. And I won’t give her up to the devil!” Then he heard a voice say, “Will you give her up to me?” He said, “Yes, Father, as free as the water in the river there.” Later he went to Kanab to a conference, and one or two of the apostles were there, John Henry Smith, I believe, and Brigham Young, Jr. Father told them this story. They said, “Brother Johnson, that was your supreme test. There is no power in the heavens that can take her from you now. She is yours. You go down to the St. George Temple with your wives and get your second anointings.” My father went as soon as he could after that and they got these great blessings. (Reminiscences of John and Lorin Woolley, by Mark and Rhea Baird, VoL 2, pp. 38-39)

Second Anointings were administered in many of the temples around the turn of the century, in the sealing rooms and in the Holy of Holies in the Salt Lake Temple. Regarding those performed in the Logan Temple–

January 9. I received from Samuel Roskelly, Temple Recorder, the yearly bulletin showing the amount of work done in the Logan Temple for 1890, which is as follows: Baptisms, 30,788; endowments, 12,748; ordinations, 4,465; sealings, 3,831; children to parents, 1,492; adoptions, 53; second anointings, 207. (Life of M. W. Merrill, p. 137)

[141] The following temple record, was signed by John T. McAllister, President, and M. F. Farnsworth, Recorder, regarding the Manti Temple:


Living       Dead

St. George                                              1342                         1425

Logan                                                    1530                         767

Manti                                                     1019                          526

Salt Lake                                                               1275                          665

Total 2nd Anointings          5166              3383

After this time, the number of Second Anointings began to decrease. Heber J. Grant gave Second Anointings only to the general authorities of the Church. Between 1930 and 1935, there were only six Second Anointings recorded. In 1936 there were none. There certainly were more worthy men than that who should have received those blessings, indicating that there was a famine in the land for the word of the Lord. When men fail to carry out the laws and ordinances of the Gospel, after being called to that appointment, then the Lord will call and elect others to that assignment.

Consider the numerous souls who have received their First Endowment but have never progressed any further. Every man who receives his endowment and First Anointing, also receives the calling to prepare to receive the Second Anointing. Since there are millions who receive their First Anointings, but almost none who receive the Second, it raises the question of why so few complete their ordination? What is wrong? Are too many unworthy men receiving their First Anointing? Or, are there not enough men worthy of their Second Anointing? Or, can it be that men in leadership positions who should be calling men to receive their Second Anointing are incapable or unworthy of receiving revelations instructing them in these important and essential matters?

[142] A possible explanation is that the Church leaders today are teaching that the Second Anointing is no longer necessary for exaltation and is just a “special blessing” containing no further ordination. For example, Harold B. Lee, when asked about this “second endowment”, said:

You don’t have to worry. You’ve received all the ordin ances necessary for exaltation…. It is a special blessing given by the President of the Church to men who have been called. It is not necessary to receive it, however. You have all the endowment you need to be exalted. (Dialogue, Spring 1983, 16:1, pg. 43; taken from John A. Tvedtnes Journal, 30 June 1961.)

According to a recent temple president–

The second anointing doesn’t do anything more for you than the first anointing and endowment; no special ordination is performed in the second anointing. (Ibid., footnote by David J. Buerger, pg. 44)

The frustration and concern over the decline in Second Anointings was expressed by George F. Richards, Apostle (1906-1950) and Salt Lake Temple President (1921-1937):

The records show that there have been 32,495 such blessings administered in the Church and that during the last 12 years there have been but 8 administrations. (Richards’ Journal, December 1942)

(And, in 1949, he wrote in a letter to the First President and Twelve:) For a long time I have felt that I would like to express to you the disappointment I feel in that we have practically discontinued the administration of Second Anointing in the Church…. I have not been able to bring myself to feel that the Lord is pleased with us in neglecting such an important and sacred endowment.


. . . Thousands of good and faithful men and women are dying without receiving a fulfillment of the promise made them in connection with the temple ceremonies. * * * Temples under construction now and in the future should be provided with a room for the administration of these blessings alone, to be known as the Holy of Holies, for if we do not move in the matter before us, some others coming after us will do so for it must be done, and temples should be designed and constructed with that thought in mind.

It is to be hoped that this communication will not be shelved and forgotten without full consideration by this Council. For several years these matters have given me great mental anxiety and spiritual concern, and but for want of courage I would have sought an opportunity to be heard years ago. I do not want to leave this sphere of action without vigorously protesting our indifference and neglect. (Ibid., pp. 41 & 42)

But we know that there are many worthy men who have both desired and deserve to receive their Second Anointings but have never been given them. The leaders of the Church have never called them to receive those higher or “more impressive” ordinances.

Jesus even had difficulty in His day with the Pharisees because they were withholding blessings from the people and He warned:

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. (Matt. 23:13)

But, nevertheless, the Second Anointing is an essential part of the fulness of the Priesthood and making one’s calling and election sure, and is something we should certainly prepare ourselves to receive.

[144] Conclusion

Therefore, the Second Anointing is the sealing or confirmation of the First Anointing. Many of these “pearls” are mentioned in the scriptures, but only a few understand them. For instance, John the Revelator wrote:

And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. (Rev. 14:1)

The Prophet Joseph Smith explained the meaning of this Second Anointing and the “name of God” written in their foreheads:

Four destroying angels holding power over the four quarters of the earth until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads, which signifies sealing the blessing upon their heads, meaning the everlasting covenant, thereby making their calling and election sure. (TPJS, p. 321)

Therefore, there will be 144,000 kings who have received their sealings or Second Anointings, having proved themselves worthy of the name of God. At this point, they have made sure their calling and election of Second Anointings–another important step toward their final exaltation.

But it is interesting to note that the devil also places a mark or seal in the foreheads of his servants. John the Revelator said that–

If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God…. (Rev. 14:9-10)

But the grand promise for those faithful few who serve God and receive their sealings and anointings was described by John:


And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse; but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Rev. 22:1-5)

The battle for men’s souls continues today, just as much as it was in the days of the Christian persecutions. The Lord and the devil both desire to claim men by placing their mark and seal in their foreheads–but it is up to each man to decide whom he will serve.

The sacred principles of the Gospel are often “mysteries,” which are not understood by the unworthy. So it is with some of these sacred and holy ordinances. The Lord, as a poor wayfaring man, appeared to be a stranger to most of those who saw Him, yet He was the Savior of the world. His laws and ordinances also appear to be strange or mysterious to many, but they contain the elements of salvation and exaltation. Therefore, men should constantly prepare themselves to understand and obey them when they are presented by the Lord.


[146]                             Chapter 13


Two Comforters. Joseph Smith speaks of two Comforters: the first is the Holy Ghost, the second is the Son of God himself. (Doctrines of Salvation 1:55)

The First Comforter

There is as much confusion about the identity of the Holy Ghost as there is about the identity of God. The Holy Ghost is the First Comforter. Some say that the Holy Ghost was not received until Pentecost. Others say that it began and ended at Pentecost or that it ended with the ministry of the Apostles. Many today claim to have the Holy Ghost when they speak a garbled jibberish that no one understands, or when they roll on the floor in a spell or trance. But the power and gift of the Holy Ghost has been on the earth since the first man.

It is important to know the difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Prophet Joseph clearly explained:

There is a difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized, which was the convincing power of God unto him of the truth of the Gospel, but he could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost until after he was baptized. Had he not taken this sign or ordinance upon him, the Holy Ghost which convinced him of the truth of God, would have left him. (TPJS, p. 199)

[147] The Power and Mission of the Holy Ghost

The power of the Holy Ghost convinces men, even before baptism, of those things which come from God. The Book of Mormon prophet, Moroni, admonished non-members to ask about the truth of the Book of Mormon, and God would manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Moroni 10:4) This power of the Holy Ghost or “Holy Spirit” is the essence or influence that can speak to the heart and mind of all men everywhere. It permeates the whole world as a power, enlightening the souls of men and acting as a guide and inspiration to them.

The ordinance of baptism is performed in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, and Jesus added that men must be baptized by both water and the spirit or he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (See John 3:5) Joseph Smith said:

I will. . . make a few remarks on the subject of baptism. The baptism of water, without the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost attending it, is of no use; they are necessarily and inseparably connected. An individual must be born of water and the Spirit in order to get into the kingdom of God. (TPJS, p. 360)

The baptism of the Holy Ghost was foretold by John the Baptist who said that Christ would bestow that blessing after they had been baptized by water.

I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire. (Luke 3:16)

The baptism of “fire” is another effect of the Holy Ghost so often referred to in the scriptures. Like a fire, it burns up the old dross, the sins of men. Men become [148] purged and purified like gold in a furnace. After they become cleansed, then other effects commence to act upon them.

The purpose of baptism by water is for a forgiveness of sins. The baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire is for the purging of blood, the sanctification of the soul, and the purifying of the heart.

Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day. (3 Nephi 27:20)

Since there is a definite purging of the blood and a physical change takes place, a man receives a new creation through the power of the Holy Ghost. This change can actually be a physical change even visible to the eye. The Prophet Joseph says:

. . . the effect of the Holy Ghost upon a Gentile, is to purge out the old blood, and make him actually of the seed of Abraham. That man that has none of the blood of Abraham (naturally) must have a new creation by the Holy Ghost. In such a case, there may be more of a powerful effect upon the body, and visible to the eye, than upon an Israelite, while the Israelite at first might be far before the Gentile in pure intelligence. (TPJS, p. 150)

Brigham Young also elaborates upon this subject, giving us a better understanding of the purging of old blood and the new creation in men:

Can you make a Christian of a Jew? I tell you, nay. If a Jew comes into this Church, and honestly professes to be a Saint, a follower of Christ, and if the blood of Judah is in his veins, he will apostatize. He may have been born and bred a Jew, have the face of a Jew, speak the language [149] of the Jews, and have attended to all the ceremonies of the Jewish religion, and have openly professed to be a Jew all his days; but I will tell you a secret–there is not a particle of the blood of Judaism in him, if he has become a true Christian, a Saint of God; for if there is, he will most assuredly leave the Church of Christ, or that blood will be purged out of his veins. We have men among us who were Jews, and become converted from Judaism. For instance, here is brother Neibaur; do I believe there is one particle of the blood of Judah in his veins? No, not so much as could be seen on the point of the finest cambric needle, through a microscope with a magnifying power of two millions. This is a secret that you will perhaps find out, in a coming day, to your satisfaction. (JD 2:142)

When a person is baptized, he should then receive the gift of the Holy Ghost so his body will be purified and prepared as a “temple” in which the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit can dwell. (See I Cor. 6:19.) This is the spirit through which God can speak to a man’s heart and mind. (Heb. 8:10), and which teaches His disciples what to say and what to teach. (Mark 13:11; Luke 12:12) The Prophet Joseph Smith explained:

This First Comforter or Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure intelligence. It is more powerful in expanding the mind, enlightening the understanding, and storing the intellect with present knowledge, of a man who is of the literal seed of Abraham, than one that is a Gentile…. (TPJS, p. 149)

And from John 14:26–

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things….

The Apostle Orson Pratt also taught that–

[150]      The Holy Spirit, therefore, must be considered, first, as an inexhaustible quantity of pure living, intelligent powerful substance, diffused through all worlds. (The Holy Spirit, p. 56)

The effects of this Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, upon true believers were described by the Prophet Joseph:

We believe that the holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and that holy men in these days speak by the same principle; we believe in its being a comforter and a witness bearer, that it brings things past to our remembrance, leads us into all truth, and shows us of things to come; we believe that “no man can know that Jesus is the Christ, but by the Holy Ghost.” (TPJS, p. 243)

Through this discourse we learn several important factors pertaining to the Holy Ghost:

  1. It gives utterance.
  2. It is a comforter.
  3. It acts as a witness.
  4. It leads men into truth.
  5. It brings the past into remembrance.
  6. It reveals things to come.
  7. It gives us a knowledge of Christ.

The final item mentioned above is actually the most impressive function of the Holy Ghost, as on another occasion–

President Smith arose and called the attention of the meeting to the 12th chapter of Corinthians–“Now concerning spiritual gifts, I would not have you ignorant.” Said that the passage in the third verse, which reads, “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost,” should be translated “no man can know that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” (TPJS, p. 223)

[151] This actual “knowledge” of the true identity of Christ was revealed to Peter because he had been given this testimony by revelation. When questioned about Christ–

Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. (Matt. 16:16-17)

James and John, as well as Peter, received a witness or testimony that Jesus was the Christ:

And <Jesus> was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. * * * While he yet spake, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. (Matt. 17:2, 5)

Paul later also testified:

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, except he has the Spirit of God. (1 Cor. 2:11, Insp. Vers.)

While the Apostle Stephen was being stoned–

. . . he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand or God. (Acts 7:55-56)

Thus a man can become a “witness” to those things revealed through the Holy Ghost, among the most important being the fact that Jesus is the Christ. The Holy Ghost prepares men to be pure enough to withstand the [152] glory and presence of God and His Son. This is the purpose of mortality–to prepare us to return into the presence of our Father in heaven. This is the calling and promise that can come to men while they yet live in the flesh. To know for certainty (through the Holy Ghost) the true identity of Christ, and to receive the promise of inheriting a part and place in His kingdom, is perhaps the greatest calling and election that mortal men can achieve. Yet, it is one of the least understood and least sought for of all the promises of God.

The Personage of the Holy Ghost

Knowing the Holy Ghost is “pure intelligence” and “diffused throughout the world” does not explain its also being called a “personage”. Although the terms “Holy Spirit” and “Holy Ghost” are often interchanged or identified as the same, perhaps for the sake of clarity they should be separated into the context in which they are referred.

For instance, in the English definition of Ghost, it says an “apparition, or phantom–something that can be seen.” As a personage, it would have form and shape, and would exist in a specific place.

The Prophet Joseph clearly supports this definition:

I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit; and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods. If this is in accordance with the New Testament, lo and behold! we have three Gods anyhow, and they are plural; and who can contradict it? (TPJS, p. 370; see also pp. 275-276)

This is perhaps the most accurate definition of the Holy Ghost that has been given in nearly 2,000 years. Here the Prophet explained that there is a dual identity to the Holy Ghost–it is a spirit AND a personage.

[153] Joseph Fielding Smith confirms this also by saying:

We should speak of the Holy Ghost as a personage as “he” and this other spirit as “it”, although when we speak of the power or gift of the Holy Ghost, we may properly say “it”. (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:50)

The Apostle Orson Pratt also reached the same conclusion:

The Holy Spirit, therefore, must be considered, first, as an inexhaustible quantity of pure living, intelligent powerful substance, diffused through all worlds. * * * And second, part of this Holy Spirit exists as a Holy Being who constitutes the third person of the Trinity, and who is of the same mind and will as the Father and Son.” (The Holy Spirit, p. 56)

And from the editor of the Millennial Star:

From what the revealed word has stated upon this subject, we can confidently assert: that the Holy Spirit exists, not only as a personage but also as an inexhaustible quantity of substance, pervading all worlds, like heat or electricity, being diffused through and around about all masses of other matter, governing and controlling all things according to the mind of the Father and Son. (Mill. Star 12:308)

Joseph F. Smith wrote:

The Holy Ghost is a personage in the Godhead, and is not that which lighteth every man that comes into the world. (Imp. Era 11:380)

And from Bruce R. McConkie:

The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He is a Personage of Spirit, a Spirit [154] Person, a Spirit Man, a Spirit Entity. He can be in only one place at one time, and he does not and cannot transform himself into any other form or image than that of the Man whom he is, though his power and influence can be manifest at one and the same time through all immensity. (Mormon Doctrine, p. 329)

  1. H. Roberts also referred to the Holy Ghost as a personage when he wrote:

The Prophet Joseph used this term “Personage” always in the sense of meaning an individual, including bodily form, with all that belongs to it. (Seventies Course in Theology, 5th Year, p. 58)

This leads us to believe that as the Christ was an immortal personage of tabernacle and therefore, of form, so also is the Father; while the Holy Ghost, we are told, is a personage of spirit; and these three personages constitute the Godhead. (Seventies Course in Theology, 5th Year)

But it should be held as a most positive dogma of revelation that the Holy Ghost is a spiritual personage. Going out from him, however–radiating from him–is a universal influence and power that permeates all the works of God…. (The Gospel, p. 195)

Joseph Smith explained the nature of the three grand orders of Priesthood (Levitical, Melchizedek, and Patriarchal), and then said that “The Holy Ghost is God’s messenger to administer in all those priesthoods.” (TPJS, p. 323)

These are just a few of the references which provide evidence that the Holy Ghost is a spirit and a personage.

[155] The Holy Ghost, a Member of the Godhead

It is written in scripture–

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. (1 John 5:7-8)

From this we learn that there are three distinct personages in heaven, but that they are all as one. Brigham Young taught that:

The Holy Ghost, we believe, is one of the characters that form the Trinity, or the Godhead. Not one person in three, nor three persons in one: but the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one in essence, as the hearts of three men who are united in all things. He is one of the three characters we believe in, whose office it is to administer to those of the human family who love the truth. (JD. 6:95)

Since the Holy Ghost is a personage, he cannot appear in another form. But on occasion a “sign” of his presence has been used, such as the dove appearing at the time of Christ’s baptism. This is beautifully explained by the Prophet Joseph:

<Referring to John the Baptist> Whoever led the Son of God into the waters of baptism, and had the privilege of beholding the Holy Ghost descend in the form of a dove, or rather in the sign of the dove, in witness of that administration? The sign of the dove was instituted before the creation of the world, a witness for the Holy Ghost, and the devil cannot come in the sign of a dove. The Holy Ghost is a personage, and is in the form of a personage. It does not confine itself to the form of the dove, but in sign of the dove. The Holy Ghost cannot be [156] transformed into a dove; but the sign of a dove was given to John to signify the truth of the deed, as the dove is an emblem or token of truth and innocence. (TPJS, pp. 275-276)

It has also been recorded that the Prophet taught:

  1. Matthew 3:13-17. Undoubtedly, the three signs referred to in the text are (1) the opening of the heavens and the Holy Ghost, a personage in the form of a man, descending; (2) the appearance of a dove; and (3) the voice of the Father saying, “This is my Beloved Son.”
  2. This is the only reference in all of the Prophet’s teachings that the appearance of a dove signifies the presence of a “pure” or “true” spirit messenger. (The Words of Joseph Smith, p. 89)

This third member of the Godhead is a personage and a messenger who is in the form or shape of a man. The Apostle Orson Pratt said:

Therefore, it may safely be affirmed that there is a personage of the Holy Ghost who is in the form of man, and that He was seen in this form, when existing separately from the tabernacles of men, in the pure spiritual state. (Discourse on the Holy Ghost, p. 33)

But how can one believe that both God and Christ have been to earth as mortals, and yet not the Holy Ghost? All three must attain their positions as members of the Godhead by the same means. We learn this from the teachings of Joseph Smith:

The scriptures say I and my Father are one, and again that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one. (I John 5:7) But these three agree in the same thing, and did the Saviour pray to the Father, I pray not for the world but those whom He gave me [157] out of the world that we might be one, or to say be of one mind in the unity of the faith. But every one being a different or separate person, and so is God, and Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, separate personages, but they all agree in one or the self same thing. But the Holy Ghost is yet a spiritual body and waiting to take to himself a body, as the Saviour did or as God did or the Gods before them took bodies, for the Saviour says the work that my Father did, do I also, and those are the works. He took himself a body and then laid down His life that He might take it up again…. (from the George Laub Journal, p. 29, as quoted in Words of Joseph Smith, compiled by Ehat & Cook, p. 382)

These three personages represent a trinity, or a council of three. It is interesting to note how often God has used this council of three in His spiritual callings and offices. For example, in the Council of Gods, there are Elohim, Jehovah, and Michael. In the Priesthood Council, there are the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (or Witness). In the LDS Church organization, the First Presidency usually consists of a President and two counselors. There are also three members in the presidency of each Priesthood Quorum in the Church. Christ fulfilled the three offices of Messiah, Christ and Savior. The Patriarchal or family council consists of the three classifications of father, mother, and children.

This council of three has always been a dominant factor in the organization of God’s government.

* * *

Thus, from the three preceding sections of this chapter, we have learned the following important truths:

  1. The Godhead, or Trinity, contains three separate personages.
  2. These three are one in agreement and purpose.


  1. These three shall “bear witness in the earth.”
  2. The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. 5.The Holy Ghost is both a personage (he) and a spirit (it).
  3. The Holy Ghost is a messenger to administer in all the Priesthoods.
  4. All men can be influenced by the power of the Holy Ghost.
  5. The Gift of the Holy Ghost comes only after a person is baptized.
  6. The Holy Spirit acts as a fire and has refining power.
  7. The effect of the Holy Spirit is pure intelligence.
  8. The Holy Ghost shall take up a mortal body.

As difficult as it has been for men to learn the identity of God and Christ, it is even more difficult for them to comprehend the identity of the Holy Ghost or “witness”. The concluding section on the “First Comforter” discusses the important area of the Holy Ghost as a “witness” or “testator”.

The Holy Ghost, The Witness or Testator

The three personages, or three Gods, of the trinity are one in agreement or bond. We can better describe it as a covenant made between them pertaining to their callings on earth. The Prophet Joseph said:

Everlasting covenant was made between three personages before the organization of this earth, and relates to their dispensation of things to men on the earth; these personages, according to Abraham’s record, are called God the first, the Creator; God the second, the Redeemer; and God the third, the witness or Testator. –MSS (TPJS, p. 190)

This paragraph by the Prophet is perhaps the most comprehensive and revealing of any statement he ever [159] made on the Godhead, yet it is rarely ever referred to. The reason, of course, is because it is not understood. The Prophet speaks of these three “Gods” and “their dispensation of things to men on the earth”. He is implying that each of these Gods had a dispensation on earth.

The most clearly understood of these three Gods would be “God the second, the Redeemer”–Christ, who had the dispensation between the other two.

“God the first, the Creator” who had the first dispensation on earth, can be understood only after carefully studying the teachings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Joseph taught:

This, then, is the nature of the Priesthood; every man holding the Presidency of his dispensation, and one man holding the Presidency of them all, even Adam. (TPJS, p. 169)

Brigham Young explained:

After men have got their exaltations and their crowns–have become Gods, even the sons of God–are made Kings of kings and Lords of lords, they have the power then of propagating their species in spirit; and that is the first of their operations with regard to organizing a world. Power is then given to them to organize the elements, and then to commence the organization of tabernacles. How can they do it? Have they to go to that earth? Yes, an Adam will have to go there and he cannot do without Eve; he must have Eve to commence the work of generation, and they will go into the garden, and continue to eat and drink of the fruits of the corporeal world, until this grosser matter is diffused sufficiently through their celestial bodies, to enable them, according to the established laws, to produce mortal tabernacles for their spiritual children. This is a key for you. (JD 6:275)

[160] Joseph Smith continues with “God the third, the witness or Testator,” who also had a “dispensation of things to men on the earth.” It is this “messenger” who would “administer in all those priesthoods” among men and would be over the last dispensation. Furthermore, all this agrees with John’s testimony, “there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood.” (1 John 5:8) The mission of the “spirit” is to give life; God the first created and began life on the earth. The mission of the water is the power of redemption and cleansing wrought by the Savior. The blood represents the martyr, testator, and witness of God the first and God the second. Paul acknowledged that “where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.” (Heb. 9:16)

Now, in concluding the information on this high and holy calling of the “witness”, let’s refer to the book of Matthew (24th Chapter), where it is written that the gospel will be preached as a witness. The Prophet Joseph gave this scripture a little different rendering:

I shall read the 24th chapter of Matthew, and give it a literal rendering and reading; and when it is rightly understood, it will be edifying.

I thought the very oddity of its rendering would be edifying anyhow–“And it will be preached, the Gospel of the kingdom, in the whole world, to a witness over all people: and then will the end come.” I will now read it in German (which he did, and many Germans who were present said he translated it correctly).

The Savior said when these tribulations should take place, it should be committed to a man who should be a witness over the whole world; the keys of knowledge, power and revelations should be revealed to a witness who should hold the testimony to the world. It has always been my province to dig up hidden mysteries–new things–for my hearers. Just at the time when some men think that I have no right to the keys of the Priesthood–just at that time I have the greatest right. The Germans are an [161] exalted people. The old German translators are the most nearly correct–most honest of any of the translators; and therefore I get testimony to bear me out in the revelations that I have preached for the last fourteen years. The old German, Latin, Greek and Hebrew translations all say it is true: they cannot be impeached, and therefore I am in good company.

All the testimony is that the Lord in the last days would commit the keys of the Priesthood to a witness over all people. Has the Gospel of the kingdom commenced in the last days? And will God take it from the man until He takes him Himself? I have read it precisely as the words flowed from the lips of Jesus Christ. John the Revelator saw an angel flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth.

The scripture is ready to be fulfilled when great wars, famines, pestilence, great distress, judgments, etc., are ready to be poured out on the inhabitants of the earth. John saw the angel having the holy Priesthood, who should preach the everlasting Gospel to all nations. God had an angel–a special messenger–ordained and prepared for that purpose in the last days. Woe, woe be to that man or set of men who lift up their hands against God and His witness in these last days: for they shall deceive almost the very chosen ones! (TPJS, pp. 364-65) From this passage we learn that–

  1. The Gospel would be given to a witness in the last days before the end would come.
  2. The Gospel would be committed to a man who would be a witness over all people.
  3. The keys of knowledge, power and revelations would be held by this witness.


  1. The Lord would commit the keys of the Priesthood to this witness.
  2. God had a special messenger, ordained and prepared with the Priesthood, as His witness in the last days.

Franklin D. Richards quoted Joseph Smith in his Scriptural Items Notebook:

Joseph also said that the Holy Ghost is now in a state of probation, which if he should perform in righteousness, he may pass through the same or a similar course of things that the Son has. (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 245)

And, as quoted previously in this chapter, Joseph said:

But every one being a different or separate person, and so is God, and Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, separate persons, but they all agree in one or the self same thing. But the Holy Ghost is yet a spiritual body and waiting to take to himself a body, as the Saviour did or as God did or the Gods before them took bodies, . . .(from the George Laub Journal, p. 29, as quoted in Words of Joseph Smith, Ehat & Cook, p. 382)

Heber C. Kimball also said:

Let me tell you, the Holy Ghost is a man; he is one of the Sons of our Father and our God; and he is that man that stood next to Jesus Christ. (JD 5:179)

The Prophet once said:

But I am learned, and know more than all the world put together. The Holy Ghost does, anyhow, and He is within me, and comprehends more than all the world: and I will associate myself with Him. (TPJS, p. 350)


You don’t know me; you never knew my heart. No man knows my history. I cannot tell it; I shall never undertake it. I don’t blame any one for not believing my history. If I had not experienced what I have, I could not have believed it myself. I never did harm any man since I was born in the world. My voice is always for peace.

I cannot lie down until all my work is finished. I never think any evil, nor do anything to the harm of my fellow-man. When I am called by the trump of the archangel and weighed in the balance, you will all know me then. I add no more. God bless you all. Amen. (April 6, 1844) T. & S., Aug. 15, 1844. (TPJS, pp. 361-362)

The Prophet Joseph Smith left his testimony, or testament, of seeing and being a witness of the Father and the Son. (See Pearl of Great Price, p. 48.) He received all the keys of former-day prophets. (See D. & C. 110) Brigham Young explained a little more about the Prophet Joseph Smith:

Joseph Smith holds the keys of this last dispensation, and is now engaged behind the veil in the great work of the last days. * * * No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith. From the day that the Priesthood was taken from the earth to the winding up scene of all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are– * * *

He holds the keys of that kingdom for the last dispensation–the keys to rule in the spirit world; and he rules there triumphantly, for he gained full power and a glorious victory over the power of Satan while he was yet in the flesh, and was a martyr to his religion and to the name of Christ, which gives him a most perfect victory in the spirit world. He reigns there as supreme a being in his [164] sphere, capacity, and calling, as God does in heaven. Many will exclaim–“Oh, that is very disagreeable! It is preposterous! We cannot bear the thought!” But it is true.

I will now tell you something that ought to comfort every man and woman on the face of the earth. Joseph Smith, junior, will again be on this earth dictating plans and calling forth his brethren to be baptized for the very characters who wish this was not so, in order to bring them into a kingdom to enjoy, perhaps, the presence of angels or the spirits of good men, if they cannot endure the presence of the Father and the Son; and he will never cease his operations, under the directions of the Son of God, until the last ones of the children of men are saved that can be, from Adam till now.

Should not this thought comfort all people? They will, by-and-by, be a thousand times more thankful for such a man as Joseph Smith, junior, than it is possible for them to be for any earthly good whatever. It is his mission to see that all the children of men in this last dispensation are saved, that can be, through the redemption. You will be thankful, every one of you, that Joseph Smith, junior, was ordained to this great calling before the worlds were. I told you that the doctrine of election and reprobation is a true doctrine. It was decreed in the counsels of eternity, long before the foundations of the earth were laid, that he should be the man, in the last dispensation of this world, to bring forth the word of God to the people, and receive the fulness of the keys and power of the Priesthood of the Son of God. (JD 7:289)

The information and references presented on these pages leave little question as to the identity of this witness or testator. However, in conclusion, the following two somewhat contradictory accounts should be considered:

[165] After the death of Joseph Smith, the Council of Twelve met together and one of the topics considered was if Joseph Smith could have held that office of the “Witness” of the Father and Son. After much discussion, it was decided that he was not. This was published in the Times and Seasons.


Shortly before Joseph Smith died, he said: “Would to God, brethren, I could tell you who I am! Would to God I could tell you what I know! But you would call it blasphemy, and want to take my life:” (from Life of Heber C. Kimball, p. 333) (Note: According to Webster’s dictionary, “Blasphemy applies strictly to any intentional utterance defying or offering indignity to the Supreme Being”.)

Also, “Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it.” (D. & C. 135:3)

The Second Comforter

When men receive the First Comforter, it prepares them to receive the Second–just as the First Anointing prepares men to receive their Second. The First Anointing and First Comforter are really pledges to fulfill the obligation. Just as a man makes a downpayment on an automobile, when he has fulfilled that obligation, he then receives the title and the right to possession.

The Prophet Joseph said that “The other Comforter spoken of is a subject of great interest, and perhaps understood by few of this generation” (TPJS, p. 150)–and even a fewer number ever receive it.

In teaching His disciples, Jesus said:


And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever. * * * I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14:16, 18)

If they were going to receive another comforter, it signifies that they had already received the First Comforter–the Holy Ghost, which they had received while Christ was with them.

Since Jesus promised them a Second Comforter, we may ask, then, what the Second Comforter is. Joseph Smith explained:

Now what is this other comforter? It is no more nor less that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him and the Lord will reach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions–Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, and all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn. (TPJS, pp. 150-151)

A few days after Christ was crucified, the fulfillment of the promise that they would see the Second Comforter came to the Apostles:

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him (resurrected), they worshipped him; but some doubted. (Matt. 28:16-17)

[167] The Prophet Joseph said that this could also be experienced by the Saints in this last dispensation as well:

When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints. (TPJS, p. 150)

This information came from a man who knew from experience what the Second Comforter was, and that it was also obtainable by the Saints themselves.

This promise was also given in this dispensation by the Lord Himself:

Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John. This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom; which glory is that of the church of the Firstborn, even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son.

Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will. (D. & C. 88:3-5, 68)

But such a great privilege is not obtained merely by asking for it–nor does it come through the simple task of an ordination. The Apostle Orson Hyde, speaking from experience, delivered this informative discourse regarding the attainment of such a blessing:


True it is, that in the most trying hour, the servants of God may then be permitted to see their Father, and elder brother. But says one, “I wish to see the Father, and the Saviour, and an angel now.” Before you can see the Father, the Saviour, or an angel, you have to be brought into close places in order to enjoy this manifestation. The fact is, your very life must be suspended on a thread, as it were. If you want to see your Saviour, be willing to come to that point where no mortal arm can rescue, nor earthly power save! When all other things fail, when everything else proves futile and fruitless, then perhaps your Saviour and your Redeemer may appear; his arm is not shortened that he cannot save, nor his ear heavy that he cannot hear; and when help on all sides appears to fail, “my arm shall save, my power shall rescue, and you shall hear my voice, saith the Lord.” (JD 1:125)

These blessings have been granted to many men–most of whom seldom or never say anything about them. It is a most solemn and sacred blessing, and they hold fast to it as a real “Comforter” to their soul. The following chapter will include a few such testimonies.


[169]                             Chapter 14


Remember these things; call upon the Lord while He is near, and seek Him while He may be found, is the exhortation of your unworthy servant. (Joseph Smith. T.P.J.S.. p. 18)

The modern ministers of Christianity claim the power to “bring souls to Christ”; they declare they know how to lead people “to Jesus”. But their chants and appeals are not literally true. They are only creating a lucrative business, and are not really providing the means of helping people obtain the real testimony of Jesus Christ.

Every preacher and minister who writes, speaks on television, or travels with an evangelical crusade, is usually very adept at quoting the experiences of the ancient prophets and patriarchs. They explain in detail the accounts of holy men who talked with God and Christ, but they say that such things are not possible today. Even some of the present leaders of the LDS Church, such as Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, discourage the Saints from obtaining a personal relationship with the Savior:

You have never heard one of the First Presidency or the Twelve . . . advocate this excessive zeal that calls for gaining a so-called special and personal relationship with Christ. * * * I wonder if it is not part of Lucifer’s system to make people feel they are special friends of Jesus…. (Taken from a talk by Bruce R. McConkie, entitled “Our Relationship with the Lord”, given at a BYU Devotional, March 2, 1982)

[170] However, if men could once achieve this personal relationship with the Savior–as the scriptures frequently inform us–then it is certainly a possibility today, since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (See Heb. 13:8.)

The early founders of Mormonism constantly appealed to the Elders of Israel to seek for a real and actual communication with and testimony of Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith taught:

It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainly the character of God, and to know that we may converse with him face to face as one man converses with another. (T.P.J.S., p. 235)

And Brigham Young said:

I wish that every man would live so that he could have communion with angels–so that Jesus would come to visit him. I wish I could see this people in such a position; but there is too much sin in our midst: our traditions cling to us so strongly, that we cannot yet break through into that liberty; but we will see the day, if faithful, in which we can converse with angels. There are persons in this congregation that will converse with angels just as freely as we converse with each other. (J.D. 5:258)

Personal visitations of God and Christ have been recorded from the beginning to the end of the Bible. But some people quote the scripture that says, “No man hath seen God at any time.” (1 John 4:12) This passage of scripture was correctly rewritten by Joseph Smith in the inspired Translation of the Bible, when he wrote: “No man hath seen God at any time, except them who believe”. (1 John 4:12) This is the proper rendition. because the Bible records instances where many men have seen and talked with God and Christ:


And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. (Gen. 5:22)

Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. (Gen. 6:9)

And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord who appeared unto him. (Gen. 12:7)

And the Lord appeared unto him <Isaac> the same night and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father. (Gen. 26:24)

And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: far I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. (Gen. 32:30)

Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: and they saw the God of Israel. (Exo. 24:9)

The Lord appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon. (1 Kings 9:2)

In the year that king Uzziah died, I <Isaiah> saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. * * * Then said I. Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips; and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts. (Isa. 6:1, 5)

This is the real testimony of God and the resurrected Christ that men should obtain. This same testimony was also obtained by men of God as recorded in the Book of Mormon:

[172] The Brother of Jared

And because of the knowledge of this man <the brother of Jared> he could not be kept from beholding within the veil; and he saw the finger of Jesus, which, when he saw, he fell with fear; for he knew that it was the finger of the Lord; and he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting. Wherefore, having this perfect knowledge of God, he could not be kept from within the veil; therefore he saw Jesus; and he did minister unto him. (Ether 3:19-20; see Ether 3:6-20)


And now I, Nephi, write more of the words of Isaiah, for my soul delighteth in his words. For I will liken his words unto my people, and I will send them forth unto all my children, for he verily saw my Redeemer, even as I have seen him. (2 Nephi 11:2)


And I <Mormon> being fifteen years of age and being somewhat of a sober mind, therefore I was visited of the Lord, and tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus. (Mormon 1:15)


And then shall ye know that I <Moroni> have seen Jesus, and that he hath talked with me face to face, and that he told me in plain humility, even as a man telleth another in mine own language, concerning these things. (Ether 12:39)

These experiences also occurred in the lives of righteous men in latter days. The first two of the following accounts are dreams describing the magnificence of [173] seeing the Savior. From reading these, one can only imagine what a great blessing it would be to behold the actual presence of the Savior. Although these two experiences by Melvin J. Ballard and Orson F. Whitney are only dreams, they reveal in greater detail the magnitude of such a blessing.

Away on the Fort Peek Reservation where I was doing missionary work with some of our brethren laboring among the Indians, seeking the Lord for light to decide certain matters pertaining to our work there, and receiving a witness from Him that we were doing things according to His will, I found myself one evening in the dreams of the night in that sacred building, the temple. After a season of prayer and rejoicing, I was informed that I should have the privilege of entering into one of those rooms, to meet a glorious personage, and as I entered the door, I saw seated on a raised platform, the most glorious being my eyes have ever beheld or that I ever conceived existed in all the eternal worlds. As I approached to be introduced, he arose and stepped towards me with extended arms and smiled as he softly spoke my name. If I shall live to be a million years old, I shall never forget that smile. He took me into His arms and kissed me, pressed me to His bosom and blessed me until the marrow of my bones seemed to melt! When He had finished, I fell at His feet and, as I bathed them with my tears and kisses, I saw the prints of the nails in the feet of the Redeemer of the world. The feeling that I had in the presence of Him who hath all things in His hands, to have his love, his affection, and his blessings was such that if [ ever can receive that of which I had but a foretaste, I would give all that I am, all that I ever hope to be, to feel what I then felt! (Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin Joseph Ballard, by Bryant S. Hinckley, p. 156; also recorded in his diary for May 14, 1917.)

* * *


I <Orson Whitney> thought I was in the garden of Gethsemane, a witness, of the Savior’s agony. I seemed to be standing behind a tree in the foreground of the picture, from which point I could see without being seen. The Savior, with the Apostles Peter, James and John, entered the garden through a little wicket gate at my right, where he stationed them in a group, telling them to pray. He then passed over to my left, but still in front of me, where he knelt and prayed also. His face, which was towards me, streamed, with tears, as he besought the Father to let the cup pass, and added, “not my will but thine be done.” Having finished his prayer, he arose and crossed to where the Apostles were kneeling fast asleep. He shook them gently; they awoke and he reproved them for their apathy. Again he bade them pray, and again crossed to his place and prayed, returning as before to find them sleeping. This happened three times, until I was perfectly familiar with his face, form, and movements.

He was much taller than ordinary men, and though meek, far more dignified than any being I had ever beheld; and he wore a look of ineffable tenderness and compassion, even while reproving His disciples. My heart went out to him as never before to anybody or anything; I loved him with all my soul. I wept at seeing him weep, and felt for him the deepest sympathy.

Then all of a sudden the circumstances changed, though the scene remained the same. Instead of before the crucifixion, it was after. The Savior and the three Apostles, whom he had beckoned to him, now stood in a group at the left, and were about to take their departure, ascending into heaven. I could endure it no longer, but rushed out from behind the tree, fell at his feet, clasped him around the knees and begged him to take me also. With a look of infinite tenderness, as of a father [175] or an elder brother, he stooped, lifted me up and embraced me, saying as he did so in the kindest and gentlest manner possible, while slowly shaking his head and sweetly smiling, “No, my son, these can go with me; for they have finished their work; but you must stay and finish yours!” Still I clung to him and the contact was so real that I felt the warmth of his bosom as I rested upon it. Gazing up into his face, I once more besought him, “Well promise me that I will come to you at the last.” Again he smiled sweetly, and there was a look as if he would have gladly granted my request had it been wise to do so. He then said, “That will depend entirely upon yourself.”

I awoke with a sob, and it was morning. This dream made a wonderful impression upon me, paving the way to my thorough conversion, which soon followed. Among the things it taught me was not to sleep at my post, and to regard first the duties of my mission, and not to allow anything to interfere with them. (Jensen’s Biographical Encyclopedia 1:660-661)

The following accounts are records of men in our dispensation who experienced the actual presence of Jesus Christ. Beginning with Joseph Smith–

Joseph Smith

It <a pillar of light> no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! (P. of G. P., Joseph Smith 2:17)

[176] At the first meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in a little log cabin, the Lord was there and Joseph Smith was a witness to it. From the testimony of Mary Lightner came this account:

After prayer and singing, Joseph began talking. He began very solemnly and very earnestly. Suddenly his countenance changed, and he stood mute. He seemed almost transfixed. He looked ahead–he was looking ahead and his face outshone the candle which was on the shelf just behind him. I thought I could almost see his cheekbones. He looked as though a searchlight was inside his face. I never saw anything like it on earth. I could not take my eyes away from him. I shall remember him as he looked then as long as I live. After a short time he looked at us very solemnly as if to pierce each heart, and then said, “Brothers and Sisters, do you know who has been in your midst this night?” One of the Smith family said, “An angel of the Lord?” Joseph did not answer. Martin Harris was seated at the Prophet’s feet on a box; he slid to his knees, clasped his arms around the Prophet’s knees and said, “I know–it was our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Joseph put his hand on Martin Harris’ head and answered, “Martin, God revealed that to you. Brothers and sisters, the Savior has been in our midst this night. I want you to remember it. He cast a veil over your eyes, for you could not endure to look upon him. You must fed with milk and not meat. I want you to remember this if it were the last thing that escaped my lips. He has given you all to me and commanded me to seal you up unto eternal life, that where he is you may be also, and if you are tempted of Satan, say, “Get thee behind me, Satan; my salvation is secure.” (Journals and Memoirs of Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, pp. 2-3)

[177] Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and Others

After having performed this service to my brethren, I retired to the pulpit, the veils being dropped, and bowed myself, with Oliver Cowdery, in solemn and silent prayer. After rising from prayer, the following vision was opened to both of us–

“The veil was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened.

We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us, and under His feet was a paved work of pure gold in color like amber.

His eyes were as a flame of fire, the hair of His head was white like the pure snow, His countenance shone above the brightness of the sun, and His voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying–

For behold, I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here, and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this House.

Yea, I will appear unto my servants, and speak unto them with mine own voice, if my people will keep my commandments, and do not pollute this holy house.” (D.H.C. 2:435)

The brethren continued exhorting, prophesying, and speaking in tongues until five o’clock in the morning. The Savior made His appearance to some, while angels ministered to others, and it was a Pentecost and an endowment indeed, long to be remembered. (March 30, 1836, D.H.C. 2:432-433)

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon

Of whom we bear record; and the record which we bear is the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the Son, whom we saw and with whom we conversed in the heavenly vision. * * *


And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fulness; And saw the holy angels, and them who are sanctified before his throne, worshiping God, and the Lamb, who worship him forever and ever. And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father. (D. & C. 76:14, 20-23)

Newel Knight

Much exhortation and instruction was given, and the Holy Ghost was poured out upon us in a miraculous manner–many of our number prophesied, whilst others had the heavens opened to their view, and were so overcome that we had to lay them on beds or other convenient places; among the rest was Brother Newel Knight, who had to be placed on a bed, being unable to help himself. By his own account of the transaction, he could not understand why we should lay him on the bed, as he felt no sense of weakness. He felt his heart filled with love, with glory, and pleasure unspeakable, and could discern all that was going on in the room; when all of a sudden a vision of the future burst upon him. He saw there represented the great work which through my <Joseph Smith> instrumentality was yet to be accomplished. He saw heaven opened, and beheld the Lord Jesus Christ, seated at the right hand of the majesty on high, and had it made plain to his understanding that the time would come when he would be admitted into His presence to enjoy His society for ever and ever. (D.H.C. 1:84-85)

[179] John Taylor

When President Taylor came out of his room about eight o’clock on the morning of September 27, 1886, we could scarcely look at him on account of the brightness of his personage.

He stated, “Brethren, I have had a very pleasant conversation with Brother Joseph.” I said, “Boss, who is the man that was there until midnight?” He asked, “What do you know about it, Loren?” I told him all about my experience. He said, “Brother Lorin, that was your Lord.” (Statement of Lorin C. Woolley, Sept. 22, 1929)

Lorenzo Snow

One evening when I was visiting Grandpa Snow in his room in the Salt Lake Temple, I remained until the doorkeepers had gone and the night watchman had not yet come in, so Grandpa said he would take me to the main, front entrance and let me out that way. He got his bunch of keys from his dresser.

After we left his room and while we were still in the large corridor, leading into the celestial room, I was walking several steps ahead of Grandpa when he stopped me, saying: “Wait a moment, Alice. I want to tell you something. It was right here that the Lord Jesus appeared to me at the time of the death of President Woodruff. He instructed me to go right ahead and reorganize the First Presidency of the Church at once and not wait as had been done after the death of the previous presidents, and that I was to succeed president Woodruff.”

Then Grandpa came a step nearer and held out his left hand and said: “He stood right here, about three feet above the floor. It looked as though he stood on a plate of solid gold.”


Grandpa told me what a glorious personage the Savior is and described his hands, feet, countenance, and beautiful white robes, all of which were of such a glory of whiteness and brightness that he could hardly gaze upon Him.

Then Grandpa came another step nearer me and put his right hand on my head and said: “Now granddaughter, I want you to remember that this is the testimony of your grandfather, that he told you with his own lips that he actually saw the Savior here in the temple and talked with Him face to face. Then we went on and Grandpa let me out of the main, front door of the temple. (Des. News, April 2, 1938)

John W. Taylor

I know our Savior lives because I have seen Him face to face! (Family Kingdom, Sam Taylor, p. 121)

When the time came for him (John W. Taylor) to die, he knew his life and mission in mortality was nearly finished. He asked his wife, Ellen, to wash his face, comb his hair, smooth his mustache–now he was ready.

“John….” (spoke Ellen).

“Hush,” he whispered.

He needn’t have spoken, for the change in his face had taken her voice away. The gray and wasted countenance was transformed. It bloomed with an inner glow. Once again it was transformed with the light of the Spirit, as it had been in the old days upon the rostrum. Ellen had heard so many people tell of the times when John’s countenance came alight, and now at last the wife who had known him only during the years of the shadow saw this brilliance and felt the awesome warmth of the Spirit emanating from him.

[181]      “Hush,” he whispered. “The Savior is passing.”

And the light died away as he followed Him. (Ibid., pp. 298-299)

George Q. Cannon

I rejoice exceedingly in the testimonies that have been borne during this conference. I know that this is the work of God. I know that God lives. I know that Jesus lives; for I have seen him! I know that this is the Church of God, and that it is founded on Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. I testify to you of these things as one that KNOWS–as one of the Apostles of the Lord that He lives and that He will live, and will come to reign on the earth, to sway an undisputed sceptre. (The Deseret Weekly, Vol. LII, No. 20, Oct. 31, 1896, p. 610)

  1. John Nuttal

President George Q. Cannon and I have seen the Savior Jesus Christ and conversed with Him face to face and He has talked with me. (L. John Nuttal Diary, April 20, 1893)

Alexander Neibaur

Shortly before his (Alexander Neibaur’s) death, his son said to him: “Father, you have been telling us of your long and hard experience and we have listened with intense affection and interest. But let me ask you, is it worth it all? Wouldn’t you have been better off if you had remained with your people? Is the Gospel worth all this sacrifice?”

The glow of testimony and of truth lit up the torches in the dimming eyes of that ancient Hebrew prophet and poet and he lifted up his voice in firm and lofty assurance as he said:


“Yes, yes! and more! I have seen my Savior! I have seen the prints in His hands. I know that Jesus is the Son of God. I know that this work is true, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I would suffer it all and more, far more than I have suffered for that knowledge, even to the laying down of my body on the plains for the wolves to devour!” (From Judaism to Americanism, by Wenonal Shirley; see also J.D. 11:279)

Brigham H. Roberts

“Make your calling and election sure. This is more important than plural marriage or any other principle of the Gospel–make your calling and election sure: See to it that you KNOW the Savior while in this life. You must know Jesus Christ, personally, while in this probation.”

Carl Jentzsch, a friend of John and Lorin Woolley, reported the above and also mentioned that at one time he had a discussion with B. H. Roberts, who was then head of the Quorum of the Seventy in the Church. He says:

. . . I spoke to, or had a long conversation for about four hours with, B. H. Roberts. He was then head of the Quorum of the Seventy in the Church. For two or three hours he skirted around things and didn’t come quite to the point until finally he said, “Well, I am very discouraged with the Church, the officials and the way things are going, and they know it because I have told them. But I want to say this to you–I have gone into Centerville Canyon, and I’ve fasted many days by a little stream of water.” Now I know what he means, because I’ve been lost in Centerville Canyon, in the middle of the night. And the brush at that time was very thick, and the only way to get up there at that time was to find deer trails.

Brother Roberts went on, “After many days, when I was so discouraged and felt like I just couldn’t go another day, I started out of that [183] canyon. The Savior appeared to me, and He laid His hands upon my head, and He said, `Brother Roberts, thou shalt have a part and a lot in my kingdom.'”

So, I just want to witness these things to you because it is the truth. He (B. H. Roberts) said, “Every man in this Church who does not receive this confirmation, has not obtained anything in this kingdom whatsoever: he must obtain this. It is one of the most necessary things in the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ!” (Reminiscences of John W. Woolley and Lorin C. Woolley, Vol. 1, Rhea Kunz, p. 6)

John W. Woolley

I <Harold Allred> want to mention that Ianthus W. Barlow went with us that day to visit with this pioneer <John W. Woolley>, whom he knew well. The most outstanding thing John told us was this: “Brethren, I have shaken hands with my Savior. It was here in this room.” That room was in John W. Woolley’s home where the monumental meetings of September 27, 1886, took place. (Statement by Harold Allred, Dec. 1972, as recorded in Vol. 4, p. 1, of Reminiscences of John and Lorin Woolley, Rhea Kunz)

Lorin C. Woolley

March 31, 1930. About 4 p.m. met my dear friend and brother Lorin C. Woolley on the street. He had been to see me and finding me out of the office had left. As I was driving in my car I saw him and felt impressed to stop. We repaired to the office, and he, under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord, told me many wonderful things, some of which I record here: He had met the Savior, Brigham Young and John Taylor, since the death of the two latter, also Joseph Smith, and had heard the voice of his father since his death. Joseph Smith [184] and John Taylor had visited him at his father’s home before his father’s death and after he had been “handled” by the Church, and he was comforted and instructed to “carry on”. He has a special mission. (Joseph Musser Journal, p. 55)

* * * * *

These were some of the experiences and testimonies of “the elect”. This was the fulfillment of a promise by the Lord, when He declared that–

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Rev. 3:20)

He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him…. And we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:21, 13)

. . . the scriptures shall be given, even as they are in mine own bosom, to the salvation of mine own elect; for they will hear my voice, and shall see me, and shall not be asleep, and shall abide the day of my coming…. (D. & C. 35:20-21)

But the fulfillment of such a promise is not easily obtained. There are many conditions that must be met first, and then the Lord will choose the time and place for such a testimony to be obtained. The Apostle Orson Hyde was one who knew by experience what those conditions were:

True it is, that in the most trying hour, the servants of God may then be permitted to see their [185] Father, and elder brother. But says one, “I wish to see the Father, and the Saviour, and an angel now.” Before you can see the Father, the Saviour, or an angel, you have to be brought into close places in order to enjoy this manifestation. The fact is, your very life must be suspended on a thread, as it were. If you want to see your Savior, be willing to come to that point where no mortal can rescue, nor earthly power save! When all other things fail, when everything else proves futile and fruitless, then perhaps your Saviour and your Redeemer may appear; his arm is not shortened that he cannot save, nor his ear heavy that he cannot hear; and when help on all sides appears to fail, “my arm shall save, my power shall rescue, and you shall hear my voice, saith the Lord.” (Orson Hyde, J.D. 1:125)

President Heber J. Grant understood clearly the reasons why so many men never experience the fulfillment of this promise:

If we keep the commandments of God, He will love us, and the Savior will manifest Himself unto us. If we fail to keep the commandments of God, there is no promise made to us…. (Gospel Standards, pp. 36-37; also Conference Report, Oct. 1900, p. 36)

Indeed, one of the greatest blessings to receive in this life is to obtain the testimony of Jesus Christ. We may then say with Paul, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ….” (Phil. 3:8) What else in this world can compare in value to the priceless gift of Christ Himself laying His hands on your head and saying you have a part and lot in His Kingdom!


[186]                             Chapter 15


They who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fulness and of his grace; and he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion. (D. & C. 76:94-95)

The Church of the Firstborn is as different from the Church of Jesus Christ as the Father is separate from the Son. Yet both the Church of the Firstborn and the Church of Jesus Christ seek the exaltation of man. These two churches are different in their offices and ordinations, but are one in purpose. They both prepare men for the celestial order and laws of heaven.

Christ is the head of the Church of Jesus Christ, but the Church of the Firstborn belongs to the Father. The purpose of the Church of Jesus Christ is a schoolmaster to prepare men for membership in the Father’s church. Heber C. Kimball explained:

Let me explain what the Church of the Firstborn is. It is the first church that ever was raised up upon this earth; that is, the first born Church. That is what I mean; and when God our Father organized that Church, He organized it just as His Father organized the Church on the earth where He dwelt…. (JD 5:129)

Joseph Fielding Smith also added more to this explanation by saying:


So being ordained an elder, or a high priest, or an apostle, or even president of the Church, is not the thing that brings the exaltation, but obedience to the laws and the ordinances and the covenants required of those who desire to become members of the Church of the Firstborn as these are administered in the House of the Lord. To become a member of the Church of the Firstborn, as I understand it, is to become one of the inner circle. We are all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by being baptized and confirmed, and there are many who seem to be content to remain such without obtaining the privileges of exaltation. The Lord has made it possible for us to become members of the Church of the Firstborn by receiving the blessings of the House of the Lord, and “overcoming all things.” Thus we become heirs, “priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory,” who shall “dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever,” with full exaltation. (Take Heed to Yourselves, see pp. 112-114.)

This Church of the Firstborn is more closely associated with the glory of the Celestial Kingdom. This was clearly explained to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in their vision of the celestial glory:

We, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, being in the Spirit on the sixteenth day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two–By the power of the Spirit our eyes were opened and our understandings were enlightened, so as to see and understand the things of God . . . and this is the testimony of the gospel . . . concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just….

They are they who are the Church of the Firstborn. They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things–They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of His fulness, [188] and of His glory; And are priests of the Most High after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son. Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God–Wherefore… they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. And they… shall dwell in the presence of God and His Christ forever and ever. These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people. These are they who shall have part in the first resurrection…. These are they who are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all. These are they who have come to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the firstborn. These are they whose names are written in heaven, where God and Christ are the judge of all. These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood. These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all . . . these are they who are . . . of the Church of the Firstborn who have received the fulness of the Father . . . And thus we saw the glory of the celestial, which excels in all things–where God, even the Father, reigns upon his throne forever and ever; Before whose throne all things bow in humble reverence, and give Him glory forever and ever. They who dwell in His presence are the Church of the Firstborn.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you; And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours. And he who receiveth all things [189] with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more. Wherefore, do the things which I have commanded you, saith your Redeemer, even the Son Ahman, who prepareth all things before he taketh you; For ye are the Church of the Firstborn. (D. & C. 76:11, 12, 50, 54-71, 92-94; 78:17-20)

But where is this church, and how does one become a member? The Savior gives a clue that indicates those who are worthy to receive the Second Comforter may receive the promise of eternal life.

Wherefore, I now send upon you another comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John. This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom; Which glory is that of the Church of the Firstborn, even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son. (D. & C. 88:3-5)

Members of the Church of the Firstborn are the elect of God. These are they who have proved themselves worthy to be kings on celestial thrones, where they shall reign forever. But not all of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ are worthy of being members of this Church of the Firstborn. Indeed few are. Joseph Fielding Smith commented:

What is the difference, if there is a difference, between the Church of the Firstborn and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or of any day saints? Well, the members of the Church [190] of the Firstborn are members of the Church of Jesus Christ, but not all those who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ become members of the Church of the Firstborn. (Seek Ye Earnestly, J. F. Smith, p. 63)

Then he continues by explaining:

As I understand it, those who become members of the Church of the Firstborn are those who have kept the commandments of the Lord in their fulness. I do not understand that every member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to become a member of the Church of the Firstborn; for there are many who are not willing to walk in the light of truth and continue in God obedient to every ordinance and commandment. These will fall short of this great glory for they have not overcome by faith. Those who gain exaltation in the celestial kingdom are those who are members of the Church of the Firstborn; in other words, those who keep all the commandments of the Lord…There will be many who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who shall never become members of the Church of the Firstborn. (Seek Ye Earnestly, p. 95)

Joseph Fielding Smith probably wrote more on this subject than did any other present-day leader. In his book The Way to Perfection, he wrote:

Each person baptized into the Church is under obligation to keep the commandments of the Lord. He is under covenant, for baptism is a “new and an everlasting covenant.” (D. & C. 22:1) When he has proved himself by a worthy life, having been faithful in all things required of him, then it is his privilege to receive other covenants and to take upon himself other obligations which will make of him an heir, and he will become a member of the [191] “Church of the Firstborn”. Into his hands “the Father has given all things.” He will be a priest and a king, receiving of the Father’s fulness and of glory. (Way to Perfection, p. 208)

Thus we see that those who receive the “higher” order of ordinances, and become ordained kings and queens, can become members of the Church of the Firstborn. Herein are the differential factors between the Church of Jesus Christ and the Church of the Firstborn.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie also acknowledged this when he wrote:

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who so devote themselves to righteousness that they receive the higher ordinances of exaltation become members of the Church of the Firstborn. Baptism is the gate to the Church itself, but celestial marriage is the gate to membership in the Church of the Firstborn, the inner circle of faithful saints who are heirs of exaltation and the fulness of the Father’s kingdom.

The Church of the Firstborn is made up of the sons of God, those who have been adopted into the family of the Lord, those who are destined to be joint-heirs with Christ in receiving all that the Father hath. “If you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; . . . And all those who are begotten through me are partakers of the glory of the same, and are the church of the Firstborn.” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 131)

The Prophet Joseph both asked and answered this question of the “crown” of those who are so ordained:

Have you a promise of receiving a crown of righteousness from the hand of the Lord, with the Church of the Firstborn? Here then, we understand, [192] that Paul rested his hope in Christ, because he had kept the faith, and loved his appearing and from His hand he had a promise of receiving a crown of righteousness.

If the Saints are not to reign, for what purpose are they crowned? In an exhortation of the Lord to a certain Church in Asia, which was built up in the days of the Apostles, unto whom He communicated His word on that occasion by His servant John, He says, “Behold, I come quickly; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” And again, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and are set down with My Father in His Throne.” (see Rev. iii) (T.P.J.S., p. 64)

Those who have obtained a “crown” and are allowed to sit down on a “throne” with the Father are the “Kings” in the Father’s “Kingdom”.

Joseph later continued his explanation:

He <Joseph Smith> was “instructing them in the principles and order of the Priesthood, attending to washing, anointings, endowments and the communication of keys pertaining to the Aaronic Priesthood, and so on to the highest order of the Melchizedek Priesthood, setting forth the order pertaining to the Ancient of Days, and all those plans and principles by which any one is enabled to secure the fullness of those blessings which have been prepared for the Church of the Firstborn, and come up and abide in the presence of the Eloheim in the eternal worlds. In this council was instituted the ancient order of things for the first time in these last days. And the communications I made to this council were of things spiritual, and to be received only by the spiritual minded; and there was nothing made known to these men but what will be made known to all the Saints of the last [193] days, so soon as they are prepared to receive, and a proper place is prepared to communicate them, even to the weakest of the Saints; . . . (T.P.J.S., p. 237)

In ancient Israel the first-born son in a man’s family was the son to whom certain privileges, rights and authority were invested. It was this son to whom much of the responsibility of the father was invested and who was in charge of carrying much of the father’s labors and responsibilities. This was the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Father as revealed in the Doctrine and Covenants in a revelation from Jesus Christ:

And now, verily I say unto you, I was in the beginning with, the Father, and am the Firstborn; and all those who are begotten through me are partakers of the glory of the same, and are the church of the Firstborn. (D. & C. 93:21-22)

This personal relationship between man and Christ was given in a clear declaration by the Prophet Joseph:

. . . and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions–Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn. (T.P.J.S., p. 151)

The Church of Jesus Christ was established in 1830, but the membership of the Church of the Firstborn was not effected until a later date. Heber C. Kimball declared:

This people here are the people of God. Here, in the Territory of Deseret, is the Kingdom of God, and here are all the officers pertaining to that kingdom; and here is an organization that is [194] organized after the order of God, and it is organized after the order of the Church of the First Born.

* * * and when God our Father organized that Church, He organized it just as His Father organized the Church on the earth where He dwelt; and that same order is organized here in the City of Great Salt Lake; and it is that order that Joseph Smith the Prophet or God organized in the beginning in Kirtland, Ohio. Brother Brigham Young, myself, and others were present when that was done; and when those officers received their endowments they were together in one place. They were organized, and received their endowments and blessings, and those keys were placed upon them, and that kingdom will stand forever.

Now mark it–that kingdom will never be overthrown; although they may kill, that is, if they can, Brother Brigham and me, and Brother Daniel H. Wells, and they may kill the apostles, if they can, and so they may keep on from this time to all eternity, and they never can obliterate this work. I know it. They may kill, and destroy, and waste a great many limbs that are upon this Church; but let me tell you, they never can kill the tree nor destroy the root from whence we have sprung; for our Father and our God is that root, and Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the tree or vine, and we spring out of that vine. (J.D. 5:129-130)

Those who are repentant and obedient to the preliminary laws and ordinances of the gospel become members of the Church of Jesus Christ. If they continue to prove their worthiness and obedience to the Gospel, they will qualify for membership in the Father’s Church of the Firstborn.

Wise and worthy men are more desirous of membership in the Church of the Firstborn than in the Church of Jesus Christ. Just as men value their high school or [195] college training more than their elementary schooling, so do men prize the Church of the Firstborn over the Church of Christ–yet one does not replace or cancel the other.

Newel Knight received a vision of the future:

He saw Heaven opened and beheld the Lord Jesus Christ seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High, and had it made plain to his understanding, that the time would come that he would be admitted into His Presence to enjoy His society for ever and ever. (C.H.C. 1:85)

This is an example of a noble man having the privilege of seeing the Father and the Son, knowing that his calling and election was made sure, and that he would be exalted with the Father. He was a member of the Church of the Firstborn. Such has been the experience and blessing given to select men in the past–and it can be the privilege of men today as well.


[196]                             Chapter 16


Wherefore, labor ye, labor ye in my vineyard for the last time–for the last time call upon the inhabitants of the earth. For in mine own due time will I come upon the earth in judgment, and my people shall be redeemed and shall reign with me on earth. For the Millennium, of which I have spoken by the mouth of my servants, shall come. (D. & C. 43:28-30)

So far in this book we have discussed the qualifications, blessings, and greatness of the elect men of God. But what will they do with their knowledge, Priesthood, and power of God? They will have a special mission in the last days–to help usher in the Millennial reign of Christ on the earth with its paradisiacal glory as it was in the beginning.

The time is near at hand when the Savior shall rule and reign on the earth. Men have tried for thousands of years to promote universal peace and happiness but have failed. The Prophet says that “The world has had a fair trial for six thousand years; the Lord will try the seventh thousand Himself….” (T.P.J.S., p. 252) And the Lord has said that He “shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst….” (D. & C. 1:36) For in that day that he comes to earth, he shall fulfil the great promise that he made two thousand years ago, when He said at the Last Supper: “I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God”. (Mark 14:25) In the latter days He again revealed:


Behold, this is wisdom in me; wherefore, marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, and with Moroni….

And also with all those whom my Father hath given me out of the world. (D. & C. 27:5, 14)

Isaiah prophesied of the glorious time (in the Millennium) when, the elect of God will finally be able to enjoy the earth as God intended:

And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them.

And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord. (Isaiah 65:21-25)

The magnificence of these days is beyond our comprehension at the present, but the Lord revealed a little more to Joseph Smith and said:

Behold, it is my will, that all they who call on my name, and worship me according to mine everlasting gospel, should gather together, and stand in holy places; And prepare for the revelation which is to come, when the veil of the covering of my temple, in my tabernacle, which hideth the earth, shall be taken off, and all flesh shall see me together.


And every corruptible thing, both of man, or of the beasts of the field, or of the fowls of the heavens, or of the fish of the sea, that dwells upon all the face of the earth, shall be consumed; And also that of element shall melt with fervent heat; and all things shall become new, that my knowledge and glory may dwell upon all the earth.

And in that day the enmity of man, and the enmity of beasts, yea, the enmity of all flesh, shall cease from before my face.

And in that day whatsoever any man shall ask, it shall be given unto him. And in that day Satan shall not have power to tempt any man. And there shall be no sorrow because there is no death. In that day an infant shall not die until he is old; and his life shall be as the age of a tree; And when he dies he shall not sleep, that is to say in the earth, but shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and shall be caught up, and his rest shall be glorious.

Yea, verily I say unto you, in that day when the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things–Things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof–Things most precious, things that are above, and things that are beneath, things that are in the earth, and upon the earth, and in heaven. (D. & C. 101:22-34; see also 63:47-54.)

President Lorenzo Snow made some interesting comments about the Millennium:

The whole earth is the Lord’s. The time will come when it will be translated and be filled with the spirit and power of God. The atmosphere around it will be the spirit of the Almighty. We will breathe that spirit instead of the atmosphere that we now breathe. (Church News, Nov. 23, 1963, p. 2)

[199] The Apostle Orson Pratt also commented on this wonderful period of time:

But the time will come, when the Spirit of God will be poured out upon all flesh and “The wolf shall lie down with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them,” etc. That will change the fall of creation or at least, the living portion of it. The curse then will be removed. It will be like the garden of Eden, and Jesus will be here, and he will teach his people, fulfilling what is written in the sacred Scriptures about his reign of a thousand years. The Saints then will be resurrected, and they will also be the inhabitants of this globe. They are singing about it in heaven, while their bodies are sleeping in the grave. Read the 5th chapter of John’s Revelations, that will give you an idea what the Saints of heaven anticipate. The words of the new song which John heard them sing, were: “Thou art worthy to take the book, and open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation. And hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth!” How plain! “We shall reign on the earth!” They hope for it; they sing about it; they expect it, just as much as we hope to go with them, and mingle with them, and just as much as we have faith that we will, when we lay our bodies down in the grave, go to our former abode where we once were, to the mansions prepared, and that we will join with the heavenly hosts. We will not forget the earth; it is our native abode; but instead of forgetting it, we will join with them in their new song, and with them we will look forward with joyful anticipation to the day when we shall return to reign on the earth, having been made kings and priests unto our God. And Jesus and the Twelve Apostles will be in our midst. (J.D. 19:176)

[200] During this time, then, the Lord shall dwell among this favored people and teach them more concerning the laws of His Kingdom. Pratt elaborated:

Do we not expect that the Lord will, by and by, come and visit us and stay a little while, about a thousand years? Yes, and then we shall be made glad with the joy of the countenance of our Lord. He will be among us, and will be our King, and he will reign as a King of kings and Lord of lords. He will have a throne in Zion, and another in the Temple at Jerusalem, and he will have with him the twelve disciples who were with him during his ministry at Jerusalem; and they will eat and drink with him at his table; and all the people of this globe who are counted worthy to be called Zion, the pure in heart, will be made glad by the countenance of their Lord for a thousand years, during which the earth will rest. (O. Pratt, J.D. 17:332)

But just enjoying the peaceful beauty and solemnity of the Millennium is not the real purpose of those thousand years. This is a time during which an important work is to be performed. Brigham Young clearly understood the work of the Millennium. The following excerpts from his teachings on temple work pertain not only to our mortal existence but to the Millennium as well:

When I get a revelation that some of my progenitors lived and died without the blessings of the Gospel, or even hearing it preached, but were as honest as I am, as upright as I am, or as any man or woman could be upon the earth; as righteous, so far as they knew how, as any Apostle or Prophet that ever lived, I will go and be baptized, confirmed, washed, and anointed, and go through all the ordinances and endowments for them, that their way may be opened to the celestial kingdom.


As I have frequently told you, that is the work of the Millennium. It is the work that has to be performed by the seed of Abraham, the chosen seed, the royal seed, the blessed of the Lord, those the Lord made covenants with. They will step forth, and save every son and daughter of Adam who will receive salvation here on the earth; and all the spirits in the spirit world will be preached to, conversed with, and the principles of salvation carried to them, that they may have the privilege of receiving the Gospel; and they will have plenty of children here on the earth to officiate for them in those ordinances of the gospel that pertain to the flesh. (J.D. 2:138)


For instance, a man and his wife come into the Church, and they have a family of children. These children have been begotten out of the covenant, because the marriage of their parents is not recognized by the Lord as performed by his authority; they have, therefore, to be sealed to their parents, or else they cannot claim them in eternity; they will be distributed according to the wisdom of the Lord, who does all things right. When we had a temple prepared in Nauvoo, many of the brethren had their children, who were out of the covenant, sealed to them, and endowments were given. Then parents, after receiving their endowments and being sealed for time and eternity, and they have other children; they are begotten and born under the covenant, and they are the rightful heirs to the kingdom, they possess the keys of the kingdom. Children born unto parents, before the latter enter into the fulness of the covenants, have to be sealed to them in a temple to become legal heirs of the Priesthood. It is true they can receive the ordinances, they can receive their endowments, and be blessed in common with their parents; but still [202] the parents cannot claim them legally and lawfully in eternity unless they are sealed to them. Yet the chain would not be complete without this sealing ordinance being performed. (J.D. 16:186)


Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell.

Who has received and understands such an endowment, in this assembly? You need not answer. Your voices would be few and far between, yet the keys to these endowments are among you, and thousands have received them, so that the Devil, with all his aids, need not suppose he can again destroy the holy Priesthood from the earth, by killing a few, for he cannot do it. (J.D. 2:31)


About the time that the temples of the Lord will be built and Zion is established–pretty nigh this time, you will see (those who are faithful enough), the first you know, there will be strangers in your midst, walking with you, talking with you; they will enter into your houses and eat and drink with you, go to meeting with you, and begin to open your minds, as the Savior did the two disciples who walked out in the country in the days of old.

About the time the temples are ready, the strangers will be along and will converse with you, and will inquire of you, probably, if you understand [203] the resurrection of the dead. You might say you have heard and read a great deal about it, but you do not properly understand it; and they will then open your minds and tell you the principles of the resurrection of the dead and how to save your friends; they will point out Scriptures in the Old and New Testament, in the Book of Mormon, and other revelations of God, saying, “Don’t you recollect reading so and so, that saviors should come up on Mount Zion?” etc., and they will expound the Scriptures to you. You have got your temples ready; now go forth and be baptized for those good people. There are your father and your mother–your ancestors for many generations back–the people that have lived upon the face of the earth since the Priesthood was taken away, thousands and millions of them, who have lived according to the best light and knowledge in their possession. They will expound the Scriptures to you, and open your minds, and teach you of the resurrection of the just and the unjust of the doctrine of salvation, they will use the keys of the holy Priesthood, and unlock the door of knowledge, to let you look into the palace of truth. You will exclaim, That is all plain: why did I not understand it before? and you will begin to feel your heart burn within you, as they walk and talk with you.

You will enter into the temple of the Lord and begin to offer up ordinances before the Lord for your dead. Says this or that man, I want to save such a person–l want to save my father; and he straightway goes forth in the ordinance of baptism, and is confirmed, and washed, and anointed, and ordained to the blessings of the holy Priesthood for his ancestors. Before his work is finished, a great many of the Elders of Israel in Mount Zion will become pillars in the temple of God, to go no more out. They will eat and drink and sleep there; and they will often have occasion to say, “Somebody came to the temple last night; we did not [204] know who he was, but he was no doubt a brother, and told us a great many things we did not before understand. He gave us the names of a great many of our forefathers that are not on record, and he gave me my true lineage and the names of my forefathers for hundreds of years back. He said to me, you and I are connected in one family; there are the names of your ancestors; take them and write them down, and be baptized and confirmed, and save such and such ones, and receive of the blessings of the eternal Priesthood for such and such an individual, as you do for yourselves.” This is what we are going to do for the inhabitants of the earth. When I look at it, I do not want to rest a great deal, but be industrious all the day long; for when we come to think upon it, we have no time to lose, for it is a pretty laborious work. (J.D. 6:294-295)


However, it is discouraging and disheartening today for a man of God to try to bring light and understanding to a fallen generation and to try to prepare the people for this Millennial time. We now live in a day of spiritual darkness, a day in which the things of God are ridiculed and scoffed at. The nations are studying means of depopulating the globe by sterility or abortion; they seek the knowledge of scientific means to destroy nations in warfare; and they declare their atheism and hostility towards God in all they say and do.

So in order to bring about the opposite conditions of love and peace that will exist during the Millennium, there will first have to be a gathering up the chosen and elect. For Joseph said that, “It is not the multitude of preachers that is to bring about the glorious millennium,” but it is those who are “called and chosen, and faithful.” (T.P.J.S., p. 42) And again–

[205] In speaking of the gathering, we mean to be understood as speaking of it according to scripture, the gathering of the elect of the Lord out of every nation on earth, and bringing them to the place of the Lord of Hosts, when the city of righteousness shall be built, and where the people shall be of one heart and one mind, when the Savior comes: yea, where the people shall walk with God like Enoch, and be free from sin. The word of the Lord is precious; and when we read that the veil spread over all nations will be destroyed, and the pure in heart see God, and reign with Him a thousand years on earth, we want all honest men to have a chance to gather and build up a city of righteousness, where even upon the bells of the horses shall be written “Holiness to the Lord.” (T.P.J.S., p. 93)

Never did so much responsibility rest on so few. This is a time of times for men to step forth boldly to accomplish what so many have failed to do for many centuries. In order to usher in the Millennium, men must now–

  1. Teach the laws of God which have been scorned since the beginning of time.
  2. Erase poverty, prejudice and superstition so that the devil will lose his power over men’s minds.
  3. Teach men to live in peace, instead of stockpiling more armaments of destruction than have ever existed before.
  4. Raise this fallen telestial world up to its terrestrial paradisiacal glory from which it has fallen.
  5. Prepare men to meet God, so that “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea”. (Isa. 11:9)
  6. Build the New Jerusalem and redeem Zion.


  1. Establish the Kingdom of God and bring about its laws throughout the world.

These few men of God who have passed the tests and performed and lived the required Gospel ordinances, will be called upon to usher in this glorious Millennium and will do so by the same principles and powers that Enoch possessed–and even more. However, to find such Godly men today is like looking for an uncut gem in a gravel pit. For even in the palm of your hand, an uncut jewel looks like any other rock. Once it is cut and polished, it has a magnificence beyond compare. But God has placed a few of these unpolished stones around this stoney world and only He knows who and where they are. Furthermore, He has promised that He will bring about His work and perform His “strange act” to bring to pass these great events. It will be “in the day when I shall make up my jewels” and “all men shall know what it is that bespeaketh the power of God.” (D. & C. 60:4; see also 101:3)


[207]                             Chapter 17


Oh! I beseech you to go forward, go forward and make your calling and your election sure; and if any man preach any other gospel than that which I have preached, he shall be cursed; and some of you who now hear me shall see it, and know that I testify the truth concerning them. (T.P.J.S., pp. 366-367)

It may seem strange that the Savior of the world could come among men, living a perfect life, teaching the Gospel of heaven, and yet be mocked, persecuted and murdered by a nation of religious people. After teaching some of them the Gospel, He said, “We have piped and ye have not danced.” (Matt. 11:17) The Apostle Paul observed that “if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” (1 Cor. 14:8) All the nations have been marching and dancing to different tunes, as they do not understand the Gospel of Christ.

But Christ was not crucified for such teachings as “Blessed are the peacemakers” and “love thy neighbor as thyself.” Neither did they crucify Peter upside down and cut off Paul’s head for saying, “ye are saved by grace.” It was the meat of the Gospel, not the milk that brought about antagonism and resistance.

Persecution always came with the strong doctrines of the fulness of the Gospel. Jesus likened His persecutors to wild “dogs” who killed for the pleasure of it and to “swine” who would trample the “pearls” of the Gospel into the mud. And so it is today.

[208] Joseph Smith taught the same Gospel that the ancient prophets and apostles did. But it was so different from the teachings of other ministers of the day, that he was shot and killed. The reaction to the true Gospel has always been the same.

Joseph learned by sad experience that many men cannot accept the meat of the Gospel. He said:

Many men will say, “I will never forsake you, but will stand by you at all times.” But the moment you teach them some of the mysteries of the kingdom of God that are retained in the heavens and are to be revealed to the children of men when they are prepared for them, they will be the first to stone you and put you to death. It was this same principle that crucified the Lord Jesus Christ, and will cause the people to kill the prophets in this generation. (T.P.J.S., p. 309)

But there are reasons why some men are able to accept the Gospel in its fulness while others are not. Joseph F. Smith explained this apparent phenomenon:

Some men are natural born saints; whenever a principle is advanced they understand it, and drink it in; * * * while there are others who do not understand and oppose every principle that is not clear to their mind. This can be accounted for, that we are not all pure blooded, for Ephraim became foolish and mixed up with the gentiles. When we find the pure blood of Ephraim, we find a natural born child of God and there is nothing in the gospel that is objectionable to them, but the others have to exercise faith in God and humble themselves before Him and live for it. (Deseret Weekly, 50:250-251)

Our contemporary ministers of a modernized Christianity advocate a heaven where men have no wives, no children, nor families. They say their marriages will end with [209] death. In their heaven they say they will be blessed to be eunuchs–celibate and single for all eternity. Since they do not believe or desire an eternal marriage or family, they won’t get it. God is going to give them what they ask for.

Therefore, when they are out of the world, they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding and an eternal weight of glory. For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and single, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever. (D. & C. 132:16-17)

The Prophet taught doctrines that would make men Gods, and “heirs of God” and “joint heirs with Jesus Christ”. This exceeded the common declarations of those who said that salvation is founded only on the simple statement of “I believe”. The Prophet explained what it means to be heirs and joint heirs with God and Christ:

To inherit the same power, the same glory and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a God, and ascend the throne of eternal power, the same as those who have gone before. (T.P.J.S., p. 347)

As children we learn to build with little wooden blocks, gradually extending our knowledge to play houses, then finally to building real homes–perhaps even huge high rises or castles. As time continues, we are privileged to extend our knowledge to creating worlds, planets and suns throughout the eternities, as God is doing. We shall follow in the footsteps of our Father, as obedient and faithful children–ever learning, ever continuing in knowledge, power and glory to increase our dominions.

[210] But these doctrines are too profound, too mysterious, for most of the world to accept. They cannot conceive of men who can continue to increase in knowledge and power through eternity, until they become as Gods. The heaven believed in and desired by the ministers of today is a place where they will be servants rather than Gods. They want that, so they will get it.

From among the several billion people on earth, only a few million will hear and accept the true Gospel of Christ. Out of those, only thousands will receive the Priesthood. Then from those, only a portion will receive and live the Gospel in its fulness, and make sure their calling and election as Gods.

How strange that even the ministers of modern Christianity can preach so much about God and the Bible, yet understand so little about either. But Joseph Smith could expound the mysteries of heaven in a language so simple that a child could understand. How reasonable, and yet how profound, was Joseph’s explanation of the nature of progression in God’s kingdom, for he said:

My Father worked out his kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom, I shall present it to my Father, so that he may obtain kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt him in glory. He will then take a higher exaltation and I will take his place, and thereby become exalted myself. So that Jesus treads in the tracks of his Father, and inherits what God did before; and God is thus glorified and exalted in the salvation and exaltation of all his children. It is plain beyond disputation…. (T.P.J.S., p. 348)

Yet God often uses simple and humble men to accomplish His work–men who are willing to learn line on line and precept on precept until they become like God. How often God has made personal appearances to them, rather than to men of worldly honor in exotic temples or magni-[211]ficent palaces. God walked with Abraham in the desert; He visited Jacob in his tent; and spoke face to face with Moses on the mountain; and to Joseph Smith, in a grove of trees. These men and a few others received the assurance, while in mortality, that they would be exalted. They knew they had been called and elected to become Gods.

Among these special few were Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, as the following quotes testify:

I had the promise, years ago, that I never should apostatize and bring an evil upon this people. God revealed that through Joseph, long before he died; and if I am not doing right, you may calculate that the Lord is going to take me home. He will not send me to hell, but he will take me home to himself. “I will take you up here, Brigham, and give you a few lessons.” I am going where He is, for I have that promise, and so have many others. I am telling you these things for your comfort. (Brigham Young, July 28, 1861, JD 9:142)


A word from the Spirit of the Lord to my servant, Heber C. Kimball:

Verily I say unto my servant Heber, thou art my son, in whom I am well pleased; for thou art careful to hearken to my words, and not transgress my law, nor rebel against my servant Joseph Smith, for thou hast a respect to the words of mine anointed, even from the least to the greatest of them; therefore thy name is written in heaven, no more to be blotted out for ever, because of these things; and this spirit and blessing shall rest down upon thy posterity for ever and ever; for they shall be called after thy name, for thou shalt have many more sons and daughters, for thy seed shall be as numerous as the sands upon the sea shore; therefore, my servant Heber, be faithful go forth in my [212] name and I will go with you, and be on your right hand and on your left and my angels shall go before you and raise you up when you are cast down and afflicted; remember that I am always with you, even to the end, therefore be of good cheer, my son, and my spirit shall be in your heart to teach you the peaceable things of the kingdom. (Life of Heber C. Kimball, by Orson F. Whitney, p. 241)

This important knowledge can be received in different ways, as shown in the two previous instances. It can come through one of God’s prophets; made known in a personal revelation; delivered by an angel; or even the Savior Himself may visit them and make the promise. In any event–

Finally the Lord will say to you, “You shall never fall; your salvation is sealed unto you; and you are sealed up unto eternal life and salvation, through your integrity. (Brigham Young, J.D. 4:372)

Such noble men are separated from others and raised above them because of having their calling and election made sure, and–

Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them. * * * For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me. But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I am ye shall be also. (D. & C. 132:20, 22, 23)

[213] This is certainly a goal worth striving and sacrificing for. But for those few who actually make sure this final calling and election, what then? What blessings await them ?

  1. Those who make their calling and election shall dwell together in celestial glory. Although “every knee shall bow . . . and every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord” (Phil. 2:10-11), yet only 144,000 shall have their “Father’s name written in their foreheads.” (Rev. 14:1) These elect shall dwell in God’s glory above the telestial and terrestrial glories of His kingdom.
  2. These elect will “inherit” all that the Father has, while others will be their servants.

They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things–They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory; . . . (D. & C. 76:55-56)

(See the parable of the prodigal son who forfeited his inheritance, but came back to be a servant to his brother because of the inheritance the latter received from his father. “And he (the father) said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.” Luke 15:31)

  1. Those elected to be Gods shall dwell in the presence of God and Christ.

These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever. These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people. (D. & C. 76:62-63)

  1. They shall have their wives in heaven as they did on earth. And, they shall continue to add wives to their kingdom. Brigham Young described:


I will tell you what you will find, that all these evil traditions and affections or passions that haunt the mind in this life will all be done away in the resurrection. You will find then that any man who gets a glory and exaltation will be so beautiful that any woman will be willing to have him, if it was right, and whenever it is right for the woman to go there, she will be willing to go, for all those evils will vanish to which we are subject in this life. (Brigham Young, June 2, 1857)

  1. They shall rule and reign over their patriarchal family which shall forever continue to grow in numbers and glory.

Abraham received promises concerning his seed, and of the fruit of his loins . . .which were to continue so long as they were in the world; and as touching Abraham and his seed out of the world they should continue; both in the world and out of the world should they continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them. This promise is yours also, because ye are of Abraham, and the promise was made unto Abraham; and by this law is the continuation of the works of my Father, wherein he glorifieth himself. (D. & C. 132:30-31)

  1. They shall be exalted as Gods.

Ye . . . shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths . . . and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. (D. & C. 132:19)

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[215] But why are the Latter-day Saints so slow in comprehending these great and glorious promises that God has made to them? Most of them lack the understanding of life’s purpose and the lessons they should be learning from it. They seek more for the things of the world than for the things of eternity. They often place their salvation in the hands of another person–thus putting their trust in the arm of flesh. Confidently they follow their leader (a minister, an apostle, or president of the Church), believing that they will be exalted because they were “following their leader”. Vain and delusive hope!

But exaltation is achieved by individual effort and worthiness. A man cannot receive his crown through the favor or efforts of someone else. Simply said, no man can save another man. The exhortation of the Prophet Joseph was–“the people should each one stand for himself,” and “righteous persons could only deliver their own souls.” (T.P.J.S., p. 237 & 238)

Perhaps it can be better illustrated by relating an impressive dream of a man, who later recorded it in his journal. In brief, he dreamed that he and many others were trying to find the early leaders of the Church so they could be with them. No one seemed to be certain as to where they were, so he prayed for wisdom and the direction necessary to find them. It was revealed to him where to go, and after much struggle and effort, he finally arrived in the town where they were. But he was again bewildered because he didn’t know which house they were in. He prayed again, and once more it was revealed to him which way to go. He went to the house shown to him and knocked at the door. It opened, and there were all the great and noble men he sought so earnestly to be with. He was welcomed in and joined with them in conversation, telling them that many others were still looking and also wanted to join them. “I will go back and tell them how to get here,” he said very excitedly. “Oh no,” the wise and noble men replied. “How did you get here?” “Well, when I couldn’t find the way, I sought to God for [216] the answer and He revealed the direction for me to go.” They responded to him, “Then let the others find the way in the same manner that you found us.”

So it is that the pathway to make one’s calling and election sure is found through individual effort, prayer and guidance from the Lord.

In conclusion, let us keep in mind the real purpose of life and salvation, as Brigham Young so clearly and beautifully described in one of his most inspiring sermons. He spoke as though God Himself were speaking:

I say, all the revelations of God teach simply this–Son, daughter, you are the workmanship of mine hands; walk and live before me in righteousness; let your conversation be chaste; let your daily deportment be according to my law; let your dealings one with another be in justice and equity; let my character be sacred in your mouth, and do not profane my holy name and trample upon mine authority; do not despise any of my sayings, for I will not be disgraced. I wish to send one of my servants to visit you. What for? That you may see and know as others have–that you may understand those principles pertaining more particularly to the kingdom you are in. You have descended below all things. I have, in my wisdom reduced you; I have caused that you should drink of the dregs of the bitter cup. I have placed you in the depths of ignorance, and have surrounded you with weakness, to prove you. I have subjected you to all misery that can be endured. I have caused you to come upon this earth, where misery, and darkness, and every species of unbelief and wickedness reign, to prove you, that you may understand and know the good from the evil, and be capable of judging between these with a righteous judgment.

I have caused all this to be done; and now, son and daughter, the inhabitants of the whole earth that have lived from the days of Adam until [217] now, the first and the last–the grand aim of all that I, the Lord, have revealed, is to instruct you to live, so that I can come and visit you, or send my angels, that they can enter into your habitations, walk and converse with you, and they not be disgraced. By so doing, you shall be made partakers of all knowledge and wisdom, power and glory that the sanctified or glorified beings enjoy. And this is, first of all, what the Lord wishes of the people. (Brigham Young, Contributor 10:42)

And also–

When the will, passions, and feelings of a person are perfectly submissive to God and His requirements, that person is sanctified. It is for my will to be swallowed up in the will of God, that will lead me into all good, and crown me ultimately with immortality and eternal lives. (Brigham Young, J.D. 2:123)

And Apostle Orson Pratt expressed the profound blessings that await those who realize and fulfill their purpose in life and are sanctified and become one of the elect of God:

Oh, ye Saints of the latter days, do not forget the high destiny that awaits you. An eternity is before you, which has no end; a boundless space surrounds you, filled with an infinitude of worlds. The kingdoms, principalities, and heavenly powers that fill all the vast expanse are yours; the heights and depths, the lengths and breadths, the riches and honors, the wisdom and excellency, the knowledge and power, the glory of all things, and the fulness of all things, are yours for ever and ever. Blessed is he that overcometh, for he shall inherit all things. (The Seer, p. 300; July 1854)

[218] It will be a grand and glorious day for those faithful few who shall be crowned and shall stand like God, in His image, king of kings and rulers over kingdoms. In that day they shall enter into the joy of the Lord and it shall be said to them, “enter thou in, thou good and faithful servant, thou has been faithful over a few things, now you shall rule over many.” Those will be the elect–the men who endured all things for Him, those who were called and finally elected. They are the true Saints of God, and to them the most glorious goal on earth was attaining exaltation and eternal life with God and Jesus Christ.

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