Saturday, August 29, 2009

Consecration Celestial Living and Eternal Inheritance

In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord teaches us that we must prepare ourselves to live in his presence in the eternal worlds by learning to be equal in earthly things. The law of consecration was given to help us understand the bond that exists in heavenly things. This law will also help us, as a church, to "stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world (D&C 78:5-14). Elder Bruce R. McConkie gave a general conference talk which points us in this direction. Click here to read his talk, "Stand Independent above All Other Creatures."

When the saints were working to establish Zion in Jackson County, Missouri, some were not willing to enter into the full law of consecration. William W. Phelps wrote to the Prophet asking for advice and guidance. Doctrine and Covenants section 85 was part of a letter written by the Prophet giving the solution to the problem. William W. Phelps also wrote an article in the Church newspaper "Evening and Morning Start" which counsels the Saints as to what is required to help build Zion,

Let Every Man Learn His Duty.

EVERY man ought to know his duty to God and man; especially the saint that has the benefit of revelation to guide him: he ought to know his duty, not only to say, but to do in all things. He ought to practice holiness before the Lord, that he may be counted worthy of an inheritance in Zion, and meet his Savior in peace.
Every soul that comes up to Zion for an inheritance, for the present, must prepare temporally and spiritually. He should settle all his concerns with the world, and owe no man: he should overcome the world, and be ready, when he arrives at the place of gathering, to consecrate all to the Lord, through whom the Lord has appointed for that purpose, that he may be prepared to keep the commandments, and do the will of his heavenly Father: otherwise he may not hold communion with the brethren: nor can he expect an inheritance, according to the regulations and order of the church.
While the gathering is sounded, that Israel may come in from his long dispersion, and also, as many of the Gentiles as will, the invitation is free, but unless the articles and covenants, the law and regulation; yea, verily all the commandments, are kept, all is vain. The Lord has order, and many that may come to the land of Zion, for an inheritance, without obeying all the requirements of the Lord, will be weighed in the balances and found wanting. It is not every one that says Lord, Lord, that shall abide the day of tithing. Every soul that is saved in the celestial kingdom, will be saved by its own faith and works: therefore, how necessary it is, that the saints should keep all the commandments, that others seeing a good example, may go and do likewise. If any should ask what is my duty! Let him read: To love the Lord supremely: To love his neighbor as himself: To consecrate all to the Lord: To be faithful to the end, and, above all, to have charity. A saint must be holy, or he cannot have a portion in the holy city.
Again: Let all things be in order. Let every one that quits the world for the sake of eternal life, act consistent in every thing: by obeying the commandments; by paying his just debts; by taking care of his property, if any, if not, by assisting others to do so: not hurrying up to Zion with some and leaving some to what the appetite of an over anxious world. The Lord is never in a hurry, but gives every thing its proper proportion of time. Be cleanly; no matter what condition yours may be, cleanliness is a virtue, that will be required in Zion. Heaven shines with glory, and the Lord clothes his angels with WHITE ROBES: How necessary, then, that his saints should be decent.

In relation to consecrating, and continuing worthy, and faithful to the end, we make the following extract of a letter:-

It is the duty of the Lord's clerk, whom he has appointed, to keep a history, and a general church record of all things, that transpire in Zion, and of all those who consecrate properties and receive inheritances, legally from the bishop; and also, their manner of life, and their faith and works: and also, of all the apostates, who apostatize after receiving their inheritance.
It is contrary to the will and commandment of God, that those who receive not their inheritance by consecration, agreeable to his law, which he has given, that he may tithe his people to prepare them against the day of vengeance and burning, should have their names enrolled with the people of God; neither is their genealogy to be kept, or to be had where it may be found on any of the records, or histories of the church: their names shall not be found, neither the names of their fathers, or the names of their children, written in the book of the law of God, saith the Lord of Hosts; yea, thus saith the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things: and often times it maketh my bones to quake while it maketh manifest, saying:-And it shall come to pass, that I the Lord God will send one mighty and strong, holding the sceptre of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words, while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritance of the saints, whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God: while that man who was called of God, and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning; and all they who are not found written in the book of remembrance, shall find none inheritance in that day, but they shall be cut asunder and their portion shall be appointed them among unbelievers, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. These things I say not of myself, therefore, as the Lord speaketh he will also fulfil.

And they who are of the High Priesthood, whose names are not found written in the book of the law, or that are found to have apostatized, or to have been cut off out of the church, as well as the lesser Priesthood; or the members, in that day, shall not find an inheritance among the saints of the most High: therefore, it shall be done unto them as unto the children of the priests, as it is written in the second chapter, and 61st and 62nd verses of Ezra: And of the children of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai: which took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name: These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood.
(Let Every Man Learn His Duty., Evening and Morning Star, vol. 1 (June 1832-May 1833), Vol. I. January, 1833. No. 8., p.61-61)
(Evening and Morning Star Vol. I)

It is important to note that those who do not learn the lessons of consecration by entering into this law will have no inheritance in the Celestial World. In essence, the law of consecration is the Lord's law by which he gives us access to and eternal inheritance in his presence.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Prophet Brigham Young's views on the Book of Life

I think, however, that the rendering of this Scripture (John 1:12) is not so true as the following, namely: "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to continue to be the sons of God." Instead of receiving the gospel to become the sons of God, my language would be-to receive the gospel that we may continue to be the sons of God. Are we not all sons of God when we are born into this world? Old Pharaoh, King of Egypt, was just as much a son of God as Moses and Aaron were His sons, with this difference-he rejected the word of the Lord, the true light, and they received it. For "this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil." Then we receive not the gospel that we may become the sons of God, but that we may remain the sons of God without rebuke. Inasmuch as all had apostatized, they had to become the sons of God by adoption, still, originally, all were the sons of God. We receive the gospel, not that we may have our names written in the Lamb's book of life, but that our names may not be blotted out of that book. "For," saith the Lord, "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life." Why? Because he had overcome through his faithfulness. My doctrine is-that there never was a son and daughter of Adam and Eve born on this earth whose names were not already written in the Lamb's book of life, and there they will remain until their conduct is such that the angel who keeps the record is authorized to blot them out and record them elsewhere. These are my views on that intricate point, but we are satisfied to use this Scripture as it is rendered by our translators. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 12:, p.102)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ancient Hebrew concepts of Past and Future

Alma 13:1
1 AND again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people.

In the Book of Mormon in Alma 13:1 we see Alma using a puzzling term "cite you minds forward" when he is obviously referring to the past and pre-earth life. Why would he do this?

The following short video may help us to understand why Alma would do this by explaining the ancient concepts of past and future,

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Doctrine and Covenants Class sponsored by BYU Continuing Education, taught by Robert J. Norman Ed. D.

It is time to start a new semester starting this Thursday, August 27, 2009.

Where: The Granite Stake Tabernacle 2005 South 900, Sugar House (SLC)
When: Thursdays, August 27 through December 10 excluding Thanksgiving from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Subject: Second half of the Doctrine and Covenants
Text: The Doctrine and Covenants and The LDS Institute Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual (link here)
Teacher: Robert J. Norman Ed. D.
Cost: $22.50 per semester or $2.50 per class
Register: Call 801-422-8925 (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover) or mail in check to: BYU-Adult Religion Classes, 120 Harman Continuing Education Building, Provo, Utah 84602) or online at and click on "Adult Religion Classes."

Prepare for the first class by reading Enrichment Section (index) in the Institute Student Manual L (link here) and D&C 78-82, 83, 85, 92, 104 (link here) plus the student manual with these same section numbers (link here).

In this second half of the Doctrine and Covenants we will watch the Saints be driven from the Center Place of Zion. This is heartbreaking to all of us. The Prophet Brigham Young teaches all of us a very important concept as to what it takes to really establish Zion:

A great many people imbibed the same idea which I did in the beginning, and really believed that in Jackson County all the earthly sorrows, afflictions, disappointments, and weaknesses pertaining to the flesh would be at an end, and that every one would be sanctified before the Lord, and all would be peace and joy from morning until evening, and from year to year, until the Savior should come.
The brethren who went then found themselves mistaken, in a very short time. Those who went there, and those who were acquainted with their going and coming, found the world, the flesh, and the devil there, just as much as any where else, unless they had faith to turn every spirit of the world out of doors, that is, out of their hearts. They found the same tempter, the same covetous feelings, and the same allurements there, as in other places.
When our Elders go out to preach the Gospel, they tell the people to gather to Zion. Where is it? It is at the City of the Great Salt Lake, in the Valleys of the Mountains, in the settlements of Utah Territory-there is Zion now. But you perceive when you come here the same covetous feelings imbibed in the hearts of many, as in other places, the same tempter is here, and there are plenty of allurements; and unless the people live before the Lord in the obedience of His commandments, they cannot have Zion within them. They must carry it with them, if they expect to live in it, to enjoy it, and increase in it. If they do not do this, they are as much destitute of Zion here as they are in other places.
(Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 2:, p.253-)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Martyrdom of The Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum

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Time Line of Events Leading To the Martyrdom:
(taken from Church History in the Fullness of Times pp. 273-285 click here to go to the chapter on the Martyrdom.)

24 March 1844 - Joseph Smith revealed to the Saints a conspiracy against him.

6 April 1844 - Joseph thwarted designs of conspirators at general conference.

7 April 1844 - The Prophet gives the King Follett Discourse.

7 June 1844 - Conspirators publish the Nauvoo Expositor.

10 June 1844 - Nauvoo City Council ordered destruction of the Expositor.

16 June 1844 - The Prophet gives the Sermon in the Grove (the conclusion of the King Follett discourse see Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith pp. 369-376).

18 June 1844 - The Prophet placed Nauvoo under martial law.

22 June 1844 - Gov. Ford insisted Joseph and Hyrum come to Carthage to answer charges against them.

23 June 1844 - Joseph and Hyrum leave Nauvoo to escape their fate. Some saints fear that the mobs will destroy them with Joseph being gone, so Joseph and Hyrum return to Nauvoo.

24 June 1844 - Joseph and Hyrum go to Carthage and arrive just before midnight.

25 June 1844 - Joseph and Hyrum are charged with treason against the State for declaring martial law.

26 June 1844 - A hearing was held on the charges of treason. They had no witnesses so they were to be held in jail for another hearing on June 29.

27 June 1844 - Joseph and Hyrum are murdered in Carthage.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The King Follett Discourse

The last major speech that the Prophet Joseph Smith gave was also his greatest. It is known as the King Follett Discourse or funeral sermon. King Follett actually died on March 9, 1844 digging a well in Nauvoo. His funeral was the next day, March 10, and the Prophet Joseph Smith spoke at his funeral. However, the Prophet forgot to mention anything about King Follett. His family felt bad so the Prophet decided to mention King Follett again in another sermon. The occasion that the Prophet chose was General Conference, Sunday, April 7, 1844, a month after the actual funeral. He spoke for about 2 1/2 hours. He honored King Follett in the sermon which became dubbed the King Follett Funeral Sermon. When the talk was over, the prophet had not finished the subject. He got up the next day to speak, but his lungs were worn out, so he said that he would finish the talk at another time. That time was on June 16, 1844. This is sometimes referred to as the Sermon in the Grove. Both talks must be taken together to get the full impact of the sermon.

Both talks can be found in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith by Joseph Fielding Smith on pages 342 - 362 and 369-376. To see another amalgamation of the text please read here.

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In the sermon the Prophet explains how God has given us a system to advance like himself,

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The Prophet also explained what it means in scriptural language to be a "joint heir."

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Women in our lives.

Elder Parley P. Pratt records for us his feelings and thoughts when he was taught the concept of eternal marriage,

It was Joseph Smith who taught me how to prize the endearing relationships of father and mother, husband and wife; of brother and sister, son and daughter.

It was from him that I learned that the wife of my bosom might be secured to me for time and all eternity; and that the refined sympathies and affections which endeared us to each other emanated from the fountain of divine eternal love. It was from him that I learned that we might cultivate these affections, and grow and increase in the same to all eternity; while the result of our endless union would be an offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven, or the sands of the sea shore.
It was from him that I learned the true dignity and destiny of a son of God, clothed with an eternal priesthood, as the patriarch and sovereign of his countless offspring. It was from him that I learned that the highest dignity of womanhood was, to stand as a queen and priestess to her husband, and to reign for ever and ever as the queen mother of her numerous and still increasing offspring.
I had loved before, but I knew not why. But now I loved-with a pureness an intensity of elevated, exalted feeling, which would lift my soul from the transitory things of this grovelling sphere and expand it as the ocean. I felt that God was my heavenly Father indeed; that Jesus was my brother, and that the wife of my bosom was an immortal, eternal companion; a kind ministering angel, given to me as a comfort, and a crown of glory for ever and ever. In short, I could now love with the spirit and with the understanding also.
Yet, at that time, my dearly beloved brother, Joseph Smith, had barely touched a single key; had merely lifted a corner of the veil and given me a single glance into eternity.
(Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, edited by his son, Parley P. Pratt, p.259-260)

President Gordon B. Hinckley reminds us of the importance of women in our lives,

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Sealing Power

The temples have become a powerful symbol representing the everlasting covenant. Because the Spirit of the Lord is in the temple, the temple becomes a place where we can appear before the Lord. In the Old Testament, Israel was instructed to appear before the Lord three time a year. They all knew that this meant for them to go to the temple on those occasions.

In latter-day scripture the Lord explains that the everlasting covenant is to be the rallying point for the righteous,

D&C 45:9-10
9 And even so I have sent mine everlasting covenant into the world, to be a light to the world, and to be a standard for my people, and for the Gentiles to seek to it, and to be a messenger before my face to prepare the way before me.
10 Wherefore, come ye unto it, and with him that cometh I will reason as with men in days of old, and I will show unto you my strong reasoning.

Holy sanctuaries wherein sacred ordinances, rites, and ceremonies are performed which pertain to salvation and exaltation in the kingdom of God are called temples. They are the most sacred places of worship on earth; each one is literally a House of the Lord, a house of the great Creator, a house where he and his Spirit may dwell, to which he may come, or send his messengers, to confer priesthood and keys and to give revelation to his people.
(Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed., p.779)

The sealing power exercised in the temples is the most sacred of all the powers given to man,

On this same occasion (when the Prophet gave them their final charge), according to parley P. Pratt, Joseph conferred "the keys of the sealing power" on Brigham Young, President of the Twelve. The Prophet taught them that it was the "last key," the "most sacred of all," and that it pertained "exclusively to the first presidency." (Joseph, Brigham and the Twelve: a Succession of Continuity by Ronald K. Esplin Fn, BYU Studies, vol. 21 (1981), Number 3 - Summer 1981, p.244)

President Marion G. Romney explained the importance of temples and families being sealed together,

Temples are great fortresses for righteousness in the world. The devil opposes them. He so stirred the enemies of our people after the first temples were built that the Saints were required to move away from Kirtland and Nauvoo. Without the great outpouring of Spirit and power given in those temples, it is doubtful whether the Church could have survived. President Stephen L Richards, at the dedication of the Los Angeles Temple, spoke about the power of the sealing ordinance reaching beyond our understanding. It is my belief that the power emanating from temples is far greater than we realize.
In addition to being a place for the Lord to "reveal unto his people the ordinances of his house and the glories of his kingdom, and teach the people the way of salvation" (History of the Church 5:423), a temple is a place where the living Saints receive the higher ordinances of the priesthood necessary to their exaltation.
We all know what the necessary ordinances of the gospel are: first, baptism; second, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. These ordinances are administered to the living in places other than a temple, as is also the third ordinance, the laying on of hands for the bestowal of the priesthood. The higher ordinances of the gospel, however, those pertaining to the endowment and the sealing ordinance, can only be performed in temples.
The Prophet Joseph made it clear that men could not be saved-meaning exalted-unless they had these ordinances performed for themselves.
I would advise all the Saints to go to with their might and gather together all their living relatives to this place, that they may be sealed and saved, that they may be prepared against the day that the destroying angel goes forth. . . .
The question is frequently asked, "Can we not be saved without going through with all those ordinances, etc.?" I would answer, No, not the fullness of salvation. Jesus said, "There are many mansions in my Father's [kingdom] and I will go and prepare a place for you." . . . And any person who is exalted to the highest mansion has to abide a celestial law, and the whole law too (History of the Church 6:184).
In temples we are sealed for eternity to our wives, our husbands, our children, and our ancestors. Our leaders repeatedly speak of the home as the center of a Latter-day Saint life. Without the sealing of husbands and wives, children and parents, there would be no family relationships in the world to come; there would be no eternal homes. How terrible this would be. Without the home, heaven would be devoid of its happiness. Wherever my beloved wife and children are is heaven to me. I therefore consider the Salt Lake Temple, in which the sweetheart of my youth and I were sealed together for time and eternity, as the gate to heaven for me.
(Marion G. Romney, Look to God and Live , p.236-237)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"Turn Heart of the Fathers to the Children . . ."

There are several aspects to the statement found in Malachi 4:6, "... turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers ...."

Speaking of Adam, Noah and others of the ancient priesthood holders, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught, "... they without us cannot be made perfect." "These men are in heaven but their children are on the earth. Their bowel yearn over us. God sends down men for this reason." . . . "All these authoritative characters will come down and join hand in hand in bringing about this work" (TPJS p. 159). "We cannot be perfect without the fathers, etc. We must have revelation from them . . ." (TPJS p. 338).

So, one aspect is that we cannot be made perfect without revelation from our ancient fathers who held the priesthood and keys for the salvation of mankind. We need their priesthood, keys and instruction as to how to use them.

Thus, the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith,

D&C 78:15-16
15 That you may come up unto the crown prepared for you, and be made rulers over many kingdoms, saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Zion, who hath established the foundations of Adam-ondi-Ahman;
16 Who hath appointed Michael your prince, and established his feet, and set him upon high, and given unto him the keys of salvation under the counsel and direction of the Holy One, who is without beginning of days or end of life. (emphasis added)

Another aspect is that the word "turn" means to bind or seal,

What shall I talk about to-day? I know what Brother Cahoon wants me to speak about. He wants me to speak about the coming of Elijah in the last days. I can see it in his eye. I will speak upon that subject then.
The Bible says, "I will send you Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."
Now, the word turn here should be translated bind, or seal. But what is the object of this important mission? or how is it to be fulfilled? The keys are to be delivered, the spirit of Elijah is to come, the Gospel to be established, the Saints of God gathered, Zion built up, and the Saints to come up as saviors on Mount Zion.
But how are they to become saviors on Mount Zion? By building their temples, erecting their baptismal fonts, and going forth and receiving all the ordinances, baptisms, confirmations, washings, anointings, ordinations and sealing powers upon their heads, in behalf of all their progenitors who are dead, and redeem them that they may come forth in the first resurrection and be exalted to thrones of glory with them; and herein is the chain that binds the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, which fulfills the mission of Elijah. And I would to God that this temple was now done, that we might go into it, and go to work and improve our time, and make use of the seals while they are on earth.
(Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.330-)

Yet another aspect has to do with planting in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers,

JS-H 1:39
39 He also quoted the next verse differently: And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.

D&C 2:1-3
1 Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
2 And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.
3 If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.

The fathers to whom the promises were made were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The promises involve all aspects of saving mankind including the priesthood, the Celestialization of the earth and helping man to become like Heavenly Father.

Elijah brought back the sealing power so that marriages and other ordinances that are bound on earth shall be eternally sealed in the heavens. Those married by this authority are husband and wife in this life, and they so remain in the life to come, if they are true and faithful in all things. When Elias appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery on that third day of April in 1836 in the Kirtland Temple, he "committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed." (D&C 110:12.) That is, Elias restored the great commission, given of God to Abraham our father, whereby the seed of Abraham has power to gain eternal blessings forever through eternal marriage; that is, Elias restored the marriage discipline that had eternal efficacy, virtue, and force in the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
One of the grandest concepts in the whole plan of salvation is that these same blessings, given to worthy mortals whenever the fulness of the gospel is on earth, are also available to all those who have died without a knowledge of the gospel but who would have received it with all their hearts had it been offered to them while they dwelt in the flesh. This is what is involved in the promise that the Lord would reveal unto us "the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." By restoring the sealing keys, Elijah revealed the greatest use to which the priesthood may be put by mortals on earth. "And he [Elijah] shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers." (D&C 2:1-2.)
The fathers are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The promises are the provisions of the Abrahamic covenant whereby the seed of the ancient patriarchs are entitled to receive the priesthood, the gospel, and eternal life (including celestial marriage). We are the children, and after we receive these blessings for ourselves, our attention turns almost by instinct to the well-being of our ancestors who died without a knowledge of the gospel. We are Abraham's seed, and they were Abraham's seed-through Isaac, through Jacob, and through the house of Israel. It thus becomes our privilege, on the basis of salvation for the dead, to search out our ancestors-to whom the same blessings have been promised as have come to us-and to make these blessings available to them through the vicarious ordinances of the house of the Lord.
(Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.508-)

Those who preceded us on the earth without the gospel cannot be made perfect unless we seek them out and do their work for them so that the promises made to the fathers may become a reality to them.

The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead. The Apostle says, "They without us cannot be made perfect;" (Hebrews 11:40) for it is necessary that the sealing power should be in our hands to seal our children and our dead for the fulness of the dispensation of times-a dispensation to meet the promises made by Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world for the salvation of man.
Now, I will speak of them. I will meet Paul half way. I say to you, Paul, you cannot be perfect without us. It is necessary that those who are going before and those who come after us should have salvation in common with us; and thus hath God made it obligatory upon man. Hence, God said, "I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." (Malachi 4:5-6.)
(Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.356-)

D&C 138:47-48
47 The Prophet Elijah was to plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to their fathers,
48 Foreshadowing the great work to be done in the temples of the Lord in the dispensation of the fulness of times, for the redemption of the dead, and the sealing of the children to their parents, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse and utterly wasted at his coming.

There is an impact on missionary work on this side of the veil in relationship to the gospel being taught and received in the spirit world,

Elder Melvin J. Ballard reflected on this truth (only one or two of a family who receive the gospel) and received an answer to explain it. He taught: "Why is it that sometimes only one of a city or household receives the Gospel? It was made known to me that it is because the righteous dead who have received the Gospel in the spirit world are exercising themselves, and in answers to their prayers elders of the Church are sent to the homes of their posterity . . ., and that descendant in the flesh is then privileged to do the work for his dead kindred. I want to say to you that it is with greater intensity that the hearts of the fathers and mothers in the spirit world are turned to their children now in the flesh than that our hearts are turned to them." (Melvin J. Ballard, Crusader for Righteousness, p. 219.)
(S. Michael Wilcox, House of Glory: Finding Personal Meaning in the Temple, p.106)

Another aspect is turning the hearts of the Jews to the prophets and the prophets to the Jews,

D&C 98:16-17
16 Therefore, renounce war and proclaim peace, and seek diligently to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children;
17 And again, the hearts of the Jews unto the prophets, and the prophets unto the Jews; lest I come and smite the whole earth with a curse, and all flesh be consumed before me.

The promises made to the fathers had the power to make Abraham like his God, therefore he sits upon his throne and is exalted and has the power of infinite posterity.

D&C 132:29-33
29 Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne.
30 Abraham received promises concerning his seed, and of the fruit of his loins--from whose loins ye are, namely, my servant Joseph--which were to continue so long as they were in the world; and as touching Abraham and his seed, out of the world they should continue; both in the world and out of the world should they continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them.
31 This promise is yours also, because ye are of Abraham, and the promise was made unto Abraham; and by this law is the continuation of the works of my Father, wherein he glorifieth himself.
32 Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved.
33 But if ye enter not into my law ye cannot receive the promise of my Father, which he made unto Abraham.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Attitude and Motto of many of the early Saints

Many of the early Saints were a great example for us today. Their commitment and dedication spoke volumes. The following quotes are indicative of their determination,

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Nauvoo Temple

(click on image to enlarge)
Before the Nauvoo Temple was finished the Prophet Joseph Smith felt impressed to give the ordinances to a select few. On May 4, 1842, the Prophet wrote this in his journal after having given the ordinances in his Red Brick Store,

Wednesday, 4.-I spent the day in the upper part of the store, that is in my private office * * * in council with General James Adams, of Springfield, Patriarch Hyrum Smith, Bishops Newel K. Whitney and George Miller, and President Brigham Young and Elders Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards, instructing them in the principles and order of the Priesthood, attending to washings, anointings, endowments and the communication of keys pertaining to the Aaronic Priesthood, and so on to the highest order of the Melchizedek Priesthood, setting forth the order pertaining to the Ancient of Days, and all those plans and principles by which any one is enabled to secure the fullness of those blessings which have been prepared for the Church of the Firstborn, and come up and abide in the presence of the Eloheim in the eternal worlds. In this council was instituted the ancient order of things for the first time in these last days. And the communications I made to this council were of things spiritual, and to be received only by the spiritual minded: and there was nothing made known to these men but what will be made known to all the Saints of the last days, so soon as they are prepared to receive, and a proper place is prepared to communicate them, even to the weakest of the Saints; therefore let the Saints be diligent in building the Temple, and all houses which they have been, or shall hereafter be, commanded of God to build; and wait their time with patience in all meekness, faith, perseverance unto the end, knowing assuredly that all these things referred to in this council are always governed by the principle of revelation. (May 4, 1842.)
Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.237

Elder George Q. Cannon also recorded the following:

Twelve are endowed with keys. By virtue of the ordination he received, Joseph had the right and the authority to confer this Priesthood upon others. He called Twelve Apostles, and they were ordained under his authority by the direction of the Lord, and those Twelve were endowed with the keys. Previous to his death the Prophet Joseph manifested great anxiety to see the temple completed, as most of you who were with the Church during his day well know. "Hurry up the work, brethren," he used to say, "let us finish the temple; the Lord has a great endowment in store for you, and I am anxious that the brethren should have their endowments and receive the fullness of the Priesthood." He urged the Saints forward continually, preaching unto them the importance of completing that building, so that therein the ordinances of life and salvation might be administered to the whole people but especially to the quorums of the Holy Priesthood; "then," said he, "the Kingdom will be established, and I do not care what shall become of me."
George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, selected, arranged, and edited by Jerreld L. Newquist, p.221

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith also recorded:

JOSEPH SMITH CONFERRED ALL KEYS ON ALL THE TWELVE. A short time before his martyrdom, the Prophet bestowed upon the Twelve Apostles-who constitute the second quorum in the Church-all the keys and all the ordinances and priesthood necessary for them to hold in order to carry on this great and glorious work of universal salvation.
That the Twelve did receive these keys and powers we learn from the following quotations from the Times and Seasons. Orson Hyde, one of that quorum, said:
"Before I went east on the 4th of April [1844] last, we were in council with Brother Joseph almost every day for weeks; said Brother Joseph in one of those councils, 'There is something going to happen; I don't know what it is, but the Lord bids me to hasten and give you your endowment before the Temple is finished.' He conducted us through every ordinance of the holy priesthood, and when he had gone through with all the ordinance he rejoiced very much, and said, 'Now if they kill me, you have got all the keys, and all the ordinances, and you can confer them upon others, and the hosts of Satan will not be able to tear down the kingdom as fast you will be able to build it up'; and now, said he, 'On your shoulders will the responsibility of leading this people rest.'
This testimony is corroborated by the testimony of Elder Wilford Woodruff who says: "They [the Twelve] received their endowments, and actually received the keys of the kingdom of God, and oracles of God, keys of revelation, and the pattern of heavenly things; and thus addressing the Twelve [Joseph] exclaimed, 'Upon your shoulders the kingdom rests, and you must round up your shoulders and bear it, for I have had to do it until now.'"
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie, 3:, p.154-)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Proclamations made by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

On Sunday, August 2, I was teaching the gospel doctrine class in my ward. Part of the lesson included the proclamation that the Lord commanded to be written (D&C 124:2-8). There was some interest in the class about the concept of a proclamation and how many the Church has made. There have been five Proclamations made by the Church since the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The following is from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism:

In performance of their calling as apostles, prophets, seers, revelators, and spokesmen for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have from time to time issued formal written proclamations, declarations, letters, and various public announcements. These have been addressed sometimes to the members of the Church (as a type of general epistle) and sometimes to the public at large. All such declarations have been solemn and sacred in nature and were issued with the intent to bring forth, build up, and regulate the affairs of the Church as the kingdom of God on the earth. Subject matter has included instruction on doctrine, faith, and history; warnings of judgments to come; invitations to assist in the work; and statements of Church growth and progress. Only a few of the many formal declarations have been labeled "Proclamations." Others have been characterized "Official Declarations," "Doctrinal Expositions," or "Epistles." Some have the signature of the First Presidency, some of the First Presidency and the Twelve, and some of the Twelve only. This article considers four documents: (1) Proclamation of the First Presidency on January 15, 1841, at Nauvoo, Illinois; (2) Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles on April 6, 1845, in New York City, and on October 22, 1845, in Liverpool, England; (3) Proclamation of the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles on October 21, 1865, in Salt Lake City, Utah; and (4) Proclamation from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, April 6, 1980, issued from Fayette, New York. (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1-4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: Macmillan, 1992),, p.1151-)

The fifth Proclamation was written after the Encyclopedia of Mormonism was published and is the Proclamation, "The Family: A Proclamation to the World (September 23, 1995)."

For those of you who are interested in reading the full text of the first four Proclamations click here.