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  1. Bruce Gilbert


    Thank you for your research. I believe that sometimes, unlike Abraham, the knife isn’t stayed.

  2. Bruce Gilbert

    The test is in the paradox. (D&C 132:36) It may be resolved through an eternal perspective and greater faith in Heavenly Father. (Hebrews 11:17-19)

    Since Heavenly Father knows all things from the beginning (D&C 130:6-8,) He knows that we pass such tests – Why, then, are they administered?

  3. Hi Bruce – I think that one of the great resources on this topic is the Prophet Joseph Smith’s discourse on Hebrews 7 (see Three Orders of Priesthood). Although the site mentioned provides the various accounts of the Prophet’s discourse, the footnotes to this discourse in The Words of Joseph Smith are an invaluable source of information.

    Although this book is available (see Believe All Things Store), it is priced at around $116 for a used copy of the first or second printing. However, Andrew Ehat recently mentioned that a new edition will be available sometime this year and will include previously unavailable discourses and information.

    I know that studying this discourse has helped me immeasurably in understanding Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac’s tests of faith. Also, I believe Nibley wrote about some of these individualized “tests” in the second edition of Abraham in Egypt under the chapter titles “The Sacrifice of Isaac” and “The Sacrifice of Sarah”. I don’t know that I would have viewed these tests of faith in the same way without first studying the footnotes to this discourse in Words. At least that was my experience.

  4. Truman Madsen refers to a similar test that Joseph Smith administered to John and Leonora Taylor in his Presidents of the Church Lecture series. I know that this has recently been published in book form, but I admit that I do not have it. It was in the JT tape so I would expect Truman to have listed a source for that. Anyone who has it, I would love to see the cite.

  5. I think I found the reference you refer to Hans. This is from The Presidents of the Church, by Truman G. Madsen, in his chapter on John Taylor:

    In three different talks, John Taylor quoted the Prophet as saying to the Twelve, “God will feel after you, and He will take hold of you and wrench your very heart strings, and if you cannot stand it you will not be fit for an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom of God.”

    In one of those declarations, the Prophet added that the Lord chose the very thing Abraham was the least willing to give up, namely his son. And “if God had known any other way whereby he could have touched Abraham’s feelings more acutely and more keenly he would have done so. . . . But he had faith in God, and he fulfilled the thing that was required of him”—and we must do the same.

    Such a wrench came to John Taylor when he was asked to make known to his wife, Leonora, the principle of plural families. Notice how I have phrased it. The idea was, if I may put it in a single phrase, a form of divine eugenics. The purpose was to prepare the way for choice spirits to be born into a life of service and sacrifice and to give a divine format to family life. These children could then rise up and become gatherers of the gatherers in the modern dispensation of the fulness of times.

    It wasn’t a principle designed for ease or self-indulgence, on the part of either the man or woman. Speaking of how the principle first struck him, John Taylor said, “I had always entertained strict ideas of virtue, and I felt as a married man that this was to me . . . an appalling thing to do. The idea of going and asking a young lady to be married to me when I had already a wife! It was a thing calculated to stir up feelings from the innermost depths of the human soul. I had always entertained the strictest regard of chastity. I had never in my life seen the time when I have known of a man deceiving a woman. . . . I have always looked upon such a thing as infamous, and upon such a man as a villain. Hence, with the feelings I had entertained, nothing but a knowledge of God, and the revelations of God, and the truth of them, could have induced me to embrace such a principle as this.”

    He went on to describe the struggle and how all of the Twelve postponed taking action. But the day came and with it, the response of Leonora. Samuel Taylor, who is gifted as a novelist and a creative writer (and who may therefore sometimes fictionalize), wrote a book on his famous predecessor. Samuel Taylor’s account claims that when Leonora heard of the doctrine, she brought her hand down so firmly that she broke a cup or saucer, and the glass cut her finger so deeply that it had to be amputated. But in time those two as one began to honor and live this principle. Sometime later they were summoned by the Prophet himself into a sacred place—we did not yet have a completed temple—and were given, together, the highest blessings it is possible to receive on this earth.

    But before that sealing, Wilford Woodruff’s journal tells us that the Prophet required of John Taylor what he had also required of Heber C. Kimball. He actually asked John to let Leonora be sealed to the Prophet. John Taylor agonized over that. John Taylor, the man with a spine like steel, went to the Prophet and said, “Joseph, if the Lord wants Leonora, then the Lord can have her. If you are asking, NO!” The Prophet smiled, wept a little, embraced him, and said, “I just needed to know where you stood, John.” That was a terrible way to test a person (but so was it a terrible test for Abraham). Apparently, the Prophet needed to know, and so did the Lord, that the first thing in the lives of Leonora and John Taylor were God and his Christ.

    They embodied the presupposition of any marriage performed in the temples of this Church. We never make a commitment to each other for time and eternity until after we have made an unconditional covenant with God and his Christ.

    Madsen cites the Journal of John Mills Whitaker, November 1, 1890, University of Utah Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, as the source of the “test” of John Taylor.

  6. Bruce Gilbert

    Heavenly Father does know the end from the beginning. The test is for our benefit. (Lectures on Faith – Lecture 6: 7,8 and 12)

    I wonder about the testing of Job. (Job 1:8-12) When we are tested it is the author Satan or the Lord?

  7. Bruce Gilbert

    P.S. Thank you, Greg and Bryce. I am learning a lot.

    I would like to know if Satan or Heavenly Father authors our Abrahamic Tests?

  8. Bruce Gilbert

    Bryce, I concur with your answer. I don’t understand what was going on with Job and Satan, but I do know that the Godhead are the only ones that know the thoughts and intents of our hearts. Heavenly Father knows how to test our love/s.

  9. Bruce Gilbert

    Are only 12,000 from the tribe of Joseph going to receive the fulness of the priesthood in the latter days? (Revelations 7:2-8) Ephraim isn’t even mentioned, but Manasses is mentioned as, also, having 12,000 sealed. If Ephraim is included with Joseph, that means that only a few will have the sealing blessing. Why is Ephraim left out? The tribe of Dan isn’t even mentioned as having any sealed.

  10. Amonhi

    Here are my thoughts from my own experience and research… as this is a very long post, I wanted to address only those things which popped out…

    – Beginning with the end, the 12,000 from each tribe or the 144,000 sealed are actually missionaries for the Church of the First Born who are teaching The Everlasting Gospel D&C 77:11. (This is compared with the current Missionary program of the LDS Church which teaches the Preparatory Gospel, Aaronic/Levitical Priesthood & Law of Moses – D&C 84:23-27) Notice that the scripture says this is taught currently because the people today have the same problems as the people under Moses who could not “behold the face of God”, (D&C 84:23-24 & D&C 22:2-3). The missionary force for the Church of the First Born will bring people to enter again the presence of God such that they will “behold his face”.

    – The requirements for membership in the Church of the First Born are fulfilling the Lower Law and being sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise which is to say, receive your calling and Election made sure, D&C 76:51-54. All members of the Church of the First Born have the promise of Exaltation which is to say, “Their calling and Election is made sure”.

    – C&E can be received in many ways, but they are, in the end, the same way. For example some have received it during a revelation regarding other matters without so much as hands laid on the head (D&C 124:124), Others have received it in the temples administered as an ordinance. However, most receive it in the most pure and simple way it can be received, and all must receive it this way regardless of circumstances. That way is by personal revelation. This was how Joseph Smith received it D&C 132: 48-50. It is the law by which all things are received and the principle of the Holy Spirit of Promise, D&C 76:53, 88:3, 132:7. Note that any ordinance NOT seal by this spirit is not accepted by God, no matter who does it. Also note that it is a “Spirit” and not a person which is often confusing in the D&C. The reason for this is because it must dwell in your hearts, D&C88:3. You will find multiple examples of people at the moment they received their calling and election made sure, and how they received it by reading “The light of Christ” by President M. G. Romney

    – We receive our calling and election made sure when we are no longer under the influence of Satan which is known as being built “on the Rock from which we cannot fall”, D&C 10:69, 6:34, 3ne.11:39, etc… If we cannot fall, then we have finally gotten to a spiritual state in which Satan has no power over us. He is bound in our lives and we can no longer fall except by choice which is a requirement to being given the Calling and Election made sure 2Pet. 1:10. The only way to fall from that point on is by continuous choice, not trickery or temptation.

    – As a side note, the missionary work for the Church of The First Born is what will bring about the millennium because Satan must be bound by the righteousness of the people which is a result of the people being built on the rock from which they cannot fall. As we get closer to the millennium, more people will receive their calling and election made sure and begin living the eternal gospel.

    – The Abrahamic test – When considering this, do not forget that Abraham had received the Promise of exaltation or his calling and election made sure before Isaac was even born. This test had another purpose, it was not to prove Abraham worthy of receiving what he was already given. God was not going back to Abraham and testing him again after he had passed all his tests… Abraham was also beyond the power of Satan. God was trying to help Abraham progress in his relationship from Son to friend of God. (long story.)

    – Jobs test – I am currently under the opinion that although Job was not subject to Satan’s influence directly, he was subject to Satan’s influence on others. This is one way that God teaches people to use the sealing power. Sink or swim method. Although Job was not going to fall himself, he had no control over the physical world around him. Thus the sealing power was given to him and he needed to learn to use it to overcome all things. This is a blessing of having your calling and election made sure, 1) Being given all things (Sealing power included) D&C 76:54-56 & 59 and 2) Learning to eventually overcome all things D&C 76:60.

    – Someone said, “Since, it is required that you be sealed to your spouse before you can receive your calling and election, I think that the first vision was probably not Joseph having his calling and election made sure. ” Not true. I have a very close friend who received his C&E and the second Comforter while serving on his mission. All the sealing stuff can be handled later as can any other ordinance needed by a person already on the path. The C&E does not mean that you have stopped progressing or that you cannot progress further in this life. Notice in D&C 76:51-53 gives the minimum requirements for this blessing. Then it goes into the blessings of the blessing. Because the “new & Everlasting” Covenant becomes “new” and “Everlasting” with each new covenant, it eventually includes the sealing or marriage to a spouse. But until that ordinance is done, marriage/sealing is not included as part of the “new and ever lasting covenant” which begins at baptism.

    – Second Comforter – No it doesn’t mean just seeing Christ. It is like the first Comforter which is the Holy Ghost that can be with you always. The second comforter is the presence of Christ being with you always. I have not yet heard of that happening before someone actually meets Christ. It is what Christ prayed for when he asked that he be in us as the Father is in him. Christ the physical person cannot “be in us” just as we cannot “be in him”. But spiritually we can be and this constitutes us “being one” with Christ and God. That is the second comforter. See John 17:21-23 where Christ is praying as stated above. It is a direct and permanent connection with Christ such that you “are one with him”.

    – Someone said, “Those that don’t know speak….. while those that know don’t.” Very catchy, but not true. Satan wants to prevent the millennium as long as possible because during that time he is bound by the righteousness of the people who have built on the rock or sure foundation. This doctrine does 2 things on Satan’s behalf: 1) Shuts the mouths of those who know so they don’t teach others. This is in direct contradiction to the missionary effort for the Church of the First Born and the mission of a prophet, (teach others the path they have taken). 2) For those who do open their mouths to share, this doctrine shuts the ears of those who are listening by discrediting those who have experienced and are sharing. The real way to know is by praying and asking God for personal revelation, which just happens to be the rock on which if you build you cannot fall, and the rock on which the church is built.

    That’s my thoughts for now…I’m out of time, and just over half way through the blog. Very interesting, thanks for letting me post.

  11. Hi Amonhi,

    Thank you for your comments and insights. They are very thought provoking. I just have a couple comments to add.

    I believe that one’s calling and election must come eventually by an ordinance in the house of the Lord. Every ordinance pertaining to our exaltation is revealed and made binding there. As Dr. Skinner noted, only the “Lord’s authorized servants” may “seal men and women unto eternal life,” and that by “perform[ing] an ordinance” granting the same. While personal revelation is certainly part of it, it is not the whole. Just as any authority must be given by the laying on of hands, so to the sealing power, blessings and authority. Even those who seemingly received their calling and election by personal revelation alone must at some time receive the ordinance by one who has been so ordained with the sealing power. Joseph Smith received the revealed word as you noted in D&C 132:48-50 (sometime in 1831), but still received the ordinance with Emma on September 28, 1843.

    I also believe it is impossible to receive one’s calling and election unless one has been sealed to a spouse. There may be high promises given beforehand, but all are conditional until we have been properly sealed, and proven. We cannot be made kings and priests alone, nor can we before our faith has been tested. Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

    Because no person can gain exaltation or eternal life alone; because exaltation includes the continuation of the family unit in eternity; because the whole thrust of revealed religion is to perfect and center everything in the family; and because having one’s calling and election made sure is the receipt of a guarantee of eternal life–it was the most natural thing in the world for the Lord to reveal both the doctrine of eternal marriage and the doctrine of being sealed up unto eternal life (meaning having one’s calling and election made sure) in one and the same revelation. In effect one grows out of the other. The one is a conditional promise of eternal life; the other is an unconditional promise… That is to say, after celestial marriage; after entering into sacred covenants in the house of the Lord; after receiving the conditional promise of the continuation of the family unit in eternity; after receiving power to gain kingdoms and thrones–we must so live as to receive the guarantees to which we have thus been called, and the assurances that appertain to our election, and which are given on a conditional basis only in celestial marriage. As with baptism, so with celestial marriage; after the glorious promise of eternal life that is part of each of these covenants, we must press forward in righteousness until our calling and election is made sure; and this high achievement grows out of and is the crowning reward of celestial marriage. (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:325-353)

  12. Amonhi

    – “I believe that one’s calling and election must come eventually by an ordinance in the house of the Lord.” – As stated before, my missionary companion had received the blessing but had not yet received the physical ordinance which was completed later. However, at the time God gives the promise, the blessing is given and the person does not have to wait for the physical ordinance to enjoy the blessings associated with the Calling and Election. The blessings are received at the moment that God has spoken or pronounced it. In the same effect, if a man performs the ordinance and it is NOT sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, it has no effect in this life or the next and God is not bound to honor it. This is the case for all ordinances from baptism to blessings on the sick to calling and election made sure. “All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations are under the same criteria.” Another thought on this is the words of President Romney in the talk “The Light of Christ”. He specifically was encouraging the membership to receive their calling and election made sure and provided many examples of people receiving it so that the members would know how to recognize it. Of those examples, NONE are in the temple by the laying on of hands. All are by personal revelation. Here is a very poignant example as quoted from that talk:

    “In this dispensation many have received like assurances. In the spring of 1839, while the Prophet Joseph and his associates were languishing in Liberty Jail, Heber C. Kimball, our president’s grandfather, labored against great odds caring for the Saints and striving to free the brethren who were in jail. On the sixth of April he wrote:

    “My family having been gone about two months, during which time I heard nothing from them; our brethren being in prison; death and destruction following us everywhere we went; I felt very sorrowful and lonely. The following words came to mind, and the Spirit said unto me, ‘write,’ which I did by taking a piece of paper and writing on my knee as follows: …

    “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”—listen to this—“thy name is written in heaven, no more to be blotted out for ever.” (Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, Book craft, 1975, p. 241; italics added.)” – Marion G. Romney, “The Light of Christ,” General Conference, April 1977

    The link is too long to include, but you can find it by searching in Google: “Romney the light of Christ” It will be the first link. Not one of his examples happened in the temple or by leadership, unless you count Joseph Smith giving it to himself, acting as both the giver and the receiver… (But that really was personal revelation too.)

    Other examples in which ordinances are performed to bestow blessings or priesthoods without the laying on of hands are littered throughout the scriptures. Such examples include Christ healing without being present (multiple times), Nephi receiving the sealing power from the voice of God (Hel.10), Joseph Smith receiving his calling and election by personal revelation (D&C. 132), Abraham receiving it by personal revelation or directly from God even while Melchizedek was his earthly leader (Abr. 2:6-11), the Lamanites being baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost and knew it not (3Ne. 9:20), etc.. The list goes on and on…

    We also are trying to follow Father Abraham of whom it is written, “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.” – D&C 132:29

    The key here is that the great mystery learned by the Brother of Jared, that God cannot lie, Ether 3:12. So, when that God which cannot lie speaks by his spirit which cannot lie, (which is his voice, D&C. 88:66, 97:1, 68:4), whatsoever is spoken is so. Whether by God’s own voice to us directly as personal revelation through the spirit or the voice of the servant speaking by the Power of the Holy Ghost which carries it’s witness to our hearts, it is the same internal witness to us, 2Ne. 33:1. And because God cannot lie, it is so. If it so be that an ordinance must be done in this life or the next, it will only be a formality which will not hold back a person from receiving any blessing God has for them now.

    Another thought, the Spirit is an authorized servant of the Lord and men get their authority from that Spirit. When the spirit withdraws, amen to the priesthood and authority of that man. If the Spirit is not present, then the ordinance is of no effect. The spirit may seal that ordinance later without needing to repeat the physical ordinance. The blessing can be received in many ways, but they are all the same because they all require the sealing promise of God through the Holy Spirit of Promise which cannot lie. Even if the prophet himself declared it, you would not know for certain until you received that internal witness that comes from the Spirit. And because Calling and Election means, “A man’s knowing” that he is sealed up, he must know. That knowledge cannot come from an earthly source; it must come from God through the Spirit, hence the name, “the Holy Spirit of Promise”. True knowledge can come no other way.

    – “I also believe it is impossible to receive one’s calling and election unless one has been sealed to a spouse.” – It would seem so, however, there are many who had received it before being sealed including Hyrum D&C. 124:124 and Joseph D&C 132:49. They both would be sealed in the future and had wives already, but they had not yet been sealed. You may be saying that someone will not receive that blessing until they are at least married, but the principle by which this blessing is received is that of prophecy. The while giving Abraham his Promise, the lord said, “My name is Jehovah, and I know the end from the beginning; therefore my hand shall be over thee.” Abr. 2:8. In this the Lord is telling us that we have become the person we were intended to become. We have walked the path that was required. Being who we are now, we will not fall unless by choice (becoming a son of perdition having sinned against a PERFECT knowledge). So, we will be married in the right place to the right person. That is who we are. Even if we die before that point, we will accept the opportunity when it is presented.

    This is the same principle by which Jesus Christ was a God before completing his progression into mortality and being married, sealed dieing and being resurrected. It is the principle by which the Holy Ghost who still has not yet received a body is a God. It is what Alma 13 talks about regarding the foreknowledge of God which is based on our, (already proven), exceeding faith and good works, Alma 13:3. It is the essence of the promise because God knows, based on experience what we will do in the future. And yes, we will get sealed. If we don’t it is because we have rebelled and become sons of perdition. But, by time God gives his promise it is a certainty.

  13. Bruce Gilbert

    Concerning sharing: (Alma 12:9)
    If we follow our conscience (the Light of Christ) it will lead us to the Holy Ghost. If we follow the Holy Ghost, He will lead us to the Savior. If we follow the Savior, He will lead us to the Father and all that the Father hath.

    What are the ” memorials for your sacrifices by the sons of Levi” done in the Temple as mentioned: (D&C 124:39) ?

  14. I don’t know if my comments are particularly helpful and on-topic at this point, but Amonhi’s reference to the Brother of Jared caught my eye. M. Catherine Thomas wrote about his experience in the Brother of Jared at the Veil and may be useful for those who venture here.

  15. Amonhi

    Concerning Sharing: (Alma 12:9) I will add verses 9-11. And note, that something is always imparted in the hopes that it will be received. The question is how much is imparted, the lesser portion because the listener has hardened his heart or the greater portion because the listener does NOT harden his heart. Here an example in which Nephi was instructed to NOT impart more because of the hardness of the people’s hearts: 2 Ne. 32:7.

    I could not have said it better regarding the progress from the Light of Christ to exaltation. I read an article that walks the baby steps from the basic principles of the Gospel to Calling and Election Made Sure and does a very good job with the how and why related questions. Link: http://www.elliaison.com/Articles/Fulness%20of%20Gospel.pdf

    Memorials of the Sacrifices of the Sons of Levi – Reminders of the Sacrifices of the Sons of Levi. The distinguishing point of the Sons of Levi is that they are the only tribe that held the Levitical priesthood which we call today the Aaronic Priesthood. It was and is the lower or “Preparatory” priesthood and corresponds with the Preparatory Gospel. “Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel”, see D&C 84: 23-27. All the ordinances of this Preparatory Gospel deal with being Saved from Sin or Salvation. They are preparing us for the “Everlasting Gospel” which focuses on Exaltation.

    Under the Preparatory Gospel the Sacrifices of the Sons of Levi were the animal Sacrifices which although not performed today are still part of this lower priesthood and symbols of the Atonement of Jesus Christ performed under the same priesthood.

    We cannot fully comprehend or understand the Atonement of Christ or receive the Fulness of the Glory of God without understanding the symbols associated with the Sacrifices of the Sons of Levi. And as a major purpose of the temple is to be a refuge where the “the weary traveler may find health and safety while he shall contemplate the word of the Lord” (D&C 124:23&36). It is useful to have memorials or reminders of the Sacrifices performed by the sons of Levi. In temples today, you will find many symbols which are directly connected to the ordinances performed under the Levitical/Aaronic Priesthood. This is a continuation of the ancient ways, see Zech. 6:14, Ex. 28:12&29, Mark 14:9. If you look up the word “memorial” you will see that it is often either a physical symbol or an action performed which denotes or symbolizes something. These memorials both teach us and bring to remembrance or clarify what is being done.

    For example: “And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord upon his two shoulders for a memorial.” – Ex. 28:12

    The symbol was enhanced or understood more fully by attaching a concept to it like saying “these 2 stones on the shoulders represents the Children of Israel as if you were carrying them on your shoulders…”

    Those are my 2 cents as I have never considered this concept before… I would love to hear other opinions..

  16. Bruce Gilbert

    Thank you, Amonhi for your observations. I appreciate that you included the whole scenario: (Alma 12: 9-11). Certainly Heb. 5: 13, also applies.

    With regard to personal revelation: 2 Cor. 13: 1 and 2 Nephi 11:3 have helped me to realize that Heavenly Father sends at least two witnesses when He reveals things to us. When I read D&C 8: 2-3 I realized that the mind and the heart are distinct and separate witnesses. It helped when I could pick them out in D&C 9: 8-9 Further, I correlated this with D&C 11: 13-14

    Thanks again.

  17. Wayne

    Regarding some of the contents on this blog, I believe we are confusing prophetic utterances and revelations with priesthood ordinances.

    For example, how many have Patriarchal blessings that “seal you to come forth on the morning of the first resurrection clothed in glory, immortality and eternal life?” This is not a guarantee that such will be the case. It is a promise based upon continued faithfulness.

    Consider that God knows the beginning from the end. He is possessor of all truth, which is a knowledge of things as they are, as they were, and as they are to come. So for God to reveal to any person, including prophets that their name has been recorded “in the Book of Life” is not a substitute for the actual priesthood ordinance(s) which make their “calling and election sure.”

    God knew long before he revealed it to said person, that “their” name had been recorded in the Book of Life.” Refer to D & C 137:5-8. I saw Father Adam and Abraham; and my father and my mother; my brother Alvin, that has long since eslept;
    6 And I marveled how it was that he had obtained an inheritance in that kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set his hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins.
    7 Thus came the avoice of the Lord unto me, saying: All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God;
    8 Also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom;

    Joseph Smith saw a prophetic vision. Alvin at the time of the vision was not in the Celestial Kingdom, but was to inherit the Celestial Kingdom, but not without receiving the necessary priesthood ordinances first, performed vicariously in the House of the Lord. Interestingly enough, at the time of this vision, vicarious ordinances for the dead and the temple for their performance were not yet established.

    A revelation from God to man that he will inherit eternal life is not a substitute for the priesthood ordinance that guarantees it. The sealing by the Holy Spirit of Promise is not a priesthood ordinance, but a ratification by the Holy Ghost that the ordinance, upon conditions of continued worthiness, is binding and acceptable to God.

    If for example, a couple are sealed for time and all eternity by the priesthood ordinance designated for celestial marriage, and are worthy to be in the temple, then that ordinance that very moment is sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. But suppose the couple is not worthy to be there, the ordinance receives no such “seal.” Upon conditions of repentance that ordinance can subsequently be “sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise” but there is no necessity of repeating the ordinance.

    Be assured that all ordinances essential for exaltation are performed by the “laying on of hands” by those in authority…and there is “never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred….” Healing the sick can be an ordinance (not essential for exaltation) performed by priesthood hands, or it can be an act of faith that is not limited by the distance between the healer and the healed.

    Joseph Smith taught in HC 5:424, “If a man gets a fullness of the priesthood of God, he has to get it in the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying (first receiving) all the ordinances of the house of the Lord.”

    In D & C 76: 56, referring to heirs of the celestial kingdom and church of the Firstborn: “They are they who are priests and kings who have received of his fullness and of his glory.” These “priests and kings” are not priesthood bearers who have received the “promise” of becoming priests and kings. They have actually been ordained priests and kings, hence their presence in the celestial kingdom.

    “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Joseph Smith taught that such rebirth, “comes by the Spirit of God through (priesthood) ordinances.” HC3:392

    No promise is of any veracity unless and until a man or woman receives the corresponding priesthood ordinance. Granted, “God is a god of truth and canst not lie.” So for God to promise a man or woman “Eternal Life” is a promise that such a person will also receive the appropriate priesthood ordinance!

    My point? One will never serve as a “priest or king” on a promise. Only when he has received the actual ordination.

  18. Bruce Gilbert

    I wonder if this ordinance will need to be vicariously performed on behalf of those who are deceased?

  19. I suspect so. No ordinance of the temple may be done by a disembodied spirit. There are records of this ordinance having been performed vicariously in the St. George temple.

  20. Bruce Gilbert

    Thank you, Bryce – for this website and for your comments. I find this information – the opinions and the references to be very helpful.

    It now makes sense to me as to why there will be 144,000 high priests that have their calling and election made sure – they may need to officiate in these vicarious temple ordinances. There could be a vast number of people needing this work done.

    Motherhood is the complement to man’s priesthood. Mother’s, acting in conjunction with God, are responsible for “transfiguring,” (for lack of a better word), that which is spiritual into that which is physical by creating bodies for Heavenly Father’s spirit children. Priesthood holders, acting in conjunction with God, are responsible for “transfiguring” that which is physical into that which is spiritual by performing ordinances for Heavenly Father’s earth children.

    Moroni 7: 46-48

  21. Bruce

    The more sure word of prophecy is the calling and election. It is made sure by the washing, anointing and the sealing of the fulness of the priesthood. The Holy Spirit of Promise, in this instance, is the Second Comforter.

  22. Amonhi

    Wayne, “The sealing by the Holy Spirit of Promise is not a priesthood ordinance, but a ratification by the Holy Ghost that the ordinance, upon conditions of continued worthiness, is binding and acceptable to God.”

    It seems that you are saying the ordinance must come first before it can be ratified by the Holy Spirit of promise, and a person could not receive the promise without having first the ordinance by the “laying on of hands”.

    Consider D&C 88:1-5 “Wherefore, I NOW send upon you … the Holy Spirit of promise… This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life…”

    These people received their Calling and Election made sure in 1832. But, the authority to perform a sealing ordinance, (The sealing Power), would not be given to Joseph Smith for 3+ years. Without that authority, none of these people could have received the priesthood ordinances in the temple by “the laying on of hands”. This is one of the examples used by President Romney in “The Light of Christ” to show us how it is received.

  23. The Lord makes us many promises, as we obey His will, and keep His commandments. But these promises are conditional upon our continued obedience and faithfulness. The realization, or fulfillment, of these promises and blessings is dependent on our tried and tested faithfulness. And so we see many times in the scriptures, and the early history of the Church, when the Lord promises “eternal life,” but that is not necessarily an indication of the reception of calling and election or being sealed to eternal life. When our faithfulness is adequately tested, and the Lord finds that we will be true to Him at all costs, then we will receive a final sealing at the hands of the Lord’s anointed servants, which is the Holy Spirit of Promise, as did the early Saints, which guarantees these promises save committing the unpardonable sin.

  24. Bruce Gilbert

    D&C 6:28 The Law of Witnesses. A witness can, either, be temporal or spiritual. Heavenly Father uses temporal and spiritual witnesses, together, in establishing His word or promises. Spiritual witnesses to revelation are the mind and the heart (See prior posting). As eternal identities, who is the Mind? Lectures on Faith 5:2 Who is the Heart? John 15: 13-14

    Certainly, when Heavenly Father delivers His word to us, He uses witnesses. Who assumes the role of Holy Spirit of Promise when it comes to various promises?

  25. Amonhi

    Mmmm, Bruce, very well said! And great references, especially D&C 1:38! I never saw that verse like that!

    “but that is not necessarily an indication of the reception of calling and election or being sealed to eternal life. ”
    – I would like to see some specific examples where this applies. As for D&C 88, President Romney indicated that in this moment they received their “Calling and Election made sure”. (Light of Christ – Romney) He followed these verses with the following encouragement, “I should think that all faithful Latter-day Saints “would want that more sure word of prophecy, that they were sealed in the heavens and had the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of God.” Notice that he said they “were sealed”.

    Also, note that the Lord said, “I now send upon you…the Holy Spirit of Promise”. When did he send it? Now or in 3+ years when Man received God’s authority to do what God could already do? Unless God can’t use His own sealing authority… D&C 1:38 (What God has spoken he has spoken without excuse it will be fulfilled. His own voice being the preference, but when that’s not possible, we can feel comfortable with his assurance that the voice of his servants will do just fine as well.)

    When God makes the Promise of Eternal life, it is a promise that regardless of future sin and transgression, even any sin against the new and everlasting covenant, the person will be exalted. (The only exception is the unpardonable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.) And this promise is sealed by the Holy Spirit by witness. This is clearly spelled out in D&C 132:7, 26-27. My point being that once we have received this promise of Eternal Life from God or his servants, our exaltation is NOT conditional upon our continued obedience and faithfulness. The ONLY way to stop it is to knowingly and willingly become a Son of Perdition which disqualifies us from the blessing.

  26. There are many examples in the scriptures where the Lord promises great blessings, even salvation (which in most contexts is meant as exaltation), yet this is not necessarily to be interpreted as a calling and election being made sure where all the blessings of exaltation are guaranteed. To give one example of baptism:

    And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God. (3 Nephi 11:33)

    This verse, and many like it, might appear like the final requirement to receive exaltation in the kingdom of God, but this is not the case. But as Elder McConkie has noted:

    When the Holy Spirit of Promise places his ratifying seal upon a baptism, or a marriage, or any covenant, except that of having one’s calling and election made sure, the seal is a conditional approval or ratification; it is binding in eternity only in the event of subsequent obedience to the terms and conditions of whatever covenant is involved. (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:325-353)

    All such promised blessings given in every covenant or ordinance of the gospel is conditional until one makes their calling and election sure. How are these conditional promises made certain? The scriptures teach:

    And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: 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, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), 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)

    Continuing in verses 18 and 19:

    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, dominions, 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. (D&C 132:18-19)

    We must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise “of him who is anointed” or “appointed on the earth to hold this power.”

    The Prophet Joseph taught:

    The question is frequently asked, ‘Can we not be saved without going through with all those ordinances?’ I would answer, No, not the fulness of salvation. …

    If a man gets a fullness of the priesthood of God he has to get it in the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord. (Teachings, pp. 331, 308.)

    Roy W. Doxey also noted:

    Both men and women receive the blessings of the “fullness of the priesthood” in the temple, even though women are not ordained to the priesthood… (Roy W. Doxey, “Accepted of the Lord: The Doctrine of Making Your Calling and Election Sure,” Ensign, Jul 1976, 50)

    Elder McConkie furthermore taught about how we become kings and queens:

    Holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood have power to press forward in righteousness, living by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God, magnifying their callings, going from grace to grace, until through the fulness of the ordinances of the temple they receive the fulness of the priesthood and are ordained kings and priests. Those so attaining shall have exaltation and be kings, priests, rulers, and lords in their respective spheres in the eternal kingdoms of the great King who is God our Father. (Rev 1:6; 5:10.) (Bruce R. McConkie, “Kings,” Mormon Doctrine, 425)

    In another place he taught:

    John foresaw that in the latter-days the servants of God would plead with the Lord to stay the tide of desolation and destruction “till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” (Rev. 7:3; 9:4; Ezek. 9:4-6.) With the restoration of the gospel, the power has again been given to seal men up unto eternal life (D&C 1:8-9; 68:12; 77:8-9), to place a seal on them so that no matter what happens in the world, no matter what desolation sweeps the earth, yet they shall be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (D&C 88:84-85; 109:38, 46; 124:124; 131:5; 132:19, 46, 49.)

    Since these sealing blessings are conferred by the laying on of hands of those who hold the keys of this power, it follows that John’s description of placing a seal in the forehead is not just apocalyptic imagery but a literal description of what takes place. As with other sacred things, however, the devil has a substitute seal to place; he puts a mark in the “foreheads” of his followers also. (Rev. 13:16-18.)(Bruce R. McConkie, “Forehead,” Mormon Doctrine, 683)

    Any blessings promised through personal revelation do not preclude the necessity of the sealing ordinance performed through priesthood sealing authority, which ordains one a king or queen, priest or priestess, and confers the blessings of the fulness of the priesthood.

  27. Bruce Gilbert

    “No man receives the fulness of the priesthood without a woman at his side. For no man, the Prophet said, can obtain the fulness of the priesthood outside the temple of the Lord. And she is there beside him in that sacred place. She shares in all that he receives. The man and the woman individually receive the ordinances encompassed in the endowment. But the man cannot ascend to the highest ordinances—the sealing ordinances—without her at his side. No man achieves the supernal exalting status of worthy fatherhood except as a gift from his wife.”
    (Boyd K. Packer, “The Relief Society,” Ensign, May 1998, 72)

    The “sealing” is a Temple ordinance. 2 Nephi 31:3

    Alma 37:11
    D&C 36:2

  28. Anna

    So, we can receive this additional, second sealing AFTER DEATH, correct? I hate to think that, despite being married in the temple to my husband, I won’t “truly” be with him or something like that.

  29. Yes. I suspect very few members have received this ordinance in life. If you live a faithful life, then there are no worries. You will be sealed up to eternal life together.

  30. Alberto Fernandez

    Hi Bryce Haymond ! from Monterrey, N.L. México. Thank you for this very interesting subject or topic. Sorry for any grammar error but I´m still learning English. Just I want to tell
    you that our concern must be on focus in keeping all commitments ,ordinances and trust completly in the Lord.

  31. Tyson Ferney

    A couple things come to mind as I read through this blog and comments. One is the the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood described in D&C 84. I think this section gives a wonderful summary of this topic. I’ve read the section many times. Especially after President Faust gave a wonderful talk about entitled, “The Key of the Knowledge of God” given in 2004.

    In short, the oath is outlined in the section as described in the progressive ordinances. The covenant isn’t as clearly explained. As I read it, and please correct me if I’m wrong, is found in D&C 84:43-44. The covenant is established when the Lord, through His annointed servant or by himself, provides the “words of eternal life.”

    The calling and election of Alma found in Mosiah 26:20 provides a great example of this covenant and an example of one who recieves the words of eternal life.

    I have another scripture to share, but…I’m at work and the verse slips my mind. It is in the D&C and when I read it it seemed like it mentioned that those who are provided such blessings are made know to the president of the church. I appologize for my lack of reference. I’ll find it and post back.

  32. Tyson Ferney

    Alright….alright… I promise to leave this alone after sharing these verses.

    D&C 105:35-36

    35 There has been a day of calling, but the time has come for a day of choosing; and let those be chosen that are worthy.
    36 And it shall be manifest unto my servant, by the voice of the Spirit, those that are chosen; and they shall be sanctified;

    As I read these verses, particularily 36. I couldn’t help to think that Spirit will manifest to the prophet those who are “chosen,” and then they are presented before the Lord to be sanctified.

  33. Brent Mangum

    I noticed the post (Sep 6, 2008 at 1:28 pm) about satans counterfeits. I think that gangs may be his imitation of the temple, the gaddianton robbers being the most familiar one. Modern gangs are probably no different from ancient ones as they are “inspired” from the same source, so lets look at them. Gangs have initiation rights, signs for recognition (both hand signals and in grafiti), initiates get new names/gang names, there is specific vocabulary/code words for initiates as well as laws and punishments when those secrets are revealed. There are probably more paralells. Most importantly, however, the gang supplants the family with the intent to destroy it, whereas the family is God’s ordained sociatal organization that is properly organized in the temple through the priesthood. The society that allows gangs to operate will be destroyed by them.

  34. Brent Mangum

    I posted the above because I think it is important to know the enemy as well as God. Jesus said And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). Joseph Smith said “If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves.” Sun Tzu said, “If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.” The temple is far and away the best place to find out who you are and what your potential is as well as recieve instruction on who the enemy is, what he will do/use to overcome us, and how we can avoid deception and win the race.

  35. Tony

    Wow, thanks Bryce, and all. I feel so fed after reading all these comments and the washing of feet post. Wow!

    I even got a new insight as I was writing a paper on sacrifice when I saw that the imposition or laying on of hands for sacrifice was meant to show that the officiator was dedicating it to God. I’ve since thought about how that applies to the laying on of hands in the Church.

    So incredibly interesting 🙂

    Oh, and it was great to see what Mconckie said about the sealing the servants of God on their foreheads. That makes more sense to me now.

  36. I suppose this comment is a couple years late, but the subject never gets old. I think a lot of misconception be cleared up for most people by referring to some authoritative literature (of course the scriptures are packed full of the subject) – I don’t have all references handy, but you can find the material within the references pretty easily:
    Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pgs 150-151, and 307-309
    Doctrines of Salvation, Joseph Fielding Smith
    Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Bruce R. McConkie
    Making Your Calling and Election Sure, Marion G. Romney (Conference Talk)
    The Fullness of the Priesthood, Joseph Fielding Smith (Conference Talk April 1970)
    What I Hope You Will Teach Your Children About The Temple, Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, Aug 1985

    Also see “Accepted of the Lord: The Doctrine of Making Your Calling and Election Sure” by Roy Doxey, in Ensign, July 1976.
    There are several hundred references that could be provided, but these sources will provide a good understanding.

    A few comments on prior posts. Joseph couldn’t have received the 2nd Comforter during the First Vision, as he had not yet received the 1st Comforter (again see TPJS). There are several phrases that relate to the same subject, all pertaining to being sealed to eternal life. It was mentioned whether revelation was sufficient, or whether an ordinance was sufficient – either being alone. The answer is in D&C 131, as previously commented. “The more sure word of prophecy [equivalent to the Fullness of the Priesthood, Calling and Election sure, etc.] 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. There are either two or three elements there: revelation, the spirit of prophecy, and the Holy Priesthood. I’m not sure about timing on each of these, but Heber C. Kimball received a revelation that he was sealed to eternal life years before he received an ordinance (Life of Heber C. Kimball, 241, vs. HCK Journal for 1843). Perhaps it is like baptism, in that it is incomplete without the baptism of the Holy Ghost as well. It is my opinion that revelation and ordinance will be necessary prior to exaltation.

  37. Robert Gates

    One day we had a General Authority in the ward and this topic came up. I asked a few questions in the hall after the meeting. One of them was along the lines of “Is this done in the temple? Salt Lake only? and “What was the content of that?” He said yes could be done in any temple and as for the language used “read the first 10 or 15 verses of D&C 88 and some words and phrases will jump out at you.”
    I did read and they did jump out at me.

  38. kenh

    I know that I am coming late to this party, but I would like to add some thoughts. As Amonhi has stated, the example of Nephi in Helaman Chapter 10 makes clear Nephi did not have anyone lay their hands upon his head but yet received the fulness of the priesthood by God’s own voice. In JST Genesis 14:29-31 we read:
    29 And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.
    30 For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course;
    31 To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.
    When God speaks the debate is over. When He tells you that you are going to gain eternal life, count on it you will, nothing doubting. When God tells you that you now have the fulness of His Holy Priesthood, (God-like powers given to those sons of God whom the Father knows He can trust with it) you have it. No hands are needed to be laid upon your head, period! In 3rd Nephi Chapter 11 Jesus speaks to brethren without laying his hands upon them and gives them authority.

    3 Nephi Chapter 11 to Nephi Jesus says:
    21 And the Lord said unto him: I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people when I am again ascended into heaven.

    To other brethren present He says:
    22 And again the Lord called others, and said unto them likewise; and he gave unto them power to baptize. And he said unto them: On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you.

    So it is with one’s calling and election made sure. The Father sends the Holy Ghost and fills a person head to foot. Every particle of their soul consumed by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. This cleanses the person of all sin, far beyond forgiveness of sin, and while filled with this indescribable joy, power and all consuming love that is the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, the Father speaks directly to that blessed person and says to them, calling them by their first name, my son or my daughter, (Which ever applies, for wives can receive this blessing before their husbands do if they are worthy. For God is no respecter of persons) “Thou shalt be exalted. Thou shalt gain eternal life.”
    That is the Holy Spirit of Promise. The promise of eternal life. That ratifying seal cannot be lifted and is UNCONDITIONAL. Only open rebellion to become a son of perdition can cancel it from being carried out fully. One can receive this wonderful blessing before one is married in the temple. God knows that this person will get sealed in the temple and fulfill all righteousness whether in this life or the next. Yes, the person who has the above experience would have already known the Savior face to face as Joseph Smith did. These events could be years apart from each other as Joseph’s were. The 144,000 are married high priest, they do not serve without their spouses, are sealed up to eternal life by angels of the Lord, not the president of the Church. These couples are translated beings who teach faithful members of the church how they too are to receive their calling and elections made sure and then when a person is ready, one of these brethren will seal that worthy person up to eternal life. That is their responsibility. Those who are sealed up to eternal life have already had the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost experience, they have already met with the Savior face to face, and they have had the Holy Spirit of Promise experience and thus already knew that they were going to gain eternal life.
    D&C 50: 26-29 gives us further insight to receiving the fulness of the priesthood by God’s own voice not man laying his hands upon someone.

    26 He that is a ordained of God (not man) and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all.
    27 Wherefore, he is possessor of all things; for all things are subject unto him, both in heaven and on the earth, the life and the light, the Spirit and the power, sent forth by the will of the Father through Jesus Christ, his Son.
    28 But no man is possessor of all things except he be purified and cleansed from all sin.
    29 And if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done.

    Thus we see that we have the Melchezedek Priesthood conferred upon us by men, but receive the fulness of the priesthood by God Himself. Men do not possess all things and therefore cannot give something that they do not have. God does possess all things and therefore can and does give His God-like powers to worthy sons whom God knows that He can trust with it. For these holy sons of God will never ask for that they should not. Does He have to lay His hands upon those whom He ordains or can a man receive the fulness of the priesthood by God’s own voice as Genesis 14 states? I testify that God can and does bestow the fulness of His Priesthood by his own voice. Thank you for your time.

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