The first part of this lesson addresses the acceptance, by the Lord, of the Kirtland Temple in 1836 (D&C 110). The second part is from the revelation given to Joseph Smith in 1841 (D&C 124) with the commandment to build another temple, in Nauvoo, as the temple in Kirtland had been lost to the mob and left behind when the Saints fled to Missouri in 1838.
READ D&C 110: 1-10
is implied by the wording “the veil was taken from our minds and the eyes of
our understanding were opened”?
Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery
could not remove or pierce the veil themselves.
The veil was over their minds, not
Removing the veil from the minds
caused their understanding to be “opened”.
They could finally “see” what was
actually there – i.e. Christ and the spiritual realm.
But it is not about “seeing” with
“eyes” as much as it is about “opening” ones’ “understanding” or gaining
are Christ’s eyes described as “a flame of fire”, His hair as “white like the pure
snow”, His voice as the “rushing of great waters”, and His countenance as
“shining above the brightness of the sun”?
They are seeing Christ in His glory.
He has not “dequickened” Himself or
condescended to hide His glory, as He did with those on the road to Emmaus (see
Luke 24:13-33), for example.
These descriptors are an attempt to
describe immortal glory in mortal language, to those who have not seen and
experienced it themselves first hand – it will always be woefully inadequate to
describe the reality.
was the Lord standing above them but under His feet was a “paved work of pure
resurrected god, Christ cannot touch this earth again, in glory, without
causing catastrophic damage to this Telestial sphere.
does walk the earth, He must condescend and hide His glory.
case, Christ is seen in glory, to accept His temple, so He is not standing on
the telestial earth.
possible that Joseph and Oliver are seeing Christ “in vision” meaning that He
is there speaking to them but He is actually still in heaven.
does Christ begin His acceptance of the Temple with His words in verse 4?
He first establishes who He is.
So that Joseph and Oliver are not deceived;
it doesn’t say that they witnessed His wounds, perhaps because He has come in
some glory here and they cannot touch Him or they will be destroyed, but the
glory itself shows that He is of the Light – and being of the Light, He cannot
lie (see Moses 1:1-15).
He is Alpha (the First or the
Beginning) and Omega (the Last or the End).
He lived, died and lives again.
It is only through Him that we can
be reconciled to the Father – because of His merits and mercy in being the
Beginning/First and End/Last.
does the Lord next forgive Joseph and Oliver’s sins?
Because they had sins that they
needed forgiveness from.
Because to survive in the presence
of Christ, particularly in His glory, you must be first forgiven of your sins
or you cannot abide for long.
do we know Christ accepted the Kirtland Temple as His House?
He appeared there in glory.
He declared that He accepted the
Temple as His House, with His own mouth.
Those who had qualified to have the
veil removed from their minds heard His words and saw Him declare them.
He told them that He would continue
to manifest and appear to His people in the Temple – that it might be His house
or place of “habitation” and that His people might be able to visit Him there.
The blessings gained through the
“endowment” given to His servants in the Temple would bless thousands and tens
The fame of the House, as the
actual house or habitation of the Lord on earth, would spread to foreign lands
– this happened when the Apostles went to England to preach the gospel; since
then, millions have read this account in D&C 110.
was the endowment given to the Saints in the Kirtland Temple, as the modern
“Temple endowment” was not given by Joseph Smith to anyone until 1843 in the
Red Brick Store in Nauvoo?
An endowment is a permanent
provision or gift which gives support (Webster’s 1828).
spiritual endowment acts the same way; it is a blessing or virtue/light or key
of knowledge given to a person which enables them to receive further light;
specifically, to rend the veil from their minds and receive the Lord when He
comes to them to minister and teach them (see 2 Nephi 32:6), as per Christ’s
promise in verses 7-8.
The very sad thing about Kirtland
was that while many had marvelous manifestations, and the Lord appeared and
accepted the Temple as His House, the people did not keep His commandments but
instead polluted His Holy House through their behavior; they did not press on
or rise up and receive what they had been invited to receive – for many are
called but few are chosen, by their own desires and behavior (see 2 Nephi 32:7).
READ: As this vision closed, the heavens were again opened to their
view, and they saw and beheld, and were endowed with knowledge from the
beginning of this creation to the ends thereof. And they were shown unspeakable
things from the sealed record of Heaven which man is not capable of making known
but must be revealed by the Powers of Heaven. They beheld Michael, the
archangel; Gabriel and Raphael, and divers angels, from Michael or Adam down to
the end of time, showing in turns their dispensations, their rights, their
keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the Powers of their
Priesthood; giving line upon line, precept upon precept; endowing them with
knowledge, even here a little, and there a little; holding forth hope for the
work God was yet to perform, even the revelation of all things which are to
come upon the earth until the return of the Lord in glory with His holy
angels—to pour out judgment upon the world, and to reward the righteous. And
they were unable to take it in; therefore, they were commanded to pray and ask
to comprehend by the power of the Spirit, to bring all things to their remembrance,
even the Record of Heaven which would abide in them. Amen and Amen.
endowment of knowledge did Joseph and Oliver receive in the Temple?
The “vision of all” that many of
the prophets have also seen (see 1 Nephi 14:18-30; Ether 3:25).
Including the keys of knowledge,
experiences with God, and light gained by the Patriarchs.
were Joseph and Oliver not able to take it all in and why were they even shown
the vision if they could not comprehend it all?
The Lord sometimes gives us what we
ask for but may not be fully ready to receive, but because we can “unbundle”
His revelations over time as we acquire more light through obedience to His
commandments (further light, knowledge, commandments to us), it is not a
“looking beyond the mark” situation (see Jacob 4:14), although it could become
one if the individuals take pride in their spiritual experiences and refuse to
do the labor in study, love/service and sacrifice to truly comprehend what was
Not even Joseph was able to take in
all of the knowledge he was shown in this vision because he still lacked the
light or intelligence or holy spirit to receive it, in 1836.
Judging from Oliver’s coming
excommunication, Oliver never received the light needed to fully comprehend it,
otherwise he might be a son of perdition, which he was not.
Offering to the Lord
READ D&C 124:1
What was Joseph’s offering, with which the Lord was well
It is unclear from
the record but he did make some kind of offering – either for himself or on
behalf of others, which the Lord accepted; because Joseph had already received
an assurance of His salvation, the likelihood that this offering was
intercessory or on behalf of others is higher.
If one uses the
context of the rest of this revelation to attempt to discern Joseph’s offering,
it appears that Joseph made an intercessory offering to attempt to regain the
High Priesthood for the Saints, which they had lost by 1841 (similar to how the
children of Israel had lost it – see D&C 84:19-27); Joseph seems to have
gained an opportunity for the Saints to receive that priesthood back, if they
build a Temple to God by a set deadline and it was accepted by Him as the
Kirtland temple was; if not, the Saints would be rejected (they were already
under condemnation…) and perhaps Joseph’s life would be forfeit – as it is
possible that Joseph offered his life for the Saints to have another chance to
obtain the high priesthood; if Joseph did not pledge his life, he made another
offering which was lost, as the Saints failed to build the temple.
Why does the Lord use the weak things of the earth as His
No one can
attribute His miracles to the weak things of the world; what He does through
them has no other plausible origin but to come from God.
If the Lord did
work through one of the great people of the world, the rest of humanity would
be much more likely to attribute the accomplishment to the person and not to
Pride and seeking
one’s own will or gain disqualifies one from associating with the Powers of
Heaven – and this is a trait shared by many of the world’s great people; the
weak things of this world are inherently humble as it is obvious to them that
they are weak – so they are more likely to submit to the Lord and exercise
faith in Him, as they have no other choice.
READ D&C 124:2-11
the Lord was ready to make Nauvoo (“this stake”) Zion, why did it not happen?
The Saints had to first gain back
the High Priesthood which they had lost, so that they could stand in the
presence of God – which all in Zion must be able to do, as the Lord will dwell
The Lord is very willing to enable
this; if the Saints will do what is required to receive these blessings –
Nauvoo would be “Zion” instead of Independence, Missouri.
But if the people do not as they
are commanded, well, then the Lord will not bring again Zion.
What is the difference between how Joseph viewed the kingdoms
and leaders of the earth, versus how the Lord sees them?
them” to some degree – they have “glory” or earthly power that he is concerned
about and their hearts have been hardened against him (JS); we know this
because the Lord tells him to “fear them not” and that He will soften their
The Lord does not
fear them at all – they are “as grass” to Him or the flowers of the meadow
which bloom and quickly fade, while He is the sun itself which enables them to
live and bloom, and will continue to rise thousands of years after each plant
If the Lord’s visitation comes quickly, in an hour Joseph
Smith did not expect, what is implied?
Joseph may have thought that
Christ’s visitation “comes quickly” means that it would be in his lifetime, and
perhaps it would have been, if the Saints had built the temple, received back
the high priesthood, entered into God’s presence, and established Zion in
But Christ’s visitation “comes
quickly” could also mean that when it comes, it will “come quickly” or be
expedited – at THAT time, which may be in the future; we know that it was not
during Joseph’s lifetime or for 200 years after that.
It will come quickly – meaning the
events will follow quickly one after another to enable His coming, but it will
not come until Zion has been established and a temple has been built by the
remnant of Israel in which the High Priesthood has been restored by the Lord,
so that He can dwell with His people; as far as I know, no such temple (one
accepted by the Lord like Kirtland was, with His presence) exits yet.
What is the Lord’s message to the “great” people of the
Give heed to the
light and glory of Zion.
It is to warn
them; and if they are warned and do not come to Zion and support the city with
their riches (implied is that they were given riches for this very purpose, as
God is not an extortioner), they shall be without excuse and will be destroyed
when He comes again.
He is reminding
them who is the true King of the earth.
READ D&C 124:16-17
Unbeknownst to Joseph Smith at this time, John C. Bennett had
been and was continuing to be a predatory adulterer of the first order; why is
the Lord saying JCB would be “His” if he stays true to Joseph Smith and
receives his counsel?
JS’s counsel to
JCB (and all of us) was to repent and come unto Christ himself.
No one is beyond
the scope of the atonement, even a serial sinner – if JCB had truly repented,
he could have been saved by the Lord.
The Commandment to Build the Nauvoo
READ D&C 124:26-28
What are the saints to build in Nauvoo?
A house built to
the name of the Lord – a temple.
A house for the
Most High God to dwell in on earth.
are they to build this Temple in Nauvoo?
So that the Lord could restore the
fullness of the Priesthood or the High Priesthood, which priesthood is required
to have if one is to see the Father face to face and live (see D&C
So that He might take up His
habitation in Nauvoo, that all might know Him.
Because in Zion, God dwells with
His people, and He will need a house to live in.
Why did the fullness of the Priesthood need to be restored
The Saints and the
Church did not have the High Priesthood in 1841.
It was given by
the Lord to the Saints (see D&C 84:33-42) by 1832 but had subsequently been
lost by 1841 (see D&C 121:34-40).
However, the Lord
is no respecter of persons and since Joseph Smith had kept his covenants and
magnified his priesthood (see D&C 121:41-46), he had never lost the fullness
of the priesthood himself; individuals can have the fullness of the priesthood
even if the Church loses it – i.e. the prophets in the Old Testament who came
to testify of the wickedness of the children of Israel and their officially
How had the fullness of the Priesthood had been lost by 1841,
and what is implied?
This is referring
to the failure of those who were ordained to the High Priesthood by Joseph
Smith and Lyman Wight at Morley Farm in 1831 to rise up and actually receive that
priesthood from God; according to Joseph Smith, the High Priesthood was
restored for the first time at a conference of the Church held on June 3, 1831
at Morley Farm in Ohio (see Joseph Smith Papers – Documents, Vol 1, p317, 320;
D&C 44:1-2; D&C 52-56 – note, the Church, beginning with BH Roberts,
has engaged in some revisionist history with regards to this event, saying that
it was the office of High Priest and not the High Priesthood, which was
conferred); 23 men were ordained but subsequently, most did not exhibit the
behavior required to “handle the powers of heaven” as 8 were excommunicated and
4 more left the Church; few (Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith, and
perhaps Lyman Wight – as all of these saw God) ever demonstrated the associated
power (see JST Genesis 14:25-36; Helaman 10:4-10) or entered God’s presence,
which is proof of possessing this level of priesthood or fellowship with heaven.
In 1832, the
Church was officially condemned by the Lord in D&C 84 – the Lord called the
Saints to repentance for failing to take seriously the opportunities He had
given them to rise up and receive the High Priesthood and enter into His
presence (see D&C 84:49-58), as the children of Israel had also failed to
do before them (see D&C 84:23-27).
The proof that the
church members had lost the opportunity to receive the high priesthood was
further confirmed in the jarring and contention which happened in the
Impendence Missouri attempt to build Zion in 1833 (see D&C 101:1-8); the
Zion established in Jackson County, Missouri failed because the people polluted
their inheritances (or the opportunity they’d been given to establish Zion)
through their jarrings, contentions, envyings, strifes, and lustful and
covetous desires (see also D&C 121:34-40) and failure to come unto Christ
or even listen to God at all; instead of purifying themselves and entering into
the presence of the Lord first, and then waiting patiently to be gathered to
Zion by angels, they plowed ahead and attempted to craft an unredeemed people
(those who have not seen the Lord, see Ether 3:13) into Zion people, but it
didn’t work – and I don’t think it can; even in the Book of Mormon, Zion was
not possible until the wicked had been destroyed and the remaining righteous
each knew the Lord for themselves (see 3 Nephi 9:13; 3 Nephi 10:12-13; 3 Nephi
These events show
that Priesthood is perishable – as an individual, you can gain it and lose it
again; even the Church as a body can gain it and lose it again.
In fact, most of
the Saints never received or accepted what was offered – they were “called” but
not “chosen”, which in this case means they self-selected out (see D&C
How is the fullness of the Priesthood given or restored?
The Most High God
must personally give this priesthood to a person (see JST Genesis 14:28-29;
D&C 84:42; TPJS 205:2).
Although He will
give it to individuals outside of a formal temple, in Zion a temple is
required; this is because God intends not just to enable people to rend the
veil and ascend to Him, or to go to earth to visit them, but to make His
habitation with them on earth in the city of Zion – this requires a House be
built for Him.
READ D&C 124:29-33, 37-38
Why does the Lord require a Temple building be built to
perform baptism for the dead, unless the Saints are in poverty?
The Lord requires
sacrifice – even when one is poor, He will test the faith of His people and
The Lord requires
order – the universe runs on natural and eternal laws which must be complied
with; God Himself would cease to be God if He did not live by these laws and He
became God because He aligned His behavior with a fullness of eternal law; as
this earth is a probationary state, it is here that we begin to learn about law
and order – what happens when we have it and what happens when we don’t.
Baptism of the living should be performed in “living water” (a stream,
river, ocean), while baptism for the dead may not – if the Lord requires
baptism for the dead to be performed in a font, which is a closed system within
a building (not “living”), then perhaps it requires “dead water” to complete
the symbolism – not sure, one to inquire of the Lord about.
Why did the Lord set a deadline or “an appointment,” giving
the Saints “sufficient time” to build the temple?
While the Lord is
not bound by time, we are; time is an essential element of this mortal
probation as it constrains our choices – we can either do one thing or another
in the time we have and in those choices we reveal our hearts (and our wisdom).
Time can also be
used to increase the stress of a situation, requiring more faith to perform an
urgent task than would otherwise be necessary; again, this is an important part
of maximizing a mortal probationary experience – to get the most out of the
proving and testing.
Deadlines make it
clear if success has been achieved or not, with its attendant consequences – in
a business setting, the clearer the goal, deadline and consequences, the better
the performance management – particularly when the resources for accomplishing
the goal are available (and in this case, they were, as evidenced by the fact
that the Saints built some very nice brick homes for themselves during this
In this case, the
Lord gave the Saints “sufficient time” to build a temple within which He could
come and restore again the High Priesthood; while we do not know how much time
He explicitly gave them, it is clear that it was no more than 3.5 years as this
revelation was given on January 19,1841 and Joseph Smith was taken 3 years and
5 months from this date; without Joseph, who still held this priesthood, the
likelihood of the Lord coming to restore it to the delinquent others, seems
very low – otherwise why let Joseph die?
What does it mean to be rejected as a church, with your dead?
The Church is not
accepted by or acknowledged by Christ to be His (see Matthew 7:21-23; 3 Nephi
27:7-11, 21) or to possess the knowledge (or correct doctrine) and/or
ordinances (authorized invitations) required to save anyone; in other words, it
teaches much that is not true as if it was true, and if believed and followed,
will not lead a person to God and salvation but rather to damnation.
It means that He
will no longer reveal His will, revelations, doctrine or counsel for the Church
to the leaders in their roles as Church representatives (which is different
from giving them personal revelation for themselves; D&C 138 is an example
of this, although it is now canonized because the person who received the
vision happened to also be the President of the Church; it was not a revelation
given to the Church but a vision given to a dying man for his comfort, who also
happened to be the President of the Church at the time) – the heavens are
closed to them institutionally; they can no longer say “thus sayeth the Lord”,
or that they hold the “keys of salvation” (meaning authority from God to save –
which they never had as it is not mankind’s to possess…), or to act in His
name, or seal on earth and in heaven (see Mormon 9:19-20).
As a result, He
will not come unto them in the flesh and they will not come unto Him now or in
the eternities; to preserve their control over their followers, they might
insinuate that they are in direct contact with Him but will hedge on the
details, claiming they are “too sacred to share”, yet at the same time saying
that there is not much need for revelation because there is already a great
reservoir of it but that they also still hold the keys given to them by God to
administer His kingdom on earth… (see 2 Nephi 28:5-6, 27; Jacob 4:13).
It does not mean
that individuals who actually follow Christ’s word and come unto Him are
rejected, regardless of which Church they are in – but they are more likely to
find Him if they know the Way, which is what true religion is supposed to teach
However, it does
mean that the dead ancestors of any of the living who have been rejected by
God, will also be rejected, unless they’ve been saved themselves (by being
sealed up to Christ in the flesh); the ordinances that are performed for them
have no lasting effect in the eternities because the sealing power needed to
make them efficacious was never returned.
In addition, the
Law of Adoption revealed by Joseph Smith teaches that there must be an unbroken
chain of redeemed souls who have been adopted by Christ as His Sons and
Daughters – although this is unclear to me, it seems that those unredeemed
souls (dead or living) who are sealed to those who are redeemed or adopted,
also have some kind of salvation or opportunity for salvation that they would not
otherwise have; but the inverse is also true, in that sealing the dead to an
unredeemed living soul will do nothing for the dead – they are rejected with
their living descendent.
Were all baptisms deemed unacceptable to the Lord if the
Saints failed to build the Temple, or just baptisms for the dead?
It is not clear
from these verses but it is possible to read it that while the Saints were
building the temple, all baptisms could be performed outside of it and the Lord
would honor them, but after the deadline is passed, if the Temple has not been
built, then the baptism for the dead (which must be performed inside the Temple
at that point) will not be honored, but baptisms for the living may be, because
they are not called out specifically as being void.
“being rejected as a Church” language casts a pall over the effectiveness of
any baptisms done after the Church is rejected; but perhaps, since it is
Aaronic Priesthood authority being used to baptize the living, and that
priesthood seems more durable than the high priesthood, it might have endured
making the baptisms acceptable (see D&C 84:23-27).
The proof of the
acceptability in heaven of the baptism by water for a living person is whether
or not the outward ordinance enabled an inward spiritual change or baptism of
fire; did the ordinance enable faith in Christ and repentance – of offering
one’s whole soul to the Lord in sacrifice.
READ D&C 124:34
What are the “keys of the holy priesthood” being referenced
The keys of the
holy priesthood referenced here are found “therein” or are obtained in the
The keys are
knowledge which “unlock” the mysteries (specifically how to walk back into the
presence of God and be redeemed) that the Lord would like to reveal to His
Saints, by covenant, in the form of ordinances (which are symbols to teach us,
and authorized invitations to rise up and obtain what is being taught about) and
direct knowledge that He has hidden up (and has only been given it to a few,
like Joseph Smith) about how to rend the veil and know Him; the covenant aspect
of receiving this knowledge means they must do something to receive the
knowledge; they can’t just receive it without changing their lives or the
knowledge will damn them because it will set expectations that the Saints have
no desire and no spiritual capability to fulfill otherwise (see D&C
The keys of the
holy priesthood referenced here is not the authority to seal on earth and
heaven – that authority is only given to those who receive the Holy Priesthood
After the Order of the Son of God, which God Himself bestows upon individuals
not Churches; but, ironically, receiving that Priesthood enables you to join
the true Church of Jesus Christ, which is the Church of the Firstborn and meets
in heaven, at least until Christ comes again to reign on earth in the
READ D&C 124:39-41
What knowledge via ordinances did the Lord want to reveal to
the Saints in the Temple?
washings, anointings and clothings are preparatory ordinances which teach that
we must be washed clean from the blood and sins of our generation and
“anointed” with the Holy Spirit; the body is washed and anointed, symbolic of
the “soul” (body and spirit inseparably connected); the clothing or “beautiful
garments” are symbolic of Christ’s sacrifice and the grace/light which cover
our sins until the time where we ourselves work out our own salvation with fear
and trembling, by sacrifice, before God, in some future eon.
endowment is a symbolic ordinance which teaches how to overcome the fall of
Adam, the temptations of Satan, and the “veils” of telestial and terrestrial
bodies to reenter the presence of God while in the flesh.
The Temple sealing
is a symbolic ordinance which teaches us the true nature of Godhood – that
Elohim is a plural word referring to the perfect, eternal man and woman who are
To the degree to
which “my church” refers to the Church of the Firstborn, Christ desires to
share how to come unto the Father in the Heavenly Temple and be sealed up to
eternal life (see 2 Nephi 32:6-7; Mosiah 5:15; D&C 88:75).
What is the objective of these ordinances?
To enable the
immortality and eternal life of mankind (see Moses 1:39).
To enable the
redemption of mankind by teaching them what they must know to come back into
the presence of God in the flesh (see Ether 3:13).
To set mankind on
the road of becoming precisely like Christ – which requires following the same
path as He walked, as He is our example in all things; these ordinances teach
us the beginning of His Way (see LoF 7:9, 15-16; TPJS 390-393).
READ D&C 124:42-43
Did Joseph Smith receive revelations detailing “all things”
pertaining to the Temple?
Yes, he received
the reality of the blessings that the Temple endowment points to (rending the
veil, entering the presence of God, and being sealed up to eternal life with
one’s spouse); Joseph Smith was teaching according to his direct experience
with the reality, which enabled him to understand the symbols contained in the
“appointment” deadline drew close and the Temple remained very unfinished,
Joseph’s anxiety about the Saints grew (see TPJS 372:1-374:1), so he mocked up
what he felt he could share into a long endowment ceremony, which he gave to
certain individuals in the Red Brick Store, so that the knowledge he was given
would not be completely lost if/when the Saints failed to build the Temple and
receive the “real thing” from the Lord, and Joseph’s life was forfeit and the
Saints lost the connection to heaven they enjoyed through him.
The saddest part
of this whole story is this: Joseph realized (perhaps too late), that for Zion
to be established, ALL of the Saints needed to have the same connection with
heaven that he had; the Lord was willing to enable that connection but a temple
had to be built first; Joseph realized at the end how much the Saints were
happy to rely upon him as their “strongman” prophet, instead of coming into
Christ’s presence themselves – mirroring exactly the children of Israel’s
relationship with Moses (see TPJS 266:2; D&C 84:19-27; Exodus 20:18-21;
Wasn’t the Temple in Zion supposed to be built in Jackson
County? Why is the Lord commanding them
to build it in Nauvoo?
The Temple in Zion
in the last days was always going to be built in the tops of the mountains, as
the Old Testament prophets saw in vision and foretold (see Isaiah 2:2-3; Micah
God has all things
before His face; He knew that the Saints would fail in Jackson County and that
they would fail again in Nauvoo, and that the current situation in Salt Lake
City (albeit, it resides within, but not in the tops of, the Rocky Mountains)
is about as far from Zion as you could hope to be (the City Creek Mall being
just one small but damning example…).
But recall that
the first mission of the Church was led by Oliver Cowdery to find the remnant
of the Lehites in the Rocky Mountains to convert them to the truth so that they
(the Indian tribes) could build Zion; but the missionaries only got as far as
Independence, MO, where they were threatened with arrest by the US Government
Indian Agents when they attempted to cross into Kansas (Indian Territory),
where all of the Native Americans from the eastern United States had been
gathered, as per the Indian Removal Act.
READ D&C 124:44
What does it mean that a place is made holy and how does this
A holy place is a
place that is set apart or sanctified from the profane.
A holy place is
pure, while a profane place is filled with dross and darkness.
A holy place is
“quickened” or its frequency is raised; it is filled with or infused with more
light, until it contains a fullness.
Places and people
are quickened by proximity to or from interactions with those who are already
holy or filled with light (see Genesis 28:10-22).
For a temple to be
made holy, it must be visited by God or Christ.
There is a
difference between someone or someplace that is “clothed” with glory to protect
it from destruction (but which inherently contains enough dross to cause it to
be utterly wasted if exposed to a fullness of glory or heat – see Moses 1:1-2,
5, 9-11; Matthew 22:9-14; Moroni 10:32-33) and someone or someplace that,
through obedience to eternal law and sanctification through the Holy Spirit,
actually became inherently filled with pure light and glory themselves (see 3
Nephi 12:48; LoF 7:9, 15-16).
What were the conditions upon which the Lord would make this
If the temple was
built in the allotted time.
If the Saints did
the things that God commanded to raise the condemnation they had put upon
themselves (see D&C 84:49-58).
God would visit
the Temple – actually dwell there – and it would become holy through proximity
to His presence and glory.
READ D&C 124:45-46
What was the Lord’s promise to the Saints in Nauvoo?
Build the temple
and hearken to my voice, and you will not be moved out of your place (Nauvoo).
But if you do not,
you will be moved out of Nauvoo and shall not be blessed but cursed.
What message were the Saints to hearken to, so that they
would not be moved out of their place?
To build the
temple in the appointed time and hearken to the voice of the Lord such that He
will come to it and restore the high priesthood that had been lost.
He had already warned
them in 1831 that they were under condemnation for taking the Book of Mormon
and its covenants (receiving the fullness of the gospel or a sure knowledge of
Christ) lightly (see D&C 84:19-27, 49-58), which would eventually lead to
their utter rejection by Him and their losing of the gospel to the remnant of
the children of Israel (see 3 Nephi 16:10).
So, really the
message was to accept the fullness of the gospel – awake, arise and come unto
Christ in the flesh and be redeemed and become His Sons and Daughters.
If the Saints were to bring upon themselves a further curse
(remember, they are already under condemnation per D&C 84 in 1832), what
would the reason be?
reobtain the High Priesthood, after Joseph Smith had made an offering on their
behalf to give them a second chance to receive it (see D&C 84:42).
READ D&C 124:47
What oath is the Lord referencing here?
The oath to
restore the lost High Priesthood to the Saints in the Temple.
The oath and
covenant of the Holy Priesthood After the Order of the Son of God (see D&C
84:33-42); which is what was lost.
Was just completing the building the Nauvoo Temple enough to
receive back the fullness of the priesthood?
No, they must also
do the things that He says: they must labor with all their might and build the
House in the time allotted; no other priorities can take the place of building
the temple and receiving back the High Priesthood that was lost; even if they
are living in tents or shacks, building the temple and sanctifying themselves
to receive the priesthood should be their top priority (see D&C 88:66-68).
They must also
hearken (listen to and follow) unto His voice (His words) and unto the voices
of those who speak His words (those that receive revelation such that they can
quote Him directly); they must keep His commandments and align their behavior
precisely with eternal law – they must be perfect, even as He is perfect, or at
least strive each day to be as perfect as they can be.
They must not
pollute His holy grounds and ordinances, or His holy words – in other words,
they must not vainly go through the motions without surrendering the inner
person and be changed via the baptism of fire – being “called” but not “chosen”
is not enough (see D&C 121:34-46).
It is a test of
their faith, their righteousness, and of their priorities or desires;
completing a temple building and dedicating it in what amounted to a sham
dedication after all but a literal handful of the Saints had already left Nauvoo
was never going to cut it with the Lord – He promised to “come to” the House to
“dwell therein” with His people (this is Zion) but the vast majority (including
Brigham Young and the leadership) had already left three months before the date
that the temple building was finally dedicated by Orson Hyde on April 30-May 1,
1846 (and Joseph Smith was dead almost 2 years – June 27, 1844).
READ D&C 124:48
If the Saints failed to build the Temple on the Lord’s
timetable or even had built the Temple in time but failed to do the things that
He said to do, what would the consequences be?
They would be
rejected as a Church with their dead.
They would not
receive again the fullness of the priesthood, with its sealing power.
They would suffer
God’s wrath, indignation, and judgements and would be moved out of their place
Why would the Lord curse His people for not doing His will;
why not just stop with the natural consequence of failing to get fullness of
the priesthood restored again?
against more light has a more drastic consequence than never knowing in the
first place; it is a kind of open rebellion against God, regardless of how it
is rationalized (see all of 2 Nephi 28).
particularly true when it is the fullness of the gospel that is being rejected
(see D&C 84:19-27).
And in this case, since the Saints had already been offered and
rejected the High Priesthood and Fullness of the Gospel (see D&C 84:33-60;
D&C 124:28), it appears that Joseph Smith made an offering of his own life
in exchange for the Saints to be given a rare last chance at receiving the
Fullness so they could help build Zion (see D&C 124:1-2).
So, in addition to
the natural consequence of not receiving again that which was lost (this was
the consequence they were already experiencing, due to their earlier condemnation,
see D&C 84:49-60), the Saints would also receive cursings, wrath,
indignation and judgements by their own works for rejecting this second
opportunity; this was a just consequence for a second rejection of what had
already been offered (see Alma 42:27).
READ D&C 124:49
does this verse teach us?
The Lord is merciful to those who
attempt with all diligence to keep His commandments but fail due to no fault of
The Lord may allow the agency of
evil or fallen people to negatively affect His work.
It may not be possible to judge if
the Lord has accepted an offering just by the output of the sacrifice alone.
However, one can judge whether or
not the Lord has accepted an offering by the outcome or response of the Lord –
i.e. the gifts of the spirit (see 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Moroni 10:8-18), the
fruits of the spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:8-9) or the
realization of specific promised blessings (see D&C 124:45) or the absence
of specifically articulated curses (see D&C 124:48).
READ D&C 124:50
How long will the Lord’s curse last?
Through the fourth
generation of the posterity of those who received the curse – the
great-great-grandchildren of those who were cursed.
Why are the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and
great-great-grandchildren also effected by the curses of a “called” people who
fail to do the Lord’s will?
God is in control
of all births and deaths in this mortal realm – that doesn’t mean that He
dictates it all, as we have our agency, but He can control when He sends
certain spirits to earth and under what conditions they will live.
It takes 3 to 4
generations after a rejection of the fullness of the gospel for the false
traditions and cultural mores of the fathers who sinned to be diluted enough
that individuals born into that line can have a chance to really consider and
accept the truth in an unbiased enough way without rejecting the truth out of
hand due to the strength of the traditions of the fathers in their upbringing
and society at large (see Abraham 1:1-7).
Those born within
that 3 to 4 generation time frame are placed there by God, based on His
foreknowledge, love, and in His mercy, for a reason that we do not fully
understand; while the children and descendants of those who reject the gospel
are heavily affected in this life by that rejection, their sins are visited
upon the heads of their fathers and they and their descendants will receive
mercy from God, to one degree or another (see 2 Nephi 4:3-7).
READ D&C 124:55
Was the Nauvoo temple accepted by the Lord and made holy, or
The temple was
only half completed by 1844, when Joseph Smith was martyred, as per the
offering he had made to the Lord to buy the Saints a second chance that the
children of Israel under Moses had never received - but which he may have
purchased with his own blood; as Joseph was the only one to whom “all things
pertaining to this house” had been revealed, it is a plausible assumption that
his death signaled the end of the “appointed time”, especially since the Saints
had completed the Masonic lodge, the Cultural Hall, the Seventies Hall, many
brick homes, and manufacturing and retail buildings by the time of Joseph
Smith’s death; the ungrateful and oblivious Saints (despite JS’s warnings and
exhortations to finish the temple) may have squandered a prophet’s life with
their careless indifference (see 2 Nephi 32:7).
Even though the
temple was unfinished, undedicated and unaccepted by the Lord, Brigham Young
“informally dedicated” the attic (only) of the Temple and used it to administer
to the Saints a type of the endowment ceremony Joseph Smith had given to him
and others in the Red Brick Store before his death; it is interesting to note
that the attic where BY conducted these endowments was burned in a fire in
February 1846, from an overheating stove pipe, causing major damage to the
place where the endowments had been conducted and roof of the building, too –
opening the building to the heavens and “baptizing it in fire” but not in the
way that the Kirtland Temple was (see D&C 110:1-10) – more of a fiery curse
than a blessing.
The Saints were
forcibly removed from Nauvoo in February 1846, before the temple was officially
The temple was finally
officially dedicated in April 1846; immediately after which the few who had
remained to finish it and dedicate it were forced to leave.
There is no record
of the Lord ever visiting the Nauvoo temple – before or after it was dedicated.
In a twist of
fate, within a couple of years after the dedication, the temple was burned in a
fire, hit by a tornado (which seemed to be targeting it, as per an eyewitness)
and not one stone was left to stand upon another.
If the Lord never visited the Nauvoo Temple, what are the
It was never accepted by Him (contrast that with Kirtland – D&C
It was never made holy by His presence.
The fullness of the priesthood was never restored again by Him to the
Was the Church rejected with its dead?
Yes. The Lord gave us a very
clear proof of whether or not the conditions were met: in affect He said, “if
you do what I ask and receive the blessings I have offered to you, you will not
be moved out of your place; if you do not, you will be removed from Nauvoo and
will suffer cursings, wrath, indignations and judgements.”
What happened? The Saints were
forcibly removed from Nauvoo and suffered cursings in the pioneer trek and in
Utah for years (physically) and generations (spiritually) after the expulsion.
the curse ever lifted?
No. In fact, President Benson reiterated the
condemnation scripture in D&C 84 again in 1986.
fourth generation after the original group who were cursed are now dying; for
example, Eldred Gee Smith was the great-great grandson (the 4 generation) of
Hyrum Smith and held the general authority office of “Patriarch” (which was
given to Hyrum in verses 91-96) and was sustained as a prophet, seer and
revelator; Eldred died in 2013 at the age of 106 years old; the church had
discontinued the office (which had been hereditary) in 1979 – making him
“emeritus”; not only is this an example of the death of those in the 4th
generation from those at Nauvoo, but Eldred held the right to the last visage
of official “fullness” priesthood, as an official church calling – he is dead
and the church has discontinued the office.
question remains – now that the fourth generation is dead or dying, might the
Lord give the Gentiles one final chance to rise up before He closes the door on
us? (see 3 Nephi 16:10); if He does, it will likely come to (and through) faithful
“Abinadi-like” outsiders, rather than the proud descendants in Church leadership
of the men who rejected Joseph Smith’s plea to build the Temple and failed to
rise up to receive the heavenly gift from God, back in Nauvoo.
Hyrum Receives the High Priesthood
READ D&C 124:91-96
What priesthood did Hyrum receive from the Lord in this
The fullness of
the Priesthood, which has the power to pronounce and seal blessings and
cursings on earth and in heaven (see Helaman 10:5-10; JST Genesis 14:27-31).
Hyrum was one of
those who was ordained to receive this priesthood at the Morley Farm in June of
1831; it took him ten years to prepare himself to actually receive that
Priesthood from God after the initial ordination (see JST Genesis 14:28-29;
It is ironic that
the bulk of this revelation is focused on telling the residue of the Saints
what they need to do to receive the fullness of the Priesthood while at the
same time, bestowing that same High Priesthood upon Hyrum – the Lord is truly
no respecter of persons.
What is the Office of Priesthood and Patriarch and why is it
It is to be a
prophet, seer and revelator unto the Church.
It is the
Patriarchal Priesthood birthright which was passed from father to son (“from
generation to generation, forever and ever”, see D&C 107:40), beginning
with Adam and extending nine more generations to Shem/Melchizedek (see Moses
6:10-23; D&C 107:41-53; LoF 2:37-52), then being lost until Abraham sought
it out and reconnected via Melchizedek (see Abraham 1:1-7; JST Genesis
14:25-36), to extend it another four more generations through to Ephraim.
Hyrum, as the son
of Joseph Smith Senior (who first held the office among the Gentile Church) and
older brother to Joseph, held this birthright priesthood “by right” (v91) – it
was given to him in 1841 because he had finally prepared himself to receive it;
it passed to Joseph Smith when Hyrum died, as Joseph was also worthy to hold
the birthright – this is why Hyrum died first in Carthage Jail, so that Joseph
would also die as the holder of this authority – and the birthright would die
with him as no one else was worthy to carry it forward.
What is implied by the fact that Joseph is to “show unto
Hyrum” the keys whereby he may ask and receive blessings and glory, as opposed
to Joseph “giving unto Hyrum” those keys?
“Keys” are not
what we are taught they are in the Church (a stamp of authority from God saying
that “this guy is in charge – whatever he says, I’ll honor it on earth and in
A key is knowledge
(truth, intelligence…light, glory) which unlocks a “door” or a “mystery” –
somewhere we cannot otherwise go or something that is unknown; this includes
the greatest of all mysteries or hidden knowledge which is how to enter back
into the presence of God and abide there without being utterly wasted – which
includes the “key” or knowledge that to do so, you must be precisely as God is
(see LoF 7:9).
In this case,
Hyrum, who is already a priesthood holder, had to use "the keys whereby he
may ask and receive" in order to receive "priesthood (meaning the
High Priesthood), and gifts of the priesthood (meaning the ability to seal on
earth and heaven)".
The bottom line is
that Joseph didn’t and couldn’t give this Priesthood to Hyrum; Hyrum needed to
use the keys to inquire of the Lord Himself to receive them from Him as per the
is being described in verses 94-96?
The temple endowment – or more
accurately, the temple endowment is a “key” or symbol or teaching tool through
which men and women can learn how to be ask and receive the blessings of being
“chosen, called up and anointed a king/queen and priest/priestess”.
The temple endowment is one of the
“keys” of the mysteries of the kingdom – it is intended to teach us how to live
a life which will enable us to find the Lord through the veil, part it, and
enter His presence so that He can lead us to the throne of the Father in His
Celestial Kingdom and seal us up to eternal life (see D&C 84:19).
The temple endowment is an
ordinance or authorized invitation from God to “rise up” and claim these
blessings – to be a prophet, seer and revelator which requires one look into
heaven and teach and testify of what one has seen there, and to be crowned with
eternal life – which is to be precisely like Christ and the Father are; Hyrum
is “appointed” that he “may” have these things – in other words, he is being
promised or is being given a “hope” of receiving these things in the flesh, as
Hyrum rise up and receive these blessings?
It is very interesting that John
Taylor used the phrase “the testators are now dead, and their testament is in
force” to describe the martyrdom of both Joseph and Hyrum – so yes, he rose up,
received the blessings and testified of such through his words and deeds, to at
least John Taylor (see D&C 135:5).