Discerning Heavenly Messengers and Revelation
READ D&C 129:1-9
What kinds of messengers will be sent from heaven to minister to you and why is it important to know?
Resurrected persons (angels and gods) who have bodies that can be handled by mortals because they can hide their glory or “condescend” to a lower state of glory such that we mortals will not be utterly wasted by being in their presence.
Spirits (of the just) who are not yet resurrected; these cannot hide their glory (the physical body provides the mechanism through which a heavenly being can condescend or appear to be without their glory or, in the case of Christ, actually leave that glory behind and inhabit a “tabernacle” of flesh without glory).
But both the resurrected beings and spirits have or will inherit the same glory; implied is that they are all on the path to exaltation, although they are at various stages of the journey; so none but those who have been promised eternal life have the remit from God to minister to us on earth – only these messengers have been given true messages from God to deliver to us and are not “freelancing” on their own.
It is important to know who is ministering to you and the principles under which they operate because the way to discern whether these are true spirits of light (the type of test) is dependent upon the type of body they are currently possessing; you can discern them either through physical touch or through their unwillingness to deceive you.
The implication is that Satan and his angels can appear to be angels of light, so much so that unless you know how to discern the difference (see Moses 1:1-15), you could be deceived; but, as with Moses and Joseph Smith, once you have experienced the glory of God, you will be able to easily see the difference; implied in this is that the glory of the Lord and the Father is magnitudes greater than that of other angels of light (who are still progressing to the point of the Son, much less the Father), such that Satan can imitate them pretty successfully because he was one of them until he fell.
Why would Joseph Smith give us this counsel about how to discern where heavenly messengers are hailing from?
His expectation and assumption was that the members of the Church were being and would continue to be visited by messengers from the spiritual realm on a regular basis.
But that some of those messengers might not be sent by God but would be agents of the devil disguised as angels of light; and that, to the uninitiated (those to whom this was their first visitation or had not had many and were not experienced), the difference between messengers of light and darkness could be hard to discern (see TPJS 229-243 for an editorial to the Saints given by Joseph Smith in the Times and Seasons newspaper; incidentally, this shows that Joseph’s expectation was that these visitations were not just intended for the leadership of the Church but that even the least saint should be having them).
An additional assumption we can imply from Joseph’s counsel is that if he expected the Church members to be having visitations (and needing help to discern them), he would also be expecting them to be experiencing other (less dramatic) forms of direct revelation such as visions, dreams, witnessing miracles, hearing the voice of the Lord and other messengers.
What can we know about Church leaders or others who teach you that you should not expect to hear voices or see visions (much less receive a visitation from a heavenly messenger) in answer to your inquiries to God?
These men and women have never heard a voice, witnessed a true miracle, had a spiritual dream, seen a vision or met a heavenly messenger in their lives; it is beyond their experience, so they do not believe it can actually happen – it doesn’t even enter their minds that it really can occur.
The insidious problem which compounds this is an assumption that Church leaders and others make with regards to the relationship between callings in the Church, personal righteousness and receiving direct revelation; for them, these are tightly bound, meaning that the most righteous men (and women…) get the highest callings in the Church because God is calling them and He would know (that they are the most righteous), and that because these men (and women…) have God’s stamp of approval because of the calling they have been given (but not by direct revelation from God Himself – they do not KNOW their standing before God, but they make an assumption, which all of us members also share…), they assume that they have the greatest opportunities to receive revelations – both personal and institutional (for the Church); so if they are not having these kinds of revelatory experiences, then no one else CAN be having them by definition (because they are the most righteous people on the earth, and they have the “keys” to revelation through the High Priesthood, see D&C 124:27-50 or else they would not have been called to high positions in the Church); so if anyone else IS having spiritual experiences of any note, above and beyond “feeling the Spirit” (so that would include hearing a voice and anything else up to and including a visitation), it is, by definition, from “another source” or in other words, it’s from the devil and those people are being deceived; either that or they are lying about the experience – which is more likely the assumption that Church leaders who teach these things really believe because if they don’t believe in revelation beyond feelings from God, they won’t really believe that the devil can or will directly intervene either.
This then leads to the problem of discerning if one’s feelings are from God or manufactured by your own brain (which is a much subtler discernment problem than the one Joseph is addressing when talking about messengers…); this issue is resolved by Church leaders and members who believe in the tight relationship between callings, righteousness and revelation – the easy answer is that if anyone lower in the hierarchy receives any sort of revelation (personal or doctrinal) which contradicts the “revelations” (again, these are feelings) of someone above them in leadership, the person who received that revelation is deceived and got it from another source.
Socializing with Gods in Heaven and on Earth
READ D&C 130:1-3
When will the Savior appear?
Ultimately, all will stand before His judgement bar at the last day.
Some will live to see His coming in glory, as the Lion of Israel.
But those who hope to survive that Second Coming and not be totally wasted, or who hope to stand before His judgement bar with joy rather than shrinking in fear, must seek out the Lord now, as the Lamb of God, and enter into His presence to be redeemed (see John 14:24; Ether 3:13); this fact speaks to the reality that He is still ministering to people on the earth who are seeking for Him.
When Joseph says “we shall see Him as He is”, what is implied?
We will be able to see Him – which means those who see Him (at any time – either as a “Lamb” now or as the “Lion” in His glorious Second Coming) have had the “veil over their minds” taken away and the “eyes of their understandings” opened (see DD&C 110:1) – implying that they are now essentially blind to the spirit realm; and have likely been transfigured or changed (to some degree at least – see Moses 1:1-11) to see Him – either as a result of the light they have received for obedience to eternal law (God’s commandments) or as a result of the Lord’s grace in “covering” them temporarily in a “wedding garment” of glory, as He did with Moses in Moses 1.
We will be able to see or comprehend Him “as He is” – which means that we must be filled with sufficient light or intelligence to understand who and what He is – to “see the real” Lord; we must be much more like Him to be able to do this (see Alma 12:9-11).
What does it mean that the same “sociality which exits here will exist there”?
Sociality implies that two beings can have a relationship with each other that connects them in bounds of love or affection together; implied is that their relationship is different and possibly deeper or closer than the relationships they have with other beings, even in heaven.
To have the same sociality or relationships in heaven as there exist on earth means that the character and attributes of heavenly beings must be such that they can have those relationships – they are not just “spirit essence” but beings with personalities and character attributes that differ from each other – including differing amounts of light, which equate to different types of desires.
What will “coupling that sociality with eternal glory” mean to our relationships in heaven?
Many of the personality defects and capability limitations that accompany the flesh will be gone, as will be the stresses, fears, pain, temptations and sins that trigger them.
The ability to communicate with each other spirit to spirit or spiritual being to spiritual being will be greatly increased; constraints of language will be gone as spiritual beings can communicate mind to mind
However, we will retain certain character traits and attributes, with accompanying light or darkness, which we developed or merited during our mortal probation(s); even Christ and the Father have specific character traits (see LoF 3-5).
All of this together points to the possibility of much deeper relationships in heaven where truly “being one” can be more likely and much more all-encompassing in what it can mean than what is possible here on a mortal earth.
Will the Father and Son really appear to us personally in this life?
Yes – not only “can they” but they must, if we are to be redeemed (see Ether 3:13; D&C 76:51, 74, 82).
This is what the “fullness of the Gospel” actually is.
It is enabled by first reconciling ourselves to God through true repentance and loving Him enough to sacrifice our whole souls to Him, then communing with Him in prayer and worship, and finally following the commandments He makes known unto us perfectly
To have eternal life, we must know God (see John 17:3) and this is God’s greatest desire for us – in fact, it’s “His work and glory” to bring this to pass (see Moses 1:39); that means we must progress from the spiritual darkness of walking alone, to having the Holy Ghost dwell in us via the baptism of Fire or birth of the spirit, to being visited by the Lord, to having a “habitation” with the Lord and the Father (see John 14:16-23) - for how can you “know” someone that you have not spent a lot of time with, much less never met?!
When Joseph says that God dwelling in our hearts is a false notion, how does that square with the teaching that the Father’s Spirit is in Christ, and Christ’s Spirit can be in us?
First of all, there is a difference between a personal visit from Christ where He ministers to you, and being filled with His Spirit; even if you have a “habitation” with the Lord, He is not always with you as a personage, just as you are not always with the family with whom you share a “habitation” on earth.
When Joseph says the appearing of the Lord in John 14:23 is a personal appearance, as opposed to a nebulous “dwelling in your heart”, he is referring to the need we have to enter again into the presence of the Lord to be redeemed (Ether 3:13) and receive a sure testimony of who He is (see 3 Nephi 11:14-15 and Ether 3:17-20), so that we can be cleansed and hear His testimony to the Father confirming that fact (see D&C 88:75).
That being said, the Lord Jesus Christ has made it clear that the Father’s Spirit dwells in Him and He dwells in the Father; and that we can have the same relationship, so let’s discuss what this means…
The spiritual realm came before the natural or physical realm (although they are both “physical” or constructed of subatomic energy), and the latter was created by the former, so it (the spiritual realm) is more powerful; there is a direct cause and effect relationship between the two realms – with many things happening in the spiritual realm which have consequences that manifest themselves in the natural realm; you can affect the natural realm through working in the spiritual realm.
If we do not see the spiritual realm, we are blind to what is “really going on” in the natural realm, as the spiritual realm is just as “real” as the physical, but as it is composed of more refined element; it cannot be seen with the natural eyes of man (see D&C 131:7-8), who cannot even see all of the light waves that we know about in the electromagnetic light spectrum (i.e. our natural eyes can’t see gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet rays, visible light, infrared rays, radar, radio waves).
We are meant to see the whole creation so that we can influence it most effectively according to God’s will; to do this we must have our spiritual eyes opened; the Lord can heal or open the spiritual eyes as easily as He healed the eyes of the man born blind (see John 9:1-41).
We are all like batteries for light, but that light must be “pulled” down from heaven; there are two aspects to this – the first is the light capacity of the individual (i.e. Christ having a huge capacity for light while most of us have a much smaller capacity) and the second is how “charged” that capacity is from day to day, as the act of transmitting that light from one individual to another drains the first individual; it is a sacrifice to give that light to another and it takes love to do this; to bless another is a sacrifice to oneself.
Light capacity within us is expanded over time by obedience to higher and higher eternal laws (see D&C 130:18-21); when we “grow” in light, it doesn’t just mean that our “batteries” are full, but that the capacity of those batteries has grown to store or house more light.
Deep prayer and communion with God via meditation is what recharges the batteries – connection with the holy; even Christ had to do this regularly while in mortality.
Our spirits can collect light to the point that wherever we go, we effect our environment without even noticing it; demons will flee from the light that emanates from you but they also take notice and will seek to stop or derail you, as opposition will come in equal proportion to the light you receive and emanate.
You can literally become a conduit through with God can affect the natural physical world because through your agency, sight, light and sharing the mind and desires of God by having His Spirit within you, you act as a conduit between the two realms; while God can affect the physical world without our agency, He chooses not to, unless it is to warn mankind before destruction; He honors our agency, so if we choose to be a conduit to heaven and use our agency to do His will, He will use us as a tool or servant with which to part the veil and help bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of many more souls than He would otherwise be able to reach, without violating their agency or ours.
Being a conduit filled with light, whose spirit has been “made holy” by aligning itself with eternal law and the “mind of God” or Holy Spirit – becoming a bridge between the spiritual physical realm and the natural physical realm – is what it means to become one with God; it describes what is happening when God “dwells” or “abides” in you, and you in Him; your spirit has increased in glory enough that it is capable of constant interaction with God and His glory – you are filled with His Spirit and because your spirits are so aligned, and light attracts light, your spirit abides also in Him, as you share the same mind or Holy Spirit.
The Nature of Heaven
READ D&C 130:4-9
If God knows all things because they are all present before His eyes (see D&C 38:1-2), and some scriptures speak of “time no longer” (see Revelation 10:6; D&C 88:110), then what is “God’s time”?
God sees and knows all things with regards to this earth and all of us, from the foundation of the earth to the end thereof (see 1 Nephi 9:6; 2 Nephi 2:10, 27; WoM 1:7; Alma 26:35; Alma 40:10; Ether 3:25; Moroni 7:22; D&C 38:2; D&C 88:6, 41; D&C 121:24; Moses 1:6, 35; Moses 7:41, 67; Abraham 2:8).
Linear progression of events over “time” seems to exist to some degree in the heavens as Christ was not always who He is now but progressed from grace to grace, or exaltation to exaltation (see TPJS 391), until He was called a Son of God and received of God’s Fullness.
Implied is that God might not know all things regarding all eternities in the future (although this introduces a real issue with regards to faith – if God doesn’t know all things regarding all eternities, couldn’t He be blindsided regarding some future event? Perhaps when one receives a fullness of knowledge, one learns all things – including the details of all eternities past, present and future); this gets especially mind-bending when you consider the fact that God (and us) have always existed – however, the fact that we and God have not always been as we are now (see Alma 13:3-5) suggests that there is “time” of some kind, in heaven – or at least the idea of a linear progression in states of being.
When one considers the idea of multiple mortal probations, it is possible that “time” could exist in the way we know it in mortality, but be different with God where all is as one “perfect day” (see Proverbs 4:18; D&C 50:24) and He/They are just “being” or existing in an eternal “now” outside of time.
“Time no longer” could be another way of saying “time is up!”; especially as both of the verses which use this phrase seem to use it at the beginning of the Millennium, and we know that mortality and time will continue into the Millennium, albeit of a Terrestrial variety.
What is implied by the statement that “there are no angels who minister to this earth but those who belong or have belonged to it”?
All of the angels who minister to this earth (or spirits who interact with mortals) “belong” to it or had or will have a mortal probation upon it – or had the opportunity to receive one, as in the case of Lucifer, but rebelled and lost that opportunity but were still cast out of heaven to dwell here.
“Angels” or heavenly beings “belong” to an earth; it is like a familial cohort who live together on an earth and again in a heavenly state; but they are separate from other cohorts; perhaps these earth-connected groups are “branches” of the true vine (Christ), under the guidance of a husbandman (the Elohim, see John 15:1-8) – in other words, each cohort is “given” to a Savior as His children, if they will accept Him (see D&C 50:40-45; John 17:6-16).
Implied is that there are also angels in the heavens who belong and minister to other earths.
What does it mean that God resides on a “globe like a sea of glass and fire”; was Lucifer lying when he told Adam the garden of Eden was modeled after the world we all had come from?
It is possible that Lucifer lied, but remember that he does his best work when he mingles a little falsehood with the truth.
To answer the question, Joseph may be trying to describe what he saw or was able to discern without seeing or comprehending all things; for example, when we look at the sun, all we see is a shining orb that is so bright we can only look directly at it for a second or two before turning away, but someone with the capability to look directly at the sun would see a great deal of detail that we cannot discern because we are blinded by the glory or light.
Perhaps, to the uninitiated, it the celestial earth appears to be a shining orb of crystal, but if you had eyes which were attuned to that level of glory, it might look more like a very much more glorious version of our world but with a light/color spectrum far greater than what our eyes can see.
“A globe like a sea of glass and fire” could be symbolic language to describe a planet of great glory and light, but may not literally mean the ground and trees and water is all made of crystal or fire; to reside in God’s presence, the elements must have received a fullness of glory and be resonating at an extremely high frequency, emitting a great deal of light and heat or everlasting burnings.
What does it mean that God’s planet is a great “Urim and Thummim”?
Describing the planet as a globe like a “sea of glass” sounds like a Urim and Thummim is being described.
If the description of heaven as a “globe like a sea of glass and fire” is a description of the magnitude of heaven’s glory rather than an actual description of the planet’s typography, then likening that planet to a “great Urim and Thummim” might be symbolic of the fact that God has all things before His face and can see the end from the beginning – that He knows all truth (things are they really were, are and will be) at once, as the Urim and Thummim were revelatory aids.
If the description of a sea of glass and fire is literal, then perhaps the planet itself truly is the tool which God uses to see all things.
Why are all things pertaining to a lower order manifest to those who will live on the Celestialized Earth?
Like Christ and the Father, those in a higher order have the intelligence to fully comprehend “all things” with regards to any lower orders; they also have the tools to “know” all things – past, present and future are before their faces.
They may have loved ones or those who may be dependent upon them spiritually, who reside in those lower orders.
They may be called to minister to those in a lower order.
READ D&C 130:10-11
What is the “white stone” that all who enter the Celestial Kingdom will receive?
It is a “seer stone” or a personal “Urim and Thummim” which will allow them to “see” the truth or have knowledge of things as they truly were, are and will be (see D&C 93:24).
What is implied about the fact that the white stone will show to those in the Celestial Kingdom “things pertaining to a higher order of kingdoms”?
That there are kingdoms of a “higher order” than the Celestial Kingdom where God the Father dwells.
The nature of the afterlife may be a lot more complex than our “Eternal Progression Map” implies it to be; it may be a great work to learn our exaltation, even beyond the grave (see TPJS 393).
What is the meaning of the “new name” or “key word” which is written on the white stone?
It a “new name” that only the one who is given it will know (see Revelation 2:17).
This is another example of something that must be taught by God and cannot be taught to you by another man – the name signifies that the person is (or will be, if s/he becomes precisely as God is – see LoF 7:9, 15-16; TPJS 390-393) the Word of God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (see Revelation 19:12-16).
It may be the word of power which commands the elements (see Moses 7:13); which may be the name of God which is “sealed” upon the “foreheads” of certain individuals enabling them to speak the Word of God in God’s name – making His will come to pass on earth as it does in heaven, through their agency.
The American Civil War Marks the Beginning of the End
READ D&C 130:12-13
Why was the American Civil War the beginning of the “difficulties which will cause much bloodshed previous to the coming” of Christ?
The Promise of America is that if the people would serve the god of this land, Jesus Christ, they would be “free from bondage and from captivity” (see Ether 2:12); the American Civil War was fought over continuing the practice of “bondage” in certain states – perhaps our wickedness in not abolishing this institution, which was only designed to get gain, is at the heart of why the Lord found it so abhorrent and decided to begin the troubles that would eventually lead to His Second Coming in glory from this war; for as the USA goes, so does the world in the Last Days.
It would be very interesting to see if the Union victory and defeat of states’ rights vs. Federal government rights didn’t lead directly to the mess we are in now with the power of the Executive Branch of government (a la Bush, Obama, Trump, Biden, etc.) – and it will be interesting to see how this abuse of power may continue to lead toward last days “difficulties”.
By 1843, hasn’t Joseph Smith “seen the face of the Son of Man” many times already? Why does God tell him that he’ll see it if he lives to 85 years old?
By 1843, Joseph had seen Christ in person in the Sacred Grove in 1820, in the school of the prophets at the Whitney Store, during his vision of the degrees of glory (see D&C 76), and in the Kirtland Temple (see D&C 110), at a minimum.
“Seeing the face of the Son of Man” in this verse seems to be referencing His coming in glory (see Matthew 16:27; Matthew 24:30; Matthew 25:31; Luke 21:25-27; D&C 49:6; D&C 65:5).
Why did Joseph receive the answer he received regarding the second coming of Christ if the Lord knew Joseph would be dead in less than 15 months’ time?
The Lord said “IF” he lived until he was 85, Joseph would see the Second Coming – but the Lord knew Joseph would not live that long.
It was a response to a question that the Lord did not want to answer but Joseph prayed “very earnestly” to know about; what He told Joseph could have been true (if the Saints had kept their “appointment” to build the temple and receive the again the Fullness of the Priesthood which would have allowed them to stand in God’s presence (see D&C 124:27-48), they would have become a Zion people themselves and would have had the power to find and convert the Lamanite remnant who would have built Zion and ushered in the Second Coming), but because the Saints failed, the Second Coming did not happen in 1890.
It is very interesting to read, however, the various accounts of Christ’s visit to a large gathering of Native Americans from 16 Western and Midwestern tribes in the spring of 1890 at the northeast shore of Walker Lake, Nevada; representatives from the tribes had either been previously invited by the Lord Himself via vision and dream, or by those from other tribes, or by “two or three men in white with long beards” (see 3 Nephi 28); at the gathering, Christ selected twelve “witnesses” and taught them a Dance of Welcome or Peace to unite the Indian tribes and with which to worship the Father (see Psalms 149:3-4) – the Lord stood in the middle of a circle of dancers who joined one to another via locked arms, He then sang a prayer of praise to His father, while those around Him circled reverently with one step, then a half step. But the Dance was later perverted by those not at Walker Lake (Sitting Bull and the Sioux) into the “Ghost Dance” to incite revenge against the whites, leading to the massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota; the Dance of Peace was a five day-four night dance with a ceremonial bathing and feast on the last day and was to be conducted every six weeks; He taught them to stop fighting and to love all men, and that He had offered to save the whites but they had refused to accept Him – and how the day of the Indians, who are to be restored ownership of the land had come (see 3 Nephi 16:10-16); the Walker Lake visit was reported in the US newspapers of the day as an Indian “Messiah Craze”; representatives included Porcupine (Cheyenne tribe from Montana), Short Bull (Arapaho Chief from western Wyoming), Wovoca whose English name was Jack Wilson (Piute tribe from western Nevada) and his father, Numataivo (Piute) and others from the Navajo, Sioux, Ute, Bannocks, Gros-Ventres tribes, plus other “white” Indians from the far south of Mexico (see The Remnant Awakens, by Val Brinkerhoff, p 60-71; Millennial Star Aug 18, 1890 vol 52, pps 532-535).
Gaining Light/Knowledge and Eternal Law
What is a “principle of intelligence”?
Principle = the cause, source or origin of something; constituent part; something that has before been proved; a foundation which supports an assertion; a tenet or something which is believed (see Webster’s 1828 Dictionary).
Intelligence = truth, knowledge, light, glory.
A principle of intelligence is a foundational, constituent element of truth; I use the word “element” on purpose because intelligence or truth is also light or glory – it is an element, not just an “idea” or “knowledge”; the more principles of intelligence one obtains and lives, the more filled with light or glory their soul becomes.
Who or what are we to be diligent and obedient to, to gain more intelligence?
Diligent to receive further light and knowledge or a higher level of eternal law.
Obedient to the eternal laws we have received.
Since He loves us and is extremely cognizant of how much light we have and can handle, God gives us commandments which are the embodiment of eternal law but are tailored to us – if we will listen for them; He gives us only what we can actually live, although it may stretch us to do so and we may need to call upon Him for help; that being said, a fullness of light is available to all, as soon as they choose to live the laws associated with it.
Why does having more intelligence give you an advantage in the world to come?
More intelligence means more light.
As light attracts light, having more intelligence means that your desires for further light and knowledge will be increased in the world to come; it means you are on an upward trajectory and your capacity for light is greater and thus your ability to enable the work and glory of God (i.e. the eternal life of mankind) is greater, too – and the degree to which you are closer to become precisely like Christ in a world to come, the greater your advantage (the closer to the fullness you will be).
What kind of advantage is being referenced here; if we are to be one, why would we want to have an advantage over someone?
It is not an advantage over someone else but it’s an advantage over darkness and any fallen world tendencies we have within us still.
It is an advantage because it means our connection or association with God (i.e. Priesthood, which enables God’s power to be manifest in our life and those we interact with) will be stronger than it would otherwise be.
What is the law decreed in heaven that is referenced here?
The law decreed in heaven is the eternal law of the universe, which God complies with perfectly, otherwise He would cease to be God.
God decrees these eternal laws in heaven as His law or word because following them precisely is why He is who and what He is; and He wants us all to become like Him (see Moses 1:39).
But God did not invent these laws of light, as even He had to follow them to become what He is now.
When it says the law was irrevocably decreed, what is implied?
It cannot be changed; it is beyond recall; in a manner precluding repeal.
The reason the law is irrevocably decreed is that it did not originate with God – it is eternal law which exists independent of any God, angel, devil, man, or intelligence.
God did not create the Law but discovered and aligned Himself with it – then decreed it as the way to life and salvation, as He has proved through His own experience of attaining Godhood.
How does one “attain” to specific intelligence or knowledge or blessings in this life?
Through one’s experience – choosing to obey God’s commandments.
Gaining intelligence or light requires choosing to align oneself with eternal law when faced with opposing choices.
This must happen outside the direct presence of God to be a legitimate test of our agency.
To enable the most gain, it must occur in a fallen world where consequences (and thus the rewards) can be dire; in such a world one’s agency can be truly tested and more light can be gained more quickly because the opposition is greater.
The Doctrinal Mistake of Elder Orson Hyde
READ D&C 130:22-23
Why does this verse teach doctrines about the nature of God and the Holy Ghost that are different from those taught by Joseph Smith in Lectures on Faith 5:2 and in various other scriptures (see also Alma 34:34-38; 2 Nephi 4:12; John 14:10, 16-17, 19-20, 23; Acts 7:48; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 12:11-14; 2 Corinthians 6:14-16; Ephesians 3:17, 19; D&C 93:17, 35; D&C 88:47-50, 66; 2 Timothy 1:14; 1 John 4:12-16; Hebrews 10:19-20; 2 Corinthians 3:12-18; Helaman 4:24; Jonah 2:4, 7; Psalms 18:6; Mosiah 15:1-5)?
D&C 130 was added to the Doctrine and Covenants in 1876 by Elders Orson Pratt and Orson Hyde – 32 years after the death of Joseph Smith.
The doctrine came from a series of talks that Orson Hyde gave in the presence of Joseph Smith in April 1843. Some of the items that Orson Hyde spoke on were not accurate, such that it required a private correction by Joseph Smith. In Joseph Smith Papers, Journals, Volume 2, on April 2, 1843, Joseph recorded in his journal: “Elder Hyde, I am going to offer some corrections to you. Elder Hyde replied – they shall be thankfully received.” Joseph then proceeds to give his “corrections” to Elder Hyde, which include what we now have in D&C 130:1-9, 12-15. The next day Joseph talks about correcting Elder Hyde again regarding the Book of Revelation. Then he tells Hyde what we now have as D&C 130:18-21. He completes that thought then again reverts to Elder Hyde’s mistake and describes it. The passage from his journal reads: “There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven. Before the foundation of the world upon which all blessings are predicted and when we obtain a blessing it is by obedience to the law upon which that blessing is predicated. Again reverted to Elder Hyde’s mistake. &c the Father has a body of flesh & bones as tangible as man’s the son also, but the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit. – and a person cannot have the personage <of the HG.>. He may receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. It may descend upon him but not to tarry with him.”
So, Joseph Smith wrote in his journal that he corrected “Elder Hyde’s mistake”, which he then listed by writing “&c”, which is another way to write “etc.” Normally, we would write this word (“etc.”) after the sentence. However, Joseph used it to start the sentence, then listed Elder Hyde’s mistake. What was Elder Hyde’s mistake? Amongst other things: the Father having a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s, the son also, and the Holy Ghost is a personage of Spirit. Joseph was trying to lay out to Elder Hyde that to know God, you must first know the truth about Him – you must understand His character and attributes correctly. Implied in this is that Orson Hyde did not “know” God - that he had not been in His presence like Joseph Smith had; it is implied because Orson is teaching incorrect principles about God, which he would know are incorrect if he had been in His presence; in addition, Hyde’s false understandings about God were actually preventing him from entering into God’s presence because you must have a correct knowledge of God’s character and attributes to muster the faith sufficient to enter God’s presence (see LoF 3:2-5; John 17:3; 3 Nephi 11:14-15).
In Lectures on Faith, Joseph Smith clearly states that God the Father is a SPIRIT OF GLORY AND POWER, and further that the HOLY SPIRIT IS THE MIND OF GOD (see LoF 5:2; D&C 131:7).
The Joseph Smith Papers captures this incident with Joseph correcting Elder Hyde on the Godhead: http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/journal-december-1842-june-1844-book-2-10-march-1843-14-july-1843/50.
What is interesting (in a sad, evil and conspiratory way) is that when Orson Hyde and Orson Pratt prepared Section 130 for publishing in 1876, they left in Orson Hyde’s original doctrine, which Joseph had privately corrected him on (and had written in his journal about), passing if off as something Joseph Smith had said (and therefore legitimate) and instead of originating with Orson Hyde. This shows that the early brethren preferred their own musings to Joseph’s revelations, as Brigham Young’s doctrines of Adam-God theory, blood atonement, and plural marriage as an absolute requirement for exaltation, all illustrate.
As a side note, the fact that Hyde and Pratt attributed Hyde’s doctrine to Joseph Smith is interesting in and of itself – they had an assumption (which proved correct), that if the Saints thought this doctrine came from Joseph Smith, that they would believe that it must be true because Joseph never made any mistakes (which was not true – it’s just that the mistakes he made in life were not the ones he was accused publicly of making; in an ironic twist, one of Joseph’s mistakes was not rooting out the Saints’ preference for strongmen to rule over them). Although this was before Wilford Woodruff’s “the Lord will never allow us (the Brethren) to go astray” comment, you can see this false doctrine already had legs by 1876.
The incorrect doctrine which is D&C 130:22 was one of the main things at odds with Church beliefs about God that led the brethren on the committee to decide to remove the Lectures on Faith from the D&C in 1921. They rightfully identified that the description Joseph Smith gave of the Father in Lectures on Faith 5:2 was at odds with what was in section 130:22, which they apparently preferred to what Joseph Smith had revealed – but Joseph had testified that he had entered into God’s presence numerous times while Hyde, Pratt and the six apostles who removed the LoF in 1921 had not! We know this because a) none of them ever claimed to have entered God’s presence and b) because they disbelieved Joseph Smith’s description of God in LoF and Joseph stated that faith based on incorrect knowledge will not bear fruit (i.e. you won’t enter God’s presence if you don’t understand the truth about God because your faith won’t enable you to); so either Joseph Smith saw God and knew what he was talking about or the others did – they both can’t be right because they contradict each other.
In addition, understanding this verse as false doctrine helps to explain why the Holy Ghost is never mentioned as an entity during the endowment ceremony in the Temple, although Elohim (Father) and Jehovah (Son) are, and Michael (Adam) is, too (and the three of them work together as a “godhead” to create the world) – and we are instructed to consider ourselves as if we were Adam or Eve when we go through the rite.
What or who is the Holy Ghost?
While there is a clear relationship between them, the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost are not the same thing.
The Holy Spirit is what some call the “light of Christ” or “Spirit of Christ” which emanates from God to fill all of space (see D&C 88:12) and is given to everyone that is born into mortality that they might know good from evil (see Moroni 7:16-19; D&C 84:46); it quickens and makes alive all things (see Moses 6:61) and gives both physical light and intellectual or spiritual enlightenment to all things (see D&C 88:7, 11); it cleanses you and remits your sins (see Moroni 6:4; 2 Nephi 31:17) and sanctifies or changes your nature (see 3 Nephi 27:20; Mosiah 5:2); it is truth and knows all things and will bring them to your remembrance (see John 15:26; John 16:13; Moses 6:61; John 14:26; D&C 68:4; 1 Nephi 10:19); it bears record of the Father and the Son and is the record of heaven or mind of God (see 3 Nephi 11:32; Moses 6:61; LoF 5:2); it is the unified field of sub-atomic energy of which the entire universe is made.
A portion of God’s own spirit dwells or resides in us; this is how we are one with Him and sanctified to become like Him and do His work upon the earth, as if He were doing it (see Romans 8:9; Moroni 7:16; D&C 20:37; 1 Nephi 11:1-2, 11; 1 Nephi 13:15; 2 Nephi 4:12; 2 Nephi 21:2-5; WoM 1:7; Mosiah 4:3; Mosiah 5:2; Mosiah 13:5; Mosiah 18:12-14; Alma 11:22; Alma 22:5-11; Moses 6:64-68).
It is possible for us to resist and withdraw from that Spirit (see Alma 32:28; 2 Nephi 26:11; Mosiah 2:36; Alma 34:35; Alma 40:13; Helaman 4:24; Helaman 6:35; Mormon 2:26; Mormon 5:16; D&C 121:37).
Receiving and abiding with (not grieving) the Spirit of the Lord leads one’s own spirit to become holy or sanctified, or it could not abide with God’s Spirit; when something holy touches something unholy, that which is holy is not profaned by it (made unholy) but makes that which it touches holy also – it changes its nature by infusing it with light and purging out the darkness or dross (see Isaiah 6:5-7).
God wants our spirits to become “holy” like His – in fact, to be holy and “one” with that portion of His Spirit which resides in us, so that we do not grieve it; but it goes WAY beyond that – He wants us to inherit immortality and eternal life, which requires that we become precisely like He is (see LoF 7:9, 15-16) – He wants us to join Him in His Godhead and for that to happen, our “ghosts” or spirits, really our whole souls, must become holy – we must become a “Holy Ghost” and ultimately, work out our own salvation and attain to our own resurrection (assisting those who will depend upon us, at that far distant day, to rescue them from the fallen, telestial world they find themselves trapped in – and some of those may be people we know on Earth today…), as our Lord did before us, and as all Gods have done and all others must do if they intend to ascend to that state (see TPJS 390-393) – Christ is the “prototype of the saved being” and will be the Father of all those who come unto Him and are saved (see LoF 7:9).
Again, this is why there is no personage named “Holy Ghost” in the temple endowment ceremony – only “two personages” are named (see LoF 5:2; JSH 1:17, 25) and Michael or Adam, who is meant to represent all of mankind in the ceremony.
So, to conclude, there actually IS a “personage” of the Holy Ghost who is a “personage of Spirit” – she/he resides in you – really is you or your own spirit, if you will come unto Christ and be perfected in Him and be sanctified or changed to be precisely like Him through proximity to His Spirit.
Exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom
READ D&C 131:1-4
Why might there be three heavens or degrees of celestial glory?
There is a difference between receiving celestial glory and becoming like God.
With His help, you can abide God’s presence without becoming precisely like God.
There is a hierarchy of glory and capability in the Celestial Kingdom because God is not the only one who dwells there and most of the rest have not yet risen up to become precisely like Christ.
Why does the highest degree of celestial glory require eternal marriage and what is implied about this level of glory?
The highest degree of celestial glory is to become a god or goddess.
Gods are created male and female (see Genesis 1:27) and can only create, redeem and grow in glory together as “one God” or “Elohim”.
READ D&C 131:5-6
What is the “more sure word of prophesy” and how does it differ from making one’s “calling and election sure”?
They seem to be two phrases which describe the same event, although it is possible that calling and election refers to Christ’s promise to you of eternal life while the “more sure word” is the Father’s sealing of that promise, although this is not clear in Joseph Smith’s writing on the subject.
Making one’s calling and election sure happens at the hands of the Second Comforter, Christ (see TPJS 170-172), who gives you a “prophesy” (because it has not yet happened in the linear timeline of your existence, at the time you receive the promise) that you will be a joint heir with Christ and be sealed up to eternal life (see TPJS 332-333, 336; 360-361).
Why is it called the “more sure word of prophesy” and how does one receive it?
It is “more sure” because it comes from God’s own lips and He is a god of truth, knows all things, and cannot lie or He will cease to be god; so it is as sure a prophesy as you could ever hope to get.
It must be received directly from God Himself; the phrases “by revelation” and “through the power of the Holy Priesthood” are clues to this – revelation in this case means the revealing of God to you; the Holy Priesthood is what is required to stand in the presence of God (see D&C 84:19-22), and priesthood itself is an association with gods or angels (depending upon the order or level of priesthood), through which power comes.
What is “ignorance” and why is it “impossible” for man to be saved in ignorance?
Ignorance = want, absence or destitution of knowledge (see Webster’s 1828 Dictionary).
You must KNOW that you are saved – you MUST receive a promise or hope of salvation from one who can carry out that promise, against all odds; God is the only one who can do this.
Having this actual knowledge from God is an “anchor to the soul” and gives one the fortitude to stand faithful to God despite any suffering or sacrifice required at one’s hands (see LoF 6:2-3, 5).
If you do not have an actual knowledge from God of your standing before Him and a promise of salvation, you will eventually “grow weary in your mind and faint” – belief only, whether it comes from a “prophet” with “keys” or a church’s doctrine or promises laid out in the scriptures or the actual knowledge of another person you know or trust, is not enough to generate the faith YOU need to demonstrate to be saved (see LoF 6:4, 10,12).
This actual knowledge is obtained through the sacrifice of all earthly things (see LoF 6:7-8) and comes directly from God to you.
The Nature of Matter
READ D&C 131:7-8
What implications are there to the fact that all spirit is matter?
Spirit is “real” matter.
While there is a difference between “spirit” and “element” (spirit is intelligence, glory, light and truth or energy while elements are what make up the “tabernacle of God” or your body – both mortal and resurrected, see D&C 93:33-36), they both consist of matter.
Quantum physics shows that all matter is actually energy – so all matter has “spirit” or intelligence at its core, regardless of how refined or intelligent it is.
What must you do to see refined or purified matter – i.e. spirit?
You must have purer eyes than you currently have; either a translated or resurrected body or being clothed by the glory of God which enhances your natural sight (see Moses 1).
As light is attracted to light, you must have more light within you – you must consist of or be made of more light or be more refined – to be able to see all of the light that is really there.
Among other things, the veil of mortality actually protects “unrefined” fallen mortals from “blindness” (actually, from being “utterly wasted”) as a result of exposure to the full glory of God; it acts like a quarantine or power “grounding” apparatus for us.
How do these verses help us understand LoF 5:2 regarding the body of the Father?
The Father is a personage of “spirit, glory, and power, possessing all perfection and fullness” and Christ is in His “express image and likeness”.
The fact that spirit is matter more refined and pure (or matter infused with more light and glory and intelligence – resonating at a higher frequency with more associated heat), helps to explain that the Father still has a physical “body” but it is so glorious in its fullness that it cannot be contained in a mortal sphere like ours, where a “tabernacle” (like the one which Christ condescended to be born into) is required to shield this creation from the magnitude of its glory; the Father is still a “personage” but His body has properties that so far surpass ours as to be defined as “spirit, glory and power” and not a “tabernacle of clay” as we now occupy.
As the Father’s body and spirit are inseparably connected, as a result of the resurrection that He Himself attained to in a prior eternity (which Christ witnessed), it is possible that He cannot again take upon Himself a tabernacle of clay to visit us on earth (in a form which will protect us) but must come in His glory; this could explain why the Lord ministers to this earth and will not deliver it up again to the Father until it has been celestialized, or it would be destroyed.