D&C/CHURCH HISTORY - LESSON 22
SECTIONS 76 & 137
- Introductory Comments.
- Background information.
- WHY ARE YOU HERE TODAY?
- Traditional Concepts of The After Life
- THOSE OF YOU THAT ARE CONVERTS FROM OTHER CHURCHES, OR HAVE KNOWLEDGE
OF OTHER RELIGIOUS DOCTRINES, WHAT ARE THE TEACHINGS OF THOSE CHURCHES
REGARDING LIFE AFTER DEATH?
- WHAT IS THE TRADITIONAL CONCEPT OF HEAVEN AND HELL?
- Teachings of the Church Prior to this Revelation.
- Book of Mormon teachings:
- Mosiah 2:41: Those that keep the commandments to be received into heaven
and dwell with God in never ending happiness.
- 1 Nephi 14:3: The great pit (hell) is for those led away by the devil.
- 3 Nephi 26:4-5: Men to be judged by their works and to be resurrected
to everlasting life or eternal damnation.
- 2 Nephi 25:23: It is by grace that we are saved after all that we can
- Alma 40: Alma discussing the state of the soul between death &
the resurrection. Men to be received into paradise or outer darkness (spirit
prison). This is a state of happiness or misery where the souls of men
dwell until the final judgment.
- Moroni 8: Mormon teaches that little children do not need baptism,
but are made alive in Christ.
- THE RESTORED GOSPEL, AS REVEALED AT THIS POINT IN TIME, CLARIFIES &
ADDS TO MANY TEACHINGS, BUT HAS BEEN MOSTLY SILENT ON THE FINAL STATE OF
- Section 76.
- Historical Background:
- A conference was held in Amherst, Ohio on January 25, 1832. At this
conference the Prophet was sustained as President of the High Priesthood.
- After returning from the conference Joseph & Sydney continued the
retranslation of the Bible. The Prophet wrote (see preface to Section 76):
"From sundry revelations which had been received, it was apparent
that many important points touching the salvation of man, had been taken
from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled. It appeared self-evident
from what truths were left, that if God rewarded every one according to
the deeds done in the body the term 'Heaven,' as intended for the Saints'
eternal home must include more kingdoms than one. Accordingly, on the 16th
of February, 1832, while translating St. John's Gospel, myself and Elder
Rigdon saw the following vision:"
- The account of this revelation as recorded by Philo Dibble:
- "The vision which is recorded in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants
was given at the house of 'Father Johnson,' in Hyrum [sic], Ohio, and during
the time that Joseph and Sidney were in the spirit and saw the heavens
open, there were other men in the room, perhaps twelve, among whom I was
one during a part of the time-probably two-thirds of the time,-I saw the
glory and felt the power, but did not see the vision.
- "The events and conversation, while they were seeing what is
written (and many things were seen and related that are not written,) I
will relate as minutely as is necessary.
- "Joseph would, at intervals, say: 'What do I see?' as one might
say while looking out the window and beholding what all in the room could
not see. Then he would relate what he had seen or what he was looking at.
Then Sidney replied, 'I see the same.' Presently Sidney would say 'what
do I see?' and would repeat what he had seen or was seeing, and Joseph
would reply, 'I see the same.'
- "This manner of conversation was repeated at short intervals
to the end of the vision, and during the whole time not a word was spoken
by any other person. Not a sound nor motion made by anyone but Joseph and
Sidney, and it seemed to me that they never moved a joint or limb during
the time I was there, which I think was over an hour, and to the end of
- "Joseph sat firmly and calmly all the time in the midst of
a magnificent glory, but Sidney sat limp and pale, apparently as limber
as a rag, observing which, Joseph remarked, smilingly, 'Sidney is not used
to it as I am'." (Juvenile Instructor, 15 May 1892)
- Joseph Fielding Smith: "Section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants
in its sublimity and clearness in relation to the eternal destiny of the
human family, has not been surpassed. It should be treasured by all members
of the Church as a priceless heritage. It should strengthen their faith
and be to them an incentive to seek the exaltation promised to all who
are just and true. So plain and simple are its teachings that none should
stumble or misunderstand." (CHMR 2:50)
- The Vision Of The Son Of God (1-24).
- V1-10: The Lord assures the faithful that they will receive eternal
glory and that they shall know the wonders of eternity.
- READ V11-18. Introduction to the vision.
- READ V19-24. Vision of the Lord.
- A marvelous testimony!
- V19: "And while we meditated upon these things..."
- Importance of meditating/pondering the scriptures and gospel.
- First Vision: After reading James 1:5 Joseph said that he "reflected
on it again and again".
- Nephi's vision of the tree of life: In regards to what his father had
told him he said that he "sat pondering in his heart".
- J.F.Smith's vision of the Redemption of the Dead: "I sat in
my room pondering over the scriptures; and reflecting upon the great atoning
sacrifice that was made by the Son of God."
- ARE WE DOING THIS WHEN WE READ THE SCRIPTURES? WHAT TRUTH AND STRENGTH
MAY WE BE MISSING WHEN WE DON'T TAKE THE TIME TO DO THIS?
- V24: "That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds
are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and
daughters unto God."
- HOW SIGNIFICANT IS THIS VERSE? WHAT KIND OF IMPACT DOES IT HAVE ON
ONE'S UNDERSTANDING OF THE GOSPEL PLAN?
- Bruce R. McConkie: "Now our Lord's jurisdiction and power extend
far beyond the limits of this one small earth on which we dwell. He is,
under the Father, the creator of worlds without number (Moses 1:33). And
through the power of his atonement the inhabitants of these worlds, the
revelation says, 'are begotten sons and daughters unto God' (D&C 76:24),
which means that the atonement of Christ, being literally and truly infinite,
applies to an infinite number of earths." (Mormon Doctrine, p65)
- The Vision of Satan and His Followers (25-49).
- READ V25-29. Vision of Lucifer, son of the morning.
- V26: The heavens wept. Here was a son of great promise who allowed
pride to rule. As we know he convinced a third of the hosts of heaven to
- V29: "Wherefore, he maketh war with the saints of God, and
encompasseth them round about."
- WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS VERSE?
- Joseph Smith said, "The devil will use his greatest efforts
to trap the Saints." (TPJS, p161)
- He told Heber C. Kimball, "The nearer a person approaches the
Lord, a greater power will be manifest by the adversary to prevent the
accomplishment of His purposes." (Life of Heber C. Kimball, p131)
- READ V30-38. Vision of the sons of perdition.
- HOW DOES ONE BECOME A SON OF PERDITION?
- Know God's power (31)
- Have been made partakers thereof (of his power) (31)
- Have suffered themselves to be overcome (31)
- Deny the truth (31)
- Defy God's power (31)
- Deny the Holy Spirit after having received it (35)
- Deny the Only Begotten Son (crucify him unto themselves) (35)
- Joseph Smith said: "What must a man do to commit the unpardonable
sin? He must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him,
and know God, and then sin against Him. After a man has sinned against
the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance for him. He has got to say the sun
does not shine while he sees it; he has got to deny Jesus Christ when the
heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with
his eyes open to the truth of it; and from that time he begins be an enemy.
This is the case with many apostates of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints." (TPJS, p358)
- President Kimball: "The sin against the Holy Ghost requires
such knowledge that it is manifestly impossible for the rank and file to
commit such a sin." (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.23)
- READ V44-49. Extent of the suffering of the sons of perdition.
- V45,46: The end & torment of suffering will only be revealed to
those who "are made partakers thereof."
- The First Presidency wrote in 1833: "...their state of destiny
was not revealed to man, is not revealed, nor ever shall be revealed, save
to those who are made partakers thereof."
- The Vision of the Celestial Kingdom (50-70, 92-96).
- READ V50-53. Those who come forth in the resurrection of the just.
- WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE CELESTIAL GLORY?
- A testimony of Jesus (51)
- Belief (51)
- Receive the Holy Ghost (52)
- Keeping the commandments (52)
- Overcome by faith - whatever obstacles or trials may be encountered
- Sealing by the Holy Spirit of Promise (53)
- READ V54-70. Description of the inheritors of this Kingdom.
- V60: These are they that shall overcome all things.
- READ V92-96. The Celestial Kingdom.
- V95: "And he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion."
- The Vision of The Terrestrial Kingdom (71-80).
- READ V71-80. Those who inherit the Terrestrial glory.
- WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE TERRESTRIAL KINGDOM?
- Those who died without the law.
- The spirits of men kept in prison, who received not the testimony of
Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it (73-74).
- Honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men
- Those who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus(79).
- Melvin J. Ballard suggested: "Now those who died without law,
meaning the pagan nations, for lack of faithfulness, for lack of devotion
in the former life, are obtaining what they are entitled to. I don't mean
to say that all of them will be barred from entrance into the highest glory.
Any one of them who repents and complies with the conditions might also
obtain celestial glory, but the great bulk of them will only obtain terrestrial
glory." (Sermons of Melvin J. Ballard, p. 251)
- V79: Those who are not valiant in their testimony.
- President Benson said, "not to be valiant in one's testimony
is a tragedy of eternal consequence. These are members who know this latter-day
work is true, but who fail to endure to the end. Some may even hold temple
recommends, but do not magnify their callings in the Church. Without valor,
they do not take an affirmative stand for the kingdom of God. Some seek
the praise, adulation, and honors of men; others attempt to conceal their
sins; and a few criticize those who preside over them." (Teachings
of Ezra Taft Benson, p.392-393)
- The Vision of the Telestial Kingdom (81-90, 98-112).
- READ V81-89,98-112. Description of those who reside in the telestial
- The term telestial is a uniquely Latter-day Saint term and only appears
in Sections 76 and 88. Webster's 3rd New International Dictionary defines
"telestial glory" as "the lowest of three Mormon
degrees or kingdoms of glory attainable in heaven."
- WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATION FOR THE TELESTIAL KINGDOM?
- Received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus (82)
- They who deny not the Holy Spirit (83)
- They who say they are some of one, and some of another--some of Christ
and some of John, and some of Moses--but received not the gospel, neither
the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant
- They who are liars and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers,
and whosoever loves and makes a lie (103)
- V89: "And thus we saw, in the heavenly vision, the glory of
the telestial, which surpasses all understanding;"
- A GREAT REWARD FOR EVEN THE INHERITORS OF THIS KINGDOM.
- Joseph Smith stated in May 1843: "I could explain a hundred
fold more that I ever have of the glories of the kingdoms manifested to
me in the vision, were I permitted, and were the people prepared to receive
them." (TPJS, p304)
- There is much yet to learn, but what a difference knowledge of this
revelation makes in our understanding of the eternal plan.
- Section 137.
- Read & review this section as time permits.
- WHAT DID JOSEPH SMITH SEE IN HIS VISION OF THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM? (See
- WHAT DID HE LEARN ABOUT PEOPLE WHO DIED WITHOUT RECEIVING THE GOSPEL,
BUT WOULD HAVE RECEIVED IT IF THEY HAD HEARD IT? (See v7-9)
- WHAT DID HE LEARN ABOUT CHILDREN WHO DIE BEFORE THE AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY?
- Next Week.
- Lesson 23: Read D&C 78-83; 104.