> When Elijah speaks of "the promises made to the fathers", what is
> he specifically talking about?
"...those who died without the opportunity for ordinances were promised their children would perform them." (Joseph F. Smith, 1897)> In a short compact statement, what is the "spirit of Elijah"?
Joseph Smith taught that the "spirit of Elijah" is the "power of Elijah" which is the sealing power. You can read more about this in Teachings, p.337-338.
> Also, what priesthood keys did Elijah hold?
"Elijah came to restore to the earth, by conferring on mortal prophets duly commissioned of the Lord, the fulness of the power of the priesthood. This priesthood holds the keys of binding and sealing on earth and in heaven of all the ordinances and principles pertaining to the salvation of man." (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS 2:117)
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> What about the rumor that the temples will close down and only be
> open to the Lamanites at some time?
Perhaps this Lamanite rumor is an offshoot of a more common misunderstanding regarding 3 Ne 21:23 which reads:
"And they (Gentile members) shall assist my people, the remnant of of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem." (3 Ne 21:23)Regarding this scripture, Elder McConkie states:
"An occasional whiff of nonsense goes around the church acclaiming that the Lamanites will build the temple in New Jerusalem and that Ephraim and others will come to their assistance. This Book of Mormon passage refers not to the Lamanites but to the whole house of Israel. The temple will be built by Ephraim meaning the Church and all other tribes will come in due course to receive blessings." (New Witness for Articles of Faith, p. 519)President Romney says of this verse:
"It is certain that the believing, faithful Indians shall be among the remnant of Jacob who are to build the New Jerusalem."So maybe some have taken the "whiff of nonsense" a step further and have started to believe this crazy rumor that the temples will close down and be opened only for the Lamanites.
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Elder Widtsoe taught regarding this scripture:
"The beginning and the end of the gospel is written in section 2 of the Doctrine and Covenants. It is the keystone of the wonderful gospel arch, and if the center stone should weaken and fall out, the whole gospel structure would topple down in unorganized doctrinal blocks."And the prophet, Joseph Smith:
"What is this office and work of Elijah? It is one of the greatest and most important subjects that God has revealed." (Joseph Smith, Teachings, p.337)
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord" (Mal 4:5).Joseph Smith commented that Moroni quoted this scripture to him a little bit differently than what we have in our bible. (JS 1:36)
"Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." (D&C 2:1, and JS 1:38)So Elijah would return, not for a casual visit, but to "reveal" the priesthood.
"The spirit, power, and calling of Elijah is, that ye have power to hold the key of the revelations, ordinances, oracles, powers and endowments of the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood...what you seal on earth, by the keys of Elijah, is sealed in heaven; and this is the power of Elijah." (Joseph Smith, Teachings p.337-8)Elder Packer helps us understand more about this sealing power:
"I have found that many member of the church have a very limited view of what the sealing power is...The keys of the sealing power are synonymous with the keys of the everlasting priesthood...Nothing is regarded with more sacred contemplation by those who know the significance of this authority...In each temple are brethren who have been given the sealing power. No one can get it except from the prophet...It is more closely held than any other authority." (Boyd K. Packer, Holy Temples, p.4-5)Also:
"The power and the authority held by Elijah, then, lies in the sealing ordinances, and more particularly those pertaining to the holy temple. Only one man at a time holds the keys of this sealing power on the earth." (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS 1:138)President Joseph Fielding Smith helped us understand how this sealing power relates to the priesthood held by each priesthood holder:
"Elijah brought the keys of sealing powers--that power which seals a man to a woman and seals their posterity to them endlessly, that which seals their forefathers to them all the way back to Adam. This is the power and order that Elijah revealed--that same order of priesthood which God gave to Adam and to all the ancient patriarchs which followed him." (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign Aug 1985)
"While...male members hold the priesthood and are called to officiate in a general way in the ordinances of the gospel, yet we, one and all, should realize that it is the power vested in the President of the Church by virtue of the keys he holds, which come from Elijah in particular...which makes valid the authority which we possess." (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS 1:139)Why was Elijah the one chosen to reveal these priesthood keys to Joseph Smith?
"These keys are the power to bind on earth and seal everlastingly in heavens, and without these keys, no people can posses the fulness of the gospel." (Bruce R. McConkie, New Witness for Articles of Faith, p. 629)
"Elijah was the last Prophet that held the keys of the Priesthood...It is true that the Savior had authority and power to bestow this blessing...Why send Elijah? Because he holds the keys of authority to administer in all the ordinances of the Priesthood" (Joseph Smith, Teachings, p.172)Yes, Elijah was the last Old Testament Prophet to hold all these keys, yet we should remember that he also restored these sealing keys to Peter James and John.
"And behold, there appeard unto the Moses and Elias talking with him." (Matt 17:3)
"At Christ's transfiguration, Elijah appeared on the mount to Peter, James, and John." (Russell M. Nelson, CR Oct 1994)
"With Him were two other personages, also in a state of glorified radiance, who conversed with the Lord. These were Moses and Elijah." (James E. Talmage, Sunday Night Talks by Radio, p.45)
"The Savior, Moses, and Elias, gave the keys to Peter, James and John, on the mount..." (Joseph Smith, Teachings p. 158)
Of this day, Elder McConkie said:
We do not say that all the Saints will be spared and saved from the coming day of desolation. But we do say there is no promise of safety--except for those who love the Lord and who are seeking to do all that he commands." (Bruce R. McConkie, 1979)The Lord tells us:
"...he that feareth me shall be looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come, even for the signs of the coming of the Son of Man." (D&C 45:39)So, back to our scripture, we find that one of the signs we should look for is the return of Elijah before the second coming of the Savior.
"After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said: Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi--testifying that he (Elijah) should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord to come...Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors." (D&C 110:13-14,16)Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:
"Among the Jews he (Elijah) finds a place of honor in their history second to none of the prophets...Edersheim in his work, 'The Temple' says: 'To this day, in every Jewish home, at a certain part of the Paschal service (i.e. when they drink the "third cup")--the door is opened to admit Elijah the prophet as forerunner of the Messiah, while appropriate passages are at the same time read which foretell the destruction of all heathen nations.' It was, I am informed, on the third day of April, 1836, that the Jews, in their homes at the Paschal feast, opened their doors for Elijah to enter. On that very day Elijah did enter--not in the home of the Jews to partake of the Passover with them--but he appeared in the house of the Lord, erected to his name and received by the Lord in Kirtland, and there bestowed his keys to bring to pass the very things for which these Jews, assembled in their homes, were seeking." (Joseph Fielding Smith, CR Apr 1936)Stephen D. Ricks agrees:
"Elijah did come at Passover time--as pious Jews had long hoped he would--although he did not avail himself of the hospitably opened door of a faithful Jewish family but came to the House of the Lord in Kirtland." (Stephen D. Ricks, "The Appearance of Elijah and Moses in the Kirtland Temple and the Jewish Passover," BYU Studies 23)Daniel C. Peterson marvels:
"It is doubtful that Joseph Smith even knew it was Passover, but the bestowal of the keys...at this ver time is highly significant." (Daniel C. Peterson, "Abraham Divided" p. 4)
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Will we, personally (You and me) be doing temple work during the entire Millennium? It appears that the answer is no, because we will not be mortals.
"Only mortals can perform temple ordinances. Will resurrected beings during the millennium actually take part in the endowment work of the temple along with mortal beings? The answer to this question is no! That is, they will not assist in performing the ordinances. Resurrected beings will assist in furnishing information which is not otherwise available, but mortals will have to do the ordinance work in the temples....If it were permissible for resurrected persons to come and do work in the temples, then there would be no reason for us in this mortal life to act vicariously for them, for they would do it for themselves." (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS 2:178)We understand that mortals during the Millennium will only live to be as the age of a tree, or 100 years and then they will be resurrected:
"A change, nevertheless, will come over all who remain on the earth, they will be quickened so that they will not be subject unto death until they are old. Men shall die when they are 100 years old, and the change shall be made suddenly to the immortal state." (Joseph Fielding Smith, Way to Perfection, p.268-9) See also D&C 101:30-31 and Isa 65:20OK, who will be doing all this proxy work? We understand there will still be births during the Millennium. I assume that these mortals will be doing this proxy work.
Again, will we be doing work for every person who ever lived?
"Ordinances not to be performed for all. Some people think we have got to do the work in the temple for everybody. Temple work belongs to the celestial kingdom, not to the other kingdoms. There will be millions of people, countless as the sands upon the seashore, who will not enter into the celestial kingdom. That we are told in these revelations. There will be no need to do temple work for them. To be exalted in the celestial kingdom one must be endowed and receive the sealing blessings. There will be many who will enter that kingdom as servants, but only those who comply with all the laws and covenants will be exalted." (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS 1:176)But won't most of those who died without the chance to hear the gospel, accept it and be saved in the Celestial Kingdom? It doesn't appear that this will be the case:
"Any one of them (those of the Pagan nations) might also obtain Celestial glory, but most will only obtain Terrestrial glory." (Melvin J. Ballard) "Proportionately few of the earth's total accountable inhabitants will gain salvation. The overwhelming majority of them will go to lessor kingdoms and receive lower reward." (Bruce R. McConkie, DNTC 1:495-6)I know that when we do work for the dead in our temples that it is comforting to believe that every ordinance we are performing is helpful for the person on the other side and will eventually be accepted by them. However, the above information seems to point out that the majority of the work we are doing now in our temples is for individuals who will not be in a position to ever benefit from this work or will ever be allowed to accept the work because of the lives that they led, here on earth. However, because of the worth of one soul, even just one per day accepting this work is worth worlds.
"'And then shall the heathen nation be redeemed, and they that knew no law shall have part in the first resurrection..' (D&C 45:54) Not that these will rise at once to the full height and perfect glory of God's celestial kingdom; but they shall be 'heirs of salvation' (see D&C 76:88)" B.H. Roberts, TWL p.446"
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15 May, 1829 - Baptism for the living restored by John the Baptist to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. (D&C 13) abt June 1829 - Melchizedek Priesthood and Gift of Holy Ghost for the living restored by Peter James and John to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. 23 Jan 1833 - Washing of feet first performed. (HC 1:323) 16 Jan 1836 - Washings for living first given given by Joseph Smith to Oliver Cowdery, James Corrill, and Martin Harris at Joseph Smith Home. (Oliver Cowdery Sketch Book, BYU Studies 12:4, p.416) "In January, 1836, over two months before the dedication [of the Kirtland Temple], the first ceremonies of endowment were given in the temple. They were not as complete as are the ceremonies today, but nevertheless, it was the beginning of the revealing and bestowing of the heavenly blessings in this dispensation. Washings and anointings were given, and the Prophet saw wonderful visions of the celestial kingdom." (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS 2:241) 21 Jan 1836 - Washings and annointings given to church leaders in Joseph Smith office (Oliver Cowdery Sketch Book, BYU Studies 12:4, p.419) 6 Feb 1836 - Presidency and quorums meet in temple and have anointed blessings sealed. Visions seen, prophesied, spoke in tongues. (Oliver Cowdery Sketch Book, BYU Studies 12:4, p.422) John the Revelator appears. (Heber C. Kimball Journal)
27 Mar 1836 - Kirtland Temple dedicated by Joseph Smith. Dedication Prayer. 3 Apr, 1836 - Sealing power restored by Elijah to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery (D&C 110:13) 1837 - Great Britain passed laws for preserving records. 15 Aug 1840 - Joseph Smith teaches doctrine of baptism for the dead for the first time at Seymour Brunson funeral. (HC 4:179, 231) 5 Apr 1841 - First couple married for eternity by Joseph Smith. Oct 1841 - Joseph Smith halts baptisms for the dead being performed in the Mississippi River. He instructs that they must wait for the temple. 8 Nov 1841 - Joseph Smith dedicates wooden font on backs of twelve oxen in basement of Nauvoo Temple enclosed by temporary roof. (Wooden font later replaced by stone font) (John Taylor journal, 9 Jan 1845) 21 Nov 1841 - Large congregation witnesses members of the Twelve be baptized and confirmed for about 40 dead. The font was also used for baptisms for the living. 4 May, 1842 - Full endowment for living given by Joseph Smith to Hyrum Smith, William Law, Brigham Young, Willard Richards, William Marks, George Miller, Newell K. Whitney and James Adams in upper room of store in Nauvoo. 50-70 people received prior to Joseph's martyrdom. (BYU Studies 19) Some endowments given in John Taylor House in Nauvoo. 1842 - Practice of adoption sealing introduced by Joseph Smith, discontinued in 1894 by Wilford Woodruff. 8 Apr 1844 - Joseph Smith teaches that all ordinances for the dead must be performed separately, from baptism to ordination, and endowments. (TJS, p. 362) 12 May 1844 - Joseph Smith teaches a man may act as proxy for his own relatives, and we may be baptized for close friends, but it must be first revealed by God, "lest we should run too far." (TJS, p. 367) 1844 - New England Historical Genealogical Society organized. 1844 - Total of 15,722 baptisms for the dead had been performed so far. 9 Jan 1846 - Living individuals sealed to deceased spouse for the first time. (Nauvoo) 25 Jan 1846 - Children sealed to their parents for the first time. (Nauvoo) 30 Apr 1846 - Nauvoo Temple dedicated by Joseph Young. Later Dedication prayer by Orson Hyde. 1846-1865 - Very few ordinances for the dead performed. 1849 - Some Endowments received on Ensign Peak (CHC 3:386) 1851 - Some Endowments received in Brigham Young's office. 1852 - 1853 - Over 2000 endowments received in the Council House (where Cross-Roads Mall now is) 5 May 1855 - Endowment House dedicated. (where North visitor's center now stands, far north-west corner) 1856 - Baptismal font added to Endowment House, for re-baptisms for the living. 1865 - Brigham Young explains that sealing of children to their parents and endowments for the dead cannot be administered to until a Temple is prepared. (WW Journal, 13 Jul 1865) 1865 - Ordinance work for the dead resumed. (Sealing of spouses and baptisms for the dead in the Endowment House) 11 Aug 1875 - St. George Temple baptismal font dedicated, used for United Order re-baptisms for the living. 1 Jan 1877 - Some completed portions of the St. George Temple dedicated. Baptistry Dedication Prayer Main Floor Dedication Prayer Sealing Room Dedication Prayer 8 Jan 1877 - Baptisms for the dead commence in the St. George Temple. 10 Jan 1877 - First Endowments for the dead to be performed in this dispensation, received in St. George Temple. Brigham Young had recently received a revelation "that it takes as full and complete a set of ordinances for the dead as for the living." (Susa Young Gates papers.) 23 Feb 1877 - Wilford Woodruff receives revelation that vicarious ordinances may be performed for his relatives by other church members, not related to them. (WW Journal 7:329) 6 Apr 1877 - St. George Temple dedicated by Daniel H. Wells. Dedication Prayer 21 Aug 1877 - Wilford Woodruff baptized by John D. T. McAllister for 100 prominent men of the 17th and 18th century including the signers of the Declaration of Independence, others including Benjamin Franklin, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, John Wesley, Benito Juarez, and Christopher Columbus. Wilford Woodruff baptized Brother McAlister for all deceased presidents of the United States except three (whose ordinances have been performed in recent years by relatives.) Apr 1894 - President Wilford Woodruff receives new revelation that every person should be sealed to his or her own parents, and so on back, and "not to any man outside the lineage of his fathers," which stopped the practice of adoption sealing.
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> What can I say about the temple, outside the temple?
The most recent counsel that we have on this subject is from President Hinckley:
"May I speak also of a matter pertinent to temples? I remind you of the absolute obligation to not discuss outside the temple that which occurs within the temple. Sacred matters deserve sacred consideration. We are under obligation, binding and serious, to not use temple language or speak of temple matters outside...Please, brethren, do not discuss outside of the temple that which occurs in the temple. While there, you are at liberty to do so. If you have questions, you may speak with the temple president or one of his counselors. But when you leave the doors of the house of the Lord, be true to a sacred trust to speak not of that which is holy and sanctified." (Gordon B. Hinckley, CR March, 1990)> Shouldn't people be encouraged to receive their endowments as soon as
"I feel that sometimes we unduly rush people to the temple. Converts and those who have recently come into activity need a substantial measure of maturity in the Church. They need understanding of the grand concepts of the enternal gospel. They need to have demonstrated over a period of time their capacity to discipline their lives in such a way as to be worthy to enter the house of the Lord, for the obligations there assumed are eternal. For this reason, many years ago the First Presidency determined that a convert to the Church should wait a year following baptism before going to the House of the Lord (to receive their endowments). It was the expectation that during that year he or she would have grown in understanding as well as in capacity to exercise that measure of self-discipline which would result in personal worthiness." (President Gordon B. Hinckley, CR April 1990)
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> Does sealing to a set of parents mean that we will be together forever?
> Won't I be able to see my step parent who I'm not sealed to? :exmp.
President Joseph Fielding Smith helps us understand,
"When everything gets finished, we will all be one family, --every member of the Church a member of ONE family, the family of God, And we will all be subject to our first progenitor, Adam...We are one family, and we all have to be joined to that family." (DS 2:173-174)
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> Was Christ's temptation real?
Consider: were these temptations a trial to the Savior? If he didn't have to even think about them and could easily be rejected out of hand, then this doesn't seem like much of a trial.
"And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue..." (Mos 3:7)I believe the temptations were real and that the Savior learned things from his experiences in this life.
"And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit... suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation..." (Mos 15:5)
"...yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered." (Heb 5:8)
"...but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Heb 4:15)
"That they (his temptations) were real, and that overcoming them constituted a major spiritual triumph is evident." (Bruce R. McConkie, DNTC 1:127)
Elder Talmage discussed the temptations:
"We affirm that the temptation were real, and that the trials to which our Lord was put constituted an actual and crucial test. To believe otherwise, one must regard the scriptures as but fiction. A question deserving some attention in this connection is that of the peccability or impeccability of Christ--the question as to whether He was capable of sinning. Had there been no possibility of His yielding to the lures of Satan, there would have been no real test in the temptations, no genuine victory in the result. Our Lord was sinless yet peccable; He had the capacity, the ability to sin had He willed so to do. Had He been bereft of the faculty to sin, He would have been shorn of His free agency; and it was to safeguard and insure the agency of man that He had offered Himself, before the world was, as a redeeming sacrifice. To say that He could not sin because He was the embodiment of righteousness is no denial of His agency of choice between evil and good.However he when discussing one of Christ' temptations, he writes:
"...But why proceed with labored reasoning, which can lead to but one conclusion, when our Lord's own words and other scriptures confirm the fact? Shortly before His betrayal, when admonishing the Twelve to humility, He said: "Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations." (Luke 22:28)" (Talmage, Jesus the Christ, p.134-5)
"We cannot resist the thought, though we be not justified in saying that any such had even momentary place in the Savior's mind, that to act upon Satan's suggestion, provided of course the outcome proved to be such as he had indicated, would have been to insure public recognition of Jesus as a Being superior to mortals." (Talmage, JTC p. 131)I think he is trying to say, it is interesting for us to think that if Christ would have taken Satan's suggestion, everyone one would have recognized Jesus was superior, but of course the Savior didn't consider this seriously for even a moment. That is my guess, it is hard to translate Talmage at times.
> Will we be tempted in the Spirit World? How about after we're
"Satan cannot tempt little children in this life, nor in the spirit world, nor after the resurrection." (Joseph Fielding Smith DS 2:57)His father Joseph F. Smith also taught this (see Gospel Doctrine p.452-5) This teaching is based on D&C 29:47,
"Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me."Joseph F. Smith goes on to say
"All who are redeemed through obedience, faith, repentance and baptism for remission of sins who live in that redeemed condition and die...Satan has no power over them. They are beyond his reach, just as little children who die without sin." (Ibid.)During the resurrection (or Millennium), Satan is bound.
"And in that day Satan shall not have power to tempt any man." (D&C 101:28)Of course it has been frequently debated whether or not Satan will be truly bound. This, because of some conflicting opinions from the brethren.
For example, President Daniel H. Wells teaches:
"We read that Satan shall be bound a thousand years. How is this to be accomplished? By our becoming so impregnated with the principles of the Gospel...that the enemy will have no place in us...and that is the way in which it is to be done, in my humble opinion." (JD 5:43)George Q. Cannon taught a similar concept (GT 1:86-7)
However, Joseph Fielding Smith says:
"Many teach Satan will be bound by the refusal to hear...This is not so. He will not have the privilege to tempt any man." (CHMR 1:192) "It will make a great difference when Satan will have his power taken away during that period, but the inhabitants of the earth will still have their agency." (Joseph Fielding Smith, AGQ 5:143)I tend to side with President Smith on this one.
Regarding temptation in the premortal life, consider that there are still probably billions still living in the premortal world. Where is Satan? He was cast down to earth (Moses 4:3).
A scriptures to take a look at: Alma 13:3 shows that we were "left to choose good or evil" (The first place means "first estate.")
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Of the Terrestrial:
"Behold these are they who died without law; And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh; who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh but afterwards received it." (D&C 76:72-74)Of the Celestial:
"All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry..." (D&C 137:7)So you see, those who accept the gospel in the spirit world can end up in either place. What makes the difference? Did they truly reject the gospel in this life? If so: Terrestrial. Otherwise it appears that the difference is how they led their lives on earth with what they were given, and whether or not they would have received the gospel with all their heart if they had been given the chance in this life. Then of course you need to factor in the other requirements mentioned in section 76.
Another related scripture:
"Then shall the heathen nations be redeemed, and they that knew no law shall have part in the first resurrection..." (D&C 45:54)Of this scripture, B.H. Roberts wrote:
"Not that these will rise at once to the full height and perfect glory of God's celestial kingdom; but they shall be 'heirs of salvation.' (The Truth, the Way, the Life, p. 446)Here's some other thoughts that might help:
Melvin J. Ballard said of the "Pagan nations:"
"Any one of them who repents...might also obtain Celestial glory, but most will only obtain Terrestrial glory."Elder McConkie sums up with saying that those of the Terrestrial Kingdom will be:
"Those (people of the Terrestrial Kingdom) who would not accept the Gospel but in the spirit world repented and accepted it as far as it can be given to them." (Joseph Fielding Smith CHMR 1:287)
"There is no such thing as a second chance to gain salvation. This life is the time of our probation. After this...cometh the night...wherein no labor can be performed...Salvation for the dead is for those whose first chance...is in the spirit world...Those who reject the gospel in life and receive it in the spirit world go to the Terrestrial Kingdom." (Bruce R. McConkie, BYU, 1980)
1. Accountable persons who die without law (and who, of course, do not accept the gospel in the spirit world under those particular circumstances which would make them heirs of the celestial kingdom);
2. Those who reject the gospel in this life and who reverse their course and accept it in the spirit world.
3. Honorable men of the earth who are blinded by the craftiness of men and who therefore do not accept and live the gospel law.
4. Members of the church...who have testimonies of Christ...who are not valiant..." (MD p. 784)
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"These are the last days--church members sleep; they are not watching on the towers of Zion; it is so long since the ascension; so many have waited in vain for his return; surely he will not come in our day. And then, at midnight, while the world sleeps--a most unlikely hour for a bridegroom to come and claim his bride--behold he cometh and his reward is with him." (Bruce R. McConkie, MM 3:467)Is this parable about the Good and the Bad?
"Not good and bad, not righteous and wicked, but _wise_ and _foolish_...all are members of the Church; the contrast is not between the wicked and the worthy." (Bruce R. McConkie, DNTC 1:685)And again, Elder McConkie says
"What portion of the Church shall be saved? Surely this parable is not intended to divide half the saints into one group and half into another. But it does teach, pointedly and plainly, that there are foolish saints who shall fail to gain the promised rewards." (Ibid.)
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"A testimony is to be found in bearing of it...It is one thing to receive a witness from what you have read or what another has said...It is quite another to have the Spirit confirm to you in your bosom that what you have testified is true...As you give that which you have, there is a replacement with increase." (Boyd K. Packer, Jan 1983 Ensign)This is why I love missionary callings so much, because it strengthens my testimony...due to me bearing it often. This is why members of the early 12 apostles like Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball didn't fall away. They were too busy preaching the gospel and bearing testimony.
Another idea. In our ward we have "kind of" a tradition, in that some people make it a point to at least make sure they bear their testimony on the fast day in the month of their birthday. This way they make sure they at least bear it once a year in fast meeting.
"A testimony isn't something you have today, and you are going to have always. A testimony is fragile. It is as hard to hold as a moonbeam. It is something you have to recapture everyday of your life." (Harold B. Lee, 1972)One true testimony I love in the Book of Mormon is Alma's:
"Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me." (Alma 5:46)Now THAT is a true testimony, and I try to keep this in mind when I bear mine.
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Interpreting D&C 64:23 to mean "those who don't pay tithing will be burned at his coming" is a very false interpretation. It reads, "for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming." Does this mean that all we have to do is pay our tithing...that it is "fire insurance?" Of course not!
"No man may hope or expect to have an inheritance on this celestial globe who has failed to pay his tithing. By the payment of his honest tithing he is establishing a right and a title to this inheritance and he cannot secure it upon any other terms but by complying with THIS AND OTHER JUST REQUIREMENTS." (Melvin J. Ballard, 1929) No, tithing alone IS NOT "fire insurance." And no, tithing is NOT a requirement to be saved at the second coming.