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Principles of Full Salvation

Scriptures Pertaining to The Mysteries

Salvation is a Family Matter

Oath & Covenant of the Priesthood

Intercession - A Case Study

Spirit World & Gates of Heaven

Sanctification Q & A

Broken Heart & Contrite Spirit

Bearing of Burdens
Observations on the Mainstream

What Satan Taught Eve in the Garden

Milk vs Meat

Core Message of the Gospel

Latter-Day Babylonian Captivity

Is There a Scourge Remaining for the Lord's People

Purpose of Demons

Saviors on Mount Zion

Rest of the Lord

Revelation on the Tasks

Dews of Heaven

Latter-Day Events Timeline, Some Key Scriptures & Commentary

Allegory of the Tame and Wild Olive Trees

Isaiah 28 Commentary

Isaiah 30 Commentary

Signs of the End Time—3 Nephi 21-22 Including Isaiah 54

Isaiah 13 Commentary

The Little Childa Spiritual Metaphor

GT 1

The only way to obtain truth and wisdom, is not to ask it from books, but to go to God in prayer and obtain divine teaching.  (WofJS, 3 Oct. 1841, Times & Seasons 2:15 Oct. 1841, 577-78).

  Principles of Full Salvation

We are given to understand that the very existence and purpose of God is to bring to pass the “immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). The term eternal life in this context refers to God’s manner and quality of life.


Therefore, we may reasonably assume that God holds Himself responsible to provide the realization of this opportunity to each one of us, though obviously predicated upon certain conditions.

​We may also conclude that obedience to the ordinances of the Lord's church and endurance in keeping gospel commandments are a prerequisite to the objectives of full salvation. This includes eternal family units, eternal procreation, celestial glory and ultimately creation and administration of our own worlds.


The question is: Are we on track to realize and experience these marvelous results, or are we missing some details?

​In relation to this thought, how seriously do we take the Savior’s injunctions to “be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect” (Matt 5:48)? We can be perfect in the ordinances, and many of us can be rather good at the basic commandments. We may be good at living the forms of the gospel. So were the Jews.

​We are told that Moses sought diligently to sanctify the tribes of Israel so that they might behold the face of God. But they balked and would rather have Moses intercede and explain what God said to them. We may think them ignorant but we, with very few exceptions, have not done any better. Are we perhaps listening to the message, but not understanding?

​How do we know where we stand with God? If our bodies are in all the right places at all the right times so we can put the check marks in the check boxes, does that mean we are on track? Do we then have a ticket on the Gospel Train which will eventually drop us off at the Celestial Station… where we may live happily ever after, surrounded by loved ones?

​We may be particularly good at living the forms of our religion but be no better off than the Jews who rejected Christ. When we view, for instance, what the early saints in this dispensation suffered for their faith and how many apostatized even after witnessing the golden plates, angels and miracles, can we be confident we have personally done enough? When we read of the mortal challenges faced by saints of earlier dispensations, might we not question if we really understand what is required?

​So, aren’t the brethren and the scriptures telling us what we need to know and do?  The answer is, of course, in the affirmative. We are taught throughout all the scriptures, ancient and modern, and through conference addresses what we need to do… that is, rather, how to find out what we need to do in order to become what we need to be.

​What we really need to learn are the mysteries—not the distance to Kolob or the location of the lost ten tribes. We need to know the mysteries of godliness and how to acquire godly traits.


Numerous scriptures attest to this (See below: GT 2: Scriptures Pertaining to The Mysteries). By and large we are not doing this. People who avoid responsibility for “the mysteries” or the “greater knowledge,” ignorantly wrapped in a cloak they refer to as the “mainstream of the Church,” will find themselves woefully unprepared for the hereafter. See also GT 10: Observations on the Mainstream.

​The Law of Moses was a schoolmaster to bring Israel to Christ. The Church and Kingdom of God on earth is also a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Living the forms provides the keys to obtaining the necessary “greater knowledge.” But if we do not learn and apply the principles of sanctification and personal repentance, we are no better off than the ancient Jews who through ignorance rejected Christ.

​In the Lectures on Faith the Prophet Joseph explains that salvation consists of being “assimilated into [the] likeness of god” and that upon “this hinge turns the door of salvation” (JS Lectures on Faith, 7:16).


The necessary transformation is not some magic that happens to us upon or after death, “for that same spirit which doth possess our body when we go out of this life shall have power over us in the eternal world” (Alma 34:34). This spirit is not referring to some demon as many suppose; it is referring to our personal spirit and the habits and attributes our spirit has acquired in mortality.

In the pre-mortal realm it was possible to sin as evidenced by the war in heaven. As Christ, our exemplar, sought only the will of the Father from the beginning others did not. Some of the valiant spirits were to be chosen to be leaders in mortality, not all of which would prove faithful as we learn in the marriage supper of the lamb.


Many of the spirits that followed Lucifer had wasted their time and learning opportunities such that they were rebellious and unprepared, lacking confidence in facing the challenges of earth life. Those who chose the Father’s plan still come to mortality bringing a range of preparation or lack of it.


Nevertheless, by virtue of the Savior’s atonement, which effect reaches to our birth, our premortal sins are forgiven and all begin earth life free of sin. However, we bring with us the propensities and weaknesses that we did not address or resolve in premortal heaven. It is also clear that the level of obedience in the pre-mortal realm influences both our options and responsibilities here.

At death, however, our spirit passes through the veil with the same attributes, lessons, habits and dispositions we have acquired during our mortal experience. Unless we have overcome all things (including overcoming the evil spirits that were assigned to us), we arrive in the post-mortal spirit realm tainted with addictions and emotional and spiritual baggage. Though some amount of baggage may be inevitable, each of us is required to attain a certain threshold of personal repentance and acquisition of the Divine Nature during our mortal sojourn. See also GT 16: Purpose of Demons.

​We are to seriously come unto Christ… with a broken heart and contrite spirit… regularly… daily (3 Ne 12:19). The Old Testament temple worship of the daily oblation or sacrifice, morning and evening, is the sacrifice replaced by the broken heart and contrite spirit as well as a clue to its potential frequency of its exercise (D&C 59:8, 3 Ne 12:18-20).

​What is the broken heart and contrite spirit really about? It is the spiritual weeping and godly sorrow intrinsically involved with repentance. It is a gift from the Father as a result of true repentance. Without it there is no genuine repentance (See 2 Ne 2:7). Without it there is no gift of the Divine Nature that replaces the sin or weakness that hopefully brought us to our knees—the one the Lord revealed to us… because we asked Him to know what we should be repenting of. This is the key.

​This is the marvelous key to how our fallen nature can become incrementally more like that of our Savior and the Father. The Law of the Father is a perfect law that accommodates no sin whatsoever and by virtue of this law no flesh could be saved. It is through the Savior’s Atonement and its attendant Law of Redemption that salvation is possible.

So, we also need to understand that salvation requires perfection. At some point the Savior must present us to the Father without spot, with our having acquired a personal character that can dwell with God, the Holiest Being in the universe. As Joseph Smith indicated, to live with God we must be like Him.

​We have long been told that God’s grace only works for us, “after all we can do.” Well, what does that mean? Among the things it means, as King Benjamin tells us, is to obtain and retain a “remission of sins from day to day” (Mosiah 4:26). It means sanctifying ourselves and maintaining that state.


Enduring to the end is not just making all our meetings and ministering assignments until we die. It means consistently raising our level of Light and Truth and our capacity to do God’s will until we can be taken to paradise where we will continue to be ministering servants or angels. This was and is our objective before mortality, in mortality and after mortality. It is the purpose of life. It is the purpose of eternal life. It is the only path of true joy.

​Unfortunately, many members of the church tend to view repentance as pertaining mainly to serious sins. Rather, it actually pertains to every character flaw that separates us from beholding God’s face and dwelling in His presence.


There is never a time in mortality when we cannot continue to learn line-upon-line and precept-upon-precept as the Spirit of the Lord enlarges our understanding of Godly things—until we receive all that is necessary for us to pass through the veil and enter into the rest of the Lord.


Through symbolism the temple ceremony teaches the ideal manner of prayer (e.g. dictated by the Spirit of the Lord) and the manner in which the necessary personal information is received in order to pass through the veil into the Celestial world (e.g. personally from the Lord).

​Since “It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance” (D&C 131:6), the question is, ignorance of what? Answer: Ignorance of God’s will... God’s will for us… God’s daily will for us… and a knowledge of where we stand with Him.


In order to be among the wise virgins, we must have taken the Holy Spirit for our guide, doing the things which allow and engender the Holy Spirit. This requires repentance and personal revelation. Indeed, repentance is the price of personal revelation.

​"The doctrine of the priesthood” that "distills upon the soul as the dews of heaven" is known only by personal revelation. It comes line upon line and precept upon precept, by the power of the Holy Ghost to those who love and serve God with “all their heart, might, mind, and strength" (See D&C 98:12 and B R McConkie, The Doctrine of the Priesthood, Priesthood session, Apr. 1982).


Accordingly, Russel M Nelson’s very first conference topics as President were those of repentance… daily repentance (We Can Do Better and Be Better, Priesthood Session, April 2019) and personal revelation (Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives, April 2018).

​When the bell rings for us… that is, when we begin to understand what is actually required, it becomes necessary to apply these principles daily and to maintain this consistent walk of sanctification through the reminder of our life. Then we may have the privilege of continued progression in the gifts and attributes of God and godliness. Our daily activities take on more of an eternal nature. We acquire new power to raise and lift others. When we humbly put our agency upon the altar, we become useful to the Lord in new ways. We begin to see the world with new eyes, and we find that peace which transcends all worldly things.

Finally, here are some pertinent words from the Lord through the prophet Moroni, who wrote this specifically to us:

Come unto me, O ye Gentiles, and I will show unto you the greater things, the knowledge which is hid up because of unbelief. Come unto me, O ye house of Israel, and it shall be made manifest unto you how great things the Father hath laid up for you, from the foundation of the world; and it hath not come unto you, because of unbelief. Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have been  hid up from the foundation of the world from you—yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in my name, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel (Ether 4:13-15).

Apparently if we do not possess the greater knowledge, it is because of unbelief ​associated with a state of wickedness, hardness of heart and blindness of mind--hardly how we may see ourselves. 

And, in conclusion, a few more words on the key principles of full salvation from the prophet, Joseph Smith:

​Reading the experience of others, or the revelations given to them, can never give us a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God. Knowledge of these things can only be obtained by experience in these things, through the ordinance of God set forth for that purpose…The disappointment of hopes and expectations at the resurrection [of those who do not acquire this knowledge], would be indescribably dreadful. That the organization of the spiritual and heavenly worlds, and of spiritual and heavenly beings, was agreeably to the most perfect order and harmony—that their limits and bounds were fixed irrevocably, and voluntarily subscribed to by themselves—subscribed to upon the earth—hence the importance of embracing and subscribing to principles of eternal truth. He [Joseph Smith] assured the saints that truth in reference to these matters, can, and may be known, through the revelations of God in the way of his ordinances, and in answer to prayer (9 Oct 1843 Times and Seasons 4 [15 Sep 1843]: 331-32).

GT 2

 A doctrine or gospel "mystery" is a truth that cannot be known or understood except through divine revelation.

Scriptures Pertaining to The Mysteries

The purpose of this discussion was prompted by the idea, often expressed among Latter-day Saints, that “the mysteries” are to be avoided and that the so-called “mainstream” of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints represents a safe haven from such temptations.

Now, if the mysteries alluded to have to do with topics such as the medieval monks pondering how many angels can stand on the head of a pin or more recent conjectures about the location of Kolob and how many of the ten tribes are living under the polar ice cap, steering clear of such things makes perfect sense.

However, an aversion to the mysteries as the term is found and defined in the scriptures is not taught in Holy writ. Quite the opposite. There are clearly mysteries, for example, that pertain to an understanding of whom we worship. Since Heavenly Father's attributes and the principles upon which our salvation rest are taught by the scriptures, it behooves us to consider the referenced mysteries contained in them.

If the mainstream of the Church is devoid of the mysteries it would be a sad commentary on the so-called mainstream. An examination of Holy Writ on this subject can indeed actually be a little scary. Perhaps we need to be scared, or at least a little more respectful of the admonitions we have received.


The following is a small sampling of the scriptures relating to this topic (with italics added):

1 Ne 10:19: For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.

Alma 12:9: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart  only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him. And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.

Alma 26:22: Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God…

D&C 6:7: Seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich.

D&C 42:61: If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.

D&C 63:23: But unto him that keepeth my commandments I will give the mysteries of my kingdom, and the same shall be in him a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life.

D&C 76:5-10: For thus saith the Lord—I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end. Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory. And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom. Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations. And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught. For by my Spirit will I  enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my  will—yea, even those things which  eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.

D&C 84:19: 19 And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.

D&C 93:28: He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.

D&C 107:18-19: The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church—to have the privilege of receiving the  mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the  heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the  Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and  presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.

King Benjamin teaches his people and us the principles of humility, dependence upon God, the need of a broken heart for sin, a mighty change in our nature and for us to enter into a covenant to serve God. "I have not commanded you to come up hither to trifle with the words which I shall speak, but that you should hearken unto me, and open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view" (Mosiah 2:9).  It is by humility, a consistent repentant soft and broken heart and by personal covenants that a remission of sins is obtained and retained from "day to day" (see Mosiah 2:26).

The above is merely a sample of the emphasis placed throughout the scriptures on the importance of understanding the mysteries of God and of godliness… how we become gods through the principles of sanctification.

What exactly are these mysteries that we are clearly told to acquire and understand? Though the above scriptures are rife with clues the mysteries of God and godliness are only understood by those to whom they are revealed, “… for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him; To whom he grants this privilege of  seeing and knowing for themselves; That through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory” (D&C 76:16-18).  It would seem that being able to bear His presence in the world of glory would certainly apply to occupying a place in the Celestial Kingdom.

It should be clear at this point that a knee-jerk avoidance of any consideration of gospel mysteries may be a formula for failure to achieve what the Lord has intended for the faithful. In fact, we may observe that Satan loves this kind of obfuscation of important terms and concepts. The mysteries the Lord has for us are the keys to the necessary spiritual transformation that celestial glory and residence requires. We cannot live with God unless we are in a serious and effective process of becoming more like Him.

However, the grand key that unlocks this knowledge is an even more common theme of the scriptures. It is simply application of the principle of repentance. It is by and through repentance that the mysteries of God and godliness are revealed and acquired. The most common misunderstanding about repentance is the fact that it was instituted (as symbolized by the ancient daily temple sacrifice) as a daily activity… a daily necessity. The personal sacrifice associated with repentance was always intended to be a daily activity (3 Ne 9:19-20) in order to maintain a remission of sins.

Is there ever a time in our mortal progression that we have arrived and no longer need to acquire knowledge “line upon line and precept upon precept”? [1]  Joseph Smith stated that salvation requires knowledge and if we do not have sufficient knowledge some being from the unseen world will have power over us (JSTeachings, p 217, 297).


Acquiring a knowledge of the necessary mysteries of full salvation requires personal revelation. And personal repentance could be considered to be the price of personal revelation, the exercise of which guarantees King Benjamin’s admonished object of obtaining and retaining “a remission of sins from day to day” (Mosiah 4:26).

One can have shelves of church and gospel related books full of underlining and not understand the very basics of salvation. The path to the Celestial Kingdom not only requires having checks in all the appropriate checkboxes (which is simply living the forms, like the law of Moses) but also repenting of all our sins. Our sins, past and present (e.g. daily), all stand as sentinels preventing our entrance into the realms of heaven.


The mysteries of God and godliness have to do with placing our sins on the altar and getting rid of them… all of them. This is not magic, and the process does not defy logic. Rather, it requires an active participation in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. As we make the required offerings of repentance and service, we receive the necessary instructions (revelation) of how to proceed.  By this means we receive the necessary changes in our character as each sin is removed and replaced by the appropriate “gift of the divine nature” of Christ (2 Pet 3:4).

​We must exercise caution that we do not emulate the ancient Jews, always looking beyond the mark and missing the true nature of salvation. There are many modern-day Pharisees among us and rafts of LDS books on religion devoid of the actual knowledge that saves. It is unfortunate that since the works of Hugh Nibley so many authors feel the need to emphasize scholasticism over spiritual knowledge.[2]


When people write books and teach for money and honor we should expect to be careful with the contents of their work. There is seldom a commentary that replaces or exceeds what one might receive from the Spirit of the Lord pertaining to a particular passage of pondered scripture. And entertaining and faith promoting stories can be uplifting but limited in both short term and eternal effect.

If one or more of the three Nephites appeared to us, what instructions would we likely receive? Besides calling us to repentance, which is their main function, would they tell us to read more church books, attend more seminars, tune into more podcasts? Not likely. Rather they would tell us to spend more time with the actual scriptures such as Isaiah and the Book of Mormon in particular, the most perfect of all books, works for which we are commanded to study. This also includes the Doctrine and Covenants, which contains revelations specific to our day. We are to study the scriptures prayerfully, seeking revelation, and asking the Lord what to repent of each day.

If we consistently walk the path of repentance, personal revelation and sanctification we will find great treasures of knowledge taught to us by the Spirit of the Lord and in a manner that cannot be duplicated by any other means. In effect, we will have been taught directly by the Lord. It is this personal direction and divine education that constitute the knowledge and power by which we are able to progress beyond the veil of death, pass by the angelic sentinels set at each of the levels of heaven, and receive our exaltation.

The resultant incremental gifts of the divine nature, accrued through valiant testimony, daily repentance and acceptable offerings of service and broken hearts, constitute and facilitate the path of character and personality transformation that lead to an ultimate celestial version of our still unique identity and to our personal godhood.

  1. “This doctrine, this doctrine of the priesthood—unknown in the world and but little known even in the Church—cannot be learned out of the scriptures alone. It is not set forth in the sermons and teachings of the prophets and Apostles, except in small measure. The doctrine of the priesthood is known only by personal revelation. It comes, line upon line and precept upon precept, by the power of the Holy Ghost to those who love and serve God with all their heart, might, mind, and strength” (See D&C 98:12B, Bruce R McConkie, The Doctrine of the Priesthood, Apr.1982, General Conference, Priesthood session, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, emphasis ours).

  2. Though extremely erudite in many fascinating subjects, Dr. Nibley understood that the actual road to higher knowledge was opened and sojourned by virtue of humility and daily repentance.

GT 3

And Saviors shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau (Obed 1:21). The mount of Esau are those who, like Esau, have sold their birthright for a mess of pottage.

Salvation is a Family Matter

To introduce this topic, we call attention to two revelations recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants in which the Lord apparently holds early church members responsible for the eternal fate of their ancestors.

​But behold, at the end of this appointment your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God (D&C 134:32 emphasis ours).

This seemingly implies there is some responsibility extending to a member’s ancestors with respect to living descendants. Note the following:

​It is contrary to the will and commandment of God that those who receive not their inheritance by consecration, agreeable to his law, which he has given, that he may tithe his people, to prepare them against the day of vengeance and burning, should have their names enrolled with the people of God. Neither is their genealogy to be kept, or to be had where it may be found on any of the records or history of the church (D&C 85:3-4, emphasis ours).

​The Lord was, in each case, clearly emphasizing the importance of obedience to His commands to: 1) build a temple, and 2) keep the covenants of the law of consecration. For the present purpose we may take note of the implied threat to the salvation of the Saint’s ancestors. It seems odd that this topic does not draw more attention and comment. Why would the Saints ancestors also be at jeopardy?

​To these remarkable declarations by the Lord, we include here what seems another pertinent account relative to ancestral responsibility—a visit by the Prophet Joseph to President Brigham Young several years after the Prophet’s death. During this remarkable conversation from beyond the veil, here summarized, President Young asked the Prophet if he had a message for the members. He responded that if they would get the Holy Ghost they would go “just right.” The Prophet further went on to explain that in the premortal councils every generation of the earth was organized down to the last man but that because of darkness the world lay in chaos, in other words, disrupting the original inspired order (Documentary History of the Church, Feb 17, 1847, also in Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878).

Perhaps also relevant, the Prophet Joseph likewise appeared at a later date to Wilford Woodruff, though hardly having time to talk, which discussion left Elder Woodruff marveling at the level of activity among the heavenly host. He had supposed that the faithful would get to rest after death but was informed that this dispensation had not this luxury (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p.288-89).

​If we connect the dots, it seems not unreasonable to assume that our generational lines were not only organized in the beginning, but there was also and is likely a lineal reorganization effort on the other side of the veil throughout the generations as difficulties and darkness among men on the earth altered the original order of our lineages. It seems also likely that one of the reasons the heavenly host are so busy may be that they are trying to get the right people together in each generation to preserve and restore blood lines, facilitate mortal bodies for spirits with latter-day commissions, as well as to protect mortals from the constant threat of temptation and destruction.

​It seems instructive that since some early Saints were twice threatened with being expelled from the kingdom along with their dead, a natural question would be: Why should member’s ancestors be punished for the deeds or lack of diligence of their mortal descendants? The answer seems clear—there is an undeniable accountability at work here.


Surely, we, the living, are here in this dispensation not only because the Lord agreed to it, but also because we were selected by the members of our progenitor lineages to be the ones to come here in this last dispensation, accept the gospel, and do their work in the temples—that is, to be Saviors on Mount Zion. Consequently, we were perhaps, according to this reasoning, among the best spirits that they had to offer. Thus, there rests upon us an awesome responsibility.

​Notwithstanding this fairly obvious consideration, we will here submit that there is even more to this issue of accountability. If we are truly to be saviors to our ancestry, we [ourselves] also have ancestral chains to deal with. Over the generations since the dispensation of Christ while the world labored in darkness, Satan had his way without much opposition on the earth with no saving ordinances—leaving many generations of the spirits of the dead bound in spirit prison.


Even though the gospel has been preached among these people in the realm of spirits, they have still labored under the burdens their spirits acquired in mortality. Their previous mortal experiences were without the benefit of redeeming ordinances and the gift of the Holy Ghost. In fact, many were and are still in such darkness that it is unlikely they were able to receive the gospel message. Certainly, acceptance of the gospel message from Christ’s death and resurrection until now was not universal—nor did it mean universal exaltation for those who have accepted the gospel in the spirit world. They also must advance in the spirit realm.

​It may be helpful to realize that although the acceptance of the gospel message and ordinances, whether here or in the spirit world, may provide a remission of past sins, it does not wipe out all habitual tendencies neither does it bring to pass an absolute or even minimal necessary understanding of the application of saving truths. The incremental accomplishments of the covenant path must be worked out there as well as here with determination and even with “fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12, Morm 9:27, JSTeachings p.76, 334, 347). [1]

​We also understand that the sins of the fathers were and are visited upon the children to the third and fourth generation. It has been our experience that if the third or fourth generation has not repented of these sins the cycle will be repeated and perhaps with some additions. Though the spirits of the dead have, upon conversion, the opportunity “that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit,” (2 Pet 4:6) they still face many of the same types of challenges and learnings that mortals do, including overcoming their negative dispositions and lack of knowledge. Line-upon-line and precept-upon-precept is the program there just as well as here.

​We suspect that few understand the challenge that this dispensation faces with respect to its objectives and conditions, including some outlined here. The Saints in the meridian of times faced threats to their survival for merely taking the name of Jesus upon their lips. The early Saints in this dispensation faced persecution, threats to their lives, moving to and fro and the sacrifice of all their worldly goods. Many died of exposure, illness and persecution. Despite all their sacrifices they were collectively unable to build Zion due, as we are told by the Lord, to their lack of faithfulness (see D&C 101:1-8). By comparison, even though many of the “signs of the times” are clearly upon us, the greatest challenge we have currently could very well be complacency.

​Rather than operating on assumptions, it is incumbent upon us to find out where we stand with respect to the requirements of this dispensation and our progress within the covenant path. Joseph Smith stated that unless people “have an actual knowledge that the course that they are pursuing is according to the will of God, they will grow weary in their minds and faint” (JS Lectures on Faith, for more in depth see footnote [2]). This knowledge of our personal situation relative to our salvation requires personal revelation and sacrifice. Our prescribed manner of worship requires making and keeping covenants [temple covenants and personal covenants with God] and is important not only for our own welfare and salvation but also those within our stewardships, including family and lineage. The knowledge required of us is not available without personal revelation and offerings in the similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten as required (D7C 138:13).

​In the process of sanctifying ourselves we are not only obligated to see that our ancestor’s temple work is done to the extent possible, but we are also obligated to some extent to free them from their mental, emotional and spiritual bondage by bearing burdens and breaking inherited chains. We have been given to understand repeatedly by our leaders that it is easier to repent (meaning to change our behavior, attitudes, dispositions and beliefs) here in mortality than after death. This same disadvantage exists among all the spirits in the spirit world who did not take constant repentance seriously while in the flesh—whether out of ignorance or knowingly, and whether before the Restoration or since.

Since the Prophet Joseph explained that “they without us cannot be made perfect—neither can we without our dead be made perfect” (D&C 128:15), there is certainly more to the personal accountability link with our forebearers than meets the eye. Some of our ancestors, due to the difficult circumstances of their mortal lives, are in no condition to accept the gospel in the spirit world. They are stuck in darkness and confusion experiencing mental loops of negative emotions. Satan does his work on them in mortality and sends them through the veil wrapped in chains of emotional and spiritual servitude—a program still very successful today, including among Latter-day saints.

​Some of our ancestors, due to their lives of integrity, often against the odds, may have relatively clear sailing after death. But for most, this is not the case. Consequently, their problems are often our problems. In many cases we may also have inherited their negative traits and dispositions. The existence of transgenerational inheritances of ancestral character traits, dispositions, and the effects of trauma in the living, are now clearly supported by science. Though still little understood, we now know that such related effects are preserved in an epigenetic manner over several generations (See, for example:, Stress, PTSD and Holocaust Studies and, WP6: Generational Effects Manifest in the Living).

​When we, through effective personal repentance, break these generational chains we empower our kindred on the other side of the veil. There are also other things we can do for them besides breaking the particular chains we have inherited. These negative behavioral and spiritual chains are typically distributed throughout the members of our living family just like our ancestral DNA. For example, the Prophet Joseph instructed that if there are those [including those on the other side of the veil] for whom we have "much affinity" ... “we may pay the debts they owe” (WJS, p.321,323).


This breaking of generational chains or, in effect, paying the debts they owe, requires us to repent of our sins. When we have reached a certain level of repentance the Lord can make better use of us. One of the ways this works, besides repenting of our [and their version of our] sins, is to pray for them and be prepared to carry their burdens in the Spirit of the Lord in order to assist their repentance. Bearing burdens of others must be done as directed under the oversight and permission of the Lord's Spirit [Holy Ghost] and according to His will. By this manner we may become, “the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in” (Isa 58:12).

​This form of intercession, when permitted and directed by the Spirit of the Lord, can also be done for living family members and friends. The bearing of burdens for others, that their burdens “may be light” (Mosiah 18:8) is a form of offering up “sacrifice in the similitude of the Only Begotten” (D&C 138:13) and it is our experience that this can be done for the dead as well as for the living.

​With respect to full salvation, it is both individual and collective. Ideally, we are saved as family units, or at least with as many family members and ancestors as possible.


In our clinical work, in which we are monitoring personal measures of Light and Truth, we find that warm family reunions upon the death of regular active church members are the exception rather than the rule. ​Our experience indicates that this failure of expectations is because many mortal members have not acquired enough spiritual integrity or have not internalized enough Light and Truth to reside in a requisite level of paradise upon death. They are taking their unrepentant sins and dispositions with them that should have been dealt with in mortality. There are sentinels on the other side of the veil by whom they cannot pass. [3]


This situation is, unfortunately, not unusual as we tend to misunderstand the level of repentance and change in our nature required of us. Though we may slip by here in mortality, we do not get away with anything on the other side of the veil. If we have not been on a consistent path of acquiring the characteristics of godliness while in the flesh, we will find that there is no cheating the laws of justice there. For the Saints, there may still be some limited opportunity for repentance there, however no negative or insufficient character trait will be overlooked. [4]

​It is not just the grievous sins that mortals and spirits of the dead must repent of—it is the little and big things, all of them. It is the daily program of dealing with these that provides the Lord the opportunity to change us and our dead to the extent necessary to dwell with Him. It is the humble soft and broken heart and godly sorrow for each and every sin that unlocks the keys of the Atonement and that of a celestial character. It is also this process that opens the channels of personal revelation and the power to fulfill the covenants we make here as well as live up to the commissions we accepted from the Lord and our ancestors before coming to mortality.

​We would suggest that the basic problem we see with an apparent lack of preparation for eternity by many of the Saints is that we are too busy making bricks for the Tower. We have been stealthily carried captive into Babylon and are found too often serving the Babylonian gods of mammon or other social and personal idols and preoccupations. This makes the necessary sacrifices and personal revelation difficult. See GT 14: Latter-day Babylonian Captivity.


We have traveled down this worldly tangential road in many cases while faithfully observing the Mosaic forms of our religion. In some important and attractive elements of our subculture, we have also substituted scholasticism and academic intellectualism in the place of spirituality. Though the historical works are first rate, the present BYU doctrinal religion faculty, the Maxwell Institute, and the reams of writing on the shelves of Deseret Book are too often A to Z exhibits of various missing-the-mark departures from the discussion of the topic at hand. The so-called educated among us have become socially smart, articulate, progressive, liberal, and wealthy. So, where in the Book of Mormon have we seen this stage of the cycle described before? (Jacob 2:13, Alma 4:8, Hel. 12:4-5, also D&C 38:39) And where does it lead? (Moro. 8:27) See also: GT 10: Observations on the Mainstream.

  1. "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). “Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him” (Mormon 9:27). “I saw the father work out his kingdom with fear and trembling” (7 April 1844 JS Teachings, p.76, 334, 347).

  2.  taught to the School of the Prophets Joseph Smith clearly outlines the role, type and need of knowledge in our personal salvation: ”Such was and always will be the situation of the saints of God, that unless they have an actual knowledge that the course that they are pursuing is according to the will of God, they will grow weary in their minds and faint; for such has been and always will be the opposition in the hearts of unbelievers and those that know not God, against the pure and unadulterated religion of heaven (the only thing which ensures eternal life), that they will persecute, to the uttermost, all that worship God according to his revelations, receive the truth in the love of it, and submit themselves to be guided and directed by his will, and drive them to such extremities that nothing short of an actual knowledge of their being the favorites of heaven, and of their having embraced that order of things which God has established for the redemption of man, will enable them to exercise that confidence in him necessary for them to overcome the world, and obtain that crown of glory which is laid up for them that fear God. For a man to lay down his all, his character and reputation, his honor and applause, his good name among men, his houses, his lands, his brothers and sisters, his wife and children, and even his own life also, counting all things but filth and dross for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, requires more than mere belief, or supposition that he is doing the will of God, but actual knowledge: realizing, that when these sufferings are ended he will enter into eternal rest; and be a partaker of the glory of God. For unless a person does know that he is walking according to the will of God, it would be offering an insult to the dignity of the Creator, were he to say that he would be a partaker of his glory when he should be done with the things of this life. But when he has this knowledge, and most assuredly knows that he is doing the will of God, his confidence can be equally strong that he will be a partaker of the glory of God. Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things: it was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things, that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has, for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice, because he seeks to do his will, he does know most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life. It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him” (JS Lectures 0n Faith, Sec. 6:4-8).

  3. Angels, and to a certain extent demons, can look upon us and our spirits and see the level of Light and Truth which we possess. A knowledge of symbolic tokens and signs is not sufficient to pass by the angels or sentinels who guard the several gates or levels of heaven. It is only when our spirits possess the requisite levels of Light that we may escape hell or some levels of spirit prison and pass to and through the various levels of paradise upon or after death.  

  4. If so, “we would spoil the neighborhood” (Joseph McConkie, M. M. Ede, BYU 1996 religion class notes).

GT 4

Yea, humble yourselves even as the people in the days of Melchizedek, who was also a high priest after this same order which I have spoken, who also took upon him the high priesthood forever (Alma 13:14).

Oath & Covenant of the Priesthood

The Melchizedek priesthood is the power to act in the name of God. Given to him by the Father, Adam held the fulness of the Melchizedek priesthood, subsequently passed down through the Patriarchs, including Melchizedek, to Abraham.

Which Abraham received the priesthood from Melchizedek, who received it through the lineage of his fathers, even till Noah; And from Noah till Enoch, through the lineage of their fathers; And from Enoch to Abel, who was slain by the conspiracy of his brother, who received the priesthood by the commandments of God, by the hand of his father Adam, who was the first man—Which priesthood continueth in the church of God in all generations, and is without beginning of days or end of years (D&C 84:14-17, emphasis ours).


The Melchizedek priesthood and its essential and required ordinances and sealing keys have emerged out of the eternities to be delivered to chosen men from heaven in each dispensation. The priesthood and its keys are then only available in and through the Kingdom of God on the earth in each dispensation of the gospel.


Regarding this dispensation, while at his father's house in Manchester New York on 21st of September,1823 and almost seven years before the Church was organized, the Angel Moroni informed the young Joseph Smith on this subject as follows:

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. And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming (D&C 2:1–3).

One might ask why Elijah is the designated point man with respect to the priesthood? What about Peter, James and John, the original First Presidency? The answer is that we are speaking here of the fulness of the priesthood that includes the sealing keys.


Regardless of what personalities are in charge, the essential keys of authority which permit the personal acquisition of the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods and the reception of their saving ordinances reside in the quorums of authorized administrators, that is the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Regarding the higher or Melchizedek priesthood, the Lord has explained:


And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God. Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest. And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live (D&C 84:20-22, emphasis ours).

Since there is no other avenue to obtaining the powers of godliness necessary for eternal life with Heavenly Father, in his kingdom it behooves us to examine this higher priesthood's nature, requirements and benefits. This necessarily includes an examination of the Oath and Covenant associated with the acquisition of priesthood power and blessings in its fullest realization.

The following passage in the Doctrine and Covenants refers to the remarkable nature of the ordinance in which an oath of confirmation witnessed by angels is sworn by our Father in heaven at the time of and associated with mortals receiving the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods as an eternal inheritance.

For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods [Aaronic and Melchizedek] of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies. They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God. And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord; For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me; And he that  receiveth me receiveth my Father; And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him. And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood. Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved. But whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come. And woe unto all those who come not unto this priesthood which ye have received, which I now confirm upon you who are present this day, by mine own voice out of the heavens; and even I have given the heavenly hosts and mine angels charge concerning you (D&C 84:33-42, emphasis ours).

​What exactly is the oath and covenant of the priesthood?


In its fullest manifestation the Melchizedek priesthood is the priesthood after the Order of the Son of God. It is bestowed personally by God to the recipient individual accompanied by an oath uttered by the Lord with angels as witnesses that includes or promises great and eternal power in one's priesthood. It is the Lord's priesthood. The blessings promised in the above reference are impressive and certainly to be desired, however there seems to be a common misunderstanding with relation to the nature of this ordinance, its covenant and its bestowal of priesthood power. 


Considering the nature of the personal powers associated with the confirmation of this priesthood (as we will further examine) as well as the severe consequences of turning from it after its bestowal (as also mentioned in the reference quoted above) we think that this conferral of the Melchizedek priesthood accompanied by the swearing of an oath by the Lord in the presence of angelic witnesses is not so common of an occurrence as we might have thought (or led to believe). Among the key elements to be examined in the above revelation are the words: confirm, by my own voice, and angels.

​The revelations contained in Section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants in which the oath and covenant are mentioned was received over a two-day period on September 22nd and 23rd of 1832. The part that refers to the oath and covenant of the priesthood was given in the presence of "six elders" [1] who had recently returned from their missionary efforts in the eastern United States. We would draw attention here to two points: 1) These were elders who had already received ordination to the Melchizedek priesthood, and that: 2) there is at this point as yet no reference to the sealing powers.


The sealing powers associated with the "fulness" of the Melchizedek priesthood would not be available until after the Kirkland temple was built. The restoration of the sealing keys held by Elijah the prophet were bestowed on April 3rd, 1836. Nevertheless, the confirmation of the Melchizedek priesthood at this time to these six elders likely constituted a guarantee that, if they remained faithful, the fulness of the priesthood and its necessary additional keys would be forthcoming.

​Fortunately, to assist in the understanding of this ordinance and covenant, there are a couple clear scriptural examples of the confirmation or bestowal of what will prove to be the fulness of this priesthood and its authority in association with the oath and covenant performed by the Lord.


Perhaps the clearest example is detailed in chapter ten of Helaman in the Book of Mormon, as Nephi, the son of Helaman, receives this very ordinance detailed in the account as follows:

​And it came to pass as he [Nephi] was thus pondering—being much cast down because of the wickedness of the people of the Nephites, their secret works of darkness, and their murderings, and their plunderings, and all manner of iniquities—and it came to pass as he was thus pondering in his heart, behold, a voice came unto him saying: Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine  own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments. And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will. Behold, thou art Nephi, and I am God. Behold, I declare it unto thee in the presence of mine angels, that ye shall have power over this people, and shall smite the earth with famine, and with pestilence, and destruction, according to the wickedness of this people. Behold, I give unto you power, that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and thus shall ye have power among this people. And thus, if ye shall say unto this temple it shall be rent in twain, it shall be done. And if ye shall say unto this  mountain, Be thou cast down and become smooth, it shall be done. And behold, if ye shall say that God shall smite this people, it shall come to pass (Hel 10:3-10, emphasis ours).

Clearly what was bestowed upon Nephi in this instance are the sort of powers associated with such individuals as Enoch, Melchizedek and Elijah. In conjunction with this there are some key elements of note: 1) the voice of the Lord, 2) witness of angels, and 3) great bestowal of power including power to seal and loose on earth and even in heaven.


Another example of the fulness of the priesthood associated with the oath and covenant of the priesthood is found in the Joseph Smith Translation of the fourteenth chapter of Genesis of the King James Bible which, not ironically involves Melchizedek himself:

​Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child, he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire. And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained a high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch, It being after the order of the Son of God, which order came not by man, nor the will of man, neither by father nor mother, neither by beginning of days nor end of years, but of God. And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name—For God, having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself that everyone being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course, To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God, to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world (JST Genesis 14:24-31, emphasis ours).

​We see from this that the Melchizedek or higher priesthood as explained above, is after the order of the covenant God made with Enoch, which is actually also and originally after the Order of the Son of God (see D&C 107:2-4). As such, it has enabled mortals to do mighty works in the name of the Lord and even to be translated (see JST Genesis 14:32).


Notice the voice of the Lord, the swearing of the oath and the bestowal of unusual powers. Notice also that this priesthood is without beginning of days or end of years [e.g. it has always existed]. When one receives the fulness of the priesthood it is as if they had always had it, from eternity to eternity. This is because of the perfect foreknowledge of God.

​This high priesthood was also restored and conferred upon the Prophet Joseph as recorded in D&C 132:

​For I have conferred upon you the keys and power of the priesthood, wherein I restore all things, and make known unto you all things in due time. And verily, verily, I say unto you, that whatsoever you seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever you bind on earth, in my name and by my word, saith the Lord, it shall be eternally bound in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you  remit on earth shall be remitted eternally in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you retain on earth shall be retained in heaven. And again, verily I say, whomsoever you bless I will bless, and whomsoever you curse I will curse, saith the Lord; for I, the Lord, am thy God. And again, verily I say unto you, my servant Joseph, that whatsoever you give on earth, and to whomsoever you give any one on earth, by my word and according to my law, it shall be visited with blessings and not cursings, and with my power, saith the Lord, and shall be without condemnation on earth and in heaven. For I am the Lord thy God, and will be with thee even unto the end of the world, and through all eternity; for verily I seal upon you your exaltation, and prepare a throne for you in the kingdom of my Father, with Abraham your father. Behold, I have seen your sacrifices, and will forgive all your sins; I have seen your sacrifices in obedience to that which I have told you. Go, therefore, and I make a way for your escape, as I accepted the offering of Abraham of his son Isaac (D&C 132:45-50, emphasis ours).

​Another common theme associated with reception of the fulness of the priesthood is the acknowledgment by the Lord of faithful service and the requirement of sacrifice in some form as directed by the Lord through personal revelation.


Preaching and teaching under the authority of this Holy Order also requires a willingness to call people to repentance and the willingness and ability to be an intercessor to the person or persons being taught or assisted with their spiritual burdens (see also GT 5: Intercession; A Case Study).

​Regarding the necessity of receiving the “fulness” of the Melchizedek priesthood to qualify for celestial exaltation Joseph Fielding Smith, considered the last word on doctrine during his tenure as church historian, apostle and prophet, penned the following:

​I do not care what office you hold in the Church—you may be an apostle, you may be a patriarch, a high priest, or anything else—but you cannot receive the fulness of the priesthood and the fulness of eternal reward unless you receive the ordinances of the house of the Lord…Then [the door is] open so you can obtain all the blessings which any man can gain…You can have ["the fulness of the Lord's blessings"] sealed upon you as an elder, if you are faithful; and when you receive them, and live faithfully and keep these covenants, you then have all that any man can get. There is no exaltation in the kingdom of God without the fulness of the priesthood" (Joseph Fielding Smith, first address to the Priesthood as President of the Church, 4 April 1970, The Improvement Era 73 [June 1970]: 65-66, emphasis ours).

Q: Since there is no exaltation in the Celestial kingdom of God without the fulness of the priesthood, is that what most of us have currently possess as ordained Melchizedek priesthood holders?


A: Not yet.

​Regarding the necessity of acceptable sacrifice and the personal intervention of the Lord himself, Cook and Ehat, in their excellent parallel work to the Teachings, write that:


Priesthood ordination does not, by itself, assure a man that God will ratify all his acts as a priesthood bearer. Perhaps Abraham received the "anointing and sealing" (the priesthood ordination of king and priest) under the hands of Melchizedek (Genesis 14:17-24 and JST Genesis 14:25-40), but the "election sure"—the absolute assurance of power in the priesthood—came directly from God only after Abraham indicated his willingness to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22:1-14, emphasis ours).

​In the Lectures on Faith the Prophet Joseph explains the importance, necessity and perfect logic of sacrifice on this covenant path:

​Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things:  it was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things, that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has, for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice, because he seeks to do his will, he does know most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life. It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him. It was in offering sacrifices that Abel, the first martyr, obtained knowledge that he was accepted of God.  And from the days of righteous Abel to the present time, the knowledge that men have that they are accepted in the sight of God, is obtained by offering sacrifice: and in the last days, before the Lord comes, he is to gather together his saints who have made a covenant with him by sacrifice. Ps. 50:3-5.

​Those, then, who make the sacrifice will have the testimony that their course is pleasing in the sight of God, and those who have this testimony will have faith to lay hold on eternal life, and will be enabled, through faith, to endure unto the end, and receive the crown that is laid up for them that love the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But those who do not make the sacrifice cannot enjoy this faith, because men are dependent upon this sacrifice in order to obtain this faith; therefore, they cannot lay hold upon eternal life, because the revelations of God do not guarantee unto them the authority so to do; and without this guarantee faith could not exist (JS Lectures on Faith, 6:7-10, emphasis ours).

Celestial glory is only available to those who put everything upon the altar of sacrifice, who hold nothing back from the Lord. 

Since the fulness of the priesthood and its keys was not available in this dispensation until after Elijah had appeared in the Kirkland temple and bestowed the sealing keys (D&C 110:13-16), the seriousness of the Lord’s construction deadline instructions and the anxiousness of the Prophet to complete the temple can readily be understood. See D&C 134:32, and GT3:  Salvation is a Family Matter.


Previous to his death, the Prophet Joseph manifested great anxiety to see the temple completed, as most of you who were with the Church during his day, well know. "Hurry up the work, brethren," he used to say, "let us finish the temple; the Lord has a great endowment in store for you, and I am anxious that the brethren should have their endowments and receive the fulness of the Priesthood…Then," said he, "the Kingdom will be established, and I do not care what shall become of me" (George Q Cannon, WJS, 27 August 1843, footnote 30, emphasis ours).

One of the major milestones, if not the major milestone, of the Latter-day work was to be the restoration of the fulness of the priesthood (D&C 124:28). The Prophet's "mission… [was to] firmly [establish] the dispensation of the fulness of the priesthood in the last days, that all the powers of earth and hell [could] never prevail against it" (History of the Church, 5:140, or Teachings, p. 258, emphasis ours).

What was this fulness of the priesthood? The most concise yet inclusive definition of the authority of the fulness of the priesthood was given by Joseph Smith in this 10 March 1844 discourse when he said, "Now for Elijah; the spirit, power and calling of Elijah is that ye have power to hold the keys of the revelations, ordinances, oracles, powers and endowments of the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood and of the Kingdom of God on the Earth and to receive, obtain and perform all the ordinances belonging to the kingdom of God… [to] have power to seal on earth and in heaven" (WofJS, 27 Aug1843, footnote 30, emphasis ours). 

​However, with respect to the fulness of the priesthood, holding the sealing keys was not, in and of itself, sufficient. Holding priesthood keys can be a temporary situation. An ordinance was required.

​… the Prophet had not as yet administered the ordinances that made men kings and priests. Brigham Young said three weeks before this discourse [27 Aug. 1843] that no one yet in the Church had the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood, "For any person to have the fullness of that priesthood, he must be a king and priest" (History of the Church, 5:527, which is quoted verbatim from the original source kept by Wilford Woodruff, Church Archives). These ordinances were instituted on 28 September 1843, and in the next five months were conferred on twenty men (and their wives, except for those whose names are asterisked): Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, Newel K. Whitney, William Marks, John Taylor, John Smith, Reynolds Cahoon, Alpheus Cutler, Orson Spencer, Orson Hyde*, Parley P. Pratt*, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, Levi Richards*, Cornelius P. Lott, William W. Phelps, Isaac Morley, and Orson Pratt" (op. cit., emphasis ours).

​The fulness of the priesthood and the individual sealing referred to as calling and election may be considered as proceeding essentially hand-in-hand. And certainly, at least to the present point in this dispensation, this penultimate blessing package has not been a common occurrence. Rather it is reserved for those who magnify their callings. And we would here suggest that the word magnify goes considerably beyond just doing a good job in one's priesthood callings. It is a calling to intercession and regular personal stewardships as directed by the Lord. It requires a level of internalized Light and Truth that allows one to proceed at some point into Celestial realms while passing the angel sentinels that are set there. See also GT5: Intercession - A Case Study

Hopefully, there is enough information here to dispel the notion that Heavenly Father swears an oath every time someone is ordained to the Melchizedek priesthood or even as a high priest. Clearly what is bestowed upon LDS male members when ordained to the priesthood are temporary keys that may be exercised to ultimately obtain the fulness of the priesthood through righteous.


In essence, the priesthood is loaned to us to see what we will do with it. The powers available and manifested by and through those who have actually had the fulness of the priesthood bestowed upon them would be dangerous in the hands of those less exercised in yielding priesthood powers and being duly sensitive to representing the Lord and doing His will. The fulness of the priesthood requires a great deal of trust from the Lord, as He explained to [third] Nephi, “for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will," (Hel 10:5, emphasis ours).

​In order to achieve the fulness of the priesthood our works and sacrifices must be done through inspiration, guidance and acceptance of the Spirit of the Lord. We must become an instrument in the Lord’s hands, a ministering servant whom the Lord may direct as He sees fit. This is not to say that we cannot present our own ideas and desires to the Lord. This is generally pleasing to the Lord and likely the byproduct of personal inspiration and revelation anyway.

​With regard to sacrifices, we do not choose them. Such are up to the Lord. What is required is a willingness to put everything on the altar, including our own lives if necessary.

​And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God. And verily I say unto you, that the a conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise... are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead. Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion. Will I accept of an offering, saith the Lord, that is not made in my name? Or will I receive at your hands that which I have not appointed? And will I appoint unto you, saith the Lord, except it be by law, even as I and my Father ordained unto you, before the world was? (D&C 132:6-11, emphasis ours)

​The Lord’s house is a house of order. The only works that men and women do that have eternal effect and merit are those in partnership with the Lord and sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. The results of all other works will be shaken, destroyed and be of none effect (see Hebrews 12:27).


From the above we may clearly see that our service and our sacrifices, if they are to be acceptable and if they are to be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, are to be made in the Lord’s name—nor are we to use His name in vain (without authority or direction). In other words, we must always prayerfully seek the Lord’s will and His permission and ask for our works and offerings to be consecrated to our good and the highest good of our stewardships. Put another way, we must be among the wise virgins that were ready for the marriage of the Bridegroom by having taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and not have been seeking honor, being complacent or deceived (See D&C 45:57, emphasis ours).

Regarding the necessity of personal revelation and the fact that we do not get everything we need for salvation from the pulpit or even the scriptures, Elder Bruce R McConkie explains:

My brethren of the priesthood: To all of you, to all holders of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods, I issue this challenge: Come, learn the doctrine of the priesthood; come, live as befits one who is a servant of the Lord. This doctrine, this doctrine of the priesthood—unknown in the world and but little known even in the Church—cannot be learned out of the scriptures alone. It is not set forth in the sermons and teachings of the prophets and Apostles, except in small measure. The doctrine of the priesthood is known only by personal revelation. It comes, line upon line and precept upon precept, by the power of the Holy Ghost to those who love and serve God with all their heart, might, mind, and strength (See D&C 98:12). We have the revealed promise that if our souls are “full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith” and if we “let virtue garnish [our] thoughts unceasingly; then shall [our] confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon [our souls] as the dews from heaven” (D&C 121:45, Bruce R McConkie, The Doctrine of the Priesthood, General Conference, Priesthood session, Apr, 1982, emphasis ours).

​In summary, it is sobering to consider that the oath and covenant of the priesthood is a very sacred ordinance that is the culmination of a sustained effort of righteous service and appropriate and inspired sacrifices walking in lockstep with the Spirit of the Lord.


Now, as I said concerning the holy order, or this high priesthood, there were many who were ordained and became high priests of God; and it was on account of their exceeding faith and repentance, and their righteousness before God, they choosing to repent and work righteousness rather than to perish; Therefore they were called after this holy order, and were sanctified, and their garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb. Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God. And now, my brethren, I would that ye should humble yourselves before God, and bring forth fruit meet for repentance, that ye may also enter into that rest. Yea, humble yourselves even as the people in the days of Melchizedek, who was also a high priest after this same order of which I have spoken, who also took upon him the high priesthood forever (Alma 13:10–14).

Though, according to the above, there have been many instances historically, there have not been many occasions of the bestowal of the fulness of the Melchizedek priesthood as yet in this dispensation. However, as we approach the second coming of our Lord, this situation must necessarily change. There will be, for example, 144 thousand Saviors on Mount Zion who will have the fulness of the priesthood and its sealing powers in order to call the world to repentance one more time before destruction falls heavily upon the wicked. There will also, of necessity, be great intercessors among both the leadership and membership of the LDS Church as the end-time challenges overtake us.

Through the gospel and temple ordinances we receive the keys and rights to obtain all the blessings the Lord has for the righteous to the degree that we keep the commandments and do the works the Lord directs—directs through His servants and through His Spirit and as confirmed and sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. It is not a form of being "commanded in all things" to be obedient to the Spirit of the Lord (D&C 58:26-28). It is, rather, the willing heart that is expanded and empowered by the workings of the Lord. And though human works not approved or supported by the Holy Spirit may constitute learning experiences, they will be of little or no lasting effect in the eternities. Therefore, it would seem incumbent upon us to determine regularly, by divine communication, our personal involvement, commitment and progress on the covenant path.

  1. At some point, the audience of the revelation [D&C Section 84] shifted from the six elders to “Eleven high Priests save one,” a notation in the copy inscribed by [Frederick G] Williams that was not included in the 1981 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. At this point, the revelation provided direction as to what missionaries should proclaim, how they should receive sustenance while serving, and what would happen to those who did not accept their message. These instructions paralleled New Testament accounts of the resurrected Jesus Christ’s directions to the eleven Apostles before his ascension into heaven. Calling the ten high priests “Eleven high Priests save one” was a clear reference to the eleven Apostles to whom Christ spoke, a point that was emphasized when the revelation called the high priests “mine apostles” (D&C 84:63). These ten high priests were likely Joseph, Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith Sr., Hyrum Smith, Ezra Thayer, Zebedee Coltrin, Newel K. Whitney, John Murdock, Frederick G. Williams, and Joseph Coe. See: A Culmination of Learning: D&C 84 and the Doctrine of the Priesthood,

GT 5
Intercession – A Case Study

This discussion is lengthy and relatively detailed. All the details are worthy of consideration. For a quick read the following is a bullet point summary followed by the full text.


​This article focuses on the lessons to be learned from Alma the younger’s mission to the people of the City of Ammonihah in the Book of Mormon comprising chapters 8-14 in the Book of Alma. The following is a summary of salient details:


  • The people of Ammonihah to whom Alma was sent to cry repentance were former members of the Nephite church.

  • The Ammonihahites had become wicked and apostate.

  • Alma understood that the people of this city would be a particular challenge.

  • Alma chooses to school them in an understanding of the Holy Order of the priesthood.

  • Alma explains that the manner in which this high priesthood is ordained, and functions is a type and shadow of Christ.

  • It follows that this Holy Order requires sacrifice and intercession on the part of those who hold it.

  • Along with the nature and function of this high priesthood Alma discusses entering into “the rest of the Lord.”

  • This is an advanced topic tantamount to the concept of calling and election.

  • Alma reminds the Ammonihahites of the case of Melchizedek and his people as being pertinent to them.

  • Melchizedek’s people were also wicked “and full of all manner of abomination” as were the Ammonihahites.

  • But they repented and were redeemed.

  • Melchizedek’s people were redeemed through the instrumentality and intercession of a great high priest.

  • Alma, holding this same priesthood, offered to serve this same role for them, and then called upon them to repent.

  • The key spiritual elements of Alma’s mission are priesthood offerings of intercession and calling and election.

  • The result was twofold: 1) A large portion of people did repent and, 2) the rest of the people became even more evil and sought to kill Alma, the other missionaries, and their converts.

  • Alma’s mission to the people of Ammonihah is an example of the power and function of the high priesthood after the Holy Order of the Son of God.

  • Preaching after the Holy Order of the Son of God will always have dramatic effect upon the hearers. If they do not convert and repent, they will seek the blood of the testators.

  • Such ministrations are rare but will increase dramatically as we proceed through the countdown to the return of the Savior to reign on earth and in heaven.

  • For further reference to the Holy Order of the priesthood see: GT 4: Oath & Covenant​

To introduce this topic we are starting with the Jaredites. During the several years that the Jaredites traveled in the wilderness after leaving the vicinity of the Tower of Babel they faced regular challenges associated with traversing rivers, mountains, deserts, wild beasts, fatigue, obtaining food and shelter, and various uncertainties that surely stimulated regular reliance upon the Lord. Like Lehi and his family in the desert, there was apt to be need for almost constant direction from the Lord. Certainly, prayers to their God were on the lips of the Brother of Jared and his flock continually as their existence and journey through uncharted wilderness and across the great deep demanded the Lord’s constant protection and oversight.

​However, when the Jaredites reached and tarried at the seashore it is evident that life became simpler and more comfortable. It is also likely that, in the Lord’s discretion they deserved a rest after years of toil including bearing and rearing children along the way. Subsequently, however, after four years of what we suppose was relative comfort for the Jaredites, we find the Brother of Jared enduring a three-hour chastening by the Lord.

​And it came to pass at the end of four years that the Lord came again unto the brother of Jared, and stood in a cloud and talked with him. And for the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord (Ether 2:14, emphasis ours).

​Now, it seems a strange thing that a prophet of the Lord, especially one who was clearly exercised in the practice of prayer as well as having received numerous revelations and the power to move a mountain (Ether 12:30), would not have offered any prayers for the space of four years. The idea that the Brother of Jared did not have regular family prayer, prayer on daily meals, blessings of children, etc., is highly unlikely. The key to understanding this apparent anomaly lies in the next verse.

​And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had done, and did call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were with him (Ether 2:15, emphasis ours).

​It is highly unlikely that the Brother of Jared was chastised for not praying at all, he was chastised for not praying for his people. This is the responsibility of a prophet. In fact, it is everyone’s responsibility, male or female, but especially that of priesthood holders and prophets in particular.

​For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity (Hebrews 5:1-2, emphasis ours).

​Prophets and priesthood holders are human with human weaknesses, but they are still expected to succor others and make the necessary sacrifices required of their particular stewardships—thereby sanctifying themselves and those whom they serve.

​If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:5, emphasis ours).

​As another example we also find that when the Lord was upset with the prophet Job’s friends for their uninspired advice to him in his extreme suffering, that the Lord commanded them to offer sacrifices and instructed Job to pray for them so that they could be forgiven. Consequently, the Lord did forgive them and blessed Job and “the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends” (Job 42:10, emphasis ours).

​Not only are we to pray for our enemies and those who despitefully use us (Matt 5:43-48), we are to pray for our family members and friends in order that their burdens may be light and that they may also have the power to advance in the gospel covenant path of righteousness. This type of service is also known as intercession, and it is a principle and practice with great power.

​The term intercession is defined as the action of intervening on behalf of another or, in a specific religious sense: the action of saying a prayer for some benefit on behalf of another person. An example of a type of intercession is the bearing of other persons’ difficult emotional and spiritual burdens that they may have more power to exercise their agency and face challenges. In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Alma, speaking to his little flock of new believers by the waters of Mormon, explains to some degree how this works:

​…and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; yea and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life (Mosiah 18:8-9, emphasis ours).

​Coming into the fold of God through baptism is an invitation to all members to bear one another’s burdens that those with such need may have their spiritual and emotional burdens made lighter. When inspired by the Spirit of the Lord the benefits of intercession flow full circle between the intercessor and the recipient of intercession. Like the stars and planets of heaven we and they may give light and blessings to each other in our times and seasons of life (see D&C 88:44).  


However, this honor and obligation of service falls more heavily upon priesthood holders and priesthood leadership respectively. Regardless of who participates in intercession, it is only to be done with permission of the Lord and as directed by His Spirit. It is not an arbitrary practice for accumulating some sort of redemption points.

​A particular and very instructive example of intercession is presented by the efforts of Alma the younger, in his mission to the Ammonihahites. These were a people who had been taught the gospel but had mainly dissented into apostasy. Consequently, Alma took a remarkably interesting approach in addressing their re-conversion. To begin he presents to them a discussion about the high priesthood after the order of the Son of God and its purposes and function as an example to mankind of the service of the Son of God.

​And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward [actually back in time, all the other details are in the past tense] to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people. And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a  manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption (Alma 13:1, emphasis ours).

​So, why would this be relevant to the Ammonihahites? What is it about the manner in which these high priests were ordained after the holy order of the Melchizedek priesthood that might be relevant to them? And how might the ordination and function of these high priests cause or instruct someone to look forward to the Son of God for redemption? He continues:

​And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being  called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to  choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such (Alma 13:2-3, emphasis ours).

​These particular high priests are or were persons and leaders, who already proved their valiance in the pre-mortal realm as well as in mortality and, as such, have a holy calling—that is, particular responsibilities to assist and lift their brethren and those within their stewardships. They were empowered through the high priesthood for which they were foreordained and subsequently confirmed. However, we may not yet be clear what is so particular about the manner of their ordination.

​So it is that these high priests, those called after the holy order of the Son, have a special mission. Its characteristics, or manner, should cause people who observe these men, and to whom they minister, to see them as servants of Christ and operating in His image and likeness, such that they may look forward to their own personal redemption provided through the Atonement of the Son of God. Alma continues:

​And thus being called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest—This high priesthood being after the order of his Son, which order was from the foundation of the world; or in other words, being  without beginning of days or end of years, being prepared from eternity to all eternity, according to his foreknowledge of all things—Now they were ordained after this manner—being called with a holy calling, and ordained with a holy ordinance, and taking upon them the high priesthood of the holy order, which calling, and ordinance, and high priesthood, is without beginning or end (Alma 13:6-9, emphasis ours).

​Consequently, this holy order of the priesthood is itself a type and shadow of the Savior and those who have it are to emulate the Savior. It is also eternal in nature. We could safely say that they are empowered, even obligated, to offer “sacrifices in the similitude of the Only Begotten” in their role of divinely directed intercession for the children of men (D&C 138:13). This background about the holy order and its characteristics and powers as explained by Alma is laying groundwork for introducing the Ammonihahites to the topic of Melchizedek and his people, one of the most remarkable repentance examples and case studies in all the scriptures. Alma has a purpose for steering the discourse in this direction. Subsequently, he says:

​Yea, humble yourselves even as the people in the days of Melchizedek, who was also a high priest after this same order of which I have spoken, who also took upon him the high priesthood forever. And it was this same Melchizedek to whom Abraham paid tithes; yea, even our father Abraham paid tithes of one-tenth part of all he possessed. Now these ordinances were given after this manner [what manner?], that thereby the people might look forward on the Son of God, it being a type of his order, or it being his order, and this that they might look forward to him for a remission of their sins, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord (Alma 13:14-16, emphasis ours).

Alma is bringing up the subject of Melchizedek for a purpose having to do with the holy order of the priesthood. However, why is he talking about entering into the rest of the Lord? The phraseology, rest of the Lord, is the same or a synonym for the term calling and election. To enter into the rest of the Lord is to have arrived at a point in one’s personal progress through obedience and application of the Atonement of Jesus Christ such that he/she is no longer tempted by Satan, that is, Satan no longer has any hold on the person--it is a state of rest from sin and temptation. This is tantamount to being redeemed or sealed up unto eternal life. This may seem a curious tactic—rather advanced topic for apostates.

It is clear from the scriptural account that the people of Ammonihah were, for the most part, serious apostates. Yet, it is also clear that they had acquired a knowledge of the gospel prior to their departure from the Lord, such that they had some knowledge of what Alma was talking about. We know certain details of Melchizedek only because of Joseph Smith's retranslation of the Bible in which a section relating to Melchizedek and his people being translated is restored to the Book of Genisis. However, the Nephites and their dissenters had the full version of the Books of Moses from the Brass Plates and had been, therefore, fully appraised of the life and accomplishments of Melchizedek. It is likely that the scriptures served as the main texts for learning to read and write in the Nephite culture. 


Which facts still beg the question: why would Alma talk about calling and election apparently right up front, rather than beginning with something like Sunday School doctrines? If one brings up this subject with regular members today some may become uncomfortable. However, there is a clue to Alma’s strategy in his next statement:

​Now this Melchizedek was a king over the land of Salem; and his people had waxed strong in iniquity and abomination; yea, they had all gone astray; they were full of all manner of wickedness; But Melchizedek having exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people. And behold, they did repent; and Melchizedek did establish peace in the land in his days; therefore he was called the prince of peace, for he was the king of Salem; and he did reign under his father. Now, there were many before him, and also there were many afterwards, but none were greater; therefore, of him they have more particularly made mention (Alma 13:17-19, emphasis ours).

​Alma introduces the subject of repentance in conjunction with this matter-of-fact description of the miraculous conversion Melchizedek achieved with his people anciently. Note that before Melchizedek had accomplished his mission of preaching repentance to his people that they “had waxed strong in iniquity and abomination,” had “all gone astray,” and “were full of all manner of wickedness.”  Why does Alma bring this up? Because he is carefully addressing the parallel situation with which he is confronted by and among the Ammonihahites. The implication is, and the fact is, that these people are also in a similar state of wickedness as were Melchizedek’s people. Alma continues:

​Therefore God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption, that they should not do evil, the penalty thereof being a second death, which was an everlasting death as to things pertaining unto righteousness; for on such the plan of redemption could have no power, for the works of justice could not be destroyed, according to the supreme goodness of God. But God did call on men, in the name of his Son, (this being the plan of redemption which was laid) saying: If ye will repent, and harden not your hearts, then will I have mercy upon you, through mine Only Begotten Son; Therefore, whosoever repenteth, and hardeneth not his heart, he shall have claim on  mercy through mine Only Begotten Son, unto a remission of his sins; and these shall enter into my rest. And whosoever will harden his heart and will do iniquity, behold, I swear in my wrath that he shall not enter into my rest (Alma12:32-35, emphasis ours).

So, Alma seems to be focused on, not just the initial steps of repentance, including the necessity of a soft heart and its tempering of the full effects of justice, but rather upon the end game—entering into the rest of the Lord. He also wants them to understand that regardless of where they stand with God, they can still be sanctified and redeemed of the Lord—the example being the wicked people of the City of Salem or Melchizedek. Continuing:

​And now, my brethren, behold I say unto you, that if ye will harden your hearts ye shall not enter into the rest of the Lord; therefore your iniquity provoketh him that he sendeth down his wrath upon you… And now, my brethren, seeing we know these things, and they are true, let us repent, and harden not our hearts, that we provoke not the Lord our God to pull down his wrath upon us… but let us enter into the rest of God, which is prepared according to his word (Alma12:36-37, emphasis ours).

Notice Alma says that "we know these things." How do they know? They know not only by the testimony of the Spirit of the Lord, but they know about Melchizedek's people from the brass plates. There is likely more to the above subject than meets the eye. Besides avoiding the wrath of God through soft and repentant hearts, this whole discussion of the high priesthood is setting the stage for the principle of intercession. High priests, ordained after the Holy Order of God, such as Melchizedek, are exercised in intercession. And Alma, who is clearly ordained after this Holy Order, is offering himself and possibly those missionaries with him to serve in such a role for the wicked Ammoniahites.

​Since the brass plates contained the full account of all the books of Moses, the Book of Mormon people probably understood better than many today the fact that Melchizedek’s people, despite having been wicked and full of abominations, were actually translated and joined the City of Enoch.


We know this now thanks to Joseph Smith’s retranslation of the Bible restoring some details relative to Melchizedek and his people as follows:

​Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire. And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch, It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God; And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name. ​

And now, Melchizedek was a priest of this order; therefore he obtained peace in Salem, and was called the Prince of peace. And his people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch, which God had before taken, separating it from the earth, having reserved it unto the latter days, or the end of the world (JST Gen 14:26-29, 33-34, emphasis ours).

Clearly taking the above historical and scriptural facts into account Alma continues on the point he is making:

​But Melchizedek, having exercised mighty faith and received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people. And behold, they did repent; and Melchizedek did establish peace in the land in his days; therefore he was called the prince of peace, for he was the king of Salem; and he did reign under his father. Now, there were many before him, and also there were many afterwards, but  none were greater; therefore, of him they have more particularly made mention. Now I need not rehearse the matter; what I have said may suffice. Behold, the scriptures are before you; if ye will wrest them it shall be to your own destruction (Alma 13:18-20, emphasis ours).

The above suggests that the brass plates had some considerable reference to Melchizedek and his city of Salem and his position as an example of the holy order of the priesthood. And it is clear that these people had the scriptures (see Alma 14:1,8) and at least some of them understood the full meaning or implications of what Alma was talking about, such that the stage is set for the direct call to repentance including the following excerpts of Alma’s sermon:


And now it came to pass that when Alma had said these words unto them, he stretched forth his hand unto them and cried with a mighty voice, saying:

Now is the time to repent, for the day of salvation draweth nigh; Yea, and the voice of the Lord, by the mouth of angels, doth declare it unto all nations; yea, doth declare it, that they may have glad tidings of great joy; yea, and he doth sound these glad tidings among all his people, yea, even to them that are scattered abroad upon the face of the earth; wherefore they have come unto us. And they are made known unto us in  plain terms, that we may understand, that we cannot err…​

And now, my brethren, I wish from the inmost part of my heart, yea, with great anxiety even unto pain, that ye would hearken unto my words, and cast off your sins, and not procrastinate the day of your repentance; But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be  tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be  led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble,  meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering; Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest. And may the Lord grant unto you repentance, that ye may not bring down his wrath upon you, that ye may not be bound down by the chains of hell, that ye may not suffer the second death” (Alma 13: 21-23, 27-30, emphasis ours).

​Alma, like Melchizedek with the people of Salem, is preaching and instructing the people of Ammonihah after the Holy Order of the Son of God after which they were ordained. The point of this emphasis is that when the gospel is taught in this manner, under this order, and with this authority, the focus is necessarily on serious and complete repentance and calling and election. This type of intercessory ministry is called forth by the Lord at certain times and circumstances. We will certainly see this again in the days ahead.

​In the case of this mission to the Ammonihahites the results of this ministration are both startling and instructive. A sizeable portion of the city’s population resort to their scriptures and whatever other steps are necessary to repent, while the rest of the population not only resists the message but seeks after the blood of the missionaries and all of their converts (e.g. neighbors). Many expulsions and even martyrdoms of the repentant are the result [men. women and children].

​At the time of this writing such ministries in the LDS church range from uncommon to nonexistent. It is possibly not time for them now. However, there is a time of scourging and cleansing coming—for the Church, the nation and the world. The time is not far off when there will be a new emphasis to proclaim the gospel in its fulness to a wicked world—and to all of it. There will be final warnings and conversions to and from every nation, tongue and people. No corner of the planet will be exempt. The world to which we have become accustomed will be transformed by a combination of burgeoning and blatant evil and the balancing power of the Lord’s faithful and His holy priesthood.

​There will emerge in the days ahead a Zion people living all the laws of God, including consecration. In order to achieve the level of spirituality and sanctification necessary for a Zion society the examples of Enoch, Melchizedek, Nephi, Alma and others will need to be studied and incorporated. Personal repentance, intercession, bearing burdens, personal sacrifice will, like what was achieved in the cities of Enoch and Melchizedek/Salem, be components of the achievement again of a celestial society that will receive the Savior to reign on earth as well as in heaven.

  1. The following prayer by Alma is an excellent example of intercession and the bearing of burdens for the benefit of others as permitted and directed by the Lord:  O Lord, my heart is exceedingly sorrowful; wilt thou comfort my soul in Christ. O Lord, wilt thou grant unto me that I may have strength, that I may suffer with patience these afflictions which shall come upon me, because of the iniquity of this people. O Lord, wilt thou comfort my soul, and give unto me success, and also my fellow laborers who are with me—yea, Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner, and also Amulek and Zeezrom, and also my two sons—yea, even all these wilt thou comfort, O Lord. Yea, wilt thou comfort their souls in Christ. Wilt thou grant unto them that they may have strength, that they may bear their afflictions which shall come upon them because of the iniquities of this people. O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ. Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee. Now it came to pass that when Alma had said these words, that he clapped his hands upon all them who were with him. And behold, as he clapped his hands upon them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. And after that they did separate themselves one from another, taking no thought for themselves what they should eat, or what they should drink, or what they should put on. And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of  afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Now this was according to the prayer of Alma; and this because he prayed in faith (Alma 31:31-38, emphasis ours).

GT 6

The Spirit World & The Gates of Heaven

Our methodological tools, clinical work and the support of the Lord’s Spirit have enabled us to gain insights into aspects of the continuum of life, including the premortal and postmortal realms. While the knowledge we have gained by serving the Lord’s people in all three realms is by no means perfect, nevertheless there is much that has been revealed that is profound and enlightening. One subsequent observation is that things in this world as well as in the next are seldom as they appear or as have been represented.

​Over the years several LDS General Authorities have asserted that emotional as well as physical disabilities will be left behind with our mortal shell as we depart this life. We have also been told that the vast majority of the spirits of the dead will be accepting their temple ordinance work and become faithful members liberated from spirit prison. Unfortunately, our clinical experience does not support either of these ideas. Though physical disabilities will be left behind, mental and emotional ones will not be left behind unless they were dealt with during mortal probation. Subsequently, we have known persons who take this ill advice to heart, putting off facing and dealing with their challenges, supposing they may rely on some post-mortal magic.

​With respect to the topic of the condition of the dead, and according to our yet admittedly limited knowledge of the subject, we can say that the vast majority of the dead have an average frequency of approximately log 40, which means they are in outer darkness and preoccupied with negative thoughts, emotions, confusion and fears. These conditions will only change for them if they pray, ask questions of the Lord and want to progress. Most spirits of the dead get stuck in a frequency range of log 40-50 and are limited in their ability to progress or advance by virtue of the traits and habits which they inherited or acquired in mortal life.

The reality is this: Disabilities are a form of information—whether acquired genetically through morphic energetic fields passed down from progenitors or just habits and addictions acquired in our own earthly probation. Our afflictions are also information to be dealt with. All our disabilities and afflictions are messages from God, from the Universe and from our ancestors. It is up to us to identify and decode them. 


It is up to us, with the assistance of the Spirit of the Lord, to find out what these forms of information mean, what these messages are telling us, and then applying this knowledge as directed by the Spirit of the Lord. This knowledge is to be used for repentance, change and healing—of ourselves, our loved ones, and our ancestors.

We, in this final dispensation, have the responsibility of healing and being change agents for our family lines going back at least seven generations. Our ancestors knew already in the premortal councils that many of them would not have the power of the gospel in their mortal lives. We are the ones they chose in those same councils to come to earth in this, the last dispensation, to deal with their unrepentant spiritual baggage passed down to us.


They without us cannot be made perfect, neither can we without them be made perfect (D&C 128:18). The “welding links” with righteous endowed ancestors are an essential and critical part of the Father’s Plan presented in that same Council.

A critically important part of the work for the dead in addition to the temple work we perform for them, is the breaking of their sinful chains. Without the consummation of this joint work the earth would be smitten by a curse. This danger of a curse also applies to our family lines. This ancestral and family field spiritual baggage may show up in physical as well as mental/emotional challenges among mortals.

This information is not totally new. It goes back to the German Doctors Samuel Hahnemann, the father of homeopathy and miasmic theory, Bert Hellinger, the originator of Family Constellation therapy, and Denny Johnson (RayID), all of whom have pioneered and dealt with ancestral and family field issues. See also GT 3:Salvation is a Family Matter.

With the help of the spirits that followed him, Lucifer does his work in mortality. He sends human spirits through the veil of death bound up and directionless. ​A slim glimpse of the spirit realm is provided by Lehi’s dream that includes an aspect of the darkness typical of the condition that most spirits of the dead encounter upon death. Speaking out of a father’s concern for his disobedient sons, Laman and Lemuel, he recounts:

​…for behold, methought I saw in my dream, a dark and dreary wilderness. And it came to pass that I saw a  man, and he was dressed in a white  robe; and he came and stood before me. And it came to pass that he spake unto me, and bade me follow him. And it came to pass that as I followed him I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste. And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies. And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field (1 Ne 8:4-9,emphasis ours).

As illustrated by the experience of father Lehi, a key to deliverance from the profound darkness and dreary waste that is hell is to pray, to cry out to the Lord. Those who have sought Light and Truth during their mortal life will be better off than those who have not. A person who is exercised in prayer will have much the advantage. The average believing non-LDS member Christian or person of faith will be initially at around log 50-60 after death and will gradually progress to the Light (log 76). Once in the Light spirits will progress according to their righteous desires, calling upon the Lord for revelation, willingness to learn and ability to be obedient to what they learn.

It is difficult for most spirits to move from darkness into the Light because they have not sought the Light in mortality. They do not think of calling upon the Lord in their darkness for help because they have not truly become accustomed to doing so in mortality. They languish and may even regress.

​If the deceased spirit seeks the Lord and reaches a personal frequency of log 132, he/she will have tasks revealed to them to perform. This is simply a continuation of the tests of mortality—seeking and doing the will of the Lord through personal revelation.

The tasks will test obedience to instructions. However, because of wanting to do things their own way as they have in mortality, never having exercised themselves in learning to think, feel, speak as the Lord many get stuck here. If they can humble themselves and learn to be obedient, they will be taught what they need to progress. Their daily tasks will become progressively more service oriented as they reach and exceed the level of perfect integrity (log 172). See also GT 19: Revelation Pertaining to the Tasks.

​Once the deceased spirits have exceeded the level of personal Light and Truth of perfect integrity, they may become ministering angels. However, most spirits of the dead never get this far. Conversely, those who have already achieved perfect integrity (log 172 and above) in mortality will generally move past this point and quickly become ministering angels. Such spirits are already exercised in God directed service to others. This service may or may not include that rendered in church callings. Just spirits will simply continue the nature of the work they were doing as mortals. The spirits that become ministering angels must have received their temple endowments.

A word about service to others. Unless any given service at any time is inspired and directed in partnership with the Spirit of the Lord it is not consecrated to our gain and will not have the Lord’s approval no matter how important it was in the eyes of the giver, “… will I receive at your hands that which I have not appointed?” (D&C 132:10) So much of our church service is driven by the need to put a check mark into the check box and not directed by the Lord. Hence it is an ill odor, an offensive "smoke" in the Lord's nose (Isa 65:5). As a reality check, the average current frequency of a Bishop in the LDS Church is log 125, and the average frequency of a Relief Society President is log 129, Stake President, 128. In what realm do we find these people after death?

​There are seven gates through which the spirits of the dead must pass to reach the levels of paradise and heaven (see Ascensions of Isaiah, 10: 21, 24-27). The initial threshold from darkness to Light, according to the scale we use (e.g., log to the base 10) is log 76. Here is a list of the frequency log values for each gate or level through which we must pass (according to our testing metric standards).

​1st Gate:    76

2nd Gate: 100

3rd Gate:  129

4th Gate:  140

5th Gate:  165

6th Gate:  190

7th Gate:  224

​The last three gates represent the frequency thresholds of the three levels of the Celestial Kingdom. If spirits of the dead become ministering angels, once past the level of integrity they still must progress in order to achieve exaltation. Exaltation, the highest level in the Celestial Kingdom, is the only level of heaven in which worthy family members may live in the family unit and be together.

​At each of the above gates or levels of heaven stands a sentinel angel guarding an entry and exit point through which one may not pass without authorization. And a mere parroting of symbolic or ceremonial tokens and signs relative to the covenants and obligations associated with each level is not sufficient in itself to pass through the gate.


While the temple ordinances are absolutely critical, keeping the temple covenants and the personal level of Light and Truth acquired by repentance and obedience is the real key to passage through the gates of and to heaven. When an angelic sentinel at any one of the gates sees us approach, he knows immediately whether we are worthy to pass through his gate by simply viewing the level of Light that we possess and radiate.

The spirits of the dead as they progress to and within the Light, like mortals, must possess or acquire the necessary Light and Truth in order to advance. This is true of every spirit including those who die in the womb or in infancy. Each must earn and learn their necessary lessons. In order to enter and dwell with God and Christ nothing in terms of character is overlooked.

It is ordained that we, in this dispensation, also do the work of saviors, sharing in this work with the Savior. While His Atonement makes everything possible, it is required of us to share in the work of salvation in “the similitude of the Only Begotten” (D&C 138:13). It can be seen, from the above details, that the realization of being a Savior on Mount Zion extends well beyond genealogy and temple work. It is the bearing of burdens and breaking of chains for our forebearers that facilitate the necessary and essential access for them to their agency by which they may take advantage of the Atonement, learn their lessons, and provide the necessary “welding links” to previous dispensations. It is because of them that we may be made perfect, and it is because of us that they may be made perfect. “For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation” (D&C 128:15).

We cannot accomplish this critical welding link assignment the Lord has placed upon this dispensation if we allow the evolving false LDS Church culture narratives to lull us into carnal security, supposing “all is well in Zion” (2Ne 28:21,25). There is a Mormon myth that every active member who has passed on is attending family picnics in paradise when, in fact, they're not!  It can only be like that if they are walking the path of sanctification and passing through the gates.

See also:

Some Broader Implications of Frequency Testing

Implications of Frequency Testing Pertaining to the Spirit World

GT 7

And behold, I have given you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit  (3 Ne 12:19).

Sanctification Q & A

In Doctrine & Covenants 50:29 we read this remarkable statement about prayer, “And if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done.”

​​Q: A marvelous promise, but one might ask, "When is a person ever purified and cleansed from all sin?"

​​A: At the time when he/she has received a remission of sins.

​Q: OK, but since, according to Isaiah, the Lord’s thoughts and ways are so much higher than ours, don’t we sin daily? (Isa 55:8-9)

​A: Good point! Yes, we do.

​​Q: So, then, besides at baptism, when or how else does a person receive a remission of sins?

​​A: Each time he/she effectively offers up and experiences “a broken heart and contrite spirit” for his or her sins (Psalms 34:18; 3 Ne 9:19-22, 12:19).

​​Q: So, what exactly is a broken heart and contrite spirit?


​​A: It is a spiritual weeping for our sins during an earnest prayer. It is both an offering on our part as well as a gift from the Spirit of the Lord. It is accompanied by a spiritual cleansing, a lifting of burdens and a remission of sins.

​​Q: How often should a person offer up a broken heart and contrite spirit?

​​A: Since we sin daily, that’s how often we need to repent. According to the scriptures we are to do what is necessary to obtain and retain a remission of sins “from day to day” through humble prayer, a broken heart and contrite spirit and service as directed by the Lord's spirit (Mosiah 4:26).

​​Q: Does this relate to what the Savior means when he says, “Be ye therefore perfect?” (Matt 5:48, 3 Ne 12:48)

​​A: Yes.

​​Q: Can we really be perfect?

​​A: Yes. When we receive a remission of sins, we are cleansed and perfect in the thing we have repented of at that time and at that level. We can be perfect in this way every day that we receive or retain a remission of sins.

​​Q: Is that all the Savior means when He instructs us to be perfect?

​​A: No. We are expected to obtain and retain a remission of sins consistently until we have “no more disposition to do evil” (Mosiah 5:2), which also means until we have “entered into his rest,” such that Satan has no more power over us (3 Ne 27:13, Moro 7:3, Heb 4:1-11). [1]

Q: Is that realistic?

​​A: Yes. According to Joseph Smith, what God set out to do was to make us like Himself—to build in us the attributes of godhood. If we follow the steps He has given it will happen. To say or think otherwise is to deny the purpose and existence of God (PGP, Moses 1:39). [2]

​​Q: But surely this is not to be achieved until long after death?

​​A: Achieving godhood undoubtedly takes time. However, we are to come unto Christ, be sanctified in Him and receive the promise of eternal life in this life—not some distant time somewhere on the other side of the veil. The Lord says, "if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I am ye shall be also” (D&C 132:23 emphasis ours).

​​Q: Really? Do we have clear instruction on this matter?

​​A: Yes. God has given us a set of specific steps by which we may obtain eternal life, God’s life. And if we follow these steps explicitly, He holds Himself responsible to achieve in us the desired result. To deny this is to deny the power of God and to thwart God's purpose for this creation (see Moroni 10:32-33).

​​Q: OK, what are the steps?

​​A: Start with the first principles and ordinances of the gospel (faith, repentance, baptism and obedience). Then keep recycling: faith, repentance, baptism of fire [with each broken heart] and obedience. The baptism of fire and sanctification come in stages and levels. Temple worship, a big dose of humility and willingness to change are also requirements.

​​Q: Is that it?

​​A: Not quite. A daily walk through life repenting of our sins, serving others and learning to do the will of the Lord in all things is required. The object of the premortal, mortal and post-mortal worlds are all the same—to learn how to become ministering servants through perfect obedience and, like the wise virgins, taking the Holy Spirit for our guide (D&C 45:57). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of personal revelation. Daily repentance is the qualifier for the personal revelation necessary for full salvation. [3]

​​Q: Is there anything else important to know?

​​A: Yes, it is an understanding of the critical importance of the "broken heart and contrite spirit." This is not worldly sorrow but sorrow for our sins. It is the sacrifice which replaced the Old Testament daily temple oblation or offering. It is in this dispensation the key to personal revelation, sanctification and celestial glory. It is so important that, according to Nephi, “… and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.” It is the key to knowing the Lord, and for Him to know us (2Ne 2:7; 3Ne 9:19-22).

Q: Are afflictions and persecution part of walking this path?

A: Yes. We will have afflictions whether we walk this path or not. However, if we walk this path of glory, we will have great power to deal with life’s challenges. God will be our partner.

​For more information on this subject please see: GT 8: Broken Heart & Contrite Spirit

1) JS Lectures on Faith, Lecture 7;16. "These teachings of the Savior must clearly show unto us the nature of salvation; and what he proposed unto the human family when he proposed to save them—That he proposed to make them like unto himself; and he was like the Father, the great prototype of all saved beings: And for any portion of the human family to be assimilated into their likeness is to be saved; and to be unlike them is to be destroyed: and on this hinge turns the door of salvation."

2) In Alma 13, the prophet Alma teaches calling and election to the seemingly unlikely prospects of an apostate people in the city of Ammonihah. He couches this in the phraseology of "entering into the rest of the Lord." (See also Hebrews 4:1-11, the "rest" of the Lord indicates rest from the temptations of Satan; see also D&C 84:21-24). A full reading of this chapter leaves no doubt that Alma is offering to lead a disobedient people into full salvation if they will allow it. Lest there be any question on this matter Alma brings to their attention the example of Melchizedek and his people, who were at one time described as having "waxed strong in iniquity" (Alma 13:17). The implication is that he was willing to serve in a similar role for the apostate Ammonihahites as Melchizedek did for his peoplethat is to be an intercessor for them. We know from the JST translation of Genesis that Melchizedek's people did repent and miraculously "obtained heaven" just like the residents of the City of Enoch before them (see JST Gen. 14:25-40). This history would also have been on the brass plates, so that at least some of the people to whom he was speaking would have understood what Alma was offering them. The result of this scenario was and is instructive.  What happens next in this account is that about half the people repented and the other half thirsted for their blood.

3) "The doctrine of the priesthood is known only by personal revelation. It comes, line upon line and precept upon precept, by the power of the Holy Ghost to those who love and serve God with all their heart, might, mind, and strength." (emphasis ours, See D&C 98:12), Bruce R. McConkie, The Doctrine of the Priesthood, Apr.1982, General Conference, Priesthood session, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Note: Personal repentance is the price of personal revelation.

GT 8

The secret to personal peace and happiness is personal revelation. The secret to personal revelation is personal repentance.

Broken Heart & Contrite Spirit


In the April 2019 General Conference President Oaks said, “Repentance… is a joy, not a burden.” [1]  And in the 2018 Christmas devotional, President Nelson taught: "True repentance is not an event. It is a never-ending privilege. It is fundamental to progression and having peace of mind, comfort, and joy.” [2]  The scriptures also declare: “And if men come unto me, I will show unto them their weakness” (Ether 12:27). “And if ye believe on his name ye will repent of all your sins, that thereby ye may have a remission of them through his merits” (Hel 14:13).


We are commanded by the Lord to "come unto Him." He explains the way to come unto him is “… that ye shall repent of your sins and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit” (3 Ne 12:19).

Since we are instructed to repent of all our sins, we must not only learn about the Atonement but also how to apply it. For without the Atonement there is no forgiveness of sins, no remission of sins. King Benjamin teaches us, as he did the members in his day, that we must obtain and retain a remission of sins “from day to day” (Mos 4:6-12, 26). And Lehi tells us that there is no remission of sins without an offering to the Lord of a “broken heart and contrite spirit” (2 Ne 2:7).

For a daily remission of sins, the following are fundamental:

  • Never miss a day of personal structure study and personal prayer.

  • Never miss a day of family scripture study and family prayers.

  • Regular church/temple attendance.

Until we, like Lehi, Nephi, Jacob and many others, have personally "beheld the Lord in his glory," we are still under the bondage of sin to some degree and are still expected and commanded by the Lord to repent (2 Ne 1:15, 2Ne 2:4, Alma 13:12-16, Mos 4:10).

We are commanded to repent actively until we are “perfected in Christ” and “become holy, without spot.” To do otherwise is to choose to “deny” the “power of God” (Moro10:32-33). The point is, that God himself will perfect us if we really desire it (3 Ne 27:18).

Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot (Moro 10:32-33, emphasis ours).

Those who speak of "being perfect" as belonging to some distant realm are among those who will never get there. The perfection process may not and is not to be relegated to the afterlife. When Christ enjoined us to "be ye therefore perfect" even as his "Father in heaven is perfect" it should be obvious that this was not idle chatter. And if we don't understand this admonition, we need to. The broken heart and contrite spirit is the key. It is by this means that the necessary direction of personal life and service and the transformative gifts of the divine nature of Christ become established within our character. And it is by a steady daily application of this offering, as commanded, that we are perfected. It is by this means that the power of the atonement of Christ operates.

The very existence and purpose of both the Father and the Son is to perfect us and make us like themselves. If we don't allow them to do this by applying the steps they have provided we have, as Moroni explains, denied their power and nullified the very purpose of their existence. If we sanctify ourselves through daily repentance, maintaining "a remission of sins [e.g. sanctification] from day to day," we are walking the path of perfection and we are being perfected

Our daily sins of which to repent can include those we commit against our spouses (omissions and commissions), the pains we have caused in our children, or the negative chains of our ancestors that we are still acting out. Or, we may have character traits that are not compatible with the Divine Nature. If we are sensitive, the Spirit of the Lord will reveal these things to us, line upon line, until we “are perfect in Christ” (see D&C 98:12; Moro 10:32-33). The Lord will show to us, in their proper order, the things we need to change (Ether 12:27-28).

The necessary “broken heart,” is not the result of a business failure, or even the loss of a loved one. It is not sorrow over worldly vicissitudes or loss. Rather, it is a gift of the Spirit. A broken heart is a spiritual weeping for a sin or sins that changes and cleanses us. Without a broken heart there is no real forgiveness of sins and no real change. We are to come unto the Lord by not only offering up the sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit but also making promises (personal covenants in addition to temple covenants; Alma 34:32-41, 3 Ne 9:14, 12:19-20).

Promising the Lord that we will follow a certain course of action (or to never do a certain thing again) brings power. If we break our promise, we ask for forgiveness and remake the promise. We repeat this process until we can make the promise in the depth of humility, meaning we have repented and will not commit this sin again.

It is at that point we have fully applied the Atonement and been forgiven of the weakness the Lord has revealed. In the process we have received a gift of personal strength of the Divine Nature of Christ. Learning and becoming exercised in offering up a broken heart daily and making and keeping promises is a key to power and success in receiving a remission of sins.

It is when we have reached the depth of humility that we are forgiven by Jesus Christ. This is the real meaning of enduring to the end – repenting and changing to the end. This is what it means to “come unto” the Lord. We come unto the Lord and become sanctified and holy by applying the Atonement every day.

The solution to most of our challenges lies in walking this path. If we do, other things fall into place and we will have power necessary to deal with them. And we will have the kind of peace the Lord promises us (John 14:27, 16:43). As we walk this path of repentance, we get more clarity and power in making life’s choices. The broken heart is a key to receiving personal revelation and, though it is a gift from God, we must plead for it.

The broken heart replaces the Old Testament daily temple sacrifice, and is the sacrifice now required under the law of Christ (3 Ne 9:19-20). President Russel Nelson was clearly teaching us that rather than a one-time occurrence, repentance is to be an ongoing, daily activity.

In President Nelson’s April 2019 General Conference Priesthood address, he taught, “When Jesus asks you and me to ‘repent,’ He is inviting us to change our mind, our knowledge, our spirit-- even the way we breathe." He is asking us to "change the way we love, think, serve, spend our time, treat our wives, teach our children, and even care for our bodies.” He also, on this occasion said, “Identify what stops you from repenting. And then, change! Repent! All of us can do better and be better than ever before.” [3]

In the same General Conference, President Oaks taught, “The Atonement of Jesus Christ gives us the only way to achieve the needed cleansing through repentance, and this mortal life is the time to do it. Although we are taught that some repentance can occur in the spirit world, that is not as certain… This life is the time to repent." [4]

It is the quality of our personal spirit and the traits it has acquired in mortal life that we take into the next life. In Alma 34:34 it says, “for that same spirit which does possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.”

At the point of death, when we pass through the veil, there is no magic wand that clears us of our weaknesses. We have been given the gift of repentance. If we do not take advantage of this gift while in mortality, we take with us unnecessary risks, as we pass through the veil. There we will still have a "perfect remembrance" of all our "guilt" over any unrepented sins (Alma 5:18).

Such are some of the words of the prophets on this critical and timely topic, ancient and modern.

​The following are other reference scriptures for a “broken heart” 2 Ne. 4:32; Mos. 4:10; 3 Ne. 12:19; D&C 52:15; D&C 59:8; D&C 97:8-9; Isaiah 57:1

  1. President Dallin H Oaks, Cleansed by Repentance, Sunday afternoon General Conference session, April 2019

  2. President Russel M Nelson, Four Gifts That Jesus Christ Offers to You, First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional, Dec. 2, 2018,

  3. President Russel M Nelson, We Can Do Better and Be Better, General Conference, Priesthood Session, April 2019

  4. President Dallin H Oaks, Op. Cit.

GT 9

Bearing of Burdens

The following is a bullet point summary followed by the full text article below:


  • Bearing each other’s burdens “that they may be light” is the responsibility of each member of the LDS Church.

  • Heavenly Father asks us to experience in some small measure what His Son had to suffer.

  • Bearing Burdens is a form of intercession as “sacrifice in the similitude of the Only Begotten.’’

  • Bearing burdens must be done under the direction and with the approval of Heavenly Father.

  • It requires taking upon oneself some degree of the sins and stresses of the other person.

  • The other person will experience more power to repent and greater access to their agency.

  • The higher one’s personal frequency the more likely one may have this privilege and the more power that person will have for good effect.

  • The burden intercessor may experience the other person's negative emotions or may feel physical weakness, discomfort or pain.

  • Bearing burdens is ultimately a benefit to both the intercessor and the subject person.

  • It is also training to become ministering servants, ministering angels and ultimately gods.


In the 18th chapter of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon the young prophet Alma encourages his recent converts to the gospel of Christ to be willing to “bear one another’s burden that they may be light” (Mosiah 18:8). And that if they are willing to do this they may be baptized as members of Christ’s church—implying that the bearing or lightening of the effects of each other’s burdens (e.g. afflictions, sins, etc.) would be a regular activity or responsibility of a church member.

The bearing of one another’s burdens is a form of intercession that may also be described as offering “sacrifice in the similitude of the Only Begotten’’ which, according to D&C 138:13-16 is a characteristic of those who are or will be redeemed by the Lord. Heavenly Father requires us to be saviors in our own right and to experience for others in some degree what His Son had to experience for us.

When one bears the burdens of another person in a spiritual sense, it means that he/she is taking upon himself/herself some degree of the sins and stresses of the other person in order that the other person may have the power necessary to deal with their challenges during this time of having their burdens shared. The other person will experience more power to repent and greater access to their agency.

And, though we may have many opportunities to serve one another in physical and day-to-day activities and shared challenges, which are beneficial to each other and also pleasing to the Lord, the intercession in the form of bearing of spiritual burdens must be done under the direction or approval of the Spirit of the Lord. It is a form of sacrifice that must be accepted by Heaven Father. The burden experienced by the intercessor may include the other person’s negative emotions or may feel physical weakness, discomfort, or pain.

This privilege of service is actually training to become ministering servants to Heavenly Father and His children and eventually to become gods ourselves. This service involves incremental growth on our part and requires an ongoing partnership with the Lord. It also requires that we regularly increase our level of Light and Truth. The higher one’s personal frequency, the more likely one may have this privilege and the more power for good effect. The Lord strengthens us to be able to bear burdens and experience great peace and joy while doing so.

It is possible to ask the Lord in prayer to bear another’s burdens though only according to Heavenly Father’s will. If it is the Lord’s will, we will feel some negative effects for the necessary period as determined by the Lord. In our case we have also simply informed the Lord that He may use us in this manner for whomever He chooses. If the burdens are particularly heavy, we may ask for strength to bear them and also for the Lord to bless the other person with strength as well. We can also ask in our prayers to consecrate our bearing of burdens to our good, that they will purge us and make us pure, holy and sanctified.

The bearing of burdens serves secondarily to lessen the burden of our own sins. As we perform this service to the Lord and to His children, we are also receiving grace for and a lessening of the effect of our own sins—some of which may be the very sins we are carrying or bearing for others.

GT 10

Had I inspiration, revelation, and lungs to communicate what my soul has contemplated… there is not a soul in this congregation but would go to their homes and shut their mouths in everlasting silence on religion till they had learned something (Joseph Smith the Prophet).

​                                       Observations on the Mainstream of the LDS Church


The so-called mainstream of the Church, which we will define for the present purpose as the main body of active members, will only get to heaven by going through hell—either here or in the hereafter. Why? Because the average Church member frequency (measure of personal Light and Truth) is only log 122. That is exactly the minimum mortal frequency to make it into the Terrestrial Kingdom. This state of affairs suggests the unavoidable necessity of the coming refining fire of trials and tribulation.

When someone declares he or she is reliant upon the so-called mainstream of the Church to avoid any discussion or even consideration of deeper doctrine or to protect against dealing in “mysteries,” we may wonder if they actually read the scriptures. Or as Abinadi pointed out to the priests of Noah, who had read the scriptures and could even quote them, “Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise” (Mosiah 12:27).

Such mainstreamers can participate ad nauseam in class discussions and give elaborate answers to gospel questions. They go to the temple, are temple workers, listen to conference talks, read church books, subscribe to podcasts, go to BYU Education Week, etc., but never get their Light and Truth quotient (frequency) above log 125. So, what is the problem?

The Church is a great staging area for people to come into from out of the world, but unless they apply themselves to the doctrine and the necessary application of revealed knowledge they will just mill around the staging area until they die. This milling about may occupy several generations.


Such mainstream members may never get on or pursue the covenant path of sanctification that must be traversed to reach the Celestial Kingdom. Unfortunately, without a change in their spiritual trajectory, they will not arrive there and, therefore, cannot bring anyone with them.

Living the forms of Church membership and worship provides some protection but does not perfect a person. Only personal repentance and the revelatory knowledge that comes as a result of seeking and doing the will of the Lord has power to perfect. Unfortunately it is only a small percentage of members, a “tithe” at best, that learn and apply what they have been offered by Heavenly Father.

Members with a typical frequency in the 120’s will find themselves at a dark log 40-42 immediately after death and generally will only gradually increase thereafter. At this typical LDS level of Light there is a serious drop in personal frequency when their mortal probation is over. They will not have been greeted at death by family members or angels. At the end of the first year in the realm of spirits, they will typically have advanced only to log 45. Since the threshold (in the scale we use) to the Light is log 76 such spirits of the dead are clearly in darkness and some degree of hell. Rather than glorious reunions as imagined by living relatives, for these spirits this is an existence of confusion, isolation, guilt, fears and obsessive thoughts.

This situation will only change for the spirits of our departed mainstream members if they have the spiritual wits to pray and ask the Lord why they are in darkness and what they should do. However, this may be challenging since in this frequency range they clearly have not sought the Lord’s will in mortal life and have developed very entrenched patterns of doing their own will. They may have kept the basic commandments physically but have not availed themselves of the opportunity to have their characters changed through regular participation in the atonement. They may have read the scriptures but never understood them. They had the keys of knowledge in their hands but seldom if ever used them.


These LDS members likely never considered the possibility that they were to work on repenting of all their sins as commanded (Hel 14:13).They have not developed a working partnership with the Lord. Over the years of their membership the mainstreamers have consumed only the milk of the gospel (see GT 12: Milk vs Meat).

Even if these spirits make it to and past log 76, the threshold of Light, they are far from Celestial heaven. This is only the first of seven gates. They are now facing the challenge of learning everything of spiritual importance they failed to learn in mortal life. And what we were told about this is veritably true—that it is much easier to repent, learn and progress here than after death. Those that learn the principles and mysteries of godliness here “have so much the advantage in the world to come” (D&C 130:18-19).

Since it is also true that “where much is given, much is required,” many church members may be at a disadvantage compared to others in the realm of spirits that did not have the gospel. These mainstreamers have been sitting at a table where a celestial feast could have been ordered and consumed but just partook of spiritual fast food instead—trusting in rote beliefs and essentially a Primary level of knowledge. They never really got around to leaving Babylon.

Regarding the availability of the necessary saving knowledge the Lord explained through the Prophet Joseph:


How long can rolling waters remain impure? What power shall stay the heavens? As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints. Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness (D&C 121:33-36, emphasis ours).

The principles of righteousness referred to above commence with regular humble repentance and a willingness to seek and submit to the will of the Lord. The rolling waters include the afflictions that are designed to humble and refine us if we realize and embrace their purpose. It is the too common situation in which great knowledge and its transforming nature was made available but not acquired or applied that so troubled the prophet Nephi as he looked down the centuries to our time and painfully observed:

And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be. And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray… But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint... (2 Ne 32:7-9, emphasis ours).

Nephi is clearly speaking to Latter-day-Saints, his “beloved brethren,” who are the only ones to whom the truth is now given “in plainness.” It is in the members of the Restored Church that the lack of knowledge and understanding so disappoints him. The related necessary prayers that Nephi urges will include that of a broken heart and contrite spirit—a condition of the personal soul that permits the Lord’s transforming power.

This was also the object of King Benjamin’s address to his people on the occasion during which they found themselves prostrate on the ground (Mosiah 2:25). What the good king and the Spirit of the Lord achieved in these members was a collective and individual view of themselves as being “less than the dust of the earth.” The relevant points were/are: 1) the dust is totally obedient, and we are not, and 2) when one understands the difference between ourselves and our Father in Heaven, who is a perfectly Holy Being, it is the beginning of wisdom, humility and a new level of covenant obedience.


It is only the humble and obedient seeker with whom the Lord can work his transformative program to bring them to the Church of the Firstborn. Members operating in spiritual cruise-control need not apply.

Wise members come to understand that the Church and Kingdom is much more than an LDS subcultural picnic at the Ward bowery.  Rather it is a staging area to start climbing the mountains of character change that ultimate godhood requires. We may ask ourselves if we take or have taken seriously the gifts we have been offered? Regarding this subject the Prophet Joseph said:

“…the things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity--thou must commune with God. How much more dignified and noble are the thoughts of God, than the vain imaginations of the human heart! How vain and trifling have been our spirits, our conferences, our councils, our meetings, our private as well as public conversations--too low, too mean, too vulgar, too condescending for the dignified characters of the called and chosen of God. We are called to hold the keys of the mysteries of those things that have been kept hid from the foundation of the world until now (Teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith, Section 3: 1838/39, p. 137, emphasis ours).

We are called to hold the keys of mysteries hidden from the foundation of the world. Do we actually have these keys of the mysteries of God and godliness? If so, have we used them?


Do our understandings reach to the utmost heavens? Do we commune with God? What did we find out when we did? What did we learn or are learning thereby? Our salvation is clearly dependent upon revelation, including receiving and applying personal revelation. Personal revelation requires personal repentance—which requires basic and essential changes to our personal character—changes that make us more like Christ—changes that also change the people around us.

“…who cannot see the propriety of the Savior’s saying, “The works which I do, shall they do; and greater works than these shall they do, because I go to the Father?” These teachings of the Savior must clearly show unto us the nature of salvation; and what he proposed unto the human family when he proposed to save them—That he proposed to make them like unto himself; and he was like the Father, the great prototype of all saved beings:  And for any portion of the human family to be assimilated into their likeness is to be saved; and to be unlike them is to be destroyed: and on this hinge turns the door of salvation” (Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith, lecture 7:15-16, emphasis ours).

The Prophet Joseph taught us that salvation is a serious matter. It is useful, even critical, to understand that the forms of our religion do not generate the changes in character that Celestial salvation requires any more than did the law of Moses perfect the Jews. The necessary participation in the Atonement does not happen in Sunday School or Priesthood. To be redeemed with our families and become members of the Church of the Firstborn is the personal challenge for which all of our Latter-Day-Saint supports and programs are provided... as a platform from which to launch on the Covenant path.

What the mainstreamers may fail to comprehend is that the Lord requires us to move out of our comfort zone and put everything on the altar, including our will and our sins (especially our favorite ones). This includes our character traits that are not Christ-like. It is only by doing so, again according to the prophet Joseph, that we may acquire the power of full salvation.

For a man to lay down his all, his character and reputation, his honor and applause, his good name among men, his houses, his lands, his brothers and sisters, his wife and children, and even his own life also, counting all things but filth and dross for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, requires more than mere belief, or supposition that he is doing the will of God, but actual knowledge: realizing, that when these sufferings are ended he will enter into eternal rest; and be a partaker of the glory of God.

Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation…It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him.” (Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith, lecture 6:5,7-8, italics added)

When one's logarithmic frequency, or level of Light and Truth, is in or near the mainstream range, as referenced at the beginning of this article, the level of commitment that exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom requires does not register consciously to the person. For those who are comfortable in the "all is well in Zion" category both the seriousness and the methodology of the covenant path remain mysteries of which they are oblivious. However, if we consider the writings of Isaiah as the Savior has admonished, we can anticipate certain coming historical events within this generation that will either drive mainstreamers (and the rest of us) into true devotion or into truly dangerous apostasy.

What has become of the "peculiar people," a royal priesthood? The principles of salvation have not evolved, diminished or changed in any way since Kirtland, Independence, Far West or Nauvoo. With this hopefully renewed understanding we may importune at the feet of the Supreme Judge until we know what to do and have the power to do it. Everything else in the Church and in life is there for that object. If we fail to do this the following admonition from President Spencer W Kimball applies:

It is clear in the Lord’s announcement that righteous men and women will receive the due rewards of their deeds. They will not be damned in the commonly accepted terminology but will suffer many limitations and deprivations and fail to reach the highest kingdom, if they do not comply. They become ministering servants to those who complied with all laws and lived all commandments. [The Lord] then continues concerning these excellent people who lived worthily but failed to make their contracts binding: 'For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever’ (D&C 132:17, italics added).

To the mainstreamers we pose this question: What does it mean to make our contracts binding? If our works and relationships have not been worthy to be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, we are the subjects referred to here:

Are you willing to jeopardize your eternities, your great continuing happiness, your privilege to see God and dwell in his presence? For the want of investigation and study and contemplation; because of prejudice, misunderstanding, or lack of knowledge, are you willing to forego these great blessings and privileges? Are you willing to make yourself a widow for eternity or a widower for endless ages—a single, separate individual to live alone and serve others? Are you willing to give up your children when they die or when you expire, and make them orphans? Are you willing to go through eternity alone and solitary when all of the greatest joys you have ever experienced in life could be ‘added upon’ and accentuated, multiplied, and eternalized? Are you willing, with the Sadducees, to ignore and reject these great truths? I sincerely pray you stop today and weigh and measure and then prayerfully proceed to make your happy marriage an eternal one. Our friends, please do not ignore this call. I beg of you, open your eyes and see; unstop your ears and hear” (President Spencer W Kimball, Temples and Eternal Marriage,” Ensign, Aug. 1974, p. 6, italics added).

So, to whom do we suppose President Kimball was talking? He was talking to the same category of people [mainstreamers] that are in the LDS graveyard referenced in (White Papers WP2: Some Broader Implications of Frequency Testing), who are now mainly in darkness, an initial degree of hell, with frequencies in the log 40's, who have lost any ambition of being part of eternal families and celestial opportunities, worlds without end! 

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