The scriptures call it eternal progression, principles of eternal life, the plan of salvation, etc. I call it the school of the gods. It helps me remember I am here to learn. The classroom has been provided, and all of the tools and resources are here. I can apply myself, study, learn, obey, sacrifice, love, serve, and take advantage of everything offered, or I can waste away my time (2 Nephi 9:27).
All things shall give us experience, and shall be for our good (D&C 122:7). I choose light, learning, love, knowledge, growth, and truth. Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20) helps us see the blessings that are continually before us. When the student is ready, the teacher appears.
The Immortal Spirit
I have another subject to dwell upon, which is calculated to exalt man; but it is impossible for me to say much on this subject. I shall therefore just touch upon it, for time will not permit me to say all. It is associated with the subject of the resurrection of the dead,--namely, the soul--the mind of man--the immortal spirit. Where did it come from? All learned men and doctors of divinity say that God created it in the beginning; but it is not so: the very idea lessens man in my estimation. I do not believe the doctrine; I know better. Hear it, all ye ends of the world; for God has told me so; and if you don't believe me, it will not make the truth without effect. I will make a man appear a fool before I get through; if he does not believe it. I am going to tell of things more noble.
We say that God himself is a self-existent being. Who told you so? It is correct enough; but how did it get into you heads? Who told you that man did not exist in like manner upon the same principles? Man does exist upon the same principles. God made a tabernacle and put a spirit into it, and it became a living soul. (Refers to the old Bible.) How does it read in the Hebrew? It does not say in the Hebrew that God created the spirit of man. It says "God made man out of the earth and put into him Adam's spirit, and so became a living body." TPJS page 351
The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is co-equal with God himself. I know that my testimony is true; hence, when I talk to these mourners, what have they lost? Their relatives and friends are only separated from their bodies for a short season: their spirits which existed with God have left the tabernacle of clay only for a little moment, as it were; and they now exist in a place where they converse together the same as we do on the earth.
I am dwelling on the immortality of the spirit of man. Is it logical to say that the intelligence of spirits is immortal, and yet that it had a beginning? The intelligence of spirits had not beginning, neither will it have an end. That is good logic. That which has a beginning may have an end. There never was a time when there were not spirits; for they are co-equal [co-eternal] with our Father in heaven. TPJS page 353
I want to reason more on the spirit of man; for I am dwelling on the body and spirit of man--on the subject of the dead. I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man--the immortal part, because it has no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two; then it has a beginning and an end; but join it again, and it continues one eternal round. So with the spirit of man. As the Lord liveth, if it had a beginning, it will have an end. All the fools and learned and wise men from the beginning of creation, who say that the spirit of man had a beginning, prove that it must have an end; and if that doctrine is true, then the doctrine of annihilation would be true. But if I am right, I might with boldness proclaim from the house-tops that God never had the power to create the spirit of man at all. God himself could not create himself.
Intelligence is eternal and exists upon a self-existent principle. It is a spirit from age to age, and there is no creation about it. All the minds and spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement.
TPJS page 354
TPJS page 354
Did God create the spirit of man? How is man co-equal with God? Did the spirit of man have a beginning? Is God a self-existent being? Are you a self-existent being?
The Power to Advance in Knowledge
The first principles of man are self-existent with God. God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. He has power to institute laws to instruct the weaker intelligences, that they may be exalted with himself, so that they might have one glory upon another, and all that knowledge, power, glory, and intelligence, which is requisite in order to save them in the world of spirits. TPJS page 354
What is the relationship we have with God? What opportunity does that relationship give us? Why were laws instituted? What is requisite to save us in the world of spirits?
This is good doctrine. It tastes good. I can taste the principles of eternal life, and so can you. They are given to my by the revelations of Jesus Christ; and I know that when I tell you these words of eternal life as they are given to me, you taste them, and I know that you believe them. You say honey is sweet, and so do I. I can also taste the spirit of eternal life. I know it is good; and when I tell you of these things which were given my by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you are bound to receive them as sweet, and rejoice more and more.
The Relation of Man to God
I want to talk more of the relation of man to God. I will open your eyes in relation to your dead. All things whatsoever God in his infinite wisdom has seen fit and proper to reveal to us, while we are dwelling in mortality, in regard to our mortal bodies, are revealed to us in the abstract, and independent of affinity of this mortal tabernacle, but are revealed to our spirits precisely as though we had no bodies at all; and those revelations which will save our spirits will save our bodies. God reveals them to us in view of no eternal dissolution of the body, or tabernacle. Hence the responsibility, the awful responsibility, that rests upon us in relation to our dead; for all the spirits who have not obeyed the Gospel in the flesh must either obey it in the spirit or be damned. Solemn thought!--dreadful thought! Is there nothing to be done?--no preparation--no salvation for our fathers and friends who have died without having had the opportunity to obey the decrees of the Son of Man? Would to God that I had forty days and nights in which to tell you all! I would let you know that I am not a "fallen prophet." TPJS page 355
Can anyone be saved without obeying the Gospel? Upon what conditions is any man saved? What is the awful responsibility, that rests upon us in relation to our dead? Have we obeyed the gospel? What is the gospel? (D&C 39:5-6) How can we help our dead?
Our Greatest Responsibility
What promises are made in relation to the subject of the salvation of the dead? and what kind of characters are those who can be saved, although their bodies are mouldering and decaying in the grave? When his commandments teach us, it is in view of eternity; for we are looked upon by God as though we were in eternity. God dwells in eternity, and does not view things as we do.
The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead. The Apostle says, "They without us cannot be made perfect;" (Hebrews 11:40) for it is necessary that the sealing power should be in our hands to seal our children and our dead for the fulness of the dispensation of times--a dispensation to meet the promises made by Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world for the salvation of man.
Now, I will speak of them. I will meet Paul half way. I say to you, Paul, you cannot be perfect without us. It is necessary that those who are going before and those who come after us should have salvation in common with us; and thus hath God made it obligatory upon man. Hence, God said, "I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." (Malachi 4:5-6.)
A Salvation for Men
I have a declaration to make as to the provisions which God hath made to suit the conditions of man--made from before the foundation of the world. What has Jesus said? All sin, and all blasphemies, and every transgression, except one, that man can be guilty of, may be forgiven; and there is a salvation for all men, either in this world or the world to come, who have not committed the unpardonable sin, there being a provision either in this world or the world of spirits. Hence God hath made a provision that every spirit in the eternal world can be ferreted out and saved unless he has committed that unpardonable sin which cannot be remitted to him either in this world or the world of spirits. God has wrought out a salvation for all men, unless they have committed a certain sin; and every man who has a friend in the eternal world can save him, unless he has committed the unpardonable sin. And so you can see how far you can be a savior. TPJS page 356
What promises are made in relation to the subject of the salvation of the dead? and what kind of characters are those who can be saved, although their bodies are mouldering and decaying in the grave? Why is the sealing power necessary for the salvation of man? What does it mean to have salvation in common with us? What has Jesus said? Where will salvation take place if doesn't take place in this world? God hath made a provision that every spirit in the eternal world can be ferreted out and saved, are there any exceptions? What is the power of having a friend in the eternal world?
1 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.
2 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.
3 If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming. D&C 2
There are promises made to the fathers. What are the promises made to the fathers? Which fathers had promises? Which fathers are our hearts to be turned to? Who are the fathers? Who are the children? Who are the dead? When Joseph speaks of our children and our dead, are those different characters than the fathers? Is it important that we be sealed to the fathers who have promises? Is it important that the dead and the children be sealed to fathers that have promises? Do you have a promise? Can you help your dead without a promise?
According to the scriptures, how does one obtain sealing power? Who can bestow sealing power? What is the power given to someone who can seal? Can it be passed from man to man? Or does it come straight from God? Here are three examples. What are some other examples? Is the Lord the same yesterday, today, and forever? Do we obtain sealing power today the same way the prophets of old obtained sealing power? Are there any examples in the scriptures of a man giving another man the sealing power?
4 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.
5 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.
6 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.
7 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.
8 And thus, if ye shall say unto this temple it shall be rent in twain, it shall be done.
9 And if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou cast down and become smooth, it shall be done.
10 And behold, if ye shall say that God shall smite this people, it shall come to pass.
11 And now behold, I command you, that ye shall go and declare unto this people, that thus saith the Lord God, who is the Almighty: Except ye repent ye shall be smitten, even unto destruction. Helaman 10:7
40 I am the Lord thy God, and I gave unto thee, my servant Joseph, an appointment, and restore all things. Ask what ye will, and it shall be given unto you according to my word. . .
45 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.
46 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.
47 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.
48 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.
49 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. D&C 132:40, 45-49
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:17-19
Who is the Holy Spirit of Promise? Who has been anointed by the Lord and appointed unto this power? Does Lord anoint the Lord's anointed? Can a man and wife make a valid covenant for eternity if it is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise? If a marriage is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, is there a marriage when they are out of this world?
And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife, and make a covenant with her for time and for all eternity, if that covenant is not by me or by my word, which is my law, and is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, through him whom I have anointed and appointed unto this power, then it is not valid neither of force when they are out of the world, because they are not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by my word; when they are out of the world it cannot be received there, because the angels and the gods are appointed there, by whom they cannot pass; they cannot, therefore, inherit my glory; for my house is a house of order, saith the Lord God. Doctrine and Covenants 132:18
What is the more sure word of prophecy? Who has power in the Holy Priesthood to seal someone up to eternal life? How did they receive this power? Did they receive it in the same manner as Nephi, Joseph, and Peter?
1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];
3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.
4 He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.
5 (May 17th, 1843.) The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood. D&C 131
What is the purpose of the greater priesthood? What does the greater priesthood administer? What is the key of the mysteries of the kingdom? Where do we find the power of godliness manifest? The authority of the greater priesthood prepares us for what? Are valid ordinances essential? Who is administering valid ordinances today? What are the fruits of those administering valid ordinances? Can someone who has not beheld the face of God administer a valid ordinance? Which ones? Which ordinances are administered using lesser priesthood? What is the preparatory gospel? Why is the ministry of angels important to those without higher priesthood? Which ordinances are administered using higher priesthood?
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.
20 Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.
21 And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;
22 For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.
23 Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;
24 But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.
25 Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;
26 And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel;
27 Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb.
28 For he was baptized while he was yet in his childhood, and was ordained by the angel of God at the time he was eight days old unto this power, to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews, and to make straight the way of the Lord before the face of his people, to prepare them for the coming of the Lord, in whose hand is given all power. Doctrine and Covenants 84
What is the Lord's reaction to those who harden their hearts and refuse to come into his presence while in the flesh? What does it mean to enter into the rest of the Lord? What does it mean to be sanctified? What is the sanctification process? How did Moses get the greater priesthood? Did the men in Israel hold the same priesthood as Moses? Was it possible for Moses to confer this priesthood upon another? Why or why not?
Why did Jesus go to John the Baptist to be baptized? Who ordained John the Baptist? Was John the Baptist part of the church hierarchy? Why didn't Jesus go to the priests of the church to get baptized? These priests occupied the same seat as Moses, did they have the same authority? Can the authority Moses possessed be passed down from man to man? Why or why not? Since Caiaphas sat in Moses's seat, did he have the same authority as Moses? How did the scribes and the Pharisees feel about the baptism offered by John? Were they willing to humble themselves and receive an authoritative baptism or were they content with their church baptism? Why did the chief priests, scribes, and elders of the church question Jesus's authority? Did the church leaders think they were only one who could disseminate authority? Do we have chief seats in our synagogues? Do we have masters and Rabbis in our synagogues? How does Jesus feel about this?
27 ¶And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders,
28 And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?
29 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
30 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me.
31 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him?
32 But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed.
33 And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things. Mark 11:27-33
1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. Matthew 23:1-12
How does Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, seal you his? What is the purpose of bringing you to heaven?
Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen. Mosiah 5:15
Why does the Father need to bear record before someone is sealed up unto eternal life?
And of as many as the Father shall bear record, to you shall be given power to seal them up unto eternal life. Amen. Doctrine and Covenants 68:12
***Notice the use of tenses in D&C 76 has, are, shall be. ***
50 And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just—
51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—
Who has the testimony of Jesus that is to be received? Will any baptism do? Or does it need to be an authorized baptism? Who can offer an authorized baptism?
52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;
To receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands is an ordinance. Who can perform this ordinance? Who has been sealed unto this power to perform this ordinance? (I wrote about this in depth in January - Apostleship and the Laying on of Hands for theGift of the Holy Ghost)
53 And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.
54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.
Who is the Holy Spirit of Promise? How does one become a member of the church of the Firstborn? If you are not a member of the church of the Firstborn, which church are you a member of? (1 Nephi 14:10) Is the church of the Firstborn the same as the church of the Lamb of God? Explain.
55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—
56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;
57 And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son.
58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God—
To whom has the Father given all things? Who has received of his fulnes and of his glory? How does one become a priest of the Most High? How is Melchizedek Priesthood connected with being a god? What is the difference between a god (lower case) and God (upper case)? How does one become a son of God? Are we sons and daughters of God before this endowment?
59 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
What things are theirs? Why does it include things present and things to come, but not things of the past? Does this tell us something about eternal progression? Who is Christ's Father? Who is the Father of those with Melchizedek priesthood? Who is our Father? Is Christ's father our father?
60 And they shall overcome all things.
Have the gods (lower case) overcome all things yet?
61 Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.
Is any glory to be given from one man to another man?
62 These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.
63 These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.
64 These are they who shall have part in the first resurrection.
65 These are they who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just.
66 These are they who are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all.
67 These are they who have come to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the Firstborn.
68 These are they whose names are written in heaven, where God and Christ are the judge of all.
69 These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.
70 These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical. D&C 76
What are the blessings of these gods? Who are their companions? Who are the inhabitants of Zion? What is this new [and everlasting covenant]? Are these words in D&C 76 showing us a progression? Do all of these things happen at once? or do we start at the first until we have obtained all of these blessings?
In the school of the gods, those with the most intelligence contribute the most. They are not only willing but able.
18 Howbeit that he made the greater star; as, also, if there be two spirits, and one shall be more intelligent than the other, yet these two spirits, notwithstanding one is more intelligent than the other, have no beginning; they existed before, they shall have no end, they shall exist after, for they are gnolaum, or eternal.
19 And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all. Abraham 3:18-19
The questions can be asked, “Where I am in the school of the gods? What I am doing to help in this great work God has undertaken? Where I am? What's my next step?”
God Bless You in Your Journey