top of page
Search

Three Knocks, The Great Ascension

Scott Roderick

12/2/2021

 

Almost everything about the Gospel plan is a process and not an event. Most people most of the time are only working through the process. A great deal of the scriptures has been written by those who have been through the process and who are trying to give mankind instructions of how to repeat it in their own lives. There are events which occur in the scriptures, as well, but man will never arrive at the events unless he first realizes there is a process, and he begins to participate actively in that process.4 In the April 1844 conference talk, Joseph Smith redefined the term “first principles.Joseph wanted the saints to comprehend much more about the gospel and learn a new, higher ideal. Christ’s gospel includes: attaining to the resurrection from the dead, becoming gods, and walking the same path as our Lord walked. These are the real first principles of the gospel. That is why he wished he had the trumpet of an archangel with which to declare it. His words were worthy of an archangel: “You thus learn some of the first principles of the Gospel, about which so much hath been said. When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel — you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave” (TPJS, 348; WJS, 358). “We have such a long way to go even after this life that we hardly comprehend how great a work remains. We will not learn everything needed ‘in this world.’ These are the basics of the gospel of Christ. This is the foundation upon which salvation itself rests. This is the climb we must make to be like Him. We can go from exaltation to exaltation, and from grace to grace, but we will only arrive at the end when we have learned all we will need to know to be like Christ. To understand Christ is to understand salvation. He is the prototype, and therefore we must be exactly like that prototype to be saved.”5 (A Glossary of Gospel Terms, Gospel of Jesus Christ, pp 667-668, emphasis added).

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a process of ascension, from premortality to godliness. Joseph Smith compared the process to climbing a ladder, suggesting we ascend to Godliness by advancing up rungs of the ladder to reach our full potential. Joseph makes clear we will not reach the top in mortality. The process continues after two separate but similar events. The first event Joseph mentions is passing through the veil. The scriptures contain examples of people who broke free from the bonds of mortality to receive instruction from those residing beyond this mortal realm.

The second event Joseph Smith refers to is death. Our advancement up the ladder continues after our death. Death is a separate event but not the same as penetrating the veil while in mortality. In both conditions, one mortal and one in the eternal realm, God intends for us to continue our ascension if we learn and then engage in the process leading to ascent.

Joseph Smith’s Description of the Process

 

“We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with Him. But we consider that this is a station to which no man ever +arrived in a moment: he must have been instructed in the government and laws of that kingdom by proper degrees, until his mind is capable in some measure of comprehending the propriety, justice, equality, and consistency of the same . . . [the Lord speaking of Jacob] He found him in a desert land, and in the waste, howling wilderness; He led him about, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye, etc.; which will show the force of the last item advanced, that it is necessary for men to receive an understanding concerning the laws of the heavenly kingdom, before they are permitted to enter it: we mean the celestial glory . . . , but the conditions of God’s kingdom are such, that all who are made partakers of that glory, are under the necessity of learning something respecting it previous to their entering into it” (TPJS. p. 51, emphasis added).

 

          The process being discussed is the process of a man or woman being instructed by Heaven in the laws of the kingdoms of God, telestial, terrestrial, and celestial, as well as others.[1] Our advancement is self regulated or according to the heed and diligence we apply in the process.[2] Like Jacob, if we exhibit interest in the process, the Lord searches and finds us in the spiritually desolate land that is mortality. As we discover the process, we are left to choose whether or not to engage it in our lives. If we give heed and practice diligence to what the Lord reveals, He, in turn, leads and instructs us, imparting knowledge, light, and spirit upon us. His manner of instructing us and providing greater “light” is the “process.”[3]

The light the Lord imparts upon the penitent cleanses hearts from the effects of sin and chases darkness and the evil one away.

 

“The glory of God is intelligence, or in other words, light and truth. Light and truth forsake the evil one. Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning, and God having redeemed man from the Fall, man became again, in their infant state, innocent before God. And that wicked one comes and takes away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers” (RE T&C 93:11, emphasis added).

 

“And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you . . . ” (RE T&C 36:5, emphasis added).).

 

          Truth is a synonym for light and spirit. Darkness cannot reside in the presence of truth. When a person receives light it illuminates their mind to the degree darkness may be detected and “chased” away. As Joseph Smith explained, “the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin” (TPJS. p.51, emphasis added).[4]

 

          The Lord gave a concise description of this process to Joseph Smith:

 

That which is of God is light, and he that receives light and continues in God receives more light, and that light grows brighter and brighter until the perfect day” (RE T&C 36:4, emphasis added).

 

          The objective of the process is for mankind to increase in light and truth until they reach the “perfect day” or come to know God who embodies every aspect of truth and light.

 

Ascending to Heaven

 

          This law, instituted before the foundation of the world, may be obeyed by anyone seeking these blessings. God is no respecter of persons. The process of obtaining blessings by obedience to law is fair, just and available to all. There is no other way to ascend.

          When a person gains sufficient knowledge to ascend, they begin “climbing the ladder” when they obey and apply what they come to know. That ascension is a two fold process. The first ascension begins when one is in mortality and qualifies to be introduced at the veil and converse with the Lord. This is a form of ascension because you add another rung on the ladder of your ascent though you return to mortality with added light and knowledge.

 

But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them” (TPJS., p. 348, emphasis added).

 

          The second form of ascension is when the Lord takes you by the hand and leads you through the veil to dwell in His presence. The Glossary of Gospel Terms provides an explanation of the ascension process:

 

“There is a relationship between ascension in this life and the right to ascend in the afterlife which is mentioned, but not well explained, in scripture. There are two ascents. One is temporary and happens when men are “caught up” but then return to this world. It represents overcoming the world and returning the individual back to the presence of God. It is called redemption from the fall (Ether 1:3) because it brings the individual back into God’s presence. This form of temporary ascent is designed to establish a covenant or promise related to the other, more gradual ascent through development of the individual. The temporary mortal ascent secures a promise for the individual that they will be permitted to make the eternal ascent to where God and Christ dwell in the afterlife. The second form is the actual ascent, involving redemption, and securing eternal life. It is a methodical process over eons of time to bring those who ascend to reside where God and Christ dwell in the afterlife. (see T&C 69:14, 28). In the “King Follett Discourse,” Joseph Smith said this: Thus you learn some of the first principles of the gospel about which so much has been said. When you climb a ladder, you must begin at the bottom and go on until you learn the last principle; it will be a great while before you have learned the last. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it is a great thing to learn salvation beyond the grave.” This is the growth, by degrees, which results in exaltation. “Here, then, is eternal life-to know the only wise and true God. And you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves-to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done-by going from a small degree to another, from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you are able to sit in glory as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power. 

The second form of ascent cannot happen in mortality but is accomplished over time. It requires attaining to the resurrection, meaning that death has no claim on this person because he or she merits eternal life. This is what Christ gained in His life and through His sacrifice here. Men are dependent upon His merits to overcome death. But all will have to attain the same thing before they finish the second form of ascent. Christ is the prototype of the saved man and all must be precisely what he is and nothing else or not be saved, according to the Lectures on Faith (LOF 7:9, emphasis added).

 

The first form of ascent is possible for all mortals. The scriptures, in particular the Book of Mormon, contain accounts of those who have ascended to God’s presence and overcome the fall of mankind. Many Old Testament prophets did likewise, but their accounts were redacted by the Deuteronomists because of hostility to the doctrine. The reality is that most people-even very good, believing people whose lives are filled with Christian charity and love for their fellow man-are not going to ascend, even temporarily, while they live in this fallen world. The first ascent is covenant filled. God brings one before Him to establish a covenant, assuring the Eternal ascent. Most people will ascend over eons of time, because the process is based on the determination and commitment people have to follow God and His Christ” (A Glossary of Gospel Terms, Ascension, pp. 573-574).

 

          Because the second form of ascent cannot happen in mortality, the first form of ascent, where a person is “caught up” to commune with Heaven and returned to ortality is the process addressed in this paper.

          The process involves a person, who by virtue of their faith and diligence gain light and knowledge from Heaven and covenants with God accompanied with blessings for those who honor and obey their covenant with God.

 

Learning Each Rung on the Ladder- Beginning the Ascent

 

          The scriptures provide different ways of describing the process. For Jesus, John the Beloved says that He received “grace for grace.”[5] In a revelation to Joseph Smith the Lord describes the process as “line upon line, precept upon precept.”[6] In the Book of Abraham the process is referred to as “added upon.”[7] Peter, in his epistle provides an ascending list of godly attributes.[8]

          There are scripture references that suggest a process for ascension exists, the process must be searched out through diligent study of scripture and supplication with God. In the Testimony of Saint John we read where Nicodemus approached the Lord seeking answers to that question:

 

“There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin, who was in darkness and came to visit with Jesus. He sought wisdom from Jesus and said, Enlightened heavenly guide, some of us know you have descended from the High Council of Heaven because signs confirm you have authority from God. Jesus answered and said to him, In the name of Father Ahman I testify there is a new dispensation begun. You must accept the ordinances of this new Light or you cannot hope to progress to know God.

Nicodemus said to him, If I believe this, can I ascend in this life, or will it be accomplished only in the afterlife? Jesus answered, In the name of Father Ahman I say to you, Except you receive the ordinance of baptism to join the new dispensation, and thereby forsake your sins and receive forgiveness and an outpouring of the Spirit, you will not ascend to God’s presence in this life or the life to come. All who are devoted to the ambitions of the flesh remain imprisoned by the flesh, and those who are born anew through the ordinances, receive the Spirit of Truth. Do not question if what I say is true because the Spirit of Truth confers light, knowledge, and understanding of the mysteries of Heaven with every soul who receives it.

Nicodemus replied to him, Why is this not widely known? Jesus answered, Why does a member of the Sanhedrin not recognize that a new dispensation has begun? In the name of Father Ahman I confirm what was told by John the Baptist and I have begun a work that comes from Heaven. But you who lead Israel fight against it and you refuse to humble yourselves. If I offered you a position of respect and authority, as you now hold, you would believe. But because I testify only of heavenly things that require faith and sacrifice, you refuse to believe? I tell you, if you want to ascend to the Heavenly Council, you must first acknowledge and give heed to the messengers sent by them . . . ,” (RE T&C 171:2, The Testimony of Saint John, pp. 484, emphasis added).

 

          Nicodemus’ inquiry of Jesus reflects an understanding of the concept of ascension to Heaven and a return to God’s presence in this life. Jesus instructs Nicodemus that he will neither ascend in this life or the next unless he does the following:

 

1.     Recognize a new dispensation has begun.

2.     Accept the ordinances of the new dispensation.

A.   Beginning with baptism as a sign you are joining the new dispensation.

3.     Forsake your sins.

4.     Receive forgiveness.

5.     Receive an “outpouring of the Spirit.”

6.     Become “born anew” through the ordinances.

7.     Receive the Spirit of Truth [Christ].

8.     Know the “record of Heaven”[9] by the “Spirit of Truth.”[10]

 

          In the Savior’s conversation with Nicodemus, He plainly states eight requirements necessary to ascend. Because Nicodemus was “in darkness” it’s highly unlikely Nicodemus understood let alone comprehended the Savior’s response to his inquiry. For a person to receive what the Savior offers, there must be preparation.

          Prior to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the Savior sought to prepare His disciples for the day when He would withdraw from them. It was necessary for the Lord to withdraw so they could be instructed in how they could ascend and walk in the path’s the Savior walked in the Heavens. Those preparations included Christ ascending to the Throne of the Father to assume the title of “Spirit of Truth.”

 

Preparation for the Template of the “Process”

 

          Before immersing ourselves into the template for understanding the Lord’s process for mankind’s ascension to Heaven, context must be established.

 

          The Star of David

 

The star of David is traditionally associated with Judaism and the nation of Israel. In Restoration Theology it has a different meaning. The star of David is formed by two identical, overlapping triangles. Each triangle has three sides symbolizing three steps or levels between God and man. This is illustrated in the appearance of Jesus Christ to the Nephite survivors following the cataclysmic destruction concurrent with His crucifixion and resurrection.

 

Three Announcements of the Coming of Christ to the Nephites

 

Prior to the Savior descending from Heaven to minister to the Nephite survivors, a voice was heard three times:

 

“And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven [#1]; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.

And it came to pass that again they heard the voice [#2], and they understood it not.

And again the third time they did hear the voice [#3], and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were toward the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came” (RE 3 Nephi 5:2, emphasis added). 

 

          By speaking to the Nephites three times, the Lord demonstrated three levels or stages between where Christ was and where the Nephites dwell. Direct access and clear communication was impossible. The Nephites heard the Fathers voice but could not clearly understand what was said. However, they could feel the effects of the Father’s voice. His voice was neither harsh nor loud but an effect they could feel “to the very soul” and caused a burning in their hearts.

          The Father’s words were again spoken but again, not understood. The third time the voice of the Father spoke, the Nephites heard the substance of His words declaring, “Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name-hear ye him” (RE 3 Nephi 5:2).

          Each time the voice of the Father was heard, each of three levels between God and man were present. This includes the condition God finds the general population of mankind. When man is in their early stages they have great difficulty discerning the voice of the Father or Son. What draws them to God is the palpable feeling that pierces their souls and causes their hearts to burn. They sense God’s presence but are unprepared as yet for greater light and knowledge.

          By the third time the Father’s voice is heard clearly and mankind is prepared to be restored to God’s presence. The Father introduces the Son and the Son descends from Heaven to minister to the Nephites.

 

          Three Knocks at the Veil

 

          After Adam and Eve entered sacred covenants with God in an ascending order, they are introduced at the veil. They were proven faithful to the covenants they made with God and introduced at the veil with three knocks. The three knocks are metaphorical symbols of three levels between mankind and God. For man to return to God’s presence, he must ascend up the three levels or stages of the process before they enter God’s presence.

 

The Spirits of Truth

 

          Now the pattern for three levels or stages between God and man has been established, we are now prepared to examine what is involved in our ascension up three stages to return to God’s presence. We begin with the three phases of the Spirit of Truth.

          In scripture there are three versions of the spirit of truth. They are distinguished from one another by the use of capital letters. The Glossary of Gospel Terms contains a useful explanation of the three distinct terms:

 

Spirit of TruthCapitalization and context of how this term is used result in three different meanings :spirit of truth — the light given to everyone; a description of something sought after to help guide or answer;Spirit of truth — an event in which the holy ghost ministers (as in an ordinance), or when Christ takes ownership over something as His; andSpirit of Truth — a proper noun; a formal name for Christ, in the context of scripture. (RE A Glossary of Gospel Terms, Spirit of Truth, p.810).

 

spirit of truth

 

 

          This is the light given to all mankind to guide them and provide answers to their questions concerning where they came from, why they are here and where they go after this life or how truth is defined.[11] From a practical perspective it is described as follows:

 

“ . . . , For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatever is truth is light, and whatever is light is spirit, even the spirit of Jesus Christ. And the spirit gives light to every man that comes into the world that hearkens to the voice of the spirit, and everyone that hearkens to the voice of the spirit comes unto God, even the Father. And the Father teaches him of the covenant which the Father has renewed and confirmed upon you for your sakes, and not for yours only, but for the sake of the whole world” (RE T&C 82:18, emphasis added).

 

          Every man born in the world has the spirit of truth or spirit of Jesus Christ within them. If they “hearken” or give heed to the whispering voice or thought their ability to hear that voice is enhanced. If they ignore or neglect it, it recedes and disappears.[12] From a practical perspective it is generally a thought accompanied with a feeling. It may also be associated with conscience or intuition.

          In addition to having a continual presence in mankind, the “spirit of truth” represents a condition. We enter mortality in a state of innocence, devoid of goodness or evil. We began in premortality as the “spirit of truth.”

 

“. . . You were also in the beginning with the Father, that which is spirit, even the spirit of truth . . . ,” (RE T&C 93:8 emphasis added).

 

“ . . . Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning, and God having redeemed man from the Fall, man became again, in their infant state, innocent before God” (RE T&C 93:11, emphasis added).

 

          Beginning in a state of innocence is also beginning in a state of ignorance. In our ignorance, like a child, we are left to be enticed to embrace good or evil. The more proper way to frame this discussion is to seek after and embrace light, which is truth or spirit which in turn, leads us back to God. Alternatively, surrender the light we obtain and we live in increasing levels of darkness leading to destruction.

          In a state of innocence and ignorance we look and rely upon those closest to us for guidance and direction. Adam and Eve looked to God after the Fall and He taught them the plan of salvation that redeems them and their posterity from the Fall. Because of Adam and Eve’s transgression they were taught the following about their redemption:

 

“And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.

And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.

And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters” (RE Genesis 3:4, emphasis added).

 

          After God made the plan of redemption known to Adam and Eve they rejoiced, blessed God for His love and mercy and made all things known to their posterity. Had their condition remained in a state of innocence there would have been no opposition, nothing to compare their redemption to. Without opposition they could not discern good from evil, nor would they exist.[13] They could not enjoy their redemption because they would lack understanding relative to suffering and destruction. They could not “become as the Gods,” knowing good from evil.[14]

          Agency, or the ability to act for ourselves is required for our existence.[15] For the benefit of our existence God allowed the alternative voice of Satan to tempt and try mankind. After Adam and Eve made the redemption of man known to their children, Satan countered their teachings with a simple declaration:

 

“And Satan came among them, saying, I am also a Son of God. And he commanded them, saying Believe not. And they believed not, and loved Satan more than God. And men began from that time forth to be carnal, sensual, and devilish . . .” (RE Genesis 3:5, emphasis added).

 

                Satan came among the posterity of Adam and Eve and commanded them to disbelieve the plan of redemption taught them by their parents. By persuading them to disbelieve God and disobey God’s commandments Satan instituted false traditions among the seed of the man and women that perpetuate to this day. Those traditions have the opposite effect to God’s plan. Instead of increasing light and truth, Satan removes light and truth, leading the seed of Adam and Eve to bondage and destruction.

 

“Light and truth forsake that evil one. Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning, and God having redeemed man from the Fall, man became again, in their infant state, innocent before God. And that wicked one comes and takes away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers” (RE T&C 93:11, emphasis added).

 

          Satan’s strategy is limited in scope but effective throughout the eon’s of his existence. Understanding the effects of his strategy takes on greater meaning when the Spirit of truth is discussed.

          To counter the Lord’s plan of redemption, Satan approached the posterity of Adam and Eve representing he too is a son of God. He gave them commandments in opposition to the commandments given mankind by the Lord. He simply said, “Believe not!” The outcome of this action had numerous effects on the children of men. Using Satan’s command as cover, mankind began to rationalize it was reasonable to disobey God’s commandments without consequence. Instead of embracing their agency to choose and accepting responsibility for their actions, Satan offered a plan of self gratification and self indulgence with no responsibility nor consequence for their actions. From this time forward they became carnal, sensual, and devilish, doing the works of their father, Satan.

          Satan’s deceptions turned mankind’s focus away from applying their agency to sacrifice for others, increasing discipline and restraint to obtain greater light and knowledge. Instead, they focus on gratifying the flesh and self indulgence without consequences. The devil’s plan caused men to surrender their agency and become captive to Satan’s will. It became the foundation for false traditions and beliefs that span from creation until now.

          Satan’s objective was always to remove light and truth from mankind by persuading them to believe lies. His path was easier, presumably bringing more freedom, maximum gratification without consequences for disobeying God’s commandments. It was all a lie.

          Entering mortality in a state of innocence and ignorance leaves mankind vulnerable to deception. The Lord’s plan of redemption was implemented to guide mankind in their advancement from the beginning, and reclaim mankind when they succumb to the wiles of the devil. Since all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, the plan of redemption made way for fallen men to resume their ascension by repenting of their sins, obtaining forgiveness, communing with God and receiving direction and instruction from Him in our daily walk.

          We, as the “spirit of truth” begin as empty vessels with essentially a “homing device” embedded in our souls leading us to greater light and truth as we serpentine throughout life's experiences. We learn from our experiences and increase in wisdom as we become as the God’s, knowing good from evil, choosing good.

 

The Spirit of truth

 

          The next step in the process is to advance from the first stage or “spirit of truth” to the second stage or “Spirit of truth.” This step in the process is defined as: “an event in which the holy ghost ministers (as in an ordinance), or when Christ takes ownership over something as His;” In the first stage of the process God intends for us to use our agency to do as Joseph Smith said:

 

. . . it is necessary for men to receive an understanding concerning the laws of the heavenly kingdom, before they are permitted to enter it: we mean the celestial glory . . . , but the conditions of God’s kingdom are such, that all who are made partakers of that glory, are under the necessity of learning something respecting it previous to their entering into it”

 

          It is necessary for us to learn something about God's kingdom before we enter into it. Laws or commandments associated with His kingdom must be learned and obeyed to ascend. God’s commandments become the stepping stones upon which we ascend, adding light and truth along the way. We learn the commandments, obey the commandments and consequently obtain the blessing. There are no blessings without obedience to the commandments.

 

“Joseph Smith linked blessings with knowledge. He linked knowledge with obedience to laws. “And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. There is a law, irrevocably decreed in Heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated-and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.If we want a blessing, we must find the law upon which it is predicated, and then follow that law. If we do, we get the blessing. There is a majestic simplicity to this orderly procedure. It is from such an understanding Joseph authoritatively declared God was no respecter of persons . . . Joseph made this whole process of gaining blessings through knowledge a natural one that grew out of conformity with natural law. Of course, God ordained natural law.” This whole process is a gift from God. He set the bounds and terms by His grace. So if mankind elects to abide those conditions, they are entitled to receive the grace or blessing He promises. But it still remains a gift. King Benjamin explained this process of keeping commandments, receiving blessings, and remaining in God’s debt in Mosiah 1:8-9 [RE]. (The term “entitled” is used here to make the point that once man has done his part, God will do His. Man will not go down the road only to find it closed at the end. God keeps His promises.) (A Glossary of Gospel Terms, Blessings, p. 591, emphasis added).

 

          This law, instituted before the foundation of the world, may be obeyed by anyone seeking these blessings. God is no respecter of persons. The process of obtaining blessings by obedience to law is fair, just and available to all. There is no other way to ascend.

         

Spirit of truth from spirit of truth

 

          Those who fall under the description of the “spirit of truth” come to this world with a deficit of knowledge. Their ideal condition would be to be born to a family, father and mother, who share common values based upon sacred truth. They provide the initial kernels of knowledge taking root in the hearts and minds of their children. The unfortunate reality is, there are few families who qualify for that description. No matter how optimal a familial situation appears, there remain false traditions passed down for generations that mislead even the most devoted parents. Those traditions are passed on to their posterity.

          Our experiences teach basic life skills, but expanding in light and knowledge is tied to the diligence with which light and knowledge are sought. The sources from which light and truth are sought are also critical.

          Due to the imperfections of mankind and the impact they have on the family, coupled with the strategies of the devil, God provided supplemental support for the familial structure in the form of scripture. The canon of scripture is valuable because of the source of the content. The source is Christ. But the record is written by those whom He shepherds through the process.

 

“You need to know what [this] term [Gospel] really means. If you do not, then you have not received it. You have claimed, like others, to be ‘of Christ’ without ever comprehending what His Gospel includes and does not include.” The word gospel comes from the Old English godspel (godspel); literally from god (good) and spel (story, message, spell, narrative, or form of words; often defined as glad or good tidings). When a story or spell is cast that is good, it is a “gospel.” It has the same origin as “to spell,” meaning to read letter by letter or speak. The original had a long “o,” and later became associated as “God,” as in “God-story.” The word is a translation of the Greek euangelion meaning “good message” and translated in the KJV as “gospel” . . . A great deal of the scriptures has been written by those who have been through the process and who are trying to give mankind instructions of how to repeat it in their own lives. There are events which occur in the scriptures, as well, but man will never arrive at the events unless he first realizes there is a process, and he begins to participate actively in that process” (A Glossary of Gospel Terms, Gospel of Jesus Christ, pp. 665, 667, emphasis added).

 

          The scriptures are the record of men who learn the process and engage it. By sharing their experiences interacting with God and receiving revelation and direction from Him. Their words are written by the spirit of inspiration and intending to become the curriculum from which their children were taught.

 

“And God revealed himself unto Seth, and he rebelled not, but offered an acceptable sacrifice like unto his brother Abel. And to him also was born a son, and he called his name Enos. And then began these men to call upon the name of the Lord, and the Lord blessed them. And a book of remembrance was kept, in which was recorded in the language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration. And by them their children were taught to read and write, having a language which was pure and undefiled” (RE Genesis 3:14, emphasis added).

 

          Those who called upon the Lord and received blessings at His hand were given power to write by inspiration and those writings became the content from which their children were taught in a pure and undefiled language.

          If these records were preserved in their original state we would have a perfect record from which to learn the process to do as Abel and Seth did, having God reveal Himself to them and their posterity. Since their time of origin, records have been hidden, translated, lost, undergone redaction, alteration and deletion or the content was shaped to support particular narratives and agenda’s.

          The Book of Mormon and scriptures of the Restoration are the least affected because they were translated by the gift and power of God from the original record. They are the closest to pristine records in our possession. The Book of Mormon testifies of the affects mankind would have on the content of the records as they passed from generation to generation, language to language.[16]

          Mankind enters mortality in a state of innocence and ignorance as the “spirit of truth.”[17] The process ordained by God is for the “spirit of truth” to advance to a level of light and knowledge characterized as the “Spirit of truth,” preparation for mankind to receive covenants and ordinances. As mankind advances from the “spirit of truth” toward the “Spirit of truth” their souls[18] become increasingly sanctified. As Joseph Smith taught:

 

“. . . and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till  he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin” (TPJS., p.51).

 

          Light and truth chase darkness[19] from the souls of mankind. As we increase in light and truth our disposition becomes less inclined towards evil and more fully desires what is good. That is part of the process. It is preparation for elevating our relationship with God.

          Nephi taught:

 

“But behold, I say unto you that the kingdom of God is not filthy, that there cannot any unclean thing that can enter into the kingdom of God” (RE 1 Nephi 4:6).

 

          The process for advancing from the “spirit of truth” to the “Spirit of truth” begins with receiving the testimony of those who have gone before you or are going before you now. Their testimony may be in mortality where their words are inspired by God and carried by the holy ghost into the hearts of man or by searching their written words recorded under the inspiration of the Spirit of God.

          Those engaged in this process are moved by a change in their nature to reach out to others, particularly their posterity and “beckon” to them to follow in the process.[20]

          Lehi’s struggle through the dark and dreary wilderness exemplified what one must go through to obtain the Tree of Life. On the other hand, Nephi’s example demonstrates in a step by step fashion what one must do to reach where Lehi had already been.

 

Nephi as the Example of the “spirit of truth”

 

          Lehi was a prophet sent to prophesy to the Jews about their impending destruction and the judgments of God about to befall them. At first he was ignored and mocked as he sought to fulfill the errand God had given him. When his testimony foretold the coming of Christ the Jews became angered and sought Lehi’s life.

          In an environment where the Jews rejected prophets and sought their lives, Nephi was in a position to choose to agree with the Jews or believe the testimony of his father, Lehi. What Nephi did is a pattern for anyone seeking to begin their ascent back to God.

 

“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceeding young, nevertheless, being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore I cried unto the Lord. And behold, he did visit me and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers. And I spake unto Sam, making known unto him the things which the Lord had manifested unto me by his holy spirit. And it came to pass that he believed in my words. But behold, Laman and Lemuel would not hearken unto my words. And being grieved because of the hardness of their hearts, I cried unto the Lord for them. And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying, Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently with lowliness of heart. And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper and shall be led to a land of promise, yea, even a land which I have prepared for you, a land which is choice above all other lands. And inasmuch as thy brethren shall rebel against thee, they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And inasmuch as thou shalt keep my commandments, thou shalt be made a ruler and a teacher over thy brethren. For behold, in that day that they shall rebel against me, I will curse them even with a sore curse, and they shall have no power over thy seed except they shall rebel against me also. And if it so be that they rebel against me, they shall be a scourge unto thy seed to stir them up in the ways of remembrance” (RE 1 Nephi 1:9, emphasis added).

 

          Nephi began the process by having “great desires to know the mysteries of God.” Those desires led Nephi to cry to the Lord. The Lord visited Nephi by softening his heart so he believed all that his father had taught. Nephi accepted the teachings of his father and did not rebel against him. Having received additional light and knowledge from God, Nephi increased in faith. He then shares with his brother Sam light and knowledge he received by the whisperings of the holy spirit.

          Nephi is in a gradual transition from the “spirit of truth” to the “Spirit of truth.” We can discern this transition by the evolution of Nephi’s relationship with the Lord. Nephi began the process by praying to God and demonstrating a desire to understand the mysteries of God. The Lord discerned Nephi’s sincerity and softened his heart to

believe his father, Lehi’s testimony. Nephi reached out to his brother Sam and prayed for his rebellious brothers, Laman and Lemuel. Throughout this process Nephi obeyed God’s commandments and qualified to receive the blessings associated with obedience to those commandments.

          Nephi’s obedience and faith led him to increased light and knowledge where he is enlightened by the holy spirit. As a consequence of Nephi’s obedience, the Lord entered a covenant with Nephi promising to lead him to a land He prepared for Nephi and his posterity. A choice land above all others. Nephi, through an ordinance, began the process of sanctifying his soul, gradually opening the portal between Heaven and earth. We see this phase of the process manifested when Nephi desires to witness the vision Lehi had of the Tree of Life.

 

“And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the holy ghost, [This is the “Spirit of truth” phase] which power he [Lehi] received by faith on the Son of God — and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come — I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things by the power of the holy ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, [This is the beginning of the “Spirit of truth” phase] as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men, for he is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever. And the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him. For he that diligently seeketh shall find, and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded to them by the power of the holy ghost, as well in this time 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. Therefore remember, O man, for all thy doings thou shalt be brought into judgment. Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment seat of God, and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, ye must be cast off for ever. And the holy ghost giveth authority that I should speak these things and deny them not” (RE 1 Nephi 3:5, emphasis added).

 

          Nephi’s diligence in seeking is manifest in his desire to see what he is confident his father, Lehi saw. Nephi had complete confidence the Lord had revealed the vision to Lehi and knowing the holy ghost was prepared for all men to receive if they repented and came to Christ, Nephi complied with the law that brought to him the blessing of the holy ghost.

          The process began when Nephi exercised faith in the testimony of his father who transcended from the “spirit of truth” to receive the “Spirit of truth,” the witness of the Father and Son and the sanctification of Lehi’s soul.[21] All of this is what Nephi sought with faith and confidence the Lord would make these things known to Nephi if he continued faithfully and diligently. His faith and desire were demonstrated in his actions and that is why Nephi achieves his desire.

This process will be examined in greater detail in the upcoming section of this paper. What is important to note is how Nephi advanced in his upward ascension toward God by first believing the testimony of his father who already began to ascend and receive the influence of the holy ghost and the beginning sanctification of his spirit. Nephi accepted his father’s testimony and embarked on the ascension for himself. As Nephi said, this is available to all generations, both “in times of old and in times to come” to all who diligently seek Christ and exercise faith He will lead you through this process. Nephi said as much at the conclusion of his record:

 

“And now behold, my beloved brethren, I suppose that ye ponder somewhat in your hearts concerning that which ye should do after ye have entered in by the way. [“spirit of truth”] But behold, why do ye ponder these things in your hearts? Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the holy ghost [“Spirit of truth”], ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the holy ghost? Angels speak by the power of the holy ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, Feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. [“Spirit of Truth,” Christ] Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them [“spirit of truth”], it will be because ye ask not, [“Spirit of truth”] neither do ye knock [“Spirit of Truth,” Christ]. Wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark. For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way [the process] and receive the holy ghost, it will shew unto you all things what ye should do. [“Spirit of truth”] Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh [“Spirit of Truth,” Christ]. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do” (RE 2 Nephi 14:1, emphasis added).

 

          Under the heading of “the way,” Nephi provides a detailed explanation of what he later refers to as “The Doctrine of Christ.” After a person is baptized, Nephi surmises they are still in a state of ignorance. He encourages them to begin their ascension by doing exactly as he did when Nephi accepted the inspired testimony of Lehi, desiring to know the same information for himself. Nephi was moving from the “spirit of truth” to the “Spirit of truth” phase. In this passage he does the same for all who have come so far as to be baptized. It is insufficient for mankind to only enter the water and be baptized. They must “press forward” in their desire to know more, “feasting upon the words of Christ.”[22] Remember, from the beginning it is God’s intent that we be added upon and increase in light and knowledge. To plateau and stop in our progression is to regress, losing light and truth we previously received.[23] 

          Nephi encourages his readers to receive the holy ghost because the holy ghost “will show unto you all things what ye shall do.” This is the “Spirit of truth,” but that is not all.

The “Spirit of truth” continues until the Lord personally manifests Himself to you while we remain in the flesh at which point the Savior takes over directing you in your ascent to the Father. This is the “Spirit of Truth,” when Christ personally directs you in your ascent to the Father.

 

“I said that I return to the one who sent me and none of you asked me to explain what I meant by that. Instead you have become saddened and downhearted. Understand this truth from me: It is for your benefit that I ascend to the Father. If I do not take up my position there I cannot send the spirit of truth, the record of Heaven, the peaceable things of immortal glory to lead you upward. Once I ascend to the Father, I will send the Comforter to guide you on the upward path. The light is given to shine upon the pathway, to expose wrongdoing, and let you decide matters correctly. Those who refused to become devoted to me will not receive this. Because I will ascend to the Father, you will be guided, and they who follow the adversary will be rejected with the adversary they follow. He has already been rejected by the Father.

There are many things I still have to teach you, but you are not able to understand it all as yet. When I am the Spirit of Truth, I can then reveal to you the record of Heaven and knowledge will be poured into you. The spirit is the means to communicate my words, and my words will lead you on the upward path. The knowledge poured in to you will come from me. I will depart, but only briefly because when I ascend back to the Head of the Household of Heaven, I will also be by your side to guide you by my voice from Heaven” (RE Testimony of Saint John 10:25, emphasis added).

 

          The “Doctrine of Christ” is in fact a series of steps, as Joseph Smith compared to a ladder. Steps characterized as the “spirit of truth,” a state of relative ignorance and innocence. The “Spirit of truth,” when a man’s spirit becomes sanctified to a degree that allows him to receive the Spirit that emanates from Heavenly Father to fill the universe and more specifically the hearts of men willing to receive it. The point at which they achieve this milestone is the point at which they begin testifying of Christ and witnessing to others of His divinity. The final stage of this progression is when Christ, as the “Spirit of Truth” is able to reveal to us knowledge that cannot be understood without proper preparation. Included in these mysteries of godliness is the “Record of Heaven.”

          What follows is a series of revelations providing insight into the Record of Heaven and how it applies to us in the context of the three spirits of truth.

 

“If you love me, stand ready, [like a sentinel] watching for every communication I will send to you. Remember that I will ask the Father, and he will provide to you another Comforter, that he may be by your side endlessly. You will obtain the record of Heaven, the truth of all things which is denied to the world because the world refuses my Father, and therefore they do not know him. But you know him, for he is with you, and shall provide answers to guide you. I will not leave you comfortless. I will stand at your side also” (RE Testimony of Saint John 10:11, emphasis added).

 

          Instructions to the Savior’s disciples prior to His Atonement include intimate details about what happens after He passes from mortality and the nature of their relationship to our Heavenly Father and Christ thereafter. His instructions in “The Testimony of Saint John” are a new revelation revealing previously unknown light and knowledge, shedding light to all disciples of Christ in all generations.

          Those who love Christ by obeying His commandments[24]are comforted by the Comforter that was currently “with them” but soon takes up residence “in them.” The Comforter affirms to the disciple an intimate connection between themselves and the Father. The transition from the Comforter being ‘with them” as opposed to being “in them” is a transformational “rebirth” where the disciples' repentance and obedience to God’s commandments become a testimony to the Father and Son that we love them. Our obedience to Their commandment to repent qualifies us to receive the blessing of spiritual rebirth and through the Atonement of Christ, a return to a state of innocence. Our spirits become sanctified and we are prepared to be added upon with greater light and knowledge.

          Those who receive the Comforter from the Father are promised the Father will be by their side “endlessly.” In addition to the witness of the Father being with us continually providing guidance, Christ promises to be with us as well. The first Comforter is the Spirit of God that emanates from His presence to fill our hearts in preparation for our return journey to His presence. The Second Comforter is the promise that Christ will be with us to direct our journey in the straight and narrow path leading to the Father.

          Drawing from the “Record of Heaven” or the “truth of all things,” the Father and Son begin endowing us with knowledge withheld from the general population of the earth. This light and knowledge is preserved for those who exert the effort to know the Father, which is to know the Son. This key unlocks the mysteries of godliness and turns the key to opening the door to access the knowledge of God.[25]

 

“These words have I spoken to you while I am still present with you. But the Comforter, which is the holy ghost that the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things, and restore to your memory all truth I have

 

 

taught to you, and the record of Heaven itself” (RE Testimony of Saint John 10:15, emphasis added).

 

          The “Comforter” or the “holy ghost” is sent by the Father to the faithful. The Lord promises His disciples the First Comforter will instruct them and restore their recollection of all the Savior taught them and the “record of Heaven.” As previously stated, the “record of Heaven” contains all truth which in turn, chases away all darkness.[26]

 

 

. . . , you must be born again into the kingdom of Heaven of water [“spirit of truth”], and of the spirit [“Spirit of truth”], and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of my Only Begotten [“Spirit of Truth”], that you may be sanctified from all sin and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory. For by the water you keep the commandment, [“spirit of truth,” baptism] by the spirit you are justified, [“Spirit of truth,” Comforter] and by the blood you are sanctified. [“Spirit of Truth,” personal ministration of Christ] Therefore, it is given to abide in you: the Record of Heaven, the Comforter, the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, the truth of all things, that which quickens all things — which makes alive all things, that which knows all things, and has all power according to Wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment. And now behold, I say unto you, this is the plan of salvation unto all men through the blood of my Only Begotten who shall come in the meridian of time . . .” (RE Genesis 4:9, emphasis added). 

 

          The modern concept of religion today is the concept that what we do here in mortality is in preparation for what we only receive in the next life, when we pass from mortality. This passage is a declaration that this concept is far understated if not blatantly false. The words of eternal life are intended to be shared in mortality and lead us to “immortal glory” in the next.

          The following elements reside in us but require keys to unlock our access to them:

 

1.     The Record of Heaven.

2.     The Comforter

3.     The Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven

4.     The Truth of all things, that quickens all things and knows all things.

5.     Has all power according to Wisdom [Heavenly Mother], mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.

 

          All this abides within us but requires divine intervention to gain access to them. In the “spirit of truth” we judiciously stand as sentinels searching for truth among conflicting voices in mortality. We discern truth from error by weighing in the balance the testimonies of the many to find the testimonies of the few who obtain the “Spirit of truth” and testify by the power of the Comforter.[27] If we are vigilant in our search for the words of Christ as they are taught by the “Spirit of truth,” God continues to dispense truth until those who were once recipients of truth by that same truth become dispensers of truth and light by the Comforter.

          When they have undergone the spiritual rebirth they are in position to begin to receive those Heavenly ministrations that bear the keys unlocking what resides within us from our premortal existence.

          On rare occasions throughout covenant history we are given knowledge into this process during dispensational renewal. Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were privileged to be present when the Lord accepted the Kirtland Temple following the dedicatory prayer. The Heavens opened and the Savior appeared to acknowledge His acceptance of the temple. When the presence of the Lord withdrew from Joseph and Oliver, the Heavens again opened to their view:

 

 

“As this vision closed, [Christ’s appearance] the Heavens were again opened to their view, and they saw and beheld, and were endowed with knowledge from the beginning of this creation to the ends thereof. And they were shown unspeakable things from the sealed record of Heaven, which man is not capable of making known, but must be revealed by the Powers of Heaven.[28]

They beheld Michael, the archangel, Gabriel, and Raphael, and divers angels, from Michael or Adam down to the end of time, showing in turns their dispensations, their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the Powers of their Priesthood; giving line upon line, precept upon precept; endowing them with knowledge, even here a little and there a little; holding forth hope for the work God was yet to perform, even the revelation of all things which are to come upon the earth until the return of the Lord in glory with His holy angels — to pour out judgment upon the world, and to reward the righteous.

And they [Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery] were unable to take it in; therefore, they were commanded to pray and ask to comprehend by the power of the spirit, to bring all things to their remembrance, even the Record of Heaven which would abide in them. Amen and Amen” (RE T&C 157:30-32, emphasis added).

 

          Joseph and Oliver received an endowment of knowledge from Heaven spanning the entire history of earth from beginning to end. They were shown knowledge that was “unspeakable” to mankind taken from the sealed portion of the Record of Heaven. The only way for mortal man to receive this knowledge is through the ministry of angels who comprise the “Powers of Heaven.” One by one Joseph and Oliver received Michael or Adam, Gabriel, Raphael and various angels each “showing in turns their dispensations, their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the Powers of their Priesthood; giving line upon line, precept upon precept; endowing them with knowledge, even here a little and there a little.”

          All of these men had access to the “record of Heaven” and were able to endow Joseph and Oliver with access to these powers, authorities or Priesthoods. The information literally poured over them to the extent they could not comprehend all they received. This light and knowledge cannot be obtained from one mortal man to another. It is controlled by the Lord through angels who minister at His direction.[29] The angels prepare the way for the covenant work of the Father to be fulfilled.

 

Elias, Elijah and Messiah

 

          These three names are titles representing ascending levels of the Holy Priesthood. Each title is associated with respective spirits and roles in God’s work.

          The “Spirit of Elias” prepares the way for a greater work as John the Baptist, as “Elias” prepared for the greater Melchizedek ministry of Jesus Christ.[30] As in John the Baptist’s ministry, this “Spirit” is associated with the Aaronic Priesthood.[31]

          The “Spirit of Elijah” holds the keys of the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood including “power to hold the key of the revelations, ordinances, oracles, powers and endowments of the fullness 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, even unto the turning of the hearts of the [Patriarchal][32] Fathers unto the [earthly] children, and the hearts of the [earthly] children unto the [Patriarchal] Fathers, even those who are in Heaven.”[33]

          The “Spirit of Messiah” is the last and greatest of the three spirits because He is the creator of this earth.

 

An Overarching Template for God’s Work

 

          The beginning of earth’s creation was the beginning of God’s condescension to minister to man. Because this work descended from the order in Heaven, it began with the Spirit of Messiah or Adam.

 

“The spirit at the beginning [premortality] was the Spirit of Messiah. Adam dwelt in the presence of God. Adam represents that original fullness. Adam was the first man. Adam received instructions and spoke to God face to face. He dwelt in a temple setting called Eden, from which he was cast out, but he dwelt in a temple. Therefore, Adam represents the Spirit of Messiah” (RE A Glossary of Gospel Terms, p.635, emphasis added).

 

          As we examine the three “Spirits” note the men who exemplify these spirits are not their namesakes. For example, for the “Spirit of Messiah,” the Savior is not the person noted in the beginning. Rather, it is Adam, because prior to the fall he resided in a temple setting in a state of purity and righteousness like unto the Son of God. The pattern of assigning the names of individuals to the spirits continues in the following examples of men who claim these titles.

          After Adam fell and was driven out of the Garden of Eden, the “Spirit of Elijah” came into effect.

 

“Secondly, the Spirit of Elijah is represented by Enoch who, when the Earth was threatened with violence and men were to be destroyed because of the wickedness upon the face of the earth, was able to gather people into a city of peace and to have the Lord come to their city of peace and remove them from the coming violence and destruction. Enoch is a type of the Spirit Elijah, because it is the Spirit of Elijah that ascends into Heaven to prefigure the return of the Spirit of Messiah in the last days. The Spirit of Elijah is needed to gather to a place that God will acknowledge, will visit and will shield from the coming violence at the destruction of the world. And so Enoch becomes the great type of the Spirit of Elijah, although the name of Elijah is associated with a man who lived later. Elijah would likewise ascend in the fiery chariot into Heaven. He duplicated, among a hardened people in a fallen world, the same achievement as Enoch accomplished; albeit, Enoch did so with a city, and Elijah did it as a solitary figure. It will be Elijah and his spirit that, in the last days, will likewise prepare a city for salvation and preservation” (RE A Glossary of Gospel Terms, pp. 635-636, emphasis added).

 

          In the descent that began with Adam and then a lower level following Adam’s Fall, Enoch is described as the example for the “Spirit of Elijah.” Enoch is the example because he successfully gathered a people and established a city the Lord could visit and then translate into Heaven. Elijah accomplished his personal translation into Heaven but did not gather a people and lead them in their ascension into Heaven. Elijah did not forfeit the opportunity but was promised his opportunity to do so would come at a later day.

          What enabled Enoch to translate himself and his people was the endowment of knowledge, keys and power associated with the Priesthood given him by the voice of God.[34] A man may be ordained in a fellowship of men, but until and unless his ordination is endorsed by the voice of God, he will not receive knowledge, keys or power. No matter how they ascend to an office. Power and authority are the divine province of God and God alone, regardless of what man may claim.

          The final step in the descension of man from the Garden of Eden is the “Spirit of Elias” as evidenced by Noah:

 

“Lastly, there is the Spirit of Elias, represented by Noah, wherein everything that had gone on before was lost. Things began anew, and Noah had a ministry to preach repentance to preserve what had been taught before and was lost. Noah-as the messenger or the Elias-bears testimony of what once was” (RE T&C, A Glossary of Gospel Terms, Elias, Elijah, Messiah, p.636, emphasis added).

 

          Under the “Spirit of Elijah” there were sufficient numbers of people on earth to at least populate a city. A city that would resist violence and mayhem to the extent they could be of one mind, one heart, and love one another so as to assure there were no poor among them.

          In Noah’s day the conditions gave rise to a constant scene of violence. Only those closely associated with Noah were worthy of deliverance. Noah preached repentance and God’s offer to ascend to no avail. Consequently the Lord concluded mankind on the earth in a violent condition could not, nor should not be preserved. The floods came and all but the most faithful were killed in the flood.

 

Reversing Man’s Descent

 

Having a record of the fall of mankind was also holding a roadmap to the ascent back to God’s presence. The pattern on the way down becomes the roadmap to the way back, including cautionary tales of what mistakes were made to escalate the fall of man.

The same pattern followed in mankind's fall from God is reversed to lead them back to the corridors of Heaven and God's presence.

 

Before the Lord’s return, these same three spirits need to come again into the world. These will complete the plan Adam described in prophecy. It has always been in the heart of the Lord, from before the foundation of the world, for the Fall of man to be reversed. Man will return through the same stages as man fell. The Spirit of Elias, declaring the gospel, will come again into the world and has returned in the person of Joseph Smith-in the message he delivered, in the scriptures that he restored, and in the message and practices he taught. No matter how short-lived his message was, he laid a foundation[35] in the Spirit of Elias. Without Joseph’s ministry, we could not now move forward. Elias-and the Spirit of Elias-came through Joseph Smith into the world” (RE T&C, A Glossary of Gospel Terms, Elias, Elijah, Messiah, p.636, emphasis added).

 

          The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ introduced by revelation to Joseph Smith is the beginning of the “Spirit of Elias” performing a preparatory work for the “Spirit of Elijah” which follows after. Before the “Spirit of Messiah” or Christ’s coming a preparative work must lay the foundation.

 

“Elijah was to come and prepare the way and build up the kingdom before the coming of the great day of the Lord, although the spirit of Elias might begin it.” (RE, A Glossary of Gospel Terms, Elias, Elijah, Messiah, p. 635, emphasis added). 

 

          We stand at a prophetic crossroad. Either the gentiles to whom Joseph Smith revealed the restored gospel to is embraced by them or the work moves on to the remnants of Israel. For nearly two hundred years the gentiles have fallen short in the aftermath of Joseph’s life. Churches that sprang from his foundation are still in existence. Some languish in virtual anonymity while others have risen to great prominence because of unimaginable, unexposed wealth.

          Over time the teachings of Joseph Smith have been supplanted by the doctrines of men mingled with scriptures and threats of eternal damnation to those who fail to comply with the regimes of men.

          The gentiles have not taken advantage of the “Spirit of Elias” offered to them by the Lord. They have made a living “cherry picking” the doctrines of the Restoration and mining sound bites from the blessed Book of Mormon. Converts are encouraged to read the sacred record and pray to obtain an answer. When an answer is given by revelation from God, the person is baptized and exhorted to continue seeking God with the caveat; all personal revelation is only viable if it complies with pronouncements the leadership has dispensed.

          Rather than using the Restoration by Joseph Smith as a springboard to the “Spirit of Elijah,” and preparing mankind for the Second Coming of Christ, ecclesiastical leaders look forward to the day Christ comes and they hand the property deeds to the Savior expecting His embrace for the vast empire they transfer to Him. An empire built on the backs of the impoverished sons and daughters of God who sacrificed for leadership's comfort, prosperity and convenience.

 

“Whether the light now offered will achieve anything more than came in Joseph’s time remains an unanswered question. He can only offer. We must accept. This generation is now facing a crossroads in which it is possible to continue the work and move forward. Moving forward successfully, however, will require an acceptance of the Spirit of Elijah. This time, the Spirit of Elijah is not coming to prepare a people to ascend into Heaven, but instead to prepare a people so that those who come will not utterly destroy them. There must be a people prepared to endure the burning that will come. Just as Enoch’s people were prepared, shielded, and then worthy to ascend (so as to avoid destruction by the flood), the Spirit of Elijah must prepare people to endure the day that shall burn the wicked as stubble. The Spirit of Elijah will gather people to a place of peace, to be the only people who are not at war one with another (see T&C 31:15). They must be people willing to accept the Lord’s teachings and allow those teachings to govern their daily walk-with each other and with God. Being eager to receive commandments, not a few, and also revelations from the Lord is what the people of Zion must necessarily be willing to do” (RE, T&C, A Glossary of Gospel Terms, p. 637, emphasis added).

 

          The Spirit of Elias began with Joseph Smith but of necessity, does not end with Joseph Smith.

 

“This is the Elias spoken of in the last days, and here is the rock upon which many split, thinking the time was past in the days of John and Christ, and no more to be. But the spirit of Elias was revealed to me, and I know it is true; therefore I speak with boldness, for I know verily my doctrine is true” (TPJS., p. 336-337, emphasis added).

 

Joseph Smith was prophesied to have a two-part mission, as foretold by Joseph of Egypt. The day comes when Joseph Smith’s earthly work will have miraculous effects on Joseph of Egypt’s posterity and the  remnant of Israel.

 

“And again, a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of your loins. And unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of your loins — and not to the bringing forth my word only, says the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word which shall have already gone forth among them in the last days. Wherefore, the fruit of your loins [Joseph of Egypt] shall write, and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of your loins and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah shall grow together unto the confounding of false doctrines, and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of your loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, says the Lord. And out of weakness [1st part is in weakness] he shall be made strong [2nd stage when Joseph Smith is made strong] in that day when my work[36] shall go forth among all my people [when the 2nd part is fulfilled or the gathering of Israel, long after Joseph Smith’s passing], which shall restore them who are of the house of Israel in the last days” (RE Genesis 12:39, emphasis added).

 

          If Joseph Smith was killed at the conclusion of stage 1 of his ministry, who carries out the second part of his mission when Joseph can no longer speak for himself? In Lehi’s account, Joseph of Egypt addresses this question:

 

“And the Lord said unto me also, I will raise up unto the fruit of thy loins, and I will make for him [Joseph Smith] a spokesman [someone who speaks for Joseph Smith when he no longer speaks for himself]. And I, behold, I will give unto him [Joseph Smith] that he shall write the writing of the fruit of thy loins unto the fruit of thy loins; and the spokesman of thy loins shall declare it. And the words which he [Joseph Smith] shall write shall be the words which are expedient in my wisdom should go forth unto the fruit of thy loins.[37] And it shall be as if the fruit of thy loins had cried unto them from the dust, for I know their faith. And they shall cry from the dust, yea, even repentance unto their brethren, even that after many generations have gone by them. And it shall come to pass that their cry shall go, even according to the simpleness of their words, because of their faith. Their words shall proceed forth out of my mouth unto their brethren who are the fruit of thy loins; and the weakness of their words will I make strong in their faith unto the remembering of my covenant which I made unto thy fathers” (RE 2 Nephi 2:6, emphasis added).

 

          In the prophecy of Joseph of Egypt, the Lord foretells a spokesman that is provided for Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith writes the most expedient parts of the record of Joseph of Egypt’s posterity but the “spokesman” declares it. Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdery were mentioned as possible candidates for the role of spokesman. Neither fulfilled the role for two reasons. The first, Joseph Smith was eloquent enough to convey his message when alive. He had no need of a spokesman. The second, the spokesman role was not fulfilled because the conditions surrounding the prophecy about Joseph Smith have yet to occur. False doctrines have yet to be confounded, contention laid down, peace established amongst the descendants of Joseph of Egypt. The descendants of Joseph of Egypt have not received the knowledge of their father’s and the Lord’s covenants in the last days. All of these events were reserved for the last days, long after the passing of Joseph Smith.

          The idea of Joseph Smith’s ministry beginning in weakness but becoming strong when Israel is gathered is also explained in Lehi’s account of Joseph of Egypt’s prophecy. The prophets who created the accounts in the Book of Mormon did so in their weakness or the weakness of their writing. The way the Lord makes their words strong in the last days will be by the Lord adopting their words into His mouth, because of their faith in Christ. Their words become empowered by the Lord and carried into the hearts of their posterity. When their words are carried into the hearts of those willing to receive “what is expedient,” their posterity or those who accept their writings and follow their example learn of the Lord’s promises to the Father’s and the covenants as well. When the restoration of the knowledge of the covenants and promises of the Lord to the Father’s occurs, the“Spirit of Elijah” is manifest.

          In the same manner the Lord will make the weak words of the Nephite prophets strong, by adopting them as His own, the Lord will take Joseph Smith’s words as His own and they are sent out among all who will receive by means of a “spokesman” for Joseph Smith. At that time the words Joseph Smith wrote will be declared by the spokesman the Lord provides.

          As much as the Lord appointed Joseph Smith to lay a foundation as a latter-day Elias, with Joseph Smith’s death, it was necessary to formulate a plan to complete the foundation Joseph Smith laid.

          Joseph Smith personally transcended the priesthood of Elias when he entertained Heavenly messengers, from the Father and Son to the angelic ministrants at the Kirtland Temple dedication. Those were all functions of higher levels of priesthoods.

          Separate from his personal ascension is the role the Lord appointed him in his assigned mission. He was sent to lay a foundation, not build the entire building. He did that during his mortal ministry but his preparatory mission was not completed in the span of his life. There is work to be done several hundred years after his earthly ministry at the end of the world. Evidence of this completion of the preparatory work occurring in the last days was alluded to in A Glossary of Gospel Terms, under the heading of Elias, Elijah and Messiah:

 

“Elijah was to come and prepare the way and build up the kingdom before the coming of the great day of the Lord, although the spirit of Elias might begin it” (p. 635).

 

          Written almost as an afterthought, it states that Elijah will prepare for Christ’s coming by building up God’s kingdom prior to the arrival of Christ. The trigger for these events is not Elijah’s return. The trigger is actually when the Elias function started by Joseph Smith is concluded.

 

The Aaronic Thread

 

          Joseph Smith tied the spirit of Elias to the Aaronic Priesthood that prepares the way for a greater work:

 

“The spirit of Elias is to prepare the way for a greater revelation of God, which is the Priesthood of Elias, or the Priesthood that Aaron was ordained unto. And when God sends a man into the world to prepare for a greater work, holding the keys and power of Elias, it was called the doctrine of Elias, even from the early ages of the world” (TPJS., pp. 335-336, emphasis added).

 

          Before Elijah builds the kingdom of God on earth, the preparatory work, the “spirit” or “doctrine” of Elias must complete the foundation. Joseph Smith laid most of the foundation but there remains a work that must be completed before Elijah builds upon the foundation. The concluding work is to be done by the “spokesman” and when it is complete, Joseph Smith’s work will accomplish all it was prophesied to do.

          The office of “spokesman” was established in the days of Moses, when his elder brother Aaron was appointed as a spokesman for him. Moses revealed the Lord’s will to Aaron and Aaron expressed the Lord’s will to the people. This pattern is followed when the spokesman for Joseph Smith is sent by the Lord to fulfill his role. That is not to say the spokesman will be an Aaronic priest. Anyone ordained to any higher Priesthood may function in the capacity of the lesser priesthood. When they do, it is still the Doctrine of Elias and they will not transcend the bounds of their appointment. They will only do as the Lord commands them with precision.

 

The Elias Who Follows Joseph Smith

 

          The Lord made known to Joseph Smith the role of another Elias who arrives in preparation for the end of the world. This Elias in John the Beloved, a translated being assigned a specific mission role in the last days:

 

“Question: What are we to understand by the little book which was eaten by John, as mentioned in the 10th chapter of Revelation [Rev. 3:13]?Answer: We are to understand that it was a mission and an ordinance for him to gather the tribes of Israel. Behold, this is Elias who, as it is written, must come and restore all things” (RE T&C 74:14, emphasis added).

 

          The two-fold mission and ordinance for John the Beloved was to gather Israel and restore all things. John the Beloved accomplished the ascension process. His Priesthood transcended the Aaronic level because we know he was translated which implies he received at a minimum the same priesthood as Enoch and Elijah.[38] Nevertheless, the “mission” and “ordinance” for John the Beloved in the last days is to “gather Israel” and “restore all things.” In the Doctrine of Elias John prepares for the greater work to be wrought by Elijah, another translated being.

          The Lord explained to Peter about the nature of John’s calling and how that calling was to be carried out:

 

“And the Lord said unto me, John, my beloved, what do you desire? For if you shall ask what you will, it shall be granted unto you. And I said unto him, Lord, give unto me power over death, that I may live and bring souls unto you. And the Lord said unto me, Verily, verily I say unto you, because you desired this, you shall tarry until I come in my glory, and shall prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.

And for this cause the Lord said unto Peter, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you? For he desired of me that he might bring souls unto me, but you desired that you might speedily come unto me in my kingdom. I say unto you, Peter, this was a good desire, but my beloved has desired that he might do more, or a greater work yet among men, than what he has before done; yea, he has undertaken a greater work. Therefore, I will make him as flaming fire and a ministering angel. He shall minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation who dwell on the earth, and I will make you to minister for him and for your brother James [Jacob]. And unto you three I will give this power and the keys of this ministry until I come. Verily I say unto you, you shall both have according to your desires, for you both joy in that which you have desired (RE T&C, JSH 13:18-19, emphasis added).

 

          The role of John the Beloved as a last days Elias is not something he carries out himself, but a role the Lord commissioned him to oversee. His work of gathering Israel and restoring all things is performed by a mortal man who attains the status of “heir of salvation” and is directed by John in his capacity as a ministering angel.[39]

          The “heir of salvation” appointed by God to perform this work is a mortal man who has transcended the three levels of “spirit of truth”, “Spirit of truth,” and the “Spirit of Truth” or entered into the presence of the Lord as well as other Heavenly ministrants. When the preparatory work that completes the foundation Joseph Smith began is complete, the “heir of salvation” is ready to be directed by the “Spirit of Elijah,” where Elijah the man, by extension directs the “heir of salvation” in building the Kingdom of God on earth or New Jerusalem and establishing the city of Zion at the tops of the mountains. This privilege is extended to Elijah because the people he ministered to were unwilling to be led in their ascension to heaven when Elijah was worthy and willing to do so. Consequently, Elijah the man returns to earth through a portal John the Beloved and himself are commanded by God to open in preparation for the Second Coming of Christ. Both men play key roles in preparing mankind for the Savior’s return.

          When Elijah descends, power descends upon two groups and they are “armed” with righteousness and the “power of God in great glory.”

 

“And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters, and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters. Nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw. And it came to pass that I beheld that the great mother of abominations did gather together in multitudes upon the face of all the earth, among all the nations of the gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth. And they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory” (1 Nephi 3:28, emphasis added).

         

          Nephi’s prophecy makes a distinction between two groups, both of which become “armed” with righteousness and the power of God in “great glory.” The first group referred to as the “saints of the Lamb” consist of a small number of gentiles that repent, are baptized and sanctified by the “Comforter” or “Spirit of truth.” The second group or “covenant people” referred to a remnant of Israel who repent and turn to Christ and are also sanctified by the “Comforter.”

          The power descending from Heaven is Elijah with the Spirit of Elijah. The servant or “spokesman” for Joseph Smith completes the preparation begun by Joseph Smith at the direction of John the Beloved. At that point the work of Elias is complete and the foundation is established to reopen the portal between Heaven and Earth. Elijah descends with the “Spirit of Elijah,” beginning his angelic ministry to the servant who is ready to lead the two groups through the transition from the lesser covenant to a greater covenant, in preparation for the “Spirit of Truth” or Jesus Christ. 

          Armed with righteousness, the people are prepared to stand against the enemies of “the Lamb” by the endowment from Elijah’s power.

 

“. . . [T]he spirit and power of Elijah is to come after [Elias] holding the keys of power, building the temple to the capstone, placing the seals of the Melchizedek Priesthood upon the house of Israel, and making all things ready; then Messiah comes to His temple, which is the last of all” (RE T&C, A Glossary of Gospel Terms, Elias, Elijah, Messiah, p. 635, emphasis added).

 

          The nature of empowerment that descends from Heaven is the same power Enoch was endowed with by God, as described in RE Genesis:

 

“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 men, 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. And men having this faith, coming up unto this Order of God, were translated and taken up into Heaven” (RE Genesis 7:18-19, emphasis added).

 

          For the “saints of the Church of the Lamb” and the remnant of Israel to be empowered, they must be righteous. Righteousness is the only way the Powers of Heaven submit to mortal man:

 

“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. That they may be conferred upon us, it is true, but when we undertake to cover our sins or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control, or dominion, or compulsion, upon the souls of the children of men in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the Heavens withdraw themselves, the spirit of the Lord is grieved, and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man. Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God. We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. Hence many are called, but few are chosen” (RE T&C 139:6, emphasis added).

 

          Mortal man cannot exercise control over the Powers of Heaven without first becoming righteous. That is why the Lord requires the sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit.[40] For God to trust mortal man with His power, they must follow the admonition of Christ by repenting, being baptized and turn to Him with humility, devotion and pure intent of heart. Those who do so become the sons and daughters of Christ by covenant, receive the “Comforter,” the “Spirit of truth,” and the “Spirit of Elijah” which are all related.

This process is outlined in the Teachings and Commandments:

 

“And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you [What He is about to reveal is the Truth, and we should all believe it]. For he that is ordained of God [called] and sent forth [chosen], the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is least and the servant of all. Wherefore, he is possessor of all things, for all things are subject unto him both in Heaven and on the earth [righteous] : the life and the light, the spirit and the power, sent forth by the will of the Father through Jesus Christ, his Son. But no man is possessor of all things except he be purified and cleansed from all sin. And if you are purified and cleansed from all sin, you shall ask whatever you will in the name of Jesus, and it shall be done. But know this, it shall be given you what you shall ask” (RE T&C 36:5, emphasis added).

 

          For a person or group of people to be endowed with knowledge and power from God, they must first undergo a cleansing process as explained by Christ and His servants. The process is clear and easily understood. Repent, be baptized, come to the Savior in humility and with a “broken heart and a contrite spirit” and He will baptize you with “fire and the holy ghost.”

As simple as these steps sound, mankind stops short of following the process because of unbelief.[41] It is easy to believe God can do these things for people in the scriptures and even contemporaries from our day. Our keen awareness of our sinfulness becomes the fulcrum by which Satan leverages us away from faith in Christ toward unbelief. We believe we are too weak and sinful to ever accomplish what the scriptures promise the Lord can do. We “believe it not,” as Satan said to the posterity of Adam.

 

Worthiness and Righteousness-The Great Barrier Standing Between Us and God

 

          It is difficult for man to arrive at a point of accurate self awareness. We see ourselves as too unlovable, too wicked, too weak. Or the opposite. Worthy of greater love, more righteous and deserving of all God has to offer. Equilibrium between the two is difficult to achieve because we lack balance. That balance is achieved when God, who knows and is all Truth, reveals Himself to us. He embodies perfection and is the standard by which all mankind is measured and falls short. 

          The gap between where we are and what God is feels insurmountable because it is. We alone cannot bridge the gap by ourselves. What infuses us with faith in God is when we “partake of the fruit from the Tree of Life,” which is the “love of God” or the Son of God who pays the price, bridges the gap and makes possible our ascension back to God’s presence. In the process, we are transformed, empowered and become heirs to all our Father in Heaven has.

          How do we lay claim to these blessings? How do we become “worthy” and “righteous” so we can control and handle the “Powers of Heaven?” The way is simple and easy. We only have to believe Christ when He explains the process and then believe He loves us enough to accomplish all that is promised. If we do the easy part of repenting and be baptized with a “broken heart and contrite spirit,” He elevates us from being the “spirit of truth” to “Comforting” us with the “Spirit of truth.”

          The issues of worthiness and righteousness with which we wrestle with can be resolved in short order if that is what we desire in our hearts. Isaiah was a man of “unclean lips” who dwelt with people of “unclean lips.” How long did he have to wait to be made “clean?”[42] The time taken by the Lord to make Isaiah clean was the time taken by the “Seraphim” to pick up a “live coal” with tongs and fly to Isaiah and touch his lips. Literally seconds, not even minutes.

          How long after the followers of king Benjamin finished his sermon did it take for his people to be cleansed from their sins, sanctified, endowed with knowledge from on high and become the sons and daughters of Christ? The time required by God to accomplish that great task was the time taken by the people to say, “Oh have mercy, and apply the Atoning blood of Christ.”[43] I would venture to say, less than a minute. In one of the most extreme cases, Alma the younger suffered for three days and three nights.[44] One may argue the length of time Alma the Younger suffered was only prolonged by his reluctance to let go and receive what Christ offered. Isn’t the way that simple and easy. In both Isaiah’s and Alma’s examples it clearly states they ascended to God’s presence. In the example of king Benjamin’s people it is only inferred. But when Benjamin asks if they believe his words they do say, “If it was expedient, we could prophesy of all things.”[45] One may conclude from their statement that “all things” includes witnessing Jesus Christ.

          The issues of “worthiness” and “righteousness” are not God’s problems. They are not obstacles keeping Him from working the miracle of the Atonement for us in our lives. The wall that must be scaled is the wall of unbelief, built brick by brick when we heed the voice of Satan declaring, “Believe it not!” We must “break our hearts,” not because of our unworthiness or unrighteousness but because we persist in building walls of unbelief rather than surrender to that which is the easy, light burden the Savior is willing to bear.[46] If you believe the burden of your sins is too heavy to bear, how difficult was it for Jesus to bear the sins of mankind at one time. Relatively speaking, bearing the burden of your individual sins is nothing. It’s true you contributed to His suffering but the price was paid and bearing your sins at this point is a light thing for Him. All that is required of you is to have faith sufficient to believe He loved us enough to endure suffering we brought upon ourselves. Our humility and contrition before Him and a firm resolve to keep all He commands is the sacrifice He requires of us.

 

Jesus Leads His Disciples Up Jacob’s Ladder [Third knock/ “knock”/Spirit of Truth/ Spirit of Messiah]

 

          At this point it should be apparent “three knocks,” “ask, seek, knock,” the “spirit of truth,” “Spirit of truth,” “Spirit of Truth,” the “Spirit of Elias,” “Spirit of Elijah,” and “Spirit of Messiah” are variations on the same theme. These variations align with one another and have sub-categories between each of the three. The sub-categories will be explored later. The overarching categories align as follows:

 

          First knock / ”ask” / ”spirit of truth” / “Spirit of Elias”

          Second knock / “seek”/ “Spirit of truth”/ “Spirit of Elijah”

          Third knock/ “knock”/ “Spirit of Truth”/ “ Spirit of Messiah”

 

Our objective should be to follow the process on our return path to His presence. This becomes apparent when the pattern is applied by Jesus in His preparation of His disciples for His departure from the mortal realm.

The disciples of Jesus walked with Him through His mortal ministry and learned much through associating with the Lord and following His commandments. They witnessed His example and listened to His teachings. Still the disciples remained remarkably ignorant of the sacrifice He would make and what would be required of them after His ascension. The lack of understanding by His disciples is manifest in the Savior’s interactions with them prior to His Atonement.

In preparation for the Savior’s infinite sacrifice for mankind, Jesus and His Mother Mary and His companion Mary were together with His disciples. At this gathering His companion Mary began a ritual relating to prophecy and the Lord’s Nazarite vows:

 

“And among those who were present were his mother, and Mary, the Elect Lady who was companion with Jesus. She cut off the seven locks of his hair that had not been cut before because of the vow[47], which fell at her feet. This troubled his disciples who feared his strength would depart from him but said nothing because Jesus permitted it to be done. Jesus, seeing their concern, asked, Is not a lamb shorn before it is sacrificed? But they did not understand the meaning. And she took royal oil used to coronate a king, containing spikenard, frankincense and myrrh and applied it to the head, arms and hands, legs and feet of Jesus. And the house was filled with the smell of the royal anointing oil . . .” (RE T&C 171, TSJ 8:13, emphasis added).

 

          Mary, the Mother of Jesus had preserved this sacred anointing oil since the birth of Jesus and the time had come for His formal, final, anointing as King. The seven locks of hair that had never been cut were severed from the Savior’s head by His wife, Mary. This haircut served several purposes. It marked the end of the Savior’s Nazarite vow with seven locks of hair, seven being the numerical symbol for “complete.”[48] In addition to an outward sign the Savior had completed His Nazarite vow, the cutting of seven locks from His head was symbolic of the Lamb of God being shorn prior to being sacrificed.

          Overlooking all these symbolic reasons for the Savior’s ritual observance, the disciples equated the Savior’s locks being cut to the Old Testament story of Sampson and Delilah, where Sampson lost his strength and his love after he permitted Delilah to cut his hair.[49]

Following the Last Supper Jesus rose up, removed His cloak and took up a towel as an apron. He proceeded to wash the feet of His disciples. When Jesus approached Peter, Peter objected and asked why the Lord washed His feet. Jesus gave the following reply:

 

“Jesus answered and said to him, You will not understand this now, but will later come to understand this ordinance is necessary” (RE T&C 171, TSJ 10:2).

 

          This statement will be true of many things Jesus would say to them in this preparatory stage. He again raises an issue they will not understand at this point but will after they progress to a later stage of the process.

 

“Simon Peter asked him, Lord, where are you going? Jesus answered him, The steps I take next on the path, you will not be taking for now. Peter responded to him, Lord, why can I not follow you right now? I am willing to lay down my life for you. Jesus answered him, Will you lay down your life for me? In the name of Father Ahman I tell you, The rooster will not crow tomorrow morning before you have denied me three times.

Do not allow your heart to be troubled. You are devoted to God and are also devoted to me. In the journey through my Father’s realms are many stages with temporary abodes. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare an abode for your upward journey. And when I arise, I will prepare places for you, but I will be your companion again and visit each of you, so that where I travel, you may journey to also. And the path I follow upward you know, and the way of ascent you also know. Thomas said to him, Lord, we don’t know where you are going; how can we know the way? You have not told us. Jesus said to him, I am the way, the record of truth, and the means for Eternal lives, worlds without end: no man comes to the Throne of the Father without me. If you follow me, you will come to the Father’s Throne through me and will thereafter be like him forever” (RE T&C 171, TSJ 10:8-9, emphasis added).

 

          While there were many things the Savior’s disciples had learned from Him, many of those things were not fully comprehended and often misunderstood. The Lord gave to them rudimentary explanations with the understanding at a future point the disciples would understand. This is further evident near the conclusion of His instructions to His disciples. Knowing of the disciples confusion over some things Jesus taught, the Lord said the following:

 

Much of what I have said to you may seem like a riddle, but the time will come when you will comprehend my words and they will no longer seem a riddle, and you will understand them plainlyWhen I ascend and you ask the Father in my name, you will know the Father Ahman loves you because you have been devoted to me, and have accepted that I came from the Head of the Household of Heaven and was sent by him into the world, and that I will return to be with him.

His disciples said unto him, Very good, now you are making it clear and not using a riddle . . .” (RE T&C 171, TSJ 10:28-29, emphasis added).

 

          Jesus was not trying to be deceptive. He had to walk a fine line whereby His disciples could receive instruction from Him now when their ability to comprehend was limited for their sake. With knowledge comes responsibility. Responsibility they were not as yet sufficiently prepared to bear. They were in the later stages of the “First knock,” etc,. In the next stage they enter the “Second knock” where the “Spirit of Truth” brings to their remembrance all that Jesus has spoken to them with the context necessary to comprehend His words and accept the requisite responsibility.

 

Applying the Template

 

          This stage of progression for the disciples is the “First knock,” “Ask,” “spirit of truth,” “Spirit of Elias” stage. Having experienced the Savior’s ministry and teachings, the disciples were not as at the beginning as they were in  premortality. That was a state of innocence, and with their veiled recollection came ignorance at their birth. The disciples gained light and knowledge and progressed in their ascension. They had life experience and gained sufficient light to identify our Lord when He appeared on the scene. They walked with Him throughout His ministry and received instruction from Him. Yet their comprehension of the prophecies concerning Him and the full depth of meaning in the Lord’s teachings evaded their understanding until later.

          With the Passover came the end of the Savior’s ministry on earth. His disciples were in need of instruction prior to His departure. Soon after the arrival of Jesus to Jerusalem, a number of Greek men inquired of Philip if he would arrange for an introduction to Jesus. When Philip approached Jesus, Jesus declined the meeting and used the opportunity to begin His preparation for the disciples.

 

“And Jesus responded, The time has arrived when the Son of Man will complete his journey. In the name of Father Ahman I tell you, except a kernel of wheat is buried, it can spring to life and bear fruit. Those who love life will lose it, but those willing to sacrifice their life in this world will obtain endless lives, worlds without end. If any man is loyal to me and every upward step I achieve, there will my loyal followers join me. Any who are loyal to me, my Father will approve” (RE T&C 171 TSJ 8:3, emphasis added).

 

          The Savior’s journey on earth is coming to a close. In the waning hours of His ministry He continues to instruct His disciples about what He is doing and teaching them how His sacrifice applies to them. Death and burial brings the opportunity to regain life and additional opportunity to “bear fruit.” Those who understand this principle willingly sacrifice their lives in this world for the opportunity to enjoy endless lives in numberless worlds that never end. For mankind to obtain these blessings they must demonstrate loyalty to Christ. To the extent they willingly sacrifice all for the Son of Ahman, they will join Him in His continued ascent to the throne of the Father. They will be approved of Him.

          As profound as the teachings of Jesus are to His disciples, there is limited comprehension of the scope of His teachings and their relationship to Eternal lives. Still our Lord plants “thought seeds” into the consciousness of His disciples when they advance to the “Comforter” or their transition from the “spirit of truth” to the “Spirit of truth.” The Spirit that emanates from the Throne of the Father is sent to them; it brings to their remembrance all the Savior said to them in a context they  comprehend and understand.

          The Savior foreshadowed this event  and their transition to the next level of the disciples ascension:

 

“These words have I spoken to you while I am still present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost that the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things, and restore to your memory all truth I have taught to you, and the record of Heaven itself” (RE T&C 171:10:15, emphasis added).

         

          The Savior taught His disciples that “every upward step I achieve, there will my loyal followers join me.”  The Lord made significant progress between the time of His baptism and “Passover.” At the time of His baptism the Savior  progressed” from grace to grace “Until he received a fulness;”[50] The “fulness” He received was a fulness of the glory of the Father.[51] The “glory of the Father,” is intelligence or light and truth.[52] The Savior attained a fulness of the Father’s glory or His light and truth at the time of His baptism. If taken at face value, the Savior’s promise to those who are loyal to Him is they too will join Him at the level He attained. That would presumably be after His disciples progress individually from grace to grace.

Describing the process as “receiving grace for grace” is an interesting choice of words. The meaning is worth contemplating. When the subject of grace is discussed the “default” mode is to immediately focus on the grace we receive through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The way this phrase is couched, it makes it sound as if the process of obtaining grace is tied to us extending grace to others to qualify for  grace from Christ. If that is the correct interpretation, going directly to the grace of Christ and overlooking our responsibility to extend grace to others is a grave mistake with extraordinary consequences.

This interpretation is not without merit in the teachings of Jesus.

 

Therefore, if you shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, or if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has anything against you, leave there your gift before the altar, and go your way unto your brother, and first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (RE Matthew 3:19, emphasis added).

 


[1] “Then the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17, will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby things pertaining to a higher order of kingdoms will be made known;

And a white stone is given to each of those who come into the celestial kingdom, whereon is a new name written, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it. The new name is the key word” (D&C 130:10-11, emphasis added).

[2] “And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under 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” (Alma 12: 9).

[3] “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day” (D&C 50:24).

[4] “. . . , Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us! And also, we know of their surety and truth because of the spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually . . .” (RE Mosiah 3:1).

“Now as I said concerning the Holy Order of 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, an exceeding great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God . . .” (RE Mosiah 10:1, emphasis added).

[5] “And I, John, saw that he received not of the fullness at the first, but received grace for grace. And he received not of the fullness at first, but continued from grace to grace until he received a fullness, and thus he was called, the Son of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first” (RE T&C 93:4).

[6] “And I give unto you a commandment that you shall forsake all evil and cleave unto all good, that you shall live by every word that proceeds forth out of the mouth of God, for he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept. And I will try you and prove you herewith, and whoever lays down his life in my cause for my name’s sake shall find it again, even life eternal” (T&C 98:3, emphasis added).

[7] “ . . . , And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon, and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever” (RE T&C 145:2, The Book of Abraham, emphasis added).

[8] “And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity; for if these things are in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ” (RE 2 Peter 1:2).

[9] “As this vision closed, the Heavens were again opened to their view, and they [Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery] saw and beheld, and were endowed with knowledge from the beginning of this creation to the ends thereof. And they were shown unspeakable things from the sealed record of Heaven, which man is not capable of making known, but must be revealed by the Powers of Heaven [classes of angels] (T&C 157:30, emphasis added).

 

[10] “There are many things I still have to teach you, but you are not able to understand it all as yet. When I am the Spirit of Truth, I can then reveal to you the record of Heaven and knowledge will be poured into you. The spirit is the means to communicate my words, and my words will lead you on the upward path. The knowledge poured in to you will come from me. I will depart, but only briefly because when I ascend back to the Head of the Household of Heaven, I will also be by your side to guide you by my voice from Heaven” (RE T&C 171:25, The Testimony of Saint John, p.517, emphasis added).

 

[11] “. . . and truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come; and whatever is more or less than these is the spirit of the wicked one who was a liar from the beginning” (T&C 93:8).

[12] “ . . . For because they yield unto the Devil and choose works of darkness rather than light, therefore they must go down to hell. For the Spirit of the Lord will not always strive with man, and when the spirit ceaseth to strive with man, then cometh speedy destruction. And this grieveth my soul” (RE 2 Nephi 11:11).

[13] “Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the atonement-for it must needs be that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first born in the wilderness, righteousness coils not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad; wherefore, if it should be one body, it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore, there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God. And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. And if ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness, there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness, there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not, there is no God. And if there is no God, we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away (2 Nephi 1:7).

[14] “Wherefore, he gave commandments unto men, they having first transgressed the first commandments as to things which were temporal, and becoming as Gods, knowing good from evil, placing themselves in a state to act, or being placed in a state to act according to their wills and pleasure, whether to do evil or to do good-

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” (RE Alma 9:8, emphasis added).

[15] “Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise, there is no existence” (RE T&C 93:10, emphasis added).

[16] “And I beheld a book, and it was carried forth among them. And the angel said unto me, Knowest thou the meaning of the book? And I said, I know not. And he said, Behold, it proceedeth out of the mouth of a Jew — and I, Nephi, beheld it. And he said unto me, The book that thou beholdest is a record of the Jews, which contains the covenants of the Lord which he hath made unto the house of Israel; and it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy prophets. And it is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the plates of brass, save there are not so many. Nevertheless, they contain the covenants of the Lord which he hath made unto the house of Israel; wherefore, they are of great worth unto the gentiles. And the angel of the Lord said unto me, Thou hast beheld that the book proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew. And when it proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew, it contained the fullness of the gospel of the Lamb, of whom the twelve apostles bare record; and they bare record according to the truth which is in the Lamb of God. Wherefore, these things go forth from the Jews in purity unto the gentiles, according to the truth which is in God. And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb from the Jews unto the gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is the most abominable of all other churches. For behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away. And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men. Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and most precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God. And after these plain and precious things were taken away, it goeth forth unto all the nations of the gentiles.

And after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the gentiles, yea, even across the many waters (which thou hast seen) with the gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest, because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book — which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God — that because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceeding great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them. Nevertheless, thou beholdest that the gentiles who have gone forth out of captivity and have been lifted up by the power of God above all other nations upon the face of the land — which is choice above all other lands, which is the land the Lord God hath covenanted with thy father that his seed should have for the land of their inheritance — will not utterly destroy the mixture of thy seed who are among thy brethren. Neither will he suffer that the gentiles shall destroy the seed of thy brethren; neither will the Lord God suffer that the gentiles shall for ever remain in that awful state of blindness, which thou beholdest they are in because of the plain and most precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable church, whose formation thou hast seen. Wherefore, saith the Lamb of God, I will be merciful unto the gentiles, unto the visiting of the remnant of the house of Israel in great judgment (RE 1 Nephi 3:21-22, emphasis added).

 

[17] “You were also in the beginning with the Father, that which is spirit, even the spirit of truth, and truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come; and whatever is more or less than these is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning” (RE T&C 93:8, emphasis added).

[18] “Now, verily I say unto you that through the redemption which is made for you is brought to pass the resurrection from the dead. And the spirit and the body is the soul of man . . . ,” (RE T&C 86:2).

[19] “And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you” (RE T&C 36:5).

[20] “And as I partook of the fruit thereof, it filled my soul with exceeding great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also, for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit. And as I cast my eyes around about, that perhaps I might discover my family also, and I beheld a river of water and it ran along, and it was near the tree of which I was partaking the fruit. And I looked to behold from whence it came, and I saw the head thereof a little way off. And at the head thereof I beheld your mother Sariah, and Sam, and Nephi, and they stood as if they knew not whither they should go. And it came to pass that I beckoned unto them; and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me and partake of the fruit, which was desirable above all other fruit. And it came to pass that they did come unto me and partake of the fruit also. And it came to pass that I was desirous that Laman and Lemuel should come and partake of the fruit also; wherefore, I cast mine eyes towards the head of the river that perhaps I might see them. And it came to pass that I saw them, but they would not come unto me and partake of the fruit” (RE 1 Nephi 2:9, emphasis added).

 

[21] Before Lehi could represent the Lord as a witness of Christ, he is required to become clean through the Atonement of Christ. The Lord taught his disciples the “Spirit of truth” is a necessary requirement before they could act as the Lord’s witnesses. “As for you, when the Comforter comes (or in other words the Spirit of truth emanating from my Father), that spirit will testify of me. Then you have the ability to also testify of me. This is because you have followed me from the beginning or before the world was organized” (RE The Testimony of Saint John 10:22, emphasis added). 

 

[22] “And now my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this straight and narrow path, I would ask if all is done. Behold, I say unto you, nay, for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ, with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save. Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (RE 2 Nephi 13:4, emphasis added).

[23] “And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying, 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 they 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” (RE Alma 9:3, emphasis added).

 

[24] “If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever — even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it sees him not, neither knows him. But you know him, for he dwells with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world sees me no more, but you see me. Because I live, you shall live also. At that day, you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. He that has my commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves me. And he that loves me [keeps Christ’s commandments] shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him and will manifest myself to him. Judas says unto him (not Iscariot), Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself unto us and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me [by keeping, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him. He that loves me not keeps not my sayings. And the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s, who sent me” (RE John 9:8, emphasis added).

[25] “And this greater Priesthood administers the gospel and holds 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 man in the flesh, for without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live” (RE T&C 82:12, emphasis added).

 

[26] “And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you. For he that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is least and the servant of all. Wherefore, he is possessor of all things, for all things are subject unto him both in Heaven and on the earth: the life and the light, the spirit and the power, sent forth by the will of the Father through Jesus Christ, his Son. But no man is possessor of all things except he be purified and cleansed from all sin. And if you are purified and cleansed from all sin, you shall ask whatever you will in the name of Jesus, and it shall be done. But know this, it shall be given you what you shall ask.

 

[27] “Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the spirit of truth, does he preach it by the spirit of truth or some other way? And if by some other way, it is not of God. And again, he that receives the word of truth, does he receive it by the spirit of truth or some other way? If it be some other way, it is not of God. Therefore, why is it that you cannot understand and know that he that receives the word by the spirit of truth, receives it as it is preached by the spirit of truth? Wherefore, he that preaches and he that receives, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together. And that which does not edify is not of God, and is darkness. That which is of God is light, and he that receives light and continues in God receives more light, and that light grows brighter and brighter until the perfect day” (RE T&C 36:4, emphasis added).

Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise, there is no existence. Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man, because that which was from the beginning [premortality] is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light, and every man whose spirit receives not the light is under condemnation. For man is spirit, the elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fullness of joy; and when separated, man cannot receive a fullness of joy. The elements are the tabernacle of God, yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples, and whatever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple.

 

 

[28] “Powers of Heaven  A title referring to a specific group with status on the other side of the veil; a proper noun, not just an abstraction. In the afterlife there are different rungs on Jacob’s ladder where different Powers are fixed: Angel, Archangel, Principality, Power, Dominion, Throne, Cherubim, and Seraphim-they may all be called Powers of Heaven. These Powers have no desire to control or compel others to rise on Jacob’s ladder. Each rung is a developmental stage of growth through which all must pass if they want to ascend nearer to God. Each individual on Jacob’s ladder should be moving toward perfection” (RE A Glossary of Gospel Terms, T&C, p.755, emphasis added).

[29] “And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, hath miracles ceased? Behold, I say unto you, nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men. For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, shewing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness. And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfill and to do the work of the covenants of the Father which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him; and by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the holy ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men. And Christ hath said, If ye will have faith in me, ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me. And he hath said, Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye may be saved” (RE Moroni 7:6, emphasis added).

 

[30] “And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. But the days will come when the violent shall have no power, for all the prophets and the law prophesied that it should be thus, until John. Yea, as many as have prophesied have foretold of these days. And if you will receive it, truly he was the Elias who was to come and prepare all things. He that has ears to hear, let him hear” (RE Matthew 6:3, emphasis added).

[31] “We still continued the work of translation when, in the ensuing month (May, eighteen hundred and twenty-nine), we on a certain day went into the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respecting baptism for the remission of sins as we found mentioned in the translation of the plates. While we were thus employed praying and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from Heaven descended in a cloud of light, and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us, saying unto us, Upon you, my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. And this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness. He said this Aaronic priesthood had not the power of laying on of hands for the gift of the holy ghost, but that this should be conferred on us hereafter, and he commanded us to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and afterward that he should baptize me. Accordingly, we went and were baptized. I baptized him first and afterward he baptized me, after which I laid my hands upon his head and ordained him to the Aaronic priesthood. And afterward he laid his hands on me and ordained me to the same priesthood, for so we were commanded.

The messenger who visited us on this occasion and conferred this priesthood upon us said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James [Jacob], and John, who held the keys of the priesthood of Melchizedek, which priesthood, he said, should in due time be conferred on us, and that I should be called the first elder of the church and he the second. It was on the fifteenth day of May, eighteen hundred and twenty-nine that we were baptized and ordained under the hand of the messenger” (RE JSH 14:1, emphasis added).

[32] RE T&C 163

[33] RE A Glossary of Gospel Terms, pp. 634-635.

[34] “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 men, 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. And men having this faith, coming up unto this Order of God, were translated and taken up into Heaven” (RE Genesis 7:18-19, emphasis added).

 

[35] “Behold, there shall be a record kept among you and in it you shall be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church through the will of God the Father and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ, being inspired of the holy ghost to lay the foundation thereof and to build it up unto the most holy faith, which church was organized and established in the year of your Lord eighteen hundred and thirty, in the fourth month and on the sixth day of the month which is called April” (RE T&C, Joseph Smith History 18:3, emphasis added).

 

 

[36] The Lord does “His work” in the “due time” of the Lord when the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon is revealed: “But behold, it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall say unto him to whom he shall deliver the book, Take these words which are not sealed and deliver them to another, that he may shew them unto the learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee. And the learned shall say, Bring hither the book and I will read them. And now because of the glory of the world and to get gain will they say this, and not for the glory of God. And the man shall say, I cannot bring the book, for it is sealed. Then shall the learned say, I cannot read it. Wherefore, it shall come to pass that the Lord God will deliver again the book and the words thereof to him that is not learned; and the man that is not learned shall say, I am not learned. Then shall the Lord God say unto him, The learned shall not read them, for they have rejected them, and I am able to do mine own work; wherefore, thou shalt read the words which I shall give unto thee. Touch not the things which are sealed, for I will bring them forth in mine own due time, for I will show unto the children of men that I am able to do mine own work. Wherefore, when thou hast read the words which I have commanded thee, and obtained the witnesses which I have promised unto thee, then shalt thou seal up the book again and hide it up unto me, that I may preserve the words which thou hast not read, until I shall see fit in mine own wisdom to reveal all things unto the children of men. For behold, I am God, and I am a God of miracles, and I will shew unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and for ever, and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith” (RE 2 Nephi 11:20, emphasis added).

[37] “And now there cannot be written in this book even an hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people. But behold, the plates of Nephi do contain the more part of the things which he taught the people. And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people, and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people from the gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken. And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first to try their faith, and if it should so be that they shall believe these things, then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them. And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them unto their condemnation. Behold, I were about to write them all, which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbid it, saying, I will try the faith of my people. Therefore I, Mormon, do write the things which have been commanded me of the Lord. And now I, Mormon, make an end of my sayings and proceed to write the things which have been commanded me. Therefore, I would that ye should behold that the Lord truly did teach the people for the space of three days, and after that, he did shew himself unto them oft, and did break bread oft, and bless it, and give it unto them” (RE 3 Nephi 12:1, emphasis added).

 

[38] “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. And men having this faith, coming up unto this Order of God, were translated and taken up into Heaven (RE Genesis 7:19, emphasis added).

 

[39] “And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, hath miracles ceased? Behold, I say unto you, nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men. For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, shewing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness. And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfill and to do the work of the covenants of the Father which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him; and by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the holy ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men. And Christ hath said, If ye will have faith in me, ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me. And he hath said, Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye may be saved” (RE Moroni 7:6, emphasis added).

 

[40] “O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me, ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father and the Father in me, and in me hath the Father glorified his name. I came unto my own and my own received me not. And the scriptures concerning my coming are fulfilled. And as many as have received me, to them have I given to become the sons of God; and even so will I to as many as shall believe on my name. For behold, by me redemption cometh, and in me is the law of Moses fulfilled. I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood, yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings; and ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the holy ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the holy ghost and they knew it not. Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin. Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life and have taken it up again; therefore, repent and come unto me ye ends of the earth and be saved” (RE 3 Nephi 4:7, emphasis added).

 

[41] “Behold, the Lord hath created the earth that it should be inhabited, and he hath created his children that they should possess it. And he raiseth up a righteous nation and destroyeth the nations of the wicked. And he leadeth away the righteous into precious lands, and the wicked he destroyeth, and curseth the land unto them for their sakes. He ruleth high in the Heavens, for it is his throne, and this earth is his footstool. And he loveth them who will have him to be their God. Behold, he loved our fathers; and he covenanted with them, yea, even Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and he remembered the covenants which he had made; wherefore, he did bring them out of the land of Egypt. And he did straiten them in the wilderness with his rod, for they hardened their hearts, even as ye have; and the Lord straitened them because of their iniquity. He sent flying fiery serpents among them; and after they were bitten, he prepared a way that they might be healed; and the labor which they had to perform were to look. And because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished. And they did harden their hearts from time to time, and they did revile against Moses and also against God. Nevertheless, ye know that they were led forth by his matchless power into the land of promise” (RE 1 Nephi 5:20, emphasis added).

The way outlined by the Lord is simple and easy, but disbelief the Lord will do this is traced back to the Garden of Eden when Satan declared to the posterity of Adam they should “Believe it not,” After Adam made all things known to them (see RE Genesis 3:5).

The Lord warned Edward Partridge he stood in jeopardy of falling because of his unbelief and blindness of heart: “And that the testimony might go forth from Zion, yea, from the mouth of the city of the heritage of God, yea, for this cause I have sent you hither and I have selected my servant Edward, and appointed unto him his mission in this land. But if he repent not of his sins, which are unbelief and blindness of heart, let him take heed lest he fall. Behold, his mission is given unto him, and it shall not be given again. And whoever stands in this mission is appointed to be a judge in Israel, like as it was in ancient days, to divide the lands of the heritage of God unto his children, and to judge his people by the testimony of the just, and by the assistance of his counselors, according to the laws of the Kingdom which are given by the prophets of God” (RE T&C 45:3, emphasis added). God waits upon all of us to overcome our unbelief and blindness of heart. He requires we all exercise faith in His promise to do what He promises He will do if we comply with the terms, in their simplicity and ease.

 

 

[42] “Then said I, Woe is me, for I am undone because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts. Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar. And he laid it upon my mouth and said, Behold, this has touched your lips, and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged. Also, I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me . . .” (RE Isaiah 2:2, emphasis added).

 

[43] And now it came to pass that when king Benjamin had made an end of speaking the words which had been delivered unto him by the angel of the Lord, that he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and behold, they had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them; and they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying, O have mercy and apply the atoning blood of Christ, that we may receive forgiveness of our sins and our hearts may be purified! For we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God who created Heaven and earth and all things, who shall come down among the children of men.

And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words, the spirit of the Lord came upon them and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins and having peace of conscience because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ, who should come, according to the words which king Benjamin had spoken unto them . . .” (Mosiah 2:1-2, emphasis added).

[44] “And it came to pass that I fell to the earth. And it was for the space of three days and three nights that I could not open my mouth, neither had I the use of my limbs. And the angel spake more things unto me which were heard by my brethren, but I did not hear them, for when I heard the words — If thou wilt, be destroyed of thyself; seek no more to destroy the church of God — I was struck with such great fear and amazement, lest perhaps I should be destroyed, that I fell to the earth and I did hear no more. But I was racked with Eternal torment, for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins. Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell. Yea, I saw that I had rebelled against my God and that I had not kept his holy commandments. Yea, and I had murdered many of his children, or rather led them away unto destruction. Yea, and in fine, so great had been my iniquities that the very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack my soul with inexpressible horror. Oh, thought I, that I could be banished and become extinct, both soul and body, that I might not be brought to stand in the presence of my God to be judged of my deeds. And now, for three days and for three nights was I racked, even with the pains of a damned soul.

And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world. Now as my mind catched hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart, O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who art in the gall of bitterness and art encircled about by the everlasting chains of death. And now behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. And oh, what joy and what marvelous light I did behold! Yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pains. Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there can be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as was my pains.

Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy. Yea, and methought I saw, even as our father Lehi saw, God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God; yea, and my soul did long to be there. But behold, my limbs did receive their strength again, and I stood upon my feet, and did manifest unto the people that I had been born of God. Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance, that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste, that they might also be born of God and be filled with the holy ghost” (RE Alma 17:3-5, emphasis added).

 

[45] “And now it came to pass that when king Benjamin had thus spoken to his people, he sent among them, desiring to know of his people if they believed the words which he had spoken unto them. And they all cried with one voice, saying, Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us! And also, we know of their surety and truth because of the spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually. And we, ourselves, also through the infinite goodness of God and the manifestations of his spirit, have great views of that which is to come; and were it expedient, we could prophesy of all things. And it is the faith which we have had on the things which our king has spoken unto us that has brought us to this great knowledge, whereby we do rejoice with such exceeding great joy” (RE Mosiah 3:1, emphasis added).

[46] “Then spoke Jesus, saying, Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavily loaded, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart. And you shall find rest unto your souls, for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (RE Matthew 6:8, emphasis added).

 

[47] “Those who were under the vow could not shave any hair on their head (e.g. beard, mustache, eyebrows - Numbers 6:5, Judges 13:5, 16:17). This meant that those who promised to serve God in such a way were easily recognizable to other people, as they had long hair, bushy eyebrows, a long unkempt beard, etc.” (BibleStudy.org, Nazarite Vow).

[48] The Symbolic Meaning of Seven, “The symbolic meaning of 7 is the number of Perfection of Purpose (whether good or bad). Purpose refers to the will of a person (e.g., to swear an oath” (Rock of Offense.com, The Symbolic Meaning of the Number 7).

[49] “And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death, that he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There has not come a razor upon my head, for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb. If I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man. And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he has shown me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her and brought money in their hand. And she made him sleep upon her knees, and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head. And she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him . . .” (RE Judges 6:13).

[50] “And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;” (RE T&C 93:4).

[51] “And I, John, bear record that he received a fulness of the glory of the Father;” (RE T&C 93:6).

[52] “The glory of God is intelligence or, in other words, light and truth.” (RE T&C 93:11).


Three Knocks, The Great Ascension
.pdf
Download PDF • 593KB

31 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Exploring the Holy Order and Adoption Part 1

I don’t profess to understand all that has been taught about the Holy Order. I have read Denver’s talks multiple times and continue to try and sort it out. This is a continuation of that effort. It sh

Comments


bottom of page