Callings extended from the Spirit World to the Living

From the Journal of Discourses, as related by Wilford Woodruff.

“I have felt of late as if our brethren on the other side of the veil had held a council, and that they had said to this one, and that one, “Cease thy work on earth, come hence, we need help,” and they have called this man and that man.  It has appeared so to me in seeing the many men who have been called from our midst lately.

Perhaps I may be permitted to relate a circumstance with which I am acquainted in relation to Bishop Roskelley, of Smithfield, Cache Valley.  On one occasion he was taken very sick – near to death’s door.  While he lay in this condition, President Peter Maughan, who was dead, came to him and said: “Brother Roskelley, we held a council on the other side of the veil.  I have had a great deal to do, and I have the privilege of coming here to appoint one man to come and help.  I have had three names given to me in council, and you are one of them.  I want to inquire into your circumstances.”  The Bishop told him what he had to do, and they conversed together as one man would converse with another.  President Maughan then said to him: “I think I will not call you.  I think you are wanted here more than perhaps one of the others.”  Bishop Roskelley got well from that hour.

Very soon after, the second man was taken sick, but not being able to exercise sufficient faith, Bishop Roskelley did not go to him. By and by, this man recovered, and on meeting Bishop Roskelley he said: “Brother Maughan came to me the other night and told me he was sent to call one man from the ward,” and he named two men as had been done to Brother Roskelley.  A few days afterwards the third man was taken sick and died.  Now, I name this to show a principle.  They have work on the other side of the veil, and they call them.”

(JD, 22:334)

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Joseph Smith Visited by Book of Mormon and Bible Prophets

Book of Mormon Personalities Known by Joseph Smith

BY ROBERT J. WOODFORD

Moroni revealed the initial information to the Prophet Joseph, but many angels revealed additional things to him before he received the plates. (See Journal of Discourses, 14:140.) Orson Pratt recalled in later years that these angels were Book of Mormon personalities to whom Joseph spoke face to face. (See Journal of Discourses, 13:66.) Elder Pratt also said they came to instruct Joseph concerning the work he was to perform, and that Moroni gave him “much instruction.” 4

Others among Joseph Smith’s close associates add intriguing details. Wilford Woodruff said that Joseph was taught by “angels from heaven, by the voice of God, and by the inspiration and power of the Holy Ghost.” (Journal of Discourses, 16:35.) Orson Spencer wrote how “at his touch the ancient prophets spring into life.” 5

Early chroniclers record other visits of the Savior. For example, Zebedee Coltrin, speaking to the School of the Prophets of the Salt Lake Stake—which included President John Taylor and other general authorities—said that the Savior had appeared during a meeting two or three weeks after the organization of the original School of the Prophets in Kirtland. He passed through the room without speaking, and Joseph Smith identified the holy visitor: “That is Jesus, the Son of God, our elder brother.” 9

Elder John Taylor also identified “Mormon, Moroni, Nephi, and others of the ancient Prophets who formerly lived on this Continent” as visitors. (Journal of Discourses, 17:374.) Speaking at Ephraim, Utah, in 1879, Elder Taylor said the Nephite twelve disciples also came to Joseph.

“The principles which he had, placed him in communication with the Lord, and not only with the Lord, but with the ancient apostles and prophets; such men, for instance, as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Adam, Seth, Enoch, and Jesus and the Father, and the apostles that lived on this continent as well as those who lived on the Asiatic continent. He seemed to be as familiar with these people as we are one with another.” (Journal of Discourses, 21:94.)

In a later talk at the Fourteenth Ward in Salt Lake City, Elder Taylor added:

“The Angel Moroni came to him and revealed to him the Book of Mormon. … And then came Nephi, one of the ancient prophets, that had lived upon this continent, who had an interest in the welfare of the people that he had lived amongst in those days. …

“Again who more likely than Mormon and Nephi, and some of those prophets who had ministered to the people upon this continent, under the influence of the same Gospel, to operate again as its representatives?” (Journal of Discourses, 21:161, 163.)

Elder Orson Pratt, in a personal letter to John Christensen of Brigham City, testified:

“The prophet often received visits from Nephi, Moroni, Peter, James, John (the beloved), John (the Baptist), Elijah, Moses, the three Nephites, etc. etc.” 10

Ensign, August 197

4.

Journal of Discourses, 15:185; “Early Church History,” The Historical Record 5 (January 1886): 2.

  1.   5.

    Orson Spencer, Letters Exhibiting the Most Prominent Doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sixth ed. (Salt Lake City, George Q. Cannon & Sons, 1891), p. 27.

  2. 9. Minutes of the School of the Prophets, Salt Lake Stake, 3 Oct. 1883, Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, p. 59.

    1.   10.

      Orson Pratt to John Christensen, 11 Mar. 1876, Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.

The “Song of Solomon” is Biblical Trash

Elder Bruce R. McConkie offered his opinion about the worth of some of the books of the Bible:

In the Old Testament, Genesis is the book of books – a divine account whose worth cannot be measured.  Exodus and Deuteronomy are also of surpassing worth.  Numbers, Joshua, Judges, the Samuels, the Kings, and the Chronicles are all essential history.  Leviticus has no especial application to us.  Ruth and Esther are lovely stories.  The Psalms contain marvelous poetry and the portions that are messianic and that speak of the last days and the Second Coming are of great import.  Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Lamentations are interesting books; Job is for people who like the book of Job; and the Song of Solomon is biblical trash – it is not inspired writing.  …all the rest of the prophets – Isaiah above them all – each in his place and order set forth the doctrinal and prophetic word that must be studied in depth.

(“The Bible – A Sealed Book,” Church Education Symposium, BYU, 17 August 1984)

Joseph Smith’s Own FAQ’s

Here’s a transcript of Joseph Smith’s “FAQ” (from History of the Church, Vol.3, Ch.3, p.28-30)

___

I [Joseph] answered the questions which were frequently asked me, while on my last journey but one from Kirtland to Missouri, as printed in the Elders’ Journal, Vol. 1, Number 2, pages 28 and 29, as follows:

First–“Do you believe the Bible?”

If we do, we are the only people under heaven that does, for there are none of the religious sects of the day that do.

Second–“Wherein do you differ from other sects?”

In that we believe the Bible, and all other sects profess to believe their interpretations of the Bible, and their creeds.

Third–“Will everybody be damned, but Mormons?”

Yes, and a great portion of them, unless they repent, and work righteousness.

Fourth–“How and where did you obtain the Book of Mormon?”

Moroni, who deposited the plates in a hill in Manchester, Ontario County, New York, being dead and raised again therefrom, appeared unto me, and told me where they were, and gave me directions how to obtain them. I obtained them, and the Urim and Thummim with them, by the means of which I translated the plates; and thus came the Book of Mormon.

Fifth–“Do you believe Joseph Smith, Jun., to be a Prophet?”

Yes, and every other man who has the testimony of Jesus. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.–Revelation, 19:10th verse.

Sixth–“Do the Mormons believe in having all things in common?”

No.

Seventh–“Do the Mormons believe in having more wives than one?”

No, not at the same time. But they believe that if their companion dies, they have a right to marry again. But we do disapprove of the custom, which as gained in the world, and has been practiced among us, to our great mortification, in marrying in five or six weeks, or even in two or three months, after the death of their companion. We believe that due respect ought to be had to the memory of the dead, and the feelings of both friends and children.

Eight–“Can they [the Mormons] raise the dead?”

No, nor can any other people that now lives, or ever did live. But God can raise the dead, through man as an instrument.

Ninth–“What signs does Joseph Smith give of his divine mission?”

The signs which God is pleased to let him give, according as His wisdom thinks best, in order that He may judge the world agreeably to His own plan.

Tenth–“Was not Joseph Smith a money digger?”

Yes, but it was never a very profitable job for him, as he only got fourteen dollars a month for it.

Eleventh–“Did not Joseph Smith steal his wife?”

Ask her, she was of age, she can answer for herself.”

Twelfth–“Do the people have to give up their money when they join his Church?”

No other requirement than to bear their proportion of the expenses of the Church, and support the poor.

Thirteenth–“Are the Mormons abolitionists?”

No, unless delivering the people from priestcraft, and the priests from the power of Satan, should be considered abolition. But we do not believe in setting the negroes free.

Fourteenth–“Do they not stir up the Indians to war, and to commit depredations?”

No, and they who reported the story knew it was false when they put it in circulation. These and similar reports are palmed upon the people by the priests, and this is the only reason why we ever thought of answering them.

Fifteenth–“Do the Mormons baptize in the name of ‘Joe’ Smith?”

No, but if they did, it would be as valid as the baptism administered by the sectarian priests.

Sixteenth–“If the Mormon doctrine is true, what has become of all those who died since the days of the Apostles?”

All those who have not had an opportunity of hearing the Gospel, and being administered unto by an inspired man in the flesh, must have it hereafter, before they can be finally judged.

Seventeenth–“Does not ‘Joe’ Smith profess to be Jesus Christ?”

No, but he professes to be His brother, as all other Saints have done and now do: Matt. 12:49 , 50 , “And He stretched forth His hand toward His disciples and said, Behold my mother and my brethren; for whosoever shall do the will of my Father, which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

Eighteenth–“Is there anything in the Bible which licenses you to believe in revelation now-a-days?”

Is there anything that does not authorize us to believe so? If there is, we have, as yet, not been able to find it.

Nineteenth–“Is not the canon of the Scriptures full?”

If it is, there is a great defect in the book, or else it would have said so.

Twentieth–“What are the fundamental principles of your religion?”

The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it. But in connection with these, we believe in the gift of the Holy Ghost, the power of faith, the enjoyment of the spiritual gifts according to the will of God, the restoration of the house of Israel, and the final triumph of truth.

I published the foregoing answers to save myself the trouble of repeating the same a thousand times over and over again. (May 8, 1838.)

Joseph Smith Visited by Book of Mormon and Bible Prophets

Book of Mormon Personalities Known by Joseph Smith

BY ROBERT J. WOODFORD

Moroni revealed the initial information to the Prophet Joseph, but many angels revealed additional things to him before he received the plates. (See Journal of Discourses, 14:140.) Orson Pratt recalled in later years that these angels were Book of Mormon personalities to whom Joseph spoke face to face. (See Journal of Discourses, 13:66.) Elder Pratt also said they came to instruct Joseph concerning the work he was to perform, and that Moroni gave him “much instruction.” 4

Others among Joseph Smith’s close associates add intriguing details. Wilford Woodruff said that Joseph was taught by “angels from heaven, by the voice of God, and by the inspiration and power of the Holy Ghost.” (Journal of Discourses, 16:35.) Orson Spencer wrote how “at his touch the ancient prophets spring into life.” 5

Early chroniclers record other visits of the Savior. For example, Zebedee Coltrin, speaking to the School of the Prophets of the Salt Lake Stake—which included President John Taylor and other general authorities—said that the Savior had appeared during a meeting two or three weeks after the organization of the original School of the Prophets in Kirtland. He passed through the room without speaking, and Joseph Smith identified the holy visitor: “That is Jesus, the Son of God, our elder brother.” 9

Elder John Taylor also identified “Mormon, Moroni, Nephi, and others of the ancient Prophets who formerly lived on this Continent” as visitors. (Journal of Discourses, 17:374.) Speaking at Ephraim, Utah, in 1879, Elder Taylor said the Nephite twelve disciples also came to Joseph.

“The principles which he had, placed him in communication with the Lord, and not only with the Lord, but with the ancient apostles and prophets; such men, for instance, as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Adam, Seth, Enoch, and Jesus and the Father, and the apostles that lived on this continent as well as those who lived on the Asiatic continent. He seemed to be as familiar with these people as we are one with another.” (Journal of Discourses, 21:94.)

In a later talk at the Fourteenth Ward in Salt Lake City, Elder Taylor added:

“The Angel Moroni came to him and revealed to him the Book of Mormon. … And then came Nephi, one of the ancient prophets, that had lived upon this continent, who had an interest in the welfare of the people that he had lived amongst in those days. …

“Again who more likely than Mormon and Nephi, and some of those prophets who had ministered to the people upon this continent, under the influence of the same Gospel, to operate again as its representatives?” (Journal of Discourses, 21:161, 163.)

 

Elder Orson Pratt, in a personal letter to John Christensen of Brigham City, testified:

“The prophet often received visits from Nephi, Moroni, Peter, James, John (the beloved), John (the Baptist), Elijah, Moses, the three Nephites, etc. etc.” 10

Ensign, August 1978

4.Journal of Discourses, 15:185; “Early Church History,” The Historical Record 5 (January 1886): 2.

 

  1.   5.Orson Spencer, Letters Exhibiting the Most Prominent Doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sixth ed. (Salt Lake City, George Q. Cannon & Sons, 1891), p. 27.
  2. 9. Minutes of the School of the Prophets, Salt Lake Stake, 3 Oct. 1883, Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, p. 59.
    1.   10.Orson Pratt to John Christensen, 11 Mar. 1876, Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.

The First Written Account of the First Vision by Orson Pratt

170304_145559_bp05_Va_094_Ed43_1840

He, accordingly, commenced perusing the sacred pages of the Bible, with sincerity, believing the things that he read. His mind soon caught hold of the following passage:–“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”–James i.5. From this promise he learned, that it was the privilege of all men to ask God for wisdom, with the sure and certain expectation of receiving, liberally; without being upbraided for so doing. This was cheering information to him: tidings that gave him great joy. It was like a light shining forth in a dark place, to guide him to the path in which he should walk. He, now, saw that if he inquired of God, there was, not only, a possibility, but a probability; yea, more, a certainty, that he should obtain a knowledge, which, of all the doctrines, was the doctrine of Christ; and, which, of all the churches, was the church of Christ. He, therefore, retired to a secret place, in a grove, but a short distance from his father’s house, and knelt down, and began to call upon the Lord. At first, he was severely tempted by the powers of darkness, which endeavoured to overcome him; but he continued to seek for deliverance, until darkness gave way from his mind; and he was enabled to pray, in fervency of the spirit, and in faith. And, while thus pouring out his soul, anxiously desiring an answer from God, he, at length, saw a very bright and glorious light in the heavens above; which, at first, seemed to be at a considerable distance. He continued praying, while the light appeared to be gradually descending towards him; and, as it drew nearer, it increased in brightness, and magnitude, so that, by the time that it reached the tops of the trees, the whole wilderness, for some distance around, was illuminated in a most glorious and brilliant manner. He expected to have seen the leaves and boughs of the trees consumed, as soon as the light came in contact with them; but, perceiving that it did not produce that effect, he was encouraged with the hopes of being able to endure its presence. It continued descending, slowly, until it rested upon the earth, and he was enveloped in the midst of it. When it first came upon him, it produced a peculiar sensation throughout his whole system; and, immediately his mind was caught away, from the natural objects with which he was surrounded; and he was enwrapped in a heavenly vision, and saw two glorious personages, who exactly resembled each other in their features or likeness. He was informed, that his sins were forgiven. He was also informed upon the subjects, which had for some time previously agitated his mind, viz.– that all the religious denominations were believing in incorrect doctrines; and, consequently, that none of them was acknowledged of God, as his church and kingdom. And he was expressly commanded, to go not after them; and he received a promise that the true doctrine–the fulness of the gospel, should, at some future time, be made known to him; after which, the vision withdrew, leaving his mind in a state of calmness and peace, indescribable.

INTERESTING  ACCOUNT

OF

SEVERAL  REMARKABLE  VISIONS,

AND  OF

THE  LATE  DISCOVERY

OF

ANCIENT  AMERICAN  RECORDS

GIVING AN ACCOUNT OF THE COMMENCEMENT OF
THE WORK OF THE LORD IN THIS GENERATION

BY  O.  PRATT,
MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL.

“For there is nothing covered,
that shall not be revealed;
and hid, that shall not be known.” —MATT. x. 26.

EDINBURGH:

PRINTED  BY  BALLANTYNE  AND  HUGHES,
MDCCCXL.

There Was Only One Plan Presented in Heaven

Who is the Author of the Plan of Salvation?
By: Bruce R. McConkie

of the First Council of the Seventy

The Improvement Era

May, 1953
Who created and presented the plan of salvation as it was adopted in the pre-existent councils in heaven? Did Christ offer one plan which would allow men their agency, and Lucifer sponsor another founded on compulsion?

Although we sometimes hear it said that there were two plans – Christ’s plan of freedom and agency, and Lucifer’s of slavery and compulsion – such teaching does not conform to the revealed word. Christ did not present a plan of redemption and salvation nor did Lucifer. There were not two plans up for consideration; there was only one; and that was the plan of the Father: originated, developed, presented, and put in force by him. Christ, however, made the Father’s plan his own by his willing obedience to its terms and provisions.

A knowledge of these pre-existent events in God’s heavenly kingdom will help us understand the true order of things in his earthly kingdom, the Church, and also will point a course for the wise Saint to follow in all his affairs. Briefly this is what too k place:

The Father is and was a Personage of tabernacle, a Holy Man having a body of flesh and bones. To him were born the hosts of pre-existent spirit children of whom Jehovah, or Christ, was the eldest, the firstborn. Lucifer, “a son of the morning,” was among this host, as also were the spirits of all men, who have been or yet will be born on earth.

These spirits, endowed with agency and governed by law, developed a variety of talents and capacities. Some became noble and great. Lucifer attained unto a position of eminence and authority, but Christ, pre-eminent above them all, became “like unto God “.

Speaking of pre-existence, Joseph Smith said: “God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, P. 354) These laws, the Father’s plan of redemption and salvation, included, among other things, the following:

1.

At the Father’s command Christ and other noble and great spirits  were to create this earth.

2.

Then each spirit child was to be born into mortality, gain a temporal body in which to house the eternal spirit, and pass through a probationary testing to determine eventual fitness for a life of the kind the Father enjoyed.

3.

Body and spirit were to be separated, temporarily, by death, the spirit going to a world of waiting spirits, and the body back to the dust of the earth.

4.

The chief cornerstone of the whole plan was to be the atoning sacrifice of a Redeemer, one of the Father’s spirit sons who was to be born into the world as his literal Son in the flesh. By this means was to be effected a resurrection, a reunion of body and spirit in immortality, the two never again to be separated.

5.

And finally there was to be a day of judgment when a just measure would be meted to every man, and when those who fully qualified by righteousness would be raised, not only in immortality, but also unto eternal life, the kind of life which the Father himself has.

Step by step this plan was unfolded, taught, and put into operation. Thus after the earth was created, after the prospect of mortality had been announced, after the prospect of death and a resurrection were known, after the need for a Redeemer had been heralded in the courts on high, the Father spoke these very words:

“Whom shall I send?” (Abraham 3:27) That is whom shall I send to b e my Son in the flesh, to suffer both body and spirit in Gethsemane while taking upon himself the sins of the world to be lifted up upon the cross, to ransom men from the fall, to be the Redeemer?

There were two volunteers, Both said, “Here am I, send me>” (Abraham 3:27) But Christ, who was the first, also said: “Father thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.” (Moses 4:2) That is: I will continue to accept your plan of redemption, accept it without change or modification. And thine be the glory!

Lucifer, the second volunteer, had no such spirit of obedience. “I will be thy son,” he said, “and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do i t; wherefore give me thine honor.” (Moses 4:1) That is: Lucifer favored the Father’s plan by which the spirit children were to obtain bodies of flesh and bones, were to die, were to be resurrected. But Lucifer wanted to abandon the testing or probationary part of mortality; he wanted to take away the agency of man, forestall the need of a judgment according to works, and impose salvation upon all men without effort on their part – an impossible thing since there can be no progression except by the upward pull of obedience to law. And as a final blow: Lucifer sought to obtain as his personal reward, the very power, position, and throne of the Father himself.

The issue was squarely put. A decision must be made, and the Father (always the Father!) issued the decree: “I will send the first,” (Abraham 3:27) thus choosing Christ to be the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8; I Peter 1:19-20)

Then it was that “the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him.” (Abraham 3:28) Then it was that “a third part of the hosts of heaven” (D&C 29:36) were turned away from the father “because of their agency.” (D&C 29:36) Then it was there “there was war in heaven,” (Revelation 12:7) and those who were cast out became “the devil and his angels.” (D&C 29:37)

This is the story in outline form; and all the scripture bear the same testimony. Always it is the Father’s plan; always the Son is the obedient co-worker:

“I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me. And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross.” (3 Nephi 27:13-14)

“My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” (John 4:34)

“I can of mine own self do nothing: … I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” (John 5:30)

“I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 6:38)

“I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” (John 8:28-29)

From this summary of events and from these principles, we learn some great lessons. One is that the pre-existent government was not a democracy any more than the Church government today is a democracy. It was a kingdom then; it is a kingdom now. The Lord always makes the laws, issues the decrees, and invites his children to obey and progress. Because of agency the pre-existent spirits were permitted the democratic principle of accepting or rejecting Christ’s appointment as Redeemer. So today: Men may accept or reject the saving truths of the gospel. But the rejecter always pays the penalty.

Further: By following the Father’s plan, Christ went from grace to grace until he received the fullness of the Father, (D&C 93:6-17) so that now, having worked out the atoning sacrifice, “and being made perfect,” he has become “the author of eternal salvation un to all them that obey him.” (Hebrews 5:9) Thus to him is ascribed glory and honor in all things, and those who seek for joint heirship with him must, in obedience, go from grace to grace as he did. The key to perfection and progression is: “Father, thy will be done.”