Chapter 25: Core Doctrines and Teachings
Evidences: Chapter 25:Core Doctrines and Teachings
In assembling the jewels from the magnificent Pearl of Great Price, this concluding chapter offers a treasure chest of core doctrines and teachings. As I gathered information from the five books of the Pearl of Great Price on each topic, I tried to let the words of God and His prophets flow together without commentary or explanation. However, with a few subjects, I could not resist weighing in.
The word agency is found only six times in all scripture—four times in the Doctrine and Covenants and twice in the Pearl of Great Price. “The Lord said unto Enoch: I . . . gave . . . man his agency” (Moses 7:32). Agency is the power to discern and is made possible by opposition—light and dark, good and evil for the most basic examples. Obedience is the righteous use of agency. Obedience enhances, circumscribes, and augments agency. Disobedience is the abuse of agency. Disobedience encompasses all contrary, undisciplined, wayward, delinquent, disobedient, defiant, sinful, and obstinate thoughts and actions. Disobedience restricts and diminishes agency. Satan is the enemy of agency. “Satan . . . sought to destroy the agency of man” (Moses 4:3).
Agents is found one time in the Pearl of Great Price. “And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves” (Moses 6:56). God teaches agency to His children by allowing them to be agents. He allows them to experience opposition. “They taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good” (Moses 6:55).
“Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world” (Moses 6:54). The Atonement of Christ saves all little children who die before the age of accountability.
The Atonement of Christ saves all men and women who repent. “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith 1:3).
“And Eve . . . 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” (Moses 5:11). Eve understood that redemption comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
“And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me. And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth” (Moses 5:6–7). Adam and Eve accepted the gift of the Atonement and understood the sacrifice of the Only Begotten.
“I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will” (Moses 5:9). The verse ends with will but in context we can add, “as many as will repent and come unto Him.”
The word atoned is found only two times in all scripture: once in D&C 29 and once in Moses 6.
The Pearl of Great Price provides four accounts of baptism in the dispensations of Adam, Enoch, Noah, and Joseph Smith.
Adam: “And our father Adam spake unto the Lord, and said: Why is it that men must repent and be baptized in water” (Moses 6:53)? The Lord answered: “As ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit” (Moses 6:59). “Adam . . . was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water. And thus he was baptized” (Moses 6:64–65).
Enoch: “And he gave unto me a commandment that I should baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, which is full of grace and truth, and of the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son” (Moses 7:11).
Noah: “And it came to pass that Noah continued his preaching unto the people, saying: Hearken, and give heed unto my words; Believe and repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, even as our fathers” (Moses 8:23–24).
Joseph Smith: After Joseph and Oliver Cowdery were ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood by John the Baptist, John “commanded us to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and that afterwards he should baptize me. Accordingly we went and were baptized. I baptized him first, and afterwards he baptized me” (Joseph Smith—History 1:70–71).
“We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Articles of Faith 1:4).
In the Pearl of Great Price, baptism is found 3 times, baptize 3 times, baptized is found 15 times.
BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE/RECORD KEEPING/GENEALOGY
“And a book of remembrance was kept, in the 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” (Moses 6:5).
“A genealogy was kept of the children of God. And this was the book of the generations of Adam” (Moses 6:8).
“And this is the genealogy of the sons of Adam, who was the son of God” (Moses 6:22).
Enoch said: “For a book of remembrance we have written among us, according to the pattern given by the finger of God; and it is given in our own language” (Moses 6:46).
“But I shall endeavor, hereafter, to delineate the chronology running back from myself to the beginning of the creation, for the records have come into my hands, which I hold unto this present time” (Abraham 1:28).
“The records of the fathers, even the patriarchs, concerning the right of Priesthood, the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands; therefore a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers, have I kept even unto this day, and I shall endeavor to write some of these things upon this record, for the benefit of my posterity that shall come after me” (Abraham 1:31).
“Inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven” (Moses 6:59).
CHILDREN/CHILDREN OF GOD
“The Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world” (Moses 6:54).
“And I, God, said . . . Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . . . And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him; male and female created I them” (Moses 2:26–27).
“Moses . . . thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten” (Moses 1:6).
“I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men” (Moses 3:5).
Moses said: “I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten” (Moses 1:13).
“And this is the genealogy of the sons of Adam, who was the son of God” (Moses 6:22).
God refers to Abraham, Enoch, or Moses eight times as “My son.” An especially tender use of the phrase comes when God speaks to Abraham and says: “My son, my son.” Abraham added a verbal picture of this moment by adding that as God said those words, “his hand was stretched out” (Abraham 3:12).
“Moses . . . I, the Almighty, have chosen thee” (Moses 1:25).
“Thou shalt deliver . . . even Israel my chosen” (Moses 1:26).
Chosen, when capitalized, is a name for Jesus Christ (Moses 4:2, 7:39).
“Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; and God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born” (Abraham 3:22-23).
“These abominations were had from Cain; for he rejected the greater counsel which was had from God” (Moses 5:25).
“And Enoch continued his speech, saying: Why counsel ye yourselves, and deny the God of heaven” (Moses 6:43)?
“I am God… Man of Counsel is my name” (Moses 7:35).
“And the Gods took counsel among themselves” (Abraham 4:26).
“The Lord . . .… covenanted with Enoch, and sware unto him with an oath, that he would stay the floods; that he would call upon the children of Noah” (Moses 7:51). To keep this covenant, Enoch’s son Methuselah “was not taken [with the rest of the City of Enoch], that the covenants of the Lord might be fulfilled, which he made to Enoch; for he truly covenanted with Enoch that Noah should be of the fruit of his loins” (Moses 8:2).
“I give unto thee [Abraham] a promise that this right [priesthood] shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal” (Abraham 2:11).
“And except those days should be shortened, there should none of their flesh be saved; but for the elect's sake, according to the covenant, those days shall be shortened” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:20).
The “very elect” are defined as those “who are the elect according to the covenant” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:22)
CREATED, CREATOR, CREATION
In Earth’s lament, she testifies of the Creator: “When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face” (Moses 7:48).
Abraham had in his possession a history of the world from his time to “the beginning of the creation.” “But I shall endeavor, hereafter, to delineate the chronology running back from myself to the beginning of the creation, for the records have come into my hands, which I hold unto this present time” (Abraham 1:28).
Abraham had “a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers” (Abraham 1:31).
“And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created; and Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered” (Moses 1:8). “And I, God, said . . . Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . . . And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him; male and female created I them” (Moses 2:26–27).
After creating the animal kingdom, God said: “Let them [Adam and Eve] have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Moses 2:26). When dominion is used in scripture for good purposes, it is a synonym for responsibility.
“And it came to pass that after I, the Lord God, had driven them out, that Adam began to till the earth, and to have dominion over all the beasts of the field, and to eat his bread by the sweat of his brow, as I the Lord had commanded him. And Eve, also, his wife, did labor with him” (Moses 5:1). Here dominion describes joint responsibility, as Adam and Eve labored together. Dominion over plants and animals is God’s transfer of responsibility from His care to Adam and Eve’s care. Righteous dominion is not about abuse, control, power, or domination.
Then God instructs Eve on Adam’s responsibility towards her. “Unto the woman, I, the Lord God, said . . . Thy desire shall be to thy husband” (Moses 4:22). The same verse in the Douay-Rheims translation of the Bible reads: “To the woman also he said . . . Thou shalt be under thy husband's power,” which could be reinterpreted, “Under thy husband’s priesthood power.” In the next phrase, God explained Adam’s role to Eve: “And he shall rule over thee.” In the Douay-Rheims, the phrase reads: “And he shall have dominion over thee” (Genesis 3:16). In these two translations, rule and dominion are juxtaposed as synonyms, but Adam was not to dominate Eve. God did not set up a master/slave or lord/servant hierarchy, but rather Adam was given responsibility to watch over and care for Eve.
Knowing what we know now in the language of The Family: A Proclamation to the World, Eve understood: “You will be blessed by Adam’s priesthood. He has responsibility to protect you and your children and to provide for your temporal, emotional, and spiritual needs. By divine design, he is to preside as the head of your family in love and righteousness.” God gives His children righteous dominion to create and maintain family. Adam received priesthood; Eve received motherhood—separate but complimentary roles, creating mutual dependency for unity of purpose.
Satan, or mortals under his influence, controls others with unrighteous dominion. “And in those days Satan had great dominion among men, and raged in their hearts; and from thenceforth came wars and bloodshed; and a man’s hand was against his own brother, in administering death, because of secret works, seeking for power” (Moses 6:15). As a disrupter from the beginning, Satan attempts to destroy God’s order of priesthood and motherhood by counterfeiting God’s laws and by redefining words.
God gave Adam and Eve instructions as to their duty as citizens of earth. In their dominion, they were commanded to “dress it and keep it” (Moses 3:15; Abraham 5:11).
“And it came to pass that Enoch looked upon the earth; and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof, saying: Wo, wo is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face?” (Moses 7:48).
Eternity is beyond measurement—“without beginning of days or end of years” (Moses 6:67). Eternity continues beyond time “henceforth and forever” (Moses 5:9, 6:66).
“Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?” (Moses 7:29).
“Thou hast taken Zion to thine own bosom . . . from all eternity to all eternity” (Moses 7:31). “His heart swelled wide as eternity” (Moses 7:41).
“I am Messiah, the King of Zion, the Rock of Heaven, which is broad as eternity” (Moses 7:53).
“On a sudden, as from the midst of eternity, the voice of the Redeemer spake peace to us” (Joseph Smith—History note).
Scriptural synonyms for eternal are forever, everlasting, infinite, without end.
Everlasting joy: “I am Messiah, the King of Zion, the Rock of Heaven, which is broad as eternity; whoso cometh in at the gate and climbeth up by me shall never fall; wherefore, blessed are they of whom I have spoken, for they shall come forth with songs of everlasting joy” (Moses 7:53).
Everlasting possession: “But I, Abraham, and Lot, my brother's son, prayed unto the Lord, and the Lord appeared unto me, and said unto me: Arise, and take Lot with thee; for I have purposed to take thee away out of Haran, and to make of thee a minister to bear my name in a strange land which I will give unto thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession, when they hearken to my voice” (Abraham 2:6).
Everlasting Gospel: “He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants” (Joseph Smith—History 1:34).
FACE TO FACE
God talked to Moses face-to-face (see Moses 1:2); He talked to Enoch face-to-face (see Moses 7:4); He talked to Abraham face-to-face (see Abraham 3:11); He and His Beloved Son talked to Joseph Smith face-to-face (see Joseph Smith—History 1:17).
The first principles of faith and repentance and the first ordinances of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost are found in clarity throughout the Pearl of Great Price:
Faith: Moses 6:23, Moses 7:13, Moses 7:47, Joseph Smith—History 1:5, Joseph Smith—History 1:7, Articles of Faith 1:4.
Repentance: Moses 5:8, 5:14, 5:25, 6:1, 6:23, 6:27, 6:29, 6:50, 6:52, 6:53, 6:57, 7:10, 7:12, 7:39, 8:17, 8:20, 8:24, Joseph Smith—History 1:69, Articles of Faith 1:4.
Baptism: Moses 1:70, 6:52, 6:53, 6:65, 6:66, 7:11, 8:24, Joseph Smith—History 1:68–74, Articles of Faith 1:4.
Gift of the Holy Ghost: Moses 5:58, 6:52, 8:17, Joseph Smith—History 1:70.
“And he said unto them: Because that Adam fell, we are; and by his fall came death; and we are made partakers of misery and woe” (Moses 6:48).
“That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death” (Moses 6:59).
“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 [fall] my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God” (Moses 5:10).
“Father . . . the glory be thine forever” (Moses 4:2).
“Zion, in process of time, was taken up into heaven. And the Lord said unto Enoch: Behold mine abode forever” (Moses 7:21).
“Enoch . . . said unto the Lord: Surely Zion shall dwell in safety forever. . . . Thou art just; thou art merciful and kind forever” (Moses 7:20, 30).
FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH
The phrase “full of grace and truth” describes Jesus Christ and is found eleven times in the scriptures: once in the New Testament—John 1:14; three times in the Book of Mormon—2 Nephi 2:6, Alma 5:48, Alma 13:9; two times in the Doctrine and Covenants 93:11, 66:12, and five times in the book of Moses—1:6, 1:32, 5:7, 6:52, 7:11.
God is Endless. “God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless” (Moses 1:3).
God’s works and words never cease. “My works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease” (Moses 1:4).
God knows His creations. “I am God; Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name, also. Wherefore, I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made” (Moses 7:35–36).
God numbers His creations. “There are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them” (Moses 1:35, 37).
God works. “On the seventh day I, God, ended my work, and all things which I had made; and I rested on the seventh day from all my work” (Moses 3:2). “This is my work and my glory” (Moses 1:39).
God is glorious. “The glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence” (Moses 1:2). “No man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth” (Moses 1:5). “Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee? For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me, and I were transfigured before him. But I can look upon thee in the natural man. Is it not so, surely?” (Moses 1:13–14). “The glory of the Lord was upon Moses, so that Moses stood in the presence of God” (Moses 1:31). When God’s glory left Moses, Moses knew that compared to God, man is nothing, “which thing I never had supposed” (Moses 1:10).
God rules in all wisdom and prudence. “I rule in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, in all wisdom and prudence, over all the intelligences thine eyes have seen from the beginning; I came down in the beginning in the midst of all the intelligences thou hast seen” (Abraham 3:21).
Joseph’s sacred grove experience makes him the Latter-day expert on who our Father in Heaven is and what He looks like. I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. 17 It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! (JS-History 1:16-18). Joseph often taught how important it is “to know for a certainty the character of God.” He said that this knowledge “is the first principle of the Gospel” (Teachings, 345). He shared his unique understanding of the nature and personage of God at the funeral of King Follett, who was not a king but King was his first name, on April of 1844.
God Himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by His power, was to make Himself visible,—I say, if you were to see Him today, you would see Him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with Him, as one man talks and communes with another. (History of the Church, 6:303–305, 308)
When was the gospel first taught? “Thus the Gospel began to be preached, from the beginning” (Moses 5:58).
To whom was the gospel first taught? “And thus all things were confirmed unto Adam . . . and the Gospel preached” (Moses 5:59).
When will the gospel stop being preached? “A decree [was] sent forth, that it should be [preached] in the world, until the end thereof” (Moses 5:59).
Who is responsible to teach the gospel and by what means? “And the Lord ordained Noah after his own order [the priesthood], and commanded him that he should go forth and declare his Gospel unto the children of men, even as it was given unto Enoch” (Moses 8:19).
Whom does the gospel bless? “In thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood) . . . shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal” (Abraham 2:11).
Where will the gospel be preached? “This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come, or the destruction of the wicked” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:31).
How is the gospel declared? “Thus the Gospel began to be . . . declared by holy angels sent forth from the presence of God, and by his own voice, and by the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Moses 5:58).
The Book of Mormon contains the gospel: “He [the angel] said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants” (Joseph Smith—History 1:34).
The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of repentance: “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” (Joseph Smith—History 1:69).
Three Articles of Faith teach about the Gospel:
Articles of Faith 1:3—“We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.”
Articles of Faith 1:4: “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Articles of Faith 1:5: “We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.”
“In that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam” (Moses 5:9).
“And thus he [Adam] was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man” (Moses 6:65).
“And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost” (Moses 6:66).
“Now this prophecy Adam spake, as he was moved upon by the Holy Ghost” (Moses 6:8).
“Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Moses 6:52).
“The Lord God called upon men by the Holy Ghost everywhere and commanded them that they should repent” (Moses 5:14).
“Thus the Gospel began to be preached . . . by the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Moses 5:58).
“He gave unto me [Enoch] a commandment that I should baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, which is full of grace and truth, and of the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son” (Moses 7:11).
“The Holy Ghost fell on many, and they were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion” (Moses 7:27).
God said to Noah: “And ye shall receive the Holy Ghost, that ye may have all things made manifest” (Moses 8:24).
“No sooner had I baptized Oliver Cowdery, than the Holy Ghost fell upon him, and he stood up and prophesied many things which should shortly come to pass. And again, so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy, when, standing up, I prophesied concerning the rise of this Church, and many other things connected with the Church, and this generation of the children of men. We were filled with the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced in the God of our salvation” (Joseph Smith—History 1:73).
“Moses lifted up his eyes unto heaven, being filled with the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son” (Moses 1:24).
“Therefore it is given to abide in you . . . the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment” (Moses 6:61).
Honor as a noun is the sum of one’s character. It is impossible for one person to give his/her honor to another person. Honor, when used as a verb, is the respect a person receives from others for acting in an honorable way. Both as a noun and a verb, honor has to be earned. When Satan said to the Father: “Give me thine honor” (Moses 4:1), it revealed Satan’s character. He was trying to steal something he had not worked to acquire and something he did not understand. Jesus Christ honored His father by saying: “Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever” (Moses 4:2).
“Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born” (Abraham 3:22–23).
INVITATIONS FROM THE LORD
“Walk with me” (Moses 6:34).
"Be baptized” (Moses 6:52).
“Receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Moses 6:52).
“Ask” (Moses 6:52).
“Repent” (Moses 6:27).
“Bear record of me” (Moses 6:63).
“Choose me” (Moses 7:33).
“Teach it unto your children” (Moses 6:57).
“Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you” (Moses 6:33).
“Go forth and do as I have commanded thee” (Moses 6:32).
“Open thy mouth and it shall be filled” (Moses 6:32).
“Teach it freely unto your children” (Moses 6:58).
“Take heed that no man deceive you” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:5).
“Remain . . . steadfast” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:11).
“Pray ye the Lord” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:17).
“Treasure . . . up my word” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37).
“Gather together” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37).
“Learn a parable” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:38).
“Know that he is near” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:39).
“Watch . . . for you know not at what hour your Lord doth come (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:46).
“Know this” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1: 47).
“Be ye . . . ready” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:48).
The word Kolob is found eight times in all scripture, all in Abraham.
Kolob is a great governing star (see Abraham 3:3). It governs “all those [planets] which belong to the same order as that upon which thou [Abraham] standest [Earth]” (Abraham 3:3).
Where is Kolob? “Nigh unto the throne of God” (Abraham 3:9)
Time on Kolob is after “the reckoning of the Lord’s time . . . , according to its times and seasons in the revolutions thereof; that one revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning, it being one thousand years according to the time appointed unto that whereon thou standest. This is the reckoning of the Lord’s time, according to the reckoning of Kolob” (Abraham 3:4–5).
“And I, the Lord God, said unto mine Only Begotten, that it was not good that the man should be alone; wherefore, I will make an help meet for him. . . . And I, the Lord God, caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and he slept, and I took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in the stead thereof; and the rib which I, the Lord God, had taken from man, made I a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said: This I know now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (Moses 3:18–25).
Marriage between a man and a woman was ordained of God from the very beginning.
“Worlds without number have I created” (Moses 1:33).
“And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number” (Moses 7:30).
“I will multiply thee, and thy seed after thee, like unto these; and if thou canst count the number of sands, so shall be the number of thy seeds” (Abraham 3:14).
One God: “For this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory” (Moses 1:20).
One Earth: “And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come” (Moses 1:38).
One rib: “I took one of his ribs” (Moses 3:21; see also Abraham 5:15).
One stone: “Jesus said: . . . Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here, upon this temple, one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:3).
One flesh: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh” (Moses 3:24; Abraham 5:18).
One in Me: “Thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons” (Moses 6:68).
One heart, one mind: “The Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind” (Moses 7:18).
Governing ones: “And the Lord said unto me: These are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest” (Abraham 3:3).
One revolution: “One revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning” (Abraham 3:4).
One end of heaven: “They shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37).
One day: “I was one day reading the Epistle of James” (Joseph Smith—History 1:11).
Two great lights: “I, God, made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night” (Moses 2:16; see also Abraham 4:16).
Two and two: “From that time forth, the sons and daughters of Adam began to divide two and two . . . and they also begat sons and daughters” (Moses 5:3).
Two facts: “The Lord said unto me: Now, Abraham, these two facts exist” (Abraham 3:6).
Two in the field: “In the last days, two shall be in the field, the one shall be taken, and the other left” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:44).
Two Personages: “When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air” (Joseph Smith—History 1:17).
Two stones: “There were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim” (Joseph Smith—History 1:35).
Three sons: “Noah . . . walked with God, as did also his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth” (Moses 8:27).
Three virgins: “This priest had offered upon this altar three virgins at one time” (Abraham 1:11).
Four heads: “I, the Lord God, caused a river to go out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads” (Moses 3:10; see also Abraham 5:10).
Four quarters: “I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth” (Moses 7:62). “So likewise shall mine elect be gathered from the four quarters of the earth” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:27).
Four winds: “They shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37).
Ten Tribes: “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes” (Articles of Faith 1:10).
Fifty dollars: “In the midst of our afflictions we found a friend in a gentleman by the name of Martin Harris, who came to us and gave me fifty dollars to assist us on our journey” (Joseph Smith—History 1:61).
One thousand years: “One revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning, it being one thousand years according to the time appointed unto that whereon thou standest” (Abraham 3:4). “For the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest” (Moses 7:64).
“Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God” (Moses 1:25).
“And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord” (Moses 5:5).
“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” (Moses 5:11).
“And the Gods ordered, saying: Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the earth come up dry; and it was so as they ordered…. The Gods saw that they were obeyed…. The Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed. The Gods saw they [the elements of creation] would obey” (Abraham 4:9–10, 18, 25).
“And the Lord spake unto Enoch, and said unto him: Anoint thine eyes with clay, and wash them, and thou shalt see. And he did so” (Moses 6:35). Obedience requires action. Enoch did not just listen or think about it. He did it.
Enoch said: “Wherefore, for this cause, to keep [obey] the commandment, I speak forth these words” (Moses 6:42).
Joseph Smith said: “I obeyed” (Joseph Smith—History 1:50).
“We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith 1:3).
“We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law” (Articles of Faith 1:12).
Order is used in scripture as a descriptor of how God performs His work, of which the Creation is an example. God’s orderliness is not tidiness but precision, and His methodology is evident in the three creation accounts—Genesis, Moses, and Abraham—that show preparation and planning. God’s phrase “We will go down” is like coordinating schedules to accomplish a job. His phrase “for there is space there” is like scoping out the right place on which to build, and the phrase “We will take of these materials” is like locating and gathering building materials. God performs His work in and with order. Every step in the process is purposeful with the result to “make an earth whereon these may dwell” (Abraham 3:24). God’s orderliness takes the unorganized and organizes it.
This orderliness utilizes another type of order, which is a synonym for priesthood. God said to Adam: “And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity” (Moses 6:67). Abraham said he “sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment [order] of God” (Abraham 1:4). “The Lord ordained Noah after his own order . . . even as it was given unto Enoch” (Moses 8:19).
“Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order [the priesthood] established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood” (Abraham 1:26).
Order can also be a synonym for command. “And the Gods ordered the expanse, so that it divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so, even as they ordered” (Abraham 4:7). “And it was so, even as I spake [ordered]” (Moses 2:30).
Order is also used as a scientific classification. From most broad to the most specific: Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species. “For I am the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest” (Abraham 3:4). This kind of order has arrangement, sequence, and pattern. The Creator instructed Abraham that there are other earths that are the same order as this earth, meaning there are other worlds designed differently for other purposes. There are greater lights and lesser lights. There are governing stars, implying non-governing or subordinate stars. Some planets are peopled; some are not. Order defines God.
“Therefore, pray ye the Lord that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:17).
“In accordance with . . . my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally” (Joseph Smith—History 1:14).
“I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him” (Joseph Smith—History 1:29).
“While we were thus employed, praying and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light” (Joseph Smith—History 1:68).
Four of seventeen scriptural citations about premortal life referenced in “Guide to the Scriptures” come from the Pearl of Great Price. Premortal life is the expanse of time before life on Earth begins. All men and women lived with God in what is termed the first estate as the spirit children of Heavenly Parents before coming to earth (see Abraham 3:26). One of the biggest differences between premortal and mortal life is at birth, each spirit is clothed in a physical body.
“I made . . . men before they were in the flesh” (Moses 6:51).
“For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth” (Moses 3:5).
There is a pre-premortal life. Each individual’s intelligence existed before receiving a spirit body. Abraham saw these intelligences and heard God say: “I came down in the beginning in the midst of . . . all the intelligences thine eyes have seen” that were organized [created] “before the world was” (Abraham 3:21–22).
Without the Pearl of Great Price, we may not have hymns and Primary songs about premortal life: “I Lived In Heaven,” “How Great the Wisdom and the Love,” “The Lord Gave Me a Temple,” “O My Father,” “How Dear to God are Little Children,” “Faith,” “Again We Meet around the Board,” “I Am a Child of God,” “Thy Will, O Lord, Be Done,” “O Thou, before the World Began.”
Priesthood is the power by which God creates worlds without number. Priesthood is the authority to preside over families and govern the Church. All male members of the Church who meet age requirements and worthiness standards have the privilege of priesthood to serve in the governance of the Church and to preside in their families. At different time periods in history, certain groups, for reasons known only to God, have been denied priesthood office. In both Abraham’s and Moses’s administrations, Cain’s descendants could not receive the priesthood. When Jesus was on Earth, only Jews could receive the priesthood. The priesthood is God’s, and only He decides who receives the priesthood.
“The Lord ordained Noah [to the priesthood] after his own order” (Moses 8:19).
“Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal. Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood. Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry” (Abraham 1:25–27).
“I will lead thee by my hand, and I will take thee, to put upon thee my name, even the Priesthood of thy father” (Abraham 1:18).
“The right of Priesthood, the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands” (Abraham 1:31).
“And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee above measure, and make thy name great among all nations, and thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed after thee, that in their hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations” (Abraham 2:9)
“I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee (that is, in thy Priesthood) and in thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood), for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal” (Abraham 2:11).
Moroni “quoted the fifth verse thus: Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Joseph Smith—History 1:38).
Moroni “said this Aaronic Priesthood had not the power of laying on 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 that afterwards he should baptize me. Accordingly we went and were baptized. I baptized him first, and afterwards he baptized me—after which I laid my hands upon his head and ordained him to the Aaronic Priesthood, and afterwards he laid his hands on me and ordained me to the same Priesthood—for so we were commanded. Joseph Smith—History 1:70–71).
“The messenger who . . . conferred this Priesthood upon us [Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery], 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 and John, who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which Priesthood, he said, would in due time be conferred on us. . . . It was on the fifteenth day of May, 1829” (Joseph Smith—History 1:72).
Joseph and Oliver received the Aaronic Priesthood under the hands of John the Baptist who after laying his hands upon their heads said: “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” (Joseph Smith—History 1:69).
“In the meantime we were forced to keep secret the circumstances of having received the Priesthood and our having been baptized, owing to a spirit of persecution which had already manifested itself in the neighborhood” (Joseph Smith—History 1:74).
The priesthood, “which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also” (Moses 6:7).
PROPHECY/SPIRIT OF PROPHECY
Adam prophesied: “Now this same Priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also” (Moses 6:7).
“And thus cometh the end of the wicked, according to the prophecy of Moses” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:55).
“After telling me these things, [Moroni] commenced quoting the prophecies of the Old Testament. He first quoted part of the third chapter of Malachi; and he quoted also the fourth or last chapter of the same prophecy” (Joseph Smith—History 1:36).
“No sooner had I baptized Oliver Cowdery, than the Holy Ghost fell upon him, and he stood up and prophesied many things which should shortly come to pass. And again, so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy, when, standing up, I prophesied concerning the rise of this Church” (Joseph Smith—History 1:73).
“His testimony is no less than the spirit of prophecy” (Joseph Smith—History note).
“We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy”(Articles of Faith 1:5).
“We believe in the gift of . . . prophecy” (Articles of Faith 1:7).
Two examples of prophecy fulfilled: When the Lord called Enoch to be the prophet, He said, “The mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course” (Moses 6:34). Later in Enoch’s life, it is recorded: “And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course” (Moses 7:13).
The second example is the promise given to Moses when he received his call: Moses “heard a voice, saying: Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God” (Moses 1:25). The parting of the Red Sea fulfills this prophecy. “The Lord said unto Moses . . . lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea” (Exodus 14:15–16).
One’s closeness to God may be described in terms of physical distance. In chapter 3, Abraham reports on looking at the immensity of space in vision as God named some heavenly bodies. You can imagine God with a pointer saying: “These are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob” (Abraham 3:3). The distance between Earth and Kolob may be many light-years away, but Kolob is as much a reality as is Earth. Abraham also learned Kolob’s proximity to God’s throne: “The name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me” (Abraham 3:3). “Because it is near unto me” could be the definition of Kolob.
W. W. Phelps wrote: “If you could hie to Kolob in the twinkling of an eye” (Hymns, no. 284). How long would a trip to Kolob take? Are visitors allowed? Is hieing to Kolob really the desired destination since it is just close to God’s home? What is the name of the governing star or planet where God actually resides? What would it be like to approach His throne? Could the unworthy make such a journey? Are there security checks? Is a type of passport or recommend needed? Is there a shuttle from Kolob to God’s residence?
This we know. “Unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds and also conditions. All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified” (D&C 88:38–39). Yes, there are requirements—laws, bounds, conditions, and prescribed ways to move nearer to God.
Joseph Smith’s First Vision brought him into close proximity with God and His Beloved Son. While praying, the throne of God came near unto him, and Jesus Christ instructed youthful Joseph about near and far. He told Joseph not to join any church because of corrupt ministers who teach a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. As only He could know, the Savior said: “They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Joseph Smith 1:19; italics added). The couplet is memorable: near to me/far from me. “Near to me” comes with a promise: as you make your proximity to Him a priority, He will draw near unto you as you draw near unto Him (see D&C 88:63). Those who keep God’s commandments draw near to Him through their obedience.
Adam learned his proximity to God would continue forever. Adam “heard a voice out of heaven, saying: This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever; and thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity. Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons” (Moses 6:66–68).
Enoch felt his proximity to God when a voice from heaven spoke of an endless relationship. “Enoch, my son, . . . this is a decree, which I have sent forth in the beginning of the world, from my own mouth, from the foundation thereof, and by the mouths of my servants, thy fathers, have I decreed it, even as it shall be sent forth in the world, unto the ends thereof” (Moses 6:27, 30).
Moses learned about his proximity to God in that their Father/son relationship is endless. “And [Moses] saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence. And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless? And, behold, thou art my son” (Moses 1:2–4).
Abraham learned his proximity to God is personal in their Father/son relationship. “Abraham, my son… Behold, I will lead thee by my hand, and I will take thee, to put upon thee my name, even the Priesthood of thy father, and my power shall be over thee” (Abraham 1:17–18).
Joseph Smith learned about his proximity to God and His Beloved Son in their face-to-face conversation. Joseph said: “I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. . . . When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him” (Joseph Smith—History 1:16–17). God identified His relationship to Joseph in the words: “Joseph, my son” (D&C 130:15).
God described astronomical timing to Abraham (see Abraham 3), using the word reckoning twelve times. The order and precision of God’s creations shows meticulous mathematics as the length of days increases the farther away from earth you travel. In his visions, Abraham learned the length of a year on Earth is an exact calculation. One day on Earth is one one-thousandth of a day on Kolob. The moons, planets, and stars move in their orbits as a fine-tuned clock.
God’s macro-timing, His reckoning, is easily acceptable to the human mind in terms of planets, stars, orbits, and the times (days) of creation. His knowledge and power of the highest form of math and science fit the paradigm of His omniscience (omni meaning all, every, the whole; and science meaning knowledge and understanding of the principles governing how things work. “All the times of their revolutions, all the appointed days, months, and years, and all the days of their days, months, and years, and all their glories, laws, and set times” (D&C 121:31) are awe inspiring to contemplate.
SALVATION, PLAN OF
“The name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men. . . . This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time” (Moses 6:52, 62).
“And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice” (Moses 4:4).
“And Satan put it into the heart of the serpent . . . to beguile Eve” (Moses 4:6).
“Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me” (Moses 1:12). Moses said: “Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not” (Moses 1:16). When Satan did not depart, Moses said: “I will not cease to call upon God, I have other things to inquire of him: for his glory has been upon me, wherefore I can judge between him and thee. Depart hence, Satan. And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me. And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory” (Moses 1:18–20).
“The power of Satan was upon all the face of the earth” (Moses 7:24). “And he [Enoch] beheld Satan; and he had a great chain in his hand, and it veiled the whole face of the earth with darkness; and he looked up and laughed, and his angels rejoiced” (Moses 7:26).
“I [Joseph Smith] had scarcely [begun to pray], when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction. But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me” (Joseph Smith—History 1:15–16).
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of [seek] God” (Joseph Smith—History 1:11).
Abraham “sought for the blessings of the fathers.” He “sought for [his] appointment unto the Priesthood” (Abraham 1:2, 4).
“After the Lord had withdrawn from speaking to me, and withdrawn his face from me, I said in my heart: Thy servant has sought thee earnestly; now I have found thee” (Abraham 2:12).
“If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things” (Articles of Faith 1:13).
SOULS OF PLANTS AND ANIMALS
“Out of the ground made I, the Lord God, to grow every tree, naturally, that is pleasant to the sight of man; and man could behold it. And it became also a living soul” (Moses 3:9).
“Out of the ground I, the Lord God, formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air . . . and they were also living souls; for I, God, breathed into them the breath of life” (Moses 3:19).
“Adam and Eve . . . made all things known unto their sons and their daughters” (Moses 5:12).
“By [the books] their children were taught to read and write, having a language which was pure and undefiled” (Moses 6:6).
“Seth . . . begat Enos, and prophesied . . . and taught his son Enos in the ways of God; wherefore Enos prophesied also” (Moses 6:13).
“Jared taught Enoch in all the ways of God” (Moses 6:21).
“They were preachers of righteousness . . . and faith was taught unto the children of men” (Moses 6:23).
“Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God” (Moses 6:57).
“Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children” (Moses 6:58).
“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” (Moses 5:11).
“And he also said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized . . . ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Moses 6:52).
“We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression” (Articles of Faith 1:2).
“God had prepared them [seer stones] for the purpose of translating the book” (Joseph Smith—History 1:35).
“We still continued the work of translation of the plates” (Joseph Smith—History 1:68).
When Enoch saw God weep, he was puzzled and asked two questions: “How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains? And How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?” (Moses 7:28–29).
The God of heaven answered: “Among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren. But behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of mine hands; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer” (Moses 7:36–37).
Words are God’s tools. By the use of words, worlds without number are continuing to be created. “There are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power” (Moses 1:35). “My words . . . never cease” (Moses 1:4) “Although, the days will come, that heaven and earth shall pass away; yet my words shall not pass away, but all shall be fulfilled” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:35).
Particles of dust and great whales obey His words for His “words cannot return void, for as they go forth out of my mouth they must be fulfilled" (Moses 4:30). “This . . . I did by the word of my power, and it was done as I spake” (Moses 2:5). “All things were . . . created and made according to my word” (Moses 3:7). “There is no end to my works, neither to my words” (Moses 1:38).
Under God’s authority and approval and with great personal faith, prophets likewise use words. “And so great was the faith of Enoch that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him” (Moses 7:13).
God gives this power of language to His prophets to teach. “And the Lord said unto me: Abraham, I show these things unto thee before ye go into Egypt, that ye may declare all these words” (Abraham 3:15).
Oliver Cowdery’s effusive use of words portrays the power of God’s spoken words: “I shall not attempt to paint to you the feelings of this heart, nor the majestic beauty and glory which surrounded us on this occasion; but you will believe me when I say, that earth, nor men, with the eloquence of time, cannot begin to clothe language in as interesting and sublime a manner as this holy personage. No; nor has this earth power to give the joy, to bestow the peace, or comprehend the wisdom which was contained in each sentence as they were delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Joseph Smith—History note).
The word word also means scripture. “Whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37). “Enjoy the words of eternal life in this world” (Moses 6:59). “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God” (Articles of Faith 1:8).
“My works are without end . . . for they never cease” (Moses 1:4).
“There is no end to my works, neither to my words. . . . This is my work and my glory” (Moses 1:38–39).
“I, God, ended my work, and all things which I had made; and I rested . . . from all my work” (Moses 3:2).
“Thus I Abraham, talked with the Lord . . . and he told me of the works which his hands had made” (Abraham 3:11).
“The Gods concluded . . . they would rest from all their works which they counseled among themselves to form . . . the heavens and the earth” (Abraham 5:3).
“I have a work for thee, Moses” (Moses 1:6).
Moroni “called me by name, and said . . . he was a messenger sent from the presence of God . . . that God had a work for me to do” (Joseph Smith—History 1:33).
WORKMANSHIP OF MINE HANDS
“I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands” (Moses 1:4).
“Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands” Moses (7:32).
URIM AND THUMMIM
“And I, Abraham, had the Urim and Thummim, which the Lord my God had given unto me, in Ur of the Chaldees” (Abraham 3:1).
“There were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim” (Joseph Smith—History 1:35).
“Now, this priest had offered upon this altar three virgins at one time . . . because of their virtue” (Abraham 1:11).
“We believe in being . . . virtuous” (Articles of Faith 1:13).
The word Zion appears 97 times in the Old Testament, once in the New Testament, 24 times in the Book of Mormon, 62 times in the Doctrine and Covenants, 18 times in the Pearl of Great Price. In the Pearl of Great Price, Saints led by Enoch— their latter-day prophet—received visits, instructions, and ordinances from Jesus Christ. Under His tutelage, Enoch’s people grew in righteousness as a community and lived worthily enough to be translated.
This did not happen overnight. The scripture says: “Zion, in process of time, was taken up into heaven” (Moses 7:21). “In process of time” is quite an understatement. For Zion to merit translation took “generation upon generation” (Moses 7:24). The process began when Enoch received the priesthood at age twenty-five. (Adam ordained him.) The next step happened at age sixty-five, when Enoch received his calling to be the prophet. The City of Zion was translated 365 year later, which is more than 133,225 days of preaching, teaching, learning, preparing, yielding to the Lord’s will, and being tutored by Him. “And all the days of Zion, in the days of Enoch, were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion; and it came to pass that Zion was not, for God received it up into his own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, Zion is Fled” (Moses 7:68–69). No, it did not happen quickly.
“Zion is fled,” probably describes exactly what happened. I believe all the people, plants, animals, buildings, furnishings—the entire city—defied all known laws of physics and were lift up from earth, not person by person or brick by brick, but all as a unit in one grand evidence of God’s wondrous power. Importantly, this City of Holiness still exists and continues in righteousness today. And, equally important, another City of Zion will be built—maybe not today or tomorrow—but the prophecy is sure: “Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent” (Article of Faith 1:10).
The book of Moses provides a definition and a list of qualifications to become a Zion city: “The Lord called his people ZION because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them” (Moses 7:18). Enoch and his people achieved and sustained this level of righteousness because the three necessary components: a prophet; a unified, obedient, willing, and hardworking people; and the Lord’s personal involvement. “Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion” (Moses 7:69).
Another society, found in the Book of Mormon, provides a glimpse into the workings of a city of Zion. After the visit of Jesus Christ to the Nephites, the people lived in a Zion-type society for more than two hundred years. The specifics listed in 4 Nephi parallel that of Enoch and his people: “all converted,” “continued peace,” “all things common,” “great and marvelous works,” “prosper[ed] . . . exceedingly,” “fair and delightsome people,” “the love of God . . . in the hearts of the people,” “no contention, no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness, no robbers,” continued “in fasting and prayer,” met “together oft both to pray and to hear the word of the Lord” (4 Nephi 1:2–18). Like Enoch’s Zion, the Nephites enjoyed “naught but peace, justice, and truth” (Moses 7:31).
Yet as good as these Nephites became, they did not achieve translation. How close they came is speculation. If it takes 365 years to prepare to be translated, the Nephites got only halfway. At about the two-hundred-year mark, contention and pride reentered the hearts of some of the people, and the downward spiral began. The Nephites were vulnerable and yielded to the promptings of the devil, while the people of Enoch were humble and yielded to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Enoch saw: “The power of Satan was upon all the face of the earth . . . and he had a great chain in his hand, and it veiled the whole face of the earth with darkness; and he looked up and laughed, and his angels rejoiced” (Moses 7:24, 26).
Alma, the Book of Mormon prophet, also spoke of Satan’s chains: “I say unto you . . . this was a snare of the adversary, which he has laid to catch this people, that he might bring you into subjection unto him, that he might encircle you about with his chains, that he might chain you down to everlasting destruction, according to the power of his captivity” (Alma 12:6). Moses summed up the decline of the posterity of Adam and Eve “And in those days Satan had great dominion among men, and raged in their hearts; and from thenceforth came wars and bloodshed; and a man’s hand was against his own brother, in administering death, because of secret works, seeking for power” (Moses 6:15). Those days are the same as these days. Satan has great dominion among men and rages in their hearts with the same result: wars, bloodshed, murder, secret works, lust for power.
The elevating principles of Zion bless individuals, families, and communities with power over “the enemy of all righteousness” (Moroni 9:6), as Moroni labeled Satan. This power has a name. It is called obedience, and it is the pathway to purity. Obedience is the power not only to live without succumbing to temptation but also to increase in learning, wisdom, and virtue. The Lord helps and provides a way. He said:
As I live, even so will I come in the last days [of] great tribulations . . . [when] the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth; and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve. . . . And righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem. (Moses 7:60–62; italics added)
Enoch’s obedient city is not merely an example from ancient history. This translated city has a role in the future. The Lord prophesied of a reunion between the people in Enoch’s city and the inhabitants of New Jerusalem, the coming Zion city. Enoch and his people are planning and preparing for it, and every prophet since Enoch has been performing his labors to prepare a people for it.
Enoch described the emotions the inhabitance of former-day Zion and latter-day Zion will experience at their reunion: “And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other” (Moses 7:63).
The Lord said: “The days will come, that heaven and earth shall pass away; yet my words shall not pass away, but all shall be fulfilled” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:35). The establishment of Zion as a concept was first taught to Joseph Smith in 1829, even before the Church was organized: “Seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion” (D&C 6:6). More specifics were forthcoming about how-to establish Zion: “For I have consecrated the land of Kirtland . . . for a stake to Zion. For Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments” (D&C 82:13–14). The proliferation of stakes throughout the world extends the boundaries of Zion and conforms to the “tent” image described in Isaiah 54: “Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes” (2). The stakes of Zion support the Church as a tent held up by stakes. Zion grows stake by stake: “Appoint unto Zion other stakes besides this one” (D&C 109:59.). The creation of every new stake is a step closer to Zion, the city of our God. Statistically, in 2015 stake growth was a net of plus sixty, and 2016 showed the highest number of stakes created in the history of the Church.
There is another evidence that Zion has not been forgotten or discarded. In 2002, the Winter Olympics were held in Salt Lake City, Utah. To celebrate, the Church prepared a musical extravaganza, “The Light of the World: A Celebration of Life,” and presented it in the newly dedicated Conference Center. (The Conference Center seats about 21,000.) The show played fourteen times to more than 290,000 people. The domed stage gave the audience a theatrical view of the earth. Through story and song, the plan of salvation was unfolded, beginning with the Creation and ending with a look forward. The evening concluded as the Tabernacle Choir, all 350 of them, walked from the back of the stage up over the crest of the earth toward the audience, singing: “Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise” (Hymns, no. 41) This hymn is about the reunion of the two Zions. Odds of this hymn being randomly chosen would be 1 in 341, the number of hymns in the hymnal. But I don’t believe the choice was accidental. Rather the choice shows that the long-hoped-for establishment of Zion is yet prominent in the minds of today’s apostles and prophets, and that the momentum toward Zion is moving forward and on course.
Let Zion in her beauty rise;
Her light begins to shine.
Ere long her King will rend the skies,
Majestic and divine,
The gospel spreading thru the land,
A people to prepare
To meet the Lord and Enoch's band
Triumphant in the air.
(Other hymns about Zion dot our hymnal such as: Israel, Israel, God is Calling, [no. 7]—“Come to Zion, come to Zion. Zion’s walls shall ring with praise”; “Beautiful Zion, Built Above” [no. 44]—“Beautiful Zion, City of our God”; “Come All Ye Saints of Zion” [no. 38]—“Then gather up for Zion, ye Saints thruout the land, and clear the way before you, as God shall give command”; “As Sisters in Zion” [no. 309]—“As Sisters in Zion we’ll all work together. . . . We’ll build up his kingdom with earnest endeavor”; “O Saints of Zion” [no. 39]—“Behold, the glory of the Lord sets Zion's mount aglow, for Zion is an ensign pure; all nations to her flow”; and a summarizing definition is stated in “We Will Sing of Zion” [no. 47], “Zion is the pure in heart.”)
With the personal hope of trying to help establish Zion, I bring this word-study of the Pearl of Great Price to a close. I submit that one of the key purposes—if not the purpose of the Pearl of Great Price—is to prepare a people to bring again Zion. This conclusion comes from the timing of the coming forth of Enoch’s record which coincided with the restoration of the priesthood and priesthood keys, the translation and publication of the Book of Mormon, the organization of the Church, and the organizational revelations establishing stakes of Zion as the pattern for the whole earth.
Becoming an Enoch-like people to help “Zion in her beauty rise” defines the latter-day work to which members of the Church have covenanted. Enoch’s leadership set the example. Citizens of Enoch’s City of Holiness set the standard. When the Lord’s time is right, a people will be ready—one in heart, one in mind, dwelling in righteousness, sharing with and elevating each other to create a city where there are no poor (see Moses 7:18.) The Lord said He is looking forward to making this place His home. “And there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion” (Moses 7:64).
(c) Marilynne Todd Linford, 2017