The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

Exaltation will not be rare among faithful Latter-Day Saints.  The following is taken from Within Reach by Robert C. Millett (1995, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City).  For those who never experienced Elder Bruce R. McConkie, he was regarded by many, including his fellow Apostles, as a pre-eminent authority on Gospel Doctrine.  He was not one to minimize sin or gloss over shortcomings and was very capable at calling the errant to repentance, but he was profoundly optimistic about the ability of Christ’s Atonement to exalt His humble followers.

In the fall of 1976 I gathered with about four or five hundred other teachers from the Church Educational System for an evening with Elder Bruce R. McConkie. We met in a chapel at the institute of religion adjacent to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Because of our admiration and respect for his gospel scholarship, as well as the meaningful occasions we had enjoyed with him before, we came to the meeting prepared to be filled. We were not disappointed. He spoke for about half an hour on the implications of the recent reorganization of the First Quorum of the Seventy. He spoke of priesthood, keys, and succession. At that point, without warning, he invited questions from the group. Some of the questions related to our seminary course of study for the year, while others were about doctrinal matters in general. One question and the answer that followed changed my life; they affected the way I thereafter understood God, the plan of salvation, and how the gospel should be taught.

A young seminary teacher in the back of the chapel asked, in essence, “Elder McConkie, as you know, we are studying the New Testament in seminary this year. How do we keep our students from being discouraged (and how do we avoid discouragement ourselves) when we read in the scriptures that strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life and few there be that find it?” I will never forget the way the answer came. Elder McConkie stood there at the pulpit and said, “You tell your students that far more of our Father’s children will be exalted than we think!”

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April 24, 2017

Eternal Life, Exaltation, General Authorities, Kimball

Comments Off on On Through the Eternities to Exaltation

The Lord restored his kingdom in these days, with all its gifts and powers and blessings. Any church that you know of may possibly be able to take you for a long ride, and bring you some degree of peace and happiness and blessing, and they can carry you to the veil and there they drop you. The Church of Jesus Christ picks you up on this side of the veil and, if you live its commandments, carries you right through the veil as though it weren’t there and on through the eternities to exaltation.

President Spencer W. Kimball
The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 49–50, quoted in Chapter 1: “To Live with Him Someday”, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, Salt Lake City, The Church of the Latter Day Saints, 2006

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August 2, 2016

C.S. Lewis, Eternal Life, Exaltation, General Authorities, Morrison, Nature of Christ, Perfection, Salvation

Comments Off on Christ is Going to Make Good His words

“The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He [Christ] is going to make us creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were ‘Gods’ and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him—for we can prevent Him, if we choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said”

C.S. Lewis

Mere Christianity, London: Fount Paperbacks, 1977, p. 172, quoted by Elder Alexander B. Morrison in “‘I Am the Resurrection and the Life’,” Ensign, Apr 1995, 36

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July 30, 2016

Eternal Life, Exaltation, Fundamental Principles, General Authorities, General Conference, McConkie, Plan of Salvation

Comments Off on No Uncertainty in Our Minds – The Full Assurance of Eternal Life

I shall speak of a subject which strikes dread—even terror—into the hearts of most men. It is something we fear, of which we are sorely afraid, and from which most of us would flee if we could.

I shall speak of the passing of the immortal soul into the eternal realms ahead, of that dread day when we shall shuffle off this mortal coil and go back to the dust from whence we came. I shall speak of death—mortal death, the natural death, the death of the body—and of the state of the souls of men when this final consummation is imposed upon them.
. . . .
If we are to place death in its proper perspective in the eternal scheme of things, we must first learn the purposes of life. We must know whence we came, Whose we are, and why He placed us here. Only then can we envision whither we shall yet go in the providences of Him who made us.

We know, because the Lord has revealed it in this our day, that we are the spirit children of an exalted, glorified Being, a Holy Man who has a body of flesh and bones and who is our Father in heaven.

We know that the name of the kind of life He lives is eternal life and that it consists of living in the family unit and of possessing all power, all might, and all dominion.

We know that He ordained and established the plan of salvation to enable us to advance and progress from our spirit state, to the same state of glory, honor, and exaltation which He Himself possesses.

We know that the Father’s plan called for the creation of this earth, where we could dwell as mortals, receive bodies made of the dust of the earth, and undergo the tests and trials which now face us.

We know that this plan of salvation included provisions for the fall of man, with its consequent temporal and spiritual death; for a redemption from death through the atoning sacrifice of the Son of God; and for an inheritance of eternal life for all the obedient.

We know that this great plan of progression called for a birth which would provide a mortal tabernacle for our eternal spirits, and for a death which would free those spirits from the frailties, diseases, and weaknesses of mortality.

And may I say that this life never was intended to be easy. It is a probationary estate in which we are tested physically, mentally, morally, and spiritually. We are subject to disease and decay. We are attacked by cancer, leprosy, and contagious diseases. We suffer pain and sorrow and afflictions. Disasters strike; floods sweep away our homes; famines destroy our food; plagues and wars fill our graves with dead bodies and our broken homes with sorrow.

We are called upon to choose between the revealed word of God and the soul-destroying postulates of the theoretical sciences. Temptations, the lusts of the flesh, evils of every sort all these are part of the plan, and must be faced by every person privileged to undergo the experiences of mortality.

. . . .
“Ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ,” Nephi said to members of the Church, “having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” (2 Ne. 31:20.) That is to say—all the faithful Saints, all of those who have endured to the end, depart this life with the absolute guarantee of eternal life.

There is no equivocation, no doubt, no uncertainty in our minds. Those who have been true and faithful in this life will not fall by the wayside in the life to come. If they keep their covenants here and now and depart this life firm and true in the testimony of our blessed Lord, they shall come forth with an inheritance of eternal life.

We do not mean to say that those who die in the Lord, and who are true and faithful in this life, must be perfect in all things when they go into the next sphere of existence. There was only one perfect man—the Lord Jesus whose Father was God.

There have been many righteous souls who have attained relative degrees of perfection, and there have been great hosts of faithful people who have kept the faith, and lived the law, and departed this life with the full assurance of an eventual inheritance of eternal life.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie
The Dead Who Die in the Lord,” Ensign, Nov 1976, 106

(emphasis added in bold)

For another statement on this subject by Elder McConkie, see this previous post.

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May 23, 2016

Eternal Life, Exaltation, General Authorities, General Conference, Hope, Immortality, Kimball, Paul, Resurrection

Comments Off on Today is just a grain of sand in the Sahara of eternity

Today is just a grain of sand in the Sahara of eternity. We have also a hope in Christ for the eternity that lies ahead; otherwise, as Paul said, we would be “of all men most miserable” (1 Cor. 15:19).

How great would be our sorrow – and justly so – if there were no resurrection! How miserable we would be if there were no hope of life eternal! If our hope of salvation and eternal reward should fade away, we would certainly be more miserable than those who never had such an expectancy.

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. 15:20).

Now the effects of his resurrection shall pass upon all men, “for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22).

Now “as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Cor. 15:49).

Now provision has been made whereby “this corruptible shall … put on incorruption, and this mortal shall … put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:54).

. . . .

There is no victory in the grave, for death is replaced with life. Immortality is a free gift for all men through the atoning ransom paid by the Son of God.

But, Paul says, “The sting of death is sin,” meaning that if men die in their sins, they will suffer the prescribed penalty and gain a lesser glory in the realms ahead (1 Cor. 15:56).

“But thanks be to God,” the ancient apostle continues, “which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57).

. . . .

We have an eternal hope in Christ. We know this life is given us to prepare for eternity, “and that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy” (D&C 130:2).

We believe, and it is our testimony, and we proclaim it to the world “that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:17).

We know, and it is our testimony, and we also proclaim it to the world that to be saved men must “believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:18).

 

President Spencer W. Kimball
An Eternal Hope in Christ“, Ensign, Nov. 1978, 71

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November 2, 2015

Exaltation, General Authorities, General Conference, Gratitude, Holland, Salvation

Comments Off on You are Central to the Meaning of His Work. This is About You.

In whatever country you live, however young or inadequate you feel or however aged or limited you see yourself as being, I testify you are individually loved by God.

You are central to the meaning of His work and you are cherished and prayed for by the presiding officers of His Church.

The personal value, the sacred splendor of every one of you is the very reason there is a plan of salvation and exaltation.  Contrary to the parlance of the day, this is about you.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Saturday Morning Session, General Conference, October 2, 2010

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November 2, 2015

Discouragement, Exaltation, McConkie, Millett, Plan of Salvation

Comments Off on How Many Will Be Exalted?

Exaltation will not be rare among faithful Latter-Day Saints.  The following is taken from Within Reach by Robert C. Millett (1995, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City).  For those who never experienced Elder Bruce R. McConkie, he was regarded by many, including his fellow Apostles, as a pre-eminent authority on Gospel Doctrine.  He was not one to minimize sin or gloss over shortcomings and was very capable at calling the errant to repentance, but he was profoundly optimistic about the ability of Christ’s Atonement to exalt His humble followers.

In the fall of 1976 I gathered with about four or five hundred other teachers from the Church Educational System for an evening with Elder Bruce R. McConkie. We met in a chapel at the institute of religion adjacent to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Because of our admiration and respect for his gospel scholarship, as well as the meaningful occasions we had enjoyed with him before, we came to the meeting prepared to be filled. We were not disappointed. He spoke for about half an hour on the implications of the recent reorganization of the First Quorum of the Seventy. He spoke of priesthood, keys, and succession. At that point, without warning, he invited questions from the group. Some of the questions related to our seminary course of study for the year, while others were about doctrinal matters in general. One question and the answer that followed changed my life; they affected the way I thereafter understood God, the plan of salvation, and how the gospel should be taught.

A young seminary teacher in the back of the chapel asked, in essence, “Elder McConkie, as you know, we are studying the New Testament in seminary this year. How do we keep our students from being discouraged (and how do we avoid discouragement ourselves) when we read in the scriptures that strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life and few there be that find it?” I will never forget the way the answer came. Elder McConkie stood there at the pulpit and said, “You tell your students that far more of our Father’s children will be exalted than we think!”

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November 2, 2015

Exaltation, McConkie, Millett, Plan of Salvation, Salvation

Comments Off on Salvation and Exaltation

“Salvation consists in the glory, authority, majesty, power, and dominion which Jehovah possesses and in nothing else; and no being can possess it but himself or one like him.” (Lectures on Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985), 7:9) So taught Joseph Smith to the School of the Prophets in the winter of 1834-35. Both the Prophet of the Restoration and Paul the Apostle taught that Christ had gained salvation because he had put all enemies under his feet, the last enemy being death. It is just so with all men. (See Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976), pp. 297, 301, 305; 1 Cor. 15:25; Heb. 2:8)

Salvation is eternal life. It is life in the highest heaven, life among the Gods and the angels. The word salvation means exactly the same thing as eternal life, but simply lays stress upon one’s saved condition, his state being one of deliverance from death and sin through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Exaltation is another word with which we have come to identify the glories of the celestial kingdom; exaltation has the same meaning as eternal life; it has the same meaning as salvation. To be saved is to be exalted, the latter term simply laying stress upon the elevated and ennobled status of one who so qualifies to dwell with and be a part of the Church of the Firstborn, the Church of the Exalted. Elder Bruce R. McConkie has written:

We are ofttimes prone to create artificial distinctions, to say that salvation means one thing and exaltation another, to suppose that salvation means to be resurrected, but that exaltation or eternal life is something in addition thereto. It is true that there are some passages of scripture that use salvation in a special and limited sense in order to give an overall perspective of the plan of salvation that we would not otherwise have. (2 Ne. 9:1 – 27; D&C 76:40 – 49; 132:15-17.) These passages show the difference between general or universal salvation that consists in coming forth from the grave in immortality, and specific or individual salvation that consists of an inheritance in the celestial kingdom….

Since it is the prophetic purpose to lead men to full salvation in the highest heaven of the celestial world, when they speak and write about salvation, almost without exception, they mean eternal life or exaltation. They use the terms salvation, exaltation, and eternal life as synonyms, as words that mean exactly the same thing without any difference, distinction, or variance whatever. (Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978), p. 129; italics added; cf. p. 306; Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985), pp. 144-54.)
. . . .

Eternal marriage is the gate through which those intent upon eternal life must enter. “In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees,” Joseph Smith explained. “And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; And if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.” (D&C 131:1 – 4.) The Prophet also taught: “Except a man and his wife enter into an everlasting covenant and Be married for eternity, while in this probation, by the power and authority of the Holy Priesthood, they will cease to increase when they die; that is, they will not have any children after the resurrection. But those who are married by the power and authority of the priesthood in this life, and continue without committing the sin against the Holy Ghost, will continue to increase and have children in the celestial glory.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976), pp. 300-301; italics added.) The scriptures thus speak of one qualifying for the blessing of eternal lives (see D&C 132:22-25). To have eternal lives is to possess eternal life in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, to be worthy of salvation, and to be a candidate for exaltation. The phrase eternal lives simply lays stress upon the right of a worthy man and woman to enjoy “the continuation of the seeds,” the everlasting perpetuation of the family unit. (See Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), p. 238)

Robert L. Millet & Joseph Fielding McConkie
Life Beyond
Bookcraft (1986)

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November 2, 2015

Eternal Life, Exaltation, General Authorities, Kimball

Comments Off on On Through the Eternities to Exaltation

The Lord restored his kingdom in these days, with all its gifts and powers and blessings. Any church that you know of may possibly be able to take you for a long ride, and bring you some degree of peace and happiness and blessing, and they can carry you to the veil and there they drop you. The Church of Jesus Christ picks you up on this side of the veil and, if you live its commandments, carries you right through the veil as though it weren’t there and on through the eternities to exaltation.

 

President Spencer W. Kimball
The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 49–50, quoted in Chapter 1: “To Live with Him Someday”, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, Salt Lake City, The Church of the Latter Day Saints, 2006

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November 2, 2015

Eternal Life, Exaltation, General Authorities, General Conference, Hope, Immortality, Kimball, Paul, Resurrection

Comments Off on Today is just a grain of sand in the Sahara of eternity

Today is just a grain of sand in the Sahara of eternity. We have also a hope in Christ for the eternity that lies ahead; otherwise, as Paul said, we would be “of all men most miserable” (1 Cor. 15:19).

How great would be our sorrow – and justly so – if there were no resurrection! How miserable we would be if there were no hope of life eternal! If our hope of salvation and eternal reward should fade away, we would certainly be more miserable than those who never had such an expectancy.

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. 15:20).

Now the effects of his resurrection shall pass upon all men, “for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22).

Now “as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Cor. 15:49).

Now provision has been made whereby “this corruptible shall … put on incorruption, and this mortal shall … put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:54).

. . . .

There is no victory in the grave, for death is replaced with life. Immortality is a free gift for all men through the atoning ransom paid by the Son of God.

But, Paul says, “The sting of death is sin,” meaning that if men die in their sins, they will suffer the prescribed penalty and gain a lesser glory in the realms ahead (1 Cor. 15:56).

“But thanks be to God,” the ancient apostle continues, “which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57).

. . . .

We have an eternal hope in Christ. We know this life is given us to prepare for eternity, “and that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy” (D&C 130:2).

We believe, and it is our testimony, and we proclaim it to the world “that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:17).

We know, and it is our testimony, and we also proclaim it to the world that to be saved men must “believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:18).

President Spencer W. Kimball
An Eternal Hope in Christ“, Ensign, Nov. 1978, 71

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