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Doctrine & Covenants 76 https: //www. lds. org/languages/eng/content/history/topics/thevision-dc-76 Philo Dibble observed that “Joseph wore black clothes, but at this time seemed to be dressed in an element of glorious white, and his face shone as if it were transparent, but I did not see the same glory attending Sidney. Joseph appeared as strong as a lion, but Sidney seemed as weak as water, and Joseph, noticing his condition smiled and said, ‘Brother Sidney is not as used to it as I am” (Philo Dibble’s Narrative, 81).
“Nothing could be more pleasing to the saints upon the order of the kingdom of the Lord, than the light which burst upon the world through the foregoing vision. Every law, every commandment, every promise, every truth, and every point touching the destiny of man, from Genesis to Revelation, where the purity of the scriptures remain unsullied by the folly of men, go to show the perfection of theory (of different degrees of glory in the future life) and witnesses the fact that the document is a transcript from the records of the eternal world. The sublimity of the ideas; the purity of the language; the scope for action; the continued duration for completion, in order that the heirs of salvation may confess the Lord and bow the knee; the rewards of faithfulness, and the punishments for sins, are so much beyond the narrow-mindedness of men, that every honest man is constrained to exclaim: “It came from God” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 1: 252 -53).
Initially, the revelation was not as well received by the Saints as would be supposed. Brigham Young explained, “When God revealed to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon that there was a place prepared for all, according to the light they had received and their rejection of evil and practice of good, it was a great trial to many, and some apostatized because God was not going to send to everlasting punishment heathens and infants, but had a place of salvation, in due time, for all and would bless the honest and virtuous and truthful, whether they ever belonged to any church or not” (Journal of Discourses, 16: 42).
The Prophet’s poetic response is perhaps the most authoritative and helpful commentary we have on this revelation. It is 78 verses and titled “A Vision, ” written in February 1843. It was the Prophet’s response to a poem written by W. W. Phelps. An interesting verse from “A Vision” is the following: From the council in Kolob, to time on the earth. And for ages to come unto them I will show My pleasure & will, what my kingdom will do: Eternity’s wonders they truly shall know (Times and Seasons, 4: 82).
From this it would appear that the Grand Council in Heaven took place on Kolob, which we learn from the Book of Abraham is the planet nearest to the throne of God (Abraham 3: 3; Facsimile 2, Explanation, figure 1). This stanza may suggest that Kolob was our place of residence during our pre-mortal estate.
“The Vision” How? Where? Translating the Bible, John 5: 29 Johnson Home, Hiram Ohio “Section 76 of the D&C in it sublimity and clearness in relation to the eternal destiny of the human family, has not been surpassed. It should be treasured by all members of the Church as a priceless heritage. It should strengthen their faith and be to them an incentive to seek the exaltation promised to all who are just and true. So plain and simple are its teachings that none should stumble or misunderstand” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. Salt Lake City: The Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1953, 2: 50).
Joseph wrote that he could explain a hundred fold more than I ever have of the glories of the kingdoms manifested to me in vision, were I permitted, and were the people prepared to receive them (History of the Church, 5: 402). Could you gaze into heaven 5 minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that was ever written on the subject (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 6: 50). The above quote was given by Joseph Smith at the funeral services of James Adams on October 9, 1843. It was about eleven years after section 76 was revealed (History of the Church, 6: 50).
The greatest revelation the Lord, Jesus Christ, has ever given to man, so far as record is made, was given to the Prophet Joseph Smith on the 16 th of February, 1832, known as the 76 th section of the book of Doctrine and Covenants, commonly called for years and still known as “the Vision. ” I say, this to my mind is the climax of all wonderful revelations that have come from the Lord from the days of Father Adam until the present moment (Melvin J. Ballard, Three Degrees of Glory, 3).
the Philo Dibble mentioned that he was there with others, (perhaps the 12) they felt power but did not see the vision.
Interesting Sequence: The Son of God, Satan and his followers, Celestial Kingdom, Terrestrial Kingdom, Telestial Kingdom, Light v. 1 -24 v. 25 -49 v. 50 -70, 92 -96 v. 71 -80, 91, 97 v. 81 -90, 98 -112 – darkness – Choose Ye this Day! We have much to lose! light!
Interesting facts about the revelation: Tarred and feathered on March 24 th, 1832 just a month after receiving it. When it was first given, the elders were forbidden to talk about it! It blew away Brigham Young and others doctrinally! Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were told what to write and what not to write. It is the only place in the standard works where this information is taught Joseph wrote a poem called “A Vision” (1843, 78 verses long).
Classroom discussions of this vision often focus on the degrees of glory, perdition, and the attendant requirements for each. However, the highlight of the section is a vision of the Father and the Son, the premortal life, and Lucifer’s fall. The vision of the two supreme members of the Godhead was rich and glorious.
Doctrine & Covenants 76: 1 “O ye heavens” Genesis 28: 10 -19 “Jacob’s Ladder” I Corinthians 15: 40 -42 “Celestial, Terrestrial” 2 Corinthians 12: 2 “Third heaven” John 14: 2 “Many Mansions”
Doctrine & Covenants 76: 22 -23 “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him. ” And now as pertaining to this perfect atonement, wrought by the shedding of the blood of God --- I testify that it took place in Gethsemane and at Golgotha, and as pertaining to Jesus Christ, I testify that he is the Son of the Living God and was crucified for the sins of the world. He is our Lord, our God, and our King. This I know of myself independent of any other person.
I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears. But I shall not know any better then than I know that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way (Bruce R. Mc. Conkie, Conference Report, Apr. 6 th 1985). (Elder Bruce R. Mc. Conkie died 13 days later on April 19 th, 1985).
When we say, “He lives, ” we mean all that glorious truth implies. The theophany at Palmyra, for instance, was a deeply profound statement, not solely an affirmation to that youthful audience of one, but to all mankind (Neal A. Maxwell, Even As I Am, 8 -9).
Doctrine & Covenants 76: 24 “Creator of Worlds Without Number” Elder Bruce R. Mc. Conkie has written: “Now our Lord’s jurisdiction and power extend far beyond the limits of this one small earth on which we dwell. He is, under the Father, the creator of worlds without number (Moses 1: 33). And through the power of his atonement the inhabitants of these worlds, the revelation says, ‘are begotten sons and daughters unto God, ’ which means that the atonement of Christ, being literally and truly infinite, applies to an infinite number of earth” (Mormon Doctrine, 65).
Doctrine & Covenants 76: 26 “Perdition” Perdition means “utter loss or destruction. ” “Lucifer” means “light bearer” or “shining one” or “early-born spirit” “Child of our Father” (Joseph Smith, Teachings, 161).
Doctrine & Covenants 76: 29 He maketh war with the saints of God, and encompasseth them round about. “On November 1, 1857, Elder George Albert Smith delivered a memorable discourse, which included this old Chinese fable: “A man traveling through the country came to a large city, very rich and splendid; he looked at it and said to his guide, ‘This must be a very righteous people, for I can only see but one little devil in this great city. The guide replied, ‘You do not understand, sir. This city is so perfectly given up to wickedness that it requires but one devil to keep them all in subjection.
Traveling on a little farther, he came to a rugged path and saw an old man trying to get up the hill side, surrounded by seven great, big, coarse-looking devils. ‘Why, ’ says the traveler, ‘this must be a tremendously wicked old man! See how many devils there around him!’ ‘This, ’ replied the guide, ‘is the only righteous man in the country; and there are seven of the biggest devils trying to turn him out of his path, and they all cannot do it. ’ After relating the fable, Elder Smith added that ‘the devil has the world so perfectly at his disposal that it requires few devils to keep it in subjection and that the whole legion of devils has nothing to do but look after the Mormons and stir up the hearts of the children of men to destroy them --- to put them out of existence’” (Journal of Discourses, 5: 364).
Doctrine & Covenants 76: 31 “Sons of Perdition” They must deny the truth, having a sure knowledge of it, and then defy or war against it (v. 35). These unite themselves with the legions of the devil who warred against God and Christ in the councils of heaven. For such a sin there is no forgiveness in this world or the world to come (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 358). Receive the absolute knowledge of the divinity of Christ, and then deny “the new and everlasting covenant by which he was sanctified, calling it an unholy thing, and doing despite to the Spirit of grace” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 128).
He has got to say the sun does not shine while he sees it; he has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it; and from that time he begins to be an enemy. This is the case with many apostates of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When a man begins to be an enemy to this work, he hunts me, he seeks to kill me, and never ceases to thirst for my blood. He gets the spirit of the devil-the same spirit that they had who crucified the Lord of Life-the same spirit that sins against the Holy Ghost” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 358).
Doctrine & Covenants 76: 31 -35, 48 “Sons of Perdition” The sins unto death may be thought of as somewhat difficult to define and limit with precision. From the words of Joseph Smith quoted we note “…many apostates of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” will fall into this category. We cannot definitely identify them individually since it is impossible for us to know the extent of their knowledge, the depth of their enlightenment, and the sureness of their testimonies before their fall…
The sin against the Holy Ghost requires such knowledge that it is manifestly impossible for the rank and file to commit such a sin. Comparatively few Church members will commit murder wherein they shed innocent blood, and we hope only few will deny the Holy Ghost (President Spencer W. Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, 122 -23).
Doctrine & Covenants 76: 31 “Five things that qualify one to be a S. O. P. ” 1. “Know my Power” 2. “Be made partakers thereof” 3. “Overcome by the devil” 4. “Deny the truth” 5. “Defy my power” Joseph Smith taught that an individual cannot become a son of perdition in the Spirit World (Teachings, 357).
Joseph Smith wrote: (Doctrine & Covenants 76: 48) Say to the brothers Hulet and to all others, that the Lord never authorized them to say that the devil, his angels, or the sons of perdition, should ever be restored; for their state of destiny was not revealed to man, is not revealed, nor ever shall be revealed, save to those who are made partakers thereof: consequently those who teach this doctrine have not received it of the Spirit of the Lord… We, therefore, command this doctrine be taught no more in Zion (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 24).
Doctrine & Covenants 76: 53 “Sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise” “All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations” that we desire to have in a future world must be approved by the Holy Ghost (Doctrine & Covenants 132: 7).
Doctrine & Covenants 76: 54 “Church of the Firstborn” The inner circle of faithful saints who are heirs of exaltation and the fullness of the Father’s kingdom (Bruce R. Mc. Conkie, Mormon Doctrine, 139). Doctrine & Covenants 76: 63 “When Christ Returns” He will bring with him all who have lived upon the earth who are worthy of celestial glory (Joseph Smith-Matthew 1: 1).
Doctrine & Covenants 76: 67 “An Innumerable Company of Angels” It is a false notion, one not worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ, that only a few of God’s children will be saved in the Kingdom of God. In his vision of the dead, President Joseph F. Smith saw an “innumerable company of the spirits of the just, who had been faithful in the testimony of Jesus while they lived in mortality” (Doctrine & Covenants 138: 12). John 14: 2 was not suggesting that there were various degrees of glory, at that moment he was speaking to the twelve. He was giving them the assurance that there was room for them and as many has would believe on their word in his Father’s kingdom.
Doctrine & Covenants 76: 75 “Honorable men of the Earth” Yes, to Caesar we owe taxes. But to God, in whose image we are minted, we ourselves (Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, Nov. 1988, 31). Church members who are not fully consecrated are the essentially “honorable” members who are skimming over the surface instead of deepening their discipleship and who are casually engaged rather than “anxiously engaged. ” Though nominal in their participation, their reservations and hesitations inevitably show through. They may even pass through our holy temples but, alas, they do not let the holy temples pass through them (Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, Nov. 1992, 65).
Doctrine & Covenants 76: 79 “Not Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus Christ” This is a gospel of individual work. I wish our Latter-day Saints would become more valiant. As I read the seventy-sixth section of the D&C, the great vision given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, I remember that the Lord says to that terrestrial degree of glory may go those who are not valiant in the testimony, which means that many of us who have received baptism by proper authority, many who have received other ordinances, even temple blessings, will not reach the celestial kingdom of glory unless we live the commandments and are valiant.
What is Being Valiant? . . . There are many people in this Church today who think they live, but they are dead to the spiritual things. And I believe even many who are making the pretenses of being active are also spiritually dead. Their service is much of the letter and less of the spirit (Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, Apr. 1951, 104 -05).
Can’t one rest a little while longer before starting a quiet new campaign of selfimprovement? No, because being “valiant” in our testimony of Jesus includes precious few recesses and no vacations! The school day in the mortal classroom is so very brief at best (Neal A. Maxwell, Lord Increase Our Faith, 116).
Some Church members are “honorable” but not “valiant. ” They are not really aware of the gap nor of the importance of closing it. These “honorable” individuals are certainly not miserable or wicked, nor are they unrighteous and unhappy. It is not what they have done, but what they have left undone that is amiss. For example, if valiant, they could touch others deeply instead of merely being remembered pleasantly (Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, Nov. 1955, 22).
Doctrine & Covenants 76: 89 “Surpasses all Understanding” Regarding “surpassing all understanding. ” A rather common notion in connection with this verse is that Joseph Smith had taught that if we knew what the Telestial Kingdom was like, we would commit suicide to get there. What the Prophet said was not in reference to the Telestial Kingdom, but to life “behind the veil, ” which may mean a number of things. The Prophet’s statement, (Charles Walker quoting Wilford Woodruff quoting Joseph Smith as follows):
Brother Woodruff spoke… He referred to a saying of Joseph Smith which he heard him utter (like this). That if the people knew what was behind the veil, they would try by every means to commit suicide that they might get there, but the Lord in his wisdom had implanted the fear of death in every person that they might cling to life and thus accomplish the designs of their creator (Diary of Charles Lowell Walker, ed. By A. Karl Larson).
Doctrine & Covenants 76: 94 -95 “Celestial Kingdom” What did Jesus do? Why; I do the things I saw my Father do when worlds came rolling into existence. My Father worked out his kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom, I shall present it to my Father, so that he may obtain kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt him in glory. He will then take a higher exaltation, and I will take his place, and thereby become exalted myself. So that Jesus treads in the tracks of his Father, and inherits what God did before; and God is thus glorified and exalted in the salvation and exaltation of all his children” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 347 -48).
Doctrine & Covenants 76: 109 “Telestial”-“Innumerable as the Stars” “Most of the adult people who have lived from the day of Adam to the present time will go to the Telestial Kingdom. The inhabitants of this lower kingdom of glory will be ‘as innumerable as the stars in the firmament of heaven, or as the sand upon the seashore” (Bruce R. Mc. Conkie, Mormon Doctrine, 778).
Doctrine & Covenants 76: 115 “Don’t write” He commanded that they should not write!
WE DON’T’ HAVE TO BE PERFECT RIGHT NOW!! Bruce R. Mc. Conkie “I’d like to append to them the fact and this is a true gospel verity that everyone in the Church who is on the straight and narrow path, who is striving and struggling and desiring to do what is right, though is far from perfect in this life; if he passes out of this life while he’s on the straight and narrow, he’s going to go on to eternal reward in his Father’s kingdom. ”
“We don’t need to get a complex or get a feeling that you have to be perfect to be saved. You don’t. There’s only been one perfect person, and that’s the Lord Jesus, but in order to be saved in the Kingdom of God and in order to pass the test of mortality, what you have to do is get on the straight and narrow path-thus charting a course leading to eternal life-then, being on that path, pass out of this life in full fellowship. I’m not saying that you don’t have to keep the commandments. I’m saying you don’t have to be perfect to be saved. If you did, no one would be saved. The way it operates is this: you get on the path that’s named the “straight and narrow. ” You do it by entering the gate of repentance and baptism. The straight and narrow path leads from the gate of repentance and baptism, a very great distance, to a reward that’s called eternal life.
If you’re on that path and pressing forward, and you die, you’ll never get off the path. There is no such thing as falling off the straight and narrow path in the life to come, and the reason is that this life is the time that is given to men to prepare for eternity. Now is the time and the day of your salvation, so if you’re working zealously in this life-though you haven’t fully overcome the world and you haven’t done all your hoped you might do-you’re still going to be saved. You don’t have to do what Jacob said, “Go beyond the mark. ” You don’t have to live a life that’s truer than true. You don’t have to have excessive zeal that becomes fanatical and becomes unbalancing.
What you have to do is stay in the mainstream of the Church and live as upright and decent people live in the Church-keeping the commandments, paying your tithing, serving in the organizations of the Church, loving the Lord, staying on the straight and narrow path. If you’re on that path when death comes-because this is the time and the day appointed, this the probationary estate-you’ll never fall off from it, and, for all practical purposes, your calling and election is made sure” (“The Probationary Test of Mortality, ” Address given at University of Utah, Jan. 10, 1982, 11).
Three Degrees of Glory Celestial Kingdom Conditions Determining As a minimum requirement, all those inheriting this kingdom will have --- 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Received the testimony of Jesus Received baptism Received the Holy Ghost Kept the commandments Overcome by faith Been sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise (v. 51) (v. 52) (v. 53) (v. 51)