Today’s Oldy but Goodie was inspired by the following email exchange that I had with a reader of my blog.
I was reading this verse this evening and a very interesting part of it popped out at me.
18 I might have rendered a plainer translation to this, but it is sufficiently plain to suit my purpose as it stands. It is sufficient to know, in this case, that the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other—and behold what is that subject? It is the baptism for the dead. For
It is the baptism for the dead. For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect. Neither can they nor we be made perfect without those who have died in the gospel also; for it is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulness of times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time. And not only this, but those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept
And not only this, but those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times.
There are three groups being talked about here.
They – our departed ancestors
We – us of course
Those who died in the gospel – who?
The interesting thing about the above passage of scripture that was taken from a letter Joseph wrote from the Nauvoo era, is that it is based on the foundational passage in Hebrews 11:40. Joseph completely changes the meaning of Hebrews 11:40 in the Inspired Version. go figure!
JST Hebrews 11:40 God having provided some better things for them through their sufferings, for without sufferings they could not be made perfect.
KJV Hebrews 11:40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
One of the very few disagreements that I have with the JST is that it alters and deletes part of the original narrative in the above passage because the original narrative rings true to me.
Not only did Joseph Smith paraphrase the missing part of the JST passage in section 128, he also quoted it in several discourses.
My guess is that Joseph and Sidney, when making their inspired changes in the NT, meant to add the truth about the fact that that our ancient fathers needed to experience sufferings, but did not intend to delete the revelatory aspect of the passage that states that the patriarchal fathers cannot be saved without their posterity and vice versa.
I agree with the addition that was made but I do not agree with the deletion that was made.
Our patriarchal fathers cannot be saved without their repentant offspring and we cannot be saved without our patriarchal fathers.
I believe it was understood and agreed to in the pre-existence that the fathers who came during OT times could not be saved without their posterity that was to come in the end times. The gospel of Jesus Christ is an all or nothing proposition, it either saves the entire family of God or none of them…. everyone must have the opportunity to hear and accept the gospel and be united in the welding link provided by the gospel. In order for us to be saved, the gospel keys from the Fathers had to be restored to us from them. In order for them to ultimately be saved, we need to use those gospel keys to redeem Zion so that Zion from below can meet Zion from above.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is an all or nothing proposition, it either saves the entire repentant family of God or none of them…. everyone must have the opportunity to hear and accept the gospel and be united in the welding link provided by the gospel. In order for us to be saved, the gospel keys from the fathers need to be passed down to the children and we need to gather the rest of the family and redeem Zion with them.
The difficult thing about the Nauvoo era is that even though Joseph began teaching some heretical doctrines during that period, he also had some revelatory lucid moments as well. Hence the need for personal revelatory discernment and a holistic view of the scriptures when listening to prophets teach doctrine. It is always the Holy Ghost that must direct us in our learning, not the prophet who claims to be acting as the Lord’s
It is always the Holy Ghost that must direct us in our learning, not the prophet who has the commission to be acting as the Lord’s mouthpiece.
One of the most insidious beliefs of modern Mormonism is that a prophet is always a prophet and cannot ever teach a false doctrine…. This is because a prophet can fall and teach false doctrine, or in the case of Joseph Smith, he can temporarily have his eyes covered as a result of his intercessory offering. God uses true prophets to test the saints. to see if they will follow the discernment given by the Holy Ghost and believe his holy word in scripture or the word of a mortal.
In my opinion, the above passage in Hebrews 11:40 is true just as it stands in the KJV, but it is not referring to the corrupt practices that took place in Nauvoo of sealing men to men and other peoples wives to certain men.
It is simply referring to the fact that the gospel of Christ gathers the BODY of CHRIST back into one big family and makes them all equal and binds them together through the gospel covenant of Baptism, and consecration, ( consecration is simply an extension of the baptismal covenant.)… the saints are ONE in Christ. That is the welding link of the gospel.
Hebrews 11:40 and the above passage introduce the concept of “group salvation” and the fact that everybody must be united together through the sealing powers of the gospel.
In addition to the above passage, Section 110 also testifies of the veracity of Hebrews 11:40. It not only reiterates the revelatory narrative being presented in Hebrews 11:40, it is a partial fulfillment of it. Our FATHERS Abraham, Moses and Elijah returned from the dead as ministering angels to restore certain keys pertaining to the gospel so that in the latter days their posterity can have the knowledge of the gospel and be gathered into the gospel net and eventually be reunited with their ancient fathers.
14 Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—
15 To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—
16 Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.
The second part of the fulfillment of the above passage will take place when Joseph and his associates return to restore the missing keys of the gospel and saving ordinances that we need to have in order to be saved. At that time the remainder will be gathered and Zion from below will be prepared to meet Zion from above.
In my opinion, the breakdown you asked about is is as follows
They – Our patriarchal fathers who hold gospel keys from previous dispensations
We – us of course
Those who died in the gospel – Everyone from Old Testament and New Testament and Book of Mormon eras who had accepted the gospel and been valiant in it, as well as any others who still accept the gospel.
The $64 dollar question he asks in a follow-up email is as follows
It never dawned on me that the sealing as we know it today was never a part of this welding link, only baptisms for the dead. Where and when did that become an LDS doctrine?
The question he asked was addressed in the following post that I wrote in 2009-
BTW for those that prefer listening, here is the youtube version by Mrs W.
Previous Oldies but Goodies
“Seven Seals and a Paradisaical Millennium” Part Four
Be Ye Therefore Perfect.. right now Part Two
The Succession Crisis Part One