Chapter 10: Our Search for Truth

Chapter 10: Our Search for Truth

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith, (2013), 139–50

During 2014, LDS members will be studying the latest manual published by their church, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith. We will evaluate this book regularly, chapter by chapter, by showing interesting quotes and providing an Evangelical Christian take on this manual. The text that is underlined is from the manual, with our comments following.


It is a requirement that is made of us, as members of this Church, to make ourselves familiar with that which the Lord has revealed, that we may not be led astray. … How are we going to walk in the truth if we do not know it?”

The last part of the quote is exactly right. Truth is vital! The question is, how do we find it?

Teachings of Joseph Fielding Smith

We should seek truth in many fields, but the most important knowledge is gospel knowledge.

We believe in education. As a people we have always sought learning in every field, and as a Church we have spent great sums and made considerable sacrifice to make education opportunities available to the Church members. And particularly in this day of scientific research and development. We think our young people should get as much education and technical training as in wisdom is necessary.

But we think this pursuit of worldly learning should be tempered with a like pursuit of spiritual understanding. It is more important, a thousand times over, to have a knowledge of God and his laws, so that we can do the things which bring salvation, than it is to have all the worldly knowledge that can be obtained.

On this point I certainly agree. Worldly knowledge is very important. I want all of my children to desire further education after high school. But all is for naught if biblical understanding of God’s ways is not pursued.

“Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).

Everyone should learn something new every day. You all have inquiring minds and are seeking truth in many fields. I sincerely hope your greatest search is in the realm of spiritual things, because it is there that we are able to gain salvation and make the progress that leads to eternal life in our Father’s kingdom.

The most important knowledge in the world is gospel knowledge. It is a knowledge of God and his laws, of those things that men must do to work out their salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord [see Philippians 2:12; Mormon 9:27].

Once more, I agree in principle. However, if you are a Latter-day Saint, I think it’s vital for you to know just what other people believe. This includes Evangelical Christians. For years, I taught high school students (juniors) about the Christian faith, with one-quarter of our year spent on the study of other religions, including world (Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, and Hinduism) and American (LDS, JW, among others) faiths. One thing I wish would happen more in high school seminary classes (before students become missionaries) is providing an exposure to the biblical Christian faith. Not a straw man understading (i.e. “Christians believe you can say a little prayer and then go sin like hell”), but an accurate portrait of what we believe. While there may be some teachers who are doing this, I highly doubt most Latter-day Saints really understand our beliefs. (This is why we wrote  Mormonism 101: Examining the Religion of the Latter-day Saints.) Every spring I took my students on field trips to places such as synagogues, temples, and mosques. I remember one time how missionaries at the Mormon Battalion Center in Old Town, San Diego commented how they wished they would have had the chance to visit other religious venues when they were in high school. While I think it’s important for parents to educate their children in the faith of the home, effort should be taken to provide exposure to other ways of thinking as well.

Not all truth is of the same value or importance. Some truths are greater than others. The greatest truth, or the greatest truths, we find in the fundamentals of the gospel of Jesus Christ. First of all, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world, who came into this world to die that men might live. That truth we should know. It is far more important to know that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer, that he has given unto us the principles of eternal life, than it is to know all that can be obtained in secular education.

As mentioned in other reviews, the problem here is that a name like “Jesus Christ” can mean something in the LDS context that Christianity doesn’t teach. There are a number of ways that Mormonism corrupts the very essence of Jesus. For example, consider how Jesus—as with everyone born onto this earth—lost His ability to remember anything from the preexistence and had to “progress.” Jay E. Jensen, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, explained,

When the Lord came to earth, He had a veil of forgetfulness placed over His mind, as we do, but He, like us, progressed from grace to grace. (Ensign (January 2011): 42.)

A church manual traces the teaching back to Mormonism’s founder Joseph Smith:

As Joseph Smith taught, Jesus was born with a veil of forgetfulness common to all who are born to earth, but even as a child he had all the intelligence necessary to enable him to govern the kingdom of the Jews (see source under Basic Library), because he overcame the veil and came into communication with his Heavenly Father. (The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles Instructor’s Guide Religion 211-212, 13.)

Jesus became a god, according to Milton R. Hunter, “through consistent effort and continuous obedience to all the Gospel truths and universal laws.” That effort, Hunter continues, included Jesus’ own baptism:

Although John recognized Jesus as a perfect man, the Master made it clear that it was absolutely necessary for even the Son of God to be baptized. He—like the least of us—must obey every law of the Gospel if He was to receive all the blessings predicated on obedience. (The Gospel through the Ages, 200.)

This idea that Jesus was under obligation of the law has been taught by a number of leaders. President Joseph F. Smith said,

Even Christ himself was not perfect at first; he received not a fulness at first, but he received grace for grace, and he continued to receive more and more until he received a fullness.(Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 153. Also see Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, comp. John A. Widtsoe (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co., 1919), 68.)

Apostle Bruce R. McConkie claimed,

Jesus kept the commandments of his Father and thereby worked out his own salvation, and also set an example as to the way and the means whereby all men may be saved. (The Mortal Messiah, 4:434.)

McConkie’s use of Philippians 2:12 (“work out your salvation”) misses the meaning of the passage. Paul does not use this expression to mean “work for your salvation” as so many Mormons will insist. Rather, as the words literally read, it means that believers “should ‘conduct’ themselves in a manner worthy of their right standing before God at the day of Christ.” (Frank Thielman, The NIV Application Commentary: Philippians (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1995), 138.)

Apostle Russell M. Nelson said Jesus achieved His perfection only after His resurrection:

That Jesus attained perfection following his resurrection is confirmed in the Book of Mormon. It records the visit of the resurrected Lord to the people of ancient America. There he repeated the important injunction previously cited, but with one very significant addition. He said, “I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (3 Nephi 12:48). This time he listed himself along with his Father as a perfected personage. Previously, he had not (See Matt. 5:48). (Ensign (November 1995): 87, italics his.)

Unless it is possible for a god to be imperfect, this would seem to contradict the notion that Jesus became a god in the preexistence.

It is difficult to understand why Jesus, who allegedly became a god before His mortality, would have to work out his own salvation. Such a comment also fails to take into account that only sinners need to be saved in the first place. To say Christ had to do anything toward His salvation should rightfully be considered blasphemous by anyone who holds the Bible dear. Problematic also is the fact that the Jesus of Mormonism is but one of many saviors. According to Brigham Young:

Consequently every earth has its redeemer, and every earth has its tempter; and every earth, and the people thereof, in their turn and time, receive all that we receive, and pass through all the ordeals that we are passing through. (Watt, ed., Journal of Discourses, 14:71–72.)

Young also taught the following:

How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and when men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are passing through. That course has been from all eternity, and it is and will be to all eternity. (Ibid., 7:333.)

If such comments were true, we could assume that there are literally millions of saviors on millions of worlds! Despite these false teachings, the Bible that Jesus is God and has been from all eternity. John 1:1–2, 14 says:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. . . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.

Christianity has historically taught that Jesus, as the very God, took upon Himself the form of a man. This is not to say that at any time His godhood was diminished in any degree after His physical appearance on earth (His incarnation). The doctrine of kenosis (“empty”) as described in Phil 2:5-11 states that Jesus voluntarily gave up the exercise of those attributes while here on earth. Jesus was, and is, both divine and human: 100 percent God and 100 percent man. He was conceived through the agency of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18–25; Luke 1:35); He lived a sinless life while subjected to human temptations (John 5:19; Heb. 2:18; 4:15); He died a real death and rose again bodily from the dead to conquer sin (Rom. 5:6–10; 1 Cor. 15:3–4); He will return to judge all humanity (John 5:22); He sent the Holy Spirit to empower the believers (John 14–16; Acts 1:8); He can be prayed to (Acts 7:59). Although some Mormon leaders (including Joseph Fielding Smith in Doctrines of Salvation, 1:14) say prayers should only be offered to the Father, 3 Nephi 19:17ff in the Book of Mormon supports praying to Jesus. Finally, He is deserving to receive honor, love, faith, and worship as the Father (Matt. 10:37; John 5:23; 14:1; Heb. 1:6). At the same time, He shares attributes with the Father because Jesus is also God.

So far as the philosophy and wisdom of the world are concerned, they mean nothing unless they conform to the revealed word of God. Any doctrine, whether it comes in the name of religion, science, philosophy, or whatever it may be, if it is in conflict with the revealed word of the Lord, will fail.

Be careful, Christian, because while there is a temptation to jump up and down in agreement with these sentences, do remember that Mormonism has four scriptures plus the words of the general authorities. (This is confirmed later in the chapter.) Apostle Dallin Oaks said:

What makes us different from most other Christians in the way we read and use the Bible and other scriptures is our belief in continuing revelation. For us, the scriptures are not the ultimate source of knowledge, but what precedes the ultimate source. The ultimate knowledge comes by revelation. (Ensign (January 1995): 7.)

Even more disconcerting than this quote was a letter from the First Presidency that was printed on page three of the 20 June 1992 LDS Church News. It read in part,

The most reliable way to measure the accuracy of any biblical passage is not by comparing different texts, but by comparison with the Book of Mormon and modern-day revelations.

Thus, the other unique LDS scriptures are meant to help interpret the Bible. This is not acceptable in traditional Christian thinking. The Bible should interpret the Bible.

It may appear plausible. It may be put before you in language that appeals and which you may not be able to answer. It may appear to be established by evidence that you cannot controvert, but all you need to do is to abide your time. Time will level all things. You will find that every doctrine, every principle, no matter how universally believed, if it is not in accord with the divine word of the Lord to his servants, will perish. Nor is it necessary for us to try to stretch the word of the Lord in a vain attempt to make it conform to these theories and teachings. The word of the Lord shall not pass away unfulfilled, but these false doctrines and theories will all fail. Truth, and only truth, will remain when all else has perished.

Again, while we would agree (at face value) that anything not “in accord with the divine word of the Lord to his servants, will perish,” we once again must remember that additional scripture to the Latter-day Saint can quickly turn biblical truth into heretical error.

The Lord has commanded us to search the scriptures.

The Lord has commanded the members of the Church in this day to seek him by prayer, by faith and study. We have been commanded to study the commandments he has given us in the Doctrine and Covenants, in the Book of Mormon and in all the scriptures, with the promise that “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” [D&C 130:18–19.] … The Savior said to the Jews: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” [John 5:39.] How many members of the Church think likewise, but fail to prepare themselves by study and by faith?

It seems to me that a member of this Church would not be able to rest in peace and comfort and have a clear conscience without having knowledge by study and by faith of the standard works of the Church. These records are priceless. The world mocks at them, but through their teachings we are permitted to come nearer unto God, get a better understanding of our Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ, become closer acquainted with them and to know more in regard to the wonderful plan of salvation which they have given unto us and unto the world.

To accept the “standard works” of the Mormon Church, it is required to believe that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God. Yet when we consider the problems with the Book of Mormon (archaeology, historicity, etc.), the Doctrine and Covenants (acceptance of Smith who claims God told him to write down these “revelations”), and the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price (problems with the translation from common Egyptian funeral papyri), we must doubt that the words recorded in these books are authentic and worthy to be trusted.

The Latter-day Saints should put their trust in their leaders, and follow the teachings of the authorities of the Church, for they speak unto them with the voice of prophecy and inspiration. The Lord has declared in the very first section in the Doctrine and Covenants, that whether he speak by his own voice or through the voice of his servants, it is the same [see D&C 1:38]. Therefore, we are under just as great responsibility and obligation to hearken unto the voice of the one who stands at the head to teach the people, or to listen unto the voice of the elders of Israel, as they carry among the people the message of truth, as we are [if] the Lord should send from his presence an angel or should come himself to declare these things unto us.

Besides Smith, Mormons must put their trust in the current LDS leadership. The dangerous part about this, though, is that complete trust must be given. Quotes from these men can be quite scary. For example, consider this quote from President Ezra Taft Benson:

“I remember years ago when I was a Bishop I had President [Heber J.] Grant talk to our ward. After the meeting I drove him home…. Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said: ‘My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church, and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.’ Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said, ‘But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray.’ (CR October 1960, p. 78).” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 137.)

Consider another Benson quote:

“The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly train­ing or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time. Sometimes there are those who feel their earthly knowl­edge on a certain subject is superior to the heavenly knowledge which God gives to His prophet on the same subject. They feel the prophet must have the same earthly credentials or training which they have had before they will accept anything the prophet has to say that might contradict their earthly schooling. How much earthly schooling did Joseph Smith have? Yet he gave revelations on all kinds of subjects. We haven’t yet had a prophet who earned a doctorate in any subject, but as someone said, ‘A prophet may not have his Ph.D. but he certainly has his LDS.’ We encourage earthly knowledge in many areas, but remember, if there is ever a conflict between earthly knowledge and the words of the prophet, you stand with the prophet, and you will be blessed and time will vindicate you. (“Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Proph­et,” in 1980 Devotional Speeches of the Year [Provo: BYU Press, 1981], p. 27.)” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 137).

James Faust, who was a member of the First Presidency, said,

“Third, continuing revelation and leadership for the Church come through the President of the Church, and he will never mislead the Saints” (James Faust, “The Prophetic Voice,” Ensign (Confer­ence Edition), May 1996, p. 7).

These quotes lifting up the LDS leader–even when they might be wrong–are quite interesting when Mormon history is considered. For example, a number of general authorities from the 1840s through the 1880s maintained that polygamy was necessary for eternal life. This idea was even preached from the general conference pulpit. Who originated the teaching? It was Joseph Smith, and it’s once again his words we must trust. In the gospel topics essay titled “Plural Marriages and Family in Early Utah” it reads,

In accordance with a revelation to Joseph Smith, the practice of plural marriage—the marriage of one man to two or more women—was instituted among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the early 1840s.

The article continues:

They believed it was a commandment of God at that time and that obedience would bring great blessings to them and their posterity, both on earth and in the life to come. While there was much love, tenderness, and affection within many plural marriages, the practice was generally based more on religious belief than on romantic love. Church leaders taught that participants in plural marriages should seek to develop a generous spirit of unselfishness and the pure love of Christ for everyone involved.

Yet this command as authorized by Smith, Young, and other LDS leaders has no support from the Bible. In fact, as Jacob 2 in the Book of Mormon points out, polygamy should only be instituted when “seed” needs to be raised up. If Joseph Smith married at least 33 women—11 of whom were teens and another 11 who were married to other men—then why do we not know of any children he had with these other women? If plural marriage was not an “eternal principle” as taught by early LDS leaders, then what was the purpose of allowing this practice for more than four decades in the 19th century?

How about blacks not being allowed to hold the LDS priesthood until 1978? In the gospel topics essay titled “Race and the Priesthood” comes this interesting quote:

Nevertheless, given the long history of withholding the priesthood from men of black African descent, Church leaders believed that a revelation from God was needed to alter the policy, and they made ongoing efforts to understand what should be done. After praying for guidance, President McKay did not feel impressed to lift the ban.

Notice how it was the “long history” of banning blacks from the priesthood that caused the LDS leaders to hold to its racist policy. How can we really know if this policy was ever first established by God? Granted, polygamy did take place in the Bible, but it was never commanded by God. Like divorce, polygamy was tolerated (not commanded) due to the hardness of man’s heart. It was always less than God’s ideal. When it comes to the LDS doctrine of polygamy, we are forced to trust the LDS leadership. When the Bible contradicts the teachings of the LDS leadership, guess who should be doubted? This way of thinking sets a very dangerous precedent.

We can know gospel truth by study, faith, and obedience and through the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

It would be well if we would follow the counsel the Lord has given us, which is: “And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived.” [Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37.] Treasuring up his word is far more than merely reading it. To treasure it one must not only read and study, but seek in humility and obedience to do the commandments given, and gain the inspiration which the Holy Spirit will impart.

We sometimes hear the complaint, “I haven’t time.” But we all have time to read and study which is our solemn duty. Can we not arrange to find at least fifteen minutes in each day to devote to systematic reading and reflection? This would be but a trifling amount of time, yet it would be one hour and forty-five minutes in a week; seven and one-half hours in a month of thirty days, and ninety-one hours and a quarter in the year. …

… Very few among us read too much; most of us read too little. The Lord has said: “And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith.” [D&C 88:118; 109:7.]

As far as putting the effort into study, 2 Timothy 2:15 says to “study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Again, what is scripture? To the Christian, it’s the Word of God (the Bible). To the Mormon, there is much more, including the teachings of their leaders.

We are expected to study and learn all we can by research and analysis. But there are limits to our learning abilities in the realms of reason and study. The things of God can be known only by the Spirit of God. We must gain knowledge by faith.

Men may search, they may study, they may learn, of course, a great many things; they may lay up a great fund of information, but they will never be able to come to the fulness of truth … unless they are guided by the Spirit of truth, the Holy Ghost, and keep the commandments of God.

Unlike what this segment says, knowledge cannot be gained by faith. For Smith, the process looks like this:

1)      Be guided by the Holy Ghost

2)      Keep the commandments of God

The Bible’s truths can be known before “keeping the commandments.”

True faith accompanied by the spirit of humility will lead men to a knowledge of the truth. There is no good reason why men everywhere may not know the truth which makes men free. There is no good reason why all men cannot discover the light of truth and know whether or not the Lord has spoken again in these latter days. Paul declared that men should “seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he is not far from every one of us.” [Acts 17:27.] Even in the midst of the spiritual darkness and lack of faith, which covers the earth, the arm of the Lord is not shortened. He will hear the earnest plea of the honest seeker after truth; and none need walk without the knowledge of divine truth and where to find the Church of Jesus Christ. All a person needs is humble faith and a contrite spirit with the determination to walk in the light, and the Lord will reveal it unto him.

Putting faith in front of study and understanding the message of God’s Word puts the cart before the horse. It is impossible to have true faith without using our minds and studying the Bible, as referred to in 2 Timothy 2:15. When the teachings of God are understood, then it is possible to have the biblical faith. As Romans 10:14-15 explains,

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Once again, hearing the gospel comes first, then comes faith, not vice versa.

We may all know the truth; we are not helpless. The Lord has made it possible for every man to know by the observance of [His] laws, and through the guidance of His Holy Spirit, who is sent purposely to teach us when we comply with the law, so that we may know that truth which makes us free [see John 8:32].

Mormonism stresses the necessity of good works (obedience) to know the truth. The Bible stresses how truth must take precedence, followed by good works. The difference between the two views is night and day.

As we put our lives in harmony with the truth, the Lord increases our light and understanding.

It is a requirement that is made of us, as members of this Church, to make ourselves familiar with that which the Lord has revealed, that we may not be led astray. … How are we going to walk in the truth if we do not know it?

Our sole objective where the truths of salvation are concerned should be to find out what the Lord has revealed and then to believe and act accordingly.

If we will follow the spirit of light, the spirit of truth, the spirit that is set forth in the revelations of the Lord; if we will, through the spirit of prayer and humility, seek for the guidance of the Holy Ghost, the Lord will increase our light and our understanding; so that we shall have the spirit of discernment, we shall understand the truth, we shall know falsehood when we see it, and we shall not be deceived.

But what happens when there is more than one path of truth? Adherents to Mormonism say their faith is based on truth. Christians say what they believe is true. So do Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists. How can we know who is right so we can discern the true “spirit of light”? For the Christian, the Bible takes precedence. Jesus Himself taught in Matthew 7:15-20,

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

What is the fruit of Mormonism? It’s polygamy, it’s banning people from God’s authority based on race, it’s adhering to a God who is not recognizable in the Bible, it’s teaching salvation through baptism and membership in a church along with doing the impossible by being completely obedient. When a person understands that Joseph Smith was not a true prophet of God, that the Book of Mormon is not authentic scripture, and that salvation cannot be found in the teachings of the Mormon Church, one of two things seems to happen: 1) A journey to agnosticism/atheism; 2) A journey to another faith. We maintain that just because the Mormon Church may have burned you doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t exist or love you. Just because Mormonism isn’t true doesn’t negate the existence of God and the truthfulness of the Bible. Jesus said that those who seek after truth will find it. Does truth matter to you?

Who is it that is deceived in this Church? Not the man who has been faithful in the discharge of duty; not the man who has made himself acquainted with the word of the Lord; not the man who has practiced the commandments given in these revelations; but the man who is not acquainted with the truth, the man who is in spiritual darkness, the man who does not comprehend and understand the principles of the Gospel. Such a man will be deceived, and when these false spirits come among us he may not understand or be able to distinguish between light and darkness.

But if we will walk in the light of the revelations of the Lord, if we will hearken to the counsels that are given by those who stand in the councils of the Church, empowered to give the instructions, we will not go astray.

Latter-day Saint, are you tired of trusting in the words of men? Wouldn’t you rather trust the words of God? Consider taking the Romans challenge.

Let us search [the] scriptures, let us know what the Lord has revealed, let us put our lives in harmony with His truth. Then we will not be deceived, but we will have power to resist evil and temptation. Our minds will be quickened and we will be able to comprehend truth and segregate it from error.

“Let us search [the] scriptures, let us know what the Lord has revealed, let us put our lives in harmony with His truth.”

If there is any doctrine or principle connected with the teachings of the Church that we do not understand, then let us get on our knees. Let us go before the Lord in the spirit of prayer, of humility, and ask that our minds might be enlightened that we may understand. “That which is of God is light, and he that receiveth light and continueth in God”—that is the key to the situation—“receiveth more light, and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.” [D&C 50:24.]

Be careful, though, because while getting on one’s knees sounds spiritual, if prayer to the wrong God is given, it is dangerous.

So we understand from this that the man who seeks God and [is] guided by the Spirit of truth, or the Comforter, and continues in God, will grow in knowledge, in light, in truth, until eventually there will come to him the perfect day of light and truth.

Now, we will not get all that in this life. It is impossible for a man to reach that goal in the few years of mortal existence. But what we learn here, that which is eternal, that which is inspired by the Spirit of truth, will continue with us beyond the grave and then we shall go on, if still continuing in God, to receive light and truth until eventually we shall come to that perfect day.

There are only two destinations for mankind after death: heaven or hell. Those in hell will not be able to “receive light and truth” as there will be eternal separation from God.

The promise has been made to all those who will receive the light of truth and through their research and obedience endeavor to acquaint themselves with the Gospel, that they shall receive line upon line, precept by precept, here a little and there a little, until the fulness of truth shall be their portion; even the hidden mysteries of the kingdom shall be made known unto them; “for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” [Matthew 7:8; 3 Nephi 14:8; see also Isaiah 28:10; D&C 76:1–10; 98:11–12.] All these are heirs of salvation and they shall be crowned with glory, immortality, and eternal life, as sons and daughters of God, with an exaltation in His celestial kingdom.

This is the crescendo, sort of like all the fireworks going off at the end of the show. Here there is no doubt with what is meant by “immortality, and eternal life” along with “exaltation in his celestial kingdom.” Mormonism teaches in godhood and living with the family forever. Unfortunately, such a teaching is not found in the Bible. We’re left, once more, in putting complete trust in Joseph Smith and the LDS leadership. Such a vicious circle indeed!


For more reviews on this manual featuring Joseph Fielding Smith quotes, go here.