[1]O. Hyde, Diagram, p. 23. See also D&C 76:56-59. Cf. J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 27 August 1843, p. 322: “Those holding the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood are kings and priests of the Most High God, holding the keys of power and blessings. In fact, that Priesthood is a perfect law of theocracy, and stands as God to give laws to the people, administering endless lives to the sons and daughters of Adam.” See also J. F. Smith, Jr., Way 1945, p. 208.

[2]G. M. Leonard, Nauvoo, pp. 260-261; J. Smith, Jr., Record, 28 September 1843, p. 416. See also R. K. Esplin, Succession, pp. 314-315; J. Smith, Jr., Words, 27 August 1843, pp. 244-247, 303-307 nn.; W. W. Phelps, cited in S. Brown, Paracletes, pp. 80-81.

[3]J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 14 May 1843, pp. 298-299.

[4] Elder Bruce R. McConkie writes (B. R. McConkie, NT Commentary, 3:326):

To be called is to be a member of the Church and kingdom of God on earth; it is to be numbered with the saints; it is to accept the Gospel and receive the everlasting covenant; … it is to be on the path leading to eternal life, and to have the hope of eternal glory; it is to have a conditional promise of eternal life; it is to be an inheritor of all the blessings of the Gospel, provided there is continued obedience to the laws and ordinances thereof.

The “calling” of men also includes ordination to the priesthood (see, e.g., D&C 84:33: “For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling…”).

[5] See 2 Peter 1:10; D&C 53:1. In the broadest sense of the word, one can speak of election in an anticipatory context (e.g., the election of Israel) or, alternatively, as the personal assurance from the Holy Ghost that the current course of one’s life is acceptable to God (see, e.g., L. E. Dahl et al., Lectures, 6:2, p. 91). Such preliminary assurance, however, can only be “made sure” through the direct affirmation of the Father Himself.

[6] 2 Peter 1:19; D&C 131:5. See J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 21 May 1843, pp. 304-306.

[7] D&C 131:5.

[8] Referring to the ancient apostles who witnessed the events of the Transfiguration, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught (J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 14 May 1843, p. 298):

Though they might hear the voice of God and know that Jesus was the Son of God, this would be no evidence that their election and calling was made sure, that they had part with Christ, and were joint heirs with Him. They then would want that more sure word of prophecy, that they were sealed in the heavens and had the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of God.

On another occasion, Joseph Smith explained (J. Smith, Jr., Words, 21 May 1843, p. 208):

It is one thing to receive knowledge by the voice of God (“This is my beloved Son,” etc.), and another to know that you yourself will be saved. To have a positive promise of your own salvation is making your calling and election sure, i.e., the voice of Jesus saying, “My beloved, thou shalt have eternal life.” Brethren, never cease struggling until you get this evidence. Take heed both before and after obtaining this more sure word of prophecy.

Another account of the discourse gives the following (ibid., 21 May 1843, p. 209):

… how to make our calling and election sure? Answer: It is to obtain a promise from God for myself that I shall have eternal life. That is the more sure word of prophecy. Peter was writing to those of like precious faith with them the Apostles.

Though many individuals in modern times have been personally visited by Jesus Christ or have seen Him in vision, Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr., as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, did not find it necessary to believe that even all of the apostles had received such a “personal” witness (J. F. Smith, Jr., Doctrines, 3:153-154):

It is questionable if all of the apostles in the former dispensation were “personal” witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, if by that is meant that he appeared to them after His resurrection. This is certainly true of the original eleven (Luke 24:36-53; Acts 1:1-14; 1 Corinthians 15:5-7). Paul saw in vision (Acts 9:1-9, 22:6-16), but we have evidence that the Council of the Apostles was maintained for some time after the death of some of the original Twelve (Acts 1:15-26; Ephesians 4:11-16; Romans 16:7; 1 Corinthians 12:28-29; Galatians 1:19). Whether these ever had a visitation from the Savior the records to not state.

Every member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles should have, and I feel sure have had, the knowledge of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This does not have to come by direct visitation of the Savior, but it does come from the testimony of the Holy Ghost. Let me call your attention to the statement of the Savior in Matthew 12:31-32. The testimony of the Holy Ghost is the strongest testimony that can be given. It is better than a personal visit. It is for this reason that the Savior said that all manner of sin and blasphemy against the Holy Ghost could not be forgiven.

[9]J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 27 June 1839, p. 150.

[10] See ibid., 27 June 1839, p. 150. More will be said about this topic below, in the section on the oath and covenant of the priesthood. For extensive discussions of this and related topics, see B. R. McConkie, NT Commentary, 3:325-350; B. R. McConkie, Promised Messiah, pp. 570-595.

[11] Genesis 14:17-24 and JST Genesis 14:25-40.

[12] See Ehat and Cook in J. Smith, Jr., Words, p. 305 n. 29.After emphasizing Abraham’s status as a “friend” of God after demonstrating his willingness to sacrifice Isaac, E. Douglas Clark summarizes scriptures and teachings of Joseph Smith confirming Abraham’s “election sure” which occurred at that time (E. D. Clark, Blessings, pp. 217-218):

[W]hen God announced the blessings; it was not just by promise but by oath, as emphasized by the letter to the Hebrews: “When God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by Himself…. And so, after [Abraham] had patiently endured, he obtained the promise” (Hebrews 6:13, 15). So what did it mean for the Almighty to swear by Himself? God was really saying, according to the Midrash, “Even as I live and endure for ever and to all eternity, so will My oath endure for ever and to all eternity” (citing Kasher, Encyclopedia of Biblical Interpretation, 3:160).

It was the unconditional promise of eternal life, his calling and election made sure, which, says Joseph Smith, comes to a man after “the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve him at all hazards” (J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 27 June 1839, p. 150). Accordingly, explained Joseph Smith, it was “the power of an endless life… which; Abraham obtained by the offering of his son Isaac” (J. Smith, Jr., Words, 27 August 1843, p. 245), an event that “shows that if a man would attain to the keys of the kingdom of an endless life, he must sacrifice all things” (J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 27 August 1843, p. 322).

The rabbis stated that at the beginning of the great trial, when God had first called Abraham’s name and he had answered “Here am I,” the real meaning was “Here am I-ready for priesthood, ready for kingship, and he attained priesthood and kingship” (H. Freedman et al., Midrash, Vayera 55:6, 1:486). Similarly, Joseph Smith stated that by the “oath of God unto our Father Abraham,” his children were “secured [to him] by the seal wherewith [Abraham had] been sealed” (J. Smith, Jr., Words, 13 August 1843, p. 241). In the greatest irony of Abraham’s life, only by binding Isaac for the sacrifice had Abraham bound him to himself in the eternal bonds of priesthood sealing.

[13] 2 Peter 1:19.

[14] D&C 131:6. Truman G. Madsen concurs with the interpretation of D&C 131:6 given here, asserting that this passage “refers to a specific kind of ignorance. The preceding verse is talking about sealing, about coming to know by revelation through the power of the Holy Priesthood not only that Jesus is the Christ, but also that a relationship has been forged between you and Jesus Christ” (T. G. Madsen, Temple and Mysteries, p. 34). See also B. M. Hauglid, Calling and Election, p. 222.

[15]D&C 121:34. Cf. D&C 95:5: “There are many who have been ordained among you, whom I have called but few of them are chosen.”

[16] Photograph IMGP2175, 26 April 2009. Copyright Stephen T. Whitlock and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, with special thanks to Carole Menzies and Jennifer Griffiths of the Taylor Bodleian Slavonic and Modern Greek Library.From P. P. Novickij (Novitskii), Otkrovenie Avraama. For more on this image and the Apocalypse of Abraham that it illustrates, see J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image, pp. 38, 694-696; J. M. Bradshaw, Moses Temple Themes, pp. 23-50.

[17] D&C 84:39.

[18]B. R. McConkie, New Witness, p. 313.

[19] D&C 88:3-5; 93:21-22; J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 27 June 1839, p. 151.

[20] Cf. 2 Sam 7:14: “I will be his father, and he shall be my son”; Psalm 2:7: “the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee”; Psalm 89:3-4: “I have sworn… Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations”; Psalm 89:19-20: “I have exalted one… with my holy oil have I anointed him”; Psalm 89:26-29: “He shall cry out to me, Thou art my father, my God… I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven”; Psalm 89:34-37: “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven”; Psalm 132:11-12: “The Lord hath sworn in truth… Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne. If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore”; Psalm 110:4: “The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” (cf. Hebrews 6:17-20; 7:20-28); Matthew 25:21: “Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord”; Revelation 4:1: “Come up, hither”; 2 Nephi 31:20: “thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life”; Enos 1:27: “he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father”; Mosiah 26:20: “I covenant with thee that thou shalt have eternal life”; D&C 88:3-4: “This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom”; D&C 132:49: “I seal upon you your exaltation, and prepare a throne for you in the kingdom of my Father, with Abraham, your father”; Moses 6:68 (cf. E. T. Benson, What I Hope, p. 8): “thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons”; Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Hymns (1985), #81: “Thus saith our God: Ye have eternal life!'”; ibid., #134: “His voice is heard: Ye shall obtain.'”

[21] Commenting on the oath that is found in Psalm 110:4, President Joseph Fielding Smith said (J. F. Smith, Jr., Oath, p. 92. Copyright Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Used by permission):

To swear with an oath is the most solemn and binding form of speech known to the human tongue; and it was this type of language that the Father chose to have used in the great Messianic prophecy about Christ and the priesthood.Of him it says: “The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4.)

In explaining this Messianic prophecy, Paul says that Jesus had “an unchangeable priesthood,” and that through it came “the power of an endless life” (see Hebrews 7:24, 16). Joseph Smith said that “all those who are ordained unto this priesthood are made like unto the Son of God, abiding a priest continually,” that is, if they are faithful and true.

And so Christ is the great prototype where priesthood is concerned, as he is with reference to baptism and all other things. And so, even as the Father swears with an oath that his Son shall inherit all things through the priesthood, so he swears with an oath that all of us who magnify our callings in that same priesthood shall receive all that the Father hath.

[22]Hebrews 6:20. Cf. B. R. McConkie, New Witness, pp. 317-318.

[23] In the translation of S. Sandmel et al., New English Bible.

See also Ether 12:4. Photograph of this figure is in the public domain. See https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/ac/Reidersche_Tafel_c_400_AD.jpg/660px-Reidersche_Tafel_c_400_AD.jpg Original is in the BayerischesNationalmuseumMnchen. For more information on this image, see J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image, p. 473.

[24]K. L. Barney, NT Footnotes, 3:82 n. d. See also M. G. Romney, Oath, p. 17.

[25] John 14:3. See also Hebrews 4:14; H. W. Attridge et al., Hebrews, pp. 118-119.

[26]M. Barker, Risen, pp. 42-43. See also Gregory Nazianzen, Oration 39, 16, p. 358; Origen, Luke, Homily 24 on Luke 3:15-16, p. 103; 1 Corinthians 3:13.

[27]H. W. Attridge et al., Hebrews, p. 184; cf. pp. 185, 222-224. See also L. T. Johnson, Hebrews, pp. 172-173.

[28]D. M. Moffitt, Atonement, pp. 300-301.

[29] This phrase, applied by Moffit to Jesus Christ and His followers, originated with the Jews in Qumran. See, e.g., G. Vermes, Complete, Rule of the Community (1QS), 4:22-26, p. 103. For a more detailed study of the meaning of this concept in the context of the theology of the Qumran Community and of early Christians, see C. H. T. Fletcher-Louis, Glory.

[30]D. M. Moffitt, Atonement, p. 301.

[31]J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 14 May 1843, pp. 298-299. The only other allusion to this scripture made by Joseph Smith is the following, made in a letter to his uncle Silas on 26 September 1833 (J. Smith, Jr., Writings 2002, p. 323, spelling and punctuation modernized, emphasis added):

Paul said to his Hebrew brethren that God being more abundantly willing to show unto the heirs of his promises the immutability of his council “confirmed it by an oath.” He also exhorts them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

“Notwithstanding we (said Paul) have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us, which hope we have as an anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.” Yet he was careful to press upon them the necessity of continuing on until they as well as those who inherited the promises might have the assurance of their salvation confirmed to them by an oath from the mouth of Him who could not lie, for that seemed to be the example anciently and Paul holds it out to his brethren as an object attainable in his day. And why not? I admit that, by reading the scriptures of truth, saints in the days of Paul could learn beyond the power of contradiction that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had the promise of eternal life confirmed to them by an oath of the Lord, but that promise or oath was no assurance to them of their salvation. But they could, by walking in the footsteps and continuing in the faith of their fathers, obtain for themselves an oath for confirmation that they were meet to be partakers of the inheritance with the saints in light.

[32] 2 Peter 1:1-21.

[33] 2 Peter 1:10.

[34] 2 Peter 1:19.

[35] 2 Peter 1:10 and J. Smith, Jr., Words, 21 May 1843, p. 209.

[36]J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 27 June 1839, p. 149.

[37]Ibid., 27 June 1839, p. 149, emphasis added. On a later occasion, Joseph Smith was more explicit in his answer. He asked (J. Smith, Jr., Words, 21 May 1843, p. 209): “… how to make our calling and election sure? Answer: It is to obtain a promise from God for myself that I shall have eternal life. That is the more sure word of prophecy.” In another account of the same discourse, the Prophet was reported to have said (ibid., 21 May 1843, p. 208):

To have a positive promise of your own salvation is making your calling and election sure, i.e., the voice of Jesus saying, “My beloved, thou shalt have eternal life.” Brethren, never cease struggling until you get this evidence. Take heed both before and after obtaining this more sure word of prophecy.

Joseph Smith seemed to have had a clear understanding of this doctrine as early as 1833, when he wrote that those “who inherited the promises might have the assurance of their salvation confirmed to them by an oath from the mouth of Him who could not lie” just as “Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had the promise of eternal life confirmed to them by an oath of the Lord” (J. Smith, Jr., Writings 2002, p. 323, spelling and punctuation added).

Elder Bruce R. McConkie also specifically affirmed that this personal promise is proclaimed directly by divine voice in the presence of God (e.g., B. R. McConkie, Ten Blessings, p. 34).

[38] E.g., D. Q. Cannon et al., Far West, 25 October 1831, p. 20; D&C 68:12.

[39] 2 Peter 1:19; D&C 131:5. See J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 21 May 1843, pp. 304-306.

[40]J. Smith, Jr., Words, Before 8 August 1839 (3), p. 14, spelling and punctuation modernized, words in brackets added.

[41] John 14:18.

[42]J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 27 June 1839, pp. 150-151, emphasis added.

[43] See John 14:12-27.

[44]H. C. Kimball, 6 October 1855, p. 124.

[45] D&C 132:26 is sometimes interpreted to mean that the blessings of the marriage sealing ordinance are unconditional. However, it is clear in the context of D&C 88:3-4 that this verse is meant to apply, not to those who merely have been sealed in marriage, but rather to those whose calling and election has been made sure.

[46]Ehat and Cook, in J. Smith, Jr., Words, p. 396 n. 52.

[47]J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 7 April 1844, p. 358.

[48] The statement should be taken as meaning that Jesus’ atonement will provide absolute assurance of a minimal form of salvation, namely, that all men, except those who sinned against the Holy Ghost, would be, in the words of Elder McConkie, “resurrected to [at least] a telestial glory, escaping the second, i.e., spiritual death” (B. R. McConkie, Promised Messiah, pp. 271-275; cf. D&C 76:43-44, J. F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 434; J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 10 March 1844, p. 339).

[49] See Hebrews 4:4-6.

Cf. J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 10 March 1844, pp. 338-339.

[50]J. Smith, Jr., Documentary History, 13 August 1843, 4:531. Cf. J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 13 August 1843, p. 321.

[51]J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 13 August 1843, p. 321.

[52] Punctuation and grammar modernized. From William Clayton’s Journal, 20 October 1843, cited in J. B. Allen, No Toil, p. 408.

[53]J. Smith, Jr., Words, 13 August 1843, p. 241, emphasis and words in brackets added, spelling and punctuation modernized.

[54] Cf. Ehat and Cook in ibid., p. 300 n. 19.

[55] Although citing the version of Joseph Smith’s statement found in the Documentary History as well as another part of the Coray version, Millet unfortunately fails to cite the passage that contains this phrase in his thoughtful response to questions relating to the salvation of children of faithful parents (see R. L. Millet, When a Child, pp. 111-112). For an excellent summary addressing these questions, see M. B. Brown, Plan, pp. 245-250.

[56] In J. Smith, Jr., Words, p. 300 n. 19.

[57] Articles of Faith 1:2.

[58] The following statement by Elder Orson F. Whitney (O. F. Whitney, Discourse (April 1929), p. 110) has been cited favorably by several General Authorities of the Church (see, e.g., Elder James E. Faust (J. E. Faust, Greatest Challenge, p. 35; J. E. Faust, Dear, p. 62); Elder Robert D. Hales (R. D. Hales, Strengthening; ibid., p. 91); Elder Russell M. Nelson (R. M. Nelson, Gateway, pp. 53-54); Elder Boyd K. Packer (B. K. Packer, Our Moral Environment, p. 68; B. K. Packer, Errand, p. 290); Elder Richard H. Winkel (R. H. Winkel, Temple, p. 10)):

You parents of the wilful and the wayward! Don’t give them up. Don’t cast them off. They are not utterly lost. The Shepherd will find his sheep. They were his before they were yours-long before he entrusted them to your care; and you cannot begin to love them as he loves them. They have but strayed in ignorance from the Path of Right, and God is merciful to ignorance. Only the fulness of knowledge brings the fulness of accountability. Our Heavenly Father is far more merciful, infinitely more charitable, than even the best of his servants, and the Everlasting Gospel is mightier in power to save than our narrow finite minds can comprehend.

The Prophet Joseph Smith declared-and he never taught more comforting doctrine-that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God.

President Brigham Young taught the following (B. Young, Teachings 1997, pp. 163-164; B. Young, 29 April 1866, p. 215; B. Young, Discourses, p. 208. Cited in B. K. Packer, Our Moral Environment; J. F. Smith, Jr., Doctrines, 2:90-91):

Let the father and mother, who are members of this Church and Kingdom, take a righteous course, and strive with all their might never to do a wrong, but to do good all their lives; if they have one child or one hundred children, if they conduct themselves towards them as they should, binding them to the Lord by their faith and prayers, I care not where those children go, they are bound up to their parents by an everlasting tie, and no power of earth or hell can separate them from their parents in eternity; they will return again to the fountain from whence they sprang.

Just prior to citing this statement by Brigham Young, Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, then an apostle, wrote (ibid., 2:90):

Those born under the covenant, throughout all eternity, are the children of their parents. Nothing except the unpardonable sin, or sin unto death, can break this tie. If children do not sin as John says (1 John 5:16-17), “unto death” the parents may still feel after them and eventually bring them back near to them again.

He also wrote (ibid., 2:91):

Children born under the covenant, who drift away, are still the children of their parents; and the parents have a claim upon them; and if the children have not sinned away all their rights, the parents may be able to bring them through repentance, into the celestial kingdom, but not to receive the exaltation.

Lorenzo Snow, then an apostle, made the following statement (L. Snow, Teachings 1984, p. 195; L. Snow, Preaching, pp. 364-365. For more on the idea of (at least minimal) salvation for all except the sons of perdition, see report of statement of Lorenzo Snow in R. Clawson, Ministry, 24 July 1900, p. 192; see also J. M. Bradshaw et al., Mormonism’s Satan, pp. 8-9; W. Woodruff, Discourses, 28 May 1894, p. 158):

If you succeed in passing through these trials and afflictions and receive a resurrection, you will, by the power of the Priesthood, work and labor, as the Son of God has, until you get all your sons and daughters in the path of exaltation and glory. This is just as sure as that the sun rose this morning over yonder mountains. Therefore, mourn not because all your sons and daughters do not follow in the path that you have marked out to them, or give heed to your counsels. Inasmuch as we succeed in securing eternal glory, and stand as saviors, and as kings and priests to our God, we will save our posterity. When Jesus went through that terrible torture on the cross, He saw what would be accomplished by it; He saw that His brethren and sisters-the sons and daughters of God-would be gathered in, with but few exceptions-those who committed the unpardonable sin. That sacrifice of the divine Being was effectual to destroy the powers of Satan. I believe that every man and woman who comes into this life and passes through it, that life will be a success in the end.

Although the statements above might be over-interpreted as promising universal salvation for wayward children of faithful parents, some General Authorities have been careful to qualify such views.

For example, Joseph Fielding Smith, then an apostle, wrote that although (J. F. Smith, Jr., Doctrines, 2:91, italics in original):

children born under the covenant belong to their parents in eternity, … that does not mean that they, because of that birthright, will inherit celestial glory. The faith and faithfulness of fathers and mothers will not save disobedient children.

Salvation is an individual matter, and if a person who has been born under the covenant rebels and denies the Lord, he will lose the blessings of exaltation. Every soul will be judged according to his works and the wicked cannot inherit eternal life. We cannot force salvation upon those who do not want it. Even our Father’s children had their agency before this life, and one-third of them rebelled.

[If] the children have not sinned away all their rights, the parents may be able to bring them throughrepentance, into the celestial kingdom, but not to receive the exaltation. Of course, if children sin too grievously, they will have to enter the telestial kingdom, or they may even become sons of perdition.

To faithful parents of disobedient children, Elder Smith also wrote (ibid., 2:75, italics in original):

If [such children] refuse to receive this ordinance [of eternal marriage] and other blessings of the house of God, then shall they be cut off from these higher blessings.They shall wear no crown; they shall have no rule and sway no scepter; they shall be denied the fulness of knowledge and power, and like the prodigal son, they may return again to their Father’s house, but it will be as servants, not to inherit as sons.

On this subject, Elder James E. Faust wrote (J. E. Faust, Dear, p. 62. Copyright Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Used by permission):

Mercy will not rob justice, and the sealing power of faithful parents will only claim wayward children upon the condition of their repentance and Christ’s Atonement. Repentant wayward children will enjoy salvation and all the blessings that go with it, but exaltation is much more. It must be fully earned. The question as to who will be exalted must be left to the Lord in His mercy.

See also the statements of C. W. Penrose, Conference Report, October 1914, p. 42 and S. W. Kimball, Teachings 1982, p. 335, both cited in M. B. Brown, Plan, p. 248.

[59] Courtesy of the Museum of Church History and Art.

[60] Matthew 7:13.

[61] See 2 Nephi 31:8-9, 17.

[62] Matthew 7:14.

[63] See 2 Nephi 31:19-20.

[64] J. W. Welch, Sermon, p. 72; J. W. Welch, Light, pp. 170-171.

[65] Matthew 7:7.

[66] Matthew 7:6:

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Welch observes that “Such a requirement of secrecy is a common feature of ritual initiations or temple ordinances” (J. W. Welch, Light, p. 169), noting that “the Joseph Smith Translation is exactly concerned with the requirement of keeping certain sacred things secret. It adds: The mysteries of the kingdom ye shall keep within yourselves, … for the world cannot receive that which ye, yourselves, are not able to bear’ (JST Matthew 7:10-11)” (J.W. Welch, Sermon, p. 72). For additional discussion, see ibid., pp. 70-72; J. W. Welch, Light, pp. 168-170.

[67] President Taylor said (J. Taylor, 6 January 1879, p. 120):

We are told that, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” Yet to all such he will say, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” You say, that means the outsiders. No, it does not. Do they do many wonderful works in the name of Jesus? No; if they do anything, it is done in the name of themselves or of the Devil. Sometimes they will do things in the name of God; but it is simply an act of blasphemy. This means you, Latter-day Saints, who heal the sick, cast out devils, and do many wonderful things in the name of Jesus. And yet how many we see among this people of this class, that become careless, and treat lightly the ordinances of God’s house and the priesthood of the Son of God; yet they think they are going, by and by, to slide into the kingdom of God. But I tell you unless they are righteous and keep their covenants they will never go there. Hear it, ye Latter-day Saints!

[68]J. W. Welch, Sermon, p. 77. Cf. J. W. Welch, Light, pp. 178-179.

[69] 2 Nephi 25:23.

[70] See Amos 3:2: “You only have I known of all the families on earth. Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” See also J. W. Welch, Sermon, pp. 77-78.

[71]B. R. McConkie, NT Commentary, 1:255.

[72]H. D. Betz et al., Sermon, p. 551 n. 23.

[73] See JST Matthew 7:31, which makes it clear that the setting of Matthew 7:21-23 is the final judgment.

[74] 2 Nephi 9:27.

[75]J. Bunyan, Progress, p. 181