Cover image: He Called Me by Name, by Michael Malm.
As we begin our study of the Doctrine and Covenants this year, we cannot help but be struck by the tie-in with the course of study in 2020, the Book of Mormon. President Benson called the Book of Mormon the “keystone” of our religion because it brings us to Christ. He referred to the Doctrine and Covenants as the “capstone” of our religion, because it brings us to Christ’s kingdom. (The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, April 1987)
As God sought to restore his gospel and kingdom to the earth, he called a 14-year-old young boy who sought direction about which church to join. It had been three years since God the Father and his son Jesus Christ had appeared to Joseph Smith in the grove, and God needed to send one of his messengers to give him further instructions. In Hebrew, the word for messenger and angel is identical. There are many righteous angels—which one should he send to Joseph Smith?
On the American continent, the ancient records compiled by the prophets had been passed down from father to son for generations, and had finally been passed to a serious young man, Mormon. He was given the task of abridging them and compiling them into one record. As he did this, he witnessed the downfall of the entire Nephite nation, but lived long enough to pass these records on to his son Moroni. As custodian of the records, Moroni sought to stay hidden from his enemies, for they would have killed him and destroyed the record if they would have found him. For more than three decades, he wandered from place to place alone. During this time, he abridged the records of another fallen people—the Jaredites, and added them to the records kept by his father. Moroni had no one to whom he could pass the records, and as he buried them, he prayed that they might be the means of saving a future society from a similar destruction. Imagine his emotions, when 1400 years later, he received the opportunity to pass the sacred record to a righteous prophet of the latter days. No wonder his feet did not touch the floor when he appeared to young Joseph Smith in his bedroom on the evening of September 21, 1823.
Joseph hadn’t received any additional revelations since his experience in the grove. Yet God still had a work for him to do. Moroni would help him to understand the mission the Lord had foreordained him to do. The work Joseph was called to do is connected to what God asks of each of us. How are we helping to fulfill the ancient prophecies quoted by Moroni?
God has a work for me to do.
God has a work for you to do, just as He did for Joseph Smith. Finding out just what God has in mind for you to do in this life might be the most important information you will ever acquire. Ponder this invitation from President Russell M. Nelson:
“Ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, how He feels about you and your mission here on earth. If you ask with real intent, over time the Spirit will whisper the life-changing truth to you. . . . I promise you that when you begin to catch even a glimpse of how your Heavenly Father sees you and what He is counting on you to do for Him, your life will never be the same!” (“Becoming True Millennials” [worldwide devotional for young adults, Jan. 10, 2016], broadcasts.ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
Over ten years ago, I experienced an epiphany in this arena when I attended BYU Women’s Conference in April of 2010. General Relief Society President Julie Beck was the keynote speaker and her words struck me with great force:
As I have contemplated what it means to choose to serve the Lord, I’ve thought of some of the last words my father spoke to me just a couple of weeks ago. He passed away about ten days ago, and just before his passing we spent a quiet hour together. I had gone to visit him, and he was tired and didn’t feel like talking, but as I was leaving, he called me back, and talked without stopping for almost an hour. He kept asking me over and over again, “What is your mission?” What is my mission? Why are we on earth?
He reiterated that we are here to develop ourselves and build the kingdom of God. He said, “I have had an impression, and I think very deeply of the mission we have to serve before the Lord and how we have been called by the vision of prophets, and how the vision of the house of Israel is upon us.” He then reviewed the blessings of the families and the blessings we each have—the blessings of baptism, the Holy Ghost, the priesthood, the temple, of eternal life. He reiterated that there is a difference in what we choose to devote our lives to. Taking care of our posterity takes precedence over all other things. “Do you see the panorama of this family?” he said. “Think of the achievement of purpose our family has come to the earth to perform. A vision of our family is the vision of our purpose before the Lord.” “What is your mission?” has rung in my ears for days.
Sister Beck said that she had spent quite a few months studying about Rebekah from the Old Testament. She said, “I have been taken by her mission and what she had to do. I love Rebekah and I have learned so much from her. I feel that she is one of the women at the head of the house of Israel, and as my father spoke about the house of Israel, her life and mission was in my mind.” Sister Beck said she loved studying Rebekah’s characteristics—her circumstances, her blessings, her journeys, her family, her experiences, and her challenges. She observed that her mortal experience was very full, and that it had its highs and its lows. She felt Rebekah was “one of the most pivotal and important people in the history of mankind, certainly in the house of Israel.” The next sentence she spoke is the one that affected me profoundly:
Without a Rebekah, the house of Israel would not have been brought forth. Without a Rebekah who knew who she was, the house of Israel would not have been brought forth. Without a Rebekah who knew her responsibilities in the house of Israel, that house would not have come to pass. Without a Rebekah who knew how to receive revelation, the house of Israel would not have been brought forth. Without a Rebekah who understood the blessings of the priesthood, the house of Israel would not have been brought forth.
It was as if she had been speaking directly to me. I had been exploring which direction I should pursue next in my life, and this was a clear answer. The lesson Sister Beck learned from all the hours and months she spent studying Rebekah and her family is that each of us in our day is as important to our generation and to our time as Rebekah was in her time. Sister Beck concluded, “We each are pivotal in our families, and the success of the house of Israel is now dependent on millions of Rebekah’s who understand what their place and mission is on the earth. Each of us is a daughter of heavenly parents, and as part of the house of Israel, we come from royal blood. When we choose our mission, we have power and influence in that royal house and in the Lord’s work. He is depending on us.”
Sister Beck emphasized that Rebekah knew and understood the importance of her mission, even though she never lived to see the outcome of her commitment. The blessings she brought to pass are only now unfolding after all these thousands of generations. Sister Beck said, “The house of Israel is being gathered up, the temples being built. This is what she invested her life for. She encouraged us each to study the scriptures with the intent of discovering our individual responsibilities in the house of Israel and to ask ourselves, “How do I fulfill my responsibilities?” She urged us to write down our answers as we read, and promised “you will have a journey of discovery about who you are.” She continued:
It doesn’t matter how long this study takes. Take one month, take ten years, and discover who you are. When you finish studying those questions in the Book of Mormon, study them in the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Old Testament. The Lord knows who you are. He knows what your responsibilities are and how you can fulfill them. Power and strength will come to you as you understand who you are in the Lord’s kingdom. We know that when our priorities are out of order, we lose power. It takes personal revelation every day to help us prioritize and reprioritize and keep at bay the influences of the world that would draw us from what we are to do.
She later made a statement very similar to that made by President Russell M. Nelson quoted at the beginning of this article:
The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important ability that can be acquired in this life. (BYU Women’s Conference, “Choose Ye This Day,” April 29, 2010)
One way we receive personal revelation is through patriarchal blessings.
I received my patriarchal blessing when I graduated from high school. Patriarch Beard was an amazing individual and lived very close to the spirit. I didn’t understand my blessing at the time I received it, and I spent many years trying to figure out what it meant. My blessing said, “Sister Barton, you will work with the youth of the Church. Many will come to you for your counsel and teachings. You will save many from the pitfalls of life. Your influence will be felt far beyond the wards and stakes in which you reside.” I always wondered what that meant. Did it mean that I would work on the General Board of the Church and would meet people from all over the world that I would influence? How else would it beyond the “wards and stakes in which [I] had residence?” When I was pregnant with my first child, I worked for the Young Women department of the Church in the Church Office Building on the top floor. I worked closely with the General Presidency, but I never met even one young woman that I could influence. I was called to work in the YW program in the “wards and stakes in which I resided,” but that didn’t really seem to fit what was promised to me.
I wasn’t until 1994 and I had finished my Master’s Degree at BYU, that I understood what it meant. A good friend who was an Institute teacher asked me if I wanted to teach Institute at Salt Lake Community College, where he was the Institute Director. As I taught there, I met many young people from all over the city who attended SLCC, and I hope I was able to counsel many. While I was there, I met a young man in an Old Testament class. He had been raised in a polygamous family, but did not believe that was the true religion. He was in an Old Testament class so he could begin at the beginning and figure out what was true and what was false. He asked me many questions, and I tried my best to answer them. He told me that he was surprised that I had come close to answering all his questions. He agreed to read the Book of Mormon with me in three months, in order to get “a special blessing from God,” as promised by Elder Loren C. Dunn. Afterwards, he agreed to listen to the missionary discussions in our home. The missionaries thought he was so “golden.” I spoke at his baptism, and attended his wedding in the temple.
Another way to receive personal revelation is through the scriptures.
As a young woman, I got my education and became an English teacher. Although I loved sharing the gospel, I never wanted to go on a mission. At that time, being a RLM, a “returned lady missionary,” carried a giant negative social stigma, so I was reluctant to even think about it. At church one day, my bishop pulled me aside and said, “Diana, if you don’t bring the same young man to church two weeks in a row, I’m going to call you on a mission.” Needless to say, I decided to pray about it.
I prayed to know what the thing of “most worth” to me would be. I decided to use the old “open the scriptures to a random place and point” method of getting an answer. I opened my scriptures and pointed to D&C 15:6 and read, “Behold, the thing that will be of the most worth to you will be to declare repentance to this generation . . .” I wasn’t really looking for that answer, so I said, “Let’s make it two out of three.” I opened again and pointed to the opposite side of the open book. Amazingly, the scripture on that random page read exactly the same as the last page had: “Behold, the thing that will be of the most worth to you will be to declare repentance to this generation…” (D&C 16:6) Two out of three said the identical thing—I had received my answer.
I am certain that many others have received personal revelation through the scriptures. I would like to share one such experience. A little over a year ago, we visited the Rome Temple as part of a cruise group that catered to members of the Church. One Sunday, at a sacrament meeting held in the ship’s disco, one of the employees bore his testimony. He was born in the Dominican Republic but had moved with his family to Milan, Italy and joined the Church when he was nine years old. At sixteen, he was diagnosed with a disease which prevented his body from producing hormones. The doctor told him that his bones would never grow, and that he would not be able to father children. He was deeply disappointed and confessed that he was mad at God because he wanted to serve a mission and have a family. He asked, “Why was God playing this joke on me?” He flew from Italy to the Dominican Republic to talk to his bishop. He got his patriarchal blessing there, which stated that he would serve a mission. He went back to Italy and visited the same doctor. This time she said that he could serve a mission! He turned in his mission papers and waited for his call. He waited and waited, but he learned that his application had been rejected three times. He still had hope, and continued waiting. Finally, his call came. He didn’t open it for three days. At last, and with great anticipation, he opened his call. He was to serve in the Italy Milan Mission. He couldn’t believe it! He would be working right in his home stake. He called Church Headquarters to make sure there was no mistake. But there was none—he was called to Milan…
Again, he grew angry at the Lord. Satan’s voice said to him, “You don’t need to serve a mission. Just stay home.” He told our group, “I was the only one in my family that earned a salary. My mother had just lost her job. Her boyfriend was bad news. I went to the temple in Switzerland to find answers to my questions about my assignment to serve in Milan. In the celestial room of the Swiss Temple, I read these verses: D&C 111:1-8. “I, the Lord your God, am not displeased with your coming on this journey, notwithstanding your follies. . . I have much treasure in this city for you, for the benefit of Zion, and many people in this city, whom I will gather out in due time for the benefit of Zion, through your instrumentality. . . And it shall come to pass in due time that I will give this city into your hands. . . Concern not yourselves about your debts, for I will give you power to pay them. . . Tarry in this place, and the regions round about; and the place where it is my will that you should tarry, for the main, shall be signalized unto you by the peace and power of my Spirit, that shall flow unto you.”
This young elder felt that this scripture was given to him alone. He served in Milan in seven different areas—five in which he rode a bike. Mercifully, he had no problems with his bones. He grew tall. He was supposed to go to his doctor every three months, but he did not need to go even once. He was a powerful force in helping the less active in his area. Who would have guessed that this young man would be guided to this particular scripture, and that it would contain such a profound answer to the question he was so diligently seeking.
The Restoration of the gospel fulfilled ancient prophecies.
Moroni quoted to Joseph several Old and New Testament prophecies, such as Isaiah 11; Acts 3:22–23; and Joel 2:28–32. In a previous article, I wrote about the fulfillment of Isaiah 29:4, 11–18. These verses discuss Isaiah’s prophecy about a “sealed book.”
In February 1828, Martin Harris took a “journey east to New York City with a transcription of some of the characters on the [golden] plates to show them to scholars. Perhaps he wanted additional reassurance that the plates were authentic, or he may have thought a testimonial would help them borrow money to publish the translation. In any event, he insisted that the Lord had prompted him to make the trip.
“At the time, neither Joseph nor Martin knew much about the language on the plates. They knew only as much as the angel Moroni had told Joseph: that it was an ancient American record. Thus, rather than seeking a scholar with a knowledge of Egyptian (Joseph later learned that the language on the plates was called ‘reformed Egyptian’), Martin visited several scholars with an interest in antiquities, especially American antiquities.
“… [Among the scholars Martin visited was] Charles Anthon, a young professor of grammar and linguistics at Columbia College. Anthon had been collecting American Indian stories and speeches for publication and was eager to inspect the document Martin brought him.
“Martin claimed that Anthon declared the characters authentic until he learned how Joseph Smith had acquired them. He suggested Martin bring him the plates. Martin refused, and Anthon replied, paraphrasing a verse in Isaiah, ‘I cannot read a sealed book.’ Though Anthon later denied the details of Martin’s account of their meeting, we do know this: Martin came away from his visits with the eastern scholars more convinced than ever that Joseph Smith was called of God and that the plates and characters were ancient. He and Joseph viewed the visit to Anthon as a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (also mentioned in the Book of Mormon itself) of ‘a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed’ [Isaiah 29:11; see also 2 Nephi 27:15–18]”
Professor Anthon fits Nephi’s description of the learned man. One notes the exactness of the prophecy— the unlearned one was given the book and the words, while the learned man was only given the words even though he asked for the book. The man who was not learned was Joseph Smith, who had only received a few years of formal schooling. He was wholly incapable of reading it or translating it on his own. The utter impossibility of Joseph Smith producing it in any other way than in the way he described—by the gift and power of God, is a significant witness for the truth of the Book of Mormon.
I had my own personal experience with the power of this prophecy by Isaiah. When I was in graduate school at BYU in 1994, I was asked by a friend to give a business associate from the Czech Republic a tour of BYU. However, I was told that since he was a heavy smoker, I would need to take him off campus once in a while so he could do so. And so it happened that Mirek Mierejovski, a retired preacher from the Czech Republic from the Church of Christ Brotherhood, the Czech national religion, visited my Old Testament class at BYU when Isaiah 29 was discussed. He seemed riveted to the discussion of Martin Harris taking the characters to Charles Anthon. When the class was over, I made my way out into the crowded hall, thinking my guest was following right behind me. I panicked as I searched the hall and there was no sign of him! I turned around and returned to the classroom, and there he was, deep in discussion with the teacher. He said that he had read these verses countless times during his life, but this was the first time anyone had provided an explanation as to their meaning. He was enchanted and entranced! He wanted to know more! He loved the Church more and more as he learned about the “marvelous work and a wonder” of the Restoration. From that day on, I never looked at that chapter from Isaiah without great gratitude for my knowledge of its importance. I marveled that a prophet such as Isaiah would have recorded the details of such a specific event in Church history so long before it took place.
Elijah came to turn my heart to my ancestors.
President Henry B. Eyring said: “It is important to know why the Lord promised to send Elijah. Elijah was a great prophet with great power given him by God. He held the greatest power God gives to His children: he held the sealing power, the power to bind on earth and have it bound in heaven” (“Hearts Bound Together,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2005, 78).
As Institute instructors, we were encouraged to teach the Plan of Salvation to our students before each new course of study, so that they would be able to see clearly how the doctrines taught in that particular course of study fit into the great plan. In 2009, Sister Beck (while serving as the General Relief Society President) spoke in a broadcast address to seminary and institute of religion teachers. As she presented the plan of salvation through the lens of the family, I was impressed at how simple it really was. She said:
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have a theology of the family that is based on the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement. The Creation of the earth provided a place where families could live. God created a man and a woman who were the two essential halves of a family. It was part of Heavenly Father’s plan that Adam and Eve be sealed and form an eternal family.
The Fall provided a way for the family to grow. Adam and Eve were family leaders who chose to have a mortal experience. The Fall made it possible for them to have sons and daughters.
The Atonement allows for the family to be sealed together eternally. It allows for families to have eternal growth and perfection. The plan of happiness, also called the plan of salvation, was a plan created for families. The rising generation need to understand that the main pillars of our theology are centered in the family.
When we speak of qualifying for the blessings of eternal life, we mean qualifying for the blessings of eternal families. This was Christ’s doctrine, and it was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. It is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 2:1–3:
“Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
“And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.
“If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.”
This scripture is talking about temple blessings—ordinances and covenants without which “the whole earth [is] utterly wasted.”
“The Family: A Proclamation to the World” was written to reinforce that the family is central to the Creator’s plan. Without the family, there is no plan; there is no reason for mortal life.
(Julie Beck, Teaching the Doctrine of the Family, Address to Seminary and Institute Teachers, 2009)
One of my favorite things about the restored gospel is its power to reach beyond the grave, and provide ordinances and covenants for all of God’s children, no matter where or when they lived upon the earth. This doctrine is unknown to other Christians. I would like to share a personal experience I had while on a night flight to Europe a few years ago. The plane wasn’t totally full, so there were lots of empty seats where people were stretched out and sleeping. During the early hours of the morning, I visited the “facilities” at the front of the plane. When I came out, I noticed a young woman sitting on the front row with all the lights on and an open Bible next to her. I said, “Is that a Bible? I love people who love the Bible!” That started the conversation, which lasted for almost two hours. Her name was Courtney and she was from New Orleans and was traveling to Munich to stay with her stepfather and family. We hit it off immediately! I told her that I loved to read the Bible in the original languages, and that I taught religion. She said she was also taking Hebrew and studying the Bible in some kind of seminary. She and her boyfriend were both devout Christians and because they were going to be away from each other for two weeks, they had devised a scripture project to work on. She was using her Bible to add scriptures to this long “letter” they were both involved with .
Courtney told me what she believed about Christ and I told her that I agreed with everything single thing that she said. Then she asked me what was different about the church I believed in and mainstream Christianity. I told her that the main difference was that our church was a restored church, brought back to the original way the church was at the time of Christ.
I asked her if she thought baptism was an essential ordinance for salvation. “Absolutely,” she replied. I asked her, “What about all the people who have lived and died without even hearing about Christ. How would they receive baptism?” She said she didn’t know, but said, “We need to be better missionaries!” I pointed out that many people had already died without this opportunity and I asked her what she thought would happen to them. Again, she said she didn’t know, but hoped that a way would be provided that they could enter the kingdom of heaven.
I quoted Moroni’s words from Malachi 4 about Elijah coming and turning our hearts to our fathers—our ancestors. I read her 1 Corinthians 15:29, about baptism for the dead. She had never thought about that scripture before. I told her about the plan of salvation and that I believed that the spirit of each person was not conceived with the physical body, but that it had existed eternally before our birth, just like Jesus’s spirit had existed before he was born. She had never heard that concept before! We read other scriptures including Jeremiah 1:5, alluding to his call even before his birth. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” She was very surprised to hear about this new doctrine!
I talked to her about the necessity of baptism, and she agreed that yes, everyone needs to be baptized, and by immersion. I asked her what she thought the Lord had in mind for people who lived in Tibet or other places where they would not hear about the Lord. Again, she did not know. I told her that the Lord that I believe in had a plan that would not prohibit anyone from receiving his love and his kingdom of glory. I said that according to 1 Peter 3:16-18 and 1 Peter 4:6, Jesus visited the spirit world during the time he was in the tomb, and preached the gospel to the spirits there. Then, if they accepted the truth, vicarious baptism on their behalf would qualify them for entrance into God’s kingdom. She said, “I would like to believe that!”
She repeated that phrase about ten times during our conversation. The spirit was strong as we shared the scriptures together. We read the parable about the rich man and Lazarus together, and she said, “What about the great gulf that exists between those two men?” I answered, “That is what missionary work in the spirit world is all about. The Lord likes to make sure everyone has a chance to hear the gospel and accept it.” Again she said, “I would like to believe that!” She asked me if I would like to pray together. I said yes, and there, in the front row of the airplane, we each prayed.
I have a testimony that we are indeed blessed as we participate in family history and temple work. One of my husband’s ancestors who was born in 1675, long before the restoration of Elijah’s keys, had an amazing experience. He recorded it in his will, as a legacy to be passed down to his posterity:
There is a legacy left to me by my father who was left it by his father to be passed on to my heirs. My father John, a righteous, just, forgiving man was told in a dream that the time was nearing when Jesus Christ would return to set up his Kingdom. It will not happen during my lifetime, nor that of my children, and perhaps not my grandchildren. But the time will come soon when believers may become members in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Having grieved over not being here when that time comes, because I will have layed this body to rest long since, I prayed enquiring after the believers and followers of Jesus who have gone to their Eternal Rest. As I prayed, a calm peace surrounded me and I felt his Presence. I was assured that there will be a way for the dead to enter the Kingdom. Because of the Spirit that thrilled me while in the Presence, I am sure it will be so.
Elder Dale G. Renlund has pointed out many of the blessings available to us as we turn our hearts to our fathers in his address, “Family History and Temple Work: Sealing and Healing,” (Ensign or Liahona, May 2018, 46–49).
When God directs us to do one thing, He often has many purposes in mind. Family history and temple work is not only for the dead but blesses the living as well. For Orson and Parley, it turned their hearts to each other. Family history and temple work provided the power to heal that which needed healing.
As Church members, we do have a divinely appointed responsibility to seek out our ancestors and compile family histories. This is far more than an encouraged hobby, because the ordinances of salvation are necessary for all of God’s children. We are to identify our own ancestors who died without receiving the ordinances of salvation. We can perform the ordinances vicariously in temples, and our ancestors may choose to accept the ordinances. We are also encouraged to help ward and stake members with their family names. It is breathtakingly amazing that, through family history and temple work, we can help to redeem the dead.
But as we participate in family history and temple work today, we also lay claim to “healing” blessings promised by prophets and apostles. These blessings are also breathtakingly amazing because of their scope, specificity, and consequence in mortality. This long list includes these blessings:
- Increased understanding of the Savior and His atoning sacrifice;
- Increased influence of the Holy Ghost to feel strength and direction for our own lives;
- Increased faith, so that conversion to the Savior becomes deep and abiding;
- Increased ability and motivation to learn and repent because of an understanding of who we are, where we come from, and a clearer vision of where we are going;
- Increased refining, sanctifying, and moderating influences in our hearts;
- Increased joy through an increased ability to feel the love of the Lord;
- Increased family blessings, no matter our current, past, or future family situation or how imperfect our family tree may be;
- Increased love and appreciation for ancestors and living relatives, so we no longer feel alone;
- Increased power to discern that which needs healing and thus, with the Lord’s help, serve others;
- Increased protection from temptations and the intensifying influence of the adversary; and
- Increased assistance to mend troubled, broken, or anxious hearts and make the wounded whole.
If you have prayed for any of these blessings, participate in family history and temple work. As you do so, your prayers will be answered. When ordinances are performed on behalf of the deceased, God’s children on earth are healed. No wonder President Russell M. Nelson, in his first message as President of the Church, declared, “Your worship in the temple and your service there for your ancestors will bless you with increased personal revelation and peace and will fortify your commitment to stay on the covenant path.”
God, in His infinite capacity, seals and heals individuals and families despite tragedy, loss, and hardship. We sometimes compare the feelings we experience in temples as having caught a glimpse of heaven. That day in the Provo Utah Temple, this statement by C. S. Lewis resonated with me: “[Mortals] say of some temporal suffering, ‘No future bliss can make up for it,’ not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. The Blessed will say, ‘We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven.’”
We are so blessed to live in a day that our ancestors could only dream of. Elijah has come and restored the sealing power to the earth. Our families can indeed receive the vicarious gift of baptism as Paul taught the Corinthian saints. According to D&C 128:18, “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. . . For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect . . . the dispensation of the fulness of times of times 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.”
The plan of happiness, also called the plan of salvation, was a plan created for families. Indeed, the Creation of the earth provided a place where families could live. God created a man and a woman who were the two essential halves of a family. The Fall provided a way for the family to grow. Adam and Eve were family leaders who chose to have a mortal experience. The Fall made it possible for them to have sons and daughters.The Atonement allows for the family to be sealed together eternally, and to have eternal growth and perfection. Just as God had a work for the Prophet Joseph Smith to do, he also has a work for each one of us to do. May we seek the Spirit with real intent to learn what it is that our Heavenly Father is counting on us to do. As President Nelson has said, when we catch a glimpse of how God sees us, “[our] life will never be the same!”