Joseph F. Smith - Section 138

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AmyJ
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Joseph F. Smith - Section 138

Post by AmyJ » 03 Jul 2018, 11:30

We are studying about the Post-Mortal Ministry of Jesus Christ this week - specifically section 138 which includes Joseph F. Smith's vision of the spirits of those who had passed on being organized into teachers of the gospel or being taught the gospel.

"But behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead. And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel. Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets. These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. And all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit." - D&C 138:30-34

NOTES:
  • He had this vision roughly 4-6 weeks before his death (at 80 years of age).Could it be influenced by his impending death from pleurisy/pneumonia?
  • He had 5 plural wives and 50 children (5 of them were adopted). He grew up among and taking care of family.Could this be tied into his vision of humanity as part of the family of God?
  • He was one of the participants in the exodus from Nauvoo and settling Utah - both of which were largely communal efforts. It makes sense to me that salvation would be a communal endeavor as well - which is a theme of this section of the D&C actually.
To me, one of the landmarks of this vision is that it shows people actively doing something in "heaven" besides singing in angelic choirs in a peaceful environment. The older I get, the more valuable I find the moments of peace in my life - but the more I want to be doing/creating/becoming something instead of sitting idly.

Why do we want to believe his version of "heaven" - of life after this one?

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Heber13
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Re: Joseph F. Smith - Section 138

Post by Heber13 » 03 Jul 2018, 11:47

AmyJ wrote:
03 Jul 2018, 11:30
He had this vision roughly 4-6 weeks before his death (at 80 years of age).Could it be influenced by his impending death from pleurisy/pneumonia?
I definitely think so. Being influenced by the circumstances in mortality seem to be logical catalysts to the mystical experiences.
AmyJ wrote:
03 Jul 2018, 11:30
He grew up among and taking care of family.Could this be tied into his vision of humanity as part of the family of God?
It would make sense his thoughts are influenced by what his mind has experienced and is focused on instead of the theory the prophet was a blank page and God came out of nowhere to write things out of the blue about the mysterious of God. yes...what he was experiencing influenced his vision experiences and dreams.
AmyJ wrote:
03 Jul 2018, 11:30
It makes sense to me that salvation would be a communal endeavor as well
Agreed. Again...from his perspective...he might have seen things that made sense to him.
AmyJ wrote:
03 Jul 2018, 11:30
but the more I want to be doing/creating/becoming something instead of sitting idly.
In moderation. Doing nothing would eventually become boring (although a nice break from this life for a time, I'm not sure it would be nice for eternity).
AmyJ wrote:
03 Jul 2018, 11:30
Why do we want to believe his version of "heaven" - of life after this one?
I want to believe it is something better than this life, which is hard and painful. I want to believe it is all the good things I want, and none of the bad (probably unrealistic).

But...eternity involving missionary work is not my idea of heaven. Being busy...yes...but busy doing church work forever...hm...don't want that.

It's interesting to think about what I would spend time on if I didn't need food or money. A vacation by the beach sure sounds to be perfect. But vacations are usually good because they are a short period away from the familiar. Once it becomes familiar...where do you go for the same feeling? I hope eternity isn't constantly seeking what I don't have...wishing for something else...but actually happy and content with what I do have.

My guess is it will look nothing like D&C 138.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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dande48
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Re: Joseph F. Smith - Section 138

Post by dande48 » 03 Jul 2018, 12:29

I think Joseph F Smith was trying to balance two ideas:

1. Salvation is available to everyone, whether in this life or the next, and God is going to provide every opportunity for their salvation.
2. The Redemptive work is of the most absolute importance and urgency, both in this life and the world to come.

In other words, you better join the Church now, ASAP, and endure to the end, as this could be your only chance. BUT those who rejected the gospel or didn't hear of it will get a chance in the next life. It's almost contradictory and sort of needs to be. Why would you want salvation if you can't be with your family?

I've also heard that any faithful parent who makes it to the celestial kingdom will have all their children saved with them, even if those children should fall away.
"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."
But if you follow it to its logical conclusion, that means if not everyone is saved, it must be all Eve's fault, because if she was faithful, her kids would be saved, and their kids would be saved, etc, etc.

I guess my point is, certain people are better off believing one thing, and others are better off believing another, even if those two beliefs are contradictory. What's true doesn't matter so much as what is useful, because it helps the community to carry on. Whatever beliefs you hold on to, concerning heaven, is only matters so much as it helps you to get there. Whether the beliefs are factually true doesn't matter.
Last edited by dande48 on 03 Jul 2018, 20:37, edited 1 time in total.
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DarkJedi
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Re: Joseph F. Smith - Section 138

Post by DarkJedi » 03 Jul 2018, 14:38

AmyJ wrote:
03 Jul 2018, 11:30
  • He had this vision roughly 4-6 weeks before his death (at 80 years of age).Could it be influenced by his impending death from pleurisy/pneumonia?
Certainly. Illnesses do all kinds of things to the brain. Is it also possible it was truly a Godly vision? Yes.
  • He had 5 plural wives and 50 children (5 of them were adopted). He grew up among and taking care of family.Could this be tied into his vision of humanity as part of the family of God?
IMO it's highly likely he saw what he wanted to see (confirmation bias)
  • He was one of the participants in the exodus from Nauvoo and settling Utah - both of which were largely communal efforts. It makes sense to me that salvation would be a communal endeavor as well - which is a theme of this section of the D&C actually.
I actually like the theme. I think far too many parents of "wayward" children or spouses fail to understand it.



I think we want to believe their is something more. I don't know what that is but it seems to pretty much anything could become old hat after even only a small part of eternity.

As to the revelation itself, almost all of Joseph Smith's revelations were in answer to something he asked about. If that is the pattern then it makes sense that as he was about to leave a world and family he loved, Joseph F. may well have had a similar experience.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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DarkJedi
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Re: Joseph F. Smith - Section 138

Post by DarkJedi » 03 Jul 2018, 14:47

dande48 wrote:
03 Jul 2018, 12:29


I've also heard that any faithful parent who makes it to the celestial kingdom will have all their children saved with them, even if those children should fall away.
"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."
I have heard similar quotes Dande. Where is this from? I ask because I have an upcoming talk in which I'd like to use it.

FWIW, I think this is much more of a group effort than we sometimes think and that it's more about all of humanity (God's children) being together than it is about individual families.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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dande48
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Re: Joseph F. Smith - Section 138

Post by dande48 » 03 Jul 2018, 20:35

DarkJedi wrote:
03 Jul 2018, 14:47
I have heard similar quotes Dande. Where is this from? I ask because I have an upcoming talk in which I'd like to use it.
I came across the quote in this ensign article (March 2014). It was written by Bednar, and he delves into the topic pretty deep, in a way explaining the apparent contraction between parents saving their kids and personal agency/accountability. Hope it helps.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
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Roy
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Re: Joseph F. Smith - Section 138

Post by Roy » 04 Jul 2018, 12:53

I created a new thread to discuss in more detail the promises made to the faithful LDS parents of wayward children

viewtopic.php?f=6&p=126533#p126533
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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Joseph F. Smith - Section 138

Post by Curt Sunshine » 04 Jul 2018, 22:08

Why do I like this version of Heaven?

Sitting around verbally praising God eternally would be Hell for me - as the praiser or as God, frankly.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Re: Joseph F. Smith - Section 138

Post by SamBee » 10 Jul 2018, 10:29

Curt Sunshine wrote:
04 Jul 2018, 22:08
Why do I like this version of Heaven?

Sitting around verbally praising God eternally would be Hell for me - as the praiser or as God, frankly.
As a literal representation, yes, but I don't think that was ever intended.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
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