The Lord gives a warning in the Doctrine & Covenants
And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received–
Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written–
That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion. D&C 84:54:58
This warning applies specifically to the Book of Mormon and the covenants contained therein.
Though, I am a big advocate of the Book of Mormon, and read it every year, I confess that I have been as guilty of taking the Book of Mormon lightly. There are so many passages that I just gloss over, and never fully read, assuming that I already know what is being said, or that a passage that is hard to understand is just something quirky and can be safely ignored.
The Book of Mormon claims to restore the “plain and precious truths” that have been removed from the Bible. D&C 20:9 claims that the Book of Mormon contains “the fullness of the Gospel”. But, at the same time, the Book of Mormon has come under criticism for adding nothing new to the Bible.
Lets take these points in reverse order.
I wrote a paper a couple of years ago pointing about 10 items that the Book of Mormon taught which were not found in the Bible, and if the doctrine was found in the Bible, the Book of Mormon shed additional light on it. I have come to realize that my treatise was quite shallow, and had missed the most important truths that were hidden in the Book of Mormon right in plain sight.
The biggest point that I missed were all the ascension experiences in the Book of Mormon. I have constantly pointed out to Sunday School classes and online discussion groups that the Book of Mormon encourages us all to seek and obtain such experiences for ourselves, but I failed to realize is that the Book of Mormon is a how-to guide for us. First Nephi and the visit of Christ in Third Nephi show what we must do in order to have our own personal visit with Christ.
Shocked? Does that sound new and radical to you? The Book of Mormon shows us how. It’s a “here’s who by who’s who”.
Christ promised all his disciples, that he would send another Comforter. We haven’t experienced the fulness of all that the Gospel has for us until we obtain this Second Comforter. The Book of Mormon explains how each person may obtain this for themselves, so the Book of Mormon really does contain the fulness of the Gospel, something only hinted at in the New Testament. These are the plainest and most precious truths that have been taken away.
The principles of the Second Comforter and the Holy Spirit of Promise are something we take lightly in the church. We tend to think the Second Comforter is only for “special people” like apostles, and we read about the Holy Spirit of Promise in Section 132, in connection with temple marriage, and when people ask about it, they get some vague or incorrect definition.
The Holy Ghost is the Holy Spirit of Promise. He confirms as acceptable to God the righteous acts, ordinances, and covenants of men. The Holy Spirit of Promise witnesses to the Father that the saving ordinances have been performed properly and that the covenants associated with them have been kept.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie in his book Mormon Doctrine clarifies this further. He states, “The Holy Spirit of Promise is the Holy Spirit promised the saints, or in other words the Holy Ghost. This name-title is used in connection with the sealing and ratifying power of the Holy Ghost,
NO. The Holy Spirit of Promise is Christ’s witness to you.
Lets get the true definition from Joseph Smith:
After a person hath faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted, etc. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John, in the 14th chapter, from the 12th to the 27th verses.
Now, what is this other Comforter? It is no more or less than the LORD JESUS CHRIST himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even he will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.150-1)
It’s promised to everyone in D&C 93:1 :
Verily, thus saith the Lord:
It shall come to pass that every soul
who forsaketh his sins
and cometh unto me,
and calleth on my name,
and obeyeth my voice,
and keepeth my commandments,
shall see my face and know that I am;
Back this up with some scripture:
88:3. Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John.
88:4. This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom;
The Holy Spirit of Promise IS the Second Comforter.
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
John 14:10 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
These are not just idle words or figurative language.
Eph. 1:13-14 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance …
When you put in an offer to buy a house, you present the seller with an offer together with a nominal amount of money. The money is called “earnest money”. It tells the seller you are earnest about buying the house.
Both Peter and John taught the early-day saints about this principle:
2 Peter 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
1 John 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
1 John 3:9 (JST) Whosoever is born of God doth not continue in sin; for the Spirit of God remaineth in him; and he cannot continue in sin, because he is born of God, having received that holy Spirit of promise.
There is an office that used to be in the LDS church, called “Patriarch to the Church” or “Presiding Patriarch”. It entails far more than just giving Patriarchal Blessings, and far more than simply described here. Why this calling was eliminated is also beyond the scope of this article.
124:124. First, I give unto you Hyrum Smith to be a patriarch unto you, to hold the sealing blessings of my church, even the Holy Spirit of promise, whereby ye are sealed up unto the day of redemption, that ye may not fall notwithstanding the hour of temptation that may come upon you.
Man can perform the ordinance, which is an invitation to prepare for the coming of Christ to you, personally, to give you the promise of eternal life. Many church members in high leadership positions, who have received the Second Anointing, have supposed that this automatically qualifies them to have a personal interview with the Savior, perhaps even in the temple and in conjunction with receiving this outward ordinance, but when they failed to receive this visitation, they conclude that the church is false and has misled them.
What they don’t understand is that while the Second Anointing is secretly given out to select church leaders and their wives in consequence of their service and devotion to the church. The Lord comes to you in consequence of your service and devotion to HIM.
Here is an apt description of those who have been disappointed and disillusioned.
58:29. But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.
58:30. Who am I that made man, saith the Lord, that will hold him guiltless that obeys not my commandments?
58:31. Who am I, saith the Lord, that have promised and have not fulfilled?
58:32. I command and men obey not; I revoke and they receive not the blessing.
58:33. Then they say in their hearts: This is not the work of the Lord, for his promises are not fulfilled. But wo unto such, for their reward lurketh beneath, and not from above.
They fail to understand the principles upon which this blessing is predicated, which are given in the Book of Mormon. They also fail to understand this admonition:
“Brethren and Sisters, if you are true and faithful, the day will come when you will be chosen, called-up and anointed Kings and Queens Priests and Priestesses, whereas you are now anointed to become such. The realization of these blessings depends upon your faithfulness.”
This admonition is given early on in the temple Endowment ceremony and could well refer to the actual visitation of the Lord, rather than the Second Anointing ceremony.
Is this visitation just a nice reward for service and sacrifice for those lucky enough to receive it, or is it a requirement for entrance into the Celestial Kingdom:
D&C 76:53. And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.
D&C 76 also refers to those who “receive the testimony of Jesus in the flesh”. This is more than just listening to the missionaries bear testimony of Christ. It is the testimony of Jesus to you that you are an inheritor of eternal life.
Is it enough just to marry somebody in the temple, and your exaltation is assured? Better read the conditions upon which this blessing is predicated. This is one time when it really pays to read the fine print. This is the New and Everlasting Covenent, and It includes more than just marriage, but lets just confine it to marriage for purposes of this discussion.
D&C 132:7. And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these:
that are not:
made and entered into
and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise,
of him who is anointed,
both as well for time and for all eternity,
and that too most holy,
by revelation and commandment
through the medium of mine anointed,
whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power … ,
are of no
in and after the resurrection from the dead;
for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.
This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and he wants to be more than a silent partner in your life. I hope these scriptures show you that He must be an active participant in your life and salvation, and everything that pertains thereto.
Two more passages are applicable:
“For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.” Alma 32:32
“O be wise; what can I say more?” Jacob 6:12
Here is a further discussion:
The sealing word of God; it must confirm or ratify a sealing for it to become eternal.
All mankind’s ordinances contemplate a further ratification from heaven. If one does not obtain this promise sealed by God, through His word — sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise — then there is no promise as pertaining to the ordinance. The only thing that will endure is that which is established by God or, more completely, through His word, which is then sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.
The sealing of things through the Holy Spirit of Promise must come in mortality. This hope is to be gained in mortality as a gift of faith to empower the recipient to be able to claim it in the next life. Mortality is the time and place for obtaining faith and hope. When out of this life, the season for faith has passed, and the opportunity for hope has ended. It cannot be developed there.