(October 2002 TG Entry: Transfiguration, BD Mount of Transfiguration)
Transfiguration might be described as the impact upon one from seeing God.
Transfiguration is necessary because God has a physical body, and the glory of his physical being would consume other, less pure things. Because the Holy Ghost does not have a physical body, he can come upon us without affect the physical elements around us. Thus transfiguration is only necessary to endure the presence of God the Father and God the Son, not God the Holy Ghost.
The Spirit must be present
10 And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual.
11 For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God.
12 Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind.
13 Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected.
14 Let not your minds turn back; and when ye are worthy, in mine own due time, ye shall see and know that which was conferred upon you by the hands of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun. Amen.
A great example of this is Moses.
2 And he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence.
11 But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him.
Moses 7:3 heavens open, and I was clothed upon with glory
The person is aware of the change that has taken place
12 And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words, he touched every one of them with his finger save it were the three who were to tarry, and then he departed.
13 And behold, the heavens were opened, and they were caught up into heaven, and saw and heard unspeakable things.
14 And it was forbidden them that they should utter; neither was it given unto them power that they could utter the things which they saw and heard;
15 And whether they were in the body or out of the body, they could not tell; for it did seem unto them like a transfiguration of them, that they were changed from this body of flesh into an immortal state, that they could behold the things of God.
D&C 76:12 by the power of the Spirit our eyes were opened
The change is evident to others, even after the experience
- Moses’ face shown after speaking with God (Ex. 34:29 skin of his face shone while he talked with him, and 2 Cor. 3:7 Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory).
- The Savior was transfigured before the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration and his face did shine (Matt. 17:2 (Mark 9:2) t. before them: and his face did shine. Read also BD Mount of Transfiguration).
- Others saw the fire encircling Nephi and Lehi, the small children, and the Savior’s 12 Disciples. (Hel. 5:23 (3 Ne. 17:24; 3 Ne. 19:14) encircled about as if by fire).
- The Savior’s 12 Disciples were encircled by fire, and were pure white (3 Ne. 19:25 they were as white as the countenance … of Jesus. 3 Ne. 19:14 encircled about as if by fire)
IV All Celestial Will Undergo
It is a change we all must undergo, now or on resurrection morning, if we desire to live with God
20 Nevertheless, he that endureth in faith and doeth my will, the same shall overcome, and shall receive an inheritance upon the earth when the day of transfiguration shall come;
21 When the earth shall be transfigured, even according to the pattern which was shown unto mine apostles upon the mount; of which account the fulness ye have not yet received.
Ultimately the Gospel is a Gospel of change. It changes us from who we are today, to who God would have us be. We undergo a change a baptism by water, baptism by fire, sanctification, justification, and ultimately resurrection and exaltation. If we undergo a transfiguration, we might know, with the more sure word of prophecy that we are on the right path of change.
16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
2 Pet. 1:7 voice to him from the excellent glory (Note the Reference is wrong. It should be 2 Pet. 1:17)
Battle Hymn of the Republic (60)
In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me.
As he died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on.
See also Dan. 3:22–27; JS-H 1:17.