These thoughts have been developing now over a few years.
13 Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—
15 And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.
3 Ne. 27:13–16 (Emphasis added)
The word “draw” connotes a willing choice. What could cause people to choose to go to Judgment Day? The most likely answer is that all will want to have a body back. All will choose to go because they want a body, they will search high a low for how to make that happen, pursuing all types of paths, and find that Christ is the only way; the way, the truth and the literal life of the body.
15 For behold, he surely must die that salvation may come; yea, it behooveth him and becometh expedient that he dieth, to bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, that thereby men may be brought into the presence of the Lord.
16 Yea, behold, this death bringeth to pass the resurrection, and redeemeth all mankind from the first death—that spiritual death; for all mankind, by the fall of Adam being cut off from the presence of the Lord, are considered as dead, both as to things temporal and to things spiritual.
17 But behold, the resurrection of Christ redeemeth mankind, yea, even all mankind, and bringeth them back into the presence of the Lord.
Hel. 14:15–17 (Emphasis added)
It is the resurrection that brings men back into the presence of the Lord. This is immediately followed by the final judgment.
14 For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence.
15 But this cannot be; we must come forth and stand before him in his glory, and in his power, and in his might, majesty, and dominion, and acknowledge to our everlasting shame that all his judgments are just; that he is just in all his works, and that he is merciful unto the children of men, and that he has all power to save every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit meet for repentance.
18 Then, I say unto you, they [the wicked] shall be as though there had been no redemption made; for they cannot be redeemed according to God’s justice; and they cannot die, seeing there is no more corruption.
Alma 12:14–19 (emphasis added)
How will the resurrection be accomplished? President Kimball in Conference in April 1977 in a talk title “Our Great Potential” quoted Brigham Young as follows:
President Brigham Young, the second president of this dispensation, said: “It is supposed by this people that we have all the ordinances in our possession for life and salvation, and exaltation, and that we are administering in those ordinances. This is not the case. …We have not, neither can we receive here, the ordinance and the keys of resurrection.” ….
“[The keys] will be given to those who have passed off this stage of action and have received their bodies again. … They will be ordained, by those who hold the keys of the resurrection, to go forth and resurrect the Saints, just as we receive the ordinance of baptism then receive the keys of authority to baptize others for the remission of their sins. This is one of the ordinances we can not receive here [on the earth], and there are many more.” (JD, 15:137. emphasis added)
Elder McConkie has written:
“Christ, of course, in the ultimate sense holds the keys of the resurrection and of raising souls in immortality, but, as we also know, it is his practice to operate through his servants, and righteous persons will, in due course, participate in calling their loved ones forth in the resurrection.” (“The Millennial Messiah”, pp. 119–20 emphasis added)
The familial aspects of the resurrection morning seem quite clear from this quote from Joseph Smith:
I will tell you what I want. If tomorrow I shall be called to lie in yonder tomb, in the morning of the resurrection let me strike hands with my father, and cry, ‘My father,’ and he will say, ‘My son, my son,’ as soon as the rock rends and before we come out of our graves…
So plain was the vision [of the resurrection], that I actually saw men, before they had ascended from the tomb, as though they were getting up slowly. They took each other by the hand and said to each other, ‘My father, my son, my mother, my daughter, my brother, my sister.’ And when the voice calls for the dead to arise, suppose I am laid by the side of my father, what would be the first joy of my heart? To meet my father, my mother, my brother, my sister; and when they are by my side, I embrace them and they me. (“Chapter 14: Words of Hope and Consolation at the Time of Death,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, (2007),171–81 emphasis added)
Who is likely to receive the keys of the ordinance of resurrection?
19 And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—…and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. (Doctrine and Covenants 132:19–20 Emphasis added)
Why would those who are so resurrected, who have chosen on this earth to live as families, who have hope of perpetuating that family into eternity, why would they not choose to view being resurrected by a righteous Melchizedek priesthood bearer and his eternal companion as a birth, a new birth, an eternal birth, into a family, which can never be destroyed except by their agency. The receipt of a body may be taken as forming—or confirming in the case of the righteous—the parent to child relationship.
If this be the case, then Christ’s role in this realm becomes very clear. Christ is the first fruits of the resurrection:
20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.1 Cor. 15:20–23 emphasis added
After the resurrection, Christ will be in the place of Adam; he will be the progenitor of all. This idea makes so many gospel principles very plain and easy to understand. This scripture becomes literal:
28 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the life and the light of the world….
30 But verily, verily, I say unto you, that as many as receive me, to them will I give power to become the sons of God, evento them that believe on my name. Amen. (Doctrine and Covenants 11:28–30 emphasis added)
The concept of Jesus Christ being the Father and the Son becomes very easy to understand:
And now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people.
2 And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son—
3 The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God [thus giving him the power to effect the resurrection, to be the first in that sphere of exsitence, becoming progenitor of all]; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son—
4 And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth.
Mosiah 15:1–5 emphasis added
Abinadi’s declaration and exposition of Isaiah become even clearer:
10 And now I say unto you, who shall declare his generation? Behold, I say unto you, that when his soul has been made an offering for sin he shall see his seed. And now what say ye? And who shall be his seed?
11 Behold I say unto you, that whosoever has heard the words of the prophets, yea, all the holy prophets who have prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord—I say unto you, that all those who have hearkened unto their words, and believed that the Lord would redeem his people, and have looked forward to that day for a remission of their sins, I say unto you, that these are his seed, or they are the heirs of the kingdom of God.
12 For these are they whose sins he has borne; these are they for whom he has died, to redeem them from their transgressions. And now, are they not his seed?
Mosiah 15:10–13 emphasis added
Taking upon us the name of Christ—we will be his descendants; we will literally be known by his name.
7 And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.
8 And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.
9 And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ.
Mosiah 5:7–10 emphasis added
OK, but if this be the case for the righteous, what about the wicked? They will also be resurrected for all will be resurrected. What is different about them?
For one thing, their resurrected bodies will be different.
70 These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.
71 And again, we saw the terrestrial world, …
78 Wherefore, they are bodies terrestrial, and not bodies celestial, and differ in glory as the moon differs from the sun. (Doctrine and Covenants 76:70–78 emphasis added)
They will also come forward in the last resurrection.
85 These are they who shall not be redeemed from the devil until the last resurrection, until the Lord, even Christ the Lamb, shall have finished his work. (Doctrine and Covenants 76:85–86 emphasis added)
They will be single for all eternity.
17 For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever. (Doctrine and Covenants 132:17–18 emphasis added)
So if resurrection is performed by those who are married eternally and authorized to do so under the Savior’s hand, how will they view those who they have resurrected? I believe they will view them as their children. It will be very natural for them to do so, having created and nurtured those inclinations in this life.
How will those who are resurrected by them view those who performed the resurrection? I believe it will vary. Some will view them as parents; others will have no association with them at all; they will chose to not be part of a family. It is no different than how many of the wicked chose to view their families here in this life.
What is my reasoning for this view? Let me take a slight detour, and ask a different question: Is missionary work a temporal work? Do we only do missionary work for some period of time, say until “everyone” is converted, and then we won’t do it ever again? This doesn’t seem correct according to the following scripture:
34 Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created.
35 Behold, I gave unto him that he should be an agent unto himself; and I gave unto him commandment, but no temporal commandment gave I unto him, for my commandments are spiritual; they are not natural nor temporal, neither carnal nor sensual. (Doctrine and Covenants 29:34–36 emphasis added)
If God’s commandments are eternal, they point the way to Eternal Life—the life God lives—thus God obeys his own commandments, then how does God engage in missionary work eternally?
I believe he eternally encourages those of the “last resurrection” to return to true principles and live a celestial life. Thus, if we do not learn how to make missionary work a part of our everyday life, we can never live a celestial life; for it is an eternal work.
Do I have more evidence for this position than this speculative approach? Not directly, but I believe indirectly I may.
When the Savior shall appear we shall see him as he is. We shall see that he is a man like ourselves.
2 And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy. (Doctrine and Covenants 130:1–3 emphasis added)
The “same sociality” to me is intriguing. Is it possible that our manner of life may be much more similar than we typically contemplate? To me the scriptures hint that it may be so. Man’s sojourn upon this earth began in a garden, but it ends in a city, the City of Zion.
62 And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.
Moses 7:62–63 (emphasis added. See also D&C 57:2, 76:22)
If God’s commandments are not temporal, I see a large swath of commandments concerning a tremendous number of industries represented in the Doctrine and Covenants. Unlike a garden, a city has infrastructure, jobs, crafts and professions. (This is another study).
Then perhaps instead of studying the “sameness” of it, the scripture is suggesting we should ask what specifically will change in the next life, not what will stay the same.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Rev. 21:1–7 emphasis added)
Certainly there are changes, physical changes (such as no more sea), and God dwelling among us. But although this scripture notes pain being done away, other indicated it may be more nuanced. The three Nephites were told:
9 And again, ye shall not have pain while ye shall dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow save it be for the sins of the world;…. (3 Ne. 28:9–10 emphasis added)
The change wrought in them may be the same as that in eternity:
28 And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?
29 And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity? ….
33 And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood; (Moses 7:28–34 Emphasis added)
Even hell, in a certain sense, does not appear to be done away. John’s quotation from Revelations continues with:
8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Rev. 21:8)
The wicked in eternity will suffer the consequences of their actions. Although the scriptures speak of all wickedness being done away in Zion and the Celestial Kingdom, evil is as eternal as good. All wickedness that exists on this earth exists in eternity, for the elements are eternal. Knowledge of how to create methamphetamines, crack cocaine, and other evil substances is not lost in eternity. When something has been created, it is not “uncreated” in eternity. It has the potential to exists someplace in the universe (but not necessarily in the Celestial Kingdom, or Kingdom of God).
24 And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;
25 And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning. …
29 Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.
30 All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. …
33 For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy;(Doctrine and Covenants 93:24–33 emphasis added)
There is a gulf that separates the wicked from the righteous, but there no “gap” between them. There is a fine gradation in the distinction between kingdoms, beginning with Satan at one extreme all the way to God at the other. Closest to Satan and his followers are the sons of perdition:
32 They are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born;
33 For they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity; …
37 And the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power; (Doctrine and Covenants 76:32–37 (emphasis added)
And the gradations through the telestial kingdom:
98 And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one; for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world;(Doctrine and Covenants 76:98–99 emphasis added)
Through the terrestrial and celestial kingdoms:
36 All kingdoms have a law given;
37 And there are many kingdoms; for there is no space in the which there is no kingdom; and there is no kingdom in which there is no space, either a greater or a lesser kingdom.
38 And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions. (Doctrine and Covenants 88:36–39, emphasis added)
So if evil is eternal, where will it exist? I’m not sure I know the answer, but I find it interesting to note that although the calls to flee from Babylon are consistent, it appears the distance we are required to travel to do so become smaller and smaller. In Jared and Lehi’s day it was half a world; in Brigham’s day it was half a continent; today, the distance separating an evil website from a good one can be measured in less than an atom—it can be the polarity of an atom that changes a web address from one to another.
When speaking of “standing in Holy Places,” I believe it ascribes a very weak God to contemplate that he would have to run away from evil to create a righteous place. Certainly God does not have to run away from evil. Darkness flees when we turn on a light, not the other way around.
So, if all in the resurrection are born of God, does the encouragement from their parents mean they will all someday live celestial lives? No. As Elder McConkie notes below, they will have different bodies in the resurrection, and they will not marry nor are given in marriage.
Heresy five: There are those who say that there is progression from one kingdom to another in the eternal worlds or that lower kingdoms eventually progress to where higher kingdoms once were.
This belief lulls men into a state of carnal security…
The true doctrine is that all men will be resurrected, but they will come forth in the resurrection with different kinds of bodies—some celestial, others terrestrial, others telestial, and some with bodies incapable of standing any degree of glory. The body we receive in the resurrection determines the glory we receive in the kingdoms that are prepared.
Of those in the telestial world it is written: “And they shall be servants of the Most High; but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end” (D&C 76:112).
Of those who had the opportunity to enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage in this life and who did not do it, the revelation says:
…but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever. [D&C 132:16–17]
They neither progress from one kingdom to another, nor does a lower kingdom ever get where a higher kingdom once was. Whatever eternal progression there is, it is within a sphere. (June 01, 1980, BYU Fireside, “The Seven Deadly Heresies” Bruce R. McConkie)
And why can’t they change? Because the time will have past. On judgment day, they will have no confidence in their ability to change in some cases, or desire to change in others, and thus no agency to change. They will continue to choose to suffer the consequences of their actions, eternally. Yet those of the celestial kingdom will not be deterred from the kindness of inviting to live a higher law. They will kindly persuade, with long-suffering and meekness, forever. It will be in their very natures to do so.
In summary, on resurrection morning all things will be put in order according to the order of the priesthood. All in the celestial kingdom, all capable of ‘having children” will be legally married, and will be of the House if Israel. There will be no adoption because all will be Christ’s literal children. Those who choose to be part of his family here, to take upon them his name and become his sons and daughters will have the blessing of literally being his sons and daughters in the resurrection because of their choices here.
Because of Abraham’s place (and by extension Isaac and Jacob or Israel’s places) in the resurrection, “…as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after [Abraham’s] name, and shall be accounted [Abraham’s] seed, and shall rise up [a reference to the resurrection?] and bless [Abraham], as their father;” Abr. 2:10–11
What must we do to assist in making this happen? How will all this come together? The first resurrection must begin while mortals are still on the earth. Priesthood ordinances of sealing and marriage must be performed in this life, creating the condition for those to rise in the resurrection as husband and wife. There must be “a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other—and behold what is that subject? It is the baptism for the dead. For we without them cannot be made perfect; neiter can they without us be made perfect.” (Doctrine and Covenants 128:18
There must be a passing of a physical object from mortal to immortal hands giving the order in which the resurrection should be accomplished.
Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness; and let us present in his holy temple, when it is finished, a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation. (Doctrine and Covenants 128:24 emphasis added)
Thus, the priesthood must continue until the resurrection begins.
8 Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers [they may not be our physical fathers, for Abraham’s father was not righteous; this fact should give hope to anyone who is a convert to the church, but they will be our literal fathers in the next life]—
9 For ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh [we will be literal heirs with Christ as his descendants], and have been hid from the world with Christ in God [how little are the concepts I have described here understood in the world, how hidden are they?]—
10 Therefore your life and the priesthood have remained [we are eternal beings, we never really die], and must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began.
11 Therefore, blessed are ye if ye continue in my goodness, a light unto the Gentiles [those of the last resurrection], and through this priesthood, a savior unto my people Israel [those of the first resurrection]. The Lord hath said it. Amen. (Doctrine and Covenants 86:8–11)