Joseph Smith's Inspired Commentary on the Doctrine of Calling and Election

Brian M. Hauglid

Brian M. Hauglid, “Joseph Smith’s Inspired Commentary on the Doctrine of Calling and Election,” Shedding Light on the New Testament: Acts–Revelation, ed. Ray L. Huntington, Frank F. Judd Jr., and David M. Whitchurch (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2009), 209–27.

Brian M. Hauglid is an associate professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University.

As the morning light of the Restoration broke forth upon the earth and the dark shadows of the Apostasy fled, the doctrines of the holy priesthood began to distill upon the first souls in the early Church “as the dews from heaven” (D&C 121:45). One of the most significant and glorious rays of light revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith to shine upon the hearts of men was the doctrine of being sealed up to eternal life. From Joseph Smith we learn the fundamental definition of to making our calling and election sure:

After a person hath faith in Christ, repents of his sins, is baptized for the remission of his sins, and received 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. The Lord will soon say unto him, “Son, thou shalt be exalted.” 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 election made sure.[1]

Thus, to make our calling and election sure is to receive a guarantee of exaltation in the celestial kingdom.

In the New Testament, John the Baptist and Peter teach the doctrine of calling and election. John obliquely refers to it in his teachings on the spirit and power of Elias, Elijah, and the Messiah (see John 1:21–28), while Peter (see 2 Peter 1:3–11) approaches the topic more directly. On John’s teachings, the Prophet Joseph Smith states that “the spirit of Elias is first, Elijah second, and Messiah last.”[2] These varying degrees of spirit can be applied to steps of preparation we can experience in mortality (and beyond) to receive the blessing of calling and election. Joseph Smith also gives inspired commentary on Peter’s teachings to help us understand the important qualities we should possess to receive our calling and election. This examination will review both John’s and Peter’s references and give Joseph Smith’s inspired commentary on their teachings, thereby showing how the Restoration, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, helps us better understand and appreciate John’s and Peter’s teachings on calling and election.

John the Baptist as a Preparer or Elias for the Messiah

In the Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:21–28, John the Baptist refers to himself as coming forth in the spirit of Elias, as a preparer to ready his followers for the greater revelation in Jesus Christ. When asked “Who art thou?” (v. 20), John “denied not that he was Elias; but confessed saying; I am not the Christ” (v. 21). His questioners then asked, “How then art thou Elias?” (v. 22). John responded, “I am not that Elias who was to restore all things” (v. 22). After the third inquiry as to his identity, John taught of the Messiah declaring that “He is that prophet, even Elias, who, coming after me, is preferred before me” (v. 28).

Even with the help of the Joseph Smith Translation, it can be difficult to follow what John is teaching here with reference to his being an Elias and his not being an Elias at the same time. But there is a definite point John is trying to get across to his hearers. It is clear that John does admit that he is an Elias in verse 21, but denies that he is the Elias that would restore all things in verse 22. And of course, John most emphatically denies that he is the Messiah (see v. 21). First and foremost, it is apparent that John‘s audience is mistaking his powerful teachings and presence for that of the expected Messiah. Therefore John categorically states he is not Jesus Christ. However, when John admits he is an Elias, he makes it clear that he is preparing the way for the greater Elias (here Jesus Christ), who would also come in the spirit of Elias (or Elijah) to restore all things in preparation for the advent of the spirit and power of the Messiah.

With the help of Joseph Smith’s inspired teachings, the doctrine of Elias, Elijah, and the Messiah move from the general to the specific, or from the collective to the individual. In other words, what John taught the audience about the various ways in which the coming of Christ was being prepared for generally can also be applied individually, wherein each person should prepare to receive the Savior. From Joseph Smith it is understood that preparing to receive the Savior in an individual way (with the spouse) is preparing to receive one’s calling and election.

Joseph Smith’s Commentary on Elias, Elijah, and the Messiah

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elias to prepare for the coming of Christ “for the spirit of Elias was a going before to prepare the way for the greater, which was the case with John the Baptist.”[3]

In April of 1836, the prophet Elias visited Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple (see D&C 110:12). There, Elias committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham to him. Years later, in March 1844, Joseph spoke on the subject of Elias, Elijah, and the Messiah and said concerning Elias that “the spirit of Elias is to prepare the way for a greater revelation of God, which is the Priesthood of Elias, or the Priesthood Aaron was ordained unto.”[4] The mission of Elias is, therefore, a mission to prepare a people to receive the priesthood of Aaron and prepare them through faith, repentance, and baptism for a greater revelation in the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Another aspect of the mission of Elias is that of a restorer. Christ Himself came in the spirit of Elias as He restored the Melchizedek Priesthood and organized the meridian Church. In fact, all dispensation heads served in the spirit of Elias as preparers for greater revelations and as restorers of lost priesthood authority and saving doctrines. This was certainly the case with the Prophet Joseph Smith.

As far as the spirit of Elijah is concerned, Joseph Smith said: “Now for Elijah. The spirit, power, and calling of Elijah is, that ye have power to hold the key of the revelations, ordinances, oracles, powers, and endowments of the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood and the kingdom of God on the earth. . . . What is this office and work of Elijah? It is one of the greatest and most important subjects that God has revealed.”[5]

The significance of restoring the higher priesthood and temple work can be seen in Doctrine and Covenants 2, the first canonical revelation in this dispensation (1823). The Lord said to Joseph through Moroni, “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” (v. 1). This grand pronouncement is nearly identical to the final recorded revelation given through the prophet Malachi (see Malachi 4:5–6) more than twenty-two centuries prior to Joseph Smith. President Ezra Taft Benson once asked, “John the Baptist restored the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood. Peter, James, and John restored the keys of the kingdom of God. Why send Elijah?”[6] President Benson answered this question with the declaration from Joseph Smith, “Because he holds the keys of the authority to administer in all the ordinances of the Priesthood”[7] or sealing power.

Many understand the power of Elijah in the sense of work for the dead, but this is just one part of Elijah’s grand mission. This order of the priesthood opens up the way for us to enjoy all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through receiving and keeping the sacred covenants of temple marriage. Just as baptism admits us into the earthly kingdom of God, so the new and everlasting covenant of marriage opens the door to the highest degree of the celestial kingdom. As Doctrine and Covenants 131:2 indicates, to attain the highest celestial degree “a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage].” We enter into the eternal marriage covenant and receive the conditional promise of exaltation only in the temple.

Another significant aspect of the spirit of Elijah that goes well beyond the spirit of Elias is that “while the spirit of Elias is a forerunner, the power of Elijah is sufficient to make our calling and election sure.”[8]

As indicated earlier, Joseph Smith said that “the spirit of Elias is first, Elijah second, and Messiah last.”[9] What is the spirit of the Messiah? According to the Prophet, it is a personal visit from the Savior Himself, also referred to as the Second Comforter. In John 14:l6 and 18, we read, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever. . . . I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” Joseph Smith asks, “Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor 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.”[10] Therefore, an attendant blessing of receiving our calling and election is to have the privilege of personal face-to-face visits with the Savior and even with the Father.

For us the spirit and power of Elias, Elijah, and the Messiah symbolizes making and keeping the preparatory covenants and ordinances associated with baptism and the Aaronic Priesthood (Elias); then making and keeping the covenants associated with the temple, entered into when receiving the endowment and the marriage sealing ordinance (Elijah); and finally enjoying the continuing spirit and power of preparation throughout mortality, and beyond, to eventually be sealed up to eternal life and live forever in the presence of the Father in celestial glory (Messiah).

Peter’s Teachings and Joseph Smith’s Commentary on Calling and Election

Peter, the chief Apostle, counseled the Saints to “give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Peter 1:10). It appears from the text of Peter that the process of being sealed up to eternal life is just that: a process. From the verses leading up to verse 10, it is clear that one must, in a sense, receive “grace for grace” (D&C 93:20) by adding to faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, kindness, and charity (see 2 Peter 1:5–7). Peter promised that “if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8). In addition to putting forth great effort, Peter also encouraged the Saints to understand that the announcement of receiving one’s calling and election is given through the more sure word of prophecy. According to the text, “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 Peter 1:19; see also Joseph Smith Translation, 2 Peter 1:19; D&C 131:5).

Joseph Smith said that the “first four verses [of 2 Peter 1] are the preface to the whole subject”[11] (that is, calling and election). In these first few verses, Peter pointed out that his message is to those who “have obtained like precious faith with us” (v. 1), or in other words, to those who have a solid foundation in the faith, like the Apostles of the Lord. These Saints were not new to the faith. They were likely those who had a mature and firm faith and understanding of the doctrines of the gospel. Peter, in verse 2, declared that grace and peace will increase through knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, and he stated in verses 3–4 that this knowledge will lead to receiving “exceeding great and precious promises,” which enables one to become a partaker of the divine nature of God.

Commenting on these first verses, the Prophet Joseph Smith in April 1842 stated, “If you wish to go where God is, you must be like God, or possess the principles which God possesses. For if we are not drawing towards God in principle, we are going from him and drawing towards the Devil. . . . Search your hearts and see if you are like God.”[12] It is interesting that the Prophet here encourages us to search our own hearts to determine which direction we are moving. This teaches us not only that eternal progression is a dynamic, not stagnant, experience, but also that we can know, more than we sometimes think, our general progress toward the promise of eternal life. We might say it this way: if we are trying to draw near to God and we are becoming more like God, through adhering to the principles of the gospel, we are then moving toward making our calling and election sure. If we are not, then we are moving in the opposite direction. About nine years earlier (1833), the Lord revealed to Joseph some of the most important principles that will lead to entering into the presence of God, which can also be viewed as principles leading to calling and election: “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” (D&C 93:1).[13]

Peter lists a number of qualities we should possess to qualify for calling and election: faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity (see 2 Peter 1:5–7). Commenting on 2 Peter 1:2–11, Joseph Smith identifies a few significant keys that unlock the doctrine of calling and election. The first of these keys is knowledge, which the Prophet takes from 2 Peter 1:2, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ our Lord.” Joseph taught that “without knowledge we cannot be saved. . . . A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge.”[14] Significantly, this is a saving knowledge, a powerful knowledge rooted in a firm testimony of God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. The Lord has promised that “if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come” (D&C 130:19).

It is one thing to have a secular knowledge of science, religion, medicine, history, philosophy, or whatever and quite another to know that God lives and Jesus is the Christ and know one’s standing before the Lord. Concerning the distinction between knowledge and intelligence, President Joseph F. Smith said, “There is a difference between knowledge and pure intelligence. . . . I know men who have knowledge, who understand the principles of the Gospel as well as you do, who are brilliant, but lack the essential qualification of pure intelligence. They will not accept and render obedience thereto. Pure intelligence comprises not only knowledge, but also the power to properly apply that knowledge.”[15] This distinction is also found in the Greek wording of 2 Peter 1, where the word for knowledge, gnosis, is translated as “vicarious knowledge,” while the word for intelligence, epignosis, is translated as “experiential knowledge.” Hence, knowledge of God and Christ must be accompanied by obedience; the more obedient we are, the more intelligent we are. Thus, the advantage in the next life is increased through intelligence.

If we have not knowledge (of God) nor intelligence (obedience), then in the Prophet’s words, we “will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world, as evil spirits will have more knowledge and consequently more power than many men who are on the earth. Hence, [we need] revelation to assist us and give us knowledge of the things of God.”[16] The Prophet concludes, “Take away apostles, and so forth, take away knowledge, and you will find yourselves worthy of the damnation of hell. Knowledge is revelation. Hear, all ye brethren, this grand key: knowledge is the power of God unto salvation.”[17]

While the first key, knowledge, is treated in 2 Peter 1:2–8, the second key, diligence, is found in verses 10–11: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall. For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Interestingly, Joseph Smith noted that Peter’s exhortation to make our calling and election sure “is that sealing power spoken of by Paul in other places . . . that we may be sealed unto the day of redemption.”[18] The verses of Paul Joseph is likely referring to are in Ephesians 1:12–14. Here Paul explains that true believers first trust in Christ, after hearing 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 until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”[19]

Ephesians 1:12–14 complements the Prophet’s quote, especially in using the same words: sealed and redemption. But what is even more revealing is that Paul’s verses can be used as commentary on 2 Peter 1:10–11. We often view the payment of earnest money, as when buying a home, as a show of good faith that helps to seal the agreement, demonstrating to the seller the seriousness of the buyer. However, in connection with a more spiritual interpretation, “the earnest of our inheritance” (Ephesians 1:14) comes from God and is bestowed on the righteous as a down payment of the fullness of the reward that will be received later on. This down payment comes through the medium of the Holy Ghost, and the very presence of it in a person’s life is an indication that the course of life being pursued is in accordance with the will of the Lord.

Although the Holy Spirit of Promise can place the conditional stamp of approval on every ordinance, it can also provide an assurance of one’s direction in this life, and it can be the vehicle in announcing that the righteous have made their calling and election sure. According to Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “As is well known, many are called to the Lord’s work but few are chosen for eternal life. So that those who are chosen may be sealed up unto eternal life, the scripture says: ‘It shall be manifest unto my servant, by the voice of the Spirit, those that are chosen; and they shall be sanctified.’ (D&C 105:36) They are chosen by the Lord, but the announcement of their calling and election is delivered by the Spirit.”[20] This announcement is, of course, the precursor to receiving the Second Comforter, or a personal visitation from Christ (and the Father).

It is comforting to know that the Holy Spirit of Promise ratifies ordinances and gives us the assurance that we are living in accordance with God’s will, yet the promise of being sealed up to eternal life would certainly be its highest function and qualify as the ultimate meaning of Paul’s phrase “sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance” (Ephesians 1:13–14).

The Prophet’s further commentary on 2 Peter 1:10–11 evidences that the followers of Christ should desire and earnestly seek to make their calling and election sure. According to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “To obtain this sealing [referred to in Ephesians 1:12–14] is to make our calling and election sure, which we ought to give all diligence to accomplish.”[21] It would be ridiculous to think that something of this magnitude and sacredness could be accomplished merely by checking off a to-do list towards perfection or entering it into a daily planner as an occurrence that will take place at a designated future date. The Lord specifically warns us to “trifle not with sacred things” (D&C 6:12). This sacred event will take place in the Lord’s own time if we wait patiently, for God has prepared great things for those who wait for him (D&C 98:2; 133:45).

Our earnestly seeking after this sacred promise means that we must diligently love each other and faithfully do the Lord’s will while in this mortal probation. In fact, the scriptures clearly teach that calling and election comes to those completely immersed in the Lord’s work; it comes to those who have more concern for others than for themselves.

Receiving divine assurances and promises generally comes during our labors rather than after. This can be seen in the lives of both John and Peter, who spent their lives following the Savior’s teachings, testifying of the risen Lord and of the truths He taught. We know that John was allowed the blessing of translation to continue his mission and that both Peter and John returned as resurrected beings to ordain Joseph and Oliver to the Melchizedek Priesthood. It is likely that the promises of these blessings came about in the course of time as both disciples went about their work on the Lord’s errand.

When our will is swallowed up in the will of the Father and we become equally swallowed up in His work out of love for Him and for His people, we are then on the path toward receiving the knowledge that our calling and election is made sure. This is surely what Joseph means when he says, “Oh! I beseech you to [go] forward, go forward and make your calling and election sure.”[22]

Joseph’s third key shows that there is a difference between hearing the voice on the Mount of Transfiguration bearing testimony that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and receiving the more sure word of prophecy. In 2 Peter 1:18–19, Peter declared, “And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 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.”

Concerning these verses the Prophet said, “Now for the secret and grand key. Though they might hear the voice of God and know that Jesus was the Son of God, this would be no evidence that their election and calling were made sure, that they had part with Christ and were joint heirs with him.”[23] Note that the Prophet does not trivialize having a testimony of Jesus Christ but makes a distinction that this testimony is not to be mistaken as making one’s calling and election sure. It simply means that a testimony is not an end in itself but a means to receiving the more sure word of prophecy. In Doctrine and Covenants 131, which contains instructions from Joseph Smith, the more sure word of prophecy is clearly defined: “(May 17th, 1843.) The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood” (v. 5).

Verse 5 in Doctrine and Covenants 131 helps us understand better the following verse as well: “It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance” (v. 6). In fact, verse 6 cannot stand by itself and be properly understood. When both verses are read together, the meaning is quite apparent. We cannot be saved without a divine knowledge given through the spirit that we will be sealed up to eternal life. We cannot be saved in ignorance, or in other words, ignorant of the more sure word of prophecy, which means knowing that we are sealed up to eternal life.

What a glorious day it will be when, after laboring throughout our lives for the Lord and going through the trials and adversities and remaining faithful, we finally hear the voice promising eternal life. This promise could, in some sense, qualify as the “end” in “enduring to the end.” However, those who make their calling and election sure in this life may still have much to endure. As Joseph said, “Then, having this promise sealed unto them, it [becomes] an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast. Though the thunders might roll and lightnings flash and earthquakes bellow and war gather thick around, yet this hope and knowledge would support the soul in every trial, trouble, and tribulation.”[24]

In commenting on 2 Peter 1:10–11, the Prophet said, “There are two sins against which this power [calling and election] does not secure or prevail; they are the sin against the Holy Ghost and shedding of innocent Blood, which is equivalent to crucifying the Son of God afresh and putting him to an open shame. Those who do these it is impossible to renew unto repentance, for they are delivered to the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemptions.”[25] About a month after making this statement (April 1844), Joseph clarified what it means to sin against the Holy Ghost: “All sin shall be forgiven except the sin against the Holy Ghost. He has got to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it. He has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens are open to him. . . . He has the same spirit that they had who crucified the Lord of life.”[26]

Doctrine and Covenants 76:37–38 indicates that those who rebel against God after they have made their calling and election sure are the “only ones on whom the second death shall have any power; Yea, verily, the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath.” What does the Prophet mean, then, when he says that “they are delivered to the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemptions”? Surely the sons of perdition cannot be cleansed through the blood of Christ to come forth in glory to live forever in the telestial kingdom or any of the kingdoms of glory. The only redemption the Prophet could possibly be referring to is the redemption of the body. Perhaps this is the reason Joseph says “redemptions,” meaning the redemption or resurrection of the bodies of the sons of perdition.

From what Joseph taught about the sons of perdition, it is obvious that being sealed up to eternal life does not immunize one against sin and weakness. However, short of committing the unpardonable sins, it appears that the promise remains in effect, after paying the price for the sins committed. According to Doctrine and Covenants 132:26, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder wherein they shed innocent blood, yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation; but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God.”


Calling and election represents the pinnacle point in which the Lord promises a righteous, worthy couple that they have a place in the celestial kingdom of God. Whether this doctrine is called “sealed up to eternal life,” “sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise,” or “receiving the more sure word of prophecy” or “the Second Comforter,” it is all connected to the same doctrine.

In the New Testament (Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:21–28), the process of making our calling and election sure is symbolized in the spirit and mission of Elias, Elijah, and the Messiah. Joseph Smith taught that the mission of Elias encompasses the preparatory spirit and readies the Saints for the greater revelation in the Melchizedek Priesthood. In the spirit of Elijah, further progress is made in the Melchizedek Priesthood as Saints enter into as the temple ordinances and covenants, particularly celestial marriage, and the couple faithfully serves and works to keep their covenants. It is the mission of Elijah that comprehends the doctrine of calling and election. Finally, the spirit of the Messiah is the blessing of the Savior’s personal visitation, the Second Comforter, to those who have been sealed up to eternal life.

In 2 Peter 1, we have the most thorough and direct treatment of the doctrine of calling and election that can be found in the scriptures. According to Joseph Smith, the text of 2 Peter 1 contains three keys. First, knowledge or testimony of the Father and his Son Jesus Christ is a critical and significant link with faith, virtue, temperance, patience, godliness, kindness, and charity. The Prophet further describes knowledge as revelation, which is the only way for us to correctly be led towards realizing the making of our calling and election sure. Second, Peter encourages us to diligently seek being sealed up to eternal life. We learn that this does not mean that we should think we have control over the Lord’s timetable. On the contrary, we will only experience this sacred blessing as we lose ourselves in the service of the Lord, waiting patiently upon Him to make His will known. Finally, Peter (and Joseph Smith) teaches that though we can know that God lives and Jesus is the Christ, we still must hear the voice of the Lord saying unto us that our lives are acceptable and that we have a place in His kingdom. According to the Doctrine and Covenants, we cannot be saved without this pronouncement through the voice of the Spirit (see 131:6).

Making one’s calling and election sure in this life does not imply that complete perfection is required. In fact, because of imperfections and weaknesses, mistakes and sins will likely occur. Only the unpardonable sins can revoke calling and election.

A better understanding of the teachings of John and Peter on the doctrine of calling and election is given through the inspired commentary of the Prophet Joseph Smith. This knowledge helps us understand the importance of losing ourselves in the work of the Lord and waiting patiently for the heavenly voice to promise us an eternal reward in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom.


[1] Joseph Smith, Joseph Smith’s Commentary on the Bible, comp. Kent P. Jackson (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1994), 136.

[2] Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (Salt Lake

City: Deseret Book, 1976), 340.

[3] Smith, Teachings, 335.

[4] Smith, Teachings, 335.

[5] Smith, Teachings, 337.

[6] Ezra Taft Benson, “What I Hope You Will Teach Your Children about the Temple,” Ensign, August 1985, 9.

[7] Smith, Teachings, 172.

[8] Smith, Teachings, 338.

[9] Smith, Teachings, 340.

[10] Smith, Teachings, 150–51.

[11] Jackson, Joseph Smith’s Commentary, 205.

[12] Jackson, Joseph Smith’s Commentary, 205.

[13] See also Alma 5:14–34 for a spiritual checklist that helps us see our progress. However, it should be remembered that seeing God is not always equivalent with calling and election.

[14] Jackson, Joseph Smith’s Commentary, 205.

[15] From a discourse in the Ogden Tabernacle in 1913 as found in Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection (Salt Lake City: The Genealogical Society of Utah, 1946), 231.

[16] Jackson, Joseph Smith’s Commentary, 205.

[17] Jackson, Joseph Smith’s Commentary, 206–7.

[18] Jackson, Joseph Smith’s Commentary, 208.

[19] See also 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5.

[20] Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1985), 270.

[21] Jackson, Joseph Smith’s Commentary, 208.

[22] Jackson, Joseph Smith’s Commentary, 208.

[23] Jackson, Joseph Smith’s Commentary, 209.

[24] Jackson, Joseph Smith’s Commentary, 209.

[25] Joseph Smith, The Words of Joseph Smith, comp. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1980), 335 (spelling and punctuation modernized); see also Jackson, Joseph Smith’s Commentary, 208.

[26] Smith, Words of Joseph Smith, 353; spelling and punctuation modernized.