Plan of Life


High Council Talks in Bangkok, Thailand
PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS: (Duane R. Hurst, © August 2007)

INTRODUCTION:

      In June 2007 I designed a series of Sunday talks for my monthly speaking assignment as a High Councilman in the Bangkok Stake, Thailand. All of the talks follow an overall goal of explaining the Plan of Life -- from our previous life as self-existent intelligences, to becoming spirit children of heavenly parents, then as mortal beings on earth, later as spirits waiting for a resurrected body, and finally to an ultimate state that will be determined by our choices throughout the mortal and subsequent spiritual probationary periods. Each talk contains scriptures primarily selected from the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price (Books of Abraham and Moses). I also include a chart that depicts the Plan of Life, which I first developed while teaching LDS missionaries between 1972 and 1975 at the Language Training Mission in Laie, Hawaii. A list of topics follows this chart.
      I also append my notes and translations of Egyptian hieroglyphics from Book of Abraham facsimiles. Likewise, I include concepts pertaining to Pharaoh Kufu's pyramid and its foretelling the advent of Jesus Christ. I also append a Book of Mormon lands map. (See my Book of Mormon map.)



Click to View this chart in Thai Language

TOPICS:
  1. PLAN OF LIFE: Overview of God's Plan; Search Scriptures; Works/Words; Understand Whom We Worship; Seek/Share Truth; School of the Prophets
  2. GOD'S PLAN: Work and Glory; Immortality/Eternal Life; Heavenly Parents; Character of God (King Follet Discourse by Joseph Smith, Jr.)
  3. INTELLIGENCES: Our Self-existent Individuality; Definition of Truth; Susceptible to Advancement; Variance between Intelligences/Spirits; Foreordination not Predestination; Talents; Retain Knowledge Gained on Earth
  4. SPIRIT LIFE (FIRST ESTATE): Children of God; Family/Friends; Council in Heaven; Two Plans (Jehovah and Free Agency/Atonement; Lucifer and Compulsion); War in Heaven (Debate and Vote); Satan and Followers
  5. CREATION OF EARTH: Spiritual Creation; Physical Creation; Days Equal Periods; Kolob/Earth Time; Formed from Previous World
  6. EARTH LIFE (SECOND ESTATE): Eden; Adam as First Man; Eve as First Woman; Eternal Marriage; Why a Veil; Probationary Period; Choice (Good or Evil); Laws of God (Obedience; Sacrifice; Gospel; Consecration; Chastity); Satan's Followers on Earth
  7. ATONEMENT EXPLAINED: Return to God's Family (Be One); Unique and Essential Role of Jesus Christ; Need for Opposition and Physical Death; Hope for Eternal Life
  8. GUIDES FOR MANKIND: Instituted from the Beginning; Church of Jesus Christ (Adam to Present); Prophets; Scripture; Family; Secular Leaders/School
  9. SCRIPTURES: Old/New Testament; Missing Books (Abraham; Enoch; Moses); Book of Mormon; Doctrine and Covenants; Words of Prophet Today; Future Scriptures Restored (Sealed Portion -- Jaredite/Nephite; City of Enoch; 12 Tribes)
  10. DISPENSATIONS/PROPHETS: Dispensation Described (Adam; Noah; Abraham; Moses; Jesus Christ; Joseph Smith; Millennium; Jesus Christ); Role of Prophet; Enoch; Melchizedek (Shem)
  11. APOSTASY AND RESTORATION: Apostasy/Restoration in Dispensations; Great Apostasy Follows Death of Apostles; Greek Philosophers; Role of Joseph Smith, Jr.; Fullness of Times
  12. COME UNTO CHRIST -- FAITH: Faith in Jesus Christ; Higher Faith (School of Prophets Lecture); Strait/Straight and Narrow Path; Obedience; Test of Faith
  13. COME UNTO CHRIST -- REPENTANCE: Meaning and Method; True Sorrow (Broken Heart and Contrite Spirit); Love Neighbor as Self; Sharing
  14. COME UNTO CHRIST -- BAPTISM: Symbol of rebirth; Significance of Water and Total Immersion; Christ is Father through Baptism; Priesthood Required
  15. COME UNTO CHRIST -- RECEIVE HOLY GHOST: Spirit of Christ (Conscience); Gift of Holy Ghost (temporary); Receive Guidance (after Baptism)
  16. TITHING: Preparatory Law; United Order; Consecration; Celestial Level
  17. PRIESTHOOD: Aaronic (Lower); Melchizedek (Higher); Ordinances of Aaronic; Deacon; Teacher; Priest; Bishop; Why Home Teaching is Important
  18. MELCHIZEDEK PRIESTHOOD: Priesthood of Adam; Melchizedek was Shem; Patriarchal Order; Ordinances (Blessings; Healings; Temple; Creation); Callings: Elder; Seventy; High Priest; Patriarch; Apostle; Prophet
  19. PATRIARCHAL ORDER: Adam and Patriarchs; Promises to Abraham; Patriarchal Blessing; Creative and Controlling Power (Kae-e-vanrash)
  20. ROLE OF HUSBAND/FATHER: Husband (House Band); Teacher (Talk Time with Daddy; Half Hour Homework with Dad; Read/Discuss Scripture Stories)
  21. WOMEN AND RELIEF SOCIETY: Women in History; Emma Smith; Today (Problem of a Matriarchal Order); Role of Mother; Visiting Teacher
  22. ROLE OF CHILDREN: Opportunity (Learn; Love; Grow); Responsibility (Obey; Honor Parents; Respect Others); Parents to Direct (Danger of Coddling)
  23. TEMPLE WORK: Mysteries of God; Washing; Anointing; Endowment; Sealing
  24. GENEOLOGY: Temple Work for Ancestors; Name Extraction Program; Temple in Local Area; Family Unity in Celestial Degree
  25. MISSIONARY WORK: Adam; Enoch; Abraham; Apostles; Alma and Sons of King Mosiah; Joseph Smith, Jr.; Modern Day; Spirit World
  26. FINAL STEPS: Works; Charity; Endure to the End; Grace of God; Second Anointing/Second Comforter (Jesus Christ); Tokens, Signs and Names
  27. SPIRIT WORLD: Paradise (Righteous/Obedient; Christ Organizes Great Missionary Work); Hell (Unrighteous/Disobedient; All Must Gain a Full Chance to Hear and Know Christ's Gospel)
  28. MILLENNIUM: War of Destruction/Wicked; Satan Bound; Christ's Second Coming; Earth as Terrestrial; Missionary and Temple Work; First Resurrection
  29. SATAN LOOSED/FINAL JUDGMENT: Satan and Last Dispensation; War of Gog and Magog; Satan's Defeat (Outer Darkness/Second Death); Final Judgment
  30. TELESTIAL/TERRESTRIAL KINGDOMS: Telestial (Multitude of Levels; Presence of Holy Ghost); Terrestrial (Presence of Jesus Christ; Righteous Who Reject Membership in Christ's Church); All Content with Level Received
  31. CELESTIAL KINGDOM: Presence of Father; Three Degrees; Seer Stone and New Name; Earth as Urim and Thummim (Past/Present/Future Events); View Past Events; Visit Lower Kingdoms
  32. CELESTIAL MARRIAGE/FAMILY: Temple Ordinances Confirmed; New and Everlasting Covenant; Eternal Increase; Creative Power (Worlds/Stars); God Advances in Glory via His Children's Growth
Abbreviations:
BM   = Book of Mormon
DC    = Doctrine and Covenants
JD    = Journal of Discourses
KFD = King Follet Discourse by Joseph Smith, Jr.
LF    = Lectures on Faith by Joseph Smith, Jr.
NT   = Bible New Testament
OT   = Bible Old Testament
PGP = Pearl of Great Price
TJS = Teachings of Joseph Smith, Jr.
NOTE: All quoted text will appear in blue.

TOPIC 1: PLAN OF LIFE

      The first step in reaching a destination, of course, is to determine where you want to go. The next step is to find the best route so that you can reach your goal quickly and with the fewest problems. An accurate and easily readable map can prevent a person from getting lost. God, the spiritual Father of all born to this earth, provides such a map or plan so that each person can return to His kingdom. This Plan of Life is both spiritual and temporal in nature. This is clear from a statement in DC 29:34.
      "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."
      Thus, the Plan of Life serves as a guide during our probationary mortal life, and it is a true map to reach a celestial or eternal life with God. This plan is the only one that leads to the ultimate goal, which each person promised to follow before leaving the pre-mortal realm. Now that we are here on a telestial earth, a multitude of false trails are available to follow.
      Although a majority of mankind will not have knowledge of Christ's full gospel message or an opportunity to participate in priesthood and temple ordinances during this mortal life, the Plan of Life allows each person to have such knowledge and opportunity before a final judgment is rendered. After mortality, in the spirit world, missionaries will teach every person a fullness of Christ's gospel. He or she will have a complete understanding of these teachings and either choose to join His church or remain at a lower level throughout eternity. The Plan of Life must give each person freedom of choice and its concomitant personal responsibility for that choice. There is no compulsion. Neither will anyone have a legitimate complaint against the vicissitudes encountered on earth. Reason behind this: God and Jesus already have established a method to rectify all physical handicaps and earthly impediments. Our next phase, life in the spirit world prior to resurrection, will open the mind and free us from such hindrances as war, famine, sickness and inequality of opportunity. Vistas open for those willing to learn and work. The lazy will remain at a retarded growth rate, according to choice.

SEEK GOD:

      Jesus Christ directed us to seek diligently if we desire to know God the Father and His Son. DC 1:37-38 states:
      "Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.
      "What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same."

      It is interesting to note that Jesus makes no excuse for His actions. He teaches correct principles and directs the actions of His servants. We must take responsibility for our failures and poor choices in life. He absolves us of consequences for someone else's actions that impact on our lives. It does not matter when or where we live. Judgment of our actions will be just and appropriate. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to choose correctly and live to help others.
      God clearly states His purpose in PGP Moses 1:39 "For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."
      This concise declaration embodies the ultimate goal of our existence -- to attain a fullness of purpose and everlasting life similar to God. This topic will be explained more fully in a later chapter. Suffice it to consider that God advances in glory as His children progress on the path that He designed. This earth is only one in a multitude that has or will be home to God's children. He declared this to Moses in PGP Moses 1:38.
      "And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come, and there is no end to my works, neither to my words."
      The ancient Egyptians clearly had a better understanding of this concept than do most people today. They viewed a close correlation between words and works. "So let it be written; so let it be done." The guiding concept is that when God speaks, the elements are subject to His power. They had a partial glimpse into the powers of priesthood and Kae-e-vanrash (see PGP facsimile 2, figure 5). This also will be covered in a later chapter. God clarified this in a statement to Moses (PGP Moses 1:32).
      "And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth."

THE WORD:

      The above scripture does not refer to John's statement in NT John 1:1 ("In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.")
      Joseph Smith clarified this in his revision of the New Testament. It reads: "In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God."
      This scripture means that Jesus Christ preached the gospel (literally means Good News) to all spirits in the pre-mortal life Kingdom of God. The gospel also was a vehicle to proffer a Plan of Life or Plan of Progress that leads to Eternal Life with our Father in Heaven. Jesus Christ sustained God's original plan and became its author for all who chose to enter this world. Jesus lived with God in that spirit world and became the God of this world after His Father selected Jesus as the architect for our physical testing ground. Hence, God is our Heavenly Father; Jesus is God under the aegis of His Father. Jesus also is our spiritual father through the Atonement and baptism. This will be explained in a later chapter.
      God's words and works cannot end because He operates in a negentropic system, which is the opposite of entropy. Entropy is the second law of thermo dynamics: All things degenerate into chaos or destruction. The Big Bang theory supports such a misguided view. Negentropy is the creative process -- continued advancement and regenerative life. It represents a true order of the universes. Indeed, an endless continuum of multiple universes and dimensions exists. Consider: billions of mental "universes" exist between individual humans, but we rarely can intrude into another's thoughts. Laws likewise exist to regulate larger bodies of physical matter (including nebulae, galaxies, star systems, etc.) and at more finite levels (animal/plant cell structure or an atom).
      The complexity of existence is beyond mortal ken. The creative process does not occur by chance or in a vacuum. Scientists now finally are recognizing a truth that Joseph Smith learned from the Lord in DC 131:7.
      "There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes."
      Scientists concede the existence of "Black Matter" in what they previously considered the vacuum of space. They cannot discern the purer matter of spirits, particularly since it is impossible to measure celestial or terrestrial degree matter with earthly (telestial) equipment.

UNDERSTAND WHOM TO WORSHIP:

      The key is to know God and Jesus Christ. It is impossible to live with them if we do not know them as individuals or understand their character. We cannot worship in ignorance; neither is it praiseworthy. Blind obedience cannot elevate man to a celestial level. Jesus explained this in DC 93:19.
      "I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness."
      Joseph Smith gave an excellent exposition on this topic in his King Follet Discourse on 7 April 1844. This will be expounded in a later chapter. Briefly, he said eternal life is to know God the Father and Jesus Christ. This also is the mystery of godliness -- receiving temple ordinances and an endowment (discussed in a subsequent chapter).
      Jesus admonished us to seek and share truth by study and prayer. DC 88:118-119 states:
      "And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.
      "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;"

      The house refers to a church, but it is a good idea to model our family life after these principles. People cannot learn well in a disorderly and dirty home. The celestial abode is not a garbage dump. It is impossible to reach a celestial level by living a slovenly life. Procrastinators cannot become eternal procreators.
      DC 88:78-79 further delineates what we should learn in life and at church. It certainly is not limited to scriptures and the spirit realm. We are told to study all good things.
      "Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand;
      "Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms--"

      The above include: astronomy; biology; current and foreign events; geography; geology; history; law and consequences; local and geopolitics; physics; political science; trends; and war. We should add: agriculture; art; culinary skills; gardening; husbandry; literature; medicine; music; sports -- everything that uplifts the mind and spirit.

SCHOOL OF THE PROPHETS:

      Joseph Smith began a School of the Prophets in Kirtland, Ohio. Shortly thereafter, others began in Missouri and Nauvoo, Illinois. Brigham Young attempted to continue a similar system in Utah, although it became the University of Utah. The early church likewise supported an education system in areas such as Deseret (western United States of America) and on many Pacific islands. Today, few schools remain. The church unfortunately yielded education largely to the secular powers (state and unions). Today it does encourage spiritual education via seminary and institute programs, along with a Know Your Religion series taught by roaming instructors.
      A School of the Prophets should embody tenets of true education -- spiritual and mental development to the most advanced level possible. Such was the vision of some early Greek philosophers, which ended with advent of the Sophists. Current universities in the world are based on the Sophists and their demand for a degree and trained teachers, who teach for pay. A degree presumes intelligence and probity. This often is untrue.
      Life is a school. It tolerates much chaos and destructive behavior. It also allows us to experiment and consider original ideas. In reality, God knows all principles of the arts, sciences and any other area of learning. Nevertheless, since there are infinite possibilities in art, food, music, writing, etc., God and we can learn variations and see new works. It is impossible to imagine all works of art or music. That is another beauty of an immortal life-everlasting variety and newness.
      We can make a special learning center at home. Concentrate on items of primary interest, then, expand outward to include areas of less familiarity. We should not be content to remain static in learning. Such contentment leads to damnation -- stopping in our progress. Likewise, we should not be content to remain in a spiritual kindergarten at church. The glory of God is intelligence, so we should not be satisfied with mediocrity in speech and instruction.

CONCLUSION:

      We can obtain Eternal Life (life with God) only through the true Plan of Life. This is the Gospel Plan of Jesus Christ, which He presented as Jehovah to all of God's spirit children. All bogus paths lead to damnation. The Egyptian hieroglyph for glory was a five-pointed star. Five symbolized the "five points of fellowship" or friendship -- fellowship between God and man. A star radiated glory throughout the universe. Such glory could not be halted. The hieroglyph for damnation was a star within a circle. The circle's border damned or halted light from radiating outward. Hence, stopped in growth.
      We advance or damn our growth. Other people and events influence our actions, but we ultimately must accept responsibility for whatever we choose. The Plan of Life is the medium. It provides time and place for an infinite number of activities, although basic principles are true no matter the time, culture or location.

TOPIC 2: GOD'S PLAN

      As mentioned in Topic 1, God stated His purpose in PGP Moses 1:31-35 and 38-39 "And behold, the glory of the Lord was upon Moses, so that Moses stood in the presence of God, and talked with him face to face. And the Lord God said unto Moses; For mine own purpose have I made these things. Here is wisdom and it remaineth in me.
      "And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth.
      "And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.
      "And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.
      "But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man, but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.
      "And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come, and there is no end to my works, neither to my words.
      "For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."

      This is an impressive insight into a multitude of facts about the universe and man's role in the eternal scheme. Under God's direction, Jesus Christ (called Jehovah prior to His birth on this earth) organized a vast array of galaxies, star systems and planets. A typical galaxy contains between 80 and 300 billion stars; an equally large number of planets orbit around stars within such galaxies. Likewise, people similar to us either have completed their mortal cycle and subsequent judgment or currently remain in the probationary stage. Joseph Smith related that although plants and animals may vary greatly on other planets, all human beings have physical characteristics that mirror our heavenly parents. They do not look like odd creatures from Star Trek or Star Wars movies.
      Astronomers recently confirmed the existence of giant gas planets that orbit several distant stars within our Milky Way galaxy. As yet, instruments cannot detect smaller planets that may be home to other humans. The "heavens" mentioned in Moses refer to planetary atmospheres. The passing away of such an earth and its heaven equates to completion of that world's telestial phase; judgment is rendered and the planet advances to a celestial level. Those of terrestrial or telestial levels live on other planets.
      The Lord explains this concept in DC 130:9-10 "This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order, will be manifest to those who dwell on it; and this earth will be Christ's.
      "Then the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17, will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby things pertaining to a higher order of kingdoms will be made known."

      It is analogous to a huge mainframe computer system that contains a massive database of information pertaining to Telestial and Terrestrial worlds. Access to a "database" of Celestial level information will be available through the white seer stone, in an interface somewhat like today's palm-pocket computer link for remote access to a large database. A person's New Name received in the temple endowment is written on the seer stone, serving both as confirmation of legitimacy and a unique access code. Urim means "lights"; Thummim means "perfections". A fullness of light/truth is perfection.

IMMORTALITY AND ETERNAL LIFE:

      Immortality merely is a continuation of life after our earthly sojourn. It is a boon granted to all souls through the atonement and resurrection of the Savior. We need do nothing to gain this gift. Even the Sons of Perdition eventually will be resurrected, but such a body will be to their further condemnation.
      DC 88:15-16 clarifies the meaning of a soul. "And the spirit and the body are the soul of man.
      "And the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the soul."

      Eternal Life is separate from immortality. It specifically refers to living again with God in a more exalted sphere. He explains the meaning of eternal in DC 19:11. "Eternal punishment is God's punishment." Thus, eternal is a synonym for God. Eternal Life is life with God. This also is the actual meaning of the Atonement (At-One-Ment or the state of being as One with another person): Jesus provides the means and method to bring people back into the presence and family of our Heavenly Parents. He returns us to our home. God shares all things equally with those in the same celestial order.
      God reveals several of His names to Moses in PGP Moses 7:35. "Behold, I am God; Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name, also."
      Ahman is another of God's names, and probably is the Adamic language form of "Man of Holiness." I find it quite interesting to note that English retains the original Adamic form of masculine nomenclature: Man. Jesus calls Himself "Son Ahman" in DC 78:20 and DC 95:17. God further refers to Himself as Endless in PGP Moses 1:3. "And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless?"
      Joseph Smith related in his greatest public speech, the King Follet discourse, that we must learn how to resurrect ourselves under Christ's direction. The following are excerpts from that funeral sermon.
      "If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves. I want to go back to the beginning, and so lift your minds into more lofty spheres and more exalted understanding than what the human mind generally aspires to.
      "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible,--I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form--like yourselves in all the person, image and very form as a man.
      "I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see.
      "These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did.
      "Here, then, is eternal life--to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power. And I want you to know that God, in the last days, while certain individuals are proclaiming his name, is not trifling with you or me.
      "…they shall be heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. What is it? To inherit the same power, the same glory and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a god, and ascend the throne of eternal power, the same as those who have gone before. What did Jesus do? Why I do the things I saw my Father do when worlds came rolling into existence. My Father worked out his kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom, I shall present it to my Father so that he may obtain kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt him in glory. He will then take a higher exaltation, and I will take his place, and thereby become exalted myself. So that Jesus treads in the tracks of his Father, and inherits what God did before; and God is thus glorified and exalted in the salvation and exaltation of all his children.
      "When we understand the character of God, and know how to come to him, he begins to unfold the heavens to us, and to tell us all about it. When we are ready to come to him, he is ready to come to us.
      "The intelligence of spirits had no beginning, neither will it have an end.
      "Intelligence is internal and exists upon a self-existent principle. It is a spirit from age to age and there is no creation about it. All the minds and spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement.
      "The first principles of man are self-existent with God. God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. He has power to institute laws to instruct the weaker intelligences, that they may be exalted with himself, so that they might have one glory upon another, and all that knowledge, power, glory, and intelligence, which is requisite in order to save them in the world of spirits.
      "When his commandments teach us, it is in view of eternity; for we are looked upon by God as though we were in eternity; God dwells in eternity, and does not view things as we do."


HEAVENLY PARENTS:

      Jesus revealed His prior status in DC 93:21/23. "And now, verily I say unto you, I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn.
      "Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth."

      DC 130:22 explicitly states the physical character of our Heavenly Father -- and by extension, of our Heavenly Mother. "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us."
      No blood, however, since blood is a mortal fluid that contains within it both the life-giving and death-producing influences. A resurrected body uses a perfected system to sustain its character and being. This is something that we must learn prior to being resurrected.
      As for the concept of a Heavenly Mother, it is impossible to have a father without also having a mother. This is true in heaven and on earth. The only reason that scripture shies away from this principle is that God honors Her and diminishes the chance for foolish mortals of taking Her name in vain, just as His name frequently is used improperly. The song "Oh My Father" mentions our Heavenly Mother. DC 131:1-3 clarifies that marriage solemnized in God's temple is a requirement for entrance into the top level of the Celestial Kingdom. God is not exempt from the law; therefore, He is married.
      "In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
      "And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood (meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage);
      "And if he does not, he cannot obtain it."

      DC 132:19-20 expands on the theme. God cannot break the law of chastity. He married Mary of Nazareth and, through that union, begat Jesus in the flesh. Jesus was not a bastard child. This will be considered in another chapter. It was a concept commonly taught in the ancient church of Jesus Christ before Greek philosophers hijacked the religion and banned the knowledge.

CONCLUSION:

      DC 132:24 states: "This is eternal lives--to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am he. Receive ye, therefore, my law." Such eternal life consists of returning to the family and presence of God. This can only be accomplished through conforming to all steps of Christ's Gospel. See my chart on the Plan of Life. Among the steps are Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost, Priesthood, and Temple Work. The endowment is key to passing through the veil and gaining entrance into God's Kingdom. These concepts will be expanded upon in subsequent chapters. Each step guides us upward to an established, achievable goal.

TOPIC 3: INTELLIGENCES

      God informed Abraham that we existed as intelligence from before the foundations of this earth; even before our life as His spirit children we always existed as intelligence. We had no beginning, and cannot have an end.
      At some point, each intelligence accepted an offer to become a spirit child of heavenly parents. They also offered to show us methods to develop both in mind and body. Hence, we learned a vast amount of knowledge and practiced talents, which are exhibited in our current mortal life. It is reasonable to assume that great musicians and artists, among other talented people, developed their particular innate abilities prior to using them on earth. Likewise, each person has at least the rudiments of various talents and abilities before entering mortality. While here, we have or can make opportunities to further develop a talent or learn the principles pertaining to any field of learning or action.
      DC 93:36 states: "The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth." This, at least, gives us a point of reference in understanding our characteristics before becoming a spirit child. We were light and truth. DC 93:24 explains the meaning of truth. "And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come."

ALL PEOPLE ARE SUSCEPTIBLE OF ENLARGEMENT:

      Joseph Smith Jr. said in his King Follett discourse, "All the minds and spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement."
      The key question is: Why did I come here?
      Of course, this leads to the ancillary "terrible questions" as Hugh Nibley termed them. Where did I come from? Where am I to go? Is this all there is?
      In DC 93:29 Jesus declared, "Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be." The reason: Matter can be altered (organized) but cannot be created (made from nothing). You cannot build a house merely from a dream; it requires physical material such as wood, nails, etc. God cannot create a world from a concept; it also requires physical matter. Neither can light be created. Matter can be arranged via physical laws to organize a star and produce discrete light. A related, though physically disparate, type of light concerns our "intelligence". It is akin to the Light of Christ, which enlightens all beings. Such light is self-existent and is capable of enlargement -- we can learn and develop an ever-increasing storehouse of talents. Of course, there is a caveat. We must live according to laws applicable to whatever location we inhabit.
      NOTE: The Light of Christ is our conscience, which serves as a moral guide until a person actively subverts its influence.
      Matter also must adhere to the pertinent laws and principles of its kingdom, whether in a galaxy or an atom. Even a cursory observation reveals close parallels in the structure of a galaxy, a solar system and an atom. All dependent spheres orbit around a controlling central node. Note the following in DC 88:36-38.
      "All kingdoms have a law given;
      "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.
      "And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions.
      "All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified."

      The largest kingdom, of course, is a universe typically considered in the same dimension. We do not know how other dimensions function. However, at least two can occupy the same location and time without interaction except with special permission. This refers specifically to the Spirit World where spirits of the dead go. Joseph Smith learned that this earth also is the habitation of such spirits until the final judgment occurs and the earth is celestialized. Occasionally mortals receive glimpses of that world or the spirits who occupy it. All recorded instances mention the brilliance of colors and a pervading peacefulness. This will be developed further in another chapter.
      NOTE: The above statement pertains to dimensions other than the ones commonly considered such as height, width, depth, and time.
      Smaller kingdoms include the following examples in descending order: Galaxy; Solar System; Planet; Human or Animal Body; Cell; Molecule; Atom. All contain space and substance. Likewise, they all have boundaries and obey laws. There also is a central control. Consider the comparison between an atom or a molecule and a galaxy. Each has a nucleus and variously structured dependent units. Violation of law results in adverse action.
      With regard to the spirit world, God calls this matter more refined or purer, which helps clarify why both worlds (mortal and spiritual) can coexist without being in conflict. This appears in DC 131:7.
      "There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes."
      We cannot view a different dimensional world except in special permitted occasions. Such events are predicated upon a combination of faith and purpose. We may not become aware of the full purpose immediately.
      DC 93:30 contains an insightful explanation of how all beings and matter operate. "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."
      Earlier we noted that truth is a complete knowledge of things (past; present; future). Hence, each intelligence (our pre-spirit world condition) has the freedom to act in whatever kingdom it resides. All existence is predicated upon this principle of freedom. Even those cast into Outer Darkness -- Sons of Perdition (explained in a later chapter) and the spirits who followed Lucifer. This is the meaning of DC 88:32 "And they who remain shall also be quickened; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received." Although Christ's atonement allows these beings to be resurrected, they cannot reside in a kingdom of glory because they willfully seek to subvert whatever laws govern such a kingdom. Therefore, they will devolve to a lower order of perpetual chaos and perversion conducive to their depraved nature.
      This also clarifies another scripture about God's knowledge. DC 88:41 states "He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever." God's character and Priesthood power permits Him to understand and perceive each facet of what He constructs. Chapter 2 related how this is done. (See DC 130:9-10). Also, Moses wrote about his experience in perceiving the world. Moses 1:27 states: "And it came to pass, as the voice was still speaking, Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth, yea, even all of it, and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the spirit of God."
      This cosmic method likewise confirms the statement Jehovah made in Isaiah 55:8-9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
      "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."

      The thought processes of mortal beings inherently are restricted. The eternal plan requires this as integral and necessary for our test of character. Therefore, we currently cannot fathom the immense amount of data that the Lord can impart, such as that presented to Moses. Science confirms man uses only a minor amount of the brain's cognitive capability. Even that is an inaccurate assessment, since medical analysts only have a partial ability to test mortal brain activity. The basic nature of a pre-mortal or post-mortal being far exceeds whatever limit scientists can conceive, particularly those who embrace the Darwinian theory of evolution. Man did not descend from an ape.

      The simple answer to the earlier question of why we come to earth is:
We come to gain a physical body and learn how to use it correctly. In essence, it is a tool that helps our intelligence progress to an ultimate goal of perfection and obedience to all laws of a celestial level. Thus, we are traveling on a path similar to that trod by all beings that strive to emulate their spirit parents.
      We quickly recognize that people vary in ability and knowledge. This has always been the case. Jehovah revealed our pre-earth condition to Abraham and clearly disclosed the disparate levels that exist among God's spirit children. Abraham 3:19 relates, "And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exit, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all."
      Verses 22 and 23 of the same chapter indicate that the Lord selected various spirits to serve in key positions during this mortal phase. "Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
      "And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born."

      This passage does not condone the concept of predestination. It does support the theory of foreordination. The difference is that the former means a person is destined to experience whatever happens in life no matter what he attempts to do. Foreordination allows free will to occur. A person may be selected for a role, but can reject to participate at any time. If so, someone else will be called to the work. Joseph Smith received a reminder in DC 3:9 "Behold, thou art Joseph, and thou wast chosen to do the work of the Lord, but because of transgression, if thou art not aware thou wilt fall."

RETAIN EARTHLY KNOWLEDGE:

      Another key concept is that whatever we learn in life remains with us after death and in our subsequent resurrected state. Also, the Lord will remove the veil of forgetfulness, which prevents us from remembering our pre-earthly life. All that we knew then will again become ours.
      DC 130:18-19 states, "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.
      "And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come."

      This is the reward of heavenly parents and an elder brother who truly love people and desire to help them progress. It is a system that grants a reward commensurate to effort. This likewise is indicated in a parable that Jesus taught about the servants and talents entrusted to them. The diligent received an increase equal to what they garnered. The master did not overburden a person with too much reward. In other words, God will not give an increase that taxes a person's strength (physical, mental or spiritual). It would be too much for a person who increased in one talent to receive ten new ones. He can handle an additional one, but ten would be burdensome. In contrast, someone who gains ten talents likely can handle an increase of ten.
      Conversely, a lazy person will lose talents and knowledge. This is just. His negligence indicates that he does not appreciate the gifts. As stated in DC 88:33, "For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift."
      Orson Pratt, a Church leader contemporary with Joseph Smith, gave a lengthy discourse on 22 October 1854 about how spirits learn after entering paradise (Spirit World). It probably is a learning process similar to what we had prior to becoming mortal. He indicated that we can study a multitude of concepts simultaneously and not forget anything. Also, we learn via all aspects of the body, not merely seeing with the eyes. Language is on a higher order, not constrained as our current vocalizations. In JD volume 3, page 101 he claimed, "They have undoubtedly a more refined system among them of communicating their ideas. This system will be so constructed that they can, not only communicate at the same moment upon one subject…but communicate vast numbers of ideas, all at the same time on a great variety of subjects; and the mind will be capable of perceiving them."
      He further said on page 102, "…mankind would be able, through the power of the Holy Ghost, to obtain a knowledge of a vast number of things at once, and of a vast portion of the works of God all at once, the same as Moses did when he looked upon every particle of this earth and discerned it by the Spirit of God, not only all the various continents and islands, but every particle of the interior of it; all was presented before his mind at once."
      On page 103 he concluded, "So you see that there is a language in the spirit world that can communicate more to the mind in one minute than could be learned here in a hundred years of intense study and reasoning."

CONCLUSION:

      God cannot give Eternal Life as a gift. It must be earned. Each intelligence chose to become a spirit daughter or son of heavenly parents. They also accepted an opportunity to grow in knowledge and agreed to follow laws of the kingdom. Nothing was haphazard. God fully explained each step in the process of becoming like Him. The subsequent phase in growth, called a First Estate or the spirit world, will be considered in the next chapter.

TOPIC 4: FIRST ESTATE (SPIRIT WORLD)

      As mentioned earlier, our heavenly parents offered each intelligence the path to growth and eventual exaltation. Joseph Smith stated in KFD, "God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself." Our initial step was to obtain a spirit body. Jehovah granted Abraham a view of that early period, known as our First Estate. God declared in Abraham 3:25-26, "And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
      "And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever."

      In summary, God and Jehovah devised an elaborate and effective test that can determine whose faith is sufficient to reach a celestial level. The test provides for multiple levels requisite to reward each spirit and soul according to his works. The "first estate" refers to the spirit world. Those who rebelled and sided with Lucifer (Satan) did not remain faithful and were cast out. God rewarded them according to their actions: they did not receive a mortal body and cannot be resurrected.
      All spirits born on this earth chose to follow God's plan, as presented by Jehovah. Therefore, we receive a physical body and chance for various experiences. Some die very early. Others suffer deformities or misery. All are subject to maladies, natural occurrences and the acts of man, both righteous and evil. Although this life may seem unfair, it is fleeting and the negative effects actually are a boon to our progress. Each event further tests our resolve and sense of responsibility -- or lack thereof. This life is the "second estate." The glory added refers to advancement into a level commensurate to our choices and actions. The three major kingdoms (Celestial, Terrestrial, Telestial) will be discussed in other chapters. Outer Darkness (Satan's ultimate destination) likewise will be discussed later.
      Eve, Adam's wife and the first woman on this earth, observed the necessity of learning from opposites in this mortal experience. After learning about the future atonement of Jesus Christ, she said in Moses 5:11 "Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient." She found joy in having children, knowing that they were the beginning of all future souls born to this earth. She also had hope through Christ's far-reaching plan. Eve understood that she and Adam would not have had children if they had not willingly transgressed. They also could not continue along the path to exaltation by staying in Eden. The fall was requisite and Christ's ultimate sacrifice rendered it a moot point.
      Our concern is how to gain forgiveness for personal mistakes. The Plan of Life answers this key issue. It posits and answers all possibilities. This plan is comprehensive and so detailed that it truly is beyond mortal ken. Christ, as its architect, designed each facet from construction of stars and planets to the smallest particle of both animate and inanimate objects. His knowledge included how to organize all things first spiritually, second in mortality, third a higher form of spiritual existence, and finally the resurrected condition applicable to each level or kingdom. Only the foolish cannot see the wonder in God and Christ's intricate, all-inclusive plan.

PURPOSE OF FIRST ESTATE:

      All of God's actions have a purpose. The overall objective of the first estate can be outlined as follows:
1. Offer an intelligence a spirit body as God's daughter or son.
2. Provide opportunities to gain knowledge (encompasses a wide range).
3. Detailed instructions on how to progress in knowledge (develop talents).
4. Council in Heaven: Receive a full explanation of earth life (fall of man and atonement of Christ; gospel and all ordinances; priesthood; vicissitudes such as disasters, disease, handicaps, pain, torment, war; blessings such as beauty of earth, children, family, physical body, pleasure; judgment and ultimate reward; possibility of failure and the consequences based on free choice).
5. Discuss and vote on which plan to accept (Jehovah's free agency; Lucifer's compulsion). "War in Heaven" was a discussion of the opposing concepts.
6. Cast out rebels; reward the faithful.
7. Rest in first estate until born into mortality (continued preparation).
      Each phase was pertinent and necessary for our continued growth. It also served as a means to weed out the malcontents and rebels, particularly Lucifer. Lucifer became Satan after his fall.

COUNCIL IN HEAVEN:

      God does not coerce. He must operate in a fullness of love and respect for individual free choice. He also operates under the principle of full disclosure. He, therefore, held a grand council to discuss a Plan of Life, both as an overview and all details for consideration. DC 121:36 emphasizes the only manner that His priesthood can function: "That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness."
      All spirit children participated in the council. We do not know how long it progressed, nor do we know how detailed was the description of God's overall plan. Abraham learned that God included many details in the plan. See Abraham 3:24 (in addition to 24-25 already quoted above), "And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell." God likely held the council in stages because Jehovah and Lucifer submitted alternate plans.
      Abraham indicates that the council knew how Jehovah would organize existing matter into our earth. Jehovah and Lucifer probably presented details for each phase in the creative process. This would include both animate and inanimate objects from the greatest structure (our sun) to the least (molecules and atoms). We would learn about problems to face -- various diseases, man-made deprivations, wars, and natural obstacles. We also would consider all positive aspects. Jehovah possessed a comprehensive intellect that considered consequences of both individual choice and trends, such as how an empire develops and collapses. He already considered how and when to raise prophets, what would lead to a Rome, the building of Babel, the flood during Noah's future life, and why Nephi would need to keep two records 2,400 years before Martin Harris would lose a translated manuscript of the first record. Lucifer probably included many details to construct his proposed earth, however, he emphasized that not one soul will be lost. He would force everyone into heaven. God, no doubt, taught him that such a concept was impossible. Lucifer was consumed with an arrogant lust for power and refused to listen.
      The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints continues to emphasize a need for family councils. They should not be structured as a business venture. Consideration should be given to each family member and an idea is presented in a manner easy for all to understand.

WAR IN HEAVEN:

      Abraham 3:27-28 states, "And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first.
      "And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him."

      This is a brief description of the presentation of two plans, the "War in Heaven" and what happened to both Lucifer and his rebellious followers. It was a war of words. We heard details of the plans and engaged in a debate. Some people were very diligent in support for their preference. In effect, they became advocates -- missionaries in the spirit world to sway others in favor of either Jehovah or Lucifer. God allowed this activity, knowing the outcome in advance. Two thirds of the spirits voted for Jehovah's plan of redemption. One third voted for Lucifer's plan of forced obedience. God, of course, was in favor of Jehovah, who actually presented the same plan that God previously authored.
      The outcome of this war was no surprise. It followed a pattern used by all celestial beings who design a world for spirit children and their quest for exaltation. Although God followed the majority vote, He would have chosen the plan of free agency even if the majority had voted for compulsion. He allows free will, but heaven is not a democracy. A righteous choice is key to His government. As noted earlier in DC 121:36, the governing power of God's priesthood can be used only with a fullness of love and truth. The least degree of compulsion immediately negates the holder's priesthood. Lucifer knew this. He attempted to usurp God's throne and would have destroyed all that God previously created.
      Lust for power and fame consumed Lucifer. His role as a light bearer ended. He became an author and advocate of all negative forces. God gave Satan and his deluded followers the boot. They were unfit to live in His realm, however, God and Jehovah gave them temporary permission to influence us during this probationary life on earth. They became another important element in Jehovah's Plan of Life. They became part of the opposition in all things that we must overcome. So, some of our previous close friends in the spirit now entice us to fall during our earthly "second estate". Nevertheless, Jehovah counters that influence with a host of positive support (covered in another chapter).
      John also described this war in Revelation 12:7-9. "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels.
      "And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
      "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast down into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."

      We do not know how Satan developed a desire for power. It probably always was with him as an intelligence. If so, it indicates that we all carry basic characteristics into our life as God's spirit children. He encourages us to develop such innate abilities and to learn new knowledge during each stage in the plan of life. Satan's condition exemplifies an opposite path, willful failure.

CONCLUSION:

      We knew each significant aspect of our earthly life prior to coming here and volunteered for the experiences. God did not just dump us here. The deists are wrong; they compare God to a clockmaker, one who makes the earth and lets it wind down without his supervision. That is false. He and Jesus Christ intimately oversee this world. They want us to succeed. Christ already paid the price for us via His atonement. Now we learn if we will fulfill our spirit-world commitment. That is why God requires a veil of forgetfulness, which prevents us from remembering who we were.
      The following chart is a comparative overview of the electromagnetic spectrum and my version of the gospel "spectrum." I include mention of why Albert Einstein and other scientists could not reach a satisfactory culmination to their hoped for Unified Field Theory. It also contains what I call the "Gospel Spectrum."


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