Defining the Heavenly Gift

AbrahamKneelingInPrayerThere is a way prepared that all men might be partakers of the heavenly gift, or the opening of the heavens. The heavenly gift is received directly from God. It does not come from man. What one man receives from God can’t be passed on to another man. My visions are not your visions. Angels that taught me are not the same angels that will teach you. Each gift is individualized.

Opportunity to Exercise Faith

One of the greatest and perhaps unrecognized blessings of this earth life is the opportunity to exercise faith. I don’t mean the kind of faith that says, “I believe,” although this too is faith. The kind of faith I would like to bring out in this post is the kind that opens the heavens and allows us to become “partakers of the heavenly gift.” But first let’s see if we can define the heavenly gift.

By Faith All Things Are Fulfilled

After Moroni introduces us to Ether, he refers to the heavenly gift in the quote below. We don’t find this particular phrase used anywhere else in scripture (Correction: See 4 Ne 1:3 & Heb 6:4). Ether was a prophet who taught “…by faith all things are fulfilled,” which Moroni coupled with hope as the only way to be “sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works.”  He then writes about faith as the way to see God.

Partakers of the Heavenly Gift

“But because of the faith of men he has shown himself unto the world, and glorified the name of the Father, and prepared a way that thereby others might be partakers of the heavenly gift, that they might hope for those things which they have not seen.”  (Ether 12:8) It seems obvious the heavenly gift includes prophecy, revelation, visions, visitors, angels, the Holy Ghost and more.

The Way Has Been Prepared

What is this “way” the Lord has prepared that we may also be partakers of the heavenly gift as were Ether, Moroni and so many other prophets? It’s more than faith, although that is part of it. It’s more than righteousness or holiness, although those are also part of the way. I had thought the “way” referred to in Ether 12:8 was priesthood, specifically, the fullness of the priesthood.

Looking for a Short, Concise Definition

But I’ll leave it open for your comments, because frankly, I am no longer certain what Moroni was trying to say and what he intended for us to learn from this verse. Does anyone care to add to my knowledge? What is “the way” to obtain the Heavenly Gift? I have received portions of that Heavenly Gift – inspiration, prophecy, revelation, visions, dreams and perhaps even angels.

Another Obscure Phrase That Needs Defining

And since I brought it up, I could use some help with the other phrase – the fullness of the priesthood. It also is referred to in only one place in scripture. It’s found in D&C 124:28 with a different spelling: “For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.”

Fullness of Priesthood Received from Christ

So I’d appreciate if you could help me define that phrase – the fullness of the priesthood. It’s not the same as the fullness of the gospel. As I understand it, the objective of the fullness of the gospel is to bring people back to the presence of Christ. Once we obtain the presence of Christ, literally, we can, and should, receive the fullness of the priesthood. I hope that’s not confusing.

Consensus on Two Scriptural Phrases

I had a lot more planned for this post but I think I’d rather stop and see if we have a consensus on those two phrases: 1) The Heavenly Gift and 2) The Fullness of the Priesthood. I know those are more than enough to fill pages and pages of comments. And don’t tell me I should “look to no man to be my teacher.” Even though I’ve read and researched this for years, I’m asking for help.

More than Invitational Authority

I believe the Fullness of the Priesthood means more than simply everything God has because we are specifically taught in D&C 124:28 we can receive it or be taught how to receive it in the temple in this life. That was the whole reason Joseph was admonished by the Lord to get the temple done and the reason he urged the people to finish it. What was it that was lost – the sealing power?

A Dialog Based on Modern Scriptures

Note: This is part one of an intended discussion of some basic doctrine of receiving Christ in this life in a literal and physical way. That is my goal as I’m sure it’s yours. If we can agree on these two phrases, I’d like to continue in the next post with a few thoughts about Passing the Heavenly Gift, especially if we come to an agreement on the definition of the Fullness of the Priesthood.

Power Can’t be Passed From Man to Man

Food for thought: D&C 121:36 – “…the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven … the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled [except] upon the principles of righteousness. That they may be conferred upon us it is true …” I assume we are all in agreement we can have authority in the priesthood without any real priesthood power.

70 thoughts on “Defining the Heavenly Gift”

  1. Wonderful thoughts but a small correction is needed the phrase ” heavenly gift” also occurs in 4 Nephi 3 and in Hebrews 6:4. Those are the only 3 places in the scriptures the phrase occurs so far as I am aware. My question is do you think they are refer to the same ‘gift” and if so what are your thoughts about Paul’s reference to it in Hebrews.

  2. Way cool. Thanks for pointing that out. It makes it even more meaningful, especially to see it in the New Testament. I will ponder your question: “do they refer to the same gift?”

  3. Here is what I believe, and some of the supporting documentation for my belief.

    “The heavenly gift” is the gift of the Holy Ghost, received through the baptism by fire.

    3 Nephi 27:20
    20 Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.

    2 Nephi 31:14
    14 But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me.

    Hebrews 6
    4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost [there’s the critical documentary link],

    5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

    6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

    2 Peter 2
    20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

    21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

    22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

    The knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ comes by the baptism by fire.

    3 Nephi 11:35
    35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.

    “The fulness of the priesthood” is “all power in heaven and on earth.” And here is the link between the baptism by fire and the fulness of the priesthood.

    D&C 93
    11 And I, John, bear record that I beheld his glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us.

    12 And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace;

    13 And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;

    14 And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first.

    15 And I, John, bear record, and lo, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove, and sat upon him, and there came a voice out of heaven saying: This is my beloved Son.

    16 And I, John, bear record that he received a fulness of the glory of the Father;

    17 And he received all power, both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, for he dwelt in him.

    D&C 50
    26 He that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all.

    27 Wherefore, he is possessor of all things; for all things are subject unto him, both in heaven and on the earth, the life and the light, the Spirit and the power, sent forth by the will of the Father through Jesus Christ, his Son.

    28 But no man is possessor of all things except he be purified and cleansed from all sin.

    29 And if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done.

    30 But know this, it shall be given you what you shall ask; and as ye are appointed to the head, the spirits shall be subject unto you.

    1. Log, the reception of the HG does not qualify one for perdition. I happen to believe that the “tongue of angels” is closely related, if not synonymous with, “heavenly gift”, as you suggest here. But you can’t become perdition b/c you’ve been BbF&HG. It takes something more significant, something you can’t doubt. As JS said, you have to say the sun doesn’t shine while it shines. Therefore, the “tongue of angels” is something more. That’s also why it’s listed as a separate event by Nephi, something that comes after being baptized by fire.

      I think you’re very close, but not quite there.

  4. 2 Nephi 31:12 And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.

    JST John 3:34
    34 For he whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God; for God giveth him not the Spirit by measure, for he dwelleth in him, even the fullness.

    John 8:29
    29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

    1. Leave it to you Log to be able to generate a comprehensive doctrinal discourse on a matter of great importance on the spur of the moment .I recognize it is your favorite topic but it is as usual great even if it is as usual a bit prolix. For the record i agree completely with your analysis and will tell you it is the same conclusion I came to sometime ago. Glad to see you are still spreading light and truth. miss your blog

  5. “And do thou grant, Holy Father, that all those who shall worship in this house may be taught words of wisdom out of the best books . . . And that they may grow up in thee, and receive a fulness of the Holy Ghost” (D&C 109:14-15).

    This could imply that the gift of the Holy Ghost (which people who worship in the temple should have received) is different than the fulness of the Holy Ghost.

    What’s the relationship between the fulness of the priesthood and the fulness of the Holy Ghost?

  6. I believe that you cannot be introduced to the Father and accepted as his Son (in corrupted flesh), without possessing the fullness of the priesthood.

    D&C 84:
    19 And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.

    20 Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.

    21 And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;

    22 For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.

    I attempt to parse the above verses in the following manner:

    Keys of knowledge are gained by obedience to priesthood laws (ordinances). See D&C 130:21. Meaning that one must not just go through the ritual of baptism, but actually be cleansed from all sin. Thus, following all priesthood laws will lead to a fullness and actual knowledge of God.

    The authority of the priesthood is nothing more than God’s promise to come to those who obey His laws.

    1. marginalizedmormon

      So, men can be introduced to the Father. To whom are women to be introduced?
      I realize that this is rhetorical, and I am not meant to take it this way, but I am not a woman who wants the priesthood. If this goes over my spiritual head (as in, do women count at all here?), then what about the woman who really feels deprived that she doesn’t have the priesthood.
      Is this just a man’s discussion? No, I have never, ever ‘gotten’ the concept of sharing the priesthood with a husband, though I have one who is more than willing to share. But he’s not sure how to do that either. He gives our family members (including a daughter who wants the priesthood and me who doesn’t) blessings.
      Or are women just to remain silent, at home? I don’t mind that, really. I’m home all the time anyway. But silent? It doesn’t seem to be something most men can do either.

      1. That’s the beauty of the preisthood if it is understood to be a fellowship with angles, Christ, and the Father. All are invited if they simply obey the laws which such visitations are predicated.

  7. Thanks Log and Eric. I’m pondering what you’ve shared. For some reason, I can’t seem to get D&C 121:36 out of my head in regards to the Heavenly Gift. Also, I keep thinking of the veil ceremony. I know this is sacred ground. I guess my impression is the Heavenly Gift is directly associated with seeing the Savior in this life.

    That’s why I started the post with the scripture in Ether 12:8 – There is a way prepared that we might be made partakers of the Heavenly Gift, which is listed immediately after the phrase, “…because of faith, He hath shown Himself …” I guess my point is, in spite of Log’s awesome scripture chain, it’s more than the Holy Ghost.

    To me, from everything I’ve studied and read, the Heavenly Gift is to come into the presence of the Son. I have the gift of the Holy Ghost, so do you. I have been ordained to the priesthood, so have you. We have been endowed and taught sacred things about how to come into the presence of the Lord that are ONLY revealed in the temple.

    The power of the priesthood, think about that phrase, can ONLY be received directly from God. It is not the same as authority or simply an ordination. Those are both invitations to go and get the real thing. We know we can’t pass the power of the priesthood from one man to another. We can only confer and ordain – invitations to go and get the real thing.

    My conclusion: the Heavenly Gift is to receive power, directly from Christ, either by hearing his voice or by having him lay his hands upon our head. This fits the scripture that power cannot be passed from man to man – only authority can be given – an earthly authority at that. It is when we are in the presence of Christ we receive the fullness of the priesthood. The Heavenly gift IS the fullness of the priesthood.

    That’s my thinking so far. Am I close? Can I substantiate that with a direct scripture chain as Log has done? No. It has only come to me by pondering and prayer, which I am about to engage in again right now because it’s bedtime for this early riser. The Heavenly Gift and the Fullness of the Priesthood are in effect, the power of the Melchizedek Priesthood, or the higher priesthood, which power is received only directly from Christ.

    Alternative viewpoints welcomed. Thanks for sharing.

    BTW, AwakeToZion: I really like your definition of the authority of the priesthood being nothing more than the Lord’s promise to come unto those who obey HIS laws and commandments (not man’s), because there could be a conflict between what we are commanded to do by man – even our priesthood leaders – and what the Lord asks us to do, especially if we are very familiar with His voice to us individually.

    Some say there should NEVER be a conflict between the two. I disagree. I have seen such conflicts over the years. Priesthood leaders are not perfect, but the Lord’s direction to us is perfect. I have heard His voice in my mind asking me to do things that I sometimes don’t fully understand. I admit it is rare, but I think we can all think of instances where we knew the Lord wanted us to do something other than what our priesthood leader was counseling us to do. Am I alone in this?

    1. i use to think the same thing but alter careful consideration ( and hopefully a little revelation) I came to the conclusion that it was (and this is the important part) the gift of the Holy Ghost which causes us to be baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost. This is truly the heavenly gift that changes us completely and turns us into disciples of the Savior. This is different that what most people think they get when they are baptized . This often ,even typically does not occur when as members we are baptized at 8 and based upon a survey i did years ago is unfortunately not experienced by many adult converts. This is the powerful spiritual experience Joseph had when he was baptized JSH 1:73.73. It is the experience that the 300 Lamanties experienced in Helaman 5;44,45 which the Savior described in 3 Nephi 9:20 .as being baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost. Look at Lorenzo Snows experience which occurred weeks after he was baptized . We can go through our whole lives thinking we have the holy ghost but never actually experience the bAPTISM OF FIRE AND THE HOLY GHOST. If you can’t identify it in your life it may be because you haven’t received it . Rock Waterman will tell you he didn’t receive it until a few years ago. Joseph had see the father and the son and had entertained angels w/o having received it and so might you . It is late and i have to go to bed but reexamine the scriptures Log provided and seek guidance . By the gift of the holy ghost you may know the truth of all things

      1. Boo, I’m convinced that Shylow’s references to different levels in his comment below is the key to understanding the Heavenly Gift. It suggests it is possible that the gift is different for people on different levels. Ultimately, for those who have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, AND the baptism of fire, have received the invitations contained in the ordination of the priesthood and have then been instructed at the veil in the endowment, the Heavenly gift can ONLY be to embrace God, in this life, as we are taught at the veil. Some have not yet received the baptism of fire and thus must receive that gift first.

        But for those who have received that gift long ago, seeking the gifts that were promised in the temple, and could ONLY be received in the temple, is what I was hoping to focus on in this post. Else why the reference in D&C 124:28 to restoring what was lost? That heavenly gift, or at least the instruction on how to receive it, could only occur in a temple. That is the direction I would like to take this discussion, using that definition of the Heavenly Gift – to come into the presence of the Savior and receive the fullness of the priesthood, including the sealing power, which, by definition in the scriptures considered (D&C 121), cannot be passed from one man to another.

    2. marginalizedmormon

      WHEW! Thanks, Tim. Jesus has come to me, so maybe I’m all right, after all.

      Even without the priesthood. (no sarcasm felt at all or intended in any way; this is real)

  8. And…

    Whenever the subject is Ether 12, I can’t help but point out that Moroni is speaking very critically (but charitably) to the Gentiles. Why are the Gentiles failing to partake of the Heavenly Gift? We lack faith, hope, and charity.

    1. Because we haven’t sought it properly. God is no respecter of persons and if others have sought and obtain it so can you and me and the rest of the Gentiles

  9. Something I’ve had ‘revealed’ to me during temple worship. I hope this doesn’t make anyone uncomfortable. In thinking of the different ‘orders’ we pass through in the endowment, I think the first is relative to the light of Christ, our conscience if you will. Once that is mastered, you go onto the next order, that of the Holy Ghost. (This incidentally matches up really well when you put it in context with the names that go along with the ‘orders’). I would venture to say, that’s where most LDS people are in real-life time….Somewhere in the 2nd order of the Aaronic Priesthood realm. I am still trying to figure this out……

    Then things move to that of a Melchizedek nature. I think that ‘baptism by the Holy Ghost’ is kind of the transition point between these two ‘worlds’. Master the influence of the spirit, then have the baptism by fire. I think that’s what it means by ‘prepared to officiate’ …..Once baptism of fire, the next step would be to receive the Savior (again thinking of the names involved). I don’t know which of these two I think is the ‘Heavenly Gift’. Log has some good arguments to it being the Holy Ghost. But it seems to me there’s more to it than that. I think it involves receiving something (instruction, commission?) from the Savior. I think also that somewhere in here would be the ‘fullness of the gospel’. I think that’s relative to living the law of consecration. Once we receive the Savior, we can be introduced to the Father. Think of the veil. The Savior introduces us to the Father through the veil. I think this is the “fullness of the priesthood”. Especially when considering the names involved.

    We prove ourselves true and faithful to one thing, and request further light and knowledge……Grace by grace, until the fullness. The pattern given by the Savior is the same for us.

    I’m trying to fit all the pieces together, so I hope it makes sense. Something that’s been helping me understand the ‘way’ is the differences between characteristics of each of the kingdoms referenced in the temple, I have them categorized (Telestial, Terrestrial, Celestial) respectively: For example. Faith(as telestial), Hope(as terrestrial) and Charity(as celestial)…..Clean, Sanctified, Purified……Feeling the spirit or having a testimony, understanding the spirit or being a witness, being at one with the spirit or a having a fullness…….Water, Blood, Spirit…..Hard heart, Broken heart, Pure heart……called, chosen, proved faithful…..

    From lectures of faith: Lecture 4:2: “Let us here observe that the real design which the God of heaven had in view in making the human family acquainted with his attributes was that they might be enabled to exercise faith in him through the idea of the existence of his attributes. . . . The God of heaven, understanding most perfectly the constitution of human nature and the weakness of men, knew what was necessary to be revealed and what ideas needed to be planted in their minds to enable them to exercise faith in him unto eternal life.”

    I really think that the ‘way’ has to do with submitting our will to the Father. It has to do with an Abrahamic-type of sacrifice so that we prove ourselves. We must “have an actual knowledge that the course they are pursuing is according to the will of God” (LOF 6:4) “You will have all kinds of trials to pass through. And it is quite as necessary for you to be tried as it was for Abraham and other men of God, and (said he) God will feel after you, and He will take hold of you and wrench your very heart strings, and if you cannot stand it you will not be fit for an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom of God” (JD 24: 197). I think the way is Sacrifice. Do we know what sacrifice(s) he will require of us?

    1. Shylohw, if you’re interested, I have a table here that I’m working on. Let me know if you think there’s anything to add or change.

      1. Eric: I’ve looked at a lot of your tables on your website over the years. I’ve found some of them to be overly complex. Maybe that’s simply because you wanted them to be all-inclusive. I “get” this one. It makes perfect sense. I spent some time reading, analyzing and pondering it. Makes sense. Very helpful. Thanks for sharing.

      2. Eric,
        Really enjoying your tables. I want to look them over some more. I like the comparison in column W; milk/water, blood/meat, spirit/feast…I thought of them separately, and I’d not thought of them as related before. I like the other levels besides just the 3 kingdoms and the incorporation of Jacob’s ladder. Do you have any commentary to go along with this? Going to take some time to go through it….Do you have other ‘work’? Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Shylow: I like these last few lines toward the end of lecture two:

      145.Q—What excited the ancient Saints to seek diligently after a knowledge of the glory of God, his perfections, and attributes?

      A—The credence they gave to the testimony of their fathers (Lecture 2:56).

      146.Q—How do men obtain a knowledge of the glory of God, his perfections, and attributes?

      A—By devoting themselves to his service, through prayer and supplication incessantly, strengthening their faith in him, until, like Enoch, the brother of Jared, and Moses, they obtain a manifestation of God to themselves (Lecture 2:55).

      And of course, this famous quote on sacrifice from lecture six:

      Let us here observe that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation. For from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It is through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life.

      And it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do His Will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering and that he has not sought nor will he seek His face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life.

  10. Chris Harrison

    Absolutely magnificent and powerful observations from all of you. This is the type of edification that I enjoy most. Thank you all. Peace and Love.

  11. My own belief is that “the heavenly gift” is “the gift of the Son” (through connecting Ether 12:8 & 12:11).

    “But because of the faith of men he has shown himself unto the world, and glorified the name of the Father, and prepared a way that thereby others might be partakers of the heavenly gift, that they might hope for those things which they have not seen. Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith. Behold it was by faith that they of old were called after the holy order of God. Wherefore, by faith was the law of Moses given. But in the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way; and it is by faith that it hath been fulfilled. For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith” (Ether 12:8-12).

    Ether 12:8-9 also seems to connect hope with the gift. Ether 12:4 states that hope (which for me is not merely “wishful thinking,” but more like “joyful, sure expectation”) makes an “anchor . . . sure & steadfast”. This anchor is also referred to in Hebrews 6:19 as entering into the veil, and that makes me go back to Ether 12:19 & 12:21.

    Joseph Smith refers to the anchor: ““Though [the apostles] 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 was made sure, that they had part with Christ, and were joint heir with him. They then would want that more sure word of prophecy, that they were sealed in the heavens and had the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of God. Then, having this promise sealed unto them, it was an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast. . . . Then knowledge through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” (TPJS 298).

    It doesn’t seem like the heavenly gift can be anything less than some form of absolute knowledge (of the Son), because the description of those who tasted of the heavenly gift and then fall away matches the description of the sons of perdition (compare Hebrews 6:4-6 and D&C 76:35).

    For me, there can be a difference between the gift of the Holy Ghost and actually receiving the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.

    The gift or presentation of the Holy Ghost is an invitation to receive the Holy Ghost.

    “[T]he presentation or ‘gift’ of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 60).

    “The Holy Ghost does not become operative in our lives merely because hands are placed upon our heads and those four important words are spoken. As we receive this ordinance, each of us accepts a sacred and ongoing responsibility to desire, to seek, to work, and to so live that we indeed ‘receive the Holy Ghost’ and its attendant spiritual gifts” (David A. Bednar, “Receive the Holy Ghost,” October 2010 General Conference).

    “This first Comforter or Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure intelligence” (TPJS 149).

    Marion G. Romney said, “There are three phases of the light of Christ that I want to mention. The first one is the light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world; The second phase is the gift of the Holy Ghost; And the third is the more sure word of prophecy” (“The Light of Christ,” Ensign, April 1977 General Conference):

    Each phase is striving to guide us to the next:


    Perhaps for some, the laying on of hands for the presentation of the Holy Ghost is simultaneous with the baptism of fire (Adam set the example, the ideal, in Moses 6:65-66):


    Perhaps for some, the baptism of fire is sometime later (maybe 3 Nephi 9:20?):


    Perhaps for some, the baptism of fire is right at the transition to the 3rd phase, the more sure word of prophecy / calling and election made sure / Second Comforter:


    There’s another (metaphoric?) way the baptism of fire can be related to the knowledge of the Savior:

    A person meeting the Savior will still need the Spirit to testify of His identity, so that the person knows that he or she is not being deceived by an actor, a hologram, the devil, etc.

    So if a spiritual experience can be represented as a burning in the bosom, an extremely intense spiritual experience can be represented as the Spirit testifying to every fiber of a person’s being = a burning of the body = a baptism of fire.

    1. Eric interesting points but I must quibble with one. Your idea that Paul’s reference to those who fall away is not applicable to those who have received their baptism of fire and thus the “heavenly gift” must mean something higher isn’t supported spiritually. 2 Nephi 31:14and ,Alma 39:6 both make it clear that those who deny the Holy Ghost after having received their baptism of fire are in the same condition of those referenced in 76:34,35. See what are sons of perdition guilty of ;denying ” the Holy Spirit after having received it”, the very thing Nephi says in 2Nephi 32;14 with reference to baptism of fire. Shocking I know but that is what the Lord has said. This whole matter of receiving your baptism of fire and being faithful thereafter is much more consequential than I once imagined .That is a reason I suppose that the Lord is careful to whom he gives the Heavenly Gift. If you receive it you can not later reject it without terrible consequences

      1. I received the “Baptism of Fire” at age 20 and later fell away, I’m now 56, not in denial of what happened or the knowledge gained, but complete loss of faith in myself. I quit the race. I have since made my way back, but it was a “terrible fight”, but one in which the Lord had His hand extended to me throughout and know I was in the arms of angles during the process. I know I would not have made it back without that experience, but He welcomed me with love and the spirit!
        So, where does that put us in this conversation of the heavenly gift? I gained a testimony of Christ that night that was all, but meeting Him! I’m leaning in the direction of and actual, physical meeting with Christ, including all that goes with it.

      2. “After ye . . . have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me” (2 Nephi 31:14).

        From this scripture, to me, there is an association between the “baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost” and “knowing” Christ.

        I suppose that puts me in agreement with Log’s statement that “The knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ comes by the baptism by fire.”

        So that changes my little diagrams to 2 possibilities:

        1…….2BoF3………….. (e.g. Adam)

        1…….2…….…….BoF3……. (most of us?)

        Aesthetically pleasing to me is the fact that:

        Baptism by water demarcates the transition from phase 1 to phase 2.

        Baptism by fire demarcates the transition from phase 2 to phase 3.

      3. JohnD: I also received the Baptism of Fire at an early age – 17. This was after a 7-month period of inactivity in the church at age 16. It has stayed with me all my life – I am 57. I have had ups and downs, spiritually speaking – good times and hard times as a missionary and as a single returned missionary for many years. I had some struggles in my early marriage as I made adjustments I didn’t know I needed to make. I still have some struggles in my marriage as Carol and I have different goals and desires in life. We are not as united as I would like but agency is more important and perhaps my leadership is not what it should be.

        Why am I sharing all this? I want to point out all through these ups and downs, all through the visits to the temple and the growth through various priesthood callings in bishoprics and stake positions, all through growth in home teaching – it took me a long time to get converted even after becoming a High Priest – though all this I have felt the influence of the spirit and the love of my Heavenly Father urging me onward, ever onward to reach the point where I could part the veil and receive the promised blessings of the scriptures and my patriarchal blessing to receive heavenly visitors in my home. Final point: God is always enticing me though the Holy Ghost to do more in exercising faith and living righteously until I can converse with the Lord through the veil and enter into his presence to receive the Heavenly Gift – a motivating goal.

    2. I’m finding it very difficult not to take Either 12:8 as it stands, especially given what Moroni had just shared a few chapters before with the brother of Jared.
      However, as I pondered this question, I realize I have experienced two mighty changes, and only one B of F. I received an almost unshakable testimony of the Savior in my B of F. I can’t think of many gifts more heavenly, EXCEPT, C and E or the Second Comforter.

      1. John D: I think we agree about Ether 12:8 that the Heavenly Gift refers to obtaining an audience with the Lord. What transpires in that visit is not revealed, nor do I believe it can be revealed, but it is clear that there is something conferred, some power, because it is called a gift.

        I can somewhat relate to your statement of having experienced two mighty changes and only one Baptism of Fire. I have not had my calling and election made sure, nor have I received the Second Comforter, but I have also only received one Baptism of Fire.

        The first mighty change came upon me at age 16 when I passed through a near-death experience. I have not, nor will I ever share too many of the details other than what I have shared in this post:

        I described my Baptism of Fire, which occurred at age 17, in this 2010 post:

        The first mighty change was caused by the receipt of a sure knowledge of the existence of evil that wanted to destroy me. I reasoned that if there were those who wanted to cause my spiritual destruction, then there must be those who wanted to heal me, to bring light, peace and joy to my soul. I immediately turned my life around and sought that.

        The baptism of fire was, for me, a grueling ordeal, requiring much painful repentance. I would say it was this experience and especially the joy that filled my soul when I knew I had received a remission of my sins, that has been the anchoring experience of my spiritual life. If ever I am presented doubts by others about the reality of the Savior, I can go back in my mind to that night and all doubt flees. I know He lives. I have heard His voice and He has shown me glorious things.

        I can also offer for evidence my vision of the suffering of Christ, that I believe all must receive before they are ready to receive the Second Comforter. I may be wrong on that, but I presented it in this post:

        God bless you my friend, for causing me to think and remember these sacred events in my life that continue to motivate me to press forward until I receive the Second Comforter and have my calling and election made sure, which may or may not be one and the same experience.

      2. Reply to Tim,
        I thought I would share this with you, I was 21 yrs. old and about 18 months into my mission.

        This is from my missionary journal

        I feel so good about things, I’m doing all I should, and I’m where I should be, It’s a wonderful feeling to know that. I feel very close to the Lord, I have been studying the Savior and praying for a confirmation of my testimony of him. I want so much to know him better. We are working as hard as we can; my prayers are different now 45 – 90 minutes at night. I have to wait for my companion to go to sleep to have my real prayer or I feel funny and can’t concentrate.
        I had an experience last night, one that I don’t know how or if I should explain, but I don’t want to ever forget it.
        We live in the basement apartment of a member’s home and once you turn out the lights its pitch black, even after your eyes adjust. I had just finished Jesus the Christ for the 3rd time, I love that book! After my prayer I got into bed, I felt wonderful, so I continued to pray while in bed, but the spirit was so strong I got back out of bed and knelt down and prayed some more, I have never had a prayer like that, I really did speak to my father in heaven. After I finished I got back into bed, the spirit was stronger than ever. I was in tears with love for the Savior. My bed is in the corner of the room and as I sat there I realized that I could see the entire room, and that the light was coming from above and behind me, but as I turned to see what it was it moved and then I realized it was me, my head was glowing to the point that our completely dark room was light. I knelt down again and prayed some more and was blessed with the spirit in a way that is beyond words. It was wonderful. I think something more was going to happen but I started to feel a little overwhelmed, I was afraid to look up from my prayer and open my eyes, I think there was an angel (or the Savior even) in the room, but I think it was just more than I could handle, I didn’t feel worthy or ready for more, I don’t know, but the spirit lessened some and I got back into bed and thanked the Lord for what had happened and asked for forgiveness of my weaknesses. I was given complete peace with the Lord. My room was still light, when I fell asleep; the Holy Ghost spent the night with me, it was beyond anything I have ever experienced, it’s impossible to put into words. I think I had a very special experience not many people have and more could have happened had my faith been stronger. I’m pretty sure an angel was in the room but for what ever reason I was afraid to look up.

  12. 3 Nephi 28:11
    11 And the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and the Father giveth the Holy Ghost unto the children of men, because of me.

    Moroni 7
    32 And by [sending angels to chosen vessels to testify of Christ], the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father, the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men.

  13. Tim, regarding your concluding sentence:

    I assume we are all in agreement we can have authority in the priesthood without any real priesthood power.

    I’m reminded of President Packer’s April 2010 conference address where he said (emphasis in the original):

    We have done very well at distributing the authority of the priesthood. We have priesthood authority planted nearly everywhere. We have quorums of elders and high priests worldwide. But distributing the authority of the priesthood has raced, I think, ahead of distributing the power of the priesthood.

  14. I believe the clearest description of the Heavenly Gift is in D&C 76 where those who are Celestial is described. The Heavenly Gift is to “come to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the Firstborn.” In short, the Heavenly Gift is no less than the Fullness of the Father. Peter describes it as being a “partaker of the divine nature.”

    1. While this is a very interesting and beneficial discussion I think we should show some care that we do not substitute our own opinions and precepts for the revealed word of God lest we be guilty of transfiguring his word. Mormon8. In my view Paul in Hebrews 6:4-6 makes it clear that reception of the heavenly gift occurs simultaneously with ” becoming partakers of the Holy Spirit” and ” tast(ing) of the good word of God.”I understand the temptation to think it is something “higher” or more esoteric but the Gospel is simple. Nephi makes it clear that if we receive the Holy Ghost and our baptism of fire and continue in the way there will be no more doctrine given until ” he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh”. I love the temple and enjoy my call as a worker there over the past several years but note that Nephi didn’t make attendance there a requirement for having the Lord manifest himself to us. The temple ordinances simply restate what the Book of Mormon ( which contains the fullness of he gospel) already teach us ,which is having received our baptism of fire we are able to receive the Savior in the flesh if we are willing. Tim if some consider this a “buzz kill’ or off topic I apologize but I think this is what the revealed word of God says and all the rest, while interesting and maybe helpful to some ,is simply speculation

      1. Boo, I think the scripture you reference in Hebrews is talking about those who will be sons of perdition….

        6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
        And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

        In its footnote, the word ‘enlightened’ in the first sentence references 2 Peter 2:20:

        For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

        I agree, the gospel is simple. The gospel is our Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness. The central doctrine of the gospel is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “The first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Articles of Faith 1:4).

        Like the AoF says, these are the first principles. There are many more. There are also mysteries which we are admonished to seek. That takes work, and (atleast for me) it’s not so simple and easy.

      2. No buzz kill here. You are right on. I will say a word about speculation, if I may (I’m quoting from my previous post): “I define speculation thus: “Proposing a theory and then searching for evidence or proof of the hypothesis.” To me, speculation is the heart of the scientific method. … To stop asking questions is to stop thinking. Is that the way we are supposed to study the gospel? I find nothing wrong with speculation. It is good and the sign of a healthy, inquisitive mind, something I am certain is pleasing to the Lord. Ask, knock…”

        I confess I use speculation in my gospel study – I propose “what if” scenarios all the time and put scriptures together in ways they don’t always fit. I end up throwing a lot of them out but find I also learn of lot of cool stuff. And just so you know, I like opinions of others, otherwise I wouldn’t have asked for them. It nice to be correct, but I have been wrong so many times in what I was taught growing up that I’ve had to start over in several areas I thought I had nailed down. This is one of them. I’m open to new understandings and have already picked a few up from this dialog so far – especially from Eric, ShylohW, Alfa and you.

  15. I’m glad to see that you are a fan of Denver. I have his books too. When he makes references to D&C and the BOM and can’t take them seriously though. If you like to ask questions and analyze data then take a neutral approach to the facts laid out in the this URL link.

    If you have the time to follow up with the presenters information then you might just find yourself in a hard place too possibly agreeing with the presenter. To reject the data will require that you force your mind to twist and contort reality and continue with an already established paradigm from which you were taught to believe to be accurate for so many years.

    1. Really ? Is this the best you can do ? Rehashing old tired arguments that anybody really interested in these issues has resolved long ago. i am disappointed with your lack of imagination ,scholarship and insight.I am a believer and i could do a heck of a lot better job than this. Sorry no sale today.

      1. I feel a bit badly about my slightly contentious responses but trust you all will separate the wheat from the chaff. I did want to address Tim’s articulated view that the “heavenly gift or instructions on how to receive ,could only occur in a temple”.I must disagree with this statement. Even if we assume Log and I are wrong about what constitutes the heavenly gift ( which I don’t) and even if we assume that the term means either having your calling and election made sure or receiving the second comforter let me point out the temple endowment is not a necessary prerequisite for either of these 2 blessings. I think a brief look at church history proves it. Historically it is undisputed many members from Joseph on down received these things before the Kirkland temple was completed and long before the endowment was introduced in Nauvoo. There is power in the temple but the things we learn there ,despite what men teach us, are not necessary to receiving the second comforter. They are a metaphor or symbolic of the actual journey we each must individually must take in this life . While helpful what we can learn there can be learned elsewhere also. Joseph did it ,Nephi did it before his temple was built, The brother of jared did it without so far as the record states a temple was in existence .William Clayton did it. The entire Colesville branch was sealed up all long before Joseph had the endowment even revealed to him. Look that the testimony of the scriptures .Don’t place limitations on what God can do unless he has said such limitations exist

      2. Boo
        I don’t think anyone is putting limits on the Lord, or saying the temple is the only place to receive these instructions, but it’s the only place where it is being taught day after day, all over the world!
        It is possible it means just that, ANY gift from Heaven, Baptism of Fire, C&E, or the Second Comforter, or as well as the gifts and or ordinances received from the Second Comforter. I still have an open mind on the subject I guess!

    2. TL,

      Thank You for the info, it looks mostly accurate as far as I can tell, still buffing up on my early history of Joseph Smith. Nothing you have said really is that earth shattering to me. I am currently reading “Rough Stone Rolling” which gives a much more detailed account without much of an agenda, though it has one despite being about as objective a work on the subject as I have ever seen. This link you provided has a very obvious agenda.

      Almost any data can be twisted into an agenda. Ultimately it comes to either trusting what man has written on the subject of Joseph Smith, or taking it directly to God after studying it. I am still a student in this matter, but I must say, the Book of Mormon is so profound in power to turn me to God and His Grace, calling me to repentance, even to change my heart from sin.

      Truly this is a gift from God as he changes my heart. This is the strongest proof I have of Joseph Smith bringing souls to Christ through Gods Word. I have read many inspirational books, both fictional and historical. They can be inspiring, but not with near as much power as the Book of Mormon has had on me. I have a strong hope of Salvation through Jesus, as a result of Joseph Smiths translation of the Book of Mormon.

      Having all this evidence before me, on such a personal level, it is difficult for me to draw the same conclusions as your article states. Its hard to argue with results turning people to Christ for their salvation.

      So…when it comes to history, recorded by fallible man, versus change of heart from sin to the hope of Christ, I pick the second. I know that is intellectually some what dishonest, or biased on my own part. But I can not help but trust in my feelings over my intellect in such matters. It is funny talking about being intellectually dishonest because as I read Rough Stone Rolling, given much of the same information, it appeals to my intellect and increases my faith that Joseph Smith had the gifts of God as in the days of the Pentecost, though by no means was Joseph perfect, as he is a man.

      So one man can gather the data, give a different narrative both compelling and seemingly intellectually honest, and another do the same having a completely different opinion on the matter. Thus I must do as James directed in the new testament and take the matter before God, as I simply don’t have the time and likely the intellect to decipher truth from the words of men.

      I test each thing he taught, seeing whether it tends to bring me closer to God, or closer to Babylon. By testing each of his teachings, I can, over time, make a decision of whether the man was a deluded liar, or inspired of God. I confess I don’t understand polygamy and this doctrine practiced by Abraham and other ancient prophets which I assume you do believe in. It is difficult to understand, as sex is such a strong motive to abuse this principle, that it makes it almost impossible for me to understand.

      I have not received a sure knowledge of Josephs works, but using this method, have a hard time ignoring the possibility the man was actually called of God to restore the fullness of Christs gospel, as I test all prophets or men or women who claim to be such. I believe God still speaks to men and women, and on occasion asks them to help bring His children back to Christ. We tend to wander in our own pride and understanding, our own selfish agendas that are not right before God. Speaking of wandering…

      I can be quite long winded, but my method of madness requires me to sometimes talk these things out in such ways.

      Your friend, Clifton

    3. Here’s a source on all the different known accounts of the First Vision.

      Incidentally, my audience and the constraints of the Spirit determine what I say about spiritual things not contained in the scriptures. It does not surprise me that Joseph did likewise.

      JST, Matthew 7:10
      10 And the mysteries of the kingdom ye shall keep within yourselves; for it is not meet to give that which is holy unto the dogs; neither cast ye your pearls unto swine, lest they trample them under their feet.

  16. I enjoy everybody’s thought on this matter that Tim has brought up.

    Speaking of Heavenly Gifts, I am much simpler and will not back up my opinion by way of scripture, as most of you have done already. Done very well by the way.

    My opinion on the matter is this, anything that can only be received by Heaven is a heavenly gift. lol, I know, captain obvious, but as I think about it, whether it is the Holy Ghost, the baptism of fire, or other heavenly manifestations, they come from God and not Man. Man has neither the capacity to replicate it, or give it. Thus, a Heavenly Gift.

    I do not doubt you are all right on the matter, as my broad definition includes all things given from Heaven. Thus I present as evidence all the scriptures you guys have already given.

    Lazy, I know right.

    Your no longer silent brother,


  17. John thanks for your thoughts. i do think that my quote from Tim was accurate but he certainly can clarify it if he only meant that is where those principles are routinely taught ( they sure aren’t taught in my ward , although they use to be). With respect to your second point it is possible that you are right but why would 3 different prophets used the singular ” heavenly gift” if they really meant more than one ” gift’ .Your thoughts would be appreciated.

    1. Boo
      Here are my thoughts, so far, as I have pondered the three uses of the phrase Heavenly Gift.
      Hebrews 6; 4, 5 Mentions those who have tasted/partaken or (1) enlightened, (2) the Heavenly Gift, (3) the Holy Ghost and (4) the power of the world to come. Four gifts or one?
      4 Nephi 1:3 (1) all things in common, (2) free, (3) heavenly gift. Obviously three separate gifts.
      Either 12:7-12 Moroni is discussing (1) faith (2) the Second Comforter (3) the heavenly gift (4) the Holy Order of God or the Priesthood (5) miracles. Five blessings or one?
      So, I guess I’m still thinking and keeping an open mind, however I just can’t shake the obvious gift discussed in the Either verses, that of the Second Comforter!

  18. I’d like to first state my disclaimer: I’m not a scholar or much proficient at writing like others here (…and edified I am). I just ponder some of the time while spinning off in wild directions like some of the fireworks that make people run…. or like a dud.

    Anyway, I have been pondering the focus of this post and Hebrews 6:4 makes me think of Lehi’s dream.

    I’m just wondering if the ‘Tree of Life’ (Love of God), as connected to the birth, atoning sacrifice, death and resurrection of Christ, doesn’t represent the “Heavenly Gift” (or just the Atonement to generally specific in my thoughts).

    Is it feasible that ‘partaking’ can mean ‘partaking’ of the fruit of the Atonement (Tree of Life/Love of God)?

    I guess I’m asking if a serious seeker of Christ, who experiences being ‘Born of God’, C&E and or the 2nd Comforter is ‘partaking’ of the “Heavenly Gift”? Are these not ‘fruit’ of the Atonement? (When is one along the path sufficiently to be awarded outer darkness when they reject Christ?).

    As I said, I’m just pondering. I’ve never given this topic any brain material until now… now that I’m seriously striving to walk the path.


    1. This is primarily meant for ryder478, since it’s fairly long and drawn out, and I don’t know how to contact some people individually.

      The following quotes/comments, loosely connected by the words in bold, might be of use to you, since you mentioned partaking of the fruit of the tree of life:

      “And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms. And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw? And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things. And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most joyous to the soul. . . . I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God” (1 Nephi 11:20-3, 25).

      So after Nephi sees Jesus (albeit initially as a child), he then is immediately asked about the meaning of the tree of life, which represents the love of God.

      Jeremiah 17:13 identifies the Lord as the fountain of living waters.

      “The ancient prophets speak of ‘entering into God’s rest’; what does it mean? To my mind, it means entering into the knowledge and love of God” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 58).

      True saints enter into the rest of the Lord while in this life, and by abiding in the truth, they continue in that blessed state until they rest with the Lord in heaven. The rest of the Lord, where mortals are concerned, is to gain a perfect knowledge of the divinity of the great latter-day work” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 633).

      “The example in the Book of Mormon of ‘many, exceedingly great many’ (Alma 13:12) in the ancient Church who were pure and spotless before God is a source of encouragement and comfort to me. I suspect those members of the ancient Church were ordinary men and women just like you and me. These individuals could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence, and they ‘were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God’ (v. 12). And these principles and this process of spiritual progress apply to each of us equally and always” (David A. Bednar, “Clean Hands and a Pure Heart,” Ensign, November 2007).

      To me, being pure in heart relates to the tree of life, since the seed of the tree of life is planted in our hearts (see Alma 32:28). The tree of life springs from a pure heart.

      “And blessed are all the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (3 Nephi 12:8).

      “We have power to make our calling and election sure, so that while we yet dwell in mortality . . . we shall be sealed up unto eternal life and have the unconditional promise of eternal life in the presence of Him whose we are. . . . We have the power—and it is our privilege—so to live, that becoming pure in heart, we shall see the face of God while we yet dwell as mortals” (Bruce R. McConkie, “The Ten Blessings of the Priesthood,” Ensign, November 1977).

      “Laman and Lemuel partook not of the fruit, said my father. . . . he feared lest they should be cast off from the presence of the Lord” (1 Nephi 8:35-36).

      Telestial (or worse): not partaking of the fruit?

      Terrestrial: partaking of the fruit and then getting lost (1 Nephi 8:28)? “they who are not valiant in the testimony [witness] of Jesus” (D&C 76:79)?

      Celestial: partaking of the fruit and remaining faithful?

      “And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God. Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest. And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live. Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God; But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory” (D&C 84:19-24).

      “Then knowledge through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” (TPJS 298).

      “ . . . when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions” (TPJS 150-151).

  19. A few clarifying notes on the nature of the unpardonable sin, the nature of the war in heaven, and why agency doesn’t mean what you think it means.

    Alma 39:6
    6 For behold, if ye deny the Holy Ghost when it once has had place in you, and ye know that ye deny it, behold, this is a sin which is unpardonable; yea, and whosoever murdereth against the light and knowledge of God, it is not easy for him to obtain forgiveness; yea, I say unto you, my son, that it is not easy for him to obtain a forgiveness.

    George Laub Journal

    April the 6th, 1843 By Joseph Smith our Prophet

    Now concerning Spirits First of all, or in the beginning, the great Eloheam in the Hebrew meaning the god of all Gods called a grand council &[c] and the[y] counseled to form this planet on which we are now or do dwell at present. The[y] spoke and earth from cayos [chaos] sprang by their workmanship Cayos [Chaos] being there matered mater element The[y] saw till time should be no more and the[y] spoke concerning the redemption of this world and formed limited sircumstances concerning the redemption Jesus Christ being the greater light or of more intelligence for he loved rituousness and hated iniquity he being the Elder Brother Presented himself for to come and redeem this world as it was his right by inheritance he stated he could save all those who did not sin against the holy ghost & the[y] would obey the code of laws that was given But their sircumstances ware that all who would sin against the Holy ghost should have no forgiveness neither in this world nor in the world to come, for they had strove aganst light and knowledg after the[y] had tasted of the good things of the world to come the[y] should not have any pardon in the world to come because the[y] had a knowledg of the world to come and ware not willing to abide the law therefore the[y] can have no forgiveness there but must be most miserable of all and never can be renewed again referred to 6 chapter of Hebrews

    But Satan or Lucifer being the next heir and had alloted to him great power and authority even prince of power of the eir He spake emediatey and boasted of himself saying send me I can save all [he] even those who sined against the holy ghost and he accused his brethren and was herld [hurled] from the council for striving to breake the law emediatly and there was a warfare with Satan and the gods andt he[y] hurld Satan out of his place and all them that would not keep the law of the councill But hehimself being one of the council would not keep his or their first estate for he was one of the Sons of perdition and concequently all the Sons of perdition become devils &[c]. – WJS 273

    That’s why agency doesn’t mean, and cannot mean, “free will and choice” as it is used in the scriptures.

    Webster’s 1828 English Dictionary

    A’GENCY, n. [L. agens. See Act.]

    1. The quality of moving or of exerting power; the state of being in action; action; operation; instrumentality; as, the agency of providence in the natural world. [or, alternatively, “actor” as in one who moves, acts, &c.]

    2. The office of an agent, or factor; business of an agent entrusted with the concerns of another; as, the principal pays the charges of agency. [meaning one who represents another in binding negotiations with other parties]

    We have moral agency as a gift of God. Rather than the right to choose to be free of influence, it is the inalienable right to submit ourselves to whichever of those powers we choose. – Henry Erying

  20. I’d like to make a public acknowledgement of appreciation to Log (and to embarrass him ) for his generous contributions here on Latter-day Commentary for the past fourteen months. Log used to contribute at Times and Seasons and other places on the Bloggernacle. For a time he had his own blog, CryMightily.Blogspot (now defunct).

    I admire him for his stick-to-the-scriptures approach and for helping me focus on the essentials of these many discussions. Over time, he has become a personal friend and professional associate. Thank you so much Log for your insights and sharing of scriptural knowledge on LDC. You have helped make LDC a place of great dialog on doctrine.

    1. Yes Log has made significant contributions to many and I for one have been enriched by my exposure to him;

  21. Help…. I left a very lengthy comment, which is now lost because I cannot seem to figure out how to become a part of this community…. passwords and all. So… this is a test to see if I can get in and then I will decide whether or now I want to spend the time repeating my contribution to the discussion.

    1. Hi Kathryn. I’m sorry your message was lost. I use for the free hosting. The blog used to be hosted elsewhere but I got tired of their poor tech support, so I put up with all the idiosyncrasies of, one of them being a requirement to leave an email address to leave a comment.

      However, as far as I can tell, you can put in anything and it will accept it – unless you want someone to be able to link back to a valid website, which, in your case, seems to have worked. Now that I’ve gone to your site, I can see you know a whole lot more about WordPress than I do. Again, so sorry your message was lost. I hope you’ll try again.

  22. Looks like I’m in under a very old e-mail account that I never use. The way this blog site is set up through I cannot change to a different e-mail address. Grrrrr. I will need to “gird up my loins” and try and reconstruct my previous long-winded commentary. But not now…

    1. I’d glad you got connected. Looking forward to reading whatever it was you were about to share – when you have time. Cheers and God bless.

  23. Hmmm…Kathy’s note about difficulties in leaving a comment has got me poking around under the hood of WordPress. You may notice some changes, like your avatar. If you don’t provide one, one will be provided for you, automatically generated based on your email address. My aim is to make it easy to leave comments while avoiding spam. I get over a hundred pieces of spam each day, so the comment function is strict. Sometimes it drops comments and I never know it. Other times I find a valid comment in the spam queue. Sorry if you’ve been a victim of the over-aggressive filter. It seems to hit new visitors / commenters most.

  24. Hello All

    I’m new to this blog and after having a bit of trouble getting into the comment area. I’m pleased to have the opportunity to be a part of group that allows for exploration of gospel principles and ideas that can expand minds and spirituality. I do feel a bit intimidated by such thought provoking remarks from such informed gentlemen and hope to be able to contribute meaning dialogue in the future as well.

    I have a firm testimony of the Book of Mormon but I have many questions concerning other areas of the gospel and Church. Perhaps I can sort out some of my misgivings by being a part of this group who shares thoughts and testimonies.

    I have enjoyed the commentary about “The Heavenly Gift. It is certainly a concept I intend to explore more using the suggested scriptural references. ??I, like JohnD, see Hebrews 6: 4-5 broken down into 5 separate spiritual endowments 1. Being enlightened 2. Heavenly Gift, 3. Partakers of the Holy Ghost (Gift) 4. Tasted the
    word of God 5. Powers of the world to come.

    My thinking right now is that since the Heavenly Gift it is rarely mentioned in connection with other spiritual opportunities, perhaps it goes way beyond the Gift of the Holy Ghost and Baptism by Fire and other spiritual endowments.

    This subject certainly does open a lot more possibilities for my study and exploration.

    Tim… I also believe in seeking, asking and knocking. Apostle John A Widtsoe put it this way in an article he wrote for the “Improvement Era.” “Doubt of the right kind — that is, honest questioning — leads to faith. Such doubt impels men to inquire which always opens the door to truth.” (I suggest one word change… “CAN open the door to truth” if one is truly seeking truth and not just trying to find ideas that will support and justify a present point of view.

    Several years ago, it was suggested that I read the scriptures from the point of view of an endowed member rather than from the view of one who has not had that opportunity. It has opened treasures. For instance: Matt 7: 7-8. Where do we knock? Now, after
    knocking, I spend more time seeking, asking and pondering in that sacred place.

    I just received my Ensign and have read the article on “Priesthood Power” which is written in the standard format of What is the Priesthood and Priesthood Keys etc….. along with the bones they throw women to make them feel better about not having the Priesthood.

    “Whether you are single or married, whether you have borne children or not, whether you are old, young, or in between, your moral authority is vital.” What in the heck is ?“mortal authority.” And….“There is nothing in this world as personal, as nurturing, or as life changing as the influence of a righteous woman. Pleaseeees! I can think of many! (Lest you think I feel deprived because I don’t hold the Priesthood, let me assure you I do not… but that is a discussion for another day.)

    Of course, in the article there was no mention of the “Fullness of the Priesthood” mentioned, which I didn’t expect there to be. The “Fullness of the Priesthood has just recently caught my attention and I’m in the process of further study and understanding of this concept. I would appreciate more commentary on this subject by those who have studied it and have a greater understanding of it than I do.

    Thanks guys.

    1. Thanks for persevering and recomposing your comment Kathryn. I fished it out of the spam queue as first time comments always seem to end up there. Hope you’ll enjoy the commentary here as we consider doctrines that may be a little bit obscure.

      I’m facing a new challenge of trying to write in such a way that what I share in introducing the subject may also be presented in a gospel doctrine class, albeit one that is not likely found in the manual, but still based on scripture and history.

      By the way, I’m impressed with what you’re doing on your website and that you compose WordPress sites for others. God bless you in your work. Cheers and welcome.

  25. Tim,

    I surely cannot challenge the amazind minds on this blog. The first thing Christspoke to the Nehites on his spoke to the Nephites on his resurrected visit them was that “there shall no more disputations concerning the points of my doctrine”. Because of the searching of all the responses, I am edified in their searchable talents. I look to Ether 12:8 and look to the ” prepositions carefully used by Moroni and the “result of” phrases.

    Ether 12:4…”Wherefore whoso believeth in God mivht with surety hope for a better world yea evenon the right hand of God, which hopd cometh of faith.. So we see that hope can bring us to the right hand of God. It proceeds to say that it is through faith that Christ showed himself…”and prepared a way”, what way? This through the everlasting covenant of baptism…”that thereby (result of) others (those he had showed himself to) might be partakers of the heavenly gift, that they might hope for (surety) for (result of) those things which they have not seen(seeing Christ). Wherefore ye must have hope, and be partakers of the heavenly gift, if ye but have faith”. We know that faith leads to baptism and baptism leads to the Holy Ghost, just as faith leads to hope, which leads to the right hand of God.

    Jeremy, and Eric and others have eloquently stated through revelation and scripture that where most of us lie in our journey is somewhere between the second token of the Aaronic Priesthood(baptism), and the first token of the Melchizidek Priesthood(justified). Christ of course gives the gift of the Hoy Ghost and all gifts are given via the Spirit. It is through Baptism of Fire that we are given hope for that which is not seen…until He shows himself to us.

    I am not an Envlish teacher. I m not a liguist. But I love Moroni, and he is the most direct of the prophets in the Book of Mormon, and he doesn’t quibble. His phrases follow in order and produce consistent result through his phrasing. I suppose there may be others who can through word search counter everything to the extent that I may be wasting my thoughts. My mind orks differently nd I come through suppositions differently. I do not wish to dispute the points of doctrine nor need to be right. I just wanted to share how I came to the question at hand and perhaps there may be one soul who it may help…that is all.

    Thanks for the question that should be studied in all quorums insted of re-reading talks. I applaud your inquiry. I miss the Camarillo weather!

  26. My Asus pad makes it difficult to type thoughts. It is delayed on the keyboard and comes out disjointed sometimes. please forgive me.

  27. There are many heavenly gifts. There are many gifts from heaven. However, when narrowing all of these down to just one, supernal, most important, “the heavenly gift,” I should think it would be obvious which one takes the cake. What gift is the Book of Mormon and all of God’s scripture constantly admonishing us to seek? What gift is required for exaltation? What is the object of our faith? What is the narrow gate? What really matters most?

    The heavenly gift is when we receive Jesus Christ, in word, in power, and in very deed. It is when we witness of His glory, even a fullness of His glory. It is when we receive the Holy Ghost, Jesus Christ, and the Father, culminating in the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood, the fullness of the priesthood, and the sealing power. It is when we truly become Gods in embryo form, as Telestial mortals.

    Receiving the Heavenly Gift is not a single event. It has a beginning and becomes continuous. It begins small and grows into a blossoming tree; then the blossoms bud and become fruit; then the fruit becomes ripe and can be tasted and preserved as an eternal source of light, power, and seed for the continuation of the lives. This all revolves around Jesus Christ, receiving Him into your life, in His full essence. It is to be enfolded in His arms, then to be blessed and anointed by Him. It is to literally stand in the presence of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. We are ALL invited to receive this gift.

    1. I think you nailed it Jared. What you wrote coincides with my spiritual experiences as I have grown in the gospel. Yet I still have not received the Heavenly Gift of being in the presence of the Savior and receiving something from Him that He has promised – to be sealed up unto Life Eternal, to be given the right to visit with Him on a regular basis, to commune with those in the Church of the Firstborn, and to be sealed unto the Fathers. I am committed to striving for this gift with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my might and passion until I either arrive at this great promised event (yes, it is an event) or die faithful and true.


    Tim, I agree with Log.
    I think the Heavenly Gift is knowing the mind of GOD and possessing the same mind with the Father, and the Son.

    The Holy Ghost is the “mind of GOD” according to Brother Joseph. Lecture 5:2 “And he being the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth and having overcome, received a fullness of the glory of the Father, possessing the same mind with the Father, which mind is the Holy Spirit…”

    “…being filled with the the fullness of the mind, glory, and power, of the Father…”

    Think about the ordinance or receiving the Holy Ghost. We could rephrase that as “I say unto you receive the mind of the Father.” Once entering the way we do all things the “mind of the Father” directs us until the Son shall manifest himself to us the flesh…then we do what the Son directs us to do. Nephi 32:5-6

    I think it is that simple. Now that is a Gift worth “being” for. Peace

  29. marginalizedmormon

    To me, it’s a heavenly gift that Father and Jesus keep me alive, every day–

    and make me able to walk (some days it is hard).

    It is a heavenly gift when I have food to eat. When I can sleep at night.
    God is SO good. SO, SO, SO good. He loves His children.

    It is a heavenly gift when my husband and children are protected. SO many gifts. Too many to count. Sometimes I start thanking Father and Jesus for them (the gifts) at night and then I don’t sleep for hours. And I have to stop, so I can sleep.

    1. What if the heavenly gift is not just a gift from heaven, as everyone is assuming. What if heaven itself is the gift? You are born again into the kingdom of heaven (Moses 6:59). The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21). The good seed grows in your heart and becomes the tree of life (Alma 32). You are the temple of God, in which the Spirit of God dwells (1 Cor 3:16), and to which Jesus Christ will suddenly come (D&C 36:8).

      When you enter in by the gate, through repentance and baptism (2 Ne. 31:17), what do you suppose that gate is? That gate is open to all who believe on Jesus Christ, and it is indeed the gate of heaven (Hel. 3:28). And it is not Saint Peter who keeps the gate, but it is the Holy One of Israel, who employeth no servant there (2 Ne. 9:41).

      The kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt. 3:2). It is nearer than you think, and only a veil of unbelief separates you from it (Ether 4:15). You must rend that veil of unbelief, or in other words, cast that unbelief from your mind, and be filled instead with the light and glory of God (Alma 19:6). Is this not heaven?

      And yet, even Christ did not receive of the fulness at first, but received grace for grace (or gift for gift), until he received a fulness (D&C 93:12-13). Receiving the heavenly gift is a process, not a one-time thing. After passing through the gates of heaven, you embark upon the strait and narrow path that leads to eternal life (2 Ne. 31:18-20). You must nourish the tree with great care, with faith, great diligence, and patience before it bears fruit (Alma 32:41). To what degree will you choose to receive the heavenly gift? To what degree will the light and glory of God fill you? Will you receive a portion of the gift, or its fulness (D&C 76:76)?

      1. Amen, Waiting, Amen. Thank you sharing those inspiring words. I agree that receiving the Heavenly Gift is a process, but I am adamant it is also an event, else why would Joseph urge us to press on until we make our calling and election sure? Perhaps that process or event is different from the event of being ushered into the presence of the Lord.

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