Dust of the Earth. “For dust thou wast, and unto dust shalt thou return,” declared Deity to Adam (Moses 4:25; Gen. 3:19; italics added). When Adam fell he became mortal or of the dust of this earth. Adam’s corporeal body was created from the dust of this earth; in other words, it was organized from those elements which belong to this planet Earth, making it an “earthy” body (Moses 3:7; Abr. 5:7; Gen. 2:7; Alma 42:2; D&C 77:12; 128:14) … When man dies, “the dust return[s] to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:7).
Dead Works. An 1830 revelation proclaimed that unauthorized baptisms, or “dead works,” had no efficacy in God’s kingdom (D&C 22:2). This same feeling had been expressed centuries earlier by an ancient Nephite prophet in respect to infant baptism (Moro. 8:22-26). Dead works are symbolic of that which has no life now nor power to grant life hereafter. Unauthorized baptisms-those performed without proper priesthood authority-are lifeless and do not have power to lead to eternal life. Participation in dead works has no saving power, no matter how sincere the recipient may have been.
Those whose names are “written in heaven” (D&C 76:68) will find Christ confessing their names before his Father and the angels (Rev. 3:5). Their names will be written in the “Lamb's Book of Life” (D&C 132:19; TPJS, 9). This is “the book of the names of the sanctified, even them of the celestial world” (D&C 88:2). In other words, it contains the names of the sanctified, celestialized Saints who have so lived as to make their calling and election sure (2 Pet. 1:10). They who reject righteousness will “be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous” (Ps. 69:27-28).
The spirit world is the abode of those who have passed through the portals of death and are awaiting resurrection … According to President Joseph Fielding Smith, the phrase taken home to God (Alma 40:11) “simply means that their mortal existence has come to an end, and they have returned to the world of spirits, where they are assigned to a place according to their works with the just or the unjust, there to await the resurrection.”
The form of government used in the Church is based on the principle of “common consent” (D&C 26:2; 20:65) … This principle has been summarized by Smith and Sjodahl as follows: “In the Church of Christ where the government is that of the Kingdom of Heaven, neither autocracy nor democracy obtains, but government by common consent. That is to say, the initiative in all that pertains to the government of the Church rests with the Head of the Church, even our Lord Jesus Christ, and He exercises this sovereign function through his authorized servants, upon whom He has bestowed the Holy Priesthood; but it is the privilege of the people to accept, or reject, His laws and ordinances, for God has given every individual free agency. Obedience must be voluntary.”
The divine decree that disobedience and unrighteousness shall stop one’s progress is known as “eternal damnation” (D&C 19:7; 29:44). Eternal means proceeding forth from God, for he is Eternal (D&C 19:10-12). And to be damned, said President Spencer W. Kimball, is to be “stopped in progress.”
Brigham Young referred to the priesthood as “a perfect order and system of government” (Discourses of Brigham Young, 130). In an official explanation on the nature of priesthood, the following two aspects were defined: “As pertaining to eternity, priesthood is the eternal power and authority of Deity by which all things exist; by which they are created, governed, and controlled; by which the universe and worlds without number have come rolling into existence; by which the great plan of creation, redemption, and exaltation operates throughout immensity. It is the power of God.” As pertaining to man’s existence on this earth, priesthood is the power and authority of God delegated to man on earth to act in all things for the salvation of men.”
“Ancient Babylon was noted for its wickedness and cruelty among the peoples that it dominated. Therefore, it became a symbol of the wicked world of its day. The Lord uses it in revelation to typify our modern world.” (DCC, 289.) He defined the “midst of wickedness” as “spiritual Babylon” (D&C 133:14). The name Babylon is of Greek origin and signifies “confusion.” Those who choose citizenship in Babylon, loving the ways of the world in preference to the light of the Lord, are “walking in darkness at noon-day” (D&C 95:6). Is this not confusion and folly? The plea to come forth out of Babylon (D&C 133:5, 7, 14) is the clarion call to modern Israel to escape from the Babylonian bondage of wickedness to the freedom and light of the gospel of Jesus Christ (D&C 45:9; 50:24; 88:86).
Inasmuch as baptism is a requirement for salvation in the celestial kingdom (D&C 112:28-29; 3 Ne. 11:33; John 3:5), and because there are billions who have passed from this earth without that saving ordinance, God has set in place the means whereby the living may perform this ordinance in behalf of the dead. It is a labor of love performed within the House of Him who authorizes such saving service.
An important gift of the Spirit … is the “discerning of spirits” (D&C 46:23; 1 Cor.12:10). To be discerning is to have revealing insight and understanding, to distinguish between that which is of God and that which is of the devil. It is to correctly perceive the right course of action (D&C 63:41) and to recognize subtle differences that may not be apparent to others (D&C 131:7). God is a “discerner of the thought and intents of the heart” (D&C 33:1), meaning he perceives and comprehends our every thought and desire.
When Christ arrived in the spirit world, he did not go among the wicked and ungodly but instead confined his ministry to the righteous, organizing them into missionary task forces to go among the unrepentant and uninformed (D&C 138:20, 29-37). This short organizational ministry of the Savior bridged the gulf which had previously separated the righteous from the wicked in the spirit world (see Luke 16:19-26 ).
The Lord declared that “they who have done evil” shall rise “in the resurrection of the unjust”(D&C 76:17). The phrase also appears once in the King James Bible (Acts 24:15) and also in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible (JST, John 5:29). This resurrection has been defined as the “resurrection of damnation, the second resurrection” … This resurrection is also referred to as the “last” one (D&C 76:85).
The dispensation which commenced with the restoration of keys of authority to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and which will continue until the second coming of Christ, is the “dispensation of the fulness of times” (D&C 27:13; 112:30; 121:31; 124:41; 128:18-21; 138:48). “God purposed in Himself that there should not be an eternal fullness until every dispensation should be fulfilled and gathered together in one,” declared Joseph Smith (TPJS, 168). Although Father Adam holds the keys of all dispensations (HC 4:207), Joseph Smith stands at the head of the dispensation of the fulness of times, which is a welding together of the keys, powers, and glories of all previous dispensations (D&C 90:3; 128:18; CHMR 1:388).
One of the cardinal virtues to be cultivated by those who claim kinship with Christ is charity. It is first mentioned in the Doctrine and Covenants among a list of traits necessary for service in the ministry (D&C 4:5-6). Significantly, its last mention is in the account of the martyrdom in which Hyrum Smith read aloud the prophet Moroni’s commentary on charity (D&C 135:5; Ether 12:36-38). Addressing the Lord, Moroni said: “I know that this love which thou hast had for the children of men is charity; wherefore, except men shall have charity they cannot inherit that place which thou hast prepared in the mansions of thy Father” (Ether 12:34). The classic definition of charity is also found in the Book of Mormon: “But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.” (Moro. 7:47). It is significant that the Spirit taught both Paul and Mormon the elements which help to make charity such a sought-after celestial quality (1 Cor. 13; Moro. 7).
Dust of the Earth … When man dies, “the dust return[s] to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:7). On the day of resurrection, the “sleeping dust” is restored to its perfect frame as the spirit is inseparably united with a glorified, heavenly body that is no longer quickened by mortal blood, but by spirit (D&C 138:17; Lev. 17:11; 1 Cor. 15:50).
During the Millennium, “old men shall die; but they shall not sleep in the dust, but they shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye” (D&C 63:51). Thus, there will be no graves in the dust of the ground during this period of time, for those who die shall be instantaneously resurrected.
“Eternal lives,” according to President Charles W. Penrose, “means more than life, more than mere existence, it means perpetual increase of posterity, worlds without end, and these blessings shall be ours if we will prove faithful to that which we have received of the Lord, and this is what we are for in the Church” (CR, Oct. 1921, p. 22). This term is synonymous with “continuation of the seeds” (D&C 132:19), “continuation of the lives” (D&C 132:22) and “increase” (D&C 131:4). It is bestowed on those who receive “eternal life” (D&C 14:7), “exaltation” (D&C 132: 17), and the “fulness of the glory of the Father” (D&C 93:16), all of which mean joint heirship with the Father and Son in the highest heaven of the hereafter.
Exaltation. The term exaltation is found throughout section 132, in which the Lord promises this gift to those who righteously qualify. It is reserved for those faithful followers of the Father and Son who do all that is required for such an inheritance (D&C 81:6; 88:22; 130:20-21). Exaltation is the gift of eternal life or life in the presence of the Father-forever-to receive a “fulness of His glory” (DS 2:24). The dictionary uses the following expressions to illustrate the word exalt: “to raise up, especially in rank, power, or dignity; to glorify; to elate the mind or spirit.” Truly, one who receives exaltation inherits a celestial crown in the presence of Deity-receives rank, power, dignity, glory, and elation of mind and spirit.