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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1951

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1951.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1951.

1951:  Mar.:  Is there progress in heaven?


During the long centuries of apostasy after the time of Jesus the Christ, many misleading beliefs had fastened themselves upon the people.  Among them was the doctrine that those who won salvation in the hereafter would be in a state of eternal, inactive joy.  In the presence of God they would worship him and sing praises to him eternally, but nothing more.

In a world of struggle and sickness such a promise was hailed by unhappy humanity.  But it seemed incomplete.  It did not conform to the laws of existence.  As far as human experience knows, life is always active.  Inactivity spells death.  Associated with life, in the higher realms of existence, is the power to progress or retrogress.  Among human beings this is called the power of choice or free agency.

The question forced itself upon thoughtful people that eternal worship of the Almighty must mean more than an everlasting placid life of psalm singing. The life hereafter promised by the Savior must be as life is on earth: active, achieving, and purposeful.  So it seemed to many, though teaching and tradition remained silent on the subject.

The restoration of the gospel of Jesus the Christ by the Prophet Joseph Smith cleared up the subject.  He taught that on the ‘other side,’ in the hereafter, the individual retains the power to learn, think, and act, and to use or to ignore that which has been learned.  That means that the right of choice is everlastingly an attribute of life and intelligence.  Therefore, the possibility of progress is eternal.

Brigham Young said, 

Father Smith and Carlos and Brother Partridge, yes, and every other good Saint, are just as busy in the spirit world as you and I are here.  They can see us, but we cannot see them unless our eyes were opened.  What are they doing there?  They are preaching, preaching all the time, and preparing the way for us to hasten our work in building temples here and elsewhere, and to go back to Jackson County and build the great temple of the Lord.  They are hurrying to get ready by the time we are ready, and we are all hurrying to get ready by the time our Elder Brother is ready.  (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 378)

President Joseph F. Smith, speaking on this subject, said: 

Some people dream, you know, and think, and teach that all the glory they ever expect to have in the world to come is to sit in the light and glory of the Son of God, and sing praises and songs of joy and gratitude all their immortal lives.  We do not believe in any such things.  We believe that every man will have his work to do in the other world, just as surely as he had it to do here, and a greater work than he can do here.  We believe that we are on the road of advancement, of development in knowledge, in understanding, and in every good thing, and that we will continue to grow, advance, and develop throughout the eternities that are before us.  That is what we believe.  (Gospel Doctrine, p. 432)

The question then arises: Since active men in the hereafter are grouped according to their works on earth in one or the other of three ascending glories, is there the possibility of progress in each group or glory?

Since those assigned to each glory are living, intelligent beings, the answer must be yes.  In each glory, the power of free agency remains.  For them the field of truth is open.  The spirit of man is never fettered in his search for truth.  It may be that they are self-fettered by the deeds that brought them into a lower glory.

It does not follow, as some have suggested, that the possibility of progress in all the glories might enable the inhabitants of the lower glories to overtake those in the higher glory.  Righteous living gives power, greater than that possessed by those who were assigned to the lower glories.  The deeds of those of the lower glories were less in harmony with God’s law, hence they possess less power.  Therefore, with lesser power to progress they cannot overtake those who travel with more power in the path of progress; for example, it is a common practice to set the maximum speed at which an automobile may travel.  If two automobiles start out together, the one set at twenty-five, the other at seventy-five, miles an hour, the slower cannot overtake the faster machine, if both travel at full speed.  It is so with progress.

What may happen if the man with less power uses it steadily in the spirit of repentance through the eternal years is not known to man.  That knowledge rests as yet in the bosom of God.

One thing is known through the revelations of God.  Those in the higher, the celestial glory, the one that we all hope to achieve, are in full activity.  Their worship of God manifests itself in doing the will of God, hence the works of God.

Those of the celestial kingdom of glory will be occupied in building their own kingdoms as parts of God’s greater kingdoms.  They will have ‘increase.’  Not so in the lower glories; progress they may, but increase will not be theirs.  (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 301)

There is also a difference in possible achievement in the different glories.  Granite cannot be carved with wooden tools.  So it is in the glories of the hereafter.  Those of the celestial kingdom have so lived as to achieve Godhood itself.  Those of an inferior glory cannot reach that far.  The deeds on earth become tools of achievement in the heavens.

In strong but beautiful words the Lord set forth the doctrine of eternal progress to Joseph SMith and to all who follow him:

[D&C 132:19-20]”

(John A. Widtsoe, “Evidences and Reconciliations,” IE 54(3):142-143, Mar., 1951)

7 Apr.:  Take more care in recommending patrons.

“Last evening we held a long meeting with temple presidents and out of that meeting comes this recommendation, and there are strong reasons back of it, brethren!  Will the bishops please take more care in recommending members to do temple work, to perform temple ordinances.  Now the great majority of those who are going through the temple are worthy, and it is a glorious work.  But if one or two unworthy get into the company and make some objectionable remark or leave an objectionable sign somewhere it tends to retard the spirit and to discourage some young man or young woman who came anticipating a glorious spiritual feast.”  (David O. McKay, 7 Apr., 1951; CR Apr., 1951, p. 81)

1 Aug.:  The first garments made for Joseph Smith.

“It was while were were living in Nauvoo that the Prophet came to my grandmother, Elizabeth Warren Allred, who was a seamstress by trade, and told her that he had seen the angel Moroni with the garments on, and asked her to assist him in cutting out the garments.  They spread unbleached muslin out on the table and he told her how to cut it out.  He had her cut three [patterns] before he said he was satisfied.  She told the Prophet that there would be sufficient cloth from the knee to the ankle to make a pair of sleeves, but he told her that he wanted as few seams as possible and that there should be sufficient whole cloth to cut the sleeves without piecing.  The first garments were made of unbleached muslin and bound with turkey read and were without collars.  Later the Prophet decided he would rather have them white.  Sister Emma Smith . . . proposed that they have a collar on, as she thought they would look more finished, but at first the Prophet did not have the collar on them.  Emma Smith had a little collar which was not visible from the outside.  Later Eliza R. Snow introduced a wider collar of finer material which was to be worn on the outside of the dress.  The garment was to reach to the ankle and the sleeve to the wrist.  The marks were always the same.”  (From Record of Asena Allred Osborne, Spring City, utah; 1 Aug., 1951.  Taken from history of Eliza Monson, whose great grandmother was, Elizabeth Warren Allred, wife of James Allred, one of the Prophet’s lifeguards.  Bergera notes)