Why did Moses, Elias, and Elijah appear in the Kirtland Temple?
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“Why did Moses, Elias, and Elijah appear in the Kirtland Temple?” Liahona, October 2021

Come, Follow Me

Why did Moses, Elias, and Elijah appear in the Kirtland Temple?

Doctrine and Covenants 110

Liahona Magazine, 2021/10 Oct

“As we prepare to meet God, we can know what our divinely appointed responsibilities are by reviewing the sacred keys restored in the Kirtland Temple.”1

—Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

What Are Priesthood Keys?

Priesthood keys are the authority God has given priesthood leaders to direct and govern the use of His priesthood on earth.2

President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, taught: “All keys of the priesthood are held by the Lord Jesus Christ, whose priesthood it is. He is the one who determines what keys are delegated to mortals and how those keys will be used.”3 The President of the Church has authority from the Lord to exercise all the priesthood keys that are needed for the Church to function (see Doctrine and Covenants 132:7).

Priesthood Keys and Authority

On April 3, 1836, the Lord sent Old Testament priesthood holders Moses, Elias, and Elijah to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to commit to them the following:


  • Led the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt

  • The keys of the gathering of Israel

  • “The gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth” (Doctrine and Covenants 110:11)

  • “When we speak of the gathering, we are simply saying this fundamental truth: every one of our Heavenly Father’s children, on both sides of the veil, deserves to hear the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.”4 —President Russell M. Nelson


  • “Apparently lived in the days of Abraham”5

  • The dispensation of the gospel of Abraham

  • “In us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed” (Doctrine and Covenants 110:12)

  • “With this renewal [of the Abrahamic covenant], we have received, as did they of old, the holy priesthood and the everlasting gospel. We have the right to receive the fulness of the gospel, enjoy the blessings of the priesthood, and qualify for God’s greatest blessing—that of eternal life.”6 —President Russell M. Nelson


  • Was a prophet in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, about 900 BC

  • The keys of the sealing power

  • “Turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers” (Doctrine and Covenants 110:15)

  • “Sealing keys, restored by the Old Testament prophet Elijah, enable ordinances to take place in holy temples. Ordinances performed in these temples enable individuals and families to return to the presence of our heavenly parents.”7 —Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles