Doctrine and Covenants 138

Section 138

A vision given to President Joseph F. Smith in Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 3, 1918. In his opening address at the 89th Semiannual General Conference of the Church, on October 4, 1918, President Smith declared that he had received several divine communications during the previous months. One of these, concerning the Savior’s visit to the spirits of the dead while His body was in the tomb, President Smith had received the previous day. It was written immediately following the close of the conference. On October 31, 1918, it was submitted to the counselors in the First Presidency, the Council of the Twelve, and the Patriarch, and it was unanimously accepted by them.

1–10, President Joseph F. Smith ponders upon the writings of Peter and our Lord’s visit to the spirit world; 11–24, President Smith sees the righteous dead assembled in paradise and Christ’s ministry among them; 25–37, He sees how the preaching of the gospel was organized among the spirits; 38–52, He sees Adam, Eve, and many of the holy prophets in the spirit world who considered their spirit state before their resurrection as a bondage; 53–60, The righteous dead of this day continue their labors in the world of spirits.

1 On the third of October, in the year nineteen hundred and eighteen, I sat in my room apondering over the scriptures;

2 And areflecting upon the great batoning csacrifice that was made by the Son of God, for the dredemption of the world;

3 And the great and wonderful alove made manifest by the Father and the Son in the coming of the bRedeemer into the world;

4 That through his aatonement, and by bobedience to the principles of the gospel, mankind might be saved.

5 While I was thus engaged, my mind reverted to the writings of the apostle Peter, to the aprimitive saints scattered abroad throughout bPontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, and other parts of Asia, where the gospel had been cpreached after the crucifixion of the Lord.

6 I opened the Bible and read the athird and fourth chapters of the first epistle of Peter, and as I read I was greatly bimpressed, more than I had ever been before, with the following passages:

7 “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

8 “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in aprison;

9 “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” (1 Peter 3:18–20.)

10 “For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:6.)

11 As I apondered over these things which are bwritten, the ceyes of my dunderstanding were opened, and the Spirit of the Lord erested upon me, and I saw the hosts of the fdead, both small and great.

12 And there were gathered together in one place an innumerable company of the spirits of the ajust, who had been bfaithful in the ctestimony of Jesus while they lived in mortality;

13 And who had offered asacrifice in the bsimilitude of the great sacrifice of the Son of God, and had suffered ctribulation in their Redeemer’s dname.

14 All these had departed the mortal life, firm in the ahope of a glorious bresurrection, through the cgrace of God the dFather and his eOnly Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

15 I beheld that they were filled with ajoy and gladness, and were rejoicing together because the day of their bdeliverance was at hand.

16 They were assembled awaiting the advent of the Son of God into the aspirit world, to declare their bredemption from the cbands of death.

17 Their sleeping adust was to be brestored unto its cperfect frame, dbone to his bone, and the sinews and the flesh upon them, the espirit and the body to be united never again to be divided, that they might receive a fulness of fjoy.

18 While this vast multitude waited and conversed, rejoicing in the hour of their adeliverance from the chains of death, the Son of God appeared, declaring bliberty to the ccaptives who had been faithful;

19 And there he apreached to them the everlasting bgospel, the doctrine of the cresurrection and the redemption of mankind from the dfall, and from individual sins on conditions of erepentance.

20 But unto the awicked he did not go, and among the ungodly and the unrepentant who had bdefiled themselves while in the flesh, his voice was not raised;

21 Neither did the arebellious who rejected the btestimonies and the warnings of the ancient cprophets behold his dpresence, nor look upon his face.

22 Where these were, adarkness reigned, but among the righteous there was bpeace;

23 And the saints rejoiced in their aredemption, and bowed the bknee and acknowledged the Son of God as their Redeemer and Deliverer from death and the cchains of dhell.

24 Their countenances ashone, and the bradiance from the presence of the Lord rested upon them, and they csang praises unto his holy name.

25 I marveled, for I understood that the Savior spent about three years in his aministry among the Jews and those of the house of Israel, endeavoring to bteach them the everlasting gospel and call them unto repentance;

26 And yet, notwithstanding his mighty works, and miracles, and proclamation of the truth, in great apower and authority, there were but bfew who hearkened to his voice, and rejoiced in his presence, and received salvation at his hands.

27 But his ministry among those who were dead was limited to the abrief time intervening between the crucifixion and his resurrection;

28 And I wondered at the words of Peter—wherein he said that the Son of God preached unto the aspirits in prison, who sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah—and how it was possible for him to preach to those spirits and perform the necessary labor among them in so short a time.

29 And as I wondered, my eyes were opened, and my understanding aquickened, and I perceived that the Lord went not in person among the bwicked and the disobedient who had rejected the truth, to teach them;

30 But behold, from among the righteous, he aorganized his forces and appointed bmessengers, cclothed with power and authority, and dcommissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in edarkness, even to fall the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.

31 And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the aacceptable day of the Lord and proclaim bliberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would crepent of their sins and receive the gospel.

32 Thus was the gospel preached to those who had adied in their sins, without a bknowledge of the truth, or in ctransgression, having drejected the prophets.

33 These were taught afaith in God, repentance from sin, bvicarious baptism for the cremission of sins, the dgift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands,

34 And all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be ajudged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

35 And so it was made known among the dead, both small and great, the unrighteous as well as the faithful, that redemption had been wrought through the asacrifice of the Son of God upon the bcross.

36 Thus was it made known that our Redeemer spent his time during his sojourn in the world of aspirits, instructing and preparing the faithful spirits of the bprophets who had testified of him in the flesh;

37 That they might carry the message of redemption unto all the dead, unto whom he could not go personally, because of their arebellion and transgression, that they through the ministration of his servants might also hear his words.

38 Among the great and amighty ones who were assembled in this vast congregation of the righteous were Father bAdam, the cAncient of Days and father of all,

39 And our glorious aMother bEve, with many of her faithful cdaughters who had lived through the ages and worshiped the true and living God.

40 aAbel, the first bmartyr, was there, and his brother cSeth, one of the mighty ones, who was in the express dimage of his father, Adam.

41 aNoah, who gave warning of the flood; bShem, the great chigh priest; dAbraham, the father of the faithful; eIsaac, fJacob, and Moses, the great glaw-giver of Israel;

42 And aIsaiah, who declared by prophecy that the Redeemer was anointed to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the bcaptives, and the opening of the cprison to them that were bound, were also there.

43 Moreover, Ezekiel, who was shown in vision the great valley of adry bones, which were to be bclothed upon with flesh, to come forth again in the resurrection of the dead, living souls;

44 Daniel, who foresaw and foretold the establishment of the akingdom of God in the latter days, never again to be destroyed nor given to other people;

45 aElias, who was with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration;

46 And aMalachi, the prophet who testified of the coming of bElijah—of whom also Moroni spake to the Prophet Joseph Smith, declaring that he should come before the ushering in of the great and dreadful cday of the Lord—were also there.

47 The Prophet Elijah was to plant in the ahearts of the children the promises made to their fathers,

48 Foreshadowing the great work to be done in the atemples of the Lord in the bdispensation of the fulness of times, for the redemption of the dead, and the csealing of the children to their parents, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse and utterly wasted at his coming.

49 All these and many more, even the aprophets who dwelt among the Nephites and btestified of the coming of the Son of God, mingled in the vast assembly and waited for their deliverance,

50 For the adead had looked upon the long absence of their bspirits from their bodies as a cbondage.

51 These the Lord taught, and gave them apower to come forth, after his resurrection from the dead, to enter into his Father’s kingdom, there to be crowned with bimmortality and eternal life,

52 And continue thenceforth their labor as had been promised by the Lord, and be partakers of all ablessings which were held in reserve for them that love him.

53 The Prophet Joseph Smith, and my father, Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and other choice aspirits who were breserved to come forth in the cfulness of times to take part in laying the dfoundations of the great latter-day work,

54 Including the building of the atemples and the performance of ordinances therein for the redemption of the bdead, were also in the spirit world.

55 I observed that they were also among the anoble and great ones who were bchosen in the beginning to be rulers in the Church of God.

56 Even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first alessons in the world of spirits and were bprepared to come forth in the due ctime of the Lord to labor in his dvineyard for the salvation of the souls of men.

57 I beheld that the faithful aelders of this dispensation, when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors in the bpreaching of the cgospel of repentance and redemption, through the sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son of God, among those who are in darkness and under the bondage of sin in the great world of the dspirits of the dead.

58 The dead who arepent will be redeemed, through obedience to the bordinances of the house of God,

59 And after they have paid the apenalty of their transgressions, and are bwashed clean, shall receive a creward according to their dworks, for they are heirs of salvation.

60 Thus was the avision of the redemption of the dead revealed to me, and I bear record, and I know that this brecord is ctrue, through the blessing of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, even so. Amen.