The Way to Eternal Life Lesson 50: Sections 131-32

Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide: Religion 324-325, (1981), 99–100


Theme

Eternal life is obtained only by obeying all of the laws of God.

Theme Analysis

  • A.

    There are three degrees in the celestial kingdom.

    1. 1.

      A person must comply with the ordinance and requirements of celestial marriage to obtain the highest degree of glory.

    2. 2.

      Only in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom can husband and wife continue to have an increase.

  • B.

    Having the more sure word of prophecy means knowing you are sealed up unto eternal life.

    1. 1.

      This knowledge can be obtained by revelation.

    2. 2.

      Those who have this and do not commit unpardonable sin shall become gods and receive all power.

  • C.

    Obedience to the whole law of the holy priesthood is required for exaltation.

    1. 1.

      That which God commands is always right, and conformity to it brings exaltation.

    2. 2.

      The prophet Abraham and other righteous prophets obtained exaltation by doing all God commanded.

    3. 3.

      The Saints are heirs of the blessings of Abraham (through the gospel covenant), and if they obey all God’s commandments they will receive the same reward.

    4. 4.

      David lost his exaltation because he failed to act within the bounds set by the Lord through his prophet.

Study Sources

Student Manual

D&C 131-32; Enrichment G, “The Nature and Purpose of Law”

Use material from Historical Background and Notes and Commentary to teach each revelation in its historical context.

Standard Works

Basic Library

  • Teachings, p. 298. Why is it important to obtain the sure word of prophecy?

  • Teachings, pp. 188, 339. What did David lose because he committed murder?

  • Teachings, pp. 150-51, 298-99, 305. How does a person make his calling and election sure?

  • DS, 1:45, 55. What is the Holy Spirit of Promise?

  • DS, 2:46-48. Is it possible for members of the Church to progress until they become like God?

  • Marion G. Romney, in CR, Oct. 1976, pp. 108-9. How is the “more sure word” described here?

  • Marion G. Romney, in CR, Apr. 1977, pp. 59-63. How important is spiritual growth and development in relation to the more sure word of prophecy?

  • Spencer W. Kimball, in CR, Apr. 1978, pp. 71-72. What is the relationship between the priesthood and having one’s election made sure?

Additional Sources

  • Bruce R. McConkie, Making Our Calling and Election Sure, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [Provo, 25 Mar. 1969]. Instruction concerning the personal spiritual process of the “more sure word of prophecy.”

  • Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:325-50. Complete doctrinal discussion of the principles mentioned in 2 Peter 1:10, 16-19 and Doctrine and Covenants 131:5.

  • Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:191-92.

  • Someone whose calling and election is made sure, but who chooses afterward to serve Satan and defy God, would become a son of perdition.

Some Suggestions for Presentation

(Ideas Other Teachers Have Used)

The teacher should note that the next lesson, “Eternal Marriage,” is part of this lesson, and should be prepared accordingly.

The Saints Must School Themselves in Righteousness (Discussion)

Use this lesson to teach the students that although they may be part of the Lord’s chosen, covenant people, to attain exaltation they must endure in righteousness and continue to strive to live more and more perfectly. Discuss the types of trials and tests we face in mortality and the ways we can prepare ourselves to live the higher law of the gospel. Explain that exaltation comes by doing “none other things than that which [we are] commanded” (D&C 132:37).

You might briefly discuss one or more of the following prophets and how their lives demonstrate this concept: Joseph Smith, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses.

Exaltation, the Highest Degree of Glory (Chalkboard Illustration, Discussion)

Have the students assess the entire scope of gospel teaching and action, that is, what goal do the prophets and the scriptures point to? What is the ultimate purpose of the ordinances and covenants? What is the objective of all gospel experience? (Exaltation.)

exaltation of individuals

The following diagram might be helpful.

How many of the scriptures, prophets, covenants, and ordinances teach that man should seek the terrestrial or telestial kingdom? How many direct the individual only toward the lower portions or orders of the celestial kingdom?

Read Moses 1:39. Everything the Lord has prepared for his children is directed toward their exaltation. Each student should understand that he or she has that potential and should always strive diligently to fulfill it.

The Importance of Celestial Marriage (Case Study)

Use the following case study or something similar to emphasize the importance of the law of celestial marriage.

It was late afternoon and my friend and I still sat in my office, but I felt the time had been well spent. He sat silently now, obviously contemplating the things we had been discussing. We had talked of God, of how he had become God, and of what that meant in terms of our own exaltation. Finally he spoke.

“What is this law of exaltation you keep talking about?”

“Well, it involves the whole of the gospel law. Everything God requires of us is associated with this law, but the crowning point of the law is eternal marriage. Therein lie the keys of eternal life or, as the Doctrine and Covenants puts it, ‛eternal lives.’ In other words, an eternal increase of posterity. Do you realize the implications of this doctrine for you?”

“I think so. If a god becomes God by obedience to all of the gospel law and the crowning point of the law is the celestial law of marriage, then that’s the only way I can become a god.”

“Right. And it is the law that helps us reach that potential. It tells us what we must do to gain the ultimate freedom. In fact, it’s by obedience to law that we have progressed to our present position.”

“You mean we’ve always been governed by law?”

“Always. You are an eternal being. The intelligence portion of ourselves was never created and you cannot be destroyed, but you can progress by obedience to law.”

“Then Hamlet’s question ‛to be or not to be?’ isn’t the question.”

“Right. At least not in the ultimate sense. Order means law, and that law is the law of the celestial kingdom. Any who come unto that kingdom must obey that law.” (See D&C 88:24-29.)

“But I thought godhood meant freedom. If I have to do certain things to become a god, am I really free?”

“You’ve got it wrong. The Savior said, ‛If ye continue in my word,’ that is, obey the law, ‛ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’ (John 8:31-32). So by obedience to law, we learn truths by which we become free—but never free from the law. Can you see that?”

“I think so. I can only be a god if I act like God.”

“Exactly. Can you imagine the state of the universe if imperfect gods were allowed to spread their imperfections throughout space, if beings who did not law were free to create worlds?”

“I guess that would be pretty disastrous. But I’m not sure I see why celestial marriage is the apex of this progression. Marriage doesn’t seem to be related to the creation of the universes.”

“Don’t be limited by your mortal perspective. God himself has declared his own reasons for existing. Remember, he said, ‛For this is my work and my glory …”

“I see. His purpose is ‛to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’” (Moses 1:39).

“Which involves giving birth to spirit children and setting them on the road to exaltation. And if that is to be done, you must have an exalted man and …”

“An exalted woman.”

“Exactly. An exalted man and woman who have been joined together in an eternal marriage. If this man and woman were obedient to all gospel laws except celestial marriage, what would be the result?”

“They still could not be gods. Now I understand. Celestial marriage is one of the highest ordinances of the gospel.”

“Right,” I said, smiling, “and with that I think we can end this discussion.”