Chapter 40: Salvation through Jesus Christ

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, (1997), 291–97


President Brigham Young asked, “Are there none going to be lost? Are there none going to suffer the wrath of the Almighty? I can say, in the first place, as I have said all my life, where I have been preaching, I never had the spirit to preach hell and damnation to the people. I have tried a great many times—I tried last Sabbath, and I have tried today to come to that point—the sufferings of the wicked. They will suffer, it seems; but I cannot get my heart upon anything else, only salvation for the people” (DBY, 388). President Young taught that “all will be resurrected” (DBY, 391). He spoke of a salvation that would “reach the whole human family” (DBY, 389). And he spoke of eternal life for those who strictly “obey the requirements of the [laws] of God, and continue in faithfulness” (DBY, 387).

Teachings of Brigham Young

The salvation that Jesus Christ offers reaches the whole human family.

Behold the goodness, the long-suffering, the kindness, and the strong parental feeling of our Father and God in preparing the way and providing the means to save the children of men—not alone the Latter-day Saints—not alone those who have the privilege of the first principles of the celestial law, but to save all. It is a universal salvation—a universal redemption (DBY, 388).

How many shall be preserved? All who do not deny and defy the power and character of the Son of God—all who do not sin against the Holy Ghost (DBY, 387).

All nations are going to share in these blessings; all are incorporated in the redemption of the Savior. He has tasted death for every man; they are all in his power, and he saves them all, as he says, except the sons of perdition; and the Father has put all the creations upon this earth in his power. The earth itself, and mankind upon it, the brute beasts, the fish of the sea, and the fowls of heaven, the insects, and every creeping thing, with all things pertaining to this earthly ball,—all are in the hands of the Savior, and he has redeemed them all (DBY, 388).

The names of every son and daughter of Adam are already written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Is there ever a time when they will be taken out of it? Yes, when they become sons of perdition, and not till then. Every person has the privilege of retaining it there for ever and ever. If they neglect that privilege, then their names will be erased, and not till then. All the names of the human family are written there, and the Lord will hold them there until they come to the knowledge of the truth, that they can rebel against him, and can sin against the Holy Ghost; then they will be thrust down to hell, and their names be blotted out from the Lamb’s Book of Life (DBY, 387–88).

It will be a pleasure to know that we have saved all the Father gave into our power [stewardship]. Jesus said that he lost none except the sons of perdition. He will lose none of his brethren, except sons of perdition. Let us save all the Father puts in our power (DBY, 388).

Our religion is adapted to the capacity of the whole human family. It does not send a portion of the people to howl in torment for ever and ever, but it reaches after the last son and daughter of Adam and Eve, and will pluck them from the prison, unlock the doors, and burst the bonds and bring forth every soul who will receive salvation (DBY, 389).

All heaven is anxious that the people should be saved. The heavens weep over the people, because of their hard-heartedness, unbelief, and slowness to believe and act (DBY, 388–89).

When God revealed to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon that there was a place prepared for all, according to the light they had received and their rejection of evil and practice of good, it was a great trial to many, and some apostatized because God was not going to send to everlasting punishment heathens and infants, but had a place of salvation, in due time, for all, and would bless the honest and virtuous and truthful, whether they ever belonged to any church or not. It was a new doctrine to this generation, and many stumbled at it (DBY, 390–91).

Is it not a glorious thought that there are kingdoms, mansions of glory and comfortable habitations prepared for all the sons and daughters of Adam, except the sons of perdition? All will not have part in the first resurrection, and perhaps many will not appear in the second; but all will be resurrected (DBY, 391).

Through Christ’s Atonement, all who are faithful to the laws and ordinances of the gospel will be saved in the celestial kingdom.

There is a chance [for exaltation] for those who have lived and for those who now live. The Gospel has come. Truth and light and righteousness are sent forth into the world, and those who receive them will be saved in the celestial kingdom of God. And many of those who, through ignorance, through tradition, superstition, and the erroneous precepts of the fathers, do not receive them, will yet inherit a good and glorious kingdom, and will enjoy more and receive more than ever entered into the heart of man to conceive, unless he has had a revelation (DBY, 389).

These words [see D&C 88:21–24] set forth the fact to which Jesus referred when he said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions” [John 14:2; D&C 98:18]. How many I am not prepared to say; but here are three distinctly spoken of: the celestial, the highest; the terrestrial, the next below it; and the telestial, the third. If we were to take the pains to read what the Lord has said to his people in the latter days we should find that he has made provision for all the inhabitants of the earth; every creature who desires, and who strives in the least, to overcome evil and subdue iniquity within himself or herself, and to live worthy of a glory, will possess one. We who have received the fulness of the Gospel of the Son of God, or the Kingdom of heaven that has come to earth, are in possession of those laws, ordinances, commandments and revelations that will prepare us, by strict obedience, to inherit the celestial kingdom, to go into the presence of the Father and the Son (DBY, 391).

No matter what the outward appearance is—if I can know of a truth that the hearts of the people are fully set to do the will of their Father in Heaven, though they may falter and do a great many things through the weaknesses of human nature, yet they will be saved (DBY, 389).

And if we accept salvation on the terms it is offered to us, we have got to be honest in every thought, in our reflections, in our meditations, in our private circles, in our deals, in our declarations, and in every act of our lives, fearless and regardless of every principle of error, of every principle of falsehood that may be presented (DBY, 389).

Though our interest is one as a people, yet remember, salvation is an individual work; it is every person for himself. I mean more by this than I have time to tell you in full, but I will give you a hint. There are those in this Church who calculate to be saved by the righteousness of others. They will miss their mark. They are those who will arrive just as the gate is shut, so in that case you may be shut out; then you will call upon some one, who, by their own faithfulness, through the mercy of Jesus Christ, have entered in through the celestial gate, to come and open it for you; but to do this is not their province. Such will be the fate of those persons who vainly hope to be saved upon the righteousness and through the influence of Brother [or Sister] Somebody. I forewarn you therefore to cultivate righteousness and faithfulness in yourselves, which is the only passport into celestial happiness (DBY, 390).

If Brother Brigham shall take a wrong track, and be shut out of the Kingdom of heaven, no person will be to blame but Brother Brigham. I am the only being in heaven, earth, or hell, that can be blamed (DBY, 390).

This will equally apply to every Latter-day Saint. Salvation is an individual operation. I am the only person that can possibly save myself. When salvation is sent to me, I can reject or receive it. In receiving it, I yield implicit obedience and submission to its great Author throughout my life, and to those whom he shall appoint to instruct me; in rejecting it, I follow the dictates of my own will in preference to the will of my Creator (DBY, 390).

There never was any person over-saved; all who have been saved, and that ever will be in the future, are only just saved, and then it is not without a struggle to overcome, that calls into exercise every energy of the soul (DBY, 387).

Where God and Christ dwell, that is a kingdom of itself—the celestial kingdom (DBY, 388).

The men and women, who desire to obtain seats in the celestial kingdom, will find that they must battle every day (DBY, 392).

As for a person being saved in the celestial kingdom of God without being prepared to dwell in a pure and holy place, it is all nonsense and ridiculous; and if there be any who think they can gain the presence of the Father and the Son by fighting for, instead of living, their religion, they will be mistaken, consequently the quicker we make up our minds to live our religion the better it will be for us (DBY, 392).

The economy of heaven is to gather in all, and save everybody who can be saved (DBY, 387).

People should understand that there is no man [or woman] born upon the face of the earth but what can be saved in the Kingdom of God, if he is disposed to be (DBY, 387).

All that have lived or will live on this earth will have the privilege of receiving the Gospel. They will have Apostles, Prophets, and ministers there, as we have here, to guide them in the ways of truth and righteousness, and lead them back to God. All will have a chance for salvation and eternal life (DBY, 387).

If our faith is one, and we are united to gain one grand object, and I, as an individual, can possibly get into the celestial kingdom, you and every other person, by the same rule, can also enter there (DBY, 387).

Heavenly Father will exalt His valiant children to live in His presence in power and glory forever.

Are all spirits endowed alike? No, not by any means. Will all be equal in the celestial kingdom? No. [See D&C 131:1–4.] Some spirits are more noble than others; some are capable of receiving more than others. There is the same variety in the spirit world that you behold here, yet they are of the same parentage, of one Father, one God (DBY, 391).

It is the design, the wish, the will, and mind of the Lord that the inhabitants of the earth should be exalted to thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, according to their capacities. … They must all first be subjected to sin and to the calamities of mortal flesh, in order to prove themselves worthy; then the Gospel is ready to take hold of them and bring them up, unite them, enlighten their understandings, and make them one in the Lord Jesus, that their faith, prayers, hopes, affections, and all their desires may ever be concentrated in one (DBY, 391–92).

The difference between the righteous and the sinner, eternal life or death, happiness or misery, is this, to those who are exalted there are no bounds or limits to their privileges, their blessings have a continuation, and to their kingdoms, thrones, and dominions, principalities, and powers there is no end, but they increase through all eternity (DBY, 63).

Who can define the divinity of man? Only those who understand the true principles of eternity—the principles that pertain to life and salvation. Man, by being exalted, does not lose the power and ability naturally given to him; but, on the contrary, by taking the road that leads to life, he gains more power, more influence and ability during every step he progresses therein (DBY, 392).

The kingdom that this people are in pertains to the Celestial kingdom; it is a kingdom in which we can prepare to go into the presence of the Father and the Son. Then let us live to inherit that glory. God has promised you, Jesus has promised you, and the apostles and prophets of old and of our day have promised you that you shall be rewarded according to all you can desire in righteousness before the Lord, if you live for that reward (DNW, 31 Oct. 1860, 1).

Salvation is the full existence of man, of the angels, and the Gods; it is eternal life—the life which was, which is, and which is to come. And we, as human beings, are heirs to all this life, if we apply ourselves strictly to obey the requirements of the law of God, and continue in faithfulness (DBY, 387).

If you have gold and silver, let it not come between you and your duty. I will tell you what to do in order to gain your exaltation, the which you cannot obtain except you take this course. If your affections are placed upon anything so as to hinder you in the least from dedicating them to the Lord, make a dedication of that thing in the first place, that the dedication of the whole may be complete. … If my heart is not fully given up to this work, I will give my time, my talents, my hands, and my possessions to it, until my heart consents to be subject. I will make my hands labour in the cause of God, until my heart bows in submission to it. … I have now told you what course to pursue to obtain an exaltation. The Lord must be first and foremost in our affections; the building up of his cause and kingdom demands our first consideration (DNW, 5 Jan. 1854, 2).

No man will be saved and come into the presence of the Father, only through the Gospel of Jesus Christ—the same for one as the other. The Lord has his cause, his ways, his work; he will finish it up. Jesus is laboring with his might to sanctify and redeem the earth and to bring back his brethren and sisters into the presence of the Father. We are laboring with him for the purification of the whole human family, that we and they may be prepared to dwell with God in his Kingdom (DBY, 389).

Suggestions for Study

The salvation that Jesus Christ offers reaches the whole human family.

  • In what sense is the salvation that Jesus Christ offers “a universal salvation—a universal redemption”? How does this universal salvation show “the strong parental feeling” our Heavenly Father has for His children? How does this knowledge bring you joy?

  • President Young said that many people apostatized when God revealed to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon that all people could receive salvation. Why do you think that teaching was difficult for some members to accept? How can we avoid similar problems today with the teachings of modern prophets and apostles?

Through Christ’s Atonement, all who are faithful to the laws and ordinances of the gospel will be saved in the celestial kingdom.

  • What do you think President Young meant when he said that “salvation is an individual work”? Why does salvation require the “exercise [of] every energy of the soul”? (See also 2 Nephi 25:23.)

  • Compare President Young’s discussion of those “who calculate to be saved by the righteousness of others” with the Savior’s parable of the wise and foolish virgins. (See also Matthew 25:1–13; D&C 33:17; 45:56–57.) President Young also said that “we are laboring with [Jesus] for the purification of the whole human family.” Recognizing that “salvation is an individual work,” how can we help others in their efforts to come to Jesus Christ and receive eternal life?

  • Why do even the most faithful Saints need the mercy of Jesus Christ to enter the celestial kingdom?

  • According to President Young, what does it mean to receive the salvation that is offered us? What does it mean to reject salvation? What experiences have helped you learn the importance of being submissive to God’s will?

  • Why is it “nonsense and ridiculous” to think that we could dwell in the presence of God without being prepared to do so? (See also Mormon 9:4.) How does faithful service in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prepare us to enter the celestial kingdom? Why does this preparation require us to “battle every day”?

Heavenly Father will exalt His valiant children to live in His presence in power and glory forever.

  • What did President Young mean when he said that the gospel can make us “one in the Lord Jesus”? (See also John 17; 4 Nephi 1:15–17; D&C 38:27.)

  • President Young taught that “Jesus is laboring with his might … to bring back his brethren and sisters into the presence of the Father. We are laboring with him.” In what ways can we labor with Him “for the purification of the whole human family”?