“For This Cause Was the Gospel Preached Also to Them That Are Dead”

The Life and Teachings of Jesus and his Apostles, Instructor’s Guide (Rel 211–12), (2000), 107–8


Latter-day Saints become Saviors on Mount Zion as they seek to make the blessings of the gospel available to their kindred dead.

Theme Analysis

  • A.

    The Lord has decreed that certain ordinances are essential for salvation.

  • B.

    These ordinances may be performed by living proxies in behalf of the dead.

  • C.

    All members of the Church have a personal obligation to see to the salvation of their kindred dead.

  • D.

    Through doing this work, we can become “saviors” to those who have died.

Study Sources

New Testament Reading Assignment

1 Peter

Course Manual

Chapter 50, “For This Cause Was the Gospel Preached Also to Them That Are Dead”

Standard Works

John 3:5. What two ordinances are essential for celestial life?

John 5:25-29. What promise was given to the dead that would cause them to live?

1 Peter 3:18-20; 4:6. How was this promise fulfilled?

1 Corinthians 15:29. What ordinances are done by the living for the dead?

D&C 103:9, 10. How can we become saviors to others?

D&C 128:15. Why can’t work for the dead be lightly passed over?

D&C 128:24. What book are we to present to the Lord that should be worthy of all acceptation?

D&C 128:17. What subject of the gospel is “most glorious of all subjects”?

Basic Library

Teachings, pp. 193, 223, 330-31, 337-38. How important is work for the dead?

DS, 2:161-62. What does it mean to do vicarious work for the dead?

A of F, pp. 145-53. What provision is made by the Lord for the dead who did not have a chance in mortality to hear the gospel?

DS, 2:143-44. Why is the subject of salvation for the dead so glorious?

Gos. Doc, p. 469. What blessings can we bring to our dead?

Discourses, pp. 393-408. What is the condition of those who lived and died without the gospel?

Mark E. Petersen in CR, Apr. 1976, pp. 19-22. How can we be Saviors on Mount Zion?

Boyd K. Packer in CR, Oct. 1975, pp. 145-48. Why is our responsibility to our dead so great?

Additional Sources

Harold B. Lee, Ye Are the Light of the World, pp. 203-6. How can the gates of hell be prevented from prevailing against our dead?

HC, 5:423; 6:319, 365. How important are all of the ordinances of salvation for the dead?

Theodore H. Burton in CR, Apr. 1975, pp. 103-6. Whose responsibility is work for the dead?

Some Suggestions for Presentation

(Ideas Other Teachers Have Used)

Bringing Peace to the World (A Discussion and Chalkboard Presentation)

The teacher may wish to ask the class to consider what they can do to bring peace to the world. The Lord has answered this in D&C 98:16. The teacher could use a chalkboard illustration as follows:

Hearts of the Children to the Fathers Hearts of the Fathers to the Children

What are the promises? (see D&C 22.)

How can “the children” fulfill this?

How is this accomplished?

(Family home evening, and so forth)

How could the above activities bring peace to the world?

The Spirit of Elijah (Joseph Smith 2:23-39) (A Scripture Analysis)

What did Moroni say would be revealed?

By whom would this revelation come?

What did he say would be planted in the hearts of the children?

What would happen then?

What would happen to the earth if the were not done?

Why send Elijah? (see Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 172.)

Who are the fathers and what are the promises made to the fathers?

“Who are the fathers spoken of by Malachi, and who are the children? The fathers are our dead ancestors who died without the privilege of receiving the gospel, but who received the promise that the time would come when that privilege would be granted them. The children are those now living who are preparing genealogical data and who are performing the vicarious ordinances in the temples.

“The turning of the hearts of the children to the fathers is placing or planting in the hearts of the children that feeling and desire which will inspire them to search out the records of the dead. Moreover the planting of the desire and inspiration in their hearts is necessary. This they must have in order that they might go into the house of the Lord and perform the necessary labor for their fathers, who died without a knowledge of the gospel, or without the privilege of receiving the fulness of the gospel.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:127-28.)

Why will the earth be utterly wasted if this work is not done? (See Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:122.)

Did Elijah come as prophesied? (See D&C 110:13-16, 128:15.)

The Lord Can Inspire the Way of Those Who Seek to Bless Their Dead (A Discussion)

  1. 1.

    The teacher may wish to share some inspiring experiences that relate to this work. One such example is found in the writings of Melvin J. Ballard, Three Degrees of Glory, pp. 21-22; see also Melvin J. Ballard, Crusader for Righteousness, pp. 219-21.

  2. 2.

    The teacher could ask the students what it takes to do work for the dead. Some of the following answers may be given: desire to do the work, proper facilities (library, temple), knowledge of research skills, and time. The story “If Takes Love to Do Work for the Dead,” found in the course manual under Points to Ponder, could be shared to show that if one truly loves his family, he will find time to do this important work.

Scripture Analysis

The teacher could share with the class D&C 128:124. What is this book? (Our books of remembrance and records of completed temple work.) What are these books to contain? (Title page, personal history, pedigree charts, family group sheets, family biographies.) How important is our personal history? (See Spencer W. Kimball, “The Angels May Quote from It,” New Era, Oct. 1975, pp. 4-5.)

Saviors on Mount Zion (A Chalkboard Discussion)

Jesus saves us

The teacher could use this illustration to show how we become “linked” to the Savior when we do ordinance work for our dead. He is the one who saves them, but we can be part of the saving process by our vicarious work. Thus, we become saviors, too. (See D&C 103:9, 10.)