Gathering and the Pre-mortal Existence
The plan for the gathering is based on our pre-mortal
existence and God’s knowledge of it. Abraham tells us that
some of the spirits in the pre-mortal existence were noble
and great ones (Ab. 3:23). Obviously, if some spirits were
noble and great, other spirits were less noble in developing
their spiritual capabilities. However, the Father loves all his
children and desires to save them all. In His omniscience he
devised a plan by which each of His children would come to
the earth at the time and place and with the right amount of
opportunities the would maximize their ability to accept the
plan of salvation. Elder Neal A. Maxwell explains this
principle in these terms: “It does no violence even to our
frail human logic to observe that there cannot by a grand
plan of salvation for all mankind, unless there is also a plan
for each individual. The salvational sum will reflect all its
parts” (Determined Discipleship, 71).
Gathering and the Pre-mortal Existence
For some spirits this meant they would receive an opportunity
to have the gospel in this life, while for others it meant they
would wait until the spirit world for that opportunity. For some
it meant the extra responsibility of serving in the government in
God’s Kingdom and bearing the message of salvation to the
world (TPJS 365). For others it meant coming to the earth at a
time when and in a place where the gospel was not available
but coming to prepare a people with a certain portion of the
light. Such were the missions of Buddha, Confucius, Zoroaster,
Socrates, and Plato according to Orson F. Whitney. Speaking
of these individuals he said, “They were servants of the Lord in
a lesser sense, and were sent to those pagan or heathen
nations to give them the measure of truth that a wise
Providence had allotted to them” (33). This concept is
supported by the First Presidency statement of 15 February
1978. The Father’s plan means these things and many more -- some that are difficult if not impossible for us to understand
without the omniscience of God. We are not, for instance,
generally given a knowledge of the relationship between other
people’s pre-mortal existence and their earthly circumstances.
Elder Mark E. Peterson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles,
testified, “The Church to which you and I belong is that stone.
It has been cut out of the mountain without hands, and your
destiny and mine is to help roll it forth” (C.R., Oct. 1960, 82).
By the time Joseph F. Smith, son of the Prophet Joseph’s
brother Hyrum, became President of the Church, he could say,
“We have passed through the stages of infancy…and are
indeed approaching the condition of manhood and womanhood
in our experience in the Gospel” (C.R., Apr. 1909, 2).
No longer might this church be thought of as the “Utah
Church,” or as an “American Church,’ but the membership of
the Church is now distributed over the earth” (C.R., Apr. 1973,
or Ensign, July 1973, 4-5).
Daniel 2:44-45
“Stone - the church we
belong to, cut out of the
mountains without hands”
Isaiah 29:14
“Marvelous work and a
Ephesians 2:20
“Apostles and Prophets”
Ephesians 4:5
“One Lord, one ……”
Ephesians 1:10
“Fullness of Times”
D&C 1:30
“Out of Obscurity”
Acts 10
“Day of the Gentiles”
Acts 3:19
“Times of Refreshing”
Acts 3:21
“Restitution of all things”
1 Timothy 4:3
“Forbidding to marry” &
commanding to abstain from
Why we are not considered
Christians by the World!
1. We do not come from the traditional Catholic or
Protestant line.
2. We do not believe in “The Trinity.”
3. Our unusual doctrines.
Concerning mainstream Christianity, they say: “You’re not
like us, and we say, you’re right, and we don’t want to be!”
John Taylor
Doctrine of the Holy Trinity
Fundamental to the Catholic and Protestant faiths is the
acceptance of the God of their creeds. Known to us today as
the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, this teaching first found formal
expression in the Nicene Creed and then in its successor, the
Athanasian Creed. It reads as follows:
“We worship one God in trinity and trinity in unity; neither
confounding the persons; nor dividing the substance. For there
is one person of the Father: another of the Son; and another of
the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son,
and of the Holy Ghost, is all one: the glory equal, the majesty
“Such as the Father is: such is the Son: and such is the Holy
Ghost. The Father uncreate: the Son uncreate: and the Holy
Ghost uncreate. The Father incomprehensible: the Son
incomprehensible: and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.
“So the Father is God: the Son is God: and the Holy Ghost is
God; And yet they are not three Gods: but one God. So
likewise the Father is Lord: The Son is Lord: and the Holy
Ghost is Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian
verity: to acknowledge every person by himself to be God and
Lord: so are we forbidden by the Catholic religion: to say,
there be three Gods, or three Lords” (Smith, Restoration of All
Things, 49).
The Nicene Creed is not found in any Gospel. It derives from
no utterance of Christ nor from the words of any of His
Apostles. It directly contradicts the plain language of the New
Its ideas can’t even be expressed in scriptural
language; they are cloaked in that of the Greek
philosophy from whence they came. Its best
defense is the admission that it is a mystery
and as such is indefensible.
Of the Athanasian Creed, which was formulated
about a century after the Nicene Creed, James
E. Talmage said, “It would be difficult to
conceive of a greater number of inconsistencies
and contradictions expressed in words as few”
(Articles of Faith, 44).
The following is a literal translation, as published by the Nicene
Creed then adopted:
“We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of all things
visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only
begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance of the Father,
God of God, begotten not made, of the same substance with
the Father, through whom all things were made both in heaven
and on earth; who for us men and for our salvation descended,
was incarnate, and was made man, suffered and rose again the
third day, ascended into heaven and cometh to judge living and
dead. And in the Holy Ghost. Those who say: There was a
time when He was not, and He was not before He was
begotten; and that He was made out of nothing; or who
maintain that He is of another hypostasis or another substance
(than the Father), or that the Son of God is created, or
mutable, or subject to change, (them) the Catholic Church
The Nicene Creed
Constantine called a council of Catholic bishops to
meet at Nicaea in 325 A.D. Their work was to adopt a
creed which would settle the then politically explosive
problem of the Arianism — a concept that the Son had
been created by the Father, was subordinate to him,
and was therefore unequal as to eternity, power, and
The Council was opened by Constantine. He made
sure that all the Bishops had taken their seats before
making his entry. He was clad in gold and covered
with precious stones. A chair of gold had been made
ready for him.
The current version of this
creed is called the NicenoConstantinopolitan Creed
and was probably adopted
by the Council of
Constantinople in 381 A.D.
(Catholic Encyclopedia, vol.
11, 49-50).
Parley P. Pratt would observe when once the light of
the restored gospel had risen:
“It is painful to the human mind to be compelled to
admit that such wonderful inconsistencies of language
or ideas have ever found place in any human creed.
Yet, so it is. It is but another way of saying that there
is a God who does not exist, a God who is composed
of non-entity, who is the negative of all existence,
who occupies no space, who exists in no time, who is
composed of no substance, known or unknown, and
who has no powers or properties in common with any
thing or being known to exist or which can possibly be
conceived of as existing either in the heavens or on
the earth” (Key, 18).
As that day begins to dawn, we see on the horizon
such noble spirits as Thomas Jefferson, who
“When we shall have done away with the
incomprehensible jargon of the Trinitarian arithmetic,
that three are one, and one is three; when we shall
have knocked down the artificial scaffolding, reared to
mask from view the very simple structure of Jesus;
when, in short, we shall have unlearned everything
which has been taught since his day, and got back to
the pure and simple doctrines he inculcated, we shall
then be truly and worthily his disciples” (quoted in
McGrath, Understanding the Trinity, 110).
Punishments which a repentant sinner had to undergo to show
their sorrow for their sins.
The place after death where repentant sinners completed the
portion of punishment for sins not completed while living.
A waiver from the Pope that excused the sinner from doing
penance and shortened the time one had to stay in purgatory.
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) wanted to
be remembered for three things in his
long and illustrious career:
1. Author of the Declaration of American
2. The founding father of the University of Virginia.
3. The author of the statue of Virginia for religious
freedom, which was adopted in 1785.
Non-Biblical Doctrines and Practices
Developed within the Catholic Church
The church encouraged many to withdraw from society believing that in so
doing they would be alone with God; men who practiced monasticism were
called monks and women were called nuns.
Monks, nuns, and priests believed they should not be married
(I Timothy 4:3, Doctrine & Covenants 49:15-18).
Praying to Mary or Saints:
Deceased persons who were officially recognized by the church as holy.
They believed Mary or the saints could stand before God on behalf of
The belief that elements of the Sacrament actually become the
body and blood of Christ (John 6:53-57).
Infant baptism:
The belief that infants must be baptized to overcome original
sin (Moroni 8:9, Doctrine & Covenants 137:10).
Those who visited the Holy Land or visited holy churches with
select religious relics were able to shorten their time in
“Melanchthon visited the Schlosskirch, with its
thousands of special, holy relics displayed in
fabulous gold and silver casements --- 17,443
relics which could help a person reduce his
future stay in purgatory by as much as two
million years” (Melanchthon: The Quiet
Reformer, Clyde Leonard Manschreck, 21).
“The thorn that had brought
blood to the brow of Jesus was
always displayed on a special
altar on All Saints’ Day, while
the other relics were shown
from emporiums and balconies
built along the sides of the
church. Pilgrims came to
behold, and they contributed.
Melanchthon gazed at a piece of the cloak of John the
A rock from Mount Calvary.
A portion of the rock on which Jesus stood when he
wept over Jerusalem.
Some of the milk of the Virgin Mary’s breast.
A part of Mary’s gown.
Four strands of Our Lady’s hair.
Four pieces of Our Lady’s girdle.
A tear that Jesus shed at Lazarus’ tomb.
Thirty-five splinters from the cross of Christ.
Three pieces of myrrh and one piece of gold brought
by the Wise Men to the baby Jesus.
A strand of Jesus’ beard.
One of the nails driven into his hands.
A piece of bread served at the Last Supper.
A part of the stone on which Jesus stood before ascending into
A twig from Moses’ burning bush.
An angel feather.
Bones and teeth from an array of saints including Chrysostom,
Bernard, Augustine, Jerome, Anastasia, Apollonia, and Lucia,
along with one complete skeleton and 204 odd bones of the
innocent children of Bethlehem slain by the order of Herod
(Clyde Leonard Manschreck, Melanchthon: The Quiet
Reformer, 22).
A Brief History of the Bible
Why were books bound?
It was easier than hiding scrolls.
It wasn’t until 1200 A.D. that the Bible came to be.
Only 50 fragments existed from the first 300 years of
There were no printing presses until the 1400’s.
Latin was the standard language before the printing press was
The Bible was the dominant book over the people and
yet the people had no access to it.
It controlled the people economically and politically.
The first English Bible was created in 1384 by John
Wycliffe (1320-1384, England) was opposed to the
doctrine of transubstantiation.
During the 1400’s there were two Popes who
excommunicated each other.
Wycliff believed that the scriptures had more authority
than the church.
John Wycliffe was called:
“The Morning Star of the Reformation”
Though he lived two hundred years before the Reformation, his
beliefs and teachings closely match those of Luther, Calvin and
other Reformers.
Translated the Bible into English (the poor had no scripture)
He called the Pope an “anti-Christ.”
He believed that all men should have access to the Bible.
It took one small herd of sheep to provide the parchment for one Bible.
Wycliffe's followers were burned by the hundreds and thousands.
What was there crime?
They had a page of the Bible in their possession.
Wycliffe's bones were exhumed from his grave 44 years after his burial by
his enemies. They pounded his bones to dust to symbolize that he never
He translated the Bible from Latin to English. These Bibles were widely
distributed around England and denounced by the Catholic Church.
The Gutenberg Bible: (1453-55) Was printed in Latin and was intended for
the use of the church. It is considered to be the greatest contribution to
Western Culture.
William Tyndale: (1494-1536)
He was England’s Martin Luther.
He knew eight languages fluently.
Knowing those languages were helpful when he was
fleeing English authorities seeking to take his life.
He read the Bible in Latin and translated it from Greek
to English.
Because Wycliffe's Bible was pretty much
May we emulate the feelings for the scriptures held by
Tyndale and Paul? Tyndale was imprisoned for
translating holy scripture, and Paul was martyred for
providing and testifying of holy scripture. The parallels
are powerful: Heroic Tyndale, from a cold, dark
dungeon where he stayed for 16 months and from which
he would soon go to be strangled and then burned, sent
a letter begging for “a warmer cap…a warmer coat
also…also a piece of cloth to path my leggings…but
above all my Hebrew Bible.” Heroic Paul, aging Apostle
--- in Rome waiting to be brought before Nero a second
time and then to be martyred, deserted by friends --asked Timothy to bring his “cloke,” “the books,” and
“especially the parchments.” (2 Timothy 4:13.) (Neal A.
Maxwell, “Thanksgiving for the Holy Scriptures.”).
Tyndale standardized the English language. He translated the
Old Testament from Hebrew to English. He finished his work to
the Book of Chronicles before he was caught and put in jail for
18 months.
He was admitted to Oxford when he was eleven years old.
He helped to open the eyes of England.
He was also burned at the stake.
His last words were,
“If God grants me breath to finish this translation then
the simplest plow boy will be able to read it and will
know more about it than you in the clergy.”
The Geneva Bible: In 1560, it was the first English Bible.
Because of Bloody Mary people escaped and settled in Geneva,
Switzerland. People began to study the Bible in English.
It was the first entire Bible written in English.
This was the Bible that the Puritans and the Pilgrims brought to
the New World.
King James, 1611: Forty seven scholars worked on it. It was
not really completed until 1900. They averaged about a page a
day while translating it.
King James had nothing to do with it.
We are really reading Tyndale’s words, not so much God’s.
The Wicked Bible:
Thou shalt commit adultery!
The Bay Psalm Book, 1782: Was the first
publication in America because of copyright
problems with the King James Version.
Just for fun:
The Dead Sea Scrolls
They found 18,000 segments, they did not
find scrolls.
They were 2,000 years old
They legitimize that Jesus once lived there.
Forerunners to the Reformation
John Huss (1369-1414)
Objected to the selling of indulgences (which were to reduce
time in purgatory).
He was greatly influenced by Wycliffe.
He was excommunicated in 1411, therefore his doctrines could
not be taught and his books were burned.
In June of 1415, still refusing to recant his beliefs and
teachings, he was found guilty of heresy and sentenced to
death to be burned at the stake.
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
The 95 item thesis was written in 1517 and nailed to the doors of the
Church in Wittenberg Germany. He was later buried there with Melanchthon.
Philipp Melanchthon to Luther was like Oliver Cowdery to Joseph Smith.
Luther wrote the 95 thesis in Latin so that only scholars would know what
he had written. He was not trying to offend anyone and was being
respectful. During that time period scholars would often nail questions to
the church door in hope of future discussions or debates.
The 95 thesis was not 95 different points, it was different points related to
the following challenges:
Selling of indulgences
The Grace of God
The Pope not having the authority to forgive
When Luther was ordered to give up his work, he boldly
declared: “Unless I be refuted by Scriptural testimonies, or by
clear arguments – for I believe neither the Pope nor the
councils alone, since it is clear that they have often erred and
contradicted one another – I am convinced by the passages of
Scripture, which I have cited, and my conscience is bound in
the word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything; since it
is insecure and dangerous to act against conscience” (Henry
Eyster Jacobs, Martin Luther: The Hero of the Reformation,
1843-1546, 192).
Luther’s resistance led to his excommunication from the church
and to his being placed under the ban of the empire, which
made him an outlaw.
It was the work of others who took his writings
and had them translated so that the common
people could read it.
Some say that when Luther hammered
his thesis to the door, the sound was
heard in Rome.
Wittenberg, Germany is to Protestants what
Temple Square is to us.
Luther translated the Bible into German
(Joseph Smith’s favorite translation).
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
Philipp Melanchthon
The Chapel door that Martin Luther
nailed his 95 thesis
The Chapel in Wittenberg
Martin Luther’s Grave
Did not believe in infant baptism
John Calvin
Sovereignty of God, double predestination, denigration of man, elect, visible
and invisible church, two sacraments, baptism and the Lord’s supper.
Jacob Arminius
All who believe in Christ can be saved.
The Atonement was universal, making it possible for all to be saved.
Men cannot be saved without the grace of God.
God’s grace was not irresistible.
The Synod rejected the
Arminian belief by setting
forth their doctrine on
each point. These
doctrines are often called
the TULIP Doctrines.
Synod of Dordt
November 1618 – May 1619
The Tulip Doctrines:
Total depravity of man
Unconditional election of those
predestined to be saved
Limited Atonement for only the elect
Irresistible grace for the elect
Perseverance of those saved (not
possible to fall from grace)
Two major reformers in Switzerland were
Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin.
Zwingli convinced the citizens of Zurich that the Bible should be
the only standard of religious truth. He rejected life in a
monastery, celibacy, the mass, and other Catholic practices.
John Calvin was even more influential. At Geneva, he
attempted to create a holy city around the biblical models.
Gradually Calvinism became predominant in many parts of
Switzerland, and from there it spread to France, England,
Scotland, Holland, and in a lesser degree to Germany.
The Pilgrims and Puritans, two strict Calvinist groups who came
to the New World, greatly influenced American values.
The Constitution --- D&C 101:80
Wilford Woodruff, fourth President of the restored
Church, spoke of the early American patriots:
“I am going to bear my testimony to this assembly, if
I never do it again in my life, that those men who laid
the foundation of this American government and
signed the Declaration of Independence were the best
spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the
earth. They were choice spirits, not wicked men.
General Washington and all the men who labored for
the purpose were inspired of the Lord.
“...Every one of those men that signed the Declaration
of Independence, with General Washington, called
upon me, as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, in
the Temple at St. George, two consecutive nights, and
demanded at my hands that I should go forth and
attend to the ordinances of the House of God for
them” (C.R., Apr.. 1898, 89-90).
“All fifty-six signers of the Declaration of
Independence have had their temple work done —
these are the ones who appeared to President
Woodruff in the St. George Temple. In fact according
to Wilford Woodruff’s journal, George Washington,
Christopher Columbus, Benjamin Franklin, and John
Wesley were ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood
office of high priest at that time by proxy (see Ezra
Taft Benson, “God’s Hand in Our Nation’s History,”
Speeches of the Year, 1976 (Provo: BYU Press, 1976,
Elder Wilford Woodruff said that the signers of the
Declaration of Independence and others such as John
Wesley and Columbus appeared to him, wanting to
know why their temple work had not been done.
They said, “You had the use of the Endowment House
for a number of years and yet nothing has ever been
done for us. We laid the foundation of the
government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized
from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to
God.” Elder Woodruff said that “they waited on me
for two days and two nights.” Then he “straightway
went into the baptismal font and called upon Brother
McCallister” to baptize him. Thus, the necessary
ordinances were performed for these people in the St.
George Temple (JD, 19:229).
The Prophet Joseph Smith stated that
“the Constitution of the United States
is a glorious standard; it is founded in
the wisdom of God. It is a heavenly
banner; it is to all those who are
privileged with the sweets of liberty,
like the cooling shades and refreshing
waters of a great rock in a thirsty and
weary land (Teachings, 147).
Reformation in England
Kings and Queens of England during early part of Reformation
Henry VIII (1491-1547)
Mother of Mary Tudor
Anne Boleyn
Mother of Elizabeth
Jane Seymour
Mother of Edward VI
Edward VI (ruled during 1547-1553)
Ruled six years (9 until 17 years old)
Reform ideas continue to grow
Mary Tudor (ruled during 1553-1558)
Persecuted those who held to reformed views --- “Bloody Mary”
Elizabeth (ruled during 1558-1603)
Elizabeth Settlement (1563) a theological statement
that formed the basis of the Church of England.
Did not feel that the Elizabethan Settlement went far
enough in rejecting Catholic theology and practices.
They wanted to reject the settlement and purify the
church of all Catholic elements. They were
persecuted by English kings and queens.
Colonization of New England
Separating, Holland
The Great Migration: (Puritan) (Massachusetts Bay Colony)
English persecution, Religious intolerance, Salem witch
American Revolution: (1775-1783)
Constitution and Bill of Rights:
Constitution ratified in 1788
Bill of Rights ratified in 1791
The Prophets on the Reformers
John Taylor
But outside of that there have been many good influences
abroad in the world. Many men in the different ages, who, in
the midst of wickedness and corruption, have tried to stop the
current evil, have placed themselves in the catalogue of
reformers. Some of those have been what are called heathen,
others what are termed Christian, and others have been
scientific and philanthropic --- lovers and benefactors of the
human race. The many reformers that existed in former ages
have been men many of whom have been sincerely desirous to
do the will of God, and to carry out his purposes, so far as they
knew them (The Gospel Kingdom, 42).
Lorenzo Snow
We can trace the providences of the
Almighty in raising up certain
individuals to establish religious
organizations, and we see in these
things the workings of the Spirit of
God for the general interest of the
human family (JD, 14, 304).
Joseph Fielding Smith
Calvin, Luther (Professor of Theology,
Melanchthon (Professor of Greek), and all the
reformers, were inspired in thoughts, words,
and actions, to accomplish what they did for
the amelioration, liberty and advancement of
the human race. Their inspiration, as with that
of the ancients, came from the Father, his Son
Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, the one true
and living God (Gospel Doctrine, 31).
Joseph Fielding Smith
Latter-day Saints pay all honor to these great and
fearless reformers, who shattered the fetters which
bound the religious world. The Lord was their
protector in this mission, which was fraught with many
perils. In that day, however, the time had not come
for the restoration of the fullness of the gospel. The
work of the reformers was of great importance, but it
was a preparatory work, and they shall in no wise lose
their well earned reward (Doctrines of Salvation, vol.
President Joseph Fielding Smith
said, “The discovery (of America)
was one of the most important
factors in bringing to pass the
purpose of the Almighty in the
restoration of his Gospel in its
fullness for the salvation of men in
the latter days (Smith, Progress of
Man, 258).

Doctrine of the Holy Trinity - Brigham Young University