President Thomas S. Monson, in addressing the women of the Church in April 2005, gave evidence of his loving nature: “My dear sisters, may God bless you. We love you; we pray for you.” President Monson’s words reiterated a significant teaching: “Remember that you do not walk alone. The Lord has promised you: ‘I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.’”1 In at least three general conference addresses, President Monson has also declared, “How glorious and near to the angels is youth that is clean.”2
Beyond President Monson’s words is the combined testimony of prophets and apostles that we do not walk alone in mortality because the Lord’s angels frequently visit our sphere of existence, spend time among us, and bless our lives in a variety of ways. Some of these angels are unseen by mortals, choosing to be among us in a state of invisibility or undetectability; others are visible, but their angelic character remains undetected (that is, they appear as mortals); still others appear as angels (perhaps rarely) and reveal their light and glory to those whom they visit. The following general authorities of the Church have taught that angels are in our presence, watching over us:
The Prophet Joseph Smith:
“The spirits of the just are exalted to a greater and more glorious work; hence they are blessed in their departure to the World of Spirits. Enveloped in flaming fire they are not far from us and know and understand our thoughts and feelings and notions and are often pained therewith.”3
President Brigham Young:
The Lord’s “angels are around us . . . There is much in my presence besides those who sit here, if we had eyes to see the heavenly beings that are in our presence.”4
President Wilford Woodruff:
“The angels are watching over us. The eyes of all the heavenly hosts are over us. Those who have lived in other dispensations understand this dispensation far better than we do, and they are watching over the labors of the Elders of Israel.”5 Also, “angels are watching us and bearing a report of us daily to God.”6
President Heber C. Kimball:
“That is the God whom I serve, one who has millions of angels at His command. Do you suppose that there are any angels here to-day? I would not wonder if there were ten times more angels here than people. We do not see them, but they are here watching us, and are anxious for our salvation.”7
God’s “angels are our associates, they are with us and around about us, and watch over us, and take care of us, and lead us, and guide us, and administer to our wants.”8
Elder Orson Pratt:
“There is no doubt . . . that heavenly messengers hover around the congregation of the Saints here assembled . . . God who has seen your labors and diligence in building a house to his name, has no doubt sent heavenly messengers to hover around us, to bluff off the powers of darkness, that seek to darken the minds of the people, and to close their hearts against understanding.”9
Elder James E. Talmage:
Because of God’s “great love, He has set heavenly beings to watch over us and to guard us from the attacks of evil powers while we live on earth. Do we realize that in our daily walk and work we are not alone, but that angels attend us wherever our duty causes us to go?”10
Elder John A. Widtsoe:
“Many other intelligent beings, superior to us, no doubt take part in helping man to do his work on earth. There are angels and spirits who, no doubt, have assigned to them the care of the men and women who walk upon earth. Man is not alone; he walks in the midst of such heavenly company, from whom he may expect help if he seek it properly and strongly.”11
President Harold B. Lee:
“When we begin to understand that beyond sight, as Brigham Young said, the spirit world is right here round about us, and if our spiritual eyes could be open, we could see others visiting with us, directing us. And if we will learn not to be so sophisticated that we rule out that possibility of impressions from those who are beyond sight, then we too may have a dream that may direct us as a revelation.”12
Elder Neal A. Maxwell:
“As we take our stand, the faithful will not be alone—not that alone, however. Of necessity, the angel who stood by Christ in Gethsemane to strengthen Him left Him (see Luke 22:43). If we hold aloft the shield of faith in God and faith in His commandments, His angels will be ‘round about [us], to bear [us] up’ and ‘have charge over [us]’ (D&C 84:88; D&C 109:22). Of this promise, I testify.”13
President Russell M. Nelson:
“Remember, God’s holy angels are ever on call to help us. When we are faithful, God and His angels will help us.”14
Elder Nelson also cited Brigham Young as saying, “All the angels in heaven are looking at this little handful of people, and stimulating them to the salvation of the human family.”15
President Boyd K. Packer:
“If you hold to the rod, you can feel your way forward with the gift of the Holy Ghost, conferred upon you at the time you were confirmed a member of the Church. The Holy Ghost will comfort you. You will be able to feel the influence of angels, as Nephi did, and feel your way through life.”16
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
"From the beginning down through the dispensations, God has used angels as His emissaries in conveying love and concern for His children. . . . I have spoken here of heavenly help, of angels dispatched to bless us in time of need. But when we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with—here, now, every day. . . . Always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal."
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Stories are told around the world of persons who have received help or comfort from someone they couldn't see—an angel or spirit who guided them or in some other way gave them assistance from beyond the veil.
But just who are these angels? Are they even real?
Although angels are a vital part of Latter-day Saint history and doctrine, their roles and purposes are often misunderstood. In this inspiring volume, author Donald W. Parry discusses in a clear and understandable way what we can learn from the scriptures and from modern prophets and apostles about angels and their missions.
1. “Be Thou an Example,” Ensign, May 2005, 115.
2. First Presidency [Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark Jr., and David O. McKay], Conference Report, Apr. 1942, 89, cited in Monson, “May You Have Courage,” Ensign, May 2009, 126; “Pathways to Perfection,” Ensign, May 2002, 100; “Pioneers All,” Ensign, May 1997, 93.
3. History of the Church, 6:51–52.
4. Discourses of Brigham Young, 41–42.
5. Bateman, Prophets Have Spoken, 1:1046.
6. Journal, Feb. 13, 1848.
7. Journal of Discourses, 3:230.
8. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, 461.
9. Journal of Discourses, 19:312–13.
10. Millennial Star 55 (July 10, 1893): 446; see also Stuy, Collected Discourses, 3:291.
11. Rational Theology, 68.
12. Stand Ye in Holy Places, 143.
13. “The Seventh Commandment: A Shield,” Ensign, Nov. 2001, 80.
14. “How can I keep from being afraid when scary things happen in the world?” Friend, Sept. 2012, 17.
15. Brigham Young, 309, 299, cited in Nelson, “Young Adults and the Temple,” Ensign, Feb. 2006, 15.
16. “Finding Ourselves in Lehi’s Dream,” Ensign, Aug. 2010, 22.modern prophets and apostles about angels and their missions.
17. "The Ministry of Angels," Ensign, Oct. 2008.