Alonzo L. Gaskill

Alonzo L. Gaskill is a professor of Church history and doctrine. He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy, a master's in theology, and a PhD in biblical studies. Brother Gaskill has taught at Brigham Young University since 2003. Prior to coming to BYU he served in a variety of assignments within the church Educational System-most recently as the director of the LDS Institute of Religion at Stanford University (1995-2003). He speaks regularly at Education Week.

July 27, 2022 08:03 AM MDT
“Some [patriarchs] may see the words ... and some may hear them. Others may just have impressions and feelings as to what they should say.”
6 Min Read
April 13, 2019 11:16 AM MDT
If you expect your patriarchal blessing to make wild or unusual promises and predictions, you may be misunderstanding what a patriarchal blessing is. Your patriarchal blessing isn’t a fortune cookie, and the patriarch isn’t a fortuneteller.[1] The patriarch is a prophet, called to convey God’s words and will to you. He is only authorized to pronounce the promises he is prompted by the Holy Ghost to give. Patriarchs are counseled by their leaders to avoid making sensational or extravagant promises in the blessings they pronounce, even if the Spirit shows them rather remarkable things about the blessing’s recipient. President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972), tenth President of the Church, explained, “I know of one or two cases … where a brother has been blessed by the patriarch and told that he would become a member of the Council of the Twelve [Apostles]. Usually [the patriarchs] don’t say that … even if the patriarch felt that the chances are [very good] that a man will be called to the leading councils of the Church.” President Smith added, “Patriarchs should be very careful in giving their blessings not to make extravagant expressions and to be conservative in what they say.”[2] Thus, you should not expect extravagant things to be mentioned in your blessing. Patriarchs generally avoid, for example, talking about things like the timing of the Second Coming when they give a blessing. While the young man or young woman being blessed may live to see the second coming of Christ, most patriarchs simply wouldn’t mention that in the blessing. President Smith further explained:
6 Min Read
August 29, 2018 07:10 PM MDT
What is the meaning of the tree of life? The symbolism involved may furnish clues. Trees have several standard symbolic meanings. Green trees often represent the righteous, whereas dry trees can symbolize the wicked. 76 M. Catherine Thomas noted that "most often in scripture . . . the tree is an anthropomorphic symbol. A tree serves well as such a symbol because it has, after all, limbs, a circulatory system, the bearing of fruit, and so forth. Specifically, scriptural trees stand . . . for Christ and his attributes."77 Elsewhere we read, "In ancient times, sacred trees . . . were [representative of the] attributes of the gods." 78 Susan Easton Black wrote: "The tree of life is connected with the cross, the two having somewhat the same significance. Both relate to the resurrection, eternal life, the Lord, and the 'Love of God.' . . . Before the crucifixion of Christ, the tree of life symbol was used extensively. After the crucifixion the cross seems to have replaced it to a degree." 79 When Nephi wished to know the meaning of the tree that his father saw in his dream (1 Nephi 11:9–24), the angel showed him a vision of the birth of Christ. The angel then said to Nephi, "Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?" (1 Nephi 11:21). To this Nephi responded, "It is the love of God" (1 Nephi 11:22). Jesus is the "love of God" (John 3:16) and the "tree of life."
5 Min Read
August 07, 2018 01:52 PM MDT
Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote, “Nothing is more absolutely universal than the Resurrection.”[1] Though all people will be resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:22), not all will be resurrected at the same time. Technically speaking, there are four resurrections.
3 Min Read
July 26, 2018 02:24 PM MDT
Knowing that the ordained patriarchs in the Church are inspired of God, there are only three reasons why the promises in someone’s blessing would not be fulfilled.
4 Min Read
July 26, 2018 12:32 PM MDT
Some years ago, while renewing my temple recommend (with a member of my stake presidency), I was asked the last of the recommend questions, which at that time read: “Do you consider yourself worthy in every way to enter the temple?” I responded, with enthusiasm, “Absolutely!”—to which the good brother interviewing me appeared genuinely shocked. I felt as though I had actually made him uncomfortable, perhaps more so than if I had confessed some serious transgression.
6 Min Read
September 02, 2017 08:56 AM MDT
The following is an excerpt from Converted: True Mormon Conversion Stories from 15 Religions.
5 Min Read