49: “The Vision of the Redemption of the Dead” (Doctrine and Covenants 137–138)
Have you ever wondered what happens to people who die without a knowledge of the gospel? Or what about those who didn’t get a chance to accept it because of mental illness, physical disability, or other life circumstances? If these questions and others about the spirit world have weighed on your mind, Doctrine and Covenants 137–138 can help. These verses are filled with hope and information about what happens to our loved ones after they die and how everyone will have the opportunity to receive the gospel. So grab your scriptures and let’s dig into these last two sections of the Doctrine and Covenants.
Section 137 Title:
“Joseph Smith’s Vision of the Celestial Kingdom”
“When the year 1836 began, the Saints in Kirtland and the surrounding area felt an excitement as they continued work on the Kirtland Temple. It was nearing completion, and meetings could be held inside some of the rooms. In late afternoon on 21 January 1836, the Prophet Joseph Smith met with the other members of the First Presidency in the west room of the top floor of the temple and attended to the ordinance of anointing their heads with oil. The Presidency then met with the high councils of Kirtland and Zion in the adjoining room. The Presidency anointed Father Smith with oil and gave him a blessing. Each member of the Presidency gave Father Smith a blessing separately. All of the Presidency then laid hands upon the head of Joseph Smith "and pronounced upon my head many prophecies and blessings, many of which I shall not notice at this time. But as Paul said, so say I, let us come to visions and revelations."1 Then followed the vision recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 137.
“Even though this vision has been known and used by the Church since that day, it was not canonized and accepted as part of the standard works until 3 April 1976. Under the direction of President Spencer W. Kimball, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve approved the addition of this revelation to the Pearl of Great Price. Those assembled in general conference sustained the proposal, and this vision was made part of the standard works. On 22 June 1979, the First Presidency announced that this revelation would be moved from the Pearl of Great Price to the Doctrine and Covenants, where it would be known as section 137. The reason given for this change was to accommodate the cross-referencing system that would be instituted in the 1981 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants” (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 4, "Doctrine and Covenants 137," Deseret
“We live in a day of great events relating to the scriptures. It has been only a short time since two revelations were added to the standard works. . . . I was surprised, and I think all of the Brethren were surprised, at how casually that announcement of two additions to the standard words was received by the Church. But we will live to sense the significance of it; we will tell our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren, and we will record in our diaries, that we were on the earth and remember when that took place” (Boyd K Packer, “Teach the Scriptures,” Charge to Religious Educators, 21).
“As world citizens, we have more in common than we might suppose. That is not only true for us as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but also for all children of our Heavenly Father. I was grateful to speak on this topic and listen to the words of President Russell M. Nelson during a regional devotional on Sunday. “If we only would focus on the life experiences and hopes we have in common, it should not be too hard to get along with individuals, communities, and nations— regardless of where we live and regardless of what our backgrounds or life circumstances may be. “If world history has taught us anything, we learn that it is a human tendency to think of ourselves as being the ‘good guys’—as the heroes of the story. And those who think and behave differently? Well, they are the ‘bad guys.’ “When we see others as enemies, we look for the worst in them and the best in us. “We judge our side by our good intentions, and their side by their bad actions. “The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us to magnify the love in our heart until we see all men and women as our neighbors—as our brothers and sisters. His gospel unites and unifies every man, woman, and child. It teaches that we are not enemies, but are of one divine and eternal family; sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father” (Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Instagram, October 18, 2021).
“Joseph Smith taught the doctrine that the infant child that was laid away in death would come up in the resurrection as a child; and, pointing to the mother of a lifeless child, he said to her: ‘You will have the joy, the pleasure and satisfaction of nurturing this child, after its resurrection, until it reaches the full stature of its spirit.’ There is restitution, there is growth, there is development after the resurrection from death. I love this truth. It speaks volumes of happiness, of joy and gratitude to my soul. Thank the Lord he has revealed these principles to us (Joseph F. Smith, Improvement Era, May 1918, 570).
“As Emma related it, she said, ‘I put on my bonnet and my shawl and went with him; I did not think that it was anything unusual. I went with him into a mansion, and he showed me through the different apartments of that beautiful mansion.’ And one room was the nursery. In that nursery was a babe in the cradle. She said, ‘I knew my babe, my Don Carlos that was taken from me.’ She sprang forward, caught the child up in her arms, and wept with joy over the child. When Emma recovered herself sufficient she turned to Joseph and said, ‘Joseph, where are the rest of my children.’ He said to her, ‘Emma, be patient and you shall have all of your children.’ Then she saw standing by his side a personage of light, even the Lord Jesus Christ”27 (Gracia N. Jones, “My Great-Great-Grandmother, Emma Hale Smith,” August 1992 Ensign).
Section 138 Title:
“Joseph F. Smith’s Vision of the Redemption of the Dead”
“Current events weighed heavily on the mind of President Smith. World War I, the supposed war to end all wars, was ending with many fatalities. An influenza epidemic was spreading throughout the world, resulting in the death of millions. Perhaps the most challenging event personally for the aging prophet was the unexpected death of his son Hyrum Mack Smith, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve and a close advisor. Elder Hyrum Mack Smith died unexpectedly 23 January 1918 as a result of a ruptured appendix. His death greatly affected President Smith, and he questioned why this son needed to leave this mortal life when he was so needed here. He mourned greatly the loss of his son.
“The months following his son's death were filled with spiritual reflection and deep meditation. During these months, he had been close to the spirit world and had spoken on the postmortal experience several times. At a temple fast meeting in February 1918, he spoke of the status of children in the resurrection, declaring that children are immortal beings, spirits who continue to live beyond the grave. Reflecting the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, he taught that those who died as children will come forth out of the grave to be raised and cared for by worthy parents. Having lost eleven children in childhood, he exclaimed: ‘O how I have been blessed with these children and how happy I shall be to meet them on the other side.’2
“On 3 October 1918, while pondering the scriptures and reflecting on the love of God made manifest through Jesus' atoning sacrifice, President Smith's mind was led to the third and fourth chapters of 1 Peter. Pondering the visit of the Savior to the postmortal spirit world, President Smith received the vision of the redemption of the dead. He dictated the vision to his son Joseph Fielding Smith. It was presented to the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve, and the Patriarch to the Church in a council meeting on Thursday, 31 October 1918. They accepted and endorsed it as the word of God. It was published in the 30 November 1918 edition of the Deseret News and the December Improvement Era as well as other Church publications. Included in the Pearl of Great Price in 1976, it was then placed as section 138 of the Doctrine and Covenants, first printed in the 1981 edition.3
“About one and a half months after receiving Doctrine and Covenants 138, President Smith contracted pleurisy, which developed into a severe case of pleuropneumonia that led to his death on 19 November 1918. Because of the influenza epidemic, no public funeral was held to honor him. Thus ended the mortal life of the last President of the Church who personally knew the Prophet Joseph Smith” (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 4, "Doctrine and Covenants 137," Deseret
“Where is the spirit world? It is right here. Do the good and evil spirits go together? Yes, they do. Do they inhabit one kingdom? Yes, they do. Do they go the sun? No. Do they go beyond the boundaries of the organized earth? No, they do not” (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, 376)
“On occasions, global or personal, we may feel we are distanced from God, shut out from heaven, lost, alone in dark and dreary places. Often enough that distress can be of our own making, but even then the Father of us all is watching and assisting. And always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Ministry of Angels,” October 2008 general conference).
“In his opening sermon, entitled ‘In the Presence of the Divine,’ Joseph F. spoke of the nearness of the world of spirits and of the interest and concern for us and our labors exercised by those who have passed beyond the veil. He stressed that those who labored so diligently in their mortal estate to establish the cause of Zion would not be denied the privilege of ‘looking down upon the results of their own labors’ from their postmortal estate. In fact, the president insisted, ‘they are as deeply interested in our welfare today, if not with greater capacity, with far more interest, behind the veil, than they were in the flesh.’ Perhaps the keynote statement in this sermon was the following: ‘Sometimes the Lord expands our vision from this point of view and this side of the veil, so that we feel and seem to realize that we can look beyond the thin veil which separates us from that other sphere.’  (Robert L. Millet, “The Vision of the Redemption of the Dead (D&C 138),” Sperry Symposium Classics: The Doctrine and Covenants).
“Joseph Smith continued visiting myself and others up to a certain time and then stopped. The last time I saw him was in heaven. He came and spoke to me. He said that he could not stop to talk to me because he was in a hurry. The next man I met was Father Smith; he couldn’t talk to me because he was in a hurry. I met a half a dozen brethren who held high positions on earth, and none of them could stop to talk with because they were in a hurry. I was much astonished.
“By and by I saw the Prophet again, and I got the privilege to ask him a question. ‘Now,’ said I, ‘I want to know why you are in a hurry? I have been in a hurry all my life, but I expected my hurry would be over when I got into the Kingdom of heaven, if I ever did.’
“Joseph said, ‘I will tell you, Brother Woodruff, every dispensation that has had the priesthood on earth and has gone into the celestial kingdom, has had a certain amount of work to do to prepare to go to the earth with the Savior when He goes to reign on earth. Each dispensation has had ample time to do this work. We have not. We are the last dispensation and so much work has to be done and we need to be in a hurry in order to accomplish it.’
“Of course that was satisfactory with me, but it was new doctrine to me” (Discourse delivered at Weber Stake Conference, Ogden, 19 October 1896; as published in Deseret News Weekly, vol. 53, no. 21.).
“Now, among all these millions of spirits that have lived on the earth, and have passed away, from generation to generation, since the beginning of the world, without the knowledge of the gospel—among them you may count that at least 1/2 are women. Who is going to preach the gospel to women? Who is going to carry that testimony of Jesus Christ to the hearts of the women who have passed away without a knowledge of the gospel?
“Well, to my mind, it is a simple thing. These good sisters who have been set apart, ordained to the work, called to it, authorized by the authority of the holy Priesthood to minister for their sex, in the House of God for the living and for the dead, will be fully authorized and empowered to preach the gospel and minister to the women while the elders and profits are preaching it to the men the things we experience here are typical of the things of God and the life beyond us” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 461).
“Our message to the world is simple and sincere: We invite all of God’s children on both sides of the veil to come unto their Savior, receive the blessings of the holy temple, have enduring joy, and qualify for eternal life” (President Russell M. Nelson, “Let Us All Press On,” April 2018 general conference).
Have you ever wondered what happens to people who die without a knowledge of the gospel? Or who never even got a chance to hear it? Or what about people who didn't get a fair chance because of mental illness or physical disability or life circumstances? And what exactly is going on in the spirit world? And well, what about children who died before the age of eight? Well, these are a few of the regularly asked questions by my seminary students and I would immediately ask them to turn to the sections we are studying today: Doctrine and Covenants section 137 through 138 for the answers to their questions.
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf Plus Original, and it's brought to you by LDS Living, where we take the "Come, Follow Me" lesson for the week and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall. Now if you're new to our study group, I just want to make sure you know how to use this podcast, so follow the link in our description. It's going to explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your "Come, Follow Me" study, just like my friend and long-time listener Rebecca Sorenson Green. Hi, friend.
Now my favorite thing about this study group is each week we're joined by two of my friends, so it's always a little bit different. You never know what you're gonna get, and today is no exception. I'm super excited for our guests today. We have an oldie but a goodie, Sharmaine Howell from Minnesota. Hi, lady.
Sharmaine Howell 1:12
Hey, Tammy. So happy to be here.
Oh my gosh, you already sound like you're from Minnesota. 'Hi, Tammy'.
Sharmaine Howell 1:18
Can I put that in a bag for you?
I love it. Oh my gosh. It's gonna be fun today. Okay, so we have Shar, and then, I'm super excited because we have our friend and Shar's sister-in-law Kari Howell. Hi, Kar.
Hi, how are you?
I'm good. How are you doing?
Kari Howell 1:35
I'm so excited, a little bit nervous, but also really excited.
I told Kari, you shouldn't be nervous at all, because it's just like we're sitting around Shar's kitchen table many years ago when we did Bible study together.
Sharmaine Howell 1:45
It was so great. We would just sit and listen at the feet of Tammy and just learn and learn. Tell us more, Tammy.
And I would talk so fast. I would like, speed-round through the scriptures, mark this, cross reference this, blah-la-la-la-la! Right?
Kari Howell 2:00
You guys have funny stories about each other, anything? How long have you been related?
Sharmaine Howell 2:07
It's 15 years for me and, me and Brian. So I've known Kari for 15 years.
Kari Howell 2:12
Yeah, well, more.
Sharmaine Howell 2:13
Seems like a lifetime.
Kari Howell 2:15
Sharmaine Howell 2:16
That's a good thing. She's always sending me letters, and I love it.
Kari, did you marry in the family first?
Kari Howell 2:23
Yes, I did. I married the second oldest of the family. And sure, yeah, Shar's a couple down there. It was such a great addition when Shar came.
I love that. And you guys have kids the same age and you've done things together. So it's been fun. Well, if you guys want to know more about my friends and read their bios and find our pictures, you can find those in our show notes which are at LDS living.com/sundayonmonday. So this is it. We did it. You guys, we made it to the end of the Doctrine and Covenants. Ah!
Sharmaine Howell 2:53
Yay, I can't believe it!
And honestly, ladies, I feel like these are the two best sections to end with. Did you agree?
Sharmaine Howell 3:00
These are pretty great sections.
Kari Howell 3:01
Sharmaine Howell 3:02
I'm not gonna lie. I maybe didn't study every single section in the D&C like you did, Tammy, cuz I know you studied them really well. But I am so excited to end on these; these are cool sections, really cool.
In fact, I have a quote that I have to read you. And it's so fascinating to me, because section 137 and 138 were added to the Pearl of Great Price in 1976. But they weren't published as Doctrine and Covenants sections until 1981. And this just blew my mind. Boyd K. Packer said this about these sections. He said,
"We live in a day of great events relating to the scriptures. It has only been a short time since two revelations were added to the standard works."
Now listen to this:
"I was surprised, and I think all of the brethren were surprised, at how casually the announcement of two additions to the standard works was received by the church. But we will live to sense the significance of it; we will tell our grandchildren and our great- grandchildren, and we will record in our diaries, that we were on the Earth and remember when that took place."
I feel the same way after reading these two sections. Wouldn't you agree?
Kari Howell 4:05
Yeah. It just kind of bridges to make it, everything's so more current.
Oh, I like the way you said that. I agree. It is a great bridge. So let's find out what these sections are about. So friends, grab your scriptures and let's dig in. Here we go. Oh, my gosh, I'm so excited.
Sharmaine Howell 4:21
You're just excited to be over with this one. (laughter)
I mean, we have three more sections to do after this. But they're not sections actually. They're just the different, faith and yeah, but like, this is it. I just want to get on with the Old Testament. All right, here we go. So I have to ask both of you, as I read those questions at the very beginning, did they resonate with you? Were you kind of like, I know the answer, because you read it as you studied this week?
Sharmaine Howell 4:48
Yeah, I do. I feel like I did know the answer to most of them. I think they also resonated with me because I have kids right now who ask me those questions. And they have friends who are not members of the Church, or friends who they feel like are really great people who go to different churches, and they're like, what's gonna happen to her? And what happens to their family? And, I don't get this. And they're really great people. And I feel like I'm trying to answer these kind of questions all the time to my kids.
And every time, section 137 is your go-to; I can't tell you how many times I would say to kids on a daily basis, go to section 137. So let's go to 137 and read the answers to those questions. So here's a little more context for section 137. It was given in the Kirtland Temple; the date is January 21, 1836. And Joseph has this incredible vision. He sees the Celestial kingdom in verse 1; he sees the glory of the Lord; he sees incredible people in this section. But what's so significant is verse 5, because he says he sees Adam and Abraham.
And then he says he sees his father and his mother - his mom and dad are still alive when he sees this revelation. So how cool that it's a future. He's seeing that his parents have made it. And then he sees his brother Alvin. Now the date of Alvin's death was November 19, 1823. He was 25 years old, and he died before he ever had a chance to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. And so that's what intrigues Joseph. He's like, wait a minute, my brother's there. And that's what spurred these questions and thoughts. 'Well, what happens to people who didn't get a chance to hear about the gospel like my brother?' And this is where the Lord teaches us some incredible doctrine. And so Kari, can we start with you, and will you please read verse 7 for us?
Kari Howell 6:29
7 "Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying: All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs to the celestial kingdom of God."
Thank you. And so there's the answer for Joseph: Oh, my brother, he would have received it. And so how comforting that must have been. And then I love verse 8. And this answers the question about people who may have not had a fair chance in this life. And Shar, will you please read verse 8 and 9.
8 "Also all that shall die, henceforth, without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom;
9 "For I, the Lord will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts."
What's the saving line in verse 9?
Kari Howell 7:14
"The desire of their hearts"?
What is it about that?
Kari Howell 7:19
My works don't always reflect the desires of my heart. Sometimes it can be almost a little bit discouraging that, you're like, Oh, I wish I did this better. I wish I was better at this. I just think it's very, a hopeful phrase, the desire of their hearts, because if our desires are in the right place, and that's the first step, but it also is meaningful to God.
Thank you for sharing those thoughts. And I think it's so beautiful, because what it teaches me, too, is that God knows our hearts. Like, to take it a step further, He really does. He's saying, I know the hearts of my children and I'm gonna judge them on that.
Sharmaine Howell 7:52
And our hearts are so complex, and everybody's hearts are so complex, and their lives and their situations and their circumstances; it's so complex. And so for God to be able to know our hearts is a huge comfort and a relief to know that there's no way we can judge each other's hearts, we can't even begin to fathom that. But God knows our hearts, and that's really cool.
Absolutely. Elder Uchtdorf recently had this post on Instagram, this very idea that if we could just see everybody through their hearts, how much kinder the world would be. And he was basically saying, when we see each other as enemies, we look for the worst in us. But when we judge each other by our good intentions, then we see each other for our goodness. And if we could judge people, or if we could just understand their heart, or say this verse, when we don't like something they've done and just kind of go, 'I don't know if that was the desire of their heart', you know, kind of just kind of helps me think about people differently, too.
Kari Howell 8:49
I love that.
And then we have the question in verse 10. What about little children who died before the age of accountability? Kari, will you read this verse for us?
Kari Howell 8:58
10 "And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom or heaven."
Sharmaine Howell 9:07
I guess my question is about that. When we die, or when little kids die, do they stay the same age? Because it says they're going to be raised and cared for by worthy parents. Are they going to age and grow?
Sharmaine Howell 9:24
Cuz in my mind, I always just feel like we're gonna die, and we're all gonna be 30. (laughter)
I know, right?
Sharmaine Howell 9:31
Because raising children in heaven sounds so much better than raising children on earth, first of all, but I just, I think that's so interesting. Is that, is that true? Are they going to be little kids in heaven?
Shar, that is such a good question. Okay. Here's a great quote that I found. I'm going to read this. It says, "Joseph Smith taught the doctrine that the infant child that was laid away in death would come up in the resurrection as a child." And pointing to the mother of a lifeless child, he said to her,
"You will have the joy, the pleasure and satisfaction of nurturing this child after its resurrection, until it reaches the full stature of its spirit."
There's restitution, there is growth, there is development after the resurrection from death. And I love this truth. It speaks volumes of happiness, of joy, and gratitude to my soul. Thank the Lord He has revealed these principles to us. And then Emma had a dream right before she died. And she had a dream about her son, Don Carlos. She said to Joseph,
"Where are the rest of my children?" And I love the quote, when he says to her,
"Emma, be patient, and you shall have all of your children."
And then she saw the Savior in this dream. So I just think it's so cool and reassuring to anyone that's lost a child, that you will have them in the next life. So with that in mind, I want to know, how does Doctrine and Covenants section 137 strengthen your testimony of God's plan of happiness? Or what were your overall thoughts reading this section?
Kari Howell 11:02
I'd say like, for me when you asked those questions in the beginning, most of them I feel like I have the answers to, and it seems like it makes perfect sense. But the what, there are questions that I do have. And so if you have family members or friends who are really good people, but they decided that they just don't need the church, but they're still like these amazing people, like almost better than maybe some members of the church, you know, or then that's where there is a little bit of things that I don't understand.
And those are really good questions that I think a lot of people have. And so, what if I told you there's more? I feel like I'm in a game, "Wait, There's More!".
Kari Howell 11:38
Please tell me everything. (laughs)
So, I feel like, how cool that you ask those, because Doctrine and Covenants section 138 is going to help us answer those questions, and really give us some perspective, and help us gain some more knowledge about what happens for those loved ones, and what it will be like on the other side. And I can't wait to talk about this; we will do that in the next segment.
Segment 2 11:58
I asked you guys this question ahead of time before we met, and it was this: Have you ever had an experience where you pondered or reflected on a gospel topic or scripture? What does that look like for you? How did you do it?
Kari Howell 12:21
I think it happens the most for me when I'm preparing for a talk or a lesson, sadly. But that's when I really feel like I need to dig deep. One time in particular, I remember, I had a talk that was important to kind of, I felt like kind of a lot of pressure. I felt like I learned a lot from what I was studying. So I think just when we really will put in the time, that He's willing to give it back to us.
What was the topic for the talk?
Kari Howell 12:46
So my history, I had to speak in the adult session of Stake Conference, which was weird for me, because I'm not, you know, that person. I kind of felt a little stressed and I had been actually doing some temple work. So that was good. But I learned a lot of things about the temple, and I don't have the best memory. And there's things I remember from that talk that stuck out to me. And then I think I know a couple people made specific comments that made me think, Oh, at least somebody learned something today, you know.
Do you remember one? Just one that will stay with you?
Kari Howell 13:19
Basically, the power of the destroyer and how he destroys everything, and that God builds things. But something that's destroying, it's from Satan. If it's something that's building, it's from God.
Wow, that's really great. So good. Thank you, Kari. What about you, Shar?
Sharmaine Howell 13:35
It was a few years ago, I remember coming to your house one day, Tammy. And I said, "Can you just teach me this little thing in the scriptures? I don't get it." And you said, "Well, you're never gonna get the Book of Mormon unless you know who God is." And you just popped it open. You said, "Here's the characteristics of God." You listed them to me. And I know it's not like a complete set. And you said, "This is a good place to start."
And it's been a couple years. I don't think I studied anything before in my life for so long. And it really has changed my life. And I actually had an experience this last month, where I was able to use that knowledge from studying the characteristics of God. And I was on a missionary discussion with the Sister Missionaries in my ward, and we were teaching a young mom. And she was, had a lot of questions and didn't really love what we were teaching her and felt like we didn't know who God was. And she specifically asked, "Who is this God in your Book of Mormon?" and "He's not the God in this Bible."
And like my heart just filled with all that I knew about what I'd studied about Him. And I just bore testimony. And I'm not really great at just on-the-spot bearing testimony, I would rather not. And I like passed the mic off to the sisters, you know. And it just strengthened my testimony yet again, just by studying it. It was a slow, steady study for years. And I feel like I'm still learning a lot about it. But I can just really see how it's blessed my life.
Is there a characteristic that stands out to you, a specific characteristic?
Sharmaine Howell 15:20
I do love them all. But one that I love most recently is that God is no respecter of persons. I've been talking about that with my kids a lot. I've been on a few discussions with this investigator, and it just blows my mind how God loves every single one of us. All of our differences, all of our ages, all of our efforts, whether we're giving a lot of effort or giving no effort to Him, He loves us.
Wow. Thank you. Thank you, both of you. Okay, I just have to say, like, I really felt the Spirit as both of you shared what came by way of pondering. And I'm thinking, because it's so cool because section 138 came as a result of the same thing: pondering, thinking over scripture, thinking over a topic. And how cool that this section, you guys, it actually testifies that God is no respecter of persons, and that He is a builder. Like, He built a plan for His children where the result is happiness.
I just love how it all connects, this is so cool. And going to section 138, verses 1 and 2 have these key words that we just mentioned. He says that he was pondering over his scriptures. In verse 2, he was reflecting upon the great atoning sacrifice. So there he is, pondering and reflecting. And then he says he's reading the scriptures, and the specific scriptures he is reading are found in verses 6-10. So Kari, will you please read 7-10, and then Shar is going to give us some really cool background.
Kari Howell 16:48
7 "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
8 " By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
9 "Which sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
1- "For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the Spirit."
Thank you, Kari. So Shar, why is the prophet thinking about these verses? Tell us the history behind it.
Sharmaine Howell 17:29
Joseph F. Smith, in January of 1918, his oldest son, Hyrum M. Smith had died. He had died suddenly of a ruptured appendix. Joseph F. Smith says, "My soul is rent, my heart is broken, oh, God help me." But then it kept coming that year. And in February, his young son-in-law died after accidentally falling. And then in September, Hyrum's wife - so Hyrum was the oldest son who had just passed away in January - and in September his wife died after giving birth to her fifth child. So they left five kids orphaned.
And then, this is at the same time, 1918, as World War One, and there was an influenza pandemic going across the earth, and people were, so many people were dying. This was all pressing on Joseph F Smith's mind. And then he received this vision and 10 days later he dictated the vision to his son, Joseph Fielding Smith. And then two weeks later, on October 31, Joseph Fielding Smith read the text to the First Presidency, and to the Quorum of the 12 Apostles at their regular council meeting in the temple, then it was fully endorsed by all the brethren. And they made plans to publish it in the December issue of the Improvement Era. And then just a few weeks later, Joseph F Smith died, he passed away. And I think it's interesting, he passed away on November 19, the same day Alvin passed away; you just mentioned that and it just stuck out in my mind. So
Oh, that's, I never even connected that. Wow, Shar, that's amazing.
Sharmaine Howell 18:57
That's kind of a rough year for anyone to go through, right? Let alone like all the other things he went through in his whole life. I was just reading about him, and his dad is Hyrum Smith that we know and love. And so he lost his dad when he was 5, and he lost his mom when he was 13. So he just has gone through it. Any one of these single events would be like flattening for me. Through all of this, now he's pondering on these verses in the Scripture, just so so sweet that he was able to receive this revelation after going through all that.
Wow, great job, Shar; thank you for sharing all of that. As I was reading this information, I thought, wow. Here's the person who, just like you said, has had great loss - had just experienced a war, has just experienced a pandemic - and I thought, for anyone who's experienced loss, and death, and the pandemic, and war. I mean, this is, it's our day and age right now. And here we are, we get to study section 138. And going back to the questions you had, Kari, which I love that you asked those, I love it. Because now we're going to jump into section 138. And we're going to get answers to those questions, and hopefully, a sense of peace with them.
And so I will be interested to know by the end, if you feel resolved in some of your questions. And so look in these scriptures as we discuss this, and I can't wait to find out if you do have an experience where you're like, Okay, now I understand. And so in the next segment, we're going to dive into section 138. And we're gonna see and learn what the Prophet Joseph F Smith saw and learned from scriptures that was an answer to his loss, and the questions that were surrounding that loss.
Segment 3 20:33
We're gonna start out with this quote, just right out of the gates from Brigham Young about where the spirit world is. Kari, read this for us.
Kari Howell 20:46
"Where is the spirit world? It is right here. Do the good and evil spirits go together? Yes, they do. Do they inhabit one kingdom? Yes, they do. Do they go to the sun? No. Do they go beyond the boundaries of the organized earth? No, they do not."
Okay. Just that alone, I mean, is your mind like, whooo?
Sharmaine Howell 21:07
Yes, that is intense.
Because how many times when you think of the spirit world do you like, Well, there's two parts where the good and the bad are and they don't see each other, they don't talk. And if the veil were to be lifted, we would see spirits all around us.
Sharmaine Howell 21:20
Kari Howell 21:20
Sharmaine Howell 21:21
Sometimes I feel like I don't teach this to my kids because I'm like, well, it sounds a little scary. You know, like,
Especially in October, (laughter) around Halloween.
Sharmaine Howell 21:30
Right, like, I'm not gonna tell them that all the spirits that are in spirit prison are just right outside our door. (laughter) But, you know, on a more spiritual note, all the spirits of our ancestors, and these amazing men, and our prophets, and our, you know, people in the scriptures that we love. Does that also mean that they're here within, on this earth as their kingdom, is their spirit world here? And thinking of it that way, that's pretty amazing, because I don't think we consider enough how close we are to them and how they could possibly be blessing our life without us knowing how or when.
Oh, absolutely. In fact, here's a quote by Elder Holland speaking on this specifically. Shar, will you read this quote by Elder Holland.
Sharmaine Howell 22:14
"On occasions, global or personal, we may feel we are distanced from God, shut out from Heaven, lost, alone in dark and dreary places. Often enough that distress can be of our own making, but even then the Father of us all is watching and assisting. And always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal."
They're not as far away as we think. And they're here to help.
Kari Howell 22:41
That's really cool. I have this really great quote from Joseph F. Smith. So it says, he says, that
"Those who labored so diligently in their mortal estate to establish the cause of Zion would not be denied the privilege of looking down upon the results of their own labors from their post-mortal estate. In fact, the President insisted "they are as deeply interested in our welfare today, if not with greater capacity, with far more interest, behind the veil than they were in the flesh. Sometimes the Lord expands our vision from this point of view and this side of the veil, so that we feel and seem to realize that we can look beyond the thin veil which separates us from the other sphere."
Kari Howell 23:22
But it just seems like how amazing is that they care even more than we do! You know, it's like, they are so invested in us. And sometimes the veil makes it so that we just get clouded and they don't, they don't have that covering their eyes. They are like, they get what matters.
That is an awesome quote. Thank you for sharing that Kari, that was so good. Okay, well, then let's find out who is in the spirit world, then, and who it is that is like you just shared with us, Kari, who has an earnest investment in us. This is so cool. Let's go to verse 11. Here we have the word 'pondered' again. And at the very end of this verse, he says he's pondering on these things which are written, and I love how he says "the eyes of his understanding were opened". That wording is very familiar. Joseph Smith used the same wording in Section 76 for his vision.
And then he says he sees the Spirit of the Lord rested upon him and "saw the hosts of the dead, both small and great." Highlight that; "small and great" is really significant in this specific verse, because it doesn't mean we're—
Sharmaine Howell 24:20
Short and tall?
Yeah, or short and tall, thank you. It actually means poor and rich, rank or no rank in society, kings and queens, pauper versus saints and sinners. Like, it's the broadest perspective you could possibly have of all humankind. From
Kari Howell 24:36
no respecter of person, kind of, like Shar was saying.
There it is. Yeah. Every single imaginable host is there, small and great. And then in verse 12, there is a word that describes a certain group of the small and great, and it's one word, and I want us to look at this in verse 12. And Shar, will you read verse 12 for us.
Sharmaine Howell 24:54
12 "And there were gathered together in one place an innumerable company of the spirits of the just,"
Pause. What did he just call them?
Sharmaine Howell 25:01
Spirits of the just..."
Highlight 'just'. And that's interesting: the spirits of the just. And now in verse 12 and 13, we are going to read the three qualifiers that make them just, I love these. So grab your pens, and let's number them. The first qualifier is, "who had been faithful in the testimony of Jesus while they lived in mortality." Number two, "who had offered sacrifice in the similitude of the great sacrifice of the Son of God". And number three, "had suffered tribulation in their Redeemer's name." These three things are what make them just.
Now when you read those, you're probably like, Well, it's probably prophets and apostles. I mean, I read those, and I'm like, you probably had to be perfect and, yeah, I'm clearly not one of the just.
But I want us to take a careful look at these verses, because we are. In fact, what is that word in verse 12 that describes the number of people that were in "the spirits of the just"?
Sharmaine Howell 25:58
Wow! There's so many of them. Okay, so let's do some personal application here. Let's discuss this as it pertains to us, the just. So I want to know what these look like in our everyday lives, because it is doable.
Sharmaine Howell 26:15
I often focus on the first one, like 'being faithful in the testimony of Jesus', and that, that's gonna get me through to the end and, and that's what's gonna make me a just person before God. But I really right now, I'm just really loving that second, 'one offering sacrifice'. I don't feel like I look at my life enough and see what sacrifices I'm making. And sometimes I think, oh, they have to be big, huge sacrifices. And I think that it's more on an everyday sacrifice that I can try to do a little bit better.
And it just really makes me think of my husband. He will, you know, watch the kids and get them all ready for school while I go running, and he's making a sacrifice for me. Or just ways that I can reach out of myself and sacrifice just like Christ did, in giving His whole heart for us. But me giving my heart in my everyday life to those around me and not complaining and not saying, Well, you better be grateful, you a little ingrates. (laughter) I'm doing this for you. I'm sacrificing my whole life for all of you.
Uh, can I get an amen?
Kari Howell 27:26
Sharmaine Howell 27:26
But like truly, offering sacrifices like Jesus did. I just want to do that better. I want to sacrifice happily, you know, in the end where I can say I did that sacrifice graciously and not with a grudge in my heart. So that's just the one that stood out to me.
Wow, as you were saying that, I had like this Aha, because you're right, Shar. I mean, can you imagine if the Savior was on the cross or in Gethsemane and there was a part of Him that was like, And I'm doing it all for you jerks, just so y'all know. I don't want to do this. Can you imagine? Like, that changes the way I view that verse that, to sacrifice in the similitude of the great sacrifice of the Son of God. I mean, it's not necessarily asking me that I have to give my life the way He gave it, but to give willingly. That's huge, cuz I oftentimes will give, then I'll think in the back of my mind, I'm so good. I, uh, wow.
Sharmaine Howell 28:24
Did I hear a 'thank you', guys?
Yeah, I know.
Nobody even cares that I'm doing this, everybody I, you know, you just, it's so hard to do. I really like that perspective, Shar. That's so good.
Kari Howell 28:37
I think that sacrifice for me is often, am I willing to sacrifice my pride? You know. Like, you say that and it's like, okay, am I gonna say sorry, even when I really don't think I was wrong? Because it doesn't matter who was right and who was wrong, or am I willing to give up my weaknesses that I've held onto for so many decades? And like really make an effort to change who I am? So it's like what sacrifices are actually sacrifices for me that I don't want to give up? But I need to.
Great One. Kari, I really like that idea, that idea of pride. Excellent answers, both of you. I mean, we could talk about these three things for an entire hour. And 'suffering tribulation for the Redeemer's name'. I'm, all of us are like, Oh, I do that. But then you're like, uh, really? I don't know. Like, it's interesting. The persecution, and what does that look like to suffer tribulation for the Savior? Boy, that's different for everyone, isn't it? There's no one right answer. So these are really good.
And again, we have to just kind of caveat that with 'and God will judge you according to the desire of your heart'. Let's not feel all hope is lost. These three things are doable, and you will be ranked among the just. And so in the next segment then, we're going to talk more about the just and what they are doing. And if you think they're just hanging out and eating eclaire's in the spirit world, you're right
Kari Howell 29:33
dare to dream. (laughter)
And they're doing some other things, too. We'll talk about that next.
Segment 4 30:00
Are either of you really excited for this big event coming up in roughly 20 days? Because I'm confident your kids are.
Kari Howell 30:17
Yes, I am. I love Christmas.
Kari Howell 30:20
As long as I can get, as long as I can get most things, those checklists stuff done off early, then I love the Christmas season. I love it. I love like, The World campaign, I love the service. I love thinking about Christ and His coming and what that represents with Christmas and why His birthday so important.
Love it. Are you an early shopper?
Kari Howell 30:40
I wish I was. I usually get a couple big things early, so I feel like I'm prepared. And then I'm scrambling at the last minute to actually make it real, you know.
Sharmaine Howell 30:51
Yes, I'm excited. I think this Christmas is gonna be great. Last Christmas was a total phttt, down the drain for my kids like, oh put it in the books worst Christmas ever. And so this year I prepped and Christmas shopping was done before Halloween.
Look at you!!
Kari Howell 31:08
We're talking after this, Shar.
Sharmaine Howell 31:11
So now I can just enjoy things like what Kari was saying. Just loving it and having some like memory times with my kids instead of like stressed-out mode. Like, I need to go shopping by myself, get away from me children!
Totally. Absolutely. Oh, why was it such a bad Christmas? Was it the first one away?
Kari Howell 31:30
Yeah, it was away; we were really busy with our new job and just working on Christmas Eve, working on Christmas Day. No family in town to like, put on the big Christmas dinner. It was all on me. No family in town to like, provide any parties. It was all on me. And I just literally failed - Big Mom Fail last year. And I was like, oh gosh, I guess it's just me. I gotta put some Christmas presents in a bag, guys. (laughter)
In a 'beg', I love it.
Sharmaine Howell 32:00
And I didn't do it. And so when mom doesn't do it, I guess it doesn't happen. I didn't realize that.
Sad but true.
Sharmaine Howell 32:08
Thank goodness for the um,
Sharmaine Howell 32:15
Are you excited Tammy?
Oh, sure. Sure. Well, and you know all of my kids are older now, so it's just a different level of Christmas. It's not the cute kids toys. And I don't know, it's, I mean it's super fun though because in-laws come and I love, I love, love, love people staying in my house. It's I think it might be part of my love language. Like, I would have my house filled with people if I could. So my mother-in-law comes and my sister-in-law, and I just, it makes me so happy and we eat together. And we cook and yeah, I love that. Yeah, it's for me, like the quintessential Christmas experience. I love family so, I do, I am excited. I'm super excited.
So I was thinking about this, because the timing of all this is perfect. In section 138 verses 14-15, I want you to give me a description of the spirits of the just in the spirit world according to these two verses. And so Kari, will you read these for us?
Kari Howell 33:04
14 "All these had departed the mortal life, firm in the hope of a glorious resurrection, through the grace of God the Father and His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
15 "I beheld that they were filled with joy and gladness, and were rejoicing together because the day of their deliverance was at hand."
Okay, so here they are. What are they excited for?
Kari Howell 33:23
Resurrection. Yes, this is so fun. Yes, that's exactly it. So here we have this resurrection. So let's look at verses 16-17. And I love the way it describes this resurrection or what it means to them. So Shar, will you read verses 16 and 17.
Sharmaine Howell 33:40
16 "They were assembled awaiting the advent of the Son of God into the spirit world, to declare their redemption from the bands of death.
17 "Their sleeping dust was to be restored unto its perfect frame, bone to his bone, and the sinews and the flesh upon them, the spirit and the body to be united never again to be divided, that they might receive a fulness of joy."
Look at the end of that verse. How do they just describe the resurrection? It's what ?
Kari Howell 34:00
A fullness of joy.
Oh, my gosh, highlight that. Why? I want to know, why do you think we need a physical body to have a fullness of joy?
Sharmaine Howell 34:15
That's a great question.
I know. Let's connect the dots here.
Sharmaine Howell 34:20
I know and you can see how like it just, they were so excited. They were anticipating. They were, you know, joy and gladness. They just couldn't wait.
Kari Howell 34:29
Kind of like a kid on Christmas.
It really is. Well let's cross-reference this to verse 50. Let's see if verse 50 gives us a little more information about why having a body of flesh would mean a fullness of joy. And Kari, read verse 50
Kari Howell 34:42
50 "For the dead has looked upon the long absence of their spirits from their bodies as a bondage."
Isn't that an interesting piece of information?
Kari Howell 34:51
Why would not having your body be like bondage? This is deep.
Kari Howell 34:56
Yeah. I don't know the answer, but I think there are some things you're just missing, especially having have had it in the earth life, I can't imagine not being able to hug my husband or my children or have that kind of physical presence.
Oh, I like that Kari, I'd never even considered that. Because I was thinking about how my favorite thing my friends say, is when they feel the Spirit, they say, Oh my gosh, that gave me chills. And I thought, that feeling of your body getting chills. I wonder, I don't know if your spirit can get that, that like your hairs to stand up on the end, those kind of chills is so cool.
Sharmaine Howell 35:31
I feel like they're just must be a lot we don't really know about, you know, the importance of having our spirit and body together and what we'll be missing out on and what we have because of it. But we do know that the whole plan was for us to come and get a body. That was the big deal to experience it. And I kind of feel like because we have the veil, maybe we are forgetting what we didn't have. We're taking for granted the fact that we have this body and and what we are learning and experiencing because of it. So I just feel like I probably don't even know what I'm missing without this body. It's just I'm just taking it for granted.
That is such a good point, Shar. And the whole reason we have these bodies is to become more like our Heavenly Parents. And that was the goal. I think of how when I was a little girl, I wanted to be just like my mom. Like my mom sewed, then I wanted to learn how to sew. She got into like, woodworking, that was a thing in the 70s. She could do these cool benches and paint them and I wanted to do that, I wanted to be just like her. And I think that if you take that to like the nth degree - you wanted to be just like your Heavenly Parents - now you can because you have that body. You're like, Yes, I'm on the path finally. And then I would imagine me as a spirit. I'm like, let's do this. Like, okay, I got my body, what's next?
Sharmaine Howell 36:49
But I do love what you said Tammy like, duh, we're trying to become like God, and they have spirits now. And they're like, come on, this next step is getting my body back. And so they've already done their Earth life. They're these amazing, just people. They just want their bodies back so they can keep on.
Kari Howell 37:09
like being an 11-year old in Primary, right?
Sharmaine Howell 37:12
You just want to go to Young Women's.
Yeah, I do not wanta do one more primary program. Don't make me be the tall person in the back,again.
Oh my gosh, you're totally right. The spirit's have been in Primary long enough. Okay, that's a great way to put it. Like we're ready for the big kids' club. Oh, that is so good. So they're so excited because now it's going to happen. I love verse 18. It says,
18 "While this vast multitude waited and conversed, rejoicing in the hour of their deliverance from the chains of death, the Son of God appeared, declaring liberty to the captives who had been faithful;"
But that part "while the vast multitude waited and conversed", let's just think what's going on at the earth at the time. In that brief moment, the Savior is in Gethsemane, He's on the cross, they know it's coming. And then He comes. And it's so beautiful. And then we have verses 20 and 27, because He didn't go to the wicked. Look at verse 20. He does not go to the wicked, He goes to the just. In fact, in verse 27, it says
27 "......his ministry among those who were dead was limited to the brief time intervening between the crucifixion and the resurrection.'
Okay, so the Savior couldn't personally go and visit the wicked. And we know this in Scripture, no unclean thing can enter the presence of God. And the same with the Savior. And so I think that's powerful. He can't go visit the wicked, so He won't. But here's what He's going to do. He's going to make sure that they all have an opportunity to see Him again on judgment day. That just tells us what He absolutely did when He was in the spirit world for that brief period of time. Let's look at verse 30. And tell me what words stand out to you that help us understand what He did.
Sharmaine Howell 38:54
It says "he organized his forces and appointed messengers".
Shar, thank you. In fact, highlight that word 'organized' and 'appointed'. I think this is so cool. He organized His forces and appointed messengers. Okay, so how fun is this, then. You guys, in the next segment we are going to find out exactly who He organized and appointed, and what He organized and appointed them to do.
Segment 5 39:18
So I asked you to to look over Doctrine and Covenants section 138, verses 30-34. And what I asked you to do was teach us: what did the Lord organize and appoint these messengers to do in the spirit world? And I always love teaching this to my students because I would say to them, Here's what's happening right now, as I'm teaching you, this is happening at the same time and I think it's so cool. What did you guys find, what's happening?
Kari Howell 39:54
So I think one thing is that the Lord organized missionaries with Priesthood power to go teach all the spirits the Doctrine of Christ and baptism for the dead were some of the things that I liked a lot.
Sharmaine Howell 40:08
And in verse 30 it says they were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sin, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. So there's our fourth Article of Faith right there.
Except for one unique word.
Sharmaine Howell 40:24
various baptism, right?
What does that mean, Shar, vicarious?
I know, I love that, because it just means with somebody else is proxy doing it for you. You know, in the spirit world they're taught faith, repentance, vicarious baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is just so interesting. They're like, well, You missed your chance in doing this on your own, but you still have a chance to get this done. Someone will do this, hopefully, for you, if we're down here doing our work, right?
Yeah. Like I imagine a spirit saying, Yes, done. I love it. I accept. What do I need to do next? And the the spirit's like, Well, okay, now we just have to wait for Kari Howell to go to the temple and get the work done for you, you know ? And the spirits are like, Come on, right? Or, well, you have to wait for Tammy Hall, who actually has your card in her bedroom on her dresser, and has had it there for year. So as soon as she gets butt to the temple to do that initiatory and endowment, then you're going to be golden. I'm haunted daily; I have so many cards on my dresser! I'm sorry!
Sharmaine Howell 41:23
I love it. Well, and then it, and it makes me think, like temples were closed for a year and a half. Oh, my gosh, give yourself a little grace. But also these people in the spirit world were sitting there thinking, Man, we just wish those temples were open, even more than WE wish they were open.
Oh, beautifully put. And then Kari, read verse 34 cuz I love this.
Kari Howell 41:45
34 "And all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the Spirit."
"All other principles". And I wonder like, if I was a spirit, what would that be for me? What's a principle that I would absolutely be like, Oh, you got to learn about this.
Sharmaine Howell 42:05
Right. That's not one of these that they've just taught: faith, repentance; that one is the other principles.
I know. Isn't that fun? Like, what would it be for you? What's something like, Oh, you got to know about this; anything pop up in your brain? Any aspect of the gospel that's super significant to you?
Kari Howell 42:18
I think repentance is there. But to go along with that, it's forgiveness; I think forgiveness was a big one. But kind of like Shar was saying the characteristics of God, that all those attributes of Christ. I think it's kind of never-ending to be honest. I kind of thought about making a list, and then I was like, yeah, that's like everything good. So it's a lot, it's a lot.
I think that'd be a fun social media question to ask, What principles of the gospel matter to you? Was principles of the gospel would you want to make sure you taught to the spirits who had never heard of it before?
Sharmaine Howell 42:52
I don't know if this is a principle of the gospel, but I thought, patience. And then sacrifice. For sure they're going to need to know patience, as they, you know, learn and wait and wait for their temple work to get done and rely on people here on earth. And then sacrifice. And it just makes me wonder like, what kind of sacrifices are we going to have to make in the spirit world? Because it seems like most of the sacrifices we make here on earth are physical, or you know, tired, I'm hungry, whatever, to do with our bodies. So I think that'd be a really interesting principle of the gospel to teach to spirits, is sacrifice.
I agree. Mine would be that the atonement covers more than just sin. Anytime you feel hungry, sad, depleted, all those feelings. And to be able to teach them about Jesus Christ, because many of these people might not have ever even heard of Him. And they're going to meet Him; I've got to prep them for who He is. It just made me think right now, Do I know enough about the Savior to teach Him? I can bear testimony of Him, but do I know enough? I'm gonna think about that question a lot because one of the principles of the gospel is The Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement. Hmm. That's a good discussion on that.
Sharmaine Howell 44:01
I love that. And I know I mentioned this earlier that I got to go on a missionary lesson with the sisters. I never served a mission in my youth, like you two wonderful ladies did. And so I don't have a lot of that mission experience. And so kind of just freaks me out a little bit to share missionary work. I remember that Wilford Woodruff had a dream once. So he kept seeing Joseph in his dreams. And he said, "By and by I saw the Prophet again. And I got the privilege to ask him a question. Now said I, 'I want to know why are you in a hurry? I have been in a hurry all my life, but I expected my hurry would be over when I got into the kingdom of heaven if I ever did.' And he said, Joseph said, "I will tell you Brother Woodruff. Every dispensation that has had the priesthood on earth, and has gone into the celestial kingdom has had a certain amount of work to do to prepare to go to the earth with the Savior when he goes to reign on Earth. Each dispensation has had ample time to do this work. We have not. We are the last dispensation and so much work has to be done. And we need to be in a hurry in order to accomplish it."
Sharmaine Howell 45:08
That's so interesting.
Kari Howell 45:11
WHAT? I mean, that goes back to this idea where I'm like, we don't get to just sit and eat eclairs? L ove how h'e like, "I've always been in a hurry." I thought I'd just be able to sit down and relax. Oh, Okay.
Sharmaine Howell 45:24
I think it's so interesting, because when - I keep going back - but when I was teaching this girl, we mentioned something about after we die and what we'll be doing, and how we'll be serving and teaching and continuing on. And she said, "Why on earth would I want to do that?" (laughter) I know, I was like, Well, I get it. She was like, "Aren't we just gonna be done when we die? Like, let's just be done. Right, and just glorify God all our days and move on." Right?
Well, she brings up a great point.
Sharmaine Howell 45:59
Right? But there's a lot of work to be done. And it's the work of salvation which brings us joy, right?
It does. Absolutely. So, oh Shar, I'm so glad you shared that quote.
Kari Howell 46:11
It makes me think a little bit about President Nelson; he seems like he is out busy and doing and working. And the difference is that we won't get tired, hopefully in the next life, we won't have the same, I don't know, I sometimes feel like I just want to sit and lay around. But we won't have those tendencies. At least that's how I like to imagine it. W
Well, in talking about that, then, let's look in Section 138. Because I asked you guys to start in verse 38 and go all the way through and tell me all of the names you saw, apparently, people who are in a hurry. The names of specific people who are quickly doing what the prophet just said. In this last dispensation, they got a lot of work to do for us. What names did you find?
Sharmaine Howell 46:52
Adam, Eve, Abel, Seth
Kari Howell 46:56
Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses,
Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Elias, Malachi
Kari Howell 47:04
Sharmaine Howell 47:05
Oh, yeah, we missed Shem.
Kari Howell 47:06
Oh, and then Joseph Smith,
Sharmaine Howell 47:08
in 49, all the prophets who dwelt among the Nephites.
All the Book of Mormon prophets, yes,
Sharmaine Howell 47:13
You can't list them all, there's so many great ones. Hyrum, Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, and other choice spirits.
Other choice spirits. So many, so many people are there. I love that they give us names, but specifically Shar. You said you were so excited for which verse?
Sharmaine Howell 47:30
Verse 39 it says, "And our glorious Mother, Eve with many of her faithful daughters who had lived through the ages and worshiped the true and living God."
Sharmaine Howell 47:41
And all the women who were done here, and then these specific men.
So many women, we can't even name them all. No, I love it, (laughter) I love it. And now we need to read this quote by President Joseph F. Smith and what he had to say specifically about verse 39. It's long, so we're going to break it up into two parts. And Shar, I'm gonna have you read the first part, and then Kari, read the second part. Here's what he had to say about why this verse is in here.
Sharmaine Howell 48:08
"Now among all of these millions of spirits that have lived on the earth that have passed away from generation to generation since the beginning of the world, without the knowledge of the gospel, among them, you may count that at least half are women. Who is going to preach the gospel to women? Who is going to carry the testimony of Jesus Christ to the hearts of women who have passed away without a knowledge of the gospel?
Kari Howell 48:28
"Well, to my mind, it is a simple thing. These good sisters who have been set apart, ordained to the work, called to it, authorized by the authority of the Holy Priesthood, to minister for their sex in the house of God for the living and for the dead, will be fully authorized and empowered to preach the gospel and minister to the women, while the elders and prophets are preaching it to the men. The things we experience here are typical of the things of God and the life beyond us."
Sharmaine Howell 48:56
I have never thought of that before.
Kari Howell 48:59
I read this quote, and I was like, wait, what? We're going to be ministering just to the I mean, not us, but the women are to the women, and the men to the man. Like it just, it was so interesting to me.
I just love when he says, Who's going to preach gospel to the women? Every time you said the word 'women', Shar, I got a shock. Yeah, like that was so powerful.
Sharmaine Howell 49:18
Yeah, who's gonna carry the testimony to the hearts of the women? He's like, there's a lot of women, half of them are women. Let's get these women out here teaching to women. I love that because I have always felt, you know, ever since our Bible study, like women teaching women - there is strength, and I love it. And we learn from each other in such a different way, we connect with our hearts. And there's just something unique about it and so cool. I've never thought of this before, that women will be teaching women. I think that's really neat.
It reminds me of my mission. I had an investigator who had met with Elders for a very long time and then sisters got put in the area and we started teaching her, and then she joined the church. And it was so interesting to me. It's not because the elders didn't do a good job, it was just because she needed a Women-to-Women connection. Like you just said, we connect with our hearts., and that is what made the difference for her. And so I just love how God uses all of us. And that the Lord recognizes the strength in men and in women, and He's going to use it all for His benefit. And that's what we're seeing here in this verse. Kari, were you going to say something?
Kari Howell 50:23
Just, I think about like, who I connect to. And I like Sunday school, but Relief Society has this different feel. I learn the doctrine in Sunday school, but I learn the gospel in Relief Society. I mean, it's not 100%; I don't mean to like throw men under the bus or anything, but I do think women are fabulous teachers. They're just really good.
And we just teach differently. And that's okay.
Kari Howell 50:47
Yeah. And they're both important.
Yep. I totally agree. So, okay, Kari, I was really stuck with the statement when you said, "I learned the doctrine in Sunday school, and I learned the gospel in Relief Society." Okay, I'm changing my answer from the last segment. Because I feel like now the necessary principle I want to teach about is the Relief Society. Thank you, both of you, thank you for your thoughts, and everything that we've just discussed; what a great segment that was. So now in the next segment, then, we're going to finish section 138 with two of what I consider the most hopeful verses in this section, and the most significant role that the 'just' will have.
Segment 6 51:23
I wanted to go back really quickly, just to remind us of episode 33 with Michael Wilcox. If you have not had a chance to listen to that episode, I highly recommend it -it is so good. But in that section, Doctrine and Covenants section 88, verse 61, Michael said is one of the most hopeful of all verses. And so I'm going to play this quick little soundbite so we can remember, or if you haven't listened to it, you can hear what he had to say about this verse, and then I'm going to connect it back to Section 138. Everything we talked about.
Michael Wilcox 51:59
"My favorite of all scriptures - Prodigal Son - that's the Himalaya of all literature. Okay, it's better than Hugo and Tolstoy and Shakespeare. Way up there - Prodigal Son - Jesus wrote the greatest literature. Good Samaritan, but boy, I'm going to put section 88, workers in the field, right up there in that area, because this is what Prophets do. They produce these things. And we just kind of scratched a few little words here and there in this parable, and how powerful it can be in our lives to know I'll have my time and my hour and my season. And when I have my hour, He will come. And He will tarry until it's finished. But He does withdraw, I need to know that, too. But when He withdraws, I think He says, Oh, Mike. Morgan will come and see you and she'll tarry with you. You know, and, and Tammy,
she'll bake something.
Michael Wilcox 52:58
Yeah, she'll do something
Morgan Jones 52:59
It's a good thing Tammy is going to bake something; Morgan is not going to bake anything. But I think, too, Michael, one thing I was thinking about when you were talking about your season being after Laurie died that another responsibility that I think we have after the Lord has tarried with us is to testify of that. And I think that you've done a beautiful job of helping other people see like, this is when God tarried with me. And this is what I learned from that season rather than taking it for granted. And I think that's something that I could certainly do a little bit better of."
And now I want you just to take in what Michael and Morgan said and consider this idea of who's tarrying with us when the Savior withdraws? I think Elder Holland will tell us it's someone from the other side of the veil. Because here we have in the spirit world - remember, the Savior couldn't go visit them - He could not be with them who were in wickedness. They haven't been taught the gospel of Jesus Christ yet. And so the just are teaching them and they have been taught the gospel and all important principles that they need to know.
And then we come to verses 58 and 59. In fact, if you look at the verse above it in verse 57, it tells us that these spirits "are in darkness and under the bondage of sin in the great world of the spirits of the dead." So here we have a group of people in darkness under the great bondage of sin. And I think every one of us listening knows how that feels. And this is where the spirits are tarrying. This is their tarrying moment. And now read for us these next two verses, Kari, 58 and 59.
Kari Howell 54:31
58 "The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God,
59 "And after they have paid the penalty of their transgressions, and are washed clean, shall receive a reward according to their works, for they are heirs of salvation."
I think those verses are so hopeful, this idea of everyone still has a chance. And I was thinking about this in terms of Michael Wilcox's episode because I thought when you go through the repentance process, that is so hard. And here are these spirits, I don't think they're alone. Who do you think's tarrying with them?
Sharmaine Howell 55:10
Their loved ones, people who they know,people who love them, people who are fighting for them, right?
It makes me so emotional to think if you've lost a loved one who was so good, and you don't understand why you're so righteous and, and we don't understand the reasons why, but then to think of them maybe tarrying with someone you love, who isn't doing okay. Or for tarrying with someone who has to go through the repentance process, how beautiful that is? That Heavenly Father uses all of these familial relationships to tarry with each other during our really difficult season or time that Michael Wilcox talked about. Here's a quote from our Prophet, and I love how he described this. Shar, we're at you; will you read this verse?
Sharmaine Howell 55:54
"Our message to the world is simple and sincere: We invite all of God's children on both sides of the veil to come unto their Savior, receive the blessings of the Holy Temple, have enduring joy, and qualify for eternal life."
I mean, what did his quote in these two verses just teach us about people who maybe aren't making the choices? We wish they would? What does it teach us about the next life?
Sharmaine Howell 56:16
He's a God of second chances. He wants to give us chance, and chance and chance again, to come unto Him. And He wants us all to come unto Him and have eternal life.
Kari Howell 56:26
Like, He'll do anything He possibly can to get us, whether it's here over and over, there over and over; He just doesn't give up.
Yep, absolutely. And when the Prophet said those words, "we invite all of God's children on both sides of the veil", he wasn't just speaking that to us in person, in real time in conference. He was speaking that to the people on the other side of the veil, where we've learned, are with us, right?
Sharmaine Howell 56:51
You know, we talked about this in the beginning, about how we don't see the fluidity of the spirits, and how you know, there might be women on the other side talking to women saying, Guess what? At conference this, this month, the Prophet asked you to come unto Him. I mean, they're here on earth, maybe they're listening, too. That was just a visual that I saw when I, when we read that.
Oh, I love that. I had a visual in my mind. I wonder if there were some spirits that were like, Oh, yeah, I was just gonna read that later. (laughter)
Sharmaine Howell 57:22
Yeah, I'm gonna listen to that when it comes out.
Yeah. I didn't have a chance to hear it. But I'm going to read it. I'm going to read it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh, Shar, I love that. I think you're absolutely right. I think women were, You guys, you've got to hear this. Come listen to what he's saying to us! I just think it's so cool how we talk about this idea of who is, who is tarrying with those repentant souls. I believe it's loved ones with loved ones, let me help you through this. I know what this is like, I remember what this felt like, I've done this, I can help you through this. And how beautiful that must be. And then us on our side of the veil, and how here we are trying to do the work for them.
And it reminds me of Doctrine and Covenants section 128, verse 18, where it says,
18 "For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect. Neither," now listen to this, "Neither can they nor we be made perfect without those who have died in the Gospel also;"
We need each other. And we need each other so that, at the very end of verse 59, that "they are heirs of salvation." I mean, there's nothing better than that, to be an "heir of salvation". That's what we're here for, every single one of us, to inherit that. And that idea of being an heir of something, I mean, we talk about inheriting money when someone dies. And we think about an inheritance, it's ah, you know, cha-ching, cha-ching. But here we have a different kind of inheritance, to be an heir of salvation, to inherit salvation, to live forever with God. How awesome will that be?
Kari Howell 58:46
And inherit everything He has.
Yah, everything. So Kari, I'm wondering, then, did any of this help answer your questions, then?
Kari Howell 58:54
They're still things. I wonder about people, because, you know, we have, I think right now there's people leaving the church - more than we would like - and it's people who have had a chance to hear the gospel. So I think that the way I like to imagine it is that they'll just know a little bit more when they get to the other side, but they'll still be open, if they really have good hearts, that they will have an understanding and they will come to follow the Savior.
Absolutely. I would believe anything my grandma told me. And if she was the one meeting me on the other side to teach me the gospel of Jesus Christ if I didn't know it? I'd be like,done, I believe, you know, I just think
Kari Howell 59:31
Well and it just seems like once you see, once you see the people, how can you question? It's like, Oh, yeah, I heard this. I knew this, but, I don't know.
Yeah, oh, I love that. Wow. Well, great discussion. Ladies. That was so good. That's it. That's the end of section 138. That's the end of the Doctrine and Covenants. Ahhhh, I love that you were with me to end, it was a great ending. I mean, we still have a couple more things we're going to discuss, so don't leave us yet, we have three more weeks. But we finished the Doctrine and Covenants! "Looks like we made it." I want to sing that song by Barry Manilow. (laughter) I get that way at the end, aaaah.
Okay, so take a minute and gather your thoughts we talked about so much today and share with us what was your takeaway? What's something that you will remember from our discussion today? I have so many I wrote down.
Kari Howell 1:00:22
I know, I have a few. I think one thing for me, I love when it talks about the just, and how we define that. And it's not only the faithful who are those who have been faithful in the testimony of Jesus, but talking about sacrifice, and also "suffered tribulation in their Redeemer" same. It's just something I want to think about more and to look at my sacrifices. And then the other one is verses 58 and 59. And I loved how you played that sound bit by Michael Wilcox, thinking about our season. And our seasons are all going to be different times; I think, sometimes we can get a little bit wrapped up in comparison or feeling like we're not where we should be. And just makes me hopeful that time is not a thing with God. It's the relationship is the thing. So just that's the direction we're going. Those are two things I loved.
I love that, Kari. I love that takeaway, because I think you're right, I think the minute someone we love sins or makes a poor choice, we think that's the end of their season. Well, that's it. And it's not. I love how you said it's not time that's important, it's relationships. Great takeaway. Thank you. Shar.
Sharmaine Howell 1:01:29
So mine was towards the beginning, talking about sacrifice. And I need to just look at how I'm sacrificing and hopefully doing it with a gracious and a willing heart. And then the other one that we didn't really talk a lot about, but was just how President Joseph F. Smith was pondering and reflecting and reading in the Scriptures, and then he got this vision. Just a thought had crossed my mind that, you know, I need to do a little bit more of that in order to find the answers, and kneel down and pray, and ponder, and think, and be quiet. It just really struck me that I need to take a little more time to engage my mind, and pondering and thinking and listening in order to really draw closer into God in a personal way for myself. So,
I think that's an awesome takeaway. Thank you, Shar. My takeaway was our discussion about the characteristics of God, and that God is a Builder. I think that why that struck me, Kari, is because I'm learning that word in Hebrew and in context with Eve, which we'll talk about in a couple of weeks. But I just think it's so important to understand what He builds, and He builds everything for our perfection and our good. That's the only thing He does; He doesn't build anything for His credit. He doesn't build anything for a bonus. He's not trying to do really well so He can get accolades. He's only building for us and, and that is evident in Section 138. It is flawlessly built for our salvation. And so that's what I learned today. So thank you. Thanks for both of you joining me.
Sharmaine Howell 1:02:55
I love you guys.
Thanks for teaching us.
That was such a fun discussion. And I would love to hear what your big takeaway was from this episode. So if you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook, or following us on Instagram, go there because it's such a great place to ask questions as you study throughout the week, and just share with us things you're thinking and what you've learned. And then at the end of the week, usually on a Sunday, we post a call for your takeaway, so comment on the post that relates to this specific lesson, and let us know what you've learned. And I read all of them. It is my favorite part of Sundays to read what everyone's learning.
You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode on LDSliving.com/sundayonMonday. It's not a bad idea to go there anyway, because that's where we have the links to all the references, and a transcript of this entire discussion. So go check that out.
The Sunday on Monday Study Group is a Deseret Bookshelf Plus Original and it's brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall and today our really fun and perfect study your participants were Sharmaine Howell and Kari Howell. And you can find more information about these ladies at LDSliving.com/sundayonMonday. Our podcast is produced by Katy Lambert and me. It is recorded and mixed by Mix At Six Studios, and our Executive Producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week.
And please remember that He has built all of this for you because you are God's favorite.
So this episode, ladies, comes out 20 days before Christmas. Okay, so you need to get into the frame of mind it's December actually. And you're—
Sharmaine Howell 1:04:24
Here Comes Santa Clause, here comes Santa Clause.
Yeah. K? Just trying to make sure there's enough presents under the tree for every kid and that it's equal and even so nobody complains. No one else has that problem?
Kari Howell 1:04:36
Oh, no, that' so not true. That's all that Christmas means.
Yeah, that everyone has something in their stocking.
Sharmaine Howell 1:04:48
Quit complaining, you little jerks,
Including your husband who will forget to put anything in your stocking; and you're just going to have a nice sock hanging right there.
Sharmaine Howell 1:04:49
“Mom, how come Santa never brings you anything in your stocking, mom?”
And I just got a really nice sock.
Kari Howell 1:04:56
“I told him I didn't want anything this year, honey.” (laugh)
This year I'm going to be very specific, here's what I want in my stocking!