The vision of the three degrees of glory has a profound ending that often goes unnoticed. Do we believe it?
D&C 76:114 But great and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us, which surpass all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion;
115 Which he commanded us we should not write while we were yet in the Spirit, and are not lawful for man to utter;
116 Neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him;
117 To whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves;
118 That through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory.
119 And to God and the Lamb be glory, and honor, and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
The first of these verses teach things that we might expect. It speaks of mysteries of his kingdom, and of things that are not lawful for man to utter. It says man is not capable to make them known.
Not surprisingly, they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Ghost. After all, that is how D&C 76 was revealed to Joseph and Sidney in the first place as the beginning of the revelation clearly states, and they were even commanded to write down the revelation while still in the spirit.
But here comes the profound news:
They are to be seen and understood only by the Holy Ghost which God bestows on those who love him and purify themselves before him to whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves.
And moreover, not only does he grant this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves, but that privilege serves an important purpose. It serves the purpose that through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of Glory The vision of the degrees of glory is more than truth about the afterlife, it lays out the ladder we must climb, the path we must follow, to return from our current fallen state to eventually dwell in the presence of the Father and the Son in everlasting exaltation. But the text is only a hint of the full experience, as we are clearly told in the scripture itself.
We often hear that we live far beneath our privileges. That is not because we simply told Heavenly Father we don’t want those privileges, but because we live far beneath his expectations for us. If we lived up to his expection, we would live up to our privileges.
And these verses show us what some of those privileges are:
D&C 76:117 To whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves.
We read with sorrow and astonishment of ancient Israel telling Moses they wanted the Lord to speak with himself, and not with them. They were frightened to speak with the Lord because they knew they were not willing to change, to make the necessary commitments in order to enter the Lord’s presence.
When we read these verses in D&C 76, do we not find the same spirit of apathy troubling ourselves? Do we read these verses in D&C 76 and think “I don’t care whether the Lord offers to show these things to me, I am doing well enough, and he shows them to the prophets, and that is good enough for me.” Truly our minds our darkened indeed if we can’t recognize in that the same spiritual apathy that plagued ancient Israel and angered their God.
But if we do see it, let us repent. And when the Lord offers us blessings, be earnestly up and doing his work with an eye of faith that his promises are sure.