When the announcement was made that I was a graduate of the University
of Utah, a voice in the background spoke up, "That's a forgiveable
sin!" (Laughter.) I am pleased to certify that I have repented.
I have sought very diligently to be given utterance and have the
guidance of the Spirit tonight in what I will be able to say to
you. I'm going to depart from a normal and usual pattern and read
portions of what is involved, because I want to state temperately
and accurately the views that I have, and say them in a way that
will not leave room for doubt or for question. I intend to speak
on some matters that some would consider to be controversial ---
they ought not to be. They're things on which we ought to be united;
and proportionately as we are, we'll make progress and advance and
grow in the things of the Spirit, and prepare ourselves for a life
of peace and happiness and joy here and for eventual, eternal reward
in the kingdom of our Father.
There is a song, or a saying, or a proverb, or a legend, or a tradition
or something, that speaks of "seven deadly sins." I know
nothing whatever about these and hope you do not. My subject is
one about which some few of you, unfortunately, do know a little.
It is "The Seven Deadly Heresies" --- not the great heresies
of a lost and fallen Christendom, but some that have crept in among
Now I take a text. These words were written by Paul to ancient
Saints ---in principle they apply to us:
"I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly
believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they
which are approved may be made manifest among you. [1 Cor. 11:18-19]"
Now, let me list some axioms. I guess in academic circles we'd
call these caveats:
There is no salvation in believing a false doctrine. Truth, diamond
truth, truth unmixed with error, truth alone leads to salvation.
What we believe determines what we do. No man can be saved in ignorance
of God and his laws. [D&C 131:6] Man is saved no faster than
he gains knowledge of Jesus Christ and the saving truths of his
everlasting gospel. Gospel doctrines belong to the Lord, not to
men. They are His. He ordained them, He reveals them, and He expects
us to believe them. The doctrines of salvation are not discovered
in laboratory or on a geological field trip or by accompanying Darwin
around the world. They come by revelation and in no other way. Our
sole concern in seeking truth should be to learn and believe what
the Lord knows and believes. Providentially He has set forth some
of His views in the holy scriptures. Our goal as mortals is to gain
the mind of Christ, to believe what He believes, to think what He
thinks, to say what He says, to do what He does, and to be as He
is. We are called upon to reject all heresies and cleave unto all
truth. Only then can we progress according to the divine plan.
"Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this
life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person
gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his
diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the
advantage in the world to come. [D&C 130:18-19]"
Please note that knowledge is gained by obedience. There are some
things a sinful man does not and cannot know.
Now may I suggest the list of heresies.
Heresy #1: There are those who say that God is progressing in
knowledge and is learning new truth.
This is false --- utterly, totally, and completely. There is not
one sliver of truth in it. It grows out of a wholly twisted and
incorrect view of the "King Follett sermon" and of what
is meant by eternal progression.
God progresses in the sense that his kingdoms increase and his
dominions multiply --- not in the sense that he learn new truths
and discovers new laws. God is not a student. He is not a laboratory
technician. He is not postulating new theories on the basis of past
experiences. He has indeed graduated to that state of exaltation
that consists of knowing all things and having all power.
Now, the life that God lives is named eternal life. His name, one
of them, is Eternal, and He applies that name to identify the type
of life that He lives. And eternal life is the goal that we are
able to obtain if we believe and obey and walk uprightly before
him. And eternal life consists of two things:
life in the family unit; and, also of inheriting, receiving, and
possessing the fulness of the glory of the Father. Anyone who has
each of these things is an inheritor and possessor of the greatest
of all gifts of God, which is eternal life. [see D&C 14:7]
And eternal progression consists of living the kind of life God
lives and of increasing in kingdoms and dominions everlastingly.
Why anyone should suppose that an infinite and eternal being who
has presided in our universe for almost 2,555,000,000 years [Times
and Seasons, Vol. 5, pp. 757-761], who made the sidereal heavens,
whose creations are more numerous than the particles of the earth,
and who is aware of the "fall of every sparrow" [see Matt.
10:29] --- why anyone would suppose that such a being has more to
learn and new truths to discover in the laboratories of eternity
is totally beyond comprehension.
Will he one day learn something that will destroy the plan of salvation
and turn man and the universe into an uncreated nothingness? Will
he discover a better plan of salvation than the one he has already
given to men in worlds without number? I have been sorely tempted
to say at this point that any who so suppose have the intellect
of an ant, and the understanding of a clod of mirey clay in a primordial
swamp. (Laughter) But, of course, I would never say a thing like
that. (Much laughter)
The saving truth, as revealed to and taught by the Prophet Joseph
Smith is that God is "omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent."
[Lectures on Faith, lecture 2:2] He knows all things, has all power,
and is everywhere present by the power of His Spirit. And unless
we know and believe this doctrine we cannot gain faith "unto
life and salvation." [ibid, 3:19]
Joseph Smith also taught that "three things are necessary
in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith
in God unto life and salvation." These he named as:
"The idea that He actually exists." "A correct
idea of his character, perfections, and attributes"; and
"An actual knowledge that the course of life which he is
pursuing is according to the divine will." [ibid, 3:2-5]
The attributes of God are given as Knowledge, Faith or power, Justice,
Judgment, Mercy, and Truth. [ibid, 4:4-10] The perfections of God
are named as "the perfections which belong to all of the attributes
of his nature," [ibid, 5:1] which is to say that God possesses
and has all Knowledge, all Faith or power, all Justice, all Judgment,
all Mercy, and all Truth. He is indeed the very embodiment, personification,
and source of all these attributes. Does anyone suppose that God
can be more honest than He already is? Neither need any suppose
there are truths He does not know or knowledge He does not possess.
Thus Joseph Smith taught:
"Without the knowledge of all things, God would not be able
to save any portion of his creatures; for it is by reason of the
knowledge which he has of all things, from the beginning to the
end, that enables him to give that understanding to his creatures
by which they are made partakers of eternal life; and if it were
not for the idea existing in the minds of men that God had all
knowledge it would be impossible for them to exercise faith in
him." [ibid, 4:11]
If God is just dabbling with a few truths He has already chanced
to learn or experimenting with a few facts He has already discovered,
we have no idea as to the real end and purpose of creation.
Heresy #2:There are those who believe that revealed religion
and the theory of organic evolution can be harmonized.
This is both false and devilish. Yes, all truth is in agreement,
and true religion and true science bear the same witness, Indeed,
in the true and full sense, true science is part of true religion.
But there is no way to harmonize the false religions of the Dark
Ages with the truths of science as they have now been discovered.
And there is no way to harmonize the revealed religion that has
come to us with the theoretical postulates of Darwinism and the
diverse speculations descending therefrom.
Do not be deceived and led to believe that the the famous document
of the First Presidency issued in the days of President Joseph F.
Smith and entitled "The Origin of Man" means anything
except exactly what it says. The saving doctrine is that Adam stood
next to Christ in power and might and intelligence before the foundations
of the world were laid; that Adam was placed on this earth as an
immortal being; that there was no death in the world for him or
for any form of life until after the Fall; that the fall of Adam
brought temporal and spiritual death into the world; that this temporal
death passed upon all forms of life, upon man and animal and fish
and fowl and plant life; that Christ came to ransom man and all
forms of life from the effects of the temporal death brought into
the world through the Fall, and in the case of man from a spiritual
death also; and that this ransom includes a resurrection for man
and for all forms of life.
Try as you may, you cannot harmonize these things with the evolutionary
postulate that death has always existed and that the various forms
of life have evolved from preceding forms over astronomically long
periods of time? Try as you may, you cannot harmonize the theories
of men with the inspired word that says:
"And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would
not have fallen, but he would have remained in the Garden of Eden.
And all things which were created must have remained in the same
state in which they were after they were created; and they must
have remained forever, and had no end. "
And they [meaning Adam and Eve] would have had no children; wherefore
they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy,
for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.
"But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of
him who knoweth all things. "Adam fell that men might be;
and men are, that they might have joy. "And the Messiah cometh
in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men
from the fall." [2 Ne. 2:22-26]
The atonement of Christ is the great and eternal foundation upon
which revealed religion rests. No man can be saved unless he believes
that our Lord's atoning sacrifice brings immortality to all and
eternal life to those who believe and obey. And no man can believe
in the atonement unless he accepts both the divine Sonship of Christ
and the fall of Adam. If death has always prevailed in the world
there was no fall of Adam which brought death to all forms of life.
If Adam did not fall, there is no need for an atonement. If there
was no atonement, there is no salvation, no resurrection, no eternal
life, nothing in all of the glorious promises that the Lord has
given us. If there is no salvation there is no Go. The Fall affects
man, all forms of life, and the earth itself. The atonement affects
man, all forms of life, and the earth itself.
Heresy #3: There are those who say that temple marriage assures
us of an eventual exaltation.
Some have supposed that couples married in the temple who commit
all manner of sin, and who then pay the penalty will gain their
exaltation eventually. This notion is contrary to the whole system
and plan that the Lord has ordained under which we are privileged
to work out our salvation with fear and trembling before him. If
we believe and obey, if we enter the waters of baptism and make
solemn covenant with the Lord to keep his commandments, we thereby
get on a strait and narrow.path that leads from the gate of repentance
and baptism to a reward that is called Eternal Life. And if we traverse
the length of the path going upward and forward and onward, keeping
the commandments, loving the Lord, and doing all that we ought to
do, eventually we will be inheritors of that reward.
And in exactly and precisely the same sense, celestial marriage
is a gate that puts us on a path leading to exaltation in the highest
heaven of the celestial world. And it is in that highest realm of
glory and dignity and honor hereafter that the family unit continues,
and that those who so inherit receive the reward that is named Eternal
Life. Baptism is a gate; celestial marriage is a gate. When we get
on the path we are obligated to keep the commandments.
And my suggestion in this field is that you go to the temple and
listen to a ceremony of celestial marriage, paying especial and
particular attention to the words, and learn what the promises are
that are given --- particularly learning that all of the promises
given are conditioned upon subsequent compliance with all of the
terms and conditions of that order of matrimony.
Heresy #4: There are those who believe that the doctrine of
salvation for the dead offers men a second chance for salvation.
This is false, false, false. I know a man, now deceased, a non-member
of the Church, who was a degenerate, old reprobate, who found pleasure,
as he supposed, in living after the manner of the world. A cigarette
dangled from his lips, alcohol strenched his breath, and profane
and bawdy stories defiled his lips. His moral status left much to
be desired. His wife was a member of the Church, as faithful as
she could be under the circumstances. One day she said to him, "You
know the Church is true; why don't you be baptized?" And he
replied, "Of course I know the Church is true, but I have no
intention of changing my habits in order to join it. I prefer to
live the way I do. But that doesn't worry me in the slightest. I
know that as soon as I die, you will have someone go to the temple
and do the work for me and everything will come out all right in
the end anyway." He died and she did [had the work done in
the temple], and it was a total and complete waste of time.
There is no such thing as a second chance to gain salvation. This
life is the time and the day of our probation. After this day of
life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, "then cometh
the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed."
[Alma 34:33] For those who do not have an opportunity to believe
and obey the holy word in this life, the first chance to gain salvation
will come in the Spirit World. If those who hear the word for the
first time in the realms ahead are the kind of people who would
have accepted the gospel here, had the opportunity been afforded
them, they will accept it there. Salvation for the dead is for those
whose first chance to gain salvation is in the Spirit World.
Now, in the new revelation recently added to our canon of holy
writ these words come:
"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 of the
celestial kingdom of God;
"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;
"For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their
works, according to the desire of their hearts." [D&C
There is no other promise of salvation than the one recited in
that revelation. Those who reject the gospel in this life and then
receive it in the spirit world go not to the celestial, but to the
Heresy #5: There are those who say that there is progression
from one kingdom to another in the eternal worlds; or if not that,
lower kingdoms eventually progress to where higher kingdoms once
This is worse than false. (Laughter) It it an evil and pernicious
doctrine. It lulls men into a state of carnal security. It causes
them to say, "God is so merciful; surely he will save us all
eventually; if we do not gain the celestial kingdom now, eventually
we will; so why worry?" It lets people live a life of sin here
and now with the hope that they will be saved eventually.
The true doctrine is that all men will be resurrected, but they
will come forth in the resurrection with different kinds of bodies
--- some celestial, others terrestrial, others telestial, and some
with bodies incapable of withstanding any degree of glory. The body
we receive in the resurrection determines the glory we receive in
the kingdoms that are prepared.
Of those in the telestial world it is written:
"And they shall be servants of the Most High, but where
God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end."
Of those who remain unmarried in eternity the revelation says:
"Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither
marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven;
which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who
are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight
of glory." [D&C 132:16]
Let me amend that --- amend what I said --- that is referring
to to people who had the opportunity to be married right in this
life and who wer not. And of them the revelation continues:
"For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they
cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without
exaltation, in their saved condition, to all etemity; and from
henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever."
They neither progress from one kingdom to another, nor does a
lower kingdom ever get where a higher kingdom once was. Whatever
eternal progression there is, is in a sphere.
Heresy #6: There are those who believe or say they believe that
Adam is our father and our god, that he is the father of our spirits
and our bodies, and that he is the one we worship.
The devil keeps this heresy alive as a means of obtaining converts
to cultism. It is contrary to the whole plan of salvation set forth
in the scriptures. Anyone who has read the Book of Moses, and anyone
who has received the temple endowment, and who yet believes the
"Adam-God Theory" does not deserve to saved. (Laughter)
Those ensnared by it reject the living prophet and close their ears
to the apostles of their day. "We will follow those who went
before," they say. And having so determined, they soon are
ready to enter polygamous relationships that destroy their souls.
We worship the Father, in the name of the Son, by the power of
the Holy Ghost. And Adam is their foremost servant, by whom the
peopling of our planet commenced.
Heresy #7: There are those who believe we must be perfect to
This is not really a great heresy, only a doctrinal misunderstanding,
which I mention here in order to help round out our discussion and
to turn our attention from negative to positive things. If we keep
two principles in mind we will thereby know that good and faithful
members of the Church will be saved even though they are far from
perfect in this life. These two principles are:
that this life is the appointed "time for men to prepare to
meet God." This life is the day of our probation. [Alma 34:32);
and that same spirit which possesses our bodies at the time we go
out of this mortal life shall have power to possess our bodies in
that eternal world. [see Alma 34:34] Now, what we're doing as members
of the Church is charting a course leading to eternal life. There
was only one perfect being, the Lord Jesus. If men had to be perfect
and live all of the law strictly, wholly, and completely, there
would be only one saved person in eternity. The Prophet said there
are many things to be done, even beyond the grave, in working out
our salvation. [see Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 348)
And so what we do in this life is chart a course leading to eternal
life. We determine in our hearts and in our souls, with all the
power and ability we have, that from this time forward we will press
on in righteousness, so that can go where God and Christ are. And
if we've made that determination, and we're in the course of our
duty when this life is over, we will continue in that course in
eternity, because that same spirit that possesses our bodies at
the time we depart this mortal life will have power to possess our
bodies in the eternal world. And if we go out of this life loving
the Lord, and desiring righteousness, and seeking to acquire the
attributes of godliness, we'll have that same spirit in the eternal
world, and we will continue to advance and progress until an ultimate,
destined day when we'll possess, receive, and inherit all things.
Now, I do not say these are the only great heresies that prevail
among us. It seems to me that quite likely there are --- there are
others things also could be added. But my suggestion is that we
become students of Holy Writ; that we conform our thinking and our
beliefs to what is found in the Standard Works; that we have less
concern about the views and opinions that others have expressed;
and that we drink direct from the fountain that the Lord has given
us, and that we come to an understanding of the points of His doctrine.
And if we pursue such a course, we'll find that it is in a different
direction than the one that the world goes in; but we will not be
concerned with the intellectual expressions of other people. We'll
soon obtain for ourselves the witness of the Spirit that we're pursuing
the right course and seeking righteousnees, and this will have a
cleansing and sanctifying and edifying influence upon us.
Now, just to have things in perspective, let me mention the three
greatest heresies that prevail in all Christendom. They do not prevail
among us, fortunately.
The greatest truth known to man is that there is a God in heaven
who is infinite and eternal; that he is the creator, upholder, and
preserver of all things [see Lectures on Faith, lecture 3:19]; that
he created us and the sidereal heavens, and ordained and established
a plan of salvation whereby we might advance and progress and become
The great truth pertaining to Him is that He is our Father in heaven;
that He "has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's"
[D&C 130:22]; that He's a literal person; and that if we believe
and obey His laws we can gain the exaltation that He possesses.
Now that is the greatest truth and the most glorious concept known
to the human mind, and the reverse of it is the greatest heresy
in all Christendom. The reverse is that God is a spirit essence,
three beings in one, a spirit nothingness that fills the immensity
of space. Thee reverse of it is the heresy that is written in the
creeds that are had in the churches of the world.
Now, the second greatest truth in all eternity is that which pertains
to the divine Sonship of the Lord, Jesus Christ. It's that He was
foreordained in the councils of eternity to come down here and be
the Redeemer of men, to come and ransom men from the temporal and
spiritual death brought upon them by the fall of Adam. The second
greatest truth is that Christ worked out this infinite and eternal
atoning sacrifice so that all men are raised in immortality, and
those who believe and obey are raised also unto eternal life.
Now, the opposite of that is the second greatest heresy in all
Christendom. And the opposite is that men are saved by some kind
of lip service, by the grace of God, supposedly, without work and
without effort on their part.
Now, the third greatest truth known to mankind --- the third greatest
truth in eternity --- is that the Holy Spirit of God is a revelator
and a sanctifier; that He is a personage of spirit; that His assigned
ministry and work in the eternal Godhead is to bear record of the
Father and of the Son, to reveal them and their truths to men; and
that His work is to be a sanctifier --- to cleanse and perfect human
souls, to burn dross and evil out of human souls as though by fire.
We call that the baptism of fire.
Now, the opposite of that is the third greatest heresy in all Christendom,
which is that revelation has ceased; that God's mouth is closed,
that the Holy Ghost no longer inspires men; that the gifts of the
Spirit were done away with after the death of the ancient apostles,
and that we no longer need to follow the course that they charted.
Well, I have named these things; I think you will want to weigh
and evaluate. I think you will want to ponder and wonder and search
the scriptures. After Jesus had been teaching, as a resurrected
person, the Nephites, giving them as much truth as in His wisdom
He felt they could absorb at one time --- He counseled them to go
to their homes, and to ponder in their hearts the things He had
said, and to pray to the Father in His name to find out if they
were true, and then to come again on the morrow and he would teach
them more. [see 3 Ne. 17:3]
Well now, that's a pattern by which we ought to operate in the
Church. We come together in congregations, seeking the guidance
of the Holy Spirit, studying the revelations, reading the scriptures,
and hearing expressions of doctrine and counsel of the Holy Spirit.
These teachings ought to be received by the same power. And if they
are, then the speaker and the hearer will be mutually edified, and
we'll have a situation of true and proper worship. And then when
the meeting is over, the "amen" should not end it. We
should go to our homes and to our families and in our circles, and
we should search out the revelations and find out what the Lord
has said on the subjects involved. And we should seek to get in
tune with the Holy Spirit and gain a witness, not alone of the truth
and divinity of the work in which we are engaged, but of the doctrines
that are taught by those who preach to us.
We come into these congregations, and sometimes a speaker brings
a jug of "living water" that has in it many gallons. And
he pours it out on the congregation. And all that the members have
brought was a single cup; and that's all they took away. Or maybe
they had their hand over the cup and they didn't get anything to
speak of. On Now, in other instances we have meetings where the
speaker comes and all he brings is a little cup of eternal truth,
and the members of the congregation come with a large jug, and all
they get in their jug is a little dribble that came from a man who
should have known better and who should have prepared himself and
taught from the revelations and spoken by the power of the Holy
Spirit. We're obligated in the Church to speak by the power of the
Spirit. We're commanded to "treasure up" the words of
light and truth [see D&C 84:85], and then give forth the portion
that is appropriate and needful on every occasion.
Now, I have deliberately read portions of my talk tonight because
I wanted the words to be the way you heard them --- so that I would
be on record on the matters that are involved, and so that, as far
as I am concerned, the word would have been said in the plainness
that I have given it. And those who hear would then be accountable
themselves for their reaction to it.
I do not think that heresies as we have named are common in the
Church. I think that the great generality of the members of the
Church believe and understand the doctrines and seek to apply the
principles to their lives. Unfortunately, there are a few people
who agitate and stir these matters up, who have some personal ax
to grind or desire to spread philosophies of their own that, as
near as the judges in Israel can discern, are not in harmony with
the mind and will and purposes of the Lord. It is incumbent upon
us to believe the truth. We have the obligation to find out what
is true, and then we have the obligation to walk in the light and
to apply the truths that we have learned to ourselves and to influence
others to do likewise.
Now, the glorious and wondrous thing about this whole system of
revealed religion that the Lord, our God, has given us is the fact
that it's true. There isn't a grander, a more glorious, a more wondrous
concept than the simple one that the work in which we are engaged
is true. And because it is true it will triumph and prevail, and
the knowledge of God and His truths will roll forth until they cover
the whole earth "as the waters cover the sea." [Isaiah
We do not expect to have a perfect society among us until the millennial
day dawns. But that is not far distant. And when that day comes,
we will all, as the scriptures say, "see eye to eye" and
speak with "one voice," and the Lord himself will dwell
among us. [D&C 84:98] He could not dwell among us now because
we are divided and we're not living in that perfect harmony and
unity and with that devotion that prevailed among the Saints in
the days of the city of Enoch.
God grant that we may be wise in what we do, that we may seek truth,
that we may live truth, that we may bear testimony of the truth,
and that we may, as a consequence, have joy and peace and happiness
that comes to people who so do --- have it here and now, and thus
be inheritors in due course --- and eventually of eternal reward
in our Father's kingdom. This is my prayer for myself and for all
of you, and for all of the members of the Church, and for honest
truthseekers everywhere, and I offer it in the name of the Lord
Jesus Christ. Amen.