“Another unchanging principle, brothers and sisters, is that of your eventual judgment. Each of you will be judged according to your individual works and the desires of your hearts (D&C 137:9). You will not be required to pay the debt of any other. Your eventual placement in the celestial, terrestrial, or telestial kingdom will not be determined by chance. The Lord has prescribed unchanging requirements for each. You can know what the scriptures teach, and pattern your lives accordingly (John 14:2; 1 Corinthians 15:40–41; D&C 76:50–119; D&C 98:18).” (Russell M. Nelson, Ensign, November 1993, pg. 35)
(Mormon 3:20; Mormon 9:13-14; 2 Nephi 9:7)
01 – “In all ages, from Adam to this hour, the holy prophets have taught the true doctrine of the judgment. They have always set forth those concepts and verities that would encourage men to live in such a manner as to gain the glorious reward of eternal life when their day and time came to stand before the Eternal Bar. The hour of judgment is not the same for every man. Some are judged at one time and others at a different hour. There are, in fact, many days of judgment available, but always the same Judge sits at the same judgment bar, always the same laws govern the procedures, and always a just and right judgment is imposed.
Our birth into mortality is a day of judgment in that it signalizes we were found worthy while in the premortal life to undergo a mortal probation and thus to continue on the course leading to eternal life. There are those who press forward along this course during this mortal probation—with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect love of God and of all men, keeping the commandments, and doing only those things that please their Lord—until they are translated and taken up into heaven, or until their calling and election is made sure. Either of these glorious eventualities is in itself a day of judgment. Their celestial inheritance is thus assured, though they have not yet gained bodies of immortal glory. Death also is a day of judgment when the spirits of men go to either paradise or hell as their deeds warrant.
The second coming of Christ is the great day of judgment for all men, both the living and the dead. In it those who qualify come forth in the resurrection of the just and obtain their rewards in the kingdoms established for them. At that time the decree goes forth that the rest of the dead shall remain in their graves to await the resurrection of the unjust and their consequent telestial inheritance. At that time the wicked among men are consumed as stubble, their bodies become dust again, and their spirits are consigned to an eternal hell to await the day of the resurrection of damnation. At that time those mortals who are worthy escape the burning, abide the day, and remain on the new earth with its new heavens in the presence of earth's new King.
Then, in the final day, when all is done and accomplished according to the divine purpose—after all men, the sons of perdition included, have risen from death to life and have become immortal—all men will stand before the bar of God in a final day of judgment. The eventual destiny of all men will have been determined before that day, but then the final and irrevocable decrees will be issued as pertaining to every living soul.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Millennial Messiah, pg. 515-516)
02 – “Though there are specific times and formal occasions designated as days of judgment, in the final analysis every day is a day of judgment for every person, and every man is his own judge.” (Bruce R. McConkie, MD, pg. 403)
(Alma 11:44; John 5:27, 22-23; D&C 76:68; John 5:30)
03 – “Daniel’s account of the great latter-day council at Adam-ondi-Ahman includes these words: ‘I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.’ (Daniel 7:9-10) Thrones are cast down: the kingdoms of this world cease; it is the day when the Lord makes a full end of all nations. He alone shall be exalted in that day. The Ancient of Days, the oldest and most ancient of men, Adam our father, sits in judgment over the righteous of his race. Be it remembered that the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb, who were with the Lord in his ministry in Jerusalem, shall judge the whole house of Israel, meaning that portion of Israel who have kept the commandments, ‘and none else.’ (D&C 29:12) There will be a great hierarchy of judges in that great day, of whom Adam, under Christ, will be the chief of all. Those judges will judge the righteous ones under their jurisdiction, but Christ himself, he alone, will judge the wicked. All this we have heretofore set forth; now we are seeing Adam sitting in his judicial capacity. And the scene is glorious indeed.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Millennial Messiah, pg.584/DNTC 3:578)
04 – “I have testified and do still testify of the truth of the Book of Mormon—that it is an inspired record, the history of a branch of the house of Israel that live in America; that it does contain the fulness of the Gospel as revealed to them by a crucified and risen Redeemer; and that wherever it goes and its light is permitted to shine, the Spirit of the Lord will bear testimony of its truth to every honest heart in all the world. Wherever that book is candidly perused, the Spirit will bear record of its truth: and I bear this testimony this day, that Joseph Smith was and is a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator—an Apostle holding the keys of this last dispensation and of the kingdom of God, under Peter, James, and John. And not only that he was a Prophet and Apostle of Jesus Christ, and lived and died one, but that he now lives in the spirit world, and holds those same keys to usward and to this whole generation. Also that he will hold those keys to all eternity; and no power in heaven or on the earth will ever take them from him; for he will continue holding those keys through all eternity, and will stand—yes, again in the flesh upon this earth, as the head of the Latter-day Saints under Jesus Christ, and under Peter, James, and John. He will hold the keys to judge the generation to whom he was sent, and will judge my brethren that preside over me; and will judge me, together with the Apostles ordained by the word of the Lord through him and under his administration.
When this is done, those Apostles will judge this generation and the Latter-day Saints; and they will judge them with that judgment which Jesus Christ will give unto them; and they will have the same spirit and the same mind as Jesus Christ, and their judgment will be his judgment, for they will be one....
So it will be with brother Joseph, or brother Brigham, or any of the Apostles or Elders that hold a portion of the keys of the Priesthood to this generation, if they hold them faithfully. They will be able to remember and understand all their own doings and all the acts of this generation to whom they are sent; and they will judge them in the name of Jesus Christ. We will be judged by brother Joseph; and he will be judged by Peter, James, and John, and their associates. Brother Brigham, who now presides over us, will hold the keys under brother Joseph; and he and his brethren, who hold the keys with him, or under his direction, will judge the people; for they will hold those keys to all eternity, worlds without end. By those keys they will have to judge this generation; and Peter, James, and John, will hold the keys to preside over, and judge, and direct brother Joseph to all eternity; and Jesus Christ will hold the keys over them and over us, under his Father, to whom be all the glory. This is my testimony; and in obedience to these keys, if God will open my way and spare my life, I will continue to act.” (Parley P. Pratt, JD, 5:196-197)
05 – “ He stands therefore at the head of this dispensation, and will throughout all eternity, and no man can take that power away from him. If any man holds these keys, he holds them subordinate to him. You never heard President Young teach any other doctrine; he always said that Joseph stood at the head of this dispensation; that Joseph holds the keys; and although Joseph had gone behind the veil he stood at the head of this dispensation, and that he himself held the keys subordinate to him. President Taylor teaches the same doctrine, and you will never hear any other doctrine from any of the faithful Apostles or servants of God, who understand the order of the Holy Priesthood. If we get our salvation we shall have to pass by him; if we enter into our glory it will be through the authority that he has received. We cannot get around him; we cannot get around President Young; we cannot get around President Taylor; we cannot get around the Twelve Apostles. If we ever attain to that eternal glory that God has promised to the faithful we shall have to pass by them. If we enter into our exaltation, it will be because they, as the servants of God, permit us to pass by, just as the revelation says, ‘pass by the angels and the Gods, which are set there,’ to our exaltation.” (George Q. Cannon, JD, 23:360-361)
06 – “...that the First Presidency and Twelve who have officiated in our age, should operate in regard to mankind in this dispensation.” (John Taylor, Mediation and Atonement, pg. 156-157)
07 – “...the time will come, according to the revelations of God, concerning the resurrection, that judgment will be given into the hands of men who hold that priesthood, so that what they do in the judgment will be as though done by the Father or by the Son....The great judgment that is to come will not be altogether performed by one individual sitting upon a great white throne and passing judgment upon the millions upon millions of the earth's inhabitants. God's house is a house of order, and the Lord will have agents appointed as he has now behind the veil as well as in the flesh, and when the great judgment comes, all will be judged according to their works, and the books will be opened, and the Book of Life will be scanned and the man's acts and the women's acts upon the earth will be disclosed, and we will all confess in our souls that the judgment is just and righteous, because it will be uttered and delivered by one having authority and the seal of God will be upon it.” (Charles W. Penrose, CR, October 1916, pg. 23-24)
· Christ - John 5:27, 22-23, 30; D&C 76:68
· Apostles - D&C 29:12; 1 Nephi 12:9; 3 Nephi 27:27; Mormon 3:18; Matthew 19:27-30
· Bishop - D&C 72:17; 58:17; 64:40
· Missionaries - D&C 75:18-22; 60:14-15
· Ourselves - Alma 41:7
· Scriptures - 2 Nephi 25:18; 29:11; 33:14; D&C 128:6-8; Romans 14:12; Revelation 20:12-13
(Moroni 10:34; 2Nephi 28:23; Revelation 20:12-13, 22:11; D&C 128:6-8; Alma 9:15; D&C 137:10; D&C 82:3; 1Peter4:4)
08 – “I tell you the Lord is taking account of us. We are individually in His presence; we are individually a unit of the Kingdom of God, of the household of faith; and the Lord has cognizance of us, and will take note of us, and will record our works and our deeds. Thank God for that noble, that just, that godlike principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ, that every one of us will have to give an account for the deeds we do in the flesh, and that every man will be rewarded according to his works, whether they be good or evil. Thank God for that principle; for it is a just principle; it is Godlike.” (Joseph F. Smith, Messages of the First Presidency, 5:86)
09 – “The first expression of universal order is that a given cause always has the same effect. Under the same conditions, gasoline will always burst into flame when a lighted match is touched to it, or the finger burned if brought too near the fire. Yesterday, to-day and forever, like causes produce like effects....
The universal reign of law under which man lives not only offers the happy certainty of an orderly universe, but also the stern warning, that in a world where cause and effect are invariable, man cannot escape the effects of his actions. That is more terrible than the threat of a sulphurous hell. (John A. Widtsoe, Teachings of the Latter-day Prophets, pg. 356)
10 – “A man is his own tormentor and his own condemner. Hence the saying, They shall go into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. The torment of disappointment in the mind of man is as exquisite as a lake burning with fire and brimstone. I say, so is the torment of man.” (Joseph Smith, TPJS, pg. 357)
11 – “Every person who has lived and shall live in this world—every man, women, and child—shall stand before the judgement seat of God to answer for the life he or she lived here in mortality, and also to answer for the life lived in the spirit world.” (Milton R. Hunter, CR, April 1949, pg. 69)
12 – “Every man will be judged according to his works, his opportunities for receiving the truth, and the intent of his heart.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS, 2:21)
13 – “But while one portion of the human race is judging and condemning the other without mercy, the Great Parent of the universe looks upon the whole human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard; He views them as His offspring, and without any of those contracted feelings that influence the children of men, causes “His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” He holds the reins of judgment in His hands; He is a wise Lawgiver, and will judge all men, not according to the narrow, contracted notions of men, but, “according to the deeds done in the body whether they be good or evil,” or whether these deeds were done in England, America, Spain, Turkey, or India. He will judge them, “not according to what they have not, but according to what they have,” those who have lived without law, will be judged without law, and those who have a law, will be judged by that law. We need not doubt the wisdom and intelligence of the Great Jehovah; He will award judgment or mercy to all nations according to their several deserts, their means of obtaining intelligence, the laws by which they are governed, the facilities afforded them of obtaining correct information, and His inscrutable designs in relation to the human family; and when the designs of God shall be made manifest, and the curtain of futurity be withdrawn, we shall all of us eventually have to confess that the Judge of all the earth has done right.” (Joseph Smith, TPJS, pg. 218)
14 – “We will face a ‘Righteous Judge’ and he will take into account our capacities and our limitations, our opportunities and our handicaps.” (Harold B. Lee, Decisions of Successful Living, pg. 100-101)
15 – “Only the Lord knows all the details, and he it is who will judge our actions here on earth. When he does judge us, I feel he will take all things into consideration: our genetic and chemical makeup, our mental state, our intellectual capacity, the teachings we have received, the traditions of our fathers, our health, and so forth.” (M. Russell Ballard, Ensign, October 1987, pg. 8)
16 – “All of us have made wrong turns along the way. I believe the kind and merciful God, whose children we are, will judge us as lightly as He can for the wrongs that we have done and give us the maximum blessing for the good that we do.” (James E. Faust, Ensign, November 1996, pg. 53)
17 – “In a real though figurative sense, the book of life is the record of the acts of men as such record is written in their own bodies. It is the record engraven on the very bones, sinews, and flesh of the mortal body. That is, every thought, word, and deed has an affect on the human body; all these leave their marks, marks which can be read by Him who is Eternal as easily as the words in a book can be read.” (Bruce R. McConkie, MD, pg. 97)
18 – “Man sleeps the sleep of death, but the spirit lives where the record of his deeds is kept—that does not die—man cannot kill it; there is no decay associated with it, and it still retains in all its vividness the remembrance of that which transpired before the separation by death of the body and the ever-living spirit. Man sleeps for a time in the grave, and by-and-by he rises again from the dead and goes to judgment; and then the secret thoughts of all men are revealed before Him with whom we have to do; we cannot hide them; it would be in vain for a man to say then, I did not do so-and-so; the command would be, Unravel and read the record which he has made of himself, and let it testify in relation to these things, and all could gaze upon it. If a man has acted fraudulently against his neighbor—has committed murder, or adultery, or any thing else, and wants to cover it up, that record will stare him in the face, he tells the story himself, and bears witness against himself. It is written that Jesus will judge not after the sight of the eye, or after the hearing of the ear, but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity the meek of the earth. It is not because somebody has seen things, or heard anything by which a man will be judged and condemned, but it is because that record that is written by the man himself in the tablets of his own mind—that record that cannot lie—will in that day be unfolded before God and angels, and those who shall sit as judges.” (John Taylor, JD, 11:78-79; 26:31)
19 – “At that day we may be sure that we shall receive fair judgment. The judges will have the facts as they may be played back from our own records, and our voices and the pictures of our acts and the recordings of our thoughts will testify against and for us.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, pg.109)
Actions, Thoughts, Words - Mosiah 4:30; Alma 12:14-15
Covenants & Ordinances of the Gospel - D&C 101:93; Romans 1:20
20 – “Membership in this Church involves personal responsibility. The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ presents the doctrine of individual salvation. There is no mass salvation in the Kingdom of God. One by one we enter into the glory of the Lord. I make my covenants alone. I go into the waters of baptism. No one can do that for me if I live on earth. Faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and all the things that pertain to the Gospel, I must accept myself. I cannot place the burden upon any one else. One of the simplest, as I have said, of all the principles of the Gospel, and one of the most important, is that we accept personal responsibility for the work of God’s kingdom.” (John A. Widtsoe, CR, October 1941, pg. 76)
21 – “Sometime after birth into this life and before the resurrection and judgment, every living soul will hear the gospel message and be judged by his reaction thereto.” (Bruce R. McConkie, MD, pg. 673)
‘Book of the Law’ (Tithing) - D&C 85:5, 11; Joseph F. Smith, CR, October 1899, pg. 42)
Word of God (Scripture) - 2 Nephi 29:11; 2 Nephi 33:11; Moroni 10:27, 34;
22 – “For me there could be no more impelling reason for reading the Book of Mormon than this statement of the Lord, that we shall be judged by what is written in it.” (Marion G. Romney, CR, April 1960, pg. 110)
23 – “No member of this Church can stand approved in the presence of God who has not seriously and carefully read the Book of Mormon’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, CR, October 1961, pg. 18).” (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, November 1986, pg. 80)
Earthly Responsibilities - D&C 72:3
24 – “Let me assure you, brethren, that some day you will have a personal priesthood interview with the Savior himself. If you are interested, I will tell you the order in which He will ask you to account for your earthly responsibilities.
First, He will request an accountability report about your relationship with your wife. Have you actively been engaged in keeping her happy and ensuring that her needs have been met as an individual?
Second, He will want an accountability report about each of your children individually. He will not attempt to have this for simply a family stewardship, but will request information about your relationship to each and every child.
Third, He will want to know what you personally have done with the talents you were given in the pre-existence.
Fourth, He will want a summary of your activity in your Church assignments. He will not be necessarily interested in what assignments you have had, for in His eyes the home teacher and a mission president are probably equals, but He will request a summary of how you have been of service to your fellow man in your Church assignments.
Fifth, He will have no interest in how you earned your living, but if you were honest in all your dealings.
Sixth, He will ask for an accountability on what you have done to contribute in a positive manner to your community, state, country and the world.” (Harold B. Lee; Alexander B. Morrison, Feed My Sheep: Leadership Ideas for Latter-day Shepherds, pg. 156)
25 – “No man can disobey the word of God and not suffer for so doing. No sin, however secret, can escape retribution. True, you may lie and not be detected; you may violate virtue without its being known by any who would scandalize you; yet you cannot escape the judgment that follows such transgression. The lie is lodged in the recesses of your mind, an impairment of your character that will be reflected sometime, somehow in your countenance or bearing. Your moral turpitude, though only you, your accomplice, and God may ever know it, will canker your soul.” (David O. McKay, Improvement Era, July 1941, pg.395)
26 – “The Apostle Paul taught that the Lord’s teachings and teachers were given that we may all attain ‘the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ’ (Ephesians 4:13). This process requires far more than acquiring knowledge. It is not even enough for us to be convinced of the gospel; we must act and think so that we are converted by it. In contrast to the institutions of the world, which teach us to know something, the gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to become something.
Many Bible and modern scriptures speak of a final judgment at which all persons will be rewarded according to their deeds or works or the desires of their hearts. But other scriptures enlarge upon this by referring to our being judged by the condition we have achieved.
The prophet Nephi describes the Final Judgment in terms of what we have become: ‘And if their works have been filthiness they must needs be filthy; and if they be filthy it must needs be that they cannot dwell in the kingdom of God’ (1 Nephi 15:33). Moroni declares, ‘He that is filthy shall be filthy still; and he that is righteous shall be righteous still’ (Mormon 9:14; Revelation 22:11-12; 2 Nephi 9:16; D&C 88:35). The same would be true of ‘selfish’ or ‘disobedient’ or any other personal attribute inconsistent with the requirements of God. Referring to the ‘state’ of the wicked in the Final Judgment, Alma explains that if we are condemned by our words, our works, and our thoughts, ‘we shall not be found spotless; ...and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God’ (Alma 12:14).
From such teachings we conclude that the Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become....
As we do so, we should remember that our family relationships—even more than our Church callings—are the setting in which the most important part of that development can occur. The conversion we must achieve requires us to be a good husband and father or a good wife and mother. Being a successful Church leader is not enough. Exaltation is an eternal family experience, and it is our mortal family experiences that are best suited to prepare us for it.” (Dallin H.Oaks, Ensign, November 2000, pg. 32)
27 – “Each of you has an eternal calling from which no Church officer has authority to release you. This is a calling given you by our Heavenly Father Himself. In this eternal calling, as with all other callings, you have a stewardship, and ‘it is required of the Lord, at the hand of every steward, to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity’ (D&C 72:3). This most important stewardship is the glorious responsibility your Father in Heaven has given you to watch over and care for your own soul.
At some future day, you and I will each hear the voice of the Lord calling us forward to render an account of our mortal stewardship. This accounting will occur when we are called up to ‘stand before [the Lord] at the great and judgment day’ (2 Nephi 9:22).
Each day on this earth is but a small part of eternity. The day of resurrection and final judgment will surely come for each one of us.
Then our Father in Heaven’s great and noble heart will be saddened for those of His children who, because they chose evil, will be cast out, unworthy to return to His presence. But He will welcome with loving arms and with indescribable joy those who have chosen to be “true to the truth.” Righteous living, combined with the grace of the Atonement, will qualify us to stand before Him with clean hearts and clear consciences.
As leaders of the Church, as servants of a compassionate Father in Heaven, we likewise want each of you to return to His presence. We love you and desire with all our hearts to see you rejoice with your Father in Heaven and with your parents, your children, and other loved ones in that great day of judgment. So we ask you, ‘Are you true?’ And, therefore, we admonish you, as did Jacob, to ‘prepare your souls for that glorious day when justice shall be administered unto the righteous, even the day of judgment, that ye may not shrink with awful fear; that ye may not remember your awful guilt in perfectness’ (2 Nephi 9:46).” (Joseph B. Wirthlin, Ensign, May 1997, pg. 16]
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