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Elect of God

by W. John Walsh

“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”[1]

 

The elect of God are those men and women who have demonstrated such great faithfulness to the teachings of Jesus Christ that they will be elevated to godhood in the afterlife.  The elect are not predetermined or predestined to eternal life.[2]  They use their agency—the ability to independently choose between good and evil for themselves—to obey the commandments of God willingly. They are spiritually receptive to the teachings of the Spirit.  The elect “see and know the truth”[3] and “hear the word of God”[4] when the Lord’s messengers speak.  While Satan manages to deceive many, “the elect will not be deceived”[5] and will accept the true restored gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  President Brigham Young said: “All who believe, have honest hearts, and bring forth fruits of righteousness, are the elect of God and heirs to all things.”[6] 

 

Since the prerequisites of this blessing include “obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel,”[7] only a “very select group, an inner circle of faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”[8] will qualify for it. To become elect, a person must partake of “the new and everlasting covenant of marriage’ (D. & C. 131:1-4), and overcome by faith until, as the sons of God, they merit membership in the Church of the Firstborn.”[9]  The scriptures explain the rewards awaiting elect men as follows: 

 

“For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies. They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God. And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord; For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me; And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father; And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father's kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.”[10]

 

“They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things--They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory; And are priests of the Most High…after the order of the Only Begotten Son. Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God-- Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ's, and Christ is God's.”[11] 

 

Regarding elect women, the apostles have taught:

 

“An elect lady is a female member of the Church who has already received, or who through obedience is qualified to receive, the fulness of gospel blessings. This includes temple endowments, celestial marriage, and the fulness of the sealing power. She is one who has been elected or chosen by faithfulness as a daughter of God in this life, an heir of God, a member of his household. Her position is comparable to that of the elders who magnify their callings in the priesthood and thereby receive all that the Father hath.”[12]

 

Since members of the Church feel great love for the entire human family, they send missionaries across “the four quarters of the earth”[13] to gather the elect.  Lest any not have the opportunity to inherit the Father’s kingdom, the Lord himself has decreed this sacred activity:  “And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts”[14]  Once one of the elect has been gathered, they are taught the prerequisites which will allow them to “be sealed together in family units into the lineage of Abraham, or, in other words, into the organized eternal family of God.”[15]

 

(See Basic Beliefs home page; The Gospel of Jesus Christ home page)

[1] 1 Peter 1:2, The Holy Bible, The King James Version, Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1987.

 

[2] “John Calvin's doctrine of predestination, the unconditional election of the House of Israel to eternal life, was repulsive to Joseph Smith.  Founded in the doctrine of human depravity, this notion asserted that God in his almighty wisdom had elected some men to eternal salvation and relegated others to eternal torment. Joseph Smith believed that the Saints might make their calling and election sure through the righteous use of free agency.” (Ehat & Cook, Words of Joseph Smith, Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1996, (16 May 1841 Note), p. 94)

 

[3] Smith, Joseph F., Gospel Doctrine, Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1919, p. 502.

 

[4] Neal A. Maxwell,  We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ, Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1984, p. 56 - p. 57.

 

[5] Neal A. Maxwell,  Things As They Really Are, Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1980, p. 80.

 

[6] Young, B., Discourses of Brigham Young, ed. by J. Widstoe, Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1941, p. 383 - p. 384.

 

[7] Articles of Faith 3, Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981.

 

[8] McConkie, B., Mormon Doctrine, Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1966, p. 217.

 

[9] McConkie, B., Mormon Doctrine, Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1966, p. 218.

[10] D&C 84:34-38, The Doctrine and Covenants, Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981.

 

[11] D&C 76:55-59, The Doctrine and Covenants, Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981.

 

[12] McConkie, B., Mormon Doctrine, Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1966, p. 21.

 

[13] Smith, J., Messages of the First Presidency Vol. 1, ed. by J. Clark, Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1965, p. 56.

 

[14] D&C 29:7, The Doctrine and Covenants, Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981.

 

[15] Kimball, Spencer W., The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1982, p. 542.

Copyright 2001 by All About Mormons

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