In our High Priests class, whenever the subject of the celestial kingdom comes up, two brethren always make mention of a Joseph Smith statement they are supposed to have read that says we will be suprised to find there, catholics, methodists, muslims etc, who inherit because they lived their lives in an acceptable way.
I have gone through many books of Josephs writings, and sermons, and have found no such statement, nor would I expect to as this seems against the scriptures and statements of the general authorities. Your help please.
David, from England
I would suggest that you ask these two brethren to produce the statement that they are supposed to have read. If they can’t produce it, their statements should be discounted. If they can produce, then I, and I assume the rest of the Church, would be very much surprised. I don’t wonder that you cannot find such statements by the Prophet. All that he and the other Brethren have taught is contrary to such a notion.
There are many good, just and honorable people among the various religions of the world, as well as among those who profess no religion. They will be blessed by a kind and loving Father in Heaven for their goodness. Nothing that they have merited by their good works will be withheld from them. However, unless they repent of their erroneous concepts and submit themselves to the doctrines and the ordinances and covenants of the gospel of Jesus Christ, they will enjoy all the blessings of the terrestial kingdom, but that will be the end of their glory. Where God and Christ are, they cannot come, worlds without end.
President Joseph F. Smith spoke clearly on the subject of the requirements to gain our Father’s presence in these words:
“Having thus repented, the next thing requisite is baptism, which is an essential principle of the gospel-no man can enter into the gospel covenant without it. It is the door of the Church of Christ, we cannot get in there in any other way, for Christ hath said it, ‘sprinkling,’ or ‘pouring,’ is not baptism. Baptism means immersion in water, and is to be administered by one having authority, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Baptism without divine authority is not valid. It is a symbol of the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and must be done in the likeness thereof, by one commissioned of God, in the manner prescribed, otherwise it is illegal and will not be accepted by him, nor will it effect a remission of sins, the object for which it is designed, but whosoever hath faith, truly repents and is ‘buried with Christ in baptism,’ by one having divine authority, shall receive a remission of sins, and is entitled to the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands” (Gospel Doctrine, p.101).
And President John Taylor, specifically addressed the proponents of sectarianism, stating that they are “not near the celestial kingdom.”
“The Methodists, for instance, could not for a moment suppose that John Wesley was not competent to judge all matters pertaining to salvation. Wesleyan ministers will hardly permit his doctrines to be questioned; they must be swallowed without investigation. In fact, I have heard some of them say that he was a man of such erudition, talent, and piety that they would not have his doctrines questioned in their hearing. The Protestant Germans and a great many others are just the same with regard to Luther; yet in some of his ideas and principles the great Reformer was as foolish as any other man. The Scotch are a good deal so with John Knox; they think that he was everything good, praiseworthy, and amiable, and, in fact, that he was the pink of perfection. The Roman Catholics will not for a moment admit that they are not the true church; and they will maintain that they have held the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven from the days of Peter until now, and that they still have the pure doctrines of the Gospel, and have power to bind on earth and in Heaven, and to loose on earth and in Heaven. You may ask a great many who have seceded from the Church of Rome, and you would find that they have similar ideas about their own infallibility, only they are a little better than those from whom they seceded; they have made some improvements and are a little nearer the celestial kingdom” (Journal of Discourses, Vol.13, p.13).