Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

Calling and election sure

Posted by Robert C. on July 15, 2007

Jake W. has asked another good question:

[W]hat does it mean to make your “calling and election made sure,”? Does this mean we should “wear out our lives,” until God appears before us and personally decrees us one of His chosen? Is this tied into Paul’s teaching of “working out our own salvation with fear and trembling,”? Joseph Smith did at times plead with the early Saints to make their calling and election sure, if I’m not mistaken. It sounds very important.

This is probably a question better taken up at the wiki, for example on the 2 Pet 1:10 page, but since most of what I’ve read on this comes from McConkie’s Doctrinal New Testament Commentary on 2 Peter, v. 3, pp. 324ff (sorry, the link is the BYU access link since I’m off campus—which is to know for BYU students or faculty, but not very handy for the rest of you! I’ll try to remember to post a “normal” link later…), rather than a result of my own careful textual study. Anyway, here is one quote from Joseph Smith that McConkie gives:

Joseph Smith taught: “After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shall be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter.” To receive the other Comforter is to have Christ appear to him and to see the visions of eternity. (Teachings, pp. 149-151.) [from Mormon Doctrine, p. 109, under the heading “Calling and election Sure”]

I think this is different but related to references to “second anointings” in early Church historical documents, but I’m not sure about that. At any rate, it seems that, at least in the early days of the restoration, there were certain ordinances performed in the temple besides just endowments and sealings (and baptisms for the dead). I’ve heard second (or third, or probably more!) hand that such ordinances are still performed but they are relatively rare and not talked about when they occur, because of the sacred nature of such an occurrence. For this reason, I think it might be a bit of a dead end trying to learn everything possible about these rather mysterious things. On the other hand, there are so many passages in the Book of Mormon and D&C that seem to adamantly promise some sort of visitation experience similar to that described by Joseph Smith in the quote above, that I think it is a bit irresponsible and silly not to take up this topic quite seriously and carefully.

Sorry I can’t be of more help than this, Jake, but surely someone else will have something more helpful to say.

7 Responses to “Calling and election sure”

  1. JakeW said

    Oh, this is a lot of help. I just hope this post gets a lot of attention. I believe I actually read that quote by J.S. What concerns me about my calling and election being made sure is that I’m wondering how that’s tied into my bid for the Celestial Kingdom. Now, D&C 132: 19, among other places, says that one must be married to a wife

    “by my word… by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise… and it shall be said unto them–ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection;”

    And it goes on to say that because of all this the happy couple will become Gods over all. Is the Comforter that Joseph mentions and the Holy Spirit of promise the same person, meaning Christ? Are Celestial inheritence and Calling and Election made sure the same thing? If God does not appear before me and reveal unto me the visions of eternity in this life, will I inherit celestial glory?
    Personally, I’m inclined to think otherwise. However, if the two elections are separate, then doesn’t that seem to place calling and election made sure on a more grand scale than Celestial glory? Does seeing God in the flesh in this life promise you higher glories than that of the Celestial Kingdom? If not, what is it’s purpose?

  2. joespencer said

    I also think this is best taken up on the wiki, not only as regards 2 Peter 1, but also Ephesians 1. I suppose that I am somewhat squemish about taking it up outside of an explicitly scriptural context because of its connections with the highest ordinances of the temple. D&C 132 deserves quite careful attention, though I’m not sure anyone is prepared to undertake such an enormous project on the wiki. How to approach this, then?

  3. J. Stapley said

    How to approach this, then?

    Read Andrew Ehat’s thesis.

  4. AHLDuke said

    Yeah, I remember some rumors going around in my mission about this door in the Salt Lake Temple that only the President can open and you get a call from his office telling you to come to the temple on a Sunday and when you get there this door is open and you receive the “second anointing” from the Prophet himself. I regard this as simply another one of those awesome rumors that missionaries love to talk about. I have seen a door in the celestial room of the SLC temple that does not appear to go into a publicly accessible room. I have heard other explanations for it, such as that it is the “Holy of Holies” and that the Prophet has the only key. Again, this is all speculation with nothing to recommend it but the gossip-mongering of missionaries.

  5. J. Stapley, Ehat’s thesis is very helpful, but it is hardly a commentary on D&C 132!

    AHLDuke, I don’t know about Sunday mornings or only keys, etc., but the central of the three doors to the right when one enters the celestial room in the Salt Lake Temple does open onto a staircase that leads to the holy of holies (several sources make this quite clear), and there are several sources that make it quite clear that the highest ordinances of the gospel are performed there. I think this is a case where the “gossip-mongering of missionaries” contains a partial truth.

  6. John said

    Gossip makes me sick.

    The president of the church doesn’t make this call, the Lord does. God has elected his people, and has called them to serve him. When your “calling and election” is sure, you will know it because you’ve made an everlasting commitment to keep and obey the law of the gospel. You will know it because you have a constant prayer in your heart, and receive daily (if not hourly) promptings and revelations. You will have overcome the world, which will hold no more interest for you. Your ultimate joy will be to sacrifice your time and resources for others, so that they may also be brought to understand and believe in Christ.

    Do you want to experience this? Do you want to walk with him, and submit your will to him? Are you ready to listen to him, and honor him with your words and deeds? Do you rejoice and glorify in him?

    Then ask yourself, how diligent am I in keeping the commandments? How pure are my thoughts? Am I virtuous, temperate, and patient? How much charity do I daily demonstrate toward others? How much do I know about God and his son, Jesus Christ? In short, can you call yourself a man (or woman) of God?

    Then ask God, with a sincere heart, for him to reveal himself to you. Be ready to experience a mighty change in your heart. Be still, and listen.

  7. Blaine Heggie said

    D&C 93:1 The man of God who understands Gods plan and purpose in man, after entering through the gate of the everlasting gospel will not be satisfied nor rest his agency until the event occurs that brings to him an absolute assurance that he has been saved and that godhood will be obtained. Ask, and ye shall receive, knock, and He will open. 2 Nephi 32.
    -Blaine Heggie

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