A Glorious Vision of Christ’s Plan of Salvation


Concerning the revelation known as “the Vision” (Doctrine and Covenants 76), President Wilford Woodruff wrote that it is: “A revelation which gives more light, more truth and more principle than any other book we ever read. It makes plain to our understanding our present condition, whence we came from, why we are here, and where we are going to” (see “Voices of the Restoration” in the July 5-11 outline for Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Doctrine and Covenants 2021, 118-119).

President Woodruff’s insights still inspire us today. As we read and pondered the verses in section 76, it again deeply filled our minds and hearts with great joy. It is truly an incredible testimony of Jesus Christ’s eternal love for all of His creations, an unparalleled explanation of where we are going in the eternities, and an ongoing encouragement for us to be “valiant in the testimony of Jesus” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:79).

Jesus Is the Living Christ

One of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s most powerful declarations of Christ’s divinity introduces this section: “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:22-24).

Christus Statue

The truths taught in these 80 words are profound. Jesus personally appeared to modern-day prophets. As occurred at the baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:17), the voice from heaven was heard testifying that Christ is the Only Begotten Son of Heavenly Father. Jesus is the Creator of earth and worlds throughout the universe. All of the past, present, and future inhabitants of Christ’s creations are children of God. As modern Apostles testified 21 years ago: “Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son” (“The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles,” ChurchofJesusChrist.org).

A Vision of God’s Heavenly Kingdoms

Salvation involves more than a hope of going to heaven, an assignment to hell, or even eternal destruction. As Jesus taught at the Last Supper: “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). God is far more merciful and just than we can realize.

3 degrees of glory

The celestial glory is likened to “that of the sun” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:70). Those who receive this glory emulate the following Christlike characteristics:

  • believe in Jesus,

  • are baptized according to His example,

  • keep God’s commandments,

  • receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands,

  • overcome all things by faith,

  • receive the fulness of the Lord’s glory,

  • dwell in God’s presence,

  • take part in the first Resurrection,

  • are made perfect through Jesus,

  • receive celestial bodies,

  • share in His power and dominion (see Doctrine and Covenants 76:50-70, 92-96).

Such a list is intended to inspire us to live Christlike lives.

The terrestrial glory is “even as the glory of the moon” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:97). Those who receive this glory:

  • lived honorable lives on earth,

  • were blinded by the deceitfulness of men,

  • do not receive a fulness of the Father but receive the company of the Son,

  • are not valiant living Christ’s gospel (see Doctrine and Covenants 76:71-80).

In a subsequent revelation, Joseph Smith was taught: “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” (Doctrine and Covenants 137:7-8). The mansions prepared in this kingdom are further indications of God’s love and justice for His children.

The telestial glory is “even as the glory of the stars” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:98). Those who receive this glory:

  • did not receive Christ’s gospel or His prophets,

  • deny the Holy Spirit,

  • shall not be freed from the devil until the last Resurrection,

  • will not receive the presence of the Father or Jesus but receive the ministering of the Holy Spirit and ministering spirits from the terrestrial kingdom,

  • are not gathered with the Saints, are liars, false prophets, and adulterers,

  • suffer the wrath of God for their sins until they bow and confess their sins,

  • finally accept the judgments of their Savior (Doctrine and Covenants 76:81-90, 98-112).

The telestial kingdom is further evidence of God’s love for each and every one of His children.

Valiantly Seek Exaltation

Jesus Christ

One of the key ideas that Doctrine and Covenants section 76 teaches is that God desires to save “all the works of his hands” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:43). The divine preparation of three kingdoms of glory shows that almost everyone who has lived, does now live, or will yet live upon the earth will be saved. This encourages us to consider the difference between salvation and exaltation.

Seeking to be exalted means that we are striving to live with God and become like Him. This encourages us to do everything we can to live according to the principles and doctrines of the gospel of Christ. As we humbly follow Him, Jesus promises, “If ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; and where I am ye shall be also” (Doctrine and Covenants 132:23).