One of the “Ideas for Personal Scripture Study” in the November 8-14, 2021 Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families outline explains that Doctrine and Covenants 130 and 131: “Are based on notes that William Clayton, one of Joseph Smith’s secretaries, kept of things he heard the Prophet teach. As a result, these sections are more like collections of truths rather than cohesive, dictated revelations. Even so, there are some common themes among many of these truths. For example, you might read sections 130–131 with questions like these in mind: What do I learn about God? What do I learn about the life after mortality? How does this knowledge affect my life?”
Using these questions as prompts, here are some of the inspirational insights that touched our minds and our hearts.
The True Nature of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost
Section 130 concludes with an explicit clarification about the Godhead: “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us. A man may receive the Holy Ghost, and it may descend upon him and not tarry with him” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22-23).
These verses reject a common belief that God is incomprehensible and not confined to the dimension of space. Instead: “Where Latter-day Saints differ from other Christian religions is in their belief that God and Jesus Christ are glorified, physical beings and that each member of the Godhead is a separate being. …Although the members of the Godhead are distinct beings with distinct roles, they are one in purpose and doctrine. They are perfectly united in bringing to pass Heavenly Father’s divine plan of salvation” (“Godhead,” Gospel Topics , ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
As the Prophet explained, “The idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion and is false” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:3). Joseph is confirming what he first witnessed at the age of 14 in the Sacred Grove: “I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name, and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Joseph Smith History 1:17).
Life after Mortality
Concerning what life will be like as resurrected beings, Joseph Smith begins section 130 with this glorious yet reachable definition of heaven: “When the Savior shall appear we shall see him as he is. We shall see that he is a man like ourselves. And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:1-2).
This description confirms the sociality Jesus demonstrated in Jerusalem after His Resurrection. He appeared with a body of flesh and bones first to Mary Magdalene, then walked with two disciples in the country, and dined with the eleven Apostles and other disciples (see Mark 16:9-14)
In ancient America, Jesus invited a multitude gathered at the temple to come “forth one by one” and “thrust their hands into his side … feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet” (3 Nephi 11:15).
In ministering to the people of Nephi, Jesus also healed the sick, prayed with them, blessed their children, and instituted the sacrament (see 3 Nephi 17-18).
In Doctrine and Covenants 131:1-2, Joseph Smith reveals an additional insight about life in the heavenly mansions that Jesus has prepared for us, “In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage].”
As the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have subsequently proclaimed, “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
How Such Revelatory Knowledge Affects Our Lives
We feel comforted and inspired knowing the true attributes and nature of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. We are striving to live according to the commandments and follow Christ’s counsel, “Be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (3 Nephi 12:48). We are encouraged that Jesus “received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:13). As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are encouraged to follow the covenant path of Christ toward this fulness.
We live with both the mortal and immortal assurance that we “might behold the face of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:23). Christ counsels, “As you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me … the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual” (Doctrine and Covenants 67:10). Through the power of the priesthood, every member of the restored Church of Jesus Christ can be empowered “to stand in the presence of God” (Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 14:31 [in the Bible appendix]).
We also rejoice that we have been sealed for time and eternity as husband and wife in one of the Lord’s holy temples. For nearly 50 years, we have lived true to our temple covenants. Whenever worries and doubts come, we take comfort in the wise counsel President Henry B. Eyring received from a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “You just live worthy of the celestial kingdom, and the family arrangements will be more wonderful than you can imagine” (“A Home Where the Spirit of the Lord Dwells,” Ensign, May 2019, 25).