Doctrine and Covenants Lesson #20
Section 76 is well known for its information about degrees of glory, but the report of Joseph Smith's and Sidney Rigdon's vision of the Father and Son is also glorious and rewarding to study.
This article reviews both the history and the content of section 76. A review of the events of Joseph Smith's life for the year 1832 shows how important the reception of the "The Vision," section 76, was to him and other Saints. Section 76 expounds upon the degree of revelation the Lord is willing to grant and teaches the testimony of Joseph Smith concerning the Father and the Son.
The idea that only people who believed in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and were baptized by proper authority could be saved from hell permeated early Latter-day Saint thought. A sharp line could be drawn between the saved and the damned. For modern Latter-day Saints accustomed to extolling the vision of the three degrees of glory as the antidote to such confining polarities, the idea seems foreign indeed. Yet it is the purpose of this article to trace within Mormon thought the persisting lineaments of traditional salvationist rhetoric and to demonstrate that the vision of the three degrees of glory did not begin to alter such notions until the end of the Nauvoo period.
The Church holds that all mankind, except the sons of perdition, will find a place in one of the kingdoms of glory in the hereafter and that they themselves choose the place by the lives they live here on earth and in the post-earthly spirit world.
God lives in a perfect, celestial society with all the advantages and enjoyments of perfect intelligence, rapid communication, rapid travel, and the very best in building construction and utility. The high state of twenty-first-century technology, which exceeds anything this earth has ever known, is very primitive compared with what is yet to be revealed when the earth becomes a celestial world.
Additional resource for purchase:
"Opening the Heavens: Visions upon Visions (Chapter Only)," Alexander L. Baugh, Opening the Heavens, second Edition, available as a softcover book, complete ebook, or single chapter.
This chapter discusses Joseph Smith's important visions and lists seventy-six accounts that documents his many visions.
From the chapter: Joseph Smith and his spokesman, Sidney Rigdon, saw the Father and the Son in 1832 in the vision now canonized as Doctrine and Covenants 76. Classroom discussions of this vision often focus on the degrees of glory, perdition, and the attendant requirements for each. However, the highlight of the section is a vision of the Father and the Son, the premortal life, and Lucifer's fall. The vision of the two supreme members of the Godhead was rich and glorious. The manifestation led them to write, "The glory of the Lord shone round about. And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fulness; And saw the holy angels, and them who are sanctified before his throne, worshiping God, and the Lamb, who worship him forever and ever" (D&C 76:19–21). So powerful was the vision of what they both saw and heard, they chose to bear testimony of the Savior, a testimony declaring "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" (D&C 76:22–23).