Peter begins his second epistle with a dissertation on the deep doctrine of calling and election. He exhorts the saints to make their calling and election sure in verse 10 but the entire chapter is devoted to the same subject. Without the spirit of revelation and Joseph Smith's teachings, we would not know what Peter was really talking about.
"There are three grand secrets lying in this chapter, 2 Pet. 1, which no man can dig out, unless by the light of revelation, and which unlock the whole chapter as the things that are written are only hints of things which existed in the prophet's mind, which are not written concerning eternal glory." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 304)
Bruce R. McConkie
"Those members of the Church who devote themselves wholly to righteousness, living by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God, make their calling and election sure. That is, they receive the more sure word of prophecy, which means that the Lord seals their exaltation upon them while they are yet in this life. Peter summarized the course of righteousness which the saints must pursue to make their calling and election sure and then (referring to his experience on the Mount of Transfiguration with James and John) said that those three had received this more sure word of prophecy. (2 Pet. 1.)
"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.)" (Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], 109.)
2 Peter 1:2-3 the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord
A certain man had a friend who worked in the music business and asked him if he knew a famous singer. The friend replied, "I know who he is, I am familiar with his music and his career, but I have never met him face to face." The man replied, "Well then, you don't really know him, do you?"
We may study theology all our lives; we may pattern our lives after the Lord; we may have the burning testimony by the Holy Ghost, yet, if we have not had a personal revelation wherein we speak with the Lord 'face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend' (Ex. 33:11), then we have not attained the knowledge of God that Peter is speaking about. It is through such a marvelous parting of the heavens that an individual is given 'all things that pertain unto life and godliness.'
To know God is different than to know about God. Understanding the difference brings new meaning to the oft-quoted scripture, 'And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hath sent.' (John 17:3) Understanding that apostles and prophets know God with all that those words imply brings new meaning to their testimonies about him. They know that Christ lives because they have seen him. They don't cast pearls before swine with proud declarations, but their meaning can be readily discerned by the spiritually minded.
Boyd K. Packer
"One question...I am asked occasionally, usually by someone who is curious, is, 'Have you seen Him?' That is a question that I have never asked of another. I have not asked that question of my Brethren in the Council of the Twelve, thinking that it would be so sacred and so personal that one would have to have some special inspiration-indeed, some authorization-even to ask it.
"Though I have not asked that question of others, I have heard them answer it-but not when they were asked. I have heard one of my Brethren declare, 'I know, from experiences too sacred to relate, that Jesus is the Christ.' I have heard another testify, 'I know that God lives, I know that the Lord lives, and more than that, I know the Lord.' I repeat: they have answered this question not when they were asked, but under the prompting of the Spirit, on sacred occasions, when 'the Spirit beareth record.' ("D&C 1:39D&C 1:39.)
"There are some things just too sacred to discuss: not secret, but sacred; not to be discussed, but to be harbored and protected and regarded with the deepest of reverence." (Teach Ye Diligently [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1975], 86-87.)
James E. Faust
"Those of us who hold the holy apostleship always wish to fulfill our responsibility by testifying of the divinity of the Savior. I feel compelled to do so. I have had a testimony all of my life. Recently, however, there has come into my soul an overpowering witness of the divinity of this holy work. This sure witness is more certain than ever before in my life." ("The Weightier Matters of the Law: Judgment, Mercy, and Faith," Ensign, Nov. 1997)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Humbly, as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I say to you not only that Jesus lived, but that he lives-with all that those words imply!" ("Our Acceptance of Christ," Ensign, June 1984, 69)
2 Peter 1:3 hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him
Bruce R. McConkie
"...for those who desire to gain all things that pertain to life and godliness, the great issue is one of coming to know God in the full and true sense of the word." (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 210.)
"These sayings put together (2 Pet. 1:1-3; 1 Pet. 1:3-5), show us the apostle's views most clearly, so as to admit of no mistake on the mind of any individual. He says that all things that pertain to life and godliness were given unto them through the knowledge of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; and if the question is asked, how were they to obtain the knowledge of God? (for there is a great difference between believing in God and knowing him - knowledge implies more than faith; and notice, that all things that pertain to life and godliness were given through the knowledge of God) the answer is given, through faith they were to obtain this knowledge, and having power by faith to obtain the knowledge of God, they could with it obtain all other things which pertain to life and godliness." (Lectures on Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 7:18.)
"...Knowledge through out Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven." (Kent P. Jackson, Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible, 209)
2 Peter 1:4 exceeding great and precious promises
There are great promises associated with the endowment. There are greater promises associated with the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. But the 'exceeding great and precious promises' spoken of by Peter also include the ultimate promise of eternal life. What could be greater than to hear the words, 'thou shalt have eternal life' (Mosiah 26:20)?
"Go on from grace to grace until you obtain a promise from God for yourselves that you shall have eternal life." (Kent P. Jackson, Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible, 208)
Howard W. Hunter
"I believe in those 'exceeding great and precious promises,' and I invite all within the sound of my voice to claim them." ("Exceeding Great and Precious Promises," Ensign, Nov. 1994, 8)
2 Peter 1:5-7 How to obtain the great and precious promise of eternal life
Ezra Taft Benson
"The Savior declared that life eternal is to know the only true God and His Son Jesus Christ (see John 17:3). If this is true, and I bear you my solemn witness that it is true, then we must ask how we come to know God. The process of adding one godly attribute to another, as described by Peter, becomes the key to gaining this knowledge that leads to eternal life...Oh, my beloved brethren, I pray that these qualities and attributes of the Savior may abound in us so that when we stand at the Judgment and He asks each one of us, 'What manner of man are ye?' we can raise our heads in gratitude and joy and answer, 'Even as thou art.' This is my humble prayer for each and every priesthood holder in the name of Jesus Christ, amen." ("Godly Characteristics of the Master," Ensign, Nov. 1986, 48)
"If you wish to go where God is, you must be like God, or possess the principles which God possesses. For if we are not drawing towards God in principle, we are going from him and drawing towards the Devil...Search your hearts and see if you are like God. I have searched mine and feel to repent of all my sins." (Kent P. Jackson, Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible, 205)
David O. McKay
"(quoting 2 Peter 1:5-8) Those are divine steps, that lead back to the presence of God, our Eternal Father.
"May the young within the sound of our voices tonight, and all in the Church, follow those steps, and gain, each one the precious gift of a knowledge of the divinity of this work, I humbly pray, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen." (Conference Report, October 1953, General Priesthood Meeting 90.)
2 Peter 1:5 add to your faith
Merrill J. Bateman
"It is interesting to note that the first characteristic of the divine nature mentioned by Peter is faith, meaning faith in the Father and the Son and in the plan of salvation. The process of building a Christ-centered life must be based on and begin with the first principle of the gospel. The Prophet Joseph Smith spoke of this subject:
"'When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel-you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation...' (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith , 348)." ("Living a Christ-Centered Life," Ensign, Jan. 1999, 7-8)
Ezra Taft Benson
"The Apostle Peter spoke of the process by which a person can be made a partaker 'of the divine nature' (2 Pet. 1:4)...The first characteristic, to which all the others are added, is faith. Faith is the foundation upon which a godlike character is built. It is a prerequisite for all other virtues.
"When I think of how we show faith, I cannot help but think of the example of my own father. I recall vividly how the spirit of missionary work came into my life. I was about thirteen years of age when my father received a call to go on a mission. It was during an epidemic in our little community of Whitney, Idaho...As Father drove the horse homeward, Mother opened the mail, and, to their surprise, there was a letter from Box B in Salt Lake City-a call to go on a mission. No one asked if one were ready, willing, or able. The bishop was supposed to know, and the bishop was Grandfather George T. Benson, my father's father.
"As Father and Mother drove into the yard, they were both crying-something we had never seen in our family. We gathered around the buggy-there were seven of us then-and asked them what was the matter.
"They said, 'Everything's fine.'
"'Why are you crying then?' we asked.
"'Come into the living room and we'll explain.'
"We gathered around the old sofa in the living room, and Father told us about his mission call. Then Mother said, 'We're proud to know that Father is considered worthy to go on a mission. We're crying a bit because it means two years of separation. You know, your father and I have never been separated more than two nights at a time since our marriage-and that's when Father was gone into the canyon to get logs, posts, and firewood.'
"And so Father went on his mission. Though at the time I did not fully comprehend the depths of my father's commitment, I understand better now that his willing acceptance of this call was evidence of his great faith. Every holder of the priesthood, whether young or old, should strive to develop that kind of faith." ("Godly Characteristics of the Master," Ensign, Nov. 1986, 45-46)
2 Peter 1:5 add to your faith virtue
Ezra Taft Benson
"Peter goes on to say that we must add to our faith virtue. A priesthood holder is virtuous. Virtuous behavior implies that he has pure thoughts and clean actions. He will not lust in his heart, for to do so is to 'deny the faith' and to lose the Spirit (D&C 42:23)-and there is nothing more important in this work than the Spirit. You've heard me say that many times.
"He will not commit adultery 'nor do anything like unto it' (D&C 59:6). This means fornication, homosexual behavior, self-abuse, child molestation, or any other sexual perversion. This means that a young man will honor young women and treat them with respect. He would never do anything that would deprive them of that which, in Mormon's words, is 'most dear and precious above all things, which is chastity and virtue' (Moro. 9:9).
"Virtue is akin to holiness, an attribute of godliness. A priesthood holder should actively seek for that which is virtuous and lovely and not that which is debasing or sordid. Virtue will garnish his thoughts unceasingly (see D&C 121:45). How can any man indulge himself in the evils of pornography, profanity, or vulgarity and consider himself totally virtuous?
"Whenever a priesthood holder departs from the path of virtue in any form or expression, he loses the Spirit and comes under Satan's power. He then receives the wages of him whom he has chosen to serve. As a result, sometimes the Church must take disciplinary action, for we cannot condone or pardon unvirtuous and unrepentant actions. All priesthood holders must be morally clean to be worthy to bear the authority of Jesus Christ." ("Godly Characteristics of the Master," Ensign, Nov. 1986, 46)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Virtue is crucial. There is little or no spiritual progress when individuals, in the words of President Marion G. Romney, 'try to serve the Lord without offending the devil' (Ensign, October 1983, p. 6)." (But for a Small Moment [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1986], 124.)
2 Peter 1:5 and to virtue knowledge
Ezra Taft Benson
"The next step Peter describes in the growth process is to add knowledge to our faith and virtue. The Lord has told us that 'it is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance' (D&C 131:6). In another place God commanded, 'Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith' (D&C 88:118). Every priesthood holder should make learning a lifetime pursuit. While any study of truth is of value, the truths of salvation are the most important truths any person can learn. The Lord's question 'For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?' (Matt. 16:26) can be applied to educational pursuits as well as the pursuit of worldly goods. The Lord might also have asked, 'For what is a man profited, if he shall learn everything in the world and not learn how to be saved?'
"We must balance our secular learning with spiritual learning... Though I am speaking to you priesthood holders, the same admonition applies to the women of the Church as well as to the men.
"President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., spoke of the desired balance in these words: 'There is spiritual learning just as there is material learning, and the one without the other is not complete; yet, speaking for myself, if I could have only one sort of learning, that which I would take would be the learning of the spirit, because in the hereafter I shall have opportunity in the eternities which are to come to get the other, and without spiritual learning here my handicaps in the hereafter would be all but overwhelming' (in Conference Report, Apr. 1934, p. 94).
"President Spencer W. Kimball said it this way: 'Youth, beloved youth, can you see why we must let spiritual training take first place?-Why we must pray with faith, and perfect our own lives like the Savior's? Can you see that the spiritual knowledge may be complemented with the secular in this life and on for eternities but that the secular without the foundation of the spiritual is but like the foam upon the milk, the fleeting shadow?...Can you see that the ordinances of the temple are more important than the PhD or any and all other academic degrees?' ("Beloved Youth, Study and Learn," in Life's Directions: A Series of Fireside Addresses, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1962, p. 190).
"When our formal education has been completed, we should make daily study of the scriptures a lifetime pursuit. What I said last April to priesthood leaders applies to every priesthood holder as well:
"'I add my voice to these wise and inspired brethren and say to you that one of the most important things you can do as priesthood leaders is to immerse yourselves in the scriptures. Search them diligently. Feast upon the words of Christ. Learn the doctrine. Master the principles that are found therein. ... Few other efforts ... will bring greater dividends to your calling. ... Few other ways [will result in] greater inspiration. ...
"You must ... see that studying and searching the scriptures is not a burden laid upon [us] by the Lord, but a marvelous blessing and opportunity' (Ensign, May 1986, p. 81)." ("Godly Characteristics of the Master," Ensign, Nov. 1986, 46-47)
"It is not wisdom that we should have all knowledge at once presented before us; but that we should have a little at a time; then we can comprehend it. . . . The principle of knowledge is the principle of salvation. This principle can be comprehended by the faithful and diligent; and every one that does not obtain knowledge sufficient to be saved will be condemned. The principle of salvation is given us through the knowledge of Jesus Christ." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 297)
2 Peter 1:6 And to knowledge temperance
Ezra Taft Benson
"Another attribute described by Peter as being part of the divine nature is temperance. A priesthood holder is temperate. This means he is restrained in his emotions and verbal expressions. He does things in moderation and is not given to overindulgence. In a word, he has self-control. He is the master of his emotions, not the other way around.
"A priesthood holder who would curse his wife, abuse her with words or actions, or do the same to one of his own children is guilty of grievous sin. 'Can ye be angry, and not sin?' asked the Apostle Paul (JST Eph. 4:26).
"If a man does not control his temper, it is a sad admission that he is not in control of his thoughts. He then becomes a victim of his own passions and emotions, which lead him to actions that are totally unfit for civilized behavior, let alone behavior for a priesthood holder.
"President David O. McKay once said, 'A man who cannot control his temper is not very likely to control his passion, and no matter what his pretensions in religion, he moves in daily life very close to the animal plane' (Improvement Era, June 1958, p. 407)." ("Godly Characteristics of the Master," Ensign, Nov. 1986, 47)
2 Peter 1:6 and to temperance patience
Ezra Taft Benson
"To our temperance we are to add patience. A priesthood holder is to be patient. Patience is another form of self-control. It is the ability to postpone gratification and to bridle one's passions. In his relationships with loved ones, a patient man does not engage in impetuous behavior that he will later regret. Patience is composure under stress. A patient man is understanding of others' faults.
"A patient man also waits on the Lord. We sometimes read or hear of people who seek a blessing from the Lord, then grow impatient when it does not come swiftly. Part of the divine nature is to trust in the Lord enough to 'be still and know that [he is] God' (D&C 101:16).
"A priesthood holder who is patient will be tolerant of the mistakes and failings of his loved ones. Because he loves them, he will not find fault nor criticize nor blame." ("Godly Characteristics of the Master," Ensign, Nov. 1986, 47)
2 Peter 1:6 and to patience godliness
The divine attributes listed in verses 5-7 are placed in a very deliberate order. The ideas are sequential, beginning with faith, which is the first principle of revealed religion, and ending with charity, 'which is the greatest of all' (Moro. 7:46).
Remarkable isn't it, that godliness, an attribute which embodies being like God in actions and demeanor is third from the last? You would think it would be the ultimate goal-the final attribute. But godliness with its strict obedience and piety are not as great as brotherly kindness and charity. Hereby, we learn that God wants us to be obedient, but to really be like him we have to learn and master the principles of basic kindness and genuine love.
2 Peter 1:7 and to godliness brotherly kindness
Ezra Taft Benson
"Another attribute mentioned by Peter is kindness. A priesthood holder is kind. One who is kind is sympathetic and gentle with others. He is considerate of others' feelings and courteous in his behavior. He has a helpful nature. Kindness pardons others' weaknesses and faults. Kindness is extended to all-to the aged and the young, to animals, to those low of station as well as the high.
"These are the true attributes of the divine nature. Can you see how we become more Christlike as we are more virtuous, more kind, more patient, and more in control of our emotional feelings?" ("Godly Characteristics of the Master," Ensign, Nov. 1986, 47)
2 Peter 1:7 and to brotherly kindness charity
Ezra Taft Benson
"The final and crowning virtue of the divine character is charity, or the pure love of Christ (see Moro. 7:47). If we would truly seek to be more like our Savior and Master, then learning to love as He loves should be our highest goal. Mormon called charity 'the greatest of all' (Moro. 7:46).
"The world today speaks a great deal about love, and it is sought for by many. But the pure love of Christ differs greatly from what the world thinks of love. Charity never seeks selfish gratification. The pure love of Christ seeks only the eternal growth and joy of others." ("Godly Characteristics of the Master," Ensign, Nov. 1986, 47)
2 Peter 1:8 if these things be in you and abound...ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ
Ezra Taft Benson
"The Apostle Peter tells us that when we possess these traits we are not 'unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.' (2 Pet. 1:8; italics added.)
"To know the Savior, then, is to be like Him. God will bless us to be like His Son when we make an earnest effort." ("What Manner of Men Ought We to Be?" Ensign, Nov. 1983, 43)
2 Peter 1:9 he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off
Neal A. Maxwell
"Another important insight is that knowledge is intended to travel in a convoy of other Christian virtues. It does not have final fulness, by itself. If one possesses some knowledge, as Peter said, but 'lacketh' these other qualities, he 'cannot see afar off.' (2 Pet. 1:5-9.) A most interesting concept. Precious perspective is missing unless knowledge is accompanied by these other truths and qualities. Other insights bear down upon us as Latter-day Saints. Brilliance, by itself, is not wholeness nor happiness. Knowledge, if possessed for its own sake and unapplied, leaves one's life unadorned. A Church member, for instance, might describe the Lord's doctrines but not qualify to enter the Lord's house. One could produce much commentary without being exemplary. One might be intellectually brilliant but Bohemian in behavior. One might use his knowledge to seek preeminence or dominion.
"Such are not Jesus' ways, for He asks that perception and implementation be part of the same spiritual process." ("The Inexhaustible Gospel," Ensign, Apr. 1993, 69)
2 Peter 1:10 give diligence to make your calling and election sure
"Now, there is some grand secret here, and keys to unlock the subject. Notwithstanding the apostle exhorts them to add to their faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, etc., yet he exhorts them to make their calling and election sure. And though they had heard an audible voice from heaven bearing testimony that Jesus was the Son of God, yet he says we have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed as unto a light shining in a dark place. Now, wherein could they have a more sure word of prophecy than to hear the voice of God saying, This is my beloved Son.
"Now for the secret and grand key. Though they might hear the voice of God and know that Jesus was the Son of God, this would be no evidence that their election and calling was made sure, that they had part with Christ, and were joint heirs with Him. They then would want that more sure word of prophecy, that they were sealed in the heavens and had the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of God. Then, having this promise sealed unto them, it was an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast. Though the thunders might roll and lightnings flash, and earthquakes bellow, and war gather thick around, yet this hope and knowledge would support the soul in every hour of trial, trouble and tribulation. Then knowledge through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.
"Compare this principle once with Christendom at the present day, and where are they, with all their boasted religion, piety and sacredness while at the same time they are crying out against prophets, apostles, angels, revelations, prophesying and visions, etc. Why, they are just ripening for the damnation of hell. They will be damned, for they reject the most glorious principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and treat with disdain and trample under foot the key that unlocks the heavens and puts in our possession the glories of the celestial world. Yes, I say, such will be damned, with all their professed godliness. Then I would exhort you to go on and continue to call upon God until you make your calling and sure for yourselves, by obtaining this more sure word of prophecy, and wait patiently for the promise until you obtain it, etc." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 298-299)
"Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions-Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, and all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 150.)
Spencer W. Kimball
"Under special need, at special times, under proper circumstances, God reveals himself to men who are prepared for such manifestations. And since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, the heavens cannot be closed except as men lock them against themselves with disbelief." (Conference Report, April 1964, Afternoon Meeting 97.)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"[The] righteous may still see Christ. This testimony has gone forth into all the world. There are thousands who know it is true for they too have had witness borne in upon their souls. There are thousands who believe in the promise of the Lord, 'that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am.' And this promise is unto all men everywhere so that all may know if they will." (Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 1: 36.)
2 Peter 1:14 shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me
From this statement, we assume that Peter wrote his second epistle near the time of his death. Legend has it that Peter died in Rome about 63-64 AD. He was crucified but considered himself unworthy to suffer death in the same way as Jesus and therefore requested to be crucified with his head down (see commentary for John 21:18). Apparently, the Lord had given Peter some idea about his martyrdom long before this occurred. The Master told him, 'when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not' (presumably to the place of execution), 'This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God' (John 21:18-19).
2 Peter 1:16 we have not followed cunningly devised fables...but were eyewitnesses of his majesty
Bruce R. McConkie
"We have to put an approving, divine seal on the doctrine that we teach, and that seal is the seal of testimony, the seal of a personal knowledge borne of the Holy Ghost.
"Now Peter could have reasoned at great length, and after having so done people could have argued with him and said, 'You don't understand the scriptures. Your interpretations are in error. This or that is wrong.' But you can't argue with a testimony, and so after Peter had reasoned, if he then said to them, as he must have done in substance and in thought content on many occasions, if he said to them, 'I was in an upper room. The Lord Jesus came through the wall. He appeared to us. I recognized him. He was the same person with whom I had labored and traveled for three and a half years. He is the person who lived in my home in Capernaum. I then felt the nail marks in his hands and in his feet. I thrust my hand into his side. I was there when he ate food and drank before us. I know he is the Son of God. The Holy Spirit of God has borne this witness to my soul'-if he said this to them, there was nothing left to debate. You can't argue with that kind of a presentation. You can say, as Festus said to Paul: 'Thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad' (Acts 26:24), but in the final analysis all you can do is accept or reject the witness that is borne. It is either true or it is false. There is no middle ground." ("Upon Judea's Plains," Ensign, July 1973, 29)
2 Peter 1:17-18 there came such a voice...This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased
While Peter, James, and John were transfigured on the mount, at least three key things happened. They heard the voice of the Father saying, 'This is my beloved Son,' they received the keys of the kingdom, and they received 'a more sure word of prophecy,' in other words they received the promise of exaltation.
Joseph Smith's commentary on this passage is interesting, "Though they might hear the voice of God and know that Jesus was the Son of God, this would be no evidence that their election and calling was made sure, that they had part with Christ, and were joint heirs with Him." (History of The Church, 5: 388 - 398.) The Prophet is making a distinction between the divine manifestation and receiving the promise of eternal life. For Peter, James, and John, both happened at the same time. For Joseph Smith, they were separate. He heard 'This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!' over a decade before he received the promise of exaltation (DC 132:49, see also section heading for DC 132).
"It is one thing to receive knowledge by the voice of God ('this is my beloved Son,' etc.) and another to know that you yourself will be saved. To have a positive promise of your own salvation is making your calling and election sure. Namely, the voice of Jesus saying, 'My beloved, thou shalt have eternal life.' Brethren, never cease struggling until you get this evidence. Take heed both before and after obtaining this more sure word of prophecy." (Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 209 - 210.)
2 Peter 1:19 a more sure word of prophecy
'The more sure word of prophecy means a man's knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood.' (DC 131:5) Other relevant doctrinal terms include the Second Comforter (John 14:21-23), making one's calling and election sure (v. 10), receiving 'the earnest of our inheritance' (Eph. 1:13-14, 2 Cor. 1:20-22), and the sure and steadfast anchor (Heb. 6:19). This doctrine is taught throughout the scriptures.
For a man to be visited by the Lord himself and be promised eternal life is a grand and glorious promise. The individual obtains 'a more sure word of prophecy.' Their prophecies regarding Christ are more sure because they have seen him with their own eyes, not with their natural eyes, but with their spiritual eyes (Moses 1:11). John wrote, 'the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy' (Rev. 19:10). Those who have had their calling and election made sure testify of Christ by the more sure word of prophecy. The rest of us testify of Christ by the less sure word of prophecy.
Marion G. Romney
"I should think that every faithful Latter-day Saint '. . . would want that more sure word of prophecy, that they were sealed in the heavens and had the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of God.' (DHC, 5, 388.)
"As I read the sacred records, I find recorded experiences of men in all dispensations who have had this sure anchor to their souls, this peace in their hearts.
"Lehi's grandson Enos so hungered after righteousness that he cried unto the Lord until '. . . there came a voice unto [him from heaven] saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.' Years later he revealed the nature of this promised blessing when he wrote:
'. . . I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father.' (Enos 1:27)
"To Alma the Lord said: 'Thou art my servant; and I covenant with thee that thou shalt have eternal life; . . .' (Mosiah 26:20.)
"To his twelve Nephite disciples the Master said:
'What is it that ye desire of me, after that I am gone to the Father?
And they all spake, save it were three, saying: We desire that after we have lived unto the age of man, that our ministry, wherein thou hast called us, may have an end, that we may speedily come unto thee in thy kingdom.
And he said unto them: Blessed are ye because ye desired this thing of me; therefore, after that Ye are seventy and two years old ye shall come unto me in my kingdom; and with me ye shall find rest.' (3 Nephi 28:1-3.)
"As Moroni labored in solitude abridging the Jaredite record, he received from the Lord this comforting assurance: '. . . thou hast been faithful, wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.' (Ether 12:37.)" (Conference Report, October 1965, First Day-Morning Meeting 22.)
2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed
Joseph B. Wirthlin
"We testify 'from the top of the mountains' that President Gordon B. Hinckley is God's prophet on the earth today. Because of our faith in our prophet, Latter-day Saints echo the words of the Apostle Peter: 'We have therefore a more sure knowledge of the word of prophecy, to which word of prophecy ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light which shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.' The light of divine revelation shines forth from a living prophet to brighten a darkened world." ("Faith of Our Fathers," Ensign, May 1996, 32)
2 Peter 1:19 until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts
Bruce R. McConkie
"Until the Second Coming of the Lord; until the Millennial day dawns; until the day when 'the root and the offspring of David' who is 'the bright and morning star' (Rev. 22:16) shall reign personally on earth and be the companion, confidant, and friend of those whose calling and election is sure and who are thus called forth as 'kings and priests' to live and 'reign on earth' (Rev. 5:10) with him a thousand years." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 3: 356.)
2 Peter 1:20 no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation
James E. Faust
"I strongly counsel all who have membership in this church to follow the teachings and counsel of those who now have the keys as prophets, seers, and revelators. They are the ones who will inspire us to deal with the vicissitudes of our time. I plead with all not to try to selectively invoke gospel principles or scripture to wrongly justify spiritual disobedience, or to separate themselves from the responsibilities of covenants and ordinances contrary to the counsel of those who have the prophetic voice in the Church. The scriptures and doctrines of the Church are not, as Peter warned, 'of any private interpretation.'
"Great temporal and spiritual strength flows from following those who have the keys of the kingdom of God in our time. Personal strength and power result from obedience to eternal principles taught by the living legates of the Lord. May the Spirit of God rest upon us as we follow the living oracles." ("The Keys That Never Rust," Ensign, Nov. 1994, 74)
Bruce R. McConkie
"In the final analysis there is no way, absolutely none, to understand any scripture except to have the same spirit of prophecy that rested upon the one who uttered the truth in its original form. Scripture comes from God by the power of the Holy Ghost. It does not originate with man. It means only what the Holy Ghost thinks it means. To interpret it, we must be enlightened by the power of the Holy Spirit. (2 Pet. 1:20-21.) It takes a prophet to understand a prophet, and every faithful member of the Church should have 'the testimony of Jesus' which 'is the spirit of prophecy.' (Rev. 19:10.)" ("Ten Keys to Understanding Isaiah," Ensign, Oct. 1973, 83)
Bruce R. McConkie
"Prophets gave the scripture, and prophets must interpret it. Holy men of old received revelation from the Holy Ghost, which they recorded as scripture; now men must have the same Holy Spirit to reveal what is meant by the scripture-otherwise there will be a host of private interpretations and consequently many different and disagreeing churches, which is precisely the condition in the religious world today." (Conference Report, October 1964, Afternoon Meeting 38.)
2 Peter 1:21 prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God...as they were moved by the Holy Ghost
Harold B. Lee
"[One] commentator... went on to denigrate the worth of the writings in the Bible, saying that the words recorded were not put down by highly educated scholars as we think of such historians in our day. They were fishermen, farmers, laborers, tax collectors, carpenters; and yet, the writings were precise and direct in documenting doctrines of the gospel and in narrating historical events through which the world of their day was passing.
"Making an invidious comparison, the commentator cited the fact that the play-by-play broadcaster at a football or basketball game today goes into more detail and uses more words in one game than the early prophets used in narrating the entire story of the creation of the world.
"As I contemplated these observations, I thought of the rare gems of sparkling wisdom that are to be found in the epistles of the apostle Peter, one who was of the ranks of the so-called common people. The secret and the explanation of the writings of these profound teachings are explained by this same great but impulsive and strong-willed leader, Simon Peter, in these few but meaningful words: 'For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.' (2 Pet. 1:21.)
"These prophet leaders had given us the simple, direct words of God as they were impressed upon them after much soul-searching; and sometimes because of a great crisis, they were under the influence of that greatest of all spiritual endowments, the gift of the Holy Ghost, one of the Godhead." ("Plain and Precious Things," Ensign, Aug. 1972, 2)