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Relationship to Section 76. The relationship of Verses 76:71-80 to the rest of Section 76 is discussed at D&C 76.
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Verses 76:71-80 include:
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- D&C 76:71-79. Verses 71-79 describe the vision Joseph Smith and Sidney Ridgdon had of the telestial kingdom. The phrase "these are they" is repeated throughout these verses to introduce each description of the people here. This is similar to verses 50-70 where "they are they" and then "these are they" is repeated throughout to introduce each description of the people in the celestial kingdom. In the description of the people in the celestial kingdom, each description seems to apply to everyone in the celestial kingdom and only to those in the celestial kingdom. In this way each description is self-contained. For example from verse 62 we get the idea that all of those in the celestial kingdom will dwell in the presence of God and Christ forever and that if we don't go to the celestial kingdom we won't be in their presence forever.
- But, if we read verse 72 by itself as something that applies to everyone in the terrestrial kingdom and only applies to those in the terrestrial kingdom, we would come to the understanding that everyone who dies without the law would go to the terrestrial kingdom. But we know this is not the case from other scriptures. One of the footnotes points us to D&C 137:7-10. There the Lord makes it clear that those who die without the law because they did not have the chance to receive it, but would have received it had they been given the chance will go to the celestial kingdom.
- If instead we read "these are they" as a partial description these verses make sense. Reading verses 71 to 74 together we see that those in the terrestrial kingdom are those who died without the law, whose spirits were kept in prison after death, who Christ visited and preached to there, who did not receive the testimony of Jesus in this life but received it after they died. D&C 138:32 makes the explicit distinction between those in spirit prison because they never had a chance to receive the gospel and those who rejected it. We read "received not" in verse 74 as a description of this latter group. Verse 75 then sums it up by saying that these people were "honorable" but "blinded by the craftiness of men." This doesn't apply to those people who simply never had the opportunity to accept the gospel.
- D&C 76:72: Without law. The phrase without law is also used in Romans 2:12 (as noted in the footnote). In Romans 2:12-15 without law is used to mean without knowledge of the commandments.
- D&C 76:79: Valiant. The English valiant is used over 20 times in the KJV Old Testament to translate the Hebrew chayil, which refers to power or might. In English, valiant is defined in Webster's 1828 dictionary as 1) strong; vigorous in body or 2) brave; courageous; intrepid in danger. The word comes to English from Latin via Old French, where it is the past participle of valēre "to be strong".
- Being "valiant in the testimony of Jesus" seems to be used to distinguish between those of Celestial and Terrestrial glory. As discussed previously for D&C 76:51, the "testimony of Jesus" is referred to as the "spirit of prophecy" and seems to relate to an ability to obtain and dispense gospel truth through inspiration. To be valiant in that testimony would imply being brave, strong, and mighty in that ability. Only those who obtain the gift of the Holy Ghost and cultivate an ability to feel, recognize, and follow the Spirit are able to become strong in that ability, or "valiant in the testimony of Jesus". Without that ability to be directed and act "as one" with the Spirit, one cannot obtain a Celestial glory.
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Prompts for life application
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Prompts for further study
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- D&C 76:72. What does whether one died without law (verse 72) or received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh (verse 74) have to do with what kingdom someone will inherit?
- D&C 76:79. What does it mean to be "valiant in the testimony of Jesus"?
- D&C 76:79. What is the "crown over the kingdom of our God"? What does it mean to "obtain" that crown?
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- D&C 76:71-80. See "Middle Ground or No-Man's Land?" by LXXLuthor at the FPR blog for a speculative discussion about docrtine regarding the terrestrial kingdom.
Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.