The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “The doctrines of the Resurrection of the Dead, and the Eternal Judgment are necessary to preach among the first principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 149.) It would seem that one’s understanding of the principles of the gospel would be incomplete if the teaching of the resurrection were not included.
What is the order of resurrection? I got this idea from a colleague on campus (at BYU) who teaches religion.
One of the qualifications in the New Testament to become an apostle is to be a witness of the ministry of Christ, culminating in His resurrection. See Acts 1:20-22 for more, along with Acts 2:32, 3:15, 4:1-2, 33, 5:30-32. You can also read the accounts of modern day apostles such as Orson F. Whitney and David B. Haight.
Alma indicates that a knowledge of the resurrection is one of the mysteries of God, knowable only by revelation (Alma 12:8-12; 40:3).
Resurrection: An ordinance
“We have not, neither can we receive here the ordinance and keys of resurrection. The keys will be given to those who have received their bodies again. They will be ordained to go forth and resurrected the saints, just as we receive the ordinance of baptism then receive the keys of authority to baptize others.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, April 1977, p. 69.)
Who resurrects us?
It appears to be patriarchal.
Who resurrected Christ? Or what do we know about ordinances?
Take a look at the Topical Guide under “raise.” It appears that God himself resurrected the Lord. This would make sense if, in order to perform an ordinance one must have already received that ordinance.
President Kimball will resurrect his wife:
“Your wife is your counterpart, and together you use the God-given powers that are given to you, not by playing with them but by using them to create this great person that is born of yourselves. Now you become the servant of the Lord, with his power. What you have now is a miniature power. I mean there is no one in this room, perhaps, who is enjoying his power to its great limit.... You have the power over the elements. You will have many other powers that you have never thought or dreamed of yet. You will have the power of the resurrection some day. Did you realize that?
“Today you or I could not stand here and call to life a dead person, but the day will come when I can take my wife by the hand and raise her out of the grave in the resurrection. The day will come when you can bring each of your family who has preceded you in death back into a resurrected being to live forever.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Manchester England Area Conference, 21 June 1976, p. 34.)
An idea of the ordinance?
“I would esteem it one of the greatest blessings, if I am to be afflicted in this world, to have my lot cast where I can find brothers and friends all around me. But this is not the thing I referred to: it is to have the privilege of having our dead buried on the land where God has appointed to gather His Saints together, and where there will be none but Saints, where they may have the privilege of laying their bodies where the Son of Man will make His appearance, and where they may hear the sound of the trump that shall call them forth to behold Him, that in the morn of the resurrection they may come forth in a body, and come up out of their graves and strike hands immediately in eternal glory and felicity, rather than be scattered thousands of miles apart. There is something good and sacred to me in this thing. The place where a man is buried is sacred to me….
I will tell you what I want. If tomorrow I shall be called to lie in yonder tomb, in the morning of the resurrection let me strike hands with my father, and cry, ‘My father,’ and he will say, ‘My son, my son,’ as soon as the rock rends and before we come out of our graves….
Would you think it strange if I relate what I have seen in vision in relation to this interesting theme? Those who have died in Jesus Christ may expect to enter into all that fruition of joy when they come forth, which they possessed or anticipated here. So plain was the vision, that I actually saw men, before they had ascended from the tomb, as though they were getting up slowly. They took each other by the hand and said to each other, ‘My father, my son, my mother, my daughter, my brother, my sister.’ And when the voice calls for the dead to arise, suppose I am laid by the side of my father, what would be the first joy of my heart? To meet my father, my mother, my brother, my sister; and when they are by my side, I embrace them and they me. It is my meditation all the day, and more than my meat and drink, to know how I shall make the Saints of God comprehend the visions that roll like an overflowing surge before my mind.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 294-6.)
We initially come forth from the grave with the same body as it was laid down
“As concerning the resurrection, I will surely say that all men will come from the grave as they lie down. Whether old or young; there will not be “added unto their stature one cubit,” neither taken from it; all will be raised by the power of God, having spirit in their bodies, and not blood. Children will be enthroned in the presence of God and the Lamb with bodies of the same stature that they had on earth…” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church 4:555-556.)
Children are resurrected as children
“Of course, children who die do not grow in the grave. They will come forth with their bodies as they were laid down, and then they will grow to the full stature of manhood or womanhood after the resurrection, but all will have their bodies fully restored.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 2, p. 293.)
We are raised up as we were laid down and then restored to perfection
“In speaking about the resurrection at the funeral of Sister Rachel Grant, President Joseph F. Smith said that the same person, the same form and likeness, will come forth ‘Even to the wounds in the flesh. Not that a person will always be marred by scars, wounds, deformities, defects or infirmities, for these will be removed in their course, in their proper time, according to the merciful providence of God.’” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 4th Ed., p. 30.)
“…in the resurrection of the dead the child that was buried in its infancy will come up in the form of the child that it was when it was laid down; then it will begin to develop.” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 24)
“Joseph Smith declared that the mother who laid down her little child, being deprived of the privilege, the joy, and the satisfaction of bringing it up to manhood or womanhood in this world, would, after the resurrection, have all the joy, satisfaction and pleasure, and even more than it would have been possible to have had in mortality, in seeing her child grow to the full measure of the stature of its spirit.” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 453.)
Elder Joseph Fielding Smith explained that being restored to perfection happens almost instantly
“President Smith was in full accord with Amulek and Alma. He taught that the body will be restored as stated in
President Smith never intended to convey the thought that it would require weeks or months of time in order for the defects to be removed. These changes will come naturally, of course, but almost instantly. We cannot look upon it in any other way.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 2, p. 294. (Emphasis added))
We will be resurrected with different types of bodies—depending on what we’ve done in this life
“In a real though figurative sense, the book of life is the record of the acts of men as such record is written in their own bodies. It is the record engraven on the very bones, sinews, and flesh of the mortal body. That is, every thought, word, and deed has an affect on the human body; all these leave their marks, marks which can be read by Him who is Eternal as easily as the words in a book can be read.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 97.)
“By obedience to celestial law, man gains celestial bodies, bodies which are sanctified by the Spirit… Their renewed bodies are just as different from bodies still in their carnal state as the bodies of the various animals, fowls, and fishes differ from each. (I Cor. 15:39-42).” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 115.)
The regeneration of the body in this life prefigures (symbolizes) resurrection
“Consider the fact that broken bones men and become strong once again. . . Lacerations in the skin heal themselves. A leak in the circulation system will seal itself, but circulatory systems outside the body do not have this power. . . The concept of self-renewal is remarkable. Each cell in the body is created and then regenerated from elements of the earth according to the recipe or formula contained within genes unique to us. . . To my thinking, this process of self-renewal prefigures the process of resurrection.” (Russell M. Nelson, “The Magnificence of Man,” BYU Devotional,
Are animals resurrected?
Absolutely! Joseph Smith taught the following1 in relation to what John the Beloved saw in his Revelation:
I suppose John saw beings there of a thousand forms, that had been saved from ten thousand times ten thousand earths like this,—strange beasts of which we have no conception: all might be seen in heaven. The grand secret was to show John what there was in heaven. John learned that God glorified Himself by saving all that His hands had made, whether beasts, fowls, fishes or men; and He will glorify Himself with them.
Says one, “I cannot believe in the salvation of beasts.” Any man who would tell you that this could not be, would tell you that the revelations are not true. John heard the words of the beasts giving glory to God, and understood them. God who made the beasts could understand every language spoken by them. The four beasts were four of the most noble animals that had filled the measure of their creation, and had been saved from other worlds, because they were perfect: they were like angels in their sphere. We are not told where they came from, and I do not know; but they were seen and heard by John praising and glorifying God.
The popular religionists of the day tell us, forsooth, that the beasts spoken of in the Revelation represent kingdoms. Very well, on the same principle we can say that the twenty-four elders spoken of represent beasts; for they are all spoken of at the same time, and are represented as all uniting in the same acts of praise and devotion.
This learned interpretation is all as flat as a pancake! “What do you use such vulgar expressions for, being a prophet?” Because the old women understand it—they make pancakes. Deacon Homespun said the earth was flat as a pancake, and ridiculed the science which proved to the contrary. The whole argument is flat, and I don't know of anything better to represent it. The world is full of technicalities and misrepresentation, which I calculate to overthrow, and speak of things as they actually exist.
Again, there is no revelation to prove that things do not exist in heaven as I have set forth, nor yet to show that the beasts meant anything but beasts; and we never can comprehend the things of God and of heaven, but by revelation. We may spiritualize and express opinions to all eternity; but that is no authority. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 291-292.)