Gen Conf. 2019 Elder Oaks
First off, I don't like at all that the congregation was laughing during the initial parts of the talk. This interpretation of humor, to me, tells me people aren't really trying to empathize with someone who could ask that type of question. Considering the implications of polygamy, the question of living in one's own house vs. living with a previous wife of your husband could not be any more legitimate. Empathy seems to fail a lot of members. Possibly because a situation like that seems almost absurd to them. We really need to work on having more understanding and empathy as members of Christ's church.
What we know about the Spirit World (after death)
- Division of righteous and wicked
- The wicked can be taught by the righteous
- work of salvation goes forward
- some repentance is possible (I can't wait until more light is shed on this subject)
- Work of salvation consists of freeing the wicked from their bondage.
- Righteous people in peace look at the spiritual state as a state of bondage
- Wicked are described as "bound" or as "captives"
- Wicked are also described as in a state of "weeing, wailing, gnashing of teeth"
- All spirits here will be resurrected
- Resurrection occurs at different times for different groups
- Converts in spirit world describe not being baptized as being in bondage
- (the above converts need to wait for baptism to have the Holy Ghost)
- The converted join the ranks of those teaching the wicked
Personal experiences pertaining to the the afterlife are not to be preached as official doctrine.
A single statement made by a "leader" on a single occasion often represents opinion. It does not bind the church.
“The doctrine is taught by all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It is not hidden in an obscure paragraph of one talk.”6 The family proclamation, signed by all 15 prophets, seers, and revelators, is a wonderful illustration of that principle.
Beyond something as formal as the family proclamation, the prophetic teachings of the Presidents of the Church, affirmed by other prophets and apostles, are also an example of this. As to circumstances in the spirit world, the Prophet Joseph Smith gave two teachings near the close of his ministry that have been frequently taught by his successors. One of these is his teaching in the King Follett sermon that family members who were righteous will be together in the world of spirits.7 Another is this statement at a funeral in the last year of his life: “The spirits of the just are exalted to a greater and more glorious work … [in] the world of spirits. … They are not far from us, and know and understand our thoughts, feelings, and motions, and are often pained therewith.”8
There is so much we do not know that our only sure reliance is to trust in the Lord and His love for His children.
The end of his talk, he kind of left with a zinger:
As we know from modern revelation, He “glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:43; emphasis added).
What does that mean? Does it mean that everyone on earth is going to be saved? I think so. Hence the different levels of salvation.
To me, the quotes above about the doctrine being taught by all the apostles means that the more often a doctrine is taught by leaders of the church, the more cemented in doctrine it becomes. This means, to me, that even if a prophet declares something from the pulpit that is never taught again, it might not be doctrine.
The way I will apply this to my life is to hold closest the teachings that I both hear from the pulpit, and read in the scriptures, and are impressed to me by the Holy Ghost. The less I hear of a doctrine, the less of a doctrine it might be, and thus, the less I should hold on to it.
Anyway, those are my thoughts.