“This is life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.”

We bring the conversation time and time again to this truism, spoken in the scriptures and again reiterated by Joseph Smith Jr. as part of the King Follett discourse. It was no sooner uttered by the Prophet than almost immediately the following aphorism was cast up by Lorenzo Snow:

As man is, God once was. As God now is, man may become.

We say that it is only through the ministration of the Son that we can be brought to the Father, and we think that it is in this ministration of the Son bringing us to the Father that we finally come to know both the Son and the Father, thus insuring our eternal life. We will see them both in their immortal glory sitting upon Their thrones, encircled about by flaming Seraphim singing their praises with holy anthems of great power. In this ministration we will then see as we are seen and know as we are known, and consequently be invited to join, as equals, this triumvirate of Eternal Gods as one of the Eternals of this great “roundtable.”

The only problem with this is that we have joined the party at the end and really know almost nothing about this magisteral group and what brought them, in the first place to be our hosts.

If any man does not know God [as He was] and inquires only as to what kind of being He is – if he will search diligently his own heart if the declaration of Jesus Christ and the apostles be true, he will realize that he has not eternal life; for there can be eternal life on no other principle.

Based upon Joseph’s above utterance and the couplet that emanated from it, we can then have somewhat more confidence in Pope’s admonition: “Know then thyself, presume not God to scan: The proper study for mankind is man.”

Man will remain a mystery to himself until he has mastered somewhat the mystery of God. An understanding of each is essential to the understanding of the other. It is clearly within the spiritual economy of God that men should know Him; who, (possibly better stated, what) He was, is, and will be. Moreover, though it may be admitted that, “great is the mystery of Godliness,” yet God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up unto glory – all in plain allusion to Jesus Christ, who was therefore God manifested in the flesh. This, so that all may know God through Jesus Christ, and by understanding Him understand God, and thus lay the foundation for better self-knowledge, and enhance the potential for his future eternal life.

We cannot, therefore, think we know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He sent to manifest Himself in the flesh by having only seen them in their magisterial glory, seated upon their thrones. The best we can hope for, having thus seen, is a promise that upon our separation from this mortal coil we have the right to continue our quest in knowing Them. Better yet said, “As the Father hath power in Himself, even so hath the Son power.” To which the Prophet answers, “to do what? Why, what the Father did. The answer is obvious – in a manner to lay down His body and take it up again. Jesus, what are you going to do? To lay down my life as the Father did and take it up again. Here then, is life eternal – to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn to be God’s yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power.” “What did Jesus do? Why, I do the things I saw my Father do when worlds came rolling into existence. My Father worked out His kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom, I shall present it to my Father, so that He may obtain kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt Him in glory. He will then take a higher exaltation, and I will take His place, and thereby become exalted myself.

It is by becoming that we learn to know about those who have become. It is also in understanding that when Moses asked God on the mount what he should call Him when asked by the elders of Israel to give the name of He who sent him; he should say I Am sent me. In this declarative name we gain a more complete understanding of who God is by comprehending “I Am” is the present tense of the infinitive form of the verb “To Be.” And, as all verbs in English and most other languages have past tense, present tense, and future tense forms, so also would Christ’s declaration that He is, (I Am) also include that He Was, and that He Will Be. To see Christ or to know Christ in one condition exclusive of all the other possibilities does not allow one to say they know Him.

This thing called Eternal Life is a great thing. It is not only a (hoped for) condition but also a span of conditions that began long before we set our foot on the bottom rung of that ladder of intent to learn all the principles of exaltations and will continue on a great while into the future, after we have passed through this veil, until we have learned them all. “It is not all to be comprehended in this world – [“where conditions require a necessity to have a physical body to both come here and to perform”], but It will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave – [“where there are other places beyond, with other conditions”].”


When it is all learned, then we will know God and His Son, Jesus Christ whom He sent, because we will truly see them as they are, for we will be like them. We will do as they do, and we will truly be seen as they are seen.