How The Destroying Angel Passes Over

by | Jan 9, 2023

painted tree full of hearts

Authentic Joseph Smith (No. 4)

Part of the Joseph Smith, Jr. Series

All blue quotes by Joseph Smith (unless otherwise noted).

From Wilford Woodruff’s diary (January 1844)


Question of the day, how does one turn hearts? And what does turning hearts have to do with the destroying angel?

Fools in the World

But first, let me share a quick bonus quote from Joseph Smith (also recorded in Wilford Woodruff’s diary). Joseph was kind, thoughtful, energetic, and generous. He was also frank, open, and honest and often invited his apostles to be the same. When it was time to say something, he wasn’t afraid to speak for the greater good.

“There is so many fools in the world for the devil to operate upon; it gives him the advantage oftentimes.”

Candid discernment.

Would you say it is still true today?

Turning Hearts

Joseph shares what the Biblical term “to turn hearts” from Malachi 4:5-6 means. Turn means to connect, bind and seal (think temple ordinances and sealings). We bind ourselves to the Savior through covenants and ordinances. We link, bind, and seal our hearts to a genealogy chain through temple ordinances and sealings. The chain saves us from the destroying angel.

Quick note: I’ve added some punctuation and formatting to the following quote from Joseph Smith so it reads better.

What shall I talk about today? I know what Br Cahoon wants me to speak about; he wants me to speak about the coming of Elijah in the last days. I Can see it in his eye; I will speak upon that subject then. The Bible says, “I will send you Elijah before the great & dreadful day of the Lord Come that he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the Children & the hearts of the Children to their fathers lest I Come & smite the whole earth with a Curse.”

Now the word turn here should be translated bind or seal  But what is the object of this important mission, or how is it to be fulfilled?

  • The keys are to be delivered
  • the spirit of Elijah is to Come
  • The gospel to be established by the Saints of God gathered
  • Zion built up
  • & the Saints to Come up as Saviors on mount Zion.

But how are they to become Saviors on Mount Zion? By building thair temples, erecting their Baptismal fonts & going forth & receiving all the ordinances: Baptisms, Confirmations, washings anointings ordinations & sealing powers upon our heads in behalf of all our Progenitors who are dead & redeem them that they may Come forth in the first resurrection & be exhalted to thrones of glory with us

& here in is the chain that binds the hearts of the fathers to the Children, & the Children to the Fathers which fulfills the mission of Elijah. & I would to God that this temple was now done that we might go into it & go to work & improve our time & make use of the seals while they are on earth & the Saints have none to much time to save & redeem their dead, & gather together their living relatives that they may be saved also

before the earth will be smitten & the Consumption decreed falls upon the world & I would advise all the Saints to go to with their might & gather together all their living relatives to this place that they may be sealed & saved that they may be prepared against the day that the destroying angel goes forth & if the whole Church should go to with all their might to save their dead seal their posterity & gather their living friends & spend none of their time in behalf of the world they would hardly get through before night would Come when no man Could work.

Consumption decreed: “until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations”

And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations; D&C 87:6

May we link ourselves to the Savior and each other through ordinances, covenants, and lots more temple work in 2023!

Author’s Notes

The Joseph Smith Series comes from, in part, a book called “The Words of Joseph Smith.”

Note: usually, the book costs a small fortune ($150-$250) because it is out of print. But I found it for free at the BYU Religious Studies Center. (Thank you, BYU)

(P.S. I receive no compensation for any recommendations – I like sharing!)

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