Hearts Turned to the Fathers
The phrase turning the hearts of the children to the fathers is a reference to the restoration of sealing authority, allowing a connection between man living on the earth and the fathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). In this Dispensation, that restoration occurred when Joseph Smith was given the sealing authority and priesthood whereby he could ask and receive answers.1For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble; for they that come shall burn them, said the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. And again, he quoted the fifth verse thus: Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. He also quoted the next verse differently: And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming (JSH 3:4). “Everything about this prophecy differs from present LDS teaching. The prophecy mentions Elijah and priesthood. Children get plant[ed] in [their] hearts because the children are living. But what is to be planted are the promises made to the fathers. Who are the referenced fathers? What promises were made? When were they made? Then Nephi speaks of children’s hearts turn[ed] to their fathers. These prophecies lay at the very foundation of Zion, but traditions have taken away our understanding. The foundation of Zion requires reestablishing a connection between living children and those fathers to whom God made promises. There must be a welding link connecting the two. Contrary to the traditions, it does not involve connecting us to dead ancestors imprisoned in the Spirit World. Our dead and imprisoned ancestors are in desperate need of our connection to the fathers in heaven. That connection is the only way our ministrations will help them. If all we do is to connect ourselves to our imprisoned dead, then we are tied to the damned, the dead, and the disembodied, who look for a way to escape their fate. The fathers who are in heaven are the ones with whom we instead must form the link. Our salvation and the salvation of our kindred dead depend on it. The purpose behind these promises given the fathers, and this prophecy given to Joseph by Nephi, was to fix this problem. Because if it were not so, the whole world would be utterly wasted at His (and their) coming.”2 The gulf which must be bridged through the work of Elijah — “to form a bond or connection,” in the words of Joseph Smith — is not completed unless some group of people has been sealed to “the fathers in heaven.” Those there include Enoch’s City and Melchizedek’s City and extend further to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.3 (See also “The Mission of Elijah Reconsidered,” in Essays: Three Degrees.) See also THE FATHERS.
1 “3 Nephi 20:25–27,” Sept. 20, 2010, blog post.
2 Preserving the Restoration, 32–33. (See also “The Mission of Elijah Reconsidered,” in Essays: Three Degrees, 2013).
3 “The Mission of Elijah Reconsidered,” paper, Oct. 14, 2011, 27–28.