Joseph Smith linked blessings with knowledge. He linked knowledge with obedience to laws. “And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. There is a law, irrevocably decreed in Heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated — and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”1 “If we want a blessing, we must find the law upon which the blessing is predicated, and then follow that law. If we do, we get the blessing. There is a majestic simplicity to this orderly procedure. It is from such an understanding Joseph authoritatively declared God was no respecter of persons. Joseph’s declaration made profoundly more sense than what other religionists were teaching. Joseph made this whole process of gaining blessings through knowledge a natural one that grew out of conformity with natural law. Of course, God ordained that natural law.”2 This whole process is a gift from God. He set the bounds and terms by His grace. So if mankind elects to abide those conditions, they are entitled to receive the grace or blessing He promises. But it still remains a gift. King Benjamin explained this process of keeping commandments, receiving blessings, and remaining in God’s debt in Mosiah 1:8–9. (The term “entitled” is used here to make the point that once man has done his part, God will do His. Man will not go down the road only to find it closed at the end. God keeps His promises.)3
1 JSP, Journals Vol. 2:403–405, Appendix 2, 1–4 April 1843; WJS, 170, 267n5, 268n14.
2 The Second Comforter, 182–183.
3 The Second Comforter, 289n236.