A genealogical term, in many instances; family. Adam and Eve were commanded to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 2:9). Christ’s gospel involves perpetuating a “family of Gods.” Marriage mirrors the infinite. The “fruit” to be saved refers to an eternal family, with God at the head.1 “In John 9:10 Christ compared Himself to a true vine to which we all must connect if we are going to bear fruit. Christ inspired prophecies about a coming servant. We should all be His servants. For any of His servants to produce fruit they must connect to Him, the true vine. Life comes from that connection. We are preserved by Christ, nourished through His word, and we pray in our sacrament prayers to always have His spirit to be with us. The vine and fruit refer to the family of God. The context is about becoming a son of God. He intends to make many sons of God, to bring many sons unto glory.”2 Throughout Zenos’ allegory of the olive tree, fruit means “salvation,” in a covenantal sense. It requires the promises made to the fathers (see Abraham 1:1) to be the same covenant given to you.3

    “The Savior provided a test whereby one can easily distinguish between true and false prophets. You shall know them by their fruits (Matthew 3:46). The question was, ‘Well, if there is a test to apply, in order to determine whether or not he [Joseph Smith] was a prophet, the presence of the test suggests the possibility of a prophet.’ I thought that an interesting point. Why would you have a test if there is not going to be another prophet? So, you shall know them by their fruits suggests the possibility that there will, in fact, be someone you better apply that test to, someone for whom the test will become both relevant and important. So I couldn’t categorically dismiss Joseph Smith as a prophet for the reason there absolutely could never be more. Therefore, I needed to ask the next question: What are Joseph’s fruits?”4 In Matthew 6:14, Christ explained how to measure “fruit.” Either make the tree good and his fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and his fruit corrupt, for the tree is known by the fruit. And Jesus said, O you generation of vipers. How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man, out of the good treasure of the heart, brings forth good things; and an evil man, out of the evil treasure, brings forth evil things. And again I say unto you that every idle word men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment; for by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned. Christ determined that the test for “fruit” is the words one speaks. But how should “words” be measured? Anger, conflict, violence, war, and division amongst families were just some of the results of the words Christ spoke. If Christ’s words were measured by how people were affected by them, then Christ produced bad fruit. Therefore, the reaction people have to words cannot be an accurate measure of “fruit.” It must be the substance, the truth, or the independent value of the words — separate from how people respond to a man’s words. Prophets and righteous individuals have been arousing anger, provoking violent reactions, and being called anything from foolish to vile because of their words, and that does nothing to diminish the goodness of their fruit.5

    1 Preserving the Restoration, 144–145.

    2 Preserving the Restoration, 34–35.

    3 Preserving the Restoration, 124n324.

    4 40 Years in Mormonism Lecture 7 “Christ: The Prototype of the Saved Man,” 4.

    5 “Fruit,” March 10, 2018, blog post, emphasis his.