A major responsibility is to redeem the dead

"The Lord has revealed that a grand council was held in [the] pre-earth world where we exercised our agency regarding the plans presented," said Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve at the October 1990 general conference. "The major proposition in the accepted plan of salvation provided for an earth life where each person could work out his eternal salvation.

"John A. Widtsoe provides insight to an earth-life responsibility made in that premortal world which is of great importance. He highlights a contractual agreement we made concerning the eternal welfare of all of the sons and daughters of the Eternal Father:" `In our preexistent state, in the day of the great council, we made a[n] . . . agreement with the Almighty. The Lord proposed a plan. . . . We accepted it. Since the plan is intended for all men, we became parties to the salvation of every person under that plan. We agreed, right then and there, to be not only saviors for ourselves but . . . saviors for the whole human family. We went into a partnership with the Lord. The working out of the plan became then not merely the Father's work, and the Savior's work, but also our work. The least of us, the humblest, is in partnership with the Almighty in achieving the purpose of the eternal plan of salvation.'

"Elder Widtsoe continues:

" `That places us in a very responsible attitude towards the human race. By that doctrine, with the Lord at the head, we become saviors on Mount Zion, all committed to the great plan of offering salvation to the untold numbers of spirits. To do this is the Lord's self-imposed duty, this great labor his highest glory. Likewise, it is man's duty, self-imposed, his pleasure and joy, his labor, and ultimately his glory.' " ("The Worth of Souls," The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Oct. 1934, p. 189.)

Elder Haight added: "Latter-day Saints are a chosen people, so appointed in the premortal world, to be in partnership with the Lord for the salvation of the living and the dead. The First Presidency has announced that one of the major responsibilities of the Church, and therefore of its members, is to redeem the dead.

"We learn by revelation from the Prophet Joseph Smith that `these . . . principles in relation to the dead and the living . . . cannot be lightly passed over, as pertaining to our salvation. For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation. . . .

" `For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect.' " (D&C 128:15.)

Elder Haight emphasized, "It would be difficult for one to find stronger language on a requirement to receive exaltation in the celestial kingdom."

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed