Of all the revelations received by the Prophet Joseph Smith concerning man and his destiny, probably none equals Section 76.
This section is a record of a vision the Prophet and his scribe, Sidney Rigdon, had on Feb. 16, 1832, as Joseph was translating the Gospel of John in the New Testament. The vision occurred in the home of John Johnson, the Prophet's temporary residence at Hiram, Ohio.The Prophet wrote of the revelation:
"Nothing could be more pleasing to the Saints upon the order of the kingdom of the Lord, than the light which burst upon the world through the foregoing vision. Section 76.T
"Every law, every commandment, every promise, every truth, and every point touching the destiny of man, from Genesis to Revelation, where the purity of the scriptures remains unsullied by the folly of men, go to show the perfection of the theory of different degrees of glory in the life hereafterT and witnesses the fact that that document is a transcript from the records of the eternal world.
"The sublimity of the ideas; the purity of the language; the scope for action; the continued duration for completion, in order that the heirs of salvation may confess the Lord and bow the knee; the rewards for faithfulness, and the punishments for sins, are so much beyond the narrow-mindedness of men, that every honest man is constrained to exclaim: `It came from God.' (History of the Church 1:252-253.)
In volume two of The Doctrine and Covenants Speaks Roy W. Doxey wrote: "The foregoing statements by Joseph SmithT suggest to the reader what is in store for him as he reads Section 76.
"Surely, when one compares the ideas of the post-death life, which were extant in the Prophet's day and which are also present today, with this revelation and related revelations, one must acknowledge that man's uninspired conceptions of the future life were truly narrow and severe. How, actually, is it possible for man to know of the future except from Him who knows the future of mankind? This whole problem of why man exists, whether or not there is purpose in life, and man's destiny, has piqued man's curiosity over the ages. There comes to most people at some time in their lives serious consideration of these important questions."