This is a topic that is really amazing and interesting to me, but when I have explained it to other people they don’t seem to get as excited about it as I do. My interest in this topic comes from Joseph Smith’s teaching that unless we understand the nature and character of God, we cannot do what we need to do to obtain eternal life.
In his “King Follet Discourse” Joseph Smith makes this statement: “The Scriptures inform us that ‘This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent’ (see John 17:3). If any man does not know God, and inquires what kind of a being he is,– if he will search diligently his own heart — if the declarations of Jesus and the Apostles be true — he will realize that he has not eternal life; for there can be eternal life on no other principle.” Joseph Smith expounds on this principle more deeply in his Lectures On Faith.
As the title of this article denotes, this article is going to focus on exactly what The “Glory Of God” is, and how understanding it will benefit us. By “Glory Of God”, I am talking about the substance that made God the Father and Jesus Christ “brighter than the noon day sun” in Joseph Smith’s first vision. And in a very literal sense, the “Glory Of God” is intelligence. In other words they are synonyms. You might want to re-read those last two sentences and think on them for a moment.
The “Glory Of God” Defined
This section is going to get a bit deep, but it will make sense as we go along. And it is very important, so please hang in there with me!
In 1 John 4:16 it says “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” In 1 John 4:13 it reads “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” Okay there are four main points I would like you to take away from these two verses. First, God is love. Second, there is an in-dwelling relationship between God and us. Third, we know we dwell in God if He hath given us of His spirit. And fourth, (and this one will become more clear later) the word’s “love” and “spirit” are synonyms.
In His great intercessory prayer in John 17:17,19,20,22-23, Jesus prays for His apostles and says: “17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth…19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth…22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.”
Notice that these verses in John are also talking about the in-dwelling relationship between God and us we spoke about above. However these verses use the words “truth” and “glory” in connection with it rather than the words “love” and “spirit“. And Christ connects the word “truth” to sanctification, and the word “glory” to this in-dwelling relationship between God and us.
The thought I will show as we go along here is that the words “love“, “spirit“, “truth” and “glory” are all synonyms. They are all names for the substance that fills God and Jesus Christ such that they were “brighter than the noon day sun” when they appeared to Joseph Smith. Take a moment and re-read the above verses from both 1 John 4 and John 17 with the understanding that the words “love“, “spirit“, “truth” and “glory” are all synonyms. It makes what Jesus is saying more clear.
Being One With God
This “glory” is an actual substance that fills God the Father and Jesus Christ; the “light” that makes them appear “brighter than the noon day sun”. When Jesus Christ is praying that we may be “one” with Him as He is one with His Father, He is asking that we may be filled with this “glory” substance too. This is what the in-dwelling relationship is all about.
When Christ asks that we all may be one as He and His Father are one, He is asking that He be able to share this “glory” substance with us, as His Father shared it with Him. This is how we all are one, and dwell in each other. This is also what Christ meant when He said that the Father dwelt in Him.
And it is this “glory” substance that sanctifies us. This is what Jesus is saying when He prays in John 17:17,19: “17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth…19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth“. Jesus Christ prays here that we might be sanctified, as He was sanctified.
To the degree that we become sanctified, that is how much of Christ’s “glory” we receive, or are filled with. This “glory” comes within us. It is this “glory” that changes our hearts and makes it so that we “have no more disposition to do evil”.
Scriptural “Intelligence” Defined
Now in D&C 93:29-30, 36-37 Jesus elaborates on this in more detail. He says “29 Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. 30 All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. 36 The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth. 37 Light and truth forsake that evil one.
Wow! There is a lot revealed to us in these D&C verses. Christ says “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth“. The words “intelligence” and “light” are also synonyms with the words “love“, “spirit“, “truth” and “glory“. So the words “intelligence“, “love“, “spirit” and “truth“, are all other names for the “glory” of God.
And this “glory” or “intelligence” substance cannot be “created or made”, but has always existed. Intelligence has agency. It forsakes “that evil one”, meaning it chooses to follow God. Again to the degree that we become sanctified, that is how much of Christ’s “glory” or “intelligence” substance we receive, or are filled with.
The Pure “Love” Of Christ
You may have already picked up on this, but one of the names of this “glory” or “intelligence” substance, is “love“. This is also known as “the pure love of Christ”, or “Charity“. So the Glory Of God is “charity“. It is this that Moroni tells us to pray for “with all the energy of heart”.
In Moroni 7:47-48 he says “47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.”
Now that you understand all that I discussed in this article, let’s re-read our savior Jesus Christ’s great intercessory prayer. It will now make so much more sense. The God and savior of this universe prayed that we may be filled with this love, or in other words that we may be one with Him, as He is one with the Father. When you grasp the significance of that, it is so powerful. And this helps us realize how important this is.
John 17:11-23 reads as follows: “11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”