1 Nephi 12:10 — LeGrand Baker — “righteous forever”

1 Nephi 12:10 

10. And these twelve ministers whom thou beholdest shall judge thy seed. And, behold, they are righteous forever; for because of their faith in the Lamb of God their garments are made white in his blood.

“Righteous forever”—forever is a very long time. It reaches from before this world, through this world, and for all eternity hereafter. “Righteous” is one of the most important sacred code words in the scriptures.

“Righteousness” is zedek—correctness and propriety in performing and receiving sacred ordinances.{1} For one to be righteous before coming to this world presupposes correct fulfillment of priesthood assignments during and after the Council in Heaven. Doctrine and Covenants 93, Alma 13, Abraham 3, and Ephesians 1 are keys to understanding what those assignments might have been.

Modern prophets have taught us about how one can be “righteous forever.” The Prophet Joseph said,

When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, that the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John, in the 14th chapter, from the 12th to the 27th verses.{2}

President Marion G. Romney spoke of this often. On one occasion he said:

After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands), . . . then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shall be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure (D. H. C. 3:380).{3}

The fullness of eternal life is not attainable in mortality, but the peace that is its harbinger and that comes as a result of making one’s calling and election sure is attainable in this life. The Lord has promised that “. . . he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (Ibid., 59:23).{4}

Now in conclusion, I give you my own witness. I know that God our Father lives, that we are as Paul said his offspring. I know that we dwelt in his presence in pre-earth life and that we shall continue to live beyond the grave. I know that we may return into his presence, if we meet his terms. I know that while we are here in mortality there is a means of communication between him and us. I know it is possible for men to so live that they may hear his voice and know his words and that to receive “the Holy Spirit of promise” while here in mortality is possible. And so, in the words of the Prophet Joseph, “. . . I . . . exhort you to go on and continue to call upon God until [by the more sure word of prophecy] you make your calling and election sure for yourselves,…”{5}


{1} For a discussion of the meaning of “righteousness”—zedek and Zadok—priesthood and temple correctness see Who Shall Ascend into the Hill of the Lord, First edition, p. 279-85; Second edition, p. 198-201.

{2} Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 150.

{3} Marion G. Romney, Improvement Era, October, 1949,754.

{4} Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, October, 1965, 20.

{5} Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, October 1965, 23.


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