Abstract of Parry, Donald W. “Angels as Sentinels Protecting Sacred Space.”

Parry, Donald W.  “Angels as Sentinels Protecting Sacred Space.”  In Angels Agents of Light, Love, and Power, 181-87.  Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2013. [Mormon/Sacred Space/Ascent/Theology]

This brief chapter is largely a collection of Brigham Young’s statements about angels acting as sentinels guarding and protecting the way of those approaching the Celestial Kingdom, arranged chronologically, followed by a similar statement from D&C 132:18.   Parry does little to interpret these statements and does not include them all, nor does he share Brigham’s often repeated teachings that the people of this generation will have to pass by Joseph Smith before they will be permitted to enter into the Celestial Kingdom.   [See, JD, 3:279; 4:269, 271; 5:331-332;  8:224, 229-230.] On at least one occasion Brigham specifically spoke of  Joseph as a “sentinel”:

“If we can pass the sentinel Joseph the Prophet, we shall go into the celestial kingdom, and not a man can injure us.  If he says, “God bless you, come along here;” if we will live so that Joseph will justify us, and say, “Here am I, brethren,” we shall pass every sentinel; there will be no danger but that we will pass into the celestial kingdom.” [Brigham Young, JD, 4:271-272, discourse, March 8, 1857.]

Orson Hyde made a similar statement the following year:

Well, brethren and sisters, let it be our happy lot and our ambition so to live before our God and our superiors that have gone before us, that they may take pleasure in saying to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.”  I tell you, Joseph holds the keys, and none of us can get into the celestial kingdom without passing by him.  We have not got rid of him, but he stands there as the sentinel, holding the keys of the kingdom of God; and there are many of them beside him.  I tell you, if we get past those who have mingled with us, and know us best, and have a right to know us best, probably we can pass all other sentinels as far as it is necessary, or as far as we may desire.  But I tell you, the pinch will be with those that have mingled with us, stood next to us, weighed our spirits, tried us, and proven us: there will be a pinch, in my view, to get past them.  The others, perhaps, will say, If brother Joseph is satisfied with you, you may pass.  If it is all right with him, it is all right with me. [Orson Hyde, JD 6:154-155, discourse of 3 January 1858, emphasis added]

The next section of Parry’s chapter is a discussion of the biblical tradition of cherubim as guardians as found in the Tabernacle of Moses and Temple of Solomon.  Joseph Fielding Smith is cited as authority for equating the cherubim as guardian angels and several biblical scholars are also invoked regarding the protecting role of the cherubim.  This is followed by a brief  discussion of the four beasts found in the early chapters of the book of Revelation and their guardian role.  The chapter concludes with Wilford Woodruff’s record of some remarks of Brigham Young relative to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery returning the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated to the Hill Cumorah and seeing a messenger with a drawn sword who was apparently a guardian over the records and the restoration of the Kingdom of God until its mission was complete.

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