“Ye Shall Be Judges of This People According to the Judgment Which I Shall Give Unto You”

Bryan Richards

The Lord taught that the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son (Jn 5:22). Nevertheless, the Savior will delegate a portion his responsibility to his servants, and he will instruct them as to how they should judge. The Twelve Apostles were told that they would judge the House of Israel, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt 19:28). John the Revelator, saw in vision, the thrones spoken of, I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them (Rev 20:4). Nephi was told that the twelve Nephite disciples would judge his people, these twelve ministers whom thou beholdest shall judge thy seed (1 Nephi 12:10).

The above passages make us wonder who will judge us. According to the pattern set by the Lord, we are likely to be judged by the Lord’s latter-day apostles. Today’s twelve apostles know the challenges of our day. They know what records have been available to us. And they know what we have been taught. By what will we be judged? By the standard works. As President Joseph Fielding Smith declared, “No member of this Church can stand approved in the presence of God who has not seriously and carefully read the Book of Mormon.” (Conference Report, Oct. 1961, p. 18) The same could be said of the other standard works. That is why they are called “standard” works, for they become the “standard” by which we are judged.

Joseph F. Smith

“Out of the things which have been written in the books, this people shall be judged, according to their works. The Lord shall make a record also, and out of that shall the whole world be judged. And you men of the holy Priesthood--you Apostles, Presidents, Bishops and High Priests in Zion--will be called upon to be the judges of the people. Therefore, it is expected that you shall set the standard for them to attain to, and see that they shall live according to the spirit of the Gospel, do their duty, and keep the commandments of the Lord. You shall make a record of their acts. You shall record when they are baptized, when they are confirmed, and when they receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. You shall record, when they come to Zion, their membership in the Church. You shall record whether they attend to their duties as Priests, Teachers, or Deacons, as Elders, Seventies, or High Priests. You shall write their works, as the Lord says here. You shall record their tithings, and…we shall judge the people, first requiring them to do their duty. In order to do that, those who stand at the head must set the example.” (Conference Report, Apr. 1901, p. 72)