Fired in the Kiln

President Thomas S. Monson was known in part for his repertoire of stories and poetry. He related an anecdote from the life of Clinton Duffy, a prison warden who worked to help inmates move on and make something of themselves. “Said one critic, ‘You should know that leopards don’t change their spots!’

“Replied Warden Duffy, ‘You should know I don’t work with leopards. I work with men, and men change every day'” (“See Others as They May Become”).

The gospel of Jesus Christ is about change. Jesus Himself began his ministry saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14–15). Change is at the heart of the meaning of the word repent.

However, there comes a point at which changing our trajectory is no longer possible. I was thinking about this when I wrote the Parable of the Wheel and the Kiln. When is that point?

In the parable, Melanie represents each of us, or more specifically, the choices we make. The wheel is the passage of time, while the clay represents what we do with that time and what we become as a result (the vessel). The point at which change is no longer possible is when we are fired in the kiln—when we rise in the Resurrection, called forth by Jesus Christ, the holder of the keys of death and hell (Revelation 1:17–18).

The scriptures say:

“There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption” (1 Corinthians 15:40–44).

“But God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works, according to the law and justice” (Alma 42:23).

“Wherefore, beloved brethren, be reconciled unto him through the atonement of Christ, his Only Begotten Son, and ye may obtain a resurrection, according to the power of the resurrection which is in Christ, and be presented as the first-fruits of Christ unto God, having faith, and obtained a good hope of glory in him before he manifesteth himself in the flesh” (Jacob 4:11).

The Resurrection cements what we have become during our probation outside of Heavenly Father’s presence. An important reason for that is the Resurrection is the way that the Lord provided for us to become immortal, which suggests permanence. Further, our immortal bodies will rise with some degree of glory—like the sun, or the moon, or the stars—befitting our choices and progress; while we will all be resurrected, not everyone’s resurrection will be the same in the sense that we will not all rise with the same amount of glory and likeness to Jesus Christ. Finally, the Resurrection leads directly to the Final Judgment, whereupon we are admitted to the kingdom of glory (or the mansion within the Father’s house) we have qualified for.

It’s comforting to me that change is the purpose of life because it means we have every day, every hour, every minute to make positive change happen. He who changed water into wine, or something ordinary and bland into something rich and fitting a celebration, can help us to change through His atoning blood and power. God has allotted to us time to come to Him before the permanence of the Resurrection.

Photo by Anna Khomutova on

On commenting: Please share your thoughts! You can leave an email address, but it’s not required. Leaving an email address may prompt you to sign in with a social media or WordPress account.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s