D&C 67: Four Steps to Rend the Veil and See God
By Jasmin Gimenez Rappleye
Doctrine and Covenants 67 addresses the printing of Joseph Smith’s revelations, but it more fundamentally narrows in on the source of the revelations: the presence of God. In November 1831, while discussing the printing of the Book of Commandments, some of the elders questioned the unpolished and sometimes abrasive language of the revelations. Joseph Smith promised the elders that they could receive a testimony of the revelations for themselves. When the elders tried to receive this revelation and failed, the Lord taught them how to rend the veil and approach God. Joseph had predicted that if the Saints could all “come together with one heart and one mind in perfect faith the vail might as well be rent to day as next week or any other time.” 
Rending the Veil
To “rend the veil” is a reference to the Israelite temple. In the Old Testament, God’s presence dwelt in the Holy of Holies of the temple, separated by a special veil. Only the High Priest could enter this space on designated feast days. Temple veils separate the holy from the profane and protect those outside the veil from the incredible power within.
Ancient prophets encountered God in the temple, but also in other circumstances (usually on mountains) that mirrored the temple experience of passing through the veil. Passing through the metaphorical veil into the presence of God was often preceded by a heavenly ascent, covenants, sacred knowledge, and transformation. Examples of these encounters include Lehi and the pillar of fire (1 Nephi 1:5–15), the Brother of Jared and the sixteen stones on Mount Shelem (Ether 3:6–16), Moses on the mountains (Moses 1; Exodus 3; Exodus 19; Exodus 24), and Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1–8; Mark 9:1–10; Luke 9:28–36). For Latter-day Saints, the temple endowment is a process by which members can learn to rend the veil and enter into the presence of the Lord.
The Lord desires all to enter his presence (Hebrews 4:16; D&C 84:23), but only those who have been properly prepared can survive such an encounter (D&C 84:19–22; 1 Nephi 10:21; 2 Nephi 2:8). Doctrine and Covenants 67 outlines the requirements for rending the veil, which correspond with sacred temple covenants that Latter-day Saints make to prepare them to enter the Lord’s presence:
And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual. (D&C 67:10)
In this verse, the Lord explicitly outlines four things that disciples must do so that “the veil shall be rent”:
- Strip yourselves of jealousy
- Strip yourselves of fear
- Humbles yourselves
- View with a spiritual eye
Each of these requirements may be likened and applied to covenants we make in the temple: the law of obedience, the law of sacrifice, the law of the gospel, and the law of consecration.
First, let’s look at jealousy. How does removing jealousy refine us for the presence of God? Jealousy is preoccupied with possession, or the lack thereof. Jealousy can tether us to material and temporal concerns. It can lead to covetousness. Jealousy is fundamentally self-focused.
Consecration is jealousy’s antithesis. To consecrate means to make holy or to set something apart for a sacred purpose. Consecration is all about taking something that belongs to the self, and offering it toward a higher good. Consecration helps us imperfect humans be a little less selfish and a little more outward-focused. Elder Maxwell taught,
We tend to think of consecration only as yielding up, when divinely directed, our material possessions. But ultimate consecration is the yielding up of oneself to God. Heart, soul, and mind were the encompassing words of Christ in describing the first commandment, which is constantly, not periodically, operative (see Matt. 22:37). If kept, then our performances will, in turn, be fully consecrated for the lasting welfare of our souls (see 2 Ne. 32:9).
The next requirement for rending the veil is to strip ourselves of fear. Frequently when God or an angel appears to man, they accompany their appearance with an exhortation to “fear not.” The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews exhorts disciples to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy” (Hebrews 4:16, emphasis added). The Doctrine and Covenants counsels to cultivate virtue so that “thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God” (D&C 121:45).
Fear is an emotion of anxiety or terror that arises from a perceived threat. Certainly God’s power is mighty, and an unprepared soul might understandably fear. However, when it comes to knowing God, fear may be also considered an absence of faith. In the wilderness, the Lord desired to bring all of Israel into his presence to obtain the power of godliness. However, when they saw the cloud of smoke and lightning on the mountain, and heard the thundering, they were too afraid to approach God (Exodus 20:18–21; D&C 84:23–24). Their fear prevented them from beholding God and from obtaining all the blessings of the fulness of the priesthood.
This confidence in approaching God does not come from arrogance, but rather from a pure conscience. “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?…He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:3–4). Our inner purity and cleanliness before the Lord can only come from a broken heart and a contrite spirit. In other words, our fear will be replaced by faith as we repent and utilize the Atonement of Jesus Christ to fulfill the law of sacrifice. The Atonement of Jesus Christ allows us to cleanse our hearts and hands of wrongdoings and trespasses. As we allow the Atonement of purge our lives of sin, we will no longer fear the presence of God. Of the law of sacrifice, L. Tom Perry taught:
Among the laws given to Adam and Eve, the law of sacrifice was instituted to remind them of the great event that would occur in the meridian of time. … From that time onward until the Savior came to earth, whenever the priesthood was present, man offered sacrifices to remind him of the time when the Son of Man would come to earth to make the supreme sacrifice for all of us.
Humility is an indication of our willingness to be teachable and to obey the word of God. Becoming humble requires stripping ourselves of pride. Alma probed, “Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God” (Alma 5:28). By divesting ourselves of pride, we open our hearts to hear and obey the Lord. Sometimes the word of the Lord comes through the scriptures, other times through personal revelation, and other times through the words of the Lord’s anointed leaders. And even though the Lord’s word may sometimes sting, hearkening and obeying will produce the spiritual maturity to enter God’s presence.
Obedience is the first law of the gospel. The law of obedience dictates that we will hearken to the counsel of the Lord. While the principle of obedience may seem restricting, embracing obedience is the gateway to spiritual liberation. James E. Faust taught,
Obedience leads to true freedom. The more we obey revealed truth, the more we become liberated. … Just as order gave life and beauty to the earth when it was dark and void, so it does to us. Obedience helps us develop the full potential our Heavenly Father desires for us in becoming celestial beings worthy someday to live in His presence.
4. Spiritual Eye
Finally, having a spiritual eye can be likened to our commitment to living the law of the gospel. In 19th century understanding, to see with a “spiritual” eye did not mean that the event was not tangible or physical, but rather that the event was miraculous in nature. Seeing with spiritual eyes also had connections with the physical transfiguration required to behold the glory of God. D&C 67 explains as much, for in the following verses it reads, “no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God. Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind” (D&C 67:11–12).
Obtaining this spiritual eye requires faith and holiness. The brother of Jared’s overpowering faith enabled him to pierce the veil and see God with his spiritual eye (Ether 3:9). The ancient Israelite priests achieved the holiness necessary to pass through the temple veil by observing sequences of ritual and spiritual purification and clothing.
By living a faith-filled, holy life, we transform ourselves into spiritual, as opposed to natural, beings. The law of the gospel invites us to achieve this holier life by avoiding impure or impious practices. But the law of the gospel is more than just a list of do’s and don’ts. According to Ezra Taft Benson,
The law of the gospel embraces all laws, principles, and ordinances necessary for our exaltation. We agree to exercise faith in Jesus Christ and sincere repentance borne out of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. As we comply with the ordinances of baptism and confirmation, and continue in faith and prayer, the power of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice covers our sins and we are cleansed from all unrighteousness. … The law of the gospel is more than understanding the plan of salvation. It consists of partaking of the ordinances and the sealing powers culminating in a man being sealed up unto eternal life. ‘Being born again,’ said the Prophet Joseph Smith, ‘comes by the spirit of God through ordinances.’
When we, as Latter-day Saints, take upon ourselves to fully live the law of the gospel, we invite the miraculous into our lives. We reject unholy practices and ideologies that keep us tethered to the secular world and prevent us from approaching divinity. When we embrace the law of the gospel, we embrace the miraculous. We embrace the faith necessary to pierce the veil and behold the face of God.
Latter-day Saint temples today prepare us progressively to ritually enter God’s presence. We first pass the recommend questions, then we covenant to obedience, sacrifice, gospel, chastity, and consecration. We are authorized to wear pieces of clothing that symbolize our spiritual transfiguration. We receive tokens & signs to demonstrate to God that we have ratified these covenants. Once we have obtained the covenants, information, and glory necessary to enter God’s presence, the veil is rent and we are admitted into God’s divine council.
By looking at each of these requirements, we can introspectively evaluate our own discipleship, and find ways to transform our lives. Because the temple endowment is a preparatory institution, all members of the church—regardless of temple recommend status—need to continually repent and refine their discipleship. In the temple we symbolically enter the presence of God. But it is only a foreshadowing of the day when we pass through the veil of mortality, and will stand before the corporeal presence of God.
Doctrine and Covenants 67 tells the story of saints who fell short of their attempt to touch the heavens. The Lord promised those saints, and all of us today, that if we will live the law of obedience, sacrifice, gospel, chastity, and consecration, we can behold the face of God. This section probes the reader to ask themselves, if you were called upon to rend the veil today, would you be ready?
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 “Minutes, 25–26 October 1831,” p. 11, The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed October 5, 2020. See Steven C. Harper, “Section 67,” Doctrine and Covenants Contexts (Springville, UT: Book of Mormon Central, 2021), 155–158.
 General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2021), 27.2, page 230, emphasis added.
 Neal A. Maxwell, “Consecrate Thy Performance,” General Conference April 2002.
 Genesis 15:1; 21:17; 26:24; Exodus 20:20; Joshua 8:1; 10:25; 1 Chronicles 28:20; Daniel 10:12; Luke 1:13; 1:30; 2:10; 5:10; 8:50.
 L. Tom Perry, “Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper,” General Conference April 1996.
 James E. Faust, “Obedience: The Path to Freedom,” General Conference April 1999.
 See Robert Boylan, “’Spiritual Eyes’ in Pre-1830 Literature,” Scriptural Mormonism Blog (April 25, 2016). the FAIR Wiki entry on “Book of Mormon/Witnesses/”Eye of Faith” and “Spiritual Eye” statements by Martin Harris.”
 Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 337.
 While the law of chastity is not directly addressed in D&C 67, adhering to principles of sexual discipline are also necessary to approach the throne of God. Issues related to the law of chastity are addressed in D&C 63:13–23. Section 63 was also given in connection with temple language. The Lord promises that those who have been faithful to these principles will be transfigured like at the Mount of Transfiguration, where Peter, James, and John were admitted into the divine council and were endowed with sacred knowledge and power. Dallin H. Oaks taught, “The power to create mortal life is the most exalted power God has given to His children. Its use was mandated by God’s first commandment to Adam and Eve (see Genesis 1:28), but other important commandments were given to forbid its misuse (see Exodus 20:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:3). The emphasis we place on the law of chastity is explained by our understanding of the purpose of our procreative powers in the accomplishment of God’s plan. Outside the bonds of marriage between a man and a woman, all uses of our procreative powers are to one degree or another sinful and contrary to God’s plan for the exaltation of His children.” See Dallin H. Oaks, “No Other Gods,” General Conference October 2013.
Jasmin Gimenez Rappleye is a content manager, web developer, and graphic designer for Book of Mormon Central. She graduated from Brigham Young University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Ancient Near Eastern Studies, and has since enjoyed producing and marketing scripture study materials for members of the Church. Jasmin has presented at conferences for FAIR, The Interpreter Foundation, and Book of Mormon Central. Her areas of academic interest include Latter-day Saint Temple Liturgy, the priesthood power of women, and the cultural contexts of the Book of Mormon.