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BONNIE - My husband's Patriarchal Blessing states that he will have the "power and gift of discernment". We understand what the "gift" is but we're not quite sure what the "power" means.
JOEL - The power of discernment means that through the Holy Ghost, one has the ability to discern right from wrong, to recognize truth, or the abiltiy to judge the character of someone, to name a few examples.
The "gift" of discernment refers to the fact that it is a God-given attribute that would be counted among the gifts of the spirit spoken of in the scriptures (Alma 9:21, Moroni 10:8-17, 1 Cor 12:4-11).
A good talk about the gift of discernment was by Elder David A. Bednar at the following link:
Quick to Observe
BONNIE - If we each individually work for and attain our own level of exaltation, how can we be together as families if each member is on a different level?
For instance, if my husband is to receive the celestrial kingdom but I only acheive the telestrial kingdom, and/or our children are in different kingdoms, how can we be together as a family?
JOEL - You can't. Exaltation and eternal life as a family together requires that all obtain the highest degree of glory in the Celestial kingdom and become members of the larger Celestial family of God. This requires the performance of all ordinances of the gospel both in and outside the temple and our obedience to those ordinances and principles of the gospel. In a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord has said:
“And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom.
“For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.” (D&C 88:21-22.)
But we have plenty of time to work on it and, knowing that noone can become totally perfect in this life, God is merciful and by His grace will judge us not just by what we do here, but who we have become and according to the desires of our hearts. And hopefully you are not just "individually" working towards exaltation, but are doing it together as a family to help each other get there, including your ancestors through temple work.
BONNIE - I am confused about the final "judgement". In many scriptures it says God will judge us and in others it says Christ will judge us. Which is it?
JOEL - It's both. Christ is both our final judge and our God. Whenever the scriptures talk about God in regards to judgment, they mean Jesus Christ, although the entire Godhead is involved in the process. In the scriptures we read:
“The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: …
“The Father … hath … given to the Son … authority to execute judgment. …
“For the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
“And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:22, 26–29).
The prophet Mormon wrote: “Ye must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, yea, every soul who belongs to the whole human family of Adam; and ye must stand to be judged of your works, whether they be good or evil” (Morm. 3:20).
And in Matthew we learn how Christ will sit in judgment:
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
“And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
“And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: …
“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:31–34, 41).
So according to the scriptures it is indeed Jesus our God who is primarily responsible for passing judgment on the inhabitants of this earth.