In the Book of Mormon we read commentary from Nephi that appears to indicate that the only person who will stand to admit or deny us to heaven will be the savior Jesus Christ himself. As the verse reads:
“Come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name. And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them” (2 Ne. 9:41 – 42, emphasis added).
This appears at first glance to contradict the teaching of Brigham Young who said that there would be other beings involved in the process of returning to God:
“Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell” (JOD 2:31, emphasis added).
Where two truths appear to contradict, it must always be understood that a third truth is simply missing from the equation. Joseph Smith summarized this principle when he said, “By proving contraries, truth is made manifest” (History of the Church 6:428). What is the third truth here if Nephi says Christ employs no servants at the gate and Brigham Young says there are angels who must be passed to get to the Father? Without revelation, we might falter for the answer.
I submit that the missing truth is that angels act as sentinels, admitting or denying passage, only according to the knowledge imparted them by virtue of the Holy Spirit of Truth, who is the Holy One of Israel, even Jesus Christ (see D&C 93:26).
In support of this proposition, allow me to share a dream that I was given in the spring of 2017:
I saw two elders preaching the gospel in a distant land. All of a sudden a suicide bomber exploded beside them and they were whisked away into the spirit world. I followed them and saw that they stood in a dark expanse and that they realized they had died and were relieved to discover that they were yet alive in spirit. An angel then appeared at their side wearing bright robes of white. He asked them if they had their tokens. They said they did and exchanged them with the messenger. The messenger then pronounced that he knew by the Spirit of Truth that they had been true and faithful to the covenants they had made. He then handed them their own robes and crowns. I next saw these two elders dressed in these radiant garments and they two shone as brightly as I have ever seen any angel of glory.
The process demonstrated in this dream taught me that Christ authorizes, by divine investiture of authority, certain angels to test those who have entered into sacred covenants to see if they have been faithful to those covenants. This beautifully illustrates that it is not a mere knowledge of the tokens and signs of the endowment ordinance that permit a candidate for exaltation to get into a “secret club,” as some apostates mock, which knowledge is available on YouTube (sadly); the signs and tokens are important, but they will only have a value to God’s messengers if they are backed up with a life of faithfulness to the covenants entered into with them. These sentinel angels are represented in Genesis as cherubim wielding flaming swords who guard the way to the Tree of Life and its fruit (Christ and his mercy).
Furthermore, the angel in my dream could only perceive the faithfulness of the elders through revelation from the Spirit of Truth, which is Christ. Inasmuch as Christ searches and knows the hearts of all men, he is enabled to exercise his right to the Father’s mercy in behalf of those who have been true and faithful to his Holy Priesthood as administered in his holy house. Hence he alone stands at the metaphoric gate even though his knowledge is then passed to the sentinels who represent him.