Elder Gary Sabin and his wife Valerie Sabin
  • Elder Gary Sabin and his wife Valerie Sabin
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Elder: Gary Sabin Seventy

Membership: 50,000

Age: 59

Born: Provo, Utah

Formation: Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; Stanford University, Stanford; “and a lot of on-the-job training.”

Years Ordained: one year

San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?

Elder Gary Sabin: The divinity of Jesus Christ. He’s the cornerstone of everything. Our church has a prophetic priority to increase the faith of the members in Jesus Christ and in his atoning sacrifice and mission. And with that comes an eternal perspective. People get in trouble when they forget who they are, and the idea of Jesus Christ’s divinity brings with it the foundation of hope.

SDR: How did you become involved in the church?

GS: I was riding along on my motorcycle one day when I was 18 and the thought hit me: What if it’s all true? For what my parents went through raising me in the faith, I owed it to myself and to them to find out whether it was true for myself. So I studied the Book of Mormon and the Bible and prayed and studied and tried to live the way I was taught. So, after I received my own witness of the truth of this work, I went on my mission and committed my life to live by the precepts of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It’s all so edifying and ennobling. It’s about lifting others and helping them along the way. You lose yourself and find yourself.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

GS: Our mission is to get everybody back home — to help everyone understand who they are and accept the atonement of Jesus Christ…. Sometime after we die, our spirit and our body will be reunited never to be separated again because of the resurrection and atonement of Jesus Christ. This provides the clarity, hope, and direction everyone yearns for. Everyone eventually wants to know who they are, and knowing you are the son or daughter of God makes all the difference. This is what we teach.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

GS: In 1 Corinthians 15:40–41, Paul talks about three kingdoms — the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial kingdom. There are different gradations based on our faithfulness here on Earth. For example, in the telestial kingdom there are as many differences as there are stars in heaven. In other words, there’s not just a heaven and a hell. People are not just binary but moving along the path. There are a lot of different people and we continue to progress once we die. We don’t know all the answers but we do know we have a loving Father who has a plan and has provided a Savior to make it possible to return to live with Him one day. Everyone will have the opportunity to hear the gospel either in this life or the next. Otherwise it would not be fair and our Heavenly Father is absolutely fair.

SDR: So, there’s no clear-cut state known as Hell?

GS: In the spirit world there is a spirit prison where people will go who have been very wicked. It is where they will need to go to repent of their sins so that eventually they can have some form of glory which differs based on our faithfulness in keeping God’s commandments. We don’t believe with very few exceptions that people are in hell and cannot come out.

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