Alma preaches in Gideon, Melek, and Ammoniah. He meets Amulek who brings him into his house and feeds him.
3 Nephi 28:38
Alma 13:1, 6
1 Nephi 6:3, 13
3 Nephi 26
Alma preaches in Gideon, Melek, and Ammoniah. He meets Amulek who brings him into his house and feeds him.
3 Nephi 28:38
Alma 13:1, 6
1 Nephi 6:3, 13
3 Nephi 26
Another great podcast as always. I wanted to touch upon the multiple mortal probations, however. The doctrine as taught by the fundamentalists and Brigham Young may be wrong, and it is never directly taught in the scriptures, however, if we believe in D&C 76 then multiple lives can be inferred. Because otherwise how many people have ever qualified for entrance into the Celestial Kingdom? The requirements are the following:
51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—
52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;
53 And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.
54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.
55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—
56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;
57 And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son.
Notice it doesn’t say that those who are ordained or baptized by proxy gain the kingdom. If the test is a fair one, and you believe God to be a perfect and just God, then everyone must live the celestial law according to the flesh otherwise they only make it to the Terrestrial glory.
72 Behold, these are they who died without law;
73 And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh;
74 Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it.
75 These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men.
76 These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fulness.
77 These are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father.
78 Wherefore, they are bodies terrestrial, and not bodies celestial, and differ in glory as the moon differs from the sun.
79 These are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus; wherefore, they obtain not the crown over the kingdom of our God.
I believe those who lived the laws they were given and obtain the Terrestrial glory are those who go to Paradise to rest, furthermore, I would speculate that Paradise is actually Enoch’s Zion which was taken up.
The question to ask then, is the following: will God not allow those people the opportunity, if they want it, to live the fullness of the Gospel in the flesh to qualify for the celestial glory now that they had the fullness taught to them in prison and accepted it? Or sucks to be them because the fullness wasn’t on the earth? Because again those who die without law are clearly in section 76 assigned to the terrestrial glory. Now you might bring up the scripture that says:
6 And marveled how it was that he had obtained an inheritance in that kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set his hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins.
7 Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying: All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God;
8 Also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom;
9 For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.
10 And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven.
God knows all, but again I believe to be fair all men must face the same test of choosing good over evil. It’s not much of a test if the fullness of good never exists during your life so you never have to choose it, or you die before you are even accountable. So, this scripture while not saying they have to live again to obtain the celestial glory also doesn’t negate the requirements of entry given in section 76. Thus, implying that they will have the opportunity to live again and God knows they will live the fullness or will not live the fullness according to their predisposition. This also brings up the free will vs. predestination debate. The answer is yes to both. God knows where we’ll end up, but to be fair he has to give us free will and a chance to prove ourselves able to live the fullness of the gospel.
Finally, two final points. You mentioned not going out anymore, meaning you stay in the council and are no longer a messenger. Angel is our translation of a greek word that simply means messenger, and is a translation of the hebrew word malakh also meaning messenger. So yes you are right, so who then are the angels? D&C 76 answers this question too:
86 These are they who receive not of his fulness in the eternal world, but of the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the terrestrial;
87 And the terrestrial through the ministration of the celestial.
88 And also the telestial receive it of the administering of angels who are appointed to minister for them, or who are appointed to be ministering spirits for them; for they shall be heirs of salvation.
So those who make it to the terrestrial kingdom get to serve in the office of an angel to those in the telestial world until they get a chance to live the fullness. And where is the telestial kingdom? It is currently here on Earth. And what is the telestial kingdom? 84 These are they who are thrust down to hell. So I would submit to you that we are all currently in hell waiting for Zion, the preparatory terrestrial kingdom to be established. Where we will have the chance to live the fullness and gain the celestial glory if we remain faithful.
If we believe Joseph and others must come back, why not others who have been waiting for a chance to live the fullness? D&C 45 answers this question:
11 Wherefore, hearken ye together and let me show unto you even my wisdom—the wisdom of him whom ye say is the God of Enoch, and his brethren,
12 Who were separated from the earth, and were received unto myself—a city reserved until a day of righteousness shall come—a day which was sought for by all holy men, and they found it not because of wickedness and abominations;
13 And confessed they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth;
14 But obtained a promise that they should find it and see it in their flesh.
And see it in their flesh!
As I see it, the “need” for multiple mortal probations comes from problems with the CJCLDS Inc. interpretation of the three degrees of glory. Under the “one-and-done” model that is taught, the plan isn’t merciful nor just. Rather than inventing new additions that aren’t taught in the scriptures to try to make it work, it’s simpler to search the scriptures and believe what they say. Everyone will be raised from the dead and have the gospel taught to them in its purity and fullness. They will then have the opportunity to be judged according to men in the flesh based on a knowledge of the fullness. During the Millennium we will all see eye to eye. Then during the little season Satan will once again be allowed to tempt us. The final judgement is a binary judgment, with those who do good inheriting the kingdom of God and those who do evil inheriting the kingdom of the devil.
One fundamental flaw I see with multiple mortal probations is that it implies that God’s plan is terribly inefficient and that God himself doesn’t have the wisdom to craft a better plan. Of course, if you believe God is just like us only with more time in the school of hard knocks, it’s understandable to not expect much from his plan.
How exactly do you view the return of Joseph and the 1st laborers if not under a multiple condescension /probation scenario? What precedent do you see for the return of a previously living prophet in the flesh?
Timothy, the bother of Nephi, was raised from the dead and served as a disciple of Christ. 3 Nephi 7:19, 19:4
Lazarus, raised from the dead after four days in the tomb, continued to bring people unto Jesus and be the target of murderous plots. John 12
And every other person raised from the dead by Elijah, Elisha, Jesus and others are the scriptural precedent.
In Ezekiel 37 he sees a valley of bones. In verse 5 the Lord says, “Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: and I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel then sees that happen – the bones have their flesh restored to them and the return to life. He doesn’t see them spend nine months in the womb and then be born as babies to start all over again.
Joseph and the other servants will be raised from the dead and will resume their labors, just as the scriptural promises and precedents indicate.
I would flip the question. What precedent is in the scriptures for a person who has died to be reborn as a baby and live a completely different life?
I think you are saying basically the same thing as me. In that I think most people’s second probation will be during the millennium and/or the little season. As to the method of the servants coming back I don’t think there is scriptural precedent for it as Elijah/John the baptist didn’t die per se. Which is why I think God calls it his act, his strange act. I think you need to look at sections like 76 again and ask yourself how it presents the three kingdoms, because I agree with you that this is where the problem lies. Furthermore I would suggest that each of the three kingdoms have a spiritual and physical dimension. The celestial kingdom isn’t on earth yet but the earth will become a celestial kingdom. Thus purely spiritual now but will physically be on the earth. The world is currently telestial in nature, but there is obviously a spiritual hell aka prison for those who are dead. There is no terrestrial kingdom on the earth, but there will be when Zion is established and the heavenly Zion will be united with it.
If the earth goes through all three kingdoms then why wouldn’t most people? There are three kingdoms with three laws to abide by as per section 88. If a person wants another chance I don’t see why a just God wouldn’t grant it. Furthermore, if a guy that looks like Joseph Smith shows up with more BOM what kind of test is that? You also have examples in the New Testament where the disciples ask why a man was born blind whether it was his sin or the sin of his parents. Jesus answers saying: Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. (John 9:3). Jesus never says wo guys people can’t sin before being born and get punished by being born blind. He says the answer is that the man was born blind so Jesus could heal him and show forth his power. I often wonder if this is one of the main doctrines Joseph had in mind when he said the people would rise up and kill him if he told them some of the things he knew.
I’m not at all convinced in the LDS pre-existence doctrine. The idea that our spirits could sin prior to being born runs contrary to the JST of the Bible. The account given there has our agency being given in the Garden of Eden. It’s also pretty clear that our spirits were created on the 6th day of creation. So there’s very little chance or opportunity for there to be the great war in Heaven as promoted by the LDS church in which our spirits were presented with two plans and had to choose between them. I think that is a false doctrine. I don’t think our spirits had any chance to sin and I think it’s a false doctrine that event in our lives are determined by our behavior in the “pre-existence”.
The Divine Council work of Dr. Heiser makes much more sense and it isn’t our spirits who were/are part of that council, but other divine beings.
And what if pre-existence = prior probation? If the requirements for salvation are the same for all, then those in the divine council had to meet the requirements given in section 76. Which means they had already lived on another world, proven faithful, and gained godhood. The war appears to be among the council over the nature of our current earth and who would lead in its construction and salvation and weather or not agency would exist (see Abraham 3 and Moses 4). So they only way someone can sin is with agency, and agency only exists in mortality, or after having lived a mortal life and knowing the difference between good and evil. Thus, probably most spirits sent to this earth never had lived before and thus couldn’t choose in the pre-existence. But those in the council who had could choose between God and Satan’s plan. Satan wanted glory for himself, whereas Christ offered to atone for the sins that would be committed by those going to all future worlds. So the pre-existence exists, but probably most mormons/people living weren’t in the council and had agency to choose.
They are at least two distinct beings. There are the Sons of God, the members of the Divine Council and the Hosts of Heaven – this comprises one group. Then there is man who are imagers of God, created by God in His own image. These spiritual creations (you and me and everyone else on earth) were created on the sixth day and given their agency in the Garden of Eden. The first group had been given agency prior (D&C 29:36) and thus could rebel against God.
I don’t believe any of the Divine Council members have a probation here on earth. As far as kingdoms go, I think MD has a good grasp of it on his blog. D&C 76 is not describing the end state of God’s creations. It is describing the state of man’s souls at the coming of Christ and for the millennium. After the millennium comes the little season and then the final judgement. Notice how easily we gloss over the “final” judgement. If it’s the final one, what were the prior judgements, the ones that weren’t final? Those are the judgements that happen at the second coming where some spirits are resurrected and others are cast into hell and during that time is when those kingdoms apply. After the final judgement, there is only those in God’s kingdom and those cast out.
The rebellious members of the Divine Council will be replaced with righteous people, people who will become Sons of God. That’s one of the reasons why they fight against us during our probation here on earth.
Michael in Hebrew means he/one who is like God. So I think that shows a member of the council besides Christ came to mortality.
I’m not following you. How do you get the definition of the name Michael to show that a member of the divine council came to earthly mortality?
BTW, compare Book of Commandments chapter 28 with the LDS D&C chapter 27…
Ok, you’ve flipped the question back to me… But first, I think we can both admit that none of the examples you shared of people being raised from the dead are anything like this idea of Joseph being raised from the dead 200 years later to pick up where he left off. Such a thing has never happened. Does that mean that God won’t or can’t do it? No… But the same goes for the idea of multiple mortal condescensions. To me, this is just as plausible as what you’ve proposed. As you said in this podcast, the scriptures don’t explicitly talk about this idea. As you also said in this podcast, we only have limited information given to us explicitly in the scriptures about what the next life will be like. And as you both acknowledged in this podcast, and as the scriptures do explicitly state, there are great mysteries of the kingdom which have been shown to certain men, which are not lawful for men to write or utter. These mysteries of the everlasting covenant which are only shown to those who have become purified and ascended, like Isaiah, Nephi, or Joseph, and thus have only been written implicitly. Such concepts as multiple probations could very well contain such things as these – as best chronicled here: https://www.amazon.com/Teachings-Doctrine-Eternal-Lives/dp/1934537969.
Obviously, we shouldn’t treat the scriptures as the final stop on all truth regarding the afterlife, as the mysteries of the afterlife are clearly not given to us explicitly. However, would there be any surprise in the days to come, that such things may begin to be revealed? When the last days’ servants go forth, then perhaps “unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yeah, unto such it shall be given to reveal thing which never have been revealed” (Alma 26:22).
I know you’ll reject this, but I personally know men who claim to have ascended to the 7th heaven and the high mountain of the Lord. These men have spoken of this doctrine and I believe their honesty and sincerity about what they claim to have seen and received in the Lord’s presence. Likewise they teach the simply doctrine of Christ with power. As you must admit, such men will be called soon.
That said, I invite you to place these ideas on a shelf, rather than reject them outright, especially in the coming chapters of Alma 12 and 13 where these things are taught a bit more explicitly.
As I see it, the only difference between the examples in scripture and what will happen with Joseph is the length of time. Does God lose the ability to raise someone from the dead after a specific amount of time? Can he only do so while the corpse is still warm? That was the purpose of the raising of Lazarus. If the Talmud accurately reflects beliefs back then, the Jews believed the spirit remained by the dead body for up to three days, during which time a person could be raised from the dead. But after that, the spirit left and it was too late. Jesus intentionally delayed his departure in order to arrive on the fourth day. It would seem his delay was specifically to shut down this false tradition and show that God can raise whomever he wants, whenever he wants. If time is only measured unto man, there is no difference between waiting 4 days and waiting two hundred years. It isn’t any more difficult or “impossible” for God to raise someone up whose body has completely decomposed than someone who just expired a few hours ago. God speaks and the elements obey.
We will cover some of this in the next episode, but here are a couple key scriptures.
The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect [having all that is requisite to its nature and kind] form [that manner of being peculiar to each body, which exhibits it to the eye as distinct from every other body], both limb and joint shall be restored [to return to a person that which has been lost] to its proper [peculiar, naturally or essentially belonging to a person, one’s own.] frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt.
44 Now this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, …and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost, but everything shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ…
45 I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body.
It is requisite that all things should be restored to their proper [belonging to a person] order…the soul of man should be restored to its body, and that every part of the body should be restored to itself.
I don’t see how the concept of being reborn into multiple different bodies doesn’t completely contradict Alma’s plain teaching. It is this body, as it is now, in its specific frame, that is restored to us. He reiterates that multiple times. It is this body that is raised to an immortal body. It is in this body that we stand before God to be judged.
I have trouble following your logic on this topic. I am personally open to the possibility of MMP without thinking God’s plan is stupid or inefficient. My impression of what I think you are saying our part in the plan of salvation is, is to live (now), die, and be raised from the dust in the millennium where we are taught the fulness of the gospel by true messengers, get 1000 years of practice until Satan is loosed for a season to give everyone a chance to be tested after they have a perfect knowledge, and then be judged and assigned a place in either heaven or hell. Am I correct? If that is the case, what is the point of living now? Why not just skip the “inefficient” part (now) and just breathe life into everyone in the millennium? I understand that some people might be so messed up now that they don’t really get a chance to live the 1000 years of bliss, so they have to take a crash course before judgment, but that’s okay. They should have been lucky enough to be killed as a young child instead of wasting these years of probation in ignorance and sin and missing the chance to really learn the gospel with the rest of humanity.
As for your precedent, I don’t see that as applicable. The cases you gave of people being raised from the dead were all people who had died VERY recently, and were restored to MORTALITY. The vision in Ezekiel 37 may or may not be a literal view of a temporal event. Ezekiel is told the dry bones are the house of Israel, which God will bring to life and gather. Lehi had a vision of an iron rod, floating building, and tree with white fruit; Jacob saw the latter-day servants working in an orchard. Visions aren’t always literal events, and I don’t see another witness from scripture to validate this literal interpretation, not that it can’t happen, but no second witness to confirm that it will.
For your final question about “flipping the question” to find proof of a person who lived previously and was returned to life as a baby, you can’t prove a negative. Not having affirmative proof of something (because we are speculating and don’t have a perfect understanding of either the plan or the scriptures) does not prove that it hasn’t happened. The Elijah/John scenario would be invisible too without the JST. Why discount it? How do people typically enter mortality? Can you think of a mortal who wasn’t born into that state? Could the identity of the angel Moroni (or is it Nephi?) be a similar situation? I certainly don’t know, but I won’t discount the possibility outright. We know that Nephi was invested in making sure his record was preserved for future generations. Can you imagine him asking for the chance to finish the job he started?
D&C 101:30-31 tells us that in the millennium “an infant shall not die until he is old; and his life shall be as the life of a tree; and when he dies he shall not sleep, that is to say in the earth, but shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye.” Where did the infant come from? Was it raised from the dust? It has a mortal body, capable of death, the only difference we see is that it will not be buried at death.
D&C 63:49-51 tells us about those who “overcome the world” and “die in the Lord”. “They shall rise from the dead [when the Lord shall come] and shall not die after”, however, “he that liveth when the Lord shall come, and hath kept the faith, blessed is he; nevertheless, it is appointed to him to die at the age of man. Wherefore, children shall grow up until they become old; old men shall die; but they shall not sleep in the dust, but they shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye.” Again, we have a group of people who are raised from the dead, and will not die, like you described, but these are only those who “die in the Lord from henceforth.” (in reference to the 1831 saints who were working to build up Zion – we know how that turned out, so most people don’t qualify for that model). Everyone else seems to be going about life as we know it, progressing from children to old men, and dying a mortal death. If this is the case, where are these spirits coming from? Are they just the lucky few who stayed in the back of the line so they could skip the fallen world and have their probation in the millennium?
I am not trying to hijack the comments, just being very plain about what I think you are saying and why my understanding of that doesn’t fill in the blanks for me. Feel free to clarify anything I am missing about your point. I simply don’t see that version as being superior to the idea that God can give people second (or more) chances in the telestial phase of this world to fill in some gaps in our experience, either as punishment by letting us reap the consequences we sowed in a previous life, or as an opportunity to bless others by living among them with a brighter spiritual light (patience, compassion, love) gained through previous experiences. Jesus gave his disciples the choice to continue serving in the flesh, doesn’t it make sense that some people might choose to return and keep working in the vineyard if they have a chance to request that once they return to Jesus as well?
The point of living now in this probationary state is a consequence of Adam’s rebellion in the garden. This is covered in Alma 12.
22 Now we see that Adam did fall by the partaking of the forbidden fruit, according to the word of God; and thus we see, that by his fall, all mankind became a lost and fallen people.
23 And now behold, I say unto you that if it had been possible for Adam to have partaken of the fruit of the tree of life at that time, there would have been no death, and the word would have been void, making God a liar, for he said: If thou eat thou shalt surely die.
26 And now behold, if it were possible that our first parents could have gone forth and partaken of the tree of life they would have been forever miserable, having no preparatory state; and thus the plan of redemption would have been frustrated, and the word of God would have been void, taking none effect.
27 But behold, it was not so; but it was appointed unto men that they must die; and after death, they must come to judgment, even that same judgment of which we have spoken, which is the end.
Death is arbitrary. It is unfair. It is cruel. God warned Adam that death would be a consequence of disobedience, yet Adam disobeyed and we all suffer as a consequence. God couldn’t protect us from the arbitrary, cruel, and unfair nature of death in this life, otherwise he would be liar. By disobeying God we have brought this mess upon ourselves. But he did have a plan to clean up the consequences.
I’m confused as to why I am expected to provide scriptural precedents, whereas asking the same of others is a logical fallacy. If nothing we believe needs a scriptural precedent, why study the scriptures at all?
What makes you believe that Joseph and the servants won’t be raised from the dead and returned to mortal bodies? I don’t believe that I have taught that they will return as resurrected beings…simply that they will be raised from the dead, restored to life to finish their mission, just as Timothy the brother of Nephi. The only problem I can see with the precedents I provided is when one thinks God can only raise people from the dead when they have died very recently.
Regarding babies in the Millennium, if Alma is correct, everyone who dies is restored to their respective body, which means that the baby that died at six months of age is restored to its 6-month-old body during the Millennium. They then “grow up without sin unto salvation.” Given infant mortality rates throughout history, there are going to be a lot of babies and small children restored during the Millennium. I personally believe this is one of the ways God will wipe away the tears during the Millennium: parents who lost children to premature death will have the opportunity to raise them during the Millennium, only this time without the fear of sickness and death.
I think that you are focusing too much on the materialism of this fallen world, MD. You say: “45 I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body.
It is requisite that all things should be restored to their proper [belonging to a person] order…the soul of man should be restored to its body, and that every part of the body should be restored to itself.
I don’t see how the concept of being reborn into multiple different bodies doesn’t completely contradict Alma’s plain teaching. It is this body, as it is now, in its specific frame, that is restored to us. He reiterates that multiple times. It is this body that is raised to an immortal body. It is in this body that we stand before God to be judged.”
Yes, sure this body upon death, because of the atonement is brought back into the presence of God to be judged. Thus, overcoming both physical and spiritual death. However, those who are filthy must suffer spiritual death and physical death again, because they rejected the atonement. No unclean thing can dwell in God’s so they are cast back out of his presence aka spiritual death. This second death is the same as the first death. What happened in the first death? Adam and Eve were cut off from God’s presence and told they would die. Furthermore, Paul says that God will destroy defiled temples aka defiled bodies. So the body doesn’t matter. It is simply a vessel in which we can learn and grow. Numerous times the disciples didn’t recognize Jesus at first why?
And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
I would suggest that it’s because he was in the process of attaining his celestial body which is in the image of the Father, as all celestial beings according to the Lectures on Faith. So, if you love this current body of yours so much great, God will let you keep having all the physical bodies you want but if you cling to your love of your current physical body and want it restored forever I think you’ll be sadly disappointed.
Another point I want to mention is the fact the scriptures in multiple places say that the wrath of God is experienced upon the earth:
These are they who suffer the wrath of God on earth.
How can this statement possibly be true if the wicked aren’t sent back to mortality? I know plenty of wicked people living the high life. Finally, I want to end by asking a question. Have you ever honestly considered the possibility of multiple probations? Or do you just reject it because you don’t want it to be true? I stumbled upon the idea in my studies of early mormonism and other religions so I wondered if there was some truth in the idea. I prayed to be led through the scriptures to see the truth. I studied and kept finding scripture after scripture hinting that there is truth in the idea. It obviously isn’t taught explicitly or people would procrastinate the day of their repentance. But it is indeed taught in the scriptures if you connect the dots. In fact I would say their is at least as much evidence if not more evidence of multiple probations than there is of Joseph needing to come back and finish his work.
Paul, I love ya man, but I have to push back.
First of all, there was a time many years ago that I embraced MMP because it seemed to address the problems with the traditional 3 degrees I had been taught. But MMP is not taught anywhere in the scriptures. If you never had the idea of MMP and you started reading the scriptures, that thought would never cross your mind. Someone has to artificially inject that idea, and then you can find ambiguous scriptures that could possibly allude to MMP. If this were a fundamental part of the plan of salvation, it would be clearly taught just as baptism, resurrection, and immortality are openly and repeatedly discussed. It’s not. It’s also dependent upon the flawed interpretation of the 3 degrees of glory the CJCLDS Inc has taught. As Mike mentioned, that interpretation incorrectly combines the judgment at the 2nd Coming with the final judgement at the end of the little season. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Garbage in, garbage out.
It wasn’t “my love of my current physical body” that made Alma write so explicitly about it being this body that is initially restored. Nor did I influence Amulek to teach:
Now, behold, I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided; thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal, that they can no more see corruption.
If our spirits are united with our bodies, never to be divided, doesn’t that remove any possibility of being placed into a different mortal body?
Maybe we need to take a step back. What do you think we are here in mortality to gain? Primary teaches we need a body, so we can be like God (He had one, we didn’t), but the fallen mortal bodies we gain here are not like God’s body. 2 Nephi 2:11, 15 tells us opposition is one of the purposes of life, without which we could not exercise agency and become righteous. The millennium does not seem to be a place for active exposure to evil, in which case a decent dose of it here in this stage of the timeline would be an opportunity for growth, not a curse. Telling parents they can raise children in the millennium might make them feel better about their loss, it might not be a real advantage to the children though, nor do I believe you can back up that position with scripture.
The LDS church teaches that being married and sealed into an eternal family is one of the prime purposes of this life. If you accept this as true, then MMP throws a huge monkey wrench in the system. However, having those parents around to collect and raise their perfect babies in a perfect society would make things easy to match things up at least (as long as the parents make it into the right place). It might not be so fun for the disabled 100 year old “restored mother” who is now responsible for one or more infants, even if she isn’t actually disabled anymore. Or for the abused spouse who would like nothing more than some quiet time alone without his/her “eternal” companion.
Here is my speculation on the topic, feel free to ignore it if you want to stick with verifiable truth:
Take away the eternal family aspect, and we have a situation where we might be able to get a lot of learning by exposure to a fallen world one or many times until out spirits have sufficient exposure to learn what they need in the “lab of life”. (I think this is the opportunity to live terrestrial principles in a telestial world, before we get a chance to live celestial principles in a terrestrial world.) As long as agency is involved, I think God will respect someone who wants to keep learning while the opportunity exists, or if their turn was cut short. Maybe some people won’t want more than the minimum chance, but other overachievers might see this short window of eternity as a prime opportunity for some accelerated lessons in charity, and want advanced courses. What is inefficient about that?
Unfortunately, some souls refuse to be softened no matter how many chances they are given. Whether rich or poor, they use their time here to oppress others and rise to positions of power to afflict others. They can’t advance until they accept responsibility for their own choices, and they never learn to do that. They will need to be held back until the end of the Millennium because they would only take advantage of others and wreck the system. But even they get one last chance, coming at a time when the earth has been at peace for 1000 years. No chance to blame other people or outside circumstances for their choices. This is how Satan is loosed. No one else gave Him power, this group will. Then is the last battle and they are cast off forever. There are no more chances to repent, they procrastinated until it was everlastingly too late. But they won’t be able to look back at all their chances and say if only things had been different they would have made it, they proved they couldn’t be saved under any circumstance. I still think that for the majority of people who don’t make the leap to living a portion of celestial glory in a telestial world, that the natural birth process is the means of obtaining a mortal body, which is subject to getting old and dying when their full life has been lived – at which time they will be “twinkled” into their next state of existence.
I think this would be a good time to have readers submit scriptures that teach why we are here. I invite everyone to respond here with a scripture.
I find it helpful to construct a timeline based on the scriptures. It has helped me shed some of the LDS indoctrination.
JST Genesis 1:26 ¶ And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
On the 6th day of creation, God creates man in His likeness and image. He immediately tells them to be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth. There’s no question about whether we are to come to earth or not.
JST Genesis 2:5 For I, the LORD God, created all things of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth; for I, the LORD God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth.
6 And I, the LORD God, had created all the children of men and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them, and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air;
God has already created man, but has yet to create them naturally upon the earth. He has created them spiritually first. He’s about to create them of flesh. So the timeline indicates the creation of man on the 6th day was spiritual. After the 7th day of rest, God creates man in the flesh.
It’s in Moses that we learn about God naming man:
Moses 1:34 And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.
The first man in the flesh God creates on an earth He calls Adam. There are many who are called Adam (kind of hard for all of these men to be Michael the Archangel).
JST Genesis 7:40 And in the garden of Eden gave I unto man his agency; and unto thy brethren have I said, and also gave commandment, that they should love one another and that they should choose me their Father.
God gave man agency in the Garden of Eden, well after the first 6 days of creation. He gave us a commandment to love one another and choose Him.
So God created man both spiritually and physically to be fruitful and replenish the earth, to love one another and to choose Him. There’s no question about whether we, as spirits, got to choose if we wanted to come to earth or not. It’s was God’s decision because that is why He created us. Our decision, our agency, is in choosing to follow God or not.
Why did God bother to create us? That’s also found in Moses:
Moses 1:39 For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
God created us so that we can be immortal and have eternal life. He wants us to be with Him.
God gives us agency and has us experience the good and the bad for His purposes. He wants us to be with Him by our choice. He wants us to have successfully gone through this probation.
JST Genesis 6: 57 And the LORD spake unto Adam, saying, Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so, when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts; and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.
58 And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore, they are agents unto themselves.
59 And I have given unto you another law and commandment; wherefore, teach it unto your children that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in no wise inherit the kingdom of God.
60 For no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name; and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.
61 Therefore, I give unto you a commandment to teach these things freely unto your children, saying that by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death; and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so become of dust a living soul,
62 Even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten, that ye may be sanctified from all sin and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory.
63 For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified; and by the blood ye are sanctified.
64 Therefore, it is given to abide in you the record of heaven, the Comforter, the peaceable things of immortal glory, the truth of all things, that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things, that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.
65 And now, behold, I say unto you, This is the plan of salvation unto all men through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.
66 And behold, all things have their likeness; and all things are created and made to bear record of me: both things which are temporal and things which are spiritual, things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath; all things bear record of me.
Right from the beginning, God wants man to experience the difference between good and evil. He wants man to choose good. If we do, we get eternal life and can dwell in His presence.
The reason we come to earth is because it is God’s will and God’s plan. Throughout the rest of the scriptures you’ll find this same theme hammered over and over again. We are here to exercise the agency God gave us to choose good or evil. It’s what God wants for those who will ultimately live in His kingdom, in His presence.
Answering Mike’s question above and also Renae and MD’s about the point of life:
24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God (Michael = one that was like unto God), and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;
25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God (the Father) shall command them;
26 And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.
27 And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man (Christ): Here am I, send me. And another (Satan) answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord (the Father) said: I will send the first.
28 And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him.
Going back to multiple probations not being explicitly taught, there are many things not explicitly taught in the BOM for example, that are only taught in the D&C or P of GP. I think this is for a reason. For example the three kingdoms are nowhere mentioned in the BOM, because it wasn’t really relevant to the audience being addressed in the BOM. The point is to get people to accept the simple gospel of Christ and to live it. That is the point of this current and all other mortalities. So, I appreciate the pushback, I simply wanted to remind you to not limit God in how He will bring forth the servants. But for now and for most people it’s not necessarily that important the more important thing is to recognize the servants and help them in establishing Zion.
And Mike you beat me to my favorite passages for explaining the Gospel also thanks for pointing out the differences between the D&C and BOC above that’s quite fascinating how big the change is, I’ll have to ponder that one. I really think Moses 6 is the most beautiful summation of the Gospel ever written!
One question I was thinking about last night though that I’ll throw out to everyone as it is in the next podcast I assume. It says in Alma 11:45 that:
45 Now, behold, I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided; thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal, that they can no more see corruption.
Notice that this current mortal body is restored to it’s perfect from first in order to be judged in the previous verses. And then this mortal body is raised to an immortal body that can no longer see corruption. Can this definition of no longer having corruption really apply to those who only are worthy of the Telestial kingdom? And if not what does this imply?
I’d be very careful about relying on the latter sections of the Book of Abraham when it introduces novel doctrine. I’ve researched it and up to Abraham 2:19 or so (maybe a few more verses) are recorded as being translated by Joseph Smith around 1835. The rest of it has no historical documentation, appearing for the first time when it was published in 1841, if I recall. That’s a questionable time for receiving new doctrines from Joseph. We can see there’s a problem with it by the fact that Abraham reverses the order of when Eve was removed from Adam. When choosing between the two, I take the JST of the Bible and its ordering over the account in Abraham.
That passage you quoted as read that way contradicts multiple scriptures. God repeatedly tells us that we are the works of His own hands. No other being created us. In fact, all of creation is done by His own hands. Find anywhere else in the scriptures to support the idea that God employed others to create anything at all. I’d be interested if you can find it.
Verse 27 also makes no sense, as Christ (God) was always going to atone for our sins. It was never a question God had in His mind. He never held open that task for any other being. That passage is very similar to Isaiah’s prophetic calling, so it would seem it’s related to something else.
Answering Mike Below,
I see your point, in that yes God is in all things. Notice section 93 says the elements are the tabernacle of God. However, if intelligences aren’t separate from God, then what’s the point of mortality? Isn’t the celestial glory becoming one with God? So why would we need to become one with Him if you are saying everything is part of God already? As to Michael seemingly in the book of Abraham he simply seems to be conducting the meeting on behalf of the Father, and then Christ is chosen. Yes, Christ was always chosen but I think God was giving the council agency to validate what he had already chosen. God can destroy a body by simply atomizing it. The elements it is made of are still there. Matter can’t be created and destroyed even in our current understanding of physics. It can be converted into energy or other forms however. So God created our spiritual bodies, and our physical reality in which we can grow, but not our preexisting intelligences. I also think the King Follet sermon was corrupted purposely by Brigham Young, but that there is some truth in it, including the prexistence of the intelligences. Again is this belief necessary for salvation? I don’t think so per se. Creation ex nihilo is a Catholic doctrine that I always thought was crap anyways. I see the section 93 and 88 description of light being everywhere and preexisting with God to be what really happened. “Light” as described is energy that can be converted into physical matter as needed by and omnipotent omnipresent God.
I think we are breaking the comment section!
So the way I see it is D&C 93:36 gives us the definition of “intelligence”
“The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.”
I don’t view it as an eternal raw material that God found and then formed us from. Rather, God gave us some of His glory, we are created from His light and truth. Go back to verse 30:
“All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.”
God takes of His glory, places it in it’s own independent sphere – thus coming into existence, which allows it to act for itself. 1828 Websters “sphere” I think definition 6 applies here:
“Circuit of action, knowledge or influence; compass; province; employment. Every man has his particular sphere of action, in which it should be his ambition to excel. Events of this kind have repeatedly fallen within the sphere of my knowledge. This man treats of matters not within his sphere”
As you read through Section 93, look at all the terms, as they are defined and equated. They all come back to God. They are all part of Him. He’s telling us that we all are part of Him, created by Him and from Him. He placed part of His glory, in other words intelligence, into it’s own sphere to act for itself, that’s the nature of our creation. That is why we all have the potential to return to our divine, celestial nature. But because He gave us agency, some will choose another path.
I agree with creation ex nihilo being false. What 93 teaches is that creation is not made out of nothing, but it is all made by God and out of God.
I continue to disagree with the account in Abraham as interpreted by the LDS. My view of Christ is not that He is a member of the Divine Council. He is God. He is in the bosom of the Father. He shares the same mind as the Father. When God manifests Himself as a personage of Spirit, He is called the Father. When God manifests Himself as a personage of Tabernacle, He is called the Son. The account in Abraham is incorrectly interpreted as a vote or election of the Savior. Only God Himself could come down in a tabernacle of flesh and make the infinite and eternal atonement for mankind. Why was He called the Son when He did this? Because He was in a personage of tabernacle. The events as the LDS interpret them in the Book of Abraham simply never happened.
Yea, it looks like we did break the comments!
I see your view, and I don’t see our views necessarily being that different from each other. I personally think section 93 is one of the most profound and important revelations given. I assume our slight disagreement is one of the things that will be explained when the servants return. Which I hope will be shortly.
Just to throw something out related to “bodies”. There are a lot of definitions of body in Webster’s 1828 dictionary. We tend to assume that the bodies we are talking about here are individual bodies assigned to individual intelligences/spirits. However, many of the definitions are plural in nature such as:
5. A collective mass; a number of individuals or particulars united; as the body of mankind. Christians united or the Church is called the body of which each Christian is a member, and Christ the head. 1 Corinthians 12:12.27.
6. The main army, in distinction from the wings, van or rear. Also, any number of forces under one commander.
7. A corporation; a number of men, united by a common tie, by one form of government, or by occupation; as the legislative body; the body of the clergy; body corporate; body politic.
Now look at 2 Nephi 9:12-15. In verse 12 we read about the dead, the captive spirits, and the captive bodies. However, in verse 13 where the spirits in paradise are mentioned, we read about the spirits of the righteous, and the body of the righteous. Why are the spirits in hell restored to their bodies, yet the spirits in paradise are restored to the body of the righteous.
At baptism, don’t we become part of the body of Christ? I think it would be a mistake to read every instance of “mortal body” as proof positive that we have a specific group of cells that will be returned to us in a recognizable fashion.
This takes me back to the original question of the purpose of life: 2 Nephi seems to spell out the plan that we would be placed in a state where opposition could be experienced and learned from. God created things to act, and things to be acted upon (v.14). Man cannot act for himself without being enticed by one thing or another (or one plan or another). Satan was correct that to partake of the tree would enable Adam and Eve to KNOW good and evil. Verse 21 tells us part of the reason for our current state of mortality, “that they might repent while in the flesh”. Sometimes it takes awhile, days, years, or generations for the fruit of sin to be recognized as bitter, at which time it can be repented of by a person who has gained wisdom. This would be too little, too late, without the redemption of Christ. “And because they are redeemed from the fall they have become FREE FOREVER, KNOWING GOOD FROM EVIL TO ACT FOR THEMSELVES AND NOT TO BE ACTED UPON, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.” (v. 26)
At this point, we are in a state where we can really choose between opposites, liberty and eternal life, or captivity and death. (v. 27) It may not be necessary, as MD presents, for a person to need more than one mortal experience in order to understand all that life has to teach us. We can learn from others, especially when we are united in one body and purpose, when we mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort. However, it might require more than one mortality for people to individually come to repentance so they can proceed along the path to eternal life as part of the body of the righteous (repentant).
I think this description of the purpose of life (repentance) is consistent with Alma 12 and Moses 6:55-56: “And the Lord spake unto Adam, saying: Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter that they may know to prize the good. And it is given unto the to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves”.
Mike, I understand the concern about the second half of Abraham, but I believe that the doctrine within the book is essential and true. Furthermore, if you read section 93 it says that:
29 Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.
30 All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.
31 Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.
32 And every man whose spirit receiveth not the alight is under condemnation.
33 For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy;
34 And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.
35 The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple.
Notice intelligence and the elements were with God in the beginning and can neither be created nor destroyed. In Moses we learn God created our spiritual bodies. So there seems to be a distinction between pure intelligence, spiritual bodies, and tabernacles of element. Spirit and element inseparably connected = fullness of joy = celestial glory. What if we defile our temple/tabernacle? God destroys it implying we will need to get a new one.
I also agree with you Renae, not everyone needs more than one probation, but I would suggest that most spirits do. Because in order to enter the celestial glory you need to receive the full baptism as descried in Moses 6. The fullness hasn’t been on the earth for most of the last 6000 years, meaning people can only qualify for terrestrial and telestial glory currently. I think this is why the old testament and the BOM don’t mention kingdoms of glory, because before Christ’s atonement there wasn’t an opportunity to enter the celestial glory for most people.
If the doctrines introduced in Abraham are true, then is anyone able to find a second witness that God is not the creator of everything? Can anyone find any scripture that states Michael the Archangel, if that’s who you assume it refers to, is the creator? It’s these types of false teachings that lead one man down the path that Adam was God…
Also, if spirit and element are required for celestial glory, where does that leave God? There’s more going on in D&C 93 than what we read on the surface.
In verse 33, it says the elements are eternal. Look up the definition of element in the 1828 Websters. Compare those definitions to what we understand about elements today and none of them appear eternal. But there is a solution to what the meaning of ‘eternal’ is in that passage that makes much more sense:
JST 7:49 Behold, I am God; Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name also. Wherefore, I can stretch forth my hands and hold all the creations which I have made, and mine eye can pierce them also.
(Hey, look at that, who made all the creations?) One of the names of God is Endless and Eternal. If that is the sense being used in D&C 93 it makes a lot more sense.
When God speaks about the light of truth not able to be created or made, it creates a problem if you think that is a separate and distinct thing from God. God is the only uncreated being. He has always existed. Now, you are putting something else as being uncreated and always existing, something co-equal with God. Well, the simple solution to all of this is to understand that these are parts and aspects to God Himself. That’s what He is describing. It’s not a separate thing from God, that God is co-eternal with intelligence, light of truth, or the elements. Rather, those are all parts of God. He controls them and He has power over them.
This approach makes verse 35 true. All of this is subservient to God and part of God. It’s all under His power and control. If not, then God’s a liar in verse 35 when He says He will destroy those tabernacles (elements) that you say He just said could not be created or destroyed.
Once you shift to this perspective, you can continue to see God as omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.
I enjoyed your discussion on the mortal sojourn of the Savior. You should all watch “The Chosen” if you haven’t yet. So beautifully done, and such a human view of Jesus and the apostles. Watch it!