Iron Rod 077 – Alma 13-16
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Alma teaches about the high priesthood of the holy order of God, makes a seemingly cryptic reference to a preparatory redemption, and prophesies that the people of Amonihah will perish if they don’t repent. The don’t repent, and after they kill the innocent women and children that believe Alma’s teachings, they themselves are destroyed by a Lamanite attack.

Acts 2:22-24

Abraham 2:8

D&C 130:7

Moses 6:57

Isaiah 6

Ether 3:13

Moroni 7:31-32

2 Peter 3:15-17

Alma 17:4

Helaman 3:9

Alma 22:7

Alma 16:13

Isaiah 66:7-8

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39 comments on “Iron Rod 077 – Alma 13-16

  1. Jonny May 25, 2020

    Abraham 3 indicates that intelligences, future mortals like the man Abraham, existed before the creation of the Earth. They were “good”, meaning that they were still souls/spirits without corruptible bodies (Matt 19, etc.). Were those spirits free to follow either Christ or Satan, the former receiving mortal bodies and the later not? It seems yes, which means agency/freedom existed before the Garden. Having chosen, Adam and Eve possessed immortal/incorruptible bodies before the fall. They were given commandments, thus setting up the situation in which they could once more exercise their freedom. Maybe by giving commandments/options to obey or not, God gave man the ability to make a choice, thus “giving” him agency.

    • Abraham 1:1 through Abraham 2:18 was published in 1835. Everything from 2:19 to the end was first published in 1842 and has no earlier surviving manuscripts. 1842 is a dangerous time from which to pluck new doctrines. This second half of the Book of Abraham has many contradictions to the previously revealed scriptures. The Lord has promised us that by mouth of two or three witnesses will every word be established. I’m not aware of a second witness claiming that we had agency before the Garden. Moses 7:32 explicitly states that God gave us our agency in the Garden. I don’t know how to reconcile the CoJCoLDS(tm) teaching of the pre-existence and with Moses 7:32. I have chosen to reject the non-scriptural teachings and stick with the word of God revealed during the fullness.

      • Jonny May 27, 2020

        Well, well, well. What an interesting discussion has erupted! Thank you all, as this is really useful. I hope I will be open to correction when valid. Most of my comments are in response to the first replies by MD and Mike.

        I may have been imprecise in my above timeline. Genesis, Moses, and that pesky book of Abraham all recount a spiritual and physical creation. Moses 3:5 is illustrative, describing a spiritual creation (apparently more than just a blueprint) of ALL things in which all the children of men were created in heaven. It is unclear to me if the heaven and earth existed prior to the first day, or how long that was if time existed at that point. Regardless, the spiritual creation of all things pertaining to the heaven and earth preceded their corresponding physical creations, then came physical man, then the garden. Two creations; two opportunities to decide or act.

        Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines agency as “[t]he quality of moving or of exerting power; the state of being in action …”. D&C 29:35 indicates we are agents when we have commandments, or options from which to choose. D&C 29:39 emphasizes opposition for agency to exists, again choices. D&C 101:78 underscores that our moral agency is the ability to act, and of course be accountable for those actions.

        The term “day” can refer to many different time frames: 24 hours, 12 hours, all six days of creation, or an indeterminate era. The “day” of Moses 7:32 appears to be related to the receipt of knowledge, which could be the spiritual 6th day of creation, or the physical first day of creation (noting that the order of physical creation is upended), or the epoch during which man generally was created.

        D&C 93:29-33 has much to unpack, including the possibility of eternal spirit and matter, but seems clear that man was in the beginning (spiritual creation) with god. Satan and the agency of man are interconnected. D&C 29:36 indicates that the devil existed before Adam (fleshy Michael), became the devil because he sought to deprive man of agency, and turned away from god a third of the hosts of heaven-seemingly also before Adam-because they had agency while in the spirit. God would not allow Satan to deprive the hosts of their agency (Moses 4:3), so it must have been in tact for them to make use of it. Moses 4:3 omits any reference to the garden, so it could logically refer to agency prior to the garden. This stance relies on angels, whether of god or of the devil, being some phase of man.

        • I agree that the discussion has been useful…and I think we set a record for the number of comments in one day!

          Since you brought up D&C 29:36, I’ll take this opportunity to point out another false doctrine we have inherited. The LDS Church teaches us that we all made a choice in the pre-existance to either follow Satan or follow Christ. We are taught that one-third of us chose to follow Satan and forfeited their right to come to earth and get a body. D&C 29:36 proves this false.

          D&C 29:36-38
          And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil—for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, “Give me thine honor, which is my power;” and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency; and they were thrust down, and thus came the devil and his angels; and, behold, there is a place prepared for them from the beginning, which place is hell.

          This highlighted bit would seem to prove the LDS Church’s point, but it actually undermines it. Who are the hosts of heaven?

          D&C 38:11-12
          For all flesh is corrupted before me; and the powers of darkness prevail upon the earth among the children of men, in the presence of all the hosts of heaven—-which causeth silence to reign, and all eternity is pained, and the angels are waiting the great command to reap down the earth, to gather the tares that they may be burned; and, behold, the enemy is combined.

          Here the children of men are a distinct group, different than the hosts of heaven.

          D&C 84:42
          And wo unto all those who come not unto this priesthood which ye have received, which I now confirm upon you who are present this day, by mine own voice out of the heavens; and even I have given the heavenly hosts and mine angels charge concerning you.

          Here, again, the heavenly hosts seem to be a distinct group that have charge over humans.

          In the Old Testament, the host of heaven are the false gods that are worshipped, not pre-mortal humans.
          2 Chronicles 33:3-5
          For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. Also he built altars in the house of the Lord, whereof the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever.” And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord.

          At the tower of Babel, God divided up the nations and turned them over to the host of heaven to rule, whereas he kept Israel for himself to rule.
          Deuteronomy 4:19-20
          And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven. But the Lord hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.

          These hosts of heaven are the elohim that rebel in Psalms 82. Other scriptures also link the host of heaven to the false worship of the sun, moon, and other false gods:
          Jeremiah 8:2
          And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth.

          Deuteronomy 17:2-5
          If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the Lord thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the Lord thy God, in transgressing his covenant, and hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;and it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and inquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel: Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

          Even in the New Testament this is taught:
          Acts 7:37-43
          This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, “A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.” This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: to whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, saying unto Aaron, “Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.” And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.

          The host of heaven with agency in D&C 29:36 are not pre-mortal humans. These are the spirit beings (elohim) that served God prior to the creation of man. I refer you to Michael Heiser for further details. One third of them rose up in rebellion and followed Satan. Nowhere in the scriptures can I find a verse that links humans with the hosts of heaven. That false teaching is an iron yoke upon our necks, a non-scriptural creed of our fathers that keeps us in darkness and leads us astray.

          • One additional thought. These hosts of heaven are often called elohim in the Old Testament. That often gets translated as “gods”. These gods had agency before the Garden. When Satan is tempting Eve, he tells her, “your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” These elohim, the host of heaven or the gods, already knew good and evil because they had their agency. Humans did not have agency until the Garden, and did not know good and evil until partaking of the fruit.

            • I agree with you MD, but the interesting question to consider then, is how did the hosts of heaven gain their agency and exercise it? I have often wondered about this. Not that it matters much to our salvation. But it is interesting to ponder nevertheless. I think it is useful however, to keep in mind that evil exists and has an active agenda. The world teaches that morals are relative and there is no God and there is no devil. I have always liked the Zoroastrian concept of every choice we make being part of the cosmic struggle between good and evil. Everything we do in life tips the scales either towards the forces of darkness or towards the forces of light.

    • The latter part of the Book of Abraham is a great stumbling block for the LDS and those who have been indoctrinated to believe the LDS interpretation of it. It’s contrary to the scriptures to believe that future mortals existed prior to the creation of the earth. You’d have to presume that there exist beings who are not man, who have come to this earth as part of God’s plan. And rather than being man, they are those pre-existential beings who God chose to be high priests. But there’s nowhere in the scriptures that confirms the LDS pre-mortal doctrine.

      The idea that intelligences who God created with the intent to come to earth existed prior to the creation fails this test:

      JST Genesis 7:39 The LORD said unto Enoch, Behold, these thy brethren, they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their intelligence in the day that I created them.

      Enoch is clearly one of the high priests who was chosen by God’s foreknowledge. The people on earth are his brethren, they are not a different creation from Enoch. Note what God tells him about giving us our intelligence. It’s on the DAY that God created them. There were no “days” in the pre-existence. The first day is when the earth was created. Man’s spirits were created on the 6th day. That’s the day He gave us our intelligence (refer also to D&C 93). It’s impossible for our spirits to have pre-existed creation. This pre-existence doctrine is false.

      Of course, having been created on the 6th day, we did exist as spirits for a while before coming to earth. But we do not pre-date the creation.

      Likewise, there is no scriptural support for the novel claim in Abraham that we had to make a choice in the pre-existence. Contrary to the LDS interpretation of Abraham, Satan came to God with his plan AFTER Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden and had been given their agency:

      JST Genesis 3:2 And he came before me, saying, Behold I; send me. I will be thy Son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost; and surely I will do it. Wherefore, give me thine honor.
      3 But behold, my beloved Son, which was my beloved and chosen from the beginning, said unto me, Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.
      4 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the LORD God, had given him, and also that I should give unto him mine own power, by the power of mine Only Begotten I caused that he should be cast down; and he became Satan,

      Satan sought to do this AFTER God had given man his agency. The language is very clear, it isn’t agency God was going to give to man, but which had already been given. The account of agency being given is in JST Genesis 7:40 and JST Genesis 2:21, in the Garden of Eden.

      The JST of Genesis paints a clear, consistent picture with the rest of the scriptures. Follow the timeline of events and it all makes sense. The LDS interpretation of Abraham creates an entirely different picture without support in the rest of the scriptures.

      • Ranae May 26, 2020

        How could Cain have been Perdition from before the world, if he did not have some kind of previous sphere of agency? (Moses 5:24) Are you saying that God created Cain specifically to bring secret combinations into the world? If there was a spiritual creation before the temporal creation, yet we had no ability to choose until given one, singular mortal body, then logic would imply that those who do evil are doing so as a result of their spiritual blueprint while those who do good are doing so for the same reason. Hence, not really agency at all.

        Maybe there is a middle ground, something that happens in utero.
        “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” (Psalms 58:3)
        “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jer. 1:5)
        “The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.” (Isa.49:1)

        Even Isaiah 48 can be read as talking to a whole nation about their premortal nature. “Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah…” (Is this referring to baptism, or the water that flows at birth?)
        “I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass.” (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “And God said, let there be…”)
        “I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed it thee.”
        “For I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and was called a transgressor from the womb.”

        If the purpose of this life is repentance, then it makes sense that there are spirits here who were transgressors from the womb. What doesn’t make sense from the no agency view is how they came to be so. If someone can be a transgressor from the womb, doesn’t it also make sense that some could be righteous from the womb, having chosen good, and their purpose in being here would be to bring the message of salvation to everyone else so that they can repent, and all can enjoy the promised rewards? That appears to be Alma’s message, along with the idea that if you choose to repent, you can also have the privilege of working with God to bring souls unto repentance and salvation.

        • I don’t believe the scriptures say that about Cain.

          JST Genesis 5:10
          Thou shalt be called Perdition, for thou wast also before the world; and it shall be said in time to come that these abominations were had from Cain, for he rejected the greater counsel which was had from God; and this is a cursing which I will put upon thee, except thou repent.

          Doing a word search on “before the world” may reveal what the meaning is from its use throughout the scriptures.

          John 5:17
          And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
          2 Timothy 2:9
          9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
          Titus 1:2
          In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
          3 Nephi 26:5
          If they be good, to the resurrection of everlasting life; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of damnation; being on a parallel, the one on the one hand and the other on the other hand, according to the mercy, and the justice, and the holiness which is in Christ, who was before the world began.
          D&C 38:1
          Thus saith the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ, the Great I AM, Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the same which looked upon the wide expanse of eternity, and all the seraphic hosts of heaven, before the world was made
          D&C 49:17
          And that it might be filled with the measure of man, according to his creation before the world was made.
          D&C 76:13
          Even those things which were from the beginning before the world was, which were ordained of the Father, through his Only Begotten Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, even from the beginning
          D&C 93:7
          And he bore record, saying: I saw his glory, that he was in the beginning, before the world was;
          D&C 124:38
          For, for this cause I commanded Moses that he should build a tabernacle, that they should bear it with them in the wilderness, and to build a house in the land of promise, that those ordinances might be revealed which had been hid from before the world was.

          Let’s even throw in the controversial Abraham:
          Abraham 3:22
          Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;

          There is an additional word on all of these passages to indicate that the phrase “before the world” has to do with a chronology. That word is either “was” or “began”. But JST Genesis 5:10 does not have either of those words. Is it possible there is another meaning to the phrase when it doesn’t have additional words indicating a chronology?

          Yes, there are additional passages that show up in the “before the world” key word search:

          D&C 19:28
          And again, I command thee that thou shalt pray vocally as well as in thy heart; yea, before the world as well as in secret, in public as well as in private.

          This passage uses the phrase as a synonym for in public. To be before the world is to be done out in the open, for all to see. This isn’t the only passage that uses the phrase in this manner. It shows up throughout the D&C, in contemporaneous revelations given to Joseph Smith when he was completing the translation of the Bible.

          D&C 21:12
          And the first preacher of this church unto the church, and before the world, yea, before the Gentiles; yea, and thus saith the Lord God, lo, lo! to the Jews also. Amen.
          D&C 23:2
          Make known thy calling unto the church, and also before the world, and thy heart shall be opened to preach the truth from henceforth and forever. Amen.
          D&C 23:4
          Behold, I speak a few words unto you, Samuel; for thou also art under no condemnation, and thy calling is to exhortation, and to strengthen the church; and thou art not as yet called to preach before the world. Amen.
          D&C 23:6
          Behold, I manifest unto you, Joseph Knight, by these words, that you must take up your cross, in the which you must pray vocally before the world as well as in secret, and in your family, and among your friends, and in all places.
          D&C 24:10
          And thy brother Oliver shall continue in bearing my name before the world, and also to the church. And he shall not suppose that he can say enough in my cause; and lo, I am with him to the end.
          D&C 30:4
          And your home shall be at your father’s house, until I give unto you further commandments. And you shall attend to the ministry in the church, and before the world, and in the regions round about. Amen.
          D&C 42:89
          And if he or she confess not thou shalt deliver him or her up unto the church, not to the members, but to the elders. And it shall be done in a meeting, and that not before the world.
          D&C 46:3
          Nevertheless ye are commanded never to cast any one out from your public meetings, which are held before the world.
          D&C 84:73
          But a commandment I give unto them, that they shall not boast themselves of these things, neither speak them before the world; for these things are given unto you for your profit and for salvation.
          D&C 124:18
          And again, I say unto you that it is my will that my servant Lyman Wight should continue in preaching for Zion, in the spirit of meekness, confessing me before the world; and I will bear him up as on eagles’ wings; and he shall beget glory and honor to himself and unto my name.

          Every single one of these examples where the phrase shows up without that extra word indicating chronology it means “in public”, for all to see. In fact, it absolutely CANNOT mean before the earth existed or was created.

          So how does this affect JST Genesis 5:10? If the meaning is “in public” or “for the whole world to see” it would be as follows:
          Thou shalt be called Perdition, for thou wast also [in public or an example for the world to see]; and it shall be said in time to come that these abominations were had from Cain, for he rejected the greater counsel which was had from God; and this is a cursing which I will put upon thee, except thou repent.

          Next, does this usage fit within the context of the whole passage? Reading in JST Genesis 5:9
          And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? Why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, thou shalt be accepted; and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door; and Satan desireth to have thee; and except thou shalt hearken unto my commandments, I will deliver thee up, and it shall be unto thee according to his desire; and thou shalt rule over him, for from this time forth thou shalt be the father of his lies.

          If Cain had already made a choice to be Perdition and follow Satan in a pre-existence, then God is not being honest with Cain. God would know that Cain had already made his bed and was destined to lie in it. Yet God is not telling Cain that. God is telling Cain about what will come in the future: “shalt be called…”, “in time to come…”, “I will put upon thee…”. It’s not a past condition. Cain has not already made a decision before this mortal probation.

          I also see God twisting the secret works and oaths Cain was making with Satan by using the phrase “before the world”. Cain’s works of darkness would not remain hidden from the world, but would be laid bare before the world.

          Finally, in full disclosure, there is one passage that does not have the extra word that could go either way:
          1 Cornithians 2:6-8
          Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
          But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
          Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

          (BTW, this is one of the Divine Council passages in Dr. Heiser’s work.) Even within context, it could go either way: the hidden wisdom was kept secret from before the world was so those other divine beings would not know of God’s plans, or the hidden wisdom was to be ordained in public unto the glory of those proclaiming the great atonement of Christ.

          While this one can go either way, the passage in JST Genesis really cannot. It doesn’t support the idea that Cain had failed a test in a pre-existence.

          • Ranae May 26, 2020

            I appreciate the point about dual meaning of “before the world”. Now that you mention it, I suppose it could mean either thing in the case of Cain. “Wast” is past tense of is/am/are/was/were/be/being/been, and as you mention “before the world could mean either pre-mortal or in public. Then the question becomes whether or not Cain’s sin was publicly known. At this point in the text Cain has not yet killed Abel. He simply loves Satan more than God and is taking instructions from Satan. So what does the “before the world” refer to in the past tense? What has he done publicly? He hasn’t even received the secret plans of murder for gain yet.

            I have never thought that Cain failed a premortal test, Perdition was simply a description of what/who he was. If Cain were a lost soul, leaning his heart toward Satan, this life was a time for him to choose God or return to where he came from. That’s one of the great things about not remembering our previous existence, we are not limited to what we might have been. At the point repentance is preached we are free to choose life or death. God gave Cain sufficient warning, and he ignored it, sealing his fate.

            • I’m sorry, but the only way to think the phrase is ambiguous in the case of Cain is to think that God is a liar. That doesn’t work for me. God was honest with Cain because Cain was just like any one of us. He was not made to be wicked, he chose to do so as a result of having agency. God did not make him that way.

              The tense issue is being made more difficult than it needs to be. He’s referring to how Cain will be known in the future, and in the future it will be because what he did was made known to the world, it was laid bare before the world. We have that information in the Bible. Thus, from the future perspective, we look back on the past and see what Cain did, he couldn’t keep it hidden. What he did was in this probation, the only probation that we have. There’s no support for any pre-mortal probation or for the idea that God made some of us inequal and incapable of following Him.

              • Ranae May 26, 2020

                I am not sure why the default position is “agree with me or you are saying God is a liar”. Is it possible that people can have different perspectives, neither of which are with perfect clarity about something we don’t know firsthand?

                “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (1 Cor. 13:9-13)

                If you see me or anyone else promoting positions that undermine faith, hope, or charity, please call me out on it. But defending the comment section against speculation, based on someone’s current understanding of the scriptures is not charitable. I am happy to disagree all day, but take offense at statements such as, “the only way to think … is to think that God is a liar.” That is not true, and is liable to make people feel attacked for sharing their personal viewpoints, right or wrong.

                I believe that God’s ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts. So I search the scriptures and use reason and a knowledge of God’s attributes to run through scenarios that might help me understand the balance of justice and mercy in bringing about the salvation of everyone. Am I wrong much of the time? Probably. That’s why I like coming here and sharing thoughts with the rest of you so that I can continue to expand my viewpoint, and correct ideas that are obviously contrary to scripture. In the end, though, I don’t care so much about being right as I care about increasing in faith and love toward Jesus Christ. If a belief in MMP or different categories of spirits coexisting in this mortal probation helps me do that I am content to keep looking in that direction for the time being, until I have teachers with a perfect understanding to expound the true meaning of the scriptures.

                Having said that, Mike, I love our debates. My offense is less for myself than fear that other less vocal contributors might hesitate to jump into the comments because they aren’t as solid in their opinions as some of the “regular” commenters. I wish we had MORE voices chiming into our weekly discussions instead of less. I have learned so much from everyone here. Thank you!

                • Hi Ranae,

                  I too appreciate the discussions and I’m sorry if I came across as “my way or the highway”. I was raised LDS, so I’ve been wrong far more often then I’ve been right and I’m probably still getting a lot of things wrong. I enjoy having ideas challenged and having to search the scriptures for the truth.

                  Some of us are (ok, I am) exuberant when we think we’ve found a truth in the scriptures that have escaped us due to our LDS upbringing. My enthusiasm is in sharing what I’ve found and shedding the false doctrines. Much of it needs refining, and that’s part of the back-and-forth. I welcome other viewpoints and pointing out if I’m being too convinced rather than being convincing.

                  The reason I said what I did was when you put the passage about Cain in context, I can’t see how Cain had previous agency, before the world was and had become Perdition there. How could Cain already be Perdition when God told him if he chose Satan, then in the future, he would be called Perdition?

                  God is telling Cain what his future holds if he follows the path he is on. I can’t find where God created Cain to be Perdition, nor to bring secret combinations into the world. Cain became a public example to all of us of what NOT to do.

                  I think you brought up Cain into the discussion to counter what I find in the scriptures stating that God gave man agency in the Garden of Eden. I think that I have shown that the passage does not indicate that Cain had agency prior to Adam being placed in the Garden of Eden. How do you reconcile JST Genesis 7:40 with JST Genesis 5:10, knowing that the phrase “before the world” means “in public”?

                  • Ranae May 26, 2020

                    That’s a good question. I don’t think I am arguing with the idea that God gave man his agency in the garden, but where was Cain between Adam’s garden experience and his own fall? Where were you between the garden and your birth? Did we see the plan take place and question the wisdom of coming here? I don’t know. Why are people so different from each other? What draws a person to the light vs. the dark?

                    Another option related to Cain might do with “God’s course is one eternal round”. Have you looked into the parable of the potter’s clay? (Jer. 18:6) Jeremiah is told to go watch the potter create a vessel out of the clay. The vessel was marred, so he made it again. My understanding is that if a batch of clay just won’t respond, it can be thrown back into the pit for another attempt at a later time in a new batch of clay. However, once a pot is fired in the kiln, it cannot be reworked, it can only be broken and ground into powder to be used as a stabilizer for making other things of clay.

                    Maybe this wasn’t Cain’s first trip around the block, figuratively speaking. He might not have been making choices prior to his birth exactly, but mortality might have been his chance to end up in a different place than he had come from. (or not) I just think the scriptures we have are limited to what relates to this world. Even Moses was only allowed to see things pertaining to this world. Any speculation beyond that is simply speculation.

                    • Regarding Jeremiah, the Lord explains exactly what he means in the next verses.
                      Jeremiah 18:5-11
                      Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: ‘Thus says the Lord, Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.’

                      The Lord gives the explanation to the parable, and it deals with nations and kingdoms, not individual humans. Why not just believe what God himself says he meant?

                    • I think that is the key. I’m not speculating on things based on a lack of scriptural support. I’m taking the word of God for what it is.

                      God declares to Enoch that He gave man his agency in the Garden of Eden. The Cain account does nothing to contradict the word of God to Enoch.

                      The JST teaches that God created man’s spirit on the 6th day, in heaven. If all of our spirits were created on that day, then we have all been in heaven from that day until our birth. Speculating about spirits questioning the wisdom of God’s plan is just that: speculation. The scriptures don’t teach us that (and give us reason to doubt it).

                      The main reason people indoctrinated in the LDS theology believe in making choices in a pre-existence is because it has been taught to them. Like most LDS teachings, it doesn’t have the word of God to back it up.

                      I don’t think it’s a great mystery why people are different here on earth. It’s because of the agency God gave us. Some will choose to do good and others evil. I haven’t found any support in the scriptures that there is a fundamental difference that causes the variation. To me, agency is a sufficient, scriptural explanation.

                      All men have the light of Christ. All of us were created from the glory of God. All men start with the same standing. Those phrases are found in the scriptures.

                      For me, the LDS pre-existence teachings have been an important indoctrination to shed. I accept the scriptures for what they teach, I do my best to no longer miss the mark by going outside of the word of God as given to us.

                      You first asked: “How could Cain have been Perdition from before the world, if he did not have some kind of previous sphere of agency? ” My answer is that the scriptures do not teach that Can had been Perdition from before the world. Do we agree?

  2. Anthony May 26, 2020

    Thanks guys… You’ll hate this but your dialogue here on Alma 13 makes me even more convinced of the plausibility of multiple mortalities. I wish you would at least investigate the possibility of this mystery instead of reject it outright as you continue to do.

    You say “in the first place” can’t be the preexistence because there wasn’t agency… That it must be confined to the foreknowledge of God… Perhaps the mystery goes something like this:. ,

    That there was a PREVIOUS existence where these men used their agency, in a telestial experience, to covenant with God and then ascend into a Holy calling with God. Then, as his great and noble ones, having been prepared with a preparatory redemption, they are called with this Holy calling to assist in the work of salvation in this new creation as Savior’s on Mount Zion aka 144,000 who are called after the Order of the Son of God. They do this in order to bring others to where they are… This then is God’s endless and eternal work and glory “to bring about the eternal life of man”… Anyone that follows the Son of God through covenant may then have this to look forward to – an eternal life of condescension and service in order to elevate others to the glory you have acheived… You become an eternal servant, always washing the feet of others…

    Again, if this “mystery of Godliness” is true, then it is likely only to received by revelation, and not taught outrightly overt in the scriptures… But many who claim to have been in the council of God have taught it somewhat overtly…

    I think it’s worth considering since your discussion on priesthood in Alma 13 was pretty much limited to speculation and theory anyways…

    Thanks guys.

    • Searcher May 26, 2020

      Hi Anthony:
      Very little of what we talk about is speculation. When something is inconclusive we identify it as such, like when we talked about the foreknowledge of God in selecting High Priest after the Order of His Son. The problem with the multiple mortality theory is that it is entirely speculative, with numerous scriptures to rebut it. For your theory to hold, God would have to be a liar about those who are sanctified and brought into his presense:

      3 Nephi 28:40 And in this state they were to remain until the judgment day of Christ; and at that day they were to receive a greater change, and to be received into the kingdom of the Father to go no more out, but to dwell with God eternally in the heavens.

      Alma 7:25 And may the Lord bless you, and keep your garments spotless, that ye may at last be brought to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the holy prophets who have been ever since the world began, having your garments spotless even as their garments are spotless, in the kingdom of heaven to go no more out.

      Alma 29:17 And now may God grant unto these, my brethren, that they may sit down in the kingdom of God; yea, and also all those who are the fruit of their labors that they may go no more out, but that they may praise him forever. And may God grant that it may be done according to my words, even as I have spoken. Amen.

      Revelation 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

      Here we have numerous witnesses that those sancified ones “GO NO MORE OUT”.

      So Anthony, to come to your conclusion I would have to wrest these scriptures which are so very plain–something I am unwilling to do. Good luck in your searching. I hope you can see the wisdom in believing what is plainly taught in the Word of God.

      • Ranae May 26, 2020

        Searcher, how do you go out of something that is omnipresent? Did Christ go out of the kingdom of God when he condescended to Earth as a mortal? Or did He bring the kingdom of God with Him?

        “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, the kingdom of God cometh not with observation; Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21)

        With this perspective, wouldn’t it be possible to come to earth and still be in the kingdom of God? Such appears to be the case with “John, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb.” (D&C 84:27)

        The fact that so many scriptures talk about the blessing of going no more out would seem to indicate that going out again is the default position for those who have not earned the right to stay. Whether that going out is for those who have not yet repented and accepted Christ in the flesh, or a choice for those who are described in D&C 76:50-70 (one of which descriptions is “all things are theirs, whether life or death” (v.59)) I can’t say because I have not had the experience of being shown God’s full plan from beginning to end.

        I think you were too harsh in your last paragraph to Anthony. I don’t think he is doing anything other than searching the scriptures and looking for truth. Just because some of us take a different trajectory in our thought processes than others do, does not mean we are wresting the scriptures. Truth will win out in the end. In the meantime, I hope the comment section can be a place for respectful exchanges of opinion.

        • I agree with Renae, I was actually going to quote the same verse from section 76. Why would we be given all things whether life or death? It seems like we could choose to die again if we wanted to in order to bring more souls to Christ. I think this is the great mystery of being a high priest. We as Christ, can choose to descend below all things, even death and hell, to bring more souls to salvation through His name. Why would a true servant of Christ not keep laboring as long as there were sheep to save? And seeing as God’s creations and worlds are endless, would not the need to save souls be endless? As to the further change in the three nephites, they were raised to a terrestrial body, which will later be changed to a celestial body. I also disagree with MD above about Cain. In order to qualify as a son of perdition you must enter into the fullness and then willfully trample Christ under your feet by rejecting him. This implies to me that Cain had gained his first estate by being called, but then he fell from his rank (estate) and was not chosen because he rejected his calling.

          35 Having denied the Holy Spirit after having received it, and having denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him unto themselves and put him to an open shame.

          36 These are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels—

          37 And the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power;

          38 Yea, verily, the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath.

          I have always found it interesting that section 76 mentions the sons of perdition first and then those in the celestial kingdom. This is because they really are the same caliber of soul to some extent. They have vast potential and hence are called, but the celestial souls continue and follow Christ while the souls of perdition follow the devil.

          • Look at the status of Cain before he killed Abel. The Lord speaks directly with him. Moses 5:41 says that after the murder “Cain was shut out from the presence of the Lord.” All who are born into this world are in a lost and fallen state (1 Nephi 10:6). Alma 42 teaches that as a result of the fall of Adam and Eve, all men are also cut off from the presence of the Lord.

            Yet Cain was in the presence of the Lord until the murder, when he was then cast out. So he must have exercised enough faith to be spiritually reborn and enter into the presence of the Lord, in order to later be cast out of his presence.

            2 Nephi 2
            8 Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.

            All this happened during Cain’s one life on this earth. He was born into a fallen world, through the merits of Christ he entered into the presence of the Lord, then later he “listened not any more to the voice of the Lord” but instead “loved Satan more than God”, murdered his brother, and was cast out of the presence of the Lord. That is the very definition of a son of perdition.
            * All those who know God’s power – yes, Cain spoke directly with God
            * Have been made partakers thereof -yes, Cain was in God’s presence
            * and suffered himself through the power of the devil to be overcome and to deny the truth and defy my power – yes, Cain entered into oaths with Satan, the enemy of God.

            Occam’s Razor applies here. The simplest answer is consistent with all the scriptures. The more complex answer is inconsistent with many scriptures and requires additional concepts which are not included in the scriptures. There is no record in any of the standard words, 6000 years of scriptural history, teaching multiple mortalities in plainness. Why keep looking beyond the mark? Why not believe the simpleness and plainness of the word of God?

            • Ranae May 26, 2020

              MD, I am not sure why the scriptures would need to teach MMP plainly. They are a record and testimony of the plan of salvation available to those who are in a culture where the scriptures and prophets exist. If Alma is teaching NOW IS THE TIME TO REPENT, FOR THE DAY OF SALVATION DRAWETH NIGH, it is unnecessary to tell the people that there are millions of people living in other places without prophets and scriptures who will also need to be saved.

              Alma knows this, of course, but he admits that to go beyond what God has declared would be sin. “For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, ALL THAT HE SEETH FIT THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE.” (Alma 29:8) As much as I speculate about MMP, I am not 100% sold on the idea, either. But it makes a decent alternative to the LDS view of salvation that requires living people to be saviors by spending all their time digging up names of dead people so they can do temple work for them, not to mention the case of infants who get to catapult to the celestial kingdom by virtue of a premature death.

              Agree or disagree, I think we live at a time when the only thing we should really be worried about is repentance. Once we get that under our belts, we may all be surprised at what knowledge is revealed regarding the bigger picture of God’s work. Until then, though, I think the people who listen to your podcast enjoy shaking things up a bit, like trying to figure out what will be in the present before it is unwrapped. The sealed portion of the plates might prove us all wrong. Then we can all have a good laugh at how close or far from the mark we were.

              • The issue with doctrines that are not taught plainly in the scriptures is with the warnings the Lord has given us.
                D&C 42:12
                And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel.

                The Lord tells us the Bible and the Book of Mormon have the fulness of the gospel. So if something isn’t taught in the Bible or the Book of Mormon, it isn’t part of the gospel. In fact, the Lord specifically warns us about going beyond what is in the scriptures:
                D&C 124:119-120
                And again, verily I say unto you, let no man pay stock to the quorum of the Nauvoo House unless he shall be a believer in the Book of Mormon, and the revelations I have given unto you, saith the Lord your God; for that which is more or less than this cometh of evil, and shall be attended with cursings and not blessings, saith the Lord your God. Even so. Amen.

                I agree that the LDS corruptions are non-scriptural, but replacing them with other non-scriptural beliefs isn’t the solution. We must go back to the source material, clear our mind of all our false traditions, and actually read and believe what is written. It’s hard to shake off the indoctrination, but the fulness of the gospel is in the Book of Mormon and the Bible, if we will open our eyes to see the simplicity of the gospel. The alternative, according to the Lord, is cursings, not blessings.

                • I agree with Renae again. The problem with Occam’s razor, and I have always found it annoying when academics use the phrase by the way, is that often the more complicated view is actually the truth. By the same logic of Occam’s razor Joseph doesn’t need to physically come back because that doesn’t make sense. It would be easier, in the words of one of my family members who I was debating today, if Joseph simply showed up to Nelson and restored the priesthood thus making Nelson a true prophet who will now restore Zion. It’s much simpler than physically having to come back with all the other servants. Hell why did Joseph even have to translate the BOM? Why didn’t God make the Nephites speak English. Lots of doctrines aren’t spelled out clearly in the scriptures because it wasn’t the time for them to be publicly known. I was reading a Jewish scholar’s refutations of Christianity the other day, and I see why the Jews rejected Jesus, because upon a surface reading of the OT Jesus doesn’t really fulfill their messianic expectations, however, if you look closer and after the fact, linking things together you can actually see that Jesus is the messiah. But nowhere does the TANAKH as possessed by the Jews actually say anything about Jesus by name per se.

                  However, that all being said, we do see through a glass darkly, and I think we need to be a little less certain about what we “know”. God has given us the lights to lead us out of babylon and that’s all for now. Even Moses was only given an account of this world.

                  • Occam’s razor stipulates that when presented with competing hypotheses about the same prediction, you should select the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions. It is not to be used to select between different predictions. So if you were debating about two different hypotheses about why Joseph needs to come back in the flesh to accomplish the restoration, you could use Occam’s razor. But if you are debating between whether Joseph needs to return, or whether someone like Rusty could do the work, Occam’s razor doesn’t apply.

                    In today’s discussion, we have two interpretations of scriptures. One reads the scriptures literally, as they are written. The other assumes several concepts that are not written as well as variable interpretations of that which is written. In that case Occam’s razor can be applied. In general, the simpler explanation is preferred. I would think that for a gospel that is praised for being plain and precious and that warns against looking beyond the mark or resisting its easiness, the simple, literal interpretation would tend to be correct.

                    • I understand occam’s razor. My point though is that many here seem to be taking absolutist views on the scriptures while others on interpreting too loosely. I agree with Heiser that the scriptures often have prophesies that are already but not yet. The gospel is both simple and yet complex. Most people only need the simplicity to be saved and the complexities are irrelevant to their salvation. However, this doesn’t negate their existence. So yes literalness in prophecy is a thing, but symbolism also exists. For example the law of moses. The Jews missed the mark by being too literal.

                • Jonny May 27, 2020

                  Do the Lectures on Faith contradict the principles of the Gospel found in the Bible and Book of Mormon? It seems to me that even though they add to and clarify aspects of faith, divine nature, etc. that may not explicitly be found in other scripture, they are still in harmony with those principles and are still a part of the gospel. I think the same could be said of the D&C itself. D&C 42:12 prescribes teaching principles found in scripture, but only describes where the fulness can be found. BTW, the fulness was historically found in the Bible as well. I wonder if verse 12 means the BoM by itself, or the Bible and BoM together.

                  D&C 76:14 claims that the record borne by Joseph and Sidney in 1832 is also “the fulness of the gospel”, a testimony obviously exterior to the Bible and BoM. I’m not sure exactly what the “fulness” of the gospel is compared to the “incompleteness” of the gospel. I imagine it would include the doctrine of Christ, atonement, etc. Could the phrase be similar to “love god and your neighbor” in the sense that they are core principles upon which rest all other pieces of the gospel, like “though shalt not steal”?

                  Regarding D&C 124:119, I would consider “the revelations I have given unto you” to include not only the Bible, but the Inspired version thereof (Moses), the D&C (perhaps with caveats), Abraham (again, perhaps with caveats), and even uncanonized divine instruction that might be found in journals, letters, etc. It is a broad statement.

                  In short, teach only the revealed gospel, and believe only the revealed gospel.

        • Searcher May 29, 2020

          Well Ranae:
          I have been known to be pretty direct, and I don’t mean to offend. Sorry, Anthony. Frankly, I don’t find scriptural backing for Multiple Mortal Probations and I am not willing to spend much time or energy on something I don’t find support for in the Word of God. Perhaps, there is some great mystery that God is holding back from us. It is a possibility as HE IS GOD. The issue of omnipresence that you bring up doesn’t resonate with me because although God is omnipresent, those who who inherit His Kingdom aren’t necessarily so. That descriptor only applies to God. I agree with MD and the Occam’s razor approach on this one. As such I have to reject the MMP theory until further light and knowledge provides some modicum of support where I can get a toe-hold on the argument. I can’t find one now, so to continue with the rock climbing metaphor: I’m not going to climb that rock!

      • Anthony May 26, 2020

        MD and Searcher,

        Again I thank you for all you do. I do not wish to get in a scriptural debate with you over this. That would prove fruitless. You guys are AWESOME and I don’t want to detract from what you’re doing. I am not married to the idea of multiple condescensions/mortalities, but rather have an open mind about a great many things – even if the scriptures don’t teach them explicitly in plainness. I will say that I’m surprised that you are so quick to invoke scriptures like D&C 42:12 or D&C:119-120 to say that “if something isn’t taught in the Bible or the Book of Mormon, it isn’t part of the gospel.”

        In my view there is much more to God’s work than just what’s found in the Bible and Book of Mormon – we just aren’t supposed to go around and be teaching it… Nevertheless, I believe God stands ready to teach us (especially those who are called “after His Holy Order”) his mysteries, and in fact commands us to continue seeking after direct revelation to obtain them. If we say “we need no more” than faith, repentance and baptism then we’ll soon find that not only will the “greater portion” be withheld from us, but so will this “lesser portion” will be taken away.

        You just went over Alma 12, which explicitly says that there are mysteries of god that are “laid under strict command” and that only the portion that is given to impart unto the world is allowed to impart. Likewise, in other places, the Lord teaches a hundred times more than what is actually written within the scriptures (see 3 Nephi 26:6).

        I see a big difference between the charge to NOT TEACH more than what’s in the Bible and Book of Mormon and saying that ALL THERE IS in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Yes, our teaching should be limited to the principles of the doctrine of Christ. But if we close ourselves off to asking and knocking and seeking to know of the mysteries from God, then we are in danger of “knowing nothing concerning his mysteries”.

        You seem to suggest that if it’s not plainly found and explicitly taught in the scriptures, then it simply can’t be a thing. I say that we should not put God in a box. If we come to God “unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed” (Alma 26:22) and “will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 13:35)…

        I don’t make these points to try to argue that you should accept the idea of multiple probations. I’m merely trying to say that you should consider keeping an open mind about it rather than rejecting it (OR ANYTHING) outright…

        p.s. I’ll just add that there if a very different, but also plausible, interpretation of “to go no more out” that allows one to consider the idea of multiple probations while not wrest the scriptures.

        • Couldn’t of said it better.

        • One of the things I like about Dr. Heiser’s approach to the Bible is that he says we should read it as we read a work a fiction. That isn’t to say the Bible is fiction, but rather the Author of it is doing many of the same things that an author of fiction does. He is leaving us clues to the bigger picture.

          It’s also a relief to have thrown off the false teachings of the LDS church. But it leaves us all in the position to figure out the truth from the falsehoods all the while navigating the words God has granted us and knowing that He is leaving us the breadcrumbs to find His truths.

          I know I am still learning about God’s truths and I’m discovering new things in the scriptures by taking God at His word. When it comes to MMP, I haven’t seen enough evidence in the scriptures to support it. I also find it at odds with my current understanding of God’s plan. The way I understand it today, it is wonderfully complete. Of course, that doesn’t mean I have it all figured out.

          The key to me was to take some time to focus on the little season. There’s very little about it in the scriptures, so it seems like it involves a lot of speculation. (But there’s plenty of speculation in the MMP and other ideas many people have.)

          For some background on this, see MD’s blog about what the 3 degrees of glory apply to and what the millennium is. Why does God have the little season after the Millennium? Why does God allow Satan to be unleashed? What purpose does this serve? (I think these are some of the bread crumbs the Author is leaving us.)

          If at the end of the millennium, all those (including or excluding sons of perdition), who were not already resurrected, are resurrected and come back to earth, then ALL MEN will be on earth in the flesh while both the fulness of the Gospel (with Christ ruling) and the temptation to do evil (with Satan unleashed) are available. At this point, EVERY single person who has ever lived will be alive and have an opportunity, IN THE FLESH, to accept God or reject God.

          There’s no excuses to be made. The choice will be there for all. At the end of the little season, then comes the Final Judgment. Everyone will be fully accountable for their decision.

          If this view is correct, then God’s plan is incredible and complete. There’s no need in God’s plan for MMP. We have our time before the millennium and then the final opportunity in the little season. These are the days of our probation. The first day is our life prior to the millennium. The second day is after the millennium. We all come back with the same spirit and body we had prior to the millennium. It offers all of us the same opportunity.

          Using this same form of speculation, what does it serve God to give us MMPs? We start from scratch, not remembering any past lives. What’s the point? Just keep rolling the dice until eventually you luck out and happen to live a righteous life? That doesn’t conform to my view of God. It doesn’t seem to match the breadcrumbs I’m following in the scriptures.

          But I do agree that we are all still learning and have a lot of gaps in our understanding of God’s ways. I don’t suggest we give up trying to discover them, but keep on searching the scriptures for the clues God has given us to gain understanding now. I think we all hope the servants return soon and will provide us some additional revelations.

          • See I agree with what you say, Mike. I think most people who were first born on this earth didn’t/won’t get to live again until the fullness is on the earth during the millennium/little season. So perhaps our misunderstanding is one of terminology. However, I do think, and I admit this is speculation strongly based on my reading of the scriptures, that many people who have lived on this earth are getting another chance after wasting the days of their probation on a prior world. To not remember fully a past life makes sense because otherwise it wouldn’t be a test. However, why is it that some people are seemingly born with talents in a certain field? Joseph said that the more knowledge we attain in this life it will be a greater advantage to us in the world to come. So I think innate knowledge and skills and talents follow us here, and perhaps many need a second chance after taking a time out in hell. I don’t see why that wouldn’t make the gospel even more beautiful. I always found the phrasing about the sons of perdition interesting. It says they won’t receive forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come. So what about the world after that? Again if God loves us, and I know he does, why would he not grant a second chance like the prodigal son? Will many sons of perdition have a change in heart. Maybe. Maybe not? But I believe at least some will eventually. Is God really so powerless that His mercy and atoning sacrifice can’t save the most vile of sinners? So, whether that entails another mortality or something else. I don’t say I know for sure, but I also don’t think we can write off the idea of some people having to go through a second probationary period to show their penance for what they did in their first probation. Look again at Alma the younger’s example. He was sent to hell for murdering spiritually. He cried out for salvation. Was restored to life and spent the remainder of his days trying to save souls. Interestingly he was also translated. Which makes me wonder if he ever came back like Elijah did.

            • That is a lot of speculation! I don’t see that as part of the plan. The way I see it, those who are judged telestial at the second coming do in fact spend the millennium in hell paying the price for their sins. They did not take Christ’s atonement, so that is their fate. At the end of the millennium, they will rise from the dead and have the last chance during the little season. They still need to embrace God in the flesh during that time. But their spirits, their motives, desires, and wills will not have changed despite suffering in hell. It will still take a lot to overcome and to follow Christ. But that opportunity will be theirs and there will be no excuses. It’s the last offering of an extraordinarily merciful and loving God.

              I’m not so sure about the sons of perdition. I think they don’t have any chance, because they’ve rejected the truth having already had it. I think they may be placed back on earth as part of Satan’s forces to try to keep others from choosing God. But they could also be denied that chance. It’s not clear to me yet.

              I think the world to come is the world during the little season. Those who prepare themselves now will have an advantage then.

              What happens after the day of judgement at the end of the little season? I think that’s even more speculation. I’m pretty sure its a final judgement and the righteous go to Gods kingdom and the unrighteous go to hell. Will the wicked remain forever in hell or will their souls be annihilated? I don’t know.

              I believe some people will become members of God’s divine council, replacing those who rebelled. I think others will have different callings as part of God’s hosts of heaven. Will it be possible that those of us who make it to the divine council might at some point likewise rebel as past members did? I don’t know, maybe.

              What is God’s plan after the end of days? No idea. He might do another type of creation round and create more worlds and more people. Or He might have entirely other plans.

              I just hope we are all around in Heaven to see whatever it is unfold!

  3. Ranae May 27, 2020

    Hi, guys. Thanks so much for doing the deep dive on Alma 13. This is a chapter that I have really tried to grasp for a long time. I almost feel like we are getting notes from a conversation that doesn’t include the context, so things that might have been obvious to the original audience are left out of the story. For example, what kinds of things were the people of Ammonihah getting involved with? Alma 8:17 says, “they do study at this time that they may destroy the liberty of thy people”. Is this political intrigue, or the study of secret works (occult religion)? Alma 8: 9 tells us that Satan had great hold upon the hearts of the people. Again, is this a distorted religion, or simply a love of materialism? The fact that they eventually throw a large group of people into a fire indicates to me that they need to repent of a false religion, not just generic selfishness. So who wins when one set of religious beliefs opposes another one?

    Here are some of the questions that were asked previous to chapter 13:
    “Who art thou? Suppose ye that we shall believe the testimony of one man, although he should preach unto us that the earth should pass away?”
    “Who is God that sendeth no more authority than one man among this people to declare unto them the truth of such great and marvelous things?”
    “Thou sayest there is a true and living God?” “Is there more than one God?”
    “How knowest thou these things?”
    “Who is he that shall come? Is it the Son of God?”
    “Shall he save his people in their sins?”
    “Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father?”
    – After Amulek’s answers to these questions, outlining the atonement of Christ and the judgment of day, the people began to be astonished, and Zeezrom began to tremble.

    “What does this mean which Amulek hath spoken concerning the resurrection of the dead, that all shall rise from the dead, both the just and the unjust, and are brought to stand before God to be judged according to their works?”

    Then Antionah, a chief ruler, began his questions:
    “What is this that thou hast said, that man should rise from the dead and be changed from this mortal to an immortal state, that the soul can never die?”
    “What die this scripture mean which saith that God placed cherubims and a flaming sword on the east of the garden of Eden let our first parents should enter and partake of the fruit of the tree of life and live forever? And thus we see that there was no possible chance that they should live forever.

    Based on the questions asked, their main issues seem to be with the authority of the messenger to deliver a message contrary to what they were believing, and the reality of a day of judgment where they would be held accountable for their actions in mortality. In true chiasmic fashion, the answer about death was given first, the answer about the authority to teach was given next. This might also explain the extreme result of throwing innocent people into the fire and telling them to deliver themselves from the bands in prison. The leaders would not believe without proof of supernatural power, which any true high priest should have. Alma tries to get them to notice the power of God in the history of Nephite deliverance, not through signs of power, but they will not back down until they see their sign of power, at which time it is too late for them to repent.

    While it isn’t brought up in the text, Alma’s past was probably well known among the Nephite people. That added to Amulek’s previous agnosticism might lead some people to wonder what made them qualified to tell anyone else how to believe. Almulek also said an angel told him…that might lead them to wonder why doesn’t the angel tell everyone instead of sending a couple guys to do the job.

    The way I read chapter 13, there are 2 groups of people who qualify for the high priesthood. The first group is described in verses 3-9. The were chosen on account of exceeding faith and good works, being left to choose good and evil they chose good and exercised exceeding great faith. This group receives a preparatory redemption, and are called to teach God’s commandments. We don’t know that they have ever been outside God’s rest because they are helping others enter without an indication they have ever been without it themselves. Could the scripture regarding John the Baptist (D&C 84:27-28) “being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb, for he was baptized while he was yet in his childhood, and was ordained by the angel of God at the time he was eight days old unto this power…” be a recorded example of this group of high priests?

    The second group is described starting in verse 10. There were MANY who were ordained on account of their exceeding faith and REPENTANCE, choosing to repent rather than perish. Their garments are washed white and they are sanctified. This group would seem to include people like Alma and Amulek. The priesthood is the same, but they obtain it through faith and repentance instead of faith and good works. The first group has no need to repent and be sanctified because they chose good.

    I would assume that Melchizedek is one of the first category. From JST Gen. 14:26 we learn that as a child he feared God, stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire. Although not mentioned, Enoch might also be. They were both able to use their high priesthood to lead their people to repentance and Zion, including translation which allowed they and their people to leave the fallen earth without death. I imagine that among all the high priests none were greater than Melchizedek because he actually succeeded at bringing his wicked people into the rest of God, something most high priests have been unable to fully accomplish to that degree.

    One final thought on this long comment is how chapter 13 seems to describe the same thing as Moroni 7:30-32 “For behold, [angels] are subject unto [Christ], to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness. and the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfil and do the work of the covenants of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord [high priests?] that they may bear testimony of him. And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father, the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men.”

    • Ranae May 27, 2020

      Totally different topic of controversy… I don’t see anything in Alma 13 that limits the high priesthood to men, except for “they might had as great privilege as their brethren – or in fine, in the first place they were on the same standing as their brethren” (v.4-5). Since masculine is the default gender for groups of mixed males and females as well as males only, and there are no other places in the chapter I can see limiting the high priesthood by anything other than exceeding faith, what do you think? Is the high priesthood for males only?

      • No I believe women will have it too. And I think some have had in the past such as Miriam. Notice the three priesthoods get progressively more open. Levitical/Aaronic is just for the males of one specific tribe of Israel. The Abrahamic/Patriarchal/Evangelical is for those who are either actual descendants of Abraham or adopted into his family (although it seems specifically for the seed of Joseph/Ephraim). In the early days of the church women could anoint and give blessings if they were endowed to other women until 1946 when Joseph Fielding Smith discontinued the practice. Joseph also sanctioned this practice: https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/nauvoo-relief-society-minute-book/33

        The endowment points towards women having the priesthood in the future as well. The new testament also mentions women like Junia who Paul says is an apostle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junia_(New_Testament_person)#%22Apostle%22_in_the_New_Testament
        and Phoebe a deacon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoebe_(biblical_figure)

        The high priesthood is said to be “after the order of the Son of God, which order was without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life. And all those who are ordained unto this priesthood are made like unto the Son of God, abiding a priest continually.”

        So it is neither patrilineal nor matrilineal, but rather one obtains it by being called by God’s voice out of the heavens. So yes, I believe God when he says He is no respecter of persons and, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

  4. It should be remembered that Alma had the translated record of the Jaredites. When Alma spoke of Melchizedek as none were greater, it seems to me that he was addressing his kingly lineage. Melchizedek and Salem are to me sanctified names, similar to the Lord changing Abram’s name to Abraham, and Jacob to Israel.

    Melchizedek is only referenced three places in the Bible, Genesis, Psalms, and Hebrews. Moses the great historian had to obviously know of who Melchizedek was. Now maybe Moses made mention of Melchizedek more than once, or rather caused to be written. I can only conclude that Melchizedek’s lineage was actually among the Jaredites. D&C 111 helps confirm this for me, by its curious wording, as I doubt colonists from Europe are considered to be the ancient inhabitants and founders by the Lord.

    I am wondering if it has occurred that Alma’s lineage might be partly Levite?

    Also having switched my mindset from that all the earths have alternate realities, to the concept of identical earths being invariable. It made realize that I am living for God, not for myself who is not exactly unique. God is the only self existent being, I am just a fragment of his story. 2nd Nephi 3:17 was a real eye opener for me in the fact that the a in front of Moses implies that every earth could always have a Moses. I am not debating the agency of man, but acknowledging that Moses will always exercise his agency in fulfilling the promises of God. I believe the Lord is so wise, that until we become like him we will never fully understand his wisdom.

    • Section 111 is definitely an intriguing section. I have wondered what exactly it means. I had never thought about where Salem’s name came from, and I guess it’s possible the Jaredites had some relationship to Melchizedek. Who knows until more records come forth. As to Alma’s lineage it’s possible that some Levites came over with the Mulekites. It would make sense. Or maybe other groups came over that aren’t mentioned in the abridgement that we have. Good catch on the phrasing of “a moses” also. The scriptures really are full of amazing things to ponder.

    • Can you expand on switching your mindset to all the earths being identical and invariable? I think all the different worlds God has created each play out differently. It blows my mind a bit, but I think we are living on the most unique world of all of God’s creations:

      JST Genesis 7:42 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.
      43 And among all the workmanship of my hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren; but behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of my hands.

      I think that the wickedness on this world was greater than on any other. I don’t believe the divine council members rebelled on other worlds, but they came and rebelled against God on this world. I also believe that this is the one and only world on which God came in the flesh and atoned for all of His creations. If his atonement is infinite and eternal, is it just limited to people on this world?

      What other scriptures shifted your mindset?