Redemption

In The Doctrine of Nehor Part 3, Watcher wrote:

Redemption has to do with being resurrected from death and therefore redeemed from death. It does not necessarily address what glory a person is saved into.

Here’s the first challenge to that statement. Alma the Younger, after spending several days in a “spiritual coma”, regains his strength and announces:

Mosiah 27:24
I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit.

Was Alma the Younger resurrected from the dead at that moment? This is more than one hundred years before the birth of Jesus, so of course not. Alma later teaches people that when they repent the plan of redemption is immediately brought about unto a person:

Alma 34:15-16
And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance. And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.

31 Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.

That doesn’t mean they are resurrected from death at that time. Just as Alma the Younger wasn’t resurrected from the dead at the time of his spiritual rebirth. Watcher’s definition of redemption contradicts the scriptures. Let’s start with a look at the Webster 1828 definition.

REDEEM, [Latin redimo; to obtain or purchase.]
1. To purchase back; to ransom; to liberate or rescue from captivity or bondage, or from any obligation or liability to suffer or to be forfeited, by paying an equivalent;
2. To regain possession of a thing alienated, by repaying the value of it to the possessor.
3. To rescue; to recover; to deliver from.

Alma the Younger was rescued from hell when he repented. It seems that when we are spiritually reborn we receive the promise that we will be rescued from hell – we’ll go to spirit paradise instead of spirit prison. Even people like Alma that are in hell can be redeemed from it. But there are conditions – no one gets redemption without meeting the conditions. Redemption is consistently linked to repentance.

Alma 9:27
And behold, he cometh to redeem those who will be baptized unto repentance, through faith on his name.

Alma 19:13
For as sure as thou livest, behold, I have seen my Redeemer; and he shall come forth, and be born of a woman, and he shall redeem all mankind who believe on his name. Now, when he had said these words, his heart was swollen within him, and he sunk again with joy; and the queen also sunk down, being overpowered by the Spirit.

Helaman 14:2
And behold, he said unto them: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name.

Helaman 5:9-11
O remember, remember, my sons, the words which king Benjamin spake unto his people; yea, remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to redeem the world. And remember also the words which Amulek spake unto Zeezrom, in the city of Ammonihah; for he said unto him that the Lord surely should come to redeem his people, but that he should not come to redeem them in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins. And he hath power given unto him from the Father to redeem them from their sins because of repentance; therefore he hath sent his angels to declare the tidings of the conditions of repentance, which bringeth unto the power of the Redeemer, unto the salvation of their souls.

There is no other way or means. He can’t redeem people in their sins. Repentance brings redemption and salvation. If you don’t repent, you cannot be redeemed.

Alma 12:32-35
Therefore God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption, that they should not do evil, the penalty thereof being a second death, which was an everlasting death as to things pertaining unto righteousness; for on such the plan of redemption could have no power, for the works of justice could not be destroyed, according to the supreme goodness of God. But God did call on men, in the name of his Son, (this being the plan of redemption which was laid) saying: If ye will repent, and harden not your hearts, then will I have mercy upon you, through mine Only Begotten Son; therefore, whosoever repenteth, and hardeneth not his heart, he shall have claim on mercy through mine Only Begotten Son, unto a remission of his sins; and these shall enter into my rest. And whosoever will harden his heart and will do iniquity, behold, I swear in my wrath that he shall not enter into my rest.

Mosiah 15:26-27
But behold, and fear, and tremble before God, for ye ought to tremble; for the Lord redeemeth none such that rebel against him and die in their sins; yea, even all those that have perished in their sins ever since the world began, that have wilfully rebelled against God, that have known the commandments of God, and would not keep them; these are they that have no part in the first resurrection. Therefore ought ye not to tremble? For salvation cometh to none such; for the Lord hath redeemed none such; yea, neither can the Lord redeem such; for he cannot deny himself; for he cannot deny justice when it has its claim.

D&C 29:43-44
And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation—that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe; and they that believe not unto eternal damnation; for they cannot be redeemed from their spiritual fall, because they repent not;

Ancient and modern revelation agree. One cannot be redeemed without repenting. If Christ redeems all mankind, that means all mankind must at some point repent. There is no other way. If people repent, and Christ refuses to receive them, then Christ is a liar, because he has promised many times that all who repent shall enter into his rest.

Redemption is not given to the unrepentant. Those that do repent enter into the Lord’s rest. There is no other way or means by which man can be saved. Period.

More to come.

Celestial Bodies

In The Doctrine of Nehor – Part 3, Watcher wrote:

The significance and profundity of verse 20 in section 88 is easily overlooked. It can create indigestion because it challenges an existing paradigm.

20 That bodies who are of the celestial kingdom may possess it forever and ever; for, for this intent was it made and created, and for this intent are they sanctified.

There are “bodies who are of the celestial kingdom” who were made and created before they become sanctified so that they can “fulfill the measure of their creation” (verse 19).

These bodies who are of the celestial kingdom are sanctified so that they can possess the celestial kingdom from which they came.

Let’s actually look at what verse 19 says, but to do so we need to start at verse 17:

D&C 88:17-19
And the redemption of the soul is through him that quickeneth all things, in whose bosom it is decreed that the poor and the meek of the earth shall inherit it. Therefore, it must needs be sanctified from all unrighteousness, that it may be prepared for the celestial glory;
19 For after it hath filled the measure of its creation, it shall be crowned with glory, even with the presence of God the Father;

Contrary to what Watcher claims, verse 19 is not talking about celestial people, it is talking about the earth. The earth will be crowned with glory after the earth has fulfilled the measure of its creation. It doesn’t say anything about the people living on it fulfilling the measure of their creation. Later verses reiterate that it is the earth that fulfills the measure of its creation.

20 That bodies who are of the celestial kingdom may possess it forever and ever; for, for this intent was it made and created, and for this intent are they sanctified.

25 And again, verily I say unto you, the earth abides the law of a celestial kingdom, for it fills the measure of its creation, and transgresses not the law—

26 Wherefore, it shall be sanctified; yea, notwithstanding it shall die, it shall be quickened again, and shall abide the power by which it is quickened, and the righteous shall inherit it.

The earth fills the measure of its creation…not the bodies of humans. I’m not sure where Watcher found the quotation “fulfill the measure of their creation”, but it didn’t come from verse 19 like he claims. Verses 19 and 20 are talking about the earth, not the people. In fact, a search reveals that the phrase “fulfill the measure of their creation” appears nowhere in scripture (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, nor Lectures on Faith). This should be a red flag.

Watcher carries this false scripture even further, by writing:

88:19 informs us that we all come with a predetermined “measure of creation” that will be fulfilled.

D&C 88:19 says nothing of the sort–it is talking about the earth. Let’s look at D&C 88:19 just to make sure I’m not making this up.

For after it hath filled the measure of its creation, it shall be crowned with glory, even with the presence of God the Father;

Humans aren’t mentioned at all. Not sure how this can be interpreted as informing us that “we all come with a predetermined measure of creation”.

Let’s dig into this a little bit more. The earth will be crowned with celestial glory and receive the presence of the Father, and this was the reason it was created. And Watcher wrote:

These bodies who are of the celestial kingdom are sanctified so that they can possess the celestial kingdom from which they came.

How does that align with other scripture?

D&C 137:10
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.

If Watcher’s theory is true, that means that only humans made from celestial material can die before the age of eight. Because Watcher also teaches that few people were created from celestial material, and the vast majority of us are made from telestial material, we should see numerous cases of infant immortality every day. All these telestial children under the age of 8 must survive horrendous accidents, diseases, and catastrophes because if they were to die, they would have to go to the celestial kingdom, and this is impossible according to Watcher’s theory of celestial physics. Yet we don’t see any such phenomenon. The infant mortality rate is sadly high in much of the developing world, meaning there are a great many children dying and going to the celestial kingdom, rather than the few Watcher teaches. So which is it? Are there few that are saved in the celestial kingdom? Or is every child that dies before the age of accountability in the celestial kingdom? You can’t have both.

 

Respecter of persons

In The Doctrine of Nehor – Part 3, Watcher writes:

In this installment, we shall continue to provide additional evidence to show that few will enter into eternal life in the presence of the Father. Additionally, we will see why it is everlastingly impossible for telestial and terrestrial spirit intelligences to ever inherit a celestial glory, notwithstanding the infinite intercession and atonement of Christ…

The reason there is no jumping from kingdom to kingdom after the final inheritance is given is because of celestial physics. It has to do with the raw spiritual potentiality with which a spirit is created during the spiritual creation…

It appears that everyone that comes to earth probation comes from a particular glory and that is why they have a telestial spirit, terrestrial spirit, celestial spirit, or a spirit from darkness that had to function on barrowed light during probation

Can it be true that each spirit that comes to earth comes with a predetermined potentiality based on the glory in which it was created and that we all will ultimately return to the glory in which we were organized?…

Some would have us believe that we were all made exactly the same way with the exact same, equal spiritual potential in the preexistence, resulting in the exact same opportunity and chance to return to the Lord.

Let’s measure Watcher’s statements against the scriptures.

2 Nephi 26:23-28
For behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness. He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation. Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price. Behold, hath he commanded any that they should depart out of the synagogues, or out of the houses of worship? Behold, I say unto you, Nay.  Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance. Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden.

2 Nephi 26:33
For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

He invites all to come unto him. He denies none. All are alike. All may partake of his salvation. He has given it free for all men. None are forbidden.

Watcher claims that we each came to this earth with a certain limitation. Some of us, regardless how good we want to be, will never be better than telestial quality. That instead of being created equal, or all alike, God made us with inherent limitations that will eternally estrange us from him. We will never be able to dwell in the presence of the Father or the Son. God is basically telling us to depart from his presence the very instant he created us. That sure sounds like some men are more privileged than others. That some are forbidden, while others are not. It doesn’t sound like he’s inviting all men to come unto him, because some will never be able to. And we definitely are not all alike unto God under Watcher’s model. Let’s check a few other scriptures to make sure Nephi wasn’t teaching false doctrine.

Alma 13:4-6
And thus they have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this they might have had as great privilege as their brethren. Or in fine, in the first place they were on the same standing with their brethren; thus this holy calling being prepared from the foundation of the world for such as would not harden their hearts, being in and through the atonement of the Only Begotten Son, who was prepared—And thus being called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest

Those that were called to have the holy priesthood weren’t created better than those that didn’t, they were on the same standing. Those that didn’t receive the holy priesthood could have received it had they not hardened their hearts and blinded their minds. The difference between these groups isn’t in their creation, it’s in their behavior. Had it not been for the hardness of their hearts of the blindness of their minds, they would have had the same privilege. They started out on the same standing with each other. And yet, verse 6 tells us those who didn’t receive this holy priesthood will be taught by those who do, so that they (the hardhearted and blind) can enter into the Lord’s rest. Even those who are hardhearted and blind have the option to enter into the rest of the Lord. What is this rest of the Lord?

D&C 121:32
According to that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was, that should be reserved unto the finishing and the end thereof, when every man shall enter into his eternal presence and into his immortal rest.

Telestial people, according to Watcher’s theory, can never dwell with the Father or the Son. Doesn’t that make God a liar to promise people they can enter into God’s rest if they are eternally incapable of doing so by celestial physics? If that were the case, why would God make this statement?

Moses 6:66-68
And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever; and thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity. Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen.

If Watcher’s theory were correct, wouldn’t God need to say, “and thus may a few become my sons”? D&C 76:58 tells us the celestials are the sons of God. Why would God tell Adam all may become his sons if only a few have that capability?

1 Nephi 13:40
And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.

How can we be saved if we don’t come unto Christ? The scriptures do not say that people can be saved without coming to Christ – all men must come unto him or they cannot be saved. By Watcher’s own words, telestials never come unto Christ, therefore they cannot be saved. If telestials do come unto Christ, how can he give the blessings of eternity to a few while denying the blessings of eternity to all the rest? How can he give different rewards for the same behavior without being a respecter of persons? (spoiler alert: he can’t).

D&C 18:9-12
And now, Oliver Cowdery, I speak unto you, and also unto David Whitmer, by the way of commandment; for, behold, I command all men everywhere to repent, and I speak unto you, even as unto Paul mine apostle, for you are called even with that same calling with which he was called. Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God; for, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance.

2 Nephi 9:21
And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam.

All men are commanded to repent. All men are promised the same blessings if they do. Why would Christ suffer for all men that they might repent, come unto him, and be saved, if the telestials were incapable of ever exercising enough faith in Christ? He would have known exactly which ones where created out of telestial material…no need to suffer for them. Why would he suffer that men might repent and come unto him if the overwhelming majority of his creation are incapable of coming unto him? Why command all to repent if most are incapable of repenting?  Does God give us commandments that are impossible for us to obey?

1 Nephi 3:7
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

If God has commanded all men to repent, then he must have prepared a way for all men to accomplish repentance.  Alma seems to think that God has.

Alma 5:32-33
Yea, even wo unto all ye workers of iniquity; repent, repent, for the Lord God hath spoken it! Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.

Why extend the false promise of hope to people who are, according to Watcher’s theory, eternally incapable of ever receiving that promise? It makes liars out of prophets. It makes God himself a liar.

Moroni 8:17-18
And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation. For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.

Romans 2:10-11
But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God.

Acts 10:34-35
Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

D&C 38:16
And for your salvation I give unto you a commandment, for I have heard your prayers, and the poor have complained before me, and the rich have I made, and all flesh is mine, and I am no respecter of persons.

1 Nephi 10:18
For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.

If the way has been prepared for all men to come unto Christ, then Watcher’s “celestial physics” theory contradicts scripture and denies the mercy of God. The promise to all men that if they repent Christ will receive them is invalidated by Watcher’s theory.

Let’s dwell on one last thing. Watcher claims, “we all will ultimately return to the glory in which we were organized“.

What incentive does anyone have to repent under this model? If the vast majority of humanity was created out of telestial material, even if they spend their entire life trying to repent and live a good life they will ultimately return to the telestial glory. A celestial person doesn’t needs to repent because they were created celestial so they have to be returned to a celestial glory despite any sins they have committed and not repented of. Why does anyone need to bother repenting? Our fate is already determined. The only rational decision is to ignore God during life and do whatever you want. So eat, drink, and be merry, because anything we do in this life has no impact on where we spend eternity – that decision was made by God long before we took our first breath.

More to come.

Few there be that find it

In The Doctrine of Nehor – Part 3, Watcher wrote:

I believe this doctrine of Nehor that teaches we don’t need to fear and tremble blatantly and clearly contradicts section one and the words of the apostle Paul. More importantly, they contradict the words of Christ who proclaimed that FEW would be saved in the kingdom of his Father.

Since I have been unable to find a more credible and insightful doctrinal scholar than the Savior himself, I have decided to accept Jesus Christ as the last word on this topic. I believe Christ when he says that few will receive eternal life in the Kingdom the Father

Few will inherit eternal life. That is what a simple-minded person like me gets from the above words of Christ. I suspect there will be those that derive something entirely different from those passages. Thankfully we all have our agency to interpret scripture as we see fit.

Except Christ never said that. Let’s look at the scriptures containing that quotation:

3 Nephi 14:13-14
Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, which leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in thereat; because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Matthew 7:13-14
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

3 Nephi 27:33
And it came to pass that when Jesus had ended these sayings he said unto his disciples: Enter ye in at the strait gate; for strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad the way which leads to death, and many there be that travel therein, until the night cometh, wherein no man can work.

He doesn’t say eternal life. He doesn’t say in the kingdom of the Father. It just says life. Nowhere in scripture does Christ say that few will receive eternal life in the kingdom of the Father. To claim he said so is to teach more than what is in the scriptures, or to put words into his mouth.

This is a common problem when we paraphrase scriptures – we inadvertently shape the message to match our beliefs. We change the wording to conform to what we think it means, rather than faithfully repeat the exact message. I catch myself doing it, which is one reason why I choose to quote scriptures in my posts and then comment on that quotation rather than paraphrase and combine scripture and commentary.

Jesus himself said:

John 14:2
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Why would God need to “build” many mansions if few will ever live there? How big is the New Jerusalem?

Revelation 21:16
And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.

A furlong is 1/8 of a mile, so this city measures 1,500 miles x 1,500 miles. That’s  2.2 million square miles, or roughly the size of Australia. Notice that John also says it’s 1,500 miles high. Just for reference, the International Space Station is only 250 miles above earth. If we divided the New Jerusalem into 100 foot “floors”, that’s enough space for over 100 billion people to each get their own square mile of heaven! Now I don’t think that is a literal measurement, but the symbolism is that there is lots of space–space for many, not for a few.

Let’s look at some other places that describe the quantity of the righteous.

When God is speaking to Abraham, he promises him that everyone who accepts the gospel will be called his seed.

Abraham 2:10
And I will bless them through thy name; for as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father;

And then God makes Abraham a promise about the quantity of his seed.

Abraham 3:14
And it was in the night time when the Lord spake these words unto me: I will multiply thee, and thy seed after thee, like unto these; and if thou canst count the number of sands, so shall be the number of thy seeds.

At another time, the Lord used a different metaphor to express the quantity of the seed of Abraham.

Genesis 15:5
And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

The God of the Old Testament didn’t think he was restricted to just a few.

KJV Matthew 28:52-53
And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

It doesn’t say a few. It says many. Now, let’s see what Joseph did in the Inspired Version.

JST Matthew 28:56-57
And the graves were opened; and the bodies of the saints which slept, arose, who were many. And came out of the graves after his resurrection, went unto the holy city, and appeared unto many.

Joseph’s changes increase the emphasis on there being many saints who arose. It doesn’t read few. And those were only the people that had become saints before Jesus performed his great sacrifice, when only the house of Israel had access to the truth. Imagine how much bigger that number will be after the gospel has been taught to every nation, kindred, and tongue. That big number is consistent with what the Book of Mormon teaches.

2 Nephi 33:12
And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day.

Alma 13:12-13
Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God. And now, my brethren, I would that ye should humble yourselves before God, and bring forth fruit meet for repentance, that ye may also enter into that rest.

Exceedingly great many? That doesn’t sound like a few. Many, if not all? Either Matthew, Joseph, Nephi, and Alma were teaching false doctrine, or Jesus saying “few there be that find it” must be talking about a specific subset. I personally don’t think Matthew, Joseph, Nephi, and Alma were teaching false doctrine, so let’s look at the context for Jesus’ statement.

In Matthew 7, Jesus is teaching his disciples what to teach the people. In the Joseph Smith Translation, extra content is added to give us the context.

JST Matthew 7:6-9
And Jesus said unto his disciples: Beholdest thou the Scribes, and the Pharisees, and the Priests, and the Levites? They teach in their synagogues, but do not observe the law, nor the commandments; and all have gone out of the way, and are under sin. Go thou and say unto them, “Why teach ye men the law and the commandments, when ye yourselves are the children of corruption?” Say unto them, “Ye hypocrites, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Go ye into the world, saying unto all, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come nigh unto you.”

Jesus is telling the disciples to call the Jewish leadership to repentance. The disciples raise a concern about these leaders objecting to their teachings by saying:

JST Matthew 7:14-16
And then said his disciples unto him, they will say unto us, “We ourselves are righteous, and need not that any man should teach us. God, we know, heard Moses and some of the prophets; but us he will not hear.”

And they will say, “We have the law for our salvation, and that is sufficient for us.”

Then Jesus answered, and said unto his disciples, “Thus shall ye say unto them,”

This is critical. The rest of what Jesus says here is what the disciples are supposed to say to these Scribes, Pharisees, Priests, and Levites that teach in the synagogues but do not observe the law, who think they have the law of salvation and they don’t need anything else. This isn’t addressed to all humanity, nor is the subject all humanity nor after the final judgment.

JST Matthew 7:17-23
What man among you, having a son, and he shall be standing out, and shall say, ‘Father, open thy house that I may come in and sup with thee,’ will not say, ‘Come in, my son; for mine is thine, and thine is mine?’ Or what man is there among you, who, if his son ask bread, will give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.

Repent, therefore, and enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Jesus wasn’t talking about all of humanity, but specifically the Jewish leadership of that time who would reject the preaching of the apostles. Those who thought they were obeying the law and the prophets, while in reality wandering in the broad way that leads to destruction. We know that the vast majority of Jews did not accept the teachings of the apostles. The apostles eventually turned to the Gentiles to preach the gospel. Jesus wasn’t talking about a final judgment when he made the “few find it” comment, he was talking about the people of that time that his disciples would preach to gospel to.

Keep in mind that the disciples, at the time Jesus made the comment, had specifically been restricted to preaching to the kingdom of Judah. They weren’t even allowed to go into the former northern kingdom to teach the Samaritans. This was years before they ever considered that a Gentile could be saved in the kingdom.

JST Matthew 10:3-6
These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and enter ye not into any city of the Samaritans. But rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'”

This is the second time the kingdom of heaven is referenced. But in both cases, it is not talking about going somewhere else in the afterlife. In both cases, Jesus is saying the kingdom of heaven is coming to earth, at that time, among the Jews. It is that kingdom, at that time, that few will find. To rip this out of its context and try to assert that Jesus is talking about a final judgment is putting words in Jesus’ mouth that he never said. It is wresting the scriptures.

What does modern revelation teach us?

D&C 18:44
And by your hands I will work a marvelous work among the children of men, unto the convincing of many of their sins, that they may come unto repentance, and that they may come unto the kingdom of my Father.

God doesn’t say few will be saved in the kingdom of the Father. Many will be convinced and will come unto the kingdom of the Father. That’s consistent with what Jesus taught in the Bible:

Matthew 8:11
And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.

 

Fear and trembling

Philippians 2:12
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

When we first read this, we might think it means we need to be worried for our eternal future. Even anxious. Maybe even stressed out. Just look at the words!

FEAR – A painful emotion or passion excited by an expectation of evil, or the apprehension of impending danger. Anxiety.

TREMBLE – To shake involuntarily, as with fear, cold or weakness; to quake; to quiver; to shiver; to shudder.

Are there examples in the scriptures where people are told to suffer a painful expectation of impending danger? Yes.

D&C 63:6
Wherefore, verily I say, let the wicked take heed, and let the rebellious fear and tremble; and let the unbelieving hold their lips, for the day of wrath shall come upon them as a whirlwind, and all flesh shall know that I am God.

Mosiah 15:26-27
But behold, and fear, and tremble before God, for ye ought to tremble; for the Lord redeemeth none such that rebel against him and die in their sins; yea, even all those that have perished in their sins ever since the world began, that have wilfully rebelled against God, that have known the commandments of God, and would not keep them; these are they that have no part in the first resurrection. Therefore ought ye not to tremble? For salvation cometh to none such; for the Lord hath redeemed none such; yea, neither can the Lord redeem such; for he cannot deny himself; for he cannot deny justice when it has its claim.

1 Nephi 22:23
For the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the devil are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be consumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet.

Jacob 6:13
Finally, I bid you farewell, until I shall meet you before the pleasing bar of God, which bar striketh the wicked with awful dread and fear. Amen.

When talking about the enemies who oppose the servants who go forth to preach the gospel for the last time, the Lord says:

D&C 45:74
For when the Lord shall appear he shall be terrible unto them, that fear may seize upon them, and they shall stand afar off and tremble.

Those scriptures all talk about the wicked needing to fear and tremble, which makes sense, there is great impending danger for them. But what about the righteous? Does God expect the righteous to have a painful expectation of evil? Is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ that we have anxiety about impending danger for the rest of our lives? If so, why did the Master say the opposite?

Luke 12:32
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:

In scripture, fear is used to express a filial or a slavish passion. In good men, the fear of God is a holy awe or reverence of God and his laws, which springs from a just view and real love of the divine character, leading the subjects of it to hate and shun every thing that can offend such a holy being, and inclining them to aim at perfect obedience. This is filial fear. Slavish fear is the effect or consequence of guilt; it is the painful apprehension of merited punishment.

Fear for the righteous is awe and reverence for God that leads them to shun everything that can offend God. Many modern English translations will use worship instead of fear to better convey the correct meaning. What about trembling?

Psalm 2:11
Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

Rejoice with trembling? Like, be so happy that you can’t sit still? That would mean we serve the Lord with awe and reverence, and jump for joy. That doesn’t sound like a gospel of anxiety, that sounds like a gospel of love. Not a gospel of apprehension or dread, but a gospel of hope.

Because Paul was talking to righteous Saints when he told them to work out their salvation with fear and trembling, it’s most likely that he meant “work out your salvation by serving God and rejoicing.”  Here are some more scriptures from the Old Testament (the scriptures Paul had as a reference) that tell us how the righteous should “fear”:

Psalm 119:63
I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.

Ecclesiastes 12:13
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Job 1:1
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

Exodus 18:21
Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:

Deuteronomy 6:2-5
That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Here is what some of Paul’s contemporaries wrote about fearing God:

Acts 10:2
A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.

Hebrews 12:28
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

And here’s what Paul himself wrote:

2 Corinthians 7:1-2
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.

Fear for the righteous doesn’t mean dread, it means respect, love, and awe. It means keeping God’s commandments, which is what the righteous do. If the righteous are supposed to have a painful apprehension of merited punishment, why did Christ say the opposite?

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 16:33
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

It wasn’t just Jesus that told the righteous they need not have anxiety.

1 John 4:15-18
Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Isaiah 41:10
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Psalm 34:4
I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

Paul himself wrote:

2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

 Yes, for those living in wickedness, punishment awaits them. But our message to them should not be repentance to avoid punishment. It should be on the benefits of turning to God. The joy, peace, and happiness that comes from accepting Christ. For those who have accepted Christ and are trying to obey him as they understand his will for them, the gospel is supposed to be joyful, not dreadful.

Matthew 11:28-30
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

For those that come unto Christ, the yoke is easy. We still have to do the work, be when we take his yoke upon us the burden is light. He did not say “Come unto me, and have depression and anxiety that you’ll never be good enough, and worry whether I will accept you or not.” The wicked have reason to fear. The righteous have reason to rejoice.

1 Nephi 22:22-23
And the righteous need not fear, for they are those who shall not be confounded. But it is the kingdom of the devil, which shall be built up among the children of men, which kingdom is established among them which are in the flesh—For the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the devil are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be consumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet.

In parting, let’s remember the whole reason Christ came.

John 3:17
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned.

Disagreement

I am indebted to Watcher. The work he has done on the history of the church, the mission of Joseph, and clarifying many of the false doctrines that we have been raised with is invaluable. I had been searching for years, with disconnected pieces of truth, but couldn’t figure out a model to explain the contradictions and put the pieces together. His model gave clarity to confusion, provided a framework upon which to hang all the truths and insights I had gained, and increased my faith in God. He has truly done a great work.

That being said, his latest series, The Doctrine of Nehor, has been troubling. He has espoused theories that I believe contradict scripture and destroy faith in God. One of these being that God created us out of either celestial material, terrestrial material, telestial material, or perdition material, and that despite our best efforts or the infinite sacrifice of Jesus, we cannot ever become more than what we started out as and must return to whatever kingdom we were made from.

As I engage on this next series of posts, it is not my intention to attack Watcher. Watcher has years of writings that support the scriptures. I’d estimate over 95% of what Watcher has taught is consistent with scripture, and I do not want to diminish or damage that in any way. But this small portion that contradicts the scriptures must be challenged. 2 Nephi 28:14 teaches us that during these days of darkness even the “humble followers of Christ…in many instances they do err.” We all make mistakes. That doesn’t make us evil. That doesn’t invalidate all our good works.

But we can’t stick our heads in the sand either. When we see teachings that contradict the scriptures, we need to measure those doctrines against the scriptures. In this case, I fear that these incorrect teachings will damage people’s perception of the credibility of the rest of Watcher’s work. That would be a tragedy, because the overwhelming majority of his work is not only good, but essential.

If you see areas where I am taking scriptures out of context, use the comments to point it out and to quote (not paraphrase) the scriptures that contradict what I am writing. I won’t censor opposing viewpoints. My goal here isn’t to “win”, it’s to find the truth.

Only in times of famine

Section 89 can be difficult to understand. Between the undefined terms (what is a hot drink?) and the traditions we’ve grown up with, trying to understand what the Lord really intended can be tough. One subject that we see confusion around is eating meat.

D&C 89:10-13
And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man—every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving. Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly; and it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

Here the Lord is telling us herbs and fruits are ordained as food for man. Also that the flesh of beasts and fowls are to used, not only in times of winter, or cold, or famine, but presumably all year round. (The comma between “should not be used” and “only in times of winter” was added in 1921, so I ignore it). One definition of sparingly is moderately,  tenderly, or not lavishly. Other times sparingly can mean seldom or not frequently, but the next scripture seems to not support that definition here.

D&C 49:18-21
And whoso forbids to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God; for, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance. But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin. And wo be unto man that sheds blood or that wastes flesh and has no need.

That’s a second witness that the beasts of the field and fowls of the air are ordained for the use of man. But the Lord gives two warnings. First, that one man should not possess more than another. We should not have people starving while others have plenty (insert law of consecration here). And secondly, wasting the flesh of animals, killing them when there is no need, is bad. But we are also to have this food in abundance. Abundance means ample sufficiency. This isn’t gluttony. It’s enough. More than the minimum, but not to excess.

God gives a third witness.

D&C 59:16-20
Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbs upon the trees and walketh upon the earth; yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards; yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. And it pleases God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.

To be used. For food. With judgment, not to excess.

Now that we’ve established this, let’s go back to Section 89 and read the next verses.

14 All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;
15 And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.

What exactly has God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess hunger?

Most people will assume he’s referring to eating meat again. But that contradicts all those previous scriptures that tells us meat is ordained for the use of man, to be used abundantly but not to excess.

Some interpret this to mean we’re only supposed to eat grain during times of famine and excess of hunger. But that seems to ignore the next verse.

16 All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground

I think the answer is right there in the scriptures.

14 All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth; and these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.

This is the first time wild animals has been used in Section 89. The previous verses talk about eating beasts of the field, but do not mention wild animals.

Let’s use a bit of English grammar to decode this. These is plural. In verse 14, all grain is singular. Wild animals are plural. We also have the difference between these and those. When you have two groups, the closer group is referred to as these, and the more distant group is referred to as those. The closest group to the word these is wild animals, not grain, not beasts of the field, and not fowls of heaven.

While grammar can help us understand the meaning, we really need some scriptural witnesses to confirm that. Is there a difference between beasts of the field and wild beasts or wild animals?

1 Nephi 18:25
And it came to pass that we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men.

Here Nephi seems to be making a distinction between beasts (cows, oxen, horses, and goats) and wild animals. Nephi talks about hunting wild beasts to feed his family during a time of excess hunger.

1 Nephi 16
19 And it came to pass that we did return without food to our families, and being much fatigued, because of their journeying, they did suffer much for the want of food.
21 Now it came to pass that I, Nephi, having been afflicted with my brethren because of the loss of my bow, and their bows having lost their springs, it began to be exceedingly difficult, yea, insomuch that we could obtain no food.
31 And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food for our families.

Later in the Book of Mormon we have another description that distinguishes between domesticated animals and wild beasts.

3 Nephi 4:2-3
2 But behold, there were no wild beasts nor game in those lands which had been deserted by the Nephites, and there was no game for the robbers save it were in the wilderness. And the robbers could not exist save it were in the wilderness, for the want of food; for the Nephites had left their lands desolate, and had gathered their flocks and their herds and all their substance, and they were in one body.

It seems that wild beasts and wild animals are one in the same. The emphasis is on the wild part. The Lamanites were hunting game in the wilderness. The Nephites had flocks and herds. Alma also describes wild animals as living in the wilderness.

Alma 22:31
And they came from there up into the south wilderness. Thus the land on the northward was called Desolation, and the land on the southward was called Bountiful, it being the wilderness which is filled with all manner of wild animals of every kind, a part of which had come from the land northward for food.

It seems that hunting wild animals is what the Lord is referring to in D&C 89:15 when he says they are only to be used in times of famine and excess hunger. Hunting isn’t forbidden, but it is restricted. Enos went to hunt beasts in the forest when he kneeled down in prayer. Nephi hunted food in the wilderness to provide for his family. So this isn’t a sin outright. But who are the examples of those that hunt to excess? Nimrod, the founder of Babel, was a mighty hunter. Esau was a cunning hunter. And Enos tells us of the Lamanites.

Enos 1:20
And I bear record that the people of Nephi did seek diligently to restore the Lamanites unto the true faith in God. But our labors were vain; their hatred was fixed, and they were led by their evil nature that they became wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, full of idolatry and filthiness; feeding upon beasts of prey; dwelling in tents, and wandering about in the wilderness with a short skin girdle about their loins and their heads shaven; and their skill was in the bow, and in the cimeter, and the ax. And many of them did eat nothing save it was raw meat; and they were continually seeking to destroy us.

Nephi and his family ate raw meat in the wilderness and the Lord blessed them. The Lamanites at raw meat and it was a cursing. So eating raw meat in and of itself isn’t sin. During times of famine and excess hunger it’s fine. But if that becomes your staple diet, you’ve gone too far. So it seems with hunting in general. The Nephites farmed extensively, with both grains and flocks of animals, and hunted occasionally. The Lamanites didn’t farm, and either pillaged or hunted for their sustenance.

I can’t help but notice that our hunting laws restrict hunting to specific times of the year, and limit the number of animals that can be killed. I suspect that if these laws were repealed, some percentage of hunters would hunt to excess, much like what happened with the wild buffalo in the 1800s. Our hunting laws seem to be implementing the will of the Lord to some degree (albeit by coercion). An outright prohibition on hunting for food is not God’s will. Trophy hunting, where blood is spilled when there is no need, seems to be a different story.

So what does this mean for us? Beef, poultry, and other domesticated meats are fine to eat year round, in abundant moderation but not to excess. Grains, herbs, and fruits are fine to eat year round. Wild animals, however, should only be eaten in times of famine and excess hunger.

Enoch and the Lord

I was reading Moses 7 this evening, where Enoch has an extensive discussion with the Lord. It’s quite confusing if you believe the LDS tradition about Elohim being the Father and Jehovah being the Son.

In the previous chapter, Enoch had been preaching to the people and taught:

Moses 6:57
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.

Man of Holiness = Father = Elohim.
Son of Man = Jesus Christ = Jehovah.

In Chapter 7, Enoch is talking to the Lord, which is ambiguous. But when the Lord responds to Enoch, he gives away his identity.

Moses 7:35
Behold, I am God; Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name, also.

So Enoch is talking to Elohim, God the Father. As a second witness:

Moses 7
50 And it came to pass that Enoch continued his cry unto the Lord, saying: I ask thee, O Lord, in the name of thine Only Begotten, even Jesus Christ, that thou wilt have mercy upon Noah and his seed, that the earth might never more be covered by the floods.
51 And the Lord could not withhold; and he covenanted with Enoch, and sware unto him with an oath, that he would stay the floods; that he would call upon the children of Noah;

The Lord Enoch is speaking to is the Father, because he is asking in the name of his Only Begotten, Jesus Christ. The next verses seem to support it being the Father doing the talking.

54 And it came to pass that Enoch cried unto the Lord, saying: When the Son of Man comes in the flesh, shall the earth rest? I pray thee, show me these things.
55 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Look, and he looked and beheld the Son of Man lifted up on the cross, after the manner of men;
56 And he heard a loud voice; and the heavens were veiled; and all the creations of God mourned; and the earth groaned; and the rocks were rent; and the saints arose, and were crowned at the right hand of the Son of Man, with crowns of glory;
57 And as many of the spirits as were in prison came forth, and stood on the right hand of God; and the remainder were reserved in chains of darkness until the judgment of the great day.

OK – the Son of Man is also God. We’re still safe, right?

59 And Enoch beheld the Son of Man ascend up unto the Father; and he called unto the Lord, saying: Wilt thou not come again upon the earth? Forasmuch as thou art God, and I know thee, and thou hast sworn unto me, and commanded me that I should ask in the name of thine Only Begotten; thou hast made me, and given unto me a right to thy throne, and not of myself, but through thine own grace; wherefore, I ask thee if thou wilt not come again on the earth.
60 And the Lord said unto Enoch: As I live, even so will I come in the last days, in the days of wickedness and vengeance, to fulfil the oath which I have made unto you concerning the children of Noah;

Stop the presses! Enoch asks the Father in the name of the Only Begotten if the Father will come again on the earth. And the Father says he will come in the last days. Doesn’t Elohim realize that Jehovah is supposed to do that? Elohim is having a serious identity crisis.

62 And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.

65 And it came to pass that Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, in the last days, to dwell on the earth in righteousness for the space of a thousand years;

Does Elohim come again, or the Son of Man? The Lord seems to thinks it’s both. I don’t know how anyone can reconcile this chapter of scripture with the Elohim/Jehovah concept the LDS Church preaches. It’s too bad the LDS Church doesn’t believe the Book of Mormon, which explains Moses 7 easily.

Mosiah 13:28, 33-34
And moreover, I say unto you, that salvation doth not come by the law alone; and were it not for the atonement, which God himself shall make for the sins and iniquities of his people, that they must unavoidably perish, notwithstanding the law of Moses.

For behold, did not Moses prophesy unto them concerning the coming of the Messiah, and that God should redeem his people? Yea, and even all the prophets who have prophesied ever since the world began—have they not spoken more or less concerning these things? Have they not said that God himself should come down among the children of men, and take upon him the form of man, and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth?

Mosiah 15:1-5
And now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people. And because he dwells in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son-The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son-And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth. And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffers temptation, and yields not to the temptation, but suffers himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.

Alma 42:15
And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atones for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.

Ether 3:14
Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters.

Those verses fly in the face of the Elohim/Jehovah doctrine. But they actually support Moses 7. Maybe we should just believe the Book of Mormon.

In parting, here’s another verse the LDS Church should embrace.

Mosiah 16:15
Teach them that redemption comes through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father. Amen.

 

The Sin of Sodom

In a recent episode of the Iron Rod Podcast, we discussed:

2 Nephi 13:9
The show of their countenance doth witness against them, and doth declare their sin to be even as Sodom, and they cannot hide it. Wo unto their souls, for they have rewarded evil unto themselves!

Searcher made the observation that most modern Christians assume this sin is homosexuality, but the Old Testament spells out what the sin of Sodom was.

Ezekiel 16:49-50
49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

Afterwards, a listener contacted me with another great observation. In the 1833 Book of Commandments, the Lord said:

And now if this generation do harden their hearts against my word, behold I will deliver them up unto Satan, for he reigneth and hath much power at this time, for he hath got great hold upon the hearts of the people of this generation: and not far from the iniquities of Sodom and Gomorrah, do they come at this time: and behold the sword of justice hangeth over their heads, and if they persist in the hardness of their hearts, the time cometh that it must fall upon them.

This listener pointed out that there wasn’t a large LGBTQ demographic in 1833, so the iniquities of Sodom and Gomorrah that the Lord is referring to don’t appear to be sexual in nature. What was going on in 1833? Poor immigrants struggling to survive after fleeing poverty in their home countries. Slavery. Oppression.

That got me thinking about how we are doing 200 years later. While we don’t have institutionalized slavery, we hear of isolated cases of immigrants basically being used as slaves here in the US. Lurking in the shadows are more insidious forms of enslavement. The press has just barely begun to shine the light into the doings of Jeffrey Epstein and the rich and famous he catered to. The Super Bowl is coming up soon – supposedly the largest sexual trafficking event in the world.

Tragically, you and I are indirectly supporting many of these sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. There are rare earth materials used in modern electronics that are primarily found in war-torn regions of Africa like the Congo. Known as conflict minerals, they provide the economic engine that enables local warlords to kidnap children to be part of their army and then use them to enslave local populations to mine for these conflict minerals. To its credit, the electronics industry has been working to establish procedures to certify minerals as coming from conflict-free suppliers. Yet someone is still buying and using the minerals mined by the warlords. Sadly, they are almost assuredly in the phones and computers we are using to read this blog, listen to the Iron Rod Podcast, and search the scriptures.

Truly we live in Babylon. I’m not sure it’s possible for anyone to live today without being contaminated in one degree or another with the blood and sins of this generation. Awful is our state. We are captives in Egypt waiting for a Moses to deliver us, because only power from on high can save us from our current state.

The Lazarus Effect

Alma 34:32
For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.

Alma 12:24
And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead.

1 Nephi 10:21
Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment-seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, ye must be cast off forever.

2 Nephi 23:9
I also have charity for the Gentiles. But behold, for none of these can I hope except they shall be reconciled unto Christ, and enter into the narrow gate, and walk in the strait path which leads to life, and continue in the path until the end of the day of probation.

If we just take those verses in isolation, it’s so simple. This life is all we get to prepare. Once we die, game over. Were you born 600 years ago in an African nation that practiced witchcraft? Sorry, tough luck. Were you born into a Christian nation that didn’t have the fullness of the gospel? Sorry, you have to have received the gift of the Holy Ghost in order to be saved. Thanks for playing! Were you born and raised in the LDS Church during the 20th Century, and not only had your temple endowments but also the second anointing? Sorry, you’re screwed too.

One could come to the conclusion that God is a respecter of persons. If he didn’t choose to let you live in the right time and place to be exposed to the fullness of the gospel, he basically closed the door to your salvation. Some may even try teaching some form of predestination, that God created you inferior to others, and that’s why they can be saved and you can’t. Don’t feel bad, you wouldn’t have been happy in a better place! It doesn’t matter how much you try to repent in life, if God didn’t want you to be saved, your efforts will be futile. That’s a depressing outlook. Why bother commanding all men to repent if only a select few are rewarded for doing so? Could it be there is more in the scriptures that gives us context to this time of preparation?

2 Nephi 9:27
But wo unto him that has the law given, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, and that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state!

You have to have the law given to you to waste the days of your probation. Specifically, given unto you like unto the Nephites. I’ve already covered just how many spiritual blessings they received and sinned in the face of. What about the billions of people that haven’t had the law given to them? We’re told that the Millennium is when the world will be filled with the fullness of the gospel, and everyone will know it. So most people can’t begin to waste their days of probation until after the Millennium begins.

D&C 29:43-44
And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation—that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe; and they that believe not unto eternal damnation; for they cannot be redeemed from their spiritual fall, because they repent not;

When we first read that, we may conclude that when we suffer death in this life, the clock stops. Our days of probation are over. But notice that he links this death to being raised in immortality (and notice, once again, it’s a binary end state, eternal life or eternal damnation).

2 Nephi 2:21
And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents.

Wait a minute! We can repent while in the flesh. Does that mean during the restoration, when everyone is restored in their flesh to life, we can still repent?

2 Nephi 10:7
But behold, thus saith the Lord God: When the day cometh that they shall believe in me, that I am Christ, then have I covenanted with their fathers that they shall be restored in the flesh, upon the earth, unto the lands of their inheritance.

That would seem to indicate that the clock doesn’t stop with our mortal death. It gets paused, and then resumes once we are restored in the flesh upon the earth. That makes a lot more sense. In fact, let’s do a thought experiment of what would happen if the clock stopped permanently at our mortal death.

When Lazarus died, his probation ended. Four days later when he was restored to life, was his time of probation still over? Was he now free to do anything without consequences because he had already died? If the clock stopped once-and-for-all when his body was put into the tomb, then this raised-from-the-dead Lazarus would be free to commit any and all sins, with absolutely no consequences. Same thing for the daughter of Jairus and all the other people who were raised from the dead. Of course, that is ridiculous. So why would it be any different when the rest of humanity is raised from the dead?

The Celestials will be raised from the dead before the 2nd Coming of Christ. The Terrestrials will be raised from the dead at his coming – the beginning of the Millennium. And the Telestials will be raised around the end of the Millennium and the beginning of the Little Season. Yet we still have the Little Season, when Satan is leading people astray again. The scriptures make it clear we need to endure to the end. The probation continues until the final judgment after the Little Season. If we don’t choose correctly during the Little Season, we will have to pay for it.

Mosiah 16:10-11 (again, notice the binary judgment)
Even this mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruption shall put on incorruption, and shall be brought to stand before the bar of God, to be judged of him according to their works whether they be good or whether they be evil—If they be good, to the resurrection of endless life and happiness; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of endless damnation, being delivered up to the devil, who hath subjected them, which is damnation

Enos 1:27
And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. Amen.

Alma 5:15
Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?

Alma 12:12
And Amulek hath spoken plainly concerning death, and being raised from this mortality to a state of immortality, and being brought before the bar of God, to be judged according to our works.

Mormon 6:21
And the day soon cometh that your mortal must put on immortality, and these bodies which are now moldering in corruption must soon become incorruptible bodies; and then ye must stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, to be judged according to your works; and if it so be that ye are righteous, then are ye blessed with your fathers who have gone before you.

All these verses place being raised to immortality happening at the end of the Little Season, not the beginning. When the scriptures tell us we need to endure to the end, and he who doesn’t endure to the end will have reason to mourn, they really mean the end. Our probationary period goes until the final judgment. Which means the days we have available to repent extend also to the final judgment.

1 Nephi 13:37
And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.

2 Nephi 9:23-24
And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God. And if they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name, and endure to the end, they must be damned; for the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has spoken it.

This life (both the first and second half) is the time to prepare to meet God. Some of us will be able to make better preparations in the first half, which will give us an advantage in the second half. But we all get to hear the voice of Lord, at which point everyone has the same knowledge, and then we can choose whether to listen or not, and then none of us can complain that God’s final judgment is unjust.

Alma 12:15
But this cannot be; we must come forth and stand before him in his glory, and in his power, and in his might, majesty, and dominion, and acknowledge to our everlasting shame that all his judgments are just; that he is just in all his works, and that he is merciful unto the children of men, and that he has all power to save every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit meet for repentance.

Mosiah 16:1-2
And now, it came to pass that after Abinadi had spoken these words he stretched forth his hand and said: The time shall come when all shall see the salvation of the Lord; when every nation, kindred, tongue, and people shall see eye to eye and shall confess before God that his judgments are just. And then shall the wicked be cast out, and they shall have cause to howl, and weep, and wail, and gnash their teeth; and this because they would not hearken unto the voice of the Lord; therefore the Lord redeemeth them not.