One of several less than charitable and self-appointed sentinels of doctrine within the Mormon hierarchy spoke out against eternal lives and other scripturally sound doctrines, while at the same time promoting scripturally unsound doctrines and practices in his all-encompassing volume on LDS theology which seems to have been the most adamant quasi-official word on these matters in modern times. His successors in the role as guardians of doctrine, have all exemplified the same lack of understanding and knowledge of what The Word of God teaches. The old guard shows instead a preference for the ceremonies and well-worn platitudes of the institution, even when those tired expressions can easily be proven to be false and ungrounded beliefs and practices according to scripture. Teaching for doctrine the commandments of men has become a way of life in the system in which we all were raised, only to find out later in life through our own study, that those same commandments of men were not the commandments of God at all. Precepts of men prevail in a belief system which has claimed authority from the beginning of its inception, yet it displays a colossal lack of evidence of real power, prophecy, revelation, and of understanding The Word of God.
In place of the emancipating and beautiful truths which scripture provides, this system foists upon its members ordinances and financial burdens and doctrines and covenants with oaths and signs and tokens and penalties, all of which are nonexistent in the sacred Word of God, including The Book of Mormon which actually condemns these things. The reader is referred to the blog Topic titled “Dead Works” to read more on these matters. So we must ask ourselves some serious and terrible questions about the contrasting choices we are faced with. God’s word is filled with light. So much so that it’s nearly blinding in its radiance and wonder. Almost every page in scripture or so it seems is dripping with inference related to his glorious doctrine of eternal lives where God’s plan allows us to experience all things and to learn all things as we grow in light and truth through the process of lives. God’s all-encompassing perfect love is shed upon His children equally on the face of the earth. God provides a multitude of opportunities to grow in understanding and experience for the purpose of each person gathering light unto themselves. “…And the one being is as precious in his sight as the other. And all flesh is of the dust; and for the selfsame end hath he created them, that they should keep his commandments and glorify him forever.” (Jacob 2:21). God’s work with his children is for the selfsame end that God has experienced himself, having gone through the same journey of eternal lives which he is now providing for each soul equally. Thus, He is the omniscient loving God and we are His children following in the very footsteps He has taken himself.
In contrast, the Mormon Church promotes a system of exclusive salvation given only to those who participate in its Masonic temple ordinances, give a large portion of their income to the church in order to gain access to its temples, and then live by every word its infallible leaders speak regardless of how doctrinally unsound their precepts may be. Members of the church live under almost constant oversight being reminded that their eternal place in the so-called Celestial kingdom is in jeopardy if they do not march instep to every dictate of the church. Members are told they are part of an elite group destined for the highest glory in God’s kingdom by their faithful obedience to all of the church’s principles including participation in its temple ordinances. If these temple ordinances were necessary at all to one’s salvation, then surely the holy prophets and apostles would have written about them clearly in scripture. But those references are not to be found. What we do find in scripture is that God’s plan is for everyone equally based upon gathering light to oneself through a series of mortal probations where we grow in experience and knowledge. Everything we learn is gained through experiences in mortality and not in some eternal classroom setting in the heavens after just one pass or fail probation on earth. If God was so stingy with His children to only offer one attempt at salvation based on a single short mortal experience, it would be the most unfair plan of all. The rest of your infinite life would be determined by the outcome of one mortal lifetime where a single wrong choice would condemn you to some lesser place. The Mormon Celestial Kingdom must be an empty wasteland.
Mormon doctrine emphasizes the “pre-mortal life” in their way of expressing that church members are privileged and entitled as they enter this life on a level above their fellow mortals, being in a position to accept the saving ordinances of the church. They act as though all a person must do is live in mortality by the church’s precepts and they will have eternal life evermore which is far from God’s plan in the written Word. The scriptures teach us that even God himself condescends to come live here with us again and again in order to teach us and work in His own vineyard. A careful reading of a single chapter of scripture known as Jacob chapter 5 can greatly illuminate our understanding on this matter. We can be certain that our Mother in heaven is condescending to work here likewise, but the church frowns on even the mere mention of her. God descends below all things in His atoning work, and how would He do that unless it’s done down here below with us in mortality? The doctrine of eternal lives sounds strange at first because we have been insulated from it all of our lives in the system of control we were born into. Thankfully we have the scriptures to remedy this situation. When you carefully ponder these things you’ll soon discover that they make tremendous sense in opposition to the single life, one shot, ordinance filled, money dependent, precept driven, arm of flesh phantasm or illusion that you’ve followed all of your life. Eternal lives is the single greatest answer to all of the unanswered questions asked about life being fair or unfair in all walks of life, cultures, and traditions. So with that introduction, we present to you examples of the doctrine of eternal lives as contained in The Book of Mormon.
From the Book of Mormon
3 That after they should be destroyed, even that great city Jerusalem, and many be carried away captive into Babylon, according to the own due time of the Lord, they should return again, yea, even be brought back out of captivity; and after they should be brought back out of captivity they should possess again the land of their inheritance. (1Nep 10:3)
14 And after the house of Israel should be scattered they should be gathered together again; or, in fine, after the Gentiles had received the fulness of the Gospel, the natural branches of the olive tree, or the remnants of the house of Israel, should be grafted in, or come to the knowledge of the true Messiah, their Lord and their Redeemer. (1Nep 10:14)
16 And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God? 17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things. 18 And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh. 19 And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look! 20 And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms. 21 And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?
26 And the angel said unto me again: Look and behold the condescension of God! 27 And I looked and beheld the Redeemer of the world, of whom my father had spoken; and I also beheld the prophet who should prepare the way before him. And the Lamb of God went forth and was baptized of him; and after he was baptized, I beheld the heavens open, and the Holy Ghost come down out of heaven and abide upon him in the form of a dove.
32 And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me again, saying: Look! And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the everlasting God was judged of the world; and I saw and bear record. 33 And I, Nephi, saw that he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world. (1Nep 11:16-21, 26-27, 32-33) (v. 18, 21, and 32 from the original 1830 Version.)
6 Nevertheless, after they shall be nursed by the Gentiles, and the Lord has lifted up his hand upon the Gentiles and set them up for a standard, and their children have been carried in their arms, and their daughters have been carried upon their shoulders, behold these things of which are spoken are temporal; for thus are the covenants of the Lord with our fathers; and it meaneth us in the days to come, and also all our brethren who are of the house of Israel. (1Nep 22:6)
12 Wherefore, he will bring them again out of captivity, and they shall be gathered together to the lands of their inheritance; and they shall be brought out of obscurity and out of darkness; and they shall know that the Lord is their Savior and their Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel. (1Nep 22:12)
8 And now I, Jacob, would speak somewhat concerning these words. For behold, the Lord has shown me that those who were at Jerusalem, from whence we came, have been slain and carried away captive. 9 Nevertheless, the Lord has shown unto me that they should return again. And he also has shown unto me that the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, should manifest himself unto them in the flesh; and after he should manifest himself they should scourge him and crucify him, according to the words of the angel who spake it unto me. (2Nep 6:8-9)
11 Wherefore, after they are driven to and fro, for thus saith the angel, many shall be afflicted in the flesh, and shall not be suffered to perish, because of the prayers of the faithful; they shall be scattered, and smitten, and hated; nevertheless, the Lord will be merciful unto them, that when they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer, they shall be gathered together again to the lands of their inheritance. (2Nep 6:11)
1 And now, my beloved brethren, I have read these things that ye might know concerning the covenants of the Lord that he has covenanted with all the house of Israel— 2 That he has spoken unto the Jews, by the mouth of his holy prophets, even from the beginning down, from generation to generation, until the time comes that they shall be restored to the true church and fold of God; when they shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance, and shall be established in all their lands of promise. 3 Behold, my beloved brethren, I speak unto you these things that ye may rejoice, and lift up your heads forever, because of the blessings which the Lord God shall bestow upon your children. 4 For I know that ye have searched much, many of you, to know of things to come; wherefore I know that ye know that our flesh must waste away and die; nevertheless, in our bodies we shall see God. (2Nep 9:1-4)
53 And behold how great the covenants of the Lord, and how great his condescensions unto the children of men; and because of his greatness, and his grace and mercy, he has promised unto us that our seed shall not utterly be destroyed, according to the flesh, but that he would preserve them; and in future generations they shall become a righteous branch unto the house of Israel. (2Nep 9:53)
2 For behold, the promises which we have obtained are promises unto us according to the flesh; wherefore, as it has been shown unto me that many of our children shall perish in the flesh because of unbelief, nevertheless, God will be merciful unto many; and our children shall be restored, that they may come to that which will give them the true knowledge of their Redeemer. (2Nep 10:2)
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. 8 And it shall come to pass that they shall be gathered in from their long dispersion, from the isles of the sea, and from the four parts of the earth; and the nations of the Gentiles shall be great in the eyes of me, saith God, in carrying them forth to the lands of their inheritance. (2Nep 10:7-8)
8 Wherefore, they are of worth unto the children of men, and he that supposeth that they are not, unto them will I speak particularly, and confine the words unto mine own people; for I know that they shall be of great worth unto them in the last days; for in that day shall they understand them; wherefore, for their good have I written them. 9 And as one generation hath been destroyed among the Jews because of iniquity, even so have they been destroyed from generation to generation according to their iniquities; and never hath any of them been destroyed save it were foretold them by the prophets of the Lord. (2Nep 25:8-9)
11 And now this I speak because of the spirit which is in me. And notwithstanding they have been carried away they shall return again, and possess the land of Jerusalem; wherefore, they shall be restored again to the land of their inheritance. (2Nep 25:11)
1 And after Christ shall have risen from the dead he shall show himself unto you, my children, and my beloved brethren; and the words which he shall speak unto you shall be the law which ye shall do. (2 Nephi 26:1)
1 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, I suppose that ye ponder somewhat in your hearts concerning that which ye should do after ye have entered in by the way. But, behold, why do ye ponder these things in your hearts?… 6 Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.” (2 Nephi 32:1, 6)
7 Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things. (Jacob 4:7)
15 And now I, Jacob, am led on by the Spirit unto prophesying; for I perceive by the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that by the stumbling of the Jews they will reject the stone upon which they might build and have safe foundation. 16 But behold, according to the scriptures, this stone shall become the great, and the last, and the only sure foundation, upon which the Jews can build. 17 And now, my beloved, how is it possible that these, after having rejected the sure foundation, can ever build upon it, that it may become the head of their corner? 18 Behold, my beloved brethren, I will unfold this mystery unto you; if I do not, by any means, get shaken from my firmness in the Spirit, and stumble because of my over anxiety for you. (Jacob 4:15-18) (Then Jacob writes Jacob chapter 5 which contains a very long allegory filled with references to eternal lives. We will invite the reader to explore that chapter for themselves. Also see the posts at this blog on Jacob 5.)
8 And my prayer to God is concerning my brethren, that they may once again come to the knowledge of God, yea, the redemption of Christ; that they may once again be a delightsome people. (Words of Mormon 1:8)
24 For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit. 25 And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; 26 And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. (Mosiah 27:24-26)
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 7:25)
43 The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt. 44 Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil. 45 Now, behold, I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided; thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal, that they can no more see corruption. (Alma 11:43-45)
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. (Alma 29:17)
22 If so, wo shall come upon you; but if not so, then cast about your eyes and begin to believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins; and that he shall rise again from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection, that all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works. (Alma 33:22)
36 And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell; yea, and he has also said that the righteous shall sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out; but their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb. (Alma 34:36)
5 Now, whether there shall be one time, or a second time, or a third time, that men shall come forth from the dead, it mattereth not; for God knoweth all these things; and it sufficeth me to know that this is the case—that there is a time appointed that all shall rise from the dead. (Alma 40:5)
1 And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the restoration of which has been spoken; for behold, some have wrested the scriptures, and have gone far astray because of this thing. And I perceive that thy mind has been worried also concerning this thing. But behold, I will explain it unto thee. 2 I say unto thee, my son, that the plan of restoration is requisite with the justice of God; for it is requisite that all things should be restored to their proper order. Behold, it is requisite and just, according to the power and resurrection of Christ, that the soul of man should be restored to its body, and that every part of the body should be restored to itself. 3 And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good. 4 And if their works are evil they shall be restored unto them for evil. Therefore, all things shall be restored to their proper order, every thing to its natural frame—mortality raised to immortality, corruption to incorruption—raised to endless happiness to inherit the kingdom of God, or to endless misery to inherit the kingdom of the devil, the one on one hand, the other on the other— 5 The one raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness, or good according to his desires of good; and the other to evil according to his desires of evil; for as he has desired to do evil all the day long even so shall he have his reward of evil when the night cometh. 6 And so it is on the other hand. If he hath repented of his sins, and desired righteousness until the end of his days, even so he shall be rewarded unto righteousness. 7 These are they that are redeemed of the Lord; yea, these are they that are taken out, that are delivered from that endless night of darkness; and thus they stand or fall; for behold, they are their own judges, whether to do good or do evil. 8 Now, the decrees of God are unalterable; therefore, the way is prepared that whosoever will may walk therein and be saved. 9 And now behold, my son, do not risk one more offense against your God upon those points of doctrine, which ye have hitherto risked to commit sin. 10 Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness. 11 And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness. 12 And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of a natural state and place it in an unnatural state, or to place it in a state opposite to its nature? 13 O, my son, this is not the case; but the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish—good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful. 14 Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again.
15 For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all. (Alma 41:1-11)
29 Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked—30 And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out. (Helaman 3:29-30)
11 Yea, even if they should dwindle in unbelief the Lord shall prolong their days, until the time shall come which hath been spoken of by our fathers, and also by the prophet Zenos, and many other prophets, concerning the restoration of our brethren, the Lamanites, again to the knowledge of the truth— 12 Yea, I say unto you, that in the latter times the promises of the Lord have been extended to our brethren, the Lamanites; and notwithstanding the many afflictions which they shall have, and notwithstanding they shall be driven to and fro upon the face of the earth, and be hunted, and shall be smitten and scattered abroad, having no place for refuge, the Lord shall be merciful unto them. 13 And this is according to the prophecy, that they shall again be brought to the true knowledge, which is the knowledge of their Redeemer, and their great and true shepherd, and be numbered among his sheep. (Hel 15:11-13)
4 O ye people of these great cities which have fallen, who are descendants of Jacob, yea, who are of the house of Israel, how oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and have nourished you. 5 And again, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, who have fallen; yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, ye that dwell at Jerusalem, as ye that have fallen; yea, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens, and ye would not. 6 O ye house of Israel whom I have spared, how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart. (3Nep 10:4-6)
4 And I command you that ye shall write these sayings after I am gone, that if it so be that my people at Jerusalem, they who have seen me and been with me in my ministry, do not ask the Father in my name, that they may receive a knowledge of you by the Holy Ghost, and also of the other tribes whom they know not of, that these sayings which ye shall write shall be kept and shall be manifested unto the Gentiles, that through the fulness of the Gentiles, the remnant of their seed, who shall be scattered forth upon the face of the earth because of their unbelief, may be brought in, or may be brought to a knowledge of me, their Redeemer. 5 And then will I gather them in from the four quarters of the earth; and then will I fulfil the covenant which the Father hath made unto all the people of the house of Israel. (3Nep 16:4-5)
29 And I will remember the covenant which I have made with my people; and I have covenanted with them that I would gather them together in mine own due time, that I would give unto them again the land of their fathers for their inheritance, which is the land of Jerusalem, which is the promised land unto them forever, saith the Father. (3Nep 20:29)
33 Then will the Father gather them together again, and give unto them Jerusalem for the land of their inheritance. (3Nep 20:23)
36 And then shall be brought to pass that which is written: Awake, awake again, and put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city, for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. (3Nep 20:36)
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. (3 Nephi 28:40)
Now with this background regarding the doctrine of Eternal Lives, you should look anew at Jacob’s surreal sermon in 2Nephi chapters 9-10 which contains several references to this doctrine as we’ve demonstrated in this paper. Those chapters also speak of the resurrection and now you can see into the mystery of the resurrection, that for souls progressing on their staircases, resurrection is a matter of being reborn as a baby into a body of flesh and bone to continue the journey of progression. Jesus took up his physical mortal body again to fulfill the purposes of the Father, so he could show the lost sheep of the House of Israel that their God had been sacrificed for them, and the scriptures had been fulfilled. Elsewhere we have demonstrated from scripture that God’s eternal body is a tabernacle comprised of spirit and it is not made of flesh and bone despite the claims of one man to the contrary. Therefore flesh and bone have no place in heaven, but souls are born and reborn into flesh and bone to gain experience and light in mortality. The weight of evidence in The Word on these matters of the resurrection and of God’s body are unassailable. Eternal lives is a beautiful part of the theology of God.
By now the thoughtful reader must be asking themselves further terrible questions about things such as eternal marriage, sealing ordinances, the endowment, genealogy work, and baptisms for the dead. The doctrine of eternal lives which is God’s mechanism for advancing His children into greater light does away with the need for all of these things including the temple itself. Again we refer the reader to the posts in the Topic “Dead Works” which addresses these questions. God’s real plan of salvation is much greater than the lottery games played by the Mormon Church with our eternal welfare. And we have God to thank for the Holy Scriptures which once again prove their inestimable worth to us as children of light. We are commanded in scripture to awaken before it is everlastingly too late. We pray these examples from the scriptures help you see that things are not what we had supposed them to be; they are far more grand and glorious.