Eternal Life, Eternal Punishment, D&C 19 is not an “oops”

D&C 19 clarifies the term “eternal” as the word has been translated in the scriptures. In English “eternal” means “without ending or beginning”, but in Hebrew, the word is “olam”, and in Greek, the word is “eonian”. Those words mean an age, a period of time, a world, a condition of existence, an estate. And in all these cases, there is definitely a beginning and an end.

Alma was “racked with eternal torment”, but after he repented, he “could remember [his] sins no more. So, “eternal” doesn’t mean what we commonly think it means.

Alma 36:12 But I was racked with eternal torment, for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins.

Alma 36:13 Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell; yea, I saw that I had rebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments.

Alma 36:14 Yea, and I had murdered many of his children, or rather led them away unto destruction; yea, and in fine so great had been my iniquities, that the very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack my soul with inexpressible horror.

Alma 36:15 Oh, thought I, that I could be banished and become extinct both soul and body, that I might not be brought to stand in the presence of my God, to be judged of my deeds.

Alma 36:16 And now, for three days and for three nights was I racked, even with the pains of a damned soul.

Alma 36:17 And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.

Alma 36:18 Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.

Alma 36:19 And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.

I don’t know what Joseph Smith was thinking. He probably had trouble comprehending what the Lord was trying to reveal, but he was really trying to undo centuries of false traditions due to mistranslations of the Bible. Just because you receive revelation doesn’t necessarily you understand what you receive or can easily put it in words. This was probably new to him also.

“Eternal punishment is God’s punishment”, means it’s the kind of punishment ordained by God. And, by the same token “Eternal life is God’s life”, or the kind of life that God lives. We say “eternal life is to know God”, but nobody can truly know God unless he IS God. Then, and only then can you live as God lives.

This is Bruce R. McConkie from A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, page 492:

There is a true doctrine on these points, a doctrine unknown by many and unbelieved by more, a doctrine that is spelled out as specifically and extensively in the revealed word as are any of the other revealed truths. There is no need for uncertainty or misunderstanding. And surely if the Lord reveals a doctrine, we should seek to learn its principles and strive to apply them in our lives. This doctrine is that mortal man, while in the flesh, has it in his power to see the Lord, to stand in His presence, to feel the nail marks in His hands and feet, and to receive from Him such blessings as are reserved for only those who keep all His commandments and who are qualified for that eternal life, which includes being in His presence forever. [Forever means now and always.]

Calling and Election

Brigham Young actually explained the difference between the Second Anointing and the Second Comforter. They are two different things. I have never seen this quote before, but wanted to share it. There are several significant points made here, and I know independently that he is telling the truth.

  • Priesthood is separate from and independent of the church
  • The fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood comes directly from the Lord
  • The second anointing in the public promise. The second comforter is the private fulfilment of that promise. The first is not complete without the other.
  • People who come on “Mormon Stories” and complain that they haven’t seen the Savior in the temple, were not taught this doctrine properly. The second anointing comes about as a “reward”, given by man for faithful service in the church, and/or being connected to the “right” families. The second comforter is given by the Lord himself. If we take the Holy Spirit for our guide, seek and receive personal revelation, and act on it, the second comforter is the destination that this path leads to.
  • Contrary to what Brigham Young says, the second anointing is not a prerequisite for receiving the second comforter.

There are in the Church two Priesthoods, namely, the Melchizedek and the Aaronic, including the Levitical Priesthood (1) & C 107: 1). But there is additonal Priesthood that has never been delegated to the Church. The Lord Himself handles this Priesthood and gives it to whom and when He pleases. Man does not call another man to this order, neither does man secure it by the request or selection of any man on earth. The call comes by messenger from heaven requesting designated individuals into the House of God (and it is known to Latter-day Saints as the second anointing), preparatory to receiving the Second Comforter, which completes their ordination. Sometimes this second Comforter is given while in the Temple. Often it does not come until years after, even just at death. But they who have had their second anointings can see the face of the Lord and live, even though being in the flesh, as one sees and talks to another. A Priesthood Issue, p. 8 (See also: J.D., 9:87)

From the Pamphlet “Son thou Shalt Be Exalted” by Dennis Short https://content.byui.edu/file/76183b70-4348-4e74-bd7d-5b823a415513/1/FileMS166_SonThouShaltBeExalted.pdf

In the early history of the Church it was sometimes possible to tell which of the Apostles had made their ordination complete by a careful observance of the way in which they performed certain ordinances. If an Apostle had enjoyed the ministering of the Savior to him personally, and had the Lord lay His hands upon his head, then this Apostle would say, “Having authority given me of Jesus Christ….” If an Apostle had not made his ordination complete he would perform the ordinance in the conventional manner, i.e.: “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I….”

There are other ways to tell whether a man has the Sealing Power or not, by the way in which he prays. Since this is easily imitated, I would reveal those ways, but if you are attentive, the Lord will reveal them to you.

Here is a really old quote from Bruce R. McConkie. He didn’t talk like this in his later years:

Revelations are not reserved for a limited few or for those called to positions of importance in the Church. It is not position in the Church that confers spiritual gifts. It is not being a bishop, a stake president, or an apostle that makes revelation and salvation available. These are high and holy callings which open the door to the privilege of great service among men. But it is not a call to a special office that opens the windows of revelation to a truth seeker. Rather it is personal righteousness; it is keeping the commandments; it is seeking the Lord while He may be found.

God is no respecter of persons. He will give revelation to me and to you on the same terms and conditions. I can see what Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon saw in the vision of the degrees of glory–and so can you. I can entertain angels and see God, I can receive an out pouring of the gifts of the Spirit–and so can you.

There are goals to gain, summits to climb, revelations to receive. In the eternal scope of things we have scarcely started out on the course to glory and exaltation. The Lord wants His Saints to receive line upon line, precept upon precept, truth upon truth, revelation upon revelation, until we know all things and have become like Him.

Let us press forward in making our callings and elections sure, until, as Joseph Smith said, we shall have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend us, or to appear to us from time to time, and until even He will manifest the Father unto use (See TPJS., p. 151). Improvement Era, December 1969, p. 85

Are Mormons Christians?

Many Mormons have put their church and its leaders ahead of Christ, and as such are idolators. But, as a commentator pointed out, to say that all Mormons put the church ahead of Christ is taking a generalization too far. Many LDS people are today waking up to the fact that, as a group, we have had a tendency to do worship the church and not Christ, and to trust the church not the Lord to save us, and I will stand by my position that many top church leaders put the organization ahead of Christ. But many ordinary members are grateful for other members who showed us that we were doing this, and we realized our mistake. I think some of the best teachers in the church, are not the leaders, or the official teachers, but fellow members, who by their example, and a word or two, get us thinking.

I am grateful for the church for bringing us together under a common umbrella and for preserving the scriptures so that we can study they for ourselves. I hope, in this blog, I can attract and retain people who want to put the Lord first in their lives, and I promise that I will try harder not to overly generalize. This is a tendency we get into online. This trend actually started when all people had was email, when we lost that personal connection and could hide behind words. And now it’s carried over into blogs and Facebook. We all really need to watch ourselves in this.

“Christianity”, as a belief system, is nothing to be admired as its adherents place their creeds ahead of Christ, and are just as much idolators. Their idea of “faith”, for example, is not seeking revelation and acting it, but instead, their idea of faith is a set of beliefs that you must follow.

I will admit to one of my pet peeves. I really, really, really don’t like organized religion, and I tend to go overboard in condemning it. It’s just because I have seen what it can do to people who would otherwise be great friends. However, many people see great value in large organizations, and I will try to be more tolerant. To me, the most spiritual times I ever had with people was in private discussions, or in small meetings held in peoples’ homes. I grew up in small branches of the church all my life, and on my mission, and that was all I knew until I attended college in Utah.

The definition of the church of Christ and a true disciple of Christ is very simple. It’s in the D&C.

10:67. Behold, this is my doctrine–whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.
10:68. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.
10:69. And now, behold, whosoever is of my church, and endureth of my church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
10:70. And now, remember the words of him who is the life and light of the world, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Amen.

Imitating Christ

Somebody posted to Facebook the other day about a talk given last conference. The speaker said that in order to follow Jesus, we had to “imitate Jesus”. The poster did a great job of debunking this notion, and the entire “gospel of works” by actually teaching the correct doctrine of Christ from the Scriptures.

I just wanted to a brief comment.

Eternal life is not to imitate God, but to know God. Satan imitates God. That’s why he’s able to deceive.