You Have Been Here Before

YouHaveBeenHereBeforeSome of my regular readers are going to be mad at me. I’m going to argue in this essay the exact opposite position I presented a few weeks ago on Eternal Lives, Past Lives and Reincarnation. In that paper I stated what I would consider to be the orthodox position of most church members. I focused on the idea that we pass through this life but once. That essay opposed reincarnation.

Since I wrote that essay I read two older books from Dr. Edith Fiore. She has published three but I just could not bring myself to read Encounters, which presents fourteen case studies of people who, while under hypnosis, have recalled being abducted by a UFO. I read the reviews and will probably purchase and read the book someday, but come on now. Abducted by aliens, really?

One of the two books is The Unquiet Dead: A Psychologist Treats Spirit Possession. I read this one first although it was written after her original work, also based on clinical case studies, entitled You Have Been Here Before: A Psychologist Looks at Past Lives. The Unquiet Dead is the more popular of her books and benefits from better editing, a glossary and a bibliography.

Church Opposed to Reincarnation

But it’s her first book I want to focus on in this essay. At 185 pages, I read it in less than two days. I was so fascinated I could have completed it in one day but I was already stealing time from work to read it. Balance is a good thing to pursue in this life. You’re going to need balance if you read this book and have never considered the idea of reincarnation or past-life regression.

Like I wrote previously, I’m fairly certain the church’s official position is that there is no such thing as reincarnation. Yes, it’s official. I just found it in Preach My Gospel and you can read a nice argument against it by Spencer Palmer in the I Have a Question section of the August 1989 Ensign. If I remember correctly, Bruce R. McConkie wrote that it was a doctrine of the devil.

Just to state my position clearly, I do not believe in the type of reincarnation that advocates a return to this life in another state, either as a plant or an animal or as an inanimate object. However, I’m going to entertain the theory in the next few paragraphs that perhaps there is something to the idea that we may possibly experience Multiple Mortal Probations. Just maybe.

Convincing Clinical Case Studies

Notice the weasel words I used – perhaps, possibly and maybe. I am not convinced there is such a thing as Multiple Mortal Probations, but after reading the amazing case studies, I am scratching my head looking for explanations to fit this into what I already know and believe. I don’t read many suspense or horror stories, but the best is in this book – “I know what’s behind that door!”

How can you argue with recorded clinical case studies? Some of the individuals who participated with Dr. Fiore in these past-life regressions said they didn’t believe in reincarnation but could not deny what had happened to them. I have an explanation I’ll offer in a minute but it’s unorthodox. It combines what I have read in The Unquiet Dead with Mel Fish’s From Darkness Into Light.

You Have Been Here Before is a reprint of an earlier edition of Dr. Fiore’s groundbreaking work. It contains all the original typos, grammatical errors and formatting issues. It also contains the enthusiasm, excitement and amazement that Dr. Fiore experienced with her patients as together they discovered and documented the new breakthrough modality of past life regression therapy.

My Theory Explaining Past Lives

Here’s my explanation of how this works. It’s all theory and it’s all mine, so you can criticize it all you want. I throw it out there as a way of making sense of something that goes against all I have ever been taught and believed about the purpose of life – a one-shot, single pass-through experience. It has to do with spirit attachments, another controversial area that draws criticism.

As I read these case studies of past life regression, I kept thinking to myself, “whose past life are they now entering?” Dr. Fiore contends they are past lives of the individual patients themselves. I propose that the past lives being explored belong to spirit attachments that have been with the patients for a long time, perhaps their entire life. You can read more of this in The Unquiet Dead.

Dr. Fiore herself intimates in The Unquiet Dead that maybe hypnosis and past life regression is really a conversation with an attached spirit, not with the subconscious of the patient presenting itself in a previous mortal probation. She first wondered if they were multiple personalities but later came to recognize they were in fact, separate individuals embodied within her patients.

We Come Here to Learn

Now here comes the argument in favor of Multiple Mortal Probations. Note that I don’t call it reincarnation. I don’t want to confuse MMP with what some people believe that we can come back as a rock or tree. That just doesn’t fly for me. But as I read the case studies in Dr. Fiore’s first book, I found myself getting excited about the idea that maybe this does makes sense.

What about an individual who came to earth in the middle ages, had no education or prospects for advancement but simply lived day to day, hand to mouth, with little thought of anything else? What if this individual made a mistake, chose a foolish course of action that got her killed and did not accomplish anything with her life? Could she be given another chance another time?

This exact scenario is presented in Dr. Fiore’s book through one of her patients who had suffered from terrible headaches for the past seven years. A past-life regression through hypnosis revealed that the headaches were the result of being clubbed to death in a past life. You’ll have to read the story to understand why it made sense that her current headaches were related to her past-life.

Neither Heaven nor Hell

In any event, it made sense when I considered The Doctrine of Eternal Lives, which is presented in a book of the same name. I had rejected the idea the first time I read the book. I continued to reject the idea when I visited the topic again earlier this year and got such a tremendous amount of helpful feedback from so many of you. Now, with Dr. Fiore’s books, I’m considering it more.

Now before you come unglued and accuse me of blaspheme, remember I have offered a theory that explains how these patients and Dr. Fiore may have made a mistaken assumption in the research she was doing. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. The past lives that the patients found in hypnosis were not their own, but the past lives of other spirits that had lived and died.

I estimate that less than ten percent of members of the LDS church believe that spirits can hang around after they have died. We are taught to believe that we either go to the light of paradise or are sucked down into spirit prison by the chains of darkness which bind us in this life. But I have had too many witnesses to disbelieve there are some who die who go to neither place right away.

Spirit World Still Holds Secrets

The bottom line for me is that I have my alternative explanation to explain past-life regression therapy and now I think I have a clearer picture of the possibility that Multiple Mortal Probation may in fact be something that might be part of God’s plan. I know that’s a bold statement. I don’t believe that one can come back to experience an additional mortal probation after resurrection.

If you read the case studies closely, you’ll note that the patients reported in their hypnotic state after viewing their death in a past life, they were met by escorts who helped them understand what they had learned. Some were ready to begin the next mortal experience immediately, others needed a few years to adjust and decide if they wanted to try it again and do better this time.

Some of her patients had many past lives, some just a few, some only one and some none. It seemed that it all depended on what they had learned and if they were ready for the next step in their eternal progression – to go to the light and prepare for resurrection. There is so much we don’t know about how the spirit world works. Some of these things are only revealed by angels.

An Invitation to Dialog

Has anyone else read Dr. Fiore’s books? If you would like to meet her, you can watch excerpts of two videos on Thinking Allowed. I’m fairly certain I’ll be purchasing the full DVDs. In the end, acceptance or disbelief in the possibility of Multiple Mortal Probation is not central to the purpose of this life. What’s important is how we live here and now and how we bless others.

As Denver Snuffer wrote on his blog, “…whether true or not, it does not change a single thing about your life now. You have a challenge before you which can only be met by keeping every requirement established by the Lord for your redemption now. I fear those who are most enamored by this teaching are only distracted by it.

“They speculate about their own past history (or histories), and don’t realize their present life is slipping into history without adequate attention being given to the moment-to-moment responsibilities we are called upon to meet every second of this life. … even if you decide there is truth in it, nothing should change. … you have a challenge to live your life well NOW.”


Entertaining the dialogue of the subject may be all well and good but let us not forget that one of the primary tools of the adversary is to mimic enlightenment. Mortality is for our learning through experience. Mortality is an essential gift of progression granted to all those who sided on the plank of Christ and the Plan. Mortality is for gaining that physical stature that will develop into the full measure of the spirit. Your physical body is as sacred as the spirit which inhabits it. It would seem a dangerous thought to suppose that we would inhabit several bodies in the course of multiple mortalities.

As I said, the adversary mimics that which we may easily ascertain as being of God or of eternal truth. The tool that will save us in the end is mastering the power of discernment. I used to entertain thoughts such as these but in the end it always served to weaken my testimony or at least question parts of it. Stick to the eternal truths as announced by God's mouthpieces on earth and we won't be led astray. The veil is ever so thin and our finite mortal minds are easily swayed by many forces and trains of thought. Remain focused on the present and the future and pursue true happiness at all times.
rockwaterman1 said…
Welcome to the rabbit hole, Tim.

I also vigorously opposed the idea of multiple mortal probations for most of my life, but the evidence for it seems the most logical way for us to progress. It may take several lives, maybe even a hundred, to learn to be kind. Certainly kindness was not a way of life for most of the history of mankind.

Now Connie and I are very open to the idea. But, as Denver Snuffer suggests, it is not necessary to focus on it. If it is, it is.

I think one reason latter day Saints are so quick to close their minds to the possibility is because we are conditioned that if we believe in something we must believe it wholeheartedly. We have to KNOW something is true, or we reject it out of hand. I think it's okay to be open to possibilities.
John C said…

A couple years ago I would not have considered the idea of MMP, but that has completely changed for me now. In fact there is no question in my mind that some type of MMPs take place through our eternal progression. When the realization of this possibility took place in my life, it became the answer to gospel questions I had been struggling with for over 20 years. It was extremely enlightening for me. I saw the possible meaning of many scriptures in such a different light. The term "one eternal round" is more clearly seen when connected with multiple lives than with the linear view that LDS traditionally have. Scriptural terms such as "go no more out", "how oft would I gather you", "reunited again" "again reunite". "whom shall I send", "going from exaltation to exaltation", "becoming the sons of God", "potters wheel and clay", "drafting into other areas of the vineyard", "this is the telestial kingdom or the world in which we now live", "the last day", "Jacob's ladder", "seven heavens", "descent and ascent" "the fall of man" and more can be explored and pondered in different ways. The King Follet discourse is full of Joseph teaching about multiple progressive lives.

Your openness to this idea, which you seem to have, may bring you fantastic discoveries (perhaps you already have had great discoveries); but why would you limit yourself to say you don't believe in MMPs after the resurrection? Maybe they don't, but why choose to believe they can't happen after the Resurrection? Why would anyone think they understand completely the doctrine of eternal progression? Why would any of your readers choose to not explore, search and learn. These are glorious ideas, not develish ideas. I don't know the answers to all the questions about eternal progression, but I won't close myself from learning because I don't know the answer yet. Joseph said that he could not speak one hundreth about the vision (section 76) because the people were not open to receive it,

There are of course some scriptures, if taken in one level of understanding, that can reinforce one's current belief that there are no MMPs. I ponder these as well. But the scriptures are learned in layers. It is the way of the gentile to want to believe themselves to know everything, even if they really don't know the answer, and then castigate or ridicule or give prideful warnings to those who chose to search the greater things of eternity.

I think Denver is correct in saying that the challenge is Now, regardless of the trustfulness of this subject. But for me, the acceptance of this possibility has made me more intent to believe on the name and mission of Jesus Christ, and his wonderful goodness, and I have greater desire to keep His commandments; not less.
bcurtisme said…
These theories are thought-provoking. I am open to consider many truths as the Lord reveals them if they ring true and bear good fruit. However the theory of MMP baffles me somewhat because I can not reconcile this to the known doctrinal truth of eternal family units, eternal marriage, geneology that gives structure and coherance to the family tree and its branches and how we are commanded to seek out our lineage and perform these ordanances that seal families together as representative of the eternal order of things as they are in heaven. If Heavenly Father's house is "a house of order," MMP's would seem to quite seriously muddle things up.
tmalonemcse said…
Yes, I'm with you. I am having a hard time dealing with this as I have been studying it. It also seems to make a mess of the Atonement as I currently understand it. I hope I have made it clear that I am not convinced that MMP is anything more than a theory. When I discussed this previously, I had comments from many people who were adamant it was a valid doctrine taught by Joseph and other early leaders. I am still not convinced.

I simply wanted to share what I discovered from my reading of Dr. Fiore's first book that seems to lend credence to this theory. I continue to lean more to my alternative explanation that the past lives her patients were describing were not their own, but those of spirits who were attached to them. I explain more in my review of her next book, The Unquiet Dead which I have now posted on my blog. Thanks for the visit.
[...] was published in 1987 and is Dr. Fiore’s second book. I reviewed her first, You Have Been Here Before in a previous post. Most Amazon and Goodreads reviewers gave it four or five stars. If you are not [...]
Steve said…

For me the greatest argument for multiple mortal probations is the impossibility of learning enough in one earth life to qualify one to be a god. The feeling I get is that your sojourn in the spirit world is where you get your book learning and a mortal probation is where you really learn it or see if you understood it after all.

Consider the following (I think John Pratt gave me this idea or the beginnings of it):

D&C 76

25 And this we saw also, and bear record, that an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son whom the Father loved and who was in the bosom of the Father, was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son,

26 And was called Perdition, for the heavens wept over him—he was Lucifer, a son of the morning.

27 And we beheld, and lo, he is fallen! is fallen, even a son of the morning!


D&C 129

1 There are two kinds of beings in heaven, namely: Angels, who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones—

2 For instance, Jesus said: Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

3 Secondly: the spirits of just men made perfect, they who are not resurrected, but inherit the same glory.


So if Lucifer was an angel in heaven, even one in authority before God, and if angels are resurrected beings, then doesn't such indicate that by the time of our pre-existence Lucifer had already passed through at least one mortal probation and been resurrected? And if he had been resurrected, what does that say of our Savior's status in the pre-existence?

Anyways, that's my 2 cents.

tmalonemcse said…
Here is a comment from a reader who wanted to add to the dialog, but did so via email. She gave permission to post on her behalf. I had never considered this possibility but it makes sense that we could have been ministering spirits before we were born to others who came before us. Thanks for sharing, Gretchen.

"I have a personal experience with doing some 'processing' type of hypnosis and certain things that were seen. I was given a personal witness that the reason I had these images of another life in my head was because as a spirit daughter (before I was born) I was an angel to many mortals. Many of these mortals underwent horrific murders, etc. and although I was only there in spirit, I experienced it nonetheless.

"On some subconscious level, I still make decisions and think certain ways because of these things I witnessed. In those missions I believe that I felt everything as if it were happening to me because I was vested and really trying to help these people.

"I have heard and seen many of my children as spirits before they came to our home, so I know unborn spirits can come to us. Of course, disembodied spirits and the cast out spirits of the devil can all be around, too. Just didn't hear that explanation on your blog for these people describing 'past lives' under hypnosis and thought you might find it plausible."
Warren said…
My 2 Cents
1) I think we could have experienced life or mortality as episodes in heaven like a play or rehearsal, and thus would explain deja vu. And since our time was a lot longer there, we would have a lot of time to work out role playing kinda thing...

2) My current thought is that we are who we are at this moment and I don't believe we are some multiple personaltys or anything like that. I believe also that there is many spirits around to trick and deceive us and they will use any way to make that happen, so we have to be careful not to fall in a trap.

3) PERSONAL REVELATION. I think that some things are special and sacred to a person and thus the whole world shouldn't know about. There is several places where Christ did things that it couldn't be recorded or mentioned. Some stuff is just special like that. I think if there is deeper knowledge that some one receives, fine, but it shouldn't necessarily be put on internet for debate. I think the most important thing to remember is we need to focus on the basics...master those 100% (How many times do we hear over and over about reading the Book of Mormon, and that isn't headed?) Then we can move onto the zillions of other possibilities. However it's fun to play science fiction and consider some of those things, but if it doesn't "bare good fruit" or bring us closer to God, then its probably not a good idea.

4) If it was totally necessary for the main body of the church to know, and necessary to be accepted as doctrine, it would be spoken from the pulpit. Furthermore, if it isn't in the 5 standard works, then we can almost assume that it isn't part of the plan and not necessary for our salvation...

Just my ideas. That is all.
Daren Strange said…
Hey Tim. Thanks again for your insights. There is something to be said for not understanding things of the Spirit when they are first revealed. After all, Brigham Young admitted it took him a while to accept multiple degrees of Heaven.

However, MMP is not one of those cases. It's a completely false doctrine. If that weren't the case, it would undermine the entire Plan of Salvation. It, simply put, makes no sense at all and is not of God.

If you have evidences of this happening, I would like to quote from the amazing "Ask Gramps" (if you haven't heard of him, look it up on Google - great LDS insight!). He gets questions all the time about how there is evidence of this or that - and it may even be evidence that is completely backed up and supported by the modern scientific community. Members ask how it can possibly be so when it seems to contradict what we know of the revealed Gospel. His answer is the same, and I absolutely love this:

"Why does everyone continue to insist that there must be something 'wrong' with the doctrine we've received because there is 'evidence' to the contrary? Quit trying to make the Gospel fit into mortal mans' theories. If it doesn't sync up with the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel, it's the *evidence* that is wrong, not the Gospel or the doctrine. Who do you want to believe? Who do you want to follow, learned men or the prophets?"

I would argue the same thing with MMP. The evidence is irrelevant as it is completely contrary to the Plan of Salvation.

Thanks for reading, and again THANK YOU for your site! I've quickly become a fan, though I can't and won't agree with MMP. (And I realize you are cautious about it yourself).
darenstrange said…
I've had a little bit of time to reflect more on my post, and I think I should've used the term "conform to the Gospel" instead of speaking in absolutes like "right" and "wrong".

There is a difference between what we don't yet understand either because we aren't supposed to know in this life, or because it has not yet been revealed.

The reason MMP doesn't fall under this category is because it contradicts what we've already had revealed as definitive Truth. MMP, from my perspective, mocks the Plan of Salvation and essentially calls our Father a liar.

Why? Because we've already had revealed that we are one and the same from the beginning. We have one life. We had thousands (if not millions) of years to prepare for the "mortal test", we don't need multiple mortal lives to do that. It's already been done. That's why we're here now--we were properly prepared for this life already. Would our Father send us here if we weren't? Of course not.

Therein lies the difference.

I do, however, think you are onto something with the attaching spirits and *their* previous mortal lives being relived through the patient. That actually makes perfect sense and yet doesn't undermine anything we already know as absolute Truth. Someone else can come along and disagree with me and say no, it doesn't make sense. But either way, either opinion is valid as neither contradicts the revealed Gospel. I choose to agree with you, some may not. It doesn't change Truth, but it sure is fun to theorize and discuss this stuff.

I can't say the same for MMP.
darenstrange said…
Sorry - I meant to say: There is a difference between **things like MMP** and what we don't yet understand..."
darenstrange said…
Lucifer was not a resurrected being. Those scriptures from the D&C are speaking of life in the Heavens after the war in heaven. It's not in context to use it otherwise. Joseph Smith was not trying to explain how things were in the pre-existence. That isn't the subject matter of Section 129. It isn't talking about the pre-Earth existence.

Jesus was the first to be resurrected. Saying otherwise, frankly, is blasphemy. (Please don't take that statement as a personal attack. I'm speaking matter-of-factly, it's nothing against you personally, Steven!) =)
darenstrange said…
See, now this I can accept. It doesn't undermine the Gospel at all. It may or may not be true, but there are no contradictions to the established Truth. Good post. Thanks Tim (and the emailer!).
darenstrange said…
I should clarify: Section 76 *is* indeed talking about the pre-mortal existence. Section 129, however, is not. Joseph is explaining what kinds of beings exist in Heaven after the First Estate and the War in Heaven was accomplished. He was speaking contemporarily in Section 129 so he could help his fellow Brethren (and the members) understand how to deal with angels/demons they may encounter in their mortal lifetime.

Lucifer did not and cannot ever have a body of any kind (other than spirit of course). That is established Truth and it can never waiver, especially due to our modern theories.
Steve said…
How would MMP completely contradict the Gospel?
bcurtisme said…
thank you, darren, for your comments. I totally get your point of view which is in line with my understanding of gospel truth. I am also, Tim, totally open to new thoughts as the spirit confirms truth. I have held back from commenting too soon as I was waiting on this one to see how it would play out. I am grateful for Darren's clarity on this subject and our mutual respect and enjoyment of this forum for considering new ways of seeing and trying to understand truly fantastical things that are happening at this point in history.
darenstrange said…
Hi Steve! (I think I called you Steven in my above post by mistake - sorry about that!) I appreciate the discussion!

As we should, let's use Christ as the ultimate example of all things. Can you imagine Jesus inhabiting different mortal bodies throughout time? The thought is completely vile to me. He had one body. We know this because the prophets both old and modern have told us this. The importance of Christ returning to his one and only body is extremely significant to the entire resurrection process, and therefore the Plan of Salvation (and, then in turn, the Gospel itself).

Jesus returned to His one and only mortal body to be the ultimate example for us. We are told our body will be restored to us just as it was in mortality--only perfected. If MMP is true, then which body do I return to? Which resurrection is my "real" resurrection to my "real" body? Do I get to choose which mortal matter I reconstruct and inhabit? The thought of it is absolutely ridiculous to me. What a silly plan that is.

MMP is contradictory. It's also very confusing. The Gospel is organized and perfect (even if we, as members of the church, are not).

The argument could be made, I suppose, that: Well, that's Jesus! I'm not Jesus so I need more mortal lives to help me. He only needed one!

If that's true, then why did he get baptized? After all, Hey that's Jesus! He doesn't need to do that! Only I do because I'm imperfect!

We already know John the Baptist thought the same thing and we know what Christ's response was.

Add to this the countless times in General Conference (among many other sources) where the Prophet or the Brethren have warned us how important this life is. It's one shot. It's one test. We've been preparing for a long, long time for this. We agreed to the terms of the test before we came. We prepared for the test before we came--never after in mortality. If we had a problem with not feeling prepared, it stands to reason we wouldn't have agreed with our Father's plan. But we did! We knew he would help us prepare! So, one of the consequences of that decision was we knew this was a one shot deal. How do I know that?

Because, again, we have been warned by those in authority many, many times over to learn from this one chance at mortality. We get one chance because those are the terms we all agreed to.

I can start to look for actual quotes from authoritative Gospel source if needed. That's no problem. I'm enjoying this. It's good for the soul--for us both! =)
darenstrange said…
Quite welcome! I'm just glad I was able to add to the discussion in a positive way. =)
Steve said…
Scripturalb references would be a good place to start.
Steve said…
That should have been scriptural
darenstrange said…
I knew what you meant! No worries. =)

I'll get on that then! But I just had one other thought: If MMP is true, then what significance does repentance have? I can just repent in my next body since I didn't get to fix it before I died the last time. It just doesn't make sense.
Steve said…
It seems to me that every sin must be paid for, either by us or by the Savior. Whether they are committed in one mortality or more than one.
darenstrange said…
I couldn't reply again directly, Steve. Must be a limitation of WordPress. Hope you see this as, again, I'm thoroughly enjoying our discussion!

The problem with that is: If MMP is true, I need to be able to remember my past mortal lives, otherwise I can't repent of what I may have done.

It's not the same as our memory of the pre-mortal life being blocked by the Veil. We could not sin during the pre-mortal life. Had we been able to, we would need to remember that life so we could do our best to make amends as we're commanded to.
darenstrange said…
Here's something to think about.

Mosiah 2:32-39 states:

32 But, O my people, beware lest there shall arise contentions among you, and ye list to obey the evil spirit, which was spoken of by my father Mosiah.

33 For behold, there is a wo pronounced upon him who listeth to obey that spirit; for if he listeth to obey him, and remaineth and dieth in his sins, the same drinketh damnation to his own soul; for he receiveth for his wages an everlasting punishment, having transgressed the law of God contrary to his own knowledge.


This clearly states that if we die in our sins, we are eternally damned. This would have to happen after our very first mortal life, leaving no room to even try for another one. But let's continue...


34 I say unto you, that there are not any among you, except it be your little children that have not been taught concerning these things, but what knoweth that ye are eternally indebted to your heavenly Father, to render to him ball that you have and are; and also have been taught concerning the records which contain the prophecies which have been spoken by the holy prophets, even down to the time our father, Lehi, left Jerusalem;

35 And also, all that has been spoken by our fathers until now. And behold, also, they spake that which was commanded them of the Lord; therefore, they are just and true.

36 And now, I say unto you, my brethren, that after ye have known and have been taught all these things, if ye should transgress and go contrary to that which has been spoken, that ye do withdraw yourselves from the Spirit of the Lord, that it may have no place in you to guide you in wisdom’s paths that ye may be blessed, prospered, and preserved—

37 I say unto you, that the man that doeth this, the same cometh out in open rebellion against God; therefore he listeth to obey the evil spirit, and cometh an enemy to all righteousness; therefore, the Lord has no place in him, for he dwelleth not in unholy temples.

38 Therefore if that man repenteth not, and remaineth and dieth an enemy to God, the demands of divine justice do awaken his immortal soul to a lively sense of his own guilt, which doth cause him to shrink from the presence of the Lord, and doth fill his breast with guilt, and pain, and anguish, which is like an unquenchable fire, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever.

39 And now I say unto you, that mercy hath no claim on that man; therefore his final doom is to endure a never-ending torment.

Again, this is clearly saying if we die in our sins, that's it. We are unclean before God therefore we cannot be in his presence ever again.

Ah, but there's a Redeemer so everything should be ok, right? No. Not at all. What about all the souls who lived on this Earth before Christ was born here and completed his mission? According to King Benjamin, they'd be damned and sentenced to eternal torment. We know as scriptural fact that's not where any of them went after leaving this life.

But maybe that was just a temporary state that lasted a few thousand years until Christ was able to complete the Atonement. Well, that doesn't work either because, again, we know for a fact all those souls went to Paradise or Prison. They did not go to everlasting torment.

And if you or I had been in one of our previous bodies at that time, I don't think it would've too been fun. Certainly, I'd need to remember that happening to me if I were to ever have any hope of repenting.

MMP is extremely problematic, at best.

I'll keep digging. =)
darenstrange said…
**...I don't think it would've been too fun.** Mixed up my words there, haha!
tmalonemcse said…
Hi Daren. I'm very familiar with Ask Gramps - Clay Gorton, a former mission president who passed away in 2008. My friend Larry Barkdull spoke at his funeral. His son Stephen was my neighbor and at one time a writing partner. I have a couple of his Ask Gramps books and his book, Man's Eternity, His Journey, His Destiny. I love his appendix in that book entitled, "The Limitations of Scientific Knowledge." I use it all the time to illustrate the fact that what we now take for absolute physical laws have changed over the years as man has come to understand them. There are still so many of God's laws that we do no understand.

You are correct that I am doubtful of the reality of MMP. Yet I have had had private correspondence with so many who are absolutely convinced that it is one of the "Higher Laws" that Joseph was trying to teach in his King Follett and later sermons just before his martyrdom. I received a lot of those emails after I wrote my post on "The Doctrine of Eternal Lives," and even more after the post on "Eternal Lives, Past Lives, and Reincarnation." The first time I had a dialog with someone about the subject I was floored that anyone could believe it because it is so contrary to everything I have ever been taught about the plan of salvation.

My point in this essay and my post on The Unquiet Dead was simply to bring attention to a couple of books that are quoted extensively by those who promote the idea of two things - spirit attachments and multiple mortal probations. I'll say it again: I am doubtful of the truthfulness of the doctrine of MMP, but am absolutely convinced that there are spirits who reside around us who have not yet gone to paradise or spirit prison. In other words, they are lost or confused, and continue to hang around, sometimes bothering us because they do not know that they are dead, or if they do, wanting to use our bodies for awhile to feel alive again.

As I ask when I have dialogs with anyone on any of the books I review: 1) Have you read the book? and 2) have you considered what others have said about the book and the concepts that it brings forth? Whether it is false doctrine or not, the fact that many people read it and quote it warrants my attention in reading it for myself and posting my position on my blog so I may reference it later when I am old and senile. Thanks for adding your comments. I too look forward to more discussion. I will also respond to your private email shortly.
darenstrange said…
Hi Tim! Thanks so much for the reply!

I'm glad you know of "Ask Gramps". (I should've known you'd know already!) I adore that site and the advice and counsel therein. It's been a tremendous help to me, as has your site.

I have 2 huge problems with MMP (among many more):

1) I can't repent. It's not possible to repent for things I have no control over. I have no control over what I did in "previous lives", therefore, how can I repent as we are commanded to? How have I learned from my experiences in other lives? If I have no recollection, then those lives are meaningless, therefore, MMP is a falsehood.

There are those who claim they remember past lives. That's fine and I don't automatically dismiss that. However, there is another explanation that is line with the Gospel. I'm not claiming I know what that is--just that MMP is not the answer.

2) This isn't an issue with the specific theory of MMP, but more a general observation that applies to it: I know we haven't known each other for more than... well, a day! But, I hope you've seen from our brief discussions that I am perfectly willing to discuss "deep doctrine" topics with an open mind. That's why I'm here to begin with! I agree with about 90% of what you've posted on your site. In fact, I've never discovered someone who has so much in common with the way I think--and that holds true for your readers here as well. It's an amazing comfort to me. I love talking about richer Gospel subjects as I've found here.

BUT - We've got to be very, very careful about how we discuss some subjects. If MMP (or any other discussion) leads us to a point where we're willing to entertain the idea that Lucifer was a resurrected being... we're in big trouble! If MMP leads us to a place where we're questioning that Christ was the First and resurrected first, we're also in trouble. Our souls are being mislead at that point.

Now, maybe MMP doesn't lead down that path for everyone. There might be those who believe in MMP that agree with my #2 reason, I don't know. I'm just saying, we need to be careful.

And Tim, I know you aren't saying you're supporting MMP. My sincere apologies if it seemed like I didn't understand that! Not trying to frustrate you by making repeat yourself! =)

To answer your questions:

1) I have not read the book. I got swept up in the concept and started researching it as best I could. The discussion here was too much for me to resist! But your review of "Visions of Glory" is the reason I found your site. So, my whole purpose was to find reviews on books involving NDE and the Last Days. When I saw how many books you've reviewed on these subjects, I was ecstatic! So, I pretty much plan to read EVERY book you have reviewed no matter the topic and if I agree with it or not! Definitely, I plan to do that! You've opened my mind up to so much more than I expected!

2) Most certainly, I consider everyone's opinion first. If I've come across in any way like I think I "know it all", I want to apologize to you and to each and every person who's reading this page. I tend to speak very matter-of-factly and it can sometimes come across like I'm rigid and unwilling to move on my opinions. Nothing could be further from the truth! I've already learned an incredible amount of things from you and your readers. I am indebted to you all even if I don't agree with everything!

As far as my email to you, Tim: Please take your time to reply. My primary reason for emailing you was to simply thank you for all you've done for my spirit and mind the last few days while reading your site. =)
Steve said…

Why is repentance not possible for a previous probation? Perhaps you have to resolve issues from one mortal probation before you are allowed to experience another one? Perhaps some of our issues in this life is a reflection of unresolved problems from a former life and thus in need of repentance?

The idea that Lucifer was a resurrected being in the pre-existence was mine, developed by comparing 2 scriptures. It is not essential to the idea of MMP.
darenstrange said…
Steve - Again, sorry for not being able to directly reply to your comments above. I'm new to WordPress, so I could be wrong, but there appears to be a limitation on how many times someone can directly reply.

To answer your post:


Why is repentance not possible for a previous probation? Perhaps you have to resolve issues from one mortal probation before you are allowed to experience another one? Perhaps some of our issues in this life is a reflection of unresolved problems from a former life and thus in need of repentance?

The idea that Lucifer was a resurrected being in the pre-existence was mine, developed by comparing 2 scriptures. It is not essential to the idea of MMP."

I think I've answered that in my post right above (the one quoting from Mosiah), but this topic (and pretty much every topic on Tim's site) is infinitely fascinating to me--whether I agree or not. So, I would definitely like to keep this discussion going, and I will definitely find more quotes from the scriptures, Prophets etc.

Who knows - I may start leaning the other way! I've been praying about MMP, actually. So far, my answer has been a definitive: "No, it's false." And, I am most definitely asking in honesty and earnestness. I meditate beforehand to ask the Lord to help me put aside my own personal opinions so I may find Truth. So far, He says no. But, like Joseph did when asking about the 116 pages, I'll keep asking. I really do want to know if this is a true or false theory!

Thanks once again for your input, Steve. You've given me a lot to ponder.
darenstrange said…
Some more thoughts on MMP:

Let's say I'm a serial killer in another mortal life. Then, I pass away myself. I'm a murderer so I'm going to Prison to fulfill my torment (make up for my sins).

Someone above mentioned the King Follett sermon as evidence of MMP. (Side note: I just read that sermon to have it fresh in my mind and there is not one iota of a hint that MMP might exist. It's my conclusion that people are really, really stretching it to fit their theories.) We know all sins can be forgiven except the unpardonable sin, according to that sermon.

Ok, fine. Murderers are forgiven. I accept that. However, they do not inherit the Celestial Kingdom. They cannot be celestialized. They can eternally learn and acquire knowledge within the Telestial Kingdom, but their glory will not be Celestial as God's is. (D&C 76; Revelation 22)

It seems to me that MMP is a very modern-liberal approach to the Gospel. Why do I say that? Because with MMP we can never do any wrong. There is no accountability other than some supposed in-between torment before our next mortal life. We can always just "make up for it and try again in the next mortal life" even if we're serial killers. It very much falls in line with "there is no Devil".

Another thing, from the King Follett sermon again: Joseph tells us children who die will be resurrected in the same stage of growth they were in mortal life. Meaning, children come back as children--only as resurrected beings, they now have the intelligence of God. Joseph also tells us the mothers of those children will have them again just as they did in mortality.

How can MMP possibly exist then? Let's say I'm 7 years old and I die. Upon my resurrection, I am placed back in my 7-year old body and must grow to adulthood (again, all this according to the sermon). But wait... what if I grew to adulthood in another mortal life? What if I died as a toddler in another mortal life? Wouldn't my parents from that mortal life have claim? Would the two sets of parents have to fight over me to be sealed to "claim me as their own"?

This whole MMP thing just doesn't hold up.

Again, I want to thank everyone who's participated in this discussion. I know I've been typing a lot! But you've occupied my mind with some really thought-provoking stuff. I'm looking forward to learning more from you!
darenstrange said…
It was "John C" who mentioned the King Follett sermon.

John, my comment in my post is not a personal attack. I just very strongly disagree. My intent was to merely make a point and I feel I may have come across like I was attacking you for your view on MMP. Sorry about that!
bettyC said…
Darren, you stated that murderers can be forgiven but they can't rise above the telestial kingdom. I didn't follow that doctrine and read your sources again. How can it be forgiveness if a repentant murderer is still punished by not being allowed to improve his condition although he goes on to live an exemplary life of faith and good works after his repentance? Also, does this then mean that Saul who caused the deaths of so many Christians, who repented and was renamed Paul and became a great apostle of the Lord will also not be celestialized? I have never heard of this doctrine that you stated in your post. Did I misunderstand? (I know this is off the subject of the MMP's but it startled me when I read this) again, thank you to all who are willing to read, consider, puzzle and share, here!
Doug Hale said…
I think that many who have maid comments opposing MMP se suprised when I say that there is much support for this doctrine in the cannonized scriptures of the church. My search to really understand this doctrine consisted of the standard works and a few clarifying statements by Joseph Smith.
It should be noted that this doctrine is as related to reincarnation as the urum and thumum is to the crystal ball. Satan's forgeries work in two ways - get one to believe falsehoods or create a distain for the truth.

So if you would, search the standard works yourselfs, starting with D&C sections 76, 43, 93 abd 129. With the aid of the spirit, read what it sayes, not what you believe it to say... understanding that it is not obvious and you will have to work at it, meaning poner and pray over each sentence - each word if neccesary as all the words have meaning. As an example, in section 75, Satan is called a son of the morning. There are great insights to be had in understanding these few words. There is great emotion expressed in these few verses because "a son of the morning" was lost. Why?
Doug Hale said…
That should have been section 76 not 75.
Doug Hale said…
Tim, I completely agree with you here. Son of the morning refers to him coming forth in the morning of the first resurrecting, being redeemed by God the Father to become his spirit son. And we, being his brothers, were redeemed by the Father also. And later on in section 76, it says that we will become the sons and daughters of Christ.
Doug Hale said…
The answer to this is found in D&C 43. If you understand that Satan will loose all that he has been given, it is because he will not be redeemed. And those that repent and are valiant will be redeemed early. While those that do not repent will be left until he calls again. So what is the difference in being called forth early or later if they are both called forth. The longer you stay, the more you loose.
Doug Hale said…
You do not have to repent of what was done in a previous mortality. No one is born in sin. Sin must be paid for either by repentance or by paying the utter most farthing (staying in he'll until you have paid the price of sin yourself) You cannot be redeemed until that price has been paid.
Klarity said…
I believe that the type of reincarnation Joseph Smith said was from the adversary was that of spirits being born again and again to the same family lineage, and I agree with Joseph. I used to be against the idea of any kind of reincarnation, but recently I have been receiving impressions that some people do receive more than one mortal probation, and that I myself will receive another mortal probation. I am still involved in deep prayer to try to know for sure that these impressions are true. Anybody can receive impressions at any time, and I want to give this the test of time to ensure that I am not mistaken.
Doug Hale said…
Here is something I recently discovered.

38 Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God.
39 And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers. (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, Section 93)

The question about these verses is who is God spoken of in verse 38. There are two hints to who it it. First, it is Jesus speaki. Second, the order of the two events - redeems ion followed by the one that comes and takes away light.

The Fall brought about both spiritual and physical death - seperation of the spirit from both the spiritual body and the phyical body.

In verse 38, it is God the Father that redeemed us and we became his children -he being the father of our spirit bodies.

Section 76 tells us that Jesus will redeem us and we become his children.

And then there is Jeremiah 18 - very curious - and you need to read what Brigham Young had to say about that.
Betty said…
The time frame of this confuses me. Is this talking about Adam & Eve in the garden? Or is it in the pre-existence? Or after Christ's resurrection? I can't piece it together. Do we have an explanation from a prophet on these verses?
Doug Hale said…
Hymn 292. Oh My Father - ... And withheld the recollection of my former friends and birth.

The lyrics of this song were written by Eliza Snow, wife of Joseph Smith Jr.
Doug Hale said…
I don't know of any specific comment on this verse. But the Prophets of the Restoration had much to say about this topic in general.

And there is also much in the Cannonized scripture, if you care to search, read, ponder, and pray.

Study Section 93 for yourself. But remember, the synopsis at the beginning of each chapter IS NOT scripture.
One of my readers sent this comment to me directly in a private email. I thought it was so good I asked her permission to share it in the public comments. Here is what I wrote:

Thanks for the email. I’m glad to learn you are enjoying my blog. I seem to mainly focus on reviews of books not found in Deseret Book. Mel Fish is a wonderful man. I am so glad the Lord inspired me to contact him to write his story and review his books. He and Gwena have expressed their gratitude for the good things that have come to pass in their lives as a result of those posts.

That’s an amazing gift your friend has – to see and converse with her guardian angels. I confess I also have conversed with spirits who attend me. Unfortunately, I have had many conversations with those who were sent by the Lord but by the adversary. By I am convinced my guardian angels have warned me and even saved me on several occasions. I imagine them as distant family members.

That’s also a unique story you relate about learning you were probably a ministering angel to the Jews at the time of the holocaust. I would have no reason to doubt such a thing. Yes, it’s true we were fully-grown spirits before we came to this earth. That is an amazing thing to contemplate. We simply didn’t know how to control a physical body. The experience we are gaining here is immensely valuable.

I like your explanation of how people can assume they have lived before. They are remembering their pre-earth mission or missions. Why not? I appreciate you sharing that with me. It makes perfect sense. Isn’t it wonderful to consider that we had a work to do before we came to this earth – to help prepare the way before us and to watch after those that perhaps were our ancestors.

Here is her original email:

I thoroughly enjoy your blog; it gives me much to consider. Thank you very much for expanding my view of possibilities. I am a supporter of Mel Fish. I was introduced to Mel's material in 2007 by friends in Boise who have used his principles extensively to enrich their lives. My friend, who sees and converses with her guardian angels, understands many things with which I have no experience.

I once talked to my friend about my having a sudden crushing feeling and an overwhelming need to flee the room when my husband and I were watching the video "Schindlers List". It was the scene where they were going to "shower the children". My friend explained to me that I was probably a ministering angel to the Jews at the time of the holocaust (one of my pre-earth missions). It had never occurred to me before that time that perhaps we were more than mere infants there before we were born here.

So to me this explains why individuals can have experiences which they assume are from another life or reincarnation, otherwise how could they have such a knowing, or such vivid memories of a life they did not actually live? I have other experiences which seem to point to this viewpoint of pre-earth missions, but now is not the time to share them. But it is my belief, as well as a very real comfort to me, that I surely was a ministering angel before coming to earth in mortal form. I don't know if this is something you have considered or not (as I am new to your blog), but it may help explain why so many of us have déjà vu moments.

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