Then Sings My Soul

JosephSmithInLibertyJailThere is a phrase we use in our church that holds immense personal meaning for me. We hear it in talks from the pulpit and from teachers in the classroom. We hear it in General Conference. We read it in our church magazines. I don’t think it’s only a part of the LDS culture. It’s found in other religions as well. Those who teach spirituality know it. The phrase is “being in tune.” Some equate it to a feeling of being “at one” with the universe. I’d like to share its significance to me.

A Lifetime of Prayer

I don’t know how you feel when you pray about questions, concerns, problems and the “stuff” of life. I only know how I experience prayer. Except for a few sporadic months as a teenager, I have been praying morning, noon, and night since I was a child. As a missionary we must have prayed a dozen times every day, sometimes more. I’ve prayed in private and public, at church, home and in the temple. I’ve prayed in thousands of homes over the years among all kinds of good people.

A Continual Prayer in the Heart

With over five decades of practice, you would think I would have it down by now – that is, how to pray and feel the sweet whisperings of the spirit and the promptings of the Lord. Well, there have been many sacred moments where I knew my prayer was heard and answered on the spot. But mostly, my prayers are answered over time. That’s why I talk to the Lord all day long. I try to remind Him, and myself, what it is I’m striving for – what I desire and have asked of Him.

Impressions, Thoughts and Ideas

During the day, I receive impressions about what to do or how to think about something I’ve been studying and pondering. A lot of it has to do with my work, which is to manage technology for others, but I also receive ideas and thoughts that help me as I attempt to develop both my spirituality and my theology. Those are two different things. One is relationship-based and the other is idea-based. Geoff’s comment on last week’s post got me thinking about what I’m doing.

Spirituality and Theology

But that, I mean, what I’m doing with my blog. For over six years, I’ve been writing about what I thought were interesting ideas about our religion and our faith in general. Oh, I’ve been very specific on some subjects that are not anywhere near to being settled by a general consensus. For example, when I first wrote about multiple mortal probations, I was totally opposed to it and said so. When I next wrote about it, I had done some additional reading and shared new observations.

Multiple Mortal Probations

In last week’s post I mentioned briefly in the comments that I had come around to believing there just may be something to the idea. I know the arguments against MMP because I made them in the earliest post – a book review of The Doctrine of Eternal Lives. I wrote it was a doctrine of devils and quoted Joseph who said so. Then I read The Unquiet Dead and You Have Been Here Before by Dr. Edith Fiore. Still opposed, I offered additional arguments against it.

An Example from Dr. Fiore

One story from Dr. Fiore’s first book has stuck with me. I have been pondering it for months. It involved a young lady, Becky, who had trouble with migraines. It’s the first clinical example she shared. You can read it in chapter two of the book. During hypnotic regression she related a detailed experience from a past life at age sixteen in which she left home because she was bored. I won’t share all the details other than to say she was killed with a club to the head by soldiers.

Choosing the Next Mortal Experience

In the present day, she suffered from terrible migraines and was referred to Dr. Fiore because they could find no physical cause of her symptoms. The thing I keep pondering is found in the penultimate chapter of Dr. Fiore’s book in which she summarizes the death experiences of her patients, including Becky. They relate how they were met by loved ones. They reviewed what they had learned in their life. They got to choose their next mortal experience to learn the most.

MMP Labeled Doctrine of Devils

OK, that’s enough to summarize the idea of multiple mortal probations. I don’t like to call it reincarnation but suppose you could if you’re more comfortable with that word. Remember, modern-day prophets have called it a doctrine of devils. As I related in a previous post, Joseph Smith kicked a visitor out of his home in Nauvoo who claimed to be reincarnated. He said in a past life he was Matthias, the apostle chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. Joseph called him a liar.

A Reader’s Thoughtful Question

As reader “log” wrote in the comments of last week’s post: “I pose the same query to all who preach MMP and have not yet been answered – if the resurrection is universal (D&C 88:14-32, Alma 40:5), and if the resurrection is permanent (Alma 11:45), then how do you get MMP?” That is a great question to which I don’t know the answer other than to suggest these MMP experiences are pre-resurrection. Trust me log, I have been pondering and praying about this.

The Course of the Lord

We know that all things are present before God. In other words there is no time in the sense that we measure it here. He knows all things from the beginning to the end of our mortal journey(s). As I have prayed about this idea, I have decided one could interpret the scripture, “the course of the Lord is one eternal round” to be specifically referring to MMP until we reach perfection. In other words, we can not only choose our next life experience, but choose when it occurs in time.

Not Essential to Salvation

OK, that’s far enough out there. This is a mental exercise. This is not essential to your salvation. It does not matter if you believe in MMP or not. What matters is what you do with this life. Now I want to tie this back to the introductory comments about “being in tune.” I don’t write this stuff to be provocative. I write it because I have prayed about something and want to explore it with others. I’m not a theologian, philosopher or credentialed academic. I’m just a simple Mormon.

Most Important Thing in Prayer

Let’s consider prayer for a moment, specifically answers to prayer and the feeling of being in tune. Ponder with me the process you use in prayer to determine for yourself what truth is for you and what is important. If there’s anything I’m more concerned about when I pray, I can’t think what it might be other than to know if I am pursuing the path God wants me to follow. You can read about the importance of that knowledge in the Lectures on Faith. I’ll say it’s critical.

Lectures on Faith Are Helpful

It’s one thing to believe that God actually exists. It’s another thing to have a correct idea of his character, perfections and attributes. More importantly, it’s imperative that we obtain an actual knowledge the course of life which we are pursuing is in accordance with God’s will. And that, my friends, is what life is all about, at least for me. I yearn to know and do my Father’s will. I wholeheartedly desire to be obedient and submissive to what He asks, but first must know it.

Describing Spiritual Communion

For me, knowing my Father’s will has come in prayer, over and over again. I study out a subject about which I believe my Father wants me to know. I ponder it, I decide what I believe. I often ask my readers what they think. I then ask in prayer if I am on the right path and wait for that special sacred feeling I can barely describe. The closest description I have ever been able to provide is to say it feels like the world around me is oscillating and my spirit or mind with it.

Causes my Soul to Vibrate

It’s as if someone has touched my soul and made it sing. When I am in tune, I vibrate with the eternities and the cosmos. It doesn’t have to occur in prayer. It can happen in the temple, sitting in church or singing in the choir. This feeling of being in tune is rare enough I know it is from a sacred source. It requires intense concentration and an ability to “let go” and relax at the same time. The feeling is so intense and pleasurable I feel as if my spirit is about to leave my body.

Burning of the Bosom

It is almost always accompanied by a feeling of warmth in my chest. In spite of what Elder Oaks taught over the pulpit in General Conference that he did not feel caloric heat in connection with the burning of the bosom, I do. I always have. It is accompanied by a feeling of comfort and of serenity. It is what I long for because I know it is what I need. It feeds my soul. It brings peace that passes all understanding. And yet, it is but a precursor to even greater spiritual experiences.

Greater Spiritual Experiences

I have not had those greater spiritual experiences yet other than dreams, visions and the gift of prophecy as related to my own life. Some call it the mind’s eye. I have seen myself doing or heard myself saying or teaching certain things before they have come to pass, sometimes years in advance. I have seen events from the present day decades ago. They are personal and sacred but I have shared them previously on my blog, particularly as I described how I proposed to my wife.

Being Instructed by Angels

I have not seen an angel other than my parents in dreams. My father told me of seeing an angel standing at the bedside of his critically injured wife, my mother, after a car accident that almost took her life. I have related that previously in my blog. We each have different spiritual gifts, but they must be sought after and developed even if they are promised in a patriarchal blessing. Mine talks about my home being a sacred place and a fit abode for heavenly visitations. I desire that.

The Miracle of the Mind’s Eye

Like others, I have seen in vision the night of the atonement and what took place in the Garden of Gethsemane. I was not taught the things Denver related in his book, Come, Let Us Adore Him. In my case, I was shown how the pain was inflicted and how the evil and unclean spirits were allowed to torture and torment Him for a few hours. The anguish was real because someone so pure and holy had to experience the feelings that come from sin, disobedience and suffering.

A Recent Experience in Prayer

My soul was touched Sunday night in prayer as I poured out my sorrows and grief to my Father over feelings of being overwhelmed by physical pain I continue to suffer each day. I asked if I would be healed. He assured me that I would be in time. Actually, what He said is that I would rise above it. In other words, the pain may not leave me, or the cause may not be discovered or removed, but I would develop strength of will and mental discipline to be able to endure it.

Why Sickness May Not Be Removed

That wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I wanted to be told, “I will take it away.” Perhaps my faith is not sufficient for that sort of healing or perhaps removing it would defeat the purpose of my life. Perhaps this is something I chose with Father’s counsel as the best way to learn faith or humility. Perhaps it is simply part of life. As we age, our body chemistry changes. We begin to feel less energetic or enthusiastic about tiring physical activities or brain-draining mental exercises.

Greeting Ceremony With Christ

The challenge I see for me is to use what remaining time I have left to achieve that long sought-after goal of being prepared to enter into the presence of the Lord. I am convinced it can happen in mortality. I am convinced we should seek for it. I am convinced we should ask over and over, to weary the Lord with our request to be sealed unto Him, to become his son or daughter and to hear Him say, “This day have I begotten thee.” Denver mentions there is a greeting ceremony or "Ceremony of Recognition."

Sacrifice is Required

I have written enough this day. I have written what was in my heart. This post is not about MMP. It is about receiving the Holy Ghost as your guide, being taught by angels, coming unto Christ and being prepared to be presented to the Father. Where am I on the ladder? I asked the Lord and he told me. He even gave me the number of years before I am ready. Yes, I have years to go. Apparently there are tests and sacrifices required of me which I haven’t imagined. Will I pass? Will you?


Geoff said…
Tim, thank you for expressing your thoughts and feelings, always in such an inviting way. Log always gets me pondering, too. Thank you, Log.

If multiple mortal probations is taught in the scriptures it is well-hidden, and for good reason, I think. When I first heard about it, if it is true - and it could be, even given the language we think we understand (very linearly again) from several passages - I found myself initially very discouraged. "I have to go through this again?!" "Which 'rung' am I on?" (Really? That low? :)

I settled on this: there's several obvious blessings and reasons we forget almost everything when we fall and are born into mortality. The logistics of Father-in-Heaven's plan seem designed to focus us on the here and now. This is the test that matters, this life. You could think of each day that way, too - maybe it's symbolic. Each day we wake up from some degree of forgetting and we have a whole new round that's very similar and yet unique to all the days/rounds before it. We bring our character with us, but it's a whole new ball-game as far as choices go. We can have a great day yesterday (have chosen well) and we're just as "in jeopardy" today. Hopefully we're following the plan of an upward spiral.

I think D&C 19, with its divine definitions/interpretations of "eternal" and "endless", should give us at least some pause in thinking we have a complete understanding of what scriptural terms might mean. And Father-in-Heaven is withholding quite a bit of information from us - the mysteries, if you will - until we qualify for them - which will be when we're ready - not the least of which qualifications includes when we won't be inclined to reveal what He deems shouldn't be. We have to become trustworthy. Anyway, I don't think we have the final word on what resurrection means or entails. Many of prophets have said many things, even in recorded/canonized scripture, which may have reflected their incomplete understanding, or only what they were permitted to say. Truth is truth, whether it is in the scriptures or not - and there's an eternity of truths we do not have in our records. And, as we mentioned in the Ascending the Ladder thread, what are these things which can only be seen and understood when transfigured or in the spirit? He's made us incapable of even discussing certain things symbolically - that's interesting. 11-dimensional concepts can't even be talked about in a 3 dimensional understanding - something like that, if it makes any sense.

Sorry for the rant. For me, if MMP is a doctrine of devils, it may be because the devils can use it to take our focus off what we're supposed to be doing here, each day. Thinking this is the only round, the only shot we've got, might be as motivating as thinking the punishment if we fail will never end. Feel free to shoot holes in my understanding. I could be wrong about almost everything. Love you guys. Press forward with steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God, and of all men. Light, Truth, Love - let's try to be filled with it.
log said…
With respect to the time between death and the resurrection, Alma said this.

9 Therefore, there is a time appointed unto men that they shall rise from the dead; and there is a space between the time of death and the resurrection. And now, concerning this space of time, what becometh of the souls of men is the thing which I have inquired diligently of the Lord to know; and this is the thing of which I do know.

10 And when the time cometh when all shall rise, then shall they know that God knoweth all the times which are appointed unto man.

11 Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.

12 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.

13 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house—and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.

14 Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection.

So I'm not sure there is room for another round, logically.
Ty said…
Although I'm open to the possibility, I don't believe in MMP. Coming just from a place of reason:

1. God loves us, and he would give us another chance if:
a. It is consistent with the laws of the universe (maybe it's impossible to put a spirit in a 2nd mortal body of something)
b. If there is a possibility that we might achieve a better outcome with another probation.

Keep in mind that if we have another probation, we will have another veil placed over us, and so for assumption (b) to hold, the things we learn in one probation must be written on our spirit, or added to our eternal character, so that they will arise with us in the next probation. Also, it might be possible for the evil we do to be added to our eternal character, so that a wicked man might have a head start on further wickedness that he did not have in a previous life. This could lead to a spiral of debauchery across lives.

It might be wise to keep these people off the wheel and just send them to a telestial kingdom.

(b) is probably the big question on which all this hinges, and I have no answer to it.
Kelly Brad Cox said…
Tim I have been reading your blog for several months now and I feel like you are a kindred spirit. Your desires and experiences mirror my own to a large degree. I don't know if you have discovered this blog but it has been a great source of knowledge and comfort to me. Since I feel we are kindred spirits then i felt you might appreciate it as much as I have.

Kelly B. Cox
Kelly Brad Cox said…
I think you can make an argument for MMP even with this scripture if you have an understanding that this world is the Telestial Kingdom and we can only get to the celestial kingdom if we have our calling and election made sure. If you believe these two ideas then it makes the most sense that God would not condemn so many to a lesser kingdom for eternity. What about young teenagers who commit suicide or die in a foolish accident. Should they be condemned to a lesser kingdom for eternity. Would that be merciful? I remember once President Kimball said that even if our children were not faithful in this life that they could work out their salvation in the eternities and get to the Celestial Kingdom. MMP explains this idea better than any other I can imagine. If you listen in the temple there are places where it says this world is the Telestial kingdom or in other words Hell.. Heber C. Kimball said this:

“I will tell you what will be good for us, and it will bestow upon us all the luxuries of this life, of heaven and earth. You are talking about heaven and about earth, and about hell, &c.; but let me tell you, you are in hell now, and you have got to qualify yourselves here in hell to become subjects for heaven; and even when you have got into heaven, you will find it right here where you are on this earth. When we escape from this earth, we suppose we are going to heaven? Do you suppose you are going to the earth that Adam came from? that Eloheim came from? where Jehovah the Lord came from? No. When you have learned to become obedient to the Father that dwells upon this earth, to the Father and God of this earth, and obedient to the messengers He sends–when you have done all that, remember you are not going to leave this earth. You will never leave it until you become qualified, and capable, and capacitated to become a father of an earth yourselves. Not one soul of you ever will leave this earth, for if you go to hell, it is on this earth; and if you go to heaven, it is on this earth; and you will not find it anywhere else. Is it not hard to bring these truths home to you.” (JD 1:354-358). .

Heber C. Kimball: Now do you see into that brethren? I know the potters can. I tell you, brethren, if you are not passive you will have to go into that mill, and perhaps have to grind there one thousand years, and then the Gospel will be offered to you again, and then if you will not accept of it, and become passive, you will have to go into the mill again, and thus you will have offers of salvation from time to time, until all the human family, except the sons of perdition, are redeemed. The spirits of men will have the Gospel as we do, and they are to be judged according to men in the flesh. Let us be passive, and take a course that will be perfectly submissive.” (JD 1:161)
log said…
When we restrict ourselves to the scriptures, which we, as a Church, have accepted by common consent as binding upon all for doctrine and reproof, we find that what the scriptures actually say is, on its face, apparently logically incompatible with MMP. Any belief in MMP does not arise from the scriptures, but is overlaid on top of them, and the contradictions have yet to be resolved publicly by those who believe MMP.

That an argument can be made for this or that position does not mean a sound argument which is also compatible with the scriptures can be made for those positions.
Bruce said…
Regarding multiple mortalities you might want to consider what Joseph Smith said in the King Follett Discourse. From TPJS on page 346-7

Here, then, is eternal life--to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you,3 namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power. And I want you to know that God, in the last days, while certain individuals are proclaiming his name, is not trifling with you or me.

You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, doing what all Gods have done before you by going from exaltation to exaltation (from one level of progression to the next) UNTIL you attain to the resurrection. Well you can't do what all Gods have done before you in this one single turn here on earth. That requires more than one mortal existence.

Multiple mortalities is a correct doctrine.

Now everyone quotes page 105 of TPJS where Joseph slams this guy who claims to be Matthias and calls this a doctrine of devils. JJ Dewey had a great write up about this that I'm happy to share with you.

In November 1835 a man who went by the name of Joshua paid a visit to the Joseph Smith. The man evidently had some truth for Joseph said he made some "excellent remarks". However Joseph was suspicious of him and discovered he was Robert Mathias of New York who had endured trials for "murder, man slaughter, contempt of court, whipping his daughter, etc." Despite this Joseph entertained him for a few days and finally asked him to enlighten him "on his views respecting the resurrection. " Mathias made four statements.

1. He was a literal descendant of Mathias the apostle. 2. The spirit of Mathias was resurrected in him. 3. The scheme of eternal life was the transmigration of the spirit from father to son. 4. He was the spirit of truth itself and possessed the soul of Christ.
To this Joseph Smith said, "I told him that his doctrine was of the devil, and he was in reality in possession of a wicked and depraved spirit."

Let us examine the four statements of Mathias and see if Joseph Smith was correct about him. The first statement is really the only one that may be true. It is possible that he was a descendent of Mathias. Intellectually we have no way of knowing the truth on this one. Number two…it's very unlikely that he possessed the spirit of Mathias the apostle, since he (Robert Mathias) himself was a murderer. Chances are very slim that one of the early apostles would come back as a murderer and child beater. Number three is also false doctrine since the scheme of things is not to have one spirit passed down from father to son. One is often reincarnated in a body unrelated to a previous life. Number four is also false as he certainly did not possess the soul of Christ.

Interestingly, we can believe in the true doctrine of reincarnation and yet say along with Joseph Smith that the man's doctrine was of the adversary. People take Joseph's only statement dealing directly with reincarnation and apply it to the whole vast doctrine of eternal lives as the doctrine of the devil.
log said…
When we find out from the scriptures that the resurrection is universal and permanent, and that the space between death and resurrection man's time is accounted for as well - with no mention of other probations to be found therein - there does not seem to be any place for MMP.

If someone wishes to show how MMP is, in fact, consistent with the scriptures, as opposed to logically contradicting them, as it presently appears, I am all ears. Right now, I simply note that not a single MMP proponent has offered such an explanation that I am aware of. That is, or ought to be, a telling point, in my estimation.

The citation from Joseph in TPJS doesn't necessarily carry any of the MMP connotations which MMP believers infer - and the same applies to Heber C. Kimball's citations from the Journal of Discourses.
Bruce said…

You said: When we restrict ourselves to the scriptures, which we, as a Church, have accepted by common consent as binding upon all for doctrine and reproof, we find that what the scriptures actually say is, on its face, apparently logically incompatible with MMP.

Why do you restrict your definition of "scriptures" to the 4 standard works? There are many more "scriptures" than those. Who decided what books are allowed to be in the scriptures? The Catholics at Nicaea! Why are you limiting yourself to what the Catholics allow you to read?

In a similar vein, why would you allow Heber J. Grant to define what is scripture when he threw out the Lectures on Faith? If you continue to limit what you will accept as "scripture" then you will always be limited to a narrow "authorized" version of the truth as defined by others.

My scriptures are much more expansive than our current 4 standard works. Hence more knowledge is to be available to me. Joseph was very inclusive, not exclusive when accepting new knowledge. He took it wherever he could find it. Even from Egypt with the Book of Abraham.

Just because something isn't in 4 standard works doesn't mean it's not true doctrine.
Ben said…
"You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, doing what all Gods have done before you by going from exaltation to exaltation."

It says from exaltation to exaltation, it doesn't say from mortality to mortality.
Bruce said…

If you believe you are going to be resurrected after this single mortal experience, then you must already be exalted. You must have already gone from exaltation to exaltation. Wow! I congratulate you...very impressive!
Jared said…
I believe in the doctrine of multiple mortalities because I have studied it, pondered it, prayed about it, and received answers to my prayers in the affirmative. I have found hundreds of scriptures which support this doctrine, however, I believe it is an individual responsibility to find out the truth about this. That being said, I do not claim to understand the mechanics of this doctrine, just generalities, bits and pieces and principles. The Spirit has also plainly told me that there are aspects of this doctrine that I understand incorrectly, but He has not offered any new insight. But I am content.

I expect the day will come when I can have my questions about this answered.

Additionally, I would like to assert that the gospel does not make sense, nor is it just and true, without this doctrine. Exaltation is not possible for 99.999999999% of the human family without it, per the strict qualifications listed in D&C 76 as prerequisites for it.

Of course, ultimately, what really matters is the here and now. I want to make this mortal experience count for as much as possible. I will figure out the unessential details later when I have an eternity to do so.

The doctrine of multiple mortalities as I understand it is likely quite different from how you or others might conceive it or define it; so don't read too much into this.

I'll admit that I have sat down several times to write what I know to be true about this doctrine, using all the scriptures and quotes I have collected on the subject, but each time the Spirit stops me. The Lord does not want us focusing on this. Nor does he want me to promote the incorrect ideas I still have jumbling around in my head, still posing as truth. I am not smart enough to sort all this out on my own. I simply know that what is true is true, even if my own knowledge of the truth is severely limited.
log said…
You are free to accept anything you like as scripture. I am, for the purposes of this conversation, simply limiting the scriptures that I reference to that which the Church as a united body, by common consent, has accepted as scripture, and therefore as binding upon the body as a whole for doctrine and reproof. And those scriptures specifically, in particular the D&C and the Book of Mormon, are apparently logically incompatible with multiple mortal probations.

My challenge remains unmet: nobody has yet shown that MMP is logically compatible with the scriptures.
log said…
That response did not address the point made, which was that Joseph's words don't necessarily carry any of the MMP connotations you have inferred to Joseph.

For the record, if I believed something which was not to be found in the scriptures, or, even better, contradicted the scriptures, and I was under no direct commission from God to preach it, I would remain silent on the topic, and stick to what we are explicitly directed to teach.

Doctrine and Covenants 19:31
31 And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost.

If I were to do otherwise, it would be because I was unsure of its truth and would be looking for affirmation in the form of others believing as I did, even lacking that surety of knowledge, in order to bolster my position and confidence. And that would put me in danger of falling afoul of this warning.

2 Nephi 28:15
15 O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!
arelius11 said…
Bruce said…

Well as long as we are quoting scripture...

9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.
11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.

(Book of Mormon | Alma 12:9 - 11)

Therefore if, as you say, you know nothing of his mysteries....
Mic said…
Log and Bruce,

Could there be true scriptures outside the standard works, and false scripture within the standard works?

Could Alma have been mistaken (and not speaking as a prophet) when he said that the spirit and the body will never again be divided after the resurrection.

If D&C 124:49-51 is true, how could Nephi have been speaking as a prophet when he said "I know that the Lord giveth no bcommandments unto the children of men, save he shall cprepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them"?

And if Nephi could have simply been voicing his own personal opinion in 1 Nephi 3:7, why couldn't Alma have been doing likewise in Alma 11:45?

Once again, D&C 124:49-51 says the saints did their best to build God a house in Jackson county Missouri, and couldn't because of their enemies, and for that reason God let them off the hook and held their enemies resposible for their failure to obey His command.

If that's true, then how can Nephi's words (in 1 Nephi 3:7, and 17:3) be entirely true?
Mic said…
Exaltation is not possible for 99.999999999% of the human family without it

Why not, if they have all their proxy work done in the Temples (and proxy work is done by revelation during the millennium, for all who haven't had work done before)?
log said…
I have not said anything about the state of my knowledge; I have only stated what is in the scriptures.

After all -

2 Nephi 18:20
20 To the law and to the testimony; and if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

Doctrine and Covenants 19:31
31 And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost.
log said…
And those who know the mysteries of God in full are laid under a strict commandment by God to speak only according to that portion of His word He has seen fit to give unto them (Alma 12:9, which you ironically cited). By speaking outside of that which is contained in the scriptures, we may know a man does not know the mysteries he is propounding.

And if such an one were to claim un- or anti-scriptural knowledge by way of revelation without having been appointed of God, we may know him to be false.

D&C 43
5 And this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments;

6 And this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me.

7 For verily I say unto you, that he that is ordained of me shall come in at the gate and be ordained as I have told you before, to teach those revelations which you have received and shall receive through him whom I have appointed.
Bruce said…

You said:

By speaking outside of that which is contained in the scriptures, we may know a man does not know the mysteries he is propounding.

I guess Joseph Smith in the King Follett Discourse didn't know what he was talking about, because he spoke outside what was contained in the Scriptures. Alma in Alma 13 speaks outside of the scriptures. And for that matter, Lehi, Nephi and many of the prophets spoke outside of the scriptures. That's why we have prophets, to give us new things and not repeat the same old stuff over and over again.

It has always been my province to dig up hidden mysteries--new things--for my hearers. TPSJ p.364

But I guess this quote from Joseph might be more appropriate here.

Many men will say, "I will never forsake you, but will stand by you at all times." But the moment you teach them some of the mysteries of the kingdom of God that are retained in the heavens and are to be revealed to the children of men when they are prepared for them they will be the first to stone you and put you to death. It was this same principle that crucified the Lord Jesus Christ, and will cause the people to kill the prophets in this generation. TPJS p. 309

Silly Joseph. Clearly he should not have spoke outside that which is contained in the scriptures.
log said…
Joseph was appointed by God, knew whereof he spoke, was commissioned of God, is the man spoken of in D&C 43 to bring forth revelations unto the Church, and was upheld by the common consent of the Church.

He also did not attempt to leverage personal "revelation" in an attempt to win at internets.
Bruce said…

God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them. TPJS p.149

You really haven't read the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith have you?
Ty said…
Could Alma have been mistaken (and not speaking as a prophet) when he said that the spirit and the body will never again be divided after the resurrection?

Possibly, but Mormon as editor would be a second witness that would also have to be not speaking as a prophet. Having to chisel out every word on gold plates leads to few idle words...
Ty said…
So there isn't a direct scripture to prove the existence of MMP. As I mentioned earlier, a necessary condition for the existence of MMP would be some reason to believe that the outcome would be different in the next probation, given a new veil of forgetfulness. (And luck doesn't cut it--I doubt that we can rationalize that, over a million probations, we could just get lucky and live a good life in one of them.)

Any scriptures to support this necessary condition? I can't think of any.
log said…
I have read TPJS - and it doesn't mention MMP, just as the rest of the canonized scriptures do not mention MMP.

As I said, and as has gone unchallenged, despite the aspersions cast upon me -

1. MMP is not a belief which arises from the text of the scriptures.
2. MMP is apparently logically incompatible with the scriptures.
3. None who teach MMP have ever publicly harmonized MMP with the scriptures that I know of, typically preferring instead to insult those who ask for such harmonization, as has happened here.

That is all I claim.
log said…
There are truths not made mention of in the scriptures. Oxygen, democracy, and Canada are not mentioned in the scriptures, yet there they are.

I will go you one better - how is it that Abraham failed to slay Isaac?

Remember -

Isaiah 55
8 ¶For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Mic said…
Thank you.

I don't know the answer to your question (or mine), but I believe the most important thing to have is charity.

If we have that, I believe knowledge will follow (sooner or latter), but what is true charity, and how do we know if we truly have it?

That's another (more important) question I don't really have the answer to.

I remember being willing to die for someone who had a substance abuse problem, who nearly got me killed once or twice, and who I don't even talk to (or want to talk to) any more.

I thought I had charity back then, but did I, or was I just an enabler?

How do you know if you have the real thing?
robf said…
On my mission in the '80s one of the 70s told a group of us that he believed in MMP, but that nobody on earth was authorized to teach it. So maybe best to let it go for now.
Bruce said…

If you read the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith then you did not understand them. But since they are not one of the 4 standard works they must not be "scripture" to you so why bother, right?

If you did actually read TPJS with an open heart, you might have been able to understand what Joseph was saying.

"I want you to pay particular attention to what I am saying. Jesus said that the Father wrought precisely in the same way as His Father had done before Him. As the Father had done before? He laid down His life, and took it up the same as His Father had done before. He did as He was sent, to lay down His life and take it up again; and then was committed unto Him the keys. I know it is good reasoning." P.373

"they shall be heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. What is it? To inherit the same power, the same glory and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a God, and ascend the throne of eternal power, the same as those who have gone before. What did Jesus do? Why; I do the things I saw my Father do when worlds come rolling into existence. My Father worked out his kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom, I shall present it to my Father, so that he may obtain kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt him in glory. He will then take a higher exaltation, and I will take his place, and thereby become exalted myself. So that Jesus treads in the tracks of his Father, and inherits what God did before; and God is thus glorified and exalted in the salvation and exaltation of all his children." P.347

"and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power." P.347

Since we are to learn to be God's ourselves, we must follow the example of the Savior and do what Jesus did. And what did Jesus do? Make an atonement…just like his Father made an atonement for people on some other world. So unless you plan on atoning for all mankind here, (and sorry, that position has been filled) that would necessarily entail you going to a different world and performing an atonement there. At least one more mortal experience would be needed. And only then do you "attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power."

At least that's what Joseph taught.

You are a smart man Log. You can put these pieces together.
Mic said…

Thak you.
Jared said…
I think you fail to understand the purpose of ordinances. Ordinances are not a magic wand. You still have to do the work. Proxy ordinances only allow limited progression. Very often, they only allow progression to continue in a subsequent mortality. Read Alma 13. We believe in salvation through transformation, sanctification, and actually becoming as Christ is. One must receive the fullness of Christ's glory in the flesh. This cannot be accomplished in the spirit world. Read D&C 76. The qualifications for exaltation must be met in the flesh. There is no other way. The law doesn't change. Read 2 Nephi 9 and Alma 5. There is no other way. We cannot expect to receive the glory which the prophets inherit without doing the works and offering the sacrifices the prophets made in the flesh. Ordinances are only a beginning.

21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory.
22 For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.
(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 132:21 - 22)

109 But behold, and lo, we saw the glory and the inhabitants of the telestial world, that they were as innumerable as the stars in the firmament of heaven, or as the sand upon the seashore;
(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 76:109)

Apparently all these proxy ordinances don't make a dent for all the innumerable folks who end up in the telestial world, except to give them yet another chance if they desire it.

Joseph Smith stated:

"The first principles of man are self-existence with God. | And all the minds and spirits that God ever sent into this world are susceptible of enlargement. | God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was | greater and | more intelligent | and had power, saw proper to institute laws to instruct the rest whereby they rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. | The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. He has power to institute laws to instruct the weaker intelligences, that they may be exalted with himself, so that they might have one glory upon another, and receive all that knowledge, power, glory, and intelligence, which is requisite in order to save them in the world of spirits." (Genesis Made Whole, Tod G. Andersen, p. 29)
log said…
Charity comes by faith.

If you will forgive me for not filling up pages and pages by proving this from the scriptures, you gain charity by repenting from all ungodliness, every worldly lust, and every worldly ambition, and engaging in mighty prayer before God, while walking strictly according to the commandments of the Savior given in 3 Nephi.

You will know you have it because you will be filled by fire from heaven, light, love, and joy the likes of which you have never known, and you will hear the voice of God from on high. You will be free to do whatever you want, because you will desire no evil, but to do good continually.
log said…

I have said three things, each of which is true and goes unchallenged, and you persist in insulting me.

1. MMP is not a belief which arises from the text of the scriptures.
2. MMP is apparently logically incompatible with the scriptures.
3. None who teach MMP have ever publicly harmonized MMP with the scriptures that I know of, typically preferring instead to insult those who ask for such harmonization, as has happened here.

I will add a fourth - Joseph did not explicitly teach MMP anywhere that we have a record of. Your personal interpretation of Joseph apparently contradicts scripture (see unchallenged point #2). And you have yet to publicly reconcile your beliefs with the scriptures which have been offered, which demonstrate that the resurrection is permanent, universal, and the space between death and the resurrection is apparently accounted for, preferring instead to cast aspersions on me, which conduct is contentious, implying you are severed from God and should not be listened to in any event.
log said…
Mosiah 23:14
14 And also trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments.
Mosiah 18:21
21 And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.
3 Nephi 11
28 And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.

29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

30 Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.
2 Nephi 26:32-33
32 And again, the Lord God hath commanded that men should not ... contend one with another... for whoso doeth [it] shall perish.

33 For none of these iniquities come of the Lord....
Doctrine and Covenants 19:31
31 And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost.
log said…
Actually, 3 Nephi 11 is too good to just refer to 3 verses.

3 Nephi 11
28 And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.

29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

30 Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.

31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.

32 And this is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me.

33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.

34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.

35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.

36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.

37 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.

38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.

39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.

40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.

41 Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.

You may have the field, Bruce. I would choose wisdom over ego, but that is my choice.
log said…
If we all agree the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is to be brought into his presence, and for him to bring us into the presence of the Father, then the phrase "go no more out" has a non-MMP application - those who will be exalted are at times visitors to the kingdom of heaven.

Alma is not using the word "soul" to mean "spirit + body" but simply meant "spirit" in verse 14. This is clear in context.
Bruce said…
So you refuse to respond to my post from the King Follett Discourse and instead post that because I disagree with you, I must be full of contention and the spirit of the devil. Please forgive me. I didn't realize you were infallible.

Really? That's what you come back with? And you accuse me that I'm the one with the ego!

There are a great many wise men and women too in our midst who are too wise to be taught; therefore they must die in their ignorance, and in the resurrection they will find their mistake. TPJS p. 309

Good luck with that.

I'm ending my posts on this topic. Not that I concede to any of your points. But I refuse to waste further time with someone who is blind and refuses to see.
Ty said…
None who teach MMP have ever publicly harmonized MMP with the scriptures that I know of, typically preferring instead to insult those who ask for such harmonization, as has happened here.

Your mom believes in MMP...:)
jmhiatt said…
Ditto to what Jared said
Mic said…
Some have said that mmp might be true, but isn't revealed and shouldn't be taught.

Should we want to know if it's true, and will we if we're brought into the presence of Jesus and The Father (or are there some things we should be content not knowing, and some questions that we'll never have the answers to in this mortal life)?
Mic said…

When you speak of being filled with love, the likes of which you have never known, would that mean feeling as though you could happily lay your life down for someone?

Is having that feeling in your heart what you're talking about?

Is that what's meant by "charity," or "the pure love of Christ"?
log said…
What I am talking about cannot be known except by experience.
Hermit said…
Mic, you make a really good point. I'm not very good at scriptures (although, I completely love the Book of Mormon!!). There are things I have read in the scripture and then experienced in life. Alternatively, there are experiences that I have had that are not exactly in scriptures. like Log says there are truths like oxygen, democracy...whatever, I'm sure the list is longer, doesn't mean that it isn't true. I do not believe that all, sum total of experienced truth is in the scriptures, nor in one man's written journal of his experiences with God. Writing is one thing, God and experience are another.

I'm not going to go far enough to say that God lies to us, maybe he just teaches us according to our desires ... I mean, it would make sense that no one man or book would hold all the answers, if so, due to our addiction to the flesh we would never call upon God. And even then, God is sneaky, playful, interactive. If all things were here, could be experienced vicariously through another, we would never stretch to God to realize our uniqueness, our individuality. We are all one, yes, but on this end of the continuum, living in this fallen, telestial world of duality, there are differences, opposites and the experience of separation--and much to be learned as a result of such experience. There is tons that myself and others who are sharing have in common...and there are significant differences :)

Even the scriptures, even the prophets ... spend time with them. Who they were, what they wrote, their experiences at childhood, youth, early adulthood, adulthood and elderhood ... very different experiences. Did God lie to them when they were bearing fervent testimony of something at age 25 that they later ... developed, stretched, received more, or had to relent saying both experiences were true, but in a different kind of way?

Do ever let righteous desires fade. It is eternal, even godlike (at least here in mortality) to long for, love, cherish, desire, hunger, thirst ... mmmm ... you know that feeling. There is nothing Father has not firmly resolved for me in my heart, one way or another... and with so much more room to grow, repent, change, expand ...

...anyway, just curiously learning. Thanks for your thoughts and questions!
Hermit said…
Good stuff Jared! Way more there! hmm...
Mic said…
But does your experience match mine?

When you were filled with charity, did you feel as though you could gladly lay down your life for someone else?

Was their life, comfort, well being, and salvation more important to you than your own?

Is that "charity"?

Was that feeling a part of what you're talking about?
log said…
Why do you ask me? Either you know, and if you know, you know by experience, and need nothing from me - or you do not know, in which case my answer is literally meaningless.

Repent. Serve God with your whole heart. Pray always, even calling upon the name of the Lord morning, noon, and night. Don't pester people for that which you are under obligation for seeking from God for yourself.
Mic said…
I apologize for pestering you.
Mic said…
I kinda get the feeling that you've never experienced anything like this, have you?

For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh...Romans 9:3.

You don't have that feeling for those you interact with here on the internet, or in person, do you?
Mic said…
You're welcom.

Thanks for your thoughts (and I hope I haven't pestered you.)
May I jump in here? As a father, I would gladly lay down my life to save my son. In fact, I have offered my life in exchange for my son's life many times in prayer. Long-time readers know my son's story. I have shared it previously. He suffers and it pains me to see his suffering. When it got really bad and his threats of suicide seemed imminent, I told the Lord I would rather he called me home than let my son take his own life.

The Lord made it clear that would not be necessary. Instead, he gave me an increase of charity. I suppose you could call it tolerance. My wife is the perfect example of this for me. Without her example of the unconditional love of a mother, I would know so much less about what the Savior feels for us. The Lord becomes the Father of those saved. We become his sons and daughters as he "begets" us and delivers us from the woes of sin.
Mic said…
Thank you Tim.

That sounds like charity to me.
brad said…
I don't believe or disbelieve MMP and I don't know all the arguments for and against it, but I did have a couple thoughts -

Satan is a counterfeiter, a deceiver and perverter of truth. It seems that almost every sin is a perversion of something true or good. I haven't thought through every sin, so maybe that's not the case. But it seems like Satan never really invents anything. He just twists what is already there. Perhaps that is what reincarnation is. In this case he would be twisting a doctrine that not much is known about. Perhaps Reincarnation is his twisted version of a pure MMP doctrine.

Anyway, just a thought. I just can't think of many things that Satan invented himself - he just perverts the ways of the Lord. He just changes one little aspect or alters the motives for the action.

I do agree though that MMP could be awfully distracting to the here and now.

Our decisions are based largely on perception. MMP changes perception and hence can change our decisions. If MMP is true, there is a reason God hasn't spelled it out. He is mercifully helping us not make hugely different, perception-based decisions in this life.

A thought for Tim - this could be a reason the Lord told you you have "years" of preparation remaining. Your eager desire changes the way you approach Him. He told you something that might not be literal, but would change your perception and hence the way you prepare.

Like in Matrix - the oracle tells Neo he is NOT "the One" even though he really is the one. She knew he would not choose the same things if he thought it was the one. It was by believing that he was not "the One" that he fully became "the One."
log said…
There is a compelling reason to not teach MMP even if it is true - this reason is called "moral hazard." In this case, one takes one's benefits now - eating, drinking, and being merry - and one's future self takes the hit in another life.

One may see this played out in deciding to take loans to finance one's education in excess of one's needs, spending in excess of one's immediate means, reasoning that one will be in a better position after one's education to pay off the debts being accrued in the long term. Sometimes, it doesn't work out that way.

The concept of moral hazard is also deployed against the concept of the Atonement by atheists and agnostics, who say that unlimited forgiveness for sins leads people to becoming jerks. In the case of militant protestants, the infidels are absolutely correct - because that is the behavior observed, and justification given. "Christians aren't perfect - just forgiven."

The Gospel destroys this rationalization by declaring that once you have partaken of the Atonement, through repentance and baptism by water and by fire, you lose the telestial and terrestrial options. To die in your sins is to be cast off forever.

Mosiah 15:26
26 But behold, and fear, and tremble before God, for ye ought to tremble; for the Lord redeemeth none such that rebel against him and die in their sins; yea, even all those that have perished in their sins ever since the world began, that have wilfully rebelled against God, that have known the commandments of God, and would not keep them; these are they that have no part in the first resurrection.

So, even if it were true, the reason for MMP not being taught is obvious - so obvious that one wonders at the motivations of those who attempt to teach it.
log said…
Correction - you lose the telestial option, not necessarily the terrestrial.
Gerard said…
Interesting question.

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