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Old 04-20-2018, 07:56 AM   #111
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Graded Intelligences in the Antemortal State.—That the spirits of men existed as individual intelligences, of varying degrees of ability and power, prior to the inauguration of the mortal state upon this earth and even prior to the creation of the world as a suitable abode for human beings, is shown in great plainness through a divine revelation to Abraham: “Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; and God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born” (Abraham 3:22, 23).

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Old 04-20-2018, 09:40 PM   #112
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• Heavenly Father is a glorified, perfected, celestial Father who possesses a fulness of joy (see 3 Nephi 28:10).
• We lived with Heavenly Father before we came to earth. We are His spirit children, and He wants us to have the same joy that He has by becoming like Him (see Jeremiah 1:5; Hebrews 12:9; D&C 93:33–34; Abraham 3:26).
• In order to become like God, we must have a resurrected, glorified physical body and we must grow to possess the attributes of godhood (see Alma 11:43–44; Job 19:26; 3 Nephi 27:27; D&C 130:22).
• Our mortal life is designed to help us gain godly attributes. It provides us with the opportunity to gain a physical body and learn the lessons of godhood by having the freedom to choose to follow the counsel of God or the enticements of Satan (see Genesis 2:16–17; 2 Nephi 2:25–27; Alma 34:32–34).
• The Creation of the earth and the Fall of Adam brought about the necessary conditions of mortality, including spiritual and physical death and a world where there is toil, pain, and sorrow (see Genesis 2:17; 3:6–7; 2 Nephi 2:15–25).
• The Atonement of Jesus Christ provides for the Resurrection so that everyone will receive an immortal physical body (see Job 19:25–27; Ezekiel 37:12–14; Alma 11:42–45; 42:23).
• The Atonement can also cleanse us from personal sins through our repentance and enable us to obtain eternal life and become like God (see Isaiah 1:18; 2 Nephi 10:24–25; Mosiah 3:19; Moroni 10:32–33).
• In every dispensation, Jesus Christ has sent prophets to teach His gospel to God’s children on earth. The Church of Jesus Christ has been established in these latter days to invite all to come unto Christ and partake of His plan of happiness (see Amos 3:7; Alma 12:32–34; D&C 1:1–14; 20:59).

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Old 04-21-2018, 04:46 AM   #113
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Robert L. Millet, assistant professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University:
Baptism for the dead was indeed a practice of the Church of Jesus Christ in the meridian of time. We know that it was practiced among the first-century Christians and that it was restored in our own dispensation through the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Apostle Paul refers to the practice of baptism for the dead in 1 Corinthians. Probably written about A.D. 56–57, this book is a masterpiece of religious literature and a remarkable testimony of the Savior and his gospel.

Chapter 15, [1 Cor. 15] perhaps the most doctrinally potent chapter in the epistle, testifies of the resurrection of the Lord. In it Paul presents the core of that message known to us as the gospel, or the “glad tidings” that Christ atoned for our sins, died, rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven. Joseph Smith called these events “the fundamental principles of our religion,” to which all other doctrines are but appendages.

Paul presents the necessity for the Savior’s rising from the tomb and explains that the physical evidence of the divine Sonship of Christ is the Resurrection. If Christ had not risen from the dead, Paul asserts, the preaching of the Apostles and the faith of the Saints would be in vain. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ,” he says, “we are of all men most miserable.” (1 Cor. 15:19.)

After establishing that the Lord has conquered all enemies, including death, Paul adds: “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him [the Father] that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

“Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Cor. 15:28–29; italics added.)

Other Early Christian Allusions
A surprising amount of evidence suggests that the doctrine of salvation for the dead was known and understood by ancient Christian communities. Early commentary on the Pauline statement in Hebrews that “they without us should not be made perfect” (see Heb. 11:40) holds that the passage referred to the Old Testament Saints who were trapped in Hades awaiting the help of their New Testament counterparts and that Christ held the keys that would “open the doors of the Underworld to the faithful souls there.” 4 It is significant that in his book, Dialogue with Trypho, Justin Martyr, the early Christian apologist, cites an apocryphon which he charges had been deleted from the book of Jeremiah, but was still to be found in some synagogue copies of the text: “The Lord God remembered His dead people of Israel who lay in the graves; and He descended to preach to them His own salvation.” Irenaeus also taught: “The Lord descended to the parts under the earth, announcing to them also the good news of his coming, there being remission of sins for such as believe on him.”

One of the early Christian documents linking the writings of Peter on Christ’s ministry in the spirit world (see 1 Pet. 3:18–20, 1 Pet. 4:6) with those of Paul on baptism for the dead is the “Shepherd of Hermas,” which states that “these apostles and teachers who preached the name of the Son of God, having fallen asleep in the power and faith of the Son of God, preached also to those who had fallen asleep before them, and themselves gave to them the seal of the preaching. They went down therefore with them into the water and came up again, but the latter went down alive and came up alive, while the former, who had fallen asleep before, went down dead but came up alive. Through them, therefore, they were made alive, and received the knowledge of the name of the Son of God.” (Italics added.)

The Doctrine of Salvation for the Dead
The doctrine that no man or woman will ultimately be denied a blessing he or she did not have the opportunity to receive is set forth in beauty and plainness in the Book of Mormon. (See 2 Ne. 9:25; Mosiah 3:11;Mosiah 15:24; Alma 41:3; Moro. 8:22.) Further, in our own dispensation, the Prophet Joseph Smith received yet another revelation on the subject of salvation for the dead—the Vision of the Celestial Kingdom. (See D&C 137.)

The words of the Lord to Joseph Smith in 1836 were emphatic and comforting: “All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God;

“Also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom;

“For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.” (D&C 137:7–9; italics added.)

Though the Vision of the Celestial Kingdom did not reveal the particulars of how the dead could receive the ordinances of the gospel, such truths were soon forthcoming.

On 15 August 1840, some four and a half years after he received the Vision of the Celestial Kingdom, Joseph Smith delivered his first public discourse on baptism for the dead—at the funeral of Seymour Brunson, a member of the Nauvoo High Council. In that address, the Prophet quoted from 1 Corinthians. According to one account, he “said the Apostle [Paul] was talking to a people who understood baptism for the dead, for it was practiced among them. He went on to say that people could now act for their friends who had departed this life, and that the plan of salvation was calculated to save all who were willing to obey the requirements of the law of God.”

Two months later, on 19 October 1840, Joseph Smith wrote: “The Saints have the privilege of being baptized for those of their relatives who are dead [note his tie of this doctrine to the Vision of the Celestial Kingdom]whom they believe would have embraced the Gospel, if they had been privileged with hearing it, and who have received the Gospel in the spirit, through the instrumentality of those who have been commissioned topreach to them while in prison.” (Italics added.)

The doctrine of salvation for the dead became a major emphasis of the Prophet Joseph, who later wrote, “The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead,” 10 and “This doctrine was the burden of the scriptures. Those Saints who neglect it in behalf of their deceased relatives, do it at the peril of their own salvation.” 11 The leaders of the Church in Nauvoo were told that “these are principles in relation to the dead and the living that cannot be lightly passed over, as pertaining to our salvation. For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation.” (D&C 128:15.)

Thus, both the doctrine of salvation for the dead and the ordinance of baptism for the dead, of which we have but an allusion in Paul’s letter to the former-day Saints, have been revealed and restored in our own dispensation. We live in a day long anticipated by the prophets of ages past—when God has begun to “gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.” (Eph. 1:10.)
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Old 04-21-2018, 08:13 PM   #114
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Old 04-21-2018, 11:44 PM   #115
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Old 04-22-2018, 03:33 PM   #116
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Old 04-23-2018, 06:56 AM   #117
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"That both Christ and Satan were among those exalted intelligences, and that Christ was chosen while Satan was rejected as the future Saviour of mankind, are shown by the portions of the revelation immediately following that above quoted: “And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; and we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; and they who keep their first estate shall be added upon, and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads forever and ever. And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first. And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him” (verses 24–28).

The Primeval Council in the Heavens.—“It is definitely stated in the Book of Genesis that God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness’; and again, after Adam had taken of the forbidden fruit the Lord said, ‘Behold, the man has become as one of us’; and the inference is direct that in all that related to the work of the creation of the world there was a consultation; and though God spake as it is recorded in the Bible, yet it is evident He counseled with others. The scriptures tell us there are ‘Gods many and Lords many. But to us there is but one God, the Father’ (1 Corinthians 8:5). And for this reason, though there were others engaged in the creation of the worlds, it is given to us in the Bible in the shape that it is; for the fulness of these truths is only revealed to highly favoured persons for certain reasons known to God; as we are told in the scriptures: ‘The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant.’—Psalm 25:14.

“It is consistent to believe that at this Council in the heavens the plan that should be adopted in relation to the sons of God who were then spirits, and had not yet obtained tabernacles, was duly considered. For, in view of the creation of the world and the placing of men upon it, whereby it would be possible for them to obtain tabernacles, and in those tabernacles obey laws of life, and with them again be exalted among the Gods, we are told that at that time, ‘the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.’ The question then arose, how, and upon what principle, should the salvation, exaltation and eternal glory of God’s sons be brought about? It is evident that at that Council certain plans had been proposed and discussed, and that after a full discussion of those principles, and the declaration of the Father’s will pertaining to His design, Lucifer came before the Father with a plan of his own, saying, ‘Behold [here am] I; send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore, give me thine honour.’ But Jesus, on hearing this statement made by Lucifer, said, ‘Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.’ From these remarks made by the well beloved Son, we should naturally infer that in the discussion of this subject the Father had made known His will and developed His plan and design pertaining to these matters, and all that His well beloved Son wanted to do was to carry out the will of His Father, as it would appear had been before expressed. He also wished the glory to be given to His Father, who, as God the Father, and the originator and designer of the plan, had a right to all the honor and glory. But Lucifer wanted to introduce a plan contrary to the will of his Father, and then wanted His honour, and said: ‘I will save every soul of man, wherefore give me thine honour.’ He wanted to go contrary to the will of his Father, and presumptuously sought to deprive man of his free agency, thus making him a serf, and placing him in a position in which it was impossible for him to obtain that exaltation which God designed should be man’s, through obedience to the law which He had suggested; and again, Lucifer wanted the honour and power of his Father, to enable him to carry out principles which were contrary to the Father’s wish.”—John Taylor, Mediation and Atonement, pp. 93, 94."

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Old 04-24-2018, 03:30 AM   #118
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"The Jaredites.—“Of the two nations whose histories constitute the Book of Mormon, the first in order of time consisted of the people of Jared, who followed their leader from the Tower of Babel at the time of the confusion of tongues. Their history was written on twenty-four plates of gold by Ether, the last of their prophets, who, foreseeing the destruction of his people because of their wickedness, hid away the historical plates. They were afterward found, B.C. 123, by an expedition sent out by King Limhi, a Nephite ruler. The record engraved on these plates was subsequently abridged by Moroni, and the condensed account was attached by him to the Book of Mormon record; it appears in the modern translation under the name of the Book of Ether.

“The first and chief prophet of the Jaredites is not mentioned by name in the record as we have it; he is known only as the brother of Jared. Of the people, we learn that, amid the confusion of Babel, Jared and his brother importuned the Lord that He would spare them and their associates from the impending disruption. Their prayer was heard, and the Lord led them with a considerable company, who, like themselves, were free from the taint of idolatry, away from their homes, promising to conduct them to a land choice above all other lands. Their course of travel is not given with exactness; we learn only that they reached the ocean, and there constructed eight vessels, called barges, in which they set out upon the waters. These vessels were small and dark within; but the Lord made luminous certain stones, which gave light to the imprisoned voyagers. After a passage of three hundred and forty-four days, the colony landed on the western shore of North America, probably at a place south of the Gulf of California, and north of the Isthmus of Panama.

“Here they became a flourishing nation; but, giving way in time to internal dissensions, they divided into factions, which warred with one another until the people were totally destroyed. This destruction, which occurred near the hill Ramah, afterward known among the Nephites as Cumorah, probably took place at about the time of Lehi’s landing in South America—590 B.C.”—The author, Articles of Faith, 14:260–62."
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Old 04-24-2018, 09:58 AM   #119
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Old 04-24-2018, 06:53 PM   #120
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We have heretofore shown that the entire human race existed as spirit-beings in the primeval world, and that for the purpose of making possible to them the experiences of mortality this earth was created. They were endowed with the powers of agency or choice while yet but spirits; and the divine plan provided that they be free-born in the flesh, heirs to the inalienable birthright of liberty to choose and to act for themselves in mortality. It is undeniably essential to the eternal progression of God’s children that they be subjected to the influences of both good and evil, that they be tried and tested and proved withal, “to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.”a Free agency is an indispensable element of such a test.

The Eternal Father well understood the diverse natures and varied capacities of His spirit-offspring; and His infinite foreknowledge made plain to Him, even in the beginning, that in the school of life some of His children would succeed and others would fail; some would be faithful, others false; some would choose the good, others the evil; some would seek the way of life while others would elect to follow the road to destruction. He further foresaw that death would enter the world, and that the possession of bodies by His children would be of but brief individual duration. He saw that His commandments would be disobeyed and His law violated; and that men, shut out from His presence and left to themselves, would sink rather than rise, would retrogress rather than advance, and would be lost to the heavens. It was necessary that a means of redemption be provided, whereby erring man might make amends, and by compliance with established law achieve salvation and eventual exaltation in the eternal worlds. The power of death was to be overcome, so that, though men would of necessity die, they would live anew, their spirits clothed with immortalized bodies over which death could not again prevail.

Let not ignorance and thoughtlessness lead us into the error of assuming that the Father’s foreknowledge as to what would be, under given conditions, determined that such must be. It was not His design that the souls of mankind be lost; on the contrary it was and is His work and glory, “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Nevertheless He saw the evil into which His children would assuredly fall; and with infinite love and mercy did He ordain means of averting the dire effect, provided the transgressor would elect to avail himself thereof. The offer of the firstborn Son to establish through His own ministry among men the gospel of salvation, and to sacrifice Himself, through labor, humiliation and suffering even unto death, was accepted and made the foreordained plan of man’s redemption from death, of his eventual salvation from the effects of sin, and of his possible exaltation through righteous achievement.

In accordance with the plan adopted in the council of the Gods, man was created as an embodied spirit; his tabernacle of flesh was composed of the elements of earth. He was given commandment and law, and was free to obey or disobey—with the just and inevitable condition that he should enjoy or suffer the natural results of his choice. Adam, the first manf placed upon the earth in pursuance of the established plan, and Eve who was given unto him as companion and associate, indispensable to him in the appointed mission of peopling the earth, disobeyed the express commandment of God and so brought about the “fall of man,” whereby the mortal state, of which death is an essential element was inaugurated. It is not proposed to consider here at length the doctrine of the fall; for the present argument it is sufficient to establish the fact of the momentous occurrence and its portentous consequences. The woman was deceived, and in direct violation of counsel and commandment partook of the food that had been forbidden, as a result of which act her body became degenerate and subject to death. Adam realized the disparity that had been brought between him and his companion, and with some measure of understanding followed her course, thus becoming her partner in bodily degeneracy. Note in this matter the words of Paul the apostle: “Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”
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