Why does the LDS Church ask for 10% tithe considering what is written in the Book of Mormon?

Why does the LDS Church ask for 10% tithe considering what is written in the Book of Mormon?

Question

 

Hey Gramps!

Could you explain why the LDS Church asks for 10% of members income considering what is written in the Book of Mormon chapter 8:32-33.

 32 Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be churches built up that shall say: Come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins.

 33 O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls? Behold, look ye unto the revelations of God; for behold, the time cometh at that day when all these things must be fulfilled.

I’m confused.  Many thanks.

Shell

Answer

 

Dear Shell,

The scriptural importance and benefits of a person’s paying tithes and offerings, are well-established (see. e.g, Malachi 3; Luke 21:1-4; D&C 64:23; D&C 85:3).  That, in this dispensation, it is the Church’s prerogative to receive and administer those tithes, seems equally clear (see D&C 119; D&C 120; D&C 97).

Mormon 8:32-33 does not strike me as being directly applicable to the LDS Church (or any church, for that matter), unless one can first establish at least one of the following:

1.  That the church purports to offer forgiveness of sins in exchange for nothing more or less than monetary payment;

2.  That the church has been built up for the specific purpose of getting gain; or

3.  That the church has “transfigured the holy word of God”.

I do not believe that any of those three conditions applies to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

Who was the father of the 1st King Mosiah?

Who was the father of the 1st King Mosiah?

Question

 

Gramps,

Who was the father of King Mosiah?  There doesn’t seem to be a patriarchal link. I’m referring to the first King Mosiah, not his grandson, a subsequent king.

Floyd

 

Answer

 

Floyd,

We know very little about the kings of the Nephites between Nephi’s death (about 545 BC) and the rise of Mosiah (around 130 BC).  Indeed, we know very little about Nephite secular history generally during this period.  The problem is complicated by the fact that the first few chapters of Mosiah were apparently part of the 116 pages lost by Martin Harris.  These missing chapters may have filled in some of the blanks; unfortunately, they are not now available for study.

Jacob records that, in memory of Nephi, succeeding kings developed a tradition of assuming the regnal name of “Nephi” regardless of what their names had been prior to accession to the Nephite throne (Jacob 1:11).  About two hundred years after Nephi’s death, Jarom observed that “our kings and our leaders were mighty men in the faith of the Lord; and they taught the people the ways of the Lord” (Jarom 1:7).  From these assertions, one might hypothesize that Mosiah’s father was a righteous man who reigned under the name of “Nephi”.

 

Gramps

 

 

When Christ visited the Americas, who were the 12 Apostles chosen?

When Christ visited the Americas, who were the 12 Apostles chosen?

Question

 

Gramps,

I heard in a talk by Elder Uchtdorf that when Jesus visited America after his resurrection, He chose his  Twelve Apostles. Who were they?

LD

 

Answer

 

LD,

Several years ago, I saw some beautiful artwork depicting the twelve Nephite disciples. It struck me at the time that there are probably, in the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon plates, the gospels of Timothy, Jonas, Mathoni, and others of the Nephite Twelve. As much as I love the “fifth gospel” contained in Third Nephi, I developed a deep yearning to read the words of the disciples whom Jesus ordained and commissioned among the Nephites. Most of us can probably name the majority of the biblical apostles of Jesus, but very few of us Latter-day Saints could name the apostles of the new world.

The information we have about them is sparse. We learn their names in the narrative of Third Nephi, when Jesus appeared to the Nephites the second time. Their names were Nephi, Timothy, Jonas, Mathoni, Mathonihah, Kumen, Kumenonhi, Jeremiah, Shemnon, Jonas, Zedekiah, and Isaiah. Among them, there were a number of brothers, which testifies of the power of families when it comes to faith. Nephi and Timothy were brothers. So were Mathonihah and Kumen (See 3 Nephi 19:4).

These were men of great faith. Nephi, we learn, had raised his brother from the dead. Take a moment and recall the early chapters of Third Nephi. That particular book shows the pattern in which we are living now. Secret combinations had threatened the freedom of the people. There was much wickedness and war was becoming all too frequent. There were dissenters (apostates) who lost their faith and then went among the Lamanites to stir up contention and persecution against those they once called “brother” and “sister.” Their government collapsed and the people formed up into tribes of partisans. Wickedness and violence were rampant. Then came the destruction at the time of the Savior’s crucifixion and the months of recovery that followed. These were men who came through that challenging period with their faith intact.

Some have questioned how there could be twelve apostles in Jerusalem and twelve in the Americas. Wouldn’t that make 24 apostles? It is important that we understand the differences in the nature of the callings of the Jerusalem Twelve and the Nephite Twelve. To Peter and his brethren, Jesus conferred the keys of the kingdom, which included the sealing authority (Matthew 16:19). Like our modern-day Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the Jerusalem Twelve had the penultimate authority bestowed upon them. They presided over the Church in all of the world. Their commission was to go to all nations preaching the gospel. Their calling was also special in that they shall act as judges over the tribes of Israel in the last judgment. We read in Matthew 19:28:

“And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

Scope of authority was different

Of the Nephite Twelve, the scope of their authority was different from, and subordinate to that of the Jerusalem Twelve:

1 And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words unto Nephi, and to those who had been called, (now the number of them who had been called, and received power and authority to baptize, was twelve) and behold, he stretched forth his hand unto the multitude, and cried unto them, saying: Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you, and to be your servants; and unto them I have given power that they may baptize you with water; and after that ye are baptized with water, behold, I will baptize you with fire and with the Holy Ghost; therefore blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me and be baptized, after that ye have seen me and know that I am.

2 And again, more blessed are they who shall believe in your words because that ye shall testify that ye have seen me, and that ye know that I am. Yea, blessed are they who shall believe in your words, and come down into the depths of humility and be baptized, for they shall be visited with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and shall receive a remission of their sins (3 Nephi 12:1-2).

The Nephite Twelve were give authority to preside over the Nephite saints and perform gospel ordinances like baptism, confirmation, and the sacrament for them. They would also act as judges over them. We might think of them as twelve judges in Israel, a title by which we refer to our stake presidents and bishops.

27 And know ye that ye shall be judges of this people, according to the judgment which I shall give unto you, which shall be just. Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am (3 Nephi 27:27).

25 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked upon the twelve whom he had chosen, and said unto them: Remember the words which I have spoken. For behold, ye are they whom I have chosen to minister unto this people… (3 Nephi 13:25).

In this capacity, they performed an important role in regulating and building up the Nephite Church after a period of apostasy and destruction.

 

Devote their lives to preaching the gospel

The Nephite Twelve were called upon to forsake worldly concerns and to devote their lives to preaching the gospel. As he did with the Jerusalem Twelve, the Lord made them special promises regarding their material needs as they served in their callings.

They were men who were filled with the Spirit. They were visionary men, seers, and revelators.

17 And it came to pass that the disciples whom Jesus had chosen began from that time forth to baptize and to teach as many as did come unto them; and as many as were baptized in the name of Jesus were filled with the Holy Ghost.

18 And many of them saw and heard unspeakable things, which are not lawful to be written (3 Nephi 26:17-18).

Acting as a Priesthood Council

The Nephite Twelve acted as a priesthood council, resolving disputes like the one that arose over the name of the Church.

1 And it came to pass that as the disciples of Jesus were journeying and were preaching the things which they had both heard and seen, and were baptizing in the name of Jesus, it came to pass that the disciples were gathered together and were united in mighty prayer and fasting.

2 And Jesus again showed himself unto them, for they were praying unto the Father in His name; and Jesus came and stood in the midst of them, and said unto them: What will ye that I shall give unto you?

3 And they said unto him: Lord, we will that thou wouldst tell us the name whereby we shall call this church; for there are disputations among the people concerning this matter. (3 Nephi 27:1-3).

As mentioned earlier, they were very likely authors of scripture and their own gospels, as they were commanded by the Savior to do so.

23 Write the things which ye have seen and heard, save it be those which are forbidden…

24 Write the works of this people, which shall be, even as hath been written, of that which hath been.

25 For behold, out of the books which have been written, and which shall be written, shall this people be judged, for by them shall their works be known unto men.

26 And behold, all things are written by the Father; therefore out of the books which shall be written shall the world be judged.

We most often think of the Three Nephites, whose names we do not know. Mormon knew their names, but was forbidden to write them. They had ministered unto him and Moroni long after their mortal counterparts had died. Nephi recounts the marvelous moment when Jesus, like He had with his friends the Jerusalem Twelve, offered them their greatest dreams.

6 And he said unto them: Behold, I know your thoughts, and ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me.

7 Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven.

8 And ye shall never endure the pains of death; but when I shall come in my glory ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality; and then shall ye be blessed in the kingdom of my Father.

9 And again, ye shall not have pain while ye shall dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow save it be for the sins of the world; and all this will I do because of the thing which ye have desired of me, for ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand. (3 Nephi 28:6-9)

When we finally get the opportunity to read of the ministries of the Nephite Twelve, it will be marvelous and inspiring. We get just a hint of their experiences from Mormon, who wrote:

18 But this much I know, according to the record which hath been given—they did go forth upon the face of the land, and did minister unto all the people, uniting as many to the church as would believe in their preaching; baptizing them, and as many as were baptized did receive the Holy Ghost.

19 And they were cast into prison by them who did not belong to the church. And the prisons could not hold them, for they were rent in twain.

20 And they were cast down into the earth; but they did smite the earth with the word of God, insomuch that by his power they were delivered out of the depths of the earth; and therefore they could not dig pits sufficient to hold them.

21 And thrice they were cast into a furnace and received no harm.

22 And twice were they cast into a den of wild beasts; and behold they did play with the beasts as a child with a suckling lamb, and received no harm.

23 And it came to pass that thus they did go forth among all the people of Nephi, and did preach the gospel of Christ unto all people upon the face of the land; and they were converted unto the Lord, and were united unto the church of Christ, and thus the people of that generation were blessed, according to the word of Jesus.  (3 Nephi 28:18-23)

Converted an entire people

In their lifetimes, the Nephite Twelve converted their entire people to the gospel and organized them into the United Order, wherein the members of the Church shared all property in common. Their ministries established nearly two centuries in which there was peace, justice, and equity among the people. In Fourth Nephi, we learn that the Three Nephites were still at work in their ministries over 200 years later, even as their people rejected the gospel and fell away. One false church that denied the Christ persecuted the believers and attempted unsuccessfully to kill the Three Nephites (4 Nephi 1:29-31). Then we learn the tantalizing truth that the Three Nephites who remained on earth in a translated state are among us still.

24 And now I, Mormon, make an end of speaking concerning these things for a time.

25 Behold, I was about to write the names of those who were never to taste of death, but the Lord forbade; therefore I write them not, for they are hid from the world.

26 But behold, I have seen them, and they have ministered unto me.

27 And behold they will be among the Gentiles, and the Gentiles shall know them not.

28 They will also be among the Jews, and the Jews shall know them not.

29 And it shall come to pass, when the Lord seeth fit in his wisdom that they shall minister unto all the scattered tribes of Israel, and unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, and shall bring out of them unto Jesus many souls, that their desire may be fulfilled, and also because of the convincing power of God which is in them.

30 And they are as the angels of God, and if they shall pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus they can show themselves unto whatsoever man it seemeth them good.

31 Therefore, great and marvelous works shall be wrought by them, before the great and coming day when all people must surely stand before the judgment-seat of Christ;

32 Yea even among the Gentiles shall there be a great and marvelous work wrought by them, before that judgment day (3 Nephi 28:1-9, 18-32).

After the first century of the Nephite golden era had finished, other disciples were ordained in their stead to watch over and lead the Church until the fourth generation fell away and rejected the gospel (See 4 Nephi 1:14). As wickedness expanded, the Three Nephites ministry became less public. Nevertheless, they did visit and strengthen Mormon and Moroni as they endured the hellish scenes of the Nephites’ last days.

10 And there are none that do know the true God save it be the disciples of Jesus, who did tarry in the land until the wickedness of the people was so great that the Lord would not suffer them to remain with the people; and whether they be upon the face of the land no man knoweth.

11 But behold, my father and I have seen them, and they have ministered unto us.

In a 1978 Ensign article, we find that the Three Nephites were among the messengers who appeared to and instructed the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Elder Orson Pratt, in a personal letter to John Christensen of Brigham City, testified:

“The prophet often received visits from Nephi, Moroni, Peter, James, John (the beloved), John (the Baptist), Elijah, Moses, the three Nephites, etc. etc.” (See Book of Mormon Personalities Known by Joseph Smith).

To conclude, the Nephite Twelve were apostolic witnesses of Jesus Christ, who ministered among their people and did marvelous works in the name of their Master, saving thousands of souls. Their calling and authority differed from the Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem, but they did a marvelous work and a wonder in their own way. Their works are recorded in scripture yet to be revealed. What a wonderful blessing it will be to be able to study their words and experiences when the Lord deems to bring forth those texts! And how cool is is that there are three of them still out there—today!

 

Gramps

 

 

 

 

Will we ever be able to read the writing in the 116 pages of manuscript of the Book of Mormon that were lost?

Will we ever be able to read the writing in the 116 pages of manuscript of the Book of Mormon that were lost?

Question

 

Dear Gramps,

Thank you for making this one of the best websites ever. Recently, my friends and I were talking about the 116 pages of the Book of Mormon that Martin Harris lost. We had a few questions that we were unable to answer.

1) Did Joseph Smith (or any other general authority, for that matter) ever say exactly what the content of the 116 pages was?

2) Will we ever be able to have these 116 pages back? In the Millennium, maybe?

Signed,

Gramps Biggest fan

 

Answer

 

Dear Biggest Fan,

Thank you for your kind words!  I apologize for taking so long to answer your question, but you know what they say about saving “the best [biggest fan] for last” . . .

I don’t know if we will be able to read the lost pages–ever, but I think if we did, we wouldn’t read much that is new.  You see, Heavenly Father knows the beginning from the end.  He knew that evil men would try to do just what they did.  So Heavenly Father had a plan.

“Centuries before the Prophet Joseph Smith was born, Nephi testified that God had commanded him to make two sets of plates (the large plates of Nephi and the small plates of Nephi), the purpose of which Nephi did not understand (see 1 Nephi 9:5–6). Mormon, who lived almost a thousand years after Nephi, included the small plates of Nephi with his abridgment, admitting that he did not understand why, save the Lord had commanded him to do it (see Words of Mormon 1:3–7).”

Section 10: God’s Wisdom “Is Greater Than the Cunning of the Devil”

My goal is to be an avid student of the scriptures we have now, in the hope that some day we can read what is in the sealed portion of the plates.

Thanks for reading and being my biggest fan.  You are appreciated!

 

Gramps

 

 

Why has there not been remains found from all of the wars in the Book of Mormon?

Why has there not been remains found from all of the wars in the Book of Mormon?

Question

 

Hello Gramps!

I am a recent convert to the wonderful Church and have a growing testimony of the Church. I had a quick question however. Time and time again, anti-mormons will use physical evidence – such as steel, horses, etc. against the Church. I have seen your answer to questions about these concerns and I completely agree! One thing I would like to know, however, is where are all the human remains from all the wars that took place?  Weren’t thousands if not hundreds of thousands killed?

Johnny

 

Answer

 

Johnny,

We need to deal with a few misconceptions.  Yes the battles were large and hundreds and thousands were killed.  Many were buried, some were thrown into the sea and some were eaten by wild beasts. And then life went on.  Now you are thinking that a mass grave should be easy to find… But to find it you need to first know where to look.  Other than on the American Continents (North and South) we really don’t know where the events in the Book of Mormon took place.  There are many theories and ideas out there but no solid facts.  Mass graves are by their very nature small compared to the number of bodies in them, even multiple mass graves would be less then a pin prick on a map of the Continents. So the first issue would be to find one.

Now lets talk bones and bodies.  It is the nature of a dead body to decompose.  Bones take longer but even bones will be decomposed over time unless something interferes with the process (prolonged extreme heat, cold, or dryness).  It is more Hollywood than fact that your typical set of bones will survive forever.  The length of time is highly dependent on the environment the remains are in and the steps taken to preserve them.  With mass graves no real steps are taken so we can expect the bones to decompose at a speed related to the environmental conditions at the site.  If we presume a reasonably wet and temperate climate we are looking at a 1 to 3 hundred year span before the bones are gone and they would be the last to go.  That would only leave the non-organic stuff they were buried with.

Next lets talk time.  Finding a mass grave is a big deal today. Word will get out and people will know about it and record it.  But that has not always been the case.  The further back in time we go the less likely we are to have a record of a find and the more likely the possibly that the sites would be found and picked clean by the locals without any record being made.  Let’s be generous and assume that anything found from about 1700 AD would be known.  With the Nephite record ending at 400 AD that is 1300 years that the locals could find and loot the graves of anything valuable or useful that survived.

So to sum it up, the easy to find mass graves have most likely already been found and destroyed.  The hard to find ones will most likely only have whatever non-organic item they were buried with.  Assuming someone finds a hard one and assuming they exist, then they would need to perform a lot of research and study to figure out what it was and what period it came from.  So I don’t find it at all surprising we have not found any, and I accept that we might never find one.

 

Gramps

 

 

Does the church have a position on the rumor that someone translated the sealed portion of the plates?

Does the church have a position on the rumor that someone translated the sealed portion of the plates?

Question

 

Dear Gramps,

I have to admit that no matter how difficult and or profound, you always manage to give answers to all those various questions from all around the world.

Several months ago I sent a question about the sealed portion of the plates. There are several claims that “someone” somehow translated it.  Do you know of any position that the Church took on this matter?  Hope you find time to answer this.

Francis

 

Answer

 

Francis,

There would be great difficulty in translating the sealed portion of the golden plates. First of all, the plates themselves were taken back by Moroni once Joseph Smith was finished translating the open portion. Further, Joseph was forbidden any attempts at translating the sealed portion. To my knowledge, the plates have not yet been returned to the earth for further translation. As such, anyone claiming to have translated them would clearly be a suspicious individual in that regard. What is more fascinating, however, is that the majority of the plates were sealed. Said another way, the Book of Mormon represents far less than half of what was recorded on the plates by Moroni. We are assured the time will come for the sealed portion to be translated, but that day is not yet here. Once we have lived up to the revelations we have now, it is far more likely we will be given more from those plates.

In response to your question about an official position the Church has taken.  At this time, I’m unaware of any.

 

Gramps

 

 

Do we have all of the translations from the Book of Mormon?

Do we have all of the translations from the Book of Mormon?

Question

Gramps,

Do we have all the translations from the Book of Mormon or is there some missing or info we don’t have?

Kyle

 

Answer

Kyle,

I am not sure what you meant by translation, but it is very clear from the records that there are some parts of the Book of Mormon that we do not have.

First is the 116 pages lost by Martin Harris.  D&C Section 3 is the Lord’s warning and rebuke to Joseph Smith and Martin Harris for the loss.  D&C Section 10 is the Lord’s instruction to Joseph Smith on how to recover from the loss.  It also shows the foresight of the Lord in preparing a way to overcome the problem.  It is possible that these lost 116 pages may one day be recovered but the Lord has already covered it, so it is not really necessary.

Next is the simple fact that the Golden Plates which Joseph Smith was given to translate had a sealed section.  Joseph was instructed to only translate the unsealed portion.  The sealed portion we do not have.  The Lord reserved this part to come forth at a later date.  It is missing in the sense that we are waiting for this later date to arrive.

 

Gramps

Did the Nephites and Lamanites have access to the gold plates?

Did the Nephites and Lamanites have access to the gold plates?

Question

Gramps,

Is it true that the Nephites and Lamanites did not have access to the writings on the gold plates? The writings of their prophets?  It is my understanding that they used only the brass plates for scripture references.

Y Jordan

 

Answer

Y Jordan,

The gold plates refer to the abridgment provided by Mormon/Moroni which Joseph Smith later translated into what we have now as the Book of Mormon.  The plates of brass refer to the plates retrieved by Nephi and his brothers from Laban. The Nephites therefore, would have never had access to the gold plates; however, the teachings within the gold plates were surely taught to the people of Nephi.

In the beginning, the plates of brass would have been the sole source of scriptural references for them to study; however the words of Nephi give us further insight when he declared (2 Nephi 25:26),

“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins (emphasis added).”

The Nephites were commanded of the Lord to write down their prophecies, and their revelations, as they taught important truths pertaining to salvation.

A second witness is provided by Jacob as he declared (Jacob 4:2),

“But whatsoever things we write upon anything save it be upon plates must perish and vanish away; but we can write a few words upon plates, which will give our children, and also our beloved brethren, a small degree of knowledge concerning us, or concerning their fathers (emphasis added).”

This verse teaches that they wrote their revelations and prophecies upon other plates.

The plates of brass could be likened to our canon of scripture today — our quads.  Although we have our quads (our sole source of scripture — canon), we have plenty of other writings which can be considered scripture also: Ensign (Prophets & Apostles writings), General Conference.  We see a similar trend within the Book of Mormon as shown here (Alma 18:38),

“And he also rehearsed unto them concerning the rebellions of Laman and Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael, yea, all their rebellions did he relate unto them; and he expounded unto them all the records and scriptures from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem down to the present time (emphasis added).”

Scriptures which were received at that present time were expounded upon.

When the Lord visited his people upon the American continent, the Lord declared (3 Nephi 23:6), “And now it came to pass that when Jesus had said these words he said unto them again, after he had expounded all the scriptures unto them which they had received, he said unto them: Behold, other scriptures I would that ye should write, that ye have not (emphasis added).”  The Lord, as commanded by his Father, provides this people with other scripture which they had not (3 Nephi 26:2).

The plates of brass were similar to our canon today — a corner stone to all other teachings, and as we have received additional scripture (Article of Faith #9), it is clear that so did the Nephites by which they taught, expounded, and convinced the children of God concerning the coming of Christ.

 

Gramps

 

Why are the words Christ and church used in the Book of Mormon?

Why are the words Christ and church used in the Book of Mormon?

Question

Hi Gramps!

My husband and I have recently started reading the book of Mormon. I would like to know why in Alma the word Christ and Church are used? In the KJV Bible, those words did not appear until the New Testament. The churches were called synagogues and congregations in the Old Testament.

Alexandria

 

Answer

Alexandria,

We read in 2 Nephi 10:3

3 Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ—for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name—should come among the Jews, among those who are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall crucify him—for thus it behooveth our God, and there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God.

This tells us that at least as early as Jacob in the Book of Mormon they knew the name of Christ.  Because it had been revealed to them.

This revelation then leads to the actions found in 2 Nephi 25:26

26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

This is a big difference then what was happening in Jerusalem at the time.  In Jerusalem the Law of Moses is what they had and what they followed.  Nephites had the Law of Moses as well, but because of this revelation they had this response to the Law in the surrounding verses of  2 Nephi 25:24-25, 27

24 And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled

25 For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.

27 Wherefore, we speak concerning the law that our children may know the deadness of the law; and they, by knowing the deadness of the law, may look forward unto that life which is in Christ, and know for what end the law was given. And after the law is fulfilled in Christ, that they need not harden their hearts against him when the law ought to be done away.

So they had plenty of reasons to be talking about Christ.  Now lets talk about churches vs synagogues.  The Book of Mormon uses both terms.  From how the Book of Mormon uses the term, it appears that “church” is most often used to describe a group of the followers of Christ, whereas “synagogue” is generally used as a more generic term for a place of worship.  This would seem to fit with the idea of the word “church” being a more Christan term and most likely being introduced along with the teaching of Christ.

Gramps

Did the Lehites have knowledge of telestial and terrestrial states?

Did the Lehites have knowledge of telestial and terrestrial states?

Question

Hi Gramps, 

I understand that there are different levels of kingdoms, as explained in D&C 76, but how come the Book of Mormon sounds so polarized between Eternal Life and Perdition/Hell? Did the Lehites have knowledge of Telestial and Terrestrial states? Thanks and keep it up! 

Gabe 

 

Answer

 

Gabe,

Knowledge of the Telestial and Terrestrial kingdoms could have been known in the Book of Mormon times. The lack of that specific information in the specific sermons delivered is no indication that it was not. In many ways we need to understand that what is in the Book of Mormon is what Mormon (and Moroni) were inspired to include, and trust that God meant the details of the kingdoms of glories to be given us through revelation to Joseph Smith.

We know that not everything was known by every person in the Book of Mormon though. For example, Alma, as great as his revelations were, still awaited further revelation on the matter of the resurrection. (Alma 40:19-21)

“Now, whether the souls and the bodies of those of whom has been spoken shall all be reunited at once, the wicked as well as the righteous, I do not say; let it suffice, that I say that they all come forth; or in other words, their resurrection cometh to pass before the resurrection of those who die after the resurrection of Christ.

Now, my son, I do not say that their resurrection cometh at the resurrection of Christ; but behold, I give it as my opinion, that the souls and the bodies are reunited, of the righteous, at the resurrection of Christ, and his ascension into heaven.

But whether it be at his resurrection or after, I do not say; but this much I say, that there is a space between death and the resurrection of the body, and a state of the soul in happiness or in misery until the time which is appointed of God that the dead shall come forth, and be reunited, both soul and body, and be brought to stand before God, and be judged according to their works.”

As we can see, Alma only had opinions on some things related to the resurrection. It is possible that Alma did not know about the degrees of glory.

One of the things we need to keep in mind is that even with the three degrees of glory, there is still a clear polarization that is, frankly, much more important to understand. This basic doctrine is what the Book of Mormon teaches, because it is the basic doctrine that we need to know. D&C 76 is additional information that helps us understand greater truths once we have accepted the basics gospel.

Because of the greater knowledge we have received, we might sometimes run the risk of losing sight of what’s truly important. We know, for example, that at some level, all will be saved except the sons of perdition. But what we lose sight of is that any but those who reach the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom are only partially saved. There is only one complete and full salvation. Anything except this complete and full salvation is damnation — being damned meaning to be stopped from progression. There is only one state wherein we gain eternal progression. There is only one state where our joy will be full. There is only one state where we may have a continuation of seed, and where we will rule forever as gods, all things being subject unto us. (seeD&C 132:19-20) Anything less is damnation.

There is only one exaltation.

This is the polarization spoken of in the Book of Mormon. It separates those who do all the Lord asks of them, walking in obedience to His ordinances, from those who do not.

Exalted vs. not exalted. Fully saved vs. not full saved. Fullness of joy vs. not a fullness of joy.

There is not, nor will there ever be, a principle that recommends less than striving for complete salvation and exaltation. Therefore, the understanding that there are various levels of damnation is a matter of interest and knowledge. It is important to understand, and to gain knowledge, but it is not as meaningful to the principles of action, which principles are those that matter.

Gramps

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