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Question

 

Dear Gramps,

The question was brought up in a quorum meeting,”Does God change his mind?” One instance that was mentioned was Joseph’s continual petition to the Lord in the behalf of Martin Harris to show the manuscript to his wife. I’m not convinced that it was the lord who changed his mind. D&C section 3 talks about this event. Specifically, D&C 3:1-2, James 1:17 and D&C 35:1 answer the question in my mind. Your thoughts and insight would be appreciated here

Willy

 

Answer

 

Dear Willy,

You ask a rather rhetorical question. One could, by applying certain logic, answer the question either way. Another such question, although not an exact parallel, would be, when each person sees the color, red, do they all in their minds perceive the same color? You could also add to your list of statements about the enduring nature of God’s word, D&C 1:38,

What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled…

Following is a case when God did indeed change his mind. He first gave Oliver Cowdery permission to translate and then rescinded that permission.

And, behold, I grant unto you a gift, if you desire of me, to translate, even as my servant Joseph. (D&C 6:25).

Now, if you had known this you could have translated; nevertheless, it is not expedient that you should translate now.

 

Behold, it was expedient when you commenced; but you feared, and the time is past, and it is not expedient now (D&C 9:10-11).

Now, the leading question, “Does God change his mind?,” presents the horns of a dilemma. It could be argued that if God changes his mind, He is a changeable God, and that if He does not, he is an intransigent God. But here is the point. In certain areas God is conversing with his children, who are mortal, fallible and changeable. So his words are often conditional. Both blessings and instructions are conditioned on the obedience of those whom He blesses and instructs. If the conditions under which an instruction were given were fulfilled, the word of the Lord would be fulfilled–absolutely and without any question. If conditions were to change, either stated or implied, that were required for the fulfilment of the promise of the Lord, and He fulfilled his promise anyway, He would then be a changeable God, granting blessings where the required conditions had been violated. So, God is unchangeable in power, in righteous, in love, in kindness–in all his eternal attributes, and our playing with the semantics of his words in no way changes any of the eternal attributes of a perfect, omniscient, omnipresent and all powerful God.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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