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Dear Gramps,

If there was a council in heaven and all of God’s children were there, and, using their free agency made the choice to follow Satan or Christ, where do the spirit children God has sired since that council fit in? Do they come under that council with no voting rights, so to speak, or . . . . .

Judy & Elmer,

Dear Judy & Elmer,

In the first place, we are dealing here with an imponderable–something with which we have no perception and cannot visualize. In mortality we are contrained to a one-dimentional time frame. In other words, we have the concept of past, present and future. What is in the past has already happened and no longer exists. The configuration of yesterday has been modified into the configuration of today. So the only substance of the past is a memory. The future hasn’t happened yet, and so it has not yet been brought into existence. The only substance of the future is hope. So we live in the present, which embodies all of our existence.

In the presence of God it is not that way. We cannot conceive of what it is really like, but the Lord has revealed a few tantalizing lines to let us know that existence in eternity is different than existence in time. For instance, consider the following scriptures–

Thus saith the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ, the Great I AM, Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the same which looked upon the wide expanse of eternity, and all the seraphic hosts of heaven, before the world was made; The same which knoweth all things, for all things are present before mine eyes (Emphasis added) (D&C 38:1-2.)

Angels do not reside on a planet like this earth; but they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire, where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord (D&C 130:7.)

We read in Alma 40:8 that time is measured only unto man–

Now whether there is more than one time appointed for men to rise it mattereth not; for all do not die at once, and this mattereth not; all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men.

So, from all that it is difficult to say what conditions apply in the spirit world to those spirits that were before or after a given time.

Apart from that imponderable, let’s consider how it would be if the same time constraints occurred in the spirit world as in mortality. Although there was a grand council in which the two opposing plans were presented and the spirits there elected to either retain their free agency with its attendant responsibility and follow the Lord, or to relenquish their free agency and follow Lucifer or Satan. Any spirits following that time would still have the opportunity to choose either path. It wasn’t necessary to be in the council to make that choice. I would imagine that those who choose to follow Satan in the spirit world will come under his dominion and will forego the opportunity to enter the second estate, or mortality.

Even after having been born into mortality the choice is still open to us. We may choose either to follow the Lord with its infinite opportunities for advancement culminating in a fullness of joy, or to follow Satan, by which we would forfeit our agency, lose control over ourselves and become captive and miserable forever. Alma tells us that

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. 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 (Alma 12:10-11.)


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