May 27, 2010

More on Righteous Parents and Sealing to Children

In regard to righteous parents sealed to their unrighteous children, what about the following quote? It is stating that righteous parents will have their children go to the Celestial kingdom regardless of their sins, even if they have to pay for their sins for some time first: That some time in eternity they will get there. This has been quoted by several General Authorities over recent decades.

“The Prophet Joseph Smith declared—and he never taught a more comforting doctrine—that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God.” (Orson F. Whitney, in Conference Report, Apr. 1929, p. 110.)

Firstly I would have to have Orson's entire statement. This could allow me to see what he perceived Joseph Smith meant in saying it. However I don't see either Scripture nor equality supporting the all encompassing interpretation of this that some are making. It turns God into the inventor of eternal laws to play with them as he will. Believing in such a magic God leaves us with terrible injustice that would need to be explained: God would become the ghastly horror of Catholicism and Protestantism.

The apostle Paul states, "I can do ALL things through Christ..." Phil 4:13. Yet he couldn't invent an intelligence (D&C 93:29). Nor can he invent God. So some statements have to be taken as a generalisation, not an absolute.

Secondly I have to be dubious of the authenticity of a claim of what Joseph Smith said, made by another person's recollection; regardless of who likes the sound of it.

While I have read this from General Authorities I haven't read one explain it to demonstrate that they interpreted it to be all encompassing (meaning into eternity and every person without any exception). And even IF they did, this doesn't make it fact.

I don't see that this has to be stating that the suffering for sins is a definite claim that they don't finally accept the atonement of Christ before the first resurrection. We are constantly suffering for our sins both spiritually and physically. We are in hell until we accept the atonement of Christ even in this life. We're just so used to it that we don't see it anymore. And we keep it with us unless we have fully accepted to follow Christ with full purpose of heart, and had it removed.

IF some GA accepts an extreme interpretation of this I would have to refer to the following.

President Harold B. Lee, when president of the church, in a European area conference:

"If anyone, regardless of his position in the Church, were to advance a doctrine that is not substantiated by the standard Church works, meaning the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, you may know that his statement is merely his private opinion. The only one authorized to bring forth any new doctrine is the President of the Church, who, when he does, will declare it as revelation from God, and it will be so accepted by the Council of the Twelve and sustained by the body of the Church. And if any man speak a doctrine which contradicts what is in the standard Church works, you may know by that same token that it is false and you are not bound to accept it as truth." [emphasis mine] The First Area General Conference for Germany, Austria, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and Spain of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held in Munich Germany, August 24-26, 1973, with Reports and Discourses, 69.

Of course the catch 22 of this statement is that it can't be wrong. If it is then that makes it right, because it was made by the president of the church. And if he is wrong then that makes him right.

So we need to look to the Standard Works and judge this idea. Here it gains both support and opposition.

"...for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy to thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." Exodus 20:5-6

This proposes that the evil acts of parents do come upon the children in effect to the third and fourth generation after them. Therefore as all things have an equal good and bad side, it stands that the same is true for good that parents do. Thus it is true that the good acts of the parents come upon the children to the third and fourth generation. And IF Joseph Smith did make this statement, this surely must have been his inference.

Yet for any today to take this as an absolute, has Scriptural opposition. The second verse quoted above demonstrates that those who love him receive mercy. So what if a person has evil parents but becomes righteous? Don't they get this mercy? And if so then the reverse must also apply.

Were the sins of Terah passed on to Abraham? From a spiritual sense it would certainly seem not. Were the sins of Levi passed on to Moses? Spiritually, no! For while God declared that they were passed on to those generations, righteousness eliminates the cursing from spiritual consequences.

"Again, when I say to the wicked, you shall surely die; if he turns from this sin, and does that which is lawful and right....he shall not die." Ezek 33:14-15 (also note verses 13 for the adverse).

So even if God declares a cursing or blessing it isn't absolute if there is a change to the opposite lifestyle. If a son of righteous parents does evil don't his children fit under the curse of Exodus 20:5-6 (quoted above). So then are we to believe that this evil son, who has placed a 4 generation curse on his descendants, is going to go to the Celestial? And this because his parents placed a one generation blessing upon him that he can't transgress from, whatever he does?

Adam was the great archangel Michael in the pre-existence. Surely then his children will all be saved into the Celestial kingdom if we are to take these statements as absolutes.

In regard Cain the Lord said,

"If you do well, you shall be accepted. And if you do not well sin lies at the door, and Satan desires to have you; and except you shall listen to my commandments, I will deliver you up, and it shall be to you according to his desire. And you shall rule over him; For from this time forward you shall be the father of his lies; you shall be called Perdition; for you were also before the world." Moses 5:23-24

Should we regard that such will be in the Celestial kingdom afterward: That the tentacles have reached out to save Cain?

What of Lehi and Sariah with Laman and Lemuel? Are we to believe that we will be with Laman and Lemuel in the Celestial kingdom?

Or can a person commit the unpardonable sin and then be saved into the Celestial kingdom because his father and mother were good people?

And what of Alma's statement? _

"You can't say, when you are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. No, you can't say this; for that same spirit which possesses your bodies at the time that you go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world. For see, if you have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, look, you have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he does seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord has withdrawn from you, and has no place in you, and the devil has all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked." Alma 34:34-35

Clearly Alma is declaring that those who turn away from God and won't change back in this life, have set their course, and WON'T change it back later.

Joseph Smith received a revelation recorded in D&C 76. The only people it declares to be going to hell are those who will be in the telestial kingdom (those going to outer darkness are stated to just be in a permanent state of woe, which isn't the same hell state).

"These are they who are thrust down to hell. These are they who shall not be redeemed from the devil until the last resurrection, until the Lord, even Christ the Lamb, shall have finished his work. These are they who receive not of his fulness in the eternal world, but of the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the terrestial." verses 84-86

Note it states that they will not receive a fulness in the eternal world. No talk of them moving onto a fulness at some stage of eternity.

In regard these it goes on further to state,

"For they shall be judged according to their works, and every man shall receive according to his own works, his own dominion, in the mansions which are prepared; And they shall be servants of the Most High; but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end." D&C 76:111-112

Two things stand out here. One is that they receive a mansion according to their works. Not the works of their parents being taken into account also. The second is that they cannot move up into the Celestial kingdom.

So we have seen that making these things Joseph Smith MAY have stated into an inevitability is to take words to an extreme. These Scripture texts opposing such an interpretation are only a few that I could think of with almost no effort. The list of Scripture texts opposing such an extreme interpretation seem almost endless to me.

May 20, 2010

Eternal Marriage Sealings

This is the basic quandry. Supposed Bob and Betty are sealed in the temple, as are Jim and Jane. Betty dies after 40 years of marriage. Jim dies after 41 years of marriage. Bob and Jane meet at a Single Adult Activity, and marry after a couple of months. Of course they can only marry "for time only." But later, once Bob and Jane are deceased, they are sealed. So, now we have Bob sealed to Betty and Jane, Betty sealed to Bob, Jim sealed to Jane, and Jane sealed to Jim and Bob. Fairly classic circumstance in the Church. My question isn't really about "who" will be with who. Obviously, people will still have their agency, and we can't really say who will be with who. But my point is this: we never get to the question of the end result if Bob and Jane had just made up their minds in the first place that they wouldn't allow themselves to fall in love and marry a second time. We preach and testify that when someone dies, they are alive and well in the Spirit World anxiously waiting for a joyful reunion. Presuming my spouse dies, and I'm supposed to know that she is alive and well and waiting on me, what justifies falling in love with another woman? Why is action and behavior that would be considered adulterous in mortality suddenly "okay" once my spouse dies? Why say I'm married for time and eternity if, the moment my wife dies, I act just like people of other religions who don't believe we'll be couples in the afterlife, and just allow myself to "move on" and marry someone else. People say "we'll feel differently" in the spirit world - I wish they could quote a prophet for that proposition. Every prophet has said we'll carry the same personality and that we'll enjoy the same sociality we have on earth. If knowing my wife has fallen in love with another man in mortality would end our marriage, how is knowing she did it after I'm dead going to be any better? And presuming she chooses that second husband over me, where does that leave me? The real question: If I die and my wife were to start dating other men, would I likewise be free to "date" other women in the Spirit World? If not, why not? It would only seem fair. Any thoughts would be welcome.

Your final question is a simple matter. Yes, you can date in the spirit world, as surely as you can here.

One thing that needs to be looked at in regard the whole thing you are saying is that there is a difference between men and women in eternal marriage. Women only have one husband where men have several wives. There won't be a place for monogamy among gods and godesses. It is a concept of laziness, greed and possessiveness. There are far more important matters to those who receive eternal life. That is the giving of spirit bodies and physical bodies to the endless intelligences that exist throughout endless space.

Even in the law given to Moses God declares that adultery for a woman is that a married woman has sex with someone other than her husband. Where for a man it is to have sex with a married woman (Lev 20:10).

You are correct that people don't change just because they die. But it must be realised that being "in love" is nothing more than a romantic expectation. The most important ingredient is real love itself. The "in love" concept can be produced by anyone at any time. I have been in love with two women at the same time (it happened by unforeseen and complicated circumstances). But I have since come to see that it is easy enough to do.

People can fall out of love just as easily as they fell in love. We have to look for spiritual love, friendship love and respect as foundations for a good marriage. If a man and woman have this it may become difficult for a man to move on in his responsibility to take on additional women when the time comes. However as men we must take this responsibility, realising that women need a husband and there will be more women than men that make it. This is because they are more heart inclined than men. So, like it or lump it, if you want eternal life.

Plural marriage is what women need for many reasons, which I won't go into here as we don't presently practice it. So it isn't my intention to preach it. But a woman can't be as happy in a monogamy.

One further point is that Paul points out that it is better for young widows to get married again and get involved, rather than sitting around becoming tattle-tales and busybodies (1 Tim 5:13). It is a better idea overall.