A letter to a friend
(non-LDS Christians think that we did not live before this earth, and that the resurrection isn’t literal, and that the family is not eternal. They think there can’t be any truth except what is written in the bible, not allowing more modern universal modern written word from God. This letter responds to those things from the LDS point of view, LDS meaning The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)
everyone will live forever; we all lived in the beginning, no one will ever cease to exist. 1 Cor. 15 says as in Adam all die so in Christ all live. ; from Adam all die, now Jesus overcame death for everyone; for followers of Christ, massive blessings come, a more “abundant” life (not $, but glory in the Kingdom etc.); also refer to 1 Cor. 15 about telestial and celestial bodies etc., it says “so also is the resurrection of the dead”; this means depending on how valiant a person is, they will accordingly get resurrected with that level of body; this doesn’t mean a cripple in this life is not righteous! It means in the next world, the righteous will have greater blessings in this regard.
1.01 I know it says death to the wicked in your bible. Some places it even says eternal death. My bible says that is figurative. My bible says one of the gifts in the category of “God sends rain to the just and the unjust” is that we all get bodies (except Lucifer and some of his followers as you’ll read later in this article).
1.1 I’ll refer to “my bible” a few times here, you already have the classic Christian bible, so I really have nothing to say to you if I just base my beliefs on that; If I merely had your bible as the text for my religion, we would be the same religion. However bible believers have had a hard time sorting that out, and have split into many schools of thought as evidenced by hearing one thing in one congregation, and another in another. ( I’ve seen how a preacher in one congregation can interpret something differently from the same bible) If I have anything unique to say to you, it will come from my bible. When I say, “my bible”, it means the collection of your bible, and “the book of Mormon”, and “the Doctrine and Covenants” (D&C), and “The Pearl of Great Price”; these are the 4 books of my bible; your bible has 66 books in it, my bible has 69. Truly, if we are trying to teach each other out of the same book, we will merely go back and forth bickering about feelings and interpretations. Hence though you may not find it very valuable, most of my message in this letter comes from “my bible”, a different book, one you may not be as familiar with. Perhaps you’ll consider it a fairy tale, yet I still invite you to continue reading for interest sake. A better knowledge of LDS stuff won’t hurt you (PS you don’t know it already, you can always learn more, I know that because I’ve been studying the stuff (from “my” bible)for a decade and can still learn more; I don’t have it memorized, and when someone puts things together in a certain order it can help it to make sense; however I’m sorry this letter is not very organized and falls short of what it could be; it does not do “my” bible justice; Perhaps you’ve read it, perhaps even more than once, but any bible student knows there is more to be had)
2. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
3. “And there was war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought against Michael;” Rev. 12:6;
I believe mankind (me, you, everyone as individuals) also existed before coming to earth. my bible says this: ” 29 Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.
30 All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.” (D&C 93:29-30)
Another interesting thing on these lines is the idea that no one will disappear. A person’s being cannot vanish. For sinners, they won’t have as high a quality of life in the next world, but exist they shall. Christ said he came to give life and that more abundantly. A parent doesn’t kill its disobedient child, it just doesn’t get to pour as many blessings on it. That is the perspective that sits well with me. Again if this is unclear in the bible, that’s ok, I know it seems heresy to you, but I believe in more than “the bible”. You might consider that God has slain some of his children already, but he slew their bodies, not their spirits.
5.5 this is from my bible about having a body forever: “1 There are two kinds of beings in heaven, namely: Angels, who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones—
2 For instance, Jesus said: Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
3 Secondly: the spirits of just men made perfect, they who are not resurrected, but inherit the same glory.” D&C 129:1-3)
5.6 here my bible speaks of both God the Father and Jesus Christ having physical literal bodies, but not the Holy Ghost: 22 The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.
5.7 this from my bible also speaks of getting a body forever ” 12 And there were gathered together in one place an innumerable company of the spirits of the just, who had been faithful in the testimony of Jesus while they lived in mortality;
13 And who had offered sacrifice in the similitude of the great sacrifice of the Son of God, and had suffered tribulation in their Redeemer’s name.
14 All these had departed the mortal life, firm in the hope of a glorious resurrection, through the grace of God the Father and his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
15 I beheld that they were filled with joy and gladness, and were rejoicing together because the day of their deliverance was at hand.
16 They were assembled awaiting the advent of the Son of God into the spirit world, to declare their redemption from the bands of death.
17 Their sleeping dust was to be restored unto its perfect frame, bone to his bone, and the sinews and the flesh upon them, the spirit and the body to be united never again to be divided, that they might receive a fulness of joy.
18 While this vast multitude waited and conversed, rejoicing in the hour of their deliverance from the chains of death, the Son of God appeared, declaring liberty to the captives who had been faithful;
19 And there he preached to them the everlasting gospel, the doctrine of the resurrection and the redemption of mankind from the fall, and from individual sins on conditions of repentance.” (D&C 138:12-19)
Leaders of my church have summarized it this way: “IN THE PREMORTAL REALM, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life.”
7. Part of the bible I read from (includes the D&C, words from modern prophets (Joseph Smith etc.)) says this:
“For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy;
34 And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.” (this is why a literal physical resurrection is important, getting our bodies back from out of their graves; Jesus has his body back, we want to be like him, he is the ideal of happiness)
Also note “element is eternal”; I’m not talking about radioactive decay, I’m talking about the core stuff, perhaps carbon or the atom etc. It goes back to the topic of God creating things from existing materials, etc.
8. I believe in a literal resurrection, everyone gets their bodies back (except Lucifer and other people whom were so wicked in the beginning that they never merited getting a body on earth in the first place). Book of rev. says before earth life, 2/3 of the spirits followed God, and 1/3 of them rebelled and were cast down with Lucifer (they are the spirits that go around tempting us, they will never be blessed with a body)
9. how will we have seed without end (the covenant of Abraham) if we don’t keep our bodies in the Kingdom of God forever? In my religion, having more children in heaven is the essence of heaven and progression. I claim that none of God’s subjects are anything other than the children he has bourn. He keeps having more children, so his kingdom keeps getting bigger. So it will be for us if we follow Christ.
10. in case you don’t like the idea of having a marriage in heaven with your wife (husband for women), consider that neither is the man without the woman in the Lord. Perhaps you think of the passage about not marrying or given in marriage, but that passage refers to how we get a spouse now, and those who put it off forever, will never have that joy.
11. we believe in fact that without a wife a man cannot progress in heaven. We believe God has a wife, and thus can have children. We believe we are the children of God destined to become like him if we follow and receive and use the power of Jesus Christ.
12. In summary, I believe that we all lived from the beginning, that God was wiser than us, so he helped us come to earth etc. so we can progress to become like him. Jesus Christ is the central figure in God’s plan for our salvation. After this earth we will live forever with bodies as families in the presence of God. We will “grow up” and “become like our parents”.
12.5 So yes there is a “Mother in Heaven” as well as a Father in Heaven. That helps us realize the divinity of women! Women are divine! God would not be God without his wife. Not even God can create a person without a wife. That’s contrary to the law of heaven. There are several things God cannot do: for example, he cannot tell a lie, he cannot commit adultery, he cannot destroy himself, he cannot take away our power to choose for ourselves; there are laws in the universe, God abides by those laws, that is what makes him God.
12.6 was Jesus married? He must have been. Does his bride the church mean he can’t have a wife? No, He can’t be a perfect God without a wife. He can’t have children without a physical wife, and without having children, his kingdom wouldn’t exist or grow. Christ is also the father of our salvation, that is why we worship him and call him our king. I also believe Jesus Christ created/molded our physical bodies; however he did not organize our spirits, it was The Father who did that. Furthermore, Jesus Christ was the firstborn in the spirit. Gods first spirit child was Jesus Christ. God later fathered the body of Jesus Christ also.
12.6 founding fathers of Christianity also believed that we can become Gods. Like God in every way. That is the purpose and power of Jesus: to pull us up, to bridge the gap, to work the divine in us. That is why we love him because he first loved us.
13. Does our becoming God’s make God less important? No! It gives him more glory. Our kingdom is always beneath his kingdom. It’s like how a grandfather doesn’t get upset when he gets grandchildren, or when he sees his children succeed. All parents want their children to succeed. A successful child can even go to say how great the parent was. God is so powerful, that he can make me a God. I won’t rule over God, I’ll rule under him. Lucifer fell because he wanted to force his way into Godhood rather than becoming a God in the appropriate way; Lucifer also wanted to take Gods place, and that is heresy and evil. No one will ever take Gods place.
14. thus the doctrine that mankind was also in the beginning with God is very important in understanding the plan of God.
14.5 one more doctrine in case you were wondering, God organizes intelligence and leads them along, thus they are his children. He sends them to earth, they get a body, die, get their body back in the resurrection, then they do what he does (if they pass their test, this life is the test). God has had one child in the flesh, that is Jesus Christ. “The Only Begotten Son”. The rest of us are his spirit children. That does not diminish his ownership of us though. As you may have deducted, once a child of God becomes a God, they also have spirit children, and send them to earths for their testing. To have a body is to be like God. Getting a body is one of the main reasons we came to earth.
15. pose any question to me and I’ll answer it – I haven’t explained everything here. When you ask a question, those of the nature of “but the bible doesn’t say that” are not as interesting to me. I never intended this to be a mere bible message. If that is heresy to you, I don’t mean to offend, and I respect your views, and applaud the good you do in the world. The type of questions I’m interested in are those which clarify the message of this letter rather than look for a biblical source for the letter. On some level all of this is in the bible, and we could go there, and I will if you like to some extent, but truly, that’s not the point. If that is heresy to you, that’s ok, as we’ve said before we can have different views and still be friends. Even if you think me hell bound for rejecting “perfect bible Christianity”, you can still be my friend. PS I don’t think you guys are hell bound, and am not offended if you think I am. I’ll take it further; You’re quite familiar with LDS stuff (much of this letter was probably a repeat for you), so you understand the whole separate levels of heaven thing which the LDS teach; I don’t even say you’re not going to the highest level of heaven; It’s not my place to judge; when people do their best they get the best reward; yes it’s true that LDS teach that the highest heaven is for those who have LDS temple ceremonies performed for them, yet there is a stipulation for those who weren’t involved; the stipulation is them getting that temple stuff after they are dead, awaiting the resurrection; however we encourage persons to read “my bible” and wrestle with this stuff and not get in a “I’ll change when I’m dead” setting, that never does much; the point of this final rant is to say that in no way do I say you’re not going to the highest heaven; there is so much confusion these days, I’m an imperfect messenger, LDS prophets are imperfect messengers, etc. etc., that many people simply aren’t going to hear the message God really wants them to hear; the key is that people really truly do their best, and pray very hard to find truth, and are willing to stand alone when called upon by God, willing to be in a minority of 1, etc. A note: though myself etc. are imperfect messengers, I do believe that “my bible” is absolutely true, pure revelation from the mouth of God. I take my bible as seriously as you do your bible. I also have another tool, it’s living prophets. When a passage in my bible isn’t clear, they can clarify it via God telling them the clarification. Such clarifications apply to the whole world and are binding. Another important point is that not everything a leader in “my church” says is this type of depth binding revelation. Messages from “the first presidency” and those which are repeated over time are the ones which are considered “revelation” and binding in their authority on the same level as “bible”.
16. some of this is hard to understand and may be unclear, but the universe isn’t 1st grade, it’s so fascinating that it can keep a genius on his toes, and thrill the best and brightest. It can at its core also be very simple and clear. I’ve not focused on that so much, so if you have questions of that nature, refer to the website sponsored by “my church” ; the best site I can think of is this http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/topics-and-background/ it has an a-z index of church stuff even the hard questions. While not sponsored by the church, fairmormon.org is also a good one.
17. you may not be into any of this, that’s ok. It’s been fun for me to put this together. I also feel bad if I don’t explain myself when I say something like I did on the FB message of “things that begin have an end”. God bless you
this passage from the book of Abraham (from POGP in my bible) it’s very important to the above logic:
“I now, therefore, have come down unto thee to declare unto thee the works which my hands have made, wherein my wisdom excelleth them all, for I rule in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, in all wisdom and prudence, over all the intelligences thine eyes have seen from the beginning; I came down in the beginning in the midst of all the intelligences thou hast seen. 22 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; 23 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. 24 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; 25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; 26 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 for ever and ever. 27 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. 28 And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him.” (Abraham 3:21-28)
The reader refused to read my letter because I referred to things not in the Bible, and I responded thus:
That’s fine that you are not interested I will avoid pestering you with these things in the future. My message is something you are inherently opposed to, that your bible is not the only standard of truth. Since there is this foundational disagreement we can politely tip our hats and focus our conversation on different things. My attempts to show you from the bible that the bible is not the only standard of truth have been in vain. You say the bible can be like art that several people see differently. Well I can use the bible to say that there are more venues of truth than that book. So really your rejection of my extra biblical literature is a rejection of the bible itself… This outright rejection of my view evidenced by your refusing to read my letter to you is slightly disappointing. I put a lot of thought into that and it’s addressed specifically to you. If a pagan wrote me a letter I would read it out of respect for my pagan friend (and yes, it’s OK to be friends with pagans). After reading the letter I would tell him thank you for your time though I do not share those views. At that point I would either leave it alone or try to sport with my friend in showing him fallacies of his logic and try to persuade him to my point of view. Either way I would do my best to respect my friend. At the same time I recognize you are busy and didn’t necessarily ask for the letter, and perhaps reading such a letter is against your religion (hopefully this level of close mindedness is not a tenant), so I understand your hesitancy to read my letter. If I’ve offended you I apologize and will seek more neutral topics in the future as I value your friendship regardless of religion. I also note that despite differences our religions do have much in common. May God truly bless you as he has in the past.