Tag Archives: Salvation for the Dead

Little Known Propaganda: 8 – Temple Work For the Dead

8 Sep

This is my continuing responses to the list of “little known facts” referenced at the blog Sound Doctrine. On this blog the author presents the list along with responses to each from a F.A.I.R. Mormon scholar, known only as CleanCut. In addition the author of this blog, known as Damon, gives a response to CleanCut. As I said in my introduction blog, I am writing a response to each fact in a lengthy series. I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7

 

FACT #8. The majority of the activity in the Mormon Temples is work done in behalf of the DEAD.

Joseph Smith offers this explanation:

“The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our DEAD.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 356)

Although many Mormons are attempting to save their dead relatives, the Bible indicates:

“None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” (Psalms 49:7)

 

First of all, I can’t believe this is little known to the rest of the world. The temples have been in the public view for decades and the church is not shy in stating its doctrine on Salvation for the Dead. In addition there was the controversy of the baptism of Holocaust victims that was finally resolved in 1995. Given the original blog post was in 2008 it is hard to believe that at that time people were not at least acquainted with the fact that the temples are used to do the work for the dead.

 

As to the doctrine itself, it is in the Bible for those who care to actually let the Bible speak for itself. For instance, as support for the doctrine of the resurrection Paul asks “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15: 29) Clearly the early saints were doing baptisms for the dead, and Paul is reasoning that such a practice is not logical unless you also believe in the resurrection.

Then we have the teachings of Peter. He declares that Christ “preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah…” (1 Peter 3: 19-20) Later he explains that “for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4: 6) So, Christ preached to the dead in prison so that they may be judged on the same merits as those who were alive, and thus attain the eternal life that God offers to all men.

This brings us to the prophecy that Christ was anointed to “…to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isaiah 61: 1) As Peter says that the spirits of the wicked at the time of Noah were in prison, it is not a leap to see that Isaiah was prophesying that Christ would begin this work among the dead.

Other prophesies are also found in the Old Testament. Isaiah 42: 7 says that Christ is called “to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”

Isaiah 49: 9 not only says that Christ will “say to the prisoners, Go forth” but that they will have “their pastures…in all high places.” So, not only can the dead get out of prison, but will be equal to others in salvation.

Zechariah 9: 11 declares that by the covenant of the atonement God declares that he has “sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit…”

Another prophecy that speaks to this is found in Isaiah 24: 22, where it is said that the wicked at the time of the second coming with “be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.”

Now, Luke quotes the prophecy from Isaiah 61: 1 (Luke 4: 18). John also tells us that “the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live” (John 5: 25). Paul tells us that Christ’s atonement made him “Lord both of the dead and living” (Romans 14: 9) and that the Prophets “without us should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11: 40)

 

All of this establishes a clear understanding that those who have died will be taught the gospel as spirits and will have the opportunity of coming out of the prison they were sent to and gain salvation. This is done through vicarious ordinances, which Paul references in his argument for belief in a literal resurrection.

 

Now, there is the quote from Psalms that is given above, and it seems to contradict this doctrine. However, when it is looked at and truly understood there is no contradiction.

First, let us look at the context of the quote.

“They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption. For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.” (Psalms 49: 6-10)

What this is saying is that those who trust in their worldly wealth cannot prevent their brother from dying, for all people die. Secondly, as a kind of aside, it points out that it also can’t save the soul, as it is the wrong power. It has no bearing on those who rely on the power of God to save their brother.

 

Then we look at all the quotes that I gave above. They clearly show that it is not us that saves our dead, but the power of the atonement. God anointed Christ to this power, and while we perform the ordinances, it is the power of his atonement that actually saves. So, no one does have the power to save their brother, but they do have the power to bring them to Christ, who then saves them.

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What Was Witnessed

28 Nov

This is a video that I put together just for the fun of it. It is compiled from a number of videos at LDS.org, and is intended to be a kind of music video for the Hymn “What Was Witnessed In The Heavens,” the eleventh hymn in the LDS hymn book. I Hope you enjoy it.

 

 

 

50 Questions: Mormon Scriptures, part 3

6 Apr

On another blog Tim has been writing answers to a series of questions asked by a Latter Day Saint named Greg Trimble. The list was titled 51 Questions That Might Lead You To Mormonism. So far Tim has posts 5 parts in his series, and I don’t know how many more it will take to answer all 51. However, in part 4 he mentions another list of questions that was made back in 2001. This was titled 50 Questions to Ask Mormons. So, I have decided to follow Tim’s example and make a short series to answer these 50 questions.

I will answer the questions in the order they are given and in the categories they are sorted into. Each post will be less than 1000 words, so only a few questions will be answered in each.

Read 50 Questions: Prophets, part 1; Prophets, part 2; Mormon Scriptures, part 1; Mormon Scriptures, part 2

QUESTIONS 19-21

19.  Why do you baptize for the dead when both Mosiah 3:25 and the Bible state that there is no chance of salvation after death? 

Mosiah 3: 25 “And if they be evil they are consigned to an awful view of their own guilt and abominations, which doth cause them to shrink from the presence of the Lord into a state of misery and endless torment, from whence they can no more return; therefore they have drunk damnation to their own souls.”

To understand this one must look back to verse 22.

“And even at this time, when thou shalt have taught thy people the things which the Lord thy God hath commanded thee, even then are they found no more blameless in the sight of God, only according to the words which I have spoken unto thee.”

And then in verse 24

“And thus saith the Lord: They shall stand as a bright testimony against this people, at the judgment day; whereof they shall be judged, every man according to his works, whether they be good, or whether they be evil.”

What King Benjamin is saying in verse 25 is being applied only to those to whom the King is speaking. We thus get the understanding that once one has had the truth preached to them then they get no more chances. We are not given to understand that one who has not received the truth will never get a chance to.

As for the Bible, I would say it carries the same basic meaning. Else why did Christ preach to the dead (1 Peter 3: 19-20, 4:6) and why did they baptize for the dead (1 Corinthians 15: 29).

20.  Since the word grace means a free gift that can’t be earned, why does the Book of Mormon state “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23)? 

Grace does not mean a free gift. It means kindness, or favor, such as a grace period in which the payment of a debt is deferred. The meaning does not carry the idea of being free. It can be if the one giving it makes it free, but the giver can put conditions on it.

Now the meaning of this particular verse is frequently misunderstood. Most people want to claim that the ‘after all we can do’ means that grace is not given until certain requirements are met. This is not the case however. We are saved after all we can do, but it is all through grace. We receive grace that we may do what is needed, and if we act on that grace, then grace does what we can’t to bring us to salvation.

21.  Does the LDS Church still regard the Pearl of Great Price as Holy Scripture even after several prominent Egyptologists proved it was an ancient funeral scroll? 

No one has proven anything, except that a few small fragments of ancient scroll were funeral text. What they haven’t proven is that these fragments came from the scrolls that Joseph Smith translated. Since Joseph Smith had several dozen feet of scrolls and less than one dozen feet survive it is impossible to prove anything.

50 Questions: Mormon Scriptures, part 2

31 Mar

On another blog Tim has been writing answers to a series of questions asked by a Latter Day Saint named Greg Trimble. The list was titled 51 Questions That Might Lead You To Mormonism. So far Tim has posts 5 parts in his series, and I don’t know how many more it will take to answer all 51. However, in part 4 he mentions another list of questions that was made back in 2001. This was titled 50 Questions to Ask Mormons. So, I have decided to follow Tim’s example and make a short series to answer these 50 questions.

I will answer the questions in the order they are given and in the categories they are sorted into. Each post will be less than 1000 words, so only a few questions will be answered in each.

Read 50 Questions: Prophets, part 1; Prophets, part 2; Mormon Scriptures, part 1

QUESTIONS 14-18

  1. Why did God encourage Abraham & Sarah to lie in Abraham 2:24? Isn’t lying a sin according to the 10 commandments? Why did God tell Abraham and Sarah to lie when 2 Nephi 9:34 condemns liars to hell? 

Why did God tell Abraham to sacrifice Isaac when He so clearly condemns human sacrifice? Why did God command Moses, Joshua, Saul, and many others to kill thousands when killing is a sin according to the 10 commandments?

To question God is a dangerous business. When God commands we should obey, and hope that we will understand at some future time. We must trust God and have confidence that nothing he commands can be a sin.

 

  1. Why does the Book of Mormon state that Jesus was born in Jerusalem (Alma 7:10) when history and the Bible state that he was born outside of Jerusalem, in Bethlehem? 

 

Alma 7: 10 “And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.”

 

Note that Alma does not identify Jerusalem to be a city. He states “at Jerusalem WHICH IS THE LAND of our forefathers” (emphasis added). So his words make it clear that he is not speaking of a city but of a geographical region.

Continuing from this, “at Jerusalem” (which is what Alma says) is used 19 times in the Book of Mormon. Those in the books of 1st and 2nd Nephi are referring to the city, which would be logical considering his familiarity with the area, as well as the familiarity of many with him. However, starting with Alma 7: 10, all the other times it is used it is referring to the geographic region where Christ conducted his ministry. Alma 7: 10 is establishing the new understanding that would be used from then on.

 

  1. If the Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on earth, as Joseph Smith said, why does it contain over 4000 changes from the original 1830 edition? 

No change has caused a change in the meaning of the text. They have been printing errors that are common to all such works. Thus there have been many corrections made, most based on the hand written manuscripts that are available from the scribes of Joseph Smith. There have also been some alterations in language as the conventions of English have changed over the year. Nothing essential has changed, and the Book of Mormon remains the most correct of any book on Earth.

 

  1. If the Book of Mormon contains the “fulness of the everlasting gospel”, why does the LDS Church need additional works? 

The Fullness of the Gospel refers to the basics, or the core doctrine that leads men to God and the Celestial Kingdom. That fullness is contained in the Book of Mormon.

The other works deal, primarily, with other matters. They deal with church governance, health standards, and other things that are not directly essential to salvation, but are, nonetheless, important for our lives and are revealed from God for our benefit.

Some parts of these works also speak to the Mysteries of the Gospel. These are doctrines that do not bring one to God, but are rather for those who have already come to God.

 

  1. If the Book of Mormon contains the “fulness of the everlasting gospel”, why doesn’t it say anything about so many important teachings such as eternal progression, celestial marriage, the Word of Wisdom, the plurality of Gods, the pre-existence of man, our mother in heaven, baptism for the dead, etc? 

First, one really needs to understand what doctrine is important. I find it a common thing among those who write such questions to claim minor concepts are important (like that of a Heavenly Mother).

Second, as I said in the previous question, many of these things are not part of the Fullness of the Gospel, as they are not essential in bringing us to God.