Religion / Theology

Topics related to theology.
Navigator
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Christ makes Eternal Blessings Possible for Us

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Christ’s Critical Role in Our Journey

In this posting, I am going to use links/quotes from the Book of Mormon. This book complements the Bible and gives further insight into Christ’s role as our Savior in making possible many things for us in the eternities.

The Atonement Is Necessary for Our Salvation

The great sacrifice Jesus Christ made to pay for our sins and overcome death is called the Atonement. It is the most important event that has ever occurred in the history of mankind: “For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; … yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement” (Alma 34:9 https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... id=9-16#p9).

The Fall of Adam brought two kinds of death into the world: physical death and spiritual death. Physical death is separation of the body and spirit. Spiritual death is separation from God. If these two kinds of death had not been overcome by Jesus Christ’s Atonement, two consequences would have resulted: our bodies and our spirits would have been separated forever, and we could not have lived again with our Heavenly Father (see 2 Nephi 9:7–9 https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... &id=7-9#p7).

But our wise Heavenly Father prepared a wonderful, merciful plan to save us from physical and spiritual death. He planned for a Savior to come to earth to ransom (redeem) us from our sins and from death. Because of our sins and the weakness of our mortal bodies, we could not ransom ourselves. The one who would be our Savior would need to be sinless and to have power over death.

Jesus Christ Was the Only One Who Could Atone for Our Sins

There are several reasons why Jesus Christ was the only person who could be our Savior. One reason is that Heavenly Father chose Him to be the Savior. He was the Only Begotten Son of God and thus had power over death. Jesus explained: “I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:17–18).

Jesus also qualified to be our Savior because He is the only person who has ever lived on the earth who did not sin. This made Him a worthy sacrifice to pay for the sins of others.

Christ Suffered and Died to Atone for Our Sins

The Savior atoned for our sins by suffering in Gethsemane and by giving His life on the cross. It is impossible for us to fully understand how He suffered for all of our sins. In the Garden of Gethsemane, the weight of our sins caused Him to feel such agony that He bled from every pore. Later, as He hung upon the cross, Jesus suffered painful death by one of the most cruel methods known to man.

How Jesus loves us, to suffer such spiritual and physical agony for our sake! How great the love of Heavenly Father that He would send His Only Begotten Son to suffer and die for the rest of His children. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

The Atonement and Resurrection Bring Resurrection to All

On the third day after His Crucifixion, Christ took up His body again and became the first person to be resurrected. When His friends went to seek Him, the angels who guarded His tomb told them, “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said” (Matthew 28:6). His spirit had reentered His body, never to be separated again.

Christ thus overcame physical death. Because of His Atonement, everyone born on this earth will be resurrected (see 1 Corinthians 15:21–22). Just as Jesus was resurrected, our spirits will be reunited with our bodies, “that they can die no more … , never to be divided” (Alma 11:45 https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... &id=45#p45). This condition is called immortality. All people who have ever lived will be resurrected, “both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous” (Alma 11:44 https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... &id=44#p44).

The Atonement Makes It Possible for Those Who Have Faith in Christ to Be Saved from Their Sins

The Savior’s Atonement makes it possible for us to overcome spiritual death. Although all people will be resurrected, only those who accept the Atonement will be saved from spiritual death.

We accept Christ’s Atonement by placing our faith in Him. Through this faith, we repent of our sins, are baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and obey His commandments. We become faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. We are forgiven and cleansed from sin and prepared to return and live forever with our Heavenly Father.

The Savior tells us, “For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer … even as I”. Christ did His part to atone for our sins. To make His Atonement fully effective in our lives, we must strive to obey Him and repent of our sins.

The following is from a great talk I have heard. It is quite powerful:

“Let me tell you a story—a parable.
“There once was a man who wanted something very much. It seemed more important than anything else in his life. In order for him to have his desire, he incurred a great debt.
“He had been warned about going into that much debt, and particularly about his creditor. But it seemed so important for him to do what he wanted to do and to have what he wanted right now. He was sure he could pay for it later.
“So he signed a contract. He would pay it off some time along the way. He didn’t worry too much about it, for the due date seemed such a long time away. He had what he wanted now, and that was what seemed important.
“The creditor was always somewhere in the back of his mind, and he made token payments now and again, thinking somehow that the day of reckoning really would never come.
“But as it always does, the day came, and the contract fell due. The debt had not been fully paid. His creditor appeared and demanded payment in full.

“Only then did he realize that his creditor not only had the power to repossess all that he owned, but the power to cast him into prison as well.
“‘I cannot pay you, for I have not the power to do so,’ he confessed.
“‘Then,’ said the creditor, ‘we will exercise the contract, take your possessions, and you shall go to prison. You agreed to that. It was your choice. You signed the contract, and now it must be enforced.’
“‘Can you not extend the time or forgive the debt?’ the debtor begged. ‘Arrange some way for me to keep what I have and not go to prison. Surely you believe in mercy? Will you not show mercy?’
“The creditor replied, ‘Mercy is always so one-sided. It would serve only you. If I show mercy to you, it will leave me unpaid. It is justice I demand. Do you believe in justice?’
“‘I believed in justice when I signed the contract,’ the debtor said. ‘It was on my side then, for I thought it would protect me. I did not need mercy then, nor think I should need it ever. Justice, I thought, would serve both of us equally as well.’
“‘It is justice that demands that you pay the contract or suffer the penalty,’ the creditor replied. ‘That is the law. You have agreed to it and that is the way it must be. Mercy cannot rob justice.’

“There they were: One meting out justice, the other pleading for mercy. Neither could prevail except at the expense of the other.
“‘If you do not forgive the debt there will be no mercy,’ the debtor pleaded.
“‘If I do, there will be no justice,’ was the reply.
“Both laws, it seemed, could not be served. They are two eternal ideals that appear to contradict one another. Is there no way for justice to be fully served, and mercy also?

“There is a way! The law of justice can be fully satisfied and mercy can be fully extended—but it takes someone else. And so it happened this time.
“The debtor had a friend. He came to help. He knew the debtor well. He knew him to be shortsighted. He thought him foolish to have gotten himself into such a predicament. Nevertheless, he wanted to help because he loved him. He stepped between them, faced the creditor, and made this offer.
“‘I will pay the debt if you will free the debtor from his contract so that he may keep his possessions and not go to prison.’
“As the creditor was pondering the offer, the mediator added, ‘You demanded justice. Though he cannot pay you, I will do so. You will have been justly dealt with and can ask no more. It would not be just.’
“And so the creditor agreed.
“The mediator turned then to the debtor. ‘If I pay your debt, will you accept me as your creditor?’
“‘Oh yes, yes,’ cried the debtor. ‘You save me from prison and show mercy to me.’
“‘Then,’ said the benefactor, ‘you will pay the debt to me and I will set the terms. It will not be easy, but it will be possible. I will provide a way. You need not go to prison.’
“And so it was that the creditor was paid in full. He had been justly dealt with. No contract had been broken.
“The debtor, in turn, had been extended mercy. Both laws stood fulfilled. Because there was a mediator, justice had claimed its full share, and mercy was fully satisfied”

Our sins are our spiritual debts. Without Jesus Christ, who is our Savior and Mediator, we would all pay for our sins by suffering spiritual death. But because of Him, if we will keep His terms, which are to repent and keep His commandments, we may return to live with our Heavenly Father.
It is wonderful that Christ has provided us a way to be healed from our sins. He said:
“Behold, I have come unto the world … to save the world from sin.
“Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved” (3 Nephi 9:21–22 https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... =21-22#p21).

Christ has taken the steps to be able to the price of our sins. This allows us to be forgiven and to be cleansed of the effects of our sins, making it possible for us to return to our Heavenly Father, and to receive from him all that he has and wants to give us in the eternities of our post-mortal existence.

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Covenants - Eternal Agreements with God

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Making Covenants with the Lord

The Nature of Covenants

From the beginning, the Lord has made covenants with His children on earth. When His people make covenants (or promises) with Him, they know what He expects of them and what blessings they may expect from Him. They can better carry out His work on earth. The people who covenant with the Lord and with whom the Lord makes covenants are known as the Lord’s covenant people.

Within the gospel, a covenant means a sacred agreement or mutual promise between God and a person or a group of people. In making a covenant, God promises a blessing for obedience to particular commandments. Many of these blessings pertain to our post mortal life. God sets the terms of His covenants, and He reveals these terms to His prophets. If we choose to obey the terms of the covenant, we receive promised blessings. If we choose not to obey, He withholds the blessings, and in some instances a penalty also is given.

For example, when we join with Christ and his Church, we make several covenants with God. We covenant with the Savior at baptism to take upon ourselves His name. He promises that “as many as repent and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved” . We covenant with the Lord as we partake of the sacrament. We promise to take His name upon ourselves, to remember Him, and to obey His commandments. We are promised that the Holy Spirit will be with us. Additional covenants are available to families in the Lord’s temples.

God has also made special covenants with particular persons or groups. He made special covenants with Adam, Enoch, Noah, the children of Israel, and Lehi (see Genesis 9:9–17; Exodus 19:5–6; 2 Nephi 1). He made a special covenant with Abraham and his descendants that blesses members of the Church and all nations of the earth today.

God’s Covenant with Abraham and His Descendants

Abraham, an Old Testament prophet, was a very righteous man. He refused to worship his father’s idols. He kept all of the Lord’s commandments. Because of Abraham’s righteousness, the Lord made a covenant with him and his descendants.

The Lord promised Abraham that he would have numberless descendants. He promised that all of them would be entitled to receive the gospel, the blessings of the priesthood, and all of the ordinances of exaltation. These descendants, through the power of the priesthood, would carry the gospel to all nations. Through them, all the families of the earth would be blessed. God further promised that if they were righteous He would establish His covenant with all generations of Abraham’s children (see Genesis 17:4–8).

Members of the Lord’s Church Are a Covenant People

The blood descendants of Abraham are not the only people whom God calls His covenant people. In speaking to Abraham, God said, “As many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed [lineage], and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father” (Abraham 2:10). Thus, two groups of people are included in the covenant made with Abraham: (1) Abraham’s righteous blood descendants and (2) those adopted into his lineage by accepting and living the gospel of Jesus Christ (see 2 Nephi 30:2).

When we are baptized into the Lord’s Church, we enter into the covenant the Lord made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (see Galatians 3:26–29). If we are obedient, we inherit the blessings of that covenant. We have the right to receive help and guidance from the Holy Ghost. Worthy males have the right to hold the priesthood. Families can receive the blessings of the priesthood. We can gain eternal life and all that our Heavenly Father has. There are no greater blessings than these.

As the Lord’s covenant people, we should keep His commandments. The Lord said, “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise”. If we reject our covenant after accepting the gospel, the covenant becomes void and we will stand condemned before God. He has said: “Refrain from sin, lest sore judgments fall upon your heads. For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation” .

The New and Everlasting Covenant

The fulness of the gospel is called the new and everlasting covenant. It includes the covenants made at baptism, during the sacrament, in the temple, and at any other time. The Lord calls it everlasting because it is ordained by an everlasting God and because the covenant will never be changed. He gave this same covenant to Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and other prophets. In this sense it is not new. But the Lord calls it new because each time the gospel is restored after being taken from the earth, it is new to the people who receive it (see Jeremiah 31:31–34; Ezekiel 37:26).

When we accept the new and everlasting covenant, we agree to repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, enter into temple covenants, and follow and obey Christ to the end of our lives. As we keep our covenants, our Heavenly Father promises us that we will receive exaltation.

The greatness of that promise is hard for mortals to understand. The commandments He gives are for our benefit, and as we are faithful, we may forever share the blessings and beauties of heaven and earth. We may live in His presence and partake of His love, compassion, power, greatness, knowledge, wisdom, glory, and dominions.

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Marriage in the Eternities

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The most important covenants we make with the Lord in this life pertain to our families. If we keep these covenants, we can be united as couples and as families forever. These covenants are made before the Lord in his Temples.

Eternal Marriage

Marriage Is Ordained of God


Marriage between a man and a woman is a vital part of God’s plan. Since the beginning, marriage has been a law of the gospel. Marriages are intended to last forever, not just for our mortal lives.

Adam and Eve were married by God before there was any death in the world. They had an eternal marriage. They taught the law of eternal marriage to their children and their children’s children. As the years passed, wickedness entered the hearts of the people and the authority to perform this sacred ordinance was taken from the earth. Through the Restoration of the gospel, eternal marriage has been restored to earth.

Eternal Marriage Is Essential for Exaltation

Many people in the world consider marriage to be only a social custom, a legal agreement between a man and a woman to live together. Our exaltation depends on marriage, along with other principles and ordinances, such as faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. We believe that marriage is the most sacred relationship that can exist between a man and a woman. This sacred relationship affects our happiness now and in the eternities.

Heavenly Father has given us the law of eternal marriage so we can become like Him.

Eternal Marriage Must Be Performed by Proper Authority in the Temple

An eternal marriage must be performed by one who holds the proper authority from God to do so. Not only must an eternal marriage be performed by the proper priesthood authority, but it must also be done in one of the holy temples of our Lord. The temple is the only place this holy ordinance can be performed.

In the temple, couples kneel at one of the sacred altars and make their marriage covenants before God. They are pronounced husband and wife for time and all eternity. This is done by one who holds the holy priesthood of God and has been given the authority to perform this sacred ordinance. He acts under the direction of the Lord and promises the couple the blessings of exaltation. He instructs them in the things they must do to receive these blessings. He reminds them that all blessings depend on obedience to the laws of God.

If we are married by any authority other than by the priesthood in a temple, the marriage is for this life only. After death, the marriage partners have no claim on each other or on their children. An eternal marriage gives us the opportunity to continue as families after this life.

Benefits of an Eternal Marriage


We should be living with an eternal perspective, not just for the moment. However, we can receive blessings in this life as a result of being married for eternity. Some of those blessings are as follows:

• We know that our marriage can last forever. Death can part us from one another only temporarily. Nothing can part us forever except our own disobedience. This knowledge helps us work harder to have a happy, successful marriage.

• We know that our family relationships can continue throughout eternity. This knowledge helps us be careful in teaching and training our children. It also helps us show them greater patience and love. As a result, we should have a happier home.

• Because we have been married in God’s ordained way, we are entitled to an outpouring of the Spirit on our marriage as we remain worthy.

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Families Can Be Eternal

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The Family Can Be Eternal

The Importance of Families


“Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God. … The family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World, 1995).

After Heavenly Father brought Adam and Eve together in marriage, He commanded them to have children (see Genesis 1:28). He has revealed that one of the purposes of marriage is to provide mortal bodies for His spirit children. Parents are partners with our Heavenly Father. He wants each of His spirit children to receive a physical body and to experience earth life. When a man and a woman bring children into this world, they help our Heavenly Father carry out His plan.

Every new child should be welcomed into the family with gladness. Each is a child of God. We should take time to enjoy our children, to play with them, and to teach them.

At home, with our families, we can learn self-control, sacrifice, loyalty, and the value of work. We can learn to love, to share, and to serve one another.

Fathers and mothers are responsible to teach their children about Heavenly Father. They should show by example that they love Him because they keep His commandments. Parents should also teach their children to pray and to obey the commandments (see Proverbs 22:6).

The Eternal Family

Families can be together forever. To enjoy this blessing we must be married in the temple. When people are married outside the temple, the marriage ends when one of the partners dies. When we are married in the temple by the authority of God’s Holy Priesthood, we are married for time and eternity. If we keep our covenants with the Lord, our families will be united eternally as husband, wife, and children. Death cannot separate us.

Loving Family Relationships

Husbands and wives should be thoughtful and kind to each other. They should never do or say anything to hurt each other’s feelings. They should also try to do everything possible to make each other happy.

As parents come to know God and strive to be like Him, they will teach children to love one another. In the Book of Mormon, King Benjamin explained:
“Ye will not suffer your children … [to] fight and quarrel one with another. …“But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another” (Mosiah 4:14–15 https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... =14-15#p14).

As family members we can help each other feel confident by giving encouragement and sincere praise. Each child should feel important. Parents need to show they are interested in what their children do and express love and concern for their children. Children should likewise show their love for their parents. They should be obedient and try to live the kind of life that will bring honor to their parents and to their family name.

How to Have a Successful Family

The most important of the Lord’s work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes. Satan knows how important families are to our Heavenly Father’s plan. He seeks to destroy them by keeping us from drawing near to the Lord. He will tempt us to do things that will draw our families apart.

“Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World, 1995).

All of us want to have happy, successful families. The following things will help us achieve this:
1. Have family prayer every night and morning (see 3 Nephi 18:21 https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... &id=21#p21). Pray together as husband and wife.
2. Teach children the gospel every week in family home evening.
3. Study the scriptures regularly as a family.
4. Do things together as a family, such as work projects, outings, and decision making.
5. Learn to be kind, patient, long-suffering, and charitable (see Moroni 7:45–48 https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... =45-48#p45).

The family is the most important unit in the world. Christ's Church exists to help families gain eternal blessings and exaltation. The organizations and programs within his Church are designed to strengthen us individually and help us live as families forever.

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Proclamation on the Family

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THE FAMILY
A PROCLAMATION TO THE WORLD


THE FIRST PRESIDENCY AND COUNCIL OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

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. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

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Our Ancestors and Family Ties across Time

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Our Ancestors and Family Ties across Time

The following explains how the Lord helps us assist our ancestors and all who died without having the chance to hear and accept his gospel and its saving ordinances.

Our Heavenly Parents Wants Their Children to Return

The Atonement of Jesus Christ assures each of us that we will be resurrected and live forever. But if we are to live forever with our families in Heavenly Father’s presence, we must do all that the Savior commands us to do. This includes being baptized and confirmed and receiving the ordinances of the temple.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have each been baptized and confirmed by one having the proper priesthood authority. Each may also go to the temple to receive the saving priesthood ordinances performed there. But many of God’s children have not had these same opportunities. They lived at a time or place when the gospel was not available to them.

Heavenly Father wants all of His children to return and live with Him. For those who died without baptism or the temple ordinances, He has provided a way for this to happen. He has asked us to perform ordinances for our ancestors in the temples.

Temples of the Lord

Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are special buildings dedicated to the Lord. Worthy Church members may go there to receive sacred ordinances and make covenants with God. Like baptism, these ordinances and covenants are necessary for our salvation. They must be performed in the temples of the Lord.

They also go to the temple to learn more about Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. By doing so, they gain a better understanding of our purpose in life and our relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They are taught about our premortal existence, the meaning of earth life, and life after death.

Temple Ordinances Seal Families Together Forever

All temple ordinances are performed by the power of the priesthood. Through this power, ordinances performed on earth are sealed, or bound, in heaven. The Savior taught His Apostles, “Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).

Only in the temple can we be sealed together forever as families. Marriage in the temple joins a man and woman as husband and wife eternally if they honor their covenants. Baptism and all other ordinances prepare us for this sacred event.

When a man and woman are married in the temple, their children who are born thereafter also become part of their eternal family. Couples who have been married civilly can receive these blessings by preparing themselves and their children to go to the temple and be sealed to each other. Parents who adopt children legally may have those children sealed to them.

Our Ancestors Need Our Help

Mario Cannamela married Maria Vitta in 1882. They lived in Tripani, Italy, where they raised a family and shared many wonderful years together. Mario and Maria did not hear the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ during their lifetimes. They were not baptized. They did not have the opportunity to go to the temple and be sealed together as an eternal family. At death, their marriage ended.

Over a century later a great reunion took place. Descendants of Mario and Maria went to the Los Angeles Temple, where a great-grandson and his wife knelt at an altar and served as proxies for the sealing of Mario and Maria. Tears filled their eyes as they shared in Mario and Maria’s joy.

Even in the early church, established by Jesus Christ himself, work was done for those who had not heard his gospel message. This included baptism by proxy for the dead. This is referred to by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:29

Many of our ancestors are among those who died without hearing about the gospel while on the earth. They now live in the spirit world (which I will post about next). There they are taught the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who have accepted the gospel there are waiting for the temple ordinances to be performed for them. As we perform these ordinances in the temple for our ancestors, we can share their joy.

Family History—How We Begin Helping Our Ancestors

All are encouraged to participate in family history activities. Through these activities they learn about their ancestors so that they can help them.

The first step is to identify our ancestors

Identify Our Ancestors

To perform temple ordinances for our ancestors, we need to know their names. Many wonderful resources are available today to help us identify our ancestors’ names.

A good way to begin gathering information about our ancestors is to see what we have in our own homes. We may have birth, marriage, or death certificates. We may also find family Bibles, obituaries, family histories, or diaries and journals. In addition, we can ask relatives for information they have.

After gathering information in our homes and from our ancestors, we can search other resources, such as FamilySearch.org. This is a FREE RESOURCE available to anyone. It is a great way to learn and share concerning our ancestors. Please check it out.
https://www.familysearch.org/en/
NOTE - If English is not your primary language, you can change the language by clicking on the globe icon in the upper right of the site page and picking your language. The site is accessible in 35 different languages.

How much we learn will depend on what information is available to us. We may have only a little family information and may be able to do no more than identify our parents and grandparents. If we already have a large collection of family records, we may be able to identify ancestors from generations further back in time.

All of this information can be used by the temples to provide saving ordinances for those who have died without a knowledge of the truth or the opportunity to accept it.

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The Postmortal Spirit World

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The Postmortal Spirit World

The big question of mortality is “What happens when someone dies?”.

This section is meant to address the first phase, the period between physical death and the resurrection. Spirit world is where our immortal spirits go while the rest of mortal history plays out. Residence there is temporary, meaning that it comes to an end once we are resurrected and judged by Christ, upon which we receive our eternal reward (that will be what I discuss in the next major posting here)

Life after Death

So, what happens to us after we die?

Heavenly Father prepared a plan for our salvation. As part of this plan, He sent us from His presence to live on earth and receive mortal bodies of flesh and blood. Eventually our mortal bodies will die, and our spirits go to the spirit world. The spirit world is a place of waiting, working, learning, and, for the righteous, resting from care and sorrow. Our spirits will live there until we are ready for our resurrection. Then our mortal bodies will once more unite with our spirits, and we will receive the eternal reward we have earned through our thoughts, choices and actions.
Many people have wondered what the spirit world is like. The scriptures and latter-day prophets have given us information about the spirit world.

Where Is the Postmortal Spirit World?

Latter-day prophets have said that the spirits of those who have died are not far from us. They have taught that the post-mortal spirit world is on the earth, around us. This means that all who have died and have not been resurrected are still here. We just cannot physically see or here them. Yet it is not uncommon to feel their presence or to feel impressions from them.

What Is the Nature of Our Spirits?

Spirit beings have the same bodily form as mortals except that the spirit body is in perfect form.
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... &id=16#p16

Spirits carry with them from earth their attitudes of devotion or antagonism toward things of righteousness.
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... &id=34#p34

They have the same appetites and desires that they had when they lived on earth. All spirits are in adult form. They were adults before their mortal existence, and they are in adult form after death, even if they die as infants or children.

It is important to know that people will still roughly be the same in the Spirit World as they were in life. Those with addictions will have a difficult time, as they will not have the physical means of satiating their cravings. People will know that there is existence after death, but that does not necessarily mean that they will accept Christ and his gospel.

What Are the Conditions in the Postmortal Spirit World?

The prophet Alma in the Book of Mormon taught about two divisions or states in the spirit world:
“The spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called Paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.
“And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house—and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.
“Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection”
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... =12-14#p12

The spirits are classified according to the purity of their lives and their obedience to the will of the Lord while on earth. The righteous and the wicked are separated
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... =28-30#p28

However, spirits may progress as they learn gospel principles and live in accordance with them. The spirits in paradise can teach the spirits in prison.

Paradise

According to the prophet Alma, the righteous spirits rest from earthly care and sorrow. Nevertheless, they are occupied in doing the work of the Lord. The Lord’s Church is organized in the spirit world, just like it is here on earth, and priesthood holders continue their responsibilities there. The same Priesthood exists on the other side … Every Apostle, every Seventy, every Elder, etc., who has died in the faith as soon as he passes to the other side of the veil, enters into the work of the ministry.

The Apostle Peter described the work that goes on there in 1 Peter 4:6:
“For 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.”

Spirit Prison

The Apostle Peter referred to the post-mortal spirit world as a prison, which it is for some.
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... =18-20#p18

In the spirit prison are the spirits of those who have not yet received the gospel of Jesus Christ. These spirits have agency and may be enticed by both good and evil. If they accept the gospel and have the ordinances performed for them in the temples (see my previous posting), they may leave the spirit prison and dwell in paradise.

Also in the spirit prison are those who rejected the gospel after it was preached to them either on earth or in the spirit prison. These spirits suffer in a condition known as hell. They have removed themselves from the mercy of Jesus Christ, who said, “Behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; but if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit”.
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... =16-18#p16

The suffering can last a long-long time for those that must pay the price for their own sins (for example, think what Hitler is going to go through), but it will have an eventual end. Yet, even such mortals will be resurrected and have an eternal existence, though their eternal reward would be rather small (especially in comparison to what it could have been had they made different choices). I will start to get into this in my next postings.

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Tom Mazanec
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Re: Religion / Theology

Post by Tom Mazanec »

Is it true that LDS church holds that the truth of Jesus was lost after the first century AD?
If so, it is calling Jesus a liar.
Matthew 16:17-19
SHARKS (crossed out) MONGEESE (sic) WITH FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

Navigator
Posts: 769
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:15 pm

Re: Religion / Theology

Post by Navigator »

I do believe that much of the gospel and the authority to act in God's name (his priesthood) was lost from this earth shortly after the passing of his Apostles.

I believe the history of Europe in the dark ages is a pretty good manifestation of that.

I do believe that Satan cannot destroy the covenants that the righteous make with God, and I believe that is what is proclaimed here by Christ.

I believe this Apostacy is predicted in the New Testament by scriptural references such as 2 Thessalonians 2:2-3 where it is told that Christ is not going to return until after a great "falling away" when Satan is revealed. I would say that the Dark Ages were indeed a time when Satan surely had his hand in a LOT of what was going on.
Last edited by Navigator on Mon Sep 12, 2022 12:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

Navigator
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Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:15 pm

God’s Final Judgement

Post by Navigator »

Judgments of God

We are often told in the scriptures that the day will come when we will stand before God and be judged. We need to understand how judgment takes place so we can be better prepared for this important event.

The scriptures teach that all of us will be judged according to our works: “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Revelation 20:12)https://abn.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... &id=12#p12. I believe we will also be judged according to our desires (Alma 41:3).https://abn.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... ng&id=3#p3

In the Book of Mormon, Alma taught that when we die our spirits are assigned to a state of happiness or of misery (Alma 40:11–15) https://abn.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... =11-15#p11. This is a judgment, though it is not the Final Judgement.

Our Words, Works, and Thoughts Are Used to Judge Us

The prophet Alma testified, “Our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; … and our thoughts will also condemn us” (Alma 12:14).https://abn.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... &id=14#p14

The Lord said: “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:36–37)https://abn.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... =36-37#p36

Faith in Jesus Christ helps us be prepared for the Final Judgment. Through faithful discipleship to Him and repentance of all our sins, we can be forgiven for our sins and become pure and holy so that we can dwell in the presence of God. As we repent of our sins, giving up impure thoughts and acts, the Holy Ghost will change our hearts so we no longer have even the desire to sin (Mosiah 5:2) https://abn.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... ng&id=2#p2. Then when we are judged, we will be found ready to enter into God’s presence.

We Will Be Judged by Records

Again, as the Apostle Paul wrote, ‘The books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.’ (Rev. 20:12.) The ‘books’ spoken of refer to the ‘records [of your works] which are kept on the earth. … The book of life is the record which is kept in heaven.’

There is another record that will be used to judge us. The Apostle Paul taught that we ourselves are a record of our life (Romans 2:15).https://abn.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... &id=15#p15 Stored in our body and mind is a complete history of everything we have done. That record that is written by the person him/herself in the tablets of their own mind, that record that cannot lie will in that day be unfolded before God and angels, and those who shall sit as judges.

The Apostle John taught that “the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22).https://abn.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... &id=22#p22 The Son, in turn, will call upon others to assist in the Judgment. The Twelve who were with Him in His ministry will judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). https://abn.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... &id=28#p28

Inheriting a Place in a Kingdom of Glory

At the Final Judgment we will inherit a place in the kingdom of God for which we are prepared.

Christ said “In my Father’s house there are many mansions” (John 14:2).https://abn.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... ng&id=2#p2 I believe this is in reference to multiple possible outcomes for us, based on the Lord’s judgement. As we have all done many different things in our lives (our words, deeds, and thoughts), we will receive an individualized reward based on these.

The post mortal life is not one of eternal idleness. We won’t sit around playing harps or singing in choirs. Our Heavenly Parents want us to become more and more like them. Just like our mortal parents want us to have everything that they have and more. If we strive to keep the commandments, to make the proper covenants with God (and keep them), and repent when we stumble, the Lord has promised that we can continue to progress and ultimately have and enjoy all he has.

I will write more about this in detail in a subsequent post.

We Should Prepare Now for Judgment

In reality, every day is a day of judgment. Our faith in Jesus Christ, as shown by our daily actions, determines what our final reward and opportunities in the eternities will be, or won’t be.

The restored gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness is available to all. All the priesthood ordinances necessary for our progression have been revealed. The priesthood authority to perform these ordinances has been restored. We have the opportunity to enter the waters of baptism and make a covenant with the Lord to live Christlike lives. If we are faithful and make and keep the covenants the Lord has asked us to, the Lord has told us what the results of our judgment will be. If we are faithful, he will say unto us, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).https://abn.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... &id=34#p34

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