The 5 simple steps to exaltation

February 13, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 7:30 pm   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices,Scriptures

As demonstrated by today’s Sunday School lesson (D&C Lesson 7) exaltation can be attained through 5 simple steps on our part — all the rest of the work is taken care of by the atonement of Jesus Christ. You know the steps already:
1.) Exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
2.) Repent
3.) Be baptized
4.) Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost
5.) Endure to the end.
(See references here, here, here, and here)

But the problem with this list is that we have a huge amount of scriptural detail on steps 1-4 and nearly no scriptural detail on step 5. To make things worse, one can accomplish steps 1-4 by the age of 8. We have been instructed that Step 5 generally includes keeping baptismal covenants and making and keeping of temple covenants, but why is there so little other specific instruction from God and the prophets on the step that will take the next 92 year of life to accomplish? Read on gentle friend, I think I’ve discovered the answer…

I believe the answer comes from a study of the natural progression in the first four steps. Once a person follows Alma’s steps to developing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ the result is always a change in that person for the better. Their behavior changes, their desires change, they change. This change is known as repentance. The new person often has a desire and meets the requirements to be become a disciple if Christ through baptism:

All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church. (D&C 20:37)

After baptism the new disciple is given the Gift of the Holy Ghost, which allows her to have the Holy Spirit a constant and ever-present influence in her life.

So what is the result of the presence of the Holy Ghost in the convert’s life? Greater light and knowledge and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. What does true faith always generate? Change for the better – also known as repentance. But this time the new convert cannot be baptized, so what does she do? She attends sacrament meeting the following Sabbath and partakes in the beautiful sacrament ordinances as a renewal of her baptismal covenants. What does the renewal of that covenant do for her? It allows her to always have Christ’s spirit to be with her. So she has the Holy Ghost as a continued and constant companion.

So what is the result of the continued presence of the Holy Ghost in the convert’s life? Greater light and knowledge and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. What does true faith always generate? Change for the better – also known as repentance… (Is this starting to sound familiar yet?)

So you get the picture. Step 5, or Endure to the End, is another way of saying: “Repeat steps 1-4″. It turns our we have been given specific instructions on how to accomplish #5 after all!

Because of the great atonement of Jesus Christ, exaltation is indeed achieved on our part one step after another, line upon line, precept upon precept. And as this upward spiral to perfection once again shows, the course of the Lord is indeed One Eternal Round.

Epilogue: Some may wonder where temple ordinances fall into this pattern. I suggest that they fall under step 2 – change, repent, obey. Our own temple ordinances are a step in our changing process through Christ. Also, someday I may show here how the same spiral can be a downward one in our lives and how step 2 is the key element to it all.

So what do you think? Is this true doctrine or not?

36 Comments »

  1. “salvation and exaltation can be attained through 5 simple steps”

    These are not interchangeable.

    First of all, there are two types of salvation: general (from physical death, which everyone receives) and individual (from sin, which requires the 5 steps you mentioned).

    Secondly, exaltation is more than just salvation from death and sin. It is eternal life, or God’s life (see D&C 19:10-12; Moses 7:35). It is attainable through the five steps and through eternal marriage (see D&C 131, 132). 

    Posted by Kim Siever

    Comment by Anonymous — February 14, 2005 @ 9:02 am

  2. Good point first point, Kim. I knew that but I was just being sloppy. I’ll fix that.

    I actually accounted for the second point in the Epilogue of the post.
     

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — February 14, 2005 @ 9:36 am

  3. That’s what so cool about blogs, the clear perspective given to simple doctrines that we tend to overlook or not ponder on enough.

    Clear concise explaination, I like it so much, I’ll probably steal it and teach it as my own. 

    Posted by don

    Comment by Anonymous — February 14, 2005 @ 10:15 am

  4. Thanks Don. I came up with the model after pondering this same lesson four years ago as a gospel doctrine teacher and have gotten a lot of mileage out of it since. If you can get some use out of it too I’ll be thrilled. 

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — February 14, 2005 @ 10:56 am

  5. I?ll just add to Kim?s comment that we tend to conflate salvation and exaltation. We can get into the Celestial kingdom without ever receiving temple covenants. We don?t talk about it too much, but there is a division in the Celestial Kingdom and my best guess is that the divides fall onto the ordinances of the gospel: Baptism, Endowment, Marriage. All of these three experience salvation. It is simply the latter that receives exaltation. The only thing that this model doesn?t account for is the higher ordinances of the gospel.

    It seems that exaltation is a separate deal. Your 5 steps jive very well salvation as a qualification. Salvations qualifies you for whatever you are willing to receive (to use the verbiage of Section 88) in the Celestial Kingdom.
     

    Posted by J. Stapley

    Comment by Anonymous — February 14, 2005 @ 12:19 pm

  6. Geoff,

    I fail to see how temple marriage can fall under step 2 repent. 

    Posted by Kim Siever

    Comment by Anonymous — February 14, 2005 @ 12:20 pm

  7. J. and Kim,
    You ask very good questions. Let me try to defend the model in lieu of the required temple ordinances. Kim?s specific question was how I can lump temple ordinances under step 2, and that does deserve a better explanation than I gave it.

    First, if these steps aren?t sufficient as a model to provide exaltation it is very strange that the savior said these very things constitute his doctrine in its entirety ? especially since his stated mission is to bring about both our immortality and  Eternal life. (Moses 1:39)

    Second, there are fundamental differences between the baptismal/sacrament ordinanc(B) and temple ordinances (T). For one thing, we only participate in (T) once for ourselves whereas we participate in (B) basically weekly throughout out mortal probations. Yes, we repeat (T) from time to time but only as proxies for someone else, not for ourselves. We repeatedly participate in (B) for ourselves.

    Third, you are right that step 2 does need to be stretched to be the ?repent and obey? step. The obey part covers both the first time we participate in temple ordinances and every other time we return to serve and be further taught.

    Let me add that to achieve exaltation we must eventually (meaning not in this life) be perfect just as Christ is perfect. That means this upward spiral must continue in some form even after this life. So while the one-time ordinances of the temple are required gateways on the path to exaltation ? in the end they are no more required than other fundamental character changes that must be made in us. This pattern is simply looking at the subject on different levels. The foundational levels (A) include the realities of God, the Plan of Salvation, and the Atonement; the next level (B) is this established pattern for our exaltation, also known as the ?doctrine of Christ? (see links under the 5 steps in the post); the next level (C) includes the specific changes we must make in character and gates (ordinances) we must pass through to be exalted. A is required to power B, and B is required to power C, and C is required for exaltation. 

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — February 14, 2005 @ 2:25 pm

  8. We do not participate in the baptismal ordinance each week. Baptism saves us; the Sacrament does not. Baptism is part of a cleansing process that includes repentance and the gift of the Holy Ghost; the Sacrament has no redemptive qualities at all.

    The Sacrament is nothing more than a way to remember our baptismal covenants and the sacrifice Jesus made for us. It does not extend the baptismal ordinance.

    We participate in baptism only once. 

    Posted by Kim Siever

    Comment by Anonymous — February 14, 2005 @ 8:03 pm

  9. Hmmmm. So are you saying that the partaking of the sacrament is only a reminder, not a renewal of baptismal covenants? I’m under the impression that is not correct, but I’ll need to research the actual doctrines first and get back to you. 

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — February 14, 2005 @ 9:48 pm

  10. Kim,

    I knew I didn’t make that idea up… Here are a few of many statements a quick search on the subject turned up:

    After we were baptized, hands were laid upon our heads and we were given the gift of the Holy Ghost. When we consciously and sincerely renew our baptismal covenants as we partake of the sacrament, we renew our qualification for the promise ?that [we] may always have his Spirit to be with [us]?… In partaking of the sacrament, we can renew the effects of our baptism.  … The renewal of our covenants by partaking of the sacrament should also be preceded by repentance, so we come to that sacred ordinance with a broken heart and a contrite spirit (see 2 Ne. 2:7; 3 Ne. 12:19; D&C 59:8). Then, as we renew our baptismal covenants and affirm that we will ?always remember him? (D&C 20:77), the Lord will renew the promised remission of our sins, under the conditions and at the time he chooses. One of the primary purposes and effects of this renewal of covenants and cleansing from sin is ?that [we] may always have his Spirit to be with [us]? (D&C 20:77). 
    - Dallin Oaks, Fall 1996 Conference

    Sacrament meeting ought to be a time of spiritual refreshment for our people, when, on Sunday, they gather to partake of the sacrament and renew their covenants with the Lord.- Gordon B. Hinckley, 1999

    When we are baptized, we covenant to come into the fold of Christ and be members of his church; to be called his people and take upon ourselves his name; to bear the burdens, both temporal and spiritual, of our fellow saints; to mourn with those who mourn; to comfort those who stand in need of comfort; to offer the message of salvation to our Father’s other children; and to keep the commandments of God. The Lord on his part promises us that he will “pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon” us; that we will be numbered with those of the first resurrection; and that we shall have eternal life. (Mosiah 18:8-10.) This is the identical covenant made in the sacramental ordinance. That is to say, it becomes our privilege every time we partake of the sacrament to receive anew the promises and blessings first offered to us in baptism.- Bruce R. McConkie, New Witness for the Articles of Faith

    This all seems like pretty good evidence that the sacrament is much more than a chance to remember our baptism and Christ. According to these men, the sacrament ordinance is in fact a renewal and extension of our baptismal covenants and it does in fact cleanse us.

     

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — February 14, 2005 @ 10:33 pm

  11. “So are you saying that the partaking of the sacrament is only a reminder, not a renewal of baptismal covenants?”

    No. By saying “The Sacrament is nothing more than a way to remember our baptismal covenants” I meant “renew”. I should point out that we only renew some of the covenants we make at baptism.

    For example, at baptism we covenant to mourn with and comfort others, to bear their burdens, to stand as a witness of God always, and to serve Him (Mosiah 18:8-10), yet none of those things are mentioned in the Sacrament prayer.

    As well, just as our baptismal covenants do not cleanse us from sin at baptism, they do not cleanse us when we renew them each week. Any cleansing we receive happens through repentance, not through partaking of the Sacrament. 

    Posted by Kim Siever

    Comment by Anonymous — February 15, 2005 @ 6:33 am

  12. Thanks for the clarification, Kim. And while I agree that neither baptism nor the sacrament covenants cleanse us from sin, the cleansing comes from more than just through repentance. As when we are baptized, the continued reception of the Holy Ghost made possible through the sacrament covenant seems to complete the cleansing for us.

    The upshot of it all is that it appears the model works. I was concerned when I read your initial statement because if the sacrament really didn’t renew the cleansing process it put a kink the pattern. But after doing some research the pattern looks like it holds to me. That’s good because I’ve taught this several times over the last few years and I don’t want to be teaching false doctrine! 

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — February 15, 2005 @ 10:06 am

  13. Continued reception of the Holy Ghost is not made possible through the sacrament covenant.

    First of all, there is no sacrament covenant; at least, not a separate covenant, distinctive from all others. The covenant we make when we take the sacrament is a reaffirmation of that to which we covenanted at baptism.

    Secondly, the continued reception of the Holy Ghost is made possible at our confirmation when the laying on of hands gives us the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Lastly, the sacrament prayer does not state that God covenants to give us the Holy Ghost. what it does say is that we make our covenant so we receive the Holy Ghost. In other words, it is a result of our following through on our covenants (taking on Jesus’ name, always remembering Him, and keeping the commandments). However, if we did those things anyhow and never took the sacrament, we would still have the Holy Ghost with us.

    Reception of the Holy Ghost is tied to the way we conduct our lives, not to covenants we make. 

    Posted by Kim Siever

    Comment by Anonymous — February 15, 2005 @ 11:32 am

  14. Thanks for the reply, Kim.

    The fact that the sacrament is a renewal of the baptism covenant actually strengthens my proposed model, so I?m glad you mentioned that. You also said:

    Continued reception of the Holy Ghost is not made possible through the sacrament covenant. ? However, if we did those things (kept baptismal covenants) anyhow and never took the sacrament, we would still have the Holy Ghost with us. 

    Are these statements opinions or facts that I just haven’t learned yet? They seem to be at odds with the quotes I provided. Also, your comment seems to imply that the sacrament covenants are superfluous to our exaltation. Do you have any citations to support for that claim? It is new doctrine to me.

    Most important to me is the question regarding the model I proposed in this post — that ?endure to the end? really means engaging in the ongoing process of repeating the first principles and ordinances of the gospel as an upward spiral to perfection. Do you think any of this specific conversation reflects on the validity of that?
     

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — February 15, 2005 @ 1:59 pm

  15. “The fact that the sacrament is a renewal of the baptism covenant”

    You mean “a renewal of some of the baptismal covenant” of course. :)

    “Are these statements opinions or facts that I just haven’t learned yet? “

    They are statements based on what the sacrament prayer says:

    “that they may…witness…that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them”

    Our motivation, according to Moroni, for fulfilling our covenant is to always have the Spirit with us. In other words, it is why we keep the commandments, remember Jesus and take His name upon us.

    The sacrament prayers do not state that Got has covenanted with us to give us the spirit if we fulfil our part of the covenant. They state nothing more than the fact that the Spirit will come to us because of obedience, and having our thoughts and actions turned to Jesus; or, more specifically, that we believe the Spirit will come to us because of us doing those things.

    The only comment with which my statement is at odds is Elder McConkie’s. The reason for that is because he makes the statement that every covenant we make at baptism (including mourning, comforting, etc) is also made during the sacrament. This of course is false. Unless he happens to know of another scripture that states other covenants during the baptismal prayer.

    I do not think endure to the end consists of repeating the first principles and ordinances of the gospel, or at least not the ordinances. Saving ordinances are performed once. we are baptised a single time. We receive the gift of the Holy Ghost a single time. Those are not repeated. In its basic form, enduring to the end is keeping the commandments. I certainly think faith and repentance can be part of it.

    Comment by Kim Siever — February 15, 2005 @ 3:13 pm

  16. Alright, this is helpful.

    It sounds like the primary sticking point for you, then, is the Sacrament in the process of exaltation.

    I am assuming that we can agree that the light and truth we receive as a result of having the Holy Ghost as a constant companion does increase our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If so, that part of the revolving pattern still works.

    The word “tools” is an important one I have neglected to use so far. The saving ordinances are completed only once in our lives, as you have emphasized. But does God leave us with no tools to help us on the course to exaltation? Of course not. Perhaps the problem is that I need to change the way I present this pattern. After the actual saving ordinances the primary tools  we have are somewhat in similitude of the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. Faith and repentance are constants, but the Sacrament serve as an important renewal tool for the ordinance of baptism and helps us use that all-important tool we received after baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

    This is what I was getting at to begin with ? that the first principles and ordinances are also types and shadows for the tools we utilize to be perfected in Christ. Does that describing the process as a set of tools we are given after the saving ordinances work better for you? 

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — February 15, 2005 @ 3:48 pm

  17. “It sounds like the primary sticking point for you, then, is the Sacrament in the process of exaltation.”

    Sacrament has no place in the process of exaltation. Or more specifically, Sacrament is not required for someone to be exalted and not simply saved.

    “Does that describing the process as a set of tools we are given after the saving ordinances work better for you”

    What of other tools? Under which steps do they fit? Prophets, scriptures, music, etc.

    “I am assuming that we can agree that the light and truth we receive as a result of having the Holy Ghost as a constant companion does increase our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

    I am not convinced the reception of light and truth comes through the Holy Ghost. I think light and truth comes from all sorts of sources (scriptures, scientific journals, meditation, etc). I view the Spirit’s role in light and truth as a confirmer; He confirms truth that we receive. We receive information all the time from various sources and the Spirit confirms to us which of it is truth.

    Either way, the Spirit giving/confirming light and truth is not the same thing as continually receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost ordinance. Anyone can receive light and truth without having received the Holy Ghost.

    And we still haven’t established why eternal marriage goes under repentance. ;) 

    Posted by Kim Siever

    Comment by Anonymous — February 15, 2005 @ 4:06 pm

  18. Sheesh! You?re making me work here, Kim.

    ?Sacrament is not required for someone to be exalted and not simply saved.?

    Being saved is a prerequisite for exaltation so this is a bit nonsensical.

    ?The only comment with which my statement is at odds is Elder McConkie’s. The reason for that is because he makes the statement that every covenant we make at baptism (including mourning, comforting, etc) is also made during the sacrament. This of course is false. Unless he happens to know of another scripture that states other covenants during the baptismal prayer.?

    Your comment is of course false ; ) . Those who partake of the sacrament promise to ?keep his commandments which he has given them?. Which commandments do we covenant to keep? Only the one?s he has given us, I guess. The entire baptismal covenant is included. Reading scriptures, attending church, praying, following the prophet, receiving endowments, being sealed in the temple , and all other commandments are all included as well. When we start obeying it is, by definition, repenting. Therefore it is all step 2.

    ?I view the Spirit’s role in light and truth as a confirmer; He confirms truth that we receive.?

    In terms of the proposed model, this is moot. Whether we receive truth as direct revelation or as confirmation to something we attain ourselves, it still increases our faith in Christ and still fits the model.

    ?What of other tools? Under which steps do they fit? Prophets, scriptures, music, etc.?

    You answered that yourself. Without step 4 (utilizing the Gift of the Holy Ghost) none of these tools do us any good. They are all what I called level (C) previously whereas the principles in the model are level (B).

    I guess I don?t yet understand why viewing the first 4 principles as types and shadows of an ongoing process would be objectionable. ?First? doesn?t have to mean in first in order only ? it can mean first in importance as well?
     

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — February 15, 2005 @ 5:55 pm

  19. Kim,
    I just reread that last comment and realized the tone was a bit more surly than I intended… I very much appreciate this exchange, so don’t let the tone of my hastily written last post irk you too much.  

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — February 15, 2005 @ 9:13 pm

  20. “Which commandments do we covenant to keep? Only the one?s he has given us, I guess. The entire baptismal covenant is included.”

    Then why does Alma make a distinction between covenanting to keep the commandments and other covenants?

    “[Ye] are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in…

    “…what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments…” (Mosiah 18:9-10)

    “it still increases our faith in Christ”

    I am not saying our faith does not increase as a result of receiving revelation. I was saying that the Spirit does not always give us the light and truth as you said He did.

    ” They are all what I called level (C) previously whereas the principles in the model are level (B).”

    So, now that we are introducing levels, does this mean our pattern has increased from five steps?

    “I guess I don?t yet understand why viewing the first 4 principles as types and shadows of an ongoing process would be objectionable.”

    Neither do I. Did someone suggest this was objectionable? 

    Posted by Kim Siever

    Comment by Anonymous — February 15, 2005 @ 10:31 pm

  21. I?m glad you?re back. Here are some answers to your questions:

    ?Then why does Alma make a distinction between covenanting to keep the commandments and other covenants??

    I don?t think he does. Just because he adds ?and keep the commandments? at the end of a short list of requirements for baptism doesn?t mean that instructions to be ?willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places? are somehow not commandments. It just means doing the specific things he mentioned is not all that is required. And Alma’s list is not the only list we have of baptismal requirements anyway — there is one in Moroni 6 and another in D&C 20 so we should get too hung up on the one list.

    ?So, now that we are introducing levels, does this mean our pattern has increased from five steps??

    Actually I introduced that in my first response to you and J. about temple covenants. Here is what I said: “This pattern is simply looking at the subject on different levels. The foundational levels (A) include the realities of God, the Plan of Salvation, and the Atonement; the next level (B) is this established pattern for our exaltation, also known as the ?doctrine of Christ? (see links under the 5 steps in the post); the next level (C) includes the specific changes we must make in character and gates (ordinances) we must pass through to be exalted. A is required to power B, and B is required to power C, and C is required for exaltation.” 

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — February 15, 2005 @ 11:16 pm

  22. “so we should get too hung up on the one list”

    I am not. I used that list because in addition to specify keeping the commandments as a covenant, alma specifies others. If all others simply fell under the umbrella of keeping the commandments, he would have specified it. That being said, Moroni’s list of covenants introduces nothing not already covered by Alma’s and the D&C 20, from what I can tell, does not list any covenants. 

    Posted by Kim Siever

    Comment by Anonymous — February 16, 2005 @ 9:11 am

  23. Good point, we do agree to keep specific commandments when baptized. Later, when we partake of the sacrament, we agree to “keep his commandments which he has given them”. This is  an umbrella statement and we would be hard pressed to exclude any of his commandments. There is no caveat that says “except those special commandments you focused on at baptism”. If anything those would receive special attention because according to the teachings of modern prophets and apostles we are renewing our baptismal covenant.

    What do you think? 

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — February 16, 2005 @ 9:33 am

  24. I do not think that “keeping the commandments” is an umbrella term.

    If Alma did not think “keeping the commandments” covered mourning with others, comforting others, bearing others’ burdens, being a constant witness, and serving God, then why would Moroni think it did?

    Why would one prophet single out specific covenants, thus implying they were not covered by the “keeping the commandments” covenant and another prophet say later that they were covered?

    Regarding your point about there being specific commandments at baptism we covenant to keep, I am not sure I understand what you are saying. Both Mosiah 18 and Moroni 4 state “keep his commandments”. Neither of them goes on to state what constitutes those commandments. It is unclear to me why you think that at baptism we only covenant to keep a limited number of commandments.

    Comment by Kim Siever — February 17, 2005 @ 9:40 pm

  25. I assume you recognize how hopeless the case you are making here is…

    First: ?It is unclear to me why you think that at baptism we only covenant to keep a limited number of commandments.?

    I don?t.

    The subject at hand is whether “keep his commandments which he has given them” as given in the sacrament prayer means all of his commandments or not. The only things I can think of that would support your case that it is not an umbrella statement would be:

    1. Mourning with those that mourn, etc. are not commandments, but rather something else. (Advise? Suggestions?)  As I said earlier, the fact that Alma singled them out from the rest of the commandments does not mean they aren?t commandments.
    2. He didn’t give them to us. If that was the case why would we care about them?
    3. The text of the sacrament prayer is inaccurate and should read “keep most of his commandment which he has given them”…Since all of these are ridiculous claims it brings us back to the original discussion where you claimed we did not renew all of our baptismal covenants with the sacrament. That is just plain wrong. (But I don’t hold that against you.) At baptism we covenant to keep all of his commandments, and with the sacrament we covenant to keep all of his commandments. This all supports the original model.
     

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — February 18, 2005 @ 12:14 am

  26. “At baptism we covenant to keep all of his commandments, and with the sacrament we covenant to keep all of his commandments.”

    I agree with this. However, this is not the only covenant we make at baptism. Thus, some of the covenants that are specifically mentioned in Mosiah 18 are not specifically mentioned in Moroni 4, implying that we only renew some of our baptismal covenants. But I have already mentioned that before.

    This conversation is becoming cyclical, so I doubt I will say much more on the subject. 

    Posted by Kim Siever

    Comment by Anonymous — February 18, 2005 @ 9:37 am

  27. Well thanks for the exercise. It sounds like we ironed everything out except for the question of whether all the things we agree to do to qualify for baptism are commandments or not… I think they are commandments, you think they are something else… If we wanted to keep this alive you could help me understand how all those things we are commanded to do in order to qualify to be baptized are not commandments after all. I’ve never heard someone dissect the concept of commandments like that before.

    As an aside, it is interesting to me that the footnotes for the verse in question  indicate that the things on the list are simply qualifications for baptism, not parts of a covenant per se. Obviously the wording of the baptismal ordinance specifies no terms of a covenant.
     

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — February 18, 2005 @ 10:28 am

  28. “As an aside, it is interesting to me that the footnotes for the verse in question indicate that the things on the list are simply qualifications for baptism, not parts of a covenant per se.”

    Mosiah 18 and Moroni 4 both use similar language that indicate that the qualifications outside of “keeping the commandments” are more than just mere qualifications.

    willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in”

    willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them”

    It is also interesting that Mosiah 18 contains the word covenant (v. 10 “…ye will serve him and keep his commandments…”), but Moroni 4 does not.

    If “willing” is separate from “covenant”, what does that say about the sacramental ordinance? If it is not separate, then we are back to our cyclical discussion about whether the separate covenants in Mosiah 18 are included in Moroni 4. 

    Posted by Kim Siever

    Comment by Anonymous — February 18, 2005 @ 10:40 am

  29. So be clear, is the sum of your evidence that the things in this statement:

    “willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in”

    are not commandments the fact that these are called out separately from the statement:

    “what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments”?

    I keep hoping there is some other evidence to support your cause because this argument seems so flimsy. If not then I guess we have indeed arrived at an impasse on the question of what constitutes commandments versus non-commandments…
     

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — February 18, 2005 @ 11:40 am

  30. Again, I am not saying either way whether those are commandments or not. I am saying that not all we covenant to do at baptism is repeated in what we covenant to do during the sacrament.

    If they are commandments, why does Alma also state that keeping the commandments is a covenant? Why make any distinction?

    If they are not commandments, why does Moroni leave them out? 

    Posted by Kim Siever

    Comment by Anonymous — February 18, 2005 @ 1:24 pm

  31. You can’t have it both ways. If they are  commandments then we covenant to keep them with every sacrament. The only way “not all we covenant to do at baptism is repeated in what we covenant to do during the sacrament” is if they are not commandments. If you are not sure they are commandments or not then you are not sure whether we recommit to them with the sacrament.

    I must say it is ridiculous to say those things aren?t commandments though. Those commandments are repeated in lots of places in the scriptures. King Benjamin?s sermon  is one place that comes to mind.
     

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — February 18, 2005 @ 1:46 pm

  32. “If you are not sure they are commandments or not then you are not sure whether we recommit to them with the sacrament.”

    See? You are listening. 

    Posted by Kim Siever

    Comment by Anonymous — February 18, 2005 @ 3:55 pm

  33. Ha! Ok. Well then I guess we can leave it at that. And thanks for helping me set a new comments record here. 

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — February 18, 2005 @ 4:05 pm

  34. Hi,

    In doing some research for a priesthood lesson I came across this site, I had a question that I’ve always been curious about but never known the answer to. Why are the prayers for the bread and the water different? The bread prayer is the one where we make the 3 standard promises (take upon the name of thy Son, always remember him, and keep his commandments), but the water prayer only includes the promise that we will always remember him. Also the bread prayer precludes our promises with “are willing,” but the water prayer just reads “do always remember him” with no “willing” provision in it. Any ideas on why they are different? I thought maybe it was something to do with the law of justice/law of mercy but I really don’t know, and I haven’t come across any scriptures or commentary to explain it. Any ideas?

    Comment by Blaine — June 24, 2006 @ 11:50 pm

  35. There was a recent thread at Times and Seasons where we discussed the difference between the bread and the water:

    http://www.timesandseasons.org/?p=3191

    Comment by Mark Butler — June 25, 2006 @ 12:00 am

  36. Hi Blaine,

    Welcome to the Thang. I’ve heard a few theories on this subject but they were just that — theories. The gist was that there is supposed to be some progress on our behalf between the prayers. For the bread we only have to witness to God that we are willing “to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them” and I suppose that means we are also willing to “always have his Spirit to be with them”. By the time we get to the water we witness to the Father that we “do always remember him [Jesus Christ]” and by so doing we “may have his Spirit to be with” us.

    I personally don’t think there are lots of hidden messages in this though. I think it is pretty simple — we take upon us Christ’s name, we agree to always remember him (which is the same as Nephi’s call to pray always I think) and to keep his commandments and if we do that we will always have his Spirit with us. That means we can and should be in a constant prayerful dialogue with God like all of the prophets in scripture were at times in their lives.

    Comment by Geoff J — June 25, 2006 @ 12:23 am

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