As promised, this is the third in my series about the worlds without number and the inhabitants thereof talked about in our scriptures and in the church. In the second of the series we explored the question of who the inhabitants of those planets were. It basically comes down to one fundamental question: Were we those people or were they completely separate batches of spirits? (We are calling the first model the Heber C. Kimball (HCK) Model because he and other 19th century leaders taught it and the latter The Batch Model). Not surprisingly opinions differ on this issue. A separate but related question is: Did each of those worlds have a savior inhabit it?
That is an interesting question. Perhaps the first question to examine is what implications of a yes or no answer to this question would have on the two models at hand (I’m using these two because they are the only reasonable ones I can think of or find. If you have another to add please let us know)
Batch Model, No: If the answer is no in the batch model then who did they look to as an exemplar and savior on those planets? It is hard enough to have faith in Jesus of Millennia past or future, how hard would it be to believe in a Jesus on another planet in the heavens? I think the batch model brings up all sorts of sticky questions, but I may be missing something.
Batch Model, Yes: If it is a yes in the batch model then the obvious next question is who were those saviors then? Does each planet in the batch model have its own separate Godhead? If not then does Jesus have to go through an atonement on each planet? Or since Joseph taught that the Father was a mortal at one time was he a savior then? It seems a yes in the batch model struggles here as well.
HCK Model, No: If we were the ones on those other planets the questions still arise about who we looked to as an exemplar if none of the Godhead atoned for us there. Who paid for the sins of the saints in that case? Was it our Jesus on our planet? There were innumerable worlds after all… doesn’t that seem a bit asymmetrical?
HCK Model, Yes: If we lived on those previous planets and each had its own savior the only question would be who was it? Some believe our current Godhead is always and will always be the Godhead. Others believe that each planet gets a new Godhead and its own savior. This of necessity leads to a regress of Gods I think. The last answer makes the most logical sense to me, honestly.
Now, having said that, I know Blake believes (and may teach in his forthcoming book) that our Godhead has always been fully divine and that the Father spent a mortal probation on another planet much in the way Jesus did (though not necessarily as a savior if I remember correctly). Over at Splendid Sun he also pulled this interesting quote from Joseph out that could sway some opinions:
Moreover, look at JS’s poetic rendition of the Vision: “He’s the Savior, and only Begotten of God – /By him, of him, and through him, the worlds were all made,/ Even all that careen in the heavens so broad./ Whose inhabitants, too, from the first to the last,/ Are sav’d by the very same Saviour of ours…” Times & Seasons, February 1843, 4:81-85. That seems to say that all inhabitants of all worlds are saved by the same Savior. Verse 7 of this poetic version of the Vision states that it covered: “From the coucil in Kolob, to time on the earth. And for ages to come.” So it seems to say that Christ is the only Savior for the all worlds – doesn’t it?
Now that is not enough to convince me that Joseph still felt all planets had the same savior at the end of his life (a year later) even if he did at the time he wrote this. The evidence in the King Follett Discourse and the Sermon on the Grove seem too compelling for me to be convinced otherwise (despite the admirable limbo-ing Blake does around those sermons in his new book). I suspect either that the additional light had not been given to Joseph when he penned this or that the title “Savior” does not have to mean a specific individual any more that the title Bishop does, or both.
In any case, this is starting to get to the heart of this unresolved matter. I know we won’t resolve things here, but I wonder what you think about this subject. Did each world get its own savior? Which model to you like and why?