Feed My Sheep — Who are the sheep?

February 7, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 2:01 pm   Category: Feed My Sheep,Personal Revelation,Scriptures

In this, the belated second post in my “Feed My Sheep” series, we’ll discuss who Christ’s sheep are and who they aren’t. If we are to feed His sheep we ought to know who they are after all. When reviewing the scriptures related to “sheep”, one message seems to stand out: Christ’s sheep are those who hear Christ’s voice and only those who hear his voice. According to the scriptures, those who will not hearken to his voice are not his sheep at all.

Here are some examples:

John 10
3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Alma 5
38 Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd.
39 And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye? Behold, I say unto you, that the devil is your shepherd, and ye are of his fold; and now, who can deny this? Behold, I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar and a child of the devil.

60 And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep; and he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed.

Jer. 50
6 My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.

17 Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones.

Matt 25
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

Psalms 95
7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,

So there you have it. Sheep are defined as those who hear Christ’s voice and only as those who hear Christ’s voice. Now, we are also commanded to clothe the naked and feed the hungry etc. (whether they hear Christ’s voice or not), but that is apparently a separate task from this sheep feeding responsibility.

So how do we know if we personally are Christ’s sheep or not? It is pretty simple I think – we know we are his sheep if we hear his voice and obey. And how does one hear his voice? — Presumably through personal revelation in one form or another. Christ is still alive and communicative after all. If we aren’t hearing his voice (through the Holy Spirit generally)… well… we ought to rectify that.

Maybe most interestingly of all; based on the scriptural definition of Christ’s sheep there is a synonym that is found too: The Elect.

And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts; (D&C 29:7)

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[Associated radio.blog song: Steel Pulse - Chant a Psalm. In honor of my first quote of a verse in Psalms!]

62 Comments »

  1. Hmmm… Clearly not a controversial enough post to generate comments. Perhaps I should have said something like “If you are not receiving any communications from Christ (via the Spirit or otherwise) then you are a goat and not His sheep.” That would have fired things up a bit, eh?

    Or maybe I should have pointed out that Peter was only told to feed the elect rather than everyone… Oh well, I can’t be controversial every post can I?

    Comment by Geoff J — February 7, 2006 @ 3:47 pm

  2. OK, so are you saying we came from premortality as either a sheep or a goat (or maybe even a wolf) and too bad for us if we aren’t a sheep?

    Comment by C Jones — February 7, 2006 @ 3:55 pm

  3. Seeing as we don’t believe in force-feeding, yup, not very controversial.

    Comment by LisaB — February 7, 2006 @ 4:06 pm

  4. Wrong, Geoff, wrong! Just kidding, nice post. I’ve always thought of the sheep simply representing mankind in general, but you make a good case. Can’t disagree with those scriptures.

    I suppose the other part of the question is who is the “implied you” in the statement. He’s just talking to Peter, and not the apostles as a whole. Is his command intended only for the presidents of the church? It seems a bit more difficult to know how to apply such a commandment to yourself when it’s directed at a single person.

    Comment by Eric Russell — February 7, 2006 @ 4:09 pm

  5. C Jones,

    We get to choose to be sheep or not (though I do concede that the character we bring from pre-mortality must have an effect on the likelihood of our choice to consistently be His sheep here or not). In other words, trying to hear Christ’s voice is a choice and hearing it almost always follows trying to hear it. Further, when our attempts to hear his voice fail, persevering in our attempts to hear Christ’s voice (like Enos did) is a choice. Giving up on hearing Christ’s voice is a choice too.

    Since hearing his voice is apparently the definition of his sheep/elect then we can fit the definition at some points in life and not fit it at others (again almost always due to our free choices). The one thing these scriptures make painfully clear is that those who do not hear his voice are not his sheep/elect.

    Perhaps that partially is why we Latter Day Saints covenant weekly to “always remember him and heep his commandments” so that we can “always have His spirit” to be with us. Or in other words – so that we can always hear Christ’s voice and thus always remain his sheep/elect.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 7, 2006 @ 4:10 pm

  6. Eric,

    Good point about who should do the feeding of sheep. I briefly touched on that in the first post of this series, but I think it is safe to assume that based on our dual role as shepherds and sheep in the gospel, all of Christ’s sheep are probably mandated to feed the other sheep to one degree or another.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 7, 2006 @ 4:29 pm

  7. I can certainly remember times in my own life when I have not followed the voice of the shepherd, and as time goes by I think I have learned to judge that in myself. But are we then required to make that kind of judgement about others, especially those who may be wolves among the flock? And if we are not asked to feed them, what is our relationship to them?

    Comment by C Jones — February 7, 2006 @ 4:48 pm

  8. Geoff, I think we are determined to be at loggerheads forever.

    I don’t have a problem with saying that there’s no need to “feed” sheep who don’t want to come to our church, but I think it is problematic to proclaim that all people who don’t believe in the same things as we do aren’t Christ’s sheep. I don’t think that’s what you mean to be saying, but that’s how it sounds to me.

    Perhaps a better analogy would be that each church is its own flock and responsible for its sheep. If any sheep want to join our flock, then we’ll feed them too. How does that sound to you?

    Comment by NFlanders — February 7, 2006 @ 6:06 pm

  9. Ned: I don’t have a problem with saying that there’s no need to “feed” sheep who don’t want to come to our church, but I think it is problematic to proclaim that all people who don’t believe in the same things as we do aren’t Christ’s sheep.

    Actually, I didn’t say anything about which church a person belongs to Ned; nor do the scriptures. The scriptures say that whoever hears and follows Christ’s voice are his sheep (aka his elect). In fact, the D&C 29 scripture in the post says that missionaries are to go find and “gather” the elect, so clearly that verse applies specifically to non-Mormons. On the flip side, being Mormon is no guarantee that someone hears and obeys Christ’s voice, or in other words threr is no guarantee that one is Christ’s sheep just because he/she belongs to Christ’s restored church.

    This whole pluralism thing you mention (lots of different flocks) is in fact directly contrary to the scriptures. Christ said that he is the one Good Shepherd and that there is one fold. But as I mentioned, the boundaries of that one fold are not the exactly same as the boundaries of his restored church.

    The other part of this equation (and this applies to the question C Jones asked) is that we have not yet discussed what we are supposed to feed to Christ’s sheep. I think that since it is a spiritual analogy, spiritual sheep food is required. My next post in the series will discuss that.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 7, 2006 @ 6:56 pm

  10. But what about the “lost” sheep, per Matt. 10:6, these are characterized as “sheep” and by context have never followed or listened to Christ per se, but have abandoned the Lord? And in Matt. 15:24 Jesus says he is sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, people who clearly arent listening to him and will ultimately, by and large from a contemporary perspective, reject him. And, moreover, what about Matt. 18:11-14? The lost sheep is strayed off and must be actively reclaimed. The parable would suggest the sheep has stopped listening to the shepherd.

    Comment by Kurt — February 8, 2006 @ 5:15 am

  11. Kurt,

    The verses in Matt 10 closely parallel the verse I quoted in D&C 29. That is, the command is given to the members of the church to go out and gather the sheep/elect into the fold. That, to me, means that they are already sheep by the general definition (“mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts”) but they are not yet gathered into the church. I think the verse in Matt 15 is referring to the mini apostasy that preceded John and Jesus and how all of Israel had become “lost”. Christ was the Good Shepherd called to gather his sheep from among Israel (and again, he made it clear that his sheep were those that heard, recognized, and followed his voice.)

    The verses in Matt 18 about the lost sheep that has gone astray does not necessarily mean that sheep consciously stopped listening to the shepherd and went astray. Rather, it could easily mean the sheep just got distracted and inadvertently found himself or herself lost and separated from the fold. The Shepherd is told to actively go out and seek those sheep because those sheep will recognize and hearken to the voice of the shepherd when they hear it again. (This seems to be different than those sheep that never recognize the voice of the shepherd and intentionally leave…)

    Comment by Geoff J — February 8, 2006 @ 8:38 am

  12. Hmmmmm, I dunno, Geoff. I think you might be trying a little too hard to make an obvious metaphor something more than it was intended to be. It is appealing to make hard and fast rules, but agrarian metaphors and parables arent exactly the best grist for that mill.

    Comment by Kurt — February 8, 2006 @ 8:44 am

  13. Well, I think there is something to what you are saying Kurt. The parables seem to intentionally be very broadly applicable so the narrowing I suggest is not necessarily to say that is all that they mean, but rather to show that they can still match the definitions from the scriptures that I listed in the post. It should be noted that the scriptures listed are analogies (with clear applications) but not parables (which usually have less clear or narrow applications). I think it is hard to argue against the idea that generally in the scriptures “Sheep are defined as those who hear Christ’s voice and only as those who hear Christ’s voice.”

    There also may be some sort of lag in defining sheep. For instance, someone who used to hear, recognize, and obey Christ’s voice but who intentionally begins ignoring it might still be considered a lost sheep for some time anyway… It’s hard to tell, but some of the verses you mention certainly leave the door open for that interpretation.

    The idea that all people are Christ’s sheep seems to be the common misconception in the church today and I wanted to point out that the scriptures don’t really support that idea. This post was intended to highlight the scriptures that do define sheep pretty clearly.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 8, 2006 @ 9:12 am

  14. I think part of what these scriptures are saying indirectly is that this is the Lords work. He is the ultimate shepard. Yes we need to assist in the work, but the ultimate resposibility rests with him, through his spirit. That is what will ultimately make someone a sheep – hearing his word through the spirit. Sometimes I think we beat ourselves up when someone we know in our circle of influence does not live the gospel or respond to its message. It’s really between them and the Lord.

    Comment by Eric — February 8, 2006 @ 12:35 pm

  15. I’m with you Eric. As LisaB mentioned earlier, even though we, as undershepherds, are responsible to help Christ feed his sheep, we can’t force feed them. Nor can we force someone to be a sheep (meaning to fear, recognize and obey the Good Shepherd).

    Comment by Geoff J — February 8, 2006 @ 12:51 pm

  16. Just my two cents,

    There are both sheep and goats. We know that there are only two classifications- sheep and goats. A lost sheep is anyone who has not yet become a goat. A goat is a son of the devil or a son of perdition. So to say again, there are only 2 classifications of people in the end, sons of God or sons of the Devil. In the end at the last judgement God will seperate the goats from the sheep. The sheep on the right hand will all be saved, but the goats on the left hand will be cast out from the presence of God into outer darkness.

    So in my opinion, a lost sheep is anyone who hasn’t sinned unto death (the second death which is perdition) A lost sheep can be defined as a sinner, even a vile sinner. The case here is that they have yet to become a goat. But will all those who hear the good shepard obey his voice in order to be classified as his sheep? Yes they must according to D&C 29. And that is the purpose of preaching to the spirits in prison, it is to bring back the lost sheep and save them in a kingdom of glory upon their obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 9, 2006 @ 8:42 am

  17. Rob,

    So basically you are saying that everyone who is not a son of perdition is Christ’s sheep?

    Can you provide some scriptural support for that idea? It seems directly contrary to the scriptures I quoted in this post. How do you defend your hermeneutics?

    Comment by Geoff J — February 9, 2006 @ 10:26 am

  18. Geoff,

    At the final judgement Christ will seperate the sheep from the goats just as it says in Matthew 25:32-33. The sheep are those in which God gave unto Christ to save, the very ones on who Christ suffered for as it relates in D&C 76:39-43 & D&C 29:42-43. The lost sheep that is often talked of in the scriptures are those who have sinned and fallen prey to spiritual death. Christ came into the world to save the lost sheep. When man repents and is baptized he comes back again into the fold of God.

    The definition of lost is- fallen. And fallen man spiritually is alienated from righteousness- he is spiritually dead. This is the term in the parable of the 99 sheep and the one lost sheep. Because Christ still has claim to save the lost sheep they are his and in the end that is exactly what they will be called “His Sheep”

    I am mainly speaking in the sense of the final judgement as that is the goal for mankind- to be saved at the final judgement into a resurrected state of glory. The right hand of God is associated with those who are the fold of Christ- yea those who have hearkened unto his voice. These gain eternal spiritual life. The left hand of God is associated with those who have never hearkened unto his voice therefore they know not the name by which they are called, these are the goats. These are those who are damned eternally- which is the eternal spiritual death, these are the sons of perdition. See D&C 29:26-29 & 2 Nephi 2:27-30, Mosiah 16:10-15

    So to answer your question as to everyone is Christs sheep except the sons of perdition. At the final judgement all those who have hearkened unto his voice which are the Telestial, Terrestrial, & Celestial are classified as his sheep. Until they are saved though in their mortal probations they are considered lost sheep. You could say that at the time of their lost state in mortality or in the spirit prison that they are not counted yet with the saved sheep. It would be like your name written in the book of life- it is not blotted out until you become a son of perdition- and this same analogy is what I put forth with you are always a sheep of God( name written in the book of life), whether lost or not until you sin unto death, then you are no longer a sheep but a goat (name blotted out in the book of life) see Revelations 20:13-15 & Mosiah 5:7-15.

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 9, 2006 @ 12:56 pm

  19. Geoff;

    One more thing. You are right in your saying that until they hearken unto his voice they are not accounted his sheep. I usually speak about the gospel in final judgement terms and it can sometimes be confusing as to what time frame I am using

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 9, 2006 @ 1:01 pm

  20. Great post Geoff. I added it to our list of blog threads about scripture.

    Comment by Robert C. — February 9, 2006 @ 5:05 pm

  21. Ooops, that link didn’t work, here it’s fixed: list of blog threads about scripture.

    Comment by Robert C. — February 9, 2006 @ 5:11 pm

  22. Rob,

    No offense bro, but I think you must be just making stuff up here because most of your claims seem to be unfounded.

    First, the fact that Christ will separate the sheep from the goats at the final judgment has really nothing to do with who the sheep are right now. The scriptures I quoted make it abundantly clear that ONLY those that hear Christ’s voice are his sheep right now. Now because we have free will it is surely true that some who do not choose to hear his voice now will later, and others who do choose to hear now will make choices that will deafen them to Christ’s voice later — but the scriptures still make it clear who are the sheep right now. This whole idea of calling everyone in the world sheep except the sons of perdition, sheep (even if it is the lost variety) has no scriptural support as far as I can tell.

    Second, you said: “The definition of lost is- fallen.” Is that your personal definition? If not, what are you talking about?

    The D&C 29 scriptures you mention seem unrelated to this topic. The D&C 76 scriptures also do nothing to support your claims. In fact, when coupled with D&C 19, it is clear that Christ does not pay for the sins of the many that end up going to hell/prison before being assigned to Telestial glory, but rather they pay themselves because they chose not to repent. Therefore the idea that all but sons of perdition are defined sheep is completely contra-scriptural.

    So basically, it sounds to me like you are making things up and have provided no evidence to counter the clear scriptures I pointed out in this post. What am I missing?

    Comment by Geoff J — February 9, 2006 @ 11:58 pm

  23. Robert C.

    Thanks for the link. Your wiki looks like a cool and useful project!

    Comment by Geoff J — February 9, 2006 @ 11:58 pm

  24. Geoff,

    D&C 29 & 76 pertain to those who Christ pays for their sins. Section 19 deals with the sons of perdition, those who must pay for their sins themselves as he himself did- which would require a physical body, something spirits in prison do not have. Check out Moses 7:39 for a little info on Christ suffering for the sins of the pre-flood inhabitants.

    I would think that the prodigal son parable can be called a lost sheep story.

    What is your definition of a lost sheep?

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 10, 2006 @ 10:08 am

  25. Rob: Section 19 deals with the sons of perdition

    Again, you are saying things the scriptures don’t say. Look at D&C 19 again:

    16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; 17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;

    Where is the mention of sons of perdition? It clearly says that anyone that does not repent will pay for their own sins — Christ won’t substitute for them. You keep making all these claims as if they are facts but then fail to produce any substantial evidence to support your positions. What gives?

    As for lost sheep. It seems to me that lost sheep are best described in D&C 123:12 :

    12 For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it-

    The way we gather those lost sheep (both on the rcords of the church and off) is to preach the truth by the Spirit. The sheep — those with ears to hear and the will to do so — recognize the spirit as the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow. That is perfectly consistent with the scriptures defining who the sheep are in this post.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 10, 2006 @ 10:50 am

  26. Geoff,

    Section 19 begins by telling that Christ at the geat last judgement, which is after the millenium, will judge all people. Those who have repented are those who will be saved but those who have not repented by that time will have to “suffer”. This suffering spoken of is-
    1.Endless torment
    2.Eternal Damnation
    3.Eternal punishment
    4.endless punishment

    So therefore when it speaks in this section of they who will have to suffer even as I, it is speaking of this “suffering” that is mentioned and explained a few short verses before. All of the terms listed above are associated with the state of the damned in hell after resurrection and final judgement. This is in direct reference to my scriptures D&C 29:43-44 & Mosiah 16:11 & D&C 76:44.

    There is no such thing as one paying the price for their own sins in hell so that they become clean. They suffer torment, but once they repent of those sins, Christ takes upon the sins of that person in order to cleanse that person as I have stated in Moses 7:39. Why does it say that Christ has suffered for their sins inasmuch as they will repent? Obviously, even those in prison must be saved through the same process as anyone else who has sinned.

    Another thing I noted is that we all must be sheep, because in your verse Alma 5:38-39 it speaks of sheep as being everyone. Shepards only watch over sheep, that is the definition. Now as to whether or not we are his sheep or not, that is somewhat problematic in this discussion because of this vital question- At what point is Christ refering to when he says- My sheep hear my voice? For some they understand right off, but for others it takes a little more time- it reminds me of missionary work where missionaries keep going back to teach groups and it might take years and years but finally they listen and hearken unto their shepard- the Good Shepard which is Christ.

    I term lost sheep as those of us spirit children of God who at some point in life (all of us sinners) wander off the path and become lost, we cannot return to the path save it were for our shepard to rescue us. Sure we might follow other shepards- worldly shepards, but it is Christ who seeks out those sheep which have been given him by the father which have wandered off the path and become lost.

    In the end- at final judgement, all of the sheep given to Christ by the father to watch out for will be saved except for those who are the goats. These goats will have to suffer the same as did Christ as is spoken of in section 19.

    So to finalize things up, I believe we can pretty much all be called his sheep even if we are lost. If we weren’t his sheep in our sinful stage then he has no cause to reach out to us as we are not his sheep.

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 10, 2006 @ 12:53 pm

  27. Rob,

    If you are trying to quote D&C 19 as a support for the idea that only those permanently assigned to outer darkness will pay for sins in hell then you are completely out to lunch. D&C 19 in fact says exactly the opposite. He explains that “endless” and “eternal” describe the quality of the punishment, not the duration:

    6 Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment. 7 Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.

    10 For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore- 11 Eternal punishment is God’s punishment. 12 Endless punishment is God’s punishment.

    Then you said: There is no such thing as one paying the price for their own sins in hell so that they become clean.

    Good grief Rob — do you just make this stuff up on the fly? What about section 76?

    81 And again, we saw the glory of the telestial, which glory is that of the lesser, even as the glory of the stars differs from that of the glory of the moon in the firmament. 82 These are they who received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus. 83 These are they who deny not the Holy Spirit. 84 These are they who are thrust down to hell. 85 These are they who shall not be redeemed from the devil until the last resurrection, until the Lord, even Christ the Lamb, shall have finished his work.

    103 These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie. 104 These are they who suffer the wrath of God on earth. 105 These are they who suffer the vengeance of eternal fire. 106 These are they who are cast down to hell and suffer the wrath of Almighty God, until the fulness of times, when Christ shall have subdued all enemies under his feet, and shall have gperfected his work;

    What do you think those people are doing suffering in hell if not paying for their own sins? This is just what Christ said would happen to those who didn’t repent (in section 19) — that they would have to pay for their own sins! These are not the sons of perdition; these are those in hell who after the millenium will be judged and sent on to their next estate.

    Just to keep this discussion on track — the original question was “who is Christ referring to when he gives the instruction to ‘Feed my sheep’?” The answer to that question is pretty clearly given in the scriptures (that I cited in the post). Yes you could use scriptures like Alma 5 to say we are all sheep of one kind or another (even if Alma implies that most of us are the Devil’s sheep) but that is largely off topic here.

    Christ’s sheep are, but definition, only those people who choose to hear and obey his voice. They are seemingly the ones he specifically commanded Peter (and thus all of us) to feed in that passage.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 10, 2006 @ 3:44 pm

  28. Geoff,

    The scritures state that those who suffer eternal damnation are only the sons of perdition- this is in direct refernce to section 19. Nowhere else does it say that eternal damnation is anything other than the second death experienced by the sons of perdition. So no, I am not just making this stuff up on the fly.

    I never said that the telestial heirs would not suffer in hell for their sins, i said that they would not suffer the type of punishment talked about in section 19, which suffering is the second spiritual death.

    I also said that a man cannot pay the price for his own sins and be cleansed without Christ. A man sent to spirit prison pays a penalty for his sins and then upon repentance and further obedience to the gospel principles and ordinances he can be washed clean through Christ just as anyone else.

    To think that everyone who passes through spirit prison (Telestial & Terrestrial) suffers just as Christ did makes a complete mockery of the atonement. The Atonement was specifically for those who Christ saves as it says in D&C 76:40-43.

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 10, 2006 @ 11:22 pm

  29. Geoff, Explain how these two verses in D&C 76 are not specifically describing the 2 verses in D&C 19 that are listed here.

    43 Who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands, except those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him.
    44 Wherefore, he saves all except them-they shall go away into everlasting punishment, which is endless punishment, which is eternal punishment, to reign with the devil and his angels in eternity, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched, which is their torment-

    (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 76:43 – 44)

    11 Eternal punishment is God’s punishment.
    12 Endless punishment is God’s punishment.

    (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 19:11 – 12)

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 10, 2006 @ 11:32 pm

  30. Rob,

    I think you must be missing the point of section 19. Section 19 is giving us a secondary meaning for the terms “eternal” or “endless” damnation. The most obvious meaning is damnation forever. But section 19 gives us an out for that meaning. It says: Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment. Through Joseph God is giving us another way to read those scriptures. God says that Eternal and Endless are also among His names. Therefore, eternal or endless damnation in section 19 refers to the quality of the punishment (or at least the administrator of the punishment) and not the duration.

    So if the sons of perdition are those who are permanently damned — as in, forever — then they are decidedly not the ones being discussed in section 19.

    Therefore, when Christ tells us in section 19 to repent or we’ll have to pay for our own sins (and suffer like he did) then he is talking to all of us — not simply the sons of perdition (whoever that may be…). Also note that suffering like he did talks about quality and not quantity too — we only suffer for our own sins after all, not the sins of the world.

    So back to the post, I can only assume that you are trying to rework these seemingly obvious scriptures about who are and are not Christ’s sheep because they don’t fit your view of how the universe ought to work. You seem to think it is importatnt to see everyone in teh world as Christ’s sheep even thought the scriptures say otherwise.Perhaps it has to do with a view you have of eternal progression or something? Whatever the case, wresting these clear scriptures seems to me to a bad idea.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 12, 2006 @ 4:23 pm

  31. Geoff,

    I never stated that their punishment would last forever. I am in agreement that it is more the “quality” than the duration in which Christ talks of in section 19. But this quality of punishment talked of in section 19 refers specifically to those who don’t repent by the time the final judgement comes around, they will therefore have to suffer for their own sins, these are the sons of perdition. The word association- “eternal damnation” only gets labled to the sons of perdition. These who suffer this type of punishment, however long- we are not told, will only be experienced by the sons of perdition.

    In section 19 he is talking to all of us because each of us has that choice to obey or not to obey. The warning Christ gives us here is that if we do not accept him and repent by the final judgement, we will have to suffer just as he did. We know that even the Telestial heirs will have to repent and hearken unto Christ their savior or they cannot be saved. Saved from what? Saved from the second death. Salvation comes only to the person who repents. Telestial heirs will at some point in time repent from their sins, but because they have sinned they cannot be found spotless without the Atonement of Christ. This atonement allows Christ to act as the substitute for punishment. This is how Christ applies his words in section 19- “But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I” The verse I brought out in Moses 7:39 shows that even though someone goes to spirit prison, Christ will still suffer for their sins as long as they choose to repent while they are there. So the logic of it is that if Christ has the ability to suffer for their sins, they are not suffering the type of punishment talked of in section 19 because they will obviously repent by the last judgement as is mentioned in verse 3.

    The scriptues mentioning those who get saved are given wonderfully in these-

    23 Therefore, blessed are they who will repent and hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; for these are they that shall be saved.
    24 And may God grant, in his great fulness, that men might be brought unto repentance and good works, that they might be restored unto grace for grace, according to their works.
    25 And I would that all men might be saved. But we read that in the great and last day there are some who shall be cast out, yea, who shall be cast off from the presence of the Lord;
    26 Yea, who shall be consigned to a state of endless misery, fulfilling the words which say: They that have done good shall have everlasting life; and they that have done evil shall have everlasting damnation. And thus it is. Amen.

    (Book of Mormon | Helaman 12:23 – 26)

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 12, 2006 @ 9:18 pm

  32. Rob: I never stated that their punishment would last forever.

    So then you think the sons of perdition suffer a temporary damnation?

    But this quality of punishment talked of in section 19 refers specifically to those who don’t repent by the time the final judgement comes around, they will therefore have to suffer for their own sins, these are the sons of perdition.

    Of course it includes the sons of perdition, what evidence is there that it is exclusively the sons of perdition though? I don’t think any of the scriptures you have quoted support your assertion. Rather, I think the verses should be taken at face value that Christ pays for only the sins of those who repent. But most people (according to section 76) won’t do that.

    The word association- “eternal damnation” only gets labled to the sons of perdition.

    Not according to section 19, IMO.

    We know that even the Telestial heirs will have to repent and hearken unto Christ their savior or they cannot be saved.

    No we don’t. We know that their sins will have to be paid for to receive Telestial glory. We know they will be in hell (aka prison) paying for their sins during the Millenium prior to the second resurrection. Some will repent and Christ will pay for their sins, but my reading of the scriptures tells me that others will not and will still receive Telestial glory once they have paid in full. (A millenium ought to be plenty of time to pay for 70 years of sins after all).

    Comment by Geoff J — February 12, 2006 @ 11:19 pm

  33. Geoff,

    The duration of the punishment for the sons of perdition is not talked about in the scriptures other than in D&C 76:44-47. I personally could not tell you how long that damnation will last.

    The evidence I have given for the exclusiveness for section 19 defining the state of the SoP is clear in that this suffering happens AFTER final judgement and not before.

    I feel that I have given ample evidence for the word association for “eternal damnation” are specifically sons of perdition. Maybe I should ask you – If that word association isn’t limited to the SoP, what scriptures can you provide?

    The penalty for sin is banishment forever, that is why we need a savior. There is no amount of personal suffering in hell that enables one to go to a glorious kingdom without repentance. How does one possibly get saved through Christ without repenting as you say will happen to some Telestial heirs?

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 13, 2006 @ 12:23 am

  34. Rob,

    I’ll respond again, but I’m afraid that we have drifted so far from the subject of this post that it will not be fruitful to continue on this line of discussion. Suffice it to say that I see no reference to sons of perdition in section 19. The entire notion that one can temporarily be a son of perdition is completely foreign to me — I’ve never heard of such a thing. If you have any support for it I would be interested though. We vary so widely on what the scriptures say that it would take a lot more than this thread to hash it out. But I am constantly amazed at how you make bizarre sounding claims and treat them as if they are facts. It’s as if you are trying to write your own scriptures on the fly or something. For instance:

    The penalty for sin is banishment forever, that is why we need a savior.

    Saying it with confidence does not make it so, Rob. I think this is misleading and inaccurate statement/doctrine. If nothing else, such a claim requires a great deal of support and explaining that you have omitted (as usual).

    There is no amount of personal suffering in hell that enables one to go to a glorious kingdom without repentance.

    I think you are just plain wrong here. There is a debt to be paid and section 19 clearly says that if we do not repent then we will have to pay it ourselves. But if we pay it ourselves we then debt free. The scriptures call the next estate for those folks Telestial glory.

    Perhaps I will post on some of this later and perhaps not. But for now, I would like to focus on the question of the post — who are Christ’s sheep that he commanded Peter to feed. Thankfully the scriptures have clearly answered this question for us. Your objections to what those scriptures say are interesting, but certainly not compelling evidence for me to agree with you.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 13, 2006 @ 10:01 am

  35. Geoff,

    I am quite interested in why you think I make this stuff up on the fly when I have given a scripture reference to every doctrine I have brought out. I will give a few more to show that I am not making this stuff up.

    D&C 29:44-45: The absolute need to repent before final judgement to be saved, otherwise it is perdition.

    2 Nephi 9:7-10: Without the savior and his atonement we would be banished forever

    D&C 138:31-37,57-59: The absolute need for those in spirit prison to repent in order to receive salvation and be saved in a glorious kingdom.

    Now to get back to who the sheep are.

    I find it interesting that when Christ gave the parable of the 100 sheep he gathered the publicans and sinners around him as if he was relating the one lost sheep directly to them. He also goes on to say that the lost sheep is his and that that lost sheep represents the sinner.

    This parable reflects the vision of the tree of life where we are all his sheep, but upon entering the world we grow to the point where we are accountable. Then Satan tempts us and we wander off the path and become lost. The savior beakons us to come back- and eventually almost all of the sheep come back or are saved.

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 13, 2006 @ 1:17 pm

  36. Alright… I’m back to not believing you are a real person, “Rob”. Way too out there for me. If so, please stop yanking my chain.

    Not one of the scriptures you list say anything like what you attribute to them.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 13, 2006 @ 2:56 pm

  37. Geoff,

    Do you want me to spell each word out for ya. I just can’t see how you can’t interpret the scriptures when they spell it out clearly.

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 13, 2006 @ 3:32 pm

  38. Hehe…

    I guess you will need to spell it out. I read those verses and did not see them saying what you claim they say. If you are a real person and notynking my chain then you are reading in all sorts of assumptions into those verses that I am not reading in.

    But feel free to quote them in your next comment and show me how you came to your interpretations if you’d like.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 13, 2006 @ 3:49 pm

  39. Geoff,

    D&C 29 starting in 43 “raised in immortality” this is the resurrection “unto eternal life, even as many as would believe;” these are the believers who are saved.
    44 “And they that believe not unto eternal damnation;” these are the disbelievers at resurrection “for they cannot be redeemed from their spiritual fall, because they repent not;” These are the ones who have not repented by final judgement.
    45 “For they love darkness rather than light, and their deeds are evil, and they receive their wages of whom they list to obey”. These are the sons of perdition

    That should clear up the absolute need to repent or its perdition.

    Next, 2 Nephi 9 starting in 7 “first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration.” without the atonement the first judgement which befalls mankind would be a forever banishment.
    9. “And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery,” to remain with the father of lies- this is the forever banishment if no atonement was made.
    10. “O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.” Without no atonement their could be no resurrection and we would be made captives of the devil forever.

    That should clear up the whole atonement issue,

    Next, D&C 138 starting in 31. “proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel.” The captives who are bound are those in hell or spirit prison, whatever one wants to call it. People can still repent from their sins in spirit prison. Why preach the gospel to the captive spirits if they already rejected the truth? Lets read on-
    32. “gospel preached to those….in trangression, having rejected the prophets” The gospel of repentance and baptism will be taught in spirit prison again to those who rejected the gospel already. Here is the need to repent.
    33. “These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin,” Repentance is the only way to be saved. “vicarious baptism for the remission of sins,” Baptism is a requirement in order to be cleansed through Christ and be saved. “the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands,”
    37. “unto whom he could not go personally, because of their rebellion and transgression, that they through the ministration of his servants might also hear his words.” Why teach the wicked the way to be saved if they already rejected the truth? Because God’s arm is stretched out to them still.
    57. “through the sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son of God, among those who are in darkness and under the bondage of sin in the great world of the spirits of the dead.” The statement is clear that the atonement is very much still an active part for those who hope for redemption from hell.
    58. “The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God,” It specifically states that only those spirits in hell that will repent will be redeemed.
    59 “And after they have paid the penalty of their transgressions,” This is that penalty that is part of the repentance/restitution process. “and are washed clean,” This is the key to it all. They can only be washed clean through the blood of Christ, this is the part where Christ suffers for their sins so that the repentant person can gain a remission of his sins through the proxy baptism. “shall receive a reward according to their works, for they are heirs of salvation.” The reward talked about is to be saved into a glorious kingdom in heaven. Compare this verse to D&C 76:88,111
    88 “And also the telestial receive it of the administering of angels who are appointed to minister for them, or who are appointed to be ministering spirits for them; for they shall be heirs of salvation.
    111 For they shall be judged according to their works, and every man shall receive according to his own works, his own dominion, in the mansions which are prepared;” “their works” here specifically represents their repentance and obedience to the gospel laws and ordinances.

    That should clear that up.

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 14, 2006 @ 12:19 am

  40. Rob,

    I take these one at a time.

    D&C 29 starting in 43 “raised in immortality” this is the resurrection “unto eternal life, even as many as would believe;” these are the believers who are saved.

    Eternal life is a synonym for exaltation, not for salvation. Only those in the Celestial kingdom (and perhaps the highest order?) receive eternal life or exaltation. Almost everyone eventually receives some form of spiritual salvation and everyone here receives physical salvation.

    44 “And they that believe not unto eternal damnation;” these are the disbelievers at resurrection

    Eternal damnation could mean perdition or simply damnation by God (as in temporary hell prior to the resurrection – see section 19). There is no reference here to this applying before or after the resurrection.

    “for they cannot be redeemed from their spiritual fall, because they repent not;” These are the ones who have not repented by final judgement.

    There is nothing here that refers exclusively to final judgment either. This applies to the judgment separating those in the first vs. second resurrection in my opinion.

    45 “For they love darkness rather than light, and their deeds are evil, and they receive their wages of whom they list to obey”. These are the sons of perdition

    Nothing in this verse indicates that these are sons of perdition. Rather it indicates that these people did not repent in mortalilty therefore they will “receive their wages” in hell. In other words, they are not part of the first resurrection and will have to pay for their own sins in hell during the Millenium as a result. Christ will not substitute for them. Any sons of perdition view is your personal overlay here I think.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 14, 2006 @ 8:44 am

  41. Geoff,

    Contrary to popular belief,eternal life is not a synonym for exaltation. Eternal life is a more a synonym for salvation according to the scriptures. Take Alma 11:40 “And he shall come into the world to redeem his people; and he shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and salvation cometh to none else.” Here it specifically states that those who gain salvation hwill have eternal life. The truth of it’s definition lies in whether one will either have eternal life or eternal death. All people at resurrection will gain either the one or the other, In 2 Nephi chapter two in verses 27-30 it is explained to us that all men will recieve either eternal life or eternal death. The tru definition of eternal life is “eternal spiritual life” which comes after resurrection. We know that all three kingdoms will be spiritually alive to the things of righteousness and will recieve God’s blessings.

    Also look at D&C 29:26 But, behold, verily I say unto you, before the earth shall pass away, Michael, mine archangel, shall sound his trump, and then shall all the dead awake, for their graves shall be opened, and they shall dcome forth-yea, even all.
    27 And the righteous shall be gathered on my right hand unto eternal life; and the wicked on my left hand will I be ashamed to own before the Father;
    28 Wherefore I will say unto them-Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

    Exaltation is reserved for those in the top tier of the Celestial kingdom and therefore is not synonymous with salvation or eternal life as we know that one can have salvation and gain eternal life and yet not be exalted in the highest level of the Celestial kingdom.

    Eternal damnation is used exclusively in the scriptures to define the spiritually dead after resurrection, they will be cast off from God into outer darkness. The key to D&C 29:43-45 is that in verse 43 there is mentioned the word “resurrection unto” then it explains the two categories they are- 1. resurrection unto eternal life 2. resurrection unto eternal damnation. Compare these verses with Mosiah 16:11-
    “If they be good, to the resurrection of endless life and happiness; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of endless damnation, being delivered up to the devil, who hath subjected them, which is damnation-”

    The scriptures are plain in D&C 29 43-45 showing that the two categories come after resurrection.

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 14, 2006 @ 9:40 am

  42. Rob,

    I readily concede that the terms Exaltation, Eternal Life, and Salvation tend to be used interchangeably in the scriptures. Exaltation seems to always mean exaltation, but sometimes “salvation” and “eternal life” mean exaltation too. The scripture you quoted in Alma 11 is a fine example of an instance when the words salvation and eternal life refer to exaltation:

    Alma 11:40 “And he shall come into the world to redeem his people; and he shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and salvation cometh to none else.”

    Clearly, there will be many who will be “saved” in the lower kingdoms even without believing in Jesus Christ or without even repenting prior to the first resurrection. But only those who do repent and believe prior to the first resurrection will be “Saved” or receive “Eternal Life” — as in Exaltation. That sort of “salvation” (meaning exaltation) is no longer available to the Telestial or second resurrection crowd (at least for the time being — progression between kingdoms is another subject).

    The judgment referred to in those D&C 29 verses you quoted sounds like it refers to the separating of the first resurrection folks from those in the second resurrection to me. The “everlasting fire” of hell referred to is a symbol of the quality, not the duration, of the punishment of those unrepentant people in hell (aka prison) who are paying for their own sins in the Millennium and prior to the second resurrection.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 14, 2006 @ 11:40 am

  43. I think that I’m actually going to have to go with Rob on this one. Of course one really needs to be careful about ripping any ol’ verse out of its historical context and trying to harmonize it with the same word from a different historical context. It is for this reason that I consider signature books’ “Line Upon Line” to be one of the most important books for understanding Mormon doctrine.

    During Joseph’s lifetime his views regarding salvation/eternal life/etc. changed more than a little. At first it was a simply version of heaven like most protestants believe wherein salvation=exaltation=eternal life and so on. Then he started talking about a “fullness” of salvation. Interestingly enough, the only time the word “exaltation” occurs in the restored scriptures was not until Nauvoo in sec. 124 (the temple revelation) and especially sec. 132. In these last sections it becomes quite clear that at that time exaltation was NOT salvation. This should be quite clear. Additionally, exaltation is equated not with eternal life, but with eternal lives in the plural. Salvation is “mere” eternal life.

    This was how things were by the 1840′s but way back in Kirkland things were quite different. In sec. 29 and 76 I wouldn’t try too hard to disentangle those terms from one another.

    Comment by Jeffrey Giliam — February 14, 2006 @ 12:21 pm

  44. I’m with you, Jeff — I think I already conceded that particular point. Aren’t you largely agreeing with my last comment — that the words are interchangeable in most of the scriptures?

    That is a sub point to the larger question of Rob’s personal interpretation of these scriptures though (and his views about sons of perdition versus the hell those who must wait until the second resurrection receive).

    Comment by Geoff J — February 14, 2006 @ 12:31 pm

  45. Geoff,

    Exaltation is only used in one section of the D&C, that is in 132. The definition of exaltation in that section is completely seperate from the meaning of salvation so therefore they cannot and should not be used interchangeably to describe meanings. Alma 11:40 does not describe those who are married under God’s law and to become God’s themselves(definition of exaltation according to scripture). It describes all those whom he saves with his atonement (recieves the great gift of salvation) at the final judgement after resurrection (refer to verse 41) this is also in reference to section 76:38-43.

    In section 29 starting in verse 22 he talks of the end of the earth at the end of the millenium and goes on to say in verse 24-26 that all living things that ever were including all men shall have been resurrected. He then tells in verse 27-28 that he will seperate all men, either on the right hand or the left, this is the final judgement (it is after the millenium). Those on the right will recieve eternal life and those on the left hand will receive the eternal death that is mentioned in 2 Nephi ch.2, they will be cast out into everlasting fire- this is the second death. There is not a third hand mentioned so therefor all men will be found on either the right hand or the left hand.

    I find it curious that many of our manuals and teachings from various prophets use the word exaltation out of context to describe salvation. Because they do this we have several different meanings of that word in our doctrine even though you can only find one definition of salvation in the scriptures. The challenge here is to use only the scriptures to define the word “exaltation”. If it could be possible to use the scriptures to define this word defining what salvation or eternal life is in general, then we have a factual basis to start with. The problem here being of coarse is that exaltation is not used to describe what eternal life or salvation is.

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 14, 2006 @ 12:42 pm

  46. I further do not disagree that if one hears the gospel and rejects it and does not repent while in mortality that he will be delivered to Satan in hell for a period of time. The point I would disagree with however is that in order for Christ to save them they have to believe and repent there in the prison and go from a state of filthiness to a cleansed state through Christ’s atonement. The scriptures as I have studied them do not mention any other way to gain salvation.

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 14, 2006 @ 12:50 pm

  47. That last post I made was a little hard to understand. I will clarify in the second sentence should have said to clarify clarify that …..”I would disagree with however is on the point of whether or not one needs repentance in order to be saved in a glorious kingdom. I believe that in order…”

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 14, 2006 @ 1:18 pm

  48. Rob,

    As Jeffrey mentioned, Joseph’s understanding of salvation, eternal life, and exaltation became more nuanced throughout his ministry. So just as “heaven” is less nuanced than the gradation that we later learned about, so the BoM usage of “salvation” is less nuanced than later revelations. Salvation can mean either any kingdom of glory or exaltation depending on the context. I think Alma 11:40 does refer to the concept of exaltation — even though at the time Joseph translated it he was not aware of the greater nuances to be later revealed.

    It describes all those whom he saves with his atonement (recieves the great gift of salvation)

    The fact that it explains blessings exclusively apply to “his people… who believe on his name” indicates that it does not apply to the murderers and adulterers etc who will be paying for their own sins in hell prior to the second resurrection.

    at the final judgement after resurrection

    Just a quibble here… each of our final judgment happens prior to our resurrection. The judgment determines which resurrection we are part of. Therefore I think the idea that there will be some final judgment after the Millennium must be inaccurate. The Celestial and Terrestrial people will already be finally judged and resurrected after all. What’s left to judge for them?

    Those on the right will receive eternal life and those on the left hand will receive the eternal death that is mentioned in 2 Nephi ch.2

    I think this right-hand/left-hand talk in the scriptures is simply another way of talking about heaven and hell. It is the less nuanced way of looking at the judgment and afterlife. As such, all those that go to hell (prison) after being judged as unworthy for the first resurrection are the left handers the scriptures refer to. After they pay for their own sins they get resurrected and sent to the next phase of existence for Telestial people.

    I find it curious that many of our manuals and teachings from various prophets use the word exaltation out of context to describe salvation.

    I find it amusing (yet odd) that you seem like a fundamentalist in many of your views (like your extreme position on the global flood) but that you have no problem throwing out the teachings of modern prophets when you don’t like them either. That is half of the reason I have doubted you are a real person and not someone just yanking my chain.

    The point I would disagree with however is that in order for Christ to save them they have to believe and repent

    What do you mean by repent in this case? They are certainly making restitution by paying for their own sins in hell. Further, they probably admit it was a mistake and probably plan to not do it again. But many clearly will not repent in the sense of changing their Telestial characters and becoming terrestrial or celestial people (in character). If they made choices that gave them celestial characters then they would presumably receive celestial bodies in the resurrection. But the revelations say that the people who will remain Telestial in character and thus receive Telestial bodies in the resurrection are as innumerable as the stars.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 14, 2006 @ 3:32 pm

  49. Geoff,

    Exactly how does Alma 11:40 refer to the state of Godhood in the highest degree of glory in the Celestial Kingdom as you say?

    Salvation according to the scriptures means to be saved from both physical and spiritual death. There is not different meanings of this word in the scriptures, if there are any different meanings, where are they?

    Those who receive the great gift of salvation are all those in a kingdom of glory after resurrection. All of these people in these kingdoms will love God and believe in him and also in his his son Jesus Christ. None of these people at that point will be sinners but will have changed hearts.

    The right and left hand separation occurs after the millenium according to the scriptures and not before.

    Whether or not you believe I am a real person is up to you, these words just can’t magically appear. And I do not consider myself a fundamentalist either. All things anyone says I judge with the scriptures for clarification.

    First off, we ourselves progress through the different levels of the gospel and it’s teachings. Before someone can live a Celestial law they have to live a Telestial and then a Terrestrial law. The Celestial law is the fulness of both lower laws and then some more. We learn that through temple attendance.

    By repenting I am meaning the normal method for all people living or dead. This process is the 3 & 4 articles of faith.

    What exactly is a “Telestial character” as you say?

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 14, 2006 @ 6:21 pm

  50. Rob,

    Sorry for the delay getting back to you.

    I think Alma 11:40 is not nuanced enough to exclusively mean “the highest degree of glory in the Celestial Kingdom”. I think it mostly refers to “heaven” and it was given before Joseph understood there were more nuances so the Lord let him put a general term in. However, the context seems to indicate it is the heave of the righteous and faithful and obedient, which largely implies exaltation (though not necessarily exclusively).

    I think the same thing applies to the term Salvation in most scripture. It is not a nuanced term so sometimes it means everyone and sometimes it implies the exalted.

    The right and left hand separation occurs after the millennium according to the scriptures and not before.

    Well how do you rectify that with the fact that all Celestial and Terrestrial persons will supposedly have their Celestial or Terrestrial resurrected bodies already? They are already judged, as are the Telestial folks biding time in hell.

    What exactly is a “Telestial character” as you say?

    See this post and this one. I don’t believe the kingdoms are physical places. Rather I think they are designations describing the character of people.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 17, 2006 @ 11:38 pm

  51. The scriptures seem to point out that all saved people will gain the salvation talked of and the eternal life talked of but not all the saved will get the exaltation talked of. Exaltation, when spoken by people to mean “salvation” can be very confusing. The plan of “salvation”which is the most widely and pretty much exclusive term of defining how one is saved from the second death, does not seperate out certain groups of the saved. The plan of salvation is for all men living or dead, righteous or unrighteous.

    My opinion on what a Telestial character is just merely a man who is on the pathway onward and upward, he is just not as far along as a Terrestrial or even a Celetial character. Once people are redeemed through Christ, whether they suffer a penalty or not, are people who are changed people, they no longer want to do evil.

    The temple teaches us that Telestial people will make covenants to God, and that they will learn how to live higher laws and be given that opportunity to do so.

    The final judgement can be another way of describing the point where all men will be sorted out in finality even though a lot will of already recieved their reward to some degree. The point being that the work of the Lord is not finished until he saves all that can be saved.

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 18, 2006 @ 1:22 am

  52. Rob: The plan of “salvation”which is the most widely and pretty much exclusive term of defining how one is saved from the second death, does not seperate out certain groups of the saved.

    I think this works against your theory. Why teach the Plan of Salvation if everyone gets Salvation but the Sons of perdition? The scriptures imply that the only ones who are sons of perdition are those who have received great light and then turn on Christ completely. In your model even the wicked get “salvation” whether they repent here or not. It is much more useful to recognize that the word salvation is a broad term that includes exaltation and that sometimes (especially in the Book of Mormon and revelations in the earlier ministry of Joseph) the term is used to mean exaltation because Joseph didn’t even have a word to specifically mean exaltation in his lexicon yet.

    See this post by RT called Salvation=Exaltation. You’ll see in the comments that I think he takes things too far in the opposite extreme you are in, but it might be useful for you to check out. I think neither extreme position is justified.

    My opinion on what a Telestial character is just merely a man who is on the pathway onward and upward

    What about those moving downward? There is opposition in all things after all.

    The temple teaches us that Telestial people will make covenants to God, and that they will learn how to live higher laws and be given that opportunity to do so.

    Nice. Sounds like MMP.

    The final judgment can be another way of describing the point where all men will be sorted out in finality even though a lot will of already received their reward to some degree.

    To some degree? What do you mean? It sounds more like a superfluous formality to me. All the judging is already over by then.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 18, 2006 @ 9:44 am

  53. Geoff,

    That is just the point, everyone but the sons of perdition do gain salvation. Do you not think that this is true?

    I never said or mentioned anywhere that wicked people will receive salvation. I did say however that the wicked who live on the earth but then repent either here or in spirit prison will become righteous and be cleansed to receive salvation and eternal life, this is what the scriptures teach.

    I just don’t buy the whole “exaltation” point you are trying to sell because there is absolutely no scriptural proof that the word generally means salvation in the scriptures. There are seperate and distinct definitions for each word. Exaltation can only be given to the top tier people of Celestial status. To say that Joseph Smith was not yet using the word “exaltation” when he used the word “salvation” is your bias alone. So, should we replace the word “salvation with “exaltation” everytime we come accross it? That would be like what has happened to the bible over the coarse of many years- :many plain and precious truths have been taken out”.

    That link you gave me is very interesting. I was reading it and lo and behold I had replied to RT on that very post some time ago (starting in #48 I think), strange! Very interesting. I also remember following a link there and listening to a talk by Robert Millet from BYU. The talk was on Mormon view of salvation or something like that. The talk was very good but I noticed that he used the sterotypical definition mislabeling that befalls so many in high positions, and with no scriptural support! Very interesting how all roads eventually cross.

    Those going downward end up in hell (spirit prison) but if they choose to repent and be obedient to the gospel they can go upward.

    I am not sure about your MMP model. I find it not having in scriptural support. Once you are resurrected there is no more death or leaving the body anymore.

    The degree I was referring to is kind of hard to explain, it would be like getting your body but not yet receiving theinheritance yet as things are still happening on the Terrestrial planet.

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 18, 2006 @ 11:14 pm

  54. Well we have gotten so off on a tangent now that I’m not even sure I remember what we were talking about anymore. It seems to me that our biggest disagreement is about who will be sons of perdition, and what happens to those in hell who will eventually receive a Telestial inheritance. Maybe there are more things.

    Do you have a blog yet? Maybe you could start one and post on your opinions on these things. I would be interested in seeing the theology you have in mind laid out in writing. I think there are lots of holes but maybe you could prove me wrong.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 18, 2006 @ 11:47 pm

  55. I don’t have a blog as i am technically and computerly challenged. I do however write a great deal on the word program on the computer with a lot of my ideas that I hope to someday publish.

    It has been a good discussion with you on this topic…..whatever it was? eh eh

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 19, 2006 @ 12:57 am

  56. Rob,

    Blogger.com is a free and easy way to get a blog up and running. You follow the instructions there and you could get fired up with your own blog in an hour or so.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 19, 2006 @ 8:37 am

  57. Even the LDSLiving site has an article on starting a blog (they are the Deseret Book site). See here.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 19, 2006 @ 9:10 am

  58. Geoff,

    Well I went ahead and went to that link you gave me and set up a blog. The blog is “Rock of Salvation” A Freash and New Approach to Mormon Doctrine It is really quite plain but then oh well. I am wondering how I would actually get someone to come and check it out, it seems like it will not even get noticed. Should I e-mail other LDS blogs and ask if they will link me to their page? Do you mind if I put a link to your page on mine? Not too sure about all of this stuff.

    Comment by Rob Osborn — February 19, 2006 @ 9:01 pm

  59. Very nice. Check your email about promotions.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 19, 2006 @ 9:40 pm

  60. Thank you for your post. Especially feed my sheep.
    There is work for everyone, if they chose to hear
    that still small voice. What I so often thought
    of as myself.,or intuition turned out to be
    the LORD.
    But it was hard for me to understand without the living word
    of God. Only then did I realize though I was not where
    I needed to be for him to guide me to a better way;
    I could be.
    I shutter to think what heart ache I would have put myself through
    without him.
    Thanks again for the sheep passage. I have been searching
    scriptures and books as well as internet. Your writing was
    a answer to my question. It set well with my spirit, lined up
    with the word, and made common sense.

    Comment by coco — November 4, 2007 @ 4:09 pm

  61. Hi,
    I am not a Mormon but I believe i am of the flock of Christ does this discredit me? and do Mormons break bread, drink wine,wash feet,as commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ? I wish to understand as it is said one body and do the Mormons include baptism[immersion] in their doctrines.

    Sorry if i touched some sore spots just checking out.
    Thanks and remain blessed.
    Emeka A.M.

    Comment by Emeka — September 20, 2008 @ 9:31 am

  62. Emeka,

    If you hear and follow Jesus Christ’s voice then you are his sheep (no matter what denomination you currently belong to). That was the point of this post.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 20, 2008 @ 10:08 am

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