Proving Reincarnation from and LDS Point of View
by Joseph J. Dewey
© Copyright J J Dewey
- posted with permission -
Billed a 'doctrine of devils,' the Mormon church has shunned reincarnation. Joseph J. Dewey explains how multiple mortalities is consistent with LDS belief.
Chapter 1 -- Introduction
When I was a young boy I remember hearing my neighbors discussing the story of Bridie Murphy, a girl who under hypnosis was able to recall previous lives on the earth. At the time I thought that the doctrine of passing through numerous lives sounded fair and just and I accepted it with the faith of a child. I thought that, for instance, if one were to die with unfinished goals or be cut off when he was young or happened to be crippled or blind all his life that it would indeed be fair to receive another chance. If there was only one life why is it that we are all born in such diverse circumstances - some favored, some disfavored? How could a baby who had only taken a few breaths and died possibly gain any mortal experience? We may hear many platitudes about how great his situation is in heaven, but why should he be denied the knowledge gained from a long mortal experience for all eternity.
J. Reuben Clark once said that he could not understand how one single life of trial even if we had a long one, could qualify us for an eternity of bliss since life seemed so short, and neither could I.
Life is but a flicker of light between two eternities. What great effect could one little flicker have on either of them? A great effect could only come by many flickers.
When I started attending the LDS church about the age of 13 someone finally told me that we only have one life - that this was the doctrine of the church. Since I believed the church I had to mentally accept this, but in my heart I still felt that those who had only lived a short life should have another chance to see what they could do if they had at least an average life span. Finally, after I became more steeped in church doctrine I came across the scripture: "And as it is appointed unto men ONCE to die, but after this the judgment." Heb.9:27. There it was at last! Now I was convinced. Man dies only once and he is born only once so there is no reincarnation. That settled it. From then on I decided to put my faith in the justice of God, that he would make things right in the end, and not worry about it any more. I went on a mission and if anyone brought up reincarnation I quoted them Hebrews 9:27 and bore my testimony and generally they had no defense Then one day a newspaper ran an article about a couple who had lost a pair of twins in an Auto accident. A short time later this couple gave birth to a second set of twins. As this second set grew the couple noticed that they began to look and act exactly like the first. They even had moles in the exact same location. As they learned to talk they even had flashbacks to their lives as the previous twins and remembered their old toys and began to show the same quirks of character as the first set. When the non members and even some of the members asked for an explanation of this article I found that for the first time on my mission that I was without a satisfactory explanation. About all I was able to come up with was that it must be a trick of the devil or else a very astounding coincidence, still in my heart I wondered about the whole truth of the matter.
Later on I did some experiments in hypnosis and took numerous people back to what they described a previous life. Some were able to speak foreign languages and dialects and give detailed descriptions of ancient times. I viewed these experiences with great wonder, but I wasn't about to let them "shake my testimony". After all Joseph Fielding Smith and others said it was a doctrine of the devil - so it must be false. The trick was in how could I explain this regression to previous lives? I had several theories:
(1) Some tricky evil spirit took possession of their bodies during hypnosis and was trying to fool me. Well, if this were the case the evil spirit was certainly consistent. It seemed as if about ninety percent of those hypnotized were able to go back, even many who did not believe in reincarnation. Also this evil spirit seemed to have a good memory as a person can be regressed weeks or even years later and recall the same past lives.. Also I have had experience with evil spirits numerous times in the past. I have been attacked by them and have administered to others who have been possessed and each time I was able to discern them through the Spirit. This time the spirit told me that no evil spirit was present so I went to my next theory: (2) I called this the race memory theory. This theory states that each cell of the human body has inherit in it the memory of all our ancestors and at the moment of conception the memory of all of one's ancestors are passed on. This would explain why one could have in his subconscious mind memories of past lives. This sounded the most logical so I accepted it.
Then one day I had a rather amazing occurrence. I had become acquainted with a newly married couple and when we were having a party I hypnotized the wife while the husband was at the store. I took her back to several previous lives and she described names and dates in great detail. After I brought her back to the present her husband returned and he was completely unaware of anything his wife had said (No he wasn't listening at the door). He agreed to hypnosis and to my amazement he described two previous lifetimes in exactly the same detail as his wife. His wife had stated her husband's name in a previous life and he recalled that same name. They were husband and wife in at least two previous lifetimes. Their stories coincided exactly. Maybe that old devil was at it again I thought! Still my faith was unshaken and I decided to put it on the shelf and wait.
Meanwhile I found out that many people went back to previous lifetimes under hypnosis to discover that they were of a completely different race. They were regressed to people that they could not have been related to. My race memory theory began to break apart. Still I figured that there could be no reincarnation as it would shatter too many cherished principles of the gospel, yet there must be an answer.
on hypnosis by J.J. (Jan. 8, 2000):
Someone asked about my use of hypnosis when I was young to discover past lives. Doesn't it take away free will?
The answer is no. Hypnosis does not take away free will any more than going to sleep at night takes it away. Unless you have brainwashed the person as well as hypnotized him you cannot make a person do anything under hypnosis that he is not willing to do out of hypnosis. A person's character traits can be amplified, but one will not go against his principles.
Even so hypnosis does have it's dangers and I cringe when I watch stage hypnotists misusing the art for a cheap laugh. Many of them seem oblivious to the potential negative result of some of their suggestions.
I have found that people can go back into past lives with out using hypnosis so I rarely use it any more.
Hypnosis, if used wisely can be a tool for good and is in no way a tool of the devil unless a devil is using it.
Finally, the answer came. I will not give out all the details, but the spirit of the Lord came to me and gave me a commandment which was my "Test of Abraham" only I considered it to be an even greater test because the commandment would even effect me in the world to come.
And Abraham's test would not? It seems a bit precarious to be comparing our tests and saying one is more difficult than another, for the purpose of any given test is to try you to your limit -- whatever that is, whoever you are.
Why would the Lord command me to do something contrary to my will and contrary to producing a state of happiness? I thought. I would be damned if I obeyed and damned if I disobeyed, yet I put all the faith I had in the goodness of God and submitted. God did not come down and erase all the problems his commandment created, I had to struggle with them, but as compensation to those who obey His will he paved the way for greater knowledge. I began to see that His commandment would only be fair if there were more than one life. Perhaps there was something I had done in a past life to warrant the commandment I had received, then if there were future lives all inequalities could be justified. I began to ponder on this idea considerably and as I did I began to experience the truth of the words of Alma: "If it be a true seed, or a good seed... behold it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves it must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me." Alma 32:28
As I pondered more I saw how reincarnation was a master piece of a giant jigsaw puzzle that threw light on the entire scene. I began to see how little we really know. It is like the story of the three blind men and the elephant. One grabs a leg and says "I perceive that the elephant is like a tree." The second grabs the trunk and states: "No, no the elephant is like a large hose." The third grabs the tail and says: "you're both wrong. The elephant is like a rope." Actually, all three men were right, but because they only had a portion of the truth they had an entirely wrong idea of the whole elephant. This is the way it is with us. That portion that we have is correct, but we as a people have an entirely wrong idea of what the whole elephant looks like. The Lord has said "I shall also speak unto ALL NATIONS of the earth and THEY SHALL WRITE IT." II Nephi 29:12 The Lord has indeed spoken to all nations of the earth and they have written it, but because that portion describes the tail, trunk or ear of the elephant and does not agree with the leg that we have we rise up and condemn them as being of the devil. The key to judge was given by Moroni: "Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God." Moroni 7:12 Read all of Moroni chapter seven and you will have a good idea of how to find the "best books" that Joseph Smith was commanded to search out.
Yes, the idea of many lives began to be delicious to me and enlighten my understanding, and broaden my mind. I can, however, understand many people's repulsion to it for as many say "Once is enough!" They say this because they never want to go through the trials they have had in life again, but what men fail to realize is that this earth is the hell most often talked about in the scriptures and it will continue to be until we follow Jesus' advice to "take my yoke upon you... and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matt 11:29-30. When a person reaches a certain point of progression along the path he begins to overcome his enemies and actually looks forward to future trials and almost relishes in them. The burdens and cares of earth life begin to be light "And they desire a better country, that is an heavenly." Heb. 11:16.
Reincarnation also answered some strange aspects of our doctrine. For instance, The church believes that not only will all men be resurrected but all living things will. This is derived from the scripture: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." I Cor 15:22 This "all" we are told means everything including animal, birds, bees plants, insects and even bacteria. Has anyone ever stopped to think what this would mean? It would mean that every fly that has ever lived would come back and be immortal. Taking into consideration the shorter life span of the fly the results would spell disaster indeed. For every man now living there may have only a couple times that amount since Adam, but for every fly now living there would have been thousands perhaps millions! This could mean that in the resurrection there may be a million times more flies than there is now!!! Do you call that heaven? How about bacteria? A man grows much more than his body weight in a lifetime of bacteria alone. A man's body will not be able to hold all of that when he comes back so what will happen? Are we going to have immortal heaps of bacteria scattered around to distort our countryside? Even if the animals alone are brought back they would be so numerous that it would make life unbearable for humans. I might ad: Let us hope that the immortal mosquito does not attempt to get whatever is in our immortal veins!
If such a point as this is brought up to the typical Mormon he will smile and say: "Don't worry yourselves about such matters. God will work it all out."
God not only will work it all out, He already has. The fly will never reach immortality as a fly, even though his intelligence will never die and always progresses. Instead at death the fly goes to the spirit world and comes back a short time later as a fly again. Thus there is a limited number of spirits that take bodies as flies so we do not have to worry about being overwhelmed in any resurrection. An oversoul for an insect may even control numerous bodies at one incarnation. This is why there is such great unity and cooperation in various groups in the insect world. Another interesting point is the fly, when it fills the measure of its' creation will disappear completely from this earth. Then the spirits will be free to seek another and higher form.
"But that can't be true!" says one. "All things will be resurrected and be immortal."
Sorry, but that is not what the scriptures say. According to them only one has achieved immortality: "That thou keep this commandment without spot unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; WHO ONLY HATH IMMORTALITY, dwelling in a light which no man can approach unto..." I Tim 6:16. This is indeed an amazing scripture for it plainly tells us that only the Christ possesses immortality or the Greek ATHANASIA which means literally "Deathlessness" and is only found three places in the scriptures, none of which conflict with the above. Why if this scripture is true it would mean that those who were resurrected with the Christ are not yet immortal and will die again. That also means that, at least up to the time of Timothy, no one else had experienced an immortal resurrection as Jesus did. That means that there is more than one type of resurrection as is plainly manifest in the scripture: "Others were tortured not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a BETTER RESURRECTION." Heb 11:35. Also there are three Greek words from which the word "resurrection" is translated. Putting all the pieces of the puzzle together we can safely say that only the highest resurrection produces immortality and man must pass through numerous lifetimes and "receive not a fullness at first... but continue from grace to grace (life to life), until he receive a fullness." D&C 93:12-13. We must do as Jesus did and progress from life to life until we become like unto: "a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." Eph 4:13 Then we may step forward ourselves and be like the savior as we have been commanded (Matt 5:48) and become the savior of an age: "That you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time (after many lifetimes) receive of his fullness." D&C 93:19.
Chapter 2 -- The Inseparable Connection
My mind reflects back now to another curiosity in Mormon doctrine caused by a lack of information. The Church believes that many of us will go to the celestial kingdom and there become Gods and have spirit children and eventually create our own worlds and people them. Then the people on those worlds will pray to us and worship us as Gods. Since the course of God is "one eternal round" I Nephi 10:19 that means that the course of God in the past will be like that of the future. Taking this into account it means that our God at one time lived on another world like this. This is recognized by Mormon doctrine since Lorenzo Snow said "as man is God once was." Now the question arises that when God was on this other world was he the Savior of that world, or was he an Apostle, or maybe he was just an Elder who was a faithful home teacher. Then too he may have died as a baby and only breathed a few breaths. Maybe he was born during a Millennium and knew no sin. Let's suppose that God was a typical member of the Church in His day. He had to spend most of his life just earning a living. 'He paid his tithes and offerings and did his home teaching and obeyed his Bishop. He never had any opportunity to be a savior, he would have never dreamed of comparing himself to such. Finally, he died and went off to the spirit world and there by some mysterious process learned everything necessary to be a God. Now he is up there in heaven and we worship him. The question I now have is would not God feel humiliated to have a Son like Jesus who showed him up so much when he came down for his life? If this were the case then Jesus did ten times as good in his earth life as his Father did. How can I show due respect to a God that has not experienced all the tribulation of earth life that I have? Such a God could not succor me in every time of need. One can only have a very limited number of experiences and trials in one life. Each person I meet can only understand a portion of my problems because only a portion of his problems are similar to mine. What right did God have to command Abraham to take the life of his son if he had not went through a similar experience himself? What right did God have to expect his son to be a savior if he had not done so himself?
Let us suppose that ten million souls on God's original earth made it to the celestial kingdom and became Gods. That would roughly mean that we have one chance in ten million of having for our god the person that was the savior of a world. Chances would be our God is merely some Elder that did his duty. but wait! The scriptures tell us that we are the lucky ones! Our God was the Savior of a world. Jesus said: "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what HE SEETH THE FATHER DO: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth." John 5:19-20 Here we have it! God must have been a savior at one time for what Jesus did when he was here was almost a carbon copy of what he saw the Father did. Our God then certainly does deserve our respect, but what about the other Gods who were not Saviors? How can their only begotten Sons say that they are doing what their Fathers did? How could they teach anyone else to be a Savior if they have not learned how and proven it through an actual life as a Savior themselves? They could not. To become a God we must "overcome all things" D&C 76:60 and "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." I Cor 15:26. Jesus overcame all things and the last enemy he overcame was death and after many lives it will be our last enemy for we as yet have not overcome all things and him "only hath immortality". I Tim 6:16.
How could one possibly overcome all the weaknesses of mortality in one life??? Many believe that in some mysterious way we do not understand we will overcome the weaknesses of the flesh in the spirit. But how can this be so? If one did not pay his tithing because he was worried about feeding his family how can he possibly gain the faith necessary to do this in the spirit where he does not have to worry about survival. One can only overcome the things of the flesh IN THE FLESH. It is as Jesus said to his disciples:
"And I will show it plainly as I showed it unto my disciples as I stood before them in the flesh and spake unto them saying: As ye have asked me concerning the signs of my coming, in the day when I shall come in my glory in the clouds Of heaven, to fulfill the promises that I have made unto your fathers. For as ye have looked upon the long absence of your spirits from your bodies to be a bondage, I wil1 show unto you how the day of redemption shall come... D&C 45:16-17 Here Jesus was talking to the disciples during his mortal life and he commented on the apostles grumbling about the hardship of their spirits being separate from their bodies, obviously in the past. But if that was their first life, when were their spirits ever separated from their bodies and, how did they know it was a bondage? If their spirits had previously been separated from their bodies then sometime in their past they occupied other bodies. The disciples were merely complaining about their lack of progress between lifetimes!
The disciples like Abraham had lived numerous lives as shown in the scriptures: "And Joshua said unto the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, your father dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time... (The other side of the flood probably means before the days of the flood of Noah) ... And I took Abraham FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FLOOD, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan..." Joshua 24:2-3. This scripture certainly implies that Abraham lived on the other side of the flood or before the flood in a previous lifetime
It is as Joseph Smith said: We progress "from grace to grace and exaltation to exaltation until we attain the resurrection of the dead' History of the Church Vol 6:306 The resurrection talked about here is not merely being "born again" or reincarnating as many of the scriptures on the resurrection are referring to, but he is referring to the immortal state referred to by Paul when he said "this mortal must put on immortality" I Cor 15:53. For most that is many lives down the road, for according to Joseph Smith we must even be exalted BEFORE we attain this resurrection. Joseph had to cleverly disguise the doctrine for he would have been butchered if he had publicly introduced it.
John Taylor clearly pointed out the need to overcome all things: "If any man or woman expects to enter into the celestial kingdom of our God without being tested to the very uttermost, they have not understood the gospel. If there is a weak spot in our nature, or if there is a fiber that can be made to quiver or to shrink, we may rest assured that it will be tested." THE KINGDOM OF GOD OR NOTHING page 345. "For everyone shall be salted with fire." Mark 9:49 "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even AS I ALSO OVERCAME, and am set down with my Father in his throne." Rev. 3:21
Clearly, then, we are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and eventually live the perfect life: "And he that overcometh and keepeth my works unto the end to him wil1 I give power over the nations.. EVEN AS I RECEIVED OF MY FATHER. Rev 2:26-27 "As my Father hath sent me, even so I send you." John 20:21. Finally God says: "Him that over cometh I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, AND HE SHALL GO NO MORE OUT (Shall not have to be reborn) Rev 3:12
To show clearly that we only achieve immortality after we achieve the status of the Christ we quote: "For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive fullness of joy. And when separated, man cannot receive fullness of joy." D&C 93:33-34 Now I will make a statement that is beyond refute: If a fullness of joy is produced by an inseparable connection of the body and spirit, and since those in the lower kingdoms (telestial and terrestrial) do not have fullness of joy then their spirits and bodies ARE NOT inseparably connected and must die again. Joseph Smith said something similar to this. He said that in the lower kingdoms that men would continue to suffer sickness and affliction. If men continue to suffer disease then death has to follow. Where there is corruption there is always the disintegration of the form. The scriptures are clear "Whatsoever temple (body) is defiled, GOD SHALL DESTROY THAT TEMPLE." D&C 93:35. All those in the lower kingdoms have sinned and defiled their temples so they shall be destroyed. Furthermore I must point out that a Fullness of joy which produces immortality only comes in the presence of God: "In thy presence is fullness of joy." Psalms 16:11 "They shall inherit the kingdom of God...and their joy shall be full forever." II Nephi 9:18. Finally we see that fullness of joy comes from living a life like the Christ: "And for this cause ye shall have fullness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, EVEN AS THE FATHER HATH GIVEN ME FULLNESS OF JOY; AND YE SHALL BE EVEN AS I AM..." III Nephi 28:10.
That there is a resurrection of corruption is plainly set forth: "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Often in a future life). For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh REAP CORRUPTION (Greek PHTHORA means decay); but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." Gal 6:7-8. The doctrine of reincarnation was revealed to Joseph Smith near the end of his life, but instead of calling it reincarnation he called it "eternal lives". D&C 132:25&55. The church has always assumed that the reason the word "lives" is plural is because more than one will achieve eternal life, or the husband and wife together make eternal lives, but this idea does not coincide with the scripture: "But if she (Emma) will not abide this commandment, then shall my servant Joseph do all things for her, even as he hath said; and I will bless HIM (singular) and multiply him and give unto him an HUNDREDFOLD IN THIS WORLD, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of ETERNAL LIVES IN THE ETERNAL WORLDS." D&C 132:55. Here the Lord was definitely speaking to Joseph Smith alone, not including his wife or anyone else and promised him IN THIS WORLD (this earth existence) an hundredfold of fathers and mothers (whoever heard of having one hundred fathers and mothers?) brothers and sisters, houses (know anyone who lived in one hundred houses?) lands (How could he live in one hundred countries in one life?), wives and children (Joseph Smith never had one hundred wives and children in this world). Remember up to now the scripture deals with "this World" or mortality so don't say God is referring to the next world. The scripture plainly points out that only the last few words refers to the next world: "And crowns of eternal lives (plural) in the eternal worlds (plural). In other words we will live many lives on many other different earths, worlds far superior to this. Instead of living on a Telestial earth like this we will go to terrestrial and celestial worlds made of matter whose atoms vibrate to a purer tone whose nucleus of light shines through unfolded electrons until the bodies shine like the sun where there is no night. The highest glory we may obtain in this Telestial world is to be "servants of the Most High." D&C 76:112. All the worlds you see in the sky at night are of a Telestial order. The higher worlds are in a light we cannot approach.
Not only did my own experiments and scriptures such as the above help convince me of reincarnation, but there are hundreds of documented cases of people remembering their past lives. A typical case was a girl I read about in India. She began to insist that her parents called her by the wrong name. Her real name was something else and her real home was several hundred miles away. She gave vivid descriptions of her family, relatives and events. Then she revealed that she died when she was seven. Out of curiosity her parents took her to the other village, which she had never seen in this life, and discovered her story to be true. Not only were her parents amazed, but the couple in the other village were convinced their little girl had come back from the grave. Like I say there are hundreds of documented cases like this by qualified researchers. Sometimes the child will even speak a foreign language if her last life was in a foreign country. How does one explain it??? The devil you say. Yes the devil is a good one to blame for anything we do not understand, but remember we call others ignorant because they say the Devil wrote the book of Mormon. Let us not put ourselves in their shoes. The Adversary has bounds he cannot pass and he cannot tempt little children.
Interestingly, many of the American Indians believed in reincarnation. The Dakota tribe taught that man lived at least four lives and in between those lives he lived with the Gods and received instruction in magic and healing. Many of the Indian medicine men claimed to remember past lives. The Indian hunters did not believed they actually killed an animal, but just deprived it of its body for a short time. Often among the Eskimos if there is an old man who knows he is going to die he will find a young couple that he likes and ask permission to be their future child. If they accept he will give that couple his personal things that he wants for his next life and then wander off to die. There are numerous occurrences where babies of such couples will claim such articles as their own, and for a short period of time have a recollection of the past life associated with them.
All these things helped me to believe in reincarnation, but I did not know it for sure until the day I discovered that I had lived before. This changed my whole life and outlook and opened my eyes to a new world of seeing.
I was amazed and almost wished it wasn't true, but for once in my life I realized that an average member of the church like myself may become aware of the truth of many doctrines that neither the prophet or the General authorities know anything about.
All things which are written in our imperfect language are subject to imperfection so I do not claim my words to be infallible, but the essence of what is written is true and if you read this with a sincere heart prayerfully, really wanting to know then the Holy Ghost will manifest the truth of it to you. The promise in the Book of Mormon pertains to all true works. Read Alma 32 and D&C 9:7-9 and see if the doctrine of reincarnation does not generate the feelings and results described. You are commanded to "try the spirits whether they are of God." I John 4:1. Remember you are not commanded to ignore the sprits or claim they are from the devil, or to try and destroy them, but "try them". It is as Joseph Smith said: "When was the time that I was ever confounded?" This doctrine cannot be confounded or proved wrong because it is true and it is in the scriptures despite the efforts of the Great and Abominable Church to remove all reference to the doctrine. The truth cannot be removed and darkness only lasts during the night and then cometh the day and we see with a perfect light.
Chapter 3 -- Precept Upon Precept
The doctrine of reincarnation will be a comfort to the pure in heart, a stumbling block and thorn in the side to those who make flesh their arm and rely on priestcraft, and darkness to those who reject it and are now in the twilight zone of belief. This doctrine is not a new revelation. It is believed by over half the people in the world and is also plainly manifest in our scriptures as we shall show, yet this teaching is declared by some authorities to be the doctrine of the devil. Since the church authorities believe this to be the doctrine of the devil, they are likely to believe that I am from the devil. This is no new experience for a bearer of truth, for of Jesus the people (especially the leaders) thought that "He hath a devil and is mad so why hear ye him." John 10:20. Others thought "he hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth out devils." Mark 3:22. Many thought that John the Baptist was a wild man and that Jesus was a glutton and wine bibber. Some Jews thought the apostles were drunkards. Lehi's' family thought that he was a deluded dreamer. Others thought Lehi's descendants Nephi and Lehi in the third book of Nephi were insane. In modern times the world has fulfilled Moroni's promise to Joseph Smith that "his name should be had for good and evil among all nations." Joseph Smith 2:33. Many who are in darkness believe that he was lead by the devil. It is a common thing that when a rock of truth is thrown into a stagnate pool - there are ripples of repulsion and those who are in self righteous apathy are awakened and forced to fight either for or against God.
The time is verily coming when "out of His (the Christ) mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations." Rev 19:15. The sharp sword is truth or the word of God, and that word shall smite the hearts of the children of men among the nations, "and the guilty taketh the truth to be hard for it cutteth them to the very center." I Nephi 16:2. On the other hand, the righteous receive "the Holy Ghost even the comforter which sheweth all things and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom. D&C 39:6.
The doctrine of reincarnation is indeed peaceable to the righteous. Unfortunately, it is a difficult doctrine for the average Mormon to accept, and because of this I must present it with the authority of the scriptures for only by seeing how it is taught in the standard works can the average Mormon come close to accepting it. If one were to merely explain the doctrine with no authority he would be burned at the stake as an apostate if the laws of the land would permit it. The official doctrine of the Church is that only the four standard works are to be accepted as doctrine. Since the prophets of various generations have disagreed with each other, even their statements are not binding doctrine unless voted on and accepted by the church as scripture. With this in view we shall prove this "strange doctrine" from that which is accepted: the scriptures.
Alma said "Ye ought to search the scriptures." Alma 33:2. Notice that he did not say "read", but search. People think that if they read them they are fulfilling the commandment, but on the other hand those who do fulfill the commandment and discover "mysteries" are seen by many as agents of deception. Many rise up and condemn and become as Satan "the accuser of our brethren". Rev, 12:10.
Many insinuate that searching out mysteries is wrong. I boldly declare this to be a doctrine of the Adversary, of the carnal apathetic mind who does nothing until he is commanded and receiveth no reward. D&C 58:26-29. Are we to be condemned for being like Nephi: "also having great desires to know the mysteries of God." I Nephi 2:16. Chose ye this day! Are you like Nephi or are you like the-Latter-Day Saints in his prophecy that "is at ease in Zion." II Nephi 28:24. "Wo be unto him that shall say WE HAVE RECEIVED THE WORD OF GOD, and we need no more word of God, for we have enough!" II Nephi 28:29.
Members read this and think it's talking about the non Mormons and forget that Nephi was talking to those who are "at ease in Zion," and to those who "have received the word of God." The LDS is the only major Christian church who has claimed to receive the word of God. "Wo unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men, for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in." Matt 23:13. At a general conference I heard a general authority say that he did not know all there was to know about faith so why be bothered about the weightier doctrines until we learn the simple ones. Another said the reason the general authorities repeat the same things over and over is because the saints have not learned them yet. Now on the surface this sounds logical until you actually try and apply the principle in any kind of learning activity. I remember-when I enrolled in Algebra II I probably did not know one third of what was in my Algebra I book, but I struggled at it and pretty soon the new concepts fell into place and I was able to grasp the higher principles. I found I began to remember and understand teachings I had forgotten or did not clearly grasp before. If I had applied the above peculiar philosophy and learned everything first in Algebra I it would have spelled disaster because I would have become very bored with all the repetition and frustrated that I could not remember everything perfectly. Requiring perfect learning before more is given could keep a student in Algebra I until he dies, and this is what happens to the to the typical Latter-Day Saint. Satan laughs and his angels rejoice that members are kept in Mormon One until they die, for he knows that "it is impossible to be saved in ignorance. D&C 131:6 "A man is saved no faster than he gains knowledge."
"Behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept... II Nephi 30-31. "Precept MUST BE added upon precept." Isaiah 28:10. Interestingly, even the world in its folly realizes that precept must be added upon precept. If the world is this wise - the why not the church?
Isaiah gives a good example: "Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he not open and break the clods of his ground? When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rye in their place?" Isa 28:24-25. Isaiah's admonition to ancient Israel is still applicable today. When we teach the same things over and over to the same person for his seventy-two years we are doing what Isaiah says even a plowman has the sense not to do. Does a plowman always plow??? No No No. When he is done he "casts in the principal wheat" and works toward the harvest. The Church has, for several generations, been plowing the same field over and over, but the seed which is the word of God has not been sowed and the harvest which is the gathering of Israel (Lights) into a land of Zion (not to church meetings), or the coming "out of Babylon" Rev 18:4 has not been accomplished, nor are there any concrete steps taken to fulfill the commandment of the gathering for we are "at ease in Zion." II Nephi 28:21.
Now I proceed to fulfill a commandment "that the time is verily come that it is necessary and expedient in me that you should open your mouths in proclaiming my gospel, the things of the kingdom, EXPOUNDING THE MYSTERIES THEREOF OUT OF THE SCRIPTURES according to that portion of the spirit and power which shall be given unto you." D&C 71:1. If this means opposition, to fulfill this commandment, then one must drink the cup for men do not "light a candle and put it under a bushel." Matt 5:15 Unto you who read this: "Ask that you may know the mysteries of God. D&C 8:11 "And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." Moroni 10:5.
It is much more difficult for a Mormon to accept the doctrine of reincarnation than someone who has no religion at all simply because the mind of a member is not open to doctrine that has not been revealed. If any unusual doctrine is presented to the typical member he will reply "If that is true why hasn't the prophet told us?" For some reason he assumes that no one could possibly know any truth unless the prophet proclaims it. He also assumes that the prophet knows everything there is to know. Many believe that he has daily walks with Jesus. Why so many assume such things when the prophet himself makes no such claim is a mystery in itself. Brigham Young clearly stated that those who make it to the celestial kingdom must not "pin their faith on another's sleeve." He said that we must go forward with the independence of heaven and do what is right even though the whole world take an opposite course. Joseph Smith once complained that the members minds were "darkened" because they relied on him for all their inspiration.
If we give the prophet the benefit of the doubt and take for granted that he has knowledge of the doctrine it is still quite possible that he would not reveal it as it would cause quite an upheaval in the church. Also, an important principle members often overlook is that the Lord only gives to those who "study it out in their minds" and then ask. I doubt if any of the general authorities have studied this out in their minds, seriously that is. Position does not give a person automatic access to the mind of God. Faith does. Joseph Smith was a Non Member not ordained to any priesthood when he had his first vision. The president of the church has to have as much faith to receive a revelation as you or I do. The only advantage he has over the lowest member is that the entire church will listen to him. If this is true, says one, why do you proclaim your doctrine? Where do you get your authority?
The answer is quite simple. I need no authority. I am not teaching any doctrine as "church doctrine" I am merely teaching it as truth. I am obeying the commandment given to all members: "And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom." D&C 88:77 In Joseph Smith's day the church was much more tolerant of individual expression. If a controversial doctrine was brought up it was presented before the High Council and the president thereof sought a revelation to clarify it. I do not expect any such consideration of these teachings. This treatise is not to the church, but to anyone in the world who seeks knowledge. If anyone has an ear let him hear. Who needs authority to present truth to the world? What authority had Edison? Einstein? Tesla? Bell? and others. They discovered truth and they were under a moral obligation to present it to the world or their talent would have been taken from them. I am a scientist like them. I discovered truth by experimentation and I present it. Like all revelators, the great scientists in the past have all met with great opposition when they presented their discoveries. These teachings will, of course, be opposed by those who do not believe as I do or cannot discern the light of the scriptures. It is no crime to disagree with someone, but when one takes a step to destroy his fellow man merely because he doesn't like his doctrine, you may be assured he has lost the spirit "For it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!" Matt 18:7
When any new or unaccepted doctrine is introduced to a people it has to be presented and accepted by only a few at first, then to others as they can bear the light. This has been the case throughout history. When teaching, Jesus took his disciples aside and said: "It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them (the general public) it is not given. 1I Matt 13:11. Jesus gave the apostles many teachings that were never written down, but passed down orally for many generations because the common member was not ready for it. Yet many of the mysteries are not lost, but cleverly hidden in the scriptures. "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing." Proverbs 25:2. The doctrines of the plurality of Gods as well as celestial marriage had to be taught secretly before they were openly released. This situation is not permanent however. The scriptures tell us of "A time to come in the which nothing shall be withheld..." D&C 121:28. The time is rapidly approaching when all "who remain, even from the least unto the greatest ... shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye." D&C 84:98. Man will have so much pure intelligence he will learn for himself and not need to establish teachers over him: "And they shall TEACH NO MORE every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying Know the Lord:: for they shall ALL know me..." Jer 31:34
Chapter 4 -- One Death or Many?
Why do the present authorities teach that reincarnation is the doctrine of the Devil?
It all stems, as do many false doctrines, from an original misinterpretation, and each succeeding authority did not have a mind to contradict the preceding ones. It's as Joseph Smith said in the King Follett discourse. If we start right we can go right all the time, but if we start amiss we will continue to error.
In November 1835 a man who went by the name of Joshua paid a visit to Joseph Smith. The man evidently had some truth for Joseph said he made some "excellent remarks". However, Joseph Smith was suspicious of him and discovered that he was Robert Mathias of New York who had endured trials for "murder, man slaughter, contempt of court, whipping his daughter, etc." Despite this Joseph entertained him for a few days and finally asked him to enlighten him "on his views respecting the resurrection." Matthias made four statements 1. He was a literal descendant of Matthias, the apostle. 2. The spirit of Matthias was resurrected in him. 3. The scheme of eternal life was the transmigration of the spirit from father to son. 4. He was the spirit of truth itself and possessed the soul of Christ.
To this Joseph Smith said "I told him that his doctrine was of the devil, that he was in reality in possession of a wicked and depraved spirit." Joseph pressed him to leave and upon his departing he said: "And so I, for once, cast out the devil in bodily shape, and I believe a murderer." History of the Church Vol. 2; pages 304-307.
Let's examine the four statements of Matthias and see if Joseph Smith was correct about him. The first statement is really the only one that may be true. It is possible that he was a descendant of Matthias. Intellectually, we have no way of knowing the truth of this one.
It's very unlikely that he possessed the spirit of Matthias, the Apostle, since he (Robert Matthias) himself was a murderer. Chances are very slim that one of the original twelve apostles would come back as a murderer and wife beater.
Number three is also false doctrine since the scheme of things is not to have one spirit passed down from father to son. One is often reincarnated in a body unrelated to a previous life.
Number four is also false doctrine as he certainly did not possess the soul of Christ.
Interestingly we can believe in the true doctrine of reincarnation and yet say along with Joseph Smith that the man's doctrine was of the adversary.
It is easy to misunderstand the statements of the prophets if we just have a portion of their thoughts. For instance Mormon called the baptism of infants "solemn mockery before God.". If this was the only statement of the prophets we had concerning baptism then the natural man would automatically assume that all baptism is mockery and no one would be caught dead getting baptized. People take Joseph's only statement dealing directly with reincarnation and apply it to the whole vast doctrine of eternal lives as the doctrine of the devil. We must remember that there is more to an elephant than a leg.
Just like many Christians misunderstand Mormonism many also misunderstand reincarnation. Some erroneously believe the doctrine teaches that one may be a rock or toad in the next life. This, of course, is not true and is completely out of harmony with any teaching on eternal progression. It is, however, a good tool to make a mockery out of a sacred belief: 'Watch out! Don't step on that ant. He may be your dead Uncle!!!" As a general rule a person enhances his form and becomes more like God in each incarnation, but if a person were to sin against the Holy Ghost he would suffer a terrible
retrogression for a long period of time. As Brigham Young said he would go back to his native element and start his progression all over again. He said such a thing would take myriads of ages. See the Journal of discourses Vol. l; page l18, 213-214, 275; and Vol. 5; page 95. If one had to start his progression all over that would take at least one reincarnation right there.
With as many scriptures as there are to prove reincarnation both in the Bible and Latter-Day works, it's amazing that many Christian religions don't accept the doctrine. There are a few though, which on the surface, do seem to refute it. These few scriptures Christendom pounce on immediately, ignoring the rest. We shall pounce on them too and take away their punch.
The most common and powerful scripture against reincarnation is: "And as it is appointed unto men ONCE TO DIE, but after this the judgment." Heb 9:27 The argument is, of course, that if man only dies once, then he could only be born once, thus there could be no reincarnation. You may think this scripture puts us in a corner, but it's not nearly as bad of a fix as when a Jehovah's Witness quotes to a Mormon missionary ""God is a Spirit" John 4:24, or "no man hath seen God at any time." John 1:18 About the only good explanation a Mormon can give is that they are mistranslations, but of course, to a Jehovah's Witness - this is completely unacceptable.
Instead of just ignoring this scripture we shall examine it in the light of day. Just as many scriptures differ in meaning with the above quotes from John many seemingly contradict Hebrews. Paul said: "I die daily." I Cor 15-31. Since we are told that men only die once we must ask ourselves what kind of death he is talking about in both scriptures? Also, we must take into consideration that the people he was writing to in Hebrews had little if any knowledge of Eternal Lives and they assumed that men lived and died only once. Thus the writer used this phrase to show to them the sacrifice of Christ in language they could understand. The scripture's surface meaning meant just what it said, but it also had a second hidden meaning, as do most of the doctrinal scriptures as Jesus explained with his parables. (Matt 13:11
The key to the hidden meaning is the phrase: "But after this the judgment." Also important is that death is appointed unto "men" (plural) or the human race as a whole.
We see that when this one death is over there is "the judgment." But does the judgment come after the regular physical death? No ! The judgment comes at the "last Day" Then all men shall be judged of their works.". II Nephi 9:44 The reason the last day is called such is because it is the last day of man's spiritual death, and after this is the judgment.
"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and Hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Rev 20:12-15.
Let us examine the meaning for further light: "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it." What is the sea? The scripture explains: "The waters (the sea) which thou sawest where the whore sitteth are the peoples, and multitudes, and nations and tongues." Rev 17:15. We are told that "Death (Physical death II Nephi 9:11) and Hell (the spiritually dead in hell. II Nephi 9:12) delivered up the dead which were in them." Thus we see that on the last day ALL the spiritually dead including those still living on the earth (The sea) and all the Spirit world (Death and Hell) will be judged, and those who cannot abide the judgment must suffer a "second death" and be cast into the lake of fire (or another round of
numerous lives of sorrow).
Exactly what is the second death? Mormons have a vague idea of the truth when they say it is being cut off from the presence of God a second time, but how does this happen? The scripture explains: "therefore, I, the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out from the Garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression, wherein he became spiritually dead, which is the FIRST DEATH, EVEN THE SAME DEATH WHICH IS THE LAST DEATH, which is spiritual, which shall be pronounced on the wicked when I shall say: Depart ye cursed." D&C 29:41
What was the first death??? It was being cut off from the presence of God and being placed in a state of probation in a MORTAL STATE subject to death and disease and this is "that same death which is the last death" (second death). Therefore those who suffer the second death will be (1) Cut off from the presence of God and (2) suffer disease and PHYSICAL DEATH all over again. There is no other way the second death could be the same as the first death as the scripture says..
Those who do not suffer the second death: "The same shall overcome and shall receive an inheritance UPON THE EARTH when the day of transfiguration shall come." D&C 63:20 When the Earth is transfigured it will be quickened to abide the terrestrial glory and all the telestial stars and planets we see about us will disappear and there will be "a new heaven and a new earth". Those spirits who cannot abide the transfiguration must go to another planet in the telestial kingdom or "must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory." D&C 88:24. These Sons of Perdition with no glory will be sent to a kingdom of darkness where they will return to their original intelligence to start their progression all over again.
Now we complete the hidden meaning of the scripture in debate if you can receive it: "And as it is appointed unto (the race of) men once (on this earth) to die (spiritual death), but after this the judgment (and transfiguration).
As we said, many scriptures have more than one interpretation. Now let us take a second view of Hebrews 9:27
Let's refresh our memory and quote it one more time: "And as it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment."
The "once to die" sounds like an absolute statement not open to debate until we realize that it is boldly contradicted by the scriptures themselves: "Broad is the gate, and wide the way that leadeth to THE DEATHS..." D&C 132:25
We have also talked about a "second death," so obviously in the big picture the "once to die" statement is not literal.
After we are told that man only dies once the scripture says "BUT after this the judgment." The word "but" comes from the Greek ALLA which literally means contrariwise. In other words, it indicates that the information that is forthcoming may contradict that which has just been said.
That would mean that "after this the judgment" may have an opposite meaning to "it is appointed unto men once to die". It would indicate an exception as in the sentence: "I rise every morning at 8:00 A.M., except when the alarm does not go off."
We shall see that when we examine the Greek word for "judgment" that the second half of the sentence does indeed contradict the first.
The word "judgment" here comes from the Greek word KRISIS. This is one of the most misunderstood words in the entire Bible. Translators don't quite seem to know how to handle it and have rendered it according to their bias rather than the actual meaning. In the King James version it is translated as: accusation, condemnation, damnation, and judgment, but none of these portrays the word accurately.
The modern English word "crisis" (which is derived from the Greek word KRISIS) is a more accurate rendering than the Bible translations. The actual Greek word implies a decision that brings correction. It is hard to give the meaning of this word with one English word, but the word "correction" would probably be the closest.
The best scripture to help us understand the KRISIS is from John 5:28-29: "The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (KRISIS)." Here Jesus divides all resurrections into two categories. The first he calls the "resurrection of life" and the second "the resurrection of damnation". "Damnation" is a mistranslation. The Greek KRISIS is more correctly rendered "correction" or "judgment that forces correction" and generally refers to the second resurrection. Taking this into consideration let us retranslate Hebrews 9:27: "And as it is appointed unto mankind once to be dying, but on the other hand, after this comes (the resurrection of) correction."
Another stumbling block to a Mormon accepting reincarnation is the doctrine of the resurrection. This, of course, is not peculiar to the Mormon faith as many Christians have various beliefs on the resurrection which does not coincide with reincarnation. We find, though, that when we examine the standard works, we, on the other hand, have difficulty in justifying the normal doctrine of resurrection with them.
The scripture creating the main problem states that after the resurrection "neither can they die any more." Luke 20:36. In examining this scripture let us first state that we recognize that there are three degrees of glory after the resurrection; yet the scriptures point out there are two types of resurrections and one must recognize this to determine what the prophets were talking about. The official doctrine is that "in Christ shall ALL be made alive." I Cor 15:22. This is interpreted to mean that all men will be resurrected. Two resurrections are pointed out by John: "All that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. The Greek for damnation is Krisis. From this word comes the English "crisis" which crisis forces decision. Krisis is most often translated "judgment" and indicates correction by forcing decision upon one. Thus we have one resurrection of "life" and another of "judgment" implying correction.
Let us examine first the resurrection of life. This is the resurrection Paul talked about when he said "this mortal must put on immortality". I Cor. 15:53 This way we can eventually be like Him "Who only hath immortality" I Tim 6:16. Even though at the resurrection of Jesus "many of the bodies of the Saints which slept arose" Matt 27:52 only Jesus possessed immortality.
A point realized by few is that the immortal resurrection is not a free gift to all and must be obtained through great effort. Paul says that he was not advanced enough to yet obtain it: "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might ATTAIN (Greek KATANTAO Means struggle to arrive at) unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but follow after.'' Phil 3:10-12 If Paul was not yet perfected enough to receive an immortal resurrection like Jesus how can we expect it with one imperfect life?
Jesus also pointed out that there was a resurrection given to not just anyone: "But they which shall be ACCOUNTED WORTHY to obtain that world, AND THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD, neither marry nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more..." Luke 20:35-36 Clearly one must be accounted worthy to obtain this resurrection of life. One must be an even better man than Paul. Finally, Joseph Smith offers a statement that is impossible to misunderstand: "You have to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one: from grace to grace FROM EXALTATION TO EXALTATION until you ATTAIN THE RESURRECTION 0F THE DEAD." History of the Church; Vol. 6 Pg. 306
Where is there room for error??? Prophets both ancient and modern tell us that the immortal resurrection must be ATTAINED. We must be exalted and then exalted again before we can attain it. What! Says one. How can one be exalted without an immortal resurrection In the same sermon Joseph Smith said that "Those who have died in the faith are NOW in the Celestial Kingdom of God." History of the Church Vol. 6, Pg. 315. Here he was referring to the recently dead who had not obtained any physical resurrection. This certainly is a different idea than that of going to the spirit world to wait a resurrection to the celestial kingdom as taught in the missionary discussions. The scriptures teach the same doctrine: "There are two kinds of beings in heaven (the celestial glory), namely: angels who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones Secondly: the spirits of just men made perfect, they who are not resurrected, but inherit the same glory." D&C 129:1&3
So far we have come to some interesting conclusions: (1) There is both a mortal and immortal resurrection. (2) One may be exalted in the celestial kingdom BEFORE reaching the immortal resurrection.
Now we proceed to unfold a mystery dreamed of by few. The word of the Lord is "That same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there" (in the celestial kingdom). D&C 130:2 On the other hand, we are told that both spirits and resurrected personages dwell there. This fact causes one to question as to how this same sociality which exists here can exist there between a spirit and a personage of flesh and bones? How would they even shake hands? It would seem like it would be an extremely inconvenient way to live, but to understand the reality of eternal lives, one must understand how this same sociality does exist.
The prophet said: "There is no such thing as immaterial matter. ALL SPIRIT IS MATTER, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes: We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter." D&C 131:7-8 We see here that spirits were made of matter and bodies are also made of matter. What is the difference between the two? Basically very little for the Lord said that "man is Spirit" D&C 93:33. Paul said that the physical body is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body." I Cor 15-44 "The last Adam (Christ) was made a quickening spirit." Verse 45 Modern revelation agrees with this: "For notwithstanding they die, they also shall rise again, A SPIRITUAL BODY." D&C 88:27. Most do not think of a resurrected body of flesh and bones as a spiritual body, but it is obvious that a resurrected personage can change the state of the matter of his body from spirit to physical and reverse at will, When Jesus appeared to the disciples after his resurrection he passed his body through the wall and after let the apostles touch him. Luke 24:36-42. Just as man through his knowledge can make water ice and ice, water Jesus made his body vibrate to a higher vibration and it became spirit while he was going through the wall. Afterwards he lowered the vibration and it became solid so the disciples could touch him and he could eat flesh with them. Thus in the celestial kingdom the spirits of the just men made perfect and the resurrected personages vibrate on the same wave causing them both to have spiritual bodies and having sociality between one another.
One thing few people stop and ask themselves is: What is the real purpose of a body? The answer we receive is, of course, to become like God, but that is no answer, for we are still left wondering why God needs a body. The answer is quite simple. Our bodies, both spiritual and physical are merely vehicles of conscious thought. On the earth when one wants to go under the sea he uses a submarine to extend his consciousness in that area and that is the only way he can do it. If one wants to travel sixty miles an hour on the land he must use a car. If he wants to go in the air he will use an airplane. The same is true of a celestial being. If he wants to descend into physical matter he must create for himself a physical body by lowering the rate of his vibrations. If he wants to go to the celestial kingdom his body must be "quickened" or increased in vibrational rate so he can have a suitable vehicle to ascend. One does not use a submarine while flying and one does not use a physical body in the celestial kingdom; instead the scriptures plainly tell us we use a "spiritual body". Keeping in mind that bodies are vehicles of consciousness, bodies are useful only to the extent that they can carry and expand our intelligence to the infinite kingdoms of God.
It is true that after a celestial resurrection a person cannot die anymore as the scriptures say, but this must be clarified, for in describing the leg of an elephant it is difficult to give the correct impression of the entire body. It is true that a celestial body cannot die a physical death since it is spiritual and "it dieth no more"; nevertheless "with God ALL things are possible" Matt 10:27. A celestial being by using his free will can again become physical and subject to death again. Brigham Young taught this doctrine quite clearly; even though the church through lack of understanding is somewhat embarrassed to admit it. He stated that: "When Father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a CELESTIAL BODY." Journal of Discourses Vol. 1; Pg. 50. Brigham quoted Adam as saying: "I once dwelt UPON AN EARTH something like this, IN A MORTAL STATE, I was faithful, I received my crown and exaltation. I have the privilege of extending My work, and to its increase there shall be no end." (From an address given June 8, 1873 in the tabernacle. Reported in the DESERET NEWS June 18, 1873; pg. 308; Column 5.)
Concerning those who go to the celestial kingdom it is written:
D&C 76:59 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life OR DEATH, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ's, and Christ is God's. D&C 76:60 And they shall overcome all things.
These celestial beings we are told can choose "life or death" and they "shall" overcome all things indicating that a choice of death may be necessary to reach the final perfection.
Chapter 5 -- Immortal Bodies
As we put the pieces together the picture becomes clear: Adam was once a faithful mortal on another planet. He was faithful and was resurrected and went to the celestial kingdom. Then with the help of several brethren more intelligent than himself he organized this earth and came down here with his celestial body and eventually made it physical and mortal again to create a physical seed for himself. That's two lives for Adam right there. How can one deny it? You may say that Brigham Young did not know that he was talking about, but if one claims superior revelation to Brigham where are your works and words to show evidence of this intelligence? Art thou greater than Brigham?
Re: "Art thou greater than Brigham?"
Doctrinally, the statement "Art thou greater than Brigham?" flies in the face of a statement of the Savior himself who said, "greater things than these shall ye do." If we can surpass the Savior in any regard, then certainly we should not think Brigham is unsurpassable, nor Moses, nor Joseph Smith.
To some extent, Brigham is an earned authority among Mormon thinkers. He was taught many things in private by Joseph Smith and many of his fringe teachings agree with the scriptures and are verified by the soul. He was far from a perfect man, but he was very intelligent and there are very few, past or present, from Mormon influence that have a greater perception into the mysteries.
Now the problem with quoting Brigham Young to modern Mormons is that the usual reaction will be: "What does President Hinckley say about this?"
In asking "Art thou greater than Brigham?" I was writing for the purpose of jolting the average Mormon to shift his attention away from "What does Hinckley think about this?" to what he himself thinks? And if he disagrees with my quote from Brigham he should be able to give cause as to why he thinks he knows more than Brigham. The standard answer is - "because the prophet says so." I wanted to force an answer from his own soul.
In no way, not by ant stretch of the imagination, was I insinuating that it would be sacrilege to think you may know something that Brigham does not. But on the other hand, if you do disagree with Brigham you should be able to give a reason why other than the Brethren say so.
Interestingly, a celestial spirit can also slow his vibrations to create a physical body. Authorities generally believe that Jesus Christ was once Jehovah and that he lived as a spirit only before his birth, but on the contrary we find the Jehovah and two associates appeared to Abraham in PHYSICAL BODIES: "And the Lord (Lord is from the Hebrew YAHOVAH which means Jehovah) appeared to him (Abraham) in the plains of Mamres and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, THREE MEN stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, and said My Lord (This Lord is from the Hebrew ADONAY meaning master), if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and WASH YOUR FEET, and REST yourselves under the tree: And I will fetch a MORSEL OF BREAD, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, SO DO, AS THOU HAST SAID. And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly THREE measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hastened to dress it. . And he took butter and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, AND THEY DID EAT... And the MEN rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And the Lord (Again YeHOVAH translated Jehovah) said shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?... And the men (two of them) turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the Lord"(YeHOVAH) Gen 18:1-8; 16-17, & 22. Then after the two men went to Sodom Abraham made his famous bargain with Jehovah to save the two cities, then we are told: "And the Lord (YeHOVAH) went his way..." Verse 33 In the next chapter we are told: "And there came two angels to Sodom at even..,"' Gen. 19:1 Lot met them and offered them his house to sleep in and suggested they wash their feet and he made a feast also "and they did eat". Verse 3. "But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round about, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: and they called unto Lot and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know (have sex with) them." verses 4-5 Later, as they were about to burst the door down to get the two men and Lot was trying to hold them back "the men (the two angels) put forth their hand, AND PULLED LOT INTO THE HOUSE to them, and shut the door," verse 10.
Who can doubt that all three of three men had physical bodies! They rested, they ate, they washed their feet, they slept, their bodies were seen by both the righteous and the wicked with no apparent glory. Lastly, their bodies were able to make physical contact with mortal men. The two angels "pulled Lot into the house."
How were these non mortal men able to produce their physical bodies when there was no resurrection yet? Perhaps they were translated you say? That would really throw our doctrine for a loop if Jehovah was translated. I'm sure we can rule that out. Joseph Smith told us how to recognize resurrected angels from heaven. He said: "offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you. If he be an ANGEL he will do so, and you will feel his hand. D & C 129:4-5. This is how we tell he is not a spirit, but an Angel he tells us. (Read the whole section). How is it that Jehovah fits Joseph Smith's description of a resurrected being?
From this we can at least gather for sure that Jehovah was able to produce a physical body before any recorded birth on the earth. This is also indicated in the Book of Mormon. When Jesus appeared to the brother of Jared he said: "Behold, this body which ye now behold is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and EVEN AS I APPEAR UNTO THEE TO BE IN THE SPIRIT WILL I APPEAR TO MY PEOPLE IN THE FLESH." Ether 3:l6. Even though Jesus had a celestial body the faith of the Brother of Jared was so great that the vibrations of that celestial body were lowered so it actually became physical. The Brother of Jared actually saw Christ in a physical body for he saw him even as he would appear in the flesh. That the body was physical to the Brother of Jared is also indicated by his statement: "I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood." Ether 3:8
I think J.J. is off on this one. The scripture is clear that Jesus appeared to the brother of Jared in spirit form and thought his appearance looked like he would when he would come in the flesh. The brother of Jared's statement "I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood" was prior to the Lord explaining the distinction.
3:6 "And he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of man, like unto flesh and blood."
3:16 "This body which ye now behold is the body of my spirit."
Jacob also wrestled with and angel who he later called "God" indicating it was Jehovah. Interestingly, Jacob actually got the best of him. Whoever this personage was, Jacob certainly touched him to prove that he had a physical body and even got his [Jacob's] thigh out of joint. See Gen. 32:24-30. According to D&C 129 this person would have been resurrected. For resurrected persons are called angels there while spirits are not. This is especially indicated in: "IF HE BE AN ANGEL he will do so, and you shall feel his hand. If he be the spirit of a just man made perfect he will come in his glory; for that is the only way he can appear." These persons spoken of above did not appear in glory so they must have been "Angels, who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones." D&C 129:1
These facts bring up questions that just cannot be answered by orthodox doctrine. What was Jehovah doing producing a physical body when we are told a spirit from God can only appear in Glory? Did Jesus have some resurrection or translation before he was born to Mary? If not, how did he or some other being appear to Abraham in a physical body??? Again the doctrine of reincarnation supplies the answers. If Adam experienced mortality on another world previous to his coming here then surely Jesus, being higher than Adam, had at least as much experience, and had also experienced mortality on other worlds to prepare him to be the master of this one. Someday, you and I will do what Adam and Jesus did when we experience our "eternal lives in the eternal worlds." Is it not glorious to contemplate eternal life you can understand?
A final stumbling block to accepting the doctrine of reincarnation is the doctrine of salvation for the dead and eternal marriage, The question arises as to why should one be baptized for the dead if he is going to come back into mortality in the future and continue to work out his salvation? Also, why do we get married for eternity if we are going to come back here?
First let us point out that some scriptures used to support baptism for the dead are misunderstood. When Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith he quoted Malachi 4:5-6 a little different than it reads in the Bible: "Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall plant in the hearts of the children THE PROMISES MADE TO THE FATHERS, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming." D&C 2:1-3
Has anyone stopped to ask, after reading this scriptures, what are the promises made to the Fathers? If I did not stop now and then to ponder and question what I read I would not be writing this and would yet be "at ease in Zion". But to continue, there are, of course, a number of important promises made to our fathers, but there is one promise which is written about more than any other, and that is the gathering of Israel. Many today are not aware of the significance of the gathering and think that we are accomplishing it when we merely convert people to the church so they can gather each Sunday. But that's not gathering any more than the sectarians! If Joseph Smith were to speak to you today, he would say we have become sectarians. Joseph Smith began the gathering of Israel and Brigham Young and others tried to continue it so the saints could "come out of Babylon", but the righteousness of the saints was not yet strong enough to be separate from the world. If the early leaders were here today they would call to mind the parable of the wheat and the tares and behold the good seed is being strangled by the tares and declare : "An enemy hath done this." Matt 13:28. The original gathering as outlined by the earlier prophets failed and now it has to be done all over again. We must gather upon "a land of promise, a land flowing with milk and honey, upon which there shall be no curse when the Lord cometh." D&C 38:18 Is Utah such a land? Verily, no. There are many curses of wickedness and darkness therein and is as much a part of the world as any other state. We are in "the midst of wickedness, which is spiritual Babylon" D&C 133:14 Many times in the scriptures we are commanded to come out of Babylon for "I will not spare ANY THAT REMAIN in Babylon." D&C 64:24 "O ye house of Israel whom I have spared, how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart. But if not, O house of Israel, the places of your dwellings SHALL BECOME DESOLATE until the time of the fulfilling of the COVENANT to your fathers." III Nephi 10:6-7.
We think we will be safe if we have our year's supply and yet remain in Babylon - we are at ease in Zion, for none will be spared who remain in Babylon, years supply or not. When a hundred hungry men with clubs and sticks come at your door for food where will be your salvation then? The gathering is "for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth." D&C 115:6 The gathering failed as it had in other dispensations, the storm was delayed, but now it must be done all over again. This time we will succeed. The lord knew that the gathering started by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young would not be permanent; nevertheless, much good has been accomplished, and the way has been prepared for a gathering in the fullness of the glory of the Father.
Concerning the Dead, Joseph Smith said: "Without us, they (the dead) could not be made perfect, nor we without them." (History of the Church Vol. 6; Pg 252). Why do we need the dead for our salvation? Joseph answered: "We must have revelation from them." (See same page) What kind of revelation will the dead give us? They will not only give us assistance on genealogy when needed, but they will aid us in the gathering, for they are very concerned that it is Successful so Zion can be established and they can come forth in the first incarnation (the first resurrection) at the beginning of the millennium. The dead want a peaceful world to come to when they have to come back here.
What about incarnations prior to that time? J.J.'s statement should be revised to explain that the ancestors wish to help create a peaceful world to eventually be able to come to.
Another interesting point is that baptism in the temples is not only for the dead, but they were to also baptize those who were sick to effect a healing
There is really no conflict between the doctrine of reincarnation and baptism for the dead. Each life a person lives he accumulates guilt for certain sins that must either be atoned for or he must pay for them in a future life. It was never intended that we should baptize the dead clear back to Adam, but the ordinance was mainly for friends and relatives who accepted the basic principles of the gospel and were honorable people. Joseph Smith said: "Every man who has a friend in the eternal world can save him, unless he has committed the unpardonable sin." History of the Church Vol. 6 pg. 313. Thus the ordinance was instituted so we could help lift the burden of guilt from those who we love. Contrary to popular belief all do not need the physical act of baptism. All do need, however, that spiritual baptism of having their sins washed away. Mormon helps us out here: "For behold all little children are alive in Christ, and also ALL THEY THAT ARE WITHOUT THE LAW (the heathen nations: see D&C 45:54) For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such BAPTISM AVAILETH NOTHING." (Moroni 8:22). Baptism will only help those who are subject to the laws of the gospel. Why baptize all the dead? If we had enough faith we would have revealed to us the dead who are to be baptized, and such a baptism would be a great help to him in becoming worthy to be born to the holy parents who shall bring again Zion, for such parents will truly "seek a Godly seed". (Malachi 2:15).
Re: "Contrary to popular belief all do not need the physical act of baptism."
Correction: "all do not need the physical act of baptism IN THIS LIFE, such as those who are not under the law."
Comment: The understanding of the LDS is that the reason some can get by without baptism in this life is because they will have access to the ordinance vicariously through temple work. Nevertheless, I will concede that J.J. makes an interesting point about how this doctrine interfaces with reincarnation.
If a Godly seed is not produced and a gathering is not effected - that is that we "should gather together, and stand in holy places" D&C 101:22, then there will not be a people prepared to meet the Lord when he comes and the "whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming." D&C 2:3
Joseph Smith pointed out that the people at the time of John the Baptist and Jesus were rejected with their dead and if we are not faithful we will be rejected with our dead. This indicates that our generation is not responsible for saving the dead of a past age. This is clearly pointed out in the scriptures: "But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies..." Titus 3-9 "Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies..." I Tim 1:4 "We are just responsible for "OUR" dead; not for endless genealogies. Baptism for the dead is to help "our dead". Once you go back more than 200 years the person has generally taken another body. Sometimes, however, a person may be caught in a world of illusion for many centuries, but generally a few generations is about all we can do much good. Do you think that God is going to keep one person in prison for five thousand years and another equally righteous for only a few years and have the former's long fate sealed merely because he had the misfortune of being born earlier than your Grandmother? Why should your grandmother only have to wait two years and someone else thousands? The only reason the people at the time of Noah had to wait so long is because their wickedness was so great. Then, too, baptism for the dead is only effective for those that repent and "if they would not repent they must suffer EVEN AS I." D&C 19:17 How can they "suffer both BODY and spirit" D&C 19:18 with no body??? Joseph Smith said that baptism for the dead is for those who would have received the gospel if it had been presented to them, and that even they would be judged according to the deeds done in the body. This helps us to understand the words of Alma: "Do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity (the kingdoms of the spirit), behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the hour of darkness wherein there can be NO LABOR PERFORMED...for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal (spirit) world." Alma 34:33-34 When Alma said that '"there can be no labor performed" he was not teaching contrary to the doctrine of salvation for the dead as the anti-Mormons teach, but he was pointing out as did Joseph that we are judged by the deeds in the body and not out. There can be very little if any repentance in the spirit world for we are possessed by the same spirit as was in the earthly body. Bodily sins can only be paid for in the body. Between lives "there can be no labor performed" and the spirit must wait for another incarnation after the finish of his "rest" and then he can labor again: "And his works shall follow him, and also a reward in the world (the next incarnation) to come." D&C 63:48.
Next: Chapter 6 -- Eternal Marriage
|Index of Writings by Joseph J. Dewey|
|Alphabetics: 1000 Multiple Mortalities and God|
|SDA Essay: Multiple Mortal Probations, Experience, and Godhood|
|Compare with Benjamin Creme's article: Reincarnation, Karma and Past Lives|
This page created on December 19, 1999
Last Updated on March 06, 2013