Site:SS lessons/DC lesson 7

From Feast upon the Word (http://feastupontheword.org). Copyright, Feast upon the Word.
Jump to: navigation, search

This page allows you to see in one place all the commentary pages for the reading assignment for this Doctrine & Covenants Gospel Doctrine lesson. Click on the heading to go to a specific page. Click the edit links below to edit text on any page.


2 Ne 2:6-10

Home > The Book of Mormon > Second Nephi > Chapters 1-5 > Chapter 2 > Verses 2:6-10
Previous page: Verses 2:1-5                      Next page: Verses 2:11-15


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapter 2. The relationship of Verses 2:6-10 to the rest of Chapter 2 is discussed at Chapter 2.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Verses 2:6-10 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • 2 Ne 2:7-10: Ends. The phrase "ends of the ___" is used with 3 nouns in the Book of Mormon: "ends of the law," "ends of the atonement," and "ends of the earth." It is difficult to tell from context exactly what the "ends of the law" are or the "ends of the atonement." On the other hand, it is pretty clear what the "ends of the earth" means from context. In 2 Ne 29:2 the Lord's voice hisses forth "unto the ends of the earth." The meaning here is that it it hisses forth all the way to the ends of the earth. With this phrase Nephi tells us that the Lord's voice hisses forth to the entire earth. In the same way the phrase "unto the ends of the earth" is used many times in the scriptures to represent the whole earth. Even when the "unto" is dropped, "ends of the earth" still means the whole earth. Moro 7:34 and Mosiah 12:24 are good examples.
One might ask why the phrase "the ends of the earth" is used in these cases to mean "the whole earth" rather than simply saying "the whole earth." The answer may be as simple as the poetic language typical of the scriptures. In this synecdoche, the "ends" represent the whole. The phrase creates a more visual image of something moving toward and achieving completion--imagery not created through the use of the word whole. One way to think about this is that the meaning of unto is preserved even in those cases where it is dropped.
The "ends of the law" and "the ends of the atonement" can be understood, similarly, to mean the whole law and the whole atonement. It may be helpful to imagine adding back the unto here as well. To verse 7, imagine the phrase "ends of the law" as "all the way to the ends of the law." This definition of "ends" as "whole" is not at all in conflict with the concept of ends as purpose. The end of something is where it is going and where it finds completion. Its completion is its purpose. The harmony of these two meanings is most clear in verse 10 where "ends of the law" means both "the whole law" and "the purpose of the law" and similarly for "ends of the atonement."

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • 2 Ne 2:6: This verse begins with “wherefore,” or “because.” Redemption comes through the Messiah because the law cuts us off. What does that teach? And it comes to us through him because he is full of grace and truth. Presumably the contrast is between Christ and us: as fallen beings, we are not full of grace or truth, but he is. What is grace? What is truth? What does it mean to say that Christ is full of them? What does it mean to say that we are not?
  • 2 Ne 2:7: What are the ends of the law? “Ends” usually means “purposes.” Does it mean that here? What does “to answer the ends of the law” mean? Why does Lehi tell us that we must have a broken heart and a contrite spirit to partake in Christ’s redemption? Why doesn’t he mention obedience or ordinances if they are necessary?
  • 2 Ne 2:8: Jacob is in the wilderness of a new land and presumably has little chance to tell very many others this gospel. So why does Lehi tell Jacob that it is important to make these things known to everyone?
  • 2 Ne 2:8: Why does Lehi connect resurrection to redemption? What does the phrase “merits, and mercy, and grace” mean? Should we understand each of those three terms separately, or should we understand the phrase as a unit? To think about what is being said here, ask yourself what it means to rely only on the merit of the Messiah. Then ask yourself what it means only to rely on his mercy. And then on his grace.
  • 2 Ne 2:9: Why is the Savior said to be the firstfruits? Notice that in the Old Testament, the word is mostly used to describe the first grain or other produce to ripen. How is that description appropriate? Is it related to his title of First Born? What meaning does the phrase “unto God” add to “firstfruits"? Lehi tells us that Christ is the firstfruits inasmuch as, or because, he intercedes. How does his intercession make him the firstfruits?
    • Suggested answer: Jesus said, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." [John 12:24] Because of the intercession of Jesus Christ, his suffering death in our behalf, he was the first to resurrect and thereby was the first fruit. It was because of the atonement, that he is able to bring forth much fruit.
  • 2 Ne 2:10: Notice that this verse speaks of the law as something that the Father has given. What does that mean? Sometimes Latter-day Saints speak of the law as something to which even the Father is subservient. Is that compatible with what Lehi says? (Those wishing to pursue the theology here (rather than the scriptural teachings) may wish to read Brigham Young’s response to Orson Pratt’s teaching of related doctrine: in James R. Clark, ed., Messages of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1833-1964, vol. 2 (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965), 233-240, 214-223.)
  • 2 Ne 2:10: According to this verse, what are the ends of the law?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Verses 2:1-5                      Next page: Verses 2:11-15

2 Ne 25:21-25

Home > The Book of Mormon > Second Nephi > Chapters 12-30 > Chapters 25b-27 / Verses 25:9-27:35
Previous page: Verses 25:1-8                      Next page: Chapters 28-30


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be brief and may include an outline of the passage. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • 2 Ne 25:23: After and prevenient grace. At the time this was translated, the most common meaning of "after" (verse 23) was, as it is now, "subsequent in time to." However, that is not its only meaning. The 1828 Webster's dictionary notes that "to follow after, in scripture, is to pursue, or imitate; to serve, or worship" and gives two scriptural examples (Romans 8:5 and Isaiah 11:3) of where "after" means "according to" or "according to the direction and influence of." See also meaning #5 at dictionary.com: "Subsequent to and because of or regardless of: They are still friends after all their differences." The emphasis of the verse becomes quite different than it is usually interpreted if we interpret "after" as meaning something like "despite."
If the word after here is taken in the temporal sense, this verse suggests a view that would contradict the doctrine of prevenient grace (that grace is offered prior to any act of human will; this is taking "prevenient" in its most literal sense—it could be that the only act required to trigger grace is the acceptance of God's love but this would not be a strict notion of prevenient grace).
Alternate meanings of after (see lexical note above and related links below), albeit less common, might allow for an interpretation that does not contradict a strict notion of prevenient grace. For example, consider the following rendering: "for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, in accordance with all we can do." If this rendering is considered equivalent to verse 23, then one could argue that grace precedes our works and that our works derive from grace. Also, if after is taken to mean something like "regardless of" or "despite," one could maintain that this verse is consistent with a strict notion of prevenient grace.
Another reading consistent with a strict notion of prevenient grace can be based on the notion that agency itself is a gift of grace. On this view, we are saved by grace because only through grace are we able to do anything (cf. 2 Ne 2:26, "because they are redeemed [notice the past tense] from the fall they have become free forever"). So on this view, first we receive agency-enabling grace, then we do what God asks, then we are saved.
Another possible interpretation can be that "all we can do" is to repent. This is justifiable by comparing this passage with Alma 24:10-15.
And I also thank my God, yea, my great God, that he hath granted unto us that we might repent of these things, and also that he hath forgiven us of those our many sins and murders which we have committed, and taken away the guilt from our hearts, through the merits of his Son. And now behold, my brethren, since it has been all that we could do, (as we were the most lost of all mankind) to repent of all our sins and the many murders which we have committed, and to get God to take them away from our hearts, for it was all we could do to repent sufficiently before God that he would take away our stain— Now, my best beloved brethren, since God hath taken away our stains, and our swords have become bright, then let us stain our swords no more with the blood of our brethren. Behold, I say unto you, Nay, let us retain our swords that they be not stained with the blood of our brethren; for perhaps, if we should stain our swords again they can no more be washed bright through the blood of the Son of our great God, which shall be shed for the atonement of our sins. And the great God has had mercy on us, and made these things known unto us that we might not perish; yea, and he has made these things known unto us beforehand, because he loveth our souls as well as he loveth our children; therefore, in his mercy he doth visit us by his angels, that the plan of salvation might be made known unto us as well as unto future generations. Oh, how merciful is our God! And now behold, since it has been as much as we could do to get our stains taken away from us, and our swords are made bright, let us hide them away that they may be kept bright, as a testimony to our God at the last day, or at the day that we shall be brought to stand before him to be judged, that we have not stained our swords in the blood of our brethren since he imparted his word unto us and has made us clean thereby.
  • 2 Ne 25:24. The "And" with which this verse begins is perhaps quite important to any interpretation of verse 23, because it suggests that there is some kind of continuity at work here. To make the most sense of this, it is best simply to drop the almost parenthetical "notwithstanding we believe in Christ." If one does this, one has (in verses 23-24): "for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. And we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled." Reading the two verses this way is ultimately quite helpful. It highlights several points. First, it becomes quite clear that whatever might be meant by verse 23, it is to be read in terms of keeping the Law and believing in Christ. Second, it appears that verse 24 is a kind of "application" of verse 23 ("And we keep the law," that is, we do all we can). Third, the lengthier and more complicated content of verse 24 provides an alternate way of thinking the relation between "grace" and what "we can do," which reinterprets what is being said in the apparently more straightforward verse 23. All of this calls for a careful look at verse 24, and then at how this in turn reworks what is said in verse 23.
Structurally, verse 24 sets up a kind of opposition precisely by defusing it (all of this is accomplished by the careful word "notwithstanding"). In a sense, it suggests that it would be common to recognize an opposition between two things this verse does not see as being in opposition. The two things: on the one hand, "we believe in Christ"; on the other hand, "we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled." This defused opposition is, it should be noticed, not equally balanced: it is the latter of the two "things" that does not withstand the former. This little detail is important, because it shows that Nephi is placing one of the two at the foundation: "we believe in Christ." In other words, Nephi seems to place the greatest emphasis on what might be called the parenthetical statement of the verse, the unnecessary part of the verse: it is that belief that matters most. In fact, it is precisely the importance of belief that makes it somewhat unnecessary in the structure of the verse: it is an unquestionable presupposition, while the longer question of "we keep the law of Moses," etc., needs to be stated emphatically. In short, it is quite clear that it is belief that matters most to Nephi here.
What emerges in the course of the foregoing, then, is the fact that Nephi expects his readers to see some kind of difficulty inherent in combining belief in Christ with keeping the Law of Moses. Actually, this may be a rather simplistic reading of the verse. In the end, it may not be the keeping that specifically stands against the belief, but the deferral of any real relationship with Christ: "notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we ... look forward with steadfastness unto Christ." The "unto" combines with the "until" of the final phrase of the verse to suggest a kind of postponement, one that would appear to cancel faith, to render it meaningless. But it is precisely this opposition that the verse calls into question. That is, faith/belief does not preclude the possibility of keeping the Law of Moses in a kind of postponement of Christian fulfillment (in a double sense). But this calls for further comment.
Perhaps what emerges here, then, is a picture of faith as it must be had by those who lived before the coming of Christ but with an understanding of His (historical, that is, covenantal) "plan," a plan Nephi seems to understand primarily in terms of Isaiah's prophecies. This last point is perhaps vital, since in the parallel passage (2 Ne 11:4), Nephi discusses typology and its relation to the Law of Moses precisely in terms of interpreting Isaiah. In fact, this detail may be taken to suggest that it is within the boundaries of Isaiah's writings specifically that one is to detect this kind of forward-looking, faithful obedience. In light of these comments, it is certainly worth asking how one should regard Nephi's usage of terms like "fulfilled." Of course, any detailed commentary on such a point would have be appended to a full exploration of Nephi's Christology. At the very least, then, there seems to be pictured here a kind of regard for the Law that recognizes in it the possibility of coming before Christ in faith.
This spirit of these comments perhaps provides for two different readings of verse 23. On the one hand, one might suggest that "we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do" means that "all we can do" refers specifically to keeping the Law of Moses, and that the saying must be limited to a pre-Christian faith-relation (those under the Law recognize that grace itself is only to be manifested after all has been done with regard to the Law). On the other hand, one might suggest that the phrase be interpreted in light of the intertwining faith-and-obedience relation that is apparently to be read in Isaiah. That is, perhaps "all we can do" is come before Christ in a confession of faith, in a covenant of obedience, and then His grace is sufficient.
  • 2 Ne 25:25 If the previous verse begins to hint at a kind of intertwining of faith and obedience to the Law, this verse begins to probe that picture profoundly. But it begins with a rather vague phrase: "For, for this end was the law given." The primary difficulty here is the ambiguous reference in "this end": is "this end" what has just been described, or what is about to be described, or what? If "this end" points backwards, does it point to "believe in Christ," "keep the law of Moses," "look forward with steadfastness unto Christ," "the law shall be fulfilled," or some combination of some or all of these? If "this end" points forward, to what does it point, and how can one think through the grammar of such a pointing? In the end, one must make a decision as regards this question.
  • 2 Ne 27:1 Following up on the universalism of the preceding verse, which culminates in a statement about the relation between "Jew and Gentile," the opening of chapter 27 pictures in the last days a world politically polarized by the relationship between the Jews and the Gentiles.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • 2 Ne 25:20: Why does Nephi use the term "the nations"? After all, it was individuals who were bitten by the serpents, not really nations.
  • 2 Ne 25:21: Is Nephi conflating the preservation of the plates with the survival of the seed?
  • 2 Ne 25:22: How does the Book of Mormon continue to be transformed and transmitted from generation to generation in the dispensation of the fullness of times?
  • 2 Ne 25:29: In verse 29 it says '...bow down before him (Jesus) and worship him..." Might not nonLDS use this statement to suggest that we should Pray to Jesus, as they do? And how do I as believer, who prays unto the Father, as the Savior taught and showed me, also follow this admonition, to bow down and worship, without inappropriately "praying" unto Jesus?
  • 2 Ne 26:11: In this context it seems like Nephi is saying that even though one chooses wrong the Spirit of the Lord may continue to strive with one, but at some point the Spirit has had enough and leaves. I am thinking of here of D&C 20:30-32. Is this a reasonable reading?
  • 2 Ne 27:22: Will the coming forth of the sealed portions of the Book of Mormon be accompanied by, or principally constitute, the revealing of all things?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • 2 Ne 25:23. See this post at the BCC blog by J. Nelson-Seawright (Jan 15, 2008) for a summary of traditional and "revisionist" readings of this verse followed by a "3rd way" admonition to tread this verse as an exhortation rather than a systematic theological claim.
  • See Eph 2:8-10 for discussion of faith, grace, and works.
  • See User:RobertC/Grace for discussion of prevenient grace in LDS thought and scriptures.
  • Ostler's view. See p. 222 in Blake Ostler's Exploring Mormon Thought: The Problem's of Theism and the Love of God (ISBN 1589580958). Ostler argues that the Mormon view is consistent with prevenient grace and that after in verse 23 should be be taken in atemporal, non-causal sense. See also his Dialogue articles referenced here.
"It's easy to know what to teach. The scriptures and our prophets are clear about what to teach our children... How do we do it? Begin by following the counsel of our prophets and making time in our homes for family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening. Have we heard that counsel so often that it seems too simple? Or are we so busy that adding one more thing feels too complex? I testify that... obedience alone invites the blessings of the Lord."
  • 2 Ne 26:16: Familiar spirit. See this post by Kevin Barney for more some linguistic notes on this phrase.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Verses 25:1-8                      Next page: Chapters 28-30

Alma 32:26-30

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 31-35 > Chapter 32 > Verses 32:26-43
Previous page: Verses 32:17-25                      Next page: Verses 33:1-23


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Chapter 32. The relationship of Verses 32:26-43 to the rest of Chapter 32 is discussed at Chapter 32.

Story. Verses 32:26-43 consists of ___ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Verses 32:26-43 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 32:27: Particle. Webster's 1828 definition for particle is, first, "A minute part or portion of matter; as a particle of sand, of lime or of light." It may be that the faith required to "give place for a portion of [Alma's] words" is small relative to the faith required to "nourish the word" as described in verse 41. Also, it may be that the subsequent discussion using the metaphor of a seed should be viewed as an elaboration of this initial idea of "a particle of faith." In particular, it seems that the description of initially planting the seed in verse 28 may be analogous to exercising a particle of faith.
  • Alma 32:27: Relation to v. 21 (hoping for what is true). The "particle of faith" mentioned in this verse seems to be equated to a "desire to believe" which results in giving a "place for a portion of [Alma's] words." This description is very interesting since it seems to be describing the beginnings of faith. A question that the modern reader may be tempted to ask, prompted particularly by verse 21, is a chicken-or-egg type problem: how does one begin to exercise faith if faith requires that one already know what is true, and yet faith is required to learn if something is true or not? This verse seems to introduce a way to answer this question. (Although this does not seem to be a focus of Alma's sermon, the following discussion may be of interest to the modern reader wondering whether Alma's sermon relies on circular logic.)
One approach to this question is to view it in probabilistic terms. If I don't know whether X is true or not, I could be described as granting the possibility (a probability) that X is true. Granting this possibility/probability may be a way to interpret Alma's phrase "give place for a portion of my words." However, this view seems to make the phrase "desire to believe" a tad awkward. On this probabilistic view, it would seem more natural to describe the desire as wanting to find out whether or not something is true, not desiring to believe (that something is true, presumably).
Another approach, one that seems closer to the context of the sermon, is to interpret "true" in terms of what is described in the subsequent portion of the sermon. In this latter portion of Alma's sermon, he describes what seems to be two processes: first is the process of learning whether the seed is good (vv. 26-35), second is the process of attaining (unqualified) perfect knowledge (vv. 35-43). It may be that the first process is effectively describing how to learn whether something is true or not, and the second process is describing how to excercise faith in something that is already known to be true. On this view, it may be that the initial "particle of faith" is simply a desire to believe that something is true, and one does not know whether faith is actually being exercised until after it is learned that the word is true (i.e. that the seed is good).
  • Alma 32:27: Even if ye can no more than. The first three verbal clauses in this verse seem to describe a rather active process that is required of faith: "awake and arouse your faculties"; "experiment upon my words"; "exercise a particle of faith." In comparison, the three remaining verbal clauses seem somewhat weaker in terms of what is required of the listener: "desire to believe"; "give place for a portion of my words"; "let this desire work in you." Separating these stronger and weaker verbal clauses is the conjoining phrase "even if ye can no more than . . . " which seems to emphasize this contrast. That this contrast immediately precedes an extended metaphor about the word as a seed suggests a framework for interpreting the purpose of the metaphor. In particular, it seems that Alma is trying to get his listeners either to believe that they are capable of developing genuine faith that will eventually grow into perfect knowledge, or to realize that the first step of faith does not require something extraordinary.
  • Alma 32:27: Even if ye can no more than desire to believe. The phrase begins with "even if ye can no more than" which tells us that Alma is giving us the minimum example of what is required in order to gain faith. And, as he explains, this minimum example is to start with a desire to believe. It is significant that this is a desire to believe instead of a desire to know the truth. This minimum case begins with a desire that the gospel is true--we have to start by wanting it to be so. The experiment Alma teaches us then, is no impartial experiment. Those for whom truth means only those things we can discover through impartial analysis, will find no way here to discover these truths. In their eyes Alma's begins the experiment by stacking the deck in his favor because the experiment only begins with those who want to believe that the gospel is true. We see here that God has setup this world up in such a way that the most important truths, e.g. God is a merciful god who wants to hear from all his children, rather than hearing only once a week, in a synagogue from the well-off, are revealed only to those who, at a minumum, want to believe in such. And, as we see in the surrounding chapters, those who want instead to believe in a God who elected just themselves to be holy "whilst all around [them] are elected to be cast by [God's] wrath down to hell," to such people, so long as their desires remain so, Alma has no way to give them faith.
  • Alma 32:28: Acrostic. Verse 28 uses an acrostic: In the English translation, Alma is speaking about a seed, and then spells out "seed" by using the verbs "swell," "enlarge," "enlighten" and "delicious." There is no way to know, of course, whether the acrostic was present in the original, although there are some examples of acrostic poetry in the Psalms.
  • Alma 32:28: The word as a seed. In launching into this extended comparison with a seed, Alma interstingly says twice in this verse "the word" not "my words," even though he has said "my words" in verses 26-27. It may be that Alma is simply switching back to the singular form for word because it makes for a better comparison (seed instead of seeds). On the other hand, Alma may be subtly making a point that it is not his words that will grow, but the word that will grow if nourished by faith. Notice that in verse 1 the phrase "the word of God" is first used in this chapter, and then, presumably, referred to simply as "the word" subsequently (cf. vv. 6, 14, 16).
  • Alma 32:28: If it be a true seed. The conditional clause here suggests the possibility of a seed not being true. The word true first appears in this sermon in verse 21 in describing faith as a hope "for things which are not seen which are true." It seems the second usage of this term here can be taken as an explanation-by-comparison of how truth can be determined. If the word-as-seed is not true, it will not swell, enlarge the soul, enlighten the soul, or become delicious. The description of what constitutes a true seed seems key to understanding the process being described from this verse until verse 35, coming to know that the seed (word) is good (true).
  • Alma 32:28: Unbelief. In terms of coming to know whether the seed (word) is good (true), un/belief seems to play a critical role. In verse 16, Alma mentions belief in the word of God in elaborating on what it means to humble oneself without being compelled. Here, in verse 28, Alma connects unbelief with resisting the Spirit. The implication seems to be that resisting the Spirit is closely connected to not being humble, and that in such an environment, the truth of the word of God will not be able to be known.
Verse 18 also discusses belief and contrasts it with knowledge. In terms of the truth-discovery process that Alma is describing, this implies that belief does not entail knowledge about whether something is true or not. This seems to complement the idea expressed about belief in verse 27, that the important role for belief to play in developing faith is to actively grant the possibility that the word is true (perhaps; this assumes a rather modern reading of the phrase "give place for a portion of my words"). On this view, it is also interesting that verse 22 says that "God is merciful unto all who believe on his name." What is described as commendable both here and there is belief. Although faith and baptism and other acts are discussed in connection with belief, it is belief itself that seems to be urged most directly, and belief does not presume any sort of knowledge, but rather a failure to resist the Spirit, a humbling of oneself sufficiently to simply grant the possibility (albeit in what seems a rather active sense—metaphorically nourishing the seed) that the word of God is true.
  • Alma 32:29: Faith and the seed. This verse seems peculiar in that it talks about faith a manner that seems somewhat analogous to a seed, even though it is "the word" that is compared to a seed in verse 28. Although this kind of shift in comparison does not seem particularly unusual in, for example, the Old Testament [examples or citation needed here], the discussion of faith in terms that one might expect Alma to use to describe the word, according to the comparison he begins in verse 28, is intriguing, particularly to the contemporary reader who is aware of the comparison of Christ to the Word in John 1:1.
  • Alma 32:29: Relation to 12:10. Alma's statement here about faith's possibility to "increase" and be "grown up" suggests an aspect of faith reminiscent somewhat of Alma 12:10 where Alma says "he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full." In both passages, Alma is describing a process that increases up until a certain point. If this comparison is taken further, it seems that not hardening one's heart is analogous to giving a place for a portion of Alma's words and not casting the seed out with unbelief or resistance to the Spirit.
  • Alma 32:34: Is your knowledge perfect? Yea ... in that thing. The affirmative answer discussed here contrasts sharply with the same (or at least very similar) question asked at the end of verse 35 and answered negatively in verse 36. One noticeable difference is that the answer here qualifies "perfect knowledge" by the phrase "in that thing." It may be that the type of knowledge that is perfect only pertains to knowledge that the seed is good. This view seems to be supported in verse 36 by the phrase "ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed . . . to know if the seed was good" (emphasis added) and the description in verse 26 that "Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection."
  • Alma 32:35: Real. The word "real" is not used in the KJV of the Bible, and is typically used in the Book of Mormon in the phrase "real intent." Webster's 1828 second definition for "real" reads "true; genuine; not artificial, counterfeit or factitious." This definition suggests a possible link with the word "true" used in verses 21, 24, and 28. If this is the case, then this verse can be read as expounding on what it means for the seed to be true.
  • Alma 32:36: Exercise. Webster's 1828 Dictionary define's exercise in its first definition as "to use; to exert; as, to exercise authority or power." The second definition is "to use for improvement in skill; as, to exercise arms." It seems that both definitions may be applicable here: in the comparison, faith is exerted by planting the seed, and faith is used for improvement as attested by the increase in faith described in verse 29.
  • Alma 32:36. The description of faith here that should not be laid aside creates a tension with verse 34 where faith is described as dormant, the same kind of tension that exists for "perfect knowledge" between verses 34-35 and verse 36. If the kind of faith being described in verse 34 is qualified as a faith "in that thing"—the same way that "perfect knowledge" is qualified—then perhaps Alma is talking about two different kinds of faith. But if this is the case, it seems these two different kinds of faith are not unrelated to each other: the statement in verse 29 that describes an increase in faith seems to link these two different kinds of faith. If verse 29 indeed establishes a link between the dormant faith of verse 34 and the faith that should not be laid aside described here in verse 36, then the increasing faith seems to parallel the growing seed. However, faith does not appear to be equivalent to the seed in Alma's comparison (at least not yet...). Faith is used here to describe what is exercised in order to plant the seed. Although faith appears to increase as the seed grows, this relationship between faith and the seed, though intimate, perhaps even dialectical, but it does not seem to be an equivalence. Similarly, in verse 41, the word/tree is described as being nourished by faith. There too the word/tree is the grammatical direct object of faith, a position which seems to imply a required action on the part of the listener in order to bring about the growth of the word/tree. At the same time, "required action" may be putting this too strongly since faith here is simply not laid aside; indeed, it seems the "particle of faith" described in verse 27 is all that is needed and that the word/seed is what causes the listener's faith to increase (cf. "faith as a grain of mustard seed" in Matt 17:20 and Luke 17:6).
  • Alma 32:38: If ye neglect the tree. If faith is what nourishes the tree (cf. vv. 36, 40) then, based on Alma's earlier discussion of sign-seeking (vv. 17ff), then neglecting the tree might be taken here as not exercising faith.
  • Alma 32:38: Heat of the sun. It seems the heat of the sun is an essential ingredient for growth of a tree, and yet too much heat relative to the roots of the tree will lead to the death of the tree. Note also that the sun is used as a symbol in 1 Ne 1:9 for describing the luster of Christ (presumably). This seems consistent with the idea of judgment as a day of heat and burning of the wicked.
  • Alma 32:38: Withers away. (Cf. 1 Ne 17:48, 52-54; Jacob 5:7, 40, 43, 45.) How would a seed be planted, begin to grow, but then not take sufficient root so that it withers away in the sun? It may be that this is symbolically describing what Alma describes earlier in this chapter as being "compelled to be humble" and "brought to know the word" before believing. On this view, it might be that those who are compelled to be humble rather than humbling themselves because of the word, will not continue unto everlasting life (v. 41) because they will not have sufficient faith to nourish the tree so as to survive the heat of the sun. The danger, then, that Alma described earlier with being compelled to be humble, or—in terms of faith and knowledge—being brought to knowledge before believing, is that there will be faith enough to continue nourishing the word so that it can grow into a fruit-bearing tree. Being compelled to be humble or being brought to know the word rather than coming to knowledge by first exercising faith might not last. The temporariness of this condition is then set in contrast to the everlasting (non-temporary!) condition of those that exercise faith. (Compare also the difference between the temporal vs. the spiritual described elsewhere by Alma, e.g. in Alma 7:23; Alma 12:16; Alma 36:4; Alma 37:43; Alma 42:7, 9.)
  • Alma 32:42. Verse 42 introduces something akin to dualism--identical adjectives that are yet different and organized hierarchically: "sweet above all that is sweet," "white above all that is white," "pure above all that is pure" (emphasis added). Although this dualism reaches a culmination in verse 42, it is consistently hinted at throughout the chapter:
  • Two communities: The poor in heart vs. the rich Zoramites (v. 3)
  • This is further underscored, quite dramatically, when Alma physically turns from one group to the other
  • Two humilities: True humility vs. compelled humility (v. 16)/Humility arising from seeing and humility arising from hearing (see above Exegesis on v. 13-14)
  • Two seeds: Good vs. bad (v. 32)
  • Word/Words: Singular vs. plural (v. 22 and 26, for example)
  • Two Trees
  • There is a possibility that Alma is presenting two different Trees, as well--the tree grown within you from the planting of the seed (v. 37), and the Tree of Life (v. 41-43). It remains unclear, however, whether these trees are separate or one and the same.
  • It is also possible that there is a dualism between the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life. In v. 34, Alma points out that the fruit of the one tree is perfect knowledge, while the fruit of the second tree, described in v. 42, is the fruit of the Tree of Life, as described in Lehi's vision (1 Ne 8:11-12)
  • This second reading suports the Exegesis on v. 19 above--it was the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge that led to Adam and Eve's expulsion from the Garden and the presence of God. A life of knowledge could be viewed as similarly damning. It is also interesting to note that Alma used the word "transgression" in v. 19, as well as the question "after ye have tasted [of the fruit]...is your knolwedge perfect?" in v. 35, both of which strongly emphasize Garden/Fall imagery.
If we continue to delve deeper into the subtleties of the text, other dualisms emerge:
  • Two faiths: Faith vs. knowledge
  • Alma's entire discourse fleshes out the (seeming) dialectic between faith and knowledge, but in v. 27, he points out that knowledge must be based on faith ("exercise a particle of faith"; see commentary) and introduces a growing process of faith that leads to knowledge
  • In this sense, knowledge that extends out of faith, thus becoming a 'faith beyond faith', is beneficial.
  • See also Exegesis on v. 16 (seventh and eight paragraphs), v. 17 (third paragraph), and v. 18 (second and third paragraphs)
  • Christ vs. principles
  • As mentioned above, Alma distinguishes "the Word," and "words."
  • In one sense, Alma may be working with the Zoramites on their level, assuming their language, and walking them through many little "words"/principles in hopes of eventually bringing them to the Word/Christ.
  • Innocence
  • From the garden of Eden imagery emerges the possibility of viewing Alma's discourse as an attempt to lead the Zoramites back into the garden--into the presence of God.
  • Because Adam and Eve were in a "state of inncoence" in the Garden (2 Ne 2:23), it is possible that in order to return to God, we too must be innocent in some way
  • Is it possible that Alma is describing this innocence as an 'innocence beyond innocence' through acquisition of faith-based knowledge? We want to be innocent again, but with a new type of knowledge?
Alma's dualism opens up many interpretive possibilities. One option is that he is drawing a distinction between Terrestrial and Celestial existence, both of which are similarly sweet, white, and pure, but the Celestial remains beyond normal sweetness, whiteness, and purity. In other words, Terrestrial and Celestial lives may not differ in outward manifestations, but their motives are entirely other (see Exegesis for v. 16, fourth paragraph)
  • Alma 32:43. The phrase "waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you" seems to be a reversal somewhat of the phrase in verse 42 "ye shall pluck the fruit thereof." Whereas in verse 42 the person is the subject and the tree is the object, yielding her fruit, in verse 43 the tree is the subject "bring[ing] forth" her fruit to the diligent and faithful person.
More generally, verses 41-43 are a sort of positive reversal of the negative discussion in verses 38-40 ("if ye will not nourish the word . . . "). A rather striking feature in this positive reversal is the three-fold repetition of the three words faith, diligence, and patience, followed by the word fruit:
(A) "if ye will nourish the word . . . by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit" (v. 41)
(B) "because of your diligence and your faith and your patience . . . by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof" (v. 42)
(A') "ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence and patience . . . waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit" (v. 43)
Considering just the movement of this structure, we see (A) prefaced with an "if," (B) is prefaced with a "because," and (A') is prefaced with a "then." This three-fold movement might be considered in various ways, for example: pre-mortal/past, mortal/present, and post-mortal/future. Alternatively, we might think about these three-fold movement more in terms of the structure of the previous analogy of the seed:
(A) desire, or giving place for a seed to be planted (v. 28)
(B) growth and knowledge that the seed is good (vv. 30-35)
(A') nourish the tree to bring forth fruit (vv. 36-40)
This framework might be considered more generally in terms of an hour glass shape where we first come to a knowledge of the Lord through a narrow gate, and then nourish this beginning step by going forth and sharing such knowledge with others. However, exploring such thoughts would take us away from the text given here. What is important to consider here is the fact that the movement from (A) to (B) is effect by faith, but of itself not sufficient to yield fruit. What is needed is faith to nourish the seed in order to continue from (B) to (A'), otherwise the swelling seed "will not get any root" (v. 38). In other words, if (B) is not viewed as a point-on-the-path toward (A'), then no fruit will be obtained. It is this continuation from (B) to (A') that leads to "a tree springing up unto everlasting life" (v. 41). Notice that the discussion of the fruit being "most precious" and "sweet above all that is sweet," etc. all occurs after the second mention of "faith, diligence and patience, that is after (B) and on the way toward (A')—a position we might term "faith beyond faith."
Somewhat curiously, the partaking of the fruit is mentioned twice in these final two verses of the chapter. Whereas verse 31 talks about "looking forward" to the fruit, verse 42 says "by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof . . . and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled." So, when verse 43 says "ye shall reap the rewards of your faith . . . waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you," it seems to be reversing the timing, going back to before the feasting on the fruit mentioned in verse 42 to a point of again waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit. This peculiar feature in the text might be interpreted in several ways. It could be that the the being filled in verse 42 is not meant to be an "end"—that is, verse 43 could be pointing to many feasts, either more fruit that might be brought to the faithful, diligent and patient person, or more fruit that might partaken of in future "seed"/posterity (in this sense, there might be a strong allusion back to Lehi's dream when, after partaking of the fruit, he looks around desiring for his family to also partake). Another possibility is that this is more of a feature of a syntactic structure, perhaps a chiasm with the actual feasting in the middle of the chiasm (v. 42) with verses 41 and 43 pointing toward it. Exploring these and other possibilities might itself be a fruitful area of study.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 32:28: What connections could be made between the swelling of the word here, and Korihor's "swelling words" in Alma 30:31?
  • Alma 32:30: Strengthen your faith. How should strengthened faith be understood? Is it dormant in the sense of verse 34, or is it still growing in the sense of verses 36ff? How is strengthened faith related to the seemingly two different kinds of perfect knowledge described in verses 34 and 36, and the notions of enlightened understanding and expanded mind in verse 34?
  • Alma 32:34: Knowledge, understanding and an expanding mind. Is the understanding mentioned in this verse the same as knowledge? the same as an expanding mind? Should the expansion of mind be viewed as the same thing as the new knowledge "that the word hath swelled your souls," or is the enlightenment referring to the swelling itself, or something else entirely?
  • Alma 32:35: Whatsoever is light, is good. What is it about light "that is good"? (See also Gen 1:4)

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "The Power of a Personal Testimony," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 37–39. Elder Uchtdorf outlines the pattern for receiving a testimony: desire to believe; search the scriptures; keep the commandments; ponder, fast, and pray.
  • See related quotes by Henry B. Eyring and Joseph B. Wirthlin here.
  • Alma 32:41. Compare Alma's advice for nourishing a seed of faith here (esp. v. 41, have desire and nourish this desire with faith, diligence and patience) to Nephi's steps in having the mysteries of God unfolded in 1 Ne 10:17-19 and 1 Ne 11:1: (1) have a desire to know and (2) have faith.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Verses 32:17-25                      Next page: Verses 33:1-23

Alma 42:11-15

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 36-42 > Chapter 42
Previous page: Chapter 39-41                      Next page: Chapters 43-44


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This section should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma 36-42. The relationship of Chapter 42 to the rest of Chapters 36-42 is discussed at Chapters 36-42.

Story. Chapter 42 consists of ____ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapters 42 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Verse 1: Alma talks to his sinning son Corianton. Alma perceives Corianton is troubled by the notion of justice. To Corianton it doesn't seem just that the sinful should be consigned to misery.
  • Verses 2-6: There is a space granted in which to repent.
  • Verses 7-9: It is expedient that man be reclaimed from spiritual death.
  • Verses 10-11: This life is a probationary state.
  • Verses 12-15: The requisite conditions for repentance.
  • Verses 16-18: There is a punishment affixed.
  • Verses 19-25: Mercy and justice claim their own because of the atonement.
  • Verses 26-31: Return to personal: don't deny the justice of God, don't be troubled by the justice of God, be troubled by your sins.
  • Alma 42:5 - Plan of Salvation
  • Alma 42:8 - Plan of Happiness
  • Alma 42:5 - Plan of Salvation
  • Alma 42:8 - Plan of Happiness
  • Alma 42:13 - Plan of Redemption
  • Alma 42:15 - Plan of Mercy
  • Alma 42:1-6. Alma just finished explaining to Corianton how restoration implies that good will be restored for good and evil for evil. Now Alma responds to a concern Alma perceives that Corianton has about the justice of God in consigning the sinner to a state of misery.
To begin Alma turns to Adam and Eve. He explains that a time was given to them to repent by preventing them from eating of the tree of life. The flaming sword and cherubim were put to guard the tree of life so that Adam and Eve wouldn't take the fruit and live forever. In verses 4-5 Alma tells his son that had Adam and Eve eaten the fruit of the tree of life, they couldn't have repented; they wouldn't have had a chance to be saved from their sins. Because Adam and Eve weren't allowed to eat of the tree of life, they had to die (verse 6). We can read verse 6 as a definition of what it means to be fallen. Man was fallen because he had to die.
Plan of salvation. In Alma 42, Alma speaks of four "plans" and he gives each a name. Although these plans are treated synonymously by most of Mormon literature, they are indeed specific to each portion of God's ultimate plan for his children. The first of these plans is mentioned in verse 5.
In the garden, two trees were mentioned by name: the Tree of Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In Gen 2:16, God invited Adam and Eve to "freely eat" of every tree except that which was forbidden, meaning they had unfettered access to the Tree of Life. In the garden, Adam and Eve lived immortal lives, the same state promised to all God's children by the Plan of Salvation. Because of disobedience, Adam was to be punished according to the laws of Justice, and reaching forth his hand at that time to partake of the fruit would have caused him to face eternal punishment. To protect Adam, and indeed the Plan of Salvation itself, God chose to guard the tree with a "flaming sword."
Adam and Eve were sentenced to death after a probationary period. This period is integral to the Plan of Happiness mentioned in verse 8.
Alma highlights and summarizes his discussion in vs. 2-6 in vs. 7-9. Verse 7 begins 'Now ye see..." Our original parents were cut off temporally and spiritually and they could now follow after their own will. Death is part of God's plan, that we are cut off from the presence of the Lord. It was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from temporal death, but it was expedient that man should be reclaimed from spiritual death. This last claim, that it is expedient that man be reclaimed from spiritual death summarizes the movement of the narrative in verses 7-9.
  • Alma 42:7 - Temporal Death refers to the separation of body and spirit.
  • Alma 42:9 - Spiritual death implies the separation from the presence of God.
Plan of happiness. After the fall of Adam, mankind was cut off completely from the presence of God; however, it was not expedient for them to be reclaimed from physical death. In fact, by so doing, man's opportunity to gain true happiness would have been frustrated. The Plan of Happiness requires that men and women "follow after their own free will" for both good and evil, in order to learn wisdom and knowledge from their mistakes and successes. We must experience misery to appreciate joy, and sin in order that we may learn how to do good (see 2 Ne 2:23). Free will is central to the Plan of Happiness.
Choosing to freely repent and forsake one's sins is integral to the Plan of Redemption talked about in verse 13.
  • Alma 42:10-11. In verses 10-11, Alma teaches that because of the Fall, man had become carnal and a probationary period was given. Had there been no plan, there would be no escape from misery. Recall that the original perceived concern of Corianton was that it is "injustice that the sinner should be consigned to a state of misery." Alma is answering this concern by telling Corianton that misery is what we all would face, without this plan.
  • Alma 42:12-15. Verses 12-15 explain that man can be reclaimed from this state of misery on conditions of repentance. This is a central teaching in this passage, that without conditions, mercy couldn't take effect without destroying justice, and if justice is destroyed, God ceases to be God. Without mercy mankind would be in the grasp of justice, consigned forever to be cut off from the presence of God. To appease the demands of justice God himself atoned for the sins of the world. In this way God is perfect, just, and merciful.
Plan of Redemption and Plan of Mercy. Redemption is the act of regaining something that was previously lost. The whole purpose of the Plan of Redemption is to bring about victory over spiritual and physical death (see also Alma 12:25). We each participate in our own redemption--IT IS NOT FREE. For redemption to occur, men must repent and come unto Christ. Those who fail to repent during their lifetime (the probationary period) will be held accountable to the Justice of God for their sins.
However, repentance is only part of this equation. Remember, we are saved by grace "in spite of" all that we can do (see 2 Ne 2:23). Without the Plan of Mercy none of us would ever experience eternal life. Jesus Christ and his infinite sacrifice are central to this final part of God's plan for us. One perfect man, the son of God, took upon himself the sins of the world that He may intercede with God on our behalf, and offer us mercy instead of justice at the day of judgment--"at-one-ment" instead of "eternal punishment" (see D&C 19:11).
This narrowly focused interpretation of the Plan of Mercy gives additional weight to Alma's admonition that Corianton continue to "brings souls to unto repentance, [so] that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them" (Alma 42:31).
  • Alma 42:13, 22, 25: God would cease to be God. In verse 13 Alma tells his son that if people could be redeemed without repenting, justice would be destroyed. Then he says that the work of justice could not be destroyed--for if it were God would cease to be God.
Some read these verses as suggesting that God could literally cease to be God--he could actually lose his glory, power, and standing as a divine being--if He acted contrary to the law of justice by allowing men to be redeemed without requiring repentance. According to this view, God must live by certain laws--such as the law of justice--if He is to maintain his divine status. See the discussion of D&C 29:36 regarding honor as power. The view that God could cease to be God goes against the traditional Christian view of an Omnipotent God who makes the rules rather than a being who achieves godhood through abiding by the rules to which He is subject.
Others believe that Alma isn't saying that God could actually cease to be God. Under this interpretation the argument goes like this. 1) Alma argues that to allow the sinner to be redeemed without repentance would destroy justice. 2) Alma then says justice cannot be destroyed. 3) Alma backs up the claim that justice cannot be destroyed by saying that if it were God would cease to be God--something that cannot happen. In sum, in this view, Alma is saying that it is inconceivable that God, a just God, would destroy justice by allowing the sinner to be redeemed without repentance.
Both views are consistent with Alma's point that it makes sense that repentance is required in order for someone to be redeemed from their sins.
  • Alma 42:16-18. In verses 16-18, Alma teaches that repentance would be void, or of no effect if there was no punishment. There is a punishment affixed, this punishment stands opposite to eternal happiness. The fulcrum upon which these are balanced is law. How could one sin if there was no law? How could there be law if there was no punishment? Alma admonishes that Corianton rest assured that the law and punishment were affixed.
In verse 16 the Plan of Happiness clearly is synonymous to free will, else how could punishment be affixed in opposition to it unless the plan allowed for man to sin. And, just as "agency" and "free will" have been with us from the beginning (see D&C 93:29), Alma also states that the Plan of Happiness is as "eternal as the life of the soul."
  • Alma 42:19-25. In verses 19-25, Alma embellishes his discussion of law and recommends that the atonement allows mercy and justice to each claim their own. Alma asks: If there were no law, would anyone fear to murder? If there were no law, if men sinned, what could justice or mercy do? In affixing the punishment, the law is executed. In granting repentance, the law is executed. Mercy and justice claim all their own because of the atonement.
  • Alma 42:26-31. In verses 26-31, Alma returns to the interpersonal discussion with his son, Corianton. Recall once more that Corianton's concern was that it is injust that sinners should be consigned to misery. Alma has discussed justice and mercy, and how the atonement allows mercy and justice to claim their own. Injustice would occur if a person or group of people are inevitably, unavoidably consigned to misery. Corianton suggested (or Alma perceived that Corianton believed) that it appears the group of sinners is so consigned. Alma's response is that whoso wants may partake of mercy through repentance, but no one is compelled (such compelling would likewise compromise the demands of justice and mercy). Finally, Alma exclaims that Corianton should not deny the justice of God, and should not be troubled by seeming injustices--he (Alma) has just explained the 'justness' of the plan. He summarizes his response to the original concern like this: Don't be troubled by the justice of God, be troubled by your own sins.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 42:2: Why does this verse apparently quote from Gen 3:23, which says "the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken," but change the noun from Adam to "our first parents" and the pronoun from "him" to "they"?
  • Alma 42:2: Why does this verse apparently quote from Gen 3:24, which says "he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life," but change "drew" to "drove," eliminate "end" from "east end," make "cherubims" singular, and add "the way of"?
  • Alma 42:3: Why does this verse apparently quote from Gen 3:22, which says "lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever," but change the order of the quotations in Genesis 3 and eliminate the word "should"?
  • Alma 42:5: Why would partaking of the tree of life have meant that Adam could not have had a space for repentance? What is the connection between mortality and an ability to repent?
  • Alma 42:5: What might it mean that God could "cease to be God" (vs. 13)?
  • Alma 42:20: Does this verse make it sound like our obedience should be out of fear? Does it sound like this verse assumes people operate according to a sense of preconventional morality?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 42. The Plan of Salvation, Gerald N. Lund follows the chronology of God's plan for his children from the Premortal Existence through the Three Degrees of Glory.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 39-41                      Next page: Chapters 43-44

Alma 42:16-20

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 36-42 > Chapter 42
Previous page: Chapter 39-41                      Next page: Chapters 43-44


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This section should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma 36-42. The relationship of Chapter 42 to the rest of Chapters 36-42 is discussed at Chapters 36-42.

Story. Chapter 42 consists of ____ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapters 42 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Verse 1: Alma talks to his sinning son Corianton. Alma perceives Corianton is troubled by the notion of justice. To Corianton it doesn't seem just that the sinful should be consigned to misery.
  • Verses 2-6: There is a space granted in which to repent.
  • Verses 7-9: It is expedient that man be reclaimed from spiritual death.
  • Verses 10-11: This life is a probationary state.
  • Verses 12-15: The requisite conditions for repentance.
  • Verses 16-18: There is a punishment affixed.
  • Verses 19-25: Mercy and justice claim their own because of the atonement.
  • Verses 26-31: Return to personal: don't deny the justice of God, don't be troubled by the justice of God, be troubled by your sins.
  • Alma 42:5 - Plan of Salvation
  • Alma 42:8 - Plan of Happiness
  • Alma 42:5 - Plan of Salvation
  • Alma 42:8 - Plan of Happiness
  • Alma 42:13 - Plan of Redemption
  • Alma 42:15 - Plan of Mercy
  • Alma 42:1-6. Alma just finished explaining to Corianton how restoration implies that good will be restored for good and evil for evil. Now Alma responds to a concern Alma perceives that Corianton has about the justice of God in consigning the sinner to a state of misery.
To begin Alma turns to Adam and Eve. He explains that a time was given to them to repent by preventing them from eating of the tree of life. The flaming sword and cherubim were put to guard the tree of life so that Adam and Eve wouldn't take the fruit and live forever. In verses 4-5 Alma tells his son that had Adam and Eve eaten the fruit of the tree of life, they couldn't have repented; they wouldn't have had a chance to be saved from their sins. Because Adam and Eve weren't allowed to eat of the tree of life, they had to die (verse 6). We can read verse 6 as a definition of what it means to be fallen. Man was fallen because he had to die.
Plan of salvation. In Alma 42, Alma speaks of four "plans" and he gives each a name. Although these plans are treated synonymously by most of Mormon literature, they are indeed specific to each portion of God's ultimate plan for his children. The first of these plans is mentioned in verse 5.
In the garden, two trees were mentioned by name: the Tree of Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In Gen 2:16, God invited Adam and Eve to "freely eat" of every tree except that which was forbidden, meaning they had unfettered access to the Tree of Life. In the garden, Adam and Eve lived immortal lives, the same state promised to all God's children by the Plan of Salvation. Because of disobedience, Adam was to be punished according to the laws of Justice, and reaching forth his hand at that time to partake of the fruit would have caused him to face eternal punishment. To protect Adam, and indeed the Plan of Salvation itself, God chose to guard the tree with a "flaming sword."
Adam and Eve were sentenced to death after a probationary period. This period is integral to the Plan of Happiness mentioned in verse 8.
Alma highlights and summarizes his discussion in vs. 2-6 in vs. 7-9. Verse 7 begins 'Now ye see..." Our original parents were cut off temporally and spiritually and they could now follow after their own will. Death is part of God's plan, that we are cut off from the presence of the Lord. It was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from temporal death, but it was expedient that man should be reclaimed from spiritual death. This last claim, that it is expedient that man be reclaimed from spiritual death summarizes the movement of the narrative in verses 7-9.
  • Alma 42:7 - Temporal Death refers to the separation of body and spirit.
  • Alma 42:9 - Spiritual death implies the separation from the presence of God.
Plan of happiness. After the fall of Adam, mankind was cut off completely from the presence of God; however, it was not expedient for them to be reclaimed from physical death. In fact, by so doing, man's opportunity to gain true happiness would have been frustrated. The Plan of Happiness requires that men and women "follow after their own free will" for both good and evil, in order to learn wisdom and knowledge from their mistakes and successes. We must experience misery to appreciate joy, and sin in order that we may learn how to do good (see 2 Ne 2:23). Free will is central to the Plan of Happiness.
Choosing to freely repent and forsake one's sins is integral to the Plan of Redemption talked about in verse 13.
  • Alma 42:10-11. In verses 10-11, Alma teaches that because of the Fall, man had become carnal and a probationary period was given. Had there been no plan, there would be no escape from misery. Recall that the original perceived concern of Corianton was that it is "injustice that the sinner should be consigned to a state of misery." Alma is answering this concern by telling Corianton that misery is what we all would face, without this plan.
  • Alma 42:12-15. Verses 12-15 explain that man can be reclaimed from this state of misery on conditions of repentance. This is a central teaching in this passage, that without conditions, mercy couldn't take effect without destroying justice, and if justice is destroyed, God ceases to be God. Without mercy mankind would be in the grasp of justice, consigned forever to be cut off from the presence of God. To appease the demands of justice God himself atoned for the sins of the world. In this way God is perfect, just, and merciful.
Plan of Redemption and Plan of Mercy. Redemption is the act of regaining something that was previously lost. The whole purpose of the Plan of Redemption is to bring about victory over spiritual and physical death (see also Alma 12:25). We each participate in our own redemption--IT IS NOT FREE. For redemption to occur, men must repent and come unto Christ. Those who fail to repent during their lifetime (the probationary period) will be held accountable to the Justice of God for their sins.
However, repentance is only part of this equation. Remember, we are saved by grace "in spite of" all that we can do (see 2 Ne 2:23). Without the Plan of Mercy none of us would ever experience eternal life. Jesus Christ and his infinite sacrifice are central to this final part of God's plan for us. One perfect man, the son of God, took upon himself the sins of the world that He may intercede with God on our behalf, and offer us mercy instead of justice at the day of judgment--"at-one-ment" instead of "eternal punishment" (see D&C 19:11).
This narrowly focused interpretation of the Plan of Mercy gives additional weight to Alma's admonition that Corianton continue to "brings souls to unto repentance, [so] that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them" (Alma 42:31).
  • Alma 42:13, 22, 25: God would cease to be God. In verse 13 Alma tells his son that if people could be redeemed without repenting, justice would be destroyed. Then he says that the work of justice could not be destroyed--for if it were God would cease to be God.
Some read these verses as suggesting that God could literally cease to be God--he could actually lose his glory, power, and standing as a divine being--if He acted contrary to the law of justice by allowing men to be redeemed without requiring repentance. According to this view, God must live by certain laws--such as the law of justice--if He is to maintain his divine status. See the discussion of D&C 29:36 regarding honor as power. The view that God could cease to be God goes against the traditional Christian view of an Omnipotent God who makes the rules rather than a being who achieves godhood through abiding by the rules to which He is subject.
Others believe that Alma isn't saying that God could actually cease to be God. Under this interpretation the argument goes like this. 1) Alma argues that to allow the sinner to be redeemed without repentance would destroy justice. 2) Alma then says justice cannot be destroyed. 3) Alma backs up the claim that justice cannot be destroyed by saying that if it were God would cease to be God--something that cannot happen. In sum, in this view, Alma is saying that it is inconceivable that God, a just God, would destroy justice by allowing the sinner to be redeemed without repentance.
Both views are consistent with Alma's point that it makes sense that repentance is required in order for someone to be redeemed from their sins.
  • Alma 42:16-18. In verses 16-18, Alma teaches that repentance would be void, or of no effect if there was no punishment. There is a punishment affixed, this punishment stands opposite to eternal happiness. The fulcrum upon which these are balanced is law. How could one sin if there was no law? How could there be law if there was no punishment? Alma admonishes that Corianton rest assured that the law and punishment were affixed.
In verse 16 the Plan of Happiness clearly is synonymous to free will, else how could punishment be affixed in opposition to it unless the plan allowed for man to sin. And, just as "agency" and "free will" have been with us from the beginning (see D&C 93:29), Alma also states that the Plan of Happiness is as "eternal as the life of the soul."
  • Alma 42:19-25. In verses 19-25, Alma embellishes his discussion of law and recommends that the atonement allows mercy and justice to each claim their own. Alma asks: If there were no law, would anyone fear to murder? If there were no law, if men sinned, what could justice or mercy do? In affixing the punishment, the law is executed. In granting repentance, the law is executed. Mercy and justice claim all their own because of the atonement.
  • Alma 42:26-31. In verses 26-31, Alma returns to the interpersonal discussion with his son, Corianton. Recall once more that Corianton's concern was that it is injust that sinners should be consigned to misery. Alma has discussed justice and mercy, and how the atonement allows mercy and justice to claim their own. Injustice would occur if a person or group of people are inevitably, unavoidably consigned to misery. Corianton suggested (or Alma perceived that Corianton believed) that it appears the group of sinners is so consigned. Alma's response is that whoso wants may partake of mercy through repentance, but no one is compelled (such compelling would likewise compromise the demands of justice and mercy). Finally, Alma exclaims that Corianton should not deny the justice of God, and should not be troubled by seeming injustices--he (Alma) has just explained the 'justness' of the plan. He summarizes his response to the original concern like this: Don't be troubled by the justice of God, be troubled by your own sins.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 42:2: Why does this verse apparently quote from Gen 3:23, which says "the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken," but change the noun from Adam to "our first parents" and the pronoun from "him" to "they"?
  • Alma 42:2: Why does this verse apparently quote from Gen 3:24, which says "he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life," but change "drew" to "drove," eliminate "end" from "east end," make "cherubims" singular, and add "the way of"?
  • Alma 42:3: Why does this verse apparently quote from Gen 3:22, which says "lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever," but change the order of the quotations in Genesis 3 and eliminate the word "should"?
  • Alma 42:5: Why would partaking of the tree of life have meant that Adam could not have had a space for repentance? What is the connection between mortality and an ability to repent?
  • Alma 42:5: What might it mean that God could "cease to be God" (vs. 13)?
  • Alma 42:20: Does this verse make it sound like our obedience should be out of fear? Does it sound like this verse assumes people operate according to a sense of preconventional morality?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 42. The Plan of Salvation, Gerald N. Lund follows the chronology of God's plan for his children from the Premortal Existence through the Three Degrees of Glory.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 39-41                      Next page: Chapters 43-44

Alma 42:21-25

Home > The Book of Mormon > Alma > Chapters 36-42 > Chapter 42
Previous page: Chapter 39-41                      Next page: Chapters 43-44


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This section should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Alma 36-42. The relationship of Chapter 42 to the rest of Chapters 36-42 is discussed at Chapters 36-42.

Story. Chapter 42 consists of ____ major sections:

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapters 42 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Verse 1: Alma talks to his sinning son Corianton. Alma perceives Corianton is troubled by the notion of justice. To Corianton it doesn't seem just that the sinful should be consigned to misery.
  • Verses 2-6: There is a space granted in which to repent.
  • Verses 7-9: It is expedient that man be reclaimed from spiritual death.
  • Verses 10-11: This life is a probationary state.
  • Verses 12-15: The requisite conditions for repentance.
  • Verses 16-18: There is a punishment affixed.
  • Verses 19-25: Mercy and justice claim their own because of the atonement.
  • Verses 26-31: Return to personal: don't deny the justice of God, don't be troubled by the justice of God, be troubled by your sins.
  • Alma 42:5 - Plan of Salvation
  • Alma 42:8 - Plan of Happiness
  • Alma 42:5 - Plan of Salvation
  • Alma 42:8 - Plan of Happiness
  • Alma 42:13 - Plan of Redemption
  • Alma 42:15 - Plan of Mercy
  • Alma 42:1-6. Alma just finished explaining to Corianton how restoration implies that good will be restored for good and evil for evil. Now Alma responds to a concern Alma perceives that Corianton has about the justice of God in consigning the sinner to a state of misery.
To begin Alma turns to Adam and Eve. He explains that a time was given to them to repent by preventing them from eating of the tree of life. The flaming sword and cherubim were put to guard the tree of life so that Adam and Eve wouldn't take the fruit and live forever. In verses 4-5 Alma tells his son that had Adam and Eve eaten the fruit of the tree of life, they couldn't have repented; they wouldn't have had a chance to be saved from their sins. Because Adam and Eve weren't allowed to eat of the tree of life, they had to die (verse 6). We can read verse 6 as a definition of what it means to be fallen. Man was fallen because he had to die.
Plan of salvation. In Alma 42, Alma speaks of four "plans" and he gives each a name. Although these plans are treated synonymously by most of Mormon literature, they are indeed specific to each portion of God's ultimate plan for his children. The first of these plans is mentioned in verse 5.
In the garden, two trees were mentioned by name: the Tree of Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In Gen 2:16, God invited Adam and Eve to "freely eat" of every tree except that which was forbidden, meaning they had unfettered access to the Tree of Life. In the garden, Adam and Eve lived immortal lives, the same state promised to all God's children by the Plan of Salvation. Because of disobedience, Adam was to be punished according to the laws of Justice, and reaching forth his hand at that time to partake of the fruit would have caused him to face eternal punishment. To protect Adam, and indeed the Plan of Salvation itself, God chose to guard the tree with a "flaming sword."
Adam and Eve were sentenced to death after a probationary period. This period is integral to the Plan of Happiness mentioned in verse 8.
Alma highlights and summarizes his discussion in vs. 2-6 in vs. 7-9. Verse 7 begins 'Now ye see..." Our original parents were cut off temporally and spiritually and they could now follow after their own will. Death is part of God's plan, that we are cut off from the presence of the Lord. It was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from temporal death, but it was expedient that man should be reclaimed from spiritual death. This last claim, that it is expedient that man be reclaimed from spiritual death summarizes the movement of the narrative in verses 7-9.
  • Alma 42:7 - Temporal Death refers to the separation of body and spirit.
  • Alma 42:9 - Spiritual death implies the separation from the presence of God.
Plan of happiness. After the fall of Adam, mankind was cut off completely from the presence of God; however, it was not expedient for them to be reclaimed from physical death. In fact, by so doing, man's opportunity to gain true happiness would have been frustrated. The Plan of Happiness requires that men and women "follow after their own free will" for both good and evil, in order to learn wisdom and knowledge from their mistakes and successes. We must experience misery to appreciate joy, and sin in order that we may learn how to do good (see 2 Ne 2:23). Free will is central to the Plan of Happiness.
Choosing to freely repent and forsake one's sins is integral to the Plan of Redemption talked about in verse 13.
  • Alma 42:10-11. In verses 10-11, Alma teaches that because of the Fall, man had become carnal and a probationary period was given. Had there been no plan, there would be no escape from misery. Recall that the original perceived concern of Corianton was that it is "injustice that the sinner should be consigned to a state of misery." Alma is answering this concern by telling Corianton that misery is what we all would face, without this plan.
  • Alma 42:12-15. Verses 12-15 explain that man can be reclaimed from this state of misery on conditions of repentance. This is a central teaching in this passage, that without conditions, mercy couldn't take effect without destroying justice, and if justice is destroyed, God ceases to be God. Without mercy mankind would be in the grasp of justice, consigned forever to be cut off from the presence of God. To appease the demands of justice God himself atoned for the sins of the world. In this way God is perfect, just, and merciful.
Plan of Redemption and Plan of Mercy. Redemption is the act of regaining something that was previously lost. The whole purpose of the Plan of Redemption is to bring about victory over spiritual and physical death (see also Alma 12:25). We each participate in our own redemption--IT IS NOT FREE. For redemption to occur, men must repent and come unto Christ. Those who fail to repent during their lifetime (the probationary period) will be held accountable to the Justice of God for their sins.
However, repentance is only part of this equation. Remember, we are saved by grace "in spite of" all that we can do (see 2 Ne 2:23). Without the Plan of Mercy none of us would ever experience eternal life. Jesus Christ and his infinite sacrifice are central to this final part of God's plan for us. One perfect man, the son of God, took upon himself the sins of the world that He may intercede with God on our behalf, and offer us mercy instead of justice at the day of judgment--"at-one-ment" instead of "eternal punishment" (see D&C 19:11).
This narrowly focused interpretation of the Plan of Mercy gives additional weight to Alma's admonition that Corianton continue to "brings souls to unto repentance, [so] that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them" (Alma 42:31).
  • Alma 42:13, 22, 25: God would cease to be God. In verse 13 Alma tells his son that if people could be redeemed without repenting, justice would be destroyed. Then he says that the work of justice could not be destroyed--for if it were God would cease to be God.
Some read these verses as suggesting that God could literally cease to be God--he could actually lose his glory, power, and standing as a divine being--if He acted contrary to the law of justice by allowing men to be redeemed without requiring repentance. According to this view, God must live by certain laws--such as the law of justice--if He is to maintain his divine status. See the discussion of D&C 29:36 regarding honor as power. The view that God could cease to be God goes against the traditional Christian view of an Omnipotent God who makes the rules rather than a being who achieves godhood through abiding by the rules to which He is subject.
Others believe that Alma isn't saying that God could actually cease to be God. Under this interpretation the argument goes like this. 1) Alma argues that to allow the sinner to be redeemed without repentance would destroy justice. 2) Alma then says justice cannot be destroyed. 3) Alma backs up the claim that justice cannot be destroyed by saying that if it were God would cease to be God--something that cannot happen. In sum, in this view, Alma is saying that it is inconceivable that God, a just God, would destroy justice by allowing the sinner to be redeemed without repentance.
Both views are consistent with Alma's point that it makes sense that repentance is required in order for someone to be redeemed from their sins.
  • Alma 42:16-18. In verses 16-18, Alma teaches that repentance would be void, or of no effect if there was no punishment. There is a punishment affixed, this punishment stands opposite to eternal happiness. The fulcrum upon which these are balanced is law. How could one sin if there was no law? How could there be law if there was no punishment? Alma admonishes that Corianton rest assured that the law and punishment were affixed.
In verse 16 the Plan of Happiness clearly is synonymous to free will, else how could punishment be affixed in opposition to it unless the plan allowed for man to sin. And, just as "agency" and "free will" have been with us from the beginning (see D&C 93:29), Alma also states that the Plan of Happiness is as "eternal as the life of the soul."
  • Alma 42:19-25. In verses 19-25, Alma embellishes his discussion of law and recommends that the atonement allows mercy and justice to each claim their own. Alma asks: If there were no law, would anyone fear to murder? If there were no law, if men sinned, what could justice or mercy do? In affixing the punishment, the law is executed. In granting repentance, the law is executed. Mercy and justice claim all their own because of the atonement.
  • Alma 42:26-31. In verses 26-31, Alma returns to the interpersonal discussion with his son, Corianton. Recall once more that Corianton's concern was that it is injust that sinners should be consigned to misery. Alma has discussed justice and mercy, and how the atonement allows mercy and justice to claim their own. Injustice would occur if a person or group of people are inevitably, unavoidably consigned to misery. Corianton suggested (or Alma perceived that Corianton believed) that it appears the group of sinners is so consigned. Alma's response is that whoso wants may partake of mercy through repentance, but no one is compelled (such compelling would likewise compromise the demands of justice and mercy). Finally, Alma exclaims that Corianton should not deny the justice of God, and should not be troubled by seeming injustices--he (Alma) has just explained the 'justness' of the plan. He summarizes his response to the original concern like this: Don't be troubled by the justice of God, be troubled by your own sins.

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 42:2: Why does this verse apparently quote from Gen 3:23, which says "the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken," but change the noun from Adam to "our first parents" and the pronoun from "him" to "they"?
  • Alma 42:2: Why does this verse apparently quote from Gen 3:24, which says "he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life," but change "drew" to "drove," eliminate "end" from "east end," make "cherubims" singular, and add "the way of"?
  • Alma 42:3: Why does this verse apparently quote from Gen 3:22, which says "lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever," but change the order of the quotations in Genesis 3 and eliminate the word "should"?
  • Alma 42:5: Why would partaking of the tree of life have meant that Adam could not have had a space for repentance? What is the connection between mortality and an ability to repent?
  • Alma 42:5: What might it mean that God could "cease to be God" (vs. 13)?
  • Alma 42:20: Does this verse make it sound like our obedience should be out of fear? Does it sound like this verse assumes people operate according to a sense of preconventional morality?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Alma 42. The Plan of Salvation, Gerald N. Lund follows the chronology of God's plan for his children from the Premortal Existence through the Three Degrees of Glory.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Chapter 39-41                      Next page: Chapters 43-44

D&C 18:6-10

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 18
Previous section: D&C 15-16                         Next section: D&C 17


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 18 is directed at first to Oliver Cowdery, then jointly to Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, and also to the Twelve who will be selected.

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received: June 1829 at Harmony, Pennsylvania
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 16
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 17

Oliver Cowdery began serving as Joseph Smith's scribe for the Book of Mormon translation on April 7, 1829. About the end of May, Joseph and Oliver left Harmony because of rising persecution to stay with the Whitmer family at Fayette, arriving probably not earlier than June 3. On June 14 Oliver Cowdery wrote a letter from Fayette to ____ at Manchester-Palmyra in which he quoted portions of D&C 18. The Book of Mormon translation was then completed about the end of June.

Little is known about the circumstances under which D&C 18 was received except that it was received at Fayette during June 3-14 while the Book of Mormon translation was progressing rapidly at the Whitmer home.

For a brief overview of D&C 18 in historical relation to the rest of the Doctrine & Covenants, see Historical Overview of the Restoration Scriptures. For lengthier discussions of the historical setting, see Historical Context of the Doctrine & Covenants, chapter 3 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 5.

Discussion[edit]

This heading is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

D&C 18 can be outlined as follows:

• to Oliver (1-8)
• to Oliver & David: worth of souls is great, so preach (9-25)
• Twelve will be sought out (26-30)
• duties of the Twelve (31-36)
• Three Witnesses will select the Twelve (37-40)
• to Oliver & David: worth of souls is great, so preach (41-45)

Unanswered questions[edit]

This heading is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This heading is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This heading is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 18:20: What does it mean to "Contend against no church," in verse 20?

Resources[edit]

This heading is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 18 is ______.
  • D&C 18:10-14, 21-25 is paraphrased in a letter from Oliver Cowdery to Hyrum Smith dated 14 June 1829, so it is likely that the content of at least those verses is soon known to many of the Saints at Manchester-Palmyra.[1]
  • D&C 18 was first published in the 1833 Book of Commandments, the earliest edition of what we now call the Doctrine & Covenants.

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 18.

  • D&C 18 and D&C 19 can be read as a pair in which D&C 18 to two of the Three Witnesses emphasizes the joy available through mercy, while D&C 19 to the other Witness emphasizes the dread of justice. In addition, D&C 18:10-18 provides the clearest statement of why missionaries preach, and D&C 18:21-22, 41-45 provides the most detailed instruction so far regarding what they are to preach: repentance, baptism and endurance to the end. D&C 19:21-22, 30-31 likewise instructs Martin Harris, the other of the Three Witnesses, to preach only faith, repentance, and baptism by water and the Holy Ghost, to not preach new doctrines, and to not contend.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.

  1. Letter from Oliver Cowdery to Hyrum Smith (14 Jun 1829). Reprinted in Cook, Lyndon W. The Revelations of Joseph Smith, 29. Provo, Utah: Seventy's Mission Bookstore, 1981.

Previous section: D&C 15-16                         Next section: D&C 17

D&C 18:11-15

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 18
Previous section: D&C 15-16                         Next section: D&C 17


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 18 is directed at first to Oliver Cowdery, then jointly to Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, and also to the Twelve who will be selected.

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received: June 1829 at Harmony, Pennsylvania
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 16
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 17

Oliver Cowdery began serving as Joseph Smith's scribe for the Book of Mormon translation on April 7, 1829. About the end of May, Joseph and Oliver left Harmony because of rising persecution to stay with the Whitmer family at Fayette, arriving probably not earlier than June 3. On June 14 Oliver Cowdery wrote a letter from Fayette to ____ at Manchester-Palmyra in which he quoted portions of D&C 18. The Book of Mormon translation was then completed about the end of June.

Little is known about the circumstances under which D&C 18 was received except that it was received at Fayette during June 3-14 while the Book of Mormon translation was progressing rapidly at the Whitmer home.

For a brief overview of D&C 18 in historical relation to the rest of the Doctrine & Covenants, see Historical Overview of the Restoration Scriptures. For lengthier discussions of the historical setting, see Historical Context of the Doctrine & Covenants, chapter 3 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 5.

Discussion[edit]

This heading is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

D&C 18 can be outlined as follows:

• to Oliver (1-8)
• to Oliver & David: worth of souls is great, so preach (9-25)
• Twelve will be sought out (26-30)
• duties of the Twelve (31-36)
• Three Witnesses will select the Twelve (37-40)
• to Oliver & David: worth of souls is great, so preach (41-45)

Unanswered questions[edit]

This heading is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This heading is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This heading is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 18:20: What does it mean to "Contend against no church," in verse 20?

Resources[edit]

This heading is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 18 is ______.
  • D&C 18:10-14, 21-25 is paraphrased in a letter from Oliver Cowdery to Hyrum Smith dated 14 June 1829, so it is likely that the content of at least those verses is soon known to many of the Saints at Manchester-Palmyra.[1]
  • D&C 18 was first published in the 1833 Book of Commandments, the earliest edition of what we now call the Doctrine & Covenants.

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 18.

  • D&C 18 and D&C 19 can be read as a pair in which D&C 18 to two of the Three Witnesses emphasizes the joy available through mercy, while D&C 19 to the other Witness emphasizes the dread of justice. In addition, D&C 18:10-18 provides the clearest statement of why missionaries preach, and D&C 18:21-22, 41-45 provides the most detailed instruction so far regarding what they are to preach: repentance, baptism and endurance to the end. D&C 19:21-22, 30-31 likewise instructs Martin Harris, the other of the Three Witnesses, to preach only faith, repentance, and baptism by water and the Holy Ghost, to not preach new doctrines, and to not contend.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.

  1. Letter from Oliver Cowdery to Hyrum Smith (14 Jun 1829). Reprinted in Cook, Lyndon W. The Revelations of Joseph Smith, 29. Provo, Utah: Seventy's Mission Bookstore, 1981.

Previous section: D&C 15-16                         Next section: D&C 17

D&C 18:21-25

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 18
Previous section: D&C 15-16                         Next section: D&C 17


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 18 is directed at first to Oliver Cowdery, then jointly to Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, and also to the Twelve who will be selected.

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received: June 1829 at Harmony, Pennsylvania
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 16
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 17

Oliver Cowdery began serving as Joseph Smith's scribe for the Book of Mormon translation on April 7, 1829. About the end of May, Joseph and Oliver left Harmony because of rising persecution to stay with the Whitmer family at Fayette, arriving probably not earlier than June 3. On June 14 Oliver Cowdery wrote a letter from Fayette to ____ at Manchester-Palmyra in which he quoted portions of D&C 18. The Book of Mormon translation was then completed about the end of June.

Little is known about the circumstances under which D&C 18 was received except that it was received at Fayette during June 3-14 while the Book of Mormon translation was progressing rapidly at the Whitmer home.

For a brief overview of D&C 18 in historical relation to the rest of the Doctrine & Covenants, see Historical Overview of the Restoration Scriptures. For lengthier discussions of the historical setting, see Historical Context of the Doctrine & Covenants, chapter 3 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 5.

Discussion[edit]

This heading is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

D&C 18 can be outlined as follows:

• to Oliver (1-8)
• to Oliver & David: worth of souls is great, so preach (9-25)
• Twelve will be sought out (26-30)
• duties of the Twelve (31-36)
• Three Witnesses will select the Twelve (37-40)
• to Oliver & David: worth of souls is great, so preach (41-45)

Unanswered questions[edit]

This heading is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This heading is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This heading is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 18:20: What does it mean to "Contend against no church," in verse 20?

Resources[edit]

This heading is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 18 is ______.
  • D&C 18:10-14, 21-25 is paraphrased in a letter from Oliver Cowdery to Hyrum Smith dated 14 June 1829, so it is likely that the content of at least those verses is soon known to many of the Saints at Manchester-Palmyra.[1]
  • D&C 18 was first published in the 1833 Book of Commandments, the earliest edition of what we now call the Doctrine & Covenants.

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 18.

  • D&C 18 and D&C 19 can be read as a pair in which D&C 18 to two of the Three Witnesses emphasizes the joy available through mercy, while D&C 19 to the other Witness emphasizes the dread of justice. In addition, D&C 18:10-18 provides the clearest statement of why missionaries preach, and D&C 18:21-22, 41-45 provides the most detailed instruction so far regarding what they are to preach: repentance, baptism and endurance to the end. D&C 19:21-22, 30-31 likewise instructs Martin Harris, the other of the Three Witnesses, to preach only faith, repentance, and baptism by water and the Holy Ghost, to not preach new doctrines, and to not contend.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.

  1. Letter from Oliver Cowdery to Hyrum Smith (14 Jun 1829). Reprinted in Cook, Lyndon W. The Revelations of Joseph Smith, 29. Provo, Utah: Seventy's Mission Bookstore, 1981.

Previous section: D&C 15-16                         Next section: D&C 17

D&C 19:11-15

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 19
Previous section: D&C 17                         Next section: D&C 20


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received: March 1830 at Manchester-Palmyra, New York
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 17
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 21

The Book of Mormon translation was completed, and the angel Moroni appeared to the Three Witnesses, including Martin Harris, in late June or early July 1829. Joseph Smith afterward spent most of his time at home in Harmony, Pennsylvania while Oliver Cowdery and Hyrum Smith oversaw the printing at Palmyra, New York.

About nine months later the Book of Mormon became available for purchase at Palmyra on Friday, March 26, 1830, and the Church was organized eleven days after that at Fayette, New York on Tuesday, April 6, 1830.

In late March 1830, shortly before these last two two events, Joseph Knight Sr. took Joseph Smith by wagon from his home at Harmony to his parents' house at Manchester-Palmyra. Upon arriving at Palmyra they found Martin Harris crossing the street with several copies of the Book of Mormon. Martin had previously pledged his farm as security for the cost of printing, and he was therefore worried about losing his farm if the books did not sell. Martin told Joseph Smith three or four times that he must have another revelation or "commandment." Joseph put him off each time and told him to "fulfill what you have got." That night Joseph Smith, Joseph Knight Sr. and Martin Harris all slept at the Smith home.

The next morning Martin again insisted that he must have a commandment and then returned to his own home at Palmyra. That afternoon Joseph Smith received D&C 19, and Oliver Cowdery wrote it down.

For a brief overview of D&C 19 in historical relation to the rest of the Doctrine & Covenants, see Historical Overview of the Restoration Scriptures. For lengthier discussions of the historical setting, see Historical Context of the Doctrine & Covenants, chapter 4 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 5.

Discussion[edit]

This heading is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 19:6.' It is not clear what is going on in this verse. From reading this section we might come up with the following reading (called "first reading" hereafter). Other places in the scriptures say that those who don't repent (see verse 4), or in other words those found on his left hand in the day of judgment (see verse 5), will receive endless torment. And readers may have presumed that this meant that there would be no end to their torment. However, the Lord explains here that "endless" is another name for himself. Thus what reads "endless torment" can be understood as "God's punishment"--which may have an end. This section (following this same reading) explains that if one fails to repent one can suffer as Christ suffered but still inherit a kingdom of glory after.
Of course, this first reading, goes beyond the text in explaining how someone who suffers as God suffers can inherit a kingdom of glory after "paying" for their sins. But, not without some cause. For the text's stress that "endless torment" does not mean there will be no end to the torment, seems to only have a point if in fact there can be an end to this torment. And in our concept of 3 degrees of glory and outer darkness, the only place left is in one of the degrees of glory.
This first reading though is not without its problems.
First, it seems minor, but it is strange that after explaining how "endless" is a name for God, the phrase "endless torment" is replaced with "God's punishment." See further discussion of this point here.
More importantly this view doesn't fit all scriptures that mention endless torment. Consider those cases where "endless torment" is mentioned in the scriptures (2 Ne 9:19-26, 2 Ne 28:23, Jacob 6:10, Mosiah 3:25, Mosiah 28:3, Moro 8:21). We can categorize these in three sets: (a) those which fit well within the interpetation given in the first reading, (b) those which the first interpretation of D&C 19:6 is irrelevant, and (c) those which seem to contradict the first reading.
(a) Mosiah 28:3 and Moro 8:21 work well with the intepretation given in the first reading.
(b) For 2 Ne 9:19-26, 2 Ne 28:23, Jacob 6:10 the first interpretation makes little difference. In these verses endless torment is not used to describe the torment received by someone but rather a place some will go as punishment. Since these verses don't tell us that someone who goes there cannot return, the place can be a place forever of torment without any particular person ever having to stay there forever.
(c) Mosiah 3:25 is at odds with the first reading. In the previous verse King Benjamin tells the people that at the judgment day people will be judged according to their works, either good or evil. Then in verse 25, King Benjamin says that those who are judged evil will "shrink ... into a state of misery and endless torment, from whence they can no more return." The difficulty here is that substituting "endless torment" for God's punishment is insufficient to suggest (as needed for the first reading) that this punishment can end because we still have the clause "from whence they can no more return."
We must also consider D&C 76:44, given two years after this revelation. Though it doesn't specifically use the phrase "endless torment," it does use the phrase "endless punishment" and identifies that with torment. The D&C 76 revelation is prompted by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon meditating on the meaning of John 5:29. John 5:29 says that those who have done good are resurrected "unto the resurrection of life" while those who have done evil are resurrected "unto the resurrection of damnation." It seems the question in their mind was something like "what is a resurrection of damnation" or maybe "who will receive this resurrection of damnation." If we look at verse 44 as an answer to those question we get: All except the sons of perdition receive the resurrection of life and only the sons of perdition receive the resurrection of damnation.
But if we take this section to be telling us that at least some who receive "endless punishment" can have an end to their punishment and we assume that D&C 76:44 tells us that the sons of perdition cannot have an end to their punishment and then we are left with the odd idea that those discussed in this section as not repenting are those who are resurrected to a resurrection of life. This is odd because John is suggests that in the good from evil division John makes those who do evil and do not repent fall in the good bucket.
Another possibility is that the sons of perdition do not receive a punishment with no end. That is what this verse (verse 6) is saying. Though this seems to contradict D&C 76:44, a closer reading reveals that D&C 76:44 never explicitly says that there will be no end to their punishment only that the place of punishment has no end--just like the verses discussed in the paragraph above labeled (b).
Another possibility is that the resurrection of damnation is not a resurrection only the sons of perdition receive, but rather, all who do not repent. It is a resurrection of damnation because, as is explained in this section, those who receive it will have to suffer as Christ suffered. This is explained in this section. What D&C 76 teaches us is that in the group of those who receive a resurrection of damnation the sons of perdition hold a special place because they are not saved after their sufferings.
Another possibility is that the sons of perdition do receive a torment that has no end and that King Benjamin was referring to the sons of perdition when he says that says that they cannot return from their torment.
Another possibility is that King Benjamin was wrong when saying that those whose works are judged evil will suffer a torment that has no end. In verse 8 of this section Christ tells us that he is going to explain a mystery known by his apostles. The mystery is that endless torment doesn't mean no end to torment. King Benjamin did not know this mystery. Given what he did know, it was reasonable for him to say that there would not be an end to people's torment whose works had been judged evil. But in light of the knowledge we have from this section, we know that this was wrong.
[Note these are not mutually exclusive possibilities. This needs further work to clarify the relationship between these possibilities].

Outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Section 19 can be outlined as follows:
A. Teachings about the atonement and punishment for sin (1-20)
  • all men must suffer for their sins on the day of judgment if they do not repent (3-5)
  • the length of punishment for sin is not endless, but is instead the punishment meted out by an endless God (6-12)
  • the Lord commands Martin Harris, in order to avoid that punishment, to repent and obey the commandments received through Joseph Smith (13-15, 20)
  • the intensity of punishment is that same exquisite pain suffered by Christ during his atonement, the smallest portion of which Martin Harris tasted at the time the Lord withdrew his Spirit (15-20)
B. Instruction to Martin Harris regarding conduct (21-41)

Unanswered questions[edit]

This heading is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This heading is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This heading is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 19:8: Even as mine apostles. What apostles does this verse refer to? Is this referring to a particular mystery that the apostles knew about, or is this referring more to a general kind of knowing mysteries—for example, understanding the parables Jesus taught (cf. Matt 13:11; Mark 4:11; Luke 8:10)?
  • D&C 19:11-15: What does this passage teach about the Savior’s suffering for us?
  • D&C 19:11-15: Why was Jesus willing to experience such great suffering for us?
  • D&C 19:21: What do "these things" refer to?
  • D&C 19:28: Is there a difference between praying before the world and praying in public? Or praying in secret and praying in private?

Resources[edit]

This heading is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving partial copy of D&C 19 (verses 20-41) is the one copied by John Whitmer into Revelation Book 1, p. 27-28, presumably during the summer of 1830. The oldest complete surviving copy of D&C 19 is ______.
  • D&C 19 was first published in the 1833 Book of Commandments, the earliest edition of what we now call the Doctrine & Covenants.

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 19.

  • D&C 18 and D&C 19 can be read as a pair in which D&C 18 to two of the Three Witnesses emphasizes the joy available through mercy, while D&C 19 to the other Witness emphasizes the dread of justice. In addition, D&C 18:10-18 provides the clearest statement of why missionaries preach, and D&C 18:21-22, 41-45 provides the most detailed instruction so far regarding what they are to preach: repentance, baptism and endurance to the end. D&C 19:21-22, 30-31 likewise instructs Martin Harris, the other of the Three Witnesses, to preach only faith, repentance, and baptism by water and the Holy Ghost, to not preach new doctrines, and to not contend.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

  • D&C 19:16-20: Keith R. Edwards, "That They Might Know Thee," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 99–101. Elder Edwards said: "The great and exquisite suffering of the Savior was for us, to keep us from having to suffer as He suffered. However, suffering is a part of life, and few will escape its grasp. Since it is something that each of us has gone through, is going through, or will go through, there is scriptural suggestion that we can learn spiritual lessons if we can approach suffering, sorrow, or grief with a focus on Christ."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 17                         Next section: D&C 20

D&C 19:16-20

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 19
Previous section: D&C 17                         Next section: D&C 20


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received: March 1830 at Manchester-Palmyra, New York
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 17
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 21

The Book of Mormon translation was completed, and the angel Moroni appeared to the Three Witnesses, including Martin Harris, in late June or early July 1829. Joseph Smith afterward spent most of his time at home in Harmony, Pennsylvania while Oliver Cowdery and Hyrum Smith oversaw the printing at Palmyra, New York.

About nine months later the Book of Mormon became available for purchase at Palmyra on Friday, March 26, 1830, and the Church was organized eleven days after that at Fayette, New York on Tuesday, April 6, 1830.

In late March 1830, shortly before these last two two events, Joseph Knight Sr. took Joseph Smith by wagon from his home at Harmony to his parents' house at Manchester-Palmyra. Upon arriving at Palmyra they found Martin Harris crossing the street with several copies of the Book of Mormon. Martin had previously pledged his farm as security for the cost of printing, and he was therefore worried about losing his farm if the books did not sell. Martin told Joseph Smith three or four times that he must have another revelation or "commandment." Joseph put him off each time and told him to "fulfill what you have got." That night Joseph Smith, Joseph Knight Sr. and Martin Harris all slept at the Smith home.

The next morning Martin again insisted that he must have a commandment and then returned to his own home at Palmyra. That afternoon Joseph Smith received D&C 19, and Oliver Cowdery wrote it down.

For a brief overview of D&C 19 in historical relation to the rest of the Doctrine & Covenants, see Historical Overview of the Restoration Scriptures. For lengthier discussions of the historical setting, see Historical Context of the Doctrine & Covenants, chapter 4 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 5.

Discussion[edit]

This heading is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 19:6.' It is not clear what is going on in this verse. From reading this section we might come up with the following reading (called "first reading" hereafter). Other places in the scriptures say that those who don't repent (see verse 4), or in other words those found on his left hand in the day of judgment (see verse 5), will receive endless torment. And readers may have presumed that this meant that there would be no end to their torment. However, the Lord explains here that "endless" is another name for himself. Thus what reads "endless torment" can be understood as "God's punishment"--which may have an end. This section (following this same reading) explains that if one fails to repent one can suffer as Christ suffered but still inherit a kingdom of glory after.
Of course, this first reading, goes beyond the text in explaining how someone who suffers as God suffers can inherit a kingdom of glory after "paying" for their sins. But, not without some cause. For the text's stress that "endless torment" does not mean there will be no end to the torment, seems to only have a point if in fact there can be an end to this torment. And in our concept of 3 degrees of glory and outer darkness, the only place left is in one of the degrees of glory.
This first reading though is not without its problems.
First, it seems minor, but it is strange that after explaining how "endless" is a name for God, the phrase "endless torment" is replaced with "God's punishment." See further discussion of this point here.
More importantly this view doesn't fit all scriptures that mention endless torment. Consider those cases where "endless torment" is mentioned in the scriptures (2 Ne 9:19-26, 2 Ne 28:23, Jacob 6:10, Mosiah 3:25, Mosiah 28:3, Moro 8:21). We can categorize these in three sets: (a) those which fit well within the interpetation given in the first reading, (b) those which the first interpretation of D&C 19:6 is irrelevant, and (c) those which seem to contradict the first reading.
(a) Mosiah 28:3 and Moro 8:21 work well with the intepretation given in the first reading.
(b) For 2 Ne 9:19-26, 2 Ne 28:23, Jacob 6:10 the first interpretation makes little difference. In these verses endless torment is not used to describe the torment received by someone but rather a place some will go as punishment. Since these verses don't tell us that someone who goes there cannot return, the place can be a place forever of torment without any particular person ever having to stay there forever.
(c) Mosiah 3:25 is at odds with the first reading. In the previous verse King Benjamin tells the people that at the judgment day people will be judged according to their works, either good or evil. Then in verse 25, King Benjamin says that those who are judged evil will "shrink ... into a state of misery and endless torment, from whence they can no more return." The difficulty here is that substituting "endless torment" for God's punishment is insufficient to suggest (as needed for the first reading) that this punishment can end because we still have the clause "from whence they can no more return."
We must also consider D&C 76:44, given two years after this revelation. Though it doesn't specifically use the phrase "endless torment," it does use the phrase "endless punishment" and identifies that with torment. The D&C 76 revelation is prompted by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon meditating on the meaning of John 5:29. John 5:29 says that those who have done good are resurrected "unto the resurrection of life" while those who have done evil are resurrected "unto the resurrection of damnation." It seems the question in their mind was something like "what is a resurrection of damnation" or maybe "who will receive this resurrection of damnation." If we look at verse 44 as an answer to those question we get: All except the sons of perdition receive the resurrection of life and only the sons of perdition receive the resurrection of damnation.
But if we take this section to be telling us that at least some who receive "endless punishment" can have an end to their punishment and we assume that D&C 76:44 tells us that the sons of perdition cannot have an end to their punishment and then we are left with the odd idea that those discussed in this section as not repenting are those who are resurrected to a resurrection of life. This is odd because John is suggests that in the good from evil division John makes those who do evil and do not repent fall in the good bucket.
Another possibility is that the sons of perdition do not receive a punishment with no end. That is what this verse (verse 6) is saying. Though this seems to contradict D&C 76:44, a closer reading reveals that D&C 76:44 never explicitly says that there will be no end to their punishment only that the place of punishment has no end--just like the verses discussed in the paragraph above labeled (b).
Another possibility is that the resurrection of damnation is not a resurrection only the sons of perdition receive, but rather, all who do not repent. It is a resurrection of damnation because, as is explained in this section, those who receive it will have to suffer as Christ suffered. This is explained in this section. What D&C 76 teaches us is that in the group of those who receive a resurrection of damnation the sons of perdition hold a special place because they are not saved after their sufferings.
Another possibility is that the sons of perdition do receive a torment that has no end and that King Benjamin was referring to the sons of perdition when he says that says that they cannot return from their torment.
Another possibility is that King Benjamin was wrong when saying that those whose works are judged evil will suffer a torment that has no end. In verse 8 of this section Christ tells us that he is going to explain a mystery known by his apostles. The mystery is that endless torment doesn't mean no end to torment. King Benjamin did not know this mystery. Given what he did know, it was reasonable for him to say that there would not be an end to people's torment whose works had been judged evil. But in light of the knowledge we have from this section, we know that this was wrong.
[Note these are not mutually exclusive possibilities. This needs further work to clarify the relationship between these possibilities].

Outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Section 19 can be outlined as follows:
A. Teachings about the atonement and punishment for sin (1-20)
  • all men must suffer for their sins on the day of judgment if they do not repent (3-5)
  • the length of punishment for sin is not endless, but is instead the punishment meted out by an endless God (6-12)
  • the Lord commands Martin Harris, in order to avoid that punishment, to repent and obey the commandments received through Joseph Smith (13-15, 20)
  • the intensity of punishment is that same exquisite pain suffered by Christ during his atonement, the smallest portion of which Martin Harris tasted at the time the Lord withdrew his Spirit (15-20)
B. Instruction to Martin Harris regarding conduct (21-41)

Unanswered questions[edit]

This heading is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This heading is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This heading is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 19:8: Even as mine apostles. What apostles does this verse refer to? Is this referring to a particular mystery that the apostles knew about, or is this referring more to a general kind of knowing mysteries—for example, understanding the parables Jesus taught (cf. Matt 13:11; Mark 4:11; Luke 8:10)?
  • D&C 19:11-15: What does this passage teach about the Savior’s suffering for us?
  • D&C 19:11-15: Why was Jesus willing to experience such great suffering for us?
  • D&C 19:21: What do "these things" refer to?
  • D&C 19:28: Is there a difference between praying before the world and praying in public? Or praying in secret and praying in private?

Resources[edit]

This heading is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving partial copy of D&C 19 (verses 20-41) is the one copied by John Whitmer into Revelation Book 1, p. 27-28, presumably during the summer of 1830. The oldest complete surviving copy of D&C 19 is ______.
  • D&C 19 was first published in the 1833 Book of Commandments, the earliest edition of what we now call the Doctrine & Covenants.

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 19.

  • D&C 18 and D&C 19 can be read as a pair in which D&C 18 to two of the Three Witnesses emphasizes the joy available through mercy, while D&C 19 to the other Witness emphasizes the dread of justice. In addition, D&C 18:10-18 provides the clearest statement of why missionaries preach, and D&C 18:21-22, 41-45 provides the most detailed instruction so far regarding what they are to preach: repentance, baptism and endurance to the end. D&C 19:21-22, 30-31 likewise instructs Martin Harris, the other of the Three Witnesses, to preach only faith, repentance, and baptism by water and the Holy Ghost, to not preach new doctrines, and to not contend.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

  • D&C 19:16-20: Keith R. Edwards, "That They Might Know Thee," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 99–101. Elder Edwards said: "The great and exquisite suffering of the Savior was for us, to keep us from having to suffer as He suffered. However, suffering is a part of life, and few will escape its grasp. Since it is something that each of us has gone through, is going through, or will go through, there is scriptural suggestion that we can learn spiritual lessons if we can approach suffering, sorrow, or grief with a focus on Christ."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 17                         Next section: D&C 20

D&C 19:21-25

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 19
Previous section: D&C 17                         Next section: D&C 20


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received: March 1830 at Manchester-Palmyra, New York
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 17
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 21

The Book of Mormon translation was completed, and the angel Moroni appeared to the Three Witnesses, including Martin Harris, in late June or early July 1829. Joseph Smith afterward spent most of his time at home in Harmony, Pennsylvania while Oliver Cowdery and Hyrum Smith oversaw the printing at Palmyra, New York.

About nine months later the Book of Mormon became available for purchase at Palmyra on Friday, March 26, 1830, and the Church was organized eleven days after that at Fayette, New York on Tuesday, April 6, 1830.

In late March 1830, shortly before these last two two events, Joseph Knight Sr. took Joseph Smith by wagon from his home at Harmony to his parents' house at Manchester-Palmyra. Upon arriving at Palmyra they found Martin Harris crossing the street with several copies of the Book of Mormon. Martin had previously pledged his farm as security for the cost of printing, and he was therefore worried about losing his farm if the books did not sell. Martin told Joseph Smith three or four times that he must have another revelation or "commandment." Joseph put him off each time and told him to "fulfill what you have got." That night Joseph Smith, Joseph Knight Sr. and Martin Harris all slept at the Smith home.

The next morning Martin again insisted that he must have a commandment and then returned to his own home at Palmyra. That afternoon Joseph Smith received D&C 19, and Oliver Cowdery wrote it down.

For a brief overview of D&C 19 in historical relation to the rest of the Doctrine & Covenants, see Historical Overview of the Restoration Scriptures. For lengthier discussions of the historical setting, see Historical Context of the Doctrine & Covenants, chapter 4 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 5.

Discussion[edit]

This heading is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 19:6.' It is not clear what is going on in this verse. From reading this section we might come up with the following reading (called "first reading" hereafter). Other places in the scriptures say that those who don't repent (see verse 4), or in other words those found on his left hand in the day of judgment (see verse 5), will receive endless torment. And readers may have presumed that this meant that there would be no end to their torment. However, the Lord explains here that "endless" is another name for himself. Thus what reads "endless torment" can be understood as "God's punishment"--which may have an end. This section (following this same reading) explains that if one fails to repent one can suffer as Christ suffered but still inherit a kingdom of glory after.
Of course, this first reading, goes beyond the text in explaining how someone who suffers as God suffers can inherit a kingdom of glory after "paying" for their sins. But, not without some cause. For the text's stress that "endless torment" does not mean there will be no end to the torment, seems to only have a point if in fact there can be an end to this torment. And in our concept of 3 degrees of glory and outer darkness, the only place left is in one of the degrees of glory.
This first reading though is not without its problems.
First, it seems minor, but it is strange that after explaining how "endless" is a name for God, the phrase "endless torment" is replaced with "God's punishment." See further discussion of this point here.
More importantly this view doesn't fit all scriptures that mention endless torment. Consider those cases where "endless torment" is mentioned in the scriptures (2 Ne 9:19-26, 2 Ne 28:23, Jacob 6:10, Mosiah 3:25, Mosiah 28:3, Moro 8:21). We can categorize these in three sets: (a) those which fit well within the interpetation given in the first reading, (b) those which the first interpretation of D&C 19:6 is irrelevant, and (c) those which seem to contradict the first reading.
(a) Mosiah 28:3 and Moro 8:21 work well with the intepretation given in the first reading.
(b) For 2 Ne 9:19-26, 2 Ne 28:23, Jacob 6:10 the first interpretation makes little difference. In these verses endless torment is not used to describe the torment received by someone but rather a place some will go as punishment. Since these verses don't tell us that someone who goes there cannot return, the place can be a place forever of torment without any particular person ever having to stay there forever.
(c) Mosiah 3:25 is at odds with the first reading. In the previous verse King Benjamin tells the people that at the judgment day people will be judged according to their works, either good or evil. Then in verse 25, King Benjamin says that those who are judged evil will "shrink ... into a state of misery and endless torment, from whence they can no more return." The difficulty here is that substituting "endless torment" for God's punishment is insufficient to suggest (as needed for the first reading) that this punishment can end because we still have the clause "from whence they can no more return."
We must also consider D&C 76:44, given two years after this revelation. Though it doesn't specifically use the phrase "endless torment," it does use the phrase "endless punishment" and identifies that with torment. The D&C 76 revelation is prompted by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon meditating on the meaning of John 5:29. John 5:29 says that those who have done good are resurrected "unto the resurrection of life" while those who have done evil are resurrected "unto the resurrection of damnation." It seems the question in their mind was something like "what is a resurrection of damnation" or maybe "who will receive this resurrection of damnation." If we look at verse 44 as an answer to those question we get: All except the sons of perdition receive the resurrection of life and only the sons of perdition receive the resurrection of damnation.
But if we take this section to be telling us that at least some who receive "endless punishment" can have an end to their punishment and we assume that D&C 76:44 tells us that the sons of perdition cannot have an end to their punishment and then we are left with the odd idea that those discussed in this section as not repenting are those who are resurrected to a resurrection of life. This is odd because John is suggests that in the good from evil division John makes those who do evil and do not repent fall in the good bucket.
Another possibility is that the sons of perdition do not receive a punishment with no end. That is what this verse (verse 6) is saying. Though this seems to contradict D&C 76:44, a closer reading reveals that D&C 76:44 never explicitly says that there will be no end to their punishment only that the place of punishment has no end--just like the verses discussed in the paragraph above labeled (b).
Another possibility is that the resurrection of damnation is not a resurrection only the sons of perdition receive, but rather, all who do not repent. It is a resurrection of damnation because, as is explained in this section, those who receive it will have to suffer as Christ suffered. This is explained in this section. What D&C 76 teaches us is that in the group of those who receive a resurrection of damnation the sons of perdition hold a special place because they are not saved after their sufferings.
Another possibility is that the sons of perdition do receive a torment that has no end and that King Benjamin was referring to the sons of perdition when he says that says that they cannot return from their torment.
Another possibility is that King Benjamin was wrong when saying that those whose works are judged evil will suffer a torment that has no end. In verse 8 of this section Christ tells us that he is going to explain a mystery known by his apostles. The mystery is that endless torment doesn't mean no end to torment. King Benjamin did not know this mystery. Given what he did know, it was reasonable for him to say that there would not be an end to people's torment whose works had been judged evil. But in light of the knowledge we have from this section, we know that this was wrong.
[Note these are not mutually exclusive possibilities. This needs further work to clarify the relationship between these possibilities].

Outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Section 19 can be outlined as follows:
A. Teachings about the atonement and punishment for sin (1-20)
  • all men must suffer for their sins on the day of judgment if they do not repent (3-5)
  • the length of punishment for sin is not endless, but is instead the punishment meted out by an endless God (6-12)
  • the Lord commands Martin Harris, in order to avoid that punishment, to repent and obey the commandments received through Joseph Smith (13-15, 20)
  • the intensity of punishment is that same exquisite pain suffered by Christ during his atonement, the smallest portion of which Martin Harris tasted at the time the Lord withdrew his Spirit (15-20)
B. Instruction to Martin Harris regarding conduct (21-41)

Unanswered questions[edit]

This heading is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This heading is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This heading is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 19:8: Even as mine apostles. What apostles does this verse refer to? Is this referring to a particular mystery that the apostles knew about, or is this referring more to a general kind of knowing mysteries—for example, understanding the parables Jesus taught (cf. Matt 13:11; Mark 4:11; Luke 8:10)?
  • D&C 19:11-15: What does this passage teach about the Savior’s suffering for us?
  • D&C 19:11-15: Why was Jesus willing to experience such great suffering for us?
  • D&C 19:21: What do "these things" refer to?
  • D&C 19:28: Is there a difference between praying before the world and praying in public? Or praying in secret and praying in private?

Resources[edit]

This heading is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving partial copy of D&C 19 (verses 20-41) is the one copied by John Whitmer into Revelation Book 1, p. 27-28, presumably during the summer of 1830. The oldest complete surviving copy of D&C 19 is ______.
  • D&C 19 was first published in the 1833 Book of Commandments, the earliest edition of what we now call the Doctrine & Covenants.

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 19.

  • D&C 18 and D&C 19 can be read as a pair in which D&C 18 to two of the Three Witnesses emphasizes the joy available through mercy, while D&C 19 to the other Witness emphasizes the dread of justice. In addition, D&C 18:10-18 provides the clearest statement of why missionaries preach, and D&C 18:21-22, 41-45 provides the most detailed instruction so far regarding what they are to preach: repentance, baptism and endurance to the end. D&C 19:21-22, 30-31 likewise instructs Martin Harris, the other of the Three Witnesses, to preach only faith, repentance, and baptism by water and the Holy Ghost, to not preach new doctrines, and to not contend.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

  • D&C 19:16-20: Keith R. Edwards, "That They Might Know Thee," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 99–101. Elder Edwards said: "The great and exquisite suffering of the Savior was for us, to keep us from having to suffer as He suffered. However, suffering is a part of life, and few will escape its grasp. Since it is something that each of us has gone through, is going through, or will go through, there is scriptural suggestion that we can learn spiritual lessons if we can approach suffering, sorrow, or grief with a focus on Christ."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 17                         Next section: D&C 20

D&C 20:36-40

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 20 > Verses 20:38-67
Previous page: Verses 20:17-37                      Next page: Verses 20:68-84


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Relationship to Section 20. The relationship of Verses 20:38-67 to the rest of Section 20 is discussed at D&C 20.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Verses 20:38-67 include:

Discussion[edit]

This heading is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 20:47. Here a distinction is drawn between vocal prayer and prayer in secret. The distinction, when set against a rather broad survey of the scriptures, seems to be quite fruitful: vocal prayer seems generally to be a question of communal prayer, and hence, of praise; while secret prayer seems generally to be a question of intercessory prayer, and hence, of petition (and most usually, complaint). If this is the distinction being made here, then the constant exhortation of the visiting priest is to praise together as a family in prayer and to counsel with the Lord on an individual basis. Maintaining this distinction perhaps would lead a more genuine verbal relationship with the Lord: together God's people praise, but individually they counsel with God. That these questions are understood here as a question of the family is clear: "and attend to all family duties" does not separate itself from the two exhortations to prayer, since this last phrase picks up on the infinitive "to" of "to pray vocally." In other words, this distinction in prayer is one that is supposed to be present in one's family life, in the family specifically. (For a similar pairing in the context of missionary service, see D&C 84:61.)

Unanswered questions[edit]

This heading is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This heading is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This heading is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 20:38: Verse 38 seems to have a rather limited scope as regards the priesthood. But the fact is that the priesthood was a series of offices, rather than two priesthoods and the several quorums, in 1830. That the Church seems at first to have been founded on the offices of the elder, priest, and teacher seems to reflect the organization of the churches in the Book of Mormon. What is the significance of the Book of Mormon's sway on the earliest organization of the Latter-day Church?
  • D&C 20:47, 53: What is the difference between the priest's duty in what is now called home teaching and the teacher's duty (compare verses 47 and 53)?

Resources[edit]

This heading is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous page: Verses 20:17-37                      Next page: Verses 20:68-84

D&C 49:11-15

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 49
Previous section: D&C 48                         Next section: D&C 50


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received:
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 48
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 50
  • Click the edit link above and to the right to add historical setting

For a brief overview of D&C 49 in historical relation to the rest of the Doctrine & Covenants, see Historical Overview of the Restoration Scriptures. For lengthier discussions of the historical setting, see Historical Context of the Doctrine & Covenants, chapter 7 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 8.

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Complete outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 49 is __.
  • D&C 49 was first published in __.
  • D&C 49 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.
  • Changes to the text of D&C 49:

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 49.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 48                         Next section: D&C 50

D&C 58:41-45

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 58
Previous section: D&C 57                         Next section: D&C 59


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received:
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 57
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 59
  • Click the edit link above and to the right to add historical setting

For a brief overview of D&C 58 in historical relation to the rest of the Doctrine & Covenants, see Historical Overview of the Restoration Scriptures. For lengthier discussions of the historical setting, see Historical Context of the Doctrine & Covenants, chapter 8 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 9.

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 58:6-9. In verse 6 the Lord says that the purpose for them (those gathered in Jackson County Missouri) to be sent (we assume that what is meant here is sent to Jackson County Missouri) is so that they can be obedient and be prepared to bear testimony of things which are to come. From this, we might ask, "what are they to bear testimony of?" or in other words, "what is to come?"
At first we might interpret verse 8 as an answer to this question. There the Lord prophecies that there will be a feast of the fat thing for the poor. Then in verse 9 the Lord explains that this is to be "a supper of the house of the Lord . . . unto which all nations shall be invited." But verse 11 tells us that this feast is not the end in itself that we should be looking forward to. This feast is prepared "for the great day." We interpret this great day to be the second coming. In other words, the Saints are to testify of the fact that the second coming is on its way.
If we think of this feast in contrast to the famine that Amos prophecies about in Amos 8:11, then just as that was a famine for the words of the Lord, we can interpret this as a feast upon the words of the Lord.
Verse 9 tells us that "all nations shall be invited." But verses 10 & 11 tell us that not everyone is to be invited at that the same time. First the rich, the learned, the wise and the noble are invited. Then the poor.
Compare this with Luke 14:12-14. There the Lord tells the lawyers and Pharisees that when they throw a feast they ought not to invite the rich. Rather they should invite the poor, maimed and blind.
Compare also Luke 14:16-24. In that parable of a feast, the poor, the maimed, the halt and the blind are also invited after the guests of priviledge. And there it specifically tells us that those that were invited first, made excuses and did not come to the feast.
One could ask why it it is that the day the Lord invites the poor is what he calls the day of his power. Why not choose the day he first invites the rich as the day of his power? One possible answer is that the Lord may be implying that just like in the parable in Luke 14:16-24, the people he invites first reject the invitation. The day of the Lord's power would be identified then as the day when the Lord has triumphed.
  • D&C 58:8: Feast of fat things. This phrase also occurs in Isa 25:6. Interestingly, the modifying phrase "might be prepared for the poor" does not occur there. This modifying phrase might be read as a check against reading Isaiah as supporting, say, unchecked capitalist consumerism.

Complete outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 58:2. What is meant here by keeping the commandments "in death"? Does it mean something like accepting the gospel when you are dead? Or is it refers to someone who keeps the commandments and pays for this with their own life?
  • D&C 58:10. Why are the rich, learned, wise and noble invited first? Is the Lord saying that this is who he invites first? Or, is he saying that this is who we should invite first? --Is this meant to be prescriptive? In other words, if we apply this scripture to today, if we are missionaries opening up a new city, should we teach first the rich, the learned, the wise and the noble before we go to teach the poor?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 58 is __.
  • D&C 58 was first published in __.
  • D&C 58 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.
  • Changes to the text of D&C 58:

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 58.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

Verse 8[edit]

  • "Feast of fat things." See this post by Rosalynde at the T&S blog for thoughts on Christmas, consumerism and (extreme) Puritanism, as it relates to the phrase "feast of fat things."

Verses 26-27[edit]

  • M. Russell Ballard, "O Be Wise," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 17–20. Elder Ballard encourages members of the church to be innovative in their callings. "Because the eternal principle of agency gives us the freedom to choose and think for ourselves, we should become increasingly able to solve problems. We may make the occasional mistake, but as long as we are following gospel principles and guidelines, we can learn from those mistakes and become more understanding of others and more effective in serving them."

Verse 42[edit]

"Choose to believe in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Accept the Savior's forgiveness, and then forgive yourself. Because of His sacrifice for you, He has the power to 'remember [your sins] no more.' You must do likewise."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 57                         Next section: D&C 59

D&C 88:116-120

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 88
Previous section: D&C 87                         Next section: D&C 89


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received:
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 87
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 89

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 88:3: My friends. The Lord calls those he addresses here my friends. This use of friends is similar to how it is used in John 15:14-15 where the Lord distinguishes his servants from his friends. See also D&C 84:63.
  • D&C 88:15: Soul. Though "soul" is defined here as the unity of the spirit and body, it isn't always or even often used that way in other scriptures. This definition is one which seems to have been saved for the latter-days. Therefore, when you read the word "soul" in scripture, you must ask yourself whether the writer meant "spirit" or "soul" as it is used here.
  • D&C 88:15. This is an important doctrine, for traditional Christianity has often denigrated the body, and because of that denigration our culture still often looks on the body as a hindrance (or, in backlash, it thinks of the body as the only thing). The privilege and acclaim we sometimes give supposedly intellectual professions over more physical professions is one of the remnants of this misunderstanding of the body and the spirit.
  • D&C 88:22: Abide. "Abide" means "wait for," "be prepared for," "endure," or "sustain."
  • D&C 88:32. Verse 32 speaks of those who remain, after those who receive a celestial, terrestrial and telestial glory have received it. The end of the verse tells us that these are they who are not willing to enjoy that which they might have received. It seems that what they might have received is one of the kingdom's of glory, or in other words, salvation (as the term is used in D&C 76:43). In D&C 76 (in verses 32 and 43) these people who do not receive salvation are referred to as the sons of perdition.
  • D&C 88:47. D&C 88 begins with a discussion of how Christ became "in and through all things" including the sun, moon, and stars because of his ascending above and descending below all things during the atonement. Here in verse 47, we are told that when we see the movement of the sun, moon or stars, we see God. We might ask about the promise to see God, is this all it means?--that we can see the sun, moon or stars? For most people, seeing the sun, moon, or stars is not the same as seeing God, just as verse 48 reminds us that when Jesus came to the earth, many people did not comprehend him--they just saw a carpenter from Nazareth, because they did not understand what they saw. Likewise, if we just see the sun, moon, or stars, we might miss seeing God if we don't understand how He is connected to them through the creation and the atonement. D&C 88 seems to challenge us to look beyond the mere physics of heavenly objects to seek out God. Especially in light of vv. 11-12, one might also see in this a merciful invitation to begin to see God (i.e., through phenomenon derived from his grace but not requiring translation/calling and election made sure, etc. that we might normally associate with the privilege of viewing God). See D&C 18:36 for a similarly "right in front of your face" way to hear His voice.

D&C 88:69-84: What the elders who attend the school of the prophets are to do[edit]

D&C 88:85-116: Signs of the times[edit]

D&C 88:117-126: Kirtland Temple[edit]

D&C 88:127-141: Order of the School of the Prophets[edit]

  • D&C 88:127-141: Later receipt. Verses 127-141 were received two weeks later than the rest of D&C 88.

Complete outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 88:3. The verse ends "as is recorded in the testimony of John." Is this a reference to John 14:16?
  • D&C 88:4. How is the comforter the promise of eternal life?
  • D&C 88:15. What are some of the ways that we forget that the spirit and the body are one?
  • D&C 88:17. Why is it significant in the context of the redemption of the soul to note that Jesus promised the earth to the poor and meek? Why do these two things belong together?
  • D&C 88:21-22. We sometimes speak of being sanctified through obedience to law, but verse 21 speaks of being sanctified through the law. Is that any different? If so, how so? If not, why not?
  • D&C 88:21-22. Why do you suppose the Lord speak of abiding a law rather than obeying a law?
  • D&C 88:31. How does the phrase "receive of the same, even a fulness" square with D&C 76:86 where seems to say that those of a telestial glory "receive not of his fulness in the eternal world"? Is "fulness" referring to different things in these two passages? Or are these talking about two different periods of time? Or is something else going on?
  • D&C 88:32. Verse 32 tells us that the sons of perdition (see exegesis) enjoy that which they are willing to receive. Since the sons of perdition have openly rejected Christ, what is there left to receive?
  • D&C 88:35: A law unto itself. What does this phrase mean? Is it related to Rom 2:14 where the Gentiles are said to be a "law unto themselves" (but in a seemingly positive context there, in contrast to the seemingly negative context here)?
  • D&C 88:67-68. Verse 67 contains promises for those whose "eye be single to [the Lord's] glory", while verse 68 states contains a promise for those who sanctify themselves that "[their] minds become single to God." What is the relationship between the eye and the mind in these verses? Could eye and mind be used interchangeably in these verses?
  • D&C 88:69. What is the "great and last promise" we are to remember? Is it the promise found in verse 68?
  • D&C 88:78. What is the law of the gospel? Is it some specific law, or set of laws (e.g. the law of Moses)? or does it mean something general like "all the commandments"? (Maybe D&C 74:4 would be of help? There law of Moses and gospel of Christ are setup in contrast.)
  • D&C 88:114. Is this a metaphorical battle, like the one in the pre-mortal existence? Do Satan's armies only consist of the 1/3 of the hosts of heaven that are his spirit beings followers, or will people fall from glory and join Satan and his ranks?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 88 is __.
  • D&C 88 was first published in __.
  • D&C 88 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.
  • Changes to the text of D&C 88:

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 88.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

  • D&C 88:22. Larry W. Gibbons, "Wherefore, Settle This in Your Hearts," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 102–4. Elder Gibbons states: "Commandments are not given to burden or restrict us. Rather, they are guideposts from an all-wise Heavenly Father to keep us out of trouble, to bring us a fulness of happiness in this life, and to bring us safely back home to Him... Brothers and sisters, keeping the commandments makes all the difference in this life and in the next. To be worthy of the celestial kingdom and the joy that is there, we must keep the commandments!"
  • D&C 88:33. A. Roger Merrill, "Receiving by the Spirit," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 92-94. Elder Merrill ponders: "One cannot help but wonder how many gifts and blessings surround us that we do not receive."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 87                         Next section: D&C 89

A of F 1:1-5

Home > The Pearl of Great Price > The Articles of Faith

Subpages: AF 1AF 2AF 3AF 4AF 5AF 6AF 7AF 8AF 9AF 10AF 11AF 12AF 13

                                                                 Next page: AF 1


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This section should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This section should be brief and explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the book. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Outline and page map[edit]

This section contains an outline for the entire book. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of the book. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



                                                                 Next page: AF 1

For efficiency this page is pulled from a cached copy. The cache should update about once a day. If you'd like to see the most up to date version, refresh the cache by clicking here.