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kamenraider

"...Out From Under The Atonement..."

  

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  1. 1. Do you agree with Bro. Bott's statement in this thread's opening post?

    • Yes.
      2
    • No.
      5
    • I don't know.
      1


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On 7/3/2009 at 11:30 pm, the program Discussions on the Doctrine and Covenants aired an episode called "A New and Everlasting Covenant - D&C 132-33" on BYU TV.

During the show, Randy Bott, a BYU religion professor (who, according to wikipedia, was the highest rated professor on ratemyprofessors.com in 2008) said regarding D&C 132:26:

Joseph Fielding Smith said that he thought this was the most misunderstood and taken out of context verse in all of the restoration scriptures because people say "Oh, if I'm married in the temple I can commit any sin or transgression whatever of the new and everlasting covenant -- as long as I don't murder, I'll still be exalted." And yet, as Dean pointed out when he talked about verse 7 here, the condition was that these people had been married in the temple according to my word and they had gone through to the point, had been entering into it so long, that they had proven themselves, uh... uh, worthy, and therefore had the seal put on, then after that, if they dropped the ball, then... what... in, in essence it really says is you've taken yourselves out from under the atonement. Now you must pay for your own transgressions before you can receive your already-earned exaltation.

Do you agree with this statement? Any other thoughts about it?

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On 7/3/2009 at 11:30 pm, the program Discussions on the Doctrine and Covenants aired an episode called "A New and Everlasting Covenant - D&C 132-33" on BYU TV.

During the show, Randy Bott, a BYU religion professor (who, according to wikipedia, was the highest rated professor on ratemyprofessors.com in 2008) said regarding D&C 132:26:

Do you agree with this statement? Any other thoughts about it?

it is indeed a hard to understand verse; and just to point out it is missunderstood; if taken on first account; it contradicts itself; so this simply proves its taken out of context; :P

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it is indeed a hard to understand verse; and just to point out it is missunderstood; if taken on first account; it contradicts itself; so this simply proves its taken out of context; :P

How do you think the verse contradicts itself?

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Yes, I agree with Brother Bott. He's a good professor.

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As i understand it, no i don't agree.

How can you take yourself out from under the Atonement and STILL be exalted?

:P

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As i understand it, no i don't agree.

How can you take yourself out from under the Atonement and STILL be exalted?

:P

As I understand it, I think it means the aspect of the Atonement that cleanses of sins. One one's calling and election is made sure, and a Pure Knowledge and Promise of Exaltation is granted, all sins from that point on must be personally atoned for.

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Technically they are still under the Atonement else they couldn't be resurrected. However, they will have to pay for their own sins and "be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption." In other words they will have to suffer themselves rather than Christ suffering on their behalf for their sins. This is how I've always understood it.

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Technically they are still under the Atonement else they couldn't be resurrected. However, they will have to pay for their own sins and "be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption." In other words they will have to suffer themselves rather than Christ suffering on their behalf for their sins. This is how I've always understood it.

That's how I understood it.

However, I think that the practicality of this will be extremely limited. Of those who have their calling and election made sure in this life, and then have the ordinance sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, I'm pretty sure the vast majority of them will have reached such a degree of sanctification by that point that transgressions of the Law, if any, would be few and far between, and hardly of a grievous nature.

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From Elder McConkie's Doctrinal New Testament Commentary (which I think is the source for most people's understanding on this issue), for those interested:

What is meant by having one's calling and election made sure?

To have one's calling and election made sure is to be sealed up unto eternal life; it is to have the unconditional guarantee of exaltation in the highest heaven of the celestial world; it is to receive the assurance of godhood; it is, in effect, to have the day of judgment advanced, so that an inheritance of all the glory and honor of the Father's kingdom is assured prior to the day when the faithful actually enter into the divine presence to sit with Christ in his throne, even as he is "set down" with his "Father in his throne." (Rev. 3:21.)

What is the relationship between celestial marriage and having one's calling and election made sure?

In the same sense that baptism opens the door and starts repentant persons traveling on the path leading to eternal life, so also does celestial marriage. This holy order of matrimony also opens a door leading to celestial exaltation. "In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; And if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase." (D. & C. 131:1-4.)

As everyone who has been married in the temple knows, those so united?by the power and authority of the holy priesthood and by virtue of the sealing power restored by Elijah?are promised an inheritance of glory, honor, power, and dominion in the kingdom of God. But, as with baptism, all the promises are conditional; they are specifically and pointedly stated as being contingent upon the subsequent faithfulness of the participating parties. If they keep the commandments after celestial marriage, their union continues in the life to come; if they do not conform to the standards of personal righteousness involved, their marriage is not of force when they die and they revert to their separate and single status.

Unfortunately some are confused on this point because of a misunderstanding of some of the truths revealed in the revelation on marriage. Because no person can gain exaltation or eternal life alone; because exaltation includes the continuation of the family unit in eternity; because the whole thrust of revealed religion is to perfect and center everything in the family; and because having one's calling and election made sure is the receipt of a guarantee of eternal life?it was the most natural thing in the world for the Lord to reveal both the doctrine of eternal marriage and the doctrine of being sealed up unto eternal life (meaning having one's calling and election made sure) in one and the same revelation. In effect one grows out of the other. The one is a conditional promise of eternal life; the other is an unconditional promise.

Thus in Section 132, verse 19 begins by talking of celestial marriage in these words: "If a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood," but then proceeds to consider the matter of having their callings and elections made sure by saying: "and it shall be said unto them [meaning that in addition to the marriage sealing, it shall be said unto them]?Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; . . . and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths?then they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever."

That is to say, after celestial marriage; after entering into sacred covenants in the house of the Lord; after receiving the conditional promise of the continuation of the family unit in eternity; after receiving power to gain kingdoms and thrones?we must so live as to receive the guarantees to which we have thus been called, and the assurances that appertain to our election, and which are given on a conditional basis only in celestial marriage. As with baptism, so with celestial marriage; after the glorious promise of eternal life that is part of each of these covenants, we must press forward in righteousness until our calling and election is made sure; and this high achievement grows out of and is the crowning reward of celestial marriage.

What if those whose calling and election has been made sure thereafter commit grievous sins? Suppose they backslide and walk in the ways of wickedness? Or fight the truth and rebel against God?what then?

That all men commit sin, before and after baptism, and for that matter, before and after their calling and election is made sure, is self-evident. There has been only one Sinless One?the Lord Jesus who was God's own Son.

Thus in the revelation announcing the setting up of the restored church in this day, the Lord says: "There is a possibility that man may fall from grace and depart from the living God; Therefore let the church take heed and pray always, lest they fall into temptation; Yea, and even let those who are sanctified take heed also." (D. & C. 20:32-34.)

The prophets and apostles from Adam and Enoch down, and all men, whether cleansed and sanctified from sin or not, are yet subject to and do in fact commit sin. This is the case even after men have seen the visions of eternity and been sealed by that Holy Spirit of Promise which makes their calling and election sure. Since these chosen ones have the sure promise of eternal life, and since "no unclean thing can enter into" the Father's "kingdom" (3 Ne. 27:19), "or dwell in his presence" (Moses 6:57), what of sins committed after being sealed up into eternal life?

Obviously the laws of repentance still apply, and the more enlightened a person is, the more he seeks the gift of repentance, and the harder he strives to free himself from sin as often as he falls short of the divine will and becomes subject in any degree to the Master of Sin who is Lucifer. It follows that the sins of the godfearing and the righteous are continually remitted because they repent and seek the Lord anew every day and every hour.

And as a matter of fact, the added blessing of having one's calling and election made sure is itself an encouragement to avoid sin and a hedge against its further commission. By that long course of obedience and trial which enabled them to gain so great a blessing the sanctified saints have charted a course and developed a pattern of living which avoids sin and encourages righteousness. Thus the Lord said: "I give unto you Hyrum Smith to be a patriarch unto you, to hold the sealing blessings of my church, even the Holy Spirit of promise, whereby ye are sealed up unto the day of redemption, that ye may not fall notwithstanding the hour of temptation that may come upon you." (D. & C. 124:124.)

But suppose such persons become disaffected and the spirit of repentance leaves them?which is a seldom and almost unheard of eventuality?still, what then? The answer is?and the revelations and teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith so recite!?they must then pay the penalty of their own sins, for the blood of Christ will not cleanse them. Or if they commit murder or adultery, they lose their promised inheritance because these sins are exempt from the sealing promises. Or if they commit the unpardonable sin, they become sons of perdition.

As we have already seen, making one's calling and election sure comes after and grows out of celestial marriage. Eternal life does not and cannot exist for a man or a woman alone, because in its very nature it consists of the continuation of the family unit in eternity. Thus the revelation on marriage speaks both of celestial marriage (in which the conditional promises of eternal life are given) and of making one's calling and election sure (in which the unconditional promise of eternal life are given) in one and the same sentence?which sentence also says that those who commit sins (except "murder whereby to shed innocent blood") after being sealed up unto eternal life shall still gain exaltation. This is the language: "Then"?that is, after their calling and election has been made sure?"shall it be written in the Lamb's Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. Then shall they be gods," because they have eternal life. (D. & C. 132:19-20.)

Then the revelation speaks of that obedience out of which eternal life grows, and still speaking both of celestial marriage and of making one's calling and election sure says: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, according to mine appointment"?that is, if they are both married and have their calling and election made sure?"and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder wherein they shed innocent blood, yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation; but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God." (D. & C. 132:26.)

This matter of being destroyed in the flesh and delivered over to the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption is the doctrine of blood atonement, whereunder those here involved are not cleansed by the blood of Christ, but must pay the penalty for their own sins. This principle can only operate in a day, as that of Moses, when there is no separation of Church and state and when the Church has power to take life. Of conditions in our day, and as to how this law applies to us, President Joseph Fielding Smith says: "We cannot destroy men in the flesh, because we do not control the lives of men and do not have power to pass sentences upon them which involve capital punishment. In the days when there was a theocracy on the earth, then this decree was enforced. What the Lord will do in lieu of this, because we cannot destroy in the flesh, I am unable to say, but it will have to be made up in some other way." (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, p. 97.)

As to the shedding of innocent blood, within the meaning of this revelation, the Lord says: "The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall not be forgiven in the world nor out of the world, is in that ye commit murder wherein ye shed innocent blood, and assent unto my death, after ye have received my new and everlasting covenant, saith the Lord God; and he that abideth not this law can in nowise enter into my glory, but shall be damned, saith the Lord." (D. & C. 132:27.) That is, the innocent blood is that of Christ; and those who commit blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which is the unpardonable sin (Matt. 12:31-32), thereby "crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." (Heb. 6:6.) They are, in other words, people who would have crucified Christ, having the while a perfect knowledge that he was the Son of God.

Following the pattern set by the Lord of speaking both of celestial marriage and of being sealed up unto eternal life in the same context, Joseph Smith said: "Putting my hand on the knee of William Clayton, I said: Your life is hid with Christ in God, and so are many others. Nothing but the unpardonable sin can prevent you from inheriting eternal life for you are sealed up by the power of the priesthood unto eternal life, having taken the step necessary for that purpose. Except a man and his wife enter into an everlasting covenant and be married for eternity, while in this probation, by the power and authority of the Holy Priesthood, they will cease to increase when they die; that is, they will not have any children after the resurrection. But those who are married by the power and authority of the priesthood in this life, and continue without committing the sin against the Holy Ghost, will continue to increase and have children in the celestial glory. The unpardonable sin is to shed innocent blood, or be accessory thereto. All other sins will be visited with judgment in the flesh, and the spirit being delivered to the buffetings of Satan until the day of the Lord Jesus." (History of Church, vol. 5, pp. 391-392.)

Perhaps this matter of being "visited with judgment in the flesh"?whatever it may be in an individual case?is the Lord's way of handling things when it is not possible for a person to be "destroyed in the flesh." (D. & C. 132:26.) In this connection, also?and having in mind that the sealing power was given by Elijah to Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration (Teachings, p. 158), and again to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple (D. & C. 110:13-16)?we should note these words of the Prophet: "This spirit of Elijah was manifest in the days of the Apostles, in delivering certain ones to the buffetings of Satan, that they might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. They were sealed by the spirit of Elijah unto the damnation of hell until the day of Lord, or revelation of Jesus Christ." (Teachings, p. 338.)

As to the fact that the sealing power cannot seal a man up so as to keep him from being a son of perdition, if that is the course he chooses to follow, the Prophet says: "The doctrine that the Presbyterians and Methodists have quarreled so much about?once in grace, always in grace, or falling away from grace, I will say a word about. They are both wrong. Truth takes a road between them both, for while the Presbyterian says: 'Once in grace, you cannot fall;' the Methodist says: 'You can have grace today, fall from it tomorrow, next day have grace again; and so follow on, changing continually.' But the doctrine of the scriptures and the spirit of Elijah would show them both false, and take a road between them both; for, according to the scripture, if men have received the good word of God, and tasted of the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, it is impossible to renew them again, seeing they have crucified the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame; so there is a possibility of falling away; you could not be renewed again, and the power of Elijah cannot seal against this sin, for this is a reserve made in the seals and power of the priesthood." (Teachings, pp. 338-339.) Thus, even though a man's calling and election has been made sure, if he then commits blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, he becomes a son of perdition, because when he was sealed up unto eternal life it was with a reservation. The sealing was not to apply in the case of the unpardonable sin.

As to the fact that the sealing power cannot seal a man up unto eternal life if he thereafter commits murder and thereby sheds innocent blood (not in this case the blood of Christ, but the blood of any person slain unlawfully and with malice) the Prophet says: "A murderer, for instance, one that sheds innocent blood, cannot have forgiveness. David sought repentance at the hand of God carefully with tears, for the murder of Uriah; but he could only get it through hell; he got a promise that his soul should not be left in hell.

"Although David was a king, he never did obtain the spirit and power of Elijah and the fullness of the priesthood; and the priesthood that he received, and the throne and kingdom of David is to be taken from him and given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his lineage." (Teachings, p. 339.) Thus, even though a man's calling and election has been made sure, if he then commits murder, all of the promises are of no effect, and he goes to a telestial kingdom (Rev. 21:8; D. & C. 76:103), because when he was sealed up unto eternal life, it was with a reservation. The sealing was not to apply in the case of murder.

And as to the fact that the sealing power cannot seal a man up unto eternal life if he thereafter commits adultery, the Prophet says: "If a man commit adultery, he cannot receive the celestial kingdom of God. Even if he is saved in any kingdom, it cannot be the celestial kingdom." (History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 81.) Thus, even though a man's calling and <a class="search_hit" href="http://gospellink.com/library/document/12378?highlight=1#m_108">election has been sure, if he then commits adultery, all of the promises are of no effect, and he goes to a telestial kingdom, because when he was sealed up unto eternal life, it was with a reservation. The sealing was not to apply in the case of subsequent adultery. In other cases, through repentance, there is forgiveness for this sin which is second only to murder in the category of personal sins. (1 Cor. 6:9-11; 3 Ne. 30; .)

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On one hand, Elder McConkie's explanation (cited above) warrants a "Yes" vote. The Institute Manual also supports a "Yes" vote but lays it out a little more simply (http://institute.lds.org/manuals/doctrine-and-covenants-institute-student-manual/dc-in-131-132.asp).

On the other hand, I'm not so sure how the term, "pay the penalty of their own sins, for the blood of Christ will not cleanse them" is to be understood. I so acknowledge Christ's having paid the full price of all sins (past, present and future) and already cleansed us all if we are willing to receive it, that I can only comprehend the buffetings suffered by those who are sealed up by the Holy Spirit of Promise as the result of (inexplicably, perhaps it is curiosity) abandoning the spirit of repentance, thereby losing a remission of sins (from that point forward) already paid for unto exaltation while remaining "in this world" (pre-resurrection). This condition is not Christ's vengeance upon them (returning upon their heads the suffering for sins He already paid for but that the wicked will not accept); neither is it forcing a "refund" to Christ for sins He already paid for but no longer will cover. It seems to be a temporary fall from grace, limited to life ("in this world"), and voluntarily subjecting oneself to Satan's jurisdiction until the resurrection and the sealed exaltation is received. This warrants a "No" vote. So I put "I don't know" (yet!).

edited to add the words typed in bold font

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"And as to the fact that the sealing power cannot seal a man up unto eternal life if he thereafter commits adultery, the Prophet says: 'If a man commit adultery, he cannot receive the celestial kingdom of God. Even if he is saved in any kingdom, it cannot be the celestial kingdom.' (History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 81.)"

This is an interesting take by Elder McConkie on a single quote attributed to Joseph Smith.

I am not sure Joseph is accurately quoted here, but even if he was, Elder Spencer W. Kimball had a different take. After referring to the quote attributed to Joseph, Elder Kimball cited page after page of other teachings of the scriptures that indicated that even adultery was completely forgivable. Then Elder Kimball concluded that,

"Going back to the Prophet's original statement, had he inserted in it the three words I believe it implies--'and remains unrepentant'--this statement would fit perfectly in the program as given in the numerous scriptures, many of which came through the Prophet himself. If such words were inserted, the statement would read as follows:

"'If a man commit adultery (and remain unrepentant) he cannot receive the celestial kingdom of God . . .'"

Miracle of Forgiveness page 350 (Note: Elder Kimball's book is anything but soft on sin).

I agree with Elder Kimball.

It is intriguing though that Elder McConkie's book (written after Elder Kimball's) had a different spin, taking Joseph's apparent words almost at face value, but apparently making adultery unforgivable only in the case of someone whose calling and election had been made sure. And, as pointed out by others, CES apparently agrees with Elder McConkie, because the manual quotes him in saying that adultery is not forgivable for those whose calling and election had been made sure: "Or if they commit murder or adultery, they lose their promised inheritance because these sins are exempt from the sealing promises."

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