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TruthSeekerToo

Discussion of Salvation of Little Children by BRM

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Pam linked to this meaty article in another thread. It has so much in it that I was hoping to discuss it here, seperately.

Salvation of Little Children

Anyway, there are a couple things that really brought up questions for me and how I understand the plan of salvation.

1) Salvation and exaltation are the same thing

Joseph Smith said, “Salvation consists in the glory, authority, majesty, power and dominion which Jehovah possesses and in nothing else.” (Lectures on Faith, pp. 63–67.) We have come to speak of this salvation as exaltation—which it is—but all of the scriptures in all of the standard works call it salvation. I know of only three passages in all our scriptures which use salvation to mean something other and less than exaltation.

*It seems like I have heard some members say they are not the same. I actually feel that they are the same and think most other Christians view it that way too. I'm open to hearing what you guys think about this.

He doesn't state which 3 scriptures are the exception---any ideas?

2) The deaths of children before they reach accountability are controlled by God.

*I actually was aware of this idea and the idea that unaccountable people were also planned to be that way in mortality.

We may rest assured that all things are controlled and governed by Him whose spirit children we are. He knows all things from the beginning to the end and he provides for each of us the testings and trials which he knows we need. President Joseph Fielding Smith once told me that we must assume that the Lord knows and arranges beforehand who shall die in infancy and who shall remain on earth to undergo whatever tests are needed in their cases. This accords with Joseph Smith’s statement: “The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth.” (Teachings, pp. 196–97.) It is implicit in the whole plan of things that those of us who have arrived at the years of accountability need the tests and trials to which we are subject. Our problem is to overcome the world and attain that spotless and pure state which little children already possess.

*Now, could someone explain how this is different than predestination? If God controls which spirits are unaccountable then they are predestined to eternal life and glory.

I'm not saying I disagree. It is a very comforting doctrine. I just feel like God allows agency to take its course and that can result in untimely death-also I think he allows nature to take its course.

So, he put the plan in motion and things happen because of our agency, nature, the agency of others, etc. He is in control in that he created the plan and set it in motion. Not in making every thing that happens in our life happen. Does that sound right?

I'd love to hear any of your thoughts on the article. :)

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I tend to disagree heavily with Elder McConkie on his consideration of the term, "salvation." It just does not jibe with the teachings in the scriptures. If "salvation" only means exaltation, then we have a clear and dangerous disagreement between D&C 76 and the Book of Mormon. The Church of the Devil, according to Elder McConkie includes all other churches, when D&C 76 states that the Terrestrial are Jesus' friends, the honorable men of the earth. What he does not realize in his statement is that could mean the LDS Church, insofar as it is incorrect in its doctrine, would also be the church of the devil. I really don't think he would want to go that far, but the logic falters seriously on that.

It all comes down to a bad reading on certain scriptures. D&C 1 does NOT state that the LDS Church is the only true church on the face of the earth. It states, it is the only "true and living church upon the face of the earth with whom, I the Lord, am well pleased." There is a major difference there. This means other churches can also be true and living (Terrestrial), but God is not as pleased with them.

The church of the devil is any group that leads away from Christ. Terrestrial churches are Jesus' friends, as they will also be on earth during the Millennium. Otherwise, why would Christ allow the church of the devil to remain during his reign? Instead, they must be true and living (terrestrial) churches that God is not currently fully pleased with.

Elder McConkie was a scriptorian, but not trained in textual criticism. He accepted the teachings of Joseph F. Smith and Joseph Fielding Smith (his father-in-law), without double checking any of it. Elder Joseph F. Smith spent several years arguing with Elders Talmage, Roberts and Widtsoe over evolution and other points. But the only official First Presidency statement was that both religion and science have theories, and we do not need to have the two conflict (render unto Caesar), as we have insufficient revelation on the topic.

So it is with this. Elder McConkie supposed it must speak only of exaltation, but it doesn't. The requirement for much of the scriptures revolves around a Terrestrial requirement, especially considering the Law of Moses (a terrestrial law) encompasses the Old Testament, and much of the New Testament and Book of Mormon.

Yes, there are a few times when the term "salvation" only means "exaltation", but it is much fewer than Elder McConkie believes.

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Now, let me answer your question on children being exalted. In the premortal existence, some beings already earned their exaltation. In Abraham 3, when Abraham was told he was already chosen, it meant that he was already selected to exaltation and godhood. We have perfect evidence that Jesus and the Holy Ghost were made Gods in the Godhead prior to gaining a body. Others have also achieved this.

I believe that those children who die prior to the age of 8 were among those already chosen for exaltation, and allowed to die early. Their agency was not taken from them, because they already had become gods under God the Father and Christ.

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@rameumptom
Children "already exalted" in premortality. wow, that is entirely absurd:
Some have reasoned that these little children must have been the best in premortality
and agreed to be foreordained to automatic exaltation. Yet, the most “noble and great ones” in
premortality and the “choice spirits” were those foreordained to obtain the Priesthood and chosen
“to be rulers in the Church of God.” The best spirits in premortality were chosen to be adults and
perform a work and were not chosen to die as children (Abraham 3:22–23; Doctrine and
Covenants 138:53–55; Alma 13:3). Brigham Young did not believe any child was ordained to
die in infancy, but rather that God willed all to grow to adulthood, if they could.

Similar to the differing theories that Wilford Woodruff observed regarding the growth of
children, we see muddled opinions on the subject of exaltation. Rather than ascribe to the shaky
foundation of theory, one could choose to believe the Prophet Joseph’s own declaration on the
topic. On 18 May 1843 He said, “Children who die in infancy...will have as much intelligence as
we shall but shall always remain separate and single. They will have no increase.” That same
week Joseph taught that “those who keep no eternal law in this life...are single and alone in the
eternal world.” Borrowing the language of Doctrine and Covenant 132:17, little children who
die “cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved
condition, to all eternity.” The Prophet Joseph’s assertion that little children would be single and
without increase (progeny) concurs with his visionary teaching that children would not grow and
thus not be able to procreate. Whether we perceive it as just or not, these children will receive
celestial glory and joy. Their size will not hinder their ability to enjoy, interact, and live in the
eternal worlds.

Please Read: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1L4HTNE3hDiKLWuBxWe5T4n-nIiyd1eLy/view?usp=sharing

Edited by Ezra Pax
accuracy

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Hi Ezra, welcome to the forums.  Just FYI, you're replying to a thing that was posted over a decade ago.  

Also, I notice in your 2nd post you're already calling someone's belief absurd.  Just a reminder of the site rules, that you agreed to follow when you signed up for an account here.  Especially rule #4:

Quote

 No bickering and nit-picking toward others. Realize that sometimes it is very difficult to be able to express how one feels through written words. Please be courteous and ask for a further explanation, rather then trying to attack and find holes in someone else's post.

 

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2
On 8/5/2009 at 2:40 PM, TruthSeekerToo said:

Anyway, there are a couple things that really brought up questions for me and how I understand the plan of salvation.

1) Salvation and exaltation are the same thing

*It seems like I have heard some members say they are not the same. I actually feel that they are the same and think most other Christians view it that way too. I'm open to hearing what you guys think about this.

He doesn't state which 3 scriptures are the exception---any ideas?

 

I haven't read the article yet, but here are my thoughts on salvation vs exaltation. I believe they are relative with respect to the person receiving the glory. Those who obtain a Terrestrial glory will be happy and, quite frankly, will have most of what non-LDS Christians expect. From my point of view, they will receive their salvation. The same is true of those who receive a telestial glory. These are weights of glory, but to be exalted, by the meaning of the word, implies a much greater weight of glory, the highest glory. While all of these beings who receive glory, they cannot consider themselves exalted, but for us, being exalted is salvation because that is what we teach salvation is.

Unfortunately, it creates a culture within the church that those who aren't married are less than those who are. We struggle to overcome that, but the culture still exists. I don't believe that in the kingdom of God, single persons who dwell there will be treated any less than those who are married. They accomplished all that was expected of them, certainly; they are no less perfect than anyone who is married. The only differences between them are that one will have glory added upon them and the other not and that one will continue is pain and sorrow and the other not. The cost of glory is a heavy one.

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On 8/5/2009 at 2:40 PM, TruthSeekerToo said:

2) The deaths of children before they reach accountability are controlled by God.

*I actually was aware of this idea and the idea that unaccountable people were also planned to be that way in mortality.

Quote

We may rest assured that all things are controlled and governed by Him whose spirit children we are. He knows all things from the beginning to the end and he provides for each of us the testings and trials which he knows we need. President Joseph Fielding Smith once told me that we must assume that the Lord knows and arranges beforehand who shall die in infancy and who shall remain on earth to undergo whatever tests are needed in their cases. This accords with Joseph Smith’s statement: “The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth.” (Teachings, pp. 196–97.) It is implicit in the whole plan of things that those of us who have arrived at the years of accountability need the tests and trials to which we are subject. Our problem is to overcome the world and attain that spotless and pure state which little children already possess.

*Now, could someone explain how this is different than predestination? If God controls which spirits are unaccountable then they are predestined to eternal life and glory.

I'm not saying I disagree. It is a very comforting doctrine. I just feel like God allows agency to take its course and that can result in untimely death-also I think he allows nature to take its course.

So, he put the plan in motion and things happen because of our agency, nature, the agency of others, etc. He is in control in that he created the plan and set it in motion. Not in making every thing that happens in our life happen. Does that sound right?

I'm am of the belief that God could have decided for us who would go to what kingdom without there ever having to be a mortal probation, but that wouldn't be fair. I view our mortal existence as the perfect setting for an all-knowing God to let his children learn for themselves who they are and what they will do. This could only be done if we were isolated from him, no knowledge of our previous condition, his physical presence being removed and left to the natural laws where actions have consequences. His knowledge of our actions before our actions occur doesn't effect our actions because we are not aware of what he knows. He knew who we'd marry, how many children we'd have, what their names were down to the last child, but; of course, we don't know any of that. 

It is obvious from the lost of the 116 pages of the Book of Mormon, that God is intimately aware of the details of our lives. Knowledge of things does not mean that he causes them. Of course, where something occurs that was not a result of something we did, could mean that He controlled it. I find very little comfort in that, but I trust his vision better than I trust mine.

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I'm not sure if this passage in Moroni 8 is relevant.

Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole
need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are
not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that
it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me.

What curse of Adam does Christ remove from children?  And when is it removed - at
conception or 9 months later?

Jonah

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2 hours ago, Jonah said:

I'm not sure if this passage in Moroni 8 is relevant.

Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole
need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are
not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that
it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me.

What curse of Adam does Christ remove from children?  And when is it removed - at
conception or 9 months later?

Jonah

All of the sin-debt (for lack of a better term) from Adam's Fall is covered directly by Christ's Atonement.  A child that passes away before the age of accountability is completely without blemish: Adam's blemish is removed and they have no sins of their own (having not reached accountability).  

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23 hours ago, Jonah said:

I'm not sure if this passage in Moroni 8 is relevant.

Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole
need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are
not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that
it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me.

What curse of Adam does Christ remove from children?  And when is it removed - at
conception or 9 months later?

Jonah

I'm not sure if this passage in Moroni 8 is relevant.

I am not sure what you mean by relevant. All scripture is relevant and allows us to know core doctrines the Lord has revealed. In this case, the passage is regarding children who have not reached the age of accountability. They are alive in Christ. He has covered Adam's transgression for little children who are innocent and without sin.

What curse of Adam does Christ remove from children?  And when is it removed - at conception or 9 months later?

I would think this is self-explanatory, but then again I have been taught this from my youth. What did Adam do that caused the Fall? What was the result of his decision? This is the curse Christ has removed from children who have not reached the age of accountability.

The age of accountability, according to modern revelation from the Lord, is eight years-old.

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