tesuji

Amazing doctrine about the next life

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I read the following recently, from talk by Elder Melvin J. Ballard in 1922. It's had a profound effect on my life, so I thought I would share it:

 

"It is my judgment that any man or woman can do more to conform to the laws of God in one year in this life than they could in ten years when they are dead. 

"It is much easier to overcome and serve the Lord when both flesh and spirit are combined as one. This is the time when men are more pliable and susceptible. 

"We will find when we are dead every desire, every feeling will be greatly intensified. When clay is pliable it is much easier to change than when it gets hard and sets.

"This life is the time to repent. 

"That is why I presume it will take a thousand years after the first resurrection until the last group will be prepared to come forth. It will take them a thousand years to do what it would have taken but three score years and ten to accomplish in this life.

"I grant you that the righteous dead will be at peace, but I tell you that when we go out of this life, leave this
body, we will desire to do many things that we cannot do at all without the body. We will be seriously handicapped,
and we will long for the body, we will pray for that early reunion with our bodies. We will know then what advantage
it is to have a body.

"Then, every man and woman who is putting off until the next life the task of correcting and overcoming the
weakness of the flesh are sentencing themselves to years of bondage, for no man or woman will come forth in the
resurrection until they have completed their work, until they have overcome, until they have done as much as they
can do."

p.12, "The Three Degrees of Glory," Melvin J. Ballard, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 1922

http://www.shields-research.org/General/LDS_Leaders/Q12/Ballard_Melvin_J/01Three_Degrees_cap400x100.pdf

Edited by tesuji

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Guest LiterateParakeet

Thanks!  Reading this brought to mind not only repentance, but all the good that we can do here in this life . . . It makes me want to recommit not to waste precious time with things of no consequence.  Thanks again.  

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36 minutes ago, LiterateParakeet said:

Thanks!  Reading this brought to mind not only repentance, but all the good that we can do here in this life . . . It makes me want to recommit not to waste precious time with things of no consequence.  Thanks again.  

Yes, that's how it affected me to. If it's easier to progress and to repent in this life, and if we must do it eventually anyway, then it makes sense to do it right now.

Also, helping others to do the same thing becomes a great service to them.

 

Edited by tesuji

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7 hours ago, tesuji said:

I read the following recently, from talk by Elder Melvin J. Ballard in 1922. It's had a profound effect on my life, so I thought I would share it:

 

"It is my judgment that any man or woman can do more to conform to the laws of God in one year in this life than they could in ten years when they are dead. 

"It is much easier to overcome and serve the Lord when both flesh and spirit are combined as one. This is the time when men are more pliable and susceptible. 

"We will find when we are dead every desire, every feeling will be greatly intensified. When clay is pliable it is much easier to change than when it gets hard and sets.

"This life is the time to repent. 

"That is why I presume it will take a thousand years after the first resurrection until the last group will be prepared to come forth. It will take them a thousand years to do what it would have taken but three score years and ten to accomplish in this life.

"I grant you that the righteous dead will be at peace, but I tell you that when we go out of this life, leave this
body, we will desire to do many things that we cannot do at all without the body. We will be seriously handicapped,
and we will long for the body, we will pray for that early reunion with our bodies. We will know then what advantage
it is to have a body.

"Then, every man and woman who is putting off until the next life the task of correcting and overcoming the
weakness of the flesh are sentencing themselves to years of bondage, for no man or woman will come forth in the
resurrection until they have completed their work, until they have overcome, until they have done as much as they
can do."

p.12, "The Three Degrees of Glory," Melvin J. Ballard, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 1922

http://www.shields-research.org/General/LDS_Leaders/Q12/Ballard_Melvin_J/01Three_Degrees_cap400x100.pdf

Also, what are the things that have tendecy to bring us to repentence? Is it not usually some sort of strife or conflict? In the next life most of these strifes wont exist

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7 hours ago, tesuji said:

We will find when we are dead every desire, every feeling will be greatly intensified.

I think this sentence right here ought to be enough to terrify and drive anyone.  If your need to run to the store because you ran out of chocolate is keeping you from answering a call from the RS Compassionate Service Coordinator, it might be time to master that addiction.  Or if you've just left church early because The Best Bond Movie EverTM is starting in 5 minutes, imagine the torture that desire will be in the next life where there is no TV, and Daniel Craig's spirit keeps telling yours to stop following him! (These are just examples.  Of problems I don't have.  But could imagine having, if I tried, less...)

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37 minutes ago, zil said:

Or if you've just left church early because The Best Bond Movie EverTM is starting in 5 minutes, imagine the torture that desire will be in the next life where there is no TV, and Daniel Craig's spirit keeps telling yours to stop following him!

I imagine hell to be an endless series of James Bond films that you have to watch.

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Guest LiterateParakeet
27 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

This is pseudo doctrine at best imo.

I can't even guess what you mean by this. Care to elaborate?

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5 minutes ago, LiterateParakeet said:

I can't even guess what you mean by this. Care to elaborate?

The Folk Prophet can easily speak for himself (as we all know)

But given how the church defines its doctrine this does not qualify...  This falls into the category of one man or small group of men sharing their opinion...  It is undoubtedly a well formed and thought out opinion, given its source, but until it comes from the 12 in unity it does not reach the level of doctrine.

 

 

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11 hours ago, LiterateParakeet said:

I can't even guess what you mean by this. Care to elaborate?

 

11 hours ago, estradling75 said:

The Folk Prophet can easily speak for himself (as we all know)

But given how the church defines its doctrine this does not qualify...  This falls into the category of one man or small group of men sharing their opinion...  It is undoubtedly a well formed and thought out opinion, given its source, but until it comes from the 12 in unity it does not reach the level of doctrine.

 

 

In this case estradling75 speaks for me quite well. ;)

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15 hours ago, zil said:

If your need to run to the store because you ran out of chocolate is keeping you from answering a call from the RS Compassionate Service Coordinator, it might be time to master that addiction.

So, I haven't left church early because I just HAD to have that bowl of kim chee yet.  So, I'm good.

12 hours ago, estradling75 said:

This falls into the category of one man or small group of men sharing their opinion...  It is undoubtedly a well formed and thought out opinion, given its source, but until it comes from the 12 in unity it does not reach the level of doctrine.

I think I'll use this in a future post -- for other issues.  I do believe this position has been repeated by a number of apostles over a long time period.

Edited by Guest

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Guest LiterateParakeet
10 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

I think I'll use this in a future post -- for other issues.  I do believe this position has been repeated by a number of apostles over a long time period.

I was mischieviously thinking along the same lines....just think of the GA bashing (like scripture bashing only with GA quotes) we can get into now. :)

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1 hour ago, Carborendum said:

So, I haven't left church early because I just HAD to have that bowl of kim chee yet.  So, I'm good.

I think I'll use this in a future post -- for other issues.  I do believe this position has been repeated by a number of apostles over a long time period.

Yes, certainly I advise taking it with a grain of salt, like anything else you hear.

I think there is a continuum of "trustablility" for things like this. Near the far end, most trustable, I would put the scriptures, official statements by past prophets, and official unanimous statements by the current 15 apostles and prophets.

This talk isn't quite that far toward the end of the continuum. But this talk was given by an apostle and apparently published by Deseret Book (see the PDF linked). So I would judge it more "trustable" than some other things.

Carborendum, you said, "I do believe this position has been repeated by a number of apostles over a long time period." What do you mean by "this position" - do you mean 1) the doctrinal position stated in the talk by Ballard that I posted, or 2) the position that "This talk falls into the category of one man or small group of men sharing their opinion?"

If you mean the position taken by Ballard, then I would love links to those other statements. In the past I have heard members saying that it's easier to progress in this life when you have a body, but I don't remember ever hearing or reading any actual statements by general authorities.

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6 minutes ago, tesuji said:

Carborendum, you said, "I do believe this position has been repeated by a number of apostles over a long time period." What do you mean by "this position" 

I mean that I've heard that it is more difficult to change/repent after death than in this life.  I've heard it so often that I haven't bothered looking it up or cataloguing sources.

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Here's one thing I found from Elder Bednar, with a quick Google search, that seems to kind of back up what Ballard says, although Elder Bednar is talking about the importance of being born to earth to receive a body.

Quote

The Importance of a Physical Body

Our physical bodies make possible a breadth, a depth, and an intensity of experience that simply could not be obtained in our premortal existence. Thus, our relationships with other people, our capacity to recognize and act in accordance with truth, and our ability to obey the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ are amplified through our physical bodies. In the school of mortality, we experience tenderness, love, kindness, happiness, sorrow, disappointment, pain, and even the challenges of physical limitations in ways that prepare us for eternity. Simply stated, there are lessons we must learn and experiences we must have, as the scriptures describe, “according to the flesh” (1 Nephi 19:6; Alma 7:12–13).

conference talk by Elder Bednar, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/we-believe-in-being-chaste?lang=eng&_r=1

 

Edited by tesuji

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3 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

I mean that I've heard that it is more difficult to change/repent after death than in this life.  I've heard it so often that I haven't bothered looking it up or cataloguing sources.

Is it in the scriptures anywhere? I can't think of a place, right off.

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1 hour ago, tesuji said:

Is it in the scriptures anywhere? I can't think of a place, right off.

Generally, things like "this life is the time to prepare to meet God" is what is used to back it up.  And the idea of repentance is one I went back and forth about with Estradling.  The "repentance" we normally think of as "having a change of heart" (like what we do in this life) is not something that is supposed to be possible in the next life.  But others have stated their beliefs otherwise.  The D&C description of being judged "according to the light and knowledge" that they have is (as I believe) only to mean that had they known better they would have obeyed.  But they only sinned in ignorance.  And as such, they can repent in that manner.  But that is different than delighting in something sinful and simply making the excuse "well, no one told me it was wrong." and feel no remorse.

It is like a person who incidentally harmed someone and when learning of it profusely apologizes vs. the person who says,"well, tough luck on you."

Edited by Guest

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22 hours ago, tesuji said:

Is it in the scriptures anywhere? I can't think of a place, right off.

There is no scriptural teaching that it is "harder" to repent in the next life. (And...side note: I don't believe that to be true.) There are plenty of scriptures throughout the Book of Mormon that teach that the next life is too late. But there is a scripture that teaches that the reason we cannot repent in the next life is because we will desire the same evil there as we did here. Some interpolate that to allow for repentance in the next life, but qualify it as "harder". I don't buy it. Repentance, imo, if allowed, is just as easy/hard in the next life as it is in this life, and I would dare argue that in some ways it will be easier...once gain, if allowed. Generally speaking, I don't believe it will be allowed for any but those who just simply did not have the opportunity in this life.

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On 6/20/2016 at 6:11 PM, The Folk Prophet said:

This is pseudo doctrine at best imo.

Second time today I have agreed with TFP. 

This is one man's (Elder Ballards) opinion, that is all. I certainly would not use the word doctrine when discussing this quote. 

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48 minutes ago, omegaseamaster75 said:

Second time today I have agreed with TFP. 

This is one man's (Elder Ballards) opinion, that is all. I certainly would not use the word doctrine when discussing this quote. 

I would say it's more than "some man's opinion." It's a formal address given by an apostle given in a church meeting, which was published by Desert Book. This is well above the standard of a member who gets some ideas or personal visions and publishes them (e.g. Julie Rowe).

This discourse is also recommend in an LDS manual, Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide: Religion 324-325, which calls it "An excellent pamphlet discussing Doctrine and Covenants 76," https://www.lds.org/manual/doctrine-and-covenants-instructors-guide-religion-324-325/the-vision-part-2-lesson-29-section-7650-70-92-96-113-19?lang=eng

Is it doctrine? Depends on what you mean. Doctrine can just mean "a teaching." Is it official doctrine? That's harder to defend.

See my comments above, where I recommend taking this with a grain of salt, as everything. 

However, it's also easy to rationalize everything away, including the scriptures, if a person wants to. As always, use the Spirit as a your guide and test every doctrine against the scriptures and official statements by prophets.

 

Edited by tesuji

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22 minutes ago, tesuji said:

I would say it's more than "some man's opinion." It's a formal address given by an apostle given in a church meeting, which was published by Desert Book. This is well above the standard of a member who gets some ideas or personal visions and publishes them (e.g. Julie Rowe).

This discourse is also recommend in an LDS manual, Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide: Religion 324-325, which calls it "An excellent pamphlet discussing Doctrine and Covenants 76," https://www.lds.org/manual/doctrine-and-covenants-instructors-guide-religion-324-325/the-vision-part-2-lesson-29-section-7650-70-92-96-113-19?lang=eng

Agreed. It is definitely more than "some man's opinion". Of course that doesn't mean it's accurate either. ;)

23 minutes ago, tesuji said:

Is it official doctrine? That's harder to defend.

I think impossible to defend...maybe. :)

24 minutes ago, tesuji said:

However, it's also easy to rationalize everything away, including the scriptures, if a person wants to.

What principle of salvation is one rationalizing away by rejecting this idea though? I mean whether it's harder or impossible to repent after this like, the scriptural principle remains -- now is the time to repent.

If one were to rationalize it away to the point of saying, "I can easily repent after I'm dead", then your point is certainly valid. Of course the whole reason I reject this idea is because of worry about said rationalization. The teaching, while clearly meaning to deter the failure to repent now, can inversely be interpreted to mean that, although tougher, it's still a viable option to wait. I do not believe that is a viable option in any regard, and therefore I reject the concept. Know what I mean?

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1 hour ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Agreed. It is definitely more than "some man's opinion". Of course that doesn't mean it's accurate either. ;)

I think impossible to defend...maybe. :)

What principle of salvation is one rationalizing away by rejecting this idea though? I mean whether it's harder or impossible to repent after this like, the scriptural principle remains -- now is the time to repent.

If one were to rationalize it away to the point of saying, "I can easily repent after I'm dead", then your point is certainly valid. Of course the whole reason I reject this idea is because of worry about said rationalization. The teaching, while clearly meaning to deter the failure to repent now, can inversely be interpreted to mean that, although tougher, it's still a viable option to wait. I do not believe that is a viable option in any regard, and therefore I reject the concept. Know what I mean?

I think I understand you. Thanks for your thoughts. A little skepticism toward any doctrine is good I think. 

What I mean by rationalizing things away is that if a person applies enough skepticism they can convince themselves to mistrust (and dismiss) anything, even authentic revelations from God. At some point Mormons need to have faith in the scriptures and words of the prophets - the less naive among us realize more what that entails and the included caveats, but even they must have faith.

I'm not insisting on faith in this particular sermon by Ballard. But at least in the scriptures and in modern revelation.

Edited by tesuji

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This had a profound effect on me also. I read it many years ago when the book "Miracles of Forgiveness" came out. President Kimball also quoted Elder Ballard in his first chapter entitled "This Life is the Time". I know you can reference this to spiritual attributes you need to work on but I also used it for talents. For exmample I played the piano but I needed to improve. It made sense to me that I could certainly do this better with my body so I took more piano lessons and music has been a big part of my life in the church. I know we can't do everything, but it helps me to think about this doctrine and try more things in this life.

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