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Baptisms for the dead

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12 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

Part of this, of course, is that the Old Testament is written about/by/for a converted community of faith. Also, while it may be that a few Christian sects actually do not believe repentance is a part of conversion, the reason this heresy seems more prominent is that Evangelicals try to convert LDS from 'works salvation,' and so emphasize grace and salvation and de-emphasize redemption and progressive sanctification (growing in holiness). Further, due to pressure from the culture, I suspect that too many Christian individuals (and some churches) actually do believe repentance is negative and archaic. So, no argument... perhaps some minor quibbling about degree.  

I have a lot of my life's experience from the US South.  I was raised Catholic, but I had many friends that were Baptists.  In a few ways you could say that also has influenced my beliefs today, though I see it more as things that agree with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rather than how many would see it.

One thing they have tried to teach was that of Grace.  That the Lord's grace is sufficient for him who accepts it.

This does not mean that they stop there, but if they were stopped there, if they accepted the Lord's sacrifice for them and his grace, they would be able to go to heaven.

One logic of this is the story of the thief on the cross.  Ideas on the thief differ from religion to religion.  Some say he had to be baptized, for as the Lord says, a man must be born of water and the spirit, thus for the Lord to tell the man that he would be in paradise would mean that the man must have already been a believer and been baptized.

On the other side of this, Baptist who believe fervently in the Bible (the more conservative ones use the KJV just like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) will point out it does not say he was a former believer or had been baptized anywhere.  Someone saying this is assuming or writing and adding to what is already there.  Instead, they take it at face value.  The man did not need to be baptized for the Lord to do this?

One reason (and the one I am aware of) is because the LAW GIVER and MAKER is the Lord.  He is the one who is also the Judge, Jury, and Executioner of the final judgment and the law.  He knows the Law better than any of us.  He is also omnipotent in their understanding, thus he can do whatever he chooses which pleases him.  If he were to tell the sun to blow up tomorrow, it would do so.  If he decided to destroy the universe and remake it again this morning, he could do so.  He is the only one that can determine where we are going (Baptism or not) and he can make or judge however he feels he will.

Thus, he can also see into our hearts and minds and KNOW what we would have done if we could have done so.  If we were able and would have followed him with all our heart, he KNOWS this.  Even if we die the instant after we accept him and have decided to follow him, he would know this. 

They also preach about a mighty change of heart, where when one is saved, their entire heart changes.  They no longer have a desire to do evil (but can still sin) but instead have a desire to follow the Lord.  It is this change upon a man (or woman) that will lead them to follow the commandments, which include the commandment to be baptized.  The instructions and commandments were not limitations set up on us and upon his power, but instead were instructions on how we could find our way to be closer to him.

Now, I'm not altogether in the same boat (or exact agreement with them) as these friends of mine in regards to the Mighty Change of heart and how it happens, but I do agree with them on the idea that the Lord can do as he wants.  He is the Lawgiver and the judge, and he is the one who decides who is saved...not us.  In this, I also agree that the commandments are not for the Lord, nor put limitations on HIS power, but instead are given for man.  They are there to help us take OFF the limitations that mankind places upon themselves and become more like the Lord and in doing so, become more free in our own love for him and our fellowman as we grow to be more like him. 

I do think there is a LOT of similarities within the Church teachings and many of the Baptists though, but too often we are too busy trying to point out the differences that we are blind to some of the similarities that are also between us.

Edited by JohnsonJones
clarifications

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8 hours ago, askandanswer said:

but I don't see anything in Section 138 or any other scriptures, that eliminates the possibility that Moses or Elijah, or Abraham, or Jacob, or Alma or any other prophet might also have been preaching to the dead before Christ showed up.

Quote

36 Thus was it made known that our Redeemer spent his time during his sojourn in the world of spirits, instructing and preparing the faithful spirits of the prophets who had testified of him in the flesh;

37 That they might carry the message of redemption unto all the dead, unto whom he could not go personally, because of their rebellion and transgression, that they through the ministration of his servants might also hear his words.

38 Among the great and mighty ones who were assembled in this vast congregation of the righteous were Father Adam, the Ancient of Days and father of all...

...

51 These the Lord taught, and gave them power to come forth, after his resurrection from the dead, to enter into his Father’s kingdom, there to be crowned with immortality and eternal life,

Edited by Carborendum

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Brigham Young - “Jesus was the first man that ever went to preach to the spirits in prison, holding the keys of the Gospel of salvation to them. Those keys were delivered to him in the day and hour that he went into the spirit world, and with them he opened the door of salvation to the spirits in prison.” (Journal of Discourses 4:285.) 

 

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19 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

For the record, this has nothing to do with the current debate about opening vs. closing in relation to COVID-19, right?

Much more generic stupidity.

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5 hours ago, Carborendum said:

36 Thus was it made known that our Redeemer spent his time during his sojourn in the world of spirits, instructing and preparing the faithful spirits of the prophets who had testified of him in the flesh;

37 That they might carry the message of redemption unto all the dead, unto whom he could not go personally, because of their rebellion and transgression, that they through the ministration of his servants might also hear his words.

38 Among the great and mighty ones who were assembled in this vast congregation of the righteous were Father Adam, the Ancient of Days and father of all...

...

51 These the Lord taught, and gave them power to come forth, after his resurrection from the dead, to enter into his Father’s kingdom, there to be crowned with immortality and eternal life,

I don't see how these scriptures eliminate the possibility that others were preaching to the dead prior to Christ's arrival in the spirit world. I think that the most we could reliably assume from these verses is that perhaps Christ instructed that a new component be addded to their teaching about the redemption of the dead. 

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1 hour ago, askandanswer said:

I don't see how these scriptures eliminate the possibility that others were preaching to the dead prior to Christ's arrival in the spirit world. I think that the most we could reliably assume from these verses is that perhaps Christ instructed that a new component be addded to their teaching about the redemption of the dead. 

  • You specifically named individual prophets.
  • The cited verses also named those specific prophets as among those in gathering.
  • It states that the purpose of the gathering was for Christ to INSTRUCT AND PREPARE them for going into spirit prison to do the teaching.
  • Then it says that those so named (i.e. the same prophets that you named) in that gathering were the ones who were being so taught and prepared to go and do the teaching.

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The meeting described in Section 138 sounds almost exactly like a Zone Conference whereby the Mission President calls upon the Elders in the Zone to cease teaching and preaching for the day so that they can come and receive further instructions on what and how they should be teaching. 

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We don't know exactly what the relationship is between those in paradise and those in spirit prison. It's very possible that they can intermingle to some degree in which case it is likely that the gospel of Jesus Christ would be discussed. But section 138 seems to imply that both the authority and calling (commission) to preach the gospel as official representatives of Christ did not happen until Christ came among them. Another thing of interest is that Christ taught those in paradise:

19 And there he preached to them the everlasting gospel, the doctrine of the resurrection and the redemption of mankind from the fall, and from individual sins on conditions of repentance.

So if there existed the need to preach these things to the righteous then what if anything that had been shared with those in prison previously was likely not sufficient.

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13 hours ago, askandanswer said:

The meeting described in Section 138 sounds almost exactly like a Zone Conference whereby...

The meeting described in Section 138 sounds almost exactly like lessons in the MTC whereby newly called missionaries finally receive their preparation required to go and serve in the field for the first time.

Quote

instructing and preparing the faithful spirits ...That they might carry the message of redemption unto all the dead,

This doesn't say anything about correcting, improving, or adding to any work they've already been doing.  It sounds like a completely new mission with completely new conditions and methods.

And after some pondering, I believe I now see what it was all about.  When Christ was resurrected, we often hear this as "He *burst* the bands of death."  He rent the veil.  There was something about Him being the first to be resurrected that allowed the work to be had among the dead.  The "gates of hell" were finally opened.  That is why they weren't taught prior to the resurrection.  The gates weren't opened yet.

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On 5/13/2020 at 2:18 PM, prisonchaplain said:

Those baptized were already converted, but could undergo multiple 'baptisms' in a lifetime, to repent of particular sins.

There was (apparently) a time in the LDS Church that this was true as well.

I spent some time in the Church Institute library in Laramie, re-investigating the Church and looking for some answers to a couple of questions that I had. I also attended the talks given in the chapel, as well as a class or two. It was my custom to sit in the empty chapel prior to the talks, praying. One day, I prayed my heart out (praying to find someone that could help me find answers) shortly before the Stake President came to give his talk. During his talk, he paused in mid-sentence and completely changed the topic to touch upon the subject I had been praying about. Well, you can imagine how anxious I was to speak to him afterwards! In speaking with him, he gave an example of how it was that some things were not recorded in Church history -- the example was the cessation of being baptized for remission of sins. The only place it is recorded, according to what he told me (as best as I can remember) is that his grandfather had recorded his thoughts on the matter in his journal -- his grandfather being the Church secretary or something at the time this occurred.

Of course this presupposes that the Stake President had his facts straight, and that I am recalling the incident correctly. It was a pretty momentus day, in many ways, so I do believe that my recall is good (but I do have trouble with my memory).

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5 minutes ago, blueberry said:

he gave an example of how it was that some things were not recorded in Church history -- the example was the cessation of being baptized for remission of sins

I would point out that we do indeed continue to baptize for the remission of sins. The change is that people are baptized only once, instead of multiple times during their lives. The baptismal covenant is not renewed with further baptisms, which was sometimes done earlier in the Church's history. (The obvious exception is rebaptism after excommunication, but that's a different matter.)

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1 hour ago, Vort said:

I would point out that we do indeed continue to baptize for the remission of sins.

Yes! Quite correct. Sorry for my poor choice of wording.

eta: I'd meant they were doing multiple baptisms (for the remission of sins) and then stopped that practice.

Edited by blueberry
edit for clarity (hopefully)

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1 hour ago, Vort said:

(The obvious exception is rebaptism after excommunication, but that's a different matter.)

Which is a great exception 😁

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On 5/13/2020 at 10:25 AM, Just_A_Guy said:

Elder McConkie arguably has his occasional flaws; but I think he was a spiritual and intellectual giant overall and fundamentally right on this one.

Did he believe women were baptized/washed in the Old Testament temple font?

When I was speaking with my two female missionary friends over the phone (due to social distancing
now), they discussed the appearance of Jesus Christ to the Nephites after his resurrection, refering to
3 Nephi chapters 8-19.  After the brief call, I read some of the remaining chapters and was wondering
why Nephi baptized himself (3 Nephi 19:11)  and why no one was baptized alive or for the dead in the
temple in the land called Bountiful (3 Nephi 11:1).  I asked them but they didn't know.

Thank you for any insights,

Allison

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51 minutes ago, Allison said:

I asked them but they didn't know.

Big picture: There are a lot of things we don't know in life & the Gospel.  There Lord has many great and marvelous things yet to reveal to us.

Zooming in to your actual question: we don't know whether or not there were baptisms for the dead performed in Bountiful ~33AD.  The limited text is mute on the subject either way.  We could take our mortal guesses on the subject, but that's all they would be: guesses from mortal sinners with a tiny amount of knowledge.  

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1 hour ago, Allison said:

Did he believe women were baptized/washed in the Old Testament temple font?

When I was speaking with my two female missionary friends over the phone (due to social distancing
now), they discussed the appearance of Jesus Christ to the Nephites after his resurrection, refering to
3 Nephi chapters 8-19.  After the brief call, I read some of the remaining chapters and was wondering
why Nephi baptized himself (3 Nephi 19:11)  and why no one was baptized alive or for the dead in the
temple in the land called Bountiful (3 Nephi 11:1).  I asked them but they didn't know.

Thank you for any insights,

Allison

Verse11 says Nephi was baptized, not who baptized him. This particular section describes the baptism of the twelve disciples, not the multitude at large, which was to occur later (see 3 Nephi 11:21).

The record as we have it does not say whether Jesus instituted baptism for the dead among them, so it may well have been practiced. As to why the record lacks a reference to baptism for the dead, see: https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Book_of_Mormon/Why_is_baptism_for_the_dead_not_taught

My personal opinion is that the sections of the Book of Mormon that teach about the Abrahamic covenant and the sealing power were sufficient, given the Book of Mormon is but an abridgement, to prepare the faithful to receive subsequent revelations of the restoration that teach about proxy baptism for the dead for this dispensation.

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On 5/16/2020 at 1:34 AM, Carborendum said:

And after some pondering, I believe I now see what it was all about.  When Christ was resurrected, we often hear this as "He *burst* the bands of death."  He rent the veil.  There was something about Him being the first to be resurrected that allowed the work to be had among the dead.  The "gates of hell" were finally opened.  That is why they weren't taught prior to the resurrection.  The gates weren't opened yet.

This immediately leads to the surprising conclusion (for me) that there were billions of spirit children of God who were denied access to the gospel for thousands of years. That conclusion raises some interesting questions. 

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McConkie, Joseph Fielding Smith, and Joseph Smith Jr seemed to have been of a school of thought that between "restoration of all thing" and "God is unchanging", that any practice of worship that was given to the modern church must have existed in both ancient Christianity and Judaism. On this premise, they assume that if there is no evidence of such practice, it must have been lost from the record.

Personally, I don't find that line of thought particularly convincing.  I think it's perfectly reasonable for the concepts and principles to have existed throughout history, but the form and practice to have changed with culture and technology.

It would seem unlikely to me that the Israelites were practicing baptism for the dead prior to Christ's death.  They had some parallels, but nothing quite like baptism for the remission of sins.  Instead, their equivalent to baptism was more along the lines of restoring their ability to enter the the temple and participate in rituals there.  Under our understanding of the temple, that may not seem like much of a difference, but for them atonement and freedom from transgression was gained through the sacrifices at the temple. 

Baptism as a symbol of conversion didn't become popular until after the Babylonian captivity. As a symbol of repentance, I doubt it was new or revolutionary by the time of John the Baptist, as not even the Jewish leadership of the time really objected to it.  So sometimes between the Babylonian captivity and John the Baptist, it had evolved into a recognized and accepted custom.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_baptism)

 

But under either premise, there really isn't reasonable way to get to ancient Israelites performed baptism for the dead.

Edited by MarginOfError

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On 5/13/2020 at 3:14 PM, prisonchaplain said:

Part of this, of course, is that the Old Testament is written about/by/for a converted community of faith. Also, while it may be that a few Christian sects actually do not believe repentance is a part of conversion, the reason this heresy seems more prominent is that Evangelicals try to convert LDS from 'works salvation,' and so emphasize grace and salvation and de-emphasize redemption and progressive sanctification (growing in holiness). Further, due to pressure from the culture, I suspect that too many Christian individuals (and some churches) actually do believe repentance is negative and archaic. So, no argument... perhaps some minor quibbling about degree.  

It looks to me that there are some thoughts that are not communicated well.  Anciently it was believed that before someone could present themselves before a "King" that they must be prepared and presentable.  Part of being prepared and presentable was being "Clean".  We see this in scripture - even as Moses approached the "burning bush" he was told to take off his shoes because he was entering "sacred ground".  

If someone was to go to Israel today (as I have done) you can learn from the Jews that it is their tradition that when someone went to the temple - they would remove their cloths and wash in a basin and put on white linen clothing in order to be prepared, presentable and clean before G-d at his temple.   Only those of Israel were allowed - "strangers" were forbidden.  The temple was considered the dwelling place of G-d (his presents).  Thus to come before G-d and be in his presents; being clean has always been a tradition of the covenant children of G-d.  Jesus even went so far as to demonstrate that it was necessary for him to be prepared and clean - even by ritual.  But - as I have posted before - Jesus was ritually cleaned and prepared in the same place that the children of Israel were ritually cleaned and prepared by ritual to enter the promise land - as commanded and performed by Joshua (which is the Hebrew name of Jesus). 

So to Latter-day Saints - baptism is not so much an ordinance of conversion but a post conversion covenant with G-d.  The covenant included being born again as an heir of G-d and G-dlyness.  This was and is referred to as taking the name of Jesus Christ.  Anciently, taking someone's name is similar to the modern understanding of power of attorney.   With this power of attorney we must be most careful and mindful that things have changed because we are no longer ignorant but now ought to take seriously our covenant that we not continue to sacrifice innocent blood for our sins without great remorse and much sorrow.  Sometimes, I think (including those of other religions) that are somewhat careless and cavalier about their continuing sins and the sacrifice of the innocent Christ is discarded because they think they are converted and therefor saved.

 

The Traveler

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On 5/15/2020 at 9:49 AM, laronius said:

Another thing of interest is that Christ taught those in paradise:

19 And there he preached to them the everlasting gospel, the doctrine of the resurrection and the redemption of mankind from the fall, and from individual sins on conditions of repentance.

The section confused me.

Why would God's prophets need to re-hear (re-learn?) about resurrection when they were already firm
in the hope of a glorious resurrection (like v.14 says)?   Also, why did they have to re-hear the redemption
of mankind from the fall and redemption from sins on conditions of repentance?

V. 37 says "That they might carry the message of redemption unto all the dead, unto whom he could
not go personally, because of their rebellion and transgression, that they through the ministration of
his servants might also hear his words".

Why could Jesus personally minister to the rebels and transgressors in his mortal body but could not
do this in his spirit body?

VV. 50-51 says "For the dead had looked upon the long absence of their spirits from their bodies as
a bondage. These the Lord taught, and gave them power to come forth, after his resurrection from the
dead, to enter into his Father’s kingdom, there to be crowned with immortality and eternal life"

How is it a place of peace (v. 22) when they are in a state of bondage?

When I read verses 15-18,42-43 I get the impression that the spirits in the spirit world were released
from their bondage via the resurrection and they are commissioned to preach the gospel to those in
the spirit world.  Their bodies are no longer separated from the spirit, therefore they are not in
bondage anymore.  

V. 57 said "I beheld that the faithful elders of this dispensation, when they depart from mortal
life, continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel of repentance and redemption, through the
sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son of God, among those who are in darkness and under the bondage of
sin in the great world of the dspirits of the dead.

It seems these faithful elders are un-resurrected beings during their sojourn in the spirit world,
meaning that they are in bondage.

Thank you for any insight,

Allison

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53 minutes ago, Allison said:

Why would God's prophets need to re-hear (re-learn?) about resurrection when they were already firm in the hope of a glorious resurrection (like v.14 says)? 

The same reason rest of us mortals need to hear the same Truths over and over again.

53 minutes ago, Allison said:

Why could Jesus personally minister to the rebels and transgressors in his mortal body but could not do this in his spirit body?

God has always used servants to help with His.  That applies equally before and after mortal death.

53 minutes ago, Allison said:

It seems these faithful elders are un-resurrected beings during their sojourn in the spirit world,
meaning that they are in bondage.

...no.  You seem to be confusing several different concepts here.

 

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1 hour ago, Allison said:

The section confused me.

Sounds familiar.

Quote

Why would God's prophets need to re-hear (re-learn?) about resurrection when they were already firm
in the hope of a glorious resurrection (like v.14 says)?   Also, why did they have to re-hear the redemption
of mankind from the fall and redemption from sins on conditions of repentance?

Where does it say they knew all this in the first place?  Having hope of a glorious resurrection doesn't mean they understood the doctrine.  It is pretty clear that the Jews of the time of Christ (even though they were taught by Christ Himself) did not understand there was such a thing as resurrection.

The phrase "hope of a glorious resurrection" doesn't necessarily refer to them holding hope in their hearts and minds (although it may).  It could simply mean that their glory was assured whether they knew it or not.  You've heard the phrase,"He doesn't have any hope of winning."  It's the opinion by the one making the statement.

Quote

Why could Jesus personally minister to the rebels and transgressors in his mortal body but could not
do this in his spirit body?

You could ask similar questions of why God's glory alone can cause people to die, yet it didn't happen when Christ was in a mortal coil.

Quote

VV. 50-51 says "For the dead had looked upon the long absence of their spirits from their bodies as
a bondage. These the Lord taught, and gave them power to come forth, after his resurrection from the
dead, to enter into his Father’s kingdom, there to be crowned with immortality and eternal life"

How is it a place of peace (v. 22) when they are in a state of bondage?

Does lack of pain mean we're in heaven? Does "not being homeless" mean that we MUST be billionaires?  This goes hand-in-hand with the three degrees of glory.

The peace (v 22) is contrasted with the darkness (v 22).  One can be at peace without fully being happy.  They had been given a promise of a fullness of joy.  And while they had peace and hope (not in darkness) they had not yet received their fullness of joy that they were promised.  And they longed for it. 

Compare to the parable of the unwise steward.

Quote

When I read verses 15-18,42-43 I get the impression that the spirits in the spirit world were released
from their bondage via the resurrection and they are commissioned to preach the gospel to those in
the spirit world.  Their bodies are no longer separated from the spirit, therefore they are not in
bondage anymore.  

This would mean that no one can teach the wicked in spirit prison until they've been resurrected.  That would mean that those of our dispensation (who have NOT been resurrected yet) cannot go into spirit prison to teach.  I don't believe that is correct.  But I'm having difficulty remember just where I heard that.

Edited by Carborendum

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On 5/16/2020 at 1:34 AM, Carborendum said:

The meeting described in Section 138 sounds almost exactly like lessons in the MTC whereby newly called missionaries finally receive their preparation required to go and serve in the field for the first time.

This doesn't say anything about correcting, improving, or adding to any work they've already been doing.  It sounds like a completely new mission with completely new conditions and methods.

And after some pondering, I believe I now see what it was all about.  When Christ was resurrected, we often hear this as "He *burst* the bands of death."  He rent the veil.  There was something about Him being the first to be resurrected that allowed the work to be had among the dead.  The "gates of hell" were finally opened.  That is why they weren't taught prior to the resurrection.  The gates weren't opened yet.

17  And now I will ease your mind somewhat on this subject.  Behold, you marvel why these things should be known so long beforehand.  Behold, I say unto you, is not a soul at this time as precious unto God as a soul will be at the time of his coming?
18  Is it not as necessary that the plan of redemption should be made known unto this people as well as unto their children?
19  Is it not as easy at this time for the Lord to send his angel to declare these glad tidings unto us as unto our children, or as after the time of his coming?

(Book of Mormon | Alma 39:17 - 19)
 

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On 5/19/2020 at 7:41 PM, Jane_Doe said:

...no.  You seem to be confusing several different concepts here.

 

Thank you.  Let me rephrase the question so you may be able to clarify.

V. 50 says "For the dead had looked upon the long absence of their spirits from their bodies as a bondage"  
V. 57 - "I beheld that the faithful elders of this dispensation, when they depart from mortal life, continue their
labors in the preaching of the gospel of repentance and redemption, through the sacrifice of the Only Begotten
Son of God, among those who are in darkness and under the bondage of sin in the great world of the spirits
of the dead"

Are the faithful elders also under the same condition (bondage) as the dead to whom they are preaching to
(where their spirits are absent from their bodies) or are they resurrected personages or are they not in bondage
even though their spirits are absent from their bodies?

Allison

 

 

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