Our wayward children’s salvation

The other day, as my wife and I studied the scriptures together, we came across this verse:

“For behold, the promises which we have obtained are promises unto us according to the flesh; wherefore, as it has been shown unto me that many of our children shall perish in the flesh because of unbelief, nevertheless, God will be merciful unto many; and our children shall be restored, that they may come to that which will give them the true knowledge of their Redeemer” (2 Ne 10:2).

Though I’ve read the Book of Mormon dozens of times, this passage hit me in a way I had never noticed before.  Here we see that while many of our children may be lost and even destroyed in the flesh “because of unbelief”, through Christ’s atonement they will be restored.  Yes, this can be read as some will fall away, and later generations be restored. This time, however, it came to me that it was speaking of the same children: many will fall away, and most will be restored either in this life, or in the next life.

I’d heard this concept before in General Conference, twice by Pres Packer (though I have only been able to find one reference so far), and once from Pres Faust.  It seems that the atonement can restore people with greater power than we sometimes can understand.

President Boyd K Packer taught:

“But sooner or later that spark of divinity in each of them will ignite. They can assert their agency as sons and daughters created in the image of God  and renounce the destroyer. That which they had been led to believe could not be changed, will be changed, and they will feel the power of the redemption of Christ.  Their burden will be lifted and the pain healed up.  That is what the Atonement of Christ is all about.

They can claim their inheritance as children of heavenly parents and, despite the tortured, agonizing test of mortal life, know that they are not lost.” (“The Standard of Truth has been Erected, Oct 2003 Conference)

Pres James Faust seemed to go along these lines, as well, in his April 2003 talk, “Dear are the Sheep that have Wandered”:

“There are very few whose rebellion and evil deeds are so great that they have “sinned away the power to repent.”  That judgment must also be left up to the Lord. He tells us, “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” 

Perhaps in this life we are not given to fully understand how enduring the sealing cords of righteous parents are to their children. It may very well be that there are more helpful sources at work than we know.  I believe there is a strong familial pull as the influence of beloved ancestors continues with us from the other side of the veil.”

 

What a great comfort this will be to those parents who see their children go astray.  Those children will be “destroyed in the flesh”, but will be saved in the end through Christ’s atonement.

 

38 thoughts on “Our wayward children’s salvation

  1. I have thought a great deal about this, too, and I like what you say here.

    One thing that comes to mind, though, is what does it mean to be “lost”? I know many people interpret this to mean that their children will join them in celestial glory, but we know from D&C 76 that those of the terrestrial glory also accept Christ and access the atonement.

    I don’t think they are lost, but neither do they necessarily accept the fulness of the Father.

    But what I can’t believe is that one person’s agency affects another’s salvation. Those children who go astray without righteous parents do not have less access to redemption than those who have them. That makes no sense to me.

  2. I think the most famous statement is that of Orson F. Whitney:

    The Prophet Joseph Smith declared—and he never taught a more comforting doctrine—that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God.

    Orson F. Whitney, in Conference Report, Apr. 1929, 110.

  3. But what I can’t believe is that one person’s agency affects another’s salvation. Those children who go astray without righteous parents do not have less access to redemption than those who have them

    That would mean that our own agency could never affect another person’s salvation, which would unduly limit our agency. I think the scriptures are pretty clear that other people’s decisions do affect our salvation, from Christ’s decisions on down. But its a tough question, because taken to an extreme it seems to remove the agency of the people who are affected.

    Some thoughts here:

    http://www.jrganymede.com/2012/01/17/unto-the-fourth-generation/
    http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2004/07/do-we-matter-at-all-are-we-stones-that-leave-no-ripples/

  4. I love this doctrine and have heard it before, mainly from loving parents of wayward children. I believe the sealing power is greater than we know. I also believe in the the doctrine of the “Holy Spirit of Promise”. See: http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Holy_Spirit_of_Promise.
    The sealing ordinances we gain in this life are only in effect if G-d validates our sealings thru our righteousness. So, if parents, choose thru their abusive behavior, to cause their children to go astray, I don’t know that they have this promise. Of course, G-d is the ultimate judge in these matters.

  5. There is much we don’t know about sealing. I don’t think my sealing will drag any of my children to the celestial kingdom. Perhaps it means that through our sealing we will get to keep our relationship with them no matter what.
    While I understand my parents’ heartache over my sisters leaving the church, things are so much better now that they simply trust the Lord and trust in the atonement and they don’t worry about my sisters status in the gospel. As I raise my children and see how unique their paths are, if any of them leave the church I will try to avoid the heartache step and skip straight to the trusting the Lord step. If I can accept a B on a math test if it was my kid’s best effort, if I can accept a last place in a swimming race because he is still getting something out of the experience, if I can be thrilled with his sunbeam talk that consisted entirely of holding up nativity scene pieces and naming them because that was the extent of his capability of speech, I think I can be thrilled with each of my children’s spiritual development at their own pace even if they don’t get some sort of gold medal prize of the celestial kingdom. The other kingdoms are heaven too. Personally, I am not shooting for a particular kingdom myself….I am just committed to trying to do God’s will for its own sake, for what kind of person it makes me now and who I will become, not some sort of eternal trophy.

  6. Adam, could you elaborate on this? “That would mean that our own agency could never affect another person’s salvation, which would unduly limit our agency.”

  7. Silver Rain,

    I’m going to put up a post on this, because when I tried to answer your question, the answer put together a lot of the gospel according to me. Thanks.

  8. I think also when it comes down to it, because of the atonment, more people are going to be saved than we think….I think Heavenly Father wants as many of us back home as possible. I also have believed for a long time, thru personal experiences of my own, that righteous parents get to lay claim on their wayward kids….that has brought our family much comfort over the years.

  9. My decision to raise my children in the Gospel has the power to affect, at the margins, the likelihood of their being saved, no? My serving a mission also affected the salvation of “my” converts. So our agency must be permitted to have some affect on the salvation of others. Whether that power is as complete as is asserted here is another question that I am not able to answer.

  10. I don’t think of it as having an affect on the ultimate salvation of others. I think of it as being permitted to be part of their story.

    I just can’t see how a plan where one person has a greater chance of salvation than another because of where they were born could at all square with my understanding of divine principles.

  11. I agree with Joyce. Also we have to remember about all the proxy sealings that are done, and will be done during the Millennium. Perhaps it is vital that we are all sealed up in some way, wether as a child, a spouse or a parent; included in the Covenant with G-d.

  12. All is conditional. Still, I see the being destroyed in the flesh event as what will be viewed as a life changer for all but the sons of perdition.

    D&C 19 tells us that until we repent, we will suffer even as Christ did. And Alma 36 gives us a taste of what that experience must be like. I see what being completely out of the presence of Godhead can do to a person. They feel such intense pain and guilt that they are almost (but not completely) compelled to repent. Those who repent enough to be justified (made sinless) will merit a telestial kingdom. Those who repent and change more, so as to become sanctified to a higher level (equal to their ordinances) may receive a greater kingdom.

    So, when Alma repented, he didn’t just become worthy of a telestial glory, but was fully changed and ready to preach God’s gospel. He had become sanctified into a wholly new person. And I see that as the process which will save many wayward children in the end.

  13. “I just can’t see how a plan where one person has a greater chance of salvation than another because of where they were born could at all square with my understanding of divine principles.”

    I wouldn’t want to think that my agency could be the sole determinant in another’s salvation. But if it has absolutely no effect on the likelihood of their salvation AT ALL, then what’s the point?

    The highlight of my mission experience came after my mission was completed. I went to college in a town near the temple that served my mission. As I walked up to the temple one Saturday, I saw a man and woman who looked familiar to me. When I got closer to them, I saw it was a family that I had “converted” on my mission. On the day we first knocked their door, the husband was shirtless and the wife was wearing a revealing halter top. On this day, though, they were dressed in clothing appropriate for entering the temple. They had a book of their genealogy, and they had visited the temple that day to perform the work for their ancestors.

    I think of this family and the generations that come after them who will live in the Gospel. And I think of the generations of people who came before who will receive salvation through their proxy ordinances. And you want to tell me that I had no effect whatsoever on the likelihood of their salvation? That the fact that my companion and I spent just a little more time knocking doors before lunch in the Arizona heat was a decision of no consequence to anyone but ourselves? I can’t live with that.

  14. MC, the point isn’t to save them. THEY have to save them, Christ saves them. You are but a messenger, a part of it because the Lord chooses to use you when you surrender yourself to Him. Again, the point isn’t to save them. The point is the linking, the bonds between people. If you have a hand in someone’s salvation, that forges a bond that cannot be broken. It is the essence behind the outward sealing ordinance. But that isn’t salvation. Salvation is something we each have to work out with the Savior, as outlined in Mosiah 4.

    BUT when our thread of life crosses others, we become part of the entire tapestry that is exaltation, eternal life. That is why we can’t be perfect without those bonds. It isn’t THEIR salvation we effect when we use our agency to preach the gospel, or have any hand in helping another come to Christ.

    It is ours.

    At least, that is how I understand it. That understanding supports the principle of agency, rather than weakening it. I’m not saying I get it entirely. But there is that in the “doctrine” of parents being the deciding factor between their children’s salvation or not which rings of control, of superseding the choices and agency of the child with the will of the parent. The same applies to missionaries and converts. I can’t reconcile that with the Gospel, however comforting it may seem. I find it far more empowering to know that if I screw up, the Lord is still watching out for those of His children which yearn to come to Him, that no one will get left behind who desires Him. To know that it is my choice, and I’ll be able to take responsibility for my relationship with Him at the last day, unable to point my fingers and blame the path of my life on any other soul.

    No, our agency can offer a hand up, can provide tools for those who seek Him. But whether we help or not, those who seek Him will find Him, and those who do not will not, no matter how many tools are lying about for their use. The work of the Lord will progress, and we each must work out our own salvation.

  15. “Again, the point isn’t to save them.”

    It isn’t? Then who are these saviors on Mt. Zion I keep hearing about? When I encourage my boys to serve a mission, I’m going to tell them how it will give them the chance to save souls, not how it will help them to create bonds between themselves and others. Now that I think about it, I wonder if there isn’t something of a masculine/feminine dichotomy of desires at play here.* The masculine desire is to be the heroic rescuer who is saves others from certain peril, while the feminine desire is to be the nurturer that brings others closer together. Both are praiseworthy, but I know which one I prefer.

    Just because I make it more likely that someone would be saved doesn’t mean that it was “the deciding factor” in their salvation. To turn it around, if I found out that my bishop or a general authority was abusing my child, that certainly is the sort of thing that would put me at risk of losing my testimony and my salvation, if anything would. Yet I would still have my agency to decide how to react. If I chose to abandon the gospel, was the “deciding factor” the abuse or my reaction to it? And yet, how could we possibly absolve the abuser of any responsibility for my salvation? Isn’t this what Jacob meant when he said that he preached repentance “that I might rid my garments of your sins.”?

    *Lest I be misunderstood, all of us have some masculine and some feminine desires. But they may still be recognizably masculine or feminine even if they are common to men and women.

  16. As I read the scriptures and study the gospel, I’ve come to the conclusion that we DO have a part in others’ salvation. We become more than just messengers; we become “saviors on Mt Zion”.

    While Christ does atone for sins and provides the resurrection, they cannot be exalted without ordinances. We provide the ordinances of salvation. Christ shares his priesthood power and authority with the members of the Church. We become co-saviors with Christ the Savior (note, we get the little ‘s’).

    That the temple links family members to each other, and not just to Christ, is significant in this concept, as well. While we can be saved as individuals, we can only be exalted as families.

    We have a direct connection to our children’s salvation. Enos and Alma both remembered the words of the fathers, which moved both to repentance and faith in Christ. The Ammonite youth remembered the words their mothers taught them.

    This goes beyond messenger status, and into “savior of one’s own family” status.

  17. The “saviors on Mt. Zion” phrase originates in the book of Obadiah, prophesying the triumph of Jacob over Esau. A similar phrase, “saviors of men” is used in D&C 103:9, comparing the saints to a light. A light beckons, a light calls. But it is the people who must come to it, light which can be seen or ignored by anyone. And if the saints refuse to be that light, there will be another light to lead those who seek back to Him. I do not believe that anything overshadows agency.

    I wrote more, much more, in response to this. But I feel it necessary to not go on. You can categorize our different perspectives, name them “feminine” and “masculine” if you like. You can discount my perspective if you like. I have said what I am going to say on this matter in this forum.

  18. “You can categorize our different perspectives, name them “feminine” and “masculine” if you like. You can discount my perspective if you like.”

    I thought I made sure to emphasize that I did not intend to discount either perspective. I didn’t even know you were a woman. If anything, I meant to show how my own viewpoint is probably shaped by my own “gendered” biases.

    “And if the saints refuse to be that light, there will be another light to lead those who seek back to Him.”

    But will that light burn as brightly? If there is literally no cost to the likelihood of salvation, then the only reason to preach the saving principles is for my own salvation and benefit. This does not sound like the selfless service that we are called to give. I don’t mean to imply that you’re viewpoint is inconsistent with the Gospel, but I do not agree with it.

  19. By the way, I’m aware that the phrase “saviors on Mt. Zion” comes from Obadiah. The footnote in the LDS KJV reads “D&C 103:9–10. TG Genealogy and Temple Work; Mission of Latter-day Saints; Salvation for the Dead.”

    So if I’m taking it out of context to refer to the salvation of souls, I’m not the first.

  20. “Hence God hath made a provision, that every spirit in the eternal world can be ferreted out and saved, unless he has committed that unpardonable sin, which can not be remitted to him. That God has wrought out a salvation for all men, unless they have committed a certain sin.

    Every man who has got a friend in the eternal world can save him unless he has committed the unpardonable sin, so you can see how far you can be a savior. A man can not commit the unpardonable sin after the dissolution of the body, and there is a way possible for escape. Knowledge saves a man, and in the world of spirits a man cannot be exalted but by knowledge; so long as a man will not give heed to the commandments, he must abide without salvation.” – Joseph Smith, KFD, Apr 7, 1844, Times and Seasons Minutes
    http://www.boap.org/LDS/Parallel/1844/7Apr44.html

  21. The sticky wicket is the definition of “salvation”. The scriptures are not always clear about which definition of salvation is being talked about. (Elder Oaks once gave a talk about 6 definitions of salvation. Ensign May 1998. http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=83db605ff590c010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____
    )

    Just within the Book of Mormon, I remember reading the stand-alone “saved”. Then there is the “saved at the last day.” And there is “saved in the kingdom of Heavenly Father.”

    The last one intrigues me because it implies there are other types of salvation that are _not_ “in the kingdom of Heavenly Father.” I like to connect that dot to Section 76 which describes the 3 kingdoms. Only the Celestial Kingdom is where Heavenly Father resides or even visits. He does not go to the other 2 kingdoms. The people in the lesser two kingdoms never get to see him.

    Yet section 76 states that Jesus rules or ministers the Terrestial Kingdom. He “visits” there, at least.

    So if the CK is _Heavenly Father’s_ kingdom, would it be correct to describe the TrK as _Jesus’_ kingdom?

    And since, according to Sec 76, the Holy Ghost ministers to the TlK, would it be correct to describe it as the _Holy Ghost’s_ kingdom?

    Section 76 is clear that even the inhabitants of the TlK are still “heirs of salvation,” just a lesser salvation.

    And the exalted ones in the CK, the “Church of the Firstborn” are still yet another “kind” of salvation. So while there are still two non-exalted levels in the CK, those two lesser are “saved” and they are “saved in the kingdom of Heavenly Father.”

    It may be a moot point if few LDS have their calling and election made sure in this life, or have their temple sealings “sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise” in this life.

    As someone mentioned above, both live and proxy sealings in the temple are conditional, and are not binding until “sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.”

    I think it important to remember that we don’t believe “getting saved” is like getting one’s ticket punched as the evangelicals believe. It’s more of a process in LDS theology, not an event.

    As far as I understand it, one doesn’t get their “ticket punched” in this life unless your calling and election is made sure, or you are “sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.” Only after one of those have you “made it” in this life. Outside of that, you really don’t know until some point after you cross the veil.

  22. I’m late to a great discussion!

    I used to think like SilverRain on this one. It would be unfair if some people were given eternal advantages by virtue of the choices of others. While this life is unfair, I reasoned that in the eternities, God was completely fair, so everyone would be given an equal shot at salvation. While some might get preferential treatment temporarily, because of the prayers and righteousness of others, in the eternal scheme of things, everyone would rise and fall on their own merits and faith.

    But I’m not sure I agree anymore. Where in the scriptures does it say that life will be “fair” in the eternities? Maybe eternity will be just as unfair as this life. The more I think about it, the more I feel that our eternal identities are profoundly shaped by the world around us, from our parents, to our culture, to our DNA. We are not our own. We pass through the flesh of our parents, their blessings and curses, and we inherit them as part of our eternal identity. We pass through the powerful vortex of human culture, which profoundly shapes us as well. We pass through the gauntlet of prayers and curses showered upon us, and we are shaped by that as well. A war veteran will always be a war veteran. That experience will be part of their eternal identity. A missionary, always will be a veteran missionary. A survivor of domestic abuse, a survivor, eternally.

    While I do believe in free agency, I no longer think it is not the only force at work in our eternal identity. We are not our own, at least not entirely.

  23. Nate, I agree it isn’t about being “fair.” Whose definition of fair would we use? Satan thought his plan was fair, in offering salvation to all, for example.

    We have no problem with the concept that all small children who die will be exalted. How fair is that?

    I recall hearing in seminary a long time ago something from Brigham Young. He said that Joseph Smith said he would go to hell to claim Emma, if necessary. Of course, Brigham, in his often caustic way, believed that’s exactly what Joseph would have to do. – Given we are talking of what I believe is a very big chunk of Spirit Prison, many of us may have to be rescued from hell. D&C 132 tells us that those who are sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise and then commit any sin except murder, will be exalted in the end, but only after suffering the “buffetings of Satan”, which I believe is another way to say “destroyed in the flesh.”

    Again, if we consider that the person may be “destroyed in the flesh” or have to suffer even as Christ suffered for a period of time, until they are fully repentant and purified, then perhaps that makes it fair?

  24. It’s not about being fair. It’s about learning/becoming what is necessary to belong to a kingdom of heaven. The scriptures are replete with that, particularly D & C.

    Believing that someone’s prayers can force such a change in another is not the Lord’s way. Ultimately, an individual’s agency will take precedence over the desires of others.

  25. The ironic thing about this doctrine, is that if you think about it, it is not comforting at all. It is terrifying. Sure, it’s nice to know that your own kids will be OK. But what about others, who don’t have the advantage of your faith and prayers? Those who have no one, who suffer, and sin, and die surrounded by curses?

    Jesus says, “To him that hath, shall be given, and to him that hath not, shall be taken even that he hath.” We see this all over in the world around us. Those with the least are always set up for failure over and over. How terrible to think that these inequalities will also ascend with us in the next realm.

    Yet that is the very definition of grace. Grace is an unmerited, unequal gift. It is the story of Cinderella. A simple girl, one of a million, gets picked out of the crowd to marry the Prince. We cannot complain because one gets the gift, and one doesn’t, or that it is meted out unequally, because everyone is undeserving of the gift. Ultimately, nothing is earned. From the hymn:

    I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew
    He moved my soul to seek him, seeking me;
    IT WAS NOT I that found, O Saviour true,
    No, I was found of thee.

    I used to hate the scripture in the Book of Mormon, “We could not bear that one person would endure eternal torment…therefore we went and preached to the Lamanites.” The inference was that without the personal missionary work of the sons of Mosiah, the poor Lamanites were destined for hell.

    But now, the terrible truth is that actually, we do suffer at the hands of others, even in eternal ways. And how important it is that we do what we can to help, pray and serve those around us. Our brothers and sisters are our souls to save, our souls to reach out to. If we don’t do it, who will?

    Now I don’t believe in this doctrine entirely. I still believe in the law of the harvest. You reap what you sow, karma, eternal progression. But there is a dimension on which the law of grace does operate.

  26. Nate, that the scriptures (DC 76, 138, etc) teach that those who have not heard the gospel but were good people will merit at least the Terrestrial suggests another form of God rescuing people.

    I tend to be more nuanced on my thoughts in certain concepts of the gospel. First, I think God wishes to maximize the number who are saved and exalted. It isn’t a check box list of requirements, and the exceptions are many.

    Second, in discussing with some LDS scholars, they think that the 3 levels in the celestial world are the Telestial, Terrestrial and Celestial levels D&C 131 does not state there are 3 levels in the Celestial kingdom, but in the celestial/heavenly world/realm. If that is a more correct reading of the scripture, than all who are not sons of perdition will be in God’s presence, though not all will be exalted, nor have the greatest glory. Such could allow children to be in their parents’ presence.

    Third, I keep an open mind towards progression between kingdoms. While some GAs have spoken against it, others have spoken for it. There is no specific statement one way or the other on it that I can discern as “official” LDS black and white doctrine. If such is the case, our children could fall, begin in the telestial kingdom, but through faith, continued repentance and progression, progress back into the presence of the Father and family. That D&C 76 tells us that those in higher kingdoms descend to teach those in lower kingdoms, does not make sense to me, unless there is a way for them to rise to the higher kingdom.

    So the scriptures leave a lot of possible answers, perhaps some others we have not even considered. I believe that in the short term the term “fair” does not seem to fit, but in the long term, fairness will be satisfied. I think Mercy and Love are God’s key characteristics, and they will hold sway in the long run.

  27. Rame, I’m with you that “fairness will be satisfied in the long term.”

    More broadly, I see this as part of the grace/works conflict within Mormonism. The doctrine of the salvation of babies who die before the age of accountability comes from the law of grace. God is entitled to bless who he will bless, give free rides to whom he will give free rides. That is grace.

    But Mormonism also champions works and progression. In a pre-existance we progressed, and after death, we will continue to progress. Progression works according to the law of the harvest, to reap what you will sow: to grow according to the fruits of your labors.

    The law of grace and the law of the harvest seem to conflict. How can a baby who dies before the age of accountability be ushered into the fires of the celestial kingdom, unrefined by the fires of trial and agency that are part of the tests of mortality? There is no substitute for experience and work.

    The answer is that in some mysterious way, both laws are part of our eternal existence. How they fit together is the subject of the Parker Brothers Theological Board Game of LDS doctrine with it’s complicated degrees of glory, spirit prison, following the steps to repentance and get out of jail free card thanks to the atonement.

    Rather than appeal to this complex assortment of doctrinal statements and scriptures, I prefer to think of both the law of grace and the law of the harvest in an abstract way, which informs everything I do, but from two different perspectives. I reap, I sow, but never forget to say, “there but by the grace of God go I.”

    How they fit together is a paradox and a beautiful mystery which I prefer to leave unsettled, as I feel that the realities of the afterlife are much deeper and more beautiful than any of the tiny hints that prophets have given us about their realities.

  28. The scriptures are pretty clear that one person’s agency can affect anothers. I just ran across this interesting passage, which is Lehi’s dying discourse to Laman’s sons and daughters:

    4 For the Lord God hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence.

    5 But behold, my sons and my daughters, I cannot go down to my grave save I should leave a blessing upon you; for behold, I know that if ye are brought up in the way ye should go ye will not depart from it.

    6 Wherefore, if ye are cursed, behold, I leave my blessing upon you, that the cursing may be taken from you and be answered upon the heads of your parents.

    7 Wherefore, because of my blessing the Lord God will not suffer that ye shall perish; wherefore, he will be merciful unto you and unto your seed forever.

    http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/4.4-7?lang=eng#3

    What’s interesting here is that Lehi admits Laman’s children will be cursed because of Laman’s actions, but says that at some unspecified time justice will be done by the removal of the curse and by punishing the parents for it. Also interesting is the implication in the last verse that the cursing is removed only because of Lehi’s exercise of his agency.

  29. SR, you are correct. Our children’s ultimate salvation depends upon the atonement of Christ and how it works in each of us. That most all people will repent, either now or after going through hell in Spirit Prison, we can then see that Lehi’s blessing for his descendants will impact them.

    So, righteous parents can impact the agency and future salvation of their children. This does not mean it is the only factor, which all here would agree with, I think.

  30. A “doctrine” (so-called) which is not found in the standard-works, or explicitly in the temple ceremony is not an official teaching of the church. It may be true, it may not be true.

    I come from a broken family of 8. The eldest child is gay. The next fried his brains with hard drugs, the next was a high-school drop-out and pothead. The next can’t find a job in the United States, renounced his citizenship. The next bought into the feminist agenda and decided to become a baby-momma, intentionally becoming a single-mom (not a whoops, but intentionally seeking it out). Out of nowhere, yours truly and my younger brother, become Eagle Scouts, go to BYU, go on Missions and marry in the temple. The last dropped out of high-school and turned to pot and video games. Where did this loveliness stem from? An emotionally abusive mother and a physically abusive father. But that’s OK, because my Mom is placing the entire weight of her children’s salvation on HER shoulders. My parents messed up a lot, and I mean a lot. I think in some way the life we had growing up and the way we all ended up is proof of that. But somewhere along the line everyone, and I mean EVERYONE needs to take accountability for their own lives, how they respond to it. They need to become actors, and not those acted upon. And whether it’s sticking up to those who are constantly offended, or ceasing to blame one’s circumstances on everyone but yourself, it’s something that just has to be done. It’s something that can’t be done if the individual is relying on their parents righteousness (instead of their own fiathfulness to Christ), nor if the parents are hoping to just be righteousness enough to save their rebelious children. It just doesn’t work. It flies in the face of AoF 2 and 3, “Men will be punished for their own sins, and through the atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.” I can’t vouch for the KFD’s historical veracity, and I’ve heard too much back-door, back-room teachings about how the temple sealings “save people regardless of their wants.” But God doesn’t work that way … God respects our agency. In the words of CS Lewis, “There are those who, in the end, say to God, ‘Thy will be done’ and those who say to God, in the end, ‘my will be done.’ ” God is very accomating in the end. If JS really taught that, he was wrong.

  31. The doctrine that those who would have accepted the gospel and lived it, had they had the opportunity, can still attain unto exaltation (or else why do we do proxy endownments and sealings?) implies that if one is unable to “work out their salvation” in this life, that they can or will work out their salvation in the Spirit World.

    I’m under the impression that it is not automatic in the Spirit World; that the spirits of the deceased must still learn the gospel and have an opportunity to either accept or reject, and then must spend the rest of their time in the Spirit World in obedience, all the way through the point in time when they are resurrected.

    The book of Revelation and the D&C are clear that _everyone_ will “confess” Christ by the end of the Millennium, at some point before the final judgement at the great white throne. Everyone, except the Sons of Perdition, will “accept” Christ and the gospel, even those who end up in the Telestial Kingdom.

    The big question is: how does the Lord judge those who don’t have the opportunity to accept the gospel in this life? Only He knows the exact opportunities one has. Only He truly understands the sum of all influences pro and con.

    What if you get only a part of the gospel from an apostate or false religion? What if you’re a pagan/heathen who is never exposed to any flavor or hint of Christianity? What if you took all the LDS missionary discussions, but the missionaries who taught you never taught with the Spirit?

    What if you were born in the modern LDS church but your parents never had family prayer, family scripture study, or family home evening? What if the primary lessons never sunk in before your family went inactive? What if your youth teachers and leaders were overbearing to the point of driving you out of the church? Would the Lord still count you as among those who rejected the Gospel? Well, only the Lord knows.

  32. I can’t imagine a loving Father preventing his children from progressing further, if that was their desire. I really think we’ll get what we really want, and if we eventually decide we’re living below our privileges and want better, I’m confident that God will always want the same thing.

  33. Of relevance to this conversation is D&c 128:15:

    And now, my dearly beloved brethren and sisters, let me assure you that these are principles in relation to the dead and the living that cannot be lightly passed over, as pertaining to our salvation. For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation, as Paul says concerning the fathers—that they without us cannot be made perfect—neither can we without our dead be made perfect.

    So, “their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation”.

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