Scriptural Evidence of a Pre-Existence

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September 21, 2009
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Q: Can Mormons support their view of a pre-existence with God before being born on this earth…using scriptures only?

Ecclesiates 12:7 (italics added)  Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Jeremiah 1:5 (italics added)  Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Jude 1:6 (italics added)  And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgement of the great day.

Revelation 12:7-9 (italics added)  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought againts the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Abraham 3:22-24 (italics added)  Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was: and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones.  And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.  And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;

It is clear from just the Bible that there was a “pre-existence” where we, as spirits, lived with God.  The scripture that God has given us through Joseph Smith (I picked only one) confirms this doctrine.  Thanks for your inquiry.

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36 Responses to “Scriptural Evidence of a Pre-Existence”

  1. Bill Jones

    This does not prove anything about pre-existence. And Abraham is a made up book by the mormons.

  2. Ben

    Dear Bill,

    When words like “return” and “before” are used, as I have pointed out in the verses, to me that is evidence that there was something or somewhere where I was before I was on this earth.

    As far as the Book of Abraham being a made up book, well, we have our differences of opinions, and that is okay. One day we will know for sure.

  3. While there are many Scriptures that relate to this, I would tend to feel these 2 should be included.

    Rom 9:23-24
    “And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?”

    John 9:2
    “Who did sin, this man or his parents that he was born blind.”

    How could he sin that he would be born blind? Obviously he would need to have existed before birth and the disciples are questioning whether he sinned in the pre-existence.

  4. Rich

    The apostles’ question about the possibility of having sinned before birth should not necessarily be judged as indicating an existing belief in pre-existence. It rather confirms that some religious factions believed that the fetus could somehow sin in its mother womb. If Jesus had considered pre-existence to be true, surely he would have used this opportunity, as was his custom, to explain to them how it would work in such a peculiar situation. Jesus never missed such opportunities to instruct his disciples on spiritual matters, and pre-existence would have been a crucial doctrine for them to understand.
    Nevertheless, in the answer Jesus gave, he rejected both options suggested by the apostles. Both ideas of sinning before birth and the punishment for the parents’ sins were wrong. Jesus said: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life” (John 9,3). “The work of God” is described in the next verses, when Jesus healed the blind man as a proof of his divinity (v. 39).

  5. Thaddeus

    Rich, you are right that this is not a moment of direct teaching about premortality from the Savior. It’s a small part of the context of the conversation. He took it as a teaching moment to explain that not all suffering is punishment, rather some suffering exists so that it may be alleviated and bring people to God.

    Where do you come across the idea that “some religious factions believed that the fetus could somehow sin in its mother’s womb?” Do you find that belief elsewhere in the Bible? Or in the writings of Josephus? Please show us! I’m eager to learn more.

    I would be glad to share some of what the Christian Fathers thought of premortal existence, as well as what was revealed to the latter-day prophet Joseph Smith. These things shore up my own interpretation when others come knocking, but I’m willing to look at whatever evidence is out there.

  6. Ivan

    Rich how do you know Jesus did not do just that and they just failed to include it in the gospels. I find it extremely hard to believe that the gospels include every single word that was spoken by Jesus. I m sure there were many lessons they received that were not included. Unless you were there it is impossibble to know what things might have been left out.

  7. Rich

    Ivan,

    Your last sentance could also end with “or what things were added, for whatever reason”. I agree!
    If the Bible is the Word of God, God-breathed to 40-some authors then Jesus would have imparted what he wanted known so it would have been written and would have monitored the writing, to insure it wasn’t corrupted.
    I know this may be difficult for you as I know that LDS as well as many others believe that it is flawed. I work with an LDS and we have in depth discussions quite frequently. It is my position that although through translation there can be slight variances (from the original Hebrew, since the Catholic and other versions use Greek writings that were questioned as being accurate), the Word of God will not return void. It is through that Word that Jesus (the Word) is described and expounded to the extent we can know him and, with the guiding of the Spirit, experience him in a more personal way. I think if you were to study and compare the B of M and also D & C and consider the time line of when certain scripture was written and whether it was revelation or from written scrolls (my friend says that the revelation should be the most accurate) you would see some descrepancies in the nature of God, as well as other areas. In addition, LDS history shows that Joseph Smith himself produced versions at later dates, that weren’t exactly the same as the original (attesting to a evolving understanding, I guess) and he was only one writer versus the bible that has many. I’m not judging that what you believe is wrong, as that is between you and God, but explaining that if I didn’t believe the BIBLE to be the accurate Word then my faith would be void of substance. In my experience most folks that explain it to be flawed tend to use that as a reason to not partake of the items they don’t like and/or add to it with writing that fits their agenda, whether made up or otherwise. Again, I’m not saying that’s you but, as I first mentioned, if I believe the Bible to be the one absolutely accurate Word of God (which I do) then I believe what God wanted relayed through Christ is in there.
    Good question.

  8. Rich

    Sinning in the womb was part of the mixed Greek/Plato/Jewish/Philosophy confusion that was happening at that time…which is well documented in many circles, although I wasn’t there and can’t verify myself:) 

    No wonder we needed Jesus or (more properly) Yeshua to straighten all this out.

  9. Rich

    It is good to hear from a sincere Protestant. Obviously you believe all you are saying and feel you have a growing relationship with Christ.

    I do have some thoughts you may wish to chew on.

    John 21:25 tells us that Jesus did so many things that if they were all written the world itself probably couldn’t contain the books that would be written. It would suggest to me that the same could be said for his words, surely?

    Yet I agree with you that God has made everything available that is necessary, in the Bible. In fact I would say in the Book of Matthew alone. But the great thing about God is that he realizes that we are slow to hear. So its a case of the more books the merrier.

    My knowledge of errors in the Bible (it is a large volume, after all) doesn’t at all detract from my belief in the message of Christ given in the Bible and witnessed by the Holy Spirit. Yes, I can also see that Book of Mormon writers had doctrinal differences and also the Doctrine and Covenants contains statements that demonstrate the growing of knowledge of Joseph Smith, rather than a continued absolute accuracy.

    My belief is in God, not in man’s ability to write correctly that which he’s inspired with. Caiaphas was inspired about Christ and yet decided from that inspiration that he should make sure Christ was put to death (Jn 11:51-53). What a twist of inspiration! It is the speaking relationship I have with the Father and the Son mixed with the personal inspiration of the Holy Spirit that I trust in. I would advise you to do the same, and not put your whole faith in the book; for in it you THINK you have eternal life. I say the latter because you say that if the book is wrong your faith is vain. I would say that only your faith in Protestantism is vain that being the case. It is only Protestantism that has taught you that the book has to be flawless. God’s words are flawless. But man attempting to write them is a different matter.

    I would like to add one more thought for your consideration in regard the blind man of the discussion.

    The teaching moment that Christ took was to demonstrate that the difficulties people are born with all have purpose to that individual: That God deliberately gives it to that spirit so that it can develop the abilities that it otherwise wouldn’t develop to that degree (remembering that we believe all spirits pre-existed; are different from each other, and therefore require different growing experiences).

    In the case of this blind man obviously it was no longer necessary for him to have this disadvantage. Thus Christ healed him. The works of God that were fulfilled were inside the man himself. God didn’t make some man suffer decades of blindness just to have Christ show off. Such would make God a horror of a being at best?

    This thought you have presented was handed down to you and I by those well meaning but ignorant of the workings of God. God is love. There it is, plain and simple.

  10. Rich

    Thanks for the response. Unfortunately I have to be lumped in as a “Protestant”, which encompasses a vast group of varying beliefs, but I’ll accept that and am not ashamed of that:) I suppose it is no different that the close to 100 different Mormon organizations (even though there are only a handful that are large) that claim to be the legitimate church and denounce the others. And based on the various reasons some of them broke off when Joseph Smith was murdered reminds me of the various Protestant religions that key on one aspect of the Bible and make that their “creed” if you will.  Some of these Mormon organizations are quite critical of the later writings of Joseph Smith and others as not being consistant with both the Bible and Book of Mormon so, yes, I agree that the writings of men aren’t the “end all”.

    I don’t base my faith on the book itself and am suprised you suggest that. I base my faith on gospel of Jesus Christ defined in the Bible along with the teaching therein, my personal knowledge of him revealed to me by the Holy Spirit and through experience walking in his ways, both in succeeding and failing through this “pressing on”. My daughter was healed of Leukemia (much more to that awesome story) and there is no question that prayer and the laying on of hands was the mode that God worked through to accomplished that. I have had similar experiences, though not on that scale(your kids always hold a special place), that have revealed God in a way that cannot be disputed. 

    The Bible is the road map or “mapquest” toward the destination but I have to know the “destination” which is to be in right relationship with God now so I may experience his direct presence for eternity (not that I don”t “experience” him already).

    I have to believe a loving God wouldn’t “give” any infimity to his child that “has already been in his presence” but Ok, if you believe that.

    Ciaiphas was human and made a choice, regardless of the inspiration, which I guess we can say each other do all the time regarding “correctness”.

    Great Dicussion!

  11. Rich
    I was glad to hear of your spiritual experience with your daughter. God is wonderful, isn’t He?
    I have to agree that even as Latter-Day Saints we all have our own way of seeing how things really are. I have even seen varying degrees of knowledge from state to state.
    In regard the Book of Mormon I know it is clumsily written. The writers themselves admitted that. And I know a lot of things sound a bit simplistic. It has to be remembered that the Book of Mormon was written pre-Christ in the great majority.
    Having said that I would be curious to hear the things that you feel are in conflict with the Bible, as that obviously stands as a barrier to you in regard the church. I haven’t found anything unanswerable so far.
    In regard God putting us in unique positions, some of which create great physical and/or emotional challenges. I would point to the story of a person I know well. He was one year old when his parents split, and they later became divorced. He was forced to spend every second weekend with his father, who mistreated him (being the youngest) to get back at his mother. The mother was too afraid to lose custody of her 2 sons (as the father had a lot of legal knowledge) so did nothing about it.
    When about 8 years old the boy thought about his father and what to think of all this. He decided that Jesus knew what his father was doing and still loved him, so he would too.
    Someone could say that God had placed that boy in a terrible position. But the position made him learn to love those that mistreated him that bit more. He thanks God for that opportunity to grow and help him become a better person.
    We can all look at life and see some places and experiences that were difficult and give us growing opportunities. We believe that a person becomes what they make themselves in this life. In other words God doesn’t use magic to make us happy or sad later. It is a part of what we make ourselves as we follow or reject the right principles.
    We believe in eternal principles that even God himself is bound by. If we love we feel good inside. If we hate we feel bad inside. This never alters. So God has to have us learn these things to succeed in eternity.
    As parents we send our children off to school knowing that violence and other social challenges will arise. We would like to be there to stop any bad things happening. But we know that our children have to learn to deal with these things to get by in life.
    So our Heavenly Father looked at us, his spirit children, and saw the challenges we would need to grow with. He knew that some wouldn’t choose to grow. But for those that would he was particularly keen to see that we would go through those things.
    Thus with this blind man (and with all of us) the purposes of God are fulfilled in the challenges that he gives us. Additionally others may grow from it.

  12. Rich

    There are too many questions regarding the verification of any of the language (not found anywhere else in the America’s) used on the tablets (reformed egyptian?) and why (less space taken?), proof of origin of the writing, Moroni, etc, etc. I know that many things need to be taken in faith but when the book of Mormon deviates from the Bible, considering it is in a questionable language, written down and interpreted by one person, who progressed in translation to the point he didn’t need the help God provided and at some point that progression seemed to cause others who DID believe at first to go another direction and dispute what was said later…..I have to stick with the Bible.

    It is hard for me to believe that if there were Egyptian influences at all that there isn’t some combining of doctrines to continue a true one. It is interesting yet does not speak to me or ring true in my bosom. Much of the Bible was also written before Christ but it doesn’t appear disjointed. If someone holds a strong conviction of a/the writing then, I agree, differences can be explained or as you said are not “unanswerable”.

    I guess some of the difference in the affirmities we are discussing is the belief in pre-existence. I can’t believe that a people (spirit children) that are in the actual presence of God would have deficiencies that would need to be worked out in a place less perfect and that he would intentionally put them in a position to possibly fail. My children may put themselves into a situation that is bad but I would never put them in a situation like that and I would be the first to help them get out even if it was painful. How much more does God love us? 

    I believe a loving God created man to commune with him and man, through poor choices and the working/tempting of Lucifer (remember he tempted Jesus but because Jesus was the one and only son of God he didn’t falter) he had to send a final sacrifice for mankind to return to right relationship with him. Only through the acceptance of that sacrifice can we become grafted in and become joint heirs with Christ to allow us to be in his presence for eternity. I know that once we accept that we need to use Jesus as the example and “work out our salvation” or become more like him through taking on all the fruit of the Spirit but mostly Love.

    Another point:
    People can work in prophetic gifting as God gives them but there is no single prophet that speaks to us collectively for God. He can and does speak to us individually and if it is his truth then there is confirmation given through the Bible and others that he has spoke to to confirm. There are tons of proclaimed prophets so who to listen to…..hmm.

    This verse describes why I believe that the Bible is the final authority (not to mention all the links between the old and new testament as well as other reasons).

    “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” Hebrews 1:1-2

    I know you can say that the scripture given to Joseph Smith was written before Christ and therefore can be considered part of the “spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets” but there are too many holes in the creating of the book, not to mention the drastic changes in subsequent books he wrote, for me. If the book was given by an angel then it should have been accurate the first time. Commentaries would be OK but the subsequent books are used as if they are just as important yet don’t mesh completely which is why other Mormon organizations don’t recognize them or the next appointed prophet……….just too many holes for me to leave a book which has been proven for a book one man said he was given and is deemed more accurate. Remember, I have regular conversations with my GM, who is a devout Mormon, part of the largest group, as I assume you are from your conversation. I get educated input from him and he allows me the grace to do the same. We agree and disagree on issues but respect each other enough to truly consider each others point and why.

    I do appreciate your position and have no doubt that you truly have your convictions but most importantly….God loves us both enough to sacrifice his Son and for that I am truly grateful as I’m sure you are.

    Sorry for the lengthy response:)

  13. It is an interesting point in regard the Egyptian bit and what is and isn’t. Us peasants are on the outside without the inner knowledge. So who do we believe?
    At the front of the Book of Mormon it used to say that it was WRITTEN by Joseph Smith. Now it says it was TRANSLATED by Joseph Smith. No one can just write that at the front of a book. It must be proven to be accurate first. This was done in a court of law with Protestants presenting their views as to why they felt it wasn’t and the church presenting what evidence they had. I have read a simple form of the case. The evidences for the Book of Mormon seemed almost endless.
    The outcome was that the court found that it was impossible for anyone at that time to have written such a book. The evidences in favor of the book that have come forth since make it overwhelmingly obvious that it is a true record.
    This decision was contested and the appeal lost.
    The evidences presented were in fields outside my knowledge in many cases. So I just have to take the court’s decision as accurate.
    In regard changes to the Book of Mormon itself, several copies of the manuscript were made. These contained errors (no computers back in those days). Consequently we have even of recent times altered the book when the Reorganized church sold us the more original manuscripts which they had. These had gone to Emma Smith when Joseph died.
    In regard to prophets I haven’t anywhere stated that only one man is a prophet. Nor do I dispute with you that we all should be prophets in our personal relationship with God and our families.
    That having been said God has throughout the Bible made a church organization with a prophetic person to direct the affairs of the church itself as an organization. Part of the duties of the church is to deliver God’s message to mankind. Thus I see the need for one man receiving revelation, in that regard, to maintain order.
    Paul’s statement in Hebrews reflects his joy that while those in the past have only heard things second hand; that they are blessed having heard it first hand (so to speak). Any inference that this is posing that God won’t say anything again isn’t supported by the Bible itself. Many revelations from God were received after the death of Christ, and in fact the Book of Revelation is a good example of such.
    If we are to try and extend this to say, “oh well, after the Bible was written,” it kills the logic of the argument – which is that Christ said everything and nothing more then needed to be said.
    When you speak of Joseph writing subsequent books I assume you are referring to the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. Both of these volumes have no relevance to the Book of Mormon. The BofM is a recorded history made by ancient people. The D&C is a record of revelations Joseph received over years of establishing the church and made to increase people’s knowledge of doctrine and what God wanted done at that time. The PofGP is a group of different things not in the last category.
    The doctrinal differences that Joseph presented were either up in doctrine or downward in doctrine. God decided to give and then take away knowledge as the members did right or failed. That some had trouble moving with this should be expected.
    In regard to God and logic. You have been taught of a God that just invented everyone. But this perfect being made beings that eventually showed that they had faults in production. And in fact He’s still producing these faulty beings. An invention should reflect its inventor.
    You have expressed that you can’t see why we needed to come and improve ourselves. It must be remembered that we are eternal beings. We existed long before God ever came here to our area. God and a Goddess gave us spirit bodies by birth. We developed an ability to use spirit matter and do things with it. Then we needed to come here and do similarly with physical matter. All this presents opportunities for growth and development as individuals.

  14. Rich

    Doug,

    Thank you for the reply.

    I hope you don’t understand me to only come from a (what you call) Protestant angle. When I was young (20’s) even though I had grown up in a Protestant church I wanted to test what I had believed to be true against other ideals of Christianity. My first wife grew up Catholic but her brother became LDS and he and I studied Mormon scripture together. Although we did this for a while I never felt the “burning” or revelation to me that it was accurate and I had a very open mind. Shortly around that time I had also gone to some training classes for The Way International, which also (not exactly the same as you though) believe that much of the Bible is translated incorrectly. I felt that they were using the “age of Grace” they said we’re in to justify doing whatever they wanted and it seemed there were no guidelines at all.

    After testing the waters for a few years I was divorced and then remarried to a woman who was brought up Catholic (don’t know how that happened again:) and we started discussing scripture, etc as her grandmother had died and she just couldn’t understand how/why everything happened in life and after. During long conversations God brought back scripture to me (that I hadn’t thought about in years) that was just what she needed and her life completely changed as she accepted Christ’s sacrifice (even though I had no intention on living right, at that time). It was then that I realized I had known the truth as it so drastically changed her (without that being my intent since I wasn’t living right) that to remain in relationship with her and have her be my wife, I would need to “return to my first love” as the scripture talks about and recommit.  Since that time I have seen God move mightily in our lives so I have no doubt I am on the right path. In each thing I give him glory as that is why we were created. Throughout scripture God and others refer to many things as “for his glory”. 

    I enjoy the difference between cat and dog theology. The Christian with the cat mentality(personality) says “you love me, you feed me, you take care of me so I must be God”. The dog mentality(personality) is “you love me, you feed me, you take care of me, therefore YOU must be God”. So many think the main character in the Bible is “people” because it talks about many all through it but don’t realize the main character is God and he constantly reveals to us through the scripture that we were created for HIS glory (there are a ton of verses describing this). It isn’t an easy concept to grasp and takes work to maintain the “dog” mentality but once we get it, life takes on a whole different and higher scale. Reading the scripture from this viewpoint can really help us understand the love he has for us. 

    I understand what you say about the courts, etc but we know those can be swayed and/or don’t necessarily bring out the truth. The Salem witch trials 1692 are 1 example but there are plenty more. Man and his agenda and/or money seem to bring out the worst in people. Also, I believe Doctrine is man made, Truth is what Christ taught so I can understand the up and down Doctrine due to mankind’s understanding.

    I have yet to find any concrete evidence of your last 2 paragraphs in the Bible. As with many organizations (including Christian) there can be a little truth used in a big untruth so I choose to believe the Bible as is. As I read it, God is perfect and he created everything to bring him Glory (if we don’t praise him even the rocks will cry out Luke 19: 28-40). However, he didn’t create puppets and we have a choice, which would have been much clearer except for Lucifer’s misleading. Since his creation chose selfishly in the beginning sacrifices were to be made for without blood there can be no sacrifice for sin. He did provide a way through the ultimate sacrifice of his son for reconciliation and therefore avoid eternity without him.

    As you say you have to accept the courts ruling, I have to choose to accept God for who he describes himself as through the Bible and how the sacrifice of his Son and coverage by his blood removes the “penalty”, if you will of man’s selfishness. We do have to accept it though. God has not changed but his Son has provided the Grace until judgement so we aren’t judged now. We do have a responsibility to follow after him though and can’t just live like we want as that would be “trampling on the sacrifice of Christ” as scripture talks about in Hebrews. Christ also provided the final prophesy on what is to come and how to live, as far as I read.

    By the way I have checked out your website too. Very interesting and I enjoyed reading some things on there.

  15. Rich

    I’m glad you enjoyed the site, and hope you gained something from it. The Holy Ghost helped me in setting it up and God has really blessed it. The ratings are absurd. Go to Google and type in “deep doctrine” or even “doug towers” and you’ll see where it rates.

    It is a difficult thing when approaching a person of any religious philosophy to know exactly what they are going to think. So it is true that I can only generalize in regard your thoughts relative to Protestants in the main. However I haven’t seen any deviation from that which I would get in opinion from many other Protestants (accepting that in some doctrines Protestantism has large shifts of ideas from church to church).

    In regard burnings there are several reasons why people may not obtain one. I didn’t until I was asked by a Sunday School teacher to bear my testimony to the Book of Mormon as a recent convert. As I went to the Lord in prayer asking for the sake of others I received a burning (very small, as it was at the time). Since then I have had powerful ones that have gone on for minutes. But as I already knew the church was true I didn’t get a burning before.

    To get burnings requires 3 things. 1. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that He will answer you. 2. You must be sincerely wanting to know rather than being halfhearted. And 3. You must have the right intent (reason) for asking. It is no good asking because you want to see a sign for the experience’s sake. Or that you are just curious as to what they feel like.

    If in a person’s heart they already know it is true, then the heart within can’t pray in earnestness to find out that which it already knows. No burning!

    The “age of grace” needs to be accompanied by the constant companionship and direction of the Holy Ghost. Else, as you say, what are the rules?

    I am glad about your spiritual experiences. And I know that God helps anyone who turns to him for help, as much as he can under the circumstance. God has performed miracles for Muslims and all sorts of religious persuasions. So He’s no respecter to persons. As we seek after him we will begin to find him.

    I see what you are saying in regard cat and dog theology. Yet I would pose that my relationship with God is a two-way thing. As John posed, “we love him, because he first loved us” (1 Jn 4:19). I can testify to the truth of this. It is my experiences of feeling the love of God toward myself and mankind, in my discussions with him, that taught me what real love is. The Father and I have a father-son relationship. We walk and talk together. He tells me of his feelings and I feel his patience, love, unselfishness, faith, hope, charity etc. It is amazing to feel a being with ABSOLUTE power, yet ABSOLUTE patience with us. Am I glad for the latter at times.

    In regard courts; I agree with you that courts aren’t infallible by any means. What I was presenting is that I have read all these claims on the one side of how this can’t be Egyptian and then counter claims on the other. I know that even Egyptologists don’t agree with each other. So how much faith do I place in their opinions?

    I know that when Joseph Smith claimed to have writings on plates from the ancients that it was laughed at. So why make such a wild claim if he was really a fraud? – considering that obviously the Book of Mormon wasn’t written by an idiot. Why make claims that elephants and tigers existed in the Americas (which also has since been proven true)?

    The reality comes down to the fact that there is a lot of evidence to prove the book. But as to the claims and counter claims of what could or couldn’t have been (which are in areas outside our knowledge) I have to accept that the court could be right. Yet my sense tells me that neither side can really prove their claims about Egyptian or any other thing outside our present civilization. In the main I think it is as airy-fairy as people telling us what happened millions of years ago.

    Alma 32 gives a rundown on faith that is exact in every detail. The first time I read it I thought it was long-winded and repetitive. Yet experience has shown me that each segment is important. Mosiah 2:38 teaches about what hell really is. This was confirmed by my experiences before I joined the church. The D&C presents that we are made of 3 separate parts (intelligence, spirit matter and physical matter). I have had experiences which have demonstrated the truth of this concept. Joseph Smith received revelation that by the time we have turned 8 years old we have already sinned and need repentance. Experiences I had at 7 (long before I joined the church) demonstrated the truth of this. Joseph Smith received revelation of a preexistence. Once again I had experiences even before joining the church that totally confused my (then Protestant) mind as my spirit remembered the preexistence. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith demonstrating that we are indeed in their image and likeness. When Jesus appeared to me when I was young I refused to accept it because of the mind-washing I had received that they filled the universe and had no shape.

    I could go on with this stuff. Admittedly it is personal experiences. But these are important to me. Man has attempted to come up with philosophies, religions and psychology to pretend to present truth they have invented. All I have seen is a pile of sounding-good nonsense. The stuff in all the Scriptures we have works. It is spiritually and physically sound. Nature proves it to be true. Life proves it to be true.

    Before and since being in the church I have looked back at the Bible and found that it supports what the church teaches far more than Protestantism does.

  16. Rich

    I can assure you that the 3 qualifications you outlined were true for me. Otherwise, why would I have investigated multiple ideals of Christianity (I had searched out others) unless, of course, I already felt I knew the truth prior to studying the Mormon scripture? As you explained, if in the heart the truth is already known then no “burning”. I was seeking, earnestly, to know if I was off and the BofM held the truth and didn’t get confirmation.
     
    I would suggest that after talking to my friend there are small portions of the LDS doctrine that very closely mimic the Protestant doctrine as well as some Catholic doctrine. To suggest that LDS is totally void of that I would have to disagree with. The word Protestant has become so broad that the meaning is lost….part of which is “denying the universal authority of the Pope”. I would suggest you fall into that category but, yes, I know there is more to it.
     
    As far as the evidence of the BofM, I would be interested to find out where there is archaeological (or otherwise) evidence of the battle between the Nephites and Lamanites or the earlier battles involving the Jaredites, considering their relative close proximity to our time versus some of the archaeological findings that prove much older biblical battles, etc. In addition to that, there are small things like the difference between documented science and Mormon scripture regarding the introduction of bees into the New World.
     
    Speaking of the PofGP, it still records ancient things (Abraham and Moses?), true? What is interesting is that (which I asked my LDS friend but got no definitive answer other than revelation would supersede transcripts) is that the book of Abraham was transcribed from papyri and talks about the plurality of gods and the book of Moses (which was inspired from revelation, if I understand correctly) agrees with the Bible, multiple times, on their being one God and there are no others. Mosiah talks about the Father himself coming down to redeem his people but being called the Son because he dwells in the flesh, etc. I am sure that one person could put this all together and then rewrite their translation of the Bible so it seems to fit in a nice neat box but I struggle with the constant evolving doctrine of one person. I can almost understand if multiple people’s opinion created an offshoot of doctrine but not one man who was given a revelation and the ability to translate the Word of God. If I am correct, the BofM itself was translated in 1830 and retranslated in 1837 with one of the most fundamental difference being the understanding of God and the Son. In 1 Nephi (paraphrased) “beheld the Lamb of God……the Everlasting God” vs “beheld the Lamb of God…..the Son of the Everlasting God”. There are other verses therein that include the same change. Big difference!
     
    The Bible gospel (on its own, barring opinion) provides proof that it is unquestionably unequaled in power and confirmation in the Spirit and I have seen time after time the proof in my life in the physical as well as the spiritual. I agree God is no respecter of persons as it is scripture that relays that and I have seen that throughout my life as well.

  17. Rich,
     
    Some interesting thoughts there.
     
    Your lack of burning could be from either direction. I can only say that I have had a burning in regard one thing a president (“the prophet”) of the church said. I have also had a strong and lasting burning that a woman was to be baptized. I have had many burnings on other things. But those directly relate to the church and its truth.
     
    Protestant means to protest against the existing church (Catholic). It stretched out further to be those protesting against all the other protesting churches as well. What it comes down to is that Protestant churches are churches where someone decided that the existing churches weren’t teaching all the truth. They had come up with one or more areas where they felt the Bible wasn’t being adhered to correctly. So they began a church in the name of Christ without any authority from him directly. They concluded that their interpretation gave them authority from Christ.
     
    What makes the LDS church different is that the church didn’t come about because Joseph Smith found some new way of interpreting the Bible or some text that had been ignored in his opinion. The church came about as a restoration of authority from Jesus Christ himself. Jesus Christ started the church. Thus it is the restored church of Jesus Christ, not a protestant church made by men.
     
    As to the Bible and evidence of battles mentioned in it. There is absolutely not one shred of evidence of any of the Old Testament battles. Anyone telling you so is talking one sided philosophies. They claim to have found Jerico. But how do they know it is Jerico? Did it have a sign saying, “Welcome to Jerico?” Those against the Bible point out that there is no evidence at all that it is Jerico.
     
    What is more is that this great civilization under Solomon and David has no ruins that have been found. There is no mention of a Moses in Egypt. Neither the Medes, Persians, Babylonians or Greeks have any record of having conquered Israel or Judah. They mentioned conquering all these other nations. And so the list goes on. Does this disprove the Old Testament?
     
    In regard science and bees. I have read these claims. My belief in science outside of provable areas (that is were a working product is produced or we can go and see it) is absolutely ZERO. I studied the evolution of the atomic theory in learning to be an electronic technician. One person proved that protons travel to electrons and then the next one proved that electrons travel to protons. This went back and forth. Each change wasn’t done by disproving the hitherto believed concept, but purely by acceptance of the latest “proven” “fact.”
     
    When at high school we were informed by scientists that the rings around Saturn were continuous and most likely of an oil substance or maybe of a gas. When we sent a probe past they got zero out of two. They are made of broken up rocks.
     
    I could go on seemingly forever on this stuff. No real proof. No facts.
     
    I’m sorry that your friend didn’t know the answer to your question. Perhaps you’ll get to teach him something about the church. The Book of Abraham is actually quoting the Bible correctly. The first chapter of Genesis says, “In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth.” In Hebrew any word ending in “im” is like our words ending in a single “s”. It makes it a plural. Thus we have 1 cherub and 2 cherubim. You may recall that when upon the cross Jesus cried out to “El” (God the Father) (Matt 27:6). This is why so many Israelite names have God’s name in them – IsraEL, MichaEL, EzekiEL. ELijah, RachEL etc. These are interpreted to mean something relating to God (Matt 1:23).
     
    Christ also quoted the word from the OT in talking with the Scribes and Pharisees. He said that the word meant “Gods” (in spite of translators attempts to downplay this by putting the word “Gods” with a small “G” it is the same word as used in Genesis where he’s quoting from). He is declaring it to have the full authority of the title of God (no pretense that it means judges or something) as he relates it to God. (Jn 10:35)
     
    Joseph Smith probably didn’t want to create friction at the time he received the Book of Moses interpretation. Either that or God didn’t burden him with that issue at the time.
     
    In 1837 it is possible that Joseph Smith made that change for clarification. As he isn’t here to ask I really can’t know. But as to the Father and Son bit. This is explained in the Book of Mormon. He is the Father in that he does what the Father would do if there himself. Thus to Philip he made this same point. Yet he is the Son because physically he is not God the Father. He is himself. If I go out to represent a company then I may say to a potential client, “I will throw in an additional product if you order in the next 7 days.” But in reality I won’t give him anything. The company does. I am the company to him. But I’m not the company really.
     
    As to the Bible and the Spirit; that gets into my conversion story. It is the Bible and the Spirit in it that converted me to the church, in driving me away from Protestantism.

  18. Rich

    Doug,

    I see what you’re saying as I have had (my wife as well), what you describe as, “burnings” when I know God wants me(us) to move in a certain way or pray for an individual and I had no preconcieved idea of doing those things so I think we’re talkking the same or similar thing here.
    In fact one time after moving back from Ca to Wa we started going to my childhood church, when we first got back for the sake of the transition, and then after a bit felt impressed by the Spirit to move on. We were invited to a friends church and as my family approached the steps leading up to it my wife and I looked at each other and both felt the Spirit say “this isn’t where you are to go”. I told her what I sensed and she agreed that she sensed the same thing (which you know married couples strive for but isn’t always the case:). This was prior to setting foot inside or hearing the message or meeting the people, etc. I could definately describe it as a “burning”. We went in and attended that service out of respect for the couple that had invited us and we told we were coming. Once inside we could feel a misleading spirit and because the Holy Spirit had pre-warned us something was not right (prior to going in we both felt it was almost evil but I will call it misleading) we were ready to discern properly (but couldn’t wait to get out of there).

    I will need to do more research in some of the other areas and, yes, you are right about differing opinions in science but there have been archaeological finds (and many archaeologists don’t believe the Gospel) that follow the timeline and location of the Bible events in many areas. I know the Jericho issue isn’t clear but it does appear that based on what they have found and the area it looks as if the city and event happened, even if the original description of the city, etc was suspect.

    In John 10:35 isn’t Jesus quoting Psalms 82:6, which the context refers to wicked judges, since that’s who they were at that time?

    Researching just a little in “non-Protestant” circles it appears that Elohim is (in it’s construction) a grammatically singular word in current and ancient Hebrew unless it’s used with plural verbs so I’ll do some more research in the history and Hebrew with a person that is and has been knowledgeable in the language.

    I would suggest that the truth is the truth, as I said previously, and that you say Joseph Smith probably didn’t want to create friction so it wasn’t interpreted correctly or clearly the first time is a little ambiguous for me. I thought his interpretation was assisted divinely. It all seems a little mistake filled and later corrected for me, especially for a man that got divine help translating one and divine revelation for the other. I would think God would match since it wasn’t thousands of years between those 2 events, just 1 lifetime between 1 God and 1 man. 

     

  19. Rich

    Question: Is it accurate that 2 (or 3, I’m a little cloudy on that as it’s been a while) of the 8 initial witnesses of the BofM left the church, even though they were listed in it as testifying to its validity? Not sure if they were from the first 3, second 5 or a combination.

  20. Thaddeus

    Regarding Joseph Smith’s late changes to the Book of Mormon, I found these articles to be elucidating:
    Monotheism, Messiah, and Mormon’s Book by Brant A. Gardner
    The Mistakes of Men: Can the Scriptures be Error-Free? by John A. Tvedtnes

  21. Thaddeus

    Rich, all three of the “three witnesses” and one of the “eight witnesses” left the Church. None of them recanted their testimonies even in their bitterest hours. Here’s a summary I wrote a while back: The Testimonies of Witnesses.

  22. Rich

    OK, I can see that there was a group of people that testified about an event which, by the way, doesn’t make it true if you’re trying to create another doctrine as we’ve seen down through the ages. IF I were to say that they had all seen what they said, the reality is that the ever changing doctrine of much of what was written after, by the guy who had received the clarity, didn’t really jive with it completely so I have no choice but to question it. That appears to be why some left the church. My opinion is that truth is truth and God would not give a doctrine that needs to be adjusted. Many other doctrine’s include a bunch of ritualism that I don’t see in the Bible either.

    I will read more of these links you suggested as I am absolutely not opposed to absorbing information. Here is an interesting one I came upon while researching. I’m not saying it’s accurate but if they truly have the letters they discuss at the end it would make for interesting discussion.

    http://www.lds-mormon.com/ferg.shtml

    Thanks!

  23. Rich

    The most powerful of the burnings I have had fill the entire torso with a burning feeling so powerful that it isn’t describable. Yet they are not always anywhere near that powerful. And the length can greatly vary. It depends on how open I am and how keen the Holy Ghost is to get over the message.

    I should have made my comment on Psalms and John a bit more clear. It just seemed like I had written a lot and was trying to keep the comment as short as possible considering what needed covering. Jesus Christ used the logic that he can’t be accused of blaspheming by merely claiming to be the Son of God, since men were referred to as actual Gods themselves. So the implication of the way he has used the word (while being used in regard to church administrators) was a statement putting these men on equal parr with God the Father. Demonstrating that we too can be referred to as Gods of the same station (even though we are far from being as spiritually superior as the Father).

    In this instance we see an example of what you meant in regard the word being used as either a plural or singular. Looking at it then we could even say that it isn’t false to present that on the one hand God (the Father) was the creator (Moses version) in that he directed it to be done. And on the other hand that many Gods were involved in that those of us who were capable and interested actually did the creating (Abraham version) in the preexistence.

    As to truth being consistent. I remember when my oldest child was young I told her to never touch an electric socket. Yet one day I told her to turn it on (it was one of those with a switch to do so). She was somewhat surprised and reluctant to follow this instruction. Yet she had come of age to understand how to do the right thing. Eventually I taught her to dismantle one and put it back together. Had the truth changed? No. But she had in just a couple of years. And this meant an improvement of information.

    We see a demonstration of this in the Bible as Christ taught a higher (change) doctrine that if followed makes some parts of the old one obsolete. For example _ They said of old time (Moses said) if you wish to make an agreement with someone and an oath is required, don’t make the oath upon yourself or any other object. Make your promises to God. Yet Christ said that in following him you are to refrain from making oaths at all. That you should just keep your word (Matt 5:33-37).

    Sacrifices are now pointless, as we have the record to show what they pointed to. More changing doctrine.

    Moses received commandments that opposed what God accepted before in regard inter-family marriage. More changing doctrine.

    While Christ taught that to those in him the law was fulfilled, the apostles went on to change that and insist on refraining from things offered to idols. More Changing doctrine. “Here a little, there a little” (Isa 28:10).

    The Bible is loaded with ritualism in the law given to Moses. This was God’s way of delivering information without delivering the information. A bit like parables. “That seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not” (Matt 13:14, Mark 4:12, Luke 8:10). Temples continue to do this same concept today. God’s ways have not changed. When people are ready and searching, the Holy Ghost will teach them the meaning of the symbols individually (as in ancient Israel).

    It may be of interest for you to know about how Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. In translating the Book of Mormon Joseph Smith saw what was being said, not a word for word translation. He then put this idea into his known language. This means that it has a limit in that it was translated by a Protestant (Joseph Smith at the time). This problem becomes obvious in reading it, to some degree.

    What I mean by this is that he was ignorant of many of the doctrines that he later came to learn. So were the writers of the books of the Book of Mormon in the main (it would seem). Yet I must say that of the multitude of books that I have answered against the church Protestant writers of the material never seem to find any of these real inconsistencies.

    But if I’m to reject the Book of Mormon because of the mistakes of men I would have to do the same with the Bible. The Bible tells me that Jerusalem was the city of David. But, wait, it tells me Bethlehem was the city of David. The Bible tells me that when the women came to the tomb the stone was already rolled away. But, wait, the Bible tells me the stone got rolled away when the women arrived, and the angel then sat on the stone. But, wait, the Bible told me there were two angels inside. No, it tells me there was only one. But, hang on, it tells me that one was standing and one was sitting. No, hang on again, both were standing. Jesus told Mary not to touch him because he hadn’t ascended into heaven (whatever that would have to do with it). But, no, Peter went up and grabbed his feet and kissed them. The mistakes are seemingly endless. But you believe the book, as I do, because of the truth of its message and the Spirit letting you know it is true.

  24. Rich

    I understand Isa 28:10 to be about drunken priests being unable to teach, or even speak clearly, as they are drunk.

    Original City of David = Bethlehem, where he was born, Jerusalem called that later as that’s where he ruled, which could be considered as encompassing Bethlehem at the time being only a few miles away. On and on……..

    Context and history make a difference…..all in one book.

    It still makes sense that the Urim and Thummim should have accurately translated and there should have been no need for it to change in other books by the same man, especially recounting his experience.
    Paul changed (due to experience) and I can’t find where he changed. His letters only preached Christ and him crucified and he recounted what revelation he had received from Christ consistantly……and he persecuted Christians prior and probably had some Jewish influences that could have altered his doctrine but didn’t.

  25. Thaddeus

    Rich, the Tanners make Thomas Stuart Ferguson out to be some kind of authority on matters of Mormon apologetics. They’re really just telling the story of one man’s loss of faith. I suggest taking a look at FAIR’s wiki any time you come across something that appears scathing to Mormonism just to see how we understand it. Here’s what they had to say about Thomas Ferguson.

  26. Rich

    Thank you for the link!

  27. Rich
     
    I find your spiritual experience stories interesting, by the way. I don’t always mention that, but it is good to hear more of the love of God to my brothers and sisters.
     
    Interesting point about the City of David. I actually use it because it is used in some anti-church material against the Book of Mormon (as it refers to Jerusalem as the City of David also). So I point out that if this makes the BofM wrong then the Bible must suffer the same fate.
     
    Yet this still doesn’t explain the many other errors or even those few I mentioned.
     
    Acts 15:20 & 29, 21:25 present that the church put out a decree that all were to abstain from things offered to idols. This was an establishment of a doctrine taken from the law of Moses as being binding upon them. This is a change of doctrine from what Christ taught.
     
    Perhaps you are thinking the way you are in regard the D&C and PofGP because you see yourself as having one book, and therefore feel the BofM should be one all encompassing volume. Think of it like you have 2 collections of books. One has 39 books (the Old Testament – a Jewish volume) and the other has 27 books (the New Testament – a Roman volume). What you are presenting is that if the OT came from God why would he need to give more in the NT? Or that if the OT came from God why would he need to make changes to the knowledge in the NT? We could even use the same logic in regard the first 5 books of Moses. Wasn’t the law given by God? So why a need to add to it?
     
    The Book of Mormon is a history of one land, anciently. It isn’t meant to complete the Bible. Nor is it meant to be a replacement for the Bible. It isn’t some volume that contains all knowledge of all things past, present and future. It is just like the OT mixed with a tiny bit of the NT. We could find a spiritual record kept by the ancient people of Australia and translate that as well, and use it also as Scripture. It doesn’t become an update to the Book of Mormon or Bible. The D&C and PofGP aren’t appendixes to the Book of Mormon any more than the Book of Mormon is an appendix to the Jewish and Roman books. These aren’t a set of changes to the Book of Mormon to correct it.
     
    In regard Isa 28:10, as he is always a bit obscure perhaps I would have been better to refer to Christ’s statement. “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord has made a ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? (Matt 24:45). To me this poses increasing doctrines in time. Additionally the other evidences I gave demonstrate that God does change the doctrines where he deems it appropriate. This doesn’t make him changeable. Nor does it make his ways changeable. It just means that some people are different spirits from others.
     
    Consider the fact that you have the Bible. Throughout history how many people have had the 66 books you have? And how many today are even capable of reading or obtaining the library (Bible)? Large numbers do have it. But larger numbers don’t. So is God a respecter to persons? It would seem so from this. Many Protestants have told me that God wouldn’t allow the Bible to come to them with errors. What arrogance! God allowed all these people prior to now to not have a Bible, or have one with less books in it, but he wouldn’t allow THEM to not have a correct one! Hmmmmmm?
     
    And why is it that he has allowed the Catholics to have a Bible with additional books and yet made sure that Mr and Mrs Protestant have only the correct ones?
     
    God is no respecter to persons because he puts spirits in appropriate places. This can only be possible IF spirits are different BEFORE life begins. Logic tells us that if he is fair then each person must be born with some sort of appropriate equality. Yet how can a person born in Africa before the Bible came to their area be considered able to accept Jesus Christ in the same way as a person born in a church with a Bible? Yet God is no respecter to persons.
     
    You have presented that you can’t find evidence for a preexistence in the Bible. But I would say that your criteria of judgment had been incorrect. You are starting with a viewpoint and asking it to be proven wrong. That isn’t the way to read the Bible. You must start with no viewpoint and examine the evidences for both sides. I can quote a lot of texts supporting the idea of a preexistence. Now while we might find ways to argue them away, why should we if the amount of them would satisfy us in regard another doctrine? So where are the Biblical texts that have given you the impression that there is no preexistence? Let’s look at those also.

  28. Rich

    1 Cor. 15:46-47: Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. Gen. 2:7: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”
    Jer.1:5: This one talking about God’s ordination and appointment of Jeremiah to be a prophet to his nation. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” This was God’s plan for Jeremiah, in the same way Eph. 2:10: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
    Also, throughout some of my reading I have come across some interesting statements by Joseph, like “Would to God I could tell you who I am. Would to God I could tell you what I know. But you would call it blasphemy and there are men on this stand that would want to take my life.”

    Interesting…one has to ask, “who did he think he was?”

  29. Rich
     
    Before beginning this I would first like you to consider the following as you read through that which comes after.
     
    I could attempt to make all sorts of explanations for verses in the Bible. But what I’m saying to you is that instead of taking a one-sided viewpoint, and then getting someone to attempt to find a verse that you can’t possibly interpret to say something other than what it says, how about just seeing what the BIBLE actually says?
     
    If you read 1 Cor chapter 15 you will see that it is talking about the resurrection all the way through it. Verse 42 explains that relative to the resurrection our body is sown in corruption and raised in incorruption. In verse 44 the words are changed to include the terms natural and spiritual bodies. In the verses you quote Paul is saying that the natural (physical) body comes first and then, due to the resurrection of Christ (who had the first of these resurrected spiritual bodies), the perfected (physical) body comes second. This has nothing to do with whether our spirit existed before. It is only demonstrating that our physical body didn’t.
     
    Gen 2:7 is merely stating that man (which required the dust of the earth to exist) came into existence upon the earth at this time.
     
    Interestingly the word translated as “being” there is used to state that man ceases to be a living being at death. Yet the spirit of man doesn’t cease at death. This is just further evidence that using it as you have is taking it out of context. Of further interest there is another way that verse can be translated (in fact there are several), “and God breathed into man’s nostrils his living spirit and man became a living being.” And there is no reason why we should accept one translation above the other. The words are totally interchangeable.
     
    So you only have 2 verses that had led you to believe that our spirits didn’t exist before. 1. Coming from an entire chapter showing it is talking of resurrected physical bodies. And 2. One that is only saying that the physical man didn’t exist before Adam’s birth.
     
    In regard Jeremiah _
    Note that it doesn’t say that God knew OF him before he was formed in the belly, but that he KNEW him. He also states that Jeremiah had actually had an ordination before this. And also sanctified. – Hard to ordain a non-existence.
     
    “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Rom 8:29

    Again here we are informed that God knew people before they were born. Now why bother to say such a thing if we didn’t exist then? And note, once more he hasn’t stated that he knew of them, but that he knew them.
     
    “And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared to glory. Even us…” Rom 9:23-24

    Here he has stated that before coming here he had in some way PREPARED us for glory. A difficult thing to do if we didn’t exist.
     

    “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” Titus 1:2

    To whom did God promise this eternal life, before the world began? If there was no person who could gain eternal life in existence before the world began, who was he promising it to?
     
    As I said, we can re-interpret these statements to mean something other than what they say. But why? To keep tradition?
     
    I can testify to you that I have remembered parts of my pre-existence from time to time. Some of these being when I didn’t even believe is such. So I have the Bible and I have experience showing me the same message.

  30. Rich

    DougT
    I’m disappointed that it sounds like you believe I cannot research on my own. It is very simple to find information that correctly translates Hebrew or Greek into English including emphasis and context. I can appreciate that you have studied and feel well equiped to answer everything with your own conclusion, which is wonderful. I am studying and coming to my own conclusions as well.

    Wierwille of The Way International believed that scripture wasn’t accurately translated and was a self appointed scholar/theologian that knew better and created an interesting doctrine. That I even wasted my time involving myself with that still irritates me but I believe all information and education can be useful, as it was. There are many others with slight to drastic variations.

    In many of the explainations above it appears you are doing the same thing you are accusing me of. Those versus don’t SAY what you are emphasizing that they mean. You are reading into them something other taking them for face value (well perhaps the face value you see), unless another text has brought you to that conclusion. You say things like “who did he promise if we weren’t there?” Isn’t that an assumption without using an outside influence? Also, things can be prepared for a subject without the subject being present, etc, etc.

    Example: If he promised it before the world began, you assume it was to us but God just as easily could have promised it to the Son and Holy Ghost knowing, that with the departure of Lucifer, his creation would struggle with the influence of evil (or opposition to God). Ultimately I believe he knew how it was going to go down and a sacrifice was necessary, however we would still have to choose in order to have the “hope of eternal life”.

    I just looked at 15 translations of Gen 2:7 and none of them say “his living spirit” but I guess I’ll have to take your word for it that there is one. It is actually “breath of lives”, correctly translated and gave the spirit of life and understanding to a created lump of dust.

    Apparently you don’t believe God could have (fore)knowledge or be aware of what would come in the future and/or act on that (Jeremiah). He knew ahead that he would serve him. 

    I only included the 2 scripture as I can spend as much time as necessary to type more, but have other obligations to family and work.

    It is informative and our conversation causes me to search further and for that I am grateful.

    I am curious, though, about my last question based on what Joseph Smith had said……who did he think he was that would cause him to say those things?

  31. Rich
     
    I have to agree with you that we must be reading from our own perspective.
     
    I’m not doubting God’s ability to see the future. What I’m saying is that the texts themselves don’t say that. I can also see that a person can make that assumption. When it says that some people were prepared for glory before, I know that I could assume he means that he was planning it that way. But it isn’t what it says.
     
    It talks of those he knew before. Now again we could say that he knew of all of us before. But he’s got this special group it says he knew before. This, to me, sounds like where he says we have to come to know him to get eternal life. It seems that he would be referring to a special knowledge of him and us in a union. That is an assumption on my part. But the verse does say those he knew before.
     
    In regard “breath” and “spirit”. I would feel that you would be familiar with the Strong’s Concordance as a Biblical scholar. So I will quote from that. The word involved is 5397 – “neshamah” – a puff. Translated in the KJV as :- blast, (that) breath (-eth), inspiration, soul, spirit.
     
    Interestingly the Greek has the same problem.
     
    You are right that there would be those that God could have mentioned his promise of eternal life to apart from us. It just seems odd to mention that he promised eternal life in conversation with those not receiving it.
     
    In regard Joseph Smith and who he was. That one got me a bit too. As we know who Jehovah, Gabriel, Michael and Elohim are I don’t think he actually meant it as a “who” in regard a famous named character, but a “who” in regard what he did. It must be remembered that they were just learning at the time (though I think in some areas they were better informed than us).

  32. Sheldon

    Just read proverbs 8!

  33. Way before i ever converted to the church of jesus christ of latter day saints i always believed in a pre existence.i grew up roman catholic and as a child growing up i had a photo graphic memory as i still do today i can remember the,time that i was 2 years old livingin santee california and i remember having colored dreams in my childhood of being in a beautiful yellow room that i heard familiar peope and felt the familiar devaju feeling.in my dreams as a child i knew that i existed before because i had that feeling many tines in my childhood i had dreams of relatives that i remember seeing and when pur family had get togethers i met some relatives that were familiar and i said they look familiar and they said i looked familiar too and it was the first time i had met these distant relatives.the first time i met mormons in my life i had that familiar feeling devaju when the missionaries would talk anout a pre existence.something felt familiar and in my mind i felt and believed i lived before i had a spiritial experience of becoming a born again evangelical protestant evangelical christian recieving the lord being saved by grace alone and that spiritual experience of being born again having that special close personal relationship with jesus was spiritual and when o heard the pastor preaching about recieving jesis that familiar feeling of devaju came to me i still am a born again evangelical christian i was in the new age movement with certain groups like unarius academy of sciemce christian science church universal triumphant bu elizabeth clare prophet and some groups like the urantians and faithests believe in a pre existence life in heaven the only dofferance is these new age groups mix pre existence with reincarnation i studied compararive religion fron a evangelical apolegetic point of view and saw the differance between pre existence and reimcarnation.i converted to the church of jesus christ of latter day saints in 1985 and had my patriarchal blessing on march 28 1989 and when the patriarch layed hus hands upon my head i had a glimpse moment of remembering my pre existence in heaven for a few minutes it was very sacred ive also done exjaustive research and study on my owm boblically on the scriptures of pre existence and i have read pro and con scriptures on the subject plus rabbinical apocrphal resources and apostolic church fathers as well and i have prayed and the lord has revealed to me that pre existence is true praise God!! My logical thinking and research and study confirmed what i had been experiencing all along

  34. Ben

    Thank you for sharing your testimony and experiences.

  35. Ivan even jesus mentioned in the gospel of john 20:25 mentions there are many things that were wtitten that the world could not contain written in this book. obvouosly there are things that were not written down and canonized in our present day bibles .just because the bible isnt complete and has missing books doesnyt mean i believe the bible cant be trusted as Gods word. i personally believe Gods word can be trusted and i believe every word is the infalliable word of God even though i personally believe in a open canon for other extra biblical scriptures.

  36. Doug T in my personal opinion i see the whole bible full of pre existence with Gen 1:4 let us make man in our image…i believe is plural here elohim referring to the Godhead of the father son and holy spirit in the pre existence in heaven.theres zechariah 12:2 and job 38:4-7 and jeremiah 1:5. eph 1:3. rev 12:7-9. isiah 14:11-13. john 9:1-2 john 8:58. and many other passages in the holy bible regarding pre existence.