Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Questions of Evidence?

The day after posting “The Lamb AND the Lion,” I encountered a theory1 that seems to propose that the adversary was the “one” who said:
And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; (Pearl of Great Price | Abraham 3:25).
According to this non-traditional reading, Lucifer’s plan was the one designed “to set all things in order, measured by estate and obedience;” “his platform to divide up kingdoms according to some standard of obedience.”2

Before examining this theory, let me say that the beauty of encountering new thoughts and ideas is that it prompts us to think and reconsider our unexamined beliefs. But it should also move us to ask: Does this non-traditional reading bear up?

Also, as we begin, it might be useful to acknowledge that we mortals are caught in a disadvantage. In reading scripture, we are forever getting but half the conversation—the word-half without the image-half;3 and isn’t that the most critical half for understanding another’s words with certitude—by seeing the image within the mind of the speaker or receiving a vision of the meaning when encountering God? The visionaries in scripture often found it next to impossible to adequately describe in words the images that they saw. In short, “Thou needest to be there.”

But since we were not (or else have forgotten), how do we decide who is speaking when the text merely says “one” and “one” and “another”?
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; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever. And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first. And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him (Pearl of Great Price | Abraham 3:24-28; bold emphasis added).
Is the “one like unto God” the same as the “one like unto the Son of Man”? Or is “another” the “one like unto God” as suggested by the theory? Or is the “one,” someone entirely different? And to compound the matter, whom are the speakers addressing—everybody or just a select group as the theory also proposes?

We can’t know for certain who is who when our only reference is that brief description of the event, so it seems that the best we can do—without visual access to the event—is to follow the weight of the evidence in scripture.4 Even then it might be hard to know, but perhaps there are questions we should pursue:

Q1: What could “like unto” mean?

There are 202 uses of the phrase “like unto” in scripture, 115 being extra-Biblical. Most times this phrase is used to convey an image through positive comparison with something already known or understood (to greater degree).

In ancient days, it seems “Son of Man” was clearly defined:
Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time  (Pearl of Great Price | Moses 6:57).
So then, what does it mean to say “like unto God” or “like unto the Son of Man” instead of  just “Son of Man”? One possibility could be that “like unto” is sometimes used as a way to describe something (planned? ordained?) that has yet to come to pass. What if the mission or potential of every soul is divined as an idea (mental construct) and thereafter uniquely chosen by each soul as each embarks on a new stage of advancement? Then, because fulfillment is subject to each soul’s agency, each one might end up “like unto” OR “not like unto” the original design / intention / blueprint / choice. For example, could the “Son of Man” have been a man and a mission divined in the mind of God before the event that unfolded in Abraham 3:24-28—such that the “Son of Man” was a mental construct with advanced and essential attributes? Once the “one like unto the Son of Man” offered Himself to take on that calling, He became the manifestation. Thus, when comparing the man to the mental construct might one say, “like unto” meaning, “He is like unto that which was seen in the imagery of thought”? In other words, the imagery of the plan is conceived AND visual before the reality is played out.

Another counter point is this: If the first and second estate proposal is an adversarial concept, why is the outcome of choosing the “first” volunteer described as:
And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him. (Pearl of Great Price | Abraham 3:28; bold emphasis added).
It seems there may, in fact, be some measurement to warrant advancement in the plan that was adopted.

Also, why would the plan of the adversary be the only plan described just before God chooses “One” to fulfill some other undefined plan? (As to the tradition of “two plans,” please read on to Q3 for a discussion of what the other plan might have entailed.)

Q2: What is the meaning of “good”?

How did God first use and mean “good”? In the creation account, I think its use was to describe how the physical creation was sufficiently “like unto” the idea or form5 that preceded creation that God was pleased with the manifest result:
And I, God, saw everything that I had made, and, behold, all things which I had made were very good; and the evening and the morning were the sixth day  (Pearl of Great Price | Moses 2:31; see also Old Testament | Genesis 1:31).
So perhaps when God saw the noble and great ones in the pre-mortal realm and called them “good,” He was making a similar judgment—that as spirits, they were sufficiently “like unto” the “idea / form” of noble and great, and sufficiently in vibration with “truth,” that He could say they were “good” without making a judgment on what they would be when, through the instrumentality of Adam and Eve, they, as mortals, came to know good and evil for themselves with the freedom to choose between:
And I, the Lord God, said unto mine Only Begotten: Behold, the man is become as one of us to know good and evil; and now lest he put forth his hand and partake also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever, Therefore I, the Lord God, will send him forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken; (Pearl of Great Price | Moses 4:28-29)

And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves, and I have given unto you another law and commandment (Pearl of Great Price | Moses 6:56).
So, does each soul come to this “second estate” with a unique plan and purpose? Then, because of the will of the flesh and enticements of telestial / terrestrial things, do we all, in various degrees, miss the measure of our creation, so that prophets of God will lament again and again?
All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him [the Messiah] the iniquities of us all (Book of Mormon | Mosiah 14:6).

And the anger [justice?] of God kindleth against the inhabitants of the earth; and none doeth good, for all have gone out of the way (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 82:6).
So, if Jesus was the only One who got it perfectly right—conforming perfectly, by His choices, to the will and design of the Father—wouldn’t He be the only one who was perfectly good? All of us have fallen short of the “idea” of our lives, and that’s why repentance and the atonement are required to satisfy the demands of justice and to allow us to still progress toward the divine that is within our potential.

Q3: Who advocates law, order, commandments, proving, etc.?

In these latter days, there seems to be a lot of discussion about God, agency, freedom, laws, commandments, testing, punishment, etc., so perhaps these are some questions we should ponder:
▪ If the truth shall make you free,6 is there any real freedom when we stray from truth?
▪ Does truth have any standards or measures?
▪ Does truth require adherence to true principles for progression to occur?
▪ What does freedom mean? To do anything we want as long as we do not harm others? Or does it mean we are free to accept or reject the principles of truth? Or in final analysis and sufficient advancement do they become the same?
▪ What is the continual lament of God7 and His spokespeople?
Mormon tradition speaks of two plans being presented to spirits during the pre-mortal phase—one of agency and one of control. The agency one is expressed thus:
And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given. Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 2:26-27; bold emphasis added).
But, if this “agency” plan entails law, commandments, and punishments,8 could the plan opposite to such law and order be a plan of “no law”? Except many seem to imagine “no law” as God’s plan of agency and freedom? But—
And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 2:13).

Wherefore, he has given a law; and where there is no law given there is no punishment; and where there is no punishment there is no condemnation; and where there is no condemnation the mercies of the Holy One of Israel have claim upon them, because of the atonement; for they are delivered by the power of him (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 9:25).

Now, how could a man repent except he should sin? How could he sin if there was no law? How could there be a law save there was a punishment? Now, there was a punishment affixed, and a just law given, which brought remorse of conscience unto man. … And also, if there was no law given against sin men would not be afraid to sin. And if there was no law given, if men sinned what could justice do, or mercy either, for they would have no claim upon the creature? But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God (Book of Mormon | Alma 42:17-18, 20-22; see also footnote 9 below).
Wouldn’t “no law” be the only possible plan that could (theoretically) save everyone—no sin, no punishment, no lost souls?!10 As a side benefit for the adversary, it would dethrone God if He endorsed such a plan (by offending truth and all its corollaries; one vital one being justice). Truth would no longer reign, but whim would11 (if, in the imagination of the adversary, there were anything left to govern!) as he began the captivity portion of his reign.

Furthermore, there are 210 uses of the word “commandments” in the Book of Mormon alone, often preceded by “my” or followed by “of God.” As to the word “order,” there are approximately 47 relevant uses in the Book of Mormon, often preceded by the words “proper” or “holy.”

So who really spoke those words from Abraham 3:25? Does this give us another clue?
And we are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days, that we may not bring upon ourselves a never–ending torment, as has been spoken by the angel, that we may not drink out of the cup of the wrath of God. (Book of Mormon | Mosiah 5:5)

And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 2:21).
So once again I ask: Does advancement in this realm (and beyond) come through doing what we want as long as it does not harm others? Or does it come in filling the measure of our creation through obedience to the laws of realms we have potential to move into?12

Q4: Was Lucifer “cast out”? or did he leave by the rules of his own “game”—as the non-traditional reading suggests? Perhaps it depends on whether “cast out” is equal to “cast down” and “thrust down.”
Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; (Pearl of Great Price | Moses 4:3)

And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil—for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency; And they were thrust down, and thus came the devil and his angels; (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 29:36 - 37; see also Section 76:25-28).
This concludes, for the time being, my “questions of evidence” for the non-traditional reading of Abraham 3:25.

Questions remain however because three of the big issues for truth seekers of this day seem to center on hierarchy, personal sovereignty, and God’s character. I plan to consider these in future posts.

1. Daymon Mickel Smith, A Cultural History of the Book of Mormon: Volume 5 - Book Fantasia, pp. 105-108.
2. Ibid., p. 106
4. For those who don’t believe scripture or who believe that scripture is proof of the “corrupt demiurge,” I recognize this appeal to scripture will bear no weight with you, but I believe the universe blesses all sincere seekers of truth who are willing to follow it wherever it may lead.
5. (Plato may have got it right!)
6. New Testament John 8:31-32 ~ Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
8. Book of Mormon | Mosiah 13:30 ~ Therefore there was a law given them, yea, a law of performances and of ordinances, a law which they were to observe strictly from day to day, to keep them in remembrance of God and their duty towards him.
Book of Mormon | Alma 35:15-16 ~ … and seeing that the hearts of the people began to wax hard, and that they began to be offended because of the strictness of the word, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful. Therefore, he caused that his sons should be gathered together, that he might give unto them every one his charge, separately, concerning the things pertaining unto righteousness. And we have an account of his commandments, which he gave unto them according to his own record.
Book of Mormon | Alma 37:13 ~ O remember, remember, my son Helaman, how strict are the commandments of God. And he said: If ye will keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land—but if ye keep not his commandments ye shall be cut off from his presence.
Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 9:27 ~ But wo unto him that has the law given, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, and that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state!
9. New Testament | Romans 4:15 ~ Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
New Testament | Romans 5:13 ~ (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
10. Pearl of Great Price | Moses 4:1-4 ~ AND I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor. But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever. Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice. [Bold emphasis added.]
11. For those who believe that “the whim of God” now reigns and that He manifests as pyschotic, I will admit there are scriptures that could support such a reading from our mortal perspective, but perhaps from the 4th and 5th density, as some call it, the transrational view would prove otherwise.
12. Doctrine and Covenants | Section 88:22-24 ~ For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory. And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory. And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Lamb AND the Lion*??

Recently I came across the words of a father and son1 whose passionate advocacy of non-violence turned my thoughts to that subject. And once again, I found myself confronted with the mysteries of God, and with how easily our passions and philosophies can blind us to the full spectrum of:

who God is:
[Who] sittest enthroned, with glory, honor, power, majesty, might, dominion, truth, justice, judgment, mercy, and an infinity of fulness, from everlasting to everlasting  (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 109:77);
what He says:
… for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good  (Pearl of Great Price | Moses 6:32);
and what He does.2

We have been told in various ways and times that:
Great is his wisdom, marvelous are his ways, and the extent of his doings none can find out. His purposes fail not, neither are there any who can stay his hand  (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 76:2-3; see also Old Testament | Isaiah 55:8-9).
Yet, like Job’s friends, we, too often, take rigid positions on God’s “permissible ways and means” and criticize those whom God Himself has lauded. Let’s take the example of Nephi1 as J. Madson does in his Claremont lecture.3

But first, let me say: I too am a pacifist who wonders why D&C 98 has seemed to receive such short shrift in this latter-day. I believe that war and violence are prime tools of the adversary to lay waste to as much of creation as possible, YET (if we observe full spectrum), war and violence seem to also be facets of God’s restoration, justice and judgment—a restoration, justice and judgment that cannot be robbed even by mercy4 (or even by one’s passion for non-violence).

Let us observe.

The scriptures are overflowing with references to God’s promises of restoration, justice and judgment:
Alma2: … the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish—good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful. Therefore, my son[s and daughters], see that you are merciful unto your brethren [and sisters]; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again. For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all  (Book of Mormon | Alma 41:13-15).

King Benjamin: Therefore, they have drunk out of the cup of the wrath of God, which justice could no more deny unto them than it could deny that Adam should fall because of his partaking of the forbidden fruit; therefore, mercy could have claim on them no more forever  (Book of Mormon | Mosiah 3:26; see also Alma 12:32).

Amulek: Yea, well doth he cry, by the voice of his angels that: I will come down among my people, with equity and justice in my hands. Yea, and I say unto you that if it were not for the prayers of the righteous, who are now in the land, that ye would even now be visited with utter destruction; yet it would not be by flood, as were the people in the days of Noah, but it would be by famine, and by pestilence, and the sword  (Book of Mormon | Alma 10:21-22).

Samuel the Lamanite: And he said unto them: Behold, I, Samuel, a Lamanite, do speak the words of the Lord which he doth put into my heart; and behold he hath put it into my heart to say unto this people that the sword of justice hangeth over this people; and four hundred years pass not away save the sword of justice falleth upon this people  (Book of Mormon | Helaman 13:5; see also Ether 8:23).

Jesus: And it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that the sword of my justice shall hang over them at that day; and except they repent it shall fall upon them, saith the Father, yea, even upon all the nations of the Gentiles  (Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 20:20).

Mormon2: Therefore, repent ye, and humble yourselves before him, lest he shall come out in justice against you—lest a remnant of the seed of Jacob shall go forth among you as a lion, and tear you in pieces, and there is none to deliver  (Book of Mormon | Mormon 5:24).

(Many other relevant scriptures follow the footnote section below.)
Granted, some may claim that all this violent imagery of sword, bloodshed, destruction “tearing to pieces,” etc. is merely symbolic; yet a perusal of history (especially BoM history) witnesses that there is real blood and real annihilation in God’s justice and judgment.

So back to Nephi and J. Madson. This is what I would ask Brothers R. & J. Madson (and every other soul persuaded by the Madson analysis of Nephi’s killing of Laban):

▪ Does your narrative of Nephi jive with God’s (1 Nephi 11:6)? Or with his own father Lehi’s (8:3)? Or with Nephi’s own witness in the very next chapter:
And it came to pass that thus far I and my father had kept the commandments wherewith the Lord had commanded us (1 Nephi 5:20).
▪ Did God cut Nephi off? denounce him? deny him further revelation? Or did Nephi pass the excruciating test of:
And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; (Pearl of Great Price | Abraham 3:25)?
Is this not the type of supreme test that proved Abraham’s loyalty, and will test the loyalty of every other soul that advances that far in faith and obedience to God?5 (Before you completely misinterpret this sentence, please read the blog post entitled, “Rule of Law: Ten to One” —web address and note also at footnote 5.)

▪ What if God’s justice finally caught up with Laban (God’s own due time) AND thrown into the mix was a supreme test for Nephi?6

▪ Hasn’t God demonstrated time and again that He is a God of discernment?7 Doesn’t He do what seemeth Him good—tailored to the needs of each and every soul—even if it appears bizarre or objectionable to us?

▪ Why do you call Nephi a murderer when God doesn’t? You talk of “proof-texting.” What is the word for disregarding voluminous text that counters your theory? Is that not the equivalent of “taking away plain and precious things”?

▪ What if you were a faithful, obedient servant of God and were constrained by the Spirit as Nephi? Or as Abraham?

▪ Whose “lack of imagination” are you really criticizing in Nephi’s “narrative”? Couldn’t God have provided the essential Brass Plates in myriad, miraculous ways? Why didn’t He? And why did He pick what was probably Abraham’s greatest aversion (human sacrifice) to prove him?8 Could “Thou shalt not kill” have been a passion of Nephi’s?
And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him  (1 Nephi 4:10).
We don’t know a lot of things, except we observe that God seems to target our passions / obsessions when He “proves us herewith.”

▪ So, if God doesn’t use His transrational powers to ease our way, is it always for lack of our imagination?9 or might God, at times, have some overriding transrational purpose—as we are “led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which [we] should do”  (1 Nephi 4:6)?

SIDE NOTE: It might be interesting to compare the parallels and inverses of these two scriptures when considering the Spirit’s words to Nephi:

Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 4:12-13 ~ … the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands; Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.

New Testament | John 11:49-51 ~ And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;

▪ Can your imagination consider that Laban’s sword could stand for God’s “sword of justice”—a term used several times in the Book of Mormon and by Jesus himself at 3 Nephi 20:20:
And it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that the sword of my justice shall hang over them at that day; and except they repent it shall fall upon them, saith the Father, yea, even upon all the nations of the Gentiles.
And while we are quoting Jesus:
And I say unto you, that if the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive, after they have scattered my people— Then shall ye, who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, go forth among them; and ye shall be in the midst of them who shall be many; and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thy hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off  (3 Nephi 20:15-17).

And my people who are a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver  (3 Nephi 21:12; see also 3 Nephi 20:16; Mormon 5:24).
Also look at 3 Nephi 9:1-13; 10:14, and 16:9 to observe what the resurrected Christ declares He did in judgment in the Americas. (This was no metaphor!)

▪ Furthermore, could Laban’s sword have been preserved as a warning and witness of God’s attributes of justice and judgment? a witness that he who takes the sword [to get his own way versus God’s way—like so many in the BoM; like the Crusaders of old; etc., etc.] will perish with the sword (New Testament | Matthew 26:52)? Or as Shakespeare put it: “hoist with his own petard.” Or as Nephi phrases the broad application:
And the blood of that great and abominable church, which is the whore of all the earth, shall turn upon their own heads; for they shall war among themselves, and the sword of their own hands shall fall upon their own heads, and they shall be drunken with their own blood (1 Nephi 22:13). (See a further parallel at 1 Nephi 14:3.)
▪ Can the fiery wrath /anger / fury of God always be explained away as a figure of speech designed to work repentance upon the hearts of men (D&C 19:7)? or did the Jaredites, Nephites, and countless others experience, in real time, the meaning of justice and judgment?

▪ How often has God Self-described as a God of justice and judgment, as well as of mercy?

I shouldn’t have to say this, but this post is not a pro-war pitch. It is a pitch to us pacifists to consider ALL the Godly attributes, so when Christ returns, we don’t find ourselves in a devastating (inverse) déjà vu. If the Jewish hierarchy and others could reject a long-anticipated Savior because He came as a meek Lamb when they expected an avenging Lion, what about us? What are we priming ourselves to receive the second time round? Only the meek Lamb? What if He comes as a Lion?10

Beyond decrying war, I think the Book of Mormon is a treatise on justice and judgment filled with pleas of a merciful God to repent and come unto Christ with a broken heart and contrite spirit and to yield to the enticing of the Holy Spirit OR face the unyielding Law of Justice and Judgment—which I suspect will “Do unto us as we did unto others.” (Again, see the last sentence of Alma 41:15.)

In summary, we may passionately disagree with the ways and means of restoration, justice and judgment that fill scripture text (especially the Book of Mormon); but, as I’ve said before: “The God we want isn’t always the God we get.” In the end, it will all come down to a matter of life and death.
He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and he hath given unto you that ye might choose life or death; and ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you  (Book of Mormon | Helaman 14:31).

NOW A NOTE to all who assume they are a tried, true, and chosen people with God’s sanction to pursue war: I offer the words of the Lord to His “saints” through Joseph Smith (1832):
Ye call upon my name for revelations, and I give them unto you; and inasmuch as ye keep not my sayings, which I give unto you, ye become transgressors; and justice and judgment are the penalty which is affixed unto my law. Therefore, what I say unto one I say unto all: Watch, for the adversary spreadeth his dominions, and darkness reigneth; And the anger of God kindleth against the inhabitants of the earth; and none doeth good, for all have gone out of the way  (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 82:4-6).
Isaiah has a lot to say about us too, if seeing we would but see.

Finally, I would suggest that God’s restoration (with judgment and justice) is so powerful and potentially devastating that it can only be justifiably engaged in by tried and true people of God under direct, unequivocal revelation from Him and within His revealed parameters. Spoiler alert: Tried and true is extremely rare in history, so it’s highly doubtful that any justice or judgment is being dispensed via God’s revealed word by any group or nation in this latter day. (For those who believe in the “chosen” USA, there are hundreds of informed, warning voices—Chris Hedges for one; Chalmers Johnson for another—detailing the dire and despicable state of affairs. My own brief observation of several years ago is at

So, is there any latter-day justice and judgment? Perhaps inadvertently as natural men and natural law11 pursue their own way—as oblivious as the tyrants of old to what they and we are bringing upon ourselves.

This post has become too long, so I will address other relevant questions in future posts, such as:

▪ Have Captain Moroni and others been as redacted as Nephi in the Madson writings and the lecture on non-violence?
▪ Do only the wicked destroy the wicked? (Mormon 4:5) or does God sometimes use others as His agents of justice and judgment? and
▪ Why we shouldn’t judge everyone who is destroyed in the flesh as wicked.

1. (See also the long comments section following that post.)
Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 26:24 ~ He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. ...
4. Book of Mormon | Alma 42:24-26 ~ For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved. What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God. And thus God bringeth about his great and eternal purposes, which were prepared from the foundation of the world. And thus cometh about the salvation and the redemption of men, and also their destruction and misery.
(See also Book of Mormon | Jacob 6:10; Mosiah 15:9, 27; Alma 34:16.)
5. . Also I will be posting in the near future an essay entitled “Questions of Evidence?” regarding who is speaking in Abraham 3:25, for the consideration of those who think it may be the voice of the adversary.
6. I will consider Mormon 4:5 in another post.
7. Some synonyms for discernment are: judgment, acumen, sensitivity, insight. Some might also say that God is “a God of the expedient” as LDSA did in the comments section of the blog post referred to in footnote 1 above. You did not like that word, but expedient is used 7 times in the New Testament and 106 times in the BoM, D&C, & PoGP, mostly in referring to God’s instructions.
8. As confirmed in Book of Mormon | Jacob 4:5 ~ Behold, they believed in Christ and worshiped the Father in his name, and also we worship the Father in his name. And for this intent we keep the law of Moses, it pointing our souls to him; and for this cause it is sanctified unto us for righteousness, even as it was accounted unto Abraham in the wilderness to be obedient unto the commands of God in offering up his son Isaac, which is a similitude of God and his Only Begotten Son.
9. Obviously and scripturally our unbelief, doubts, behaviors, etc. have an impact. (See 2 Nephi 27:23)
10. New Testament | Revelation 5:5 ~ And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.


Additional scriptures of relevance:

Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 6:15 ~ And they that believe not in him shall be destroyed, both by fire, and by tempest, and by earthquakes, and by bloodsheds, and by pestilence, and by famine. And they shall know that the Lord is God, the Holy One of Israel.

Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 10:6 ~ Wherefore, because of their iniquities, destructions, famines, pestilences, and bloodshed shall come upon them; and they who shall not be destroyed shall be scattered among all nations.

Book of Mormon | Alma 34:16 ~ … while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.

Book of Mormon | Alma 41:1-4 ~ AND now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the restoration of which has been spoken; for behold, some have wrested the scriptures, and have gone far astray because of this thing. And I perceive that thy mind has been worried also concerning this thing. But behold, I will explain it unto thee. I say unto thee, my son, that the plan of restoration is requisite with the justice of God; for it is requisite that all things should be restored to their proper order. Behold, it is requisite and just, according to the power and resurrection of Christ, that the soul of man should be restored to its body, and that every part of the body should be restored to itself. And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good. And if their works are evil they shall be restored unto them for evil. Therefore, all things shall be restored to their proper order, every thing to its natural frame—mortality raised to immortality, corruption to incorruption—raised to endless happiness to inherit the kingdom of God, or to endless misery to inherit the kingdom of the devil, the one on one hand, the other on the other—

Book of Mormon | Alma 42:1 ~ AND now, my son, I perceive there is somewhat more which doth worry your mind, which ye cannot understand—which is concerning the justice of God in the punishment of the sinner; for ye do try to suppose that it is injustice that the sinner should be consigned to a state of misery.

Book of Mormon | Helaman 5:3 ~ Yea, and this was not all; they were a stiffnecked people, insomuch that they could not be governed by the law nor justice, save it were to their destruction.

Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 26:5 ~ If they be good, to the resurrection of everlasting life; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of damnation; being on a parallel, the one on the one hand and the other on the other hand, according to the mercy, and the justice, and the holiness which is in Christ, who was before the world began.

Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 28:35 ~ For do ye suppose that ye can get rid of the justice of an offended God, who hath been trampled under feet of men, that thereby salvation might come?

Doctrine and Covenants | Section 24:16 ~ And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall lay their hands upon you by violence, ye shall command to be smitten in my name; and, behold, I will smite them according to your words, in mine own due time.

Old Testament | Proverbs 13:2 ~ A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.

Old Testament | Proverbs 21:3 ~ To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

New Testament | Revelation 18:21 ~ And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.

*Old Testament | Isaiah 31:4 ~ For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.

*Old Testament | Hosea 5:14-15 ~ For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him. I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.

*Old Testament | Hosea 13:7-9 ~ Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them: I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them. O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.

*New Testament | Revelation 5:5 ~ And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

See also Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 10:6; 23:9+; 3 Nephi 9; 10:13.

There are too many to reference all, but searching and study will lead you forth.