|KJV above: English Standard Version :|
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD,
plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Let’s assume that this describes (in part) the Plan of Salvation2 and the creation of the earth that made the Plan’s implementation possible. The physical creation of the earth turned out to be “good” and “very good.”3
And then the “probation”4 and agency5 aspects of the Plan began. But a probation of what? Let’s consider it as being two-fold:
~ a general probation being whether we will choose obedience to universal principles that foster growth, and unfolding potential?—like “being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and doing good to all mankind,” etc.;6The scriptures seem full of evidence for the general probation, but what about the second probational aspect?
~ the second probation being whether we would work the plan, purpose, and mission of our own unique life that was envisioned before our birth. This unique, individual plan could have been freely chosen, or maybe assigned, or perhaps ascertained with counsel and guidance.
But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, (New Testament | 1 Peter 1:19-20; bold emphasis added.)There are other scriptures that suggest special missions and purposes;7 and if “all are alike unto God” and if He is “no respecter of persons,”8 perhaps we can assume that each one of us has a good purpose and a good mission; particularly when we reference Lectures on Faith 6:1, 4 [Doctrine and Covenants 1835]:
And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning. (Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 11:11; bold emphasis added.)
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. (Pearl of Great Price | Abraham 3:23; bold emphasis added.)
1. … we next proceed to treat of the knowledge which persons must have, that the course of life which they pursue is according to the will of God, in order that they may be enabled to exercise faith in him unto life and salvation. … 4. Such was, and always will be, the situation of the saints of God, that unless they have an actual knowledge that the course they are pursuing is according to the will of God they will grow weary in their minds, and faint; for such has been, and always will be, the opposition in the hearts of unbelievers and those that know not God against the pure and unadulterated religion of heaven (the only thing which insures eternal life), that they will persecute to the uttermost all that worship God according to his revelations, receive the truth in the love of it, and submit themselves to be guided and directed by his will; and drive them to such extremities that nothing short of an actual knowledge of their being the favorites of heaven, and of their having embraced that order of things which God has established for the redemption of man, will enable them to exercise that confidence in him, necessary for them to overcome the world, and obtain that crown of glory which is laid up for them that fear God.So how are we doing on our dual probation? Have we become so distracted by the lures of the world, the flesh, and Babylon such that we don’t have a clue whether we are in or out of the way? Though, perhaps “not having a clue” is the first clue.
Missions and purposes vary. They can be as solitary and sacrificing as care-giving a disabled child of God or as global as a documentary filmmaker. In God’s plan, every individual purpose and mission was, is, and will be to improve and better the world, for all good things come of Him. But as we see: the world, its ways, and all the opposites (defining agency) have taken a terrible toll. Refining flesh and matter to its optimum without God’s help is impossible because the “drive” of flesh is so powerful and so opposite to the drive of Spirit;9 and because we don’t grasp how vast the Plan or how infinite the atonement that makes it possible.10
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. From eternity to eternity he is the same, and his years never fail. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 76:2-4)Now, these are not concepts that most new-agers and “rational” humanists can abide—this yielding “to the whim” of some invisible Being—but amygdale doesn’t readily understand cerebral cortex, and inflated cerebral cortex will never grasp Mind.
Thus, too many of us just drift along or insist on revising the plan—“doing it our way”—which is God’s great lament.11 He laments because we have shunted ourselves to a lesser outcome than what could have been had we been humble enough to accept things unseen.
We read about the high expectations for kings Saul, David, and Solomon; about the promises and prophecies regarding Oliver Cowdery, Sydney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, et al. al. al. and sometimes debate about God’s choice and “misplaced” confidence, but what if God is just revealing the individual “Plan” for these souls?—like a patriarchal blessing? Some will fill the measure of their plan and others will succumb to ego, temptation, confusion, fear, or those innumerable sins that king Mosiah gave up enumerating.12 But all the while, God is continually guiding and revealing individual life plans and we are forever wandering off into by-ways or sink-holes.13
If only we would put more thought into remembering: Telestial (earth level) isn’t the end-game. It’s the bottom of the ladder and if we think a backpack is the priority, how will we ever get off the ground?
So how to figure things out? It takes singular effort AND an eye single to the glory of God. Perhaps we can begin here:
Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 32:3)and here:
Lectures on Faith: Lectures 1-7 [Doctrine and Covenants 1835] available online at---------------------------------/
[use the side arrows to navigate].
1. In some ways, the philosopher Plato discerned aspects of invisible design, plan, mental construct, etc. when developing his theory of forms. (See Q2: What is the meaning of “good”? at http://dejavu-timestwo.blogspot.ca/2014/09/questions-of-evidence.html ; also http://www.dejavu-times.blogspot.ca/2014/04/a-mathematical-ceiling.html)
2. Pearl of Great Price | Abraham 3:21-28 ~ … for I rule in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, in all wisdom and prudence, over all the intelligences thine eyes have seen from the beginning; I came down in the beginning in the midst of all the intelligences thou hast seen.
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;
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 | Moses 6:56-62 ~ 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.
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.
Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying:
That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;
For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;
Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.
And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.
3. Pearl of Great Price | Moses 2:4-31 ~ 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. (v. 31)
4. Probation: Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 10:21 ~ Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment–seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, ye must be cast off forever.
Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 15:31-32 ~ And [Laman and Lemuel] said unto me: Doth this thing mean the torment of the body in the days of probation, or doth it mean the final state of the soul after the death of the temporal body, or doth it speak of the things which are temporal? And it came to pass that I said unto them that it was a representation of things both temporal and spiritual; for the day should come that they must be judged of their works, yea, even the works which were done by the temporal body in their days of probation.
Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 2:21 ~ 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 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!
Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 33:9 ~ I also have charity for the Gentiles. But behold, for none of these can I hope except they shall be reconciled unto Christ, and enter into the narrow gate, and walk in the strait path which leads to life, and continue in the path until the end of the day of probation.
Book of Mormon | Helaman 13:38 ~ But behold, your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the day of your salvation until it is everlastingly too late, and your destruction is made sure; yea, for ye have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head.
Book of Mormon | Mormon 9:28 ~ Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 29:43 ~ And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation—that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe;
5. Earth Agency:
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 93:31 ~ Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.
Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 2:15-16 ~ And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter. Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.
Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 2:26-27 ~ 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.
6. Pearl of Great Price | Articles of Faith 1:13 ~ We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
7. Old Testament | Jeremiah 1:5 ~ Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
New Testament | John 5:30 ~ I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
Book of Mormon | Mosiah 15:7 ~ Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 19:24 ~ I am Jesus Christ; I came by the will of the Father, and I do his will.
New Testament | Romans 8:29-30 ~ For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to his own image, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
New Testament | Ephesians 1:3-5 ~ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
New Testament | Ephesians 1:10-11 ~ That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
And others including Noah, Moses, John the Baptist, Joseph Smith, etc.
8. No Respecter:
Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 26:33 ~ For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 1:34-36 ~ And again, verily I say unto you, O inhabitants of the earth: I the Lord am willing to make these things known unto all flesh; For I am no respecter of persons, and will that all men shall know that the day speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion. And also the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst, and shall come down in judgment upon Idumea, or the world.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 38:16 ~ And for your salvation I give unto you a commandment, for I have heard your prayers, and the poor have complained before me, and the rich have I made, and all flesh is mine, and I am no respecter of persons.
Lectures on Faith 3:23 [Doctrine and Covenants 1835] ~ But it is also necessary that men should have an idea that he is no respecter of persons, for with the idea of all the other excellencies in his character, and this one wanting, men could not exercise faith in him; because if he were a respecter of persons, they could not tell what their privileges were, nor how far they were authorized to exercise faith in him, or whether they were authorized to do it at all, but all must be confusion; but no sooner are the minds of men made acquainted with the truth on this point, that he is no respecter of persons, than they see that they have authority by faith to lay hold on eternal life, the richest boon of heaven, because God is no respecter of persons, and that every man in every nation has an equal privilege.
New Testament | Acts 10:34-35 ~ Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
9. Flesh: http://dejavu-timestwo.blogspot.ca/2014/11/the-divided-soul.html
10. Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 9:6-15 ~ For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord.
Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.
O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.
And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.
O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.
And because of the way of deliverance of our God, the Holy One of Israel, this death, of which I have spoken, which is the temporal, shall deliver up its dead; which death is the grave.
And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.
O how great the plan of our God! For on the other hand, the paradise of God must deliver up the spirits of the righteous, and the grave deliver up the body of the righteous; and the spirit and the body is restored to itself again, and all men become incorruptible, and immortal, and they are living souls, having a perfect knowledge like unto us in the flesh, save it be that our knowledge shall be perfect.
Wherefore, we shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness; and the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness.
And it shall come to pass that when all men shall have passed from this first death unto life, insomuch as they have become immortal, they must appear before the judgment–seat of the Holy One of Israel; and then cometh the judgment, and then must they be judged according to the holy judgment of God.
Book of Mormon | Alma 34:9 ~ For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made.
12. Book of Mormon | Mosiah 4:29-30 ~ And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them. But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not.
13. A classic example is found in the two Doctrine and Covenants sections 39 and 40 that relate to the promises and failings of James Covill.