Eternal Lives, Past Lives and Reincarnation


EloheimEternalLivesI am strongly opposed to the idea of past lives or reincarnation. I have always considered it a false and pernicious doctrine that leads one to do less than their best in this life, thinking they will always have another chance to get it right in the next life. Some people have said that the church teaches this doctrine and that it is called Eternal Lives (plural). I disagree, believe that most LDS believe as I do, that Eternal Lives means eternal increase and would like to address that in this position paper.

Associated with Adam-God Theory

By way of background I’ve written a little about this before in an essay where I reviewed a book entitled “Teachings of The Doctrine of Eternal Lives.” For some reason, this subject seems to be related to discussions of the Adam-God theory, which I have also written about previously. My position hasn’t changed even though I’ve had many people engage me in private dialog on the subject. They come up with all kinds of weird spins on what we are taught in the temple.

Adam and Eve Immortal at Birth

I remained convinced that Adam was born an immortal child of God our father and his heavenly mother. Eve was also an immortal child of those same resurrected beings. Jesus Christ did not have a mortal experience until he was born unto Mary. What he put aside was not an immortal and exalted body but simply his status as the most intelligent and most advanced of all of Heavenly Father’s children.

No reintroduction of the Veil

I do not believe we have more than one opportunity to pass though mortality. The same applied to God and to Jesus Christ. There was no “reintroduction of the veil” to God, to Christ, to Adam or to any mortal being ever born on this earth. Elohim does indeed mean Gods – plural – which is in line with what I believe that many of us were Gods – and still are. The veil of our mortal bodies simply hides that fact from us for a season.

Definition of the Fathers

The Fathers, in my opinion, are those early patriarchal prophets who have been resurrected and await our joining them when we finish our mortal probation. We are to be like them and to be sealed unto them with the sealing power that can only come from the voice of the Lord. None of them has ever entered the womb again. That simply cannot and does not happen. They are resurrected and exalted beings now. We would do well to emulate their examples in following Christ.

God only Experienced Mortality Once

I do not believe Gods experience mortality more than once. I have re-read the accounts of the King Follett discourse several times. I simply do not see that Joseph taught that doctrine. Jesus helped to frame the worlds under the direction of our Father by virtue of his position as the most intelligent, the most obedient and the most advanced of all our Heavenly Father’s children. He was assisted by Michael, who was to become the first mortal of this earth – Adam.

No Immortal [Exalted Being] Can Become Mortal

I disagree that our Heavenly Father and Mother became mortal again after they were immortal [and exalted]. Sorry. That’s a false doctrine. Yes, it’s true that came to they earth and ate of the fruit of this world. Adam and Eve were born to them here upon this world as immortal beings, from immortal parents. Adam was created of the dust of this earth in the sense that his parents ate of the fruit of this world when he was conceived. They had already had countless spirit children, but Adam and Eve were the first immortal children they brought forth on this world. This was not the first time they had done this. They had brought forth immortal children on countless other worlds before this one.

Immortal Beings Bear Immortal Children

Again, there is never, was never, will never be a time when the veil is reintroduced to an immortal and exalted being. The mortal body is the veil. An immortal [exalted] being will not become a mortal being for any reason. Not even Jesus did this. Yes, he was a God before he was born because he had obtained all knowledge available to him before mortality. But he was not an exalted being. That requires immortality. Immortal beings cannot bring forth mortal children (*See excellent comment from Donald below). Adam and Eve were immortal [but not exalted] until they partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, then became mortal.

Update 4-10-13: I added the words in brackets above

No Past-Life Mortal Experiences

We establish ourselves as valiant in the pre-mortal life by our obedience to the commandments there and our faithfulness to the performance of assigned duty. There are no past-life mortal experiences to be remembered or relied upon as a source of growth or experience. Past-lives is a false doctrine explained by the presence of spirits who have attached themselves to us, which can be easily detected by those with spiritual insight or priesthood keys of discernment. This is clearly taught in books by Mel Fish and Doug Mendenhall.

Pre-Mortal Life is as a Spirit

Adam did not choose to become mortal again. He chose be born as an immortal child of Heavenly Parents and then chose to become mortal just as we are taught. I have never had a mortal life before my present time on earth. I learned and grew in a pre-mortal life in the presence of my Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. I am fairly certain I had some say about the timing of my birth into this world. Like Adam, I am searching for authorized messengers to teach me more. Up to this point I have accepted what I have been taught by prophets in scripture. But I know there is more that can only be received from heavenly messengers or from Christ.

We do not Cycle Through Mortality

I disagree with many on the interpretation of what Joseph taught in the last few months of his life and which Brigham tried to systematize in the endowment. I have studied many interpretations of others on what Joseph and Brigham taught. I have considered many versions of Adam-God theories from numerous individuals who have shared them with me. I simply have never found anything better than Elden Watson’s great summary. It is settled in my mind and has been for many years. I have yet to find anything that can convince me that we will ever become mortal again. That is not what eternal lives means.

Share Greater Light and Knowledge

This is my position paper. If I am wrong, show me where. Provide me with further light and knowledge. Point out my flaws in logic. Let me know where I have misunderstood prophets. I’ve shared this position many times over the years and most everyone has agreed that this is an orthodox understanding of what we as a church believe about the purpose of life and mortality. If you want to know more about the source of the idea of past-lives, let me know and I’ll be happy to share. Past-lives is not a doctrine that originated with God, but it can be explained. If you’re interested, I can add that in the comments.

47 Responses

  1. My problem with reincarnation is based on two considerations — one philosophical/logical and the second scriptural. First, I have no idea what it could mean to that “I” am reincarnated when there is nothing to identify this new and different person with “me.” The person born after me who is supposedly a reincarnation of “me” does not have my body, my memories, my personality, my family, my life or what I learned. How could there be any point of contact to suggest that this new person is somehow “me”? It seems to me that the very notion of reincarnation is incoherent and meaningless. There are no criteria of personal identity that it could satisfy that would be logically meaningful to say that this new person is the same as the one I was before. No, it entails that there are two distinct personal identities and identifying them as a single individual is vacuous of any coherent meaning.

    The second consideration is Alma 11:45: “Now, behold, I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided; thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal, that they can no more see corruption.”

    The notion of reincarnation requires that this verse is untrue — our bodies will not be joined to the spirit again “never to be divided” and it is not true that “they can die no more” if reincarnation is true. If Alma 40:11 reveals the truth, then reincarnation is false.

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    • I am not taking a position here. I like the scripture reference, but don’t really follow your logic in your first point. Following your same logic in the standard LDS model, how could there be any continuity of identity from the premortal state to a mortal state? Do you really think there is nothing that connects or preserves the fundamental identity from one state to the next? If you do think there is, why would it be any different in a reincarnation model? (unless you for some reason are supposing no existence of soul in a reincarnation model)

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      • Steve: My argument is based on the logic of identity. If X is the same F (thing) in some sense as Y, there must be properties in common between them that are essential to identity. Such properties do not obtain with re-incarnation. What identifies a pre-mortal spirit and a mortal body as the same person is the continuity of moral character, a continuous spiritual body that retains its level of growth in light and knowledge in subsequent lives from the prior lives. In the re-incarnation model these continuities do not obtain. The next life is bereft of the knowledge and moral gains made in the prior life.

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      • meekmildmagnificent: I am assuming you are not Blake, since your name and writing style are both different. I think your point is valid, but only in some particular or narrow interpretation of reincarnation (I am sure there are many variations). However, one could easily imagine a different view of a series of mortalities where the “continuous spirit body… retains its level of growth in light and knowledge from the prior lives” (l would guess only one mortal life per earth if we’re trying to integrate it into LDS theology). Just like in the standard model where one progressed previous to this life in spirit, this new model suggests that progression may have occurred both in spirit and in previous mortal lives as well. I see no reason for the dissolution of identity in this model any more than the standard.

        That said, I don’t necessarily agree with the concept of multiple mortalities, I just disagree with this argument against it.

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  2. Why I don’t believe in One and Done

    Are you willing to hear things that you’ve never heard before?

    Or will you reject things that go contrary to what you’ve been taught as you receive higher knowledge? As I have received more truth…the more I’ve realize how much more truth there is to know…an exponentially greater amount than I could have ever conceived of. As Alma puts it… you receive more and more until you know things of God in full.

    Alma 12: 9-11

    9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
    10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.
    11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.

    Not only is it a struggle to find the truth, it’s then another struggle to tell other people about it because they reject it out of hand. They reject it because it is new and they haven’t heard it a hundred times before or it goes contrary to what the “authorities” have said. So most people “harden their hearts” against anything new. So on the off chance you will not harden your heart…here it is.

    What if we are given not just one time on earth to be taught…but many times?

    Some people are born without the gospel and never have an opportunity to accept or reject it. The standard line that we are told is that such people will have a chance to accept it or reject it in the spirit world. And good news! If they accept it they can go on to exaltation!

    Really? Exaltation is that simple? No experience living the gospel…no testing to see if you’ll pay tithing…or be chaste and virtuous…just straight to exaltation and godhood for you?

    Under the doctrine of multiple probations… it makes it fair that those without the gospel now, to be born again in another time and place to have the opportunity to receive the gospel or reject it.

    How about those who die as a child? The standard church line is that this particular child was so valiant in the pre-existence that they only needed to get a body and then it’s off to eternal exaltation for them.

    Really? How can you be a god and understand the suffering of your children on an earth if you yourself have never suffered? You never even had a toothache…or a fever…or even the sniffles. So how can you be this compassionate and understanding god if you’ve never experienced it for yourself?

    And by the way…if you die as a child…where is your eternal marriage that is needed for your exaltation? We are taught that it must be done here on earth…so how is it that you are “exalted” if you’re not married? Now I know that people will say…‘Oh…well…God will work that out somehow and you will get a partner.”

    Really? No struggles as a young married couple? No fights or arguments to overcome? No bonding through trials? No wayward children to worry over? Just straight to exaltation and godhood for you. Wow…sounds great! Sign me up!

    If you can accept it…the truth is that that the child who dies will be born again and will have another chance to experience life in its fullness. We are down here to be tested and to have a full range of experience…and you can’t do it all with “one and done” as we are taught.

    Is it fair that the mentally handicapped don’t experience life as we do? It would be grossly unfair under the “one and done” doctrine. But under multiple probations…this is just another experience they have in a long ongoing line of lives.

    I can understand that many people will question this idea of multiple probations. What is sad is that most will reject it as false doctrine without even bothering to pray about it. They won’t even give Heavenly Father the courtesy of asking so they can get an answer. The typical member of the Church will usually reply “If that is true, why hasn’t the prophet told us?”

    For some reason he assumes that no one could possibly know any truth unless the prophet proclaims it. Well could it be that the prophet knows this but the people are not ready to receive it? Thus these truths must be discovered by each one of us as we are ready to receive the truth. Salvation is… by necessity… an individual pursuit. There is no group salvation…we are saved one by one. And therefore knowledge must be gained one by one as you are prepared to receive it.

    By the way…did the Jews believe in multiple mortalities? Yes they did. They were expecting the prophets to come back again. Remember they asked if Christ were one of the prophets come back again.

    Matt 16: 13-14

    3 ¶ When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
    14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

    They ask John the Baptist the same thing…are you one of the prophets that have come back?

    John 1: 19-25

    19 ¶ And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
    20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
    21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
    22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
    23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
    24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.
    25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?

    Why would the Jews ask Christ and John the Baptist these questions if the doctrine of multiple mortalities was not a widely accepted?

    The Jews knew and believed in the doctrine.

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    • I keep thinking about this statement……

      Really? How can you be a god and understand the suffering of your children on an earth if you yourself have never suffered? You never even had a toothache…or a fever…or even the sniffles. So how can you be this compassionate and understanding god if you’ve never experienced it for yourself?

      How did Christ work out the atonement? He didn’t experience a lot of things I’ve experienced. Yet somehow through His earthly experience and the experience in the Garden of Gethsemene He understands all earthly experiences perfectly. And if we can become joint-heirs of ALL He has, couldn’t that include His unique and perfect understanding?

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    • Bruce, I’m still pondering your comment, but reading CCM’s response triggered this thought, well, actually this link to an earlier essay I wrote on what really happened in the Garden of Gethsemane that night:

      http://latterdaycommentary.com/2008/05/10/the-atonement-of-jesus-christ/

      It answers for me how it is possible that Christ could understand everything we went through even though he did not deserve any of the pain, suffering and sorrow we’ve tasted in a small part. Hope it helps.

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      • Tim,

        To you and CCM…I understand your point…but you are talking about Christ who was in a unique position to understand all things. He had already progressed. I’m talking about the average person who is not a God when he comes here.

        I didn’t know I could bring Denver into the conversation when I made my first post. But since others have quoted him, then I feel free to bring him into the conversation. Have your considered this post?

        http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2010/04/parable.html

        “A parable – for which I borrow Hindu and Buddhist notions to make it possible to tell.

        There was a certain man who feared not God nor regarded his fellow man; who was filled with ungoverned lust and anger. He married, fathered a child, and abused his son daily, for he was without compassion. In the course of his abuse, he injured his son frequently. When the child was a young boy, in a fit of anger, the man killed his son. He was arrested, convicted of the murder, and executed.

        Time is known only to man, but not to God, for all things past, present and future are before Him at all times in one eternal “now.” God, who is merciful and whose purpose is to improve His children, to bring about their immortality and lead them into eternal life, needed this man to understand within his heart how his acts affect others. For the man regarded not his fellow man and could not feel compassion for his wicked deeds. With God all things are possible, and therefore the man was sent back again to mortality for further instruction.

        When he returned, the man was born as the son of a certain man who feared not God nor regarded his fellow man. His father was filled with ungoverned lust and anger. His father abused him daily and in the course of abuse he was frequently injured. One day the father killed him.

        When men die they return to God, who gave them life, and so the child, who had once been a wicked man, returned again to God. The Lord asked him upon his return: “Do you now understand?”

        The man replied, “Yes. I have been both. I have been the victim and I have been the perpetrator. I have been the father and I have been the son. I have released my uncontrolled anger and I have been the victim of it. I remember abusing and I also remember being abused. I see now that when I was ungovernable and unkind it was only myself who I abused. What I have given has returned to me and I have caused my own suffering.”

        The Lord said, “It is well. Now let these experiences work in you, for without the opportunity to use them to live aright, you are not yet ready.”

        Having been the wicked father and the abused son, the man returned again to the same time and place to now be a neighbor of the wicked man and the abused son. How, then, ought the neighbor act so as to show he had truly learned?”

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  3. Well said Tim. Nothing I disagree with in your position paper.

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    • Thanks Steven. And thanks for the link back to your writings. I always like it when readers are willing to let others read more about them, their past writings and where they stand on things. Helps to feel more connected and have an intelligent conversation.

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  4. The devil corrupts every truth. He offers crystal balls for seer stones; he offers trinity for unity of Gods, he offers magic and witchcraft for priesthood; false robes of the priesthood (university graduation regalia) for true priesthood robes; soothsayers for prophets; false astrology for astronomy which does offer true signs and testimony; and he offers reincarnation for multiple estates of mortality and probation/doctrine of eternal lives. There is a difference between what the devil teaches to confuse and what is true.

    If the Spirit doesn’t teach the truth of the doctrine of eternal lives to you and it seems too much like reincarnation, the devil’s counterfeit, then perhaps you don’t understand the truth yet. This is probably best. It’s a sacred doctrine that the Lord Himself should teach you in time.

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    • I’m open to it Rob. I know my position paper is a little forcefully stated. It came in response to another reader in a private dialog. That’s why I put it up here – because I feel strongly about it. The problem is that I probably don’t understand the doctrine of Eternal Lives as you and Bruce do. I’ve read the book, I studied it off and on for about a year. So far, I can’t get past my orthodox Mormon upbringing which always equated Eternal Lives with Eternal increase – the ability to have children after the resurrection – both spirit children and immortal children. I appreciate your comment that it’s a sacred doctrine that should be taught directly by the Lord. Until that day arrives, I just wanted to publish what my natural mind can comprehend today.

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  5. And because I referred to it in the essay, I thought I would share how it’s possible that someone can, under hypnosis, tell you all kinds of things about their past lives (I’ve been reading Remarkable Healings by Shakuntala Modi and The Unquiet Dead by Dr. Edith Fiore). I encountered similar stuff in the writings of Dr. Fish but he didn’t use hypnosis. Of course this is just my opinion. Yours is just as valid.

    I have long believed that we can acquire spirit attachments. That is a nice way of saying mild possession. I don’t know how the mechanics work – if the spirits just kind of hang around or they actually co-habit our bodies. As I’ve noted several times on my blog, there are two kinds: 1) those who have never had a body and never will and 2) those who have died but won’t move on in the spirit world.

    Dr. Modi and Dr. Fiori both document in their books how these spirit attachments reveal themselves when the patient is under hypnosis. I’ve never wanted to go under hypnosis because of the feeling of being out of control. And yet, I allowed myself to be anesthetized last year when I had a colonoscopy. I wonder if any LDS counselors or psychologists use hypnotherapy. Even Bruce R wrote that was OK.

    In any event, it is my opinion that past lives is a real thing in that they refer to the past lives of the spirits that may be attached, hanging around or co-habiting you. Of course these would be those that have died and haven’t moved on. That brings up the question or makes me wonder if maybe an evil spirit could be impersonating one of those spirits who hasn’t moved on. Has anybody studied this in any detail?

    But just to be clear, the past lives are not your past lives. In other words, it’s not like Shirley MacLaine tells it in her books and many of her movies. I stand by what I wrote in my essay. Until and unless the Lord teaches me otherwise, we do not live multiple mortal probations. The past lives that can be detected in hypnosis are the past lives of the spirits who are attached or are hanging around with you.

    Have you ever wondered how a psychic or palm reader can tell you things about you that nobody else could possibly know? It’s because of those spirits that hang around you. They are more than willing to tell the “familiar spirit” of the psychic things that only someone who has been watching you for many years can know. I know it sounds creepy, but to me it explains how physics can do what they do.

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  6. Exploring this a little via comments from others in support of the concept, I find it both difficult to dismiss or embrace. When I find myself embracing it, it really alters my perception of my life and others’ lives. It also potentially explains how Christ was qualified to do everything that he did. It also seems to eliminate any feelings of inferiority or superiority to other souls (which seems rather Christ like). At the same time, it’s so altering to my understanding of mortality that it’s pretty disorienting. I will have to ponder this further and of course ultimately ask for further understanding from God. Although, I don’t know if it’s something that I need to know at this point.

    I was curious if D. Snuffer ever touched on the subject, and the only thing I could find was this post: http://denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2011/04/about-eternal-lives.html . I’m not sure what to even read into the fact that he essentially posted an advertisement for a book on the topic, but offered no commentary.

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  7. “Immortal beings cannot bring forth mortal children.” I wondered if you thought an immortal being could have a child with a mortal being?

    I’m also curious to know what you think of these verses in Sec. 132:

    24 This is eternal lives—to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am he. Receive ye, therefore, my law.

    25 Broad is the gate, and wide the way that leadeth to the deaths; and many there are that go in thereat, because they receive me not, neither do they abide in my law.

    “The deathS”……I’m not sure what to make of that

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    • What an awesome comment, Donald. That adds so much. Of course we believe (at least I do) that an immortal being fathered a child with a female mortal being. The resultant child was both mortal and immortal. This is obviously referring to the Savior. I did not think about that as I was writing my position statement. Your point is that important I almost feel like I need to go back and add it in there.

      My interpretation of liveS has always been the ability to procreate after the resurrection and upon receiving exaltation. I also am not sure what to think of deathS unless it means the tragic sense of loss over what might have been. If you or somebody else knows more, teach me.

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      • Tim,

        Snuffer does take on this topic and he, in his usual non-committal way, seems to be endorsing the idea. He poses leading questions without actually giving an answer, but you can tell from the nature of the questions what he is implying.

        He gave a talk called “The First Three Words” about the first three words of the endowment. You can get it here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/88629102/First-Three-Words-Denver-Snuffer

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      • I’ve thought the same thing about liveS and deathS. I’m not sure either way about MMP…..I sense some of the same paradoxes you suggest in your blog…yet I don’t yet know…..so I leave it on the back burner. Meanwhile, do you suppose it may be possible for a mortal man to have a child with an immortal woman? I’m not aware of any hints in the scriptures…..just wondering out loud. Thank you for your blog…I appreciate it.

        Kind regards :)

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      • For Latterdayseeker: Thanks I’ve read it once. Reading it again today (42 pages). Here’s a better link. The other one stopped after page 4: http://www.scribd.com/doc/75128804/1st3Words-1

        Update: OK, I went back and read the whole thing. Although this is grossly unfair to Denver and to any who have not read the piece, here is his summary at the end. Nowhere in the talk did I see any allusions to going back and living again. Sorry, this one mortal life is all you get.

        First, there are those who were identified as “the Gods” before the world was organized.

        Second, there were those for whom this world was designed to be a time of “proving” and testing who were not identified as “the Gods” before the world was organized.

        Third, Joseph regarded those who were identified as “the Gods” to be “sons of God who exalted themselves to be gods before the world was made.”

        Fourth, you cannot know the group to which you belong because there is a veil between all of us and the pre-earth existence. The risks of mortality, however, are the same for all who are here. The way back is the same no matter which group you belong to, and either can fall from their exaltation or can acquire their exaltation, depending entirely upon the kind of life they live here.

        Fifth, only the Lord knows and can tell you of your pre-earth status. If you learn of that it will be only through revelation.

        Sixth, nothing about this changes the risks of mortality or the obligations we owe to God while here. It should not change in any way the life you live. It may let you understand things differently, may give you more hope for things, or a deeper appreciation for some ideas, but it should not change how you understand your obligation to live your life. I am hoping, however, that it gives you a new way to view the endowment and how much more we can see within it with a little effort to open our eyes, and follow the admonition from Elohim, to “see.”

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  8. Wondering how these verses fit here (or not)……

    Jeremiah 18:2-6

    2 Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.

    3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.

    4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

    5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

    6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

    Brigham Young comments on these verses:

    “The clay that marred in the potter’s hand was thrown back into the unprepared portion, to be prepared over again. So it will be with every wicked man and woman, and every wicked nation, kingdom and government upon earth, sooner or later; they will be thrown back to the native element from which they originated, to be worker over again, and be prepared to enjoy some sort of a kingdom.” (JD 2:124)

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  9. Tim, the point I was trying to make with Snuffer’s paper is that the “Gods”, the noble and great, shed their exalted bodies to come to earth, be born in the flesh and go through mortality in order to assist their children. So at least one group of people who are here on this earth have previously been gods with all that entails. As Snuffer points out:

    “For those who qualified before this life to be “exalted” to meet the definition of the word, they must have been sealed into a family unit, husband and wife, possessing the capacity for the continuation of lives. This would mean, therefore, that the Elohim (being plural) included those who were parents. Parents whose decision to come here and prove their own children, required them to in turn come and minister here as servants for those children whom they hope to redeem.

    We have a very limited view of the workings of God among men. We have taken a Judeo-Christian view when we were meant to understand things which go far beyond anything these religious traditions have been able to retain. The Restoration of All Things was supposed to revolutionize our understanding.”

    It seems clear to me that Snuffer is trying to disabuse us of the notion that we were all spirits before we came here and that this is our first time in mortality, at least those who belong to “the noble and great”. They were exalted and lived in family units. Can’t be done without passing through a mortality. They are here on the earth right now though they were formally gods, part of the Eloheim. Christ would have been one of them, with an exalted body, not a spirit. How else could he have been the great God Jehovah? How does one become a God without having passed through a mortality? I echo the words of a wise man who once said in a film I saw, “I cannot comprehend such a being!”. How do you know that you are not one of this select group who shed their immortal bodies to come here (again) and test you children? Why would Snuff say,

    “Sixth, nothing about this changes the risks of mortality or the obligations we owe to God while here. It should not change in any way the life you live.”?

    Just because we may have been exalted before doesn’t mean we will remain exalted in the eternities. We, or whoever the noble and great are, were willing to take that risk to descend into a telestial state (again) because we loved our children enough to become “Saviors on Mount Zion” for them. At least that’s the way I read his essay.

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    • Ltterdayseeker

      I sensed the same thing from Denver. I suppose our first Father and Mother fell from their exalted state so that man might be. I believe the only way we can know if any of us were among those noble and great ones is by prayer and the power of the Holy Ghost.

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    • I’ve read it, re-read it and pondered it all day in between work activities. I opened the scriptures and asked the Lord to help me understand Abraham 3:18-28 a little better. I’ll tell you one thing that became clearer to me as I read it. It’s the idea that spirits have always existed, as opposed to being born. The scripture (verse 18) says the spirits have no beginning. Cross-reference that to D&C 93:29. If someone can refer me to a good discussion / clarification of the differences between intelligence and spirit, I would greatly appreciate it.

      We refer to ourselves as spirit children of God and that he is the Father of our spirits, yet the spirit is eternal and has no beginning. So a spirit, our spirits, were never born, they are eternal and have always existed. How did our intelligences get organized (v 22)? My mortal mind is having a hard time comprehending the idea of spirit birth. Is that a false doctrine, not supported by scripture, but simply something we have taught in this church because it sounds good or feels good and is easier for the mortal mind to comprehend?

      I found a nice discussion of spirit birth here:

      http://smallsimple.wordpress.com/2011/07/25/literal-spirit-birth-2010-smpt-paper/

      And an even better one here:

      http://www.newcoolthang.com/index.php/category/theology/spirit-birth/

      I’m no theologian. I just want to get straight in my mind some clear definitions of intelligence and spirit. I think I have a good understanding of exaltation and of what is an exalted being. I can’t get past Hebrews 9:27 – “it is appointed unto men once to die.” I would never want to go through mortality again. I think someone already brought up Alma 11:45: “…this mortal body is raised to an immortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided…”

      I just can’t bring myself to believe that an exalted being would or could set aside their exaltation to become mortal again. If Denver’s conclusions are correct, then I’m obviously one of those being tested, because I simply can’t accept that doctrine. I will pray about it and ask the Lord now that I have studied it out in more detail. I have been reading in Denver’s first book again where he talks about proofs as being subjective experiences where you know in a unique way to you that something you are asking about is truth.

      Thanks for the great dialog everyone. I’ll report back the results of my continued pondering and prayer. By the way, is there a forum or online discussion group somewhere dedicated to Denver’s writings? And, in case anyone was wondering, the author of the book I used in the accompanying photo for this post is a member of the Apostolic United Brethren. You can read more about them here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostolic_United_Brethren I am not endorsing his book, this one or any of his many other books. Just thought you might like to know.

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      • There are indeed forums dedicated to Snuffer’s writings. Two of the best ones I have found are at http://www.ldsfreedomforum.com/. Create an account then ask Brian Mecham (brmecham@gmail.com) to add you to two of the private, invitation-only forums. One is called Approaching The Heavenly Gift and the other is called Greater Things. They are private because too many people wanted to bash Snuffer on the public forums and it got rather contentious. These two forums are for those who can act civil in discussing Snuff’s teachings.

        Point Brian to your blog and show him your favorable treatment of Snuffer and he will have no problem letting you in.

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  10. God introduced the idea of eternal lives (taking on a body more than once) about a year ago for me. If you become as a child, open to new ideas and believing, and nourish the seed it will bear great fruit. Unfortunately, Most will cast it away because of unbelief and traditions.

    If you have a believing heart, you will find the scriptures will begin to open up to you in ways you’ve never before considered regarding eternal lives. I know the principle is true.

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    • Thanks Adam. As I wrote yesterday, I said I would pray about it and report back. The answer I got was, “You need to study this out more in order to understand it better so you can ask an intelligent question.” In other words, God did not witness to me that Denver was right or wrong about the concept – at least not yet. My conclusion: I will continue to study it out. God gave me a brain and is still teaching me how to use it.

      To latterdayseeker: thanks for making me go back and read Snuffer’s talk the third time, and for quoting the part that I had overlooked the first two times. He can sure get long-winded in his introductions. Why didn’t he just reference the scriptures and the pertinent parts of Joseph’s last 1844 public addresses and then make his points? I guess he must have felt that to come right out and say what he meant was too direct.

      For the record, this is his statement that still bothers me: “Parents whose decision to come here and prove their own children, required them to in turn come and minister here as servants for those children whom they hope to redeem.” I can still see this as God ministering to us through Jesus when he came and worked out the atonement. Jesus always taught that the Father was in him so God was in effect ministering to us.

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      • Speaking about the brain…the way it works is, our brain processes information that comes both through our physical senses (eyes, ears, skin, etc.) and through our spiritual senses. Once the information arrives to a certain part of the brain, the brain decides to keep it as important information and make you aware of it or discard it as not important. The decision made has to do with statistics. For example, if I play soccer, watch soccer, follow soccer news, etc. all the time, then if I were to be in a room full of people talking, and I heard “soccer”, my mind would focus attention to that particular group, because according to what “my eye” focuses on most of the time, this is something with a high percentage of importance. For most people, the spiritual learning that their spiritual man does all the time, both during the day and during the night watch, comes as not sufficiently important and is discarded. Let’s say tonight you go to sleep, and in your sleep your spirit self goes into the realm of heaven, and sees wonderful things. Once the spirit self comes back, it downloads all that information into your brain, but the brain says: “ups, not important”, so you wake up, and have not a single thought about the subject. Sometimes there are flashes that pierce through that brain veil we’ve put on, but they are hard to understand because we don’t have all connections. So, what I’m trying to say here is, first of all, your spirit self knows many more things than you can imagine and he’s been taught by angels already, almost certainly. Second, we can “decide” to remember and process all the spirit learns, you have to tell yourself you want to remember those things and then go and read D&C 88:67-68, which explains how when we focus or have our eye single to the glory of God, then eventually that veil parts (the brain now processes that information and you become aware of it). When we want to learn new spiritual truth, we need to go in, and from inside out to the realm of the Kingdom of God.

        About eternal lives, I was a fierce defender of your theory exposed here, more traditional in LDS thought. However, little by little the Lord has shown me this is not the case. Once you start learning the truth about it, you realize it was kind of crazy that at one point you though it wasn’t true.

        Also, if you go back to Egyptian rituals and religion, the kind they got “from the fathers”, they talk about a higher self who lives in heaven, and multiple selfs that come to this earth in a mortal probation. All of these are part of one being, you. You have a body, soul, spirit, and holy spirit. The body, soul, and spirit might be different everytime we come to this Earth, but the holy spirit or higher self is always the same. Our spirit is part of our higher self. It’s a little difficult to understand at first, but the more you tap into it, the more the Lord shows you. I recommend also to read “One Eternal Round” and “The message of the Joseph Smith Papyri” from Hugh Nibley.

        God bless you all!
        Praise the Lord!

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  11. I have had many questions arise as I have pondered this question. I have also had some divine guidance to remember that there are other worlds that this earth was formed after. Would the multiple mortalities not contain opportunities to grow on other worlds or earths, but because this is an experience evidently the hardest and most refining of all, our spirit qualifies to come down here for certain critical experiences. Our spirits can have many experiences, but I believe this earth life, this earth that we stand on, is a one time deal.

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    • Yvonne,

      Many people I respect believe this very thing. And now that you have added your voice to theirs, I would tend to agree with you. That for the righteous this is a one time shot…that your multiple moralities were on other worlds and this is a one time deal here on this earth because this is an extreme test.

      However for the wicked…where would they go? If it is true that this is the worst of all worlds.. that.Satan has stolen this world as his own…then if you are wicked here…are you going to a better world for your next probation? That sounds like a reward for evil doing. So I don’t think you go to a nicer place if you are wicked here. I’m thinking you come right back here to this earth… back to.the worst of all worlds…back here to hell. Because you haven’t learned your lessons and you are stuck here until you do. In scriptural terms I think that is called… “being thrust down to hell”. They wicked only stay here until they have learned their lessons and then they move on to a better place next time.

      It then follows that those who have proved themselves righteous from other probations are down here in hell by assignment to help those stuck here to learn those very same lessons so that they can escape out of here. The righteous are here to preach the gospel to the spirits in prison.

      If I am incorrect, I am more than willing to adjust my beliefs.

      But I think we can agree…whether it was here or on some other world…this life is not the first time you have experienced a mortality.

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  12. Tim:

    I’ve thought about responding to your post, but have hesitated to do so.

    Let me just say this. Learning about the Adam-God doctrine (and not the Adam Sr/Adam Jr version) was the start of my coming out of my box. It made so much sense to me that Adam and Eve are the prototypes of what happens if we successfully go from mortal to immortal. Also it makes sense to me that the Father and Mother of my spirit would want to start the process of clothing it with flesh. Exalted beings have power over life and death and so why wouldn’t they have the power to become once again mortal, and when that assignment has been completed, to take upon them again their immortal status?

    Now this is just one part of the process of eternal lives, but it is where I began my understanding. What did not make sense to me, as has been expressed above, is how a person will learn enough from 1 mortal probation to go on to become a god. To me the spirit world is our book learning and mortality is where we really learn and incorporate those lessons. Don’t know about you, but I typically don’t get everything right the first time around. And I sure don’t want a god presiding over me who didn’t get everything right. Do you?

    Anyways, thanks for the post – even the Adam Sr/Jr link and allowing the comments.

    Steve

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    • BTW, here is a link to some writings by JJ Dewey that talk about this subject: http://www.greaterthings.com/JJDewey/Eternal_Lives/index.html

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      • I would just add the caveat that greaterthings.com is run by an apostate by the name of Sterling Allan. Just saying.

        Tim, I would also be leery about the doctrine of MMP. Many fundamentalist polygamists believe such a doctrine. Also just saying.

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      • Hi, Steven.

        In the interests of full disclosure, I would add that JJ Dewey was excommunicated from the Church, possibly for teaching false doctrines. Of course, false doctrine today (i.e. Adam-God) can be the doctrine taught repeatedly by the president of the Church yesterday (i.e. Brigham Young). Heck, I had a stake president tell me that Lorenzo’s couplet was not doctrine, despite being taught from the pulpit at general conference. Given our course of study for Relief Society and Priesthood this year, I’ve been meaning to ask him where he ever got that idea…

        So, I no longer care if a thing is doctrine or not. Because doctrine in the Church can and does change. Are we not mostly interested if a thing is true or not? And JJ gives plenty of scriptures to ponder in deciding if he is speaking the truth or not. I’ve been taught plenty of truth by fundamentalists.

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  13. I had the same reaction as you, Tim, when I first read the Doctrine of Eternal Lives. A neighbor of mine shared it with me probably four years ago. This friend has withdrawn his name from the church, so I was very suspicious (an understatement) when I read it. His motive in giving it to me was probably a little suspect, too, as his faith waned because of all the reading and studying he has done and he was trying to “open my eyes” to the fact that I don’t know everything there is to know and perhaps get me to question my own membership.

    I did NOT find it convincing, but acknowledged it did present a few scriptures or quotes that I couldn’t explain…but they were not sufficient to override my knowledge of the scriptures Tim has brought up that seem to contradict the concept. I gave the book back telling my friend that I was not convinced, but that I also wouldn’t go so far as to say with absolute certainty that it was false, but rather, I felt a feeling to just put the topic “on the shelf of my mind” for the time being and not worry about it.

    Meantime, I had read all of Denver Snuffer’s books one by one as they came out beginning in 2006. I had numerous experiences and verifications from the spirit that he was telling the truth and that his message was inspired and “approved” by the Lord…even commissioned I would say. I was feeling the fruits of the message in my personal life in a most powerful way bringing me closer to Christ than I had through 40 + years of active, dedicated church membership.

    I about fell out of my chair when I read on Denver’s blog for the first time a couple of almost consecutive posts that eluded to the concept of eternal lives. I recommend you read them. They were posts regarding Alma 13. I would read everything Denver wrote on that chapter as it is most enlightening, but I will just include the three that were specifically referring to the idea that there is something more going on with this whole plan than what we suppose. http://www.denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2010/06/alma-133.html , http://www.denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2010/06/alma-137.html , http://www.denversnuffer.blogspot.com/2010/06/alma-1310.html ,
    (if my links don’t work, you can find these on Denver’s blog in June of 2010…verses 3, 7 and 10)

    When I read these posts, I realized that perhaps I had prematurely set aside the ideas in the book mentioned above….or maybe, I just wasn’t ready for the concepts yet…especially since the source was “negative” in my view.

    I won’t give all the details, but it has been an interesting 3 years since then and I have to say that while I don’t profess to understand exactly how it works with absolute certainty, I do feel certain there is truth to it and it actually explains many concepts that I couldn’t piece together before.

    My husband used to always joke, half seriously, that we are living in hell. (meaning this earth life feels like hell sometimes and hell couldn’t be any worse). I actually think he was speaking a portion of truth. After all, “we go with Adam into the Telestial KINGDOM, or the world in which we now live” after the fall. The telestial kingdom is full of liars, sorcerers, whoremongers and adulterers. Seems pretty descript of where I currently dwell. The Holy Ghost ministers to the Telestial….sounds pretty descript for the most part again. If this is a “telestial kingdom” according to the temple…then why don’t I just take those words for what they are instead of trying to explain them away some other way. There is an eternal round going on here.

    I had often wondered about the phrase by the Savior “how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chicks and ye would not.” I always wondered how I could be receiving this scathing rebuke when as far as I knew, this was the first time I was being attempted to be gathered by Him. I also wondered how it was that a people like the Jews could be held accountable generation after generation for the rejection and crucifixion of the Savior when they weren’t the ones that did it. How could God be just to allow the atrocities that have been laid upon the Jews for centuries and centuries upon their descendants for something their ancestors did millennium ago.

    For years I had pondered the idea that Heavenly Father was a “Christ” in His mortal probation. I read something by John Taylor that confirmed the idea. After all, He did everything that His Father did. If that were the case, then it almost seemed out of place that you or I could actually really ever be like Heavenly Father, because our mortality was so much inferior to what he did. Then a blog I read confirmed the irony of believing in the plan of one probation to become like God as we currently teach. It said something to the effect of :

    If Heavenly Father were once mortal like us, let’s just say he was a regular Joe Elder’s quorum member…even the President of the quorum. Father of six, engineer and so forth. He lives faithfully, qualifies for exaltation and becomes a “Heavenly Father” based upon his actions in this mortal probation. He begins to beget spirit children and his first child is Jesus Christ. Who from the very instance of his creation is perfect. He makes no errors of judgement, commits no sin through all of his spirit pre-mortal life, creates the worlds, then fulfills the plan of salvation by going down to earth and living a sinless life and offers himself as an infinite sacrifice. Yet all the while, the Savior is subject to the Father (this exalted Elder’s Quorum President)…a God that in his probation made lots of mistakes. Sinned repeatedly, etc. Yet, that Elder’s Quorum had a son(Christ) who OUTDID him in mortality!!! I don’t think so. Doesn’t make any sense. Unless, of course, you prescribe to the concept of eternal lives. Then you would see a progression of probations wherein you become gods at different levels of progression that condescend to help others as well as further themselves in their perfection. I’m not certain of how it works, but right now I believe in some sort of a progression where over eternities my husband and I progress and hold different offices of progression after many many eons of still further learning after this life…perhaps sometime eventually qualifying for the trust of being an Abraham and Sarah, then an Adam and Eve, a Christ and Mary M., a Heavenly Father and Mother. I don’t know. But it is making more sense to me than the traditional one probation then off to being like Heavenly Father concept.

    More could be said, but I’ve gone too long already. Best wishes figuring this out. It has been a wonderful journey of enlightenment for me.

    Karen

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  14. I believe the concept of multiple lives very strongly. I kept my mind open to the possibility of Multiple lives a couple of years ago and as I studied the scriptures the concept was being taught to me constantly. I still can’t fit all the scriptures together to get a good cohesive understanding but the doctrine is taught over and over again.

    I have only met Denver once. I asked him a couple of question about the Holy Ghost and being born again. He never answered my questions The was I wanted him to. He has a way of doing that. But he did say one thing to me that I thought was interesting. We were standing by a car and he put his finger on the side of that car and he said (as best as I can remember) this is us here on earth (referring to his finger on the car.) Now, put points to the left of this point going back 2 blocks and you will get an idea of all the lives you have lived getting to this point. And then he said, Now, add points to the right of this point 2 blocks and you will get an idea of the lives we still need to live before we can get to understand how God is. Those are not his exact words but that was his exact meaning. He never said if all those lives were mortal lives or not but I got the impressions that at least some of them were.

    I don’t blame anyone for not believing the doctrine. There are aspects of it I am unclear about but I am moved by the spirit that it is a true doctrine

    A post by Denver call The Games afoot talks about it. He never states whether is believes or not but says, what does it matter if it is true or not? Today and this life is what matters. Get to Know the Lord now.

    I like that advice. Good luck to all of us on that journey.

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  15. Are you saying that Adam and Eve did not die as noted in the scriptures, but being born of immortal parents, they just were maybe taken away? This would be in direct opposition to Genesis 5:5 which states ” And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.”

    Thanks,
    Glenn

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    • Hi Glenn,

      Not sure if your question was directed to another reader or to me, but I’ll answer. Adam and Eve died. Like all mortals they left this life the same way you or I do. They were unique in that were born as immortal but not glorified or exalted beings, became mortal by choice and a process of eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They were born of heavenly, immortal parents who came to this earth for the very purpose of bringing forth children here. I have no doubt that Adam and Eve have long since been resurrected, shortly after the Savior. Things were different in this world way back when right after the fall. How else could men and women lived so long? It wasn’t until after the flood that the life of man was shortened. But the straight answer is, Adam and Eve were born as Immortals and died as mortals.

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      • It was you that I was replying to. However, this goes in direct opposition to your assertion that “No Immortal Can Become Mortal.” This gets into some murky theological ground here. But, in my opinion, there must be some difference between an unmortal person who later becomes mortal and an immortal person who is so because of the resurrection.

        Glenn

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      • Thanks Glenn. I have modified the post section heading to reflect my intention. I added [Exalted Being] in addition to being immortal. It should have read “No Exalted Being can Become Immortal.” With so many others commenting here to the contrary, I’m not sure that the correction makes much of a difference because the assertion by others is that yes, they can and do lay aside their exalted status to take up a mortal tabernacle again. Is there a difference between the idea of laying aside an immortal body as opposed to laying aside an exalted body? Are they the same – immortal and exalted? Or is the assertion by others that taking up a mortal tabernacle again comes before the resurrection and exaltation. Still pondering…

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  16. Here is Denver’s blog….seems like sound advise to me:

    The game’s afoot
    I was asked the following question:

    “I ordered the book The Doctrine of Eternal Lives, but not yet received it. I am a little caught off guard. Is this teaching true? I haven’t read enough to pray about it and I haven’t received the book to study it yet. Can you tell me if it’s true?”

    My response:

    I’ve never propounded this view, because whether true or not, it does not change a single thing about your life now. You have a challenge before you which can only be met by keeping every requirement established by the Lord for your redemption now.

    I fear those who are most enamored by this teaching are only distracted by it. They speculate about their own past history (or histories), and don’t realize their present life is slipping into history without adequate attention being given to the moment-to-moment responsibilities we are called upon to meet every second of this life.

    So, I leave it to you to decide if there’s something to it or not. But, I’d remind you, even if you decide there is truth in it, nothing should change. The game’s afoot and you have a challenge to live your life well NOW.
    Posted by Denver Snuffer at 9:00 AM

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  17. MMP doesn’t work for me. It makes hash of the atonement.

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  18. [...] me. I’m going to argue in this essay the exact opposite position I presented a few weeks ago on Eternal Lives, Past Lives and Reincarnation. In that paper I stated what I would consider to be the orthodox position of most church members. I [...]

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  19. My position on this is evolving, or has it? You can read more here: http://latterdaycommentary.com/2013/05/03/you-have-been-here-before/

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  20. I love this topic.

    Here are a few thoughts to consider – mainly from the King Follett discourse by Joseph Smith on April 7, 1844.

    1) One of the biggest questions that this topic rests is: Is another mortal life necessary for our eternal progression?

    Joseph Smith, in the King Follett sermon, stated, “Here, then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power.” (One of my most favorite quotes.)

    Where do people learn how to be gods? Is it on a mortal earth or is there some other place more suitable for this instruction?

    My own current feeling is that being mortal, particularly in the Telestial realm, is where the rubber hits the road so to speak. It is where we are cut off and have to rely on faith. I believe that it is where most gains within progression come. Yet, this is a complete and total assumption on my part. I realize that it potentially does not have to be within a mortal body – at least open to that idea.

    Also, the phrase, “exaltation to exaltation” piques interest.

    2) That which has a beginning must have an end.

    Joseph Smith, in the King Follet sermon, stated, “I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man – the immortal part, because it had no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two; then it has a beginning and an end; but join it again, and it continues one eternal round. So with the spirit of man. as the Lord liveth, if it had a beginning, it will have an end. All the fools and learned and wise men from the beginning of creation, who say the spirit of man had a beginning, PROVE that it must have an end; and if that doctrine is true, then the doctrine of annihilation would be true.”

    That principle, if true, has many implications that ripple throughout the eternities. If true, then it would apply to our resurrection. If our spirit and body reuniting, our resurrection into whatever state or kingdom we inherit, has a beginning, then it must have an end…at least according to Brother Joseph. This conflicts with Alma 11:45. Interesting. But, depending upon interpretation, so does, D&C 76:58-59, “Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God – wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”

    Consider this angle on MMPs…

    A long time ago, I remember reading, from the early brethren, that an eternity was something like 2.5 billion years. The idea was that an eternity was actually a finite amount of time (even though by definition “eternity” is not finite). But let’s just say it is – from “all eternity to all eternity.” – Moses 6:67 (I have read since that time that it was 2.555 billion years or 7,000 years in God’s time. An eternity is probably more time…like maybe 49,000 years in God’s time, but that’s neither here nor there…) The length of time is really unimportant to my argument. You could put in any number of years as long as it is finite. What is infinity divided by a finite number? Infinity. (This is a mind boggling concept.)

    Here’s some pure speculation: IF a mortal life is important to exaltation and IF an eternity is a finite amount of time, then it is possible that we move from one “eternity” to the next “eternity” or one eternal round to the next, with each one undergoing a mortal probation, thus eternally progressing.

    In this scenario, there could still be maintained scriptural integrity with all our scriptures referring to our current eternity (even Alma 11:45) and we still progress eternally from “exaltation to exaltation,” undergoing various mortal probations. Yet, in this way, we are not reincarnating within the same eternity. This may help those who are totally opposed to it within the same “eternity.”

    I am still open to reincarnating within the same one, but I can see the confusion that comes with it. I think it was Angel on this thread that mentioned our higher selves and that we are larger than we think we are – this could be something to that to help explain that concept, but I don’t know enough about it to speak intelligently. There’s probably something to it.

    Also, in this scenario, Jesus Christ can actually be explained intelligently – his pre-mortal existence prior to our eternity actually consists of numerous past eternities wherein he grew “from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation,”…until He, in this eternity attained, to the resurrection of the dead…

    I do believe this concept will be revealed in more clarity as we are able to receive it. We are just in preschool. Joseph said he would have revealed more, but we were not ready for it, unable to receive it. I know to some people who have diligently sought to know, it has been revealed – in portions. Eternal progression is a wonderful topic.

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  21. Last week, I read Denver Snuffer’s Ephriam lecture. I have never read one of his lectures. As you can imagine, I rejoiced greatly at these glorious truths being revealed! As you can see, last September I wrote about some of these things as I had studied and prayed regarding the topic of eternal progression. The “one and done” just made know sense to me and did not seem plausible.

    Another person who may be interested in this lecture is JJ Dewey, who had, among other items, revealed that Jesus Christ’s resurrection was a different final resurrection than everyone else’s. Maybe I’ll send him toward this lecture to see his thoughts.

    Below are some quotes I pulled from the lecture to pique interest of those who have not read Denver Snuffer’s lecture in its entirety.

    “As long as you are here in this mortal venue, clothed in mere flesh, you have the great endowment and capacity to offer a sacrifice to God. You are in the ideal condition to develop the ability to exercise faith in Him. You couldn’t do it if you were continuously living in His presence. You will not return to His presence until you first develop that faith. Therefore you are in an ideal, even enviable place here.

    This is what Joseph was referring to as “attaining the resurrection” in his last talk in General Conference. This is the trek that every saved man must take to complete the process. Hence Joseph’s saying, “it will be a great while after the grave before” we will rise up to be gods ourselves. Do not sleep away this life. Awake and arise! There is a great deal to be done.

    God’s patience for us is infinite. It will require going “from exaltation to exaltation” before we ascent to the place of Christ, “the prototype of the saved man.” But we have all eternity to work out our salvation.
    Those who think it is enough to merely “get into heaven” are really talking about “the deaths” and not what God offers His children. God offers eternal lives. Those who will endure to the end, worlds without end, will receive eternal life and obtain the resurrection.

    You may only achieve a limited amount of grace in this life, but to that limited amount of grace you must hold fast. You cannot receive more if you will not receive what is offered to you now. But if you will receive what is offered now, you will be added upon forever and forever. Or, in other words, you move up the ladder by how you conduct yourself in this cycle of creation, and in the next cycle you will have so much the advantage.

    You can choose to move upward and be added upon, or you can choose instead to remain as you are, worlds without end. The scriptures speak of things that happened “before the foundation of the world” or “in the first place” or “from the foundation of the world.” These statements make it clear what went on before this creation mattered and affected who you now are. In like manner what you achieve in this life through your heed and diligence will affect what comes after. The course we are on has been ordained by God and is “one eternal round.”

    God has been at this a long time. Christ has, likewise, been involved for many repeated cycles of creation. Moses was told: “by the word of my power have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth. And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.”

    It is endless and it is cyclical. “For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.”

    This is God’s great work. It has been going through cycles of creation, fall, redemption, judgment and re-creation forever. It is endless.
    When a cycle begins, man is spirit. When it is underway, man is temporal and physical. But when a cycle ends, man is spirit again.
    God’s works do not end. You are the developmental work God has chosen as His greatest accomplishment. He intends to bring to pass your immortality and eventual eternal life.

    How long that requires for any given individual depends upon how long it takes you to become like the prototype of the saved man. How long you will delay attaining to the resurrection is within your own control. I am hoping to awaken you to the great work lying before you.”

    –Denver Snuffer, Lecture 7, “Christ: The Prototype of the Saved Man” 6/28/14

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