Friday, December 25, 2009

Do the Scriptures say that 50% of church members gain Eternal Life?

A doctrine has become widely spread throughout the church, quoting some verses to present that half the church will gain Eternal Life. The support for this is almost entirely derived from parables. So let's examine the arguments for and against.

Supporting the 50% Concept

Matthew Chapter 12:1-12 States _ "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened to ten virgins, that took their lamps, and went forward to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Look, the bridegroom is coming; go you out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; in case there is not enough for us and you: but you go instead to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, surely I say to you, I don't know you."

There is also quotes of a just as opposed to an unjust steward, wheat and tares growing together etc. But are these statistical figures or just opposites Christ used? Was half just an obvious choice for this parable of virgins. The other parables showing opposites say nothing of 50% at all and therefore aren't worth quoting here.

Matthew 24:38-42 says _ "For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come."

Again the question arises as to whether we should take this figure used by Christ as more than merely suggesting that some will be taken in the resurrection and some won't?

Opposing the 50% Concept

If we are to use the parable of the ten virgins as statistics it would pose some serious problems. Let's examine another parable Christ taught.

Matthew 25:14-30 states _ " For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered to them his goods. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straight away took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them another five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained another two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants came, and took account with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought another five talents, saying, Lord, you delivered to me five talents: look, I have gained, beside them, five talents more. His lord said to him, Well done, you good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: you enter into the joy of your lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, you delivered to me two talents: look, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: you enter into the joy of your lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew you that you are a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the earth: so, there you have what is yours. His lord answered and said to him, you wicked and slothful servant, you knew that I reap where I didn't sow, and gather where I have not strawed: You should therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it to him which has ten talents. For to every one that has shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that has not shall be taken away even that which he has. And cast you the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

This parable was given straight after the one of ten virgins. But it has 3 stewards with 2 gaining more and only one being sent to outer darkness. So should we conclude that Christ had changed his mind and decided that 66.6% of the church would make it instead? These are just convenient figures used in parables not statistics.

We have the parable of the merchant who went and sold all he had for the pearl. Should we then conclude that Christ meant 100% of the church would make it? I could go on with how silly this would be from the parables point of view. But what other Scriptures refute this?

"Look, there are many called, but few are chosen…" D&C 121:34

So many are called to positions of responsibility within the priesthood, but FEW will actually measure up to the responsibility. While still in this same discussion (it ends in verse 40) we are informed that "almost all men" given such authority will fail to measure up (verse 39). Therefore few priesthood leaders would be among the 50%. And considering that this 50% that are righteous would have to consist of almost no men (as the converse of "almost all men"), sensibly we would have to conclude that the 50% would almost entirely be women. Thus making almost 100% of the women in the church making it (sounds great for the women).

"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? And in your name have cast out devils? And in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart form me, you that work iniquity." Matt 7:22-23

So what percentage of the church members have cast out devils, prophesied and done many wonderful works?

50%????

It would be my opinion that far more than 50% of church members would deem themselves unable to perform these tasks. Yet Christ says that many, even having done so, won’t enter into the kingdom of heaven.

84 comments:

yeti said...

so are you suggesting that far less than 50% of going LDS Church members would reach Heaven?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

I hope you had a great Christmas and I wish you all the best for the new year.

When you ask about "heaven" I assume you mean the Celestial Kingdom. I used the term "eternal life" as that means the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom. Of which Christ stated only a puny number would attain.

The good news is that we are assured that at least 144,000 males will gain eternal life. So that is comforting. The females will clearly outnumber the males. So that is better news for you.

But in the Celestial Kingdom itself there will be a large multitude.

To live in the Celestial Kingdom a person must be living the fulness of the gospel. Most church members don't even know what that is, as the GAs can only give doctrine on the level of the weakest of Saints. Yet some live it enough by following the words of Christ.

Seth Baron said...

I agree. I tend to think of it this way: We all have been given our agency, and since we're all different, our prerequisites for salvation are also different. Now, obviously, there are those things which we ALL must do, as children of Heavenly Father (such as baptism and other ordinances, enduring, growing, attending our meetings, keeping the commandments, etc. etc. etc.). But since we know that we'll be judged on a more individual basis (or at least I hope so), there are certain things that we will be held accountable for, and certain things that we won't be. I think only the individual and God know what these things are. And sometimes, I'm sure, only God Himself knows. Very interesting thoughts though, as it gives certain meaning to personal worthiness, and that we just can't "go with the flow" and everything will be "well in Zion".

A quick word to Doug: I have read most of your blogs here, and I must thank you for the example you set here, and for me. Far too often, in my own life, I fail to realize the importance of personal revelation, and I tend to, quite literally, go with the flow. It's very interesting to note the damage this can truly cause a soul.

As I have read your words, I truly see how devoted you are to developing and establishing a personal "connection" to God. My desires to change and become better have been strengthened by your example of living life how it should be lived. I apologize for the lengthy comment, but I just needed to give thanks where thanks was due. I wish you a merry late Christmas and a happy new year!

yeti said...

Mr. Towers,
I had no specific qualifications for heaven as I was not sure what it was intented to mean throughout the post.
I have to say that I am wondering about your somewhat literal use of the 144000 thousand gathered around on throwns. The book of Revelation seems so symbolic, (as is the number 144000) that I wonder how you have chosen it as non symbolic.

Why do you believe that females will outway males? does this have something to do with eternal marraige and polygamy

In these parables with only two outcomes, do you then think everyone else ends up in a place of weeping and knashing of teeth?

Doug Towers said...

Seth Baron

Thanks for the well wishes. I wish all reading a great year.

I'm glad that my message has got through to you in a meaningful way.

yeti

The 144,000 are also referred to in the Doctrine and Covenants section 77. Section 76 also gives a parallel of expressions to that given of the 144,000 in Revelation.

Certain other texts support the idea. And we COULD come out with the opinion that only they will be Gods. I know that many would refute that. But I like to stick to Scripture where conflict exists.

Why do you believe that females will outway males? does this have something to do with eternal marraige and polygamy"

Females are different to males in that they lean toward the heart (spirit) feelings more than males (as an overall).

Men are better at things up in the air (higher examination of doctrine).

Thus men can easily get carried away in pride of their knowledge and seek to become known as "wise men". Rather than seeking for truth for the love of truth.

This is why Jesus talked of them "looking beyond the mark."

Symbolically I see it as that men have their heads so far up into the clouds that they often forget to keep their feet on the ground. A strange wind comes along and blows them away into strange lands.

The secret for a man to be successful is to go up into the clouds, but listen to women who keep their feet upon the ground.

As women are more into heart things they stay on more stable ground spiritually. Thus more of them will be gaining eternal life.

As to your question of this fitting in with plural marriage. Yes. It does fit perfectly. The whole thing was worked out very cleaverly.

Anonymous said...

Preparation for the Second Coming

Elder Dallin H. Oaks
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

A parable that contains an important and challenging teaching on this subject is the parable of the ten virgins. Of this parable, the Lord said, “And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins” (D&C 45:56).

Given in the 25th chapter of Matthew, this parable contrasts the circumstances of the five foolish and the five wise virgins. All ten were invited to the wedding feast, but only half of them were prepared with oil in their lamps when the bridegroom came. The five who were prepared went into the marriage feast, and the door was shut. The five who had delayed their preparations came late. The door had been closed, and the Lord denied them entrance, saying, “I know you not” (Matt. 25:12). “Watch therefore,” the Savior concluded, “for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 25:13).

The arithmetic of this parable is chilling. The ten virgins obviously represent members of Christ’s Church, for all were invited to the wedding feast and all knew what was required to be admitted when the bridegroom came. But only half were ready when he came.
I believe this is were that teaching has come from. It has been taking from this statement that the math is dead on. I believe that to be an over simplification.

Doug Towers said...

Anonymous

I have to agree with you there.

It would be nice if we were really to believe half the members would get there. But that just doesn't come out as fact.

Thanks for your input.

yeti said...

is there a difference between getting to the celestial kingdom and gaining exhaltation there?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

Yes. Exhaltation is the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom. There are 3 degrees within that kingdom.

This allows for the different types of people that will be present before God. All will be righteous, but not all will be willing to apply their entire existence to the service of others.

yeti said...

What are the other degrees within that kingdom?

Can someone truly be righteous if they are not willing to give their whole existance to serving others?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

The 2 other degrees within the Celestial aren't totally explained other than that those therein haven't got sufficient ability and/or desire to serve as a God.

It must be understood that there are many people who will bend over backwards for you, but who are afraid to find further truth. They feel that what they are doing is at the edge of their capacity.

Some spirits are too pure in their thinking to handle the task of dealing with such unrighteous people as we have on this planet. These spirits will behold the face of the Father. But they are incapable of handling sin on such large degree.

Others, while being very good people, will be unable to handle the more fuller parts of gospel living such as men taking on the responsibility of other wives and women not being greedy about their husbands.

It could be argued that a righteous person must be as complete as God himself. However I tend to see that more as that a person isn't sinning and they are able to take on gospel principles in general, rather than that they have the highest of feelings.

If you are willing to give all your being to the service of others, every waking hour, I know I will see you as a member of the church very soon.

yeti said...

you say that some are too pure to be God's and deal with unrighteousness. are you saying that our Heavenly father is less pure than they?

I geuss if a rightousness on is one who follows God's commandments, and God commands that we are perfect Matt 5:48. Which is maybe why Paul concludes that no one is righteous. Rom 3:10

Doug Towers said...

yeti

Paul is right that no one is righteous in the sense that we all have sinned in the past.

Yet Christ is also right in that none of us need be sinning anymore.

As to pure ones being more pure than God. This is a question of purity in a sense. For example a heart can be too tender to handle certain things. Does this mean that God is less in that he does?

We need to have a balance of abilities that will enable us to be able to handle the position of being a Heavenly Parent to our eternal children. For example some parents don't have the ability to appropriately discipline their children. Are these better parents than God, because he can discipline where necessary?

These individuals I was speaking of in my last comment, while being lovely people, can't do the job required.

yeti said...

Doug.

Yes I geuss I would just not use the word purity to describe the characteristic. But I might also argue that the one who loves perfectly would discipline. in a person of perfection, love would rule over that. Pruity would be shown through love.

so about the 144 000???

yeti said...

And because of the love of purity, disclipline would naturally flow forth.

Doug Towers said...

yeti

There is the problem of a person just not being able to bear watching evil occurring to their children (as God must). If a person's being is a lot of one thing yet not enough of another, there becomes an inability.

This doesn't mean that God has less of that first ability than those unable to handle the job.

In regard your concerns about 2 Nephi 2:22 that you mentioned in regard evil on my questions site. This is only pointing out that if Adam and Eve did no evil then nothing would have changed. Again, evil is to oppose the natural laws that kept them in a perfect physical state. That law being that they don't have thoughts that are contrary to their continued harmony.

What are your concerns in regard the 144 000?

yeti said...

do you believe 144000 is a litteral number?

I guess if we are to reach perfection, i would think that that would mean being a lot of everything good equally, and not having stronger or weaker points. I guess I would think of it meaning not having inabilities.

That being said, i think trees can be perfect, and yet not be gods. and I think humans being perfect does not make us end up being gods either. So i guess what i may really be getting at is what do you mean by perfection?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

Yes, I see the number as literal. It must be remembered that adoption into tribes is normal. It must also be remembered that God has many inhabited worlds and can therefore engineer such a thing with ease.

The Biblical interpretation of being perfect is someone who no longer sins. To a person that truly is living that gospel that is, someone who no longer transgresses the gospel thinking and then the law.

I am perfect, and have been for many years. This doesn't make me all-knowing. Nor does it make me without areas that need improvement. I have to learn greater love, greater forgiveness, greater patience, greater empathy, greater faith, etc. But these things are part of sanctification, done by the Holy Ghost, not Biblical perfection. Christ said, "Be you therefore PERFECT." He wasn't lying or making a commandment we couldn't obey.
the Bible tells us that God doesn't allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to resist.

We believe in eternal progression: That all beings continue to expand. I have stood infront of both Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ is nothing short of amazing. His love is beyond belief. All the wonderful attributes are there in a magnitude that can't be explained. Yet Heavenly Father has them in even greater abundance. As Christ himself stated, "the Father is greater than the Son."

The Bible tells me that not only can I have equal status to God, but that I will eventually have things that I (not him) have created, if I "overcome."

yeti said...

BUt the Bible tells us to love God with All our heart, soul, mind and strength. if even in the littlest way we are not doing that, isn't that sin?

1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Proverbs 20:9 Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?

is saying that you are without sin a sin?

James 4:17 Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. do you ever miss an opportunity to do good? isn't that a sin?

if we sin without knowing it is it still a sin? lev 15:29

do you ever worry? Matthew 6:25
do you store up wealth? Matthew 6:19

Are you always joyful? are you always praying? 1 The 5:16-17

Really? have you avoided all these things for a number of years?

have not not broken even the smallest law? James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet

The standard is high, you really think that you are there?

yeti said...

PS

do you think the 144000 are all virgins? (Rev 14:3-4)?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

No.

I belive the word has been translated wrongly.

I should add that the church has very little official position on the 144,000

Doug Towers said...

yeti

Loving with all our might, mind and strength is all very well. But God is superior in all these attributes. We have to grow in these areas. So that our love is greater than our greatest love now.

We are informed that all HAVE sinned. Someone decided that this past tense word needs to be imposed into the future. That is a false claim.

Certainly we all need to accept that we have sin when we come to Christ. But he forgives us of our sins and cleanses us from ALL unrighteousness. Do you believe that? Or do you believe that some remains?

I haven't made my heart clean. Christ did.

Yes, I have joy and peace in my heart always. There is strife on the outside that concerns us. But our heart is free from spiritual fear. As Christ said, peace I leave with you..not as the world gives [peace], let not your heart be troubled.

I don't worry about my spiritual future. And, no, I have no physical wealth that I regard to be mine.

I am aware of James 2:10 and have no problems with that.

yeti said...

"23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:" Rom 3.

we have all sinned. we are all justified freely. yep, i do agree. freely and completely.

It just surprises me that someone could go so long without a prideful thought, without lusting, without hate, always putting God's kingdom first, always praying, always giving cheerfully to everyone who asks.

Doug Towers said...

yeti

With God's help ALL things are possible. It requires the sanctification through guidance by the Holy Ghost.

And spiritual growth, through greater love etc, is something that continues to happen.

yeti said...

Sure all things are possible, but have you already obtained that?
paul sure hadn't

Phil 3


and
Rom 7

14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

Doug Towers said...

yeti

In reading these comments of Paul I see him as saying that the natural man in him is sinful and does evil. But the spiritual man in him overcomes the natural man, through Christ.

You are posing that he is speaking in the sense that he is still controlled by the sinful nature. But I would pose to you that he is demonstrating the difference between those following Christ and those still under the law.

yeti said...

In regards to Romans 7 I have always found this verse a little confusing, not going tot lie. But verse 20 sure makes it sound like there is still sin living in him.
and verse 21 reminds me of something we talk about it class, that is can one ever do something with a completely pure motive. Not for recognision, not for blessings, not cause it might help us out or make us feel good, but fully out of love for God. They might be doing it 90% for God, but if that 10% is for selfish reasons our heart is not yet pure.

Doug Towers said...

yeti

Verse 25 presents that sin could live in him if he didn't have obedience to the spirit. He's saying that the possibility to sin is still there. Paul gets into a focus and can be very confusing if you don't read the entire letter (sometimes).

Your class's perspective is because as a Protestant you don't see that God is making a point.

Jesus explains that by living the things he says you will have life in you. Because of Protestant belief in an entirely magic God this is believed by your class to be acheived by magic from God.

This isn't true.

You do what he says and eternal laws will make you as happy as they make him, by his obedience. He (Heavenly Father) is a father teaching his children how to be happy.

If I punch my hand against a wall it will hurt. This is an eternal law. No matter where and when I exist. That principle will apply.

If I love others I will feel good inside. It doesn't matter whether my title is "God" or whatever.

If I hate I will feel terrible inside. Again this is an eternal principle.

Abraham asked Jesus, "shall not the judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen 18:25) You will note that Jesus didn't dispute this idea with him. Jesus accepted that there was that which is "right" even for a God.

So what happens to a God if he does wrong? Of course the answer is that he won't do wrong. Not because it is impossible. But because he knows that it will take that feeling of life and love etc out of him, and he loves the light and life.

If we do what is good (that which Jesus taught) we will have life and light in us too.

The reason I obey God is because I know that he loves me and would be very saddened if I didn't. And secondly it is because I know he loves me and that whatever he asks will be for my good.

You've said that you should obey out of love for God. John tells us that we love him because he first loved us. If all he was is a dictator that commands us to obey senseless laws, he made up one day, then how can we learn to love him?

If he sends off those he claims to love into fire FOREVER because they couldn't understand to overcome their nature, what kind of mad being is he. If this were the real God (which fortunately it isn't) I would feel better with my conscience going to hell. This magic God is an abomination that makes the Gods of the heathen look like saints. Christ taught the true God. Well does John say, "God is love."

I'm sorry if I come over a bit heavy. You must understand that I love my Father. And I hate what people try to make of him. I wish that all could feel his love.

yeti said...

“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,” (Philippians 1:29)

i don't get what you mean by saying "Your class's perspective is because as a Protestant you don't see that God is making a point.' I don't think that God's laws are arbitrary. I think that they can sometimes feel that way. like when God commanded Abraham to go and sacrifice Isaac. Often I do not think we can see why what we are told to do is good. i don't think it will be the easiest thing. we are commanded to love others, and while that can make us feel good inside, it can lead to a lot of pain and sacrifice. the hardest people to love are those who do not love us back, but we need to love them too. That is not easy.

I don't know what you mean by saying that I believe in a totally magic God. If you mean I believe that Christ took upon himself all my sin my short coming and my iniquities and that his grace is enough, that his act was complete and that he is good enough, that is true. I gotz to go, but I may say more latter.

Doug Towers said...

yeti

We don't dispute the ability of Christ to atone for all sins other than those that the Bible says he can't atone for.

Protestantism believes in a magic God in that he has power from nowhere. He can do all things by no laws. He makes up his own laws as he chooses. And he can make the consequences for sin just happen. He can make the good feeling just happen by magic also. ie. there are absolutely NO natural laws that act upon all. He decided you are a sinner. And he sent himself down to save you from himself. And you are grateful that he sent himself down to save you from himself.

Your feelings in regard loving others are true. As you perfect your love of others the love will swallow up the pain. You will be uplifted, yet still be aware of the sorrow existing. Your heart will be full of love.

yeti said...

what sin does the Bible say Christ cannot atone?

Is God's love an eternal law?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

Christ's atonement can't atone for the UNPARDONABLE sin, which involves a blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.

Love is an eternal law, no matter who has it. The amount you have dictates the inner happiness level you enjoy.

yeti said...

do you think then that the "unpardonable sin" is the only sin for which Chirst cannot atone?

what do you think is meant by blaspheming the Holy Spirit?

yeti said...

God's love is eternal. I think all laws come forth from his love. His actions are directed by his love. he is love. could he do whatever he wants, sure, but not without goingagainst who he is, and he wouldn't do that. God diesn't lie. that is not because lying is bad, or some greater power or authority tells him not to, he doesn't lie because he is love, and when you love you don't lie.
I don't think other eternal principles are needed

Doug Towers said...

yeti

Only an unpardonable sin can't be pardoned.

Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost means to perform an act where there is first a transgression of the gospel, and it is followed by a transgression of the law. The church cites murder as one that qualifies under this, and I make no comment beyond that without further revelation.

2nd comment.

Protestantism believes in a God that makes his own laws. So how can he be love, by that standard? He decides what love is????

And then he says he is it????

You make authoritive statements about God, but on what authority do you make these conclusions?

Does he talk to you and explain himself?

I ask this because Protestantism claims that God doesn't talk anymore. It says the cannon is complete. Do you believe this or do you believe that God wants us to know more?

In regard other eternal laws I would agree with you in the middle of winter, that there shouldn't be any laws about hot and cold.

yeti said...

I don't know many protestants who believe that God no longer talks to people. I believe he talks to people, and I know I am not alone in that belief.

I did say that God's love eternal but that seems to be about the only authoritative statement I have made in the last couple of posts. But if God is Love (as said in 1 John) and God is unchanging (Moroni 8:18, Malachi 3:6) so he has always been love, always. And I think sinse he is love he can define love. I don't have a problem with that. I can trust him.

I have never thought about Hot and cold being eternal. I never think of God being too hot now and too cold later. I never think of the Spiritual being affected by tempuratures. That does not mean it isn't. And maybe God does feel hot and cold, but maybe he created those.

I am really not sure about your explaination about what it means to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. that seems illogical to me. Did not Jesus ask for forgiveness for those who crusified him? Wasn't there forgiveness for Moses? What happens to those who cannot be forgiven?

I believe there is already more information available for us about who God is than we can fully conprehend. I do believe he wants us to know who he is. I don't think that has to be completed by the addition of more authoritative books.

Doug Towers said...

yeti

I don't doubt that God talks to people. But Protestant ministers ALL backed down when I informed them that if God were talking to them, as God's words are Scripture, their discussion must therefore be Scripture.

If God has said enough in the Bible, then why is he having to say anything to Protestants?

Obviously the Bible isn't sufficient. And why would it be?

Do you really believe that Song of Solomon isn't pornography?

You could only believe so out of shere refusal to be honest with yourself.

Why is it that the Catholics have more books than the Protestants, yet you accept they are going to heaven too?

If this is true then it doesn't matter how many extra books we have.

You can't have one rule for them and another for us.

Beside which I'm not claiming that God is somehow fulfilled by some additional Scripture. Our knowledge of how to be like him is though.

In regard God's love; eternity existed before time began. And eternity will exist when time ceases. Therefore anyone who existed before time is "from eternity." And anyone who will still be themselves at the end of time will be "to eternity." Thus God is God from eternity to eternity.

The unchangableness of God is in that his ways don't change and that he is always God. It doesn't mean that he himself makes no change to himself.

For example Jesus Christ could be classified as a god. Yet we have loads of demonstration of change. He learnt, became closer to God, was surprised, wept, was disappointed, got angry at evil, felt moved with compassion etc. These are all changes: A changing God.

In regard the unpardonable sin. Do you believe the Bible when it says that there is a sin that is unpardonable?

As to what the sin is itself, the people you quote don't qualify due to lack of understanding and/or lack of compliance with the full requirements for such to occur.

Doc3Vincente said...

Wow 144,000 only... Of the billions that have lived upon this earth. Ya that probably means I'm out... There are probably 144,000 people more worthy than I still alive today. Do you know what the difference between the 3 levels in the Celestial Kingdon will be?

And to the scripture “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? And in your name have cast out devils? And in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart form me, you that work iniquity." Matt 7:22-23
I always interpreted that more to the evangelical TV preachers and so on that profess to do all those things by the power of the Lord and in his behalf. Are you saying it is also maybe a requirment?

Doug Towers said...

Doc3Vincente

In regard the 144,000 I didn't declare that as an absolute.

However in regard your negativity about yourself, my first response, upon hearing this idea, was the same. The Holy Ghost said to me IF THE DOCTRINE WERE TRUE (he made it clear that he was neither confirming or denying it) my chances of being one of those was the same as anyone else's.

Those in the middle section will be those who came to earth and have experienced life. They choose to live a gospel life style, but aren't prepared to take on the dedicated lifestyle that God's and Godesses take on. Therefore a fulness of joy won't be theirs.

Those in the lower section will be those who are prepared to live the fulness of the gospel of Christ, but couldn't experience life in its fullest struggle.

Those in the highest degree are those who live the fulness of the gospel of Christ, have experienced all the struggles of existence, have learnt the mysteries of the kingdom, have overcome all and are happy to spend their existence in the service of others.

In regard Matt 7:22-23. It does declare that these people did do the mighty miracles. No deception.

I read that as Christ saying that no matter what great works you do, if you are still sinning you fail.

By "sinning" I'm refering to breaking of laws by action. Though to get into the Celestial Kingdom you will have to have sactified (by the Holy Ghost - a process that takes time) your thinking also.

Doc3Vincente said...

Doug
Yes, I will work on my initial negative thoughts. Thank you for your thoughts, they helped. When you said "You are perfect, and have been for many years." I understand the concept, it makes perfect since to me. Because also as you said "sinning" is refering to breaking of laws by action. I feel I am getting close in many ways but obviously working still very hard to perfect a few things. To get into the Celestial Kingdom like you said I will have to have sactified my thinking also.(a process that takes time by the spirit) Understandable also. I know Father will provide the time I need if I will take advantage of it. My thoughts then went to our eternal companions and if they do not progress at the same pace? Will that hinder an individual if that happens? Woman are different to males in that they lean toward the heart. (as you said) There a lot of woman with apathetic husbands in this world and in the church. Will those woman be hurt by that choice they made to be sealed when they were young, yet stayed loyal to their unmotivated man through life. Will they be allowed to find someone else after this life?

P.S. Sometimes it's fun to believe in a magical God that makes is own rules and puts cookies out for me to eat because I have no choice... Yum Yum

Doug Towers said...

Doc3Vincente

Comparing married partners is a deceiving business. Generally women's problems are far more disguised than men's.

For example men may use their fists to resolve problems, where women use their mouths. Both can be very damaging, yet the latter is very rarely observed for what it is.

One thing the Spirit has enlightened me on in this regard is that "birds of a feather flock together." It really requires the Spirit to help you in making a correct judgement in these matters.

Isaiah said concerning Christ, "he shall not judge by the seeing of his eyes neither reprove by the hearing of his ears."

We have to learn to judge in such ways. But anyone who is interested in obtaining eternal life is welcome by God. You just have to be able to abide the law of that kingdom. Which you won't if it isn't in your heart to do so. And it won't be there unless you know and follow those laws already.

Yes, the magic God idea does have its amusements, as you say. Yet I'm glad to have a loving and fair God.

kh said...

hey Doug,

On your quote, "Those in the lower section will be those who are prepared to live the fulness of the gospel of Christ, but couldn't experience life in its fullest struggle." Are these those who died before reaching the age of accountability whether they died before eight years of age and those never fully capable of sinning in this life was well? Would this include those born in the Millenium who "grow up without in unto salvaltion" as well?

Doug Towers said...

kh

The word "salvation" generally means to be saved from sin. Yet also there appears to be an inference that a person will obtain the Celestial Kingdom in some cases.

Yet as to little children and those born during the millenium, the Scriptures seem to bear the message you have received from my words.

kh said...

Just so I understand clearly that little children and those who can not sin I found this quote from Bruce R McConkie,"Among all the glorious gospel verities given of God to his people there is scarcely a doctrine so sweet, and so soul sanctifying, as the one which proclaims—Little children shall be saved. They are alive in Christ and shall have eternal life. For them the family unit will continue, and the fulness of exaltation is theirs. No blessing shall be withheld. They shall rise in immortal glory, grow to full maturity, and live forever in the highest heaven of the celestial kingdom—all through the merits and mercy and grace of the Holy Messiah, all because of the atoning sacrifice of Him who died that we might live." I wasn't sure from your statement that we agreed on this one or not. This confirms that billions upon billions will gain eternal life. What a glorious doctrine! Love your posts, thanks again KH

kh said...

This one is from the same Bruce R. McConkie's April 1977 Ensign article "The Salvation of Children" this hopefully will help Yeti. "Will children ever be tested?
Absolutely not! Any idea that they will be tested in paradise or during the millennium or after the millennium is pure fantasy. Why would a resurrected being, who has already come forth from the grave with a celestial body and whose salvation is guaranteed, be tested? Would the Lord test someone who cannot fail the test and whose exaltation is guaranteed? For that matter, all those billions of people who will be born during the millennium, when Satan is bound, “shall grow up without sin unto salvation” (D&C 45:58) and therefore will not be tested. “Satan cannot tempt little children in this life, nor in the spirit world, nor after their resurrection. Little children who die before reaching the years of accountability will not be tempted.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:56–57.) Such is the emphatic language of President Joseph Fielding Smith." Thanks so much again!

yeti said...

What I hear generally said is that Kids cannot be held accouuntable. I might still say that they can sin (and I don't know if those quotes would disagree with that) a kid could kill someone. I am sure it has happened, and may happen all the more. In regards to Child soldiers it is easy to say that they should not be blamed for their action, but then the moment that they turn 8 do we blame them? do you really think little kids are not tempted? do you think that it is not wrong for a seven year old to punch his friend out of selfish desires? Are their actions justified or are they saved from the consequences which they deserve?

kh said...

Any and all mistakes made by any child Christ's atonement has already covered. Sinning requires a sufficient understanding of right and wrong in accordance with laws. Satan cannot tempt little children to do evil. They remain innocence before God until they muture enough to held accountable for their own actions before Him. I would suggest reading the entire McConkie Ensign article for yourself. He explains it better than I do. thanks

Doug Towers said...

kh and yeti

I will have to agree to disagree with Bruce in this regard. The Scriptures don't seem to support this outlook to me. However he is entitled to his opinion.

If we are to believe what Joseph Fielding Smith has said we have little children who die before the age of eight dying because their spirits are too pure to be put through the experience of this earth life. Therefore if we are to accept this then how could such a spirit administer over a planet with such things constantly going on?

Also while Bruce is claiming ALL such little children are going to get eternal life, Joseph Fielding Smith denies that claim and says that they have the opportunity to gain eternal life only. In fact he disputes the interpretation one person had that Joseph Smith said what Bruce is saying, in the King Follett sermon.

I will have to obtain the two quotes of JFS that I have mentioned next week - sorry for the delay.

D&C 45:58 is only presenting being saved from sin. As they have no sin they have salvation from sin. Little children are saved from physical death by the resurrection of Christ.

While I agree that children have temptations in all sorts of ways before reaching an understanding (no matter how those temptations come), no hell state is in them as they don't understand enough. I have personally experienced this situation at 7 years old. Prior to this I had no bad feelings when I lied to my mother and she believed me. At that age I began to get the most horrid feeling. It was the case for anything I did wrong, but I particularly remember the lying thing. As I was a protestant at the time I couldn't understand what was happening. But now I know what it was.

kh said...

Concerning your 7 year old awakening of bad feelings about lying to your mother, it is because accountability is gradual not all at once. You were beginning to understand that lying was wrong. But we don't know fully how much these spirits who come to earth and never sin for one reason or another knew or what tests they had to go through prior to this earth life. The scriptures "for me" agree with BRM on this and I rejoice in this. What we can agree on is - These precious spirits are in the hands of our loving Father in Heaven whom we know to be perfectly just and true. thatks again.

Doug Towers said...

kh

I don't want to go too far into this as it crosses a doctrine that I think best left. But how do you see BRM's claim as fitting with the claim of Christ that "few" will get eternal life?

I mean he is claiming Christ should have said "a few billion". This is the arguement I have with Protestants on their interpretation of how many will get there also. They have billions getting there too. This is just one thing that seems to oppose it to me.

kh said...

Perhaps Christ meant that few there be that find eternal life as those who do become accountable in this life. No doubt that the vast majority of accountable people who have lived so far have lived after the manner of the world and most will not repent either in this life or the next resulting in them going to the terrestrial and telestial kingdoms. Very few people, I would agree with you, will ever submit themselves fully to the requirements of total devotion it takes to gain eternal life as adults. The scriptures that contain these doctrines are there for us and all others who will become accountable to God for them. Those are they to whom Christ was speaking, the accountable ones. Thanks once more.

Doug Towers said...

kh

I thought that you may see it from that point of view. The only thing with that is that it is an assumption. If the Scriptures supported the idea elsewhere I would be looking to harmonise the Scriptures. But I find harmony with D&C 76 in viewing that the number isn't large.

I have trouble with BRM's ideas for several reasons even outside of scripture.

Firstly how can a person with no real experience of life be a good counsellor to their children going through life?

Secondly how can they really know what to do with their children? When do you introduce a law of Moses etc?

Thirdly having not really overcome the flesh how can they have learnt such things as Godlike sex? And how can they raise a perfect body anyway?

Fourthly, real the Great and Noble ones helped create the earth etc. This really proposes that there were billions doing the creating. I have trouble with that and the time factor.

To me very few people will want to spend their entire existence in the service of others. No week-ends, no holidays, no dating, etc. Then a man must be prepared to take on the responsibility of wives, not just one (which almost all men have enough trouble with). And women have to give up the desire to run the home instead of the man. They have to SHARE their husband (from their point of view - and they won't just magically accept it later). When you think about these facts I think you are super optomistic.

I'm still in a process of conversion to the idea, but the more I read it the more I have to accept that the D&C and NT support that the amazingly high number suggested (144,000) will be those males that take on that lifestyle.

kh said...

Okay I guess we just agree to disagree but that's okay too. The things that ultimately are required for you and I to gain eternal life are the same and we agree on those things. Not doubt there will be far more females than 144,000 who gain eternal life, making plural marriage required for all who obtain those responsabilities. Again, I agree a lot of people could not deal with giving all those spirit children whom they love with a godlike love one "last " hug before sending them off to an earth knowing perfectly well that that will be the last time they would "ever" hold them in your arms again for they would know that those spirit children would never return to live with them again. Imagine one of your own earthly children whom you love dearly and you knew that once they leave you and go out into the world that they would fail completely and inherit the telestial kingdom. You knew that you would never, ever hold them in your arms again and you knew the time had come to let them go. Could you do it? If you could not do that with one of your earthly children, you cannot become exalted in the first place. That is just too much for almost any LDS person to accept, but true. I am not quite ready for that yet, but I am working on it.

Doug Towers said...

kh

I understand your feelings. I do have to think that to some extent Heavenly Father had to accept that separation long ago. We have children that go off in their own directions. It is a difficult thing for parents. It does cause pain. But the going off occurs as a gradual process or in that it never was a close relationship anyway (as I have felt it is with him). He has children that are close to him (like Jesus Christ) and ones that were just not with it. Everyone else was somewhere in between.

Either way the separation occurs. Because of the love that Heavenly Father feels for us the pain is swallowed up. I experienced this on a mission with a member I was close to and working with. It is an amazing experience, but it works. I almost felt like I should feel guilty about feeling so good about something so bad. If you can follow that. So don't let that one worry you.

kh said...

I guess that separation for me maybe born of the fear of losing someone I love but I know that "perfect love casteth out all fear." The pure love of Christ results in the pain and thus the ending of fear to "be swallowed up in joy" as you state. thanks again

Denidowi said...

People - ALL

There seems to be some concern, if not, Fear over the talk of whether 144,000 make eternal life, or whether the figure more rightly be millions or even Billions...
There seems to be some inherent fear here concerning this thing ... the matter nor the figure should greatly concern us ... except that having the Chraity of Christ in our hearts and in our lives, we cannot bear that anyone should lose salvation nor that they should miss out on the wonderful, absolutely Miraculous blessing and wonder that is eternal life with our Father and our families at our sides.

Surely the Lord hath given us the very means by which we may put our fears and hearts to rest on this matter.
As admonition, He has said to us:
"If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear"

As importantly, He has given us the way whereby we may know our lot and know our standing before Him:
It is that we shall be blessed by the Lord assuring us 'that our calling and election hath been made sure".
It is our receiving "the more sure word of prophecy".
If you have not received that blessing in your life, I counsel you that you shall serve the Lord with all your heart, might, mind and strength, and seek that blessing at His hand.
When you are just as hopeful that your friend next door may do as well as you do [if not better] ... when you are just as hopeful and desirous that your bishop and his family should receive all the wonderful blessings and helps in their lives as you receive ... when you can only hope and pray that ALL of God's Children are saved with all of their blessings and happiness in the Kingdom of God, as yourself, then you may know that your heart is Full of charity ... for without charity, ye are nothing.
When you know that you don't have to be better than anyone else, then you may know that you are setting up to receive the more sure word of prophecy from your Father in Heaven.
This is when you will know that you shall receive eternal life and stand by the right hand of God in the Kingdom of Jesus' Father.
ALL your fears shall be allayed when you receive this blessing that you should desire in your life.

kh said...

Denidowi

Thank you for chiming in with positive assurances that we are all striving to have in our lives. For the Holy Ghost to bear witness beyond doubt that a person to know that they are sealed up to eternal life and to have the "more sure word of prophecy" ( Having Christ personally come to you ) is a beautiful thing. Actually you can have D & C 93:1 before having the Holy Ghost bear witness that you are sealed up to eternal life. But I thank you very much for your words of comfort and love.

Denidowi said...

Indeed, it was a pleasure, kh

yeti said...

If a child is not accountable for their actions until age 8. does that mean that they need not repent until then? and if they need not repent until then can a kid getting baptised right when they turn 8 for the remission of their sins have no sins to turn away from? did that make sense?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

We begin to feel the hell feeling from our sins somewhere during the age of 7 (I did anyway). This means that it took me that long to be able to discern good from evil in my heart. Those sins weigh us down. So we actually do sin at some time while 7. The D&C tells us that parents must teach their children to repent and be baptised before turning 8. Else what use would baptism be at 8 if they had no sins to bury?

kh said...

Yeti,
I taught my daughters and sons the need to repent and the steps of repentance long before they were eight years old so that they would understand to some degree the purpose of repenting and gaining forgiveness in the future. That way those principles would be instilled in them when they turned eight years old and hopefully they would apply them throughout their lives from that moment on. My daughter was baptized by me at 8 years old on her birthday. What minor sins she might have committed before actually getting into the waters of baptism that evening ( I am sure they were few and not very serious) nevertheless she needed the Holy Ghost right away for she had become accountable. The gift of the Holy Ghost (the right to His constant companionship and continous revelation) is needed right away to protect and guide each person to draw nearer to God.

The actual cleasing of sin is through the blood of Christ through his Atonement which the Holy Ghost causes to happen for each truly worthy person (one who has faith in Jesus Christ - in order to have true faith one must first have an understanding of the true doctrines of Christ.) And in order to gain forgiviness one must first have an understanding of the need for and process of repentance.) Those who have those two things - faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and have truly repented of all of their sins - then they have both parts of baptism performed - baptism by immersion by proper priesthood authority and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands by proper priesthood authority as well. - Those are the only ones can know their sins have been forgiven by the power of the Holy Ghost.

yeti said...

I don't imagine God counting down to the exact hour of our birth to start recording our sins. Like say if one was born at 8:55pm, nothing stops them from getting baptised at 7pm, right?
Interesting...

kh said...

Yeti,

No, God simples states that it is the parents in the church responsibility to have their children prepared for baptism as I mentioned before so that when a child turn eight years old they can be baptized. Again, accoutability is gradual and does take time to become fully accoutable unto God.

I hope we are helping you understand Yeti. Heaven knows we are trying.
Peace

Doug Towers said...

yeti

I think you are attempting to use cynicism where none is justified. As we are saying, becoming aware of sin is a process that doesn't just magically occur when we turn 8years old. It occurs some time during 7; and therefore repentance and baptism become essential BY the age of 8: No additional awareness occurs on our 8th birthday.

yeti said...

Kh, and you are helping me understand. Cause 8 was appearing like a magical birthday to me and I didn't get that. cause I don't see people as being so uniform in developement.
For those who have never heard the Gospel, do you believe that they become accountable at 8 as well? I guess Doug, you said that at 7 you started realising wrong was wrong (not quite your words...) so if one listens to that, yet does not know the Gospel, are they doing good?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

The Holy Ghost can inspire anyone as they search to understand. It makes his job a lot harder if they haven't heard, but he manages to get through to some here and there. If they have Scriptures, such as the Bible or Book of Mormon etc (and read them), it helps enormously.

All do have an awakening at some time during 7. I have felt this in people of all beliefs and none-beliefs.

yeti said...

The Church cites murder as an unpardonalble sin? where could I find this information?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

Sorry I took a while on this but I have been caught up with things.

D&C 132:19 + 27 is the most obvious.

yeti said...

Doug,

Thankyou for those verses.
I had been looking at D&C 42:18-19, but it is debatable if that is talking only to those in the Church. but 132:27 seems to pretty clearly say that there is no forgiveness for it.
I asked some LDS friends of mine (before you got back to me) if they reckoned that there was hope for a murderer, they reckoned that there was. is this a deep doctrine? Something not often talked about? It is not as plesant as sayliving forever as a family, so do you think that it is less frequently talked about?
But it also talks about the shedding of innocent blood, how do you take that? is there a time when blood is considered guilty and then murder is okay? is one still innocent if they lie? If someone kills an adulterer is that okay? what are your thoughts?

Patricia

Doug Towers said...

yeti

To commit the unpardonable sin the Scriptures lay down some guidelines. A person has to know the truth on a fairly deep level. They have to have experienced the powers of heaven. I have listed these in a previous post on the subject of the unpardonable sin.

The commandment given to Moses that is written, "thou shalt not kill," infact says not to shed innocent blood. By the law guilt had to be established by a trial before an authorised judge.

However soldiers are left to make this same decision in going to war.

Considering the people we are dealing with in this society I have to agree with God that adulterers should be put to death (in regard your question). However we would have to revert to what God laid down as being adultery. Adultery is for a married woman to have sex with a man. It isn't when a married man has sex with an unmarried woman. The man can only commit adultery when he has sex with a married female, or if he has made a covenant with his wife that she will be his only partner and he breaks that covenant. The D&C seems to be including the latter.

Let me say however that people under the fulness of the gospel of Christ (of which we are speaking in discussing the unforgiveable sin) are under a different rule.

So if you are referring to Brigham Young's statement I would have to point out that his statement appears to be relative to the time he was living in. I have heard many Protestants say the same thing when I was being brought up. Capital punishment was the mentality. To turn that into eternal law is a bit of guess work on behalf of those who are doing so, in my opinion.

yeti said...

I do not know that Brigham Young said. (so I wasn't refering to that)
so you are saying that a murderer having no knowledge of the truth could seek and find forgiveness?
is anyone innocent? whose blood is it okay to shed? does it need to be determined on a communal level?
what do you mean by "people under the fullness of the Gosple"?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

A person who doesn't have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost is unlikely to note the Holy Ghost warning against murdering someone.

It requires a full union with the Holy Ghost to act out a blasphemy against his instruction.

Only those who are living the fulness of the gospel of Christ can have that degree of union. To be living that standard it requires instruction by the Holy Spirit. For who can know how love is applied in all circumstances of their own understanding?

If a person comes into a parent's home and is about to murder their child a parent would be justified before God in sending that person to the spirit world prematurely (killing them) if that was all they could do to stop them. This should be done in love for their children NOT in hate for the person.

yeti said...

So how many people are in full union with the Holy Ghost?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

A miniscule amount.

yeti said...

so only a miniscule amount can blaspheme the Holy Ghost?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

Yes

yeti said...

are there stories in any of the scriptures of people who have done this? David?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

David has been referred to as one. From John's account Judus was obviously another. Cain would be another.

yeti said...

hum, interesting. But there was forgiveness for David, right? but not Cain or Judas?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

No, David couldn't use the atonement of Christ any further. This point is also presented by Paul (Heb 6:4-8).

He has to suffer for his own sins until the full sufferring has been accomplished.

yeti said...

was his kid who got sick and died his sufferings for his sin? If we can suffer for our own sin then did CHrist die for nothing?
I shall look at that hebrews passage when I have more time and then possible have a more educated answer

Doug Towers said...

yeti

In regard the kid the Scriptures seem to present it as some kind of punishment. There is no use having punishment where there is nothing that will be learnt. As to its effect on him feeling a penance that I wouldn't know.

The reason Christ had to do the atonement is so that we can become sanctified and gain eternal life.

If we are left in our sins we don't feel spiritually clean. The Holy Ghost can't dwell in us to guide us. It can't sanctify the person by fire.

It will take a long time for those suffering for their sins to feel they have suffered sufficiently. We need to move ahead now. Christ made this possible by suffering on our behalf until we were satisfied he had suffered enough. This is something done in our spirit as we truly repent and it is almost instantaneous.

yeti said...

still, are you saying that Chirst didn't have to die? that we could have just suffered ourselves, and that the anamil sacrifice system could have continued?

Doug Towers said...

yeti

Your 2 statements are different subjects. Animal sacrifices never did anything of themselves. They were only a symbol of something else. Symbols hold no power or ability. They are like parables. They point to the thing that will produce the desired effect. Only Christ, not sheep and goats, can remove your sins.

"... I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats." Isa 1:11

Yes, you are right that we could have come here to earth and suffered through our lifetime. We could have died and continued to suffer for our sins. And eventually suffered sufficiently.

The problem with that is that it ruins the whole plan of happiness for us. We need to be cleansed of our sins NOW.

That way we can move forward in our spiritual progression. If we remain in our sins how can we learn the things God wishes to teach us. We remain the old bottles unable to understand the new wine.

We not only need the atonement of Christ for our being saved from our sins but we need that step in order that we may take the next step.

As Joseph Smith laid out in the Articles of Faith, we need to first have real faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

This enables us to realize that we have sinned. From that we can then truly repent. At this point his atonement comes in to cleanse us from our past sins.

Then we must kill the old person and raise a new one that is newborn. This newborn has to have guidance to know what is right and what is wrong.

Therefore the 4th step is receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost as our constant guide.

We can't go through these steps to even begin our way to perfection unless we have our sins removed by Christ at that time.

We MUST accept Christ's atonement to obtain eternal life in the Celestial Kingdom or even to obtain the Terrestial Kingdom.

Those who don't accept to be saved from internal hell by the atonement of Christ, must continue to suffer until whatever time in eternity they are satisfied.

Amidst all this is that Christ not only suffered in the garden for our sins. But he died on the cross to overcome the effect of original sin by then being able to be resurrected. This ended the reign of death.

This latter is compulsory for us to have a resurrection. So it was necessary for him to die for all.