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 Post subject: The Illogical Mormon Pre-existance
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:58 pm 
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Since this was brought up in stem's excellent Mormon Afterlife thread but not continued there, I thought it best to start a different thread on the topic of the pre-existence starting with this comment from MG to stem -

mentalgymnast wrote:
Stem wrote:
I decided at some point I too wouldn't be happy living a celestial life exalted above others, particularly since the main difference between us was nothing but arbitrariness.

If this is true, is it also true within the realm of existing/living human beings on this planet as we observe it's history, societies, cultures, etc? Or are things a bit more complex and/or nuanced? Is there something more than mere arbitrariness going on in the here and now that provides for the distinctions between human beings? Anything having to do with choices/actions and behaviors?


Setting aside the radical American conservative views regarding people's status in this life being primarily driven by their own choice, the implication here is that the conditions people are born into are the result of choices they made prior to birth in what Mormons call the pre-existence.

The Book of Abraham (Chapter 3 specifically) describes there being degrees of intelligences and spirits, and that Jesus (the LORD) was the most intelligent of them all. It also describes the spirits in the pre-existence as including noble and great ones who were good who God declares from among them he will make his rulers.

The standard LDS understanding of this is that spirits in the pre-existence were free to make decisions and learn and that becoming a so-called noble and great one was a reward. And there include what most LDS understand to be perhaps all who were born LDS or, at a minimum, those who were foreordained in early history to be prophets or play a critical role leading to the restoration after which it includes the LDS Church leadership. Being called out as noble and great is being rewarded for their works and being basically great by choice.

But there are two problems with this. First, that isn't what the Book of Abraham says. It says the spirits were created, and that the intelligences from which God somehow created his spirit children were not themselves created but differed from one another as the stars do by degrees. It says specifically that they are inherently stratified into classes.

Second, there is no amount of logic that can explain why two otherwise equal spirits with otherwise equal intelligences would make different choices in the pre-existence in the presence of God where they are being taught and have in their presence the personification of all they could possibly hope to become. In even the worst scripted soap opera the audience would find it difficult to swallow Lucifer starting out equal to but then becoming envious of Jesus and developing pride alongside of Jesus who was the model spirit child of God in every way shape and form, and say that it was due to Lucifer's own choices only that he was fallen.

It makes no sense whatsoever that a full third of the spirits would be created by God as spirit children, live an existence in God's presence where they are being taught and developed with knowledge they are the offspring of God and gods in embryo themselves and give a hard NOPE to the plan of salvation on the off chance that Lucifer could win in a battle against God's own plan.

The entire premise requires one assume that the spirits had inherent flaws in their characters, that the intelligences were stratified to begin with, and the entire Plan of Salvation is merely spiritual evolution that acknowledges it is filtering out the least fit so the most fit can excel and fulfill their potential. And it's arbitrary AF.

The winners and losers were determined before the board was even set up let alone the game put into action.

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 Post subject: Re: The Illogical Mormon Pre-existance
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:18 pm 
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The whole thing makes perfect sense if one is a white male born and raised between 1805 & 1844 in rural America.

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 Post subject: Re: The Illogical Mormon Pre-existance
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:25 pm 
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Fence Sitter wrote:
The whole thing makes perfect sense if one is a white male born and raised between 1805 & 1844 in rural America.

Funny enough, that also applies to the astronomy described in the Book of Abraham, too.

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 Post subject: Re: The Illogical Mormon Pre-existance
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 4:01 pm 
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For the purposes of supporting the OP further, here's the verses from Abraham 3 referenced:

15 And the Lord said unto me: Abraham, I show these things unto thee before ye go into Egypt, that ye may declare all these words.

16 If two things exist, and there be one above the other, there shall be greater things above them; therefore Kolob is the greatest of all the Kokaubeam that thou hast seen, because it is nearest unto me.

17 Now, if there be two things, one above the other, and the moon be above the earth, then it may be that a planet or a star may exist above it; and there is nothing that the Lord thy God shall take in his heart to do but what he will do it.

18 Howbeit that he made the greater star; as, also, if there be two spirits, and one shall be more intelligent than the other, yet these two spirits, notwithstanding one is more intelligent than the other, have no beginning; they existed before, they shall have no end, they shall exist after, for they are gnolaum, or eternal.

19 And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all.

20 The Lord thy God sent his angel to deliver thee from the hands of the priest of Elkenah.

21 I dwell in the midst of them all; I now, therefore, have come down unto thee to declare unto thee the works which my hands have made, wherein my wisdom excelleth them all, for I rule in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, in all wisdom and prudence, over all the intelligences thine eyes have seen from the beginning; I came down in the beginning in the midst of all the intelligences thou hast seen.

22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;

23 And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.

24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;

25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

26 And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.

27 And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first.

28 And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him.

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 Post subject: Re: The Illogical Mormon Pre-existance
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:51 pm 
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So here's a weird derail question. Does verse 20 seem really out of place to anyone else?

And if it does, is it possible this means something? The thought that came to me was if it may reflect Smith getting caught in a bind of his own creation? Where he may have been working the translation with help, had previously made a translation of a symbol or two that was associated with the Priest of Elkenah, and when he was going along with this great story about the heavens, intelligences and spirits Smith's helper noticed the symbols associated with the Priest of Elkenah were in the middle of the text where Smith was supposedly working from and brought it up? So what's a con man to do but acknowledge this person was absolutely right and HEY! Here's what that bit says. Inserts verse 20. And then goes, so yeah the Lord sent the angel and now it's back to the LORD doing the talking and we're back on track with the story about spirits.

Anyway. That verse really seems odd to me. The LORD goes from 1st person to 3rd then back to 1st around it. It lacks narrative continuity. Just weird.

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 Post subject: Re: The Illogical Mormon Pre-existance
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:16 pm 
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Just like Louis “Woody” Midgley over at SeN.

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 Post subject: Re: The Illogical Mormon Pre-existance
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:09 pm 
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I like to imagine God flying around space with a butterfly net catching and herding all the stray intelligences, which, you know, are just floating around. Then stuffing the intelligences in a jar to save for later spiritual birth. I think it seems logical to assume that spiritual intercourse, development, and birth are similar to what happens on earth. It then follows that at some point in the spiritual embryos development, the intelligence enters its spiritual tabernacle. There could even be debate about when the intelligence enters the spirt and this could be a cause for contention about spiritual abortion.

Perhaps during during spiritual development when we receive genetic information from our Father and Mother in heaven there are chances for mistakes and variation which could explain the spiritual stratification that God showed father Abraham.

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 Post subject: Re: The Illogical Mormon Pre-existance
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:17 pm 
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honorentheos wrote:
So here's a weird derail question. Does verse 20 seem really out of place to anyone else?

Somewhat strange considering Elkenah was actually the canopic jar containing one of Pharaoh's organs, perhaps the liver.

However, through the miracle of apologetic science, we can make partial sense of the Lord delivering the swarm of pre-existent Intelligences from this usurping liver, if we consider it as a metaphor for curing them of spiritual hepatitis.

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 Post subject: Re: The Illogical Mormon Pre-existance
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:19 pm 
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Everybody Wang Chung wrote:
Just like Louis “Woody” Midgley over at SeN.


WAS that Lou in the Pre-existence? :surprised:

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 Post subject: Re: The Illogical Mormon Pre-existance
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:18 am 
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honorentheos wrote:

The winners and losers were determined before the board was even set up let alone the game put into action.


Precisely. Very well articulated.


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 Post subject: Re: The Illogical Mormon Pre-existance
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:29 am 
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Stem wrote:
honorentheos wrote:

The winners and losers were determined before the board was even set up let alone the game put into action.


Precisely. Very well articulated.


Also very chicken and egg, because as far as I can tell, Lucifer had not become the villain yet, when God’s plan of Happiness was being discussed. So either God was planning on Lucifer being the source of evil, or he made sure Lucifer was going to be the evil one. If Lucifer hadn’t fell, and had chosen God’s plan of Salvation, who would have been the bad guy then? Bob? Bob the Bad?

Regardless, God, being all powerful, must have given Satan all his evil super powers, so then it follows that the true source of evil is God. Also, Joseph Smith didn’t really think it through.

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 Post subject: Re: The Illogical Mormon Pre-existance
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:02 pm 
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reflexzero wrote:
Joseph Smith didn’t really think it through.
And there you have it. All questions surrounding Mormonism are answered by this short, concise sentence. No need for discussion boards to continue. Game over.

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 Post subject: Re: The Illogical Mormon Pre-existance
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:24 pm 
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Holy Ghost wrote:
reflexzero wrote:
Joseph Smith didn’t really think it through.
And there you have it. All questions surrounding Mormonism are answered by this short, concise sentence. No need for discussion boards to continue. Game over.

Turns out that many folks read the official story and do the same.

Why do we do this? o_O


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