Thursday, June 1, 2017

Ether 4: Primitive Doctrine

Moroni takes a page out of his father's book by interrupting his own abridgment and speaking directly to his audience.

Withholding the Word of God
Moroni explains that God has commanded him to bury these records so that these plain and precious truths of salvation can be hidden from the wicked people—you know, the people who should need them the most (verse 6):
For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord.
So God confiscates the gospel when the people are too wicked?  What kind of sense does that make?  That's like a parent catching a child eating a candy bar and then declaring that the kid can't have any food at all until he demonstrates healthier dietary habits.  How can the Gentiles be expected to repent of their iniquity if they're cut off from the word of God?  How will they know they're transgressing the laws of heaven if they don't have access to the teachings of heaven?

How much, again, does God care about bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man?  Because it really seems like he gets his jollies by directly impeding the immortality and eternal life of man.

Trinitarian Shell Game
This is quickly becoming an issue I harp on repeatedly.  But I think I do so with good reason considering how proudly modern Mormonism rejects the Trinity.  Look at the closing lines of verse 12:
...and he that will not believe me will not believe the Father who sent me. For behold, I am the Father, I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world.
So does Latter-day Saint theology have one god or three gods?  

Maybe we should we just take the average and call it good with two gods.

The Evolution of the Afterlife
Verse 18 paints a grim picture of an afterlife that is much more black-and-white than the celebrated doctrines of the degrees of glory:
Therefore, repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and believe in my gospel, and be baptized in my name; for he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned; and signs shall follow them that believe in my name.
This pretty clearly indicates a binary postmortal existence.  There's only the saved and the damned—there's no nuance of telestial or terrestrial kingdoms.  And there's no mention of the spirit world or anything we're accountable for outside of this life.  Beyond that, this verse makes it seem like all that is required for salvation is belief and baptism, which makes so much of the ordinance work of present-day Mormonism completely superfluous.  Where is eternal marriage?  Where is enduring to the end?  Where is the receipt of the Holy Ghost or the Priesthood?  Where is the endowment?

It seems pretty safe to say that some of the most important elements of the Plan of Salvation are missing, glossed over, or utterly ignored in the Book of Mormon.  This chapter is the perfect opportunity to mention such quintessential Mormon doctrines, and yet the book of scripture that launched the religious movement has dropped the ball yet again.

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