Yesterday, I received an email asking me a number of questions regarding the plan of salvation. I’d run across a question on Amazon.com: “Why did God create the world?”
Question: I looked at the verses you recommended. Tell me if I’m just not interpreting them correctly.
(I have changed the wording of the scriptures she sent me to the King James version of the Bible.)
Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.“
Ephesians 1:4-5, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.”
2 Timothy 1:9, “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began..”
Initially when I read these and at the start of my email, I didn’t see how they were relevant to immortality. But as I reread them so that I could type them, it makes more sense. As far as scriptures that aren’t in the bible, why aren’t they? And who chose which scriptures would be included? And where were they discovered?
Answer: The scriptures you mentioned all speak of life before we came to earth. Revelations 12 also speaks of the war in heaven which was fought to insure that we would have the freedom on earth to choose our own paths. Heavenly Father, of course, prefers we choose to return to Him, but He will not force us for that was Satan’s plan, to force everyone of us into returning. The freedom to choose right from wrong or vice versa is an eternal law that Satan tried to circumvent and Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father would not let him.
Yes, you are interpreting those scriptures properly. We did not begin when we were born and we will not end when we die. I’ve written several articles on this subject, which can be found here. It does put a whole new spin on things doesn’t it? For me, it makes it easier to deal with the trials and tragedies of life knowing that I have a loving Savior watching over me. Our Father in Heaven did not put us on this earth without a road map. Everything we need to know to return to Him has been revealed, first to the prophets and apostles of old, and now to the prophets and apostles of this day and age. It is called the plan of salvation. Simply click on each link on the left, in succession, and it is explained in its entirety.
As to scriptures which are not in the Bible, the Council of Nicea, in 325 A.D., is who sat down and decided what would be in the Bible and what would not. As the Bible was translated, over and over, misinterpretation caused inaccuracies as did the wickedness of different individuals through history. Interestingly, Martin Luther, didn’t like the books of Hebrews, James and Revelations. And yet within those books we find wonderful explanations of the doctrine that Jesus Christ taught before He was crucified. In Revelations, as I just mentioned, there is written knowledge of premortality, the life we lived before we came here. How precious these truths are that he dismissed out of hand. Martin Luther and the other Reformers performed a wonderful service in preparing the world for the full restoration of Christ’s Church, but they were not infallible.
In John 20:30 we find: “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book.”
In the next chapter, John 21:15: “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”
In Ezekial 37:16-19 it reads: “Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick and write upon it, For Judah and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephriam, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.”
The stick of Judah, obviously, is the Bible. The stick of Joseph is a record of Jesus Christ’s visit to North America after His crucifixion. There were other books written testifying of Jesus Christ, His teachings and His visits to other lands. The entire gospel of Jesus Christ, in its purest form, is revealed within the pages of the Book of Mormon, and is the stick of Joseph. When it was translated and printed in 1830, it was spread across the land until it is now translated. A full explanation of how the Book of Mormon came into being can be found here.
Question: In reference to Elder Neal A. Maxwell, how do we know he was a true apostle? Not just him, but anyone in modern day times claiming to be delivering the word of god?
Answer: Now, as to your question as to how to know if Neal A. Maxwell is an apostle of God, or how anyone in this day and age can make such a claim.
At the very end of the Book of Mormon, the prophet Moroni tell us: “And I seal up these records, after I have spoken a few words by way of exhortation unto you. Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”
This request and promise is given to readers of the Book of Mormon. But it applies in all facets of attempting to discern truth from error. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the restored Church of Jesus Christ, in its entirety, as it was set up by Jesus Christ in the meridian of time (0 A.D. to 33 A.D.) The authority bestowed upon the 12 Apostles by Jesus Christ is completely restored, the structure of which is described in Ephesians, a prophet and apostles are those that administer Christ’s Church.
Ephesians 1:10 – “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times (now) He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him.” (Restoration)
In Ephesians 2:20 – “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.”
With any knowledge that comes your way, it’s important that you study and research it and then kneel before you Father in Heaven and sort out the truth. He will provide that for you. He has given us scripture describing how to recognize His answers:
D&C 9:7-9 – “Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me.”
Really, what it boils down to is “by their fruits, ye shall know them.” If hate and vitriol are the watchcry, that is not of Jesus Christ. If emulation of the Savior in all things is the watchcry, that is of Jesus Christ.
I can certainly testify to you that Jesus Christ’s Church has been restored and that Gordon B. Hinckley, the living prophet today, is a prophet of God. The Book of Mormon holds within its pages the plain and precious truths removed from the Bible. As a companion book of scripture to the Bible, life as we were intended to understand it, will open up and you will begin to look at your daily life with new eyes and understanding of: Who am I? Why I am I here? and Where am I going? You will have the answers to those questions. I testify of the divinity of Jesus Christ, for He is God and He lives.