Dr. Einar C. Erickson
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It is clear then that the existence of a testament of Adam was fully integrated in the story of the Magi. This was basically a prophecy intended for a people in the east. They enlarged upon it. The Christian had lost all knowledge of it.

THE PLAN- SPIRITS- SPIRIT WORLD

INTRODUCTION

Mormons believe in the Plan of Salvation. What is the Plan? The Plan is a plan or system by which personal intelligences are enabled to progress rapidly and continuously to achieve constant happiness. God is the Author of the full plan (Widtsoe p. 199) “Personal intelligences are among the indestructible units of the universe. The essential part of man has always existed…from the very beginning the being now known as man possessed a will [free agency], and by the operation of his will has reached his present condition. The Church holds that the contents of the universe [are] personal intelligences and the contents of the universe upon which these intelligences act. These are two universal realities.” (Widtsoe pp. 189-190) The contents of the universe are indestructible …Personal intelligences are also indestructible.  [A premortal life], “preexistence is a settled doctrine of the Church which helps explain many things connected with earth life.” (Widtsoe pp. 182-193) “The foremost intelligence in the universe is God. Him who we address in our prayers as Father.” (D&C 76:92, 93; 88:40; 109:77; 20:17) “His knowledge is the sum of the knowledge possessed by all existing personal intelligences and his power the sum of the powers of such personal beings.” (Abraham 3:19; Widtsoe p. 197) He is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. The Plan of Salvation is founded on Love. The Lord has no other higher purpose.  “Behold, this is my work and my glory -to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39) “O how great the plan of our God.” (2 Ne. 9:13)

BORN INTO THE SPIRIT WORLD

Jesus declared: “I was in the beginning with the father, and am the First Born.,” (D&C 93:21; Top p.107) “In the Beginning the rising intelligences progressed…they learned by experience God was there to point out the way of progress and to give direct help when needed the will of man was left undisturbed, progress was the result of the operation of the untrammeled will. The time came as an earned step when through the intervention of the Lord personal intelligences became invested with spirit bodies. Man was born as it were into the spirit world. God became the ‘Father of our spirits.”  Life in the world of personal intelligences clothed upon with spirit bodies is called the First Estate of man. We were sons and daughters of God.” (Widtsoe pp.200-201) Christ was the first born of these children of God. We have a mother there! “The Doctrine of premortal existence of individuals is a key to understanding the Lord’s plan of salvation.” (Maxwell p. 69) “Even before they were born, they, with many others received their first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth in due time.”  (D&C 138:54, 55-56) And “Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the grand Council of heaven before this world was.” (D&C 121:32; Maxwell p. 75)

MORTAL LIFE                    

“Long ages marked by progress was spent in the spirit world… in the course of time the spirit children of the Lord…reached a certain stage of advance…another forward step was taken by the Lord…. an earth, composed of material elements was…created and fitted for the abode of man. They had earned the right to come upon the earth. Earth life was an onward progressive step the spirits had accepted the plan and its conditions.  Forgetfulness of his previous existence is the first condition imposed upon man on earth. They came upon the earth willingly. Earth life is said to be man’s Second Estate. Life on earth was of limited duration. Then [comes] a separation of the spirit from the body which is called death.” (Widtsoe p. 202) All mankind will be resurrected. The final state we earn in the course of this journey is the Third Estate of Man, it will be the last estate of Man. (Widtsoe p. 202)

All of the above is included in the Father’s Plan of Salvation. Any portion or suggestion of it that shows up in any ancient document is evidence of its presence anciently. “The Lord had shown … Abraham the intelligences that were organized before the world was… there were many of the noble and great one … Abraham thou art one of them thou was chosen before thou was born” (Abraham 3:22:23; Maxwell p. 76) Paul … “preached the doctrine of foreordination … he also did predestinate… his Son… that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 11:2; Maxwell p. 76) “We have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us and we gave them reverence, shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits and live?” (Hebrew 12:9) “The Bible contains much more pertaining to the precious, plain doctrine of the premortal existence than many realize.” (Maxwell p. 78) An early Church Father, Origen,  included in his writings: “We believe that other worlds existed before  the present world came into being.” (Ibid) “The Talmud and the Midrash clearly teach the doctrine of the premortal existence of souls. In another Jewish book, “God is represented as taking counsel with the souls of the righteous before he created the earth.”  (Maxwell p. 80) Justin Martyr (AD 199-167) … taught this doctrine … that if men “by their good works prove themselves worthy of His plan they are considered worthy to return to his presence and reign with Him.” (Maxwell p. 80) “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.” (Moses 1:33. 35. 38; Maxwell p. 82) The Testament of Naphtali clearly teaches “the doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul.” (Maxwell p. 86)

“President Wilford Woodruff said: “The Lord has chosen a small number of choice spirits of Sons and daughters out of all the creations of God, who are to inherit the earth, and the company of choice spirits have been kept in the Spirit World for 6,000 years to come forth in the last days, to stand in the flesh in the Last Dispensation of the Fulness of Times, to organize the Kingdom of ‘god upon this earth to build it up and to defend it.” (Woodruff p. 4: Top p. 154) Are they here yet?

Our foreordinations were  “… promised or foreordained before the world was… what we have received … according to the merits of our conduct before we came here… had demonstrated [our] righteousness in the spirit world before [we] came here…the outgrowth of long years of personal preparation in preexistence.” (Top pp. 144-145)

THE PHALAVI TEXTS

The surviving sacred books from ancient Persia date to about      AD 550, for the Zoroastrians from an ancient religion a thousand years earlier. The surviving Avesta is only a fragment, with three parts, the ‘Gathas,’ Songs, the ‘Yashts’, sacrificial hymns, and the ‘Vendidad or ‘Videvdat,’ the law against the demons. The Gathas give us the doctrines proclaimed by Zoraster himself, the prophet of ancient Iran. The texts [Parthian] are called the Pahlavi Books, the doctrines have, however suffered several reformations. (See my CD on the PAHLAVI Texts)

ANCIENT ZOROASTRIAN DOCTRINES  

“Man is by origin, a spiritual being, and his soul [spirit] in the shape of what Zoroastrians call his Fravashi or Favahr, pre-exists his body. Both body and soul, however are creatures of Ohrmazd [God the father, the creator God].” (Zaehner p. 17) The first question in their catechism is: “Who am I? To Whom do I belong? From Whence have I come? Whither do I return?” (Ibid p.17) Over against God “who is eternal stands the Devil (Ahriman), ‘he was and is, yet shall not be’…both are accompanied by subsidiary created spirits.” (Zaehner pp. 18-19) “I must have no doubt but that the soul will be severed from the body and that the body (itself) will be dissolved [then] the rising of the dead … the coming of Soshyans. [the Savior]. The raising of the dead and the final body which does not pass away.” (Zaehner p. 23) “Heaven is the best place, that the kingdom of the spirit (menokis) is the most pleasurable), that the mansions (deh) of the sky are the most luminous, that Paradise (Garedhman) is a shining house and wisdom rules both worlds.” (Zaehner pp. 25-26) “The two spirits agree to do battle at the end of which Ohrmazed knows Ahriman will be utterly destroyed.” (Zaehner p. 31)

FROM THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS AND THE NAG HAMIMADI

From the Thanksgiving Psalms of the Dead Sea Scrolls, we get: “God is great, Glorious, sublime, he is eternal omniscient: Behold, thou art prince of the gods, and king of the honored ones, Lord of every spirit. And ruler over all works and everything that is, he secureth through his plan, and without him nothing is done.” (Ringgren pp. 47-48) “And the purpose of creation is nothing other than God’s glory, God’s glory is the only acceptable reason for his actions. [To bring to pass the eternal life of man]. He has stretched out the heavens to his glory and to his glory has he created all things.” (Ringgren p. 50-51; Largey p. 166; Moses 1:39)

From the Nag Hammadi we get: “The Great Seth begins in the spiritual world the realm of the Supreme God and the Mother. The speaker to be identified later with Jesus Christ, asserts that he originates from this celestial region and that he is the revealer, he brings forth the “word.” The speaker calls together the heavenly church and presents his plan; he is to come forth to reveal the glory to those on earth who are kin to the celestial beings the heavenly church then gives its approval of the plan [Christ says:] ‘Willingly did I come forth to reveal the glory to my kindred and my fellow spirits by taking on an earthly body.’ He [Christ] brings forth a word of revelation to this world, he is from above and alien to this world he does the will of the Father or of the celestial church.” (Gibbons p. 243-249; Robinson V. 4)

“The essence of the plan was that man was to work out his own salvation on earth, with the help of God… Jesus Christ, the First- born of the Father our Elder Brother, was the leader in advocating the plan devised by the Father.” (Widtsoe p. 208) In Saying 145:  “with a statement by the author that both Gods and Men, i.e., all intelligent beings, hold that there was nothing in existence prior to Chaos but the author himself will prove that this view, … so widely held is erroneous… a curtain  [veil] … was established  as a separation between men and the immortal world…and many other powers and demons… cherubim to carry the throne … a paradise with … including the tree of immortal  life ….the tree of knowledge whereby the souls … are awakened  from the sleep [forgetfulness].” (Finegan pp. 28-28)     

COSMIC DRAMA

“We have the harking back to the beginning of things, the struggle for the control of the world, of ... opposing spiritual forces. We have contending of the Elect One and his elect ones with Beliar and his minions…the double stage of heaven and earth, with saints and seers ascending and angels descending and a great business of messages passing and prophecies being recorded. We have the mapping of the compartments of heaven and keeping the Book of Life and the register of the faithful …  the triumph of the saints and the destruction of the evildoers...the new heaven… a new earth…”  Cosmic Drama! (Schonfield pp. 114-115) It is all going according to plan.

                                         BIBLOGRAPHY

FIINEGAN, Jack, Hidden records of the Life of Jesus, Pilgrim Press, Philadelphia, 1969 

GIBBONS, Joseph A. The Second Logos pf the Great Seth Considerations and Questions, Society of Biblical Literature, Vol. 2. Staten Island, New York, 1973 

LARGEY, Dennis L.  Pearl of Great Price, Reference Companion, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 2017

RINGGREN, Elmer, The Faith of Qumran, Theology of the dead Scrolls, Fortress Press. Philadelphia. 1963

ROBINSON, James M., The Coptic Gnostic Library, Vol. 4., E. J. Brill, Leiden, Boston, Koln, 2000

SCHONFIELD, Hugh J., The Secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Thomas Yoselff, Inc., New York. 1957

TOP, Brent, The Life Before, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, Utah. 1988

WIDTSOE, JOHN A., Program pf the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1941

WOODRUFF, W., “Our Lineage”, Topical Outline to the ‘Way to Perfection,’ Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City. Utah.1932

ZAEHNER, R.C., The Teaching of the Magi, Compendium of Zoroastrian beliefs, Oxford University Press, New York, 1975

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                        

All research and opionions presented on this site are the sole responsibility of Dr. Einar C. Erickson, and should not be interpreted as official statements of the LDS doctrine, beliefs or practice.
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