Another Monday Mormon and another look at the Mormon missionary lessons’ “Questions of the Soul.” These are presented such as to imply that the Book of Mormon alone answers these questions but we have seen that fuller, more correct answers can be found in the Bible. Here is this week’s question:
Does God Know me? – The Mormon answer given is in Alma 5:38,58. The first verse speaks of Christ calling a person by name, the second of the names written in the book of life. Again we find the Bible has answers more fulsome and carrying greater clarity and authority.
From the beginning God has called out to man personally (Gen.3:9). The psalmist wrote, “O LORD, you have searched me, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you discern my going out and my lying down, you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely O LORD…All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Ps.139:1-4, 16)
The LORD said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jer.1:5) In Rev.2:9 Jesus declares that he knows the the afflictions of the saints of Smyrna and in Rev.2:19 he knows the love and faith of those in Thyatira and Rev.21:27 speaks of those faithful whose names are written in the lamb’s book of life.
But what is most interesting about the Mormon answer is that it has nothing to say about the Mormon teaching on the pre-mortal life. This doctrine is missing from what Joseph Smith said is, “the most correct of any book on earth.” This book that is purported to contain “the fullness of the everlasting gospel” is missing completely the key Mormon teaching that underlies the answer to every question on the list we have been looking at.
Last time we saw that, while the Bible addresses the question, “How has God dealt with man through history and what are the implications for man today?” the Book of Mormon answers the question, “What do we believe about...?” The story is a vehicle for lengthy discussions about what should be believed. Yet in all this discussion there is no Mormonism. Answer these“questions of the soul” through the prism of modern-day Mormon teaching and you will see what I mean.
Is there a God? – Yes, he is your literal Heavenly Father with whom we once all lived in the pre-mortal existence.
What does Jesus Christ expect of me? – That you should strive to become more like your Heavenly Father and return to him and heavenly home in which we all once lived.
How can a belief in Jesus Christ help me? – As our literal elder brother Jesus has paid for our sins so that we can work our way back to be with God.
Is there life after death? – Yes, we left the pre-existence in order to return there after passing life’s tests and dying.
What is the purpose of life? – To return to our heavenly home where we once lived with out Heavenly Parents.
Why does God allow evil and suffering in the world? – To test our faith as we strive to return to him.
Does my infant need baptism? – No, because he/she was innocent when leaving the pre-existence and entering this world.
Does God know me? – Yes, he your literal Heavenly Father and you once lived with him before coming here.
Does God answer prayers? – Yes, he is interested in all the prayers of all his children who left his side to be here.
How can I find peace and joy? – By realising who you are, a literal child of God who should strive to return to that life you had before you came to earth.
How can I make my family happier and more united? – By going to the temple and making them a forever family who can return together to Heavenly Father where they once lived.
How can I balance family and career? – By prioritising family and being responsible for bringing them back to Heavenly Father.
How can I strengthen my relationship with my spouse? – By making our eternal relationship centre in our lives and making sure we who kept our first estate are added upon.
How can I avoid the evils that threaten my family? – By remembering together that we came from our pre-mortal state to pass such tests and return to our heavenly home.
How can I avoid sin? – Christ redeems the repentant so they can strive to return to their heavenly home.
None of these orthodox Mormon answers find their foundation in the Book of Mormon. Indeed, anyone reading the Book of Mormon would not come up with a doctrine of pre-mortal life because it is simply not there. The fundamental questions that Mormons down the generations have been fond of plying are threefold:
Where did I come from?
Why am I here?
Where am I going?
The fundamental and familiar Mormon answers to these familiar questions cannot be found in the key text of the restoration, the Book of Mormon. This means the much-vaunted Mormon Plan of Salvation can find no basis in the Book of Mormon. It seems that not only does the Book of Mormon give poor and unbiblical answers to the questions it does address, it fails entirely to give the most fundamental answers to what Mormons regard as the key questions that the restoration is meant to answer.