This is the final chapter from the book "The Meaning of Truth" written by Alvin R. Dyer, that pertains to the section of the book called "The Day of the Gentile."
Chapter Eight: A Question of Birth
Have you ever wondered why you were born today instead of two thousand years ago? Did this just happen or is thee a foreordained plan governing the time and place of birth? Why weren't you born in the days of Moses instead of today? What were the processes in our pre-mortal estate which designated when and where you as an individual spirit should come into the world? In the light of divine instruction the answers to these important questions are clear. You and I were born in this day and age in accordance with our foreordination.
Missionaries who go throughout the world proclaiming the gospel at this particular time, do so because of their foreordination, being "hid from the world" to come forth as "lawful heirs" (D&C 86:9).
The birth of many chosen spirits into the world today in this last dispensation has been timed so that they could proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ unto the gentiles and unto as many of the house of Israel as shall be called to the end that they can be prepared for a place in the kingdom of our Heavenly Father: First, here upon earth, and secondly, through proven worthiness to become priests, kings, and rulers in their own patriarchal households, and to assist our Heavenly Father in the administrations that will govern and control the terrestrial and telestial kingdoms.
A Person of Nobility
All of this is in accordance with the great plan of salvation that makes of each person so foreordained of the cast of nobility in the progressive eternal journey of the soul.
The nobility of person, achieved by long periods of conformity to gospel law and principle, has no place for egotism or of lifting oneself up in pride, but rather assumes the status of meekness in maintaining individual honor.
As we contemplate our pre-mortal position and of having been withheld in mortal birth to come forth in this great period of time to proclaim the gospel, to give over and over again our witness of the truth and to assist our Heavenly Father in the work, we cannot help but feel and sense our place in the noble lineage of Israel. If this were not so, we would not be as we are today, members of the Church and Kingdom of God and the servants of our Heavenly Father.
A Thought to Ponder Concerning Resurrection
If we by some miracle had the power to see each other in the true form of our spirit bodies, even though mature in our physical bodies, we would find that some of our spirit bodies would be a little bigger than our physical bodies, and more perfect in other respects. I have often thought as I have looked at our missionaries and people in general, now some are short, some are tall. Since we do not know the dimensional size of our spirit bodies, we assume that not all are of the same size, but of these things we are not sure. But this we have come to know, a spirit is full-grown when it enters the body of a child at the time of birth. In some way, not understood, the tiny body of a child, at first, becomes the earth-life tabernacle of a mature spirit.
As the body grows in size, unless it is curtailed by physical handicap, disease or accident, it will undoubtedly grow generally to the form of the spirit. But even though the body grows in the general image of its spirit in-dweller, oftentimes disease creeps in; children at birth have accidents, causing a physical injury to some part of the body which affects proper growth. A brother called to an important Church position recently was observed to have a back deformity; his legs were abnormally longer than the trunk of his body, which was shorter than normal. But in that man there is a glorified spirit. It has no deformity, but his spirit must go along with that body until the body dies. The spirit cannot remain with a mortal body that has ceased to function and when this occurs, the spirit departs to dwell in the spirit world.
The Day of This Life
The day of this life is from the day of mortal birth until the end of the period of the spirit world. It is not at the end of this mortal life. This is why we preach the gospel in the spirit world so that the work can be done for people vicariously here upon the earth, within the recognized day of this life.
Through the law of resurrection, the elements of the physical or mortal body are again brought to life by association, for the second time with their spirit bodies, never to leave again. The body of element in the process of resurrection will then grow to the full stature of the spirit. There will be no deformities. The arms and the body will be perfect as it will then become an eternal soul.
We look at people and see many with one arm or one leg, others with body deformities, which they endeavor to compensate for with specially built shoes and clothing. Sometimes we hear of a person referred to as ugly, caused by the contour of the face which, while preserving parental characteristics, takes on the appearance of ugliness because of the tricks of nature. A cheekbone is caused to protrude from the face, or the chin bones to recede and thus the face grows lopsided. One eye may be lower than another, or in numerous other ways the growth of physical parts of the body may be abnormal. Such a person is referred to as homely or even ugly. But the time will come in the resurrection when that face or body will have its proper form and proportions as it grows to the facial and body characteristics of the perfect spirit body. There will be no ugliness. Actually, there is no ugliness now if we could but look at the real person, at his spirit and not at his physical appearance.
Improvements in a Mortal Probation
Unto those who are born into a lesser kingdom in this life there can come an improvement to their place; for example, the day will come when the Negro will receive the gospel and will have the opportunity to receive the patriarchal order of the family and priesthood that goes with it. The time will come when the Jews will be redeemed and be relieved of that curse which is upon them for the crucifixion of the Christ. The time will come when the Lamanites will be made a white and delightsome people, and their backwardness and their lack of memory and all of the traits of character which are now placed upon them will vanish. A great many of the American Indians are evidencing the signs of rising above the curse that was placed upon them and have demonstrated their abilities in our modern society. In some part of South and Central America we see the lower castes of the descendants of the Nephites and Lamanites. The day, however, will come when they also will rise, if they are willing, from that which was placed upon them. In time they will be relieved from the curse which came upon them because of their rejection of the prophets.
These three divisions of cursed people that have had a judgment placed upon them, some of whom were of chosen lineages, indicate to us that in the plan of agency man, if he is to improve his place, must constantly be in the light.
The Gentile Division
Concerning the people in the second division of mortal birth, who have been referred to as the gentile, this is their day. They are having the opportunities to improve their place from one position to another. But at the end of this life, at the end of the spirit world, then there can be no change. They should do their changing here in this probation. The Prophet [Amulek] explains this:
Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you (Alma 34:31).Our great responsibility as the Church and Kingdom of God is to lead people to repentance, for when a person repents, yielding to the influence of the Spirit of God manifested by those who testify to them, and teach them, the plan of salvation will open unto them and they will understand it. Somewhere in the secret caverns of every person there is the power to understand the gospel message, if they will but open their hearts and be receptive.
Gospel Plan Known in Pre-mortality
All born into mortality were taught the Gospel in the pre-mortal estate. All, in varying degrees, accepted it. [Amulek] tells us that if they will only repent under the beckoning call of the servants of God, that immediately the great plan of redemption will be brought back to their understanding.
With this knowledge at hand, our obligation as members of the kingdom of our Heavenly Father is diligently to proclaim these truths unto other people. Continuing the writings of Alma:
For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors (Alma 34:32).And now this is the particular scripture that I want to call attention to:
And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, (which is from bith until the end of the spirit world) which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time (if we do not improve our place) while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed (Alma 34:33).The Lord in his love, in his kindness, thought to make of probation of mortality the continuing opportunity for his spirit children to come to know the gospel. All of the preaching and all of the influences and powers of persuasion that could have been used were used upon us in the first pre-mortal estate, and all who were noble and valiant were chosen to come into mortality to progress in what they already knew. Those of the medium division were chosen and those in the lesser division were likewise.
This life is a probation. Men have the opportunity to move from the lower division to a higher division. This is why a Negro born into this life, imposed with a judgment due to a lack of full acceptance of the gospel plan, may, by receiving the gospel, be elevated to a higher place. And the same with others who are born into mortality who have not fully accepted. They too may advance.
To Improve or to Retrogress
But in all probations, there is also a danger of a down grade and those who come into this life to a noble position may lose their place and end up on the terrestrial kingdom or in the telestial, or even become a son of perdition. This is the very point of the plan of free agency that Lucifer no doubt grasped and tried to get sufficient support to destroy the plan. He wanted to save everyone under the principle of force, to be accomplished as he proposed by eliminating agency that all who would go into this world would come back into the spirit world in their same station. There would be no change. This had a great influence upon many, for a third of the hosts of heaven believed him and followed his erroneous and destructive way. Actually Satan's plan was deceptive and could not happen as he must have claimed it would.
Life Comparison with the Parable of the Talents
This same principle of the plan is conveyed in Christ's parable of the talents as already referred to, with the one who did not want to take a chance on losing his place, and he who was given one talent buried it. Do you get the true meaning of the parable of the talents? The consequence of this is that all of life is depicted in this very parable which the Christ speaks of in the assigning of the five talents, representing the children of the noble lineage, the assigning of the two, of the adopted lineage, and the assigning of the one, of the lower lineage. This is all a part of the organized plan of the gospel of Jesus Christ. there was a chosen people in the premortal existence. Literally there was an Israel in heaven and is so preserved in the procreation of man. Those same spirits were born through such channels as to be given the opportunity, now, again to prove themselves, while those of lesser kingdoms were to have the opportunity to elevate themselves from one kingdom to another. But as [Amulek] has stated, after the day of this life then there can be no work done for them.
In conclusion, here is a summarization. That all men are created equal, may be true in a political sense, for such laws as men may provide for the protection of the individual rights on the basis of equality and opportunity; of course, we recognize no discriminating influence. But if implied to mean that all men are born with equal capacity or even with the same inherent abilities, such becomes absurd and manifestly false. Every spirit born in the flesh is an individual character and brings to the body prepared for its tenancy, a nature all of its own, fashioned and made ready by its degree of advancement in the pre-mortal estate referred to by the Lord as the first estate. This principle of agency provides that tendencies, likes, and dislikes, in fact, the entire make-up of the spirit may be intensified or changed by the course of mortal life, and thus the spirit may advance or retrogress while allied with its mortal tabernacle.
Man shall, therefore, conclude his mortal probation or second estate to that degree of achievement made possible by the combination of his premortal level visited upon him in mortal birth and with that which he is able to do with himself here in this life. Therefore, the sum and substance of his place in the third estate of life to follow this one, referred to as immortality and eternal life, will be the combination of both the first and second estates.
States of Existence
There are four conditions and stages in the advancement of the individual soul as made known to us by divine revelation. They are:
- The Unembodied or the spirit world.
- The Embodied, when men take upon themselves a body in this life.
- The Disembodies, when there is a brief separation of the spirit and the mortal body awaiting the resurrection.
- The Resurrected.
In other words: (A), every one of us lived in a premortal existence as an individual spirit; (B), we are now advanced to the stage of mortal existence in which we have taken a mortal body; (C), we shall live in a disembodied state after death which is but a separation of the body and the spirit; and (D), in due time each one of us, whether righteous or sinful, shall be resurrected from the dead with spirit and body being reunited, never again to be separated.
In the plan of salvation, which has been made known to us in this dispensation, through the revelations given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, we are privileged to perceive and understand the principle or foreordination. In a footnote from the Articles of Faith (Lecture 10, Article 5) by Dr. James E. Talmage, we are enlightened by the following article; under the heading of Foreordination:
The writings of the book of Genesis in the Bible, and from Moses and Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price make it plain that man existed in a spiritual condition prior to coming here, and also quite as evident that in that pre-existence he exercised his free agency. God may have called and chosen men in their first estate, or spiritual existence, but whether they will accept that call and fill it, by repentance and good works in this life, is a matter in which it is their privilege to exercise their free agency. Men exercised their free agency in the first or spiritual estate, as well as in this. That the character of their works in that estate shaped their destiny in this is evident (Compendium of the Doctrines of the Gospel, Franklin D. Richards and James A. Little, see Foreordination).
In conclusion, I quote from one not of the Church:
Mormonism as a theory offers the most comprehensive and consistent explanation of the great mystery of life [no reference given].
Then we read this from another who is of the Church:
What thoughtful man must long for is some firm center about which he can organize his knowledge of the world, his experiences of life, a point of view from which he can gather all into an intelligible unity, and with which he can press forward with a deep assurance of divine guidance and adequate outcome [no reference given].
May the Lord bless us one and all. Help us to appreciate the fact that servants of God divinely committed to go forth with the assistance of our Heavenly Father in bringing about his purposes, are preparing men and women to be leaders in his kingdoms, at the same time working out their own salvation seeking to fulfil their destinies as priests and kings and as queens and priestesses in the Patriarchal Order in the eternal realms of our Heavenly Father.