That Men Might Have Joy?
The title of this article, as you will find out, comes from an express statement in the Book of Mormon. The only difference between my article title and the text statement is the use of a question mark as punctuation. My reason for this is that I really do wish to raise a question as to the truthfulness of that statement in the Book of Mormon.
Now, this is not to simply come down on Mormonism, rather it is to cause to question the veracity of statements made in the Book of Mormon, the logic behind them, and whether they are consistent with the Holy Bible. While it is true that Latter Day Saints, or Mormons claim to believe the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon, it is quite plain in discussions with Mormons that they believe the Bible has errors. As such, they question the accuracy of the Bible, and choose to follow the Book of Mormon whenever there is a conflict between the two. In keeping with this mindset, since they question the Bible, it is only fair that their text be questioned as well. Thus, this statement “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” is to be examined in light of what it states logically, about the nature of God, and how it compares to Scripture.
There are some religions that seem to specialize in hiding what they truly believe behind a facade. Unfortunately, even though they claim to believe and follow the Bible, Mormons have some very different views on what the Bible states. Views that are radically different from understandings that have existed for millennia. This is not to say that all the different interpretations that have existed for thousands of years are correct. Rather, it is to state that certain views on various doctrines have been drawn from passages of Scripture, been argued for, and supported by various other passages, or by those who commented on Scripture. In Mormonism, there is a radical departure from this thinking. This is due to the existence of other texts the Mormons hold as being just as valid and inspired as the Bible. What this does in reality is create a conflict of authorities. Given that we (man) are not very good at following more than one authority at a time, it is a dangerous thing to have more than one text that is considered authoritative. We will invariably choose one text over the others when there exists a conflict between the different texts.
The following passage is excerpted from the Book of Mormon, which is purported to be equivalent to the Bible by the Mormons. However, upon reading the following passage, there are some serious questions that ought to be asked about the reasoning contained therein.
2 Nephi, Chapter 2
22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.
24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.
25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
Now, I have underlined some of the passages that require examination. While it is true that if Adam had not transgressed, he would not have fallen, and would have remained in the Garden of Eden. However, the following sentence makes no sense at all when applied to the physical world. When the statement is made ”And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created,” inherent in that statement is a presumption that cannot be proven true at all. In fact, knowing that the physical world is the way it is, even if it is not corrupted by sin, it is impossible for everything to remain in the same physical state in which it was created. This is where the infinite wisdom and understanding of the LORD God is not appreciated at all. The LORD is indeed able to create everything in such a state that it appears to have been here all along, and yet, it is indeed brand new. The reason for this is that the LORD God created all the physical processes in their working, functioning state as fully matured processes. Even though the LORD does not directly tell us that, He does tell us that He created all the animals as adult animals, and when He created Adam, He created him as a fully mature man, a man in the prime of his life.
Now, it is true that if Adam had not transgressed, everything would have remained in the state of righteousness, which is first and foremost a spiritual state, and then is manifested physically. Nonetheless, since the spiritual was first, and at that time was the preeminent state, it governed everything that existed in the world that then was. Since Adam had dominion, so long as Adam remained righteous, the entire physical universe would remain righteous. This does not preclude the bearing of offspring by anything capable of bearing offspring. This we ought to know and understand as the LORD God gave an express commandment:
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:27-28)
Now, it would be nonsense for God to give such a commandment if He never intended for man to multiply upon the earth in the state in which he created man, which was a state of righteousness and innocence. Which, of course brings us to a direct contradiction that exists between the Book of Mormon and the word of God, the Bible; the very next verse of 2 Nephi, chapter 2 states “And they would have had no children” which directly contradicts Genesis and the express statement of the LORD God. Moreover, by implication it is to state that the LORD God gave a commandment that can only be considered utter nonsense and pointless. However, we find out very quickly which text makes no sense the statement that follows the phrase “they would have had no children:” “they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.”
Now this begs the question: Does this mean what it appears to state? If we examine other passages in the Book of Mormon, we find that it indeed does. Earlier in 2 Nephi, chapter 2, there is a long dissertation about how all things are in opposition, and nothing can exist without opposition. The following statement is excerpted out of verse 11 of the chapter:
“11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; . . .”
If we take this statement at face value, which we must, seeing that we have no basis to take it otherwise, we must conclude that Joseph Smith determined that God could not have existed as righteous except that wickedness existed either prior to, or at the same time as God who is righteous, for all of eternity past. The statement is plain, and without any limiting qualification: “righteousness could not be brought to pass.” Now, he goes on to say that “neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; . . .” In essence, what is stated here is that God cannot exist without wickedness, and God cannot be holy, except that unholiness exists, etc. If we are at all curious, this leads to the question:
Where has this doctrine been expounded before?
For those who are familiar with the religions of the world, particularly the Eastern religions, the above statement from verse 11 of 2 Nephi, chapter 2 rings very familiar. Consider the following quotes:
“Second, since the one principle produces the other, all phenomena have within them the seeds of their opposite state, that is, sickness has the seeds of health, health contains the seeds of sickness, wealth contains the seeds of poverty, etc. Third, even though an opposite may not be seen to be present, since one principle produces the other, no phenomenon is completely devoid of its opposite state. One is never really healthy since health contains the principle of its opposite, sickness. This is called “presence in absence.” “ ((http://history.cultural-china.com/en/167History8778.html))
“Traditionally, yin is dark, passive, feminine, cold and negative; yang is light, active, male, warm and positive. Another simpler way of looking at yin and yang is that there are two sides to everything – happy and sad, tired and energetic, cold and hot. Yin and yang are the opposites that make the whole. They cannot exist without each other and nothing is ever completely one or the other. There are varying degrees of each within everything and everybody.” ((http://www.holisticonline.com/Acupuncture/acp_yin_yang.htm))
“1. Yin and yang do not exclude each other.
Everything has its opposite: although this is never absolute – only relative. No one thing is completely yin or completely yang. Each contains the seed of its opposite. For example, winter can turn into summer; “what goes up, must come down”.
2. Yin and yang are interdependent.
One cannot exist without the other. For example, day cannot exist without night. Light cannot exist without darkness. Life cannot exist without death.” ((http://www.answers.com/topic/yin-yang?cat=health))
What the above philosophical statements do is deny that righteousness could ever exist without evil. In short, it is a flat denial that God is wholly righteous, and was, is, and ever will be intrinsically righteous without any wickedness or iniquity at all. It is as much to drag God down to our level and say that God Himself is no better that we are. Of course, this is the contention of Eastern religions and of the so-called “New Age” religion which holds that man can become a god, attaining perfection through harmonizing the opposition of all things.
The strange thing is that this very same idea is found in Mormonism. If the above quotes from the book of Mormon were isolated, we could reasonably conclude that Joseph Smith lacked understanding of the nature and righteousness of God and was simply flawed in his thinking. However, the continuance of such ideas in writings like The Doctrines and Covenants prove that the philosophy of New Age mysticism permeates Mormonism.
D&C 132:19 And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them–Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths–then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.
D&C 132:20 Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.
Only in the strange view of New Age and Eastern mysticism would it be possible to justify untold suffering and the condemnation of man by claiming that evil must be done for good to come. After all, if it weren’t for all the suffering and wickedness, some, who are the enlightened could never attain the status of gods — at the expense of the rest of mankind. Only under such a philosophy is it possible to claim that some must be evil so that others can be good.
So it is with Mormonism. To those who actually believe Mormon doctrine, it is a good thing that sin, and death by sin entered into the world at the Fall. After all, it is claimed, we would have never had the “gospel” otherwise.
The only way I can describe such logic is by the word “sick.” It is sick to think it is a good thing that the vast majority of people will go to hell because they refuse the gospel, while a few receive and obey the gospel and are blessed by its benefits. It would have been far better for man to have never fallen in the first place — then we would not have needed the gospel. Plainly, the Book of Mormon, and Mormon doctrine do not reflect in any way the true nature and heart of the LORD God, which is clearly expressed in the following passages from the word of God. Consider them carefully, and see the character and nature of the LORD God that is expressed in them:
Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? (Ezekiel 18:23)
Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye. (Ezekiel 18:30-32)
Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11)
For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them; In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.
And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke. (Isaiah 59:12-17)
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (II Peter 3:9)
By the passages above, the LORD God I know and have a personal relationship with, is not the god of Mormonism. My LORD and God did not want man to fall, though He knew man would. That is why the LORD God prepared the means of salvation in eternity past, long before the world ever was. The LORD God is, as the Song of Solomon states: “altogether lovely.” Moreover, the LORD God is wholly righteous, and exists without iniquity and sin.
No, the Book of Mormon is dead wrong in its assertion about how men might have joy. It would have been a far better thing if Adam hadn’t fallen at all. However, only the LORD God is intrinsically righteous, and the fall of man was a inevitable thing in that Adam would have sooner or later, chosen not to go back to the LORD and ask and reaffirm the single commandment. It just happened sooner, rather than later — and it wasn’t a happy moment.
Our sin kills us, and there is no joy in that.