Alma 11: 41-44, LeGrand Baker, resurrection and judgement

Alma 11: 41-44, LeGrand Baker, resurrection and judgement

Alma 11: 41-44
41 Therefore the wicked remain as though there had been no redemption made, except it be the loosing of the bands of death; for behold, the day cometh that all shall rise from the dead and stand before God, and be judged according to their works.
42 Now, there is a death which is called a temporal death; and the death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death.
43 The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt.
44 Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil.

In these words we find a fundamental doctrine about the sequence of our eternal progression. It is that the final judgement, when we stand before the Saviour, comes after—not before— the resurrection. That doctrine is also taught elsewhere in the Book of Mormon.

Mormon was very explicit. He wrote that the Saviour brings about “the resurrection of the dead, whereby man must be raised to stand before his judgment-seat.” That statement, in context, reads:

5 Know ye that ye must come to the knowledge of your fathers, and repent of all your sins and iniquities, and believe in Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God, and that he was slain by the Jews, and by the power of the Father he hath risen again, whereby he hath gained the victory over the grave; and also in him is the sting of death swallowed up.
6 And he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead, whereby man must be raised to stand before his judgment-seat.
7 And he hath brought to pass the redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgment day hath it given unto him to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end. (Mormon 7:5-7)

Moroni explained it even more fully. He wrote, “Christ bringeth to pass the resurrection, which bringeth to pass a redemption from an endless sleep… And then cometh the judgment…” In context, that statement reads:

12 Behold, he created Adam, and by Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, even the Father and the Son; and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man.
13 And because of the redemption of man, which came by Jesus Christ, they are brought back into the presence of the Lord; yea, this is wherein all men are redeemed, because the death of Christ bringeth to pass the resurrection, which bringeth to pass a redemption from an endless sleep, from which sleep all men shall be awakened by the power of God when the trump shall sound; and they shall come forth, both small and great, and all shall stand before his bar, being redeemed and loosed from this eternal band of death, which death is a temporal death.
14 And then cometh the judgment of the Holy One upon them; and then cometh the time that he that is filthy shall be filthy still; and he that is righteous shall be righteous still; he that is happy shall be happy still; and he that is unhappy shall be unhappy still. (Mormon 9:11-17)

That presents an interesting question. I can formulate the question and guess about the answer, but can go no further than that.

The question is, “If we already have a resurrected body, what is there left to be judged about?”

Samuel the Lamanite may have given us a clue to the answer. He seems to be saying that when we are judged by the Saviour, it will not be a preliminary judgement, but we will be judged in our entirety.

15 For behold, he surely must die that salvation may come; yea, it behooveth him and becometh expedient that he dieth, to bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, that thereby men may be brought into the presence of the Lord.
16 Yea, behold, this death bringeth to pass the resurrection, and redeemeth all mankind from the first death—that spiritual death; for all mankind, by the fall of Adam being cut off from the presence of the Lord, are considered as dead, both as to things temporal and to things spiritual.
17 But behold, the resurrection of Christ redeemeth mankind, yea, even all mankind, and bringeth them back into the presence of the Lord.
18 Yea, and it bringeth to pass the condition of repentance, that whosoever repenteth the same is not hewn down and cast into the fire; but whosoever repenteth not is hewn down and cast into the fire; and there cometh upon them again a spiritual death, yea, a second death, for they are cut off again as to things pertaining to righteousness.
19 Therefore repent ye, repent ye, lest by knowing these things and not doing them ye shall suffer yourselves to come under condemnation, and ye are brought down unto this second death. (Helaman 14:13-19)

Another important clue was given us by the Prophet Joseph. He taught that there is a “fundamental principle” or “fundamental parts” of our bodies that will be resurrected. Implicitly, those parts that are not “fundamental” will not be a part of our resurrected bodies. { 1 }

There is no fundamental principle belonging to a human system that ever goes into another in this world or in the world to come; I care not what the theories of men are. We have the testimony that God will raise us up, and he has the power to do it. If any one supposes that any part of our bodies, that is, the fundamental parts thereof, ever goes into another body, he is mistaken. { 2 }

Several of the brethren have explained what is, and what is not “fundamental.” For example, Elder Neal A. Maxwell wrote about character traits.

If we ponder just what it is that will rise with us in the resurrection, it seems clear that our intelligence will rise with us, meaning not simply our IQ but also our capacity to receive and apply truth. Our talents, attributes, and skills will rise with us; certainly also our capacity to learn, our degree of self-discipline, and our capacity to work. Our precise form of work here may have no counterpart there, but the capacity to work will never be obsolete. { 3 }

To explain what parts of our bodies are not “fundamental,” President Harold B. Lee quoted an article that had been published in the Improvement Era. The article he quoted read:

We have bodies, fat, blood, lymph, nerves and tissues. In all these tissues there is a building up and breaking down of complex chemical compounds. These substances are made into tissues. They give form and beauty to the body, and also supply energy. They are derived from the elements in food, drink and air. These are not the fundamental parts of the body, however for they are used and then discarded, and new substances come to take their place. This is not true of the fundamental parts. They never change. { 4 }

Another important clue is found in Section 88 of the Doctrine and Covenants. There the Lord tells how we come by our resurrected bodies. In the following quote, it seems to me that the tense of the verbs are the key to understanding the meaning. So I will call attention to the verb tenses.

25 And again, verily I say unto you, the earth abideth the law of a celestial kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation, and transgresseth not the law—
26 Wherefore, it [the earth] shall be sanctified; yea, notwithstanding it shall die, it shall be quickened again, and shall abide the power by which it is quickened, and the righteous shall inherit it.
27 For notwithstanding they [the righteous] die, they also shall rise again, a spiritual [resurrected] body.
28 They who are [present tense] of a celestial spirit shall receive [future tense] the same body which was [past tense] a natural body; even ye shall receive [future tense] your bodies, and your glory shall be [future tense] that glory by which your bodies are [present tense] quickened.
29 Ye who are [present tense] quickened by a portion of the celestial glory shall then [future tense] receive of the same, even a fulness.
30 And they who are [present tense] quickened by a portion of the terrestrial glory shall then [futuret tense] receive of the same, even a fulness.
31 And also they who are [present tense] quickened by a portion of the telestial glory shall then [future tense] receive of the same, even a fulness.
32 And they who remain [present tense] shall also be quickened [future tense] ; nevertheless, they shall return [future tense] again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive [present tense], because they were not willing [past tense] to enjoy that which they might have received. (Doctrine and Covenants 88:25-34)

As I read that, it says that what we are now is defining the bodies we will receive at the resurrection. To me, this is what verse 28 says:

They who are [now] of a celestial spirit shall [in the resurrection] receive the same body which was [at the present time] a natural body; even ye shall receive [in the resurrection] your bodies, and your glory [in the resurrection] shall be that glory by which your bodies are quickened [during this life].

The best and most succinct way I can explain what I think that means is to quote the Saviour and Mormon. The Saviour said,

21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
22 The light of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If, therefore, the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! (3 Nephi 13:21-23)

I believe that truth, light, and love are equivalents. If one is full of light, then one’s defining quality is love. If that is true, then Mormon’s statement is essentially and expansion of what the Saviour said.

46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen. (Moroni 7:46-48)

Assuming that all of those ideas are brought together correctly, then what I understand is this: The quality of one’s love determines the purity of the body that one will pick up in the resurrection. Thus it is appropriate that after one’s resurrection, one should stand before the Saviour to be judged as a complete and total person. Lehi explained,

10  And because of the intercession for all, all men come unto God; wherefore, they stand in the presence of him, to be judged of him according to the truth and holiness which is in him. (2 Nephi 2:10)

If the Saviour himself is the criterion by which we will be judged, it seems to me that we will all fall short—except in one aspect of our nature—the quality (not the quantity, but the quality) of our love for him and for his children. That is, if we love as he loves, then we may be with him forever.
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{ 1 } See: Harold B. Lee, Decisions for Successful Living (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1973), 182.

{ 2 } Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., introduction and notes by B. H. Roberts (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1932-1951), 5: 339.

For the original statement see Joseph Smith’s diary, as recorded by Willard Richards in, Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, eds., The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph, (Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1980), 182.

{ 3 } Neal A. Maxwell, We Will Prove Them Herewith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book , 1982), 12.

{ 4 } Harold B. Lee, Decisions for Successful Living (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1973), 183. (The quote is from: Dr. Joseph A. Ammussen, “Science and the ‘Mormon’ Doctrine of the Resurrection,” Improvement Era, Vol. 30, No. 8, June 1927, page 701.)

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