Helaman 13:38 — LeGrand Baker — everlastingly too late
38 But behold, your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the day of your salvation until it is everlastingly too late, and your destruction is made sure; yea, for ye have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head.
This statement by Samuel the Lamanite contains a question that virtually shouts at us. The question is: Except for sons of perdition, does God put restrictions on anyone so that they are no longer able to repent. The answer is, God himself NEVER puts restrictions on anyone that would take away their right to repent. The question now expands to be, how then, are they precluded from repentance.
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In Who shall ascend into the Hill of the Lord, Stephen and I suggested that the inclination to do good or evil is an eternal part of our sense of Self, and that our choosing and then acting on those inclinations is the most fundamental part of our eternal nature.
Our rationale began with B. H. Roberts’s conclusions which were essentially these:
An inteligence is an entitity that is intelligent. That is, he is able to distinguish the “me” from the “not me,” and is able to judge between the desirable and the desirable, and is able to choose between them.
The Doctrine and Covenants identifies an intelligence as “the light of truth” (93:29). Yet, it defines truth as “knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come” (93:24). That is, truth is information as God knows it in eternal time. Elsewhere we learn that “truth shines” (88:7). That requires some thought to sort it out.
Information does not shine. However the assimulation of truth by intelligent entities causes the entities to shine, thus intelligences are the “light of truth.” The more truth it assimulates, the more it shines. the Savior is the “Spirit of truth” and “received a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth” (93:26).
Given those premises, if an intelligence can know “me” from “not me” and can choose to act on the most desirable of alternatives, it has agency. Therefore can choose to sin or not sin, as it can choose to repent or not repent. The ability to make those choices must begin as soon aw we become cognizant, therefore, the Savior’s atonement must be operative in our behalf that early on also or the power to choose would only be the ability to self-destruct.
As soon as we become cognizant, we are confronted with the most difficult question of our existence, and that question will never go away until is completely resolved. The question is: “What is in my best interest?”
That brings us to a discussion of Samuel the Lamanite’s assertion that happiness cannot be found if we look for it in the wrong places.
The question that constantly repeats itself throughout our experience in linear time is, “What is in my best interest?” If one perseves it to be in his best interest to love and bless others, and to accept love and the blessings of goodness from them, then that will be what he defines as the object and fulfillment of the happiness he seeks.
However, if, on the othe other hand, he decides the that the object of his productivity is to subdue, dominate, and control others, and use them to give himself satisfaction, then that will define his sense of fulfillment, and he will believe that seeking after that fulfillment will bring happiness.
The difference is that in the former, mutual love (hesed) brings eternal fulfillment. But in the latter, the desire to control others can never be fully satisfied. Therefore, seeking it brings only an addiction-like sense of getting there, but (like an addiction) it is incapable of delivering fulfillment.
If an intelligence makes the decision that his object is to seek power at the expense of others, then that is the begining of his personal evil, and unless he repents it becomes the ultimate road that leads to his damnation.
If those conclusions are correct, then we may say that the reason the Savior has never sined is because he has never, in the whole of his eternal existence, sought to use other people to his personal advantage. Conversely, the reason that Satan is absolutely evil is because his whole desire is to dominate, control, and destroy—to take away their agency by subjecting their wills to his.
Those examples are the two extreme ends of the spectrum. The rest of us fall somewhere along the continuum that is between those two ends.
If we wish to speculate further we may say that the third part that followed Satan and theose who followed him thereafter are those that bought into his argument that “one prospers according to his strength,” and that self fulfillment comes from dominating others.
On the other hadn we might also conclude that the “noble and great ones” are those who, like the Savior learned that their greatest personal fulfillment comes through a mutual desire to bless and be blessed (hesed).
If we accept that logic and follow it through to the end of our experience in linear time, we come to this simplistic, but otherwise probably reasonably accurate conclusion that those who get to the celestial kingdom are those who love and serve each other; those in the terrestial kingdom accept the worth of others passively so they don’t help or hurt too much; and those in the telestial kingdom ar those who seek to use others to their own advantage; while those in hell have no other object except to dominate and destroy by domination.
Thus Samueel the Lamanite can assert with great certainty that one cannot find godlike joy by searching in the wrong places, or with the wrong criteria, or wrong objectives. God never has and never will deny anyone the right to repent. However, one can become so deeply habituated to attitudes and acts of selfishness and anger that it becomes as though he were sucked into their grip like being sucked into a black hole where one denies for onself the possibility of learning how to love as God loves. The only effective way to avoid that fate is to not procrastinate the day of our repentance