Mosiah 27:24-27 — LeGrand Baker– born of the Spirit.

Mosiah 27:24-27 — LeGrand Baker– born of the Spirit.

24 For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit.
25 And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;
26 And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
27 I say unto you, unless this be the case, they must be cast off; and this I know, because I was like to be cast off.

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It is difficult to know how one is to understand Alma’s words. Like so many places it the scriptures, the words can be read to convey seemingly different messages. And, as is typical with such scriptures, each of those messages is (or appears to be) equally valid. Let me show you what I mean. I will quote those verses three times. Each time I will put a different interpretation of the words in brackets.

A – – – – – – – – – – – – –

24 For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed [Believe in the atonement] of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit. [Having been baptized, I have also received the Gift of the Holy Ghost.]
25 And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again [Be baptized and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost]; yea, born of God, [It must be done by proper authority] changed from their carnal and fallen state [keep their baptismal covenant and become a true Latter-day Saint], to a state of righteousness [keeping the commandments], being redeemed of God [having the atonement apply to oneself], becoming his sons and daughters [become humble and teachable as a little child];
26 And thus they become new creatures [develop a lifestyle that is compatible with the gospel]; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. [those are prerequisites to going to the Celestial Kingdom.]
27 I say unto you, unless this be the case, they must be cast off; and this I know, because I was like to be cast off. [Otherwise one will not go to the Celestial Kingdom.]

I doubt if anyone would disagree with that interpretation. That is the way I have been taught since childhood, and I certainly would not question its validity.

Yet, if we were to put those same words in the mouth of a modern prophet, and make the context a sermon he was delivering to an audience that consisted only of temple worshiping Latter-day Saints, I suspect one would hear it quite differently.

B – – – – – – – – – – – – –

24 For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed [Have a burning testimony of the atonement] of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit. [Having been baptized, I have received the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and been admitted into the family of God—which implies the sealing ordinances.]
25 And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again [Receive all the ordinances, including the temple ordinances]; yea, born of God, [It must be done by proper authority] changed from their carnal and fallen state [keep one’s temple covenants to become a true Latter-day Saint], to a state of righteousness [being in all ways worthy of a temple recommend], being redeemed of God [having the atonement apply to oneself], becoming his sons and daughters [become humble and teachable as a little child–but in the context of keeping one’s temple covenants];
26 And thus they become new creatures [develop a lifestyle that is compatible with the temple covenants]; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. [those are prerequisites to going to the Celestial Kingdom.]
27 I say unto you, unless this be the case, they must be cast off; and this I know, because I was like to be cast off. [Otherwise one will not go to the Celestial Kingdom.]

I don’t suppose anyone would disagree with that interpretation either. It is consistent with everything I have been taught since I became an adult.

Nevertheless, if one insists that the words in these verses be interpreted in their most precise meaning, then the meaning of the whole is changed more dramatically still.

C – – – – – – – – – – – – –

24 For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed [In many places in the Book of Mormon, to be redeemed means to be brought into the presence of God. Heleman 14:16-18, 2 Ne. 1: 15, 2 Nephi 2: 2-4, Ether 3:13] of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit. [to become the sons and daughters of God: Psalm 2, 3 Nephi 12: 8-9, Ether 3:13-14, Moroni 7:46-48.]
25 And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again [become the sons and daughters of God, as in the scriptures above]; yea, born of God, [2 Peter 1: 1-11. Read the first verse, “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith {pistis- tokens of the covenants] with us through the righteousness [correct temple things] of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, then the remainder becomes a sequence that concludes, “give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”] changed from their carnal and fallen state [Moroni 10: 32-33, “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.”], to a state of righteousness [“righteousness” is zedek, which means the correctness in all temple things] being redeemed of God [being brought into the presence of God], becoming his sons and daughters [ Becoming heirs, that one may receive all that the Father has. In Ephesians 1:5 Paul explains this by saying we were foreordained “unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself [to Heavenly Father], according to the good pleasure of his [Heavenly Father’s] will.” I understand that to mean even though we are Heavenly Father’s spirit children, only the Saviour has the right to inherit all the Father has, but that through the Saviour’s atonement, we may become his joint heirs to all the Father has.]
26 And thus they become new creatures [ [Moroni 10: 33-34, “And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot. [and can say with Moroni,] And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen.]; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. [those are prerequisites to inheriting the Celestial Kingdom.”]
27 I say unto you, unless this be the case, they must be cast off; and this I know, because I was like to be cast off. [Otherwise one cannot inherit the Celestial Kingdom.]

I put all those scriptural references in there because I realize that interpretation seems very severe, and because one cannot relate it to experiences one has had in this life, it may seem to be not all that relevant. Still, I suppose it is also a valid interpretation.

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