Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2011, August 20

“Unity and Duality in LDS/ Mormon Thought (Book of Mormon/ Bible/ Doctrine and Covenants/ Pearl of Great Price)” by grego

Unity and Duality in LDS/ Mormon Thought (Book of Mormon, Bible, Pearl of Great Price)

grego
(c)2011

From the Book of Mormon, we have this most famous duality reference in Mormonism:

2 Nephi 2:11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so… 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; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
12 Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught…
15 And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and… all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter.
16 Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.

Notwithstanding the above verses, I didn’t get unity and duality for a long time (and am still far from really getting it). As I’ve been learning more (especially through Zivorad Slavinski’s “Return to Oneness”), I’ve naturally thought about how it relates to the gospel. This article is a work in progress, with more thoughts and references to be added over time.

(Unity/ duality: Unity was first; all was together. Then came separations, which brought about action, life, and more. Possibly the most known example to Westerners would be Yin-yang.)

Here are some great separations Mormons believe the gospel of Jesus Christ talks about (and I believe most Christians would agree with most on this list):
**Satan and his followers from God and his followers in heaven (evil from good).
**The Creation is a series of separations (light and darkness/ day and night, waters into two sections with firmament/ heaven in between, land and seas; sea, land, air creatures).
**The Creation concludes with the separation of Woman from Man (search “male female electric magnetic sex” for more on this interesting aspect of separation and creation).
**Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil/ Forbidden Fruit in opposition to the Tree of Life (the great separation).
**Man (Adam and Eve) being pulled out of the Garden of Eden from God(‘s presence).
**spirit from body (death).
**punishment in opposition to happiness (2 Nephi 2:10).

Interestingly, these separations used an outside force to “start the ball rolling”.

Lehi notes that for action, there must be: 1)things to act; 2)things to be acted upon; 3) polarities that entice/ drive action—the main one being good vs. evil; 4)the ability/ freedom to choose.

God’s plan is that man is given knowledge and agency, and is thereupon responsible for choices made; thus, he is an act-or.
He will also be acted upon by the consequences of his actions, and will be held responsible for how he acts/ reacts.
The main poles are good and evil.
Alma (a prophet in the Book of Mormon) explains:
Alma 12:31 Wherefore, [God] gave commandments unto men (Adam and Eve, and later their children), they having first transgressed the first commandments as to things which were temporal, and becoming as gods, knowing good from evil, placing themselves in a state to act, or being placed in a state to act according to their wills and pleasures, whether to do evil or to do good—
32 Therefore God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption, that they should not do evil, the penalty thereof being a second death, which was an everlasting death as to things pertaining unto righteousness; for on such the plan of redemption could have no power, for the works of justice could not be destroyed, according to the supreme goodness of God.
Lehi also explains:
2 Nephi 2:27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

For man to progress to his result, it is necessary for man to partake of duality, then be brought back to true eternal unity. This is God’s plan of salvation/ redemption for mankind. This can only be done through Jesus Christ.
1) If man never partook of duality, there could be no eternal unity.
2) If man were to partake of duality, but there were no Atonement, there could be no return to eternal unity.
3) If Adam and Eve were to have partaken of the fruit of knowledge, then the fruit of the tree of life, they would have lived forever in their sins, having no chance to repent and die:
Alma 12:26 And now behold, if it were possible that our first parents could have gone forth and partaken of the tree of life they would have been forever miserable, having no preparatory state; and thus the plan of redemption would have been frustrated, and the word of God would have been void, taking none effect.

Mormons believe in two main separations:
**before this life, we all lived with God in heaven. When we come to this earth through birth, we separate physically from God’s presence and forget everything.
**through sin, each person spiritually separates from God.

While other religions/ beliefs use what has been called the neutralization of primordial primes for spiritual progress, LDS see Jesus Christ—through His Atonement—as the great re-Unifier.
Doctrine and Covenants 76:69 [Those who return to the presence of God the Father in unity] are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.
Paul says:
1 Timothy 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all…
Lehi teaches:
8 Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah…
9 [Jesus] shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.

This required a balancing of sin by paying for it, similar to black and red ink adding up to zero in an accounting ledger.

Through birth, there is a unity of the spirit with the body.
Abraham 5:7 And the Gods formed man from the dust of the ground, and took his spirit (that is, the man’s spirit), and put it into him; and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.

Death brings separation; the resurrection (brought about by the resurrection of Jesus Christ) reunifies the spirit with the body, eternally.
Amulek teaches:
Alma 11: 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…
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…
45 Now, behold, I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided; thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal, that they can no more see corruption.

Through the Atonement, sin (which keeps us dual with God) is overcome, allowing reunification:
1 Nephi 10:6 Wherefore, all mankind were in a lost and in a fallen state, and ever would be save they should rely on this Redeemer.

The reunification is with God, and more complete than other reunifications. On the other hand, some unifications might have a more apparent current effect on life. Nevertheless, nothing can compare with what I would call “eternal unification” that Mormonism provides.

The natural man, in his separated state, is an enemy to God, and will never be able to fully appreciate both the separation and the unification like the man who has been unified by Jesus Christ.

Zivorad explains that when someone’s polarities are collapsed, they usually experience a state of confusion, dizziness, etc.; or, a state of pleroma.
Here’s what it’s like in the Book of Mormon when king Lamoni “neutralizes his polarities”:
Alma 19:5 …I would that ye should go in and see my husband, *for he has been laid upon his bed for the space of two days and two nights*; and some say that he is not dead, but others say that he is dead…
Alma 19:6 Now, this was what Ammon desired, for he knew that king Lamoni was under the power of God; he knew that *the dark veil of unbelief was being cast away from his mind, and the light which did light up his mind, which was the light of the glory of God, which was a marvelous light of his goodness—yea, this light had infused such joy into his soul, the cloud of darkness having been dispelled, and that the light of everlasting life was lit up in his soul, yea, he knew that this had overcome his natural frame, and he was carried away in God—*.

Here is the fuller context of 2 Nephi 2:
2 Nephi 2:5 And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.
6 Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.
7 Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.
8 Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.
9 Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.
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. Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the atonement—
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; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
12 Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.
13 And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.
14 And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.
15 And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter.
16 Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.
17 And I, Lehi, according to the things which I have read, must needs suppose that an angel of God, according to that which is written, had fallen from heaven; wherefore, he became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God.
18 And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind. Wherefore, he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all lies, wherefore he said: Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.

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2 Comments »

  1. Very creative way of looking at it all. Thanks!

    Comment by Michaela Walker Stephens — 2011, August 22 @ 7:22 pm

  2. Update:

    Moses 5:11 And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.

    Moses 6:55 And the Lord spake unto Adam, saying: Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.
    56 And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves, and I have given unto you another law and commandment.

    Comment by grego — 2014, January 20 @ 2:22 pm


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