Eternal Lives, Chapter 1

This entry is part 1 of 17 in the series Eternal Lives


Search for the Truth

Note: This book includes many LDS references to assist them in understanding the important principle of reincarnation, but people of all belief systems should find something of interest here.  Those who have read my shorter treatises of Reincarnation and the Bible and Reincarnation and Mormonism will enjoy the additional material and references included here.

When I was a young boy I remember hearing my neighbors discussing the story of Bridie Murphy, a girl who under hypnosis was able to recall previous lives on the earth.  At the time I thought that the doctrine of passing through numerous lives sounded fair and just and I accepted it with the faith of a child.  I thought that, for instance, if one were to die with unfinished goals or be cut off when he was young or happened to be crippled or blind all his life that it would indeed be fair to receive another chance. If there was only one life why is it that we are all born in such diverse circumstances – some favored, some disfavored?  How could a baby who had only taken a few breaths and died possibly gain any mortal experience?  We may hear many platitudes about how great his situation is in heaven, but why should he be denied the knowledge gained from a long mortal experience for all eternity.

J. Reuben Clark once said that he could not understand how one single life of trial even if we had a long one, could qualify us for an eternity of bliss since life seemed so short, and neither could I.

Life isbut a flicker of light between two eternities.  What great effect could one little flicker have on either of them?  A great effect could only come by many flickers.

When I started attending the LDS church about the age of 13 someone finally told me that we only have one life – that this was the doctrine of the church.  Since I believed the church I had to mentally accept this, but in my heart I still felt that those who had only lived a short life should have another chance to see what they could do if they had at least an average life span.  Finally, after I became more steeped in church doctrine I came across the scripture: “And as it is appointed unto men ONCE to die, but after this the judgment.” Heb.9:27.  There it was at last!  Now I was convinced. Man dies only once and he is born only once so there is no reincarnation. That settled it.  From then on I decided to put my faith in the justice of God, that he would make things right in the end, and not worry about it any more.  I went on a mission and if anyone brought up reincarnation I quoted them Hebrews 9:27 and bore my testimony and generally they had no defense  Then one day a newspaper ran an article about a couple who had lost a pair of twins in an Auto accident.  A short time later this couple gave birth to a second set of twins.  As this second set grew the couple noticed that they began to look and act exactly like the first. They even had moles in the exact same location.  As they learned to talk they even had flashbacks to their lives as the previous twins and remembered their old toys and began to show the same quirks of character as the first set.

When the non members and even some of the members asked for an explanation of this article I found that for the first time on my mission that I was without a satisfactory explanation.  About all I was able to come up with was that it must be a trick of the devil or else a very astounding coincidence, still in my heart I wondered about the whole truth of the matter.

Later on I did some experiments in hypnosis and took numerous people back to what they described a previous life.  Some were able to speak foreign languages and dialects and give detailed descriptions of ancient times.  I viewed these experiences with great wonder, but I wasn’t about to let them “shake my testimony”.  After all Joseph Fielding Smith and others said it was a doctrine of the devil – so it must be false.  The trick was in how could I explain this regression to previous lives?  I had several theories:  (1) Some tricky evil spirit took possession of their bodies during hypnosis and was trying to fool me.  Well, if this were the case the evil spirit was certainly consistent.  It seemed as if about ninety percent of those hypnotized were able to go back, even many who did not believe in reincarnation.  Also this evil spirit seemed to have a good memory as a person can be regressed weeks or even years later and recall the same past lives..  Also I have had experience with evil spirits numerous times in the past.  I have been attacked by them and have administered to others who have been possessed and each time I was able to discern them through the Spirit.  This time the spirit told me that no evil spirit was present so I went to my next theory: (2) I called this the race memory theory.  This theory states that each cell of the human body has inherit in it the memory of all our ancestors and at the moment of conception the memory of all of one’s ancestors are passed on.  This would explain why one could have in his subconscious mind memories of past lives.  This sounded the most logical so I accepted it.

Then one day I had a rather amazing occurrence.  I had become acquainted with a newly married couple and when we were having a party I hypnotized the wife while the husband was at the store. I took her back to several previous lives and she described names and dates in great detail.  After I brought her back to the present her husband returned and he was completely unaware of anything his wife had said (No he wasn’t listening at the door).  He agreed to hypnosis and to my amazement he described two previous lifetimes in exactly the same detail as his wife.  His wife had stated her husband’s name in a previous life and he recalled that same name. They were husband and wife in at least two previous lifetimes. Their stories coincided exactly.  Maybe that old devil was at it again I thought!  Still my faith was unshaken and I decided to put it on the shelf and wait.

Meanwhile I found out that many people went back to previous lifetimes under hypnosis to discover that they were of a completely different race.  They were regressed to people that they could not have been related to.  My race memory theory began to break apart. Still I figured that there could be no reincarnation as it would shatter too many cherished principles of the gospel, yet there must be an answer.

Finally, the answer came.  I will not give out all the details, but the spirit of the Lord came to me and gave me a difficult commandment that would not only affect me in this world, but the one to come.  Why would the Lord command me to do something contrary to my will and contrary to producing a state of happiness? I thought.  I would be damned if I obeyed and damned if I disobeyed, yet I put all the faith I had in the goodness of God and submitted.  God did not come down and erase all the problems his commandment created, I had to struggle with them, but as compensation to those who obey His will he paved the way for greater knowledge.  I began to see that His commandment would only be fair if there were more than one life.  Perhaps there was something I had done in a past life to warrant the commandment I had received, then if there were future lives all inequalities could be justified.  I began to ponder on this idea considerably and as I did I began to experience the truth of the words of Alma:  “If it be a true seed, or a good seed… behold it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves it must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.”  Alma 32:28

As I pondered more I saw how reincarnation was a master piece of a giant jigsaw puzzle that threw light on the entire scene. I began to see how little we really know.  It is like the story of the three blind men and the elephant.  One grabs a leg and says “I perceive that the elephant is like a tree.”  The second grabs the trunk and states:  “No, no the elephant is like a large hose.”  The third grabs the tail and says:  “you’re both wrong.  The elephant is like a rope.”  Actually, all three men were right, but because they only had a portion of the truth they had an entirely wrong idea of the whole elephant.  This is the way it is with us.  That portion that we have is correct, but we as a people have an entirely wrong idea of what the whole elephant looks like.  The Lord has said “I shall also speak unto ALL NATIONS of the earth and THEY SHALL WRITE IT.” II Nephi 29:12  The Lord has indeed spoken to all nations of the earth and they have written it, but because that portion describes the tail, trunk or ear of the elephant and does not agree with the leg that we have we rise up and condemn them as being of the devil.  The key to judge was given by Moroni:  “Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God.” Moroni 7:12  Read all of Moroni chapter seven and you will have a good idea of how to find the “best books” that Joseph Smith was commanded to search out.

Yes, the idea of many lives began to be delicious to me and enlighten my understanding, and broaden my mind.  I can, however, understand many people’s repulsion to it for as many say  “Once is enough!”  They say this because they never want to go through the trials they have had in life again, but what men fail to realize is that this earth is the hell most often talked about in the scriptures and it will continue to be until we follow Jesus’ advice to “take my yoke upon you… and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matt 11:29-30.  When a person reaches a certain point of progression along the path he begins to overcome his enemies and actually looks forward to future trials and almost relishes in them.  The burdens and cares of earth life begin to be light “And they desire a better country, that is an heavenly.”  Heb. 11:16.

Reincarnation also answered some strange aspects of LDS doctrine.  For instance, The church believes that not only will all men be resurrected but all living things will.  This is derived from the scripture:  “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”  I Cor 15:22  This “all” we are told means everything including animal, birds, bees plants, insects and even bacteria.  Has anyone ever stopped to think what this would mean?  It would mean that every fly that has ever lived would come back and be immortal.  Taking into consideration the shorter life span of the fly the results would spell disaster indeed.  For every person now living there may have only a couple times that amount since Adam, but for every fly now living there would have been thousands perhaps millions!  This could mean that in the resurrection there may be a million times more flies than there is now!!!  Do you call that heaven?  How about bacteria?  A human grows much more than his body weight in a lifetime of bacteria alone.  A man’s body will not be able to hold all of that when he comes back so what will happen?  Are we going to have immortal heaps of bacteria scattered around to distort our countryside?  Even if the animals alone are brought back they would be so numerous that it would make life unbearable for humans.  I might ad:  Let us hope that the immortal mosquito does not attempt to get whatever is in our immortal veins!

If such a point as this is brought up to the typical Mormon he will smile and say:  “Don’t worry yourselves about such matters.  God will work it all out.”

God not only “will” work it all out, He already has.  The fly will never reach immortality as a fly, even though his intelligence will never die and always progresses.  Instead at death the fly goes to the spirit world and comes back a short time later as a fly again.  Thus there is a limited number of spirits that take bodies as flies so we do not have to worry about being overwhelmed in any resurrection.  An oversoul for an insect may even control numerous bodies at one incarnation.  This is why there is such great unity and cooperation in various groups in the insect world.  Another interesting point is the fly, when it fills the measure of its’ creation will disappear completely from this earth.  Then the spirits will be free to seek another and higher form.

“But that can’t be true!” says one. “All things will be resurrected and be immortal.”

Sorry, but that is not what the scriptures say.  According to them only one has achieved immortality: “That thou keep this commandment without spot unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; WHO ONLY HATH IMMORTALITY, dwelling in a light which no man can approach unto… I Tim 6:16.  This is indeed an amazing scripture for it plainly tells us that only the Christ possesses immortality or the Greek ATHANASIA which means literally “Deathlessness” and is only found three places in the scriptures, none of which conflict with the above.  If this scripture is true, it would mean that those who were resurrected with the Christ are not yet immortal and will die again.  That also means that, at least up to the time of Timothy, no one else had experienced an immortal resurrection as Christ did.  That means that there is more than one type of resurrection as is plainly manifest in the scripture:  “Others were tortured not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a BETTER RESURRECTION.”  Heb 11:35. There are three Greek words in all from which the word “resurrection” is translated.

Putting all the pieces of the puzzle together we can safely say that only the highest resurrection produces immortality and man must pass through numerous lifetimes and “receive not a fullness at first… but continue from grace to grace (life to life), until he receive a fullness.”  D&C 93:12-13.  We must do as Jesus did and progress from life to life until we become like unto: “a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Eph 4:13  Then we may step forward ourselves and be like the savior as we have been commanded (Matt 5:48) and become the savior of an age: “That you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time (after many lifetimes) receive of his fullness.” D&C 93:19.

Copyright by J J Dewey

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1 thought on “Eternal Lives, Chapter 1

  1. Your Eternal Lives book changed the way I look at everything- for the better! I had heard there were some “crazy” Mormons who believed in multiple mortalities, and when I looked for more information about such a thing, I eventually found this book. I never imagined to find so much about reincarnation in the LDS scriptures/docrine. Its a beautiful principle and makes sense of so many things that are difficult to fully understand otherwise.

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