Salvation Procrastination

I’ve come across an important message in Alma chapter 34, taught by Amulek, son of Alma, in the Book of Mormon a few times while studying in the past nine months since.

The gist of the message is: Do not procrastinate!

Don’t put things off that you can do today, for tomorrow. Especially for things of a spiritual matter.

For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.

And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.

Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world. (Alma 34:32-34)

We came to Earth to obtain a body so that we may learn to control it and display obedience to Heavenly Father. Doing so during this probationary period prepares us for the blessings to come: Living with Heavenly Father and receiving all that he hath.

One who is not aligned with the Gospel can start changing today and should not wait for tomorrow. How do you change? Salvation comes by taking advantage of the atonement of Jesus Christ, repenting of your sins and obeying the commandments and living gospel.

In the preceding verses, the day is our life on Earth. Our labor is works that show our faith and obedience. Night is when we die. The state of your spirit, whether it be dirty or clean, becomes its permanent state after death.  Who wants a dingy spirit in their perfect and brand new body? Labor cannot be performed after death. How can you show faith or obedience when you know you’ve already died and still exist?

This is why we must live righteous every single day. We do not know what day will be our last.

And what if you live good for your whole life and then so happen to pass away during an off day or off week?

What if you put off your labors until night?

That didn’t seem right to me.

I remember my missionaries answering that the labor can still be done, it will just be more difficult. Things that take ten minutes to do with a body may take ten years without one.

The severity can be seen by a scenario setup by my missionaries:

Take for example smoking. What happens if you’re a regular smoker and don’t have a cigarette for a day? You begin to crave it. If you don’t kick the habit of smoking in this life, imaging having cravings for a cigarette when you do not have a body? If it takes you one month to quit smoking in this life, it may take you one hundred years!

2 Replies to “Salvation Procrastination”

  1. Now, LDS Pad, I’m not picking on your missionaries. I’m sure they were great guys and well-meaning, but the final paragraph of your post has got me thinking along lines that I never considered, and I think they may have given you misleading information.

    Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances on the planet and nicotine addiction is one of the hardest to break. If nicotine addiction is a spiritual addiction that requires a body to overcome it and appease the cravings, then your missionaries may have a valid theory. But if nicotine addiction is a physical addiction, then once we leave our bodies the cravings for nicotine leave as well.

    I tend to think that nicotine and other chemical addictions are physical addictions. Some people overcome these addictions through spiritual means (reading scripture, fasting, prayer, etc.) which increases the power of the spirit and reduces the pull of the body upon the spirit. In like manner, when we are separated from our spirits, it is hard to imagine that the (dead, mind you) body can somehow communicate to the spirit its physical cravings. Being dead, it shouldn’t have any physical cravings whatsoever, be it hunger, thirst or a smoke, that it could then communicate to our spirits.

    So, if we are going to think that when dead, smokers will still feel the need for a smoke, then spirits should feel the need to eat, sleep, drink, breathe, defecate and all other bodily sensations. Somehow I truly doubt that.

    I don’t doubt that your missionaries were well-intentioned in explaining that sin is best overcome with a body, but using a physical addiction (tobacco smoking) as an example of sin was probably not the best example. The Word of Wisdom was not originally revealed as a commandment. It was made a commandment by common consent vote, proposed by Brigham Young, 18 years later. If souls do indeed suffer in the Spirit World from the physical addictions they had in mortality, it would seem to me that the Lord, in his infinite mercy, would have given the Word of Wisdom from the get-go as a commandment and even included it among the writings of the Bible, so that people were warned of the misery that awaited unbroken addictions in the Spirit World, for how great the many people on this planet that have been captured by drug and alcohol addiction!

    Thanks for the post. It got me thinking and I enjoyed it immensely.

  2. LDS Anarchist,

    Thanks for your input. I’m sure the missionaries, as well as you are well-intentioned, but I guess it just comes down to perspective.

    I agree that nicotine and other chemical additions are physical, however, the body is not the only component in play here. Psychological dependence also comes with it as well. I would say that the mind is synonymous with the spirit. As it is the spirit that controls our bodies and our spirit that makes our bodies more than just flesh and bone.

    We came to Earth for our spirits to receive bodies – for if we didn’t, we would not continue on to our full potential. Why is it that our spirit and body will come together again after death, never to be apart again? Is this because for us to continue to our full potential that our bodies and spirits are in a symbiotic relationship? Either component not as great as the whole?

    What happens with one who tries to stop smoking? The body as well as the mind (spirit) goes through withdrawals. However, how can the mind (spirit) over come the cravings without a body to go through withdrawal?

    I see where you are going regarding all other bodily sensations and functions (defecation 😀 , eating, sleeping, drinking, breathing). I would say that they are more of a function of the body and not vital for the spirit to survive. However, the body is vital for the spirit to grow.

    It does seem that the Lord, in his infinite mercy, would have given a way to overcome nicotine addition in the Spirit World. Or, perhaps you are correct and it is not an issue when we pass on. I guess we’ll find out sooner or later 😀

    Thank you very much for comment. Please keep it coming!

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