Friday 10 May 2019

We all knew Jesus, in pre-mortal life

This only struck me today - I have only just realised that every single person that has lived, lives now, or will live - knew of Jesus and his 'mission' during his pre-mortal spirit life.

This has many and very important implications. One is that after death, when we encounter Jesus again 'face to face'; and when we make the choice of Heaven or Hell, resurrected eternal life participating in divine creation or its rejection - this will not come as a surprise.

Even if we never encountered the name of Jesus during mortal life, even if we disbelieved what we were told or discovered about Jesus during mortal life; we will then remember what we had-known of him before our mortal life; and remember also why we chose to incarnate and biologically-die.

Even it our knowledge of Jesus had been forgotten, suppressed or denied; we will then recall that we always have known it - that it was built-into us.

We all knew Jesus... I can't think of any source that has specifically articulated this fact to me - I have had to work it out for myself, joining the dots; but it strikes me as something of great importance.



Robert Brockman said...

There was a strange statement in a book from the "parody" religion, the Church of the SubGenius, that for some reason always resonated strongly with me: "You *should already know all this*, you were / will be there in the *beforelife*." I wonder if your intuition is similar.

-- Robert Brockman

kawaii_kike said...

I’m not sure what denomination of Christianity you belong to but as far as Catholicism is concerned, we didn’t have pre mortal lives. We existed at the moment of conception and no sooner. Mormons however explicitly believe in pre mortal existence.

Bruce Charlton said...

@RB - Interesting. Perhaps that part you quote was written by a demon, who knew the truth of what he wrote - but was mocking it. A very demonic kind of joke!

@kk - Yes, I believe nearly-all of what Mormons believe (and some other things); and I am a well-wisher-towards, but not a member of, the CJCLDS.

I sometimes have described myself as a 'theoretical Mormon' ( ) but that phrase seems to be all-round annoying to folk, so I don't use it very often!

Shaun F said...

That is an interesting use of your imagination.
You'd be burned as a heretic in certain times.
I just wanted to make an observation about your use of hell. Which is an Anglo-Saxon translation of Gehenna - which was a specific place in Jerusalem, where children were sacrificed. I'm sure many pastors would love there to be a hell to send broken people to.....but for some reason - God is far too just and loving for most Christian pastors to grasp. - Idolatry of the word alows us to scapegoat people - It's in the bible it says so right here so you're going to hell.

Anonymous said...

Bruce, I'm a bit surprised. I thought you had read the basic Sunday School manual, "Gospel Principles". It's all there, and in the Pearl of Great Price, Book of Abraham. Specifically, the "Grand Council".

By the way, not everyone gets their entire pre-mortal back. And those who do, it's not immediate.

Those in the Celestial Kingdom get it all back. Those in the Terrestrial and Telestial get only a partial restoration. (This part is not canonized, but comes from JS's teachings.)

The 1940 movie "Blue Bird", starring Shirley Temple in one of her last roles of childhood, deals with pre-mortal existance, therefore it's not totally unknown in Protestantism.

-Book Slinger.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Books - Yes, I've read them (there are links from a link in the post), and yes it is there - in a way...

But I am not sure, indeed I don't believe, that I *mean* exactly the same by the facts as mainstream LDS doctrine, as (apparently) taught by missionaries. So, yes - that's where I got the conviction, but that happened about six years ago, or more; whereas now I have discovered the fact for myself, from myself. That makes all the difference.

But there is all the difference in the world according to whether I know something for myself or have read about it with assent. I don't know it until I have thought it through.

I think it is the same for nearly everybody. Things that are implied merely, or stated merely, do not have life, do not have influence.

The implications of a fact... that is what is hard to know. That is the difference between scholarship and holiness.

At any rate, I have certain 'issues' that are important for me, and I have never seen the fact that we used to know Jesus as an *explanation* for why everybody *therefore* knows Jesus without being told about him; why the plan of salvation worked and works and will work without any church (and *despite* some churches).

Taken *seriously* - the fact that each person knew Jesus means that knowing the history of Jesus is not necessary - nor the accuracy of the history we are told; scripture is not necessary (nor knowledge of scripture)... etc.

All of which is very important in a world where (increasingly) perhaps most scripture has been deliberately mistranslated and where scriptural teaching is mostly false and inverted; and where assumptions are unmentionable etc.

I have, from at least age 4, had a spontaneous aversion to the fact that Jesus was born at a time and place that was not my own - I don't like the Middle East setting, I am deeply troubled about insisting in the absolute accuracy of the Bible when I can see it being distorted and inverted in frobt of my eyes. I need to known Jesus directly.

Yes he is alive here and now, but that is not sufficient when 'everything' hinges upon the historical facts, and that Jesus did something at a particular time and in a particular place. (I regard the stuff about God being 'outside time' as self delusion/ rationalisation - I believe that *really* Jesus did his work at a particular point in history, with a before and an after).

That we knew Jesus premortally means that we each already know the historicity of his incarnation and its purpose from then. We don't know the specific details of his life and death - because these were not pre-ordained, and depend on agency. But we do know Jesus's nature, why he was chosen, what it was all *for*; and that kind of thing.

Luther Burgsvik said...

This sounds similar to the Ancient Greek idea of 'anamnesis', literally 'loss of forgetfulness'. From what I gather the gist of the idea is that we knew everything before we were born and so to think or learn of it for the first time in mortal life is not a new experience but is instead simply remembering something that we already knew.

Bruce Charlton said...

@LB - It has a similarity but it is different!

Because I am a pluralist; I don't think we ever knew everything, nor does anybody know everything (not even God); because 1. God did not create everything, there was pre-existent stuff; and 2. (linked) agency is real and there are so many agents (every-thing is an agent, in a sense - since every-thing is alive and has some degree of consciousness).

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I hadn't read the previous post.

And thanks for the clarification of "knowing" versus "reading with assent" with the former "having life. In LDS-speak that is called "having a testimony." And is related to how knowledge equates to light equates to life.

Perhaps the "not knowing that we know/knew, but still having a remnant of the memory" that you describe is what is called the "Light of Christ" a.k.a. the Conscience, the inherent thing in all of us that allows us to distinguish good from evil. That is some kind of Universe-filling light that comes from Christ. See DC 88:6-13.

To correct myself: "By the way, not everyone gets their entire pre-mortal _memories_ back. And those who do, it's not immediate."


Luther Burgsvik said...

Well that certainly is different! I've never come across any Christians who have such a belief (i.e. metaphysical pluralism). They all seem to be, unsuprisingly, monotheistic and that everything is an emanation of God, or a thing/object that God created, or something along those lines.

I completely agree with your last point: that all things have agency. In my mind the only way that a thing can exist is because it wants to exist. Nothing else is possible. Will (for want of a better term) is paramount. The universe cannot 'be' without wilfullness (the expression of being as a voluntary choice).

That said, the problem that I have with this viewpoint though is the problem of suffering. The fact that people want to be here (in the universe in a given situation) means that they will suffer, and if that suffering is voluntary then it means (as far as I can tell) that it can't be eradicated, prevented, or diminished with because it would mean interfering in that persons choice, life path, expression of their being, or call it what you will. It's a problem that I don't know how to resolve.

Bruce Charlton said...

@LB - I don't think that suffering can be eradicated, it is part of being alive and conscious.

Pluralism is actually 'standard' Mormon theology. Although it isn't necessarily explicit among the majority of Mormons, their theologians have described it clearly: Sterling McMurrin, Blake Ostler and Terryl Givens for example.

The first explicit philosophical pluralist (although it is the spontaneous spirituality of tribal people) was probably William James; and he realised that his views had independently arrived at much the same place as Mormons had been occupying for a couple of generations before him. BH Roberts was the major early Mormon theologian, but I haven't yet read his work.

My take is as follows (and elsewhere on this blog, you could do a word search):

Luther Burgsvik said...

I know that you've written quite a lot on the topic of suffering and it's importance, for instance your posts on the rise of Dementia and other age related diseases as another symptom of modern society. These posts do help, but it's mostly an issue that I have to resolve by myself.

Thanks for the link to your online book. It'll have to be on my 'to do' list as I'm currently working my way through Douglas Smiths biography of Rasputin. Russia in the early 1900s was a peculiar place: lots of petty jealousy and envy over social status, lots of sex-centric slander, lots of mistrust over the unfamiliar, and a church who disliked relgious men who didn't conform to accepted stereotypes.