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N.B. The text presented here has not yet been reviewed and therefore may not be an accurate reflection of the 1830 edition. Not all significant text changes in this chapter have been marked yet.
2 My brethren, I think that it is impossible that ye should be ignorant of the things which have been spoken concerning the coming of Christ, who is taught by us to be the Son of God; yea, I know that these things were taught unto you, bountifully, before your dissention from among us.
3 And as ye have desired of my beloved brother, that he should make known unto you what ye should do, because of your afflictions; and he hath spoken somewhat unto you to prepare your minds; yea, and he hath exhorted you unto faith, and to patience;
7 My brother hath called upon the words of Zenos, that redemption cometh through the Son of God, and also upon the words of Zenock; and also he hath appealed unto Moses, to prove these things are true. And now behold, I will testify unto you of myself, that these things are true.
8 —Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgressions of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it;
9 for it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God, there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen, and are lost, and must perish, except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made;
10 for it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an Infinite and an Eternal sacrifice.
11 Now there is not any man that can sacrifice his own blood, which will atone for the sins of another. Now if a man murdereth, behold, will our law, which is just, take the life of his brother? I say unto you Nay.
13 therefore it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; and then shall there be, or it expedient there should be a stop to the shedding of blood; then shall the law of Moses be fulfilled; yea, it shall all be fulfilled; every jot and tittle, and none shall have passed away.
15 and thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.
16 And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exerciseth no faith unto repentance, is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore, only unto him that hath faith unto repentance, is brought about the great and Eternal plan of redemption;
28 And now behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, Do not suppose that this is all; for after ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need; I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites which do deny the faith;
31 yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time, and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.
32–35: This passage states that the dead cannot repent of their sins. This runs contrary to the LDS practice of vicarious baptism for the deceased which is premised on the idea that the dead can repent.
A mitigating argument is that only those who know about Jesus and fail to repent before death are condemned. Although this interpretation is not explicitly supported in this passage, it seems reasonable when this passage is read in isolation.
However, when this passage is combined with Moroni 8:22–23, it appears that the author of the Book of Mormon had no concept of repentance after death. The Moroni passage plainly states that anyone who is ignorant of “the law” does not need to repent. This passage states that the dead cannot repent. The Book of Mormon contradicts religious rituals for the dead when read on face value.
33 And now as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore I beseech of you, that ye 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.
34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to 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.
35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance, even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the Devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore the spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the Devil hath all power over you: and this is the final state of the wicked.
36 And this I know, because the Lord hath said, he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell; yea, and he hath also said, that the righteous should sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out; but their garments should be made white, through the blood of the Lamb.
38 that ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you;
39 yea, and I also exhort you my brethren, that ye be watchful unto prayer continually, that ye may not be led away by the temptation of the Devil, that he may not overpower you, that ye not become his subjects at the last day: for behold, he rewardeth you no good thing.
40 And now my beloved brethren, I would exhort you to have patience, and that ye bear with all manner of afflictions; that ye do not revile against those who cast you out because of your exceeding poverty, lest ye become sinners like unto them;
Freethinker's Book of Mormon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at www.blakeclan.org.