Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Better for being born or not?: 3 Nephi 28:34-35

 34 And wo be unto him that will not hearken unto the words of Jesus,
and also to them whom he hath chosen and sent among them;
for whoso receiveth not the words of Jesus and the words of those whom he hath sent receiveth not him; and therefore he will not receive them at the last day;
 35 And it would be better for them if they had not been born… (3 Nephi 28:34-35)
These are pretty stiff words, especially the declaration at the end that it would be better if they had not been born.  It is so startling it is worth thinking about it.  My first reaction is to wonder if Mormon was making a final judgment about those who reject Christ’s words and those of his servants.   It sounds as if he is saying it would be better if these people had never existed.  But after some thought, I realized that wasn’t what he meant at all.  Mormon spoke as one who understood there was a pre-mortal existence of the spirit before birth, and he was saying that if a person was going to use their valuable probationary time on earth making choices to reject the words of Jesus and His servants, then he or she will be worse off spiritually than they were before they started mortality.   It would have been better for them not to be born than to have made those choices.  Not only will the person have partaken of the fall of Adam and committed sins, but to reject Jesus and the salvation that He worked out is like discarding the only hope of rescue.  It is like a person in a deep pit rejecting the ladder leading out.

Let’s not assume, though, that this pronouncement only applies to those who reject Christianity from the outside.  The words of Christ and His servants can be rejected even by those who are in the church, if Christ’s Atonement is never considered as a solution.

I used to wish that I could go back to my pre-mortality for the sake of the things that I probably knew before my birth, but I don’t any more.  I have since recognized that having received Christ’s words and those of His servants, I am much better off than I ever was.   And if I endure with faith to the end, the state of my soul can only get better from here.


Ramona Gordy said...

Michaela, Thank you for your testimony. I found a related scripture in Matt 26:24-26 in relation to Judas, who betrays Jesus.
24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”

Jesus answered, “You have said so.”

I love how these verses and the verses in 3 Nephi tell the complete story. I have often wondered how Judas, in seemingly good conscience could conspire to turn against the Savior,who no doubt loved him. Was he an "anti-Christ"? Was he attempting to overthrow the gospel? Or in carelessness and selfishness, he only saw an opportunity to get gain?
But then this same question is posed to this generation. Are there any logical reasons to go against the Savior, other than a "reprobate mindset", as Paul the apostle said in Romans 1:28
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Good post, thank you

Michaela Stephens said...

I really don't know what Judas's thing was. He gets called "a thief" in the gospels, so it could be desire for gain had choked out his testimony.