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Eternal Law and Latter-day Revelation

By Bill McKeever

According to third LDS President John Taylor,

“There is not a principle associated with the gospel of the Son of God but what is eternal in its nature and consequences, and we cannot with impunity trample upon any principle that is correct without having to suffer the penalty thereof before God and the holy angels, and in many instances before men. The principles of the gospel being eternal, they were framed and originated with the Almighty in eternity before the world was according to certain eternal laws, and hence the gospel is called the everlasting gospel” (The Gospel Kingdom, p.90).

Thirteenth President Ezra Taft Benson agreed,

“Eternal laws exist universally. They are present alike in the spiritual as well as in the physical world. These priceless, fundamental principles and values never change. Many of these are set forth in the Decalogue, Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, and in the revelations of God to His prophets. It is therefore of the utmost importance that men and nations seek prayerfully to know these eternal laws that they may render obedience to them” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.116).

The Mormon concept of eternal law is flawed for two serious reasons. For one, Mormonism does not allow for an eternal lawgiver. While Mormonism allows for the existence of virtually millions of Gods, none of them have held this position eternally. Even the one they currently worship has not eternally existed as God. According to LDS Apostle Orson Hyde, “Remember that God our Heavenly Father was perhaps once a child, and mortal like we are, and rose step by step in the scale of progress, in the school of advancement; has moved forward and overcome until He has arrived at the point where He now is” (Journal of Discourses 1:123).

Comments from LDS leaders that speak of their God establishing eternal laws have no meaning when carried to a logical conclusion. Seventy Milton R. Hunter taught that God “became God by absolute obedience to all eternal laws of the Gospel” (The Gospel Through the Ages, p.115). If only a God can establish such laws-and no God according to Mormonism has held the position of God eternally, it stands to reason that there is really no such thing as eternal laws according to Mormonism.

The eternal law concept is also flawed since the LDS Church has adopted a concept known as latter-day revelation. This unique belief not only allows Mormon leaders to espouse non-provable and non-biblical ideas as fact, but it also allows these men to actually revoke teachings that Mormons were once taught as being irrevocable.

While many Mormons see modern revelation as proof that God speaks to their leaders, they fail to acknowledge that many of those principles that have changed over the years were principles that earlier leaders said could not change. Behavior that was considered sin by many LDS leaders of the past is now permissible and supposedly blessed by God. Reason compels us to ask how this can be. Assuming God cannot make a mistake such as this, we can only assume the blame lies at the feet of men. This is difficult for Mormons to concede.

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