Thursday, February 2, 2012

Lehi's calling and election? I'm not so sure.

Well, let me explain.

I don’t doubt that Lehi entered into the rest of the Lord. He was a prophet who served well and blessed his children by providing them exodus into a promised land; he taught of Jesus Christ, his mission and his ultimate sacrifice.

I was reading an article in Meridian Magazine this week by Bruce Satterfield on 2 Nephi 1-2. As it happens, this same article appears to have also been printed earlier – it was uploaded in 2009 to Free Republic . In the article, Brother Satterfield writes:

To his sons, Lehi said:

Hear the words of a trembling parent, whose limbs ye must soon lay down in the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveler can return; a few more days and I go the way of all the earth. But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love (2 Ne. 1:14-15; emphasis added).

Knowing that one’s soul has been redeemed from hell is scripturally referred to as having one’s “calling and election” made sure (see 2 Peter 1:10).

His article then has a footnote with a broken link, but the 2009 version of the article has actual footnotes. The note reads:

For proper, authoritative treatments of this doctrine [of having one’s calling and election made sure] see Marion G. Romney, “The Light of Christ,” Ensign, May 1977, pp. 43-45; Marion G. Romeny, “Calling and Election Made Sure,” Conference Report, October 1965, pp.20-23; Roy W. Doxey, “Accepted of the Lord: The Doctrine of Making Your Calling and Election Sure,” Ensign, July 1976, pp. 50-53.
I checked the references. None make reference to Lehi’s statement in 2 Nephi.

Nor does the Gospel Doctrine manual make reference to Lehi’s having his calling and election made sure.

My issue with what Brother Satterfield wrote is in his commentary about verses 14 & 15: “Knowing that one’s soul has been redeemed from hell is scripturally referred to as having one’s “calling and election” made sure.”

The reference in 2 Peter does mention having one’s calling and election made sure, but in verse 11, Peter speaks of entrance to the Kingdom of the Lord, not being rescued from hell.

For Lehi, I think there are probably two possible meanings of “hell.” One is what is described in Doctrine & Covenants 76, where we read that those who are consigned to the Telestial Kingdom are those “who are thrust down to hell” (v. 84) because they rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ and committed all sorts of crime on earth. They are withheld from resurrection until the end of the millennium, but ultimately are resurrected and given their reward (the glory of which “surpasses all understanding” (v. 89).

The second might be what Section 76:32 (among other references) says is reserved for sons of perdition – a fate that is not reversed by the Savior’s resurrection. Those who are there suffer the second death (v. 37), and are subject to the wrath of Satan. The end of their punishment is not revealed (v.45-46).

When I have read Lehi’s words in the past, I have assumed that he meant that the Savior’s resurrection rescued him from the second death, the separation of our body and spirit at the end of this mortal life.

And while I do not doubt that Lehi could have had his calling and election made sure, I don’t believe verse 15 is proof that he did.


  1. A person’s calling and election is made sure when Jesus Christ himself tells a person that they shall be exalted. After that a person with higher priesthood authority, I’m guessing a prophet, must give you a priesthood blessing by the laying of of hands. After the blessing, you will have living waters spring forth from within your heart. When these living waters spring forth, it is the same as tasting of the tree of life. And tasting of the tree of life and also the receiving of living waters is the same as coming to know with perfect knowledge the love of God. Knowing God in this way produces eternal life. No second endowment or anything of any other temple ordinances are necessary for this great blessing. It is a blessing that can be preformed anywhere at any given time. I can witness to you that this thing is true. (Scriptures for study: Rev 7:13-17, 1 Nephi 11:25, Rev 22:14, D&C 63:23, John 7:37-39, John 4:10, D&C 132:20) So knowing all this, Lehi MUST have have his calling and election made sure because he tasted of the tree of life and has been encircled about by God's love! Do we not read about from Nephi when he describes his father's dream?

  2. Kitty, that's a fascinating point of view. But Lehi tasted of that fruit in his dream. Was his calling & election made sure in the dream, or was it fortelling of a future event? There's no record of Lehi's receiving the ordinance you describe.