Share This Episode
Viewpoint on Mormonism Bill McKeever  Logo

Beliefs of Melvin J. Ballard Part 5

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
September 2, 2021 9:25 pm

Beliefs of Melvin J. Ballard Part 5

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 662 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
Truth Talk
Stu Epperson
Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
Alex McFarland Show
Alex McFarland

Viewpoint on Mormonism, the program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from a Biblical perspective. Viewpoint on Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism Research Ministry. Since 1979, Mormonism Research Ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now your host for today's Viewpoint on Mormonism. In addition to Viewpoint on Mormonism, I'm your host Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism Research Ministry.

With me today is Eric Johnson, my colleague at MRM. Today we wrap up our look at a very short article that was found on It was an article titled, Mr. Ballard Opens Up About One Thing He Wishes He Could Ask His Grandfather.

If you didn't listen to the previous broadcast, let me just bring you up to speed here. The opening paragraph reads, During a recent visit to New England, President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke of his grandfather, Elder Melvin J. Ballard. The article talks about a question that Mr. Ballard wishes he could have asked his grandfather.

And as we've discussed this week, we thought the question that he raised was really kind of strange. He says, I would have wanted to know more about what it meant to be an apostle because, as the article states, M. Russell Ballard is serving in the same position that his grandfather Melvin J. Ballard served in before he died in 1939. And since M. Russell Ballard has served in that position for quite a while, it just seems like an odd question to ask when there were so many things that his grandfather must have experienced during the time in which he lived. He was born in 1873. He was there during the time of the Manifesto of 1890 when the turmoil of polygamy in the Mormon Church was going on. He was ordained an apostle by Heber J.

Grant, the last polygamous prophet of the LDS Church. It just seems strange to me that that would be the question he would think of when there's so many things you could have asked your grandfather in this hypothetical that would have given you a better understanding as to what his grandfather believed. And so that's what we've been discussing. What were some of the beliefs that his grandfather had? And we've discussed several of them this week. But today we want to talk about what his grandfather believed regarding the person of Heavenly Father, and we're going to examine that from a conference message that Melvin J. Ballard gave in April of 1927.

You can find this in Conference Reports, April 1927, page 159. What does it say, speaking of Heavenly Father? All he can do is to warn us, point out the danger, show us the way of escape, and when we resist it all, we bind God. We speak of binding the devil, and the devil will be bound and have no power over us when we resist him. But we may resist the Lord in the same manner and thus bind his hands so that he can do nothing for us. For he himself is ruled by law, he cannot set aside the majesty of eternal law, nor save men in their sins.

Now, that expression coming to us as evangelicals seems a little bit odd, that God can be bound in anything. Now, granted, we as Christians believe that God cannot do anything contrary to his nature. But when he speaks of God himself being ruled by law, when you think about it, though, this law that the God of Mormonism is ruled by is not a law that he put forth. It had to have been in effect prior to God becoming God. Because remember, Joseph Smith taught, we have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity.

I will refute that idea and take away the veil so that you may see. So in Mormonism, they view their God as being bound by a set of laws that he is not the author of. These laws were already in effect. So when he uses the example here, he cannot set aside the majesty of eternal law. He's talking about an eternal law that even God himself can't claim to be the author of, because he's not eternally God. And that's a great point, Bill, because the law almost becomes more powerful than God himself, because God did not create this that was already in existence.

At what point in time, Latter-day Saint scholars have never been able to point out, they don't know very much they say about this, but that's still very strange that you would say that law is greater than God himself. Well, he also uses the expression, Nor can this God save men in their sins. Now, that seems to be a clear reference to Alma 11 37 in the Book of Mormon.

Let me just read it to you very quickly. In Alma 11, starting with verse 37, it says, And I say unto you again, that he, speaking of God, cannot save them in their sins, for I cannot deny his word. And he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, how can you be saved except you inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, you cannot be saved in your sins. Well, that has raised a number of questions, because if all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, as it says in Romans chapter 3 verse 23, all of us obviously have this sin nature, and that we're not going to shed this sin nature before we die. But yet we find that Ballard made a comment regarding our sins and our evil tendencies, and he states that these sins and evil tendencies will be with us even beyond the grave.

What did he say in the book Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin J Ballard, pages 240 to 241, Eric? A man may receive the priesthood and all its privileges and blessings, but until he learns to overcome the flesh, his temper, his tongue, his disposition to indulge in the things God has forbidden, he cannot come into the celestial kingdom of God. He must overcome either in this life or in the life to come. But this life is the time in which men are to repent. Do not let any of us imagine that we can go down to the grave, not having overcome the corruptions of the flesh, and then lose in the grave all our sins and evil tendencies.

They will be with us. They will be with the Spirit when separated from the body. Now I have to confess, this is one of the more confusing aspects of Mormonism that I've come across. How can you assume that your sins and evil tendencies are going to go with you in the grave, that this is the time in which men are to repent, but then it goes on to say that he must overcome either in this life or in the life to come?

How does that make any sense? I don't understand the connection there. But it seems to be that the reason why Mormon leaders such as Ballard himself emphasizes using this lifetime opportunity to repent, it seems odd to me because it doesn't seem like you're able to do anything with that, and you're not even capable of doing it in the first place. Well, and that's something that Spencer Kimball, citing this very passage from Ballard in his book The Miracle of Forgiveness on page 168, described, and he said you need a body to be able to overcome these things, you can't do it in the next life.

This is what Kimball writes on page 168 after citing that portion from Ballard. Clearly, it is difficult to repent in the spirit world of sins involving physical habits and actions. There one has a spirit in mind, but not the physical power to overcome a physical habit. He can desire to change his life, but how can he overcome the lusts of the flesh unless he has flesh to control and transform?

How can he overcome the tobacco or the drink habit in the spirit world where there is no liquor nor tobacco and no flesh to crave it? Similarly, with other sins involving lack of control over the body. So, the idea that you have to have this done in this life because when you get to the next life, you won't be dealing with those things, but you go to the grave with them and you're going to live with them, apparently, I guess, into eternity?

Well, in that same book, Melvin J. Ballard makes this comment. He says, this life is the time to repent. That is why I presume it will take a thousand years after the first resurrection until the last group will be prepared to come forth. It will take them a thousand years to do what it would have taken, but three score years and ten to accomplish in this life. Then every man and woman who is putting off until the next life the task of correcting and overcoming the weaknesses of the flesh are sentencing themselves to years of bondage, for no man or woman will come forth in the resurrection until they have completed their work, until they have overcome, until they have done as much as they can do. How are they going to do this if the Book of Mormon is to be believed in Alma 34, that there is not going to be an opportunity for labor to be performed? It seems like Ballard has made it clear that because you need a body and you can't do these things without a body, it's going to be practically impossible to accomplish this. So why even give them the hope that there might be a possibility of doing so?

It just seems so confusing to me. And if a Latter-day Saint is hoping that perhaps there is an open door to correct things that they didn't do during this lifetime, I would say, boy, that's a pretty risky business to be involved in because this whole idea that it will take them a thousand years to do what it would have taken three score and ten to accomplish in this life, where do we find that in any of the standard works of Mormonism? We had talked off air about the possibility if Mr. Ballard and Mr. Kimball knew each other, if they had a chance to know each other, they probably would have been good friends. And on page 11, this citation is given from Ballard in the book, The Miracle of Forgiveness, again. I'm fascinated with this because it almost seems like there is a possible out, maybe there's a thousand years that it takes, maybe that's referring to the millennium, but Kimball cites Ballard's quote just after he gets done saying, on page 10, the previous page, the burden of the prophetic warning has been that the time to act is now in this mortal life. One cannot with impunity delay his compliance with God's commandments. And then he cites, out of the famous, we talk about it all the time, Alma chapter 34.

He cites verses 21 through 34. What you just said in the standard works does not teach any idea that you would have even a thousand years to be able to do this, but if you're going to the grave with these tendencies that you can't solve because you no longer have a physical body, then what ability to work out these sins is there? It seems like there would be none whatsoever, so to even offer some kind of vague hope is almost being kind of mean, you would think, to the LDS. It's giving them a false hope, I would assume.

It just doesn't seem possible. And also I would say this notion that some Latter-day Saints have that they can correct things that they didn't get right in this mortality, in my opinion, that goes against the whole idea of a mortal probation to begin with because Kimball also, as well as others, has made it very clear that the reason why we are here right now in this mortality is to prove ourselves worthy. They call it the mortal probation. Well, if this is our mortal probation, when does that probation end? Well, it ends when we die. Well, if this is the time that we've been given to make sure we do everything we're supposed to do, then what would be the point of that if we can actually have the opportunity to do it after we die?

It just doesn't seem to make sense to me that words in this context just seem to have no meaning whatsoever. I guess you could say these are some of the questions that I would probably have wanted to ask Melvin J. Ballard if I had had the opportunity to do so. Unfortunately, it seems that M. Russell Ballard, his grandson, didn't have the same thought processes that I have, and I can understand that, I guess, but it seems like there's a lot of things that I wish we could have clarified in Mormon doctrine that perhaps a lot of this confusion can be alleviated. But it seems that even though the leaders that have been put in place by God to solve a lot of these dilemmas tend to only make some of these dilemmas even worse. I'm Mormonism.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-11 13:32:07 / 2023-09-11 13:37:32 / 5

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime