The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

By , on November 12, 2012

Alma, Book of Mormon, Boyle, Immortality, Justice


I will, for a day, pause in posting about the Atonement of Christ to address an important issue for all Christians today.

The following excerpt is from a much longer article entitled, “Confessions of a Mormon Law Clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court,” for which a link is provided at the bottom of this post.

Most of the article is devoted to the ascendancy of anti-Christian secular thought and philosophy in the halls of power in the United States and virtually all other Western democracies.

As an explanatory note for my much-respected  and appreciated non-LDS readers, Korihor is a man described in the Book of Mormon who lived about 74 BC. Korihor was preaching a philosophy that is startlingly similar to that proposed by current secular thought, which included attacking religion and those who practiced it.

Korihor was confronted by the prophet Alma and the two debated Korihor’s philosophy. That debate is found in Alma 30.

Now to an excerpt from the article I mentioned:

One of the dogmas in present day secularism is that death is the end, a view attributed to Korihor at Alma 30:18. On this point of secularist theory Professor Taylor points out that “[i]n terms of a central image of Christian history, a judgment intervenes before our full entry into the Kingdom. In some way or other, our life will be weighed, and can be found wanting.”

Secularity, by proclaiming [that] death is the end, thereby subtracts from secular thinking any final accounting of our acts and choices.

It is a subtraction that injures my circumstances and my society as well as myself as a moral agent. This final accounting is an important part of our identity.

Even when my attention is focused elsewhere, my identity continues to shape and pre-shape my actions towards myself and others.

My inevitable thoughts of my death and future judgment provide the backdrop or framework within which I have reason to choose the right, thereby connecting my present situation to my future in a fundamental way. Taylor’s point about secularism is an instructive one and is relevant to why The Book of Mormon is so quick to condemn the error in Korihor’s belief [that] there is neither after-life nor final judgment. As more and more individuals in a society either accept or, alternatively, reject Korihor’s teaching, the moral quality of that society is directly affected.

The secularist denial of the Judgment is part of a constellation of secular reasons not “to fear death as the end of life”. When I contemplate my inevitable demise, and then move in my thinking from my death back to today, if knowledge of the final judgment has been subtracted it becomes more difficult to consistently answer the question, Why should I be moral? An important point to consider in making today’s decisions is missing. “[T]herefore,” says Taylor, absent “the completion, as it were of the dossier with which we all [confront]  judgment,” society has lost the backdrop or framework for individuals to choose to act unselfishly as a rational decision.

Men and women, says The Book of Mormon, will be judged by God according to their works. “Ye must stand before the judgment seat of Christ to be judged according to your works.” (Mormon 6:21.) In secular theory, however, with no final judgment, the moral significance of death disappears, and the doctrine that life is a “test [that] we can fail” seems to inevitably become misplaced.

Ashby D. Boyle II
Confessions of a Mormon Law Clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court
Meridian Magazine, October 25 2010
(minor typos in the original are corrected)

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