2 Ne 10:1 this righteous branch
The righteous branch to which Jacob is referring is the family of Lehi. This doctrine began with the prophecy of Joseph of Egypt regarding a righteous branch that the Lord would restore to the gospel in the latter days, Joseph...obtained a promise of the Lord, that...God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light (2 Ne 3:5). Jacob will make reference to this branch again in the allegory of the olive tree. In that passage, there is a branch which is planted in good ground and produces part wild fruit and part good fruit. See Jacob 5:25. As Jacob makes clear, the Nephites understood that they were part of scattered Israel. Their writings concentrate on the promises of the Lord to the house of Israel because those promises apply directly to them and their descendants.
2 Ne 10:3 his name should be Christ
Some have criticized the Book of Mormon because Book of Mormon prophets use the term "Christ" before the birth of the Savior. The word "Christ" is the Greek form of the Hebrew word for Messiah and means literally "the anointed one." As the critics point out, this word was not used in the Old Testament. Some of the Old Testament terms for Christ are Shiloh (Gen 49:10), Prophet (Deut 18:15), Holy One of Israel (Ps 16:10), King (Ps 24:10, Zech 9:9), Immanuel (Isa 7:14), Redeemer (Isa 59:20), Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6), righteous Branch (Jer 23:5, Zech 3:8), and Messiah (Dan 9:26).
Jacob helps us understand this apparent "anachronism." He explains that the angel of the Lord told him what his name should be. The Book of Mormon prophets often speak plainly about the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ. Their writings and prophecies were inspired by direct revelation and the Spirit of God. The Book of Mormon prophets will continue to use the term Christ or Christians long before the terms are found in the Bible.
Edward J. Brandt, in the Book of Mormon Symposium Series, explains the use of these names in the Book of Mormon in a lecture entitled, "The Name Jesus Christ Revealed to the Nephites:"
"The use of the sacred name of Christ in a record of Hebrew origin (see 1 Nephi 1:2; Mosiah 1:4; and Mormon 9:32-34) is of some unusual significance since the name, Jesus Christ, is of Greek derivation. The English form Jesus is a transliteration via Latin and Greek of the Aramaic name Yeshua given him at birth1 The older Hebrew form, Joshua in English, originally meant 'Savior' (Talmage 35). The title Christ is an English transliteration via Latin of the Greek translation of the ancient Hebrew title 'the Anointed One' (Grundmann 493-509; Durham 16). The direct English transliteration of that Hebrew term is Messiah (Durham 15; Talmage 35-36).
"Did the prophet Joseph Smith, as translator, substitute these later and more familiar names and titles, or were they terms precisely known and used by the Book of Mormon prophets? If they knew, how did they come to know them? Those names were supposed to be of much later usage. The record itself reveals the remarkable way the ancient prophets learned these terms. All the scriptures contain many names and titles for the Messiah. The Book of Mormon alone provides over 100 names and titles for Christ (Easton 60-61) However, the name 'Christ' does not appear until Jacob's sermon to the Nephites in 2 Nephi 10:3.
"....Jacob had seen the Savior as a youth and on a later occasion reaffirmed his experience of receiving the ministering of angels (2 Nephi 2:3-4; Jacob 7:5; compare Moroni 7:22). The language of this manifestation uses the future designation of the term Christ for covenant Israel.
"The name Jesus first appears in the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 25:19. As Nephi was teaching the people concerning the Jews and their eventual acceptance of the Messiah, he declared:
"...For according to the words of the prophets, the Messiah cometh in six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem; and according to the words of the prophets, and also the word of the angel of God, his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God (2 Nephi 25:16, 18-19; emphasis added).
"Here Nephi acknowledges that through the ministry of an angel it was revealed to him that in the future 'his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God.' Verse 19 contains both the English transliteration of the Hebrew term for 'the anointed one'-Messiah-and also the transliteration of the Greek term extended to the English for 'the anointed one'- Christ.
"The continued use of the name Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon, in view of all the other names and titles used in the scriptures, shows it had an important influence on the Nephites throughout their history. Centuries later the prophet leader Benjamin taught what the future name of the Lord would be:
"And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary (Mosiah 3:8, emphasis added; see also Mosiah 4:3).
"...Other Book of Mormon prophets also bore testimony that the Savior would be known by these names in future records. Abinadi testified before the wicked priests of Noah concerning the resurrection of Christ, 'for so shall he be called' (Mosiah 15:21). The prophet Alma (formerly one of Noah's priests) organized those who entered the gospel covenant of baptism, and they were called 'the church of God, or the church of Christ, from that time forward' (Mosiah 18:17; see also Mosiah 26:18, 24). In teaching the people, he often reminded them of the future atonement and mission of this Christ (see Alma 5:48; Alma 6:8; Alma 7:11-13; Alma 45:4 [his son Alma]).
"The effect of calling the members of the church after this future title-Christ-led to calling them as 'Christians.'
"And those who did belong to the church were faithful; yea, all those who were true believers in Christ took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians as they were called, because of their belief in Christ who should come (Alma 46:15; emphasis added.)" (Edward J. Brandt, Book of Mormon Symposium Series, edited by PR Cheesman, MS Nyman, and CD Tate, Jr., 1988, p. 201-4)
Neil L. Andersen
As a young missionary, I had a most interesting discussion with a clergyman. He told us that he could not accept the Book of Mormon because it openly spoke of Jesus Christ, using His name and events of His life hundreds of years before His birth. He found this transparency uncharacteristic of the pattern of the Old Testament that referenced the Savior more subtly.
To me the bold declaration of Jesus Christ is the very power of the Book of Mormon. Of course, we must receive a spiritual witness that the book is of God. But once that is obtained, the purposes of Christ, the reality of His life and Resurrection, and the clarity of what is necessary to follow Him and obtain eternal life with Him are strikingly tangible before us. (Ensign, Oct. 2011, 41)
2 Ne 10:3 they shall crucify him
"Such knowledge could only be had by revelation. The fulfillment of the prophecy required not only that the Jews reject and kill their Messiah but also that he die by crucifixion. The prophecy was the more remarkable because crucifixion was unknown to Hebrew law. The Mosaic code prescribed the penalty of death in four forms: stoning, burning, beheading, and strangling." (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 1, p. 266)
2 Ne 10:3-5 there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God
Imagine witnessing an individual heal a man with a withered hand. Then imagine that this same individual looks upon a man who has been paralyzed with the palsy and commands him to take up his bed and walk-and he does. Then imagine that this individual casts the devils out of a man so wild that he can't be restrained with chains. Then imagine that this man heals lepers, opens the ears of the deaf, makes the dumb to speak and the blind to see. After all this, imagine an individual so powerful that he could raise from the dead a man who had lain in the tomb for 4 days. After witnessing all these things, would you conclude that he had done all these things by the power of the devil? Would you then seek from him a sign of his power?
Imagine listening to sermons taught which explain doctrines never before understood. Imagine a man who could speak with the power and spirit of no individual before him. Imagine an individual who could teach how to understand, comprehend, and communicate with God. Imagine that this individual could, without the least preparation, give an incredible sermon complete with well developed, profound parables, references to Old Testament scriptures, and examples of how common practices relate to the scriptures. Imagine that the wisest and most learned people in the land set intellectual, doctrinal, and political traps for him and yet he confounded them time after time after time. Would you then conclude that he was unlearned, a winebibber, and nothing more than the son of a carpenter?
Imagine that this individual exhibited love and charity for all mankind. Imagine that he did all these things without seeking for power, authority, or recognition. Imagine that this individual taught of God as his father, that he referred to the temple as his father's house, that he sought to do the will of his father not his own will, and that he did nothing save his father had commanded him. Would you then have him killed for asserting that he was the son of God?
Such was the wickedness of the Jews in the meridian of time. As Jacob explains, For should the mighty miracles be wrought among other nations they would repent, and know that he be their God. But because of priestcrafts and iniquities, they at Jerusalem will stiffen their necks against him, that he be crucified (v. 4-5). Not only were the Jews particularly wicked at this time, but the Lord explained to Enoch that the inhabitants of this world were more wicked than any of the other creations of God, among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren (Moses 7:36).
"Hence it was that so great a responsibility rested upon the generation in which our Savior lived, for, says he, 'That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation.' (Matthew 23:35, 36.) Hence as they possessed greater privileges than any other generation, not only pertaining to themselves, but to their dead, their sin was greater, as they not only neglected their own salvation but that of their progenitors, and hence their blood was required at their hands." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 222-3)
2 Ne 10:6 they who shall not be destroyed shall be scattered among all nations
In 70 AD, the Romans sieged Jerusalem. During this siege, the Jews suffered terrible things-even destructions, famines, and pestilences. For a detailed account of what happened, see commentary for 2 Ne 6:10. After this, they were scattered all over the Roman Empire. This event is sometimes called the Diaspora.
2 Ne 10:9 kings...shall be nursing fathers...and...queens shall become nursing mothers
Jacob is referring to the prophecy of Isaiah 49:22-3. The meaning of these phrases has already been beautifully explained by Nephi, see 1 Ne 22:6-12.
2 Ne 10:10 this land...shall be a land of thine inheritance
Joseph Fielding Smith
"There is strong presumptive evidence in the blessings given by Israel to his son Joseph, and his grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh, as recorded in Genesis, that they were to inherit a land far from Jerusalem and become a multitude of nations. Joseph was promised that his inheritance should be to the 'utmost bounds of the everlasting hills'; (Genesis 49:26.) that he was 'a fruitful bough by a well whose branches run over the wall.' (Genesis 49:22.) Moreover, he was to receive a greater inheritance than his progenitors, who were given the land of Palestine.
"The Book of Mormon is the record of the descendants of Joseph who were led across the 'great waters' to inherit this western land, which is designated as being choice above all other lands. Surely these blessings could not be realized in Palestine. Joseph and his sons did not become a multitude of nations there; the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh did not receive a more wonderful inheritance in Palestine than any other of the tribes of Israel. There the chief honors were conferred first on Benjamin and then on Judah. Here in America all these promises were fulfilled when the descendants of Joseph possessed the land given as their inheritance.
"There are many references in the Bible to Zion, a land, or place, separate and distinct from Jerusalem. Such passages are found in the second chapter of Isaiah and the fourth chapter of Micah. It would be foolish to say that these references to Zion were to the hill in Jerusalem where David dwelt. Through modern revelation the Lord has made it known that the American continent is Zion. It is to be on this land that the city Zion, the New Jerusalem, shall be built." (A Book of Mormon Treasury: Selections from the Improvement Era, p. 191-2)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"With the translation of the Book of Mormon many of the descendants of Joseph were made known. Who could have made that great discovery without a revelation from the Lord? The Lamanites are of Israel. Lehi was a descendant of Manasseh. We are informed that Ishmael, whose children joined the family of Lehi, was of Ephraim. In this way children belonging to these two tribes were planted in America. It is true that others also came, and it is just possible that the Lord, remembering his promise to Joseph, sent with the Mulekites others of the tribes of Joseph. At any rate, this land was given to them as their everlasting inheritance. They have inherited it in the past. They will do so more fully in the future.
"We are told that there was a prophecy in the destruction of the coat of many colors worn by Joseph. (See Gen. 37:31-35.) Part of it was preserved, and Jacob, before his death, prophesied that as a remnant of the coat was preserved so should a remnant of Joseph's posterity be preserved: 'And he said, Even as this remnant of garment of my son's hath been preserved, so shall a remnant of the seed of my son be preserved by the hand of God, and be taken unto himself, while the remainder of the seed of Joseph shall perish, even as the remnant of his garment.' (Alma 46:24.)
"That remnant now found among the Lamanites shall eventually partake of the blessings of the gospel. They shall unite with the remnant which is being gathered from among the nations and they shall be blessed of the Lord forever." (The Way to Perfection, p. 121)
2 Ne 10:11 there shall be no kings upon the land
"It is remarkable that so few attempts have been made to establish thrones in America. Perhaps the most substantial barrier has been the Monroe Doctrine, although, there has, for the most part, been so little real force behind that 'doctrine' that its very weakness has invited more than one European monarch to attempt to 'smash it.' It defied all the world to attempt to set up any authority of their own, or to interfere with any of the independent governments then existing in North or South America....In a word the real meaning of the Monroe Doctrine is, 'Hands off' and that too, to all the world....One could imagine that the Book of Mormon prophet might have been standing at the elbow of President Monroe when he signed the document as it was handed to him by the Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams. For the Monroe Doctrine is nothing more than the Book of Mormon prophecy put in the form of a state paper. It has been tested and tried. It has been called the 'most magnificent bluff in history, and so far the most successful.' At any rate, it has stood. It has been affirmed and re-affirmed by President after President until it is now upheld and proclaimed as with the voice of a hundred millions of people." (Nephi Lowell Morris, Prophecies of Joseph Smith and Their Fulfillment, pp. 136-138 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 125)
2 Ne 10:13 he that fighteth against Zion shall perish
The phrase, he that fighteth against Zion shall perish, has both a literal and a spiritual meaning. The context of verses 11-14 show that the Lord will fortify the land of America against all other nations. This is not a spiritual fortification but a military one and will remain in force as long as the inhabitants of the land are righteous. This interpretation has been applied to this scripture by many of the brethren.
"Another striking prediction contained in the Book of Mormon is the following: 'And this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles; and I will fortify this land against all other nations; and he that fighteth against Zion shall perish, saith God; For he that raiseth up a king against me shall perish, for I, the Lord, the king of heaven, will be their king, and I will be a light unto them forever, that hear my words.' (II. Nephi x: 11-14.) Gradually, yet with certain progress, has the government of kings been abolished from the American continent until nearly all governments in North and South America are republics. Canada is still under the rule of Great Britain, but is managed in such a manner that the liberties of the people are almost, if not quite equal to those of a republican territory. Those who know the history of the effort to make Maximilian a king in Mexico also know how terribly the words of the Book of Mormon have been verified: 'For he that raiseth up a king unto me shall perish.'
"This continent is the land of Zion, 'and he that fighteth against Zion shall perish, saith God.' Before the late Spanish-American war, George Q. Cannon read these predictions from the Book of Mormon before a congregation in the Tabernacle, and with a knowledge that these prophecies were given of the Lord foretold the result of the war and the certain banishment of Spanish kingly power from the American isles. Other prophecies of the sacred volume have been verified since its publication to the world. Those verified should establish faith in reasonable minds that the unfulfilled parts will surely come to pass." (Cowley's Talks on Doctrine, p. 183-4)
B. H. Roberts
"[speaking of World War I]... Does this Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stand in any relationship to this great calamity that has come upon the inhabitants of the earth--upon the nations of Europe? Do we as a Church have any relationship to the great world movements? I believe that we do....We have in a general way, a foreknowledge of the destiny of the nations that shall inhabit this choice land of America. We had read to us this morning by Elder Joseph F. Smith, Jr., the conditions on which nations may maintain themselves and their dominion upon this choice land, dedicated as it is to free institutions and to be the habitat of a righteous people. And they may maintain themselves here, whether of Israel or of the Gentile races; if they comply with those conditions--acceptance of the God of the land--who is declared to be Jesus Christ--and of his righteous law. The same message was delivered to the Nephites. They were told that both the House of Joseph--son of Jacob--and the Gentiles should have special inheritance in this land, and that the Gentiles should be great in the eyes of the Lord, but there should be no kings that should raise up unto the Gentiles in this land; 'for he that raiseth up a king against me shall perish,' said the Lord, 'for I, the Lord, the King of heaven, will be their King.' The land is consecrated to free institutions, then, and to a righteous people and God, under these conditions is pledged 'to fortify this land against all other nations.' It is the land of Zion, 'and he that fighteth against Zion shall perish, saith God' (II Nephi X)." (Conference Report, Oct. 1916, p. 141)
Spencer W. Kimball
"But these promises, glorious though they be, desirable as they are, can come only '. . . if they will but serve the God of this land who is Jesus Christ....' (Ether 2:12.) There is only one way. That infallible cure is simply righteousness, obedience, Godliness, honor, and integrity. There is no other cure. Mountains of arms and ammunitions will not guarantee safety, for enemies can also build fortifications and missiles and bomb shelters. If we would but believe the prophets! For they have warned that if the 'inhabitants of this land are ever brought down into captivity and enslaved, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land.' (See 2 Nephi 1:7.)" (Conference Report, Oct. 1, 1961, p. 31)
The spiritual interpretation of the phrase, he that fighteth against Zion shall perish, is apparent from the context of verse 16, Wherefore, he that fighteth against Zion, both Jew and Gentile, both bond and free, both male and female, shall perish; for they are they who are the whore of all the earth; for they who are not for me are against me, saith our God. In this sense, those who fight against the kingdom of God, or Zion, shall perish with the destructions pronounced upon the great and abominable whore.
"For him as for Nephi there are just two sides to the question. He groups all factions and complexions of people into two arbitrary categories. After naming seven different groups, he adds, "But I shall call them Lamanites that seek to destroy the people of Nephi, and those who are friendly to Nephi I shall call Nephites" (Jacob 1:14). In the same way, Nephi had explained: "He that fighteth against Zion, both Jew and Gentile . . . are they who are the whore of all the earth" (2 Nephi 10:16; italics added). By this reasoning there are never more than "save two churches only" in the world, and indeed Nephi's much-commented remark to that effect (1 Nephi 14:10) reads more like a statement of general principle than the denunciation of one particular church among many. (An Approach to the Book of Mormon, p. 161)
Finally, the doctrine is repeated in 2 Ne 27:3-5:
'And all the nations that fight against Zion, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision; yea, it shall be unto them, even as unto a hungry man which dreameth, and behold he eateth but he awaketh and his soul is empty; or like unto a thirsty man which dreameth, and behold he drinketh but he awaketh and behold he is faint, and his soul hath appetite; yea, even so shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against Mount Zion.
For behold, all ye that doeth iniquity, stay yourselves and wonder, for ye shall cry out, and cry; yea, ye shall be drunken but not with wine, ye shall stagger but not with strong drink.
For behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep. For behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets; and your rulers, and the seers hath he covered because of your iniquity.'
2 Ne 10:18 the Gentiles shall be blessed and numbered among the house of Israel
The Gentiles will be blessed with the Holy Ghost. Through the Holy Ghost, those who are Gentiles by lineage can become members of the house of Israel when they receive the ordinances of baptism and the laying on of hands. They are thereby adopted into the house of Israel and will be entitled to all the blessings promised to those who have the blood of Israel in their veins. Joseph Smith explained how the Holy Ghost makes this transformation.
"for as the Holy Ghost falls upon one of the literal seed of Abraham, it is calm and serene; and his whole soul and body are only exercised by the pure spirit of intelligence; while the effect of the Holy Ghost upon a Gentile, is to purge out the old blood, and make him actually of the seed of Abraham. That man that has none of the blood of Abraham (naturally) must have a new creation by the Holy Ghost." (Teachings, p. 149-150).
Therefore, once a Gentile has had this transformation take place, he or she is entitled to the blessings of the members of the house of Israel. The prophecies of Isaiah concerning the house of Israel can be likened unto them. They will be a part of the great gathering of Israel, as the Savior explained:
'But if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance;
And they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem.
And then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem.
And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst.' (3 Nephi 21:22-5).
2 Ne 10:19 it is a choice land...above all other lands
See commentary for 2 Ne 1:4.
2 Ne 10:20-21 we are upon an isle of the sea. But great are the promises of the Lord unto them who are upon the isles of the sea
Jacob and Nephi considered the land of promise an isle of the sea. Such a conclusion is logical to one who had arrived there by sea. This helps us to understand why Nephi included chapter 49 of Isaiah in his record (see 1 Ne 21). In Isaiah 49, the first verse addresses the reader, Listen, O isles, unto me. Nephi likens the scriptures unto himself and unto his people. Nephi and Jacob are reading this as if Isaiah is speaking directly to them. The rest of the chapter 49 includes some of the great promises given to the scattered Israelites in the last days. The great promises are that God will preserve them, will make them his covenant people, will lead them and guide them, will have mercy on their afflicted, will contend with their enemies, and they will be nursed and gathered by the Gentiles. Other promises given to those on the isles of the sea are listed:
'The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, drew near, and came.
But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.
Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.' (Isa 41:5,8,9)
'the isles shall wait for his law' (Isa 42:4)
'Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.
And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee.
Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.
For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. (Isa 60:9-12)
'Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.
For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.' (Jer 31:10-11)
'Yea, then will he remember the isles of the sea; yea, and all the people who are of the house of Israel, will I gather in, saith the Lord, according to the words of the prophet Zenos, from the four quarters of the earth.
Yea, and all the earth shall see the salvation of the Lord, saith the prophet; every nation, kindred, tongue and people shall be blessed. (1 Ne 19:16-7)
2 Ne 10:23 ye are free to act for yourselves
Christ's infinite atonement frees us from the fall of Adam and allows us to exercise our agency in choosing right and wrong. The term, "free agency" is redundant. It is not found in the scriptures. Rather, the scriptures use the term, "agency of man" (Moses 4:3). People only remain free as long as they exercise this agency wisely. Lehi makes it clear that if they choose the plan of Satan, they are choosing captivity and death (2 Ne 2:27). Thus, the wicked voluntarily give up their freedom so that Satan can drag them down to his miserable level.
Joshua tried to help the children of Israel decide how to use their agency righteously, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Josh 24:15). It is only through serving the Lord that we remain free, for we are able to avoid the bondage of sin and the captivity of the devil.
"All rational beings have an agency of their own; and according to their own choice they will be saved or damned (DBY, 62).
"Can the people understand that it is actually necessary for opposite principles to be placed before them, or this state of being would be no probation, and we should have no opportunity for exercising the agency given us? Can they understand that we cannot obtain eternal life unless we actually know and comprehend by our experience the principle of good and the principle of evil, the light and the darkness, truth, virtue, and holiness,-also vice, wickedness, and corruption? (DBY, 66).
"Man can produce and control his own acts, but he has no control over their results (DBY, 63).
"There are limits to agency, and to all things and to all beings, and our agency must not infringe upon that law. A man must choose life or death [see Helaman 14:31], and if he chooses death he will find himself abridged, and that the agency which is given to him is so bound up that he cannot exercise it in opposition to the law, without laying himself liable to be corrected and punished by the Almighty. (DBY, 63).
"A man can dispose of his agency or of his birthright, as did Esau of old, but when disposed of, he cannot again obtain it; consequently, it behooves us to be careful, and not forfeit that agency that is given to us. The difference between the righteous and the sinner, eternal life or death, happiness or misery, is this, to those who are exalted there are no bounds or limits to their privileges, their blessings have a continuation, and to their kingdoms, thrones, and dominions, principalities, and powers there is no end, but they increase through all eternity; whereas, those who reject the offer, who despise the proffered mercies of the Lord, and prepare themselves to be banished from his presence, and to become companions of the devils, have their agency abridged immediately, and bounds and limits are put to their operations (DBY, 63-4)
"In rendering that strict obedience, are we made slaves? No, it is the only way on the face of the earth for you and me to become free (DBY, 225)" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, pp. 71-3)
2 Ne 10:24 reconcile yourselves to the will of God
The righteous exercise of agency requires that we reconcile ourselves to the will of God. One of the great ironies of the gospel is that true freedom comes only after submitting to the will of God, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:34-6)
2 Ne 10:24 it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved
When Paul taught that it was by grace that we are saved, he did not intend all of Christendom to interpret this to mean that the only requirement for salvation was a cursory acceptance of Christ. He said, by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (Eph 2:8). The exercise of faith requires more than a casual acceptance of Christ. It requires action. We must receive the necessary ordinances, exercise faith, and as Jacob teaches, we must first be reconciled unto God by submitting to His will. At that point, we are brought into the presence of God-not because our actions were righteous enough to get us there but because the grace of God has made up the difference. Therefore, it truly is by grace that we are saved. See also 2 Ne 25:23.