- Revelation 20:12
- "And the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life
. . . "
- Joseph Smith and his followers interpret the reference to "the books" to be
the Mormon records of proxy baptisms and other rites maintained by the secretaries in
Mormon temples. Official Mormon "scripture" puts it this way:
- "The books spoken of must be the books which contained
the record of their works, [the dead who die without a knowledge of the Mormon gospel] and
refer to the records which are kept on the earth." 1
- The Mormon case rests on two prior propositions:
- That living persons can perform acts of eternal value for dead relatives.
- That dead persons who die in ignorance of the gospel have a hope of salvation (i.e., by
conscientious Mormon relatives performing proxy baptisms).
Mormons should be pressed hard for Scriptural justification for such beliefs.
- The onus of proof rests with him who asserts. Mormons must, therefore, justify the
following assumptions in the above argument:
- It must be shown that the books referred to by John are books kept by humans.
- It must be shown that the books referred to are kept on earth.
- It must be shown that the books referred to by John contain the works of those who died
in ignorance of the gospel.
- There is evidence against the Mormon interpretation. Scripture never presents the
Judgment Day as depending on secondary sources of information (i.e., Mormon temple
minutes). Consider the evidence:
- John, writing of Jesus earthly ministry, says; "But Jesus did not commit
himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify
[witness] of man; for he knew what was in man." (John 2:24,25). Jesus will not need
to rely on human testimony when he comes to judge "the quick and the dead". Even
in his earthly ministry he "knew what was in man".
- It is prophesied of the Messiah that "the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of
knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the
fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove
after the hearing of his ears . . . " (Isa. 11:2,3).
- The Apostle Paul wrote: "Moreover it is required of stewards that they be found
trustworthy. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any
human court. I do not even judge myself. I am not aware of anything against myself, but I
am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce
judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now
hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will
receive his commendation from God." (1 Cor. 4:2-5 R.S.V.). Note the following
differences between the Mormon interpretation and Paul's letter to Corinth:
- Paul says human judgment is unreliable. He hesitates even to judge himself because there
may be things he ought to have done which he has ignorantly left undone. Mormons assert
that the careful temple secretaries afford reliable information for judgment.
- Paul says that the Lord judges the purposes of the heart bringing to light the things
now hidden in darkness. Granting the generous assumption that Mormon secretaries
accurately record the minutes of secret temple rites, they are ineffective in discerning
the secret purposes of the heart.
- Doctrine and Covenants, Section 128:6-8, pp. 232-3 (1952 ed.) Return