Too Late?


Forest asked a great question, and I would like to offer you a chance to answer it.

“I am thinking about my grandfather who died three years ago and lived what I believe was an examplary life. If I look at the timeline of his life, what he was doing at my age, etc. and the progression he made, and how little I have made….I begin to wonder if there comes a point in life where you may progress but have fallen too far behind to reach the veil and Savior (as described in the temple) in this life. Coupled with that thought, is this…I have heard that for souls in the spirit world, progress is more difficult. Repentance and change is easier in this life, in which we have a physical body and a world designed to maximize our growth. However, the next life requires a more prolonged process of growth because of the absence of the mortal body. All of this ultimately creates an urgency in my heart to change/repent. I wonder if there is scriptural basis for these “fears” or if these are qualified as “doubts” due to lack of faith.”

This is your chance to wax eloquent. What say you?

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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22 Responses to Too Late?

  1. Jared says:

    A few months ago one of the old High Priests in our ward suddenly died. He was not a fancy man. His knowledge of the gospel had always seemed to me to be very basic, but his faith was admirably sincere and childlike. I also knew him as a man who had touched countless lives for good. He had revitalized many testimonies and had strengthened the faith of many. He had exemplified the love of the Savior.

    When I heard of his passing the Spirit immediately bore witness to me that he had been brought back to the bosom of the Savior. He was with Jesus Christ. He had won the race and had an exaltation in store for him.

    This brought tears to my eyes. I had a sort of righteous envy for him. I wanted what he had.

    With that, I’d like to say that we should never sell ourselves short in terms of limiting what the Lord has in store for us even if we aren’t spiritual rock stars like the ancient prophets/patriarchs.

    The Prophet Joseph said that everyone, from the least to the greatest, can partake of the blessings of the Second Comforter regardless of station, intellect, or natural gifts. For many, this does not occur until just after the physical death.

    I witness that Christ loves all of His children and that he will abundantly reward all those who righteously covenant to take upon them His name; regardless of the lateness of the hour or of how far along in life they experience this mighty change.

    Jared

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  2. Chris says:

    If Nephi could go from asking the Lord for help to believe Lehi’s teachings (1NE 2:16) to having the Lord speak to him and call him “Blessed” (v.19 – part of one’s C&E), it seems to me the process can be accomplished in a short amount of time given one’s willingness to pursue the promises.

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  3. Mark says:

    The only real way to progress in this life and the next is thanks to and through the Atonement of Christ. What he asks of us is a “broken heart and contrite spirit.” A broken heart is a full understanding that “I can’t do it on my own.” A contrite spirit is a longing desire and willingness to obey and be changed through the atonement. Sin and challenges often are very good at bringing us to this point.

    To wonder if there is time enough in this life for the Savior to change you into what is necessary for him to show himself to you is nothing more than the natural man and adversary underestimating the enabling power of the Atonement of Christ. The process is not ours to do, but rather ours to allow. Humble submission and a desire are key. The rest is on the Lord’s timetable as we follow his voice. Do not let anyone or any thought persuade you to believe that it is your work to do. That is a human reaction that places purification and sanctification into our hands and not the Saviors. It is not a race, because the Lord is the one doing the work. Simply submit your will to his in it’s entirety. I know this to be true.

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  4. DJK says:

    The journey is the process preparing you for the opportunity. Although you may feel behind, my guess is, you’re on the path and heading in the right direction. The urgency to change/repent is an indicator of this in my opinion. Feelings of inadequacy aren’t a bad thing, but an opportunity to take the next step on the journey. We all have a unique plan, specifically tailored to our growth and progression, I’d recommend avoiding comparisons with others.

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  5. FJC says:

    I don’t know if this can be opened or not. I hope so, it’s very powerful and addresses the question perfectly.

    http://www.godvine.com/Christian-Athlete-Takes-a-Fall-But-Still-Wins-the-Race-378.html

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    • It is a wonderful video, the only thing that would have made it better is if Jesus Christ picked her up and carred her across the finish line in His arms. In a spiritual sense, it would have been more illustrative of how the Atonement picks us up, enables and enobles us, and carries us to the victory.

      JMP

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  6. FJC says:

    Great question and one perhaps most who are diligent in the gospel have asked numerous times in a lifetime.

    The first scripture that comes to my mind is the parable of the laborers in the vineyard which Jesus taught in Matt 20:1-16. This scripture is particularly soothing to those of us where were late starters or who did not have the gospel or correct instruction for a lifetime.

    Second, spend any amount of time in the Topical Guide of the Bible, and the Index of the triple combination and search every word on mercy and merciful to discover the great endless mercy our God has for all His children. Feel His arms around you!

    Third, I wish I had a penny for every time I have heard a Prophet and or a General Authority say: “it is never too late.” I believe only the adversary, as described in Moroni 7 would try to convince the very offspring of divine parentage that it is too late, to not believe in light (that the door to God is before all who will obey and serve) and truth (that Christ is personally knocking at each of our doors). Satan would have you be discouraged while thinking you have lost your opportunity to grasp the brass ring. That dear friend is the lie!

    Personally, I have the same goal as many, but more important than the sacred event you describe, is my desire to live worthy of that event, let it come when it may. All is in the Lords hands. He knows our hearts

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  7. cami gygi says:

    I believe one of the scriptures on what you seek answers for can be found in Alma 34:31-41 (emphasis on vs. 32-35). This places the emphasis on the things you have mentioned. It is easier to overcome and serve the Lord when spirit and body are combined. Joseph F. Smith provided an additional witness to this when he stated, “The righteous dead looked upon the absence of their spirits from their bodies as bondage. We will have a desire to do many things which we cannot do without a body.” I also believe in becoming pure in heart. Bro. John shares his insights in this process in his book The Triumph of Zion. Not only must we seek for and obtain forgiveness of our sins, but we must also remove all of the untruths that we believe about ourselves. Maybe one of your untruths is “that it’s just too late.” I think that is never to late to draw near to the Lord Forest. When you get rid of those untruths that keep you from drawing near you can then replace them with truth and light. I believe in that truth. And who knows, you just might help a family member on the other side of the veil remove that same untruth from their spirit. You are the one with both body and spirit you are the one to break that chain that binds. Bless you for your humility in seeking truth. You are in my prayers.

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    • Cami, I totally agree. It is never too late to begin – and our efforts to come unto Christ are never without eternal reward.

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    • Forest says:

      Thank you Cami (and all). These versus in Alma 34 reflect the dilema perfectly…”Lord, am I too late?” Amulek reminds us that there is a time in which we are brought to that “awful crisis”. And another verse from D&C 121:25…”For there is a time appointed for every man, according as his works shall be.” Emphasising that I don’t want to waste a single moment of life.

      God appoints the time however, not me! In Alma 34:31 “if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.” I like to emphasis the word immediately here. God appoints the time available, but today I can make a perfect repentance and harden not my heart and ***immediately*** I can be made right in the eyes of God.

      Worries about being too late are a distraction. The real question is “So what do you want me to do now?” (Thanks Dean). Focus on the work and not on the reward, because the real reward is in the work itself.

      I just want to add that I am grateful to have a place like this blog where we can have discussions like this. It is very unique. I have participated in online discussions before, with the topic of religion and faith usually being discussed in a very contentious manner (at best). Thank you to all of you.

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      • Thank you for asking the question, Forest. This is an unusually good group of people. I have never receved a harsh word from them. I have filtered out a few negative comments, but it was about minor things. The other thing that thrills me is that they almost always get it right. Every time I let the Un-Blog Family answer a question, they do a better job than I could. I feel almost like a parent watching their kids cross the finish line. But, I keep reminding myself that my part is very small here. You all have a lifetime of growth behind you before I ever showed up. The Un-Blog just collects AWESOME people.

        Brother John

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  8. James says:

    The scripture that comes to mind is the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. There, time wasn’t so much the issue as their willingness to work. I like Elder Oakes’ talk ‘A Challenge to Become’ on this topic. I would question my definition of spiritual progress vs. the Lord’s definition. Even our perceived failures may be of great worth to our souls in the long run. Our perspectives are so limited here I doubt we can accurately predict where we would be spiritually simply based on how many years of life we think we have left to live.

    It’s an illusion that any of us thinks we have more time to waste before seeking the Lord with full purpose of heart; although in His infinite grace he grants us each the time we need. I believe He will demonstrate to those who fail to come unto him that they would not have done so even had their time been extended; in fact more time would have been worse for them. I also think as long as we are conscious in this life (and possibly unconscious too but I don’t have first hand experience with that) we have plenty of time to come unto Christ with full purpose of heart, and thereby receive everything the Lord promised, in His (not ours) own time, own way, and according to His own will. Our decision to ultimately follow Him requires faith, not time.

    James

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  9. Dean says:

    Unless you are on your deathbed I think you
    Definitely have time to progress to the second comforter. I think that a lot of the speed with which we progress is dependent on our heart and determination. If we really want something that is right and petition God for it, then are willing to pay the price (law) that is required then we will have it.

    Our spiritual progress depends largely on how focused and determined we are to live by every word of God. We can just wait for the the Lord to prompt us or we can go to him and say, ” so what do you want me to do now”. We can exert ourselves spiritually through mighty fasting and prayer and keeping more focused on praying in our heart. I think that as long as we are focused on pleasing and obeying the voice of Jesus Christ our extra effort will give great blessings.

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  10. Terry says:

    I was 37 before I became fully active and 42 before I got serious about stopping my rebellion and starting to become obedient. My dad was in his 70’s before he pulled it together. Alma the younger, the people of King Benjamin, and many others proved it can be done in a few days (see Alma 34:31; Moshiah 5:7). In my opinion it’s all about submission (the covenanat to submit, then continual submission, see Mosiah 5:5). It can take a lifetime and even on into the millennium to submit, if you chose. Or,you can receive the mighty change now and gain an instant increase of knowledge and power to travel the path of making your calling and election sure and recieving the promise that the Lord will visit you soon. That can happen very quickly, in not many months or years. And with that promise and power you can soon hear the question, “What is wanted?” I testify that it is not too late, …if you are capable of asking the question you did, it is not too late!

    T

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  11. Steve Hansen says:

    I think spiritual growth can continue more easily in the spirit world, if one is already in the attitude of spiritual growth, since one keeps the same attitude he had when he passes into the spirit world (Alma 34:34). If one is not on the straight and narrow way when he passes on, then a change in the attitude must occur (repentance) before one can begin growing, same as in the mortal world. We are told repentance is more difficult in the spirit world than in this world, but if one is already penitent, I believe he can continue on that path without having to repent all over again.

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  12. Jennifer Greenlese says:

    Brother John,

    My first and foremost thought is do not ever give up and assume you or anyone is beyond progressing in this life. Even Christ does not claim perfection until after His Resurrection and He made no mistakes in mortality (Matthew 5:48 and 3 Nephi 12:48). Everyone progresses at different speeds –it matters not the speed it is not a race rather a journey. If we are progressing on in this journey then the same spirit, which possesses us here will continue with us (Alma 34:34 ?).

    The challenge with complete repentance after we have lost our mortal bodies is not the repentance in and of itself but rather that there is no body –with its incumbent needs: food, shelter, desires, addictions . . . With that said, yes we can over come the habit of lets say needing to hold that cigarette and we may feel as if we no longer need that cigarette and therefore have overcome the addiction. Therein, for me at least, lies the extra burden and challenge of repentance after we no longer have the carnal desires of our bodies –we have no way of ever completely and comprehensibly knowing we have overcome the bodies desires –for as Christ said to the apostles on the beach when offered fish He did not need it but could and did eat with them. Sorry don’t have time to reference this story -church in two minuets.

    Jennifer

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  13. Leslie Nathan Boss says:

    Brother Pontius,

    This question of yours has stirred me due to the great impact that you have had on my life as well as thousands of others.
    You, to my knowledge, don’t know who you were before you came to this life and to what degree of glory you had attained to. I feel that you were a great and noble spirit due to the great work, faith and sacrifice that I’ve seen from you in this life.
    Brigham Young said of the Prophet Joseph Smith that there has been none greater then he except for the Savior. Pondering on this statement you can think back to some other great prophets and the amazing things that they did. I.E. Taking a portion of the earth away, stopping the rotation of the earth, raising the dead. These things seem greater than anything that is reported that the prophet Joseph did.
    Also, there are examples of the great mercies of God to people who you and I would think they are nothing less than devils. I.E. Saul, who hunted and persecuted the Saints, or the almost 300 Lamanites who came to the prison to slay the Prophets Nephi and Lehi.
    I feel if I was to ask this question of you then you would say to me; what is the Spirit whispering to you? Is he prompting you to do something? Has he been prompting you for a while now? As you have taught, through prayer and listening to the Spirit the answer to your question will come, or already has.
    With love,
    Leslie Nathan Boss

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  14. Robin Carlson says:

    Personally I have the same questions/fears as Forest
    However, the Savior himself either said or quoted something about if ones sins were as scarlet through His Atonement they could be as wool, and I don’t recall a time limit being placed on that.
    I, myself, have had numerous opportunities throughout my adult years (beginning with Bro. John’s excellent book Following the Light of Christ) but somehow it never clicked for me until recently. I was “prompted” to take his book The Triumph of Zion…. home from the public library and then buy my own copy. I don’t think that these promptings would have come if it was “too late”
    I guess I’m saying that it could be a possibility (“too late”) but I also suspect that the Adversary is making great use of a very potent weapon: DOUBT! So hang in there Bro Forest and leave judging yourself to Our Savior.
    Sincerely,
    Robin Carlson

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