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The Way of Life and the Way of Death in the Book of Mormon

TitleThe Way of Life and the Way of Death in the Book of Mormon
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsStirling, Mack C.
JournalJournal of Book of Mormon Studies
KeywordsAgency; Death; Division; Life; Theology; Two Ways

The Book of Mormon describes a great division in mankind between the few who walk in the way of life and the many who walk in the way of death. This division results from the response of each individual to Christ or to the voice of God during probation. Men either hearken to the voice of Christ and progressively acquire spiritual life or they hearken to the voice of the devil and progressively descend into spiritual death. Nine Book of Mormon texts are examined in detail for their teachings on life and death. A diagram is constructed to illustrate the ideas of each text. The conception and portrayal of spiritual reality in terms of two mutually exclusive, progressively diverging, and correspondingly opposite ways of life and death are clearly demonstrated. This dualistic conception of reality underlies the entire Book of Mormon. An understanding of this paradigm is critical, both in order to assimilate the essential message of the Book of Mormon on life and death and to understand its theological relationship to the Doctrine and Covenants.