MMP stands for Multiple Mortal Probations. This is a very controversial subject among various Mormon groups, as well as a debated subject in the area of world religions in the form of reincarnation. Most Mormons who defend Multiple Mortal Probations insist that it is different from reincarnation because you always stay human and are never born as an animal, not realizing of course that this also holds true for several schools of thought about reincarnation. Mormons who are against Multiple Mortal Probations ask what happens to that other person, “are they just gone?” Mormons who hold to MMP often ask why a spirit could not enter another body to get things done, and yet others believe it is even a Priesthood calling to do so; while Mormons against MMP struggle to understand how that would work with the Resurrection, wherein all mankind will be raised from the dead to inherit a Degree of Glory in the Eternal Worlds. Amulek is often quoted during this debate saying, “For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.” (1) Of course if I only had a few lives to do a bunch of things, I would say the same thing. This life is the time to repent and do well, because it is in mortality that we affect each other, and prepare for Eternity; besides each life only lasts about sixty years.
Amulek could have just as easily said; this life is the time to prepare to meet God, because if you don’t do it now, you won’t do it in another life either. Heber C Kimball said, “What I do not to-day, when the sun goes down, I lay down to sleep, which is typical of death; and in the morning I rise and commence my work where I left it yesterday. That course is typical of the probations we take. But suppose that I do not improve my time to-day, I wake up to-morrow and find myself in the rear; and then, if I do not improve upon that day, and again lay down to sleep, on awaking, I find myself still in the rear. This day's work is typical of this probation, and the sleep of every night is typical of death, and rising in the morning is typical of the resurrection. They are days' labours, and it is for us to be faithful to-day, to-morrow, and every day.” (2)
I should now openly state that I am bias in favor of MMP. I do believe in Multiple Mortal Probations, although I should also here state that I don’t expect others to agree with me. I shall use the rest of this article endeavoring to explain why and how I believe it. For one you are not required to believe this at all, this article is completely extracurricular concerning your salvation.
When I first started having dreams of Hann, whom I have since written novels about; I felt as though he was me. At first I thought the dreams were symbolic of my life, but as the dream progressed and I saw the intricacies of their civilization, I realized that I was having a historical vision. Once I believed it to be historical it was then hard to reconcile with my beliefs about how I could be Hann. After all, I was a Mormon, not a Hindu or a Buddhist. I reasoned that perhaps the energy that combines our spirits and bodies carries information like memories; and perhaps those energies were reused over time, connecting generations of people in some kind of ribbon of memories. This could explain prophetic mantles as well. It could also be genetic memory I reasoned; I had felt that could explain reincarnation stories in the past. For the time being I was content, and it is fine if you hold to one of these concepts instead; but I will explain why I changed my mind.
When I first read the Adam-God doctrine, I was really excited. Wishing to aspire unto Godhood someday myself, I always wanted an outlet by which I could experience my worlds first hand. Just sitting in heaven didn’t make any sense to me. As a child I drew maps of a world that was in my mind; and I would kneel on the floor over my map envisioning what it would be like to be there in various locations. The funny thing is this is another MMP story from early in my life. I had a great uncle named Scotlund L. Moore who died before I was born, who also drew maps of other worlds on large sheets of paper on the floor; and my mother often commented about how much I reminded her of him. Anyway, when I excitedly told others about the Adam-God doctrine their number one complaint was that God can’t die! Another Amulek scripture was often cited again, “Now, behold, I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided; thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal, that they can no more see corruption.” (3)
Amulek Amulek, heh. Did anyone ever just wonder if he knew what he was talking about; because I heard doctrines must be established by the mouth two or three witnesses and Alma said he didn’t know much about the Resurrection. (4) Of course in that scripture Amulek did say “the resurrection of the mortal body,” and that mortal body is raised up to immortality; so maybe there is a distinction there after all, in regard to pre-resurrection MMP. Even though Amulek alone seems to be against the idea of post resurrection MMP, there is actually two or three witnesses, not only for MMP, but post resurrection MMP as well! – starting with Joseph Smith himself. “The power of the Melchizedek Priesthood is to have the power of endless lives; for the everlasting covenant cannot be broken.” (5) So if it is a right of the Priesthood to have Endless Lives, then it isn’t very far-fetched to see it as a Priesthood calling after all!
Brigham Young said in regard to Joseph's teachings, “Now regarding Adam: He came here from another planet, an immortalized Being, and brought his wife Eve with him, and by eating of the fruit of this earth, became subject to death and decay.” (6) For those of you who follow Brigham, he said, “If we are Ever Exalted and Crowned in the presence of God we shall become Saviors of a world which we shall create & people… …Adam made this world and Suffered himself to take a body and subject himself to sin that Redemption & Exaltation might come to a man. Without descending below all things we cannot ascend above all things. There never will be any Change in the gospel of Salvation, It is an Eternal gospel and the same in all worlds and always will be to the Endless age of eternity. There will never was a period but what worlds existed & never will be, they all have the same Gosple & Law of salvation." (7)
So it is the right of the Priesthood to have endless lives, and the job and destiny of righteous men and women to become Adams and Eves and to fall and be resurrected or translated again for their children, firmly putting this into the realm of a Priesthood calling. However Heber C Kimball seemed to teach that wicked people would come again as well in this quote, “If you do not cultivate yourselves, and cultivate your spirits in this state of existence, it is just as true as there is a God that liveth, you will have to go into another state of existence, and bring your spirits into subjection there. Now you may reflect upon it, you never will obtain your resurrected bodies, until you bring your spirits into subjection… …Are not your bodies your houses, your tabernacles or temples, and places for your spirits? Look at it; reflect upon it. If you keep your spirits trained according to the wisdom and fear of God, you will attain to the salvation of both body and spirit. I ask, then, if it is your spirits that must be brought into subjection? It is; and if you do not do that in these bodies, you will have to go into another estate to do it. You have got to train yourselves according to the law of God, or you will never obtain your resurrected bodies. Mark It!” (8) Maybe everyone has Multiple Mortal Probations or maybe it is only the Priesthood holders who have special missions.
To be an Adam or an Eve is not an ordinary MMP since you are not born, but come down instead. However both types of MMP might be doctrinal. Brigham and Heber might not have understood the doctrine fully, Joseph clearly said something about it to them however. Perhaps a better way to put that is this, there is a set of purposes we set out to accomplish and we use the Priesthood we received during our pre-ordinations to accomplish them; regardless of our wandering state here in mortality; just a thought.
Some might consider this hear-say, but in the diary of Orson F. Whitney it says, “Eliza R. Snow, told her brother Lorenzo Snow that Joseph Smith taught her reincarnation. Lorenzo told her he "saw nothing unreasonable" with it and believed it because it came from God's oracle, the Prophet Joseph Smith.” (9)
Now let us talk about the implications of MMP. Usually people ask what happens to those other past people. My response would be that all the memories are there, you just don’t have access to them at the moment; and since your resurrected body will be perfect and look somewhat different anyway (being perfected), nothing is truly lost. You will definitely be a different person once all the memories from the pre-existence coming rushing back into your mind, but the effects of mortality will also be there. Joseph Smith said, “And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy." (11) People that we have known forever and ever, and will know forever; because we choose to be close to those people in all our lives.
Our relationships are Eternal, and so it gives us that much more reason to work on them, or to enter into them properly in the first place. Maybe once this veil of tears is wiped away we finally remember who each one of us truly is, - of course at that point the sincerest apologies would be in order for alienated family members and friends, and so we should love those people close to us now! And if they go astray, guide them with Charity, and as Joseph said “The Prophet Joseph Smith declared—and he never taught a more comforting doctrine—that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God”. (12)
I hope this article has helped and may you find your own testimony of Multiple Mortal Probations, or not; but regardless, believe in the love and mercy of God, and also in the Eternal Celestial order and plan of the Gods. The Fermi Paradox exists because there is an Eternal grand civilization of the Gods and they have agreed with us through common consent before we were born to give this earth a probationary state.
1. Alma 34:32
2. Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, p.329
3. Alma 11:45
4. Alma 40:5
5. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Six 1843-44, p.322
6. Anson Call Journal, in Nauvoo and copied by Patriarch John M. Whitaker, B. H. Roberts, Church Historian, 1840- 1844 (Nauvoo days); c. 1844
7. Wilford Woodruff, Waiting For the World’s End, The Dairies of Wilford Woodruff, Edited by Susan Staker, Pg.290
8. Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, p.356
9. Diary of Orson F. Whitney, June 8, 1889
10. A Description of Interviews with Celestial Beings, by George Williams
11. D&C 130:2
12. Orson F. Whitney, in Conference Report, Apr. 1929, 110
The quantity of souls is fixed and infinite.
There is no beginning to us.
Mind has no birthday.
No one is older or younger than anyone else.
We have always been separate from, and coexistent with other intelligences.
Creation is never totally original.
Immortality is not conditional — it is inevitable and universal.
Death does not destroy the self.
Suicide is just a change of scenery.
No self can change completely into another thing.
No one will ever lose their mind or consciousness.
Nothing is something we never were and never will be.