Albert Jay Nock’s “Remnant” in Mormonism?

Albert Jay Nock discussed what he referred to as “The Remnant,” included, for instance, in this article about the Old Testament prophet Isaiah.

Albert Jay Nock describes the masses thusly:

The mass man is one who has neither the force of intellect to apprehend the principles issuing in what we know as the humane life, nor the force of character to adhere to those principles steadily and strictly as laws of conduct; and because such people make up the great and overwhelming majority of mankind, they are called collectively the masses.

He describes the “Remnant” in this way:

The Remnant are those who by force of intellect are able to apprehend these principles, and by force of character are able, at least measurably, to cleave to them. The masses are those who are unable to do either.

Albert Jay Nock refers to others, including Aristotle and Marcus Aurelius, when referring to the remnant, trying to show that working with the “Remnant” is the task of the ages.

How does this apply to Mormon doctrine?

The prophets in the Book of Mormon, like Alma and Nephi, prayed and hoped that all could be saved.  Salvation is free, as Nephi taught.  The Savior’s grace is sufficient for all that come to him, as Moroni was taught.  Nephi prayed that many of us, if not all, would be saved.  These doctrines seem at odds with the idea of the remnant.

But we also know that many are called but few are chosen, as the Savior taught.  Joseph Smith further clarified that this was due to the heart: men’s hearts are “set so much upon the things of this world”, that they are unable to learn that the “principles of righteousness” only can be used to handle the powers of heaven (D&C 121:34-40).

We speak of the gathering of Israel, of the earth being cleansed by fire, of three Degrees of glory (even more, as in D&C 131), of spirit prison and spirit paradise.  Yes, all are given an opportunity to choose.  But we’re taught that many will not choose the good and the right, but will choose something lesser.

Much more could be said on the subject, but I leave it to you to think over the relationship between the “Remnant” and Mormonism.

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