“The Penitent”

Brant Gardner

Ammon uses the same phrase, natural man, that we have seen in Mosiah 3:19. It is also found in 1 Corinthians 2:14.

14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The natural man is a contrast to the spiritual man. As Paul indicates, there are things that are spiritually discerned, and therefore unavailable to the “natural” man, or the man who is not spiritually awakened. It is this type of natural man to whom Ammon refers. The glories of which he has spoken are spiritual things, and therefore a “natural” man would not know them. As with the Mosiah 3:19, however, Ammon includes that all-important conditional; “save it be the penitent.” The natural man is never doomed to be ignorant of the spirit. Those spiritual feelings are always there to be accessed, but may be accessed only upon certain principles, the first of which is repentance. That humbling of the natural soul before God can open the heart to the heavens, and the spirit may enter even a man who was as “natural” as Ammon had been.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon