The Book of Mormon 13/18
The BOM is like the Bible in some ways. The New Testament addresses theological issues the people were dealing with in the first century. They were dealing with the issue of eating meat sacrificed to idols, whether gentile converts had to be circumcised, etc. The BOM does the same thing. It addresses theological issues people were dealing with in the 19th century. The two major rival churches where Joseph Smith grew up were the Methodists and the Presbyterians--one group believing in predestination and the other putting a strong emphasis on free will.
In Alma 31, the author talks about the Zoramites who separated themselves from the Nephites. They were bad people, "perverting the ways of the Lord" (Alma 31:1). The author of Alma gives us what is essentially a statement of beliefs of the Zoramites that included: "we believe that thou art God, and we believe that thou art holy, and that thou wast a spirit, and that thou art a spirit, and that thou wilt be a spirit forever," and that "thou hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell" (Alma 31:15,17). Some of the beliefs it explicitly says are in error, but it doesn't say they are all in error, so I went to Yahoo Answers and asked about it.
The Mormons who answered said all of the beliefs of the Zoramites mentioned were in error. God is not a spirit. He has a body of flesh and bone. The Mormon view seems to be an outright denial of John 4:24, which says that God is a spirit. I've heard some Mormons reconcile John 4:24 with their view by saying God is both flesh and spirit.
Some of them said they do believe in predestination (they prefer to say "foreordination"), but the Zoramites were mistaken to think they were foreordained to salvation and everybody else wasn't.
A few of them made a distinction between "foreordination" and "predestination," and they thought passages such as Romans 8:29-30 and Ephesians 1:5 and 11 are talking about foreordination rather than predestination. The difference is that predestination means you're chosen for salvation regardless of how you live your life, which removes the principle of moral agency, whereas foreordination is conditioned on our faithfulness.
This view seems to be contrary to what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:27-31:
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise...that no man should boast before God. By his doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and the righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, that, just as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord."The reason boasting is excluded is because it is by God's doing that we are in Christ, not our own doing. If our being chosen depended on our doing, then we'd have something to boast about. As Paul also said in Romans 4:2, "If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about." In Romans 3, Paul says that "all have sinned," and that they are "justified as a gift by his grace," through faith, and because of this, Paul says, "Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law" (Romans 3:23-28).
It is also contrary to what Paul said in Romans 9:11-18:
For though the twins [Jacob and Esau] were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God's purpose according to his choice might stand, not because of works, but because of him who calls, it was said to her, "The older will serve the younger."That raises the question of whether there is any injustice with God, which Paul answers by quoting where God said to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." Then Paul said, "So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy."