Monday, November 16, 2009

Good Sons Of Perdition?
























I was invited last Sunday to read the 76th section of the Doctrine and Covenants. This invitation was an attempt to reclaim me from my false ideas regarding who the son of perdition are.

Admittedly I have some minority views on a few Plan of Salvation matters. I will here attempt to defend the views I have that are associated with identifying the sons of perdition.

The question was asked “what happens to a good gentile man who rejects the gospel and Christ in this life, and in the spirit world?”

First, there is a logical fallacy within the question itself. What makes one thing or person “good?” By definition, if one would reject Christ in the spirit world, he would not be “good.” There Christ is revealed unto every person. Nobody is condemned for choices they make in ignorance. The beauty of LDS theology is that everyone gets a fully informed choice to accept or reject the gift of Christ.

But since that is the way the question was asked, I responded the best I could, “that person would be a son of perdition.” To which a light roar of disapproving comments were made. This surprises me a bit. Is it not clear in LDS theology that without Christ, there is NO SALVATION?

Salvation, in LDS theology, is clearly a resurrection to any degree of glory. While we hope to be saved into the Celestial Kingdom, a Telestial resurrection is still salvation.

Second, we can not atone for our own sins. We may suffer for them, but that suffering is unto repentance, but does not atone one bit. The penalty for sin is eternal separation (forever) from God. When would a sinner ever complete the punishment? The answer is “never.” Only Christ’s atonement can meet the demands of justice.

“Behold, he [Christ] offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered” (2 Nephi 2:7)

I believe Christ died for the world.

“41 That he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness;

42 That through him all might be saved whom the Father had put into his power and made by him;

43 Who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands, except those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him.

44 Wherefore, he saves all except them…” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:41-44)

Before every person’s final judgment, the Father will “reveal” Christ, in some way. We qualify as son’s of perdition if we reject Christ with a fully informed decision, after He has been “revealed,” whether in this life, the spirit world, or the resurrection.

The gift of Christ is offered to all.

“And they [son’s of perdition] who remain shall also be quickened [resurrected]; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received.”

“For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.” (D&C 88:32&33)

So, upon conclusion, pursuant to my invitation, I did again read Doctrine and Covenants section 76 and remain of the opinion that salvation cometh only through Christ.

12 comments:

In The Doghouse said...

When considering this subject, I believe we must remember that Resurrection is an ordinance. Since we know that ordinances come in an "ordered" fashion, this may add more to the equation.

Justin said...

I was long frustrated by the opinon that Telestial spirits do not have to accept the Gospel of Christ because they "suffer for their sins" for 1,000 years.

I felt alone until I found this Joseph Fielding Smith quote:
"Nevertheless, even these are heirs of salvation, but before they are redeemed and enter into their kingdom, they must repent of their sins, and receive the gospel, and bow the knee, and acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer of the world."

David Littlefield said...

Hey In the House & Justin!

Thanks for stopping in!

Justin that is the perfect quote I was looking for and did not find, Perfect!

By the way, the reference is:

Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:22

Thanks,
David

Jeremy said...

Interesting premise, but I would like some clarification. You said, "Before every person’s final judgment, the Father will 'reveal' Christ, in some way." The scripture you quoted doesn't support this conclusion. I agree that those to whom the Father "reveals" the Son are canditates for outer darkness, but doesn't this take place in the battlegrounds of mortality?

What does it mean to "reveal" the Son to someone? Joseph Smith explained that a potential son of perdition "has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it..." (TPJS, p. 358) Does this happen happen to everyone in the spirit world? I can't think of any scriptural support. And if it does happen, wouldn't that be a straight-line decision where those that accept it do so fully and would go to the Celestial Kingdon, and those that reject it would do so fully and would automatically go to outer darkness? What about the other kingdoms? It seems there would be no point for middle-ground.

Peter taught that the Gospel is "preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh" (1Pet. 4:6). There is no indication that Christ will be fully revealed to these individuals, but that the Gospel will be preached to them so that they can be judged by the same standards as those in the flesh. Are those in the flesh judged by God fully revealing the Son unto them? In some cases yes, bot clearly not in all cases. For the most part, we are judged by our faith and works - that which the dead will be required to perform as part of a just plan. If the Savior were fully revealed to all the dead as part of preaching the Gospel, and they had their eyes open to the full truth of the plan of salvation, who could possibly refuse it?

God would cease to be a just God if he allowed some of his children to choose Christ by fully revealing the truth unto some (the dead), but not all (the living).

David Littlefield said...

Justin:

Forgive my lengthy answer. Here is the way I see it:

1.) Christ paid for the sins of the whole world.


2.) The resurrection is a gift of restored physicality, and forgiveness of sin.

3.) What determines what kingdom a person inherits is what law he/she lives, not degrees of lingering sin.


4.) Only Christ can atone for sin. We can not atone for sins (we can begin, but never finish).


5.) The only people that are paying for their own sins, are the sons of perdition.


6.) A resurrection of glory is salvation.

Emphasis added below.

Mosiah 4:8
And this is the means [Christ’s Atonement] whereby salvation cometh. And there is none other salvation save this which hath been spoken of; neither are there any conditions whereby man can be saved except the conditions which I have told you.

Alma 34:
15 And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.

16 And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.

[Those exposed to the full force of justice are the son’s of perdition]

2 Nephi 9:

7 Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement - save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.

[Only an infinite atonement can forgive sins, not our suffering]

13 O how great the plan of our God! For on the other hand, the paradise of God must deliver up the spirits of the righteous, and the grave deliver up the body of the righteous; and the spirit and the body is restored to itself again, and all men become incorruptible, and immortal, and they are living souls, having a perfect knowledge like unto us in the flesh, save it be that our knowledge shall be perfect.

[In resurrection, and I would contend the spirit world we will know things like we do here, but there our knowledge will be “perfect”]

14 ...insomuch as they have become immortal, they must appear before the judgment-seat of the Holy One of Israel; and then cometh the judgment, and then must they be judged according to the holy judgment of God.

16 And assuredly, as the Lord liveth, for the Lord God hath spoken it, and it is his eternal word, which cannot pass away, that they who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still; wherefore, they who are filthy are the devil and his angels; and they shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for them; and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever and has no end.

[If we are resurrected with the gift of Christ, we we will be clean, if not we will remain filthy still]

21 And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam.

22 And he suffereth this that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before him at the great and judgment day.

23 And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.

My comment is to long, I need to break it up into two comments...

David Littlefield said...

Alma 34:
15 And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.

16 And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.

[Those exposed to the full force of justice are the son’s of perdition]

Jeremy’s argument is interesting, but self defeating: “God would cease to be a just God if he allowed some of his children to choose Christ by fully revealing the truth unto some (the dead), but not all (the living).”

Yet you admit that some have Christ fully revealed to them in mortality.


Using your logic, the only “just” way would be to reveal Christ to all, either in this world, or in the next. Which is my contention.

Jeremy says: “I agree that those to whom the Father "reveals" the Son are canditates [sic] for outer darkness, but doesn't this take place in the battlegrounds of mortality?”

But this argument has no scriptural basis. In fact from Doctrine and Covenants 88 it appears more like the final determination of who is a son of perdition is at the final judgment. Yet I would agree for some, crossing that threshold appears to be in mortality.

I submit that any degree of resurrected glory is salvation. And how do we get a hold of that salvation, at any level?-

3 We believe that through the Atonement of Christ , all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
 4 We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

My position is that the above first four principles and ordinances of the Gospel are for salvation, but are not all that is required for the Celestial kingdom, otherwise, do we need the temple?

I don’t know what more God could have done to explain this. He gave us the “plan of happiness” in stone, in the temple. Three degree with teachings and ordinances in each of the three levels. It’s in stone! Just look at any level of the temple, that corresponds to a kingdom of glory, or a resurrection of glory, and the teachings and ordinances at the degree of the temple, is what is required to get that resurrection.

It is true that we may get the ordinances done in a degree of glory, but they are only of effect if sealed by the "Holy Spirit of Promise." The Holy Spirit of Promises testifies the ordinances are done correctly, and the covenants have been kept.

The level or degree to which the The Holy Spirit of Promises testifies determines our resurrection.

Zen said...

I think we can summarize a lot of this with the verse, "every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ".

Trevor said...

I've always been really curious (and a little confused) about why the preaching in the BoM seems to divide the good and the evil, saved and not-saved so definitively. When Alma or Nephi for instance talk about hell they use the same language as D&C 76 uses for the sons of perdition. And when they talk of heaven or salvation I used to think that they spoke in ways that only defined celestial glory. Now though after reading these posts I see that salvation is much broader in scope, encompassing all the kingdoms of glory. I used to be bothered with the idea that the telestial glory recipients didn't have to accept Christ at any time and could pay for their own sins in full, yet would still enjoy the benefit of the ministrations of the Holy Ghost and higher orders or beings. The scripture of Christ speaking doesn't mesh with that view point but does fit nicely with David's comments and belief: 3Nephi 12:25-26 "Agree with thine adversary quickly while thou art in the way with him, lest at any time he shall get thee, and thou shalt be cast into prison. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence until thou hast paid the uttermost senine. And while ye are in prison can ye pay even one senine? Verily, verily, I say unto you, Nay." The last part is only found in the BoM account of these teachings from Christ. They establish the paradox of "paying for sins" of the telestial kingdom recipients and yet never being able to satisfy the demands of justice even in the least degree. D&C 138:57-59 has the answer in accord with David's belief: "I beheld that the faithful elders of this dispensation, when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel of repentance and redemption, through the sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son of God, among those who are in darkness and under the bondage of sin in the great world of the spirits of the dead. The dead who repent will be redeemed [to terrestrial glory if their probationary time is still active according to the justice of God, or the telestial glory if not], through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God, and after they have paid the penalty of their transgressions [which only applies to telestial glory recipients according to D&C 76], and are washed clean, shall receive a reward according to their works, for they are heirs of salvation." So, everyone must receive and accept the minimum ordinances necessary to enjoy the kingdom of glory that they attain unto. Hence the need for preaching to the damned in spirit prison. They too must repent at some point. Joseph Smith said: "The salvation of Jesus Christ was wrought out for all men, in order to triumph over the devil. … All will suffer until they obey Christ himself." How very orderly and just and merciful and patient and long-suffering is our God! Of interest is the implication that all that is required of the Sons of Perdition to receive a resurrection to no-glory is that they bow the knee and confess Jesus is the Christ before being cast out forever. Their suffering continues because they refuse obedience to Him that paid for their sins, and would still seek to murder Him if they could have the power to do so.

David Littlefield said...

SORRY - I MIXED UP JEREMY AND JUSTIN'S NAMES ABOVE.


Trevor:

Thank you for the great comment! You have some good insights.

I contend that so much of the gospel has edges that can't fit the larger picture, if we don't grasp this concept.

And for most they won't grasp this until they are bothered by not being able to reconcile a large body of scriptures.

But when we do grasp this, the "Plan of Happiness" means so much more, and all of a sudden the scriptures take on whole new meanings.

David

David Littlefield said...

I came across this interesting quotation from Elder Dalin H. Oaks, April 1998 Conference:

For Latter-day Saints, being "saved" can also mean being saved or delivered from the second death (meaning the final spiritual death) by assurance of a kingdom of glory in the world to come (see 1 Cor. 15:40–42).

Just as the Resurrection is universal, we affirm that every person who ever lived upon the face of the earth--except for a very few--is assured of salvation in this sense. As we read in modern revelation:

"And this is the gospel, the glad tidings . . .

"That he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness;

"That through him all might be saved whom the Father had put into his power and made by him;

"Who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands, except those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him" (D&C 76:40–43).

The prophet Brigham Young taught that doctrine when he declared that "every person who does not sin away the day of grace, and become an angel to the Devil, will be brought forth to inherit a kingdom of glory" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young [1997], 288). This meaning of saved ennobles the whole human race through the grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

In this sense of the word, all should answer: "Yes, I have been saved. Glory to God for the gospel and gift and grace of His Son!"

Emphasis Added

- David

Anonymous said...

We worship a False "God" in the name of Jesus.
As whores do we sell The REAL meaning of Christ-Mass Every years as we Pay our repsect to Tammuz and the Planet Satrurn as the Dying of the SON/SUN in the time of winter Solstice. All the Merry lies and Sweet Slimy stories.

Is it the truth or a Lie December 25 Falls on the Birth-Day or Rebirth of Every Pagan Planet Son Sun God False God Devil Cain Ra Amen Ra Zues Osiris Bacchus and Now ChristianDumb Joins in the Party. And Presents The Son of God on the Devils Birthday

Happy Holy Days??? Hell no. Satan Claws lets Lets make a Sacrament of Mass To Jesus The Son of God on The Birth Day of Demons and Call it Christ-mass.
Kill the TRUTH in the Name of peace on Earth and good will to Men.
I guess yo Can say Ho Ho Ho Merry X Mass .

Now close your Eyes and go back to Sleep

Anonymous said...

I Nominate Harry Reid as a Good Sun of Predition and That he may sit as a Senator of Satan For Time and all Eternity