And if they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name and endure to the end they must be damned; for the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has spoken it. (2 Nephi 9:24)
Now past the obvious that all this is happening long before Christ appeared in the world, even before his supposed North American appearance, and his institution of Baptism in Matthew 28:18-19, the problem with this as I see it is that Mormon’s don’t really believe anyone will be damned.
I take the following excerpts directly from www.LDS.org from: Our Father’s Plan—Big Enough for All His Children
Elder Quentin L. Cook Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
“ For many of these people who are open to religious faith, one issue has been particularly troubling. They have had a difficult time reconciling the correct doctrine that we have a loving Father in Heaven and the incorrect doctrine that most of mankind would be doomed to eternal hell.
This was an issue with my great-great-grandfather Phineas Wolcott Cook. He was born in 1820 in Connecticut. In his diary he notes that he had made a covenant with the Lord to serve Him if he could find the right way. He attended many churches and at one was asked to “testify [and] join the church [and] be a Christian.” His response was he “could not tell which one to join, there were so many.” He continued to investigate several churches. One doctrine was of particular significance to him. He explained: “Sometimes they found fault with me because I wanted a more liberal salvation for the family of man. I could not believe the Lord had made a part to be saved and a great part to be damned to all eternity.”13 Because of this doctrine, he allowed his name to be taken off the records of one Protestant religion. When the LDS missionaries taught him the true doctrine of the plan of salvation in 1844, he was baptized.
Phineas’s faith in the loving mercy of the Lord and His plan of happiness has been shared by many honorable men and women, even when the teachings of their own churches were very bleak.
The Anglican church leader and classical scholar Frederic Farrar, the author of The Life of Christ, lamented in lectures in Westminster Abbey that the common teachings of the Protestant churches with respect to hell were incorrect. He asserted that a definition of hell which included endless torment and everlasting damnation was the result of translation errors from Hebrew and Greek to English in the King James Version of the Bible. Farrar also noted the overwhelming demonstration of a loving Father in Heaven throughout the Bible as additional evidence that the definitions of hell and damnation used in the English translation were incorrect.14 …
At the time Joseph Smith received revelations and organized the Church, the vast majority of churches taught that the Savior’s Atonement would not bring about the salvation of most of mankind. The common precept was that a few would be saved and the overwhelming majority would be doomed to endless tortures of the most awful and unspeakable intensity.16 The marvelous doctrine revealed to the Prophet Joseph unveiled to us a plan of salvation that is applicable to all mankind, including those who do not hear of Christ in this life, children who die before the age of accountability, and those who have no understanding.17
At death, righteous spirits live in a temporary state called paradise. Alma the Younger teaches us “paradise [is] a state of rest, a state of peace, where [the righteous] shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.”18 The unrighteous spirits dwell in spirit prison, sometimes referred to as hell.19 It is described as an awful place, a dark place where those fearful of the “indignation of the wrath of God” shall remain until the resurrection.20 However, because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all spirits blessed by birth will ultimately be resurrected, spirit and body reunited, and inherit kingdoms of glory that are superior to our existence here on earth.21 The exceptions are confined to those who, like Satan and his angels, willfully rebel against God.22 At the resurrection, the spirit prison or hell will deliver up its captive spirits. Jesus came into the world “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.”23
I don’t know. If I thought ignorance saved people, I might shut up! The Bible gives us no assurance that anyone is saved outside of faith in Christ. Christ himself tells of people going to the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41 (ESV)
And he says he will do this on the day of resurrection, precisely the day that the Mormons believe unrighteous spirits will be released from hell!
The orthodox doctrine of hell, and damnation that the church has historically held fast to, is not based on faulty translations from the Greek and Hebrew. On the contrary, proper exegesis of these passages leads one to believe that many are going to hell. It motivates a person to get out and tell the world about Christ, that maybe a few more souls might be saved. It is not the wide gate that leads to heaven, but the narrow gate.
The question though is then what is the book of Mormon talking about if damnation does not mean and eternal existence in hell? A temporary lock up in a dark dungeon? I am coming more and more to the conclusion that Mormons don’t really believe in the book of Mormon.