Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hell in the Book of Mormon

Wo unto the liar, for he shall be thrust down to hell. (2 Nephi 9:34)
Here the Book of Mormon says that a person will go to hell for merely lying. I don’t know that I much debate that. The Bible has a lot of harsh things to say about lying and clearly identifies it as sin worthy of eternal damnation. Thank God, that he has given us his son Jesus Christ to die for us and forgive us our sins so that we can enjoy heaven with him despite the fact that we have lied. (Yes, you, you have lied, are guilty and deserve hell. Go ahead, lie to me, lie to yourself, and tell yourself you have never lied.) John the Evangelist writes of liars in Revelation:
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death." (Rev. 21:8 (ESV)
The problem here for the Mormon is that they don’t believe this. They believe that only the “sons of perdition” will be going to hell. As Joseph Smith points out: 2. Perdition
Teach and discuss D&C 76:25–39, 44–49. Begin by writing Perdition on the chalkboard. Explain that the word perdition refers to a state of loss and destruction rather than a kingdom of glory. Those who experience this are called “sons of perdition” because they follow Satan, who is called Perdition (D&C 76:25–26, 31–32). Be sure to keep this discussion brief, avoiding speculation and leaving sufficient time to discuss the celestial kingdom later in the lesson. As with other subjects, focus only on what has been taught in the scriptures and by latter-day prophets.
• • When Lucifer rebelled in the Council in Heaven, he was thrust down to earth (Revelation 12:7–9; D&C 29:36–37; 76:25–28; Moses 4:1–3). What did he begin to do when he was cast out? (See D&C 76:29; Moses 4:4.) What can we do to win the war against Satan in our lives? (For some answers to this question, see 1 Nephi 14:14; D&C 10:5; 27:15–18.)
• • What did the Lord reveal about the suffering of the sons of perdition? (See D&C 76:32–34, 36–38, 44–49.) Why are sons of perdition condemned to experience such great suffering? (See D&C 76:30–31, 35. For an explanation of what it means to deny the Holy Ghost, see the following quotation.)
o The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “What must a man do to commit the unpardonable sin? He must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against Him. After a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance for him. He has got to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it; he 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; and from that time he begins to be an enemy” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 358).
I take that from a lesson plan on the “Kingdoms of Glory” . Here, it is not a mere lie, but a forsaking of salvation that makes one a son of perdition, and consigns them to hell.
On another topic, most Mormon’s I run into will not talk about hell at all. They don’t believe in it. They do believe in an outer darkness, but it is not the hell that the Bible talks about. To be fair I have met many Christians who share the delusion that there is no hell. I wish I could share that delusion with them, but the Bible speaks so clearly concerning the existence of a hell, I am hard pressed to deny it and call myself a believer in Christ. Hell is not a mere cessation of existence, or a banning from the presence of God. Those who are in hell or go to hell, will still be in the presence of God who is omnipresent, and is even spoken of as being present in hell in the Bible:
“If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!” (Psalm 139:8 (ESV)
Sheol is the Old Testament term for hell, the Hebrew name for it. Rather, they are cut off from the Glory of God
“They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,” (2 Thes. 1:9 (ESV)


Wombat said...

Many people live in hell here on earth. It can come from the kind of life you lead, regret, guilt, etc.

I believe that knowing you could have achieved more in this life, and received a greater glory in the next life, will prove to be hell.

This is the kind of hell that is referred to, apart from that referred to as outer darkness

Steve said...

This life is a sort of hell.

And it is because (I believe)of the fallen nature of the whole of creation.

Some people speak of "coming back as _____" (whatever).

There is no coming back and I always ask them,"would you really want to anyway?"

Bror Erickson said...

So you don't believe in Hell as a burning lake of fire where many will go to suffer eternal punishment?
I would not be able to get from the context of the Book of Mormon, or from the Bible it supposedly augments, that hell is nothing more than a state of unrest here on earth, especially given that Christ has forgiven all our sins. We no longer have to worry about the life we have led, we live the life of Christ who lives in us. As for Heaven.
"I believe that knowing you could have achieved more in this life, and received a greater glory in the next life, will prove to be hell."
Are you joking? Sad thing is I don't think you are. But what you are telling me is I could conceivably go to one of your three levels of heaven and then feel guilty because I didn't achieve a higher one.
Listen, the only thing you or I or anyone else can hope to acheive when it comes to the after life, is Hell, and by that I mean the burning lake of fire God created for the devil and his angels. We're sinners through and through. No one even gets their toe in the gate of heaven outside the merits of Christ, and he brings the whole body in.

Nancy said...

Or, we might say He brings His whole body in...