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Who are the sons of perdition?


inquiringmind

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Is every ex-Mormon a "son of Perdition"?

Would you have to have been a baptized member of the LDS Church to be a son of perdition?

Would you have to be actively working against the Church (or just a non-overcomer) to be a son of perdition?

The Prophet Joseph Smith gave a definition, or rather explained what one must do to become a son of perdition, this quote should answer all of your above questions:

(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith Section Six 1843-44, p.358)

"All sins shall be forgiven, except the sin against the Holy Ghost; for Jesus will save all except the sons of perdition. 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. This is the case with many apostates of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When a man begins to be an enemy to this work, he hunts me, he seeks to kill me, and never ceases to thirst for my blood. He gets the spirit of the devil--the same spirit that they had who crucified the Lord of Life--the same spirit that sins against the Holy Ghost. You cannot save such persons; you cannot bring them to repentance; they make open war, like the devil, and awful is the consequence."

It is really that simple and that complex, only God and that person can determine if one has gone beyond the point of no return. I suspect that those who have do not want to come back and therefore they cannot and will not repent.
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This is a great question and one that's raised often here.

Despite what other prophets have said regarding this, it's fascinating to see what Joseph Smith thought about it.

In a reply to W.W. Phelps' Vade Mecum, the prophet wrote an extended poetic response based on the vision that he and Sidney Rigdon had and which is recorded in Section 76.

Part of it applies to the Devil as the proverbial "Son of Perdition." As Jesus was the Son of God, the Devil was the Son of Perdition, and all who followed him drank from the same cup:

And the heavens all wept, and the tears dropp'd like dew,

That Lucifer, son of the morning, had fell!

Yea, is fallen! is fallen and become, oh, alas!

The son of perdition, the devil of hell!

Interestingly, more is said about the sons of perdition in this work than in all of Section 76:

For thus saith the Lord, now concerning all those,

Who know of my power and partake of the same;

And suffer themselves that they be overcome

By the power of Satan, despising my name--

Defying my power, and denying the truth:

They are they of the world, or of men most forlorn,

The sons of perdition, of whom, ah! I say,

'Twere better for them had they never been born.

They're the vessels of wrath, and dishonour to God,

Doom'd to suffer his wrath in the regions of woe,

Through all the long night of eternity's round,

With the devil and all of his angels below.

Of whom it is said no forgiveness is found,

In this world, alas! nor the world that's to come,

For they have deny'd the spirit of God,

After having receiv'd it, and mis'ry's their doom.

And denying the only begotten of God,

And crucify him to themselves, as they do,

And openly put him to shame in their flesh,

By the gospel they cannot repentance renew.

They are they who go to the great lake of fire,

Which burneth with brimstone, yet never consumes,

And dwell with the devil, and angels of his,

While eternity goes and eternity comes.

They are they who must groan through the great second death,

And are not redeemed in the time of the Lord;

While all the rest are, through the triumph of Christ,

Made partakers of grace, by the power of his word.

And further, the prophet states:

The Saviour will save all his Father did give,

Even all that he gave in the regions abroad,

Save the sons of perdition--they are lost, ever lost!

And can never return to the presence of God.

They are they who must reign with the devil in hell,

In eternity now, and eternity then!

Where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quench'd,

And the punishment still is eternal. Amen.

And which is the torment apostates receive,

But the end or the place where the torment began,

Save to them who are made to partake of the same,

Was never, nor will be revealed unto man.

Yet God, by a vision, shows a glimpse of their fate,

And straightway he closes the scene that was shown;

So the width, or the depth, or the misery thereof,

Save to those that partake, is forever unknown.

Notice the reference to apostates, and yet the prophet never states that all apostates become sons of perdition but, rather, it's "the torment apostates receive." Does this mean that apostates become sons of perdition, or is it the torment they all experience? One could easily read it either way. We've been told that if the parents of wayward children are faithful, and that if the parents are sealed under the covenant, then the arms of the Lord will reach out to those children and bring them back, though they may experience the torment of hell. When I read the words of some of those who have left the church and who have prominent parents or grandparents, I see the unabashed hatred and resentment they harbor. I wonder if they will ever return to the church under any circumstances.

I don't want to hijack the thread here, but these verses clearly are more detailed than anything else in the church that I've read. So are we to understand that apostates suffer the fate of sons of perdition or do they suffer "the torment" only?

Many of the early brethren believed that the Devil and his angels, and this includes the SOPs, will suffer spiritual annihilation rather than be tortured forever. Others believe that the torture is inflicted upon the damned by the damned. Whatever happens, it's clear that the Lord doesn't wish to go into further detail.

Hell_3.jpg

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Many of the early brethren believed that the Devil and his angels, and this includes the SOPs, will suffer spiritual annihilation rather than be tortured forever

Like Brigham Young, and that's something else I don't understand.

Did they (did he) not know Mormon scripture?

Did they not have any faith in it?

How can a passage like 2 Nephi 9:16 ("their torment is as a like of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever, and has no end") be honestly interpreted to leave room for even the possibility of "spiritual annihilationn"?

I'd like to believe that's a possibility, and some of these early brethren (even the second Prophet and President, Brigham Young) certainly believed it was, but how can it be?

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Is every ex-Mormon a "son of Perdition"?

No, every ex-Mormon IS NOT a SOP. I would say very few ex-Mormons are.

Would you have to have been a baptized member of the LDS Church to be a son of perdition?

MY PERSONAL OPINION, NO, you do not need to be a baptized Member of the LDS Church. Saul/Paul, was a Jew and could have become a SOP. Alma, could have become a SOP.

Would you have to be actively working against the Church (or just a non-overcomer) to be a son of perdition?

Working actively against the Church does not make one a SOP. A SOP may work actively against the Church.

To become a SOP you need full knowledge of Christ, that is conctret plain as day knowledge, confirmed by the Holy Ghost; then if you turn away from that knowledge/confirmation you become a SOP.

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According to Elder Packer, who spoke at the MTC while I was there in the late 80's, he was the only one in the room that could qualify as a SOP. He was speaking to the entire contingent of missionaries, Mission Presidents, couples, MTC President, etc. When a Q&A session followed his talk, an elder asked that same question. He said no on in the room beside him need worry about that, and he didn't plan to fail.

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I just wanted to point out that former members of the Church have the option to come back through rebaptism and restoration of blessings (regardless if they had their name removed or were excommunicated). To me this suggests that, in this life anyway, repentance is always possible to some extent no matter how badly we have erred. It also suggests that the Church does not presume to judge who is and who isn

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Is every ex-Mormon a "son of Perdition"?

No.

Would you have to have been a baptized member of the LDS Church to be a son of perdition?

No.

Would you have to be actively working against the Church (or just a non-overcomer) to be a son of perdition?

In the spirit at least.

A son of perdition is someone who has lost all hope of redemption, and knows it. How he behaves outwardly may not always be a reflection of what he is like on the inside.

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According to Elder Packer, who spoke at the MTC while I was there in the late 80's, he was the only one in the room that could qualify as a SOP. He was speaking to the entire contingent of missionaries, Mission Presidents, couples, MTC President, etc. When a Q&A session followed his talk, an elder asked that same question. He said no on in the room beside him need worry about that, and he didn't plan to fail.

Obviously no Manchester United fans in the room!

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Rebaptism?

A member who has been excommunicated or had their name removed from Church records will be re-baptized and have their blessings restored if they repent and wish to rejoin the Church.

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Is every ex-Mormon a "son of Perdition"?

No.

A son of perdition is an obscure, widely misunderstood, and often abused by critics, mormon theological concept postulated by Joseph Smith about those who reject Christ after having perfect knowledge of his divinity.

It is impossible for 'regular' people, even devout mormons, perhaps even a prophet, to become a Son of Perdition. It is debated if Judas Iscariot was even capable of being a Son of Perdition.

I have doubts the idea of Perdition is even a revealed doctrine, but rather a theory of Joseph Smith.

Would you have to have been a baptized member of the LDS Church to be a son of perdition?

You would have to have a perfect knowledge of Christ's divinity. I doubt even Thomas S. Monson could become one since his testimony of Jesus appears to be rooted in profound faith rather than perfect knowledge. Some LDS will undoubtedly disagree with me on this point.

Would you have to be actively working against the Church (or just a non-overcomer) to be a son of perdition?

Denial of Christ, not fighting against the church, seems to be the criteria for qualifying one as a Son of Perdition.

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Is every ex-Mormon a "son of Perdition"?

Would you have to have been a baptized member of the LDS Church to be a son of perdition?

Would you have to be actively working against the Church (or just a non-overcomer) to be a son of perdition?

Is every ex-LDS Church member a "Son of Perdition" of course not. I would say that most of them are not. To become a "Son of Perdition" is a high mark. It is something that must be worked for every bit as hard as to achieve Celstrial Glory.

Would you have to have been Baptized? No.

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.

If Joseph Smith had the experience of the First Vision, and then denied it; he would have been a SOP. If Moses, having seen the Burning Bush, had then turned away from God, and not done as he was commanded to set the Israelites free, he would have been a SOP.

Your average everyday run of the mill common Anti-LDS person, even Fred Phelps, cannot meet those requirements. Even those who have been baptised into the church only later to leave and become Anti-LDS do not meet those requirements.

Judas, having known the living Christ and having betrayed him, may be a SOP, but he is the only example off the top of my head.

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Judas, having known the living Christ and having betrayed him, may be a SOP, but he is the only example off the top of my head.

Yes, Judas and Cain would be the only known for sure SOPs, if I remember correctly.

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Mormon doctrine teaches that those who are "sons of perdition" are those who had a sure and perfect knowledge of the truth, then voluntarily turned from it and committed the "sin unto death." The first requirement, then, to become part of this group is to have been members of the LDS Church. After that, they would have to have the truth revealed to them with such sureness and clarity that there would be no doubt in their minds about the truthfulness of the Mormon gospel. Speaking of the sons of perdition, Joseph Fielding Smith taught that "before a man can sink to this bitterness of soul, he must first know and understand the truth with a clearness of vision wherein there is no doubt" (Doctrine of Salvation 1:49). Such clarity requires a confirming vision from heaven. Joseph Smith taught that to become a son of perdition, a person must "have the heavens opened unto him, and know God....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" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.358).
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How can a passage like 2 Nephi 9:16 ("their torment is as a like of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever, and has no end") be honestly interpreted to leave room for even the possibility of "spiritual annihilationn"? I'd like to believe that's a possibility, and some of these early brethren (even the second Prophet and President, Brigham Young) certainly believed it was, but how can it be?

As you see, this is an allegorical statement. We don't know what their torment will be like other than these statements. The gospel is full of esoteric terms like "eternal life." This doesn't just mean we'll live forever. And "eternal torment" doesn't just mean torment that lasts forever. These reference God and his judgments.

We know that we're eternal beings, but we don't quite know what that entails. Are we individual intelligences or are we combinations of intelligence? This hasn't been revealed. Only time will tell.

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Yes, Judas and Cain would be the only known for sure SOPs, if I remember correctly.

Laman and Lemuel also had a perfect knowledge of the truth, yet they rebelled against it. Did Lehi have enough influence with the Almighty to save them from their fates? There have been some well known children and grandchildren of prominent church leaders and some of them spew out the most awful hatred and resentment. The question is, what constitutes a perfect knowledge? Most people who have left the church will tell you, if they're honest, that they can remember a time when they thought strongly that they had received a witness that it was true. Somewhere along the line, they forget what they knew. Judas certainly saw and heard enough to have a fairly certain knowledge. Jesus even gave him one last warning, knowing full well what he would do. And Laman and Lemuel sewed seeds of hatred that destroyed an entire generation of people.

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Laman and Lemuel also had a perfect knowledge of the truth, yet they rebelled against it. Did Lehi have enough influence with the Almighty to save them from their fates? There have been some well known children and grandchildren of prominent church leaders and some of them spew out the most awful hatred and resentment. The question is, what constitutes a perfect knowledge? Most people who have left the church will tell you, if they're honest, that they can remember a time when they thought strongly that they had received a witness that it was true. Somewhere along the line, they forget what they knew. Judas certainly saw and heard enough to have a fairly certain knowledge. Jesus even gave him one last warning, knowing full well what he would do. And Laman and Lemuel sewed seeds of hatred that destroyed an entire generation of people.

I don't know... Laman and Lemuel, at times, had some doubts about doing the things they did... they had to get chastized by the Lord and their Father, but sometimes, they were good people. I'm not sure they were of the caliber... but that's really up to God to choose, I guess. Maybe they were better or worse than we give them credit for.

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Laman and Lemuel also had a perfect knowledge of the truth, yet they rebelled against it. ... Judas certainly saw and heard enough to have a fairly certain knowledge. Jesus even gave him one last warning, knowing full well what he would do.

perfect knowledge of what? L&L saw an angel or at least heard an angel but there is nothing to indicate they knew with a perfect knowledge that Jesus is the Christ.

As for Judas, we also do not know what he knew. Was he among the "we" when Peter said to Jesus "though art the Christ" to which Christ responds "my father hath revealed it unto you".

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Thank you for the quotes; but unfortunately they do not address the scriptural references I had given; and where the General Authorities and the standard woks disagree, the scriptures take precedent:

I know this may be hard for you to grasp, Zerinus, but everything I post isn't a response to YOU. This should be self-evident. Especially when I don't use the "reply" button and quote you within my posts. :P

The quotes I posted were taken directly from the Institute Manual. If you have a problem with them, there is an address in the front of the manual to which you can send a letter outlining errors as you see them.

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