Deadly Damnation

   In the June 2010 Ensign, David A. Bednar, one of Mormonism’s apostles, mentions Mormonism definition of damnation.  Talking about Satan he writes, “Just as water flowing in a riverbed is stopped by a dam, so the adversary’s eternal progression is thwarted because he does not have a physical body. . .One of the potent scriptural meanings of the word damned is illustrated in his inability to continue developing and becoming like our Heavenly Father.”  (p. 18)

    This agrees with what the LDS Bible Dictionary states:  “Damnation is the opposite of salvation, and exists in varying degrees.  All who do not obtain the fulness of celestial exaltation will to some degree be limited in their progress and privileges, and hence be damned to that extent.”  Thus, according to Mormonism, everybody in heaven, except those who are exalted by becoming a god, will also be damned!

    To a Christian, describing people in heaven with the word damned is incomprehensible.  Heaven and damned are direct opposites.  This then is just another of numerous examples of how Mormonism defines words uniquely.  I don’t know any dictionary that defines damnation this way.  All the dictionaries I consulted cite as synonyms words like cursed. 

     But what really makes Mormonism’s definition deadly is how it incredibly weakens what the Bible says about being damned.  Insert Mormonism’s definition into Mark 16:16 and it isn’t too frightening.  “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”  Instead of eternal hell coming to mind when you hear that, you can think of heaven.  And that is exactly what Mormonism does.  According to it, in order to get to the lowest kingdom of glory, a person doesn’t have to believe.  And some Mormon authorities have described that kingdom as ten thousand times better than life here on earth.  That’s not a bad picture of damnation.

     The only problem is that it is totally false – and extremely dangerous.  Satan loves it when the consequences of sin are minimized.  He loves it when no one is talking about eternal hell.  He loves it because then people don’t become overly concerned about going there – until it is too late. 

     Hell is real.  Damnation is horrible.  There is nothing good associated with it.  And there is only one way to avoid it.  Accept God’s gift of eternal life.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23)

3 Responses to “Deadly Damnation”

  1. 1 adb
    June 29, 2010 at 12:45 am

    Good post, Mark. As much as we always want to reach out with the gospel to the lost, I fear that in our desire to do so, we sometimes neglect the use of the law. Speaking of damnation is the harshest law possible, and without the law doing it’s work, the power of the gospel is minimized, if not rendered entirely powerless.

    I’d be interested to hear some feedback about damnation from those who share the LDS view, as it’s not usually a topic that seems to get much discussion.

  2. 2 gloria
    July 1, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    I think it is a topic that does not get much discussion because Mormonism doesn’t really talk much about or believe much in “damnation” ( not in the biblical sense). The theologoy is more of everyone has kept their first estate so everyone wins some degree of glory. The problem with that thinking is it is false. Terribly false.

  3. 3 faithoffathers
    July 6, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Gloria (good name for this discussion),

    Let’s define the word “glory.” Everything has a degree of glory. An old, worn-out, tarnished door handle has some degree of glory. Relative to other, more beautiful things, it is certainly less glorious. But it still has a certain glory.

    Paul said that “one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead.”

    Any person who is resurrected has some glory, or body. The two words, glory and body, can be thought of as synonmous in this context. And we believe that “as in Christ, all shall be made alive,” or resurrected.

    LDS critics need to understand this. To say something has glory does not exalt it or make it anything close to an ideal. Every person who is resurrected will have a glory- an appearance and image and body.

    When Satan appeared to Moses in the POGP, he commanded Moses to worship him. In response, Moses asked, “where is thy glory that I should worship thee?”

    Satan had no physical body. His presence, rather, was as Moses said- “darkness.”

    On the bigger issue of damnation, I believe the evangelical Christian believes a fairy-tale. In their theology, justice is never satisfied. The penalties for any sin are infinite. And this is not reasonable or just.

    Consider that Christ met the demands of justice. There was a price to be paid, and He paid that price- His suffering came to an end.

    The EV says that if a person does not believe in Christ, they will be thrown into an actual lake of fire for eternity to pay a debt which can never be satisfied.

    Think about that honestly. Doesn’t it seem like there should be a finite punishment for a given sin or set of sins? If I steal a loaf of bread, our law will inflict a period of probation, a day in jail, or some finite, payable consequence.

    EVs are arguing that a person who commits a finite number of sins in this life (which is an extremely short period relative to eternity) and who does not believe in Christ must burn in hell and pay for their sins for eternity. In other words, justice is never satisfied.

    But God is just. Man will pay for his own sins if he does not accept the atoning sacrifice of Christ. Paying for those sins will be terrible. But at some point, a man’s suffering will equal the sins he has committed- whether its after a hundred years of burning or a million or a trillion- that point will come.

    From an eternal perspective, to be damned is to lose opportunity and to be held back and to suffer the torment that results. Maybe you think that the suffering involved in that is trivial. But consider that a person who lives a mediocre life and doesn’t take the opportunity to follow Christ may go to the Terrestial kingdom AFTER paying his own debt to justice. The torment and damnation comes with being stuck in a place and existence which is nothing in comparison to that person’s potential- forever……FOREVER – all based on behavior in this very short life.

    I don’t know about you, but the most painful experiences I have had were spiritual, emotional, and mental. Knowing that I have sinned, let the Lord down, feeling ashamed, dirty, embarrassed- that is an experience much worse than any physical pain I have ever had.

    The LDS concept of damnation is just, reasonable, and Biblical. The EV concept is unjust, unreasonable, and is based on narrowly defined passages and definitions.

    Consider that the Bible uses the word fire to describe the affect the word of God has on the heart. It also says that the “tongue is a fire.” God’s eyes are described as being “as the flame of fire.”

    Consider the verse from Mosiah in the BOM:

    “Therefore if that man repenteth not, and remaineth and dieth an enemy to God, the demands of divine justice do awaken his immortal soul to a lively sense of his own guilt, which doth cause him to shrink from the presence of the Lord, and doth fill his breast with guilt, and pain, and anguish, which is like an unquenchable fire, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever.”

    Could it be that the lake of fire spoken of is not actually a plasma-like fluid region where people’s burns for eternity? Could it refer to the mental and spiritual torment that lasts forever in knowing one has lost all that he dreamed possible- of his own choice?

    Don’t get me wrong- we do believe in a very nasty place where people will suffer for their own sins until their debt is paid in full. But the topic of damnation is a little more nuanced than is recognized by the EV who criticizes LDS for their beliefs.


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June 2010

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