The Sobering Truth about Outer Darkness

According to Mormonism, only the worse of the worst will go to outer darkness.  “Second, the word hell is used to refer to outer darkness, which is the dwelling place of the devil, his angels, and the sons of perdition.” (True to the Faith, p. 81)  Mormonism designates only a relatively small handful of people as sons of perdition thus reserving outer darkness for only a few.

But is that biblical?  In that regard, Jesus’ parable of the wedding guests recorded in Matthew 22:1-13 is especially pertinent since the man without the wedding garment is cast into outer darkness (v.13).  In fact, Jesus’ whole purpose for telling this parable was to warn against that fate.  Therefore it is only fitting to see why that man was cast out.

And it was because he refused to accept the gift of a wedding garment!  That the wedding garment was something given to him, and not something he himself owned or purchased, is evident both from the culture of the day and also the words of the parable themselves.  Note that Jesus is talking about the wedding of a king’s son (v.2).  In the culture of the day, when princes married, the king provided the wedding garments for all attendees.  We can be confident that this was well-known to Jesus’ original listeners.

That this was the case is also seen from the parable itself.  “So those servants went into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests” (v.10).  Obviously these people who were gathered neither had the time, and probably most neither had the means, to provide their own wedding garments.  They came directly from the highways and the byways.  Especially interesting is that the servants didn’t just gather the good people either.  They gathered “both bad and good”.

The sobering truth about outer darkness is that it is not reserved for just a few.  It will be the destination for all who don’t accept the king’s great gift of salvation.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).  I have asked many members of the LDS Church whether or not eternal life is a gift or a reward.  Without hesitation, they say that it is a reward.  In saying that, they are faithfully echoing LDS teaching.

But that is so tragic.  Refusing the king’s gift infuriates him.  Look at his reaction. “Bind him hand and foot, and take him away; and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (v. 13). You can just see the king’s red face and blazing eyes as he gives this order.  How dare anybody refuse his gift!  In a similar manner, everybody who tries to provide for their own salvation or even thinks that they have to contribute to their own salvation, will experience the same reaction when they meet their Maker.

Eternal salvation and life are God’s gifts to us.  They were purchased with the precious blood of his Son.  The only God-pleasing reaction is to eagerly accept them and profusely thank him for them.  My prayer is that many more Mormons will do just that.


6 Responses to “The Sobering Truth about Outer Darkness”

  1. 1 Robert Timmerman
    January 8, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Full and free forgiveness. Well said Pastor Cares.

  2. 2 Edy Meredith
    January 8, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    As I was taught the sons of perdition in mormonism are those who are apostates from mormonism–that is they were taught the mormon gospel, received it, and then rejected it and left mormonism. Some mormons add that these mormon apostates then led others away from mormonism. This mormon teaching creates a lot of fear among many mormons who are thus afraid to leave mormonism.

  3. 3 JRSG
    January 9, 2014 at 12:33 am

    I am one Mormon who believes Eternal Life is a gift, because I believe all living creatures including people, will be resurrected and all will live Eternally. Eternal Life was provided to all people through the Atonement and Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I was taught in church that Eternal Life is a gift. Maybe I had good teachers who understood things.
    It baffles me that LDS members would say Eternal life is a reward.
    Maybe they did not think before answering, or did not understand what was being asked.

  4. 4 Edy Meredith
    January 9, 2014 at 2:15 am

    As a mormon, I was taught that eternal life meant living forever, without end, no matter where (outer darkness for Satan, his demons, and mormon apostates; and then the 3 degrees of glory according to a person’s works). The meaning of the atonement according to this mormon doctrine was life forever. The Bible, however, teaches that eternal life means living with God forever and is a gift from God for those who receive the Biblical Jesus Christ. I wonder what the previous comment means by “eternal life” and where do the 3 mormon degrees of glory come into the picture.

  5. 5 markcares
    January 9, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Following is a paragraph I quickly copied from True to the Faith. It is the first manual that came up on lds.org under eternal life. It is also enlightening to see that it equates eternal life with exaltation which D&C 1323:19-20 describes as becoming gods. it is clear that Mormonism, in its official literature, distinguishes eternal life from immortality, and says that it can only be had through obedience.

    “Now that you have been baptized and confirmed, much of your progress toward eternal life depends on your receiving other ordinances of salvation: for men, ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood; for men and women, the temple endowment and marriage sealing. When you receive these ordinances and keep the covenants that accompany them, you prepare yourself to inherit the highest degree of celestial glory.”

  6. 6 Lynn
    January 9, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Mormonism is such a subtle deception: the Bible speaks of one’s works (after accepting His gift of salvation) being judged (1 Corinthians 3:12-15) as enduring or being burned up. The Lord will repay for what has been done in this life = crowns and rewards (Matt 25; Rev 22). There is no mention of degrees of glory in the Bible. For what it’s worth, I am convinced that the only works to endure are those orchestrated and initiated by Him in our lives and our responding. Worthy works are not those we initiate or think of on our own. Being busy as a bee won’t count. He opens the doors to us to witness/meet the needs of others and He supplies what we need to do so at the time. I sincerely appreciate your materials/newsletters Pastor Mark as my family members are mostly Mormons and have never read either the Bible or Mormon literature. I have learned where the language is similar but the meanings are so different. Oh, that the Lord would manifest Himself to them and open their eyes!

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January 2014

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