Mormonism and Universalism

16 Jul

punish1I was looking into the connections between Mormonism and Universalism, again, and happened across this blog which speaks of “a universali[s]m that existed in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries” in the LDS Church, which this member seems to believe has gotten, at least somewhat, lost in current years. I’m not sure how lost it is, as many members of the LDS Church, even today, will be quick to point out that, according to LDS Doctrine, salvation is “universal” in its scope. What they mean by that, however, is something very different from true Christian Universalism, as they only mean that all men will be resurrected from the dead, to immortality. They do not mean that all men will return to the Father or even that all men will enter into any of the various “degrees of glory,” as taught in LDS Doctrine.

That said, some of the quotes provided do seem to allow for the possibility of movement between these degrees of glory, by way of “eternal progression,” and that would seem to allow for someone to receive a greater degree of glory over time. I think this is something which current Mormons do still allow for, at least as a possibility, even if they cannot explain how that might look in practice, especially as it might relate to the highest degree of glory, for which there are certain requirements that must first be met, including the everlasting covenant of marriage.

But, as to the quotes provided, saying that truth can be found in all places, inside or outside of the church, among both believers and non-believers (as any Christian, LDS or not, would allow for), is not the same thing as teaching true “Universalism,” the belief that salvation will come to all men and all men will be united with God, the Father.  So I don’t see “Universalism” being the message of most of those quotes, though a couple of them do seem to speak to that possibility, even if not the guarantee, especially as it relates to “eternal progression” (and not just the fact that all men will be “resurrected from the dead” to a state of immortality). It’s not clear that such pertains to those who are termed “sons of perdition,” however.

But there can be no doubt that Joseph Smith and, therefore, Mormon Doctrine was heavily influenced by Universalism or the Universalist beliefs of Joseph Smith’s father and grandfather. Anyone familiar with Universalist arguments will immediately recognize the argument made in D&C 19 with regard to “eternal punishment,” etc., as a Universalist argument. The only problem is that D&C 19, while true when applied to the Bible, is not true when applied to the Book of Mormon because in the Book of Mormon it is written that there shall be “no end” to this torment – quite unequivocally.

So we have the expression “endless torment”, which is made in relation to the punishment of the wicked/unrepentant and another way to say “endless torment” would be “torment that has no end”.

However, in D&C 19 we read: “it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment” and if it is not written that there shall be “no end” to this torment then there must need be AN END.

In D&C 19, Joseph Smith seems to be explaining why something that is called “endless” HAS AN END !!

He explains that it is not “endless torment” (or “endless punishment”) because it “has no end” but because this torment/punishment comes from the hand of God, whose NAME is ENDLESS (and ETERNAL)



Signifying from whom it comes, not how long it lasts.

I would have absolutely no problem with this IF, in fact, it wasn’t written that “there is no end” to the punishment/torment of the wicked. The problem is that it is written, at least in the Book of Mormon.

In the Book of Mormon we find many references to “that hell which has no end.”  to those who “cannot be saved,” to that which says: “the final state of the souls of men is to dwell in the kingdom of God, or to be cast out,” to those who are “cast off forever,” where they are “destroyed forever,” from where there is “no deliverance,”  to “a flaming fire, which ascendeth up unto God forever and ever, and hath no end,” wherein the wicked will be “miserable forever” (you get the picture).

None of that sounds to me like torment/punishment that has “no end.” And we can’t blame it on “translation errors,” like we could if we were discussing the Bible which was actually translated by fallible men, since the BoM, we are to believe, was not translated but was simply transcribed by Joseph Smith directly into English as dictated by God himself.

And the fact that there are so many references to the fate of the wicked, which is clearly said to have “no end” (in more ways than one), completely disproves the statement that “it is not written that there is no end to this torment” (even if, in fact, this could be proven to be true by addressing translation or interpretation error in the Bible).

It IS written that there is NO END (no redemption, no salvation, no deliverance, no end to the misery) of the wicked MANY TIMES, in MANY WAYS throughout the Book of Mormon.

And I certainly don’t know how else you can understand the statement “it is not written that there is no end to this torment.” The fact remains that it is written, but only in the book produced by Joseph Smith. It is not written in the Bible.

Here are just a few references:

2 Nephi 1:17  My heart hath been weighed down with sorrow from time to time, for I have feared, lest for the hardness of your hearts the Lord your God should come out in the fulness of his wrath upon you, that ye be cut off and destroyed forever;

2 Nephi 2: 5  And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.

2 Nephi 2: 28-29  And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit; And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.

Note that if “eternal life” is that life which comes from God who is “eternal” and “eternal punishment” is that punishment which comes from God who is “eternal,” then by the same token this passage attribute “death” to God.  Note also that this is not an expression one will ever find in the Bible.

2 Nephi 9:16-24 And assuredly, as the Lord liveth, for the Lord God hath spoken it, and it is his eternal word, which cannot pass away, that they who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still; wherefore, they who are filthy are the devil and his angels; and they shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for them; and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame scendeth up forever and ever and has no end. O the greatness and the justice of our God! For he executeth all his words, and they have gone forth out of his mouth, and his law must be fulfilled. But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.  O the greatness of the mercy of our God, the Holy One of Israel! For he delivereth his saints from that awful monster the devil, and death, and hell, and that lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment. O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth call things, and there is not anything save he knows it. And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam. And he suffereth this that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before him at the great and judgment day. And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God. 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 28:22-24   And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance. Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment. Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!

While Joseph Smith was clearly influenced by and even incorporated, in some sense, “Universalism” into his doctrines, there also seems to be quite a bit in the Book of Mormon that seems like a deliberate attempt to refute that same doctrine. It’s quite the paradox, so just one more place where Mormon Doctrine seems to fall apart.


Posted by on July 16, 2017 in Book of Mormon, Hell, Mormonism


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14 responses to “Mormonism and Universalism

  1. shematwater

    July 17, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Interesting, but your claim is not really accurate. Nothing falls apart, when the doctrine in its entirety is considered and accounted for.

    For instance, the saints of God are saved in the Kingdom of God, while those who who join Satan are cast off forever. However, this does not mean there are not those who are neither saints nor devils, and thus are not in the Kingdom, but neither are they in hell. For those, there are the lower degrees of glory, which are not referred to as the Kingdom of God, but are still glory, and thus are not the torment and damnation that the devil will suffer, for he has no

    Also, it is not called eternal punishment just to show it comes from God. God is eternal, in that He exists unchanging from all eternity to all eternity, having neither beginning of days nor end of years. Anything that exists in this same state of unchanging is eternal. Thus, the term eternal punishment describes the type of punishment, not the duration. It is a punishment that exists unchanging, having neither beginning of days nor end of years. So, whether a person is cast into this punishment for a day or 1,000 years, or for the rest of eternity, it doesn’t matter. The punishment will still exist in an eternal state. Even if no one was to suffer that punishment, it would still exist.

    As to your quotes:
    2 Nephi 1:17 speaks of the fear that Laman and Lemuel will fall so completely that they will be sons of perdition, and thus be cast out forever.
    2 Nephi 2: 5, if you read the full context, speaks to what our condition would be if Chris had not performed the atonement on our behalf. As he has performed it we are no longer under this condition.
    2 Nephi 2: 28-29 uses the same terms that are mentioned in D&C 19, and thus make no contradiction with it.
    2 Nephi 9:16-24 has a few things in it. Your first point of emphasis again only speaks to the eternal nature of the punishment. It is like the torment of fire and continues and has no end, as I have explained, and the devil and all that are his will spend eternity there. This is why it is also called endless torment in this passage. Now, it is also true that those who do not endure to the end are damned, but it does not say they are condemned to eternal punishment. They are damned, meaning that they cannot enter the Kingdom of God; they are condemned to a lesser glory than that which they could have achieved.
    2 Nephi 28:22-24 again speaks to Sons of perdition who have no deliverance, but are cast into endless torment with the devil for eternity.

    So, there is no contradiction, and the doctrine remains clear and sound when it is fully understood.


  2. mormondoctrinefails

    July 18, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    shematwater, it would be helpful if you could tell me what claim I made you find inaccurate instead of just making a blanket statement that doesn’t really tell me what claim you are talking about. Since the article is about Universalism, I might assume that the claim has something to do with that. My claim is that the LDS Church does not teach universalism, or the salvation of all men, despite the claims of some Mormons that it does. Your comments prove that claim true, so I am not sure what you are disagreeing with in that regard. It appears nothing.

    As to eternal punishment describing the type of punishment, not the duration. I do not disagree there either. And such can be proven from the Bible. My argument was against the wording found in the Book of Mormon which does not support the argument made in the D&C that “it is not written that there shall be NO END to this torment” It most certainly is written and I provided ample proof.

    As to your responses to the Book of Mormon quotes… in 2 Nephi 1:17, does “cast off forever” actually mean “cast off forever”? If so, it proves my point. You say 2 Nephi 2 is about the atonement and what would have happened had no atonement been made. Are you suggesting that this chapter doesn’t speak of those who still choose “eternal death” in verse 29, which I also quoted? You say there is “no contradiction” because it “uses the same terms that are mentioned in D&C 19,” but you are wrong because the expression “eternal death” is not found in D&C 19. You may be equating “eternal death” with “eternal punishment” but I explained why I believe that term, in and of itself, is problematic. You address 2 Nephi 9: 16-24 but don’t seem to argue against the idea of “eternal torment” actually being “eternal” in duration (or “without end”). That is my point, precisely, isn’t it? I never suggested that those who do not make it into the Celestial Kingdom will suffer eternal punishment. I only said that some will, albeit few in the eyes of Mormons. I said that is to your credit, but it still falls short of the truth, which is the FULL salvation of ALL MEN. And, finally, you confirm that I have proven my point with your comments on 2 Nephi 28:22-24 and those “sons of perdition” who are punished in outer darkness with the devil for all eternity. Apparently, you do not disagree with my assertion that the Book of Mormon and Mormon Doctrine teach the “eternal punishment” of SOME PEOPLE, regardless of how FEW that number might be.

    So, again, I am not clear as to what your actual objection is to what I wrote. And as “clear” as you think your doctrines are, they are not “sound” if they are wrong, no matter how clearly you think you can explain them. If Jesus Christ is the Saviour of ALL MEN and actually accomplished that which the Father sent Him to accomplish, the salvation of ALL MEN, then anything that teaches anything short of that is simply wrong, no matter how it might be explained.

    The argument in D&C 19 is clearly one borrowed from or carried over from or influenced by a similar argument made by many Universalists with regard to the expressions “everlasting punishment” and “eternal torment” as found in the Bible. Those expressions, as they appear in the Bible, do NOT have anything to do with the “duration” of such “punishments.” Yet the Book of Mormon uses very precise language pertaining to the duration of the punishment of the wicked that cannot be explained by using the same argument, though D&C 19 appears to be attempting to do just that, despite the fact that no Mormon will ever be able to argue for the salvation of all men in light of what the Book of Mormon says and official Mormon Doctrine to the contrary. Some try, though. It sounds nice, but it’s certainly not what Mormon Doctrine teaches.


  3. shematwater

    July 19, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    I think you need to learn the language better, as I couldn’t have been clearer as to where you were inaccurate. My very next statement should have made that clear, as I say “Nothing falls apart, when the doctrine in its entirety is considered and accounted for.” Thus it is plain that the inaccuracy I am addressing is your closing statement that you argument illustrates “just one more place where Mormon Doctrine seems to fall apart.”
    It doesn’t fall apart, doesn’t even seem to fall apart, when it is actually understood, and thus your claim that it does is inaccurate.

    As to Universal Salvation, the only way that can be true is if you deny justice and remove agency. If all men are going to be saved than we have no choice in the matter, and thus our agency is destroyed; and Justice ceases to function when those who are unworthy of salvation are granted it. All of this goes against everything the scriptures teach, including the Bible. This is the biggest problem with the Universal perspective.

    Now, Christ did accomplish what he was sent to do, but that was not a guaranteed universal salvation. It was to make salvation possible to all people. Because of Christ, all men can be saved. Without Him, no man could be saved.
    However, people really don’t understand LDS doctrine on this point. I am in the middle of writing a lengthy essay on the subject, which I will provide a link for in the next few days, but let me summarize it here.
    First, all are resurrected, which is a universal salvation from physical death.
    Second, through the intersession of Christ all will be brought back into the presence of the father; but they will then be judged, with only those Sons of Perdition being cast back into eternal punishment.
    You see, everyone who is not baptized into the true church of God will spend some time in eternal punishment. Some will spend only a short time, some a very long time. However, all will eventually be brought out of this torment, which is called Hell, and thus we have the statement from D&C 19, for there will be an end for all people. However, after that short reprieve, those Sons of perdition will be cast back into that Hell for all eternity.
    So, when we truly understand what the Book of Mormon and the D&C are saying, it becomes perfectly clear, and there is no contradiction. The doctrine is sound.
    And since Christ himself has declared that there will be no forgiveness for those sons of perdition, and Paul tells us that it is impossible for them to be redeemed, it is in perfect harmony with the Bible and is the true doctrine of salvation.


  4. mormondoctrinefails

    July 29, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Shem, personal insults aren’t going to win your arguments for you. You were not clear, though you may have thought you were being clear, since you already knew what, exactly, you were referring to. I cannot read your mind. And, despite your “next sentence,” it would be very natural for someone to assume that you were referring to a specific claim I made relative to the actual topic being discussed, rather than to the general premise of ALL of the articles I write here, which is to identify specific LDS beliefs and to examine them to see where they might “fall apart,” at least as I see it… which premise I reiterate at the end of almost EVERY article I write here.

    Now to the rest of your comments. If a fireman runs into a burning building and brings out ALL of its occupants, saving them from the fire and certain death, are you seriously going to argue that ALL being saved is an indication that there was a “denial of justice” and a “removal of agency”?

    What if some, or even ALL, of those occupants were unconscious? Should they be left in the burning building because they cannot be asked whether or not they “want to be” saved from the burning building? Or would you allow for the fireman to just assume, perhaps, that they would ALL “want to be saved,” IF they were ALL conscious and could make an informed decision based on the facts/truth of the situation?

    What if there is a child huddled in the closet who is too scared to come out? Should the fireman just leave the child in the burning building, as not to violate its “free agency”? Would you ever in a million years support such a defense? If not, why would you make that argument when it comes to those in this world, who are dead in sin, whose eternal fate is at stake, knowing that “the dead know not anything”?

    Do you not believe in the salvation of all men, with respect to what the LDS would call “general salvation,” or “the resurrection of the dead”? Are not ALL MEN going to be resurrected from the dead because of the finished work of Jesus Christ and His blood shed on the cross? Do you see that as a “denial of justice” and a “removal of free agency? If not, why not? What is the difference? Do we get to “choose” whether or not to be resurrected from the dead? What if I don’t “want” to be resurrected from the dead? Especially if I am going to be cast into outer darkness? Do I have a choice? If the answer is no, do you really care that much about “agency” when it comes to carrying out your particular version of “justice”? It certainly wouldn’t appear so, as this requires you to place limits on “agency,” in order to support your notions about “justice.”

    What if God’s idea of “justice” IS MERCY? What if His “judgment” is FORGIVENESS?

    You talk about those who are “unworthy of salvation,” but you can only do so because of the LDS concept of “worthiness.” Mormons spend their entire lives working and striving for “worthiness,” hoping that they can make themselves “worthy” of greater rewards and a greater degree of glory, etc. But you don’t apply that same notion of “worthiness” to “the resurrection of the dead,” which is also a form of “salvation” do you? So you are not really talking about those “unworthy of salvation,” but those “unworthy of exaltation,” right? In other words, not worthy of receiving the same rewards or the same degree of glory that you feel worthy of, right?

    I addressed this above, but it was before I got to this part of your comment…

    You say: “Christ did accomplish what he was sent to do, but that was not a guaranteed universal salvation.” And then you turn right around and acknowledge that “all are resurrected, which is a universal salvation from physical death.” (Clearly demonstrating what I said in response to your earlier comments.)

    And this is the problem when you separate “salvation” from “exaltation,” as the LDS do, and then you conflate the terms. The LDS do not deny the salvation of all men, they deny the exaltation of all men. But you think I don’t understand LDS Doctrine? I may be a bit rusty on a few things and I may not know or understand every aspect of LDS Doctrine, especially when it comes to how some members might see or understand things quite differently from other members. But I think I have a good handle on the general principles and teachings of the Church. I was raised in the Church, after all. I know very well what you believe about paradise, judgment, the sons of perdition, outer darkness, etc. Just because I do not discuss all of those things in detail, in every single blog, does not mean that I do not know the doctrines of the church concerning them. They simply are not the topic being discussed at the moment.

    In this blog, I did mention D&C 19, to which you responded: “However, all will eventually be brought out of this torment, which is called Hell, and thus we have the statement from D&C 19, for there will be an end for all people. However, after that short reprieve, those Sons of perdition will be cast back into that Hell for all eternity.”

    I know you think this addresses what I said about D&C 19 or, at least, explains how D&C 19 can say that there will be “an end” to “eternal punishment,” without disagreeing with the Book of Mormon, which clearly says there will be “no end” to this punishment, but can you not see that the two statements are contradictory and are not reconciled by claiming that “it ends for some, but only temporarily for others”? A “temporary reprieve” IS NOT “an end”, Shem. And this doesn’t, at all, address the very explicit statement made in D&C 19 that “It is not written that there shall be no end.” You know very well that it most certainly IS written that there shall be NO END to this punishment. You even acknowledge that this is true, even if you try to introduce some kind of “interruption” to that punishment in order to explain the obvious contradiction. The contradiction, however, is not removed by your explanation.

    The bottom line is this: If Jesus was sent to be the Saviour of the world, the Saviour of all all men, and he did not save “the world” (all men) then he most assuredly did not accomplish want he was sent to do. Nor can he, rightly, be called “the Saviour of all men.” You cannot get around that fact by simply claiming: “Because of Christ, all men can be saved. Without Him, no man could be saved.” Jesus Christ is not THE POTENTIAL SAVIOUR “of all men,” he is THE SAVIOUR “of all men,” Scripture even tells us, quite explicitly, that salvation is not limited to “just believers” (if it were, he would be “the Saviour of believers,” but NOT “the Saviour of all men”), where Paul writes: “This is a faithful saying and WORTHY OF ALL ACCEPTANCE. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, BECAUSE WE TRUST IN THE LIVING GOD, WHO IS THE SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN, SPECIALLY OF THOSE THAT BELIEVE. THESE THINGS COMMANDE AND TEACH.” (1Ti 4:9-11) Do you believe “especially” means “exclusively”?

    How about two more witnesses?

    John wrote: “And he is the propitiation for our sins: AND NOT FOR OURS ONLY, but also for the sins OF THE WHOLE WORLD. (1Jn 2:2)

    John records John the Baptist saying: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away THE SIN OF THE WORLD.” (Joh 1:29) [What is that “sin”?]

    Jesus Christ is the Saviour of all man. That is not a result of OUR faithfulness, but HIS.

    Scripture say: “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” (2Ti 2:13) The WORLD was reconciled to God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, in Him God created ONE NEW MAN (Eph 2:15), making us a part of Him, His “body.” (1Cor 12:7) To deny any one of us is to “deny himself,” which he will not and cannot do!

    The only people the Bible says “shall not be forgiven” are those who commit “blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.” And while the KJV says: “It shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come,” you might want to look up the word translated “world” in this verse and see if that really implies what you might think it does. And does the fact that a particular offense is considered “unforgivable” mean that it can never be repented of and, thus, be forgiven?

    What does it even mean to “blaspheme against the Holy Ghost”? Do you realize that the scriptures tell us that those who are “not forgiven” are those who do not “forgive” (as they have been forgiven)?

    So, then, what does the “justice” of God actually look like? What is the “true judgement” that all the saint of God are called to “execute”?


  5. shematwater

    August 5, 2017 at 12:29 am

    It is fun, but you still don’t get it.

    First, your analogy of a burning building does not accurately reflect the condition of man. That is a disaster that, more often than not, those that suffer from it are not responsible for its occurrence. Thus it does not accurately correspond to the choices that we make in this life. For it to be accurate you would have to also claim that our sins are not our choice, or not our fault, and thus Christ is not saving us from our own actions, but from a condition that exists outside out control and influence. If that is the case than why would God have created us in such a condition in the first place?

    It would be much more accurate to ask if it is truly just for a king to simply pardon all criminals, regardless of the offense, simply because he can? Should a king, or any other magistrate, walk into a jail and turn all the inmates loose in order to save them from the consequences of their own choices?
    Actually, even the idea of a jail doesn’t really capture the truth. It is more like exiles, who have been sent out of the kingdom for their crimes.
    To grant universal pardon would destroy justice. If the exiles were forced to return, than agency is destroyed, and they are no better than slaves that must act at the whim of a master.

    And justice can’t be mercy. The two principles are very different things. To say they are the same to redifine the words in order to make them fit your philosophy. God chooses His words very deliberately. When He speaks of justice, He means justice, and when He speaks of mercy, He means mercy. Otherwise there is eternal confusion and no one can truly be confident that they know the doctrine of God.

    As to worthiness, you really don’t understand this either. All are resurrected because all are worthy of resurrection. Physical Death comes upon us because of what Adam did, not because of anything we did. This is much more in line with your burning building analogy. We did not cause the problem, and thus it is not just to make us suffer the consequences for eternity.
    We are worthy of resurrection, because we were worthy to gain a body in the first place. Our actions in the pre-existence earned us this body, and nothing we have done can take that from us. Thus Christ, to fulfill justice, gives us back what is rightfully ours. So yes, it is still based on the same concept of worthiness.
    As to choice, we all chose to be born into physical bodies. As part of that choice we all accepted the reality of he resurrection. That choice has already been made by everyone who has or will ever live on this earth.
    Thus, both justice and agency and upheld in this doctrine.
    And no, we do not mean exaltation when we say salvation. A person who enters any degree of glory is worthy of salvation, and they will get what they are worthy of. Exaltation is merely one level of salvation, but salvation includes many things.
    You try to claim I contradict myself when you say quote me saying “Christ did accomplish what he was sent to do, but that was not a guaranteed universal salvation.” And then you turn right around and acknowledge that “all are resurrected, which is a universal salvation from physical death.” But full salvation is not universal, only a portion of it is. All are saved from physical death, and all are saved from the first spiritual death. After that salvation must be earned through our works.

    As to your claim of contradiction, that the Book of Mormon does teach that there will be no end, I did address this, but evidently not clearly enough.
    There are only three passages in the Book of Mormon that use the phrase “No End” in reference to hell and punishment. They are 1 Nephi 14:3; 1 Nephi 15:30; and 2 Nephi 9:16. None of these say that there shall be no end to the suffering of those who are cast out, but that the punishment itself exists forever. They don’t say “There shall be no end to this torment.” But rather that the lake of fire will always exist, for it hath no end.
    So, again, there is no contradiction in the scriptures.

    As to your argument that giving a reprieve is not making an end, that is very illogical. After all, school ends in may, but it starts again in September. For some it starts again in June. Does that mean that there was no end to school in may? Of course not. All it means is that it ended and then started again. The same is true of work. Every Friday work and and we enjoy a weekend, only to start work again on Monday. So, does work never end, or does it end and begin again? Or better yet; do you tell a person whose cancer was in remission but has returned that they didn’t have an end to the suffering that it brought them? To a lesser degree, I get ear infections every years. So should I say that my infection never ended because it was only gone for a few months?

    Now, I don’t really care how many quotes you can throw out. My intention was never to convince you of the truth of anything. I don’t have that power, especially in an online blog. My intent was to show how you erred in your understanding and explanation of LDS doctrine and scripture. That I have done, and that is all I will comment on.

    You are right that we do not believe in a Universal Salvation, because to do so is to deny agency and justice, as I have explained. However, our scripture does not contradict itself, and our doctrine is perfectly sound when it is fully understood.


  6. mormondoctrinefails

    September 26, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Shem, man’s ability to make choices doesn’t prove that men are free from conditions and circumstances that are/were not their choice and is/was not their fault. It is possible that Christ is saving us not only from our own actions, but from conditions that do exist outside of our control and influence. Those concepts are not mutually exclusive. And the very fact that Christ died to save us from those conditions is proof that HE (not we) is “responsible” for our salvation. The scriptures tell is that it was God who made the creature (man, in his natural carnal state) “subject to vanity” in the first place – in hope of eternal life. That such is the case doesn’t mean that men are simply pardoned, regardless of the offense. We reap what we sew! Whether that be life or death, spiritually speaking. If you think I have said otherwise, then you have not understood my words. You speak of “justice,” but seem to equate justice with “punishment,” that has no redemptive value at all. The word of God does not support your position. In fact, scripture tells us that true/righteous judgment is to show mercy! And this is the judgment that the saints are called to “execute.”

    You falsely claim that all are resurrected because all are worthy of resurrection, because our actions in the pre-existence earned us our bodies and made us worthy of resurrection. That’s false Mormon Doctrine. You also equate the resurrection of the dead to a physical event, for you wrongly equate the wages of sin (which is death) to physical death. You claim: “Physical Death comes upon us because of what Adam did, not because of anything we did.” You are wrong. Not only does physical death not have anything to do with sin, men die for their own sins not someone else’s. You are missing the fact that Adam serves as a figure for “the first (natural/carnal/mortal) man,” in whom ALL MEN can be seen, as it related to their natural/earthly birth. Likewise, Jesus Christ serves as a figure for the “second (spiritual/heavenly/immortal) man,” in whom ALL MEN can be seen as it relates to spiritual/heavenly birth. And ONLY Christ (the SECOND MAN, the LAST ADAM) has immortality, Shem.

    You go on to talk about the differences between salvation and exaltation, as if I lack understanding on those subjects. Yet you only prove that this is not the case at all, as I very clearly lay out the difference myself and point out the fact that within Mormon Doctrine the only part of salvation that is “universal” is that which pertains to physical resurrection. You say that “full salvation is not universal,” which is exactly my point, when it comes to Mormon Doctrine. But thank you for acknowledging that you believe that “salvation must be earned through our works,” when it comes to anything beyond one’s “physical” salvation. Many Mormons refuse to acknowledge that.

    When you say that “all are saved from the first spiritual death,” you speak the truth. Yet you don’t seem to understand that this is the death that all men suffered due to sin, and it is the very death from which men need to be saved. You are speaking about spiritual things, but not understanding them because you are still looking at physical things, those things that are only meant to make the unseen seen.

    I am not going to argue you with over how many verses talk about hell and punishment having “no end,” and whether or not they are talking about those cast into the lake of fire or just the lake of fire itself. The Book of Mormon very clearly states the “final state” of some will be as if there was “no salvation.” You can manipulate it any way you want by claiming it’s talking about something else or that it’s not referring to general salvation (obviously), but to the various forms of “exaltation,” some forms of which are considered, by Mormon Doctrine, to be forms of “damnation.” None of that is true of Mormon Doctrine about those things is false, which I believe is the case.

    My experience with school, or work, or cancer has NOT “ended” UNTIL it has ENDED, Shem. Summer breaks, weekend breaks and periods of remission are NOT “end” just because you say they are. Yes, I understand that we speak of “the end of the school year” and “the end of the workweek,” even “the end of cancer treatments,” but we all understand that those are NOT “the end” to schooling, working, or (in many cases) cancer in the context in which we are talking, which is whether or not there is or is not an “end” to “eternal punishment” and, surely, you know that. And, as I said, a “temporary reprieve” is NOT an “end.”

    And, yes, I do deny your definition of “agency” and your sense of “justice.” Seek the judgment/justice of God and you will one day know why.


  7. mormondoctrinefails

    September 26, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    I do not have the time tonight but will try to remember to come back to the links. 🙂


  8. shematwater

    October 9, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Again, I couldn’t care less whether you think our doctrine is true or not. That is entirely beside the point. You made the claim that our doctrine has internal inconsistencies and is thus insupportable and falls apart. That is the only thing I have been addressing in any of my comments.

    You have failed to show that LDS doctrine in any way contradicts itself. It is sound doctrine that stands on its own foundation.

    What you seem to be arguing now is that if our doctrine is not consistent with yours than it must be insupportable because no doctrine can be sound doctrine that disagrees with you. That is a fine argument to make, and one that I have no desire to discuss. I make the same argument about the soundness of your doctrine.
    But if you are going to claim that our doctrine is internally contradictive and filled with inexpiable paradoxes than you need to remain within that claim.

    In other words you can’t say our doctrine contradicts itself because you believe in universal salvation and we don’t. You would have to show that our doctrine, in and of itself, both teaches and denies universal salvation, and that you have failed to do.
    The same is true with your concept of mercy and justice. It doesn’t matter what you believe. Our doctrine does not fall based on what you believe. So you must show that our concept of justice and mercy contradicts our concept of salvation, or your claims of internal paradoxes and doctrinal failings is meaningless.


  9. mormondoctrinefails

    November 4, 2017 at 4:34 am

    Whether or not Mormonism is true or not is entirely the point, Shem. It’s the whole point of this blog. It’s internal inconsistencies is but part of the equation. You may think I have failed to show even a shred of evidence for the latter but I think most other readers can comprehend the very clear discrepancy between something like “they shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for them; and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever and has no end” and “it is not written that there shall be no end to their punishment,” even if you think you have found a way around seeing it.

    And, as you say, I couldn’t care less whether or not you agree with me or my doctrine. Though you don’t seem to comprehend the fact that both of those statements come from official Mormon scripture, I don’t think others will be quite so lost on that point. I trust that they will be able to see, much more easily than you, that this blog IS about the inconsistencies WITHIN MORMON DOCTRINE ITSELF and not just about where my own personal beliefs run contrary to it, though I actually BELIEVE that “it is not written that there shall be no end to this punishment,” while you do not. How ironic is that?

    That you cannot see the inconsistencies and the outright contradictions doesn’t mean they don’t exist. But feel free to keep deflecting with your condescending attitude towards me, personally. That alone says quite a lot.


  10. shematwater

    December 30, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    Sorry it has been so long, but I have been busy. Just thought I would say a few things.

    I would like to offer an apology. I was reviewing the comments I made and it was me that first diverted the discussion from the subject at hand, which was the apparent contradictions between the Book of Mormon and D&C 19. That I should not have done as it distracted from the main point that I was trying to make and led to much of the confusion in later posts.

    Now, I want to alter my previous statements on this particular point slightly. First, it is true that it does not say there will be no end, and I still do not think you have shown any point in the Book of Mormon that it does. However, it also does not say that there will be an end either. And thus the real point of D&C 19 is not that everyone will be saved from this torment, but that salvation is possible and there will be those who are saved.


  11. mormondoctrinefails

    May 7, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    Shem, apology accepted. Sorry it took me so long to answer. I’ve not been adding to or paying much attention to this blog as of late (as you can probably see).

    You say: “… it is true that it does not say there will be no end, and I still do not think you have shown any point in the Book of Mormon that it does.”

    Are you saying that not a single verse that I quoted in this article says that there will be “no end” to the torment/punishment of the wicked and that no such verse exists in the entirety of LDS scripture?

    Passages that say: “…their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever and has NO END” and “…from whence there is NO DELIVERANCE… which is ENDLESS torment” don’t say that to you? Doesn’t mean what it says? What are you saying? I am confused by your assertion, which seems contradictory to the clear wording of the passages I am questioning.


  12. shematwater

    May 9, 2018 at 8:58 am

    I have explained it several times, and in altering my previous statements I have not altered the meaning of these phrases.Even before the conversation was diverted I explained this, and it is explained perfectly in D&C 19. The punishment and torment is endless, but this is a description of the punishment, not a duration of time one spends there.
    So, there is a prison that has existed endlessly. It has existed from eternity to eternity, having neither beginning of days nor end of years. It is a torment as a lake of fire and brimstone that ascendeth up forever and ever, having no end. Some people are sentenced to only a few months in this prison, others are sentenced to many years, and still others are sentenced for eternity.
    This is what the scriptures say and this is what they mean. This is what they have always meant.


  13. mormondoctrinefails

    May 11, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    Shem, I am not going to keep going back and forth with you. I will concede (and believe I already had) that your argument that “this is a description of the punishment, not a duration of time one spends there” could be a valid argument when it comes to some of passages being discussed, particularly when speaking in terms of the “punishment.” I already pointed out that I believe this is exactly the argument that Joseph Smith was making in D&C 19 and one I believe he borrowed from his Universalist influences. However, that same argument cannot be used when speaking in terms of those for which it is said there will be “no deliverance” and who will remain “as though there was no redemption made.” Besides, in your last sentence you concede that some “are sentenced for eternity,” conceding that, for them at least, their punishment has no end. And I will assume that when you speak of what the scriptures say, have always said, and have always meant you are referring to those scriptures that are unique to Mormonism, as nothing could be further from the truth when it comes the Bible. Nowhere does the Bible state that anyone will remain forever in a state of wickedness, “as though there was no redemption made” or in a hell from which there is “no deliverance,” much less that such a place of punishment is eternal, having no beginning and no end. Truthfully, I have no idea where to find that teaching even in Mormon doctrine.



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