Tuesday, December 16, 2008

LDS Doctrine: The "Unpardonable Sin", Part II - Who's Capable Of Committing The "Unpardonable Sin"? Duane Crowther's Perspective

In my previous post entitled "LDS Doctrine: The "Unpardonable Sin", Part I - Just What Is The "Unpardonable Sin"? Duane Crowther's Perspective", I presented Duane Crowther's definition of the "unpardonable sin". His doctrinally-supported premise is that it isn't a single act, but a series of 14 acts together that constitute the unpardonable sin and can put you spiritually "beyond the pale".

But on page 415 of the 1998 edition of his book entitled "Life Everlasting", Crowther suggests that "the unpardonable sin cannot be committed by all men, but only by those who belong to the Church and have received guidance through the Holy Ghost". Along those lines, it would seem like only those men belonging to the Church who have received the Melchizedek Priesthood and all their endowments in a temple would most likely qualify, because only they have the maximum amount of spiritual enlightment necessary to fall so far.

Crowther has compiled a list of nine criteria, also beginning on page 415, which perpetrators of the unpardonable sin must have met, before being judged to have committed it:

1. They have received Christ's new and everlasting covenant (D&C 132:27). The new and everlasting covenant is the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ (see D&C 39:11, 66:2, 133:57). To receive the gospel means to have exercised faith and repentance and to have been baptized and commanded to receive the Holy Ghost by those in authority through the ordinance of confirmation (3 Nephi 27:19-21). In this age, only those who have been baptized as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are capable of committing the unpardonable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.
2. They know Christ's power and have been made partakers thereof (D&C 76:31).
3. They have tasted the powers of the world to come (Hebrews 6:5). To fulfill these requirements the individual must hold the priesthood or have its power manifested in his behalf (such as being healed by priesthood administration). Either to use the priesthood or to have its power manifested in one's behalf implies a substantial degree of righteousness...
4. They have received the Holy Spirit (D&C 76:35).
5. They have been enlightened (Hebrews 6:4).
6. They have tasted of the heavenly gift (Hebrews 6:4).
7. They have been made partakers of the Holy Ghost (Hebrews 6:4). The act of confirmation into the Church is not sufficient to meet these requirements, for that is only the command for an individual to seek the promptings of the Holy Ghost. It appears that there are many who have grown to adulthood as members of the Church and yet have never knowingly received guidance from the Holy Spirit. They have never kept the commandment to "receive the Holy Ghost" and never knowingly tasted His promptings and guidance. They have never received revelation. Although their failure to heed this commandment has seriously retarded their religious growth, it has also made them ineligible to commit the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.
-- Herein lies the crux of the question of whether a person can commit the unpardonable sin, or commit blasphemy against the Holy Ghost; he can only do so if he has knowingly received guidance and testimony from that Being and therefore understands the divine communication process.
8. They have a revealed testimony that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (D&C 76:43). Before a person can commit the unpardonable sin, he must know through inspiration or revelation that Jesus is truly the Christ... Such a testimony and sure knowledge, revealed through the Holy Spirit, is even more binding upon a man than a personal visit from the Savior. Jesus himself warned that "All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men" (Matthew 12:31).
9. They have tasted of the good word of God (Hebrews 6:5).

All nine of these criteria must be met before a person can be considered capable of committing the unpardonable sin. Membership in the Church and knowledge of the Gospel is a starting point. But most importantly, a person must be acquainted with the promptings of the Holy Ghost and must have received guidance and a revealed testimony of the divinity of Christ.

So it's actually rather difficult to commit the unpardonable sin and become a son of perdition. So much so that, in 6,000 years of recorded human history, we only know of one person who has become a son of perdition. And that person is Cain, Adam's oldest son, who received the curse of the black skin but who was then used as the ancestor of the African race (today's Africans should not be held responsible for Cain's sin, even though they inherited his pigmentation).

While some speculate that Judas Iscariot may have been a son of perdition, we have no confirmation. We can't even say for certain that Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin were sons of perdition. We can't even be sure that apostate ex-Mormons like Ed Decker and James Spencer are on track to become sons of perdition. Who knows everything in the hearts of these people.

Perhaps it would be a lot smarter if we would spend less time wondering which historical figure is a son of perdition and more time making sure we are not on the road to perdition ourselves.


Debbie Craig said...

can I ask this question?
Where do the spirits of those who will likely inherit the state of perdition. Do they go to Spirit Prison with those who are like to inherit the Telestial glory or do they dwell on the earth like Cain, but without a body?

Jack Mormon said...

From what I understand, those likely to become Sons of Perdition would initially go to Spirit Prison upon death. However, they would go to that portion of Spirit Prison called Hell, where they are subject to the will of Satan. The greater part of Spirit Prison is no different than the present Earth in character; Satan can compete for the inhabitants' allegiance, but cannot compel.

After being determined to be Sons of Perdition in the Second Resurrection, they will be exiled to what is called Outer Darkness with Satan and his disembodied followers. Sons of Perdition will be allowed to take up their bodies once again, but their bodies will have no glory.

On his book "Earth In The Beginning", Eric Skousen suggests that what is called "Outer Darkness" is actually the unorganized portion of the universe.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Jesus say that it would have been better for Judas if he hadn't been born (Matt. 26:24, 24:20 JST.)

What does this mean if Judas is not a son of perdition?

Come to think of it, what would it mean if he is?

Would it mean that it would have been better if he never existed, if he remained an "intelligence" (and was never born as a spirit), or if he remained a spirit (and was never born here in mortality)?