Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Daughters of Perdition

26 Mar 1903 - Joseph F. Smith told the Apostles "there would be no daughters of perdition" in the final judgment.

You may think it is a sign of my complete depravity that I am put out because women cannot become Sons of Perdition. But give me some time to explain, and you may see why.

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, then 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).

After potential sons of perdition have had this sure knowledge manifested to them, they would then have to turn away from the Mormon Church, deny the truth, and commit the "unpardonable sin."

So why can't women become Sons (Daughters) of Perdition? Is there something about not having the Priesthood that makes a woman less able to have this sure knowledge of Christ? After all, in D&C 13:1 we learn that the Aaronic Priesthood holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and in D&C 84:19 we are told that the Melchizedek Priesthood contains the keys to the mysteries of the kingdom and the knowledge of God.

I'm just as positive as can be that many Mormon women will be pleased not to have the opportunity to become Daughters of Perdition. Our women leaders have assured us that we can partake of every blessing that is available to priesthood holders. But if this is true, then why is the converse not possible?

(I was going to write more on this topic, but a post just went up on Main Street Plaza on this subject, so I thought I'd get my ideas out there and we can continue the discussion in the comments. Have at it!)


jana said...

So glad to know that I'm not in danger of DOPhood. ;)

Anonymous said...

My question is this:

Can I not be a DOP because
a--I (woman) cannot KNOW without doubt of God
b--After such knowledge, I (woman) cannot deny it?

Bored in Vernal said...

To the contrary, dear Jana.

ESO, Good question! But don't both scenarios cause problems for feminists?

Lessie said...

Holy Cow, where'd you find that picture? That's kinda spooky. And in my current confused state, it's good to know my bases are covered--at least for now. Haven't had any visions yet (in spite of how much easier that would make this whole thing).

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you misread the statement, since he says "there would be no daughters of perdition" as opposed to "there can not be any daughters of perdition"

Maybe it is possible, but it just won't happen...

Nick Literski said...

On this topic, you might be interested in the vision claimed by early LDS member, Mosiah Hancock:

"When about twenty-one years of age, I was permitted by the power of God, to go into His presence and into my former abode. I saw the Eternal Father on His throne and His wives on His left side, all shining in glory, I saw the Savior and knew Him. It takes the power of the Holy Ghost to tell the difference between the Father and the Son, they look so much alike Jesus said: 'Mosiah, I have brought you here to show you how it was before you went to the earth.' I had been to the earth; everything looked so natural and familiar. I seemed to have been a companion of the Savior and talked with him like a friend. Again, He spoke to me and said: 'Look and see man as he came forth.' I looked in the direction indicated and saw an innumerable line of God's children extending further than I could see. They were arranged in pairs, male and female, and passed in front of the Eternal Father who named them; and they were clad in long white robes with girdles tied around the waists; each pair seemed to have been created mates.

"When thus clothed; they were arranged in classes of about two hundred; the males sitting in front and the females behind them. They were taught in the arts and sciences, and everything necessary to make the heart happy The teachers of the classes received the instruction they imparted from certain notable ones, who in turn got their directions from the Father and the Son- I thought I was one to overlook the classes; I also saw Joseph, Brigham and many others engaged in this work of education. I thought as some became more efficient than others they were advanced from class to class I thought my name was Mosiah, and the names of the other brethren there were the same as upon the earth. All at once there was a gathering of these spirits and the voice of the Great Eternal (for that is what we called God there) spoke: 'Oh, ye my children,' and His voice penetrated throughout space, so countless were His offspring 'We have an earth prepared for you, on which you can dwell and have a chance to come up, thru obeying our Heavenly laws.'

"I there heard the question asked: 'Who will go down and set an example of humility and faithful ness to these my children, that they may be brought, thru obedience to our laws, back into our presence?'

"I thought I saw one in the express image of the Father say, 'Father, I will go down and set a pattern of humility and patience that your children, thru my example, may be brought back again.' How noble, I thought, He looked when He offered Himself so patient before the children of our Father.

"I saw another, who seemed to be a very high military officer who arose and said: 'I will go down to yonder earth and surely I will bring all your children back to you so none of them shall be lost.'

"The plan of the first was accepted as being the only sure plan for an exaltation. The plan of the second was rejected with great kindness, but the second was not satisfied; and while the first stood in great humility by the side of the Father, the second with many who stood in with him, went about among the Heavenly hosts to advocate the plan, that was put forth as the rights of the second. This one was Lucifer, a son of the morning, for any had been with the Father for countless ages, and learned their lessons well, and he had been no dull scholar. Finally Lucifer openly rebelled against the Father and the Son and six other mighty ones who stood faithful with them and declared, 'I will have it my way.' I saw the faithful ones gather around the Father and the Son, and Lucifer's workers gathered around him, when one of the notable ones, who was called Michael, arose and said, 'We will decide the contest' It seemed that a platform was extended into space,. upon which we could operate, by what power I could not tell. We who were faithful to the Father and the Son, had a white star upon us, and the others chose a red star, about one third of the males and females would not accept of either star, but withdrew from the conflict, the females taking the males by the arm, said, 'Come, let us not take part with either side. Let us retire-' (When they were cast out after the manner of spiritual warfare,) they had no power to return. When they were all cleared from the platform and Satan and his followers were all cast down, their female companions wept, and we all wept.

"No females took part against the Father and the Son, but all took sides in their favor, except the. neutral ones already mentioned. After the tears were dried, from our eyes, the voice of the Great Eternal spoke again and said, 'Hear, O ye my children;' His voice penetrating the immensity of space so that all could hear it; it is decreed by the Great Eternal that the females shall not follow their males in their banishment, but for every male that has kept his first estate and fought valiantly for the Father and the Son, there are two females. Again it is decreed that those males who have taken no part in this great conflict shall keep their females and a race of
servants shall they be.' I then saw that the notable ones who had taken such an interest in the rights of the Father and the Son were appointed to gather up those lone females whose companions had been cast down They were again placed in classes. each man having two females in the ranks behind him. I there saw that they were again taught in their classes, which now contained about three hundred. I next saw Michael and his companion proceed a long way off, to people the earth where Lucifer and his FOLLOWERS HAD BEEN CAST. As time passed, other notable ones followed as they were appointed. During all this time the classes met frequently, being taught by instructors appointed. Each member knew his or her own-place, and took it each time, and the best of order prevailed. They were asked, first the males, and then the females behind them, 'Will you obey the Gospel of
Jesus Christ, when you go to that earth?' Some would answer, yes, but not all. Some could be asked, Will you obey that law which placed the Gods on high? And in very few cases I would hear the females say, 'I want my own mate' Sometimes the question would be asked of a male, 'Will you obey that higher law? and he would answer, 'I wish to enjoy myself with the females' Sometimes when the question would be asked of the females she would reply 'I wish to enjoy myself with the males.' Again the question would be asked of the males, 'If you will not join the Church of Christ, what do you wish to be? He would sometimes say, 'I wish to be a judge, or an officer of high rank among the people ' Then he would be asked, 'Will you sustain the laws of God and also the rights of all mankind?' and the answer in every
instance was, 'yes. ' I saw there that those who were proficient in
their classes were advanced more rapidly until they became most perfect in those heavenly teachings, but some males, even there in Heaven would neglect their females and their classes and not meet with them. They would go off, arm in arm, as men now go, not having any desire for their duties. I never saw a female leave her place in the class assigned her by the Heavenly powers. I saw Abraham, when he came back from the earth, and many of the notable ones, when they came back to be crowned I saw them step upon the platform of the Gods and receive their crowns, and enter into their exaltations. At last I saw the time when Joseph was to go forth, and the voice of the Great Eternal said, 'Oh, my neglected daughters, gather around these my faithful servants who have been faithful in teaching you the principles of righteousness and of our kingdom, that others may come up and have the chance to be glorified-' I saw many of them gather around Joseph and form a ring with him and the Savior in the center. They made a covenant with him that they would meet him on the earth and help him establish that great work upon the earth. I saw many of them gather around Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and many other notable ones, and around many who have not become so notable. They formed rings around each of them with Christ in the center each time, for He rehearsed to them the Covenant. They would take each other by the hand, in the circle and bow their faces down to Him, in the center, and in the most solemn manner agree to meet them here, until every one of those neglected daughters was provided for; and they were filled with such joy that their songs made a paradise of the realm.

"At last The time came for me to go to the earth. The Savior came to me and said, 'Mosiah, it is time for you to prepare to go. You have been faithful so long here it is time for you to go, that you may return and be as we are.' As I beheld Him, I thought, 'How is it that I am not as you are now? For it seemed, that I knew nothing of the earth or the changes a probation there would make in me. However, I said, 'Who will go down to that earth, and be my father, and help me that I may be brought in the ways of truth and righteousness?' A male by the name of Levi stepped forth, in the presence of the Son, and said, 'I will go down to yonder earth, and by the help of the Great Eternal, I will try to do as well by you as you have done for me, for I am grateful to you for all your kindness to me.' He returned to his place, being an instructor of a class. I was one among others who was appointed to instruct him and the other teachers of classes. A female came out of the class and bowing before the Savior and me, said, 'I will go down and be your mother.' In a short time the man disappeared and was immediately followed by the woman. I knew my departure was near at hand and I asked, 'If on my return I could have the same position I then held.' Then the Savior said, Yes, and greater, but you have to go down to the earth, and take a lowly position and be misunderstood by man, even your brethren and endure many hardships and set many examples of humility and patience, that you may return and enter the glory, even such a s I have.' He then added, 'Your time is now come to take your mission to the earth,' and He laid His hands on my head, as He had done to others, and set me apart for that important mission. He again said to me, 'I will see you safely thru until you return again.' I fully believe on that promise. It seemed as though a way was opened before me, and I dived down toward the earth with the speed of lightening and awoke while sailing thru space."

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Thank you for posting Mosiah's vision Nick.


Anonymous said...

I think if a female were to deny the truth, God would still love them and keep them from being cast out into outer darkness.

You womym are too beautiful to be tossed to Hell.

RWW said...

It seems most likely that Joseph F. Smith was simply incorrect.

karateka said...

I think it is a prophecy, not a statement. It is one thing to say that women "can not" be daughters of perdition. It is another thing to prophecy that they will choose not to.

Having said that, I get fed up with "women worship." Perhaps it is to counteract the patriarchal culture of the church, and keep some men from abusing their position. But, as far as I am concerned, we are all human, and equal numbers of saints and sinners are to be found in both sexes.

Anonymous said...

How does one become a son of perdition? It is by committing blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which the Lord has defined as follows:

"The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall not be forgiven in the world nor out of the world, is in that ye commit murder wherein ye shed innocent blood, and assent unto my death, after ye have received my new and everlasting covenant, saith the Lord God; and he that abideth not this law can in nowise enter into my glory, but shall be damned, saith the Lord." (D&C 132:27)

So, if you commit murder "wherein ye shed innocent blood" and assent unto the death of the Savior, after receiving the new and everlasting covenant, then you become a SOP.

As I understand it, the new and everlasting covenant is the covenant that one makes at the time that his or her calling and election is made sure (see D&C 132:7 & 88:3-4). Therefore, the sin against the Holy Ghost would consist of committing the worst sin that could ever be committed in this life, after having received the greatest blessing that can ever be received in this life. Thus, it would seem to me to be at least theoretically possible that a woman could commit that sin, as well as any man. But, in the whole history of the world, I only know of one person who actually committed that sin, and that was Cain--a man.

Kit Tanner said...

I am speechless because of Mosiah's vision. for Why I will not say. Simply that I am speechless. Thank you who ever shared that. I think it will become one of my most treasured readings of my life.