“An Angel of God Fell and Became the Devil; Sons of Perdition Suffer Eternal Damnation; All Others Gain Some Degree of Salvation”

Doctrine and Covenants 76:25–49

25 And this we saw also, and bear record, that an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son whom the Father loved and who was in the bosom of the Father, was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son,
26 And was called Perdition, for the heavens wept over him—he was Lucifer, a son of the morning.
27 And we beheld, and lo, he is fallen! is fallen, even a son of the morning!
28 And while we were yet in the Spirit, the Lord commanded us that we should write the vision; for we beheld Satan, that old serpent, even the devil, who rebelled against God, and sought to take the kingdom of our God and his Christ—
29 Wherefore, he maketh war with the saints of God, and encompasseth them round about.
30 And we saw a vision of the sufferings of those with whom he made war and overcame, for thus came the voice of the Lord unto us:
31 Thus saith the Lord concerning all those who know my power, and have been made partakers thereof, and suffered themselves through the power of the devil to be overcome, and to deny the truth and defy my power—
32 They are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born;
33 For they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity;
34 Concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come—
35 Having denied the Holy Spirit after having received it, and having denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him unto themselves and put him to an open shame.
36 These are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels—
37 And the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power;
38 Yea, verily, the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath.
39 For all the rest shall be brought forth by the resurrection of the dead, through the triumph and the glory of the Lamb, who was slain, who was in the bosom of the Father before the worlds were made.
40 And this is the gospel, the glad tidings, which the voice out of the heavens bore record unto us—
41 That he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness;
42 That through him all might be saved whom the Father had put into his power and made by him;
43 Who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands, except those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him.
44 Wherefore, he saves all except them—they shall go away into everlasting punishment, which is endless punishment, which is eternal punishment, to reign with the devil and his angels in eternity, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched, which is their torment—
45 And the end thereof, neither the place thereof, nor their torment, no man knows;
46 Neither was it revealed, neither is, neither will be revealed unto man, except to them who are made partakers thereof;
47 Nevertheless, I, the Lord, show it by vision unto many, but straightway shut it up again;
48 Wherefore, the end, the width, the height, the depth, and the misery thereof, they understand not, neither any man except those who are ordained unto this condemnation.
49 And we heard the voice, saying: Write the vision, for lo, this is the end of the vision of the sufferings of the ungodly.

President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:

“Just what authority Lucifer held before his rebellion we do not know, but he was an angel of light, his name, Lucifer, meaning torch bearer. Agency was given unto the spirits of men, and they had their talents and individual traits of character there as they do here. It was due to this fact that Lucifer, who was proud and ambitious, rebelled against the Father when his plan for the salvation of fallen man was rejected. (See Moses 4:1–4 and Abraham 3:27–28.) It may, on first thought, appear that it was a good plan to offer to save ALL of the children of God; but a more careful reflection will reveal that it was an impossible plan. The only way that exaltation can come is by granting to each individual the agency to make choice for himself, to exercise personal preferment, choosing good or evil, according to his desire, ‘whether it be unto death or unto life’ (Alma 29:4.) The gospel plan, of necessity, will bring sorrow, remorse, and punishment to all who reject it and will not repent [see D&C 19: 16–18), but the Lord will save in some degree all the workmanship of His hands except the sons of perdition [see D&C 76:43].

“In his rebellion, Lucifer led away one-third of the spirits who otherwise would have been entitled to take bodies on this earth had they been faithful, but because of their rebellion were deprived of that privilege and became angels to the devil, or sons of perdition. The Prophet [Joseph Smith] said, May 21, 1843: ‘The punishment of the devil was that he should not have a habitation like men. The devil’s retaliation is, he comes into this world, binds up men’s bodies, and occupies them himself. When the authorities come along, they eject him from a stolen habitation’ [History of the Church, 5:403]. . . .

“[President Joseph Fielding Smith continued:] ‘There is a difference between salvation and exaltation. In this revelation the Lord says He will save “all the rest” [D&C 76:39] except the sons of perdition, and these “shall go away into everlasting punishment . . . to reign with the devil and his angels in eternity, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched, which is their torment” [D&C 76:44]. This doctrine is very plain as revealed in this revelation, and we learn that to be saved is to be redeemed from the dominion of Satan and from the second death. While the wicked will partake of this spiritual death until they are redeemed, when their redemption comes they will be brought forth to enjoy some degree of salvation. At that day “the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power” [D&C 76:37], are those who have known the power of the Father, have had the testimony of the Holy Spirit and then suffer themselves to be overcome and who deny the truth and defy that power. “They are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity” [D&C 76:33].

“[President Charles W. Penrose said:] ‘Section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants—there is one of the grandest revelations that I ever saw in my life in any book; there is nothing in the Bible that compares with it; there is nothing in any book that I ever read that compares with it, for glory, for perfection, for detail, for a revelation of the plans of the Father for the salvation of His children. Now, in that revelation, we are told what the gospel is, and we are told for what it was designed, and that the name of Jesus Christ was given to the Savior of the world, and that the time will come when He will save all except certain ones that are named [here]. . . . Now, Jesus Christ will bring forth all these in the resurrection from the dead, even the malefactors and the extortioners and those who love and make a lie—the wickedest kind of people, after they have suffered the penalty of the wrath of God, so that justice is satisfied, will be brought forth into some degree of glory. Those who get into the celestial kingdom have to attend to certain ordinances that are explained, and those who get into the terrestrial kingdom are to have certain qualities that are explained; there are several degrees in that glory; and so in the telestial world, the worst kind of humanity, all except those few that are called ‘sons of perdition’ [D&C 76:32, 43].

“The meaning of that is made very plain. There was an angel in the presence of God, of great authority and power, and he was called a Son of the Morning, a bright luminary among the spirits in the celestial world, and he rebelled against the Father and tried to get the glory that belonged to the Son, and he was turned away and cast down with those who followed him, and he was called Perdition, and the heavens wept over him when he was cast out. Then those, who, by his power, while they are in the flesh, after receiving the testimony of Jesus Christ, the spirit of prophecy; after receiving the Holy Ghost, turn away from its light altogether and deny the Holy Ghost and deny the Father and the Son; when they thus turn away, they come under Satan’s power and his dominion and are called sons of perdition [see D&C 76:32, 43], and these are the exceptions to the rule spoken of in that revelation. All the rest are brought forth by the resurrection of the dead into some degree of glory, as explained, not in this single verse, as some people think it ought to have been, but through the whole revelation, and we learn clearly that those who are eventually saved, redeemed, brought out of darkness, brought out of punishment, they are brought forth by the resurrection of the dead, into one of these degrees of glory, all but these exceptions. He says He saves all except them; they shall go away with the devil and his angels into everlasting punishment.

“Now then, some of our brethren have taken a notion in their heads that when He says all except them, it means they will not be resurrected. I would like briefly to refer you to the 88th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, in which this subject is elaborated; that is, the things revealed in the 76th section in regard to these three different degrees of glory into which all these persons are brought forth to salvation, are congregated and arranged and organized with these exceptions. . . . It says: ‘They who remain’—who are they that remain? It tells us there are the exceptions, these who go away with the devil and his angels and are called sons of perdition [see D&C 76:32, 43]; and they who remain shall also be quickened; but they shall return to their own place, because they would not receive that which they might have had, but frittered away their time and season for repentance, and they go away into everlasting punishment with the devil and his angels. Read section 29 of the Doctrine and Covenants, particularly verses 26–30; also [D&C] 88:32–33’ [Charles W. Penrose, in Conference Report, Apr. 1922, 29–31].”

(Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. [1953], 1:281, 282–83.)

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