Ananias and Sapphira Lie to the Lord and Lose Their Lives

Acts 5:1–11

1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.
10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.
11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:

“Why did the Lord slay Ananias and Sapphira? Their crime was lying; they conspired together to deceive their Church leaders; and the Lord made them an example of how serious the offense, how severe the penalty—for lying. In ancient Israel Achan was similarly punished for stealing [see Joshua 7].

“True, the death penalty is not imposed on all liars and all thieves, but these scriptural accounts of such penalties being justly imposed, stand as a warning of how such sins are viewed by the Lord. In effect the lesson to learn from Ananias is that unrepentant liars will be damned. What, then, of the part tithepayer who tells his bishop the sum given the Church is a full tithing? Or of the immoral couple who, conspiring together, assert their purity in order to get a temple recommend? Or of Church members who deny sins of any sort which would keep them from receiving temple blessings, priesthood ordinations, or positions of leadership?

“‘Thou shalt not lie,’ the Lord says, for ‘he that lieth and will not repent shall be cast out’ (D&C 42:21). ‘Wo unto the liar, for he shall be thrust down to hell’ [2 Nephi 9:34]. Liars suffer the second death [see D&C 63:17; Revelation 21:8], and receive a final inheritance in the telestial kingdom [see D&C 76:103].

“. . . To tell a lie to the Lord’s servant is to lie to God, although no one can lie to the Lord in the sense of deceiving Him, for He knows the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

(Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 2:58–59.)

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