One of the things LDS Church members are really pleased about in regard to the celebrated ‘3 degrees of Glory’ revelation, found in Section 76 of The Doctrine and Covenants, is that previously, the Christian world taught only of one heaven and one hell, but here we are told that there is a place for EVERYONE and very few will go to Outer Darkness, or Hell. In addition – and far more glorious – is the grand and magnificent concept it brings of Eternal Progression. We thought that heaven was a sort of vague, ethereal retirement plan, where we floated around in sublime bliss to the feint sound of harps and Songs of Praise. But Joseph comes along and encapsulates an idea so high – so lofty, as to blow our minds beyond the gravitational drag of the earth, into the orbit of another world. When I first learnt of this, it was mind-blowing – just amazing. And for very many members, it still is. In fact, they are sold on it. C S Lewis once confessed that if the Christian story of how God, sending his Son into the world to save it and redeem it, was not true, then it ought to be. It’s the same for the LDS about the message of Section 76; there is a great void in meaning without it.
These are the basic qualifying entrance factors for each of the 3 Kingdoms of glory:
The Celestial Kingdom Candidate: (D&C 76: 51-70)
- Receives the testimony of Jesus and believe in him
- Are baptised by immersion
- Keep his commandments
- Washed and cleansed from their sins
- Overcome by faith
- Receive the Holy Spirit by authority of the priesthood
- Sealed by the holy spirit of promise
- Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Children who have died and those who have received the Gospel in the spirit world, but did not get the chance on earth. (D&C 137: 1-10)
The Terrestrial Kingdom Candidate: (D&C 76: 71-80)
- Have died in ignorance –without the law
- Accepted the Gospel in the spirit world (spirit prison)
- Generally good people who were too blind to see the truth on earth
- Those NOT valiant in the testimony of Jesus
The Telestial Kingdom Candidate: (D&C 76: 81-109
- Those who deny not the Holy Spirit
- Do not accept the Gospel nor the witness of Christ
- Belong to other faiths, but will not join the Mormon Church
- Sorcerers (somebody who is believed or claims to have magical powers)
- Woremongers (a pimp who procures whores)
We may not know, but it was not very well received by many Church members at the time, due to their Protestant backgrounds. What may be even less well known is the fact that another ‘Visionary,’ by the name of Emanuel Swedenborg, already had the same general idea as Smith. What’s more, he had already published his version in a book, available to Joseph when he was a teenager, entitled: ‘Heaven and Hell and Its Wonders’ in which he also championed the idea of 3 heavens and Degrees of glory. He uses Celestial and Terrestrial to describe them, as well as the comparisons of Sun, Moon and Stars.
It is quite possible Smith may have plagiarised and copied Swedenborg’s ideas? As just mentioned, Section 76 caused a wave of agitation and disagreement among the saints. Some were excommunicated – unable to accept these new ideas. Michael Quinn explained that separate degrees in heaven, came from the occult. Emanuel Swedenborg was a teacher of the occult and was thought to be the ‘Father of Spiritualism.’ Like Smith, this man also had a Vision where God and Christ appeared and gave him instructions to enlighten the world – a mission to which he appears to have been faithful…. and guess what, like Smith, Swedenborg believed and taught that a marriage with ‘sexual love’ can continue in heaven – if first performed on earth. He said: “THE LOVE OF THE SEX ESPECIALLY REMAINS; AND WITH THOSE WHO GO TO HEAVEN, WHICH IS THE CASE WITH ALL WHO BECOME SPIRITUAL HERE ON EARTH, CONJUGIAL LOVE REMAINS.” Swedenborg uses much the same argument to get round Christ’s injunction: “they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven,” as does the Church.
He also taught the following:
- Three levels of heaven
- Three heavens in the Celestial Kingdom
- Priesthood robes are worn in heavenly marriage ceremonies
- You must be married to inherit the highest heaven
- The world of spirits is a place of preparation for either heaven or perdition
- There are angles who communicate between heavens
- The 3 kingdoms are like sun, moon and stars
- The church that Christ established has passed from the Earth
In Michael Quinn’s book ‘Early Mormonism and the Magic World View’ he tells us that Swedenborg’s book “Heaven and Hell and Its Wonders” was in Smith’s hometown library since 1817 and unbelievably, Joseph Smith’s was familiar with Swedenborg’s writings. Smith told a convert by the name of Edward Hunter that “Emanuel Swedenborg had a view of the world to come, but for daily food he perished.” So Smith was well aware of his writings long before he made up Section 76.
Losing my wife forever?….
I once had every good reason to want to trust the marvellous 76th Section. I had a lovely marriage and a great family life. I was told many times by members who visited our home, that our family was idyllic. I loved the plan of how worthy Saints literally progress in a marital state till they become Gods. The promise was that if individuals keep all the designated rules and laws of the Church, they will be saved into the highest paradise with all their families – so long as each one of them remains worthy. It seemed we were on the perfect course to the Celestial world… so why did I go on doubting?
Decades pass. In April 2006 I attended a disciplinary council and was excommunicated. It is impossible for those who have never been through a Church court, to understand the sense of devastation and loneliness that befalls you when they announce their verdict. As a one-time stake clerk, I had attended such proceedings and can tell you that I witnessed many members excommunicated for adultery, but, back then – as an observer (including the entire High Council) – we could not appreciate what it would feel like unless we were the ones on trial. At the moment of my excommunication, I was suddenly no longer sealed to my wife who had died a year earlier in full faith and worthiness. We sometimes speculate how we might feel if something we dread happens to us, or to those we love; well, here I was – eternally stranded and separated from my wife (Indeed, from all my children and my twin brother as well – all strong members) How did I feel? In some ways this was a test… had I been kidding myself? Did I really still KNOW the Church was true, but in denial? (As many members like to believe we are) or, was my conviction – that it was all false, real? So, I put that big question straight to my brain and to my soul as the seconds ticked by – you know what? NOTHING troubled me! All fear was gone. I knew then, like never before, that over 40 years of indoctrination had collapsed like the Twin Towers. Yes, I was emotionally choked-up with the dust and tears, but the huge edifice no longer filled my sky-line. It was gone.
As I processed that undeniable answer, I realised the strength of my unbelief in the Church. To quote a well known comedian: “I wasn’t bothered!” At last, their chief weapon of control – the FEAR of losing my loved ones – of supposedly ‘betraying them’ by my desertion of the faith, had ascended into a significant and surprising sense of unruffled independence and calm! I still believed in an afterlife and felt some day I’d see or be with Norma again, but what is important here, is not whether the soul goes on, but the concrete fact that Mormonism’s claim of ‘Forever Families’ (with all their mandatory conditions) was completely false and irrelevant and no longer held power over me.
I had been endowed, received both priesthoods, sealed in the temple, been a branch president and bishop and had a very strong testimony of the restoration. During all this time and with decades of sometimes tearful struggles, with doubts and inner conflict over Church teaching as I fasted, prayed, read my scriptures, was obedient and carried on (temple worthy), yet I slowly came to realize, the Church was false.
Their reasons for my excommunication were confined to a moral lapse (I had fallen in-love with a married woman, with whom I had infrequent contact by mobile phone and in the workplace. There was no adultery or proper affair… I had no physical contact, except for once touching her hand) But perhaps members and leaders alike could say: “Thus he has lost the spirit.” The truth is – I was on fire with the spirit – just not their proscribed spirit. I was still crying every day at the grief of losing my wife. I was crying every day from the icy steel of loneliness. Every time I cried I would pray; kneeling by my bed; sitting on the stairs; on my lounge chair, or in some quiet place in my car…. I had every reason to have made an insurance claim for flooding! In the night time I was saturated in thoughts of God. I have woken from deep sleep on a number of occasions, with praises instantly pouring out of my mouth – as if someone had just turned on a tap without my thought or control. The scriptures taught me (like Nephi and Enos) to go out and find God – well, I had done that; done it regularly for many years; out often into dark woods for long deep prayers. Over a life time I came to sense and feel things about the God they told me to find – trouble was, this increasing anthropomorphic God took issue with the Mormon God and gradually cut me loose and morphed into MY GOD. The greatest shock was the Stake Presidents announcement a second before saying I was excommunicated: “God will not be mocked!” Suddenly, I was confronted by an idiot, telling me I was mocking My God? In those days I had entered the agony and isolation of Self – into the paradox of joy and silence. This experience had nothing to do with ones state of so-called ‘worthiness,’ rules, or morality. And in the silence, my own irreducible Selfhood arose to celebrate oneness with the Universe. It felt like my essence or spirit stood alone without the attachment of the body and all its cravings, distractions, vanities and fears – it existed, it shined, it needed nothing; no worthiness, no repentance, no celebrated achievements or trappings of success. No programme of regeneration, no conformity to others, no redemption from the habit of sin. Nothing had fallen and nothing was needed to make it enough – to make it acceptable. It stood alone, yet irretrievably connected and wired-in to a universal energy. It was utterly pure and everlastingly still.
Over all the past years, doubts – like little shafts of light in a darkened room, were ever so slowly arising and then declining. A restless sea that gathered waves which seemed to keep dissipating. It has taken me so long to have the self confidence to fully trust my own instincts. These doubts and internal struggles go way back. ‘Doubt your doubts’? I’ve done it and got the T shirt. I was even released as bishop decades ago because of doubts (my request). The court was a red herring, but through it I leant how stupid and ill informed leadership can be. Any fool could have gone back. The Church owned me for too long – honesty and integrity kept me out.
My reasons for finally refusing to obey and for refusing to go back to Church, were, and still are, intellectual. To top it all, I published a book attacking the Church. So, essentially – according Smith’s invented scriptures, I am destined for an eternal hell… I mean forever.
The penny dropped…
I remember a Church of England lady who came to a fireside meeting at my house many years before this, where we proceeded to paint the picture of eternal marriage and that consequently, all those not sealed in OUR temple could not remain together beyond the grave, but she – thinking of her deceased husband, stared at me steadily and convincingly stated: “But love goes on forever and we will always be one” At that moment, I suddenly saw the stupidity of our claims… of course love goes on. I remained quiet, but have never forgotten her words.
The God who is not very good at Saving…
I’m grateful to Jim Whitefield, who also listed God’s appalling wastage of human souls, in his outstanding volumes ‘The Mormon Delusion.’ LDS leaders presently claim that their Church membership consists of “15 million strong.” However, as statistics go, it is far more accurate to assume that one third (5 million) is the real ‘active,’ or ‘strong’ members, who attend church – quite possibly lower. It is a well known fact that as much as ½ to ¾ of new converts, will drop away from the faith and yet these are still counted statistically to bolster figures (as well as children from 8 up) Of these 5 million – probably only a quarter, (1,250,000) are ‘temple worthy’ (fully obedient) and therefore, potential heirs of the highest Celestial Kingdom. So, 15 million ‘strong’ is a lie anyway. But let’s be very generous… let’s say that 5 million members (currently alive) will eventually get to the Celestial Kingdom of Heaven. Presently, there are just over 7 Billion people living on this planet. If you do a percentage calculation of how successful God has been in saving these souls, then we can see that he has failed miserably. Only 0.07% of the ‘present’ world population will have a hope in hell (excuse the pun) of being saved into the Celestial Kingdom – where we are told, God wants them to be. It is also part of the LDS dogma, that precisely 1/3 of all the spirits, which God had created and intended to become mortal souls on earth, rebelled in heaven before the world began and are destined to be consigned (with those like me, who have rejected the Church) to a hell which will never end. Think about it… multiple BILLIONS of souls, consigned to suffer hell for eternity, because they did not agree with the programme. Why is the Mormon God so hopeless at saving? Why do His plans and operations incur so much collateral damage – so much suffering? We are told that God’s great plan is to exalt ‘Families,’ yet it would appear that this is going to be a monumental disaster.
As Andrew Ainsworth pointed out quite rightly – in terms of the LDS teaching on ‘Families Are Forever’ – God’s Default Rule is SEPARATION. Listen to how he puts it:
“By buying into LDS teachings about God’s default rule of eternal separation, and the need for LDS ordinances to become sealed together forever, spouses and family members condition their marital and familial unity on everyone staying LDS. So, when the inevitable happens–when a parent, spouse, child, or sibling “loses his/her testimony” and leaves the church–the LDS members of the marriage or family believe the “apostate” will eternally not be a part of their family, and that creates severe anxiety and grief. LDS family members can then react to that severe anxiety and grief by directing anger and rebuke at the “apostate”. Which of course does not strengthen marriages and families; it destroys them.
Isn’t it ironic that the very thing that LDS leaders teach will strengthen your marriage and family and seal you all together forever–i.e., your unanimous belief in LDS doctrines and receiving LDS ordinances–is the very thing that ends up destroying LDS marriages and families when a spouse or family member leaves the church?”
Isn’t it a far firmer foundation to teach and believe that your marital and family togetherness is conditioned upon one thing only: your love for each other? Mormons say they’ll be together forever IF or AS LONG AS everyone in the marriage and family stays LDS.” (Bold emphasis mine)
Kerri Bodie writes: “The LDS Church pretends to sell you a connection that already belongs to you”….
“My first clue came when I learned about Quantum Entanglement Theory. Now I don’t claim to understand the mathematics of quantum physics, but the concept of Quantum Entanglement Theory can be understood by anyone, it is explained as this: Two or more particles born from the same source, from the same event, are now entangled – even if they are separated by a great distance – meaning that there is a communication that occurs instantly between the particles. Whatever you do to one particle, a measurable reaction occurs in the second particle instantaneously. The communication is therefore many times faster than the speed of light, which was thought to violate “special relativity”, but it was happening none the less. It is described as a “quantum non-local connection”. Einstein didn’t like this, he called it “spooky action at a distance.”
Quantum physicists have not fully explained this phenomenon, but they have observed that it does indeed happen. I discovered that String Theory and M Theory support this phenomenon as well. These theories have brought us the understanding that “matter” is merely energy condensed to a very low vibration, meaning that at our most basic level, everything and everyone is just energy, we are all connected, as energy can neither be created nor destroyed.
Now tie into this Carl Sagan’s famous observation that “we are star stuff” – in which he meant that all the elements we are made up of, were once inside a star before it exploded and gave birth to what would become our solar system. Therefore, it is assumed that, on some level, every particle we see is entangled to some degree.
And if you want to take it a step further, your children are born from one egg, the result of the union of egg and sperm from the mother and father. All of our particles then, are theoretically, if not literally, entangled. We are all connected, ultimately part of one great whole.
Many religions, including the LDS religion, teach that there is a measure of divinity within every being. This connects with the thought that what is in the “one” is in the “whole”, or what you see in the microcosm, is reflected in the macrocosm . . . . Once I understood these concepts, I felt some puzzle pieces fitting together in my mind. The way I see it now is: Families ARE Together Forever, not Families CAN Be Together Forever, as the LDS church teaches.
Families Can Be Together Forever is actually a veiled threat if you really consider what is being said here. The LDS doctrine states that you will only be with your family forever if you do these special “rituals” in the temple and even then, those “connections” will only continue if you live righteously.
Living righteously includes going to the temple, preferably on a regular basis. To get a temple recommend, among other things, you must be a full tithe payer – that is, 10% of your increase, gross or net depending on your perspective. So in essence, what that nice little phrase “Families Can Be Together Forever” is telling us, is they will take your family, that belongs to you forever already (this is important to remember, your family is already connected to you forever) and we will sell it back to you for 10% of your increase.
What unknowing investigators do not realize is that their family was never up for sale in the first place. The LDS church pretends to be able to sell you a connection that already belongs to you. The LDS church takes the people that mean the most to you in your life, then ultimately uses your love for them against you. Essentially they are saying:
“Do you want to be with your family forever?”
“Yes, yes, of course I do.”
“Then come join our church, pay us tithing, and we will teach you a ritual that will keep your family together forever. Do not violate any rules connected with this, or you will lose your family forever.”
As a young LDS member, I can tell you that there is nothing more terrifying than thinking you may be separated from your family forever. And once you grow up, marry your best friend and have children of your own, you find an even more desperate fear of falling short in the sight of the Lord and losing your beloved husband and/or children forever. Your love for your family becomes a gun to your head.
This terrifying thought is a very effective tool for obedience and tithe paying. And heaven forbid you screw up in anyway, the guilt and the anguish experienced in the mind of a child or a parent, I would say, can be seen as nothing less than emotional abuse since the whole manipulative concept is based on a lie.”
The majority of Families will be segregated and damned for ever…
What the Church continues to perpetuate however, is the message that failing to reach the highest Celestial Kingdom and falling back to the Terrestrial and Telestial kingdom, is a form of ‘hell.’ That’s because the level of anxiety, fear and agitation felt by the member, reflects their deep indoctrination of potentially losing the only destiny God wants for them. As Kerri has pointed out, this includes the terrifying and very real prospect of losing or being separated from loved one eternally. The contract down here, is that if you do not: (1) Become a member (2) Pay 10% on each pay packet (3) Keep the word of Wisdom – abstaining from spirits, tobacco, tea and coffee (4) Attend Church (5) Remain morally pure (6) Receive and keep all promises made in the temple (7) Obey and follow rules and laws of the Church (7) Pray (8) Read scriptures, etc., etc., then you will not be worthy to obtain the Celestial Kingdom in heaven. In this life, you can be very sure, that one or more of your family–for a variety of reasons–will not fulfil these requirements, so will be permanently separated and segregated from those of you who have. Those ‘less worthy’ will not be able to pop up to the Big Heaven to visit mum, or mum (if she has failed) to pop up and visit her children. Lovers will be separated – not because they have failed to love, nor failed to care for each other, but because one is unable to fully believe the same things as the other. Members tend to make the crass mistake (too long perpetuated by their leaders) that loved ones, who ‘fail’ to qualify are somehow ‘unworthy’ or have ‘morally’ lapsed. Nothing is further from the truth. They have simply stumbled on the history of LDS iniquity, and deceptions of such comprehensive magnitude, that they can no longer – with any shred of integrity, remain. In Smith’s silly plan, they will be shafted and isolated from each other.
Think of this comparison: Think of the Celestial Kingdom as a huge building, to which you will be assigned floors and apartments for the rest of eternity. A place you cannot leave. At the bottom (telestial) are the so-called ‘wicked’ people. They are not really wicked – it’s just that Smith liked to label pretty much the entire world as ‘wicked.’ He lacked the imagination and decency to fully appreciate the innate quality of individual souls, so he condemned the lot and promised scourges and tribulations, which, incidentally – have failed to happen. Anyway, these ‘wicked’ salt-of-the-earth people, have small rather shabby rooms by contrast to those higher up in the block… but at least they are not in hell! These rooms higher up on the Terrestrial floor are really quite large and rather splendid.
Next is the Celestial penthouse with breath-taking views and balconies. These rooms at the top are absolutely stunning – dripping with luxury, beauty and elegance. In fact, they are on a whole new scale of opulence and grandeur. The problem is, a couple who have been rewarded with the penthouse can NEVER invite up or entertain their 3 children and their families, who are assigned to the basement. They (the children) have not failed to love their parents, but only to choose a different faith or path, yet they want to see their parents to whom they are segregated for eternity. They will NEVER be able to see them in their astonishing home and environment. The parents can come down for short intervals only on very infrequent occasions. The same division could happen to a very close pair of lovers. One is at the top – one is at the bottom. No choice about it, except for the sheer courage of the lady, whose honesty and integrity on earth, took her away from the faith… so she is stuck forever further down. Their fate is to suffer the death of each other’s presence FOREVER.
Alas, Smith’s supposed revelation/vision on 3 degrees of glory is cruel, divisive, brutal and heartless. If, in the here-after, people are real personalities or spirits and really do rejoice to see each other again when they meet up after death (as Mormonism believes and promotes) then the forced separation and segregation on the final judgement day, when each soul is made (dragged screaming one assumes?) to their obligatory Kingdoms forever, is vicious and criminal. It’s a shocking plan. Think if you will, of those clips from 2nd World war films, where Nazi soldiers are forcibly separating families in the street – children from mothers, husbands from wives – never to see each other again, as they are escorted to their final destination.
This is the plan of exaltation. To repeat Andrew Ainsworth: ‘God’s Default Rule is SEPARATION’
Well, that was the ‘good news’ about the 3 Kingdoms of glory – now listen to the bad news…
If you – like me, are anxiously engaged in the good cause of spreading the truth of the Church being false (after first utterly rejecting it) and are consciously fighting against it, may be assured of a permanent resort called Hell, or Outer Darkness. (permanent – meaning, for ALL eternity… no holidays or tea/coffee breaks, parties, etc.)
I actually think it’s quite funny listening to FairMormon’s introduction to this holiday resort:
Outer Darkness “As we noted in the discussion of the nature of the spirit world, both the Latter-day Saints and the early Christians have taught that the “hell” associated with the spirit world will have an end. It should be noted here, however, that there will be an everlasting hell after the resurrection, and the promise of eternal punishment is very real for those who in this life and the next not only reject Christ and His Kingdom, but who consciously fight against it once they have received a witness of its truth. The Lord revealed to the Prophet that those who deny the Holy Ghost, and thus committing the unpardonable sin, will be given a kingdom of totally without glory called “outer darkness”
Verses on Hell from The Doctrine and Covenants 76:31–38:
“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—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. For they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity. Concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come—Having denied the Holy Spirit after having received it . . . These are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels—Yea, verily, the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath.”
“ . . . . and saves all the works of his hands, except those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him. Wherefore he saves all except them . . . . (The Doctrine and Covenants 76: 43-44)
This is also an observation from FairMormon to reinforce their doctrine, by quoting some ancient writings:
“Similarly, both the gnostic Christian Gospel of Philip and the Pastor of Hermas describe the denizens of “outer darkness” as those who have made a conscious and specific choice to rebel against God:
An Apostolic man in a vision saw some people shut up in a house of fire and bound with fiery chains, lying in flaming ointment . . . . And he said to them, “[Why are they not able] to be saved? [They answered], “They did not desire it. They received [this place as] punishment, what is called ‘the [outer] darkness,’ because he is [thrown] out (into it).
From the first mountain, which was black, they that believed are the following: apostates and blasphemers against the Lord, and betrayers of the servants of God. To these repentance is not open; but death lies before them, and on this account also are they black, for their race is a lawless one.
Origen taught that the wicked in outer darkness would be devoid of intelligence, and possessed of bodies stripped of all glory.
But the outer darkness, in my judgment, is to be understood not so much of some dark atmosphere without any light, as of those persons who, being plunged in the darkness of profound ignorance, have been placed beyond the reach of any light of the understanding . . . . The wicked also, who in this life have loved the darkness of error and the night of ignorance, may be clothed with dark and black bodies after the resurrection . . . . “ (Bold emphasis mine)
In defending Smiths doctrine, FairMormon seems to think that showing the bible and ancient writings, which mention degrees of glory, many mansions, etc., proves Smith’s ideas were substantiated by great minds of the past, but to me, it only serves to shows that Section 76 was not very original or radical at all.
One of the most awful books I have ever read (from cover to cover) was ‘The Doctrine and Covenants Commentary.’ This book was reprinted under the instruction and direction of the 1st presidency and was much used some decades ago. Even I, as an active and committed member at the time, sensed a streak of pious arrogance throughout its pages. You get a flavour of it here as I quote from its pages. It is dealing with the Sons of Perdition from Section 76. As you can see, these are no super-spiritual, 2nd anointed individuals, but ordinary Saints, yet the negative and deplorable character traits of so-called ‘apostates,’ described here, bear absolutely no resemblance to the folk I know, who have painfully left the Church – including myself.
“Those who are finally lost are such as have had actual knowledge of the power of God; they have been made partakers thereof; they have not only heard of it or seen its manifestations in others, but they have received it themselves. Paul (Heb.6:4) uses the expression, “enlightened,” which is equivalent to “baptized,” and is so understood by early Christian authors, because Christian baptism is followed by the reception of the Holy Ghost, who gives light and leads into all truth. He adds, “and have tasted the heavenly gift and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost.” In other words, they have been regenerated by the gospel and received the blessings bestowed through the ordinances thereof; and then they have “suffered themselves to be overcome.” They have denied the truth and have defied the power of God. They have become rebels, like Lucifer. Their status is that of apostasy. The 35th verse should be read here. They have denied the Holy Spirit, after having received it; they have denied the Only Begotten Son, and by that denial, crucified Him, as it were. They have been the servants of Christ but are now enlisted in the service of Lucifer, as were those who crucified the Lord; they belong to the same class.”
Smith’s God is nastier than members allow…
Most members (because they are kind and decent) will always tell a fellow member, or soul like mine, “No, you probably would not go to hell – you have to deny the Holy Ghost after having a very powerful testimony.” (not according to revealed scripture above) I said the same thing to sisters who would approach me as bishop – looking for consolation or advice about their non-member partner or inactive husband. Unfortunately, God is not as kind nor as nice as they are… neither was Smith. He even tells us that Fear is something his God counted on, to persuade people to conform. It is interesting that phrases like “eternal damnation” and ”endless torment,” were—according to Joseph Smith—used by God to deliberately scare us to death. In D&C 19: 6–7, God talks about the mistake we make about “time duration.” He said that prefixes like: “eternal,” “endless” or “everlasting” were names for God and therefore, such verses had nothing to do with how long punishment would last. They were really saying that endless torment was Gods torment (because “Endless” was His name). Joseph Smith both warned and made guarantees that entire families would be either damned or entire families would be exalted, in order to pressure women into marrying him. So Joseph presents a God who plays with our fears and twists words around, hoping to frighten the living daylights out of us! It seems that Joseph and his god are one and the same anthropomorphic person—manipulators of people.
Whatever a ‘nice’ General Authority, or decent member have said – trying to soften the blow of the fate awaiting so many thousands who have, and are currently, leaving the faith – makes no difference. You see, I’ve often told crying sisters that God will ‘sort everything out,’ as if the actual dogma of the Church (such as Section 76) is quite irrelevant. You see MY GOD would sort everything out. In fact, MY GOD would never have invented so much nonsense and suffering in the first place.
Smith invented the harsh dogma for those who he needed to control, who may have been tempted to think for themselves and walk away. The same is true of the pre 1990 temple endowment where each is threatened “TO BE IN SATANS POWER” if they don’t keep their covenants. It is an interesting commentary on Smith’s God – that He is prepared to dump Billions into a hell, which is apparently so bad, He will show no more than a glimpse to prophets, then shuts it up immediately!
 The Delights of Wisdom Pertaining to Conjugial Love.http://www.gutenberg.org/files/11248/11248-h/11248-h.htm
 (‘The Doctrine and Covenants Commentary’ 1968 Revised Edition, by Hyrum M Smith and Janne M Sjodahl).