Judas Iscariot


Ogden Kraut



Judas Iscariot left one of the most significant, if not notorious, names ever known among men. His was not only a famous name, but a name that carried a meaning. To the generations that have followed, his name has been spoken of with contempt; it is used as an adjective to describe treason, treachery, or betrayal.

From among the ranks of the humble and meek, he rose to the exalted position of apostle to the promised Messiah. Yet, from such an aspiring height, he fell to become the most despicable and despised man among the Christian people. Throughout the scriptures wherever the name “Judas” appears, the word “betrayer” almost always accompanies it. And to this day the name of “Judas” is applied more to describe a traitor or betrayer than it does to the man known as Judas Iscariot.

The life of Judas is of historical significance, as well as a most interesting and important study. The example of his life and the attributes of his character are an important study for all who would understand the nature of the controversy between Christ and the devil. As the seeds of a righteous faith grow into positive works of righteous action–so, too, the seeds of evil spring forth into the weeds of wickedness. When men choose to reject the light of truth, they must stumble and fall into the pitfall of darkness. Such occurred in the life of the Apostle Judas Iscariot.

The biography of his life stands as a firm warning to all who would undertake to live a Godly life, lest they, too, should stumble and become subjected to the spirit and powers that drove Judas to destruction.


* * * * *



[7]                               Chapter 1


The Apostate Apostle

Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. (Psalms 41:9)

As an apostle, Judas was listed last by all of the gospel writers. Perhaps this was done as a significant place which he held showing he was last in seniority or least in worthiness. We know that Judas was the only apostle that was not a Galilean. The meaning of the title Iscariot is uncertain; however, it may have been a Hellenized form of “man of Kerioth”, which denotes the place of his origin. Kerioth was the name of two different cities–one being a city of Judah, 16 miles west of the Dead Sea; the other a city in Moab, which had been under the judgment of God, located 25 miles east of the Dead Sea. He was sometimes called “the son of Simon”, but most often “Iscariot”, or Ish Kerioth, which by interpretation means “man of Kerioth.”

There is little doubt that Judas was converted to the gospel with honorable intentions. The mastery of Christ’s teaching, the miracles He performed, and the inspiring spirit of righteousness, is enough to draw men to Him. The calling of Judas to the apostleship illustrates the merits which he must have displayed for the cause of the gospel. Yet, it was at the beginning of the ministry that Judas began to expose certain faults, or evils, which eventually brought him into disrepute and destruction.


[8]           Jesus and the apostles labored in the ministry “without purse or script” because they knew the laborer was “worthy of his hire.” Good and humble followers would contribute to them and often there was an abundance or surplus above their immediate needs. It was under these circumstances when “many others which administered unto him of their substance” (Luke 8:3) that temptations began to play their part upon the carnal nature of Judas. Judas was a man inclined to seek material wealth and soon began to display a love for money. The need of one to act as a “treasurer” was essential; and Judas, being more adept and conscious of the value of money, was chosen for that position. Or, it may have been that Judas was chosen by the Lord to occupy this position because He saw the weaknesses in Judas concerning these temporal elements. Jesus may have placed him as treasurer so he could see the true place and purpose of temporal riches.

It was from this little treasure that Jesus had commanded his disciples to “give to the poor”. As treasurer for the Lord, Judas would have the opportunity to see the sufferings of others relieved and he could help administer relief to the afflicted and oppressed. Under such a position, he would be moved to compassion and charity, learning the principle of love to his fellowmen. As a treasurer he was placed in the most perfect position to either correct his false notions and covetous desires, or be tempted and tested. Compassion for the distressed would be seen and realized by Judas more than by any other disciple–but instead of alleviating the sufferings of others, he was overpowered by the spirit of greed. The gospel is a story of unselfishness, but to Judas it became a means of wealth, worldly honor or temporal glory. He indulged in a covetous spirit, and he soon began to steal under false pretenses.


[9]           The first episode of any consequence occurred in Bethany when Mary anointed Jesus with a vial of expensive ointment. John recorded that Judas protested the gift as a waste:

Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? (See Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-10; John 12:1-8)

The Apostle John was very certain in explaining that Judas was not really interested in caring for the poor, but rather to satisfy his own avarice. When Judas was complaining about the costly oil to be sold, John wrote:

This he said not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. (John 12:6)

According to John, Judas wanted the money turned over to him to give to the poor, but his intentions were to steal it for himself. It was apparent to Jesus also for John adds:

For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. (John 6:64)

It was this love of money and the lust for it that became a drug to his ego. He became an aspiring spirit, undoubtedly considering himself above the other apostles because of his “business” and “managing” ability. He perhaps felt that Peter was too impetuous; James too philosophical, John too absorbed in Jesus, and the rest too unlearned, He [10] would naturally feel in himself the only one to steady the ark and steer the course of the Kingdom into the temporal power and influence, which it lacked.

Some believe that Judas consigned the fate of Christ to destiny and perhaps he felt that Jesus would only allow what must happen to happen. Perhaps he also thought that Jesus–because of the persecution against Him–was a stumbling block for their temporal goals and without Him they could manage things better. Whatever the thoughts and desires of Judas, they led him into sin and destruction.

At the feeding of the 5,000 and again at the feeding of 4,000, Judas helped to distribute the miracle of multiplied food. Such opportunities to see charity and mercy should have made great inroads into the heart of this apostle. Surely there were times when spiritual joys and satisfaction touched his heart. Such rewards to the soul must have been seen and felt by anyone who followed in the footsteps of the Master. Tears of joy from the healed, the words of praise from the humble, and the embrace of those who found hope and salvation, should have melted the heart of any mortal.

Judas saw the sick healed, the lame and the blind to be restored, and even the dead were raised before his eyes. But, miracles did not endow him with the spirit of reverence or gratitude, Judas was only interested in, or moved by, the spirit of greed, the lust for power, and temporal gain. Eventually his heart was turned cold and hard like that of Pharaoh who sought the life of Moses; and not dissimilar to the evil Herod who sought for the life of baby Jesus. But Judas would expedite the death of his Lord.


[11]         Judas rose to become an apostle of Christ–an eye and ear witness to the promised Messiah–a personal friend of the Savior of the world, but he fell to become an apostate of the darkest dye–a betrayer to the Lamb of God.



[12]                              Chapter 2


The Betrayal

Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve. (John 7:70-71)

It was the time of the Passover when the Savior brought His apostles into the upper chamber to celebrate the Last Supper with them. The evening began with the ordinance of the washing of feet. The washing of feet was to teach them the lesson of humility, that the Master should still be a servant, and that love of your brethren precedes all other personal objectives or feelings. This is a principle that is totally absent from the character of tyrants, dictators and conquerors who rule with despotism or priestcraft over their fellowmen. It is personal pride, vanity and self-aggrandizement that has always been so prevalent in the disposition of most men: So it is especially significant that Christ should stoop to wash the feet of his disciples and impress upon them this pertinent lesson of humility. It was so important that when Peter refused to allow Jesus to wash his feet, the Savior replied, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” Peter was willing then to have not only his feet washed, “but also my hands and my head.”

Afterwards, the Savior said that because they had their feet washed, they were “clean every whit,” but added “not all”. This was a rather [13] strange pronouncement, but “he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.” (John 13:11) He knew the hearts of those whose feet He washed, but the heart of Judas was black. It was discernable to the Lord, yet unseen by the other apostles. The washing ordinance was not sufficient to sweep away the treacherous deeds that the man had committed. It was previous to this night that Judas had plotted the conspiracy of death for Christ. Before the washing of feet there were–

Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.

Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him. (Matt. 26:3, 4, 14, 15, 16)


The Scribes and Pharisees were eager to take advantage of the offer by Judas to turn traitor against Christ. “And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money.” (Mark 14:11) If greed for money was the reason that Judas acted the traitor in the betrayal, it was a most paltry sum, for Judas sold Christ for the price of a slave. (Ex. 21:32) So, “they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued.” (Matt. 27:9) In our money, this is about $18.00.

Strange that while Jesus was teaching others that the worth of one soul was worth more than all the world, He Himself was being sold for 30 pieces of silver.


[14]         After this ordinance the Savior was ready to teach another ordinance that must be attended to. As they sat at the table, He would tell them about his death and the purpose of this last supper with them. It seems almost inconceivable that Judas sat near the Savior, listening to the words of truth and salvation–yet he was engaged in one of the most diabolical conspiracies ever perpetrated. He was seeking for the death of the Son of God. This black, iniquitous betrayal had been designed and planned in the depths of hell, but now was being carried out by their obedient servant, Judas Iscariot. One can only imagine the uncomfortable emotions that were sweeping over Judas in such infamous hypocrisy.

As they sat at the table eating, Jesus knew the time had come to expose this devilish deed of betrayal. He declared, “Verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me!” This was an open exposure of Judas’ plot, that he had so carefully and secretly carried out. Exposure is the worst thing that can occur to those involved in such secret combinations. This was a devastating blow to Judas. The devil continually seeks to hide both the truth and his evil plots of conspiracy–however, both need full exposure and Jesus declared it.

Sadness, anxiety and fear fell upon all the apostles who sat at that paschal feast. The dark omen of betrayal could mean death to them all. Could it be possible that one of these messengers of life could stoop to become an instrument of death? Knowing the weaknesses of men and the powers of temptation, they were all filled with fear that they themselves might be the guilty one.

“Lord, is it I?” they queried, in fear that it might be. Distrust of themselves soon turned to suspicion of each other. Jesus was silent. During these troublesome moments of anxiety it appeared [15] as though Jesus was giving Judas time to confess, to ask for help to undo the wickedness which he had begun; or to repent of this monstrous plot of doom. But Judas, too, remained silent. The room was filled with gloom as the dark cloud of treachery touched every heart. Impending disaster seemed inevitable.

It was customary at the time for all to eat from a common dish, much the same as we commonly use a chip dip bowl. Each would dip into the dish with a bit of bread or cake to sop a portion of the food within. As Jesus reached into the dish, Judas inquired, “Is it I?” to which Jesus replied, “Thou hast said.” Hearing these words, Judas was filled with hatred, revenge and the desire to fulfill his hideous betrayal. It wast the moment for which Satan waited. A rage of contempt and hate jabbed into the pathetic lowliness of Judas’ black heart.

As all the winds, on some night of storm, riot and howl through the rent walls of some desecrated shrine, so through the ruined life of Judas envy and avarice, and hatred and ingratitude, were rushing all at once. In that bewildering chaos of a soul spotted with mortal guilt, the Satanic had triumphed over the human; in that dark heart earth and hell were thenceforth at one; in that lost soul sin had conceived and brought forth death. (Life of Christ, by Farrar, p. 605)

Jesus knew that Judas had gone beyond the pale of mercy. There was no turning back for Judas. His dark deeds of conspiracy and wickedness had overtaken him and he had sold his soul.

“What thou doest, do quickly,” spoke Jesus to Judas, There was no use dragging out or prolonging that which was inevitable. The power and influence of the devil over Judas was so complete [16] that his dye was cast; for Judas was in the hands of the devil and subject to his revelations.

And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him…. (John 13:2)

The war had commenced. Judas arose from the table and went out into the night–an appropriate time for such a deed of darkness, by one whose heart had become so calloused, so cold and black.

But, it was also appropriate and timely for the introduction of the sacred emblems of the sacrament to be administered. The bread was broken and passed to typify the body of Christ that would be offered as a human sacrifice for others. The wine would symbolize the blood that Jesus would spill for the atonement of men’s sins. This last supper was the death memorial of the Savior.

…the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. (I Cor. 11:23-26)

The crime of betrayal by Judas has become one of the greatest sins ever committed by man. He was denying the very light which he knew was true; he sinned by bringing about the death of the Son of God and the shedding of innocent blood. Jesus was their Master, yet at the washing of the feet of His apostles, He showed that He was still their servant. Although He was their Master and their [17] servant, He was sold by Judas for the price of a slave. The King of Heaven was bartered for the value of a slave–and that by a trusted apostle! The depth of this hideous crime was best described by Jesus Himself when He uttered:

The Son of man goeth as it is written of him; but woe unto that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born. (Matt. 26:24)

The Prophet Joseph Smith commented on this betrayal by explaining how such a deed was possible.

When once that light which was in them is taken from them, they become as much darkened as they were previously enlightened, and then, no marvel, if all their power should be enlisted against the truth, and they, Judas like, seek the destruction of those who were their greatest benefactors. What nearer friend on earth or in heaven, had Judas than the Savior? And his first object was to destroy Him. (T.P.J.S., p. 67)

The deed was so infamous that prophets, for centuries before Christ, foresaw and told of it. Peter spoke of this betrayal as fulfilling ancient scripture:

Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. (Acts 1:16)

The scripture which was fulfilled on this occasion was found in the book of David’s psalms:

Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. (Psalm 41:9)


[18]         Judas was filled with hate and murder when his sins had become exposed. He was moved with the spirit of vengeance. Judas went to expose the place where Jesus was and to also betray His identity. He would, of course, reveal the inner secrets, the counsels and the doctrines which would bring down the furor of the Jewish and Roman authorities.

Jesus arose from the table when the supper was finished and bid them to follow Him out to the Garden of Gethsemane. When they arrived, He bid His disciples to keep watch while He prayed. “My soul is full of anguish, even unto death”. It was only a matter of hours before He would face the death for which He was born. But He, too, was human and wished to remain alive a little longer. Upon bended knees He pleaded: “Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me;” but being the perfect Son, He added, “Nevertheless, not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” How significant, how vital are these words in the relationship of the children of men to their Father in Heaven! This is a rare experience in the life of most self-willed men, but certainly a needed one.

We may not intrude too closely into this scene. It is shrouded in a halo and a mystery into which no footstep may penetrate. We, as we contemplate it, are like those disciples–our senses are confused, our perceptions are not clear. *** The place seems haunted by presences of good and evil, struggling in mighty but silent contest for the eternal victory. They see Him, before whom the demons had fled in howling terror, lying on His face upon the ground. They hear that voice wailing in murmurs of broken agony, which had commanded the wind and the sea, and they obeyed Him. (The Life of Christ, by Farrar, p. 624)


[19]         What deeper feelings has any man than those which were experienced by the Savior. He knew the love of God better than any man; He knew the love of brethren; and He knew the love of family. These were as difficult for Him to bid farewell to in mortality as they are for anyone else. He, too, must experience the sorrows of the heart at such an adieu–and He must experience the grief of betrayal.

Centuries later this immortal Lord would say:

If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife and of thine offspring …know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. (D. & C. 122:5-8)

With all the power over life and death, the power to quell the storms, to walk upon the water or change it to wine; yet He, too, had to experience the yearnings, the sadness and the troubles of the heart. But, above all, He left the proper example and attitude–the divine wisdom to allow His will to yield to the will of the Father. Even though legions of angels were at His command, yet He acted only upon the will of God. How human, yet divine, is this scene in the Garden of Gethsemane. God’s will was to allow His Son to be betrayed into the hands of His enemies! He would become the sacrifice of all sacrifices. He should accept with willingness, the deceptive fate of His conspirators. He must oblige Himself to the worst fate that man and Satan could devise against Him. But through this submission would come a justifiable purpose, [20] better known to God than to man. A deed so insidious, yet fulfilling a divine purpose. The servants of sin would have their triumph, but only for a moment; then God would bring to pass His strange but wonderful purposes, so often unknown or understood by men.

Returning to the disciples, Jesus again found them asleep. “Sleep on now and take your rest,” He chided. “The hour is come. Lo! the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.” Judas had been actively laboring through the night with his plot of death while the rest of the apostles were asleep. He had hurried to the Jews and Romans with half-truths, lies and sacred secrets in his effort to expose and to create the death penalty for Christ. Every possible means of villainy and agitation was created by this trusted apostle, for it is in the nature of an apostate to fight, not only against the true principles of the gospel, but against those who advocate them.

Some of the temple guards and a part of the Roman garrison from the Tower of Antonia came with Judas to take Jesus as a prisoner. Judas was leading the enraged crowd. The soldiers were armed with swords and weapons, yet they were coming to capture the Prince of Peace. With torches and lanterns, they proceeded toward Jesus and the apostles on their unhallowed expedition. Jesus could hear the march of the soldiers and the clanking of armor amidst their obscene jests and vicious oaths as they approached on the path that led to Gethsemane. The blazing lamps and torches formed a speckled band as they wound about the olive yards.

Judas was out front leading the armed soldiers to the place where Jesus stood with His apostles. As they approached, Judas turned to one of the soldiers and said, “He whom I kiss, the same is He. Seize Him at once and lead Him away.” Then Judas approached Jesus and said, “Rabbi, Rabbi, hail,” [21] and saluted Jesus with the kiss of betrayal–to which Jesus replied, “Judas, dost thou betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”

The rebuke was like the strike of a whip to this treacherous villain, and he sunk back into the crowd of soldiers to avoid answering the incriminating question.

Roman soldiers, ecclesiastical authorities, and physical forces were all implemented in securing Christ–and Judas was the leader of the unholy alliance against Him. The moment of betrayal culminated in that moment that Judas gave Christ a kiss. It has been written that in that moment “heaven and hell met in that embrace.” He acted as a bosom friend, but murder was in his heart. Even though Jesus knew that Judas was plotting against him, he still called him a “friend”, but it was the last words that he would ever hear from his Lord.


Who would have supposed that stealing a few coins from the bag, when no one was looking, would evolve into a Satanic destruction of the Prince of Life. It is in the little temptations that sow the seed for greater crimes. Judas acted with the spirit of a gambler–he wagered everything–temporal and spiritual–and in the end he would lose it all. His secret ambitions would over-reach the pardoning hand of mercy, and for just reasons.

From the scriptures we can ascertain that the plot and execution of betrayal were ingeniously carried out with minutest details. It was the craftiest lawyers, the learned Pharisees, and the wisest sages of the Jews that tried and failed so many times to trap the Messiah. Not until Judas performed the act of a traitor was Christ brought into a position to be murdered. From the inner circle “He sought opportunity to betray Him”, (Matt. 26:16) and that “he sought how he might [22] conveniently betray him.” (Mark 14:11) The plot of Judas was not made in a moment of passion, insanity or error; it was carefully and deliberately plotted for the opportune hour.

The completion of the blood-money conspiracy was accomplished when Judas was leading the men who would secure the Savior, for Judas “knew the place.” He used his knowledge–not only in what would draw out the enemies of Christ, but also where to capture Christ. It was especially purposeful that “he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.” (Luke 22:6)

Forty verses in the New Testament refer to the betrayal of Christ, and in each verse the sin of betrayal is recorded.

How restrained Jesus was on the night of betrayal, as bread was eaten with him who had lifted up his heel against Him! Was ever contrast so marked as was clearly seen on this occasion between the betrayer and the Betrayed? (All the Apostles of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer, p. 103)

“Whom are ye seeking?” Jesus asked the soldiers. “Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered. “I am He,” He said. They then took the Son of God away to be tried, condemned and crucified.

In reading the four Gospels, it is apparent that the Apostles were all ignorant of the betrayal until it had been accomplished. The part that Judas played was a secret to them until Judas exposed himself with the kiss of betrayal.

The work of the devil had been accomplished through his servant Judas. But, as is so often the case with those who are tempted, when Satan is finished with their services, he then tosses them [23] aside, or reveals to them the wicked course they have pursued. So it was with Judas, when he realized how serious his crime was, he felt the torment of a sin-ridden soul.

During that terrible night, while false witness was borne and false judgment passed against the Son of God, Judas lingered about, stirred by different emotions. The weight and sound of when he saw that Jesus was submitting meekly to all insults he began to realize what he had done. He followed from Annas to Caiaphas, listening to the testimony and growing more remorseful. Satan had had his use of the wretch, and now left him to suffer to distraction the terrors of his evil conscience.

When judgment was passed, only Jesus and Judas realized what it meant. The disciples were scattered and dazed by the sudden changes, but Judas knew the awfulness of the condition. Both the Master and His faithless servant were suffering as intensely as their natures permitted. With the traitor it was the horror of the perdition awaiting him; with the Savior it was the crushing weight of the sins of the world on His own innocent soul. ***

The body of Jesus was cared for as a precious, holy thing, but the mangled remains of Judas, whose very passion had torn him asunder, were cast with disgust into a grave of the potter’s field. (Mill. Star 64:798)

If the “love of money is the root of all evil,” then it was well demonstrated in the life of Judas. Yet, in the end he never enjoyed his blood money, but threw it all away. What greater demonstration can be portrayed between the love of God and the love of mammon.


[24]         When the dye of crucifixion had been cast for Christ, the somber realization of what he had done became clear to Judas. The honor, glory or money for which he worked so tenaciously had now become a monstrous sin that would forever glare back at him.

There is in a great crime an awfully illuminating power. It lights up the theatre of the conscience with an unnatural glare, and, expelling the twilight glamour of self-interest, shows the actions and motives in their full and true respect. In Judas, as in so many thousands before and since, this opening of the eyes which follows the consummation of an awful sin to which many other sins have led, drove him from remorse to despair, from despair to madness, from madness to suicide. *** He was a despised and broken instrument, and now he was tossed aside. They [the patrons and associates and tempters of his crime] met his maddening remorse with chilly indifference and callous contempt. “I have sinned,” he shrieked to them, “in that I have betrayed innocent blood.” Did he expect them to console his remorseful agony, to share the blame of his guilt, to excuse and console him with their lofty dignity? “What is that to us? See thou to that,” was the sole and heartless reply they deigned to the poor traitor whom they had encouraged, welcomed, incited, to his deed of infamy. He felt that he was of no importance any longer; that in guilt there is no possibility of mutual respect, no basis for any feeling but mutual abhorrence. His paltry thirty pieces of silver were all that he would get. For these he had sold his soul; and these he should no more enjoy than Achan enjoyed the gold he buried, or Ahab the garden he had seized. Flinging them wildly down upon the pavement into the holy place where the priests sat, and into which he might not enter, [25] he hurried into the despairing solitude from which he would never emerge alive. (Life of Christ, Farrar, p. 659)

Judas’s last events were also described by Matthew, who wrote:

Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? See thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them in the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potters field to bury strangers in. (Matt. 27:3-7)

This event was prophecied by the Prophet Zechariah hundreds of years before the event transpired.

And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people. And it was broken in that day; and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the Lord. And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was priced of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord. Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel. (Zechariah 11:10-14)


[26]         Another scripture foretold Judas’s betrayal for thirty pieces of silver, as mentioned by Apostle Matthew:

Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me. (Matt. 27:9-10)

So it was not only the life, ministry and miracles of the Savior that were foretold by all the ancient prophets, but they also predicted the manner of his death and the betrayal by Judas Iscariot.

His dishonesty, coupled with other vicious propensities, such as avarice, jealousy, hypocrisy and fault-finding, overcame his first love for the Gospel if he ever had any, and so pusillanimously covetous had he become, that he accepted as his reward for the Savior’s betrayal, the small sum of thirty pieces of silver, simply the legal value of a slave, if he were killed by a beast, thus, as it were, symbolizing the helpless lamb of innocence, slaughtered by the merciless wolf of Iniquity. (Mill. Star 42:784)

Poor Judas–he lost his position with the other apostles; he lost his 30 pieces of silver; he lost his Savior; he lost heaven; and finally he would lose his own soul.



[27]                              Chapter 3


Traitors to Men and God

I testify again, as the Lord lives, God NEVER WILL acknowledge any traitors or apostates. (T.P.J.S., p. 375)

…if thou seek him he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. (I Chron. 28:9)

There is no hurt, no grief, nor any suffering quite as painful as that which can be caused by someone you trust, love or call a friend. It takes someone from within your own ranks, a traitor, to cause the greatest damage and deepest sorrow: like the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire that fell because of the weakness of its own people, or, similarly the Great Wall of China that had been breached three times–not by the power of the enemy–but because the gatekeepers had been bribed. The great cause of freedom in America was nearly lost when General Benedict Arnold collaborated with the enemy. Armies, nations and even the gospel of Christ have had their deepest wounds from those within their own ranks that prove themselves to be traitors. The devil knows that he can gain his most devastating victories by working from within rather than by force from without. From the time of Cain to the present, there is a path of blood, destruction and apostasy created by men, like Judas, who love darkness more than light, because they turn traitor to the cause they enlisted to serve.

There is a reason why men fall from the high or holy callings they have attained. Brigham Young explains why some men become traitors when he said:


[28]         We have the best and the worst. Why the worst? Because the Devil prompts men and women of the meanest and lowest grade to embrace the Gospel and get a foothold in the Kingdom of God to destroy it.


And then he added:

If you want to see the principle of devilism to perfection, hunt among those who have once enjoyed the faith of the holy Gospel and then forsaken their religion. (J.D. 7:145)

The gospel writers and the apostles usually referred to Judas Iscariot in the following terms: “Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor ….” (Luke 6:16) The appellation was earned and well attached to Judas, for it was his most famous act. Betrayal or traitorous acts are all solemn and saddening. Those who forsake or turn against their family leave broken hearts; those who betray the confidence of an organization prove to be unworthy of trust by any other company and can be punished by the law; and he that betrays or acts as traitor to his country is often worthy of death. But the sin of betrayal to God is more serious, more terrible and worse in the final judgment than man has conceived of. The Prophet Joseph Smith gave this timely warning:

O ye Twelve! and all Saints! profit by this important Key–that in all your trials, troubles, temptations, afflictions, bonds, imprisonments and death, see to it, that you do not betray heaven; that you do not betray Jesus Christ; that you do not betray the brethren; that you do not betray the revelations of God, whether in the Bible, Book of Mormon, or Doctrine and Covenants, or any other that ever was or ever will be given and revealed unto man in this world or that which is to come. Yea, in all your kicking and flounder-[29]ings, see to it that you do not this thing, lest innocent blood be found upon your skirts, and you go down to hell. All other sins are not to be compared to sinning against the Holy Ghost, and proving a traitor to the brethren. (T.P.J.S., p. 156)

So great are the spiritual sins of traitors that God will never recognize them in places of trust again. The majority of most sins are committed through personal weakness, but the sins of a betrayer or traitor are willful, and intentionally done to cause trouble to those they once called friends.

Joseph Smith portrayed his feelings about such characters in the following language:


They [the world] make a tool of these fellows [the dissentors]: and by them try to do all the injury they can, and after that they hate them worse than they do us, because they find them to be base traitors and sycophants.

Such characters God hates; we cannot love them. The world hates them, and we sometimes think that the devil ought to be ashamed of them. (T.P.J.S., p. 126)

It is a matter of record that when Communists take over a country, the first people executed are those who served the Communists by the betrayal of their own country. The Communists have learned that once a person becomes a traitor, they can never again be trusted. If they betray once, they can easily betray again. Once a man becomes a traitor, he is not fit to be placed into positions of trust again. This has been demonstrated throughout the pages of history by men in both political and religious offices.


[30]         The Prophet Jeremiah said, “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.” (Jer. 17:5)

And Jesus explained:

When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. (Luke 11:24-26)

Traitors demonstrate that they have lost, or never had, any true values or standards of character. Once a man is proved to be a traitor, he is recognized as not possessing the metal or the strength of soul to stand temptation, trials or test. Most nations do not allow any further trust to a man who has been guilty of being a traitor. This is also true in religious offices.

You know the law of nations is that when a man becomes a traitor to the law of the land, all he has is confiscated, and he is punished accordingly; and so it is in the Church and Kingdom of God. (Brigham Young, J.D. 8:213)

Most nations of the world will execute anyone guilty of being a traitor to their country. Such a traitor is guilty of betraying his own people and friends. However, a man who proves to be a traitor to his religion is a betrayer to his God and the crime is against his own soul. It is one of the worst forms of sin and will require a punishment that extends beyond the span of mortality. Judas would fall into that bottomless pit from which no mortal hand could redeem him.



[31]                              Chapter 4


Peter’s Denial

And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. (Luke 22:34)

Too often the betrayal of Judas and the denial of Peter are linked together, as though they were similar crimes. But a close examination will clearly reveal that there is no similarity between Peter’s denial and the betrayal of Christ by Judas.

After the departure of Judas, the Savior spoke again to the Twelve saying, “Little children, yet a little while I am with you.” Peter queried, “Lord, whither goest thou?” Jesus answered, “Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.” Peter continued, “Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.” Jesus knew that Peter was in earnest and was willing to do all things for Him. Life to Peter was less important than the love he had for Jesus, and without Him, Peter didn’t care to live. But Jesus wanted Peter to live, rather than die. Jesus knew that to have Peter follow Him in death would be a detriment to the cause of the gospel, and so explained: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat.” Now then, in the Inspired Translation of the Holy Scriptures by Joseph Smith it reads, “Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired you that he may sift the children of the kingdom as wheat.” This renders a better insight to the greatness of Peter. Satan well knew that if he could thwart Peter, he would be able to [32] sift and scatter all the children of the kingdom. The responsibility of keeping the church together rested upon Peter.

Peter’s mission was not yet finished; there were many important events that must be accomplished before Peter was to follow his Master in death. He must stay alive, for awhile at least, to protect the flock.

Jesus again spoke to the Twelve, saying, “All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.” Peter searched his soul trying to discover what he might say or do that would bring about this insolence. He could discover nothing; furthermore, he could not conceive of doing such a deed.

So Peter replied to Jesus, “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.” But Jesus answered:

I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crows, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples. (Matt. 26:34-35)

These are challenges the devil delights to hear. Only too quick, too sure, are the good intentions of men, for the moment they have confidence in themselves, they expose themselves to the open door of temptation. It is only in “fear and trembling” that men have a chance for salvation because no man is infallible; nor does he have the assurance that he is beyond the grasp of demons and devils.

Later that evening, when the soldiers came out of the dark and captured Jesus, it was a shock to the eleven apostles. They stood in amazement [33] and one replied, “Lord, shall we smite with the sword?” Peter saw what was about to happen to his Lord and wasn’t waiting for any answers; he grabbed a sword and churned the air as he lunged toward the soldiers. They scattered and dodged, but one never quite escaped the wrath of Peter. With a swish of Peter’s sword, the man’s ear flew to the ground. The soldier was Malchus, a “servant of the high priest.” Jesus then rescued Peter from making a serious situation worse, and said, “Suffer ye thus far;” after which He picked up the ear, replaced it upon Malchus’ head and with healing powers, restored it as it was before. Turning again to Peter he admonished, “All they that take the sword shall perish by the sword.” Peter then relinquished his fury in sorrow, and replaced the sword to its scabbard. To further explain the necessity of such things, Jesus continued: “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” And, “The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” Turning to the chief priests, he said, “But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”

The soldiers bound the hands of their captive in cords and led Him away. It was truly an hour of darkness. It was useless for the apostles to contend against the forces that took their master. They were left alone. In that deep, depressing, foreboding feeling which comes into every man’s life, they were left in despair. They turned with their grief and departed, neither knowing where to go or what to do.

Peter and John had followed from a distance as the soldiers hauled the Lord to the palace for His trial. After the guards entered the palace with Jesus, Peter and John entered into the lower part of the palace and “sat with the servants to see the end.” Peril, calamity and despondency [34] filled their breasts, greater than they had ever before experienced. They were helpless in their power to save their Lord.

As Peter stood in the palace awaiting the verdict of the court, a servant woman recognized him. “Thou wast with Jesus of Galilee.” Peter, in anguish and grief, felt no spirit to contend with her. There were far more important things that bore upon his mind. He denied being there–it was a ruse to quiet the woman. He walked out to the porch, and looked into the night. Again another maid saw him and said, “This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.” Peter was in no mood to banter. Before, while with Jesus, he could wield the sword, rebuke, or contend against any king or soldier. Earlier in the day he could contend against the world; but in the dark hours of despair, and in the grief of losing his Lord, Peter was without defense. Denial of his acquaintance with Jesus was an easy way to keep peace. Again he denied being with Jesus. His soul was empty. It was an hour of trial and sorrow for Peter, too.

It was a cool April night, and a fire had been lighted in the hall of the palace. Peter approached the fire for warmth. He sat down and stared into the colorful flames as they flicked their way up like dancers. But his mind was far off. Others came by to catch a little warmth before continuing on with their duties. One of the servants of the high priests came by for a moment, and looking down upon the humped-over figure of Peter, he recognized him. The servant was Malchus, the very man who lost his ear by the hand of this man, Peter. “Did not I see thee in the garden with him?” It was the last straw upon Peter’s back, and he gave way. In the fury of his anger, he arose from his seat and began to shout and swear, declaring for a third time, “I know not the man.” His voice was like thunder, and silence fell upon everyone. [n the far distance there was another [35] sound–faint but audible. It was the crowing of the cock. As Peter’s ears heard the crowing, his heart melted. Another prophecy of Jesus’ had been fulfilled, and Peter was crushed. In heart-breaking sobs as only few men ever know, Peter vanished into the night, a broken-hearted man.

Peter did not deny that Christ was the Messiah. Peter only denied knowing him or being associated with him. When he heard the cock crow, Peter realized the human frailties of himself and even the other apostles. Peter’s heart was always with Jesus, but on this one occasion, not his tongue. Judas gave lip service praise and a kiss, but his heart was black and filled with murder. Peter would do anything for the Savior; Judas would do nothing.

Apocraphal history has passed down the story of Peter’s capture and imprisonment by the barbaric Romans. In a final effort to bend or break the will of Peter, his enemies led out Peter’s wife to be executed before his eyes. Undaunted in his faith in Christ, he shouted to her, “Remember the Lord.” Then after her death they took Peter to be crucified. This was according to the prophecy of Jesus when he told Peter of His own crucifixion, but said, “Thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.” (John 13:36) But Peter refuged to be crucified as Jesus was because of his reverence for Christ and because of his own unworthiness. The Romans obliged him and his request was granted–he was crucified upside down.

Therefore, the sin of Peter’s denial of knowing Christ was very minor in comparison to Judas’ betrayal of the Savior. Christ showed his forgiveness of Peter’s failing, as Peter was the first mortal man to see the resurrected Savior, and he lived and died as the chief apostle of the Twelve.



[36]                              Chapter 5


The Devil’s Disciples

Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! (Matt. 18:7)

Men come to earth to be proven. They must become acquainted with good and evil, truth and error; and pass through the fires of temptation. Without this experience, they can never qualify themselves for a crown of glory. They must understand sorrow, pain and suffering; then they can appreciate the goodness of heaven. But men, like many things in nature, have their opposites. Some men are good, and others are wicked. Yet, they often appear in many of the same places on earth. The devil has his representatives, and they usually live in conflict with God’s representatives. Brigham Young observed:

As it has always been, and will be yet for some time, when the sons of God assemble together Satan will be on hand as an accuser of the brethren, to find fault with those who are trying to do good. (J.D. 11:141)

Satan’s cunning exploits are designed to change God’s work, or else establish His counterfeit nearby. Either by deception or destruction, the devil has, and always will oppose the work of God. From the beginning when he persuaded Cain to become an instrument of conspiracy and murder, he has been busily engaging men to do the same.


[37]         The Book of Mormon declares, “It must needs be, that there is opposition in all things.” Priesthood finds this opposition in priestcraft; which always is its enemy and often its counterfeit. Priestcraft simulates Priesthood for the purpose of destroying it. ***

Priesthood elevates to the worship of the true and living God; priestcraft degrades to the slavery of the soul. Priesthood saves; priestcraft destroys. The two principles are as opposite as the poles. They are elements that can never unite. Everything that Priesthood is, priestcraft is not, and can never attain to. (Contributor 10:255)

The devil is the Prince of Priestcraft. His mission and objective is to destroy the souls of men. He cannot create, build up, or produce–only disorganize, tear apart and destroy. President Young explained:

I frequently think of the difference between the power of God and the power of the Devil. To illustrate, here is a structure in which we can be seated comfortably, protected from the heat of summer or the cold of winter. Now it required labor, mechanical skill and ingenuity and faithfulness and diligence to erect this building, but any poor, miserable fool or devil can set fire to it and destroy it. That is just what the Devil can do, but he never can build anything. The difference between God and the Devil is that God creates and organizes, while the whole study of the Devil is to destroy. (J.D. 13:4)

When men lose the spirit of God, they begin to think and act like the Devil, which is to destroy, corrupt and to oppose the work of God. The only way the Devil can operate is through those men who willingly become his servants. When Judas [38] had become wicked enough, the Devil then directed him in the effort to destroy Christ.

There is something in the nature of sin that causes the sinner to become endowed with the power of the devil. The spirit and power of good is turned into the power of evil in equal proportions.

Judas, when he lost the faith, received the power of the devil, and betrayed the Son of God into the hands of murderers. Joseph Smith in like manner was betrayed into the hands of wicked men, who took his life. He was betrayed by apostates, by men whom he once loved when they were in our midst, and had the Spirit of the Lord. (Heber C. Kimball, J.D. 2:107)

The Prophet Joseph Smith elaborated on this strange mystical power that overtakes men, to an elder by the name of Behunnin:

When the Prophet had ended telling how he had been treated, Brother Behunnin remarked: “If I should leave this Church I would not do as those men have done: I would go to some remote place where Mormonism had never been heard of, settle down, and no one would ever learn that I knew anything about it.”

The great Seer immediately replied: “Brother Behunnin, you don’t know what you would do. No doubt these men once thought as you do. Before you joined this Church you stood on neutral ground. When the gospel was preached, good and evil were set before you. You could choose either or neither. There were two opposite masters inviting you to serve them. When you joined this Church, you enlisted to serve God. When you did that, you left the neutral ground, and you never can get back on to it. Should you forsake [39] the Master you enlisted to serve, it will be by the instigation of the evil one, and you will follow his dictation and be his servant.” (Juvenile Instructor 27:492)

On another occasion, the Prophet Joseph declared:

The devil has no power over us only as we permit him. The moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power. (T.P.J.S., p. 181)

It is in proportion to the power and influence of the gospel among men that the power and influence of the devil is manifest. And those who will not receive but reject the spirit of the gospel, will have false spirits to send them revelations to believe and act upon.

Let a person digress from the path of truth and his mind will begin to become darkened, so

…the first moment the Saints leave the path of duty, that moment they are subject to the influence of evil, false spirits, which once having taken possession of the soul, are difficult, if not impossible to be removed. (Mill Star 14:278)

Any sin or transgression, no matter how small or menial, opens the door through which some evil power may take a foothold. Brigham Young explained:

The sins which are considered trifles lay the foundation for greater evils, and expose men to be tempted, and buffeted by Satan, and they will be overcome little by little, until by and by they are overtaken…. (J.D. 2:121)


[40]         The apostleship is one of the highest callings ever given to man. From such exalted callings can come the deepest falls. With such great privileges and blessings, come the greater responsibilities; and it is only predicated upon strict obedience that exaltation is assured. If those with such responsibilities refuse the principles, the commandments, and the will of God, they must inherit a lesser kingdom. Thus:

When God offers a blessing or knowledge to a man, and he refuses to receive it, he will be damned. (T.P.J.S., p. 322)

President Brigham Young also added a thoughtful warning by saying:

…if a man shall do anything which he knows to be wrong, and repenteth not, he cannot enjoy the Holy Spirit, but will walk in darkness and ultimately deny the faith. (J.D. 11:134)

There is an important lesson to be learned here, if not a solemn warning, that those who lust for the wealth or temporal things of the world, will lose the spirit of the gospel and subject themselves to a hostile spirit. It is no more possible for men who will connive, scheme or steal from their brothers and gain the celestial kingdom than it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.

Small sums of money became an obsession to Judas, and temptation was then added to temptation. Instead of resisting the influence of mammon, Judas became its slave, and the love of money became the root of all his evil. As the revelations of Christ were rejected, the communication of Satan became predominant. Then, the power of Satan took precedence over the power of Christ. As one vice was added to another, Judas fell into transgression from which he was never to rise again.


[41]         The deeds of mercy and charity struck at the covetousness of Judas, and the result was the seed of dissention. Soon the traits of disapproval, manifest itself in various forms, spreading disaffection throughout his system like a poison. At the rebuke of Jesus, his contentious and bitter spirit could only find revenge satisfying. The Prophet Joseph Smith said:

From apostates the faithful have received the severest persecutions. Judas was rebuked and immediately betrayed his Lord into the hands of His enemies, because Satan entered into him. (T.P.J.S., p. 67)

The synoptic writers also leave the impression that when Jesus rebuked Judas that he began to act upon his plot to destroy Christ by betrayal. (See Luke 22:3)

We do not know all the deeds of Judas, but Jesus exposed enough that we know he had fallen, and caused the deepest grief to the Savior. Continued the Prophet:

He [Jesus] never transgressed or broke a commandment or law of Heaven–no deceit was in His mouth, neither was guile found in His heart. And yet one that ate with Him, who had often drunk of the same cup, was the first to lift up his heel against Him. (T.P.J.S., p. 67)

The scriptures tell us that the Devil entered into Judas and controlled him. Notice in the following:

When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had [42] dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him, Then said Jesus unto him, that thou doest, do quickly. (John 13:21, 26, 27)

And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people. Then entered Satan unto Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. (Luke 22:2-3)

And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him; (John 13:2)

Not only was the devil working upon Judas, but he was also a major influence in others who were involved in that conspiracy. By the most careful, subtle, and appealing influences, the devil persuades and tempts men into his power. But his purpose is to thwart God’s work.

The adversary presents his principles and arguments in the most approved style, and in the most winning tone, attended with the most graceful attitudes; and he is very careful to ingratiate himself into the favor of the powerful and influential of mankind, uniting himself with popular parties, floating into offices of trust and emolument by pandering to popular feeling though it should seriously wrong and oppress the innocent. (Brigham Young, J.D. 11:238)

But no person ever got into the grasp of Satan except by committing crimes or transgressions. Every apostate is guilty of sin. It requires a person to forsake the principles of truth before they can come under the power of the devil and apostatize.


[43]         But, it is always the trifling, small divergences from the path of truth that starts men to miss the mark and lose the spirit of the Lord. When the spirit of the Lord is driven from a man because of sin, then the spirit of the devil enters in and fills up the vacancy. The spirit of the devil is the spirit of unhappiness and the greater men sin, the greater becomes their misery. Eventually every apostate will be driven into darkness, sorrow, and grief. Once the devil gains possession, then they make war upon the truth and those who advocate it. When they are filled with the spirit of the devil, they act like the devil. Joseph Smith said:

When a man begins to be an enemy to this work he hunts me, he seeks to kill me, and never ceases to thirst for my blood. He gets the spirit of the devil — the same spirit that they had who crucified the Lord of Life–the same spirit that sins against the Holy Ghost. You cannot save such persons; you cannot bring them to repentance; they make open war, like the devil, and awful is the consequence. (T.P.J.S., p. 358)

Heber C. Kimball described the nature of such persons by saying,

I have learned one thing to a demonstration since I became a member of this Church, that if a man is determined to be damned, nothing can hinder it. (J.D. 6:323)

Men, in their natures, were developed in a pre-mortal life, and many were chosen to be placed in a particular area on earth “before the foundation of the world”; (Eph.1:4) and others He did “foreknow” and “did predestinate” (Rom. 8:29) many others for specific functions on earth.


[44]         Yet, the wicked, too, may be used in the plan of God, for they can serve certain purposes. The devil is necessary in the plan of man’s salvation; for without evil, no man could gain exaltation. There must needs be opposition in all things, especially the spiritual ones.

Men, like the Pharoah of Egypt, are placed in certain positions by God for a wise purpose. The Lord said to Pharoah:

And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. (Exodus 9:16)

If the Pharoah had not hardened his heart those many times, the children of Israel would not have seen the great and mighty miracles of God. After the many plagues, the Israelites knew for a certainty the power and nearness of their God.

Jesus, too, understood the reason for the devil to afflict so many people at the time of His ministry on earth. When the disciples asked why a certain man was born blind, He replied, “that the works of God should be made manifest,” and “I must work the works of him that sent me.” (John 9:3-4) By healing the blind man, the people could see the power of God.

Men, in mortality, are only developing the character that they previously possessed in their pre-existent state. It is here on earth that they prove, through free agency, the kind of being they really are. Yet, God can use men like Pharoah and Judas to prove His sheep. They are goats that lead blind sheep or other goats, and thereby prove them. Consider the following story:


[45]                         When I was a boy, I used to go with my father to the Ogden stockyards. We lived on a small farm and occasionally sold a few animals there. During one of these visits my father taught me a lesson that has increased in its value over the years. It was a spontaneous bit of instruction and probably took less than a minute to deliver.


A Black Goat Named Judas

The holding pens for the cattle, hogs, and sheep were on the river bank. A fenced bridge spanned the river and connected with a ramp that angled up to the top story of a processing plant on the other bank. Since the animals to be butchered had to be herded across the bridge and up the ramp, the men who managed this operation developed a clever solution. They trained a black goat to enter the sheep pens, mingle with the sheep, and then lead the way across the bridge and up the ramp through the door of the processing plant. Once inside the doorway, the goat stepped aside, and the sheep pressed on to their ultimate fate.

I remember watching this scene as my dad explained the operation. He paused, then added, “Let that be a lesson to you; be careful who you follow. Make sure your know where you are being led.”

Neil J. Flinders



[46]                  (picture of a goat leading sheep)


[47]         It is in mortality that these Judases eventually show their true colors. They cannot long persist in righteousness and correct principles, but will succumb to temptation and the allurements of sin. Once this happens, they fall from the high station they once attained, to the deeper depths of sin and crime. The higher men rise within the light of the gospel, the lower they fall. President Joseph F. Smith commented:

If, however, he receives that greater light, and then sins against it, the Spirit of God will cease to strive with him, and the Holy Ghost will wholly depart from him. Then will he persecute the truth; then will he seek the blood of the innocent; then will he not scruple at the commission of any crime; except so far as he may fear the penalties of the law, in consequence of the crime, upon himself. (J.F. Smith, Imp. Era, 11:382)

God often allows sheep and goats to mingle together. But gradually, under the testing and temptation associated with the Gospel of Christ, men prove to be either sheep or goats. Goats will gather with other goats, but true sheep will not follow them, for Jesus said, “My sheep know my voice and another they will not follow.” But the Judas goats are constantly leading blind sheep to their damnation, thereby proving themselves unworthy of exaltation with God.



[48]                              Chapter 6


Holy Ghost Before Pentecost

Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto me. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. (Matt. 12:31-32)

Did Judas Iscariot sin against the Holy Ghost when he betrayed the Savior? Did the apostles have the Holy Ghost before the day of Pentecost? This is an important aspect in the betrayal by Judas, and a most important consideration in any religious betrayal.

The seriousness of Judas’ betrayal is a very significant question. Did he bring about the death of Christ by sinning against the Holy Ghost? The question of sinning against the Holy Ghost is an unforgiveable and unpardonable sin–therefore, it is an important aspect of the crime of Judas’ betrayal.

Considerable confusion exists both as to what the Holy Ghost is, and when it was given. Most religionists say that it was not given until the day of Pentecost. However, the following ten scriptural references and logical deductions should clarify whether Judas had sinned against the Holy Ghost in his betrayal of Jesus Christ.


[49] 1.    Analyzing the Scriptural Source

The basis for most religionists who believe that the Holy Ghost had not been given to the Apostles until Pentecost, comes from only one passage of scripture which reads:

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:38-39)

It is significant to note that this last verse begins and ends with a parenthesis; indicating that this passage was probably added later, and was included by some uninspired translator years after the scripture was written. The Apostle John most likely never wrote it in the original text.

By reading the Inspired Translation of the Bible by Joseph Smith, we get a clearer rendition of the meaning of this passage in parentheses:

(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was promised unto them who believe, after that Jesus was glorified.)

John the Baptist said that he would baptize the believers but that Christ would baptize them with “fire and the Holy Ghost.” He was, of course, speaking of the earthly ordinance of laying on of hands for the bestowal of the gift of the Holy Ghost, not some mystical or outward manifestation. The Prophet Joseph Smith said that people often believe that if the Holy Ghost is given that they “expect to see some wonderful manifestation, some great display of power, or some extraordinary miracle performed,” but that is not always the effect [50] of the bestowal of the gift of the Holy Ghost. The gift of tongues, prophecy, healing, etc., are only a part of the gifts of the Spirit. Joseph adds:

…sometimes they spake in tongues and prophesied in the Apostles’ days, and sometimes they did not. The same is the case with us also in our administrations, while more frequently there is no manifestation at all, that is visible to the surrounding multitude; this will appear plain when we consult the writings of the Apostles, and notice their proceedings in relation to this matter. Paul, in 1st Cor. 12, says, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant,” it is evident from this that some of them were ignorant in relation to these matters, or they would not need instruction. ***

But suppose the gifts of the Spirit were immediately, upon the imposition of hands, enjoyed by all, in all their fulness and power, the skeptic would still be as far from receiving any testimony except upon a mere casualty as before, for all the gifts of the Spirit are not visible to the natural vision, or understanding of man; indeed very few of them are.

*** But to come to the other members of the Church, and examine the gifts as spoken of by Paul, and we shall find that the world can in general know nothing about them, and that there is but one or two that could be immediately known if they were all poured out immediately upon the imposition of hands. (TPJS, p. 243-45)

Too often people expect to see some bizarre manifestation as an evidence of the Holy Ghost, as was demonstrated on the day of Pentecost with the gift of tongues. But Joseph added that “The gift of tongues is the smallest gift perhaps of the [51] whole, and yet it is one that is the most sought after. *** The greatest, the best, and the most useful gifts would be known nothing about by an observer.” (T.P.J.S., p. 246)

Hence, the Apostles of Christ could have enjoyed the gift of the Holy Ghost, and no one would have observed it. There are many gifts that are enjoyed by those who have the Holy Ghost, such as miracles, prophecy, visions, etc., and the Apostles also enjoyed them before the day of Pentecost, as will be observed later.


  1. Definition of the Gift

It was the Prophet Joseph Smith who was the first to reveal the best and most correct understanding of what the Holy Ghost is, when he said:

I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage AND a Spirit …. (T.P.J.S., p. 370)

Then the Prophet analyzed the effect of the “spirit” of the Holy Ghost by saying:

This first Comforter or Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure intelligence. (TPJS, p. 149)

Then he adds:

A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon. (TPJS, p. 151)


[52]         From this description we must conclude that the Holy Ghost is a revelator and therefore will “lead into all truth.” This flow of pure intelligence is the power and influence that directs the affairs of the Church, the ministry, and indeed the disciples of Christ wherever they are. Christ gave a commandment to his disciples that they should rely upon this gift when they were confronted by their enemies:


But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak. ***For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. (Matt. 10:19-20)

In the latter days it was the same spirit that should guide the missionaries:

Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man. (D. & C. 84:85)

The Lord also wanted the Church meetings to be conducted by this same power when He revealed that “The elders are to conduct the meetings as they are led by the Holy Ghost.” (D. & C. 20:45) And furthermore,

But notwithstanding those things which are written it always has been given to the elders of my church from the beginning, and ever shall be, to conduct all meetings as they are directed and guided by the Holy Spirit. (D. & C. 46:2)

The Lord also revealed in a clear definition and understanding of the Holy Ghost when He said:

And this is the ensample unto them, that they shall speak as they are moved upon by the [53] Holy Ghost. And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation. (D. & C. 68:3-4)

To believe that the Holy Ghost was not given until the day of Pentecost would be admitting that nothing spoken or written prior to that time would be considered scripture, or the mind and will of God. Indeed, if the Holy Ghost was not given until the day of Pentecost, we must conclude that Christ did not have the Holy Ghost either, even though we read that when he was baptized, “the Holy Ghost descended” like a dove upon him.


  1. Pentecost and the Holy Spirit

It was 50 days after the resurrection of Christ that Pentecost was celebrated as the “Harvest Feast.” It was a one-day celebration of the law of God, given at Sinai, on the 50th day of deliverance from Egyptian bondage. Many Israelites gathered to Jerusalem from many different nations so when the Apostles arose to speak to them, God through the gift of the Holy Ghost, gave them utterance in the language of those who heard them. The Israelites may have enjoyed the power of the Holy Ghost which caused them to be “amazed and marvel” at such a strange influence. Others who were not of the blood of Israel, were mocking and said, “These men are full of new wine.”

A similar experience occurred in this dispensation at the Kirtland Temple:

Brother George A. Smith arose and began to prophesy, when a noice was heard like the sound of a rushing mighty wind, which filled the Temple, and all the congregation simultaneously arose, being moved upon by an invisible [54] power; many began to speak in tongues and prophesy; others saw glorious visions; and I beheld the temple was filled with angels, which fact I declared to the congregation. The people of the neighborhood came running together (hearing an unusual sound within, and seeing a bright light like a pillar of fire resting upon the temple), and were astonished at what was taking place. This continued until the meeting closed at eleven p.m. (D.H.C. 2:428)

This manifestation occurred years after the Church had been organized. The gift of the Holy Ghost had been enjoyed by many members for years prior to this time but on this occasion it was of greater proportions and more visible effects were noticed. So it was on the day of Pentecost. Thus the gifts of the Spirit may often be bestowed upon people, but it does not signify that they will be noticed by others.

For all the gifts of the Spirit are not visible to the natural vision, or understanding of man; indeed very few of them are. (TPJS, p. 243)

But then to say that men always prophesied and spoke in tongues when they had the imposition of hands, would be to state that which is untrue, contrary to the practice of the Apostles, and at variance with holy writ. (TPJS, p. 243)

The manifestations displayed on the day of Pentecost were to convey intelligence, and the power of the Holy Ghost was to convince them of the truth of the Gospel. The manifestations at Pentecost were not a proof that they had received the Holy Ghost–if so, it would be the proof of whether we have it now or not. If the gift of tongues was evidence that they had the Holy Ghost, it is evident that nearly all so-called Christians and Mormons today do not have the Holy Ghost because they [55] never spoke in tongues or prophesied. The Prophet Joseph said:

The kingdom of God was with them before the day of Pentecost, as well as afterwards; and it was also with John, and he preached the same Gospel and baptism that Jesus and the apostles preached after him. (TPJS, p. 274)


  1. The Gift of the Holy Ghost

There is a considerable difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Prophet Joseph explained this by saying:

There is a difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized, which was the convincing power of God unto him of the truth of the Gospel, but he could not receive the GIFT of the Holy Ghost until AFTER he was baptized. (TPJS, p. 199)

Only members of Christ’s Church are entitled to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; but anyone can receive the power or the convincing power. Notice the oft-quoted passage from the Book of Mormon, which is written specifically for nonmembers of the Church:

If ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, He will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. (Moroni 10:4-5)

This is a challenge given to non-members of the Church, yet they can become affected by the convincing power of the Holy Ghost. If people who receive this convincing power, refuse to accept it, they will lose it, or it will be taken from them.


[56]         Had he [Cornelius] not taken this sign or ordinance upon him, the Holy Ghost which convinced him of the truth of God, would have left him. (TPJS, p. 199)


  1. The Gifts of the Spirit

There are many gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as speaking in tongues, prophecy, working of miracles, etc. Paul the Apostle wrote:

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. (I Cor. 12:4-11)

The Prophet Moroni repeated this list of gifts, saying that they were the gifts of the Spirit. (See Moroni 10:8-17) Then the Lord gave a revelation to Joseph Smith in our dispensation in which He added other gifts, and included those mentioned by Paul and Moroni. (See D. & C. 46:13-27) All of these references indicate that a man who accepts the gospel receives a gift of the spirit–but to one is given one gift, to another some other gift. The gift of tongues manifest on the day of Pentecost was principally for the purpose of speaking to the many people of different nationalities that were present, for there were “devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was [57] noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.”

There were on this occasion men from:

…Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians…. (Acts 2:5-6, 9-11)

The Prophet Joseph said that “the ultimate design of tongues is to speak to foreigners”; therefore, it is not primarily for a display of the Holy Ghost.

But the gift of tongues by the power of the Holy Ghost in the Church, is for the benefit of the servants of God to preach to unbelievers, as on the Day of Pentecost. (TPJS, p.195)

Furthermore, he added that “The Lord cannot always be known by the thunder of His voice, by the display of His glory or by the manifestation of His power.” Many men, both anciently and in our day, have been filled with the Holy Ghost, but maybe never spoke in tongues, prophesied or performed a miracle. They may have enjoyed some of the other gifts of the spirit, which are unnoticeable to others.


  1. The Holy Ghost is a Revelator.


The purpose of the Holy Ghost is to lead men by revelation. The disciples of Christ needed revelation to carry out the work of the ministry. The Prophet Joseph said:


[58]         If we do not get revelations, we do not have the oracles of God; and if they have not the oracles of God, they are not the people of God. (TPJS, p. 272)

No man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations. The Holy Ghost is a revelator. (TPJS, p. 328)

Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it. (TPJS, p. 160)

It is evident that the disciples of Christ had both the Priesthood and the Holy Ghost before Pentecost or else their labors were in vain.

When everyone was guessing and speculating as to the identity of Christ, it was Peter who said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:16) Peter had to know this by the Holy Ghost, because it was a revelation.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. (Matt. 16:17)

Christ also said He would build His church upon that rock–of revelation.

The Prophet Joseph Smith also explained another verse of scripture that needed to be corrected when he said,

“No man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost,” should be translated, “No man can KNOW that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” (TPJS, p. 223)

Peter both knew and said it, indicating it was a revelation by the Holy Ghost.


[59]         Shortly after this, Jesus took Peter, James and John upon a high mountain where Christ was “transfigured,” where Moses and Elias appeared to them in a spectacular manifestation. Surely this had to be revelation or manifestation of the Holy Ghost. If not by the Holy Ghost, what other source?

This was one of the effects and blessings from the gift of the Holy Ghost, not only at the time when Peter received it, but also in our dispensation, and in former dispensations. God said:

Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground. (D. & C. 8:2-3)

Revealing intelligence is the principle function of the Holy Ghost. Every manifestation that carries new knowledge and intelligence must be a revelation by the power of the Holy Ghost.


  1. The Holy Ghost Must Attend the Ministry.


Did the apostles of Christ have the Holy Ghost to direct them in their ministry? The Prophet Joseph Smith declared:

All are to preach the Gospel by the power and influence of the Holy Ghost; and no man can preach the Gospel without the Holy Ghost. (TPJS, p. 112)

The Holy Ghost is God’s messenger to administer in all those priesthoods. (TPJS, p. 323)

Therefore, if the apostles of Christ had the priesthood, it follows that they had the Holy [60] Ghost because the two are inseparable. The Lord revealed in our own dispensation:

That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven…. (D. & C. 121:36)

The apostles labored in the ministry with Christ and received many spiritual gifts as promised, which always have attended the Holy Ghost. The Prophet Joseph explained:

We believe in the gift of the Holy Ghost being enjoyed now, as much as it was in the Apostles’ days; we believe that it is necessary to make and to organize the Priesthood that no man can be called to fill any office in the ministry without it. (TPJS, p. 243)

UNTIL he [Cornelius] obeyed these ordinances and received the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands, according to the order of God, he could not have healed the sick or commanded an evil spirit to come out of a man, and it obey him. (TPJS, p. 199)

The disciples were led and influenced by the Holy Ghost through the working of miracles as Jesus promised.

…heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. (Luke 10:9)

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions,and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19)

And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all [61] manner of sickness and all manner of disease (Matt. 10:1)

And as ye go, preach, saying The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils, freely ye have received, freely give. (Matt 10:7-8)

Before the death of Christ or the day of Pentecost, many of the Seventy returned to Christ and testified that these things had been accomplished throughout their ministry.

…the Seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. (Luke 10:17)

It is not only improbable, but impossible, for the power of the priesthood, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost to accompany the disciples before the Holy Ghost was given to them.


  1. John the Baptist

Jesus said that “among those born of women, there is not a greater prophet than John.” Can a man be a prophet for God without having the Holy Ghost? The Prophet Joseph Smith said:

The kingdom of God was with them before the day of Pentecost, as well as afterwards; and it was also with John, and he preached the same Gospel and baptism that Jesus and the apostles preached after him. (TPJS, p. 274)

Now then, to understand the nature of the Kingdom of God and who it is with, the Prophet also added:

Whenever men can find out the will of God and find an administrator legally authorized from [62] God, there is the kingdom of God; but where these are not, the kingdom of God is not. (TPJS, p. 274)

Jesus taught that “except ye are born of water and of the Spirit ye cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” Did John baptize people and then they waited for over three years to enter the kingdom because they had not yet been baptized or born of the Spirit?

At the baptism of Jesus, John bore witness of seeing the “sign of the Holy Ghost,” and John’s manifestation was that Jesus received the Holy Ghost and bore record that this was He who would “baptize with fire and the Holy Ghost.”

John’s mission was limited to preaching and baptizing; but what he did was legal; and when Jesus Christ came to any of John’s disciples, He baptized them with fire and the Holy Ghost. (TPJS, p. 336)

This is proof that Jesus conferred the Holy Ghost upon believers while he lived in mortality.

John’s mother, Elizabeth, while pregnant with John, was “filled with the Holy Ghost,” (Luke 1:41) and John’s father Zacharias also “was filled with the Holy Ghost” (Luke 1:67). It is impossible to believe that John’s father and mother were worthy to receive the Holy Ghost while their son, the greatest prophet, the promised Elias, holding the keys of the Priesthood of Aaron, had to live and die without ever having the privilege of having the Holy Ghost!

John testified that he would “baptize them with water, but there cometh one mightier than I who shall baptize you with fire and the Holy Ghost.” He had to perform this ordinance by the “laying on of hands” as a correct “sign” that they received [63] the gift of the Holy Ghost. If they had to wait until Pentecost, then Jesus never fulfilled his obligation, nor was John very accurate in his prophecy. It is essential that baptism and the Holy Ghost be together:

The baptism of water, without the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost attending it, is of no use; they are necessarily and inseparably connected. An individual must be born of water and the Spirit in order to get into the kingdom of God. (TPJS, p. 360)

You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half–that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost. (TPJS, p. 314)

John and Jesus were both dead by the time the day of Pentecost came, when the Apostles spoke in tongues. If they had been waiting for Jesus to fulfill their baptism then they were disappointed. It is very unlikely that John would promise them baptism by water, baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost by Jesus and then they wait until three years later to receive this gift of the Holy Ghost from one of the Apostles instead.

Who laid hands on their heads for the gift of the Holy Ghost if it was not Jesus? And when? The scriptures inform us that even John was “filled with the Holy Ghost.” (D. & C. 84:27)


  1. Power and Gift of Holy Ghost before Pentecost

Others, too, received the Holy Ghost, according to the scriptures. We can read of the day that the “Holy Ghost fell upon Adam” (Moses 5:9) and that Moses was “filled with the Holy Ghost” (Moses 1:24). King David also spoke by the “Holy Ghost.” [64] (Mark 12:36) Nephi said that he spoke by the authority of the Holy Ghost (I Nephi 10:17, 22). Alma and Amulek were missionaries that went out “filled with the Holy Ghost” (Alma 8:30) and had received the “gift of the Holy Ghost” (Alma 9:21) and many others were “born of God and filled with the Holy Ghost.” (Alma 36:24)

And all the ancient prophets had the Holy Ghost,

…for the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:21)

A most interesting incident occurred that indicated others received the Holy Ghost while Christ was alive.

And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. (Luke 2:25-26)


This also was before the day of Pentecost.

Therefore, if these people had things “revealed to them by the Holy Ghost” before the ministry of Christ, then it was evident that Christ easily could have and did bestow the “gift” of the Holy Ghost during His ministry.


  1. First and Second Comforter

In teaching the disciples, Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter.” (John 14:16) If they were going to receive another comforter, it signifies that they [65] had already received a first comforter. What was this first comforter? The Prophet Joseph said:

The other Comforter spoken of is a subject of great interest, and perhaps understood by few of this generation. After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. (TPJS, p. 150)


The first Comforter, then, is the Holy Ghost; so the apostles had already received the Holy Ghost while Christ was with them. Since Jesus promised them a second comforter, we may ask what the second comforter is. Joseph Smith explained:

Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time. (TPJS, p. 150)

A few days after Christ was crucified, the promise of the Second Comforter was made manifest to the Apostles.

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him (resurrected), they worshipped him; but some doubted. (Matt. 28:16-17)

This manifestation or revelation of the resurrected Christ was before the day of Pentecost. No one will receive a manifestation of the person-[66]age of Jesus Christ without the priesthood power and the gift of the Holy Ghost. These Apostles received the Second Comforter BEFORE the day of Pentecost. If they were receiving the Second Comforter, then they had received the first comforter previous to that; hence, the Apostles had received both Comforters before the day of Pentecost!

* * *

Both reason and the scriptures bear witness and evidence that all the apostles of Christ had received the Holy Ghost during their ministry on earth. Judas knew by the Holy Ghost that Christ was the promised Messiah. Yet he betrayed Him and caused his death. Therefore, Judas was guilty of sinning against the Holy Ghost.



[67]                              Chapter 7


Sin and Penalty of Murder

…and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. (I John 3:15)

Murder stands next to the crime of sinning against the Holy Ghost. Murder is an unforgiveable sin, but sinning against the Holy Ghost is unforgiveable and unpardonable. A murderer, at some future time, will receive a pardon for that sin, but it still remains unforgiveable.

If the ministers of religion had a proper understanding of the doctrine of eternal judgment, they would not be found attending the man who forfeited his life to the injured laws of his country, by shedding innocent blood; for such characters cannot be forgiven until they have paid the last farthing. The prayers of all the ministers in the world can never close the gates of hell against a murderer. (TPJS, p. 189)

The Prophet mentions forgiveness here, but he meant pardoned, for he later declared that, “a murderer, for instance, one that sheds innocent blood, cannot have forgiveness.” (TPJS, p. 339) And the Lord revealed:

Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come. (D. & C. 42:18)


[68]         The reason this sin is unforgiveable is because a murderer has taken something which he cannot repay. By killing another person, he is incapable of ever bringing them back to life. Judas depicted his own fate by confessing,”I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.” (Matt. 27:4) Others also had a hand in the murder of Christ because Peter spoke to them of this crime by saying that they “killed the Prince of Life” and that he wished they had done this “through ignorance.” His only advice to them was to repent and be converted to the gospel so that their “sins might be blotted out” …not forgiven. (Acts 3:14-19) Peter understood the difference between forgiveness of sins and having them “blotted out,” or pardoned.

Peter and John the Baptist preached baptism to their congregations for a “remission of sins”. However, at the day of Pentecost there were some present who were guilty of the conspiracy of crucifying Christ. Joseph explained:

“What shall we do?” Peter says, “I would ye had done it ignorantly,” speaking of crucifying the Lord, etc. He did not say to them, “Repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins;” but he said, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19) This is the case with murderers. They could not be baptized for the remission of sins, for they shed innocent blood. (TPJS, p. 339)

“Because they were murderers, and no murderer hath eternal life.” Even David must wait for those times of refreshing before he can come forth and his sins be blotted out. (TPJS, p. 188)


[69]         This was the difference of being baptized for a “forgiveness” of sins, or being baptized and getting their sins “blotted out”. If they were guilty of murder, they must go to hell and pay the price for that crime.

The Prophet continued:

David sought repentance at the hand of God carefully with tears, for the murder of Uriah; but he could only get it through hell; he got a promise that his soul should not be left in hell, and the priesthood that he received, and the throne and kingdom of David is to be taken from him and given to another by the name of David in the last days. (TPJS, p. 339)

From this we understand that David lost his former blessings because he instigated the murder of Uriah. He played the same vicious and deadly conspiracy that Judas did, for which both must forfeit their exaltation. The Lord said:

There he [David] hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them to another, saith the Lord. (D & C 132:39)

David will never receive a crown of glory in the Celestial Kingdom because he was guilty of murder. This also explodes the theory that Judas would be brought back into his position as one of the Twelve in the day of judgment. The basis for this error comes from a verse in the Doctrine and Covenants:

…mine apostles, the Twelve which were with me in my ministry at Jerusalem, shall stand at my right hand at the day of my coming in a pillar of fire, being clothed with robes of righteousness, with crowns upon their heads, [70] in glory even as I am, to judge the whole house of Israel. (D & C 29:12)

God has said that “he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come,” (D. & C. 42:18) and that “no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” (I John 3:15)

Nevertheless, we know that both David and Judas were guilty of murder and no murderer hath eternal life, nor can he receive an exaltation, nor can he enter into the celestial kingdom.

Some have supposed that while Jesus was on the cross and said, “Father forgive them; they know not what they do,” that He meant that all those who had a part in His betrayal and murder would be forgiven. From the Inspired Translation the true meaning of that prayer was revealed:

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (Meaning the soldiers who crucified him), and they parted his raiment and cast lots. (Luke 23:35, Insp. Trans.)

Hence, the Roman soldiers who were only doing their duty as executioners were only following the orders of their superiors and therefore “knew not what they” were doing when they crucified Christ. But the Jews, who plotted and conspired for his death were filled with the thirst of blood and even asked that “his blood be upon us and our children’s children”. They were guilty of murder, like Judas, and when they had killed Christ, they continued to make war upon His disciples. They persecuted Christ until they had finally killed all of the apostles of Christ. Because they knew what they were doing, and who they were killing, they were soon killed themselves in a war with the Romans within 40 years. They too ended up on crosses, sold for slaves and scattered throughout the [71] world. They lost their priesthood, their temple, their city, their nation, their genealogy, their priests and finally their chance for exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom.

Judas lost his place among the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and it was forfeited to another disciple by the name of Mathias. The scriptures explain the nature and reason in the selection of Mathias:

That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. (Acts 1:25)

Jesus also left little doubt as to the seriousness of crimes and offenses to his flock when He said:

It is impossible but that offences will come; but woe unto him through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and be cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. (Luke 17:1-2)

But if Judas could receive a forgiveness of his sins for what he did, then all men everywhere could also do the same. There would be no other kingdom but the Celestial abode for all men; especially in the light that most men sin ignorantly, but Judas went out filled with the spirit of Satan, knowingly, to destroy his Lord. Such an idea of forgiveness and restoration would destroy the principle of eternal justice.

Judas forfeited his office and calling as an apostle and disciple of Christ. Through sin he became a fallen man and lost his promised crown in the Kingdom of Heaven. Through his betrayal of Christ he became a wicked and evil servant of Satan and was guilty of murder and the shedding of innocent blood.



[72]                              Chapter 8


The Unpardonable Sin

Cursed be the man whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heathen in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. (Jer. 17:5)

Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. (Psalms 69:28)

God understands the struggle between the light and darkness that war upon men’s souls, but He allows them to choose and act according to their own will so that their true character will be revealed. Man should not be forced to love either truth or error. The choice must be his own. In the character of Judas, we must assume that there were good qualities that could have been a great asset to the cause of the Gospel. It is inconceivable that Judas became a disciple determined with deliberate intent to betray the Christ. It was the gradual increase of sins that finally brought him to his conspiracy against Christ. When his sins brought out the rebuke of Christ, then Judas acted at this decisive moment with contempt and revenge rather than repentance.

All men have experienced, more or less, these similar conflicting feelings in their nature. Often they are tempted to rebel rather than change. Why must so many men cling to their sins and crimes rather than forsake them in humbleness through repentance? One explanation came from the Prophet Joseph Smith who said:


[73]         If we start right, it is easy to go right all the time; but if we start wrong, we may go wrong, and it be a hard matter to get right. (TPJS, p. 343)

The GIFT of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, cannot be received through the medium of any other principle than the principle of righteousness, for if the proposals are not complied with, it is of no use, but withdraws. (TPJS, p. 148)

When men commit sin, then they are open to a force which drives away the spirit of God. Paul the Apostle wrote:

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.


For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. (Heb. 6:4-8)

The change of heart experienced by Judas was a gradual bending through compromise and concession–giving little by little to a tempting spirit that drew away his heart. As a man increases his love for darkness, then his hatred for truth is increased. Finally, he despises everything that is true and holy. It is in this way Christ is put to shame and men commit blasphemy against the Holy Ghost–the worst of all sins. The Prophet has declared:


[74]         …our Savior says, that all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men wherewith they shall blaspheme; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven, neither in this world, nor in the world to come, evidently showing that there are sins which may be forgiven in the world to come, although the sin of blasphemy (against the Holy Ghost) cannot be forgiven. (TPJS, p. 219)

All are within the reach of pardoning mercy, who have not committed the unpardonable sin, which hath no forgiveness, neither in this world, nor in the world to come. (TPJS, p. 192)

All other sins are not to be compared to sinning against the Holy Ghost, and proving a traitor to the brethren. (TPJS, p. 156)

The mercy and saving grace of God exceed our expectations, but also God’s punishments are more severe and horrible than we are willing to believe.

Our heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we arc ready to believe or receive; and, at the same time is more terrible to the workers of iniquity, more awful in the executions of His punishments, and more ready to detect every false way, than we are apt to suppose Him to be. (TPJS, p. 257)

The question arises as to what the unpardonable sin is, and how it is committed. It is mentioned in the scriptures in the following manner:

Where I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men who receive me and repent; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven [75] him; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him; neither in this world; neither in the world to come. (Matt. 12:26-27; Insp. Vers.)

The Prophet Joseph Smith added the following:

All sins shall be forgiven, except the sin against the Holy Ghost; for Jesus will save all except the sons of perdition. What must a man do to commit the unpardonable sin? He must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against Him. After a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance for him. (TPJS, p. 358)

There have been remarks made concerning all men being redeemed from hell; but I say that those who sin against the Holy Ghost cannot be forgiven in this world or in the world to come; they shall die the second death. (TPJS, p. 361)

Again, if men sin wilfully after they have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation to come, which shall devour these adversaries. (TPJS, p. 128)

The sin against the Holy Ghost is considered so heinous that words have never been written to portray the ultimate suffering or punishment that results from its consequences. Death will be the gate to that misery, and the Lord has said:

…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 [76] is their torment–and the end thereof, neither was it revealed, neither is, neither will be revealed unto man, except to them who are made partakers thereof; nevertheless, I, the Lord, show it by vision unto many, but straightway shut it up again; 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. (D. & C. 76:44-48)

This is known as the second death about which so much has been said and written.

The Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon saw this judgment in a vision and Joseph wrote: “Their state of destiny was not revealed to man, is not revealed, nor ever shall be revealed, save to those who are made partakers thereof.” (TPJS, p. 24) This was said to discredit a doctrine that was being advocated that the devil and his angels should be restored at some time by the grace and atonement of Christ. This was taught by two brothers named Hulet, who taught that the sons of perdition would eventually be saved in the Kingdom of God. However, their bishop opposed their teaching so severely that he forbid them from partaking of the sacrament. When the Prophet Joseph heard about this false restoration doctrine he declared:

Say to the brothers Hulet and to all others, that the Lord never authorized them to say that the devil, his angels, or the sons of perdition, should ever be restored; for their state of destiny was not revealed to man, is not revealed, nor ever shall be revealed save to those who are made partakers thereof: consequently those who teach this doctrine have not received it of the Spirit of the Lord. Truly Brother Oliver declared it to be the doctrine of devils. We, therefore, command that this doctrine be taught no more in Zion. [77] We sanction the decision of the Bishop and his council, in relation to this doctrine being a bar to communion. (TPJS, p. 24)

Since Joseph and Sidney were allowed to see a portion of this punishment, they passed a little information to others, such as Brigham Young, who said:

What is it that we call death, compared to the agonies of the second death? If people could see it, as Joseph and Sidney saw it, they would pray that the vision be closed up for they could not endure the sight. (J. D. 18:217)

Heber C. Kimball said:

I have seen the time when I did not know the meaning of the phrase, “second death,” but I now comprehend it to my satisfaction. There will probably be thousands who will be brought forth, in the resurrection, in their sins, and their conduct in life will have rendered them worthy of the second death. (J.D. 8:240)

The Prophet Joseph commented on this punishment by saying:

Those who commit the unpardonable sin are doomed to Gnolom–to dwell in hell, worlds without end. As they concocted scenes of bloodshed in this world, so they shall rise to that resurrection which is as the lake of fire and brimstone. Some shall rise to the everlasting burnings of God; for God dwells in everlasting burnings and some shall rise to the damnation of their own filthiness, which is as exquisite a torment as the lake of fire and brimstone. (TPJS, p. 361)


[78]         The Lord also explained a little more of this fateful destiny for the sons of perdition by saying:

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, and having denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him unto themselves and put him to an open shame. These are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels–And the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power; (D. & C. 76:31-37)

This second death is the torment about which so many have written. One poet wrote calling it “The Saddest Death.”



Last autumn, when the frosty winds swept by,

I gazed upon my flowers with moistened eye;

My darling flowers! why should the rude, rough blast,

Touch them so harshly, as it hurried past?

Why should the pure and inoffensive find,

Misusage from the wayward and unkind?

[79]         Thus evil wars, and wrong exerts its powers,

‘Gainst good in man, as here among my flowers.

And then, I said, with half repentant breath,

Why weep? For this is not the saddest death!

When last December, in its chill embrace

Had wrap’d the earth, we sought a resting place

For a dear heart, too weary to remain,

Still to be racked by cruel, torturing pain.

How like my flowers, touched by the early frost,

Slept this ‘loved friend gone home to rest, not lost!

And like a bud that opes for one brief day,

A tiny infant close beside her lay.

And yet, hope on, nor weep, the spirit saith;

For even this, is not the saddest death!

But while I mused, a scene pass’d o’er my view,

Too sorrowful to contemplate, yet true!

A man, in God’s own image formed, and one

Bearing the Priesthood of the Eternal Son,

Thus clothed upon by Heavenly light and power

Yields to the tempter in an evil hour;

Sins and is lost! goes not to rest and peace,

But into torment that will never cease.

Weep now, my soul, unchecked thy tears may fall;

This is the Saddest, Darkest Death of all!

(Lula, Contributor 7:313)

The ignorant people of the world who have not heard of the name of Christ, nor accepted the Gospel, cannot be sons of perdition. It requires a man who has accepted the gospel, received the Holy Ghost, had the truth revealed to him–then turns against that light and knowledge to become a son of perdition. He stands in the midst of sunshine and declares that it does not shine. These are they who love darkness and wickedness more than light and truth.


[80]         If Judas Iscariot received the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands with the other Apostles, then his efforts to bring about the death of Christ would be a sin against the Holy Ghost. Such a sin is unpardonable and therefore Judas would become a Son of Perdition. The name Perdition is significant here because it describes the crime for which Judas is responsible.

Perdition signifies utter ruins or destruction. Judas is called by this name because he was most worthy to be destroyed, having brought himself into a state of destruction. He was ordained and appointed by God to destruction for his sin. He was one, who by reason of the horridness of his crime, is mentioned as the most dreadful instance of God’s irrevocable doom to eternal perdition. Anti-Christ is likewise called by this name, because he brings destruction upon others, and is himself devoted to perdition. (Cruden’s Concordance, p. 486)

Those who sin against the Holy Ghost and become sons of perdition will have their names blotted out of the Lamb’s Book of Life. Brigham Young said that:

The names of every son and daughter of Adam are already written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Is there ever a time when they will be taken out of it? Yes, when they become sons of perdition, and not till then. All the names of the human family are written there, and the Lord will hold them there until they come to the knowledge of the truth that they can rebel against him and can sin against the Holy Ghost; then they will be thrust down to hell and their names be blotted out from the Lamb’s Book of Life. (J.D. 6:297; see also J.D. 16:32 and 9:124)


[81] The punishment of being cast into outer darkness will only be known by those who suffer that condemnation. It is the most severe punishment that God can inflict upon any of his children. Some have indicated that a part of that penalty is to be gradually decomposed into native element.

Man is the most independent being upon God’s footstool, for he has his free volition to do right or wrong; he has the power to reject the evil and choose the good if he chooses, and if he wants to consign himself to oblivion and go back to native element let him follow in the path of the ungodly. . . . (Daniel H. Wells, J.D. 9:358)

President Brigham Young added:

Many of us know what it is to be in the midst of false brethren, which is the most hateful thing of all. *** Leave this kingdom, and I will promise you more suffering than the tongue of man can utter, until you are consumed soul and body–until you are wasted away–the body in the death pronounced upon it, and the spirit in the awful sufferings and torments attending the second death. (JD 9:294)

To choose life is to choose an eternal existence in an organized capacity: to refuse life and choose death is to refuse an eternal existence in an organized capacity, and be contented to become decomposed, and return again to native element. * * * All organized existence is in progress, either to an endless advancement in eternal perfections, or back to dissolution. *** Those that choose death, make choice of the path which leads to the end of their organization. The one leads to endless increase and progression, the other to the destruction of the organized be-[82]ing, ending in its entire decomposition into the particles that compose the native elements. (J.D. 1:349; see also Contributor 5:23)

Further explanation of this doctrine was written in another edition of the Contributor:

Then the Holy Spirit becomes your property, it is given to you for a profit and an eternal blessing. It tends to addition, extension and increase, to immortality and eternal lives. If you suffer the opposite of this to take possession of your tabernacles, it will hurt you, and all that is associated with you, and blast, and strike with mildew, until your tabernacle, which was created to continue throughout an endless duration, will be decomposed, and go back to its native elements, to be ground over again like the refractory clay that has spoiled in the hands of the potter, it must be worked over again until it shall become passive and yield to the potter’s wish. One power is to add, to build up, and increase; the other to destroy and diminish; one is life, the other is death. We might ask, when shall we cease to learn? I will give you my opinion about it; never, never. If we continue to learn all that we can, pertaining to the salvation which is purchased and presented to us through the Son of God, is there a time when a person will cease to learn? Yes; when he has sinned against God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Ghost–God’s minister, when he has denied the Lord, defied Him and committed the sin that in the Bible is termed the unpardonable sin–the sin against the Holy Ghost. That is the time when a person will cease to learn, and from that time forth, will descend in ignorance, forgetting that which he formerly knew, and decreasing until he returns to the native element, whether it be in one thousand or in one million years, or during as many eternities as you can count. Such will cease to learn, both in time and in eternity. (Contributor 10:401)


[83]         There still exists some confusion as to the resurrected status of those who partake of the second death, or who are classified as sons of perdition. They will never be restored to any degree of glory, but there is not much evidence of their being brought forth in a resurrected body. President Brigham Young said:

Is it not a glorious thought that there are kingdoms, mansions of glory and comfortable habitations prepared for all the sons and daughters of Adam, except the sons of perdition? All will not have part in the first resurrection, and perhaps many will not appear in the second; but all will be resurrected, and, except the sons of perdition, enter kingdoms, the least of which I presume is more glorious than ever John Wesley saw in vision. (J.D. 8:196-97)

In the Book of Mormon (2 Ne. 9:22) and other places we read about the resurrection passing to “all men” which is probably a general term, not particularly including the sons of perdition.

In the vision of heaven and hell as seen by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, it is written concerning the sons of perdition that they are:

…the only ones who shall NOT be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the suffering of his wrath. For ALL THE REST shall be brought forth by the resurrection of the dead. (D. & C. 76:38-39)

Then they added that he “saves all the works of his hands except those sons of perdition,” and “he saves all except them.” (D. & C. 76:43-44)

The destiny of man is being able to choose the principles that will make them Gods or to become devils, according to the course they pursue in life. [84] The blessings or the cursings of God are both beyond mortal man’s comprehension; thus we must choose wisely and carefully every principle, ordinance or doctrine which will ultimately render the fulfillment of the desires of our heart.



[85]                              Chapter 9


Latter-day Judases

Judas, when he lost the faith, received the power of the devil, and betrayed the Son of God into the hands of murderers. Joseph Smith in like manner was betrayed into the hands of wicked men, who took his life. He was betrayed by the apostates, by men whom he once loved when they were in our midst, and had the Spirit of the Lord. (Heber C. Kimball, JD 2:107)

It has always been–and will be yet for some time–that wherever the gospel and Kingdom of God are established on earth, the devil will be on hand to integrate his servants into those ranks. The devil’s servants find fault, become accusers of the brethren, and finally prove to be traitors. These men fall from every honorable position and station.

Do you doubt the existence of a devil and of evil spirits? Need I ask the Latter-day Saints this? Have you not seen his spirit manifested? You have seen men and women in this Church who were once faithful and devoted to the work of God; but they fell into sin, and another spirit took possession of them. Men as high as members of the First Presidency have done this. (Mill. Star 60:214)

Perhaps one of the saddest events in the life of Christ was to know that He would suffer betrayal and murder at the hands of one of his trusted friends. Betrayal from an enemy can be expected, [86] but from a friend it comes like a knife in the back. The Psalmist, too, had known suffering from such traitors when he wrote:

For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together and walked unto the house of God in company. * * * The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords. * * * But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days…. (Psalms 55:12-14, 21, 23)

It is personal weaknesses and sins that bring men to opposing the principles of the gospel; then they become enemies to those who do keep all the commandments and laws of the gospel. These are they who begin to commit the unpardonable sin and begin to–

…deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it; and from that time he begins to be an enemy. This is the case with many apostates of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (TPJS, p. 358)

Those who seek to change or oppose the doctrines of the Gospel are anti-Christ. From the Book of Mormon we read of Korihor who became an apostate and an anti-Christ. Alma charged him:

…thou art possessed with a lying spirit, and ye have put off the Spirit of God that it may have no place in you; but the devil had power over you, and he doth carry you about, working devices that he may destroy the children of God. (Alma 30:42)


[87]         Korihor fell into apostacy through his whoredoms, finally becoming a persecutor of the righteous. He later confessed that the devil had appeared to him and gave him revelations to oppose the work of God. God smote him and he was struck dumb, became a beggar, and was finally “trodden down, even until he was dead” by the Zoramites. Alma concluded his commentary by saying:

And thus we see the end of him who perverteth the ways of the Lord; and thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell. (Alma 30:60)

Joseph Smith experienced betrayals and often suffered from the hands of those who were once close to him. He expressed his persecution by these former friends:

Notwithstanding my weaknesses, I am under the necessity of bearing the infirmities of others, who, when they get into difficulty, hang on to me tenaciously to get them out, and wish me to cover their faults. On the other hand, the same characters, when they discover a weakness in Brother Joseph, endeavor to blast his reputation, and publish it to all the world, and thereby aid my enemies in destroying the Saints. (TPJS, p. 315)

Among the first apostates to take up the pen and sword against the Prophet were Simonds Rider, Ezra Booth, and John C. Bennett:

Bennett published a book filled with the blackest lies about Joseph and the Saints. This created a little excitements, which, however, did not last long. He was despised by everyone who knew him, and those who did not know him, but only heard his stories or read his book, looked upon him as a traitor and [88] bad man. For some years before his death he had fits, which were very violent; he also partly lost the use of his lips and of his tongue. It was difficult for him to make himself understood. He dragged out a miserable existence, without a person scarcely to take the least interest in his fate, and died a few months ago without a person to mourn his departure. And yet there was a time, probably, when he, like many others before and since, thought that if he should apostatize the work of God would totter and fall! This is the blindness of apostates–the trick of the devil to lead them to do his bidding. He laughs at their folly, and when they can be no longer used by him, he throws them aside and leaves them to their miserable fate. (Juv. Inst. 3:111, 1868)

But the list of apostates continued to grow, and so did the opposition to the Prophet. Joseph hinted that he would be murdered and once said he would never live to be 40 years old. The dark clouds of conspiracy and doom continually grew worse; and six months before his death, Joseph said:

I am exposed to far greater danger from traitors among ourselves than from enemies without, although my life has been sought for many years by the civil and military authorities, priests and people of Missouri; and if I can escape from the ungrateful treachery of assassins, I can live as Caesar might have lived, were it not for a right-hand Brutus. I have had pretended friends betray me. All the enemies upon the face of the earth may roar and exert all their power to bring about my death, but they can accomplish nothing, unless some who are among us, who have enjoyed our society, have been with us in our councils, participated in our confidence, taken us by [89] the hand, called us brother, saluted us with a kiss, join with our enemies, turn our virtues into faults, and, by falsehood and deceit, stir up their wrath and indignation against us, and bring their united vengeance upon our heads. All the hue and cry of the chief priests and elders against the Savior could not bring down the wrath of the Jewish nation upon his head, and thereby cause the crucifixion of the Son of God, until Judas said unto them: `Whomsoever I shall kiss he is the man; hold him fast.’ Judas was one of the Twelve Apostles, even their treasurer, and dipped with their Master in the dish, and through his treachery, the crucifixion was brought about; and we have a Judas in our midst. (Life of Joseph Smith, by George Q. Cannon, p. 430)

William Law took offense at this and Joseph asked why William ran when no man pursueth, unless he was guilty.

Many other apostates were involved in plotting the death of Joseph. It was written later by some who knew of these incidents:

William Law was his first counselor; Wilson Law, Major General of the Legion; Wm. Marks, President of the Stake; the Higbees, his confidential attorneys, and Dr. Foster, his financial business agent. All of these and many others entered into secret covenant so much worse than Judas, that they would have the Prophet’s life, just in fulfillment of what he had said so often, publicly. With all their power, they began to make a party strong enough to destroy the Prophet. (My Life’s Review, p. 99)

* * *


[90]         But from this time on he knew from what quarter to expect the kiss of Judas. Jealousy of the Prophet and their personal impurity led several leading men to apostasy and to a thirst for Joseph’s blood. Among them were William Law, Wilson Law, Chauncey L. Higbee, Francis M. Higbee and Robert D. Foster. They became his avowed enemies; but in secret sympathy with them were Sidney Rigdon, William Marks and Austin A. Cowles.

* * *

The Prophet had long known of their treachery and had warned the Saints that Judases were in their midst, without naming the individuals. He knew that in time the traitors would betray themselves. (Life of Joseph Smith, by George Q. Cannon, p. 430)

* * *

But these men had transgressed the laws of God, they had indulged in adultery, whoredom and lust, and had, therefore, lost the Spirit of the Lord.

Besides these open and avowed apostates, there were men still remaining in the Church who sympathized with them, and who, at heart, were traitors to Joseph, and the work of God. Prominent among these were Sidney Rigdon, William Marks and Austin A. Cowles. There were many others, also, of lesser note. (Fate of the Persecutors, Lundwall, p. 80)

One elder by the name of James Blakeslee, arose to the stand one Sunday and publicly stated that Joseph was a prophet, but the next day was uniting with William Law to destroy the Prophet.


[91]         William Law once used a revolver on Joseph, but none of the loads fired, which only made him more determined to destroy the Prophet.

A sister of Joseph Smith related the following:

“I heard brother Joseph’s last sermon, delivered to a great audience in Nauvoo,” said Mrs. Salisbury, and a look of tender sadness lighted up those dimming eyes as she spoke. “In that sermon,” continued the venerable lady, “Brother Joseph said that there was seated on the speaker’s stand beside him, those who were conspiring to take his life, and who would be responsible for his death.” (Mill. Star 56:551)

George Q. Cannon, editor of the Juvenile Instructor, described the direful consequence and seriousness of shedding innocent blood. He wrote:

It is a terrible thing for a man to consent to the death of God’s anointed–to shed innocent blood, or be accessory thereto. It were better for such a man never to have been born, or if a millstone had been tied around his neck and he had been cast into the depth of the sea; for such a sin can never be forgiven in this world nor in the world to come; and the heaviest of woes are pronounced upon those who commit such crimes. (Juv. Inst. 15:11, 1880)

Betrayal and murder were signs of the last days, for Jesus said, “many shall be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” (Matt. 24:10) This was manifest in many ways during the life of Joseph Smith. Acts of betrayal and sinning against the Holy Ghost were as evident in the days of Joseph as they were in the days of Jesus.


[92]         One of the first projects the apostates conceived was to publish a paper in Nauvoo called the “Nauvoo Expositor.” In this paper they would expose the revelation to Joseph Smith on plural marriage. After the first issue of the paper, Joseph called the City Council together and after much deliberation, the paper was considered a nuisance. They then passed an ordinance requiring the marshal of the city to destroy the press. The marshal and his posse pulled the press into the street and broke it with a sledge hammer. This brought a charge of treason against Joseph and Hyrum.

Joseph’s enemies were at a loss of how to get him condemned or executed by the law because over 40 lawsuits had failed to convict him. They finally agreed that what the law failed to do, powder and muskets would. Their conspiracy was to first bring him under the power of the law by certain unlawful charges. On Saturday, May 25, 1844, the Prophet was informed that he had been indicted at Carthage for polygamy and adultery. William Law was the principle leader of this movement.

I remember very well William Law, counselor to the Prophet Joseph, a friend of the Prophet, a friend of God apparently, a staunch man in the church; but he committed sin, and that man who had occupied that high and exalted station, compassed the death of the Prophet. He was one of the chief conspirators in arranging plans for his destruction, and took an active part in urging on his martyrdom. Members of the Council of the Twelve Apostles also partook of the same spirit. (Mill. Star 60:214)

George Q. Cannon wrote an interesting historical item concerning the spirit of Cain, and Judas, which was manifest in the apostates who brought about the death of Joseph Smith.


[93]         During the days of which we write, it seemed as though the evil one and his hosts were making every effort to bring trouble upon Joseph. Apostates were combined together and appeared determined to destroy him. On one occasion in April, 1844, the City Marshal arrested one of this class for assaulting his brother in the latter’s own house. This brought out his companions, three of whom came down to Joseph’s office. Their names were Chauncey L. Higbee, Robert D. Foster and Charles Foster. The first two were bitter apostates. The latter was a brother of Robert D. Foster, and though he had never been in the Church, he drank into the spirit of murder and violence which they possessed and was one with them. Joseph was standing on the steps of his office, and Charles Foster drew a pistol and pointed it towards him, and threatened to shoot him. The police were directed to arrest him, and, while trying to do so, his brother and Higbee interfered, resisted the officers, and they were arrested also. They swore dreadful oaths, and Higbee and Charles Foster said they would shoot Joseph. They uttered many threats, and said they would consider themselves the favored of God for the privilege of shooting or ridding the world of such a tyrant as Joseph was.


Thus they breathed the spirit of apostasy, which, from the days of Cain, has been the spirit of murder and bloodshed. Satan is an apostate, and he is a “liar and murderer from the beginning,” and all who yield themselves to his spirit, and become apostates, partake of the disposition to tell lies and to murder. This has been the case in every age when God has had a people upon the earth, and it will be so as long as Satan has any power over the hearts of the children of men. It was under the influence of this spirit that Judas, who [94] had been chosen as one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, in Palestine, betrayed his Lord to His enemies. He told lies about, and bore false witness against, his best friend, and helped to carry out the plan to murder him. And in this dispensation the same spirit has been manifested. These men of whom we write, and many others, told the most abominable lies about Joseph, bore false witness against him and were ready to enter into any scheme, or join hands with any one to destroy him; and yet they had been his brethren and friends at one time, just as Judas was, apparently, the friend and brother of Jesus! (Juv. Inst., 14:250)

It took the conspirators from within Joseph’s own councils to instigate charges and bring information that would cause his death.

In a speech to the Nauvoo Legion on June 18, 1844, Joseph gave both a promise and a warning:

I do not regard my own life. I am ready to be offered a sacrifice for this people; for what can our enemies do? Only kill the body, and their power is then at an end. Stand firm, my friends; never flinch; do not seek to save your lives for he that is afraid to die for the truth will lose eternal life. Hold out to the end, and we shall be resurrected, and become like Gods, and reign in celestial kingdoms, principalities, and eternal dominions, while this cursed mob will sink to hell, the portion of all those who shed innocent blood. (Fate of the Persecutors of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Lundwall, p. 144-45)

Later Joseph depicted the handwriting on the wall, indicating his death was inevitable.


[95]         I told Stephen Markham that if I and Hyrum were ever taken again we should be massacred, or I was not a prophet of God. I want Hyrum to live to avenge my blood, but he is determined not to leave me. (TPJS, p. 376)

* * *

Joseph then said to the company who were with him, “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter, but I am calm as a summer’s morning. I have a conscience void of offense toward God and toward all men. If they take my life I shall die an innocent man, and my blood shall cry from the ground for vengeance, and it shall be said of me, “He was murdered in cold blood!” (TPJS, p. 379)

The apostates were thirsting for his blood, and the actual plot to kill Joseph began at a secret meeting which was appointed at the new brick house of William Law. It was a meeting specifically for the purpose of planning the destruction of Joseph Smith.

It seems that the immediate cause of these wicked proceedings was the fact that Joseph had recently presented the revelation on Celestial Marriage to the High Council for their approval, and certain members were most bitterly opposed to it, and denounced Joseph as a fallen Prophet, and were determined to destroy him. (Contributor 5:250)

Another meeting took place the following Sabbath and this time the conspirators were agitated against Hyrum and other prominent men of the church. They agreed they must gather all the charges and accusations that could be used against them.


[96]         The next week in their meeting Joseph was accused of committing adultery many times, and that he was a fallen prophet. The revelation on plural marriage was declared to be a revelation from the devil and would deceive the people and destroy the church. Everyone at the meeting was to raise their hands to give everything to destroy Joseph and his “wicked doctrines.” They even signed their names to a book which was legally acknowledged by Francis Higbee, a justice of the peace. About 200 persons took the oath. They shouted:

Can a man be a true Prophet who would commit adultery? He is a fallen Prophet and is teaching the people doctrines that his own imagination or lustful desires have invested, or else he received that revelation from the devil. *** We can do nothing with him by the law, and for the sake of the church we deem it our solemn duty to accomplish his destruction and rescue the people from this peril. (Fate of the Persecutors, Lundwall, p. 89)

Joseph learned the details of this meeting from two young boys named Scott and Dennison, in one of the most bizarre incidents in Church history.

Joseph later expressed his own feelings on the matter by saying:

They accuse me of polygamy, and of being a false Prophet, and many other things which I do not now remember; but I am no false Prophet; I am no impostor; I have had no dark revelations: I have had no revelations from the devil; I made no revelations; I have got nothing up myself. The same God that has thus far dictated me and directed me and strengthened me in this work, gave me this revelation and commandment on celestial and plural marriage, and the same God commanded me to obey [97] it. He said to me that unless I accepted it and introduced it, and practiced it, I, together with my people, would be damned and cut off from this time henceforth. And they say if I do so, they will kill me. O, what shall I do? If I do not practice it I shall be damned with my people. If I do teach it, and practice it, and urge it, they say they will kill me, and I know they will. But,” said he, “we have got to observe it. It is an eternal principle, and was given by way of commandment and not by way of instruction.” (Contributor 5:259)

Joseph, Hyrum and some of the others were arrested and placed in the Carthage Jail. This was the chance that the traitors, betrayers and apostates had waited for. All the enemies of Joseph had combined their efforts and means into this last episode. Even states were involved.

The mob that collected at Carthage, Illinois, to commit that deed of blood contained a delegation representing every State in the Union. Each has received its blood stain. In the perpetration of this great national sin, they acted upon their own free volition which God implanted within them, as much so as if they had been willing to hearken to the advice of the Prophet and his friends when they showed them how to preserve the nation from destruction, how to do good to all, and how to introduce every holy principle that is calculated to bless and exalt a people. But, said they, “We will not hearken to the counsels of this man;” for, like the Jews of old, they were afraid if they let him live he would take away their place and nation. (Brigham Young, JD 12:121)

Also the governor of the state, Thomas Ford, had his hand in the plot:


[98]         Even after the lapse of nearly thirty-six years, one cannot read the history of the last days of Joseph Smith without a feeling of indignation rising towards the miserable creature who acted, at that time, as governor of the state. Thomas Ford is a name that will live in history side by side with that of Pontius Pilate. He was an imbecile. A more pliant, short-sighted, weak tool could not have been found, to suit the purposes of the mob, if the country had been searched. He was full of pompous littleness, and the leaders of the mob humored his weak conceit. By this means, they used him, and he was more serviceable to them, without knowing their plans, than if they had explained them to him. (Fate of the Persecutors, Lundwall, p. 302)

When the mob burst into the jail house room, Joseph leaped out of the window. He struck partly on his right shoulder and back, his neck and head reaching the ground a little before his feet. He rolled on his face. Then a ruffian, later identified as the son of Governor Boggs, grabbed Joseph and sat him up against the south side of the well. The fellow was bare-headed, his shirt sleeves rolled above his elbows and barefooted. He then said to Joseph, “This is Old Joe; I know you, Old Joe. Damn you, you are the man that had my daddy shot.” Col. Levi Williams then stepped up and called four men to make preparations to shoot Joseph. It has been supposed that Joseph was hit by bullets before he struck the ground, but it apparently wasn’t so. As the men raised their weapons and leveled them at Joseph, his “eyes rested upon them with a calm and quiet resignation.”

The fire was simultaneous. A slight cringe of the body was all the indication of pain that he betrayed when the balls struck him. He fell upon his face. (See The Martyrs, p. 79-81.)


[99]         There had been a $1,000 reward for the head of Joseph Smith, so at this time Boggs’ son grabbed a bowie knife in one hand and the hair of Joseph with the other and was about to cut off his head when a flash of lightning created a consternation that broke up the party into retreat. The body of Joseph Smith was carried back into the jail and was rested at the foot of the stairway.

The work of the Judases was done. Their victory was their condemnation. Joseph knew their fate as well as his own, for God had revealed it to him.

Joseph’s last dream was given to him to show the condition that would come upon these apostates:

In the evening I attended meeting in the Seventies’ Hall. George J. Adams preached and I made some observations afterwards, and related a dream which I had a short time since. I thought I was riding out in my carriage, and my guardian angel was along with me. We went past the Temple and had not gone much further before we espied two large snakes so fast locked together that neither of them had any power. I inquired of my guide what I was to understand by that. He answered, “Those snakes represent Dr. Foster and Chauncey L. Higbee. They are your enemies and desire to destroy you; but you see they are so fast locked together that they have no power of themselves to hurt you.” I then thought I was riding up Mulholland street, but my guardian angel was not along with me. On arriving at the prairie, I was overtaken and seized by William and Wilson Law and others, saying, “Ah, ah! we have got you at last! We will secure you and put you in a safe place!” and, without any ceremony dragged me out of my carriage, tied my hands behind me, and threw me into a deep, dry pit, where I remained in [100] a perfectly helpless condition, and they went away. While struggling to get out, I heard Wilson Law screaming for help hard by. I managed to unloose myself so as to make a spring, when I caught hold of some grass which grew at the edge of the pit.

I looked out of the pit and saw Wilson Law at a little distance attacked by ferocious wild beasts, and heard him cry out, “Oh Brother Joseph come and save me!” I replied, “I cannot, for you have put me into this deep pit.” On looking out another way, I saw William Law with outstretched tongue, blue in the face, and the green poison forced out of his mouth, caused by the coiling of a large snake around his body. It had also grabbed him by the arm, a little above the elbow, ready to devour him. He cried out in the intensity of his agony, “Oh, Brother Joseph, Brother Joseph, come and save me, or I die!” I also replied to him, “I cannot, William; I would willingly, but you have tied me and put me in this pit, and I am powerless to help you or liberate myself.” In a short time after my guide came and said aloud, “Joseph, Joseph, what are you doing there?” I replied, “My enemies fell upon me, bound me and threw me in.” He then took me by the hand, and drew me out of the pit, set me free, and we went away rejoicing. (June 13, 1844; DHC 6:461-462; also TPJS, pp. 368-369)

Murderers, betrayers and those who sin against the Holy Ghost, are men who submitted to temptation and then to the influence of evil spirits. Jesus explained how men gather wicked spirits to them when they apostatize.

Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. (Luke 11:24-26)


[101] The most severe punishment on earth or in hell will be the pain of a suffering, guilty conscience, and being subject to the evil spirits and powers that led men into such heinous sins in mortality.



[102]                             Chapter 10


Many Sons of Perdition

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. (Hebrews 6:4-6)


How do men become sons of perdition? The ignorant people of the world who have not had the Holy Ghost cannot be sons of perdition. Neither can people become sons of perdition after they leave mortality. The Prophet explained:

A man cannot commit the unpardonable sin after the dissolution of the body, and there is a way possible for escape. Knowledge saves a man; and in the world of spirits, no man can be exalted but by knowledge. So long as a man will not give heed to the commandments, he must abide without salvation. If a man has knowledge, he can be saved; although, if he has been guilty of great sins, he will be punished for them. But when he consents to obey the Gospel, whether here or in the world of spirits, he is saved.

A man is his own tormenter and his own condemner. Hence the saying, They shall go into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. The torment of disappointment in the mind of man is as exquisite as a lake burning with fire and brimstone. I say, so is the torment of man.


[103]I know the scriptures and understand them. I said, no man can commit the unpardonable sin after the dissolution of the body, nor in this life, until he receives the Holy Ghost; but they must do it in this world. (TPJS, p. 357)

Men sin when they act against the light that is given them; therefore, when they enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost and the Priesthood, they are capable of sinning against the greatest gift that God can give them.

The gifts of God are all useful in their place, but when they are applied to that which God does not intend, they prove an injury, a snare and a curse instead of a blessing. (TPJS p. 248)

Men in the flesh are clothed with the Priesthood with its blessings, the apostatizing from which and turning away from the Lord prepares them to become sons of perdition. (Brigham Young, J.D., p. 279)

Sinners must go into hell until they have paid the utmost farthing; then they can be redeemed. The exception to this is the sons of perdition. Brigham Young explained in the following quotations:

Jesus will bring forth, by his own redemption, every son and daughter of Adam, except the sons of perdition who will be cast into hell. Others will suffer the wrath of God–will suffer all the Lord can demand at their hands, or justice can require of them; and when they have suffered the wrath of God till the last farthing is paid, they will be brought out of prison. Is this dangerous doctrine to preach? Some consider it dangerous; but it is true that every person who does not sin away the day of grace, and become an angel to the Devil, [104] will be brought forth to inherit a kingdom of glory. (JD 8:154)

* * *

The Saviour has not finished his work, and cannot receive the fulness of his glory until the influences and power of the wicked are overcome and brought into subjection. When the wicked inhabitants of the earth, the beasts of the field, fowls of the air, fish of the sea, all mineral substances, and all else pertaining to this earth, are overcome, then he will take the kingdom, present it to the Father, and say, “Here is the work you gave me to do–you made the appointment–I have wrought faithfully, and here are my brethren and sisters who have wrought with me. We have wrought faithfully together; we have overcome the flesh, hell, and the Devil. I have overcome, they have followed in my footsteps, and here are all thou hast given me; I have lost none, except the son of perdition.” (JD 8:118)

* * *

I am not now preaching to a congregation of unbelievers, but to the Saints; and I now say to you, Saints, and to the unbelievers, that all who reject the gospel, who despise the principles of life and salvation that have been delivered to us, they must taste of the second death if they do not repent. There may be some however, who are so ignorant that repentance is yet left for them. (JD 12:101)

Hell can be a place for purging and purifying for all except those who sin against the Holy Ghost.

And all the residue, who do not sin against the Holy Ghost, will be punished according to their deeds, and will receive according to [105] their works, whether it be little or much, good or bad. Jesus will redeem the last and least of the sons of Adam, except the sons of perdition, who will be held in reserve for another time. They will become angels of the Devil. (Brigham Young, J.D. 8:154)

Those who are sons of perdition and who sin against the Holy Ghost, no longer believe in the principles that would save them. They choose, by their own will, the things that draw them to darkness and evil. Great personal sacrifices must be made to atone for great sins. President Young said:

The Lord is merciful, but, when He comes to His Kingdom on the earth, He will banish traitors from His presence, and they will be sons of perdition. Every apostate who ever received this gospel in faith, and had the spirit of it, will have to repent in sackcloth and ashes, and sacrifice all he possesses or be a son of perdition, go down to hell, and there dwell with the damned; and those who persecute and destroy the people of God, and shed the blood of innocence, will be judged accordingly. (Brigham Young, JD 12:63)

When men sin against the Holy Ghost, they make such a decision based upon a culmination of wicked decisions and actions in their life. They no longer believe in being redeemed by righteous principles they once knew would save them; therefore, there is no repentance for them, for they choose wickedness in preference to righteousness. The following quotations explain:

All who partake of this, the greatest of sins, sell themselves as did Cain to Lucifer. They learn to hate the truth with an eternal hatred, and they learn to love wickedness. They reach a condition where they will not and cannot repent. The spirit of murder fills [106] their hearts and they would, if they had the power, crucify our Lord again, which they virtually do by fighting his work and seeking to destroy it and his prophets. (Doc. of Sal. 1:49)

* * *

After a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost there is no repentance for him. *** I warn you against all evil characters who sin against the Holy Ghost; for there is no redemption for them in this world nor in the world to come. (TPJS, p. 358)

* * *

He died to accomplish the salvation of all except the sons of perdition, and they have had all these blessings applied to them, and have partaken of them, known them, and then turned enemies to them, and there is not anything greater that you can do for them, and they perish, for after the blood of Christ has been shed and they despised it, nothing more can be done for them than already has been, for they have rejected the means of salvation. (P. Pratt, JD 3:316)

* * *

All will be saved, as Jesus said, when speaking to the Apostles, except the sons of perdition. *** One of the brethren, yesterday, felt so rejoiced, under like reflections, that he said he could pray for the devils in hell, if it would do any good. It is not for us to pray for them, because they have become sons of perdition. You may pray for your persecutors–for those who hate you, and revile you, and speak all manner of evil of you, if they do it ignorantly; but if they do it understandingly, justice must take its course [107] in regard to them; and except they repent, they will become sons of perdition. This is my testimony. (Brigham Young, JD 8:36)

The Savior of the world could have become a son of perdition if He would have rejected certain requirements of God. This was illustrated by Brigham Young when he said:

Jesus suffered himself to be crowned with thorns and crucified; but suppose he had said, “I will not make this great sacrifice; I am the Almighty; I will dash my enemies to pieces, and I will not die for the world,” what would have been the result? Jesus would have become a son of perdition; he would have lost every power and right to the kingdom he was about to redeem–would have become no better than the son of the morning who contended against him, and would have contended against righteousness from that time, and against whoever the Lord would then appoint to destroy sin and death, and him that had the power of it. (JD 8:118)

Furthermore, he applied this to all others who accept the Gospel and have the gift of the Holy Ghost:

If a person with an honest heart, a broken, contrite, and pure spirit, in all fervency and honesty of soul, presents himself and says that he wishes to be baptized for the remission of his sins, and the ordinance is administered by one having authority, is that man saved? Yes, to that period of time. Should the Lord see proper to take him then from the earth, the man has believed and been baptized and is a fit subject for heaven–a candidate for the kingdom of God in the celestial world because he has repented and done all that was required of him to that hour. But, after he [108] is baptized and hands have been laid upon him for the reception of the Holy Ghost, suppose that on the next day he is commanded to go forth and preach the Gospel, or to teach his family, or to assist in building up the kingdom of God, or to take all his substance and give it for the sustenance of the poor, and he says, “I will not do it,” his baptism and confirmation would depart from him, and he would be left as a son of perdition. (B.Y. JD 8:124)

This does not mean that men can instantly become Sons of Perdition. They must pursue a course that takes as long to be a Son of Perdition as it does to become exalted. It takes a considerable amount of time necessary to reach that brink at which there is no repentance. Turning from the truth is opening the door to become a Son of Perdition. After men have been led by the Holy Ghost and then have turned against it, they begin to reach the point of no return.

Let us consider the fate of Cain. He first consented or was tempted to change the ordinances of the Gospel as they had been revealed to him from God. (See TPJS, p. 58-59)

…for Cain also being authorized to offer sacrifice, but not offering it in righteousness, was cursed. It signifies then, that the ordinances must be kept in the very way God has appointed; otherwise their Priesthood will prove a cursing instead of a blessing. (TPJS, p. 169)

Cain received the influence and power of Satan and was further tempted because he “listened not any more to the voice of the Lord”. (Moses 5:26) From this point he established a secret conspiracy, then he sought to “get gain”, and finally descended to commit murder. When he was finally confronted [109] by his sins, he said that “my punishment is greater than I can bear.” When he had completely rejected the Gospel, and committed murder of innocent blood, he became “Master Mahan” and was told that he would rule over the devil and be called Perdition.


Judas as a Son of Perdition

Some believe that the number of the Sons of Perdition are so few that they can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Some do not think that even Judas could have been a Son of Perdition–as Joseph F. Smith expressed:

To my mind it strongly appears that not one of the disciples possessed sufficient light, knowledge nor wisdom, at the time of the crucifixion, for either exaltation or condemnation; for it was afterward that their minds were opened to understand the scriptures, and that they were endowed with power from on high; without which they were only children in knowledge, in comparison to what they afterwards became under the influence of the Spirit. (Gospel Doctrine, p. 433)

This question was not difficult for many of the Bible scholars who have studied this text for the scriptural point of view. One Protestant writer said:

But any plea to justify Judas is cancelled out by the fact that when he covenanted to sell Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, Jesus spoke of him as “a son of perdition,” and allowed him to die by his own hand, and pass out into the blackness of darkness forever. If ever Judas had loved Jesus, the love of money smothered it, and the root of bitterness possessed him, for there is a trace of vin-[110]dictiveness and a spice of revenge in his final act of treachery. (All the Apostles of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer, p. 104)

It seems strange that so many of the doctrines and ordinances of the Church began to undergo controversy and change at the turn of the century. Even the doctrine of the Sons of Perdition began to be eroded by new innovations.

However, an opposite point of view was expressed by Edward Anderson, the assistant editor of the Improvement Era at that time. He also wrote a book entitled The Apostles of Jesus Christ, published by the Deseret Sunday School Union in 1917 and used as a Sunday School lesson book. Anderson wrote the following concerning Judas Iscariot:

He became a son of perdition, the end, height, depth and misery of whose punishment no man may understand, except him who is ordained unto this condemnation. (p. 44)

Recently, Spencer W. Kimball wrote a book called The Miracle of Forgiveness in which this topic was mentioned. He took a weak position and offered very little light on the subject:

Speculation as to individual sons of perdition is at best unprofitable. Some have consigned Judas Iscariot to this doom, based on certain scriptural passages. (p. 126)

Jesus left little doubt in anyone’s mind when He mentioned Judas to the Father:

Those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. (John 17:12)


[111] Again He made reference to Judas when He appeared to the Nephites after His resurrection and said:

…It sorroweth me because of the fourth generation from this generation, for they are led away captive by him even as was the son of perdition; for they will sell me for silver and for gold. (3 Nephi 27:32)

Again, a little later, Mormon also inferred that Judas was a “son of perdition, for whom there was no mercy.” (3 Nephi 29:7) Because of his denials of the revelations of the Lord, rejecting the power of the Holy Ghost, and to get gain, he took the road to perdition.

Jesus gave a specific name to Judas while he was yet with the Twelve; He called him a “devil”, indicating that he had sinned sufficiently to gain the right to that title.

Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve. (John 6:70-71)

When a man becomes a devil or an angel to the devil, he is beyond the scope of redemption and is classified as a Son of Perdition.

Hence, the fate of Judas stands as a dire and ugly warning, to all who would be tempted to sin against the Holy Ghost. For Jesus said,

The Son of man goeth as it is written of him; but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born. (Matt. 26:24)


[112] Judas gained nothing by coming into mortality. All the labor, ministry and years on earth were wasted because of the sins he committed. Hardly a more clear description of the destiny of Judas could be portrayed. The seriousness of his crimes were summed up expressly in the term that “it had been good for that man if he had not been born.” The life of Judas had been more than wasted–it had been an offense to God! Mortality for Judas was a calamity more than a blessing.

Judas Iscariot brought about the death or destruction of Jesus Christ–probably the most heinous crime in the annals of time. Judas stained his hands with the blood of the most innocent man that ever lived. The Prophet Joseph adds:

The unpardonable sin is to shed innocent blood, or be accessory thereto. All other sins will be visited with judgment in the flesh…. (TPJS, p. 301)

Furthermore, when a new apostle was chosen for Judas’s position, it was not a substitution, but rather a replacement. This was the fulfillment of prophecy:

For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. (Acts 1:20)

When it was time to select someone to fill his position, there was an option between two men. They prayed to the Lord to choose by lots one of these men,

…that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. (Acts 1:25)


[113] Jesus mentioned the fate of an “unprofitable servant”, possibly alluding to Judas when He said:

And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt. 25:30)

Then when speaking of those who would persecute even His followers, He said that God would turn upon them and–

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matt. 25:41)

When Dante made his voyage through hell, he saw Judas in its lowest chambers with Lucifer. They were enduring the “worst punishment”, which was so horrible that they were even banned from the society of the rest of the damned.

But Judas was not going to be lonely in that position, for it was revealed to Joseph Smith:

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. (D. & C. 76:31-32)

It was evident that many men were involved in the conspiracy of bringing about the death of Christ, among whom were many apostates. Stephen, the Apostle, was probably talking to some of them just before they stoned him–the same year that Christ was crucified. He accused them of resisting the Holy Ghost and of murder when he said:


[114] Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers. (Acts 7:51-52)

Then when Stephen, “being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up … and saw the glory of God and Jesus,” and bore his testimony to them, they “cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord;” then they stoned him to death! Thus, there could have been many Sons of Perdition at the time of Christ.

The men responsible for the death of Christ and the Apostles were murderers and should have been put to death for their crimes. It is written that Judas went out and hung himself, as if there was that much remorse for what he did. However, this was clarified by Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, in the following comments:

Sidney Rigdon took his text from the fifth chapter of Matthew, “Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt have lost his savour wherewith shall it be salted, it is henceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and be trodden under foot of men.” From this scripture he undertook to prove that when men embrace the gospel and afterwards lose their faith, it is the duty of the Saints to trample them under their feet. He informed the people that they had a set of men among them that had dissented from the church and were doing all in their power to destroy the presidency, laying plans to take their lives, etc., accused them of counterfeiting, lying, cheating and numerous other crimes and called on the people to rise en masse and rid the [115] country of such a nuisance. He said it is the duty of this people to trample them into the earth and if the country cannot be freed from them any other way, I will assist to trample them down or to erect a gallows on the square of Far West and hang them up as they did the gamblers at Vicksburgh and it would be an act at which the angels would smile with approbation.

After this speech by Rigdon,

Joseph Smith in a short speech sanctioned what had been said by Rigdon, though said he, I don’t want the brethren to act unlawfully but will tell them one thing. Judas was a traitor and instead of hanging himself was hung by Peter, and with this hint the subject was dropped for the day having created a great excitement and prepared the people to execute anything that should be proposed. (Reed Peck Manuscript, p. 6-7)

Although it is written that Judas “hanged himself” (Matt. 27:5), we also read that “His bowels gushed out”. (Acts 1:18) What sort of hanging was that? How could he be hanged about the neck and his “bowels” gush out? This is a conflicting story which was clarified by Heber C. Kimball, when he said:

Jesus said to His disciples, “Ye are the salt of the earth; and if the salt loses its saving principle, it is then good for nothing but to be cast out.” Instead of reading it just as it is, almost all of you read it just as it is not. Jesus meant to say, “If you have lost the saving principles, you Twelve Apostles, and you that believe in my servants the Twelve, you shall be like unto the salt that has lost its saving principles: it is henceforth good for nothing but to be cast [116] out and trodden under the foot of men.” Judas lost that saving principle, and they took him and killed him. It is said in the Bible that his bowels gushed out; but they actually kicked him until his bowels came out.

I will suffer my bowels to be taken out before I will forfeit the covenant I have made with Him and my brethren. Do you understand me? Judas was like salt that had lost its saving principles–good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under the foot of men. It is just so with you men and women, if you do not honour your callings and cultivate the principles you have received. It is so with you, ye Elders of Israel, when you forfeit your covenants. (JD 6:125-26)

The question is often asked, “Why did Jesus choose Judas as an apostle if He knew he was “a devil from the beginning?” Or, “Why didn’t Jesus know that Judas would betray Him?” Many answers have been offered, among which are that “The devil must have a representative wherever God has His representatives,” or that “God allows such men to hold these positions to test and prove them.” Another reason was given in a revelation to the Apostle Orson Hyde who wrote:

Evil men, ambitious of power, must needs arise among you, and they shall be led by their own self-will and not by me. Yet they are instruments in my hands, and are permitted to try my people, and to collect from among them those who are not the elect, and such as are unworthy of eternal life.

Grieve not after them, neither mourn nor be alarmed. My people know my voice and also the voice of my spirit, and a stranger they will not follow; therefore such as follow strangers are not my people. (Unpublished Revelations, Vol.1, Collier, pp. 104-105)


[117] Hence, every man must stand or fall by himself. Each must receive and act upon the light that he is capable of receiving–and that light may show him the pathway to God, or it can become a searing and eternal burning and affliction. For some, their deeds cause them to love darkness more than light. These are the Sons of Perdition.



[118]                             Chapter 11



Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecc. 12:13)

The principles of both life and death are presented to man so that by his choice he may form his own character and circumstances. Like water that always seeks its own level, so man will rise or fall by his own volition. Nevertheless, only a few men will pass the tests of life that bring them to the exalted mansions of Godhood. The Prophet Joseph Smith remorsefully acknowledged this by saying:


But there has been a great difficulty in getting anything into the heads of this generation. It has been like splitting hemlock knots with a corn dodger for a wedge, and a pumpkin for a beetle. Even the Saints are slow to understand.

I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions: they cannot stand the fire at all. How many will be able to abide a celestial law, and go through and receive their exaltation, I am unable to say, as many are called, but few are chosen. (DHC 6:184-85, TPJS, p. 331)


[119] Only those rare souls whose hearts are fixed on Christ and the fullness of His Gospel, have the courage and conviction for achieving exaltation. The temptations of having wealth, palacial homes, and worldly honors among men, not to mention the gratification of other lustful desires, are usually overpowering to most men. Because of this backward course, individuals, societies, and nations have always failed to recognize the true prophets. Said Joseph Smith:

The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets, and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and these had to hide themselves “in deserts and dens, and caves of the earth,” and though the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds, whilst they cherished, honored and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, impostors, and the basest of men. (TPJS, p. 206)

Even among those who do accept the Gospel, only a few endure to the end. (See Matt. 13:1-8, 18-23) But apostasy has been common in every dispensation. Paul the Apostle understood the frailties of men by warning the Christian Saints of over-confidence when he wrote, “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (I Cor. 10:12) Cain, Judas Iscariot, William Law and every other apostate probably thought they were doing what should be done by the course they pursued. What caused this division among those who once fellowshipped each other in the gospel? The Prophet Joseph explained:

Many men will say, “I will never forsake you, but will stand by you at all times.” But the moment you teach them some of the mysteries of the kingdom of God that are retained [120] in the heavens and are to be revealed to the children of men when they are prepared for them they will be the first to stone you and put you to death. It was this same principle that crucified the Lord Jesus Christ, and will cause the people to kill the prophets in this generation. (TPJS, p. 309)

It always has been when a man was sent of God with the priesthood and he began to preach the fullness of the gospel, that he was thrust out by his friends, who are already to butcher him if he teach things which they imagine to be wrong; and Jesus was crucified upon this principle. (TPJS, p. 310)

When Jesus began his ministry, he preached the first principles of the Gospel. His sermon on the Mount had a philosophical beauty that was appealing and attractive to men of every creed. Thousands flocked to hear these kindly sentiments and teachings. His sermons were similar to those that draw thousands of people today to hear Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Ted and Herbert Armstrong, and many of the other ministers who teach little or no doctrine. However, it will be noticed that when Christ began to include deeper doctrines, ordinances, mysteries of the kingdom and the fullness of His Gospel, then there was a “division” among His followers and “many were offended at Him.”

When Jesus said, “Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me,” it was because only a few weren’t. He was thankful to the Father who “hid these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes,” since too many of the “wise and prudent” refused to sacrifice their false notions, traditions and place in society. Can you imagine anyone wanting to kill Jesus because of His teaching sermons like the beatitudes? He told His disciples that “it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but [121] to them it is not given.” Then He said, “I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world,” (Matt. 13:35) But when He gave them “things new and old,” “they were offended” at His mysteries and “then the Pharisees went out, and held council against him, how they might destroy him.” (Matt. 12:14) Also, the chief priests sought “to lay hands on him” to make him a prisoner and also “consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety, and kill him.” It took Judas to give them the ammunition they needed to destroy him. Undoubtedly, the same mysteries and doctrines that killed Jesus were the same ones that killed Joseph Smith.

Towards the end of His ministry, Jesus told His disciples that “all ye shall be offended because of Me.” He already warned them that He “came not to bring peace but a sword,” and because of His doctrines “brother shall deliver up the brother to death.” Even “a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Though Jesus would die because of the gospel, the disciples were told that they, too, would suffer death. “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord,” He told them. He meant that if they taught the same gospel He taught, they could expect the same treatment. They did teach it and live it and thus they, too, became martyrs.

In his last sermon to the Nauvoo Legion, the Prophet Joseph Smith testified of similar consequences for those who would teach the fullness of the Gospel:

It is thought by some that our enemies would be satisfied with my destruction; but I tell you that as soon as they have shed my blood, they will thirst for the blood of every man in whose heart dwells a single spark of the spirit of the fullness of the Gospel. The opposition of these men is moved by the spir-[122]it of the adversary of all righteousness. It is not only to destroy me, but every man and woman who dares believe the doctrines that God hath inspired me to deliver to this generation. (D.H.C. 6:498)

The controversy between Christ and Satan still continues. And, it is necessary that it should. Men must choose and act out their lives by the principles of Jesus or of Judas. Although the paths of Jesus and Judas were close–yet they represented the difference between heaven and hell. By the way a man handles the Holy Ghost, it can be the means of purifying or of prostituting his soul. Men can place themselves under the powers of Christ or Satan by the principles they choose to live. There is no middle ground. God Himself will deliberately place truth in a disguise, in a similar way that the devil camouflages error. Paul the Apostle wrote:

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (II Thes. 2:11-12)

When men fall into sin and apostacy, they are led by an evil spirit. This strange power drives men to fight against the higher principles of the gospel. Men can “crucify the Son of God afresh,” and this is the state of those who turn and persecute their own brethren.

In the book of Job, Lucifer always presented himself as “one of the sons of God,” and infers that he is not God’s enemy but only man’s. He assumes the calling of prosecutor, judge and sometimes the executioner of those whom he considers offenders of the law. Men too often take upon them this same spirit and influence and make a personal commission. The serpents of the fields are not as [123] poisonous and loathsome as traitorous men who once called themselves a brother, but turn their power and authority against the fullness of the gospel or those who teach it.

Judas was acknowledged as an Apostle of Christ, but inwardly he was the Devil’s disciple. His mind was constantly centered upon what he might get, rather than what he might give. Jesus taught the foolishness of obtaining the whole world, if it cost a man his own soul. Judas bargained his for 30 pieces of silver.

Judas held a position of trust and confidence by the other apostles because he possessed an aptitude for finance, bargaining and spending. These are the qualities often associated with those who devote so much of their time and mind to speculation and investment. If Judas were alive today, we can easily envision him investing in the markets of Wall Street, big banking, and large business corporations. It is from among these temporal realms that the servants and devotees of Satan are most often found. Even today it is from these international money cartels that wars, bloodshed, plunder and bondage are devised and executed upon millions of innocent people around the world.

However, in the plan of God, there is never a disheartening setback, a moment of crises or critical loss, but what God will eventually change it for a blessing. The deepest sorrow and the longest shadows of despair, can easily be turned into the heavenly grandeurs by the One who knows by experience the dark abyss of grief and death.

Whatever the enemies of the Kingdom of God may concoct, their persecutions and oppositions can never really do much harm. Truth cannot be destroyed. Every blow against the true Saints of God will only turn to an advantage.



The wicked cannot do anything against the truth. Every move they make to crush the Kingdom of God will be attended with the blessings of the Almighty for its further extension and ultimate triumph. (JD 8:175)

It may seem strange that Jesus would allow a man like Judas to be near him and the other apostles, just as many other righteous men have been associated with, or had dealings with the wicked; but the scriptures indicate that where there is light there is also darkness–where the righteous are found, the wicked are not far behind. God often uses the principle of conflict and contrast to better serve His purposes than by any other means. He often turns disaster into a blessing and catastrophe into glory. All things are more clearly portrayed by contrast.

Who and where are the Judases today? There are many and they are all over. They vary in many shades or transgression and evil. From the loftiest positions of the richest churches of the world, to the humblest gatherings in the enslaved nations, men are posing in the garbs of the righteous, but inwardly they are betrayers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many of the churches in Communist countries are–

…staffed by Soviet secret police masquerading as ministers and priests. This will serve a threefold purpose for the Communists. It will allow them to observe any intelligence activity that may be attempted in the churches. It will allow them to identify any Russian citizens showing an interest in religion, marking them as targets for future persecution. And it will serve as a public relations gesture to fool visitors into thinking the Communists tolerate religious freedom (Christian Crusade, March 1980, p. 2)


[125] Traitors, betrayers and Judases find their way into every religious and political office of every nation on earth. The National Council of Churches has become almost anti-Christ. In America, men take offices in the Government, and swear with uplifted hand that they will “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic;” but as soon as they get into office, they immediately seek to destroy the Constitution and its liberties. Every church and government has gradually eroded from the principles they once held sacred. By subtle but constant erosion, the devil’s rulers infiltrate every political and religious organization that is established to oppose Satanic powers.

These Judases will find their way into the highest councils of God, and into the darkest corners of conspiracy to carry out their hellish designs. But they are performing their mission–they are measuring their own soul for the reward they shall eternally inherit. These Judases are the goats that are placed to lead away the blind, the unworthy and also other goats. But the true sheep of Christ’s fold will not blindly follow them for they know their Shepherd’s voice and “another they will not follow.” We, then, are called to prove ourselves by following the Good Shepherd and to sustain true and holy principles.

With so much darkness, betrayal of trust, and apostate powers in the world, what can we do to thwart the temptations or the influences of so much opposition? We must individually meet the challenge even if no one else will. We must learn to walk in the virtue of our priesthood, and not just the authority of the office. Position or title is not a criteria of honor. To be a representative of God is to walk in the path that He would walk; to speak as He would speak and to live by every principle and ordinance that He has. When men are called to fill any position of the priest-[126]hood, they are taken on trial–not because they have achieved some sanctity. Any Church member, politician or businessman may remain loyal to the office or authority that he has been called to, be faithful in taking orders, and willingly support the organization; yet he may be filled with infidelity, hypocrisy and prove to be a sham to the whole of it. Offices in any organization, religious or political, are merely the machinery, the schoolhouse, to help bring men to a higher level of righteousness and worthiness. The objective of every organization is for improvement of itself and its members. Religious organizations should bring men to everything that’s heavenly and holy, and teach us to become like the angels whose objective is saving every soul within their power.

President Brigham Young said:

Never try to destroy a man. It is our mission to save the people, not to destroy them. The least, the most inferior spirit now upon the earth, in our capacity, is worth worlds. If to all eternity you could praise God through being the means of saving one soul, I may say the least or most inferior intelligence upon the earth, pertaining to the human family–if you could be the means of saving one such person, how great would be your joy in the heavens! Then let us save man, and our joy will be great in proportion to the number of souls we save. (JD 9:124)

Hence, the righteous shall inherit manifold blessings for every sacrifice, and for every holy principle they live. But, for the wicked, every evil deed will bring a multitude of sorrows and sufferings. Jesus said:

For whosoever receiveth, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance. But whosoever continueth not to receive, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. (Matt. 13:10)


[127] The holy Priesthood has been conferred upon us for the express purpose of our being representatives of the Father and Son on earth. We are ordained to act them out in our lives. The heavenly powers of the upper worlds, whose virtues have lifted them up to their high estate, have stooped to attach us to their ranks. They have delegated us to speak for them, to impersonate them, and to help establish their order of society among men. Shall we not be true to that same Gospel and order that fills the heavens? They have called us, not merely to believe in those principles, but to let those principles live within us.

Churches too often rejoice in the expansion and growth of their organization, but overlook the celestialization of their people. Ordinations, appointments or titles do not celestialize men. They only authorize men to become responsible to the rightness of those powers. Our standing in the office of an organization does not necessarily represent our progress. Even if the whole world were ordained Apostles, it would not make it a whit more heavenly. It takes intelligence, ruled by righteousness, justice and mercy to purify and celestialize. And when men have gained experience through the trials, the tests and the temptations of life, then the refinement and purification of their soul will have begun. It is from the personal experience, manifestations and guidance of the Holy Spirit that draw men towards celestialization and exaltation.

This, then, is true priesthood–to be images of the living God, exhibiting in our characteristics His brightness and His strength; to be girt and endowed with the purity of His nature; to be unsullied in heart and mind; to stand by the strength of redeeming, saving qualities; to bless, and bless, and bless again, notwithstanding ingratitude in some–building, sustaining, and protecting all the [128] time; to fight all spirits of division and all principles of death; to help the weak, the downtrodden, and the helpless, till helping becomes our natural food, working on all principles that yield nourishment, support, and strength–till our very presence is as the sun, cheering and blessing all. So shall God increase within us, refreshing our own spirits, and watering all around, and the characteristics of the Holy Priesthood will grow out from us like the branches of a fruitful tree that yield shelter, shield, and fruit. (Mill. Star 20:641-644)

But the heavens have wept for those souls who turn against the truth. Many have opposed the gospel of Jesus Christ or betrayed their trust in God for evil and foolish temptations. But they shall be cast into outer darkness; because they love darkness more than light. Their deeds were dark and evil; therefore, their rewards will be the same. They must reap what they have sown, or justice is a sham. They must serve the master they chose to obey.

But for those righteous souls who have sacrificed for the fullness of the Gospel, who have labored to save men from sin and perdition, who have suffered by the hands of a Cain, Judas, or Pharoah, it will be otherwise. It is for them that the suns, the stars and the expanses of eternity were created. They shall ever continue to increase, to learn and to enjoy. New experiences of unending knowledge, new attainments, powers, sounds, feelings, colors and unimaginable horizons await them. Greater light and glory, than ever entered the mind of man, await those who gave their heart and soul to their Master, Jesus Christ, and the fullness of His Gospel.


[129] It is in this life that men have the greatest opportunity to choose their own destiny. Men can prepare for themselves an everlasting inheritance that will endure throughout the expanse of all eternity. Yet, it is with such freedom and opportunity that conflict, contrast, and opposition occur. But the controversy between good and evil are as necessary as life and death. It is part of a Divine plan that men should be challenged with truth and error and right from wrong. Every fact is demonstrated by its opposite. By comparison men can recognize and evaluate vice and virtue and the source from whence they come. Consequently, “every earth has its redeemer, and every earth has its tempter; and every earth and the people thereof, in their turn and time, receive all that we receive and pass through all the ordeals that we are passing through.” (Brigham Young, JD 14:71-72) It is through diversity that Gods are made.

The dichotomy between good and evil, and their followers, is the foundation upon which the plan of salvation is founded. What movie would be worth watching if there were no “good guys and bad guys?”, or what novel would be worth reading if it did not have an antagonist? Yet, the antagonists of real life are just as important as they are in any fiction. Without night we could not properly comprehend or appreciate the sunshine. Without a negative in electricity, the positive current is without effect. Various shades of color, and the opposites of black and white, only compliment each other and render their proper perspective.

Conflict in life, through circumstance or by people, measure the strength or weakness of our character. Without such battles there would be no victory, and without a victory there can be no honors. It is under stress that men demonstrate their real character. Hence, without the test and trial of our faith, there can be no glory.


[130] The drama of life was correctly stated by Shakespeare when he said that “all the world is but a stage and all the people actors.” It is in this brief span of mortality that men choose their own part to play and the kind of principles that reflect their own character. Every man chooses his part in life’s vast kaleidoscopic pageant. He has the opportunity to portray the villain or the hero, a sinner or a saint.


* * * * *

* * *



Leave a Reply