Eternally damned?

I received another question and thought that I would share my response from someone I will call Sam. Sam said, “There is absolutely no biblical evidence for what you suggest by stating that a deceased person has any ability to accept your postmortem “proxy baptism”. It’s not easy to accept that they (loved ones) are eternally dammed. However unfortunate that is it is no less true.”

Sam, I think that is clearly a difference in our belief. I do not think God would eternally damn the billions of people in China because they do not believe in Jesus when they have never had the chance to even hear about Him and His gospel. I believe that God has a plan for all of His children who did not have a chance on earth to accept Jesus as their Savior.

My belief is that after we pass from this world, we continue to live in our spirit body. In this spirit world, those who did not have the chance on earth, can accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. Peter spoke of this when he said that “By which also he [Jesus Christ] went and preached unto the spirits in prison” (1 Peter 3:18)

Jesus taught Nicodemus, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:1–2, 5). I believe that we can perform proxy baptisms for those who are deceased. They can take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ, from whom salvation comes.

It is a beautiful plan from a loving Father in Heaven who loves all of His children, including those in China and elsewhere throughout history who did not receive His truth while on earth.

Each person can interpret the Bible as he or she likes. However, I also believe in modern revelation and living prophets who can help clarify truths of the gospel which may not be very clear in the Bible.

As I’ve said before in a previous post, I don’t see going back and forth trying to interpret what a certain verse in the Bible means to you or to me from another perspective as being very productive. We can pick and choose a singular verse to make it seem like it is proving our point. I don’t want to cherry pick scriptures to try and prove a point.

I wish you well brother. God is not limited to what the apostles chose to write down from the teachings of Jesus’s mortal ministry and what the people who compiled the Bible decided to include. God is not limited to that being His only words. He is all-powerful. He is Alpha and Omega, the ever-living God. He loves His children wherever they may live, not just those who were living during biblical times. He continues to speak to us today. I seek Him. I want to know Him. I believe the Book of Mormon is rich with His words, and it is entirely compatible with the Bible, which I also believe is the word of God. God bless you my brother.

In light of this question, I took a couple common questions from this article:
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2003/07/the-saviors-visit-to-the-spirit-world?lang=eng

Q. What happens if the deceased person doesn’t want to repent or doesn’t want the blessings of baptism?

A. We believe that everyone is free to choose, both in this life and in the spirit world. This freedom is essential to the plan of our Heavenly Father. No one will be coerced into accepting ordinances performed on his or her behalf by another. Baptism for the dead offers an opportunity, but it does not override a person’s agency. But if this ordinance is not performed for them, deceased persons are robbed of the choice to accept or reject baptism.

Q. Why do you perform baptisms for deceased people whose lives on earth indicated little inclination to keep the commandments of God? 

A. We believe that many people are like Amulek, who once said of himself, “I did harden my heart, for I was called many times and I would not hear; therefore I knew concerning [the gospel of Jesus Christ], yet I would not know” (Alma 10:6). Amulek later became a great missionary and teacher of his people.

There was also a time in the Book of Mormon when the more righteous Lamanites hunted down the extremely hardened Gadianton robbers, and “they did preach the word of God among the more wicked part of them, insomuch that this band of robbers was utterly destroyed from among the Lamanites” (Hel. 6:37).

We simply do not know who among the dead will turn their hearts to the Lord and repent. We are not in a position to judge. We must do the work and leave the matter in the hands of the deceased person and the Lord.

FYI, you can always discuss more with a missionary: https://www.comeuntochrist.org/requests/missionary-visit

Between His death and resurrection, the Savior went to the spirit world to begin the work of salvation among the dead.

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