Denying the Holy Ghost and Murder

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While having companion scripture study last night, I came across the following passage in D&C 132:27:

“The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost . . . is in that ye commit murder wherein ye shed innocent blood, and assent unto my death, after ye have received my new and everlasting covenant . . .”

It seems that denying the Holy Ghost is not just blaspheming God and Jesus. It seems to involve murder. Keeping this passage in mind when reading Alma’s counsel to Corianton brings a different interpretation to light as well.

“Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost? For behold, if ye deny the Holy Ghost when it once has had place in you, and ye know that ye deny it, behold, this is a sin which is unpardonable; yea, and whosoever murdereth against the light and knowledge of God, it is not easy for him to obtain forgiveness . . .” (Alma 39:5-6)

So all this time, we have been taught that sexual sin?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùaccording to popular interpretation verse 5?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùis the third most serious type of sin. Yet one interpretation could be that the sins of which Corianton was guilty were actually second in seriousness, shedding of innocent blood and denying the Holy Ghost being the same thing.

23 thoughts on “Denying the Holy Ghost and Murder

  1. Well for some strange reason Bruce R. McConkie did not believe that the word murder in D&C 132:27 should be read literally. His father in flaw, JFS, however argued that denial of the Holy Ghost was very common (as in receive this priesthood, taste of my power, and turn *altogether* therefrom) so that might have something to do with it.

  2. That should be “father in *law*”, I rather respect Joseph Fielding Smith’s theology, with some quibbles where he departs from that of Joseph Smith.

  3. Oh darn Mark, I thought we had something else in common. When I realized at ~15 that JSFII couldn’t even grasp the parable of the laborers, that was the beginning of my journey into evangelical Mormonism decades ago.

  4. moA,
    I read JFSII’s commentary on it in my teens, so bear with me. Basically, he totally missed the point of the parable: our puny works don’t contribute to our exaltation, and that for all who come to Christ, the reward is the same. I was repenting of some serious sins and had just found grace, and his commentary was an outright rejection of grace. So I wrote him off then as a big phony. Later, learning about his anti-evolution views, confirmed my first impression. I think the guy had a weakness for misusing his position to promote personal opinion, just like some apostles today. They’re people like us and entitled to make mistakes.

  5. Kim,

    Just saw you on BCC and looked at your site. This is an interesting discussion. I just wanted to clarify something in regards to denying the Holy Ghost, murder and sexual sins. That D&C verse says that blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is to shed innocent blood, true. But the Lord added this very important part: “after ye have received my new and everlasting covenant.”

    So if you received the everlasting covenant, i.e. married in the temple of the Lord, and you shed innocent blood (not by accident, but by willful intent), then you’ve blasphemed against the Holy Ghost, and you shall not have forgiveness in this life or the life to come.

    That is different from a person who has not yet received the everlasting covenant, who therefore cannot be held to the same standard that those who did receive the everlasting covenant are. Murderers can actually be forgiven in this life. President Packer spoke of this in a talk in 1995, I believe it was. He said that there is nothing save denying the Holy Ghost once it has place in you that cannot be forgiven in this life. Obviously an unrepentant murderer is not what we are talking about, but one who has, like David, realized his mistake and done all he could to rectify, he can be forgiven.

    So sexual sins do actually still come third, like Alma said to Corianton, his son.

  6. Thanks for stopping by, Dan.

    I guess part of the point I was trying to make with the second passage, was is the phrase “shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost” a list of two items, or is the second clarifying the first?

  7. Kim,

    I think Alma clears up his use of “or” between “shedding of innocent blood” and “denying the Holy Ghost.” just later in that same verse he says:

    “behold, if ye deny the Holy Ghost when it once has had place in you, and ye know that ye deny it, behold, this is a sin which is unpardonable; yea, and whosoever murdereth against the light and knowledge of God, it is not easy for him to obtain forgiveness”

    He clarifies what he means. If you have the Holy Ghost and you deny it, that is unpardonable. If you murder, though, it is not easy to obtain forgiveness, thereby placing the two into two separate and distinguishable categories. I’m sure they are both very close together, as murder is most henious.

    For me, I’ve never quite understood the reason why denying the Holy Ghost was so unforgivable. In the New Testament, the Savior said that it was forgivable to deny Him, the Savior, but it was unforgivable to deny the Holy Ghost. Why is that, when both are equal members of the Godhead? My guess is that it deals with the Holy Spirit touching our hearts, a very sensitive thing, but I am just not sure.

  8. “That is different from a person who has not yet received the everlasting covenant, who therefore cannot be held to the same standard that those who did receive the everlasting covenant are.”

    Whoohoo!
    Score another one for the nevermo!
    Y’all better watch out now that I know I can’t be held to the same standard… :P

  9. On the Alma sex-murder thing, I wished we’d stop basing a teaching on one verse of scripture, especially when it’s contrary to the whole of scripture and overall life experience. That Alma sexual sin is next to the worst form of murder thing is hyperbole. I gets down right ludicrous when some modern LDS throw masturbation into the mix, as if the vast majority of us are just on the edge of committing premeditated murder. The world is an evil place, but it’s not nearly that evil.

  10. “The world is an evil place, but it’s not nearly that evil.”

    Well in some places and at some times, yes it is, all that evil. When the crimes that are committed against children stack up, I am amazed that those perpetrators are not cast down immediately. There are some horrendous crimes and abuses that are pure evil.

  11. Now Mary, whenyou use a phrase like “cast down immediately” are you picturing the lighting bolt out of the heavens, or some equally amazing event?

    My better half is always taking a step away from me when I start to go off on a church subject when we’re in public.

    Is there some sort of heavenly star-wars program of which I am unaware?

    :)

  12. Dan, you stated,

    “For me, I’ve never quite understood the reason why denying the Holy Ghost was so unforgivable. In the New Testament, the Savior said that it was forgivable to deny Him, the Savior, but it was unforgivable to deny the Holy Ghost. Why is that, when both are equal members of the Godhead? My guess is that it deals with the Holy Spirit touching our hearts, a very sensitive thing, but I am just not sure.”

    I would have to agree with you here and I think it has more to do with their individual missions.

    The Saviour fullfilled hi earthly mission here ie: Teaching, Establishing the Gospel, Atonement, Death, Resurrection etc.. The purpose of the Holy Ghost is on the other hand to Witness, to all who sincerely seek, that Jesus is the Christ, doing so through direct communication to our spirit. All other things to us are temporal in senses, eyes, ears, smell, touch… but the Holy Ghosts communicates to us Spirit to Spirit and when that happens because it is a light to our minds the witness of the truth is born.

    I love that. I would much rather have a witness from the Holy Ghost than a vision or visitation of angels.

    (note to self: it would be extrememly cool to be visited by an heavenly messenger… ummmm. and scary. rofl!)

  13. Denying the holy ghost is to shed the only truly innocent blood that ever was… the blood of Jesus Christ. The rest of us are guilty of something.

    To deny the holy ghost is to crucify anew the Savior. Thus, you must have a complete understanding of Him, His mission, and His power, and still choose to completly deny his divinity, joining camp with those who crucified him at the end of his mortal ministry.

    When the scriptures speak of the sheding of innocent blood, they are not speaking of innocence of any one specific crime, but rather the completly innocent blood that was sacrificed for all sim. There is only one who fits this definition.

    Personally, I think the only other candidates who would fit this would be those who have not reached the age of accountability, although they are not a suitable sacrifice for sin. But still, it puts sins like abortion in a different light.

  14. Note David forfeit his exaltation, and it was a common belief among the Anti-Nephi-Lehis that they had forfeit their souls as well.

    As far as I know, the Church does not baptize murderers, certainly not without First Presidency clearance.

  15. By the way, D&C 132:27 does not strictly entail the proposition that is the *only* only way to deny the Holy Ghost, otherwise it is hard to account for the pre-mortal Sons of Perdition.

    Hebrews 6:4-6 has a rather more inclusive account as well.

  16. A profound insight, KS. I believe you may be correct.

    Until this moment, I’ve held to the following theory: That one must needs have received the ordinance of second annointing to qualify as Dude Who can Blaspheme Against the Holy Ghost.

    Now I must needs reappraise my position.

    –The Practical Mormon

  17. where boutz in the bible does it say that christ says u can deny him but not the holy ghost?? im interested..im a convert, 2 years..preparing to go on a mission..email it to me at wasupchi@hotmail.com…thanx heaps

  18. As one who has had first hand experience with the Holy Spirit, my opinion is that it would be extremely dangerous spiritually to deny it. After all God sent His son (in the form of man) and then His Son (Jesus) ascended and send in His place, the Holy Spirit. How exactly does one get to the place of denying that?

  19. “extremely dangerous spiritually”

    What precisely does that mean?

    “How exactly does one get to the place of denying that?”

    Perhaps one may decide that the books in which those actions are written are not literal. That’s a pretty good start.

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