In an effort to document Ron Scott's assertion that there will be very few Sons of Perdition, a number so small they can be counted on the fingers of one hand, I have been studying a few dozen of the references out of the many hundreds available on my CD-ROM, and I have learned a few things.

1) It is folk doctrine, and it is false that there will be only a few Sons of Perdition. In one place Joseph Fielding Smith denounces the "fingers of one hand" language. In another he says there were be "many" Sons of Perdition, but quickly adds that even one would be too many given the severity of the punishment.

2) A person cannot ignorantly become a Son of Perdition. He must "willingly" rebel against Heaven, just as Lucifer did.

3) He must commit the "unpardonable sin" which is the sin against the Holy Ghost. That is, he must first have the "testimony of Jesus" and then fight against the Savior.

4) Joseph Smith once said that he must first have "the heavens open unto him," which seems to be the source of confusion. Judging from other passages, having the "heavens open" is just an euphemism for having a testimony born of the Holy Ghost, not some spectacular vision such as Moses had in the PofGP or Nephi had in the BoM.

5) Apparently it is possible to have the "perfect knowledge" required by receiving a witness of the Holy Ghost.

Anyway, so far it seems pretty vague just how much knowledge a person has to have in order to qualify as a Son of Perdition, but I'm going to play it safe and not rebel against God. Studying it, I get the distinct impression that one does not have to 1) have ones Calling and Election made sure, or 2) receive the Second Comforter, or 3) receive the vision given to Nephi and Moses. A person can qualify by merely having the testimony of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ and then turn altogether away from that testimony and knowingly fight against him.

"While we cannot agree with others on certain matters, we
must never be disagreeable. We must be friendly,
soft-spoken, neighborly, and understanding." (President
Gordon B. Hinckley, October 2003)
All my opinions are tentative pending further data. --JWR

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