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Thou shalt not kill — Section 45

A contradiction in Mormon scripture about killing?

Representative of a Christian church:
Judge and gentlemen, I would like to point out a definite contradiction between Mormon writings and the Holy Scriptures.  Mormons accept the Doctrine and Covenants as scripture.  Within this book are the recorded ‘revelations’ of Joseph Smith.  Doctrine and Covenants 42:18 states, “And now, behold I speak unto the Church.  Thou shalt not kill, and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in the world, nor in the world to come.”  However, Peter, on the day of Pentecost, just 50 days after Christ had been crucified, declared, “Therefore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”  (Acts 2:36)  We then read that their guilt was so strong that “…when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ ”  Then Peter declared, “Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”  Thus, in Mormon scripture, if a man kills another man, all hope is lost.  In the Bible, however, those that killed Jesus were told they could be forgiven.  Is there a greater contradiction to be found?

Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
We would point out that the verses in the Doctrine and Covenants that you quoted were directed to members of the Church that had been sanctified and baptized, who had received the Holy Ghost, who had tasted the good word of God, who had gained a knowledge of the worlds to come, and had learned the will of God from apostles and prophets.  Such was not the case with the persons mentioned in the verses in the New Testament that you referenced.  Paul said in Hebrews 6:4-6, “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 power 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.”  After the knowledge  and truths are revealed and a witness of the Holy Spirit is given, such persons are judged by higher standards.  This places Latter-day Saints in this position, and when they break the commandment of murder, the consequences will not only be for this life, but for the life to come.  As Paul said in the book of Romans, “Where there is no law, there is no transgression.”  Paul also wrote to Timothy and said, “I was before a blasphemer and persecutor, and infurious, but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”  (1 Timothy 1:13)  Therefore, there is a great difference between killing with a vast knowledge and spiritual conviction of the truth versus killing in complete ignorance and lack of spiritual conviction of the Holy Ghost.  We believe that a person who kills another outside the Church will be punished because God will judge “each man according to his works”, but he could be forgiven by sincere and humble repentance and coming forth under this new light with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.  In many ways, the commitment of adultery can be viewed in a similar perspective.

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