Arturo make this comment
on a thread regarding non-LDS Mormon scholars
Then I see non-LDS scholars saying friendly things about the LDS church, I often chuckle to myself about them going to hell because they are lukewarm; they learned the truth but won't make the covenants. (Of course, I chuckle because the prospect is ridiculous, not because of any vindictive gloating.)
One of the doctrines that I like in the church is that the Lord will not punish those that haven't had an opportunity to hear his message. These people will get a chance in the afterlife, many say. Or, similarly, if they would have accepted the gospel on Earth, then they will have the rewards in the afterlife.
But it also provides me with a few head-scratching thoughts. First, how much does one have to know
or have heard before they no longer have the safety net? I agree with Arturo that the above situation (with non-LDS Mormon scholars) is a bit ridiculous. But if so, where can we draw the line? Will I not have the afterlife option since I know a substantial bit about the church and generally have positive feelings toward it but will not accept the covenants?
I'm tempted to go with the old stand-by non-committal answer and say that we just can't know. Which is fine, I guess, but then it seems like an empty doctrine in practice.
Second--and it seems that this will help answer the first--what type of knowledge is required? If someone has a testimony but later leaves the church, will they get another chance? What about someone who intellectually accepts much of the church but hasn't felt "the Spirit"? Or, what if that same person has
felt the Spirit but hasn't recognized it as such?
For some reason, I have a conceptual link between this doctrine and talk of being a "son of perdition." Are these related--that is, would one have to literally deny the Holy Ghost to not have the afterlife chance? And, if the bar is set that high (assuming that denial of the Holy Ghost is very rare (which seems to be part of the folklore)), what good does it do for us in practice?
I guess what I'm saying is: I like that LDS theology has the second chance option, but it seems to mean nothing to us, except as a comforter.