I ran into a post on the lds.net forum a few days ago in which someone asked a very interesting question:

I don't see why there cannot be annihilation of the individual at some point of their existence.  If a person is not content with their placement after mortality, shouldn't there be an option of not wanting to exist at all? If this God person touts Himself as being 'loving' and whatnot, wouldn't it be proof of mercy if He offered oblivion to those who want it?  Seems rather harsh to spend eternity standing in the corner wearing a dunce hat for your, say 65 years of mortality with all the limitations that come with being mortal.  Any chance for oblivion? 

It just so happens that in my scripture study more than a year ago I ran into a scripture in the Book of Mormon that answers this question.  I remember being quite fascinated by the pains that were taken to make the point, and so I wrote about it in my scripture journal, but I didn’t expect to do a post on it because I wasn’t sure it was something that would need to be said.   How wrong I was. 

This verse comes in the middle of Nephi’s vision of the tree of life when an angel is explaining things to him.

And that great pit, which hath been digged for them by that great and abominable church, which was founded by the devil and his children, that he might lead away the souls of men down to hell—yea, that great pit which hath been digged for the destruction of men shall be filled by those who digged it, unto their utter destruction, saith the Lamb of God; not the destruction of the soul, save it be the casting of it into that hell which hath no end. (1 Nephi 14:3)

So there you have the answer, and it is “No.”

There is no annihilation of the soul. 

It seems that being cast into hell is termed “utter destruction,” but that destruction does not go so far as to annihilate the soul.

It is quite lovely that Nephi has this from an angel and that the angel is quoting the Lamb of God.  That gives us some pretty strong authority there.  And we need it because we could not know this without revelation from God.

This gives us yet another reason to make the best we can of our life, to accept responsibility for our choices, to embrace what life is and what the Lord wants us to make of it.   Our hope is in Christ—no matter what a mess we have made of our lives, He can help us clean it up, and we have every inducement to start the cleansing process now, rather than waiting.

Continue reading at the original source →