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Dear Gramps,

I wonder if you could help with a few questions that have been on my mind for a while. The first has to do with divorce. What are the restrictions places on divorced men in the church with regard to callings, if any? Are there time restrictions before a divorced priesthood holder would be considered to serve in these callings or not? If there are restrictions are these indicative of this perhaps being a sin unto death?

Second question: We know that denying the Holy Ghost and murder are sins unto death. Bruce R McConkie says that in certain cases adultery is a sin unto death. Could you please clarify and also provide more info about sins unto death. Best wishes.





Dear Rob,

Any restrictions to activity in the Mormon Church that would be related to the divorce of a priesthood holder would depend entirely on the culpability of the priesthood holder and the nature of his actions that resulted in the divorce. If the priesthood holder were innocent of any wrong doing, i.e., the divorce resulting from actions on the part of the wife, then there should be no restrictions placed on the activity of the innocent party.

With respect to “sins unto death,” you are probably referring to the following statement of Elder Bruce R. McConkie in Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed., p.737

In the sense that “no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15), that is, that none guilty of pre-meditated murder can ever gain the celestial kingdom, murder also is a sin unto death. Such persons can never again enjoy spiritual life. It appears that there are some special circumstances under which adultery, in this sense, is also a sin unto death, as witness the Prophet’s declaration: “If a man commit adultery, he cannot receive the celestial kingdom of God. Even if he is saved in any kingdom, it cannot be the celestial kingdom.” (History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 81; Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, pp. 92-94.) It may be that there are other abominable things which men in certain circumstances, can do which will bar them eternally from the receipt of spiritual life.”

In this context a “sin unto death” would be a sin of such a gross nature that could not be remitted by repentance of the guilty party, and would thus preclude the offender from receiving the glory of the celestial kingdom of God. The above statement, “It appears that there are some special circumstances under which adultery, in this sense, is also a sin unto death,” would suggest that adultery could be a sin unto death. Thus, the judgment of God, as would be the case in all of God’s judgments, would be related to intent, rather than to the specific action of the person. As stated in 1 Samuel 16:7,

But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.






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