Wrath of God
From The Encyclopedia of Mormonism
Author: Gilchrist, Donald B.
The "wrath of God" is a term usually indicating his disapproval of the deeds of the wicked and justifying the inevitable punishments that will befall them if they do not repent. Latter-day Saints believe that his response is a natural application of the law of justice (Mosiah 3:26), which requires that punishments be exacted when God's laws have been violated or the blood of innocent Saints has been shed (Morm. 8:21-41; D&C 77:8). The scriptures state that God sends cursings, judgments, and destruction upon the unbelieving and the rebellious, including all who reject the Savior or his prophets and are not willing to confess his hand in all things (D&C 1:6-13;59:21;63:6;88:85;104:8;124:48, 52; Moses 7:1). The scriptures assert that those who attempt to destroy the righteous can expect to give an account to an offended God (1 Ne. 22:16). The Lord has sometimes chastened his disobedient children through war, plague, famine, and earthquake (1 Ne. 14:15-16; D&C 63:33;87:1-6;112:24-26). Not all natural calamities, however, are the direct result of the wrath of God, although the scriptures clearly indicate that God has used these for his purposes.
God's wrath may come upon individuals or nations or civilizations when they have "ripened in iniquity" (Gen. 15:16; Deut. 9:4-5; 1 Ne. 17:35; Ether 2:9). His wrath manifests itself most completely when a majority of the people desire that which is contrary to the laws of God and have already chosen iniquity for themselves (Mosiah 29:25-27). The people of Noah's day (Gen. 6-8), the people of Ammonihah (Alma 16:9-11), the jaredites (Ether 14-15), the Nephites (3 Ne. 8-9; Morm. 6), and, to a small degree, the Latter-day Saints in Missouri (D&C 105:2-9;124:48) all experienced God's wrath in their time (see MD, p. 771).
The severest form of punishment will be dealt to the sons of perdition, who are known as "vessels of wrath" (D&C 76:33). These will suffer God's rejection and exclusion throughout eternity (D&C 76:31-37), for they have committed an unpardonable sin against the light and knowledge obtained through the Holy Ghost.
While the Lord may chasten his people in mortality, chastisement will be tempered with his mercy and compassion as his children heed and obey him (D&C 101:2-9; 3 Ne. 22:8-10). Those who escape the wrath of God will include all persons who repent and keep the commandments, and prepare themselves for the hour of judgment that is to come, gathering "together upon the land of Zion, and upon her stakes" as a place of refuge (D&C 115:6; cf. Alma 12:33-37;13:30; D&C 88:76-88;98:22). Even God's wrath is intended to be beneficent, for whom he loves, he chastens (D&C 95:1; cf. Heb. 12:6-11; see also Chastening).
McConkie, Bruce R. The Millennial Messiah, pp. 500-505. Salt Lake City, 1982.
DONALD B. GILCHRIST