There are those passages in D&C 19 where God says something like ‘endless punishment doesn’t mean punishment without end, it means divine punishment, because Endless is my name”.  We usually take it to mean that God is proclaiming that his punishment is temporally bound.  But He doesn’t actually say that.  Its a puzzling passage, but I think a better reading is that he is telling us that we if we are concerned about how long His punishment is, we are asking the wrong question.  The better question is Whose.

Like when I put my kids in time-out because they have been quarrelling.  If the first question they ask is ‘how long?’ I know they need to be in for awhile, because they are not yet in a penitent mood.

To make sense of endless punishment, remember that you are amphibious with respect to time.  You swim in it and will forever, but you also breathe the air of eternity.  (More here).  So the punishment you experience at any one time will have an end at a future time–it is not endless–but that punishment will also be present with you always in eternity–it is Endless.

Punishment being God’s punishment means that it is terrifying.  The real punishment is that you have displeased Him.  Punishment being God’s punishment means that it is being administered lovingly–He wants all things to turn for your good.  Punishment being God’s punishment means that you can repent–what He has put out He can draw back.

I read a talk recently by Elder Oaks.  The whole thing is great but you would love it if only for the first three lines.

Joy is more than happiness. It comes from being complete. . . and in harmony with our Creator and his eternal laws.

The opposite of joy is misery. Misery is more than unhappiness, sorrow, or suffering. Misery is the ultimate state of disharmony with God and his laws.

Joy and misery are eternal emotions whose ultimate extent we are not likely to experience in mortality.

Also from the Sunday afternoon session of the October 1991 General Conference

Marilyn Nielson Find relief in charity

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