Thursday Theological Poll: Death-bed repentance, maybe, sorta?

We don’t know much about Omni.  In fact, the following is what we know:

1 Behold, it came to pass that I, Omni, being commanded by my father, Jarom, that I should write somewhat upon these plates, to preserve our genealogy—
2 Wherefore, in my days, I would that ye should know that I fought much with the sword to preserve my people, the Nephites, from falling into the hands of their enemies, the Lamanites. But behold, I of myself am a wicked man, and I have not kept the statutes and the commandments of the Lord as I ought to have done.
3 And it came to pass that two hundred and seventy and six years had passed away, and we had many seasons of peace; and we had many seasons of serious war and bloodshed. Yea, and in fine, two hundred and eighty and two years had passed away, and I had kept these plates according to the commandments of my fathers; and I conferred them upon my son Amaron. And I make an end. (Omni 1:1-3)

So the question is, do you think he is repentant as he writes this?  If so, what do you think is the effect of that?

Vote above; explain below.


  1. Come on, man.

  2. Yes?

  3. I’m curious about, for those you are making a judgment, what you are basing it on? For those who aren’t, why specifically aren’t you?

  4. Where is the ‘Don’t know’ option?

  5. In the “I didn’t want to give you that option” file drawer.

  6. I answered CK but that is me making a lot of assumptions. I think the I don’t know option would have been the best. Personally I assume everyone is destine for the CK even though probability suggests that not everyone will.

  7. Kevin Barney says:

    He does say that he’s a wicked man. He doesn’t indicate that he has or is in the process of repenting, although his frank acknowledgment for all posterity of his wickedness would seem to indicate at least the beginnings of that process (IE the first Primary “R”: Recognize you have sinned). On the other hand, there is a certain tendency among the Nephite writers towards extreme self-deprecation, so I don’t know that we can take his bald statement that he is a wicked man at face value.

    I understand why we’re uneasy with deathbed repentance, as it seems to provide a license for lifelong riotous living(a la Constaantie). But there has to be room for it; what if you only really come to a full awareness of your sins late in life? Does that fact mean you can’t repent any more? Shouldn’t repentance always be on the table while we have breath in this mortal frame?

  8. there is not enough information. Has he ever taken two girls rollerskating? Does he have a tattoo? How long are his robes? Does he listen to rated R war tales around the camp fire? Does he wear socks with his sandals? How can we properly judge without visual stimuli?

    As far as what we do have…he does start his writing with talking about who told him to write…but HE KEEPS IT SHORT! The benefits of this cannot be understated.

    In his actual favor: he recognizes his wickedness instead of justifying it or recording it. He does actually write on the plates as told. He takes care of the plates.

    I will not vote for the lesser of two evils or for the one I think will win…so I didn’t vote on principle.

  9. Should have put the ‘Don’t understand’ in there too!

    I think there is room for such – Alma’s was a coma-bed repentance. Enos’s was a kneeling-bed repentance. These men got to show how genuine their repentance was and Omni sounds like he’s near the end of his life but not quite on his death-bed.

    Repentance can continue into the spirit world – “The dead who repent” as in D&C 138:58 indicates that it continues but in this particular case it is merely guess-work to say whether Omni was beginning and whether he would continue – and if, so what the result would be. So again, ‘don’t know’ is the best, based on what is written.

    We can tell he is confessing – but did he forsake? No idea.

  10. #8 for the win – especially the first paragraph.
    But seriously, (and I’m almost boring myself by writing this) who among us HAS actually “kept the commandments and statutes of the Lord as [we] ought to have done”? We really have no idea how he has sinned. I don’t think we can really assume that he felt he had sinned because he hadn’t written on the plates enough. These are the small plates, after all, and we’re told by Nephi himself that there’s not much room on them. And in fact, Omni writes, and a couple of his descendants write about the same amount, and then it seems they ran out of room because Mormon comes along and writes his bridge between the Plates of Nephi and the record he had compiled himself.

  11. I’m getting a middle school cyberbullying vibe from this poll.

  12. I agree with others, we don’t really know what his sins were. I am the queen of self-depreciation, so I know that sometimes a person saying they are wicked, does not necessarily mean they are. Outer Darkness is not an option for Omni because he does not seem to have sinned against the Holy Ghost but who knows? Maybe after he wrote the plates he went around telling everyone that Dixie Ultra were the best plates in town, instead of the Plates of Nephi. I voted for CK because then God can sort it out.

  13. As if I want my destiny voted on by a committee…

    I guess I stand by the philosophy that man’s ways and God’s ways of judging are different enough that trying to speculate upon kingdoms is a waste of time. With all the circumstances, pardons, and unfairness leading up to the circumstances, I’ll leave up to God what is His right: to extend mercy and invite home those who will abide his presence.

  14. Though, to the point of death-bed repentance-

    I could envision a scenario where a person is of the heart and mind to “go down with the ship” as far as wickedness goes. Through time, he has convoluted his nature to not seek for goodness, and be solely self-seeking. Repentance is pretty tough to accomplish if there’s no way to remunerate the offended.

    On the other hand, a person might see the ship sinking, but still have a connection to God through conscience, and feel some degree of regret/remorse for wasting certain portions of life in sin. For that, I’m sure there’s still a price to be paid, but God will head up the equitable plan.

    So still– I don’t know, but overcoming wickedness is going to require a healthy dose of pain sooner or later.

  15. I like the Woodruffesque “God will sort it out” thing, but I wonder if we have some idea about Omni’s age. That may be important. If he is still relatively young when he hands over the plates, that may suggest the resigned-gunfighter-as-hardened-killer thing.

  16. @ 15: He could be the resigned-gunfighter-as-hardened-killer and be old, too. For my part, I can’t wait for the new blockbuster movie “Omni: Unforgiven” starring Clint Eastwood in the title role.

    (BTW, I heard Steve Martin shared the gospel with him!)

  17. He could be that old guy who just loves to kill. But in a way, the Eastwood guy is apparently redeemed in some way. Omni? Eastwood as Omni. Got my vote. But it will have to be cgi.

  18. I vote this is one of the 11th hour laborers in the vineyard that Elder Holland talked about in his Gen Conf talk. Omni did do what he was asked to do regarding the plates, albeit at the 11th hour. But he did do it! He wrote somewhat–a little is better than nothing, again from Elder Holland. He played a crucial role keeping the plates safe during his stewardship of them and moving the narrative along. Although the beginning of his repentance happened at the 11th hour, it still took place during his mortal probation. I agree with Kevin’s #7 last paragraph.

    As to Omni’s setting aside of the commandments, I hope the Lord extends mercy to me and through his grace I will be forgiven of the times I have set aside his commandments as well. I am shooting for the CK and would feel comfortable having Bro. Omni living next door to me–as long as he doesn’t have a barking curelom or cumom…

  19. First, who am I to judge which kingdom he should go to? (I have a pretty good idea of my own destiny)

    Second, I just to give thanks for the return of the John C. Polls! Preach it, Brother! Can I get an Amen?

  20. WVS – Kinda like this?

  21. Oops. The embedding didn’t work.
    Here’s the link

  22. My preferred option wasn’t listed — I think he should go to the Celestial Kingdom, but he doesn’t sound particularly repented either. He sounds like he’s doing what he has to do out of duty or obligation, and getting on with it, but no, he doesn’t sound sorry for being “wicked,” (how wicked is wicked)? He should go to the CK anyway, because he did pass the plates on and preserved the Nephites. That’s got to count for something, right?

  23. Do you feel lucky Lamanite punk? Well, do ya?

  24. I get the sense that, “He should go to the Celestial Kingdom” is some kind of proxy for a nice reward that God dishes out like it’s candy. If you’re a good boy you are exalted. If you make mistakes, but realize it in the end, why it would be practically unjust if you don’t get a treat for recognizing it.

    That’s a bit flippant, but none of these really speak to me about the Plan of Salvation from the restored-gospel pespective.

    Ultimately, it’s about being on a path of progression and what we are becoming like. If he did a lot of wicked things and hasn’t been changed, I’d assume this verse would kick in, “But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I”. I don’t know if that precludes him from progressing toward exaltation, but certainly he’s pretty far behind (whether he’s on the path and has some progress to make, or strayed completely, based on this verse, who knows)

    I sympathize with the idea that we just get rewarded with celestial awesomeness as a kind of gift. But I think the gift is the grace of God that allows us to grab hold of the atonment and through using our own agency become more like God and become one with Him.
    I’ve always liked this take on exaltation, from the Lectures on Faith.
    “Salvation consists in the glory, authority, majesty, power and dominion which Jehovah possesses and in nothing else; and no being can possess it but Himself or one like Him.”

  25. One thing that comes across is that he is humble and that he has faith and a repentant heart. He is not sanctified yet because he is still wicked, but his faith and humility will sanctify him, and that’s enough to eventually get into the Celestial kingdom. (Ether 12:27)

  26. Where is the option that says, “No. What happens to him is between himself and God.” It isn’t MY place to say anyone SHOULD go to any kingdom. [Sorry for the shouting. Not sure how to make italics on here.]

  27. Mark D. says:

    The answer is, it doesn’t matter, as long which kingdom you are assigned to isn’t an everlasting death sentence.

  28. Mark D. I am not as well-versed as I would like to be on this subject, but isn’t outer darkness a “death sentence”? I am actually just hoping to get into Terrestrial Kingdom. CK scares me. Not sure I could ever face God. I have done and seen too much.

  29. Mark D. says:

    As tradition has it, salvation without exaltation is damnation. That is the sort of thing I am talking about.

  30. betsyhuntington says:

    My question is, Are men more likely to relish/pose/expound upon/etc. hypotheticals than women? I gotta hand it to John–he gets a lot of folks going.

  31. Hi, Betsy!

  32. betsyhuntington says:

    Hi, John!

  33. betsyhuntington says:

    p.s. Getting folks going is one of the things I love about John.

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