Return to About Mormons home

Buffetings of Satan

by Dennis D. Flake

An individual who receives extensive spiritual knowledge, enters into sacred covenants, and then turns away from those promises to the Lord may be left to the buffetings of Satan until complete repentance has occurred. This sin differs in nature and category from one committed in ignorance. Paul alluded to such in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, but a clearer understanding of the doctrine is found in latter-day revelation (see DS 2:96-98).

To the Prophet Joseph Smith the Lord revealed the situation of some who had broken the covenants by which they had entered the United Order. That revelation reads, "The soul that sins against this covenant, and hardeneth his heart against it, shall be dealt with according to the laws of my church, and shall be delivered over to the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption" (D&C 82:20-21; cf. 78:12; 104:9-10). The same principle applies to persons whose temple marriage is sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, and who later transgress and break their covenants. The revelation states that they "shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God" (D&C 132:26).

Elder Bruce R. McConkie, a latter-day apostle, explained that to be "turned over to the buffetings of Satan is to be given into [Satan's] hands; it is to be turned over to him with all the protective power of the priesthood, of righteousness, and of godliness removed, so that Lucifer is free to torment, persecute, and afflict such a person without let or hindrance. When the bars are down, the cuffs and curses of Satan, both in this world and in the world to come, bring indescribable anguish typified by burning fire and brimstone. The damned in hell so suffer" (MD, "Buffetings of Satan"; see also McConkie, Vol. 2, p. 335).

The term "buffetings of Satan" used in latter-day revelation is associated with punishment for the violation of covenants and is distinct from the "buffet" or "buffeted" used occasionally in the New Testament, which refers to the suffering, maltreatment, and persecution to which the Savior, Paul, and other church members were often subjected by people (Matt. 26:67; 1 Cor. 4:11; 2 Cor. 12:7).

[See also Damnation; Hell; Basic Beliefs home page; Teachings About the Afterlife home page]


McConkie, Bruce R. Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. Salt Lake City, 1965-1973.

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.1, Bufettings of Satan

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

All About Mormons