At http://timesandseasons.org/archives/000213.html#001150 Nate refers to an ancient blog entry he wrote: http://goodoman.blogspot.com/2002_12_08_goodoman_archive.html#85894696. Though the discussion in question was baptism for the dead and some objections by non-LDS to the practice, Nate made a very good point in passing: we don’t really believe in damnation except for those who are LDS.
Our version of (almost) universal salvation is, as far as I know, quite unique. But we don’t consider it an important point when we talk with non-LDS, and it seems to me that we don’t because we also often overlook it when we talk amongst ourselves. We preach the three degrees of glory and, within moments, speak of salvation and damnation in fairly traditional ways.
One could probably give sound rhetorical explanations for talking about damnation as we do, but I don’t think that is what is going on. Perhaps it once was, but I don’t think it is any longer a rhetorical strategy like that described in D&C 19:6-7: “”It is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment. Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.”
I find the doctrine to be very liberating. For example, I need not believe that my neighbors who are inactive or my friends who aren’t interested in hearing the missionary discussions are in danger of eternal punishment, in the usual sense of that term. They will not be consigned to hell fire for eternity because I have been unsuccessful as a missionary. The doctrine also helps me understand better that God is loving: he will save all but those who knowingly refuse his offer of salvation.