Life After Death – Part 1

March 23, 2008

mary_and_resurrected_lordjpgFirst of all, I hope everyone had a happy Easter!

Recently, there have been a number of articles posted here referring to our eternal nature and I think it’s time we discussed this. So, what do Mormons believe about the afterlife?

We believe, as do other Christians, that Christ died and three days later was resurrected. He overcame death and because He rose again, all mankind is freed from the bondage of death. Regardless of age, race, gender, religious beliefs, good actions or bad actions, everyone will be reunited with their bodies at the time of the resurrection, after Christ’s second coming.

But what happens in the meanwhile? Before becoming resurrected beings our spirits dwell in the spirit world. Those who accepted the gospel of Christ during their mortal lives will be in spirit paradise and those who did not, either due to ignorance or rejection, will be in spirit prison. There will be opportunities for those in spirit prison to accept the gospel of Christ as missionary work continues in the spirit world. It is here, in the spirit world, that Christ spent those three days while His body lay in the tomb (see Doctrine & Covenants 138:29-34).

Dale C. Mouritsen explained, “Peter refers to the spirit world as “prison,” and it is for some. (1 Pet. 3:18–20, 1 Pet. 4:6.) However, it is chiefly a place of learning and waiting, not a place of suffering. Here, those who did not have an opportunity in mortality to receive the gospel and those who had a partial opportunity but rejected it will be taught.” However, for those in spirit paradise, the spirit world will be a place of great activity as they will be the ones on whom the responsibility falls to spread the gospel message. There is much work to be done there!

For further reading, I recommend the following excellent articles:

“Because I live, ye shall live also”, President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign Apr. 1993, 2

“Salvation for the Dead”, Liahona Jun 1992, 25

“The Spirit World, Our Next Home”, Dale C. Mouritsen, Liahona Dec. 1977, 3

“The Plan of Salvation”

<<Life After Death – Part 2>>

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12 Responses to “Life After Death – Part 1”

  1. ProfXM

    2 points:
    1) Aren’t those who were moral, upstanding people but not Mormons going to end up in spiritual prison? If so, how is that justice?

    2) Where’s the evidece for spiritual prison/paradise?

  2. Thaddeus

    Great post, Megan! For centuries all we knew about was a basic concept of heaven and hell. Because of the restoration of the gospel we understand the specifics of the afterlife in ways we never really could before. And of course, we think we know a lot right now, but just wait until we get there!

    There is always so much more to learn.

  3. Hosander

    Heavenly Father has given us this plan of Happiness in order to give us all the opportunity to return to live with him. If it all boiled down to Heaven and Hell, there would be a lot of unanswered questions, this is his work and his glory, “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” isn’t it great that he knows what he is doing and we can trust him?

  4. Megan

    profxm –

    You’re right; non-Mormons will go to spirit “prison”, however, remember that this is a temporary state, not permanent judgment. Part 2 of this article is on its way wherein I’ll discuss the three degrees of glory. The spirit world is where spirits await their resurrection. I hope that clarifies this a little bit for you.

  5. Megan

    I referenced a few scriptures in my article that refer to the spirit world. Both 1 Peter 3:18-20 and 1 Peter 4:6 provide an explanation as to where Christ was before his resurrection. Hence the Savior telling Mary “touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father” (John 20:17).

  6. Jan

    profxm, I believe that the moral, upstanding people will be in Spirit paradise very quickly. The way to get there is to covenant with God, through the ordinances that He has authorized, that you will follow Him and keep His commandments. They will be seeking the opportunity to do so and it will be easy. Don’t worry about them–God loves them more than you or I do.

    As far as the evidence, that is one of the COOLEST parts of the restoration of the gospel in our time. The Book of Mormon talks about it in Alma 41. Joseph F. Smith also had a vision about it in 1918 and it is included in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 138.

  7. Megan

    Thanks, Jan, for your additional references! Let me quote a portion of what Alma says: “Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection.” (Alma 40:14; italics added.)

  8. clint-o-bean

    On my blog entry What do Mormons believe?
    someone asked me this question:
    “Do Mormons really believe that if they lead a good life, they’ll become gods of their own planets?”

    I did my best to answer it:
    but I’m curious if you would have anything to add to my comments?

  9. dr. clint

    Whoops – the url for the link in my previous comment is now wrong. The correct link is What do Mormons believe?

  10. Anonymous

    Do LDS members believe that they will become gods of their own planets in the afterlife?

  11. Thaddeus

    Anonymous, thank you for your question. We are preparing an article on this topic.

  12. Anonymous

    Great…Thank you…I will look forward to reading it.