Q. When studying with some missionaries a number of years ago, I was told that the Mormon, LDS church did not believe in hell. It appears that this may not be accurate. Can you please tell me what the church’s teaching on hell is, if any?
We believe in hell, but our conception of it is a bit different than the way many Christians think of it. My good friend Dave wrote an excellent piece about it called “What Do Mormons Believe About Hell?” back in 2009.
In a nutshell, hell is “to be shut out from the presence of our God” (2 Nephi 9:9). It is a separation from Him and is the natural result of sin.
You may be asking, “Is hell used as a threat to enforce obedience in the Mormon church?” The answer is, “not too much.” That theme can be found occasionally in the Book of Mormon and the Bible, but the main thrust of our motivation to live clean and honest Christian lives comes from knowing who we are (God’s children) and knowing His plan for us. We believe the atonement of Jesus Christ provides remission of our sins and that He is willing to remit them all; consequently, a permanent hell (though it is an option) really isn’t a live option, anyway.