We start to die the moment we are born.  Why?  The reason is simple.  Our Heavenly Father wants us to return to him.  He gave us life, and he provided the means by which we could return to him.  Viewed from an eternal perspective, we live to die; and we die to live again.” (Russell M. Nelson, The Gateway We Call Death, pg. 5)

Death Defined

(1 Corinthians 15:21-22; 2 Nephi 9:10-12)

01 – “Mortal death, the penalty justice imposed upon Adam and his posterity, is in fact a mechanism of rescue. It is the process by which we may return to the presence of God. Man must be released from mortality lest he live forever in his sins.” (Boyd K. Packer, BYU address, The Law and the Light, October 30, 1988)

02 – “Every man born into the world will die. It matters not who he is, nor where he is, whether his birth be among the rich and the noble, or among the lowly and poor in the world, his days are numbered with the Lord, and in due time he will reach the end.” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, pg. 428)

03 – “Another of the purposes of man’s mortal probation is to pass through the experience we call death. This experience is necessary ‘to fulfill the merciful plan of the great Creator’ (2 Nephi 9:6). In death, the body returns to the earth or the elements from which it was created, and the spirit goes into the world of spirits —there to wait the day of resurrection.” (Ezra Taft Benson, TETB, pg. 30)

04 – “Death is merely a change from one status or sphere of existence to another. This death consists in the separation of the eternal spirit from the mortal body so that the body is left to go back to the dust or element from which it was created (meaning organized), and the spirit is left to sojourn in a world of waiting spirits until the day of the resurrection. (Revelation 20:13; 2 Nephi 9:10–15)” (Bruce R. McConkie, MD, pg. 184-185)

05 – “We speak of the passing of a loved one here as death. What is the meaning of death? If death means insensibility to impressions round about us, then, as a matter of truth, we are more insensible and thus more dead than the deceased; for when we say he died, it meant that his spiritual self took flight from his earthly body. It went ‘home,’ in the language of the scriptures, to that God who gave it life. When we shall place in mother earth this afternoon these mortal remains, we're not placing there that which was the living or spiritual part of the deceased; we shall bury only that which was of the earth. The spirit took its flight, and now has been able to view and see and know things far beyond our understanding. As a matter of truth, he is more alive than we are because he is more sensitive to things round about us.” (Harold B. Lee, THBL, pg. 45)

06 – Sometimes we fret with the things that life brings. One of our leaders said some while ago—he was failing in health, obviously, from the way he wrote—and he said, ‘It’s well that we have headaches, and backaches, and leg aches, and heartaches.’ It’s well that we have these aches and pains to remind us that this isn't the stopping place, and that we won't cling too tenaciously to mortal life.” (Harold B. Lee, THBL, pg. 48)

07 – “No man who is fit to live need fear to die. To one here in this life, death is often the most terrible thing we know, but when we have tasted its reality it will mean to us birth, deliverance, a new creation of ourselves. It will be what health is to a sick man, what home is to an exile, what the loved one given back is to the bereaved. As we draw near to it a solemn gladness should fill our hearts.” (Harold B. Lee THBL, pg. 44)

Death - The Spirits Conditions

(Job 1:21; Ecclesiastes. 5:15; 1 Timothy 6:7)

08 – “The spirits of our children are immortal before they come to us, and their spirits, after bodily death, are like they were before they came. They are as they would have appeared if they had lived in the flesh, to grow to maturity, or to develop their physical bodies to the full stature of their spirits. If you see one of your children that has passed away it may appear to you in the form in which you would recognize it, the form of childhood; but if it came to you as a messenger bearing some important truth, it would perhaps come as the spirit of Bishop Edward Hunter’s son (who died when a little child) came to him, in the stature of full-grown manhood, and revealed himself to his father, and said: ‘I am your son.’

   Bishop Hunter did not understand it. He went to my father and said: ‘Hyrum, what does that mean? I buried my son when he was only a little boy, but he has come to me as a full-grown man—a noble, glorious, young man, and declared himself my son. What does it mean?’

   Father (Hyrum Smith, the Patriarch) told him that the Spirit of Jesus Christ was full-grown before he was born into the world; and so our children were full-grown and possessed their full stature in the spirit, before they entered mortality, the same stature that they will possess after they have passed away from mortality, and as they will also appear after the resurrection, when they shall have completed their mission.”  (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, pg.455)

09 – “When we go to the spirit world we go naked as we came into the world, and if we got clothing we shall be dependent upon somebody for it as we were when born in the flesh.”  (John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 8:100)

Death - The Lord’s Conditions

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; D&C 89:21; D&C 138:57)

10 – “If we say that early death is a calamity, disaster or a tragedy, would it not be saying that mortality is preferable to earlier entrance into the spirit world and to eventual salvation and exaltation? If mortality be the perfect state, then death would be a frustration but the Gospel teaches us there is no tragedy in death, but only in sin.” (Spencer W. Kimball, BYU speeches (1955), Tragedy or Destiny, pg. 3)

11 – “This does not say and this does not mean, that to keep the Word of Wisdom is to insure us against death, for death is, in the eternal plan, co-equal with birth. This is the eternal decree. [1 Corinthians 15:22; 2 Nephi 9:6] But it does mean that the destroying angel, he who comes to punish the unrighteous for their sins, as he in olden time afflicted the corrupt Egyptians in their wickedness [Exodus 12:23, 29], shall pass by the Saints, ‘who are walking in obedience to the commandments,’ and who ‘remember to keep and do these sayings.’ These promises do mean that all those who qualify themselves to enjoy them will be permitted so to live out their lives that they may gain the full experiences and get the full knowledge which they need in order to progress to the highest exaltation in eternity, all these will live until their work is finished and God calls them back to their eternal home, as a reward” (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., CR, October 1940, pg. 17-18)

12 – “No righteous man is ever taken before his time. In the cause of faithful saints, they are simply transferred to other fields of labor. The Lord’s work goes on in this life, in the world of spirits, and in the kingdoms of glory where men go after their resurrection.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Ensign, Funeral Services for Elder Richard L. Evans, December 1971, pg. 10)

13 – “It has been said that the death of a righteous man is never untimely because our Father sets the time. I believe that with all my soul.” (Ezra Taft Benson, TETB, pg. 348)

14 – “Every good and righteous person has a specific time to go. I don’t think it applies to everyone.” (Ezra Taft Benson, TETB, pg. 35)

15 – “The only difference between the old and young dying is, one lives longer in heaven and eternal light and glory than the other, and is freed a little sooner from this miserable, wicked world.” (Joseph Smith, HC, 4:554)

16 – “The death of a righteous individual is both an honorable release and a call to new labors.” (Ezra Taft Benson, TETB, pg. 33)

17 – “I know a father who lost his daughter, a mother of four or five children, and it was a long fight. I have never seen a father or mother who had greater devotion to a daughter, and as she sank into the shadows the father said, ‘I guess I failed. If I had faith, she would have gotten well.’ The Lord said that ‘those who have faith in me shall be healed if they are not appointed unto death’ (D&C 42:48). That suggests that we are here filling a mission on earth. We can fail in our appointment, but if we live true, then we fulfill our mission. Now, if the Lord asks us, calls us to no greater calling, I ask you, Would any one of you want to remain here one hour more than the Lord wants you to live in mortality, if He had something else for you to do? Not if you are thinking right. You would want to answer the call of the Master, wouldn't you?” (Harold B. Lee, THBL, pg. 48)

18 – “On the other side of the veil, there are perhaps seventy billion people. They need the same gospel, and releases occur here to aid the Lord's work there. Each release of a righteous individual from this life is also a call to new labors. Those who have true hope understand this. Therefore, though we miss the departed righteous so much here, hundreds may feel their touch there. One day, those hundreds will thank the bereaved for gracefully forgoing the extended association with choice individuals here, in order that they could help hundreds there. In God's ecology, talent and love are never wasted. The hopeful understand this, too.” (Neal A. Maxwell, Notwithstanding My Weakness, pg. 55)

19 – “This world is a very wicked world; and it is a proverb that the ‘world grows weaker and wiser’; if that is the case, the world grows more wicked and corrupt.  In the earlier ages of the world a righteous man, and a man of God and of intelligence, had a better chance to do good, to be believed and received than at the present day; but in these days such a man is much opposed and persecuted by most of the inhabitants of the earth, and he has much sorrow to pass through here.  The Lord takes many away even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again.” (Joseph Smith, TPJS, pg. 196-197)

Stories -

20 – “Perhaps I may be permitted to relate a circumstance with which I am acquainted in relation to Bishop Roskelley, of Smithfield, Cache Valley:

On one occasion he was suddenly taken very sick —near to death's door. While he lay in this condition, President Peter Maughan, who was dead, came to him and said: ‘Brother Roskelley, we held a council on the other side of the veil. I have had a great deal to do, and I have the privilege of coming here to appoint one man to come and help. I have had three names given to me in council, and you are one of them. I want to inquire into your circumstances.’

The Bishop told him what he had to do, and they conversed together as one man would converse with another. President Maughan then said to him: ‘I think I will not call you. I think you are wanted here more than perhaps one of the others.’

Bishop Roskelley got well from that hour. Very soon after, the second man was taken sick, but not being able to exercise sufficient faith, Brother Roskelley did not go to him. By and by this man recovered, and on meeting Brother Roskelley, he said: ‘brother Maughan came to me the other night and told me he was sent to call one man from the ward,’ and he named two men as had been done to Brother Roskelley. A few days afterwards the third man was taken sick and died.

Now, I name this to show a principle. They have work on the other side of the veil; and they want men, and they call them. And that was my view in regards to Brother George A. Smith. When he was almost at death’s door, Brother Cannon administered to him, and in thirty minutes he was up and ate breakfast with his family. We labored with him in this way, but ultimately, as you know, he died. But it taught me a lesson. I felt that man was wanted behind the veil. We labored also with Brother Pratt; but he, too, was wanted behind the veil.” (Wlford Woodruff, Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pg. 290-291)

21 – “We lost one of our apostles a short time since. He was about the youngest man in the quorum of the apostles. He was suddenly called away from us. There is a meaning to this. Many times things take place with us that we do not comprehend, unless it is given to us by revelation. But there is a meaning in the loss of that young apostle. I had a manifestation of that while in San Francisco recently.

One evening, as I fell asleep, I was very much troubled with evil spirits that tried to afflict me; and while laboring to throw off these spirits and their influence, there was another spirit visited me that seemed to have power over the evil spirits, and they departed from me. Before he left me he told me not to grieve because of the departure of Abraham Hoagland Cannon; for the Lord had called him to fill another important mission in the spirit world, as a pure and holy apostle from Zion in the Rocky Mountains -- a labor which would not only prove a great benefit to his father's household, but to the Church and kingdom of God on the earth. I feel to name this, because it is true. I have become acquainted with many things in our history that I have marveled at. While in the St. George temple I had a son, who was in the north country, drowned. He had a warning of this. In a dream he was notified how he would die. We had testimony of that after his death. I asked the Lord why he was taken from me. The answer to me was, ‘You are doing a great deal for the redemption of your dead; but the law of redemption requires some of your own seed in the spirit world to attend to work connected with this.’ That was a new principle to me; but it satisfied me why he was taken away. I name this, because there are a great many instances like it among the Latter-day Saints. This was the case with Brother Abraham Cannon. He was taken away to fulfil that mission. And where we have anything of this kind, we should leave it in the hands of God to reconcile.” (Wilford Woodruff, Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pg. 292)

Death—Sweet or Bitter

(D&C 42:43-48)

22 – “All fear of this death has been removed from the Latter-day Saints. They have no dread of the temporal death, because they know that as death came upon them by the transgression of Adam, so by the righteousness of Jesus Christ shall life come unto them, and though they die, they shall live again. Possessing this knowledge, they have joy even in death, for they know that they shall rise again and shall meet again beyond the grave. They know that the spirit dies not at all; that it passes through no change, except the change from imprisonment in this mortal clay to freedom and to the sphere in which it acted before it came to this earth.” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, pg. 428)

23 – “At times of sorrow and parting, one may experience that ‘peace…which passeth all understanding’ (Philippians 4:7) which the scriptures promise.  That is a very private experience.  Many have come to marvel in their hearts that such a feeling of peace, even exaltation, can come at the time of such grief and uncertainty.” (Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, November 1988, pg. 20)

24 – “Whenever the cold hand of death strikes, there shines through the gloom and the darkness of that hour the triumphant figure of the Lord Jesus Christ, He, the Son of God, who by His matchless and eternal power overcame death…He is our comfort, our only true comfort, when the dark shroud of earthly night closes about us as the spirit departs the human form.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, May 1996, pg. 67)

25 – “There is no cause to fear death; it is but an accident in life.  It is as natural as birth.  Why should we fear it?  Some fear it because they think it is the end of life; and life often is the dearest thing we have.  Eternal life is man’s greatest blessing.  If only men would ‘do his will’, instead of looking hopelessly at the dark and gloomy tomb, they would turn their eyes heavenward and know that Christ is risen!…With all my soul I know that death is conquered by Jesus Christ.” (David O. McKay, CR, April 1966, pg. 58-59)

26 – “When we lose a near and dear friend, upon whom we have set our hearts, it should be a caution unto us not to set our affections too firmly upon others, knowing that they may in like manner be taken from us.  Our affections should be placed upon God and His work, more intendely than upon our fellow beings.” (Joseph Smith, TPJS,  pg. 216)

27 – “In the quiet of this chapel today, our souls have been on their knees.  We have contemplated the uncertainties of life and the certainty of death.  Each of us in his turn will follow the same course—only the point of time is the difference.  Will we be ready?  Will the things we intend to accomplish be completed?  Will we make right the little wrongs and replace the harsh words with kindness before our call comes?  Will we accept the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ by following his teachings, keeping his commandments, being of service to our fellowman, ready to enter the tomb, partake of the glorious resurrection, and stand at the judgment as worthy servants?” (Howard W. Hunter, THWH, pg. 15-16)

28 – “The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life….As seedlings of God, we barely blossom on earth; we fully flower in heaven….Think of the alternative. If all sixty-nine billion people who have ever lived on earth were still here, imagine the traffic jam! Scriptures teach that death is essential to happiness (Alma 42:8; 2 Nephi 9:6). Our limited perspective would be enlarged if we could witness the reunion on the other side of the veil, when doors of death open to those returning home….We need not look upon death as an enemy….I know by experiences too sacred to relate that those who have gone before are not strangers to leaders of this Church. To us and to you, our loved ones may be just as close as the next room—separated only by the doors of death.” (Russell M. Nelson, Ensign, May 1992, pg. 72-74)

29 – “Two of the most important events in life are birth and death. And what a thrilling thing it is to be well born, to have goodly parents and live in a godly home! But it may be even more important to die well....

Sometimes we miss one of our best opportunities—to learn to die well—because we think of death as unpleasant. And because we don't like to think about unpleasant things, we sometimes close our minds and turn away our faces. But death doesn't cease to exist just because it is ignored. The ancient Egyptians had a much more logical way of handling this situation when on their great festive occasions they kept constantly on display before the revelers the skeleton of a dead man. That is, they held up this great image of death before themselves that each one might be continually and constantly reminded that some day he would die.

Now I don't want to frighten anyone unduly in this audience this morning, but I would like to point out as gently and as kindly as I can that someday this tremendously important experience of our mortal estate will come to its end. Someone has said that judging by the past there will be very few of us who get out of this world alive. From the very beginning of life, each one of us lives under an irrevocable, unchangeable death sentence, with a guarantee that it will be carried out. The Lord has given us this maximum notice to enable us to adequately prepare for it. And one man indicated this certainty by an inscription on his tombstone saying, ‘I knew it would happen!’...

And it has been said that the most important event in life is death. We live to die and then we die to live. Death is a kind of graduation day for life. It is our only means of entrance to our eternal lives. And it seems to me to be a very helpful procedure to spend a little time preliving our death. That is, what kind of person would you like to be when the last hour of your life arrives?

The last hour is the key hour. That is the hour that judges all of the other hours. No one can tell whether or not his life has been successful until his last hour. As Sophocles said, ‘We must wait till evening to know how pleasant the day has been.’

What a thrilling experience that we may live well, enabling us to die well and then live with God in the celestial kingdom throughout eternity.” (Sterling W. Sill, Ensign, November 1976, pg. 46-48)

30 – “In a beautiful blue lagoon on a clear day, a fine sailing-ship spreads its brilliant white canvas in a fresh morning breeze and sails out to the open sea.

   We watch her glide away magnificently through the deep blue and gradually see her grow smaller and smaller as she nears the horizon.

   Finally, where the sea and sky meet, she slips silently from sight; and someone hears me say, ‘there, she is gone!’

   Gone Where?

   Gone from sight—that is all.

   She is still as large in mast and hull and sail, still just as able to bear her load.

   And we can be sure that, just as we say, ‘there, she is gone!’ Another says, ‘there, she comes!” (Pauk H. Dunn, The Birth that we call Death)

Spirit World



Spirit World Defined

(Alma 40:11)

01 – “When you lay down this tabernacle where are you going?  Into the spirit world.  Are you going into Abraham’s bosom?  No, not any where nigh there, but into the spirit world.  Where is the spirit world? It is right here...Do they go beyond the boundaries of this organized earth?  No they do not.”  (Brigham Young, JD, 3:369)

02 – Is the spirit world here? It is not beyond the sun, but is on this earth that was organized for the people that have lived and that do and will live upon it. No other people can have it, and we can have no other kingdom until we are prepared to inhabit this eternally. (Brigham Young, JD, 3:372)

03 – As to its [the spirit world] location, it is here on the very planet where we were born; or, in other words, the earth and other planets of a like sphere, have their inward or spiritual spheres, as well as their outward, or temporal. The one is peopled by temporal tabernacles, and the other by spirits. A veil is drawn between the one sphere and the other, whereby all the objects in the spiritual sphere are rendered invisible to those in the temporal.” (Parley P. Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology, pg. 129-130)

04 – “Where is the spirit world? Is it away up in the heavens? That isn't what the scriptures and our brethren explain. They have told us the spirit world is right here round about us, and the only spirits who can live here are those who are assigned to fill their missions here on earth. This is the spirit world. And if our eyes could be opened we could see those who have departed from us--a father, mother, brother, a sister, a child. We could see them, and sometimes when our physical senses are asleep, sometimes our spiritual self--and we have ears, spiritual ears, and spiritual eyes--sometimes they will be very keen and awake, and a departed one may come while we are lying asleep and come into our consciousness. We'll feel an impression. We'll wake up. Where does it come from? It comes from the spirits of those whom we are sealed to.” (Harold B. Lee, THBL, pg. 58)

05 – The world of resurrected beings, and the world of spirits, are two distinct spheres, as much so as our own sphere is distinct from that of the spirit world.

   “Where then does the spirit go, on its departure from its earthly tabernacle? It passes to the next sphere of human existence, called the world of spirits, a veil being drawn between us in the flesh, and that world of spirits.” (Parley P. Pratt, JD, 1:9)

06 – “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it’ (Ecclesiastes 12:7). What does it mean to return to that God who gave us life? I had a call from someone who was disturbed about that question. He said, ‘Now, does that mean all the wicked will return back into the presence of God? How shall they be worthy to stand in the presence of the Lord? Now, how could that be possible?’ Well, that started me on a bit of thinking, and then I found the prophet Alma explaining to his son Corianton this same matter. You will find in the fortieth chapter of Alma how Alma explained this matter to his son Corianton. He said: ‘Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection--Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life’ (Alma 40:11). Now you note the difference? In one place it suggests that we shall enter into the very presence of; In the next place it says that we shall go home to that God who gave us life.

In discussing this matter I have found the quotation from President Brigham Young contained in his Discourses, which says: ‘[The scripture] reads that the spirit goes to God who gave it. Let me render this scripture a little plainer; when the spirits leave their bodies they are in the presence of our Father and God, they are prepared then to see, hear and understand spiritual things. But where is the spirit world?’ He answers by saying this:

‘If we go back to our mother country, the States, we there find the righteous, and we there find the wicked; if we go to California, we there find the righteous and the wicked, all dwelling together; and when we go beyond this veil, and leave our bodies which were taken from mother earth, and which must return, our spirits will pass beyond the veil; we go where both Saints and sinners go; they all go to one place.

If the wicked wish to escape from his presence, they must go where he is not, where he does not live, where his influence does not preside. To find such a place is impossible, except they go beyond the bounds of time and space.’ (Discourses of Brigham Young, pg. 376-77)

07 – As I understand what President Young is saying, when we go home to God, it is just like going back to our home country. We may not go into the presence of the governor of the state where we live, but we will go to the home country, and there we shall find our level among the people with whom we are most accustomed to associate. (Harold B. Lee, THBL, pg. 57-58)

08 – “Death itself is an initial day of judgment for all persons, both the righteous and the wicked. When the spirit leaves the body at death, it is taken home to that God who gave it life, meaning that it returns to live in the realm of spiritual existence. (Ecclesiastes 12:7) At that time the spirit undergoes a partial judgment and is assigned an inheritance in paradise or in hell to await the day of the first or second resurrection. The righteous go to paradise, ‘a state of happiness, ... a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.’  The wicked are ‘cast out into outer darkness; there shall fit weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.’ (Alma 40:11-14; Luke 16:19-31.)” (Bruce R. McConkie, MD, pg. 402; Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 2:85)

09 – disembodied spirits; ... do not go where there are resurrected bodies, for they cannot live there.” (Brigham Young, JD, 6:294)

10 – It is an intermediate state of probation, a place of preparation, improvement, instruction, or education, where spirits are chastened or improved...”  (Parley P. Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology, pg. 132)

Thinness of the Veil

11 – The spirits of the just are exalted to a greater and more glorious work; hence they are blessed in their departure to the world of spirits. Enveloped in flaming fire, they are not far from us, and know and understand our thoughts, feelings, and motions, and are often pained therewith.” (Joseph Smith, TPJS, pg. 325)

12 – I am sure many of you know that the veil can be very thin—that there are people over there who are pulling for us—people who have faith in us and who have great hopes for us, who are hoping and praying that we will measure up—our loved ones (parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, and friends) who have passed on.” (Ezra Taft Benson, TETB, pg. 31)

Spirit World Construction

(Alma 40:12-13; Luke 16:26; D&C 138:50)

13 – “The righteous and the wicked [upon death] all go to the same world of spirits until the resurrection.” (Joseph Smith, TPJS, pg. 310)

Paradise - (Revelation 2:7; D&C 138:12-15, 22)

14 – “All spirits of men after death return to the spirit world. There, as I understand it, the righteous—meaning those who have been baptized and who have been faithful— are gathered in one part and all the others in another part of the spirit world.”  (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:230)

15 – There is no religion or theology in the world other than as revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ which makes perfect connections with pre-existence and the life hereafter...If you have gotten on the track and have faithfully followed it to the end of life, you will find that you are lined up with the right track on the other side which leads to Godhood.... The gospel of Jesus Christ...charts a true and unbroken course continuing from pre-existence through mortal life into the hereafter which reaches finally to Godhood.” (Marion G. Romney, CES address, A Practical Religion, June 13, 1956)

16 – “If we are faithful to our religion, when we go into the spirit world, the fallen spirits—Lucifer and the third part of the heavenly hosts that came with him,... the whole of them combined will have no influence over our spirits.... All the rest of the children of men are more or less subject to them, and they are subject to them as they were while here in the flesh.

   If we conquer here and overcome in the Gospel, in the spirit world our spirits will be above the power of evil spirits....

   When death is past, the power of Satan has no more influence over a faithful individual: that spirit is free, and can command the power of Satan.” (Brigham Young, JD, 7: 241)

17 – “It is the righteous who go to paradise....The righteous, those who have kept the commandments of the Lord, are not shut up in any such place, but are in happiness in paradise. They cease from all this trouble, and trial, and tribulation, and anguish of soul. They are free from all these torments, because they have been true and faithful to their covenants.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS, 2:229-230)

18 – “When we pass into the spirit world we shall possess a measure of his power. Here, we are continually troubled with ills and ailments of various kinds. In the spirit world we are free from all this and enjoy life, glory, and intelligence; ”  (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, pg. 380-381)

Hell/Outer Darkness - (D&C 138:20-22)

19 – “I do not believe the methodist doctrine of sending honest men, and noble minded men to hell, along with the murderer and adulterer.” (Joseph Smith; Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, The Words of Joseph Smith, pg. 368, 122)[Other references suggesting a separation between prison and hell: Janne M. Sjodahl, Improvement Era, December 1916, pg. 111-121; Millennial Star, January 1917, pg. 1-7, 11-13; Daniel Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, ‘glossary’, pg. 1772]

20 – “Where then does the spirit go, on its departure from its earthly tabernacle? It passes to the next sphere of human existence, called the world of spirits, a veil being drawn between us in the flesh, and that world of spirits. Well, says one, is there no more than one place in the spirit world? Yes, there are many places and degrees in that world, as in this.”  (Parley P. Pratt, JD, 1:9; Heber C. Kimball, JD, 4:135-136)

21 – “Is a Saint subject to the power of the Devil in the spirit world? No, because he has gained the victory through faith, and can command Satan, and he must obey. How is it with the wicked? The Devil has power over them to distress and afflict them: they are in hell.” (Brigham Young, JD, 7:174)

22 – “Those who have died without the Gospel are continually afflicted by those evil spirits, who say to them–‘Do not go to hear that man Joseph Smith preach, or David Patten, or any of their associates, for they are deceivers.’” (Brigham Young, JD, 3:371)

23 – It is the righteous who cease from those things that trouble. Not so with the wicked. They remain in torment. They have their anguish of soul intensified, if you please, when they get on the other side, because they are constantly recalling to mind their evil deeds. They are aware of their neglected opportunities, privileges in which they might have served the Lord and received a reward of restfulness instead of a reward of punishment. And so they remain in torment until the time comes for their deliverance...” (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS, 2:229-230)

Doctrine of the Same Spirit

(Alma 34:32-34)

24 – “the spirit, being first created, of paramount importance, and consequently the body is secondary. The body was not first created and afterward the spirit formed in the tabernacle, but we are informed in the revelations that God has given, that we were created and organized in the spirit-world, in the image and likeness of our Father in heaven, and consequently our physical tabernacles were formed for the benefit and in behalf of the spirit, and adapted to the use of the spirit prepared for its habitation and dwellingplace; not to be the master and controller of the spirit, to govern and dictate it, but, on the contrary, to be for the spirit, to be subject to it, under its control, dictation, and guidance in every sense of the word. And it is with this view and for this purpose that the Lord has revealed unto us that those spirits will be held accountable for the acts of the mortal tabernacle; for it is understood that the deeds done in and by the tabernacle are done by and with the consent of the spirit.” (Erastus Snow, JD, 8:217)

25 – “Have I not told you often that the separation of body and spirit makes no difference in the moral and intellectual condition of the spirit? When a person, who has always been good and faithful to his God, lays down his body in the dust, his spirit will remain the same in the spirit world. It is not the body that has control over the spirit, as to its disposition, but it is the spirit that controls the body. When the spirit leaves the body the body becomes lifeless. The spirit has not changed one single particle of itself by leaving the body.” (Heber C. Kimball, JD, 3: 108)

26 – People who fight the truth don’t stop fighting it after their death.”  (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS, 2:195; Heber C. Kimball, JD, 4:273-274)

27 – “Suppose, then, that a man is evil in his heart—wholly given up to wickedness, and in that condition dies, his spirit will enter the spirit-world intent upon evil. On the other hand, if we are striving with all the powers and faculties God has given us to improve upon our talents, to prepare ourselves to dwell in eternal life, and the grave receives our bodies while we are thus engaged, with what disposition will our spirits enter their next state? They will be still striving to do the things of God, only in a much greater degree—learning, increasing, growing in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.”  (Brigham Young, JD, 7:334)

Salvation for the Living vs. the Dead

(Alma 34:32-34)

28 – “When we go out of this life, leave this body, we will desire to do many things that we cannot do at all without the body. We will be seriously handicapped, and we will long for the body, we will pray for that early reunion with our bodies. We will know then what advantage it is to have a body.

Then, every man and woman who is putting off until the next life the task of correcting and overcoming the weakness of the flesh are sentencing themselves to years of bondage, for no man or woman will come forth in the resurrection until they have completed their work, until they have overcome, until they have done as much as they can do.…

The point I have in mind is that we are sentencing ourselves to long periods of bondage, separating our spirits from our bodies, or we are shortening that period, according to the way in which we overcome and master ourselves.” (Melvin J. Ballard, Three Degrees of Glory, pg. 14–15)

29 – “This life is the time in which men are to repent.  Do not let any of us imagine that we can go down to the grave not having overcome the corruptions of the flesh and then lose in the grave all our sins and evil tendencies.  They will be with us.  They will be with the spirit when separated from the body....  The spirit can only repent and change and then the battle has to go forward with the flesh afterwards.  It is much easier to overcome and serve the Lord when both flesh and spirit are combined as one...”  [suggests—that we can do more in one year while in the flesh, than we can do in ten years just with the spirit]  (Melvin J. Ballard, Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin J. Ballard, pg. 241)

30 – “If men would acquire salvation, they have got to be subject, before they leave this world, to certain rules and principles which were fixed by an unalterable decree before the world was...”  (Joseph Smith, TPJS, pg. 324)

31 – “With regard to our property, as I have told you many times, the property which we inherit from our Heavenly Father is our time, and the power to choose in the disposition of the same.  This is the real capitol that is bequeathed unto us by our Heavenly Father; all the rest is what he may be pleased to add unto us.”  (Brigham Young, JD, 18:354)

Salvation for the Dead

(1 Peter 3:19-21, 4:6; D&C 2; D&C 128:15, 17)

32 – “The beginning and the end of the Gospel is written, in section two of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.”  (John A. Widtsoe, Genealogical Society of Utah Magazine, ‘Temple Worship’, [Assembly Hall-Temple Square, October 12, 1920)

33 – “If the Mormon doctrine is true, what has become of all those who died since the days of the Apostles?”

   “All those who have not had an opportunity of hearing the Gospel, and being administered unto by an inspired man in the flesh, must have it hereafter, before they can be finally judged.”  (Joseph Smith, HC, 3:29)

34 – “Since the Lord views man's progress from the pre-existent state to an eventual inheritance in one of the degrees of glory as one continuing course, it is not material (from the eternal perspective) whether the opportunity to accept the gospel of salvation comes in this mortal sphere or in the spirit world hereafter. Sometime after birth into this life and before the resurrection and judgment, every living soul will hear the gospel message and be judged by his reaction thereto. The millions who pass to the spirit world without receiving an opportunity during mortality to hear the truths of salvation will receive their chance subsequent to what men call death.” (Bruce R. McConkie, MD, pg. 673)

35 – [D&C 76:72]“Now, I wish to say to you that those who died without law, meaning the pagan nations, for lack of faithfulness, for lack of devotion, in the former life, are obtaining all that they are entitled to.  I don't mean to say that all of them will be barred from entrance into the highest glory.  Anyone of them who repents and complies with the conditions might also obtain celestial glory, but the great bulk of them shall only obtain the terrestrial glory.” (Melvin  J. Ballard, Three Degrees of Glory, pg. 25)

36 – [D&C 76:72]”Accountable persons who die without law (and who, of course, do not accept the gospel in the spirit world under those particular circumstances which would make them heirs of the celestial kingdom).” (Bruce R. McConkie, MD, pg. 784)

37 – “We do not hold that this life is the only chance that men have to hear or embrace the gospel, but we believe that the time will come when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, and men who do not have that privilege here will have the privilege hereafter granted unto them. We are given to understand by the Apostle Peter that the gospel is preached to the spirits in the spirit world. Isaiah foresaw this. He foresaw the mission of the Savior. He saw that he was going to come here in the flesh, and would be crucified, and while his body was lying in the tomb, ‘He went and unlocked the prison door and let the captives free.’ Peter gave us to understand that this was carried out. He says, ‘For this cause was the gospel preached unto them that are dead ; ’ showing that all who do not have the privilege here are going to have the privilege sometime and somewhere.

   Men may reject the gospel here, and it seems that even they are going to have another chance of hearing it, according to the words of Peter, though Noah preached to the people and warned them in his day and they rejected his counsel and teaching, and no doubt called him (as they have called the servants of God in all ages) imposters, and would not accept his message. The result was, according to the decrees of the Lord, that the flood came and overtook the people, and there were only a few saved; yet, even that class of people had the privilege of hearing the sound of the gospel in the spirit world, and were given another chance to receive it.” (Jonathan C. Cutler, CR, October 1918, pg.  96-97)

38 – “We are told in the third chapter of First Peter, that Christ went and preached to those people who were disobedient in the days of Noah. while the ark was a preparing. They had been shut up in prison, so characterized by Isaiah and others of the prophets for about twenty-four hundred years. Just the character of their imprisonments, I do not understand; but one of our Book of Mormon prophets speaks of it as a fearful, awful, looking forward to the time when the fiery indignation of the wrath of God should be poured out upon them. Then we should remember this, too, which the Lord has revealed through the prophet Joseph, found recorded in the 76th Section of the D&C, that those of the terrestrial kingdom, of which the moon is typical, include those who were disobedient in the days of Noah.” (George F. Richards, CR, April 1922, pg. 57-58; Burce R. McConkie, MD, pg. 685-687)

39 – “Salvation for the dead is for those who died without a knowledge of the gospel so far as celestial glory is concerned. And those who have rejected the truth and who have fought the truth, who would not have it, are not destined to receive celestial glory.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS, 3: 131)

40 – HELL HATH BOTH ENTRANCE AND EXIT of the greatest [truths revealed] is that to hell there is an exit as well as an entrance. Hell is no place to which a vindictive judge sends prisoners to suffer and to be punished principally for his glory; but it is a place prepared for the teaching, the disciplining of those who failed to learn here upon the earth what they should have learned. True, we read of everlasting punishment, unending suffering, eternal damnation. That is a direful expression; but in his mercy the Lord has made plain what those words mean. "Eternal punishment," he says, is God's punishment, for he is eternal; and that condition or state or possibility will ever exist for the sinner who deserves and really needs such condemnation; but this does not mean that the individual sufferer or sinner is to be eternally and everlastingly made to endure and suffer. No man will be kept in hell longer than is necessary to bring him to a fitness for something better. When he reaches that stage the prison doors will open and there will be rejoicing among the hosts who welcome him into a better state. The Lord has not abated in the least what he has said in earlier dispensations concerning the operation of his law and his gospel, but he has made clear unto us his goodness and mercy through it all, for it is his glory and his work to bring about the immortality and eternal life of man.” (James E. Talmage, CR, April 1930, pg. 97)

41 – “God has administrators in the eternal world to release those spirits from Prison. The ordinances being administered by proxy upon them, the law is fulfilled. [Joseph Smith; Andrew Ehat and Lydon Cook, Words of Joseph Smith, pg. 372)

Ordinances for the Dead

(Zechariah 9:9-11)

42 – “The ordinances which belong to the sphere of mortality cannot be received in a spiritual estate; they belong to the flesh and must be attended to in the flesh.” (Charles W. Penrose, The Contributor, May 1881, pg. 233)

43 – “You may ask if there are baptized there [in the spirit world]. No. Can they have hands laid upon them for the gift of the Holy Ghost? No. None of the outward ordinances that pertain to the flesh are administered there.” (Brigham Young, JD, 2:138)

44 – “So we are only presenting to the dead such ordinances and privileges as pertain to those who are living here and now. So far as faith is concerned, they exercise that where they are. So far as repentance is concerned, they repent where they are. We are baptized for them because they cannot be baptized there. We are confirmed and ordained for them. Why? Because they cannot receive those ordinances there. Why? Because these ordinances pertain to mortal life.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS, 2:142; Daniel H. Wells, JD, 16:240)

45 – “This idea that some of us have that we can go into the temple and perform the ordinances for the people who have been bitter against the truth, have known the truth and had every opportunity to receive the gospel and have refused to receive it, this idea that when they die we can go to the temple and do the work for them, is not in keeping in any sense with the revelations the Lord has given us....

   We are not going to save and exalt in the celestial kingdom all the children of our Heavenly Father through our vicarious labors. Only those will enter into celestial glory who are worthy of it, and if we perform labor in the temples for those who are unworthy, they shall not be entitled to those blessings simply because we have worked for them.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS, 2:185)

46 – “The endowment and sealing work for the dead is for those who died without having had the opportunity to hear and receive the gospel; also, for those who were faithful members of the Church who lived in foreign lands or where, during their life time, they did not have the privilege to go to a temple, yet they were converted and were true members of the Church.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS, 2:184)

47 – “Some people think we have got to do the work in the temple for everybody. Temple work belongs to the celestial kingdom, not to the other kingdoms. There will be millions of people, countless as the sands upon the seashore, who will not enter into the celestial kingdom.... There will be no need to do temple work for them.

   To be exalted in the celestial kingdom one must be endowed and receive the sealing blessings. There will be many who will enter that kingdom as servants, but only those who comply with all the laws and covenants will be exalted.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS, 2:176)

48 – “Who is going to carry the testimony of Jesus Christ to the hearts of the women who have passed away without a knowledge of the gospel? Well, to my mind, it is a simple thing. These good sisters who have been set apart, ordained to the work, called to it, authorized by the authority of the holy Priesthood to minister for their sex, in the House of God for the living and for the dead, will be fully authorized and empowered to preach the gospel and minister to the women while the elders and prophets are preaching it to the men. The things we experience here are typical of the things of God and the life beyond us. (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, pg. 461)

49 – “A man is ordained and receives his washings, anointings, and endowments for the male portion of his and his wife’s progenitors, and his wife for the female portion. Then in the spirit world they will say, ‘Do you not see somebody at work for you? The Lord remembers you and has revealed to His servants on the earth, what to do for you.’” (Brigham Young, JD, 3:327)

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