Mormon View of the After Life

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Mormon theology holds to important beliefs concerning life after death. Mormons believe that all people have lived with God in the pre-mortal world before their Earthly lives and that every individual has the opportunity to dwell with God after this life in a state of eternal joy. A person’s spirit not only existed before he or she was physically born but it will also exist for all eternity (1). However, where human beings will go after they die depends on several factors such as to what degree they accept and follow Jesus Christ, accept Christ’s sacrifice, and their participation in the essential rites such as baptism.

Mormons believe that physical death occurs when the spirit separates from the mortal body. The body dies but the spirit continues to live on, and there are one of two places a person’s spirit enters upon death: spirit paradise or spirit prison (2). Spirit paradise is for those who die righteous, and whose spirit will be “received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow” (Alma 40:12). Spirit prison is for those who “died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets” (D&C 138:32). However, given the atoning work of Jesus Christ, spirits have the opportunity to leave spirit prison and enter spirit paradise. Mormons believe that in spirit prison, spirits are taught by righteous spirits about faith in God, repentance, baptism, and other principles of Christ’s gospel. In this place spirits are tormented by guilt and are denied rest.

Mormons also believe that a post-death judgement will occur when Christ returns to the Earth to judge human beings. After being in the spirit world, human beings will be resurrected and will stand before Christ to be judged. There is a three-tiered hierarchy of heavens where one will go after being judged, as described by Joseph Smith (3). These are exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom for faithful Mormons where people may become gods or angels (D&C 132:20), the Terrestrial Kingdom for righteous non-Mormons (D&C 76:75-76), and the Telestial Kingdom for wicked and ungodly (not to be confused with hell) (D&C 76:103-104). God exists in the Celestial Kingdom and to live with him again for eternity people must accept the gospel of Jesus and live out its laws. Which kingdom the human being will inherit depends on his or her obedience to the gospel of Jesus and his or her acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus. Those living in the Celestial Kingdom will experience and enjoy God’s presence, and those who will inherit the other two will not. There is also a permanent, eternal hell where those not redeemed by the atonement of Christ will go (D&C 76:43-46; 88:35). This includes Satan, his angels, and the sons of perdition (those who have served Satan and turned against God).

References

1. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. What Do Mormons Believe about the Afterlife? Available.

2. Patheos. Afterlife and Salvation. Available.

3. Taysom, S. 2010. A Hierarchy of Heavens. Available.

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