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Spirit World: Life After Death

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Easter morning cross
Richard Goerg
In this fifth part of the Plan of Salvation, the Spirit World, we learn about life after death, the division between paradise and prison, salvation for the dead, what we will look like, and where the Spirit World is located.

Life After Death:

Our spirit does not die when our body does, but continues to live. After we die our spirit leaves our mortal body and enters the spirit world, where we await the resurrection. The Spirit World is divided into two parts: paradise and prison. Those who accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ and lived righteously upon the earth (during mortality) go to spirit paradise but those who lived wickedly, denied the gospel, or who never had the chance to hear the gospel during their earthly life will go to spirit prison.

Paradise and Prison:

In the Spirit World those in paradise experience happiness and peace, and are free from trouble, sorrow, and pain. They continue to associate in family relationships and engage in worthwhile activities. The spirits in prison are those who, for whatever reason, did not accept the gospel while on the earth. They cannot partake of the blessings received in paradise nor are they allowed to enter it. In this sense, it is considered a prison. However, those who never had the opportunity to hear the gospel during their earthly life will be given this chance while in spirit prison. In the Book of Mormon the prophet Alma said:
"The spirits of those who are righteous are 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.

"And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good... these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.
"There is a space between death and the resurrection of the body, and a state of the soul in happiness or in misery until the time which is appointed of God that the dead shall come forth, and be reunited, both soul and body, and be brought to stand before God, and be judged according to their works" (Alma 40:12-13,21.)

Missionary Work Continues On:

Jesus Christ's church has been organized in the Spirit World, in paradise, and continues to function as it does on earth and each prophet stands at the head of his own generation. Many spirits (people) in paradise will be called as missionaries and will enter spirit prison to teach those who never had the opportunity to hear the gospel while upon earth. Those in prison still have their agency and, if they accept the gospel, will be allowed to enter paradise.
Those who rejected the gospel (while upon the earth) after having it preached to them will not have this opportunity. They will live in a state of hell until the resurrection. Because they rejected Christ, they will have to pay, in full, for their own sins.

"For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; but if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit..." (D&C 19:16-18.)

Salvation for the Dead:

There will be many who will repent and accept the gospel of Jesus Christ but before they can enter paradise they will need to have the necessary saving ordinances (such as baptism and gift of the Holy Ghost) performed in their behalf. Because they lack a physical body they are unable to perform these ordinances for themselves. Their work is performed on earth by those who have already received these ordinances for themselves. The Lord has commanded his servants to build temples for this purpose.

Those who do not repent will eventually pay the price for their sins, be resurrected, and receive the lowest degree of glory.

What We Will Look Like:

As spirits, we will appear much the same way as we appear now upon the earth. We will look the same, have the same personality, and will believe the same things as we did during our earthly life. "Those who are righteous in this life will still be righteous. Those who were unrighteous will still be unrighteous. We will have the same desires after we die as we had while on this earth" (Gospel Fundamentals, "Life after Death," pg 195.)

Because our spirits were already full grown before we left our premortal existence, they will appear in adult form in the afterlife. There are no baby spirits in the spirit world.

Where is the Spirit World?:

Brigham Young answered this question simply when he said: "Where is the spirit world? It is right here."

Prophets have told us that the spirit world is not far from us and if we could rend the veil of forgetfulness (see Mortality) we would see the spirits of righteous people who have gone on before us. They know our thoughts, feelings and emotions. Speaking of these spirits, President Joseph F. Smith said, "They are as deeply interested in our welfare today, if not with greater capacity, with far more interest behind the veil, than they were in the flesh."

After our time in the Spirit World comes the Resurrection. Continue reading to learn more about God's Plan of Salvation.

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