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What Do Mormons Believe about the Afterlife?


Physical Death

Physical death occurs when your spirit separates from your mortal body. However, death is not the end of your spirit; your spirit existed in the premortal world with God before you were born, and it will exist for all eternity.

The Book of Mormon, a book of scripture that complements the Bible, explains, “For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection” (2 Nephi 9:6). In other words, mortal death is an integral part of Heavenly Father’s plan for His children.

After Jesus died on the cross, He was resurrected. The resurrection reunited His spirit with His physical body. He lives again.

The Resurrection of Jesus made it possible for you—and everyone—to live again too. “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20-22).

But what happens to your spirit when your physical body dies? Where do you go while awaiting the Resurrection?

Spirit Paradise and Spirit Prison

After experiencing physical death, your spirit will enter either spirit paradise or spirit prison. Where you go while awaiting the Resurrection depends on what kind of life you lived while on earth.

If you were righteous, your 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 reserved for those who “died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets” (D&C 138:32). 

Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, spirits have the opportunity to leave spirit prison and enter paradise. Those in spirit prison are taught by righteous spirits about faith in God, repentance, baptism, and other principles of Christ’s gospel. Those who choose to accept these teachings will receive God’s promised blessings.

The Resurrection

Jesus’s Second Coming will commence the resurrection of all mankind; however, not everyone will be resurrected at the same time. Those who accepted the gospel of Jesus in their mortal life, or while in spirit prison, will be resurrected at the Second Coming. However, those who rejected the gospel and are judged to be wicked won’t be resurrected until 1,000 years after the Second Coming (see D&C 88:95-102).

Degrees of Glory

When Jesus carries out His final judgement, He’ll do so according to your works (see Revelation 20:13). That judgement determines where you’ll spend eternity. Thanks to revelation given to the prophet Joseph Smith, we know that resurrected beings will exist in one of three distinct places. These are commonly referred to among Mormons as the three degrees of glory (see D&C 76:50–113).

Each degree of glory has eternal blessings; even the lowest degree of glory offers peace and joy beyond our current comprehension. However, God dwells only in celestial glory. To live with Him again for all eternity, you must accept the gospel of Jesus Christ and live according to its laws. Following God’s commandments and the instruction He gives through modern prophets makes it possible to live in celestial glory with God.

There is so much comfort in knowing that there is life after mortality. Knowing that you have the chance to live forever in God’s presence can give you the strength you need to overcome trials and strive to be a better person.

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