by Eric Kotter, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormon“). Eric is a student at BYU-Idaho studying communications.
Afterlife: God’s Plan of Happiness
One of the most profound truths that I have come to know is that we all have the opportunity of living with God again in the afterlife. I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths, the “Mormon Church”). There are many people who wonder where we go after we die. Is death the end of our existence? I think that not knowing the truth about these things can make a person feel a sad uncertainty about life.
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have learned that when we die, our spirit–the part of us that’s eternal, including our intelligence and personality–leaves our body. This spirit then goes to a place called the Spirit World. In the spirit world there are two places we can go prior to the Resurrection: heaven or hell (spirit paradise, or spirit prison). We wait in this part of the afterlife, until the final judgment when we will receive our reward from God according to the good things we have done to serve Jesus Christ, and according to the grace of the Savior.
In spirit heaven, those who made good choices and received the gospel of Jesus Christ into their lives, will be in “a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.” (Book of Mormon: Alma 40:12). Those who were wicked in this life will live in spirit prison, which is what Latter-day Saints (Mormons) refer to as hell. In this state of hell, there will be suffering and darkness because of the wicked way in which these spirits lived their lives. In this part of the afterlife, there will also be great mercy extended by the Lord.
The suffering souls in hell are taught the gospel of Jesus Christ by the souls in spirit heaven. They will be given the opportunity to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ into their lives, or reject it. I believe this is such a merciful thing for God to do. Additionally, there are many people that have never really had the opportunity to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ into their lives. It wouldn’t be fair for those people to be cast into hell without a chance to receive the gospel in the afterlife. I’m grateful for a God who extends so much mercy to all of us. Even those who reject the gospel of Jesus Christ will not suffer in hell for eternity, once they have suffered for a time, they will receive a kingdom of glory from God.
Through modern revelation from a living prophet of God, it has been revealed that after judgment, everyone will receive a kingdom of glory. There will be three different kingdoms. Even the wicked will receive a glorious kingdom to live in, but this kingdom won’t be as glorious as the afterlife given to those who were faithful to Jesus Christ in their lives. The faithful saints, as well as those who receive the gospel in the spirit world, will receive eternal life, the greatest gift of God! It is here that we can dwell eternally with God and become like Him. The family unit will exist here and continue through eternity which to me is the sweetest blessing that God has to offer. (New Testament: 1 Corinthians 15:41)
Jesus Christ is the reason why all of us can return to live with God in the afterlife. He made it possible for us to repent of our sins, as well as to be resurrected. As Latter-day Saints, we don’t believe in the doctrine of reincarnation, which is being born again in another body. But we do believe that Jesus Christ made it possible for us to be resurrected. Resurrection means that after we die, our spirits will enter back into the bodies that we had while in this life. Our bodies will be immortal and perfect, never to suffer sickness or affliction again. This means that your grandpa, mother, father, or child, will all be alive again! Isn’t this marvelous! After we are all resurrected, we will be brought before God for the final judgment, and then we will receive a kingdom of glory.
I have been to several funerals of different family members. It is very sad to think that I can’t visit that person when I want to, or talk to them. I feel sad and I mourn for them and miss them, but I also feel a sweet peaceful spirit that everything will be OK. I know that death is not the end, and that I will see my loved ones again in the afterlife. I know that my family members who have passed away are in good hands; they are in the Lord’s hands. To know that I can once again hug my great grandparents, and talk with them face to face, gives me such peace and comfort. When a family member dies, it fills me with a determination to follow the Savior more closely in my life so I can return to live with them again in the kingdom of God.
Jesus said in the New Testament of the Bible, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). I know that it is Jesus Christ that makes it possible for us to have an afterlife with God in His kingdom. It is through Him that we can be saved and have everlasting life. As I seek to follow the Savior’s gospel, His grace lifts me up to close to Him. I know that through Him, we can all return to God and dwell with our family members forever.