Oh, hello there. Welcome back to the Faith and Beliefs segment of the show. Today we’re going to cover another chunk of the Plan of Salvation, or God’s plan to help us get back home to Him. If you haven’t seen the video covering the first chunk of the Plan of Salvation, watch it! Stop watching this. There’s a link to Part One in the description. If you don’t watch that one first, this one isn’t going to make as much sense. As for the rest of us, let’s do this.
In the last video we covered pre-mortal existence, and we covered the importance of Jesus Christ in God’s plan.
In this video, we’re going to cover what the gospel of Jesus Christ is, the purpose of life, and what happens to us after we die.
Alright. Essentially, the gospel of Jesus Christ is composed of Christ’s teachings and atonement. Patterning our lives based on His gospel prepares us to inherit the gift of eternal life. If we were to summarize the gospel in five points, they’d be:
- We need to have faith in Jesus Christ.
- We need to show that faith by repenting of our sins.
- We need to follow Christ’s example and be baptized.
- Following baptism, we need to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.
- And we’ve got to hang in there. We’ve got to keep trying, keep repenting, keep following Christ throughout our lives. We call this “enduring to the end.”
In a nutshell, learning, living, and finding happiness in the gospel of Jesus Christ is the purpose of life. It’s not 42, as some would have you believe.
That’s life, and then you die. But this is where things get interesting, and different opinions arise. What happens next? Here’s what Latter-day Saints believe: Your physical body goes 6 feet under. Your spirit, however, goes to a sort of spiritual “waiting room” we simply call the Spirit World. It’s not on a different world, it’s still here, you just can’t see it. Call it a different dimension if you want to get really weird about it. Anyway, what are you waiting for in this waiting room? The resurrection and final judgment.
The Spirit World is not heaven and hell in the sense that it’s your eternal resting place, but it is separated into a sort of spiritual prison for the wicked and a spiritual paradise for the righteous. The wicked that reject Christ’s atonement will have to pay for their own sins in this Spirit Prison. In that sense, this will be a temporary ‘Hell.’
Now, you’ll remember that according to the gospel of Jesus Christ, we need to be baptized. Well, what happens to the billions of people who die without even hearing about this Jesus Christ guy? Is it fair that they just get sent straight to hell? Latter-day Saints believe that the righteous spirits in the Spirit World will preach the gospel to those who didn’t get to hear it in their lives. Meanwhile, in Latter-day Saint temples here in mortality, we do baptisms in behalf of deceased ancestors that they will have the opportunity to accept or reject in the Spirit World once they hear the gospel. Pretty sweet, eh?
Anyway, eventually the world we live in is going to go to crap, and Christ will come again. This event marks the beginning of something Latter-day Saints call the Millennium, which you can read about in Revelation 20, but that deserves its own episode so we’re going to skip straight to the resurrection.
Everyone who ever lived on earth, wicked or righteous, will be resurrected.
After death, we’ll get our physical bodies back, but this time they’ll be immortal and perfected like Christ’s body. If you’ve got muscular dystrophy, you won’t have it after the resurrection. If you’ve got diabetes, it’ll be gone. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you won’t have to worry about that.
What you will have to worry about is the final judgment, which is what happens next. You will be judged based on your choices, actions, thoughts, intentions, circumstances, chemistry, the challenges you faced in mortality, everything will be taken into account at the judgment.
In every sect of Christianity I can think of, you’ll be judged and either sent to Heaven or Hell. Latter-day Saint doctrine is slightly different, and much more merciful in my opinion. We believe in three tiers or kingdoms of heaven (1 Corinthians 15: 40 – 42). Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live in the Celestial Kingdom. This is where the righteous who accepted Christ and His gospel will go.
Next is the Terrestrial Kingdom. People that were honorable, but were “blinded by the craftiness of men” or people, even Latter-day Saints, who were “not valiant in the testimony of Jesus” during their lives will go here.
The last kingdom is the Telestial Kingdom. Those who both rejected Christ and chose wickedness in life will go here. It’s not hell in the sense of being filled with fire and brimstone, but it is hell in the sense of knowing you failed to fulfill your potential and chose evil over good. There will be suffering here, but it is still a kingdom of glory.
Then of course, there’s a place we just call Outer Darkness where Satan and his angels will go, which we don’t know much about. There’s also a tiny group of people who will qualify as “sons of perdition,” but it doesn’t apply to you, me, or most of humanity, so we’re skipping that.
The point is — aim for the Celestial Kingdom. That’s where God is. That’s where families can be together forever. That’s where we get to spend eternity learning at God’s feet.
And that’s the Plan of Salvation! It’s a perfect plan. It’s just. It’s merciful. It’s beautiful. I believe it’s true, you don’t have to if you don’t want to. If you have any questions, shoot us an email or comment below. Don’t forget to subscribe and follow us on social media… the end!
Latter-day Saint prophets have experienced two amazing visions that have truly enlightened us about life after death. The first was experienced by Joseph Smith and Sydney Rigdon in the presence of other men. It is recorded as Doctrine and Covenants Section 76. They saw Christ and then they saw the kingdoms of heaven that are just briefly mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15: 40 – 42. The Celestial Kingdom is where God’s full presence can be experienced. There are three levels of the Celestial Kingdom, and in the highest level, families can be bound to each other and to God eternally. The glory of this kingdom can be compared to the Sun.
The next kingdom, as David has described, will be the final home of good people of all persuasions. The glory of this kingdom is compared to the moon. Christ will minister but not live there, and residents of the Celestial Kingdom will minister to the Terrestrial Kingdom.
The lowest kingdom is the Telestial, and the people who go there are wicked and unrepentant. Even though you may want certain historical characters to go to hell, they probably will end up in the Telestial Kingdom. “These are they who are cast down to hell and suffer the wrath of Almighty God, until the fulness of times, when Christ shall have subdued all enemies under his feet, and shall have perfected his work.” So they suffer temporarily and then inherit this kingdom. Joseph Smith said that the glory of this kingdom…. “surpasses all understanding.” So you can imagine how glorious the higher kingdoms are. Ministers from the Terrestrial Kingdom minister to this lower kingdom.
Permanent “hell” is called by Latter-day Saints Outer Darkness and will the home of Sons of Perdition. That includes Satan and his original followers in pre-mortal life, and those on earth who committed the only unpardonable sin. That sin is called “the Sin against the Holy Ghost,” which is to have a sure knowledge of Christ, to see Him, and then deny Him.
Some early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did not like this vision or the resulting scriptures recording it. They felt it was too lenient towards sinners and those who had never heard the gospel. But it is certainly the most inclusive of all the Christian faiths other than Universalists who believe everyone goes to heaven.
The second vision came to Prophet Joseph F. Smith shortly before his own death. President Smith had suffered great loss in his life. He had lost many in his family and seen much death during WWI and the flu epidemic that took millions of lives around that time. Section 138 of the Doctrine and Covenants would give anyone hope, as it describes the Spirit World and Christ’s visit to the Spirit World during the 3 days that He was in the tomb. At the time the vision was received, President Smith had been pondering the third and fourth chapters of the first epistle of Peter. This vision answers the question “will we see our loved ones again after this life?”. The answer is an enthusiastic yes.