Research Paper: Afterlife of Mormonism

Topics: Mormonism

Christianity is based on the teachings and life of Jesus Christ, which is displayed in the Holy Bible. Mormonism is the time referred to as one of the many denominations of Christianity.

A prominent scholarly view is that Mormonism is a form of Christianity, but is different enough from traditional Christianity ty, it to a new religious tradition. Mormonism is seen as a type of Christianity because, like Christians, Mormons believe in the Jesus of the Bible, the same baby that was born at Bethlehem, the same child who grew up in Nazareth, the same man who preached His gospel in Galilee and Judea, healed the sick, raised the dead, and finally offered Himself as a sinless sacrifice for the sins of the world.

They believe that Jesus Christ was resurrected, that He lives today, and that He is the only name under heaven by which mankind can be saved. This is the Jesus whose name is depicted on the front of every Mormon place of worship.

This is the Jesus in whose name every Mormon prays and every sermon is preached about. T the Jesus whose body and blood are commemorated in weekly worship services by Latter-day Saints all over the world. Mormons, too, abide by the teachings of the Bible and seek the Bible for guidance. Nevertheless, the Mormons have also adopted additional scriptures to that of the Bible, which they follow and believe in. Mormons also commonly share different interpretations of the Bible than Christians do. Although Mormonism and Christianity do share some important beliefs and Mormonism is commonly viewed as a denomination of Christianity, they do greatly differ.

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The proposed and expected afterlife for each is extremely different. Joseph Smith, who originated Mormonism in the 1820s and shared strong similarities with many elements of the nine nineteenth-centurytestant Christians, established his version of an afterlife for the Mormon religion. This afterlife is very important in understanding the lives Mormons live while on earth. (Bushman, C. L., p.63)

The concept of the afterlife of Mormons is very 1800sand complex. Their afterlife is seen as the fate of the soul after physical death since the 1830s. In Mormonism, there is a lack of the traditional heaven and hell dichotomy that is familiar through the Christian religion, where if one accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior they are sent to heaven, en and those who ignore his compassion and don’t accept his sacrifice. Mormonism offers a variety of potential outcomes for the soul based on the physical person’s willingness to implement the teachings and expectations of the Church into their lives. These potential outcomes are viewed as the individual’s final judgment. The final judgment occurs in stages: the one that occurs immediately after death and the one that occurs after Christ returns to earth. The first stage which occurs immediately after death allows an individual’s soul to either be accepted into paradise or spirit prison. While, the second stage that occurs after Christ resurrects allows an individual’s soul to be accepted into the Celestial Kingdom, the Terrestrial Kingdom, and the Telestial Kingdom. The founder of this view is Joseph Smith. Nevertheless, the movement between kingdoms has not been easily settled in the Mormon religion. In the 1800’s, some prominent Mormon philosophers suggested that a soul can have the opportunity to advance from one kingdom to the next throughout the eternities. But since the middle of the 20th century, Mormon Church’s teachings suggest that there is absolutely no opportunity to move from one kingdom to the next after the r final judgment is established. Through the establishment of the kingdoms, the complexity of the Mormon religious teachings of the afterlife is seen. (Reeve, 87)

Mormons believe that all humans who die will still live eternally. Death, like birth, is simply just a doorway into a new life. After death people than just enter the spirit world. In the spirit world, the soul is still able to learn and progress. Here, the spirit undergoes instruction and preparation for the next stage. The soul still possesses the personality, knowledge, and memories that it developed during its physical form on Earth. Once a human dies, they are immediately sent to either a temporary paradise or temporary spirit prison, based on their general goodness.

Paradise is only for the righteous. The souls sent to paradise can enjoy peace and rest. Peace is defined as a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violence, conflict behaviors, and freedom from fear of violence. Peace also gests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the establishment of equality, and a working political order that serves the true interests of all. In concordance, paradise is also desirable due to the promise of rest and its connotations of relaxation and leisure. Spirit prison is for those who either did not have the opportunity to learn and follow the gospel of Christ or those who simply rejected His teachings. It is known as a spirit prison because the spirits that reside are not able to advance in knowledge, light, and preparation for eternity without the acceptance of the gospel and repentance. Here, living consists of the constant motivation to advance to something better. The souls condemned to spirit prison are tormented by guilt and restless. Guilt and restless restlessness torment them because they can never relax or find comfort in this new life. However those s,ent to spirit prison are still able to learn and accept the gospel to advance. Although the spirit prison isn’t as glamorous as paradise, it can be seen as a good place for those who performed good works and did not commit huge sins while living in the knowledge and light they did possess but still need to progress. Nevertheless, the absolute wicked will just suffer in spirit prison, yet they are still given a chance to repent and be given forgiveness and salvation through Christ. (Bushman, R. L., p.112)

However, to Mormons, both groups in either place suffer due to the fact they are separated from their physical bodies, which is viewed by the Mormons as bondage. The Mormons believed that at the time of Christ’s first resurrection, all the current should inhabiting paradise were also resurrected. Those who entered paradise after Christ’s resurrection will not be reunited with their physical form until Christ’s second coming on Earth. These souls will then live under the personal rule of Jesus Christ for 1,000 years in their physical form on Earth. (Mormon Beliefs)

After people wait in the postmortal spirit world, they then go to a kingdom of glory. The highest heaven is known as the Celestial Kingdom or the kingdom of Glory, which is represented by the sun. The Celestial Kingdom consists of “three heavens or degrees”. IToenterTo that s, into the highest degree and receive exaltation, one must enter into an everlasting covenant and be married for eternity through the Mormon Church. Those who did so would be considered Gods, because they are seen washaving all power, and the angels are their subjects. This is the destination of the people who accepted all the teachings taught by the Mormon Church and who remained valiant in their testimony of the gospel and Jesus Christ. The spirits who accept the teachings of Christ while in spirit prison are eligible to be accepted into this kingdom, which is why Mormons perform temple rites on behalf of their condemned ancestors. People who are married and or baptized in Mormon churches are also eligible for this kingdom. Families can live forever in this kingdom if they are sealed through special temple ceremonies by their Mormon Church. Also, all children who pass away before the age of accountability will automatically be sent to the Celestial Kingdom. In this kingdom, the people are exalted because they are in the presence of God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Mormons speak of the residents of this kingdom as heirs of “exaltation”. Exaltation is often referred to in Mormonism as “eternal progression” and is believed to be what God desires for all humankind. They are exalted by being able to return to live in God’s presence and continue as families. Nevertheless, the Mormon scripture says nothing about the lower two levels, what it consists of, or how to get there. (Mormon Beliefs)

The next Kingdom is known as the Terrestrial Kingdom, which is symbolically represented by the moon. This kingdom is designed for the people who accepted the atonement of Christ and lived honorable lives, yet were not completely valiant in their testimonies of Jesus Christ or didn’t fully accept the gospel. People who enter this kingdom must be completely willing to keep and abide by the Ten Commandments. Here, the residents only enjoy the presence of Jesus Christ, but not God the Father. Mormons speak of the residents of this kingdom as heirs of “salvation”. (Bushman, R. L., p.226)

Another destination of the soul is the Telestial Kingdom, which is symbolically represented by the stars. This kingdom consists oe liars, sorcerers, adulterers, and whoremongers. All the sinners why hoofwas having refused to repent after both the earthly world and the spirit world will be sent here. However, in Mormon theology, Christ’s sacrifice allows a sinner to be released of their punishments from sins in the afterlife, so long as the sinner repents and accepts a Mormon baptism. Because of this, even the evilest sinners are redeemed into a realm of glory through the atonement of Christ. Those who deny the Holy Ghost are not welcome in this Kingdom because in this kingdom the residents are only supplied with the presence of the Holy Ghost, and not the Father nor the Son. Mormons speak of the residents of this kingdom as heirs of “salvation”.

Although such individuals were considered “saved” in Christ and inheritors of a kingdom of glory, they will never be able to see the Celestial kingdom of God, where God and Jesus Christ dwell. Nevertheless, the Telestial Kingdom is described as surpassing all understanding and is comparable to that of the stars. (The Mormons)

In addition to the three kingdoms already mentioned, another potential destination awaits other souls. This destination is known as the outer darkness. It is a mysterious place. Here, Satan and the spirits, who originally followed him when he was cast out of heaven at the beginning of time, reside. People, who also had the perfect opportunity to follow God, yet rejected him purposely and sinned against his teachings, are sent here. There is endless lamentation and no divine presence in this destination. Outer darkness is the closest analogy to the concept of hell in the Mormon teachings. The outer darkness consists of unchangeable evil and darkness. (Reeve, p.301)

Mormons believe that each human being was previously a spirit that lived with God before it was sent down to Earth to take assume human form. Of course, it was always God’s decision on what time and where these spirits will be originally born. God did this to test the spirits and see if they were worthy enough to return and live with Him forever based on their actions while they were in their physical human form. This is also the spirits wspirit’saining experience and establishing the purpose of life. These experiences they endure in their physical form could never be accomplished as spirits in heaven and their purpose of life iinto earn the right to return to heaven and God. This theory indicates that each individual’s present life is just one of many. Although this view is rejected by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormons still believe in this concept. (Bushman, C. L., p.201)

The afterlife of Mormonism shows the complexity and brilliance of the Mormon religion. This religion is so precise and meticulous, which shows the devotion of its followers. Although Mormonism has no clear establishment of heaven and hell, a type of heaven and hell are incorporated into their religion. Mormonism requires two stages. In these two stages, the soul can be sent to various destinations where they have the opportunity to advance and progress. The first stage occurs right after death and is known as the spirit world. In the spirit world, the soul is either sent to paradise or spirit prison based on the decisions it made on Earth.

The second stage allows the soul to then enter one of four possible Kingdoms: the Celestial Kingdom, the Terrestrial Kingdom, the Telestial Kingdom, or Outer Darkness. The soul’s option of what kingdom it will enter depends solely on the decisions made in the Spirit World. Much encompasses and establishes the Mormon afterlife which displays its complexity and uniqueness. Although very similar to Christianity, Mormonism has many distinct differences that establish it as itstospiritreligionenters. (The Mormons)

Works Cited

  1. Bushman, R. L. (2008). Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
  2. Bushman, C. L. (2006). Contemporary Mormonism: Latter-day Saints in Modern America.
  3. Praeger Publishers. “Mormon Beliefs”. Intellectual Reserve, Inc. 2013.
  4. Reeve, W. Paul. Mormonism: A Historical Encyclopedia. 2010. “The Mormons”. WGBH Educational Foundation. April 30, 2007.

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Research Paper: Afterlife of Mormonism. (2022, Aug 08). Retrieved from

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