Last week I talked about where we came from, this week we I’ll cover why we are here and the first step in where we are going.
If we lived with God before we were born and were presented with this wonderful plan, why don’t we remember it? In the LDS church we refer to this as “passing through the veil” at birth. This “veil” prevents us from remembering what happened before birth. It is common for members of the church, when describing spiritual experiences to say “the veil was very thin”, etc.
Once we have passed through the veil we are in the stage of the Plan called mortal life. We are all born with the Light of Christ, what many people refer to as a conscience. This Light influences us to seek for truth and righteousness in our lives.
I’ve spent a little bit of time studying faiths other than my own, and I believe that one thing almost all religions have in common is a belief that there are things we must do in this life to achieve hpapiness (whether that happiness occurs in this life or the next, or both). Through the prophet Joseph Smith, who restored the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth, all of the commandments necessary to achieve that happiness have been revealed. We not only need to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, but we must receive the necessary ordinances to live with Him again. Ordinances are sacred formal acts where we make promises to God and receive promises from Him in return.
In this mortal life it is necessary to receive the ordinances of baptism (symbolizing a new life and commitment), confirmation to receive the Holy Ghost (to receive divine help in following Jesus Christ), receiving the priesthood (the authority for men to perform ordinances and lead the church), the endowment, and being sealed to family and spouse. These ordinances are only available through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I will describe each these ordinances in detail in future posts.
After death all the spirits of all of those who have ever lived upon the earth are sent to the Spirit World. The Spirit World is not Heaven in the traditional Christian sense of the word. It is where souls reside until they can be judged according to their works and sent to the appropriate Kingdom of God to reside for eternity.
Where is the Spirit World? We don’t know exactly, but the prophet Joseph Smith said that those who have died “are not far from us, and know and understand our thoughts, feelings, and motions, and are often pained therewith”. Prophet Brigham Young stated “Where is the spirit world? It is right here.”
What are the spirits like? Spirit beings have the same bodily form as mortals except that the spirit body is in perfect form (see Ether 3:16). Isn’t it exciting to think that all of the scars and battle wounds we have developed in this life will be eliminated when we die? In the Spirit World we will all have the same thoughts, attitudes, and feelings that we do on earth. (see Alma 34:34). We will have the same appetites and desires that we had when we lived on earth. All of our spirits will be in adult form. We were adults before mortal existence, and we will be in adult form after death, even if we were to die as infants or children.
What do we do in the Spirit World? Those who have received all of the necessary ordinances during mortal life are busy with the work of the Lord. Those were not given the chance to learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and accept it are given the chance to do so at this time. Those who rejected the Gospel during Mortal Life, and/or those who reject it in the Spirit World will suffer for their sins because they did not accept the Atonement of Jesus Christ, an act which paid for the sins of all men, eliminating the need for us to suffer for our own mistakes.
I know the Gospel to be true, but sometimes it is difficult to essentially convey the message “This is the only way you can do it.” After thinking about this for a while, thinking about telling this to so many people that I respect and admire I felt a little bit stumped. Then I remembered what Jesus Christ said in Matthew 7:13-14:
This is not my Gospel, it is His. The necessity of these ordinances makes the work we do in the Temple of the Lord even more meaningful. We go back to the temple over and over to give those living in the Spirit World the opportunity to accept or reject the Gospel. How majestic is this Plan that provides all the spirit sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven the opportunity to choose to live with him again!