Death is a necessary step in the eternal existence of God’s children. It is part of His plan and enables us to reach His measure of happiness. As mortals, we can’t help but see death as an ending, but because of our eternal nature, it is not an ending, but a change of our surroundings.
Each of us existed before this mortal life as a spirit. As spirits we lived with God until the time of our birth. Just as birth unites a spirit with a physical body, Physical death constitutes a separation of body and spirit. And just as birth brought us out of the spiritual existence, so too death brings us back into it.
When we die, our spirits are brought to a world of Spirits, a place where we will wait for the final judgement and resurrection.
This spirit world contains all the people who have lived and died on this earth. There is some separation of spirits. Those who accepted Christ as their Savior and lived His gospel, including following his example by getting baptized by proper authority, live in a happy place called Spirit Paradise.
Those who did not, live in a place called Spirit Prison, named so because our happiness is imprisoned behind the bars of the choices we made in life. As such, this group isn’t just those who chose wickedness during their life, for many of God’s children never even heard the name of Jesus Christ, let alone were taught His gospel in their mortal lifetime.
Thankfully, in His infinite mercy, Jesus Christ visited the Spirit World during the 3 days between his death and resurrection. While there, He organized and enabled the preaching of the gospel to those in Spirit Prison, giving every single child of our Heavenly Father every chance possible to receive His gospel.
As they accept the message preached to them, they are still under the same mandate to be born of water and of the Spirit by following Jesus’ example and be baptized. Since they as spirits cannot be baptized, their descendants are able to get baptized for them, removing any obstacle keeping them from the Spirit Paradise.
This Spirit World, comprised of all who have lived and died on the earth, and containing the Paradise and Prison, is what many religions refer to as heaven and hell. Many have died and seen this existence, later to return and tell of their experience. However, the Spirit World is not the final resting place of God’s Children, it is merely a waiting place. A place set aside to give God’s children every opportunity possible to receive and accept His Gospel plan, before receiving their final judgement. Which judgement will determine where they will live forevermore.
Despite what you see on TV, The final judgement will not be a checklist of good and bad deeds, or a percentage of good thoughts, words and deeds verses the bad that you did, but a judgement of who you have become. Since God knew everyone is different, and He wanted all to be rewarded at their own degree or level of conversion and obedience, He has prepared 3 places, or degrees, of reward for His children.
“There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.” (1 Corinthians 15:40-41)
If you have became a thief and a murderer in this life, you will inherit a world similar to the world we now live, called the Telestial Glory.
If you were a good and honest person, but never fully accepted Jesus Christ and followed His Gospel, you will inherit the Terrestrial Glory, which is brighter than the Telestial as the moon is brighter than the stars.
If, you have accepted Jesus Christ and His Atonement, and followed His Gospel, including Baptism into his church by proper authority, then you will inherit the Celestial Glory, which glory is brighter than the Terrestrial glory as the sun is brighter than the moon.
Those in the Celestial Kingdom will inherit all joy and happiness. God will be there, and many who were sealed together as an eternal family, will live together with their family forever.
The final piece of the plan God set forth in the Pre-Mortal Existence was for each of his spirit children to receive bodies like His.
At the final judgement all will be resurrected, their spirit and body brought back together, never to separate again. This is a free gift, through the resurrection of Christ, to all of God’s children who were born on the earth, regardless of whether they were good or bad.
“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 15:21-22)
“There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” (Acts 24:15)