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JON - I was told today by a LDS Missionary that the Spirit World was divided in two parts "Paradise" and "Prison". He said
those in paradise where only those who were members of the LDS church, those who has accepted the Gospel.
Those in prision were rejectors of the Gospel and those who never heard of the Gospel.
Question: Is the Gospel just for LDS. I thought anyone who was a follower or believer in Christ and was a deciple no matter what their religion has
received the Gospel. That those who were pure in heart and rightious went to Paradise. The Gospel does not equate to just the LDS cannon does it? Who goes to Paradise, who goes to Prision?
JOEL - I think the word "prison" makes it sound worse than it really is. It is only a prison in the sense that those who go there feel as if they are
confined because they cannot progress to heaven and because they do not have the true and full gospel of Jesus Christ nor can they perform the
required ordinances to gain exaltation. Even though the spirit world is one world, there exists a division between the two. Luke 16:22-26 indicates a
division and also a gulf fixed between the place of the righteous (Abraham's bosom) and the place of the wicked.
"And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the aangels into Abrahamís bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I
am tormented in this flame.
But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence" (Luke 16:22-26)
God still loves those in spirit prison and wants them to be saved. Because He loves them so much Jesus bridged that "great gulf" and went to them
after His death and organized a great missionary force who went to preach to those spirits to give them the opportunity to hear and accept it.
"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is,
eight souls were saved by water.
For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit." (1 Pet. 3:18-20, 4:6).
This is further explained in a vision LDS President Joseph F. Smith had on this subject:
"But his (Christ's) ministry among those who were dead was limited to the brief time intervening between the crucifixion and his resurrection;
And I wondered at the words of Peter--wherein he said that the Son of God preached unto the spirits in prison, who sometime were disobedient, when
once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah--and how it was possible for him to preach to those spirits and perform the necessary labor among them in so short a time.
And as I wondered, my eyes were opened, and my understanding quickened, and I perceived that the Lord went not in person among the wicked and the
disobedient who had rejected the truth, to teach them;
But behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.
And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel.
Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the
prophets." (D&C 138:27-32)
The missionaries were basically correct; Paradise is populated by those who have accepted the true gospel of Jesus Christ, either while on earth or there in the spirit world and have performed the proper ordinances themselves while they were alive, or who have had it done for them in our temples by the proper authority. It is not correct that the Gospel is only for LDS. Any of those in spirit prison who accept the gospel will move into Paradise.
And of course the spirit world is not the final destination for the soul of man; it is temporary. After the Second coming of Christ and the
resurrection all will be judged and receive a final glory in one of three heavens according to their level of righteousness (1 Cor. 15:39-42.), even those who are still in spirit prison. Those who did not have the opportunity here on earth who accepted the gospel in the spirit world will have just as much chance to inherit the highest degree of glory as anyone else.
Joseph Smith learned through a revelation:
"Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying: All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God;
Also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom;
For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts." (D&C 137:7-9)