RAY - What is really the doctrine of hell? It is really literal like an overwhelming heated place?(could u support some prophet statement & scriptures.
JOEL - Latter-day scriptures describe at least four senses of hell:
(1) that condition of misery which may attend a person in mortality due to disobedience to divine law; Everyone on this earth, regardless of religious persuasion, might experience this type of hell sometime in their life, usually caused by the sins we commit. Alma describes his experience with this kind of hell:
"But I was racked with eternal torment, for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins. Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell; yea, I saw that I had rebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments." (Alma 36: 12-13)
(2) the miserable, but temporary, state of disobedient spirits in the spirit world awaiting the resurrection; This is the place where spirits of all people go after they die, who did not embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ while here on earth. The greater percentage of everyone living on this earth, will go to this sphere of existance we also call hell, or spirit prison. It is a temporary state, however, and a place where all will have the opportunity to hear and accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, who did not get the chance while on earth, and have the opportunity to still be saved into a kingdom of God in Heaven after the resurrection.
"And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh;" (D&C 76: 73, also 1 Pet. 3: 19)
(3) the permanent habitation of the sons of perdition, who suffer the second spiritual death and remain in hell even after the resurrection; This hell is the realm of the devil and his angels, including those known as sons of perdition (2 Pet. 2:4; D&C 29:38; 88:113; Rev. 20:14). It is a place for those who cannot be cleansed by the Atonement because they committed the unforgivable and unpardonable sin. Only this hell continues to operate after the Resurrection and Judgment. According to Joseph Smith the only people living on this earth who will end up in this hell are those who have "received the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against him. After a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance for him. He has got to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it; he has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it;"
There are very few on this earth who would qualify to end up in this hell, except perhaps for a few Mormons who denied their testimony and turned against the church and God. (1 Nephi 14:3; 2 Nephi 9:16; 28:21-23; Mosiah 3:25; Alma 34:35; Helaman 6:28 and 13:25, 26)
(4) In a sense those who enter the telestial and terrestrial kingdoms will experience a type of punishment which will come to them in knowing that they might, if they had kept the commandments of the Lord, have returned to his presence as his sons and his daughters. This will be a torment to them, and in that sense it will be hell.
Regardless of the deffinition or place we called Hell, there will not be flames or heat in the sense that we know it in this mortal life. Those who suffer the so-called flames of Hell will do so in spiritual sense as Alma experienced, because of the torment and suffering they will feel in their souls.
Joseph Smith taught: "A man is his own tormenter and his own condemner. Hence the saying, They shall go into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. The torment of disappointment in the mind of man is as exquisite as a lake burning with fire and brimstone. I say, so is the torment of man. ("Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976), pp. 310-11)
King Benjamin explained:
"Therefore if that man repenteth not, and remaineth and dieth an enemy to God, the demands of divine justice do awaken his immortal soul to a lively sense of his own guilt, which doth cause him to shrink from the presence of the Lord, and doth fill his breast with guilt, and pain, and anguish, which is like an unquenchable fire, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever." (Mosiah 2:38)
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