Resurrection and Judgment
Mormons believe that, after some time in the spirit world, all mankind will be resurrected. This means that their spirits and bodies will be reunited into perfect, immortal bodies that are free of pain, sickness, and deformity. The Bible says:
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22).
The Book of Mormon describes the resurrection by saying that “the soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame” (Alma 40:23, pg 309).
According to Mormon doctrine, this resurrection is literal and physical. After we are resurrected, we each have a perfect, physical body just as Jesus had when he appeared to His disciples. Jesus Christ told His disciples: “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39).
After the resurrection, all mankind will be judged according to their deeds. The book of Revelation says:
Another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works (Revelation 20:12).
Only those who have repented of their sins, been baptized by God’s authorized servants, and endured to the end by continually repenting, serving others, and improving their talents will be saved through Jesus Christ’s atonement.
Three Degrees of Glory
Everybody is different. People are not just good and bad, but, rather, they differ by degrees of goodness and badness. Because of this, God will reward every person according to the good that they did and the faith and trust they showed in Jesus Christ. People who are valiant and faithful and repent of their sins will receive the highest reward, called eternal life, while those who do not repent and do not have faith in Jesus will receive less glory and will have to suffer in for their own sins as if there were no Atonement made.
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. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption.
The Prophet Joseph Smith revealed more about these degrees. This vision is recorded in Mormon scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 76. Mormons refer to the degrees as the Celestial, the Terrestrial, and Telestial Kingdoms.
- The Celestial Kingdom
The Celestial Kingdom is the highest kingdom of glory. It is what is commonly called Heaven. Those who go here are those who accepted Jesus Christ, believed in Him, were baptized, and kept His commandments. They repented of all their sins, and through the Atonement, they were cleansed. They inherit eternal life, which Jesus says is to know Him and God (John 17:3). These people receive all glory and can progress and become perfect through Jesus Christ.
In the Celestial Kingdom, families can live together forever. Husbands and wives can remain together forever. They dwell in the presence of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. The symbol of this kingdom is the glory of the sun
- The Terrestrial Kingdom
The Terrestrial Kingdom is the second degree of glory. This is the final resting place for those who were not valiant in life, but were still good people. These people were just and honorable but did not accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. The symbol of this kingdom is the glory of the moon.
- The Telestial Kingdom
The lowest kingdom is the Telestial Kingdom. This is for those who rejected Jesus and his gospel and did not repent of their sins. The people must suffer for their own sins, because Jesus Christ will not redeem them until the very end, after they have suffered in Hell and spirit prison. Those who go here are liars, murders, and unrepentant sinners. The symbol of this kingdom is the stars.
- Outer Darkness
Satan and his angels will be thrust into “outer darkness,” where there is no light or glory from God. These people will have received a perfect knowledge that Jesus is the Christ and then fought against Him. They will not receive any glory or salvation from God but will instead be cast out into Outer Darkness with Satan. They are called “Sons of Perdition.”
Anita Stansfield began writing at the age of sixteen, and her first novel was published sixteen years later. For more than fifteen years she has been the number-one best-selling author of women’s fiction in the LDS market. Her novels range from historical to contemporary and cover a wide gamut of social and emotional issues that explore the human experience through memorable characters and unpredictable plots. She has received many awards, including a special award for pioneering new ground in LDS fiction, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Whitney Academy for LDS Literature, and also a Lifetime Achievement Award from her publisher, Covenant Communications. She has fifty-six published books. Anita is the mother of five, and has three grandchildren.