Chapter 32: The Resurrection and the Judgment

“Chapter 32: The Resurrection and the Judgment,” Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual (2000), 87–89

“32: Resurrection and Judgment,” Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual, 87–89

Chapter 32

The Resurrection and the Judgment


“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:19). The grave is not the end, for all people will yet be judged and receive again their bodies in the Resurrection. Paul, a special witness of the resurrected Lord, so testified:

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. …

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20, 22).

Doctrinal Outline

  1. As part of His eternal plan, God has provided a resurrection for everyone.

    1. Everyone who has lived will be resurrected (see 1 Corinthians 15:21–22; Alma 11:41; D&C 29:26; 2 Nephi 9:22).

    2. Resurrection is the reuniting of the physical body and the spirit after death (see D&C 88:14–17; Alma 11:43; 40:23; 2 Nephi 9:12).

    3. We cannot receive a fulness of joy when the spirit and the body are separated (see D&C 93:33–34; 45:17; 138:50).

    4. Resurrection is brought about by the power of God (see John 5:21; Acts 26:8; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Nephi 9:12).

    5. Resurrection restores every limb and joint to its proper and perfect frame (see Alma 11:43–44; 40:23; 41:2).

  2. There is order to the Resurrection.

    1. Jesus Christ was the first to be resurrected, thus preparing the way for all others (see 1 Corinthians 15:20; 2 Nephi 2:8; Alma 40:2–4).

    2. There are two major resurrections, one for the just and one for the unjust (see John 5:28–29; Acts 24:15; D&C 76:17).

    3. The resurrection of the just precedes the resurrection of the unjust (see 1 Corinthians 15:22–23; D&C 88:97–102; Revelation 20:5–6).

    4. We will be resurrected to the degree of glory consistent with our faithfulness (see 1 Corinthians 15:40–42; D&C 88:22–31; 76:96–98).

    5. The degree of intelligence that we gain in this life will rise with us in the Resurrection (see D&C 130:18–19).

  3. Everyone will appear before the Lord to be judged.

    1. God the Father has given the keys of judgment to the Son (see John 5:22, 27; Acts 17:31; Romans 14:10; Moroni 8:21).

    2. We will be judged according to our thoughts, words, deeds, and the desires of our hearts (see Alma 12:14; 5:15; 41:3–6; D&C 137:9; Matthew 12:36–37; Revelation 20:12–14).

    3. The Final Judgment will be just for everyone (see Romans 2:2; 2 Nephi 9:46).

Christ appearing to Mary at the tomb

Supporting Statements

  1. As part of His eternal plan, God has provided a resurrection for everyone.

    • “Man is an eternal being, composed of body and spirit: his spirit existed before he came here; his body exists with the spirit in time, and after death the spirit exists without the body. In the resurrection, both body and spirit will finally be reunited; and it requires both body and spirit to make a perfect man, whether in time, or eternity” (John Taylor, The Government of God, 27).

    • “The Lord has shown to us that the elements are eternal and that it requires the eternal union of spirit and element to obtain a fulness of joy. For the spirit part of man and the earthly, or temporal part just now, shall be united together perpetually, eternally, the body and the spirit being made one again, only joined together after the power of an endless life, that without that union a fulness of joy cannot be obtained” (Charles W. Penrose, in Conference Report, Oct. 1914, 35).

    • “Now, we have not power to lay down our lives and take them again. But Jesus had power to lay down his life, and he had power to take it up again. … He came into the world to die that we might live, and his atonement for sin and death is the force by which we are raised to immortality and eternal life.

      “So Jesus Christ did for us something that we could not do for ourselves, through his infinite atonement. On the third day after the crucifixion he took up his body and gained the keys of the resurrection, and thus has power to open the graves for all men, but this he could not do until he had first passed through death himself and conquered” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:128).

    • “What a glorious thought it is, to me at least, and it must be to all who have conceived of the truth or received it in their hearts, that those from whom we have to part here, we will meet again and see as they are. We will meet the same identical being that we associated with here in the flesh—not some other soul, some other being, or the same being in some other form, but the same identity and the same form and likeness, the same person we knew and were associated with in our mortal existence, even to the wounds in the flesh. Not that a person will always be marred by scars, wounds, deformities, defects or infirmities, for these will be removed in their course, in their proper time, according to the merciful providence of God. Deformity will be removed; defects will be eliminated, and men and women shall attain to the perfection of their spirits, to the perfection that God designed in the beginning” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 23).

    • “Every creature that is born in the image of God will be resurrected from the dead. … But just as sure as we go down into the grave, through the transgression of our first parents, by whom death came into the world, so sure will we be resurrected from the dead by the power of Jesus Christ. It matters not whether we have done well or ill, whether we have been intelligent or ignorant, or whether we have been bondsmen or slaves or freemen, all men will be raised from the dead” (Joseph F. Smith, in Millennial Star, 12 Mar. 1896, 162).

    • “There is no fundamental principle belonging to a human system that ever goes into another in this world or in the world to come; I care not what the theories of men are. We have the testimony that God will raise us up, and he has the power to do it. If any one supposes that any part of our bodies, that is, the fundamental parts thereof, ever goes into another body, he is mistaken” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 5:339).

  2. There is order to the Resurrection.

    • “Jesus was the only person who ever came into this world who had power over death, and having that great power, by the shedding of his blood on the cross, he could redeem us and get the power of the resurrection. After he came forth from the tomb, he had all power to call every other person forth from the grave. And after he came forth, on the third day after his crucifixion, he opened the graves of the righteous saints who had lived from the days of Adam to the time of his crucifixion” (Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:260).

    • “Two great resurrections await the inhabitants of the earth: one is the first resurrection, the resurrection of life, the resurrection of the just; the other is the second resurrection, the resurrection of damnation, the resurrection of the unjust. (John 5:28–29; Rev. 20; D. & C. 76.) But even within these two separate resurrections, there is an order in which the dead will come forth. Those being resurrected with celestial bodies, whose destiny is to inherit a celestial kingdom, will come forth in the morning of the first resurrection. …

      “‘And after this another angel shall sound, which is the second trump; and then cometh the redemption of those who are Christ’s at his coming; who have received their part in that prison which is prepared for them, that they might receive the gospel, and be judged according to men in the flesh.’ (D. & C. 88:99.) This is the afternoon of the first resurrection; it takes place after our Lord has ushered in the millennium. Those coming forth at that time do so with terrestrial bodies and are thus destined to inherit a terrestrial glory in eternity. (D. & C. 76:71–80.)

      “At the end of the millennium, the second resurrection begins. In the forepart of this resurrection of the unjust those destined to come forth will be ‘the spirits of men who are to be judged, and are found under condemnation; And these are the rest of the dead; and they live not again until the thousand years are ended, neither again, until the end of the earth.’ (D. & C. 88:100–101.) These are the ones who have earned telestial bodies, who were wicked and carnal in mortality, and who have suffered the wrath of God in hell ‘until the last resurrection, until the Lord, even Christ the Lamb, shall have finished his work.’ (D. & C. 76:85.) Their final destiny is to inherit a telestial glory. (D. & C. 76:81–112.)

      “Finally, in the latter end of the resurrection of damnation, the sons of perdition, those who ‘remain filthy still’ (D. & C. 88:102), shall come forth from their graves. (2 Ne. 9:14–16.)” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 640).

    • “It is the opinion of some that the resurrection is going on all the time now, but this is purely speculation without warrant in the scriptures. It is true that the Lord has power to call forth any person or persons from the dead, as he may desire, especially if they have a mission to perform which would require their resurrection. For example, we have the cases of Peter, James, and Moroni.

      “We are given to understand that the first resurrection yet future, which means the coming forth of the righteous, will take place at one particular time, which is when our Savior shall appear in the clouds of heaven, when he shall return to reign. For us to speculate whether or not the Prophet Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, and others have been called forth, without any revelation from the Lord, is merely supposition. When the Lord wants any of these men, he has the power to call them, but the first resurrection, with which we have any future concern, will commence when Christ comes” (Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:299–300).

    Christ at the Judgment
  3. Everyone will appear before the Lord to be judged.

    • “In his exalted state Christ has attained all power both in heaven and on earth so that the fulness of the godhead dwells in him; he has been exalted to the right hand of the Father, from whence, in due course, he shall come to judge all men. …

      “The Son, not the Father, is the Judge of the whole earth, but his judgment is made in accordance with the will of the Father and therefore is just. …

      “Because Jesus is the Son of Man of Holiness he has been given the power to execute judgment, to sit in judgment at the great and last day, to call all men forth in immortality to stand before his bar” (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:190, 192, 195).

    • “When we reflect upon the statement of creatures being judged without law, the question arises as to who are to be their judges. We may here state that Christ is called the judge of the quick and the dead, the judge of all the earth” (John Taylor, The Mediation and Atonement, 155).

    • “We may deceive one another, and, in some circumstances, as counterfeit coin passes for that which is considered true and valuable among men. But God searches the hearts and tries the reins of the children of men. He knows our thoughts and comprehends our desires and feelings; he knows our acts and the motives which prompt us to perform them. He is acquainted with all the doings and operations of the human family, and all the secret thoughts and acts of the children of men are open and naked before him, and for them he will bring them to judgment” (John Taylor, in Journal of Discourses, 16:301–2).

    • “God does not judge men as we do, nor look upon them in the same light that we do. He knows our imperfections—all the causes, the ‘whys and wherefores’ are made manifest unto Him. He judges us by our acts and the intents of our hearts. His judgments will be true, just and righteous; ours are obscured by the imperfections of man” (Joseph F. Smith, in Journal of Discourses, 24:78).