Life in the Eternities
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“Life in the Eternities,” New Era, Nov. 2008, 17

What Joseph Taught

Life in the Eternities

Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord restored significant truths regarding the afterlife.

On February 16, 1832, Joseph Smith saw in vision what happens to the souls of men after they die and are resurrected. This vision of the degrees of glory later became Doctrine and Covenants 76. Through this and other revelations, the Prophet Joseph Smith restored a correct understanding of what comes after this life. Here are some of his teachings about life in the eternities.*

The Celestial Glory

“[Those in the celestial world] are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized … and receive the Holy Spirit … and who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise.”

“[The righteous who have died] shall be heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. What is it? To inherit the same power, the same glory and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a god, and ascend the throne of eternal power, the same as those who have gone before.”

The Terrestrial and Telestial Glories

“[Those in the terrestrial world] are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men. … These are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus.”

“[Those in the telestial world] are they who received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus. These are they who deny not the Holy Spirit. These are they who are thrust down to hell. … These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.”

The Torment of the Wicked

“The great misery of departed spirits in the world of spirits, where they go after death, is to know that they come short of the glory that others enjoy and that they might have enjoyed themselves, and they are their own accusers.”

“There is no pain so awful as that of suspense. This is the punishment of the wicked; their doubt, anxiety and suspense cause weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

  • From Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 219–24.

Illustration by Robert T. Barrett