Now, concerning the state of the soul (spirit) between death and the resurrection–Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. (Alma 40:11)



The word Paradise has been given many different meanings by many different churches. For nearly 2,000 years, its definition has not only been confusing, but also misleading. Not until revelations on this subject were given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, was the term Paradise (or Spirit World) clearly explained and understood.

Volumes could and should have been written containing the stories of those who have seen and understood the nature of the spirit world; but too often their accounts are hardly noticed. It is hoped that this little volume containing both their messages and testimonials will enable others to better understand the condition and provisions of the Spirit World which we call Paradise.


This compilation is the second of a three-volume set: “The Pre-Existence,” “Paradise,” and “The Resurrection.” Within these pages, inspired men of our time, together with pertinent scriptures, testify to the importance of this vital phase of man’s journey for salvation.

* * * * *

[3]                               Chapter 1


Implanted within the breast of every human being is the fear of death. Nearly everyone has a desire to live forever, in spite of the cares, miseries and sorrows of mortality. To drink from that elusive fountain of youth is a universal desire.

Death terrifies us because we lack an understanding of that common fate. God has wisely designed these things, however, so that man would want to remain to fulfill his mission on earth. It is commonly believed that within the body exists a spirit that is not extinguished at death. However, very few have a knowledge of where the spirit goes or what is its final destiny.

Those few people who understand man’s ultimate destiny say that the spirit in man is eternal, that life continues after the death of the body, and that all spirits depart to a world of living spirits called Paradise.

Too often, men fail to realize that the conditions in the next life are predicated upon the kind of pilgrimage he charts for himself in this one. Many are too blinded by the glitter of this world to see the glory of the next. Jesus summarized His teachings in one simple statement:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…. (Mat. 6:19-20)


[4]           Usually it is only when men face death that they seriously contemplate its consequences. Perhaps Brigham Young best expressed it when he said:

What would money have to do with you, if you were now upon the threshold of eternity, and eternity open to you? Would you have the apostacy, as you have now? A little money is more to such persons than the salvation of all the sons and daughters of Adam. I wish I had a voice like ten thousand earthquakes, that all the world might hear and know the loving kindness of the Lord.

I am telling you things that are before me constantly. When men and women, are reaching after the perishable things of this world, and will step out of the path of duty and endanger their salvation, it has been said that it hurts brother Brigham’s feelings. It is true, and I could even weep over such; and the angels weep over us to see our foolishness–that we are so giddy-headed as to run after the fading things of the world, and set our minds and feelings upon riches, and neglect our duty in preparing ourselves for the coming of the Son of man, for the coming of the ancient and modern Apostles and Prophets, for the redemption of Zion, and the redeeming of our dear friends in every age of the world when the Priesthood was not upon the earth. (JD 6:297)

When people attend a funeral, suffering the loss of a child, a parent, or a mate, then they think about the realities of a life after death. Seemingly the only other influence that causes them to contemplate the future is the Gospel. How important, then, are these glad tidings to others! How preponderant and overshadowing are the principles of salvation compared to the fleeting treasures of a temporal world!


[5]           If our future life is so dependant upon our manner of living in this one, what price can be placed upon a message to others that will improve their lives? What can be done to convince others of the realities of the spirit world? What value can be placed upon the glad tidings of the Gospel that will move others to a better life and understanding of the blessings of achieving a glorious eternal life?

With a proper understanding of Paradise, a man can better appreciate the whole plan of salvation. Knowing the reasons for a place called Paradise, man should strive to live a better and more worthwhile life as a mortal.



[6]                               Chapter 2



People have often equated Paradise with heaven. They also have assumed that Paradise is located somewhere on another world, and that it is a very glorious place for all who go there. These conjectures, however, are not entirely correct. The term Paradise and conditions existing there are aptly defined and described by many of the prophets and apostles of this dispensation, as contained in this chapter.


Joseph Smith: (TPJS, pp. 309-310)

There has been much said by modern divines about the words of Jesus (when on the cross) to the thief, saying, “This day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” King James’ translators make it out to say paradise. But what is paradise? It is a modern word: it does not answer at all to the original word that Jesus made use of. Find the original of the word paradise. You may as easily find a needle in a haymow. Here is a chance for battle, ye learned men. There is nothing in the original word in Greek from which this was taken that signifies paradise; but it was–This day thou shalt be with me in the world of spirits: then I will teach you all about it and answer your inquiries. And Peter says he went and preached to the world of spirits (spirits in prison, I Peter, 3rd chap. 19th verse), so that they who would receive it could have it answered by proxy by those who live on the earth, etc.***

I will now turn linguist. There are many things in the Bible which do not, as they now stand, accord with the revelations of the Holy Ghost to me.

[7]           I will criticise a little further. There has been much said about the word hell, and the sectarian world have preached much about it, describing it to be a burning lake of fire and brimstone. But what is hell? It is another modern term, and is taken from hades. I’ll hunt after hades as Pat did for the woodchuck.

Hades, the Greek, or Sheol, the Hebrew, these two significations mean a world of spirits. Hades, Sheol, paradise, spirits in prison, are all one: it is a world of spirits.

The righteous and the wicked all go to the same world of spirits until the resurrection. “I do not think so,” says one. If you will go to my house any time, I will take my lexicon and prove it to you.

* * * * *


Illustrated Bible Dictionary: (by Tyndale, Vol. 3:1436)

Sheol. This word is used in the Old Testament for the place of the dead. * * * The meaning of Sheol moves between the ideas of the grave, the underworld and the state of death. * * * Yahweh is both present in Sheol (Ps. 139:8) and able to deliver from it. (Ps. 16:10)

In the later Jewish literature we meet with divisions within Sheol for the wicked and the righteous, in which each experience a foretaste of his final destiny (Enoch 22:1-14). This idea appears to underlie the imagery of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31.

* * * * *


The Jewish Encyclopedia: (11:282)

Sheol. It connotes the place where those that had died were believed to be congregated. * * * The dead descend or are made to go down into it; the revived ascend or are brought and lifted up from it. (I Sam. 2:6; Job 7:9; Ps. 30:4; Isa. 14:11, 15)

Here the dead meet without distinction of rank or condition–the rich and the poor, the pious and the [8] wicked, the old and the young, the master and the slave–if the description in Job 3 refers, as most likely it does, to Sheol. The dead continue after a fashion of their earthly life.

* * * * *


Bruce R. McConkie: (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 761-762)

By spirit world is meant the abiding place of disembodied spirits, those who have passed from pre-existence to mortality and have also gone on from this temporal world to another sphere to await the day of their resurrection, final redemption, and judgment. This world is divided into two parts: paradise which is the abode of the righteous, and hell which is the abode of the wicked. (Alma 40:11-14)

Until the death of Christ these two spirit abodes were separated by a great gulf, with the intermingling of their respective inhabitants strictly forbidden. (Luke 16:19-31) After our Lord bridged the gulf between the two (1 Peter 3:18-21; Moses 7:37-39), the affairs of his kingdom in the spirit world were so arranged that righteous spirits began teaching the gospel to wicked ones. (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., pp. 472-476)

Thus, although there are two spheres within the one spirit world, there is now some intermingling of the righteous and the wicked who inhabit those spheres; and when the wicked spirits repent, they leave their prison-hell and join the righteous in paradise. Hence, we find Joseph Smith saying: “Hades, scheol, paradise, spirits in prison, are all one: it is a world of spirits. The righteous and the wicked all go to the same world of spirits until the resurrection.” (Teachings, p. 310)

The spirit that enters the body before birth, leaves it at death, and immediately finds itself in the spirit world. That world is upon this earth. (Discourses, new ed., pp. 376-381) Joseph Smith said: “The spirits of the just . . . are not far from us.” (Teachings, p. 326) After all men are resurrected, the spirit world will be without inhabitants.

Life and work and activity all continue in the spirit world. Men have the same talents and intelligence there which they had in this life. They possess the same atti-[9]tudes, inclinations, and feelings there which they had in this life. They believe the same things, as far as eternal truths are concerned: they continue, in effect, to walk in the same path they were following in this life. Amulek said: That same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.” (Alma 34:34) Thus if a man has the spirit of charity and love of the truth in his heart in this life, that same spirit will possess him in the spirit world. If he has the spirit of unbelief and hate in his heart here, so will it be with him when he passes through the door into the spirit world.

The great work in the world of spirits is the preaching of the gospel to those who are imprisoned by sin and false traditions. The faithful elders who depart this life continue their labors for the salvation of their brethren in the spirit world.

* * * * *


Parley P. Pratt: (Key to Theology, p. 126)

The spirit world is not the heaven where Jesus Christ, his Father, and other beings dwell, who have, by resurrection or translation, ascended to eternal mansions, and been crowned and seated on thrones of power; but it is an intermediate state, a probation, a place of preparation, improvement, instruction, or education, where spirits are chastened and improved, and where, if found worthy, they may be taught a knowledge of the gospel. In short, it is a place where the gospel is preached, and where faith, repentance, hope and charity may be exercised; a place of waiting for the resurrection or redemption of the body; while, to those who deserve it, it is a place of punishment, a purgatory or hell, where spirits are buffetted till the day of redemption.

As to its location, it is here on the very planet where we were born; or, in other words, the earth and other planets of a like sphere, have their inward or spiritual spheres, as well as their outward, or temporal. The one is peopled by temporal tabernacles, and the other by spirits.

* * * * *


[10] Heber C. Kimball: (JD 3:368)

But where is the spirit world? It is incorporated within this celestial system. Can you see it with your natural eyes? No. Can you see spirits in this room? No. Suppose the Lord should touch your eyes that you might see, could you then see the spirits? Yes, as plainly as you now see bodies, as did the servant of Elijah.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 7:239)

When the breath leaves the body, your life has not become extinct; your life is still in existence. And when you are in the spirit world, everything there will appear as natural as things now do. Spirits will be familiar with spirits in the spirit world–will converse, behold, and exercise every variety of communication one with another as familiarly and naturally as while here in tabernacles. There, as here, all things will be natural, and you will understand them as you now understand natural things. You will there see that those spirits we are speaking of are active: they sleep not. And you will learn that they are striving with all their might–labouring and toiling diligently as any individual would to accomplish an act in this world–to destroy the children of men.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (Contributor 10:322)

When you lay down this tabernacle, where are you going? Into the spirit world. Are you going into Abraham’s bosom? No, not anywhere nigh there, but into the spirit world. Where is the spirit world? It is right here. Do the good and evil spirits go together? Yes, they do. Do they both inhabit one kingdom? Yes, they do. Do they go to the sun? No. Do they go beyond the boundaries of this organized earth? No, they do not. They are brought forth upon this earth, for the purpose of inhabiting it to all eternity. [11] Where else are you going? Nowhere else, only as you may be permitted.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 6:293-294)

How many glories and kingdoms will there be in eternity? You will see the same variety in eternity as you see in the world. For instance, you see here one class of men who have lived according to the best light they had: you may go among the heathen, or among the Christians, it is no matter; I will call them all Christians, or all heathens, if it will accommodate any body’s feelings, for they don’t come much short of all being heathen. We will take the best men we can find among them,–when they pass through the veil they are in happiness, they are in glory, they go among the disembodied spirits; but they do not go where there are resurrected bodies, for they cannot live there: a Prophet or an Apostle cannot live there. They also go into the spiritual world to live with spirits. Do they commune with the Father and Son? The Father communes with them as He pleases, through the means of angels, or otherwise the Son and the Holy Ghost. * * *

No spirit of Saint or sinner, of the Prophet or him that kills the Prophet, is prepared for their final state: all pass through the veil from this state and go into the world of spirits; and there they dwell, waiting for their final destiny. It no doubt appears a singular idea to you that both Saint and sinner go to the same place and dwell together in the same world. You can see the same variety in this world. You see the Latter-day Saints, who have come into these valleys,–they are by themselves as a community, yet they are in the same world with other communities. But I do not feel as though I am dwelling where there are six or eight kinds of religion or more, and, after all, no religion at all; I am not dwelling where there is cursing, and swearing, and horse-racing, and gambling, and everything else that is calculated to disturb a peaceable community.

* * * * *


[12] Parley P. Pratt: (Key to Theology, pp. 128-129)

In the world of spirits there are apostles, prophets, elders, and members of the Church of the Saints, holding keys of priesthood, and power to teach, comfort, instruct, and proclaim the gospel to their fellow spirits, after the pattern of Jesus Christ.

In the same world there are also the spirits of Catholics, and Protestants of every sect, who have all need to be taught, and to come to the knowledge of the true, unchangeable gospel, in its fulness and simplicity, that they may be judged the same as if they had been privileged with the same in the flesh.

There is also the Jew, the Mahometan, the infidel, who did not believe in Christ while in the flesh. All these must be taught, must come to the knowledge of the crucified and risen Redeemer, and hear the glad tidings of the gospel.

There are also all the varieties of the heathen spirits: the noble and refined philosopher, poet, patriot, or statesman of Rome or Greece; the enlightened Socrates, Plato, and their like; together with every grade of spirits down to the most uncultivated of the savage world.

All these must be taught, enlightened, and must bow the knee to the eternal King, for the decree hath gone forth, that unto him every knee shall bow and every tongue confess.

O what field of labor, of benevolence, of missionary enterprise now opens to the apostles and elders of the Church of the Saints! As this field opens they will begin to realize more fully the extent of their divine mission, and the meaning of the great command to “Preach the gospel to every creature.”

* * * * *


Heber C. Kimball: (JD 3:108)

Have I not told you often that the separation of body and spirit makes no difference in the moral and intellectual condition of the spirit? When a person, who has [13] always been good and faithful to his God, lays down his body in the dust, his spirit will remain the same in the spirit world. It is not the body that has control over the spirit, as to its disposition, but it is the spirit that controls the body. When the spirit leaves the body, the body becomes lifeless. The spirit has not changed one single particle of itself by leaving the body. Were I to fall into a mud-hole, I should strive to extricate myself; but I do not suppose I should be any better, any more righteous, any more just and holy when I got out of it, than while I was in it.

Our spirits are entangled in these bodies–held captive as it were for a season. They are like the poor Saints, who are for a time obliged to dwell in miserable mud shanties that are mouldering away, and require much patching and care to keep them from mingling with mother earth before the time. They feel miserable in these old decaying tabernacles, and long for the day when they can leave them to fall and take possession of a good new house.

* * * * *


Orson Pratt: (JD 15:243)

When we come to new revelation which God has vouchsafed to give to his people in these latter times, this subject is made very plain; and on these new revelations in connection with the old, what little light we can gain through the hymn that was sung at the opening of the meeting, was rounded, “When shall I regain thy presence,” as expressed in the first verse, showing that we once were in his presence and existed where he is, but for some reason we have been banished therefrom, and that when we are redeemed we shall return again, or as one of the inspired writers has it–“the spirit shall return to God who gave it.”

This returning of the spirit to God who gave it, clearly shows to my mind that the spirit once existed with God and dwelt in his presence, otherwise the word return would be inapplicable.

* * * * *


[14] Brigham Young: (JD 7:240)

Every person possessing the principle of eternal life should look upon his body as of the earth earthy. Our bodies must return to their mother earth. True, to most people it is a wretched thought that our spirits must, for a longer or shorter period, be separated from our bodies, and thousands and millions have been subject to this affliction throughout their lives. If they understood the design of this probation and the true principles of eternal life, it is but a small matter for the body to suffer and die.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 4:131)

Mourning for the righteous dead springs from the ignorance and weakness that are planted within the mortal tabernacle, the organization of this house for the spirit to dwell in. No matter what pain we suffer, no matter what we pass through, we cling to our mother earth, and dislike to have any of her children leave us. We love to keep together the social family relation that we bear one to another, and do not like to part with each other; but could we have knowledge and see into eternity, if we were perfectly free from the weakness, blindness, and lethargy with which we are clothed in the flesh, we should have no disposition to weep or mourn.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 14:228-229)

How many there are who say, “I wish I was better off, for I am in a sad condition!” Is this the case with most of the human family? It is, and the majority say in their hearts, if not with their tongues, “I wish I was in different circumstances; I am poor, I am afflicted, I am sorrowful, I am without friends and home, and am here on the earth like a lost one and know not what to do;” and [15] make them understand that their condition would be so much better when they pass the veil and many of them would be guilty of self-destruction. The Lord has, therefore, wisely hidden the future from our view. * * *

I will say to Sister Spencer and the relatives and friends of the deceased–Do not wish her back again. I do not suppose you do; and I will say, further, that if you could talk with her, and she with you, as you could a short time since, you could not prevail upon her to come back, if she had the power to do so. You might say to her, “You have not finished your work, you might do a great deal for your dead relatives,” but her reply would be to this effect: “There are plenty on the earth, if they will believe, to perform all the ordinances necessary.” “Well, but you have not entered upon your womanhood, and have not become a mother in Israel.” “No matter, I see, understand, and know what is before me, and the time will come when, inasmuch as I was faithful to the Priesthood, I shall possess and enjoy all that I now seem to have been deprived of by my death.” This is a consolation, is it not?

* * * * *


Charles W. Penrose: (JD 22:164-165)

Jesus Christ was taken by wicked hands, hung upon the cross and crucified. He prayed for his enemies before he departed; he prayed that God would forgive them, because they knew not what they did, and then “bowed his head and gave up the ghost.” Where did the ghost or spirit of Christ go to after it left the body? The body was taken down and placed away in the tomb; but where was Jesus? Was he lying in that tomb, embalmed? Oh, no, that was merely the helpless body. His spirit had gone. Where had it gone to? Says one, “it went to heaven, of course.”

Stay a moment. Three days after this we find this same Jesus, whose body was placed away in the tomb, walking in the garden, “and for fear of him the keepers did shake and became as dead men.” Jesus, while walking in the garden, met Mary; and Mary, supposing him to be [16] the gardener, asked where they had laid Jesus. Making himself known to her, she sprang towards him. Whereupon he said to her, “Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.”

Now, there were three days between the placing of Christ’s body in the tomb and the raising of it. Where was Jesus, the real Jesus, the living Jesus, while his body was lying in the tomb? Who can tell us? We read in the third chapter of the first epistle of Peter, 18th to the 20th verses: “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.”

Where was he? Where did he go? “Put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit, he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.” That is where Christ was between the time of his death and his resurrection, preaching deliverance to the captives, the opening of the prison to them who were bound. But some may ask, How do you know what he preached to them? The answer will be found in the 4th chapter of the same epistle, and the 6th verse, namely, “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.”

From this it appears that Jesus Christ went and preached the Gospel to the dead. What for? “That they might be judged according to men in the flesh;” for it would not be fair to judge them by that Gospel if they never had the opportunity of hearing it. Here is Jesus, stretched out upon the cross, praying for his enemies; he bows his head and gives up the Ghost; his spirit departs from his body; he goes to Paradise. That is where the thief went who repented on the cross. “Lord remember me [17] when thou comest into Thy kingdom;” he cried. And Jesus said unto him, “Verily I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” Was that in the presence of the Father, in heaven, in glory? Oh, no. It was in the place for departed spirits, some of them disobedient spirits; a portion of it the place in which the rich man found himself, who is spoken of in the parable of Lazarus.

Christ went to the spirit world and the thief went with him. It was a place where the wicked pay “the uttermost farthing” for their sins in the flesh. There Jesus went.

* * * * *


Orson Pratt: (JD 16:365)

Read what Alma said to his son Corianton on this subject, describing the state of the spirit between the time of death and the resurrection. He says–“It has been made known to me by an angel that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are dead, whether wicked or righteous, shall return home to that God who gave them life;” that is, they go back into his presence. The wicked, however, are again cast out into outer darkness, the light of the countenance of their Lord is again withdrawn from them, a vail is let down between them and their Father and God. But how is it with the righteous? When they go back and behold the face of their Father, they will continue in the light of his countenance, and have the privilege of seeing him. They have returned to their ancient home, to that God who gave them life, to the mansions and familiar places where they dwelt ages and ages before they came here. They have gone back to meet with familiar acquaintances, and their memories will be so increased and perfected after they leave this body that the things of their former state and condition will be fresh to them, and they will look upon this little speck called time, in which they have dwelt seventy, eighty or ninety years, as but a dream or night vision during which the things of former ages were shut from their memories; but when they get back to their ancient home, they will have a bright recollection of [18] all these things, and of the familiar countenance of their Father, and the countenance of his only begotten Son, and the countenances of the millions on millions of their brother and sister spirits, with whom they once lived. And the memories of the wicked, after they leave this body, will be so increased that they will have a bright recollection, Alma says, of all their guilt. Here they forget a good many things wherein they have displeased God; but in that condition, even before the resurrection, they will have a bright recollection of all their guilt, which will kindle in them a flame like that of an unquenchable fire, creating in their bosoms a feeling of torment, pain and misery, because they have sinned against their own Father and their own God, and rejected His counsels.

* * * * *


Heber C. Kimball: (JD 3:108)

While I cling to it <mortal life>, I must of necessity suffer many pains, rheumatism, head ache, jaw ache, and heart ache; sometimes in one part of my body and sometimes in another. It is all right; it is so ordained that we may not cling with too great a tenacity to mortal flesh; but be willing to pass through the vail and meet with Joseph and Hyrum and Willard and Bishop Whitney, and thousands of others in the world of spirits.

Are they all together as we are today? I believe all Israel have to be gathered; and to accomplish this, the Elders, both in this and the world of spirits, will go forth to preach to the spirits in prison. Where? Down into hell. I appeal to the Elders who have been from this place to preach the Gospel to the world, if it was not like going from heaven to hell. It is a world of sorrow, pain, death and misery, and you cannot make anything else of it.


[19] Brigham Young: (JD 3:94, 96)

Now, ye Elders of Israel, when you say that John Wesley went to hell, say that Joseph Smith went there, too. When you tell about Judas Iscariot going to hell, say that Jesus went there, too. * * *

The Prophet lays down his body, he lays down his life, and his spirit goes to the world of spirits; the persecutor of the Prophet dies, and he goes to Hades; they both go to one place, and they are not to be separated yet. Now, understand, that this is part of the great sermon the Lord is preaching in his providence, the righteous and the wicked are together in Hades.

* * * * *


George Q. Cannon: (JD 24:374)

There are men even now, for instance, who are ready to believe a doctrine which, when it was first preached, they rejected–the doctrine that there is a space between death and the resurrection in which a man can repent of his sins. Now, when that doctrine was first taught, some 42 years ago, it was looked upon by many as an absurd doctrine. They said it was contrary to the divine will. If man, they contended, did not receive the Gospel or the truth here in this life, he lost his opportunity, and would be damned throughout all the endless ages of eternity. That was the popular idea, and many believed it. Many believed that this would be the case with pagans, and with these Indians that we know something about, and with other heathen peoples, who had never heard the name of the Son of God–the only name under heaven by which man can be saved; many believed those people were to be consigned to hell by millions, never to be delivered therefrom, and yet they called God just, the God they worshiped.

* * * * *


[20] Parley P. Pratt: (JD 1:12)

I will suppose, in the spirit world, a grade of spirits of the lowest order, composed of murderers, robbers, thieves, adulterers, drunkards, and persons ignorant, uncultivated, etc., who are in prison, or in hell, without hope, without God, and unworthy as yet of Gospel instruction. Such spirits, if they could communicate, would not tell you of the resurrection or of any of the Gospel truths, for they know nothing about them. They would not tell you about heaven, or Priesthood, for in all their meanderings in the world of spirits, they have never been privileged with the ministry of a holy Priest. If they should tell all the truth they possess, they could not tell much.

Take another class of spirits–pious, well-disposed men; for instance, the honest Quaker, Presbyterian, or other sectarian, who, although honest, and well disposed, had not, while in the flesh, the privilege of the Priesthood and Gospel. They believed in Jesus Christ, but died in ignorance of his ordinances, and had not clear conceptions of his doctrine, and of the resurrection. They expected to go to that place called heaven, as soon as they were dead, and that their doom would then and there be fixed, without any further alteration or preparation. Suppose they should come back, with liberty to tell all they know? How much light could we get from them? They could only tell you about the nature of things in the world in which they live. And even that world you could not comprehend, by their description thereof, any more than you can describe colours to a man born blind, or sounds to those who have never heard.

What, then, could you get from them? Why, common chit chat, in which there would be a mixture of truth, and of error and mistakes, in mingled confusion: all their communications would betray the same want of clear and logical conceptions, and sound sense and philosophy, as would characterize the same class of spirits in the flesh.

Who, then, is prepared, among the spirits in the spirit world, to communicate the truth on the subject of salva-[21]tion, to guide the people, to give advice, to confer consolation, to heal the sick, to administer joy and gladness and hope of immortality and eternal life, rounded on manifest truth?

All that have been raised from the dead, and clothed with immortality, all that have ascended to yonder heavens, and been crowned as Kings and Priests, all such are our fellow servants, and of our brethren the Prophets, who have the testimony of Jesus; all such are waiting for the work of God among their posterity on the earth.

They could declare glad tidings if we were only prepared to commune with them. What else? Peter, James, Joseph, Hyrum, Father Smith, any, or all of those ancient or modern Saints, who have departed this life, who are clothed upon with the powers of the eternal Apostleship, or Priesthood, who have gone to the world of spirits, not to sorrow, but as joyful messengers, bearing glad tidings of eternal truth to the spirits in prison–could not these teach us good things? Yes, if they were permitted so to do.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 4:284-85)

Had we had the power, would we have parted with Joseph? No, notwithstanding his work was finished on the earth. Many ideas have been imbibed and advanced concerning the death of Joseph. It was precisely as the Lord had decreed, designed, willed and brought about. No power could have altered it in the least. He had finished his work on the earth. Still if you and I had had the power without the knowledge, we would have kept Joseph on this earth, and then he would have failed to perform his mission in the spirit world. * * *

Jesus had a work to do on the earth. He performed his mission, and then was slain for his testimony. So it has been with every man who has been fore-ordained to perform certain important missions. Joseph truly said, “No power can take away my life, until my work is done.” All the powers of earth and hell could not take his life, until [22] he had completed the work the Father gave him to do; until that was done, he had to live. When he died, he had a mission in the spirit world, as much so as Jesus had. Jesus was the first man that ever went to preach to the spirits in prison, holding the keys of the gospel of salvation to them. Those keys were delivered to him in the day and hour that he went into the spirit world, and with them he opened the door of salvation to the spirits in prison. * * *

They must go into prison, both Saints and sinners. The good and bad, the righteous and the unrighteous must go to the house of prison, or paradise, and Jesus went and opened the doors of salvation to them. And unless they lost the keys of salvation on account of transgression, as has been the case on this earth, spirits clothed with the Priesthood have ministered to them from that day to this. And if they lost the keys by transgression, someone who had been in the flesh, Joseph, for instance, had to take those keys to them. And he is calling one after another to his aid, as the Lord sees he wants help.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 14:230)

Jesus says, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Yes, the children must return to the Father: they came from and were nursed and cherished by Him and the heavenly host, and when they are called to pass the ordeal of death, they go right back into His presence. But what of the ungodly parents of the tabernacles of these children, will they have the privilege of going there? No, where God and Christ are they cannot come. Perhaps some of them may have had an offer of the Gospel and rejected it, then what will become of the children? They swarm in the Courts of Heaven; there are myriads and myriads of them there already, and more are going continually. What are you going to do with them? Perhaps I might say somebody will have the privilege of saying to our young sisters who have died in the faith, “I design so many of these [23] children for you, and so many for you, and they are given you by the law of adoption, and they are yours just as much as though you had borne them on the earth, and your seed shall continue through them forever and ever.” It may be thought by some that when young persons die they will be cut short of the privileges and blessings God designs for His children; but this is not so. The faithful will never miss a blessing through being cut off while here.

* * * * *


Heber C. Kimball: (JD 3:109)

Who have you now in your midst? Have you Abraham and Isaac, and the Apostles Peter, James and John? Yes, you have them right in your midst–they are talking to you all the time. Do you believe it? More or less of you say you do. But do you know it?

* * * * *



[24]                              Chapter 3



The heathen nations, like most modern Christians, are not certain just what a spirit is. They have assumed that it is a “breath of life” or an entity like the wind, that is neither visible nor in a form. They even believe that they shall receive a spiritual entity like their god, which has neither body parts nor passions.

Mormons believe that such a description is in reality annihilation or oblivion. A spirit body has the form and the character of a person who has a physical body. All who die and enter Paradise will recognize each other as they did on earth. They will also have the same feelings, desires and dispositions that they had in mortality.


Parley P. Pratt: (JD 1:7-8)


The outward tabernacle, inhabited by a spirit, returns to the element from which it emanated. But the thinking being, the individual, active agent or identity that inhabited that tabernacle, never ceased to exist, to think, act, live, move, or have a being; never ceased to exercise those sympathies, affections, hopes, and aspirations, which are founded in the very nature of intelligences, being the inherent and invaluable principles of their eternal existence.

No, they never cease. They live, move, think, act, converse, feel, love, hate, believe, doubt, hope, and desire.

[25]         But what are they, if they are not flesh and bones? What are they, if they are not tangible to our gross organs of sense? Of what are they composed, that we can neither see, hear, nor handle them, except we are quickened, or our organs touched by the principles of vision, clairvoyance, or spiritual sight? What are they? Why, they are organized intelligences. What are they made of? They are made of the element which we call spirit, which is as much an element of material existence, as earth, air, electricity, or any other tangible substance recognized by man; but so subtle, so refined is its nature, that it is not tangible to our gross organs. It is invisible to us, unless we are quickened by a portion of the same element; and, like electricity, and several other substances, it is only known or made manifest to our senses by its effects. For instance, electricity is not always visible to us, but its existence is made manifest by its operations upon the wire, or upon the nerves. We cannot see the air, but we feel its effects, and without it we cannot breathe.

If a wire were extended in connection with the equatorial line of our globe in one entire circle of 25,000 miles in extent, the electric fluid would convey a token from one intelligence to another, the length of the entire circle, in a very small portion of a second, or, we will say in the twinkling of an eye. This, then, proves that the spiritual fluid or element called electricity is an actual, physical and tangible power, and is as much a real and tangible substance, as the ponderous rocks which were laid on yesterday in the foundation of our contemplated Temple.

It is true that this subtle fluid or spiritual element is endowed with the powers of locomotion in a far greater degree than the more gross or solid elements of nature; that its refined particles penetrate amid the other elements with greater ease, and meet with less resistance from the air or other substances, than would the more gross elements. Hence its speed, or superior powers of motion.

Now let us apply this philosophy to all the degrees of spiritual element, from electricity, which may be assumed to be one of the lowest or more gross elements of spiritual matter, up through all the gradations of the invisible [26] fluids, till we arrive at a substance so holy, so pure, so endowed with intellectual attributes and sympathetic affections, that it may be said to be on a par, or level, in its attributes, with man.

Let a given quantity of this element, thus endowed, or capacitated, be organized in the size and form of man, let every organ be developed, formed, and endowed, precisely after the pattern or model of man’s outward or fleshly tabernacle–what would we call this individual, organized portion of the spiritual element?

We would call it a spiritual body, an individual intelligence, an agent endowed with life, with a degree of independence, or inherent will, with the powers of motion, of thought, and with the attributes of moral, intellectual, and sympathetic affections and emotions.

We would conceive of it as possessing eyes to see, ears to hear, hands to handle; as in possession of the organ of taste, of smelling, and of speech.

Such beings are we, when we have laid off this outward tabernacle of flesh.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 9:287)

Take the spirit from the body, and the body is lifeless; but in the resurrection the component parts of our bodies will again be called together, expressly for a glorious resurrection to immortality. Our bodies, which are now subject to death, will return to mother earth for a time, to be refined from that which pertains to the fall of man, which has particularly affected the body but not the spirit. When the spirit enters the body, it is pure and holy from the heavens; and could it reign predominantly in the tabernacle, ruling, dictating, and directing its actions without an opposing force, man never would commit a sin; but the tabernacle has to suffer the effects of the fall, of that sin which Satan has introduced into the world and hence the spirit does not bear rule all the time.

* * * * *


[27] Joseph Smith: (JD 6:240)

Lying spirits are going forth in the earth. There will be great manifestations of spirit, both false and true. Being born again comes by the Spirit of God, through ordinances. An angel of God never has wings. Some will say that they have seen a spirit–that he offered them his hand, but they did not touch it. This is a lie. First, it is contrary to the plan of God. A spirit cannot come but in glory. An angel has flesh and bones: we see not their glory. The Devil may appear as an angel of light. Ask God to reveal it. If it be of the Devil, he will flee from you; if of God, he will manifest himself, or make it manifest.

* * * * *


Charles W. Penrose: (JD 21:222)

It is stated that the spirit and the body make up the soul of man, and that the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the soul. We are taught also that there are material elements and spiritual elements; that the spiritual part of our being was in the beginning with God, and that the spiritual and material when inseparably connected receive a fulness of joy, otherwise men cannot receive a fulness of joy. It takes the spiritual part of man and the material or physical part joined together inseparably to obtain a fulness of joy. When the spirit is separated from the body, a fulness of joy cannot be obtained. When the spirit is joined to the body temporarily under a temporal law, under the law of death, it cannot receive a fulness of joy. The spirit and the body must be so joined together that both will be immortal, and in that condition man can receive a fulness of joy.

* * * * *


Orson Pratt: (JD 15:242-243)

I think it is admitted by the whole Christian world, that man is a being compounded of body and spirit, at [28] least all the Christian societies with which I am acquainted believe this. They all believe that within man’s body or tabernacle of flesh and bones there dwells an immortal spirit. All Christian societies, with perhaps very few exceptions, believe that this human spirit, which dwells within the tabernacle, will exist after the dissolution of the body. * * *

Some, however, do not believe that the spirit is a personage. They think it is something which cannot be defined, something that has neither the shape nor the properties which we give to any kind of material substance. The views of the immaterialist are that the spirit occupies no space, and has no relation to matter, something entirely separate and distinct from matter. There are however, but few in the Christian world who have worked themselves so far into the depths of these mysteries, as they term them, as to believe in such absurdities as these. I could not believe it for one moment–I never did. To suppose that there is a spirit in man and that that spirit has no shape, no likeness and occupies no space, as the immaterialists inform us in their writings, is something that I do not believe, and never could believe, unless I became perfectly beside myself, and deranged in my mind.

We, as Latter-day Saints, believe that the spirits that occupy these tabernacles have form and likeness similar to the human tabernacle. Of course there may be deformities existing in connection with the outward tabernacle which do not exist in connection with the spirit that inhabits it. These tabernacles become deformed by accident in various ways, sometimes at birth, but this may not altogether or in any degree deform the spirits that dwell within them; therefore we believe that the spirits which occupy the bodies of the human family are more or less in the resemblance of the tabernacles.

* * * * *


[29] Charles W. Penrose: (JD 24:94-95)

Why should not a person when out of the body be able to understand as when in the body? If we believed like some of the people of India, that when the spirit leaves the body it goes back to Brahma, or emerges into the generally diffused spirit of the universe, then we might conclude that they would not understand anything when they leave the body. If the spirit becomes a non-entity when it is disembodied, we might have reason for entertaining such a notion. But we understand that the spirit is the real man, and that the body is but the outside covering; that when the change we call death comes, the body returns to the earth as it was, but the spirit returns to God who gave it. That the spirit is the actual person, that which thinks and reasons, the body being but the medium conveying impressions to the real man operating inside of it. That when the spirit is liberated, although not subject to the same laws as when in the tabernacle, yet it is the same person, a son or daughter of God; a being capable of thinking; of receiving inspiration; of accepting or rejecting that which is presented; and therefore is a subject of salvation. If not, why not? What is the reason? I think we will find when we shuffle off this mortal coil, when we get rid of the trammels of the mortal-body, and enter into the spirit state, we shall be, if anything, more intelligent than when in the body. We shall not be bound by the same laws that now bind our mortal flesh, and we will be able to comprehend a great many things which were very hard for us to get a little inkling of while in the mortal tabernacle.

* * * * *


Erastus Snow: (JD 19:273)

Speech is not something peculiar to the tabernacle and belonging to this tabernacle. It belongs to the spirit, and the spirit teaches the tabernacle; and the spirit makes use of the tabernacle. When once it finds itself embodied in this tabernacle, it begins to use the fingers and hands [30] of the tabernacle, and makes these its servants. The moment it is separated, this tabernacle lies senseless. It has mouth and teeth and tongue and organs of speech, but it cannot use them. It has eyes, but it cannot see. It has ears but it cannot hear, and it has no power of using these organs. It cannot set itself in motion, it cannot keep itself in motion; it is the spirit that does all this. And when the spirit is separated from the tabernacle, it still retains the power of seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, smelling and conversing; but the tabernacle loses all these powers, the moment the spirit takes its departure.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 7:288)

How many times have I been asked, “Do you believe that such a man as John Wesley will be damned?” I could answer the question either way, for they do not know what it is to be saved or damned. John Wesley is in the spirit world. He did not receive the ordinances of the everlasting Gospel in the flesh, and consequently is not prepared to hold the keys of the kingdom and be a minister of the great work of God in the last dispensation, but is dependent upon others to attain a celestial glory. Has he gone to hell? No. When the spirit leaves the body, it goes into the spirit-world, where the spirits of men are classified according to their own wills or pleasure, as men are here, only they are in a more pure and refined state of existence. Do you suppose that John Wesley is lifting up his eyes in hell, being in torment? No; he is talking to those who heard and would not believe him when he was on the earth. He may be asking them whether they do not now see the justice of a reformation from the Church of England made of religion–whether they do not now see that that Church had gone astray from the true religion, and that he was right. Yes; and they, no doubt, see it as John Wesley does, and are willing to worship God according to the best knowledge they have. As death left him, so judgment will find him, trying to worship God in the best [31] manner he was acquainted with. John Wesley and his true followers will receive a glory far surpassing what they ever thought or dreamed of while under the influence of their greatest inspirations, and they will be saved. Are they also damned? Yes, because they have not attained the victory over the enemy of all righteousness. It is the holy Priesthood of God that gives man the victory in this world, and he begins to reign over the power of the enemy here. The keys of the kingdom of the Son of God outreach and circumscribe the power of the Enemy.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 4:268-269)

Can any man tell the variety of the spirits there are? No, he cannot even tell the variety that there is in the portion of his dominions in which God has placed us, on this earth upon which we live, for we can see an endless variety on this little spot, which is nothing but a garden spot in comparison to the rest of the kingdoms of our God. Again, you may observe the people, and you will see an endless variety of disposition, and an endless variety of physiognomy. Bring the millions of faces before you, and where can you find two faces precisely alike in every point? Where can you find two human beings precisely alike in the organization of their bodies with the spirits? Where can you point out two precisely alike in every particular in their temperaments and dispositions? Where can you find two who are so operated upon precisely alike by a superior power that their lives, their actions, their feelings, and all pertaining to human life are alike? I conclude that there is as great a variety in the spiritual as there is in the temporal world, and I think that I am just in my conclusion. * * *

There is no spirit among the human family that was begotten in hell; none that were begotten by angels, or by any inferior being. They were not produced by any being less than our Father in heaven. He is the Father of our spirits; and if we could know, understand, and do His will, [32] every soul would be prepared to return back into His presence. And when they get there, they would see that they had formerly lived there for ages, that they had previously been acquainted with every nook and corner, with the palaces, walks, and gardens; and they would embrace their Father, and He would embrace them and say, “My son, my daughter, I have you again;” and the child would say, “O my Father, my Father, I am here again.” * * *

Are all spirits endowed alike? No, not by any means. Will all be equal in the celestial kingdom? By no means. Some spirits are more noble than others; some are capable of receiving more than others. There is the same variety in the spirit world that you behold here, yet they are of the same parentage, of one Father, one God, to say nothing of who He is. They are all of one parentage, though there is a difference in their capacities and nobility, and each one will be called to fill the station for which he is organized, and which he can fill.

* * * * *


Orson Pratt: (JD 2:247)

When I speak of the future state of man, and the situation of our spirits between death and the resurrection, I long for the experience and knowledge to be gained in that state, as well as this. We shall learn many more things there; we need not suppose our five senses connect us with all the things of heaven, and earth, and eternity, and space; we need not think that we are conversant with all the elements of nature, through the medium of the senses God has given us here. Suppose He should give us a sixth sense, a seventh, an eighth, a ninth, or a fiftieth. All these different senses would convey to us new ideas, as much so as the senses of tasting, smelling, or seeing communicate different ideas from that of hearing.

Do we suppose the five senses of man converse with all the elements of nature? No.

* * * * *


[33] Brigham Young: (Way to Perfection, p. 319)

Suppose then, that a man is evil in his heart–wholly given up to wickedness, and in that condition dies, his spirit will enter the spirit world intent upon evil. On the other hand, if we are striving with all the powers and faculties God has given us to improve our talents, to prepare ourselves to dwell in eternal life, and the grave receives our bodies while we are thus engaged, with what disposition will our spirits enter their next state? They will be still striving to do the things of God, only in a much greater degree–learning, increasing, growing in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 2:256)

In the first place the spirit is pure, and under the special control and influence of the Lord, but the body is of the earth, and is subject to the power of the devil, and is under the mighty influence of that fallen nature that is of the earth. If the spirit yields to the body, the devil then has power to overcome both the body and spirit of that man, and he loses both.

Recollect, brethren and sisters, every one of you, that when evil is suggested to you, when it arises in your hearts, it is through the temporal organization. When you are tempted, buffetted, and step out of the way inadvertently; when you are overtaken in a fault, or commit an overt act unthinkingly; when you are full of evil passion, and wish to yield to it, then stop and let the spirit, which God has put into your tabernacles, take the lead. If you do that, I will promise that you will overcome all evil, and obtain eternal lives. But many, very many, let the spirit yield to the body, and are overcome and destroyed.

The influence of the enemy has power over all such. Those who overcome every passion, and every evil, will be sanctified, and be prepared to enjoy eternity with the blessed. If you have never thought of this before, try to [34] realize it now. Let it rest upon your minds, and see if you can discover in yourselves the operations of the spirit and the body, which constitute the man. Continually and righteously watch the spirit that the Lord has put in you, and I will promise you to be led into righteousness, holiness, peace, and good order.

But let the body rise up with its passions, with the fallen nature pertaining to it, and let the spirit yield to it, your destruction is sure. On the other hand, let the spirit take the lead, and bring the body and its passions into subjection, and you are safe.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 14:231)

I can say with regard to parting with our friends, and going ourselves, that I have been near enough to understand eternity so that I have had to exercise a great deal more faith to desire to live than I ever exercised in my whole life to live. The brightness and glory of the next apartment is inexpressible. It is not encumbered with this clog of dirt we are carrying around here so that when we advance in years we have to be stubbing along and to be careful lest we fall down. We see our youth, even, frequently stubbing their toes and falling down. But yonder, how different! They move with ease and like lightning. If we want to visit Jerusalem, or this, that, or the other place–and I presume we will be permitted if we desire–there we are, looking at its streets. If we want to behold Jerusalem as it was in the days of the Savior; or if we want to see the Garden of Eden as it was when created, there we are, and we see it as it existed spiritually, for it was created first spiritually and then temporally, and spiritually it still remains. And when there we may behold the earth as at the dawn of creation, or we may visit any city we please that exists upon its surface. If we wish to understand how they are living here on these western islands, or in China, we are there; in fact, we are like the light of the morning, or, I will not say the electric fluid, but its operations on the wires.

[35]         God has revealed some little things with regard to His movements and power, and the operation and motion of the lightning furnish a fine illustration of the ability and power of the Almighty. If you could stretch a wire from this room around the world until the two ends nearly met here again, and were to apply a battery to one end, if the electrical conditions were perfect, the effect of the touch would pass with such inconceivable velocity that it would be felt at the other end of the wire at the same moment. This is what the faithful Saints are coming to; they will possess this power, and if they wish to visit different planets, they will be there. If the Lord wish to visit His children here, He is here; if He wish to send one of His angels to the earth to speak to some of His children, he is here.

When we pass into the spirit world, we shall possess a measure of this power; not to that degree that we will when resurrected and brought forth in the fullness of glory to inherit the kingdoms prepared for us. The power the faithful will possess then will far exceed that of the spirit world; but that enjoyed in the spirit world is so far beyond this life as to be inconceivable without the Spirit of revelation. Here, we are continually troubled with ills and ailments of various kinds, and our ears are saluted with the expressions, “My head aches,” “My shoulders ache,” “My back aches,” “I am hungry, dry, or tired;” but in the spirit world we are free from all this and enjoy life, glory, and intelligence; and we have the Father to speak to us, Jesus to speak to us, and angels to speak to us, and we shall enjoy the society of the just and the pure who are in the spirit world until the resurrection.

* * * * *


Orson Pratt: (JD 2:238, 239, 240)

What further are we told on the subject? That after we get back into the presence of God, and return home again, then it shall come to pass that the spirits of the righteous, those who have done good, those who have [36] wrought the works of righteousness here upon the earth, shall be received into a state of rest, a state of happiness, of peace, a state of joy, where they will remain until the time of the resurrection. * * *

. . . the same spirit that is capable of suffering here, will be capable of far more intense suffering hereafter; the same spirit that is capable of great joy here, will be capable of far more intense joy and pleasure hereafter; and the same things of an external nature that are capable of producing intense pain here, are, under certain circumstances, capable of producing a hundred fold more pain hereafter. If this be the case, how important it is that we should take that course that the spirit may, in its future state of existence, be placed under circumstances where we can obtain the pleasure, joy, and happiness, and escape the pains, evils, and bitterness of misery, to which some spirits will be exposed. * * *

It is, then, this memory that will produce the suffering and the pains upon that class of spirits whose works have been wicked and abominable in the sight of God. A spirit, then, will remember that “at such a time in yonder world, and at such a place, I disobeyed the commandments of God; I did not hearken to the counsel of those whom God had appointed to be my counsellors; I did not give heed to the man of God; no, but I rejected his sayings; good counsel was imparted to me, but I did not heed it.” In this life, things that may have been erased from your memory for years will be presented before you with all the vividness as if they had just taken place. This will be like a worm upon the conscience; it will prey upon the spirit, and produce unhappiness, wretchedness, and misery. This will cause you to lament, and mourn, and weep after you are cast out from the presence of God–from the home to which you have returned.

I am speaking now of the wicked. What is it that produces the opposite principle? There is an opposition in all things; it is the reflection of the memory that produces joy; that is one of the elements by which joy and happiness are produced upon the spirit of man in the future state; we remember the acts of our past lives that they [37] have been good; we perceive by our memories that we have been obedient to counsel; we perceive that when we have erred through our weakness we have repented of that error; when we have been told of a fault, we have forsaken it. When we look back upon acquaintances and neighbors, we perceive that we have observed the golden rule, to do unto others as we would that others should do unto us. We look back upon our past lives, and we perceive we have never spoken evil against a brother or sister, that we have never striven to stir up family broils, and that we have never desired to injure any of the children of men, male or female. What do these reflections produce? They produce joy, satisfaction, peace, consolation, and this joy is a hundred fold more intense than what the spirit is capable of perceiving or enjoying in this life. Why? Because just in proportion to the vividness of the conscience, or the memory, so will be the joy. This you may have knowledge of by every-day experience; just in proportion to the vividness of your ideas, and of the truth set before your minds, and of the good things that are imparted to you, the more intense is your happiness here; how much more intense would it be hereafter, when this mortal clog with all its imperfections has been laid down in the grave! The fact is, our spirits then will be happy, far more happy than what we are capable even of conceiving, or having the least idea of in this world. * * *

We might now inquire, what is the cause of this intense suffering and misery? Is it the action of the elements upon the spirit? Is it the materials of nature, operating from without upon it, that causes this distress, this weeping, wailing, mourning, and lamentation? It may be in some measure; it may help to produce the misery and the wretchedness; but there is something connected with the spirit itself that no doubt produces this weeping, wailing, and mourning. What is this something? It is memory, and remorse of conscience; a memory of what they have once done, a memory of their disobedience. Do you not suppose the spirits can have power to remember in that world as well as in this? Yes, they certainly can. Have you never read in the Book of Mormon, where it informs us, that every act of our lives will be fresh upon [38] the memory, and we shall have a clear consciousness of all our doings in this life? Yes; we have read that in the Book of Mormon–“a clear consciousness.” * * *

Wait until these mortal bodies are laid in the tomb; when we return home to God who gave us life; then is the time we shall have the most vivid knowledge of all the past acts of our lives during our probationary state; …

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 4:132-133)

Brother Grant can now do ten times more than if he was in the flesh; do you want to know how? He is in the spirit world, he has conquered death and hell, and will the grave, when he again assumes his body. He is no more subject to the devils that dwell in the infernal regions; he commands them, and they must go at his bidding; he can move them just as I can move my hand. * * *

When men overcome as our faithful brethren have, and go where they see Joseph, who will dictate them and be their head and Prophet all the time, they have power over all disembodied evil spirits, for they have overcome them. Those evil spirits are under the command and control of every man that has had the Priesthood on him, and has honored it in the flesh, just as much as my hand is under my control.

Do you not think that brother Jedediah can do more good than he could here? When he was here the devils had power over his flesh, he warred with them and fought them, and said that they were around him by millions, and he fought them until he overcame them. So it is with you and I. You never felt a pain and ache, or felt disagreeable, or uncomfortable in your bodies and minds, but what an evil spirit was present causing it. Do you realize that the ague, the fever, the chills, the severe pain in the head, the plurisy, or any pain in the system, from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet, is put there by the devil? You do not realize this, do you?

I say but little about this matter, because I do not want you to realize it. When you have the rheumatism, do [39] you realize that the devil put that upon you? No, but you say, “I got wet, caught cold, and thereby got the rheumatism.” The spirits that afflict us and plant disease in our bodies, pain in the system, and finally death, have control over us so far as the flesh is concerned. But when the spirit is unlocked from the body, it is free from the power of death and Satan; and when that body comes up again, it also, with the spirit, will gain the victory over death, hell, and the grave.

When the spirit leaves the tabernacle of flesh and goes into the spirit world, it has control over every evil influence with which it comes in contact, and when it takes up the body again, then the body also, with the spirit, will have control over every evil-spirit that is in a tabernacle, if there is any such being, just as far as the spirit that has the Priesthood had control over evil spirits.

Perhaps you do not understand me. Take a spirit that has gone into the spirit world, does it have control over corruptible bodies? No. It can only act in the capacity of a spirit. As to the devils inhabiting these earthly bodies, it cannot control them, it only controls spirits. But when the spirit is again united to the body, that spirit and body unitedly have control over the evil bodies, those controlled by the devil and given over to the devils, if there is any such thing. Resurrected beings have control over matter as well as spirit.

Brother Grant’s body which lies here is useless, is good for nothing until it is resurrected, and merely needs a place in which to rest; his spirit has not fled beyond the sun. There are millions and millions of spirits in these valleys, both good and evil. We are surrounded with more evil spirits than good ones, because more wicked than good men have died here; for instance, thousands and thousands of wicked Lamanites have laid their bodies in these valleys. The spirits of the just and unjust are here. The spirits that were cast out of heaven, which you know are recorded to have been one-third part, were thrust down to this earth, and have been here all the time, with Lucifer, the son of the Morning, at their head.

* * * * *


[40] Brigham Young: (JD 7:240)

Every person possessing the principle of eternal life should look upon his body as of the earth earthy. Our bodies must return to their mother earth. True, to most people it is a wretched thought that our spirits must, for a longer or shorter period, be separated from our bodies, and thousands and millions have been subject to this affliction throughout their lives. If they understood the design of this probation and the true principles of eternal life, it is but a small matter for the body to suffer and die.

When death is past, the power of Satan has no more influence over a faithful individual; that spirit is free, and can command the power of Satan. The penalty demanded by the fall has been fully paid; all is accomplished pertaining to it, when the tabernacle of a faithful person is returned to the earth. All that was lost is passed away, and that person will again receive his body. When he is in the spirit world, he is free from those contaminating and condemning influences of Satan that we are now subject to.

* * * * *



[41]                              Chapter 4



The Spirit World was well populated before mortal man came to earth. The first member to enroll in the Spirit World was the devil himself–followed by one-third of the hosts of heaven. These spirits are still there–or here–as the case may be, and it is important for us as mortals to be aware of their powers and influence.


Brigham Young: (JD 9:333)

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” They were cast out; and if our Government had cast out the Seceders, the war would soon have been ended. This placed the Spirit of Evil on the earth. Those evil spirits are not permitted to receive tabernacles of their own, and that is their condemnation and punishment. They have been known to take possession of the bodies of men and women, and rather than to be without a body, they have entered the bodies of brutes. All such spirits and all embodied spirits who violate wholesome laws and abuse the rights and privileges guaranteed unto them will be hurled down to hell.

* * * * *


[42] Orson Pratt: (JD 13:63)

We may form some little calculation of the vast numbers thus thrown out of Heaven, when we consider that they were one-third of all the spirits that were born, intended for this creation. Only two-thirds kept their first estate, and they have the great privilege of coming here to this creation and taking bodies of flesh and bones, tabernacles wherein their spirits may dwell, to prepare themselves for a more glorious state of existence hereafter. If, then, only two-thirds of the hosts of Heaven are to come to our earth to tabernacle in the flesh, we may form some idea of the vast number who fell. Already our earth has teemed for six thousand years with numberless millions of human beings whose spirits existed before the foundation of the world. Those who now exist probably number one thousand or twelve hundred millions. Twelve hundred millions of spirits now dwelling in mortal flesh! Think of the immense numbers who must have preceded us and the myriads who are to come! These are the two-thirds who kept their first estate. Their numbers, probably, cannot be less than two hundred thousand millions, leaving, as an approximate estimate, one hundred thousand millions of rebellious spirits or devils who were cast out from Heaven and banished to this creation, having no privilege of fleshly tabernacles.

* * * * *


Wilford Woodruff: (JD 18:114-115)

You can see the great variety of spirits that have dwelt in the presence of God, from those who are in the presence of God, down to the devils. A good many of the hosts of heaven were cast out because of their wickedness. Lucifer, son of the morning, and those who followed after him were cast down to earth, and they dwell here to this day–a hundred to every man, woman and child that breathes the breath of life. They dwell here without bodies, only what tabernacles they can get into, to rule and preside over.

* * * * *


[43] Orson Pratt: (JD 13:64)

I am speaking of the knowledge and the cunning that these enemies of God possessed when they were cast down here to the earth. They have cunning beyond what you have ever seen manifested by the children of men. They can, at times, apparently, be perfect gentlemen when they enter the tabernacles of the children of men. They can become, apparently, very pious, and, if you could not discern spirits, you would think, from the manifestations of devils, when in the tabernacles of many individuals, that they were perfect angels on earth.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 10:320)

The enemy and opposer of Jesus–the accuser of the brethren–called Satan, never owned the earth; he never made a particle of it; his labor is not to create, but to destroy; while, on the other hand, the labor of the Son of God is to create, preserve, purify, build up and exalt all things–the earth and its fulness–to his standard of greatness and perfection; to restore all things to their paradisiacal state and make them glorious. The work of the one is to preserve and sanctify, the work of the other is to waste away, deface and destroy; and the time will come when it will be manifest to all that the Evil One is an usurper, also that all governments, nations, kingdoms and people upon the face of this earth, that are opposed to the Government of the Son of God, are usurpations and usurpers of the rights and possessions of Him whose right it is to reign.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 8:279-80)

Brother Kimball asked whether there were liars and thieves in heaven. It is recorded that the Devil is somewhere there, accusing the brethren and finding fault with [44] them. Men in the flesh are clothed with the Priesthood with its blessings, the apostatizing from which and turning away from the Lord prepares them to become sons of perdition. There was a Devil in heaven, and he strove to possess the birthright of the Saviour. He was a liar from the beginning, and loves those who love and make lies, as do his imps and followers here on the earth. How many devils there are in heaven, or where it is, is not for me to say. Does the Accuser of the brethren dwell with the Father and the Son? No: but he is somewhere; and when we go through the vail we shall know much more about these matters than we now do, for we shall possess all the sensibilities we now possess, brightened and increased in intensity by the visions and power of the spirit-world, to an extent of which you now have no idea.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 13:281)

It was revealed to me in the commencement of this Church, that the Church would spread, prosper, grow and extend, and that in proportion to the spread of the Gospel among the nations of the earth, so would the power of Satan rise. It was told you here that Brother Joseph warned the Elders of Israel against false spirits. It was revealed to me that if the people did not receive the spirit of revelation that God had sent for the salvation of the world, they would receive false spirits, and would have revelation. Men would have revelation, women would have revelation, the priest in the pulpit and the deacon under the pulpit would have revelation, and the people would have revelation enough to damn the whole nation, and nations of them, unless they would hearken to the voice of God. It was not only revealed to Joseph, but to your humble servant, that false spirits would be as prevalent and as common among the inhabitants of the earth as we now see them.

* * * * *


[45] Heber C. Kimball: (JD 4:170)

In the commencement of this Church the devil came along, and there were men that saw written letters come down from the heavens in their presence; that was in Kirtland, Ohio, 25 or 26 years ago. Some enthusiastic spirits received those letters as revelation, and they would read them to the people. A spirit would come on those individuals, and they would begin to run around the house, and be thrown into all manner of shapes and convulsions, saying it was the operation of the Holy Ghost. If you do not look out, you will get such spirits as those here. I merely speak of them to give you a check, that you may be aware of the course you are taking.

I will tell you what kind of characters will have those kinds of revelations; they will be men who have committed whoredom in our midst, and women who have played the whore. Good, virtuous men and women are not actuated by those spirits, because they ask the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, to give them His Spirit, and not those wild, enthusiastic spirits manifested by some. How was it with those men in Kirtland? Almost every one of them denied the faith and went over the board, and afterwards we found out that they were adulterous persons.   * * * * *


Jedediah Grant: (JD 2:11)

I am aware that even some of the Latter-day Saints are slow to believe in relation to the power of Lucifer, the son of the morning, who was thrust from the heavens to the earth; and they have been slow to believe in relation to the spirits that are associated with him; but from the first revelations of the Almighty to brother Joseph Smith, not only revelations in relation to the deep things of the kingdom of God, and the high things of heaven, and the depths of hell, but revelations showing him the power of Lucifer, the opposite to good, that he might be aware of the strength of his opponent, and the opponent of the [46] Almighty–l saw, from perusing these revelations, I have always been specially impressed with the doctrine relating to the power of Satan, as well as with the doctrines relating to the power of God.

I have always felt that no Saint fully comprehends the power of Satan as well as God’s Prophet; and again I have thought that no Saint could fully understand the power of God unless he learn the opposite. I am not myself acquainted with any happiness that I have not learned the opposite of. You may perhaps enjoy a great deal, the opposite of which you know nothing of, you may be constituted different to me, your feelings may be different, you may have learned to enjoy without first experiencing the opposite; but I may say with safety, nearly all the blessings I enjoy and highly prize are most appreciated after I have learned their opposite; and I am of opinion that all Saints sooner or later will have to learn the opposite to good; they will have to partake of the bitter in order to properly appreciate the sweet; they will have to be impressed with pain that they may appreciate pleasure.

In relation to spirits, for it seems to be the subject introduced to-day, I have this idea, that the Lord our God absolutely gave Lucifer a mission to this earth; I will call it a mission. You may think it strange that I believe so good a being as our Father in heaven would actually send such an odd missionary as Lucifer. You may call him a missionary, or anything else you please, but we learn he was thrust out of heaven, the place where the Lord dwells, to this earth; and his mission, and the mission of his associates who were thrust down with him, and of those whom he is successful in turning away from God’s children who have tabernacles, is to continue to oppose the Almighty, scatter His Church, wage war against His kingdom, and change as far as possible His government on the earth.

* * * * *


[47] Brigham Young: (JD 4:373)

I will tell you a truth; it is God’s truth; it is eternal truth: neither you nor I would ever be prepared to be crowned in the celestial kingdom of our Father and our God, without devils in this world. Do you know that the Saints never could be prepared to receive the glory that is in reserve for them, without devils to help them to get it? Men and women never could be prepared to be judged and condemned out of their own mouths, and to be set upon the left hand, or to have it said to them, “Go away into everlasting darkness,” without the power both of God and the devil. We are obliged to know and understand them, one as well as the other, in order to prepare us for the day that is coming, and for our exaltation. Some of you may think that this is a curious principle, but it is true. Refer to the Book of Mormon, and you will find that Nephi and others taught that we actually need evil, in order to make this a state of probation. We must know the evil in order to know the good. There must needs be an opposition in all things. All facts are demonstrated by their opposites. You will learn this in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and in the revelations given through Joseph. We must know and understand the opposition that is in all things, in order to discern, choose, and receive that which we do know will exalt us to the presence of God. You cannot know the one without knowing the other. This is a true principle.

* * * * *



[48]                              Chapter 5



There are generally two kinds of spirits in the Spirit World, or Paradise: (1) those who never had a body (consisting of the devil and his one-third of the hosts of heaven, as just discussed in the previous chapter); and (2) disembodied spirits (those who once lived on earth, but have passed through mortality and are awaiting resurrection).

Both of these types of spirits can have great influence over mortal tabernacles. This chapter will deal further with their presence and power which can be universally detected on earth.


George Q. Cannon: (JD 11:30)

I have no doubt that many of my brethren and sisters have sensibly felt in various places and at various times evil influences around them. Brother Joseph Smith gave an explanation of this. There are places in the Mississippi Valley where the influence or the presence of invisible spirits are very perceptibly felt. He said that numbers had been slain there in war, and that there were evil influences or spirits which affect the spirits of those who have tabernacles on the earth. I myself have felt those influences in other places besides the continent of America; I have felt them on the old battle grounds on the Sandwich Islands. I have come to the conclusion that if our eyes were open to see the spirit world around us, we should feel differently on this subject than we do; we would not [49] be so unguarded and careless, and so indifferent whether we had the spirit and power of God with us or not; but we would be continually watchful and prayerful to our heavenly Father for His Holy Spirit and His holy angels to be around about us to strengthen us to overcome every evil influence. * * *

The adversary has numerous agencies at his command, and he seeks to control and lead to destruction the inhabitants of the earth who will be subject to them. If we could see with our spiritual senses as we now see with our natural senses, we should be greatly shocked at the sight of the influences that prompt us to disobey the counsels of God or the Spirit of the Lord in our hearts.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 6:73-74)

It has been observed that we are pretty clear from those unruly spirits that have been in our midst. So we are; but you need not flatter yourselves for a moment that the Devil has left us. You will find that he marshals his forces more particularly against this people; and if we are now clear from those unhallowed spirits and the tabernacles they occupied, you may expect that he will, if possible, find somebody here in whom he can have a resting place. You will learn that the wicked disembodied spirits have not left this people, though the most of those wicked persons who sought to destroy the Saints have left us. There are myriads of disembodied evil spirits–those who have long ago laid down their bodies here and in the regions round about, among and around us; and they are trying to make us and our children sick, and are trying to destroy us and to tempt us to evil. They will try every possible means they are masters of to draw us aside from the path of righteousness.

* * * * *


[50] Heber C. Kimball: (JD 11:84-85)

Some people do not believe that there are any devils. There are thousands of evil spirits that are just as ugly as evil can make them. The wicked die, and their spirits remain not far from where their tabernacles are. When I was in England, twenty-eight years ago next June, I saw more devils than there are persons here to-day; they came upon me with an intention to destroy me; they are the spirits of wicked men who, while in the flesh, were opposed to God and his purposes. I saw them with what we call the spiritual eyes, but what is in reality the natural eye. The atmosphere of many parts of these mountains is doubtless the abode of the spirits of Gadianton robbers, whose spirits are as wicked as hell, and who would kill Jesus Christ and every Apostle and righteous person that ever lived if they had the power. It is by the influence of such wicked spirits that men and women are all the time tempted to tell little lies, to steal a little, to take advantage of their neighbor a little, and they tell us there is no harm in it. It is by the influence and power of evil spirits that the minds of men are prejudiced against each other, until they are led to do each other an injury, and sometimes to kill each other.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 3:368-369)

If the Lord would permit it, and it was His will that it should be done, you could see the spirits that have departed from this world, as plainly as you now see bodies with your natural eyes; as plainly as brothers Kimball and Hyde saw those wicked disembodied spirits in Preston, England. They saw devils there, as we see one another; they could hear them speak, and knew what they said. Could they hear them with the natural ear? No. Did they see those wicked spirits with their natural eyes? No. They could not see them the next morning, when they were not in the spirit; neither could they see them the day before, [51] nor at any other time; their spiritual eyes were touched by the power of the Almighty.

They said they looked through their natural eyes, and I suppose they did. Brother Kimball saw them, but I know not whether his natural eyes were open at the time or not; brother Kimball said that he lay upon the floor part of the time, and I presume his eyes were shut, but he saw them as also did brother Hyde, and they heard them speak.

We may enquire where the spirits dwell, that the devil has power over? They dwell anywhere, in Preston, as well as in other places in England. Do they dwell anywhere else? Yes, on this continent; it is full of them. If you could see, and would walk over many parts of North America, you would see millions on millions of the spirits of those who have been slain upon this continent. Would you see the spirits of those who were as good in the flesh as they knew how to be? Yes. Would you see the spirits of the wicked? Yes. Could you see the spirits of devils? Yes, and that is all there is of them. They have been deprived of bodies, and that constitutes their curse, that is to say, speaking after the manner of men, you shall be wanderers on the earth, you have got to live out of doors all the time you live. * * *

The devil with one-third part of the spirits of our Father’s Kingdom got here before us, and we tarried there with our friends, until the time came for us to come to the earth and take tabernacles; but those spirits that revolted were forbidden ever to have tabernacles of their own. You can now comprehend how it is that they are always trying to get possession of the bodies of human beings; we read of a man’s being possessed of a legion, and Mary Magdalene had seven.

You may now see people with legions of evil spirits in and around them; there are men who walk our streets that have more than a hundred devils in them and round about them, prompting them to all manner of evil, and some too that profess to be Latter Day Saints, and if you were to take the devils out of them and from about them, you would leave them dead corpses; for I believe there would be nothing left of them.

* * * * *


[52] Heber C. Kimball: (JD 3:229-230)

When I was in England, brother Geo. D. Watt was the first man baptized, and his mother was baptized directly after he was. The night previous to my going forward to baptize brother Watt and eight others, I had a vision, as old father Baker used to say, “of the infernal world.” I saw legions of wicked spirits that night, as plain as I now see you, and they came as near to me as you now are, and company after company of them rushed towards me; and brother Hyde and brother Richards also saw them. It was near the break of day, and I looked upon them as I now look upon you. They came when I was laying hands upon brother Russell, the wicked spirits got him to the door of the room; I did not see them till after that took place, and soon afterwards I lay prostrate upon the floor. That was in England, pious England, in the little town of Preston, at the corner of Wilford Street, and they struggled and exerted all their power and influence. That was the first introduction of the Gospel into England, and I was shown those spirits as plainly as ever I saw anything. I was thinking of that circumstance while brother Brigham was speaking this morning, and I was thinking that those spirits were just as much on hand to perplex this people as they were on hand there. I saw their hands, their eyes, and every feature of their faces, the hair on their heads, and their ears, in short they had full-formed bodies.

If evil spirits could come to me, cannot ministering spirits and angels also come from God? Of course they can, and there are thousands of them, and I wish you to understand this, and that they can rush as an army going to battle, for the evil spirits came upon me and brother Hyde in that way. * * *

The spirits of the wicked, who have died for thousands of years past, are at war with the Saints of God upon the earth. * * *

The next morning I was so weak that I could scarcely stand, so great was the effect that those spirits had upon me. I wrote a few words to my wife about the matter, and brother Joseph called upon her for the letter and said, “It [53] was a choice jewel, and a testimony that the Gospel was planted in a strange land.”

When I returned home, I called upon brother Joseph and we walked down the bank of the river. He there told me what contests he had had with the devil; he told that he had contests with the devil, face to face. He also told me how he was handled and afflicted by the devil, and said, he had known circumstances where Elder Rigdon was pulled out of bed three times in one night. After all this, some persons will say to me that there are no evil spirits. I tell you they are thicker than the “Mormons” in this country, but the Lord has said that there are more for us than there can be against us.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 3:370)

Go to the time when the Gospel came to the earth in the days of Joseph, take the wicked that have opposed this people and persecuted them to the death, and they are sent to hell. Where are they? They are in the spirit world, and are just as busy as they possibly can be to do everything they can against the Prophet and the Apostles, against Jesus and his kingdom. They are just as wicked and malicious in their actions against the cause of truth as they were while on the earth in their fleshly tabernacles.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 12:128)

It requires all the care and faithfulness which we exercise in order to keep the faith of the Lord Jesus; there are invisible agencies around us in sufficient numbers to encourage the slightest disposition they may discover in us to forsake the true way, and fan into a flame the slightest spark of discontent and unbelief. The spirits of the ancient Gadiantons are around us. You may see battlefield after battlefield, scattered over this American [54] continent, where the wicked have slain the wicked. Their spirits are watching us continually for an opportunity to influence us to do evil, or to make us decline in the performance of our duties. And I will defy any man on earth to be more gentlemanly and bland in his manners than the master spirit of all evil. We call him the devil; a gentleman so smooth and so oily, that he can almost deceive the very elect.

* * * * *


Heber Jarvis: (Temples of the Most High, Lundwall, p. 81)

Upon one occasion President Brigham Young was in the Tabernacle at St. George and was speaking on the spirit world. He stated that it was not far from us and if the veil could be taken from our eyes, there wouldn’t be either a man, woman or child who would dare go out of “this tabernacle as the spirits of the Gadianton robbers were so thick out there. This is where they lived in these mountains,” said he.

* * * * *


Joseph F. Smith: (JD 11:313)

We have been deceived; we thought that the devil had long horns and tail, a cloven foot, and was black, hideous, and grinning; but when we find him out, he is a gentleman in black broad cloth, with a smooth tongue, pleasant countenance, high forehead, and so on; quite a good looking fellow. That is the kind of a person we find the devil to be, and we will find him in more persons than one, and that too right in this city.

* * * * *


Heber C. Kimball: (JD 3:230)

If men and women do not qualify themselves and become sanctified and purified in this life, they will go into [55] a world of spirits where they will have a greater contest with the devils than ever you had with them here. It will not be fifty years, perhaps, before all of us here to-day will leave this state of existence, and then you will prove whether brother Brigham and the rest of the brethren have told you truth or not. You know that the world has made a great deal of fuss, and told many lies about the devil pitching on to Joseph Smith when he went to get the plates, but they will get to a place where the devils will handle them worse than they did Joseph when he got the plates; if they do not embrace the Gospel it will be so.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 2:128)

Those who suffer their bodies to be dwellings for evil spirits, must suffer loss, for devils cannot construct a house that will in any way answer their purpose; neither have they been able to do so in all the eternities there are; that is the very thing which causes us trouble continually; for they are trying all the time to get into our dwellings, because they have none of their own. Did you ever desire to take possession of another person’s tabernacle, and leave your own? No rational person owning a tabernacle would wish to do so. The devils have no tabernacles, which is the reason of their wanting to possess human bodies. If any of you have suffered any of these houseless spirits to enter you, turn them out, and they will perhaps seek refuge in the body of an ox, or some other animal, or maybe go into Jordan.

Do you think the legion we read of, that entered the swine, in the days of Christ, had bodies of their own? No; they have no meeting houses but in ball rooms, gaming houses, brothels, gin palaces, parlors, bedrooms, and other places which they frequent in the bodies of those they lead captive; otherwise they are wandering to and fro in the earth, seeking to possess tabernacles that other spirits, not of their order, already occupy. They are in our midst watching for an opportunity to enter where they [56] may. What will be the doom of those who give way to them, and yield to them the possession of their tabernacles? They will wander to and fro, happiness will be hid from them, they will weep, and wail, and suffer, until their bodies return to their mother earth, and their spirits to judgment.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 7:239-240)

I know very well that, whether we are active or not, the invisible spirits are active. And every person who desires and strives to be a Saint is closely watched by fallen spirits that came here when Lucifer fell, and by the spirits of wicked persons who have been here in tabernacles and departed from them, but who are still under the control of the prince of the power of the air. Those spirits are never idle; they are watching every person who wishes to do right, and are continually prompting them to do wrong. This makes it necessary for us to be continually on our guard–makes this probation a continual warfare. We do not expect to be idle. The individual that obtains a celestial kingdom will never be idle in the flesh. It is a spiritual warfare. He contends against the spirits of darkness and against the workers of iniquity, and wars all the day long against his own passions that pertain to fallen man. * * *

Pertaining to the present state of the world, you know what evil spirits are doing. They are visiting the human family with various manifestations. I told the people, years and years ago, that the Lord wished them to believe in revelation; and that if they did not believe what he had revealed, he would let the Devil make them believe in revelation. Do you not think that the Devil is making them believe in revelation? What is called spirit-rapping, spirit-knocking, and so forth, is produced by the spirits that the Lord has suffered to communicate to people on the earth, and make them believe in revelation.

* * * * *


[57] Brigham Young: (JD 14:74)

When the Elders of Israel first commenced to preach the Gospel, there was no such thing known on the earth as a belief in spiritual manifestations, which are now so general. I promised them years and years ago, when I commenced my career in the ministry, that, if they did not accept the revelations which God had delivered to the children of men, he would suffer the enemy of all righteousness to give them revelations to their hearts’ content, and they would receive and believe them. What is the condition of the Christian world to-day? They are seeking after mischievous muttering spirits; they are seeking to know something that is not true, and to establish that which no true philosophy on earth will establish.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 12:128)

We have been baptized by men having the authority of the holy Priesthood of the Son of God, and consequently we have power over him which the rest of the world do not possess, and all who possess the power of the Priesthood have the power and right to rebuke those evil spirits. When we rebuke those evil powers, and they obey not, it is because we do not live so as to have the power with God, which it is our privilege to have. If we do not live for this privilege and right, we are under condemnation.

* * * * *



[58]                              Chapter 6



For most of the people on earth, Paradise, or the Spirit World, will become a holding area or “prison”. It is an intermediate state where they must be taught and instructed–a place where character is reformed before proceeding to a resurrection.


Wilford Woodruff: (JD 18:92)

This may seem strange to some, that Jesus should go to preach the Gospel unto the wicked, rebellious antediluvians, whose bodies had been destroyed in the flood because they rejected the testimony of Noah, who had been sent to rebuke their iniquities and warn them of destruction decreed against them if they did not repent; nevertheless it is true. From this Scripture we not only learn the condition of those who are cut off in their sins because of their wickedness in rebelling against the laws of God and rejecting his servants, but such of them as have not sinned against the Holy Ghost, however, wicked they may have been in this world–save committing that unpardonable sin–will have the privilege of hearing the Gospel in the spirit world; “for,” as the Apostle says, “for this cause was the Gospel preached also to them that are dead.” “Yes,” says one, “dead in sin, but not dead as to the flesh.” But the Apostle does not say so, but to the contrary, for the dead here referred to had perished in the flesh and the Apostle continues–“That they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit;” that is, out of the body until the [59] resurrection from the dead. But first they must remain in hell–the “prison house,” until they have paid the penalty of their sins in the flesh, even to the “uttermost farthing.” ***

Thus we see those wicked, unrepentant antediluvians who even had the privilege of hearing the Gospel in the flesh, as preached by Noah, and who rejected the message of that servant of God, were actually visited in the “prison house” by the Savior himself, and heard the Gospel from his own mouth after he was “put to death in the flesh.” Their prison was opened, and liberty was proclaimed unto them in their captivity, in fulfillment of the prediction of the Prophet Isaiah, as you might read in his 61st chapter, that they may come forth, when they shall have fulfilled the decree of judgment upon them in the prison, or hell, to do the first works necessary unto salvation, which they refused to do in the beginning.

Here will come in the principles of baptism for the dead, and of proxy and heirship, as revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith, that they may receive a salvation and an exaltation, I will not say a fullness of blessing and glory, but a reward according to their merits and the righteousness and mercy of God, even as it will be with you and with me. But there is this difference between us and the antediluvians–they rejected the Gospel, consequently they received not the truth nor the testimony of Jesus Christ; therefore they did not sin against a fullness of light, while we have received the fullness of the Gospel; are admitted to the testimony of Jesus Christ, and a knowledge of the living and true God, whose will it is also our privilege to know, that we may do it. Now if we sin, we sin against light and knowledge and peradventure we may become guilty of the blood of Jesus Christ, for which sin there is no forgiveness, neither in this world nor in the world to come. Jesus himself declares (Matt. 12:31, 32) that “all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men, . . . neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”

* * * * *


[60] George Q. Cannon: (JD 26:82-83)

The antediluvian world numbered millions doubtless; millions were swept away from the face of the earth, and consigned to a place of torment, or to a prison. In this prison they were immured, doubtless in utter darkness–in the condition that is so expressly described by the Savior Himself, when upon the earth–in outer darkness, where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, a place of torment, where they were kept until the Savior Himself came in the flesh, and proclaimed unto the children of men the Gospel of life and salvation.

Jesus Himself, on one occasion, went into the synagogue after His baptism by John the Baptist, and there was handed to Him a book containing the prophecy of Isaiah, or as it is written in the New Testament Esaias. He took it and read these words: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” He there proclaimed in the words of the Prophet Isaiah, the exact character of the mission that had been assigned Him by His Father in heaven. He was not only commanded to preach good tidings unto the meek, and to bind up the broken-hearted, but He was sent to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that were bound. Thus was a part of His mission foretold by the Prophet Isaiah a long time before His birth. He Himself confirmed the correctness of the prediction by reading it in the ears of the people; and when He left the earth, after having established His Gospel upon it, after having commenced the work of salvation here, after having ordained men to the authority of the everlasting Priesthood which He held, the Priesthood of Melchisedec, after having done this and was slain by wicked men, suffered for the sins of humanity in the flesh, He then went, in the words that I have read in your hearing from this epistle of Peter, and preached to the spirits in prison which sometime were disobedient when once the long-suffering of [61] God waited in the days of Noah. He went and proclaimed liberty to the captive; He went to open the prison doors to them that were bound.

* * * * *


Moses Thatcher: (Contributor 4:449-50)

You may ask what about “the thief upon the cross,” did he not go to heaven? Search the Scriptures. You will find nothing in them leading to such an idea, but much that clearly proves to the contrary. I am aware at the same time, however, that this text–the thief upon the cross and the words addressed to him by the Savior–is the basis of a good many modern sermons wrought up from death-bed scenes and scaffold confessions, wherein we are told that the dying penitent was at the last moment snatched from the jaws of hell and saved by merely saying “I believe” on Jesus. The words of the Lord to the thief are recorded in Luke 23:43, and read as follows: “And Jesus said unto him, verily I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Now, if the simple fact of his going to paradise saved him, then was the thief saved, otherwise not. By referring to the third chapter of I Peter, verses 18-20, we will find where Jesus went, and ascertaining that fact, will learn something regarding the place called “paradise” where the thief was promised on that day a meeting with the Lord. It reads: “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 sometimes were disobedient, when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah while the Ark was a preparing, wherein, few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” Thus we begin to understand the broader and higher mission of our Master as we find Him a preacher of the Gospel to the “dead” as well as the living.

Here were the spirits of those who made light of the teachings of that good and faithful preacher of righteousness, Noah. No doubt when on earth they laughed at [62] and scorned both him and his message. With them he was anything but popular. Only eight souls could be induced to believe his teachings; but these teachings being the revelations of Jehovah, saved those eight, while the rejection condemned to death perhaps millions, whom we find more than twenty centuries after, still in prison. Think of the ages of sorrow and remorse which they had endured. If there is any efficacy in punishment by means of imprisonment, then these unfortunate, condemned ones must have undergone, since the flood, great change for the better, and must have rejoiced greatly when the Prince of Light, having been put to death in the flesh, but quickened in the spirit, came and again offered them the means of salvation, through obedience to that Gospel, which He and many others had preached to the living on earth. What! faith, repentance, baptism, etc.? The same. How could it be otherwise? There is but one Gospel, which is always referred to as the Gospel. The same that was preached to Abraham (Gal. 3:8), and to the Jews in the days of Moses (Heb. 4:2), and I have no doubt that it was preached also to these same spirits while tabernacled in the flesh before their bodies were overwhelmed in the flood. But men may ask how can they now be baptized, being out of the body? I answer in the words of Jesus himself, that they must be “born of water and of the spirit,” or they cannot enter the Kingdom of God. But that you may clearly comprehend how it may be accomplished, and that you may see how unyielding this law of the Gospel is, I quote the words of the Apostle Paul: “If the dead rise not at all, then why are they baptized for the dead?” Having failed to perform for themselves the ordinances of salvation, they must now depend upon others to do for them, by proxy, what they might have done for themselves. They once had their agency, and having missed it, they must, therefore, depend upon the agency and acts of others. We now can begin to see what is meant by “becoming saviors on Mount Zion.”

* * * * *


[63] Orson Pratt: (Orson Pratt’s Works, pp. 58-59)

<After discussing baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost> We have now set forth the whole law of adoption, and the only law by which any man or woman can ever become a legal citizen of the Church or kingdom of God when established on the earth. By obedience to these rules mankind become the sons and daughters of God. By neglect of any or either of these rules they can never enter the kingdom. There is no other way or plan under the whole heavens that will save men. Many try to excuse themselves from obeying this plan by referring to the words of Jesus to the thief on the cross, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” But we have no evidence to believe the thief was taken into heaven or into the celestial kingdom of God; for Jesus Himself said three days after, “Touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to my Father.” Some have supposed that Jesus went directly into all the fulness of the Father’s glory, and the thief with him. But the scriptures expressly contradict this supposition. Peter says, in the third chapter of his first epistle, that “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 sometimes were disobedient, when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” From this we learn that instead of Jesus going directly from the cross into His kingdom, he went to a certain “prison” where He found some “disobedient spirits” shut up, who had been there over two thousand years, or ever since Noah’s flood. Jesus preached to them. Did the thief go with Him? “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” If Jesus went to preach in prison that day, the thief must have gone with Him; hence paradise must mean a place of departed spirits, without respect to its being either a good or a bad place.

Christ, speaking of His own mission by the mouth of Isaiah, says, “He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the [64] opening of the prison to them that are bound.” This agrees with Peter, as already quoted. Forasmuch, therefore, as the thief had never, to our knowledge, been born of the water and the spirit, he could not, according to the words of the Savior, to Nicodemus, “enter into the kingdom of God;” but he in all probability went that day with Jesus to the old antediluvian prison among the disobedient spirits, where he had the privilege of being preached to: that he and all the rest of the prisoners “might be judged according to men in the flesh.” (I Peter 6:6)

* * * * *


Parley P. Pratt: (Key to Theology, p. 130)

When Jesus Christ had returned from his mission in the spirit world, had triumphed over the grave, and re-entered his fleshly tabernacle, then the Saints who had obeyed the gospel while in the flesh, and had slept in death, or finished their sojourn in the spirit world, were called forth to re-enter their bodies, and to ascend with him to mansions and thrones of eternal power, while the residue of the spirits remained in the world of spirits to await another call.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 3:95)

What is the condition of the wicked? They are in prison. Are they happy? No; They have stepped through the vail, to the place where the vail of the covering is taken from their understanding. They fully understand that they have persecuted the just and Holy One, and they feel the wrath of the Almighty resting upon them, having a terrible foreboding of the final consummation of their just sentence, to become angels to the devil; just as it is in this world, precisely.

* * * * *


[65] George Q. Cannon: (JD 26:82, 83, 84)

. . . the Gospel shall be preached to them that are dead; that the Savior should carry the glad tidings of salvation to them, and not only to those who were disobedient in the days of Noah, but to all the spirit world, to every soul of Adam’s race that had up to that time died who had not received the Gospel in the flesh. He commenced the work there just as He did here. He commenced, as I have said, by preaching the Gospel, by revealing it to His disciples, by giving them the authority to preach it, and then He descended into Hades or hell, and He there, doubtless, chose His ministers, the men who had the authority of the Holy Priesthood, and set them to the same labor that was commenced on the earth, the labor of preaching His everlasting Gospel to all the spirit world, to the millions of spirits who had died either in disobedience to the Gospel of Christ, or in ignorance of that Gospel, never having heard the sound of it. The Gospel was sent to the entire spirit world, except, as I have before stated, to those sons of perdition who had committed the unpardonable sin, or the sin against the Holy Ghost, and the labor has doubtless continued from that day until the present time in the spirit world. * * *

They must not only believe in Jesus, as I have said, and repent of their sins; not only be willing to go that far, but be willing to go the full extent of the requirements of the Gospel, be willing to obey every ordinance and every law that is necessary, and say in the spirit, “Oh, if I were in the flesh I would be baptized for the remission of my sins; I would have hands laid upon me for the reception of the Holy Ghost; I would be willing to obey every law of God, my Eternal Father, if I had the opportunity in the flesh of doing so.” * * *

We see by this that God will not consign any soul to endless torment without first giving him an opportunity of receiving or rejecting the Gospel. If he be consigned to torment, it will be as a punishment for violating law. Where there is no law there is no transgression of the law. There can be therefore no punishment if a man does [66] not comprehend the law. If it is not made plain to him, its binding force does not operate upon him; but when he understands it, when his mind comprehends it, when it is declared to him, then it begins to operate upon him, and if he reject it, then the penalty begins to operate also, and unless he repents and obeys that law he will receive severe condemnation. Therefore in the spirit world there are grades of punishment just as there are grades of spirits.

* * * * *


Orson Hyde: (JD 5:71-72)

. . . the hypocritical professor, the liar, the adulterer, the profane swearer, with all who hold to a religion without Prophets and Apostles, without inspiration and miracles, without revelation, prophecy, keys, and powers to bind on earth and in heaven, after the call is made upon them by the messengers of the true religion, will be damned and sent away into outer darkness, even into prison, where they will gnaw their tongues for pain.

In this prison they must remain until they have paid the utmost farthing. The antediluvians were in this prison for a long time, until at length Christ preached the Gospel to their spirits, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh. He opened the prison doors to them that were bound, and proclaimed a release to the captive sons and daughters of earth, enslaved by sin in the days of Noah.

While the Saviour’s body lay entombed in the sepulchre, his spirit was not inactive. He was preaching the Gospel to the spirits in prison. But after they have suffered in prison and are finally released, after many a

thousand years’ servitude in pain and darkness, their glory cannot be like that of the sun, neither like that of the moon, nor yet like the stars of the first magnitude; but, perhaps, like the faint glimmer of a distant star–so distant from the sun, that a ray from that brilliant orb can hardly reach it.

[67]         The foolish virgins, not having the means of light in themselves, could never enter a mansion or world that shines by its own light; but as they had no oil in their vessels, they were compelled to borrow; and hence, they must go to a world or mansion that shines by borrowed light. Have light in yourselves! You may borrow all you can of me, and I will cheerfully lend all in my power; but have, at least, some light in yourselves, and salt likewise.

* * * * *


George Q. Cannon: (JD 26:78-79)

Our ancestors we may have known, at least some of them; we may have known the morality of their lives, the purity of their intentions, the goodness of their motives, their exemplary conduct; and if we do not understand the principles of the Gospel when we are told the message that the Elders have to bear, the inquiry naturally arises, “Is it possible that my grandfather, my grandmother, my uncle, or perchance my father and my mother, have not gone to heaven, that they are not in the presence of God? Why, better people I never knew, and I have always thought,” says the inquirer, “that they really had gone to heaven, and now you tell me that unless I am baptized I shall be damned, and yet they are dead and have not been baptized.”

I expect many feel as the heathen king once felt. He was a king of the Franks, one of the old races that invaded what is now called France. He had surrendered his old convictions sufficiently to consent to receive the rite of baptism. A Catholic Bishop from Rome was to sprinkle him. But before submitting to be sprinkled the thought suggested itself to the king to ask the question what had become of his ancestors. The Bishop, more ready than politic, said, “They have gone to hell.” “Then,” said the king, “I will go to hell with them; I shall not be separated from my ancestors,” and he refused to receive the rite of baptism.

[68]         Now, I expect that there are many people in the world who, in the absence, or for the want of knowledge concerning the plan of salvation would almost feel the same when told that if they did not obey the Gospel, they would be damned. But when people are enlightened concerning the plan of Jehovah, the Gospel of the Son of God, they can easily reconcile justice and mercy as being attributes of the Great Being whom we worship. * * *

We must remember that God’s work is not confined to this life; that God’s plan of salvation extends throughout eternity; that according to our belief it began to operate in eternity, if it ever began at all–for it never really in truth began; it always operated, operated from eternity and will operate to eternity, for all the children of men, for every human soul.

* * * * *



[69]                              Chapter 7



When Jesus appeared to Mary three days after His death, He told her that He had not yet been to His Father in heaven. Where had He been? We learn from various scriptural accounts that Jesus was teaching in Paradise–just as He had done during His earthly ministry. And many other faithful Elders will have a teaching mission in the Spirit World, as well.


Brigham Young: (JD 13:76)

Jesus went to preach to the spirits in prison. The faithful Elders who leave this world will preach to the spirits in the spirit world. In that world there are millions and millions to every Elder who leaves here, and yet every spirit will be preached to that has had a tabernacle on the earth and become accountable. * * * * *


Charles W. Penrose: (JD 22:165)

So we learn from the revelations of God, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, that when the servants of God depart from this stage of action they follow the footsteps of the illustrious captain of our salvation, they preach deliverance to the captives, they publish the Gospel of peace in the regions of the departed. Hosts of the Jews, hosts of the heathen, and hosts of the Christians have died to wake up and find themselves in the spirit world, and not in the glory they expected, because the time to [70] receive the glory and the reward is not till after the judgment. And they will be offered in the spirit those essential truths which they could not learn while in the flesh.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (Contributor 10:322)

The spirit of Joseph, I do not know that it is just now in this bowery, but I will assure you it is close to the Latter-day Saints, is active in preaching to the spirits in prison, and preparing the way to redeem the nations of the earth, those who lived in darkness previous to the introduction of the gospel by himself in these days. He has just as much labor on hand as I have; he has just as much to do. Father Smith and Carlos and Brother Partridge, yes, and every other good saint, are just as busy in the spirit world as you and I are here. They can see us, but we cannot see them, unless our eyes were opened. What are they doing there? They are preaching, preaching all the time and preparing the way for us to hasten our work in building temples here and elsewhere. * * * They are hurrying to get ready by the time that we are ready, and we are all hurrying to get ready by the time our Elder Brother is ready.

* * * * *


Heber C. Kimball: (JD 4:4)

I believe that Joseph has got the Church organized in the spirit world, and that he calls and sends the Elders to preach the Gospel to the spirits in prison.

* * * * *


Wilford Woodruff: (JD 16:269)

Jesus sealed his testimony with his blood. Joseph Smith did the same, and from the day he died his testimony has been in force upon the whole world. He has gone [71] into the spirit world and organized this dispensation on that side of the vail; he is gathering together the Elders of Israel and the Saints of God in the spirit world, for they have a work to do there as well as here. Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Father Smith, David Patten and the other Elders who have been called to the other side of the vail have fifty times as many people to preach to as we have on the earth. There they have all the spirits who have lived on the earth in seventeen centuries–fifty generations, fifty thousand millions of persons who lived and died here without having seen a Prophet or Apostle, and without having the word of the Lord sent unto them. They are shut up in prison, awaiting the message of the Elders of Israel. We have only about a thousand millions of people on the earth, but in the spirit world they have fifty thousand millions; and there is not a single revelation which gives us any reason to believe that any man who enters the spirit world preached the Gospel there to those who lived after him; but they all preach to men who were in the flesh before they were. Jesus himself preached to the antediluvian world, who had been in prison for thousands of years. So with Joseph Smith and the Elders–they will have to preach to the inhabitants of the earth who have died during the last seventeen centuries; and when they hear the testimony of the Elders and accept it, there should be somebody on the earth, as we have been told, to attend to the ordinances of the house of God for them, that they may be judged according to men in the flesh and come forth in the morning of the first resurrection and have a part therein with us.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 7:174)

(Sermon delivered at his sister’s funeral, Fanny Young, 1859)

Is a Saint subject to the power of the Devil in the spirit world? No, because he has gained the victory through faith, and can command Satan, and he must obey. [72] How is it with the wicked? The Devil has power over them to distress and afflict them: they are in hell. Can the angels of heaven administer to them? Yes, if they are sent to do so. What can be done for them? The spirit of sister Fanny and the spirit of every man and woman who has died in the faith of the Gospel, since it has been restored, will have the power to teach those wicked spirits and all who have gone to the spirit world without having heard the Gospel in the flesh, and say to them, If you will now repent and believe, the Lord will even now provide the means that you may be officiated for on the earth in those ordinances that must be attended to here.

* * * * *


Parley P. Pratt: (JD 1:14-15)

It is here, that the spirit world would look with an intense interest; it is here that the nations of the dead, if I may so call them, would concentrate their hopes of ministration on the earth in their behalf. It is here that the countless millions of the spirit world would look for the ordinances of redemption, so far as they have been enlightened by the preaching of the Gospel, since the keys of the former dispensation were taken away from the earth. * * *

Did Joseph, in the spirit world, think of anything else, yesterday, but the doings of his brethren on the earth? He might have been necessarily employed, and so busy as to be obliged to think of other things. But if I were to judge from the acquaintance I had with him in his life, and from my knowledge of the spirit of Priesthood, I would suppose him to be so hurried as to have little or no time to cast an eye or a thought after his friends on the earth. He was always busy while here, and so are we. The spirit of our holy ordination and anointing will not let us rest. The spirit of his calling will never suffer him to rest, while Satan, sin, death, or darkness, possesses a foot of ground on this earth. While the spirit world contains the spirit of one of his friends, or the grave holds captive one of their bodies, he will never rest, or slacken his labours.

* * * * *


[73] John Taylor: (JD 22:308-309)

God is looking upon us, and has called us to be saviors upon Mount Zion. And what does a savior mean? It means a person who saves somebody. Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison; and He was a savior to that people. When He came to atone for the sins of the world, He was a savior, was He not? Yes. And we are told in the revelations that saviors should stand upon Mount Zion; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s. Would we be saviors if we did not save somebody? I think not. Could we save anyone if we did not build Temples? No, we could not; for God would not accept our offerings and sacrifices. Then we came here to be saviors on Mount Zion, and the kingdom is to be the Lord’s. Then what shall we do? We will build Temples. And what then? Administer in them, when we get them done. * * *

If we are saviors, what have we to do? Build Temples. What then? administer in them; and others in the heavens are engaged in the same work as we, but in another position and in other circumstances. They preach to spirits in prison; they officiate in ordinances with which we have nothing to do. We administer in ordinances which God has revealed to us to attend to; and when we attend to them correctly, God sanctions them.

* * * * *


George Q. Cannon: (JD 15:294-295)

But God is eternal, and his salvation is an eternal plan of salvation. This earth, or the elements of which it is composed, is eternal. We who live on the earth are eternal in one sense–our spirits are eternal; and the elements of which our bodies or tabernacles are created are also eternal. They can be changed, dissolved and reconstructed, recreated and reorganized, but they are eternal, and so are we, and we shall live eternally. God’s providences and God’s salvation are not confined to this space of time, which we call life; but they extend throughout eternity and when individuals die in ignorance [74] of the Gospel, they will have the opportunity of hearing that Gospel elsewhere.

As has been said, “If the dead rise not at all, then why are ye baptized for the dead?” This was the remark of Paul. Peter also tells us that Jesus went to preach to the spirits in prison which sometime were disobedient when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight sons, were saved by water. They had been in prison for nearly 2,500 years, according to our chronology; but Jesus, having the power to preach the Gospel, went and preached to them while his body lay in the tomb.

I know that this doctrine is strange to many persons. I recollect on one occasion preaching on the Sandwich Islands to a large congregation, endeavoring to prove that baptism for the remission of sins was necessary, and that, according to the words of Jesus to Nicodemus, unless a man was born of the water and of the Spirit he could in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven. After I had got through, a gentleman came forward from the congregation and commenced interrogating me on the statement which I had made; and in his remarks he dwelt particularly on the case of the thief on the cross. Said he, “You have told us that no man can enter the kingdom of heaven unless he is born of the water and of the Spirit.” I told him that I had quoted the words of the Savior. He wished to know how I disposed of the repentant thief on the cross, who died at the same time that the Savior did. Said he, “You recollect that Jesus said, `This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise;’ but your doctrine conveys the idea that the thief did not and could not go to Paradise unless he was born of the water.” I remarked to him that I supposed our views with regard to Paradise differed. He said that he believed that Paradise was heaven–the presence of God, and that the thief went there immediately after death. I said to him, “The Scriptures tell us that he did not.” The assertion startled him, and said he, “Do you mean to say that Jesus did not go to heaven?”–I replied, “Jesus certainly did not go into the presence of his Father when he died, and to prove to you that what I say is correct, I have only to [75] refer you to the 20th chapter of John, which contains the account of Mary and Jesus, after his resurrection. Mary went to the sepulchre on the morning of the Sabbath, and she found that the stone had been rolled away and that the Savior’s body was gone. She was startled at the occurrence, and turning round she saw somebody standing beside her whom she supposed to be the gardener, and she inquired of him what had become of the body of her Lord. Instead of the gardener, it was Jesus, and he called her by name, and as soon as she heard her name she knew it was Jesus, and stepped forward to embrace him. But Jesus said, `Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father, but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God.’

Now, said I, “here is the testimony of Jesus himself that, on the Sabbath after his crucifixion, during which time his body had lain in the tomb, he had not yet ascended to his Father.” Said I, “Peter tells us that during this time, he had been to preach to the spirits in prison, who were disobedient in the days of Noah; and he also says–For this cause was the Gospel preached to them that are dead, that they might be judged by that Gospel, just the same as they who are living.” From this we can learn how proper was the remark of Jesus to the thief. He did not say, “Thou shalt be with me in my kingdom this day.” The thief said, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” But Jesus, who was then undergoing the pangs of death, and had not time to explain the plan of salvation to him, said, “This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” And he no doubt was with him, and heard him explain the Gospel in its fullness, plainness and simplicity, and he had an opportunity of receiving or rejecting it.

These are the views entertained by the Latter-day Saints on this important subject. We believe that every being that ever has lived–that does live now or ever will live–will sooner or later be brought to a knowledge of the eternal plan of salvation, and that none will be condemned to endless torment only those who sin against the Holy Ghost, for Jesus says every sin shall be forgiven except [76] the sin against the Holy Ghost; that shall not be forgiven in this world or the world to come. Every human being will be brought to a knowledge of the Redeemer’s grace; every human being will have truth and error placed before him or her, and will have the opportunity of embracing truth and rejecting error.

* * * * *


Joseph Smith: (TPJS, p. 113)

After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel.

* * * * *


Parley P. Pratt: (JD 1:15)

Ye Elders of Israel! you will find that there is a spirit upon you which will urge you to continued exertion, and will never suffer you to feel at ease in Zion while a work remains unfinished in the great plan of redemption of our race. * * *

You have been baptized, You have had the laying on of hands, and some have been ordained, and some anointed with a holy anointing. A spirit has been given you. And you will find, if you undertake to rest, it will be the hardest work you ever performed. I came home here from a foreign mission. I presented myself to our President, and inquired what I should do next. “Rest,” said he.

If I had been set to turn the world over, to dig down a mountain, to go to the ends of the earth, or traverse the deserts of Arabia, it would have been easier than to have undertaken to rest, while the Priesthood was upon me. I have received the holy anointing, and I can never rest till the last enemy is conquered, death destroyed, and truth reigns triumphant.

* * * * *


[77] Parley P. Pratt: (JD 1:10-11)

Do all the people in this <spirit> world hear the Gospel as soon as they are capable of understanding? No, indeed, but very few in comparison have heard it at all. * * *

Now, how are they situated in the spirit world? If we reason from analogy, we should at once conclude that things exist there after the same pattern. I have not the least doubt but there are spirits there who have dwelt there a thousand years, who, if we could converse with them face to face, would be found as ignorant of the truths, the ordinances, powers, keys, Priesthood, resurrection, and eternal life of the body, in short, as ignorant of the fulness of the Gospel with its hopes and consolations, as is the Pope of Rome, or the Bishop of Canterbury, or as are the Chiefs of the Indian tribes of Utah.

* * * * *



[78]                              Chapter 8



As has been mentioned, those spirits in Paradise–both good and evil–have an influence upon mortals in this life. But conversely, we as mortals also have an influence on them. Furthermore, we can help and do work for them which they cannot do for themselves. Ordinances such as baptism, endowments, and marriage, can be performed by those in mortality for those who have passed through the veil of death.


Charles W. Penrose: (JD 22:166)

When people who depart from the earth without hearing the gospel, go into the spirit world, and by and by a man of God comes preaching the word of God, and they are willing to receive it, can they be born of water and of the spirit? Is baptism an ordinance that can be attended to in the spirit world? I thought, says one, that water was an element or compound of elements, belonging to the earth. Well, according to the revelations of this great Prophet, Joseph Smith–one of the greatest Prophets that ever breathed the breath of life, excepting, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ–those who receive the Gospel in the spirit world can have the necessary earthly ordinances attended to for them by proxy, that is, the living can be baptized for the dead. This will startle some people. Some good Christians will feel shocked at the idea. But stop; do not be in a hurry. Did you ever think of the principle of one dying for another? Did not Jesus suffer for all on the principle of a vicarious atonement? On this principle of [79] proxy rests the whole scheme of human redemption. Without that principle of proxy, every one must pay the penalty of blood and death, for the wages of sin is death, and “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” and “without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin.” Christ died for you and for me and for all mankind; on condition that they would receive His gospel. He died, “the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.” He who knew no sin died for those that had sinned. Here, then, is the principle of proxy in the vicarious death of Jesus Christ, as was typified in the ordinances and sacrifices that were given in the law of carnal commandments.

But is this a scriptural doctrine? It is. In the 15th chapter of I Corinthians, 29th verse, we find Paul asks a peculiar question. He is talking about the resurrection of the dead. The people in those days did not understand much about that subject. He asks, “What shall they do which are baptized for the dead? If the dead rise not at all, why are they then baptized for the dead?” From this it would seem that in the early Christian church, the living were baptized for the dead. From this we can understand what Paul meant when, in writing to the Hebrews concerning their departed ancestors, he said, “God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” That is the condition of a great many of our forefathers, they cannot be made perfect without us. There is no redemption for the living or the dead except by the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

* * * * *


Charles W. Penrose: (JD 24:96-97)

But these ordinances belong to this sphere in which we live, they belong to the earth, they belong to the flesh. Water is an earthly element composed of two gases. It belongs to this earth. What there is in the spirit world, we know little about. But here is the water in which repentant believers must be baptized. Can they be baptized in the spirit world? It appears not. What is to be done, [80] then? The Apostle Paul asks this question in the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle of the Corinthians: “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?” It seems that the people to whom that was written were familiar with the ordinance called baptism for the dead, and they were baptized for their dead. Paul was arguing upon the literal resurrection of the body, and says, “What shall they do if the dead rise not at all; why are they then baptized for the dead?” Our learned divines may presume from that that the doctrine is not laid down sufficiently clear to endorse it; but to us there is no doubt concerning it, the Lord having revealed the principle to the Prophet Joseph Smith. He also explained the manner in which the ordinances should be administered, like everything else He has revealed, in great plainness. And that is why we are building Temples. People who visit our city frequently say, “what a fine meeting-house you are building.” No, that is not a meeting-house; this Assembly Hall and the adjacent Tabernacle are meetinghouses. That is a Temple, a building in which we expect to perform ordinances for the living and the dead; wherein we may be baptized for our dead, that they may receive the benefit of that ordinance, provided they believe and repent and do the spiritual part, while we do the material part, that they may receive the blessings of obedience to the Gospel, and live according to God in the spirit. Some will say, “I cannot see why a thing done by one person should stand for another.” How do you understand the doctrine that Jesus Christ has done something for all of us? We read that “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.” Not my blood or your blood is to be shed for the remission of our sins; but He who was without sin allowed His blood to be shed as a sacrifice for our sins. Now the whole question hinges on that. If you reject the doctrine of proxy in baptism, you must reject the doctrine of proxy in the atonement.

* * * * *


[81] Parley P. Pratt: (JD 3:188-189)

Let a man pass the veil with the everlasting Priesthood, having magnified it to the day of his death, and you cannot get it off him; it will remain with him in the world of spirits; and when he wakes up in that world among the spirits, he has that power, and that obligation on him, that if he can find a person worthy of salvation, why, as soon as he ascertains that, and he remembers what he may teach and who he may teach, he then discovers that he has got a mission, and that mission is to those souls who had not the privilege which we have in this world, that they may be partaker’s of the Gospel as well as we.

And herein, when fully carried out, are the keys of the “baptism for the dead,” and the salvation of those not on the earth, . . .

* * * * *


Joseph F. Smith: (JD 19:264)

We will not finish our work until we have saved ourselves, and then not until we shall have saved all depending upon us; for we are to become saviors upon Mount Zion, as well as Christ. We are called to this mission. The dead are not perfect without us, neither are we without them. We have a mission to perform for and in their behalf; we have a certain work to do in order to liberate those who, because of their ignorance and the unfavorable circumstances in which they were placed while here, are unprepared for eternal life; we have to open the door for them, by performing ordinances which they cannot perform for themselves, and which are essential to their release from the “prison-house,” to come forth and live according to God in the spirit, and be judged according to man in the flesh.

The Prophet Joseph Smith has said that this is one of the most important duties that devolves upon the Latterday Saints.

* * * * *


[82] Orson Pratt: (JD 16:298-299)

“But,” says one, “how do you know that they who are in the spirit world can repent and believe?” Because agency always accompanies intelligence, and intelligence is not blotted out by death. The spirits of men and women who leave this world are intelligent, and intelligence is founded upon free agency, and hence, inasmuch as they who are in the spirit world are agents, they can exercise that agency in repenting of sins of which they have been guilty. But they cannot exercise that agency in attending to an ordinance ordained for the body; and therefore God has instituted baptism for the dead, that our fathers may have the same chance that we have. What for? In order that, when they come up in the resurrection with us, if they will receive what is done for them, they may be perfected with us, that there may be no broken chain in the matter, no links left out of the chain, but that all persons who will comply may be united in the grand chain of genealogy, back even to the commencement. Therefore the ordinance of baptism was ordained by the Lord from the beginning of the world down until the days of Christ, and from the days of Christ down to the end, that in the dispensation of the Gospel, when the plan of salvation should be administered to the human family, they should look after the fathers–their ancestors; and this is specially spoken of by the Prophet Malachi, or rather the Lord through the Prophet says,–“Behold I will send you Elijah the Prophet; he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse;” as much as to say, that before the great and terrible day of the Lord shall come, unless the children shall seek after the salvation of their fathers, who are dead and gone, by being baptized for them, and attending to every ordinance which God has ordained for them and in their behalf, he will smite the whole earth with a curse, and no people would be prepared to behold the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

* * * * *


[83] Wilford Woodruff: (JD 17:250)

But it depends upon the living here to erect Temples, that the ordinances for the dead may be attended to, for by and by you will meet your progenitors in the spirit world who never heard the sound of the Gospel. You who are here in Zion have power to be baptized for and to redeem your dead. * * *

And not only so, but we have to keep that law ourselves if we ever inherit that kingdom, for no man will receive a celestial glory unless he abides a celestial law; no man will receive a terrestrial glory unless he abides a terrestrial law, and no man will receive a telestial glory unless he abides a telestial law. There is a great difference between the light of the sun at noonday and the glimmer of the stars at night, but that difference is no greater than the difference of the glory in the several portions of the kingdom of God.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 3:371-372)

Spirits are just as familiar with spirits as bodies are with bodies, though spirits are composed of matter so refined as not to be tangible to this coarser organization. They walk, converse, and have their meetings; and the spirits of good men like Joseph and the Elders, who have left this Church on earth for a season to operate in another sphere, are rallying all their powers and going from place to place preaching the Gospel, and Joseph is directing them, saying, go ahead, my brethren, and if they hedge up your way, walk up and command them to disperse. You have the Priesthood and can disperse them, but if any of them wish to hear the gospel, preach to them.

Can they baptize them? No. What can they do? They can preach the Gospel, and when we have the privilege of building up Zion, the time will come for saviors to come up on Mount Zion. My brother Joseph spoke of this principle this forenoon. Some of those who are not in mortality will come along and say, “Here are a thousand names I [84] wish you to attend to in this temple, and when you have got through with them, I will give you another thousand;” and the Elders of Israel and their wives will go forth to officiate for their forefathers, the men for the men, and the women for the women.

A man is ordained and receives his washings, anointings, and endowments for the male portion of his and his wife’s progenitors, and his wife for the female portion.

Then in the spirit world they will say, “Do you not see somebody at work for you? The Lord remembers you and has revealed to His servants on the earth, what to do for you.” * * *

To accomplish this work there will have to be not only one temple but thousands of them, and thousands and tens of thousands of men and women will go into those temples and officiate for people who have lived as far back as the Lord shall reveal.

* * * * *


Joseph F. Smith: (JD 18:274)

I would say to such that God has made ample provision for all his children, both the ignorant and the learned; those who have not had the Gospel preached to them in the flesh, will hear it in the spirit, for all must have the plan of salvation presented to them for their acceptance or rejection before they can become amenable to the law. “For,” says Paul, “where there is no law there is no transgression.” To those who have not heard the Gospel in the flesh, if they have not already heard it preached in the spirit, they most assuredly will, and that, too, by men who have previously preached it on the earth, who have died faithful servants, they will continue their labors in the spirit world, and those who receive the Gospel from them will “live according to God in the spirit,” and all who hear it will “be judged according to men in the flesh,” “for,” says the Apostle Peter, “for this cause was the Gospel preached also to them that are dead.” (I Peter, 4, 6) When, therefore, the law is revealed to them and they [85] become instructed in it, then will they be held responsible. If they receive it, their kindred or friends who remain upon the earth perhaps, during the Millennium, will act for them, that is, they will be baptized for and in their behalf, for the remission of sins, and be confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ, in the same manner as that work is being done now; there being only one faith, one Lord, and one baptism, which law is eternal and unchangeable, and therefore it is applicable to the dead as well as the living in all ages and climes; and further, no living creature who has become subject to sin and the power of death in consequence of mortality, can evade this law and be redeemed, for it is the door to the fold of Christ, which fold cannot be entered, only through the door. So great and important is this labor, and so necessary for the salvation of the human family, both the living and the dead, that, as the Prophet Joseph said, it will occupy the whole period of the Millennium to consummate it.

* * * * *


Parley P. Pratt: (JD 2:43-44)

It becomes the Saints to be able on this, as on all other subjects, to judge correctly and understandingly, by their knowledge of the principles of true philosophy, and of the laws of God and nature.

If on the one hand we admit the principle of communication between the spirit world and our own, and yield ourselves to the unreserved or indiscriminate guidance of every spiritual manifestation, we are liable to be led about by every wind of doctrine, and by every kind of spirit which constitute the varieties of being and of thought in the spirit world. Demons, foul or unclean spirits, adulterous or murderous spirits, those who love or make a lie, can communicate with beings in the flesh, as well as those who are more true and virtuous. * * *

If, on the other hand, we deny the philosophy or the fact of spiritual communication between the living and those who have died, we deny the very fountain from [86] which emanated the great truths or principles which were the foundation of both the ancient and modern Church.

Who communicated with Jesus and his disciples on the holy mount? Moses and Elias, from the invisible world. * * *

Who communicated with the beloved disciple on the Isle of Patmos, and revealed those sublime truths contained in his prophetic book? He that liveth and was dead, through his angel, who declared to John–Behold, I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the Prophets, that have the testimony of Jesus.

Who communicated with our great modern Prophet, and revealed through him as a medium, the ancient history of a hemisphere, and the records of the ancient dead? Moroni, who had lived upon the earth fourteen hundred years before. Who ordained Joseph the Prophet, and his fellow-servant, to the preparatory Priesthood, to baptize for remission of sins? John the Baptist, who had been beheaded! * * *

Again–How do the Saints expect the necessary information by which to complete the ministrations for the salvation and exaltation of their friends who have died? * * *

Shall we, then, deny the principle, the philosophy, the fact of communication between worlds? No, verily no!

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 6:294, 295, 296)

About the time that the Temples of the Lord will be built and Zion is established–pretty nigh this time, you will see, (those who are faithful enough,) the first you know, there will be strangers in your midst, walking with you, talking with you: they will enter into your houses and eat and drink with you, go to meeting with you, and begin to open your minds, as the Savior did the two disciples who walked out in the country in days of old.

About the time the Temples are ready, the strangers will be along and will converse with you, and will inquire [87] of you, probably, if you understand the resurrection of the dead. You might say you have heard and read a great deal about it, but you do not properly understand it; and they will then open your minds and tell you the principles of the resurrection of the dead and how to save your friends: they will point out Scriptures in the Old and New Testament, in the Book of Mormon, and other revelations of God, saying, “Don’t you recollect reading so and so, that saviours should come up on Mount Zion?” etc.; and they will expound the Scriptures to you. * * *

Says this or that man, I want to save such a person–I want to save my father; and he straightway goes forth in the ordinance of baptism, and is confirmed, and washed, and anointed, and ordained to the blessings of the holy Priesthood for his ancestors. Before this work is finished, a great many of the Elders of Israel in Mount Zion will become pillars in the Temple of God, to go no more out: they will eat and drink and sleep there; and they will often have occasion to say–“Somebody came into the Temple last night; we did not know who he was, but he was no doubt a brother, and told us a great many things we did not before understand. He gave us the names of a great many of our forefathers that are not on record, and he gave me my true lineage and the names of my forefathers for hundreds of years back. He said to me, You and I are connected in one family: there are the names of your ancestors; take them and write them down, and be baptised and confirmed, and save such and such ones, and receive of the blessings of the eternal Priesthood for such and such an individual, as you do for yourselves.” This is what we are going to do for the inhabitants of the earth. When I look at it, I do not want to rest a great deal, but be industrious all the day long; for when we come to think upon it, we have no time to lose, for it is a pretty laborious work. * * *

You will enter into the Temple of the Lord, when by-and-by here come along brothers Joseph and Hyrum Smith, for instance; for they will be perfectly capable of coming and staying overnight with you, and you not know who they are. Or suppose David Patten should come along, [88] and shake hands with some of the Twelve, and want to stay all night with them and expound the Scriptures and reveal the hidden things of God. It will not be long before this will be so.

* * * * *


Charles Wesley: (Contributor 4:447)



Angels, where’er we go, attend

Our steps, what’er betide;

With watchful care their charge defend,

And evil turn aside.

A sudden thought to escape the blow,

A ready help we find;

And to their secret presence owe

The presence of our mind.

* * * * *



[89]                              Chapter 9



The rights and powers of the Priesthood are much more effective and influential in the Spirit World than they are here in mortality. It is one of man’s greatest blessings to enter Paradise with the Priesthood of God.


Parley P. Pratt: (JD 1:11)

As in the earth, so in the spirit world. No person can enter into the privileges of the Gospel, until the keys are turned, and the Gospel opened by those in authority, for all which there is a time, according to the wise dispensations of justice and mercy.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 3:371)

When the faithful Elders, holding this Priesthood, go into the spirit world, they carry with them the same power and Priesthood that they had while in the mortal tabernacle. They have got the victory over the power of the enemy here, consequently when they leave this world, they have perfect control over those evil spirits, and they cannot be buffeted by Satan. But as long as they live in the flesh no being on this earth, of the posterity of Adam, can be free from the power of the devil.

When this portion of the school is out, the one in which we descend below all things and commence upon this earth to learn the first lessons for an eternal exaltation, if you have been a faithful scholar, and have overcome, if you have brought the flesh into subjection by the power of the Priesthood, if you have honored the [90] body, when it crumbles to the earth and your spirit is freed from this home of clay, has the devil any power over it? Not one particle.

This is an advantage which the faithful will gain; but while they live on earth they are subject to the buffetings of Satan. Joseph and those who have died in the faith of the Gospel are free from this; if a mob should come upon Joseph now, he has power to disperse them with the motion of his hand, and to drive them where he pleases. But is Joseph glorified? No, he is preaching to the spirits in prison.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 14:229)

The advantage of this Priesthood that Brother George A. Smith has been talking about is that when persons yield obedience to it, they secure to themselves the sanction of Him who is its author, and who has bestowed it upon the children of men. His power is around them and defends them; and when they pass into the spirit world they are out of the reach of the power of Satan, and they are not liable to be tempted, hunted, and chased as the wicked are, although the wicked may rest and enjoy far more there than here; but a person who obeys the Priesthood of the Son of God is entirely free from this. Where the pure in heart are the wicked cannot come. This is the state of the spirit world.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 7:240-241)

When death is past, the power of Satan has no more influence over a faithful individual; that spirit is free, and can command the power of Satan. The penalty demanded by the fall has been fully paid; all is accomplished pertaining to it, when the tabernacle of a faithful person is returned to the earth. All that was lost is passed away, and that person will again receive his body. When he is in the spirit world, he is free from those contaminating and [91] condemning influences of Satan that we are now subject to. Here our bodies are subject to being killed by our enemies–our names to being cast out as evil. We are persecuted, hated, not beloved; though I presume that we are as much beloved here as the spirits of the Saints are in the spirit world by those spirits who hate righteousness. It is the same warfare, but we will have power over them. Those who have passed through the veil have power over the evil spirits to command, and they must obey.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 17:159)

I expect one thing will be true that Joseph said when living. A gentleman came to see him and asked him a great many questions, and among the rest he said: “I suppose you calculate that you are just right, and that you `Mormons’ are all going to be saved and everybody else will be damned.” Said Joseph, “Sir, I will tell you this one thing, all the rest of the world will be damned, and I expect that most of the “Mormons” will be unless they do better than they have done.” The man did not stop for an explanation. What Joseph meant by being damned was that people will go into the spirit world without the Priesthood, and consequently they are under the power of Satan, and will have to be redeemed, or else they will be forever under his power. That is all there is about that.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 4:134)

(Sermon at funeral of Jedediah Grant, 1856)

You and I have yet to deal with evil spirits, but Jedediah has control over them. When we have done with the flesh, and have departed to the spirit world, you will find that we are independent of those evil spirits. But while you are in the flesh you will suffer by them, and cannot control them, only by your faith in the name of Jesus Christ and by the keys of the eternal Priesthood. [92] When the spirit is unlocked from the tabernacle, it is as free, pure, holy, and independent of them as the sun is of this earth. Jedediah can now do more for us than he could by longer staying here.

Where do you suppose the spirits of our departed friends are? Where they ought to be; they are here, on the other side of the earth, in the East Indies, in Washington, etc.; they are controlling the fallen spirits here, or somewhere else. They could not control the spirits of evil men while here, only by faith, but now one of our departed brethren can control millions of disembodied evil spirits; while they were in the flesh they were afflicted by them. Is this not a great consolation to us?

* * * * *


George Q. Cannon: (JD 26:86)

Every mortal shall hear the glad tidings of salvation. They shall be judged by this message. They shall receive the blessings of God or His condemnation, according to their willingness to receive or their determination to reject the Gospel; and then when this life is ended, when this mortal is laid aside, we shall go into the spirit world, endowed with the same Priesthood and authority of the Son of God; clothed with that authority; enveloped with it, even the fullness of it; we shall go into the spirit world and continue this glorious labor of warning our brethren and sisters who once were in the flesh, until throughout the spirit world the gospel of salvation shall be heard from one end of it to the other. It is a never-ending work that which we have taken upon ourselves. It will never terminate until this earth shall be redeemed, until the power of Satan shall be subdued, until wickedness shall be banished from the earth, until He reigns whose right it is to reign, and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Then will this labor cease so far as the family of man is concerned; but it will never cease until all who belong to this earth, whoever were born upon it–no matter in what [93] age, no matter what time, no matter what nationality, shall be redeemed who can be redeemed.

* * * * *


Wilford Woodruff: (JD 17:250)

When the Apostles were put to death, the Priesthood went from the earth, and the Church went into the wilderness, or, in other words, there was a falling away among the Gentiles, as there had been before among the Jews. Those generations are in the spirit world, shut up in prison; they have got to be visited by men who held the Priesthood in the flesh, that they may preach the Gospel unto them, the same as Jesus did when he went to preach to the spirits in prison during the three days and nights when his body lay in the tomb. This is our duty. And I will here say that every Elder of Israel who lays down his life, whether he dies in his bed, or is put to death by the enemies of truth, when he goes into the spirit world his works follow him, and he rests in peace. The Priesthood is not taken from him, and he has thousands more to preach to there than he ever had here in the flesh.

* * * * *


Brigham Young: (JD 7:289)

Joseph Smith holds the keys of this last dispensation, and is now engaged behind the vail in the great work of the last days. I can tell our beloved brother Christians who have slain the Prophets and butchered and otherwise caused the death of thousands of Latter-day Saints, the priests who have thanked God in their prayers and thanksgiving from the pulpit that we have been plundered, driven, and slain, and the deacons under the pulpit, and their brethren and sisters in their closets, who have thanked God, thinking that the Latter-day Saints were wasted away, something that no doubt will mortify them–something that, to say the least, is a matter of deep [94] regret to them–namely, that no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith. From the day that the Priesthood was taken from the earth to the winding-up scene of all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are–I with you and you with me. I cannot go there without his consent. He holds the keys of that kingdom for the last dispensation–the keys to rule in the spirit world; and he rules there triumphantly, for he gained full power and a glorious victory over the power of Satan while he was yet in the flesh, and was a martyr to his religion and to the name of Christ, which gives him a most perfect victory in the spirit world. He reigns there as supreme a being in his sphere, capacity, and calling, as God does in heaven. Many will exclaim–“Oh, that is very disagreeable! It is preposterous! We cannot bear the thought!” But it is true.

I will now tell you something that ought to comfort every man and woman on the face of the earth. Joseph Smith, junior, will again be on this earth dictating plans and calling forth his brethren to be baptized for the very characters who wish this was not so, in order to bring them into a kingdom to enjoy, perhaps, the presence of angels or the spirits of good men, if they cannot endure the presence of the Father and the Son; and he will never cease his operations, under the directions of the Son of God, until the last ones of the children of men are saved that can be, from Adam till now.

Should not this thought comfort all people? They will, by-and-by, be a thousand times more thankful for such a man as Joseph Smith, junior, than it is possible for them to be for any earthly good whatever. It is his mission to see that all the children of men in this last dispensation are saved, that can be, through the redemption. You will be thankful, every one of you, that Joseph Smith, junior, was ordained to this great calling before the worlds were.

* * * * *



[95]                              Chapter 10



All of God’s works show His great wisdom. Sometime He manifests Himself through great power, while other times in a silent and unseen manner. But always these manifestations leave men with a testimony and a knowledge of His purposes and His work.

Those who have been acquainted with the world of Paradise are numerous, and their testimonies are both interesting and important. A few of these testimonies are included here to substantiate the validity of the doctrine and reality of the Spirit World, or Paradise.


Heber C. Kimball: (JD 4:5)

As for the departure from this state of existence, it is but for a little moment; and though I have not tasted death, yet I have seen in vision the invisible enemies of God, and they were organized and arranged in battle against one or two men, simply because those men were going to proclaim the Gospel to the nations, and the devil did not like it; and the devil will work against every man who goes into a new place to preach the Gospel. As to the length of that vision, after they took their departure, brother Willard Richards said that it was an hour and a half that we were in the vision, though it seemed to me not to have been a moment. One of the devils spoke, and said to brother Hyde, “I have said nothing against you.”

I did not contend with them, and I assure you it was enough for me to look upon them; though I expect, after passing through the valley of death, that I shall preach to companies and nations of those spirits that are in prison. [96] Those that were disobedient in the days of Noah? No, but to those that have been disobedient in the days of Joseph and Brigham, and that have been condemned for their sins; and we shall have many of them to contend with.

They will come by and bye in legions, but we shall have power to overcome by the power of God. They will have great power in the last days, and if you do not overcome them, you will fall into the same spirit; and you will be as liable to be deceived in that state of existence as you are in this, if you turn against God or this kingdom.

* * * * *


Heber C. Kimball: (JD 4:136-137)

I never had a view of the righteous assembling in the spirit world, but I have had a view of the hosts of hell, and have seen them as plainly as I see you to-day. The righteous spirits gather together to prepare and qualify themselves for a future day, and evil spirits have no power over them, though they are constantly striving for the mastery. I have seen evil spirits attempt to overcome those holding the Priesthood, and I know how they act.

* * * * *


Jedediah M. Grant: (JD 4:86)

I tell you that the devil is working against us, and Lucifer is in the land. Did you know that he had come to this country? Let me tell you the news to-day, if you have not heard it; he has come to this country and has been seen, the real old fellow himself, the same Lucifer that was cast down from heaven.

Another thing; did you know that all hell is let out for noon? The master is in the school-house, therefore.

* * * * *


[97] Unidentified Early Church Member: (Labors in the Vineyard, 12th Book of the Faith Promoting Series, p. 67.)

(Account of a meeting held on January 28, 1836:)

The Lord blessed His people abundantly in that Temple <Kirtland>, with the Spirit of prophecy; the ministering of angels, visions, etc. I will here relate a vision which was shown to me. It was near the close of the endowments. I was in a meeting for instruction in the upper part of the Temple, with about a hundred of the High Priests, Seventies and Elders. The Saints felt to shout “Hosannah”, and the Spirit of God rested upon me in mighty power and I beheld the room lighted up with a peculiar light such as I had never seen before. It was soft and clear and the room looked to me as though it had neither roof nor floor to the building, and I beheld the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum Smith and Roger Orton enveloped in the light: Joseph exclaimed aloud, “I behold the Savior, the Son of God.” Hyrum said, “I behold the angels of heaven.” Brother Orton exclaimed, “I behold the chariots of Israel.” All who were in the room felt the power of God to that degree that many prophesied, and the power of God was made manifest, the remembrance of which will remain with me while I live upon the earth.

* * * * *


George A. Smith: (JD 11:10)

(Regarding miraculous occurrences on Mar. 27, 1836)

On the first day of the dedication, President Frederick G. Williams, one of the Council of the Prophet, and who occupied the upper pulpit, bore testimony that the Savior, dressed in his vesture without seam, came into the stand and accepted of the dedication of the house, that he saw Him, and gave a description of His clothing and all things pertaining to it. That evening there was a collection of Elders, Priests, Teachers and Deacons, etc., amounting to 416, gathered in the house; there were great manifestations of power, such as speaking in tongues, [98] seeing visions, administration of angels. Many individuals bore testimony that they saw angels, and David Whitmer bore testimony that he saw three angels passing up the south aisle, and there came a shock on the house like the sound of a mighty rushing wind, and almost every man in the house arose, and hundreds of them were speaking in tongues, prophesying or declaring visions, almost with one voice.

* * * * *


George A. Smith: (JD 2:215)

On the evening after the dedication of the Temple <Kirtland>, hundreds of the brethren received the ministering of angels, saw the light and personages of angels, and bore testimony of it. They spake in new tongues, and had a greater manifestation of the power of God than that described by Luke on the day of Pentecost.

* * * * *


Additional Manifestations in Kirtland Temple:

Erastus Snow “spoke of…Peter, James and John…being in the Holy of Holies with golden keys in their hands, in the Arch of the Temple <Kirtland>.” (Charles Walker Diary, p. 157)

Heber C. Kimball testified that “the beloved disciple, John, was seen in our midst by the Prophet Joseph, Oliver Cowdery and others.” (Life of Heber C. Kimball, Orson F. Whitney, p. 104)

Heber C. Kimball declared that “when the Twelve in a circle were anointed, John stood in their midst . . .” and that “Peter was in the stand with a key in his hand and chain . . . I can bring twenty witnesses to prove this. They looked at them for 1-1/2 or 2 hours in the Kirtland Temple.” (Minutes of the School of the Prophets, held at Provo, Utah, May 18, 1868)

* * * * *


[99] Heber C. Kimball: (JD 9:376)

. . . but let me inform you that when Peter came and sat in the Temple in Kirtland, he had on a neat woollen garment, nicely adjusted round the neck. * * *

To return to the subject of the garments of the Holy Priesthood, I will say that the one which Jesus had on when he appeared to the Prophet Joseph was neat and clean, and Peter had on the same kind, and he also had a key in his hand. John also came and administered unto Joseph Smith, and remember that Peter, James and John hold the keys pertaining to their dispensation and pertaining to this, and they came and conferred their priesthood and authority upon Joseph the Seer, . . .

* * * * *


Parley P. Pratt: (JD 1:14)

Shall I speak my feelings, that I had on yesterday, while we were laying those Corner Stones of the <SLC> Temple? Yes, I will utter them, if I can.

It was not with my eyes, not with the power of actual vision, but by my intellect, by the natural faculties inherent in man, by the exercise of my reason, upon known principles, or by the power of the Spirit, that it appeared to me that Joseph Smith, and his associate spirits, the Latter-day Saints, hovered about us on the brink of that foundation, and with them all the angels and spirits from the other world that might be permitted or that were not too busy elsewhere.

* * * * *


Wilford Woodruff: (Mill. Star 58:742)

. . . While in the St. George Temple I had a son who, was in the north country drowned. He was 21 years of age, and was a faithful young man. He had a warning of this. In a dream he was notified how he die. We had a testimony of that after his death. I asked the Lord why [100] he was taken from me. The answer to me was, “You are doing a great deal for the redemption of your dead; but the law of redemption requires some of your own seed in the spirit world to attend to work connected with this.” That was a new principle to me; but it satisfied me why he was taken away. I name this, because there are a great many instances like it among the Latter-day Saints.

* * * * *


Rudger Clawson: (Des. News, Dec. 12, 1936)

On one occasion I heard the late Apostle Marriner W. Merrill, President of the Logan Temple, relate this extraordinary incident:

He was sitting in his office one morning, he said, when he noticed from the window a company of people coming up the hill to the Temple. As they entered the Temple grounds, they presented rather a strange appearance, not only in dress but in their mode of travel. Some were riding on horses, others were in conveyances, and still others were afoot. He wondered who they could be as he was not looking for a company of such size that particular morning. They dismounted from their horses, stepped down from their conveyances, put their animals under the shade and walked about complacently as if they had a perfect right to be there.

A little later a person unknown to Brother Merrill entered the room. Brother Merrill said to him: “Who are you and who are these people who have come up and taken possession of the Temple unannounced?” He answered and said: “I am Satan and these are my people.” Brother Merrill then said: “What do you want? Why have you come here?” Satan replied: “I don’t like the work that is going on in this Temple and feel that it should be discontinued. Will you stop it?” Brother Merrill answered and said emphatically, “No, we will not stop it. The work must go on.” “Since you refuse to stop it, I will tell you what I propose to do,” the adversary said, “I will take these people, my followers, and will instruct them to whisper in the ears of [101] the people, persuading them not to go to the Temple, and thus bring about a cessation of your Temple work.” Satan then withdrew.

President Merrill commenting on this strange interview with the Evil One said that for quite a period of time the spirit of indifference to Temple work seemed to take possession of the people and very few came to the House of the Lord. The presumption was that Satan had carried out his threat which caused a temporary lull in Temple work.

It is not to be wondered at that Satan who is the enemy of all righteousness, is displeased with Temple work.

* * * * *


James Gledhill: (Des. Weekly, 38:28-29)

(Statement made Dec. 18, 1888, in Gunnison, Utah)

Some time in November last, after having done considerable work in the Temple for my dead, I went to bed as usual, and lay meditating upon Temple Work. I heard the clock strike twelve, when my mind was led away, seemingly a long distance, to the foot of a very high mountain; but by what means I got there I do not know. I looked up the mountain as far as my eye could reach, and beheld, as if in another world, a multitude, who were all very joyful.

While I was looking wonderingly at the happy throng, I saw with unspeakable joy my father and mother near me, looking as they did when alive, only more pleased and happy. The man mentioned above seemed as he passed among the people to electrify them with joy. He said to a woman, “I have come to let you people know that they are doing a great work down there for you.” “Down where?” she asked. “There is a place down there called Manti Temple,” he answered. “How do you know?” the woman asked; to which he answered, I have just come from there.” At this the woman broke into exclamations of joy and praise to God, in which the multitude joined. “I must [102] go,” the messenger said, “and let other people know.” They were unwilling to let him go; but he departed.

The people appeared to increase immensely in number around the place where the information was received, until it seemed like an extensive valley filled with persons who were still gathering and rejoicing, and filling up the space as far as the eye could reach.

At this juncture a strange and unpleasant looking individual came up to me and asked me sneeringly what I wanted there?

“I have come to the light,” I answered. “To the light,” he replied gruffly. “Yes,” said I, “To the light; some love darkness more than light, because their deeds are evil, and I have come to the light to make my deeds known.” Upon this he vanished.

Then it appeared to me that I returned; but how I got back I knew not. When I awoke the clock struck three, so I had been in the condition I have described for the space of three hours–the happiest three hours I ever spent in my life.

I am now nearly eighty-two years old, and I write this (trusting you will publish it) in order to encourage my brethren and sisters in the great and grand work of redeeming the dead.

* * * * *


Anthon H. Lund: (Temples of the Most High, Lundwall, p. 116)

I remember one day in the Temple at Manti, a brother from Mount Pleasant rode down to the Temple to take part in the work, and as he passed the cemetery in Ephraim, he looked ahead (it was early in the morning), and there was a large multitude all dressed in white, and he wondered how that could be. Why should there be so many up here; it was too early for a funeral, he thought; but he drove up and several of them stepped out in front of him and they talked to him. They said, “Are you going to the Temple?” “Yes.” “Well, these that you see here are your relatives and they want you to do work for them.” [103] “Yes,” he said, “but I am going down today to finish my work. I have no more names and I do not know the names of those who you say are related to me.” “But when you go down to the Temple today you will find there are records to give our names.” He was surprised. He looked until they all disappeared, and drove on. As he came into the Temple, Recorder Farnsworth came up to him and said, “I have just received records from England and they all belong to you.” And there were hundreds of names that had just arrived, and what was told him by these persons that he saw was fulfilled. You can imagine what joy came to his heart, and what a testimony it was to him, that the Lord wants this work done.

* * * * *


Floy L. Turner: (Lorena Eugenia Washburn Larsen: A Mother in Israel, p. 70)

She <Lorena Larsen> very often would sit up late at night working for genealogy. Sometimes it would be two o’clock in the morning before she would get all of a certain line put down on the family group sheets before she could go to bed.

One night after she had gone to bed and was asleep she was awakened very suddenly–there by her bed stood two women. One of the women spoke to Mother and said, “I am not a blood relative of yours, but I married one of your relatives. You will find my name in a Washburn book in the Manti Temple on page 54 about half way down the page.” Then she gave her name. The two women disappeared.

About a month later, Mother went to the Manti Temple. Peter Poulson was the chief recorder there. Mother approached Bro. Poulson and asked if she could see this certain Washburn book (which she knew was not there, and so Bro. Poulson would say there was no such book there).

Bro. Poulson said, “O.K., Sis. Larsen–I was searching in the vault a week ago and I came to this Washburn book, and I thought you would like to see it, so I laid it aside [104] for you when you came again.” He got the book and handed it to Mother. She was still doubtful as she turned to page 54. To her surprise, there she found it all as the woman had told Mother, and as she had written it down.

* * * * *


Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine: (Vol. 11, p. 119, July 1920.)

A venerable patriarch, who is now dead, once related to the writer the following: The patriarch, who we will call Brother C. came to the Manti Temple some years ago when President John D. McAllister presided there. It was on a Tuesday when baptisms were being performed. Having none of his own to officiate for, he was invited into the room where this sacred ordinance is performed. As he sat and witnessed the ceremony, he became very much interested, as indeed he might be for he was gazing into the spirit world. To his view appeared the spirits of those for whom they were officiating in the font by proxy. There the spirits stood awaiting their turn, and, as the Recorder called out the name of a person to be baptized for, the patriarch noticed a pleasant smile come over the face of the spirit whose name had been called, and he would leave the group of fellow spirits and pass over to the side of the Recorder. There he would watch his own baptism performed by proxy, and then with a joyful countenance would pass away, make room for the next favored personage who was to enjoy the same privilege.

As the eyes of Brother C. were riveted on this beautiful scene, he noticed at last that some were beginning to turn away with sorrowful countenances. Then his mind and sight came to things material. He looked around him and saw that the font room was nearly empty, the day’s baptisms were at an end, and the Recorder was gathering up his records and stepping down from his desk.

“I often think of this event,” says Brother Carpenter, “for I so often sit at the font, and call off the names for the ordinances to be performed which means so much to the dead.”

* * * * *


[105] Wilford Woodruff: (JD 21:317-318)

I have had many interviews with Brother Joseph until the last 15 or 20 years of my life; I have not seen him for that length of time. But during my travels in the southern country last winter I had many interviews with President Young, and with Heber C. Kimball, and Geo. A. Smith, and Jedediah M. Grant, and many others who are dead. They attended our conference, they attended our meetings. And on one occasion, I saw Brother Brigham and Brother Heber ride in <a> carriage ahead of the carriage in which I rode when I was on my way to attend conference; and they were dressed in the most priestly robes. When we arrived at our destination, I asked Prest. Young if he would preach to us. He said, “No, I have finished my testimony in the flesh; I shall not talk to this people any more. But (said he) I have come to see you; I have come to watch over you, and to see what the people are doing. Then (said he) I want you to teach the people–and I want you to follow this counsel yourself–that they must labor and so live as to obtain the Holy Spirit, for without this you cannot build up the kingdom; without the spirit of God you are in danger of walking in the dark, and in danger of failing to accomplish your calling as apostles and as elders in the church and kingdom of God. And, said he, Brother Joseph taught me this principle.” And I will here say, I have heard him refer to that while he was living. But what I was going to say is this: the thought came to me that Brother Joseph had left the work of watching over this church and kingdom to others, and that he had gone ahead, and that he had left this work to men who have lived and labored with us since he left us. This idea manifested itself to me, that such men advance in the spirit world. And I believe myself that these men who have died and gone into the spirit world had this mission left with them, that is, a certain portion of them, to watch over the Latter-day Saints.

* * * * *


[106] William Hurst: (Diary Of William Hurst, pp. 204-205)

In the fall and winter of 1892-1893 I worked at painting in the Salt Lake Temple. Although sick, I felt strongly impressed to go and do my very best.

At noon the third day after beginning, President Woodruff called all of the workmen together. He said he had been told that some of the workmen had stated that it would be impossible to have the temple completed by April 6th. He said when he looked at this body of men he didn’t believe a word of it. “Some of you may be sick and weak” (I thought he was talking to me) he continued, “Some of you may give out at night, but you will be here in the morning if you are faithful. You are not here by accident. You were ordained in the Eternal World to perform this work. Brethren, I will be here April 6th to dedicate this building. I know what I am talking about for this was shown me in a vision 50 years ago in the city of Boston.”

Along about March, 1893, I found myself alone in the dining room–all had gone to bed. I was sitting at the table when to my great surprise my old brother Alfred walked in, sat down opposite me at the table and smiled. I said to him (he looked so natural): “When did you arrive in Utah?” (He had lived in New Zealand and from whom I had not heard in years.)

He said: “I have just come from the Spirit World; this is not my body that you see, it is lying in the tomb. I want to tell you that when you were on your mission you told me many things about the Gospel, and the hereafter, and about the Spirit World being as real and tangible as the earth. I realized that you had told the truth. I attended the Mormon meetings.” He raised his hand and said with much warmth: “I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ with all my heart. I believe in faith and repentance and baptism for the remission of sins, but that is as far as I can go. I look to you to do the work for me in the temple.” He continued: “You can go to any kind of sectarian meeting in the Spirit World. All our kindred there knew you were trying to make up your mind to come and work on the temple. You are watched closely, every move you [107] make is known there; and we were glad you came. We are all looking to you as our head in this great work. I want to tell you that there are a great many spirits who weep and mourn because they have relatives in the Church here who are careless and are doing nothing for them.” He then disappeared.

As I sat pondering upon what I had seen and heard, with my heart filled with thanks and gratitude to God, the door opened again and my brother Alexander walked in and sat down in the chair that Alfred had occupied. He had died in 1852 in New Zealand. I did the work for both he and Father in April, 1885. He had come from a different sphere, he looked more like an angel as his countenance was beautiful to look upon. With a very pleasant smile he said: “Fred, I have come to thank you for doing my work for me; but you did not go quite far enough,” and he paused. Suddenly it was shown to me in large characters, “no man without the woman and no woman without the man in the Lord.”

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The Contributor: (16:117-118)

Another remarkable manifestation was related to me by a lad named George Monk of Payson, Utah County. He was at the time eleven years old. Unfortunately I have no notes of his statements, which, however, was substantially as follows:

He was at the dedication services accompanied by his mother and grandmother. He said he saw a man appear at the southeast circular window of the assembly hall of the Temple. This personage looked into the interior. The boy drew his mother’s attention to this visitor, but she could not see him. Suddenly he requested her to look at two others flying or floating across the upper part of the hall from south to north, and then stated that five others had entered the large compartment and were ranged upon the wide ledge which runs along the wall under the row of circular windows.

[108] The lad was astonished to learn that his mother was unable to see any of those glorious personages, whom he described as the “prettiest men” he ever saw in his life. At the conclusion of the services as soon as Elder John Henry Smith arose to pronounce the benediction, the boy said in ecstasy: “Mama, look at that one under the clock, he is the prettiest of them all. See! he is holding up both hands like this,” at the same time holding his own hands up as an illustration.

This bright, innocent boy told his story by request to several persons, it being each time similar in every detail. When on a visit to the Temple subsequently he pointed out the positions and movements of the eight personages as he saw them. Sister Monk corroborated, as far as could be done by her, in view of the fact that she was unable to see the angels herself, the statements of her son, who has the reputation of being a well-behaved and religiously inclined lad. The latter gave details as to the clothing of the holy beings, saying that they were dressed in loose flowing white robes. Most, if not all, had long and somewhat wavy hair. He was particularly struck with the great beauty of the one who stood over the canopy of the Melchizedek Priesthood stand during the benediction, at the close of which he suddenly vanished from view.

* * * * *


Edward J. Wood (Pres. of Cardston Temple):

(Temples of the Most High, N.B. Lundwall, pp. 166-67)

It was during one of the caravan visits that the following incident happened: Quite an elderly lady (a member of the caravan) was in the Temple to do the work for herself and to have the work performed for her husband, and then to be sealed to her husband and their children to them. One of the Elders was acting as proxy for the dead husband and father, and two brethren who were members of the branch to which the old lady belonged were kneeling at the altar as proxy for the dead children–two sons as reported by the old lady.

[109] The sealing room was filled with neighbors and friends who wished to do the old lady honor. As I held the sheet in my hand to seal the two sons whose birth and death, etc., were duly filled out by the old lady (their mother), I was impressed to ask her if these two sons were the only children she had, and she said: “Yes.” I then proceeded to seal these sons, when I heard a voice behind me, as I thought saying: “I am her child.” I then stopped and asked again: “Are you sure you never had any other children?” She answered as before, but with some hesitation: “Yes, Brother Wood, the record is right.” But I felt sure there was a feeling of doubt in the room, and as I was again about to proceed, the voice again spoke to me with greater emphasis, saying, “I am her daughter.” I looked around and into the faces of all who witnessed this wonderful manifestation and then I spoke as kindly as possible to the old lady, saying, “Surely, grandmother, you had a daughter, didn’t you?” She then broke into tears and asked that all be seated and said she hoped we would forgive her, as she had a little girl in her early married life, and then a lapse of several years before she had the two boys in their order, and that in her great anxiety to have her children sealed while on this, her first visit to a Temple, she had overlooked recording the name of the little girl. She then asked that she might meet and relate this experience in our devotional exercise the next morning and ask forgiveness of all the caravan company. In the morning she asked to come to the stand and as she was about to speak, she turned to me and asked how I knew she had another child. I then told her what I had heard in the sealing room. She stood in silence and wept for joy as the vast audience did also, as she bore testimony of the nearness of those whom we officiate for in the Temple when the sealing ordinance is being performed for them. The record was then completed and in the afternoon the three children were sealed by proxy at the altar and all witnesses were again in tears and the room seemed filled with an influence most divine.

* * * * *


[110] “Mission Unfinished”, by Peter E. Johnson

(Relief Society Magazine, Aug. 1920)

I reached my mission field in Mississippi the 22nd of June, 1898, and on the 8th of August was taken down with chills and fever, which turned to malaria. I was so low that the Mission President sent his counselor and two elders to see me in relation to being released and sent home. However, the yellow fever quarantine was placed on me and I was not able to leave. Then it was that I had the following marvelous experience:

I was lying on the bed burning up with fever so much that the elders, who had been sent to ascertain my condition, became very much alarmed. They stepped out of the room and held whispered consultations. They were so far away that under ordinary conditions I could not have heard what was said; but in some manner my hearing was made so keen that I heard their conversation as well as if they had been at my bedside. They said it was impossible to think of my recovering, and that I never would go home unless I went home in a box. They therefore decided they might just as well notify the Mission President and make the necessary arrangements.

The following day I asked to be removed into the hall where it was cooler. I was lying on a pallet (or bed). There was an attendant with me, the others having gone to Sunday School, which was being held about one hundred yards away.

Soon after they had left I was, apparently, in a dying condition. My attendant became so fearful of my appearance and condition that he left me. I desired a drink of water, but, of course, was unable to get it myself. I became discouraged, and wondered why it was that I was sent to Mississippi, and whether it was simply to die in the field. I felt that I would prefer death to living and enduring the fever and agony through which I was passing. I thought of my people at home and of the conditions then surrounding me, and decided that I might just as well pass from this life.

[111] Just as I reached that conclusion, the thought came to me: “You will not die unless you choose death.” This was a new thought to me, and I hesitated to consider the question. Then I made the choice that I would rather die.

Soon after that my spirit left my body. Just how, I cannot tell; but I perceived myself standing some four or five feet in the air, and saw my body lying on the bed. I felt perfectly natural, but as this was a new condition, I began to make observations. I turned my head, shrugged my shoulders, felt with my hands, and realized that it was I, myself. I also knew that my body was lying, lifeless, on the bed. While I was in a new environment, it did not seem strange, for I realized everything that was going on and perceived that I was the same in the spirit as I had been in the body.

While contemplating this new condition, something attracted my attention, and on turning around I beheld a personage who said, “You did not know that I was here.”

I replied, “No, but I see you are. Who are you?”

“I am your guardian angel. I have been following you constantly while on earth.”

“What are you going to do now?” I asked.

“I am to report your presence, and you will remain here until I return,” he replied.

He informed me on returning that we should wait there, since my sister desired to see me and was busy at that moment. Presently she came. She was glad to see me and asked if I was offended because she kept me waiting. She explained that she was doing some work that she wished to finish.

Just before my eldest sister died, she asked me to enter into this agreement: That if she died first, she was to watch over me, protect me from those who might seek my downfall, and that she would be the first to meet me after death. We made the agreement and that is why my sister was the first one of my relatives to meet me. After she arrived, my mother and other sisters and friends came to see me, and we discussed various topics much as we would on earth upon meeting old friends.

[112] After we had spent some little time in conversation, the guide came to me with a message that I was wanted by some of the apostles who had lived on the earth in this dispensation. As soon as I came into their presence, I was asked if I desired to remain there. This seemed strange, for it had never occurred to me that we would have any choice there in the spirit world, as to whether we should remain or return to earth life.

I was asked if I felt satisfied with conditions there. I informed them that I was, and that I had no desire to return to the fever and misery from which I had been suffering while in the body. After some little conversation, this question was repeated, and I still gave the same answer. Then I asked, “If I remain here, what will I be asked to do?” I was informed that I would preach the Gospel to the spirits there just as l had been preaching it to the people here; and that I would do so under the immediate direction of the Prophet Joseph.

This remark brought to my mind a question which has been much discussed here, as to whether or not the Prophet Joseph Smith is now a resurrected being. While I did not ask the question, they read it in my mind and immediately said, “You wish to know whether the Prophet has his body or not?”

I replied, “Yes, I would like to know.” I was told that the Prophet Joseph Smith has his body, as does also his brother Hyrum; and that as soon as I could do more with my body than I could do without it, my body would also be resurrected to me.

Once more I was asked if I desired to remain. This bothered me considerably, for I had already expressed myself as being satisfied. I then inquired why it was that I was asked so often if I was satisfied and if I desired to remain. I was then informed that my progenitors had made a request that if I chose, I might be granted the privilege of returning and again taking up my mortal body, in order that I might gather my father’s genealogy and do the necessary work in the temple for my ancestors.

As I was still undecided, one of the apostles said, “We will now show you what will take place if you remain [113] here in the spirit world; after which you can decide.” We then returned to the place where my body was lying, and I was informed with emphasis that my first duty would be to watch the body until after it had been disposed of, as that was necessary knowledge for me to have in the resurrection. It was then unfolded how the elders would send a message of my death to President Rich at Chattanooga, and in due time all preparations would be made for the shipment of my body to Utah.

One thing seemed peculiar to me. I was able to read the telegram as it ran along the wires, as easily as I could read the pages of a book. I could see President Rich when he received the telegram in Chattanooga. He walked the floor, wringing his hands, with the thought in his mind: “How can I send a message to his father?” The message was finally sent, however, and I could follow it on the wire. I saw the station and the telegraph operator at Price, Utah. I heard the instrument click as the message was received, and saw the operator write out the message and send it by phone from Price to Huntington. I also saw clearly the Huntington office and the man who received the message. I could even see the people on the street as the message was circulated. I did not have to hear what was said, for I was able to read their thoughts from their countenances. The message was delivered to my aunt who went out with others to find my father.

In due time, he received the message. He did not seem to be overcome by the news, but began to make preparations to meet the body. I then saw my father at the railroad station in Price, waiting for my body to arrive. Apparently, he was unaffected; but when he heard the whistle of the train which was carrying my body, he went behind the depot and cried as if his heart would break. While I had been accompanying the body enroute, I was still able to see what was going on at home. The distance, apparently, did not affect my vision. As the train approached the station, I went to my father’s side, and seeing his great anguish, I informed my companion that I would return. He expressed his approval of my decision and said he was pleased with the choice I had made. [114] By some spiritual power, all these things had been shown to me as they would occur if I did not return to my body.

Immediately upon making this choice or decision, my companion said, “Good. Your progenitors will be very pleased with your decision.” I asked why, and was told that it was their desire that I should return to my body and hunt up my father’s genealogies, and do their work in the temple. In all this time, no one had offered to touch me or to shake my hand.

Just how my spirit entered the body, I cannot tell, but I saw the apostle place his hands upon the head of my prostrate body, and almost instantly I realized that the change had come and I was again in the body. The first thing that I knew, I felt a warm life-giving spot on the crown of my head, which passed through my entire body, going out to the tips of my fingers and toes. I then heard distinctly the same words that had been pronounced by Elder Grant when I was set apart for my mission, “Go in peace, and return in safety.” After entering my body, I saw no more of the messengers who had been accompanying me, but I had a vivid recollection of all that had taken place.

The local elder, who had been left to attend me, but who became frightened at my condition and went away, had not yet returned; but I later learned that he had gone to Sunday School and, at the close of the exercises, he notified them of my death.

The Saints, elders and friends were now gathered outside the paling, or fence, discussing matters, and trying to decide just what to do. I was still very thirsty, so I arose to get a drink, but found that the water was warm. I then carried the bucket of warm water to the edge of the balcony and threw it out. Then I went down to the well, which was seventy-five feet deep, and drew a fresh bucket of water and quenched my thirst.

The Saints, elders and friends who were out at the fence, were observing all this, but they feared to come near me. Finally, Brother Morton, at whose home I was stopping, came through the gate and up the walk toward me, but before reaching me, he turned icy cold and stood [115] still. I went up to him and shook hands, and invited all of them to come in and handle me, telling them that a spirit did not have flesh and bones like me.

Brother Morton looked at me, felt of me, turned me around, then went and looked at the bed on which I had been lying while sick. He then came back and handled me again and said, “I never was so scared in my life, for I thought you were a spirit.” I told him that I was not now a spirit, but a real, tangible person. “How could you carry that bucket of water,” he said, “throw it out and draw another, when for over a month you have had to be waited upon, and finally we all thought you were dead?” I explained that I had been completely healed by an apostle and had come back to stay with them.

I observed that the people in the spirit world were busy, and that they were perfectly organized for the work they were doing. It seemed to me a continuation of the work we are doing here–something like going from one stake of Zion to another. There was nothing there that seemed particularly strange to me, everything being quite natural.

I have often been asked how long I was in the spirit world. The last I remember of hearing mortal sounds was the singing when Sunday School commenced. When I got up and drew the water, Sunday School had closed. The local elder who attended me, did not notify them of my death until just as they were closing. Sunday Schools were held one and one-half hours.

* * * * *


“Raised from the Dead”

(Condensed from Sept.-Oct., 1929, issues of The Improvement Era, 32:883; also Y.W. Journal 4:164. Compare with Life of Lorenzo Snow, p. 406.)

This story, true in every particular, shows the fulfillment of a prophecy made upon the head of Lorenzo Snow when he received a patriarchal blessing under the hands of the Prophet’s father, Joseph Smith, Senior. It was [116] given in the Kirtland Temple, and among other things were these promises:

“Thou shalt become a mighty man. Thy faith shall increase and grow stronger until it shall become like Peter’s. Thou shalt restore the sick; the diseased shall send to thee their aprons and handkerchiefs, and by thy touch their owners shall be made whole. The dead shall arise and come forth at thy bidding.”

It was March 3, 1891, and for several long weeks Ella Jensen, a young girl of 19 at Brigham City, Utah, had lingered, almost between life and death, with Scarlet Fever. Leah Rees, her girlfriend, was serving her as night nurse, and it was about three or four o’clock in the morning, when, as Leah reports it, “I was suddenly awakened by Ella calling me to get the comb, brush and scissors. She explained that she wanted to brush her hair and trim her finger nails, and get all ready, `For,’ said she, `they are coming to get me at ten o’clock this morning.’

“I asked who was coming to get her.”

“`Uncle Hans Jensen and the messengers,’ she replied. `I am going to die and they are coming at ten o’clock to get me and take me away.'”

“I tried to quiet her, saying that she would feel better in the morning if she would try to sleep.”

“`No,’ she said, `I am not going to sleep any more, but I am going to spend all the time getting ready.'”

“She insisted that I get the comb, hairbrush and scissors, which I did, but she was so weak that she could not use them. As I was brushing her hair, she asked me to call her parents. I explained that they were tired and asleep and that it would be better not to disturb them.”

“`Yes,’ insisted Ella, `you must call them. I want to tell them now.'”

“The parents were called, and as they entered the room, the daughter told them that her Uncle Hans, who was dead, had suddenly appeared in the room, while she was awake with her eyes open, and had told her that messengers would be there at ten o’clock to conduct her into the spirit world. The father and mother feared that the girl was delirious and tried to get her to be quiet and [117] go to sleep. She knew their thoughts and said, `I know what I am talking about. No, I am not going to sleep anymore. I know I am going to die, and that they are coming to get me.'”

Ella, realizing the end was very near, summoned each one of her family to kiss and bid them goodbye. She called each one by name as they came to the bedside. But her brother Budd was out and had not returned. As it drew toward ten o’clock, she felt she could not go until she had seen him. She was gasping for breath and exerting all her strength to hold on until Budd got back. Grandma Jensen arrived, and just as Ella had embraced and kissed her, Budd came in with Mrs. Nelson. Ella threw her arms around her brother’s neck, kissed him, and then fell back on her pillow–dead. It was just ten o’clock.

Ella’s father left at once to report to President Snow and consult him regarding arrangements for the funeral. Sister Nelson washed and laid Ella out, dressed her in clean linen, and Budd took the doctor back home, who had been called in this emergency. Meanwhile, news of her death spread about.

It was towards noon when Jacob Jensen, Ella’s father, reported to President Snow at the tabernacle service, because it was more than a mile to town and he had to hitch up the horse to drive there. They returned together with Rudger Clawson, who was then the President of the Box Elder Stake.

After standing at Ella’s bedside for a minute or two, President Snow asked if there were any consecrated oil in the house. All were greatly surprised, but the oil was secured for him. He handed the bottle of oil to Brother Clawson and asked him to anoint Ella, after which Brother Snow confirmed the anointing.

Particularly impressive among others, were these words that he used, “Dear Ella, I command you, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to come back and live. Your mission is not ended.” His voice was very commanding, “Come back, Ella, come back! Your work upon the earth is not yet completed. Come back! You shall yet live to perform a great mission.”

[118] Ella remained in her dead condition for more than an hour after President Snow administered to her, or more than three hours in all after she had died. Her mother and father were sitting there watching by the bedside, when all at once she opened her eyes, looked about the room, and saw them sitting there.

But she still looked for someone else, and the first thing she said was, “Where is he? Where is he?”

“Where is who?”

“Why, Brother Snow,” she replied. “He called me back.”

They explained to her that Brother Snow and Brother Clawson were very busy and could not remain, and that they had gone.

Ella then dropped her head back on her pillow, saying, “Why did he call me back? I was so happy and did not want to come back.”

Then Ella Jensen began to relate her marvelous experiences; marvelous both as to the incidents themselves, and as to the great number of them that occurred in the short space of time between three and four hours. And furthermore, the very nature of these incidents prove that she was telling nothing but the truth.

“At ten o’clock my spirit left my body,” related Ella. “It took me sometime to make up my mind to go, as I could hear and see the folks crying and mourning over me. It was very hard to me to leave them, but as soon as I had a glimpse of the other world, I was anxious to go, and all the care and worry left me.

“I entered a large hall. It was so long that I could not see the end of it. It was filled with people. As I was conducted through the throng, the first person I recognized was my Grandpa H. P. Jensen, who was sitting in one end of the room writing. He looked up and seemed surprised to see me. He said, “Why! There is my granddaughter, Ella!”

“He was very much pleased, greeted me and, as he continued with his writing, I passed on through the room and met a great many of my relatives and friends. It was like going along the crowded street of a large city where you meet many people, only a very few of whom you recognize.

[119] “The next one I knew was Uncle Hans Jensen with his wife, Mary Ellen. They had two small children with them. On inquiring who they were, he told me one was his own and the other was Uncle Will’s little girl.

“Some seemed to be in family groups. As there were only a few whom I could recognize and who knew me, I kept moving on. Some inquired about their friends and relatives on the earth. Among the number was my cousin. He asked me how the folks were getting along and said it grieved him to hear that some of the boys were using tobacco, liquor, and many things that were injurious to them.

“This proved to me that the people in the other world know to a great extent what happens here on the earth.

“The people were all dressed in white or cream, excepting Uncle Hans Jensen, who (for this occasion) had on his dark clothes and long rubber boots–the things he wore when he was drowned in the Snake River in Idaho.

“Everybody appeared to be perfectly happy. I was having a very pleasant visit with each one that I knew. Finally, I reached the end of that long room. I opened a door and went into another room filled with children. They were all arranged in perfect order, the largest ones in the back rows all around the room. They seemed to be convened in a sort of Primary or Sunday School, which was presided over by Aunt Eliza R. Snow. There were hundreds of small children there.”

“It was,” continued Ella, “while I was standing listening to the children singing, `Gladly Meeting, Kindly Greeting,’ that I heard President Lorenzo Snow call me. He said, `Sister Ella, you must come back, as your mission is not yet finished here on earth.’ So I just spoke to Aunt Eliza R. Snow and told her that I must go back.

“Returning through the large room, I told the people I was going back to the earth, but they seemed to want me to stay with them. I obeyed the call, although it was very much against my desire, as such perfect peace and happiness prevailed there–no suffering and no sorrow. I was so taken up with all I saw and heard that I did hate very much to leave that beautiful place.

[120] “This has always been a source of comfort to me. I learned by this experience that we should not grieve too much for our departed loved ones, and especially at the time they leave us. I think we should be just as calm and quiet as possible, because, as I was leaving my mortal life, the only regret I had was that the folks were grieving so much for me. But I soon forgot all about this world in my delight with the other.

“For more than three hours my spirit was gone from my body. As I returned, I could see my body lying on the bed and the folks gathered about in the room. I wanted to stay only a short time on earth to comfort them.”

Ella frequently told of the terrible suffering that she experienced when the spirit again entered the body. There was practically no pain on leaving the body in death, but the intense pain was almost unbearable in coming back to life. Not only this, but for months, and even years afterward, she experienced new aches and pains and physical disorders that she had never known before.

Some of the people Ella described as having met in this spirit sojourn were her aunts and second cousins, long since dead and laid away before she was born. She told her Aunt Harriet Wight, who had lost two daughters, not to mourn them, for she had seen them and had talked with them, and they were very happy in their new sphere of existence.

Many relatives and others visited Ella, and she told them the same story–of how she had met their relatives and friends over there, how happy they were, and that they had asked about their loved ones here.

When Leah Rees, her night nurse, came to stay with Ella the next night, she told her about having seen her (Leah’s) father and several others of her people who had passed away, as well as her own Grandpa Jensen–all of whom appeared very happy.

One person Ella was puzzled about seeing in the spirit world was little Alphie, the son of Alphonzo H. Snow. He had been in her Sunday School class in the First Ward, and she did not know that he had just died. When she told her mother, she said, “Yes, Ella, little Alphie is [121] dead, too. He died early this morning while you were so very sick. We knew you loved him and that it would be a shock to you, so we did not tell you about his death.” But, nevertheless, she had recognized the little fellow happily singing among the children under the direction of Eliza R. Snow.

It was while sitting there listening to those children that she heard a voice coming to her in commanding tones, apparently from a long distance, which said, “Come back, Ella, come back! Your work on earth is not yet completed.” And, although she had no desire to come back, but on the contrary, felt determined to remain in that beautiful world, the voice was so authoritative in manner that it seemed to draw, yes, actually draw her spirit out of that room and back to her body. She felt compelled to follow it and return to earth, where she filled to the fullness, her life’s mission on earth, becoming a mother in Israel, and doing much for the glory of God and her own exaltation in the service of the Lord. She is now known as Mrs. Henry Wight of Brigham City, Utah.

* * * * *


“A Heavenly Manifestation” (Of Heber Q. Hale, Pres. of the Boise, Idaho, Stake)

It is with a very humble and grateful spirit that I attempt to relate on this occasion, by request, a personal experience which is very sacred to me. I must of necessity be brief. Furthermore, there were certain things made known to me which I do not feel at liberty to relate here.

Let me say by way of preface, that between the hours of 12 to 7:30 during the night of January 20, 1920, while alone in a room at the home of my friend W. F. Rawson, in Carey, Idaho, this glorious manifestation was vouchsafed to me.

I was not conscious of anything that transpired during the hours mentioned, except what I experienced in this manifestation. I did not turn over in bed, nor was I disturbed by any sound, which is indeed unusual for me.

[122] Whether it be called a dream, an apparition, a vision or a pilgrimage of my spirit into the world of spirits, I know not–I care not. I know that I actually saw and experienced the things related in this Heavenly Manifestation, and that they are as real to me as any experience in my life. For me, at least, this is sufficient.

Of all the doctrines and practices of the Church, the vicarious work for the dead has been the most difficult for me to comprehend and to wholeheartedly accept. I, therefore, consider this vision as the Lord’s answer to the prayer of my soul on this and certain other questions.

I passed but a short distance from my body through a film into the world of spirit. This was my first experience after going to sleep. I seemed to realize that I had passed through the change called “death,” and I so referred to it in my conversation with the immortal beings with whom I immediately came into contact. I readily observed their displeasure at our use of the word “death,” and the fear which we attach to it. There they use another word in referring to this transition from mortality, which word I do not now recall, and I can only approach its meaning as the impression was left in my mind by calling it, “The New Birth.”

My first visual impression was the nearness of the world of spirit to the world of mortality. The vastness of this heavenly sphere was bewildering to the eyes of the spirit-novice, especially the many enjoyable, unrestricted freedoms as to both vision and action. The vegetation and landscape were beautiful beyond description–not all green as on the earth, but gold with varying shades of pink, orange and lavender like the rainbow. A sweet calmness pervaded everything.

The people I met there I did not think of as spirits, but as men and women, self-thinking and self-acting individuals, going about important business in a most orderly manner. There was perfect order and everybody had something to do and seemed to be about their business.

That the inhabitants of the spirit world are classified according to their lives of purity and their subserviency to the Father’s will, was subsequently made apparent. Particularly was it observed that the wicked and unrepentant [123] are confined to a certain district by themselves, the boundaries of which are as definitely determined and impassable to them as the line marking the division of the physical from the spiritual world is to us–a mere film, but impassable until the person himself is changed.

The world of spirit is the temporary abode of all spirits pending the resurrection from the dead and the Judgment Day. There was much activity within the different spheres, and appointed ministers of salvation were seen coming from the higher to the lower spheres in pursuit of their missionary work.

I had a very pronounced desire to meet certain of my kinsfolk and friends, but I was at once impressed with the fact that I had entered a tremendously great and extensive world, even greater than our earth and more numerously inhabited. I could be in only one place at a time, could do only one thing at a time, could look only one direction at a time, and accordingly, it would require many, many years to search out and converse with all those I had known and those whom I desired to meet, unless they were especially summoned to receive me.

All worthy men and women were appointed to special and regular service under a well organized plan of action, directed principally toward preaching the Gospel to the unconverted, teaching those who seek knowledge, and establishing family relationships and gathering genealogies for the use and benefit of mortal survivors of their respective families, that the work of baptism and the sealing ordinances may be vicariously performed for the departed in the Temples of God upon the earth. The authorized representatives of families in the world of spirits have access to our Temple records and are kept fully advised of the work done therein.

However, vicarious work done here does not always become automatically effective over there. The recipients must first believe and repent, then they may accept their baptism and confirmation by receiving certain consummation ordinances that effectualize these saving principles in the lives of these regenerated beings.

And so the great work is going on; they doing a work there which we cannot do here, and we doing a work here [124] which they cannot do there–both necessary–each the complement of the other; thus bringing about the salvation of all of God’s children who will be saved in the highest kingdom.

I was surprised to find that there were no babies in arms. I met the infant son of Orson W. Rawlins, my first counselor. I immediately recognized him as the baby who died a few years ago, and yet he seemed to have the intelligence and, in certain respects, the appearance of an adult, and was engaged in matters pertaining to his family and their genealogy.

However, my mind was quite content on the point that mothers will again (in the resurrection) receive into their arms their children who died in infancy, and raise them to maturity. The fact remains that entrance into the world of spirit at early ages is not an inhibition to growth, but is the greatest opportunity for development. Babies are just adult spirits in infant bodies.

I presently beheld mighty multitudes of men–the largest I have ever seen gathered in one place, whom I immediately recognized as soldiers–the millions who had been slaughtered and rushed so savagely into the world of spirit during the great World War. <World War I>

Among them moved calmly and majestically, a great general in supreme command. As I drew nearer, I received the kindly smile and generous welcome of that great and loving man–General Richard W. Young, formerly of Salt Lake City. Then came the positive conviction to my mind, that of all men, living or dead, there is not one who is so perfectly fitted for this great mission unto which he had been called, than was he. He commands immediately the attention and respect of all the soldiers under him. He is at once a great general and a great High Priest of God.

No earthly field of labor to which he could have been assigned can compare with it in importance and extent. I passed from this scene to return later, when I found that General Young had this vast army of men completely organized with the officers over successive divisions and all were seated, and he was preaching the Gospel in great earnestness to them.

[125] As I passed on, I soon met my beloved mother. She greeted me most affectionately and expressed surprise at seeing me there, and reminded me that I had not completed my allotted mission on the earth. She seemed to be going somewhere and was in a hurry, so accordingly she took her leave by saying that she would see me again.

I moved forward, covering an appreciable distance and consuming considerable time viewing the wonderful sights of landscapes, parks, trees and flowers; and meeting people, some of whom I knew, but many thousands of whom I did not recognize.

I presently approached a small group of men standing in a path which was lined with spacious stretches of flowers, grass and shrubbery–all of a golden hue, marking the approach to a beautiful building. The group was engaged in an earnest conversation. One of their number parted from the rest and came walking down the path toward me. I at once recognized our esteemed president, the late Joseph F. Smith.

He embraced me as a father would his son, and after a few words of greeting, quickly remarked, “You have not come to stay”–which remark I understood more as a declaration than an interrogation. For the first time, I became fully conscious of my uncompleted mission on earth, and as much as I would have like to remain, I at once asked President Smith when I might return.

“You have expressed a righteous desire,” he replied, “and I shall take the matter up with the authorities and let you know later.”

We then turned and he led me toward the little group of men from whom he had just separated. I immediately recognized President Brigham Young and the Prophet Joseph Smith. I was surprised to find the former a shorter and heavier built man than I had expected. On the other hand, I found the latter to be taller than I had expected to find him. Both they and President Smith were possessed of a calm and holy majesty which was at once kind and kingly. President Smith then introduced me to the others, who greeted me warmly. We then retraced our steps and President Smith took his leave from me, saying that he would see me again.

[126] From a certain point of vantage, I was permitted to view this earth and what was going on here. There were no limitations to my vision, and I was astounded at this. I saw my wife and children at home. I saw President Heber J. Grant at the head of the great Church and Kingdom of God, and felt the divine power that radiated from God, giving Light and truth to the Church and guiding its destiny. I beheld this nation founded as it is upon correct principles and designed to endure, beset by evil and sinister forces that seek to lead men astray and to thwart the purposes of God. I saw towns and cities and the sins and wickedness of men and women within them. I saw vessels sailing upon the ocean, and I scanned the battle-scarred fields of France and Belgium. In a word, I beheld the whole world as if it were but a panorama in review before my eyes.

Then there came to me the unmistakable impression that this earth and the scenes and persons upon it are open to the vision of the spirits only when special permission is given or when they are assigned to some special service here. This is particularly true of the righteous who are busily engaged in the service of the Lord and who cannot be engaged in two fields of activity at the same time.

The wicked and unrepentant spirits having still, like all the rest, their free agency, and applying themselves to no useful or wholesome undertaking, seek the pleasures of degenerate humanity. To this extent they are still the tools of Satan. It is these idle, mischievous and deceptive spirits who appear as miserable counterfeits at spiritualistic seances, table-dancing and ouija board operations. The noble and great ones do not respond to the call of mediums, and to every curious group of meddlesome inquirers. They would not do it in mortality; certainly they would not do it in their increased state of knowledge in the world of immortality. These wicked and unrepentant spirits as allies of Satan and his hosts, operate through willing mediums in the flesh. These three forces constitute an unholy trinity upon the earth, and are responsible for all the sin, wickedness, distress and misery among men and nations.

[127] I moved forward, feasting my eyes upon the beauties of everything about me and glorying in the indescribable peace and happiness that abounded in everybody and through everything. The farther I went, the more glorious things appeared. While standing at a certain vantage point, I beheld a short distance away a wonderfully beautiful Temple, capped with golden domes, from which emerged a small group of men dressed in white robes, who paused for a brief conversation. These were the first men I had seen thus clad. The millions that I had previously seen were dressed in various individual styles; the soldiers for instance were in uniform.

In this little group of holy men my eyes rested upon One more splendorous and holy than all the rest. While I thus gazed upon them, President Joseph F. Smith parted from the others and came to my side. “Do you know Him?”, he inquired.

I quickly answered, “Yes, I know Him! My eyes behold my Lord and Savior!”

“It is true!” said President Smith. And, oh, how my soul was thrilled with rapture, and unspeakable joy filled my heart.

President Smith then informed me that I had been given permission to return and complete my mission on the earth which the Lord had appointed me to fill. Then with his hand upon my shoulder, he uttered these memorable and significant words, “Brother Heber, you have a great work to do. Go forward with a prayerful heart and you shall be blessed in your ministry. From this time on, never doubt that God lives; that Jesus Christ is His Son, the Savior of the world; that the Holy Ghost is a God Spirit and a Messenger of the Father and Son.

“Never doubt the resurrection of the dead, the immortality of the soul; that the mission of the Latter-day Saints is to save all the world, all mankind, both living and dead; and that the great work in the holy Temples for the salvation of the dead has only begun.

“Know this, that Joseph Smith was sent of God to usher in the Gospel Dispensation of the Fullness of Time, which is the last unto mortals upon earth. His successors [128] have all been called and approved of God. President Heber J. Grant is at this time recognized as the ordained head of the Church of Jesus Christ upon the earth. Give him your confidence and support.

“Much you have seen and heard here, you will not be permitted to repeat when you return.” Thus concluding, he bade me, “Goodbye, and God bless you.”

I traveled quite a distance through various scenes and passed innumerable people before I reached the sphere where I had first entered. On my way, I was greeted by many friends and relatives, certain of whom sent words of greeting and counsel to their dear ones on earth, my mother being one of them.

One other I will mention; I met Brother John Adamson, his wife, his son James, and daughter Isabelle, all of whom were killed by the hand of a foul assassin at Carey, Idaho, on the evening of October 29, 1915. They seemed to divine that I was on my way back to mortality and immediately said, Brother Adamson speaking, “Tell the children that we are very happy, and that they should not mourn our departure or worry their minds over the manner by which we were taken. There is a purpose in it and we have work here to do which requires our collective effort and which we could not do individually.”I was at once made to know that the work referred to was that of genealogy on which they were working in England and Scotland.

One of the grandest and most sacred things of heaven is family relationship. The establishing of a complete chain without any broken links brings a fullness of joy. Links wholly have been dropped out and other new links put in, or two adjoining links welded together. Men and women throughout the world are moved upon by their dead ancestors to gather genealogies. The ordinances of baptism, endowments, and sealings which are performed in the Temple of God by the living for the dead constitute the welding of the links for the chain. The ordinances are performed in the spirit world effectualizing in the recipients the saving principles of the Gospel which are vicariously performed on earth.

[129] As I was approaching the place where I had entered, my attention was attracted to a small group of women preparing what appeared to be wearing apparel. Observing my inquiring countenance, one of them remarked, “We are preparing to receive Brother Phillip Worthington soon.” (He died two days later, on January 22. I received a telegram to come and preach at his funeral services, held January 23.)

As I gasped his name in repetition, I was admonished, “If you knew the joy and the glorious mission that awaits him here, you would not ask to have him detained longer on earth.”

Then, flooding through consciousness, came the awful truth, that the will of the Lord can be done on earth as it is in Heaven only when we resign completely to His will and let His will be done in us and through us. On account of the selfishness of man, and the assertion of their personal will as against the will of God, many persons who might otherwise have been taken in innocence and peace, have been permitted to live and have passed a life of suffering and misery, or debauchery and crime, and have lived to their peril and debasement.

Men, women, and children are often called to missions of great importance on the other side, and some respond gladly, while others refuse to go and their loved ones will not give them up. Also many die needlessly because they have not faith to be healed; others yet live on and pass out of the world of mortals without any special manifestation or action of the divine will.

When a man is stricken ill, the question of prime importance is not–is he going to live or die? What matter if he lives or dies so long as the will of our Father is done? Surely, we can trust him with God. Herein lies the special duty and administration of the Holy Priesthood; namely, it is given the elders of the Church to divine the will of the Father concerning the one upon whose heads their hands are laid. If for any reason they are unable to presage the Father’s will, they should continue to pray in faith for the afflicted one, humbly conceding supremacy of the will of God, that His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

[130] To the righteous, the birth into the world of spirit is a glorious privilege and a blessing. The greatest spirits in the family of the Father have not usually been permitted to tarry longer in the flesh than was necessary to perform a certain mission. They are then called to the world of spirit, where the field is greater and the workers fewer. This earth career, therefore, maybe longer or shorter as the Father wills.

I passed quietly out of the world of spirit at the point where I had entered it, and immediately my body was quickened and I arose to ponder over and record the many wonderful things I had experienced.

Let me here and now declare to the world, that irrespective of what others may think and say, I do know of my own positive knowledge and from my own personal experience that God is the Father of all the spirits of men, and that He lives; that Jesus Christ is His Son and the Savior of the world; that the spirit of man does not die but survives the change called death, and goes into the world of spirit; that the world of spirit is upon or near this earth, that man’s individuality is not lost by death, nor is his progress inhibited; that the spirits will literally take up their physical bodies again in the resurrection; that the Gospel is now being taught to the spirits; and the great work of saving the Father’s family among the living and dead is in progress; and that but comparatively few will be lost; that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has again been established upon the earth with all the keys, powers, authority and blessings through the instrumentality of the Prophet Joseph Smith; that this is not only the power that will save and exalt everyone obedient to it, but will ultimately save the world; that the burden of our mission is to save souls unto God; and that the work for the dead is no less important than the work for the living.

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[131]                             Chapter 11



In this life men can experience only a small portion of both heaven and hell. It is meant that he should. Life is an experience, and experience is the best teacher.

We have sometimes rested beneath the umbrella of beautiful green trees in a forest, as golden rays of a morning sun filter through to the lush green forest floor. The refreshing sounds of a nearby brook and the orchestra of singing birds combined to make the scene one of near perfection. Our thoughts were pleasant and reverent. Is this similar to the peace and harmony of Paradise? Can we escape to such a condition upon leaving mortality?

On the other hand, what more can depict the devil’s hell than to hear the roar of guns and cannon on a field of battle, and cries and screams of the dying. Scenes of bloodshed and pain, anguish and sorrow, are clearly remembered and acknowledged by those who were witnesses as being a hell on earth.

Both these types of conditions, however, are merely a taste of the realities that exist in Paradise; for in that spirit world men can experience a greater portion of “heaven or hell” than is possible here on earth. The happiness or the misery of Paradise is the direct result of our mortal life. What we do in mortality will determine the kind of experiences we will enjoy or suffer there. This is the great lesson of life.


[132] So, in conclusion, consider the following inspired messages, which if remembered should help us live better lives here, and thus receive richer blessings in the Spirit World:

. . . remember that this present probation is the world of preparation for joys eternal. This is the place where family organization is first formed for eternity; and where the kindred sympathies, relationships, and affections take root, spring forth, shoot upward, bud, blossom, and bear fruit to ripen and mature in eternal ages. (Parley P. Pratt, Key to Theology, p. 163)

* * *

All the thoughts and the acts we indulge in here, the ideas that we obtain, the principles that we become partakers of, are eternal in their nature, and they will stay and abide with us throughout the eternities to come, for good or for evil. (John Morgan, JD 20:281)

* * *

So live that when you wake in the spirit-world you can truthfully say, “I could not better my mortal life, were I to live it over again.” I exhort you, for the sake of the House of Israel, for the sake of Zion which we are to build up, to so live, from this time, henceforth, and forever, that your characters may with pleasure be scrutinized by holy beings. Live godly lives, which you cannot do without living moral lives. (Brigham Young, JD 8:164)

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Sunday, Aug. 19, 1877: Pres. Woodruff spoke. He referred to a saying of Joseph Smith which he heard him utter, that if the people knew what was behind the veil, they would try by every means to commit suicide that they might get there, but the Lord in His [133] wisdom had implanted the fear of death in every person that they might cling to life and thus accomplish the designs of their Creator. (Charles Walker Diary, p. 598)

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Thus saith the Lord unto you, my servants and apostles who dwell in the flesh. Fear ye not your enemies. Let not your hearts be troubled. I am in your midst. I am your advocate with the Father.

I have given mine angels charge concerning you. Mine eyes are upon you and the eyes of your Heavenly Father and the Heavenly Hosts and all justified spirits made perfect are watching over you.

Your works are manifest before the face of my servants who have sealed their testimony with their blood, and before all my servants of the Apostles whom I have taken unto myself.

The veil is taken from off their faces and they know your works. They await your coming when you have finished your testimony in the flesh. Therefore, be ye faithful until I come. (1880 Revelation, January 26, 1880; Wilford Woodruff, by Cowley, p. 530)

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Brigham Young declared that no mortal man ever received the triumphant welcome and reception that will be given to the faithful, honorable man who departs this life:

We have more friends behind the vail than on this side, and they will hail us more joyfully than you were ever welcomed by your parents and friends in this world; and you will rejoice more when you meet them than you ever rejoiced to see a friend in this life; and then we shall go on from step to step, from rejoicing to rejoicing, and from one intelligence and power to another, our happiness becoming more and more exquisite and sensible as we proceed in the words and powers of life. (JD 6:349)


[134] Death is but another birth in our journey through eternal progression. How wonderful and joyous it will be for all those righteous mortals as they step through that invisible door into the world of Paradise!


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