The Spirit World, Our Next Home

I was doing a little studying about the Spirit World and come upon an outstanding article by someone named Dale C. Mouritsen. It comes from the January 1977 Ensign and can be seen here. Why do we not have this kind of stuff in the Ensign today? Maybe we do and I don’t notice. The article is 7 pages long and for those who don’t want to read the entire thing, or would like an opportunity to comment on the article I would like to provide a small and simple review of the highlights.

There is a quote from Joseph Smith that says that saints should study about life and death ‘more than any other subject’ and that ‘if we have any claim on Heavenly Father for anything, it is for knowledge on this important subject.’ (Teachings p. 324)

There are several after death experiences repeated in this article. These experiences were reported by modern day prophets and apostles and their families and provide some interesting perspective. One of the experiences comes from Heber J. Grant. He apparently had a wife die, and then later had two sons die. Prior to his second sons death he had a dream about his wife returning with a messenger to take the son to the spirit world. Just prior to the boys death he and his then current wife felt the presence of the mother of this boy and were greatly comforted . This brings comfort to me as well. I often wonder about going to the spirit world and wondering where to go and what to do. This article let me know that there will be people waiting for us, and that there will be much good to do when we get there.

The article provides a great scriptural reference for the spirit world of Alma 40:11-13.

It appears that the primary work done in the spirit world may be missionary work. The spirit world is referred to as a prison for some. This article states that it is chiefly a place of learning and waiting. Presided Lorenzo Snow made what I find a thrilling statement regarding the Spirit World. He believed ‘that when the gospel is preached to the spirits in prison, the success attending that preaching will be far greater than that attending the preaching of our Elders in this life. I believe there will be a very few indeed of those spirits who will not gladly receive the Gospel when it is carried to them. The circumstances there will be a thousand times more favorable.’ (Millennial Star 56:50) I greatly look forward to this. I sometimes believe that our Heavenly Father will win his battle with Satan not just on principle but in numbers as well. I hope this is true.

In terms of location, Joseph Smith taught that the spirit world is very close to us. (Teachings p. 326) Brigham Young taught that the spirit world is on this earth (Discourses p. 376)

Ella Jensen visited the spirit world and was then raised from the dead by Lorenzo Snow. She recalled that ‘Some [spirits] 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.’. (Improvement Era, October 1929, p.974) Joseph F. Smith said ‘Indeed our deceased loved ones are greatly concerned about our well-being and happiness and can be appointed, when there is a need, to bring messages of warning, reproof, or instruction to us’. (Gospel Doctrine, p.436) I have felt that this is the case for our ancestors having an interest in us. It appears that the veil works both ways, but can be open according to the will of God. Perhaps there is also a perfecting the saints work going on in the spirit world as well, including mortal saints here.

Apparently there are no infants in the spirit world. All who reside there are in adult form as men and women.

Some worry about children who die but do not get sealed to anyone in the temple. But it appears that normal relationships that can lead to eternal marriage and sealing are part of ‘life’ in the spirit world. Melvin J. Ballard made this amazing observation:

‘You mothers worry about you little children who have died. We do not perform sealing for them. I lost a son six years of age, and I saw him a man in the spirit world after his death, and I saw how he had exercised his own freedom of choice and would obtain of his own will and volition a companionship …’ (Sermons and Missionary Service of Melvin J. Ballard, p.260). I have not thought much about this previously, but it certainly makes sense. It seems to me that the preexistence, mortal life, and the spirit world constitute what may be a continuous probation.

Wilford Woodruff raised his wife Phoebe from the dead and reported this:

‘her spirit left her body, and she saw it lying upon the bed, and the sisters weeping….. two messengers came into the room…One of the messengers informed her that she could have her choice: she might go to rest in the spirit world, or, …. she could have the privilege of returning to her tabernacle and continuing her labors upon the earth. …. At the moment that decision was made the power of faith rested upon me, and I administered unto her, her spirit entered her tabernacle…(Leaves From My Journal, 1909, pp.59-60).

I was very excited to read such an outstanding article, and I highly recommend it for anyone who seeks a greater understanding of the spirit world. I would be glad to read your comments.

12 Responses to “The Spirit World, Our Next Home”


  1. 1 J. Stapley January 29, 2006 at 6:26 pm

    Yeah, we don’t get em like that anymore. It was interesting how they skirted the issue, but there is two systems of thought in the Mormon tradition. One, espoused by Brigham, that said Hell and Paradise were geographically contiguous. Others, such as McConkie insisted that they are geographically distinct.

  2. 2 Eric Nielson January 29, 2006 at 8:07 pm

    After reaqding this article, if there is a geographic distinction, it must be easily crossed in order to have successful missionary work. Right now I would lean toward at least a functionally contiguous situation. Thanks for your comment.

  3. 3 Geoff J January 30, 2006 at 11:20 pm

    Nice pull on that article Eric. How did you find it?

    If you could get good at finding these kinds of gems you’d have a very useful niche for your blog in the ‘nacle!

  4. 4 Eric Nielson January 31, 2006 at 11:30 am

    Geoff:

    I searched on lds.org. I searched using Spirit World Paradise and just started skimming. lds.org huh?

  5. 5 nephite March 26, 2007 at 8:47 am

    Testing one two three. is there anybody out there?

  6. 6 nephite March 26, 2007 at 8:48 am

    Alright, I am in the loop!!!

  7. 7 nephite March 26, 2007 at 8:49 am

    Can somebody tell me how this works?

  8. 8 nephite March 26, 2007 at 8:52 am

    Eric, is this your blog? Is Plan and simple a Blog? Do you have to have a blog to make a posting? I think I have a logon but no blog.

  9. 9 nephite March 26, 2007 at 9:51 am

    I have been looking around a bit and I am definitely in the loop. Since I made my recent series of comments, I think that if I am not the most active of contributors, I am perhaps the most curious and my questions are absolutely small and simple.

    I don’t know much more about how this system works but I would like to make a more meaningful contribution to the flow of ideas that are swirling about us in this wonderfully inclusive, expansive Latter-day Saint environment.

    As to “The Spirit World, Our Next Home” I might add “and Former”. I am grateful for the opportunity to interact with you in such a rich environment.

    P.S. My father’s name is Nephi, so I am truly a Latterday Nephite

  10. 10 Eric Nielson March 26, 2007 at 10:51 am

    Nephite:

    Welcome to the loop? Does this mean you are loopy?

    Yes this is my blog. I am not aware of a blog called Plan and Simple, nor Plain and Simple. Creating your own blog is pretty simple at wordpress or blogspot. To see other blogs you might try clicking the Mormon Archipelago link or the LDSelect link at the top of my sidebar. LDSelect has a very long list of blogs, that and a quick google search might give you an idea of whether or not a blog name exists if you want to start one yourself.

    If you would like to post something here, you might send me an email with a sample post. If I like it, I would be glad to post it and give you credit for it.

    If you like Small and Simple I might also recommend a group blog I participate in called the Blogger of Jared

    So, do you believe that pre-existant of post-mortal spirits are in the same place and rub spirit shoulders together?

    Thanks for visiting, come by anytime.

  11. 11 Colleen Lee October 24, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    The Spirit World, Our Next Home « Small and Simple – 2 visits – 6:48pm
    (Improvement Era, October 1929, p.974) Joseph F. Smith said ‘Indeed our deceased loved ones are greatly concerned about our well-being and happiness and can ….

    Sorry to bother you but I am desperately trying to find this full quote and either I am dumb or tired but I can’t find it here on the blog, even though it comes up in a search.
    Thanks…..

  12. 12 Eric Nielson October 27, 2007 at 10:40 am

    Collen:

    The reference I have is in the classic book ‘Gospel Doctrine’ page 436.


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