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JAMIE - In priesthood class a new member ask question about spirit world. Question was if a member who has testimony of the gospel but break law of Chasity did not repent in this life and died that person goes to spirit prison or paradise? And that person (a church member) has chance to repent in spirit world? People who goes to spirit prison are both members and non members ?
JOEL - There are many different opinions on this subject and all I can do is offer mine.
First of all we know the spirits of all men good or evil will go to the spirit world after they die (Alma 40) and we often talk of Paradise and Spirit prison as separate places that the spirits go. And perhaps they were two separate places before Jesus went there after His death and bridged the gulf between the two (Luke 16: 26, D&C 138:18-20, 27-31, 57-59). But now, rather than thinking of them as two different places, because of Jesus, perhaps the spirits are all existing in the same spirit world together.
"11 Now, concerning the state of the soul 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.
12 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow" (Alma 40:11-12).
Note that Alma uses the word "state," not "place." The wicked and the righteous are probably all in one place, but they are in different states of being. The righteous are in a state of peace, but the wicked are filled with fear and dread of the final judgment as if in a state of imprisonment.
So both the righteous and the wicked, and all the rest of us who are in between(probably most of us), are all there together in the Spirit World striving to continue to perfect ourselves or not perfect ourselves. And missionaries are preaching the gospel to those who did not have the chance to hear it during their mortal lives.
In D&C 138: 32 it says:
"Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets."
So the gospel will be preached not just to those who have never heard it but also to those who did hear it but still had unrepentant sins or rejected the gospel in life. Why preach to them if there is no chance for repentance and salvation?
However, A person who has accepted the gospel in this life and has a testimony of it and is humble will want to make sure he repents of his sins before he dies, because as the scriptures say:
"And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.
Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for 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 34:30-34).
If they procrastinate their repentance here they would procrastinate it in the next life also.
But lets say an active member commits adultery and then immediately dies without a chance to go through the repentance process in this life, but they would have if they had the chance to. God knows that person's heart and knows how remorseful he is and whether he has that spirit of repentance in him. When that person goes into the spirit world he will still be able to repent of the sin and eventually obtain eternal life. He is in a state of paradise, but with some more work to do as would be the case with all of us.
Of these President Nelson said:
"We know that those spirits are capable of choice, of repentance, and of preparation for the day of resurrection. They remain "in paradise, until the time of their resurrection" (Alma 40:14). Then "the spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form" (Alma 11:43)
All of this of course is up to the will and final judgment of God who knows our hearts and all that we have gone through during our life on earth.
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