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KELLY - Do Mormons believe that Catholics are going to hell?
JOEL - It depends on which type of hell you are talking about. The Catholics and most other religions believe there are only two places you go after you die; Heaven or Hell. The LDS believe there are three main levels of heaven, two of which are where most all the inhabitants of the world will end up after the resurrection and Judgment, no matter what their religion.
The LDS believe there are four types of conditions or places refered to as "Hell" in the scriptures:
(1) that condition of misery which may attend a person in mortality due to disobedience to divine law;
Everyone on this earth, including Catholics and Mormons, might experience this type of hell sometime in their life.
(2) the miserable, but temporary, state of disobedient spirits in the spirit world awaiting the resurrection;
This is the place where spirits of all people go after they die, who did not embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ while here on earth. The greater percentage of everyone living on this earth, including Catholics and a lot of Mormons, will go to this sphere of existance we also call hell, or spirit prison. It is a temporary state, however, and a place where all will have the opportunity to hear and accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, who did not get the chance while on earth, and have the opportunity to still be saved into a kingdom of God in Heaven after the resurrection.
(3) The third level of heaven, called the Telestial kingom is also refered to as "Hell" in the Doctrine and Covenants:
"And again, we saw the glory of the telestial, which glory is that of the lesser, even as the glory of the stars differs from that of the glory of the moon in the firmament.
These are they who received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus.
These are they who deny not the Holy Spirit.
These are they who are thrust down to hell." (D&C 76: 81-84)
However, since it is considered a level of heaven this type of Hell might be more of a state of mind than a place, as those who reside there realize what they could have had if they had been more obedient to God during life.
(4) the permanent habitation of the sons of perdition, who suffer the second spiritual death and remain in hell even after the resurrection;
This hell is the realm of the devil and his angels, including those known as sons of perdition (2 Pet. 2:4; D&C 29:38; D&C 88:113; Rev. 20:14). It is a place for those who cannot be cleansed by the Atonement because they committed the unforgivable and unpardonable sin. Only this hell continues to operate after the Resurrection and Judgment. According to Joseph Smith the only people living on this earth who will end up in this hell are those who have
"received the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against him. After a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance for him. He has got to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it; he has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it;"
There are very few on this earth who would qualify to end up in this hell, except perhaps for a few Mormons who denied their testimony and turned against the church and God.
Did I say there were only four types?
(5)That period of time in a parent's life as their children become teenagers.