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The following is part of the “Now You Know” series on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints YouTube channel. These brief videos can help you explain complicated doctrinal concepts to your friends in simple terms. See more of these videos HERE.
Do Mormons believe in heaven and hell? The short answer is yes. Mormons—properly referred to as Latter-day Saints or members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—base their understanding of heaven and hell on teachings from the scriptures and from modern prophets of God. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul taught that all people will be resurrected after death, meaning the spirit and body will be reunited. Each resurrected person will be assigned to one of three kingdoms of glory, comparable to the sun, moon, and stars. People will attain a level of glory based on their actions during their life on earth. The highest degree of glory, symbolized by the sun, is the place where God the Father and Jesus Christ live. This state of being is sometimes referred to as exaltation.
For members of the Church, “hell” does not necessarily mean a place of punishment; it can refer to two different places. One is spirit prison—the temporary waiting place for people who disobeyed God’s commandments in life or who died without a knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ. People in spirit prison have the opportunity to repent and accept or reject the gospel. Depending on their choices, most people will eventually receive one of the degrees of glory. The other place that “hell” can refer to is called “outer darkness,” which is not a kingdom of glory. It is where Satan lives, and it is reserved for only the most wicked people who deny Jesus Christ.
It is comforting to remember that Jesus Christ will judge all people according to their own actions, desires, and understanding and that He is both just and merciful.