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Dear Gramps,

I was looking at some of the current entries and I guess I have a question about your comments to the person asking about the spirit world. You suggested that everyone good, no matter if they are baptized or not, will be in paradise.

Have you reviewed the current “Gospel Essentials” Manual lately? I only mention this because all new members or investigators are being taught the following: from page 292:
“Spirit Prison–

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The Apostle Peter referred to the spirit world as a prison, which it is for some (see 1 Peter 3:18–20). In the spirit prison are the spirits of those who have not yet received the gospel of Jesus Christ. These spirits have agency and may be enticed by both good and evil. If they accept the gospel and the ordinances performed for them in the temples, they may prepare themselves to leave the spirit prison and dwell in paradise. ”

Since this manual is one we currently use to teach new members or investigators, then the gentleman teaching his Sunday School class was indeed correct: until you are baptized into the gospel of Christ (whether during mortality or proxy in the temple) you cannot dwell in paradise….no matter how ‘good’ of a person you were in mortality, while inside the spirit world.
What do you think? Thanks.

Allyson

 

Answer

 

Dear Allyson,

I think that much is made of the way the scriptures read in their translated form into English, or any of the other modern languages. The New Testament was originally compiled as such in Greek. The King James version of the scriptures is the result of fifteen different translations or versions. I would not like to take issue with any of the official publications of the Mormon Church, and if the stuff that I write can be interpreted as contrary to any of the official publications of the Church, I would certainly defer to them. But let me give you a little insight into the word Paradise from the Prophet Joseph Smith. He said,

“I will say something about the spirits in prison. 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 signified 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, 1 Peter 3:19), so that they who would receive it could have it answered by proxy by those who live on the earth, etc.” (History of the Church 5:424-25.)

If you consider your quote from the Gospel Essentials manual, “The Apostle Peter referred to the spirit world as a prison, which it is for some,” it would not be a prison for others. So the spirit world–Paradise, in the terms of the Prophet Joseph is the world of departed spirits. However, it has received the connotation in today’s world as a residence or state of the “saved.” One modern dictionary definition of the term is “a place or state of bliss, felicity or delight.” Such a condition may well be the state of happiness of those who are waiting to receive the gospel, since the conditions in the spirit world are truly wonderful. However, they are restricted in their eternal progress until they do receive and accept the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and have the essential saving ordinances of the gospel performed for them by proxy in the holy temples of our God.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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