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Dear Gramps,

If you die while you’re excommunicated, do you go to spirit prison? Can you be re-baptized in the temple and have your ordinances re-done for you?





Dear J.

All persons who are not members of the Church and Kingdom of God, when they leave mortality, go to what is called the spirit prison. However, my understanding is that the term prison does not have the same connotation as we ascribe to it in our vernacular communications. The spirit prison is a confinement in the sense that without having made and kept the covenants required by God in order to return to his sacred presence, such a person must inherit a lesser degree of glory, even that of a terrestrial or telestial kingdom, as opposed to the celestial kingdom where God dwells. Because of His infinite goodness and justice He has provided the opportunity for all his children to know and accept the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ

Those who have not heard of the gospel in mortality will have the opportunity to hear and accept those eternal, saving principals during the period between death and the resurrection. However, the ordinances that are associated with the covenants that must be accepted and obeyed in order to return to God must yet be performed. Therefore, those who do belong to the Kingdom are enjoined to go to God’s holy temple, and acting as proxy for those who have not heard the gospel, perform those sacred ordinances in their behalf. If those that they represent have accepted the principles of salvation and have determined to live by them, the covenants of obedience that they make with the Lord are validated by the vicarious ordinance performed in their behalf.

For those who have known and participated in the principles of salvation, and then have turned against the covenants of obedience that they have espoused and thus have had their member in God’s Church rescinded, there is yet the opportunity for repentance and a return to former faithfulness.

So the gospel of salvation is preached in the spirit prison not only to those who have not known the Savior and his plan of salvation in mortality, but also to those who have been unfaithful in their commitments of obedience to the principles of the gospel. As we read in Doctrine and Covenants 138:32

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.

Our Father in Heaven is not only a just God, but is loving, compassionate and forgiving to all His children who are willing to keep His commandments. He may exercise compassion, mercy and forgiveness for wrong doing, based on sincere repentance of the sinner, through the merits of the great atoning sacrifice of the Lord, Jesus Christ.  Christ took upon himself all the sins of all mankind, and satisfied the law of justice by paying the full price of suffering of all the wrongs committed by all our Father’s children.

If you are a person who has been excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through serious wrong doing, you could demonstrate your repentance from the wrong doing by erasing it from your life and living in strict accordance with all the principles of the gospel. Then you could be rebaptized for the remission of those sins and become again a member of the Lord’s Church.

If you felt that you could live life as you please and then repent after you are dead, you would have a dreadful surprise waiting for you. In the words of Alma in the Book of Mormon,

For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.


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.


For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked (Alma 34:32-35).






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