Having experienced some of the worst in people in the last few years I am having a hard time understanding something. We know that all that came to earth and obtained a body chose to follow Christ’s plan in the pre-existence. How is it that in the world today there are so many that seem in open rebellion against God and his laws? I am thinking of the murderers, child molesters, drug dealers, and others that seem to me, not to be merely lost sheep but rather cruel and evil individuals. What is the teaching of the Mormon Church regarding these people?
The question relates to the infinite love of our Father in Heaven for His children, good and bad. In Mormonism we understand that in the pre-existence, when the two plans for the salvation of mankind were presented, about a third of the hosts of Heaven chose to follow the plan of Lucifer, who would save all men without regard to their personal righteousness, and would arrogate to himself the glory for so doing. Those who chose to follow Lucifer became his allies, and were expelled with Lucifer from the presence of God and denied the opportunity to progress to the trial stage of mortality, where their worthiness to obtain the blessings of God would be determined.
All the rest were permitted to enter into mortality. They were not all good spirits. They just chose not to follow Satan and his plan. These spirits can be divided into three categories of righteousness. There are celestial spirits–those who love God, accept the Lord Jesus Christ, make covenants of obedience with him, and overcome the world. These will inherit the Celestial Kingdom of God. Then there are terrestrial spirits–those who are good and honorable men of the earth, but who do not accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. They could be said to be those who follow the law of carnal commandments given to Moses, rather than the principles of the gospel given by Jesus Christ. Finally, there are telestial spirits–these are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie (Doctrine and Covenants 76:103).
Now, although these evil, telestial spirits have a natural propensity to sin, yet they are “agents unto themselves,” and can choose their course of action. If they see, recognize, and follow the truth, they will be heirs to all the blessings offered by the Father. But if they do not, but follow their natural inclinations to evil, they will not be resurrected in the first resurrection at the beginning of the millennium. They will be consigned to the realm of Satan for the space of a thousand years where they will pay the uttermost price for all their sins, just as if there had been no redemption made. However, they WILL pay the uttermost price, and when the ledger is balanced they will then be resurrected and will inherit in the eternities a telestial glory and kingdom, which glory, says the Lord, surpasses all understanding (D&C 76:89).