You have me somewhat confused. Today when I began reading questions from others to you there was one entitled “Earthbound Spirits” where you answered the question that all spirits go to either paradise or spirit prison immediately upon death. Then in the same category, Afterlife, there is another question that someone ask you about Spirits in the Spirit world where you stated that the only spirits can return immediately to Heavenly Father are the children who died under the age of accountability or under the age of 8. So, which question is correct? I would like to know, if all spirits go directly to Heavenly Father immediately after death like Alma stated in the Book of Mormon or only the spirits of children who died under the age of 8. Thank you,
I understand how you may be confused regarding the words we read within the Book of Mormon, and the answers I have provided to Jj. In answer to your question, “which question is correct,” I would respond — both are correct. Let me explain…
Your question, your confusion (other people may discover the same confusion), stems from Alma 40:11 where Alma declares, “the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.” The question then we must ask ourselves is, “what is meant by the phrase ‘taken home’ in relation to this verse and in connection with other tenets of our faith”? For example, let’s review the words of Joseph Fielding Smith, Elder Quentin L. Cook, and Alma 40:12.
“Taken home to God’ [compare Ecclesiastes 12:7] simply means that their mortal existence has come to an end, and they have returned to the world of spirits, where they are assigned to a place according to their works with the just or with the unjust, there to await the resurrection. ‘Back to God’ is a phrase which finds an equivalent in many other well known conditions. For instance: a man spends a stated time in some foreign mission field. When he is released and returns to the United States, he may say, ‘It is wonderful to be back home’; yet his home may be somewhere in Utah or Idaho or some other part of the West.”
“At death, righteous spirits live in a temporary state called paradise. Alma the Younger teaches us “paradise [is] a state of rest, a state of peace, where [the righteous] shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.” The unrighteous spirits dwell in spirit prison, sometimes referred to as hell.”
“And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.”
In light of these revelations we (you and I) are able to accept that the spirits of all men are received into the Spirit World, either paradise or prison. In relation to my answer to Jj, my answer was given in two parts: the salvation of little children and then I answered his other question regarding “earthbound” spirits who have not yet crossed over.
Children Who Die
Children who die before the age of accountability,
“the atonement of Christ automatically redeems children who die before they reach the age of accountability, and they are brought back into the presence of God.” (Gerald N. Lund)
Thus, in answer to his question about spirits going back to God, the answer was given that only children who have died before the age of accountability are brought back into the presence of God. Now that this question has been answered we are able to focus on the rest of the spirits, ALL of the spirits who died after the age of accountability and answer Jj’s question regarding “earthbound” spirits who may not have crossed over.
In answer to this question, additional supportive evidence provided, all of these spirits (passed the age of accountability), do not linger as “earthbound” spirits who have not yet “crossed over”, but all these spirits have been received in either a state of happiness and peace (paradise), or in a state of awful darkness and misery (prison).
I hope I have sufficiently clarified any confusion.