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Dear Gramps,
I have a close friend who does not belong to the Mormon Church and who’s nephew who would have been 60 passed away. He has been on drugs and booze most of his life, he went into a coma and did not recover. Alice, my friend, quoted how sad it was that he had given up on the gospel and made such a mess of his life. His mother made the comment that they should be happy he didn’t have to suffer pain any more. I of course want to preach a little Mormon doctrine here. But I am not sure about my facts. Someplace along the line I have heard and learned that when one dies and passes through the veil to the other side that it is like taking off one’s coat and continuing as the same person there as you were here,( maybe that comes from Ask Gramps) that means having the same personality, the same likes, the same addictions that can not be fulfilled., the same desires one had here in mortality.
QUESTIONS: Is there opportunity in the next life for repentance so that spirit person may be forgiven of his wrongdoings and move forward. What part does the atonement play here. If he has wrong doings here he must pay the consequences, which he apparently did by suffering and dying but at this point there is not repentance. I know that someday the gospel will be taught to him but that is all I know. Are there bible scriptures that allude to this?
Alice and I used to discuss our different religions when we walked in the morning, and I feel her email message wants me to give my opinion on whether we should be happy he passed on and will be fee from pain. Will he be suffering pain because he does not have the spirit of the Lord with him?
Pat, from Orem, Utah

Dear Pat,
The gospel is indeed preached among the post-mortal spirits. First we go to that great revelation given to President Joseph F. Smith in October 1918 on the redemption of the dead—

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” (1 Peter 3:18-20.) “For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:6.) (D&C 138:7-10).

Here we learn the doctrine that was originally preached by Peter in the New Testament that the Savior preached the gospel to post-mortal spirits. We learn in verses 18-21 that He did not go in person to the wicked—

While this vast multitude waited and conversed, rejoicing in the hour of their deliverance from the chains of death, the Son of God appeared, declaring liberty to the captives who had been faithful; And there he preached to them the everlasting gospel, the doctrine of the resurrection and the redemption of mankind from the fall, and from individual sins on conditions of repentance. But unto the wicked he did not go, and among the ungodly and the unrepentant who had defiled themselves while in the flesh, his voice was not raised; Neither did the rebellious who rejected the testimonies and the warnings of the ancient prophets behold his presence, nor look upon his face (D&C 138:18-21)

but as recorded in verses 29-32 He sent others to preach the gospel to all those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.

And as I wondered, my eyes were opened, and my understanding quickened, and I perceived that the Lord went not in person among the wicked and the disobedient who had rejected the truth, to teach them; But behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead. And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel. 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 (D&C 138:29-32).

So, you are right. The process that we call death, by which we pass through the veil separating mortality from immortality, is like going through a door. It produces no great change on the mind or the mental processes. However, if the gospel is taught in the spirit world to both the ignorant and the unrepentant, there must be the opportunity to respond to that teaching and repent of any wrong doing. Of course the repentance must be real, genuine and complete. Thus, when such a person will have changed his character, will have learned to be abhorred by the unrighteous things in which he took pleasure during mortality, he will be forgiven by the Savior and the great atoning sacrifice will be valid in his behalf.
However, in order to enter into the kingdom of God after repentance, a person must covenant obedience to the Father and witness that covenant by being baptized by immersion, which is a representation of the death and resurrection of the Savior, by which means the repentant person’s sins may be forgiven him. However, all the saving ordinances of the gospel are designed to be performed in mortality. So for those who did not take that opportunity during their mortal sojourn and who receive the gospel in the spirit world, provision is made for mortals to act as proxy for the repentant dead, and in the Lord’s holy temples to perform those saving ordinances vicariously for the deceased repentant sinner. Thus, by this doctrine, God has proven Himself to be a just God, who does not prejudice His children who had not the opportunity to receive the gospel while in mortality, as well as in transgression, having rejected the prophets , who repent in the spirit world.

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