Our Sunday school teacher once taught that when we pass on to the spirit world that we lose our memory of our experiences in this world and regain our memory of the pre-existence, and that it would be in the resurrection when we’ll remember everything. That sounded very much not consistent with the scriptures, as they tell us that one can still repent in the spirit world and accept the gospel, and how can anyone repent in the spirit world if they cannot remember what they did here, or who they were? I have searched the scriptures and still cannot find anything that agrees with this. I haven’t either found any writings from the modern prophets on this subject. What’s your opinion?
Perhaps your Sunday School teacher was referring to Alma 11:43, that says-
The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt.
This scripture does state that after the resurrection (The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form) we shall remember all that we had been guilty of in mortality. But it doesn’t speak of the time in the spirit world before the resurrection. Joseph Murdock, in speaking of our departure from mortality, says
“We have all seen that we can take care of and accomplish the things in this life, learning of those things which we cannot learn so well in the eternal world, because the knowledge which we acquire in this world goes with us.” (Joseph R. Murdock, Conference Report, April 1926, p.53)
In the LDS Biographical Encyclopedia we read another interesting account of the spirit world in a sermon preached by Heber C. Kimball at the funeral of Jedediah M. Grant. Elder Kimball visited Elder Grant in the hospital shortly before he passed away, and recorded this conversation:
“‘Brother Heber, I have been into the spirit world two nights in succession, and of all the dreads that ever came across me, the worst was to have to again return to my body, though I had to do it’….He saw his wife Caroline, who was the first person that came to him….She came to him, and he said that she looked beautiful and had their little child that died on the plains, in her arms. She said, ‘Mr. Grant, here is little Margaret; you know the wolves ate her up, but it did not hurt her; here she is all right.’” (LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Vol. 1, p.56)
Caroline certainly had the memory of that horrifying experience when her little daughter was killed by wolves.
Here is the definitive word on the subject from Jedediah M. Grant, recorded in The Journal of Discourses:
“Many Latter-day Saints record such experiences in the setting of temple ordinances, sensing a oneness with departed friends and relatives-’they are not far from us, and know and understand our thoughts, feelings, and motions, and are often pained therewith’” (J. Grant, JD 4:134-36).