How can Mormons believe that someone who dies as an unbeliever has a second chance to repent and believe in light of Hebrews 9:27. “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgement” It doesn’t say after we die we have a second chance. It says after we die the judgement. Also it doesn’t line up with what Jesus describes in Luke 16:19-31.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is perfect. He is perfect when executing his justice. He is perfect when providing mercy. In his multitude of tender mercies, within his perfect plan, he has provided a way that all his children may have the opportunity to receive eternal life.
Hebrews 9:27, specifies that people die once, and then judgement. This verse doesn’t deny the mercies of our Heavenly Father, it references to us, that people die once (unless you are Lazarus), and then we receive our judgement. This confirms LDS theology. We believe people die once. We believe after people die, the time will come for all to be judged.
In reference to Luke 16:19-31, we recognize that these two individuals were people of the covenant. Lazarus, a poor beggar, was received into Abraham’s Bosom. Through modern day revelation, the Lord’s prophets have taught that Abraham’s Bosom is “paradise.” The rich man also died, and found himself in hell. Through modern day revelation, we recognize the rich man found himself in “spirit prison.”
1 Peter 3:19, explains to us that the Lord visited spirits, drowned during the flood, in prison. As Latter-Day Saints this confirms our teachings that the Lord provides an opportunity to spirits in prison to learn and accept his truths. This also provides every person the opportunity to receive, to accept or reject, the necessary ordinances as given by our Father in Heaven.
When contemplating spirit prison, and the spirits which reside there, it is important to note the difference between someone who has received covenants from the Lord verses someone who has not received covenants from the Lord. There are no second chances for the Lord’s covenant people who have chosen to rebel, as with the rich man. In this scenario it is similar to Mormon’s lament near the end of the Book of Mormon (Mormon 6:16-22 )
Our Heavenly Father, in his multitude of tender mercies, his spirit sons and daughters who have not had the opportunity to learn of his son Jesus Christ, will be taught the principles of the gospel in spirit prison. They will have the opportunity, by proxy, to receive the gospel covenant – to accept or reject – and be judged according to their decisions and choices in this life. The Lord through his infinite knowledge and his perfect plan has made it possible that all of his children will have the opportunity to receive eternal life.