I was speaking with a friend the other day on the topic of spirits…specifically those that have passed on before us and the one third of the hosts of heaven that followed Satan and therefore do not possess bodies. She thought that both of these groups were here on the earth with us, and that those that have passed before (namely our ancestors and those who would care about us) were here to give us promptings and acted similar to guardian angels. I had heard before of the experiences of one of the early apostles after the Restoration in seeing the spiritual followers of Satan harassing those that he was trying to teach, but I had never heard the other side of that. I figured that the spirits of those who have already lived here had better things to do than hang around with us, or at least that they resided in an area that was separate from the earth. Thanks for any help/advice that you can give!
Perhaps we could call on the Prophet Joseph Smith for a little information about your question. In an address at the funeral of James Adams, he said—
“Concerning Brother James Adams,….when men are prepared, they are better off to go hence. Brother Adams has gone to open up a more effectual door for the dead. The spirits of the just are exalted to a greater and more glorious work; hence they are blessed in their departure to the world of spirits. Enveloped in flaming fire, they are not far from us, and know and understand our thoughts, feelings, and motions, and are often pained therewith” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.325).
The Prophet Brigham Young, successor to Joseph Smith, also addressed this subject, as follows—
“I wish to say that whoever have faith enough to inherit the celestial kingdom will find that their inheritances will be upon this earth. This earth is our home; by and by it will be sanctified and glorified, and become a fit dwelling place for the sanctified, and they will dwell upon it for ever and ever” (Journal of Discourses, vol.18:, p.357).
“Here the inquiry will naturally arise, when our spirits leave our bodies where do they go to? I will tell you. Will I locate them? Yes, if you wish me to. They do not pass out of the organization of this earth on which we live….When the spirits leave their bodies they are in the presence of our Father and God, they are prepared then to see, hear and understand spiritual things. But where is the spirit world? It is incorporated within this celestial system. Can you see it with your natural eyes? No. Can you see spirits in this room? No. Suppose the Lord should touch your eyes that you might see, could you then see the spirits? Yes, as plainly as you now see bodies with your natural eyes..”.(Journal of Discourses, vol. 3:, p.367-369).