I’ve been told that LDS have been counseled not to cremate their dead. But a good LDS friend of mine died while on a trip to Costa Rica, and his non-member family in the states had the authorities there cremate him and ship his ashes back to the states. My question for you is, will my friend be disadvantaged in any way because his remains were not disposed of properly by LDS standards?
It is true that here in the USA we are encouraged to have a casket burial. It is also true that in many countries there simply isn’t much room for cemeteries, so cremation is more common.
The reason casket burial is preferred is due to our belief that our bodies are sacred, and that even in death we need to respect the gift Heavenly Father has given us and Jesus Christ assured we will have for eternity through the Atonement and Resurrection. At the same time, I am not aware of any physical or spiritual situation that would place the deceased at a disadvantage had they been cremated. For a casket burial those deceased that have been endowed in the temple are dressed in temple clothing. This should also be done for a cremation whenever possible.
Another difference is that the grave is dedicated as a sacred and hallowed place for the remains to rest until the resurrection. There is a different process for dedicating the place where ashes are kept.
Although the Mormon Church takes no official position on the manner of the disposition of the body after death, the Brethren counsel that consignment to the earth is proper and appropriate. The body, of course, is a sacred vessel, being formed in the very image of God, and as the tabernacle of the spirit, which is a child of God.
The following counsel is given in the Priesthood Bulletin, 1980-
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints counsels its members to bury their dead in the earth to return dust to dust, unless the law of the country requires cremation. However, the decision whether to bury or cremate the body is left to the family of the deceased, taking into account any laws governing the matter.
The following is taking from the Church Handbook of Instruction 2:
The Church does not normally encourage cremation. The family of the deceased must decide whether the body should be cremated, taking into account any laws governing burial or cremation. In some countries, the law requires cremation.
The decision is a personal one and should be considered with much prayer. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints counsels its members to bury their dead in the earth to return dust to dust, unless the law of the country requires cremation. However, the decision whether to bury or cremate the body is left to the family of the deceased, taking into account any laws governing the matter.