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Will Satan have influence in the Spirit World to those being taught the gospel?





Hello Rod!

This is one subject where I am thankful for the gift of modern prophets to help clarify what isn’t very clearly taught about in the Bible and only partially discussed in the Book of Mormon. But with that in mind, lets start there. Alma 40:11-13 teaches:

11 Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.


12 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.


13 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house—and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.

There are a few key phrases here that make a few things obvious.

1. Right after someone dies, if they were righteous, they rest from their all their troubles and sorrows. Since a vital part of this life is learning to choose the right in the face of temptation and the influence of Satan, it stands to reason that the spirits of the righteous can rest from all troubles and from all care and sorrow is because they have rendered themselves, through their righteousness, beyond the influence of Satan’s followers. This isn’t necessarily because they aren’t actually around them (which I will explain in a moment), but because, like the modern prophets have said, they live so that by the end of their mortal lives, Satan was bound in their own hearts and could not tempt them like he could the wicked because they had experienced the mighty change of heart we are commanded to seek in the scriptures.

President George Q. Cannon taught:

We talk about Satan being bound. Satan will be bound by the power of God; but he will be bound also by the determination of the people of God not to listen to him, not to be governed by him.

Spencer W. Kimball:

When Satan is bound in a single home—when Satan is bound in a single life—the Millennium has already begun in that home, in that life.

It seems clear in these examples that the reason the righteous deceased are beyond the troubles and cares and sorrows of the adversary is because their nature has rendered them impervious to Satan’s attacks. Satan is always bound in the life of a person who simply maintains no desire to do any evil… ever.

Now, moving on to the next part.

2. Verse 13 makes it clear that, yes, the devil does certainly have access to the spirits of those who are being taught the gospel. Clearly, those spirits who need to be taught the gospel are those who either didn’t have sufficient access to it due to the evil influences of other mortals in this life or due to their own partial rejection of the gospel in mortality. If they had received it and lived it to the fullest of their ability, they obviously wouldn’t need to have it retaught to them as they would be the ones in paradise as mentioned in verse 12. So those who need to have the gospel taught to them are those who need to be rescued from spirit prison, since as verse 13 points out, “they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the Spirit of the devil did enter into them…”.

Another way we know that Satan has access to the those being taught the gospel in the spirit world can be logically inferred from the teachings of Brigham Young, which you can read about more here. He teaches that the Spirit World is physically all around us. Doctrine and Covenants 131 teaches that the reason we can’t see it because “it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes.” Since Satan and his followers were cast out from heaven to this earth before any of us mortals were born and have been roaming the earth since the beginning, they are still at it today with their sinister plots, whisperings and manipulations of both mortals and deceased persons who, as Melvin J. Ballard taught, have a much harder time repenting in the spirit world. President Oaks quoted him in his talk from April 2019 titled “Cleansed by Repentance”.

This is Melvin J. Ballard’s exact quote on the matter:

It is much easier to overcome and serve the Lord when both flesh and spirit are combined as one. This is the time when men are more pliable and susceptible… this life is the time to repent.

Satan knows that and likely focuses more attention on us mortals because of that, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t try to thwart the teaching of the gospel to those who are dead.

Alma 34:35 teaches:

For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.

The previous verse also points out that our personalities don’t change the instant we die. Those who didn’t believe in an afterlife aren’t all of the sudden going to believe that they are, in fact, dead.

Clearly, the devil works hard to keep those who fell to his influence in this life within his grasp. Naturally, the Lord doesn’t give up on them as easily as they have given themselves up to the devil, otherwise there would be no teaching of the gospel to the dead or vicarious temple ordinances for them either. So even though changing our hearts is much more difficult to do without our bodies to assist in the process, it is still possible and the fight for our souls between God and Satan continues for those who followed Satan more than God, but are still susceptible enough to be brought to full repentance if they will but listen to those who preach the gospel to them in the spirit world.

It seems clear from ancient and modern prophets that the only people, alive or dead, that Satan doesn’t have access to is those who have eliminated all desire for evil and the lies of the adversary from their hearts.

Good question!







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