Episode #3: Life After Death (Tween Talk 3)
Welcome to Tween Talk for Latter-day Saints! This week Tween Talk episode 3 is about life after death.
You can check out all of the episodes here. Make sure you don’t miss last week’s episode!
Tween Talk Episode #3
Here are the places you can listen to episode 3 of Tween Talk for Latter-day Saints:
Coloring Page for Tween Talk Episode 3
Here is this week’s adult coloring page for you to work on while you listen to the podcast.
Here are the different resources discussed in Tween Talk episode 3.
Teachings of the Prophet Brigham Young: Chapter 38: The Spirit World
President Nelson’s talk in Orlando, Florida
President John Taylor quote about judging ourselves
letter from Brother Joseph L. Anderson
Tween Talk 3 Transcript
Have you ever wondered what exactly happens after we die?
Welcome back to Tween Talk, episode 3!
Okay, so we’ve been talking about the Plan of Salvation. The Plan of Salvation can be divided into three parts: before we’re born, life on earth, and then life after death.
We’ve talked about the pre-earth life in the first podcast. That’s where we made our flow charts, or blueprints, of our lives. We realized we would never get it right every single time, so we needed a Savior to pay the penalties for the times we mess up. That’s the Atonement, which we talked about last time.
The Atonement and forgiveness of sins only have effect in our lives when we meet the requirements that the Savior set while we live here on earth.
After today, all of the future podcasts will be talking about those requirements. The different commandments we need to follow, why they’re important, etc.
So we’re going to kind of go out of order and today, we’re going to talk about the third part of the Plan of Salvation: life after death.
Life after death is split up into two parts. The first part is the Spirit World. That’s where our spirits are going to hang out and wait until the Second Coming and Judgment Day. Then after Judgment Day (which is also when we’re resurrected), we get assigned to one of the three Kingdoms of Glory (Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial).
Let’s just talk about the Spirit World first, .
“When we die, our bodies become the grass. And the animals eat the grass.”
(If you don’t know the quote, go watch The Lion King again.)
For reals now, when we die, our spirits leave our bodies and go to the Spirit World.
Do you know where the Spirit World is?
Would you believe me if I say it’s actually here, on earth?
Brigham Young said, “When you lay down this tabernacle, where are you going? Into the spiritual world…Where is the spirit world? It is right here. Do the good and evil spirits go together? Yes, they do. Do they both inhabit one kingdom? Yes, they do. Do they go beyond the boundaries of this organized earth? No, they do not.”
I’m going to read some quotes several from the prophet Brigham Young during this podcast. You can find all of these quotes in the old Church manual called “Teachings of the Prophet Brigham Young.” This manual is up on the Church’s website, and if you go onto my blog savingtalents.com/podcast for this week, I’ve got a link directly to it on this week’s podcast notes.
Okay, so we know that the Spirit World is on this earth. Right here. They can probably see us! They can’t interact with us very much, but there are occasions where they can.
We’re taught that the Spirit World is divided into two parts: Paradise and Spirit Prison. But that’s somewhat metaphorical. Really, the spirits are all intermingled with each other! There isn’t a boundary between the two separating them at all, other than the state of their soul. It’s just like this earth – we can interact with one another.
But we may not choose to. Just like in this earth, we hang out with people we feel comfortable with. People there will gravitate towards the same types of people. So in a way, there will be a natural division to reflect Spirit Prison and Paradise.
Now, just because we are on the other side of the veil doesn’t mean that suddenly we remember everything about the pre-earth life. We still have that veil of forgetfulness over us, basically until Judgment Day. But President Young taught that we WILL be endowed with a bit more of Heavenly Father’s priesthood power, and we will be able to have a bit more understanding and knowledge than we have now.
Okay, so the Spirit World is a big waiting room. It’s like waiting at the doctor’s office. What are we waiting for? Judgment Day. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Now, at the doctor’s office here in mortality, you probably read a book or play on your phone to keep from being bored.
You won’t do that there, though!
President Young said, “When we get through this state of being, to the next room, I may call it, we are not going to stop there. We shall still go on, doing all the good we can, administering and officiating for all whom we are permitted to administer and officiate for, and then go on to the next, and to the next, until the…Savior has finished His work.”
Basically, those who have the truth here on earth will teach it to those who never got it. In a nutshell, you’ll be a missionary!
When Christ was crucified, He went the Spirit World. There were billions and billions of spirits there, and they were all just kind of hanging around.
Jesus spent the three days He was there before His Resurrection organizing all those Spirits. Just like the Church is organized here on earth with a prophet, apostles, bishoprics, mission presidents, quorums, it is organized over there, too!
So yes, there will probably be meetings. There will be assignments.
But do you know what’s wonderful about it?
You’ll be there with your loved ones.
President Brigham Young said, “We have more friends behind the veil than on this side, and they will hail us more joyfully than you were ever welcomed by your parents and friends in this world; and you will rejoice more when you meet them than you ever rejoiced to see a friend in this life.”
Isn’t that incredible?
You’ll also be free of any problems that you may have had with this mortal body. Perhaps you’re like me, with Crohn’s disease. Maybe you have a mental health illness, like depression or anxiety, or even ADHD. All of the problems that come with having an imperfect body are gone.
So you will have all the energy you need to do the work of the Lord! To fulfill your assignments! Isn’t that just awesome?
And those who knew about the gospel are sharing it with those who didn’t have the truth.
So those friends and family members who never got to hear it? You’ll get to share it with them!
Your great-grandmother who passed away before Joseph Smith restored the gospel? You can sit with her and share your testimony!
The little boy in China who died when he was ten who never heard about Christ, let alone the gospel? He’ll get to hear it.
That is my favorite part of the Plan of Salvation. The Spirit World is the place where all of those unfairnesses about your birth get evened out.
But don’t think that just because you’re in the Spirit World you’ll suddenly be all righteous and perfect.
In Alma chapter 34, verse 34 it says, “Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.”
So if you have a habit of procrastinating doing hard work here in this life, you’ll be a procrastinator there, too.
If you are the kind of person who is a bully and talks meanly to people or about people, you’ll be that way over there, too.
If you don’t handle stress well and you develop an addiction to handle it, you’ll still have those same cravings over there.
If you don’t have a testimony here in this life, you won’t suddenly have one over there.
And when you do go out trying to share the gospel with other spirits, your friends and family, they’re going to look at you and say, “But you didn’t live it. I saw you! You went to church and were irreverent. You didn’t pray or read your scriptures. Why would I listen to you?”
Even when you think you’re all alone, you’re an example to the ancestors and others that have gone before you.
Now, do you have to be perfect, then?
Absolutely not. We talked about this last time, remember?
It’s about where your HEART is. What your DESIRES are.
That’s what will be the same after you’re dead: the desires of your heart.
President Nelson said, “What we choose to do here will determine the kind of life we have throughout all eternity. We are never just living for today.”
That is true for the Spirit World, and it’s also true for Judgment Day.
Okay, when you hear the words “Judgment Day,” what do you think of?
Does it feel a bit scary?
Do you feel a little guilty?
Maybe you imagine God sitting in a giant judge’s chair, with you on the witness stand being accused of every single thing you’ve ever done wrong.
Sounds awful, doesn’t it?
I don’t think it’s going to be as terrible as that.
The third prophet, President John Taylor, said, “[The individual] tells the story himself, and bears witness against himself. … That record that is written by the man himself in the tablets of his own mind, that record that cannot lie will in that day be unfolded before God and angels, and those who shall sit as judges.”
So we will become a living memory of every single thing we have ever done. Heavenly Father will pull out the blueprint we made, and the path we actually took will be revealed.
Along with Heavenly Father, the Savior will also be there. But it won’t be them alone. The 12 apostles, the 12 Nephite disciples, the apostles for our current day will all be a part of this.
NOW before you freak out on me, let’s talk about this.
This is NOT a bunch of people sitting around, picking your life apart and looking at every single thing you’ve ever done wrong.
This is about trust.
Remember how the entire purpose of this life is to see if you can be trusted with Heavenly Father’s powers?
THAT’S what they’re looking at. And that’s what YOU’RE looking at.
You see, this choice is partly yours as well! You’re going to be part of this decision!
Have you ever had to make a really, really big decision? Like, a life-changing decision?
Maybe you and your family were thinking about moving to a new house.
Or perhaps you had to choose which classes you wanted to take at school.
When I was graduating from college, I received several job offer to teach at middle schools in several different states. It was really hard to choose, and I hadn’t received clear inspiration about any of them, even though I was praying really hard.
So what did I do?
I called my dad and talked to him.
I talked to my roommate about it.
I talked to one of my professors about it.
With all of that advice and insight and help, I was able to make a decision.
On Judgment Day, all of those people are going to be there with you to talk to you about it.
These are going to be people who you KNOW are going to the Celestial Kingdom. And they’re going to see if you want to be there, too.
Now, I know you’re thinking, “What, are you crazy? Who WOULDN’T want to go to the Celestial Kingdom?”
In Alma chapter 5, Alma is telling the people about Judgment Day. He’s describing what it will be like to have a perfect remembrance of all of your actions.
And then he asks this question: “do ye suppose that such an one can have a place to sit down in the kingdom of God, with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and also all the holy prophets, whose garments are cleansed and are spotless, pure and white?”
Imagine that you go into the Celestial Kingdom and take a seat in a banquet hall. I kind of envision it like Harry Potter going into Hogwarts on the first day.
You turn to the person next to you, and it’s Joseph Smith! You know, the man who was killed? Who was put in prison many times? Who was beaten up and tarred and feathered?
Do you think you’re going to feel comfortable next to him? Do you think that you’re going to feel like you’re just as worthy as he is to be there?
And then you turn to the other side of you, and it’s Esther! You remember her, right? She became queen and had to stand up for her people, even though he could have to killed her.
And across from you sits Daniel, who was thrown into the lion’s den for praying. He’s with his friends Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego. You know, the three thrown into the furnace because they refused to bow down to an idol?
And you’re going to ask yourself, “Do I feel comfortable here? Was I just as valiant in my testimony as these people were in theirs?”
THAT is what you are going to be discussing on Judgment Day.
Do you really want to be in the Celestial Kingdom?
Remember, you’re still going to be YOU!
You’ll still really like the same music and TV shows that you liked here on earth.
Will you be bored without them because they’re not appropriate?
There are some songs I love that come on the radio, and I know that Emma Smith would reach over and turn them up to sing along with me.
But maybe there’s a TV show or a song that I like, but would I cringe if Nephi were sitting next to me watching it?
We talk about goody-goodies and Molly Mormons. And honestly, we’ve all probably made fun of them once or twice.
But the Celestial Kingdom is going to be FULL of goody-goodies.
Will you want to be there?
And so on Judgment Day, you’re going to be sitting down with Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, the twelve apostles, and others. YOU will counsel with THEM, and YOU will judge YOURSELF.
Your heart, your actions, your desires will be laid bare before you.
You won’t be able to justify your sins anymore. You won’t be able to say, “Oh, it’s not THAT bad” to the Savior, who paid the penalty for that sin that wasn’t that bad.
Does that make sense?
Judgment Day is about YOU and YOUR heart.
Did you work hard in this life to bring your wills and desires in harmony with God’s?
Did you spend time in prayer and in the scriptures, asking God what His will even is?
When the prophet said something that you didn’t like, did you work to change your heart? Or did you argue and rationalize and say, “Well, maybe that’s just his opinion”?
Judgment Day is about taking this life that you lived, and seeing how hard and valiantly you worked to become more like Heavenly Father.
I’m going to say it again – it’s NOT about being perfect.
You have NEVER come so far away that you can’t be forgiven, can’t get back on track.
When you show the others on Judgment Day the path you followed, and you trace it with your finger, they’re not going to care how many times you took the wrong arrow to the wrong box. They’re going to care about how many times you turned it around and fought to take the right arrow back, no matter how hard it was.
And the only person who will be able to answer that question is YOU. You, with your perfect memory of not just your actions, but the attitude you had as you did those actions.
And then you and Heavenly Father and Jesus, together, will determine in which kingdom you will spend eternity.
So let’s talk about those kingdoms. There are three: Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial. D&C 76 goes into a lot of detail of who goes into which kingdoms.
First the Celestial Kingdom, which we often use the sun for a symbol. People who go to the Celestial Kingdom are those who:
Received the testimony
Were baptized by authority and are members of the true church of Jesus Christ
Received the Gift of the Holy Ghost
Were valiant in their testimonies
So now the Terrestrial Kingdom, or the moon. It will have:
Those who died without the law
Refused the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but accepted afterwards
Honorable men who were blinded by the craftiness of others
Not valiant in their testimonies
And finally, the Telestial Kingdom, or the stars
Refused the gospel in the Spirit World, too.
Liars, sorcerers, adulterers
Loves to make a lie
Now, the last place is outer darkness – it’s pretty hard to get there. It’s for people who KNOW Christ, like KNOW Him know Him, and still deny it. Like, Judas Iscariot, who walked with Christ daily and then rejected Him. That’s where the devil and his followers are banished.
Some people have asked whether or not it’s possible to progress from kingdoms to other kingdoms after judgment day.
The short answer is, I don’t know.
In 1950, there was a lot of arguing about it. Someone wrote a letter to the First Presidency, and Brother Joseph L. Anderson, the secretary for the First Presidency, wrote a letter back that said, “The brethren direct me to say that the Church has never announced a definite doctrine upon this point. Some of the brethren have held that it was possible in the course of progression to advance from one glory to another, invoking the principle of eternal progression; others of the brethren have taken the opposite view. But as stated, the Church has never announced a definite doctrine on this point.”
If you want the reference to that obscure letter, it’s on the blog for this week’s podcast notes.
I am simply going to refer back to Alma 34 “Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.”
If you aren’t willing to work for it now, you probably won’t be willing to work for it then.
Because you have the gospel. Odds are, if you’re listening to this podcast, you’ve been baptized. You know the commandments. So it comes down to the point of how willing are you to follow them? To follow God?
I don’t know about y’all, but I want to go to the Celestial Kingdom.
But how do we get there?
That’s what we’re going to talk about next time. What do we need to do in this life to obtain the Celestial Kingdom? What’s the purpose of this life?
Until then, I’m Tiffany Thomas, and this is Tween Talk Episode 3 for Latter-day Saints. See y’all next time!