Death is an event that brings anguish, pain, fear, and sorrow. These feelings are common, especially when a loved one is lost. We mourn and grieve because of death. But in the gospel of Jesus Christ, we learn that although death is inevitable, it is a crucial part of the Plan of Salvation. We mourn because of the temporary separation, but we also hope for a joyful reunion with our loved ones someday.
Our lives do not begin at birth and do not end at death. Before we came to Earth, our spirits lived with our Father in heaven. Then we came to Earth, obtained physical bodies and were given the freedom to make our own choices. Then comes death, about which Ecclesiastes says, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die.” This scripture passage helps us understand that death is not some tragedy that happens without any reason at all. Death is a passage that we all have to go through to return to our Heavenly Father. No one is exempt, not even Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.
So where do we go after death? In the Book of Alma, we learn that “the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body…whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life” and “that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise.” During this state, we remain as spirits. This state is the space between death and the resurrection.
The resurrection is the time when our spirits and bodies will be reunited and never separate again. Resurrection is when the body and the spirit “shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame.” It is a free gift to all through Christ who gave up His life and overcame death that all men may live. Just like how Jesus rose again from the dead, so shall we during the resurrection. After the resurrection will come our judgment—a time when we will be judged on our works here on Earth. This judgement will determine where we will dwell in His Kingdom.
Knowing that life does not end at death and that there is life after death gives us the eternal perspective that our spirits live on, and that there is more to life than our mortal journey here on Earth. When we come to understand Heavenly Father’s Plan of Salvation, we become one with the vision of the psalmist, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” It is “precious” because Heavenly Father is delighted to welcome His children home. We also take comfort in knowing that our separation from loved ones due to death is only temporary. And when sealed as a family in the temple by proper authority, our families can be together forever.
Learn more about the Plan of Salvation.