The doctrine of salvation for the dead affirms God's fairness and liberality.
The doctrine repudiates visions of everlasting damnation for people who
do not meet certain religious requirements before their time on earth
runs out: the "heathen," the "unsaved," and so on.
Instead, our tradition anticipates that people's spiritual journeys continue
beyond this life. The dead grow in character and understanding; they can
This vision offers hope that things we leave unfinished in life need
not remain unfinished. Death does not close the possibilities for forgiveness
and reconciliation. The doctrine of salvation for the dead, combined with
the doctrine of sealing, assures
us that estrangement from loved ones is not permanent. Our Heavenly Parents
do not cease to draw us to themselves.
Vicarious work for the dead is potentially offensive because it implies
that lives which did not end in the LDS Church were inadequate. This issue
requires unstinting sensitivity. At the same time, family history and
temple work have the positive effect of promoting a sense of heritage,
of being connected to those who preceded us and to all their descendants
(D&C 2:1-2). We see ourselves as collaborating
with loved ones beyond the veil in a divine project that encompasses all
time and space (D&C 128:15, 22-23). We
learn that every life has ultimate significance. Every individual has
a history; every individual belongs in history. No life should be forgotten.
| Some things must wait; life isn't long enough.
Some dreams must wait to come true. . . .
There's never enough time,
and that is why I'm glad we go on forever.
Lynn Pearson, My Turn on Earth (1977)
Brigham Young: If
[parents] conduct themselves towards [their children] as they should,
binding them to the Lord by their faith and prayers, I care not
where those children go, they are bound up to their parents by an
everlasting tie, and no power of earth or hell can separate them
from their parents in eternity; they will return again to the fountain
from whence they sprang.
|Discourses of Brigham
Young (Salt Lake City, Deseret Book, 1954), 208
John Taylor: Elijah
has appeared that the hearts of the fathers might be turned to their
children and the hearts of the children to their fathers—
. . . that there may be, as the Prophet Joseph has said, a welding
link that will cement and bind other peoples with us and we with
them, and that there may be a bond of union, also, between the people
on earth and those in heaven, that we may operate together, they
in the heavens and we on the earth, for the accomplishment of the
purposes of God pertaining to the peoples that have lived, that
now live and that will live.
|Journal of Discourses
|Orson F. Whitney: The
Prophet Joseph Smith declared—and he never taught a more comforting
doctrine—that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the
divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth,
would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though
some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them,
and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence
reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either
in this life or the life to come, they will return.
April 1929, 110
|John A. Widtsoe: If I
read this revelation correctly [D&C 2], it points out that humanity
will win no peace, nor harmony, nor salvation, as we use the word,
unless we learn to love one another. . . . [I]n the spirit of brotherhood
alone lies the safe future of humankind. . . . The brotherhood of
this revelation is more than the brotherhood existing between living
people. . . . We must establish a spirit of brotherhood among us and
those who have gone before, most of whom we know only as names. The
human race is one great family—all children of God.
April 1950, 128-129