Feb 18, 2015

The Postmortal Spirit World (FHE)

I'm back on track and all caught up!  Here is this week's Family Home Evening.  I taught June from chapter 41 of the Gospel Principles manual, on the Postmortal Spirit World.  The anniversary of the passing of my mother is this Thursday, so this topic is quite fitting.  We were able to talk to June about where her Grandma is, how happy she is, and the important work she is doing.

Song: We sang We'll Bring the World His Truth, song # 172 from the Primary Children's Songbook. There isn't really a song that goes along with this lesson, but I really love this one and I felt that the missionary aspect of it applies to the missionary work that is going on in the spirit world.  It goes as follows:

1. We have been born, as Nephi of old, To goodly parents who love the Lord.
We have been taught, and we understand, That we must do as the Lord commands.
 2. We have been saved for these latter days To build the kingdom in righteous ways.
We hear the words our prophet declares: "Let each who's worthy go forth and share."
3. We know his plan, and we will prepare,Increase our knowledge through study and prayer.
Daily we'll learn until we are called To take the gospel to all the world.
Chorus: We are as the army of Helaman.We have been taught in our youth.
And we will be the Lord's missionaries To bring the world his truth.

Lesson: The manual best words this lesson, so I've included a lot of the text from the manual here:  Heavenly Father prepared a plan for our salvation. As part of this plan, He sent us from His presence to live on earth and receive mortal bodies of flesh and blood. Eventually our mortal bodies will die, and our spirits will go to the spirit world. The spirit world is a place of waiting, working, learning, and, for the righteous, resting from care and sorrow. Our spirits will live there until we are ready for our resurrection. Then our mortal bodies will once more unite with our spirits, and we will receive the degree of glory we have prepared for.

 Spirit beings have the same bodily form as mortals except that the spirit body is in perfect form (see Ether 3:16). Spirits carry with them from earth their attitudes of devotion or antagonism toward things of righteousness (see Alma 34:34). They have the same appetites and desires that they had when they lived on earth.

The prophet Alma in the Book of Mormon taught about two divisions or states in the spirit world:
“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.
“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.

“Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection” (Alma 40:12–14).

The spirits are classified according to the purity of their lives and their obedience to the will of the Lord while on earth. The righteous and the wicked are separated (see 1 Nephi 15:28–30), but the spirits may progress as they learn gospel principles and live in accordance with them. The spirits in paradise can teach the spirits in prison (see D&C 138).

Paradise:  According to the prophet Alma, the righteous spirits rest from earthly care and sorrow. Nevertheless, they are occupied in doing the work of the Lord. President Joseph F. Smith saw in a vision that immediately after Jesus Christ was crucified, He visited the righteous in the spirit world. He appointed messengers, gave them power and authority, and commissioned them to “carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men” (D&C 138:30). If we've accepted the sealing ordinances of the temple, whether in mortality or vicariously, then we are organized as family groups here in paradise!  We can have our families together for time and all eternity.

Prison: The Apostle Peter referred to the postmortal spirit world as a prison, which it is for some (see 1 Peter 3:18–20). In the spirit prison are the spirits of those who have not yet received the gospel of Jesus Christ. These spirits have agency and may be enticed by both good and evil. If they accept the gospel and the ordinances performed for them in the temples, they may leave the spirit prison and dwell in paradise.
Also in the spirit prison are those who rejected the gospel after it was preached to them either on earth or in the spirit prison. These spirits suffer in a condition known as hell. They have removed themselves from the mercy of Jesus Christ, who said, “Behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; but if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit” (D&C 19:16–18). After suffering for their sins, they will be allowed, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, to inherit the lowest degree of glory, which is the telestial kingdom.

Activity:  I racked my brain for many days trying to think of a good activity about the spirit world when it came to me--just play pretend!  I set up two opposite corners of a room as the spirit world.  The Spirit Paradise corner had a lot of lights turned on and pictures of the temple and family.  The Spirit Prison corner was dark.  Then, I had Junes wear a white robe and then I told her that Minnie Mouse was baptized and was very good, then that Baby Hippo wasn't baptized and was misbehaving.  I asked her where each one went.  She put Minnie in Spirit Paradise and Baby Hippo in Spirit Prison.  I then had two stuffed bears, dressed as missionaries which June's aunt and uncle played as the missionaries that teach the gospel in Spirit Prison.  They "taught" Baby Hippo about Christ and when Baby Hippo "accepted" baptism, they escorted Baby Hippo to Spirit Paradise with Minnie.  June thought that was fun, and she then proceeded to play with all the stuffed animals in the Spirit Paradise corner.

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