Every person on this earth faces challenges. Everyone has to go through tough times and sometimes, it seems that those times never get easier. When life is difficult in one aspect, it somehow always finds a way to become difficult in another.
Last week, I received a text at two in the morning from a high school friend. The message was urgent: “Please call me when you can.” My heart sank when I read the text the next morning; knowing my friend and the area we grew up in, I knew that what he had to say was a matter of undesirable events. As I walked to class the next morning I called to hear the news I had been dreading, all the while hoping that it was simply my imagination pondering the worst events. The message was heartbreaking: another dear friend of ours had hung himself the day before and was in vital condition. Automatically, I could not believe it – I knew this young man! We had known each other all throughout high school; he always made everyone laugh when unhappy and always had a smile ready to give to those who needed it. I could not comprehend how such a dramatic act could come from him. I numbly continued to class, shocked. A few days later, he was taken off of life support.
I have reflected on this experience many times since I received the news. During one day as I was reflecting on my experience, it had been on a particularly draining day, both physically and emotionally, and I was worn out. I needed more strength and stamina to keep pressing forward in my life and not break down. As my soul cried in sorrow because of my own challenges, I was silently reminded about how Jesus Christ, who truly came down to earth, suffered and died for every single person so that no matter what the mistake or the trial that we face, we can always call out to HIM for help and mercy. This knowledge and faith has saved my life emotionally and ultimately physically as I know that I am never alone and that I will one day see my God and see my family in Heaven again. My heart turns and cries for his family, especially because they do not have the same faith I do. I believe that after we die, we can again live with God. God is our Heavenly Father and He loves us.
Although challenges can be heartbreaking and seemingly impossible, please – I plead with you to never think you are alone. Your life is worth so much and you are important! You never have to be alone. God will always be near you, and all you have to do is reach out in prayer and hope to find Him. I wish that I could have spoken with my friend before he passed on, but I know that as long as I am reaching for Jesus Christ and living my life in agreement with the example of the Savior, that I will one day be able to see all my friends and family in Heaven again.
This article was written by Erin H., a student at Brigham Young University and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
What is heaven like? Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the Mormon Church by some) understand not only their purpose but also destination in life. The scriptures, prophets, and modern revelation teach about the plan of salvation, kingdoms of glory, and steps required in order to reach heaven. Mormon doctrine says that heaven:
…is first of all the place where God lives and the future home of the saints (Gen. 28:12; Ps. 11:4; Matt. 6:9). It also means the expanse around the earth, as the heavens (Gen. 1:1, 17; Ex. 24:10). It is usually thought of as being “up,” or above the earth (cf. Alma 18:30–32). In the sense of being God’s home and the ultimate place for the faithful, it is clearly distinguished from paradise, which is the temporary abode of the faithful spirits of persons who have lived and died on this earth. 
Mormon Doctrine: Plan of Salvation
“Heaven, which is the kingdom of God, is where those who have been obedient to God’s plan of life and salvation go after judgment and the resurrection.”  The plan of salvation teaches that we are sons and daughters of God, who can choose to become like Him.
Like other Christians, we believe in a heaven or paradise and a hell following mortal life, but to us that two-part division of the righteous and the wicked is merely temporary, while the spirits of the dead await their resurrections and final judgments. The destinations that follow the final judgments are much more diverse. Our restored knowledge of the separateness of the three members of the Godhead provides a key to help us understand the diversities of resurrected glory. In their final judgment, the children of God will be assigned to a kingdom of glory for which their obedience has qualified them. 
Mormon Doctrine: Kingdoms of Glory
Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all people will be resurrected. After we are resurrected, we will stand before the Lord to be judged according to our desires and actions. Each of us will accordingly receive an eternal dwelling place in a specific kingdom of glory. The Lord taught this principle when He said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions” (John 14:2). 
According to the Apostle Paul, the three kingdoms of glory are the Celestial Kingdom, Terrestrial Kingdom, and the Telestial Kingdom (1 Corinthians 15: 40-41). Our goal is to make it to the highest kingdom (Celestial Kingdom), where God and Christ dwell. The scriptures teach us that “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9). God wants to bless us with everything He has, and only asks us to prepare ourselves to return to Him.
Mormon Doctrine: Preparing for Heaven
We all have the responsibility of preparing ourselves and others for entrance back into the kingdom of God. The atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ made it possible for all mankind to be resurrected and to be raised to immortality. Resurrection and immortality are universal gifts from God
… But to be resurrected and immortal is not all that is required for entrance into eternal life in the kingdom of God. Eternal life in the kingdom of God is far beyond his universal gift of immortality and is God’s greatest gift to all mankind; it can only be brought about through obedience to the doctrines and commandments taught by Jesus Christ
… Contrary to what many think, just believing in God and being virtuous and pure are not sufficient to qualify a person for entrance into the kingdom of heaven…Wouldn’t you think it is important to know God the Eternal Father and Jesus Christ if you expect to live with them in the kingdom of heaven? Many feel that they know God and know Jesus Christ, but they fail to keep their commandments. 
Everyone is invited to come unto Christ, repent of their mistakes, pray to God, read the scriptures, study the prophets’ words, and keep the commandments. We are not perfect but God knows that and has provided a way for us to return to Him.
The Proof of God’s Eternal Love for Us
Mormon doctrine teaches that God is Love, and that His entire work and glory are to bring about our immortality (ours through the atonement and universal resurrection) and eternal life (which means exaltation) of man (and woman). (See Moses 1:39.)
Some Christians believe that only Christians will go to heaven, and still other Christians believe that only those of their own persuasion will go to heaven. Although Mormons partake of ordinances and progress in their discipleship of Christ in order to qualify for the highest kingdom, there is still a place in heaven for non-believers in Christ, and people of all persuasions will be saved in heaven. This is why in the Book of Mormon it says that “salvation is free” (2 Nephi 2:4).
As mentioned above, paradise and hell are part of the spirit world, wherein people who have died in ignorance and those who have rejected the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ have an opportunity to repent and accept the Savior. Those who refuse the gospel cannot avail themselves of the atonement performed for them by Christ, and thus, they must suffer for their own sins and wait until the end of the millennium to be resurrected. However, after this, most will still be saved in a kingdom of heaven. The lowest kingdom, the telestial, was seen in vision by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. They saw people in the telestial kingdom who had committed grievous sins and rejected Christ. However, they said the glory of the telestial kingdom was beyond description. (Read the account of this vision of the kingdoms of heaven.)
There is a place called “outer darkness” or “perdition,” where the “sons of perdition” (such as Cain and Judas Iscariot have their inheritance). To be cast out to this hell for eternity, one has to commit the unpardonable and unforgiveable sin of “the sin against the holy ghost,” which is to have a perfect witness of Christ, a perfect knowledge, and then to deny Him, “thus crucifying Him anew.” This perfect witness can come only with a personal visit from the Savior, revealing Himself to a person who has been quickened in order to bear His presence. Thus, outer darkness is reserved for fallen prophets, Satan, and his angels.
Heaven is a place of eternal progress, and though people do not move upward from kingdom to kingdom, they do progress in their own sphere. There is service and learning going on all the time throughout eternity, and the wonderful relationships we can form eternally with our loved ones. The Lord wants those to last forever. There are many mansions in heaven, and eternal beings may visit those mansions where they can abide or survive the amount of glory therein. The mansion we inherit will be with those who are like ourselves, where we are most comfortable.
Mormon Doctrine: Finding Heaven on Earth
“[T]emples are the most sacred place on earth-a place where earth and heaven meet and where we feel close to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.”  Everyone is invited to study the gospel of Jesus Christ and attend churches. However, only worthy LDS members can enter a Mormon temple (also known as The Lord’s House). Temples may also be considered heaven on earth because of the sacred ordinances performed that unite families forever.
One such “temple ordinance is the sealing ordinance, in which husbands and wives are sealed to each other and children are sealed to their parents in eternal families. This means that if we are faithful to our covenants, our family relationships will continue for eternity.” 
Where do people go when they die? The answer is found within Mormon doctrine as taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the Mormon Church by some). However, to better understand where people go after death, one must first understand the LDS doctrines about the plan of salvation, death, spirit world, and resurrection.
Mormon Doctrine: Plan of Salvation
The Apostle Paul taught that Christ could not die again once he had been resurrected. (Romans 6:4-10) This makes perfect sense when one considers that before birth we were spirits without bodies. During our mortal lives, our spirits are inside of our bodies. This may be easy to imagine if you picture a glove coming to life once a hand is inside it.  After death, our spirit separates temporarily from our body, until the Resurrection when it will reunite. Everyone lived with God before coming to earth and will one day return to Him to be judged for their actions.
In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life… it [is] possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally. 
LDS doctrine teaches where people go after death. The spirit goes to the “spirit world” while waiting for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the Final Judgment, and resurrection. This is a place “[w]here our spirits go between death and resurrection. For those who were righteous during their lives, the spirit world will be a place of peace and joy.”  Spirits are in adult form and the righteous are separated from the wicked (see 1 Nephi 15:28–30).
The spirits are classified according to the purity of their lives and their obedience to the will of the Lord while on earth… but the spirits may progress as they learn gospel principles and live in accordance with them. 
The righteous rest in a place called “paradise” and the wicked wait in “spirit prison”.
Mormon Doctrine: Paradise
“…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… 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.” 
“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”  Missionary work still occurs after death and these righteous people are busy preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who died without the knowledge of Him. “The Church is organized in the spirit world, and priesthood holders continue their responsibilities there (see D&C 138:30)… Family relationships are also important.” 
Mormon Doctrine: Hell
Many people believe that people go straight to heaven or hell after death. “The Apostle Peter referred to the postmortal spirit world as a prison, which it is for some (see 1 Peter 3:18–20).” LDS doctrine teaches that some people go to spirit prison until the Final Judgment. The “Spirit Prison” could be considered as “hell” for some because they have not yet received the gospel of Jesus Christ or have removed themselves from the mercy 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” 
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. 
Mormon Doctrine: Repentance
For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.
And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.
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. 
Imagine filling your cup with water or juice and putting it in the freezer. It’s easy to stir before it solidifies. Once it has frozen, it is hard to move the drink around in its container or add more ingredients. This is similar to our spirits after death. It may not be as easy to repent and change our character, flaws, and weaknesses once we have died. We were sent to earth to get bodies, progress, and grow. Take advantage of the opportunity you have today to pray to God, repent of your mistakes, and come unto Christ.
Watch a short clip about the Apostle Russell M. Nelson and reflect if you are ready to meet God.