When you are in the spirit world, everything there will appear as natural as things now do. Spirits will be as familiar with spirits in the spirit world—will converse, behold, and exercise every variety of communication one with another as familiarly and naturally as while here in tabernacles. There, as here, all things will be natural, and you will understand them as you now understand natural things.
TRAVEL, COMMUNICATION, AND LEARNING IN THE AFTERLIFE
As Brigham Young taught, the spirit world will appear just as natural as do things here on earth, but it will be suffused with “inexpressible glory.”
For example, Brigham Young taught that when we enter into paradise, we will be “free to travel with lightning speed.” He compared this spiritual movement, including what we today call “time travel,” to lightning or electricity (or perhaps we could add fiber optics, satellites, and the internet). These, President Young said, “furnish a fine illustration of the ability and power of the Almighty. . . . When we pass into the spirit world we shall possess a measure of this power.” Perhaps this is what the Prophet Joseph meant when he described the righteous spirits as being “enveloped in flaming fire.”
Elder Orson Pratt spoke extensively of the mode of communication in the spirit world. There, he said, communication isn’t dependent upon sound waves and auditory nerves in our ears. Instead, we communicate mind to mind, spirit to spirit. In my research, I came across many accounts of non-LDS near-death experiences that described this telepathic communication. That may sound like something out of Star Trek, but in reality, the scriptures and prophets describe it as the “spirit of revelation”—that is, God speaks to our minds and hearts (see D&C 8:2–3). That is perfect communication.
There is another aspect of this enhanced capacity of righteous spirits in the spirit world that I really look forward to—increased ability to learn and retain knowledge. Orson Pratt explained:
Instead of thinking in one channel, knowledge will rush in from all quarters; it will come in light like the light which flows from the sun, penetrating every part, informing the spirit, and giving understanding concerning ten thousand things at the same time; and the mind will be capable of receiving and retaining all.
Benjamin F. Johnson once described seeing the Prophet Joseph one evening and said that the prophet, “with a deep-drawn breath, as a sigh of weariness . . . sank down heavily in his chair, and said, ‘Oh! I am so tired—so tired that I often feel to long for my day of rest. For what has there been in this life but tribulation for me?’”
This promise of eventual peace and rest is at the very heart of the Prophet Joseph’s teachings on death, the spirit world, and consolation. He repeatedly testified that to the faithful, “all is well” at death. In an earlier revelation, the Lord stated, “Those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them” (D&C 42:46).
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are blessed to have the additional insight of modern revelation about our life before and our life after. Through modern revelation, we can know that our loved ones are at peace, that they are near us and engaged in a profound work, and that they have a never-ending reserve of hope provided through the Savior’s Atonement. We are blessed to have such precious knowledge of who we were, what our true potential is, and what great blessings await us.
This article originally appeared in the May/June 2015 Issue of LDS Living Magazine. Read more by picking up your copy in any Deseret Book store or on deseretbook.com.
Learn more about the other side from celebrated LDS author Brent L. Top in What's On the Other Side: What the Gospel Teaches Us About the Spirit World.
This revealing look at gospel principles highlights the wealth of information the scriptures and latter-day prophets and apostles have provided to us about death and the spirit world—its location and conditions, the nature of departed spirits, and the work performed for and by those there. Removing much of the mystery and fear associated with dying, this book demonstrates that knowing what life will be like after death can help inspire us to live better lives here and now.