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Recently we had a very good discussion on whether or not the LDS church believes in Universal Salvation. One of the key doctrines of the LDS faith is that everyone will have a chance to at least hear about Jesus and accept Him as their Savior whether that be in this life or the next. This concept is unfamiliar to many Christians, and one of my fellow Christian friends asked where scriptures supporting this can be found in the Bible. In response to his question, I will provide Biblical scriptures that support this doctrine and also will provide additional LDS doctrines given from moder-day prophets.
Biblical Scriptures Supportind Jesus Preaching to the Dead
There are quite a number of scriptures found in the Bible that discuss Jesus visiting the “dead” spirits and also spirits in prison. Some of the scriptures that discuss Jesus preaching to the “dead” spirits can be viewed in two ways. The first way I can see people interpreting these scriptures is that the verses are discussing those who are spiritually dead, and not people who have literally died. This interpretation could be viewed by most of the scriptures I referenced in the link with the exception of those found in 1 Peter.
1 Peter 3:19-20 discusses Jesus preaching to the spirits in prison who had lived during the time of Noah. This scripture can not be interpreted as merely preaching to those who are spiritually dead because of the reference to Noah.
LDS Revelation on Jesus Preaching to those who have Died
Joseph F. Smith, the sixth prophet and president of the LDS church, and nephew of the churche’s first prophet, Joseph Smith, received a revelation on Jesus visiting spirits who had died in order to preach the gospel of salvation to them (a complete reading of this is in the LDS Doctrine and Covenants, section 138)
In this account, Joseph F Smith explains of how he was “pondering over the scriptures” about Jesus’ great atonement and his mercy for all of humankind. He writes:
I was reading my Yahoo News this morning and came across a very interesting article called “What Happens When We Die?”.
In this article, Dr Sam Parnia describes a study he’s been conducting for the last 10 years on out of body experiences from his patients who come back to life after the body is clinically dead. He also describes how they conduct the study in a way so they know it’s not a figment of the people’s imagination, because they describe certain things in such detail after returning. For more information on his research, click here or visit this site.
This reminds me of a story of one of my relatives who died on the operating table and left the body. She described how free she felt and how good it felt to be free of pain. She then turned and saw her family crying and she felt that she wanted to return back to her body to help them. When she returned, pain instantly came over her again, but she described everything in precise detail: what the doctors were saying, her children and husband…everything.
Similar references are found in this interesting article and you can read it here.