Discuss this article or ask questions at the LDS.net Forums.
- And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works (Revelation 20:12).
- For they shall be judged according to their works, and every man shall receive according to his own works, his own dominion, in the mansions which are prepared (Doctrine and Covenants 76:111);
- And it came to pass that I said unto them that it was a representation of things both temporal and spiritual; for the day should come that they must be judged of their works, yea, even the works which were done by the temporal body in their days of probation (1 Nephi 15:32).
- Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil (Alma 11:44).
- And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—
- And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.
- And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.
- For behold, out of the books which have been written, and which shall be written, shall this people be judged, for by them shall their works be known unto men.
- And behold, all things are written by the Father; therefore out of the books which shall be written shall the world be judged (3 Nephi 27:14-16, 25, 26).
Doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that there will be a literal final judgment.
The Last or Final Judgment has received this name because there will be and have been other judgments prior to this final judgment. Before this life the spirit-children of God (see Plan of Salvation) were judged and found worthy to come to earth and experience mortality. When members of the Church are ready to receive certain ordinances such as baptism, their worthiness is judged. After death, our spirits are given a partial judgment and are assigned to either spirit paradise or spirit prison. This assignment, however, is temporary and only lasts until the final judgment.
How will we be judged?
Latter-day Saint doctrine teaches that men will be judged by three different records: records which have been kept on earth; from the book of life, which is the record kept in heaven; and themselves. A lesson from the teaching manual Gospel Principles, printed by the Church, further explains how men and women are record-keepers of their lives:
- There is another record that will be used to judge us. The Apostle Paul taught that we ourselves are the most complete record of our life (see Romans 2:15; 2 Corinthians 3:1-3). Stored in our body and mind is a complete history of everything we have done. President John Taylor taught this truth: "[The individual] tells the story himself, and bears witness against himself.... That record that is written by the man himself in the tablets of his own mind-that record that cannot lie-will in that day be unfolded before God and angels, and those who sit as judges" (Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Latter-day Prophets Speak, pp. 56-57).
Above all, we can rest assured that all judgments will be fair, because the judgment comes not from a mortal judge and jury, but from the Almighty Judge of all and the perfect records of our lives. In the book of 1 Samuel, the Lord admonishes the prophet: "Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." The Lord will judge His children not only based on their actions, but also by their thoughts, and by their intents. In Hebrews 4:12 we read that the Lord "is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart," and He will make sure that all receive a fair judgment.
Mormon doctrine takes into account that many millions of people have lived on this earth who have received no knowledge or very slight knowledge of Christ or the Plan of Salvation. People will be judged according to the knowledge they have obtained.
- For behold, there is a wo pronounced upon him who listeth to obey that spirit; for if he listeth to obey him, and remaineth and dieth in his sins, the same drinketh damnation to his own soul; for he receiveth for his wages an everlasting punishment, having transgressed the law of God contrary to his own knowledge (Mosiah 2:33 - emphasis added).
- Wherefore, he has given a law; and where there is no law given there is no punishment; and where there is no punishment there is no condemnation; and where there is no condemnation the mercies of the Holy One of Israel have claim upon them, because of the atonement; for they are delivered by the power of him.
- For the atonement satisfieth the demands of his justice upon all those who have not the law given to them, that they are delivered from that awful monster, death and hell, and the devil, and the lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment; and they are restored to that God who gave them breath, which is the Holy One of Israel (2 Nephi 9:25, 26).
- And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel.
- Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.
- These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands,
- And all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit (Doctrine and Covenants 138:31-34).
- And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh;
- Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it (Doctrine and Covenants 76:73, 74).
Who will judge us?
- “The Son, not the Father, is the Judge of the whole earth, but his judgment is made in accordance with the will of the Father and therefore is just. . . .
- “Because Jesus is the Son of Man of Holiness he has been given the power to execute judgment, to sit in judgment at the great and last day, to call all men forth in immortality to stand before his bar” (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:190, 192, 195).
Christ will then call others to help him in judgment. The original Twelve Apostles called by the Savior will judge the twelve tribes of Israel, as explained in Matthew 19:28:
- And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
What is the purpose of judgment?
The purpose of judgment is to assign individuals to a kingdom of glory. “We will be sent to one of four places: the celestial kingdom (the highest degree of glory), the terrestrial kingdom (the second degree), the telestial kingdom (the lowest degree), or outer darkness (the kingdom of the devil--not a degree of glory)” (Gospel Principles). This judgment is last and final, but it is also both just and merciful. Every individual will receive as much happiness and glory as their choices will allow them.