Satan has no power over faithful dead.
Today we were discussing D&C 29 as a class and a student asked about the final judgment. I returned with this question, “are you asking a general question about the final judgment, or are you asking about when your final judgment will be?” She responded that she was really concerned about her judgment. Most of our students are concerned about how things will be for them. I shared with her the thought that once she leaves this life she will know exactly how she stands before the Lord. From Alma 40 we read the following:
11 Now, concerning the astate of the soul between bdeath and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that 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 ctaken dhome to that God who gave them life.
12 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of ahappiness, which is called bparadise, a state of rest, a state of cpeace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.
13 And then shall it come to pass, that the aspirits 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 bdevil did enter into them, and take possession of their house—and these shall be cast out into outer cdarkness; there shall be dweeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.
14 Now this is the state of the asouls of the bwicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, cfearful looking for the fiery dindignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this estate, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection.
I love the following thoughts on this subject and shared them with the class:
“Satan has power here over us to a certain extent. He can afflict us; he can tempt us; he can annoy us in many ways. These are the consequences of the fall and for a wise purpose belong to our probation here in the flesh. But, if we listen to the Lord, if we strive to keep His commandments, if we seek to be governed by His Spirit, when death comes, Satan’s power ceases. He can no more afflict or torment or tempt or annoy those who are thus faithful. His power over them ceases forever.
But not so with those who disobey God, who keep not His commandments, who yield to the power and spirit of Satan. They are his servants; they are under his influence. He takes possession of them when they pass from this mortal existence, and they experience the torments of hell.
Satan is bound as soon as the faithful spirit leaves this tabernacle of clay and goes to the other side of the veil. That spirit is emancipated from the power and thraldom and attacks of Satan. Satan can only afflict such in this life. He can only afflict those in that life which is to come who have listened to his persuasions, who have listed to obey him. These are the only ones over whom he has power after this life.” 1
Elder F. Burton Howard of the Seventy told of a funeral he once attended where Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke. Elder Howard remembered: “He said, `Life isn’t over for a Latter-day Saint until he or she is safely dead, with their testimony still burning brightly.’ `Safely dead’ – what a challenging concept. Brothers and sisters, we will not be safe until we have given our hearts to the Lord, until we have learned to do what we have promised to do.” 2
Don’t get a complex
“We don’t need to get a complex or get a feeling that you have to be perfect to be saved. You don’t. There’s only been one perfect person, and that’s the Lord Jesus, but in order to be saved in the Kingdom of God and in order to pass the test of mortality, what you have to do is get on the straight and narrow path—thus charting a course leading to eternal life—and then, being on that path, pass out of this life in full fellowship. I’m not saying that you don’t have to keep the commandments. I’m saying you don’t have to be perfect to be saved. If you did, no one would be saved. The way it operates is this: you get on the path that’s named the “straight and narrow.” The straight and narrow path leads a very great distance, to a reward that’s called eternal life. If you’re on that path and pressing forward, and you die, you’ll never get off the path. There is no such thing as falling off the straight and narrow path in the life to come. If you’re working zealously in this life—though you haven’t fully overcome the world and you haven’t done all you hoped you might do—you’re still going to be saved. You don’t have to have an excessive zeal that becomes fanatical and becomes unbalancing. What you have to do is stay in the mainstream of the Church and live as upright and decent people live in the Church—keeping the commandments, paying your tithing, serving in the organizations of the Church, loving the Lord, staying on the straight and narrow path. If you’re on that path when death comes you’ll never fall off from it, and, for all practical purposes, your calling and election is made sure.” 3
1. George Q. Cannon, Sept. 1, 1885, JI 20:264 see also Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, selected, arranged, and edited by Jerreld L. Newquist [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 61.
2. Elder F. Burton Howard, Commitment, General Conference Address, April 1996.
3. (Bruce R. McConkie, “The Probationary Test of Mortality,” Jan 10, 1982, at the SL Institute).