The veil of forgetfulness

Ultimately the veil of darkness, or forgetfulness, which deprives us of the recollection of our existence in the spirit world before this earth was made and of the acquaintances we had here, will be lifted. Then we will see as we are seen and know as we are known and as we were known before earth life. (Legrand Richards, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, p. 281.)

Is the veil of forgetfulness (the “veil of mortality”) automatically removed at the time of death when the person enters the postmortal spirit world? No. However, Jesus Christ and perhaps some other righteous persons have been so faithful and diligent in this life that the veil of forgetfulness has been removed from them while they were still living on earth.By what means or power is the veil of forgetfulness removed? By the power of the individual’s spirit, working in conjunction with the Spirit of our Heavenly Father. (See D&C 8:1-4 and the accompanying footnote references for these verses.) (Daniel H. Ludlow, Selected Writings of Daniel H. Ludlow: Gospel Scholars Series [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2000], 290.)

Elder Richard G. Scott

Elder Richard G. Scott

Should one live to qualify for all of the richest promised blessings but for reasons beyond his or her control not be able to obtain them on earth, there would be a compensating opportunity in postmortal life. Your memory of premortal life would be kept from you to assure that it would be a valid test, but there would be guidance given to show you how to live. Our Father’s plan for salvation in this life with the opportunity of returning to Him would be called the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Richard G. Scott, Truth Restored, October 2005 Conference)

We define the veil as the border between mortality and eternity; it is also a film of forgetting which covers the memories of earlier experiences. This forgetfulness will be lifted one day, and on that day we will see forever—rather than “Through a glass darkly” (1 Cor. 13:12) (Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign Oct 1980, 31)

President Ezra Taft Benson

President Ezra Taft Benson

For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the Second Coming of the Lord. Every previous gospel dispensation has drifted into apostasy, but ours will not. True, there will be some individuals who will fall away; but the kingdom of God will remain intact to welcome the return of its head—even Jesus Christ. While our generation will be comparable in wickedness to the days of Noah, when the Lord cleansed the earth by flood, there is a major difference this time. It is that God has saved for the final inning some of the strongest children, who will help bear off the kingdom triumphantly. And that is where you come in, for you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God. “All through the ages the prophets have looked down the corridors of time to our day. Billions have deceased and those yet to be born have their eyes on us. Make no mistake about it—you are a marked generation. (President Ezra Taft Benson, In His Steps, BYU March 4, 1979)

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1 Response to The veil of forgetfulness

  1. Stephen Ehat says:

    I would like to add one more statement to your collection of quotations. It differs both in source and conclusion from five previous quotations offered above.

    The five previous quotations are from the writings and speeches of Elder Legrand Richards (“ultimately the veil . . . will be lifted,” written in 1950 while serving as Presiding Bishop of the Church), Brother Daniel H. Ludlow (the veil will not be “automatically removed at the time of death,” spoken by Brother Ludlow, former director of the Church Correlation Department, at a March 1995 Ricks College Devotional), Elder Richard G. Scott (“your memory of premortal life would be kept from you,” spoken in General Conference in October of 2005 while a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles), Elder Neal A. Maxwell (“this forgetfulness will be lifted one day,” spoken at an address to students of Brigham Young University on 27 November 1979 by Elder Maxwell while a member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy), and President Ezra Taft Benson (the quotation supplied does not bear on the question of the veil of forgetfulness and is taken from a speech to BYU students while he was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles).

    My addition is this sixth statement: It was made in 1964 and repeated again in 1986, 2009, and 2014, given by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and set forth in the narration of the Church-produced film, “Man’s Search for Happiness,” never altered in any of the various repetitions of it published by the First Presidency:

    “After death, though your mortal body lies in the earth, you, your spirit self, being eternal, continue to live. Your memory of this life will remain with you, and the knowledge of your life before birth will be restored.”

    That statement seemingly clearly pertains to the post-mortal spirit world prior to the resurrection, for the very next sentence following the above quotation states, “Like coming out of a darkened room into the light, through death you will emerge into a place of reawakening and find loved ones waiting to welcome you.”



    1. Text: The Instructor, January 1967, 8-9 (available at; note that the text is copyrighted by the First Presidency (see end of text).

    2. Video: — Note that this video setting forth the 1964 movie was placed on the Mormon Newsroom channel on YouTube in 2014 (see copyright notice at 13:08 at and note also that this 2014 publication of the video is copyrighted by Intellectual Reserve, Inc., which is wholly owned and operated by the Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


    New video, same text, same narration (by Elder Nathan Eldon Tanner, then (in 1964) a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles): — Note that this also was placed on DVD in 2009 (see and see

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