Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that our time of probation and testing continues after death:
“Sometimes in the Church we speak imprecisely … as if individuals who die go immediately to the celestial kingdom and are at once in the full presence of God. We tend to overlook the reality that the spirit world and paradise are part, really, of the second estate. The work of the Lord, so far as the second estate is concerned, is completed before the Judgment and the Resurrection…
“The veil of forgetfulness of the first estate apparently will not be suddenly, automatically, and totally removed at the time of our temporal death. This veil, a condition of our entire second estate, is associated with and is part of our time of mortal trial, testing, proving, and overcoming by faith—and thus will continue in some key respects into the spirit world. …
“Thus, if not on this side of the veil, then in the spirit world to come, the gospel will be preached to all, including all transgressors, rebels, and rejectors of prophets, along with all those billions who died without a knowledge of the gospel (D&C 138)” 1
Elder Richard G. Scott put it this way:
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. 2
- Neal A. Maxwell, The Promise of Discipleship, 2001, p. 119, 122.
- Richard G. Scott, Truth Restored, October 2005 Conference.