FAIR is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing well-documented answers to criticisms of the doctrine, practice, and history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Plan of salvation/Resurrection/Mormon views regarding
The Mormon view of the resurrection
Jump to Subtopic:
- Question: Do Mormons believe men have the right to resurrect their spouses by a specific ordinance?
- Question: Do Mormons believe that we will have blood in our bodies when we are resurrected or will it be just flesh and bone?
- Question: Does the statement in 1 Corinthians 15:50 that flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom of heaven mean that resurrected beings cannot enter heaven?
- Question: Do Mormons believe in the "rapture"?
Question: Do Mormons believe men have the right to resurrect their spouses by a specific ordinance?
The claim is false--all of humanity will be resurrected through the grace of Christ
The claim is false--all of humanity will be resurrected through the grace of Christ. While worthy Saints may participate in that process (as, for example, they participate in performing baptisms) they cannot withhold it from anyone, and Christ would not tolerate an unrighteous exercise of such authority anyway.
The critic who put forth this claim was referring to speculations or statements from past church leaders who said resurrection will be an ordinance of sorts (or at least requiring priesthood keys in order to occur). Bearing in mind that not all statements of General Authorities carry the weight of revelation or scripture,  Brigham Young tied "keys" to resurrection:
When the angel who holds the keys of the resurrection shall sound his trumpet, then the peculiar fundamental particles that organized our bodies here, if we do honor to them, though they be deposited in the depths of the sea, and though one particle is in the north, another in the south, another in the east, and another in the west, will be brought together again in the twinkling of an eye, and our spirits will take possession of them. 
In 1872 he stated his belief that there are some ordinances the Church does not currently practice, one being resurrection:
It is supposed by this people that we have all the ordinances in our possession for life and salvation, and exaltation, and that we are administering in these ordinances. This is not the case.
We are in possession of all the ordinances that can be administered in the flesh; but there are other ordinances and administrations that must be administered beyond this world. I know you would ask what they are.
I will mention one. We have not, neither can we receive here, the ordinance and the keys of the resurrection. They will be given to those who have passed off this stage of action and have received their bodies again, as many have already done and many more will. They will be ordained, by those who hold the keys of the resurrection, to go forth and resurrect the Saints, just as we receive the ordinance of baptism, then the keys of authority to baptize others for the remission of their sins. This is one of the ordinances we can not receive here, and there are many more." 
Additionally, Wilford Woodruff's journal contains the following:
Who will resurrect Joseph's Body? It will be Peter, James, John, Moroni, or someone who has or will receive the keys of the resurrection. It will probably be one of those who hold the keys of this dispensation and has delivered them to Joseph and you will see Jesus and he will eat peaches and apples with you.  But the world will not see it or know it for wickedness will increase. Joseph and Jesus will be there. They will walk and talk with them at times and no man mistrusts who they are. Joseph will lead the Armies of Israel whether He is seen or no, whether visible or invisible as seemeth him good.
Joseph has got to receive the keys of the resurrection for you and I. After he is resurrected he will go and resurrect Brother Brigham, Brother Heber, and Brother Carloss, and when that is done then He will say, "now go Brother Brigham and resurrect your wives and children and gather them together. While this is done, the wicked will know nothing of it, though they will be in our midst and they will be struck with fear. This is the way the resurrection will be. All will not be raised at once but will continue in this way until all the righteous are resurrected.
After Joseph comes to us in his resurrected body, He will more fully instruct us concerning the baptism for the dead and the sealing ordinances. He will say, be baptized for this man and that man and that man be sealed to that such a man to such a man, and connect the Priesthood together. I tell you their will not be much of this done until Joseph comes.... Our hearts are already turned to him and his to us. 
Perhaps there is some speculation in connection with a portion of the temple ceremony before a husband and wife are sealed.  Hugh Nibley has made connections between ordinances and resurrection in Egyptian ritual, for example.  The closest contemporary reference I could find dealt not with the resurrection as an ordinance, but with the priesthood keys playing a part in the final judgment as stated in Matthew 19:27-28 (see footnote 3 below). The Encyclopedia of Mormonism makes no mention of it in the Resurrection article but makes an oblique reference to priesthood power directing raising of the dead, which is considered temporal (such as in the raising of Lazarus) contrasted with the eternal resurrection. 
Question: Do Mormons believe that we will have blood in our bodies when we are resurrected or will it be just flesh and bone?
In the resurrection, our bodies will undergo a much more significant change than simply not having blood, but we can only speculate on what this change will be
These sorts of categories aren't very helpful in understanding the nature of the resurrected body. The distinction between 'just flesh and bone' and flesh and bone and blood was one that was common in the early years of the Church. And it was a view that was developed (not just by LDS members) to try and harmonize several different passages of scripture. The challenge is that these sorts of categories don't really match up well with what we know about our physical bodies today - which isn't limited to ideas of flesh and bone but to an understanding of complex systems, and molecular biology and genetics.
Part of our challenge is the reliance on Biblical translations to create these ideas. One of the proof texts used in this discussion historically has been the resurrected Jesus, talking to his apostles in Luke 24:39:
Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have."
But no blood is mentioned. However, the Greek word used here for flesh isn't a word that means somehow flesh without blood -
flesh (the soft substance of the living body, which covers the bones and is permeated with blood) of both man and beasts"
Flesh in the New Testament usually includes blood by definition. It encapsulates the idea of the physical body with all of its parts (including blood). And this is how Jesus is using it in this context. Jesus isn't teaching us some great mystery about the resurrection, merely pointing out to his apostles that he does in fact have a very real body. And this sort of thing is true in other places. Our attempts at times to parse scripture to help us understand questions that aren't explained clearly sometimes leads us into this sort of speculation. I think that we do far better looking at the descriptions we have have glorified beings (God, for example, as he appears to Joseph Smith) for an understanding of the nature of the resurrected body rather than at our own physical natures.
In the resurrection, our bodies will undergo a much more significant change than simply not having blood. But what that change will be, we can only speculate.
Question: Does the statement in 1 Corinthians 15:50 that flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom of heaven mean that resurrected beings cannot enter heaven?
To intepret 1 Corinthians to mean that no flesh and blood can enter into heaven discards the beliefs of several founding fathers of modern day Christianity
Critics attempt to use 1 Corinthians 15:50 to demonstrate that a resurrected being with a physical body cannot enter into heaven, therefore excluding a God with a body as well as resurrected mortals.
To intepret 1 Corinthians to mean that no flesh and blood can enter into heaven discards the beliefs of several founding fathers of modern day Christianity. They correctly taught the true meaning of the word 'flesh' as not being literal, otherwise, Christ Himself would not be allowed into heaven.
While Latter-day Saints do not base their theology on tradition or the early Fathers, that early Christians agree with modern-day revelation is another witness of its accuracy.
The early Christians interpreted this scripture to mean something very different than our critics do
In 207 A.D., Tertullian taught: “‘Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God’. He means the works of the flesh and blood, which, deprive men of the kingdom of God.” 
Novation noted in A.D. 235that “When it is written that ‘flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God’, it is not the substance of the flesh that is condemned...but only the guilt of the flesh.” 
Photius quoted Methodius in A.D. 290 as saying “‘Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.’..By ‘flesh’, he did not mean the flesh itself, but the irrational impulse towards the immoral pleasures of the should.” 
The great father Origen also taught a deeper, alternate meaning for the word 'flesh' in A.D. 225:
At the time of the flood, when all persons had corrupted their way before God, it is recorded that God spoke in this manner, concerning undeserving men and sinners: ‘My Spirit will not abide with those men forever, because they are flesh.’ By this it is clearly shown that the Spirit of God is taken away from all who are unworthy. 
Tertullian also taught that Christ has a body of flesh and bone, yet dwells in the heavens. “Jesus is still sitting there at the right hand of the Father. He is man, yet also God. He is the last Adam; yet, He is also the primary Word. He is flesh and blood, yet purer than ours, and he will ‘descend in like manner as He ascended into heaven.’ That is, He will be the same both in substance and in form.” 
Tertullian could have partially been basing this belief off of Luke 24:39 when Christ admonishes the Apostles to touch Him. He said "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have."
Question: Do Mormons believe in the "rapture"?
Modern revelation makes it clear that the saints will remain on the earth through the tribulation period until Christ's coming and those who are old or in the grave shall be changed to a resurrected state at that time
Modern revelation makes it clear that the saints will remain on the earth through the tribulation period until Christ's coming and those who are old or in the grave shall be changed to a resurrected state at that time. Younger saints will grow old and be changed in an instant at one hundred years of age (Isaiah 65:20; DC 101:30-31) to inherit a glorious resurrection with God and Christ.
This question deals with a unique Protestant belief which is being disputed by various factions today
This question deals with a unique Protestant belief which is being disputed by various factions today. Because the concept of a "rapture" is not universally accepted among Christians and is not understood by many, it is appropriate to start by first defining the term.
Origin of the term and concept of "rapture"
The word rapture is said to come from a Latin translation of the Greek word harpazo which is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Harpazo is translated in English as "caught up." The term rapture as it is used by orthodox Protestants is based on a belief that, when Christ comes, he will instantly catch up all living believers to meet him in the air and translate them into immortal bodies without experiencing physical death. It is further believed that those who are caught up will be miraculously taken away from tribulations to be with the Lord in heaven. LDS scripture presents a different picture especially on this last point.
Source and scriptural support for Protestant belief
Protestant belief in the rapture is based on Matthew 24:31,39-42; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10. Although other scriptures might also be applied to this event, their relationship is often questioned even among Protestants. There is also disagreement regarding the rapture's timing in relation to the tribulation period spoken of in Matthew 24:21,29; Mark 13:24; Luke 21:9-26, and Revelation 7:14. According to orthodox Protestant eschatology, the tribulation period will last seven years (two periods of 3 1/2 years; see Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:7,11; Matthew 24:21-22; Revelation 11:2-3; Revelation 12:6,14; Revelation 13:5). Daniel 9:27 is usually cited in support of this conclusion but Revelation 2:10 provides another figure (10 days or years).
Theories on timing of the Rapture in Protestant theology
Three or four theories have been suggested concerning the timing of the rapture. Those who hold that believers will be caught up before the tribulation period, to be with Christ in heaven and to return with him at the end of this period, are called "pre-tribulationists." Those who believe that the church will go through the tribulation and be caught up at the end of this period are called "post-tribulationists." Those who believe that the church will go through half of the tribulation period (three and one-half years) before being caught up are referred to as "mid-tribulationists." If this were not enough, there is also a fourth interpretation commonly called the "partial rapture view" which holds that only some believers will be taken up at one or more points during the tribulation period.
All of these theories are of recent origin having been developed in the last two hundred years. Modern revelation received through the Prophet Joseph Smith contains answers to these and other similar questions and would settle these arguments if accepted; unfortunately, many are "ever learning and [yet] never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Timothy 3:7). Although the Bible has clearly not been sufficient to settle this problem, it does provide a great deal of information on this subject.
Latter-day Saint view: Biblical and modern revelation
The gospels alone provide more information than can be considered in a brief discussion on this subject. To keep this answer short, we will only consider the timing of Christ's coming and the gathering of believers in relation to the tribulation period. Matthew tells us that:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened... And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect..." (Matthew 24:29-31).
Mark likewise tells us:
- after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened... And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost parts of the earth..." (Mark 13:24,26-27).
Although Luke does not use the word tribulation, he describes these events in the same order (see Luke 21:25-27). In each case, the second coming follows the tribulation and the gathering of the elect follows his coming. Not only is there no mention of Christ's appearance before or during this tribulation period, but believers are warned by all three writers that false Christs will appear to deceive many (Matthew 24:5,23-24; Mark 13:6,21-22; Luke 21:8). None of these accounts hints at multiple returns of the Savior.
Other New Testament scriptures
The remainder of the New Testament reinforces the concept that the saints will not be spared tribulations. Paul told the Thessalonian saints, ."..when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation" (1 Thessalonians:3). In a second epistle he stated, "we ourselves glory in... your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure" (2 Thessalonians 1:4). He taught other saints that, "we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience" (Romans 5:3) and "we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). Matthew quotes Christ as saying that except the "great tribulation" were "shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (Matthew 24:21-22). This is also the theme of the parable of the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:24-30,36-52).
John the Revelator also makes it clear that the saints will pass through the tribulation period prior to Christ's coming. In Revelation 7:13-14 an elder asked John, "What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And [John] said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said unto me, These are they which came out of great tribulation and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." John goes on to speak in chapter 13 of the period in which the beast would reign (42 months or 3 1/2 years - Revelation 13:5). During this period we are told that, "it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them" (Revelation 13:7). Directly following this, Christ comes with his elect to Mount Zion (Revelation 14:1) and in the clouds to execute judgment (Revelation 14:15-16). Note that in chapters 14 through 19 the Lord executes judgment. Chapter 15 speaks of the exaltation of the just who "had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name" (Revelation 15:2; compare Revelation 13:7,15-17). Chapters 16 through 19 detail the "wrath of God" poured out upon the wicked (Revelation 16:1) and at the end of chapter 19 the beast is defeated by Christ (Revelation 19:20-21).
We must remember the beast's reign was previously identified as 42 months or three and one-half years (Revelation 13:5), and this seems to be the last half of the tribulation period. This is therefore further confirmation that these chapters describe events at the end of the tribulation. Compare also Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:7; Zechariah 13:8-9; Malachi 3:2,5-6; Malachi 4:1-3; Revelation 20:1-7 with 1 Thessalonians 4:16; and Revelation 12:14 with Revelation 12:17 and Revelation 13:5.
Joseph Smith and modern revelation
Joseph Smith's inspired revision of Matthew 24 informs us that the great tribulation will be "on the Jews and the inhabitants of Jerusalem" (JS-M 1:18) and "after the tribulation of those days... they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven... and he shall send his angels before him with the great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together the remainder of his elect" (JS-M 1:36-37). DC 29:8 tells us that the "tribulation and desolation shall be upon the wicked," but Joseph Smith added that, "it is a false idea that the Saints will escape all judgment whilst the wicked suffer; for all flesh is subject to suffer, and the righteous shall hardly escape [DC 63:34], still many of the Saints will escape..."
Doctrine and Covenants section 63 provides us with additional insight regarding these events and also explains the LDS belief concerning the translation of believers at the coming of Christ. It states that,
the saints also shall hardly escape; nevertheless, I, the Lord, am with them, and will come down in heaven from the presence of the Father and consume the wicked with unquenchable fire... he that liveth when the Lord shall come, and hath kept the faith, blessed is he; nevertheless, it is appointed to him to die at the age of a man [100 years - Isaiah 65:20]. Wherefore, children shall grow up until they become old; old men shall die; but they shall not sleep in the dust, but they shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye" (D&C 63:34,50-51).
It also states that "in the day of the coming of the Son of Man... cometh an entire separation of the righteous and the wicked" (D&C 63:53-54)—not before!
Again in D&C section 88 the Lord warns, "prepare the saints for the hour of judgment which is to come; that their souls may escape the wrath of God, the desolation of abomination which awaits the wicked both in this world and in the world to come" (DC 88:84-85). "And the saints that are upon the earth, who are alive, shall be quickened and be caught up to meet him. And they who have slept in their graves shall come forth for their graves shall be opened; and they also shall be caught up to meet him in the midst of the pillar of heaven—They are Christ's, the first fruits [of the resurrection], and they who shall descend with him first, and they who are on the earth and in their graves, who are first caught up to meet him... (D&C 88:96-98).
Thus begins the resurrection of the just and the millennial reign of Christ on the earth (see DC 88:99-101; Revelation 20:4-6). Those who are caught up are not taken into heaven but reign "with Christ a thousand years" on the earth. Thereafter, "they shall reign for ever and ever" with him (Revelation 22:4-5).
To see citations to the critical sources for these claims, click here
- See FairMormon Answers, "Official Church doctrine and statements by Church leaders" The drift of this doctrinal stance has been mentioned by LDS leaders from Joseph Smith ("a prophet is a prophet only when he is acting as such" [History of the Church 5:265]) to the present. Also consider the recent statement from LDS Public Affairs: "Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. A single statement made by a single leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, but is not meant to be officially binding for the whole Church...Some doctrines are more important than others and might be considered core doctrines" (Approaching Mormon Doctrine," LDS Newsroom, May 4, 2007).
- Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 372. Perhaps these keys involve the concept of judgment found in the New Testament, wherein Christ told the apostles "ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:27-28; see also Luke 22:28-30). Brigham and other early leaders taught this principle extended to whomever held the keys over a particular dispensation in which people live. For more, see "Priesthood: the chain that reaches from heaven to earth."
- Brigham Young, "Increase of Saints Since Joseph Smith’s Death, etc.", Aug. 24, 1872, Journal of Discourses 15:137.
- See "Priesthood: the chain that reaches from heaven to earth." It appears the concept of priesthood stewardship was part of Woodruff's reasoning as well.
- Susan Staker, ed., Waiting for the World's End: The Diaries of Wilford Woodruff, pp.168-169. For a review, see Matt W., "Initial Thoughts on “Waiting for Worlds End: The Diaries of Wilford Woodruff," New Cool Thang, Nov. 10, 2008.
- W. John Walsh's statements on Jeff Lindsay's Light Planet website appear to hint toward that interpretation, but asserts resurrection is the right of Christ: "Now, Latter-day Saints do believe that in some instances, a woman's husband will be given the privilege of performing the resurrection ordinance for and in behalf of the Savior. In cases where a woman does not have a worthy husband, the Savior may allow her father to do so. Likewise, a man's father will be given the privilege of resurrecting him. In such cases, the person performing the resurrection ordinance is simply performing the ordinance for and in behalf of the Savior."(Walsh, "Do Husbands Resurrect Their Wives?" All About Mormons.)
- Hugh Nibley, Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment, 2nd ed. For an overview see Bryce Hammond's "The Egyptian Ankh, 'Life! Health! Strength!'" on his Temple Study blog.
- Douglas L. Callister, "Resurrection," pp.1222-1223, and Dennis D. Flake, "Raising the Dead," p. 1192, in Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism.
- Ante-Nicene Fathers 3:451, Tertullian 207 AD, W
- Ante-Nicene Fathers 5:620, Novation 235 AD, W
- Ante-Nicene Fathers 6:374, Methodius, as quoted by Photius, 290 AD, E
- Ante-Nicene Fathers 4:254, Origen, 225 AD, E
- Ante-Nicene Fathers 3:584, Tertullian, 197 AD, W
- This wiki article text originally came from Michael Hickenbotham, Answering Challenging Mormon Questions: Replies to 130 Queries by Friends and Critics of the LDS Church (Horizon Publishers & Distributors, 1995) (now published by Cedar Fort Publisher: Springville, UT, 2004), Question 76. ISBN 0882905368. ISBN 0882907786. ISBN 0882907786.. Because of the nature of a wiki project, it may have since been modified by other authors. FAIR attempts to reflect LDS doctrine to the best of our ability. Because different groups should have the right to speak for themselves, if the reader wishes to know how a specific Christian denomination views the Rapture, they should seek information from the denomination or its adherents directly.
- Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976), 162. off-site
- (Revelation 5:10; Revelation 20:4-6; see also Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976), 318. off-site