What Judgment Day Might Be Like?

Jeff SpectorMormon, plan of salvation, repentance, salvation, spiritual progression 17 Comments

There is a lot of information given in the scriptures and the revelations concerning our next life and how the final judgment will take place. But is there really enough information present to draw ourselves a good picture of what will really happen? I don’t think so. So, as a consequence, much speculation has occurred over the years about what happens to us when we die. I am not intending to present any of that information here.

I want to cover one aspect of our judgment that I believe will happen to us when we are at the Judgment Bar with Heavenly Father and the Savior.

Revelation 20:12

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 forks.

Exactly what will be written in the Book of Life? Will it be everything we ever did? The sins we committed? The things we didn’t do?

If we repented of our sins, will those be in the book?

Doctrine and Covenants Sec 58:42

Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.

Here is my theory, my speculation. Many of us think that we shall see a movie of our lives, where the Savior will point out every sin we ever committed and pass judgment upon us based on how we lived our lives, both good and bad.

I see it slightly differently. We know our sins, the ones we have committed; no one knows them better than us, those sins of commission.

What we don’t know is the results of our sins of omission. When we ignored a spiritual prompting, failed to make a visit, didn’t go out of our way to greet or help someone in need.

I think our greatest sorrow will result from those revelations to us. What we could have done, but didn’t. We will have the awful privilege of seeing what might have happened had we acted. This will be devastating to some of us. While the Savior will praise us for the good we did do, this view of our failings will weigh heavy on our minds.

How we are judged for that, I do not know. But it makes sense to me.

What do you think the judgment will be like?

Comments 17

  1. I think that will be a very hard day (or will that take years based on how we measure time—I mean, we’re talking about hundreds of billions of souls) for all of us. Having a real, raw accounting of our actions, many of which we purposefully remove from our conscience or are in denial about always hurts. I think of a moment when a friend makes a particularly profound, lucid, accurate comment about one of my weaknesses. It hurts. We continue to blanket our weaknesses/sins with soft warm blankets to deaden the blow, but all will apparently be uncovered at that Great and Terrible Day. It’s gonna hurt. But like Alma, the joy of Christ will be as exquisite if not more so than the pains of the discovery of our sins.

  2. I think that in the final and eternal judgment, we will literally take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ. When the Father asks, “Who stands before me in judgment?” We will answer, “Jesus Christ stands before you in judgment.” Our sins are blotted-out through the perfect life of Christ, and we remember this aspect of the judgment every week in sacrament, “that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son”.

    As for being judged by our works, I think we will be rewarded in the resurrection based on our works, not based on our sins or lack thereof. What mark was upon the thoughts of our minds and the works of our right hands? If it was the mark of the Father, our works built up the kingdom of God. If it was the mark of the beast, our works built up the kingdom of mammon. I think we will be judged by what we did that weren’t necessarily sins. Did we promote the cause of Zion or the cause of false gods?

  3. I think the day of judgment will primarily be a day at which we recognize who we have become. We will recognize that we have become Telestial, Terrestial, or Celestial people and will automatically go to those environments. Remember, our days of remorse and guilt over our lives will be past; we will have been cleansed by the Atonement, and we will happily go to the kingdom in which we feel most comfortable. For those interested, here is an essay I wrote about the day of judgment.

  4. “Many of us think that we shall see a movie of our lives” Sounds like the Albert Brooks movie Defending Your Life.

    I always think of the scripture: “For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face.” Rather than a review of the past, I believe we will really see who we are without the context of earthly life around us, and it will be quite apparent how much we are filled with light and how much we are obscured by self-deception, pride, and other ickiness.

  5. Jeff,

    We have been through many judgements throughout our eternal lives. We were judged in the pre-existance to be able to come to this earth, we were judged to be baptized into His church, we were judged to our worthiness to recieve the priesthood, we are judged to recieve the endowment in the temple, The final judgement is another step in our eternal progression. Will we see every little sin? Only those we do not repent of. Will everyone know our sins? To those that we affect I believe we will have to answer to.
    Judgement Day is omnious to me as my literal life does not reflect my potential. I thank God for the Atonement.

  6. As an update on the movie theme, I had imagined that Christ would invite each of us in to sit down. He picks up a DVD (preferably Blu-ray) and inserts it into the machine. As we begin to watch, I discover, to my horror, that He as the remote… Hopefully it has a ‘remission of sins’ skip button.

    Then I adopted a view that we will sit down and review a progress report together. This scorecard represents all that I must do to progress to the next level. We discuss the status of my progression and what I have learned in my mortality. I am then presented with the choice of either cashing in my ‘chips’ and taking my eternal reward or continuing my efforts in the next round.

    My perspective is, as always, subject to new information. Paul the apostle encourages us to “prove all things, hold fast to that which is good.”

  7. I personally believe that the book of eternal life is the heavenly copy of the book or records kept in the garner of the lord (the temple). In the book we will be judged according to our covenants, oaths, and promises made in the Lord’s house. Because everyone who is saved will have their names written in these records, it will be more of just a finality and due process of achieving perfection. It is the wicked who are cast aside that I worry about because they will have to answer for their individual sins.

    I grew up in the church and was a troubled teenager. I made some bad decisions early on and ended up not serving a mission or getting married in the temple. For years I lived with the guilt of complete failure. The constant aggrivation of actually believing that I would have to answer someday for all those souls who I was supposed to reach on a mission and didn’t…and on and on. Then I came to find out that there are two sides to the coin and that there is what I call mormon cult doctrine, and then there is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The scare tactics I had grown up with in the church I found out were ill-founded and such a plague to the church members in general.

    I found that I could still reap all of the blessings god had in store for me- that because of the atonement, I could erase all the past feelings of guilt and sin and be once again even with god! OH, what joy! I felt like Alma in the BoM awaking from near death and recieving his strength.

    We shall find that eventually in the resurrection and judgment we shall see the great mercy of our god- his compassion for us. Through the living Christ we shall reap the reward of our eternal joy in the presence of the father together as families forever.

    Forget the cult doctrine of being saved outside of the family unit- it just won’t go down that way! When we are saved, we will be saved into the arms of our loved ones!!!

  8. Rob,how beautiful,thankyou for that.I have recently come to realise that I brought my children up to believe that we could only be together as a family if they complied with th e gospel-pretty mainstream stuff at the time but I now see it as a misguided parenting tactic.The pressure to comply is just too great and makes our realtionships feel conditional to a child.I now actively teach my children that I will love them whatever and believe that I have begun to prove to them that this is the case-because I find that it is true.Of course,the quality of our relationship is affected by what we both choose to do-we understand each other more the more we have in common.It used to be an in or out ethos-it’s now a matter for ma as a parent of finding ways to opt our children in rather than an ‘as for me and my house…’attitude.I think my job is to get every one in the boat and across the water-God can sort it out when we get there.Nothing is so black and white any more.If I don’t preserve the relationship with my child,how can there be any way back?I refuse to allow my child’s behaviour to separate us.

  9. Rob and Wayfarer, this is also how I have been raised and I am glad to see that it was wrong. Rob there is something that I have learned on my mission, frankly, but for a few of us, God dos not need us. If He really wanted his gospel preached by His children he would not send kids or at least NOT US!!!! Come on!!!! The work would be much better off without us. the mission is about giving us an opportunity to both grow and show our love and gratitude. It is really nothing else. And if we can do more then it is called a miracle. If you learn these things a different way then great. You have learned it and it is all that matters in the end.

    As far as the question is concerned I think that this is funny because I have wondred about it forever and I also pictured it as a movie like think because I could not figure out how else to picture it but I really like your way to see it. It makes more sense to me.

  10. Rob, I love the overall spirit of your comment and agree with much of it, but I have to take exception to the “mormon cult doctrine” classification – especially in context of the rest of your comment. “Being saved outside the family,” at its most extreme, is mainstream Protestant doctrine – not Mormon theology. I just want to make that clear.

  11. ”If He really wanted his gospel preached by His children he would not send kids or at least NOT US!!!! Come on!!!! The work would be much better off without us.”

    What work?

  12. Post


    I was wondering if you could explain What “mormon cult doctrine” meant. i wasn’r sure in reading your comment that i should consider that a bod or good label.

  13. I have it on good authority that we will review our lives from betamax tapes.

    When I was a freshman at BYU, we a man and his wife were invited to speak to our ward about a post-death experience the man had. He said he passed on to the spirit world where he saw angels reviewing lives recorded on betamax tapes, and the lives showed up as vibrant colors and patterns.

    (Even though I find the “betamax” idea silly, I reserve judgement whether this was an actual experience or a hallucination. God is fully capable of presenting an actual event according to the person’s understanding, and at the time this man died, the way to record and review something was betamax. In the spirit world, it makes sense that we would “understand” things rather than seeing with our eyes and hearing with our ears. If so, then I believe this man may have understood what was happening and translated it into a contemporaneous earthly equivalent.)

  14. I’ve had an evolving view of judgment for a while now. For a long time I thought of the ‘life in review’ concept, but I’ve rejected that for sometime now. I think ulitmately that Judgment is simply a misnomer. It is an attempt to communicate that we will be sorted somehow into the various degrees of glory as we realize where we will be happiest based on our actions and current level of understanding.

    The mortal life allows us to accelerate our growth exponentially–why else is it so difficult? Because we are compressing a period of growth enormously. This compression results in what we call time, I believe, and is what allows us to grow and potentially become like our Heavenly Father. The judgment is simply a realization that we have obtained the goal of celestial glory or not (and then what level of glory we have obtained). Yes, I think our sins of omission will strike us at that time, but I also think that C.S. Lewis had it right: no one is truly given to know the ‘what ifs’. Lost opportunities and their ramifications may be presented to us as things to improve upon, but I think that this is where the Atonement and the concept of Mercy becomes most evident: we are forgiven for these errors and given the opportunity to learn from them by having seen the error.

    I think that if we are wise we can forestall this by asking for the guidance and wisdom to see these errors in this life, and be shown where we have missed opportunities in our day to day lives and make that better now, rather than waiting for judgment. I’d say that is a better way.

  15. One of my BYU religion profs said the judgment would really just consist of us choosing where we felt most comfortable. The way he put it was that there was no need for an unusually strong angel to wrestle with us and kick us out of the celestial kingdom. It would be apparent to us where we should be, and we would not choose to be anywhere we would not be comfortable. He taught that the purpose in life was to get comfortable being able to be in the presence of God through the choices and views we come to hold.

  16. SO idunnO it miGht just be mee butt i thinkk judGement dayy will be an exitinGG && amaizinGG dayy tO lOOk fORwardd tO. likee hellO,……..

    “And i saw the DEAD, small and great, stand before GOd;…” (Revelation 20:12)
    likee whO else can brinGG the dead baCkk tO life but GOdd. hella kOO. i’m exited tO See all thiss take plaCe, tO see my lOvedd OneS whO passed awayy & tO meet GOd & jesus ChriSt OnCe in fOr all.

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