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by Rodney Turner
Moses described God as a "consuming fire" (Deut. 4:24), his glory consuming everything corrupt and unholy (D&C 63:34; 101:23-24). The Prophet Joseph Smith explained, "God Almighty Himself dwells in eternal fire; flesh and blood cannot go there, for all corruption is devoured by the fire," but a resurrected being, "flesh and bones quickened by the Spirit of God," can (Tpjs, pp. 326, 367; cf. Luke 24:36-43; 1 Cor. 15:50). Heaven, not hell, is the realm of everlasting burnings, a view contrasting with the popular conception of hell as a place of fire, brimstone, and searing heat. Heat is a characteristic of God's glory (D&C 133:41-44).
Only those cleansed from physical and moral corruption can endure immortal glory (3 Ne. 27:19; Moses 6:57; TPJS, p. 351). Hence, Isaiah rhetorically asked, "Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" (Isa. 33:14). Joseph Smith taught, "All men who are immortal (i.e., resurrected beings in any of the degrees of glory) dwell in everlasting burnings" (TPJS, pp. 347, 361, 367). Resurrected bodies are qualitatively different according to their glory (1 Cor. 15:39-44; D&C 88:28-32).
Describing a vision of the Celestial Kingdom, Joseph Smith reported, "I saw the transcendent beauty of the gate through which the heirs of that kingdom will enter, which was like unto circling flames of fire; also the blazing throne of God, whereon was seated the Father and the Son" (D&C 137:2-3).
(See Basic Beliefs home page; Teachings About the Afterlife home page)
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1, Burnings, Everlasting
Copyright © 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company
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