From The Encyclopedia of Mormonism
Author: Leifson, June
[Other articles related to this topic are: Degrees of Glory; Heaven; Hell; Immortality and Eternal Life; Paradise; Plan of Salvation, Plan of Redemption; Salvation; Spirit Prison; Translated Beings.] Latter-day Saints believe that life continues after the death of the mortal body and that death is but a separation of the physical body and the spirit. The spirits of all individuals, "whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life" ( Alma 40:11). President Brigham Young said that the transition from death into the spirit world is "from a state of sorrow, grief, mourning, woe, misery, pain, anguish and disappointment into a state of existence, where I can enjoy life to the fullest extent; my spirit is set free; I go, I come, I do this, I do that; I am full of life, full of vigor, and I enjoy the presence of my heavenly Father" (JD 17:142). The desire, personality, and disposition that individuals develop, shape, and mold in this life will continue into the afterlife.
If individuals are evil in their hearts, their spirits will enter the spirit world intent upon doing evil; if individuals are good and strive to do the things of God, that disposition will also continue, only to a greater degree-learning, increasing, growing in grace and in knowledge of truth (see Brigham Young, JD 7:333). Amulek explained that the "same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world" (Alma 34:34).
Life did not begin at mortal birth, nor will it end at mortal death. God's gift to all individuals is everlasting life. Every person will die physically; every person will receive a literal resurrection of the body and never die again. JUNE LEIFSON