Latter-day Saints/Hell


What is Mormonism view on Hell? Do they believe that Non Christian will go to hell? Will there be eternal Torment for people in Hell? Didn't Jesus quote that those who don't believe in Him will be cast into the lake of Fire and gnashing of Teeth.

Thank you

ANSWER: We do believe there is a Hell (sometimes referred to as "Outer Darkness"). A good summary of our beliefs concerning Hell can be found in the Bible Dictionary found in the back of the LDS edition of the King James Bible. You can find it here (I suspect the last two paragraphs are what you're looking for):

In regards to who does or doesn't go to Hell, it's important to understand two things about our beliefs:

1. We believe all judgement in this regard belongs to Christ. Only Christ is worthy to be our judge, and only Christ is uniquely qualified to judge us as he gained a complete understanding of all of our mortal trials and sufferings through the Atonement. We do believe we will have to account for our actions in this life, and where we have done wrong there may be people who stand as witnesses of our actions (including the main witness - ourself). Ultimately though, the judgement belongs to Christ.

2. We believe that there are varying degrees of glory in Heaven. They are not equal. Which degree a person obtains is determined by their obedience to the commandments of God.

Now, those two facts aside, consider for a moment the nature of God. We believe God is all powerful and all knowing. Most people do. We also believe that God loves all of us - both the "Sinner" and the "Saint" so to speak (after all, He makes the sun to shine and the rain to fall on both of us, right?). He is our Father, and He did create us. He cares for us greatly and desires for us to be happy. To this end, He gave us commandments (directions) which would lead us to happiness if we would follow them.

Now consider an individual living in some remote part of the Earth who has never heard of God, or of "Mormonism" or of "Christianity". This individual lives a good life, doing the best he knows how, but dies in ignorance of God. If God loves all of us, and we also believe both in the mercy and the justice of God, can you believe that God would condemn such an individual to Hell? I cannot, nor is there such a doctrine taught in my belief. All of us will be judged according to the knowledge we have and the choices we have made. Those of us who have not had an opportunity to accept Christ in this life, will be given an opportunity to do so after this life (before the resurrection). When we truly accept Christ and His Atonement, and repent of our sins, we are forgiven and do not pay the price for them.

When considering the term "Christian" ask yourself what makes one a "Christian"? There are some who claim the title yet live their lives nothing like Christ did. There are others who have never heard of Christ, yet have lived their lives very much as he did. Ask yourself which is more "Christian"?

Those who do not accept the atonement and repent of their sins, must ultimately pay the price for them. As referenced in the link above, for some, that will be a temporary state, for others it will be a permanent.

Will there be Non Christians in Hell at least for some period of time? Probably. Will there be Mormons in Hell at least for some period of time? Probably. Will there be some of both who never experience that and enter into the highest Glory of Heaven to dwell with God for eternity? Probably. What becomes of you after this life is not about how you chose to classify yourself during this life - it is about how you chose to live your life and to what degree you were obedient to the degree of knowledge given you by God. A man who has never heard of God but does his best to live a good life (we have all been blessed with a knowledge of Good and Evil), and afterwards accepts Christ and the Gospel when it is taught to him will receive a great reward. That individual has done the best he knew how - what more can God expect of him?

On the other hand, that individual who has known of God and Christ, and has made sacred covenants with God to be obedient to him, and as a result has gained even greater understanding of the Gospel, but then chooses openly to reject God and Christ understanding full well what he is doing,  to pursue all manner of evil, it will not be well with him at the day of judgement which will come for all of us.

Does this answer your questions? Do you have further questions? Don't hesitate to ask if you do.

I've not provided a lot of quotations here as I felt it may make more sense to you if I simply explained directly, though if you would prefer quotations to explain a particular point, I would be happy to find some for you. Just let me know.



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QUESTION: Thanks for the link.
From my understanding does it mean that Non Mormon after death will be put in a Spirit Prison where they will be preach the Gospel and if they accept it they will receive one of the Glories?
Non Mormons will dwell in the Telestial Kingdom?
Also in regards to the Outer darkness will it simply be a place where God will not be there or is it a place of actual torment and agony?
Thank you

A point that may need clarifying here is that we believe all mankind, regardless of how they have lived their lives, will be resurrected and live again. Resurrection is a free gift from Christ requiring no effort on our part.

The second part of the Atonement though, forgiveness of sin, does require effort. Repenting does us no good if we continue to commit the sin. The purpose of repentance is to help us to overcome our weakness and become perfected through the Atonement of Christ. This in no way means we "earn" forgiveness - forgiveness is very much still a gift from Christ that we will never be worthy of, yet is freely given by Christ. This gift of forgiveness that Christ offers us though is of no use unless we use it - meaning we truly repent of our sins. True repentance requires that we forsake the deed, regret having done it, and make amends for what we have done to the best of our ability. It is only then that we have a change of heart, become more like Christ, and gain a testimony that we have been forgiven - a testimony that will be required if we are to stand before God with a clean conscience and not feel guilt for our prior deeds.

Those who are dead, have not yet received the Gospel, who have sinned and fallen short (everyone except Christ), and have reached the point of accountability (little children are not accountable), will need someone to preach the Gospel to them and provide for them by proxy the ordinances necessary for them to enter into Heaven. Ordinances that they will then need to accept in order to enter into the highest degree of glory.

Without the Atonement of Christ, and the acceptance and embracing of that Atonement, man must suffer for his own sins. The doctrine of Christ must be preached to all people so they may accept or reject it for themselves.

Similarly to how Christ, by proxy, suffered for our sins, there are other ordinances commanded by Christ that a person must partake of either in the flesh, or by proxy, to enter into God's presence. One of these is baptism. God commanded that all men must be baptized (John 3:5). If a man has not had the opportunity to be baptized before his death, the only way to receive the ordinance after is by proxy. Someone must be baptized for and in behalf of that individual. Then, similar to the atonement, the individual will have the opportunity to accept or reject that ordinance on their behalf. (1 Peter 3:18-20, 1 Peter 4:6, 1 Corinthians 15:29).

You may also wish to read Luke 16:19-31 where Christ gives a parable that illustrates why there is no point in the Gospel being preached to those who are dead yet had an opportunity to accept it in mortality and chose not to (or perhaps claimed to have accepted it, but did not in deed live it.)

We believe that "Heaven" is divided into three main degrees of glory - the Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial (1 Corinthians 15:40-41, 2nd Corinthians 12:2 (note "third heaven"), John 14:2). The Celestial Kingdom is where God dwells and is the highest of these degrees. Our doctrine deals mostly with the Celestial kingdom and only to a lesser degree with the other degrees and with Hell as the intent of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to help men return to God - not to fall short and gain a lesser kingdom or no kingdom at all (Hell).

We believe the Terrestrial kingdom is for those who have accepted Christ and his atonement but have not accepted the ordinances of the Gospel. The Telestial kingdom is for those who have not accepted Christ and must suffer for their sins, but will ultimately be redeemed from Hell. To better understand our beliefs here, you will probably want to read Doctrine and Covenants section 76 -

Note in section 76, verses 44-46 - we do not have a full understanding of those things that will be suffered by those in Hell. That said, the scriptures clearly document that Satan is a liar and that he often works by deception. Truth comes from God, and it is guidance from God in the form of inspiration from his Holy Spirit that we can avoid being deceived. Consider what it must be like to dwell in a place where God is not, and His influence is not felt, and you are surrounded by those who have done all manner of evil during their lives and desire to continue doing so - a place where deception will be found at every turn and truth will be nowhere to be found. Ignoring anything else God may or may not do, I tend to think that would qualify for "torment and agony" all by itself. Do understand though that the torments of Hell are of the spiritual/mental variety, not necessarily the physical - Satan and the 1/3 that were cast out of Heaven have no body at all, yet they still suffer. While it's easy for us to think of physical pain and suffering, there's enough evidence around us that the non-physical suffering is actually of a much worse variety.

You may also find Alma (in the Book of Mormon) chapters 40-42 useful as they address many of the questions you have here. You can find them here:

If you have more questions or need additional references, feel free to ask.

I hope you've found this information helpful.


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Gene Black


I can answer questions related to LDS beliefs and history as well as doctrinal questions pertaining to the standard works (Bible, Book of Mormon, etc.) I believe strongly in personal revelation and hope that all answers I provide will be carefully considered, and prayed about before being accepted.


I've been a member of the LDS Church all of my life, have served a mission for the Church, have been sealed to my wife in the Washington, DC temple, and enjoy reading books on LDS history and the teachings of the prophets.

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