April 9, 2007

by Carrie Ann 

Resurrection: The reuniting of the body and the spirit after the separation caused by death. At resurrection, the body is restored to its perfect and natural form.

Resurrection is a freebie. Everyone will be resurrected. EVERYONE. Good people. Bad people. People who thought that death was it. Even Hitler will be resurrected.

Jesus Christ was resurrected. He died on the cross and came back to life three days later. Because of this, we will be resurrected, too.

In my last pass through the Book of Alma, I was struck by Alma’s teachings of the resurrection. Allow me to share my personal thoughts (I have to say at this point that my husband says that it’s really difficult to understand or discuss resurrection without putting it into context with the whole plan of salvation. I agree, but one thing at a time, OK?).

Now, the Book of Mormon gets really interesting sometimes. I love the human element to some of the stories. Alma, this great prophet/missionary has a wayward son named Corianton. Alma sent his sons out on missions and Corianton leaves the ministry and is seduced by a harlot.

Alma gives Corianton a “do-better” talk. But it seems that Corianton has some genuine concerns about the principle of resurrection, which Alma tries to resolve in chapters 40 & 41. The knowledge and testimony that Alma shares with his son comes from his own diligent search and inquiry from the Lord on the matter.

Alma talks about what happens to us at death: our bodies and our spirits are separated, our body staying here and “the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.” (Alma 40:11) The righteous spirits are taken to “paradise” where they are relieved from care and earthly burden. The unrighteous spirits will find themselves in a dark place. A place where they wait in a state of anxiety, knowing they await the wrath of God (an indication that these people knowingly sinned).

Now the prophets speak in pretty black and white terms. Righteous and unrighteous. Good and evil. They don’t bother with the in-between but it’s there, so keep that in mind.

At resurrection, Alma teaches, the body and the spirit will be RESTORED to its “proper and perfect frame.” Illness…gone. Disfigurement…whole. Plastic surgery…undone. The principle of restoration is the cause of a lot of lame baldness jokes in Sunday school. But what a concept! All that was imperfect in this life, heart defects, bunions, syndromes, mental illness, melanomas, scaring, you name it…GONE. Now, what our “proper and perfect frame” might be we need to take with faith. I wouldn’t rely on the Body Mass Index to give me any sort of idea of what perfect might be. But what a miracle! We can live out eternity without those unfair physical and mental struggles that we suffer with here.

There is also a restoration of spirit. Wherever you left off the moment you die, that’s what you get restored to. This concept gave me a panic attack once, for reals. Needless to say, I was at a point in my life where I knew that if I were to die at that moment I would be in serious trouble. That was actually a turning point for me. I got back on track. Alma doesn’t go into detail here (the whole black and white issue, you know), but I think that the Lord cares where you are headed more than your tally of good marks to bad marks. This is not to say that I would have been OK at the mere thought of getting back on track, I still had to do the work before I felt that I was accepted before the Lord again; we still have to actually accomplish something. But if a life is cut short before a person gets to do all the great things he or she planned to do, or is on track to do, the Lord sure takes that into consideration. He knows everything after all.

Corianton had left the ministry over a common misconception that echoes today: eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and since we have been saved (or baptized, or married in the temple, or have a prophet dad) it does not matter what we do now. Au contraire, mon frere. Remember: restoration of good to good, of evil to evil, luke-warm to luke-warm.

Alma eventually sets Corianton straight. They work out the issues, and I think Corianton turns out OK.

I am grateful for the fact of resurrection. There are many, many people who I look forward to seeing again. Some of those people left here suddenly, some of those people left here in a lot of pain. Through Christ, they will be made whole. The moment they left the earth, they were released from worry and anguish.

I’m glad there is a whole holiday (even though parts of it are ridiculous and fattening) that marks the event of the resurrection. We’re lucky that they still hold it on a Sunday, that they have not yet drained every religious drop. I had a great day today; taking the sacrament, substituting in the 10-11 year old class, teaching the miracle and blessings of the atonement to some surprisingly attentive young men. I’m grateful that I can be resurrected.



  1. CA,
    It is very Book of Mormon of you to consider the resurrection and the Judgment together. Tying those together is an idea found throughout the Book of Mormon.

    For what its worth, the Book of Mormon prophets take great joy in the Resurrection. They understand it as an opportunity to return to God’s embrace.

  2. So glad you guys are back! You were missed.

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