Yes, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe in the resurrection of all mankind—a literal, physical, glorifying resurrection that reunites the body and the spirit eternally. Resurrected beings are no longer subject to death or decay.
For some people, the concept of resurrection seems inconceivable or difficult to accept. For this reason, Jesus went to great lengths to explain and demonstrate the reality of resurrection to his apostles and, hence, to humanity:
And as they [the ten apostles] spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not . . . he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honey- comb. And he took it, and did eat before them (Luke 24:36–43).
Then the ten apostles who were present believed. But the absent Thomas did not, until eight days later when Jesus again appeared to the eleven assembled apostles. Then Jesus said to Thomas,
Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. . . . And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples (John 20:27–28, 30).
In addition to their belief in a literal, physical resurrection, Latter- day Saints believe that resurrection will be universal, yet individualized. According to the words of the Apostle Paul, there are three heavens or degrees of post-resurrection glory: “I knew a man in Christ [who was] . . . caught up to the third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2).
In his previous epistle to the Saints in Corinth, Paul had explained that the resurrected beings who inhabit these three distinct heavens differ not only in terms of the heavenly setting in which they reside, but also in terms of the radiant glory that their resurrected bodies will emit: the more radiant (glorified) one’s resurrected body is, the higher or greater the heaven in which the resurrected being will eternally dwell. Specifically, Paul referred to the highest heaven as the celestial, comparing the radiant glory of its inhabitants to that of the sun (1 Corinthians 15:40–41). The second heaven he termed the terrestrial, comparing the radiant glory of its resurrected inhabitants to the glory of the moon. And the glory of the resurrected inhabitants in the third, or least, heaven he compared to the glory of the stars, noting the countless variations of brilliance found among the stars (1 Corinthians 15:40–42). Though Paul did not give the name of this least heaven, the Lord later revealed it t to Joseph Smith, calling the third heaven the telestial glory (D&C 76:81–89).
Thus, the resurrected bodies in these various kingdoms do differ from one another. All are perfect and immortal, but more exalted beings possess more glory and radiance. This glory is a manifestation also of their increase knowledge and portion of the power of God.
Mormons believe that resurrection is the most desirable state of living beings in the universe, and that the resurrected Christ still exists as the most glorious of resurrected beings in existence. He kept His resurrected body of flesh and bone; He showed it to the apostles in the Holy Land, and to the Book of Mormon peoples in America. He told these people that He would then go and show Himself to the Ten Lost Tribes. He told His disciples that He would return in like manner.
Mormons believe that the first resurrection occurred at the moment of Christ’s resurrection. Those resurrected then were the righteous of past ages. The next resurrection will occur at the second coming of Jesus Christ. This is sometimes called “the first resurrection,” or the “resurrection of the just.” This resurrection is for the righteous who have lived on the earth since the resurrection of Christ. The last resurrection is reserved for the wicked and those who have rejected the testimony of Jesus and suffer for their own sins in the spirit world, where they await resurrection and judgment.
*This article was adapted from Mormons Under a Microscope, by D. Lauritsen, Cove Fort, Inc., Springville, Utah: 2010, pp. 121, 122.