I think we have a misunderstanding of the eternal worlds.
We seem to have a tendency to diminish the pain and agony of hell. We pass it over with the attitude of, "God will beat us with a few stripes, then at last we'll be saved in a kingdom of heaven." But some endure the agony forever, as far as we know. The scriptures say that the minimum is a thousand years (for the whole Millennial period of peace and rest).
Think about this. Think about it seriously: Those who eventually go to the lowest kingdom are these:
- Receive not the gospel of Christ
- Receive not the testimony of Jesus
- Deny not the Holy Spirit (thus they escape "outer darkness" for eternity)
- They who are thrust down to hell
- Not redeemed until the last resurrection
- These are those who follow some servant or prophet of God, even Jesus, but they don't receive the gospel, testimony of Jesus, the prophets, nor the everlasting covenant - they follow the man but not the underlying reality
- They are liars
- They are sorcerers
- They are adulterers
- They are whoremongers
- They love lies
- They make lies
- They suffer the wrath of God on earth
- They suffer the vengeance of eternal fire
- They are as innumerable as the sand upon the seashore
Doctrine and Covenants 76: 98-109
I think we diminish the pain and agony of hell, only focusing on the lowest kingdom which is so glorious that it is reputed we would commit suicide just to get there. Some endure hell for upwards of a thousand years before finally finding relief. Some few endure it forever (along with the devil and his angels, having become angels to the devil).
Think about this. This agony is unbearable for even five minutes. Do any of us really want to endure it for over a thousand years? Jesus was a God. He had more physical and spiritual stamina while he walked the earth than any other mortal . . . ever. He knows what it was like. He does not want us to experience that.
Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not. For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink (Doctrine and Covenants 19:15-18)
Open your eyes and really look at that scripture.
Here's a partial account from an eyewitness:
He thought His sufferings were over, but to His astonishment another wave overcame Him. This one much greater than the first. The Lord, who had been kneeling, fell forward onto His hands at the impact of the pain that was part of a greater, second wave.
The second wave was so much greater than the first that it seemed to entirely overcome the Lord. The Lord was now stricken with physical injuries, as well as spiritual affliction. He suffered anew, His flesh was torn which He healed using the power of the charity within Him. . . . His suffering was both body and spirit, and there was anguish of thought, feeling and soul. . . .
Again, the Lord thought His suffering was over. . . . Wave after wave poured out upon Him, with only moments between them. . . . Each wave of suffering was only preparation for the next, greater wave. . . .
He longed for it to be over, and thought it would end long before it finally ended. . . .
. . . a final wave came upon Him with such violence as to cut Him at every pore. It seemed for a moment that He was torn apart, and that blood came out of every pore. The Lord writhed in pain upon the ground as this great final torment was poured upon Him.
All virtue was taken from Him. All the great life force in Him was stricken and afflicted. All the light turned to darkness. He was humbled, drained, and left with nothing. It is not possible for a man to bear such pains and live, but with nothing more than will, hope in His Father, and charity toward all men, He emerged from the final wave of torment, knowing He had suffered all this for His Father and His brethren.
[I include this as an aside of additional interest:] These great burdens were born by the Lord not only on behalf of mankind, but also as a necessary prelude to His death upon a Roman cross. Had He not been so physically weakened by these sufferings, and drained of power from within, the scourging and crucifixion He suffered at the hands of men could not have taken His life. (Come, Let Us Adore Him – pages 217-219 By Denver C Snuffer, Jr)
Personally, I don't want to suffer anything like this. I don't want my children to suffer it. I don't want my extended family to suffer it. I don't want my friends to suffer it. I don't want my enemies to suffer it. I don't want anyone, including whoever reads this, to suffer it. I want to shout repentance from the housetops, but I feel to keep quiet about it unless God opens my mouth. My desire is to change so completely that people will feel the love of God simply by being in my presence (I asked for that gift decades ago and still feel far from it). My desire is to be given the gift of speech and behavior so powerful that people cannot help but believe:
And it came to pass that they were angry with him, even because he had greater power than they, for it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words, for so great was his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ that angels did minister unto him daily. (Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 7:18)
So, back to our subject:
Ignored is the Hell of a thousand years. Ignored is the fact that the telestial people cringe at the sight of Jesus or the Father, worlds without end. Ignored is the fact that the terrestrial people cringe at the sight of Father, worlds without end. If it were not so, if they could endure the presence of the Father (or the Father and the Son), they would not be in the lower kingdoms.
It's in the scriptures.
Start with Doctrine and Covenants 76.
Add Doctrine and Covenants 19.
Add (Book of Mormon Mormon 9:3-6)
Then will ye longer deny the Christ, or can ye behold the Lamb of God? Do ye suppose that ye shall dwell with him under a consciousness of your guilt? Do ye suppose that ye could be happy to dwell with that holy Being, when your souls are racked with a consciousness of guilt that ye have ever abused his laws? Behold, I say unto you that ye would be more miserable to dwell with a holy and just God, under a consciousness of your filthiness before him, than ye would to dwell with the damned souls in hell. For behold, when ye shall be brought to see your nakedness before God, and also the glory of God, and the holiness of Jesus Christ, it will kindle a flame of unquenchable fire upon you. O then ye unbelieving, turn ye unto the Lord; cry mightily unto the Father in the name of Jesus, that perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, at that great and last day.
It's real. It is not a fairy tale.