We had a study group last night (yay!!) and we picked D&C 76:71-80, which is the description of the terrestrial kingdom. It was a good night and a good discussion. The other two couples had never studied in a group before so it was a new experience and I think things went very well. Lots of side-topics of course, as happens at any study group!
There were lots of good thoughts last night, but as I was drifting off to sleep last night I was thinking about the specific “prison” set up for those who died in the flood. We read two passages about this: D&C 76:73 (And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh) and also the similar passage in Moses 7:37-39 (37 But behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of mine hands; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer? 38 But behold, these which thine eyes are upon shall perish in the floods; and behold, I will shut them up; a prison have I prepared for them. 39 And that which I have chosen hath pled before my face. Wherefore, he suffereth for their sins; inasmuch as they will repent in the day that my Chosen shall return unto me, and until that day they shall be in torment). The latter one sheds some light on the situation: their parents are partly to blame (indeed their great-grandparents had refused Zion itself, so who was teaching the past generations?) so Christ pleads for them and sets up a place to visit them personally. This doesn’t sound like “prison” is entirely a bad thing!
So as I was drifting off to sleep, I was thinking about the word “prison.” A prison is a place where people are locked up and can’t get out. But perhaps in the case of judgement, this is a merciful thing. Rather than this group being automatically assigned to endless woe, they are assigned to a prison, a place where the final judgment can’t get to them, as much as they can’t get to the final judgement. They are preserved there. It is a temporary sentence, until their real trial can actually take place.
I like that reading of “prison.” I don’t know how scripturally accurate it is, but I like it. 🙂