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Gospel Q&A: What Happens to Animals in the Next Life

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Gospel Q&A is a series from LDS Daily that strives to answer important gospel questions from readers. Today, we answer the question, “What happens to animals in the next life?”

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Do all dogs go to heaven? We have all wondered this, particularly after losing a beloved animal friend. The scriptures and words of modern revelation provide some insight and hope.

D&C 77:2 teaches us that “the spirit of man [is] in the likeness of his person, as also the spirit of the beast, and every other creature which God has created” (emphasis added). This subtly teaches, therefore, that animals do have spirits.

While we do not know completely what happens to all animals after they die, Joseph Smith, citing John the Revelator, declared there are definitely some animals saved in heaven.

Joseph expounded:

“Says one, ‘I cannot believe in the salvation of beasts.’ Any man who would tell you this could not be, would tell you that the revelations are not true. John heard the words of the beast giving glory to God, and understood them. God who made the beasts could understand every language spoken by them. The beasts were four of the most noble animals that filled the measure of their creation, and had been saved from other worlds, because they were perfect. They were like angels in their sphere. We are not told where they came from, and I do not know; but they were seen and heard by John praising and glorifying God” (DHC, vol. 5, pp. 343–44) (emphasis added).

Joseph Smith believed in the potential for animals to receive eternal life, “or he would not have said (as he is reputed to have said) concerning his favorite horse, when it died, that he expected to have it in Eternity. Nor would he have uttered his heaven-inspired pronouncement, that ‘the four beasts’ seen in vision by John the Revelator (Rev. 4:6) ‘in describing heaven,’ ‘represent the glory of the classes of beings’ — men, beasts, fowls, and creeping things — ‘in their destined order or sphere of creation, in the enjoyment of their eternal felicity.’ (D&C 77:1-3)

“This is enough, I think, to convince any Latter-day Saint that animals do have souls — that is to say, each animal is a spirit and a body, these together constituting the soul; and the same is true  of the trees, plants and flowers. They were not formed for any merely temporary purpose, and are to be eternally perpetuated.”

There is an inherent difference between the hope of a loving owner to be reunited with his favorite dog or horse and the expectation of a chicken farmer to be reunited with every head of hen he raised. We don’t have definitive answers regarding which animals or how many may receive salvation, but according to scripture and teachings through Joseph Smith, we have every reason to hope to see our furry friends again.

Disclaimer: While all of my answers will use scriptures and/or words of modern prophets, I do not represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I don’t believe any of my answers are comprehensive. I’m just one person using the gospel I have been blessed with to bring hope, peace, and answers to other seekers of truth.

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Rebecca Wright
Rebecca Wright
Becca loves audiobooks, dark chocolate, singing, hiking, walking,  going out with her husband, and raising their chickens and children. She still wants to meet her hero Sheri Dew, see flowing lava and a blue whale in person, and uplift others with her words.

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