Are Animals Resurrected According to LDS Teachings?

The relationship between humans and animals has been contemplated throughout history. Many religions and philosophies have explored whether animals have spirits and what happens to them after death. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), commonly known as the Mormon Church, has its own unique perspectives on the eternal status of animals. According to LDS teachings, animals do have spirits and will be resurrected. This belief is derived from scripture and modern revelation received by church leaders.

What Do LDS Scriptures Say About Animal Resurrection?

The primary source on the resurrection of animals in LDS doctrine comes from the Doctrine and Covenants, a book of scripture containing revelations received by Joseph Smith and other church leaders. Section 77 provides answers to questions about the meaning of the book of Revelation in the Bible.

Verse 2 states:

Q. What are we to understand by the four beasts, spoken of in the same verse?

A. They are figurative expressions, used by the Revelator, John, in describing heaven, the paradise of God, the happiness of man, and of beasts, and of creeping things, and of the fowls of the air; that which is spiritual being in the likeness of that which is temporal; and that which is temporal in the likeness of that which is spiritual; the spirit of man in the likeness of his person, as also the spirit of the beast, and every other creature which God has created.

This verse indicates that beasts and other living creatures have spiritual counterparts that will enjoy “happiness” in the paradise of God. The passage parallels the spirits of humans and animals, suggesting they have similar eternal rewards.

Some key points about this scripture:

  • It is part of the LDS canon of scriptures and considered authoritative doctrine
  • It specifically states that beasts will enjoy paradise and happiness after death
  • Their spirits are said to be in the likeness of their temporal, earthly counterparts

This scriptural evidence supports the LDS belief that animals have eternal spirits that will return to live with God after death, in a paradise where they will be happy.

Did Joseph Smith Teach That Animals Would Be Resurrected?

In addition to canonical scripture, Latter-day Saints look to the teachings of modern prophets and apostles for doctrinal understanding. Joseph Smith, the founder of the LDS church, shared revelations about the state of animals in the afterlife.

One significant teaching from Smith is found in the History of the Church, a compilation of writings from his life:

God created man, male and female. After the animal creation, then God created man and so he is subject to be in communion with the Holy Ghost; and his soul and the spirit of all animals…All things are created spiritually first, which triorize according to the order of Heaven.

This indicates Smith's belief that animals, like humans, have eternal spirits created by God. He also taught that animals could commune with the Holy Ghost, something typically reserved for those with moral agency and eternal life.

Other relevant teachings from Joseph Smith include:

  • Animals will enjoy a state of happiness in the resurrection
  • The spirits of dead animals are redeemed through the atonement of Jesus Christ
  • There will be animals in heaven

Smith thus confirmed and expanded upon the doctrine that animals have spirits and will be resurrected, which was later reinforced by other LDS leaders.

How Is This Belief Part of Modern LDS Teachings?

The doctrine of animal resurrection has been reaffirmed by modern apostles and prophets of the LDS church. In a General Conference talk from 1956, apostle Joseph Fielding Smith said:

So far as I know, there is no revealed word of the Lord that animals have eternal spirits. However, Joseph Smith, whose words I accept over all others except the scriptures, taught this doctrine. I was once asked if I believe animals have spirits? Do they have the same spirits after death that they had here? I replied: I do not know except what the revelations tell us, and they are silent on the subject. However, I gave the personal opinion based on the statements made by the Prophet that animals do have spirits and that they do continue after death to live as individual spirit beings.

He cites Joseph Smith's teachings as the source for believing animals have eternal spirits. Other LDS leaders like apostle Orson Pratt have also affirmed this perspective.

While we don't have definitive details on animal resurrection, the doctrine rests on scripture and prophetic revelation. LDS teachings maintain that animals do have spirits and will enjoy paradise with God after this life.

What Questions Remain About Animal Afterlife?

There are still many open questions about the LDS perspective on animal resurrection and the afterlife:

  • Which animals will be resurrected? Does this apply to all living creatures or only some?
  • Will resurrected animals remain in family/herd groupings or social structures?
  • Do animals have agency, morality, or accountability like humans? If not, how will judgment work for them?
  • What is the nature of animal spirits compared to human spirits?
  • How do animals fit into the LDS plan of salvation?

While LDS doctrine affirms animal resurrection in general terms, the specifics are still vague. There is much we don't know about the eternal fate of all living things. These mysteries may be clarified by future revelation to church leaders.

Conclusion: Animals Have Eternal Significance in LDS Teachings

In conclusion, the LDS perspective on animals is generally that they have spirits created by God which will return to Him after death. This is evidenced by scripture and the teachings of Joseph Smith and other church leaders. While many details are uncertain, Mormons believe animals are more than temporal beings – they have an eternal nature and purpose.

This doctrine emphasizes the significance of all life in God's plan. Animals are not viewed as disposable or valueless. All creation is cherished by our Heavenly Father. The belief that animals will be resurrected demonstrates the expansive nature of Christ's atonement and God's mercy.

As with many doctrinal issues, our understanding is limited. However, Latter-day Saints embrace the truth illuminated so far – that the goodness of God's work extends to all creation, not just humanity. Animals are considered His beloved spirit children who will ultimately be redeemed through the resurrection.


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