See also: Genesis 19
In the Genesis account it is clear that the people of these two cities had become extremely immoral, engaging in homosexuality and other abuses. But the prophet Ezekiel gave greater insight when he said, “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, Mount Sodom, at the south end of the Dead Sea pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.” (Ezekiel 16:49-50) James said that pure religion was to “visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep [oneself] unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). Sodom and Gomorrah not only had partaken of the filthiness of sexual immorality but had rejected their fellow men in need. — Old Testament Student Manual, p. 76
The account of Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of salt has puzzled many commentators. Was this event a literal thing, or was it figurative? There are two indications in the scriptures that the phrase “looked back” was an idiomatic way of saying “she turned back” or “returned to Sodom.” When warning the disciples of the destruction which was going to come upon Jerusalem, the Savior warned them to flee without delay, not even going into the house to get their possessions. Jesus said, “And he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:31-32; emphasis added). He then admonished them that he who seeks to save his life will lose it, and he who loses his life will find it. Elder Bruce R. McConkie paraphrased those verses in these words:
“Look not back to Sodom and the wealth and luxury you are leaving. Stay not in the burning house, in the hope of salvaging your treasures, lest the flame destroy you; but flee, flee to the mountains.
“Seek temporal things and lose eternal life; sacrifice the things of this life and gain eternal life.” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:645)
The implication is that Lot’s wife started back to Sodom, perhaps to save some possessions, and was caught in the destruction.
In the Doctrine and Covenants is a scripture that uses the same terminology as Genesis 19:26. After warning the Saints to flee spiritual Babylon, which is wickedness, the Lord says, “He that goeth, let him not look back lest sudden destruction shall come upon him” (D&C 133:15; emphasis added). Again, the implication is that of a return to wickedness. — Old Testament Student Manual, pp. 76-77
Most scholars agree that the most probable site of Sodom is now covered by the southern part of the Dead Sea, a body of water with a high salt content. If Lot’s wife returned to Sodom, she would have been caught in the destruction. Her becoming a pillar of salt could be a figurative way of expressing this outcome.
But whatever it was that happened to Lot’s wife, it is clear that she perished. — Old Testament Student Manual, p. 77