See also: D&C 1:32; Jacob 6:9
The problem that troubles our civil courts is that those involved cannot frequently agree as to the facts. But probably no one will be disposed to argue on Judgment Day. If God could show Abraham a rerun of his experience before the earth was created and if He could show Moses the entire history of the world before it happened, we can be sure that He can show us every detail of our lives exactly as they took place, with nothing left out. — Elder Sterling W. Sill, General Conference April 1964
May I say to you that in reality a man cannot forget anything? He may have a lapse of memory; he may not be able to recall at the moment a thing that he knows, or words that he has spoken; he may not have the power at his will to call up these events and words; but let God Almighty touch the mainspring of the memory, and awaken recollection, and you will find then that you have not even forgotten a single idle word that you have spoken! I believe the word of God to be true, and, therefore, I warn the youth of Zion, as well as those who are advanced in years, to beware of saying wicked things, of speaking evil, and taking in vain the name of sacred things and sacred beings. Guard your words, that you may not offend even man, much less offend God.” [See Alma 11:43; 12:14; 2 Nephi 9:14.] — President Joseph F. Smith, Improvement Era, May 1903; Book of Mormon Student Manual, p. 76
This life is the time for men to prepare to meet God (see Alma 34:32) and . . . no one has the right to judge the sum total of a man’s life until that life has been lived.
No matter how long you have lived, no matter how many mistakes you have made, your life’s story can still be changed. It can still be written. It is not too late. Please, I plead with you, help him to help you win your ultimate inheritance. — Elder Cree-L Kofford, Ensign, November 1991, p. 28
It is said that conscience warns us as a friend before it punishes us as a judge. — President Thomas S. Monson, BYU address, March 7, 1993
Joseph Smith spoke at the passing of a young man by the name of Ephraim Marks. One of the comments he made was:
“I can say in my heart, that I have not done anything against Ephraim Marks that I am sorry for, and I would ask any of his companions if they have done anything against him that they are sorry for, or that they would not like to meet and answer for at the bar of God, if so, let it prove as a warning to all to deal justly before God, and with all mankind, then we shall be clear in the day of judgment.” — Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 216
I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing Sister Schenk’s lawn. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor’s children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden. I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived. — Marjorie Pay Hinckley
All of us have made wrong turns along the way. I believe the kind and merciful God, whose children we are, will judge us as lightly as He can for the wrongs that we have done and give us the maximum blessing for the good that we do. Alma’s sublime utterance seems to me an affirmation of this. Said Alma, “And not many days hence the Son of God shall come in his glory; and his glory shall be the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, equity, and truth, full of patience, mercy, and long-suffering quick to hear the cries of his people and to answer their prayers” (Alma 9:26). — President James E. Faust, Ensign, November 1996, p. 53
When mortal life is over, each of us will return to God, who gave us life. In a Judgment interview, I doubt that He will ask a surgeon, “How many operations did you perform?” or “Do you wish you had spent more time at the hospital?” But I know He will ask if Sister Nelson and I remained faithful to our covenants to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ and always remember Him. No doubt He will carefully scrutinize my apostolic ministry, but that vital subject will probably be subordinated to His evaluation of my record as a husband and father. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Identity, Priority, and Blessings,” Fireside address, September 10, 2000, p. 5
I feel that [the Savior] will give that punishment which is the very least that our transgression will justify. I believe that he will bring into his justice all of the infinite love and blessing and mercy and kindness and understanding which he has. . . .
And on the other hand, I believe that when it comes to making the rewards for our good conduct, he will give us the maximum that it is possible to give, having in mind the offense which we have committed. (J. Reuben Clark, “As Ye Sow. . . ,” BYU Speeches, May 3, 1955, p. 7) — President James E. Faust, “The Atonement: Our Greatest Hope,” Ensign, November 2001, p. 19
I am confident that when we stand before the bar of God, there will be little mention of how much wealth we accumulated in life or of any honors which we may have achieved. But there will be searching questions concerning our domestic relations. And I am convinced that only those who have walked through life with love and respect and appreciation for their companions and children will receive from our eternal judge the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant….enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matt. 25:21). — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Personal Worthiness to Exercise the Priesthood,” Ensign, May 2002
Man sleeps the sleep of death, but the spirit lives where the record of his deeds is kept – that does not die – man cannot kill it; there is no decay associated with it, and it still retains in all its vividness the remembrance of that which transpired before the separation by death of the body and the ever-living spirit. Man sleeps for a time in the grave, and by-and-by he rises again from the dead and goes to judgment; and then the secret thoughts of all men are revealed before Him with whom we have to do; we cannot hide them; it would be in vain for a man to say then, I did not do so-and-so; the command would be, Unravel and read the record which he has made of himself, and let it testify in relation to these things, and all could gaze upon it. If a man has acted fraudulently against his neighbor – has committed murder, or adultery, or anything else, and wants to cover it up, that record will stare him in the face, he tells the story himself, and bears witness against himself. . . . It is not because somebody has seen things, or heard anything by which a man will be judged and condemned, but it is because that record that is written by the man himself in the tablets of his own mind – that record that cannot lie – will in that day be unfolded before God and angels, and those who shall sit as judges — John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 11:78-79. (See 2 Nephi 9:44-49.) Book of Mormon Student Manual, Rel. 121 and 122, p. 30
Our heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive; and, at the same time, is more terrible to the workers of iniquity, more awful in the executions of His punishments, and more ready to detect every false way, than we are apt to suppose Him to be. He will be inquired of by His children. He says, “Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find;” but, if you will take that which is not your own, or which I have not given you, you shall be rewarded according to your deeds; but no good thing will I withhold from them who walk uprightly before me, and do my will in all things – who will listen to my voice and to the voice of my servant whom I have sent; for I delight in those who seek diligently to know my precepts, and abide by the law of my kingdom; for all things shall be made known unto them in mine own due time, and in the end they shall have joy. (Aug. 27, 1842; DHC 5:134-136) — Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 257
“Let me assure you, brethren, that some day you will have a personal priesthood interview with the Savior himself. If you are interested, I will tell you the order in which he will ask you to account for your earthly responsibilities.
First, he will request an accountability report about your relationship with your wife. Have you actively been engaged in making her happy and ensuring that her needs have been met as an individual?
Second, he will want an accountability report about each of your children individually. He will not attempt to have this for simply a family stewardship but will request information about your relationship with each and every child.
Third, he will want a summary of what you personally have done with the talents you were given in the preexistence.
Fourth, he will want a summary of your activity in your church assignments. He will not be necessarily interested in what assignments you have had, for in his eyes the home teacher and mission president are probably equals, but he will request a summary of how you have been of service to your fellow man in your Church assignments.
Fifth, he will have no interest in how you earned your living but if you were honest in all your dealings.
Sixth, he will ask for an accountability on what you have done to contribute in a positive manner to your community, state, country, and the world.” –– President David O. McKay, said to a group of Church employees in 1965.
I believe that in his justice and mercy God will give us the maximum reward for our acts, give us all that he can give, and in the reverse, I believe that he will impose upon us the minimum penalty which it is possible for him to impose. — President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Conference Report, October 1953, p. 84; quoted in Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Free to Choose,” BYU Devotional, May 16, 2004
Jacob 6:9: “Know ye not that if ye will do these things, that the power of the redemption and the resurrection, which is in Christ, will bring you to stand with shame and awful guilt before the bar of God?”
God has made each man a register within himself, and each man can read his own register, so far as he enjoys his perfect faculties. This can be easily comprehended.
. . . Let your memories run back, and you can remember the time when you did a good action, you can remember the time when you did a bad action; the thing is printed there, and you can bring it out and gaze upon it whenever you please.
. . . Man sleeps the sleep of death, but the spirit lives where the record of his deeds is kept – that does not die – man cannot kill it; there is no decay associated with it, and it still retains in all its vividness the remembrance of that which transpired before the separation by death of the body and the ever-living spirit. Man sleeps for a time in the grave, and by-and-by he rises again from the dead and goes to judgment; and then the secret thoughts of all men are revealed before Him with whom we have to do; we cannot hide them; it would be in vain for a man to say then, I did not do so-and-so; the command would be, Unravel and read the record which he has made of himself, and let it testify in relation to these things, and all could gaze upon it. If a man has acted fraudulently against his neighbor – has committed murder, or adultery, or any thing else, and wants to cover it up, that record will stare him in the face, he tells the story himself, and bears witness against himself. It is written that Jesus will judge not after the sight of the eye, or after the hearing of the ear, but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity the meek of the earth. It is not because somebody has seen things, or heard anything by which a man will be judged and condemned, but it is because that record that is written by the man himself in the tablets of his own mind – that record that cannot lie – will in that day be unfolded before God and angels, and those who shall sit as judges. — President John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 11:77-9
Brethren, when we stand before the Lord to be judged, will He look upon the positions we have held in the world or even in the Church? Do you suppose that titles we have had other than “husband,” “father,” or “priesthood holder” will mean much to Him? Do you think He will care how packed our schedule was or how many important meetings we attended? Do you suppose that our success in filling our days with appointments will serve as an excuse for failure to spend time with our wife and family?
The Lord judges so very differently from the way we do. He is pleased with the noble servant, not with the self-serving noble.
Those who are humble in this life will wear crowns of glory in the next. — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Lift Where You Stand,” Priesthood Session, Ensign, November 2008, pp. 54-55
God loves all His children and will judge all people according to the law they have received.
“The great designs of God in relation to the salvation of the human family, are very little understood by the professedly wise and intelligent generation in which we live. Various and conflicting are the opinions of men concerning the plan of salvation, the [requirements] of the Almighty, the necessary preparations for heaven, the state and condition of departed spirits, and the happiness or misery that is consequent upon the practice of righteousness and iniquity according to their several notions of virtue and vice. “. . . While one portion of the human race is judging and condemning the other without mercy, the Great Parent of the universe looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard; He views them as His offspring, and without any of those contracted feelings that influence the children of men, causes ‘His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.’ [Matthew 5:45.] He holds the reins of judgment in His hands; He is a wise Lawgiver, and will judge all men, not according to the narrow, contracted notions of men, but, ‘according to the deeds done in the body whether they be good or evil,’ or whether these deeds were done in England, America, Spain, Turkey, or India. He will judge them, ‘not according to what they have not, but according to what they have’; those who have lived without law, will be judged without law, and those who have a law, will be judged by that law. We need not doubt the wisdom and intelligence of the Great Jehovah; He will award judgment or mercy to all nations according to their several deserts, their means of obtaining intelligence, the laws by which they are governed, the facilities afforded them of obtaining correct information, and His inscrutable designs in relation to the human family; and when the designs of God shall be made manifest, and the curtain of futurity be withdrawn, we shall all of us eventually have to confess that the Judge of all the earth has done right [see Genesis 18:25].”
“God judges men according to the use they make of the light which He gives them.”
“Men will be held accountable for the things which they have and not for the things they have not. . . . All the light and intelligence communicated to them from their beneficent creator, whether it is much or little, by the same they in justice will be judged, and . . . they are required to yield obedience and improve upon that and that only which is given, for man is not to live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” — Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, pp. 404-05
Elder John Taylor, who was in the Carthage Jail and witnessed the Martyrdom, wrote, “Like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, [Joseph Smith] has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood” (D&C 135:3). The Lord, through President Brigham Young revealed, “Many have marveled because of his death; but it was needful that he should seal his testimony with his blood, that he might be honored and the wicked might be condemned” (D&C 136:39). — Anthony D. Perkins, “The Path to Martyrdom: The Ultimate Witness,” Ensign, August 2009, p. 56
The reason, therefore, that we cannot judge is obvious. We cannot see what is in the heart. We do not know motives, although we impute motives to every action we see. They may be pure while we think they are improper.
It is not possible to judge another fairly unless you know his desires, his faith, and his goals. Because of a different environment, unequal opportunity, and many other things, people are not in the same position. One may start at the top and the other at the bottom, and they may meet as they are going in opposite directions. . . . How can we, with all our weaknesses and frailties, dare to arrogate to ourselves the position of a judge? At best, man can judge only what he sees; he cannot judge the heart or the intention, or begin to judge the potential of his neighbor. — Elder N. Eldon Tanner, “Judge Not That Ye Be Not Judged,” Ensign, July 1972, p. 35
Brigham Young taught: “We shall be judged according to the deeds done in the body and according to the thoughts and intents of the heart” (John A. Widtsoe, ed., Discourses of Brigham Young [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941], p. 382).
Karl G. Maeser, the great leader of Brigham Young Academy, told his students: “Not only will you be held accountable for the things you do, but you will be held responsible for the very thoughts you think.” For a time that teaching troubled his young student George Albert Smith. Then he understood. As he said later :
“Why, of course you will be held accountable for your thoughts, because when your life is completed in mortality, it will be the sum of your thoughts. That one suggestion has been a great blessing to me all my life, and it has enabled me upon many occasions to avoid thinking improperly, because I realize that I will be, when my life’s labor is complete, the product of my thoughts.”
All men will be evaluated in relationship to the backdrop of the work of God. Whatever kingdom each person is assigned they will know perfectly well why they are there. Everyone will have a perfect perspective of the plan of God and their relationship to it. — Robert J. Norman, “The Millennial Reign of Christ,” BYU Education Week 2010, p. 17
All of us are not called to leadership in the kingdom. Yet is there a greater work than that of being a teacher, father, mother? So it is that nobody is a nobody. The seeds of divinity are in all of us. The day will come when we will all have to account to God for what we have done with that portion of divinity that is within us. — President James E. Faust, CES fireside, October 2007
Grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve, and mercy is when God doesn’t give us what we do deserve. — Dan Roberts
We know in part, and see in part, and comprehend in part; and many of the things of God are hid from our view, both things that are past, things that are present, and things that are to come. Hence the world in general sits in judgment upon the actions of God that are passing among them, they make use of the weak judgment that God has given them to scan the designs of God, to unravel the mysteries that are past, and things that are still hid, forgetting that no man knows the things of God but by the Spirit of God; forgetting that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God; forgetting that no man in and of himself is competent to unravel the designs and know the purposes of Jehovah, whether in relation to the past, present or future; and hence, forgetting this, they fall into all kinds of blunders; they blunder over things that are contained in the Scriptures, some of which are a representation of the follies and weaknesses of men, and some of them perhaps may be the wisdom and intelligence of God, that are as far above their wisdom and intelligence as the heavens are above the earth. — President John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 1:368
Paul warned the Hebrews that God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, and “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him.” (Heb. 4:12–3) In other words, God judges us not only for our acts, but also for the desires of our hearts. He has said so again and again. This is a challenging reality, but it is not surprising. Agency and accountability are eternal principles. We exercise our free agency not only by what we do, but also by what we decide, or will, or desire. Restrictions on freedom can deprive us of the power to do, but no one can deprive us of the power to will or desire. Accountability must therefore reach and attach consequences to the desires of our hearts. This principle applies both in a negative way – making us guilty of sin for evil thoughts and desires – and in a positive way – promising us blessings for righteous desires. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “The Desires of Our Hearts,” Ensign, June 1986
I testify to you this day that the time will come when every man, woman, and child will look into the Savior’s loving eyes. On that day, we will know with a surety the worth of our decision to straightway follow Him. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Follow Me,” Ensign, May 2002
When we are finally judged in terms of our performance in this second estate, we will see that God, indeed, is perfect in his justice and mercy. We will also see that when we fail here it will not have been because we were truly tempted above that which we were able to bear. There was always an escape hatch had we looked for it! We will also see that our lives have been fully and fairly measured. In retrospect, we will even see that our most trying years here will often have been our best years, producing large tree rings on our soul, Gethsemanes of growth! Mortality is moistened by much opportunity if our roots of resolve can but take it in. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, BYU Speeches, 4 January 1976
Quarrel not at all. No man resolved to make the most of himself can spare time for personal contention. — Abraham Lincoln
The words of the tongue should have three gatekeepers: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? — Arabian Proverb
I testify to you this day that the time will come when every man, woman, and child will look into the Savior’s loving eyes. On that day, we will know with a surety the worth of our decision to straightway follow Him. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Follow Me,” Ensign, May 2002
Therefore, what we insistently desire, over time, is what we will eventually become and what we will receive in eternity. “For I [said the Lord] will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts” (D&C 137:9; see also Jer. 17:10). Alma said, “I know that [God] granteth unto men according to their desire, . . . I know that he allotteth unto men . . . according to their wills” (Alma 29:4). To reach this equitable end, God’s canopy of mercy is stretched out, including “all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of [the gospel], who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom;
“For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts” (D&C 137:8–9).
God thus takes into merciful account not only our desires and our performance, but also the degrees of difficulty which our varied circumstances impose upon us. No wonder we will not complain at the final judgment, especially since even the telestial kingdom’s glory “surpasses all understanding” (D&C 76:89). God delights in blessing us, especially when we realize “joy in that which [we] have desired” (D&C 7:8). — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts,” — Ensign, November 1996
Even a spark of desire can begin change. The prodigal son, sunk in despair, nevertheless desired and “came to himself,” determining that “I will arise and go to my father” (Luke 15:17–18). — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts,” Ensign, November 1996
If you first gain power to check your words, you will then begin to have power to check your judgment, and at length actually gain power to check your thoughts and reflections. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 6:98
The Lord’s time is not for me to know; but he is kind, long-suffering, and patient, and His wrath endureth silently, and will until mercy is completely exhausted, and then judgment will take the reins. I do not know how, neither do I at present wish to know. It is enough for us to know how to serve our God and live our religion, and thus we will increase in the favor of God. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 4:371
Let us be patient one with another. I do not altogether look at things as you do. My judgment is not in all things like yours, nor yours like mine. When you judge a man or woman, judge the intentions of the heart. It is not by words, particularly, nor by actions, that men will be judged in the great day of the Lord; but, in connection with words and actions, the sentiments and intentions of the heart will be taken, and by these will men be judged. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 8:10
I do know that the trying day will soon come to you and to me; and ere long we will have to lay down these tabernacles and go into the spirit world. And I do know that as we lie down, so judgment will find us, and that is scriptural; “as the tree falls so it shall lie,” or, in other words, as death leaves us so judgment will find us. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 4:52
My beloved brothers and sisters, I am not certain just what our experience will be on Judgment Day, but I will be very surprised if at some point in that conversation, God does not ask us exactly what Christ asked Peter: “Did you love me?” I think He will want to know if in our very mortal, very inadequate, and sometimes childish grasp of things, did we at least understand one commandment, the first and greatest commandment of them all – “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.” (Luke 10:27; see also Matthew 22:37–38.) And if at such a moment we can stammer out, “Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee,” then He may remind us that the crowning characteristic of love is always loyalty.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments,” (John 14:15) Jesus said. So we have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up, and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord. We can’t quit and we can’t go back. After an encounter with the living Son of the living God, nothing is ever again to be as it was before. The Crucifixion, Atonement, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ mark the beginning of a Christian life, not the end of it. It was this truth, this reality, that allowed a handful of Galilean fishermen-turned-again-Apostles without “a single synagogue or sword” (Frederic W. Farrar, The Life of Christ , 656; see chapter 62 for more on the plight of this newly founded Church) to leave those nets a second time and go on to shape the history of the world in which we now live. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The First Great Commandment,” Ensign, November 2012, pp. 84-85
The Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts – what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts – what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “The Challenge to Become,” Ensign, November 2000, p. 32
And it is not enough for us to embrace the Gospel and to be gathered here to the land of Zion and be associated with the people of God, attend our meetings and partake of the Sacrament of the Lord’s supper, and endeavor to move along without much blame of any kind attached to us; for notwithstanding all this, if our hearts are not right, if we are not pure in heart before God, if we have not pure hearts and pure consciences, fearing God and keeping His commandments, we shall not, unless we repent, participate in these blessings about which I have spoken, and of which the Prophets bear testimony. — Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, pp. 114-15
. . . When He comes, I so want to be caught living the gospel. I want to be surprised right in the act of spreading the faith and doing something good. I want the Savior to say to me: “Jeffrey” – because He knows all of our names – “I recognize you not by your title but by your life, the way you are trying to live and the standards you are trying to defend. I see the integrity of your heart. I know you have tried to make things better first and foremost by being better yourself, and then by declaring my word and defending my gospel to others in the most compassionate way you could.”
“I know you weren’t always successful,” He will certainly say, “with your own sins or the circumstances of others, but I believe you honestly tried. I believe in your heart you truly loved me.” — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Israel, Israel, God is Calling,” CES Broadcast, 2012