Eternal life is the phrase used in scripture to define the quality of life that our Eternal Father lives. The Lord declared, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). Immortality is to live forever as a resurrected being. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, everyone will receive this gift. Eternal life, or exaltation, is to live in God's presence and to continue as families (see D&C 131:1–4). Like immortality, this gift is made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. However, to inherit eternal life requires our “obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith 1:3).
When we are baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, we enter the path that leads to eternal life. The prophet Nephi taught:
“The gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
”And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive“ (2 Nephi 31:17-18).
Nephi emphasized that after we have entered this ”strait and narrow path,“ we must endure to the end in faith:
”After ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:19-20).
After we are baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, much of our progress toward eternal life depends on our receiving other ordinances of salvation: for men, ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood; for men and women, the temple endowment and marriage sealing. When we receive these ordinances and keep the covenants that accompany them, we prepare ourselves to inherit eternal life.
See also Atonement of Jesus Christ; Grace; Kingdoms of Glory
—See True to the Faith (2004), 52-53
Church Magazine Articles
To know the Lord Jesus Christ, we and all mankind must receive Him. And to receive Him, we must receive His servants.
As Latter-day Saints use the words saved and salvation, there are at least six different meanings.
Additional Study Materials
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, Chapter 40
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, Chapter 3
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, Chapter 13
Guide to the Scriptures
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, Chapter 1