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In LDS theology, what makes us forget our premortal existence is called the "veil of forgetfulness". Is there any indication in LDS doctrine when, if ever, this veil is lifted again?

  • It doesn't seem to be at death, since the purpose it has still continues on for as long as people need to decide whether they want to follow Jesus.
  • Is it at the resurrection then? I see no indication that "simply" being resurrected lifts the veil, I am not aware of any messenger referencing their own premortal existence. Apart from Jesus and God himself revealing it.
  • There also doesn't seem to be a point in NEVER lifting it. Its purpose is fulfilled after the Judgement. Also, the celestial world is described as having knowledge of all things, past, present and future. So, I would expect the veil to be lifted at SOME point.

So, has there been so far any indication as to when the veil is lifted? Is it at/after the judgement?

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  • Who says the purpose continues as long as people need to decide whether to follow Jesus? Could you simply that statement, at least as much I did? Oct 16, 2023 at 21:18
  • When you see no indication that "simply" being resurrected lifts the veil, and you're not aware of any messenger referencing their own pre-mortal existence, what are you ruling out, please? Doesn't that Post look like a text-book case of how it's not possible to prove a negative? Are you, for instance, saying that you've read the whole Bible several times, and saw no indication or what, specifically? Oct 16, 2023 at 21:22
  • By the way, where is it written that there is a pre-mortal existence? Oct 16, 2023 at 21:25
  • If there is a 'veil of forgetfulness' who do you suppose imposed it, but God himself? Why would there need to be any point to God's work? How would it matter if It's purpose was fulfilled after the Judgement? Why would the celestial world having knowledge cause you to expect anything, about the veil or its lifting or anything else? Oct 16, 2023 at 21:30
  • @RobbieGoodwin much of this question relies on knowledge of LDS theology about the plan of salvation. As that is a fairly complex topic, explaining all the doctrine here would muddle the question. Feel free to ask your own question or research the topic further on your own
    – depperm
    Oct 20, 2023 at 13:10

2 Answers 2

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I found an answer on askgramps that seems to be the same question. (I'll include the main points, but the askgramps site does include more details and opinions)

TLDR: there does not appear to be a simply stated black and white, clear cut answer as of now


The veil(4)

God-given forgetfulness that blocks people’s memories of the premortal existence.

In a talk entitled Self-Mastery, Elder Russell M. Nelson says:

Although your spirit had a veil of forgetfulness placed over it at the time of your birth into mortality, it retained its power to remember all that happens

Once the veil of forgetfulness has served its intended purpose, it will no longer be needed and in consequence will be lifted. Elder Neal A .Maxwell in the Ensign, Oct. 1980, p. 31 stated:

We define the veil as the border between mortality and eternity; it is also a film of forgetting which covers the memories of earlier experiences. This forgetfulness will be lifted one day, and on that day we will see forever–rather than “through a glass darkly” (1 Cor. 13:12).

Elder LeGrand Richards in the book A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, pp.281-282 shares:

Ultimately the veil of darkness, or forgetfulness, which deprives us of the recollection of our existence in the spirit world before this earth was made and of the acquaintances we had here, will be lifted. Then we will see as we are seen and know as we are known and as we were known before earth life.

In a 1995 Ricks College devotional1, Bro. Daniel H. Ludlow (former director of the Correlation Department for the Church) shared his thoughts regarding the speed at which the veil will be lifted, saying:

Some in the Church have erroneously concluded that somehow that veil is automatically removed at the time of physical death; and at the time of physical death that we automatically remember everything that took place in our pre-earthly existence as well as everything that has taken place in the first part of our second estate here in the earth. The fact of the matter is, the scriptures and the prophets do not teach that.

Along this same thought, on lds.org in Introduction to Family History Student Manual Chapter 9: The Spirit World and Redemption of the Dead, Elder Neal A. Maxwell states:

“The veil of forgetfulness of the first estate apparently will not be suddenly, automatically, and totally removed…”

We now understand:

  1. When the veil of forgetfulness was placed
  2. That it will be lifted/removed at some point
  3. When it is lifted it appears not to be “suddenly, automatically or totally removed”.

We are now left with the the main question, “when” will the veil of forgetfulness be removed?

We will first turn to the Church-produced, First Presidency-approved movie, Man’s Search for Happiness, written and narrated by Apostle Richard L. Evans. In the 1986 edition, it states, while talking about going to the Spirit World (approx at 9:00 min. mark):

After death, though your mortal body lies in the earth, you, your spirit self—being eternal—continue to live. Your memory of this life will remain with you, and the knowledge of your life before birth will be restored.

Like coming out of a darkened room into light–through death you will emerge in a place of reawakening–and find loved ones waiting to welcome you.

There with your loved ones, you will await the resurrection—which is the reuniting of your spirit and your body. There you will continue towards the limitless opportunities of everlasting life.

We will now look at the rest of Elder Maxwell’s previous quote:

“The veil of forgetfulness of the first estate apparently will not be suddenly, automatically, and totally removed at the time of our temporal death. This veil, a condition of our entire second estate, is associated with and is part of our time of mortal trial, testing, proving, and overcoming by faith—and thus will continue in some key respects into the spirit world. …

“Thus, if not on this side of the veil, then in the spirit world to come, the gospel will be preached to all, including all transgressors, rebels, and rejectors of prophets, along with all those billions who died without a knowledge of the gospel (D&C 138)” (The Promise of Discipleship [2001], 119, 122).

We now understand:

  1. When the veil of forgetfulness was placed
  2. That it will be lifted/removed at some point
  3. When it is lifted it appears not to be “suddenly, automatically or totally removed”.

1 Ludlow, Daniel H. “Spirit World Offers Opportunities.” Devotional, Brigham Young University—Idaho, March 14, 1995 (unable to find audio or written transcription)

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  • Thanks, I guess sometimes "we don't know yet" is simply the answer.
    – kutschkem
    Oct 25, 2023 at 5:55
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The veil will be lifted at Christ's second coming. Here are some references:

D&C 88:95

And there shall be silence in heaven for the space of half an hour; and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded, as a scroll is unfolded after it is rolled up, and the face of the Lord shall be unveiled;

D&C 38:8

But the day soon cometh that ye shall see me, and know that I am; for the veil of darkness shall soon be rent, and he that is not purified shall not abide the day.

D&C 101:23

And prepare for the revelation which is to come, when the veil of the covering of my temple, in my tabernacle, which hideth the earth, shall be taken off, and all flesh shall see me together.

As for the rest of your question, here's a general (not thorough) timeline of events to help you out. It's important to note that there's not just one judgment or just one resurrection, it's a multi-phased process.

  • Second coming
    • Veil is lifted
    • Those with a celestial inheritance will be resurrected (aka "Morning of the first resurrection")
  • Millenium
    • Those with a terrestrial inheritance will be resurrected (aka "Afternoon of the first resurrection")
  • Final judgment

There's a diagram in Doctrines of the Gospel that might also help: Timeline

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  • Hmm I have my doubts, because after the Second Coming, there is still the Millenium which means there is still work to be done here on earth, as well as the spirit world. What is your reasoning for equating the "veil" mentioned in these verses with the "veil of forgetfulness"? Does that even appear in scripture?
    – kutschkem
    Oct 13, 2023 at 12:12
  • @kutschkem Millenium which means there is still work to be done here on earth just curious what this has to do with the veil or the effects of having/not having it are to you?
    – depperm
    Oct 13, 2023 at 13:30
  • @depperm Well my line of thought is that the purpose of the veil is to make free choice for or against the gospel possible in a way it wouldn't without it. In the premortal existence, we had to decide for Christ while seeing him, now without seeing, by faith. It seems, to me, that as long as we are still in the decision-phase (which lasts until our resurrection at least, but at most until judgement), the veil still has a purpose.
    – kutschkem
    Oct 13, 2023 at 15:07

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