We are often told in the scriptures that the day will come when we will stand before God and be judged. We need to understand how judgment takes place so we can be better prepared for this important event.
The scriptures teach that all of us will be judged according to our works: “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Revelation 20:12; see also D&C 76:111; 1 Nephi 15:32; Abraham 3:25–28). We will also be judged “according to the desire of [our] hearts” (D&C 137:9; see also Alma 41:3).
Alma taught that when we die our spirits are assigned to a state of happiness or of misery (see Alma 40:11–15). This is a judgment.
The prophet Alma testified, “Our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; … and our thoughts will also condemn us” (Alma 12:14).
The Lord said: “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:36–37).
Faith in Jesus Christ helps us be prepared for the Final Judgment. Through faithful discipleship to Him and repentance of all our sins, we can be forgiven for our sins and become pure and holy so that we can dwell in the presence of God. As we repent of our sins, giving up every impure thought and act, the Holy Ghost will change our hearts so we no longer have even the desire to sin (see Mosiah 5:2). Then when we are judged, we will be found ready to enter into God’s presence.
“Every one of you … must stand before ‘the judgment-seat of the Holy One of Israel … and then must … be judged according to the holy judgment of God.’ (II Nephi 9:15.) And according to the vision of John, ‘The books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.’ (Rev. 20:12.) The ‘books’ spoken of refer to the ‘records [of your works] which are kept on the earth. … The book of life is the record which is kept in heaven.’ (Doc. and Cov. 128:7.)” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee , 226–27).
There is another record that will be used to judge us. The Apostle Paul taught that we ourselves are a record of our life (see Romans 2:15). Stored in our body and mind is a complete history of everything we have done. President John Taylor taught this truth: “[The individual] tells the story himself, and bears witness against himself. … 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” (Deseret News, Mar. 8, 1865, 179).
The Apostle John taught that “the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22). The Son, in turn, will call upon others to assist in the Judgment. The Twelve who were with Him in His ministry will judge the twelve tribes of Israel (see Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30).
At the Final Judgment we will inherit a place in the kingdom for which we are prepared.