In like manner we find in the spirit world men, women, beasts of the field, fowls of the air, and vegetation in boundless and varied forms. These things are as natural there as they are in earth-life. They appeal to spirit nature the same as the “natural” prototype appeals to the mortal senses; and this is why we may speak of our earth-known friends who are in the spirit world and of their surroundings in the manner of mortality.
And what a big world it is! Here are nations, tribes, races, and families much larger than in earth-life, and just as varied in all that made them different in mortality. Here, as in all of God’s creations, like assemble, dislike keep apart; “for intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy, and claimeth her own.” The righteous in Paradise have no desire to mingle with the wicked in the regions of darkness; therefore they go there only as they may be called to perform some duty.
To the industrious there can be no true pleasure or rest in idleness; therefore, Paradise furnishes employment to all its inhabitants. A world of knowledge is open to them into which they may extend their researches. Thus they may continue in the ever-widening field of learning, finding enough to occupy their time and talents.
An arrival in the spirit world brings with him just what he is when he leaves mortality. The separation of the spiritual part of the soul from the earthly body does not essentially change that spirit. A person takes with him the sum total of the character he has formed up to that time. Mortal death does not make a person better or worse; it simply adds to him one more experience which, no doubt, has a teachable influence on him. At death, no person is perfect, even though he is a Saint, and passes into the Paradise of God. There he must continue the process of eliminating the weaknesses which he did not wholly overcome in earth-life. Death will not destroy the tendency to tell untruths, or change the ungovernable temper to one which is under perfect control. Such transformations are not of instant attainment, but are the result of long, patient endeavor.
As there are gradations of righteousness and intelligences in the spirit world, there must be a vast field of usefulness for preaching the gospel, training the ignorant, and helping the weak. As in the world of mortality, this work is carried on by those who have accepted the gospel and who have conformed their lives to its principles; so in the spirit world, the righteous find pleasant and profitable employment in working for the salvation of souls.
And as they work they must needs talk of the glories of the great plan of salvation, made perfect through the atonement of the Lord Jesus. That which they look forward to most keenly, that about which they talk and sing most fervently is the time when they also shall follow their Savior through the door of the resurrection which He has opened for them,—when their souls shall be perfectly redeemed, and they shall be clothed upon with a body of the heavenly order, a tabernacle incorruptible and immortal with which to go on into the celestial world.