In my theology, which is based on the revelation Joseph Smith received concerning the three degrees of glory, there are three places to wait after death until the final judgment. Almost all Mormons take Joseph's vision of the afterlife to mean there are 3 potential kingdoms for the vast majority of people and a place called "outer darkness" for the foolish few.
I agree with Joseph's revelation that for GOD to be just the has to be more than just the two possible outcomes of heaven and hell. I also agree with Avraham Gileadi's ideas that Isaiah posits 7 possible layers to the afterlife. The point of this post is to get people to avoid the nightmare scenario I wrote about in my last piece, which is ending up in hell, regardless of whether there are 2, 3, 4, 7 or 99 possible places when we die.
Tucked away in Doctrine and Covenants section 76 are phrases about "hell", "spirit prison", and "paradise". I believe these 3 places to be a temporary stop after we die where a partial judgement takes place. I also believe that anyone living an obviously above average life of service, can avoid Hell altogether, without necessarily qualifying for the top spot afterwards. Whether that top Heaven is called Celestial, "Celestial Plus", Kolob or Xanadu, that kind of reward is for the few that are chosen out of the many that are called.
Since I am a slightly above average person at best, and a below average person at worst I have always been concerned with avoiding even a temporary stay in hell between death and resurrection. If I am truly average, I am risking having to pay for my own sins, because GOD will not be mocked. GOD's best child did not come here to give everyone a free pass to do whatever they want, whenever they want, for as long as they want. The bill will come due at some point, and GOD usually waits until we are dead to give us enough rope to hang ourselves, or enough time to repent.
1. Believe in JESUS and never deny that belief. This is not enough by itself, but it is a start. Satan believes there is a godly personage named JESUS. Satan was too proud to believe his superior brother was the right choice for Savior of planet Earth. Satan just does the opposite of what JESUS would do in any situation so he gets to be the proprietor of hell and outer darkness. I believe Outer Darkness to mean that you decide through you behavior that you will not accept JESUS as the true GOD of this sphere no matter what.
2. Serve people inside of your "family and friends circle" more than they serve you. This is still, not enough but we are making progress. Be a better friend, be a better parent, be a better neighbor, and stop trying to keep up with the Jones on Facebook.
3. Love your enemies. Love them enough that you would rather they killed you, instead of you killing them. Proclaim peace to avoid contention. Try to make your enemies your friends. We all we sired by the same 2 Holy Beings in Heaven. We all share the same spiritual mother and father. It is awe inspiriting to me that the Most High God loves sinful me as much as He loves sinless JESUS. We are not going to get the same blessings, but we get the same support. GOD could easily have decreed that only people who never sin get to return to his Kingdom, but he selflessly allowed imperfect people to repent until they could act perfectly.
4. Do what your conscience tells you to do in every situation. Don't worry if you ignored this literal Holy Spirit inside of you before today, just start doing what it persuades you to do from now on. For more of this idea, go to upwardthought.com, Rob Smith's blog or better yet read all of his books.
5. Share whatever excess you have with those poorer than yourself. Above all do not share your abundance with a church. Helping the least of these, we help you in the long run avoid a fate worse than death.
I am sure there are numerous other ways to avoid hell. If we truly love GOD above all else, and other people as much as we love ourselves, everything else will fall into place.