If the Mormons end up being right about the afterlife, most of the rest of us are in for a bad time no matter where we end up. I mean, Heaven is an eternity of no booze, no recreational drugs, and wearing underwear that doesn’t look all that comfortable, hell is a realm of eternal torment, and Purgatory is a rather uninteresting place full of unbaptized babies with Mormons preaching to you about how Jesus came over and talked to the Native Americans.

If you’re not totally into the whole Mormonism thing, you are seriously screwed no matter where you end up.

I kid, I kid the Mormons! If you’re big enough to have your own commercials, you’re big enough to take a few jabs, that’s what I always say!

Mormonism’s idea of the in-between realm of the afterlife, also known as Purgatory isn’t entirely unique, though it does have its own spin and its own name within the LDS Church. Purgatory, to Mormons, is known as Spirit Prison, a place that doesn’t appear to be an afterthought the way Purgatory does (at least, to me) in Catholicism. Spirit Prison is a much more robust concept; a place where those that were ignorant or rebellious toward the “true” word of God are sent until they can embrace the redemptive power of Jesus Christ and, essentially, the tenets of the Mormon faith. Spirit Prison, as goofy as the name may be, isn’t simply a jailhouse in the afterlife but is, rather, seen as a kind of metaphor for the way someone cut off (whether willfully or not) from the Mormon faith must experience the afterlife. Unlike the rather dreadful and absolute rules of other Christian sects where unbelievers are simply thrown into the pit of Hell, Mormonism offers an array of opportunities to get oneself out of this still-unpleasant place.

The primary way out for the poor souls stuck in Purgatory seems to be through preaching done by LDS members that descend (or whatever) from the more Heavenly realms. By teaching about Jesus and the Mormon faith, LDS members hope to bring souls from the outer darkness of the Spirit Prison realm into the restful and peaceful state of Paradise. It’s all a rather nice metaphor for the transition from “ignorance” to “understanding” if that is how you choose to define those words.

Of course, as nice as this all is within the context and framework of the LDS Church, people outside the Church don’t often care for this view. Atheists and Agnostics don’t particularly care for the level of certainty with which the devoutly religious like to speak about truth, whether in Mormonism or any other faith. It’s not pleasant to be seen as somehow deficient or incorrect for not sharing a particular worldview, especially one without any kind of hard evidence, and it is even more unpleasant to be told so, either by preachers or through written text, but hey we can get over it. The funniest reaction, at least to me, comes from the devoutly religious that belong to other faiths, particularly the aggressive types that try to point fingers and place blame, the sort of people that point to all the “sinners” out there and talk about how they’re going to Hell. These are the same people that often become the most offended when confronted with the ideas of the Mormon afterlife. It’s all very ironic.

Ultimately, it’s entirely possible to be offended about Mormonism and Spirit Prison or any other religious belief is out there, but I find that to be very exhausting these days. It’s usually better to just take it all with a grain of salt and laugh at what you can. I find the LDS Church very amusing in a lot of ways, just like I find other Christian sects amusing and just like I find Greek mythology amusing.

It’s funny. Life is funny. We should all just laugh.

All the time.