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Purgatory is the condition or process of purification in which the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for heaven. This is an idea that has ancient roots and is well-attested in early Christian literature, while the conception of purgatory as a geographically situated place is largely the achievement of medieval Christian piety and imagination.

The notion of purgatory is associated particularly with the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, but some other Christian denominations, which may or may not use the locution "purgatory", such as the Methodist Church, do not explicitly reject the possibility of an improvement in the soul's spiritual situation between death and judgment. Anglo-Catholic Anglicans generally hold to the belief. The Eastern Orthodox Church believes in the possibility of a change of situation for the souls of the dead through the prayers of the living and the offering of the Divine Liturgy, and many Orthodox, especially among ascetics, hope and pray for a general apocatastasis. A similar belief in at least the possibility of a final salvation for all is held by Mormonism. Judaism also believes in the possibility of after-death purification[ and may even use the word "purgatory" to present its understanding of the meaning of Gehenna. However, the concept of soul "purification" may be explicitly denied in these other faith traditions.

The word "purgatory" has come to refer also to a wide range of historical and modern conceptions of postmortem suffering short of everlasting damnation,[1] and is used, in a non-specific sense, to mean any place or condition of suffering or torment, especially one that is temporary.

The Life Review undergone by those who have had a Near Death Experience (NDE), can resemble a sort of purgatory. This is what Bruce Horacek Ph.D and IANDS writes about the Life Review: "During a predominantly pleasurable NDE, usually while in the light, the NDEr may experience a life review. In this review, the NDEr typically re-views (sees again) and reexperiences every moment of his/her life. At the same time, the NDEr fully experiences being every other person with whom the NDEr interacted. The NDEr knows what it was to be on the receiving end of his/her own actions including those that caused others pain. At this time, the NDEr usually reports feeling profound remorse, along with extreme regret that the harm cannot be undone. At the same time, the NDEr typically reports feeling consistent unconditional love from the light who communicates that the NDEr was still learning how to be a more loving person what NDErs tend to say is the purpose of life

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