Will God Punish Us?

I don't think so. The idea that God would actively punish us for not finding Him has never sat well with me. It doesn't seem like a quality worthy of worship.

On the other hand, He could passively punish us, as in, He shows us how awesome existence would be following Him, and by us not doing so, we punish ourselves. The gates of Hell are locked from the inside, they say.

A friend just shared this Joseph Smith quote that I found enlightening, "‎What is the damnation of hell? To go with that society who have not obeyed [the Lord's] commands." (History of the Church, 4:554-555)

That very much follows my own thinking on the matter. That we punish ourselves. That are wailing and gnashing of teeth is motivated by our own stubbornness not to do what God asks us to do in order to live with Him. I don't think he's going to hold a lighter up to our feet like a sick psychopath and torture us. I think His awesomeness will draw us toward Him, but when we realize how filthy we are, we'll be ashamed and scared. It will make us feel small, insignificant, and unworthy.

At some point, we'll garner the courage to repent of our sins and let Christ's atonement work it's "magic" in us, and we'll progress a little here and there. That's my hope, anyway.