The following is taken from Daniel Tyler, "The Gospel Principles", Juvenile Instructor 13/18 (15 September 1878): 213.
In writing for the Juvenile Instructor, a few plain, simple facts only can be given in a brief article. In addition to what has been said before on the subject of baptism for the dead, I will refer to the case of the thief on the cross. Jesus said to him, "this day shalt thou be with me in paradise." This is often quoted to prove that the thief went right into heaven with Jesus as soon as he was dead. Nothing is, however, further from the truth. That both went to the same place, I will not dispute; but that place was not where God the Father and Jesus, our elder Brother, reside. The Spirit of Jesus went to the spirit world between the time of His death and resurrection, as will be presently shown. No doubt that many, both before and after the crucifixion, in their dying moments, called upon God for mercy and salvation. But His purposes are governed by laws which are immutable and unchangeable. One of those laws declares that "every man shall be rewarded according to his works," which means, "according to the deeds done in the body," and not according to his dying words. Such kind of repentance is not taught by the gospel, but is one of the dogmas of this priest-ridden generation. All will be weighed in the balance, and if good preponderates, they will be rewarded according to the balance in their favor.
As to where Jesus and the thief went after death, or between death and the resurrection, we will let the Apostle decide. Peter says Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison - the antediluvians. Jesus told the penitent thief he should be with him in paradise. This simply means the unseen world - sometimes called hades, prison, hell and the spirit world. Jesus had not time then, while on the cross, to enter into explanations, but as He was about going to preach to other sinners, many of whom were doubtless penitent in their last moments like himself, He told the thief he should be with Him, where of course, he would hear the gospel as preached to them. But this did not mean in heaven; for, after Jesus arose, and Mary was about to embrace Him, He told her plainly not to touch Him, for He had not yet ascended to His Father.