Guest Post: Qualifying for the Telestial kingdom?

May 16, 2006    By: Administrator @ 2:33 pm   Category: Eternal Progression,Theology

[The following is a guest post from Jacob, a thoughtful Mormon from Oregon who I met at this year's SMPT conference.]

In a recent series of posts, Geoff has been discussing various models of the plan of salvation, and as you might expect, advocating his favorite “multiple mortal probations” model. During that discussion, the question of telestial salvation came up a number of times, and Geoff graciously offered to host this guest-post of mine on one aspect of that subject. My question is geared toward the more traditional models of the plan of salvation.

In the Church, there seem to be two main camps on telestial salvation:

Camp 1: There will be liars, murderers, and reprobates in the telestial kingdom, who never repented of their sins

Those who will not repent, but are nevertheless not sons of perdition, will remain in hell throughout the Millennium. After these thousand years of torment, they will be resurrected to a telestial glory (Guide to the Scriptures: Hell)

Camp 2: The people in the telestial kingdom may have been former liars, murderers, and reprobates, but they will have to repent of their sins before going to the telestial kingdom

Those who on earth are liars, sorcerers, whoremongers, and adulterers, who receive not the gospel, or the testimony of Jesus, of the prophets, go to the telestial kingdom. They are judged unworthy of being resurrected at the second coming of Christ and must be given a period of time in hell to repent and prepare themselves for a later resurrection and placement into a kingdom of lesser glory. They cannot go to the telestial kingdom while they are still liars, murderers, and adulterers. During this period in hell, they learn to abide laws they once rejected.(Encyclopedia of Mormonism “Degrees of Glory” emphasis mine)

I am a strong proponent of camp 2. The view of camp 1 implies that we can reject Christ’s atonement, suffer for our own sins, and make it to the telestial kingdom by ourselves. This has always seemed to me to undercut the crucial nature of the atonement in saving all people. It also fits well with Joseph Smith’s big picture view expressed here:

God hath made a provision that every spirit in the eternal world can be ferreted out and saved unless he has committed that unpardonable sin… God has wrought out a salvation for all men… So long as a man will not give heed to the commandments, he must abide without salvation. If a man has knowledge, he can be saved; although, if he has been guilty of great sins, he will be punished for them. But when he consents to obey the Gospel, whether here or in the world of spirits, he is saved. (TPJS pg. 356-357, emphasis mine)

Joseph clearly states that salvation only comes after a person has consented to obey the gospel. Guilt, remorse, and the pains of hell, are varying degrees of the same pain, designed to help us see the ultimate results of our bad actions so that we will repent. Some people respond to guilt. Others don’t catch on until the pain is ratcheted up a few notches.

Alma offers his experience as the model of what happens to people in hell. He says he was “racked with eternal torment” and “tormented with the pains of hell,” even with “the pains of a damned soul” (Alma 36:12-16). Alma rejected Christ at first, but when the pain hit, he caught on quickly to the importance of Christ and the atonement, and he had a real change of heart. George Q. Cannon agreed with me that this is typical of the souls in hell:

So it will be with those who are damned in the way that I have described and who are consigned to torment. They will remain in that condition, according to the enormity of their offenses, until punishment will be meted out to them sufficiently to bring them to a condition that they will receive the Gospel of salvation. That Gospel which is taught to us will be taught to them, and they will have an opportunity of obeying it in their damned condition and through repentance will receive will salvation. (Gospel Truth pg. 62)

So, what do you all think? Who will step up and defend camp 1?

[Associated radio.blog song: Mighty Mighty Bosstones - The Rascal King. For all those telestial rascals...]

53 Comments »

  1. That is spot on. I think Alma and Sec 19 are quite clear that you suffer for your sins until you turn to Christ at which point you are saved. If you never choose to turn to Christ then as stated in Sec 88:

    And they who remain shall also be quickened; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received.

    They are not saved, because they weren’t willing to be saved.

    Comment by J. Stapley — May 16, 2006 @ 2:41 pm

  2. Amen and amen!

    Comment by Mark Butler — May 16, 2006 @ 2:46 pm

  3. Alright, I guess I’ll take up the challenge.

    The problem with your assertion that all must repent to get out of hell and inherit “telestial salvation” is that we have no clear ideas of what “telestial law” consists of. In order to be a Celestial person one must abide the Celestial law; likewise with the Terrestrial and Telestial orders.

    22 For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.
    23 And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory.
    24 And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory. (D&C 88: 22-24)

    The Celestial law is explained pretty clearly in the temple and scriptures I think (and includes the law of consecration). The Terrestrial law is loosely described in section 76:

    And again, we saw the terrestrial world … These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men… These are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus; wherefore, they obtain not the crown over the kingdom of our God.

    So we mostly learn from scriptures why they aren’t celestial people. It appears that the only reason they are terrestrial and not telestial is because they were “honorable” people. But even though they are generally honorable they are also “blinded by the craftiness of men” and “are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus”. So all it appears the primary requirement of the terrestrial law is simply to be an honorable person.

    Therefore, it seems safe to conclude that those who abide the telestial law are in fact not honorable people.

    That is the rub for your Camp 2 — people who accept Jesus Christ and repent are honorable people. Therefore, it seems the people you describe as repentant after spirit-prison/hell would be abiding the Terrestrial law and should therefore inherit Terrestrial glory.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 16, 2006 @ 3:58 pm

  4. I have a lengthy discussion of the Vision (Section 76) as it relates to salvation and repentance in the chapter 6 of the second volume, so I’m going to wait until Geoff gets there to fully elucidate what I believe on this issue. However, is clear that all but the sons of perdition are saved. The murders, theives etc. who refuse to repent earlier will suffer in hell until they are willing to bend the knee and acknowledge Jesus as Christ. However, at the end of their period in hell they will receive a kingdom of glory that is analogous to that of the stars — but their glory also differs from another as the light of one star differs from another (in other words, this is not a discrete glory but a continuum).

    However, I have it on good authority that the earth on which we presently live is a telestial kingdom. Does anyone disagree with that?

    Comment by Blake — May 16, 2006 @ 4:09 pm

  5. However, I have it on good authority that the earth on which we presently live is a telestial kingdom. Does anyone disagree with that?

    Really, I’m not to sure how literal we can take this authority. The whole thing defies a literal interpretation, no?

    Comment by J. Stapley — May 16, 2006 @ 4:18 pm

  6. However, I have it on good authority that the earth on which we presently live is a telestial kingdom. Does anyone disagree with that?

    Hehe. Not me.

    BTW — I’ll post on chapter 5 tonight or tomorrow. That will allow me to get to chapter 6 and relate it to this conversation soon.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 16, 2006 @ 4:22 pm

  7. I haven’t read the post or the thread near close enough to know if I’m even addressing the right questions but here are my two cents:

    1) There is a difference between simply paying or suffering for one’s own sins and actually repenting of them. Thus I see the distinction which you draw between your to clubs as being fundamentally wrong.

    2) I agree with Blake that every single person, except the Sons of Perdition, will be saved from hell as well as resurrected because of Jesus’ atonement, regardless of how good or bad they are. (How’s that for grace!) The question of “how much one is saved” I see as being a question of “exaltation” personally. (I think that a large part of the saved by grace vs. saved by works debate is simply a matter of erecting a false dichotomy.)

    Comment by Jeff G — May 16, 2006 @ 5:40 pm

  8. I disagree with the notion that this is a telestial kingdom. Perhaps this is a telestial like world. But would we not all have to be resurrected beings for this to be literally a telestial kingdom?

    Clearly the atonement plays a role in the salvation of those in the telestial kingdom. Resurrection is proof enough of that. The scriptures do say that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, but does that imply true repentance? To me true repentance can only be a voluntary act and will not be coersed. So I must assume that there will be those in the telestial who never did fully and truly repent of all their sins, and instead suffered for some if not all of them.

    Comment by Eric — May 16, 2006 @ 7:09 pm

  9. Saved from what? Eternities of kids and husband and housework?

    Eric, I believe that the punishment we will endure is more of what you say, “suffered for them” rather than some ethereal nameless horror.

    Comment by annegb — May 16, 2006 @ 8:22 pm

  10. Geoff (#3)

    The reason that the various laws of the telestial/terrestrial/celestial kingdoms are not spelled out is that those groupings are somewhat artificial. The traditional one-heaven/one-hell view divides everyone into the “good” people and the “bad” people. Of course, most people can tell that this is too simplistic. The three degrees extend that model, offering a few more categories (hopelessly evil, wicked, good, saints). The descriptions in D&C 76 of the people who go to the different kingdoms are not intended to describe the laws of those kingdoms (as you suggested), they are giving some loose definition to these categories.

    But, of course, four categories aren’t ultimately enough either, and a closer reading of D&C 76 makes it clear that there are actually an infinite number of degrees of glory (hence Blake’s continuum in #4). So, it is just a simplified, schematic view of the eternities, intended to teach us that our degree of glory and happiness in the afterlife will be a reflection of what we have become as moral agents. God has no interest in telling us how to fall short of our full potential, so the gospel uniformly focuses on what we must do to gain exaltation.

    Geoff: Therefore, it seems safe to conclude that those who abide the telestial law are in fact not honorable people. That is the rub for your Camp 2-people who accept Jesus Christ and repent are honorable people.

    The trouble with this argument is that it misses all of the points I made above. The need for various degrees of glory arises from the fact that people will be at different levels in their progression, which is clearly true in this life, and will continue in the hereafter. Those who spend the millenium in hell will certainly not come out of that experience at the same level of progression as those who lived on Earth during that time. Hence, the schematic view of eternity says they will be in the lowest kingdom of glory.

    Comment by Jacob — May 16, 2006 @ 8:40 pm

  11. Eric: I disagree with the notion that this is a telestial kingdom.

    The language is very clear. Listen closely the next time you use that recommend.

    But I agree with your point about non-repentant people being telestials. Repentance means turning to God in love and that can never be coerced. In fact, being sent to hell would probably tick people off and make them more angry and resentful toward God, not less. And to cap it all off, it seems that the scriptures say that repentant persons are living the terrestrial or celestial law to begin with.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 16, 2006 @ 9:07 pm

  12. Jacob,

    I fully agree with the idea that the glory in the afterlife is a continuum and not just 3 “kingdoms”. I have posted on that in the past. But you are the one who presented Camp 1 and Camp 2, not me. In the post you talk about the telestials who must spend “1000 years” in hell prior to going to some kind of telestial kingdom. Therefore there has to be a cutoff somewhere, right? According to the model, one guy on that continuum is the last to stay out of hell and the next worse guy is the best person in hell, right?

    Those who spend the millenium in hell will certainly not come out of that experience at the same level of progression as those who lived on Earth during that time.

    I think this is beside the point. Camp 2 claims people must repent to get out of hell. Repentant people have a relationship with God and are by definition “honorable” people. Honorable people are living the terrestrial law and therefore would inherit a terrestrial glory.

    This is in addition to the other problems with the whole concept of your Camp 2 that I mentioned in #11.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 16, 2006 @ 9:31 pm

  13. Blake (#4)

    I enjoyed your chapter on D&C 76.

    Your question about this world being a telestial kingdom is an intriguing one. Geoff was able to restrain himself (#6), so it looks like we’ll be able to leave the MMP implications to the other post.

    It is interesting that it is easy to find lots of references to this earth as a telestial world in our sermons and writings, but much harder to find explanations of what that means.

    I have heard some people try to explain it by coupling the members of the Godhead to the three degrees of glory, and then saying that this earth is called telestial because we interface with God through the Holy Ghost. This view has never been compelling to me. Has anyone else heard this, and where does it come from?

    Other views interpret it in various figurative ways, based on varying interpretations of the endowment. This seems to be the direction J. Stapley was headed (#5).

    Your comment may be hinting (maybe not) at the idea that this earth could be a telestial kingdom of exceptionally little glory. Since they differ as the stars in the sky, I can imagine that we may be living at the very low end of the glory spectrum. There is that scripture in Moses 7:36 that seems to say this is the most wicked of God’s creations. Since D&C 88:31 speaks of us being quickened by a portion of the telestial glory, but afterward receiving of the same, even a fulness, we might imagine that the fulness of the telestial glory is simply lots more glory than we have now on this telestial world today.

    It is worth noting that some prophets have described the telestial kingdom as much different than this telestial world, even though they are called by the same name:

    And will it be glory? you may inquire. Yes. Glory, glory, glory to our merciful Father in heaven; for the least glory spoken of in this Vision given to Joseph Smith, junior, and Sidney Rigdon, cannot be described: it is so great and so exquisite that it is altogether beyond mortal perception.

    They could not write it, neither describe it in language. The glory of the telestial world no man knows, except he partakes of it; and yet, in that world they differ in glory as the stars in the firmament differ one from the other. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 6: 293.)

    This earth is to be renewed and brought back to the condition in which it was before it was cursed through the fall of Adam. When Adam passed out of the Garden of Eden, then the earth became a telestial world, and it is of that order today. I do not mean a telestial glory such as will be found in telestial worlds after the resurrection, but a telestial condition which has been from the days of Adam until now and will continue until Christ comes. . . (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:85)

    You must have brought it up because you had something more to say about it, so give it to us. What’s the real answer?

    Comment by Jacob — May 16, 2006 @ 9:37 pm

  14. Jeff G (#7)

    There is a difference between simply paying or suffering for one’s own sins and actually repenting of them. Thus I see the distinction which you draw between your to clubs as being fundamentally wrong.

    I think the clubs you refer to are my camps, right? I agree that there is a huge distiction between suffering for sins and repenting. The two camps are just a description of two prominent positions I see in the church which disagree with each other about the role of repentance in getting to the telestial kingdom (and thus, on the nature of telestial salvation). I am probably missing your point, so please clarify.

    I agree with your point 2).

    Comment by Jacob — May 16, 2006 @ 9:51 pm

  15. Eric (#8)

    So I must assume that there will be those in the telestial who never did fully and truly repent of all their sins, and instead suffered for some if not all of them.

    Another problem with this view (which I didn’t mention in my post) is that it is built on a penal-substitution view of the atonement. It assumes that the problem with sin is that there is some debt to justice which can be paid off by suffering. You assume that once a person suffers long enough, they have paid off their own debt, which qualifies them for the telestial kingdom. I find this view of the problem of sin unconvincing. Simply suffering because of our sinfulness doesn’t actually pay anything off, it is just the consequence of wickedness. If we never repent, or change, we continue to be wicked, which means there is no reason to think we get to stop being miserable. Misery is the inevitable result of wickedness. This is what Joseph was getting at in the quote I put in the original post.

    Comment by Jacob — May 16, 2006 @ 10:03 pm

  16. Jacob: we might imagine that the fulness of the telestial glory is simply lots more glory than we have now on this telestial world today.

    Why should we do that? I think this planet is glorious beyond all understanding as is. Whoamong us fully understands and appreciates the glory and beauty of the earth? Further, the temple narrative seems to indicate God also feels the earth is that glorious as is.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 16, 2006 @ 10:12 pm

  17. Geoff (#16)

    I was simply listing it as one of many possibilities. However, more to your point, as beautiful as the earth is, it is has some real drawbacks right now. It is filled to the brim with violence, tragedy, and unspeakable wickedness. When a prophet has an open vision of the heavens and describes what he sees as “surpass[ing] all understanding” it just does not seem plausible to me to interpret this as referring to the current situation on the earth. I think we just disagree on this one. By the way, if you missed it there is a quote in (#13) of Brigham Young disagreeing with you on this.

    Comment by Jacob — May 16, 2006 @ 10:37 pm

  18. Geoff (#12)

    But you are the one who presented Camp 1 and Camp 2, not me.

    Actually, the Guide to the Scriptures is the only one who spoke for Camp 1. However, Jeff G seems to think my camps are misconstrued as well (#7), so perhaps one of you will show me my error in construing the disagreement as I did. It could be that you don’t agree with Camp 1, but agreeing is not interesting, so you are looking for something else to disagree about and finding that it is unrelated to the Camp 1 vs. Camp 2 disagreement–but I can’t be sure.

    According to the model, one guy on that continuum is the last to stay out of hell and the next worse guy is the best person in hell, right?

    No, not right. Whether a person gets out of hell is not a matter of progression. It is a matter of turning to Jesus (Blake actually spends a fair amount of time on this point in chapter 6 of his new book). After a person accepts Jesus and his atonement, the matter of progression becomes relevant, for a person must prepare to live a telestial law before going to the telestial kingdom (D&C 88). Thus, thinking of it as a continuum of righteousness with one person who makes it to the telestial and the next worst guy being the guy in hell is just a wrong way to think about it. Again, Alma 36 is a good model of this.

    Repentant people have a relationship with God and are by definition “honorable” people. Honorable people are living the terrestrial law and therefore would inherit a terrestrial glory.

    You are using the general descriptions of the different groups–as they are on earth–as a definition of “terrestrial law”. I think this is a fundamental misunderstanding of what the verse mentioning “honorable people” is about. In my earlier comment (#10) I tried to address this point in more detail, so this shorter attempt is sure to fail.

    Comment by Jacob — May 16, 2006 @ 10:59 pm

  19. Saved from what? Eternities of kids and husband and housework?

    Anne, you make a good point (even in jest). Sometimes the way we describe salvation and exaltation doesn’t make them sound very appealing.

    Comment by Jacob — May 16, 2006 @ 11:03 pm

  20. Jacob: No, not right. Whether a person gets out of hell is not a matter of progression.

    I think you misread me. I am not talking about “getting out of hell”, I am talking about who goes to hell/prison and who doesn’t in the judgment. In all models that I am aware of there must be a cutoff at some person. This was true in the premortal judgment as well — there was one person on the continuum who was the least valiant of all (but still made the earthlife cut) and next to that person was the least wicked of the sons of perdition, right?

    Yes, I am arguing for your Camp 1 — not passionately, but I think it makes more sense than your Camp 2 and I suspect it matches up best with MMP. I think that is what Jeff G. is doing too. (Jeff happens to prefer MMP too.) I am not passionate about it though.

    I suspect that hell and the 2nd resurrection means that the spirits of the wicked must sit out the next probation (without getting bodies) and they have to deal with the pain and regret that naturally is associated with that punishment. So I don’t necessarily think they are paying for sins in some sort commercial/satisfaction theory kind of way, but it does seem that there is a real price to be paid in not having the opportunity to significantly progress for a long, long time (what the scriptures figuratively call “1000 years”). In other words, I have argued that we are in the middle of a war or council right now choosing between Jesus’ plan and Satan’s plan; and the wicked, those who follow the devil’s plan here, will not receive bodies in the next probation. This of course is the same thing that I think happened in the last war/council in heaven where the wicked there don’t get bodies in this probation. In fact I think that is waht happens with every mortal probation and that is part of the meaning of the term “one eternal round”. (See the post on that here.)

    Comment by Geoff J — May 16, 2006 @ 11:49 pm

  21. No matter what said authoritative source says, the idea that this earth is literally in a state of telestial glory cannot be reconciled with D&C 76 or D&C 88, certainly not in any obvious manner. The earth would have to have glory surpassing all understanding, we would all have to be heirs of salvation and servants to God, and we would all have to be voluntarily obeying some sort of moral law.

    Also reading the D&C 76 description of the type of people going to each degree of glory absolutely cannot be read as the type of people they will be when they get there. Liars are rather unsuited to be servants of God. Does the glory of an an unrepentant adulterer surpass all understanding?

    Since we do not seem to have any canonical sources that describe what a telestial law is, I am more than satisfied to rely on the statements of both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young on the topic. Joseph Smith’s statement (quoted above) places him clearly in Camp 2. So does Brigham Young’s:

    I will now tell you something that ought to comfort every man and woman on the face of the earth. Joseph Smith, junior, will again be on this earth dictating plans and calling forth his brethren to be baptized for the very characters who wish this was not so, in order to bring them into a kingdom to enjoy, perhaps, the presence of angels or the spirits of good men, if they cannot endure the presence of the Father and the Son; and he will never cease his operations, under the directions of the Son of God, until the last ones of the children of men are saved that can be, from Adam till now. (Brigham Young, [JD 7:289])

    That is rather conclusive evidence that the statement of Joseph Smith quoted above is not some sort of anomaly.

    The conclusion that the earth is a sub-telestial D&C 88:32 type world is what follows rather directly from the scriptures.

    Finally, Joseph Smith clearly implies that no one will suffer for the full 1000 years or whatever unless they refuse to repent – that a person in hell cannot completely avoid punishment, but can be saved *as soon as* he turns to God. According to scripture, he will have to wait until the end of the Millennium to be resurrected, but no doubt such a repentant one will learn and progress during the remainder of his (or her) tenure in the world of spirits.

    Comment by Mark Butler — May 17, 2006 @ 1:25 am

  22. Geoff (#11)

    Doesn’t the language of the temple say telestial world instead of telestial Kingdom. I think the two terms are very different. I have no problem with this place being described as a telestial world, but I do have a problem with this place being called the Telstial Kingdom.

    Jacob (#15)

    I think you assume to much (lame Star Wars quote). D&C 19 says those who will not repent must suffer. I don’t know that there is a literal penal-substitution thing going on, just the way it is.

    I mainly wanted to say that I don’t believe repentance will be coersed. The way model 2 seems to be headed is a forced repentance based on sufficient torture. Just does not seem right to me.

    I feel that the only minimum qualifications for the Telestial Kingdom is keeping your first estate and avoiding becoming a son of perdition. If you meet those two thing it appears you will eventually be in.

    Comment by Eric — May 17, 2006 @ 5:43 am

  23. There is a difference between simply paying or suffering for one’s own sins and actually repenting of them. Thus I see the distinction which you draw between your to clubs as being fundamentally wrong.

    Not necessarily. We are told that “our thoughts will condemn us”. In the spirit world, we will no longer have the capacity to perform sinful acts, but we will still have the capacity to have sinful thoughts. And, just as they do here on earth, those thoughts will condemn us. We will never get out of hell as long as we are having them. Therefore, I conclude that we must stop having sinful thoughts to ever get out of hell, which equates to repentance. Hence, I land in camp 2.

    I have occasionally made reference on various threads here and elsewhere to “The Physics of Immortality” by Frank Tipler. Although Tipler was an atheist when he wrote the book (and may still be for all I know), he argues for a universal resurrection and attempts to “prove” it by performing extrapolations from the present based on a now largely-discredited cosmology. At any rate, one of his secondary conclusions, which is independent of his cosmological assumptions, is that all resurrected beings must have undergone a purification process; otherwise, the impure would undermine the whole enterprise of saving the universe that resurrected beings would be engaged in. So he arrived in camp 2 without any reference to Jesus or the D&C. Just thought that was interesting.

    Comment by Last Lemming — May 17, 2006 @ 7:39 am

  24. Eric (#22)

    Thanks for the clarification, that helps. I agree that repentance will not (cannot) be forced or coerced, but here is why I don’t think the camp 2 position implies forced repentance (under threat of torture):

    The suffering we experience is a natural consequence of our sins. D&C 19:20 says to repent “lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit.” So, after telling us how terrible the suffering will be, he says that the closest thing we have to tell us what it will be like is the withdrawl of the spirit (which in the case of Joseph referred specifically to the time after he lost the plates which was especially terrible for him).

    The point of calling hell “outer darkness” is to tell us it will be a much more significant withdrawl of the spirit. He doesn’t withdraw his spirit as torture to coerce repentance, rather, if we continue in our wickedness we disqualify ourselves from having his spirit with us and we suffer the consequence. The fact that this experience will make a lot of people realize they want to become the kind of being that can live in a loving society is not coersion, but simply learning the rules of the universe.

    Comment by Jacob — May 17, 2006 @ 9:17 am

  25. Geoff (#20)

    Thanks, I had misread you.

    I see your point about trying to match up one of the Camps to MMP. That will definitely leave you feeling that the two Camps are misconstrued. The Camp 1 vs. Camp 2 disagreement only makes sense in the context of the traditional models, because the disagreement depends upon a certain amount of common belief which doesn’t exist between the two Camps and MMP.

    It is sort of like if a Catholic and Protestant were arguing about the nature of the resurrection and a Buddhist wanted to get in on the discussion. If they wanted to bring the Buddhist into the discussion, they would have to change the discussion considerably because he wouldn’t share the common beliefs that made the first discussion possible.

    Comment by Jacob — May 17, 2006 @ 10:04 am

  26. Eric (#22), Camp 2 (if that is what you are referring to) does not suggest coerced repentance, nor a mandatory long lasting duration of suffering – quite the opposite, as the Joseph Smith quote above clearly indicates.

    “hell” as in the darker regions of the spirit world where the unrepentant dwell, must clearly be distinguished from “hell” as in “outer darkness”, the outer regions beyond divine administration, where the devil reigns. In most scriptures “hell” is used in the former sense, not the latter, due to the way the KJV translators, as good Calvinists, regularly translated the Hebrew word for the spirit world (Sheol) as “hell”.

    Also, as I am tiring of pointing out, D&C 88 explicitly indicates that no one will get a free ride into the telestial kingdom. The quotes of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young are even more explicit. So the real mystery (I am pained to say), is what motivated Joseph Fielding Smith to ignore what they, and the scriptures had to say on the subject. JFS’ position is certainly extremely influential, but I think Joseph Smith is a rather better authority on the D&C – which as is well known was not received via the tape recorder method of revelation.

    Comment by Mark Butler — May 17, 2006 @ 11:10 am

  27. I think perhaps everyone underestimates what a simple minded person I am :).

    Let me try this….

    Everyone on earth gets resurrected. Only the sons of perdition will not eventually received a degree of glory. Repentence is not coerced. Camp 1.

    Comment by Eric — May 17, 2006 @ 11:39 am

  28. One more thing, the term “telestial kingdom” though scriptural is somewhat misleading. It gives the impression that the telestial kingdom is under independent administration, where the scriptures clearly indicate it is part of the kingdom of God (D&C 76:111-114).

    Outer darkness is called “outer darkness”, because it is *beyond* the outer boundary of direct divine administration, a region partly a quasi-limbo similar to the condition of this earth (D&C 88:24,32) and partly where the devil reigns (2 Ne 2:29).

    It is also worth noting that it is only the Sons of Perdition upon whom the “second death” shall have any power, those who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord. All the heirs of the telestial kingdom shall be redeemed (D&C 76:36-37). And of course the idea that one can be redeemed without willing repentance and a change in character is a pretty perverse sense of redemption.

    Comment by Mark Butler — May 17, 2006 @ 11:40 am

  29. One implication of that scripture is that the D&C 88:24 souls who are unwilling to repent, thus effectively become sons of perdition. The other alternative is the D&C 88:24,32 souls inherit a kingdom that is not one of glory, but is sort of a neutral middle ground between the divine glory of the telestial kingdom (is there any other kind?) and the fire and brimstone (or should it be freezing cold?) of outermost darkness where the devil reigns.

    Comment by Mark Butler — May 17, 2006 @ 11:44 am

  30. Eric, this whole controversy revolves on the degree of repentance that will occur in the spirit world. D&C 88 was received ten months later than D&C 76, so we may conclude that much of its purpose is to clarify issues that D&C 76 is somewhat ambiguous about. If we didn’t have D&C 88, the camp 1 position would be pretty reasonable.

    Unfortunately, D&C 88 explicitly contradicts the proposition that one can get into the telestial kingdom without doing anything, implicitly asserting that one can become a heir to outer darkness, (if not a Son of Perdition) by purposely and repeatedly sitting on ones hands and doing nothing when the gospel of salvation is presented properly.

    Indeed, the denizens of the telestial world are “heirs of salvation”. Who ever heard of salvation without repentance? This is is the time of probation, where we are effectively on the Atonement welfare plan. Why should the Lord continue to subsidize the disobedient. That is the definition of outer darkness – no divine subsidy, a region where God’s grace does not extend.

    The idea of “glory surpassing all understanding” without righteousness is metaphysically and scripturally dubious. God does not have the budget for that kind of thing – he does not look on sin with the least degree of allowance – why would he bless a host of unrepentant sinners with everlasting divine glory? On the contrary, all of the stubbornly unrepentant will inherit outer darkness or some sub-telestial limbo of glory comparable to this earth.

    To do otherwise would violate both divine justice, and the natural laws that neccessitate a suffering atonement in the first place. At some point the interlopers have to be exiled. The Kingdom of God has three degrees of glory, telestial, terrestrial, and celestial.

    The region beyond the gates is darkness, grayness, and ambiguity – like the limbo in which we now dwell, where indeed both God and devil have considerable influence but do not reign – this world is neither a theocracy like the telestial kingdom nor a satanocracy like outer darkness.

    This world lies in the realm of shadow, where divine glory does manifest itself from time to time, as well as the mists of darkness. However conditions here are overwhelmingly secular or “worldly” – neither satanic nor divine.

    Outer darkness lies far beyond, where the devil reigns and the enemies of all righteousness dwell. A region not of doubt and ambiguity, but of active efforts to destroy the Kingdom of God and all that it stands for. A false priesthood, a false “church”, a false God.

    The devil has said in his heart, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isa 14:13-14).

    Of course in actuality his kingdom is more like the “sides of the pit”, a pit of blackness. The metaphysics of his administration are interesting, but it is certainly not a principle of glory as we know it. Hence the position that his power lies only in what we give him willingly, not some sort of necessary principle of evil as the Manicheans have it.

    Comment by Mark Butler — May 17, 2006 @ 12:30 pm

  31. I apologize for the fuzziness of some of my previous concepts. You can see my position evolving in just a few minutes, especially as to the distinction between “darkness” and “outer darkness”.

    Comment by Mark Butler — May 17, 2006 @ 12:34 pm

  32. Eric (#22): Doesn’t the language of the temple say telestial world instead of telestial Kingdom.

    No, I don’t think so.

    BTW – I think you hit the nail on the head with your #27.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 18, 2006 @ 2:42 pm

  33. Mark (#29): One implication of that scripture is that the D&C 88:24 souls who are unwilling to repent, thus effectively become sons of perdition.

    You are reading your own assumptions in to that scripture I think. It says:

    And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.

    Since we haven’t established what the law of the telestial kingdom is we have no idea if repentance is required or not for that glory. The scriptures seem to indicate that being non-honorable is the definition of the telestial law to me.

    Unfortunately, D&C 88 explicitly contradicts the proposition that one can get into the telestial kingdom without doing anything, implicitly asserting that one can become a heir to outer darkness

    I don’t see it. Can you point out the specific verses you have in mind?

    Comment by Geoff J — May 18, 2006 @ 2:47 pm

  34. Geoff,

    Obedience to any law requires voluntary consent. D&C 88 is very clear that those are not willing to obey a telestial law will not inherit the telestial kingdom, but rather a kingdom that is not a kingdom of glory.

    Now if one is stubborn and disobedient (i.e. headed for a kingdom that is not a kingdom of glory as 88:24 indicates), changing ones heart so as to be willing to abide a telestial law is most definitely repentance.

    Now there are many other scriptures. Take Peter’s statement to the Jews on the day of Pentecost:

    Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

    Also Nephi:

    and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ, of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved.

    And Alma:

    And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.

    And Ammon:

    And also, what is this that Ammon said-If ye will repent ye shall be saved, and if ye will not repent, ye shall be cast off at the last day?

    Alma again:

    For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved.

    And Mormon:

    Know ye that ye must come unto repentance, or ye cannot be saved.

    Now Jesus Christ:

    And he that will not take up his cross and follow me, and keep my commandments, the same shall not be saved.

    Now nearly all these references were either translated or recorded by Joseph Smith. Have we any solid reason to believe that Joseph Smith used the term *salvation* in a fundamentally different sense in D&C 76 where it talks about how the denizens of the Telestial glory will be heirs of *salvation*?

    According to scripture:

    1. We can only be saved through faith on the name of the Lord Jesus
    Christ.
    2. To be saved is to inherit the kingdom of heaven
    3. No unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven
    4. Those who will not repent shall be cast off at the *last* day
    5. None but the truly penitent are saved
    6. We must come unto repentance to be saved
    7. We must keep commandments to be saved

    Now the technical term for this is “justification” – i.e. we must repent, turn to the Lord, confess his name, be forgiven, and humble ourselves before him to be justified – the entry level requirement for salvation – sanctification comes in process of time after that.

    Now supposing you do not find that argument convincing enough, I give you Joseph Smith (again):

    God hath made a provision that every spirit in the eternal world can be ferreted out and saved unless he has committed that unpardonable sin… God has wrought out a salvation for all men… So long as a man will not give heed to the commandments, he must abide without salvation. If a man has knowledge, he can be saved; although, if he has been guilty of great sins, he will be punished for them. But when he consents to obey the Gospel, whether here or in the world of spirits, he is saved. (TPJS pg. 356-357)

    And finally Brigham Young (again):

    I will now tell you something that ought to comfort every man and woman on the face of the earth. Joseph Smith, junior, will again be on this earth dictating plans and calling forth his brethren to be baptized for the very characters who wish this was not so, in order to bring them into a kingdom to enjoy, perhaps, the presence of angels or the spirits of good men, if they cannot endure the presence of the Father and the Son; and he will never cease his operations, under the directions of the Son of God, until the last ones of the children of men are saved that can be, from Adam till now. (Brigham Young, [JD 7:289])

    Comment by Mark Butler — May 23, 2006 @ 11:26 pm

  35. well said there Mark. I agree fully. Baptism is definately a requirement for salvation no matter what kingdom you go to.

    Comment by Rob Osborn — May 24, 2006 @ 11:29 am

  36. Excuse me for being extremely naive and simplistic on this one, but I have always assumed that although there is a continuum, there is also a specific difference between these three glories and outer darkness, namely:

    Celestial Glory – In the presence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
    Terrestrial Glory – In the presence of the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
    Telestial Glory – In the presence of the Holy Ghost only.
    Outer Darkness – You’re on your own (because you explicitly rejected the Holy Ghost)

    This doesn’t clarify the qualifications, but it does show that there is a distinct line drawn where the name of the Kingdoms are aligned. Please, correct me if I am obviously wrong in this interpretation?

    Comment by Jeff Day — May 27, 2006 @ 12:57 am

  37. I agree Jeff.

    Comment by Mark Butler — May 27, 2006 @ 1:22 am

  38. Although I would have to finesse the semantics of divine presence a bit.

    Comment by Mark Butler — May 27, 2006 @ 1:24 am

  39. Because Telestial heirs enjoy eternal life through the Holy Ghost, we know that repentance and baptism (being born again) are requisite for admittance into the Telestial kingdom. What is often misunderstood is that the Telestial kingdom is part of the Kingdom of God frequently spoken of in the scriptures. There are basically 2 classifications of people spoken of in the scriptures at the great last day of judgement. They are –
    1. The filthy (unjustified through Christ)
    2. The clean (justified through Christ)
    The Telestial heirs become clean by the great last day of judgement just like a Celestial heir and it is through baptism and gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Comment by Rob Osborn — May 27, 2006 @ 10:10 am

  40. Because Telestial heirs enjoy eternal life through the Holy Ghost, we know that repentance and baptism (being born again) are requisite for admittance into the Telestial kingdom. What is often misunderstood is that the Telestial kingdom is part of the Kingdom of God frequently spoken of in the scriptures. There are basically 2 classifications of people spoken of in the scriptures at the great last day of judgement. They are –
    1. The filthy (unjustified through Christ)
    2. The clean (justified through Christ)
    The Telestial heirs become clean by the great last day of judgement just like a Celestial heir and it is through baptism and gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Comment by Rob Osborn — May 27, 2006 @ 10:11 am

  41. Mark said: Have we any solid reason to believe that Joseph Smith used the term salvation in a fundamentally different sense in D&C 76 where it talks about how the denizens of the Telestial glory will be heirs of salvation?

    I do think we have good reason to take salvation differently in the Book of Mormon than in D&C 76. When I look closely at the writings of Book of Mormon prophets, I find that they uniformly teach the doctrine of the two ways: outer darkness or exaltation. The Book of Mormon does not anticipate three degrees of glory at all (and thus, one cannot assume the same meaning for the word salvation in the Book of Mormon and in D&C 76). In the Book of Mormon, eternal damnation is “never-ending” (Mosiah 2:29) and goes on “forever and ever and has no end” (2 Ne. 9:16). What’s more, that outer-darkness sort of eternal damnation is filled up will all sorts of people we would not qualify as sons of perdition. I could go through a bunch of Book of Mormon scriptures to illustrate this, but here is a good one:

    Therefore, all things shall be restored to their proper order, every thing to its natural frame-mortality raised to immortality, corruption to incorruption-raised to endless happiness to inherit the kingdom of God, or to endless misery to inherit the kingdom of the devil (Alma 41:4)

    The Book of Mormon always does this. There are only two ways, damnation with the devil or exaltation in the kingdom of God. I can’t resist one more:

    And it shall come to pass that when all men shall have passed from this first death unto life, insomuch as they have become immortal, they must appear before the ajudgment-seat of the Holy One of Israel; and then cometh the bjudgment•, and then must they be judged according to the holy judgment of God.

    16 …they who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still; wherefore, they who are filthy are the devil and his angels; and they shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for them; and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever and has no end.
    18 But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the ekingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.

    So, I would argue that salvation in the Book of Mormon always equals exaltation. Find me a counter example.

    Comment by Jacob — May 28, 2006 @ 12:20 am

  42. By the way, on the topic of whether baptism is necessary for the lower kingdoms, it is an interesting question which I don’t have a solid opinion on. I recall that Bruce R. and Joseph Fielding taught that baptism is required for the highest degree of the celestial kingdom. Brigham Young seemed to agree when he made the famous statement that “The ordinances of the house of God are expressly for the Church of the Firstborn” (JD 13: 154). I have always been interested in the last few verses of canonized scripture. I can’t hardly find a single place where an author, prophet, or commentator has said anything substantive about them:

    58 The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God,
    59 And after they have paid the penalty of their transgressions, and are washed clean, shall receive a reward according to their works, for they are heirs of salvation. (D&C 138)

    The fascinating thing is that it says some group of people who have “paid the penalty of their transgressions” will repent and be redeemed “through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God.” This almost has to refer to the telestials. Who else pays the penalty of their transgressions? It even calls them “heirs of salvation” harking back to D&C 76. Anyone have any thoughts on that scripture? Am I reading too much into it?

    Comment by Jacob — May 28, 2006 @ 12:32 am

  43. I readily recognize that the Book of Mormon does not teach the fulness of the plan of salvation after this life – however the principles it does teach other than literal endlessness are correct, and the salvation it teaches does correctly correspond to D&C 76 salvation in a kingdom of glory, including the telestial kingdom.

    What people tend to forget is that the post mortal-spirit world will follow the same principles – *no one* unless they repent will be saved. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young taught this explicitly.

    So the BofM model is correct from two different perspectives. First those that die in their sins will suffer, sometimes severely in “hell” (spirit prison) until they are willing to repent and accept the gospel. People may laugh it off, but this punishment, though temporary is no laughing matter. We have no reason to believe that repentance is easy in the spirit prison – the scriptural indications are the opposite.

    Second, if you look at the post mortal spirit world as an extension of this life, the same BofM rules apply – those who will not repent, nor consent to obey the laws of God, *cannot* be saved in a kingdom of glory, but must inherit a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory (D&C 88:24, 32). By such logic Brigham Young concluded that one must be baptised by proxy to be saved in the telestial kingdom.

    So ultimately the BofM perspective, the NT perspective (requiring baptism for salvation), and the D&C perspective are compatible – it is simply a matter of (horror of horrors) God giving the unrighteous a second opportunity to repent and abide the requirements of salvation in the Kingdom of God. Those who refuse will inherit some quasi-limbo sub-telestial state beyond the outer gates.

    Comment by Mark Butler — May 28, 2006 @ 12:34 am

  44. Mark, I agree with virtually everything you said. Except, I think it is dangerous to infer things about telestial salvation from the Book of Mormon scriptures because the Book of Mormon prophets clearly did not know about the telestial kingdom. You still may be right in your conclusions, of course.

    Comment by Jacob — May 28, 2006 @ 12:44 am

  45. Joseph Fielding Smith said that it is not the salvation of the telestial or terrestial kingdom that we preach, so it is somewhat of a moot question. My perspective, however, is that it is our responsibility to warn the world of the seriousness of the consequences of not keeping the commandments – that any degree of salvation requires repentance – here now or very painfully later.

    Too many LDS think that the world has a free ride into the Telestial Kingdom, either that the place is just a duplicate of this world, or that most of humanity will be saved on a cheap grace model. Both are wrong – there is a free ride to a sub-telestial hell perhaps not too far removed from the conditions of this life, but the salvation of grace requires repentance and sanctification through obedience to eternal law.

    Comment by Mark Butler — May 28, 2006 @ 1:26 am

  46. Mark,

    The way I have often looked at it, is that true Latter-day Saints, meaning those who have received testimony of the Holy Ghost, only have two options. Celestial or Outer Darkness.

    Those who stick to other ideas, who compromise the fulness of the Gospel for their own purposes, are left with Terrestrial (Protestant Heaven), or Telestial (Protestant Hell) as their options.

    This is a useful caricature for me, and I’m not pushing its accuracy.
    My use of “true Latter-day Saints” doesn’t even necessarily mean people who are members of the LDS Church, it is anyone who has received testimony of the fulness of the Gospel from the Holy Ghost.

    I see the Heart, or Salvation by Grace as so intimately connected with a willingness to submit to the ordinances of the Gospel to fulfill all righteousness, that one can never happen without the other.

    I do not take the Endowment as a literal sequence of packets to pass messengers and attain exaltation, I believe that it is used to teach us those packets of information symbolically. Thus, works alone (even full ordinance work) will never be salvific. One must be spiritually able to “solve the puzzle” and find the true meanings behind the types given in the Endowment in order to attain exaltation in spite of earth and hell.

    That said, a Christians will get exactly what they expect, if they are unwilling to receive further light. They will have a testimony of Christ, but not fulfill the ordinances and so forth, they will go to Heaven, and it will be Heaven to them, being in the presence of Christ, whom they assume to be their Trinity God, and being able to Worship forever at his feet, or whatever their idea is, I bet they get to do basically just that. They will not face a great disappointment, they will not think their judgment was unjust.

    Joseph said somewhere (I wish i had the reference, but it was years ago when I read it and I wasn’t keeping track then), that if someone could see the Telestial Kingdom today, they would be willing to kill themself just to get there immediately. (Heh, the Spirit World and waiting for the Resurrection would put a stop in that plan, however) This gives us some idea of the type of glory we can expect in the higher kingdoms!

    Comment by Jeff Day — May 28, 2006 @ 1:42 am

  47. Jeff, I would tend to agree, except I would put “Protestant” Hell as strictly sub-telestial, and very much a hell, and “Protestant” Heaven as the combination of all three kingdoms of glory, the principles to the highest they do not understand yet. One could remove the “Protestant” qualifiers and still get a pretty accurate picture, with the proviso that there is no principle of grace that works in the long run without repentance. It is a metaphysical impossibility. No unclean thing can inherit the Kingdom of God – a Kingdom with three degrees of glory.

    Comment by Mark Butler — May 28, 2006 @ 1:54 am

  48. What I meant by Protesant Heaven was actually a more specific idea. Admittedly, all three Glories make up what turned into the notion of Heaven, but what I am saying is this: If someone lives a staunch Protestant (or Catholic) life, and are valiant in that Faith, but refuse the higher ordinances even in the Spirit World, yet they are valiant in their Testimony of Jesus Christ, it seems they will go to the Terrestrial Glory. In other words, without becoming a “Mormon”, the Terrestrial is the highest one can achieve, therefore it is literally the Protestant’s Heaven, for they can go no higher without Converting to The Church of Jesus Christ (either here or in the afterlife).

    The lowest they can go, is the Telestial Kingdom. I’m not sure what you mean by sub-telestial, unless you’re referring to “Outer Darkness”, or having no glory, which I thought was reserved for the Sons of Perdition. I was of the impression that the Sons of Perdition must have had a testimony of the Holy Ghost and then denied it in order to lose their Glory. They are in intentional rebellion against God’s truth of which they are well aware, and thus they are receiving No Glory (God won’t force them to step into a kingdom, after all.)

    Thus, Outer Darkness is reserved for Converted “Mormons” who have chosen to mock God.

    Comment by Jeff Day — May 28, 2006 @ 2:28 am

  49. Jeff (#44): Joseph said somewhere (I wish i had the reference, but it was years ago when I read it and I wasn’t keeping track then), that if someone could see the Telestial Kingdom today, they would be willing to kill themself just to get there immediately.

    Unfortunately I don’t have the quote from the Diary of Charles C. Walker, but here is the statement of Truman Madsen:

    Many of us have heard the statement made-and ascribed to either Joseph Smith or Brigham Young-to the effect that if a person could see the glory of the telestial kingdom he would commit suicide to get there. If only we could get the fundamental doctrines across to Church members as rapidly as we get across rumors, everyone would be saved. Am I saying that’s a rumor? Well, I am saying this, that over a period of many years I have combed everything Joseph Smith said and wrote, and I can’t find it. Hugh Nibley has done the same with Brigham Young’s words, and he can’t find it. It is hard to prove a negative, of course. What I can say is that we have found a statement from Joseph via Wilford Woodruff that says something else that is close, and I suspect it is the origin of the alleged statement (see Diary of Charles C. Walker, August 1837, in Church Historical Department). Elder Woodruff said the Prophet taught this, roughly: that if we could see what is beyond the veil we couldn’t stand to stay here in mortality for five minutes. And I suggest from the context that he was not talking about the telestial kingdom. He was talking about what it was like to be in the presence of God and the family.” – Truman G. Madsen, The Radiant Life p. 91.

    Comment by Jacob — May 28, 2006 @ 8:38 am

  50. Those who refuse will inherit some quasi-limbo sub-telestial state beyond the outer gates.

    I’m unaware of such a place, at least as an eternal inheritance.

    I’m of the opinion that the 1,000 years of hell are similar in quality to the living conditions of outer darkness, and I don’t think the ‘telestialites’ will be overtly distinguishable from SoP’s until they latch onto the atonement.

    Outer darkness is the default. If there were no Christ, this is where we would all end up, even innocent babies.

    Comment by Thaddeus — June 14, 2010 @ 11:49 am

  51. Outer darkness is the default.

    Agreed. Darkness does not require a subsidy, merely the relative absence of light.

    If there were no Christ, this is where we would all end up, even innocent babies.

    This is where it gets tricky. The issue is how does Christ escape outer darkness if its the default? What is the nature of his power to do so?

    I believe there are two basic theories here:

    I. “singularity theory” (Jesus Christ is metaphysically distinct from the rest of us, i.e. he has light creating power we will never have)
    II. “concert theory” (Christ presides over an at-one-ment that ultimately creates a unified light out of the harmony of lots of individual sparks)

    So if there was no plan of salvation, we would be back at the beginning and someone would have to invent one that moved us in the direction of a more perfect union. Maybe not all at once, eternity is a long time.

    Comment by Mark D. — April 5, 2011 @ 2:12 am

  52. Mark D.- Would it be fair to say then that the light originates then in the synergy of the multitude, and that therefore, God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, etc. are ultimately dependent on the sustained unity for their own imminence and survival? This definitely kicks Joseph’s Ring analogy to the curb. Also, what do we do with things like D&C 132 in a divine concert model?

    Comment by Matt W. — April 6, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

  53. Terrible is to face the penalty of a thousand of years to suffer in hell. Horrible! Not good.

    Comment by Anonymous — June 19, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

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