Some pro progression between kingdoms quotes

July 24, 2008    By: Geoff J @ 11:17 am   Category:

“The brethren direct me to say that the Church has never announced a definite doctrine upon this point. Some of the brethren have held the view that it was possible in the course of progression to advance from one glory to another, invoking the principle of eternal progression; others of the brethren have taken the opposite view. But as stated, the Church has never announced a definite doctrine on this point.”

-Secretary to the First Presidency in a 1952 letter; and again in 1965

“None would inherit this earth when it became celestial and translated into the presence of God but those who would be crowned as Gods — all others would have to inherit another kingdom — they would eventually have the privilege of proving themselves worthy and advancing to a celestial kingdom but it would be a slow process [progress?].”

-Brigham Young, in Wilford Woodruff Journal, 5 Aug 1855

“Once a person enters these glories there will be eternal progress in the line of each of these particular glories, but the privilege of passing from one to another (though this may be possible for especially gifted and faithful characters) is not provided for.”

-Joseph F. Smith, Improvement Era 14:87 [November 1910]

“I am not a strict constructionalist, believing that we seal our eternal progress by what we do here. It is my belief that God will save all of His children that he can: and while, if we live unrighteously here, we shall not go to the other side in the same status, so to speak, as those who lived righteously; nevertheless, the unrighteous will have their chance, and in the eons of the eternities that are to follow, they, too, may climb to the destinies to which they who are righteous and serve God, have climbed to those eternities that are to come.”

-J. Reuben Clark, Church News, 23 April 1960, p. 3

“It is reasonable to believe, in the absence of direct revelation by which alone absolute knowledge of the matter could be acquired, that, in accordance with God’s plan of eternal progression, advancement from grade to grade within any kingdom, and from kingdom to kingdom, will be provided for. But if the recipients of a lower glory be enabled to advance, surely the intelligences of higher rank will not be stopped in their progress; and thus we may conclude, that degrees and grades will ever characterize the kingdoms of our God. Eternity is progressive; perfection is relative; the essential feature of God’s living purpose is its associated power of eternal increase.”

-James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith [1899 edition] pp. 420-421


  1. A few more interesting quotes…

    You that are mourning about your children straying away will have your sons and your daughters. If you succeed in passing through these trials and afflictions and receive a resurrection, you will, by the power of the Priesthood, work and labor, as the Son of God has, until you get all your sons and daughters in the path of exaltation and glory. This is just as sure as that the sun rose this morning over yonder mountains. Therefore, mourn not because all your sons and daughters do not follow in the path that you have marked out to them, or give heed to your counsels. Inasmuch as we succeed in securing eternal glory, and stand as saviors, and as kings and priests to our God, we will save our posterity. When Jesus went through that terrible torture on the cross, He saw what would be accomplished by it; He saw that His brethren and sistersCthe sons and daughters of GodCwould be gathered in, with but few exceptionsCthose who committed the unpardonable sin. That sacrifice of the divine Being was effectual to destroy the powers of Satan. I believe that every man and woman who comes into this life and passes through it, that life will be a success in the end. It may not be in this life. It was not with the antedeluvians. They passed through troubles and afflictions; 2,500 years after that, when Jesus went to preach to them, the dead heard the voice of the Son of God and they lived. They found after all that it was a very good thing that they had conformed to the will of God in leaving the spiritual life and passing through this world.

    Lorenzo Snow, MS 56:49-53; Collected Discourses 3:364-65.

    The question of advancement within the great divisions of glory
    celestial, terrestrial, and telestial; as also the question of
    advancement from one sphere of glory to another remains to be
    considered. In the revelation from which we have summarized what has
    been written here, in respect to the different degrees of glory, it is
    said that those of the terrestrial glory will be ministered unto by
    those of the celestial; and those of the telestial will be ministered
    unto by those of the terrestrial—that is, those of the higher glory
    minister to those of a lesser glory. I can conceive of no reason for
    all this administration of the higher to the lower, unless it be for
    the purpose of advancing our Father’s children along the lines of
    eternal progression. Whether or not in the great future, full of so
    many possibilities now hidden from us, they of the lesser glories
    after education and advancement within those spheres may at last
    emerge from them and make their way to the higher degrees of glory
    until at last they attain to the highest, is not revealed in the
    revelations of God, and any statement made on the subject must partake
    more or less of the nature of conjecture. But if it be granted that
    such a thing is possible, they who at the first entered into the
    celestial glory—having before them the privilege also of eternal
    progress—have been moving onward, so that the relative distance
    between them and those who have fought their way up from the lesser
    glories may be as great when the latter have come into the degrees of
    celestial glory in which the righteous at first stood, as it was at
    the commencement. Thus: Those whose faith and works are such only as
    to enable them to inherit a telestial glory, may arrive at last where
    those whose works in this life were such as to enable them to entrance
    into the celestial kingdom—they may arrive where these were, but never
    where they are.”

    B. H. Roberts, New Witnesses for God 1:391-392.

    Some years ago I was in Washington, D.C., with President Harold B. Lee. Early one morning he called me to come into his hotel room. He was sitting in his robe reading Gospel Doctrine, by President Joseph F. Smith, and he said, “Listen to this!

    “ ‘Jesus had not finished his work when his body was slain, neither did he finish it after his resurrection from the dead; although he had accomplished the purpose for which he then came to the earth, he had not fulfilled all his work. And when will he? Not until he has redeemed and saved every son and daughter of our father Adam that have been or ever will be born upon this earth to the end of time, except the sons of perdition. That is his mission. We will not finish our work until we have saved ourselves, and then not until we shall have saved all depending upon us; for we are to become saviors upon Mount Zion, as well as Christ. We are called to this mission.’ ” 22

    “There is never a time,” the Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “when the spirit is too old to approach God. All are within the reach of pardoning mercy, who have not committed the unpardonable sin.” 23

    Boyd K. Packer, “The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 18

    Comment by C.Kraus — July 27, 2008 @ 7:29 pm

  2. Wouldn’t it be wise to also include some quotes to the contrary (because they exist) so the reader doesn’t come to the false conclusion that this is the only data available because of the bias of the author?

    Comment by NOYDMB — August 23, 2008 @ 9:56 pm

  3. Well since this page is titled “Some pro progression between kingdoms quotes” I’d say it wouldn’t make much sense to include those quotes here.

    I think it is a given that the many details of our pre and post mortal lives have not been clearly revealed by God yet. You are very right that there have been conflicting speculations by past church leaders on the subject.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 23, 2008 @ 10:15 pm

  4. I understand the positions here. However, can one of you cite any scripture suggesting that progression between kingdoms is possible.

    One of my issues on this matter is that a number of scriptures support that our status in the next life is at least somewhat fixed (at its simplest, heaven if you’re good, hell if you’re bad). Perhaps the two most frequently cited are sections 76 and 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants. Section 76 states that “where God and Christ dwell,” those in the Telestial Kingdom “cannot come.” Moreover, section 132 states that the angels in the celestial kingdom who “did not abide [Christ’s] law, . . . cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity.” D&C 132:16-17. I understand this scripture relates to progression within the Celestial Kingdom, not progression between kingdoms, but it still supports the idea that eternal progression is somewhat limited. Combined with section 76, I think this is strong scriptural support that we cannot progress between kingdoms.

    I ask for scriptures because statements from prophets and apostles on the matter are not consistent.

    Any thoughts?

    Comment by Swen — November 26, 2008 @ 11:07 am

  5. Swen,

    See D&C 19. Specifically the part where God says that even though some scriptures indicated certain post-mortal states are permanent they really aren’t.

    Comment by Geoff J — November 29, 2008 @ 11:44 am

  6. Geoff J

    LOVE this blog.

    But I’m confused on D&C 19. It might be because I’m up late, but I didn’t find the scripture you mentioned. Could you cite it?

    Comment by Greg Wilcox — January 4, 2009 @ 6:22 am

  7. Greg,

    This is the specific section. The basic idea is “sure I let you believe the punishment was permanent but in reality it’s not. I just let you believe that for motivational purposes.”

    4 And surely every man must repent or suffer, for I, God, am endless.
    5 Wherefore, I revoke not the judgments which I shall pass, but woes shall go forth, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, yea, to those who are found on my left hand.
    6 Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment.
    7 Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.
    8 Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles.
    9 I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest.
    10 For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore;
    11 Eternal punishment is God’s punishment.
    12 Endless punishment is God’s punishment.

    Comment by Geoff J — January 4, 2009 @ 2:23 pm

  8. Greg,

    For a long argument about the meaning of D&C 19, you could look here if you were so inclined.

    Comment by Jacob J — January 4, 2009 @ 6:38 pm

  9. We had the DC76 lesson in Sunday School today, which allowed for some reflection on this topic.

    Basic premise understood….There is no official statement or doctrine on kingdom swapping. General authorities over the years have come out on both sides. Moreover, we know that man is not infallible, even our prophets. Brigham Young’s personal teachings on Adam God doctrine were clearly and emphatically disavowed by the church when SWK was prophet. It is entirely possible that there is a 3rd alternative to this present discussion that we can’t even conceive right now.

    The Mormon God I know must be aligned with eternal laws. Light cleaveth to light, intelligence to intelligence. The glory of God is intelligence (DC93). God gives commandments through which intelligence can be added upon and blessed. These commandments are aligned with eternal laws. However, God is not omnipotent in the full sense of the word meaning that he can do anything and still be god. Moreover, he cannot force obedience, as his plan respects the agency of intelligence. I still can have perfect trust in him, because I know that he definitely can do anything he wants, and that his wants are all aligned with the principles/laws that give him his power and can magnify me. God’s honor is his power (DC29:36). I honor him and want to obey his commandments, thereby progressing his work and glory…and aligning me with it.

    My God could actually cease to be God if he allowed certain things to happen….like letting mercy rob justice (Alma 42). Did God not love Jesus? What then was the purpose of the infinite suffering/pain/grief to which he was wholly subjected? Of course the Father loved his son, but still there had to be an atonement so that mercy could encircle her arms around the demands of justice.

    A few logic gaps for me in the kingdom swap argument:

    1) 1/3 host cast out. Was there a D-day in the premortal world, and thereafter everyone who kept their first estate gets a guaranteed path to perfection/exaltation…but only after they go through whatever progressive process to get there? Basically implying that the Father’s plan achieved the same result as Satan’s….but with a lot more work and suffering. How is that just/fair/& merciful to the sons of perdition?

    2) The Alma 34…don’t delay the time of your repentance to the night when no more work can be done line of arguments. Kingdom swapper counter argument…it is a simple jedi mind trick. Correlated to #3 below.

    3) This life is a test to see if we will do all things whatsoever we are commanded (Abraham 3:25). Kingdom swapper counter argument….life is a test after which we have a judgment and initial assignment to a customized graded “glory” point, each of us along the same track to eternal lives. Some get a 100 yard head start. Others get 1,000 miles. Some are still dead at the starting line.

    4) Principle that there are intelligences some superior and some inferior….to infinity. (Abraham 3:19). If it is possible to progress between kingdoms to an Ultimate exaltation and eternal lives…then God the Father would also be continuously progressing to something greater, more powerful? Recognizing that this reasoning is constrained by time delimited thinking, we could never ever have everything that the Father has, as he has explicitly promised.

    Just a few random thoughts. I enjoyed finding/reading this blog.

    Comment by J.D. — May 31, 2009 @ 4:51 pm

  10. I lean the other way JD.

    1) I think sons of perdition could choose progression as well because they retain free agency.
    2) Now is the time to repent because delaying repentance means we delay blessings and happiness (wickedness never was happiness after all)
    3) This life is a test but that does not mean it is the only test. Besides, the punishment should fit the crime and no amount of sin 70 years would match up with literally eternal punishment.
    4) Sure some intelligences are more intelligent than others but if all can progress or retrogress all that is an ever-changing thing.

    See a post on this here if you would like to discuss further.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 31, 2009 @ 6:32 pm

  11. In my opinion, the idea of *guaranteed* salvation in any kingdom of glory is the epitome of false doctrine.

    That is not to say that the Lord doesn’t have a *plan* to save all of his children, but rather that any salvation worthy of the name requires some serious effort on their part (cf 1 Tim 2:4-6, DC 138:58-60).

    As far as the day of repentance is concerned, the proper answer is “the time to repent is *now*” – whenever that is. If you backslide, it will just be that much harder to turn things around.

    Comment by Mark D. — May 31, 2009 @ 7:23 pm

  12. @JD

    1) Even if we suppose that the Father’s and Satan’s plan achieve the same thing, there are some huge fundamental differences. The Father’s plan is about free agency, and learning for ourselves how to become like him. Yes it was to be hard and grueling, but it was our process. “They shall not come out until they have payed the utmost farthing” also comes to mind when thinking of movement between kingdoms (i.e. it will not be easy) Satan’s plan was to force us all to do what is right so that we did not have to do anything of our own (plus he wanted all the glory for it). Those who chose that path wanted all of the rewards without any of the costs involved. I am also with GeoffJ on this that I do not see why they might not get the chance some day to progress as well.

    2) I think that this is perfectly answered by D&C 19:7, i.e. for motivational purposes. It has been said by many a prophet that in this life it is much easier for us to change and to align ourselves with God. Take advantage of the time you have here because that is exactly what it is for.

    3 & 4) I have lumped these together because I think that they are both answered by the same principle. If you reread the quotes in favor of the kingdom progression principle you will see that most of them addressed the idea that somehow in being able to move up those people would become the same level as those who had attained the higher level through their actions in this life. If you believe in eternal progression, then we are all progressing forward and therefore the relative “distance” between people does not really change, just their access to certain blessings. In regards to the whole idea that we will have everything that the Father has, I do not think that we will ever have the same amount of glory as him since each of us glorify him ourselves. I do not see any way to get on top (maybe that is why Lucifer pulled the stunt he did, though that is complete speculation) and I see no reason why it needs to be otherwise. Also, Isaiah 53:12 states: “Therefore will I divide him (Christ) a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong. . . ” Just food for thought that one.

    Comment by Karl M. — August 18, 2009 @ 9:33 pm

  13. This is for Swen who asked for a scripture.

    D&C 29:

    29 And now, behold, I say unto you, never at any time have I declared from mine own mouth that they should return, for where I am they cannot come, for they have no power.

    30 But remember that all my judgments are not given unto men;

    Comment by Aaron Tress — August 20, 2009 @ 10:25 pm

  14. In section 19 the words are purposefully phrased to misdirect us for OUR gain. I don’t know if you can call it deception because it is for our good. Deception has a negative flavor because it is almost always associated with personal gain. Perhaps it should be called misdirection.

    God shows his love for us by misdirecting us. I think you are right that there are other ideas he allows us to entertain because they are good for us. God likely directs us to these thoughts, because they are good for us while not explicitly lying. This happens though omission, misdirection or by calling someone who is convinced of wrong but useful ideas. His greatest concern is for us. That is why we worship him.

    My guess is that several ideas that are commonly held in the church are wrong. I have guessed at several. There may be some core ideas that are false. The danger is that we have no clear direction from above on what is right in these areas because God does not reveal it, since this knowledge will do more harm than good.

    We are supposed to emulate God. Think of McConkie in this light. He may be showing you how to act like God by reinforcing wrong but beneficial ideas.

    The lovers of truth will wince at this thought, but it appears to be God’s way. His foremost concern is for us, before a reflexive attachment to the complete truth. This may be the deep message of section 19.

    One a personal note there are some ideas that I have become convinced of that have deeply increase my love for God, but would confuse many. These ideas blossom from believing that God is perfectly just and perfectly loving. I cling to these ideas because with my current level of light believing the thoughts contrary to these ideas would make harm my vision of the beautiful God. The God I know is a glorious being best described in the new testament as “in who there is no darkness at all”.

    There is to be milk before meat. The ideas of plural probations or progression between kingdoms harm most new testimonies and lessen the desire to repent. I would be very careful sharing these ideas even if they reveal a God that will save every soul he possible can (read section 76 around verse 44). This idea reflects a God whose every care is his children and their well being.

    Comment by Lane — September 14, 2009 @ 4:00 pm

  15. I don’t know if this point has been made before on this blog, but neither progression between kingdoms nor multiple mortal probations are necessary to have eternal progression for everyone. For a scriptural basis for this, think about the parable in D&C 88. Either you see the alternative possibility in the parable or you don’t.

    Comment by Bill B. — January 20, 2010 @ 6:50 am

  16. I have thoroughly examined every quote by General Authorities I could find pro and con on the idea of progression from Kingdom to Kingdom and from Celestial degree to Exaltation and find the arguements in favor superior to those against. If Christ would bring all men to him why would he not make a provision for this to happen? Except for the sons of Perdition, which will die the Second Death and be returned to their source, all “saved” beings will have the priviledge of progressing through the Kingdoms and degrees until they reach the embrace of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, if they wish. Failure is never final and Success is never ending. When we are ready for a higher kingdom we will be arraigned at the Last Judgment of the end of the next Round of Eternity. God has provided a way. The Atonement ultimately brings us to that Holy of Holies where God and Christ dwell.

    Comment by Vern Swanson — October 28, 2010 @ 3:54 am

  17. “Failure is never final and sucess is never ending.”

    Love it!

    Comment by Riley — October 28, 2010 @ 7:13 pm

  18. Just to add to the conversation I believe one need only consider the idea of an “Infinite and Eternal” Atonement. If the Atonement can only be applied to the bounds of mortality then it is not, by definition, “Eternal”.

    Comment by Jesse — January 27, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

  19. I have oftend wondered about this subject and found your Blog via a Google search for “LDS” and “universalism”. I had heard the contrary quotes but wondered if those were opinion rather than doctrine. I was very interested to find that there were opinions on both sides.

    My thought process has come about this way. D&C 76 (several instances) seems to indicate a seperation between kingdoms. For example, speaking of those in the Telestial Kingdom, we are told that where the Father and the Son are, they cannot come (vs 112). I have a wayward son, 22 years old, returned missionary, who has had his name removed. I cannot fathom that I would ever give up on him – ever. And if I, an imperfect mortal with flaws and limitations, have that level of persistent dedication to a wayward child, would God be any less inclined? Would He be satisfied, knowing that He had spiritual creations who would never again see Him or receive a fulness?

    I don’t know the answers to that question, and from what I’m reading, I don’t think any of us do. But my own heart tells me that I would hope for the possibility of eternal progression for all, even those among us who seem to be lost. My personal view is that, at least on some level, it must be so.

    Comment by Don — June 22, 2011 @ 10:04 am

  20. Don, that’s how I feel as well.

    Comment by Jacob J — June 22, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

  21. Agreed. For example, terrestial beings will have access to Christ. I find it hard to beleive that when He visits them it is just to say “Hey” and hang out, as if He is on some annual terrestial vacation. It seems more logical that He will be ministering and lifting people up the greater heights. Ditto for the telestial world. What will be the purpose of the ministrations of the HG if not to give more light and knowledge to the inhabitants?

    Comment by stephen — June 24, 2011 @ 11:10 am

  22. stephen, if you missed it (or aren’t already familiar with it), take a look at the B.H. Roberts quote in comment #1 and you’ll like it.

    Comment by Jacob J — June 24, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

  23. Thanks for the refresher Jacob, I’m sure I read it when it was originally posted. One question I have though is if celestial beings can minister/visit those of a lower glory, why can’t the Father? I mean I’m sure He can do what He wants, but we are taught that those in the tel and terr worlds will not enjoy the presence of the Father(celestial), meaning the Father will not visit. But all other celestial beings(Christ, and us per BH Roberts) will be able to visit?

    Comment by stephen — June 24, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

  24. That’s the sort of question that everyone is free to answer in their own ways, but personally I don’t take it as some sort of fundamental limitation on God but as one of the ways that D&C 76 conveys the different degrees of glory between the kingdoms. Broad strokes. The Father visited Joseph Smith in the sacred grove, did he not?

    Comment by Jacob J — June 24, 2011 @ 11:31 pm

  25. Some interesting comments here. I do no see one from Joseph’s King Fallet sermon where he says there are provisions made save everyone of Father’s children that can be saved.

    It would seem there is room for the progression of all that will progress. On the other hand Brigham made it pretty plain the Sons of Perdition would return to the elements they were made from so I don’t know about those.

    I also find it hard to believe Father would not let his children progress if they find it themselves to do so.

    Comment by Gary — August 8, 2011 @ 11:41 am

  26. Wonderful thread. Great thinking.

    Here’s my thought: it comes down to a question of evolution vs. development.
    Analogy: Will a spider monkey ever evolve into a gorilla? Common ancestor, but now different lines of development.

    I think we are proving our essential, eternal core both to ourselves and to the universe. Not to God, for he knows our hearts, our potential, and our destiny from beginning to end.

    I suspect that God with perfect omniscience selected Jehovah as his Firstborn in the spirit, Lucifer as a star of the morning, and the absolutely perfect number of Celestial intelligences, Terrestrial intelligences, Telestial intelligences and Lost intelligences to create a system of maximum happiness for each one after this probationary state.

    As within the confines of two lines emanating from a point, eternal progression is possible within the limitations of a Telestial kingdom, and even in outer darkness. I don’t think the monkeys need or will ever evolve into gorillas, worlds without end.

    If I’m wrong (it has happened several times before), then I’ll be glad and welcome the prodigals in with a party. But, for the present, looking at every soul’s free exercise of their agency as a success is helping me to be more patient and loving at home, at Church and even with politicians.

    Our job, as a people, is to prepare the world for the 2nd Coming and millennial reign of the Savior. When a son of perdition receives my testimony, receives the witness of the Spirit, hates it and kills me — that’s a success! We are both prepared for the 2nd coming, and God’s honor/power are elevated. (D&C 29:36)

    More commonly, when a member of our ward fails to do his HTing, or preaches careless false doctrine to children, I’m anxious but not angry any more.

    My goal is to be holy, (whole, healthy, balanced), for God is holy. My prayer is for the pure love of Christ that never fails. This quest seems to have brought me to seeing Telestial and Perditious behaviours as successes. Temporarily painful, but eternally joyous for all. (Moses 7:39 [24-44])

    Comment by drjackcv — December 26, 2011 @ 11:02 am

  27. Brethren and sisters, this represents the telestial kingdom, or the world in which we now live.

    To me, this says it all. The Telestial world/kingdom is where the Holy Ghost abides. We are given the Gift of the Holy Ghost. He is always here. He teaches truth to anyone who will listen. If this truly is the Telestial World/Kingdom, the Gospel we are learning is guiding us to progressing between kingdoms, right?

    Comment by John — March 6, 2012 @ 1:07 am

  28. If this world is a telestial world now, and a terrestial world in the millennium, and a celestial world after that, it does rather suggest that the heirs of telestial and terrestrial glory after the final judgment will reside somewhere else, does it not?

    Comment by Mark D. — March 6, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

  29. Great thread. Just commenting on D&C 19.

    I had it recently explained to me that in section 19 the Lord is explaining that His name is Eternal. So when we say we Eternal Damnation or Eternal Punishment we are saying Gods Damnation or Gods punishment that he sets the terms of, in which He says are not never ending.

    Kind of like saying, “John’s punishment” or “John’s damination”. He says, ‘Eternal’ is my name, like His many other names, ie. Alpha and Omega, I Am etc. This made a lot of sense to me.

    Comment by Stephanie L. — October 26, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

  30. Yep Stephanie, that’s how I read that passage as well.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 27, 2012 @ 10:46 pm

  31. #24

    No, the Father did not come to Joseph in the grove, despite the marvellous pictures used as lesson aids in Sunday School. Joseph’s experience at this time was similar to how section 76 was received.

    Comment by log — October 30, 2012 @ 8:22 am

  32. Log knows. He was there.

    Comment by Matt W. — November 1, 2012 @ 9:21 pm

  33. Ha! Well based on the authoritative tone Log used in his comment I am inclined to agree with you, Matt.

    Comment by Geoff J — November 1, 2012 @ 9:51 pm

  34. Read the canonized account:

    Then figure out what this means:

    Comment by log — November 2, 2012 @ 10:51 pm

  35. The verse to pay attention to in the canonized account is 20.

    Comment by log — November 2, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

  36. Punchline: it’s called “The First Vision” and not “The First Visitation” for a reason.

    Comment by log — November 4, 2012 @ 6:36 am

  37. Reading comment #14 by Lane

    A breakthrough I have had in LDS theory that I can’t seem to break is: God cares both about

    1) what works, and
    2) what’s right

    example #1 is eye for an eye. Clearly not Christlike, and clearly not “right” as defined by the beatitudes. God’s goal is to get all children back to heaven. He is interested in what works just as much as He is in what’s right.

    example #2 blacks and the priesthood.

    example #3 only men having the priesthood

    example #4 Israelites wiping out other nations

    example #5 Nephi slaying Laban

    examples go on and on…

    This dichotomy can only be understood from the character of God – his goals and definition of himself as the embodiment of love (charity). Understanding the true nature of God eliminates all contradictions in the church. It doesn’t mean you fully understand the contradictions, but it will bring peace that the confusion will subside. “I don’t know everything, but I know God loves his children.” (paraphrasing Nephi)

    The reason this was such a breakthrough for me is when I worked for an association of philanthropists I became incensed by the constant focus on what worked; I felt at the expense of what was right. I felt strongly that donors shouldn’t do what works unless it was also right (I mean the highest right). This is one reason why the letter of the law killeth. Doing what is right can kill love of the person–meaning obeying laws is more important than the salvation of a soul.

    WARNING: There are so many red flags in what I say above for application in our own lives. For anybody to embrace this same dichotomy requires a great maturity and a strong connection with the spirit. Without charity, practicing the dichotomy will quickly result in justified corruption, or simply in being misguided.

    Comment by John — February 21, 2013 @ 5:33 pm

  38. “FINAL?” JUDGMENT: As a judge, I enter final judgments that sometimes deprive people of their liberty. What divides and separates a Perfected Saint from the worst Felon or from a Petty Thief? In the earthly law we have degrees of crimes: from 1st Degree Felony to Class C Misdemeanor, or even less to a mere infraction of the law, not punishable by any jail, but only a fine. For certain actions a person may be executed, held in indefinitely in prison, or sent temporarily to jail. How are those differences defined and how are we divided on earth? How about in Eternity?

    For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

    We believe Jesus’ words that in our Father’s House, there are many mansions. While considering John 5:29, to Joseph Smith was revealed (D&C 76) the differing Glories there of the Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial. After death and the resurrection, but for Sons of Perdition, we will all be there somewhere, “being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” [Romans 3:24]. How many will there be in each of the three Glories? (I tend to think the sizes might be progressively represented by the three parts of a snowman – telestial in the bottom largest circle – celestial in the smallest top circle). What will fairly separate or divide those nearest on either side of each adjacent border? Will we be able to progress not only within our assigned Glory, but to a higher Glory? (Can I climb higher up the snowman?) It is this last question that I am here exploring.
    “The Brethren direct me to say that the Church has never announced a definite doctrine upon this point. Some of the Brethren have held the view that it was possible in the course of progression to advance from one glory to another, invoking the principle of eternal progression; others of the Brethren have taken the opposite view. But as stated, the Church has never announced a definite doctrine on this point.” [As quoted in Dialogue, Vol.15, No.1, pp. 181-182.]

    For my purposes, I’m going to refer to the two opposing views as A or B. “A” is the view that progress continues eternally, even between the three degrees of Glory. “B” is the view that once assigned to one of the three Glories after the resurrection with the “final judgment,” there can be no further progress to another kingdom or Glory.

    In early January, a neighbor in our ward Gospel Doctrine class used the word “cement” or “concrete” to illustrate his strongly held belief that after the resurrection there would be no further progress – the B view. I was not comfortable with that, and gave a different thought – the A view. Unlike Corianton, I have no trouble with the justice of God, (Alma 42:1) but I do wonder about the permanence of punishment. Like my neighbor’s father-in-law who learned to his surprise and communicated shortly before his death, I also believe, “people can change.” And I push that even into the eternities. After we publicly differed in Gospel Doctrine class, during the next hour at High Priest Group meeting, my neighbor pointed out D&C 76:112 in support of his opinion.

    “But behold, and lo, we saw the glory and the inhabitants of the telestial world, that they were as innumerable as the stars in the firmament of heaven, or as the sand upon the seashore; And heard the voice of the Lord saying: These all shall bow the knee, and every tongue shall confess to him who sits upon the throne forever and ever; For they shall be judged according to their works, and every man shall receive according to his own works, his own dominion, in the mansions which are prepared; And they shall be servants of the Most High; but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end.” [D&C 76:109-112, emphasis added]

    Footnote (d) (at “cannot come”) in the above quoted D&C 76:112 refers us to D&C 43:

    For the day cometh that the Lord shall utter his voice out of heaven; the heavens shall shake and the earth shall tremble, and the trump of God shall sound both long and loud, and shall say to the sleeping nations: Ye saints arise and live; ye sinners stay and sleep until I shall call again. ….And the wicked shall go away into unquenchable fire, and their end no man knoweth on earth, nor ever shall know, until they come before me in judgment. [D&C 43:18 and 33, emphasis added]

    It seems, perhaps, that we come before God in judgment three times. The first separation or division is at death – either to the temporary paradise or spirit prison where missionaries continue to labor, teaching the Gospel of repentance, which remains possible. Perhaps a second separation is essentially skimming the “cream” off the top for those who partake in the first resurrection at Christ’s return. The rest “stay and sleep.” And then we get to the third or “final” judgment after the resurrection when all stand before God to be judged. But again, how “final” is it? How permanent is punishment?

    As God Himself states (with His own emphasis in the original):
    Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment. Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory. Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery …. [D&C 19:6-8]

    In His following explanation, we learn that Eternal and Endless are His name, and descriptive of His punishment, which He then also proceeds to describe as involving pain and suffering beyond mortal comprehension, and to be avoided at all costs. But, is such Eternal and Endless punishment without end? Can there be no progress between the three degrees of Glory?

    While still pondering those questions, about two weeks later I attended the adult session of our Stake Conference, where something else stood out to me from a familiar quote. It is the promise that if my child departs from the path to live a telestial lifestyle, he/she will still ultimately be in Heaven with Mary and me. While comforting, this idea seems to conflict with individual choice, agency and responsibility. But, I am warmed and grateful for it, even if I can’t fully comprehend it. This is also difficult to reconcile with the contrary idea of a permanent final judgment and no change. It seems instead suggestive of the possibility that we may not be so permanently cemented in the concrete of bad choices. That familiar comforting quote, and others, are pasted here, from: Hope for Parents of Wayward Children,” Ensign, Sep 2002, 11.

    Joseph Smith – (1805-44) – First President of the Church

    The Prophet Joseph Smith declared-and he never taught a more comforting doctrine-that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God” (Orson F. Whitney, in Conference Report, Apr. 1929, 110).

    Brigham Young – (1801-77) – Second President of the Church

    Let the father and mother, who are members of this Church and Kingdom, take a righteous course, and strive with all their might never to do a wrong, but to do good all their lives; if they have one child or one hundred children, if they conduct themselves towards them as they should, binding them to the Lord by their faith and prayers, I care not where those children go, they are bound up to their parents by an everlasting tie, and no power of earth or hell can separate them from their parents in eternity; they will return again to the fountain from whence they sprang. (Quoted in Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954-56], 2:90-91).

    Lorenzo Snow – (1814-1901) – Fifth President of the Church

    If you succeed in passing through these trials and afflictions and receive a resurrection, you will, by the power of the Priesthood, work and labor, as the Son of God has, until you get all your sons and daughters in the path of exaltation and glory. This is just as sure as that the sun rose this morning over yonder mountains. Therefore, mourn not because all your sons and daughters do not follow in the path that you have marked out to them, or give heed to your counsels. Inasmuch as we succeed in securing eternal glory, and stand as saviors, and as kings and priests to our God, we will save our posterity. (Collected Discourses, comp. Brian H. Stuy, 5 vols. [1987-92], 3:364).

    Boyd K. Packer — President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

    The measure of our success as parents . will not rest solely on how our children turn out. That judgment would be just only if we could raise our families in a perfectly moral environment, and that now is not possible.
    It is not uncommon for responsible parents to lose one of their children, for a time, to influences over which they have no control. They agonize over rebellious sons or daughters. They are puzzled over why they are so helpless when they have tried so hard to do what they should.
    It is my conviction that those wicked influences one day will be overruled. .
    We cannot overemphasize the value of temple marriage, the binding ties of the sealing ordinance, and the standards of worthiness required of them. When parents keep the covenants they have made at the altar of the temple, their children will be forever bound to them” (“Our Moral Environment,” Ensign, May 1992, 68).

    So — if the Final Judgment is so all important. Why do we not know whether progress between kingdoms is possible? For me, I suppose the Church has never announced the answer to A or B, either because it hasn’t been revealed, or because God would prefer it remain a mystery. If A is true (progress is eternal), and if it were revealed now, would we tend to “eat, drink and be merry” as Nephi warns. 2 Nephi 28:7-8. Perhaps D&C 19:7 gives us a hint when He explains the use of the words “eternal damnation” as: “more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.” Putting it in my words, perhaps because that “natural man” in us is so prone to self-justification and procrastination, strong words of endless punishment and eternal damnation are simply necessary to keep us moving forward! (See Enos 1:23). So, even if A is true, perhaps God would rather not reveal it to us in our present mortal condition because it would tend to be used as license for slothfulness and evil. On the other hand, if B is true (progress ends once assigned to a kingdom), then there would appear to be no hope for the wayward child. The grieving parent would only be left despair. God wants us to neither procrastinate the day of our repentance, nor wallow in despair. Thus, He graciously declines to clearly reveal the answer at this time.

    Comment by Hopeful — June 11, 2013 @ 10:58 pm

  39. In both the D&C (76) and the King Follett Discourse, it says that ALL except Perdition are ‘saved’. Joseph Says that to be ‘saved’ is to be placed beyond the reach of all your enemies, including death. So ‘saved’ is also exalted. So if ALL except Perdition are exalted, there Must be progression from lower kingdoms to higher kingdoms.

    Comment by Doug H — July 22, 2014 @ 10:32 am

  40. This is such a great thread! Thanks to all for the thoughts.
    One little quote that I haven’t seen pop up is the following: President Brigham Young said (of Emma), “she will be damned as sure as she is a living woman. Joseph used to say that he would have her hereafter, if he had to go to hell for her, and he will have to go to hell for her as sure as he ever gets her.” (Journal of Discourses, 17: 159).[1]
    To me this may indicate that Joseph Smith, because of the sealing power and his love for Emma, would not give up on Emma and would have here in eternity, regardless of the the effort & time required in the next life to bring her from whatever state he found her in. I’m not sure if Pres. Young is here indicating the possibility of kingdom hopping or that Emma was a lost cause. I lean toward the prior. Any thoughts?

    Comment by Spencer — December 26, 2016 @ 2:54 am

  41. Sorry for the typo there: her in eternity, not here in eternity…

    Comment by Spencer — December 26, 2016 @ 12:35 pm

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