Gender Roles Part 1: Marriage and Children, a Commandment of God

The topic continues to come up what is the roles of men and women in the Church. It is a subject that many feel passionately about one way or another. Since the family is the basic unit then discussion should start there. Generally both genders are commanded to get married and have children as shared responsibilities. It is the first role of any Church member to form and participate in a family structure.

Some years ago President Monson talked about the rights and responsibilities of the Priesthood. He listed concerns he had that men were not living up to the full stewardship of their callings. Among the problems he saw was a reluctance to do the most important duty of our mortality; to get married. He acknowledged marriage wasn’t always an easy choice, but they still needed to seek a companion:

“Now, I have thought a lot lately about you young men who are of an age to marry but who have not yet felt to do so. I see lovely young ladies who desire to be married and to raise families, and yet their opportunities are limited because so many young men are postponing marriage . . .

Perhaps you are having a little too much fun being single, taking extravagant vacations, buying expensive cars and toys, and just generally enjoying the carefree life with your friends. I’ve encountered groups of you running around together, and I admit that I’ve wondered why you aren’t out with the young ladies.

Brethren, there is a point at which it’s time to think seriously about marriage and to seek a companion with whom you want to spend eternity. If you choose wisely and if you are committed to the success of your marriage, there is nothing in this life which will bring you greater happiness.”

The institution of marriage is more than finding a friend or gratifying physical desires that are natural to life. It is a commandment of God. Salvation to the highest degree of Glory depends on two committed people coming together and forming a bond. This is not just any bond, but a relationship between a man and a woman greater than mere acquaintance. It is of eternal significance and therefore must be carefully sought and cultivated.

In the Garden of Eden man was first left alone. Looking down on this human creation, God saw how lonely and incomplete the figure would be.. We learn in Gen. 2:21–24 that He responded to this situation by making a second half of the human family:

“21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

When the time comes that children are to leave the home, one of the first responsibilities is to find a wife. It is true that a mission to preach the gospel is the first priority. After that comes dating and getting to know the many good and righteous women who might some day become a worthy companion. No amount of play, work, or school is to get in the way of reaching the goal of marriage.

Some argue that Mormons are too eager to get married and do so too early in life. True as that might be, it is the Lord that sets the standards. The Scriptures record no rule when and under what circumstances would be the best time. They are clear that marriage is of eternal significance no matter if done at a young or an older age. Like any choice we make, it is in consultation with the Holy Ghost that our decisions of who and when should be dependent.

President Monson mentions in the quote above that men are not asking women to marry. He in turn quotes former President Hinkley that men proposing marriage is the custom and therefore they get condemnation for holding back. Despite the God given roles of each gender, perhaps this is one case when the roles can be reversed. To be perfectly honest, men can sometimes be thick headed or just unsure of themselves. A nudge in the right direction from the girls might be necessary. Of course this shouldn’t become a push because that might end up sending the relationship over the edge. If the cultural responsibility of men is asking, then women’s could be to talk about a possible future together. In a world of group dating, women might have to get out of the social box and request a couples only get together. The point is to cultivate a culture of marriage.

The world argues that marriage should be postponed for long as possible, perhaps to acquire an education and money. Many might even go so far as to say that marriage itself is questionable. The Lord, on the other hand, is clear that is unacceptable and in D&C 49:15 warns, “verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man.” Another place in 1 Tim. 4:3 is the same warning that marriage should not be forbidden along with meats.

Married couples are then commended to have children. Yet again, modern society demands this be curtailed either by time or the numbers born. Having more than one or two kids is seen as rude and strange at best, disruptive of the planet’s ecosystem or economy at worst. In contrast, Gen. 1:28 states God blessed Adam and Eve and said, “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” Striving to have the least number of children goes against what Isaiah 45:15 explains is the purpose of the Earth:

“For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else.”

Not every couple has the medical ability to have children. We should be aware of, kind to, and show charity toward those couples. Most of them would do anything righteous to raise them if blessed. They often feel alone and left out. The same can be said for single men and women. We cannot forget them in their difficulties. How to help them or what place they have in the Church is a large enough question on its own.

That said, it is the responsibility shared by both men and women to get married. Once together as one, these couples are commanded to have children no matter if boys or girls. The only thing that should be stopping these two commandments, if in our power, is adherence to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. There is no waiting. There is only guidance and revelation. Otherwise, the Lord wants both genders to take the creation of family seriously. President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve stated:

“The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is to see a husband and his wife and their children happy at home, protected by the principles and laws of the gospel, sealed safely in the covenants of the everlasting priesthood. Husbands and wives should understand that their first calling—from which they will never be released—is to one another and then to their children.”

29 thoughts on “Gender Roles Part 1: Marriage and Children, a Commandment of God

  1. Jettboy, I really liked this: “The institution of marriage is more than finding a friend or gratifying physical desires that are natural to life. It is a commandment of God. Salvation to the highest degree of Glory depends on two committed people coming together and forming a bond. This is not just any bond, but a relationship between a man and a woman greater than mere acquaintance. It is of eternal significance and therefore must be carefully sought and cultivated.”

  2. Going along with the quote that Geoff identified is the notion that marriage is more than an individual right, but a social good in and of itself, like “knowledge” and “education”. We believe that the very institution itself has a salutary effect upon society, in addition to being a commandment of God. This is at least one reason (among many) why the institution should stop being tampered with by sexual liberationist progressives.

    Thank you Jettboy for continuing to stand up for values that the world increasingly mocks. You are not afraid to stand up and be counted, and I salute you.

  3. Thanks for this post. I tend to think that even the men-taking-initiative thing is important. I’m not a fan of treating men like they are clueless. I think we need to raise our young men to be strong and take initiative. Protector and provider roles in my mind start during the dating years.

    I say this for a couple of reasons. One is from personal experience. I got tired of men who wouldn’t commit or take initiative. One of the things that made my husband stand out for me from other guys who were in my life at the time is that when I met him he had decided he was going to get married and he did something about it.

    Of course, men do need encouragement and women need to be committed to marriage as a doctrine as well, so it does go both ways.

    I’m not suggesting that it’s doctrinal that men have to propose, etc. But I do tend to think that young men who expect girls to do the work are very possibly not building the social, emotional, and spiritual foundations for providing and presiding and protecting.

    Secondly, I see too many marriages where the wives are aching for husbands to take the spiritual lead in their homes. Elder Bednar recently talked about this, I think.

  4. But doesn’t our doctrine state that only those in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom have eternal marriages? That’s a pretty thin slice of the pie. The other 2/3rds of those in the celestial kingdom alone don’t have marriage at all.

    The fact that so many people are self-selecting out of marriage means that perhaps it’s exclusivity is at last being recognized. Only recently has marriage even been a question of choice, In the past, the cultural expectation, the financial stability of children to run the farm, the huge role of parents in chosing a mate made marriage an unquestionable fact of life for everyone.

    Now that marriage is completely a choice rather than a forced cultural expectaion, more and more people are deciding not to participate. Same with children. Before birth control, no choice at all, and children were also financial assets. Now children are huge financial liabilities and require a lot of selfless sacrifice.

    So now the true spirit of marriage and children has finally been achieved: a great, eternal sacrifice which brings temporary hardships, and eternal rewards. It’s no wonder that fewer and fewer are participating. How is this a bad thing? Why do we want everyone to enter into marriages which are destined to self-destruct, either in this life or the next, because they were not entered into with pure selfless intentions?

    Just like Christianity, which was always meant to be a small, exclusive sect, which was then ruined by Constantinople which politicized it and made the whole world “Christian.” Mormons have restored Christianity to be a small and exclusive sect, and marriage is increasingly small and exclusive. This is all good news. Protect the innocent spirits that come into the world by giving them only to people who truly want them.

  5. Jettboy,

    the starting point of the analysis sure makes a huge difference, and I think you’ve picked the right one.

    One thought on popping the question. Me and most men that I knew already knew what the answer was going to be when we asked, because there was a process of back and forth called courtship and a number of indications of willingness to be asked.

  6. That is an interesting viewpoint nate, but I believe Jesus Christ in the Bible didn’t want his gospel to be exclusive after his resurrection. He invites all to come to him. The same with today as we send missionaries out to preach the gospel to all the world. If there is any exclusivity then it is to each individual’s choices and not part of the gospel message.

    I also question the history of family as you present it. We live in a less than rural society these days no doubt. However, the same urban conditions existed in the past. If anything, modern poor are richer and have more support.

  7. I, too, don’t buy into the notion that marriage has historically been about cultural expectation and producing children to work the farm. The scriptures themselves, as well as ancient literature and poetry, speak to “love” as we know it today. I dp think Western culture has overly romanticized the notion a bit too much. I think historically, men and women were more pragmatic about spousal choice (as were their parents in cultures with arranged marraiges.) However, even with that pragmatism, I think the parties “loved” or at least had strong attraction type feelings. And if they didn’t, then they developed such feelings rather quickly as they began to work together to form a family unit. (I find it difficult to believe that women didn’t love their husbands so that every episode of relations amounted to rape.) No doubt some married for dynastic or financial or political reasons, I think the vast majority of every day, run of the mill marriages were much simpler motives – the innate desire to attach one’s self to another and begin a family unit. As an aside, when a feminist site listed reasons why a couple might not want to have children, I got raked over the coals for observing that for us, it’s part of the covenant we make when we are sealed in the temple.
    In “Eternal Marriage” Student Manual, Religion 234 and 235 the Eternal Marriage Student Manual from 2003, page 46, there is a a chart of Celestial Marriage “Covenants We Make With God”. First, it should be noted that these covenants are covenants we make with God, not with our spouse. It says “Couples who promise to abide the law of celestial marriage:
    Covenant in pure love to remain faithful to each other and to God through all eternity.
    Covenant to confine their intimate affections and sexual relations to each other.
    Commit to live in ways that contribute to happy and successful family life.
    Covenant “to ‘be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth….”

  8. IDIAT and Jettboy, perhaps it is a bit of an exaggeration that participants in past centuries always had little choice in who they marry. Obviously there was some of that, although it was much less about choice and romance than it is today.

    But what has completely revolutionized the dynamics of marriage is birth control. In the past, marriage was the only safe avenue for sexual expression, otherwise you risk unwed pregnacy, which carried social stigmas which destoyed you and your family. This fear put a huge barricade in front of everyone’s powerful sexual urges so that marriage was the only way to really have sex.

    Now, no one needs to get married to have sex. You can fulfill yourself sexually without marriage, and you only need have children if you really want them. This is huge, and completely revolutionizes human sexual expression, and the definition and motivations for marriage.

    Again, I only see this as a positive thing, because it increases the exclusivity of an institution which Joseph Smith revealed would be very exclusive in the heavens. Only those who truly appreciate the value of marriage will enter into it. How tragic that a majority of marriages will eventually be disolved in the eternities. If we have fewer marriages, more thoughtfully and selflessly entered into, I don’t see how this is bad.

  9. Nate that sounds good if it were just two people involved. It never is. Children absolutely deserve a mother and a father who acted with intent to bring them into the world, not merely accepted them as a result of an accident. Of course, even accidental children can be loved, but the less emphasis society puts on marriage and families, the more we will see broken families, ruined lives and eventually individuals who are “beyond feeling”.

    Remember that in your analysis of people who are excluded from marriage in the celestial kingdom, the powers of procreation are removed. As long as we have those powers available to us, we ought to do our best to make sure they are used responsibly.

  10. Chris, I think you missed my point. What I am saying is that the sexual dynamics in the modern world allow people to have children only “with intent to bring them into the world.” In the past, it was never a question of chosing to have children or not. Anyone who had sex risked having children. They just came, wanted or not, ready or not. Now, children are always a choice, not a consequence of sex. Heck, you can have them without sex, through adoption or IVF or something like that. So in the modern world, children come only to those who want them. (Not in the case of uneducated and very poorly disciplined about birth control of course, but this is changing.)

    You say, “as long as we have those powers of procreation, we ought to use them responsibly.” Exactly. By eliminating children from sex, sex is become purely recreational, and need not be tied to any kind of lifelong duties of child rearing or fidelity. Sex is freed to become as in the animal kingdom, an instinctual behavior.

    So marriage is now special, unique, unbound by impure motivations purely for sex. Children are desired, loved, wanted, rather than bastard consequences for immoral or irresponsible behavior. And likewise, monogamy and chastity are become rare and holy behaviors, which separate us from the Gentiles, who practice sex recreationally. Truman Madsen I believe said that Joseph Smith prophesied that one day, only LDS mothers will desire to have children, and that is a trend that is happening today. A very positive one, I’d say. It increases our infulence in the gene pool.

  11. Nate,
    I think you’re overstating your case. Plenty of people have kids who don’t really want them. They feel (rightly) guilty about having an abortion and have them anyway, but really don’t have the kids in a relationship that is founded on absolute fidelity, love, and sacrifice. Children deserve that. (and I do agree there are exceptions where committed spouses make terrible parents and vice versa)

    And you can’t get me to accept that both abortion and low marriage rates are positive things because they have a “silver lining”.

    Society will always depend on having kids. If you’re talking about a future where 70% of people don’t reproduce, you’d have some kind of point. Except that future will never exist and if it did society would crumble for other reasons.

    As it is right now, ~80% of people reproduce. So citing birth control, abortion, etc. as a means to ensure every child is born into an “appropriate” relationship isn’t accurate. The reality you’re describing only exists at the margins. By and large people are still having kids. Just not as many of them and not within the appropriate relationships.

  12. Chris, I’m sorry, but overstatement is my specialty. Of course marriage and children is far from extinct in society. I’m just stating that I see a powerful trend, and one that seems to be steering in the direction of Joseph Smith’s dramatic theology that marriage in heaven will be reserved for an exclusive 1/3 of 1/3 of heaven. You are right that of course many people are not having protected sex, and still many children are born into less than ideal situations. But those who do practice protected sex are certainly not “in the margins.” This is a huge majority, if you consider places like China. Abortion, a murderous and hackneyed form of birth control is on the decline as education and availibity of other forms of birth control are becoming far more effective at preventing pregnacy to begin with.

    I can’t predict the future of course, but to me, it seems that the modern world is destined to continually, and more effectively separate sex from children and commitment, rendering sex a meaningless recreational activity, and making both children and marriage more rare and special.

    Is this cause for concern or celebration? Mostly concern I will readily admit, although I like to speak provocatively. When 1st world cultures cannot reproduce themselves, society may become destabalized as 3rd world cultures overtake them.

  13. This has been a very interesting discussion. But I think you are wrong, Nate, when you say that only 1/3 of 1/3 will be exalted. Yes, there are 3 kingdoms, and 3 degrees in the celestial kingdom, but that doesn’t mean they will be equally divided. Did Joseph Smith say they would be equally divided? Exaltation should be the goal of every righteous Church member. Why would it not be? And if this is our goal, then it behooves us, if it is possible, to marry. I am a single, 70-year-old woman. It is not likely I will marry in this life. However, we single sisters are told time and time again by the Brethren that, as long as we remain faithful, we will have that chance in the next life. I assume the same holds for men who, for reasons beyond their control, were unable to be sealed to an eternal companion in this life. Alonzo Gaskill, in his book, Chances are You’re Going to be Exalted, thinks too many of us are selling ourselves short, and there will be more people in that highest degree than we think. It is sad that the world has taken one of God’s most sacred rituals (sex) and relegated it to mere recreation.

  14. Jettboy, I forget, how old are you? (approximately if you don’t want to divulge exactly). And, are you currently married? Have you ever been married?

    (I’m in my 50s and never married.)

  15. Nate, I’m not suggesting that only people have premarital sex at the margins. But the fact that 80+ percent of people will reproduce in their life time means that it’s only at the margins that people don’t reproduce.

    Medical science notwithstanding, people are still having children — just not as many as before and they happen later in life. But the vast majority of people around you will have at least 1 kid in their lifetime. That being the case, I don’t think we ought to give up on marriage broadly.

  16. Jettboy – Thank-you so much for your post, so uplifting after some of the other things I’ve seen on the internet.

    Sharee – I love your certainty that you will have a worthy spouse in the next life. My Mother taught me that righteous women who did not have an eternal marriage in this life, would have one in the next. I’ve never come across a point of doctrine that she was wrong about.

  17. Bookslinger, I am married. I am old enough to remember the disco era’s music, but not its scene. Besides that, I don’t like to divulge information about myself online.

  18. Perhaps less people are choosing to have as many children, but mortality rates to full adulthood are ten times better than they have ever been in history. If that evens out or not I really can’t say. Then there are those groups mostly in third world countries who more than make up for the rich and educated countries in having large families.

    I also have to agree that Joseph Smith never said there is going to be only a third Exalted in the Celestial Kingdom, even if he said there will be three degrees. By that same logic there is going to be 1/3 in each of the other Kingdoms of Glory, and again I don’t know of any revelation or sermon that states numbers. If anything I have heard it said, and not sure where, that the number who will be Exalted is far more than what we mortals can imagine from our experience in a sin filled world.

  19. Sharree and Jettboy, of course it’s completely speculative to try and assign percentages within the highest degrees of the Celestial Kingdom. However, I do think that the doctrine presents us with an idea about the Celestial Kingdom which has not been adequately thought out or understood. There is so much emphasis on marriage, and getting everyone into the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom, that we seem to have entirely forgotten that the other two sections of the Celestial Kingdom are for faithful, unmarried saints, who are true to their covenants. It’s like everyone thinks it’s second best or something to not be in the highest. But the reality of life is that marriage isn’t for everyone, it is not everyone’s desire, nor is it the desire of everyone to be a “god.” What’s wrong with desiring to be a ministering angel to the gods? Just as there are personalities who are born to rule, there are personalities which are more comfortable serving. Is this “second best” or is it just that we are all different and have different roles to fill? Jesus said that the greatest should be the servant of all. The Apostle Paul was anxious to recruit and celebrate people in this category, of which he was a member, and I don’t know why we can’t make a space for them in our dispensation either, since we have a theological place for them in our doctrine. Why not give people the choice? Why lay down endless guilt trips for our single brethren? Instead, inspire them with a vision for what a celestial life of service really means. If they want to pursue godhood in a celestial marriage, they can do that. If they want to be a ministering angel to the gods, they can do that.

  20. “Perhaps you are having a little too much fun being single, taking extravagant vacations, buying expensive cars and toys, and just generally enjoying the carefree life with your friends. I’ve encountered groups of you running around together, and I admit that I’ve wondered why you aren’t out with the young ladies.”

    That could describe my sister-in-law who is 29 as easily as my brother-in-law who is almost 32. (I have another sister-in-law who is 33 and isn’t married either. I also have a brother-in-law who is 39 and has been divorced three times.)

    I wouldn’t have minded marrying at 22 like both my brothers did. (I’m not sure I was ready, though.) As it turned out, I married at 31, a little over ten years after I got off my mission. There is a right way to admonish never-married members, and there is the wrong way. I’ve heard both ways in General Conference, but in my ten years in the proverbial wilderness I heard the wrong way too much.

  21. I think the Exalted category is going to be the most numerous, simply because of those to whom the scriptures basically guarantee it, viz., those who die before the age of accountability, and the “heathen” who never hear any portion of the gospel in mortality.

    We don’t hear much of the latter category from over the pulpit, because it is a disincentive to missionary work, as it implies that people would be better off never hearing the gospel. But there are several scripture passages that make the promise for “heathen” as clear as the one for children.

    —–

    Nate: I think many righteous unmarried men also have a shot a exaltation too, if they remain single in this life through no fault of their own. The Lord gives many of us handicaps that are visibile and invisible. Down’s syndrome is one visible one. Autism is another. Only the Lord can judge at what point it becomes one’s “own fault” that any individual remains unmarried in this life.

  22. “I’ve heard both ways in General Conference, but in my ten years in the proverbial wilderness I heard the wrong way too much.”

    Amen, John!

  23. Perhaps I’m wrong, I’ll try to remember to verify tomorrow, but I believe salvation is promised for those who die before accountability, not necessarily exaltation.

  24. SR, they (children and heathen) are promised not just salvation, but “eternal life”, which is exaltation. The lower two degrees in the CK are “saved”, but are not exalted, and they are “immortal” but not “eternal” as exalted beings are. So while those two lower degrees can associate with Heavenly Father, they miss out on exaltation like the Terrestrial and Telestial.

    On a tangent, I’ve noted now “saved” in the BoM usually doesn’t stand alone, but is usually used as “saved in the Kingdom of God“. If that usage of “God” indicates Heavenly Father (i.e., not Jesus), then “Kingdom of God” refers to the CK.

    Why does “saved” have to be qualified or further defined in that manner? Because, the “Kingdom of Jesus” would be the Terrestrial Kingdom, where He reigns or ministers, according to Section 76. Sec 76 also states Heavenly Father never visits the Terrestrial Kingdom. And the “Kingdom of the Holy Ghost” would be the Telestial Kingdom, where He ministers (or reigns), according to Section 76, and where neither Jesus nor Heavenly Father go.

    So the apparent goal of the BoM prophets, is not to just get people “saved” (because inhabitants of all three kingdoms are “saved”) but rather saved in the Kingdom of God, ie., get people into the Celestial Kingdom.

    The parts of the BoM that we have don’t directly mention exaltation, and don’t specifically mention the degrees of glory. Those may be in the 2/3rds sealed part that Joseph Smith did not translate.

  25. Your understanding of the afterlife is somewhat different from mine.

    I will say that I find it impossible to believe that ANYONE can be exalted without taking certain steps, without becoming a certain kind of person. If it were true that anyone who dies before the age of accountability is automatically exalted, it would be best for all to die before then, would it not? In fact, that was a topic that hung heavily on my mind when I was seven years old as I contemplated baptism. At one point, I wished to die before I could be baptized, so I would be guaranteed to return home. But the Spirit taught me that knowledge is a necessary part of exaltation, to receive all that the Father has. We may be saved in ignorance, redeemed from the Fall of Adam, we may even be purified and sanctified if we meet the laws necessary, but we cannot be exalted without knowledge and meeting the law of celestial glory. Believing otherwise flies in the face of everything I understand about the plan of salvation, agency, and redemption.

    The same thing applies to those who had no opportunity to accept the gospel. They will receive that opportunity in the next life (just as children will) but they must learn and become just as all of us must. I imagine it is possible that many of them, like Christ, were able to learn what they needed to know with only a brief mortal stay. Perhaps they also had no special calling on earth to fulfill, and it was a combination of the two circumstances. But exaltation certainly requires more than an accident of birth or death, to think that one child will be exalted because they happened to die one day short of eight but another who dies at 8 years and 1 day will not defies reason and experience.

    You will find in scripture (mostly D&C) that they are redeemed through Christ, saved in the Celestial Kingdom (not necessarily exalted), the curse of Adam is done away (which is mortal death, not spiritual death,) and that they are sanctified through the atonement.

    In order to be exalted, one must become as God. That MUST be an act of agency—obedience to law—not of chance, in order for God to be both merciful and just. “For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.” D&C 88:22

  26. We believe in God,
    the Eternal Father
    and in His Son, Jesus Christ,
    and in the Holy Ghost.

    Even the telestial kingdom is a kingdom of glory in the kingdom of God, Book.

  27. H nu, we are in agreement. I hope I wrote nothing that implied that the telestial kingdom was not a kingdom of glory.

    When the scriptures refer to “God” they sometimes mean Heavenly Father, sometimes mean the Savior, and sometimes mean the Godhead (all three). In the phrase “saved in the kingdom of God”, it does not say “one of the” kingdoms, nor “a” kingdom, but THE kingdom. And note that it is not merely “saved” but saved in a particular place. The inhabitants of all three kingdoms are saved, as their inhabitants are all glorified to some degree and are immortal.

    I’m putting forth that the phase “saved in the kingdom of God” specifically means the kingdom where Heavenly Father reigns, the celestial, and not the kingdom where Jesus reigns, which is the terrestrial kingdom, and not the Kingdom where the Holy Ghost reigns, the telestial.

    Sec 76 specifically says Heavenly Father does not go to (or visit) the terrestrial or telestial kingdoms, and the Savior does not go to or visit the telestial.

  28. Hi Book,
    I think we are in close agreement, but not complete.

    I sometimes hear the following. LDS sometimes claim that both Jesus and the Holy Ghost are God in unity with Heavenly Father, except when it comes time for them to reign in the telestial kingdom or the terrestrial where, instead of being part of the kingdom of God it is merely a kingdom of Glory. Then I’m told that salvation comes through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel, except for the people who don’t accept the gospel in this life, and instead acknowledge Jesus is the next but do not accept the ordinances and so they end up in a saved condition in a kingdom of glory by some means other than by accepting the atonement of Christ. Then some LDS add upon that and claim that people who enter the telestial kingdom suffer for their own sins to gain their own forgiveness and never accept the saviors atonement. We thus have murderers and liars who’ve earned their way into heaven.

    It’s all poppy-cock. All kingdoms of glory are part of heaven, are part of the kingdom of God. There is only 1 way into heaven, for everyone, and that involves accepting the gospel of Jesus Christ at some point in time and that involves accepting baptism as well. It’s certainly scriptural that the glory of the celstial is greater than that of the terrestrial which is greater than the telestial… But they are all heaven, they are all the presence of God, and no unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God, be it in the person of the Father, the person of the Son, or the person of the Holy Ghost. Finally, anyone entering a kingdom of Glory = a kingdom of God will be washed clean. There will be no guilty murderers in the telestial kingdom, nor morally impure. Such were they once, but they must be washed clean. Will the folks in the telestial kingdom suffer? Surely, but not to gain redemption from their sins, but to get them to turn to Christ.

    I believe that is radically different than your understanding but at the same time in complete agreement with the scriptures.

    I know RAM will disagree with this, but there’s just too many paradoxes and contradictions to claim people get into any kingdom of heaven without accepting the atonement in full…

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