Will There Be Grade Inflation on Judgment Day?

This is a guest post by Derek Christian Lines. If you have a guest post feel free to submit it. We try to get a wide range of voices here and enjoy hearing different perspectives.

My friends and I have long debated a bit of speculative theology concerning the plan of salvation. Namely, what percentage of Heavenly Father’s children on this earth will end up in the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial kingdoms? The question goes to the heart of God’s plan for us; how many of our Heavenly Father’s children will be with him again?

The scriptures often speak of mortality as a test. This academic analogy can help in approaching the question. Certainly God has some hefty grading standards for us. “Be ye therefore perfect†(Matt. 5:48 ) in any class syllabus might be a bit discouraging. Of course we know the Savior came to help us with all the mortal class work and can make up for failing grades if we do what he asks of us. But is the classroom of mortality conducive to giving A-grades and getting students to the celestial kingdom? The scriptures might lead us to believe there will be few A-students. “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it†(Matt. 7:14 ). From this and similar scriptures, it seems that only a few of us will really understand the curriculum and do what it takes to get the celestial grade. Taking this into account, a friend of mine argued that a percentage breakdown of the kingdoms might be 5% celestial over-achievers, 20% terrestrial, and 75% telestial slackers.

Maybe it is the slacker in me that thinks these numbers are way off. I firmly believe in grade inflation at the judgment day. There will be far more of God’s children back in his presence, than will be shut out of the celestial realms. What will the final grade report look like? I believe there will be 85% celestial A-students, 10% terrestrial, and only 5% in the telestial kingdom. I have four reasons why:

1. God’s plan provides numerous celestial-grade guarantees—God’s children can be assured of a celestial glory in many ways. The first, and largest, is that all children who die before the age of accountability will be saved in the celestial kingdom, as well as those with mental challenges who never become accountable. It has been estimated that 70 billion people have lived on this earth. I have read estimates of average historical infant and childhood mortality rates being as high as 40%, which means that as nearly 30 of those 70 billion people who have lived on this earth are automatically in the celestial kingdom. We also have the millennium, which is designed to give celestial grades to nearly every student. Bruce R. McConkie has said “the purpose of the millennium is to save souls…Billions of spirits will come to earth and…grow up without sin unto salvation†(Millennial Messiah, p. 660-1). If we allow
that a paradisiacal earth could support another 30 billion over a thousand years that is already a 60% celestial-pass rate. God has already stacked the odds for celestial success in his children’s favor.

2. All the bad students were not even allowed to enroll in this mortal class—We are taught that a third of the host of heaven followed Lucifer in the pre-mortal world (D&C 29:36) and will not be taking this mortal test. Every other person on earth has chosen to enter mortality, presumably with the desire to return to live with God again.

3. God will be grading on a very generous curve for this most-wicked world—According to Moses 7:36 this is God’s most wicked world (or at least it was during the time God spoke to Enoch). We live in a time of wickedness rivaling that of Enoch’s day, when it seems even our best efforts for ourselves and our families are sometimes overwhelmed by the tides of rebellious disregard for the commandments of God. It certainly seems that there might not be 85% of the current world who are acing this mortal test. For those of us who are not given a celestial-guarantee, I do not doubt that our loving Heavenly Father will be mindful of this and grade on a very high mercy-scale. This certainly does not mean God can excuse unrighteous behavior, it just means he will take all factors into consideration when he renders his merciful judgment.

4. God would not create this mortal test for us to fail—Why would our Heavenly Father guide our spirits through countless eons of progression only to create a plan for mortality that insures the large bulk of his children could never be with him again? I think we have to give our perfect Father in Heaven more credit for developing a plan that would help us succeed rather than fail. Unique to Mormonism is the idea of post-mortal opportunities to hear the gospel of Christ, accept it, and be saved. I truly believe most people have good hearts. When everyone is given a fair chance (and that doesn’t mean one knock on the door by some missionaries) to hear the gospel of Christ presented in its fullness, I believe most will accept and do what it takes to get the celestial grade. God wouldn’t design a plan any other way. It is called the “plan of salvation†after all, not the “plan of damnation.â€

So what do we make of the scriptures which seem to indicate there will be few celestial grades given? Like any good professor, the Lord certainly does not want to announce in the syllabus that most students will get an A. This might not elicit our best efforts. To maximize our progression and learning in this mortal test, the Lord sometimes chooses to explain his plan in stark and forceful language. However, with further insight these forceful ideas can be understood in their proper context. For example, when the Lord talks about “endless punishment,†a strong and even fearful notion, he does not mean punishment of eternal duration. He teaches that “nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment…wherefore it is more express than other scriptures that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men†(D&C 19:6-7). Thus, I believe the Lord tells us how difficult it is to return to him so as to work upon our hearts and help motivate us to follow him. It is also accurate to say that “few there will be that find†celestial glory during the most wicked times. It is not meant to describe how many of his children will ultimately make the grade.

We must be willing to escape the mindset that limits the celestial kingdom to a privileged club of A-student elitists. We should rejoice that the Lord wants all his children back in his presence and has designed a plan so most will be with him again. I echo Nephi, another believer in grade inflation, when I say I expect to see that “many, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day†(2 Ne. 33:12).

D. Christian Lines is a dentist living in Albuquerque , New Mexico. He is married and has three boys. He loves sports and hot dogs and hates beets and country music.

32 thoughts on “Will There Be Grade Inflation on Judgment Day?

  1. Good post. Personally, I believe and hope it is more like 99.9% Celestial highest degree.

  2. +That is the purpose of the two lower glories- to advance those who he saves (the just) from one degree to another until they all shine as the sun in the CK. So it really doesn’t matter where we go after this life as long as we make it onto the right hand and not the left to be cast out. Only two paths. one to eternal life and the other to eternal death.

  3. It depends what sort of framework you want to accept. Sure, a vast majority could make it to the celestial kingdom and it wouldn’t shake any Mormon theology. If you want to start talking about those who rule in the celestial kingdom, well then, you would be rather hard pressed to find support for anything more then a miniscule percentage.

  4. Derek,

    I subscribe to the idea that the lower kingdoms of glory exist for the purpose of helping telestial people become terrestrial, and terrestrial people become celestial. I expect that at judgment there will be a large percentage of people who go to the telestial kingdom, but I hold out hope that most (if not all) of them will make it to the celestial kingdom in time. Thus, I expect all those scriptures about lots of people in the telestial and “few there be” than find the celestial are true in the short term, while you will end up being correct in the long run.

  5. Then again, why would someone repent if they can always put it off? If I am unwilling to repent now, why would I be willing in the next life?

    What makes us feel D&C 76 is incomplete as far as who goes where?

  6. Didn’t Talmage in “Articles of Faith” suggest that there would be progression post death as well. Isn’t there some question as to whether when we die, and are in a kingdom, we are stuck there with no progression? Shooting from the hip here, but any one have a copy of Articles of Faith handy and remember this?

    Of course, I still hold that the call to the celestial kingdom is a call to serve, so there may be many who do not want to progress to that level. After all, there are many now who would rather not serve.

  7. MW,
    I think one of the greatest blessings we have in the latter day church is the knowledge that post mortal progression can and will be made before resurrection. But, the doctrine of degrees of glory I believe has been more of a hinderance than a help. Because of some of the teachings from the Brethren, we have made the two lower glories kingdoms of damnation. Because of this false teaching, all we teach as latter day saints is that there is only one goal- the Celestial Kingdom. We teach that there are at least three different pathways towards salvation and that salvation can mean different things to different people. We also teach that the family unit only exists in the CK and use that as scare tactics to force our children to behave so that they won’t be found forever cut off in a lower kingdom. All of these teachings have caused much stumbling in the church, even so that we understand not the simplicity of the plan of salvation.

    We have moved away from the teaching of only “one path” towards salvation and “one path” towards damnation. each path leads to only one set of conditions. On the right hand we have the pathway that leads to eternal life of which the gateway to is repentance and baptism. On the left hand we have the path that leads to eternal death which is the second everlasting spiritual death experienced only by the devil and his angels (sons of perdition). So is there progression for the righteous on the right hand- yes! All three glories are all steps and parts to greater laws and glories because they are all on the same path. There is no skipping ahead as many have believed just as there is no place on the path that stops or limits one for eternity.

    We know that there will be a resurrection of the wicked and the righteous, or, a resurrection of the unjust and the just. Who are the just? They are the individuals who partake of the blessings of god through their righteous merits and works even if done in the post-mortal realm, these will inherit one of the three knigdoms of glories as a platform place to continue progressing until all become perfect. Proverbs 4:18 says it perfectly-

    18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

    (Old Testament | Proverbs 4:18)

    Is there progression for those who Christ saves through his atonement who become cleansed? You bet there is- the one and only pathway for the just!

  8. Statistically, shouldn’t it be more of a bell curve type of thing, with the majority of people in the middle (i.e., the terrestrial kingdom)?

  9. I give here as my opinion that for us this is the telestial kingdom, that for us the Millennial era with be the terrestrial, and that one way or another the Lord has a plan to bring all of us except the truly stubborn or rebellious into some degree of celestial glory.

    Some will be resurrected into celestial glory on the morning of the first resurrection, but those who died without law will learn the gospel during the millennium so they can be translated / twinkled up a degree at the last day. And then of course all those who go to spirit prison will also learn by their own experience what life is like when cut off from the blessings of heaven, which of course is the natural state of all, the one we would all be in except for the merits of His grace.

  10. I don’t think there will be any considerable grade inflation by the way. The economics don’t work out – we must alll live a celestial law. That doesn’t mean being perfect in the absolutist sense, of course. That is arguably a metaphysical impossibility, for any single person, and only converged on by the whole.

  11. Thanks for all the comments.

    Rob Osborn—I haven’t seen it taught that the two lower kingdoms are designed to advance its members to the Celestial Kingdom. Although anything is possible, I don’t believe in progression from kingdom to kingdom. I believe the preponderance of scriptural and modern-day teachings deny such progression. Otherwise, what’s the point of this life? Why bother with any commandments if we’ll all make it anyway? That seems to lead directly to the “eat, drink, and be merry†philosophy that Nephi decries (2 Ne. 28:8).

    J. Stapley—I am unfamiliar with the idea of the “rulers†of the celestial kingdom (other than the Godhead). Who are these rulers? How can I join?

    Jacob—again, I don’t feel comfortable subscribing to Kingdom jumping. I believe people will ultimately choose to be where their hearts deepest desire is. My contention is most people, when the overpowering, blinding wickedness of this world is peeled away (whether here or in the spirit world) will choose to be with God again. They will still need to repent and accept Christ and his Gospel, just like any other entrant to the presence of God. However, some will choose not to repent. There are still some (but hey, maybe only 15%!) who “love and maketh a lie†(D&C 76:103). Some knowingly and stubbornly disobey. Even they will still be saved after they have paid the price for their sins (D&C 19:17). And let’s remember that the other kingdoms are still kingdoms of glory “which surpass all understanding†(D&C 76:89).

    MikeinWeHo—I wouldn’t call it universal salvation, just most people choosing to repent, and let Christ save them in the end.

    addrax—I agree that D&C 76 is certainly not a complete understanding of the eternities. We know so little of our pre-earth eternity and not much more about our eternity to come. But as far as we know now, we will all have a fair choice in what final grade God gives us.

    meems-if God uses the dreaded bell curve, then I, for one, am in deep trouble.

    Mark Butler-thanks for the interesting insights.

  12. This idea of “grade inflation” reminds me why I’m not comfortable with the concept of three degrees of glory in the first place. I have no problem with the idea that “this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God”, I just have a problem with there being a right answer, and especially with the idea of there being grades to hand out at the end.

    If there is a next life, it makes much more sense that it is just a place, not unlike this world, where spirits/people of all stripes mix side by side. No heaven and hell. No three degrees of glory. It makes sense that we bring our knowledge, character, personality, strengths, and weaknesses with us to the next world. But why would we separate people according to those criteria?

    It bothers me not that an Adolf Hitler or a Jeffrey Dahmer would go to the same place I go, or a Joseph Smith or a Mother Theresa goes. In fact, it makes more sense to me. If the next life is a place for the spiritually strong to help the spiritually weak (as I believe it to be), why wouldn’t they exist side by side. Heaven or Hell to me is not a place, but a state of mind. A Hitler, regardless of where he is, if he comes to a true knowledge of his actions is in “hell”. The same could be said of this world, where people in a state of “hell” mix with those who have found some sort of “heaven”. To me, heaven is a place where Hitlers and Dahmers learn to become Smiths and Theresas. This idea that we separate people according to what sometimes feels like arbitrary or counter-intuitive criteria just feels very “human” to me, and not “divine”. I understand why we have the inclination to think this way, but I somehow think God’s ideas are bigger than ours.

  13. Derek,
    If there is no progressing through kingdoms then why does the earth follow a pattern of going from Telestial- Terrestrial- Celestial. We also learn more of the eternal plan of salvation in the temple where man progresses From- Telestial- Terrestrial- Celestial, all the while making and living more covenants.

    There is also no problem with procrastination, if one chooses to wait and wait before repenting he will just be that much further back in his stage of progression. The reality of is that all men must be changed from their carnal and fallen state, being born again to the things of righteousness, becoming sons and daughters of God. Unless this is the case they must be cast off with the devil and his angels. The key to it is that once people change their hearts and turn to God, they no longer have the disposition to be disobedient or stagnant in the gospel, which ultimately means- progression within God’s kingdom and recieving all the blessings that the father gives to his children as rightful heirs. We are all in the end either sons of God or sons of Perdition.

    Someone in the Telestial kingdom is merely at a point on the path where a Terrestrial being once was, and these two are both at different earlier stages of where a Celestial being once was. Because all sins will be forgiven to the glorious kingdom heirs of salvation, there can possibly be no limit to man’s progression throughout the eternities, for otherwise is to make Christ’s atonement a mockery by saying that because he chose to repent later than someone else he is limited for all eternity.

    Even though this doctrine is not currently taught, it has substancial proof that it exists as seen from the temple view. In the church we teach that baptism is the gateway to the CK while not mentioning also that it is the gateway to any kingdom of glory. Because of this, we interpret the scriptures to mean that God’s kingdom is only the Celestial kingdom, and that the two lower kingdoms are kingdoms of damnation (bible dictionary). The way that BRM defines damnation in the bible dictionary is the same way that we say that you can “dam” a stream and limit or stop it’s progress. This wrong definition and set of rules is where we come up with our current doctrine. Damnation means to be delivered to the devil in hell rather than anything less than exaltation in the highest degree of glory in the CK.

    Once we get the doctrine definitions straightened out, the gospel we teach concerning the three degrees of glory will also change and be more pure and enlightening.

  14. Interesting post Rob, I also enjoyed your comments on the subject at FMH. I like the idea that procrastination doesn’t necessarily mean a final stop in progression, but more work later on.

  15. One principle I do not think is often recognized is at what great cost our tenure in this life comes at to the Lord. If we are stubborn and do not use this life as an opportunity to learn and progress, not just as individuals, but as families, nations, and peoples, the next stop is potentially every bit as severe as the scriptures describe – namely a tenure without any blessings from God at all (other than missionaries), a time to remind us of what the natural, disobedient state of mankind inevitably leads to when not on the heavenly welfare plan.

    That seems to be the reason why a telestial state cannot last for any given individual – we are being blessed with more than we deserve here already, and it seems to be inconsistent with the economy of God for him to subsidize iniquity in the eternities. So it is either to the terrestrial, celestial or to spirit prison (aka hell) we go. No more telestial for anyone born here on this earth.

  16. Percentage wise, the Lord has not promised any salvation for the sons of perdition, but he hints at the possibility in D&C 29.

    Also, living a celestial law is every bit as challenging as we generally expect – no one is going to qualify until they learn how to live it. So even if every last person someday makes it they will only make it under the same terms and conditions as everyone else – faith, repentance, baptism, and obedience to all the commandments of God.

  17. Great comments–
    Rob, thanks for your insight about moving through kingdoms in the temple. I’m not sure this must correlate directly with advancement in the eternities, but more to the advancement of individuals from a telestial and fallen state in this world. It seems also to be predicated upon obedience to the covenants made.

    Why shouldn’t the consequences of our choices have eternal impact? Why can’t God prepare us in a pre-mortal eternity so we can come to earth to show ourselves what we really want? Can’t there be people who will stubbornly refuse to do the work required for exaltation? Especially when they refuse to do it in this life? It’s my opinion that there are truly lazy and truly evil people. If someone in this life willfully chooses darkness over light, then why would they suddenly “see the light†in the next life if they’ve already seen it and already rejected it? Christ will save everyone from “hell†eventually, and they will inherit glory, but only that glory where they feel comfortable. I don’t believe the eternal kingdoms will have guards that bar entry. I believe we will be in the places where we feel comfortable surrounded by people like us (and hopefully like God). Eternal reward is not about where God forces us to be, it’s about where we choose to be.
    I had a physics class that I didn’t like, didn’t prepare very well for and took a “gentleman’s C.†I will never have the desire to study physics. In my work now, I don’t need physics, and I like what I am doing now. It would not surprise me if there are individuals (but only 15%, according to my eternal calculations) who do not like and will not choose the work of exaltation and are happy to work in telestial or terrestrial glory, yes, even for eternity…Thus Saith Derek.

  18. I believe only the righteous here on earth are in a Telestial state because they recieve Telestial blessings such as the Holy Ghost. Besides children, all the rest of the world who haven’t been baptised are in that state where they do not yet qualify for Telestial blessings.

    I do not see in the church people who are not progressing who truly have been born again. They might move ever so slowly in their progress, but they are trying to do better. Joy comes through family life while learning ones potential. No man is truly happy who just stagnates through life. I see the kingdoms of glory as places of light and truth with abundant blessings handed out for achievment. Human achievment is the drive of our very existance. Studies have shown that man will try to figure out any problem in his way if it means a reward of something greater than the work itself. In the case of families, a Father or Mother who is just will do anything to help them and please them. Once all are shown their previous family and future family relationships in scope of righteousness, it will drive thm bonkers towards that goal. Why is it that Satan and his angels will suffer so badly?- Because they too will be shown that relationship and it’s true impact and it will drive them crazy with anguish to know that some (themselves) are not counted amongst the righteous and live as loving families forever.

    I restore old cars for a living and I am always striving to do better and make more money. The same can be said of any honest man and his job- he is always trying to better his situation even if his pay rate does not necessarily increase. I would have a hard time believing that someone would be happy throughout all eternity without progressing and trying harder to better their relationship with God.

  19. What about this hitch in section 88?–

    28 They who are of a celestial spirit shall receive the same body which was a natural body; even ye shall receive your bodies, and your glory shall be that glory by which your bodies are quickened.
    29 Ye who are quickened by a portion of the celestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.
    30 And they who are quickened by a portion of the terrestrial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.
    31 And also they who are quickened by a portion of the telestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.
    32 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.
    33 For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.

  20. Interesting to read several comments here (including one from Rob Osborn!) suggesting that those who inherit lesser degrees of glory will eventually be raised to the Celestial kingdom as they progress post-judgment.

    Bruce R. McConkie famously called that a heresy, and listed is as number five in his “seven deadly heresies.”

    Heresy five: There are those who say that there is progression from one kingdom to another in the eternal worlds or that lower kingdoms eventually progress to where higher kingdoms once were.

    This belief lulls men into a state of carnal security. It causes them to say,

    “God is so merciful; surely he will save us all eventually; if we do not gain the celestial kingdom now, eventually we will; so why worry?”

    It lets people live a life of sin here and now with the hope that they will be saved eventually.

    The true doctrine is that all men will be resurrected, but they will come forth in the resurrection with different kinds of bodies-some celestial, others terrestrial, others telestial, and some with bodies incapable of standing any degree of glory. The body we receive in the resurrection determines the glory we receive in the kingdoms that are prepared.

    Of those in the telestial world it is written:

    “And they shall be servants of the Most High, but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end” (D&C 76:112).

    Of those who had the opportunity to enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage in this life and who did not do it the revelation says:

    Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven; which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory.

    For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all etemity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever. [D&C 132:16-17]

    They neither progress from one kingdom to another, nor does a lower kingdom ever get where a higher kingdom once was. Whatever eternal progression there is, it is within a sphere.

    (text source)

    Personally, I’m on the fence. But if the issue of one of “orthodoxy”….

  21. Yes, that was Elder McConkie’s position (and probably is the position of most LDS), but, as I understand it, the Church has no official position on the question.

  22. If the question is one of orthodoxy, I should think the temple provides a better reference than the regrettably contrary notions about salvation of a long dead apostle. The main problem with BRM’s writings on the subject is that he tended to assume that telestial glory is even worse than the glory we now enjoy – basically that the At-one-ment has no effect on the telestial except to raise them to an endless hell. One can imagine why there might be a dispute in the council in Heaven over that.

    If one pursues either the scriptures or the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith it is easy to become convinced that BRM’s opinion was about 2200 years out of date on the subject, mapping telestial and terrestial glory to a state that Joseph Smith ended up regarding as only the fate of the sons of Perdition.

    And ironically enough, the D&C actually hints of the possibility of eventual salvation for some of the latter, although the Lord has said that there is no promise of such.

  23. As evidence, let me introduce the words of Joseph Smith on the subject of salvation for (almost) all:

    I have a declaration to make as to the provisions which God hath made to suit the conditions of man – made from before the foundation of the world. What has Jesus said? All sin, and all blasphemies, and every transgression, except one, that man can be guilty of, may be forgiven; and there is a salvation for all men, either in this world or in the world to come, who have not committed the unpardonable sin, there being a provision either in this world or in the world of spirits.

    Hence 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 which cannot be remitted to him either in this world or the world of spirits. God has wrought out a salvation for all men, unless they have committed a certain sin; and every man who has a friend in the eternal world can save him, unless he has committed the unpardonable sin. And so you see how far you can be a savior.

    A man cannot commit the unpardonable sin after the dissolution of the body, and there is a way possible for escape. Knowldege saves a man; and in the world of spirits no man can be exalted without knowledge. 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.

    I know the scriptures and understand them. I said, no man can commit the unpardonable sin after the dissolution of the body, nor in this life, until he receives the Holy Ghost; but they must do it in this world. Hence the salvation of Jesus Christ was wrought out for all men, in order to triumph over the devil; for if it did not catch them in one place, it would in another; for he stood up as a Savior. All will suffer until they obey Christ himself.

    The contention in heaven was – Jesus said there would be certain souls that would not be saved; and the devil said he could save them all, and laid his plans before the grand council, who gave their vote in favor of Jesus Christ. So the devil rose up in rebellion against God, and was cast down, with all who put up their heads for him.
    (TPJS pg. 356-357, emphasis added)

    The universalism of this passage should be striking, as should the implicit claim that all except the sons of Perdition will eventually be saved, but only through obedience to Jesus Christ himself, i.e. the salvation being spoken of is that which comes only through obedience to law, and not by grace alone. Salvation of any kind by grace alone is a false doctrine.

    D&C 76 teaches that the Sons of Perdition will not be resurrected. We also know that the resurrection of the unrighteous will be much delayed. We might easily conclude as a general principle that there is no resurrection of damnation (in the classical sense), that no one will be resurrected until they are worthy of it.

    And this seems to be exactly the principle taught in D&C 29:

    And again, verily, verily, I say unto you that when the thousand years are ended, and men again begin to deny their God, then will I spare the earth but for a little season;

    And the end shall come, and the heaven and the earth shall be consumed and pass away, and there shall be a new heaven and a new earth.

    And the righteous shall be gathered on my right hand unto eternal life; and the wicked on my left hand will I be ashamed to own before the Father;

    Wherefore I will say unto them—Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

    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.
    (D&C 29:22-29)

    Now whatever the telestial and terrestial are (if they are eternal states at all), neither is a state of everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. All except the sons of Perdition will eventually be persuaded to repent and submit to the governance of the Lord Jesus Christ – and on those conditions alone will the vast majority of mankind inherit salvation and eternal life.

    That is the testimony of both Joseph Smith and our Savior himself. Eternal damnation for almost all is not a plan of salvation worthy of speaking of. We had a war in heaven over the possibility of eternal damnation for a handful. Could an infinitely worse plan have gained a sustaining vote? Why come to earth at all with such a dismal prospect? Could Christ be counted as a Savior if even death and hell were not adequate to save more than a privileged few?

  24. LT Lines (ret),

    Interesting comments all around, and I am happily stuck on the fence. I have often felt that many Mormons are going to be surprised at the morning of the first resurrection and during the millenium when they find themselves next to good people who were not of our faith, or those of our faith who had been deemed “less valiant.” God’s curve will be subjective and geared towards THAT individual, and I imagine it will baffle those of us who seek a more objective standard.

    In that sense (and sorry for the sidebar), Mormons seem to thrive on the tangible righteousness. It is one thing to say that we believe in the higher law and are seeking a more perfect way, but then heavily emphasize OUTWARD piety. And, we eat it up. It gives us a measuring stick that we can hold up to our neighbor (regardless of faith), and judge ourselves. Thus Saith Derek would rob a number of Mormons their superiority.

    Even though the Lord may not want to tip his hand about the final grade for His class, fully embracing this concept seems to run afoul of the mentality that the BoM is quick to denounce, the “if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God” camp. I know that is not what you are ultimately saying, but if this is how it is, it sure would make some members even more trunky than they already are.

    In the end, perhaps we will only be saved to the level of which we are comfortable. I am sure that there are those who will not, regardless of the chances in the eternities, feel “at home” in the CK. I often ask my wife why is that we don’t have more Mormon friends (other than the fact that we live in the east coast; i.e. “mission field”). LT Lines, you have given me the answer: I just bring them down.

    Anyway, I’m off to sew leather patches into my tweed jacket.

    - Hayes
    Mike Company forever!!

  25. Just to clarify, I also believe there is no revealed answer to this question and that BRM was stating his own opinion.

    I just expected certain people to hold to BRM’s view and was surprised when they did not.

    Personally I believe in three of BRM’s list of “seven deadly heresies,” and I’m on the fence about one other.

  26. I believe that there are parts of BRM talk on heresy that is plain heresy in and of itself. BRM gained a lot of fame for his many scriptural commentary works. I think also that he was a pretty level headed guy, but thought of himself as “the authority” on gospel doctrine matters. Much of his work in defining the plan of salvation is biased and has no scriptural foundation. I find it interesting that as much knowledge he had of the scriptures, he would pick and choose certain scriptures while leaving out important ones that contradicted his beliefs. He would then take the scriptures out of context to sway people to his beliefs.

    I also feel that it was the general concensus of the early church members to view themselves as God’s chosen people and that all else would be damned and rot in hell for a time before ultimately becoming their servants throughout eternity. This type of doctrine is one that utterly denies Christ’s tender mercies and what exactly his atonement covers. It would be like telling all of the truly repentant souls at the great last judgement that although they have met the requirements, it comes just a little too late, and therefore damnation to you! What is even the purpose of the atonement then? We also somehow think that these lower glory people will be judged for their wrong deeds done in the flesh. So what is the point of Christ forgiving them of their sins if he really doesn’t?

    To call eternal progression from kingdom/ glory to kingdom for those who come under Christ’s atonement a heresy is heresy itself! Why would Christ deny someone blessings if they wanted to live a higher law? What is the purpose of eternity if man is forever limited because he didn’t repent as fast as someone else?

    I think the logic is clear that eternal progression from one glory to another is not only sound, but is uplifting, joyous and beautiful.

  27. BRM’s talk on the seven deadly heresies is partly heresy itself! I do not understand why he had to give the talk while being such a figure of authority. Some of his ideas go against what the gospel teaches. Like his heresy of no second chance for salvation. We know that man can choose to repent in the spirit prison who rejected the prophets while in mortality.

    So, if Telestial and Terrestrial beings are truly limited in their kingdoms, to never progress to higher glories, what would be limiting factor? It certainly couldn’t be anything bad they did in mortality as those sins would be forgiven. It also couldn’t be because they are not capable of obedience.

    I believe that God’s kingdom is a kingdom of progression, and that line of progression consists of the same laws for everyone as they proceed forward. We just do not read of three different train tracks that lead to different salvations that ultimately never merge. What kind of chaos is that? No joy in that.

    For the sons of perdition, they will go to eternal damnation. This does not necessarily mean they will be damned for all eternity, it only meansd that the institution of hell will last forever for those not willing to abide by the will of God. Could you possibly imagine a soul stuck in forever torment who at some point wants to change but cannot? Now that is super scary stuff!

  28. Hayes,

    Good to hear from you. Don’t feel bad…if I lived on the East Coast I’d hang out with you. Semper Fi! (oh, wait that’s for Marines…)

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