Sunday, December 11, 2011

Infallible Authority, Chapter Ten

Eternal Progression
by J.J. Dewey
(To read the previous entry, click here. To start this series at the beginning, click here.)

I am including in the next chapter the text of the article I gave to Curtis. Because he shared its contents with a few members of his ward, he was immediately relieved of all his jobs and told he would be tried by the High Council for his membership and given only three days for which to prepare.


This simple exploration of a truth, which has never been that controversial in the church, brought us both to trial before the thought police who then probed us and found, not our actions, but our thinking to be incorrect according to their judgment. This incorrect thinking was not tolerated by them and, following advice from higher authority in the church, they excommunicated us both.


This is the article which started it all. Read it for yourself and see whether you think it devil-spawned as was the judgment of church leaders.


Logical Doctrine
It has been said by many, from the greatest to the least, that, after the resurrection, when one is assigned to a kingdom that he remains in that kingdom for eternity. He may go down to the lower kingdoms, temporarily, but he cannot go up. Most believe that he can merely progress within the kingdom to which he is assigned.

Some believe that the progression in the three kingdoms is like three cars all going at different speeds. The celestial car is going the fastest, something like one hundred miles per hour; the terrestrial trailing at sixty; and the telestial creeping along at thirty miles per hour. This continues for all eternity.

Consequently, those in the lower kingdoms will never catch up to those in the higher, but eventually those in the lower will reach the point where the higher has been.

Interestingly, Joseph Fielding Smith pointed out in Doctrines of Salvation that this notion is a fallacy. He accurately stated that if a telestial being reached a state in progression which had formerly belonged to a celestial person, then that person would be in the celestial kingdom and would no longer be a telestial being. Assuming therefore the idea that a telestial person can never leave his assigned kingdom, President Smith stated that the telestial beings will never in all eternity reach the celestial and only progress within a limited sphere within their own kingdom.

Both of the above reasonings have a certain degree of accuracy, but if sound reasoning is based on a false premise then the greatest logic in the world will produce false doctrine. And what is that false premise?

The false premise is that which disagrees with the scriptures.

And what is that?

It is the false teaching that those in the lower kingdoms cannot progress to the higher as we shall proceed to prove from the Standard Works, the writings of Joseph Smith, and with good old down-to-earth common sense.

It is amazing that so many in the church today universally proclaim that the inheritor of each kingdom is doomed to that kingdom forever and ever, especially since this teaching is contrary to the scriptures. Some of the Brethren have come forth and proclaimed such doctrine in their own name with no logic, reasoning, or scripture to back them up. Is a doctrine proclaimed in an authority’s own name to be taken as infallible truth?

No.

Even the leaders of the church decry the doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope; so surely the church authorities’ opinions are no better than our own if we have the Spirit. Joseph Smith told the General Authorities of his day: “Advance no principle but what you can prove, for one scriptural proof is worth ten thousand opinions.” (DHC 3:396)

The belief of eternal confinement to a kingdom is a carry-over from the Protestant belief in the eternal hell. Until Joseph Smith came along nearly all of Christianity believed that once you went to hell you stayed there forever and ever. However, the Lord explained in a revelation that he allowed the scriptures to be written to sound that way in order to scare people into repentance: “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 names glory... Behold, I am endless, and punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, FOR ENDLESS IS MY NAME.” D&C 19:6-7, 10 The Lord clearly tells us here that “It is not written that there shall be no end to this torment.”

Complementing this, Joseph clearly taught that if a thing has a beginning then it must have an end. He said:
 “I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man -the immortal part, because it had no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two; then it has a beginning and an end; but join it again, and it continues one eternal round. So with the spirit of man. AS THE LORD LIVETH, IF IT HAD A BEGINNING, IT WILL HAVE AN END. All the fools and learned and wise men from the beginning of creation, who say the spirit of man had a beginning, PROVE that it must have an end; and if that doctrine is true, then the doctrine of annihilation would be true.” (DHC 6:311)
Joseph was as sure “as the Lord liveth” of this doctrine. He could have easily elaborated on this principle and said: If the spirit of man began at birth it will have an end and be no more, but if it has always existed then it will exist forever. If a punishment has a beginning then it will have an end. The only way a punishment can last for eternity is if it never had a beginning. Similarly, if we have a beginning to our habitation of the telestial, terrestrial, or celestial kingdoms then “as God lives” there will be an end.

The doctrine of eternal confinement to a kingdom is quite comparable to the Christian doctrine of hell for similarly, on the first reading it does sound as if one will be confined to his assigned kingdom forever. Consequently, it does “work upon the hearts of the children of men” to cause some to try harder. Yet when one does cease being a child and mature a bit spiritually, then scare tactics are no longer necessary and it will be to his benefit to learn the truth.

All Judgements Are Not Given
In speaking of those who do not regain the presence of God the Lord said:
“And now behold, I say unto you, never at any time have I declared from mine own mouth that they (the wicked) should return, for where I am they cannot come, for they have no power. BUT REMEMBER THAT ALL MY JUDGEMENTS ARE NOT GIVEN UNTO MEN...” (D&C 29:29-30)
Here the Lord leaves the field wide open. He does not say the wicked will not someday learn their lessons and return to his presence, but he merely says he has not stated such a thing and woe unto him that would condemn a man to the telestial kingdom for an eternity, for he has made a wreckless judgement in an area where “My judgements are not given unto men.”

When many lift up their heads in the telestial kingdom they will certainly pray that their “eternal damnation” will not last forever. In all the scriptures there are two that indicate that those who fall short of the celestial glory or Godhood will seemingly never attain it.. The first reads as follows:
 “And they (the telestial inhabitants) shall be servants of the most High; but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end.” (D&C 76:112)
This scripture is easily explained. As long as the telestial inhabitants live the telestial law they will dwell in the telestial kingdom, and as long as they are in this state they cannot join God and Christ in the Celestial kingdom worlds without end.

There are worlds without end in all three of the kingdoms and as long as one is attracted to the laws of the lower kingdom he is stuck there; but as soon as he begins living the higher laws, he moves to the higher kingdom in spirit. For instance, this earth is part of the telestial kingdom but as soon as we live the celestial laws our spirit has already entered the celestial kingdom, and after judgement our consciousness will be transferred from a telestial world to a terrestrial or celestial one.

There are also worlds without end toward which the God and Christ set over us are aspiring; and if one waits too long to live the higher laws then he may have to wait for the next eternal round and be subject to another Christ and another God who will be appointed over them in the far future. Thus a person may be separated from our present God and his Christ for what might as well be forever from our point of view. The second scripture mentioned reads as follows:
“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 exceedingly, and an eternal weight of glory. For these angels did not abide by my law; therefore they cannot be enlarged, but remain separate and singly, and from henceforth are not Gods, but angels of God forever and ever.” (D&C 132:16-17)
This scripture is somewhat easy to misinterpret similar to the way the world does Bible teaching that the wicked “shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Rev. 20:10) The Doctrine and Covenants teaches us that in reality the wicked will not be tormented eternally but all punishments have an end. We are told that punishments were made to sound eternal so it would have a greater effect.

This scripture we have just quoted was also written for effect. Those who do not abide the highest celestial law will be separate and single forever as long as they live the lower law. On the other hand, there is eternal progression which means eternal opportunity, and when these angels learn and live the higher law then they will go to the higher kingdom.

They are only confined to a lower kingdom forever and ever as long as they do not abide the higher law.
Joseph Smith taught this very principle and said that all men would eventually return to the presence of God and that there is no such thing as a punishment without an end. (See DHC 4:79)

Let us stretch our minds and try and comprehend some of the concepts Joseph Smith taught and see what direction they take us. As we mentioned Joseph stated over and over that that which has a beginning “as God lives” will have an end, and if a thing endures forever then it could have never had a beginning. He further stated “That which has a beginning will surely have an end...If the soul of man had a beginning it will surely have an end.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Page 181)

“ANYTHING created cannot be eternal.” (DHC 3:387) “The intelligence of spirits never had a beginning neither will it have an end...That which has a beginning may have an end.” (DHC 6:311)

Let us use the Prophet's logic and see where it takes us. We are told that “Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.” (D&C 93:29)  Joseph further stated that at this time our spirits were “co-equal with our Father in heaven.” (DHC 6:311)

When we were with God and “co-equal” with him, how long of a period did we dwell with him? We are told that neither us or God had a beginning, so obviously we were with God for an eternity as indicated in God's word to Adam: “And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from ALL eternity to ALL eternity.” (Moses 6:67) Remember we are speaking of our intelligence and not the spirit body.

We thus establish from the writings of Joseph Smith that man and God are co-equal and both are from eternity; both had their intelligence together for that infinite period. All things that are created have an end; and that which has no beginning will have no end.

According to Joseph then, was there a beginning to man's union with God?
No.

Therefore, will there ever be a permanent end to man's union with God? Could he ever be eternally separated from him?
No.

According to Joseph was there a beginning point for all men when they were separated from God?
Yes.

Because there was a beginning to the separation does that mean there has to be an end to it?
Yes. Joseph said that if there is a beginning there has to be an end.

Therefore, is the scripture literally true which reads that God “will have ALL men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”? (I Tim 2:4) Does God truly have power to fulfill his will and eventually bring everyone to the knowledge of the truth and back into his presence?

Yes. If Joseph is a prophet this doctrine must be true. According to Joseph's logic if a person has a beginning to his separation from God, then he will have an end. Man has been with God for eternity and eventually he shall be with him for eternity again. Water vapor in the air may condense and fall on the earth, but sooner or later it will evaporate and return to its source, but all the molecules do not return at the same time, each returns in its order.

Ask For A Fish
We are supposed to believe that God is our Father and we are his sons and daughters and that God loves us even more than we love our children. If this is the case then we should examine the good we try to do for our children and then expect that God, being our Father, would do an even greater good for us as his sons and daughters.

If a child fails the first grade do we condemn him to stay in the first grade for all eternity, or even a lifetime? No. We have pity on the child and try and help him as much or more than ever and when he finally attains the second grade we rejoice at his progress.

If an earthly parent is this good in his thoughts then what about God? The scriptures answer:
“Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your father which is in heaven give good gifts to them that ask him?” (Matt 7:9-11)
 We are commanded to “ask and it shall be given you.” (Matt 7:7) This scripture doesn't apply to this life only, but for all eternity. God did not put a limit on it. Therefore if a man in the telestial kingdom asks for the means to go higher, will not God provide a way? If you were with God and that person in the telestial kingdom asking was your son would not you rejoice in providing him with the opportunity to join you? If we are that good in seeking the welfare and progression of our children would God not go one better? Will God give a stone of eternal damnation to a son in the telestial kingdom who seeks to go up?

Are we capable of greater good than God?

But, says one, "God has his hands tied and he is subject to laws." But we ask: What laws are you talking about? Why bind God by laws that do not exist? Where is this law written that we hear rumored about the church and who established it? Would it not have been God? But if it was God why would a loving Father establish such a damning and unjust law?

Alas! We know there is no such law, but such a law is thought up by those who feel secure in their own salvation and exaltation and want to limit opportunity to their own sphere. They are like established doctors and lawyers who are secure in their income and want to establish rules for newcomers so difficult that few will make the grade, thus eliminating competition.

We forget that on God's endless worlds there is room for all and as soon as a man “asks” the opportunity will be given for God “will have all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (I Tim 2:4) “Even so it is NOT THE WILL of your Father which is in heaven that ONE of these little ones should perish.” (Matt 18:14)

People who doubt the scripture will say that God's will is not always done, but they forget that “with God NOTHING shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)  They also forget the prayer of Jesus: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt 6:10)

I contend that if it is the will of God that none shall perish, or that all shall eventually be exalted, then nothing can hold back that Will from being accomplished. If God “allotteth unto men according to their wills” (Alma 29:4), then he shall surely be able to fulfill his own will. If God cannot fulfill his own will then you and I have great reason to tremble and fear for he may not have power to save us even if we repent! Behold, the Spirit testifies that God can save and exalt whoever will use his free agency to conform to the appropriate laws, regardless of whether that decision was yesterday, today, or a million years from now.

There is much about the Plan of Salvation that has not yet been clearly revealed as indicated by Joseph Smith: “I have never had the opportunity to give them (the Saints) the plan that God has revealed to me.” (DHC 3:286)

Joseph also said:
“Paul ascended into the third heavens and he could understand the THREE PRINCIPLE ROUNDS of Jacobs ladder - the telestial, the terrestrial, and the celestial glories or kingdoms, when Paul saw and heard things which were not lawful to utter. I COULD EXPLAIN A HUNDREDFOLD MORE THAN I EVER HAVE of the glories of the kingdoms manifested to me in the vision were I permitted and were the people ready to receive them.” (DHC 5:402)
It is very interesting that Jacob's ladder has THREE ROUNDS to it. In other words the three kingdoms are merely three rounds to one ladder that both Jacob and Joseph Smith saw. Jacob's ladder has three groups of steps on it: The three kingdoms. Would God build a ladder with three sets of steps and force his children to stay on the first? If a man has better sense than to do such a thing then surely God does also. The ladder of God would have been made to climb up all the steps each person desires until he reaches the top.

Another question to keep in mind is where does Jacob's ladder take us if the celestial kingdom is the third step? That indicates there is something above the third step for a ladder is merely a bridge that leads us to something higher. We will discuss what is above the celestial in a moment.

I will first give more evidence that the Lord does not always mean “forever” when he says “everlasting”, “eternal”, “perpetual”, “without end”, or “forever”.

We have already elaborated on “eternal damnation”. In another case Moses was told that a slave should serve his master “forever”. Exodus 21:6 Here, of course, he meant until the end of his life. The Lord said that certain ordinances in the law of Moses was to last “forever” (Num 18:19), but of course they did not. The law of sacrifice was to be a perpetual statute (See Leviticus 3:17; 7:34, 36; 16:31). On the other hand, it is not now required. Circumcision also was an everlasting covenant (Gen 17:13), but the law of circumcision is now done away. Since nothing with a beginning can actually last forever the Lord has to speak relatively when using such words.

If you discovered that you or your children did not have a prayer of entering the celestial kingdom on the day of judgement, but may have to go to the terrestrial or telestial, would you not hope that God in his mercy would somehow grant you another opportunity? Actually, very few members of the Church now possess spirits in a celestial condition and if the truth were known of the true percentage that are worthy of the presence of God, the cry would be long and loud for another chance to progress.

Interestingly, Brigham Young taught that even the sons of perdition will have another chance at the celestial kingdom. He said that “They will be THROWN BACK TO THEIR NATIVE ELEMENT from which they originated, to be WORKED OVER AGAIN.” (Journal of Discourses 2:12)

He also said that this process would take “myriads of years” but sooner or later they would be back where they started which would of course mean that they would have another chance at the kingdom of God.

If the son of perdition eventually gets another chance then surely the telestial and terrestrial people will someday move up higher and enter the presence of God.

Celestial Candidates?
If the average church member could be convinced that the chances are that he, in most probability, is not worthy of the celestial glory, then perhaps he would be a bit more open minded to the reality of true eternal progression for all. Let us see the caliber of person we must be to enter that glory. John Taylor said:
“If any man or woman expects to enter into the celestial kingdom of our God without being tested to the very uttermost, they have not understood the Gospel. If there is a weak spot in our nature, or if there is a fiber that can be made to quiver or to shrink, we may rest assured it will be tested.” (The Kingdom Or Nothing by Samuel W. Taylor; Page 345)
How many have been tested to the uttermost or still have a fiber of their being that can be made to quiver? If you are with the majority here then it is off to the telestial or terrestrial kingdom you go. Those who make it as high as the terrestrial will be fortunate, for one must be honorable, honest, and receive a real testimony of Christ to even go there.

Those who go to the celestial glory are to receive a crown. Suppose the angel at the gate asks you what you have done to be worthy of a crown? What will you say?
“I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth? Or do ye imagine to yourselves that ye can lie unto the Lord in that day, and say -Lord, our works have been righteous works upon the face of the earth and that he will save you?” Alma 5:16-17
We are also told that we must be “valiant” to go to the celestial kingdom. If the Lord were to ask you what valiant acts you have done, what would you say? How long would be your list? What valiant testimonies have you born? How can you claim a kingdom with Abinadi who stood alone in bearing a testimony at great risk to the wayward church leaders of his day?

We are told that you must be “overcome by faith.” D&C 76:53 Are you overcome by faith? Tell us your deeds that put you in the same class as Nephi, Abinadi, Alma, Mormon, Moroni, Daniel, Noah, Job, Paul, and others who were overcome with such faith. How many do you see in the church about you that are overcome by this faith? Even if you are, is your family? Are you going to have to go to the celestial kingdom alone?

It wouldn't really be heaven if you couldn't have your family would it?

If you have one wayward son, daughter, parent, or friend who is separated from you forever in a lower kingdom with no chance of eternal union how can you still love them and enjoy any type of exaltation for yourself? If the doctrine of eternal separation were true, one would have to deny the pure love of Christ to let oneself have any joy in an exaltation while seeing our loved ones have no hope of joining.
Another qualification of entering the celestial kingdom is to be “sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise.” (D&C 76:53)

 Going to the temple does not fulfill that - only having the Holy Spirit come to you and seal you his does. Has this happened to you? When?

You must be one of those “into whose hands the Father has given all things.” D&C 76:55 Has this happened to you?

We must receive a “manifestation of the Spirit, WHILE IN THE FLESH, (that) they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory.” (D&C 76:118)

We are told that this is more than a mere warm feeling, but it includes having things revealed to him that is “not lawful for a man to utter.” (Verse 115) These are things “seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (D&C 76:116) Have you received this manifestation? Then how do you expect to enter the world of glory?

Joseph Smith said: “Any person who is exalted to the highest mansion has to abide a celestial law, and the whole law too.” (DHC 6:185) Have you lived the whole law? How about the United Order? How do you expect to hop into obedience to that law in the celestial glory when you have not been tested on earth as to whether or not you can live it?

Did not Joseph say: “To get salvation we must not only do some things, but everything which God has commanded.”? (DHC 6:223) He also said: If a man would attain to the keys of the kingdom of an endless life; he must sacrifice all things.” (DHC 5:555)

Have you sacrificed all things? Look around you. How many fellow church members do you know who are worthy of a celestial glory? Obviously, the scripture is true which states “many are called, but few are chosen.”(D&C 121:34)

Those who now cry the loudest that the less valiant will be damned forever in the lower kingdoms will be the first to find themselves unworthy for the celestial glory, and on their lips will be a prayer hoping that they were wrong about eternal separation and this treatise is correct.

Basic Accepted Truths
Now let us take the truths we see to be self evident and see where they lead us:

1. We acknowledge that God has given to all men and women their free agency. This agency is given not only for time, but for eternity. We have no indication that God will ever take it away, even from the least of souls. God even allows the devil to do what he pleases.

2. All church authorities acknowledge that there is eternal progression within all the kingdoms. Both the telestial and terrestrial persons receive ministers from higher kingdoms (D&C 76:86-88), so they must advance.

3. God, being a loving Father would never forcefully prevent a man from receiving more knowledge, but encourages it through the ministrations mentioned above.

4. We are commanded to “ask and ye shall receive.”

These four statements that are presently accepted by the church can lead to some interesting conclusions indeed.

First, free agency is an eternal principle. We know it existed before we came to the earth because that was what the war in heaven was all about and we also know that Christ will win the fight to establish the principle forever.

Therefore, if a man in the telestial kingdom desires to begin living the higher terrestrial laws, what is to prevent him from exercising his free agency and doing so? After all, they are ministered to by angels. (D&C 76:88) Do you think the angels are teaching them the telestial laws they are already living, or something higher?

This earth is a telestial world. This is acknowledged by authoritative church teachings and is taught in the temple. Do the angels that administer to us teach us earthly laws or something higher?

Something higher, of course.

The terrestrial inhabitants are ministered to by the celestial (D&C 76:87). Now will these celestial people be teaching them the terrestrial laws already being lived, or the higher celestial law? The answer is obvious.

If then a group of telestial people begin living terrestrial laws, they begin to form a terrestrial kingdom; and if a group of terrestrial inhabitants live celestial laws, they begin to form a celestial kingdom. This very principle will be demonstrated on the earth which is now in a telestial state. When enough of us live the terrestrial laws the great millennium will come and the earth will be changed to a terrestrial state. After that Satan is loosed for a short period, and then destroyed; the inhabitants will live celestial laws and the earth will be changed again and become part of the celestial kingdom.

Is it not obvious that when a group of people use their free agency to live the higher laws, that the kingdom they are in is changed? In examining statement two, all people must concede that there is some type of eternal progression for everyone. And what are they progressing to? Of course, everyone wants to become like God. If three people have a goal of reaching a point ten miles away and they are all heading toward it at different rates, then as long as no one gives up they will all arrive there, but at different times.

Obviously, if there is eternal progression for all, then all will eventually reach their goal.

Statement three tells us that God will not stop a person from receiving more knowledge. Joseph Smith said that “A man is saved no faster than he gains knowledge.” He also said: “In knowledge there is power. God has more power than all other beings BECAUSE HE HAS GREATER KNOWLEDGE; and hence he knows how to subject all other beings to him.” (DHC 5:340)

This is indeed interesting. God obtained his power through knowledge. Therefore if we obtained the knowledge of God we could obtain the power of God.

Now we are all gaining knowledge, but at different rates. Let us suppose that at death, John Jones merely had enough knowledge to obtain the telestial kingdom. Even though he obtained the lowest glory, that is no reason to assume that he will not gain more knowledge. Therefore, Mr. Jones will continue to increase in knowledge even though it may be at a slower pace than the inhabitants of the higher kingdoms.

Let us suppose, for instance, that it would take a trillion pieces of knowledge to obtain the knowledge of God necessary for celestial glory. Even if this telestial inhabitant only gains one new piece of knowledge a year, he could still obtain the celestial powers in a trillion years.

Isn't it obvious that if there is, in reality, eternal progression, then all goals are obtainable by everyone? Being eternally damned because of one short lifetime of error is like being refused a higher education and sent to the coal mines for your entire life just because you flunked a one hour exam. Would that be fair? Of course not, yet many say that it is justice to send a man to the telestial kingdom for eternity because he flunked his test in this life, which is less than a minute in relation to eternity. Is common sense yet alive in Israel?

Fourth, we are commanded to ask and we will receive. Now if you were in the celestial kingdom and you had all power, and you had a son in the telestial kingdom and upon visiting him with tears in his eyes asked you to open up the way for him so he could join you in the celestial kingdom, what would you do? If you had all power would you not open the way for your own son? If you, being evil, are that good, would not God equal or better you?

After all did not the Lord say: “There is NO END to my works, neither to my words. For behold, this is my work and my glory -to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:38-39)

The Lord clearly tells us that there is “no end” to his works to bring about our eternal life and the scriptures plainly tell us that part of his work involves an organization of ministering to the terrestrial and telestial kingdoms. Obviously the work of God in the lower kingdoms is for the purpose of bringing about the “immortality and eternal life” of the inhabitants.

Let us at least hope this is the case because church members are clearly taught that we are in the telestial kingdom even now. During the temple ceremony in the telestial room the speaker reveals:
“Brethren and sisters, this room represents the telestial kingdom, OR THE WORLD IN WHICH WE NOW LIVE.”
 In addition, various church leaders in the past have pointed out that the earth is in a telestial state now. If then the place in which we now live is a part of the telestial kingdom, are we going to stay here forever? Do we not have a hope of going to the celestial?

In the temple, members advance from the telestial room to the terrestrial, and finally through the veil to the celestial. Why is there such a ceremony if there is no such advancement from kingdom to kingdom? How the whole church can fail to grasp the meaning of such a simple teaching from the Lord is an amazing thing.

Joseph Smith gave us some startling information about the inhabitants of the terrestrial kingdom: “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death...Many have supposed that the doctrine of translation was a doctrine whereby men were taken immediately into the presence of God, and into an eternal fullness, but this is a mistaken idea. Their place of habitation is that of a TERRESTRIAL ORDER, and a place prepared for such characters he held in reserve to be ministering angels unto many planets...But we shall leave this subject of terrestrial bodies for another time.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Pages 170-171)

This is indeed interesting for we find that a righteous man like Enoch and his people are as yet only in the terrestrial kingdom. Apparently they have not yet made it to the celestial. Is Enoch and his people doomed to the terrestrial kingdom for eternity, or is God going to continue his work and bring about their immortality and eternal life?

If assignments to the various kingdoms is permanent and Enoch has only made it to the terrestrial, how in God's name do members of the church expect to fare better? What great works has any church member done that would cause him to go higher than Enoch?

Obviously Enoch will make it to the celestial kingdom in due time simply because there is progression from kingdom to kingdom.

“But”, says one, “You're talking about circumstances before the resurrection. Things are different afterwards.”

They are? Who told you that? Where is it written? Nowhere does it tell us that movement from kingdom to kingdom will ever cease, but we are told that the works of the Lord are “one eternal round” which indicates an eternal cyclic effort of the Lord to advance all men. The belief that the resurrection changes eternal principles is patterned after tradition similar to the belief patterns of the Lamanites.

Kingdoms Higher Than The Celestial
If the reader still insists that there is no progression from kingdom to kingdom, we would like to see how they explain the following scripture:
“The place where God resides is a great Urim and Thummim. This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state (the celestial), will be like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummin to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order (the telestial and terrestrial kingdoms), will be manifest to those who dwell on it; and this earth will be Christ's. Then the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17 will become a Urim and Thummin to each individual who receives one, whereby THINGS PERTAINING TO A HIGHER ORDER OF KINGDOMS WILL KNOWN; and a white stone is given to each of those who come into the CELESTIAL KINGDOM.” (D&C 130:8-11)
What's this? Higher kingdoms than the celestial?!

Nonsense, you say. But how do you explain the scripture where it is written as plain as the nose on your face? If you still maintain there is no progression from kingdom to kingdom, then you are damning yourself to at least the celestial where you will not be permitted to attain the “higher order of kingdoms.”

We are plainly told that those who live the new and everlasting covenant will not merely inherit one kingdom, but many: “Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms (Plural), principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths.” (D&C 132:19)

Just as Enoch left the telestial and is now in the terrestrial and waiting to go to the celestial and then to the “higher order of kingdoms,” so are we who keep the new and everlasting covenant promised that we shall inherit “kingdomS”. We are not destined to go to one kingdom, but through many. Now we see why Jacob's ladder had a kingdom for each set of steps and how we will eventually go up many steps. How can one claim to believe the scriptures and deny this?

It looks like they will also have to deny the words of Joseph, the prophet:
“What did Jesus do? Why I do the things I saw my Father do when worlds came rolling into existence. My Father worked out his kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom, I shall present it to my Father, so that he may obtain kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt him in glory. He will then take a HIGHER EXALTATION, and I will take his place, and thereby become exalted myself.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Pages 347-8)
The prophet also said: “Paul saw the third heavens AND I MORE.” (DHC 5:392) If Joseph saw more than the third heaven (or the celestial kingdom) then there must be a forth, a fifth, and probably more, for do we not believe in eternal progression? Do we not believe that if there is a beginning to our entering the celestial or third kingdom, then there must be an end? Someday there will be an end to our stay in whatever kingdom we are assigned and go on to the “higher order of kingdoms,” worlds without end.

In speaking of the higher kingdoms Joseph said: “Many persons think a prophet must be a good deal better than anybody else. Suppose I would condescend - yes, I will call it condescend, to be a great deal better than any of you. I would be RAISED TO THE HIGHEST HEAVEN; and who should I have to accompany me?” (DHC 5:401)

What was this highest heaven where there would be no one to accompany the Prophet? It was not the celestial kingdom, for that was the goal of the saints, and Joseph expected company there. He knew of higher orders of kingdoms to which none of the saints could yet obtain.

Are we going to continue to damn ourselves by clinging to the selfish, ungodlike, separative belief that each individual is doomed forever to his assigned kingdom after the resurrection? Even if we make it to the celestial do we want our progression to higher kingdoms damned by such a belief? After all, we are told that “as a man thinketh in his heart SO IS HE.” (Proverbs 23:7) If you think your progression is damned or ended, then it will be.

Isn't it obvious to the mind as well as the heart that God allows all to progress in both time and eternity according to their labor and desire? The challenge goes out to all in harmony with the words of the prophet Joseph: “The scriptures say it, and I defy all the learning and wisdom and all the combined powers of earth and hell together to refute it.”

This challenge can be made on any truth. As Joseph said: “truth will cut its own way”. Once a truth is presented in an enlightened manner, it will then forever on hold its own, for those who have the Spirit will discern it and create a nucleus of light which will eventually enlighten all.

Remember to apply Moroni 10:4-5.
Copyright J.J. Dewey, used with permission.
(To continue on to chapter eleven, click here.)

[A note from Rock about leaving comments: Many readers have posted as "Anonymous" even though they don't wish to, only because they see no other option. If you don't have a Google, Wordpress, or other username among those listed, you can enter a username in the dropdown box that reads "Name/URL."  Put your name in the "Name" box, ignore the request for a URL, and you should be good to go.
I have a pretty firm policy of never censoring or deleting comments.  If your comment does not immediately appear, it probably means it is being held in the spam filter, which seems to lock in arbitrarily on some posts for reasons I can't fathom.  If you have submitted a comment and it doesn't immediately show up, give me a nudge at RockWaterman@gmail.com and I'll knock it loose. -Rock]


39 comments:

John Penn said...

"Once a truth is presented in an enlightened manner, it will then forever on hold its own, for those who have the Spirit will discern it and create a nucleus of light which will eventually enlighten all."

This has been my experience my entire life. When Truth has been either taught to me, I have discovered it, or observed its' application, that Truth sticks in my mind. The filling that never fails to attempt to mix itself with the genuine Truth always falls away, unable to stand on its' own.

Steven Lester said...

Well, I must say, it good to know that I don't have to worry about advancing. It is automatic, apparently. So, what is the point of the resurrection, anyway? If everybody is automatically "saved" no matter what they do or say, no matter how evil or good, what is the point of being a Christian in the traditional sense; what good does it do? Indeed, these truths show that all religion is in vain, except as it might effect an increased loving persona within me and you.

While I agree with what you wrote based upon what I have read concerning the NDE, it is no wonder those guys kicked you out as fast as they did. What you wrote totally undermines their total validity as power figures. It is no wonder they feared you so much.

Dead Poet said...

Steven, the advancement is not automatic, because you will still have your free agency, remember? You will get to choose if you want to advance or not. If you are happy where you are, Heavenly Father is not going to force you to go up. He's not going to force you to do anything YOU don't feel comfortable with and ready for. I believe religion is here because we do need guidance to teach us how to treat others AND ourselves. The biggest benefit we gain by being "Christlike" is peace with our lives. Even if we are doing/believing things that our leaders do not agree with. Christ hung out with and taught those that were not in good standing according to the Jewish religion at that time, not with those that were considered "good members". If he came now, He wouldn't be hanging out up at the Church Office Building. I believe He'd be hanging out with the masses at the mall, and probably on a Sunday too. And we know he didn't convince everyone who heard Him speak. But He was still friends with them, I'm sure. He didn't force anyone to convert, or listen, or agree, because He CAN'T. And that's not going to change after we are dead, either. I think the point of the resurrection is so that we will get our perfected bodies back. We are not whole without both, we would not "have a fullness of joy" without both. There are limitations to each when separated, but together, there are none, and only then are we free.

Sorry, I have no scriptures to back this up, it's just my own conclusions.

Matthew said...

I totally agree Dead Poet. We will live as near to our Parents as we are willing to. Christ stands at the door and knocks and all we have to do is open it - in other words, make a choice. Some people may choose not to open the door.

Also, I found this to be a particularly incisive question:

"Suppose the angel at the gate asks you what you have done to be worthy of a crown? What will you say?"

Inspire said...

Here are a couple of questions:

If the "kingdom of God is within" us, how is it we go to one degree of glory or another? Isn't it already there... we just need to unveil it?

Secondly, have you ever considered that this Telestial world is the results of a previous probation? Alma 13 is fun to read with that in mind.

Anonymous said...

After the unrighteous repent & are cleansed in Spirit Prison they will all have righteous desires & they will all wish they had merited the Celestial Kingdom & could be with their spouse & children & other relatives for all eternity & become a God or Goddess.

But having not passed the test in mortality, they will be assigned to either the Terr. or Tel. Kingdom, to live forever single, with the remorse & pain that they lost their chance to live with their loved ones forever.

If it was true, that a person can just eventually gain the Celestial Kingdom in eternity, then why would anyone choose to suffer & sacrifice so greatly in this life in order to try to earn the Celestial Kingdom here & now?

For it does take a much higher level of spirituality & righteousness to earn Godhood than hardly anyone realizes.

Why would persons like the ancient Prophets suffer so greatly for so long if they & everyone else could just eventually make it. They would have relaxed more & just let everyone go at their own pace, no pressure, no worries, no need to try & perfect themselves now. No need to suffer & sacrifice so greatly here, just to have those blessing alittle earlier, when they can learn those same lessons later in a much safer place.

It does not make sense that we have eternity to gain Godhood. For no one would work that hard now & sacrifice what is needed in order to save themselves & families, if they could just do it all later.

Christ said that the only way we can tell his true disciples is by their possessing 'Christlike pure love'. Those who possess this kind of love understand that this life is very serious & all eternity stands on whether we gain this love or not, here in this life, & thus keep our marriage & family together forever.

Very few will ever gain this level of love & save their marriage & family & thus they will lose it & their exaltation forever.

Those who believe in an eternal opportunity for progression & Godhood, just don't realize the level of righteousness needed in this life nor do they possess pure love & are willing to do what it takes to sacrifice & save themselves & their spouse & children here & now.

For they would know that God would not ask them to suffer & sacrifice so greatly here & now, if they could just merit it all later.

I know that 'today' is the test, & the consequences for failing the test are so great that most people do not like to accept or think about it.

Hardly anyone, even in the Church or any church leaders, seems to want to do what it takes to be worthy of the Celestial Kingdom, it is just too hard & requires too much of them. Thus, it appears very few members will ever make it to the Celestial Kingdom & Godhood.

It is rare today & always has been very rare to really find a righteous person who possesses true Christlike love & really keeps their marriage vows, no matter what religion they are.

For it is by keeping our marriage vows in 'this' life with rare 'unconditional true love' that we come to merit Godhood.

We won't be married nor have our spouse with us & have the hard task of raising children & getting along, etc. later in the Terr. or Tel. Kingdoms. Thus there is no way to grow in those vital areas & prove ourselves worthy of Godhood there.

Earthly marriage & family life is probably the hardest test in life, that very few ever pass righteously, even though many 'think' they have a good marriage & are righteous.

The prize of Godhood is so high, & the price for it is so great, that the consequences for not doing so are in fact so dire, that few ever want to think about it or even be willing to pay the price for it.

Anonymous said...

Continued:

Thus, the natural man will always want a 2nd chance or an eternal chance to keep trying for the prize, though that is just not possible.

God pleads for us to take this life seriously & prove ourselves worthy of such blessings here & now, for he knows it's our only chance.

Satan instead, wants us all to believe we have eternity to gain Godhood & have eternal marriage & families. He doesn't want us to take it all so seriously here, but to relax & believe there is no time limit. But that is the most devilish doctrine ever taught.

For we really do show who we really are, in this tiny space of time of mortality. We either prove worthy of Godhood now or we lose that chance forever & ever.

Steven Lester said...

Well, assuming that all of that Exaltation stuff actually exists, two things of note: the marriage vow in the Temple is as Eternal as is the reward. Even God can not sever it because our human imperfections get in the way. In theory, ones children are equally bound to the parents in the same Eternal fashion, and so, no matter what happens here on Earth as we struggle to exist on it without committing the two unforgivable sins (implying that all the other ones are forgivable), that bond will last forever and everywhere, no matter what (except for the two sins, I guess). So, if you have two righteous parents and 30 wayward kids, the bond will STILL hold true and so those kids will eventually follow the parents into glory and all the rest of it. In short, according to the theory, THE BOND IS EVERYTHING. It is the master KEY. Which is why I have no problem about the Church building Temples everywhere on Earth. I wouldn't mind having them on every block in every town on the planet. The bond, assuming that it actually carries some validity, IS EVERYTHING AND THE MOST POWERFUL THING OF ALL. Unfortunately, I have to wait until I die and am resurrected into a normal body with normal desires before I get to do that myself. Then, I won't be gay anymore.

The second thing is that one needs to be careful about all of these religious theories in that they are often, very often, fostered by evil men to gain control over the minds and lives of other people. You all can say that THE SPIRIT WILL SHOW ME THE WAY OF TRUTH, but if that were actually true than why do we have a million ways out there to follow, instead of just one. Even the initial Mormon 10:4 promise is suspect. If you actually read the thing it says to pray to find out if Mormonism is NOT true, but everybody sort of misses that little difference. And so on.

Anonymous said...

I believe that marriage vows, in or out of the temple, are only going to be eternal if a spouse was very righteous on this earth & wasn't deceived to support evil.

If both spouses were unrighteous, not even a 'sealing' can make their marriage eternal.

It is not true that we can commit other sins & still make it & have an eternal marriage, as long as we don't commit those 2 unforgivable sins.

But, if one spouse stays truly righteous & the other spouse goes off the deep end & becomes wicked, the righteous spouse can still save the wicked one, after the wicked one repents in Spirit Prison.

Thus 'true unconditional Christlike love' for one's spouse, does conquer all, even sin, & is the most powerful thing in the universe to save others by.

Inspire said...

Anonymous,
You use words such as "earn, merit, prove, consequences," etc. The Scriptures are pretty clear to me that there is nothing, save the merits of Jesus Christ that will qualify us for RECEIVING His kingdom. All else is vanity, pride and abomination. The difficulty you speak of is not because it is so hard to do enough (it is IMPOSSIBLE to do enough), but because it is so hard to shed our unbelief and accept the gift Christ offers us. The path you talk about sounds like a heavy burden to me, rather than the light and easy yoke of the Savior. But we want to deny Him His power to save us. We reject His grace and say, "No, no. I've got it. Step aside." Can't we see that our works become dead this way? Paul observed this condition with the Jews. God gave them all the laws so they could see that they are dead, and turn to Him. Have we become like them? Do we deny Christ's power?

Matthew said...

Anonymous, you said "For they would know that God would not ask them to suffer & sacrifice so greatly here & now, if they could just merit it all later."

We are all sinners and all fall short. We, of ourselves, merit nothing. No reward, no crown, nothing.

The merit is Christ's and He shares it freely. The real deception is that we can work our way into heaven, or demand our way in because of temple ordinances. This is simply untrue.

After thinking about it last night, to answer the angel who might ask me, what have I done to deserve a crown, I would say that *I* have done nothing worthy of that reward, but that I throw myself upon the merits and mercy of Jesus, who offers it to me.

Anonymous said...

Inspire & Matthew,

Christ & his love & mercy are of course the author of our salvation. He made it possible for us to have the opportunity to repent & work to achieve eternal life. But his gifts of salvation do not mean we aren't required to do many things to become worthy of his mercy & blessing of salvation.

Faith without works is dead. We must achieve a very high level of love & righteousness, which requires much sacrifice & service, most especially in marriage, in order to become worthy of the salvation he has bought for us & worthy to go on & achieve Exaltation.

It seems very few, even in the Church, are willing to do what is necessary to live worthy of Christ's blessings of salvation & especially Exaltation.

Matthew said...

The price of discipleship is high, I don't argue that for a second - we are participants in the work of salvation, and our active efforts are indeed important.

However, I do believe that anyone willing to step up, will receive the blessings of obedience.

You see, I don't see the "kingdoms" as discrete, nor do I see them as a location. Rather I see them as a relationship with Deity, and to assert that relationships cannot ever change doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Steven Lester said...

Worthy? I hate that word. All it means is "Look at me. I'm so much better than the rest of you." I hate that word and I hear it all the time in the Church.

Jon said...

Anon,

This is probably why people would still want to have faith and be good even with the knowledge that there is eternal progression:

"Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come."

It is easier here than in the next world, so might as well do our best here. You also assume that there will be no sort of veil on the other side too. Is that true? We don't know.

Inspire said...

Anon,
If only for a moment, try to clear yourself of what you think you know and consider some other possibilities. When a rich young man came to Jesus asking Him what more he could do to enter the kingdom of God, Christ told him to sell everything and follow Him. Later, the disciples said (and I'm paraphrasing) "What you are asking is practically impossible!" And maybe that is the point He was trying to make... it IS impossible. But WITH GOD, all things are possible. Notice that He didn't give the same direction to others who wanted to be healed and came pleading for mercy. He granted their request freely, according to the faith they had that He could heal them.

In regards to the "faith without works is dead" mantra, I hear what you are saying... but I believe it's simply stating that if you have accepted the grace that Christ offers, the charity will be a natural result as you will blow where the Spirit listeth. Basically, if you say you have faith, the works will automatically be manifested. Without the works, it is innocuous or dead. However, if you look at all the occasions people were doing the works without the faith, that was considered pride, foolishness, abomination, sin, transgression and the like. Which would you rather be … innert or condemned by God? Something to chew on anyway.

Anonymous said...

Inspire,

I believe that there is a great difference between saying or thinking we have faith vs. producing the works to prove it. It takes every ounce of strength we have to stay righteous & give the service & make the sacrifices needed to truly have Charity, the pure love of Christ & be worthy of the Holy Spirit & eventual Exaltation.

I do not believe it comes naturally or automatically just by wanting it or thinking about it or saying one has faith. It takes constant & often painful effort & is the hardest thing anyone will ever do.

Most everyone believes they have faith, even most of the wicked believe they are righteous. Believing it & being it are two very different things.

There is a big difference between being good, honorable, kind & helpful & fulfilling all our callings at church (Terr. level) VS. being pure, holy & selfless enough to be filled with Charity & being able & willing to save souls.

It is very rare to find a truly righteous person today, even in the church, though almost everyone there believes they are righteous. It is almost impossible to find someone in the Church who really believes in the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Joseph Smith could hardly find anyone in the Church in his day who could accept the Gospel. Christ's gospel was even almost more than his Apostles could comprehend or accept, let alone live.

Living at a Celestial level is not a natural thing, it goes completely contrary to our carnal natures to be righteous, we must pray & strive for it everyday & even then, with God's help, we will barely achieve & maintain the level of righteousness needed to be worthy of Exaltation. Which I agree, is 'impossible', without God's help.

Anonymous said...

Jon,

I agree with that scripture, that being righteous here, will help us be further along & achieve higher rewards & stations in the next life.

But, being or staying righteous is so hard & the sacrifice is so great, that it takes 'knowing that it must be done here' (cause there is no 2nd chance) in order to maintain the strength to do it.

If we thought we could repent & still achieve Exaltation in the next life, we would not have the drive to maintain true righteousness here, it's just too hard.

The natural man needs a huge & looming, even fearful incentive, to be truly righteous.

Or no one would be able to do it. It takes being fearful of the consequences of 'not' making it, in order to make it. Realizing that we might lose our loved ones forever & not be with our Heavenly Parents again, is the only thing that can make us strong enough & give us the incentive to achieve it.

If we believe we have forever to progress, we will never have the strength to be sufficiently righteous & holy in this life, it just requires too much.

Understanding 'justice' (eternal consequences) is the only thing that makes 'mercy' (Christ's atoning power) possible & attainable.

Jon said...

Anon,

The gospel makes a lot more sense to me after reading that there is no "eternal damnation". It seemed so arbitrary. Why the veil if it is so important in this single life? You can believe what you will but my mind and soul is comforted by this.

Inspire said...

Anon,
I know where you're coming from, believe me. Our family spent several years doing as much as is humanly possible... all the programs, all the callings, all the service. In the end, it wasn't "enough." I wasn't "enough." I was anxiously engaged on what I call the Merry-Go-Round of Hell... always moving, never getting anywhere. And why is that? Because I thought that it was by my works that I would be saved. To this day I struggle with releasing the idea that I can push and pull my way to heaven through MY merits, that is how deeply this corporate ladder-climbing mentality is ingrained in us.

Take a look at what you are saying, Anon... the picture of the Celestial Kingdom that you paint is so exclusive that according to your own words, it is almost impossible to find any who will qualify, yet you claim that if we realized that we had more chances throughout eternity to progress, we would not strive to "achieve" it here. Sheesh, if it's practically impossible to do it like you say, then why bother in the first place? If God has to use tactics like scaring me into compliance with the threat of pain and suffering as consequences, I'm not sure I want to hang out with such a tyrant.

I'm not here to convince you of my viewpoints. Clearly you are set on earning your way up the ladder, and that's great. God speed on your journey. But for those who feel burdened by having to DO more and more and finding that it's never enough, I would say, maybe it's time to surrender this burden to Christ and love God with all your might, mind and strength. Then is His grace sufficient for you, that by His grace you may be perfect in Christ. And if by the grace of God you are perfect in Christ, you can in nowise deny the power of God. Do we deny His power by thinking that WE have to DO it all... or even any of the works? How is it relying WHOLLY on His merits to say that we must achieve our exaltation?

Don't get me wrong, I think the works will happen if we have an eye single to HIS glory (not ours). But they will be a natural result of having been born again in Jesus Christ, keeping what He commends to us: His pure love.

Anonymous said...

Inspire,

It appears we may be talking about the same things. For I agree we must just love God with all our might, mind & strength, but doing that requires more than most people think. Love means doing all that the person asks us to. Only those who possess the Holy Spirit will know all that God wants us to do. For Prophets only give us a few clues to those things, while the Spirit tells us 'all' the things we must do to achieve Exaltation.

And I agree, that 'after all we can do', then his grace will be sufficient to save us. But 'our part' is far greater than most people want to realize. And unless we do our part we can't expect his grace to be able to perfect us. Such a glorious reward does not come easy.

The reason we should 'bother' is because the reward is so great, even if the present test is so hard & the consequences for not achieving the Cel. Kingdom are so dire, awful & eternal.

Christ didn't like what he had to do either, it was very hard for even him to go through with the atonement. But he knew it would be worth it & that he had to do it or he & us would not achieve the happiness we could.

I believe there is a point where we can be assured we are on a Cel. level, & just need to maintain that. Part of the test of this life is enduring to the end & keep serving & striving no matter how tired we may be. Many give up early, because the enduring part is so long & hard.

Though we can feel like it's never enough, God can tell us we are doing great & to just maintain what we are doing. God can also bless us with wonderful & rare light & knowledge that will help strengthen us to help us keep going.

But even Prophets felt this tremendous 'weariness' from all the great burdens they suffered & endured. God can't take that suffering completely away, but he can strengthen us to be able to keep going to the end.

Also, God is not a tyrant, it's just that he knows how awful it will be for us to not be able to be with him & our loved ones & in the Cel. Kingdom, once we cross the veil & remember our pre-existence. He knows how painful it will be to be single forever & without those we love & knew for millions of years before we ever even came to earth.

He pleads with us to take this life seriously because he doesn't want us to experience that kind of suffering & pain throughout eternity.

But unfortunately very few take him seriously. We figure there must be 2nd chances & that he wouldn't let such an awful thing happen to us, especially since most of us are really nice people who do alot of good.

But the reality is he has actually 'no say' in where we end up, he has to obey eternal law too. He can only encourage & plead with us to listen to him & take the commandments & our marriage covenants seriously, no matter what religion we are. For that is the only way we can gain those highest blessings. He can't just give them to us, no matter how much he may want us with him.

Anonymous said...

Continued:

Also, the greatest kind of service that will get us to the Cel. Kingdom is not what we do at Church, but in our own home. How we love & serve our spouse & children before ourselves is the true & hardest test.

Anyone can serve at church, where many do just to look good, while mistreating & refusing to love & serve their difficult family members. While church service is a wonderful thing, it is far less important than the service within our own home.

Serving our spouse's every wish, will perfect us much faster than any church service we could ever do.

While it may be impossible to be righteous without God's help, it still is 'possible' for everyone to do so, if they really want to. This life is the test to see what & who we really are & if we can be trusted to love & serve a spouse & family forever above ourselves, by if we did it here or not.

Unconditional love, especially for one's spouse, no matter what they are like or what they do, is the key to Exaltation. Everyone wants to receive this kind of love but very few are willing to give it.

While few seem to be choosing to live on a Celestial level today, we must remember that many will do so in the millenium.

Inspire said...

Anon,
If I thought that after millions of years, I had this comparative microsecond on earth to "get things right," then I too would be in a panicked frenzy. I certainly wouldn't want to spend the rest of eternity (how can there be a "rest" of something that has no end?) suffering because I had blown it. Eternity is a long time (wait, isn't eternity "outside" of time?).

I guess it comes down to the original question regarding advancing through kingdoms after this earth life. I don't know if you have read Alma 13 before and pondered what it means. If not, would you mind reading it and answering this question for me:
* How was it these high priests, who were ordained from the foundation of the earth had exceeding faith and good works, chose good over evil, and were able to repent while in God's presence?

As far as the saved by grace after all we can do thing... could another meaning be that after all we can do is realizing we can do NOTHING, and giving up that notion and finally not denying Christ's grace, but receiving it completely, without any of my self-serving (I want to achieve the Celestial Kingdom, you see) dead works attached?

June said...

To anonymous. "The 'man' dost protest too much, methinks." You mentioned spouse 13 times that I counted, how you have to serve your spouse, and this line "Unconditional love, especially for one's spouse, no matter what they are like or what they do, is the key to Exaltation."

I think you have a troublesome marriage and you want to believe there is a reward for your perseverance and hard work - for sticking it out no matter what.

I believe we are rewarded for our actions. But I also believe God wouldn't be so heartless as to put a veil up and then punish us for not following rules that are so easily interpreted in such diverse ways.

I could be completely off base on this one but it is just my observation. I think you are looking for validation for your choices. I sincerely hope you find them.

Anonymous said...

June,

I mention serving a 'spouse' & having unconditional love so much because I know that it's the key to Exaltation.

I believe marriage & how we truly love & serve our spouse & keep our covenants them, no matter what or if they do, is the true test for Exaltation & eternal marriage.

Charity, the pure love of Christ, is the greatest of all things. It is the one sure thing to tell a 'true disciple of Christ' by.

Joseph Smith taught that having this 'perfect love' is the key to not being deceived in this life & to having our calling & election made sure.

For when we choose to gain the Holy Spirit we will have this kind of love & this kind of discernment. Being deceived to fall for or support evil & the craftiness & philosphies of men, even unknowingly, is how we lose place in the Celestial Kingdom the scriptures say.

And for those who possess the Spirit, they will all interpret the scriptures the same way. Only the unrighteous interpret the scriptures in so many diverse ways.

So I believe it is very fair for Heavenly Father to expect us to live by & understand the rules, for as Pres. Packer said, "everyone knows when they do wrong." Even non-members, for we all have the light of Christ in us & if we are true to it, it will lead us to greater & greater light.

It is simply our choice to walk toward the light or away from it.

The Holy Spirit tells everyone the same things or harmonious things about any particular scripture or doctrine.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Anonymous,
As much as I agree with your assessment of Unconditional Love being at the top of God's list, it doesn't usually occur to me to struggle (if that's the right word) with that concept with my wife.

I think the real challenge for all of us in demonstrating unconditional love is with those who give us reasons not to like them, or with complete strangers who we may be apprehensive about trusting with that emotion.

Connie and I have had our differences and arguments, as all married people do, but we entered this arrangement because of an overriding passion we had for one another. Having unconditional love for someone I started out loving is not as much of a challenge as showing it to someone who, in ordinary circumstances, I might take to be a jerk.

I'll give you an example. A while back someone repeatedly insulted me, calling me a coward for not continuing to engage in an online debate I had lost interest in. While my initial reaction was to decide this guy as a jerk and give back the same kinds of insults he was tossing at me, the real challenge is for me to just accept him as my brother and let it go. I confess I did not do that. I continued to argue, because instead of totally accepting him with love, I let the guy get under my skin. My reaction was as petty as his.

Had I been able to let it go and just love the guy, I would have been demonstrating more of a celestial mindset. But I failed. The reality is I didn't like him.

I also have to differ with Packer's claim that we all know when we are doing wrong. In reality, I believe most people who are doing wrong believe they are in the right. Look at Packer himself. He has built his Church career in the belief that the lowly members have a duty to defer to "leaders" such as himself, and that not all doctrines of the Church need come through God, but can be instituted by the leadership. Need proof? Google his famous talk titled "The Unwritten Order of Things."

Anonymous said...

Alan,

Thank you so much for responding to my post.

I understand what you are saying. I agree there are some marriages where both spouses are loving & righteous & so it seems rather easy to have unconditional love. I also wonder if you both have achieved the level that I am talking about, where you seek to daily fulfill each others every wish before your own. I truly commend you if you have & am happy to know of such an wonderful marriage.

But the reality is that most marriages 80-90% or more, even in the Church, have some level or form of abuse or adultery going on, with one or both spouses. Though many don't even realize they do. Thus, for most spouses it is much harder for them to have such unconditional true love & faithfulness, if their spouse is committing abuse, adultery or abandonment.

If one has a righteous marriage like yours, than as you mentioned, the goal would then to strive to have such unconditional love for our children & other family & friends & others we come in contact with. Which is a hard enough goal to keep us striving for such love the rest of our lives.

Also, unconditional love does not mean letting someone continue to hurt us, but that we will stand up for right & do all we can to help them repent if need be.

When I said that I agree that 'everyone knows when they do wrong', I mean't that at some point in their lives they knew they were doing wrong but they kept doing it & thus became numb or past feeling to their wrongs after a while.

Thus, as you said correctly, most people who do evil think they are righteous, for they have long since lost their conscience because they at one point refused to listen to it.

The Holy Ghost does not bother us for long before he becomes very quiet & lets us just do what we want.

I believe most people even in the Church believe themselves to be righteous, even while they unknowingly support evil. As prophesied, (2 Nephi 28, etc.) most everyone today, except a few, are deceived & blinded to support & do evil. Yet they rarely awake & come to see that they are.

June said...

"The Holy Spirit tells everyone the same things or harmonious things about any particular scripture or doctrine." "And for those who possess the Spirit, they will all interpret the scriptures the same way. Only the unrighteous interpret the scriptures in so many diverse ways." I beg to differ on both of those counts. If that were true then I would say 99.99 percent of the world population that has ever lived is deceived. That would mean anybody in any religion other than Mormonism and most of the people I have ever listened to in Sunday school are deceived because they don't see things the same way.

I think there are multiple ways to interpret things and many ways to return to God. I think it is arrogant and narcissistic to think that anyone who interprets scripture different from your "right" way is not getting their thoughts from God.

Wasn't that the reasoning of every pastor or preacher that Joseph Smith talked to about his vision?

And about service to our Spouse. Perhaps you are right about your statement that unconditional love is the key to exaltation. But then it would be to all humankind, and anyone who exhibited that unconditional love would have that same key even if they had never read any piece of scripture ever let alone simply interpreted it differently than you do. Perhaps they aren't as unrighteous as you think they are.

Anonymous said...

June,

Yes, I believe most everyone has been deceived throughout history & even today, even in the Church. A righteous person has usually always been rare, except for a few times in history where a people repented & remained righteous for a short time.

It is rare to find someone who possesses the Holy Spirit & thus is not deceived & can really discern truth from error & right from wrong & devils from saints & true Prophets from false ones.

And it is also rare to find someone who believes in & possesses unconditional love, especially in a difficult marriage.

And I agree, anyone in the world, no matter what religion they are or no religion at all, can come to believe in & possess unconditional love & thus they will be Christlike & recognize truth when & wherever they hear it.

Elder Scott Senior said...

Mr. Dewey's beliefs rely pretty heavily on the idea that everything which has a beginning has an end, and I am just wondering how that idea applies to other things. Like since our ressurected body will have a beginning, will it also have an end? I am just curious about how that concept extends.

Anonymous said...

I stopped "worrying" over the Celestial Kingdom a long time ago. I find the concepts interesting. I find the idea of kingdoms interesting. But I determined that rather than being concerned with where I, personally, was going to end up, I would find peace with my God while on this earth and trust in Him to take me where I should go.

Perhaps I am too unconcerned. Maybe that is not being Mormon enough. But it's how I feel. I can't fixate on kingdoms. I do tend to think about Zion a lot. I think Zion comes first, whether in this world or in the spirit world. Not sure why or how, but it's how I feel, not necessarily a belief. I've met too many non-LDS who are much better people than many LDS I know, so I've let go of a lot of the competitive "stuff" that surrounded my church membership in years gone by.

'Ayin said...

Unfortunately I believe Dewey has misinterpreted Joseph Smith's intentions behind those words, which I have written in greater depth here: http://panveritas.blogspot.jp/2012/02/on-eternity.html

'Ayin said...

I disagree with excommunicating someone simply because of their beliefs, for in Alma 30 it states "Now there was no law against a man's belief; for it was strictly contrary to the commands of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds."

That said I believe that Dewey's interpretation of scripture is fundamentally flawed, for he denies the agency of man. Without eternal consequences to our actions, they become null and void.

I have written a more detailed rebuttal to Dewey's paper here: http://panveritas.blogspot.jp/2012/06/in-defense-of-eternal-increase.html

'Ayin said...

It is the truly righteous that don't worry, for they are they that trust in Him. As you said, Zion does come first. It is our duty to build Zion, and that should come before any selfish concerns as to where we'll go later on. To do what is right because of the desire to serve is true proof of righteousness, not a desire to do right because we think that it will net us some sort of profitable reward in the afterlife.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I have read the directed chapter. It seems inoffensive to me, apart from being doctrinally suspect, significantly in error and worryingly illogical. One of the justifications put forward is that it appeals to "commonsense". Where in all of scripture is an appeal to commonsense made as a yardstick of truth?

It seems to me the author has failed to address a number of issues, but I will concentrate mainly on the adverse influence of an initial assumption upon the whole thesis.
The statement is made that only non-created things last eternally. This is based on something JS was reported to have said, and not on scripture. That is a problem because it appears to me that the whole premise is built on that initial statement. But is that statement correct? If it is, then we are in trouble and destined to return eventually to mere intelligence since our spirits and our bodies were created. Presumably God has the same problem.
So the resurrection is temporary, according to this interpretation of what JS said. This is obviously contrary to scripture and therefore highly suspect.

But it gets worse. As, according to the logic upon which this whole deck of cards is based (only un-created things have no end), then the Devil will be returned to intelligence (quote by Brigham Young). Therefore, we are all destined to become devils eventually - even God!

This argument can be taken further, with alarming consequences. A family is a creation, and therefore destined to dissolve. It might take millions of years but it will, according to this interpretation of what JS said, have to happen. Does that mean that couples who divorce now are progressing at a more rapid pace than others who stay together? Think about it, the argument is full of holes.

And what of free agency. I might not ever want to return to intellegence but I will have to eventually. Again, according to Joseph it's the law.

But most damning of all is where does the Atonement fit into all of this? It seems to me that this is the achilles heal of the whole theory. It appears that once our punishment for sin is over we just have to learn some stuff and we will progress. It may take a while but there is no need for Christ in all of this. In fact, he wasn't really mentioned at all in the article and yet he is supposed to be the central figure in our salvation. This is where the whole deck of cards collapses in my view.

For me the view of the eternities illustrated in this article is scary beyond belief. It appears we will be ever travelling and never arrive at any kind of final destination. We are destined to an eternity of work, striving and toil; a kind of eternal hamster wheel. And, according to the premise, no matter how fast we spin that wheel we, as created beings are destined to end right back where we started. Just what I wanted to hear on a monday morning!

Robben said...

J.J.'s explanation of Eternal Progression is written better than I have read before. It is the way I understand it and frankly always have. Nothing startling about it - makes perfect sense.

the_mormonion said...

Couldn't it transfer that because of the atonement of Christ, all men have the opportunity to return to our Heavenly Father at some point? The doctrine of a kingdom "cut-off" point does not make the atonement more powerful; it only limits it.

the_mormonion said...

Even if this particular argument has its weaknesses, it doesn't take away from the fact that God will not prevent us from living a higher law if we so choose. That, to me, is the core idea of Dewey's argument.

MrHFMetz said...

So this the nephew was exed for? That is incredible. It makes an excellent topic for debate; not for exing someone! This is priestcraft of a high order. Some people will have to give account for this.
It's a very interesting theory that Brother Dewey comes up with, which could also take away some of our greatest worries. But progressing from one kingdom to another will be a difficult proces, I suppose, although these are all of the one Kingdom of God in heaven. Joseph Smith once said that for some people the disappointment will be so great that annihilation would be preferable; that is an indication of the proces of repentance over there. But I would not be surprised if this theory is true doctrine, and honestly I had rather this principle more openly adavanced in our D&C than some of the nonsense we find in section 132. It has been said that the prophet right before he was martyred he was about to reveal more and important truths, so who knows?
Anyway I believe that the over all majority of the people will feel perfectly fine in the places where they will find themselves in the hereafter and will really not be much interested in greater spiritual knowledge and heavy responsibilities; just as we see around us today, and which was also common behavior in the pre-existence, as the Journal of Mosiah Hancock seems to indicate.
For them D&C 76: 112 comes true: where God and Christ dwell they cannot come (and I think they would'nt even like it there).
For the few who - coming from downstairs - would eventually change their soul and mind and reach a celestial status it may also be true in the sense that after a very long time they would then possibly be confonted with another God and His Christ, because the Ones who speak to us today will then have advanced way beyond by that time. O dear, the church does'nt believe in an advancing God anymore! (which they once did, before approximately 1900). Now I understand why you are exed for spreading this idea. Just as you are for believing the Adam God doctrine and teaching it. Long ago people were exed for not believing in it. You see the madness?