by J.J. Dewey
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.
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?
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?
Therefore, will there ever be a permanent end to man's union with God? Could he ever be eternally separated from him?
According to Joseph was there a beginning point for all men when they were separated from God?
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.
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 5:16-17We 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.)
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[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]