Skip to comments.Eternal progression after death is fun speculation for Mormons
Posted on 11/15/2012 4:33:43 PM PST by Colofornian
(To see Cal Grondahls cartoon that goes with this post, click here) A key difference between Latter-day Saints and many other Christian churches is that Mormons believe that there are various post-judgment kingdoms in the outskirts of heaven. Theres the Telestial Kingdom, for anyone from Hitler to that lawyer whos cheating on his wife. Theres the Terrestrial Kingdom, for those decent folks who said not now when the missionaries came by the door. And then theres the Celestial Kingdom, the jackpot prize.
But even the Celestial Kingdom comes in degrees. According to Joseph Smith, there are three degrees of glory in the Celestial Kingdom. So theres the big leagues, triple-AAA ball, and AA ball in the Celestial Kingdom. The Terrestrial Kingdom is eternal single-A ball while Telestial Kingdom folks are damned to the rookie leagues forever.
And theres a reason I say leagues, because Mormon pop theology also flirts with the idea of progression within the lesser kingdoms and even from kingdom to kingdom.
I refer to one of the more obscure B.H. Roberts books, Outlines of Ecclesiastical History, first written in 1893, but my edition is from 1927. The copy I have was used by an LDS missionary of that era. Roberts was one of the progressive model Mormon leaders of the first half of the 20th century. He favored a more expansive interpretation of Mormon doctrine. It was a doctrinal battle that Roberts and others would eventually lose, mostly snuffed out by Joseph Fielding Smith and the rise of ultra-conservative church leaders.
Anyway, Roberts, on page 416, parts 19 and 20 of The Restoration of the Gospel section, writes:
The question of advancement within the great divisions of glory celestial, terrestrial, and telestial; as also the question of advancement from one sphere of glory to another remains to be considered. In the revelation from which we have summarized what has been written here, in respect to the different degrees of glory, it is said that those of the terrestrial glory will be ministered unto by those of the celestial; and those of the telestial will be ministered unto by those of the terrestrial that is, those of the higher glory minister to those of a lesser glory. We can conceive of no reason for all this administration of the higher to the lower, unless it be for the purpose of advancing our Fathers children along the lines of eternal progression. Whether or not in the great future, full of so many possibilities now hidden from us, they of the lesser glories after education and advancement within those spheres may at last emerge from them and make their way to the higher degrees of glory until at last they attain to the highest, is not revealed in the revelations of God, and any statement made on the subject must partake more or less of the nature of conjecture.
20. But if it be granted that such a thing is possible, they who at the first entered into the celestial glory having before them the privilege also of eternal progress have been moving onward, so that the relative distance between them and those who have fought their way up from the lesser glories, may be as great when the latter have come into the degrees of celestial glory in which the righteous at first stood, as it was at the commencement: and thus between them is an impassable gulf which time cannot destroy. Thus: those whose faith and works are such only as to entitle them to inherit a telestial glory, may arrive at last where those whose works in this life were such as to entitle them to entrance into the celestial kingdom they may arrive where these were, but never where they are.
Now here is where things get really interesting. I went to an online archive of Roberts 1893 book for the last quote. And where they are is where section 20 ends. However, if I go to the 1927 edition of Outlines of Ecclesiastical History, which I am holding in my hands, Roberts continues with this fascinating conjecture:
But if it be granted that the chief fact about Intelligences is that they have power to add fact to fact and thus build up knowledge, and through knowledge have wisdom, and thus make progress; and if to such intelligence there is granted eternal life immortality then it is useless to postulate any limitations for them; for in the passing of even a few thousands of millions of years, even if progress be very slow there will come a time when these intelligences men and women of even the telestial glory may become very acceptable characters, and very important personages.
This is radical doctrine, and exciting to read. It brings Mormonism back to its most progressive roots. But, today, web searches include only the 1893 edition. Roberts speculation from 1927 is not there.
And since 1927, the idea of eternal progression toward exaltation has became a pariah. I came of age as a young Mormon in the 1970s and I recall more than one teacher telling classes that the idea that you could progress from any of the lower kingdoms to exaltation was damnable to consider. In fact, I recall teachers citing Bruce R. McConkie, who described the idea as one of the Seven Deadly Heresies. (here)
What is included in Roberts 1927 version was part of Mormonisms move to more speculation of doctrine, more discussion. It was not to last, though. I have no idea of if the propensity to seeing the 1893 version of Outlines online is due to disapproval of the 1927 edition, but I would not be surprised.
Today, if you go to the LDS apologetics group FARMS internal Wiki page on eternal progression between the three kingdoms, you get an odd non-answer that translated, more or less reads, there is no official church position on this, but it probably isnt true.
Going back to Roberts book, section 7, page 408, of The Restoration of the Gospel, he writes:
Naturally the question arises why was the gospel preached to the spirits in prison who had once been disobedient if there were no means by which it could be applied to them for their salvation. We can scarcely suppose that Messiah would preach the gospel to them if it could do them no good. He did not go there to mock their sufferings or to add something to the torture of their damnation by explaining the beauties of that salvation now forever beyond their reach! Such a supposition would at once be revolting to reason, insulting to the justice of God, and utterly repugnant to the dictates of mercy!
That part of Roberts teachings remains Mormon doctrine. Its a reminder that the LDS belief that God does not have a line that divides all in a heaven and hell is still evidence of the faiths exciting, progressive roots.
So, despite the JFS and BRM efforts to make progression within kingdoms a sin to speculate about, we Mormons do still wonder about these issues, and even discuss them among ourselves from time to time. (To read a fascinating article on Roberts and others debates within the LDS leadership over doctrine, go here).
From the article: A key difference between Latter-day Saints and many other Christian churches is that Mormons believe that there are various post-judgment kingdoms in the outskirts of heaven. Theres the Telestial Kingdom, for anyone from Hitler to that lawyer whos cheating on his wife. Theres the Terrestrial Kingdom, for those decent folks who said not now when the missionaries came by the door. And then theres the Celestial Kingdom, the jackpot prize.
IOW, since few go into eternal "outer darkness" in Mormonism's view (Lds don't teach hell is eternal), even Hitler can be necro-baptized into salvation!
A key Mormon phrase for as you read this is the non-scriptural term, "eternal progression." The idea for temple Mormons is that you eternally progress from a "god in embryo" to a full-blown "god" who competes with THE God for glory, worship, praise, reception of prayers, planetary sovereignty, etc.
From Gibson's citation of Lds "70" (a general authority) B.H. Roberts: ...so that the relative distance between them and those who have fought their way up from the lesser glories...Thus: those whose faith and works are such only as to ENTITLE them to inherit a telestial glory, may arrive at last where those whose works in this life were such as to ENTITLE them to entrance into the celestial kingdom...
Well, there ya have it...Your ultimate place in the afterlife is dependent not so much upon God's grace and mercy, as the Bible elaborates in detail, but your "fighting" abilities...and your works-righteousness entitlements -- all based upon some sort of divine "grade" given.
'Tis NOT the Christian gospel at all!
Posted here as a thread: THE TOP TEN MOST SURPRISING 'MORMON TEACHINGS' ABOUT MORMON HEAVEN and AFTER-LIFE [Vanity]
What's especially relevant to THIS thread are the 1st, 4th and 5th items I listed at the above link...
And the key one is thing: Mormonism teaches the ONLY temple Mormons (about 15-20% of all LDS) get to live forever in the presence of Heavenly Father.
If you're single, too bad. Even Lds & single! If you're NOT a temple Mormon, too bad.
What Lds don't seem to understand is, if Heavenly Father isn't there -- it isn't heaven!
They somehow think that a Fatherless 'heaven' is heaven!
|5.||"Eternal life" is redefined to be an exclusive term that applies to temple Mormons ONLY! "Eternal life" is thus reserved for legalistically abiding Mormons ONLY. "Eternal life" does NOT = ALL living forever with Heavenly Father; 'tis ONLY applies for those who EARN exaltation...and "exaltation" is a Mormon by-word for becoming a god!Hence, to the Mormon, resurrection alone does not = eternal life.||Yes, Mormons believe that just about all people become immortal due to the resurrection. But "eternal life" is ONLY for those who live in the presence of Heavenly Father -- and become "gods" themselves (what Mormons call "exaltation"...To Mormons, "exaltation" and "eternal life" are interchangeable terms...but "eternal life" and heaven-as-a-residence for non-Mormons are not interchangeable terms..."eternal life" is ONLY for Mormons! * Eternal life is a term which always means exaltation, when used in the Scriptures (John 3:15; Romans 6:23; 1 John 1:2; 2 Nephi 2:28; D&C 5:22; 18:8; 131:5; 138:51; Moses 1:39). (David R. Ridges, Mormon Beliefs and Doctrines Made Easier, p. 88) Sub-title: WHAT IS EXALTATION? Exaltation is eternal life, the kind of life that God lives. (Older 1970s version, p. 289) * Exaltation is a synonym for eternal life. Exaltation comes only to those who inherit the highest degree within the celestial kingdom it consists in the continuation of the family unit throughout eternity; it is the type of life that is lived by our Heavenly Father. (Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Doctrines and Covenants, 2:85) * Exaltation is eternal life, the kind of life God lives. He lives in great glory. He is perfect. He possesses all knowledge, and all wisdom. He is the Father of spirit children. He is a creator. We can become like our Heavenly Father. This is exaltation. (Gospel Principles, 1997, p. 302) * Eternal life In fact means exaltation. He who receives the greatest portion of eternal life becomes a God. (Milton R. Hunter, an LDS Seventy, The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 11) * Exaltation means godhood, creatorship. As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 53) * Exaltation is the greatest of all the gifts and attainments possible. It is available only in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom and is reserved for members of the Church of the Firstborn. This exalted status, called eternal life, is available to be received by a man and a wife. It means not only living in Gods presence, but receiving power to do as God does, including the power to bear children after the resurrection. (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 2:479 Quote for resurrection alone not = 'eternal life': * resurrection alone does not qualify us for eternal life in the presence of God we need His grace to purify and perfect us after all we can do (2 Nephi 25:23). (Truth to the Faith: A Gospel Reference, Intellectual Reserve, 2004, p. 77)|
|4.||Trusting in Jesus Christ and relating to Jesus Christ for the Mormon thereby only amounts to what your life MERITS. Yup. You're ONLY a cosmic Boy Scout!||The final quote in the previous row was: resurrection alone does not qualify us for eternal life in the presence of God we need His grace to purify and perfect us after all we can do (2 Nephi 25:23). (Truth to the Faith: A Gospel Reference, Intellectual Reserve, 2004, p. 77) Hence -- for MORMONS -- heaven isn't a gift...it's based upon "all you can do" and merits: * Each of us has been sent to earth by our Heavenly Father to merit eternal life (Lds apostle Robert D. Hales, Personal Revelation: The Teachings and Examples of the Prophets, Ensign (Conference Edition), Nov. 1985, p. 20) * immortality is to live forever in the resurrected state, and by the grace of God all men will gain this unending continuance of life. But ONLY THOSE who obey the fullness of the gospel law will inherit eternal life. (D&C 29:43-44) it is the kind, status, type, and quality of life that God himself enjoys. Thus those who gain eternal life receive exaltation; they are sons of God, joint-heirs with Christ they overcome all things, have all power, and receive the fullness of the Father. THEY ARE GODS. McConkie, p. 237, 1979 ed. [My note: Of course, McConkie cites D&C 29:43-44 but these verses say no such thing v. 43 actually says that immortality unto eternal life is given to as many as would BELIEVE shifty McConkie trying to pull a rabbit when no hat exists] * The gift of eternal life is conditional. In order to qualify, one must deny oneself of ungodliness and honor the ordinance and covenants of the temple. (Lds apostle Russell M. Nelson, Divine Love, Ensign, Feb. 2003, p. 24 * "Very gladly would the Lord give to everyone eternal life, but since that blessing can come only on MERIT -- through the faithful performance of duty - ONLY those who are WORTHY shall receive it." (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:5) These citations are outright heresy taught by heretics! If you don't believe Mormons teach you have to "work" for eternal life vs. Jesus giving it to us NOW in a relationship with Him that starts now, then may I suggest you first read John 17:3 -- and then compare to these above citations from Lds leaders! For another thread on this topic, please see: what qualifies people to live with heavenly father for all eternity? (MormonISM - open)|
|1.||Mormon theology about heaven says it's a place -- at least for the 99% of people who would live there -- where Christians don't get to live with Heavenly Father forever!!!!!||When Mormons talk about eternal life & exaltation, they're not just talking about "heaven" What's the "rest of the story"? * Mormons believe that only their Melchizedek priests (D&C 76:57) are the ones eligible for dwell[ing] in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever. (D&C 76:62) In the Mormon view of heaven, ONLY those entering into Mormon "covenants" and obeying fully Mormon laws get to live forever in God's presence: * Eternal life is living with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in the celestial kingdom. This blessing--which is also called exaltation--comes only to those who keep the commandments and make the necessary covenants (Source: Preparing for Exaltation Teacher's Manual, p. 4, 1998) * Immortality is to live forever as a resurrected being. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, everyone will receive this gift. Eternal life, or exaltation, is to inherit a place in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, where we will live in Gods presence and continue as families. (same source, p. 52) * Eternal life is a higher state than immortality alone and means to live forever in a resurrected condition in the presence of God, and to become like God Eternal life is exaltation into the type and quality of life that God lives. Receiving eternal life is conditional, predicated upon obedience to the fullness of gospel law and ordinances (D&C 29:43-44; 130:20-21). It requires voluntary obedience to all of the ordinances and principles of the gospel continuing through the covenants of the Endowment and marriage in the temple (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 2:677-678)|
Who cares? Aren’t there more important issues to worry about right now?
Some nut in the 19th century made up stuff and people follow him...even change the story to fit the times. IMO the reason why Mormonism started was for men to have sex with as many women as possible.
(Only somebody dabbling in foolishness thinks the “brush fire” here on earth is the three-alarm, city-wide meltdown that hell represents)
Your war on Mormonism is less than a brush fire right now.
Folks who instantly rebel at the Buddhist idea that you don’t get off the Wheel of Life until you achieve satori in real time ~ or something approaching it, are usually not as critical of Mormons.
Romney lost, or had the election stolen, so it really doesn’t matter, does it?
Roberts was a Mormon historian who compiled the multi-volume Lds History of the Church.
Roberts was a "70" -- part of the Lds "general authority" hierarchy.
He was a would-be Democratic Congressman...
Utah FIRST began electing Congressmen in the late 1890s...
Despite having three wives and supposedly "already" yielding somewhat on polygamy, Utah went ahead & elected Roberts to Congress anyway in 1898.
But Congress refused to seat him as the Utah rep.
Why? Because three years after Utah began suppressing its polygamous inclinations (1890), Roberts took on yet a third simultaneous wife.
Grassroots America objected.
They put together 28 banners. Collected 7 million signatures on them...in the pre-media days of 1898, mind you!
Congress listened. They sent Roberts packing back home!
Thus, the 19th century was closed out by the social-issues minded Republicans...fulfilling the promises they made when they began in 1856...that they would take on the "twin relics of barbarism" -- polygamy and slavery!!!
(I was posting on Mormonism on FR well before Romney was a POTUS candidate in ‘07)
Not on the religion forum.......the destination of a persons soul is eternal (just so you are informed).
mormonISM leads people away from God, that is important.
hum? God is very clear as Christians we are to call out false teachings and false prophets........
mormonISM s false - it is being called out.
This is the religion forum, it makes sense.
I think I’ll start my own religion.. I still have that Freedom for the time being..
hum? When Buddhist start calling themselves Christians then you will have a point.
The exposure is not of mormons but of mormonISM.
This is the religion forum, mormonISM leading people away from God does matter.
Go ahead, it is your right.
However, if you call yourself Christian and you are not - you will be called out.
If there were, you wouldn’t be the first to eagerly leap onto this thread would you?
If there were, you wouldn't be the first to eagerly leap onto this thread would you?
This is in the religion forum. This but one of hundreds on FR.
No one is making you come to this forum or post.
Do you post on another religion forum?
men and women of even the telestial glory may become very acceptable characters, and very important personages.
Nana’s the one sitting behind the big TEA Pot playing Eternal Mother...
and in charge of the goodies..
TEA=Telestial Eats Agency..
Sorry you unfortunate Celestial folks up in the penthouse...
You cant come down to the kitchen...
No food or drink for you...
More Chocolate Cake, Colofornian ???
One lump or 2 ???
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