The kingdoms of glory and “the testimony of Jesus”
Read: Kingdoms of Glory
D&C 76:19 While we meditated upon these things
“Prophets have used the words diligently, pondering, meditating, and feasting to explain how we should approach the scriptures. Clearly we should read with careful thought and much pondering. Even when we are not reading we should reflect constantly on God’s word. The prophets have promised that this will lead to new spiritual insights and to greater righteousness.
“The scriptures show us that we can ponder in two ways: we can meditate on the scripture itself, or we can relate what we read to our personal lives.
“This kind of reflection can help all of us make commitments that will decrease darkness and increase light. We must ask questions as we read, questions such as, How does this apply in my life today? or What lesson can I learn from this?” (Dean Jarman, “Well of Living Water,” New Era, Nov. 1973, 29)
‘This testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon is a modern witness of the reality of the existence of the Father and the Son. Joseph and Sidney not only saw but heard, and their testimonies stand as a witness to all people. The phrase “last of all” is explained by Smith and Sjodahl as follows: “This is the last testimony to the fact that He lives, a resurrected and glorified Being; not the final testimony but the last up to the time of this vision” (Commentary, p. 448).’ )Doctrine and Covenants Institute Manual)
D&C 76:51 Believed on his name and were baptised
‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. This eternal truth settles the question of all men’s religion. A man may be saved, after the judgment, in the terrestrial kingdom, or in the telestial kingdom, but he can never see the celestial kingdom of God without being born of the water and the Spirit’. (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1: 283 – 284.)
‘What must a man do to commit the unpardonable sin? He must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against Him. After a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance for him. He has got to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it; he has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it; and from that time he begins to be an enemy. This is the case with many apostates of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’ (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.358)
The telestial kingdom
“We are living in a telestial world, complete with telestial arts and entertainment which can fill our minds with telestial images. Those telestial images often stimulate telestial thoughts, which, if not rejected, will lead to telestial behavior. The eventual result can be a telestial person. We would be more healthy spiritually if we never consumed any evil. Every bit harms us.
“The prophets of the Lord understand this process and have given us this sharp admonition: ‘Come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things.’ (Alma 5:57.) (Lex de Azevedo, “A Closer Look at Popular Music,” Ensign, Mar. 1985, 40)
‘Those who enter into the telestial kingdom, where their glories differ as do the stars of heaven in their magnitude, and who are innumerable as the sands of the seashore, are the ungodly, the filthy who suffer the wrath of God on the earth, who are thrust down to hell where they will be required to pay the uttermost farthing before their redemption comes. These are they who receive not the gospel of Christ and consequently could not deny the Holy Spirit while living on the earth.
They have no part in the first resurrection and are not redeemed from the devil and his angels until the last resurrection, because of their wicked lives and their evil deeds. Nevertheless, even these are heirs of salvation, but before they are redeemed and enter into their kingdom, they must repent of their sins, and receive the gospel, and bow the knee, and acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer of the world.
In both the terrestrial and the telestial glories the inhabitants thereof will be limited in their powers, opportunities, and progression, because, like the sons of perdition, “they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received” (D&C 88:32).’ [Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:22] 1974, pp. 33–35.)
‘Selfishness is actually the detonator of all the cardinal sins. It is the hammer for the breaking of the Ten Commandments, whether by neglecting parents, the Sabbath, or by inducing false witness, murder, and envy. No wonder the selfish individual is often willing to break a covenant in order to fix an appetite. No wonder those who will later comprise the telestial kingdom, after they have paid a price, were once unrepentant adulterers, whoremongers, and those who both loved and made lies.’ (Neil A Maxwell,”Repent of [Our] Selfishness” (D&C 56:8),” Ensign, May 1999, p. 24)
D&C 76:81-85. Those Who Inherit the Telestial Glory Will Pass through Hell
Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained:
“That part of the spirit world inhabited by wicked spirits who are awaiting the eventual day of their resurrection is called hell. Between their death and resurrection, these souls of the wicked are cast out into outer darkness, into the gloomy depression of sheol, into the hades of waiting wicked spirits, into hell. There they suffer the torments of the damned; there they welter in the vengeance of eternal fire; there is found weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth; there the fiery indignation of the wrath of God is poured out upon the wicked. (Alma 40:11–14; D. & C. 76:103–106.)
“Hell will have an end. Viewing future events, John saw that ‘death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.’ (Rev. 20:13.) Jacob taught that this escape from death and hell meant the bringing of the body out of the grave and the spirit out of hell. ‘And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death,’ he said, ‘shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other.’ (2 Ne. 9:10–12.) It was in keeping with this principle for David to receive the promise: ‘Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell.’ (Psalms 16:10; Acts 2:27.)
“After their resurrection, the great majority of those who have suffered in hell will pass into the telestial kingdom; the balance, cursed as sons of perdition, will be consigned to partake of endless wo with the devil and his angels. …
“Who will go to hell? This query is abundantly answered in the scriptures. Since those going to a telestial kingdom travel to their destination through the depths of hell and as a result of obedience to telestial law, it follows that all those who live a telestial law will go to hell.” (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 349–50.)
The terrestrial kingdom
‘Those destined to inherit the terrestrial kingdom are: (1) those who died “without law”–those heathen and pagan people who do not hear the gospel in this life, and who would not accept it with all their hearts should they hear it; (2) those who hear and reject the gospel in this life and then accept it in the spirit world; (3) those “who are honorable men of the earth, who [are] blinded by the craftiness of men”; and (4) those who are lukewarm members of the true church and who have testimonies, but who are not true and faithful in all things. (See D&C 76:71-80.)’ [Bruce R McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.146]
“For those who do not have an opportunity to believe and obey the holy word in this life, the first chance to gain salvation will come in the spirit world. If those who hear the word for the first time in the realms ahead are the kind of people who would have accepted the gospel here, had the opportunity been afforded them, they will accept it there. …
“… Those who reject the gospel in this life and then receive it in the spirit world go not to the celestial, but to the terrestrial kingdom.” (Bruce R McConkie“The Seven Deadly Heresies,” in Speeches of the Year, 1980 [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1981], pp. 77–78.)
‘Into this kingdom will go all those who have lived clean lives, but were not willing to receive the gospel; also those who have lived clean lives but who, notwithstanding their membership in the Church, were not valiant, and those who refused to receive the gospel when they lived on the earth, but in the spirit world accepted the testimony of Jesus. All who enter this kingdom must be of that class who have been morally clean.’ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol.2, p.209)
The celestial kingdom
Watch: Be valiant in your testimony
D&C 76:70 These are they whose bodies are celestial
‘We know quite a lot about celestial beings, as we have had a number of them appear to us upon this earth. And each time they have come, those who have received them have said that they are impossible to describe.
When the Prophet Joseph Smith had his vision of the Father and the Son, he said, “[Their] brightness and glory defy all description.” (JS-H 1:17) That is, we don’t have any background of knowledge; there isn’t a vocabulary to use in describing a celestial accomplishment.’ (Sterling W Sill, “To Die Well,” Ensign, Nov. 1976, 47)
D&C 76:53 Those who are just and true
“Those who are just and true.” What an apt expression for those valiant in the testimony of Jesus! They are courageous in defending truth and righteousness. These are members of the Church who magnify their callings in the Church (see D&C 84:33), pay their tithes and offerings, live morally clean lives, sustain their Church leaders by word and action, keep the Sabbath as a holy day, and obey all the commandments of God.
To these the Lord has promised that “all thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ” (D&C 121:29). [Ezra Taft Benson, “Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus,” Ensign, Feb. 1987, p. 2]
D&C 137:2-3 Why is God’s Presence Described As “Blazing” and “Like unto Circling Flames of Fire”?
‘The Prophet Joseph Smith in his account of the First Vision wrote that God’s “brightness and glory defy all description” (JS—H 1:17). He also taught that “God Almighty Himself dwells in eternal fire; flesh and blood cannot go there, for all corruption is devoured by the fire. ‘Our God is a consuming fire.’ [Heb. 12:29]. …
“… Immortality dwells in everlasting burnings.” (Teachings, p. 367.) President Joseph Fielding Smith stated: “God is full of energy, and should we mortals stand in his presence, unless his spirit was upon us to protect us we would be consumed. That is how much energy there is in a celestial body.” (Seek Ye Earnestly, p. 275.)’ (Institute Doctrine and Covenants Manual)