Jump to content
Rivers

Progression Between Kingdoms

Recommended Posts

A while ago I remember a poster on this board saying something to the effect of the plan of salvation making sense only if choice will always be a factor.  Meaning that anybody can be in the celestial kingdom eventually as long as he/she chooses to be there.  

I recently finished the Givens' new Book The Christ Who Heals.  And to my amazement, they devote  an entire chapter to the idea if progress between kingdoms.  They make the case that God loves us much that the door will always be open to us to progress and have a relationship with Him.  They do, however, point out that the church has stated there is no official position on this matter and that this their hopeful opinion. But I find it incredible that that I was reading this in something from Deseret Book.  We've come a long way since BRM denounced this belief as a heresy.

I would have to agree that nothing in the gospel makes sense if there is fixed final judgement.  I don't see how we can prize agency as much as we do only to have it essentially made  useless in the life to come.  

You can all burn me at the stake now.

 

Share this post


Link to post

My question, what would be the correct answer to the quesiton, "Can you progress into a higher kingdom after the final judgement?"  Is it, "the church has  no official position" or is it, "no." Where do I find the church approved back-up for either of these answers?

Share this post


Link to post

I firmly believe this. Elder Talmage discussed this in the original edition of "Articles of Faith" (I have a copy of this from my great-grandmother) --- since removed. 

I really like B.H. Roberts' explanation of this in New Witnesses for God 1:391-392. While being open to this, he stresses that celestial beings are progressing geometrically faster than those in lower kingdoms, so that if it is possible to be where they *were*, such will never be where they *are*.

I also believe that progression, though possible, is difficult because we are the same people we are here (and that we were in the pre-existence). While some might think that they will "get their act together" in the hereafter, failure to "get their act together" here on earth shows their nature, and how they will likely react in the hereafter as well. I like to think that there is room for heroic change.

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. I can conceive of no reason for all this administration of the higher to the lower, unless it be for the purpose of advancing our Father's 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. 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. Thus: Those whose faith and works are such only as to enable them to inherit a telestial glory, may arrive at last where those whose works in this life were such as to enable them to entrance into the celestial kingdom_they may arrive where these were, but never where they are.

Share this post


Link to post

I like the idea but my two questions are A) wouldn't that deflate this life? if you can put off things until the next day or be apathetic about life, why wouldn't you?, B) In DC 76:112, we read that those in the Telestial Kingdom are servants of the Most but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end-I hope I am reading that right, but if they can't come where God and Christ are how do the Givens' et al interpret that?

Share this post


Link to post

We are assigned the type of body that can abide the Kingdom by the type of  life we led. We don't die again after the Resurrection. So I believe there is no progression between Kingdoms.

Share this post


Link to post
7 minutes ago, thesometimesaint said:

We are assigned the type of body that can abide the Kingdom by the type of  life we led. We don't die again after the Resurrection. So I believe there is no progression between Kingdoms.

I get you but wouldn't in any kingdom we get we'd have a perfect body, free from diabetes, glasses, baldness, bad lungs etc. would we have a body that is than perfect?

Share this post


Link to post
20 minutes ago, Rivers said:

1952: Joseph L Anderson, Secretary of the First Presidency

The brethren direct me to say that the Church has never announced a definite doctrine upon this point. Some of the brethren have held the view that it was possible in the course of progression to advance from one glory to another, invoking the principle of eternal progression; others of the brethren have taken the opposite view. But as stated, the Church has never announced a definite doctrine on this point.

Sincerely your brother, Joseph L Anderson, Secretary of the First Presidency” </ref>Joseph L. Anderson, Secretary to the First Presidency in a 1952 letter; and again in 1965.</ref>

So, evidently it doesn't matter (yet...!).

Share this post


Link to post
49 minutes ago, Rivers said:

A while ago I remember a poster on this board saying something to the effect of the plan of salvation making sense only if choice will always be a factor.  

I think that declaration is presumptuous and naive.  I think we lack sufficient light and knowledge to speak intelligently about progression between kingdoms.

For me, the Plan of Salvation makes sense with or without it (though I hope it's there).

Quote

Meaning that anybody can be in the celestial kingdom eventually as long as he/she chooses to be there.  

I recently finished the Givens' new Book The Christ Who Heals.  And to my amazement, they devote  an entire chapter to the idea if progress between kingdoms.  They make the case that God loves us much that the door will always be open to us to progress and have a relationship with Him.  

I admire the Givens, but absent revelatory guidance on the subject, the case cannot be "made."  It's just conjecture.  Reasoned and hopeful, to be sure, but conjecture all the same.  And as such, I can't put too much stock in it.

Quote

They do, however, point out that the church has stated there is no official position on this matter and that this their hopeful opinion. But I find it incredible that that I was reading this in something from Deseret Book.  We've come a long way since BRM denounced this belief as a heresy.

Scott Woodward has compiled a good list of statements about this topic (both pro and con): Selected Teachings on Is There Progression Within and/or Between the Kingdoms of Glory?

Quote

I would have to agree that nothing in the gospel makes sense if there is fixed final judgement.  

I can't agree to that.  I think there is some real risk in making definitive declarations on topics about which we lack light and knowledge.  We run the risk of alienating ourselves from the entirety of the Gospel because we cherish too much one particular facet of it.

I think the Givens's position ("this {is} their hopeful opinion") is the better way to go.  Together with AoF 1:9 ("We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.").

Let's not draw lines in the sand.  Let us instead work with what we've got, and study and trust in God as to speculative/conjectural issues like this one.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97

Share this post


Link to post

I won't burn you at the stake.  I believe wholeheartedly in progression between/of kingdoms.  There are many doctrines in Mormonism which  don't allow me to believe otherwise.
I tend to lean more towards progression of kingdoms than progression between kingdoms though.

And since the Church has no position I am comfortable that for once I am not espousing false doctrine on this.

Share this post


Link to post

I am afraid all we or even church leaders can do is speculate on this subject

In the scriptures we are  told:
"But behold, and lo, we saw the glory and the inhabitants of the telestial world, that they were as innumerable as the stars in the firmament of heaven, or as the sand upon the seashore; 
And heard the voice of the Lord saying: These all shall bow the knee, and every tongue shall confess to him who sits upon the throne forever and ever;
For they shall be judged according to their works, and every man shall receive according to his own works, his own dominion, in the mansions which are prepared; 
And they shall be servants of the Most High; but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end. (D&C 76: 109-112)

and 

Alma 34:32-33
For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.

Elder John A. Widtsoe once said"
"The question is frequently asked concerning three men placed in the three glories, can the one in the lower glory, by acceptable living in that glory, be transferred into the next glory, and the one in the middle glory move into the higher glory? If you will stop to think, you will see how utterly impossible that is. Growth, the basis of judgment, means greater power, greater strength. Those who are placed in the highest glory have greater power for, or a greater rate of, increase. They move at the rate of, say, fifty miles an hour, while those in the next glory move at twenty-five miles an hour; and those in the lower have power to move at only ten miles an hour. In the course of time, the one in the lower glory may reach the point that was occupied by the one in the higher, but then the one in the higher glory will be miles and miles ahead. Start three automobiles at the same time moving ten, twenty, and thirty miles an hour, and you will see that every second they are farther and farther apart, yet all are progressing." (Widtsoe, Evidences, p. 199.)

In other words a person can progress within a glory, but not from one glory to he next.

Spencer W. Kimball:
"After a person has been assigned to his place in the kingdom, . . . he will never advance from his assigned glory to another glory. . . . That is why we must make our decisions early in life and why it is imperative that such decisions be right." (Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, 109.)

Joseph F. Smith said: 
"When we come forth out of the grave, . . . our spirits shall enter into [our physical bodies] again, and they shall become living souls. . 
. . And then those who have . . . been subject and obedient to the celestial law will . . . be quickened by the celestial glory. And those who have . . . been subject and obedient to the terrestrial law will . . . be quickened by the terrestrial glory. And those who have . . . been subject and obedient to the telestial law, will . . . be quickened by a telestial glory." Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine)

It seems to me that according to the scriptures, at the moment we are resurrected our fate has already been decided in regards to which glory we will spend eternity in. (See DC 88)
And as someone else said, if this life is not the time to prove ourselves worthy of a certain kingdom, then what is the point of living this life? 

Share this post


Link to post
37 minutes ago, Duncan said:

I like the idea but my two questions are A) wouldn't that deflate this life? if you can put off things until the next day or be apathetic about life, why wouldn't you?

I am reminded of the lyrics from If You Could Hie to Kolob (particularly verse 3):

Quote

1. If you could hie to Kolob In the twinkling of an eye,
And then continue onward With that same speed to fly,
Do you think that you could ever, Through all eternity,
Find out the generation Where Gods began to be?

2. Or see the grand beginning, Where space did not extend?
Or view the last creation, Where Gods and matter end?
Methinks the Spirit whispers, “No man has found ‘pure space,’
Nor seen the outside curtains, Where nothing has a place.”

3. The works of God continue, And worlds and lives abound;
Improvement and progression Have one eternal round.
There is no end to matter; There is no end to space;
There is no end to spirit; There is no end to race.

4. There is no end to virtue; There is no end to might;
There is no end to wisdom; There is no end to light.
There is no end to union; There is no end to youth;
There is no end to priesthood; There is no end to truth.

5. There is no end to glory; There is no end to love;
There is no end to being; There is no death above.
There is no end to glory; There is no end to love;
There is no end to being; There is no death above.

Thanks,

-Smac

Share this post


Link to post

The standard argument against progression between kingdoms is that judgement is largely a judgment about what people want and is accurate. Thus people don't want to go to an other kingdom. Second that the bodies received in the resurrection are permanent and different between kingdoms. 

Typically in contemporary times progression between kingdoms is tied to open theism (God doesn't know the future) and a strong ontological agent libertarian free will commitment. If you don't buy or are at least skeptical of those two ontological positions one tends to be less enthused about progression between kingdoms.

Share this post


Link to post
50 minutes ago, thesometimesaint said:

We are assigned the type of body that can abide the Kingdom by the type of  life we led. We don't die again after the Resurrection. So I believe there is no progression between Kingdoms.

The various types of bodies are specific to how much glory they hold.
The glory of God is intelligence and there is never any end to our ability to learn.
I think you are confusing "types of bodies" with biology.

Share this post


Link to post
40 minutes ago, Duncan said:

I get you but wouldn't in any kingdom we get we'd have a perfect body, free from diabetes, glasses, baldness, bad lungs etc. would we have a body that is than perfect?

I don't believe it is a matter of physical perfection per say, as much as it is a matter of type of individual we are. IE: We will all be free from mortal illness, and defect. However we are all different in how amenable to God we choose to act. I personally believe The Son of the Morning  is physically beautiful beyond our comprehension. It is his actions that are ugly.

Share this post


Link to post

Isn't gender eternal? we learn that in the POF but I think Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith taught that the procreative aspects will be gone, If any of that is true how will be perfect if we don't have everything?

Share this post


Link to post
12 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

The various types of bodies are specific to how much glory they hold.
The glory of God is intelligence and there is never any end to our ability to learn.
I think you are confusing "types of bodies" with biology.

We have no idea as to what biology an eternal being has. We simply assume we will have whatever it takes to have one.

Share this post


Link to post

I don't think everyone will repent even though the opportunity will be presented to them. I remember on here the hue and cry over can Hitler repent, when the mormon leaks came out that his Temple work can be done. I said he will be offered the opportunity to repent but I have no idea if he'll take it. 

Share this post


Link to post

Even Hitler has the opportunity to repent. Whether he will accept it or not is beyond my pay grade to say.

Share this post


Link to post
8 minutes ago, thesometimesaint said:

We have no idea as to what biology an eternal being has. We simply assume we will have whatever it takes to have one.

Agreed.  But the differences between Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial are a matter of glory (intelligence), not necessarily biology (physical).  Paul was clear on this.

  • I Corinthians 15:40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
    41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
    42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown incorruption; it is raised in incorruption:

I am not remotely convinced that someone who receives a Terrestrial resurrection can never progress to a Celestial level if it is an issue of progressing in glory.

4 minutes ago, thesometimesaint said:

Even Hitler has the opportunity to repent.

Not so sure about that.

Share this post


Link to post

This is what it all boils down to - we should live as if judgment is final, even if we hope that it is not.

I would not bank on that hope for a second!  How does that hope help us live better lives?  What does it give us practically speaking?  The only thing that I can think of is that it might ease the guilty mind and comfort the sloth-like soul into procrastinating the day of their repentance.

Share this post


Link to post
4 hours ago, Rivers said:

A while ago I remember a poster on this board saying something to the effect of the plan of salvation making sense only if choice will always be a factor.  Meaning that anybody can be in the celestial kingdom eventually as long as he/she chooses to be there.  

I recently finished the Givens' new Book The Christ Who Heals.  And to my amazement, they devote  an entire chapter to the idea if progress between kingdoms.  They make the case that God loves us much that the door will always be open to us to progress and have a relationship with Him.  They do, however, point out that the church has stated there is no official position on this matter and that this their hopeful opinion. But I find it incredible that that I was reading this in something from Deseret Book.  We've come a long way since BRM denounced this belief as a heresy.

I would have to agree that nothing in the gospel makes sense if there is fixed final judgement.  I don't see how we can prize agency as much as we do only to have it essentially made  useless in the life to come.  

You can all burn me at the stake now.

 

The idea of eternal progression makes so much more sense within the entire articulation of Mormon cosmology.  Joseph went to great lengths to redefine the word "eternal punishment" to mean something different than eternal, to change it from a description of time to a title.  

I found this discussion if you like podcasts, on the history of this idea of an entire family being saved based on a marriage contract in the Whitney family and how later statements by Orson Whitney would continue to espouse this idea.  

Quote

Orson F. Whitney: 
    "You parents of the wilful and the wayward! Don't give them up. Don't cast them off. They are not utterly lost. The Shepherd will find his sheep. They were his before they were yours-long before he entrusted them to your care; and you cannot begin to love them as he loves them. They have but strayed in ignorance from the Path of Right, and God is merciful to ignorance. Only the fulness of knowledge brings the fulness of accountability. Our Heavenly Father is far more merciful, infinitely more charitable, than even the best of his servants, and the Everlasting Gospel is mightier in power to save than our narrow finite minds can comprehend. 
    "The Prophet Joseph Smith declared-and he never taught more comforting doctrine-that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant sevice int he Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or in the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tred a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father's heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God" 
(in Conference Report, Apr. 1929, 110)

http://www.yearofpolygamy.com/year-of-polygamy/episode-135-a-blessing-a-confirmation/

Have a listen, I found it to be a fascinating discussion.  

Share this post


Link to post
4 hours ago, cinepro said:

If God’s purpose is to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”, what purpose would limiting progression serve from an eternal perspective?The concept of a “deadline”, after which there is no change for all eternity, only makes sense from a mortal, linear perspective. From an eternal perspective, a “permanent” assignment is nonsensical.

I confess I don't quite understand that. A few questions. First what do you mean by linear perspective and what do you assume about God that is different. It sounds like you're saying God can time travel like Dr. Who which admittedly is a much more controversial claim than progression between kingdoms if that's what you're saying. If that's not what you're saying could you clarify?

I'd fully admit that God's "big picture" perspective undoubtedly is different from ours. Much like how we view the world when 6 is different from when 35. We simply know more and more importantly our values have changed. However if that's the issue, it's not quite clear what information or values must change. Again, as I suggested before, I think there are two underlying assumptions regarding the nature of our soul and the nature of divine knowledge that tends to shape the debate.

The first is whether foreknowledge is possible. Effectively that brings with it the claim of a "block universe" where everything past present and future "exists" at the same time. (That sounds confusing, but all it means is that there are true statements now about what happens tomorrow) The second is the nature of free will which is significant since it tends to directly impact ones perception of the question of foreknowledge. If a robust sense of free will at the agent layer is true, then there can be no truths about the future and no "essence" to a person limiting what choices they might choose to make in the future.

Effectively if there is this libertarian free will then there has to be progression between kingdoms as there would be nothing that could limit it. Even Lucifer might decide one day he wants to become Christlike and work towards it. There's really no unchangeable core to a person at all so it's always under flux. Further God can't know what you'd choose to do in the future so he can't say whether you'd choose celestial glory eventually.

The alternative view is that God has foreknowledge and so he knows what your choices would be. So his judgement putting you in a kingdom is based upon knowing perfectly what you are like. It's a just judgment.

The reality is that there's no real church doctrine on these points, although there's a fair weight for the view that God has foreknowledge. The counter argument is that if there's punishment then that only works if people are accountable and that only works (according to libertarian free will advocates) if there's free will. So the debate between scriptures of God's just punishment verses God's foreknowledge comes to play. 

Then there's those of us who don't think such questions are knowable right now. The strongest argument tends to be that it's pretty hard to reconcile open theism to General Relativity which seems a pretty heavily tested scientific theory.

Share this post


Link to post
34 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

I confess I don't quite understand that. A few questions. First what do you mean by linear perspective and what do you assume about God that is different. It sounds like you're saying God can time travel like Dr. Who which admittedly is a much more controversial claim than progression between kingdoms if that's what you're saying. If that's not what you're saying could you clarify?

I'd fully admit that God's "big picture" perspective undoubtedly is different from ours. Much like how we view the world when 6 is different from when 35. We simply know more and more importantly our values have changed. However if that's the issue, it's not quite clear what information or values must change. Again, as I suggested before, I think there are two underlying assumptions regarding the nature of our soul and the nature of divine knowledge that tends to shape the debate.

The first is whether foreknowledge is possible. Effectively that brings with it the claim of a "block universe" where everything past present and future "exists" at the same time. (That sounds confusing, but all it means is that there are true statements now about what happens tomorrow) The second is the nature of free will which is significant since it tends to directly impact ones perception of the question of foreknowledge. If a robust sense of free will at the agent layer is true, then there can be no truths about the future and no "essence" to a person limiting what choices they might choose to make in the future.

Effectively if there is this libertarian free will then there has to be progression between kingdoms as there would be nothing that could limit it. Even Lucifer might decide one day he wants to become Christlike and work towards it. There's really no unchangeable core to a person at all so it's always under flux. Further God can't know what you'd choose to do in the future so he can't say whether you'd choose celestial glory eventually.

The alternative view is that God has foreknowledge and so he knows what your choices would be. So his judgement putting you in a kingdom is based upon knowing perfectly what you are like. It's a just judgment.

The reality is that there's no real church doctrine on these points, although there's a fair weight for the view that God has foreknowledge. The counter argument is that if there's punishment then that only works if people are accountable and that only works (according to libertarian free will advocates) if there's free will. So the debate between scriptures of God's just punishment verses God's foreknowledge comes to play. 

Then there's those of us who don't think such questions are knowable right now. The strongest argument tends to be that it's pretty hard to reconcile open theism to General Relativity which seems a pretty heavily tested scientific theory.

The bottom line is we are talking about not just eternity, but endless eternities forever and ever.
The idea that ANY being will be stuck in a limited situation forever more with no hope of escape simply doesn't fit with scripture.  We are always going to be progressing or regressing.  Stagnancy is the true definition of hell.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×