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enummaelish

Eternal Progession

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The possibility of eternal progression, including speculation about the possible redemption even of the sons of perdition, something which many GAs have speculated on, and other essays on the subject can be found in Line Upon Line: Essays in Mormon Doctrine, Gary James Bergera (Signature Books).

http://www.signaturebooks.com/line.htm

For anyone who has assumed that Mormon doctrine appeared whole-cloth in a single revelation, Line Upon Line is an important primer. No issue, however central to Latter-day Saint theology, is exempt from gradual development over time. This includes the nature of God, the progression of the soul, free agency, the possibility of repentance and forgiveness through a divine sacrifice, the creation of the world, evolution of the species, and the nature and origin of evil.

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Very interesting topic enummaelish. I see where you're coming from.

I've phoned President Hinckley to ask his opinion on this fundamental matter that revolves around a core aspect of LDS theology. He has given a definitive answer so we can rest easy. He said

I don

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enummaelish,

Do you realize that if you choose to read D&C 132 literally, then little children will never be exalted since

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enummaelish,

I reviewed the microfilm of "Scriptural Items" in the Church Archives several months ago in order to verify the typescript I had been given years ago (there were some minor errors such as capitalization and some punctuation, if I recall correctly, but nothing to change the meaning of the entry), and it is indeed recorded as you posted; I give more of the entry here (does not correct the errors I found in my review because I have not yet entered them and will have to find my hand written transcription):

Hiram [smith] said Aug 1st [18]43 Those of the Terrestrial Glory either advance to the Celestial or recede to the Telestial [or] else the moon could not be a type [viz. a symbol of that kingdom]. [for] it [the moon] "waxes & wanes".

Given the date of this teaching by the Associate President of the Church to the Nauvoo High Council and the historical circumstances around this time, I feel it is likely that Hyrum was teaching something he and Joseph had discussed. Franklin D. Richards, who recorded the above, felt confident enough in Hyrum or this teaching that he later preached the same across the pulpit as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

...but those in the terrestrial kingdom are those who will come forth at the time when Enoch comes back, when the Savior comes again to dwell upon the earth.... They will go forward, like unto the new moon, increasing in knowledge and brightness and glory, until they come to a fullness of celestial glory. During the Millennium multitudes of people who have not heard the gospel will hear and receive it and go forward into this glory, while those who will not go forward to a fullness will go back to that lesser glory which is likened unto the stars of heaven.... (Journal of Discourses, 25:236)

It is also worth noting that though there are four (4) possible outcomes

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If I may introduce a distinction that is important to my understanding of this issue...

I believe that damnation applies to those who willingly and knowingly reject progression rather than those who have not yet had a chance to receive more.

This leaves our agency in tact, eternally, because in essence we choose the point at which growth and progression are too much for us to bear, and settle into our level or sphere.

The grinding of teeth comes at the point we may realize our blessings denied us because of our addictions, weakness or blindness.

Which begs the next question for me... Is repentance an eternal principle in the sense that even if we have settled at a level, if we repent (after this life) do we still get to progress?

In other words are the "levels" of heaven a construct to help us understand progression or are they fixed spheres, that once this life is over set our place in the celestial order, never again to be revised, or the third option, are we so set in our ways by the time we complete this life, that none of us will desire to progress further than we have here, unless we have been so faithful as to qualify for continued progression?

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en...ish, comments on D&C 132:19 I mentioned in above post for you are in this post.

zflux,

I wanted to mention a few points on D&C 132:15-19.

Verse 15: If a man and woman get married in the world (I take this to mean mortality) and that marriage is not according to God's instruction and authority, they will not be considered married after they die.

Verse 16: Such individuals as outlined in verse 15 will not be married in the next world but will be angels.

Verse 17: Such individuals as outlined in verse 15 did not abide the law of eternal marriage and cannot have offspring ("be enlarged"), and will remain separate and single FOR EVER and will be be angels, not gods.

Now, note that if you read just these three verses literally and with no further context or doctrinal understanding, one can mistakely claim that no provision is made for them to be exalted, for it categoricaly states they will not be married but will remain single "without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity...."

However, we know that there is a condition not mentioned in 132: proxy temple ordinances. When someone as described in verse 15 dies and is able to and does in fact accept the ordinances that have been performed by proxy for them, then in God's eyes they are treated as they if they were married for eternity while alive.

When non-temple sealed couples who are dead hear the gospel preached unto them in spirit prison, and when they receive the gospel gladly, and when their ordinances are performed for them by proxy, they no longer meet the requirements eternal singlehood as outlined in D&C 132:15-17 becasue they have then obeyed God's law of marriage.

You have interjected your own understanding or interpretation of D&C 132 by saying that it refers to a time after the final judgement

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Well, since this is all speculation, then I'll throw in my own two cents if I may.

Of course that raises another question. Either you can advance forever, or you cannot. How then can the answer lie somewhere in between?

As it was stated there would need to be some middle between justice and mercy, and I do not see why there couldn't be between the two scenerios above. Firstly, Earth and the plan are all about, to me anyways, a change not only physically but spiritually, a maturation of the state of souls. To begin we started as spirits then our paradigm, our understanding of being changed into that physical bog and enlightenment by new senses and learning the balance of control and freedom. In scriptures they talk of the heavens being open and their eyes being opened; that too is part of our change in undestanding and maturing and throughout all that the changes are linked to the spiritual. That is how I see the kingdoms of heaven, not as physical depots to drop people off, but broad planes of spiritual understanding where we are destined through what we have done with our states in soul/our relationship with G-d. And this, i think, would be the key here, is our nature in soul. It is said that all the dead will be judged by their works, which is a measure of our faith, which in full is a measure of our spirit and our connection to G-d our willingness to learn and obey and serve and become. If we are judged and found lacking in these things, how is it possible to progress? This isn't a simple fix, there is no simple way to change and move forward. It's our soul, its the true desires within our heart when our Father isn't physically present and it is a cleaner more freer choice to follow Him or not, to decide if we'd rather find acceptance and compensation within our own lusts, desires, and sins, or in the steps of Christ no matter our trials, confusions, and fears. Sure, maybe we could change from kingdom to kingdom, but the true question is whether our hearts will allow it. After all its talked of the people being cast down by wailing and nashing of teeth, obviously they desire the kingdom of the Father, but for what purpose? Is it their own personal fears and lusts for self-preservation or the wish and desire to fulfill G-d's ultimate plans for us, to be apart, and to progress further for the exemplification of not ourselves but for others, for a greater goal.

With luv,

BD

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Can I be so bold as to throw in a thought on a part of the discussion that was mentioned earlier. That of the righteousness of children that die before accountability.

It apears from my dealings with LDS friends and family that some actually believe that those children who die before accountability are the elect of God, super obedient and righteous beings from pre-earth life who mearly have to come to earth, get a body and then leave before accountability kicks in.

LDS doctrine also discusses the curse of Cain and pretty clearly, but not openly, teaches that those who are born under this curse were less valient in the pre-earth life.

Now look at the world demographics. Most children who die under the age of 8 are born into black families in Africa. Very few children of 'elect' Utah LDS families die under the age of 8.

Are we now claiming that those spirits born to black families in Africa are actually the real elect? So many of them die before the age of acountability, they must be better than most of the kids born to LDS families.

Does any of this make sense?

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Dadof7, beautiful questions that while beyond complete answering now are not and should not be beyond our attention now.

For all, the last semi-offical statement I have is the following (I say semi-offical not because the First Presidency did not direct the answer but because it was sent privately):

December 17, 1965

Mr. Joe J. Christensen, Director

Institute of Religion

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah 84112

Dear Brother Christensen:

Reference is made to your letter of December 7th in which you inquire what the teaching of the Church is relative to the possibility of progression from one particular glory to another after the resurrection.

The brethren direct me to say that the Church has never announced a definite doctrine upon this point, though some 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 have taken an opposite view. As indicated, however, the Church has never announced a definite doctrine on this point.

Sincerely your brother,

/s/ Joseph L. Anderson

Secretary to the First Presidency

There is another letter in 1970 that I do not have the text of but which is mentioned in the quote below; the quote is a letter from Elder Maxwell when he was Commissioner of Church Education:

NEAL A. MAXWELL

COMMISSIONER

August 17, 1970

Brother Reed C. Durham, Jr.

Institue of Religion

274 University Street

Salt Lake City, Utah 84102

Dear Reed:

I tried to reach you by phone, but was not able to prior to your leaving for a well deserved vacation.

In reading the copies of the letters sent by the First Presidency with regard to progression from one kingdom to another, I believe there may be a typographical error in the one dated June 17, 1970. Doctrine and Covenants 76:112 clearly refers to those who inherit the telestial, not Celestial, glory. I checked this with Joseph Anderson and that is a typographical error.

Insofar as your question probably goes beyond that, my own reaction is fairly simple; the earlier communications of the Presidency indicate that some of the brethren have held post-resurrection progress a possibility, while others have taken an opposite view, and that the newly-cited reference (Doctrine and Covenants 76:112) simply indicates what must be one boundary line, namely, that those who inherit the telestial glory cannot come "worlds without end" where God and Christ dwell. In other words, we know only so much about this matter beyond which anything is speculative, but that verse sounds pretty controling to me with regard to telestial beings.

I realize you and I are comfortable holding this kind of matter in abeyance until the Lord gives us more information, whereas some of our youth are anxious to nail things down in a definitive way that is simply not possible.

I am afraid what I have said is not particularly helpful to you, but I did want to get back to you as soon as possible. I appreciate the service you are rendering. Give my love to your colleagues.

Kindest personal regards,

/s/ Neal A. Maxwell

I wish we could all stay away from declaring progression between kingdoms impossible (sorry, Elder McConkie), and stick with Elder Maxwell's and the First Presidency's views. I myself have obviously gone beyond that in my study and posts here, but I do not claim my views to be the offical line and I will modify or abandon my views if necessary when we have the truth of the matter revealed to us in toto.

But I taste honey...!

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yaanufs, be careful!!! You might shock some TBMs out of their spiritual boxes!

I love it! A non-member pointing out a possible misinterpretation of LDS doctrine commonly made by Latter-day Saints! Absolutely wonderful! I don't understand the plan fully (duh), but I love how it makes narrow thinking seem so obviously narrow indeed!

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yaanufs, be careful!!! You might shock some TBMs out of their spiritual boxes!

I love it! A non-member pointing out a possible misinterpretation of LDS doctrine commonly made by Latter-day Saints!

Err..... I'm a member.

Mission served, temple married member.

I'm just going through a 'phase' according to others. :P

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It has never made sense to me that God would kill off all of his top spirits as children and leave the goof-offs to run the most important event in our eternal existence.

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oops, sorry nufs! I missed the "and family" and saw the "LDS friends" part and assumed that meant.... In all honesty, I'm just too lazy to always read posts (even sometimes my own) as carefully as I should!

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LDS doctrine also discusses the curse of Cain and pretty clearly, but not openly, teaches that those who are born under this curse were less valient in the pre-earth life.

Now look at the world demographics. Most children who die under the age of 8 are born into black families in Africa. Very few children of 'elect' Utah LDS families die under the age of 8.

That has been put to rest for decades. It is one of the few things that has been resoundingly rejected. Even BY rejected it.

Are we now claiming that those spirits born to black families in Africa are actually the real elect?  So many of them die before the age of acountability, they must be better than most of the kids born to LDS families.

I'm always a little taken back by anyone who is unaware that the "less valiant" folklore has been rejected....and I find your question rather disturbing in itself since the Church does not track members by skin color and I'm wondering why you would.

Your question rests on the belief that "the elect" all reside in SLC. I don't know where you got that one, either. There is a statement that says God put his best people everywhere. This idea that God only worries about Mormons is frightening.

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I love it! A non-member pointing out a possible misinterpretation of LDS doctrine commonly made by Latter-day Saints! Absolutely wonderful! I don't understand the plan fully (duh), but I love how it makes narrow thinking seem so obviously narrow indeed!

:P The narrow thinking that I see is your stereotyped "TBMs". This thread is populated by "TBMs"....all saying different things. Be careful of that place called Rameumptom. <_<

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If I understand correctly, it is a Mormon teaching that this world is part of the telestial kingdom. And if I understand correctly, Mormons aspire to advance not one but TWO levels up, within the span of one short lifetime! So here we have precedent for advancement from one kingdom to another.

These different kingdoms you have - are they not degrees of separation from God? And if so, anything less than full reunion is an unnatural condition and therefore is subject to being healed.

Didn't Joseph Smith teach that without your ancestors you cannot be exalted? In other words, heaven isn't heaven until you are all there. What, are we going to just get a celestial lobotomy and forget about our loser Uncle BillyBob so that we can be in heavenly bliss forever? If we love him, how can we be at peace knowing he suffers forever?

Put yourself in God's shoes (we are the same species after all, aren't we?). God loves us immensely, right? Okay, then can you imagine God being content that most of his children can never return to him, but instead suffer eternally to one degree or another? Just as you wouldn't walk away and leave your children in a burning building, neither would God. You may not know the mechanism by which it will happen (and I'm not going to tell you), but God is a pretty smart guy and I bet he's already figured out a way.

SFH

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That has been put to rest for decades.  It is one of the few things that has been resoundingly rejected.  Even BY rejected it. 

I'm not so sure it has been resoundingly rejected. Sure I've read an article or two distancing the church from such teachings. They seem to be more in the mould of President Hinckley distancing himself from difficult LDS doctrine when asked. Rather than articles written from a point of doctrinal authority.

Still, as humans we always tend to big up the stuff we agree with and justify in our minds the things we disagree with.

I'm always a little taken back by anyone who is unaware that the "less valiant" folklore has been rejected....and I find your question rather disturbing in itself since the Church does not track members by skin color and I'm wondering why you would.

Why are you disturbed? I'm merely pointing out an obvious conclusion to the whole children are the elect of God principle. I think it is ironic that the whole doctrine basically suggests blacks in Africa have more elect children born to them than your typical LDS family.

I'm just not convinced your suggestion that the doctrine on blacks has been withdrawn. Sure it may not be PC to mention such things in the modern world, much like it is not PC to mention polygamy either. Both are still issues for the church to deal with though. We either considered blacks different to the people of the rest of the world or we didn't. To pretend BY didn't seems a bit extreme, because if he didn't (or if God didn't) he would have had a revelation that blacks were to have equal rights in the p'hood.

The fact is he didn't therefore he maintained that blacks were somehow not as good in the eyes of God, for whatever reason.

Your question rests on the belief that "the elect" all reside in SLC.

Of course it doesn't rest on that. It was clearly a simplification designed to get a rise out of someone. To pretend my whole point rests on that issue is a bit foolish.

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stn9,

Now, note that if you read just these three verses literally and with no further context or doctrinal understanding, one can mistakely claim that no provision is made for them to be exalted, for it categoricaly states they will not be married but will remain single "without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity...."

Oh, I'm pretty sure that even if you add the context, and further doctrinal understanding, this is the correct understanding. One has to really try to twist things to read it any other way. I'll demonstrate this further as I reply to the rest of your post.

However, we know that there is a condition not mentioned in 132: proxy temple ordinances.

Okay. There are a few things wrong with this. First, God has never promised that proxy temple ordinances will be for those who have been resurrected. These proxy ordinances are specifically for those in the spirit world, who did not have a chance to accept them. To suppose that the ordinances can be extended after the resurrection is to go past what revelation says on the subject. Second, what God says in D&C 132 specifically prohibits these angels from receiving such proxy sealings. They will remain separately and singlely, without exaltation, through all eternity.

(On the topic of children, I believe that they are actually married [not by proxy] once they have grown up, in their resurrected condition. I also believe they are never appointed angels.)

When someone as described in verse 15 dies and is able to and does in fact accept the ordinances that have been performed by proxy for them, then in God's eyes they are treated as they if they were married for eternity while alive.

And hence they are not appointed angels, because they *did* abide God's law (contrary to what these angels did--see verse 17).

When non-temple sealed couples who are dead hear the gospel preached unto them in spirit prison, and when they receive the gospel gladly, and when their ordinances are performed for them by proxy, they no longer meet the requirements eternal singlehood as outlined in D&C 132:15-17 becasue they have then obeyed God's law of marriage.

Of course they don't meet the qualifications of those who are made angels. They have the gospel presented to them, and they ACCEPT it. They abide by God's law. Those who are appointed angels do not abide by God's law (see verse 17 again). My point was that if someone is appointed an angel, then they cannot be enlarged after that. Those who are still in the spirit world have not yet been appointed angels, and can still repent.

You have interjected your own understanding or interpretation of D&C 132 by saying that it refers to a time after the final judgement

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I'm not so sure it has been resoundingly rejected. Sure I've read an article or two distancing the church from such teachings. They seem to be more in the mould of President Hinckley distancing himself from difficult LDS doctrine when asked. Rather than articles written from a point of doctrinal authority.

Then you know very little about Mormonism and have no business pontificating about it. :P

Here is the earliest one:

When asked "if the spirits of Negroes were neutral in heaven," he answers, "no, they were not, there were no neutral [spirits] in heaven at the time of the rebellion, all took sides.... All spirits are  pure that came from the presence of God. (Journal History, 25 December 1869 citing "Wilford Woodruff's Journal.")

And I'll let you find the official statement put out last century. In other words, you are dead wrong on this one.

Still, as humans we always tend to big up the stuff we agree with and justify in our minds the things we disagree with.

I hope you are not saying that you are bringing up this inaccurate information because you agree with it.

I think it is ironic that the whole doctrine basically suggests blacks in Africa have more elect children born to them than your typical LDS family.

I think that your bringing up skin color is offensive at best...there is another label but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. The "whole doctrine" always has "suggested" that everyone has the door open. Everyone is everyone...from aborignes to the kings...from the beginning to the end of time. I think you need to let that sink in a little more. If you want to single people out by race or skin color I think the place will have a lot of Asians...the Chinese are trying to limit their population.

I'm just not convinced your suggestion that the doctrine on blacks has been withdrawn.  Sure it may not be PC to mention such things in the modern world, much like it is not PC to mention polygamy either.

It isn't my suggestion. It is in black and white and available to all. Again, that you do not seem to have any desire to research this is disturbing. I have no problem with the LDS "doctrine" on "blacks" because it is no longer any different than the doctrine on whites. I have no problem with polygamy and mention it quite often....my greatgrandmother was a third wife and it is actually quite a conversation piece. I will never stop bringing it up and people will never stop being interested in such an unusual thing. You certainly have a lot of preconcieved ideas.

Your question rests on the belief that "the elect" all reside in SLC.

Of course it doesn't rest on that. It was clearly a simplification designed to get a rise out of someone. To pretend my whole point rests on that issue is a bit foolish.

Your whole point does rest on it because your whole point is to compare races with the "elect"...neither of which you seem to have completely accurate information on.

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If I misunderstood your reason for citing 132 in the first place, I apologize. I agree that ultimately a person who rejects God's law

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Wow...this thread is a bunch of CLUSTER #$%$##.

How about keeping the Lords plan simple.

We come down here to learn and progress. If we fail we get to repeat that lesson untill we prove ourselves worthy to progress. We ALL progress to Godhood.

Woweeee....Simple, complete and the only person you hurt if you fail...is yourself.....Yea...that is indeeds Gods plan...

Or you can have it the Mormon way...Which this thread proves is a bunch of confused nonsense......

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If I understand correctly, it is a Mormon teaching that this world is part of the telestial kingdom. And if I understand correctly, Mormons aspire to advance not one but TWO levels up, within the span of one short lifetime! So here we have precedent for advancement from one kingdom to another.

These different kingdoms you have - are they not degrees of separation from God? And if so, anything less than full reunion is an unnatural condition and therefore is subject to being healed.

Didn't Joseph Smith teach that without your ancestors you cannot be exalted? In other words, heaven isn't heaven until you are all there. What, are we going to just get a celestial lobotomy and forget about our loser Uncle BillyBob so that we can be in heavenly bliss forever? If we love him, how can we be at peace knowing he suffers forever?

Put yourself in God's shoes (we are the same species after all, aren't we?). God loves us immensely, right? Okay, then can you imagine God being content that most of his children can never return to him, but instead suffer eternally to one degree or another? Just as you wouldn't walk away and leave your children in a burning building, neither would God. You may not know the mechanism by which it will happen (and I'm not going to tell you), but God is a pretty smart guy and I bet he's already figured out a way.

SFH

EXACTLY!!! You get a cookie my friend. We as Mormons make our lives and our teachings way tooooo complicated even for our own consumption.

Gods plan is simple. The Mormon plan is anything but simple.

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It has never made sense to me that God would kill off all of his top spirits as children and leave the goof-offs to run the most important event in our eternal existence.

It's not scriptural either.

Scripture (especially PoGP) often makes reference to the noble spirits among the adults.

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Then you know very little about Mormonism and have no business pontificating about it. :P

Your derogatory comments cannot be hidden behind a pathetic little smiley.

I'm not interested in going through your post line upon line. The fact remains that LDS doctrine involved distingishing between African blacks and the rest of the world. Much as you might like to pretend that it wasn't such an issue, it was for many.

Wilford Woodruff's quote is meaningless. It does not address the issue on why the blacks were refused the priesthood, it just states every spirit that comes here is pure. But within that purity there is clearly grading and levels of purity. Else how do we have noble and great ones?

Feel free to call me a racist if it makes you feel better.

TBH I am a bit intolerant, race has little to do with it though. I find there are idiots in every race and people who jump up and down trying to put others down in a debate and trying to take the moral high ground without bothering to back up their position, prefering to "leave it as an exercise to the reader" tend to stand out to me and usualy I find myself feeling less than tolerant towards them.

Perhaps you could spend less time posting negative comments about my person and more time posting your opinion on why you hold your views. Please feel free to resist the urge to resort to lame comments if it becomes apparent that a person might hold a different view than yourself. It doesn't help to get across your meaningful information when it is bracketed in silly insults and little digs specifically made to make you feel more superior.

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