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Three Degrees Of Glory...In The Celestial Kingdom?


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I always wondered about the reasonability of how one can be unmarried and yet be so close to eternal life. Then my dad went through a divorce and found hope in the doctrine.

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With the way the world is going and watching the changes over the past 40 years, as a youth I often thought that going through the Temple and getting sealed was just the work of our Lord. Now I often believe may it is only those who have been through the Temple, done the work and have been sealed will attain the Celestial Kingdom! Any Thoughts?

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I've often wondered about the minimum requirement of receiving at least the bottom level of the celestial kingdom.

Enduring 70% to the end. 68% on the curve if it is a tough exam.

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The celestial kingdom, or as I like to call it- the "kingdom of heaven" is what every human being is striving for who comes to this earth. Looking at the gospel, it seems rather apparent that there is a kingdom of heaven and a kingdom of the devil with nothing inbetween. If we look at it in this light we may realize that in the end, all of will have to choose to be in one of these two kingdoms- either with Christ, or against Him. All people, regardless of their situations, will gravitate towards one of these two opposite polars by the time final judgment is at hand. As LDS, we are already part of the kingdom now- our names arer written in the book of life. In fact, all of us who came to this earth have their names written in the book of eternal life- the names of the kingdom. It is however through sin that our standing comes into question with God. If we turn away utterly from God, our names get blotted out of the book of life.

What is uniqe in our gospel is that we have instructions for getting only into the kingdom of heaven. Our paths in the gospel lead only in one direction and paradoxial to this is the teaching that there are somehow planes, paths, and kingdoms of stagnation within the kingdom of heaven framework. Do we really think it is possible that man would get to some place or state of being in eternity where they would plateau? If it truly is God's glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, this would literally mean that we were created to become Gods ourselves! I don't believe that God has a plan to lead man anywhere but into the exact type of being that He Himself is! Everything godly is progressive. No law, principle, or state of godliness that we achieve has limited scope. All things from God himself to help us are for the sole purpose of advancing us into becoming Gods ourselves. That is all the gospel is- that is all that it does. So, in reality- we either gravitate towards becoming gods or gravitate towards becoming devils- nothing inbetween.

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It is true, that the next level down from the top in the Celestial kingdom is basically those that are not married but have qualified in every other way to enter the Celestial Kingdom. We don’t know a lot about this level and I often wonder about if people who enter that level can progress to the next within the Celestial Kingdom; Perhaps, a large Single Adult program within the kingdom? There are lots of people that were righteous single adults in history, including John the Baptist. Yet, historically, fellow members generally look down on single members as unqualified in some way here on earth. Yet Christ praised John the Baptist. What we often over look in this life is that there may be good reasons out of the control of the individual as to why they are single. For example, my ADHD is hereditary, and I wouldn’t want to pass that on. Further, for a spouse to marry me would have a lot to give up in this life. Therefore, marriage can at times seem an insurmountable challenge. There are other challenges as well. Many singles have SSA. Many singles have chosen to change the laws of marriage so that they can be accepted instead of waiting for grace to heal them. In the meantime, they influence the children they raise thus completing Satan’s plan. Everyone has some sort pitfall in gaining the Celestial kingdom. Grace is sufficient for all after the trial of our faith. Unfortunately, many of those trials are from within the boundaries of our wards and stakes. But, I will say this to anyone who has one of those barriers - God has your back! Knowing that God has a plan for you and me, is also sufficient to living in this world. In the end, acceptance of other people is not where we gain our self-worth. Our self-worth is gained by following Christ in whatever capacity he has chosen for us.

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I've often wondered about the minimum requirement of receiving at least the bottom level of the celestial kingdom.

According to D&C 76, valiant in the testimony of Jesus. However, knowing that those who don't have opportunity in this life will have opportunity in the next, how can one be valiant while choosing not to be married?

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If you asked an LDS this question in 1870, I suspect you would have been told the top level of the Celestial Kingdom was for those who practiced polygamy (D&C 131:2), the second level was for those who only accepted monogamy (i.e. Emma), and the bottom level was for those who were single (i.e. "ministering angels" - D&C 132:16).

In 2011, the answer seems to be that the top level is for everyone who wants it whether they are polygamist or monogamist, since everyone will have a chance to get sealed to a spouse at least once if they want to, the second or third level would be for people who qualify for the Celestial Kingdom but totally reject the opportunity to be sealed to someone, and the other level we don't know.

Edited by cinepro
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In 2011, the answer seems to be that the top level is for everyone who wants it whether they are polygamist or monogamist, since everyone will have a chance to get sealed to a spouse at least once if they want to, the second or third level would be for people who qualify for the Celestial Kingdom but totally reject the opportunity to be sealed to someone, and the other level we don't know.

The most recent iteration I've heard is (keeping in mind all being faithful):

C1: Celestial Marriage (or worthy to be and not finding a worthy companion). Joint Heirs with Christ in All Things

C2: Endowed, not married by own actions and choices. Unknown Role

C3: Not Endowed, but baptized and otherwise faithful. Ministering Angels

In my personal opinion, there isn't what I feel is a lot of revealed evidence for 3 clear degrees of Celestial Glory. I view it more as a near infinite degrees of progression open to the valiant in Christ, with those near the bottom able to progress onwards, but always a few steps behind those higher (the two people climbing a ladder analogy Joseph Smith used). Where you fit is unique to who you are.

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I would like to add that we do not know a lot about the CK and it's varrying degrees of glory. All we are told is that in order to go into the highest glory within the CK one must be married. What we don't know though is that married people very well could also be in the lowest glory in the CK.

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According to D&C 76, valiant in the testimony of Jesus. However, knowing that those who don't have opportunity in this life will have opportunity in the next, how can one be valiant while choosing not to be married?

I certainly didnt say anything about someone not choosing to be married. So, why are you quoting me? But, it is telling thats for sure .... :morg:

But, there are lots of reasons why people dont choose a spouse to be married. So, I would say its the person not being chosen, not the person doing the choosing. Before I was married, I was engaged twice at BYU - Both times after praying about it, it was crystal clear that I was not to marry them. So, your model doesnt work there either. One can be valliant if the person tries and never makes it .... thats falls under grace. And yes, a person can be valliant in those situations. Also valliant for doing what Heavenly Father says, which could be to NOT get married.

The problem with your logic is that you think its a check off list in this life.... and its not. Further, its not what you think about others, its what you think about yourself. Remember, we keep the commandments because we Love Christ, we Love our fellow man, and we Love ourselves. Is there ever a time when divorce is correct? If we love ourselves and the marriage is dead for a long period of time, In my opinion thats certainly a possibilty. But then again, it doesnt matter what I think, unless it happens to me. I promise that I wouldnt get revelation that my best friend is going to he11 if he gets a divorce. However, some women would disagree - and those women would disagree at least 50% of the time!

Edited by Messenger
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I had prepared my original question with more detail, but at the last minute the entire post whoooshed away and left me with a blank screen.

My brother had sent me this quotation:

“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 service in the 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 the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread 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” (Elder Orson F. Whitney, Conference Report, April 1929, Third Day Morning Meeting, p.110).

This was referenced above, I think. Where the line is drawn I don't know. There are numerous children and grandchildren of General Authorities that seem to fall into this category as well. Where the line between them and the Sons of Perdition is drawn is of intense interest to me. As far as I know, those who gain the Telestial Kingdom must suffer Hell, and those who suffer Hell must do so for the entire duration of the Millennium. I suppose the same is true for the Sons of Perdition and those who tread the "thorny path" and gain redemption.

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I've often wondered about the minimum requirement of receiving at least the bottom level of the celestial kingdom.

That one's easy. Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins and recieving the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.

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That one's easy. Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins and recieving the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.

I believe that is the minimum for the Telestial Kingdom. We know that the Telestial Kingdom is for those who can accept the administration of the Holy Ghost, but not Christ. However, you cannot enter even the Telestial without confessing Christ as your Savior and Redeemer (so says the Doctrine and Covenants at least). We also know you can't receive the Holy Ghost without baptism.

That said, baptism and the Holy Ghost are in another sense the minimum for the Celestial Kingdom. The difference lays in valiance in the testimony of Christ.

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As far as a large YSA group in the Celestial Kingdom,it has been stated on the forum that billions have died before the age of accountability and thus inherit the Celestial. Eharmony will be very busy.

Edited by blackstrap
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I believe that is the minimum for the Telestial Kingdom. We know that the Telestial Kingdom is for those who can accept the administration of the Holy Ghost, but not Christ. However, you cannot enter even the Telestial without confessing Christ as your Savior and Redeemer (so says the Doctrine and Covenants at least). We also know you can't receive the Holy Ghost without baptism.

That said, baptism and the Holy Ghost are in another sense the minimum for the Celestial Kingdom. The difference lays in valiance in the testimony of Christ.

Doesn't that amount to forcing people to be baptized since the only option left is SOP and we are taught that one actually needs to have covenanted more with God and then rejected him to be one of those.

What happens to those who don't want to live as part of the Church of the Lamb? We speak of people having a choice to accept baptism or to reject it. This is significantly different than requiring someone to face the fact of what Christ has done for them. The latter requires nothing more than an acceptance of reality, the former...baptism...if it is anything like occurs now, it means a commitment to a certain lifestyle. Maybe for the Terrestrial, but I think since baptism indicates membership in the Church of the Lamb and all that implies, that it is most likely a requirement for the Celestial Kingdom.

The Holy Ghost can be received by nonmembers...otherwise no one would ever be converted. There is a difference between the Gift of the Holy Ghost which implies a constant desire to interact with him and simply being able to bear his presence.

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Yes, there is. The highest is the married couples.

We don't know, but I have always understood that the highest level is for the Father and Son, the second level is for those sealed in the covenant (Patriarchial priesthood), and third level for those who do not share in the Patriarchial priesthood.

One cannot receive any share of the Celestial kingdom without making covenants, and having those covenants "justified" or sealed. Those who did not accept those covenants will be excluded and be received into another kingdom.

Edited by cdowis
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If you asked an LDS this question in 1870, I suspect you would have been told the top level of the Celestial Kingdom was for those who practiced polygamy (D&C 131:2), the second level was for those who only accepted monogamy (i.e. Emma), and the bottom level was for those who were single (i.e. "ministering angels" - D&C 132:16).

In 2011, the answer seems to be that the top level is for everyone who wants it whether they are polygamist or monogamist, since everyone will have a chance to get sealed to a spouse at least once if they want to, the second or third level would be for people who qualify for the Celestial Kingdom but totally reject the opportunity to be sealed to someone, and the other level we don't know.

Here's what John Brooke said in The Refiner's Fire, which I think is the most plausible explanation:

[D&C 132] linked the three degrees of glory in the celestial kingdom with three categories of marriage. Only those Mormon faithful who had entered into "a new and everlasting covenant" of eternal, or celestial, marriage would have the potential for continuing exaltation in the celestial kingdom. Above and below them would be two other degrees of glory. Eternal marriage--and godhood--was guaranteed only by the marriage sealing added to the temple endowment; those who had only married in a secular marriage ceremony would have their marriages end at the end of their "time" on earth. In heaven, Mormons without sealed eternal marriages would occupy the lowest degree of glory in the celestial kingdom, where they would simply be ministering angels, servants to those in the higher degrees, and condemned to an unexalted existence, without prospect of progression toward and in divinity." (p. 255)

I don't think D&C 132 makes this explicit, but it seems like the most reasonable way to break down the degrees. Smith's revelations promised greater blessings to those who "do the works of Abraham"--that is, enter plural marriage (D&C 132:32) and those who did not enter plural marriage "cannot receive the promise of my Father, which he made unto Abraham" (v. 33. Yet it is also clear that a monogamous sealing is sufficient for exaltation--just perhaps not the even higher blessings that stem from the covenant of Abraham.

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Doesn't that amount to forcing people to be baptized since the only option left is SOP and we are taught that one actually needs to have covenanted more with God and then rejected him to be one of those.

What happens to those who don't want to live as part of the Church of the Lamb? We speak of people having a choice to accept baptism or to reject it. This is significantly different than requiring someone to face the fact of what Christ has done for them. The latter requires nothing more than an acceptance of reality, the former...baptism...if it is anything like occurs now, it means a commitment to a certain lifestyle. Maybe for the Terrestrial, but I think since baptism indicates membership in the Church of the Lamb and all that implies, that it is most likely a requirement for the Celestial Kingdom.

The Holy Ghost can be received by nonmembers...otherwise no one would ever be converted. There is a difference between the Gift of the Holy Ghost which implies a constant desire to interact with him and simply being able to bear his presence.

All that is required to become a SOP is to utterly turn away from Christ and never repent of ones sins. The BoM speaks a lot of those who never repent and thus die the second death.

Christ will only save those have chosen to believe in Him and repent of all their sins and are baptized. Any who fail to meet this minimum criteria by the end of the millennium will become sons of perdition.

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All that is required to become a SOP is to utterly turn away from Christ and never repent of ones sins. The BoM speaks a lot of those who never repent and thus die the second death.

Christ will only save those have chosen to believe in Him and repent of all their sins and are baptized. Any who fail to meet this minimum criteria by the end of the millennium will become sons of perdition.

Well, I love the generosity in this approach. This will in fact put the vast majority of Father's children into that pool of liquid fire for all eternity, where their worm dieth not. I suppose this would include all those who were born into times and places where there was no opportunity to even hear one word about Jesus Christ. Picking a place and time not at random, let us consider the continents of North and South America. In 1491 (the year before Columbus's arrival and the first opportunity to hear from any Christian missionaries) there may have been as many as 100 million Indians -- according to the book "1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus" by Charles C. Mann and other "high counters". Very few of those 100 millions then living in the Americas would ever hear of Jesus before dying -- according to Mann, the vast majority of them would die from diseases spread by incidental content with the first Europeans. And according to what you have written here, Rob, they're all going to hell. Unless there's a middle-ground category for those who had no chance to accept the Gospel.

In the recent now-closed thread that now-banned (Validating?) elguanteloko started on the morality of God, there was a lot of talk about how one could tell that God was moral, which ultimately led to nothing. Well, I can tell you one way to prove that God was immoral, and that would be if this were true, that He automatically condemns those to eternal damnation and hellfire for the crime of not accepting the Gospel, those very people whom he placed on earth with no possibility of even hearing the Gospel. In that case, could God even look upon Himself and say "I am just"?

Well, this isn't the topic of the thread, so let me repair my digression by saying that, as I see it,

* The telestial kingdom is the place for those who, when given the opportunity, chose to reject Jesus's sacrifice, and ultimately suffered the retribution described in DC 19:16-19

* The terrestrial kingdom is the place for those who accepted Jesus' sacrifice, but who were not valiant

* The celestial kingdom is the place for those who were valiant in the testimony of Jesus -- as to the divisions within the celestial kingdom, these are mentioned exactly once in scripture, DC 131, and no details are given, except that in order to attain the highest "a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]"

About the degrees within the celestial kingdom, I think this is the sum total of all we know for definite. Anything else is pretty much wild speculation.

As to the Sons of Perdition, LDS doctrine sets the requirements for admission to this class significantly higher than you do, Rob, namely that

DC 76:31,32: Thus saith the Lord concerning all those who know my power, and have been made partakers thereof, and asuffered themselves through the power of the devil to be overcome, and to deny the truth and defy my power— They are they who are the asons of bperdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born;

DC 76:35 Having denied the Holy Spirit after having received it, and having denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him unto themselves and put him to an open shame.

DC 76:43 ... except those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him.

In short, to qualify as a SoD one has to have received a significantly greater gift through the Spirit than most people who live their lives on earth do.

Edited by Stargazer
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