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

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my understanding is baptism is only required to be in the celestial kingdom.

This is the understanding of many people. I challenge people to try to understand where this comes from. We of course know that baptism is required to get to the Celestial Kingdom, so on that part we can agree. The question of course is one of can we substantiate it not being needed to get into heaven in general?

I am just not certain of the role of baptism for a telestial person.

Fair enough. I was a fish out of water when I was first taught it many years ago. I came to accept it. Ultimately though, I don't see it a matter that affects my personal salvation as I intend to not be in the Telestial Kingdom under any condition.;-)

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All must eventual be cleanse from their sins before they can be resurrected and brought before the judgment bar of Christ, this is one of the purposes of the spirit prison.

Those in the Telestial kingdom must suffer for there sins in Spirit Prison. I don't think this is the same as being cleansed, which only Christ can do. Anyone can suffer in a prison for life, but they may still be unrepentant, and it does not absolve them of the crime they committed.

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I believe that it comes from D/C 76. It mentions baptism being essential to enter the Celestial Kingdom, but does not mention it as a prerequisite to enter the Terrestial or Telestial Kingdom.

I found this online:

Joseph Smith (President)

Every man lives for himself. Adam was made to open the way of the world, and for dressing the garden. Noah was born to save seed of everything, when the earth was washed of its wickedness by the flood; and the Son of God came into the world to redeem it from the fall. But 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 water and the Spirit. He may receive a glory like unto the moon, [i.e., of which the light of the moon is typical], or a star, [i.e., of which the light of the stars is typical], but he can never come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels; to the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, unless he becomes as a little child, and is taught by the Spirit of God. (
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith
, p.12)

Joseph Fielding Smith (Quorum of the Twelve)

The Prophet says a man may enter into the terrestrial or the telestial kingdom who has not been baptized with water and who has not in this life received these ordinances, but he can never enter into the celestial kingdom without complying with these eternal laws.

Each kingdom, of course, is governed by laws. We have nothing to do with the laws of the telestial or terrestrial kingdoms, so far as the preaching of the gospel is concerned. Our mission is to preach the salvation of the kingdom of God, where he and Christ dwell, which is the celestial kingdom. And all of the principles of the gospel which have been given unto us pertain to the celestial kingdom. (
Doctrines of Salvation
, 2:25-26)

Will those who enter the terrestrial and telestial kingdoms have to have the ordinance of baptism? No! Baptism is the door into the celestial kingdom. The Lord made this clear to Nicodemus. We are not preaching a salvation for the inhabitants of the terrestrial or the telestial kingdoms. All of the ordinances of the gospel pertain to the celestial kingdom, and what the Lord will require by way of ordinances, if any, in the other kingdoms he has not revealed. (
Doctrines of Salvation
, 2:329)

The First Presidency have said in answer to a similar question: "We know of no ordinances pertaining to the terrestrial or the telestial kingdom. All of the ordinances of the gospel are given for the salvation of men in the celestial kingdom and pertain unto that kingdom." (
Doctrines of Salvation
, 2:330)

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Interesting quotes livy. I will have to compare them to the notes I have buried somewhere on this. I believe other prophets and apostles have stated contra-wise.

I would say that Joseph Fielding is merely repeating what he found in History of the Church that's extracted into Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Further, it is possible that Doctrines of Salvation is filled with even more pseudo-doctrine than his son-in-law Bruce R. McConkie included in the first edition of Mormon Doctrine. Finally, most everything he wrote in Doctrines of Salvation were actually written when he was a seventy (and in some cases not even that) and collected and compiled.

As such, there is only one quote I feel is of interest, being the first one.

My thoughts in general are that this was I am assuming before the endowment was revealed, as well as work for the dead. Hence, we taught one thing back then: be baptized now, or forever hold your peace. If baptism for the dead had not been revealed, it seems to leave the question of what is it important to teach? It would be that you need baptism, you need now, in this life, or you're out of luck. Further, being pre-baptism for the dead, what he said technically does not gel with D&C 76, which states that men who would have accepted the Gospel in this life and were good could enter the Celestial kingdom. I suppose it could be argued that Joseph knew about baptism for the dead at this time, even if not revealed? I'm just thinking out loud right now. It's late.;-)

Either way, maybe some time this weekend I'll gather my notes. I could feel validated, or I could change my tune. We shall see.;-)

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It is certainly something to look into. The one point to consider however is that many terms have multiple applications, such as salvation. There certainly is the general notion of Gods kingdom which encompasses all kingdoms, but there could also be the more specific definition of the celestial kingdom. For example, if you live in Florida but you return to the US via New York after a long absence, you would say you are finally home, even though your actual home is still another 2 hours or so of flying.

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I do not have the reference right off but I do know that Joseph Smith later changed his opinion about salvation later in his life from the above mentioned quote. He went on toi later state that no one will be redeemed from hell until they accept Christ, repent and are baptized.

We know that all that Christ saves will be cleansed from all sin. There is only one way for that to happen and that is through the atoning blood of Christ. Men only have access to this cleansing power through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel which include repentance and baptism. In fact, there is no scripture anywhere in the BoM that states any man will be eternally saved from hell withou baptism.

Section 76 is a hard doctrine to try to consume by itself- it needs some clarification. Such as- looking at just the terrestrial we find out that for some individuals in this kingdom are those who died without law. Of course this would mean little children as they die without law. So are all handicapped. Think of it this way- a person who is without law cannot be subject to it or by it. This means that they cannot go to hell at death and cannot be judged by the law- they are in a state of innocence before God. Only people who are subject to law can be judged by law and hence- must repent and be baptized at that point for a remission of sins as demanded by law.

Something to chew on.

Edited by Rob Osborn
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those who died without law

This references those who died as lawless individuals. One of the other verses differentiates them from people who were not taught the law/didn't have the opportunity to accept the gospel. Telestial people may have known the law, but they died "without it".

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A person who dies without law cannot be judged by it- they automatically would be saved from hell.

Provide the references for this interpretation so we can compare it top the context.

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Provide the references for this interpretation so we can compare it top the context.

22 For behold that all little children are aalive in Christ, and also all they that are without the blaw. For the power of credemption cometh on all them that have dno law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing—

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