Will our bodies be different according to the kingdom we end up in after death?

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Question

Gramps,

President Nelson has said our choices today will determine our bodies and the place we will be in eternity. Will our bodies be different in Celestial Kingdom vs Terrestrial and Telestial Kingdoms? If so how will they be different?

Vicki

Answer

Dear Vicki,

I cannot know exactly what President Nelson meant in his October 2023 talk “Think Celestial!“, but I know what scripture teaches and what one past prophet has said.  Let’s take a look.  The first place that hints at differences in resurrected bodies is in 1 Corinthians 15:40 (JST version, see footnote a):

Also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial, and bodies telestial; but the glory of the celestial, one; and the terrestrial, another; and the telestial, another.

In verse 41, Paul specifically speaks of glory as being a difference between these bodies.  This teaching is more explicit in Doctrine & Covenants 76:70-71, 81 (and really, the entire section):

70 These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.

 

71 And again, we saw the terrestrial world, and behold and lo, these are they who are of the terrestrial, whose glory differs from that of the church of the Firstborn who have received the fulness of the Father, even as that of the moon differs from the sun in the firmament.

81 And again, we saw the glory of the telestial, which glory is that of the lesser, even as the glory of the stars differs from that of the glory of the moon in the firmament.

In addition to these, we have hints in Doctrine & Covenants 131 and 132:15-20, which make it clear that only those exalted in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom will be gods and enjoy “a continuation of the seeds”, which is generally understood to refer to having spirit children. One might think that the limitation on all others will be rule-based rather than a physical limitation, but President Joseph Fielding Smith, as recorded in Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, Pg.286 – 288, believed it was more than that:

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