Styln

Non Mormon - Heaven

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Super-short answer: all people who follow Christ will spend eternity with Him, happy beyond their wildest dreams.

Much more informative, but longer answer: members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints don't view the afterlife as a binary Heaven/Hell the way other Christians do.  Rather the LDS view is more of a spectrum view, where even evilest* people end up happy in the eternities, with some measure of God's presence.  The more one accept God into your life, the more of God's glory and happiness that person receives in the eternities.  Obviously LDS folks hold that LDS beliefs are the most correct and fullness of the Gospel, leaving to the fullness glory / happiness / God's presence. 

Even much more informative, but longer answer: see here https://www.lds.org/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-46-the-final-judgment?lang=eng&_r=1

 

*Ok, 'evilist' excluding the Cain type folks.    

Edited by Jane_Doe

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Am I right that it would be most difficult for traditional Christians to enter the highest heavenly kingdom, but that there are also a fair number of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who will, for various reasons, also find themselves in second (Terrestial) kingdom?

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@prisonchaplain I think it will be just as easy for non-LDS Christians as for LDS Christians. Let me see if I can sum this up briefly:

In Abraham 3:24-25, it says that one of the main purposes of our existence is to see if we will be obedient. In Alma 42, Alma explains to his son how mercy and justice and atonement work together to save us. He explains that "none but the truly penitent are saved" (vs. 24). Then there are all those verses that you are already familiar with that emphasize the importance of developing faith in Christ. In my mind, salvation/exaltation, then, synthesizes down to two basic things -- faith in Christ and obedience/repentance. These are two things that all Christians can develop. We do proxy ordinance work to make sure that everyone (to the extent that we can access everyone) has all of the necessary ordinances/sacraments checked off on their checklist. Assuming that this proxy work is fully completed before final judgement, I think the final judgement will boil down to those two questions -- did you develop faith in Christ and were you willing to be obedient to God's commands and diligent in making those changes necessary in order to be obedient. As I suggested, these are questions that can apply to all Christians -- whether or not they have felt God's call to join with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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Are that not certain requirements for entry into the Celestial Kingdom that would be most difficult without the covenants, ordinances and revelations found within the Church? Perhaps, it is only exaltation, within the highest realm where these become essential?

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10 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

Am I right that it would be most difficult for traditional Christians to enter the highest heavenly kingdom, but that there are also a fair number of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who will, for various reasons, also find themselves in second (Terrestial) kingdom?

 

48 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

Are that not certain requirements for entry into the Celestial Kingdom that would be most difficult without the covenants, ordinances and revelations found within the Church? Perhaps, it is only exaltation, within the highest realm where these become essential?

(Clarification for the OP: these questions are coming from the I-already-read-the-really-long-answer standpoint)

A person's eternal destination is not remotely automatically determined by which bench your butt warms on Sunday.  Rather, it is determined by your relationship with Christ.  In the eternities there will indeed be folks in the highest glory who's butt warmed LDS benches, non-LDS benches, and even folks who never heard of Christ in this life.  And there will be folks from all of those categories in lesser degrees of glory too.  

Again, what matters is the relationship you have with Christ, come Final Judgement day (not come the day of your mortal death, but Final Judgement).  Do you accept Christ and have faith in Him?  Accepting Christ & having faith doesn't mean just hollowing saying "yeah I have faith", but giving your entire self to Him.  Entire self means words, heart, mind, deeds, etc.  It means turning away from sins and accepting His name/ways (which include the promises we make with Him via ordinances).  

Up until now I've talked about Final Judgement day stuff.  But what about here & now?  Well of course coming closer to Christ now brings more joy and goodness now!  Learning more Truth does indeed bring more joy and perspective.  Changing our ways now does indeed bring more joy and goodness now.  Plus we humans are creatures of habit.  So yes, I will indeed say studying the restored Gospel does indeed bring more joy, goodness, and perspective now, and is a great desirable thing.    Joining Christ's Church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) does indeed bring goodness today-- if you're listening and following Christ therein.  Merely being a bench warmer who doesn't listen/pray/practice/believe... it's not so useful.  And I will admit there are some folks sitting on LDS benches that are *just* warming the bench.  

Edited by Jane_Doe

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32 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

A person's eternal destination is not remotely automatically determined by which bench your butt warms on Sunday.

"Automatically determined"? Certainly not. "Statistically correlated with"? I hope so. If not, being a Latter-day Saint is vain, at least insofar as moving us toward our best possible eternal destiny.

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One of the main requirements that ALL of you who are Latter-day Saints have failed to state are the requirements that MUST be obtained before one can achieve entry into the Celestial Kingdom ~ D&C 76:

50 And again we bear record—for we asaw and heard, and this is the btestimony of the cgospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the djust

51 They are they who received the atestimony of Jesus, and bbelieved on his name and were cbaptized after the dmanner of his burial, being eburied in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—

52 That by akeeping the commandments they might be bwashed and ccleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the dhands of him who is eordained and sealed unto this power;

53 And who aovercome by faith, and are bsealed by the Holy Spirit of cpromise, which the Father dsheds forth upon all those who are just and true.

54 They are they who are the achurch of the bFirstborn.

55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given aall things—

56 They are they who are apriests and bkings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;

57 And are apriests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of bEnoch, which was after the corder of the Only Begotten Son.

58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are agods, even the bsons of cGod

59 Wherefore, aall things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

60 And they shall aovercome all things.

61 Wherefore, let no man aglory in man, but rather let him bglory in God, who shall csubdue all enemies under his feet.

62 These shall adwell in the bpresence of God and his Christ forever and ever.

63 These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall acome in the bclouds of heaven to creign on the earth over his people.

64 These are they who shall have part in the afirst resurrection.

65 These are they who shall come forth in the resurrection of the ajust.

66 These are they who are come unto aMount bZion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all.

67 These are they who have come to an innumerable company of aangels, to the general assembly and church of bEnoch, and of the cFirstborn.

68 These are they whose names are awritten in heaven, where God and Christ are the bjudge of all.

69 These are they who are ajust men made bperfect through Jesus the mediator of the cnew covenant, who wrought out this perfect datonement through the shedding of his own eblood.

70 These are they whose bodies are acelestial, whose bglory is that of the csun, even the glory of God, the dhighest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.

To summarize: Baptism & confirmation into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [vs 50-52]

Then in verse 53 the word promise is defined in the Bible Dictionary in part as: Abraham first received the gospel by baptism (which is the covenant of salvation). Then he had conferred upon him the higher priesthood, and he entered into celestial marriage (which is the covenant of exaltation), gaining assurance thereby that he would have eternal increase. Finally he received a promise that all of these blessings would be offered to all of his mortal posterity (D&C 132:29–50; Abr. 2:6–11).

The remainder of the verses give the blessings.

Which mean one must live faithfully within their Latter-day Saint baptismal covenants - then go through the Temple. from a talk given by Russell M. Nelsen, then of the Quorum of the Twelve, April 2001 Conference Talk ". . . Temple ordinances, covenants, endowments, and sealings enable individuals to be reconciled with the Lord and families to be sealed beyond the veil of death. Obedience to temple covenants qualifies us for eternal life, the greatest gift of God to man.10 Eternal life is more than immortality. Eternal life is exaltation in the highest heaven—the kind of life that God lives. . . ."  https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2001/04/personal-preparation-for-temple-blessings?lang=eng

So, to sum it all up - @Styln EVERYONE will get to heaven. But to us Latter-day Saints we believe that only those who have been baptized, endowed and sealed in the Holy Temple of the Lord will be able to receive the highest of the Lord's kingdoms. That is the Celestial Kingdom. In the talk that is linked - the four kingdoms are explained. The last being what Latter-day Saints call Purgatory is what non-Latter-day Saints call Hell.

boldings are mine.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Iggy
cleaning it up

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@prisonchaplain  Yes, there are certain ordinances/sacraments and covenants that are only found in the Church. I might have to think about revelations -- not sure. Maybe I will use Iggy's skeleton of D&C 76 to illustrate my thinking here (and invite my correligionists to comment)

  • vs 51 "They are they who have received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name..." I don't see any reason to doubt that there are non-LDS Christians who have done so.
  • "...and were baptized...according to the commandment." As small as the Church is, there are certainly many more Christians who have not received this ordinance by authority acceptable to the Church. However, if it doesn't happen during a Christian's lifetime, we believe that it can be performed by proxy after death. Sometimes, I see debate over whether we believe that everyone will receive this ordinance by proxy or not -- I tend to believe that everyone will eventually receive the ordinance whether by their own initiative or by proxy.
  • 52: "That by keeping the commandments..." Again -- I think obedience is necessary, and Christians can be obedient to what they know.
  • "...They might be washed and cleansed..." result of obedience.
  • "...and receive the Holy Spirit by laying on of hands..." Another ordinance that, if not performed in this life, can be performed by proxy.
  • 53: "And who overcome by faith..." I'm not sure all of what is overcome, but I expect that Christians can overcome by faith.
  • "...and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true." Promise for those who overcome. If the sealing here includes elements of the other temple ordinances, remember that they, too, can be performed by proxy if not received in life.
  • rest describes outcome of these steps -- being resurrected to celestial glory.

As I see it, the parts that are unique and specific to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can all be received by proxy if not received in this life. The stuff that is not done by proxy can be done by all Christians.

I will mention that a person can choose to accept or reject the proxy ordinance work, and I am certainly not in any position to know or judge who will or won't accept or exactly how that works in final grand scheme of things. My impression of the proxy work is that, for those who accept it posthumously, it is not different than if they had performed those ordinances themselves in life. Perhaps there is room to talk about whether that is true or not.

For my correligionists -- am I way off base here?

Edited by MrShorty
Stupid thing posted before I was finished.

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Baptism and reception of the Holy Spirit, by proxy, is a matter of some controversy, if I am not mistaken. The main debate is over whether someone who has been exposed to the teachings of the Church, but who did not embrace them, would be receptive to proxy ordinances, after death. Many members suggest that it is unlikely.

In contrast, observant Jews truly do not seek converts. They believe that Jewish people have a special covenant with God, and that all others must simply obey the Laws of Noah. As I understand it, they believe that Christians of most stripes (including LDS) would qualify, despite our worship of Jesus.

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3 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

Baptism and reception of the Holy Spirit, by proxy, is a matter of some controversy, if I am not mistaken. The main debate is over whether someone who has been exposed to the teachings of the Church, but who did not embrace them, would be receptive to proxy ordinances, after death. Many members suggest that it is unlikely.

Actually this isn't really a matter of controversy.  Every person shall be baptized & have rest of the ordinances done, either while they're living or via proxy.  And regardless of when an individuals ordinances are done, judgement is God's hands alone.  We never have the right to declare that. 

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6 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

Baptism and reception of the Holy Spirit, by proxy, is a matter of some controversy, if I am not mistaken. The main debate is over whether someone who has been exposed to the teachings of the Church, but who did not embrace them, would be receptive to proxy ordinances, after death. Many members suggest that it is unlikely.

I can't speak for others in the Church. I agree that there is some controversy, some debate, some nuances, and some difficult parts to understand, which is why I invite my coreligionists to comment. I certainly do not claim to have any insight into the mind of God, or have any idea how God might judge individual cases. I guess that I am hopeful and optimistic that God will do all He can to persuade someone to accept these teachings, covenants, and ordinances, and will accept all who allow themselves to be so persuaded into the Celestial Kingdom.

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My point was not that some are "judging" non-members as hopeless, but more that some would urge us strongly to make our decisions in mortality, suggesting that if we are lax now, there is no guarantee we will be more receptive in the afterlife.

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7 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

My point was not that some are "judging" non-members as hopeless, but more that some would urge us strongly to make our decisions in mortality, suggesting that if we are lax now, there is no guarantee we will be more receptive in the afterlife.

The Book of Mormon makes it pretty clear that mortality is crucial.  But I think the crucial nature is in the pattern of our choices more than in whether we understand and receive specific ordinances (though for some, the receiving of ordinances may be part of their pattern).

I see very few people who make drastic changes in their way of life.  It's far more common for people to continue to be the type of person they've always been.  Thus, some people's pattern is continual improvement despite ups and downs; some people's pattern is continual mediocrity, regardless of ups and downs; and some people's pattern is to persist in idleness, regardless of ups and downs.  I suppose if I were in the right (aka wrong) places / among the right (aka wrong) people, I would also see those whose pattern is to go to great effort to make the vilest evils reality.  I think these four types of people will persist into eternity (indeed, I think they've already been persisting for all eternity - I may be wrong in that, and I may be unique in that thinking among Latter-day Saints).

All that said, I do think that each of us has a set of conditions that will enable and elicit our very best, and that God will, sooner or later, ensure that those conditions are brought about so that we have every chance at attaining the highest glory which we choose to attain, and that anyone who settles for less will do so quite deliberately.

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8 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

My point was not that some are "judging" non-members as hopeless, but more that some would urge us strongly to make our decisions in mortality, suggesting that if we are lax now, there is no guarantee we will be more receptive in the afterlife.

I will agree with this. Some reject the Gospel out of laziness or stubbornness or willful self-deception (or other reasons that are not coming immediately to mind). Alma taught that the same spirit that "possesses" us in this life, persists with us into eternity (Alma 34:34), and I think this is a big part of what Alma is talking about. But I also see evidence that there are cases where a Christian is not given that testimony of the LDS Church for reasons known only to God (see previous discussion here:

I think my point of not judging is that I cannot know for sure why someone is not accepting the Church, and how much of their refusal is their own choice and how much is God's choice. As the previous discussion shows, there is room to debate whether God would withhold a testimony from someone or not. It seems to me that He might, so I choose not to judge others and to hold out hope that God will still choose to grant that testimony in the future, if at all possible.

Edited by MrShorty

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8 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

My point was not that some are "judging" non-members as hopeless, but more that some would urge us strongly to make our decisions in mortality, suggesting that if we are lax now, there is no guarantee we will be more receptive in the afterlife.

In other words: us humans are creatures of habit?  Well that is a million percent true!

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I grew up with messages insisting, "Today is the day of salvation...you have no guarantee what tomorrow might bring...God is calling and you dare not resist.." etc. Today such messages are much rarer, and many perceive them as high pressure tactics. When it comes to matters of faith and spirituality people seem much calmer, and more circumspect. Yet, we are also more stressed, polarized, and anxious. I wonder if we worry about the right things.  :detective:

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2 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

I grew up with messages insisting, "Today is the day of salvation...you have no guarantee what tomorrow might bring...God is calling and you dare not resist.." etc. Today such messages are much rarer, and many perceive them as high pressure tactics. When it comes to matters of faith and spirituality people seem much calmer, and more circumspect. Yet, we are also more stressed, polarized, and anxious. I wonder if we worry about the right things.  :detective:

Re: worrying about the right things -- probably not. At least, not at all times and in all places and in all things. I hope we sometimes worry about the right things, even if we do so imperfectly.

I, too, grew up with "today is the day of salvation, don't procrastinate the day of your repentance" kind of messages. And I mostly agree with those messages. A few weeks ago, as I was listening to Erwin Lutzer's radio program, he talked about how saving faith (thinking as an Evangelical here) is a gift from God with some suggestions that we don't control when, how, or if God chooses to grant us this gift. I know that this kind of "Calvinist" thinking can be a point of contention throughout Christianity and not just within Mormonism (sorry, still don't know what word to use here), but it seems to illustrate my own struggles and attempts to understand this. Are faith and testimony things that I draw to myself? Or are faith and testimony gifts that God grants solely according to His wisdom and discretion? Or, as with so many things, is the real truth somewhere in the middle of the two extremes, because I see evidences for both sides? As long as I can see the possibility that God may choose to withhold faith and testimony for reasons known only to Him, I find I cannot pronounce final judgement on anyone (other than myself, perhaps). "Today is the Day..." then becomes a reminder for myself that I need to be diligent in following the faith and testimony that God has given me, but not to project onto others.

All told, I find it an intriguing question, for which I don't think I have good answers, but I hold out hope and optimism that all still have the opportunity to be heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ of salvation in the Celestial Kingdom.

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As mentioned above, Joseph Smith received a vision on the resurrection and judgment of the dead. 

Quote

From sundry revelations which had been received, it was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of man had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled. It appeared self-evident from what truths were left, that if God rewarded every one according to the deeds done in the body the term ‘Heaven,’ as intended for the Saints’ eternal home, must include more kingdoms than one. Accordingly, … while translating St. John’s Gospel, myself and Elder Rigdon saw the following vision.

see Doctrine & Covenants 76. Read it. No seriously, read it. There's a lot of synopses out there that I think are inaccurate. There's also a lot out there that are accurate but incomplete.

I'll share an incomplete one with you (so read it so you know what I'm not sharing). The glory received hereafter is determined by a person's faithfulness and diligence in exercising faith on Christ.

The celestial glory is for those "who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial," etc., as shared above. The exercise their faith in Christ to the extent that they obey the laws and ordinances of the gospel.

The terrestrial glory is for those "who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus". They don't receive the ordinances, or they waver in their godly walk. I could say more on this, but it would probably be better to address direct questions on it. From where I sit, those who delay their repentance (including baptism) can hope for no more than this.

The telestial glory is for those "who received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus." They acknowledge the goodness of Jesus and his teachings, but that's because they recognize him as a wise teacher or philosopher. These "say they are some of one and some of another—some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch; But received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant."

The header at the top of the revelation provides easy links to follow to get right to the section of interest.

Edited by mordorbund

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