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19 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

That would be the idea, yes. And I certainly don't have a problem with anyone rejecting that possibility.

So, when we've used the Corinthians reference for <I don't even know how long> to prove the three degrees of glory has a Biblical basis, you're saying there IS no Biblical basis for the three degrees of glory?  

19 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

When push comes to shove it does not matter. We understand that the degrees of glory exist for the sake of equity...as in not all evil is equal. Whether less-than-exalted means lower Celestial or Terrestrial doesn't have any real meaning without further revelation. Either way it's less that what we seek and less than what the Lord would have us receive.

Ok. On some level I do agree.  But it doesn't have to mean that what has been in lesson manuals and missionary manuals for (again) I don't know how long, were all incorrect.

Ironically, you're willing to say the same thing Rob has said about all this, just to prove YOUR point.  What makes your justification for YOUR position different than his justification for HIS position?

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20 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

So, when we've used the Corinthians reference for <I don't even know how long> to prove the three degrees of glory has a Biblical basis, you're saying there IS no Biblical basis for the three degrees of glory?  

We are clearly not discussing the same thing at all on this. I have no idea how Corinth reference applies to what I'm saying. 

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15 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

@Anddenex did you read that article by Elder Bednar?

Yes, when it first came out. I tend to take more interest though in prophets words than an apostle if an apostles words are at odds with a prophets thoughts. This is Elder Bednar's thoughts, just as it was BYs and JSFs thoughts.

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14 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

We are clearly not discussing the same thing at all on this. I have no idea how Corinth reference applies to what I'm saying. 

  • I referenced Corinthians because the entire argument about D&C 131:1 being about the meaning of the word "glory."
  • Standard exegesis says that we cross reference other scriptures that address the same thing.
  • In verse 1, the word "celestial" takes us to the TG "Celestial Glory".
  • The first listing in the TG is: 1 Cor 15:40.
  • I pointed out that EVERY time I've ever heard this passage (1 Cor) brought up in ANY Church based setting, the word "glory" ALWAYS referred to the three degrees of glory.

Now, unless I misunderstood you (which I may well have) I thought you were saying that D&C 131:1 was not talking about three degrees within the "Celestial Kingdom" because it doesn't say "kingdom".  It says "glory".  And this would only mean "heaven in general".

Before I go on, is this correct?  Did I misunderstand you?

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20 minutes ago, Carborendum said:
  • I referenced Corinthians because the entire argument about D&C 131:1 being about the meaning of the word "glory."
  • Standard exegesis says that we cross reference other scriptures that address the same thing.
  • In verse 1, the word "celestial" takes us to the TG "Celestial Glory".
  • The first listing in the TG is: 1 Cor 15:40.
  • I pointed out that EVERY time I've ever heard this passage (1 Cor) brought up in ANY Church based setting, the word "glory" ALWAYS referred to the three degrees of glory.

I see.

21 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

Now, unless I misunderstood you (which I may well have) I thought you were saying that D&C 131:1 was not talking about three degrees within the "Celestial Kingdom" because it doesn't say "kingdom".  It says "glory".  And this would only mean "heaven in general".

I'm not sure debating whether "glory" means the exact same thing in every instance it's used or not is very productive. (Sounds like a Rob type argument to me). What I'm convinced is important is that we understand scripture according to known gospel truths. We know stuff. We don't know other stuff. Making D&C 131 fit with the other stuff that we know requires, in my thinking, the interpretation you mention here. In the "heavenly sphere" there are three degrees. This is a known truth and fits well with the other scriptures we have about what it takes and the type of individual who will be in the Celestial Kingdom.

But...I could be absolutely, stunningly, off-the-charts wrong. There well may be three degrees in the actual Celestial Kingdom. In fact there probably are. It is the obvious reading of D&C 131, no doubt. But... What I full-on reject is that the lower kingdoms are for those who were faithful in other regards but then chose to disobey the commandment to marry eternally.

27 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

Before I go on, is this correct?  Did I misunderstand you?

Cleared up?

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1 hour ago, The Folk Prophet said:

If a parent is able to save their children despite their children's choices then the children are being acted upon. Hence agency is rejected with this principle.

Of course I understand that one might argue that being in the Celestial Kingdom but not exalted is a form of captivity and death, and whereas eternal progeny is impossible I accept that from a certain perspective that could be considered correct. But it goes contrary to the plain teaching that spiritual death equates to separation from God. So I don't really buy it.

Plus, just on the matter of pure equity, fairness, justice, whatever you call it, does it really make sense that for the sheer luck of having been born to parents who remain faithful that one gets to be with God forever while another, having the bad luck of having been born to unfaithful parents does not get to be with God even though both of these individuals made the same poor choices in their lives? (On a side note, I also understand that, perhaps, being born to said parents (faithful or not) may be a result of pre-earth faithfulness...which may have merit...but that seems like a mighty stretch to take all the way to Celestialized or not based on the agency of our parents).

This has been a teaching that's had traction ever since it was first preached.

Here's the latest I've heard on it from a living authority:

https://www.lds.org/ensign/2014/03/faithful-parents-and-wayward-children-sustaining-hope-while-overcoming-misunderstanding?lang=eng&amp;_r=1

The principle of repentance teaches us that if the prodigal son eventually and ultimately fully  repents, it will be as if there was no sin at all...and "all" that the father has would be his as well.

Yes?

I'm only okay with interpretations that don't contradict other plain gospel principles, such as agency and repentance.

What @Anddenex is talking about was actually NOT just a teaching of Joseph Fielding Smith but has roots all the way back to Joseph Smith.  It was an idea pushed more strongly by Brigham Young and refined most specifically how Joseph Fielding Smith discussed it by his Father, Joseph F. Smith.

That said, they were prophets and not Folk Prophets...soooo....

However, Anddenex covered WHY it does not abridge agency.  If they truly don't want to be in the Celestial Kingdom, I imagine they are not going to be forced to be there.  I do not think many give the strength of the ordinances made the power they truly have if those who make them are righteous and keep them.

However, I decided to post due to the part I bolded above.  This was also something answered by Brigham Young and others in their talks, speeches, and even teachings.  They have said it in different ways (some of which individuals today might interpret as racist or otherwise without understanding what the actual intent of the statements were) but the idea deals directly with our pre-existence.  In the Pre-existence they taught that we made choices that directly reflect our situation today.  your point about it being luck does not sit easily with me.

My OPINION (so, no, it is not specified anywhere in our doctrine.  It is not doctrine that I am aware of) is that, in light of their teachings and writings, that our choices and decisions determined directly where we are and our circumstances we were born into in this life.  It is not chance, it is not LUCK, it is by design.  When we include the choices made in the pre-existence to extend to this life, there may be FAR more justice in the world than what we originally thought pertaining to those who are born into the covenant vs. those who may never hear about the gospel.  It also may show far more mercy and justice in regards to how the Lord knows who would choose to accept the gospel even if they never heard of it on this earth, who had committed all sorts of sin, but will receive exaltation in the next life.  Past choices, those made in the Pre-existence...matter.

We STILL include this idea that at least one choice of ours determined what happened to us after the Pre-existence.  We teach that we had a choice and we chose to follow the Savior in the life prior to this one.  Thus, even without the exact depth that was used to be taught, we still have this teaching that at least one choice mattered and had an impact upon where we ended up after the pre-existence.

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Now that I have a bit of time let me address these ideas individually:

2 hours ago, Anddenex said:

If I were to accept any it would be JSF's teaching not BYs.

If I'm following you correctly, that would be that through parent's covenants in the temple and the parent's faithfulness, wayward children who would have otherwise most likely qualified for the Telestial kingdom will instead be in the Celestial Kingdom because of their parent's faithfulness, but will be in the lower degrees of the Celestial...perhaps the lowest being for otherwise Telestial beings with faithful parents and the middle for otherwise Terrestrial beings with faithful parents?

Am I following?

2 hours ago, Anddenex said:

Only if they are "forced" into the Celestial kingdom. If due to "covenant" and part of a covenant principle a choice is given they are not acted upon. They are given a choice to act. One person who taught this said it is part of the temple covenant.

"Forced" is irrelevant. Why is it fair that they are given the opportunity because of someone else's actions when someone else, by sheer chance of parenthood, does not have the same opportunity given them?

Everyone will have the same opportunity to reject or receive Christ ultimately, right? But what you're suggesting, if I'm not mistaken, is that wayward children of faithful parents get the choice of a greater reward for the faithfulness of another despite the fact that they had truth given them in their lives but rejected it than those who didn't have faithful parents teaching and setting the good example for them. So less culpability for worse choices based on knowledge given.

You're suggesting (once again, correct me if I'm wrong) that after having been given opportunity in this life and stone cold rejecting it for the sake of the carnal man, that because their parents were faithful the children will be given a new, extra opportunity to choose the Celestial Kingdom that others do not get?

2 hours ago, Anddenex said:

This is why I accept JSF over BY. I personally think the prodigal son can highlight this well, and at the same time as you mention if the prodigal had time to fully repent (did not deny the HG) then he eventually would receive all the Father hath. Thus, it leaves it open.

Can't the slaying of the fatted calf and the feast represent the Telestial and/or Telestial "glories" just as easily? I'm not saying that's the case. But...??

2 hours ago, Anddenex said:

I think of Joseph Smith who served God to his fullest, whose sons were not raised by him because of the calling he received from the Father. I would have no argument with the Father in terms of "fairness" regarding Joseph Smith's life and his son's choices, and his sons/daughters given the option -- a choice -- to be with them in the Celestial kingdom.

The same choice all who are led astray by the traditions of their fathers will have. That is irrelevant to the faithfulness of their parents. Joseph Smith's sons and daughters will have the same choice to accept Christ and His ordinances as we all do. Joseph Smith's faithfulness is a separate issue from Emma's faithlessness in her later life. I have no qualms with the reality that God will be perfectly fair for all. But Emma choosing to reject the church and guide her children accordingly is the key factor in their accountability, not Joseph's faithfulness or lack thereof.

2 hours ago, Anddenex said:

I also think the idea of -- those who lived without but would have accepted it -- may also have access to this position within covenant, which means in a sense all have this promise according to the choice of their children.

Do I understand this right? You think that those who would have accepted the gospel but didn't have the chance will be in the lower kingdoms of the Celestial...not receiving the reward of Exaltation?

Wouldn't they, being given the opportunity, accept the gospel then when it's preached to them in Spirit Prison and, accordingly, fully qualify for the fullness of exaltation? Or am I misunderstanding you?

2 hours ago, Anddenex said:

The same spirit inhabits us when we leave this earth life.

I'm not following how this idea applies.

2 hours ago, Anddenex said:

Also, we don't know what covenants were made in our pre-mortal life. There may be covenants we have totally forgotten that apply this teaching.

But those covenants do not override what the Lord has spoken. He cannot lie. Those who do not have a broken heart and a contrite spirit cannot be saved in the kingdom of God. If they do have a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then why would they not fully qualify for exaltation?

2 hours ago, Anddenex said:

I think we both agree that we both have had times where we were sure of something, a gospel principle, only to have that principle be given to us in more detail that then clears our understanding.

If and when something leads me to understand that agency does not actually mean that we are each accountable for our own and not for others' choices then I suppose I'll have to reconsider. But I don't believe that what we have been taught concerning repentance and agency is minimal. Of course when and if we receive further light and knowledge and I'm mistaken -- then we can settle this I suppose. ;)

It's like I said to Carb...it really doesn't matter. What matters is that we strive for exaltation and we strive to persuade others to strive for exaltation.

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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23 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

But...I could be absolutely, stunningly, off-the-charts wrong. There well may be three degrees in the actual Celestial Kingdom. In fact there probably are. It is the obvious reading of D&C 131, no doubt. But... What I full-on reject is that the lower kingdoms are for those who were faithful in other regards but then chose to disobey the commandment to marry eternally.

Cleared up?

I must be misunderstanding what you have posted in this thread thus far...so it's not just Carb on this.

As per what I understood you posting is that you were rejecting the idea that there are multiple degrees in the Celestial Kingdom, and thus those who did not have a Celestial marriage, as per the scripture which states they cannot receive the highest, would therefore automatically be in a different kingdom.

Here, it appears that you agree that they will still end up in the Celestial Kingdom.  As they CANNOT obtain the highest degree of it without entering into the covenant, I'm not sure what your actual stance is.

I know that what the others have been stating is that there are different degrees in the Celestial Kingdom and those that do not enter into the Sealing Covenant or everlasting covenant cannot obtain the highest degree of it.  Luckily there are other degrees in the Celestial Kingdom and hence they obtain the Celestial Kingdom, even if not the highest degree of it.

It appeared that you were arguing against this. 

Thus, after this statement I too and slightly confused on what your position is.  Perhaps that can elaborate the confusion or misunderstanding?

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3 minutes ago, JohnsonJones said:

That said, they were prophets and not Folk Prophets...soooo....

I wrote up a full reply but I've decided you don't actually care to discuss this with me anyhow so I've erased it and have decided to ignore your input on the matter.

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29 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

I see.

Good so far.

29 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

I'm not sure debating whether "glory" means the exact same thing in every instance it's used or not is very productive.

Then, we're both guilty of the same thing.  My point is that your position seems to be based specifically on that.  The difference is that your interpretation

  • Goes against conventional wisdom. (i.e. Church Texts and manuals and many individual apostolic interpretations).
  • Requires that "glory" does NOT mean "degrees of glory."  (yes, it does require that.  I'll address that below.)

My position, OTH

  • Goes along with conventional wisdom.
  • Requires that "glory" DOES mean "degrees of glory."
29 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

(Sounds like a Rob type argument to me).

Maybe.  But I have no problem with the method.  I have a problem with his conclusion going against the conventional wisdom with no basis other than "Well, I said it.  Therefore, the prophets were all wrong."

29 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

What I'm convinced is important is that we understand scripture according to known gospel truths. We know stuff. We don't know other stuff.

Agreed.

29 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Making D&C 131 fit with the other stuff that we know requires, in my thinking, the interpretation you mention here. In the "heavenly sphere" there are three degrees. This is a known truth and fits well with the other scriptures we have about what it takes and the type of individual who will be in the Celestial Kingdom.

Here, we disagree.  Here's something we know:  The "Celestial Glory" means the "Celestial Kingdom."  Are you now, going to do the same thing Rob does and declare that all our manuals since forever are wrong?  Are you going to declare that the cross reference provided as an official Church publication is wrong?

29 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

But...I could be absolutely, stunningly, off-the-charts wrong.

At least you separate yourself from Rob in this sense.  You're at least going to admit that you may be wrong.  As do I.  I very well could be wrong.  But when all the Church manuals interpret this verse in one way and people are trying to say it means something else, I need something more than some tenuous semantics to do so.

29 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

There well may be three degrees in the actual Celestial Kingdom. In fact there probably are. It is the obvious reading of D&C 131, no doubt.

Ok. I'm confused.  Here you are doing a 180, unless I misunderstood you.  Yes, that is what I've been saying all along about D&C 131.  Even if I'm in error, my question about rejecting that notion is "why would you?"  Don't we already know that there is progress WITHIN a kingdom.  This is something we all agree upon.

What we DON"T know is what the qualifiers are for those different degrees.  Why mention three?  There must be some defining difference for those who inherit each.

29 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

But... What I full-on reject is that the lower kingdoms are for those who were faithful in other regards but then chose to disobey the commandment to marry eternally.

Cleared up?

Not really.  In order to fully reject it, you HAVE to interpret D&C 131:1 to mean "celestial sphere" rather than "Celestial Kingdom."  There's no way around it because of the subsequent verses.

Quote

In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;

And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];

And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.

He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.

So, either that IS referring to the degrees within the Celestial Kingdom and the highest requires sealing where the others do not.

OR

It is referring to the Celestial Sphere and there are not distinctions, but only gradual progression with no separators.

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38 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

My point is that your position seems to be based specifically on that.

Not at all. Where do you get that? I laid out my position using scriptures in this post: 

It is based on our understanding of the Celestial Kingdom, its requirements, and how D&C 76, 88, 131, and 132 relate to each other.

The definition of "celestial glory" is retconning it to match these ideas.

38 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

Goes against conventional wisdom. (i.e. Church Texts and manuals and many individual apostolic interpretations).

Yes.

38 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

Requires that "glory" does NOT mean "degrees of glory."  (yes, it does require that.  I'll address that below.)

Yes. I already said "Yes" to that earlier.

38 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

My position, OTH

  • Goes along with conventional wisdom.
  • Requires that "glory" DOES mean "degrees of glory."

But struggles to explain the problems I've outlined throughout the thread. Want to take a shot? As I said, arguing about whether "glory" means "kingdom" every time it's used or not isn't going to get anywhere. Neither will a "conventional interpretation" help resolve the concerns I've raised.

38 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

Maybe.  But I have no problem with the method.  I have a problem with his conclusion going against the conventional wisdom with no basis other than "Well, I said it.  Therefore, the prophets were all wrong."

Right. Agreed.

The only reason I'm comfortable, at all, going against conventional thinking on this (I'm not sure "wisdom" is an accurate word here) is because we have so little given us on this and because my unconventional idea doesn't hurt anything in any way whatsoever.

38 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

Here's something we know:  The "Celestial Glory" means the "Celestial Kingdom."

Obviously I don't have the same view that we "know". We presume. We typically use the two phrases interchangeably in the modern church. But we do not "know" that's exactly what Joseph Smith meant in D&C 131. As I've said. It's probably what he meant. But the alternative interpretation is one way to explain things.

38 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

Are you now, going to do the same thing Rob does and declare that all our manuals since forever are wrong?  Are you going to declare that the cross reference provided as an official Church publication is wrong?

No. I've already said, in case you missed it, that I may well be spectacularly wrong. What I'm interested in discussing are the principles that lead me to the conclusion I have, not the conclusion itself.

38 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

At least you separate yourself from Rob in this sense.

This is not an "at least" thing. It's a HUGE thing.

And putting me in the same category as Rob in any regard in this matter is actually kind of rude. ;) You should know me better than that. I'll let him speak for himself, and it's probably unfair for me to pull him into it this way, but @Vort has shared the same idea I've proposed, and you should darned well know Vort better than that. So let's be careful about who we accuse of being like Rob. Fair enough? :D

Actually @Vort if you'd weigh in, I'm drowning a bit here. Maybe you can help me out or shove me further under a bit.

38 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

I need something more than some tenuous semantics to do so.

Then read through the rest of my blasted posts! ;)

38 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

Ok. I'm confused.  Here you are doing a 180, unless I misunderstood you.

It's not a 180. I only have ever suggested that this is an idea worth considering, not "this must be true because I'm smarter than the prophets" stand. And, as I said above, it's the reasoning I'm interested in discussing, not the conclusion.

38 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

Don't we already know that there is progress WITHIN a kingdom.  This is something we all agree upon.

????

38 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

In order to fully reject it, you HAVE to interpret D&C 131:1 to mean "celestial sphere" rather than "Celestial Kingdom."  There's no way around it because of the subsequent verses.

Sounds right.

Until someone can explain to me how someone who has a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and thereby qualifies for the Celestial Kingdom, also has a prideful heart and is unwilling to submit to one of the Lord's commands because they put their own will above His, but somehow still qualify for the Celestial Kingdom...well I'm afraid I'm going to struggle a bit with the "traditional wisdom" as you put it.

I can admit that I'm probably wrong because, contrary to what so many seem to believe here, I'm not actually arrogant. Just because I believe something to be logical and reasonable, if it stands contrary to "conventional" interpretation I'm perfectly willing to accept that there's likely just something I don't understand yet. If someone can present a logical, reasonable explanation to clarify the matter for me fitting into the conventional view, that would be awesome.

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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OK, I had written up a long line-by-line response.  But I realized we've been spending a lot of time repeating ourselves only to be misunderstood.  So, I am going to address what I hope is the distilled portion of the conversation thus far.

Quote

But struggles to explain the problems I've outlined throughout the thread. Want to take a shot?

Ok, you'll have to forgive that.  After my first post, I tried ignoring this thread because it seemed to be yet another useless debate with our favorite individual with a "pet gospel".  I shall have to make an effort to read your posts.

Quote

What I'm interested in discussing are the principles that lead me to the conclusion I have, not the conclusion itself.

It's not about "every time" it is used.  It is about accepting the cross references offered by some of the most learned apostle/scriptorians that the Church has ever produced.  And that ONE cross reference (per a Church publication) is a pretty important one that we use in our lessons, including missionary discussions.

My usage of "conventional wisdom" was my attempt at shorthand for "What has been taught for the past decades in Church publications, including missionary discussions".

Quote

And putting me in the same category as Rob in any regard in this matter is actually kind of rude. ;) You should know me better than that.

Yes, I do know you better.  I was trying to ... well, after I get a chance to read all the rest of your posts, I'll revisit this.

Quote

I'll let him speak for himself, and it's probably unfair for me to pull him into it this way, but @Vort has shared the same idea I've proposed, and you should darned well know Vort better than that.

Yes, I'm aware.  He's just not as insistent as you've been (at least not lately).  And he hasn't weighed in yet.  Or else I'd be facing both of you on this topic.

Quote

Actually @Vort if you'd weigh in, I'm drowning a bit here. Maybe you can help me out or shove me further under a bit.

TAG TEAM!!!

Quote

Until someone can explain to me how someone who has a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and thereby qualifies for the Celestial Kingdom, also has a prideful heart and is unwilling to submit to one of the Lord's commands because they put their own will above His

I don't believe I've ever said that or anyone else has ever said that.

Now, you don't need to respond to this post itself.  I'll post again when I've had the chance to read all your posts.  Then we can go forward with me being a little more informed on your position than before.

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1 hour ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Actually @Vort if you'd weigh in, I'm drowning a bit here. Maybe you can help me out or shove me further under a bit.

I have intentionally steered clear of commenting on this thread, exactly because my opinion directly contradicts what many leaders have taught. For this reason, I haven't even followed this thread very closely, so forgive me if I either repeat points already made or go off on some weird tangent that's irrelevant to the present discussion.

My current opinion is that Section 131 looks (to me) to refer quite clearly to what Section 76 calls the "degrees of glory". When read in that light, and of course in my opinion. Section 131 simply makes a lot more sense than supposing that it means the celestial kingdom itself is tripartite. What would a three-part celestial kingdom even mean? The Lord makes it abundantly clear that if we are not one, we are not his. How, then, can there be division in the very celestial kingdom of the Father and his Christ?

What kind of man or woman would, indeed could, live the gospel and abide tightly by its precepts to the point of receiving celestial glory, but then refuse THE VERY RELATIONSHIP THAT DEFINES CELESTIAL GLORY? To me, it is utterly unimaginable. A celestial kingdom peopled with those who refuse to make the very covenant that brings eternal life? To my mind, this is absurd in the extreme.

Having written the above, I must quickly concede that the common understanding of a tripartite celestial kingdom is held by most if not all current Church leadership—or at least if they don't hold that view, they keep their opinions on the matter to themselves. Though I am no General Authority and thus am free to speculate privately without danger of anyone misunderstanding my speculations as LDS doctrine, I nevertheless don't really pipe up with this interpretation of Section 131 very often. I feel no need to preach my own private interpretations in opposition to statements by the prophets and other leaders. Ultimately, either I'm right or I'm wrong. If I'm wrong, the less I say, the better; and if I'm right, then the truth will ultimately come out without my preaching.

I am reminded of those so-called Saints in the 1960s and early 1970s who insisted that the Church was wrong to deny the Priesthood to those of black African descent. Many today would say that they were right—and be it noted that I am not one of those; I think quite the opposite. But even if they were factually correct, which again I disbelieve, even then they were out of bounds in proclaiming their private interpretations. They were apostate, Those who were excommunicated for their teachings and actions fully deserved it. I do not want ever to be classified with such people. I would rather be wrong with God's chosen leaders (or be right and shut up) than proclaim my own brilliance in defiance of them. So there you go.

Edited by Vort

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5 minutes ago, Vort said:

I have intentionally steered clear of commenting on this thread, exactly because my opinion directly contradicts what many leaders have taught. For this reason, I haven't even followed this thread very closely, so forgive me if I either repeat points already made or go off on some weird tangent that's irrelevant to the present discussion.

My current, not-tightly-held opinion is that Section 131 looks (to me) to refer quite clearly to what Section 76 calls the "degrees of glory". When read in that light, and of course in my opinion. Section 131 simply makes a lot more sense than supposing that it means the celestial kingdom itself is tripartite. What would a three-part celestial kingdom even mean? The Lord makes it abundantly clear that if we are not one, we are not his. How, then, can there be division in the very celestial kingdom of the Father and his Christ?

What kind of man or woman would, indeed could, live the gospel and abide tightly by its precepts to the point of receiving celestial glory, but then refuse THE VERY RELATIONSHIP THAT DEFINES CELESTIAL GLORY? To me, it is utterly unimaginable. A celestial kingdom peopled with those who refuse to make the very covenant that brings eternal life? To my mind, this is absurd in the extreme.

Having written the above, I must quickly concede that the common understanding of a tripartite celestial kingdom is held by most if not all current Church leadership—or at least if they don't hold that view, they keep their opinions on the matter to themselves. Though I am no General Authority and thus am free to speculate privately without danger of anyone misunderstanding my speculations as LDS doctrine, I nevertheless don't really pipe up with this interpretation of Section 131. I feel no need to preach my own private interpretations. Ultimately, either I'm right or I'm wrong. If I'm wrong, the less I say, the better, and if I'm right, then the truth will ultimately come out without my preaching.

I am reminded of those so-called Saints in the 1960s and early 1970s who insisted that the Church was wrong to deny the Priesthood to those of black African descent. Many today would say that they were right—and be it noted that I am not one of those; I think quite the opposite. But even if they were factually correct, which again I disbelieve, even then they were out of bounds in proclaiming their private interpretations. They were apostate, Those who were excommunicated for their teachings and actions fully deserved it. I do not want ever to be classified with such people. I would rather be wrong with God's chosen leaders (or be right and shut up) than proclaim my own brilliance in defiance of them. So there you go.

Lots of wisdom there. 

Another thought.  What of the billions promised the Celestial Kingdom who died before, or never achieved, accountability in mortality, so of necessity never married in mortality.  

Are we to believe they receive some inferior version of the Celestial Kingdom (prophets have said no) or will they enter into the new and everlasting covenant outside of mortality.  If so, that path is likely to become the one more often used to arrive at exaltation.

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21 minutes ago, Vort said:

I am reminded of those so-called Saints in the 1960s and early 1970s who insisted that the Church was wrong to deny the Priesthood to those of black African descent. Many today would say that they were right—and be it noted that I am not one of those; I think quite the opposite. But even if they were factually correct, which again I disbelieve, even then they were out of bounds in proclaiming their private interpretations. They were apostate, Those who were excommunicated for their teachings and actions fully deserved it. I do not want ever to be classified with such people. I would rather be wrong with God's chosen leaders (or be right and shut up) than proclaim my own brilliance in defiance of them.

I certainly understand this and I have had similar sorts of musings. But I believe there are some pretty strong common sense differences here. I guess the primary being that the idea that someone expresses an idea that they are called in on "apostasy" for and immediately excommunicated isn't valid. If a bishop mentioned to me that he was concerned with an idea I'd expressed I would immediately recant and remove said message. To get anywhere near excommunication one would have to defiantly hold to the "apostasy". People don't get excommunicated for mistaken ideas, or even for preaching mistaken ideas. They get excommunicated for doing so in defiance of church leaders asking them to stop.

Second, I wouldn't have any problem sharing this thinking with any church leader out there. I think at best you'd get a, "Interesting idea." and at worst you'd get a, "That's not what the church teaches." with a "Hmm. Maybe" in the middle, and everyone would move on.

Third, the idea here is that I worry someone who might not want to get married might use this type of thinking to justify their own will over the Lord's. This happened one time with Joseph Smith where a sister basically told him "I'm content to be a ministering angel for eternity." Joseph's reply was that she didn't know what she was talking about and he immediately sealed her to...someone (maybe himself??). I'd have to look up the story for the exact details. The real point I'm getting at is that humility and obedience should be our primary concern in all these matters and beyond that we can pretty much leave the eternities to the Lord with full confidence.

Mostly, and this is the most important point, this is why I freely admit that I might be, and perhaps even probably am, wrong. However, that doesn't mean that I find the discussion of the ideas problematic, particularly, as I've said to Carb, I'm interested in the reasoning behind conclusions like yours and mine rather than the conclusion itself.

Anyhow, thanks for weighing in. At least now I don't look so much like a lone kook on the matter. ;)

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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2 minutes ago, let’s roll said:

or will they enter into the new and everlasting covenant outside of mortality.

Almost certainly they will do so via work for the dead, which I expect will be in the Millennium, when we have angels guiding that work.

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2 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

I certainly understand this and I have had similar sorts of musings. But I believe there are some pretty strong common sense differences here. I guess the primary being that the idea that someone expresses an idea that they are called in on "apostasy" for and immediately excommunicated isn't valid.

Forgive me if that was what seemed to have been implied. I meant no such implication. I don't think you were bordering on apostasy, and obviously I don't think your ideas were wrong. :)

3 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Anyhow, thanks for weighing in. At least now I don't look so much like a lone kook on the matter. ;)

You betcha. There are few people I'd rather be lumped together with as a kook.

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@The Folk Prophet,

OK, I believe I've got your position now.  You seem to have two points/arguments/concerns you want addressed.

  • The definition of "exalted" and the ramifications of said definition.
  • Being obedient but refusing to enter into celestial marriage doesn't seem to make sense.

You have used D&C 76, 88, and 132 upon which to base your arguments (with bolded words to emphasize the point you were making).

OK.  I'll have to have time to put together a rebuttal.

 

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13 hours ago, Anddenex said:

This is one point of interpretation we disagree upon. Eternal life though has been used synonymous with salvation as I mentioned in #1.

As to the second death, those in the Telestial and Terrestrial state also experience the second death as they are no longer in the presence of the Father, they are not exalted. All who are not exalted experience to some degree a second death, not just he sons of perdition.

You are both in error. Rob continues to propagate his incorrect teaching that there are not three degrees of glory after the resurrection, an idea that one will never hear come from the lips any leader of the Church. (I suppose Rob thinks, at least on this issue, that he has greater knowledge than the leaders of the Church).

As for your assertion that those saved in the Terrestrial and Telestial kingdoms will suffer the consequences of the second death, the scriptures teach otherwise.

32 They are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born;

33 For they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity;

34 Concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come—

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.

36 These are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels—

37 And the ONLY ones on whom the second death shall have ANY power;

38 Yea, verily, the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath. (D&C 76)

 

Edited by Jersey Boy

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22 minutes ago, Vort said:

Forgive me if that was what seemed to have been implied. I meant no such implication.

I did not think you were implying this. I was, however, justifying myself as I have wondered if having a view inconsistent with the traditional is problematic.

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15 minutes ago, Jersey Boy said:

37 And the ONLY ones on whom the second death shall have ANY power;

One of Rob's problems is that he believes every time a word or phrase is used anywhere in scripture that it must mean exactly the same thing. I believe you are falling into that same trap here a bit. The scriptures talk of spiritual death in a few different ways. One of them is separation from God. In that regards, those in the Telestial Kingdom certainly are spiritually "dead". D&C 76:112: "...where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end."

Review these scriptures: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/tg/death-spiritual-second?lang=eng

...and see if you come away still believing that every time the scriptures speak of spiritual death it is speaking only of the sons of perdition?

I think you may have declared @Anddenex "wrong" unfairly.

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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15 minutes ago, Jersey Boy said:

You are both in error. Rob continues to propagate his incorrect teaching that there are not three degrees of glory after the resurrection, an idea that one will never hear come from the lips any leader of the Church. (I suppose Rob thinks, at least on this issue, that he has greater knowledge than the leaders of the Church).

As for your assertion that those saved in the Terrestrial and Telestial kingdoms will suffer the consequences of the second death, the scriptures teach otherwise.

32 They are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born;

33 For they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity;

34 Concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come—

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.

36 These are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels—

37 And the ONLY ones on whom the second death shall have ANY power;

38 Yea, verily, the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath. (D&C 76)

 

Second death is separation from the Father, which is spiritual death. Will those in the Terrestrial kingdom or Telestial kingdom enjoy the presence of the Father? No -- thus second death, or spiritual death.

Unless you can provide an different definition of second death or spiritual death that has been given by the prophets, your statement is incorrect.

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2 hours ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Now that I have a bit of time let me address these ideas individually:

 

Everyone will have the same opportunity to reject or receive Christ ultimately, right? But what you're suggesting, if I'm not mistaken, is that wayward children of faithful parents get the choice of a greater reward for the faithfulness of another despite the fact that they had truth given them in their lives but rejected it than those who didn't have faithful parents teaching and setting the good example for them. So less culpability for worse choices based on knowledge given.

You're suggesting (once again, correct me if I'm wrong) that after having been given opportunity in this life and stone cold rejecting it for the sake of the carnal man, that because their parents were faithful the children will be given a new, extra opportunity to choose the Celestial Kingdom that others do not get?

Can't the slaying of the fatted calf and the feast represent the Telestial and/or Telestial "glories" just as easily? I'm not saying that's the case. But...??

The same choice all who are led astray by the traditions of their fathers will have. That is irrelevant to the faithfulness of their parents. Joseph Smith's sons and daughters will have the same choice to accept Christ and His ordinances as we all do. Joseph Smith's faithfulness is a separate issue from Emma's faithlessness in her later life. I have no qualms with the reality that God will be perfectly fair for all. But Emma choosing to reject the church and guide her children accordingly is the key factor in their accountability, not Joseph's faithfulness or lack thereof.

Do I understand this right? You think that those who would have accepted the gospel but didn't have the chance will be in the lower kingdoms of the Celestial...not receiving the reward of Exaltation?

Wouldn't they, being given the opportunity, accept the gospel then when it's preached to them in Spirit Prison and, accordingly, fully qualify for the fullness of exaltation? Or am I misunderstanding you?

I'm not following how this idea applies.

But those covenants do not override what the Lord has spoken. He cannot lie. Those who do not have a broken heart and a contrite spirit cannot be saved in the kingdom of God. If they do have a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then why would they not fully qualify for exaltation?

If and when something leads me to understand that agency does not actually mean that we are each accountable for our own and not for others' choices then I suppose I'll have to reconsider. But I don't believe that what we have been taught concerning repentance and agency is minimal. Of course when and if we receive further light and knowledge and I'm mistaken -- then we can settle this I suppose. ;)

It's like I said to Carb...it really doesn't matter. What matters is that we strive for exaltation and we strive to persuade others to strive for exaltation.

Let me begin again with what I currently believe. At this moment, I do not believe in this teaching, as it appears to contradict what is taught in canon scripture. At the same time, I recognize this principle was taught by prophets (I would say @JohnsonJones has a better understanding of all the teachings than I do, as I didn't know Joseph Smith taught this).

If I were to accept, and am more inclined to believe, I would believe Joseph Fielding Smith's (JSF) teachings. They appear to be more accurate than exaltation. I will see if I can clarify your thoughts pertaining to what I understand has been taught by JSF.

If I'm following you correctly, that would be that through parent's covenants in the temple and the parent's faithfulness,.... Am I following?

This isn't what I am suggesting this is what was taught by JSF. You appear to be following correctly; although, wayward children who would have qualified for the Telestial or Terrestrial glory are able through covenant to be brought into the Celestial kingdom with their parents. Now, if I am remembering the quote correctly, JSF said if they have not sinned away their inheritance. I have no idea what that means, but I could guess, but in this case I would refrain from such speculation.

"Forced" is irrelevant. Why is it fair that they are given the opportunity because of someone else's actions when someone else, by sheer chance of parenthood, does not have the same opportunity given them?

We are discussing now two elements of the gospel: fairness and agency. Agency doesn't require something to be fair, it only requires that we have the ability to act, or to be acted upon. That we have knowledge of opposites. My response initially was with regards to agency, and how our agency is not affected if someone is provided a choice to live in the Celestial kingdom with their parents.

We are in agreement pertaining to "fairness." This is in part why I have a hard time with this teaching myself. But, I can not deny that it has been taught by more than one prophet. The term "fairness" though in the gospel to me is not clear as I thought it once was. Was it fair for God to send an angel to the sons of Mosiah and Alma's son, while there are many parents praying (including my mission president and his wife) who have never had an angel sent to their children to call them to repentance?

Is it fair that some are born under the covenant while others are not? Why was it fair for  pme to be born to goodly parents, and for some to be born to pedophiles? I understand this can be a topic in and of itself. I am only pointing out that in some aspects I understand fairness, and in others I completely do not understand nor get it.

Everyone will have the same opportunity to reject or receive Christ ultimately, right?

We agree.

But what you're suggesting, if I'm not mistaken,.... is that wayward children of faithful parents get the choice of a greater reward for the faithfulness of another despite the fact that they had truth given them in their lives but rejected it than those who didn't have faithful parents teaching and setting the good example for them. So less culpability for worse choices based on knowledge given.

Just in case I haven't made myself clear, I am not suggesting anything. I am providing a teaching that was taught by prophets (which may or may not be accurate or true). This is what they taught. I am not sure if they would agree with this assessment of their words, but as to my understanding this appears to be accurate. How binding is our temple covenant to our children? How binding is our faithfulness to our children?

You're suggesting (once again, correct me if I'm wrong) that after having been given opportunity in this life and stone cold rejecting it for the sake of the carnal man, that because their parents were faithful the children will be given a new, extra opportunity to choose the Celestial Kingdom that others do not get?

This is a teaching of past prophets that they have suggested. I am only sharing what they taught. I am not sure what JSF meant by if they haven't sinned away their inheritance. It seems you have the same understanding I do of this teaching.

Can't the slaying of the fatted calf and the feast represent the Telestial and/or Telestial "glories" just as easily? I'm not saying that's the case. But...??

In my opinion, the answer would be "no." The prodigal was with the Father, and it was the Father who rejoiced in the son's return. Telestial and Terrestrial glories do not enjoy the presence of the Father. 

The same choice all who are led astray by the traditions of their fathers will have. That is irrelevant to the faithfulness of their parents. Joseph Smith's sons and daughters will have the same choice to accept Christ and His ordinances as we all do. Joseph Smith's faithfulness is a separate issue from Emma's faithlessness in her later life. I have no qualms with the reality that God will be perfectly fair for all. But Emma choosing to reject the church and guide her children accordingly is the key factor in their accountability, not Joseph's faithfulness or lack thereof.

And yet with Emma, we have an Ensign article of Emma having a vision of Joseph Smith coming to her (despite her faithlessness as suggested) and appearing to say when she dies she will be with Joseph in the Celestial kingdom.

I don't think Joseph Smith's service and faithfulness is irrelevant to the Lord and to his children. This is simply one life where I can see potential truth as spoken by JSF. I am not saying it is true. I am saying I can see it in this situation if it were true, and in these situations I have no qualm with the teaching.

Do I understand this right? You think that those who would have accepted the gospel but didn't have the chance will be in the lower kingdoms of the Celestial...not receiving the reward of Exaltation?

No, I apparently blundered my response if this is how it was interpreted. We have knowledge given that those who did not have the chance in this life, but after their temple work is done, and who would have accepted in the flesh (if they had been taught) -- they will enjoy the blessings of exaltation.

Wouldn't they, being given the opportunity, accept the gospel then when it's preached to them in Spirit Prison and, accordingly, fully qualify for the fullness of exaltation? Or am I misunderstanding you? I'm not following how this idea applies.

Yes, and again, I must have really blundered my response if this is how you interpreted my statement. This is what I was trying to specify. We don't know what covenants were made during our life as Spirits with the Father before coming to earth.

This promise may even extend to those who died without having the gospel preached, as they will be judged according to the flesh. If the Lord knew they would accept the gospel without having the gospel preached in the flesh, it would not then surprise me if he would know through their faithfulness that their children also could receive the same promise.

This is though where I was specifying agency of the children. Our state of mind and heart will remain in the prison or paradise. Even if the child is given a choice (honoring agency), they may reject it because that is the same state of mind and heart they had in life.

But those covenants do not override what the Lord has spoken. He cannot lie. Those who do not have a broken heart and a contrite spirit cannot be saved in the kingdom of God. If they do have a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then why would they not fully qualify for exaltation?

We agree, nothing overrides what the Lord has spoken and he can not lie, and my question then would be, "Do we actually have [all] the Lord has spoken"? Why would more than one prophet teach this principle who full well knew what you are specifying? They know what agency is. They know what repentance is. They know this is a time to prepare to meet God. Yet, they teach a principle that appears to contradict some important gospel doctrine.

If and when something leads me to understand that agency does not actually mean that we are each accountable for our own and not for others' choices then I suppose I'll have to reconsider. But I don't believe that what we have been taught concerning repentance and agency is minimal. Of course when and if we receive further light and knowledge and I'm mistaken -- then we can settle this I suppose. ;)

My response would reiterate what I mentioned above. I believe the past prophets who taught these concepts knew as well as you and I regarding agency, accountability, repentance, and kingdoms of glory. In light of this, why would they teach something like this?

True, if we receive further light and knowledge on this matter, it will settle it for both of us. :)

It's like I said to Carb...it really doesn't matter. What matters is that we strive for exaltation and we strive to persuade others to strive for exaltation.

Personally, this is why I have a hard time sharing this, but it has been taught. We all should be striving to receive our calling and election as described in Peter's words, and within Moses 6:60.

This is what should be taught, otherwise we will have children (like my brother mentioned) who believe their parents will save them and thus have sex right after their boyfriend is baptized into the Church. Pretty sad that this is the case and that this results from a potentially great teaching if true. Really, really sad.

 

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