Mormons Rock

December 19, 2007

The Three Degrees of Glory, and the Plan of Salvation

planofsalvation21.jpg                         planofsalvation21.jpg

Should Heaven and Hell be so black and white?  Is there no gray area?  What about those people who do not know about Christ?  There are too many “what if’s” to mention here. 

So let’s get into what the LDS view of  What Heaven and Hell is.  And something we call the “Plan of Salvation”.  It’s VERY exciting stuff!  (click on the link above to get a full picture)

Here is a great definition of the “Degrees of Glory” found here

“Differing kingdoms in heaven. At the final judgment, each person will be assigned to an eternal dwelling place in a specific kingdom of glory, except those who are sons of Perdition.
Jesus said, In my Father’s house are many mansions, John 14: 2 (Ether 12: 32). There is one glory of the sun, and another of the moon, and another of the stars, 1 Cor. 15: 40-41. Paul was caught up to the third heaven, 2 Cor. 12: 2. There is a place of no glory and everlasting punishment, D&C 76: 30-38, 43-45. There are three degrees of glory, D&C 76: 50-113; 88: 20-32.”
I hope this helps you understand the basics. 
I love this plan, because it makes sense and it shows that our Father in Heaven loves us. 
He does not want ANY of His children to be lost, so He has prepared a way to return to Him!  🙂 
I just love Him XOXO


  1. Shiz asks what is meant by “…caught up…”

    I am Shiz

    Comment by Shiz — December 20, 2007 @ 12:46 am |Reply

  2. Shiz asks what is meant by “…caught up…”

    I am Shiz

    Comment by Shiz — December 20, 2007 @ 12:47 am |Reply

  3. Shizizzle sez that bein caught up is sniff’n tha hizzle baller o paradise until yoe so hizzay you can see tha glorious shin’n visions of tha hood witout gett’n stuck in tha ghetto.

    I is Shizizzle y’all

    Comment by Shizizzle — December 20, 2007 @ 12:58 am |Reply

  4. Maybe it means called up….

    Comment by steffielynn — December 20, 2007 @ 2:06 am |Reply

  5. this is interesting to me, based on some previous coversations I was under the impression that it was not doctrine that after judgement day that you could not advance from one kingdom to another, it seems from what you have said in this post that we will be asigned a kingdom to live in throughout eternity in.

    “eternal dwelling place in a specific kingdom of glory”

    So what is the doctrine here?

    Comment by coventryrm — December 20, 2007 @ 4:23 am |Reply

  6. Coventry, there is no clear “doctrine” on that question. Most of the early leaders taught no progression from one glory to another, but that hasn’t been taught by any recent prophets – not for years. It simply hasn’t been answered canonically one way or another. The key is how someone reads “the final judgment” (as worded in the scripture’s Topical Guide to which Steffie linked) – whether they believe that occurs based solely on the result of this life or whether they believe it includes a time period after death and suffering.

    The best answer I ever heard was from an area authority a few years ago. Essentially, he said, “Eternity is a LONG time. God has told us what we need to focus on in this life – which is giving our heart and might and mind and strength to Him and trusting that He will fulfill His promises to those who respond to Him by loving and serving Him and His children. What do I care if He allows others to join us at some point in eternity – as long as they are joining US at some point in eternity? I’ll leave the judging and decisions up to Him.”

    The fluidity of doctrine (or relative lack of doctrine, as some term it) drives many non-Mormons nuts, but this is a good example of where we are left to figure it out for ourselves as individuals. Frankly, I think most Mormons do NOT believe in progression from one glory to another, but there are plenty that either believe it or, at least, accept it as a possibility. We know very little about the next life. In the end, I trust that God will make the proper call, so I really don’t sweat it.

    Comment by Ray — December 20, 2007 @ 5:13 am |Reply

  7. When I say “not taught by” I mean not in any “official” statement, revelation or pronouncement that could be considered unanimous “doctrine”.

    Comment by Ray — December 20, 2007 @ 5:15 am |Reply

  8. Off topic ….how about those Blazers 9 in a row!

    Comment by coventryrm — December 20, 2007 @ 5:21 am |Reply

  9. Basketball is NEVER off topic – as long as you don’t assert that the outcome is predestined. *grin*

    Comment by Ray — December 20, 2007 @ 6:07 am |Reply

  10. I guess I am among most Mormons, then, as I do not understand the scriptures to mean that we can progress from one glory to a higher glory. We will be, after all, quickened in the resurrection by a portion of the fullness of the glory we will receive (D&C 88), becoming incorruptible. Visiting a kingdom of equal or lesser glory, I can see happening, but visiting higher kingdoms that have “angels…and…gods…which are set there” “by whom they cannot pass” (D&C 132) seems out of the question.

    Comment by LDS Anarchist — December 20, 2007 @ 11:46 am |Reply

  11. In 1784 a man by the name of Emanuel Swedenborg wrote a book about his visions of the afterlife. Swedenborg insisted: “There are three heavens,” described as “entirely distinct from each other.” He called the highest heaven “the Celestial Kingdom,” and stated that the inhabitants of the three heavens corresponded to the “sun, moon and stars.”

    Here is is online it has chapters entitled ‘There are Three Heavens’ and ‘Marriages in Heaven’.

    I admit I have not read the book yet but Mormon Scholar Michael Quinn writes about it in his book “Early Mormonism and the Magic World View,”

    Swedenborg’s book “Heaven and Its Wonders and Hell” was a book in Smith’s hometown library since 1817.

    Comment by elder joseph — December 20, 2007 @ 12:07 pm |Reply

  12. EJ

    Having read a little bit of Swedenborg, it seems to me that he was heavily influenced by Plato. The three heavens concept seems to relate to Plato’s notion of the soul having three parts. It also seems to echo Plotinus’ Enneads, especially the notion of One God. Although Swedenborg uses the term “Celestial Kingdom”, if you read the Chapter, the description of the Kingdom is described differently than how it is described in D & C 76. If Joseph Smith had been so influenced by Swedenborg, why is it that Joseph didn’t borrow the mysticism that is prevalent throughout Swedenborg’s works?

    Comment by dpc — December 20, 2007 @ 2:33 pm |Reply

  13. Plus I’m squarely in the progression through kingdoms camp. Joseph F. Smith indicated that it was possible. I’ve read the quote, but I can’t remember which book it was in.

    Comment by dpc — December 20, 2007 @ 2:35 pm |Reply

  14. I think there will be progression, it seems to me that our Heavenly Father wants all of us to be with Him. I’m sure for a lot of people it will take a lot of time to get there, but they’ll have eternity…

    That’s just my opinion.

    Comment by steffielynn — December 20, 2007 @ 3:31 pm |Reply

  15. I agree EJ, when you start finding out more and more about writings and debates, religious conversations that where happening at the time. JS, SR, OC would not have had to be that brilliant to come up with B of M and Mormonism in general. I just remember being taught as a child, how impossible it would have been for JS to have written this book. The other question then is why has church history not been completely honest about how and when those 3 actually met? When you stack everything up there is much evidence, it seems the apologetics just pick a part each one as an independent source.

    Comment by coventryrm — December 20, 2007 @ 3:36 pm |Reply

  16. “The other question then is why has church history not been completely honest about how and when those 3 actually met?”

    I suppose you’re talking about the theory that Sidney Rigdon wrote the Book of Mormon. I find that the evidence is purely circumstantial and tenuous. The only eye witness testimony that Rigdon and Smith met each other prior to 1830 is from statements made 50 years after the fact. I don’t think that the argument even meets a preponderance of the evidence standard. And a historical conspiracy has a greater evidentiary burden because of the number of participants. If Rigdon wrote the Book, why didn’t he expose the fraud after he was rejected by the Church after Smith’s death? If Rigdon wanted to start his own religion, why did he need Joseph Smith? If treasure-seeking and magic was so prevalent at the time as Quinn contends that it was, why not recruit someone closer to home?

    There are connections and similarities between all religions. Does the fact that Islam is waiting for a mahdi mean that Muhammad borrowed the idea from Judaism? Because religions seek to answer the same questions, it stands to reason that the answers may be similar.

    Comment by dpc — December 20, 2007 @ 4:23 pm |Reply

  17. BRM referred to kingdom hopping as one of the seven deadly heresies. He may have been wrong about a couple of things but I happen to agree with him on this one. I am not against advancing within a kingdom, but don’t feel right about advancing from one kingdom to another yet.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — December 20, 2007 @ 4:40 pm |Reply

  18. “BRM referred to kingdom hopping as one of the seven deadly heresies.”

    This brings to mind Acts 24:14, where Paul is talking to Felix.

    “But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:”

    Comment by dpc — December 20, 2007 @ 4:52 pm |Reply

  19. There are two sides of the story in the plan of salvation. When separated and one picked over the other- you have problems! Let me explain-

    The doctrine that Christ established was a doctrine of saved into the kingdom of god or, damned into hell. In this foundational doctrine only two places exist after the millennium- The Celestial Kingdom and outer darkness. John wrote a lot about this separation of the righteous and the wicked in the book we know as his Revelations. Alma and Mosiah and Helaman also speak abot this separating of the saved and the damned and the requirements for both. These are all LDS foundational doctrines we believe to be correct and true.

    Now, welcome to revelation in these latter days. We no longer teach a saved or damned dichotomy, neither do we teach a heaven/hell model. Instead we have a doctrine that seems to place everyone according to where they are “right now”. But Christ has already said and still continues to say- believe and be baptized and be saved or believe not and be not baptized and be damned to hell. So how do we know what is the right “plan of salvation”?

    Pieced together the temple adds another insight that keeps the original plan- the one Christ and the ancient prophets explained, intact! The temple teaches us that the two lower kingdoms are temporary phases of this earth from the time Adam and Eve left the garden until after the millennium comes to a close. This earth right now according to the temple is “the Telestial Kingdom”. Progression between kingdoms? You Bet! According to the temple, it is part of our plan in our salvation to progress from the Telestial on up throught the Terrestrial and end up in the Celestial. That is the complete plan of salvation. In the end, all of the original doctrine of the saved/ damned, Celestial Kingdom/ hell still exists as a true doctrine.

    The BoM states it best when it says-

    25 And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be aborn again; yea, bborn of God, cchanged from their carnal and dfallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his esons and daughters;
    26 And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in anowise inherit the kingdom of God.
    27 I say unto you, unless this be the case, they must be cast off; and this I know, because I was like to be cast off.

    (Book of Mormon | Mosiah 27:25 – 27)

    Certainly this is true, the Lord is speaking here! All men, both the living and the dead must become born again becoming sons and daughters in his Celestial Kingdom or be cast out into outer darkness!

    Comment by Rob Osborn — December 20, 2007 @ 8:17 pm |Reply

  20. Steff,
    Here is what the Bible states DIRECTLY about the eternal state.

    Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.
    And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. 1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.
    And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new ” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.
    “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 20:11-21:8)

    Here is what the Bible says about all of mankind

    “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
    Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
    And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
    (Romans 1:18-32)

    Also watch this 9 minute video about man being evil…

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 21, 2007 @ 1:48 am |Reply

  21. dpc

    I am not saying they laid out an overall plan, I think it was more likely they had no clue it would turn into what it did. Most of the official church history as is true with any history was written after things had already gained traction now you have to write the narrative to explain what and why. With any religion, group, business so much is dependent on outside circumstances, regardless of whether you believe in it or not, it is not as improbable as the church makes it out to be. You can choose to speculate as a believer or a non believer, bottom line all the ingredients are there that it could have in fact been done without divine intervention which I believe with the ALL the information available it is highly probable and very possible it is a product of men.

    Comment by coventryrm — December 21, 2007 @ 3:00 am |Reply

  22. I watched the video link from Colin Samuel and I must admit I can relate to it , especially the first mention of replaying the thoughts of the heart in public 😦 I hope non of you Guys get to see mine at least ! Although there are some great things in there so maybe I won’t be too ashamed , but still rather not .

    As far as Joseph Smiths Plan of Salvation is concerned .I have found over the last two years that everything he called revelation seemed to be available in his own ‘backyard’ so to speak. It’s obvious to me that he evolved Mormon Doctrine as his own knowledge/ideas ( career )of things went on .

    The book of mormon was very biblical , it taught one God , that the Father Son & Holy Ghost was one God .It taught Heaven and Hell .It had no mention of baptisms for the dead , eternal marriage , God was once a man or a polygamist with many wives .

    The church even taught that the ‘traditional’ biblical belief that the father is a Spirit , whilst the Son is a person of tabernacle in the original D&C . That was taken out later on for obvious reasons .

    Mormonism is always evolving .I’m certain eventually the BofM will be officially only fiction ( even though many know this already )and then got rid of completely .

    I have no shadow of a doubt that Mormonism is the product of men , and not very nice men from what I’ve read in the Journal Of Discourses and their many other publications .( My Testimony 🙂 )

    The great thing is that we will all know eventually as death is so natural .Its a shame no one has come back to warn us which religion was right or wrong 😦 unless you believe Joseph Smith was visited ?

    One thing which bugs me is , if the LDS church believes that Adam is Michael The Archangel . How does the Angel Michael get to have a wife as Adam( or wives ) when the the church teaches that those who don’t marry will be angels serving the mormon godmen together with the black skinned servants ! So Michael must have been single in his earthly life to have been made an Angel in the first place.

    Comment by elder joseph — December 21, 2007 @ 2:51 pm |Reply

  23. Elder Joseph,
    I found it interesting how you pointed out that Joseph Smith borrowed ideas from Swedenborg… He was a freemason along with Joseph Smith…

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 21, 2007 @ 3:21 pm |Reply

  24. “Should Heaven and Hell be so black and white? Is there no gray area? ”

    …No, unless your Catholic then it’s called purgatory…

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 21, 2007 @ 6:35 pm |Reply

  25. Colin Samul

    I’m an Agnostic who wants to believe in the Biblical Saviour and does most of the time .I appreciate what Christ has done even though I sometimes wonder if its all just a fable .However i do believe that the Orthodox Historical Belief of God as in three persons , each one God yet not 3 Gods as the only rational way to understand the bible ( Trinity if you like ) .I’ve seenthe theology of JW’s and others including mormons and it brings a mess of problems in my opinion as they all try to deny that Jesus is the same God as is The Father and Holy Ghost and instead have to come up with alternatives to explain who he is .

    I also believe that works are a result of faith and not as a condition to salvation.The best example is that I didn’t have to obey my earthly Father as I knew he would give me what he desired for me anyway through faith in him , but I still did the wroks out of Love and appreciation for him , and yet sometimes I failed but it didn’t jeopordise anything .

    What I am saying is that I believe the Mormon temple works in return for being with God to be flawed , although I do appreciate that they are sincere and its ‘honorable ‘ too that they would do the proxy work even for others and also me if the situation arose .

    There is a verse in the Bible which says By Grace Ye are saved .What does this mean to Mormons , the word saved .Does it mean being with God in CK ? or with JC in Terr K or with the Holy Ghost in Tel K ?

    Comment by elder joseph — December 21, 2007 @ 10:00 pm |Reply

  26. It is truly ironic that our belief concerning eternity can be made to mean very different things – depending on how it is phrased. Let me explain:

    We believe that ALL except the sons of perdition will inherit a degree of God’s glory – everlasting life in the presence of God (HG in the Telestial Kingdom, Jesus and the HG in the Terrestrial Kingdom and the complete Godhead [Father, Son and HG] in the Celestial Kingdom). With that phrasing, we really do believe in Heaven and Hell as two distinctly different places – best stated in I Corin. 15: 1-29. However, if you separate the glories of heaven into their categories, it is easy to speak of “three heavens” – as in the rest of I Corin. 15 and in II Corin. 12: 2.

    It is VERY easy to claim incorrectly that Mormons believe they will be the only people “saved”, but that is patently false by any legitimate analysis. With the first definition above, we are about as universalist as it gets – only excluding from resurrection and life in the presence of God those who know and consciously deny; by defining “exaltation” as life in the presence of the Father, we still include many who are not Mormon and exclude many who are – essentially deferring to the decision of the Judge. That actually has been interpreted by many Mormon leaders as a form of fore-ordination for all that is closer to Calvinist predestination than to universalism. This is the fluidity that drives others nuts – and makes it interesting in a forum like this where individual Mormons can and do focus on one phraseology or another and come to various conclusions. It appears sometimes to be disingenuous, when, in reality, it simply is the result of a core focus on individual responsibility for one’s own conclusions. (It’s also why apostles themselves have disagreed about almost every issue – other than a handful – over the years – and why Pratt, Young and McConkie are quoted ad infinitum by those who oppose the Church and almost never by most members.)

    Comment by Ray — December 22, 2007 @ 12:02 am |Reply

  27. Hello everyone, I am shutting down for a while,

    Please read:

    Comment by steffielynn — December 22, 2007 @ 1:13 am |Reply

  28. Elder Joseph,
    What things about the Bible and Christianity do you doubt? Maybe I can help you, I am pretty good with apologetics…

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 22, 2007 @ 3:50 pm |Reply

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