Life After Death – Part 2

May 23, 2008

Most people tend to view life after death in the simple terms of heaven and hell. There is a place for the good people and a place for the bad people. In my last post, Life After Death Part 1, I explained that there is a temporary state between death and resurrection where everyone will be placed in prison or paradise. However, after resurrection (after Judgment Day), our eternal existence is somewhat more complex.

In 1832, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon had been studying the bible and thinking.  Joseph wrote that they came to a realization: “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.” (Preface to Doctrine & Covenants 76, see also John 5:29) Subsequently, they beheld a vision in which the three degrees of glory were revealed to them. (Doctrine & Covenants 76)


There is the Celestial Kingdom, the Terrestrial Kingdom, and the Telestial Kingdom. These are likened to the sun, the moon and the stars in their comparative glory. (Paul also spoke about these in 1 Corinthians 15:40-42) These kingdoms are varying degrees of “salvation”: everyone will receive salvation in some form or another, meaning all will be resurrected and placed in one of these kingdoms. The term “exaltation” however, is the highest form of salvation, reserved for those in the Celestial Kingdom.

Reserved for the most wicked is what is known as Outer Darkness. Those that will be cast into outer darkness and eternal damnation are those who deny the Holy Ghost. They are called “Sons of perdition” and this is not a title I would consider lightly. I do not believe it belongs to your “average” sinner. These are the baddest of the bad; they know the goodness of God and still choose to rebel.

Those in the Telestial Kingdom do not accept Christ as the Savior in this world or the Spirit World. I would say these are “bad” people. As verse 103 says, “These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.”
Those in the Terrestrial Kingdom are good, decent people: people who are half-hearted, or complacent in their testimony. They are described as “honorable men of the earth who were blinded” and “not valiant in the testimony of Jesus.” (D&C 76:75,79)

christThose in the Celestial Kingdom are those who accept Christ as the Savior, those who are faithful in their testimony and continuously strive to do the will of the Lord. These are those who endure to the end and follow Christ’s admonition to “be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48) This is the goal to strive for and it requires a life of faith, obedience, and dedication as we grow into the divine role for which we are intended.

I believe the things we should take from this knowledge are: 1) God has a plan, and 2) While it is a simple plan, it accommodates the complexities and ranges of His children and their faithfulness. We will be rewarded according to our steadfastness in keeping our covenants as we attain our divine potential.

See “The Plan of Salvation

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11 Responses to “Life After Death – Part 2”

  1. Jan

    I really like this post. I love this part of the plan too–it shows the mercy of God. EVERYONE gets a kingdom (except the most awfully horribly vile sinners)–EVERYONE gets a measure of glory, whether it is the stars or the sun. Of course, everyone gets this after they have dealt with their sins (whether on their own in Spirit Prison or let Christ’s atonement work for them). I just think it is amazing how much God loves us all. Thanks Megan.

  2. dave

    Yeah. Good posts, Megan. I was just talking with my cousin about how beautiful (and unique) is the doctrine that everyone will get an equal chance to accept the truth (whether in this life or the next) and that everyone is received into a kingdom of glory.

  3. Sherry

    I am sorry but this is all false. I wish someone would tell the truth. There are only two places that you go when you die. Heaven or Hell, if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour and live and do his work you will go to heaven. On the other hand if you don’t and you live a sinful life you go to hell. Believe me I do not what to go to Hell for is no way out once you there you there for eternity. Yes I believe there are different levels of Hell and we will all be judge come judgement day. The ones in Hell will be judge also and put accordingly. I intead on going to heaven, I am a Christian, Jesus Christ is my Saviour. Yes I mess up sometimes just like everyone else, but the good thing is I can ask Jesus for forgiveness. That is why he died on the cross, so we may have eternal life with him in heaven.

  4. Jan

    It’s interesting to me that other churches are quick to believe in a multi-level hell, but not a multi-level heaven. Do you think God is really that anxious to punish? We believe he is happy to bless.

  5. Thaddeus

    Paul referenced a “third heaven.”

  6. John P.

    The three heavens in which you are referencing are in no way or form enough to justify the three heavens that Mormons believe there are (Tellestial, Terrestrial or Celestial.) If those are meant to be in a certain order, forgive me if I got in incorrect. The three “heavens” refer to the firmament (sky), the heavenly bodies of the solar system, and the Heaven where God resides. If you would rather I present you with proof rather than what I know off the top of my head, I will be glad to.

  7. Thaddeus

    Thanks, John. You’re right. Paul’s reference to the third heaven and also the three forms of resurrected bodies (I freely admit) is not enough of a basis to form the beliefs we hold. That basis is found in Doctrine and Covenants Section 76, but Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15 do provide substantial support for that understanding.

    I would be glad to learn where you get your interpretation. Please, share!

  8. Renee

    I agree with sherry. Come on… Please see the truth. All it takes is accepting Christ as your lord and savior ( Romans 10:9). I’m not sure about all this new age level stuff but Im guessing it refers to Mormonism, which is based on NO PROOF whatsoever and took parts of the bible and added to it. Why? Why? It’s the bible, the living word of god. Period. Don’t be misled. Not everyone goes to heaven. Read the bible. You only go if you accept Jesus as your lord and savior.
    Period. Also, having Jesus in your life adds so much more. It’s amazing! Trust me.

  9. Emma

    Well said, Renee and Sherry! Jesus is all you need, and the bible is the only true book to explain his teachings and such. I know that mormons believe the bible, and it even says in the bible that nothing should be added to it. Read Revelation 22:18 (there are other places in the bible where it also mentions it, this is just the only one i really remembered)

  10. Michael

    Great debate going on here! Very interesting, and I am glad we have been able to keep it so civil. Although this may be a little late, I would just like to reply to Emma’s comment about future revelations not being allowed.

    I wondered that same question, but eventually stumbled upon this:

    I think you’ll be quite intrigued. 🙂

  11. Renee

    This is all I wanted to add. The bible is the only truth.