I heard that Mormons think that if you are not baptized a Mormon than you won’t be able to go to heaven. Is that true? Also, I heard that you think if you are sealed in the temple, then you will becomes gods/goddesses in the afterlife?????
Ashley, from Nevada
No, that’s a false concept circulated about Mormon’s thinking that they are the only ones who will go to heaven, and it stems from a misconception about Mormon doctrine. Let’s see if we can clear the issue up a bit.
The sectarian world believe in general that there is one heaven and one hell, with apparently a rather fine dividing line on the scale of righteousness between the two. My understanding is (and I may be as much in error about sectarian doctrine as the sectarians are about Mormon doctrine) that all those who meet the minimum criteria of righteousness and/or compliance with dogma will be saved and go to heaven. All those will be joined together in righteousness, forgiven of their sins, will reign with Christ in eternity. All those who fail to meet the minimum criteria of righteousness will be consigned in misery to a never-ending hell under the domination of Satan.
The LDS Church believes, as taught by Paul in 1 Cor. 15:40-41, that in the heavens there are three degrees of glory. Let me quote the scripture, because it needs a little explanation.
Paul mentions only two degrees of glory-the celestial and the terrestrial. However, in the immediate comparison with astronomical bodies, he mentions three-the sun, the moon and the stars. Actually, part of the original verse 40 is missing. When Joseph Smith translated the bible, he gave 1 Cor. 15:40 as follows:
Also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial, and bodies telestial; but the glory of the celestial, one; and the terrestrial, another; and the telestial, another.
which clarifies that the three degrees of glory are the celestial (compared to the sun), the terrestrial (compared to the moon) and the telestial (compared to the stars).
Mormon theology teaches that the only ones that will not inherit one of these three degrees of glory are the son of perdition. It is those sons of perdition that will be lost to Satan and will live with him in misery for eternity. So you see, the Mormons are much more generous than the rest of Christianity in their belief of who is going to heaven.
Now a word of explanation about who will inherit these three degrees of glory, from which you will be able to perceive the source of the Protestant error in their interpretation of LDS beliefs.
Those who will inherit the lowest of the three degrees of glory, the telestial, are identified in the Doctrine and Covenants as follows:
For these are they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas. These are they who 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. Last of all, these all are they who will not be gathered with the saints, to be caught up unto the church of the Firstborn, and received into the cloud. These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie. These are they who suffer the wrath of God on earth. These are they who suffer the vengeance of eternal fire. These are they who are cast down to hell and suffer the wrath of Almighty God, until the fulness of times, when Christ shall have subdued all enemies under his feet, and shall have perfected his work; When he shall deliver up the kingdom, and present it unto the Father, spotless, saying: I have overcome and have trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God (D&C 76:99-107).
These are the wicked people of the earth, who will pay the full price for their own sins, since they refuse to accept the great atoning sacrifice of the Savior. Therefore, as mentioned above, they will be cast down to hell and will live in misery with Satan during the thousand years of the millennium. Then, after having paid to the demands of justice the full price for all the sins that they have committed, they will be redeemed, resurrected and will inherit the glory of the telestial kingdom which glory is far greater than we can even imagine. The scriptures state:
And thus we saw, in the heavenly vision, the glory of the telestial, which surpasses all understanding (D&C 76:89).
Those who will inherit the terrestrial glory in heaven are the good people of the earth, but who nevertheless do not accept the Savior as their God nor live according to the precepts of his gospel. Concerning them the scriptures reveal the following:
And again, we saw the terrestrial world, and behold and lo, these are they who are of the terrestrial, whose glory differs from that of the church of the Firstborn who have received the fulness of the Father, even as that of the moon differs from the sun in the firmament. Behold, these are they who died without law; And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh; Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it. These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men (D&C 76:71-75).
As opposed to the fate of the wicked, these good people of the earth are resurrected at the beginning of the millennium and live with Christ on earth during his thousand-year millennial reign. They will then inherit a terrestrial glory. This glory will be so much greater than the telestial that it will on another heavenly world.
Finally, there is the celestial glory, that is defined in the scriptures as follows:
And again we bear record-for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just- They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given- by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power; And who 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. They are they who are the church of the Firstborn. They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things- They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory; And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son. Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God- Wherefore, all 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 (D&C 76:50-59).
The Mormon belief is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is actually the established kingdom of God on the earth. It is presided over by Jesus Christ, who directs its operation through revelation to holy men whom he has called as his prophets. God’s authority to administer the ordinances of salvation has been given to and resides with this body. Those who accept the Savior as their God, and who faithfully obey all his commandments, including all the saving ordinances of the gospel, will inherit the celestial glory, where God and Christ dwell (D&C 76:112).
The second part of your question, about gods and goddesses, is answered in the above scripture. The statement made above, Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God, cites an earlier scripture. Paul refers to the same concept in 1 Cor. 8:5-6, where he says-
For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
Thus, those who live by every word that proceeds forth from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4) will become gods in eternity, and as Paul says, will continue to worship God the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ.