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Hi Gramps,
Do you believe that Heaven is a physical place? Is it a planet in a physical galaxy type thing? I read that Mormons believe that everybody will be resurrected at some point. Do bad people and mediocre people go to different planets? There are an awful lot of people who have lived and died and will live and die in the future and if they are all at some point going to a physical place, what sort of place is there that can hold everybody. I just want to get the logic straight here.


Dear Jenny,
Certainly heaven is a physical place, but in reality it’s a little complicated, as any rational person would expect it to be. In a very brief thumbnail sketch of the eternities, we could say that there are three different degrees of glory to which all the inhabitants of this earth will go, in addition to another realm ruled by Satan, called outer darkness, where a very few will end up. The three degrees of glory are called the celestial, terrestrial and telestial. It must be stated that God is the Father of an infinite number of children who live on an infinite number of worlds. This earth is a very significant world because it is that world where the Savior of all mankind came to live in mortality and work out His great atoning sacrifice. An idea of the number of worlds is given in a statement by Enoch, found in the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price

And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations; and thy curtains are stretched out still; and yet thou art there, and thy bosom is there; and also thou art just; thou art merciful and kind forever (Moses 7:30).

The celestial glory is comprised of many, many worlds. That is the glory in which God and Christ dwell. That glory will be the eternal residence for all of those who love God, who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, who are baptized for the remission of their sins by one holding the requisite priesthood authority and who are true and faithful to their covenants of obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ for the duration of their mortal lives. In the celestial kingdom there are three glories or degrees. To obtain the highest of these, one must be sealed to a companion as husband and wife in one of the Lord’s holy temples, and live in strict accordance with all the marriage covenants associated with that sacred ordinance. Those who comply with these requirements become gods and goddesses, and participate with the Father in the ruling of the universe. The celestial kingdom has the physical environment of a star, shining by its own light. Those who go there will live amid eternal burnings, and will of course be perfectly acclimatized to that environment.
The terrestrial kingdom is reserved for the good people of the earth, who nevertheless do not accept the Savior as their Redeemer, or who do not comply with the gospel requirements for the celestial kingdom. The terrestrial kingdom has the peaceful environment of the earth as it was in the time of the Garden of Eden. As reported in Isaiah—

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea (Isa 11:6-9).

Here is a rather detailed description of the telestial kingdom and those who go there. The telestial kingdom is the glory of the earth in its present state—

And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one; for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world; 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 (D&C 76:98-106).

The glory of this lowest of all kingdoms of glory, nevertheless, is beyond all understanding—

And thus we saw, in the heavenly vision, the glory of the telestial, which surpasses all understanding (D&C 76:89).

You will see that I have quoted a bit from section 76 of the Doctrine an Covenants. That section gives the most complete explanation in the scriptures of all the degrees of glory that become the final residence of all the human family, with the exception of the sons of perdition, who are relegated to the dominion of Satan for all eternity. You may want to get a copy of the Doctrine and Covenants from a public library and read through Section 76, or you may want to ask the Mormon missionaries to drop by and explain in more detail the final residence of man.

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