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A newly returned missionary said that his mission presisdent told him that there was no place in the scriptures or Church doctrine that said one couldn’t progress from on kingdom to another. It was always my understanding that whatever kingdom you went to that was it. You could progress with in that kingdom but that was all. Could you clear this up for all of us. Thank you.

Allison, from Oregon

Dear Allison,

Although it may be true that one cannot find in the scriptures a definitive statement that one may not progress from one degree of glory to another, there is certainly nothing in the scriptures that states that such progression is possible. In fact, we may interpret from 2 Nephi 9:16, that those who are remanded to Satan as sons of perdition, will never escape from that condemnation.

And assuredly, as the Lord liveth, for the Lord God hath spoken it, and it is his eternal word, which cannot pass away, that they who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still; wherefore, they who are filthy are the devil and his angels; and they shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for them; and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever and has no end.

However, there is no equivocation on the subject in the writing of the Brethren. Here are a few examples-

James E. Talmage, The Vitality of Mormonism, p.269

“Progression in eternity is to be along well defined lines; and thus the inheritors of any specific order or kingdom of glory may advance forever without attaining the particular exaltation belonging to a different kingdom or order.”

Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, p.31 – p.32

“If in time those who enter the telestial glory may progress till they reach the stage in which the celestial is in now-then they are in celestial glory, are they not, even if the celestial has advanced? That being the case (I state this for the argument only, for it is not true), then they partake of all the blessings which are now celestial. That means that they become gods, have exaltation, gain the fulness of the Father, and receive a continuation of the ‘seeds forever.’ The Lord, however, has said that these blessings, which are celestial blessings, they may never have; they are barred forever!”

Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, p.287

“Those who receive the exaltation in the celestial kingdom will have the ‘continuation of the seeds forever.’ They will live in the family relationship. In the terrestrial and in the telestial kingdoms there will be no marriage. Those who enter there will remain ‘separately and singly’ forever.”

Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Vol.1, p.196 – p.197

“At the end of the millennium, and in the morning of this second resurrection, those shall come forth who merit telestial bodies, and they shall be rewarded accordingly. Finally, in the afternoon of the second resurrection, those who ‘remain filthy still,’ those who having been raised in immortality are judged and found wholly wanting, those whom we call sons of perdition, shall be cast out with Lucifer and his angels to suffer the vengeance of eternal fire forever. (D. & C. 76:25-49, 81-113; 88:101-102; 2 Ne. 9:14-16.)”

Milton R. Hunter, Conference Report October 1949, p.74

“All who have inhabited this earth will stand before the judgment seat of Jesus Christ and will be assigned to their future world in which to live forever. Some will be assigned to terrestrial glory, some to telestial glory, and others even to perdition.”

Sterling W. Sill, BYU Speeches, January 20, 1960, p.11

“Supposing, therefore, that we get together the literature about the telestial kingdom and find out what kind of a place it is, with sufficient consideration for the suffering required to purge away the sins of those who go there. How would you like to be a telestial person and live forever in the telestial kingdom? That would mean that you had a telestial body, a telestial mind and a telestial personality. I do not know what any of these will be like, I only know that they will be less fine, less pleasant, than those that we might have obtained.”

Melvin J. Ballard, Three Degrees of Glory, p.31

He who enters the celestial glory has the advantage over all others. He dwells in the presence of the Father and the Son. His teachers are the highest The others will receive all they learn from the celestial to the terrestrial, from the terrestrial to the telestial. They get it second hand and third had, and how can they ever hope to grow as fast as those who drink from the fountain head. Again, those who come forth in the celestial glory with celestial bodies have a body that is more refined. It is different. The very fibre and texture of the celestial body is more pure and holy than a telestial or terrestrial body, and a celestial body alone can endure celestial Glory . . . When we have a celestial body it will be suited to the celestial conditions and a telestial body could not endure celestial glory. It would be torment and affliction to them. I have not read in the scripture where there will be another resurrection where we can obtain a celestial body for a terrestrial body. What we receive in the resurrection will be ours forever and ever.


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