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President Nelson has said our choices today will determine our bodies and the place we will be in eternity. Will our bodies be different in Celestial Kingdom vs Terrestrial and Telestial Kingdoms? If so how will they be different?





Dear Vicki,

I cannot know exactly what President Nelson meant in his October 2023 talk “Think Celestial!“, but I know what scripture teaches and what one past prophet has said.  Let’s take a look.  The first place that hints at differences in resurrected bodies is in 1 Corinthians 15:40 (JST version, see footnote a):

Also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial, and bodies telestial; but the glory of the celestial, one; and the terrestrial, another; and the telestial, another.

In verse 41, Paul specifically speaks of glory as being a difference between these bodies.  This teaching is more explicit in Doctrine & Covenants 76:70-71, 81 (and really, the entire section):

70 These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.


71 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.

81 And again, we saw the glory of the telestial, which glory is that of the lesser, even as the glory of the stars differs from that of the glory of the moon in the firmament.

In addition to these, we have hints in Doctrine & Covenants 131 and 132:15-20, which make it clear that only those exalted in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom will be gods and enjoy “a continuation of the seeds”, which is generally understood to refer to having spirit children. One might think that the limitation on all others will be rule-based rather than a physical limitation, but President Joseph Fielding Smith, as recorded in Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, Pg.286 – 288, believed it was more than that:


In the resurrection there will be different kinds of bodies; they will not all be alike. The body a man receives will determine his place hereafter. There will be celestial bodies, terrestrial bodies, and telestial bodies, and these bodies will differ as distinctly as do bodies here….


Bodies will be quickened according to the kingdom which they are judged worthy to enter. Elder Orson Pratt many years ago in writing of the resurrection and the kind of bodies which would be raised in these kingdoms said:


“In every species of animals and plants, there are many resemblances in the general outlines and many specific differences characterizing the individuals of each species. So in the resurrection. There will be several classes of resurrected bodies; some celestial, some terrestrial, some telestial, and some sons of perdition. Each of these classes will differ from the others by prominent and marked distinctions; yet, in each, considered by itself, there will be found many resemblances as well as distinctions. There will be some physical peculiarity by which each individual in every class can be identified.”




Some will gain celestial bodies with all the powers of exaltation and eternal increase. These bodies will shine like the sun as our Savior’s does, as described by John. Those who enter the terrestrial kingdom will have terrestrial bodies, and they will not shine like the sun, but they will be more glorious than the bodies of those who receive the telestial glory.


In both of these kingdoms there will be changes in the bodies and limitations. They will not have the power of increase, neither the power or nature to live as husbands and wives, for this will be denied them and they cannot increase.


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.


Some of the functions in the celestial body will not appear in the terrestrial body, neither in the telestial body, and the power of procreation will be removed. I take it that men and women will, in these kingdoms, be just what the so-called Christian world expects us all to be — neither man nor woman, merely immortal beings having received the resurrection.

Please remember that this is not the official stance of the Church, only President Smith’s “take” on the matter.  The only scripture I know of that can be interpreted to support this is not conclusive, only suggestive:

D&C 88:27 For notwithstanding they die, they also shall rise again, a spiritual body.


28 They who are of a celestial spirit shall receive the same body which was a natural body; even ye shall receive your bodies, and your glory shall be that glory by which your bodies are quickened.


29 Ye who are quickened by a portion of the celestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.


30 And they who are quickened by a portion of the terrestrial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.


31 And also they who are quickened by a portion of the telestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.


32 And they who remain shall also be quickened; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received.

It does not say that terrestrial and telestial beings will receive the “same body which was the natural body”.  I believe that if that phrase was meant to apply to all glories, it would not have been worded that way or separated out (punctuated) that way.  The part after the semi-colon applies to all glories, but before, only the celestial. This is my interpretation, however, and should not be taken as an official interpretation of these verses.

Lest anyone worry that they will look entirely different in the resurrection, I refer to Doctrine & Covenants 77:2, which says in part:

…the spirit of man in the likeness of his person,…

I presume then that all people will look something like they do on earth, just with mortal flaws removed.

As for how else resurrected bodies of different glories (or no glory) may differ, I know of no revelations addressing that question.  I suppose we will have to put the rest of this question on the shelf until we learn more.  One thing is certain, though, through the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, all will be resurrected; receive a perfect, immortal body; and enjoy a life that would not have been possible without Him.  What gratitude we owe our Savior!  I hope this helps, Vicki, and that we can all heed President Nelson’s call to Think Celestial!








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