The Kingdoms After Death
In the Mormon church (i.e. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) the Godhead consists of three separate Gods: Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. These three men are considered "Gods."
Most religions believe in a Heaven (for those who are good and/or righteous) and a Hell (for the wicked, meaning those who fall short of being admitted into Heaven).
The Mormon religion has more categories than just Heaven and Hell. Everyone who has ever lived on this planet, or who will live on this planet, will fit into one of these five categories (as far as we currently know) after Judgment Day (i.e. after the Second Coming of Christ):
As far as we know, all five of these categories are eternal rewards or punishments. However, we don't know very much about the "Like Unto The Son Of Perdition" category but we do have an idea of who will fit into this category.
After talking about the five kingdoms there is a section on the spirit world.
So let's talk about these five categories one at a time.
1) Celestial Kingdom (Resurrected At The Second Coming)The Celestial Kingdom is the highest and best of the kingdoms. This very wonderful place is for those who die before the age of 8 and for the righteous. At the Second Coming of Christ (i.e. Judgment Day) this planet earth will be massively changed and will be a much better planet to live on.
Those who qualify for the Celestial Kingdom and Terrestrial Kingdom will be resurrected at the Second Coming of Christ and they will remain on this planet earth forever. However, the Celestial Kingdom is subdivided into categories.
For some religions this category is for those who are "born again," but this event is not recognized in the Mormon church. Mormons must keep the commandments as best they can and "endure to the end." Actually "endure to the end" should be restated: "endure to the Second Coming because people can commit serious sins in the spirit world.
Well, there is a lot more to Mormonism than that (such as "eternal marriage") but this is not an article on Mormonism.
2) Terrestrial Kingdom (Resurrected At The Second Coming)
The Terrestrial Kingdom is a very wonderful place for very good, honorable and noble people who do not meet the standards of the Celestial Kingdom. At the Second Coming these people will also be resurrected and they will also live on this planet with the Celestial people forever.
3) Telestial Kingdom And The Mlllennium (Resurrected After The Millennium)
The Telestial Kingdom is for those who do not meet the standards of the Terrestrial Kingdom, much less the Celestial Kingdom. Murderers almost always fit into this category, but there are many, many others who fit into this category. The people in this category are not resurrected at the Second Coming of Christ and they will be kicked off of this planet Earth (at the Second Coming) and will they will burn in hell (still as spirits) for 1,000 years (during the millennium) on another planet before they are resurrected!!
After the Millennium is over, they will come to this planet to be resurrected. I don't know how long they will be on this planet to be resurrected, but I doubt it will be more than an hour. But that is just my guess. I suspect that the Celestial people and Terrestrial people will not even know who is being resurrected (they will have been resurrected for one thousand years by this point).
Then with their resurrected body they will go to the planet of the Telestial Kingdom (i.e. the Telestial planet). Remember, they will never again be on this planet after the Second Coming (as this planet will be glorified and be reserved for the Celestial and Terrestrial people) except to be resurrected.
For example, suppose the man of a couple qualifies for the Celestial or Terrestrial kingdom, but the wife only qualifies for the Telestial kingdom. After the Second Coming of Christ these two people will never again be on the same planet again except when the telestial person comes to this planet for a very short time to be resurrected.
I doubt that everyone on the Millennium planet (who are spirits) will suffer equally. This is a time of punishment. For example, it would be somewhat absurd to say that an unrepentant prostitute in New York will suffer equally with Adolf Hitler. So I believe that every person suffers during the Millennium for their individual unrepentant sins, not some generic standard punishment which applies to everyone. But I could be wrong.
I do not know how a "temple sealing" will affect what I have just talked about in the case where one spouse qualifies for the Celestial or Terrestrial Kingdom and the other spouse only qualifies for the Telestial Kingdom. Technally after the Second Coming they would never be on the same planet again (except for the quick resurrection of the Telestial spouse).
Let me make two more comments about the spirit world:
So this leaves the spirit world version of adultery (spirit bodies are not exactly like physical bodies) and preaching false doctrines as the two worst sins that can be committed in the spirit world.
The bad thing about the Telestial Kingdom (these people are not are resurrected until after the Millennium) is not the Telestial planet itself, it will be good planet. The punishment is the type of people they will live with forever (e.g. Hiter, Stalin, Mao Zedong, murderers, unforgiven adulterers, etc. etc.)!!! THERE WILL BE NO GOOD PEOPLE ON THAT PLANET TO TALK TO AND ASSOCIATE WITH!!!! That is their eternal punishment, to live with no one except for wicked and evil people because there will be no good people on that planet to associate with!!!
Repentance and forgiveness are also major factors relative to the individual suffering during this 1,000 years. If a person repents sincerely and completely changes their ways, before the Millennium (i.e. before the Second Coming), they have a good chance of being forgiven, depending on what they have done. But remember that God cannot be deceived and He knows a person's true level of sincerity and their honest commitment to not sin again relative to a prior category of sin.
I will talk about the "spirit world" later as that can also affect where a person will spend eternity.
4) Like Unto The Son Of Perdition (Unknown When Or If They Are Resurrected)
This is the next category of Judgment Day, but as I said above, this may be a subcategory of the Telestial Kingdom.
Likely very few people, perhaps a few hundred, and most of the people (if not all) in this category will not be members of the Mormon church. It is almost never mentioned in the church as it is not really for church members. It is primarily for atheists and evolutionists who preach atheism and evolution and most importantly they mock the miracles of Christ for profit (e.g. in books that they wrote or lectures they were paid to give or debates they were paid to participate in)!!!
I only know of one place in the scriptures where this punishment is mentioned: 3 Nephi 29:5-7 in the Book of Mormon.
See the one and only reference to this punishment in the Book of Mormon and study verse 7:
5) Son of Perdition (Unknown When Or If They Are Resurrected)
This is the granddaddy of all punishments!!! The son of perdition punishment is an ETERNAL punishment!!!! It is described as fire and brimstone!!!! Not a good thing!!!!
Most church members think that it was first mentioned in the King Follett discourse, but that is not correct.
It was first mentioned in the Book of Mormon when the prophet Alma the Younger was "chewing out" his wayward son Conianton. Alma the Younger did not use the term "perdition" but he precisely described the punishment!!! See Alma 39:5-6:
It is also found in the Doctrine and Covenants (see D&C 76:25-39):
Verse 39 indicates that the sons of perdition will never be resurrected, but the verse is not really clear on that specific question as it may be saying that they will be resurrected long after everyone else.
It is also found in the book of Moroni in the Book of Mormon, though it is somewhat ambiguous (Moroni 8:28-29):
The category of Son of Perdition was also discussed in the King Follett Discourse of the prophet Joseph Smith. Near the end of the prophet Joseph Smith's life, during the King Follett Discourse, the prophet said that there had already been "many" sons of perdition!!! There would no doubt be many more Sons of Perdition when he and one of his brothers were murdered by a mob. The members of the mob that killed both Joseph and his brother Hyrum will likely all or most become Son's of Perdition for shedding the innocent blood of two great prophets!!!
Sometimes people say that becoming a Son of Perdition is so difficult that you can count them on one hand!! THIS IS NOT TRUE!!!!!!!
I do not live in Utah so I do not have a good feel for how many men today might fit into this category, but based on the very limited amount of information I get from Utah I suspect there will be many who are now living who will end up with this fate.
I should also note that Joseph Smith taught that "A man cannot cannot commit the unpardonable sin after the dissolution of the body" (TPJS 357). This means he cannot commit this sin in the spirit world:
Here is the original King Follett Discourse (see the phrase: "like many of the apostates" and "committed that unpardonable sin" and "committed the unpardonable sin"):
This is such a severe punishment that I personally believe that Heavenly Father may be the one and only Judge as to who will suffer the Son of Perdition punishment!!!
But of incredible significance is the phrase: "Every man who has a friend in the eternal world can save him unless he has committed the unpardonable sin, and so you can see how far you can be a savior."
I would assume this could apply to a husband who qualifies for the celestial kingdom but his wife only qualifies for the telestial kingdom!!! So after the Millennium, if he qualifies for the Celestial Kingdom but she only qualifies for the Telestial Kingdom (or vice verse) he may be able to pull her into the Celestial Kingdom (which will be on this planet at that time).
Joseph Smith implied as much relative to his wife Emma, though I cannot find the reference.
A Little About The Spirit World
Let me make a note about the spirit world, where everyone will go when they die, awaiting the Second Coming. No one knows when the Second Coming will be, but many things have to happen before the Second Coming so it will likely not happen for another 100 years (based on prophesies which have not been fully fulfilled yet). But that is just my opinion based on what must happen before the Second Coming.
The spirit world is on this planet. What a person does in the physical world or the spirit world both count where a person will end up after the Second Coming!!! In other words, what determines when a person is resurrected is based on their behavior both in mortality and the spirit world!!
Suppose a person lives the Celestial Kingdom law during mortality, but only lives the Telestial law while in the spirit world because the person commits adultry in the spirit world while waiting for their spouse to die. Which kingdom will they go to??
In my opinion what a person does is the spirit world is just as serious as what they do in mortality. We know that people can go up one or two kingdoms in the spirit world or why would there be so much missionary work going on there??!!! Many people died without every talking to a Mormon, much less a Mormon missionary!!!
So it would seem fair to me that people could go up or down in kingdoms while in the spirit world, but that is just my interpretation, I could be wrong.
But I will say this: a person fully qualified for the Celestial Kingdom at the time they die, can commit the spirit world version of adultery while in the spirit world. Perhaps a better term would be a violation of chastity.
So in my opinion those who only live a telestial law while in the spirit world (regardless of what they did in the physical world), will not be resurrected at the Second Coming and they will go to the Millennium planet for 1,000 years and after the Millennium they will go to the Telestial Kingdom planet. Whether these are the same planet I do not know, but the same people go from the Millennium planet to the Telestial planet.
After the millennium is over, these people will be resurrected and they will live on the Telestial Planet/Kingdom forever. So make a mental note that it may be possible that a person can live a Celestial or Terrestrial life in mortality and then completely fall apart (spiritually) in the spirit world and they may end up on the Telestial Kingdom instead of the Celestial Kingdom!!!
But I have never seen in writing or heard in a talk that I am right, so take it for what it is worth.
My warning is that the spirit world may be a testing ground just like mortality and a person can lose their place in the Celestial Kingdom FOREVER solely because of their behavior in the spirit world!!!
Can People Move "Up" or "Down" One Or Two Kingdoms While In The Spirit World???
Can a person move from the Telestial Kingdom (while in mortality), but while they are in the spirit world repent and qualify for the Terrestial Kingdom or even the Celestial Kingdom because of their repentence and good behavior while in the spirit world??
The answer is an absolute YES, why else would there be such a massive amount of missionary work going on in the spirit world!!!
However, sons of perdition cannot go "up" - ever. So it may be that the "like unto the son of perdition" people may never be able to go "up" in the spirit world - ever.
After the resurrection (and after the Millennium) the Telestial Kingdom is actually a pretty good place to live on except for the type of people they will be living with - Telestial people (e.g. Hitler). There are no righteous or honorable people on the planet of the Telestial Kingdom!!!
However, I should emphasize that the people who burn in hell during the Millenium are exactly the same group of people who will end up in the Telestial Kingdom!!! So as far as I know a person cannot go up the chain of kingdoms during the Millennium. Remember, the Millennium is a punishment and probably many people will "repent" because of the punishment!! Everyone who is suffering during the Millennium will try to repent and get the hell off that planet!!!
The long term eternal punishment of those going to the Telestial Kingdom is not what they suffer, because the suffering will only last for 1,000 years (compared to eternity this is the blink of an eye), the long term punishment is knowing what they could have attained if they had been more righteous about keeping the commandments that God has given to His prophets!!!
The punishment during the Millennium will not just be physical, it will be about the people they are living with compared to the people they are not living with (i.e. their righteous relatives and friends).
I have no clue how much people from the Celestial/Terrestrial planet will be able to visit their loved-ones who are suffering during the Millennium or after they are on the Telestial planet forever.
So a person might ask: "can a person drop one or two kingdoms while in the spirit world??? Based on what I have read a person cannot become a son of perdition because of the things they do in the spirit world. Nor can a person commit murder in the spirit world because spirits cannot die.
So this leaves preaching false doctrine and the spirit world version of adultery as sins that can be committed in the spirit world. So yes, a person can drop from being qualified for the Celestial Kingdom all the way down to the Telestial Kingdom because of their behavior in the spirit world.
See also this outstanding article on the BYU website which goes into far more depth about these three kingdoms, particularly the Son of Perdition:
Regarding adultery note especially President Kimball's mention of the phrase "reach the point of no return and cannot repent" (In the "Possibilities of Repentance and Forgiveness" section). Obviously this "point of no return" may vary by personal circumstances, but the fact that such a point exists is a sobering thought for those who commit adultery many times, whether with the same partner or with multiple partners, whether in the physical world or the spirit world!!! They may think that they can "always repent later," but this is not true - there is a limit which only God can determine on an individual basis!!!
The Judgment And The Spirit World
When a person dies, they continue to live on this planet as a spirit. In the Brigham Young priesthood and Relief Society manual is a description of the spirit world.
The only thing I would add to that article is that the spirit world has many evil people in it!!! These people can do some evil things in the spirit world, such as tempt and participate in evil practices, but not every type of evil thing!!
Murder cannot be committed in the spirit world because spirits cannot die. Plus there is no "mass media" in the spirit world (sorry Goebbels). Plus there would be no purpose to jails because people could easily get out of them.
However, adultery can be committed in the spirit world and people can preach false doctrines, as examples of what can be done in the spirit world. I would suspect that adultery in the spirit world is quite common as husbands and wives rarely die at the same time. However, adultery is just as serious of a sin in the spirit world as it is in the physical world (emphatically stated to me by a former temple president of mine)!!
However, adultery is not exactly the same thing in the spirit world as in the physical world because spirits are not built exactly like physical bodies. Perhaps the word "violate the principles of chastity" would be more accurate to describe adultery in the spirit world. But it is still a very, very serious sin!!!
In the Ten Commandments adultery is listed right after murder, which cannot be committed in the spirit world. Alma the Younger mentioned adultery to his wayward son right after he mentioned murder. So adultery and preaching false doctrines may be in contention for the #1 sin in the spirit world on a case-by-case basis!!
Every person who has ever lived on this planet, and has died, and has not been resurrected, is in the spirit world. This includes Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Genghis Khan and every other scumbag who ever lived on this earth and every righteous person who has not been resurrected. This would include scores of billions of people!!! It was mentioned above that a Son Of Perdition cannot be created while in the spirit world, it must be created before the person dies!!
There are a massive number of people in the spirit world (perhaps 100 billion or so)!! There are also a large number of former missionaries (and other newly qualified people who become missionaries) in the spirit world!! Because of these things there is a massive amount of missionary work going on in the spirit world!!!! Many people who were not missionaries in mortality are missionaries in the spirit world!!
For example, right now Mormon missionaries are not allowed to preach and teach in China, as just one example. It is illegal, I guess President Xi Jinping wants to burn in hell for many, many years, but he is nowhere near as bad as Mao Zedong. But I can assure you there are MANY missionaries in China in the spirit world!!
It is very good that there is a lot of missionary work going on in the spirit world because in the physical world there is very little or no missionary work going on in many countries!!! I mentioned China, but all Muslim countries, that I know of, have little or no missionary work going on. I would suspect that more than half of all of the population on this planet live in a country with zero missionary work going on (this limitation applies to all Christian religions, not just the Latter-Day Saint Christian religion).
But there are pretty much zero restrictions on missionary work in the spirit world as the mass media does not exist and armies would be very, very small, if they exist at all. I doubt that people, good or bad, could be confined (such as in a jail) because of the way that people in the spirit world can move around (basically at the speed of light).
Here is a very important note:
A person, fully qualified for the Celestial Kingdom at the time they die, can lose that qualification while in the spirit world because of adultery or preaching false doctrines, etc. Just like mortality, the spirit world is a test in and of itself!! A person can drop all the way from the Celestial Kingdom to the Telestial Kingdom while in the spirit world!!!
Note this quote of Joseph Smith: "“A man cannot commit the unpardonable sin after the dissolution of the body.” (TPJS 357) This is in the King Follett discourse.
However, if a mortal today gains sufficient knowledge, light, and truth, and then turns against that illumination and denies what he knows, he has committed the unpardonable and non-redemptive sin, he will be cast into outer darkness forever.
Here is an outstanding article on the spirit world that goes much deeper than I have. It was written by BYU scholar Brent L. Top:
Here is an even more scholarly article on this topic by the same author:
In summary, the LDS church has at least 5 different levels for people to fit into after Judgment Day (and I assume these apply to those who convert to the church while in the spirit world except for sons of perdition, who must qualify to be a son of perdition before they die):
The fourth item, "like unto the son of perdition" is a very interesting category as I have never heard it mentioned in the LDS church. It seems more for the non-member atheists and evolutionists. I should note the Book of Mormon was published more than 110 years before Richard Dawkins was even born!!! And the original authors of the Book of Mormon stopped writing the Book of Mormon about 421 A.D.!!!
Can a person who fits into the Telestial Kingdom in mortality repent in the spirit world end up in the Terrestrial or Celestial Kingdom?? That seems to me to be the whole point of missionary work in the spirit world!!
On the other hand it seems clear, based on what goes on in the spirit world, that someone who fits into the Celestial Kingdom in mortality can do bad things in the spirit world (e.g. commit adultery in the spirit world or start preaching false doctrines) and drop down one or two notches while in the spirit world!!
Take the spirit world very seriously - it is not a vacation!!!!!!
Issues For Latter-Day Saints
One issue solely for Latter-Day Saints is this question: "What happens when a couple, who have been sealed in the temple, do not qualify for the same kingdom after the Second Coming of Christ, particularly when one person goes to the Celestial Kingdom and the other person goes to the Telestial Kingdom?? After the Second Coming they would never again be on the same planet!!
For example, if the woman was righteous in mortality but was very wicked in the spirit world, why would a husband wait 1,000 years for his wife to get done with the punishments of the Millennium, when they will forever be on different planets after the Second Coming, including the time when she is on another planet during the Millennium and after she is resurrected!!??
Well, if I were the husband (of course the husband could be the one that committs adultery in the spirit world) I would start looking for a new wife either in the physical world before I die or in the spirit world. Each case will be different.
My point is very direct: the spirit world is a world of temptation and missionary world!!!
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