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by Clyde J. Williams
The Telestial Kingdom in Latter-day Saint understanding is the lowest of the three degrees of glory to be inhabited by God's children in the afterlife following the resurrection. The Doctrine and Covenants is the only known scriptural source for the word "telestial" (see D&C 76:88, 98, 109; 88:21). Paul spoke of the differing glories, comparing them to the differences in light we see from the sun, moon, and stars (1 Cor. 15:40-42), mentioning the celestial and terrestrial by name. Although the term "telestial" does not occur in biblical accounts, latter-day revelation cites telestial as the kingdom of glory typified by the lesser light we perceive from the stars (D&C 76:98). The Celestial Kingdom and Terrestrial Kingdom are typified by the light we perceive from the sun and moon, respectively.
Within the telestial glory there will be varying degrees of glory even as the stars vary in brightness as we see them. It embraces those who on earth willfully reject the gospel of Jesus Christ, and commit serious sins such as murder, adultery, lying, and loving to make a lie (but yet do not commit the unpardonable sin), and who do not repent in mortality. They will be cleansed in the postmortal spirit world or spirit prison before the resurrection (D&C 76:81-85, 98-106; Rev. 22:15). Telestial inhabitants as innumerable as the stars will come forth in the last resurrection and then be "servants of the Most High; but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come" (D&C 76:112). Although the least of the degrees of glory, yet the Telestial Kingdom "surpasses all understanding" (D&C 76:89).
[See also Degrees of Glory, Basic Beliefs home page; Teachings About the Afterlife home page]
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 4, Telestial Kingdom
Copyright © 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company
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