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by Susan Easton Black
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches of three degrees of glory or kingdoms of heaven in the afterlife: the Celestial Kingdom, Terrestrial Kingdom, and Telestial Kingdom. Paul likened these kingdoms to the realtive radiance of the sun, moon, and stars (1 Cor 15:40-41; cf. D&C 76:50-98). Further evidence of a heaven with multiple kingdoms is found in Jesus' statement, "In my Father's house are many mansions" (John 14:2). On February 16, 1832, the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon saw in vision the three degrees of glory, identifying the glory of the Terrestrial Kingdom as typical "of the moon [which] differs from the sun in the firmament" (D&C 76:71).
The terrestrial glory is for those who lived honorable lives on the earth but "were blinded by the craftiness of men" and were "not valiant in the testimony of Jesus." Those who did not receive a testimony of Jesus while on earth, but who could have done so except for their neglect, are also heirs to the Terrestrial Kingdom (D&C 76:72-74, 79). They obtain not "the crown over the kingdom of our God" (D&C 76:79) and remain without exaltation in their saved condition (D&C 132:17). They "receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father," and their kingdom differs from the celestial "as the moon differs from the sun" (D&C 76:77-78).
[See also Degrees of Glory, Basic Beliefs home page; Teachings About the Afterlife home page]
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 4, Terrestrial Kingdom
Copyright © 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company
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