We believe in a much more diverse afterlife than mainstream Christianity.

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I was reading this month’s Ensign magazine earlier today, and came upon an article by Dallin H. Oaks entitled “Fundamental to Our Faith”. One paragraph in particular stood out.

Finally, our understanding of the purpose of mortal life includes some unique doctrines about what follows mortality. Like other Christians, we believe that when we leave this life, we go to a heaven (paradise) or a hell. But to us this two-part division of the righteous and the wicked is merely temporary while the spirits of the dead await their resurrection and Final Judgment (see Alma 40:11–14). The destinations that follow the Final Judgment are much more diverse, and they stand as evidence of the magnitude of God’s love for His children—all of them.

Most of Christianity believes in a two-part afterlife: heaven and hell. Mormonism, on the other hand, generally believes in a more diverse afterlife: Celestial Kingdom, Terrestrial Kingdom, Telestial Kingdom, and Outer Darkness.

Elder Oaks, however, said something that made me wonder. He didn’t just say that afterlife destinations we believe in are more diverse than mainstream Christianity; he specifically said the destinations we believe in are much more diverse.

To me, four is not much more diverse from two, so I wonder what Elder Oaks had in mind when he specifically chose these words.

7 thoughts on “We believe in a much more diverse afterlife than mainstream Christianity.

  1. Something interesting to consider are the ringed “Saturn-like” planets on the SLC Temple. The moons, stars, and sun images symbolize the three kingdoms but the ringed planets symbolize even further progression than you’ll often (ever?) hear taught about at church.

  2. D&C 130 talks about kingdoms higher than the Celestial Kingdom. We don’t talk about that scripture either…

  3. When President Oaks says “The destinations that follow the Final Judgment are much more diverse” I don’t think he is referring to just numbers.

    I think he means that what we will be doing after the judgment is more diverse than traditional Christian teachings. We will be up to a lot more than playing harps and praising God. I don’t know if traditional thinking anticipates the same kind of sociality that exists here or not?

    As I read your post I wondered if there might be some flexibility in our judgments or rewards allowing for some righteous desire that might be personally suited to our individual personalities.

    I think this diversity may mean we still retain individual traits that make us unique and that resurrected, exalted beings may not be identical cookie cutter versions of God but that there could be a wide variety of perfections.

    Personalities of resurrected beings may vary to the same degree that they do here as may physical features and characteristics.

    Just my speculation.

  4. Kim, to address your comment very specifically, I don’t think it’s wrong to say that four is much more diverse than two. It’s double the number-_-a hundred percent more diverse. Doesn’t that qualify for a “much”?

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