How I define heaven might surprise you

When you hear the word “heaven?”, what comes to mind?

Do you envision heaven and hell as two different places—one for the righteous and one for the wicked—as the traditional Christian belief tends to be?

Perhaps you interpret “heaven” as it appears in the scriptures to mean the paradise in the Spirit World.

Or maybe you think “heaven” equates with Celestial Kingdom.

Here’s what I think, and let me know if you happen to believe this, too.

When I hear the word “heaven”, this is what comes to mind. To me, “heaven” refers to all the degrees of glory: celestial, terrestrial, and telestial.

The way I see it is that if the vast majority of people who have lived on this earth will inherit one of the degrees of glory, then it seems they will be better off than life here on earth.

Defining “heaven” as including all three degrees of glory also makes the concept of heaven more universal, and a universal heaven is something I can get behind.

How about you? How do you define “heaven”?

Deja Vu

OK. A while back, we talked a bit about Paranormal Activity (still waiting for the one reader to give me feedback on those pics Isent you) but I thought I would take it one step farther and ask what your thoughts are on Deja Vu.

For example, our old Bishop and his wife had a farewell on Saturday night, as they are leaving for a mission. When the person conducting started the proceedings, hubby pokes me, hands me the camera, and asks me to take pictures, as he doesn’t have a clear shot. I take the first shot, and as the flash went off, a “light bulb” moment went off in my head, and I knew I had done this exact thing before.

I was sitting in the front row, had been early as usual, and others had filed in behind me. Without turning around, I knew exactly who would be there and what they would be wearing. The food for the refreshments were in the kitchen. I leaned over at the end and told Keith exactly what would be on that counter and in what order. I told him who was going to come up to him to tell him something important and that at one point, someone was going to try taking the baby out of his arms.

As the evening progressed, everything happened as I told him 2 hours prior.

Explain that if you will.

Resurrected “by the power of the Spirit”

While reading my scriptures last night, I came across something I never noticed before in 2 Ne: 2:8:

How great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God,save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit . . .

What do you think it means that Jesus was resurrected “by the power of the Spirit”?

Redeeming ourselves through our own suffering

We read the following in D&C 19:6-7:

It is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment. . . . it is written eternal damnation

On the surface, this doesn’t make sense. Jesus is saying that the scriptures don’t say there shall be no end to the “weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth” of those consigned to damnation (see verse 5). Yet he also says the scriptures say there will be endless torment.

How can it be with an end and endless at the same time? It seems like a mystery.

Luckily, he says in verse 8: I will explain unto you this mystery. The explanation follows in verses 10?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú12:

I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore, eternal punishment is God?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s punishment. Endless punishment is God?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s punishment.

It seems then that Jesus is saying there’s no such thing as unending punishment in the afterlife. In other words, punishment in the afterlife has an end.

This is interesting when we take verses 16?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú17 into consideration:

I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; but if they would not repent they must suffer even as I.

All this brings a question to mind.

If Jesus’s suffering redeemed those of us who repented, does that mean the suffering of the unrepentant will eventually redeem them since the suffering will have an end? If so, will they have the opportunity to change kingdoms after they are redeemed?

Can someone who is consigned to the Telestial Kingdom for murder redeem himself through his own suffering and then go on to inherit the Celestial Kingdom?

Salvation is free to all

While discussing 2 Ne 2 in Gospel Doctrine class today, we came across 2 Ne 2:4:

the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free.

The gospel doctrine instructor asked if salvation really is free. There was an audible, collective “no”. I disagreed with this. After all, did that make Lehi a liar?

I put forth that salvation from death is free. The instructor countered with asking if that was the salvation Lehi meant.

If we look at the footnote, we will see that the salvation mentioned here is what Jude referred to as “collective salvation” (see Jude 1:3). Harold B. Lee referred to this as a general salvation:

“Herein is defined ?¢‚Ǩ¬¶ individual salvation, which comes to each, dependent upon his own conduct and his own life. But we [also] have what we call ‘general’ [salvation], that which comes upon all mankind, whether they are good or bad, rich or poor, when they have lived?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùit makes no difference. All have the blessings of the Atonement and the blessings of the resurrection given to them as a free gift because of the Savior?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s atoning sacrifice. . . .” (?¢‚Ǩ?ìChapter 3: The Lamb Slain from the Foundation of the World,?¢‚Ǩ¬ù Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 18)

I argued that we must remember that the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial kingdoms are all kingdoms of glory, albeit of different levels. Those who are resurrected to one of those kingdoms are resurrected to glory, which in my opinion is a type of salvation. In that respect, salvation is free to all. Even Rick.

God reserves a unique place for us

While reading through a new addition on the newsroom at LDS.ORG on how Mormons view the world (props to DMI), something stuck out to me.

the choices made in this life determine one?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s station and activity in the eternities, where God reserves a unique place for all of his children.

A unique place? That makes it seem as if there are more than three places prepared for the eternities. Is this article suggesting that the post-Judgement life isn’t spent in one of three kingdoms? Could it be that the kingdoms aren’t concrete, that their borders are blurred?