Sunday School Lessons


The following slides are for examples only. They are NOT intended to provide definitive, exhaustive lesson details but rather demonstrate the progression and types of outlines used in the Sunday School for Parents with Toddlers post. If there are any doctrinal errors or mistakes, I take full responsibility, and this is not intended to represent the official Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint views.

Due to the size of the slides and limited space, I have removed the video and audio associated with the respective slides. Additionally, as shared in the blog post "Sunday School for the Noisy," these slides are not intended to present everything in the lesson. Where possible, I have found it best to keep the slides as simple as possible.

Check back often for new slides. I have over 100 presentations I am eventually going to post. It’s fun to look through them and see each week’s slides improved in quality and conciseness. Enjoy!


Old Testament Lesson 32

ARP Fails Women Support Groups

Anonymous Question Series:

Q: "Why does The Church's ARP program assume that men are addicts and women are "related to addicts"? It is SO difficult to find a women's support group."


The quick answer: as an Church culture, we have done a poor job at identifying and providing women resources.

(This is a great question and will be a little difficult to answer concisely, for me. This has been a topic of GREAT interest and equal concern for me, so much so that I have taken up the opportunity to write about it. I am over 100 pages into a book I hope to complete by the end of this year that addresses this issue and other related topics and their solutions. Additionally, Kathryn Kirk and I have attempted to fill this gap with "LDS Women Struggle Too" Blog and Group. But because of our Church culture, it is very hard to get the word out.)

However, I can't "blame" The Church nor the "culture" for not meeting the needs of women adequately in this regard. Many do, and I value the frustration around the topic. But this issue is NOT limited to The Church. "Addiction," especially sexual related issues, have historically been a "man's issue”. With the exception of AA (or "Friends of Bill"), which had its beginnings in 1935, support groups for non-substance abuse only started in the mid 1970s and were predominately male focused. Additionally, medically and psychologically there is NO standard definition or diagnosis for sexual-related "addiction." Sex (porn and sexual related issues) addiction was a “self-diagnosis” of subtenancy abuse individuals who felt they wanted a separate AA meeting to address their "problems with love." It was also a "sign" to their spouses that they were doing "something" to address their cheating behavior. It is interesting to note that because there was NO medical definition of sex addiction it was entirely — and still is today — self-diagnosed. Here's the kicker; because there was/is no medical definition, the criteria for sex addiction was entirely driven by white male middle class individuals:

"Sex addiction is overwhelmingly focused on male sexuality, given that 90-95% of alleged sex addicts are male. In the paraprofessional side of sex addiction, the online bloggers and activists who promote the ideas of porn addiction are also consistently white males, typically of middle class or above." —David J. Ley, Ph.D, Sex Addiction's Diversity Problem

As a result of white Christian middle class males defining sex addiction, the majority of addicts are in that demographic ... the epitome of confirmed bias! As such, the “solutions” have been entirely developed around solving it for the white Christian middle class male — not only making a perceived issue worse than it really is, but entirely neglecting the needs of other demographics.

The Church has been modeling what the professionals have been doing; therefore, they have mirrored support groups for males of our faith and have lectured repeatably to men in priesthood meetings, while entirely ignoring or being unaware that about 50% of those who struggle with porn and sexual issues are female. This is while NOT one word is spoken about it in Relief Society or the General Women's Conferences. Fortunately, the Brethren are recognizing that the old approach isn't working, and they haven't lectured the men in priesthood for the last few conferences.

Back to your specific question. There are support groups, but they are hard to find. Kathryn and I have tried really hard to promote our free online group, but it is very hard to spread the word. I also wonder if The Church should be involved with support groups. The success rate is ridiculously poor ... at best 10% for support groups or 12-step programs in general. I believe the success rate in our church support groups and 12-step programs also mirror the secular groups. Unfortunately, our view that something is better than nothing is keeping the status quo.

This isn't a solution, but hopefully it helped you understand the complicated dynamics of the issue. You are always welcome to reach out to Kathryn or myself for further support. If you would like a support group, we are eager to support an effective, solution-based approach. Spread the word and we will provide.

You Are Probably A Mormon Fundamentalist

Have you ever said something like, "I believe all the words of the prophet." Or, "No matter what the Prophet says, I will do it or I will believe it." Or have you dismissed uncomfortable ideas or unfamiliar concepts from sound, faithful scholarship and defaulted to a comment similar to, "The prophet is silent on this; therefore, I don't need to know." Or even made a general statement of, "Always side with the prophet in intellectual and spiritual matters." 

If you have, you are most-likely a Mormon Fundamentalist. Interestingly, by making comments or believing this way you are in fact NOT believing the words of the prophet. Elder Harold B. Lee in quoting Brigham Young said the following:

“‘I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are being led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give their leaders if they know for themselves by the revelations of Jesus Christ that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know by the whisperings of the Spirit of God to themselves whether their leaders are walking in the way the Lord dictates or not.’

To me, there is a tremendous truth. It is not alone sufficient for us as Latter-day Saints to follow our leaders and to accept their counsel, but we have the greater obligation to gain for ourselves the unshakable testimony of [1] the divine appointment of these men and [2] the witness that what they have told us is the will of our Heavenly Father.” —Quoted by Elder Harold B. Lee of the Quorum of the Twelve in Teachings of the Living Prophets (p. 47; Conference Report, Oct. 1950, pp. 129-130)

I've seen this happen too many times: men and women of profound faith attacked, condemned, judged and called to repentance for solid scholarship and sincere questions. Although I don't consider myself a scholar, I have also been on the receiving end of those who've been rebuked for doctrinal exploration. But I have also repeatedly seen brilliant individuals who are established scholars — whom the apostles refer to on their specialties — called out and condemned by Mormon fundamentalists. (Take for example Daniel A. Petersen, who was rebuked for not following the manual, of which he was the author/contributor.)

Because the scholars’ perspectives don't fit within narrow fundamentalist views, the fundamentalists feel they have to proclaim the prophetic view, as opposed to faithfully seeking out truth. 

What prompted this post was this exact exchange with one such scholar on Facebook: 

Today's encounter with unthinking LDS (non-polygamous) fundamentalism, directed at me.

"Wow. I cannot believe they are letting you teach the youth. Brother ---, all I can say to you is I wish you well. I will believe the words that come out of the prophet's mouth. I am one who would wear purple socks every Thursday if that is what he says to do. You can cite non-LDS sources. I'll stick to the church approved. My salvation isn't worth dabbling in the philosophies of men. Have a great life."

FWIW, I wasn't citing non-LDS sources or doing any of these other things, but this kind of worldview is very fragile and easily threatened.

In his insightful, faith-saving/strengthening book "Shaken Faith Syndrome," Michael Ash addresses this rigid perspective of fundamentalism:

"Having interacted — for over two decades — with people whose testimonies have been weakened or destroyed by something they have ‘discovered’ about the Church, I have generally found that those who are prone to fundamentalist ideology about certain facets of the gospel or early LDS historical events, are more likely to apostatize when they encounter challenging issues.

I use the term 'fundamentalist' in a way that may differ from other usages of the term. In LDS circles, for instance, the term 'fundamentalist' commonly denotes those who still practice polygamy. This is not how the term is used in this book.

Among many Christians, the term generally refers to conservative evangelicals who actively affirm what they see as fundamental Christian beliefs such as an inerrant Bible, which is literally interpreted and historically accurate despite any conflicting claims from science and modern scholarship. By association, the term 'fundamentalist' is also used to describe all those (of various religious beliefs) who take a very ridged, dogmatic, uncompromising, and unchanging approach to their ideologies (or belief systems). This definition more accurately depicts the way the term is used ..." (pg. 5)

Elder Hugh B. Brown in his book, “An Abundant Life” said the following:

“I admire men and women who have developed the questing spirit, who are unafraid of new ideas as stepping stones to progress. We should of course respect the opinions of others, but we should also be unafraid to dissent – if we are informed. Thoughts and expressions compete in the marketplace of thought and in that competition truth emerges triumphant. Only error fears freedom of expression … This free exchange of ideas is not to be deplored as long as men and women remain humble and teachable. Neither fear of consequence or any kind of coercion should ever be used to secure uniformity of thought in the church. People should express their problems and opinions and be unafraid to think without fear of ill consequences. We must preserve freedom of the mind in the church and resist all efforts to suppress it.

With respect to people feeling that whatever the brethren say is gospel, this tends to undermine the proposition of freedom of speech and thought. As members of the church we are bound to sustain and support the brethren in the positions they occupy so long as their conduct entitles them to that. But we also have only to defend those doctrines of the church contained in the four standard works — the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Anything beyond that by anyone is his or her own opinion and not scripture. Although there are certain statements that whatever the brethren say becomes the word of God, this is a dangerous practice to apply to all leaders and all cases. The only way I know of by which the teachings of any person or group may become binding upon the church is if the teachings have been reviewed by all the brethren, submitted to the highest councils of the church, and then approved by the whole body of the church.

I do not doubt that the brethren have often spoken under inspiration and given new emphasis — perhaps even a new explanation or interpretation — of church doctrine, but that does not become binding upon the church unless and until it is submitted to the scrutiny of the rest of the brethren and later to the vote of the people.

And while all members should respect, support, and heed the teachings of the authorities of the church, no one should accept a statement and base his or her testimony upon it, no matter who makes it, until he or she has, under mature examination, found it to be true and worthwhile; then one's logical deductions may be confirmed by the spirit of revelation to his or her spirit, because real conversion must come from within." —Hugh B. Brown, A Final Testimony

Furthermore, Michael Ash points out the logical fallacy in clinging to prophet’s words.

"And why should we follow their counsel if they might be wrong?

The truth is that we already pick and choose when we follow the words of the prophets. We also pick and choose the counsel we follow from the scriptures, our boss, the law, health professionals, our parents, spouses, etc. Since we are not perfect and not robots, it always comes down to personal choice ..." (pg. 33)

We are commanded to seek further truth, to study from all good books, to even question concepts, traditions and doctrines. It is the very purpose of our agency; it is what builds our faith and testimony. Not questioning/exploring is a lack of faith.

One scholar, Ben Spackman, has posted these insightful words to his social media of Eugene England, quoting B.H. Roberts:

"I believe 'Mormonism' affords opportunity … for thoughtful disciples who will not be content with merely repeating some of its truths, but will develop its truths; and enlarge it by that development ... The disciples of ‘Mormonism,’ growing discontented with the necessarily primitive methods which have hitherto prevailed in sustaining the doctrine, will yet take profounder and broader views of the great doctrines committed to the Church; and, departing from mere repetition, will cast them in new formulas; cooperating in the works of the Spirit, until they help to give to the truths received a more forceful expression, and carry it beyond the earlier and cruder stages of its development.”

England then comments,

"President Roberts, of course, is not suggesting that the intellectual's task is to create new doctrine, but rather to take revealed doctrine and give it new formulations that will relate to the changing world we live in, that will enable us, for instance, to more effectively criticize our flawed social, political, artistic and intellectual environment by using the great germ-truths of the gospel." Dialogue 9:4 (Winter 1974), 47

I encourage you to seek out truth from all sources, to engage in meaningful dialog, to apply faith in your curiosity versus running to "safety" under a Prophetic blanket. We need more Saints who are well informed and can, as it says in Peter, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear [faith]." (1 Peter 3:15)


Additional Supporting Quotes:

Encouraging all to read, study, research and learn, apostle Charles W. Penrose (who would later serve as counselor to President Smith) declared,

“President Wilford Woodruff is a man of wisdom and experience, and we respect him, but we do not believe his personal views or utterances are revelations from God; and when ‘Thus saith the Lord’, comes from him, the saints investigate it: they do not shut their eyes and take it down like a pill.” (Millennial Star 54:191)

“And none are required to tamely and blindly submit to a man because he has a portion of the priesthood. We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark, that they would do anything they were told to do by those who presided over them, if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God … would despise the idea. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the saints were told to do by their presidents, they should do it without asking any questions. When Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their minds to do wrong themselves.” (Millennial Star, vol.14 #38, pp. 593–95)

Brigham Young said:

“What a pity it would be, if we were led by one man to utter destruction! Are you afraid of this? I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken the influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually.” (JD 9:150)

“How easy it would be for your leaders to lead you to destruction, unless you actually know the mind and will of the spirit yourselves.” (JD 4:368)

“I do not wish any Latter-day Saint in this world, nor in heaven, to be satisfied with anything I do, unless the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, the spirit of revelation, makes them satisfied …Suppose that the people were heedless, that they manifested no concern with regard to the things of the kingdom of God, but threw the whole burden upon the leaders of the people, saying, ‘If the brethren who take charge of matters are satisfied, we are,’ this is not pleasing in the sight of the Lord.” (JD 3:45)

“Now those men, or those women, who know no more about the power of God, and the nfluences of the Holy Spirit, than to be led entirely by another person, suspending their own understanding, and pinning their faith upon another’s sleeve, will NEVER be capable of entering into the celestial glory, to be crowned as they anticipate; they will never be capable of becoming Gods. They cannot rule themselves, to say nothing of ruling others, but they must be dictated to in every trifle, like a child. They cannot control themselves in the least, but James, Peter, [Gordon] or somebody else must control them. They never can become Gods, nor be crowned as rulers with glory,immortality, and eternal lives; never can hold scepters of glory, majesty, and power in the celestial kingdom. Who will? Those who are valiant and inspired with the true independence of heaven, who will go forth boldly in the service of their God, leaving others to do as they please, determined to do right, though all mankind besides should take the opposite course. Will this apply to any of you? Your own hearts can answer.” (JD 1:312)

“President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel [see, for example, verses 9-10: ‘If the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing … the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him.’] … said the Lord had declared by the Prophet [Ezekiel], that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church — that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls — applied it to the present state [1842] of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall — that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves …” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith pp. 237-38)

George Q. Cannon, Counselor to three Church Presidents, expressed it thus: “Do not, brethren, put your trust in man though he be a bishop, an apostle, or a president. If you do, they will fail you at some time or place; they will do wrong or seem to, and your support be gone.” (Millennial Star 53:658-59, quoted in GospelTruth, 1:319)

Subdivisions In The Celestial Kingdom

Image: The Necessity for Receiving the Priesthood Ordinances of Salvation, Bruce Satterfield, Department of Religious Education, Brigham Young Universtiy - Idaho

The traditional view of the Celestial Kingdom divided into three subdivision and its respective requirements (D&C 131:1-4) appear to be problematic, specifically the interpretation of “In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest …”

What we have here is something called “doctrines in transition.” I’ll explain this in a moment.

But first let’s review two absolutes we do know: the atonement and agency. These two concepts are eternal and have been promised for our salvation. You cannot have one without the other. A good test of pure doctrine is to ask yourself if this "doctrine" contradicts the doctrine of atonement and agency. The traditional reading of D&C 131, would suggest the only way for one to obtain the Celestial Kingdom, would be dependent on the choice of a future spouse. This seems to contradicts the Plan of Salvation and its fundamental law of agency.

Additionally, this traditional idea seems to promote a type of gospel perfectionism that makes even the most faithful members and believers in Christ wonder if they have "done enough." The Atonement is infinite in its power, and God has made it possible for us all to return in the FULLNESS of his Glory, IF you accept Him — not if your spouse (or lack of one) chooses otherwise.

It’s important to understand that agency, must remain to correctly understand this scripture. As such, the traditional interpretation of this passage — being that the Celestial Kingdom is divided into three sub-degrees of glory — and its requirement of eternal marriage — making your salvation dependent on another’s covenant keeping — seems to negate agency.

Although it is possible for the celestial glory to be divided into MANY different “kingdoms” or levels (as in “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you”), John 14:2 however, doesn’t say exactly what this means. But in the context of D&C 131:1-4, it has transitioned over the years and morphed into concepts never taught by Joseph Smith. The fact that Joseph Smith didn’t teach it doesn’t mean modern-day revelation can’t clarify the teaching. But there has never been further “revelation” on the topic, only “logical” conclusion, which is based off a potentially faulty understanding of the passage. Let’s look at the first verse a little differently.

“In the celestial glory …”

To correctly understand, we first need to understand a common fallacy called is “presentism”, which is the act of applying current understanding and word meanings to historic events. In other words, words don’t have the same meaning throughout history. It’s a logical fallacy to read this scripture, specifically “celestial glory” with its NOW concrete definition, as though Joseph Smith also had that same definition. Not the case. “Celestial glory” was an expression of what we now refer to as the universe or all the space above. Also, if he was referring to the specific kingdom, Joseph Smith would have used the same language as he did in every other mentioning of it: “celestial kingdom” not “celestial glory.”

“there are three heavens or degrees”

With the understanding of word usage and presentism, we can now clearly see Joseph Smith’s usage of “three heavens or degrees.” Let me write the scripture in modern day language. “In the celestial glory (the plan of salvation, this universal creation) there are three heavens or degrees (God created three degrees of heaven/glory).” Furthermore, if there were “subdivisions” and it was important enough to not only mention it, but as you’ll see in the next part, Joseph Smith says there is a strict condition for obtaining the “highest” degree within the Celestial Kingdom. It would be logical to believe he would have clarified — or at the very LEAST alluded to this concept in D&C 76 or any of his other sermons — but it’s not mentioned anywhere.

What I believe confuses the topic and potentially perpetuated and continued to solidify this mistaken idea is what the scripture says next: “And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.”

One can still conclude with the understanding of presentism/word usage interpret this second verse correctly. But this concept of “marriage” is added! Then it’s further reinforced with, “If he does not, he cannot obtain it.” We learn in D&C 76 and other teachings that baptism (acceptance of Christ) is required for Celestial Glory. But this “additional” requirement seems to make it sound like there are further levels that we have to qualify within the Celestial Kingdom. This is problematic because it places your eternal salvation on the righteousness of your spouse — that is if you ever marry in the first place.

This would suggest, for example, that if never get married you (or any other righteous, covenant keeping individual) would never reach the highest glory within the Celestial Kingdom. This concept seems to negate our personal agency, no matter how righteous we are. In another example, if you were married in the temple to your spouse for 40 years (or any length of time) — all the while covenants are kept— but then your spouse leaves The Church, you are no longer qualified for eternal glory in the highest Celestial Kingdom?

Sure, we can qualify this condition by supposing, “God will make it right it the eternities and bless the spouseless with an eternal companion.” Is it possible? Of course, God is God. But nowhere is that reveled and is complete speculation, used to fill the gap of our understanding.

Two things about this second and third need to be understood. First, “meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage” was NEVER in the revelation. The words in the brackets were added by and from William Clayton’s journal, where they were only one notation of his thoughts on the revelation. Not Joseph Smith’s actual words. These words represent comments on the priesthood from Joseph to Benjamin F. Johnson and his wife on May 16, 1843, at the home of William G. Perkins in Ramus, Illinois, as recorded by William Clayton in his journal — which is the source for them. This material was first published in the Deseret News on September 24, 1856, and was included in the 1876 edition of the D&C (which is when the bracketed editorial insertion was also made).

The second thing is that “order of the priesthood” does not mean specifically “the new and everlasting covenant of marriage.” Additionally, it is doctrinally redundant and possibly confusing to refer to marriage as the “the new and everlasting covenant of marriage.” Because marriage is only one of the things within the new and everlasting covenant, marriage is NOT the entirety of the new and everlasting covenant. I’ve included quotes below that support this idea.

Is it still possible that there are multiple levels or glories? Sure, its possible. But this is not evidence of that doctrine or teaching. As a result of the traditional teaching, this concept of “Doctrines in Transition” has occurred — more correctly, doctrines morphing into speculation. I’ve included quotes below that show how leaders of the church have “supposed” that if there are three degrees in the Celestial Kingdom, then it’s logical to conclude there are three in each kingdom … do you see how this is perpetual and speculative?

What Is The New And Everlasting Covenant?

President Joseph Fielding Smith defines the new and everlasting covenant in these words:

“What is the new and everlasting covenant? I regret to say that there are some members of the Church who are misled and misinformed in regard to what the new and everlasting covenant really is. The new and everlasting covenant is the sum total of all gospel covenants and obligations, and I want to prove it. In the 66th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 2, I read: ‘Verily I say unto you, blessed are you for receiving mine everlasting covenant, even the fulness of my gospel, sent forth unto the children of men, that they might have life and be made partakers of the glories which are to be revealed in the last days, as it was written by the prophets and apostles in days of old.’

More definitely stated is the definition of the new and everlasting covenant given to us in section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants. Now I am going to say before I read this that marriage is not the new and everlasting covenant. If there are any here that have that idea I want to say that right to them. Baptism is not the new and everlasting covenant. In section 22 of the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord says that baptism is ‘a new and an everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning.’ Marriage in the temple of the Lord for time and for eternity is ‘a’ new and everlasting covenant. (Doctrine of Salvation, 1:156.)”

As to why it is called a new covenant, President Smith wrote,

“Each ordinance and requirement given to man for the purpose of bringing to pass his salvation and exaltation is a covenant. Baptism for the remission of sins is a covenant. When this ordinance was revealed in this dispensation, the Lord called it ‘a new and an everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning.’

This covenant was given in the beginning and was lost to men through apostasy, therefore, when it was revealed again, it became to man a new covenant, although it was from the beginning, and it is everlasting since its effects upon the individual endure forever. Then again, whenever there is need for repentance, baptism is the method, or law, given of the Lord by which the remission of sins shall come, and so this law is everlasting. (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:152.)”

This covenant includes all ordinances of the gospel— the highest of which are performed in the temple. To quote President Smith again,

“Now there is a clear-cut definition of the new and everlasting covenant. It is everything — the fulness of the gospel. So marriage properly performed, baptism, ordination to the priesthood, everything else — every contract, every obligation, every performance that pertains to the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise according to his law here given, is part of the new and everlasting covenant. (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:158)”

Three Degrees In Each Kingdom???

Here are a couple of quotes that indicate that this would seem to be the case:

Elder James E. Talmage

“The three kingdoms of widely differing glories are organized on an orderly plan of gradation. We have seen that the telestial kingdom comprises several subdivisions; this also is the case, we are told, with the celestial; (D&C 131:1, 2 Cor 12:1-4) and, by analogy, we conclude that a similar condition prevails in the terrestrial. Thus the innumerable degrees of merit amongst mankind are provided for in an infinity of graded glories. The celestial kingdom is supremely honored by the personal ministrations of the Father and the Son. The terrestrial kingdom will be administered through the higher, without a fulness of glory. The telestial is governed through the ministrations of the terrestrial, by “angels who are appointed to minister for them.” (D&C 76:86-88) 1

Bruce R. McConkie

“Glory of the stars: Telestial glory found only in the telestial kingdom. ‘In the infinite mercy of a beneficent Father it [telestial kingdom] surpasses all mortal understanding, and yet it is in no way comparable to the glory of the terrestrial and celestial worlds. Telestial glory is typified by the stars of the firmament, and ‘as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world’ (D. & C. 76:81-112; 1 Cor. 15:41), meaning that all who inherit the telestial kingdom will not receive the same glory.’” 2

“Rewards granted individuals in eternity will vary between and within kingdoms. Only those who are sealed in the new and everlasting covenant of marriage and who thereafter keep the terms and conditions of that covenant will attain the highest of three heavens within the celestial kingdom. (D. & C. 131:1-4.) Inhabitants of the telestial kingdom will differ in glory among themselves “as one star differs from another star in glory.” (D. & C. 76:98; 1 Cor. 15:41.) Similar variations will exist among inheritors of the terrestrial kingdom. (D. & C. 76:71-79.)” 3

John A. Widstoe

“These gradations in salvation may be innumerable, since all members of the human family are different. The many gradations are however reduced to three classes: (1) the celestial, the highest, as of the sun in glory; (2) the terrestrial, the next, as of the moon; (3) the telestial, the lowest, as of the stars.” 4

Elder James E. Talmage

“The three kingdoms of widely differing glories are severally organized on a plan of gradation. The Telestial kingdom comprises subdivisions; this also is the case, we are told, with the Celestial; and, by analogy, we conclude that a similar condition prevails in the Terrestrial. Thus the innumerable degrees of merit amongst mankind are provided for in an infinity of graded glories. The Celestial kingdom is supremely honored by the personal ministrations of the Father and the Son. The Terrestrial kingdom will be administered through the higher, without a fulness of glory. The Telestial is governed through the ministrations of the Terrestrial, by “angels who are appointed to minister for them.” 5


1. James E. Talmage, The House of the Lord [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1968], 83. In the 4th printing of this book (the 1962 printing) this quote is found on page 99.

2. Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed., p. 778.

3. Mormon Doctrine, p. 420.

4. John A. Widstoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, p.199.

5. James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, p. 409.