I remember some years ago in a stake conference one of the speakers shared a quote that blew my mind. The quote related to 1 Corinthians 15:40-42 where Paul is talking about resurrected bodies being of varying degrees of glory. There are 3 broad categories we know as celestial, terrestrial, and telestial, which are respectively compared to the sun, moon, and stars, but within those categories, we know there are also gradations.
We have known from Doctrine & Covenants 131:1, that “1. In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;” This opens our mind to the possibility that there are varying degrees within the other kingdoms as well. Paul makes the point here:
1 Corinthians 15:40-42
40. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
41. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
42. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
The key point to focus on is the last phrase of verse 41. Stars are not identical. They differ in glory. In fact, there is an infinite variety in the glory and brightness of stars.
Now read this:
“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)
-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.
For the full quote and 4 others, open this shared collection note and add it to your own collections.
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