It’s Raining Men: Celestial Demographics (again)

A couple of disclaimers about this post. First, the following estimations are just extra-fancy back-of-the-envelope calculations. They have not been subject to peer review and should not be taken as a rigorous analysis. I can tell you now the analysis is as full of mistakes as my text is spelling errors and I will leave it as an exercise for the reader to find them both. The post is meant more along the lines of “Wow: Here is something to think about.” Also, I published this for 8 hours in August and several people pointed out that this had all been done before by the Committee on Celestial Demographics in Dialogue. My numbers, methods, and sources are a little different than theirs. Why am I publishing this now? Peer pressure.

I was reading on BCC about a questionnaire given at the FAIR conference that said that the number one worry of church members is celestial polygamy. Now there are lots of things to worry about (like Global Warming) but let me, as an evolutionary biologist, ease your mind about one aspect of it. Will there be polygamy in heaven? The answer depends, I suppose in part at least, on if there are more woman folk up there than men folk. I read some blogs that pointed out the difference in mortality rates between males and females that might bear on this question and thought–can’t we estimate this? So I took a stab at it. Are there going to be more females than males in the highest kingdom?

Well, maybe not. There may be some things about male mortality that might throw a wrench in conventional wisdom (notice wiggle words: maybe, may, might).

First, let’s crunch the numbers and and take a stab at estimating how many people have died before the age of eight and the sex ratio of those people. How can we do that? Do I have the gift of prophecy? No! I do what I’ve always done—make a few assumptions and then use real math to make wild predictions! People throw money at me in the form of grants to do this all the time. I think about half of the of my readers will find great comfort in this analysis. The other half of you will be disturbed and accuse me all kinds of uncharitable things. Heck, I’m disturbed. My wife seems a little too jubilant.

So our assumptions:

(1) Children who die before the age of accountability go to heaven.

(2) We can reconstruct, to some extent, historical human population demographics.

So here are the facts I’ll work with:

There have been about 73 billion people who have lived on the earth since about 6000 BC. Between a fourth and a half died before the age of 8 during most of human history. So conservatively 18.25 billion died before the age of eight. To figure out how many members possibly made it otherwise, I was conservative and assumed everyone makes it that tries. I need a better estimate of how many members have ever been baptized. So let’s just stipulate (wildly) that church in the past (remembering the church has been on the earth for most of human history with some notable disappearances in the Apostasy(ies)) has the same proportion of members as it does now (I know, I know, its a bad assumption but I want to err on the side of caution). So currently there are about 12 million members out of 6 billion people, meaning about 0.2% of the world’s population are members. If we assume the same rate historically, that gives us about 146 Million who make it to the top. So here is a chart of the first fascinating finding: the proportion of people in the Celestial Kingdom who are there because they died as a child compared to those who come there otherwise.

Here’s a pie chart:

This shows me there is a lot of work to do in the Spirit world to make up the difference, so one more reason to get busy on your genealogy.

Next, the racial make up–based on pre-accountability mortality. Will it look like my Utah Valley Ward? No. It will actually match pretty closely to my ward back in Hawaii (Everyone said it was paradise!) or my ward here in Vienna.

(Pay no attention to the USSR part—this is not a communist conspiracy. I think it was Livi-Bacci way of breaking out that area of Eurasia).

And now for the thing that I think surprised me the most. Shocked maybe a better word. It starts with this curve from Massimo’s book:

What I do next is extrapolate the total population curve, then sample it every 25 years from 400 BC and estimate the population of that generation, cut it in half to estimate the number of females, estimate the proportion who lived to bear children, apply the average number of children born per female, then estimate the average mortality rate of males vs. females. Ok? Crystal clear? This gives me an average of the number of pre-accountability deaths for each generation. (You may wonder why I just didn’t’ get it from total populations above, but there was too much embedded in those estimates that I couldn’t extract). Now, here’s the rub. Males just happen to die young way more often than females.—From 10 to 20% more. This is a strange fact about our biology. There are lots of reasons. This is true both prenatally and after birth. Biologically men just are the weaker sex.

So let’s just look at the numbers. For the purposes of this analysis I’m going to just look at the populations from about 400BC to 1950 where we have some data. So these estimates will provide a conservatively low estimate (lots of people lived before 400 BC). I do this just because I don’t have data before this time and the human population wasn’t that large so it won’t be that bad of an assumption, I suspect if we had the data, it wouldn’t take back any of the shocking news.

There have been about 38 Billion who have lived during that time period.

Here is the money shot: There are going to be a minimum of about between 2 to 4 billion more males than females in the Celestial Kingdom based on infant mortality differences between the sexes.

Current practices in some large populations may make this inequality worse because currently in the world there are an estimated 100 million females missing demographically from a combination of abortion, infanticide, and childbirth death. This sexual imbalance is projected to get much worse in the coming decades in some regions of the world where male children are more valued than female children. Since abortion is replacing infanticide in China and India, and because females are terminated much more frequently in these developing nations, it means that more males will be born and because of the high male infant death rate, it is going to produce an even greater number males ending up dying before the age of accountability than females (BYU professor Valerie Hudson is studying this). So while my numbers really are derived from pre 20th Century, things are only getting more unequal as is the ratio of males to females dying before age eight.

So what are the implications of this infant death rate imbalance? That I can’t say. I have a lot faith that things are going to get straightened out in the end and these estimates are going to be proven silly or wrong (as a scientist I thrive on being shown to be wrong, so it’s a good thing I’m a scientist because it happens a lot) and that everybody who wants a spouse will get one (who can say what millennium sex ratios will be for example and likely all these males are doing missionary work and fixing these imbalances–you have to keep in mind that this life is but a tiny portion of the real life of Earth’s population) But the bottom line really is that males under the age of eight have been dying at a much higher rate than females of the same age for a very long time in some big populations. Any thinking like: ‘because woman are more righteous than men (which I don’t buy, by the way), there are going to be more women than men in the highest kingdom’ should be considered in this light.

Brethren give your DWs a big hug tonight, take her out to a candle-light dinner, and promise her–hand on heart–that there will be no polygamy in heaven on your part (but if you want her for yourself plead for a promise there will be no polyandry either).

** Data taken from:

Dalkhat Ediev and Richard Gisser. 2007. Reconstruction of historical series of life tables and of age-sex structures for the Austrian population in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century Vienna Yearbook of Population Research 2007, pp. 327-355 (DATA & TRENDS)

Livi-Bacci, Massimo. 2007. A Concise History of World Population 4th ed. Blackwll Publishing. Malden, MA

Greg L. Drevenstedt*, Eileen M. Crimmins*,†, Sarinnapha Vasunilashorn*, and Caleb E. Finch. 2008. The rise and fall of excess male infant mortality. PNAS April 1, 2008 vol. 105 no. 13 5016-5021

Mathematica Code

Comments

  1. That’s the coolest thing I’ve read since the last time I read it.

  2. Two suggestions:

    Run this through a spell-checker and have your dear wife do a quick edit.

    Quit worrying about global warming. It’s either happening, or it’s not. It’s either caused by humans or not. And we can choose to take action to reduce carbon outputs, either as individuals or collectively, or not.

    But worrying will just make us cranky–and won’t change anything.

    Of course, that applies to worrying about celestial polygamy too.

  3. Thanks Mark, that was bad spelling even for me. Crankiness should be banned in all its forms. I agree.

  4. There is the whole “Baptism for the Dead” thing though. I think the concern for Celestial Polygamy (which I don’t believe in) stems from a believe that women accept the Gospel more than men, which is true, but is an issue of correlation not equaling causation, I think. Women accept the Gospel more often than men because Women (world wide) are in the home more than men are, and thus are more available to be tracted into by missionaries.

  5. Peter LLC says:

    It’s either happening, or it’s not. It’s either caused by humans or not. And we can choose to take action to reduce carbon outputs, either as individuals or collectively, or not.

    You don’t say? (Or do you?)

  6. Researcher says:

    That was fun! I think I’ll file your statistical recreation in the same category as Edje’s funny post on Juvenile Instructor a while back in which he proved that too many women speak in General Conference. (Or did he?)

  7. The Right Trousers says:

    As well as spell-checking, make sure your parens match. My parser broke while reading this. :P

    The conclusions of all these population studies turn on the values of random variables we can’t estimate – and worse, probably a few we can’t imagine. Here’s another one anyway: if it turns out women accept the gospel proportionally more than men do in mortality, how much of that is due to biology? Women reason about emotion better than men do, and that’s purely biological. It seems to me that sensitivity to the Spirit could be the same. Got a place for that variable somewhere in your model?

    Also, what about extra-terrestrials? You might assume that they’re like us… but what if this planet is an outlier? What if this nearly 50/50 ratio is really just a quirk? What about 33/67? Or 33/33/34? Or 10/20/30/40? The mind boggles.

  8. Nice, Steven.

    I like this approach, since it’s no more speculative than any of the arguments that are used for the hand-wringing over the other conclusion. Now that I’m not worried about that anymore, I can focus on the big things – like where I put my keys.

  9. MikeInWeHo says:

    Could you extend your analysis and provide the demographic composition of the other kingdoms? As someone who’s mostly concerned about avoiding a TK smoothie at this point, I would find that additional information useful.

  10. This post seems to provide corroborating evidence for Dan Savage’s inspiration (on the Colbert Report) in proposing gay polygamy as an adjunct to traditional Mormon marriage practices.

  11. Rob Osborn says:

    Some good work there as far as guessing goes. Its too bad that guessing is not a valid part of the argument! We can only assume that which are absolutes. How many/ what percentage of God’s children will make it back to him? That is quite impossible to calculate. It would be easier to hypothesize over how many turtles die each year by getting ran over on a highway at night!

    It’s as if we wear these telestial glasses around that really clouds reality. The reality of earthlife is that only a very small percentage of God’s children have the opportunity to accept the gospel on true faith under the right circumstances while in mortality. So, we know the majority of gospel work happens after death. Those disembodied spirits will basically be back in their native element that they were in before they entered mortality. And how many of those disembodied spirits at one time accepted Christ? We can definately say that it was almost all of them.

    So then the question really becomes- what baggage do we carry from mortality that would perhaps change our view of returning to God’s presence?

    We may just find that the majority of Gods children make it back to the Celestial kingdom as married exalted individuals- especially if most of the work pertaining to exaltation happens after mortality.

    The glasses we view through are foggy- remember that

  12. Actually, my glasses may be smeared with petroleum jelly so it’s even worse.

  13. Steven P,

    What are you doing with petroleum jelly in front of a computer with an internet connection? Actually, just keep that one to yourself.

  14. My 2 cents:

    The whole “Celestial Polygamy” idea, that post-manifesto mormons will be polygamous in the CK, seems to me to be an attempt to reconcile 2 facts:
    1)19th century Church leaders described celestial marriage in ways that would suggest that the only celestial marriages are polygamous ones.

    2)God has commanded us NOT TO practice polygamy today.

    One way to describe how these two facts can be true at the same time, without appealing to the “speaking as a man” loophole,is the idea of “celestial polygamy”.

    The problem with saying: “we will” or “we wont” is that we don’t know what the final tally will be of people who have passed the final judgement and are found “worthy” of exaltation. We also don’t know how many wives or husbands will accept their spouses during the resurection. Just because someone is in “good standing” with the Church, that does not mean they are in good standing with God. Just because two people are “still together”, doesn’t mean they want to stay that way.

    So for me, the whole questian of Celestial demographics is pointless.

    Let’s face it, polygamy isn’t romantic, to us at least.

    When Prince Charming woke up Snow White, he didn’t have 3 sister-wives there to greet her.

  15. Steve Evans says:

    Can you do a new post on this topic every day until Christmas? Think of it as some kind of twisted advent calendar.

  16. Steve, You’re thinking something along the lines of the 12 Husbands of Christmas?

  17. Not believing in the first assumption really takes the fun out of this for me. I like the demographic charts all the same.

  18. Some good work there as far as guessing goes.

    With compliments like these, who needs baseless criticism?

  19. Jacob, it’s easy to work around most of these problems when we’re willing to reject stable, canonized church teachings.

  20. Steve Evans says:

    Not believing in the afterlife really takes the fun out of this for me, but I do like pie charts!

  21. What did all those spirits of men and women who died before the age of accountability do up in the pre-mortal existence to merit celestial glory? 18.25 billion of them, 3 times the current population of the planet. All automatically exalted. So why do I get the pleasure of struggling to gain my exaltation as part of the meager 146 million of us who have heard the “true” gospel of Christ, complete with saving ordinances?

    I don’t want to sound flippant, but these numbers make God’s plan sound absurd if accurate. While scripture and logic confirms that God needs to concentrate mostly on people who are accountable for their own actions, could God’s plan really to let enough people to survive until adulthood just so they can produce offspring, 25% of which would die before the age of accountability and therefore be automatically saved? It seems the best way of getting the greatest number of spirits their exaltation. But it sounds like a sneaky way to get people there, considering Satan’s plan was to not give people a chance to choose, and infants, toddlers, and young children who die young don’t really have an opportunity to choose, either.

    Also, assuming that you die with the same spirit that possessed your body upon leaving this life, I speculate that there won’t be a whole lot of those who didn’t hear the “true” gospel making it to the celestial kingdom, either. For comparison, if 25% of all the spirits in spirit prison accept proxy ordinances and receive exaltation (18.25 billion), that would represent 125 times the number of people who have heard and accepted the gospel while here on the earth (based on current church membership against world population). 25% acceptance of spirits in spirit prison seems unrealistic from a statistical perspective. Granted, the 0.2% doesn’t account for the fact that current church membership percentage is lower than it might be if every person on earth had both opportunity to hear and accept the church’s message; however, it doesn’t account for inactive/less-than-faithful members who won’t make it to the celestial kingdom (something like 40-50% of those 12 million, or about 0.1%). The 0.2% also favors the fact that many of those members were born into membership in the church, and may not have “chosen” the church had they been born into another family in some other part of the world, even if given the chance. In reality, the percentage of people who would accept the gospel as it was presented to them would probably be just as low as 0.2%, if not lower (think of how many doors you knocked on and people you approached on the street on your mission). If these people’s spirits reject the gospel on earth, what makes us think they’ll accept the gospel in the hereafter? Surely all those who don’t hear the message of the gospel while on earth aren’t going to magically be more open to receive the message than all those that did hear the message here on earth.

    Looking at the numbers, it seems to me that the majority of the people up in the celestial kingdom are going to be spirits who never had a chance to decide to follow Jesus during their mortal lives. Even after the great work for the dead is accomplished. Automatically exalted.

    Not wishing to discount the magnitude of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, could it be that our concepts of salvation and exaltation are skewed here? If so, I’m more inclined to take a more universalist stance as a result. I don’t know what to think, though. Perhaps my line of thinking is flawed? What assumptions am I making that might be incorrect? What conclusions am I suggesting that do not follow from the data and assumptions cited? Just so it’s clear, I’m asking these questions in earnest. Please critique and respond if you feel so inclined.

  22. JNS, true enough. Of course, sometimes our canonized church teachings are in tension such that accepting all of them together is no better than rejecting one or the other. Those tensions also need working out at some point.

    Steve, good one. I love me some pie charts.

  23. Something else to add to the pile is the assumption that many (most? all?) mentally disabled people are also on the fast track to the Celestial Kingdom, and men are more likely than women to be mentally disabled.

  24. Hey Steven P,

    Good stuff.

    Help me understand your logic/assumption in that last section though. You said:

    and because females are terminated much more frequently in these developing nations, it means that more males will be born and because of the high male infant death rate, it is going to produce an even greater number males ending up dying before the age of accountability than females

    So are you assuming that abortions don’t add to the count of exalted persons? That is an useful assumption to spell out I would think…

  25. SteveS, good questions. Children have died at a horrendous rate. That’s a biological fact and a heart breaking one at that. That is a lot of sorrow. I don’t know what the answer is, but as someone above said, our glasses are foggy, broken, and often the wrong prescription. The thing is we cannot resolve it from where we are standing because we lack a lot of the data we need to sort through it. The only thing I really am certain about is my belief that mothers will get to raise the children they’ve lost. After that I’m not sure how things will play out.

  26. Jacob J., your post is interesting, but your ideas seem to shipwreck on the text of D&C 137, which does not group little children together with those who didn’t receive the gospel. Instead, it gives a conditional promise of the celestial kingdom to those who die without the gospel and a universal promise to those who die before the age of accountability — it’s an explicit textual contrast. This isn’t really a problem if we set aside contemporary philosophical commitments; the scriptures never contradict this universal claim.

  27. Geoff, I do make that assumption in my analysis. Since we have no doctrine on how those figure in. The skew in male vs. female human caused abortions (with more females being aborted) is fairly recent and won’t affect things drastically for a long time. In natural abortions (when the fetus just does not come to term for unknown biological reasons of development) there is a male bias in that as well.

  28. Rob Osborn says:

    StevenS,

    Our understanding of doctrine is skewed, that is why it doesn’t add up! For starters there will be no such thing as a child being saved as a child in the celestial kingdom. In the end, all will be grown individuals with a perfect and capable intelligence. As such, there truly is no such thing as automatic salvation into the celestial kingdom as an end result for unaccountable children. It would indeed deny them the use of their agency in the matter.

    The reality of things is that little children will be raised and grow in the millennium and reach an accountable age and therefore be under the “law”. According to obedeince to the law, all must still accept the covenant relationship with Heavenly Father- none will be exempt. Therefore, all will have the opportunity to decide whether to accept or decline Jesus Christ through the baptismal covenant.

    I think it would of been a lot clearer if Joseph Smith had just stated that all little children who die before becoming accountable are received into paradise to await their resurrection. It doesn’t make any sense to give them automatic salvation knowing that they have not yet made the choice to be saved themselves.

    As far as percentages of those accepting Christ in the afterlife, we do not know what the conditions are there for them. We can assume that the conditions are more favorable because there will be the added knowledge of the afterlife and the hell there waiting for them. There will probably be very few indeed who will not accept Christ in the afterlife seeings how his name is the only name that can save one from that hell they are in.

  29. #28 Continued, Another reason to be careful is that estimates range from 25% to 50% of all unrecognized pregnancies are naturally aborted (meaning that it happens so soon after fertilization people don’t realize they were pregnant).

  30. It used to creep me out with the number of guys in my old Utah ward (wards, actually, as they kept getting split) who were really looking forward to celestial polygamy. I used to drag out the Committee on Celestial Demographics report for some of them. Some of those losers will need to reexamine their existing relationships with their current wives, perhaps, before getting their hopes up.

    As for me and my house, there will be no celestial polygamy. My wife doesn’t want it, and neither do I. Last time I checked, agency was an eternal principal with far more consistent application than polygamy.

  31. Well said, kevin.

  32. Rob Osborn, while we’re rewriting Joseph Smith’s revelations, what else would you like to change? But let’s remember that the revelation said categorically that all young children who die are saved in the Celestial Kingdom.

  33. JNS,

    Yes, D&C 137 is the obvious clincher. My response is simply that we have statements just as straightforward promising eternal life to anyone who didn’t hear the gospel in this life. Those, of course, were overturned by later revelations. I don’t disagree that D&C 137 must be considered the official stance of the church (and say as much in my opening paragraph), but I see lots of reasons to suppose that God has not revealed the full story on the salvation of little children, so my post in in the spirit of putting together my best guess and what that further revelation will entail.

    This isn’t really a problem if we set aside contemporary philosophical commitments

    I think you are downplaying the importance of what must be set aside. The automatic exaltation of little children challenges the whole notion of this life being a necessary part of the plan of salvation. It suggests that God could have saved everyone in a very simple fashion (by killing us before we reached the age of eight). It suggests that killing children is doing them a service. None of these are small considerations.

  34. JNS (#33),

    By the way, I am surprised by your approach on this thread so far. Phrases like “while we’re rewriting Joseph Smith’s revelations” do not represent the kind of serious rebuttal I have come to expect from you. It not-so-subtly implies the person you are dialogging with is a heretic for questioning your proof-text and it is dismissive of the substantive arguments being made.

  35. Rob (#29) Thanks for your insights about children being raised in the millennium. Here are the only two quotes by Joseph Smith about children and exaltation I could find. All others (from BRM, JFieldingS, etc.) seem like speculation upon these two:

    “And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven.” (D&C 137:10)

    “A question may be asked—”Will mothers have their children in eternity?” Yes! Yes! Mothers, you shall have your children; for they shall have eternal life, for their debt is paid. There is no damnation awaiting them for they are in the spirit. But as the child dies, so shall it rise from the dead, and be for ever living in the learning of God. It will never grow [in the grave]; it will still be the child, in the same precise form [when it rises] as it appeared before it died out of its mother’s arms, but possessing all the intelligence of a God. Children dwell in the mansions of glory and exercise power, but appear in the same form as when on earth. Eternity is full of thrones, upon which dwell thousands of children, reigning on thrones of glory, with not one cubit added to their stature. (Documentary History of the Church, Vol. 4:556-7)

    It seems like these children all get a pass, at least from what JS said. BRM speculates that in the millennium, these children will have to grow and choose to follow Jesus and honor covenants in order to receive all the blessings of exaltation, but that is not stated explicitly. It makes sense for them to be tested, I suppose, but what kind of test is it if Satan is bound?

    About your statement:

    “As far as percentages of those accepting Christ in the afterlife, we do not know what the conditions are there for them. We can assume that the conditions are more favorable because there will be the added knowledge of the afterlife and the hell there waiting for them. There will probably be very few indeed who will not accept Christ in the afterlife seeings how his name is the only name that can save one from that hell they are in.”

    I agree that we do not know the conditions for those in spirit prison for accepting Christ and LDS ordinances, but why should we assume that conditions will be more favorable there for accepting them? After all, 1/3 of the host of heaven fell with Lucifer, rejecting God, his plan, and a chance at eternal life, with what I can only imagine was full understanding of the implications of their rebellion. If so many fell before, why should even knowledge of one’s own continued post-mortal existence (as opposed to eternal sleep, reincarnation, or obliteration) cause one to be suddenly inclined to accept Jesus and the LDS church? I imagine that spirits in prison will have to exercise faith just like they would have on earth. Also, as an aside, I’m not sure all the spirits in spirit prison will be in “hell”, especially if they sinned in their mortal lives without knowledge of God’s laws.

  36. Jacob, on this point I think you might be heretical. D&C 137 kills it.

  37. “It makes sense for them to be tested, I suppose, but what kind of test is it if Satan is bound?”

    Is there something about Satan being loosed for a season? I always thought the folk doctrine was that the children who are raised in the Millennium will be tempted at a final battle of choice, which will then be followed by the casting of Satan and his followers into outer darkness and the final judgment.

  38. Jacob, this isn’t a question of proof-texting, nor is D&C 137 the central text here, just a central text. J. Stapley’s post, linked above, makes clear that a lot of issues regarding how children are saved in the Celestial Kingdom have been debated by Mormon leaders and prophets — but the belief that they are categorically saved in the Celestial Kingdom is a matter of settled doctrine. That doesn’t mean it can’t be rejected, just as it’s obviously the case that people can reject the idea that drinking beer violates the Word of Wisdom. In either case, it’s a rejection of settled doctrine, and I think that ought to be recognized. Steve’s post makes the assumptions of orthodox Mormonism.

    Regarding substantive arguments, Rob Osborn doesn’t really offer a logical argument — but rather a personal prophetic vision. I find that powerful in its own way, but it isn’t really persuasive to those who don’t share that vision and it doesn’t really lead to productive conversation.

    I think you’re really overstating how much is at stake in accepting the idea that children are categorically saved. The idea of this life as a necessary step for everyone in the plan of salvation isn’t a strong one in Mormonism. We have lots of beliefs, at folk and more elite levels, regarding categories of people who are in one way or another partially or fully exempt and who need this life only to “obtain a body,” in the phrase of art. But these categorical beliefs don’t apply universally. Mormons often seem to think that different people “need” different kinds or degrees of testing. So there’s no problem here.

    With regard to the argument that killing a child is doing that child a favor — slow down, pardner. This really doesn’t follow. For example, if one of the many positions in which God has identified people who don’t need probation holds, then killing a child doesn’t do anything other than reveal that child to have been one of the people who didn’t need testing. There are a lot of routes out of this labyrinth other than sending some children to the Telestial Kingdom. Given that the salvation of children is more established and more central in Mormon belief than most of the rest of what we think about the plan of salvation, I think these other considerations should give way to the children, rather than vice versa…

  39. Just out of curiosity why is the demographic of this post following the gender distribution of the CK?

    Girls?

  40. StillConfused says:

    The number of deaths under the age of 8 still has me a bit freaked out.

  41. It is a bit staggering. We actually live in an amazing time. Before 100 years ago you could expect to lose about half your children.

  42. Single Sister says:

    I despise the thought of polygamy here, there or anywhere, but as a Single Sister (and it looks like I am going to stay that way, given the amount of single men in my Ward and Stake), there had better be someone somewhere for me. All of those blessings over the years that have promised me a husband in the hereafter had better not have been lip service. Or man, Heads Will Roll in the Eternities!

  43. SteveE,

    Jacob, on this point I think you might be heretical. D&C 137 kills it.

    I’m okay with being a heretic, no worries there. But what does D&C 137 kill exactly? Discussion? The possibility that we don’t have the full story on the salvation of little children? Did you take note of the fact that we have scriptures which previously “killed” the idea of questioning the automatic salvation for those who died without the gospel? I’m tempted to give you a Gob-esq C’mon! here.

    JNS,

    I don’t disagree that it is a “settled” doctrine of the church. People question and challenge doctrines of the church regularly on this blog and are not summarily dismissed upon that basis.

    Yes, we talk about people who only need this life in order to “obtain a body,” but we have done basically nothing to develop a theology that makes sense of that notion. Simply asserting it doesn’t make sense of it. The idea that by killing a child I “reveal” that that child didn’t need testing is tremendously problematic in the context of free will. Does God guarantee that these children who don’t need testing will be killed before they are eight? Does God guarantee that I *can’t* kill a baby if they need to be tested in this life? Over in the comments on my post, we explored some of these possibilities in more detail. It suffices to say that some big problem remain to be solved regardless of which way those questions are answered.

    I am surprised that you think the automatic salvation of little children is “central” in Mormon belief. I think Stapley’s post helps demonstrate that this is not the case. I don’t view it as central at all, but rather a loose end which we answer with theodicy in mind rather than soteriology. We gloss over the problems (as you are doing above) and pretend that if we took a few minutes to think it through there would be ready answers. In my estimation, the quick answers you have suggested in #39 raise more and worse problems than they ones they purportedly resolve.

    Anyway, I am sure this is not where Steven P was hoping for the discussion to go, so I am happy to bow out.

  44. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 36

    That quote from History of the Church Vol. 4 is fascinating. So there will be deified children, reigning on thrones of glory, who never physically grow up? Cool, but also a little creepy to imagine.

  45. Jacob: I am surprised that you think the automatic salvation of little children is “central” in Mormon belief.

    Maybe JNS just meant it is central in his Mormon belief…

  46. Jacob and GeoffJ: I don’t speak for JNS, but maybe he sees the salvation of children as being central to our concept of humankind being free from Original Sin, and therefore only accountable for their own sins before God. Because we believe this, we must also believe that people incapable of sinning (children, mentally handicapped) will receive some sort of automatic exemption from the reaches of Justice. We could still have a plan of salvation without believing in the automatic redemption of little children, but our God would be a lot less beneficent than we paint him to be. My two cents.

  47. Eric Russell says:

    I think it’s fair to say that the salvation referred to in D&C 137 is not synonymous with the exaltation that we seek. Children can be sent to live in “heaven”, but they cannot be compelled to become celestial people.

  48. Jacob J., the tension that you’re dealing with is a product of your loyalty to a certain 20th-century philosophy of free will, as I think your comment reveals. For those who adopt looser approaches to free will, as I think the scriptures arguably do, there’s no problem. So this is really just an issue of and for libertarian free will absolutists. That’s my entire point here.

    Regarding the centrality of the salvation of children to Mormonism, I would point out the number of missionary pamphlets and videos that have centered on this claim over the years, the fact that multiple scriptures address this theme, the importance of it to Joseph Smith personally, and the thousands if not millions of Mormon parents over the decades who have found personal testimonies of this point after losing their own children.

    I don’t have any problem with unsettling Mormon doctrines, as long as we (a) acknowledge that we’re doing so, and (b) have reasons to do so that are more important than the consensus that we’re unsettling. This isn’t clearly the case here — especially part (b).

    Regarding the claim, by the way, that we haven’t elaborated theology that clarifies all the implications of our beliefs regarding the automatic salvation in the Celestial Kingdom of all children, I would ask: this is different from all other theological issues in Mormonism how?

  49. Eric, does that mean that the Celestial Kingdom will have non-celestial people in it? I’m not sure how you see this working — I’d love to hear a fuller explanation.

  50. Eric Russell says:

    It works if the Celestial Kingdom is not a physical location, but a state of being.

  51. John Hamer says:

    JNS: Is everyone in the same condition in the celestial kingdom? LDS D&C 137:10 asserts that children “are saved in the celestial kingdom,” but it doesn’t assert that they are exalted. Childlike innocence could be considered one kind of celestial condition and godlike wisdom could be an alternate kind of celestial condition. For example, Adam and Eve may have been in an innocent celestial condition prior to the fall, but they weren’t in an exalted celestial condition. If you’ve lived in a condition of accountability, you’ve necessarily experienced sin. This gives you the background to have the potential to choose good. If you’re merely innocent, you aren’t in a position to choose good over evil any more than a newborn knows not to touch a stove. The latter’s innocence could still be considered a celestial condition, even if it is not an exalted or godlike condition.

  52. I am in no sence of the phrase, “looking forward to it”, but I would live plural marraige if I was asked by my priesthood leaders to do so. If, heaven forbid, my wife passed, and I found the right lady, I would be sealed to her as well.

    I know the doctrine is a hard thing, and unpopular, but if one believes the scriptures, the prophets, and current church teaching and practice, plural marraige has been at times been either permited or commanded. It is currently “permited” for after this life.

  53. StillConfused says:

    Aren’t there different levels within the Celestial Kingdom? Maybe kids go to the lower level.

  54. Re: #40 – Perhaps the reason the proportion is off is the same reason that when discussing polygamy, past or present in the Mormon or FLDS church, women come out in numbers to show their objections to polygamy. Now it’s the men’s turn. It’s certainly amusing to read.

  55. JNS,

    So this is really just an issue of and for libertarian free will absolutists. That’s my entire point here.

    If your whole point is that these problems go away when we accept causal determinism, then I am happy to accept that. Of course, I would argue that libertarian free will is far more foundational than the exaltation of little children, but obviously we won’t make any headway on that argument.

    I do find it interesting that you refer to libertarian free will (LFW) as “a certain 20th-century philosophy of free will.” I think this is entirely misleading. First of all, the debate over the nature of free will has been going on from long before the 20th century and although the terminology has evolved, the basic distinction between determinism and LFW is an old one. Secondly, if one of these views of free will is to be privileged as the “default” Mormon view, I think it must be LFW and not compatibilism. That is, you are unsettling far more by suggesting we adopt compatibilism than I am by questioning the exaltation of little children. I wonder if you’ll acknowledged that you are doing so as required by your (a) in #49?

  56. da shoplifter says:

    #54- Ya don’t gotta be married in teh CK. Only in it’s highest level, apparently.

    Within the celestial glory are three levels. To obtain the highest, a husband and wife must be sealed for time and all eternity

  57. OK, just to throw the doors open again for debate about D&C 137:

    “Saved in the Celestial Kingdom” doesn’t say one thing about their marital condition, since we also teach that there are three levels in the Celestial Kingdom – and only one of them is inhabited by couple-Gods. It also doesn’t say “exalted in the Celestial Kingdom” – and I do understand that “exalted” and “saved” often are used interchangeably. Or, phrased differently, if “Celestial” is a state of being, but there are three levels of “Celestial” – there could be billions of “saved in the Celestial Kingdom” people who haven’t reached “Godhood”, defined in this context as being sealed, exalted couples.

    I still like the post, however, since it gives me a great way to mess with Celestial Polygamy enthusiasts’ minds.

  58. I guess I should have read the last few comments before adding mine.

  59. http://www.newcoolthang.com/index.php/2007/09/salvation-of-children-is-it-really-guaranteed/436/ and similar posts come to the conclusion that little children don’t need baptism because they don’t qualify for exaltation. Having just listened to Moroni 8 again, I’m not sure I’d have the same reading.

    On the other hand, I noticed the implications of the difference in death rates back around 1964 when I was a wee lad. Haven’t seen anything to change the implications since.

    The parable of the ten virgins makes it appear that the “yield” of mortals to the celestial kingdom is around 50% on the first go around.

    If H. Smith’s sermon on the Terrestrial Kingdom is correct, then it waxes and wanes like the moon as it fills up and then moves people on to the Celestial Kingdom, with a higher end percentage.

    Anyway, nice to see varying types of logic here.

  60. Jacob, I worry that you’re perhaps engaging in a bit of a false dichotomy; there’s a lot of ground between an absolute commitment to a purist account of libertarian free will, on the one hand, and causal determinism, on the other. The problem goes away if you move an inch or a mile along that road. There are many versions of libertarian free will, including those that acknowledge a strong role for traits and types of people in conjunction with the enigma that is “agent causation,” for which none of this is a problem. But also: libertarian free will isn’t clearly taught in the scriptures or in church publications; the libertarian vs. determinist distinction is all about counterfactual accounts of whether people might have done a range of things other than what they did under identical circumstances, and the scriptures never speak to this issue. Everything the scriptures say, and our contemporary leaders as well, is about freedom from external determinism and not about the key issue of whether individuals’ decisions might be causally determined by their own personal traits.

    I agree with the various comments about possible distinctions between being “saved in the Celestial Kingdom” and being “exalted in the Celestial Kingdom.” This is not a clear point, as the scriptures on occasion define salvation as “the greatest of God’s gifts,” the same definition given for exaltation. But it’s at least a possibility. My point in this thread isn’t about where/how in the Celestial Kingdom young children will be, but simply that it’s a core, long-standing belief of Mormonism that they will all categorically be in the Celestial Kingdom.

  61. By the way, Jacob, please accept my apologies for my probably overly grouchy initial comments in the thread. I hope you and others know that I regard your position as a legitimate one even though I disagree with some aspects of your thinking.

  62. What about the component of the battle at the end of the Millennium, between the hosts of Satan and the Lord? As far as I understand that is one last times people can choose Satan’s side. Are all pre-eight year old deaths excluded, and thereby protected, from this final battle?

  63. JNS,

    you’re perhaps engaging in a bit of a false dichotomy

    I am aware of the alternate accounts you refer to. Obviously, compatibilist accounts have been many and varied. However, at the end of the day, the dichotomy is not a false one. Compatibilists do not challenge the fundamental premise of causal determinism, they simply come up with ways to explain why causal determinism is compatible with their suggested definitions of free will. I don’t think anyone in these parts has ever argued for a “purist” account of LFW if by that you mean a theory of free will that does not acknowledge a strong role for traits and types of people. The range of accounts you refer to still divides cleanly on the question of whether causal determinism holds universally or not. Thus, it is not a false dichotomy.

    …and the scriptures never speak to this issue.

    I wholeheartedly agree that we should be careful not to read modern philosophical nuances into scriptures not written in that context. However, your following statement seems to do that just after you correctly pointed out that the scriptures don’t speak to the issue of identical counterfactual accounts of potential actions.

    Everything the scriptures say, and our contemporary leaders as well, is about freedom from external determinism and not about the key issue of whether individuals’ decisions might be causally determined by their own personal traits.

    As I said, this statement makes the mistake you were warning me about by assuming that the scriptures and contemporary leaders were speaking specifically about freedom from external determinism. If the scriptures don’t speak to the issue, then how can you be sure they are talking only about freedom from external determinism? You cannot.

    My point in this thread isn’t about where/how in the Celestial Kingdom young children will be, but simply that it’s a core, long-standing belief of Mormonism…

    I’ll concede once again that it is a long-standing belief in the church. However, the entire logic of the post is based on the assumption that this long-standing belief is correct and my entire point in this thread is that this assumption is suspect. Heaven knows we have had our share of long-standing beliefs that have turned out to be incorrect. Steven P did an excellent job of listing this assumption explicitly and I commend him for it.

  64. Jacob, fair enough — my central concern here is that there’s no solid reason, outside of metaphysical speculation, for supposing that the revelations are wrong on this point. Of course, if your broader point is that there’s some nontrivial chance that everything we think we know is wrong, that’s a position I wouldn’t necessarily dispute.

  65. Rob Osborn says:

    If we want to get real technical with the issue at hand, little children actually go to the Terrestrial kingdom during the millennium because they are they who “died without law”, meaning that they died without being accountable to law.

    The issue with children really boils down to whether or not they ever grow after they are brought to life again. If they always remain as children then God is a liar because he has not performed the necessary things that would assure them of exaltation (eternal marriage and thus Godhhod). I think we can immediately rule out that children won’t grow, it is completely ilogical. We should all be able to agree that everyone will reach an age in their eternal bodies that best reflects both the beauty and magnifacance of their creation- their full stature of their creation. After all that is God’s command. The same can be said with old men and women who die. We know that they willnot be forever stuck in an old worn looking body but will instead be given that perfect youthful yet fully grown body.

    That all said, we should be able to agree that by the time of final judgment, everyone will be resurrected and be housed with perfect youthful bodies and all will have attained to the full stature of man both in body and intelligence. This of coarse brings up the validity of everyone having the opportunity to accept Christ and find a celestial partner- including those little children who passed in mortality so soon. This of coarse raises the serious questions of those little children now grown (futurally speaking) who have accepted Christ, found a companion, and want to become Gods themselves. Will all their temple endowment work have to be done including the marriage ceremony and covenants themselves? Of coarse, otherwise how is it bound in heaven if there has been no binding sealing by one having authority.

    Now, where I am giong with this- If they too must enter into the same covenants as you and I, they too can fall from their exaltation just as you or I. This means that there is no autmatic gaurentee that “all little children” who die before becoming accountable are forever sealed into the celestial kingdom without any chance for them to fall before getting there.

    Personally i believe that what Joseph Smith saw was the spirit world itself- heaven if you want to call it that. Perhaps the children really go back to where God the Father physically resides on a celestial sphere not part of the spirit world. What I am saying is that little children do not automatically gain eternal salvation into the celestial kingdom- as a future kingdom,until they can grow to full stature and choose to make that decision themselves just as you or I. Even Christ was not exempt from that opportunity. How can these follow Christ if they cannot choose like Christ himself chose? Are we taking away their choice in the matter in full knowledge that they will grow to the full stature of man before final judgment? What does this say about the eternal agency of man?

  66. Getting back to the turtles, Rob, you might be interested in this document, or maybe this one, or perhaps the most relevant to the current discussion, this article.

    We science types spend a lot of time estimating things like mortality of turtles due to vehicular traffic.

  67. Hey Steve,

    I did this calculation once myself a few years back and came up with basicly the same rough conclusion that you did.

    One wild card will be the millenium and work for the dead in the spirit world. What sex will be more responsive during these two opportunities for missionary work? I would wager that based on exp and this will upset some feminists that women will be more reponsive and may help balance out the apparent inequity.

    But like Ray mentions according to section 137 there are three levels in the CK and the highest goes to sealed couples. So this is another big wild card

  68. Yeah, I know, everyone’s over talking about Mormon FAIL right now, but I do feel the need (as a climate scientist) to respond to this:

    Quit worrying about global warming. It’s either happening, or it’s not. It’s either caused by humans or not. And we can choose to take action to reduce carbon outputs, either as individuals or collectively, or not.

    Global warming is happening, and it’s caused by humans. Seriously. There are systems (like permafrost, glaciers, and the habitat ranges and life-cycles of many organisms) responding to this warming in predictable ways that confirm the warming. We know enough about the physics to be rather sure increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are behind the warming, and we know that many human activities, chief among them the burning of fossil fuels, contribute CO2 to the atmosphere. Scientists aren’t saying this for political reasons; we’re not saying it to get funding. We’re saying it because there’s a mass of evidence that’s been accumulated supporting these points. If you want more details, I’ll provide them ’till my face turns blue and I stand in a puddle of the melted Greenland Ice Sheet.

    Just had to get that off my chest.

  69. Kristine, you are right. Ecologists are seeing the same thing world wide. I’ve argued it here and here. It’s real and human caused. To not believe it is to abandon science. Really.

    I saved a turtle once while on my mission. It was crossing a busy road. The turtles have been ever grateful.

    (Please someone tell me what FAIL stands for. It is an acronym right? I’ve tried to google it, but well, I get a lot of things I’m not looking for. I’d ask my kids but I’m in Europe and I never remember when I call.)

    So tell me before we get off on other things. What does this do to Celestial Polygamy?

  70. Steve Evans says:

    It’s not an acronym. It’s just internet parlance for a massive failure to achieve a stated goal.

  71. SteveP: see this. Please excuse the advertisements, but dang if this site isn’t funny!

  72. FAIL just means fail? Wow I would have never guessed that. I was going crazy with “Funny Although Idiot Like” or “Fractured And Inept Letdown” Thanks Steve, you’ve saved me “Feelings About Inadequacies Laid-out.”

  73. FAIL just means fail? Wow I would have never guessed that. I was going crazy with “Funny Although Idiot Like” or “Fractured And Inept Letdown”

    Guessing FAIL. (sorry, couldn’t resist)

  74. Uncertain says:

    With regards to Celestial polygamy it seems almost unavoidable. Consider to obtain the highest level of the celestial kingdom one must be sealed to a husband/wife. In the absence of celestial polygamy this implies an exactly even number of righteous males versus females. But this seems very unlikely. According to a recent pew forum sponsored survey.

    http://religions.pewforum.org/portraits

    The percentage of males to females in the LDS faith tradition is 44% to 56% in the United States (I believe the survey was based on those who self identified as mormons). A trend that is general for Christianity as a whole at least in the U.S. If one assumes the Pew studies numbers approximate the breakdown in the sexes for active LDS. Then ~21.4% (i.e. (.56-.44)/.56*100 ) of active women in the church will not be able to find an active LDS partner at least in mortality.

    Now this does not consider many other factors like death before one is accountable. And such things as the conversion ratio of males to females in the afterlife etc. But it is intuitively very difficult to imagine there will be exactly as many righteous males as females. Couple this with the sealing requirement to obtain the highest celestial reward. And nonstandard marriages seem unavoidable whether it be multiple righteous men for one women or the other way around.

  75. Steve–I really enjoyed those posts on Mormon Organon.. In fact, I read parts of those, and a few other posts, to my husband, who also enjoyed them. It’s cool to see the perspective of someone who has watched the understanding unfold, rather than just walking in close to the end of the discussion.

  76. I’ve always been partial for blaming humans for the global warming on Mars too (that is another well established fact), though the extended growing season in Greenland is measurable and has changed farming there.

  77. #75 – Unless we really have no clue what the hereafter will be like.

    There is a Christian sect in Japan that teaches Jesus will marry all righteous women – and change all righteous men into women to be able to marry them. Now THAT’S celestial polygamy. We’re a bunch of amateurs compared to them.

  78. There are flaws in this argument at the very beginning which makes the rest just non-sence.

    1- Children under eight return to God’s care in the spirit world, since they are in the same state and condition as when they left God’ presence, until the start of the millennium when they resurrect and are raised by their parents and tested like everybody else. The child dead at, say, 4 doesn’t automatically go into celestial exaltation.

    2- Aborted fetuses don’t yet have a spirit assigned to that body so the spirit just goes elsewhere to be born eventually. So they, and stillborn children shouldn’t be in your calculations at all.

    3- Overwhelmingly across the church faithful women outnumber faithful men and that’s without consideration of Temple recommend numbers.

  79. Steve Evans says:

    Anon, your points #1 and 2 are most definitely NOT doctrinal, and therefore your own point re: non-sence [sic] is nonsensical. Seriously, those points one and two are NOT DOCTRINE.

  80. And Anon, you messed up 2 because those are not included in my calculation.

  81. Um, so, I know someone working on global warming on Mars. Here is a recent abstract for her work, where she shows that the warming is related to changing surface albedo. There’s a positive feedback at work, where once the reflective dust is removed from a surface the surface warms, which encourages more wind locally, which removes more dust. You do see a similar phenomenon on Earth when ice melts, reducing the albedo, leading to a temperature increase and more ice melting. I’m pretty sure humans have no influence on Martian dust.

    As for comparing climate change on Earth to the climate on Mars–that would be a great, if we could do it. If you could show that temperatures on Mars are moving similarly to those on Earth, that would be great evidence that solar forcing is causing our planet to warm as well. Unfortunately, the records we have for Mars don’t allow such a comparison to be made. The evidence we have for centuries’ worth of “Martian climate change” is based on drawings and photographs, which are not the strongest lines of evidence. On Earth, the strongest evidence of warming comes from boreholes, where we actually measure the temperature of the solid Earth. Paleoclimate reconstructions confirm what we’ve seen in air temperature records.

    You’re right that Greenland will probably benefit from global warming. Unfortunately, things will likely suck in the subtropics, including the Southwestern US. There are a whole lot more people living in the subtropics who will be negatively impacted by climate change than people living in Greenland who will be positively impacted.

    Sorry for the threadjack, Steve–I am reminded of this comic every time someone mentions global warming and I try to instruct them.

  82. #79

    Where are you getting this information, because that is definitely not doctrinal. (Point’s 1 and 2).

    Children under 8 have gotten their physical body, why would that be taken away?

  83. StevenS:

    Surely all those who don’t hear the message of the gospel while on earth aren’t going to magically be more open to receive the message than all those that did hear the message here on earth.
    =====

    Incorrect. Their hearts will be prepared through the process of death, their reunion with loved ones, and the power of testimony which comes from the generations of the fathers through the ages. They will understand the folly of their ways and will be healed from the wounds of the war. They will accept the Savior and the teachings of the Apostles with a fuller heart than you might expect.

    As the Fathers have obtained promises that their posterity shall be blessed, and have prayed for that day of salvation, their prayers will be answered and their children redeemed by power — through time and all eternity.

  84. I’m still remembering the global cooling cadre of concerned scientists.

    Though, I do believe that global warming is influenced by humans. If the UCS and the rest really believed it was caused by humans, they’d be wearing a uniform of scrubs and lab coats (which would satisfy their need for status markers when dealing with authority figures, while reducing their personal impact on the ecology of the planet).

    Actually, living in Texas, I’m more concerned than I let on. Just trying for some humor in there.

    But, back to the topic, from what I’ve written on polygamy, I suspect that in heaven we won’t be able to tell the difference, all in all.

  85. Though I’m pretty sure it won’t be like Ray suggests ;)

  86. #80/83.

    Teachings of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and John Taylor who promised MOTHERS, at different times, that they will eventually have and hold their children and raise them during the millenium. If you bother to study these prophets you will see that it is doctrine, although doctine which isn’t preached in missionary programs since it doesn’t affect our own salvation. Saying “But little children are alive in Christ” or that little children can’t repent, is not saying that they will be Gods in the celestial kingdom at all. They will still need to progress to that state, which won’t happen until the end of the millenium.

    #83 Never said they lose their bodies nor implied it. But Brigham Young did teach that a spirit is assigned a body at some point during pregnancy to then take it at birth. It follows that if birth doesn’t happen because of abortion or other cause, they need to go to another mother. This is why abortion is not equivalent to murder in our church (as per first presidency explainations and letters.) But I’m sure you’ve never heard of this……

    #81. You definetely implied this. The paragraph that starts with “Current practices in some large populations may make this inequality worse because currently in the world there are an estimated 100 million females missing demographically from a combination of abortion, infanticide, and childbirth death” shows that you think that the imbalance is actually greater. But the problem is in thinking that those who die before the age of eight will be Gods -or who will have some part in ‘celestial polygamy’. But those who die before the age of eight will actually have to go through the 1000 years of millenium and earn their stripes for the celstial kingdom like everyone else. It isn’t as automatic as you suggest here nor will there be so many exalted souls in the highest level of the celestial kingdom as the result of all those children who died under 8 years of age.

  87. Anon, read the post linked to in #27. Then come back and let’s talk.

    I’d like to see your evidence on the explanation for our abortion doctrine. Pony up.

  88. I’ve only now gone over some of the coments here and several are at least along the lines of what I’m saying.

    #52 is well written and I’d only add that children will actually get that chance to experience sin and chose between right and wrong during the millenial reign, even though they are currently in a ‘celestial state’ of innocence and goodness.

    No God (ie person in the highest level and married) will be able to become one without going through the tests and trials of sin/rightousness. There just aren’t any “Innocent” Gods around -that’s a fundamental contradiction.

  89. So if the argument is that there will be an excess of men in the celestial kingdom, wouldn’t same-sex marriage solve this issue?

  90. J Stapley,

    I believe you are misreading this part: “The Lord also showed Joseph “that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven.” That is when they die, say in 1840, children return to the ‘current’ celestial kingdom of God, which we call Kolob! but then Joseph also clarified that mothers will recieve them as resurrected beings (in the millennium) and then they raise them. (Remember that God’s kingdom is today Kolob but ours will eventually be this earth under Jesus) As you also pointed out: President Smith made an effort to find individuals who had heard Joseph Smith preach on the subject of the resurrection of children (so it wasn’t in a written revelation) and was able to secure several affidavits. These .. believed that the children would be resurrected and grow to fill the stature of their spirits. Isabella …:

    The idea that I got from what he said was that the children would grow and develop in the Millennium, and that the mothers would have the pleasure of training and caring for them, which they had been deprived of in this life. (9) ”

    But these children have lived in the celestial kingdom from, what 34AD? until the millennium, which still has not happened, so obviously they will grow in light and knowledge during their stay in God’s kingdom as we ourselves did during our preexistence in God’s kingdom, some progressing more than others. But there is no guarantee that ALL deceased children will progress to become exalted Gods, some may be angels or in that mysterious second level of the celestial kingdom, we just don’t know.

    On abortion Brigham Young famously believed that “when the mother feels life come to her infant it is the spirit entering the body.”(Discourse 17:143) but when does this happen? If it is at or near conception and the fetus is aborted wouldn’t that be murder? No, it isn’t (as you surely know) because no spirit has taken that body. But then Joseph Fielding Smith thought that still born will resurrect etc so I’ll give you that one. I don’t believe it though because if this was the case they would say it clearly and loudly.

  91. But then again Brigham Young also taught that girls should: “7. How Young may a dead female be sealed to a husband? Not too young; say not less than ten or twelve Years. (14)”!!!!

    So who know? Its all part of that person belief system which the church doesn’t bother with too much. We do know, though, that a man can be sealed to any number of women while women can only be sealed to one man during her lifetime, so my bets are on celestial polygamy been more of a fact than not.

  92. Steve Evans says:

    “That is when they die, say in 1840, children return to the ‘current’ celestial kingdom of God, which we call Kolob! but then Joseph also clarified that mothers will recieve them as resurrected beings (in the millennium) and then they raise them. (Remember that God’s kingdom is today Kolob but ours will eventually be this earth under Jesus….”

    Go sell crazy somewhere else, Anon. I am tired of paying for hosting for your nuttery. The groundless and bizarre speculation manifest in your comments is the essence of why people think Mormonism is a cult. No thanks.

  93. It’s the thought that counts.I think I’ll just use this as an excuse to feel closer to DH-since opposing info would only serve to alienate me.

  94. to any number of women while women can only be sealed as many men as they have been married to (I’ve known women sealed to more than one man).

    /Sigh

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