Monday Tuesday Mid-day Theological Poll: Spiritual Self-Assessment Edition

If you died today, would you go to the Celestial Kingdom?

Please explain your optimism or pessimism below, in whatever degree of detail you are comfortable with.


  1. Is that supposed to be “highest degree” and “some degree”?

  2. I’m not Celestial material.

  3. I don’t think we immediately go to the highest degree, or even some degree. I doubt I could cite any scripture to support this, but I personally think that we have much more to learn beyond this life before we become anything like glorious. Mortality is a good beginning. Of course, I might be completely wrong. What I absolutely believe is that we will reunite with our Heavenly parents and with Jesus Christ and feel a kind of love which cleanses us of our guilt and fear and selfishness. Then I believe the ministry continues. I guess we’ll all find out, won’t we.

  4. Purgatory, for sure.

  5. Peter LLC says:

    Living easy
    Living free
    Season ticket on a one way ride

  6. MikeInWeHo says:

    Heck, I’m just hoping to avoid a TK Smoothie.

  7. I was once in a stake meeting, and I made a snarky remark about never wanting to be bishop. A visiting GA stood, pointed his bony finger at me and said, ‘If you don’t want the responsibility of being a bishop, then you don’t want the responsibility of being in the Celestial Kingdom.’ So there you go.

  8. Actually I think I would probably go to either paradise or spirit prison.

  9. Norbert, what if I want to be a bishop? Do I get to go to the CK?

    I want to go to the lowest level of the Terrestial kingdom. I don’t know what they do there, but I think they’re my kind of people. (btw, are there 3 levels in both the Terr. and Tel. kingdoms?)

  10. It’s not my rule, amri. Look it up in the Book of Old Guys Sticking It to Young Whippersnapper Slackers.

    I suppose it is if you want the responsibility of being bishop without ever getting the sweet, sweet perks.

  11. Steve Evans says:

    Is it weird that I don’t want to answer this poll?

  12. No. 6: Oh no! Not the TK Smoothie again! [laughing]

  13. I’m not sure where I’m headed – but I’m hoping to have a particularly qualified Advocate plead my case.

  14. People,
    I know all about waiting for judgment and all that. Just make an assumption about how you will be judged and go from there.

    It’s just like the final TR question. Get over it.

    If you’re not, then I’m not. (ditto, Mike)

  15. Doesn’t “have mercy on me a sinner” fit somewhere here?

  16. I viewed T&S’s new site today, which I’m sure is a damnable offense.

    I’m just hoping for cheap real estate in San Diego during the Millennium.

  17. Based on your 14 I say that we will be happily surprised by the sheer numbers of people who end up in various levels in the CK. It starts with all the kids who die before 8………

    “In the end I think that HF wins over Satan” This is a paraphrase from BY.

  18. Lorraine B says:

    I am living my conscience.

  19. I just remember the parable in Matt 25 about who will be on the right or left hand of the Savior and find myself somehow lacking. I find myself also wondering about the availability of penthouses in the Terredtial Kingdom.

  20. Umm, no spell checker on my Treo. That should be Terrestial.

  21. I really dislike these kinds of questions, and I’m not entirely sure why. On the surface it seems harmless enough, but really there’s a whole lot of questions about personal desires, worthiness, pride, and authority all mixed up together, and any one answer could have a wide array of positive and negative meanings.

  22. Larry the Cable Guy says:

    Duh, I voted no because there is a high probabilitiy that I’ll hang around in the spirit world before judgement day comes.

    Its a cop-out, yes, but let’s me avoid the personal wrangling that comes with being my own judge just yet.

  23. Here’s what Elder McConkie said in October 1976 General Conference:

    But what we are saying is that when the saints of God chart a course of righteousness, when they gain sure testimonies of the truth and divinity of the Lord’s work, when they keep the commandments, when they overcome the world, when they put first in their lives the things of God’s kingdom: when they do all these things, and then depart this life—though they have not yet become perfect—they shall nonetheless gain eternal life in our Father’s kingdom; and eventually they shall be perfect as God their Father and Christ His Son are perfect.

    I’m not sure about the process or how long “eventually” is, but I guess that his description of those who obtain celestial glory includes a number of those who voted themselves likely to be included in a different category.

  24. It starts with all the kids who die before 8………

    So, if a building fell on little Adolf Hitler the day before his 8th birthday, he’d be CK material?

  25. Why wouldn’t he be, JimD?

  26. Steve Evans says:

    Kristine, clearly Hitler was evil and damned the instant he sprung from his mother’s forehead.

  27. As a humanist, my sincere desire is to live a life in which I bless and am blessed by others, and then fade away into blissful non-existence.

  28. Randall, I’m sorry but I believe unless you disappear with a loud ‘POOF’ and a puff of smoke, you will probably still continue to exist, much to your surprise.

  29. #3 – I really like your response Margaret. It makes so much sense to me that afterlife would also be a continuing progression.

  30. anonymousforthis says:

    I do not know, and do not think much about it. I just try to get by. I am hoping for mercy, though and, as Danithew noted, a capable advocate.

  31. This all just makes me laugh. I mean, it’s a simple question, but look at all the hand-wringing and definition-wrangling. We don’t even seem to understand our own basic concepts of salvation and exaltation! No wonder others don’t understand us.

    And yes, I know I’ve offended some by this comment. I’m ready for the wrath. Brang it.

  32. Oh, and by the way, my answer to the question is “outer darkness.”

  33. A visiting GA stood, pointed his bony finger at me and said, ‘If you don’t want the responsibility of being a bishop, then you don’t want the responsibility of being in the Celestial Kingdom.’

    Well, in the interest of figuring out the odds for me, I can’t ever think of a single time a ward or stake organist was ever moved into the Bishopric or Stake Presidency.

    Which is certainly fine by me.

  34. I voted no because I am working on my humility.

  35. Mu

  36. Martin Willey says:

    If I answer yes, am I automatically disqualified from the Celestianl Kingdom?

  37. Re #7–

    Yes, what WOULD he retort to a woman who said the same thing? I would LOVE to know….

    I am surprised I haven’t snarked myself out of more callings.

  38. Before I was 8, I used to hope I would die before that age because I figured that was the only way I could make it to the CK. After that for a long time I was jealous of the kids who died before they were 8.

    That is some twisted thinking!

    Now that I am in my thirties, I am glad I haven’t died yet.

  39. I wonder if many Mormons get what a big deal this question actually is?

    Having been debating with Evangelicals for the past year, I can tell you that the question on this poll is actually one of the thornier theological dilemmas in the LDS Church.

    Personally, I’m hoping for some substantive discussion of this issue to arise eventually (once we’re all done being funny). Because it’s honestly an Evangelical criticism of the LDS faith that I don’t have a great answer for.

  40. Steve,

    I appreciate your support of my continued existence. The love travels intact across the cyber and the ether.

    It does bring up an interesting doctrinal question. Is it not possible for a person who has lived a committed and charitable life during this existence to simply “opt-out” of the next existence?

    If John and the 3 Nephites can request immortality in this life that doesn’t seem like too much to request for the next life.

  41. StillConfused says:

    I said No because I want to be with the people that I love.

  42. I plan being completely blown away by the mercy shown to all of us.

  43. I refuse to answer on the grounds it may…..

  44. Faith
    Gift of the Holy Ghost

    Why not?
    Why not a crowded CK?

  45. “Odds are, you’ll be exalted.”

  46. Nick Literski says:

    was once in a stake meeting, and I made a snarky remark about never wanting to be bishop. A visiting GA stood, pointed his bony finger at me and said, ‘If you don’t want the responsibility of being a bishop, then you don’t want the responsibility of being in the Celestial Kingdom.’ So there you go.

    Whatever happened to teaching that you shouldn’t aspire to callings? ;-)
    Seriously though, if the CK is filled with people who acted like that, I’d consider it HELL to be there!

  47. Nick Literski says:

    Then again, the CK is supposed to be presided over by some white bearded guy, who has a habit of kicking his disobedient kids out of the house, so I probably don’t want to hang around someone like him, either!

  48. Duke of Earl Grey says:

    He doesn’t kick them out of the house, he just sends them to live in the basement…

  49. I also say Mu, (example: “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”).

    The afterlife is just like this life, just without a body or the scarcity of the world we live in (okay, that’s pretty different; but people are still the same). The celestial kingdom isn’t some kind of a prize, it is a trust.

    When the veil is removed at the day of judgment and I see the relationships I have squandered and injured, my own sense of “right conduct” and justice will be my judge; BUT it is a subjective, personal sense of what I feel I should have done for others, not some impersonal “Justice.” In this sense, as Joseph Smith taught, men are their own judges. I don’t claim that final judgment is a subjective personal assessment. I claim that final judgment is a subjective experience. The nuance lies in the idea that the experience is not a mental exercise but the rather the idea that who we are and how we relate to others is part of our being. In other words, who we choose to have a relationship is self determined and also determined by those who choose to have a relationship with us. I don’t just “go” to heaven, heaven is part of who I am.

    I see inheriting different kingdoms and responsibilities after resurrection being strictly determined by our abilities and our prior faithfulness with other tasks. If someone has an ability to accomplish something and God feels he can trust them, he will give them that responsibility. In this sense works play a huge role, not that we get “rewarded” and let into heaven as a result of our works; but the idea that prior faithfulness is a prerequisite to future tasks. I believe that there is no reward outside of purposeful work that is being described in D&C. I also believe in the heresy of progressing after the resurrection, even from one kingdom to the next.

  50. I have no idea, but I think we will stand all amazed.

  51. I don’t know either. I’m agnostic about a literal interpretation of the teaching of the three kingdoms (with the CK being divided into three subkingdoms). I sometimes wonder whether the teaching of the 3 kingdoms is just God’s way of giving us some concept about the afterlife, but that the organization of things there is something that we can’t even fathom with our limited mortal minds.

  52. Latter-day Guy says:

    You know, I haven’t thought about this in a long time, and really considering it is rather scary. I’m pretty convinced now that I’m going to hell. Even though I am a practicing Mormon, I agree with Randall. Give me annihilation.

  53. Re: No. 49: “The afterlife is just like this life.”

    Pshaw! If that statement is true, then what is it that we can hope for?

  54. God love you Hunter.

  55. Nick, I don’t think God kicks anyone anywhere. We all end up pretty-much where we ultimately want to be.

  56. Universe is way different than we can imagine. The CK is way different than we can imagine. God is way different…. And what the heck do we do for an infinite time, have our memories erased and start over when they are full? What is eternal ennui?

    What happens if the parable of the workers in the vineyard is more true than you could ever imagine, that all manner of people slide in on long coat tails? On your work? Would you be unhappy with that?

    What if Hitler were a slider? Presumably he can repent like all of God’s children. What if he were an angel of perfect light who volunteered to do the very worst and most nasty job so that we could have the experience of seeing someone as bad as this?

    I mean who can say anything about it? Ask God.

  57. I have no idea where I’d go, but I’m guessing I’ve got work to do before I’m qualified to live in God’s presence.

    I would be interested in opening a discussion on progression between kingdoms, though…

  58. Defiantly yes. I say that because as I understand things I will judge my own self and that, ultimately, we will go where we are comfortable and be where we’ve chosen to be. I’ve already decided that I’m in no matter what the discomfort level I experience I’m ready to stay up in the highest kingdom. I’ve lived as an evolutionary biologist and Democrat in Utah valley and I am so ready to be the dirty beggar at the table of nicely dressed guests.

  59. Determining where we go – in the final analysis – isn’t as subjective as some are making it out to be. Section 76 gives us a basic outline, Section 88:20-42 give us a basic idea of the judgement process, and Matthew 5-7 give us a basic idea of how Celestial People behave. Take into consideration covenants (and for priesthood holders, the oath and covenant) and commandments, and…waalaa, you got yourself a formula.

  60. oh yeah, faith, too.

  61. It is subjective though, Christ being the subject and all.

  62. The nice thing about the afterlife is that if there isn’t one, we’ll never know, ’cause we’ll be dead.

  63. nice turn of a phrase, Kent.

  64. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 52 You sound even more neurotic than me, Randall.

    When I was a young child, one time I told a small fib to my Lutheran grandmother. Given my generally good behavior, I suspect it was harmless enough. I’ll never forget Grandma’s response:

    “Michael! Little boys who lie go to hell.”

    I didn’t lie much after that.

  65. I voted for some kingdom of the CK because otherwise I need to be more careful when I’m crossing the street, and maybe stop listening to my iPod when I’m walking around town, because I don’t want to be hit by a car and get sent to some lower level…maybe I should listen to MoTab on my iPod just in case…

  66. I voted no and, like Steve Evans, I didn’t want to answer the poll. I did though because, faced with the question, I realized how badly behind the curve I really was.

  67. The idea of kingship (and therefore kingdoms) does not antedate the city. It has a maximum age of around 5000-5500 years.

    I can, by a stretch of the imagination, conceive of a celestial afterlife, since the ego is illusory and consciousness, although real, may well be pervasive in ways beyond our fleshly experience. The destruction of the ego can therefore be seen to be rejoining a universal or at least non-incarnate consciousness. Celestial, I can allow, with reservations.

    But to impose the concept of a king, or a kingdom, onto these ideas is self-evident folly; the onus is on the believer to explain his belief, not the other way around. So, IMO, there is absolutely no chance I will enter any kind of celestial kingdom after death – and nor is there that anyone else will.

  68. I answered “Yes, some kingdom” because like all polls, this one didn’t give me a choice for the answer I really meant. I’m with Margaret that there’s a lot of time between now and the CK for us to become perfected. This is one pretty cool level of the game, and probably a long way from the bottom level, since we have bodies and all, but I think dying will only be like leveling up one level in what’s most likely an infinite game. I believe in eternal progression, after all, and eternal means eternal. So I may suck now but I have a promise that if I really want it and I work for it diligently and continue to try my best, eventually, ages and ages hence, I’ll achieve any level you can name. So that’s what I hope to do.

  69. I don’t like this poll. It seem presumtuous and arrogant to decide this based on the limited info we have. No answer is the best answer. Micapam gets my vote for the worst answer.

  70. I voted A. I take the sacrament worthily.

  71. ESO (#38)–I remember hoping to die before I was 8 too.

    I like Randall’s idea of opting out of the next life. I’m not sure that would be for me, but it’s an intriguing possibility.

  72. MCQ, Michigan gets my vote for the worst answer, as well.

  73. You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas. — Davy Crockett

  74. I’m with those who say “bad question.”

  75. Thomas Parkin says:

    The point is being on the path, not necessarily where you are on the path. That is how one expresses loyalty. If I understand what I read and experience, as long as one has taken the made the covenant of baptism, has kept that covenant and received the baptism of fire, and has endured in that covenant in spite of attendant difficulties and received light upon light and grace upon grace, you’ll be ok. The parable of the talents applies, and some of the others, as well. The problem is, no one knows what the path is because they are so busy doing things like making a living and trying to be on time for their church meetings or gratifying their various carnal urges.

    Just as aside, and not at all relevant to the question: I had ramen noodles, a piece of string cheese and grape soda for my dinner. Delicious!! ~

  76. I’m unbaptised but am a believer.
    So who the heck knows.

  77. Bro. Jones says:

    #15 I have faith in the power of the Atonement. So yeah, God will have mercy on us sinners. Either that, or we’ll all be watching the few dozen inhabitants of the CK from afar.

  78. To those who have said no, Why do you think that Jesus Christ doesn’t want to hang with you?

    To those who have said some other degree of glory, same question.

    In asking this, I’m not looking for a litany of your sins. I’m trying to figure who exactly you think God is.

  79. I’m missing the point as to how pondering your likely trajectory is harmful, ill-advised, or silly.

    Maybe a better, less painful question would be to ask:
    “With what probability in this life can one know their position in the next life (excluding the issue of having your calling and election made sure)?”

  80. I said some kingdom because I assumed that meant some level within the Celestial Kingdom, only because I’ve been baptized and gotten my endowments, and I’m really really hoping Heavenly Father will let me squeak through on those grounds. But I felt kind of guilty being so presumptuous.

    Oh, and I used to wish I would die before I was 8 too. But when I really started pleading for my own death, was when I used to plead with the Lord to let me die before I started my period.

    Oh, wait. Wrong blog.

  81. #80–Fantastic!

  82. Nice question John. I responded to your post here.

  83. anon for this says:

    I not only wished to die before I was 8, I tried to find a way to kill myself. I wasn’t depressed, I just thought it would be best to be 100% guaranteed the CK. Thankfully I wanted to do it right the first time, and I didn’t ever find a method I considered to be surefire enough.

    These days, I’m glad I didn’t die, but I wonder whether it would have been better from a personal salvation standpoint.

  84. Dear B who wrote “I voted A. I take the sacrament worthily.”

    Give me some help on “always remember him.” I’m trying right now…oops, diverted to type…trying again…oops, diverted by hunger…trying again…oops, had thought you might think I’m a smart Alec.

    I offered to stop, because I can’t seem to “always” remember him, but I was instructed that I should only not take the sacrament if I had a sin worthy of confession to the Bishop, and to focus more on “willing” rather than “worthy”.

    Do people of such diverse self-views want to hang with each other in the hereafter? I’ll take the fold out sofa.

  85. Tracy- Always remembering Him is not an attentional promise- your end of the covenant does not require unending prefrontal cortex activity devoted solely to recollecting some cognitive mapping of God or subset(s) of facts about Him.

    What you are actually covenanting to do is to make more covenants in the temple, to keep those, to serve God and His children, and to be obedient. ‘Always remembering’ involves these activities. I would kindly suggest you expand your conception of what the term means.

    I’m not sure if this is what you meant in your comment, but willing is definitely an important operative word in the sacrament prayers. I agree with you there.

    I’m pretty sure that self-views converge as people get closer to Christ.

  86. #78 : I’m guessing He’ll be very busy (but I’m sure He will have time for you, John. In fact, I’m betting you will just crack Him up!)

    I think if that really was the question you wanted answered, you might have phrased your question a little differently. Well, there’s always next week. =)

  87. I’m with number 8.

    I don’t really know. I have faith that in Christ I will be judged fairly and with mercy and justice both met.

    While at Macey’s the grocery store I saw a book entitled: Odds are you will be exalted. I would have bought it, but I’m not into buying books at the grocery store. Also found this article

    Believing Christ talks about Christ being infinitely perfect, and us being not perfect. Infinity + anything still equals infinity, as does infinity – anything still equals infinity. I gain great comfort in that.

    And yes, had Adolph Hitler died the day before his eight birthday, he would have gone to the Celestial Kingdom… because he was perfect. Just as my baby who died not long after birth will be in the Celestial Kingdom.

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