The Telestial Glory of D&C 76

A description in D&C 76 of those who will inherit Telestial Glory:

"And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one; for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world; For these are they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas. These are they who say they are some of one and some of another—some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch; But received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant." (D&C 76:98-101)

How can I receive Paul, Christ, John, Moses, etc, but still "receive not the prophets?" How can I be "of Christ", but receive not the "testimony of Jesus"? How confusing is this? How careful with our salvation must we be? Can we coast along as a good ole boy, be what we call "a simple man" and have a "simple testimony" and not carefully consider what we have been given? Could the "simpleness" of the Lord's way be different from the "simpleness" of our ways? Could what we call "simple" actually be indifference or vanity?1

What is the testimony of Jesus? Can I bear my own testimony? How worthwhile is that testimony? Can it be said the testimony I bear is the testimony of MSB? Can you receive the testimony of MSB, but not the testimony of Jesus? Why is it that eternal life is equated with knowing Christ? Why is it, that those who have the gift of the Spirit to "know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God", "have eternal life", whereas those who only believe on their words might also have eternal life if they continue faithful?2 What is knowing? What was "knowledge" and "the testimony of Jesus" in the case of the Brother of Jared?3

Can you be said to receive the testimony of Gordon or of Thomas, but not of Jesus? How worthwhile is their testimony, if they do not encourage you to receive the saving "testimony of Jesus", but instead say you need not seek God today "for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his [keys] unto men,"4 and "Trust us, we cannot lead you astray?"5

Why is it requisite that we "see" and "know" this "for ourselves", "in the flesh", which otherwise we could not bear his presence in the world of glory? If we rely on Thomas, can it be said we see and know "for ourselves"?6

What is it about bearing the glory of the Son, while in the flesh, that qualifies us to bear Him in the world of glory? Why cannot Christ just bear His glory to us later? If he can redeem us from the fall now, then why not just do it later, at judgment? What is mortality for? We are provided a veil, and conditions in which we must labor for one thing or another. If we labor for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ7, then we must sacrifice other things which our labor may have otherwise achieved for us. What do men labor for on earth? Money, clothing, houses, wives, security, safety, glory, acclaim, position, power, rank, wealth, nobility?8 Are there things then, that men must sacrifice for saving knowledge? If so, what things? If we achieved acclaim, and sacrificed the knowledge of God, then isn't that what we really wanted? Have we exercised our limited time and attention, our choice and agency upon that which we desired? If we desired it, even though it damns us, does God allow the choice? If we have not made the choice where and when choice was possible, would God force something upon us later we did not desire above all else in mortality?9

How easy is it to quote dead prophets? Nearly half the population of the earth quotes Peter, Paul, Christ. How many recognized these men as prophets at the time? Peter himself rejected Christ! How many fell away and claimed they were fallen prophets when they couldn't bear to hear their teachings?  When do prophets receive notoriety? Can we receive dead prophets, but fail to recognize living ones?10 Can we receive and uphold men, give them our allegiance, and mistake pretenders and impostors and those who have no knowledge or gift of prophecy as true prophets? How many recognized Joseph, or Christ, or Jeremiah in the day that they came? How many could bear what they taught?

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Notes

1. "And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion. For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay." (D&C 84:54-59)

2. "To some it is given...to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful." (D&C 46:13-14)

3. "And because of the knowledge of this man he could not be kept from beholding within the veil; and he saw the finger of Jesus, which, when he saw, he fell with fear; for he knew that it was the finger of the Lord; and he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting." (Ether 3:19)

"And he ministered unto him even as he ministered unto the Nephites; and all this, that this man might know that he was God, because of the many great works which the Lord had showed unto him." (Ether 3:18)

4. D&C 28:5

5. "The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme." (Wilford Woodruff, General Conference, October 6, 1890)

"I have a consciousness as I have thought through this responsibility [as prophet] and have been close enough to the Brethren over the years, that one in this position is under the constant surveillance of Him in whose service we are. Never would He permit one in this position to lead this church astray. You can be sure of that." (Harold B. Lee, Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, ch. 9)

"I remember years ago when I was a bishop I had President Heber J. Grant talk to our ward. After the meeting I drove him home … Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said: 'My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.' Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said, 'But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray.'" (Heber J. Grant speaking to Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, October 1960)

"If any man in that position [referring to the Church President], should become unfaithful, God would remove him out of his place. I testify in the name of Israel's God, that he will not suffer the head of the Church, whom he has chosen to stand at the head, to transgress His laws and apostatize. The moment he should take a course that would in time lead to it, God would take him away." (Joseph F. Smith Gospel Doctrine, p. 44)

6. "Neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him; To whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves; That through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory."

7. "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ..." (Philippians 3:7-8)

8. "And also that you might be honored in laying the foundation, and in bearing record of the land upon which the Zion of God shall stand; And also that a feast of fat things might be prepared for the poor; yea, a feast of fat things, of wine on the lees well refined, that the earth may know that the mouths of the prophets shall not fail; Yea, a supper of the house of the Lord, well prepared, unto which all nations shall be invited. First, the rich and the learned, the wise and the noble; And after that cometh the day of my power; then shall the poor, the lame, and the blind, and the deaf, come in unto the marriage of the Lamb, and partake of the supper of the Lord, prepared for the great day to come." (D&C 58:7-11)

What are some other things we might labor for? Perhaps shopping, pop culture or video games? I never in my life thought I'd see as many grown men as there are playing video games and taking for entertainment the sickest kind of gory murder.  I can hardly find games for my children any more that are not filled with violence or sexual innuendo. Adults have the money, adults are buying games for themselves, the video game manufacturers are targeting their products to them. Must we sacrifice the pretended butchery of our fellow men to know Christ? Why is that a question that should even have to be asked?

9. "But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble." (Jacob 4:14)

"Being wrought up in my mind, respecting the subject of religion and looking at; the different systems taught the children of men, I knew not who was right or who was wrong and concidering it of the first importance that I should be right, in matters that involve eternal consequences." (Joseph Smith, Joseph's First Vision account to Robert Matthais, Joseph Smith Papers, Journal, 1835–1836)

10. "The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets, and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and these had to hide themselves 'in deserts and dens, and caves of the earth,' and though the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds, whilst they cherished, honored and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, impostors, and the basest of men." (Joseph Smith, HC v. 4, ch. 33, p. 573)