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What is the Final Destination for Ex-Mormons and Apostates?

November 13, 2009

My latest post…but it’s at Mormon Matters. Discuss either here or there.

It seems the crowd at Mormon Matters has very reasonable beliefs on things. But I’m wondering…if I polled all members (not just people who are likely to surf the online Mormon blogs, say), would I get similar answers? Do Mormons truly believe in such an inclusive afterlife? Will Hell (or Outer Darkness) truly be so sparsely populated?

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  1. Guest Writer 800+ permalink

    I was always taught that there would be a mere handful of people who lived on Earth in Outer Darkness. The Telestial kingdom sounded awful to me, just because it wasn’t the best place, but even that kingdom was supposed to be pretty good compared to our life now. I seem to remember a quote from Joseph Smith that said that if we had a vision of the Telestial Kingdom, we would kill ourselves to get there.

    Just looked it up. Apparently that quote was written down by Charles W. Walker who quoted Wilford Woodruff who said he was quoting Joseph Smith.

    I always figured that as long as apostates weren’t killing people, they would probably end up in the Terrestrial kingdom.

    • “on Earth in Outer Darkness?” That totally contradicts what I was always taught about living on earth in the CK! lol.

      And fortunately, I had a seminary teacher once who dispelled myths rather than spread them… the first day of class he offered that supposed JS quote, and said “hogwash!” We had like a daily, “what is NOT true” lesson. *Cue NBC jingle*: The more you know!

    • Guest Writer 800+ permalink

      I am assuming that your “lol” is because you are making a joke about how my words can be misconstrued, not because you actually misconstrued them…sometimes it’s hard to know.

      Just to cover my bases, if you did misconstrue them, I meant that only a handful of people who lived on Earth will end up in outer darkness. I wanted to make the distinction that a ton of beings will be there, but most will be the disembodied spirits that followed Lucifer.

      The third person source is a huge red flag, but that also doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a myth. He very well could have said something like that.

      • Heh, I think I DID misconstrue what your wrote, thanks for the clarification.

        Regarding “doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a myth” – you’re right, but I could say that about just about everything. The D&C does talk about the telestial being pretty kick-a**… point being though we can pull all kinds of third-party or what not and say, “well that doesn’t mean it’s NOT true” – only problem is, those third-party/hearsay quotes aren’t useful, at all, other than to have this very conversation we’re now having about whether or not it is useful or relevant. 😉

      • Guest Writer 800+ permalink

        I think many are interesting and even a few become useful when they are backed up by multiple independent sources, rather than branching off from a single quote or instance.

        This one I find interesting, but less useful than some because a solid scriptural source pretty much already covers what it is saying. I think some just like to use it as a second comforter of how great the worst really is. (I use “worst” here already assuming that only a small handful are thought to be cast into outer darkness.)

      • If those uses of whatever tidbit are indeed from independent sources that have not influenced each other, then I totally agree.

  2. Yeah, that seems to be what most people recalled.

    And looking at the scriptures, the description of the telestial kingdom actually does seem pretty terrible, although I guess if there’s a quote of a quote of Joseph Smith, then it *must* be true. [/sarcasm]

  3. I think it’s impossible to say at present.

    We’re not a church that is really used to heated congregational debate. So we tend to avoid specifics that might prove controversial in Gospel Doctrine class.

    This means it’s really hard to get a bead on what your fellow Mormons are really thinking about issues like this.

  4. FireTag permalink

    In the CofChrist, we don’t focus much on the glories, so interpretations now are largely personal. (The more I think about it, the emphasis on building the Kingdom in this life vs. getting ready for the next one is a BIG difference in the “brands”.)

    But I’ve tended to think of the 4 states as corresponding to desire for infinite good, finite good, finite bad, or infinite bad. There is much wiggle room for how God defines good or bad, but I think the telestial is defined largely by doing good (eventually) out of fear rather than love. In that view, those who tend the field because it needs tending (to use the example of a previous thread) may have prepared for a more honored place than those who check every box on the righteousness checklist.

  5. FireTag:

    Your four states are quite a reversal (that is: telestial is defined by doing good [eventually] out of fear rather than love.) A refreshing one, but a reversal nonetheless.

    • FireTag permalink

      I don’t THINK it’s a reversal, Andrew. I think on earth, those who did what they could get away with were constrained from greater evil in life by fear of the consequences, and those who have to suffer “the pangs of hell” before being redeemed PROBABLY don’t cry out for redemption because of concern for others.

      I don’t, as you notice, follow a rigid checklist even about that. The prodigal son parable applies even here.

      • OK, I get what you’re saying.

        I was remarking that it seemed to be a reversal from LDS doctrine…but I was thinking about it differently. I don’t…seem…to remember…how I had originally viewed it to retrace my steps…

  6. Guest Writer 800+ permalink

    @ Andrew

    What scriptures make the Telestial Kingdom seem terrible?

    D&C 76:89 says the glory of the telestial “surpasses all understanding.” That sounds pretty good.

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