-(this is not intended to be a comprehensive study of all that has been revealed about the stages of existence called “The Plan of Salvation”. For that, see official resources of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For example, this link is to an LDS manual on the several kingdoms of heaven: https://www.lds.org/manual/doctrines-of-the-gospel-student-manual/chapter-33-kingdoms-of-glory-and-perdition?lang=eng. This document proposes 3 stages of existence, and that the purpose of each stage is similar to each member of the Godhead.
-Though all 3 Gods, the Father Son and Holy Ghost are exalted, they have different functions, and it can be likened unto the different earths we dwell on. God gives all things as symbols and signs to us to teach us the order of eternity.
Prep-Stage: Spirit realm: Premortality: Analogy of things coming into being and their preparations
-Heavenly Father (personal name Ahman), being more intelligent than the other intelligences present, gathered the intelligences and housed them in spirit tabernacles, organizing them to a more advanced state of being. He instituted laws for them wherein they could become like him. Those laws included premortal training, and mortal testing.
-This is the time to prepare for the final exam called ‘mortality.’ All needed preparations are completed here before one is dispatched to mortality. Contracts are signed, and all conditions of mortality are agreed upon and understood to a sufficient level as to make the experience of mortality a binding test measuring the soul of the individual to see if he will advance to the status of Heavenly Father or remain forever a servant.
-Jesus Christ attained status of God in this stage. We did not. Christ is not only the most intelligent of the Fathers children, he is more intelligent than the rest combined.
Stage 1: Telestial: Becoming as The Holy Ghost (Mortality)
-Those who live in the telestial sphere (this earth) and whom receive the telestial kingdom of glory have right to the ministration of The Holy Ghost
-Prophets have taught that the earth we now live upon is in a telestial condition
-This is a telestial earth, we are learning the telestial thing.
The telestial earth we are on right now, that’s all about doing the similar function as the Holy Ghost: learning to testify of The Father and The Son.
-work out your salvation in the fear of God. Point of no return. This is the final exam which determines the unchanging assignment to a kingdom of God in eternity.
-this (telestial) life is when you gather people up, get everyone that you can, get them all in the good ship Zion, get them all ready for the school of the Gods, and help save as many people as you can,
-this stage the focus is the obedience and the proving that yes, I do want to be enrolled in the school, and that’s why this life is where you secure your salvation,
this is a testing ground.
-Although this stage is likened to becoming as The Holy Ghost, we are becoming as God The Father in that we are obtaining mortal bodies.
– here we teach others and we help others,
but a main purpose of this telestial earth is preach the gospel, tell people about it, be like the Holy Ghost, tell about The God, tell about the greatness of him, and so forth.
then the next stage, the terrestrial stage, is the becoming God, and the celestial stage is creating other Gods.
Stage 2: Terrestrial: Becoming as Jesus Christ (Millennium)
-Those who live in the terrestrial kingdom of glory have right to the ministration of Jesus Christ
-finishing the perfection
-The temple is a type of what this stage will be like; the temple is the connecting link between the present earth, and the heavens. it is the gateway; the bridge between earth and heaven; the peek and unveiling of the future of existence of the human race.
-The Millennium will be a terrestrial stage of existence. It will last 1000 years.
-this is a new heaven and a new earth compared to the telestial earth.
-A terrestrial earth, like the Millennium time, will be for perfecting ourselves, for our working out our salvation; we work our salvation here on the telestial earth as well to a certain extent (all we can, in the fear of God!), but the terrestrial is where we become completely as Jesus. The great work that is done on this telestial earth must be done as mandatory preparation, but the perfecting and finishing of the work of the telesital realm is accomplished in the terrestrial realm.
-though this is the time for perfecting ourselves, persons are at various stages. Such a condition of variability is common to all stages.
-we focus on the knowledge of sciences and so forth, perfecting all of them, including those physical sciences and those spiritual sciences. The knowledge we get in mortality (telestial) is all the advantage in the terrestrial because a big purpose of the terrestrial is the knowledge, Brigham Young taught that during the Millennium only a few hours a day will be required for labors, and the rest of the time will be gaining knowledge.
-This life is the time to prepare to meet God, the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors, and then cometh the night of darkness wherein no labor can be performed. If you don’t qualify in this life, you’re out. This is the test. This is the final exam. Mortality is the final exam, this is the point of no return, its now or never. It is a heresy, one of the 7 deadly heresies, as taught by Elder Bruce R McConkie, that you cannot progress kingdoms; if you are assigned to a lower kingdom at the judgement bar, after this life, you CANNOT progress above that kingdom. This is taught in the latter sections of the Doctrine and Covenants, approx. 132, that if you don’t enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, if you don’t obtain these priesthoods (and the heathens if they didn’t know any better they can obtain these things in the spirit world so as to qualify for the celestial kingdom); but if you don’t chose it in this life, you can’t qualify for it in the next. Each kingdom has a law, and to live there you just abide that law.
The way Elder McConkie put it, if you reject the testimony of the Elders in this life after the gospel has been preached to you according to your understanding etc. then you cannot obtain the celestial kingdom and you will merely reside in the terrestrial.
-Exaltation is obtained by your grit, your labor. Salvation is the gift of God. Exaltation is the test of God; its the way that man imitate God, and give a gift to the human race. We must appeal to Christ as this exaltation cannot be done on your own, but we also must earn this by obedience to the laws of the gospel. The prophets have taught that exaltation is earned, and is not a free gift.
-Joseph Smith also taught that it is by obedience to the laws of the gospel that we obtain salvation, that we obtain it in the same way that Christ obtained it, and that is, by obedience to the laws of God. And this is the gospel of Jesus Christ. As Elder McConkie put it, the Plan of Salvation is a plan of justice. There is also mercy, lots of it, but overall it is a plan of justice. The reason for the overall being justice and not mercy is not to overrule Christ in the plan. As it’s been said before, we thank God the Father for the permission to repent, and we thank Jesus Christ the Son for the ability to repent. The mercy is to help get us to the justice. We are not supposed to plan on long term messing up; we are to plan on overcoming all things and putting all enemies under our feet. That is how Joseph Smith defined salvation (overcoming all things and putting all enemies under our feet). This includes overcoming our weaknesses.
One of the general authorities taught it this way: there is no retirement in the Lord’s plan. In other words, we are not couch potatoes that go and ask Jesus for blessings. We are not even people that do pretty good but keep falling back on the mercy. We are people rather whom if we do bad, we repent, and start doing good. That’s where the mercy comes in is the repentance, but will God forgive you for the same thing twice? That is between you and God, and God will not be taken lightly. He will not be mocked by those who take his commandments lightly. He expressly stated in D&C 19 that those who don’t repent will suffer beyond mortal comprehension. God is not a cheap person. He expects improvement, and he empowers improvement. So that is the gospel plan, it is a plan of progression. And you WILL get to where you are perfect. The D&C says that Abraham Isaac and Jacob are already Gods. They are done. They have arrived. It says specifically that they are seated on thrones, and are not angels but are Gods. And to suppose that a God is still learning and growing into something better is another damnable heresy as rebuked by Elder McConkie. God gets more glory as he has more children praising him and becoming like him, but he isn’t improving, he is already perfect.
-One of the apostles on his death bed was asked ‘aren’t you glad that you’re done, you’ve done well and now can go to heaven.’ He said ‘oh no! It’s not over till it’s over! I’m not dead yet. I could still fall. It’s not over till it’s over.’ This illustrates the point in Ecclesiastes, that if you’re wicked for a long time but then turn around you’re alright, but if you’re good a long time then turn to evil, all is lost. This is not to say that we should procrastinate repentance, for we know not when death comes, and our souls are at stake! Also the heart hardens with him when we are unrighteous, and we eventually lose the desire to repent if we go on in that way. The plan of God becomes hazy, clouded by our sins, so that our vision is impaired, and before you know it, your soul is gone.
Stage 3: Celestial: Becoming as Heavenly Father (Post Millennium)
-Those who live in the Celestial Kingdom have right to the ministration of Heavenly Father.
-this is the earth in its exalted state, after the telestial stage (current 6000-year period) and after the terrestrial stage (soon approaching millennium 1000-year period). The length of this stage is indefinite, it never passes away.
-It is a new heaven and a new earth compared to the telestial earth. Another fire cleanses the earth to herald this change. The earth is returned to the physical location of the presence of God the Father in person.
-when we have already become perfect (completed telestial and terrestrial stage), we then start passing that on to others;
now in each sphere we can do some of powers the others, and certain persons are more advanced in their salvation than others; however, there is a general order to things. For example, Christ had become exalted (a God) even before coming to mortality.
-this is when you are the school master, when you are the headmaster, you own it, and you are now licensed to disperse it, the Godhood. That’s where you have the eternal posterity, because you can.
-The Egyptian records show, and others etc. that there are some 690 endowments in eternity. We have an endowment on earth. I believe it was Brigham Young that said Heavenly Father’s power stems from the temple endowment he received when he was on an earth like us. There is a lot to learn, we will be busy and enjoying this very much. There is a lot more to go. Joseph Smith said you learn a lot even after death before you become a God.
Theory 2: (modifies telestial and terrestrial into same stage)
Stage 1: premortality: becoming as the Holy Ghost
-testifying, a war of words, trying to get others to hearken to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ
-you know where to go for the source of knowledge and truth
-prepare for final exam called ‘mortality’
-no body yet
Stage 2: mortality: becoming as Jesus Christ: Telestial and Terrestrial
-this stage in its entirety is THE FINAL EXAM which determines our eternal assignment in Gods Kingdoms of Glory
-saving the human race: putting the plan of God into action
-overcoming all things
-seek knowledge and truth
-Millennium is to wrap up the work, finish last details of purification, ensure everyone has a chance
-includes post-mortal spirit world pre-judgement
-gain a body
Stage 3: post-mortality: becoming as Heavenly Father: Celestial
-you are now a God
-you are not on trial
-your business is to create Gods (*note the Hebrew translation for “Lord God” as seen in the scriptures is “Jehovah Elohim” which translates to “he that causes the creation of the Gods”)
-you have obtained all knowledge and know all truth
-dispensing the plan of the Gods to your ever growing posterity
-overseeing & aiding your posterity in their mortal journey
-keep your resurrected body indefinitely