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Sunday, December 20, 2015

All children go to the Celestial Kingdom?

Joseph Smith made plain that salvation is a product of the knowledge one attains. One cannot obtain the blessings God has without living the law he lives. Living that law requires acquiring that law. You receive the level of glory commensurate with the level of law you live. This is why no man can be saved in ignorance.

When we read that
All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God; Also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom; For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts. (D&C 93:7-9).
we ought not be troubled. There is no contradiction here, as those who would have received the law if they had been permitted to tarry will indeed be given the opportunity to do so, and will only receive a higher degree of glory after having lived a higher law.

However, the following scripture seems at first to be a contradiction:
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).
The spirits of men in the pre-existence were not exalted. The purpose of our participation here is to accumulate knowledge we did not possess before this life. It seems odd, then, that somehow a child who is killed is magically transformed into a being of higher knowledge than they were prior to this life.

It would be a contradiction if children who die before 8 automatically receive all the blessings of the celestial kingdom, as some LDS church leaders have presumed. However, the scriptures do not say that. They merely say that they obtain the celestial kingdom. We know that there are varying degrees of glory within each kingdom. This scripture only indicates that children who die receive, at a minimum, the lowest degree of celestial glory.

We are told that telestial glory include liars, adulterers, etc. We are not told very much about what the terrestrial law is. We are told:
These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men. (D&C 76:75).
In other words, it seems that terrestrial law is a law of omission: these are they who don't do certain things, namely the telestial sins. What if entrance into the celestial kingdom does not take much more than the omission terrestrial law? What if the the lowest celestial glory requires only an increment increase on the terrestrial omission laws? What if the lowest celestial glory is a vacuous state: those who have not committed sin, rather than those who have come to live a higher law.

We read that
Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God. (D&C 93:38).
So, perhaps the meaning of D&C 137:10 is simply that those who die before the age of 8 are given a bye in the worlds without end progression from telestial to exalted man. Their obtaining of celestial glory is not exaltation. Rather, it is merely the restoration of their pre-existent state of innocence. In order to obtain a higher glory, they will again have to descend to a telestial glory like the world we live in, actually be subjected to and actually pass the tests of telestial mortality.