"Whosoever Loves And Makes A Lie" (Telestial Beings)
A Moment To Ponder
(Reflective Questions and Self Evaluation)
*These questions should be answered a second time after reading this chapter.
- Have I chosen a telestial glory?
- What are the characteristics of a telestial being?
- What behaviors are typical of a telestial being?
- What appetites and addictions do I need to overcome?
- What bad habits do I need to change?
- Do I follow after the natural man?
- Is my spirit conquering the flesh?
- How would a telestial being use money?
I was a boy of 6 years old in 1961. I began to discover the excitement of money. It seems whenever I wanted something, the following question emerged; "have you got any money?" As this question became familiar and important, I figured it out! With money you could get things! My mother offered me the proposition of earning an allowance of 10 cents per chore. Anxious to become a man of substance, I accepted her offer. Upon completing the list of chores, she rewarded me with quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies. My Levi pockets bulged with silver and copper currency.
My goal had been set. I knew what I wanted! Hurriedly, I put on my shoe skates and with the speed of a L. A. Thunderbird (professional skater), I flew down the street. At the end of the block stood the tiny old corner store. When I arrived, I could see the green wooden double doors were open! The wide glass counter with three levels of shelves stood right at the entry. There it was, whatever a six year old boy could want. I stared at and analyzed each shelf. There sat boxes ands boxes of candy of every variety. There were Hershey chocolate bars, Nestle Crunch, Butterfingers, Abba Zabbas, Bit of Honey, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Bubble Yum, Bon Bons, Ju Ju beans. You name it! They had it! Ecstasy and dream fulfillment sat right before my eyes. It was no easy decision choosing which candy to buy.
I pointed to the ones I wanted, and then emptied my heavy pockets and put all of the coins on the countertop. The clerk then exchanged the coin for a brown bag full of candy. Immediately, filled with impatience, I unwrapped the bars and began placing the candy in my mouth. Delicious pleasure smothered my taste buds. Life could not be sweeter!
By the time that I got home, the candy bars were consumed. Not only was my delicious treasure lost, but I had burned a hole in my pocket. I was no longer a man of plenty. For my glutinous behavior, I suffered with a stomach ache. Penniless, I was now back where I had started. The thrill of the candy was gone and so was my hard earned money.
I learned shortly thereafter that money well spent could buy things that were of lasting value. I learned that over indulgence brings no good results. I learned that cheap thrills are not worth the temporary high. I learned that self control, patience, and restraint bring greater rewards.
This story is interesting. Unlike a six-year-old boy who is innocent and without accountability, there are adults that behave in a like manner. The adult's primary goal is to satisfy a hunger, appetite, or desire. Immediate gratification is their motive and ambition. The money they earn is spent on worldly things that provide no lasting benefit. Many times it is spent on things that could hurt them. The joy of money is in what it can get them and how good it can make them feel in the moment. This is just one example of telestial behavior. This chapter will explore other behaviors and the concept of being telestial in nature.
Who are they of the Telestial Kingdom?
In a heavenly vision given to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon on February 16, 1832 in Hiram, Ohio we learn the following.
Read: Doctrine & Covenants 76:98, 109 "Glory of the Stars."
There will be millions upon millions that ascend to this glory: as described, "innumerable as the stars." Joseph Smith further portrays the kingdom as "surpassing all understanding." Those who achieve this kingdom will "inherit salvation," but not exaltation. It will be wonderful, but not marvelous.
Paul also compares the glory of the stars with a reward in his analogy of eternal judgment. (1 Corinthians 15:41) He is using light and brightness to depict the grandeur of each kingdom. Countless stars that glimmer in the night are barely seen of men. Thus, telestial beings will light up the way for no one. These mortals (telestial) would live a life on earth in darkness rendering little light or truth to their fellowmen.
Just as distant stars are hard to see, these inheritors of telestial glory would walk this planet with their eyes and minds closed to truth. As a result of their refusal to see and hear truth, they reject the very Redeemer that would bring them everlasting light and a celestial brightness.
"For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed;..."
The great prophet Mosiah in the Book of Mormon, would describe them as "the natural man."
Read: Mosiah 3:19 "The natural man is an enemy to God."
Paul supports this opinion in the New Testament: "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:4)
Read: D&C 76:101, 103 It gives a clearer definition of of telestial beings nature.
The primary stumbling block for telestial beings is their non-acceptance of Jesus Christ. They do not yield their will to that of the Savior of Mankind or the Father of All Creation. They openly rebel against the things of God and all that is virtuous. They are an enemy to God and His principles. They live a lie, believing that there is no god, and no purpose to mankind. With no purpose or god, there is no accountability. Because of this, they can live with one purpose, "to give pleasure to themselves."
Their free agency is used to benefit themselves and not others. On earth, they are consumed in greed, selfishness, pride, and self-indulgence. Honesty and integrity evade them. They themselves are the center of their world and the focus of their existence. Telestial beings choose to be carnal, sensual, and devilish. They love power, authority, fame, and the riches of this world. They hunger and thirst after these vices.
These beings will be the more wicked part of the world, and their numbers will be great. Because it is natural for men to associate with those to whom they feel most comfortable on earth, in the eternities they will dwell with like spirits; murderers with murderers, liars with liars.
Read: Alma 41:3-4 What they were on earth they will be in heaven.
Joseph Smith taught that they would not be redeemed of the devil until the last resurrection. I imagine that period between death and the resurrection will be their hell, as they wait to face the judgment and contemplate the evil deeds they engaged in on earth. Despite this period of torment, we learn that these beings will be assigned a telestial glory which "surpasses all understanding." As mentioned before, their next life will be wonderful, but not marvelous. These eternal souls will never fulfill "the purpose of their creation," or comprehend a "fullness of joy."
There is no doubt that these mortals fell prey to the Father of Lies while on the earth. He beguiled them and they became subjected to him. His goal was to destroy their opportunity for celestial rewards, and he was successful. It is unfortunate that, while on the earth, these beings chose to follow Satan rather than God.
Just as one-third of the host of heaven was lost in the pre-existence (Revelations 12:4, 7), so will the numbers be great of those who fall short of the terrestrial and celestial kingdoms. These telestial beings selected certain behaviors on earth that became a fervent part of their belief system, and daily behaviors.
A list of their behaviors has been created for review. The reader can ask themselves: "Am I being described here?" Eradication of any of these behaviors will help us to return to Our Father in Heaven and receive the highest glory. The grosser sins of murder, abuse, etc. are not highlighted. The small less significant behaviors that could cause one to fall short of a higher glory are mentioned. (Add your own ideas of telestial behaviors to this list.)
- They refuse to believe that Christ is their Savior and Redeemer.
- They believe that there is no god, and no devil.
- They trust in the "arm of the flesh" rather than in God.
- They refuse to accept the ordinances and covenants of the Priesthood.
- They believe there is no authority higher than their own.
- They chose to follow the natural man, and the arm of the flesh.
- They believe that repentance is unnecessary.
- They believe that there is no "Plan of Happiness."
- They believe that prophets do not exist.
- They believe in "faith in oneself," and not in God.
- They believe that "belief in God" is a "weakness."
- They believe that man is self-made, and that religion is a man-made excuse to feel good
- They manipulate or control others to put themselves "on top."
- They always put their needs ahead of others.
- They seek after the "praise of men."
- They seek to give counsel to all, rather than to receive counsel.
- They believe there is nothing wrong in overindulgence.
- They believe in the immediate gratification of their hunger, passions, and appetites.
- To them, the power of procreation is not sacred, but rather a need to be gratified.
- They live in the moment without considering the consequences of their actions on others.
- They believe in serving oneself and not others.
- They believe in revenge rather than forgiveness.
- They believe anger and hate are okay.
- They feel no remorse for abusive behavior.
- They believe profanity and vulgarity are not wrong.
- They must always "be right", no matter what the cost.
- When in the wrong, they insist that "everyone else is wrong."
- They believe there is no moral right or wrong. They live by their own morality.
- They are willing to surrender their free agency to addictions.
- They believe pride is a good thing, and that humility is a weakness.
- If they believe in God, they are willing to curse him and become his enemy.
- They pursue sin rather than righteousness.
- They ignore the "Light of Christ," and the "Promptings of the Spirit."
- They refuse to take care of the poor and needy.
- They are selfish in all things.
- They never serve anyone but themselves.
- They are "puffed up in pride."
- They are void of charity, and goodness.
- They believe that there is no such thing as sin.
- They are void of gratitude and appreciation.
- They twist truth in order to defend falsehoods.
- They use partial facts and partial truths to promote lies.
- They believe their misguided conclusions are irrefutable and correct, even when the facts
- They believe they are "superior to all" others in most things.
- They are not teachable, believing themselves to be all knowing.
- They covet what others have. If they want it for themselves, they take it.
- They show no empathy or compassion for the sick and afflicted.
- They lack respect for anyone different than themselves.
This list could go on and on. In how many ways can a man sin? Although this list is lengthy, it truly speaks volumes. It warns us of behaviors to avoid. These behaviors, if continued without repentance, will destroy anyone's opportunity for exaltation. The purpose of this exercise is to define the character of a telestial being. By doing so, we can recognize in ourselves things that we may wish to change.
A term that I often like to utilize is the "Road to Exaltation." I use this term because every human being, whether they know it or not, is traveling this road.
The road will begin at the bottom of a deep and huge valley. It then will wind through many miles of desert, and gradually ascend upward to the approaching rolling hill. The weather during the pilgrimage will be constantly changing. Sometimes it will be ruthlessly hot. Other times it will be bitterly cold, muddy, and wet.
After years of travel, the never ending hills will change into mountains and the road will narrow into a less traveled path. The elevation will be much higher now, and the weather will continue to be even more unpredictable. Sometimes it will rain; sometimes it will snow. Further up, the path will grow steeper and will narrow into a trail scarcely wide enough for one person. At this point, you will have traveled so long that you will have forgotten the valley left behind decades ago.
Eventually, the trail will reach a summit on top of heavenly peaks that will overlook all that God has created. It will be inspiring and breath taking. There you will see all that is beautiful and all that is good. A rainbow stretches across a deep blue sky adorned with soft billowing clouds, with rays of light everywhere. Your heart is touched at the vision as a confirmation comes, "God keeps His covenants."
The trek you are taking will demand respect, preparation, and unyielding effort in order to reach the final destination. The climb requires enduring faith, spiritual stamina, sacrifice, long suffering, unending determination, and trust in Him, your guide who traveled it before.
At the start of your journey, your guide will make sure you have a map with instructions. He will offer you a compass to direct you when unsure of your location. He does not want you to become lost. He will warn you as well. The road will be plagued with diversions, temptations, obstacles, and snares, all designed and set by a master predator. This skilled enemy will capture and maim many. While traveling this rocky and difficult road, one will have the opportunity to help others avoid these traps of deception. The steepest parts of the trial will require the help of others just to move forward. The journey will be long and grueling. It will take a lifetime to finish.
The reward will be achieved when you reach the heavenly summit. Your relentless effort will bring you home to celestial heights. You will stand in awe at what you accomplished and marvel at what you can now see. It will be there, that you will be greeted by those most precious to you: your Father in Heaven, your Elder Brother, and your eternal family. Your calling and election will be made sure. You will be crowned with celestial glory. You will then comprehend what it is to have a "fullness of joy."
This parable or analogy has its woes. Telestial glory is not found on the summit. It is found somewhere in the valley or the hills far below the lofty peaks. Consequently, there will be many who stop and choose to stay at the bottom of the mountain. Theirs will be a telestial reward. There are scriptures that parallel this analogy:
Read: 3 Nephi 27:33, Jacob 6:11 Narrow is the gate that leads to the highest kingom and few there will be that find it.
The Savior of mankind cautioned us that this earthly probation would be challenging. Many would find "Salvation." Few would actually achieve "Exaltation."
Why is it that on the "Road to Exaltation," so many seek refuge at the bottom of the mountain? What happens? What prevents them from moving forward and upward? A scripture enlightens us further:
Read: 2 Nephi 28:7-8 Many will eat, drink, and be merry.
Telestial beings take little thought in the future. Most do not care, nor want to know, if there is life after death. This kind of knowledge would require an accountability as to how they live. It would suggest that there is a purpose, and possibly a god in heaven to answer to one day.
For telestial beings, this represents too much risk. Life is better spent as one big party to enjoy. They love this world and all the glitter and frills it offers. They live in the moment to satisfy their immediate urges.
The world sets their standard, not God. Unfortunately, it is a perfect setting for Satan to rule over them.
Previously we listed erroneous beliefs that hinder the progress of telestial beings. In the vision of the "Tree of Life", the prophet Nephi of the Book of Mormon saw how and where these beings would spend their time:
Read: 1 Nephi 8:26-27, 31, 1 Nephi 11:36, 1 Nephi 12:18, 22-23 A mocking attitude, fine apparel, pride of the world, vain imaginations, and idleness were characteristics of their daily behavior.
One reference is made to the world and another to the people of Nephi's time. As cited in Doctrine & Covenants, Section 76, these would be the sinners of the world who refused to repent. One of their major failings was pride.
Read: 2 Nephi 28:15 The wise and learned were puffed up in pride.
The prophet Nephi in 30 A. D. pinpoints what caused his people to turn to wickedness and away from God.
Read: 3 Nephi 6:15 They were full of iniquity and pride. The sought power, authority, and riches.
I believe the greatest sermon ever to be written on pride was delivered in the 1989 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by President Ezra Taft Benson. The the title of his address was "Beware Of Pride." He names the many faces of pride as: self centeredness, conceit, boastfullness, arrogance, haughtyness, enmity toward God. He describes what prideful people do; they seek their own; they seek the praise of men rather than the praise of God. Much of their behavior is dictated by "the fear of men or what men will think." President Benson suggested that pride is manifested by faultfinding, gossiping, backbiting, murmuring, living beyond our means, envying, coveting, withholding gratitude and praise that lift another, and being unforgiving and jealous. How true it is, that pride prevents us from becoming like Christ, and limits our eternal progression!
Pride is at the core of what diverts the children of God from the "Road to Exaltation." Pride is what caused John Henry to receive a terrestrial reward rather than a celestial one. Telestial beings are consumed in pride, and pride leadeth to their fall from grace.
In the account of the young rich man who approached the Savior, an affirmation of his personal obedience to the Law of Moses was made. I felt it would be interesting to review the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20), and then ask the question:
"How well do telestial beings keep the Ten Commandments?"
- Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
- Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images.
- Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy god in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
- Honor they father and thy mother.
- Thou shalt not kill.
- Thou shalt not commit adultery
- Thou shalt not steal.
- Thou shalt not bear false witness.
- Thou shalt not covet.
This law given to Moses was written by the finger of God. It was a lower law, and later replaced by the Savior upon its fulfillment. As I reviewed these commandments, I came to the conclusion that very few of these, if any, are lived by telestial beings. To merit a higher glory, the laws of God must be obeyed.
The first two commandments, of the Ten Commandments, remind me of a lesson found in Chapter 14 of "Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball." The lesson is titled; "Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me." its content! It speaks to having false idols in our lives. Telestial beings have many false gods and idols. Putting material things, business, recreation ahead of God is worshiping a false god. He emphasized that false gods or idols include everything that entices a person away from his love for and service to God. President Kimball spoke of false idols that men have today: clothes, boats, cars sports, homes, and anything that takes them away from the Sabbath and gospel duty. President Kimball likened mans false gods to the golden calf worshiped by the people of Moses.
His important counsel cautioned us not to let these false gods divert us from our true mission here on earth.
Earlier in this chapter, the "Road to Exaltation" was discussed. This road is booby trapped with many snares and diversions to prevent our progression. False gods and idols are snares fallen into because of worldly pride. When idols become more important than God, and when our pride interferes with good judgment, we are accepting a path to telestial glory. As in all things, it is a choice that we make daily.
To conclude, a brief explanation of the relationship between money and telestial behavior is in order. In our world, money and time seem to go hand in hand. What we have, and what we do, are usually related to time and money. However, money cannot buy us time, but is can influence how we spend our time. How we spend our time is a choice which will determine our eternal glory.
- If the emphasis as to how we spend our money and time is to purchase or seek after false gods and idols, then we will only merit a telestial reward.
- If pride and selfishness govern the use of our time and money, we will never be able to progress and develop into a celestial being.
- If money becomes a false god, or prevents us from doing God's will, we will fall short of His glory.
Satan often uses the riches of the world to undermine our potential as heirs to the celestial kingdom. It is perhaps his most powerful and subtle tool. He can use it to create sins in all of its forms. In Chapter 6, we will examine the tactics Lucifer uses to cheat our souls of celestial rewards. In the next chapter, we will study the nature of terrestrial beings.