I have had a question in my mind for some time over the many instances in the scriptures which tell us that baptism is the key to being saved in the kingdom of God. For example, when Christ appears to the Nephites and teaches them His doctrine:
And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned. (3 Nephi 11:33-34)
I have often thought, “What about the temple? Aren’t the temple ordinances, and particularly being sealed to your spouse in the temple (or celestial marriage), required for entrance into God’s kingdom also?”
I read some material somewhere this past week that helped resolve this question.
Both baptism and celestial marriage are required to enter into the kingdom of God, but in differing degrees of inheritance. Both of these ordinances are called new and everlasting covenants (see D&C 22:1 and D&C 132:4). They are the only ordinances to be so named because they permit us to enter different portions of God’s kingdom. Baptism is required to enter the celestial kingdom (D&C 76:51-52). Everyone so baptized, and worthy, may enter there. In addition to baptism, celestial marriage is required to enter into the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, and receive a fulness and exaltation (D&C 132:19). So, in a sense, one or the other ordinance can be said as the key necessary to enter into the kingdom of God, depending on whether we’re talking about the front door or our throne room.
It is also interesting to note that these two ordinances are exclusive in that they are the only two ordinances of the gospel that invoke the titles of the three members of the Godhead—”in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (D&C 20:73). Perhaps this is the case because all three members of the Godhead dwell in the celestial kingdom (D&C 76:62, 77, 86), and thus all three may be required for authorization to pass from one area to another in that exalted sphere.
Very interesting discussions on baptism and salvation or exaltation. Perhaps there are degrees of baptism as taught in the rings of righteousness in 3 Nephi 17. Clearly those who sincerely repent and receive authoritative baptism by water for the first time receive a remission of their sins at that time. For most of us after this initial water baptism, sins occur in our lives again. If we repent and live to the point of having no more desire for evil (Mosiah 5:2), and never fall away again (Alma 23:6), and bury all our weapons of war (Alma 23:7; 24:16-17), are we not then baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost that “our hearts may be purified” (Mosiah 4:2)? Is not this baptism ultimately a temple endowment where we receive the fullness of the Holy Ghost (D&C 109:15) in preparation for the second comforter? Then we enter into the realm of calling and election made sure. Does this calling and election not ultimately require celestial marriage? I think the answer to this question answers your original question.
We as Mormons always talk about the Highest degree or Lowest degree in detail, but NEVER the middle and what it would be like in comparison . Example, we have THREE degrees within the Celestial Kingdom ( Temple Marriage for Highest- Baptism for the Lowest) so the 2nd level is left?? does the endowment get us into the second highest level??
Telestial kingdom As we’re also told the glory of the telestial surpasses all understanding. What about the Terrestrial Kingdom ?? so much is said about the Celestial Kingdom and Telestial Kingdom but not enough the about the Terrestrial and how life would compare. if the Telestial kingdom surpasses all understanding then the Terrestial must be alot better.
I did a recent post on related topics here: http://mormonmysticism.blogspot.com/2009/06/do-suffer-for-our-own-sins.html
I thought you might be interested.
I addresseed a couple questions; are the people of the three kingdoms of glory forgiven of their sins? Do they pay for their sins? And so on.