Exaltation

To view the entire Gospel Principles chapter, go here: Exaltation

What is exaltation?

Exaltation is the reward given to mankind by God, for following his commandments, and making and keeping sacred covenants in this life. It is the ability to live with God again, in his presence. This is part of God’s plan of salvation. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), we believe in a spiritual life before this earth life, and a life after we die. We will be rewarded and receive a glory based on how we choose to live our lives. In Doctrine and Covenants 132 we read the following:

3 Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same.
4 For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.

Obedience to what we know to be true gospel is the key. We can only live in the presence of God again, if we receive his glory, which is the glory of the Celestial kingdom. This is the goal that we had before this life and is the hope of our Father in Heaven for each of us. There are two other degrees of glory which one can receive, the terrestrial and telestial. Only those who are the worst sinners of mankind, will not receive one of these degrees of glory, but will be cast into outer darkness with Satan and his spiritual followers. We should be striving for the glory of the Celestial kingdom, the highest of the degrees of glory.

Exaltation is our divine inheritance as children of God. In Romans chapter 8, we read the following:

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

We are promised that we will receive His kingdom and all that He has, if we are obedient and faithful followers of Christ. In obedience we must make the required covenants. These include baptism and confirmation, priesthood ordination for men, endowments, and celestial marriage. All of these must be performed after the patter God has commanded and through the proper priesthood authority. Then our obedience continues by faithfully living up to those covenants to the end of our days in this life. For those who do not have the opportunity to know of the gospel in this life, these blessings will be available to them through proxy after they have died.

What are some blessings that will be given to those who are exalted?

In addition to receiving the glory of God, we will be able to be like Him and have all that He has. In Psalms 16:11, we read, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” With exaltation comes a fulness of joy. I have felt some intense moments of joy in my life, such as the moment I held my third baby who I felt I had to fight for before she came. I was so overcome that I could not hold back the tears of joy. A fulness of joy is a feeling that I look forward to with great anticipation. Also from this verse we learn that we will have pleasures forever. There are plenty of things in this life that bring us pleasure, but these things are fleeting. Earthly pleasures do not last forever and they will not bring us full joy. We have the promise of pleasure for eternity, which is amazing.

In Revelation 3:21 we read, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” If we receive exaltation, we will be able to be with God and Jesus Christ. We will be able to speak to them face-to-face. This blessing is hard to imagine, knowing that they are perfect beings and can only be with those who are also perfected. A blessing of exaltation is the condition of being perfected through our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Doctrine and Covenants 132:20 reads, “Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.” Those who receive exaltation, will become Gods without end and with all the power of God. When it says they have no end, I don’t think this just means they live forever, because I think that all resurrected beings live forever in their degree of glory. I think that this means, they have the ability to increase forever. That means that they can have an eternity of spiritual offspring, creating spiritual bodies just like our Father in Heaven created us. To support this, we read the following in Doctrine and Covenants 131:

1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];
3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.
4 He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.

Celestial marriage, which cannot be accomplished without all other ordinances and covenants being made prior to it, is the key to receiving all that God has promised us. There are amazing blessings that await the faithful, including all power, all knowledge, and the power to rule over all things they create. (To read more about the blessings of those who receive a Celestial glory, read Doctrine and Covenants 76:59-70.)

How do ordinances and covenants prepare us for exaltation?

If we can learn to follow the commandments in this life, we will be able to live the law of the Celestial Kingdom. In Doctrine and Covenants 88 we read the following:

22 For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.
23 And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory.
24 And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.

We cannot hope to abide in the presence of God, if we do not know how to listen and follow his commandments. Some may think that this will halt progression, but it is truly the opposite. With obedience to laws, we become free to act as we choose without the fear of loosing all that we have been given.

How does faith in Jesus Christ help us obey the commandments?

If we gain a faith in Jesus Christ, then we know what we are living for. Faith in Jesus Christ, brings a peace of mind that cannot be forfeited by anything else. That peace is comforting and pushes us to give strict obedience to the commandments. I believe that faith is a word of action. You cannot have faith without doing something with that faith. Having faith in Jesus Christ, means having a willingness in our hearts to live as he lived, and to follow his teachings. In 1 Nephi 7:12 we read, “Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him.” If we show our faith in God, we allow Him to work in our lives. He can give us a strength, peace, and happiness that we cannot get in any other way. With the gift of strength, we can find the will to obey the commandments.

Why must we learn to follow the direction of the Holy Ghost to become exalted?

I think that part of the reason is that we must learn to rely on Him for guidance, just as we need to learn to rely on our Savior for the atonement and on God for his love, justice and mercy. The godhead is one in purpose. In Mormon 7:7 we read, “And he hath brought to pass the redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgment day hath it given unto him to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end.” Each of the three personages that make up the godhead, follow the same plan. What the spirit teaches us, is what the Savior would teach us. Everything the Savior said, were the words of God to us. We must follow the direction of the Holy Ghost to put our desires and will in line with God. With all things in line, order and peace will remain in the eternities.

What happens when we have endured to the end in faithful discipleship to Christ?

When we have endured and done our very best to be faithful to the Savior, we will be welcomed with open arms into the Kingdom of Heaven. Our spiritual Father, will extend his arms to us with a complete and perfect love. He will then offer to us a place in His mansion. We will again learn at His feet and will continue to progress to our perfection in all things. In Matthew 25:23 we read, “His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” In this life, we are given a few things to improve upon and learn self-mastery over. When we endure in faith, we can say to the Lord that we did all that we could with his gifts, then he can say these words to us. I know that I fall short each day, but this is a life to learn. It takes mistakes and trials to overcome and improve ourselves. I will be so grateful to hear these words from the Lord after this life, and so I want to try my best and be a little better each day.

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