If there is progression, there may also be retrogression; if there is good, there may be evil. Everything has its opposite. (John A. Widtsoe, Rational Theology, Chapter 15)
One of the major themes I have explored at the Thang over the last year or so is eternal progression. At last count there were more than 20 posts related to this topic. Before I go into the details I should recap some of my theological assumptions that I have already revealed in other posts here. One is that I think we and God are time-bound and always have been and always will be (we discussed that in the foreknowledge thread). Another assumption I have is that our Intelligences are the same thing as our spirits and that they change over time (as opposed to them being simple and irreducible in their current state). I donâ€™t want to get too technical so I will simply say that I am partial to a variation on Orson Prattâ€™s atomism (if that means nothing to you donâ€™t worry about it â€“ this post should still be interesting to you anyway.)
Perhaps the best single post to point to as an overview on the subject was called Models of Our Pre-Mortal Existence. Iâ€™ll quote the two main models from that post:
The Basics (aka the â€œMy Turn on Earthâ€? model) â€“ This one goes something like this: We (all humankind) were all living in heaven (whatever that means) with our literal spirit parents. (Some take that to mean that we were all born as spiritual babies to spirit mothers, but most never think about it). We were all like little children and we wanted to grow up to be like our Heavenly Parents. So we all got together in a grand family council and our Father proposed a plan to build an earth and send us all down so we could be tested. The idea was to veil our minds so we could show our true colors without remembering our Celestial home. The goal was to get back to that home, but more mature and like our Father. In order to overcome the problems inherent in mortality, though, we needed help. We needed a savior. Two volunteers stepped forward â€“ our parentsâ€™ first-born spirit son (Jesus) and another brother of some rank (Lucifer). Lucifer proposed a plan that would compel all to obey and return to heaven and Jesus suggested following the Fatherâ€™s plan which gave us free agency. A vote was taken and two thirds sided with Jesus and the Father while one third sided with Lucifer. As a result that one third was cast out of heaven and Lucifer became the Devil, Satan, with the one third his angels. So the earth was created and we are all taking our turn on earth to see how weâ€™ll do.
The many-earths model (also known as multiple mortal probations or MMPs for short) â€“ This one is nicely described in an opinion put forth by Heber C. Kimball:
“We have come here to become inured to work-to build temples, and improve upon the elements that God has placed around us, that we may become more skillful tomorrow, through the experience of to-day. What I do not to-day, when the sun goes down, I lay down to sleep, which is typical of death; and in the morning I rise and commence my work where I left it yesterday. That course is typical of the probations we take. But suppose that I do not improve my time to-day, I wake up to-morrow and find myself in the rear; and then, if I do not improve upon that day, and again lay down to sleep, on awaking, I find myself still in the rear. This dayâ€™s work is typical of this probation, and the sleep of every night is typical of death, and rising in the morning is typical of the resurrection. They are days labours, and it is for us to be faithful to-day, tomorrow, and every day.” (Journal of Discourses 4:329)
The basic idea if I understand this model correctly is that the worlds without end described in Moses that have already passed were inhabited by us and we either progressed or regressed in those.
Well you may not be surprised to learn that of the two I sort of think that the Heber C. Kimball model (MMP) works best. The world and universe just makes a lot more sense to me through that lens. So here are the several posts I put up touching on that subject in one way or another.
Other topics discussed include Who inhabited all those other worlds?; Where will all of those resurrected Telestial people live â€“ planet of the Telestials?; Progression between kingdoms; and Are we still in the middle of the council in heaven?
Of yeah, itâ€™s a veritable treasure trove of wild speculation folks. Check â€˜em out if youâ€™d like.
And now Iâ€™ve opened the speculation can of worms hereâ€¦ Do you spend time thinking about the details of our pre-mortal and post-mortal lives too?