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  • Writer's pictureJacob Hansen

Doctrine and Covenants 76 Translation: The Afterlife And The Kingdoms of Glory

Section 76 was given in Feb of 1832, just under 2 years from the founding of the church when Joseph was 26 and Sydney Rigdon was 38. It came while they were translating the Bible verses in John 5:29 which spoke about the resurrection of the just and the implication of multiple resurrections. At the time they were in a room with other people and they would say what they were seeing to each other. When the series of visions concluded Sydney Rigdon looked exhausted and Joseph quipped to the others in the room that Sydney was not as used to this kind of thing as he was. Many saints, including the new convert Brigham Young struggled with this revelation as it seemed to totally alter the traditional Christian conception of a binary heaven and hell. It was later called "The Vision" and really was considered a major revelation that set the stage for a whole new way of viewing the afterlife that became one of the restored gospels defining characteristics.


Divine introduction

(1-6) Everyone listen now to the hidden wonderful wisdom of the Lord. His works won’t fail and are eternal. And those who love and serve me will be blessed and rewarded with Glory. (7-11) And I will reveal to them great and important things pertaining to my works that known long ago but that have been lost. I will also teach them new things about the nature of eternity and human existence. Those who come to understand these things through my spirit will be wiser than the wise men of the world. By my spirit I will enlighten them to see new things.

A Vision of God and Jesus Christ.

(11-14) On Feb 16, 1832, We, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were shown a vision by the spirit so that we could see and understand the things of God. These were things which were established from the beginning by Jesus Christ. And we saw and spoke with him in this vision of heaven. (15-19) While we were translating from the scriptures which the Lord had commanded we do, we came across John 5:29 which says “And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” We were strongly spiritually impacted by these verses and as we pondered them our eyes and understanding were suddenly opened through the spirit and we entered into a great vision. (20-24) And the first thing we saw was the Glory of God with the Son at his right hand a we received that glory on us and we saw Angels worshiping God. It was glorious and we now can say after all the things that have been said about him, we can now say for certain that he is real. We saw him on the right hand of God and heard the voice of the Father say that this was his Son and that by and through him the worlds were and are created and that through him we become the sons and daughters of God in the same way Jesus is.

A Vision of The Damned.

(25-30) And we also saw that Lucifer was cast out of the presence of God. He works against God and makes war against Gods followers by surrounding them. And we saw how people suffered who were overcome by Lucifer. God wanted us to write these things down. (31-38) God said “These are those who knew me and my power but chose the devil instead. It would have been better had these people never been born. They can’t be forgiven because they refuse the forgiveness and reconciliation offered. They won’t be redeemed or resurrected but will exist eternally in a state of misery and death.

(39-49) Everyone who does not fully and willingly deny God will be resurrected. This is the “good news” known as “The Gospel”. That we can all be saved by Jesus Christ from physical death and separation from God. Jesus saves all mankind except for those who knowingly deny him. For these the suffering is incomprehensible. God told us to write these things down, and that concluded the portion of the vision about the fate of those who reject God.

A Vision of the Just.

(50-70) The next part of the vision dealt with those who come forth in the resurrection of the just (also known as the first resurrection) and what their fates would be. The people who are part of this first resurrection are those who put their faith in Jesus Christ and entered into covenant with him via baptism and were cleansed of their sins and received the Holy Ghost. They are his church and are those who are given everything God has. They will be as God is. They will be one with the Father and Son. They will overcome everything. They will rule with God over temporal and spiritual things. Even their bodies will be different and at a higher level than others. This is why we should place our faith in God and his ways instead of mans ways.

(71-79) Next we saw the Terrestrial kingdom which was less in glory than the Celestial kingdom like how the moon differs from the Sun. Here in this world they don’t get to the level of Godhood. The people in this kingdom are honorable people but not people who went the full distance to fully embrace the divine life and way of being of God through his law. They were not malicious but ignorant. They partake in the goodness of God but not fully because they can’t fully shake the ways of the world. Their resurrected bodies are also different in the resurrection and lesser than those who are on a celestial level.

(80-90) Next we saw the telestial kingdom which also is less glorious than the terrestrial like how a star is less bright than the moon. In this world were the people who did not receive Jesus, but still were to some extent reached by the Holy Ghost. However because they rejected Christ they exist in what some might call the Hell of being in the lowest kingdom. They are the last to be resurrected. They are ministered to by those at a terrestrial level, just like those at the terrestrial level are ministered to by the celestial level.

Different Levels of Relationship

(91-97) The glory and power of each realm exceeds that of the realms below it and those in each of these kingdoms live on a different level of being with the celestial level being the highest. This was a the level at which people could be in full communion with God. They are fully awake, fully real. They are equal with God as they have the kind of existence and being that he has. It's like being at different levels of light. In the daylight you are truly able to see and be, in the moonlight it’s less and in the starlight it’s less. Different people have lived and taught at different levels. The Terrestrial level are people who only lived good lives but never fully entered into relationship with God (which requires a covenant relationship). (98-112) On the Telestial level are people living base animal lives and they suffer as a consequence and will suffer until Christ redeems us all at the last day. There are a lot of people who never will rise above this base level of being. However even they will know in the end that Jesus is the Christ and will serve him but because they never rose above this base level of existence they will not be able to enjoy the same blessings as those who did because they simply will not be at a level where that is possible.


(113-119) And that was the end of the visions we saw. They were incredible and beyond words to fully describe. We even saw things that we can’t disclose because a person can’t understand these things unless they are spiritually ready for them. However God wants us all to get to a spiritual level to where we can know these things while in this life.

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Swenson Bailey
Swenson Bailey
05 Αυγ 2022

Talking about the damned:

"They won’t be redeemed or resurrected but will exist eternally in a state of misery and death"

This doesn't seem to be true.

The 2nd article of faith states:

2 We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.

Death was brought about by Adam's transgression and is the punishment for it. Christ came and redeemed all men from the Fall and made them free to act for themselves, and based on those actions are they judged and punished/rewarded. (See Romans 5:18 & 2 Nephi 2: 24-end)

All will be resurrected. However, the sons of Perdition will be in a state of misery for eternity.

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