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Citations on Exaltation

The following are sections out of Bill McKeever’s book In their Own Words: A Collection of Mormon Quotations. The full book of 400 pages is available at Mormonism Research Ministry or

Standard Works

“Therefore, I must gather together my people, according to the
parable of the wheat and the tares, that the wheat may be secured
in the garners to possess eternal life, and be crowned with celestial
glory, when I shall come in the kingdom of my Father to reward
every man according as his work shall be; While the tares shall be
bound in bundles, and their bands made strong, that they may be
burned with unquenchable fire” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:65-

Joseph Smith

“The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: ‘When you climb up a ladder,
you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you
arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel—
you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the
principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have
passed through the veil [died] before you will have learned them.
It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great
work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave’
(Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 268). Joseph
Smith taught: ‘It is the first principle of the Gospel to know
for a certainty the Character of God. … He was once a man like us;
… God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same
as Jesus Christ himself did’ (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet
Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 345–46)” (Gospel
Principles, 2009, p. 279. Ellipsis in original).

3rd President John Taylor

“Hence, through His atonement, believers in Christ, and those
who obey His law, partake of His glory and exaltation, and are
inheritors of the Godhead; whilst those who do not obey His
law although resurrected cannot inherit this exaltation; they are
raised from the dead, but cannot inherit a celestial glory without
being obedient to a celestial law, and thus we come again to a
scripture quoted before” (John Taylor, Mediation and Atonement,
1950, p. 175. See also Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor,
p. 51).

“We enter into obligations here as young men or young women,
or as old men or old women, as the case may be, no matter what
or how we enter into covenants before God, holy angels, and witnesses,
and pledge ourselves in the most solemn manner to be
true to these covenants. If we violate these covenants, and trample
under foot the ordinances of God, we ought to be dealt with by
the church and either repent of our sins or be cut off from the
church, so that by purging the church from iniquity, we may be
acceptable before God; for the Gods spoken of are not going to
associate with every scalawag in existence; scalawags are not going
where they are; and if men do not live according to the laws of a
celestial kingdom, they are not going into a celestial glory; they
cannot pass by the angels and the Gods, who are set to guard the
way of life” (John Taylor, The Gospel Kingdom, pp. 18-19).

“These eternal principles must be kept, and one principle is that
no unclean thing can enter into the kingdom of God. What, then,
will be the result? Why, the people I have referred to—people who
do not keep the celestial law—will have to go into a lesser kingdom,
into a terrestrial, or perhaps a telestial, as the case may be. Is
this according to the law of God? Yes, for if they are not prepared
for the celestial kingdom, they must go to such a one as they are
prepared to endure” (John Taylor, The Gospel Kingdom, p. 19).

5th President Lorenzo Snow

“We must work for our own exaltation. I cannot imagine anything that
is so vastly important as to work for and obtain one’s own individual
exaltation and glory. That undoubtedly is one great purpose
for which we came into the world. When we lived in the other life
we had no doubt some understanding with reference to our duties
in this life when we were permitted to come to this our second
estate. And very likely we put ourselves under certain obligations
that we would discharge certain duties devolving upon us when we
came here into our second estate. And we had rendered ourselves
worthy to come upon this earth for the purpose of securing those
blessings that could only be obtained by observing the laws pertaining
to our present estate. (6 April 1898, CR, p. 12.)” (Lorenzo
Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 95. Italics in original).

“We do not all of us fully comprehend the blessings and privileges
that are prepared in the gospel for us to receive. We do not fully
comprehend and we do not have before our view the things which
await us in the eternal worlds, nor indeed the things which await
us in this life and that are calculated to promote our peace and
happiness and answer the desires of our hearts” (Lorenzo Snow,
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow, 2012, p. 89).

6th President Joseph F. Smith

“The object of our earthly existence is that we may have a fulness
of joy, and that we may become the sons and daughters of God,
in the fullest sense of the word, being heirs of God and joint heirs
with Jesus Christ [see Romans 8:14–17], to be kings and priests
unto God, to inherit glory, dominion, exaltation, thrones and every
power and attribute developed and possessed by our Heavenly
Father. This is the object of our being on this earth. In order to
attain unto this exalted position, it is necessary that we go through
this mortal experience, or probation, by which we may prove ourselves
worthy, through the aid of our elder brother Jesus” (Joseph
F. Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 1998,
p. 150. Brackets in original).

8th President George Albert Smith

“Now, brethren and sisters, somebody said in this conference that
the same laws apply, the same rules govern today, and it is just
as necessary for us to keep the commandments of our Heavenly
Father today as it was for any of the prophets of old or any of his
faithful sons and daughters who have lived upon the earth, who
have earned a right to a place in the celestial kingdom. We can’t
gain our exaltation by the good lives of our neighbors, but we
can profit by their good example, and we can improve ourselves”
(George Albert Smith, Conference Reports, April 1948, pp. 162-163).

“We are living eternal life, and our position hereafter will be the
result of our lives here. Every man will be judged according to his
works, and he will receive only that degree of glory that he has
earned. (Conference Reports, April 1945, p. 139.)” (George Albert
Smith, The Teachings of George Albert Smith, p. 30).

10th President Joseph Fielding Smith

“There was a council held in heaven, when the Lord called before
him his spirit children and presented to them a plan by which they
should come down on this earth; partake of mortal life and physical
bodies; pass through a probation of mortality, and then go on
to a higher exaltation through the resurrection which should be
brought about through the atonement of his Only Begotten Son
Jesus Christ. The thought of passing through mortality and partaking
of all the vicissitudes of earth life in which they would gain
experiences through suffering, pain, sorrow, temptation and affliction,
as well as the pleasures of life in this mundane existence,
and then, if faithful, passing on through the resurrection to eternal
life in the kingdom of God, to be like him, filled them with
the spirit of rejoicing, and they ‘shouted for joy,’ The experience
and knowledge obtained in this mortal life they could not get in
any other way, and the receiving of a physical body was essential
to their exaltation” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation

“Very gladly would the Lord give to everyone eternal life, but since
that blessing can come only on merit—through the faithful performance
of duty—only those who are worthy shall receive it. (Joseph
Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 2:5).

“Exaltation is the act of being raised or elevated, as in position or
rank; it is to be magnified or glorified. So in the celestial kingdom
those who pass by the gods who are set to guard the way to a fulness,
receive exaltation. The telestial kingdom is not a kingdom of
exaltation; the terrestrial kingdom is not a kingdom of exaltation,
although it is higher than the telestial kingdom; and there will be
many who will enter the celestial kingdom in their saved condition
without an exaltation in it, for there are different degrees even in
the celestial kingdom” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation
2:12-13. Italics in original).

“Exaltation is to dwell in the presence of God and to be like him”
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 2:13. Italics in original).
who receive the fulness will be privileged to view the face of our
Father. There will not be such an overwhelming number of the Latter-day
Saints who will get there. President Francis M. Lyman many times
has declared, and he had reason to declare, I believe, that if we
save one-half of the Latter-day Saints, that is, with an exaltation in
the celestial kingdom of God, we will be doing well. Not that the
Lord is partial, not that he will draw the line as some will say, to
keep people out. He would have every one of us go in if we would;
but there are laws and ordinances that we must keep; if we do not
observe the law we cannot enter” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines
of Salvation 2:15. Italics in original).

“God is not going to save every man and woman in the celestial
kingdom. If you want to get there, and you have failings; if you are
committing sins; if you are breaking the commandments of the
Lord, and you know it; it is a good time right now to repent and
reform, and not get the idea that it is such a little thing that the
Lord will forgive you; just a few stripes, just a little punishment and
we will be forgiven; for you may find yourselves cast out, if you insist
and persist in such a course” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines
of Salvation 2:17).

“To enter the celestial and obtain exaltation it is necessary that the
whole law be kept. The word of the Lord is that they of the celestial
world are those sanctified from all unrighteousness” (Joseph
Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection, p. 206).

“Do you desire to enter into the celestial kingdom and receive
eternal life? Then be willing to keep all of the commandments the
Lord may give you” (Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection,
p. 207).

“The exaltation to the celestial kingdom is so great that the Father
is fully justified in making it dependent upon strict obedience
to all of his commandments. The celestial kingdom is a kingdom
of perfection. All who enter there must be thoroughly tried and
proved and become perfect to inherit it” (Joseph Fielding Smith,
Man: His Origin and Destiny, p. 532. Italics in original).

“The Savior was emphatic in his statement that all should come
forth, the righteous to receive the blessings of his kingdom, and
the wicked to be punished for their rebellion. We may be sure that
in his mercy, the Lord will do for all the best that can be done.
Some will merit the exaltation, others punishment until they have
paid the ‘uttermost farthing.’ The exaltation will be given to those
who have kept the commandments and have been faithful to every
covenant and obligation upon which the exaltation rests. Others
will be assigned to such degree of glory, or lack of it, according to
the deeds committed in the flesh; but the mercy of our Eternal
Father and his Son Jesus Christ will give to all mankind, except
those who have denied the Holy Spirit after they have received the
blessings, some place where he will make them just as happy as he
can in the terrestrial, telestial, or some other place, suited to their
condition and capacity” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel
Questions 3:88-89).

“Those who receive the exaltation in the celestial kingdom will
have the ‘continuation of the seeds forever.’ They will live in the
family relationship. We are taught in the gospel of Jesus Christ
that the family organization will be, so far as celestial exaltation is
concerned, one that is complete, an organization linked from father
and mother and children of one generation to the father and
mother and children of the next generation, and thus expanding
and spreading out down to the end of time” (Joseph Fielding
Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith,
2013, p. 68).

“In order to fulfill the purposes of our Eternal Father, there must
be a union, husbands and wives receiving the blessings that are
promised to those who are faithful and true that will exalt them to
Godhood. A man cannot receive the fullness of the blessings of the
kingdom of God alone, nor can the woman, but the two together
can receive all the blessings and privileges that pertain to the fullness
of the Father’s kingdom” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Teachings of
Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith, 2013, p. 197).

11th President Harold B. Lee

“There is only one objective so far as our Father’s work is concerned,
and that is that in the end when we shall have finished our
work here on earth, whether after a short space of time or a long,
we too shall have overcome the world and have earned the right to
that place called the Celestial Kingdom” (Harold B. Lee, Teachings
of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, pp. 230-231).

12th President Spencer W. Kimball

“One may be saved in any one of three kingdoms of glory—the
telestial, the terrestrial, or the celestial—but one can reach exaltation
only in the highest of the three heavens or degrees in the celestial
glory” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 8).

“One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded
by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God;
that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation.
Along with all the other works necessary for man’s exaltation in
the kingdom of God this could rule out the need for repentance.
It could give license for sin and , since it does not require man to
work out his salvation, could accept instead lip service, ‘death-bed
repentance,’ and shallow, meaningless confession of sin” (Spencer
W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 206-207).

“However good a person’s works, he could not be saved had Jesus
not died for his and everyone else’s sins. And however powerful
the saving grace of Christ, it brings exaltation to no man who does
not comply with the works of the gospel” (Spencer W. Kimball, The
Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 207).

“Immortality has been accomplished by the Savior’s sacrifice. Eternal
life hangs in the balance awaiting the works of men” (Spencer
W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 208).

“After death we continue to learn. Exaltation means godhood,
creatorship. ‘As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man
may be’” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball,
p. 53).

“To the Corinthian saints, he explained that after the resurrection,
there were three heavens or degrees of glory—the telestial,
terrestrial, and celestial. In modern revelation, Joseph Smith amplifies
these truths. All good people of every nation will be saved
in one of these kingdoms, but neither Paul nor Peter nor modern
prophets, nor the Lord himself, has ever promised celestial life or
eternal life to any soul who does not live celestial laws” (Spencer
W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 69).

“Baptism into Christ’s true church by proper authority opens the
doors for exaltation in the eternal kingdoms of glory, exaltation to
be earned by repentance, by living righteously, keeping the commandments
of the Lord, and service to one’s fellowmen” (Spencer
W. Kimball, “The Stone Cut without Hands,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), May 1976, p. 7).

“If we are true and faithful, we shall rise, not alone in immortality
but unto eternal life. Immortality is to live forever in an assigned
kingdom. Eternal life is to gain exaltation in the highest heaven
and live in the family unit. One man said the other day, the only
thing he didn’t like about the Mormon Church was that it claims
to be the only one through which a man could be saved. I said,
‘Oh no, we make no such claim. We say that every good religionist
and every good man who is not a religionist will be saved but
there are degrees of salvation’” (Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings of
Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 2006, p. 7).

“It is true that many Latter-day Saints, having been baptized
and confirmed members of the Church, and some even having
received their endowments and having been married and sealed
in the holy temple, have felt that they were thus guaranteed the
blessings of exaltation and eternal life. But this is not so. There
are two basic requirements every soul must fulfill or he cannot attain
to the great blessings offered. He must receive the ordinances
and he must be faithful, overcoming his weaknesses. Hence, not
all who claim to be Latter-day Saints will be exalted” (Spencer W.
Kimball, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball,
2006, p. 9. Italics in original).

13th President Ezra Taft Benson

“There are members who know this latter-day work is true, but
who fail to endure to the end. One who rationalizes that he or she
has a testimony of Jesus Christ but cannot accept direction and
counsel from the leadership of His Church is in a fundamentally
unsound position and is in jeopardy of losing exaltation” (Ezra
Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 467).

“I think that our Heavenly Father expects the youth of our Church
to become exalted in the celestial kingdom. I guess all the rest is
encompassed in that. We are not striving for the lower kingdoms.
We are not candidates for the telestial or terrestrial kingdoms.
The young people of this Church are candidates for the celestial
kingdom and the highest degree of glory in that kingdom. That
requires a great deal, a great deal that has to do with our day-to-day
standards. This means not just going to Church, not just
holding the priesthood, not just being married in the temple, not
just being a good citizen, not just being happy, as measured by the
world. It means living every standard of the Church fully” (Ezra
Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 560).

15th President Gordon B. Hinckley

“To my Eternal Father I give thanks for that essence of divinity
which is within each of us and for the gift of life which comes from
Him. I thank my Redeemer for His supreme gift to all, the gift of
eternal life” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “My Testimony,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), November 1993, p. 53).

16th President Thomas S. Monson

“President Spencer W. Kimball has always been a prolific worker.
He spent several summers working on a book which he later entitled
The Miracle of Forgiveness. As one reads the book, particularly
the first portion, one wonders if anyone will make it to the Celestial
Kingdom. However, in reading the final portion, it is apparent
that, with effort, all can qualify” (Thomas S. Monson, On the Lord’s
Errand: The Memoirs of Thomas S. Monson, 1985, p. 342).

“It is the celestial glory which we seek. It is in the presence of God
we desire to dwell. It is a forever family in which we want membership.
Such blessings must be earned” (Thomas Monson, “An
Invitation to Exaltation,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 1988,
p. 56).

First Presidency

“Hear it, O house of Israel! ye who are seeking to attain to the
Celestial Kingdom of our Father—none but the pure in heart can
see God; none but those who have sanctified all their affections
and passions by entire and complete subservience to His laws can
dwell in His eternal presence!” (John Taylor, George Q. Cannon,
Messages of the First Presidency 3:62, March, 1886).

“There will be immortality to all the sons and daughters of God,
whether they are suffering for sin or have been redeemed; whether
they are in the celestial, terrestrial or telestial worlds; but only
those who attain to the celestial glory, and the power and dominion
and exaltation, and the gift of everlasting increase, wherein
their posterity will be multiplied worlds without end, have the real
gift of eternal life. All their powers will be developed to the full”
(Charles W. Penrose, Conference Reports, April 1901, p. 43).

“Before we finally succeed, each individual must have played his
own part. There can be no substitutions. No individual in the organization
can afford to get out of step or lag behind, or, through
lack of faith or determination, hinder the work of the Priesthood,
and this must be so in either temporal or spiritual matters. Our
Church is founded upon the premise that spiritual growth and
exaltation must be earned by the efforts of the individual, and cannot
result from the efforts of those who preside over us” (Henry D.
Moyle, Improvement Era, “The Church Security Program: Its Present
and Future,” December 1937, p. 787).

“There are preferential places and conditions in the hereafter,
as there are here. The highest and most desirable is the celestial
kingdom of our Father. In that kingdom and only there do intelligences
attain their highest state of perfection. Only there do we
have assurance of the reunion of families and the perpetuation
of family relationship and eternal increase. In that kingdom man
may ultimately become divine” (Stephen L. Richards, Conference
Reports, April 1938, p. 24).

“Thus we see that the atonement of Christ brings upon us the
redemption from the dead. We all become fruits of the resurrection.
Redemption from our own sins depends upon us. We are
not saved from ourselves by grace alone as we are from Adam’s
transgression. To understand this simple difference gives us the
power to differentiate in large measure truth from error. When we
seek the inspiration of God in answer to our prayers; he inspires
us. We repent, and repentance leads us to an appreciation of the
laws and ordinances of God by which man can, through his own
effort, through the exercise of his own will power, lift himself from
sin to righteousness. When he does this, he is on the way to eternal
salvation and exaltation in the kingdom of our Heavenly Father”
(Henry D. Moyle, Conference Reports, October 1959, p. 92).

“The Lord has given us all that we need to know-that Christ is our
Savior, the Redeemer of the world, the One through whom we
attain that destiny which is marked out as possible for all of God’s
children who earn it” (J. Reuben Clark, “President Clark Delivers
Annual Easter Address,” Church News, April 23, 1960. p. 18).

“Mercy will not rob justice, and the sealing power of faithful parents
will only claim wayward children upon the condition of their
repentance and Christ’s Atonement. Repentant wayward children
will enjoy salvation and all the blessings that go with it, but exaltation
is much more. It must be fully earned. The question as to who
will be exalted must be left to the Lord in His mercy” (James E.
Faust, “Dear Are the Sheep That Have Wandered,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), May 2003, p. 62).

“Our conviction is that God, our Heavenly Father, wants us to live
the life that He does. We learn both the spiritual things and the
secular things “so we may one day create worlds [and] people and
govern them” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball,
ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 386)” (Henry B. Eyring, “Education
for Real Life,” Ensign, October 2002, p. 21).

“It is hard to know when we have done enough for the Atonement
to change our natures and so qualify us for eternal life” (Henry B.
Eyring, “This Day,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 2007, p. 90).

“But the Savior’s grace can do much more for us. As members of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we aspire to something
unimaginably greater. It is exaltation in the celestial kingdom.
It is life eternal in the presence of our Father in Heaven. It is
the greatest gift of God. In the celestial kingdom, we receive ‘of his
fulness, and of his glory.’ Indeed, all that the Father hath shall be
given unto us. Exaltation is our goal; discipleship is our journey”
(Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “It Works Wonderfully,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), November 2015, p. 23).

“Eternal life is that kind of life which God our Eternal Father lives. God has said that His purpose is ‘to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). The great purpose of every priesthood holder, therefore, is to assist in the work of helping people rise to eternal life. Every priesthood effort and every priesthood ordinance is intended to help Heavenly Father’s children be changed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ to become members of perfected family units. It follows that ‘the great work of every man is to believe the gospel, to keep the commandments, and to create and perfect an eternal family unit,’ and to help others do the same” (Henry B. Eyring, “Eternal Families,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 2016, p. 81).


“I tell you that men and women are led up to exaltation by obedience
to the laws and ordinances of the gospel” (Charles A. Callis,
Conference Reports, October 1917, p. 126).

“The Celestial inheritance is for those who have accepted the Gospel
of Christ and have rendered valiant service in the cause of
righteousness; those who have yielded obedience to all the laws
and ordinances of the Gospel” (James E. Talmage, The Vitality of
Mormonism, p. 287).

“I recognize the fact that no man will get all the way to the end of
the road and gain a fullness of salvation in the Celestial Kingdom
of God unless he complies with all the terms and all the conditions
of salvation in that Kingdom” (Melvin J. Ballard, Three Degrees
of Glory, p. 5. From a discourse given in the Ogden Tabernacle,
September 22, 1922).

“To enter the highest of these degrees in the celestial kingdom
is to be exalted in the kingdom of God. Such exaltation comes
to those who receive the higher ordinances of the Church, such
as the temple endowment, and afterwards are sealed in marriage
for time and eternity, whether on earth or in the hereafter. Those
who are so sealed continue the family relationship eternally. Spiritual
children are begotten by them. They carry on the work of
salvation for the hosts of waiting spirits. They who are so exalted
become even as the gods” (John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations,
p. 201).

“The number sharing these great and choice blessings will be limited.
It is unfortunate that so few will worthily prepare themselves
and enter the strait gate and faithfully follow the narrow way to
the end to earn the promising reward of eternal life and its jointheirship
with Christ of all that God the Father possesses” (Delbert
L. Stapley, Conference Reports, April 1961, p. 67).

“Some degree of salvation will come to all who have not forfeited
their right to it; exaltation is given to those only who by righteous
effort have won a claim to God’s merciful liberality by which it is
bestowed” (James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, 1984, p. 82).

“The Celestial Glory — There are some who have striven to obey
all the divine commandments, who have accepted the testimony
of Christ, obeyed ‘the laws and ordinances of the Gospel,’ and
received the Holy Spirit; these are they who have overcome evil by
godly works and who are therefore entitled to the highest glory;
these belong to the Church of the Firstborn, unto whom the Father
has given all things; they are made kings and priests of the
Most High, after the order of Melchizedek; they possess celestial
bodies, ‘whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the
highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written
of as being typical’; they are admitted to the glorified company,
crowned with exaltation in the celestial kingdom” (James E. Talmage,
Articles of Faith, 1984, p. 83).

“But an eternal relationship of families does not come about automatically,
as some suppose. It must not only be planned for; it
must be earned. We must realize that only when we have lived in
complete harmony with all the laws and ordinances of the priesthood,
including those received in holy temples, should we expect
to find ourselves prepared to dwell in what I sometimes refer to
as the ‘kingdom of families’—the celestial world” (ElRay L. Christiansen,
“Three Important Questions,” Ensign (Conference Edition),
May 1974, p. 25).

“Salvation comes by obedience to the whole law of the whole gospel.
Joseph Smith said: ‘Any person who is exalted to the highest
mansion has to abide a celestial law, and the whole law too.’
(Teachings, p. 331.) Thus, a man may be damned for a single sin”
(Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 3:256).

“That exaltation which the saints of all ages have so devoutly
sought is godhood itself. Godhood is to have the character, possess
the attributes, and enjoy the perfections which the Father has.
It is to do what he does, have the powers resident in him, and live
as he lives, having eternal increase” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon
Doctrine, 1966, p. 321).

“Conditional or individual salvation, that which comes by grace
coupled with gospel obedience, consists in receiving an inheritance
in the celestial kingdom of God. This kind of salvation follows
faith, repentance, baptism, receipt of the Holy Ghost, and
continued righteousness to the end of one’s mortal probation”
(Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966, pp. 669-670).

“Ordinances and covenants become our credentials for admission
into His presence. To worthily receive them is the quest of a lifetime;
to keep them thereafter is the challenge of mortality” (Boyd
K. Packer, “Covenants,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 1987,
p. 24).

“Immortality comes to us all as a free gift by the grace of God
alone, without works of righteousness. Eternal life, however, is the
reward for obedience to the laws and ordinances of His gospel”
(David B. Haight, “The Sacrament—and the Sacrifice,” Ensign
(Conference Edition), November 1989, p. 61).

“Thus, brothers and sisters, along with the great and free gift of
the universal and personal resurrection there is also the personal
possibility of meriting eternal life… Again, our experiences surely
do not approach those of Jesus, yet the same principles and processes
apply. His perfected attributes exemplify what can be much
further developed by each of us” (Neal A. Maxwell, “Apply the
Atoning Blood of Christ,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November
1997, p. 23. Italics mine).
“Christ gave us freely an enormous and unconditional gift, the
universal resurrection. However, Christ’s proffer of the further gift
of eternal life is conditional” (Neal A. Maxwell, “Sharing testimony
about the Atonement,” Church News, September 4, 1999, p. 5).

“Time and time again at funerals, statements are made that the deceased
will inherit all blessings of celestial glory when that individual
has in no way qualified by obtaining the necessary ordinances
and by keeping the required covenants. That won’t happen. Such
blessings can only be earned by meeting the Lord’s requirements.
His mercy does not overcome the requirements of His law. They
must be met” (Richard G. Scott, “First Things First,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), May 2001, p. 9).

“Thanks to the Atonement, the gift of immortality is unconditional.
The greater gift of eternal life, however, is conditional. In order to
qualify, one must deny oneself of ungodliness and honor the ordinances
and covenants of the temple” (Russell M. Nelson, “Divine
Love,” Ensign, February 2003, p. 24. Italics in original).

“Jesus could have called upon legions of angels to bring Him
down from the cross, but He did not. He endured to the end that
we would have the benefits of the atoning sacrifice; that mercy
could be brought into the world; that justice would be satisfied;
that we might be resurrected; and that we might be able to earn,
through our obedience, eternal life in the presence of God the Father
and Jesus Christ” (Robert D. Hales, “Lessons from the Atonement
That Help Us to Endure to the End,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), November 1985, p. 20).

“Each of us has been sent to earth by our Heavenly Father to merit
eternal life” (Robert D. Hales, “Personal Revelation: The Teachings
and Examples of the Prophets,” Ensign (Conference Edition),
November 2007, p. 87).

“Eternal life, or celestial glory or exaltation, is a conditional gift.
Conditions of this gift have been established by the Lord, who
said, ‘If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you
shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of
God.’ Those qualifying conditions include faith in the Lord, repentance,
baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and remaining faithful
to the ordinances and covenants of the temple” (Russell M.
Nelson, “Salvation and Exaltation,” Ensign (Conference Edition),
May 2008, p. 9).

“Eternal life is to gain exaltation in the highest heaven and live in
the family unit” (Russell M. Nelson, “Prepare for the Blessings of
the Temple,” Ensign Special Issue Temples, October 2010, p. 49).


“To the Latter-day Saints our interests lie in the celestial glory. In
fact, we don’t have much interest in the other two degrees because
we are assured through revelation that those who go to the
celestial degree of glory and receive exaltation are members of
the Church of the Firstborn who have lived by every word that has
come from the mouth of God, being humble, and faithful in all of
their activities here in life. We are heirs, therefore, of celestial glory.
The gateway into celestial glory is faith, repentance, baptism,
and confirmation; and then, of course, as the Saints enter the
kingdom of God by compliance with the foregoing requirements,
they make their calling and election sure by rendering obedience
to all the ordinances and doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ
from day to day throughout the entire course of this mortal life.
These are they who shall dwell in the presence of God” (Milton R.
Hunter, Conference Reports, April 1949, pp. 70-71).

“Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are
heirs not only to the celestial glory but also to exaltation or eternal
life in that glory; and that heirship shall be obtained if they
keep all the commandments given by Jesus Christ to members of
his kingdom” (Milton R. Hunter, Conference Reports, October 1953,
p. 46).

“To summarize, immortality means to live forever and the immortality
given to every man and woman by the Savior is resurrection.
Each of us will resurrect our body which will be united with the
spirit, never to be separated again nor to disintegrate. Eternal
life, on the other hand, is the condition of life that those who live
righteous lives will enjoy throughout the ages in the Kingdom of
God. In fact, it means exaltation. He who receives the greatest portion
of eternal life becomes a God” (Milton R. Hunter, The Gospel
Through the Ages, p. 11).

“No mere record alone will assure me my exaltation in the celestial
kingdom. That exaltation must be earned by a righteous life
on earth, by virtue, love, obedience, and conformance to every
law given by God. In fact, the scripture states: ‘And I give unto
you a commandment, that ye shall forsake all evil and cleave unto
all good, that ye shall live by every word which proceedeth forth
out of the mouth of God.’ (D&C 98:11.)” (Theodore M. Burton,
Conference Reports, October 1968, p. 77).

“The true value of the sacrifice of Christ means much more than
this general salvation which comes to all mankind. There is an
additional salvation that God has planned for his children. This
additional salvation is an individual salvation and is conditioned
not only upon grace, but also upon obedience to gospel law. One
of the prophets in the Book of Mormon explained why he and
his associates were so concerned about teaching more about Jesus
Christ, as he wrote: ‘For we labor diligently to write, to persuade
our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to
be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are
saved, after all we can do’” (Theodore M. Burton, “Salvation and
Exaltation,” Ensign, July 1972, p. 78).

“Exaltation comes as a gift from God, dependent upon my obedience
to God’s law. No works I do solely of my own power can bring
this to pass. Only by the grace of God has this course been opened
to me, but only through obedience to the laws of God can I claim
my inheritance in the celestial kingdom of my Heavenly Father as
a son within his family. I cannot be exalted in my sins, but must
work until I overcome them” (Theodore M. Burton, “Salvation
and Exaltation,” Ensign (Conference Edition), July 1972, pp. 78-

“To the Latter-day Saint salvation is exaltation in the celestial kingdom
of God” (Royden G. Derrick, Temples in the Last Days, p.x).

“The scriptures teach us that there is promise beyond—that there
is a reward for service rendered and for attainment. The reward
is exaltation in the celestial kingdom of God. Exaltation is the
highest of three degrees of glory in the celestial kingdom. The
celestial kingdom is the highest of three kingdoms in the realm
of immortality. Exaltation is earned by accepting Jesus Christ and
His divine sonship and following His precepts” (Royden G. Derrick,
“The Way to Perfection,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May
1989, p. 76).

“If we want to live a celestial life in the hereafter, we had better
live a celestial life here on earth. Our futures are truly connected
to our past” (Richard J. Maynes, “A Celestial Connection to Your
Teenage Years,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1997,
p. 30).

“The second typical explanation tries to divide the effects of the
Atonement between physical death and spiritual death. According
to this theory, the resurrection saves all from physical death-it is
salvation by grace and is not dependent on anything we do. However,
if we wish to overcome spiritual death and enter back into
God’s presence, we must be obedient to laws and principles. This
is exaltation by works. Thus, according to this explanation, we are
saved by grace and exalted by works” (Gerald N. Lund, Jesus Christ,
Key to the Plan of Salvation, p. 154. Italics in original).

“Inasmuch as we obey His commandments and are faithful to our
covenants, we are blessed to expect a joyful family reunited and
crowned with eternal life” (Walter F. Gonzalez, “Death and Resurrection,”
Ensign, April 2003, p. 24).

“This is the exchange the Savior is asking of us: we are to give up
all our sins, big or small, for the Father’s reward of eternal life.
We are to forget self-justifying stories, excuses, rationalizations, defense
mechanisms, procrastinations, appearances, personal pride,
judgmental thoughts, and doing things our way. We are to separate
ourselves from all worldliness and take upon us the image of God
in our countenances” (Robert C. Gay, “What Shall a Man Give in
Exchange for His Soul?,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November
2012, p. 35).

“Qualifying for exaltation is like entering another country. We
must each obtain our spiritual passport. We do not set the requirements,
but, individually, we must meet all of them. The plan of
salvation contains all of the doctrines, laws, commandments, and
ordinances needed for all to qualify for exaltation. Then, ‘through
the Atonement of [Jesus] Christ, all mankind may be saved.’ The
Church helps but cannot do it for us. Qualifying for exaltation
becomes a quest of a lifetime” (Allan F. Packer, “The Book,” Ensign
(Conference Edition), November 2014, p. 99. Italics and brackets
in original).

“Enduring to the end is a hallmark of true discipleship and is essential
to eternal life. But when trials and challenges come our
way, we are often told to simply ‘hang in there.’ Let me be clear:
to ‘hang in there’ is not a principle of the gospel. Enduring to the
end means constantly coming unto Christ and being perfected in
Him. If enduring to the end is essential to eternal life, why do we
struggle to be faithful? We struggle when we are caught between
competing priorities. Casual obedience and lukewarm commitment
weaken faith. Enduring to the end requires total commitment
to the Savior and to our covenants” (Kevin W. Pearson, “Stay
by the Tree,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 2015, p. 114).

“Great and eternal blessings are promised to those who receive gospel ordinances performed by proper priesthood authority and sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, and who then keep the sacred covenants associated with the ordinances. These blessings include forgiveness of sins, the power of godliness, and the companionship of the Holy Ghost, together with the guidance, inspiration, comfort, peace, hope, and sanctification that attend that gift. The greatest of all the blessings and gifts of God is eternal life—which is the life God lives! This gift is given only to those who receive all gospel ordinances and abide by the covenants encompassed within the new and everlasting covenant” (Marcus B. Nash, “The New and Everlasting Covenant,” Ensign, December 2015, p. 43).

“The Lord emphatically declares that ‘it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. Then shall they be gods.’ In summary, those who enter into the new and everlasting covenant and endure faithfully to the end will (1) receive the fulness of the glory of God, (2) enjoy the power of godliness in time and eternity, (3) be exalted, (4) enjoy eternal marriage and increase, and (5) become gods. Taken together, these blessings culminate in the gift of eternal life” (Marcus B. Nash, “The New and Everlasting Covenant,” Ensign, December 2015, p. 43).

Church Manuals

“As we are obedient to the commandments of God, we earn the
right to live with him forever in the celestial kingdom” (Uniform
System for Teaching Families, 1973, p. D-1).

“Exaltation is eternal life, the kind of life God lives. He lives in
great glory. He is perfect. He possesses all knowledge and all wisdom.
He is the Father of spirit children. He is a creator. We can
become like our Heavenly Father. This is exaltation. If we prove
faithful to the Lord, we will live in the highest degree of the celestial
kingdom of heaven. We will become exalted, to live with our
Heavenly Father in eternal families. Exaltation is the greatest gift
that Heavenly Father can give His children (see D&C 14:7)” (Gospel
Principles, 2009, pp. 275, 277).

“The time to fulfill the requirements for exaltation is now (see
Alma 34:32–34)” (Gospel Principles, 2009, p. 277).

“Eternal life is living with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in the
celestial kingdom. This blessing—which is also called exaltation—
comes only to those who keep the commandments and make the
necessary covenants” (Preparing for Exaltation Teacher’s Manual,
1998, p. 4).

“Earth life (or mortality) is not just a stepping stone into eternity,
but the proving ground where we learn, progress, and ultimately
earn our award. The greatest award is exaltation in the celestial
kingdom. This award belongs to those who choose dedication,
discipline, training, sacrifice, and obedience to the gospel plan”
(Preparing for Exaltation, 1993, p. 13).

“We must do more than just say we believe in Jesus Christ; we must
follow him. All people, regardless of their level of righteousness,
will be saved from death because of the Resurrection of Christ.
However, in order to attain the highest degree of glory in the resurrection,
we need to ‘come unto Christ, and be perfected in him’
(Moroni 10:32). We come unto Christ by having faith in him, repenting
of our sins, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy
Ghost, receiving other saving priesthood ordinances, obeying the
commandments, and keeping the covenants we make with our
Heavenly Father. How we live does make a difference” (Preparing
for Exaltation Teacher’s Manual, p. 39).

“By definition, exaltation includes the ability to procreate the family
unit throughout eternity. This or Father in heaven has power
to do. His marriage partner is our mother in heaven. We are their
spirit children, born to them in the bonds of celestial marriage”
(Achieving a Celestial Marriage, 1976, p. 129).

“Ask students to define the terms immortality and eternal life. Discuss
the scriptural definition of “immortality” (see 1 Corinthians
15:51–54; Mormon 6:21) and of “eternal life” (see 1 John 5:11;
Mosiah 15:22–25). President Spencer W. Kimball said, ‘Immortality
is to live forever in an assigned kingdom. Eternal life is to gain
exaltation in the highest heaven and live in the family unit’ (in
Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1978, 109; or Ensign, Nov. 1978,
72)” (The Pearl of Great Price Teacher Manual Religion 327, 2000,
p. 13. Italics in original).

“Becoming like our Father in Heaven is like climbing a ladder. We
must start at the bottom and climb each step until we reach the
top. The Prophet Joseph Smith said that if we want to become like
our Father in Heaven we must learn how He feels, thinks, and acts.
When we understand these things about Him, we can then learn
all other things about Him, until we know how to become as He
is” (Gospel Fundamentals, 2002, p. 204).

“Now that you have been baptized and confirmed, much of your
progress toward eternal life depends on your receiving other ordinances
of salvation: for men, ordination to the Melchizedek
Priesthood; for men and women, the temple endowment and
marriage sealing. When you receive these ordinances and keep
the covenants that accompany them, you prepare yourself to inherit
the highest degree of celestial glory” (True to the Faith: A Gospel
Reference, 2004, p. 53).

“To be exalted in the highest degree and continue eternally in
family relationships, we must enter into ‘the new and everlasting
covenant of marriage’ and be true to that covenant. In other
words, temple marriage is a requirement for obtaining the highest
degree of celestial glory” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference, 2004,
p. 93).
“If we use the word salvation to mean eternal life, none of us can
say that we have been saved in mortality. That glorious gift can
come only after the Final Judgment” (True to the Faith: A Gospel
Reference, 2004, p. 153).

“These are some of the blessings given to exalted people: 1. They
will live eternally in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus
Christ (see D&C 76:62). 2. They will become gods (see D&C
132:20–23). 3. They will be united eternally with their righteous
family members and will be able to have eternal increase. 4. They
will receive a fulness of joy. 5. They will have everything that our
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have—all power, glory, dominion,
and knowledge (see D&C 132:19–20)” (Gospel Principles, 2009,
p. 277).

“Exaltation in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom can be
obtained only by those who have faithfully lived the gospel of Jesus
Christ and are sealed as eternal companions” (Handbook 2: Administering
the Church, 2010, p. 3).

“Because of His Atonement, everyone will be resurrected (see 1
Corinthians 15:20–22). Those who repent, obey the commandments,
receive the saving ordinances, and keep their covenants
will receive the gift of eternal life (see Articles of Faith 1:3)”
(Teaching the Gospel in the Savior’s Way, 2012, p. 14).

Other Sources

“To be exalted in the kingdom of God, one must keep all of the
laws of the gospel and keep all the commandments of God. It is
great to keep the Word of Wisdom and to pay your tithes and offerings
and attend Sacrament meetings and fulfill all the other
activities in the Church. But if you omit your family research and
temple work, you fall short and at the peril of your own salvation”
(Patriarch Eldred G. Smith, Conference Reports, April 1962, p. 66).

“Exaltation is a synonym for eternal life. Exaltation comes only
to those who inherit the highest degree within the celestial kingdom.
It is the power to have eternal increase after the resurrection;
it consists in the continuation of the family unit throughout
eternity; it is the type of life that is lived by our Heavenly Father”
(BYU Professor Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the
Doctrines and Covenants 2:85).

“We have emphasized that we must strive to become like our Heavenly
Father. We must strive to become worthy of living with him.
The privilege of dwelling with our Father is the greatest gift to us.
We call this gift exaltation, eternal life, or salvation. It is given to
those who are worthy and prepared themselves for it during this
life… Exaltation is greater than the gift of immortality” (“Exaltation
Through Christ and His Church: Discussion 2,” Instructions for Stake
Missionaries: Discussions for New Members, 2001, pp. 2-4. Ellipsis mine).

“Without the resurrection, men would not be able to return to
live with their Father in heaven. God will judge each person to see
which degree of glory he or she will attain, dependent on their
life on the earth, their works, their behavior, and their beliefs. The
resurrection is the beginning of the immortal soul. Not all men will
be resurrected at the same time, ‘but every man in his own order’
(1 Corinthians 15:23), and each will be judged and will attain
that glory which he has earned. The resurrection will be the gift
from Christ for those who kept their first estate, and exaltation will
come to those who obey God’s laws and commandments here on
the earth” (Ed J. Pinegar, You, Your Family and the Scriptures, p. 89.
Italics in original).

“Not everyone lives to the same degree of righteousness on earth.
Some live better or worse lives than others. Each person will inherit
the degree of glory he earned while on the earth, according
to his works, actions, behavior, and deeds. (See Revelation 22:11-
22.)” (Ed J. Pinegar, You, Your Family and the Scriptures, pp. 93-94).

“Exaltation is the greatest of all the gifts and attainments possible.
It is available only in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom
and is reserved for members of the Church of the Firstborn. This
exalted status, called eternal life, is available to be received by a
man and wife. It means not only living in God’s presence, but receiving
power to do as God does, including the power to bear children
after the resurrection. Blessings and privileges of exaltation
require unwavering faith, repentance, and complete obedience to
the gospel of Jesus Christ” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism 2:479).

“LDS beliefs also emphasize the egalitarian nature of men-women
relationships. LDS doctrine teaches that there is a Mother
in Heaven as well as a Father, that Eve’s eating of the forbidden
fruit furthered God’s Plan of Salvation (see Fall of Adam), that
women must perform certain essential priesthood ordinances in
the temple, and that the highest order of the priesthood and the
complete blessings of exaltation are available only to the married
couple; neither can enter exaltation without the other” (Encyclopedia
of Mormonism 2:490).

“‘Eternal life’ is a higher state than immortality alone and means
to live forever in a resurrected condition in the presence of God,
and to become like God. It likewise is available only through the
grace of Jesus Christ and is the greatest of all gifts that God bestows
upon his children (D&C 14:7). Eternal life is exaltation into
the type and quality of life that God lives. Receiving eternal life is
conditional, predicated upon obedience to the fulness of gospel
law and ordinances (D&C 29:43-44; 130:20-21). It requires voluntary
obedience to all of the ordinances and principles of the gospel,
beginning with faith in Jesus Christ and continuing through
baptism, the laying-on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and
the covenants of the Endowment and marriage in the temple, and
of enduring to the end” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism 2:677-678).

“Individual salvation is another matter. Though all salvation is
available through the goodness and grace of Christ, Latter-day
Saints believe there are certain things that must be done in order
for divine grace and mercy to be activated in the lives of individual
followers of Christ. We must come unto him-accept him as Lord
and Savior, have faith on his name, repent of sin, be baptized,
receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and strive to keep God’s commandments
to the end of our days. Eternal life, known also as
salvation or exaltation, comes to those who believe and seek to
remain true to the gospel covenant. Christ is ‘the author of eternal
salvation unto all them that obey him’” (BYU Professor Emeritus
Robert L. Millet, The Mormon Faith: Understanding Restored Christianity,
p. 52).

“Eternal Life is a term which always means ‘exaltation,’ when used
in the scriptures (John 3:15; Romans 6:23; 1 John 1:2; 2 Nephi
2:28; D&C 5:22; 18:8; 131:5; 138:51; Moses 1:39)” (David R. Ridges,
Mormon Beliefs and Doctrines Made Easier, p. 88).

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