These are thoughts, not doctrine. I have no special line to truth. I do not expect anything I write on my blog to be accepted blindly. It is the responsibility of each person to find truth for him/herself. Besides that, I am still processing the following ideas. They may not be true at all.
So, I've been listening to the lecture on priesthood (given in Orem, Utah) – and have been listening to the lecture on Christ earlier (given in Ephraim, Utah), as well as conversing with others about the latter. Just now, listening to the priesthood lecture, it hit me, almost as a realization.
This is hell. For real. Literally. The devils reside here, thus it is hell. D&C 76 gives a whole list of types of people who will dwell in hell for their reward. Somewhere (in the D&C, I think; perhaps even in section 76) it is said or written that those of a higher kingdom can go to the lower kingdoms (but not vice versa). It does not say that those in the lower kingdoms will know or realize that there are residents of a higher kingdom dwelling among them and helping them.
Alma 13 seems to speak of God's eternal rounds as being earths. We go to an earth, learn and become all we can, then go to our rewards – climbing up over and over until we become someone God can trust. What struck me was this: The reward of the lowest kingdom is to go for another go-round on a planet like this. None of us initially know if we are in this hell as a punishment for past misdeeds. We can only know it if Gods or angels tell us.
You see, those of a higher kingdom (Jesus, many of the prophets) have condescended to come here even though they have already successfully passed this level of things (see “The First Three Words” by Denver Snuffer).
What I am not saying: I am not saying we return to this earth over and over again. The scriptures (Alma 13) say that it was before the foundation of the world that certain people were proven by their faith and good works. One round seems to consist of a plan to create a planet, creating the planet, putting an Adam and Eve upon it, having a fall, then all of God's children who have that planet as a reward or who are assigned to it as helpers are then born onto it over the course of several thousands of years. The planet may also include those who have never experienced being on a telestial hell-planet before.
At the end of that, there is a reaping and a putting of people into where they belong. Then those who qualify for hell get the opportunity to try again on another hell-planet. This fits in with the scriptures that say this life is the time to prepare and after it no man can work. Were it a coming back to this earth on this round over and over again, that scripture (and others like it) would be lying to us.
Those who reap a higher reward may, according to scriptures and to my understanding, condescend to go to a telestial hell-world to help save souls, the most obvious example being Jesus Christ.
Joseph Smith said we needed to follow Christ, apparently even to the point of reaching the highest rung on the heavenly ladder, then going to a hell-earth as a sinless sacrifice and to resurrect those who cannot resurrect themselves. (See his last general conference talk in 1844.)
How resurrection and bodies fit into this, I do not know. I cannot see how a physical body, forever united to a spirit can separate from it to gain a fresh body at the birth of another body. Unless, these are different dimensions and there are millions of kinds of bodies to be had.
I wonder if a terrestrial planet would be like this one, sans the devils and their influences.
But, then, why the statement by Joseph Smith that we would kill ourselves to get to the telestial kingdom (hell) if we are already here? And I promise you: this life is not worth killing oneself to get into.
Just a note: This is what D&C 76 says in regards to those who go to hell. I do find it a bit confusing in light of what I think I am learning. Like I said, I am still processing this, still trying to figure it out:
89: And thus we saw, in the heavenly vision, the glory of the telestial, which surpasses all understanding;
98-106: And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one; for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world; For these are they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas. These are they who say they are some of one and some of another—some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch; But received not the gospel [what is "the gospel"?], neither the testimony of Jesus [the testimony that Jesus has of you/them?], neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant. [Received, not "followed." Following seems to be frowned upon in this scripture.]
Last of all, these all are they who will not be gathered with the saints, to be caught up unto the church of the Firstborn, and received into the cloud. These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie. These are they who suffer the wrath of God on earth. These are they who suffer the vengeance of eternal fire. These are they who are cast down to hell and suffer the wrath of Almighty God, until the fulness of times, when Christ shall have subdued all enemies under his feet, and shall have perfected his work;
Question: When is the "fulness of times"? When is it that all enemies are subdued and the work is perfected? Is it at the end of the 1,000 years of peace (Millennium)? Or is it at the end of the whole mess, at the end of the perhaps thousands of cycles it will take to get people to finally "get it" and stop hurting each other? Is that when the "glory" of the telestial world will come forth and there will be no more hell-earths to inhabit for this particular group of Father's children?