In His kingdoms His Laws absolutely rule all, and since each successive Law builds upon the last, those that live the highest law by necessity must live them all. For us to begin on the path back to Him, we first need to understand his laws, each in turn building one upon the other; and to do that we must begin with the First Law of Heaven, or the Law that governs the Telestial Kingdom.
In order to understand this first law, we must first examine and see those who refuse to enter into His kingdom, and why they choose not to partake of it. Only by realizing the differences between the lost and the saved, can we understand the law that they reject, which highlights the differences in the natures of those that reject that law versus those that embrace it.
We often hear that it is those that have “denied the Holy Spirit” that become the Sons of Perdition. However what exactly does that mean? Everyone has ignored the promptings of the Holy Spirit at one time or another. Obviously that isn't sufficient to damn one to hell for eternity, otherwise there would not be any hope for salvation.
If we read in 2 Thessalonians it speaks of a specific son of perdition at the last day, the Antichrist. Of him it says “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” We can see that all those that are lost in like manner follow the same mental pattern.
These are they that not only rebel against God, but deny all Divinity rejecting His light. They “deny the truth and defy [His] power”, making a mock of all that is good. This is how they deny “the Holy spirit after having received it”. In their raw unbridled pride and arrogance they raise themselves up as God.
Further in D&C 88 we read “That which breaketh a law, and abideth not by law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice, nor judgment. Therefore, they must remain filthy still.”
They are they that raise themselves up as the law rejecting his true Law, thus leaving them in their awful filthy state. We see from this that the phrase “filthy still” are key words that are associated solely with the with sons of perdition. Because of their filthiness they are “the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power”. This second death being a spiritual death and is the hell from which the Telestial are eventually saved, and the Perditious are lost to again for all time.
However after all this we do not learn what the Law requires. An eternal law is more than not doing something, it is a fundamental change in our nature. It is more than just not denying, for the Law demands a sacrifice of ourselves, after the manner of covenants of old. So what is it that we must sacrifice, and how is it that we must change?
In Alma we read “Therefore God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption, that they should not do evil, the penalty thereof being a second death”. As stated above, the condition that man must submit to in order to be saved from that death is that “they should not do evil”.
This is the Law: The first law of perfect obedience, wherein one must accept the truth, and bow to His power. God does not and cannot tolerate any wickedness, “for the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance”. This goes doubly for any of His kingdoms, where His will reigns supreme.
It seems obvious if one thinks about the nature of heaven. Of course there is no evil or filthiness in His kingdom, for filthiness begets more filthiness, which filthiness is the cause of suffering and misery, corruption and death. Even physical death is no escape from the stain of sin, but in this our mortal world we at least have an escape which is available by His grace. However if such corruption were to exist in an Eternal world, then it could only be an everlasting hell.
Therefore the only way to guarantee this state of cleanliness is to enforce that by the Law of obedience. Because we are not allowed to sin, this law requires the sacrifice of our agency, wherein we give up to Him our ability to do evil, whereupon he grants to us true agency where we are able to act as we wish, free from the yoke of sin. And what does it mean to relinquish our ability to sin?
In Alma we read: “Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence”. We can see from this that the righteous begin to receive this blessing even in part while in this life, and it is by being repulsed from all filthiness that they are protected from it.
How glorious this is, that we may act with true freedom, without fear of causing undue pain, and without worrying about our weakness. This is the first and founding Law upon which all others are built. It is the law of Justice and Obedience, where His will is absolute, and his Law protects all that live by it.
From this we see that the covenantal blessing associated with this Law is our salvation and preservation, where we give up iniquity that we may inherit life. Thus it is on the other hand that those that refuse to give up their ability to sin and their agency to rebel are they that spiritually die, having no agency “for they have no power”, being unable to act according to their wills for their wills are corrupt, being unable to find joy for they would only take joy in misery, seeking for happiness in wickedness.
“And they who remain shall also be quickened; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received.” They receiving the covenantal curse, which is that final death of which has been spoken.
Thus it is that all those that enter into any Kingdom must fulfill the words of Helaman who said “Yea, and it bringeth to pass the condition of repentance, that whosoever repenteth the same is not hewn down and cast into the fire; but whosoever repenteth not is hewn down and cast into the fire; and there cometh upon them again a spiritual death, yea, a second death, for they are cut off again as to things pertaining to righteousness.”
Now if this is the case, then you may wonder how it is that “liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers” are saved in the Telestial kingdom. Since they are sinners who repent not, how can they possibly be saved? Well to understand this we need to take a closer and broader look at repentance.
The word repentance is the same word as return in Hebrew. All those that wish to return to any degree of glory must obviously accept the light and truth that governs it. The key difference between the perditious and the saved is the acceptance of his judgment.
They that enter the Telestial Kingdom are those that reject His atonement and suffer for their sins. However they do so acknowledging their fault, bowing to the truth and accepting His justice. They are sanctified by justice, and in the end repent of their sins. In other words, they return from that hell as changed people, they having experienced the horrors of filthiness firsthand.
As these are they that have ever served the flesh while in life, so it is that they receive a flesh that has no inclination of evil in the next. It is by this that they can be saved, for they ultimately reject filthiness, and while it is not because they love righteousness, they still do so and become clean before Him. It is their journey through hell that renders within their hearts the abhorrence of sin. It is in this manner that they repent, by dying as to their old selves.
This goes hand in hand with the ordinance related to this kingdom. In D&C 84 we read that Repentance and Baptism are the preparatory gospel which was given to Israel, even after the Higher law was taken from them. This preparatory law is what governs this Telestial kingdom.
Repentance is an obvious necessity, to prevent filthiness from entering, but Baptism's relationship isn't as obvious. However in 2nd Nephi 31 we read that Jesus “witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments” through this Baptism, which it later restates that it is something that we must do. Also in Moses 6 we read “For by the water ye keep the commandment”.
Now what exactly does this baptism represent? It is a representation of our death, and rebirth as a new person, a person who has rejected sin. This is the very thing we must all do to gain entrance into his rest. Now this does not mean that those that reject Christ receive Baptism, but rather it means that all must go through that death and rebirth, either through the ordinance of Baptism wherein Christ has completed this act of spiritually dying and resurrecting in our stead, or by our literally dying spiritually and coming forth as changed creatures.
It is then one of life's ironies where those that are least willing to give up their agency and will, are the very ones that lose any ability to act. Conversely it is those that are humble enough to bow to the Lords laws that are able to live as they will, just as in the scripture in John 12 “He that loveth [or is personally attached to] his life shall lose it [or have it destroyed]; and he that hateth [or loveth less] his life in this world shall be preserved unto life eternal.”
The Lord is God, His decrees are unalterable and his will is absolute, for He “will punish the world for evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; [He] will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay down the haughtiness of the terrible”. This is the terrible justice of God, and His wrath upon us save we repent, “for he will not suffer that the wicked shall destroy the righteous.”
Obedience to Him is the first law of heaven, upon which all other laws are predicated, not obedience after the manner of men, or after the precepts of men. For men will multiply rules and precepts to the binding down of man, if we will hearken and trust in the arm of flesh. But this runs contrary to true obedience, where we must seek for Him and His will.
“Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism.”
As stated many times in the scriptures, if we keep His commandments we will prosper, both in this life and in the life to come. By actively seeking His will to keep the covenants that we have made with him, we will be preserved and raised up at the last day, not only to the Telestial Kingdom but beyond. Of this I testify amen.