Doctrine & Covenants/Church History
Lesson 20
The Kingdoms of Glory

Lesson Highlights

A study of this lesson will help us carefully consider the eternal inheritances in the three kingdoms of glory and encourage us to live in such a way that we will be able to inherit celestial glory and dwell in Heavenly Father’s presence with our families.

Scripture references for study:  D&C 76; 131; 132:19–24; 137
    Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at and will open in a new window.

Lesson 20 Handout (PDF)

Life After Death

Throughout the world there are a variety of beliefs regarding the ultimate destiny of man following the death of the physical body. Below are a few statements regarding beliefs on the afterlife. These are not comprehensive, but provide a flavor of the diversity of belief on this vital doctrine.

As discussed in Lesson 19, we are incredibly blessed in our day to have modern revelation from God about the eternal nature of man and about our eternal possibilities and destiny. The thoughts above represent major religious philosophies believed by literally billions of people throughout the world. What a humbling thing to realize that amongst these billions, we have been so blessed to gain a testimony of the plan of salvation. Such a realization should compel us to share our testimony with those we come in contact with.

In Lesson 19 we primarily discussed our life before mortality, mortality and its purposes, and the nature of the soul between death and resurrection. In this lesson we will focus on our ultimate destiny as sons and daughters of God.

A Vision of the Kingdoms of Glory

Section 76, the revelation on the kingdoms of glory, is one of the most important latter-day revelations regarding the eternal destiny of man. This revelation has provided us with information that helps us better understand our destiny as eternal beings and gives added insight and meaning to our earthly existence.

Section 76 was not revealed until February 1832, almost two years of the Church was organized. The Book of Mormon provided additional insight into life after death, but not did expound on the wide scope of eternal life as revealed in Section 76.  The Book of Mormon teaches:

Historical Background:

"For thus saith the Lord—I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end. Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory. And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom. Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations." (D&C 76:5-8)

According to Section 76, Joseph and Sidney had been working on the inspired retranslation of the Bible, in particular John 5:29, where it talks about the resurrection.

For additional background information on Section 76, see "The Vision" and Joseph Smith’s Bible Translation at

Photographs of from my trip to Hyrum, Ohio, in 2010.

John Johnson home in Hyrum 

Room where Section 76 was revealed to Joseph and Sydney


READ D&C 76:25-29. Vision of Lucifer, son of the morning.

READ D&C 76:30-38. Vision of the sons of perdition.

READ D&C 76:44-49. Extent of the suffering of the sons of perdition.

The Telestial Kingdom

READ D&C 76:81-89, 98-112. Description of those who reside in the telestial glory.

"And thus we saw, in the heavenly vision, the glory of the telestial, which surpasses all understanding" (v89).

The Terrestrial Kingdom

READ D&C 76:71-80. Those who inherit the Terrestrial glory.

The Celestial Kingdom

READ D&C 76:50-53. Those who come forth in the resurrection of the just.

READ D&C 76:54-70. Description of the inheritors of this Kingdom.

READ D&C 76:92-96. The Celestial Kingdom.

"In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; And if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase." (D&C 131:1-4)

President Joseph Fielding Smith:  "Section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants … should be treasured by all members of the Church as a priceless  heritage. It should strengthen their faith and be to them an incentive to seek the exaltation promised to all who are just and true" (Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:279).

Gospel Doctrine Notebook

Record your thoughts on the vision of our afterlife as recorded in D&C 76. How does this knowledge affect your daily life? What can you change to better prepare you for celestial glory?

Resources Used In This Lesson

A Marvelous Work & A Wonder by LeGrand Richards.

Church History & Modern Revelation by Joseph Fielding Smith.

Compton's Complete Reference Collection, 1998 Edition, on CD-ROM.

History of the Church (HC).

Journal of Discourses (JD).

Judaism 101- website.

Life of Heber C. Kimball by Orson F. Whitney.

Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie.

Religious - website.

Sermons of Melvin J. Ballard.

Studies In Scripture, Volume 1, edited by Robert L. Millet and Kent P. Jackson.

Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson.

Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball.

Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (TPJS).

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Changes last made on:  20 March 2017