Unless I am mistaken, it seems to me that the Mormon definition of the Terrestrial Kingdom (the second highest kingdom of glory) is essentially identical to mainstream Christianity's definition of Heaven:

  • It's a paradise
  • You can see Jesus there (just Jesus, he's the only God there)
  • You get to see all your deceased loved ones
  • You can't become a god

Mormons believe that the Terrestrial Kingdom is where Christians who do not accept the fullness of the Gospel (modern prophets, the Book of Mormon) will go after judgement:

75 These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men.

76 These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fulness. (D&C 76:75, 76)

If this is true, then that basically means that Mormons believe all the other Christians are going exactly where they believe they are going. And Mormons simply believe in a higher heaven where you can be exalted and become a god, and that not being admitted into this higher heaven would be a type of Hell to them.

Identities of deities and other doctrines aside, after judgement, how does existence in Heaven according to mainstream Christianity, differ from the glory of the Terrestrial Kingdom?

  • I'm not sure about this "visiting" thing: where do you see that (both for LDS and for "mainstream Christianity")? Jan 26, 2015 at 17:49
  • @MattGutting - I meant in heaven, you get to see all of your dead loved ones in heaven, I've edited my question to be clearer about this.
    – ShemSeger
    Jan 26, 2015 at 17:50
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    Well one big difference is the Terrestrial kingdom is better than the mainstream Heaven. Joseph Smith taught that if you saw the Telestial kingdom, the very lowest one, you would be tempted to commit suicide right now to go there. The Terrestrial kingdom is supposed to be infinitely better than that. Also many religions don't believe in eternal families.
    – atherises
    Jan 26, 2015 at 18:28
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    @H3br3wHamm3r81 - I think it's less logic and more grammer, but you're right. Using a big 'G' is just force of habit, I've edited the usage in my question.
    – ShemSeger
    Jan 26, 2015 at 19:32
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    Mainstream Christianity knows very little about Heaven. Popular culture "knows" much more. I'm not sure this is an answerable question.
    – Flimzy
    Jan 27, 2015 at 3:35

2 Answers 2


I want the answers to focus on the day-to-day living/quality of life/level of perfection in heaven.

That's next to impossible, as there aren't any detailed (canon) claims of day-to-day activity, quality of life, etc. that could help us out here.

"What is heaven like?" is one of the great mysteries. It probably has a similar answer to "What is being alive like?": you'd have to be there to know.

Comparison is even more tricky.

"Christians say that they will be happy by 1 unit." "Mormons say citizens of the Terrestrial kingdom will be happy by 2 units." "3 units." "4 units!" "Infinity!" "Infinity + 1!"

Ostensibly, yes they are quite alike. There are many similarities as you pointed out.

Probably the biggest difference between mainstream Christian heaven and the LDS terrestial kingdom is this: mainstreams Christrians in heaven are as happy as they could ever possibly be. Those in the LDS Terrestrial kingdom aren't.

  • My note was meant as a precaution, I wanted to avoid answers that took the opportunity to list doctrinal differences between denominations not pertinent this topic. I'm going to remove the note from my question.
    – ShemSeger
    Jan 27, 2015 at 16:02
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    I'd like to argue against your point actually. "As happy as they could ever possibly be." suggests that that can't be any happier, which is exactly what happens in the Terrestrial Kingdom, you reach a point where you can have no greater joy, it's not possible to get happier. In the Celestial Kingdom, where there is eternal progression, there is no limit to joy, you keep getting happier, beyond what anyone can comprehend. So, supposing your statement is true, it would seem that the Terrestrial Kingdom is still exactly as mainstream christians imagine heaven to be.
    – ShemSeger
    Jan 29, 2015 at 22:45

The question is a little vague, since "Heaven according to mainstream Christianity" is vague, but there are some differences we can infer.

  1. The Terrestrial Kingdom will not only be Christians. The Terrestrial Kingdom contains "they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men". This presumably would contain those of other religions, and even those who do not believe in God but lived honorably. According to most Christian denominations, you need to be Christian to go to Heaven. There may also be additional requirements, such as be baptized, or being a member of the correct church.
  2. There will be faithful Christians who do not go to the Terrestrial Kingdom. In particular, those who go to the Celestial Kingdom will not be in the Terrestrial Kingdom. So, if you are in the Terrestrial Kingdom, you will not be in the same place as Peter, or Moses, for example. So you may be bummed out by that. On the other hand, in mainstream Christianity, all faithful Christians (or Jews before Christ came) will end up in the same place. (Although, you could say that those in the Celestial Kingdom would not go to the heaven according to traditional Christianity, having accepted "Mormonism". The Celestial Kingdom is quite different from where traditional Christians think Mormons would go, though.)

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