It isn’t a secret that the Mormon church is losing some of its members. The reasons for the loss of members are manifold.
Some say the reasons are complicated, others say it a matter of choice. Those who are leaving the faith talk about such things as the multiple accounts of the Joseph Smith’s first vision or problems with the Book of Abraham. The list goes on. Those who are staying and thriving in the faith talk about testimony and spiritual experiences. The list goes on.
The scriptures address the varying degrees of faith manifest by church members. Mormons have D&C 76. This revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith by vision provides some powerful insight into what happens to church members and others on judgment day.
It gives some details about the three degrees of glory, in other words, heaven. One of the more interesting aspects of D&C 76 is the perspective given about two of the kingdoms of glory, the terrestrial and celestial. The terrestrial will be inhabited by honorable men and women while the celestial will be occupied by men and women who are valiant in the testimony of Jesus.
Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie gave a description that helps us understand what it means to be valiant:
“To be valiant in the testimony of Jesus is to take the Lord’s side on every issue. It is to vote as he would vote. It is to think what he thinks, to believe what he believes, to say what he would say and do what he would do in the same situation. It is to have the mind of Christ and be one with him as he is one with his Father.” General Conference Oct 1974, “Be Valiant in the Fight of Faith.”
He also ask a few questions that drive home the point of what it means to be valiant:
Am I valiant in the testimony of Jesus if my chief interest and concern in life is laying up in store the treasures of the earth, rather than the building up of the kingdom?
Am I valiant if I have more of this world’s goods than my just needs and wants require and I do not draw from my surplus to support missionary work, build temples, and care for the needy?
Am I valiant if my approach to the Church and its doctrines is intellectual only, if I am more concerned with having a religious dialogue on this or that point than I am on gaining a personal spiritual experience?” General Conference Oct 1974, “Be Valiant in the Fight of Faith”
D&C 76 provides details about what qualifies individuals to the different degrees of glory. Those who qualify for the celestial kingdom are valiant in the testimony of Christ. Those who will occupy the terrestrial kingdom are said to be the “honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men.”
Could it be that honorable men and women are lukewarm in their commitment, whereas those who are valiant are committed?
Could it be that it is as simple as qualifying consistently for a temple recommend to be considered valiant, thus being a joint heir with the Savior?
Each day we should consider what principles we have lived. Were we quickened by a portion of the celestial or terrestrial glory? It matters because the time will come when we will receive a fullness of the glory of that kingdom (celestial or terrestrial) we chose to embrace each day.