Latter-day Saint Life

Do You Have to Go on a Mission to Go to the Celestial Kingdom? A Seminary Teacher's Surprising Answer


David Palmer, or Brother Palmer as his students know him, was discussing the importance of missionary work in a seminary class he taught several years ago when a student asked, “It’s true that you don’t have to go on a mission to go to the celestial kingdom, right?”

Palmer said that he could see right through the young student’s question. “I knew what he was doing,” Palmer said, sharing his story on Hi Five Live’s Facebook page. “What he really was doing is he wanted everyone in that room to know you don’t have to go on a mission.”

Palmer wanted to dismiss the question by telling him that yes, going on a mission is a requirement to get to the celestial kingdom, but he knew that answer wasn’t right. Flustered and not sure what to say, he simply said, “No, no you don’t have to go on a mission to go to the celestial kingdom.”

After the lesson, the question continued to weigh on Palmer’s mind. He was bothered by the experience. He didn’t know what to feel, and he didn’t know what he could have said. “Don’t we have to follow the prophet to go to the celestial kingdom?” He thought. 

He offered a small prayer, asking for the answer. He knew it was a question that was important to a lot of people.

No immediate answer came, and Palmer left his office. As he walked down the hall, however, a distinct voice came into Palmer’s mind. It said, “You don’t have to go on a mission to go to the celestial kingdom. You have to go on a mission so other people could go to the celestial kingdom.”

The answer struck Palmer’s heart. “That’s it,” he said in the live Facebook video. “That’s the answer. . . . It’s the two great commandments. It’s that we love God and that He asked us to, and we love our fellow man, and we can’t think of the thought of making it to the celestial kingdom and not doing what we could to try to share the beautiful gospel message.”

Lead image retrieved from David Palmer's Facebook page. 
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