In the musical Brigadoon, two New Yorkers wander into a Scottish village where the people are acting strange. Turns out (spoiler alert) that their minister prayed to God to have Brigadoon disappear two hundred years ago, and the miracle was granted: Brigadoon reappears for just one day every hundred years.
But there was a catch. If any of the residents of Brigadoon crossed over the borders of the village to leave, then it would disappear forever.
That seems like a pretty important condition -- one that should not get lost in the fine print.
What if there were conditions, or laws, just as important for you and me?
What are those?
We're Not in Kansas, Anymore
First we need to figure out where we are.
And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions.
If we can discover what kingdom we're in, then we can learn the laws that govern here.
But first we've got to know where "here" is! If this is Timbuktu, then what are the laws of Timbuktu? If this is Willy Wonka's workshop, then we better know that (and avoid the blueberry gum).
All kingdoms have a law given; And there are many kingdoms; for there is no space in which there is no kingdom; and there is no kingdom in which there is no space, either a greater or a lesser kingdom.
"If It Please the Court"
I am going to build a case to show what kingdom we're in by introducing some facts and evidence. If you find the evidence persuasive, then great. If not, no worries.
Exhibit A: The earth we find ourselves on is really special. I mean, super-duper-special.
The earth abideth the law of a celestial kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation and transgresseth not the law --
Wherefore, it shall be sanctified . . . That bodies who are of the celestial kingdom may possess it forever and ever; for, for this intent was it made and created, and for this intent are they sanctified.
(D&C 88:25, 26, 20)
There's a lot to unpack there. Let's just say for now that this earth is destined to become our heaven:
This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants that dwell thereon.
Exhibit B: Those who won the War in Heaven got to come to earth with physical bodies.
But . . . where did these physical bodies come from?
Well, we are carbon-based life forms, aren't we? 60% water? Lots of hydrogen and oxygen, and in my case, beef jerky.
Our physical bodies came from the elements of this earth. We are made of the same stuff as the earth. Like Christ, we are all of the same substance.
To be technical, our first parents came from this earth before the Fall, when it was called "good" (Moses 2:10).
And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth.
And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground.
(Moses 3:5, 7)
Exhibit C: Surprise! We are not alone here. The losers of the War in Heaven got to come to earth, too (without physical bodies). Hmmm.
Exhibit D: It is necessary, as part of God's plan, that the earth die.
Yes, that's right.
Yea, notwithstanding it shall die, it shall be quickened again, and shall abide the power by which it is quickened, and the righteous shall inherit it.
Exhibit E: Death as we understand it is not possible in a celestial state. Houston, we have a problem.
As part of the Fall of Mankind, the earth fell from the place of its creation and ultimately came to reside here, in this solar system, orbiting a minor star in the Milky Way Galaxy, in what is the ghetto of the universe.
The earth is slumming it.
So while the earth is living a celestial law (like Christ), it is also mortal: we all find ourselves in a fallen condition, earth included.
Exhibit F: Due to the Fall, the kingdom we're currently in is a "lesser" kingdom.
But which kingdom?
Well, this should come as no surprise. The people on this planet murdered their King, didn't they?
Those who are the more wicked part of the world . . . shall crucify him . . . and there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God.
(2 Nephi 10:3)
In what kingdom do we find murderers, liars, adulterers, and those those who are "thrust down to hell" (D&C 76:84).
The Telestial Kingdom.
Exhibit G: Here we are cut off from God's presence. We can die and turn to dust. We suffer temporal and spiritual death.
And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish.
(2 Nephi 2:5)
Exhibit H:We are stuck here in this Telestial Kingdom. I don't think we talk about this fact nearly enough.
We are literally stranded here.
If the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God . . . . And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God.
(2 Nephi 9:8-9)
So it is not just our bodies that are stuck here, but also our spirits. When we die, our spirits enter the spirit world . . . which is still "here."
Exhibit I: Where do we send criminals, like murderers and robbers? Well, Prophets describe our home here as:
Spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies . . . by the power of the resurrection.
(2 Nephi 9:12)
Exhibit J: Here's an intriguing piece of evidence: Satan is permitted to be in charge here as the "prince of this world" (John 14:30).
Well, we've marshaled the evidence. I hope you've realized something profound:
We are in hell.
Highway to Hell
Jesus showed us the only way to heaven is through hell.
He descended below all things,
in that he comprehendeth all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth.
We are "serving time" here on earth. We fell short of the glory of God and have been placed on parole.
At least we have been given the opportunity of "work release."
And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation.
(2 Nephi 2:21)
One of the purposes of coming here was to be cleansed again through the baptism of birth.
We were all pardoned when we entered this world, and we will all be resurrected because of it, thanks to Christ.
Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God.
So, was it possible for us to sin before we were born? What sort of crimes could we have committed in the premortal world?
And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son . . . from the foundation of the world . . . on account of their exceeding faith and good works . . . while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds.
Sounds to me as though things were not so different.
Our warden, Satan, wants us to serve out our life sentence (and considering we are eternal beings, that is a very long time).
The devil wants us to forget where we are, and so he's created this world -- our prison-kingdom -- to be filled with sinful diversions.
Babylon has so many pleasures we may forget we are in bondage at all.
Remember, the most perfect prison is the one we never want to leave.
Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
Lucifer seeks to lull us to sleep in carnalsecurity. "Shhhh. All is well. This place ain't so bad . . ."
Jesus to the Rescue
What was Jesus's first sermon about? What did he say about his mission?
He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.