"If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun." - Katharine Hepburn
Question #32521 posted on 01/25/2007 3:01 a.m.

dear 100 hour board,

i remember being told that joseph smith said once that the telestial kingdom was so amazing that we would commit suicide jsut to be there. anyone else recognize the idea? is it based on anything he said or is it a complete mormon myth?

- volatile

A: Dear volatile,

You know, I remember hearing a similar statement. Yet, as I search my copy of "Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith," I can't find it. Fortunately, Truman Madsen, one of my heroes, came through for us both in his book, Radiant Life:
Many of us have heard the statement made-and ascribed to either Joseph Smith or Brigham Young-to the effect that if a person could see the glory of the telestial kingdom he would commit suicide to get there. If only we could get the fundamental doctrines across to Church members as rapidly as we get across rumors, everyone would be saved. Am I saying that's a rumor? Well, I am saying this, that over a period of many years I have combed everything Joseph Smith said and wrote, and I can't find it. Hugh Nibley has done the same with Brigham Young's words, and he can't find it. It is hard to prove a negative, of course. What I can say is that we have found a statement from Joseph via Wilford Woodruff that says something else that is close, and I suspect it is the origin of the alleged statement (see Diary of Charles C. Walker, August 1837, in Church Historical Department). Elder Woodruff said the Prophet taught this, roughly: that if we could see what is beyond the veil we couldn't stand to stay here in mortality for five minutes. And I suggest from the context that he was not talking about the telestial kingdom. He was talking about what it was like to be in the presence of God and the family.

So, there you have it. It's a Mormon myth. It's not worth settling for anything less than the Celestial kingdom.