Dear 100 Hour Board,
Is there a Celestial culture? Like is there a culture for the Celestial Kingdom? Like hairstyles, clothing, possibly food, architecture, music, poetry, etc. like to inhabitants of Kolob act a certain way that you could compare to a nation of people like Korean, Hopi, or Albanian for example? And in terms of culture will we all need to be acculturated it will keep our own cultures? Like I’m thinking about societies in the Middle East which are deeply sexist to the core. Will those people have to learn to be more egalitarian in the eternities or will God be like no it’s Ok to preserve your culture? Like are some things inherently telestial in culture? capitalism? Reality TV? Immodest dress? Drugs? If we’ll have to change will we kinda all be the same culture, people, tribe, family, even race? Will it just be one big blanded Wasatch Front scene but just on a slightly higher exalted situation.
-From Jello Salad to Eternity
I'm going with no, based on Brigham Young's words: “There is too much of a sameness in this community. . . . I am not a stereotyped Latter-day Saint and do not believe in the doctrine . . . away with stereotyped ‘Mormons’!”
One of the most incredible things about each species is how different it is within its own species. If there was only one type of flower, imagine how boring that would be. Beauty comes from diversity. I think there's a reason God created us in different races, ethnicities, cultures, families, even religions. There is good and beauty in all of them, and I'm convinced God doesn't want to do away with all of that in the eternities. Life would become incredibly dull if we were all the same. And there are so many other things that have no inherent good or bad quality (I don't think God cares if you eat hamburgers or curry...unless we're vegetarians in Heaven...do we even need to eat? There's a question for another day) that people can still practice in heaven.
When it comes to negative aspects, there are incredible ways that people are able to do away with them while keeping their good differences. For instance, the veil. In a class I took last semester, we talked about women's rights in the Middle East and the purpose and meaning behind the veil. Some women wear the veil as a sign of their commitment to God. Some women are forced to wear the veil against their wishes. When we come to heaven, I don't think God's going to say, "All right all you ladies, take off your veils and never wear them again, they're all a sign of the patriarchy and sexism." (You could argue the same with Mormon garments—some people think Mormon women are being restricted and forced to wear them.) Instead, I think God's going to direct people to do what they feel shows respect and honor to God. And if you're in the presence of God, feeling God's love for all God's children, male and female alike, I don't think those who love God and belong in heaven will continue to think that one gender is less than another. But you can still love God and worship God in different ways.
Something really fascinating that C.S. Lewis wrote is that all things start as good, but are twisted or corrupted to become evil. So I would argue that nothing is inherently telestial in nature if you go back to the purpose behind it. For instance, I imagine people in heaven will wear whatever they want, but they'll wear it because it makes them comfortable and happy. People won't be judging others for what they wear because they'll be loving and have control over their thoughts. And I would love reality TV in heaven if it was like The Great British Baking Show, where all the contestants are so sweet to each other and there is so much goodness that I have actually cried of joy watching it. Basically, if it's brought you real joy and would feel comfortable showing it to God (oh my word I would love showing The Great British Baking Show to God. We would make a movie night of it), I think it'll be in heaven.
Overall, if heaven was just one big blanded Wasatch Front scene, I don't think a lot of us (included me) would enjoy spending eternity there. Because heaven is the place we all want to be, I'm certain there will be thousands of flowers, thousands of cultures, and thousands of true individuals there.
-guppy of doom