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REBECCA - I am confused about people who are single or divorced and what happens after they die. One place you say that if they stay righteous they can attain the celestial kingdom, but elsewhere you say that they will become angels that minister to others who are righteous. Which one is correct?
JOEL - Both are correct. Those who remain righteous can obtain the Celestial kingdom whether they are sealed to a companion or not. But in the D&C we learn:
"In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this border of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];
And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.
He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase."(D&C 131:1-4)
"Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world.
Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory." (D&C 132:15-16)
The way we understand these scriptures is that those, who for some reason are not sealed to an eternal companion, can still obtain one of the two lower levels in the Celestial Kingdom where they serve as ministering angels to those in the highest level and perhaps even to those in the lower Terrestrial kingdom. (D&C 76:87)
However, God will make sure that all members of His kingdom on earth will have a fair chance to be sealed to an eternal companion; if not in this life then perhaps during the Millennium. (D&C 137:7-9)
President Boyd K. Packer said:
"Any soul who by nature or circumstance is not afforded the blessing of marriage and parenthood, or who innocently must act alone in rearing children, working to support them, will not be denied in the eternities any blessing—provided they keep the commandments." (“For Time and All Eternity,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 21)
President Harold B. Lee said:
“[Women] who have been denied the blessings of wifehood or motherhood in this life—who say in their heart, if I could have done, I would have done, or I would give if I had, but I cannot for I have not—the Lord will bless you as though you had done, and the world to come will compensate for those who desire in their hearts the righteous blessings that they were not able to have because of no fault of their own.” (Ye Are the Light of the World, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974, p. 292.)
President Spencer W. Kimball said:
"And in the meantime, we promise you that insofar as eternity is concerned, no soul will be deprived of rich and high and eternal blessings for anything which that person could not help, that the Lord never fails in his promises, and that every righteous person will receive eventually all to which the person is entitled and which he or she has not forfeited through any fault of his or her own. " (“The Importance of Celestial Marriage,” Tambuli, July 1980, 1)