Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Will Mother Teresa go to Heaven?

Last night while passing through the stake building a young sister asked me if I had a minute to answer a question that was bothering her.  I asked her if she would like to come to my office and we discussed her concern.

She said she had read about Mother Teresa's life and the miracles she had performed and was wondering whether she would go to the celestial kingdom.

I told her that I had great respect for Mother Teresa and asked the young sister if she had turned to the scriptures to find her answer.  She had not. 

We then read together a requirement to enter into the celestial kingdom from John 3:5 in the Bible which states "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

I asked her if Mother Teresa had fulfilled this requirement and the young sister hesitantly said that she had done her best according to the knowledge she had.  I confirmed this to be true. 
I then lovingly asked her to turn with me to The Book of Mormon.  We read aloud from 1 Nephi 14:10 which states the following:   
"Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth."

I asked the sister if she thought the Lord would accept a baptism performed in a church that is not the church of the Lamb of God.

I noticed that the sister was almost in tears.  I reassured her that Mother Teresa was a good woman who had simply not had the fullness of the gospel in this life.   I explained further that Mother Teresa had experienced doubts and struggles over her religious beliefs which lasted nearly fifty years until the end of her life.  I told her that this was in my opinion the spirit telling her that more truth was out there.

I assured her that if Mother Teresa accepts the true gospel in the spirit world and the baptism that has been done by our church in our temples on her behalf, she too may enter into the celestial kingdom. 

I am proud to belong to a church that provides a way for all people both the living and the dead to return to our father in heaven.    


SUNNofaB.C.Rich said...

Wow, you handled it great Pres. I like how you lovingly gave her the extremely bad news first and then sent her off with a glimmer of hope. Way to handle it!

diogenes said...

You know President P. is right. It really is about getting yourself legally right before the Lord. If Mother Theresa had only been good enough in the pre-existence to have been in a Mormon family, she could have had a lifetime of self-fulfillment instead of hugging lepers and being depressed all her life. But we need not despair in that we can only hope that she has advanced enough to see the truth and will accept the true gospel now.

Stake Pres. said...
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Brian said...

I know a guy in my stake that heard from his cousin, who's roommate at BYU served a Mission in India back in the 1990's, who heard it from his Zone Leader that the Sister Missionaries had tried to teach Mother Teresa the First Discussion when they met her in a market once.

So I'm pretty sure Mother Teresa missed her chance, which is so so sad. But the Lord can't make exceptions, or he would cease to be God.

If God bent the rules and let Mother Teresa in after she learns the truth in the afterlife, then he would have to let other good people into the Celestial Kingdom!

Stake Pres. said...
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Paul said...

This is so funny it hurts!

Poor MT. However, I don’t think she’d like being in the CK anyway -- too many married people there with gazillions of spirit off-spring being born to plural celestial marriage god husbands. And all of that celestial screwing that must be happening all of the time! I don’t think they’d be her kind of people. Better that she go to the Terrestrial kingdom with all of the “honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men.” But who knows? with all of those “men” there she finally might have a chance to get laid for at least once in her life instead of acting like a saint all of the time.

Stake Pres. said...
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Dblock said...

I'm sorry, but you are wrong. Mother Teresa has led one of the most beautiful lives a person can live. She dedicated and consecrated her life in the service of others.
If she doesn't get into heaven, I sure as hell hope you won't

Ammy said...

I'm with Dblock. If there is a heaven of sorts, I bet she's there. Her work was beautiful.

Daryl Young said...

Wow this is a bit off base - I am very surprise Pres that you didn’t correct Diogenes - do you actually agree and believe what he said or don’t want to create waves?

Diogenes comment displays a lot of arrogance, ignorance, no education, sheltered in his own cocoon of self righteousness, miss information, no selfless physical or spiritual act of charity. Lets say Diogenes is correct. This means...

in the history of the world, most of the spirits in Heaven basically didn’t do very well in the pre-existence because they weren’t born in a good Mormon family - if fact Joseph Smith wasn’t good enough in the pre-existence because he wasn’t born in a good Mormon family either - being cast out from place to place - every convert in the church weren't good in the pre-existence.

And he implies that Mother Theresa did not live a lifetime of self-fulfillment. Maybe serving her fellow man was self fulfilling, what she lead was a Christ like life - not indulgent in herself but in the service of others, especially lepers. Why would people think she was depressed all her life. What did King Benjamin teach us? Mosiah 2:17. If you’re not in the service of your fellow man - including lepers - and your not being in the service of God - then who are you being in the service of? Self(ish) fulfillment?

I am pretty much disgusted that as a Stake Pres you didn’t correct this diogenes.

Plus Brian's comment - (btw, sheeesh, great way to establish credibility of your story - ever heard of Chinese whispers?) a brief encounter with sister missionaries does not constitute as her "chance" if that was the case all the church would have to do is do a big media campaign just once, cover the whole world in one go and that would constitute a everyone’s "chance".

A chance to refuse is when they have been first given the opportunity to receive a testimony and feel the spirit bear witness to them the truthfulness of the Gospel but thats not all, they must also recognize and acknowledge it to be a witness of the spirit of the truth, then if they reject it, that is called "their chance".

This in no way is bending the rules of God, as God is merciful & just. Mother Theresa not only did the best she knew how, but does better than most of us Mormons. She will have her chance to hear & receive the truthfulness of the Gospel, her work can and will be done for her. She has as much chance as Pres Monson himself to receive the same blessings regardless of a rumored brief encounter with sister missionaries in a market place.

Many more people will actually reach the celestial Kingdom that everyone thinks. If not many of Gods children actually returned to live with him, then that would mean the adversary won. Is Satan more powerful than God? If the majority of Gods children are just merely "happy" to be in the Terrestrial Kingdom, then Satan has won.

In the pre-existence the was a council of Heaven when a plan was presented - the Plan of Salvation, as a result - (Job38:7) "the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" - I ask you, would the stars and all His children shout for joy if a pan was presented in the council of Heaven that only a "few" would make it. It was a plan that was devised for "maximum" results.

Elder Bruce R McConkie said the following to a group of Church Educational Systems employees gathered in SLC: "You tell your students that far more of our Father's children will be exalted than we may think"

Pres Wilford Woodruff in April 1894 gen conference stated: "There will be very few, if any [in the spirit world] who will not accept the gospel"

Daryl Young said...

Part 2 of previous post

Pres Lorenzo Snow taught "When the Gospel is preached to the spirits in prison, the success attending that preaching will be far greater than that attending the preaching of our Elders in this life. I believe there will be very few indeed of those spirits who will not gladly receive the Gospel when it is carried to them. The circumstances there will be a thousand times more favorable"

So the correct answer you should have given to the young sister when asked if Mother Teresa will go to Heaven is... "Its not up to us to judge to say whether she will or wont, the great and marvelous thing about the Lord's Gospel is that everyone will be given the opportunity, no matter who they are, in this life or the next. We are judged by our works, our words and our very thoughts, then in the end saved by 'grace' she lived a Christ like life as any could live, all she needs are the saving ordinances to make it complete, and if she accepts those in the spirit world, then yes, it seems she will be"

Stake Pres. said...
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Amy Hammill said...

I am a new LDS member and if I would not have already known better this page would have turned me away from the faith not drawn me to it. I agree completely with Daryl Young’s response above. I would also like to add that I am having trouble coming up with another person’s name (regardless of religious denomination) who is remotely close to serving the needs of others as Mother Teresa had in her lifetime. Many of us strive to help others and serve our Heavenly Father but I do not think we should dare enter our own name in the same sentence as to compare our works with that of hers. President Paternoster you said -

“It is with this knowledge that I have faith that Mother Teresa who, like me, dedicated her life to serving others will also enter the kingdom of heaven.”

I have no doubt you have done great service also but why do some feel the need to praise themselves or are you comparing yourself to her and her works?

Here are a few of Mother Teresa’s accomplishments in her incredible life-


We are taught to honor and respect all enlightened people and many words here are not close to showing the regard Mother Teresa deserves.

I feel people on this blog need to pay better attention to their use of words.

SUNNofaB.C.Rich said “I like how you lovingly gave her the extremely bad news first and then sent her off with a glimmer of hope. ”
What? A glimmer …a faint ray of hope? This isn’t the message we really want to send to people. The message and plan is full of hope!

diogenes stated “If Mother Theresa had only been good enough in the pre-existence to have been in a Mormon family, she could have had a lifetime of self-fulfillment instead of hugging lepers and being depressed all her life.”

To me and many others this sentence is filled with arrogance and condescension and President Paternoster, you thanked them for their kind and thoughtful comments?

The purpose of a Blog is to bring people together and uplift while discussing spiritual topics. When I read this I was horrified that others may think this is what all Mormons think. I personally see articles written and handled like this one actually doing more harm then good.

~Dayna said...

@diogenes - I believe that you may be mistaken about the pre-existence and the bearing on the family into which you were born. I converted as an adult and my own patriarchal blessing, given to me by a kindly older gentleman whom I could tell was bursting with the spirit, clearly says:

"You chose to come to this earth through a family that was not exposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ, full well knowing that when you heard the gospel that you would immediately know it was true and embrace it with all your heart."

By this token it can be extrapolated that Mother Teresa may have also rejected the gospel in the pre-existence as well, or was not as valiant as some others and her spending all of her time in poverty and among the diseased was her punishment. I am sure when she is given the opportunity to break out of spirit prison, she will burst forth and start preaching to other forlorn spirits not good enough to be born in the covenant or weren't valiant in the pre-existence like me.

I know the words of a patriarch are true. If not they would have not received this most unique and honorable calling. I know I wasn't supposed to share any of it at all, but I couldn't help but to bear my testimony of the experience to my Relief Society president. For many of the things which I told her were made mention of in this unique and personal document cementing its validity for me.

Anonymous Gideon said...


This is NOT a website sanctioned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Nor is "President Paternoster" a stake president within the Church. Rather, this site is farce, and [usually] not good farce, at that.

Most of the posts here are written by quasi-apostates who mock those who are sincerely striving, albeit imperfectly, to follow Jesus.

Caveat utilitor.

Kent said...

A follow up question I have is how can someone get nearer to God by abiding in the precepts of the Book of Mormon if there is nothing about the temple in the BOM? So if it is true that by following the Book of Mormon people will get closer to God, they still can't ever be with God because the temple is not in the BOM.

Also, how can the BOM contain the fullness of the gospel, as the introduction of the BOM says, if no one would ever get into the Celestial Kingdom by following it?

Anonymous said...

Two things are so necessary for salvation- the basic ordinances available in the true church and the exemplary life we live. For those who are born in the church the first one is a flow. The second one is the defining factor. The mother lived the second part the best, far better than any I know, save a few only.
Wen Joseph Smith saw his brother Alvin Smith in celestial kingdom who was not baptised the Lord said in section 137 all who would have accepted the gospel if given to them are inheritors of celestial kingdom.
My opinion - the mother is doing a great work for the Lord on the other side as well. She will come forth in the morning of the resurrection..