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Elder Christofferson once preached that the aim of the gospel is to draw down “perfect justice and infinite mercy” from heaven. The phrase stuck with me. Perfect justice and infinite mercy.  Infinite mercy, sure.  But who among us struts so cockily that he wants perfect justice?  Who among the wise can know that he is more sinned against than sinning?  None.

But the truly wise know that justice is joyful.

The telestial kingdom is a happier place than any we know. Why should that be? Because perfect justice is experienced there. Justice is not an abstraction. It is laid in the foundation of every heart. It is the hope of ages. It is the perennial message of the greatest poets and the cheapest revenge flick. It is powerful enough that when men catch a vision of it, it can drive them to fanaticism: fiat justitia, ruat caelum.

Perfect justice is what the telestial kingdom has that we now lack. It is the transcendental, divine element that makes it a kingdom in heaven and not just a kind of earthly paradise. I sense that the inhabitants there are continually filled with joy because the rightness of their state is so present to them that it is almost palpable. They may even have the glory of knowing that they themselves were part of their own judgment, since the scriptures say that the unrighteous will effectively exile themselves from the throne.  The desire for justice on oneself is the highest expression of the Nameless Virtue.   Like all virtues, it is sweet.  In its highest form, godlike.  The telestial kingdom is part of heaven because every last one of its inhabitants has divine character.  It is a kingdom of glory because glory is earned respect, and every inhabitant of that kingdom has one hard-won, wonderful virtue that has to be admired with awe.

And added to that joyful sense of everything being right at last, they will have as much goodness as they can take given to them without price and without end, fields and meadows that run beyond any horizon. Infinite mercy added to perfect justice.

But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.


[Editor: this post reworks a prior post, available here.]

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