The Next Life

“In my Father’s house are many mansions;
if it were not so, I would have told you.” – Jesus

Now that I’ve reached the age of 73, my interest in the next life and the morontia worlds has become more acute. But of all the 56 morontia worlds surrounding Jerusem—the headquarters world of the Satania system—my attention is drawn more so to the seven satellites surrounding transition world number one (the finaliters’ world). These are the mansion worlds, and this is where our eternal journey resumes after we leave Urantia, our “initial-life” planet.

The mansion worlds are but a small part of the Jerusem system of architectural worlds, as you can see from the diagram below. Transition world number one and its surrounding mansion worlds is only one of seven transition worlds with their own satellites. Jerusem itself is a gigantic world, about one hundred times the size of Urantia, which is almost the size of our sun. The transition worlds are about ten times the size of earth, close to the size of Saturn or Jupiter. And each of the mansion worlds and all other satellites are approximately the size of Urantia (45:0.1).

At this time on Urantia, we are all “mortals of the individual orders of ascension” and we all start out on mansonia one. Nonetheless, depending on our level of achievement, we could soon be transferred to mansonia two or three, or even further up. This achievement is, to a great degree, determined by our individual attainment on this earth of the seven cosmic, or psychic, circles (see 110:6). However, while we are given some of the attributes and qualities characterizing each circle, we really have no conclusive way to determine which circle any one of us may have attained.

These circles of mortal progression are levels of associated intellectual, social, spiritual, and cosmic-insight values. (49:6.8, 569.3)

Nevertheless, we are encouraged by the fact that, if we attain the third circle, an individual guardian angel is assigned to us and, after death, we will be resurrected on the third day. Otherwise, we become sleeping survivors who will have to await the next dispensation. But it doesn’t make too much difference because, as a sleeping survivor, we don’t notice the passing of time. It’s also comforting to know there is no race to Paradise. However long it takes is not really a concern to God, nor should it be a concern to us. As Jesus said, “The important thing is not the rapidity of your progress but rather its certainty” (147:5.7).

Once we resurrect in the Temple of New Life on mansonia one, we start off exactly where we left off on earth. This means we not only reap the rewards of our diligent efforts on Urantia but also carry with us any left-over baggage and all imperfections. We will even speak the same language until we learn the tongue of Satania and, afterwards, the language of Nebadon (48:3.13). Fortunately, in the meantime, there will be many Morontia Companions to act as interpreters and translators.

Indeed, most of our experiences on mansonia one pertain to what is called “deficiency ministry”—the correction of “varied defects of creature character and deficiencies of mortal experience” (47:3.8). This includes, among many things, correcting defects “pertaining to sex life, family association, and parental function.” In other words, rather than learning more about universe relationships or cosmic meanings, as we do on succeeding mansion worlds, we find ourselves actively engaged in a basic self-improvement program.

One of the purposes of the morontia career is to effect the permanent eradication from the mortal survivors of such animal vestigial traits as procrastination, equivocation, insincerity, problem avoidance, unfairness, and ease seeking. (48:5.8, 551.3)

No doubt, coming from a world as troubled and confused as Urantia, it is quite likely that, for most of us, much improvement will be needed. But this is not entirely our fault. We can place some onus on the insidious and pervasive effects of the Lucifer rebellion. Sadly, as a result of this default, almost all Urantians resurrecting on mansonia one will find themselves at a disadvantage, encountering an extremely unfamiliar and alien world, while those arriving from a “more normal” planet, will hardly notice the difference (47:3.1).

How critical are these differences? Considering that we are supposed to be living in a “Postbestowal Son Age,” they are probably much more striking than we can imagine at this time.

…life on an inhabited world is so changed by rebellion that you can have little or no idea of such a regime on a normal planet. (52:2.1, 591.1 emphasis added)

If you could be transplanted from your backward and confused world to some normal planet now in the postbestowal Son age, you would think you had been translated to the heaven of your traditions. You would hardly believe that you were observing the normal evolutionary workings of a mortal sphere of human habitation. (52:6.8, 598.3)

In study group sessions, some of us have speculated about which mansion world we will attain after resurrecting on mansonia one. Indeed, we have been tempted at times to believe we could skip to number two or three, or even four! But any honest consideration of our individual spiritual achievements, as well as the fact that we come from such a wayward world, should quickly dispel all lofty delusions. True, a few Urantians of “brilliant spiritual achievement” (e.g, Enoch and Elijah) have fused with their Thought Adjusters while on earth, so it is certainly possible to reach beyond mansonia one. But I suspect most of us will be content to simply resurrect.

Once reborn on this alien world, we will have ten days to adjust, perhaps longer. Our bodies will be of the lowest morontia form, almost material. In fact, we will continue to eat, drink, and rest throughout all seven mansion worlds. And as we will soon discover, we are no longer male or female, we are no longer sex creatures (150:1.3). Nonetheless, to varying degrees, we retain our masculine and feminine “personality trends” all the way to Paradise (84:6.6).

In this new life, we may continue to be in loving association with the companions of our earth days and, no doubt, we will acquire new friends on the mansion worlds. But there will be no such thing as contractual marriage once we leave this planet (38:2.2). And judging from the words of a Mighty Messenger, it is likely we will be separated from our dearest companions “many times and for long periods” in our lengthy ascent to Havona (22:2.6). In other words, we will not live continuously hand-in-hand with any other being.

After ridding ourselves of all animalistic tendencies and defects on mansonia number one, we continue our self-improvement program on mansonia two. This world has more to do with improving social relations and developing the intellect. It is where we finally eliminate all intellectual conflict and mental disharmony, which I’m sure will come as a welcome relief to many of us.

But only when we reach mansonia three does our positive, spiritual progress begin. This is the world of “great personal and social achievement.” This is where we will finally complete the seven “cosmic circles of intellectual achievement and spiritual attainment.” It is our “…real introduction to the intelligent comprehension of cosmic meanings and universe interrelationships” (47:5.3). Completing these circles while living on earth would be the equivalent of reaching circle number one. To put this in perspective, this is the level Jesus reached on Mount Hermon when he was 31 years old (134:8.4).

Fortunately, the time we spend on the first three mansion worlds may not be as arduous as we may think. Not only will we have a new body free of all ailments, but also a greatly expanded spiritual nature as well as a greatly enhanced mind capable of understanding mota—the profound philosophical perspectives of morontia life. Along with this comes the personal help and guidance of the Morontia Companions and Mansion World Teachers, as well as “all orders of angels, from the planetary helpers to the supreme seraphim” (48:6.1). And considering how much we all fumble and bumble through earthly life without the wise direction of a Planetary Prince or a Material Son, I’m sure we will appreciate getting some practical advice.

One of the most important objectives of our training on the mansion worlds is to complete “the unification of the evolving mortal personality” (43:8.4). And since this is the goal set before us, it is reasonable to assume it would be an important goal while living on Urantia. Indeed, the discussion of morontia life in Papers 47 and 48 serves as a solid reminder of what we can do in our mortal lives in order to progress. And it is good to recall that our training not only includes developing a spiritual nature but also acquiring improved parental attitudes, greater social skills, and a good sense of humor; we learn to be more faithful and cheerful, to persevere no matter what, and we become truly selfless. And among many other things, we enjoy philosophical pursuits (mota), learning the lessons of history, and acquiring the skills needed for good life planning.

Along with much wise advice from celestial beings and our gradually improving skills, comes a tremendously exciting adventure. Satania is an enormous system to explore. We will not be confined to the mansion worlds, neither is our morontia life limited to these worlds. We will have lots of time for R&R and to enjoy traveling back and forth between all the Jerusem worlds of our local system. These travels to the other transition worlds will introduce us to the finaliters, seraphic hosts, and the Brilliant Evening Stars, as well as other superangels presently unrevealed to us. We will also be introduced to the local universe Sons of God and the high personalities of the Infinite Spirit, and we will have the privilege to worship on the World of the Father.

At first, our journeys will be somewhat limited. But as we advance from one mansion world to the next, further opportunities will arise. By the time we reach mansonia seven, almost all of Satania will be open to us. And throughout all this time, we will always have the pleasure of periodic visits to Jerusem, as well as being student visitors to all the inhabited planets in the system, except Urantia (39:4.15).

All in all, I look forward to a vibrant and progressive morontia life—but I’m in no rush to get there. This mortal life is an important life with important experiences, ones we will never be able to replicate later on. As a Melchizedek reminds us, this is where we begin to live the way of God:

It is not so much what you learn in this first life; it is the experience of living this life that is important. Even the work of this world, paramount though it is, is not nearly so important as the way in which you do this work. (39:4.13, 435.6)