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Question and Answer 22
"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (The Book of Mormon; Moroni 10:4-5)
by W. John Walsh
Visitors are invited to send any Questions via Email. We try to respond to questions as quickly as possible, but are limited by time constraints. Therefore while we will eventually answer every letter we receive, there may be a period of delay due to the amount of research required and/or our personal circumstances.
The questions answered in this section concern the basic beliefs and practices of the Latter-day Saints. Answers to accusatory questions are given in the Response to Criticism section. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions are maintained separately.
All questions concerning Family History or Genealogy should be addressed to The Genealogy Lady at the New Jerusalem web site.
NOTE: Dates are posting dates
Please note that the answers given are not official statements of doctrine, but interpretations by the author for which he is alone responsible.
667: On 03/24/99, Rick asked: DO LDS go door to door as Jehovah's Witnesses do and is their an age limit .
Yes, following the instructions of the Savior, Latter-day Saints perform extensive missionary work:
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15)
Our goal is to offer the gospel to every single person in the world, thus giving them the opportunity of peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come.
(See Missionary Work home page)
666: On 03/24/99, Mark asked: Do you believe that other
"born again" Christians from other
denominations such as the Baptists have salvation?
To summarize, we believe that nonmembers may receive a form of salvation, but only faithful Latter-day Saints can receive eternal life (i.e., the fullness of salvation). (See Do Only Mormons Go to Heaven?; Teachings About the Afterlife home page)
665: On 03/24/99, Mark asked: Are your gifts (e.g. tongues) and ministries (e.g. prophets, pastors) the same or similar to those in Pentecostal churches or do you consider them to be false tongues, gifts and ministries?
See Gifts of the Spirit
664: 03/24/99, Kimberly asked: I've heard that Mormons believe
Jesus came over to North America and
performed miracles to the Native Americans? Is that true?
Yes, Latter-day Saints believe that the resurrected Jesus Christ ministered to the Nephite people. This event is often considered the spiritual highlight of the Book of Mormon. (See Latter-day Appearances of Jesus Christ; Third Nephi)
663: On 03/24/99, Anthony asked: I was wondering what the churches view on piercing is.....like if the don't endorse it or what.
The Church teaches that the body is sacred and should not be mutilated. (See Tattoos; Physical Body)
662: On 03/24/99, Harry asked: I am the Ward Missionary Leader (new two weeks) and I go on splits every week with the full time missionaries. What do I say to investigators when they reveal they have had an abortion?
If the investigator asks what the Church teaches about abortion, then I would say something like "The Church teaches abortion is a violation of the commandments of God. As far as we know, the sin can be forgiven through repentance and baptism." (See Abortion) In general, I would try to search the spirit for exactly what this individual needs to help them come unto Christ. For some people, they may need a soft and supportive approach. Other individuals may need to know that what they did was wrong. Of course, one should keep in mind the admonition given in the Doctrine and Covenants:
"Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy" (D&C 121:43)
President Brigham Young once said: "If you are ever called upon to chasten a person, never chasten beyond the balm you have within you to bind up." (Discourses of Brigham Young, p.278)
661: 03/24/99, Phil asked: I am a student at Pacific Lutheran University and am currently enrolled in a Religion class dealing with the Life of Jesus. Part of the class is a term paper of my own topic. I have chosen Jesus and the Sabbath. Mostly it will be dealing with how Jesus changed the Sabbath. I was hoping it would be possible to get more information on what the Mormon tradition is dealing with the Sabbath. Would it be possible for you to send a few Web addresses to pages that you feel reasonably portray the traditions beliefs of the Sabbath.
See Teachings About the Sabbath home page
660: On 03/24/99, Lee asked: When I was younger I was told that the welfare system in the US was based after the LDS welfare system. Does anyone have that information, or can lead me to that source.
I believe if you examine the principles and procedures of the two systems, you will find them quite different. (See Welfare and Humanitarian Assistance home page)
659: On 03/24/99, Cory asked: What is the church's stance on war and allowing members to join the military? Didn't Christ teach love thy brother and "Thou shall not kill"?
Although the Church is opposed to war, Latter-day Saints consider being loyal citizens to be a duty of its members, irrespective of nationality. Responding to a call for military service is one appropriate manner of fulfilling this duty of citizenship. Furthermore, sometimes due to the wickedness of other individuals and nations, it is necessary to go to war to protect innocent lives. The Book of Mormon teaches:
"Now the Nephites were taught to defend themselves against their enemies, even to the shedding of blood if it were necessary; yea, and they were also taught never to give an offense, yea, and never to raise the sword except it were against an enemy, except it were to preserve their lives. And this was their faith, that by so doing God would prosper them in the land, or in other words, if they were faithful in keeping the commandments of God that he would prosper them in the land; yea, warn them to flee, or to prepare for war, according to their danger; And also, that God would make it known unto them whither they should go to defend themselves against their enemies, and by so doing, the Lord would deliver them; and this was the faith of Moroni, and his heart did glory in it; not in the shedding of blood but in doing good, in preserving his people, yea, in keeping the commandments of God, yea, and resisting iniquity.' (Alma 48:14-16)
As far as killing in general, The Prophet Joseph Smith noted:
"God said, 'Thou shalt not kill;' at another time He said, 'Thou shalt utterly destroy.' This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conductedby revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Five 184243, p.256)
It is a false doctrine a person should not defend himself or his family from unrighteous aggression. The concept takes one passage of scripture and ignores all other teachings from the prophets and apostles on the subject. While a true Christian never desires war, he should be prepared to fight when the Lord commands.
(See Military and the Church home page)
658: On 03/24/99, Lisa asked: I am a nonmember, engaged to a member, who would like to have our daughter blessed. She is only 3 months old, and the idea of blessing to me is like baptism, and I do not want my child to have to belong to the Mormon church. Could you please tell me what all is involved in a baby blessing, and tell me how it differs from other religions? I am a Christian, and when I do go to church, I go to the United Church. I would of course like God to watch over my daughter and protect her, but why can't my fiancee and I do it ourselves. I can ask God to look after my daughter better than someone who looks down on our child for being born before we were married. To me it makes no difference who asks God to watch over her! In fact why do we need to ask that, doesn't God look after everybody to some extent, especially children? Anyway could you please answer my questions, and explain the whole ordeal to me?
The First Presidency has stated that "The doctrine of this Church is that sexual sinthe illicit sexual relations of men and womenstands, in its enormity, next to murder. The Lord has drawn no essential distinctions between fornication, adultery, and harlotry or prostitution. Each has fallen under His solemn and awful condemnation" (See Law of Chastity) However, Latter-day Saints do not look down on children born our of wedlock since they are not responsible for the sin of their parents. "We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for [their parents'] transgression" (See Articles of Faith)
(See Blessing of Children for a discussion of this priesthood ordinances; Why Do Things Work This Way? on the Following the Prophets home page for a discussion on why we need to follow the Lord's prescribed pattern)
657: On 03/24/99, Kelly asked:My mother recently attended a homemaking meeting where the subject of sexuality and procreation was discussed. The teacher indicated that artificial insemination is against church policy and cited the proclamation on the family as a source. Without twisting things pretty severely, I cannot see anything in the proclamation to substantiate that stand. Is there anything doctrinally in the church that prohibits artificial insemination to your knowledge?
The Church does not approve of artificial insemination of single women. It also discourages artificial insemination of married women using semen from anyone but the husband. (See Artificial Semination)
656: On 03/24/99, Ross asked: I am looking for the
October 1998 conference talks. Can you tell me
where I might find them.
See October 1998 General Conference
655: On 03/24/99, Sharon asked: What is the role of Women in the Mormon Church?
See Teachings About Motherhood and the Role of Women home page
654: On 03/24/99, Sharon asked: Can Mormons marry Catholics?
See Dating Nonmembers
653: On 03/24/99, a visitor asked: Also what is the difference between exaltation and salvation?
Salvation is the greatest gift of God (D&C 6:13). The root of the word means to be saved, or placed beyond the power of one's enemies (TPJS, pp. 297, 301, 305). It is redemption from the bondage of sin and death, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Some degree of salvation will come to all of God's children except the sons of perdition. Exaltation is a synonym for eternal life and is the highest degree of salvation. Only those who inherit exaltation receive the fullness of salvation. (See Teachings About the Afterlife home page)
652: On 03/24/99, Stephen asked: I am a
new convert. (2 years). My wife and children are non-members. I
have a lot of time and callings to fulfill with the Higher priesthood. Just needed to clear up some questions that my
family keep presenting me, such as: Even if the Book of Mormon is true,and all the writings of Joseph Smith, what makes you think the LDS church has not apostatized beyond Joseph Smith? Secondly, what is the LDS church doing for the world outside of it's own membership?
I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints still holds the Lord's authority because I have received personal revelation from God so indicating. (See Prayer, Fasting, and Revelation home page)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a continuing commitment to relieve human suffering, to help eliminate life-threatening conditions, and to promote self-reliance among all people. Assistance is to be provided as Christian service, without regard to race, nationality, or religion. (See Welfare and Humanitarian Assistance home page)
651: On 03/24/99, Melody asked: What are the church's views on women having careers?
President Ezra Taft Benson taught:
"We hear much talkeven among some of our own sistersabout so-called "alternative life-styles" for women. It is maintained that some women are better suited for careers than for marriage and motherhood, or that a combination of both family and career is not inimical to either. Some have even been so bold as to suggest that the Church move away from the "Mormon woman stereotype" of homemaking and rearing children. God grant that dangerous philosophy will never take root among our Latter-day Saint women." (Burton, ed., We Believe)
650: On 03/24/99, Gretchen asked: How does caffeine apply in the Word of Wisdom?
While caffeinated beverages are not a technical violation of the Word of Wisdom, many Church leaders have taught that their use is a violation of the spirit of the law. For example, President Spencer W. Kimball taught:
"Generally when we speak of the Word of Wisdom, we are talking about tea, coffee, tobacco, and liquor, and all of the fringe things even though they might be detrimental are not included in the technical interpretation of the Word of Wisdom. I never drink any of the cola drinks and my personal hope would be that no one would. However, they are not included in the Word of Wisdom in its technical application. I quote from a letter from the secretary to the First Presidency, "But the spirit of the Word of Wisdom would be violated by the drinking or eating of anything that contained a habit-forming drug." With reference to the cola drinks, the Church has never officially taken any attitude on this at but I personally do not put them in the class as with the tea and coffee because the Lord specifically mentioned them [the hot drinks] . I might say also that strychnine and sleeping pills and opium and heroin are not mentioned in the Word of Wisdom and yet I would discourage them with all my power. (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.202)
649: On 03/24/99, a visitor asked: My husband will not allow me to pay tithing to the church. I do not work and have no income of my own. How will this affect my obtaining a temple recommend when I am ready to go to the temple.
We are only required to pay tithing on the money that we earn ourselves. Your husband's unwillingness to pay tithing on the money he earns will not affect your ability to receive a temple recommend. The Lord only holds us accountable for our own choices, not the choices of others, even our spouses. (See Agency, Accountability)
648: On 03/24/99, Maureen asked: Dear Sirs, I am a young Catholic mother who has always had a feeling of camaraderie with most Mormons because we didn't believe that contraception, sterilization and abortion were moral. I recently heard that the Mormon church had reversed it's stand on contraception. Is this true?
No, at April 1995 General Conference, Elder J. Ballard Washburn stated:
"Thus we see that in marriage, a husband and wife enter into an order of the priesthood called the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. This covenant includes a willingness to have children and to teach them the gospel. Many problems of the world today are brought about when parents do not accept the responsibilities of this covenant. It is contradictory to this covenant to prevent the birth of children if the parents are in good health.
Thirty-five years ago when I first started practicing medicine, it was a rare thing for a married woman to seek advice about how she could keep from having babies. When I finished practicing medicine, it was a rare thing, except for some faithful Latter-day Saint women, for a married woman to want to have more than one or two children, and some did not want any children. We in the Church must not be caught up in the false doctrines of the world that would cause us to break sacred temple covenants."
Unfortunately, there are many Latter-day Saints, in this so-called enlightened age, who have ignored this commandment. (See Birth Control; Sterilization; Abortion)
647: On 03/24/99, Cheryl asked: I am investigating the LDS faith - I have not yet taken the lessons though am reading the Book of Mormon. I am already married - though my spouse is supportive in my spiritual endeavors, he currently does not feel the call to connect with God actively as I do right now. If I and my son convert, he will not as he doesn't feel the "hole" I feel inside. Does this preclude me from ever having the ability to gain temple blessings? Does that make sense?
Latter-day Saints with nonmember spouses may attend the temple and receive all of the temple ordinances, except a temple marriage. If someone converts to the Church and his or her spouse never converts, then that person has the Lord's promise that he or she will receive future opportunities for a temple marriage after they die. Under no circumstances would the Church condone a member divorcing their spouse simply because they did not join the Church themselves.
(See Teachings About Temples home page; Teachings About Marriage home page)
646: On 03/24/99, Christine asked: I am doing a research project on diverse cultures and religion, and how it pertains to Physical Therapy. I attend the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville. In my research, I have found the LDS church to support physical fitness, but no other information regarding your beliefs on Physical Therapy. Is it the responsibility of the church members to look after the sick and injured? How does the church support or deny the practice of Physical Therapy? Are there members of the LDS church who are Physical Therapists or Physical Therapist Assistants?
Today, many LDS women and men are involved in health care practice and research. Church members, who are advised to seek medical assistance from competent licensed physicians, generally believe that advances in medical science and health care have come though the inspiration of the Lord. I suggest you contact Brigham Young University at http://www.byu.edu and look up the appropriate academic department. (See Attitudes About Health, Medicine, and Fitness home page)
645: On 03/24/99, Blake asked: I am not a member of
the Church of Latter-Day Saints, but my girlfriend is.
Is this a problem???
See Dating Nonmembers
644: On 03/24/99, Billy asked: [Can you tell me about Biblical prophesies of the Book of Mormon?]
See Biblical Prophesies About the Book of Mormon
643: On 03/24/99, John asked: How do you help people to gain a true understanding of their place in the scheme of things.
We teach people true doctrine about where they came from, why they are here, and what happens to them after they die. Latter-day Saints teach the true gospel of Jesus Christ, obedience to which gives peace in this life and eternal happiness in the life to come. (See Purpose of Life; Plan of Salvation)
642: On 03/24/99, Angela asked: I am a catholic and my boyfriend is a Mormon we are seriously considering marriage but my religion says I must be married in my church and his religion says he must be married in his church (our parents also say this). I have been told recently that when I am married in the catholic church I must sigh papers saying that my children will be raised as Catholics. I do not wish to do this. Do Mormons have a rule like this? We are considering getting married in a church different from both of us. Any suggestions.
See Dating Nonmembers
641: On 03/24/99, Caroline asked, what is considered modest clothing for the Mormon woman? are shorts allowed? bathing suits?
Immodest clothing includes short shorts, tight pants, and other revealing attire. Women should refrain from wearing off-the-shoulder, low-cut, or revealing clothes. Men should similarly maintain modesty in their dress. All should avoid tight fitting or revealing clothes and extremes in clothing and appearance.
It's really a judgment call as to whether something is immodest. If you attract attention by your lack of cover, it's a pretty good bet you are going too far. A good guideline is that if something would not cover your temple garments, then it's too revealing (e.g., all shorts, dresses, and skirts should cover the knee).
(See Modesty in Dress)
640: On 03/24/99, Karleen asked, What
is the Church's belief about hunting? I know there are several Church
leaders who are avid hunters, and Enos was a hunter. What does the Church teach about this practice?
President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:
".....to take the life of [animals] wantonly is a sin before the Lord." (See Hunting)
639: On 03/23/99, Doug asked, From what i have learned, as a Christian, is that the only way to heaven is through the belief of Jesus Christ and that he died to save our sins...bottom line. From what I read, Mormons have the same belief. I am wondering, if my girlfriend and I, do not convert will we both be in heaven together which is implied by both Religions teachings?....Can, my girlfriend and I, someday get married and have an afterlife together in Heaven?
A major component of the gospel is the concept of eternal marriage. Latter-day Saints believe that when two people enter into temple marriage (i.e., eternal marriage) and are faithful to their covenants, then they will rise in the resurrection as a married couple and live together forever in the married state. Since you have not been sealed in the temple, your potential marriage will end at death and you will not continue your association in the afterlife. However, if you are both baptized into the Church and each are individually worthy to attend the temple, it is possible for you to be sealed to one another for time and all eternity.
(See Do Only Mormons Go to Heaven?; Temple Recommend)
638: On 03/23/99, Jonathan asked, My second question regards child abuse. I could not find a position on the practice of circumcision, both male and female. While this practice is extremely painful and abusive to a child and is banned throughout the majority of the world, it is also accepted in this country and by two major religious as a rite. What is LDS's position, is it allowed, or is it considered fundamentally abusive and thus prohibited.
If Latter-day Saint males are circumcised, it is for cleanliness and health, not religious, reasons. While I have never seen a specific statement condemning female circumcision, the Church teaches that the body is sacred and should not be mutilated. Since tattoos and body piercings are condemned, then it is obvious that female circumcisions are as well. (See Abuse of Spouse and Child; Circumcision; Tattoos; Physical Body)
637: On 03/23/99, Jonathan asked, Where does LDS stand on the practice of receiving medical attention.
Today, many LDS women and men are involved in health care practice and research. Church members, who are advised to seek medical assistance from competent licensed physicians, generally believe that advances in medical science and health care have come though the inspiration of the Lord. (See Attitudes About Health, Medicine, and Fitness home page)
636: On 03/23/99, Gabe asked, Hello, I am interested in learning about the key differences about Jesus Christ and Moses? What are the differences?
Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the source of our salvation. Moses was one of his prophetic servants.
635: On 03/23/99, Doug asked, I am currently an investigator of the church and I have thoroughly enjoyed the sacraments that I have attended. However, just a few days ago I ran across an anti-LDS web site, and for the most part the arguments they made against the church had no validity, but one argument they made gave me concerns. They mentioned that The Book of Mormon has racial under tones which they backed their argument up with many verses. One particular verse was 2 Nephi 5:21 which refers to the Lamanites receiving skins of blackness because of their unbelief's. I was amazed to find that verse and many other verse similar to it in The Book of Mormon. The ward that I attend is a model of the American melting pot, however I am aware that in other parts of the country the wards are homogeneously white. What is the church's official position on darker skinned people? I would appreciate only valid documented sources be used in your reply so that I may review the information for myself, preferably sources from The Book of Mormon.
The Book of Mormon, the keystone of our religion, teaches:
"[Jesus Christ] inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile" (The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 26:33).
(See Are Mormons Prejudiced? for a detailed discussion of the LDS view of racial prejudice.)
634: On 03/23/99, Paul asked, i heard Mormons were allowed to drink Pepsi as of a recent "revelation", is that true?
No revelations regarding Pepsi have been released to members of the Church. (See Cola Drinks; Prayer, Fasting, and Revelation home page)
633: On 03/23/99, Dave asked, I am a member of the Church. We have been faithful members of the church for many years and have paid a full tithing. Recently, we have been concerned with the Social Security amount the is withheld from our pay. Should we pay tithing on this now or later after retirement. At this date we can not be sure what has had tithing paid on it and what hasn't. How do most people handle this situation?
632: On 03/23/99, Horace asked, Hi, my name is Horace, I would like to know how the Church feels about marriage out of your race. How does the church feel about interracial marriage among the church members? This includes all races. I would appreciate you taking the time to address this for me.
See Interracial Dating and Marriage
631: On 03/23/99, Eric asked, I have a friend that i chat with on the Internet and a questioned was raised About humans becoming like gods. Were do we find this in the king James Bible? In my seminary class at school, we talk about this and brother Moore has told Us but i just don't remember were it is. Thanks for helping me.
See Biblical Support for Deification
630: On 03/23/99, Christie asked,What circumstances require re-baptism? For example, if a person has not been active for years should he be re-baptized?
A person would only be baptized again if he or she had been excommunicated from the Church. An less active member who desires to return to full activity is always welcome. Regarding the less active, President Ezra Taft Benson said:
"To all such, we, as priesthood leaders, must extend and renew our love and heartfelt invitation to come back. "Come back. Come back and feast at the table of the Lord, and taste again the sweet and satisfying fruits of fellowship with the Saints." (Church News, 22 December 1985, p. 3.)
(See Disciplinary Procedures; Baptism; Fellowshipping Members home page)
629: On 03/23/99, Christie asked,What is
the Church's standing on Masons and groups which are based on Masons
(i.e., Job's Daughters for teenage girls)?
The Church does not prohibit its members from becoming Masons. Latter-day Saints are generally free to join any clubs, societies, and organizations which they desire. Of course, Latter-day Saints are counseled to spend their time in activities which are consistent with the teachings of the gospel. However, under the principles of agency and accountability, members are free to determine for themselves which organizations meet this qualification. (See Free Masonry; Social Relations with Non-Mormons)
628: On 03/23/99, Lesley asked, I am considering converting I have a question about the temple marriage. Since you have to have a temple recommend to get in, is my family allowed in to witness?
Only members of the Church who have a current identification card, called a temple recommend, may enter a temple. The Why is a Temple Recommend Necessary to Enter the Temple? article states:
A temple marriage is not a public celebration [as with the weddings of most other religions], but the most private and sacred of all religious events in the life of a Latter-day Saint. It is the culmination of all the other temple ordinances. There are no large crowds, bridesmaids, parties, or joyous outbursts. In a temple marriage, while kneeling at an altar in a temple, a man and woman make covenants with God and each other in a marriage ceremony that is to be binding both in mortality and in the eternal world. Since the endowment ordinance is necessary to understand the religious nature of the marriage ceremony, the only witnesses allowed are those members of the Church who have completed it. In temple marriages, it is very common for siblings and close friends to not be invited to the marriage ordinance because they have not yet been endowed. For example, at my temple marriage, my bride's only sister [a faithful Latter-day Saint] waited outside until the marriage ordinance was completed because she had not been endowed. To summarize, a temple marriage is not a public celebration, but a private religious experience only shared with spiritually mature members of one's own faith.
The sacredness and solemness of the temple marriage ordinance does not mean that an LDS wedding is not a festive occasion. However, all the festivities occur outside of the temple. While LDS wedding receptions are often more reserved than non-LDS ones, it is here that the public celebrations will occur. It should be noted that all friends and family members, including nonmembers, can be invited to the reception to participate in the public celebration of the day.
(See Eternal Marriage)
627: On 03/23/99, Fiona asked, What does the LDS church believe about the theory of evolution?
626: On 03/21/99, Stacie asked, Does the Church believe in an earthly resurrection or only heavenly?
Latter-day Saints believe in a literal, physical resurrection. Resurrection is the reunion of the spirit with an immortal physical body. The body laid in the grave is mortal; the resurrected physical body is immortal. The whole of man, the united spirit and body, is defined in modern scripture as the "soul" of man. Resurrection from the dead constitutes the redemption of the soul (D&C 88:15-16). (See Resurrection)
625: On 03/21/99, Josh asked,What is the churches belief about the rapture or is there another name for it?
The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology defines Rapture of the Church as "a phrase used by premillennialists to refer to the Church being united with Christ at his second coming..." Latter-day Saints do not use this term in their theology (See Latter-day Saint Vocabulary) However, Latter-day Saints affirm that there is an actual Messiah, that he will come at some future time to the earth, and that only through his coming and the events associated therewith will a millennial age of peace, harmony, and joy begin. (See Second Coming of Jesus Christ home page)
624: On 03/21/99, Lori asked, I'm not familiar with Mormon beliefs or practices. I was wondering how Mormons viewed death and what they typically do when a person dies. What rituals do they have? Do family members have to wear certain garments or colors? I'm taking a course in school right now that is examining how various people and religions react to death. I thank you for your time!
See Death and Dying
623: On 03/21/99, a visitor asked, I am about to become an LDS member and I would like to know what the Churches Disposition is towards divorce? It seems that many members have gone through divorces, some several times. Thank you .
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially disapproves of divorce but does permit both divorce (the legal dissolution of a marriage bond) and annulment (a decree that a marriage was illegal or invalid) in civil marriages and "cancellation of sealing" in temple marriages. (See Divorce)
622: On 03/21/99, Margart asked, I know that the law of fasting says no food or drink for 24 hours. Does drink also include water? Most people we ask seem to think it does, but nobody seems to know for sure. Can you find out?
The question has been asked as to whether or not it is expected that a person, when fasting, shall abstain from drinking water. In answer thereto, the following statement is made with the approval of the First Presidency:
"When fasting, members of the Church are advised to abstain from two meals each Fast Day . . . also by prayer in connection with fasting to develop spiritual power. No direct instruction is given in the Doctrine and Covenants regarding abstaining from water while fasting. In the Bible there are three references in connection with fasting and abstaining from water. These are: Exodus 34:28 and Deuteronomy 9:9-18, where it states that Moses "did neither eat bread nor drink water"; and Esther 4:16, where Esther asked the Jews to fast for her and to "neither eat nor drink."
The spirit of fasting is the main thing to encourage. Too much stress should not be laid on technical details, but the self denial of food, striving for spiritual strength and donating for the benefit of the poor should constantly be in mind." (Messages of the First Presidency, Vol.5, p.307)
621: On 03/21/99, Linda asked, My Mom has recently attended a genealogical society meeting, sponsored by the Mormons. She said she was told that she could submit genealogical information that will have ordinances said for them. What does that mean? Please let me know. I told her I would try to find out for her. Thank you for your time and consideration. God bless you.
Latter-day Saints believe that certain ordinances (e.g., baptism) are needed to receive the fullness of God's salvation. Unfortunately, some people do not receive all of these necessary ordinances prior to death. To rectify this situation, our Heavenly Father allows living members to perform them for and in behalf of our kindred dead, via proxy. Latter-day Saints consider it a sacred duty to ensure that all of their ancestors have the opportunity to receive these sacred ordinances. (See Teachings About Temples home page)
620: On 03/21/99, Ben asked, In the Catholic church, you can dedicate a Sunday mass in honor/remembrance for someone you lost. My question: does the Mormon religion have something like/similar to this? Can a Mormon mass/service be dedicated in her remembrance?
The Church conducts funeral services, but we do not have special memorial services like the Catholics. In addition, we perform sacred temple ordinances for and in behalf of the dead. If a person did not have the opportunity to receive one of the ordinances of salvation while he or she was alive, then it may be performed by another member via proxy. (See Death and Dying; Teachings About Temples home page)
619: On 03/21/99, James asked, I have a question about interfaith marriages. I am Jewish and she is Mormon; we are bound to be married in Aug. and we didn't really know how the Mormon faith would look upon it, or if a Bishop would be apart of a combined Jewish/Mormon wedding? Is it possible?
See Dating Nonmembers
618: On 03/21/99, Pete asked, I am aware that the Church does not support passage of the ERA. Why?
Dennis L. Lythgoe wrote:
One of the most controversial chapters of President Kimball's administration was the Church's stand against the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution. The First Presidency decided to take a stand on the ERA because they interpreted it as a moral issue. In a statement issued in October 1976, they noted that Utah Territory had been one of the first places to give women the right to vote and that the Church regarded women in an "exalted role." They admitted there were "additional rights" to which women were entitled, but they firmly believed that the Equal Rights Amendment "was not the answer." They asserted that it was "a blanket attempt to help women" which would instead bring "far more restraints and repressions. We fear it will even stifle many God-given feminine instincts. It would strike at the family, humankind's basic institution. ERA would bring ambiguity and possibly invite extensive litigation." They further warned that passage of the amendment might and concluded, "We recognize men and women as equally important before the Lord, but with differences biologically, emotionally, and in other ways. ERA, we believe, does not recognize these differences. There are better means for giving women, and men, the rights they deserve."
As the ERA debate continued, the first Presidency felt constrained to issue a follow-up statement in August 1978, warning that the ERA's "deceptively simple language deals with practically every aspect of American life, without considering the possible train of unnatural consequences which could result because of its very vagueness--encouragement of those who seek a unisex society, an increase in the practice of homosexual and lesbian activities, and other concepts which could alter the natural, God-given relationship of men and women." (BYU Studies Vol. 25, No. 4, pg.13)
(See Teachings About Motherhood and the Role of Women home page)
617: On 03/21/99, Brian asked,What do members of the LDS church think about Christians of other Protestant denominations?
Since Latter-day Saints believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's true Church, personally restored to the earth by the resurrected Savior, we believe that Protestant denominations are incomplete as far as their doctrines and practices. However, "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." (Articles of Faith 11) Therefore, we bear no animosity towards other faiths, Christian or otherwise. We try to work with them to improve society for the benefit of all. President Gordon B. Hinckley has taught:
"We can respect other religions, and must do so. We must recognize the great good they accomplish. We must teach our children to be tolerant and friendly toward those not of our faith. We can and do work with those of other religions in the defense of those values which have made our civilization great and our society distinctive." (See We Bear Witness of Him)
It should be noted that Latter-day Saints do not consider themselves Protestants.
(See Protestantism; Interfaith Relations home page)
616: On 03/21/99, Peggy asked, I heard a curious thing today, my friend told me (non-Mormon such as I) that a woman cannot get into heaven if she is not married. Is this true?
Latter-day Saints believe that Exaltation, the ultimate degree of salvation, can only be obtained by those who have been married in the holy temple for time and all eternity (i.e., eternal marriage). This applies equally to both men and women. The Doctrine and Covenants teaches:
"In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order 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)
(See Eternal Lives, Eternal Increase; Teachings About Marriage home page)
615: On 03/21/99, Charlie asked, i am looking for a straight answer on what the Mormon church believes about polygamy
See Plural Marriage home page
614: On 03/21/99, Jeremy asked, I am an honors student at Marlboro High School in New Jersey. I am doing a big biographical paper on the life of Brigham Young. If possible, could you send me information on his beliefs and practices, or his governing techniques. If available, please send me information on what motivated him to do what he did.
See Brigham Young for a biography and summary of his teachings. President Young explains his motivations in Testimonies: President Brigham Young
613: On 03/21/99, Shelly asked, My son is taking a mysticism class in college and they began a study of angels today. Specifically, they are studying the hierarchy of angels and the responsibilities each level has. They are also discussing just who the angels are. Where can I find information from General Authorities, scripture references, etc. to help explain the LDS beliefs about angels?
612: On 03/21/99, Scott asked, I am in Sydney Australia and would like to understand the basics of your philosophy. How would i be able to get a book or some literature? Thanks
I suggest you look up The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Australian phone directories or use the LDS Meeting House Locator at http://www.deseretbook.com/Locate/home.html
611: On 03/21/99, Debbie asked, I am trying to find information on the beginnings of Relief Society for our R.S. supper
See Relief Society
610: On 03/21/99, Juswan asked, In normal situation when there are no higher leaders in attendance, a bishop or branch president presides over the sacrament meeting. Is the bishop or branch president still the presiding officer when he has to conduct the sacrament meeting? In other words, can a presiding officer also function as a conducting officer at the same time?
Yes, a priesthood leader can conduct a meeting at which he presides, and when he does so, he is both the presiding and conducting officer. For example, President Hinckley normally conducts some of the General Conference sessions.
609: On 03/21/99, a visitor asked, Why is Gordon B. Hinckley a prophet?
The Lord reveals himself to mortal men and chooses them as servants: "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7) These men, called prophets, have the responsibility to witness to the reality of Jesus Christ and the truths of his gospel. President Gordon B. Hinckley is the Lord's prophet today because the Lord selected him for this position and its associated responsibility. (See President of the Church; Following the Prophets home page)
608: On 03/21/99, a visitor asked, Do you have any proof of Mormon's book veracity?
See A Scholar Looks at the Evidences for the Book of Mormon
607: On 03/21/99, Ben asked, Are there any significant events or holidays that are unique to your religion and if so could you give the name and a brief description of each.
See Holidays and Celebrations home page
606: On 03/21/99, Ben asked, What are the symbols and emblem of your church or faith, and could you send a picture and description of it.
While symbolism plays a significant role in LDS life, no one symbol is used to represent our faith. President Gordon B. Hinckley was once asked the following question: "If you do not use the cross, what is the symbol of your religion?" He responded:
"I replied that the lives of our people must become the only meaningful expression of our faith and, in fact, therefore, the symbol of our worship." (See The Symbol of Christ for his full comments)
605: On 03/07/99, Ben asked, Is there a difference between the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?
Yes, they are separate and distinct churches. (See RLDS Church)
(See Question and Answer home page)
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