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Question and Answer 31
1142: On 07/04/99, Sara asked: What are your views on hell? Do all bad people go there, or do bad people just spend a certain amount of time there and eventually end up in heaven?
1141: On 07/04/99, a visitor asked: Hello. i go to school with a kid that is morman, and i am very close to him, but i was wondering if it against rules or anything to be phisical with him in any way. I'm not sure about what the beliefs are about that i don't want to offend him. Thanks so much for your time.
See Law of Chastity; Premarital Sex; Passionate Kissing
1140: On 07/03/99, Theresa asked: I have been a member for almost ten years now. I have been so confused lately over reading the Word of wisdom and praying about a part of it which concerns me. The church has chosen to ignore directions given to us that are stressed more than that to abstain from alcohol. Doctrine and Covenants 89:12-21 clearly tells us to abstain from eating the flesh of animals except in times of famine and winter. Why is this wisdom ignored
See Does the Word of Wisdom Require Latter-day Saints to be Vegetarians?
1139: On 07/03/99, Missy asked: What do the LDS believe about "supernatural" things such as hauntings, poltergeists, etc.? Are they nonexistent, things from the adversary's "fallen angels" or what? Thank you for your time and response!
Latter-day Saints believe that Lucifer and the unembodied spirits who were cast out of heaven with him have some ability to affect the physical world. They often harass and bother people "for [they] seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto [themselves]." (2 Nephi 2:27) Many supernatural manifestations are real experiences caused by these devils. For example, Joseph Smith experienced one of these experiences:
"After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction. But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction--not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being--just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other--This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!" (See Joseph Smith History 15:-17)
(See Devils; War in Heaven)
1138: On 07/03/99, Brian asked: I was reading about charity tonight, and came across the scripture in Moroni 7:44-48. It states that charity suffereth long. . . I have two questions about this set of verses 1. I have tried to look up a meaning for suffereth long, and the only explanation that I come up with is patience. Could you give me any more info on suffereth long. 2. What would "seeketh not her own" be implying too?
The Book of Mormon teaches:
"And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail--But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him." (Moroni 7:45-7)
(1) "Suffereth long" implies that someone is very tolerant and patient of another person's mistakes and errors, knowing that we are all in different stages of understanding, development, and circumstances. For example, a tired mother who chooses to play with her young child instead of enjoying an afternoon nap "suffers long" and is a charitable person.
(2) "Seeketh not her own" implies that a charitable person puts the righteous needs of others before his or her own wants and desires. The natural feelings of self-interest that all men feel have been overcome by feelings of love and concern for the welfare of others. For example, a father who patiently holds and reassures a colicky baby for many hours "seeketh not [his] own" and is a charitable person. (See Charity)
1137: On 07/03/99, Kellyn asked: What translated version of the Bible is considered most accurate by the Mormons?
In various lands where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been established, it uses a translation of the Bible in the local language. In English-speaking areas, the Church uses the King James (or Authorized) Version (KJV), mainly because it was the basic English text used by the Prophet Joseph Smith and because subsequent Church leaders have approved its use. The Church does not claim that the KJV is perfect, but it is currently the preferred English version and was used in the Church's 1979 edition and later printings of the Bible.
While the Church uses the KJV as its official English Bible, Joseph Smith made a "new translation" of the Bible, using the text of the KJV. This new translation is called the Joseph Smith Translation (JST). This work differs from the KJV in at least 3,410 verses and consists of additions, deletions, rearrangements, and other alterations that cause it to vary not only from the KJV but from other biblical texts. Changes range from minor details to fully reconstituted chapters. Excerpts from the JST are included in the footnotes of the Bible published by the Church.
(See The Holy Bible home page)
1136: On 07/03/99, Heather asked: My friend and I have gone to a summer church camp of another faith since we were babies. We are now in our teens, and don't see each other much except for the summer camp. She recently was baptized with her family into the Mormon faith. Can she still go to the camp to see me and her other friends, even if she doesn't participate in the communion? The church camp welcomes members of all faiths. I know we both will be heartbroken if she can't go anymore!
Latter-day Saints always welcome visitors to our worship services and all of our youth activities (e.g., classes, summer camps, firesides, parties, etc.) In addition, we are free to visit the activities of other Churches as we personally desire. Therefore, there would be no Church-related reason your friend could not go to summer camp with you this year. (See Interfaith Relations home page)
1135: On 06/28/99, Rich asked: Why is a gold statue of Moroni placed atop LDS Temples?
While the angel Moroni statue does not appear on all temples (e.g., Mesa, Arizona temple does not have an angel), it does appear on most of them. It is symbolic of John's prophecy of a heavenly herald bringing the gospel to the earth (The Holy Bible, Rev. 14:6). (See Angel Moroni Statue; History of Latter-day Saint Temples From 1831 to 1990)
1134: On 06/28/99, Daniela asked: I would
appreciate if you could advise if there is any particular reference
in the Book of Mormon or a distinctive LDS teaching I should reference in my analysis [regarding the role of work]?
See Role of Work
1133: On 06/28/99, a visitor asked: Can a member of the church join the Masons?
While Latter-day Saints are allowed to be Masons (and many Church leaders have been in the past), a member who is active in the Church these days rarely has time to devote to outside fraternal organizations. (See Activity in the Church home page; Freemasonry in Nauvoo)
1132: On 06/28/99, John asked: I have recently been visited by your missionaries in my area, and am a little confused. When we spoke,(Elder Moss, Elder Jones and myself), they spoke of the Godhead as three distinct and separate being that form the Godhead, a three being council, so to speak. But when visiting another information site put on line by the LDS, http://www.deseretbook.com/authors/millit/ , one of the 25 questions was answered saying that God being in flesh, obviously couldn't be everywhere at once, and that his Divine Nature, mentioned as His Holy Spirit, His influence could be. Now my confusion is two-sided, if the Holy Spirit is God's influence, as your site says, then how can it be a separate being? Then if the Holy Spirit is a separate being, how can it be everywhere at once?
Latter-day Saints believe the Holy Ghost, the third member of the Godhead, is a personage with a spirit body. As such, he can only be in one place at a time. The Light of Christ refers to the spiritual power that emanates from God to fill the immensity of space and enlightens every man, woman, and child. Other terms sometimes used to denote this same phenomenon are "Holy Spirit", "Spirit of the Lord," and "Spirit of Truth," but it is different from the Holy Ghost. The scriptures are not always precise in the use of such terminology, and several attempts have been made to describe the various aspects of this important manifestation of God's goodness and being. In other words, the same words (e.g., "the Spirit", "The Holy Spirit") are sometimes used as synonyms to describe both the Holy Ghost personage and the Light of Christ power. A person should use the context of the sentence to know whether "the Spirit" means the Holy Ghost personage or the Light of Christ power. (See Teachings About the Holy Ghost home page)
1131: On 06/28/99, Sara asked: I know that women have there own purpose and do things that men don't do, but why aren't they allowed to have any top church position, such as a branch pres., or a prophet?
See Why Can't Women Be Ordained to the Priesthood?
1130: On 06/28/99, Sara asked: Hi. So we're waiting for Jesus to come back to earth again, right? For the second coming. Well, wouldn't His visit to America be considered the second coming?
Since his resurrection, the Savior has appeared to many people including the Apostle Paul, the Nephite people in the Book of Mormon (See Third Nephi), Joseph Smith in the sacred grove (See First Vision), and many others (See Latter-day Appearances of Jesus Christ). In each of these cases, the visitation was to a small group of the Savior's followers (i.e., a private visitation). However, the term "Second Coming of Jesus Christ" refers specifically to when the Savior will appear in all of his godly glory to the entire world to assume rulership over the earth and millennial age of peace, harmony, and joy begin. It is the second coming of Christ because it is the second time that Christ appears to the entire world.
1129: On 06/28/99, Sue asked: Do Mormons consider themselves to be Christians?
Yes, Latter-day Saints are indeed Christians. (See Are Mormons Christians?)
1128: On 06/28/99, Zach asked: Hello. I have been researching the Church, and am not a member, but my beliefs are nearly the same. How do I go about becoming a LDS, and does it matter that I am baptized and confirmed in another faith? Thanks.
I suggest you visit a local LDS congregation. They will be able to give you specific information. It does not matter that you have been baptized and confirmed into another denomination. The doors to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are open to all who desire to enter. (See Joining the Church.)
1127: On 06/27/99, Robert asked: What really confuses me is that in the first book of the bible it is clearly stated that God created the earth, while the book of Abraham in the pearl of great price in the book of Abraham it clearly states that there were multiple gods who created the earth while the book of Moses in that same pearl of great price only speaks of one God that created the earth???? Isn't this all rather contradicting????
See Is There One God or Many?
1126: On 06/27/99, Robert asked: I just wondered, can LDS people have things like hairtransplants or are those kind of treatments regarded as sinful? Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
The Church has never issued any statements on hair transplants and leaves such issues up to the discretion of its members. (See Health, Medicine, and Fitness home page)
1125: On 06/26/99, Julia asked: Do Mormons believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross to take away mans' sins, and that he rose to heaven on the third day to be with God?
Yes, The Prophet Joseph Smith explained that:
"the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it" (TPJS, p. 121).
Latter-day Saints believe Jesus offered his life, including his innocent body, blood, and spiritual anguish as a redeeming ransom (1) for the effect of the Fall of Adam upon all mankind and (2) for the personal sins of all who repent, from Adam to the end of the world. (See Teachings About Jesus Christ home page)
1124: On 06/26/99, a visitor asked: how long do you have to wait after someone has passed away before you can do their work(baptism for the dead etc.)?
The Church typically has a one year waiting period. (See Salvation for the Dead)
1123: On 06/26/99, Danell asked: I am curious. I understand that in the temple, one receives their own endowments and then makes sacred covenants with the Lord, and is then clothed in the Garment. I understand that you are to wear these garments at all times. However, if it interferes with intimacy with your partner, who is not a member, would it be okay not to wear the garment at night? If the garment is for modesty purposes, (and other things), the one person I shouldn't have to be modest with is my partner. Correct?
To be immodest is to inappropriately expose or flaunt your body. Since experiencing physical intimacy with your spouse is a commandment, it is by definition not immodest. It's up to each Latter-day Saint's individual discretion as to whether the garment should be removed for physical intimacy. If you choose to do so, you should put it back on for the rest of the night (i.e., you should sleep in it). (See Sacred Garments; Teachings About Sexuality home page)
1122: On 06/26/99, Alisa asked: does the church have a stand on capital punishment?
See Capital Punishment
1121: On 06/26/99, Mimi asked: My mom and I just got in a fight about this. Are tank tops modest if they don't show your bra no matter how you move? All of the girs around wear them. Even the daughters of the men in the bishopric. My mom is especially strict about it because she wasn't a Mormon all her life so her rules weren't so strict. She has no idea what it's like. My cousins even wear tank tops.
Tank Tops are not modest and should be avoided. (See Modesty in Dress)
1120: On 06/26/99, a visitor asked: what does it mean that the Bible is true as it is correctly translated. Are you denying the claim of inerrancy?
The official position of the Church is stated in its eighth article of faith: "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly." The message of the Bible is held to be true, while details of accuracy and completeness are accepted within certain limits. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained: "I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors" (TPJS, p. 327). And again, "From sundry revelations which had been received, it was apparent that many points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled" (TPJS, pp. 9-10).
Joseph Smith often used the words "translated" and "translation," not in the narrow sense alone of rendering a text from one language into another, but in the wider senses of "transmission," having reference to copying, editing, adding to, taking from, rephrasing, and interpreting. This is substantially beyond the usual meaning of "translation." When he said the Bible was not translated correctly, he not only was referring to the difficulties of rendering the Bible into another language but he was also observing that the manuscripts containing the text of the Bible have suffered at the hands of editors, copyists, and revisionists through centuries of transmission. Thus, the available texts of the Bible are neither as complete nor as accurate as when first written.
(See The Holy Bible home page; Bible Accusatory Questions)
1119: On 06/26/99, a visitor asked: First, let me give you a background of myself. I have thoroughly studied both LDS and Protestant Christianity. I have visited the Temple in Salt Lake. I have read much and heard much about both religions. I am slightly appalled at your choice of wordings in the comparisons between Mormonism and Protestant Christianity. Let me say that you automatically present a bias against Christianity by calling us "anti-Mormons." You make it seem as though we run around our neighborhoods with picket signs and bull horns saying "stop the Mormons." That is completely inaccurate. The first scenario of a 6 yr old child ......."
If you examine "Do only Mormons go to Heaven?" again, I do not make any comparisons between LDS beliefs and Protestants as a general group. Instead, I compare our beliefs to those of our biggest detractors: the anti-Mormons, the majority of whom are Fundamentalist Evangelical Protestants. These groups actually do literally "run around our neighborhoods with picket signs and bull horns saying 'stop the Mormons.'" If you don't know what I mean, then try visiting an LDS pageant anywhere in the world. You can always find a group of them holding up signs and passing out pamphlets attacking the Church and warning people about the dangers of "Mormonism". Also, try typing "Mormons" in an Internet search engine and see what you get. I believe the material presented is both accurate and truthful.
1118: On 06/26/99, Kevin asked: I was wonderingif there is any truth to an entire discourse on Adam-God being given during a General Conference in 1854? I have yet to see LDS apologetic pages referring to this at all. Is it a hoax by anti-Mormons? I need to know if it is so i can tell them.
There are no discourses devoted exclusively to the so-called "Adam-God" theory. (See Adam-God's Last Stand)
1117: On 06/26/99, a visitor asked: In the King James Version of the bible ,in a verse,i need to look it up again,It states that we should not add or take away from God's Holy WORD!.....You need to check up on it.
See Bible Accusatory Questions
1116: On 06/26/99, Ryan asked: What is the LDS definition of life?
1115: On 06/26/99, Ryan asked: I am trying to find out at what point does a sprit enter into it's body. Is it during pregnancy or conception? At what point does mortal life begin?
A spirit enters a body during pregnancy. Mortal life begins after the spirit body joins with the physical body. President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:
'The time of quickening is when the mother feels the life of her unborn infant." (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, p.280)
1114: On 06/26/99, Gary asked: Does any Mormon organization run or have any dealings with the Coca Cola Bottling Co.?
While this is a common myth spread about the Church, it has no basis in fact. The Church has no major interest in Coca-Cola or PepsiCo. (See Church Participation in Business)
1113: On 06/26/99, Sara asked: What year did Jesus come to America?
Elder LeGrand Richards taught:
"After Jesus had been crucified and had ascended unto his Father, he visited his "other sheep," known as the Nephites, in America, and there chose twelve disciples and organized his church, as he had done among the Jews. An account of this is given in some detail in Third Nephi of the Book of Mormon..." (A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, Ch.7, p.59)
According to the footnotes at the bottom of the Book of Mormon, this visitation occurred in A.D. 34. (See Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon)
1112: On 06/26/99, Tony asked: Hello, and thanks for your time, i have become very confused lately. as a non-member of your church, i truly do not understand alot about your church. I have began researching LDS because of a young lady i work with. She, and her Family is Mormon, she has not forced this onto me, however, for some reason i am being bothered about something. This young lady is an extremely nice person, and i am attracted to her. I know from her own words she "can not date/marry me cause i'm not Mormon". This is where i get confused, i really don't know if my interest in you church is because of my attraction to this young lady, or if i am truly being called to join your church. If there is any advice you can give me i would appreciate it, may then i could get some sleep.
Since a major component of the gospel is the concept of eternal marriage, Latter-day Saints are encouraged to only date and marry faithful members of the Church. This is because only faithful members of the Church can enter a holy temple and be married for time and all eternity. In other words, 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. Members are encouraged to stay away from any path which might take them away from this great blessing. (See Dating and Marrying Nonmembers)
Faithful Latter-day Saints take their religion very seriously and devote all their resources (e.g., time, talents, money, etc.) to their Church. Therefore, it would be a mistake for someone to join the Church in the hopes of attracting the interest of a particular person. Instead, a person should only join the Church if they are sincerely interested. (See Joining the Church)
1111: On 06/26/99, Josh asked: Hi I'm a new convert to the church as of January. I was wondering why the church says I have to wait a year to serve my first mission? Also how many missions can be served? Can we request to serve in a certain mission?
The Church requires new members to wait at least one year after baptism to serve a mission because all missionaries are required to have received the endowment temple ordinance prior to their mission. It is important for missionaries to receive the spiritual knowledge taught in the temple in order to effectively teach the gospel. The Doctrine and Covenants teaches:
"Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men." (D&C 11:21)
Since there is a one year waiting period after baptism before a person can be endowed, there is a corresponding one year waiting period to serve a mission. The one year waiting period exists so that new converts can properly prepare to make and keep their temple covenants. During their first year of membership, new converts become acquainted with the basic doctrines of the Church and exhibit a commitment to follow Jesus Christ and keep his commandments. If the new convert is diligent in preparing, he or she should be ready to enter the temple after one year.
The Church allows a young man to serve a single two-year mission. Afterwards, he is encouraged to marry and raise a family. (See Teachings About Family home page) After his children are grown, he may serve an unlimited number of additional missions with his wife.
The Church does not allow people to request which mission they serve in. Instead, members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles assign each missionary to their respective missions. A person is expected to serve where he is called. Church leaders make the assignment of each prospective missionary a matter of prayer and revelation. (See Missionary Work home page)
1110: On 06/26/99, Anne asked: I have a question about dressing modestly. What are the basic rules? FOr example how short of shorts? Tank tops? I'm just wondering and it would be great if you could send me some pictures of these examples or something. THanks a lot
See Modesty in Dress
1109: On 06/22/99, Robert asked: Did eternal marriage exist after Adam and Eve and before the Church was started? For example, in the Old Testament and New Testament times?
Yes, the fullness of the gospel has been taught selectively among people, as they have been ready to receive it. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:
"All the prophets had the Melchizedek Priesthood and were ordained by God himself" (TPJS, pp. 180-81).
Using their power of the Melchizedek Priesthood, the prophets and apostles sealed couples together for time and all eternity. For example, the Doctrine and Covenants teaches:
"David's wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife..." (D&C 132:39, emphasis added)
Doctrine and Covenants 132 gives some information about how this power was used anciently.
(See Priesthood in Biblical Times; Eternal Marriage)
1108: On 06/22/99, Jeff asked: what are our beliefs about halloween i have many source books on it but it just isnt hiting it on the nose like what is halloween and what do we believe
The Church does not celebrate Halloween as part of our religion. (See Halloween Advice, an article from the November 1996 Ensign)
1107: On 06/22/99 Stephanie asked: I was wondering if you could tell me the site where I might find information about the different missions throughout the world.
See http://www.mission.net and http://www.ldsmissions.com
1106: On 06/22/99, Kelly asked: Hello there, my name is Kelly. I would like to know some information on a couple CD-disc's. The CD's are 'Gospelink and Infobase Library'. Concerning the books on theology, dictionaries, lexicon's, church history, teachings, commentaries, Inspired Books; 1]how are these looked upon by the Mormon Church, 2]are they accurate and reliable. 3]Is there anything in them that would not be regarded as a good source for information?
These CD's are simply a collection of various hardbound books that have been published by Church members over the last 170 years. Some of the material is official LDS doctrine. Some of the material is the personal opinion of the author, and may or may not reflect the official position of the Church. Overall, the CD's are invaluable resources for members of the Church who desire to study the gospel intensely. However, it's important to understand the relative value and authority of each work. (See What Is Official Doctrine?)
1105: On 06/22/99, Mehrdad asked: I have a friend/relative in Iran that wants to contact you through mail. Would you be kind enough to let me know the address.
The Church may be contacted at the following mailing address:
50 East North Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84150
Just address the envelope to the person or department you want to reach (e.g., Missionary Department, Office of the First Presidency, Elder Richard G. Scott, etc.)
1104: On 06/22/99, Barb asked: i am a member of the church of the latter day saints in griffith ind. I was wondering how do i received a sacaret undergarment or something that i can keep on me i havent been to the church in a long time, but i read my book of morman every day.
Latter-day Saints, who have been to the temple, wear sacred garments under their regular clothing to remind them of the sacred covenants that they have made with God. Your local Bishop or Branch President can tell you how to obtain garments. (See Sacred Garments)
1103: On 06/22/99, John asked: I've read on your website that fasting consists of missing two meals. However, I have heard from some members that the normal time to fast is 24 hours. Which is correct according to the doctrine of the church?
While both statements are correct, the 24 hour statement is more correct. For example, let's say you eat dinner at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, skip breakfast and lunch the next day (i.e., Sunday) and eat dinner again at 6:00 p.m. You will have fasted for 24 hours (i.e., 6 p.m. to 6 p.m.) and skipped two meals (i.e., breakfast and lunch on Sunday). I said the 24 hour statement is more correct because the two meal statement assumes you only eat three meals a day. If you eat more then three meals a day, then you would need to skip more meals to fast 24 hours. (See Prayer, Fasting, and Revelation home page)
1102: On 06/22/99, a visitor asked: I would like to ask you about the situation I am experiencing with my loved one. I have been married to her for seven years and love her very much. However, she wants nothing to do with this church and my new-found faith. She is giving me the liberty to practice my own faith, but asks for me not to force anything down her troat. I respect her wishes and live my faith by example and very few words. I was wondering if you had any thoughts regarding this question?'
The Church teaches that a person's personal religious views should always be respected. The Articles of Faith state:
"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."
It's very important for you not to push your views and beliefs onto your wife. Instead, try to become the very best person that you can be. Try to love her as the Savior loves her. Jesus taught us:
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)
"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:34-5)
If you set a good example for her and let her know that your love is genuine and true, then in the process of time, she may become interested in exploring more deeply the things which are sacred to you. I would also invite her to non-threatening Church activities like picnics and dinners.
1101: On 06/22/99, Claire asked: I am very much interested in learning about the church, but I have had so many so called Christian friends say that the church is just a cult. Why would they say that?
See Why does Mormonism arouse such animosity among so many?; Is the Church a Cult?
1100: On 06/21/99, a visitor asked: Why Do Mormons Add to God's Word?
See Bible Accusatory Questions
1099: On 06/21/99, a visitor asked: I am curious, does the Mormon faith believe that only a certain number of souls will be saved? I heard the number 300,000, but I could be wrong. Is this true? Thank you for the time.
No, Latter-day Saints believe every soul has the opportunity to be saved, if they desire. The only people who will not be saved are those who willingly violate the commandments of God. (See Teachings About the Afterlife home page)
1098: On 06/21/99, Shielah asked: Hi. I have a question after reading a different religion's website. They claim that if God is the literal father of Jesus, then he is guilty of breaking his own commandments since Mary was already betrothed to Joseph. I have wondered about this in the past, but have enough faith in God to know that he would not break his own commandments and also that Jesus is the only begotten son of God. What are your thoughts on this issue?
First, I believe Jesus is the literal and only begotten son of God the Father. Second, I believe God is perfectly holy and just and would not do anything unholy or sinful (See Teachings About the Godhead home page). While the scriptures are very reverential in discussing the conception of Jesus and tell us relatively little about how it occurred, we do know certain things. The inference in the question seems to be that God committed fornication and caused Mary to commit adultery since Jesus was conceived after she was formally betrothed to Joseph. This supposition assumes that Jesus was conceived in the same way that all babies were conceived, through normal sexual relations. However, the scriptures teach and Latter-day Saints believe that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was born. The Book of Mormon teaches:
"And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God." (Alma 7:10, emphasis added)
Therefore, the commandments regarding fornication and adultery could not have been broken. (See Virgin Birth; Was Mary a Virgin?; Teachings About Sexuality home page)
1097: On 06/21/99, Amanda asked: I am almost 17 years old. This past school year I've grown very close to a girl named Ashley who is Mormon. I'm not a Mormon, but consider myself to be a Christian. I have not been to church in years, but celebrate religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Sometimes I feel as though Ashley thinks less of me because I am not a religious person, especially not a Mormon. She won't eat dinner at my house with my family, but has me over to her home for dinner occasionally. She and her family cross their arms and say a prayer that I am unfamiliar with. Could she be worried we will serve food that she shouldn't eat because of her religion? Is she worried she won't be able to say grace? I'm very concerned about this and would love some advice. Ashley and I have become best friends, and I want us to be able to communicate in a healthy way. I wish that religion didn't have to be an issue, but I'm worried that she would rather I were Mormon.
The only reason a Latter-day Saint should feel uncomfortable around nonmembers of the Church is if the nonmembers were engaging in behavior that is inconsistent with Church standards (See For the Strength of Youth). For example, if a bunch of neighborhood boys were watching pornographic movies, then the LDS boy should excuse himself from participation. However, from your letter, this type of standards issue does not appear to the cause of your trouble. Therefore, I can't think of any religious reason why she would not eat dinner over at your home. My wife and I regularly eat meals with nonmember friends at their home. It is true that Latter-day Saints wish everyone were members of our Church because we sincerely believe the teachings of our Church can make one happy. However, it would be contrary to our beliefs to disrespect someone because they were not members. We believe all people, regardless of religious affiliation, are children of God and are of infinite worth. I suggest you address your concerns to her directly. The best way to have healthy communication is to start talking with one another. (See Interfaith Relations home page)
1096: On 06/20/99, Darin asked: I learned something that I have never heard before. That was that "The Seer" had been condemned by the Church in the 1800's. I have the book and while I have not read it from cover to cover I have used it and found it to be helpful.
The Seer was a newspaper published by Elder Orson Pratt while serving a mission for the Church. In the paper, Elder Pratt gave his viewpoints on a number of gospel principles. When the Church discovered what Elder Pratt had written, he was censured and the writings were officially and publicly condemned for containing false doctrine in a Proclamation of the First Presidency and Twelve, dated October 21, 1865. (See The Seer and Journal of Discourses)
1095: On 06/20/99, a visitor asked: If you truly believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God then how can you possibly believe that Joseph Smith has authority of equality with Jesus or above Jesus.
See Is Joseph Smith Greater than Jesus Christ?
1094: On 06/20/99, Janna asked: As I understand it, one of the teachings of Brigham Young was that Adam was our God and Father. And many of his sermons/speeches on this subject were published in the Journal of Discourses. And I also understand that for 50 years following, the LDS church accepted and taught this as doctrine. My question is, if you don't use the Journal of Discourses as accepted doctrine, that is was as you say 'impromptu speeches', why was this doctrine taught and believed, and why does the church try and deny it today?
Your understanding is incorrect and obviously based on some falsehoods spread by members of competing denominations. For a discussion about the so called "Adam-God" doctrine, see Adam-God's Last stand. (See Have Your Doctrine's Changed?; The Seer and Journal of Discourses)
1093: On 06/20/99, a visitor asked: Do you really believe that the son of God, Jesus Christ and the Devil are spirit Brothers as written in Mormon Doctrine on page 163?
See Is Jesus the Brother of Satan?
1092: On 06/20/99, John asked: I am a recent convert to the church, and I have a question for you regarding Joseph Smith Jr's First Vision. I recently purchased "The Papers of Joseph Smith," edited by Dean C. Jessee (Salt Lake: Deseret Book, 1989), which contains many of Joseph's personal writings, including the earliest known acccount of the First Vision. This was written in 1832, and is apparently also the earliest known document in Joseph's own handwriting. It is currently in the collection of the Church Archives. My question stems from this version being substantially different from the First Vision in the Pearl of Great Price. I would greatly appreciate it if you could discuss these apparent differences, or give me any information that you might have on where I could find such information. This problem has shaken me to the quick, and I would again be most appreciative of any help you might render in its' resolution.
See A Discussion of the Various Accounts of the First Vision
1091: On 06/20/99, a visitor asked: Why do mormons have a lay ministery?
In other denominations, the priest or minister performs ministerial services. However, in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, every man is offered ordination to the priesthood and the opportunity to serve God and his fellow men. The ultimate degree of salvation, exaltation or eternal life, is being as God is and doing as God does (See Godhood) To obtain this degree of salvation, it is necessary that every man must learn use the priesthood of God for himself. He cannot be dependant upon the knowledge and powers of others. Through ministering in the priesthood, a man grows in knowledge and understanding until he is at last capable of receiving the blessings of eternal life. (See Lay Participation and Leadership; Priesthood Organization home page)
1090: On 06/20/99, Max asked: was joseph smith a mason ?
Yes, see Why Did Joseph Smith Become a Mason?
1089: On 06/20/99, Marilyn asked: what is the name of the sacred undergarment
It is the special underclothing known as the temple garment, or garment of the holy priesthood. For information about sacred garments in general, see Garments and The Temple Garment: "An Outward Expression of an Inward Covenant"
1088: On 06/20/99, Jeff asked: i have a few quesstions for you cause the missionarys line is buisy why does it say in the bible that the bible is the only book of god and where does it say that
The Bible does not say it is the only word of God. (See Bible Accusatory Questions; The Holy Bible home page)
1087: On 06/20/99, Jeanette asked: A friend of mine has been explaining to me about the Temple Blessings bestowed upon all people. He has explained that by proxy a person may be baptized or married in the Temple, if they have passed away. If this is true than could you send me information on how to obtain this blessing for my grandparents or at least who I could contact in order to have this done for them. Neither one of them were Mormon.
Any Latter-day Saint, who holds a temple recommend, can enter the temple and have this proxy work done for your ancestors. If you don't know any Latter-day Saints able to enter the temple, you may contact a local Family History Center and make the request through them. To find a Family History Center in your area, call (U.S.) 1-800-346-6044 or visit http://www.kbyu.byu.edu/ancestors.html.
(See Teachings About Temples home page; Salvation for the Dead; Family History home page)
1087: On 06/20/99, John asked: I have a friend that I work with. I have told him that gambling is not a good thing and that we should not gamble. I thought there were scriptures in the Bible that talked about gambling but I cannot find any. I know our leaders discourage it and we cannot pay tithing on winnings. Can you give me some help here? (Scriptures, writings of the prophets?)
While I am not aware of any Biblical passages condemning gambling, Church leaders have issued numerous statements condemning gambling as a plague on society. For example, President Spencer W. Kimball taught:
"From the beginning we have been advised against gambling of every sort. The deterioration and damage comes to the person, whether he wins or loses, to get something for nothing, something without effort, something without paying the full price." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.355)
1086: On 06/20/99, Sara asked: Hi. I was wondering how long the 6 discussions take. Is it once a week? If it is, is it possible to sort of speed them up, say to twice a week? Thanks.
Unless a Mission President has instituted special rules within his mission, there are no set requirements for how quickly the discussions can be given. The key is to ensure that the prospective member meets all the prerequisites prior to baptism. Because I was fairly knowledgeable about LDS doctrine prior to my baptism, the missionaries and I covered the discussions all in one day. (See Missionary Work home page)
1085: On 06/20/99, a visitor asked: I have a question about the baptism of children. I was told that children need to be baptized by the time they are 8 yrs. old or we will be held accountable for not having them baptized at that time. I do not understand this because I think it should be the children's choice. I was baptized when I was 9 and I am now 27 and do not remember anything. That is why I think it should be the children's choice when they are old enough to understand what it is all about and they know that is what they want in their hearts. Can you please help me to understand why there is an age limit?
The Doctrine and Covenants states:
"And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents." (D&C 68:25)
Latter-day Saints reject the doctrine of original sin, as taught in many other denominations. We believe that infants inherit certain effects of the Fall, but not the responsibility for any sin as a result of Adam's or Eve's transgression. From the foundation of the world, the Atonement of Jesus Christ makes amends "for the sins of those who have fallen by the transgression of Adam" (Mosiah 3:11). Therefore, baptism is not needed, for little children cannot sin and are innocent (see Children: Salvation of Children). They are redeemed from the beginning by the grace of Jesus Christ (D&C 29:46-47), whose Atonement cleanses them of the effects of the Fall (D&C 137:10).
However, as children mature, they become responsible for their own personal sins. The Church recognizes the age of eight years as the standard age at which this happens. Therefore, parents are encouraged to prepare their children to receive baptism, which is one of the prerequisites of receiving remission of sins. If a parent does not properly prepare a child, then the Lord will not hold the child responsible for not meeting the prerequisites of forgiveness. Instead, the Lord will hold the undutiful parents responsible for the child's personal sins.
Also, after baptism in water, the child is eligible to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, through the ordinance of confirmation. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:
"No man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations. The Holy Ghost is a revelator." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Six 184344, p.328)
The constant companionship of the Holy Ghost is a great blessing that we all need, especially young children who need to make choices between good and evil every day of their lives, and yet lack the life experience which often helps a person to choose the right way.
Finally, it should be noted that the choice of baptism is up to the child in question. The responsibility of the parents is to properly prepare the child by making sure he understands the prerequisite doctrines and teachings. In other words, the parents need to teach the child why he needs baptism. If a child chooses not to be baptized, despite the goods faith effort of the parents, then they are not responsible for the child's decision. He remains responsible for his own sins. The key to the original scripture note above is that parents must make a good faith effort to teach their children properly, or they are responsible for their children's misdeeds.
1084: On 06/20/99, a visitor asked: My family is planning on attending church and we were wondering what we should wear, or better asked, what is appropriate? Can he wear jeans and a nice shirt or does he have to have a suit?
See Visitors Guide
1083: On 06/20/99, Paul asked: We have recently become acquainted with a Mormon family and are interested in inviting them to share a meal or to a cookout, but we are concerned if there are any dietary or food restictions other than those for coffee, tea, alcohol or other stimulants. Your response to this query would be greatly appreciated.
Word of Wisdom is the common title for a revelation that counsels Latter-day Saints on maintaining good health and is published as Doctrine and Covenants: section 89. The practice of abstaining from all forms of alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and tea, which may outwardly distinguish active Latter-day Saints more than any other practice, derives from this revelation. While the Church encourages members to eat healthy foods, there are no other specific restrictions. Church leaders have said that some unhealthy foods or drugs are a violation of the spirit of the law, though not a technical violation (See Cola Drinks). The easiest way to accommodate your friends is to simply ask them what they would like to be served. Like all people, Latter-day Saints have their personal preferences (e.g., grape soda vs. orange soda, hamburgers vs. hot dogs, potato salad vs. fruit salad)
(See Question and Answer home page; Question and Answer 30)
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