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Question and Answer 10
227: On 11/30/97, a visitor asked: As a women I was asked "Do I realize my Eternal Worth?" How do I answer that question? What is my Eternal Worth?
Your eternal worth is infinite and is therefore so great that it cannot be measured by man. You should remember that Jesus Christ, the Eternal God, wrought an infinite atonement for your sins, so that you might have the opportunity to live with him again. (See the Atonement of Jesus Christ home page)
The Doctrine and Covenants teaches:
"Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God; For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance. And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth! Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people. And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" (D&C 18:10-6, emphasis added)
"For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit--and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink-- (D&C 19:16-18, emphasis added)
This atonement by the unblemished Lamb of God was not easy or made without effort. Why did Jesus pay such a terrible price for you? Why did the Father stand by and witness the suffering of his Only Begotten? Because your Savior and your Father in Heaven love you and see your eternal potential (See Condescension of God). This infinite sacrifice was made for you because you are of infinite worth.
226: On 11/30/97, Leo asked: What are the different creeds and sacraments that Mormons believe in?
While the Articles of Faith do not constitute a summation of all LDS beliefs, and they are not a creed in the traditional Christian sense, they do provide a useful authoritative summary of fundamental LDS scriptures and beliefs.
Latter-day Saints have numerous Priesthood Ordinances, including but not limited to Baptism, Confirmation, Blessing the Sick, Dedications, the Endowment, Blessings, Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, Temple Sealings, and Washing and Anointings.
225: On 11/30/97, Leo asked: What is the format of the Mormon service?
The main meetings on Sunday are (1) Sacrament meeting; (2) Sunday school; and (3) concurrent priesthood quorum meetings for men and Relief Society for women, with children under twelve years of age simultaneously attending primary. Young women meet in their own sessions, while young men of equivalent age are in priesthood meeting. (See Major Church Meetings)
224: On 11/30/97, Leo asked: What is the Mormon's belief on the ecumenical movement to the unification of Christianity?
The Church does not typically participate in formal ecumenical activities; however, it is committed to cooperate with other religious, civic, and educational organizations in advancing common moral and social purposes. (See Interfaith Relations home page)
223: On 11/30/97, James asked: I was reading material you had that God Had a wife. That is Greek to me and I would like to find more about it as I would like to know more about the religion altogether.
See Mother in Heaven
222: On 11/29/97, Jeffrey asked: Why is their so much controversy in regards to drinking Coke ? It seems to be that if you are a drinker of coke that the recommendation is that its OK.Their have been stake presidents who in temple interviews would ask this question. Please to settle this question is their any reference from the General authorities in regards to this. I noticed that President Hinckley mentioned in an interview that we do not drink cola drinks. Is their an official direction regarding this?
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." (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.202)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:
"... there are many other substances which have a harmful effect on the human body, though such particular things are not specifically prohibited by the Word of Wisdom. Certainly the partaking of cola drinks, though not included within the measuring standard here set out, is in violation of the spirit of the Word of Wisdom. Harmful drugs of any sort are in a like category." (Mormon Doctrine, p.845)
Elder Samuel O. Bennion taught:
"I heard President Grant say, recently, that he would consider it a favor to him, if men and women would abstain from the use of tea and coffee, tobacco, liquor, and coca-cola; that they would have power given them to establish themselves in the faith, and save themselves from debt, sickness, and disease. And he read from the revelations, that the destroying angel would pass them by; and he is a prophet of God." (Conference Report, April 1922, p.140)
"Speaking of those who rationalize the church's stand on cola drinks, Bishop Featherstone said, 'We can find loopholes in a lot of things if we want to bend the rules of the church.'" (The Church News, Conference Issues 1970-1987, p.9)
221: On 11/29/97, Janne, Sigrun and Linda asked: Can you please tell us about your sacraments?
See Priesthood Ordinances home page
220: On 11/29/97, Janne, Sigrun and Linda asked: Who are the leaders of the church?
Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus Christ is personally the Head of the Church, leading and guiding it by revelation. Under the Savior's supervision, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles manage the day-to-day activities. (See Church Organization and Priesthood Authority home page)
219: On 11/29/97, Janne, Sigrun and Linda asked: How do you become a Mormon?
Membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a fulfilling, lifelong undertaking. It begins with the ordinance of baptism, which represents a covenant made between the convert and God. By this act, the convert promises to follow Jesus Christ and keep all his commandments in love and righteousness. God, in return, promises the gift of the Holy Ghost and the opportunity for eternal life (See Joining the Church; Membership)
218: On 11/29/97, a visitor asked: I have just started reading the bible, so this question may sound silly. The bible states that Adam and Eve were the first humans on earth. How does this relate to Darwin's theory of Evolution?
God has not revealed all of the procedures and enablers that were used in the creation process. Since the knowledge isn't necessary to our salvation, we simply have not been told all of the details. Therefore, there is some room for individual theory and speculation.
However, one of the cardinal teachings of the Church is "All human beingsmale and femaleare created in the image of God." (See The Family--A Proclamation to the World) Adam and Eve were of the same species as men are today. Any belief or theory that contradicts this eternal truth is false. (See Evolution, the Origin of Man, and the Creation home page)
217: On 11/29/97, a visitor asked: Can you tell me things about the millennium and when you think it is going to come.
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. In other words, the Millennium will begin after the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. (See The Last Days home page)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:
"The Second Coming is compared to a woman about to give birth to a child. She does not know the hour or the minute of the child's arrival, but she does know the approximate time. There are signs which precede and presage the promised arrival. And so it is with our Lord's coming. He shall come as a thief in the night, unexpectedly and without warning, to the world, to those who are in spiritual darkness, to those who are not enlightened by the power of the Spirit. But his coming shall not overtake the saints as a thief, for they know and understand the signs of the times." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Vol.3, p. 54)
With a good understanding of the Signs of the Times, we shall know the approximate time of the Second Coming. However, our happiness will only be assured if we are meeting the tests of Christian discipleship by "[standing] as witnesses of God at all times and in all things" (See Book of Mormon, Mosiah 18:9). If we are doing so, then we shall be ready to greet him whenever he appears [be it sooner or later].
216: On 11/29/97, Craig asked: I'm curious why your missionaries do not go out in the communities and help others as other churches do. It would seem that all they pursue is new members to perpetuate the church. We never hear of Mormons doing much good for the areas that you send them nor is there ever a listing of non-profit funding of causes that the church takes up published anywhere. It seems to me that the Mormons do nothing but take care of their own, so to speak, and operate the church as a business when it comes to funding. I'm not sure I would join a cultish church like this when other churches do so much for others.
Latter-day Saints are taught that "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." (The Book of Mormon, Mosiah 2:17) In keeping with this principle, Latter-day Saints devote considerable amounts of resources to community service. Assistance is to be provided as Christian service, without regard to race, nationality, or religion. For example, in July 1997, every LDS ward [or congregation] donated 150 hours of service to our communities. In my ward, we renovated a park that is used by children in inner-city Detroit. Therefore, your information is blatantly inaccurate. (See Welfare and Humanitarian Assistance home page)
As far as being a "cultish" Church, I suggest you read The Exclusion by Name-calling by Dr. Stephen E. Robinson.
215: On 11/29/97, a visitor asked: Can I have some info on becoming gods and ruling planets and the origin of god from the planet Kolob, please!
Logically and naturally, the ultimate desire of a loving Supreme Being is to help his children enjoy all that he enjoys. For Latter-day Saints, the term "godhood" denotes the attainment of such a stateone of having all divine attributes and doing as God does and being as God is. (See Godhood)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:
"Kolob means 'the first creation.' It is the name of the planet 'nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God.' It is 'first in government, the last pertaining to the measurement of time. . . . One day in Kolob is equal to a thousand years according to the measurement of this earth.' (Book of Abraham, pp. 34-35; Abra. 3:3-9.)" (Mormon Doctrine, p.428)
Please note that our Heavenly Father is not from Kolob. The Book of Abraham states that Kolob is the planet nearest to the residence of God [or Heaven].
214: On 11/29/97, Hanaa asked: I am a senior at Hanford High in Richland, WA. I am currently writing a position paper on the Mormon Migration that occurred in the mid-1800s. I would be most appreciative of any information you could send me regarding the Migration's history as well as history of the Mormon Religion. Thank you very much for your time.
213: ---and---On 11/29/97, a visitor asked :do u have any diary entries or letters (or any info at all) from the Mormon movement into salt lake city?
See our Church History section, especially the Westward Migration: Planning and Prophecy article, as well as Faith in Every Footstep [which includes an account of the Mormon pioneer trail].
212: On 11/20/97, Shauna asked: Is there an official "ruling" that the sacrament be taken only with the right hand?
President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:
"It is a well-established practice in the Church to partake of the sacrament with the right hand and also to anoint with the right hand, according to the custom which the scriptures indicate is, and always was, approved by divine injunction." (Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol.1, p.159)
211: On 11/20/97, Chris asked: I am a 17 year old male and want I have been faced with the choice to choose between my mothers religion and fathers my father is Mormon and at this time I'm leaning towards wanting to become Mormon I want to know what it will take to join but not until I am 18.
See Joining the Church
210: On 11/20/97, Preston asked: I couldn't find a copy of the St. Louis Temple dedicatory prayer.
209: On 11/20/97, Beth asked: I am a young latter-day saint who was the first in my family to convert. My mother,brother, and sister soon followed my example. However, my father has not yet seen the light. He has questions about the practice of polygamy and the abstinence of consuming alcohol, tea, and coffee. We are from the south so it is duly hard for him to give up both tea and coffee. I need to have hard scientific facts about why we shouldn't drink these things. I also need to obtain details about early church history concerning polygamy. He is under the impression that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young had only one wife. if you can help me learn more about these things so I can help my father to understand, I would be very grateful. Thank you for any help you can give me.
Both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young had more than one wife. To learn more about polygamy, see our Plural Marriage home page.
The practice of abstaining from all forms of alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and tea, may outwardly distinguish active Latter-day Saints more than any other practice (See Word of Wisdom). Few health risks have been clearly identified with the use of tea and coffee, though some evidence suggests that those who abstain from coffee may be at lower risk for peptic ulcers, cancer of the pancreas, and coronary heart disease.
Latter-day Saints do not partake of these substances due to their faith in the promises made by God. Millions of Latter-day Saints, including myself, can testify of the glorious benefits that result from compliance with the principles of this revelation. (See Attitudes About Health and Medicine home page)
208: On 11/20/97, Robin asked: While visiting my parents in California they mentioned they had heard of a web site where you could look up your mission area and possibly find some former companions etc. I think my husband would enjoy looking up some of his former companions. No one I've talked to seems to know what I'm referring to, can you help?
207: On 11/20/97, Dawn asked: I was wondering where is the city of David is it Jerusalem or Bethlehem.
The Holy Bible states:
"And his servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his sepulchre with his fathers in the city of David." (2 Kings 9:28)
206: On 11/19/97, Cindy asked: I am a nursing student at Coastal Carolina Community College and I have been assigned a project. You have probably guessed that it has to do with Mormonism...... Well my question is ...As a nurse how can I better serve my (MORMON) patient and meet their needs in a hospital setting? I would appreciate any info you can possibly give me.
Unlike some other denominations, Latter-day Saints are advised to seek medical assistance from competent licensed physicians. In most ways, dealing with LDS patients will be no different than dealing with non-LDS ones. However, there are two things that will better enable you to meet the needs of your LDS patients.
First, Latter-day Saints believe in healing through priesthood blessings (See Blessing the Sick) When a Latter-day Saint enters a hospital, he or she will frequently request such a blessing from another member of the Church [possibly a family member]. These are sacred ordinances that are best performed in a reverent atmosphere. While it is not necessary that the recipient be placed in a totally secluded area, noise and commotion can disrupt the accompanying prayers. Therefore, if possible, the patient should be allowed a private or semiprivate area for this blessing. Most modern hospitals have curtains which can be drawn to bestow the necessary environment.
Second, Latter-day Saints who have received the temple ordinances wear sacred garments under their clothes. In as much as possible, the sacredness of these garments should be respected. For example, it may be necessary to cut the garments off the body of seriously injured Latter-day Saints to prepare them for medical treatment. If possible, the garments should be placed in a plastic bag with their other personal possessions to be given to him or her later [instead of simply throwing them into a trash container]. (See Attitudes Toward Health and Medicine home page)
205: On 11/19/97, Marcus asked: I am a 13 year old boy interested in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I have read the Book of Mormon, and the Pearl of Great Price, and have found that they are very authentic, and that they contain a message for today. I have also read some of the Doctrines and Covenants. At 11, I became a Catholic by my parents, but I have never really felt that the Roman Catholic Church was the true form of faith in Jesus Christ. Does the Church allow conversions of my age? How should I get started? I think that perhaps I should wait and really see if this is for me, and get it to the point where I can talk with my parents about it. Would the Church agree? Thanks for taking the time to answer.
People can request baptism and membership into the Church beginning at age 8. However, minor children must have permission from their parents [or legal guardians]. The Church will not accept a minor child into membership without the permission of their parents.
First, I suggest you discuss your interest with your parents. You can also invite some missionaries over to your home to teach your parents about the Church. It is probably advisable for your parents to visit the Church to get a feel for what we are all about. If your parents will not allow you to be baptized, then I suggest that you obey their counsel. They may change their minds later. If not, you will be able to make your own choices when you are of legal age. The key to success is knowledge. The more you and your parents know about the Church, the more comfortable your family will be with the idea. (See Joining the Church)
204: On 11/19/97, Danny asked: How is one's experience with the Holy Ghost different after baptism from before? Since all are entitled to promptings from the Holy Ghost, what is changed after confirmation?
In highlighting the gift of the Holy Ghost as a distinguishing characteristic of our faith, we need to understand the important differences between (1) the light of Christ, (2) a manifestation of the Holy Ghost, and (3) the gift of the Holy Ghost.
The Light of Christ is given to every one [including unbaptized persons], that he or she may know good from evil. It is often referred to as our conscience. While all men and women have a conscience, many choose not to follow it. In contrast, a manifestation of the Holy Ghost is more focused. This manifestation is given to acquaint sincere seekers with the truth about the Lord and his gospel. It is a temporary manifestation given to lead a sincere person into baptism.
The gift of the Holy Ghost is more comprehensive. It is available only to those who receive the confirmation ordinance. It is actually enjoyed only by those who are living their lives in accordance with the gospel of Jesus Christ. In other words, while the ordinance is essential, it is not sufficient to receive the blessings. You must also maintain your personal worthiness to actually receive the promised blessings. For "the Spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples" (The Book of Mormon, Helaman 4:24)
What are the promised blessings? They are numerous and include the receipt of special spiritual gifts, personal revelation, and remission of sins. The process of sanctification [becoming spiritually clean and pure] is dependent upon actually enjoying the Gift of the Holy Ghost. (See Teachings About the Holy Ghost home page)
203: On 11/19/97, a visitor asked: do Mormons wear crosses around their necks? As in a necklace.
Latter-day Saints do not use the symbol of the cross in their architecture or in their chapels. Few Latter-day Saints wear crosses as jewelry. They, like the earliest Christians, are reluctant to display the cross because they view the "good news" of the gospel as Christ's resurrection more than his crucifixion. (See The Cross)
202: On 11/19/97, a visitor asked: are Mormons able to date girls/boys of another religion?
While Latter-day Saints have the right to choose for themselves, the Church encourages members to avoid dating nonmembers. (See Dating Nonmembers)
201: On 11/18/97, Patrick asked: I am looking for any Mormon links in Swedish.
200: On 11/18/97, Eric asked: Why are the Book of Mormon and the Doctrines & Covenants not available in bookstores?
LDS scriptures are available in bookstores dedicated to serving the LDS community, like Deseret Book. While you can occasionally find them at some mainstream stores like Amazon.Com, most other bookstores do not carry them. I suspect this is due to potential sales volume than anything else. After all, since the Church frequently airs commercials offering the public free copies, why would anyone actually buy one? All those LDS missionaries passing out free copies are bad for business.
For a free copy of the Book of Mormon, please call (U.S.) 1-800-528-2225.
199: On 11/18/97, a visitor asked: I have attended your services in the past. The problem is that is your church is really a family organization. Being a single man, I feel like an outcast when I attend. I have no immediate family and very few friends. I guess one question I have is why God has rejected me or black listed me. I have come to the conclusion that it really doesn't matter whether you are good or bad, he has separated people in two groups, his chosen, and the rejected. You can be a murderer and still be one of his chosen, or someone like me, who has never gotten into any trouble, and be rejected by him. Has he made a deal with Satan in which people, like me, are already written off, whether they are good or bad? I have met people who have had criminal records and are now successful and happy with families. Their having gotten in trouble either seems to have been rewarded or simply they are one of God's chosen.
First, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rejects the belief in predestinationthat God predetermines the salvation or the damnation of every individual. The gospel teaches that genuine human freedom and genuine responsibilityindividual agency in both thought and actionare crucial in both the development and the outcome of a person's life.
The Book of Mormon states: "Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh in one; he that is righteous is favored of God." (1 Nephi 17:35) The Lord blesses those who keep his commandments and rejects those who do not.
However, the Lord's blessings and cursings are rarely correlated with success as the world views it. For example, while most wealthy people live ungodly lives, most prophets are of modest means. In the area of relationships, people are often attracted to one another based on superficial and meaningless characteristics. The superstar athlete often gets the girl instead of the sincere guy next door. If the righteous were always immediately rewarded and the wicked were always immediately punished, then there would be no need for faith.
Second, the family is certainly the basic unit of the Church. The Church proclaims that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creators plan for the eternal destiny of His children. (See The Family: A Proclamation to the World) It can be difficult to socially integrate into the Church as a single adult, especially if there are no singles wards or branches in your area. For this reason, the Church spends considerable resources on enhancing the singles programs wherever it is organized.
While family is central to eternal happiness, we are saved on an individual basis (See Salvation). Those who do not marry in mortality will be given the opportunity to do so later [assuming they remain faithful]. From an eternal perspective, all of our earthly losses will be redressed. However, if we are not personally worthy of such blessings [due to our personal choices], then we will not receive that later opportunity.
If you become a Latter-day Saint, then I suggest you take the steps that are necessary to enhance your marital prospects. Attend a singles ward instead of a family ward. If there are no singles wards in your area, then move to an area with one.
As a personal aside, I found myself in a similar situation several years ago. Today, I have a wonderful family. I found that the Lord often helps those who help themselves. First, I moved from Texas to Utah to enhance my marital prospects. I left my work, my family, and my friends and set out completely on my own. Second, I acquired several friends of the female gender. With their assistance, I was able to determine my strong points and my weak ones as a dating prospect. I worked on improving my weak areas. After several years [not days, weeks, or months], I met and married a truly wonderful woman. If I had not moved to a new area, seriously worked on my dating attributes, or shown enough patience, I would still be single today.
198: On 11/18/97, a visitor asked: I have been recently divorced, and have felt very judged by the members in my ward..including my bishop..for this reason I have stopped attending it has now been almost 5 months since I have attended any meetings. at first I continued to study and pray..but now I no longer do that and have even started smoking and drinking coffee..I no longer feel the spirit..I know that this is my own fault,I often think of going back..but I do not feel comfortable in my ward nor talking to my Bishop I live in a rural area so its not like I have a choice of attending another ward..I don't know what to do. do you have any suggestions?
At October 1997 General Conference, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland stated:
"To those who may feel they have somehow forfeited their place at the table of the Lord, we say again with the Prophet Joseph Smith that God has "a forgiving disposition," that Christ is "merciful and gracious, slow to anger, [is] long-suffering and full of goodness." I have always loved that when Matthew records Jesus' great injunction, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect," Luke adds the Savior's additional commentary: "Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful"--as if to suggest that mercy is at least a beginning synonym for the perfection God has and for which all of us must strive. Mercy, with its sister virtue forgiveness, is at the very heart of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the eternal plan of salvation. Everything in the gospel teaches us that we can change if we need to, that we can be helped if we truly want it, that we can be made whole, whatever the problems of the past.
Now, if you feel too spiritually maimed to come to the feast, please realize that the Church is not a monastery for perfect people, though all of us ought to be striving on the road to godliness. No, at least one aspect of the Church is more like a hospital or an aid station, provided for those who are ill and want to get well, where one can get an infusion of spiritual nutrition and a supply of sustaining water in order to keep on climbing.
In spite of life's tribulations and as fearful as some of our prospects are, I testify that there is help for the journey. There is the Bread of Eternal Life and the Well of Living Water. Christ has overcome the world--our world--and His gift to us is peace now and exaltation in the world to come. Our fundamental requirement is to have faith in Him and follow Him--always. " (See "He Hath Filled the Hungry with Good Things")
First, you need to realize that no true happiness can be found outside of the straight and narrow path. There is simply no other way to peace and happiness. Second, I suggest you go to your Bishop and ask him how the two of you might be reconciled together. If you cannot overcome the discomfort of discussing the issue with your Bishop, then I suggest you discuss your concerns with a member of the Stake Presidency. Finally, I suggest you make special efforts to pray regularly and read the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. I promise you if you will sincerely start reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning, you will know how to solve your problem before you reach the end. Reading the Book of Mormon will also help you to realize that you are a child of God and he desperately wants you to come home.
(See Question and Answer 11; Question and Answer home page; Question and Answer 9)
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