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Question and Answer 11

254: On 12/12/97, Ben asked: I am curious about the thirteeth article of faith where it states "...we believe all things...". What is the interpretation of this?

The 13th Article of Faith states:

"We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul--We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."

My intepretation of this poetic phrase is that "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." (9th Article of Faith)

253: On 12/12/97, Mads asked: In july this year I interviewed to splendid mormon missionaries, Wyatt and Emett, in Oristano, Sardinia, Italy. I would like to make a similar interview with two mormon missionaries in Denmark. Could you help me with a name and a telephone numer for your mission in Denmark? I would appreciate a quick response...

The Denmark, Copenhagen Mission Office can be reached at:

Borups Alle 128, 1. tv
2000 Fredricksberg

Telephone Number: 0114538113999

252: On 12/12/97, Cathy asked: I would like information on the LDS Indian Placement Program. How effective is it? How does it work? As an adoptive parent, I know the blessings and hardships of adopting three children. All these children are wonderful and deserve the best that we can give them. Thank You.

The Indian Student Placement Services was established among native americans by the LDS Church in part to fulfill the obligation felt by the Church to help care for the Indians in the Americas (2 Ne. 10:18-19). The program places Indian students in Latter-day Saint homes, where they live while attending the public school of the community during the academic year. (See Indian Placement Program) President Spencer W. Kimball taught:

"I doubt that there is any single program of the gospel itself or any phase of the program of our Church which is more selfless or which can transform a deprived people more rapidly, more completely, more thoroughly, than the Indian student placement program. (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.615)

For further information about the program, please call (U.S.) 1-800-453-3860

251: On 12/11/97, Chris asked: I would like to know what exactly is involved in becoming or joining the church like who would I contact and do I have to do anything special? And I also have a question a friend is going in for a baptism what exactly is a baptism my mom is Baptist is related in any way?

See Joining the Church; Membership; Baptism

250: On 12/11/97, Angelique asked: I have a question about marriage. If someone had gotten a divorce before they joined the church and did not know of the Biblical references of divorce, and if they fully repented of their sin before they were baptized, would they ever be able to have a temple marriage afterward?

The Church 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.

In some divorces, the responsibility for failure lies only with one partner. In such cases, the other spouse is not guilty of sin and is not subject to any penalty. He or she may marry in the temple as opportunity affords itself. In other cases, both partners may bear a portion of the responsibility for the failure. However, even if a person is wholly or partially responsible for a divorce, it is possible for them to receive forgiveness.

Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus Christ willingly offered his life, including his innocent body, blood, and spiritual anguish as a redeeming ransom for our sins. If we will repent and follow the Lord's teachings, we can truly become clean and pure again. (See The Atonement of Jesus Christ home page) The Holy Bible teaches:

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18)

If a person has completed the repentance process, a past divorce will not keep a person from being eligible for a future temple marriage. If the divorce occurred before a person joined the Church, any sin relative to it is remitted when a candidate enters the waters of baptism, assuming he or she does so in good faith. If the divorce occurred after someone joined the Church, it can be remitted through sincere repentance and clearence with the proper priesthood authorities, like your bishop. (See Remission of Sins; Teachings About Marriage home page)

245: On 12/11/97, Brian asked: I was just wondering if Mormons believe that it is possible for someone to become a god of his own planet when he dies. A simple yes or no answer would be much appreciated, for I couldn't really find it in your web page. Thank you for your time and God Bless!

See Godhood

244: On 12/09/97, Arnold asked: I would like to learn Christian laying on of hands healing. Can any one give me direction on this???

See Blessing the Sick

243: On 12/08/97, Jana asked: Does the LDS church have an official statement or view about church members being stewards of the earth and/or issues about the environment?

The LDS economic order, based on the premise that the earth is the Lord's, holds that men are stewards over the property they hold and are responsible for consecrating their time, energy, and talents to the establishment of Zion. Dominion over the earth is not a license to plunder, but a sacred trust to conserve life and protect the environment. LDS cosmology teaches that all living things will be resurrected, that the earth itself has a celestial destiny, and that all people are accountable to God for their earthly stewardship. (See Intellectual History)

President Ezra Taft Benson taught:

"Stewardship in the Church is a very important matter. The Lord has mentioned it in the revelations. (See D&C 59; 104.) We are stewards over these earthly blessings which the Lord has provided, those of us who have this soil and this water. We have no moral latitude, it seems to me. In fact, we are morally obligated to turn this land over to those who succeed us—not drained of its fertility, but improved in quality, in productivity, and in usefulness for future generations.

I am sure our Heavenly Father expects us to use these precious natural resources wisely, unselfishly, and effectively—both our soil and our water." (Welfare Meeting, General Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, 6 April 1957.)

"It is terribly important that we preserve and improve the great natural resources with which the God of heaven has so richly blessed us, that we may not follow the experience of some other nations that have come and gone because of the mismanagement of their natural and God-given resources." (Welfare Session, General Conference, 5 April 1958.)

(Also see the comments on caring for the environment in the Earth article on the Creation home page)

242: On 12/08/97, George asked: Hi. My fiancee and I are getting married soon and this is a second marriage for both of us. She has two children from her previous marriage. Her ex-husband is not a member of the church and abandoned the family over five years ago. As far as any one knows he has been out of the country for several years. We are getting contradictory information regarding our having her children sealed to us. I plan to adopt them after we are married (they are ages 5 and 8). Our question is this: if we have them sealed to us now, they will be sealed with their current last name. If after the adoption, with my last name. Is there any difference? We would like to include them so they feel part of the marriage. (We know about the problem of getting their father's permission and have arranged for a letter with the temple to allow it.) Thanks.

Sealings are between people [not names]. If an individual later changes his or her name, the validity of a sealing is not affected. Therefore, the sealing would not be affected by the timing of adoption. However, the Church generally requires a parent to have legal standing [i.e., adoption] with the child before a sealing is allowed. It's possible that the Church may accept a permission letter from a birth father in lieu of a formal adoption, but this is an issue best discussed with your bishop. (See Adoption of Children; Teachings About Temples home page)

241: On 12/05/97, Bob asked: I recently encountered a student questioning me about the Masonic hand signals once used. I could not answer his question, so if you would send me some info, I'd greatly appreciate it!

See Freemasonry and the Temple

240: On 12/05/97, Edward asked: [After proving that the Old and New Testaments teach that the Sabbath is Saturday] Since the LDS Church makes the bold claim to be God's only true Church, why does it not follow the plain word of Holy Scripture and observe the seventh day as Sabbath? By whose authority does it claim that Sunday is "the Sabbath", as opposed to the seventh-day Sabbath which God Himself instituted, blessed, made holy, and observed (as did Jesus and the Disciples)? How could the LDS Church possibly dare to disregard the seventh-day Sabbath, given its obvious and profound symbolic significance to God and His People?

You obviously take the Seventh-day Adventist position. I have seen this issue debated many times on Christian newsgroups. I have yet to see anyone from other Christian denominations form an adequate rebuttal to a Saturday Sabbath by using the Bible.

However, since Latter-day Saints do not depend upon the Bible as the sole source of inspired teachings, we are not in the same position as other denominations. We regard Sunday as the Sabbath because we have received modern revelation from prophets and apostles so instructing us. This is a similar situation to the Law of Moses. In the Old Testament, the people were commanded to keep the Law of Moses. However, after the resurrection of Christ, the people were relieved of this responsibility by the Lord's authorized servants [who were living at that time]. Likewise, in these last days, the Lord has told us that through his authorized servants that while Biblical peoples may have kept Saturday as the Lord's Sabbath, the Lord now desires us to honor Sunday as his holy day.

239: On 12/05/97, Danny asked: Some of the teachings of early prophets of the church (predominantly Brigham Young) do not seem harmonious with current church doctrine. Did he sometimes engaged in non-inspired speculation, or how are we to interpret these seeming inconsistencies?

Since only Jesus Christ was perfect and without sin, Latter-day Saints don't consider Church leaders infallible or free from error. Prophets are mortal men just like everyone else. If the Lord has not given them a revelation on an issue, then they are perfectly capable of engaging in non-inspired speculation just like the rest of us. (See Are Prophets Infallible?)

In the early days of the Church, it was common for Church leaders to speculate on a wide variety of issues. They simply did not have the 167 years of inspired teaching available to them that we have today. With each new generation of Church leaders, the Lord reveals more truth and our knowledge base ever increases. We should be truly thankful to be led by men who are in communion with God.

However, it should be noted that it is common for critics to exaggerate or misrepresent inconsistencies between past and present leaders. As a careful student of both past and present leaders, I have found relatively few differences in doctrine [and none that are important to our salvation]. In most cases where critics claim an inconsistency, it is simply a misinterpretation of what was actually taught. For example, one of Brigham Young's supposed inconsistencies is what is commonly called the Adam-God Theory. Yet, as I have shown elsewhere [See Adam-God's Last Stand], there is nothing that Brigham Young taught on this subject that is not perfectly consistent with official Church teachings. In most instances it's all a matter of properly interpreting what was said and understanding the meaning.

For many years, it has been common for people [even some in the Church] to disparage Brigham Young [after all it's easy to pick on a dead man]. I believe it's interesting to note that in a major shift in the Church curriculum, Latter-day Saints are going to spend the next two years [1998/1999] studying President Young's teachings. If present Church leaders believed that Brigham Young did not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ, I doubt we would be spending so much time studying what he taught.

238: On 12/05/97, a visitor asked: I believe in the Book of Mormon and I have a question. In Mosiah Chp. 17 ; Verse 13 it states - And it came to pass that they took him and bound him, and scourged his skin with faggots, yea even unto death. In this verse what is the meaning of the word Faggot ; Is it a misprint ? Could it be maggot? Thank You for your Time

According to the dictionary, a fagot [or the British faggot] is:

"1. A bundle of sticks, twigs, or branches bound together and used as fuel, a facine, a torch, etc. (Random House Webster's College Dictionary)

Therefore, the Book of Mormon is using the correct terminology to describe the torture process used. The word faggot is probably used less today than in Joseph Smith's day [early 1800's].

237: On 12/05/97, Aubin asked: Just wondering, I know that people probably will not have an answer for this, but I was just wondering.... God created Adam and Eve to be immortal, but they needed the fall to become mortal, therefore the fall was actually a good thing so that they could have children and live mortal lives. Why did God not create them to be mortal to begin with?

The mortal condition is an absolute prerequisite to becoming like God and enjoying the same quality of life as our Heavenly Parents. (See Godhood; Purpose of life) However, because of the great risks associated with mortality, it was necessary that man enter the lone and dreary world by his own choice. One of the essential ingredients in the Plan of Salvation is the concept of agency, the power to choose good and evil for ourselves. While there is much to be gained [physical bodies, godlike attributes], many of our Heavenly Father's children will not pass the tests of mortality and will be forever separated from our eternal family. Therefore, it was necessary that man had to willingly choose mortality and thus begin the difficult testing experience. Elder Orson F. Whitney taught:

"Earth having been prepared for man, Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden—placed there to become mortal, that the Lord's purpose might be accomplished. The fall, though planned, was not compelled. Man still had his agency, the right and power of choice." (Saturday Night Thoughts, p.80, emphasis added)

236: On 12/04/97, George asked: Hi I am new at this and looking for the truth. I am trying to find someone to answer a few question that I have. If someone could e-mail me back with an answer or direct me to the right place. I have been reading the Book of Mormon and the Bible and I ran across something I thought was odd (for a lack of a better word) Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 8:20-23) And it come to pass that there was thick darkness upon all the face of the land, inasmuch that the inhabitants thereof....could feel the vapor of darkness; and there could be no light, because of the darkness, neither candles, neither torches: neither could there be fire that there could not be any light at all; and there was not any light seen...neither the sun nor the moon nor the stars, for so great were the mists of darkness upon the face of the land. And it come to pass that if did last for the space of three days that there was no light seen .... The Bible Luke's gospel says that there was a darkness over all the earth (23:44,45). Matthew 27:45 says, "Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour," and Mark 15:33 concurs almost exactly. Yet it seems clear from the Bible that there is nothing unusual about the darkness itself. Jesus' disciples and the Romans around the cross were able to see the Lord die. John, an eyewitness, even makes a special point of saying that he saw Jesus pierced (John 19:34,35).

My Question

1. Which Book do the Mormons hold as the true word of God?
2. How do the Mormons view the Bible?
3. How do the Mormons view the differences in the two Books?

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. (See Articles of Faith) The Church believes the word of God contained in the Bible. It accepts the Bible "as the foremost of [the Church's] standard works, first among the books which have been proclaimed as…written guides in faith and doctrine. In the respect and sanctity with which the Latter-day Saints regard the Bible they are of like profession with Christian denominations in general" (See The Holy Bible home page)

Regarding the scriptures that you referenced, Latter-day Saints do not see any discrepancy or contradiction between the Bible and the Book of Mormon. The events listed in the the Bible occurred in Palestine. The events listed in the Book of Mormon occurred in the Americas. Therefore, they are not describing the same events.

235: On 12/3/97, someone asked: Why is the LDS Church in the business of secular radio? Why does the Church have so many large-scale commercial interests that have nothing to do with religion?

Historically, two purposes have characterized Church participation in business: to provide important services to the community that might not otherwise be available, and to provide a reasonable return on the resources of the Church. (See Church Participation in Business)

234: On 12/2/97, Dave asked: I am looking for a quote by (I think) President Benson that goes something like, "Nothing good happens after midnight". I am not having any luck finding this, however and wonder if you knew where the talk could be found. Any help you can contribute will be greatly appreciated.

While I don't know if this is the quote you are seeking, President Ezra Taft Benson did teach:

Avoid late hours and weariness. The Lord said to retire to your bed early (D&C 88:124), and there are good reasons for that. Some of the worst sins are committed after midnight. Officers in the wards and stakes, branches and missions, should not keep our people, especially our youth, up late at night even for wholesome recreation. (See President Benson's Teachings About Dating)

233: On 12/2/97, Teri asked: hi.. I have a question.. I just wanted to know do you believe in interracial dating and marriages.. as in a white female and black male or white male and black female, or Hispanic female black male or Hispanic female and white male.. please let me know.. I'm really interested in knowing all of this information

While the Church does not consider it a sin, leaders have discouraged interracial marriage due to the inherent difficulties involved. (See Interracial Marriage on the Teachings About Marriage home page)

232: On 12/2/97, Andrew asked: Do you think that Mormonism will ever become a major religion?

In 1898, President Wilford Woodruff said that Joseph Smith, many years earlier, had made the following prophecy:

"Brethren . . . you know no more concerning the destinies of this church and kingdom than a babe upon its mother's lap. You don't comprehend it . . .It is only a handful of priesthood you see here tonight, but this church will fill North and South America--it will fill the world." (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p.39)

When Joseph Smith made this prophecy, there were relatively few members of the Church. Most people expected that the LDS faith would not survive a single generation. Yet in the 167 years since its founding the Church has flourished and grown. Today, we have over 10 million members world wide, with most of them living outside of the United States.

Our growth rate is higher than most other religions despite the high amount of persecution we suffer. Many statisticians have recently predicted that we will emerge as one of the world's major religions within the next 100 years. Of course, we have known about our destiny for some time. A prophet of the Lord told us about it long ago. (See Following the Prophets home page)

231: On 12/2/97, Andrew asked: Did you chose to be a Mormon, or were you taken into it by your parents?

I initiated my membership into the Church by accepting the baptismal covenant when I was 24. My parents are not members of the Church. (Also see Joining the Church)

230: On 12/2/97, Andrew asked: Who do you think was most important- Joseph Smith or Moroni?

In the eyes of God, we are all loved equally and are of equal importance. However, a related question might be: Who performed a greater ministry? In announcing the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, the Doctrine and Covenants teaches:

"Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord's anointed in ancient time, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!" (D&C 135:3)

(See The Prophet Joseph Smith home page)

229: On 11/30/97, Kelly asked: I was wondering if you knew where I could go on the web to order An Ensign subscription - or if not on the web then maybe the telephone number.

The Church presently has three main magazines: the Ensign (for those above age 18), the New Era (for 12-18 year olds), and the Friend (under 12). To subscribe, call U.S. 1-800-453-3860, ext. 2947 for U.S., ext. 2031 for Canada. Credit Card orders (American Express, MasterCard, Visa) may be taken by phone. Or send check or money order ($10 for Ensign/$8 for New Era or Friend - U.S. Funds) to Church Magazines, Salt Lake Distribution Center, Church Magazines, P.O. Box 26368, Salt Lake City, Utah 84126-0368, United States of America.

228: On 11/30/97, a visitor asked: I didn't clearly understand, is it wrong to use birth control? What if you're 35 years old, still young, and you have 3 children, and you probably will have more, but just not now, can you not use birth control? Does the church not approve in people having a sex life after they have children etc.? I don't understand.

The First Presidency has stated:

"Where husband and wife enjoy health and vigor and are free from impurities that would be entailed upon their posterity, it is contrary to the teachings of the Church artificially to curtail or prevent the birth of children." (April 14, 1969.)

At April 1995 General Conference, Elder J Ballard Washburn taught:

"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." (The Temple Is a Family Affair, emphasis added) (See Teachings About Marriage home page; Teachings About the Temple home page)

President Brigham Young taught:

"There are multitudes of pure and holy spirits waiting to take tabernacles, now what is our duty? -- To prepare tabernacles for them; to take a course that will not tend to drive those spirits into the families of the wicked, where they will be trained in wickedness, debauchery, and every species of crime. It is the duty of every righteous man and woman to prepare tabernacles for all the spirits they can... This is the reason why the doctrine of plurality of wives was revealed, that the noble spirits which are waiting for tabernacles might be brought forth." (Discourses of Brigham Young, Pg.197, emphasis added)

President Spencer W. Kimball stated:

"The union of the sexes, husband and wife (and only husband and wife), was for the principal purpose of bringing children into the world. Sexual experiences were never intended by the Lord to be a mere plaything or merely to satisfy passions and lusts. We know of no directive from the Lord that proper sexual experience between husbands and wives need be limited totally to the procreation of children, but we find much evidence from Adam until now that no provision was ever made by the Lord for indiscriminate sex." (See Sexuality)

(See Birth Control; Teachings About Sexuality home page)

(See Question and Answer 12; Question and Answer home page; Question and Answer 10)

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