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Question and Answer 14

"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (The Book of Mormon; Moroni 10:4-5)

by W. John Walsh

Visitors are invited to send any Questions via EmailWe try to respond to questions as quickly as possible, but are limited by time constraints.  Therefore while we will eventually answer every letter we receive, there may be a period of delay due to the amount of research required and/or our personal circumstances.

The questions answered in this section concern the basic beliefs and practices of the Latter-day Saints. Answers to accusatory questions are given in the Response to Criticism section. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions are maintained separately.

All questions concerning Family History or Genealogy should be addressed to The Genealogy Lady at the New Jerusalem web site.

NOTE: Dates are posting dates

Please note that the answers given are not official statements of doctrine, but interpretations of the author for which he is alone responsible.

352: On 03/22/98, a visitor asked: What is the differance between the Church of Ladderday Saints and the Reorganized?

The RLDS church emerged during the 1850s from the conflict and schism that arose in Mormonism after the June 27, 1844, murder of Joseph Smith, Jr., its founding prophet. (See Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Martyrdom of Hyrum and Joseph Smith)

351: On 03/22/98, a visitor asked: I am LDS and my Parents are in the process of a divorce and my mom moved out two weeks ago. The divorce will not be official until a total of 60 days have passed. What is the standing of the church concerning dating before the divorce is official even though the two no longer live together? A response as soon as possible would be greatly appreciated.

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. Members are instructed not to date someone else until their divorce has been finalized. Your parents' Bishop can give them more information on this issue. (See Teachings About Marriage home page; Dating and Courtship home page)

350: On 03/22/98, Jolene asked: In the Book of Mormon it say that it is a disgrace to God to baptize a child, is this why they are blessed?  What does the blessing represent?

The Book of Mormon teaches that little children should not be baptized because the ordinance is closely associated with receiving remission of sins. To baptize a little child is to falsely imply that they are guilty of sin. The Prophet Mormon taught, "little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them;" and that parents "must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children" (Moroni 8:8-9). Because little children are "alive in Christ," it is "mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works" to baptize them (Moroni 8:22-23; see Salvation of Children)

The blessing of children is neither the infant baptism performed in many other Christian churches nor simply a christening and prayer on the child's behalf. Instead, the priesthood bearer seeks to exercise his right to receive revelation from God in the child's behalf. The fixed portions of the ordinance are the addressing of Heavenly Father, the invoking of the Melchizedek Priesthood authority by which the blessing is spoken, giving the child its name, and closing in the name of Jesus Christ. The giving of the name formally identifies the child on the records of the Church as part of what may become an eternal family unit.

349: On 03/22/98, Ryan asked: I have a question on Eternal marriage. Why is it that Mormon men are able to be sealed for all time and eternity more than once and woman is not.  Is marriage not a foundation for the whole religion. How, if man can be sealed to more than one woman, can it be a sacred vow to one another if the can be sealed to mary, jane and sally.

Eternal Marriage is not only the foundation of joy and happiness, but central to the concepts of godhood and eternal increase as well. While Latter-day Saints believe that it is possible for a man to be married to several women at the same time, we believe that women can only be married to one man at a time. (See Plural Marriage home page)

What is the reason for this difference? In life, there are many questions for which no specific answer can be given other than to say that it is part of the eternal nature of things. For example -- Why do women give birth to children instead of men? Why do humans have two eyes instead of three? Why were horses created larger than dogs? We could list many additional such questions.

Our Heavenly Father has never given us the answer to many of these questions. We have to trust that the order he established is best for our eternal welfare. Regarding plural marriage, we could take what we know and speculate on a number of different reasons for the way the practice was established. For example, it is well known that there are far more women who accept the gospel than men. Therefore, plural marriage is needed if everyone is to receive a husband. We could look at the different roles [i.e., fatherhood, motherhood] that are performed by men and women. It is possible for men to perform their established role with several women, while a woman married to several men could not. However, in the final analysis, since we have never been given the answer, we can only accept that our Heavenly Father has organized things this way for our own benefit. (See Teachings About the Family home page)

Sacred vows and covenants are not compromised by the number of participants. For example, while there is only one God, he makes the covenant of salvation with all of his children. A man is able to enter the eternal marriage covenant with multiple women because he is able to fulfill his covenantal responsibilities with each of them. (Also see Covenant Marriage by Elder Bruce C. Hafen)

348: On 03/22/98, a visitor asked: I am confused and have been unable to get an answer to this question: why is it that caffenated drinks are not allowed yet chocolate is always around. how is it that we can justify having a small amount of caffeine? if we are not to drink caffinated drinks should we also abstain from chocolate? you attention is appreciated thank you

A revelation known as the Word of Wisdom prohibits Latter-day Saints from drinking "hot drinks", as well as instructing them to abstain from some other substances like alcohol and tobacco as well. Church leaders have consistently interpreted the phrase "hot drinks" to mean tea and coffee. The revelation itself does not specifically prohibit caffeine. However, many Church leaders have considered the presence of caffeine to be one of the principal reasons [but not only reason] that tea and coffee are prohibited. Therefore, they have counseled members to abstain from other substances, like soft drinks, containing caffeine as well. Should members abstain from substances that contain trace amounts of caffeine like some chocolates? [not all chocolates contain caffeine]. Church leaders have not given specific counsel on this issue. Instead, they have taught us correct principles and expect us to govern ourselves.

347: On 03/22/98, a visitor asked: i want to know if a boy who is not attending to the cub scouts, but he is attending to every sunday meeting that boy is able to recive the Aronic prieshood? or not, just because he is not a member of the Boy scouts of America

The Church has chosen the Boy Scout organization as the official activity arm of the Young Men's program. However, young men are not required to participate in scouting in order to advance in the priesthood or hold temple recommends. (See Priesthood Organization home page)

346: On 03/16/98, Sue asked: I am a new member of the church and I have a few questions that I would like clarified.  No one has been able to give me a definite answer, even long-term members.  Does anybody know?

1.  Is tithing based on gross or net income?

2.  Is it OK to drink decaf coffee and tea?

Is tithing based on gross or net income? Tithing is the basic contribution by which Latter-day Saints fund the activities of the Church. By revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord stated that members should pay "one-tenth of all their interest [increase] annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever." Present Church policy specifically states that no one in the Church has any authority to interpret this revelation for another person. This prohibition applies to everyone, including Stake Presidents and Bishops. If a local Church leader instructs you how to calculate your tithing, then he is in violation of Church policy.

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. Please note that while decaffeinated coffee and tea have never been approved, the commodity commonly called "herbal tea" is not prohibited.

In keeping with the concepts of agency and accountability, Church leaders generally teach basic principles instead of making lists of do's and don'ts. Joseph Smith was once asked how he governed his people so well. He answered: "I teach the people correct principles, and they govern themselves." (Gospel Ideals, p.372) In addition, the Lord has told us that we are poor disciples if we have to obtain specific instructions on every aspect of our daily lives:

For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. (D&C 58:26; see Discipleship)

Instead, each Church member should obtain the guidance of the Holy Ghost regarding specific application of gospel principles. Remember that one of the prime purposes of life is for each person to learn how to maintain the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Seek this sacred companionship to know how to interpret these principles and apply them in your life. (See Prayer, Fasting, and Revelation home page; Teachings About the Holy Ghost home page)

345: On 03/16/98, Walter asked: How is one saved? What is salvation? Is it by faith alone or by faith and a series of works, or by works. Can salvation be lost?

Salvation is the greatest gift of God (D&C 6:13). The root of the word means to be saved, or placed beyond the power of one's enemies (TPJS, pp. 297, 301, 305). It is redemption from the bondage of sin and death, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

LDS doctrine contains an affirmative sense of interaction between grace and works that is unique not only as to these concepts but also reflects the uniqueness of the restored gospel's view of man's nature, the Fall of Adam, the Atonement, and the process of salvation. At the same time, the LDS view contains features that are similar to basic elements of some other traditions. For example, the LDS insistence that such works as ordinances be performed with proper priesthood authority resembles the Catholic teaching that its sacraments are the requisite channels of grace. Also the LDS emphasis on the indispensability of personal faith and repentance in a direct relationship with God echoes traditional Protestant teachings. The LDS position "is not a convenient eclecticism, but a repossession [through the Restoration] of a New Testament understanding that reconciles Paul and James" (Madsen, p. 175).

Latter-day Saints believe that enduring to the end, or remaining faithful to the laws and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout life, is a fundamental requirement for salvation in the kingdom of God. The Prophet Ezekiel taught:

"But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, [and] doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked [man] doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die." (The Holy Bible, Ezekiel 18:24)

Also, the Doctrine and Covenants teaches:

"And we know also, that sanctification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true, to all those who love and serve God with all their mights, minds, and strength. But there is a possibility that man may fall from grace and depart from the living God; Therefore let the church take heed and pray always, lest they fall into temptation; Yea, and even let those who are sanctified take heed also." (D&C 20:31-4)

(See Salvation; Faith in Christ; Grace; Grace vs. Works)

344: On 03/16/98, Rick asked: What is the Churches position on vasectomy?

President Spencer W. Kimball taught:

"We marry for eternity. We are serious about this. We become parents and bring wanted children into the world and rear and train them to righteousness. We are aghast at the reports of young people going to surgery to limit their families and the reputed number of parents who encourage this vasectomy. Remember that the coming of the Lord approaches, and some difficult-to-answer questions will be asked by a divine Judge who will be hard to satisfy with silly explanations and rationalizations. He will judge justly, you may be sure....Sterilization and tying of tubes and such are sins, and except under special circumstances it cannot be approved." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.331)

The General Handbook of Instructions states:

Surgical Sterilization (Including Vasectomy). "Surgical sterilization should only be considered (1) where medical conditions seriously jeopardize life or health, or (2) where birth defects or serious trauma have rendered a person mentally incompetent and not responsible for his or her actions. Such conditions must be determined by competent medical judgment and in accordance with law. Even then, the person or persons responsible for this decision should consult with each other and with their bishop (or branch president) and receive divine confirmation through prayer" (11-5). (See Policies, Practices, and Procedures)

(Also see Birth Control)

343: On 03/16/98, Bill asked: I have read that Joseph Smith was (a) hanged and (b) shot to death.  Would you please advise me which is correct.  Thank you.

The violent deaths of the Prophet Joseph Smith at the age of thirty-eight and his brother Hyrum Smith (age forty-four), Associate President and patriarch of the Church, dramatically ended the founding period of the LDS Church. On June 27, 1844, they were mobbed and shot while confined at Carthage Jail in Hancock County, in western Illinois. Climaxing more than two decades of persecution across several states, this event gave them an enduring place as martyrs in the hearts of Latter-day Saints. (See Martyrdom of Hyrum and Joseph Smith)

342: On 03/15/98, Chris asked: When you join the church do you have to repent for the sins that you have committed while not being a member of the church?   Does getting baptized have something to do with repenting?

"Remission of sins" is the scriptural phrase that describes the primary purpose of baptism: to obtain God's forgiveness for breaking his commandments and receive a newness of life. It is fundamental among the first principles and ordinances of the gospel: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. To grant pardon of sins is one manifestation of God's mercy, made possible by the Atonement. It is the blessing sought by those who fervently prayed, "O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified" (Mosiah 4:2). Having one's sins remitted is a vital part of the developmental process that results in godhood and lies at the heart of the religious experience of a Latter-day Saint. (Also see Joining the Church)

341: On 03/15/98, a visitor asked: Does doing yoga as a form of exercise in any way contradict with being a member of the Church?

The Church encourages its members to exercise and keep their bodies in good shape. (See Health and Medicine home page). Therefore, the practice of yoga as a "form of exercise" would not be inconsistent with the teachings of the Church. However, yoga is used as a religious practice in certain other religions. It would be against the teachings of the Church to use it as a religious practice. (See Hinduism; Interfaith Relations home page)

340: On 03/15/98, Josh asked: If lets say someone is in prison and they are Mormon.  But you send them letters.  But they send them back not wanting to have anything to do with you or the church.  Do you keep writing to them.  I hope that made sense.

If someone expresses disinterest in being contacted by Church representatives, then their wishes should be respected. (See Why do Mormons Hound People to Death?)

339: On 03/15/98, a visitor asked: In the state of Utah how many wives can a man have?

In the state of Utah, a man may be legally married to only one woman at a time. However, during the nineteenth-century, LDS men were allowed to marry more than one wife under certain conditions. (See Plural Marriage home page)

338: On 03/07/98, a visitor asked: If two people are sealed in the temple for marriage.  If they divorce later will they still be sealed and reunite in the afterlife.  Can they seal to another person?

While a temple sealing is not canceled by a civil divorce, the First Presidency may cancel temple sealings when the circumstances of a request for cancellation warrant it. However, a temple marriage is not effective for eternity simply because it has not been canceled. For a union to be eternal, it must be blessed by the Holy Spirit of Promise which is only done when both partners have been true and faithful to their temple covenants. Since divorce always involves the breaking of temple covenants, there is no hope for a continuation of that marital relationship unless the offending parties sincerely repent and can be reconciled to their former spouse.

Divorced members must obtain permission from Church leaders before they are allowed to marry in the temple. If the member was not responsible or partially responsible for the previous divorce, he or she may have the opportunity for another temple sealing. However, if the member is determined to have been responsible for the previous divorce, then he or she may never be given another opportunity to marry in the temple. (See Teachings About Marriage home page; Teachings About the Temple home page)

337: On 03/07/98, a visitor asked: I was wondering about Mormons who marry outside of their religion, how are the spouses treated and is this considered a sin? Is the Mormon that marries outside of the religion punished in anyway, and where are they married? can they be married in a temple? What is a temple marriage like? is a marriage that takes place in another church or chapel considered valid by the Mormon church?

See Dating Nonmembers

336: On 03/04/98, Mona asked: I am doing some research about the Mormon clothes or fashion in Utah in the present day as now.  I am doing to design the clothes for the film for cable. Will you please to be kind for some help ?  Where shall I find some magazine or catalogue in Los Angeles?  I really appreciate it so much.

Latter-day Saints generally wear the style of clothes that are prevalent in their culture. Of course, we are encouraged to maintain a neat, comely, and modest appearance in keeping with the principles of our religion. The For the Strength of Youth Pamphlet states:

"Servants of God have always counseled his children to dress modestly to show respect for him and for themselves. Because the way you dress sends messages about yourself to others and often influences the way you and others act, you should dress in such a way as to bring out the best in yourself and those around you. However, if you wear an immodest bathing suit because it's "the style," it sends a message that you are using your body to get attention and approval, and that modesty is not important.

Immodest clothing includes short shorts, tight pants, and other revealing attire. Young women should refrain from wearing off-the-shoulder, low-cut, or revealing clothes. Young men should similarly maintain modesty in their dress. All should avoid tight fitting or revealing clothes and extremes in clothing and appearance.

As Latter-day Saint youth, you can also show respect for the Lord and yourselves by dressing appropriately for Church meetings and activities, whether on Sunday or during the week. If you are not sure what's appropriate, ask for guidelines from your parents, advisers, and bishop."

You might also try contacting the bookstore at Brigham Young University to see what kind of clothes they carry. ( See )

335: On 03/04/98, Kerry asked: Generally, what do brides wear to the temple? All I know of weddings are the traditional gowns...but I know that this ceremony is different and I was just wondering if dress is also different

In the temple, brides wear white wedding dresses that are comparable to traditional gowns. The only significant difference is that the dresses have to be extremely modest (e.g., no see through panels, low neck lines, etc.) (Also see the Brides' Room on our Virtual Tour of the Temple located on our Teachings About Temples home page)

334: On 03/04/98, Jon asked: I am curious as to how the Holy Ghost became a god just like God the Father and Jesus if he doesn't have a body.  Isn't getting a body part of the process of becoming a god? 

The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three separate and distinct beings who constitute one Godhead. Generally speaking, the Father is the Creator, the Son is the Redeemer, and the Holy Ghost is the Comforter and Testifier. "And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen." (Testimony of Three Witnesses, The Book of Mormon; See Teachings About the Godhead home page)

The Doctrine and Covenants teaches:

"The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us." (D&C 130:22)

First, it is important to differentiate between living in a state of exaltation and serving as a member of the Godhead. While a resurrected physical body is a necessary prerequisite to exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom, it is not needed to serve as a member of the Godhead.

Before Jesus Christ was born to the virgin Mary, he did not have a physical body. Instead, he lived as a premortal spirit with a spirit body. Like all of our Heavenly Father's spirit children, Jesus needed to be born into mortality in order to gain a physical body. (See The Purpose of Life) However, as a premortal spirit, Jesus Christ served as our Heavenly Father's representative to mankind. Jesus Christ is Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament, and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It was the premortal Jesus who appeared to Moses in the burning bush and gave revelation to all of the other prophets as well. He was able to perform this role as a premortal spirit. Likewise, the Holy Ghost is able to perform his role as a member of the Godhead without a physical body.

The question might be asked -- Will the Holy Ghost ever receive a body and be born into a physical body? Undoubtedly, the Holy Ghost will eventually receive a physical body, but it will probably be after the Second Coming of Christ and possibly after the Millennium.

333: On 03/04/98, Carl asked: I was reading the book Priesthood and Church Government by John A. Widstoe. In the section Ordinances and Ceremonies there is a paragraph titled "Joseph Smith on the Use of the Oil by Women" I will copy the paragraph below. Joseph Smith and the Use of the Oil by Women. Respecting females administering for the healing of the sick, he further remarked, there could be no evil in it, if God gave his sanction by healing; that there could be no more sin in any female laying hands on and praying for the sick, than in wetting the face with water; it is no sin for anybody to administer that has faith, or if the sick have faith to be healed by their administration. (Priesthood and Church Government, John A. Widsote, p. 357.) I hope I am not interpreting this wrong but is this sanctioning this ordinance in respects to its application by females. Or is this ordinance sanctioned only in those rare cases where no priesthood holder is present or there not being any hopes of one being present. Any insight or input will be much appreciated.

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:

If a man and his wife were alone with a sick person, could he anoint with the oil and then seal the anointing with his wife assisting using the priesthood she holds jointly with her husband? President Joseph F. Smith answered this question as follows:

"Does a wife hold the priesthood with her husband, and may she lay hands on the sick with him, with authority? A wife does not hold the priesthood with her husband, but she enjoys the benefits thereof with him; and if she is requested to lay hands on the sick with him, or with any other officer holding the Melchizedek Priesthood, she may do so with perfect propriety. It is no uncommon thing for a man and wife unitedly to administer to their children."

When this is done the wife is adding her faith to the administration of her husband. The wife would lay on hands just as would a member of the Aaronic Priesthood, or a faithful brother without the priesthood, she in this manner giving support by faith to the ordinance performed by her husband. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, "Respecting females administering for the healing of the sick, . . . there could be no evil in it, if God gave his sanction by healing; that there could be no more sin in any female laying hands on and praying for the sick, than in wetting the face with water; it is no sin for anybody to administer that has faith, or if the sick have faith to be healed by their administration." Such an administration would not be by virtue of the priesthood, but a manifestation of faith. (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.3, p.177)

From President Smith's comments, it is clear that the Prophet Joseph Smith is not suggesting that women should take it upon themselves to perform Melchizedek priesthood ordinances. Instead, they are trying to bless the sick through the prayer of faith. The Holy Bible teaches:

"And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:15-6)

Since women are often living embodiments of faith and righteousness, our Father in Heaven is especially attentive to their prayers and will use his priesthood power to answer them. (See Blessing the Sick)

332: On 03/01/98, Josh asked: What is a testimony?  And how can someone get and keep a testimony? 

A testimony is a person's verbal expression of what he or she knows to be true concerning the divinity of Jesus Christ, the restoration of the fulness of his gospel in our time, and the blessings that come from living its principles. A testimony is received through a spiritual manifestation from the Holy Ghost. This spiritual manifestation is often received after prayer, fasting, scripture study, and obedience to the principles of the gospel. The prophet Alma described how he received his testimony as follows:

"And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety? Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me." (The Book of Mormon, Alma 5:45-6)

A testimony is kept in the same manner that it was gained (i.e., prayer, fasting, scripture study, and obedience to the principles of the gospel) and by sharing it with others. (See Testimony Bearing; Testimony of Jesus Christ; Testimony; Spirit of Prophecy; Teachings About the Holy Ghost home page; Prayer Fasting and Revelation home page)

331: On 03/01/98, Becka asked: Do Mormons practice conformation (or something similar to it), as Catholics do? If so, is there a specific name for it?

Latter-day Saints have many different priesthood ordinances. A baby receives a name and a blessing shortly after birth. At age 8, Latter-day Saint children can choose to be baptized and confirmed. At age 12, a young man may be offered ordination to the office of Deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood. Many LDS youth receive their patriarchal blessings during their teenage years. As Latter-day Saints enter adulthood, they have the opportunity to receive ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood [for men] and temple ordinances as well. (See Priesthood Ordinances home page)

330: On 03/01/98, Becka asked: About how long are the masses or church meetings(regularly)? How many times a week do members visit church?

Sunday meetings last for approximately 3 hours. 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. In addition, activities are often held during the week. Members have the opportunity to become very involved with their local congregation. (See Major Church Meetings; Meetings and Conferences home page)

329: On 03/01/98, Becka asked: Do Mormons celebrate Mardi Gras, in New Orleans? Do Mormons practice Lent and Ash Wednesday?

Latter-day Saints do not observe any of these Catholic events. (See Catholicism and Mormonism)

328: On 03/01/98, a visitor asked: Do you believe the kingdom of thousand years ?

Latter-day Saints affirm that there is an actual Messiah, that he will come at some future time to the earth, and that only through his coming and the events associated therewith will a millennial age of peace, harmony, and joy begin. (See The Second Coming of Jesus Christ home page; The Last Days home page)

327: On 03/01/98, a visitor asked: Do Mormons believe heaven and hell ?

Latter-day Saints believe "heaven" is (1) the place where God resides (Matt. 6:9; Alma 18:30); (2) the eternal dwelling place of the righteous in the hereafter (Matt. 6:20; 1 Pet. 1:4); and (3) the type of life enjoyed by heavenly beings. A desire for heaven—to eventually live in a better world than the present one—is the basis of a hope that motivates Latter-day Saints (cf. Ether 12:4; D&C 25:10).

Latter-day scriptures describe at least three senses of hell: (1) that condition of misery which may attend a person in mortality due to disobedience to divine law; (2) the miserable, but temporary, state of disobedient spirits in the spirit world awaiting the resurrection; (3) the permanent habitation of the sons of perdition, who suffer the second spiritual death and remain in hell even after the resurrection." (See Teachings About the Afterlife home page)

326: On 03/01/98, a visitor asked: Do Mormons pray to the same god as the Christians ?

Latter-day Saints pray to our Father in Heaven, as Jesus taught us to do. You would have to ask other denominations about their prayer practices. (See Prayer, Fasting, and Revelation home page; Do You Believe In a Different Jesus?)

325: On 03/01/98, a visitor asked: Do Mormons take blood when needed accidents etc...?

The Church leaves all decisions about the use or nonuse of blood to the member or family concerned in consultation with their physician. (See Blood Transfusions)

324: On 03/01/98, a visitor asked: Do Mormons believe that god´s name is Jehovah

While some Christians do not equate Jesus Christ and Jehovah in their theologies, Biblical passages indicate that relationship, and Latter-day scriptures often refer to Jesus Christ, the Son, as Jehovah (e.g., D&C 110:3-4; Moro. 10:34). (See Jesus Christ is Jehovah)

323: On 03/01/98, Lena asked: What is the proper way to pray?

Prayers are addressed to our Father in Heaven, following the example set by Christ when instructing his disciples how to pray (Matt. 6:9; 3 Ne. 13:9). His prayer serves as a pattern: Disciples are to praise and thank God, ask for daily physical needs, and plead for the spiritual power to forgive, be forgiven, and resist temptation. Jesus used simple, expressive language in his prayers, avoiding vain repetition and flowery phrases (Matt. 6:5-13; 3 Ne. 13:5-13; 19:20-23, 28-29; cf. 3 Ne. 17:14-17; 19:31-34). More important than the words is the feeling that accompanies prayer. Christ reiterated a clear, prophetic warning: "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me" (Matt. 15:8; cf. Isa. 29:13). In praising God, in offering thanks, in asking for needs—remembering to pray that God's will be done—language is to be reverent, humble, and sincere. President Spencer W. Kimball commented, "In all our prayers, it is well to use the pronouns thee, thou, thy, and thine instead of you, your, and yours inasmuch as they have come to indicate respect" (p. 201). (See The Language of Prayer) Unnecessary repetition of God's name is avoided, as are idle clichés. Prayers close by stating that the prayer is offered in the name of Jesus Christ, concluding with amen. When someone prays in behalf of a group, the members customarily repeat the final "amen" aloud, expressing acceptance of what has been said. In private, the individual or family members kneel with bowed heads and closed eyes. In public, the one praying usually stands, but also observes behavior appropriate to prayer. A prayer's length is determined somewhat by the occasion, but generally prayers are reasonably concise, expressing thanks and petitioning God for what the group needs, avoiding a sermon or display of verbal skills. For both invocations and benedictions the Church teaches that the one praying should express worship rather than make a display or preach a sermon. (See Prayer; Prayer, Fasting, and Revelation home page)

322: On 03/01/98, Steve asked: Why does the LDS church ban the use of coffee, caffeine drinks?

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.

321: On 03/01/98, Michael asked: Hi I am a nonmember who is very interested in the church.  My question is about the priesthood and how new converts are able to get it?  How does it work with new converts?  And I know that you must have the priesthood to get married in the temple, so how does that work with new converts also.  I hope you can answer this for me.

New adult male converts are invited to be ordained to the priesthood as soon as the Bishop determines that they have sufficient knowledge to fulfill the accompanying responsibilities. Since each person develops at a different rate, there are no set time periods. However, generally adult males are invited to the Aaronic Priesthood several months after baptism and to the Melchizedek Priesthood approximately one year after baptism.

The Aaronic Priesthood is a prerequisite for males to perform baptisms for the dead in the temple. The Melchizedek Priesthood is a prerequisite for males for all other temple ordinances, including temple marriage. An adult male convert is able to participate in the temple ordinances as soon as he obtains the necessary priesthood and temple recommend. However, temple recommends are not usually issued to young single adults [except for baptisms for the dead] until they are ready to serve a mission or get married. (See Priesthood Organization home page; Teachings About Temples home page)

(See Question and Answer home page)

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