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Question and Answer 15

"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.

381: On 04/05/98, Scott asked: Before being born in the spirit world, what were we?  Abraham mentions "intelligences," but uses the term in a sense that seems to mean "spirits."  Are individual spirits organized from "intelligence"?  Or is   spirit birth a clothing of  previously existing and individual "intelligences"?  In other words, does individuality begin at spirit birth or has it always existed?

See Intelligences; Intelligence

380: On 04/05/98, Sidney asked: Hello, my question is about good deeds.  If at the age of 10 to 90 a man does good deeds, he is good(at age 10 the boy is a Mormon).  And an old man converts at the age of 60 and does good deeds but dies at 70.  Are both men the same in receiving salvation?  If no, what's the difference?  If yes, then how much time should be given to a person to prove their good deeds to receive salvation.  For a man on this death bed can't receive salvation because he has no good deeds, right? 

Latter-day Saints do not believe that salvation is based upon "good deeds." Instead, Latter-day Saints believe that eternal life is a gift from God through the atonement of Jesus Christ. We believe that Jesus bestows eternal life upon those who give their best efforts at following him and keeping his commandments. If someone is doing their best to follow Jesus, it does not matter at what age a person dies or how long they had the gospel in their lives--they will still inherit the fullness of salvation. (See Grace vs. Works)

379: On 04/05/98, Kathy asked: What is a patriarchal blessing?

The First Presidency (David O. McKay, Stephen L. Richards, J. Reuben Clark, Jr.), in a letter to all stake presidents, dated June 28, 1957, gave the following definition and explanation:

"Patriarchal blessings contemplate an inspired declaration of the lineage of the recipient, and also where so moved upon by the Spirit, an inspired and prophetic statement of the life mission of the recipient, together with such blessings, cautions, and admonitions as the patriarch may be prompted to give for the accomplishment of such life's mission, it being always made clear that the realization of all promised blessings is conditioned upon faithfulness to the gospel of our Lord, whose servant the patriarch is. All such blessings are recorded and generally only one such blessing should be adequate for each persons life. The sacred nature of the patriarchal blessing must of necessity urge all patriarchs to most earnest solicitation of divine guidance for their prophetic utterances and superior wisdom for cautions and admonitions."

(See Priesthood Ordinances home page)

378: On 04/05/98, Rick asked: In the Doctrine and Covenants chapter 64 number 9 it indicates that to not forgive is a greater sin. If someone kills my wife and I do not forgive him\her, have I committed a greater sin? Is it possible to commit a greater sin than murder?

The Doctrine and Covenants teaches:

"Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin. I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men. And ye ought to say in your hearts--let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds." (D&C 64:9-11)

If someone murders a family member, you are clearly required to forgive them. People sometimes have difficulty with this commandment because they misunderstand the instruction being given. According to the Random House Webster's College Dictionary, the word forgiveness has several different meanings. Let's briefly examine the first one listed:

1. To grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, sin, etc.); absolve

Many people assume that when the Lord commands them to forgive all men, they are being commanded to absolve another person of sin and become reconciled to them in friendship even if that person is unrepentant. However, this is an incorrect interpretation. Remember that only the Lord Jesus Christ can grant remission of sins. Since "the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance (Alma 45:16)", it should be obvious that he does not expect us to tolerate sin either. Also, remember what type of person the Lord expects us to be: "what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as [ Jesus Christ]." (3 Nephi 27:27)

Now let's examine another definition of the word forgiveness:

4. To cease to feel resentment against: to forgive one's enemies

This is obviously the type of forgiveness being commanded, especially when verse D&C 64:11 is examined for the context it provides:

"And ye ought to say in your hearts--let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds."

It is clear that what the Lord is telling us that we should not fill our hearts with hate, resentment, and bitterness. Instead, we should trust that God will ensure that all guilty parties are punished at the final judgment. President Spencer W. Kimball taught:

"[In order to receive forgiveness], a pleading sinner must also forgive all people of all offenses committed against himself. The Lord is under no obligation to forgive us unless our hearts are fully purged of all hate, bitterness, and accusations against all others." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.86)

Now let's discuss your questions. Is it possible to commit a greater sin than murder? In LDS doctrine, murder is second in seriousness only to the unpardonable sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. Therefore, in one sense, unforgiveness is not a greater sin than murder. However, "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him." (1 John 3:15) Those who fill their hearts with hate and bitterness are not worthy to enter the Celestial Kingdom of God. Instead, they must be sent to hell to be cleansed of their sins (See Remission of Sins).

377: On 04/05/98, Janie asked: How can one be saved?

The gospel of Jesus Christ comprises fundamental principles and ordinances that must be followed to obtain a fulness of salvation. The first steps are faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and the laying on of hands by one who is in authority for the gift of the Holy Ghost. Additional ordinances are administered in the temple. And finally, "he only is saved who endureth unto the end" (D&C 53:7).

376: On 04/05/98, Curtis asked: I am writing to see if the Church is aware of the tragedy that is going on in North Korea right now.  The famine is worse than ever, and there are estimates of 3.45 million people dead in the last 9 months.  Is there any thing the church can do to help?  Is there any way that you know of that I can contribute money that will definitely go directly to feeding starving Koreans rather than their army or to administrators pockets?  Please let me know.

Your Bishop can give you information about contributing to Humanitarian relief funds. (See Welfare and Humanitarian Assistance home page)

375: On 04/05/98, Curtis asked: Please tell me where I can find it written the prophecy that Joseph said that the constitution would hang by a thread before the priesthood would save it. 

To my knowledge, no first hand accounts of this prophecy exist. President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:

"The statement has been made that the Prophet [Joseph Smith] said the time would come when this Constitution would hang as by a thread, and this is true. There has been some confusion, however, as to just what he said following this. I think that Elder Orson Hyde has given us a correct interpretation wherein he says that the Prophet said the Constitution would be in danger.

Said Orson Hyde: 'I believe he said something like this—that the time would come when the Constitution and the country would be in danger of an overthrow; and said he: 'If the Constitution be saved at all, it will be by the elders of this Church.' I believe this is about the language, as nearly as I can recollect it.'

Now I tell you it is time the people of the United States were waking up with the understanding that if they don't save the Constitution from the dangers that threaten it, we will have a change of government." (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.3, p.326)

374: On 04/05/98, Karl asked: I was visited by a couple of Elders today and I am curious about the Church. I was raised by fundamental Baptists. I feel like a lost soul. I know what I was taught was half truths. How do I  know the truth you profess is anything more than what I already know? I have a great deal of respect for your history and people, but I feel that God speaks to us all in our own way. I am comfortable with my own personal convictions and beliefs, but am always open to another point of view. I know the end times are upon us, and am looking for some sort of peace of mind.

Latter-day Saints believe that God lives and he answers our prayers. The Book of Mormon teaches:

"And when ye shall receive [the gospel], 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." (Moroni 10:4-5)

Unlike many denominations who attempt to win their point of view only through argument and contention, we invite people to seek knowledge and confirmation directly from God himself. To learn more about how you can receive personal revelation from God, please see our Prayer, Fasting, and Revelation home page.

373: On 04/01/98, Edward asked: I have had the understanding that the Holy ghost would get a body during the millennium.  But a few weeks ago in an elder's quorum they had us close our eyes as someone spoke as if they were a member of the God head speaking to us.  I think that they got their quotes from the new Brigham young book.  The voice posing as the Holy Ghost said " It is not known whether I will receive a body".  I suppose this could be not certain but where is some scriptural or prophetic commentary that would support the idea that the Holy Ghost will receive a body.

The Church has no official teaching on whether or not the Holy Ghost will ever receive a body. President Joseph Fielding Smith advised us to avoid speculating on destiny of the spirit.

The Holy Ghost is not a personage with a body of flesh and bones, and in this respect differs from the Father and the Son. The Holy Ghost is not a woman, as some have declared, and therefore is not the mother of Jesus Christ.

It is a waste of time to speculate in relation to his jurisdiction. We know what has been revealed and that the Holy Ghost, sometimes spoken of as the Holy Spirit, and Comforter, is the third member of the Godhead, and that he, being in perfect harmony with the Father and the Son, reveals to man by the spirit of revelation and prophecy the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our great duty is so to live that we may be led constantly in light and truth by this Comforter so that we may not be deceived by the many false spirits that are in the world.

I have never troubled myself about the Holy Ghost whether he will sometime have a body or not because it is not in any way essential to my salvation. He is a member of the Godhead, with great power and authority, with a most wonderful mission which must be performed by a spirit. This has satisfied me without delving into mysteries that would be of no particular benefit. (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, p.39)

(See Teachings About the Holy Ghost home page)

372: On 04/01/98, Vinci asked: I  just started going back to church and just trying to finish reading the Book of Mormon.  I stumbled into something in 2nd Nephi....about Alma baptizing Alma in the waters of Mormon.  When Alma baptized Helam, Alma did not have any authority yet because he was not baptized by Abinadi. 

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:

We may conclude that Alma held the priesthood before he, with others, became disturbed with King Noah. Whether this is so or not makes no difference because in the Book of Mosiah it is stated definitely that he had authority.

And when he had said these words, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he said: Helam, I baptize thee, having authority from the Almighty God, as a testimony that ye have entered into a covenant to serve him until you are dead as to the mortal body; and may the Spirit of the Lord be poured out upon you; and may he grant unto you eternal life, through the redemption of Christ, whom he has prepared from the foundation of the world. (Mosiah 18:13)

If he had authority to baptize that is evidence that he had been baptized. Therefore, when Alma baptized himself with Helaman that was not a case of Alma baptizing himself, but merely as a token to the Lord of his humility and full repentance. In Alma 5:3 we learn that Alma was consecrated the high priest over the Church under his father. Now Alma did not organize the Church with the idea that they had no church before

Remember that the Book of Mormon is an abridgment of former records, and like the Bible, does not furnish many details. If I remember correctly, there is no reference to the baptism of Alma the elder or Helaman nor of Nephi and his brother Jacob, but we know they were baptized as were all the faithful members in the Church. (Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol. 3, p.204)

371: On 04/01/98, Don asked: I am considering becoming a member of the Masonic Lodge here in my home town.  Does the Church approve of the Masons?  Are there any Fraternal organizations not accepted by the Church?

The Church and Masonry are not antithetical, nor do they threaten each other. In general, the Church only disapproves of organizations which teach ideas and/or conduct which are inconsistent with the teachings of the gospel. However, Priesthood quorums are responsible for meeting the social and activity needs of their members. Before joining any organization that will require a significant time commitment, you may want to consider whether it will interfere with your Church responsibilities.

370: On 04/01/98, Joie asked: I was having a discussion with some friends about your religion.  We have a wonderful neighbor who is Mormon and suddenly everyone is telling us of basic practices.  So would you please answer a question?  When bigamy was practiced, did the husband have to have a "chimney" for each wife?  Or did he just have to have a separate living area?  History and customs are very interesting subjects to me and I do not like to accept "opinions" as facts.

During the nineteenth-century, LDS men were allowed to marry more than one wife at a time under certain conditions. This practice was known as plural marriage. The Church never issued any formal instructions regarding living arrangements. While some Latter-day Saint men built separate homes for each of their wives, other families lived under one roof. Obviously, it would be against the LDS standards on sexuality for a man to share a bedroom with more than one wife at a time. Therefore, when multiple families shared one home, each wife typically had her own living quarters.

369: On 04/01/98, Kathryn asked: Is the idea that God was once a man actually doctrine or is it not?  

Latter-day Saints perceive the Father as an exalted Man in the most literal, anthropomorphic terms. They do not view the language of Genesis as allegorical; human beings are created in the form and image of a God who has a physical form and image (Gen. 1:26). The Prophet Joseph Smith explained, "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" (D&C 130:22). Thus, "God is a Spirit" (John 4:24) in the sense that the Holy Ghost, the member of the Godhead who deals most often and most directly with humans, is a God and a spirit, but God the Father and God the Son are spirits with physical, resurrected bodies. Latter-day Saints deny the abstract nature of God the Father and affirm that he is a concrete being, that he possesses a physical body, and that he is in space and time. They further reject any idea that God the Father is "totally other," unknowable, or incomprehensible. In LDS doctrine, knowing the Father and the Son is a prerequisite to eternal life (John 17:3; D&C 88:49). In the opinion of many Latter-day Saints, the concept of an abstract, incomprehensible deity constitutes an intrusion of Greek philosophical categories upon the biblical record.

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:

"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible,—I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Six 1843–44, p.345) 

(See Teachings About God the Father home page)

368: On 04/01/98, Peggy asked: How does LDS view other religions?  Do you believe that unless you are a member that you are not saved?  Can people of other faiths be saved too?

The gospel does not hold an adversarial relationship with other religions. Leaders of the Church have said that intolerance is a sign of weakness (R. Lindsay, "A Mormon View of Religious Tolerance," Address to the Anti-defamation League of B'nai B'rith, San Francisco, February 6, 1984). The LDS perspective is that "we claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may" (A of F 11). The Church teaches that members must not only be kind and loving toward others but also respect their right to believe and worship as they choose. (See Overview of World Religions (Non-Christian) and Mormonism; Interfaith Relations home page)

The LDS view of salvation is far more comprehensive than the ones taught by most other Christian denominations. Latter-day Saints believe all men and women will eventually inherit a blessed degree of glory that far surpasses our mortal imaginations [except those who commit the unpardonable sin]. However, to enjoy the fullness of gospel blessings, such as eternal marriage, it is necessary to partake of sacred ordinances which are only available to worthy Church members. (See Teachings About the Afterlife home page)

367: On 04/01/98, Chris asked: My question is that in the early days the Mormons were being persecuted for their beliefs and people were burning down their houses and farms and mostly harassed them.  I wanted to know who were these people?  Were they Christians?  Non-Mormons?  Or just people who did not agree with them? 

Most people who persecute Latter-day Saints are Christians from competing denominations. (See Persecution; Anti-Mormon Publications; Interfaith Relations home page)

366: On 03/28/98, Chris asked: I recently went to church I've been going for about a month and a half now and in a Priesthood lesson we learned about something to do with something called "Mortal Tabernacle" and it had to due with Satan or something like that could you shed some light on this for me.

The "mortal tabernacle" is the physical body we receive when we leave our premortal existence and are born into mortality. Satan and his followers were cast out of Heaven for rebellion (See War in Heaven). One of their punishments is to be forever denied the opportunity to be born into a physical body. Instead, they will forever remain as malignant spirits (See Devils). While Satan has great powers, our physical bodies give us the ability to resist him. President Spencer W. Kimball taught:

"You know the evil one has opposed us all the way from before the beginning. He has promised himself that he is going to disturb every person in this earth and try to get him to do evil. But remember that the evil one is a spirit only. He has no body. Therefore, every one of you is stronger than Satan. If you will exercise your brain, your morals, your teachings, you can be superior to him." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.33)

365: On 03/28/98, a visitor asked: What is the route Lehi and his family followed to the new world?

The Book of Mormon itself is unclear about the route that Lehi and his family traveled. Therefore, we can only speculate. Several people have attempted to trace the route from the few details given and have written books about their theories and experiences. You might try contacting someone at FARMS (The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies). They could probably recommend some good material on the subject.

364: On 03/28/98, a visitor asked: I have a question... I have been talking to a very informative Baptist who keeps insisting that the word elohim is plural...I found that it is...but now the next thing he keeps saying is that Joseph smith taught that the word elohim is this true? can I make the point that Joseph smith did or did not teach that elohim is plural or single...he is viewing the church false on this one subject....any help would be appreciated...

Latter-day Saints, including Joseph Smith, use the word Elohim in both singular and plural forms depending upon the context. For example, we sometimes refer to Elohim as God, in the singular sense, to teach the principle that we should only worship our Heavenly Father. But we can also use the name-title Elohim, in the plural sense, to describe the entire Celestial hierarchy. If your friend has any difficulty understanding this concept of dual usage, I would suggest that he talk to his Baptist preacher who will inform him that the Bible uses the word in both singular and plural usage. While Baptists and Latter-day Saints sometimes disagree when it's being used as singular or plural, both denominations teach that the term can take either form.

363: On 03/28/98, a visitor asked: Hi!  I am doing a thesis paper on the history of your religion.  I am having trouble finding research for this certain statement: The Mormons suffered much persecution until their trek to Utah I do not have the slightest clue on how to research this topic.  If you can please help me find further information so I can form a basis for my research.

Although Latter-day Saints claim no greater suffering than many others who have also been persecuted for their religious beliefs through the ages, many Latter-day Saints have been persecuted with threats, assault, murder, rape, mayhem, property damage, and revilement.

You can find several books discussing this persecution listed in the bibliography of our Persecution article. In addition, Mormon Redress Petitions by Clark Johnson is an invaluable resource. Most of these books are available at

362: On 03/28/98, Valentina asked: is it true that Mormons are against mobile phones (or let's say do not generally like mobile phones)?

No, Latter-day Saints have nothing against mobile phones.

361: On 03/28/98, a visitor asked: You seem to believe in the trinity, is that correct?  You also seem to believe that Jesus Christ is God.

Do Latter-day Saints believe in the trinity?  The answer is either yes or no, depending upon what you mean by trinity.  Latter-day Saints believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost as described in the New Testament. However, we do not accept the doctrine formulated by the councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon and elaborated upon by subsequent theologians and councils--that God is three coequal persons in one substance or essence. We do not believe it, because it is not biblical. Words central to the orthodox understanding of the Trinity --words like coequal, consubstantial, and circumincession, or the word trinity itself, for that matter--are not found in scripture. (See The Doctrinal Exclusion: Trinity and the Nature of God by Dr. Stephen E. Robinson)

Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God who was crucified for the sins of the world. He is our Lord, our God, and our King. (See Teachings About Jesus Christ home page)

360: On 03/28/98, a visitor asked: What are the cows for around the Baptsitries in the Temples?

The cows are actually oxen and are representative of the twelve tribes of Israel. In the ancient Temple of Solomon, a deep brass basin similarly "stood upon twelve oxen…and the sea was set above them, and all their hinder parts were inward" (The Holy Bible, 1 Kings 7:25). Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:

"As far as we know, all temples in Israel from Moses to Solomon were of the portable-tabernacle type. But after David had secured and established the temporal kingdom, with all the power and prestige of an Oriental court, he collected the materials so that his son Solomon could build a house to Jehovah. That house—Solomon's Temple—patterned after the tabernacle of the congregation and used for the same purposes, was one of the earth's then most magnificent and costly buildings. The courtyard contained the sacrificial altar, thirty feet square and fifteen feet high, and the molten sea, a bronze basin, fifteen feet in diameter and seven and a half feet in height, resting on the backs of twelve oxen, one for each tribe, as is the case also in all modern temples. That this sea was a baptismal font for the living is perfectly clear, even as its modern counterparts are fonts or seas wherein baptisms are performed for the dead." (The Mortal Messiah, Vol.1, p.103, emphasis added)

(See Baptism for the Dead; Teachings About Temples home page)

359: On 03/24/98, Tim asked: I would like to see at least five quotes if possible from General Authorities on the commandment to avoid viewing “R” rated movies.  Quotes and sources would be even much appreciated too.  Thanks. 

President Ezra Taft Benson taught:

"We counsel you, young men, not to pollute your minds with such degrading matter, for the mind through which this filth passes is never the same afterwards. Don't see R-rated movies or vulgar videos or participate in any entertainment that is immoral, suggestive, or pornographic. Don't listen to music that is degrading." (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.222)

Elder Robert L. Simpson taught:

"It goes without saying that all X and R-rated movies are automatically eliminated." (The Church News, Conference Issues 1970-1987, p.11)

Elder Hartman Rector Jr. taught:

"Do not attend R or X-rated movies." (The Church News, Conference Issues 1970-1987, p.14)

Elder Joe J. Christensen taught:

"It is a concern that some of our young Latter-day Saints as well as their parents regularly watch R-rated and other inappropriate movies and videos. One more reason why the ''devil laugheth and his angels rejoice.'' (October 1996 General Conference, see The Savior Is Counting On You)

Elder H. Burke Peterson taught:

"I know it is hard counsel we give when we say that movies that are R-rated and many with PG-13 ratings are produced by satanic influences. Our standards should not be dictated by the rating system." (Church News, The Conference Issues, October 9, 1993, p.16)

(See Rated-R Movies and Other Inappropriate Media)

358: On 03/24/98, James asked: What are the ideals behind posthumous baptisms?  Who are they done to?  Under what circumstances?

The great principles and procedures whereby the saving truths of the gospel are offered to, accepted by, and made binding upon the departed dead, comprise the doctrine of salvation for the dead. Pursuant to this doctrine the principles of salvation are taught in the spirit world, leaving the ordinances thereof to be performed in this life on a vicarious-proxy basis. By accepting the gospel in the spirit world, and because the ordinances of salvation and exaltation are performed vicariously in this world, the worthy dead can become heirs of the fulness of the Father's kingdom. Salvation for the dead is the system where under those who would have accepted the gospel in this life had they been permitted to hear it, will have the chance to accept it in the spirit world, and will then be entitled to all the blessings which passed them by in mortality. (See Salvation for the Dead)

357: On 03/24/98, Shelley asked: I read the church's position on vasectomy and I was wondering what the church's position is on other birth control options. thank you

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. (See Birth Control)

356: On 03/24/98, Elisa asked: I have just gotten to a higher level of soccer playing, but that means I will have to play on Sundays.  Should I play on Sundays?

While the LDS Church was a pioneer among religious faiths in promoting physical activity, sports, and recreation for members, Church leaders have counseled members to not practice or play on Sunday. President Heber J. Grant taught:

"I am opposed to Sunday baseball, and have been so from my boyhood days. When a young man, I was passionately fond of the game. Today I am happy in contemplating the fact that, much as I loved to play it, I never played a game on Sunday. I am grateful to know that I also persuaded more than one young man from playing on Sundays."--Era, 16:262-263.

President Joseph F. Smith taught:

"In my boyhood, I was not permitted to play a game of marbles on the Sabbath day. I was warned, and the hand of kindness was held permanently upon me, against playing ball on Sunday." (Messages of the First Presidency, Vol.5, p.15)

(See Sports; Physical Fitness and Recreation)

355: On 03/24/98, Cyndi asked: What happened to the 1/3 in heaven that were undecided as whether they wanted to follow Jehovah or Lucifer?

When Latter-day Saints speak of the "war in heaven," they generally mean the conflict in the premortal life that began when Lucifer, in a rebellion against God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ, sought to overthrow them. The result was that Lucifer and his followers were cast out of heaven. Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:

"There were, of course, no neutral spirits in the war in heaven, any more than there are or can be neutrals in this life where choices between righteousness and unrighteousness are involved. 'He that is not with me is against me,' saith the Lord, 'and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.'" (Matt. 12:30; 1 Ne. 14:10; Alma 5:38-40.) (Mormon Doctrine, p.828)

As Elder McConkie taught, there no neutrals in the war in heaven. All took sides either with Christ or with Satan. (Also see Devils)

354: On 03/24/98, Misty asked: I was divorced and am planning to remarry in the temple.  I was curious to know if there is a time limit or waiting period before a cancellation of sealing to take effect.

The First Presidency may cancel temple sealings when the circumstances of a request for cancellation warrant it. Please recognize that a cancellation of sealings is a separate event from a civil divorce. Your Bishop can tell you how to request a cancellation of sealing and if you would be eligible to marry again in the temple.

353: On 03/24/98, Kevin asked: Since I am very impressed by the goodness of the Mormon people I know would like to understand a bit better how you came to your beliefs around the Godhead. Was it presented to Joseph Smith whole and entire or did it develop over time through the various Prophets? Do you have any trouble with multiplicity rather than Oneness? It seems that our savior Jesus Christ is believed to have come "after" The Father in time; if this is true than this would imply God from nothingness.

Latter-day Saints accept both the threeness and oneness of God as taught in the New Testament. The three are united in purpose, mind, spirit, and power, but separated in body. LDS beliefs regarding the Godhead are founded in the first vision received by Joseph Smith. In this heavenly manifestation, Joseph Smith was visited by God the Father and his Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ, both of whom have physical, tangible resurrected bodies. (See Joseph's Personal Account of the First Vision) This direct, eyewitness evidence regarding the nature of God was received several years before the Church was founded. This truth was later canonized in the Doctrine and Covenants as follows:

"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)

Latter-day Saints believe that before he received a physical body through his birth into mortality, Jesus Christ was the preeminent spirit son of God and served as a member of the Godhead. Jesus was Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob [i.e., the God of the Old Testament]. It should be noted that like everything else spirits are not created ex nihilo (creation from nothing). Before Jesus existed as a spirit, he was a self-existing intelligence. It also should be noted that LDS scriptures suggest that time as we know it is strictly associated with the condition of mortality. We know very little about the premortal world and all of the laws by which it is organized. Perhaps the Lord has not revealed more to us because we are not capable of comprehending eternity in our present mortal circumstances.

(See Question and Answer home page)

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