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Question and Answer 18

"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 by the author for which he is alone responsible.

488: On 06/28/98, a visitor asked: Anyway, I forgot the verse where Jesus said that we will be like him in heaven. I saw this verse in the Bible but I forgot where it was located. Bad memory.

The Holy Bible states:

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:2; Also see Biblical Support for Deification)

487: On 06/28/98, Eric asked: I have several questions about obedience to laws and governments. What is the LDS position towards unjust laws or governments? For example, if a Mormon lived in a society fighting an unjust war, would they submit to the draft? What if a government's taxes were used to support foreign governments that committed atrocities against it's own people? Could a Mormon refuse to pay or protest in some other way without church censure? It seems to me that there is an important place for civil disobedience in Christianity. Would a Mormon be permitted to follow his or her own conscience regarding these matters or would there be a standard church stance to follow?

The Articles of Faith state:

"We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law."

While the Lord will occasionally instruct his people to disobey unrighteous dictates by their temporal governments, this is a very rare occurrence. To my knowledge, this has happened only once since the founding of the Church [i.e., over the anti-plural marriage legislation by the U.S. government]. When the Lord desires such an action, he will give the instructions through his anointed prophet, seer, and revelator. Unless the Lord grants such an exemption, the Church does not support or condone cases of civil disobedience. (See Teachings About Law home page)

There are several reasons why the Church generally opposes civil disobedience. For example, Latter-day Saints believe that even bad government is better than no government [i.e., anarchy]. Also, the Church has faced severe persecution throughout its history. Promotion of civil disobedience, even in "worthy" causes, would cause the Church to be vulnerable to legal harassment [e.g., arrest of its leaders, destruction of its temples and worship houses, etc.].

486: On 06/28/98, Jeremy asked: Do Mormons believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins, and was raised on the 3rd day?

Jesus Christ is the central figure in the doctrine of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained that:

"the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it" (TPJS, p. 121).

Latter-day Saints believe that complete salvation is possible only through the life, death, resurrection, doctrines, and ordinances of Jesus Christ and in no other way. (See Teachings About Jesus Christ home page)

485: On 06/28/98, Sherri asked: I was wondering how you view homosexuality in the Church?

When two people of the same sex join in using their bodies for erotic purposes, this conduct is considered homosexual and sinful by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, comparable to sexual relations between any unmarried persons. (See Homosexuality; Same Sex Attraction by Dallin H. Oaks)

484: On 06/28/98, a visitor asked: I have a question about the celestial body. In Journal of Discourse Brigham Young states that Adam already had a celestial body when he entered the Garden of Eden. That would mean that he had lived somewhere else, died and was resurrected...correct?

No, it depends upon how President Young was using the term "celestial body", which can have multiple meanings depending upon context.  For example, since the term celestial is often used to designate perfectness, President Young might have chosen the words "celestial body" to distinguish Adam's perfect, pre-fall body from his later fallen one.

Also, since our Heavenly Father is the prototype and head of the human race, President Young occasionally called him by the name-title Adam (See Adam-God's Last Stand). In which case, President Young could have meant a resurrected body since Heavenly Father lived somewhere else, died, and was resurrected. (See Fall of Adam home page; Teachings About the Godhead home page)

483: On 06/28/98, Bill asked: I have sent over 2 hours reading various pages from your sight. I did not find the answer to a question I have. It is this, on the TV commercials I heard it said that Jesus stated that he had to go to his other flock. Who is the other flock. I always thought it to mean that since the Jews rejected him as the messiah the other flock or the other people he was going to was the gentiles. Can you help me out with this Thank you for your time

While many other Christian denominations teach that the "other sheep" referred to be Jesus (See John 10:16) were the gentile nations, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that the Savior was actually referring to a lost branch of the House of Israel that lived upon the American continents. The Book of Mormon discusses this issue as follows:

"And verily I [Jesus Christ] say unto you, that ye [the people in the Book of Mormon] are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. And they understood me not, for they supposed it had been the Gentiles; for they understood not that the Gentiles should be converted through their preaching. And they understood me not that I said they shall hear my voice; and they understood me not that the Gentiles should not at any time hear my voice--that I should not manifest myself unto them save it were by the Holy Ghost. But behold, ye have both heard my voice, and seen me; and ye are my sheep, and ye are numbered among those whom the Father hath given me." (3 Nephi 15:21-4)

482: On 06/28/98, Adam asked: Hi.  I'm an almost new member (about 15 days till I'm baptized!), and I have a question about the Heavenly Mother.  Could you please explain Her and Her role in the church.  I've done some of my own research and come up with nothing.  The closest I came to anything that resembled the Heavenly Mother was the woman mentioned in Rev. 12:1. Thanks a lot!

Latter-day Saints infer from authoritative sources of scripture and modern prophecy that there is a Heavenly Mother as well as a Heavenly Father. Since the roles of Latter-day Saint women are patterned after the work and glory of our Heavenly Mother, the easiest way to understand our Mother in Heaven's life is to study the roles of her daughters. (See Mother in Heaven; Teachings About Motherhood and the Roles of Women)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught that the woman mentioned in Revelation 12:1 was symbolic of the Church. (See Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 3:517)

481: On 06/28/98, Fernando asked: I am a active member of the Church and was wondering if it is allowed to drink decaffeinated coffee or not. That is because many active members do it, but I feel the revelation given by in D&C was clear regarding coffee (hot drinks) no matter what kind it is.

Active Latter-day Saints abstain from drinking coffee. This practice derives from an 1833 revelation known as the Word of Wisdom, which states that "hot drinks are not for the body or the belly" (D&C 89:9). While the main chemical in coffee that has caused health concerns is caffeine, Church leaders have never stated that decaffinated coffee is exempted from the prohibition. (See Attitudes Toward Health, Medicine, and Fitness home page)

480: On 06/28/98, Andy asked: I have heard that Mormons are required to keep one year of supplies in case of emergencies - is this true?  if so is there a recommended list that the general public could look at?  I have a family and think that being prepared is important and figure that you have figured out the basics and would like to share in your wisdom on this subject.

Latter-day Saints are taught to prepare for potential problems. Since the gospel is concerned with mankind's temporal as well as spiritual welfare, the Church considers any potential emergency that would adversely affect the quality of life or produce suffering to be a cause for advance preparation. This includes natural disasters, unemployment, disease, injuries, and other circumstances that could threaten life or personal well-being. The Church teaches its members to prepare for such emergencies. (See Emergency Preparedness)

A recommended list can be found at

479: On 06/28/98, Muriel asked: I'm very interested in purchasing a genealogy program, Person Ancestral File, latest version.  I attempted to find information re this on your Web site but was unsuccessful. Where can I get this? Thank you!

PAF software can be ordered from the Church Distribution Center at 1-800-537-5950 for U.S./ 1-800-453-3860, ext. 2031 for Canada.

478: On 06/28/98, a visitor asked: How do I find the address of chapels in different cities?  Is there a web-site?

See the LDS Meetinghouse Locator at

477: On 06/18/98, a visitor asked: hi, can Mormons divorce? DO they have anything against that or re-marrying?

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." (See Divorce)

476: On 06/13/98, a visitor asked: I am a member and was asked a question I couldn't answer.  It is my understanding that, according to the early brethren of this dispensation, the garden of Eden was located in what is now know as Jackson County Missouri. Yet Genesis 2:10-14 speaks of a river coming out of Eden and branching into four heads, one of which is the Euphrates in Asia.  One of the rivers is Gihon in Ethiopia and one is Hiddekel east of Assyria.  I am obviously confused. Can you help?  Thanks!!

President Joseph Fielding Smith answered this question as follows:

"The rivers spoken of in Genesis and in the Book of Moses are rivers that existed when all the waters of the earth were in one place. If all the waters were in one place, then obviously all the land was in one place. This was before the days of the flood. In Genesis we read:

And God said, let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place and let the dry land appear: and it was so.(Genesis 1:9. See also D. & C. 133:22-24.)

According to the revelations of the Lord, Noah and his family in the Ark sailed during the time of the flood from some place evidently in what is known now as America, and landed at Ararat thousands of miles away. We read that it was in the seventeenth day of the second month when the great deep was broken up, and the rain was forty days. The Ark landed at Ararat on the seventeenth day of the seventh month, therefore there were five full months of travel when the Lord drove the Ark to its final destiny. Without any question a considerable distance separated the point where the Ark commenced the journey and where it landed. There can be no question to contradict the fact that during the flood great changes were made on the face of the earth. The land surface was in the process of division into continents. The rivers mentioned in Genesis were rivers that existed in the garden of Eden long before the land was divided into continents and islands. (Genesis 7:11)

It would be the most natural thing in the world for Noah, after he arrived at his destiny in Ararat, to give names to rivers and to country, similar to the names with which he was familiar when his journey in the Ark commenced. It is the custom even today for explorers to name countries and rivers after familiar points and streams in their native countries. We are informed that there are great ancient river beds buried in the land of Missouri. Therefore the River Euphrates in Asia took the name naturally.

Remember also that not too many centuries after Noah landed at Ararat, the entire land surface of the earth was changed and divided, and what had previously been one grand continent, was broken up into many continents and islands. So it is impossible for us today to know exactly what changes were made in that world catastrophe.(Ibid., 10:25.)

Of course we rely definitely on the word of the Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith. In one of the revelations given to the Church, May 19, 1838, the Lord said, speaking of a certain point in Missouri known as Spring Hill, in Daviess County:

ADAM-ONDI-AHMAN, because, said he, it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet. (D. & C. 116. See also Sec. 78:15.)

We also read in Section 107:

Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all high priests, with the residue of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last blessing.

And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the prince, the archangel.

And the Lord administered comfort unto Adam, and said unto him: I have set thee to be at the head; a multitude of nations shall come of thee, and thou art a prince over them forever.

And Adam stood up in the midst of the congregation; and, notwithstanding he was bowed down with age, being full of the Holy Ghost, predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation. (Ibid., 107:53-56.)

There is no difficulty when we understand the truth, that is, that while these rivers carry the same names, they are not the same rivers which were in the Garden of Eden. (Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol.2, p.93-5)

475: On 06/13/98, Roy asked: Why do we fold our arms during prayers?

There is no strict requirement that we fold our arms during prayers. However, many children are taught to fold their arms because the practice makes it easier for them to be reverent. For example, they don't have free hands to bother other people or play with something they should not while praying. While some adults fold their arms because they acquired the habit when they were children, others do so to set a good example for children. (See Prayer, Fasting, and Revelation home page)

474: On 06/13/98, Carl asked: I am looking for some talks that the General Authorities may have given on fathers interviews and I am not having much luck. I hope perhaps that you may be able to point me in the right direction. Thanks for any help that you are able to give.

One way parents can strengthen their friendship and communication with their children is to interview them regularly. The Heart to Heart article from the June 1997 Ensign discusses the interviewing process and gives twelve tips for parent child interviews. It can be found in our Parenting section.

473: On 06/13/98, Carlos asked: If our church believes in "the same organization that existed in the primitive church" what is the reason for not having Pastors?

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:

"The dictionary definition of a pastor is a correct one, even from our understanding of this term; it is, "a Christian minister who has a church or congregation under his official charge." The term pastor does not refer to an order in the priesthood, like deacon, priest, elder, seventy, and so on, but is a general term applied to an officer who presides over a ward, branch in a mission or a stake, and it could even be applied to a president of a stake. There are several references to pastors in the Old Testament, particularly in the Book of Jeremiah. I quote one or two of these showing that this is a general term applied to the priests and teachers in Israel and not to an order of the priesthood:

And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. (Jer. 3:15)

For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the Lord: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered. (Jer. 10:21.)

As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee: neither have I desired the woeful day; thou knowest: that which came out of my lips was right before thee. (Jer. 17:16.)

From these passages you will see that it is clear that the Lord has reference to the priests and rulers over the children of Israel and not to an order, or office, in the priesthood. The Prophet Joseph Smith in the Sixth Article of Faith was following Paul's expression and had reference to those who had jurisdiction over the flocks, or branches, of the Church. (Eph. 4:11; Jer. 23:1-2.) We can say truthfully that a bishop is a pastor; so is an elder who has charge of a branch of the Church, or a president of a stake who has direction of a number of wards and branches. (Era, vol. 56, p. 826.)

We used to have pastors, so named, in Great Britain; they were men appointed to preside over two or more conferences, now called districts. (Pers. Corresp.) (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.3, p.108 - p.109)

472: On 06/13/98, a visitor asked: How is it possible to bind God?  God is omnipotent.  Is he no longer omnipotent once he's created the laws that bind him? 

Latter-day Saints believe that God cannot do anything ungodlike, else he would cease to be God. The Church rejects any definition of omnipotence which would call for God to be capricious. (See Omnipotent God; Omnipresence of God; Omniscience of God)

471: On 06/13/98, a visitor asked: How do we explain natural disasters?  I mean an omnipotent wholly good God allows this evil that he could prevent.  Millions of innocent people die every year.  This seems to be  contradiction of the nature of God.

Mankind's attempts to explain the necessity of suffering are varied: (1) it is an essential element in testing and building moral character; (2) it is the unavoidable side effect of agency; (3) it is illusory or utterly mysterious. Whatever partial consolations these attempts provide, suffering remains.

LDS doctrine provides two explanations that are uncommon in the Judeo-Christian tradition. First, all mankind chose to enter mortality with full knowledge of the great price that would be required of the Christ and of discipleship in his name. Second, one's suffering is to be in the image of that of the Lord, whose suffering was requisite "that his bowels [might] be filled with mercy…that he [might] know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities" (Alma 7:12). In no other way could the redemption of the universe and the unleashing of authentic love and compassion be achieved. Jesus described his own mission almost entirely in terms of healing: "to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; …to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness" (Isa. 61:1-3; Luke 4:18-19). (See Suffering in the World)

470: On 06/13/98, a visitor asked: I am looking for the definition of "celestial body". Would this be a person who has already been resurrected? Where would I find this definition?

Like many words used in the discussion of theology [e.g. soul], the term "celestial body" can have different meanings depending upon the context. There is no one and only correct definition. However, it is often used to describe bodies endowed with Celestial glory. For example, Elder Melvin J. Ballard taught:

"[Jesus Christ] has purchased us; he has redeemed us; he has bought us; and we belong to him. And now he proposed to give back these bodies glorified. To those who keep the full law he promises to give a celestial body, full of celestial power and glory and splendor; and to those who keep the terrestrial law, a body not so glorious, but still glorious and splendid; and telestial bodies to those who keep the telestial law; thus he extends to each this privilege. This is what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for man. (Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin J. Ballard, pp. 169-70, emphasis added)

469: On 06/13/98, a visitor asked: Is there anywhere that it is stated by the Church that the dating age is 16?

President Spencer W. Kimball taught:

"Any dating or pairing off in social contacts should be postponed until at least the age of 16 or older, and even then there should be much judgment used in the selections and in the seriousness." (See Dating and Courtship)

The For the Strength of Youth pamphlet states:

"In cultures where dating is appropriate, do not date until you are sixteen years old. Not all teenagers need to date or even want to. Many young people do not date during their teen years, because they are not interested, do not have opportunities, or simply want to delay forming serious relationships. Good friendships can be developed at every age.

When you begin dating, go in groups or on double dates. Avoid pairing off exclusively with one partner. Make sure your parents meet and become acquainted with those you date. Later the time will come for choosing just one. You may occasionally want to invite your dates to activities with your family."

(See Dating and Courtship home page)

468: On 06/07/98, a visitor asked: I want to know what gift of tongues mean and what interpretation of tongues

The primary purpose of the Gift of Tongues is to enhance missionary efforts throughout the world. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:

"When devout men from every nation shall assemble to hear the things of God, let the Elders preach to them in their own mother tongue, whether it is German, French, Spanish or Irish, or any other, and let those interpret who understand the language spoken, in their own mother tongue, and this is what the Apostle meant in First Corinthians 14:27" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 195 )

Also, President George Q. Cannon taught:

"If I were called on a mission to a people speaking a foreign language, I should pray constantly for the gift of tongues and for the gift of the interpretation of tongues ... This gift, as I have said, is a desirable gift; but it is especially desirable for our Elders who go to foreign lands. They should seek for it with all earnestness and faith. I testify to you that there is such a gift as the gift of interpretation of tongues." (Gospel Truth, Vol. 1, p. 197)

(See Gifts of the Spirit.)

467: On 06/07/98, Richard asked: I ran across some documents on the internet where it was claimed that the verses 1 John 5:7-8 were added by corrupt scribes and cannot be found in any ancient manuscript dated earlier than the creation of the Trinity doctrine in the 4th century.  Can you shed some light on this from an LDS perspective?

The Church reveres the Bible as the word of God given through ancient prophets and apostles, though it recognizes that the current text is not identical with the original. However, the Church has never sponsored the idea that these particular verses are uninspired and there is nothing in these verses that inconsistent with true doctrine. (See The Bible home page)

466: On 06/07/98, Marianne asked: The Catholic churches teaches that Jesus was "married" to the Church. The Church is his bride, He is the Bridegroom.   Does the LDS church have any dispute with this view?

Latter-day Saints often use the allegory of Jesus being "married" to the Church. In addition, we leave open the possibility that he was literally married during his life as well. (See Why Was Jesus Never Married?; Catholicism and Mormonism)

465: On 06/07/98, Marianne asked: While LDS are encouraged to marry LDS, are intermarriage ceremonies held in LDS chapels?  If so, does the couple use the same marriage ceremony (wording) as used in a temple?

Latter-day Saints who marry outside the Church may have their marriage ceremony performed in an LDS chapel at their request. The wording is not the same as used in the temple. In an LDS temple, two faithful Latter-day Saints may be sealed for "time and all eternity". In an LDS chapel, a couple is married for time only. (See Dating and Marrying Nonmembers; Teachings About Marriage home page; Teachings About Temples home page)

464: On 06/07/98, Edward asked: We know that tithing is very important. My question is: if a person take out some of  his money to help those who are poor, sick or in needs in name of Lord regularly, is it consider part of the tithing? If the tithing is sent to Church, how are those money being used and managed?

Tithing is contributing 10% of your increase [income] to the Church. While a person is encouraged to contribute additional funds to other worthy causes [e.g., fast offerings], a person has not paid a full tithe unless he has contributed 10% of his increase to the Church. These funds are used for such purposes as the building and maintenance of meetinghouses, temples, and other facilities, as well as for the partial support of the missionary, educational, and welfare programs of the Church.

463: On 06/07/98, a visitor asked: What is the name extraction program?  Who do you baptize?  How are they chosen (do they have to related to members, do they even have to know members)?

Name extraction consists of systematically transcribing this family history information from original vital records. Church members perform temple ordinances for those whose names have been thus identified. Latter-day Saints are allowed to perform ordinances for anyone related to them, anyone for whom the family has authorized the work, or anyone who has been dead for over 100 years. (See Name Extraction Programs)

462: On 06/07/98, a visitor asked: Should a woman who is already married to a man who will probably never join the Mormon church consider joining if she truly believes in the church?

It depends upon the particular circumstances. If her husband will support her Church participation, then she should certainly join the Church to partake of the available blessings. On the other hand, if her membership will harm her marital relationship, then she should not join at this time. The Church places a high priority on maintaining the integrity of the family unit. It is important to remember that the Lord loves all of his children and will offer everyone an opportunity to receive the gospel. In cases where people are not free to join the Church, the Lord will judge them by the desires of their hearts and offer them future opportunities. (See Joining the Church; Membership)

461: On 06/07/98, Nate asked: How do Mormons view the end of the world?

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 Second Coming of Jesus Christ home page)

460: On 06/07/98, Geoff asked: As a Christian, but non LDS member, I am trying to understand the basis of what I understand about the significance of Adam-ondi-Ahman, in relation to its being the site of the original Garden of Eden.  Please give me the background.  Thank you.

The Prophet's revelations indicated several things about the area: (1) the Garden of Eden was located in Jackson County, Missouri, and after Adam was expelled from the garden, he went north to Adam-ondi-Ahman; (2) three years before Adam's death, he gathered the righteous of his posterity to Adam-ondi-Ahman and bestowed upon them his last blessing; (3) this site would be the location of a future meeting of the Lord with Adam and the Saints, as spoken of by the prophet Daniel (Dan. 7:9-14, 21-27; 12:1-3). (See Adam-ondi-Ahman)

459: On 06/07/98, Kathy asked: I've heard about the Book of Jasher and have heard of its use in conjunction with our current study of the Old Testament. Please tell me more about this book.

Reference is made in both the Old and New Testaments to books and epistles which are not now available. The Book of Jasher is one of these lost books of scripture (see Josh. 10:13; 2 Sam. 1:18). Others include: Book of the Covenant (Ex. 24:4, 7); Book of the Wars of the Lord (Num. 21:14); A Book of Statutes (1 Sam. 10:25); Book of the Acts of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41); Books of Nathan and Gad (1 Chron. 29:29; 2 Chron. 9:29); Prophecy of Ahijah and Visions of Iddo (2 Chron. 9:29; 12:15; 13:22); Book of Shemaiah (2 Chron. 12:15); Book of Jehu (2 Chron. 20:34); Acts of Uzziah, written by Isaiah (2 Chron. 26:22); Sayings of the Seers (2 Chron. 33:19); an epistle of Paul to the Corinthians 1 Cor. 5:9); an epistle of Paul to the Ephesians (Eph. 3:3); an epistle of Paul to the Laodiceans (Col. 4:16); Epistle of Jude (Jude 3); and the Prophecies of Enoch (Jude 14).

In the Middle Ages, a Book of Jasher surfaced which claimed to be the lost book mentioned in the Bible. Many people consider it a forgery. However, some others believe it to be authentic or at least based on the original record. The Church has taken no official position on this book or its authenticity. (See The Bible home page)

458: On 06/02/98, Scott asked: What is this seminary your church has and who go to it?

Where public education is readily available, CES offers seminary and institute programs to supplement secular education with religious teachings. Courses in seminaries and institutes center around the reading and study of the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Church history, and Pearl of Great Price. The teachings of these courses emphasize the reality of a living God, the resurrected Christ, the visitation of heavenly beings in restoring the gospel and Church of Jesus Christ to Joseph Smith, the continuing nature of revelation, the teachings of living prophets, and the gifts of the spirit. Students in seminary and institute are taught that personal religious knowledge can be obtained by seeking individual revelation, living the principles taught by Christ, and witnessing the results of doing the will of God. (See Church Education System)

Seminary is specifically designed for High School students [9th thru 12th grade]. Institute is specifically designed for college age students. It is not necessary to be a member of the Church to attend either seminary or institute programs.

457: On 06/02/98, a visitor asked: Why must I wait one year, after confirmation, before I may go to the temple?

When a person enters the temple, he or she makes sacred covenants with God, the violation of which will bring eternal damnation upon them. Because of the serious nature of these covenants, the Church typically requires new members to wait at least one year before entering the temple. This will give them time to spiritually mature to the point where they can accept and keep these covenants. In the eyes of God, it is preferable for a person to never make these covenants than to make them and then fail to honor them. (See Teachings About the Temple home page)

456: On 06/02/98, Jennifer asked: do Mormons believe in hell or is hell just when you don't have your family in heaven.

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)

455: On 06/02/98, Josh asked: What is the doing now to reach out to black people?

The Church offers the gospel to every member of the human family. The Church does not treat members of Black races any differently than anyone else. (See Blacks home page)

454: On 06/02/98, Josh asked: Do you accept all other Christian churches?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not see itself as one Christian denomination among many, but rather as God's latter-day restoration of the fulness of Christian faith and practice. Thus, from its earliest days LDS Christians sought to distinguish themselves from Christians of other traditions. Other forms of Christianity, while bearing much truth and doing much good under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are viewed as incomplete, lacking the authority of the priesthood of God, the temple ordinances, the comprehensive understanding of the Plan of Salvation, and the nonparadoxical understanding of the Godhead. Therefore, the designation "saint" reflects attachment to the New Testament church, and also designates a difference from Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant Christianity in the current dispensation. (See Christians and Christianity; Interfaith Relations home page)

453: On 06/02/98, Josh asked: Do you have to be baptized to me saved?

Latter-day Saints believe, as do many Christians, that baptism is a prerequisite for obtaining the fullness of salvation. Belief that baptism is necessary for the salvation of all persons who reach the age of accountability (D&C 84:64, 74) does not condemn persons who have died without the opportunity to hear the true gospel of Jesus Christ or to receive baptism from proper priesthood authority. Latter-day Saints believe that proxy baptism for the dead should be performed vicariously (1 Cor. 15:29; D&C 124:28-35, 127-128), and that it becomes effective if the deceased beneficiary accepts the gospel while in the spirit world awaiting resurrection (see 1 Pet. 3:18-20; 4:6; cf. D&C 45:54). This vicarious work for the benefit of previous generations, binding the hearts of the children to their fathers (Mal. 4:5-6), is one of the sacred ordinances performed in Latter-day Saint temples (D&C 128:12-13).

452: On 06/02/98, Scott asked: I heard somewhere that LDS believe that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri. Is this true? Thanks for your time!

Neither biblical records nor secular history and archaeological research identify the dimensions or the location of the garden in terms of the present-day surface of the earth. Latter-day revelation specifies that as a mortal, Adam lived at Adam-ondi-Ahman in what is now Daviess County, Missouri (D&C 107:53-56; 116:1; 117:8). Several early LDS leaders, among them Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, stated that the Prophet Joseph Smith taught them that the Garden of Eden was located in what is now Jackson County, Missouri (JD 10:235; cf. 11:336-7; DS 3:74).

451: On 05/31/98, a visitor asked: would a Mormon get in trouble if people knew or thought they were homosexual?

Latter-day Saints are not censured for their sexual orientation. However, everyone who engages in sexual activity outside of marriage, whether homosexual or heterosexual, faces Church discipline. (See Teachings About Sexuality home page; Homosexuality; Same-Sex Attraction by Elder Dallin H. Oaks)

450: On 05/31/98, a visitor asked: I was wondering, what exactly are the white under garments that are worn?

Latter-day Saints who have been to the temple wear sacred garments under their regular clothing to remind them of the sacred covenants that they have made with God. (See Teachings About the Temple home page)

449: On 05/31/98, a visitor asked: Does anyone know of something written to give to a non-Mormon in the loss of their two year old in a drowning accident?  Would like to give them some comfort.

The Gateway We Call Death by Elder Russell M. Nelson is an excellent resource that explains the importance of death in the plan of salvation. Elder Nelson specifically addresses the death of young children and the promises the Lord has made regarding their salvation. You can order the book from (See Salvation of Children; Teachings About the Afterlife home page)

448: On 05/31/98, a visitor asked: What is the Church's doctrine on marriage between two members of different races?  I have heard several different statements.  Thank you.

Church leaders teach that successful marriage is most likely to occur when the participants are "of the same racial background generally, and of somewhat the same economic and social and educational background." Therefore, "interracial marriages are discouraged by [the Church]." (See Interracial Marriage)

447: On 05/15/98, David asked: I have recently become active again in the church & am very happy to be back in the gospel.One of my co-workers asked if there is any significance to the direction the angel Moroni is standing on top of the temple{s} I come to this sight almost daily & it has been a great help in establishing my testimony again.   Keep up the great work!!!

Most (but not all) LDS temples face east, symbolic of the anticipated second coming of Christ, which Jesus compared to the dawning in the east of a new day (Matt. 24:27). (See Teachings About Temples home page)

446: On 05/15/98, Joanne asked: As a non-Mormon I have a question, I don't know if I have heard correctly, but do all Mormons give 10% of what they earn?  If they are on some kind of benefit do they still have (maybe the wrong use of English) to donate to the church, do you have to donate money at all? To me religion is free and something personal that can then be shared.  Many thanks

The payment of tithing is expected of each member regardless of age, income level, or circumstance. Faithful Latter-day Saints contribute one-tenth of their income annually to the Church. Members consider these tithing funds to be sacred monies, and leaders carefully administer their expenditures at each level of Church organization. Tithing is used to pay most of the operating expenses of the Church and also now funds the construction of buildings, including meetinghouses and temples. (See Financial Contributions)

Latter-day Saints expect all members to financially contribute to the Church because of the concept of shared responsibility. The Lord has told us "Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer." (D&C 42:42) Each member is expected to pay their fair share of the Church's expenses.

If a Latter-day Saint does not make any financial contributions, they are still allowed to attend services and participate in Church programs. In fact, because the payment of tithing is a private matter, a person's tithing status is never released to other members of the congregation. The only temporal restriction placed upon those who do not pay tithing is ineligibility to hold a temple recommend.

445: On 05/15/98, Chris asked: [Do you believe that Jesus was married?] And if you do believe Jesus was married, Do you believe your salvation depends on your knowing this information?

Since the Church has no official teaching on whether or not Jesus was married, the truth of the issue is not needed for our salvation. Personally, I do believe he was married and probably had children as well. (See Why Was Jesus Never Married?).

444: On 05/15/98, Lee asked: Could you explain the hot drinks teachings to me? I have Mormon friends that drink decaffeinated forms of the restricted beverages such as herbal tea or decaffeinated coffee. They also drink caffeinated drinks such as Surge or Mountain Dew but avoid Pepsi or Coke. I am confused as to what is exactly restricted. Is it the caffeine in the beverages that is prohibited? My friends can't explain their practices and I have visited the page with your explanation of the hot drinks but that doesn't do much beyond reiterating what I have been told. Thanks  

The Word of Wisdom prohibits Latter-day Saints from drinking all forms of alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and tea. The revelation has not been interpreted as proscribing herbal teas, for it states that "all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the Constitution, nature, and use of man" (D&C 89:10). The Lord has never officially explained the reasons for the prohibitions, but has promised us great blessings if we offer obedience based on faith. Since cola drinks are not covered under the Word of Wisdom, there is no technical violation for their use. However, Church leaders have taught that consuming large amounts of caffeine, while not a technical violation, is a violation of the intent of the Word of Wisdom. Therefore, Latter-day Saints generally try to avoid substances that contain large amounts of caffeine. (See Health, Medicine, and Fitness home page)

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