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Question and Answer 20

"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.

565: On 01/10/99, a visitor, Why are Blacks not allowed to participate in the Clergy? or as Ministers?

Latter-day Saints have a lay ministry and do not have professional clergy.  All members of the Church, regardless of racial, ethnic, and cultural background, are presently able to receive priesthood authority. (See Priesthood Organization home page; Blacks home page)

564: On 01/10/99, Rosemary asked, Could you please tell me what the Plan of Salvation is in regards to babies that die?

This unconditional benefit of Christ's Atonement saves all little children regardless of race, color, or nationality, for "all children are alike unto me" (Moro. 8:17). They all begin their mortal lives pure and innocent (D&C 93:38), and "little children also have eternal life" (Mosiah 15:25). If they die while in this state of innocence and purity, they return to that God who gave them life, saved, and fit for his company. They are in a "blessed" condition, for God's "judgment is just; and the infant perisheth not that dieth in his infancy" (Mosiah 3:16, 18). The Prophet Joseph Smith saw in vision "that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the Celestial Kingdom of heaven" (D&C 137:10; TPJS, p. 200). (See Salvation of Children)

563: On 01/10/99, a visitor asked, I'm a member.   Where is a good place to start showing an interested friend about how the trinity is really three spirits? Thanks

The easiest way to explain the true nature of God is to study directly from the scriptures.  It is a mistake to let the philosophies of men come between you and holy writ.  For example, the Holy Bible teaches "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." (John 17:21)  Here it's clear that the Savior wants us to enjoy the same type of unity that he enjoys with our Father in Heaven.  The context makes it clear that when Jesus speaks of being "one" with the Father, he is not speaking of a bodily oneness, but a unity of common purpose. I would suggest looking up appropriate references (e.g., God, Godhead, Unity, etc.) using the Topical Guide found in the back of the LDS edition of the King James version of the Bible. (See Teachings About the Godhead home page)

562: On 01/10/99, Lauren asked, Hello, I was just wondering about the LDS dating policy, in particular, why is it not okay to date non-members?  I wanted to know, because I happen to be a member of a different church, but I really like a member of your church community.  I have basically the same dating rules and morals as stated at your web site (excluding dating outside of my religion).  I believe I am a moral young woman, and do not indulge in unwholesome activities, and I am sure that you would also see this if you were to know me.  I am very flexible, and am willing to be open-minded to your ideas and suggestions.  Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

Since a major component of the gospel is the concept of eternal marriage, Latter-day Saints are encouraged to only date and marry faithful members of the Church. This is because only faithful members of the Church can enter a holy temple and be married for time and all eternity. In other words, Latter-day Saints believe that when two people enter into temple marriage (i.e., eternal marriage) and are faithful to their covenants, then they will rise in the resurrection as a married couple and live together forever in the married state. Members are encouraged to stay away from any path which might take them away from this great blessing. (See Dating and Marrying Nonmembers)

561: On 01/10/99, a visitor asked, I am a young married LDS woman . my husband and I are looking forward to buying our dream home but we are not sure if this is a good time to buy a home.I have heard that at the last LDS conference we were told to get out of debut. does that include mortgage debuts? I am concerned that some time in the near future our country is going to have some kind of depression, where wages would be reduced but our obligations would remain the same there for making it harder to get by, what I'm basically asking is,have the leaders of the church mentioned anything about staying free of all debuts at this time?or said anything else on this topic? thank you.

At October 1998 General Conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley suggested that the time had come for us to get our houses in order.  He made a number of comments about the importance of avoiding debt including, "I urge you, brethren, to look to the condition of your finances. I urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt to the extent possible. Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves from bondage."  (See To the Boys and Men for his full comments)

560: On 01/10/99, a visitor asked, Are there foods or beverages that you don't eat? I heard that you don't drink coffee or tea. I don't want to offend them or make them uncomfortable by serving something they cannot eat.

Latter-day Saints obey a health code entitled The Word of Wisdom, which prohibits coffee, tea, alcohol, and tobacco.  The Church has generally left any further interpretation of the Word of Wisdom to individual members.  Your best bet is to simply ask them if they have any further dietary restrictions.

559: On 01/10/99, Jack asked, Do you have a biography for Brigham Young available on the Web?

See Brigham Young

558: On 01/10/99, Randy asked, When one murders another how is he forgiven?  Is it through Christ or does his blood have to be shed. 

The doctrines of the Church affirm that the Atonement wrought by the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is efficacious for the sins of all who believe, repent, are baptized by one having authority, and receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. However, if a person thereafter commits a grievous sin such as the shedding of innocent blood, the Savior's sacrifice alone will not absolve the person of the consequences of the sin. Only by voluntarily submitting to whatever penalty the Lord may require can that person benefit from the Atonement of Christ.  (See Blood Atonement)

557: On 01/10/99, Randy asked, Do you believe we will one day be a God or Like Gods?  

Logically and naturally, the ultimate desire of a loving Supreme Being is to help his children enjoy all that he enjoys. For Latter-day Saints, the term "godhood" denotes the attainment of such a state—one of having all divine attributes and doing as God does and being as God is. Such a state is to be enjoyed by all exalted, embodied, intelligent beings (see Godhood; Deification; Eternal Progression; Exaltation; God; Perfection). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that all resurrected and perfected mortals become gods (cf. Gen. 3:22; Matt. 5:48). They will dwell again with God the Father, and live and act like him in endless worlds of happiness, power, love, glory, and knowledge; above all, they will have the power of procreating endless lives. Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus Christ attained godhood (see Christology) and that he marked the path and led the way for others likewise to become exalted divine beings by following him (cf. John 14:3).

556: On 01/10/99, Don asked, I have been for the last two weeks looking at your web sites, trying to decide about your beliefs. And I have a serious but non accusing question, when looking at the pictures of the temple, I have noticed that the Baptistries all have statues of Cows around them. And after an extensive search of biblical information, have found not one instance
of such things. This is something I would like explained to me. Everyone of your Baptistries have Statues of Cows on them, and this indeed troubles me. I would appreciate any information about the Cows that you could send me or post on your web site, as I go there quite often.

In the Baptistries of LDS Temples,  Latter-day Saints act as proxies in the ordinance of baptism for someone deceased. 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).  Likewise, the baptismal fonts in LDS temples are supported by twelve oxen (not cows).

(See Teachings About Temples home page; Baptism for the Dead; Temples: a Virtual Tour of Baptistries)

555: On 12/26/98, David asked, I have a question about "law" according to the teachings of the latter-day saints. Even though I have read much of what you have online, I'm not clear, and I must be clear before I decide to continue down the road towards your faith. I believe that in general, just laws must be followed. However, I also strongly believe that at times governments will impose unjust laws, which is against the will of god. In these cases I consider it the responsibility of men to stand against these laws, through non-violent civil disobedience and other non-violent forms of protest.

See Civil Disobedience

554: On 12/26/98, Mark asked, I am 17 years old and a member of the church.  I was wondering if it is wrong to have a girlfriend if you both date other people and don't kiss except for how you would kiss your mother or father.  Just having a best friend but with a commitment. Thank you for taking the time to answer me.

The Church has counseled our youth to avoid forming serious romantic relationships until they are ready for marriage.  For young men, this means they should avoid having girlfriends until they have returned from their missions.  For example, President Ezra Taft Benson counseled young women as follows:

"Avoid steady dating with a young man prior to the time of his mission call. If your relationship with him is more casual, then he can make that decision to serve more easily and also can concentrate his full energies on his missionary work instead of the girlfriend back home. And after he returns honorably from his mission, he will be a better husband and father and priesthood holder, having first served a full-time mission." (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.190)

(See Dating and Courtship home page)

553: On 12/26/98, Glenn asked, Assuming what you believe is true; answer the question put to Jesus in Matthew and Luke. Whose family will she live with in heaven?

She would be married to the man to whom she was sealed for eternity, assuming both of them were faithful to their covenants.  If the woman in question was not sealed to any of the men, then she would obviously not be married to any of them in eternity. (See Eternal Marriage; Is there Eternal Marriage?)

552: On 12/26/98, Niki asked, one of my friends is interested in the church and they are wondering if the golden plates that the book of Mormon was originally written on, if it still exists, does it?? and if so where?

The gold plates from which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon were returned into the keeping of the angel Moroni, as follows:

"I, [Joseph Smith] soon found out the reason why I had received such strict charges to keep [the gold plates] safe, and why it was that the messenger had said that when I had done what was required at my hand, he would call for them. For no sooner was it known that I had them, than the most strenuous exertions were used to get them from me. Every stratagem that could be invented was resorted to for that purpose. The persecution became more bitter and severe than before, and multitudes were on the alert continually to get them from me if possible. But by the wisdom of God, they remained safe in my hands, until I had accomplished by them what was required at my hand. When, according to arrangements, the messenger called for them, I delivered them up to him; and he has them in his charge until this day, being the second day of May, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight." (Joseph Smith History 1:60)

(Also see Why Don't You Have the Plates?)

551: On 12/26/98, Niki asked, Hi - I am very intrigued by the Church of LDS. Converting is always a possibility, but for now I am just interested in learning more.  I made a promise to my best friend, who is a missionary, that I would meet with the missionaries in my area before he returns in two years. But where do I start? I generally understand what missionaries do but am afraid of awkwardness - what can I expect?  Thank you so much!

When LDS missionaries visit a home, they will normally begin their visit by suggesting a prayer to invite the Holy Spirit to be present during their visit..  After the prayer, an informal conversation typically occurs so that everyone may learn more about each other.  The missionaries and their hosts exchange information about their families, occupations, personal interests, and whatever else the participants want to share.  Then, the missionaries will typically share a gospel-oriented message about Jesus Christ and his teachings.  Finally, the missionaries will suggest that the group close with a prayer asking our Heavenly Father to bless their host family and watch over them.  The mood of the visits are normally very friendly and spiritually uplifting. Any awkwardness typically evaporates after a few minutes.  (See Missionary Work home page)

550: On 12/24/98, a visitor asked, Do Mormons have closed funerals?

Latter-day Saint funerals are open to all friends and family of the deceased, whether or not they are members of the Church.  For more information on funerals, see Death and Dying; Burial.

549: On 12/24/98, Bethany asked, Hello I'm am doing a report on Mormons and I was just wondering what the important tenets are for Mormons. If you could put them in terms that I could understand that would be very kind Thank you.

See The Articles of Faith

548: On 12/24/98, a visitor asked, I am an active member and I just want to know about something an anti was trying to tell me.  He said the church put out a 150th edition of the B of M in the 1980's which is photo copied (or something) of the original 1830 edition which is held at BYU.  He said it was published by the church and sold in LDS bookstores, or was.   He said there are some major differences, along with minor punctuation changes.   He said he can show me the changes if I want, but I told him no for now, since I do not have the 150 edition.  Can you please explain this to me?   I enjoy this site and send it to folks who have legit questions.  I would appreciate any answers you can give me.

See Changes to the Book of Mormon

547: On 12/24/98, Ken asked, I am about to begin reading the Book of Mormon for the first time, and would like to know if there are any study guides or books that will make my understanding of the Book of Mormon and LDS history more clear.  I have used similar guides in the past with my reading of the NRSV bible; in particular, "What the Bible is All About" by Henrietta Mears, and "30 Days to Understanding the Bible" by Max Anders.  Both were excellent tools for my needs.  I would appreciate any information that could lead me in the direction of a similar book or guide that can enhance my study of the Book of Mormon.

The best way to understand the Book of Mormon is to actually read the text itself, unfiltered by the interpretations and opinions of others.  If you want an inexpensive study guide, The Book of Mormon -- Student Manual Religion 121 and 122 is a good choice.  It is published by the Church for their college-level religion courses.   In addition, there are several good commentaries on the Book of Mormon. Two of my favorites are:

Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon by Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet

Commentary on the Book of Mormon by George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl

The commentary by McConkie/Millet is more recent and my personal preference, but I could be biased as the authors were two of my favorite religion professors at Brigham Young University.  All three works can be found at  

546: On 10/23/98, Christina asked: If you are not totally morally clean and you convert to the church, are you sins forgiven when you are baptized into the church?  Are you then eligible to be married in the temple?

The good news of the gospel is that despite our previous sin and uncleanness, we can all be saved in the kingdom of God through the atonement of Jesus Christ and our sincere, personal repentance. If your baptism is accompanied by true repentance, then your sins are remitted at that time and you become clean and worthy in the eyes of God. Should a person fall from grace after his baptism, he may still obtain forgiveness and redemption by sincerely completing the repentance process. Previous unworthiness which has been purged through sincere repentance will not keep someone from entering the temple to be married for time and all eternity. However, all new converts are usually required to wait one year after their baptism before entering the temple for eternal marriage. The purpose of the one year wait is to allow them to prepare spiritually to take upon themselves sacred covenants of the most solemn nature. (See Remission of Sins; Justification; Eternal Marriage)

545: On 10/23/98, Pauline asked: I am a member but have been troubled lately by the lack of miraculous evidence of God's presence in the church.  What I mean is in the early times of the church people saw angels and the sick were heal instantly and the lame were made to walk.  Why isn't there any more miracles?  Has the church lost the sanction of the Lord? Are we under condemnation for some reason?  Please this has troubled me terribly.  If God's power is not manifest among his people then where is it? And why is it being withheld?  This makes me doubt the validity of the power of priesthood.  Have we just lost the faith necessary to cause such great miracles?  I hope you have some words that may comfort me.

The Book of Mormon makes it clear that miracles must always be associated with the true Church of God:

"And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles. And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles. And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust." (Mormon, Ch. 9:18-20, emphasis added)

"But wickedness did prevail upon the face of the whole land, insomuch that the Lord did take away his beloved disciples, and the work of miracles and of healing did cease because of the iniquity of the people. And there were no gifts from the Lord, and the Holy Ghost did not come upon any, because of their wickedness and unbelief" (Mormon, Ch. 1:13-14, emphasis added)

Have miracles ceased within the modern Church? I can only speak to my own experience. During my years of Church membership I have witnessed many miracles, including but not limited to, a priesthood bearer turning a life threatening storm into a beautiful clear day within a few seconds, miraculous healings which left doctors in dismay, and visitations by resurrected and spirit beings.

544: On 10/23/98, Ryan asked: i have a question regarding how a person recieves salvation, (gets eternal life, is saved, etc.) according to mormon beliefs, because i had a conversation with a mormon about the differences of mormons and christians-specifically that.   question-     the bible teaches that "if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved." (Romans 10:9) and we are saved by grace, not by works so that men will not boast.  but i was told by a mormon that we are supposed to work towards that grace and it comes into the picture afterwards according to how we lived our lives. also one who works harder will be more likely to recieve it than one who is "luke warm" in his faith.  first of all, did i hear this right, and second, why do they differ?  also, is there a different definition of "saved"?  

See Grace vs. Works

543: On 10/23/98, a visitor asked: I was wondering if the mormon faith has any definite viewpoints on the following ethical issues, such as physician-assisted suicide, the recent cloning issues (genetics), and euthanasia. 

The General Handbook of Instructions states:

"A person who participates in euthanasia—deliberately putting to death a person suffering from incurable conditions or diseases—violates the commandments of God" (11-5; ; see Prolonging Life).

While I am not aware of any specific statement addressing cloning, The Family: A Proclamation to the World states:

"We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed."

(See Health, Medicine, and Fitness home page)

542: On 10/23/98, a visitor asked: What is the church's position on suicide?  How is the salvation of members that commit suicide?  Are obligations placed on the family members or friends to "atone" for the loved one that killed themself?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:

"Suicide consists in the voluntary and intentional taking of one's own life, particularly where the person involved is accountable and has a sound mind. Mortal life is a gift of God; it comes according to the divine will, is appointed to endure for such time as Deity decrees, and is designed to serve as the chief testing period of man's eternal existence. It is the probationary state or time during which man is tried and tested physically, spiritually, and mentally. No man has the right to run away from these tests, no matter how severe they may be, by taking his own life. Obviously persons subject to great stresses may lose control of themselves and become mentally clouded to the point that they are no longer accountable for their acts. Such are not to be condemned for taking their own lives. It should also be remembered that judgment is the Lord's; he knows the thoughts, intents, and abilities of men; and he in his infinite wisdom will make all things right in due course." (Mormon Doctrine, p. 771)

Latter-day Saints believes that salvation is a matter between an individual person and God. With the sole exception of the atonement of Jesus Christ, it is not possible for someone to affect the rewards and punishments of another person. We are all judged individually within the context of our lives by God. (See Suicide; Teachings About the Afterlife home page)

541: On 10/23/98, Scott asked: Does the LDS church allow its men to become masons? Why or why not?

The Church does not prohibit its members from becoming Masons. Latter-day Saints are generally free to join any clubs, societies, and organizations which they desire. Of course, Latter-day Saints are counseled to spend their time in activities which are consistent with the teachings of the gospel. However, under the principles of agency and accountability, members are free to determine for themselves which organizations meet this qualification. (See Free Masonry; Social Relations with Non-Mormons)

540: On 10/23/98, Scott asked: Do mormons believe that the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit are two different things?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that the Holy Ghost is a spirit man, a spirit son of God the Father, and a member of the Godhead. The Light of Christ refers to the spiritual power that emanates from God to fill the immensity of space and enlightens every man, woman, and child. Other terms sometimes used to denote this same phenomenon are "Holy Spirit", "Spirit of the Lord," and "Spirit of Truth," but it is different from the Holy Ghost. The scriptures are not always precise in the use of such terminology, and several attempts have been made to describe the various aspects of this important manifestation of God's goodness and being. In a particular case, you can usually, though not always, determine whether the scripture is referring to the Holy Ghost or the Light of Christ by context. (See Teachings About the Holy Ghost home page; Teachings About the Godhead home page)

539: On 10/23/98, Scott asked: I'm having a little trouble accepting that I must have a temple marriage to obtain eternal life. What if I never find a suitable wife whom I love?

President Harold B. Lee taught:

"You young women advancing in years who have not yet accepted a proposal of marriage, if you make yourselves worthy and ready to go to the house of the Lord and have faith in this sacred principle of celestial marriage for eternity, even though the privilege of marriage does not come to you now in mortality, the Lord will reward you in due time and no blessing will be denied you. You are not under obligation to accept a proposal from someone unworthy of you for fear you will fail of your blessings.

Likewise, you young men who may lose your life in early life by accident, or a fatal illness, or in the terrible conflict of war before you have had an opportunity for marriage, the Lord knows the intent of your hearts, and in His own due time He will reward you with opportunities made possible through temple ordinances instituted in the Church for that purpose.

Do all you can to comply with the laws of God pertaining to an exaltation in the kingdom of God. The Lord will judge you too by your works, as well as by the desires of your hearts, and your reward will be assured." (Ye Are the Light of the World, Ch. 36)

(See Teachings About Marriage home page; Dating and Courtship home page)

538: On 10/23/98, Judy asked: My boss, a mormon, says that the church leaders believe that Christ was married.  They also believe that he may have had two wives, speculated Mary & Martha.  I have read through 'Jesus the Christ' and Mormon Doctrine and can't seem to find an answer to this issue. Is it true that this is a belief of the General Authorities and not publicised to prevent public criticizim?

The Church has no official teachings on the marital status of Jesus. Many members, including myself as well as some Church leaders, believe that Jesus was indeed married. (See Was Jesus Married?) However, it is important to distinguish our personal beliefs from the official doctrines of the Church. Also, it is important to recognize that Latter-day Saints do not conceal our beliefs from the outside world. All of our doctrines are publicly taught. (See Do Latter-day Saints Conceal Their Doctrines?)

537: On 10/23/98, Sandra asked: My son, non-LDS but Christian, is engaged to an LDS young lady from a large LDS family.  Will he be required to 'convert' before marriage or will the marriage be recognized by the LDS Church? Can an interfaith marriage be sealed?

Only two faithful Latter-day Saints can into into a holy temple and have their marriage sealed for time and all eternity (See Eternal Marriage; Temple Sealings). As a prerequisite for being sealed in a temple marriage, each person must individually covenant to live the highest standards of the LDS faith.(See Endowment; Covenant Marriage)

The Church recognizes the legal validity of non-temple marriages. However, while temple marriages extend beyond death [if both parties are faithful], non-temple marriages are only "until death do you part." In addition, temple marriages have special priesthood blessings placed upon them which are not available outside the temple. If both spouses will live their lives in accordance with the Lord's will, then these priesthood blessings will enhance their marriage in ways not otherwise possible. (See Dating Nonmembers; Teachings About the Family home page)

536: On 08/16/98, Randy asked: According to the doctrine, children died after birth will be saved in the celestial kingdom, I want to know to which glory will they go, are they predestined to different glory, or they're allowed to exalt from one to another, or they will all go to highest ? If the can obtain the required experience in premortal lives, does it mean that our temporal experience is not so determinative as taught ?

The Prophet Joseph Smith saw in vision "that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the Celestial Kingdom of heaven" (D&C 137:10; TPJS, p. 200). Elder Bruce R. McConkie further taught:

"We have quoted scriptures saying that children will be saved in the celestial kingdom, but now face the further query as to whether this includes the greatest of all the gifts of God—the gift of eternal life. And in the providences of Him who is infinitely wise, the answer is in the affirmative." (See Salvation of Children article)

Everyone who inherits eternal life must overcome temptation or inclinations toward sin and corruption (Mosiah 3:19). Some of our Heavenly Father's children (e.g., little children who die before the age of accountability) have already overcome this inclination while in their premortal estate. Therefore, they do not need any further testing. However, the rest of us evidently did not progress enough during our premortal existence. Therefore, we need a longer mortality as an additional period of development and probation to overcome this inclination towards sin and thus be qualified for eternal life also. (See Teachings About the Afterlife home page)

535: On 08/16/98, a visitor asked: well I was just wondering about dating. How far is it okay to go without having sex and both of you knowing that sex is out of the question?

Church leaders have taught that if you are doing anything with someone to whom you are not married that you would not also feel comfortable doing with your brother or sister while in the presence of your parents, then you are going too far and need to repent. (See Passionate Kissing)

534: On 08/16/98, Jared asked: I have always been confused about Kolob.  Is it the residence of Heavenly Father?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:

"Kolob means 'the first creation.' It is the name of the planet 'nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God.'" (Mormon Doctrine p. 428)

Please note that Kolob is the name of the planet nearest to the residence of God, not the residence of God itself.

533: On 08/15/98, Katelyn asked: Do you require or encourage your members to have a certain amount of children?

Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught:

"President Kimball said, "It is an act of extreme selfishness for a married couple to refuse to have children when they are able to do so." When married couples postpone childbearing until after they have satisfied their material goals, the mere passage of time assures that they seriously reduce their potential to participate in furthering our Heavenly Father's plan for all of his spirit children. Faithful Latter-day Saints cannot afford to look upon children as an interference with what the world calls "self-fulfillment." Our covenants with God and the ultimate purpose of life are tied up in those little ones who reach for our time, our love, and our sacrifices.

How many children should a couple have? All they can care for! Of course, to care for children means more than simply giving them life. Children must be loved, nurtured, taught, fed clothed, housed, and well started in their capacities to be good parents themselves. Exercising faith in God's promises to bless them when they are keeping his commandments, many LDS parents have large families. Others seek but are not blessed with children or the number of children they desire. In a matter as intimate as this, we should not judge one another." (Conference Report, October 1993, Pg. 101)

(See Birth Control)

532: On 08/15/98, Eileen asked: I was just wondering at what age is a patriarchal blessing typically given?  Thanks a lot.

Elder Eldred G. Smith said:

"The question often comes to me, at what age should my children receive their patriarchal blessings? I discourage anyone under twelve years of age. If I were a stake patriarch and giving blessings to people in my community, I think I would raise that age. I think the best age is between fifteen and twenty-five. However, every baptized member of the Church is entitled to receive a patriarchal blessing. He should be old enough to understand the meaning and purpose and value of a patriarchal blessing to the extent that he has a personal desire to receive such a blessing, and not because a group is getting blessings, or because friends or neighbors are getting blessings, or because an adult or parent has the desire that the child should receive a blessing." (April 1960 General Conference)

(See Patriarchal Blessings)

531: On 08/15/98, Katie asked: i am a Mormon and i have had numerous discussions with other members about the issue of drinking 'caffeine' drinks e.g Coke, Dr Pepper, Mountain Dew etc and i was just wondering if there actually was any official stance on it by the church. i hope you will be able to let me know either way!!!??? thanks

The Church has no official stance on caffinated cola drinks. However, many Church leaders have discouraged their use. (See Cola Drinks)

530: On 08/15/98, Eileen asked: Hi, I have a question for you.  I've been thinking about converting to the Mormon religion for a little over a year now.  I have a few Mormon friends and have tried to learn as much as I can about their faith.  I'm still not quite sure about my conversion but I'd like to know more about your religion.  I'd also like to know if I'd ever be worthy of a temple marriage, considering I wasn't born into the faith or anything. I'm only 18 years old, but I feel like this might be the right and true religion for me. 

Those who join the Church as converts enjoy the same privileges, including the blessings of eternal marriage, as those whose families are members. I am a convert to the Church myself and was sealed in the temple to my wife.

529: On 08/15/98, a visitor asked: I was told that an adulterer can not go to the "Celestial Kingdom", as you call it. Is that true?  Even if he/she repents? I was told that was "sin unto death".  This person was reading from your book "Mormon Doctrine". 

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:

"Is it possible to repent of adultery and gain forgiveness of sins so as to be saved in the celestial kingdom of God? Yes in most cases; No in some. Forgiveness with resultant celestial salvation depends upon the light and knowledge of the one guilty of the grossly wicked adulterous relationship. Worldly people who repent with all their hearts, accept baptism, and then conform to the Lord's law shall be saved even though guilty of adultery before accepting the truth. (1 Cor. 6:9-11; 3 Ne. 30.)

Speaking to members of the Church in 1831 -- prior to the restoration of the temple covenants and ceremonies -- the Lord said: 'Thou shalt not commit adultery; and he that committeth adultery, and repenteth not, shall be cast out. But he that has committed adultery and repents with all his heart, and forsaketh it, and doeth it no more, thou shalt forgive; But if he doeth it again, he shall not be forgiven, but shall be cast out.' (D. & C. 42:24-26.)

After a person has advanced in righteousness, light, and truth to the point that the fulness of the ordinances of the house of the Lord have been received so that he has been sealed up unto eternal life, and his calling and election has been made sure, then as expressed in the Prophet's language, the law is: 'If a man commit adultery, he cannot receive the celestial kingdom of God. Even if he is saved in any kingdom, it cannot be the celestial kingdom.' (History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 81; Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, pp. 92-94.)" (Mormon Doctrine, p. 24)

(See Adultery)

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