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Question and Answer 23
"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 Email. We 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.
717: On 03/30/99, Pat asked: Where do i find a boo that explains about how it all begain, from about Prophet Smith and the golden plates etc????? thank you
The Book of Mormon has an introduction section which gives a summary history of Joseph Smith and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. For a free copy, call (U.S.) 1-800-528-2225. You can also read a history of Joseph Smith at Joseph Smith: A Modern Witness of Christ.
716: On 03/30/99, Tisha asked: I have a friend, who is black, that questioned me about why mormons don't let blacks join the church. I corrected him, saying that that was all changed in the 70's. I would like to know why they weren't allowed to hold the priesthood before then. And are they viewed as complete equals to every other race in the membership?
The Church absolutely denounces the viewpoint that one race is either superior or inferior to other races. The Book of Mormon, the keystone of our religion, teaches:
"[Jesus Christ] inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile" (The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 26:33).
The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated in 1987:
"We repudiate efforts to deny to any person his or her inalienable dignity and rights on the abhorrent and tragic theory of the superiority of one race or color over another." (Church Global Media Guide)
Blacks have always been allowed to join the Church. Until 1978, blacks of African lineage were not offered ordination to the priesthood. After receiving a revelation from the Lord, the Church changed this practice. Regarding this revelation, the First Presidency declared:
"[God] has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows therefrom, including the blessings of the temple. Accordingly, all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color." (OD 2)
All races are presently treated exactly the same in the Church. Regarding the previous priesthood restriction, the Lord never explained the reasons for it and the Church has always taken it on faith. (See Are Mormons Prejudiced?)
(See Blacks home page; Prayer, Fasting, and Revelation home page)
715: On 03/30/99, a visitor asked: Just talking to a friend of mine about
the Mormon Church. Wondered if you
could answer for me what place Jesus Christ has in the Mormon Religion? Is he regarded as the Messiah, Redeemer? What places do Brigham Young and (I believe) Joseph Smith have in your faith. I remember reading about it years ago. We had some friends in Chicago many years ago. Our children were great friends. We were transferred and their father died shortly after. We had great respect for each other's religious beliefs. I just don't remember too much about theirs. Thank you so much for any information you can share.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Savior of the world, 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)
Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were prophets of God and apostles of Jesus Christ, similar to those men mentioned in the Bible like Moses, Samuel, Isaiah, Peter, Paul, and John.
714: On 03/30/99, Jeness asked: My husband is a non member he says one of the things that bothers him about our church is that if there was all these civilizations and great wars on the hill camorah yet why is there no evidence of these things happening. Is there any artifacts or skeleton remains to support the stories of Hill Camorah. Thankyou,
See Book of Mormon Criticism home page
713: On 03/30/99, Aimee asked: I was wondering...what is the relationship between God and Adam?
believe he was God?
See Adam for a summary of the LDS views of our first parent; See Adam-God's Last Stand for a refutation of the idea that Latter-day Saints worship the man Adam
712: On 03/30/99, Jessica asked: I have some questions I hope you can answer.
Please don't take them as an attack. They are sincere questions, that I truly want
to know the answers to. One of my best friends is a mormon bishop who alwasy tells me he
will do his best to answer my questions, yet always seems to get offended and skirt these
issues. I was raised LDS, baptized, went to siminary, and girls camp and everything
else. My family is still all LDS so I have a great deal of respect for the people in
the church. I know that they are good people, I have no question of that.
However, I do have other questions and I am hoping someone can answer them.
For example I stumbled across a site that had copies of temple ceramonies. I found
them to be exteremly confusing escpeically the part about them making refernce to slitting
the throat and such of people
discussing temple rites. How is this something God could condone? If god is a god of love and truth and good, how could his church be about threats, hiding things and secrets? Why is it when I asked my best friend about this, he got rude and considisending. He has never been insulting or tried to put me in my place before, but when I asked him about this he had a total personality change. Also, why had the wording in the Book of Mormon changed? I was always taught that it was the word of god. Does god make mistakes? Does his word change? I have a million more questions, but maybe you can answer
these to start. Like I said earlier, please don't take this as an agressive letter, it is not intended that way at all. I just need to find some answers, and no one seems willing to give them. Thank You for you time.
See Do You Have Blood Oaths in the Temple?; Teachings About Temples home page
See Changes to the Book of Mormon
711: On 03/30/99, Ron asked: I am a recent convert and have a question. Why do we not have a sacrament meeting or anything else on Easter just because of the General Conference?
I don't know the official reason. The sacrament used to be administered during conferences. Since thousands of people presently attend the live sessions, I suspect it would be very difficult to administer the sacrament to them in an efficient manner. (See General Conference)
710: On 03/30/99, Sandy asked: Once a man has been sealed in the Temple, and then divorced, can he remarry in the temple without obtaining a cancellation of sealing? Can a woman? Can a time-only ceremony be performed in the temple?
To be married in the temple a second time, after a divorce, a person must obtain permission from Church leaders who may or may not grant the request depending upon the circumstances surronding their divorce and their present spiritual standing. It is possible to be married for time only in the temple, but it is very rarely, if ever, authorized these days. (See Cancellation of Sealings)
709: On 03/30/99, Doug asked: My girlfriend's family are all Mormon except her dad...until recently that is. Her parents have been married for many years, 20+ without being sealed in the temple. They have brought up 5 beautiful girls and a son (all of which where raised Mormon). The father was just recently baptized in the Mormon church and therefore, their marriage has not been sealed in the temple. So does that mean that they will not have eternal life together in "heaven"? ... Is a tradition, such as the "temple traditions", required to have an afterlife with your loved ones or spouse? Can you not be together in "heaven" on faith alone?
If they are not sealed in the temple, then they will not live together as husband and wife in the eternal worlds. Only those couples who have been sealed in the temple will enjoy this blessing. If they are sealed in the temple at some future point, and they have been faithful to their temple covenants, then they may have this privilege. The ordinance is absolutely essential to obtaining this blessing. President Harold B. Lee taught:
"For remember, brethren, that only those who enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage in the temple for time and eternity, only those will have the exaltation in the celestial kingdom. That is what the Lord tells us." (Burton, ed., We Believe)
President Spencer W. Kimball taught:
"Clearly, attaining eternal life is not a matter of goodness only. This is one of the two important elements, but one must practice righteousness and receive the ordinances. People who do not bring their lives into harmony with God's laws and who do not receive the necessary ordinances either in this life or (if that is impossible) in the next, have thus deprived themselves, and will remain separate and single in the eternities. There they will have no spouses, no children. If one is going to be in God's kingdom of exaltation, where God dwells in all his glory, one will be there as a husband or a wife and not otherwise. Regardless of his virtues, the single person, or the one married for this life only, cannot be exalted. All normal people should marry and rear families. To quote Brigham Young: 'No man can be perfect without the woman, so no woman can be perfect without a man to lead her. I tell you the truth as it is in the bosom of eternity. If he wishes to be saved, he cannot be saved without a woman by his side.' Celestial marriage is that important." (The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 245)
It's interesting to note that, to my knowledge, Latter-day Saints are the only Christian denomination that teaches it is possible to be married in eternity. (See Eternal Marriage)
708: On 03/30/99, a visitor asked: what is the difference between catholicism and mormonism?!!
See Catholicism and Mormonism
707: On 03/30/99, Aaron asked: Can you advance from one eternal glory to another? I mean, if you are placed in the telestial kingdom, can you be "good" and move up to the terrestrial? Thank you for your time!!
President Spencer W, Kimball taught:
"No progression between kingdoms. After a person has been assigned to his place in the kingdom, either in the telestial, the terrestrial, or the celestial, or to his exaltation, he will never advance from his assigned glory to another glory. That is eternal! That is why we must make our decisions early in life and why it is imperative that such decisions be right." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.50)
(See Teachings About the Afterlife home page)
706: On 03/30/99, Todd asked: I have a mother in law who says we don't know if Jesus Christ is White or Black. I beleive he is white. Could you give me some information on this. Thank you.
While we know Jesus was Jewish, we have no information about his physical appearance. Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:
"We know very little about the personality, form, visage, and general appearance of the Lord Jesus. Whether he had long or short hair, was tall or short of stature, and a thousand other personal details, are all a matter of speculation and uncertainty. We suppose he was similar in appearance to other Abrahamic Orientals of his day and that he was recognized by those who knew him and went unheeded in the crowds by those unacquainted with him. A Judas was needed to identify him to the arresting officers; people spoke of him as though he were the carpenter's son; and he seemingly appeared as other men do. Perhaps the New Testament is silent on these points because it is more important to center attention on the principles poured forth than on the physical appearance of the Person who pronounced them. Perhaps also it makes it easier for us to dwell on his moral stature rather than any bodily perfection he may have had, and it certainly is a deterrent to the making of those graven images which apostate peoples so anxiously desire to venerate.
We suppose that a knowledge of these personal mattershis appearance, demeanor, and familial relationshipswas also withheld from the ancients. Their Messianic prophecies, at least, also draw a reverent veil of silence over many things in the realm of human interest." (The Promised Messiah, p.476 - p.477)
(See Teachings About Jesus Christ home page)
705: On 03/30/99, a visitor asked: I'm doing a
presentation on Angels in America the gay fantasia, and I
was just wondering what the mormons view of homosexuality is.
See Homosexuality; Same-Gender Attraction
704: On 03/28/99, a visitor asked: Where can I find the LDS teaching on deification in the standard works?
See Biblical Support for Deification and Man, Potential to Become like Heavenly Father in the Topical Guide (found in the back of the LDS version of the King James Bible)
703: On 03/28/99, a visitor asked: in our deacons class, we wanted to have a lesson on peircing and tatooing. But our deacons teacher told us that we needed to research on it first. So he gave us your web site. I've been looking, but wasn't able to anything on it. Could please direct me to the site and give me some of your advice? Thank you.
702: On 03/28/99, a visitor asked: i want to know who stablished the seminary, and when it was stablished. would you answer my question plaese. thank you
See Church Education System (CES)
701: On 03/28/99, a visitor asked: Do you believe God was once a man?
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.
(See Teachings About the Godhead home page)
700: On 03/28/99, a visitor asked: Do you believe we may become 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 stateone 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 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).
699: On 03/28/99, a visitor asked: I would really be intrested in any material you have to send me on the Plan of Salvation. I am a member of the Derwood Ward in Seneca Stake of MD. My brother was recently killed in a car accident. I would also like to know where the church stands on the question of angels. Thank you so much for your time!
See Plan of Salvation; Teachings About the Afterlife home page; Angels
698: On 03/28/99, Callie asked: I am doing a project on the migration of mormons to Utah and read a critisizing website saying that Joseph Smith made prophecies of things that never came true and I was curious to what your response is to this. Excuse my ignorance I am in 8th grade. Thank you
See Did Joseph Smith Deliver Some False Prophesies?
697: On 03/28/99, Callie asked: I have a question that I cant seem to find an answer to. I know a woman who is a very devout Christian. She studies the bible and worships God more than anyone I know. She does service and is a truly good person, but she doesn't believe in the gospel. If she doesn't accept it in the afterlife will she not be able to go to the Celestial kingdom?
The Articles of Faith state:
"We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel."
By participating in these ordinances of salvation, we are assisted in the sanctification process and led to greater goodness (See Grace). Since your friend has not received the ordinances from the Lord's chosen servants, she cannot inherit celestial glory. The terrestrial glory is for those who lived honorable lives on the earth but "were blinded by the craftiness of men" and did not accept the restored gospel. (See D&C 76)
If someone is not living at the celestial level of goodness, then he or she will not inherit the celestial kingdom. It is impossible for a nonmember to do so, since he has not received the necessary ordinances, especially the gift of the Holy Ghost. The implication of your question appears to be: Why can't this good woman enter the Celestial Kingdom since she's better than many Latter-day Saints I know? My only response is that if those with the gift of the Holy Ghost can't live more holy than those without it, then they are not living the law which would enable them to live in the celestial kingdom either.
(See Teachings About the Afterlife home page)
696: On 03/28/99, Claude asked: I would like to know if the practice of Transcendental Meditation is in harmony with the doctrines and practices of the Church. I would like to have some comments of general authorities if available on the subject. I consider it as a simple but practical way to improve the quality of my sleeping.
Elder Hartman and Connie Rector wrote:
"Members of the Church are warned to carefully keep the commandments of God and are told that then spiritual experiences will come as a result of their faith and their need. These experiences will come from God and not from the adversary. But when people who are not in condition to receive communication from the Lord, court the spirit of the devil by literally seeking "spiritual" experiences, they place themselves in jeopardy every hour to be "sifted as wheat." These experiences cannot be credited to the Lord or considered to be to the good of the individual. All forms of spiritualism are subject to control by Satan, from fortune-telling to transcendental meditation, etc., and should be avoided as we would avoid the plague." (No More Strangers, Vol. 3 p.101)
695: On 03/28/99, Eric asked: I have a few questions about your religion that we are studying. 1. What are the Church's feeling on abortion, and different religions. 2. What do find most meaningful about the Mormon faith?
The most meaningful aspect of the Church for me is genuine personal spiritual experience: my ability to commune directly with God. (See Prayer, Fasting, and Revelation home page)
See Abortion, Interfaith Relations home page
694: On 03/28/99, Elissa asked: So the question is, I read on the web somewhere that Joseph Smith translated the BoM by putting a stone in his hat, then raising the hat to his face, and he would read out a line to someone who wrote it down.
See Seer Stones and the Urim and Thummim
693: On 03/28/99, Chris asked: I was born and raised a Catholic. I have been dating a Mormon women. I don't know that much about the Mormon religion but am very open-minded about learning more. I have recently spoken with a couple of missionaries, trying to educate myself on the Mormon religion. My main curiosity is the differences between the two faiths. Do you have any insight to this?
Your best bet is to investigate the differences for yourself. I try not to make specific comparisons with other faiths lest I inadvertently misrepresent them. (See Interfaith Relations home page)
692: On 03/28/99, Rick asked: I was asked by a friend at work if men can be sealed to more than one woman but women cannot be sealed to more than one man? Do you have a good answer?
Latter-day Saint men can presently be married to only one living woman at a time. However, our doctrine teaches that from an eternal perspective, men may be sealed to more than one wife, but women may only be sealed to one husband. In other words, men may have more than one wife in heaven. Why is this the case? The purpose of plural marriage is to "raise up seed unto" God (Jacob 2:30). It is not for extra companionship or sexual gratification.
Common sense tells us that a woman with several husbands will not have any more children than a women with only one husband. On the other hand, a man with several wives will have more children than a man with only one wife. It is the natural order of things. Since we are talking about an eternal perspective, issues like mortal medical and fertility problems do not concern us. In eternity, we shall have perfect bodies with no disabilities. Obviously, a greater number of children leads to greater opportunities to help others along the path to eternal life.
The bearing and raising of children is the center of LDS life from both a mortal and eternal perspective. The Doctrine and Covenants teaches:
"....for [a man's wives] are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfill the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified." (D&C 132:63; See Eternal Lives; Eternal Increase)
In speaking against the use of birth control by LDS women, President Spencer W. Kimball said:
"Come home, wives, to your children, born and unborn. Wrap the motherly cloak about you and, unembarrassed, help in a major role to create bodies for the immortal souls who anxiously wait." (See Birth Control)
If sexual gratification were the primary purpose of marriage and sex (i.e., Satan's perspective), then a woman having multiple husbands would be the preferred method from a biological perspective. On the other hand, as noted above, if the primary purpose of marriage and sex is forming families and rearing children, then the Lord's plan is the most efficient way (i.e., most children per husband).
(See Plural Marriage home page)
691: On 03/28/99, Jonathan asked: What's the advantage of becoming a Mormon if you are already a Christian? Thanks for your time.
See Why Should I Convert?
690: On 03/28/99, a visitor asked: What does a one have to do to be considered a good Mormon?
In the Book of Mormon, the Lord Jesus Christ said:
"....Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am." (3 Nephi 27:27)
To be a good, Latter-day Saint one must follow after Jesus Christ and emulate him. The closer one comes to the Savior's attitudes and actions, the closer he is to being "a good Latter-day Saint." (See Teachings About Jesus Christ home page)
689: On 03/28/99, a visitor asked: What is the LDS position on Free Masonry and its teachings???
While Latter-day Saints are allowed to be masons (and many Church leaders have been in the past), a member who is active in the Church these days rarely has time to devote to outside fraternal organizations. (Also see Freemasonry and the LDS Temple)
688: On 03/28/99, Jessie asked: Hi, maybe you can help me. In what
order are the degrees of glory? This is something I've always been confused
about but a little too uncomfortable going to the Bishop (my home teacher) or anyone else
I suppose I'm worried about sounding foolish
Each kingdom is likened unto heavenly bodies to give a perspective about their relative brightness. The Celestial Kingdom is the highest and shines like the sun. The Terrestrial is next and shines like the moon (less bright than the sun). The Telestial kingdom is last and shines like a star (less bright than the moon). (See D&C 76; Degrees of Glory)
687: On 03/28/99, a visitor asked: God knows all things we do before we do them,
right? If that is true then how
can we have our free agency?
God's foreknowledge that we will do certain things does not mean that he is forcing us to do them. It is still our choice whether to do them or not. I may know that my wife will eat the chocolate ice cream I put in the freezer (because I know her chocolate obsession so well!), but she is still the one who chose to devour it. Our Heavenly Father often plans around our choices. Therefore, it is impossible for us to frustrate his eternal purposes. We can only dampen our own eternal possibilities. (See Agency)
686: On 03/28/99, Kim asked: We recently learned that both our bishop & his first counselor pay tithing on their net income. My husband & I have always paid tithing on our gross income... I'd like to know what the church guidelines are on this, other than this being between each person & the Lord. Thanks
Is tithing based on gross or net income? By revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord stated that members should pay "one-tenth of all their interest [increase] annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever." (D&C 119:4) Present Church policy specifically states that no one in the Church has any authority to interpret this revelation for another person. This prohibition applies to everyone, including Stake Presidents and Bishops. If a local Church leader instructs you how to calculate your tithing, then he is in violation of Church policy. It is up to the agency of each individual person to determine what constitute's a fair interpretation of the revelation. (See Financial Clerk's Handbook)
685: On 03/28/99, a visitor asked: I am doing a paper for a Biology class at my school and I am supposed to find out the beliefs of different religions on this new subject. How do you view and feel about the problem of women saving the sperm of their recently deceased husbands to have their children later in life? If you could email me back with an answer as soon as you get a chance that would be great. Thanks!
See Artificial Insemination
684: On 03/28/99, a visitor asked: Hi. I really hope you can help me because I don't feel comfortable talking about this with anyone I know. I have been a member of the church all my life. When I was 16 years old, I lost my virginity. After that, I had a long term relationships with two guys in a row and continued to have sex. The problem is at the time my family was waiting to seal my adopted sister to our family. They knew about the one time, but not about it with the two long term boyfriends. I lied to the bishop and told him I only had sex the one time and went to the temple to seal my sister. Now I really feel bad and want to come back to the gospel, but I'm scared. I feel maybe this is an unforgivable sin. Is it? I hope you answer because I have no one else to turn to. Thank you.
It's not an unforgivable sin, but it is a serious sin and you need to talk to your Bishop about it. The good news of the gospel is that we can all receive forgiveness and be clean before the Lord, if we will complete the repentance process. The Holy Bible states:
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18)
The first step in the forgiveness process was to recognize that what you did was wrong. The second step is to talk to your Bishop about it and receive his counsel. You can be completely clean again, if you will follow the necessary steps.
(See Remission of Sins)
683: On 03/28/99, Tony asked: I am thinking of learning more about your church as I am starting to attend your services but can you tell me many people tell me it is a cult I have been to one service so far and they also say you don't believe in Jesus as no one but a man I am thinking of doing a study at home but will be leaving on the 25th and not be back till January will it be okay for me to attend your church till I return from my trip and start the studies or should I stay away
Whoever told you that Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus Christ was just a man has severely mislead you. The Book of Mormon, the keystone of our religion, teaches that:
"Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations." (Title Page of the Book of Mormon)
To set your mind totally at ease, I suggest you tour our "Teachings About Jesus Christ" section. It has many articles that fully testify that Jesus Christ is our Lord, our God, and our King.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a cult, it is the true Church of Jesus Christ. (See Is the Church a Cult?)
682: On 03/28/99, a visitor asked: I had heard from someone that Joseph was a mason, is this why our rituals are the same?
See Masonry and the LDS Temple
681: On 03/28/99, a visitor asked: Do Mormons believe that holy matrimony in a non- Mormon church is sanctified? Do they believe it constitutes as holy union?
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 Teachings About Marriage home page)
680: On 03/28/99, a visitor asked: What is the Mormon position of women becoming ordained in the Mormon church?
While women have many callings and responsibilities in the Church, they are not ordained to the Aaronic or Melchizedek priesthood. (See Why Can't Women Be Ordained to the Priesthood?)
679: On 03/28/99, a visitor asked: What happens to Mormons who do not have children? What happens to those who are unable to bear children?
The Lord has promised that those unable to have children in this life will be able to bear and raise them in the eternal worlds, if they remain true to their gospel covenants (See Eternal Lives, Eternal Increase). President Spencer W. Kimball taught:
"We realize, of course, there are some women who cannot have children, some men who cannot reproduce. The Lord will take care of all that if we have done everything in our power, if we have done what we could to make ourselves normal and productive and to follow the commandments of the Lord." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.330)
678: On 03/28/99, a visitor asked: What do Mormons believe will happen to "other" Christians when they die? Do you believe they will go to heaven or not?
See Teachings About the Afterlife home page; Do Only Mormons Go to Heaven?
677: On 03/28/99, a visitor asked: Why is that most of your beliefs, come from the mouth of man, and not from the word of God. Most of your replies to Q&A involve a quote from some president. Some of those quotes also go against the teachings in the Bible. For instance that a Man must be married to enter heaven. According to the Bible, all we need is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
God speaks today through prophets and apostles just like he did in ancient times. Most of the men I quote in the question and answer section are called of God and carry the same authority as his ancient servants. In other words, President Spencer W. Kimball was carries as much authority as Paul or Peter. None of the quotes I use go against the teachings of the Bible, since the Bible stands at the foundation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, constitutes one of its standard works, and is accepted as the word of God. Elder James E. Talmage, an apostle of God wrote:
"The Church believes the word of God contained in the Bible. It accepts the Bible "as the foremost of [the Church's] standard works, first among the books which have been proclaimed as written guides in faith and doctrine. In the respect and sanctity with which the Latter-day Saints regard the Bible they are of like profession with Christian denominations in general" (AF, 1966 ed., p. 236)."
If some of the quotes seem to go against your understanding, it is because you have an incomplete understanding of the Bible. For example, we must do more than just believe in Jesus Christ, as you have stated. We must obey him as well. In the Holy Bible, Jesus said:
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21, emphasis added)
(See Following the Prophets home page; The Holy Bible home page)
676: On 03/28/99, Shery asked: I need to know if you can hook me up with any information regarding group homes for kids that need help. Not drug or alcohol issues but plain old behavioral issues .
I suggest you contact your Bishop about LDS Social Services.
675: On 03/28/99, Michael asked: I was recently on the TruthQuest Institutes Home page in which the site's web master compared certain faiths with the BIBLE and showed where they differed. He had this to say of the Latter-Day-Saints "GOD was once a man just like us. Because of his faithful life, He became God, just as we can." "The most faithful of Mormons have the chance to become gods in eternity, equal to the real GOD." Is this accurate, or is this one of those "misinterpretations?"
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 stateone of having all divine attributes and doing as God does and being as God is. While we believe that the faithful will enjoy a life similar to our Heavenly Father, we also believe we will still be subject to and worship the God of Heaven, which is represented as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. We will never be at the same level as them or stop worshipping them, but we will be like them and enjoy a quality of life similar to theirs. (See Biblical Support for Deification; Was God Once a Sinner?; Teachings About the Godhead home page)
674: On 03/28/99, Mike asked: didn't Satan teach becoming a "god" in the garden of Eden?
See Biblical Support for Deification
Only those who are true and faithful to all of the covenants contracted in LDS temples inherit the fullness of salvation. Those who do not contract these covenants (and remain faithful to them) will be blessed and rewarded based upon how they lived their lives. If one has not committed the unpardonable sin, then he or she will inherit an eternal degree of glory. (See Do Only Mormons Go to Heaven?)
672: On 03/28/99, Mike asked: how do you respond to Paul's warning of false prophets teaching of another Jesus?
I believe that one should heed Paul's warning most carefully. The Articles of Faith state: "We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel." True salvation is only found in the true gospel. Elder Bruce R. McConkie has taught:
"Salvation is in Christ, is revealed by him from age to age, and is available only to those who keep his commandments and obey his ordinances. These commandments are taught in, and these ordinances are administered by, his Church. There is no salvation outside this one true Church, the Church of Jesus Christ. There is one Christ, one Church, one gospel, one plan of salvation, one set of saving ordinances, one group of legal administrators, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." (Eph. 4:5.)" (Mormon Doctrine, p.138)
The true gospel, as taught by Paul (as well as Peter, James, John, the other disciplines, and even the Lord Jesus Christ himself) is the same one that is taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Inasmuch as any gospel is different from the true gospel (as taught by the LDS Church), it leads men away from God and salvation. (See Do Latter-day Saints teach a Different Gospel?; Do Only Mormons Go to Heaven?)
Latter-day Saints believe in Hell. (See Teachings About the Afterlife home page)
670: On 03/28/99, Mike asked: if Mormons are Christian, then why should i convert?
See Why Should I Convert?
669: On 03/28/99, Tammy asked: I have a question about marriages. What if someone does not marry on earth? What would be their purpose in heaven? Do you think the Father intends some people never to be married? Will there be marriages performed in heaven? Will the person, male or female, just remain connected to their father and mother? Please reply with quotes from any of the sacred books.
The Proclamation on the Family states:
"We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creators plan for the eternal destiny of His children."
Our Heavenly Father desires all of his children to marry and create families of their own. Unfortunately, everyone will not have the opportunity for temple marriage to a worthy partner in this life. In such cases, the individuals will have the opportunity to marry and rear children in the eternal world to come, if they remain true and faithful to their gospel covenants. Every single person will eventually receive the opportunity for celestial marriage, if they live according to the light that they are given (See Light of Christ)
President Spencer W. Kimball taught:
"Just as those who do not hear the gospel in this life, but who would have received it with all their hearts had they heard it, will be given the fulness of the gospel blessings in the next worldso, too, the women of the Church who do not in this life have the privileges and blessings of a temple marriage, through no fault of their own, who would have responded if they had an appropriate opportunitywill receive all those blessings in the world to come. We desire all you sisters to know how much we love and appreciate you. We respect you for your valiant and devoted service, and have many opportunities to observe how dedicated you are!" (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.295)
Elder Richard G. Scott taught:
"[Following some comments about marriage], I know I have been speaking of the ideal and you may be disturbed because your life may not now fit that mold. I promise you that through your obedience and continuing faith in Jesus Christ and your understanding of the whole Plan of Happiness, even if important parts of it aren't present in your life now, they will be yours in the Lord's due time. I also promise you that you can have significant growth and happiness now in your present circumstances. As a daughter or son of God, live whatever portion of the plan you can, the best you are able.
Your desire to be a wife and mother may not have its total fulfillment here, but it will in His time as you live in faith and obedience to merit it. Don't be lured away from the Plan of Our God to the ways of the world where motherhood is belittled, femininity is decried, and the divinely established role of a wife and mother is mocked. Let the world go its way. You follow the plan of the Lord for the greatest measure of true, eternal achievement, and the fullness of happiness. The lack of promised blessings for which you qualify will be fully rectified in this life or in the next. I often interview strong priesthood leaders. When these men speak of their wives, it is with deep tenderness and obvious appreciation. Often, tears flow. Their comments include: "She is more spiritual, purer, and more committed than I. She is the strength of my life," or "I couldn't do it without her." As a woman, please don't judge how worthwhile and needed, and loved you are by our inept ability to express our true feelings. Your divinely conferred trait of giving of self without counting the cost leads you to underestimate your own worth." (See The Joy of Living the Great Plan of Happiness for his full comments)
(See Teachings About Marriage home page)
668: On 03/28/99, Ken asked: What is the church's position on organ donations?
Whether an individual chooses to will his own bodily organs or authorizes the transplant of organs from a deceased family member is a decision for the individual or the deceased member's family. The decision to receive a donated organ should be made with competent medical counsel and confirmation through prayer (See Organ Transplants and Donations)
(See Question and Answer home page)
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