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Question and Answer 24
"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
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.
NOTE: The answers given are not official statements of doctrine, but interpretations by the author for which he is alone responsible.
760: On 04/04/99, Erin asked: I was just wondering what the requirements are for recieving a patriarchal blessing, and how I should prepare for it.
Patriarch Eldred G. Smith said:
"....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." (Burton, ed., We Believe)
How should one prepare to receive his or her patriarchal blessing? A patriarchal blessing is a form of revelation. Prayer, fasting, and personal worthiness will increase your prospects for a successful communication with your Heavenly Father. On our Prayer, Fasting, and Revelation home page, we have a number of articles which discuss the process in greater detail.
759: On 04/04/99, a visitor asked: So, how can we believe in a church which has 3 different points of view of the same history, written by the same person?
See A Discussion of the Various Accounts of the First Vision
758: On 04/04/99, Joshua asked: Is it not true that the reason that mormons never refer to THE Heavenly Father is because you believe that there is more than one god out there in the Universe?
No, Latter-day Saints refer to Heavenly Father all the time. For example, President Ezra Taft Benson said:
"We believe God to be the personal Heavenly Father to all mankind, that all mortal beings are literally His spirit offspring. We worship God as a personal, all-knowing, all-powerful being, endowed with all the attributes of perfection. As God's literal offspring, we believe man to be His only creation blessed with His image and His likeness (see D&C 20:18)......Our doctrine of God is clear. He is our Heavenly and Eternal Father. We are His literal children. Through righteous living according to His plan we can see God and become like Him." (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.4-5)
As far as God, Latter-day Saints believe the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three separate and distinct beings who constitute one Godhead.
(See Teachings About the Godhead home page)
757: On 04/04/99, Joshua asked: Is it not true that in the Book of Moses, a part of your scripture, that having dark skin is a curse from God because of evil deeds committed in the for-life?
No, the Book of Moses says nothing of the kind (See Are Mormons Prejudiced?)
756: On 04/04/99, Joshua asked: Is it also not true that you use the King James Version of the Bible, only that your version has changes and corrections that were made by Joseph Smith, founder of you religion?
Latter-day Saints use the King James Verison as our official Bible. Using his prophetic mantle, Joseph Smith made many changes and corrections to the King James Version. This work is called the Joseph Smith Translation (JST). While the JST is not our official Bible, Latter-day Saints use it quite frequently and selected portions of it are included in the footnotes of the LDS Edition of the scriptures. (See The Holy Bible home page)
755: On 04/04/99, Angela asked: I am a Catholic and my boyfriend is a Mormon. If we get married and have kids will the kids be able to be baptized as Mormons since I am not a Mormon?
Yes, but the Bishop will authorize baptism only if he feels that the candidate will be active in the Church. Baptism is associated with solemn covenants between the individual and God. The Church would prefer someone not to make these covenants if they are unable to keep them. Normally, the Bishop will require the parents to commit to supporting the child's Church involvement. If the parents are unwilling or unable to offer such support, the Church will normally just have the child wait until he is older (and can more freely make his own choices) or the circumstances change. Minor children cannot be baptized without the permission of a parent.
754: On 04/02/99, Michael asked: Did Jesus Christ during his mortal ministry institute the temple ordinances and pass those on to his apostles?
No, but after the Savior's resurrection, Peter, James, and John received the temple ordiances upon the "Mount of Transfiguration." President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:
"The saints of the primitive Christian Church did not have access to a temple. The temple in Jerusalem was the only temple, and it had fallen into the hands of unbelieverswicked menand therefore those members of the Church in that dispensation could not perform this labor for dead in the temple. Therefore all ordinances they performed for the dead had to be performed elsewhere.
Now under these conditions, when there is no house of the Lord and the work is urgent, the Lord makes it possible that not only baptism for the dead but also the ordinances that pertain to the house of the Lord may be performed in the wilderness, on a mountain top, or in a lake or a stream of water. I am convinced in my own mind that when the Savior took the three disciples up on the mount, which is spoken of as the "Mount of Transfiguration," he there gave unto them the ordinances that pertain to the house of the Lord and that they were endowed. That was the only place they could go. That place became holy and sacred for the rites of salvation which were performed on that occasion." (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, p.170)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:
"Truly Peter, James, and John, while on this holy mount, received their endowments and were empowered from on high to do all things for the building up and rolling forward of the Lord's work in their day and dispensation." (The Mortal Messiah, Vol.3, p.57 - p.58)
No work for the dead could be performed until after the resurrection and the redemption of man became operative (See Atonement of Jesus Christ home page). President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:
"There could be no baptisms or endowments or any other work for the dead before the death of Jesus Christ. He it was who carried the message of the gospel to the dead and bridged the gulf spoken of in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. He it was who, in fulfillment of the prophets, opened the door of the prison house and permitted the prisoners to come free. Until that time the dead were waiting for their salvation or redemption, which should come through the blood of Christ.
The disciples in that day did have the keys for this work. These keys were given to Peter, James, and John on the mount when they received this power from Elias and Moses, the latter conferring the keys of the gathering of Israel. Christ told these three men, who I believe received their endowments on the mount, that they were not to mention this vision and what had taken place until after he was resurrected. Therefore, the exercise of this authority had to wait until Christ had prepared the way.
We do know that in that day they baptized for the dead. What was there to prevent them from giving endowments? Truly it would not be done in the temple at Jerusalem, for that had fallen into apostate hands. But they could, and most likely did, give endowments to the other apostles and many others in some secluded spot or on some mountain." (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, p.165)
(See Teachings About Temples home page)
753: On 04/02/99, Ronald asked: Could you include on your pages, under the appropriate sections, a brief history of the following organizations (and their purpose)? 1.) Primary 2.) Relief Society 3.) Young Men's Organization 4.) Young Women's Organization 5.) Sunday School
See Primary; Relief Society; Young Men; Young Women; Sunday School
752: On 04/02/99, Mike asked: I am a non-Mormon and I am interestred in Mormon history, in particular I am interested in the history of Church leadership. Your page has information on current President Hinkley, but I could not find any information about the history of that position. Where could I find a list of all the previous persidents of the Church, with a brief summary of their accomplishments? I have a general interest in comparative religion and I have had great difficulty finding this kind of information. Thank you for any help you provide!
Presidents of the Church to 1999 have been Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, Joseph F. Smith, Heber J. Grant, George Albert Smith, David O. McKay, Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, Howard W. Hunter, and Gordon B. Hinckley.
751: On 04/02/99, Josh asked: What is the pre baptism interview like?
The Bishop will sit down with you and try to get to know you a little better. In addition, he will ask you some questions to ensure that you understand the obligations of membership and are prepared to keep them. The Doctrine and Covenants states:
"And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism--All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church." (D&C 20:37)
(See Activity in the Church home page)
750: On 04/02/99, Josh asked:Hi, I'm about to be baptized into the church. What does the bread and water stand for? Why not bread and grape juice or wine like other churches?
We eat the bread "in remembrance of the body of [Jesus]. and drink the water "in remembrance of the blood of [Jesus]." (See Sacrament Prayers)
Due to the Word of Wisdom, Latter-day Saints do not partake of alcohol, including wine. To Joseph Smith, the Lord declared "that it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the Sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my gloryremembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins" (D&C 27:2). In typical LDS practice, bread and water are used. (See Sacrament)
749: On 04/03/99, Bruce asked: We all are familiar with the scripture that says (paraphrasing) that there is a law decreed that obedience to commandments will result in blessings from God. In Gospel Doctrine class today a comment was made that God was somehow bound and could not give blessings unless we did certain things. I believe that God is all powerful and as Bruce R. McConkie has said "There is nothing that the Lord God takes into his heart to do that he cannot do." (Doctrines of the Restoration) God can choose to bless us if he so desires and that does not mean we necessarily did anything to deserve it. Otherwise, there would be no benefit in prayers or Priesthood blessings. I don't see that God has to wait on certain conditions for him to bless us.
The Doctrine and Covenants states:
"I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise." (D&C 82:10)
This scripture means that the Lord is not abitrary or capricious and we can depend upon him to keep his promises. Furthermore, a person should not expect God to grant him a blessing when he has not met the prerequisites for it:
"There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated--And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." (D&C 130:20-1)
Sometimes, as a demonstration of faith, the Lord requires us to ask for a blessing (e..g, prayers, priesthood blessings) before he grants it unto us. The Bible teaches:
"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." (Matthew 21:22)
"Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." (John 16:24)
Can the Lord do anything? Well, the Lord cannot do anything un-Godlike or inconsistent with Celestial law. Our Heavenly Father works by the same eternal laws which he gives to his children. His complete obediance to Celestial law is one of the characterstics which make him God. For example, the celestial law states that remission of sins is predicated upon true repentance. The Lord cannot just remit someone's sins arbitrarily or "God would cease to be God." (Alma 42:13)
(See Divine and Eternal Law)
748: On 04/03/99, Tim asked: do you have any
information on whether Caine (as in Caine and able) is
still alive or what happen to him.
747: On 04/03/99, Ryan asked: Hello...I have a question on Mormons and their consumer behvavior....what is Tithing? How else are Mormons instructed to spend their money? I hear you cannot buy things on Sunday? What else economically is suggested for Mormons???
Tithing is the basic contribution by which Latter-day Saints fund the activities of the Church. By revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord stated that members should pay "one-tenth of all their interest [increase] annually [to the Church]; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever" (D&C 119:4). (See Financial Contributions) In addition to tithing, faithful Latter-day Saints spend their time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed them to build up God's kingdom upon the earth. Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:
"Our work is to prepare a people for the Second Coming. .... Until then we have no choice but to use our means, talents, and time in the building up of the Lord's work on earth and the establishment of Zion. Those who labor in the cause of Zion shall not go unrewarded. "Blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion," saith the Lord, "for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be." (1 Nephi 13:37.)
Latter-day Saints are commanded to not shop on Sunday because it is considered a violation of the Sabbath. (See Teachings About the Sabbath home page)
746: On 04/03/99, a visitor asked: Could you please expound on the LDS belief that there was a "total apostasy" in the early Christian Church: WHEN did this occur according to LDS authorities and upon WHAT historical evidence is this belief based? Thank you.
See Why Did the True Church Have to be Restored?
745: On 04/02/99, Bruce asked: We adopted our son as a newborn. We are not married in the temple and so subsequently, our son is not sealed to us. My question is this: Since our son was born his birthparents have been sealed in the temple. We believe that at the time of his birth they were just separated, not divorced, and we are not sure if they were sealed before. Is it possible that they were sealed before and then sealed again when they reconciled? Also, since they have been sealedand we haven't, is our adopted son considered to be sealed to them? Thank you for your time.
Children born to parents who have entered eternal marriage are automatically sealed to them and are considered born under the covenant. Since the birth parents were sealed after their reconciliation, it is extremely unlikely they were sealed before the child was born. Sealings are only performed once. It's possible they were sealed and one or both of them were excommunicated. In this case, they would need to have a restoration of blessings, which does not require them to enter the temple. If the parents had been excommunicated, then the sealings to any children would have been nullified with the excommunication. Therefore, the most likely scenario is that your child is not sealed to them. If you and your husband have legally adopted the child, then you may enter the temple and have the child sealed to you, making you the child's parents for all eternity, predicated upon faithfulness to your temple covenants. (See Temple Sealings)
744: On 04/02/99, a visitor asked: Please help me as I have pondered this for some time. In the BYU study guide for the Doctrine and Covenants, page 399 (Enrichment H), column 2, paragraph 3, it is clearly stated that the before the Lord's coming, the ten tribes will return, with scriptural references included. In Bruce R. McConkie's "The Millenial Messiah", author whom I sustained as prophet, seer and revelator, he states on page 324 that the Ten Tribes are to return AFTER the Second Coming. Can this testimony be saved? :-) Seriously, what have I missed or do not understand? Thanks so much!!
The Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual states:
"Before the Lord's coming, the lost ten tribes will return. (see D/C 110:11, 133:26-34)" (p. 399)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie states:
"The Ten Tribes are to return after the Second Coming. Their establishment in their land of promise shall not come to pass until there is a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. They were led away in a day of war and wickedness; they shall return in a day of peace and righteousness." (Millennial Messiah, p.324)
First, whenever the words of an apostle, especially Elder McConkie, seem to contradict the words written by someone else, you are always safer to go with the apostle (See Following the Prophets home page). Unfortunately, none of us are perfect and we all make mistakes, even apostles for that matter (See Are Church Leaders Infallible?). It's true that some portions of the ten tribes will return prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. After all, significant numbers of Ephraim and Manasseh have already been gathered. However, the ten tribes as a large body, will not return until after the Second Coming.
What's really strange about the quote from the Doctrine and Covenants manual is that the references used to support the statement actually contradict it:
"After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north." (D&C 110:11)
"For behold, the Lord God hath sent forth the angel crying through the midst of heaven, saying: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight, for the hour of his coming is nighWhen the Lamb shall stand upon Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand, having his Father's name written on their foreheads. Wherefore, prepare ye for the coming of the Bridegroom; go ye, go ye out to meet him. For behold, he shall stand upon the mount of Olivet, and upon the mighty ocean, even the great deep, and upon the islands of the sea, and upon the land of Zion. And he shall utter his voice out of Zion, and he shall speak from Jerusalem, and his voice shall be heard among all people; And it shall be a voice as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder, which shall break down the mountains, and the valleys shall not be found. He shall command the great deep, and it shall be driven back into the north countries, and the islands shall become one land; And the land of Jerusalem and the land of Zion shall be turned back into their own place, and the earth shall be like as it was in the days before it was divided. And the Lord, even the Savior, shall stand in the midst of his people, and shall reign over all flesh.And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord; and their prophets shall hear his voice, and shall no longer stay themselves; and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence. And an highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep. Their enemies shall become a prey unto them,
And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim, my servants. And the boundaries of the everlasting hills shall tremble at their presence. And there shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim. And they shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy. Behold, this is the blessing of the everlasting God upon the tribes of Israel, and the richer blessing upon the head of Ephraim and his fellows." (D&C 133:17-34)
You will notice that the preceeding verses in Section 133 make it clear that these events will occur after the Second Coming, once Christ "shall stand upon Mount Zion."
744: On 04/01/99, Richard asked: I once ran across a religious radio program where the preacher said that most of the artists' versions of Jesus are inaccurate. He claimed that Jesus did not have long hair and then quoted the following scripture. 1 Corinthians 11:14-15 (also 1 Corinthians 11:14-15) "14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for [her] hair is given her for a covering." I know that our faith, LDS, and other Christain faiths also have the same renderings of Jesus. Where in the scriptures or historically to we find evidence of Jesus with long hair and how does it harmonized with the quoted verses in Corinthians?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)
743: On 04/01/99, Carl asked: If a couple is married in the Temple and their is a child from another marriage, does the father from the previous marriage need to consent to the child being sealed to the new family?
If the mother has custody or joint-custody of the child, no approval is needed. (See Temple Sealings)
742: On 04/01/99, a visitor asked: I cannot find anything in your website
about the idea that Joseph Smith suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy. The symptoms of
such attacks include visions of strange beings, an apparent loss of time, a feeling
of insight into profound matters, and an urge to spread the word. His revelations seem to me to be classic examples of such attacks, and thus it would be unscientific to resort to claims of the supernatural, violating the principle of Occam's razor. I would be interested to hear your thought on this theory.
See Did Joseph Smith Suffer From Temporal Lobe Epilepsy?
741: On 04/01/99, a visitor asked: Is abortion considered murder and so unforgivable?
740: On 04/01/99, Michael asked: Was there a need to repent in the premortal life? I am of the opinion that we were all perfected beings and there was no need for repentance because there was no sin.
Inherent in the makeup of their intelligent nature, spirits have agency and are able to make choices. The scriptures teach that spirits are capable of all the emotions, passions, and intellectual experiences exhibited by mortals, including love, anger, hate, envy, knowledge, obedience, rebellion, jealousy, repentance, loyalty, activity, thought, and comprehension. Using their agency, some of God's children rebelled in the premortal life, and war in heaven ensued. (See War in Heaven) The rebellious spirits followed Lucifer and with him were cast down to the earth and became devils or evil spirits, never to receive physical bodies on earth (Moses 4:1-4; D&C 76:25-27; cf. Rev. 12:4, 7-9; D&C 29:36). (See Spirit)
In addition, it is clear that even those spirits who remained faithful exhibited relative degrees of obediance. Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:
"Every person stands alone in choosing his beliefs and electing the course he will pursue. No two persons are born with the same talents and capacities; no two are rooted in the same soil of circumstances; each is unique. The cares of this world, gold and honor and power and renown, the lusts of the flesh the chains of past sins and a thousand other things -- all exert their influence upon us. But in the final sense the answer stems back to premortality. We all lived as spirit beings, as children of the Eternal Father, for an infinitely long period of time in the premortal existence. There we developed talents, gifts, and aptitudes; there our capacities and abilities took form; there, by obedience to law, we were endowed with the power, in one degree or another, to believe the truth and follow the promptings of the Spirit. And the talent of greatest worth was that of spirituality, for it enables us to hearken to the Holy Spirit and accept that gospel which prepares us for eternal life.
Men are not born equal. They enter this life with the talents and capacities developed in pre-existence. Abraham saw in vision the spirit hosts of men before they were born, "and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones." It was of that select and talented group that the Lord said: "These I will make my rulers." And to Abraham, the Father of the Faithful, one of the greatest of the Lord's earthly rulers, the comforting word came: "Thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born." (Abraham 3:22-23.) Alma tells us that those who are faithful high priests in this life were in fact "called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God on account of their exceeding faith and good works" while they yet dwelt in his presence. (Alma 13:3.) To Jeremiah the Lord said: "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." (Jeremiah 1:5.) (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.34)
(See Premortal Existence home page)
739: On 03/31/99, Shane asked: I read your answer on the question if Mormons believe in the Bible. I was interested in your answer. Is it not true that Mormons believe that the Bible is the word of God "as far as it is translated correctly" and that the Book Of Mormon is the "most correct book in the world" including the Bible? Why then did you say that the Church accepts the Bible as the "foremost of the standard works?" Could you please respond soon?
See Do You Believe the Bible is Important?
738: On 03/31/99, Jonathon asked: I live in the UK and I'm doing a project for Religious Education about the LDS. Could you send me some information about: Funerals, Confirmation, please?
See Death and Dying; Priesthood Ordinances home page
737: On 03/31/99, Steve asked: It is my understanding that all of the Biblical prophets have never made a
single prophesy that did not come true. Can the same be said of the Mormon
prophets? I read the section on infallibility about prophets but
am still curious.
See Following the Prophets home page; Are Church Leaders Infallible?; Did Joseph Smith Utter False Prophesies?
736: On 03/31/99, a visitor asked: I want to know how stablished the seminary, and when it was stablished.
See Church Education System (CES)
735: On 03/31/99, Christopher asked: Why can't men pay for their own sins if all will be resurrected prior to judgment and therefore have bodies capable of baring the burden of their sins and therefore be eligible for salvation through just payment of their debt?
The issue of salvation is not one of simply just paying the burden of our sins. All men, except the sons of perdition, will eventually have the burden of their sins lifted, whether through eternal punishment in Hell or by the redeeming blood of Jesus (See Atonement of Jesus Christ home page). If we wish to live in the celestial kingdom, we must do more than simply have our sins removed (See Remission of Sins). We must develop a celestial character and personality. We must be the type of person whose true beliefs and attitudes are congruent with the celestial law. The Doctrine and Covenants teaches:
"For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory. And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory. And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory." (D&C 88:22-24)
(See Teachings About the Afterlife home page)
734: On 03/31/99, Jeff asked: I have a question regarding the use of playing(face) cards. I understand the use of the cards in gambling but what about the use of cards for games of fun, ie: solitare, gin rummy...etc. Does the church take a stand on these types of games.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints condemns gambling, games of chance, and lotteries as moral evils and admonishes its members not to participate in them in any form. Gambling is based on the morally wrong philosophy of getting something for nothing, of taking money without giving fair value in exchange. (See Gambling)
The Church has no prohibitions against occasional games of fun. Recreation is an essential and vital part of the gospel of salvation -- a gospel which makes provision for every need of man, both temporal and spiritual. After a person has performed his assigned or appointed labors -- both in making a living and in service on the Lord's errand -- it is edifying, relaxing, and proper to enjoy the diversion of wholesome recreation. (See Recreation)
However, Latter-day Saints have been warned about over indulging in recreation. President Joseph F. Smith taught:
"It is no uncommon thing for women, young and middle-aged, to spend whole afternoons, and many of them, evenings as well, in playing cards, thus wasting hours and days of precious time in this useless and unprofitable way. Yet those same people, when approached, declare they have no time to spend as teachers in the Sabbath schools, and no time to attend either Sunday schools or meetings. Their church duties are neglected for lack of time, yet they spend hours, day after day, at cards. They have thereby encouraged and become possessed of a spirit of indolence, and their minds are filled with the vile drunkenness, hallucination, charm and fascination, that take possession of the habitual card-player to the exclusion of all spiritual and religious feeling. Such a spirit detracts from all sacred thought and sentiment. These players at length do not quite know whether they are Jews, Gentiles, or Saints, and they do not care a fig.
While a simple game of cards in itself may be harmless, it is a fact that by immoderate repetition it ends in an infatuation for chance schemes, in habits of excess, in waste of precious time, in dulling and stupor of the mind, and in the complete destruction of religious feeling. These are serious results, evils that should and must be avoided by the Latter-day Saints. Then again, there is the grave danger that lurks in persistent card playing, which begets the spirit of gambling, of speculation and that awakens the dangerous desire to get something for nothing."Improvement Era, Vol. 6, August, 1903, p. 779.
While card games were the great evil of President Smith's day, many of the same principles he expounds can be applied to things like television in our day.
733: On 03/31/99, Jason asked: Hello: I am interested in joining the LDS Church, and plan on going through the missionary discussions, but I do have one quick question I would like to ask of you. Is going on a mission a requirement to marriage in the temple? I know that much appear like such a selfish question, but the main issue I'm grappling with right now is, "How can I give two years of my life away at such a critical stage in my education?" It seems like it would be harmful for me to move away from studies for 1 1/2 to two years, especially if I chose to join a rapidly developing field, in some fields you just can't disappear from the scene from two years. Anyway, any response would be much appreciated.
President Howard W. Hunter noted:
"Earlier prophets have taught that every able, worthy young man should serve a full-time mission. I emphasize this need today" ("Follow the Son of God," ENSIGN, Nov. 1994, 88).
In October 1998 General Conference, Elder H. Bryan Richards discussed the crucial importance of missionary service (See "As for Me and My House, We Will Serve the Lord" for his full remarks) If a young man chooses not to serve a mission, he will not be penalized or ostracized by the Church. He may also obtain a temple marriage, as far as the Church is concerned. However, faithful Latter-day Saint young women usually only consider returned missionaries for potential marriage partners. They believe that a successful mission is often a wonderful preparation for becoming a good husband and father, as well as evidence that a young man is truly committed to the Lord.
Missionary service brings wonderful opportunities for growth and few men regret the experience. Before you decide not to serve a mission, I suggest you talk to returned missionaries in your ward and ask them about their experiences. I also suggest you counsel with your Bishop about this decision which will be one of the most important of your life.
(See Missionary Work home page; Dating and Courtship home page)
732: On 03/31/99, Kim asked: This is an honest question regarding the caffeine issue. If Mormons do not consume drinks containing caffeine, then why do they drink hot chocolate which contains a fair amount of it? As I said, I'm sincere in this request for info.. I have had friends who are LDS and have studied with some Elders in MN.. No one could really answer this question for me. I believe most of the LDS teachings and would appreciate someone clearing up this issue for me.
While many Church leaders have taught that caffeinated drinks are a violation of the spirit of the Word of Wisdom, it is not a technical violation. The hot chocolate that my family uses does not contain caffeine. (See Cola Drinks)
731: On 03/31/99, Desiree asked: Ok, I was reading this particular section of the D&C the other night and read a few verses about the washing of feet and how we should greet one another. Why do we no longer practice the washing of feet and what was it's significance of Joseph Smith's time?
The Washing of Feet ordinance is practiced today in the Church. (See Washing of Feet)
730: On 03/31/99, Josh asked: Hi, I've taken the six missionary discussions from the missionaries and I'm interested in the church. Why must I be baptized again? I was baptized in the church of Christ in Redwood City,Ca in 1991. Waht will I gain by joining the church. My familt is all non- memebers what if I'm kicked out for becoming a member of the church by my family. E-mail me thanks!
There are at least two reasons that all new members must be baptized, even if they were previously baptized in another church. First, divine ordinances such as baptism can be performed only by persons who have received priesthood authority by ordination. This ordination must be recognized by God to be efficacious. The Articles of Faith state:
"We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof." (See Authority; Priesthood Ordinances home page)
Second, baptism is the gate into the Kingdom of God, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church as now constituted with President Gordon B. Hinckley as its presiding officer is, in the most literal and real and full sense of the word, the kingdom of God on earth, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, and the one place where salvation is found.
(See Baptism; Baptismal Covenant)
729: On 03/31/99, Josh asked: What if I attend another church while I'm on vacation with family is that OK? Cause I have no other LDS family members. I'm about to get baptized. What is the church's policy on this? E-mail me Thanks!
The Church has no policy against visiting other churches while you are on vacation with your family. If you were baptized, you would want to try and attend an LDS meeting as well so that you could partake of the sacrament. (See Interfaith Relations home page)
728: On 03/31/99, a visitor asked: what is the difference between exaltation and salvation?Salvation is the greatest gift of God (D&C 6:13). The root of the word means to be saved, or placed beyond the power of one's enemies (TPJS, pp. 297, 301, 305). It is redemption from the bondage of sin and death, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Some degree of salvation will come to all of God's children except the sons of perdition. Exaltation is a synonym for eternal life and is the highest degree of salvation. Only those who inherit exaltation receive the fullness of salvation. (See Teachings About the Afterlife home page)
Brigham Young led the Latter-day Saints to Utah (See Church History c. 1844-1877, Exodus And Early Utah Periods) Joseph Smith had been murdered by that time. (See Martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith)
725: On 03/31/99, Jim asked: I respectfully request the requirements to transfer my independent minister ordination to the LDS Church.
Latter-day Saints don't have a professional clergy and don't transfer ordinations (See Clergy; Priesthood Organization home page; Interfaith Relations home page)
724: On 03/31/99, Rebecca asked: I am doing a presentation for my death and dying class about Mormon beliefs and practices surrounding death and dying. I am interested in what members of the Mormon faith do after someone dies, for instance, is there a visitation or wake? Also, what are rules surrounding terminating life support, living wills, and euthanasia? Any assistance you could give me would be much appreciated! Thanks
See Death and Dying; Prolonging Life
723: On 03/31/99, Camielle asked: I'm emailing regarding your Mormon site...it was very informative but i was wondering if you can send me some information about the history of Mormons in Australia. it's for a religion assignment.
See The Church in Australia
722: On 03/31/99, Cathy asked: I am trying to find the history of visiting teaching
See Visiting Teaching
721: On 03/31/99, Cody asked: I will be marrying soon,civilly, and relocating to another state at the same time. I do wish to marry in the temple some day, within a year of our civil marriage hopefully, and was wondering if there is a waiting period/restrictions/or any type of thing I should be concerned about when wishing to be sealed for eternity.
The Church presently requires you to wait at least one year to have your union sealed in the temple, if you were married in a civil ceremony. (See Eternal Marriage)
720: On 03/31/99, Matthew asked: I go to High School at Pulaski County High School. In a church I attend I was shocked to find out that they Believed that the Mormons were a "cult". I am Catholic but my father goes to the Methodist Church and that is where I found out . It also came to my attention that other Protestant Churches such as the Southern Baptist and Prespreterian Churches believe this also. Now when I asked my fellow Catholics we all agreed that to place Mormons in to a category as these Churches have is like saying Jesus Christ and his followers where members of a cult. I would like to know is the Church of Latter Day Saints a cult and whatever your answer please give me some background into your reply.
See Is the Church a Cult?
719: On 03/31/99, Rizwan asked: i need to know why i should convert to LDS. ive been thinking, but i neeed a n extra push. i am currently a mulim who is passionate, but i dont think it fills everything i want. i live in london ohio. please giive me an adress to a nearby church and some info on why i should convert.
See Why Should I Convert? To find the ward or branch nearest you (in the U.S. and Canada), search at http://www.deseretbook.com/Locate/home.html, or use the Yellow Pages.
718: On 03/31/99, Danny asked: Could you please explain for me the area of baptism for the dead. thank you.
See Baptism for the Dead and Salvation for the Dead
(See Question and Answer home page)
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