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Question and Answer 25
"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.
809: On 04/08/99, Keith asked: why is marriages arranged by family members wouldn't be nice to let the son or daugter to pick their mate even if they are with in your church.
Latter-day Saints do not have arranged marriages and are free to marry anyone they choose. (See Teachings About Marriage home page; Dating and Courtship home page)
808: On 04/08/99, Keith asked: why do family force their kids have to go on a mission for a year or two.
While Church leaders have requested every young man in the Church to serve a mission, no one is forced to go. If Church leaders determined that the only reason a young man was going on a mission is because of pressure by his parents, he would not be allowed to go. The Lord needs strong men of conviction whom he can depend upon. While missionary work is often a life changing experience which brings a young man closer to God, the main reason for serving a mission is not personal growth. President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:
"we should be putting forth every effort to bring to pass the purposes of the Lord, one of the greatest being our responsibility to preach the gospel to the world." (Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol.4, p.54)
Since mankind can only be saved by "by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel" (Articles of Faith 3), it is crucial that every person in the world be allowed the opportunity to come unto Christ and be saved.
(See Missionary Work home page)
807: On 04/08/99, Keith asked: why does members have to give the church 10% of income
Latter-day Saints pay tithing because (1) it is a commandment of God; (2) the Lord has promised to open "the windows of heaven" (3 Nephi 24:10) to pour out blessings upon us; and (3) if no one financially supported the Church, then we would have no scriptures, no buildings, no temples, no sunday schools, no missionaries -- in effect, we would have no Church.
Of course, no one in the Church is forced to pay tithing. Contributions are made privately and are not published to the other members of the Ward. The only Church-issued penalty a person faces is ineligbility to hold a temple recommend and enter the temple. Of course, since temples are built and maintained using tithing funds, it would be unfair to allow someone to use them when he refuses to help pay for them. In the Kingdom of God, all men are commanded to share in the Lord's work on an equal basis. The Doctrine and Covenants states:
"Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer." (D&C 42:42)
806: On 04/08/99, David asked: why do you belive that God the father and Jesus Christ are two seperate beings when the bible says: In the begining was the word and the word was with God and the word was God... and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and Truth. John 1:1,14 (KJV)
There are many scriptures which make it clear that the Father and Son are two separate personages. For example, at the baptism of Jesus, the following event occurred:
"And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:16-17)
It is clear that God the Father, who spoke from heaven, is a separate and distinct person from Jesus, the Son in whom he was well-pleased. However, we are not dependent upon our understanding of the scriptures alone. In the First Vision, Joseph Smith, a prophet of God, restored the knowledge of God. Joseph's first vision clearly revealed that the Father and Son are separate personages, having bodies as tangible as man's. (See Joseph Smith--History for the account in his own words)
The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one one in essence, in purpose, in spirit, in attributes, in power, and glory, but they are, nevertheless, three personages. (See Unity)
(See Teachings About the Godhead home page)
805: On 04/08/99, Janice asked: I have a few questions for you. Was God always God? Did he progress to where is he now? Did he have spiritual mother and father? Was God once human? Been reading the Book of Mormon and can't find any answers there...I would appreciate any help you could give me.
The Church has no official doctrine or revelation on these issues. However, several Church leaders have given their viewpoints on the truth of these matters. In the King Follett funeral sermon, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught:
"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible,I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in formlike yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another.....These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible. (For the full text of the sermon, see King Follett Discourse; Was God Once a Sinner?)
President Brigham Young taught:
"...... it is no matter whether we are to consider [Heavenly Father] our God, or whether His Father, or His Grandfather, for in either case we are of one species--of one family--and Jesus Christ is also of our species." (Journal of Discourses, Vol.4, p.217)
From these comments we can say that (1) before our eternity and universe were created, God progressed to his present exalted sphere; (2) God had a Father (and when has there ever been a Father without a Mother?); (3) God the Father once had a mortal existence similar to Jesus Christ.
(See Teachings About the Godhead home page)
804: On 04/08/99, Ty asked: Lately I have been hearing things regarding the Order of Enoch. I have no clue what this is but I am curious about it. Please enlighten me on this subject as well as informing me of books and websites in which I can research this subject!
The term "order of Enoch" can mean different things in different contexts, including:
(1) A synonym for the Melchizedek Priesthood. "And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son." (D&C 76:57)
(2) A synonym for the United Order. President Taylor remarked "We have heard a good deal . . . in relation to what is called the Order of Enoch, the New Order, the United Order, or whatever name we may give to it." ( The Gospel Kingdom, p.251)
Usually it refers to a principle or practice used by the prophet Enoch to prepare a people to dwell with God.
803: On 04/07/99, a visitor asked: I have a question. I'm currently dating a Mormon and we are going to be married and I will be baptized into the Mormon faith at one point. We will be sealed eventually and I am curious if non-Mormons are allowed to enter the temple at all. This is something that is important to me, mainly because my family means a lot to me and I'd like them to share this with me, even if they are not of the faith. If you could please get back to me about this as soon as possible it would be greatly appreciated. I thank you very much for your time.
Only Latter-day Saints who hold a temple recommend may enter a dedicated temple. Regarding nonmember participation in weddings, the Why is a Temple Recommend Necessary to Enter the Temple? article states:
"While some people can understand why only Latter-day Saints can participate in most temple ordinances, they do not understand why an exception cannot be made for marriages. Usually, these people assume that temple marriages are similar in form and purpose to those of other religions. However, this is simply not the case.
A temple marriage is not a public celebration [as with the weddings of most other religions], but the most private and sacred of all religious events in the life of a Latter-day Saint. It is the culmination of all the other temple ordinances. There are no large crowds, bridesmaids, parties, or joyous outbursts. In a temple marriage, while kneeling at an altar in a temple, a man and woman make covenants with God and each other in a marriage ceremony that is to be binding both in mortality and in the eternal world. Since the endowment ordinance is necessary to understand the religious nature of the marriage ceremony, the only witnesses allowed are those members of the Church who have completed it. In temple marriages, it is very common for siblings and close friends to not be invited to the marriage ordinance because they have not yet been endowed. For example, at my temple marriage, my bride's only sister [a faithful Latter-day Saint] waited outside until the marriage ordinance was completed because she had not been endowed. To summarize, a temple marriage is not a public celebration, but a private religious experience only shared with spiritually mature members of one's own faith.
The sacredness and solemness of the temple marriage ordinance does not mean that an LDS wedding is not a festive occasion. However, all the festivities occur outside of the temple. While LDS wedding receptions are often more reserved than non-LDS ones, it is here that the public celebrations will occur. It should be noted that all friends and family members, including nonmembers, can be invited to the reception to participate in the public celebration of the day."
(See Teachings About Temples home page)
802: On 04/07/99, a visitor asked: When Adams rib was removed to make eve, did all the rest of the spirit children who were male give a rib too, because males know also have one less rib then females. Or was it a kind of genetic thing the lord did to symbolize something. I am sorry if you don't understand me but I thank you for your time nonetheless!
Regarding Eve's creation, Elder Bruce R. McConkie said:
"She was placed on earth in the same manner as was Adam, the Mosaic account of the Lord creating her from Adam's rib being merely figurative. (Moses 3:20-25.)" (Mormon Doctrine, p.242)
801: On 04/07/99, Terry asked: I am doing a study on different religious beliefs and would like to know what your religion says is necessary to be saved.
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."
800: On 04/07/99, Michael asked: I am not a member of your church, but I saw your site and am curious. I read the essay by Russell M. Frandsen on anti-Christs. He brought three examples of anti-Christs that lived long before Jesus was born! How could there have been a church back then? And who were the Nephrites?
The Nephites were one of the Book of Mormon Peoples. Latter-day Saints believe that the gospel has always existed and will continue to exist throughout the eternities. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, "The great Jehovah contemplated the whole of the events connected with the earth, pertaining to the Plan of Salvation, before it rolled into existence, or ever "the morning stars sang together' for joy" (TPJS, p. 220). The eternal nature of the gospel was also emphasized by President John Taylor, who declared that "the gospel is a living, abiding, eternal, and unchangeable principle that has existed co-equal with God, and always will exist, while time and eternity endure, wherever it is developed and made manifest" (p. 88).
LDS scriptures explain that after the Lord had taught Adam and Eve the Plan of Salvation and the gospel (Moses 5:4-11), Adam was "caught away by the Spirit of the Lord" into the water where he was baptized. Following his baptism, the "Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit" (Moses 6:48-68). In later describing this experience, Enoch explained that God called upon Adam with his own voice, teaching him the same gospel set out in other scriptures:
If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost [Moses 6:52].
Latter-day scripture records that Adam and Eve taught their children the gospel, but that Satan came among them and persuaded some to love him more than God (Moses 5:13; see Devil). Thus it has been with the descendants of Adam and Eve, and in this situation, the Lord called upon people everywhere to believe in the Son and to repent of their sins that they might be saved. This gospel message was a "firm decree" sent forth "in the world, until the end thereof," and was preached from the beginning by angels, by the voice of God, and by the Holy Ghost (Moses 5:12-15, 58-59).
Latter-day Saints understand the history of the world in terms of periods of faithfulness and of apostasy. Although there have been many times when the gospel of Jesus Christ has been lost from the earth, it has repeatedly been restored through prophets sent to declare new dispensations of the gospel. The gospel has been given to successive generations and will maintain its efficacy forever. The restoration of the fulness of the gospel to Joseph Smith initiated the "last dispensation," or the dispensation of the fulness of times, and he was promised that the gospel will never again be taken from the earth. The gospel of Jesus Christ continues to be the only means given under heaven whereby men and women can come to their Savior and be saved, and is the standard against which all people will be judged (see Judgment Day).
As far as anti-Christs, they are those who deny the divinity of Jesus Christ or essential parts of his gospel and actively oppose the followers of Christ or seek to destroy their faith. It does not matter if a person's opposition to the Savior and his divine mission came before or after the Savior was born.
(See Teachings About Jesus Christ home page)
799: On 04/07/99, Nancy asked: Do you have any information on "mixed marriages"?
See Interracial Dating and Marriage
798: On 04/07/99, Toni asked: What does the LDS church offer that other Christian churches do not? What is the appeal of the LDS? In other words, why should someone become a LDS?
See Why Should I Convert?
797: On 04/07/99, a visitor asked: What is the role of women in Mormon Society?
See Teachings About Motherhood and the Role of Women home page
796: On 04/07/99, a visitor asked: What are the church's policies on divorce?
795: On 04/07/99, a visitor asked: Why do the leaders leave all these responsibilities of the branch to these young missionaries? Who are their present church leaders? Where are they?
Missionaries report to a Mission President, a mature man who has demonstrated ability in things of the Spirit. Senior missionaries normally guide the work of newer missionaries. The Holy Bible teaches:
"Then said he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few." (JST Matthew 9:43)
While many missionaries are just newly entered into manhood, they are often expected to carry heavy burdens in the name of the Lord. It is a true testament of the marvelous nature of this work that such young men are able to do such great things.
(See Missionary Work home page)
794: On 04/07/99, a visitor asked: Why do Mormons divide the religion classes by gender and age?
Some religion classes are divided by gender and/or age and others are not. This is because some lessons have universal applications, while others are tailored to specific groups. For example, a lesson on how to develop patience can be used by everybody. A lesson on how to romance your wife is best given to husbands. (See Sunday School)
793: On 04/07/99, a visitor asked: Why do missionaries never debate with another religion?
President Brigham Young taught:
"Let one go forth who is careful to prove logically all he says by numerous quotations from the revelations, and let another travel with him who can say, by the power of the Holy Ghost, Thus saith the Lord and tell what the people should believewhat they should dohow they should live, and teach them to yield to the principles of salvation,though he may not be capable of producing a single logical argument, though he may tremble under a sense of his weakness, cleaving to the Lord for strength, as such men generally do, you will invariably find that the man who testifies by the power of the Holy Ghost will convince and gather many more of the honest and upright than will the merely logical reasoner." (Discourses of Brigham Young, p.330)
A true conversion occurs when someone has felt the Holy Ghost speak to his soul. Missionaries concentrate on the things of God and leave rhetorical debates, which never convert people, to others.
(See Missionary Work home page; The Holy Ghost home page)
792: On 04/07/99, a visitor asked: Why don't the missionaries attack other beliefs or force their views like other Christian missionaries do?
The Articles of Faith state:
"We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."
Latter-day Saints believe that agency, the freedom to choose between good and evil for ourselves, is a gift from God that must be respected. We believe that people are accountable to God for their religious views, not each other. Furthermore, we believe that all mankind share a common spiritual parentage and are worthy of respect and love.
(See Interfaith Relationships home page)
791: On 04/07/99, a visitor asked: How long do the missionaries prepare before they go around the world and preach their religion? Are they allowed to read other books from other religious groups?
In a strict sense, missionaries are sent to a Missionary Training Center for two weeks, if the language spoken in their mission is their natural tongue. If they are going to a foreign language mission, then they receive about eight weeks of preparation. In a more informal sense, young men should have been making personal preparation (e.g., prayer, scripture study) throughout their life.
While other members of the Church are allowed to read whatever interests them, missionaries are generally restricted in their access to reading material. Normally, the mission rules require the missionaries to spend their time reading from the scriptures and a few selected books by LDS Church leaders. Missionaries are in the field to teach the gospel in the Lord's prescribed pattern and the Church frowns on them using their mission time to pursue other interests, like comparative religion study. If a missionary were interested in the teachings of another faith, he could always take a class in it when his mission is completed.
(See Missionary Work home page)
790: On 04/07/99, a visitor asked: Why do all missionaries have a metal badge that says "Elder" and their last names? What does "Elder" mean?
"Elder" is an office in the Melchizedek Priesthood. Full-time Missionaries and General Authorities are often called by a combination of "Elder" and their last name (e.g., Elder Jones). This is somewhat similar to the military custom (e.g., Captain Smith, General Sherman)
789: On 04/07/99, a visitor asked: Who was Joseph Smith?
See The Prophet Joseph Smith
788: On 04/07/99, Kevin asked: Can you lead me to the refutation of the past comment about the members having the "thinking done for them", I thgought I read it on this website in the past but i cannot find it anymore.
See Are Mormons Brainwashed?
787: On 04/07/99, Kathy asked: Are there plans to build a Temple in San Antonio, TX?
I have not heard of any announcement of a temple in San Antonio. However, there is a new temple under construction in Houston, Texas which is less than 2 hours away. (See Teachings About Temples home page)
786: On 04/07/99, Jenny asked: What do the Mormon's
believe happened to the twelve lost tribes of Israel
after the Assyrian conquest in 722 B.C.?
785: On 04/06/99, Christie asked: When a couple obtains a temple divorce and they have had children, will the children remain sealed to the father and not the mother? What if the mother remarries? Please explain how the church views this.
Unless one of the spouses has been excommunicated, the children will remain sealed to both of the parents, from a mortal perspective. However, for a sealing to be efficacious, it must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. When two people have been married in the temple, and then divorce, a serious breech of temple covenants has occurred by one or both of the people. In this case, Church leaders have taught that it's quite possible that one or both people have forfeited any hope of exaltation. Repentance might bring remission of sins, but they will not be exalted into eternal life. In cases of divorce, the Holy Spirit will unratify the sealing to the unrighteous parent(s). While this decertification will never be reflected in earthly Church records, it will become very apparent at the final judgment. (See Temple Sealings)
784: On 04/06/99, Damon asked: If the foundation of the LDS church is based on Christ's Resurrection, then how come Easter is not emphasized with a special service like other religions?
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).
LDS Easter services traditionally review New Testament and Book of Mormon accounts of Christ's crucifixion, his resurrection, and surrounding events. For these services, chapels are often decorated with white lilies and other symbols of life. Ward choirs frequently present Easter cantatas, and congregations sing Easter hymns. As at services on other Sundays, the emblems of the Sacrament (see Communion) are passed to the congregation.
In addition, the Church usually does several other things to commemorate Easter as well. First, the First Presidency of the Church usually issues an Easter message to the world. Second, the April Ensign (the Church magazine for adults) usually carries several articles about Easter. Third, the April General Conference will be filled with testimonies of Jesus Christ and his resurrection. Fourth, the Church has at least one Easter Pageant.
Of course, we teach and testify of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ every day of the year, not just in April.
(See Easter home page)
783: On 04/06/99, Ken asked: What is the church's position on its members joining fraternal service organizations such as the Freemasons or the Grange? This is not to supersede church membership, but just to serve the community another way.
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. (Activity in the Church home page)
782: On 04/06/99, John asked: Can you tell me how or where I can get more information on the events leading up to and the reason that the Mormon religion was established. Why was the church straying from God, etc.?
See Joseph Smith: A Modern Witness for Christ
781: On 04/06/99, George asked: I received a second hand report that on a recent TV show it was said that the Mormon Church loaned start up money for some Las Vegas casinos. Is that a fact? This is not critisism for any such action merely curiosity on my part.
No, this is a false story. The Church condemns gambling, games of chance, and lotteries as moral evils and admonishes its members not to participate in them in any form.
780: On 04/06/99, Jodie asked: Are You Christian's? I'm writing a paper on this very topic, and I want to get adequate informatioon on both sides before I make my decision. Thank You
See Are Mormons Christians?
779: On 04/05/99, Randy asked: Why did Joseph Smith and many others of the church in Navuoo join and set up a masonite lodge? also, what is the purpose behind the Masonites?
To find out the purpose of Masons, I suggest you ask them directly. I am always hesitant to describe the purpose of other groups lest I inadvertently misrepresent them. To understand why Joseph Smith joined them, see Why Did Joseph Smith Become a Mason?
778: On 04/05/99, a visitor asked: My question is can
a devorced couple have a deceased child sealed to both parents. The origial parents
were not married in the temple. However the male is now married and sealed to another
woman. The female
is going to be married in the temple. The male has now been sealed to his new wife as well as his deceased daughter. Can the birth mother now be sealed to another man and also have the deceased daughter sealed to her and her new spouse?
In an eternal perspective, every exalted person will be sealed to one father and one mother, who have been sealed to each other. Therefore, from an eternal perspective, either the father or mother (and possibly both) in a divorced couple, will not be sealed to the child. It is the policy of the Church not to try and judge which person, if either of them, will be worthy enough to be sealed to their daughter in eternity. Church leaders will often allow the child to be sealed to both sets of parents, with full knowledge that one of the sealings, if not both, will be of none effect. For a sealing to be effactious, it must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. The Church will not normally try to judge which sealing is actually recognized by God. We have complete confidence that we will all receive the appropriate reward at final judgment. (See Temple Sealings)
In the above paragraph, I made several disclaimers such as "possibly both", "if not both". This is because divorce is a very serious offence against God. When two people have been married in the temple, and then divorce, a serious breech of temple covenants has occurred by one or both of the people. In this case, Church leaders have taught that it's quite possible that one or both people have forfeited any hope of exaltaion. Repentance might bring remission of sins, but they will not be exalted into eternal life. Since the people under discussion were not sealed in the temple, then no violation of temple covenants has occurred and both may prove worthy of eternal life. However, the child in question will still only be sealed to one of them. Sometimes not even the providence of God can cancel the consequences of bad choices. (See Marriage for Eternity by Elder Joseph Fielding Smith)
(See Teachings About Marriage home page)
777: On 04/05/99, a visitor asked: My question was that I am very interested in the Church but my husband is not. Religion in general is not important to him. I have read the Book of Mormom. I want to learn more but my husband has not come right out and said NO but he does not like the idea. He doesn't mind me going to church ( not LDS) as long as it does not interfere with our life in general. I love this man dearly. We have been married 23 yrs and have 2 teenage boys. My husband is a great father and husband. I have prayed about this situation alot but have no idea what I should do next. Any suggestions?
My experience has shown that when people have expressed concern about their family members attending our Church, it is usually because they have a few misconceptions about the Church. I would ask him to explain his feelings. Once you understand his concerns, then you will be able to work to resolve them. Everything associated with our Church is good and uplifting. Most likely, your husband just needs to become better informed. (See Join the Church)
776: On 04/05/99, Charles asked: I note that in the LDS churches in this area at the traditional time that Christmas is celebrated (the inaccuracy of and pagan origins of the 25th of December granted), there are [not] external or overt signs of celebration, e.g., colored lights, creshs, trees, etc. However, when I watched the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the Salt Lake Temple, they had colored lights, Christmas Trees, etc. all over the place in the temple. Also, the pans of the community in Temple Square indicated that Christmas decorations are everywhere. So-o-o-o Can someone help me and explain the apparent discrepancy? Do LDS folks shy away from decorations, trees, etc.? If they do, why would these things appear in the SLAKE Temple?
The Church sponsors a very large Christmas light display every December in Temple Square, in Salt Lake City. However, Christmas lights are not placed on the temple itself. They are placed in an adjacent area next to the temple. Likewise, while Latter-day Saints often have Christmas lights on their homes, LDS chapels are not lighted up. This is because temples and chapels are worship areas. Latter-day Saints try and keep non-religious activities, like Christmas lights, away from our dedicated religious areas. (See Christmas)
775: On 04/05/99, Chelle asked: If a couple is sealed in the temple and one parent is excommunicated could the adopted children that were not born under the covenant be sealed to the one parent who was not excommunicated?
Yes, adopted children can be sealed to one parent, if that parent has a temple recomend and may enter the temple. (See Temple Sealings)
774: On 04/05/99, Chelle asked: If someone is excommunicated from the church a second time is it true that in ten years if they truly repent they can get back in? What happens to someone who is excommunicated if the Savior comes back before they can be rebaptised.
If someone has been excommunicated two times, Church leaders will want to be very sure that they have truly repented before allowing them back into the Church. However, Church leaders sincerely desire to help the person do those things which are necessary to enjoy the fellowship of God and the Saints. If the Savior comes before they decide to repent, they lose the opportunity for full salvation, or eternal life. The Book of Mormon teaches:
"And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world. For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked." (Alma 34:33-35)
(See Disciplinary Procedures; Teachings About the Afterlife home page)
773: On 04/05/99, Chelle asked: I wonder if the church has any standing on role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons, Magic cards or internet role playing games?
The Church encourages families to engage in wholesome recreational activities together, including playing games. (See Recreation) However, some forms of entertainment are not wholesome and lead to a degradation of spiritual feelings. Many games can be either uplifting or corrupting, depending upon how they are used. For example, Dungeon & Dragons is a game where people play characters, much like impromptu theatre. One of the key characteristics of their characters is a trait called "alignment". One can be "good", "evil", or "neutral". These traits can also be combined with "lawful" and "chaotic". In the context of this setting, the Church encourages people to be "lawful good" in real life. If your characters in the game exhibit behaviors consistent with Church standards, then this form of impromtu theatre may be wholesome and even uplifting. For example, some years ago, a young man I know was having spiritual difficulty. He was involved in role-playing games similar to Dungeons & Dragons. His playing of "lawful good" characters inspired him to do in real life what his characters did in the game. In his case, his playing led to a refinement of his spiritual character.
However, if your characters exhibit improper traits, then the game may be subtely encouraging you to take on these attributes in real life. In which case, you should not play the game. I know of many people whose participation in role-playing games was not beneficial to their soul. The easist way to know whether a particular game, or how the game is played, is unwholesome is to search the spirit. The Book of Mormon teaches:
"For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God. But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him. And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged." (Moroni 7:16-18)
(See Teachings About the Holy Ghost home page)
772: On 04/04/99, Fred asked: How can you defend plural marriage being in the BoM when it is plainly not there?
The Book of Mormon states:
"Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none; For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts. Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes. For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things." (Jacob 2:27-30, emphasis added)
In these verses, the Lord clearly says that a man normally should have only one wife. However, the Lord also reserves the right to command his people to have more than one wife when he desires to raise up righteous seed.
(See Plural Marriage home page)
771: On 04/04/99, Douglas asked: In that article it refers to Adam being in a premortal state before the Fall. We are spirit children in our premortal state. Adam couldn't die in the state that he was in. You can only be immortal to not be able to die. According to the Book of Mormon the only way that we become immortal is to be resurrected. How was Adam immortal if he hadn't been resurrected yet?Thanks!
Like all of God's spiritual offspring, Adam lived in the premortal life and had a spirit body. Once the earth was created, Heavenly Father created Adam's physical body and his spirit body was placed within it. His physical body was immortal in the sense that it was not subject to death. President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:
"When the earth was created, the Lord pronounced it good. Everything on its face was created without the seeds of death and could have endured forever. This is taught, among other places, in 2 Nephi 2:22. Death had not entered the world, and Adam was immortal in the sense that he was not subject to death. However, he had not passed through the resurrection, and, therefore, he was in a condition by which he could fall so that his body would become subject to death or mortality. This happened and this condition then passed upon the earth and all creatures living upon it." (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.1, p.82)
(See The Fall of Adam home page)
770: On 04/04/99, a visitor asked: I read on one answer that one spouse will have the opportunity to have a temple marriage in heaven-will that opportunity include the possiblility of being sealed to his/her spouse that was on earth?
If someone does not have the opportunity to accept the gospel and receive all of the necessary ordiances in mortality, then he or she will receive that opportunity in the spirit world. (See Salvation for the Dead; Eternal Marriage)
769: On 04/04/99, a visitor asked: does the church believe that the best role for women are to be housewives and mothers only?
The Proclamation on the Family states:
"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. (See Teachings About Fatherhood and the Role of Men home page) Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. (See Teachings About Motherhood and the Role of Women home page) In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners."
(See Teachings About the Family home page)
768: On 04/04/99, a visitor asked: We are advised not to drink coca-cola, but is it alright to drink pepsi products? And hasn't the habit forming drug mentioned in coca-cola been removed?
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. (See Cola Drinks)
767: On 04/04/99, Linda asked: Can you give me any references in the Bible that address our life before we became human? I know these references can be found in Morman literature, but I'm looking for some in the Bible.
Here are some Biblical references for the Premortal Existance: See Num. 16:22; Job 38:7; Eccl. 12:7; Jer. 1:5; Zech. 12:1; John 9:2, Acts 17:28; Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:4; Heb 12:9; Jude 1:6; Rev. 12:7
(See Premortal Existance home page; The Holy Bible home page)
766: On 04/04/99, a visitor asked: I have been trying
to determine for myself if nudity in and of itself is a sin... the evidence in the bible
for and against it seems ambiguous. I ask this because I am enrolled at a school as
a photo major. As such we are
required to take drawing classes that also involve figure work, and photo instructors have encouraged experimenting with the figure to learn certain principles of photography. President Hinckley stands out as one of the most avid anti-pornography individuals that I can think of in the church, but I am not talking about pornography or anything sexual in nature. I understand that you can only make conjectures yourself, but please try to help me understand this.
Church schools do not allow nude models for either painting or photography classes. President Spencer W. Kimball taught:
"Another quotation from a Seattle paper several years ago: "A scholarly research job at the University of Washington was called off Wednesday because parents objected to the photographing of their daughters in the nude." Thank God for some courageous and sensitive people in that great city. "Scholarly research job!" My, to what extent have we gone! How low we sink to do scholarly work sometimes!" (Faith Precedes the Miracle, p.165)
President Harold B. Lee taught:
"It is difficult to justify an unruly band of university students who demand the right to use and write obscene words on the campus, or to display nude and obscene pictures in the name of so-called art." (Stand Ye In Holy Places, p.108)
Elder Mark E. Peterson taught:
"To flagrantly display the almost nude feminine form, as is done in many of our activities, is but to invite the sexual corruption which already has become almost epidemic in every nation." (The Way to Peace, p.159)
(See Teachings About Sexuality home page; The Arts home page)
765: On 04/04/99, a visitor asked: We have had some unfortunate experiences with the church in the last few years. .... We were deeply hurt. I would like to say that we did something to deserve that treatment, but I really, honestly do not believe we did. .... I truly love the ideals of this gospel and once felt enthusiasm and joy about coming to know it better. However, now I am beginning to sympathize with the thousands who join and fall away. The so-called "strong" members of the church have a great deal of difficulty praticing what they preach! Any advice?
I am very sorry you have had these experiences. I have had them myself at times. As you said, none of us are perfect. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said:
"Now, if you feel too spiritually maimed to come to the feast, please realize that the Church is not a monastery for perfect people, though all of us ought to be striving on the road to godliness. No, at least one aspect of the Church is more like a hospital or an aid station, provided for those who are ill and want to get well, where one can get an infusion of spiritual nutrition and a supply of sustaining water in order to keep on climbing. " (See "He Hath Filled the Hungry with Good Things")
My advice is to seek the spirit. Have daily family and individual prayer. Read your scriptures together, especially the Book of Mormon. Do this every day. Listen to spiritual music. Get some Church tapes. Listen to LDS Radio via the internet. Order the conference talks, listen to them, or watch them on video. Do everything you can to fill your home with the Spirit of God. Remember that while the Church is filled with those who will not take the Savior's invitiation to emulate and follow him seriously, the gospel is true and does work. True happiness can only be found in the teachings of Jesus Christ. President Ezra Taft Benson said:
"We must each work out our salvation individually. The Lord has also said, "Seek and ye shall find" (3 Nephi 14:7). It is not easy to be a good Latter-day Saint. Happiness must be earned from day to day. But it is worth the effort." (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.342)
(See Teachings About the Holy Ghost home page)
764: On 04/04/99, Scott asked: My wife is to be baptized into the LDS church soon and I may join her. I have read almost through Alma in the book of Mormon.My history is 24 years as a self described agnostic and anti-religion. However I have done much research of this site as well as meetings with missionaries (on number three now), and my reading. Enough background, my question; If Adam is the first man how does that dovetail with archaeological findings and scientific studies showing records of mankind that are older than the historical record of the Bible. I don't mean this to be accusatorial I'm just trying to understand.
President Ezra Taft Benson said:
"Religion and science have sometimes been in apparent conflict. Yet, the conflict can only be apparent, not real, for science seeks truth, and true religion is truth. There can never be conflict between true religion and scientific fact. That they have occupied different fields of truth is a mere detail. True religion accepts and embraces all truth; science is slowly expanding her arms and reaching into the invisible domain, in search of truth. The two are meeting daily; science as a child; true religion as the mother. Truth is truth, whether labeled science or religion. "Truth is knowledge of things as they are, as they were, and as they are to come" (D&C 93:24). Truth is always consistent. It can never be in conflict with itself." (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.118)
The Church is very pro-science and believes most scientific discoveries have come about through the providence of God. There are probably some good books written by LDS scientists which would more specifically address your questions. However, I have a couple of comments. First, the Church takes no position on the age of the earth. We have no idea how long Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden. Second, before the Fall of Adam, the world followed terrestrial law. After the Fall, the world followed telestial law. Therefore, it's quite possible that some of the scientific laws we presently know functioned differently before the fall. For example, under telestial law (our present law), a day lasts 24 hours. Under terrestrial law, a day may have lasted 1 hour or a thousand hours. We simply don't know.
(See The Creation home page)
763: On 04/04/99, a visitor asked: If someone was raised an LDS member their whole life, baptized at the age of 8, and as an adult decides not to believe in the religion anymore-is that the same as the unforgivable sin? Will that person not go to heaven or not be allowed to be in heaven with his loved ones? thank you for thoughtfully answering my question.
No, the unpardonable sin is to deny Jesus with full, actual knowledge that he really is the Son of God and Savior of the World. To leave the Church is not an unpardonable sin. The Church makes special efforts to welcome back lost members. (See Come Back, a letter from the First Presidency)
If the person truly repents, then he may return to full fellowship in the Church and be eligible for all the blessings of God, including an eternal family. If the person never returns to the Church, he will inherit either the terrestrial or telestial kingdom, depending upon the kind of life he lived. However, he will not be eligible to live in the celestial kingdom with his family and God.
(See Teachings About the Afterlife home page)
762: On 04/04/99, a visitor asked: I have a question regarding the ordinace of sealing. I was sealed to my wife and we have 4 children. Unfortunatley, my wife has chosen to fall in love with another man and is divorcing me. I certainly have made my share of mistakes but I've remained true and faithful to the covenants that I made in the temple when we were sealed.My wife has written a letter to our Bishop asking that she be ex-communicated. I do not want the divorce and am still in love with my wife. She claims to have a testimony and wants to repent and come back to the church with the other man in her life as her husband. I believe and have told her that we are sealed and that after the ressurection that if we a worthy of the celestial kingdom that she would be my wife again. This brings great comfort to our children, however my wife disputes this claim. I was hoping you could enlighten me about the teachings regarding this matter. Be of good cheer.
First, Adultery constitutes a grievous violation of the law of chastity. The Doctrine and Covenants states:
"And as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed." (D&C 132:41)
Second, when a man or woman divorces a spouse to marry someone else, Church leaders often forever deny them the opportunity to marry in the temple. To allow adulterers a sealing in the temple under most circumstances is a severe mockery of God.
Third, to receive remission of sins, one must repent. This means one must acknowledge that the deed performed was wrong and also make restitution to the persons afflicted. However, in some cases, adultery is unforgivable. 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." (Mormon Doctrine, p. 24)
This means that for some Church members, the act of adultery puts them beyond the redemption of the atonement. They are forever lost from our Heavenly Father.
It should be noted that even if the Lord would be willing to forgive your wife (and her complete and thorough repentance is required for that to even be a possibility), she will forever lose any eternal attachment to your children. If you are true and faithful to your temple covenants, then they will belong to you and another wife in eternity. Your present wife will have absolutely no connection to them is she continues in her present course.
While your question did not specifically mention sexual contact, the principles recited would still apply even if there was not. Assuming the background information you have provided is accurate, then your wife has broken her temple covenants, and may be irredeemably lost.
761: On 04/04/99, a visitor asked: What are the Church Starndards regarding Caffiene?
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. (See Cola Drinks)
(See Question and Answer home page)
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