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Question and Answer 26

"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (The Book of Mormon; Moroni 10:4-5)

by W. John Walsh

Visitors are invited to send any Questions via EmailWe try to respond to questions as quickly as possible, but are limited by time constraints.  Therefore while we will eventually answer every letter we receive, there may be a period of delay due to the amount of research required and/or our personal circumstances.

The questions answered in this section concern the basic beliefs and practices of the Latter-day Saints. Answers to accusatory questions are given in the Response to Criticism section. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions are maintained separately.

All questions concerning Family History or Genealogy should be addressed to The Genealogy Lady at the New Jerusalem web site.

NOTE: Dates are posting dates

Please note that the answers given are not official statements of doctrine, but interpretations by the author for which he is alone responsible.

861:  On 04/13/99, a visitor asked:  I have been sealed in the Temple of the Lord.  Approx. 10 years ago I committed adultry and was disfellowshipped.  After a long period of time I was received back into the church and was informed that I have been forgiven of the Lord.  I was also informed that I could still be saved in the Celestial Kingdom.  According to what I just read on your site as a quote from Doctrines of Salvation Vol.2, pp92-94 I can't receive this glory.  Please explain to me why I was told I was forgiven by the Lrod and have since been back to the Temple many times but yet you say I can't go to the Celestial kingdom?

Is adultery forgivable? Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:

"Is it possible to repent of adultery and gain forgiveness of sins so as to be saved in the celestial kingdom of God? Yes in most cases; No in some. Forgiveness with resultant celestial salvation depends upon the light and knowledge of the one guilty of the grossly wicked adulterous relationship. " (Mormon Doctrine, p. 24)

Only God can judge whether someone has enough knowledge that he or she has forfeited any hope of exaltation, even with true repentance.  If the Savior determines that he did not have enough understanding of the gospel, then it may be possible for him to receive forgiveness, upon his true repentance.  On the other hand, if the Savior determines that he knew enough about his course of action, then he may be irredeemably lost, as to celestial glory.

The practice of the Church is to leave this matter in the hands of the Lord and not to attempt distinguish between those who are still eligible for celestial glory and those who are not.  We have absolute faith that at the final judgment we will all receive the appropriate rewards.  Repentant adulterers are allowed back into full fellowship and forgiven, as far as the Church is concerned.  However, this is not a declaration that the Lord still offers the individual the opportunity to be exalted.

The best course of action for a repentant adulterer is (1) try to determine his own standing with the Lord through personal revelation.  The prophet Enos relates that after "mighty prayer and supplication" the Lord declared that his sins had been forgiven, meaning that he had been redeemed. (Enos 1:1-8), and (2) start taking a very serious, mature approach to gospel obedience.

860:  On 04/13/99, a visitor asked:  If a parent loses a child in infancy, will they be able to raise that child in the millennium even though we are told all spirits are adults?

President Joseph F. Smith said:

"Joseph Smith taught the doctrine that the infant child that was laid away in death would come up in the resurrection as a child; and, pointing to the mother of a lifeless child, he said to his: 'You will have the joy, the pleasure, and satisfaction of nurturing this child, after its resurrection, until it reaches the full stature of its spirit.' There is restitution, there is growth, there is development, after the resurrection from death. I love this truth. It speaks volumes of happiness, of joy and gratitude to my soul. Thank the Lord he has revealed these principles to us." (Gospel Doctrine, pp. 455-56.)

(See Salvation of Children)

859:  On 04/12/99, Diane asked: I recently watched a show on a&e regarding the so called salamander letter. this was the first time i had heard this story concerning mark hoffman and forged mormon historical documents. Apparently the church purchased many of these forged documents from hoffman thinking they were authentic. It troubles me that the lord did not reveal to the first pres. That these documents were forged. It seems the hoffman was able to drag the church thru a terrible ordeal. Can you explain why the lord would allow something like this happen to his true church.

(See Forgeries of Historical Documents; If Chuch leaders are true prophets, why didn't the Lord reveal that the Mark Hoffman documents were forgeries?)

858:  On 04/12/99, a visitor asked:  what are the signs of the last days?

See Signs of the Times

857:  On 04/12/99, a visitor asked:  what is the churches stand point on coke and going to the temple unwortherly

See Cola Drinks

856:  On 04/12/99, a visitor asked:  If a couple is sealed into an Eternal Marriage and one of the spouses dies, is the living spouse allowed or encouraged to remarry since the marriage continues or is resurrected in the afterlife?

While it's entirely within the discretion of the individual, many Latter-day Saint widowers choose to remarry and have an additional wife sealed to them (i.e., more than one wife in eternity).  Many Latter-day Saint widows choose to remarry for time only (i.e., for mortal companionship)

(See Teachings About Marriage home page)

855:  On 04/12/99, James asked:  I was in the company of a friend and we were discussing the later day saints and he mentioned something about the block vote.  He said it may have been one of the reasons for plural marriage.   I am new to the faith and I had heard this mentioned once before.  However I am not sure why or actually what this was.  Can someone clarify this.

Since Latter-day Saints don't sponsor block voting, it can't have had anything to do with Plural Marriage.  The First Presidency has stated:

"While the Church does not endorse political candidates, platforms, or parties, members are counseled to study the candidates carefully and vote for those individuals they believe will act with integrity and in ways conducive to good communities and good government. Hence, political candidates are asked not to imply that their candidacy is endorsed by the Church or its leaders." (See An Official Statement on Political, Governmental, and Community Affairs)

(See Political, Governmental, and Community Affairs home page)

854:  On 04/12/99, David asked:  Several times I have heard people in your church say that men can be sealed to more than one woman.  Is the opposite true?  The scenario I am thinking of is, a woman becomes sealed, and then becomes a widow.  Can she remarry and become sealed to another man?

Latter-day Saint men can presently be married to only one living woman at a time.  However, our doctrine teaches that from an eternal perspective, men may be sealed to more than one wife, but women may only be sealed to one husband.  In other words, men may have more than one wife in heaven.  Why is this the case?  The purpose of plural marriage is to "raise up seed unto" God (Jacob 2:30).  It is not for extra companionship or sexual gratification.

Common sense tells us that a woman with several husbands will not have any more children than a women with only one husband.  On the other hand, a man with several wives will have more children than a man with only one wife.  It is the natural order of things.  Since we are talking about an eternal perspective, issues like mortal medical and fertility problems do not concern us. In eternity, we shall have perfect bodies with no disabilities. Obviously, a greater number of children leads to greater opportunities to help others along the path to eternal life.

The bearing and raising of children is the center of LDS life from both a mortal and eternal perspective.  The Doctrine and Covenants teaches:

"....for [a man's wives] are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfill the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified." (D&C 132:63; See Eternal Lives; Eternal Increase)

In speaking against the use of birth control by LDS women, President Spencer W. Kimball said:

"Come home, wives, to your children, born and unborn. Wrap the motherly cloak about you and, unembarrassed, help in a major role to create bodies for the immortal souls who anxiously wait." (See Birth Control)

If sexual gratification were the primary purpose of marriage and sex (i.e., Satan's perspective), then a woman having multiple husbands would be the preferred method from a biological perspective.  On the other hand, as noted above, if the primary purpose of marriage and sex is forming families and rearing children, then the Lord's plan is the most efficient way (i.e., most children per husband).

(See Plural Marriage home page)

853:  On 04/12/99, David asked:  As I understand your belief, God has a physical body and dwells in space-time and that this is God.  That God is composed of matter. If God is matter, and God created matter, how can God have created himself?  Before the universe existed, your beliefs seem to imply that God could not have existed because God exists in the universe.
Could you explain this for me, please?  References to actual church  documents explaining this would be of great help, so I can look at it for myself and learn for myself.

Latter-day Saints believe that the elements are eternal and we reject ex nihilo creation. Rather, we believe the universe was created (organized) out of preexisting elements that God organized by imposing physical laws. (See Matter; Meaning, Source and History of Doctrine)

852:  On 04/12/99, a visitor asked:  A friend of mine (who is not Mormon, so i don't know that i should believe him.) told me that according to Mormon doctrine, there are 7th "levels" of heaven. Is that true?

Heaven is a word that can have different meanings in different contexts.  Latter-day Saints believe there are three degrees of glory, the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial.  Within each glory, there are innumerable variations.  Elder James E. Talmage noted:

"The three kingdoms of widely differing glories are organized on an orderly plan of gradation. We have seen that the telestial kingdom comprises several subdivisions; this also is the case, we are told, with the celestial; and, by analogy, we conclude that a similar condition prevails in the terrestrial. Thus the innumerable degrees of merit amongst mankind are provided for in an infinity of graded glories. The celestial kingdom is supremely honored by the personal ministrations of the Father and the Son. The terrestrial kingdom will be administered through the higher, without a fulness of glory. The telestial is governed through the ministrations of the terrestrial, by 'angels who are appointed to minister for them.'" (Burton, ed., We Believe)

(See Teachings About the Afterlife home page)

851:  On 04/12/99, a visitor asked:  Does the church have a stand on masterbating? Is it wrong? Is it ok to do in the privacy of your own home/room?

The First Presidency has affirmed:

"The Lord specifically forbids certain behaviors, including all sexual relations before marriage, petting, sex perversion (such as homosexuality, rape, and incest), masturbation, or preoccupation with sex in thought, speech, or action. (See For the Strength of Youth)

(See Teachings About Sexuality home page)

850:  On 04/11/99, Jim asked:  Do Mormons have to follow the same mandatory guidelines for immunization to enroll their children in school? Are Mormom's exempt from immunizations by filing a religious objection? Do Mormons consider immunizations harmful substance to the body?

Latter-day Saints follow the same immunization guidelines as everyone else. (See Health, Medicine, and Fitness home page)

849:  On 04/11/99, a visitor asked:  Which book is more important, the book of mormon or the king james version of the bible? Ima not shure   myself. Please let me know the answer.

The Book of Mormon and the Bible are equal in the Latter-day Saint canon. (See Scriptural Writings home page; Do you believe the Bible is as important as other Christians?)

848:  On 04/11/99, Heather asked:  My husband is going to be ordained an elder on March 14 by his father and we would like to trace his line of authority.  His father is unsure of his own so I am trying to find out where to get this information.

There is a department at Church headquarters that can give you this information.   Your Bishop will have the contact information. (See Priesthood Authority home page)

847:  On 04/11/99, John asked:  in the 1837 edition: the Lamb of God is the the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world ...(1 Nephi 11:32, emphasis added). My question the current edition of the Book of Mormon it says everlasting Father instead of Eternal Father ...  when did this change?

See Changes to the Book of Mormon

846:  On 04/11/99, Lauren asked:  I was wondering if you could tell me if your religion has any specific rituals for healing and health, what assumptions your religion makes about what causes an illness or what might affect its course and outcome, the meanings attached to symptoms, types of illnesses or specific diseases, is there an internal or external locus of control, and the mind-body relationship.

See Health, Medicine, and Fitness home page

845:  On 04/11/99, Paige asked:  I am a Catholic who has heard many rumors about the Mormon religion. Because I am not one to believe rumors that cannot be substantiated, I thought I would e-mail you to get a "correct" answer.  With regards to the Mormon undergarments, is it true that you have to wear them at all times? 

See Garments

844:  On 04/11/99, a visitor asked:  What is Kolab?  

Latter-day Saints believe that God the Father, our Heavenly Father, dwells within physical space. Elder Bruce R. McConkie noted:

"Kolob means 'the first creation.' It is the name of the planet 'nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God.' It is 'first in government, the last pertaining to the measurement of time. . . . One day in Kolob is equal to a thousand years according to the measurement of this earth.' (Book of Abraham, pp. 34-35; Abra. 3:3-9.)" (Mormon Doctrine p. 428)

Note that Kolob is the planet nearest to the residence of God, not the residence itself. (See Scriptual References to Astronomy)

843:  On 04/11/99, Ryan asked:  I was asked by someone and was wondering myself where dinosaurs came into the picture of creation.  Is there a stance in the Church on it, or is it something we shouldn't really worry about?

The Church has no stand on dinosaurs.  Monte S. Nyman and Robert L. Millet noted:

"When discussing the Genesis creation story, what teacher has not been pressed with questions such as: How was the earth created? How long did it take? Were there dinosaurs before Adam? Were there pre-Adamites? Did God just place a spirit in man at one point in his evolutionary development from lower forms? What about organic evolution? Was Adam brought from another planet? Where did God come from? Did God's father's father have a father? What is an intelligence? Where did it all begin? And numerous others that you can think of. Is it possible that most of these questions totally miss the mark?

If the Lord intended to reveal the specific details of creation there seems to be a great defect in the present record. In this regard, Elder James E. Talmage said, "The opening chapters of Genesis, and scriptures related thereto, were never intended as a textbook of geology, archeology, earth-science, or man-science." (The Joseph Smith Translation, p.53–54)

The Lord has chosen to not reveal all aspects of the creation because such knowledge is not required for our salvation.

(See The Creation home page)

842:  On 04/11/99, Miggsy asked:  What is known about the years of Jesus Christ's life when he was between 13 and 33 years of age?

See The Preparation Period of Christ home page

841:  On 04/11/99, Kat asked: I am stuck however I haven't got much to go on with the Salamander letter. What was that about?  Do you have any information on that?

(See Forgeries of Historical Documents; If Chuch leaders are true prophets, why didn't the Lord reveal that the Mark Hoffman documents were forgeries?)

840:  On 04/11/99, Steve asked: If the Book of Abraham was written around 2000 BC by one author and the Book of Mormon written between 600BC and 400AD by several authors and edited by one in 400AD or so, then why the incredible similarity of phrasing? All the verses that start with the word "And" repeated use of "And it came to pass" and repeated "I, Abraham" as compared to repeated "I, Nephi?"

The Journal of Book of Mormon Studies notes:

"The Book of Mormon is a translation literature. It must be kept in mind that a translation seldom does complete justice to the original. The patterns of any two languages differ from each other, oftentimes very widely. A peculiar idiom of one tongue may have no counterpart in another. Consequently, a translator is often hard put to carry over the spirit of a given passage into another language, because no adequate vehicle exists with which to do it. How, for example, could a translator render adequately the Gospel of John 10 into the Eskimo language? In this lovely excerpt of scripture Jesus portrays himself as the good shepherd. Eskimos of the Arctic region have had little or no experience with sheep. It would be vain to expect them to catch the spirit of Jesus' words if the translator kept the figure of sheep." (Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Vol.4, Number 2, p.45)

Both the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham were translated by the same person, Joseph Smith. Therefore, one would expect both works to reflect Joseph Smith's language to some degree.  However, most serious students of both works will tell you that there are more differences than similarities in style.  The spirit of each work is rather distinct.

(See Book of Mormon Translation by Joseph Smith)

839:  On 04/11/99, Ryan asked:  I know that you are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to the Church...and I have some questions for a paper that I am writing regarding Mormons and consumer behavior.  Here goes.....and I need the responses soon if you can manage that....if not...I will email the headquarters in SLC but I thought you could help.... I need scriptures references regarding: Multiplying and replenshing the earth, Missionary work, Sabbath day, Fast offerings and donations, garments and clothing restrictions, word of wisdom, no vulgarity and "R" movies, temple work, life after death...degrees of heaven....Can you help me out with some scriptures on these topics PLEASE......

Multiplying and replenshing the earth--See Birth Control; Teachings About Children
Missionary work--See Missionary Work home page
Sabbath day--See Teachings About the Sabbath Day home page
Fast offerings and donations--See Financial Contributions
garments and clothing restrictions--See Garments; Modesty in Dress
word of wisdom--See Word of Wisdom
no vulgarity and "R" movies--
See Rated R Movies and Other Inappropriate Media
temple work--See Teachings About Temples home page
life after death...degrees of heaven--See Teachings About the Afterlife home page

838:  On 04/11/99, David asked:  I am a faithfull Roman Catholic. However, I was wondering what are the similarities, and or differences between the 2 believes???

See Catholicism and Mormonism

837:  On 04/11/99, John asked:  What is the Mormon religion's standpoint on the Bible?

The Church believes the word of God contained in the Bible. It accepts the Bible "as the foremost of [the Church's] standard works, first among the books which have been proclaimed as…written guides in faith and doctrine. In the respect and sanctity with which the Latter-day Saints regard the Bible they are of like profession with Christian denominations in general" (AF, 1966 ed., p. 236).

(See The Holy Bible home page)

836:  On 04/11/99, Spence asked:  The Bishop said that God may have used the piezoelectric effect to make the stones glow (Ether 3:1.)  I replied that it is a mistake to try to figure out HOW or WHY God does things.  We should just accept them by faith.  What do you say?

Exaltation is obtaining all divine attributes and doing as God does and being as God is. (See Godhood)  In the course of our spiritual development, we must come to understand things as God understands them.  This is one of the reasons we are encouraged to seek after knowledge:

"And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith" (D&C 109:7)

The scriptures give several examples of people asking the Lord how certain things did or would occur:

"And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.  And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.  And I said: Lord, how is it done?  And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole." (Enos 1:5-8)

"And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS....Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:31-35)

In these cases, the questioners had faith in the Lord and were rewarded with greater knowledge.  The Lord approves of our questioning, if it is done in faith for the purpose of furthering our knowledge.  However, if our questioning is due to disbelief and doubt, the Lord will be displeased with us.

(See Knowledge)

835:  On 04/11/99, Spence asked:  Why do Mormons celebrate April 6 as the birthday of Christ? 

President Harold B. Lee taught:

"April 6, a particularly significant date because it commemorates not only the anniversary of the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in this dispensation, but also the anniversary of the birth of the Savior, our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ." (CR 1973 Apr:4)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:

"Though there is considerable controversy and uncertainty among scholars of the world as to the actual year of Christ's birth, the revelation given on the day the Church was organized in this dispensation apparently intends to convey the thought that he was born April 6, B.C. 1. (D. & C. 20:1.)" (Mormon Doctrine, p. 131)

(See April 6)

834:  On 04/11/99, a visitor asked: [My wife -- a former Relief Society President, Gospel Doctrine Instructor, and Temple Worker -- has committed adultery.  If she truly repents, which is not something she is presently doing, will she still be my wife in eternity?]  Assuming she is ex-communicated does that negate the sealing that she has with our children? If she does return to the church and lives rightously  and edures to the end, will our children together still be sealed to her as their mother?

Is adultery forgivable? Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:

"Is it possible to repent of adultery and gain forgiveness of sins so as to be saved in the celestial kingdom of God? Yes in most cases; No in some. Forgiveness with resultant celestial salvation depends upon the light and knowledge of the one guilty of the grossly wicked adulterous relationship. " (Mormon Doctrine, p. 24)

Only God can judge whether someone has enough knowledge that he or she has forfeited any hope of exaltation, even with true repentance.  If the Savior determines that she did not have enough understanding of the gospel, then it may be possible for her to receive forgiveness, upon her true repentance.  In which case, her former sealings may be reaffirmed.  It may also be possible for her to receive forgiveness, but still lose her connection to you and her children.  On the other hand, if the Savior determines that she knew enough about her course of action, then she may be irredeemably lost, as to celestial glory.

As to the present status of her sealings, the Holy Spirit of Promise does not ratify the sealings of unrepentant adulterers, whether or not the person has been excommunicated from the Church.  Therefore, your wife has no present eternal connection to either you or your children.  While the records on earth may still show her sealed to you and your children, the records in heaven have already removed the bond.   If someone desires to live with their family in heaven, they must be true and faithful in all things. 

Regardless of your wife's spiritual status, the children are still sealed to you.   As long as you remain just and true to the Lord, then they will dwell with you in the eternities.  Whenever you are remarried, whether in this life or the next, you will want to have your children sealed to your new wife as well.

(See Eternal Marriage; Disciplinary Procedures)

833:  On 04/11/99, Allison asked: and I am doing a Social Studies Project. I  chose the Mormons topic and their experience in Nauvoo as mine.

See Church History c. 1831-1844, Ohio, Missouri, And Nauvoo Periods

832:  On 04/11/99, Mark asked:  What is the purpose of the LDS Church's General Conference?  Any information would be appreciated.  Thank you!!

In 1954 David O. McKay, President of the Church from 1951 to 1970, listed the following twentieth-century objectives:

(1) to inform the membership of general conditions of the Church—including whether it is progressing or retrogressing, and of its economic, ecclesiastic, and spiritual status; (2) to commend true merit; (3) to express gratitude for divine guidance; (4) to give instruction in principles, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel; (5) to proclaim the restoration, with divine authority to administer in all the ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to declare, quoting the Apostle Peter, that there is none other name under heaven given among men than Jesus Christ whereby we may be saved (Acts 4:12); (6) to admonish and inspire to continue in greater activity [IE (Dec. 1954), p. 872].

(See General Conference)

831:  On 04/11/99, Elwin asked: i am 23 years old i am in the military and i live in germany. i have been a member all my life, i was just wondering if you could help me find out the churches official position on its members becoming masons. i am interested in becoming one but i dont know if it is right or not. any information woould be greatly appreciated.

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. (See Activity in the Church home page)

830:  On 04/10/99, Perry asked: [Some Church leaders seem to say that plural marriage is required for exaltation and others don't] I am curious about any explanation you may have on this seeming contradiction.

A person must embrace plural marriage as a divine and holy principle in order to receive eternal life.  I am not aware of any Church leader who has ever said anything contradicting this truth.   However, the Lord does not always desire his people to enter into this practice.   For example, the Book of Mormon peoples were specifically forbidden to practice plural marriage. (Jacob 2).  Therefore, we know that plural marriage is not an ordinance like baptism that must be practiced in mortality to be saved.  However, it is a celestial doctrine, and those whose hearts are not pure enough to accept the doctrine are not pure enough to dwell in the celestial kingdom.

Those who break the commandments of God cannot be saved.  Since there are times when the Lord commands his people not to enter into plural marriage (e.g., Book of Mormon times; today), we know that there are times when we will be damned for practicing it, even though the doctrine is eternal. Likewise, since there are times when the Lord commands his people to practice plural marriage (e.g., Abraham's time; 1830's-1904), we know that there are times when we will be damned for not practicing it.  The key to salvation on this matter is to always believe and espouse the principles, but only practice it at the command of the Lord, through his appointed prophets.

(See Plural Marriage home page)

829:  On 04/10/99, a visitor asked:  My question to you is on what grounds can a member of the church be excommunicated?  What is the minimum act that was performed to enable them to be excommunicated?  This is important to me as a member  because I currently know of someone close who may possibly face this.   Can the word of one Bishop cause the stake to excommunicate?  And if so, is telling an (assumed) lie to a church official grounds for such extreme results.

There are no specific listings for all of the acts that can cause someone to be excommunicated.  In addition, some members may face different levels of discipline for the same behavior, depending upon the context of the situation and their present attitude.  For example, a woman who commits adultery and refuses to repent may be excommunicated.  A woman who commits adultery, but exhibits true repentance may only be disfellowshipped or placed on probation.  It is within the judgment of Church leaders exactly which penalty is appropriate.  If someone believes they have been treated unfairly, they can appeal to a higher Church authority.  (See Disciplinary Procedures)

828:  On 04/10/99, Jennifer asked:  I was wondering if there was a complete list of all the temples that have been announced and are in the world.  We would like to keep track of them on a map for a FHE project. 

See Nick Literski's Latter-Day Saint Temple Homepage at

827:  On 04/10/99, a visitor asked: I dont know if it is posible, but i would like to see something about mormons and mental health. I have bipolar illness and one tends to feel lost when it comes to mental health and religon.

See Mental Health

826:  On 04/10/99, a visitor asked:  I am confused on this subject.  Can't drink alchol, hot drinks- coffee  and tea.  but can drink harmful additive drinks -coke. Can also prepare, peddle and serve these forbiden drinks to other people.  Then it would
be alright for a Member to prepare, peddle, and serve beer,and wine?

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.  Likewise, it would be against the spirit of the word of wisdom to sell addictive substances to others.  (See Cola Drinks)

825:  On 04/10/99, Paul asked:  I would like to know if ther is a graph or chart, that would outline the historical lines of the Book of Mormon. I have purchased a Quad but would find it extremely helpful to have a simple guid as to what is happening. I guess a type of timeline chart is what I am thinking of.

See Book of Mormon Chronology

824:  On 04/10/99, Annie asked:  Under Daily Living, The word of wisdom, there is a talk by Joseph Lynn Lyon in which he states "The Word of Wisdom limited alcohol use to wine for the Sacrament and hard liquor for washing the body." It was my understanding that no form of alcohol was to be comsumed by   the Latter-Day Saint people and the "wine" refered to in the sacrament   should be clarified as just plain old grape juice in which there is no   alcohol.  Could you please inform me who John Lynn Lyon is and what power he holds in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?  This is a very questionable matter to me.

Doctrine and Covenants 89, known informally as the Word of Wisdom, states:

"Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation--That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make." (D&C 89:4-6)

Elder John A. Widstoe taught:

"The Word of Wisdom provides that wine used for the Sacrament, should be "pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make." This statement is understood to mean new or unfermented grape juice, since the Word of Wisdom declares unequivocally against the internal use of alcohol in any form." (The Word of Wisdom: A Modern Interpretation, p.60)

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:

"We should also remember that this revelation says that wine if used for the sacrament should be made "new" among us and be pure juice of the grape." (Church History and Modern Revelation, Vol. 2, p.148)

The early Saints also appear to have interpreted "pure wine of the grape" as unfermented grape juice.  In 1839, John Corrill's book History of the Mormons stated:

"The sacrament was administered on every first day, (Sabbath), by a high priest or an elder. Bread and wine are used as emblems, but for wine they prefer the pure juice of the grape when they can get it, and they administer in remembrance of the body and blood of the Saviour [Savior], as the scripture commands." (p. 47)

Based on the above, it appears that the article in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism is incorrect.  However, it should be noted the Church has issued no official interpretation of the phrase "pure wine of the grape of the vine."  The present policy of the Church is to administer the Sacrament using water.

823:  On 04/10/99, Robert asked:  in the Bible, the prophets never mention [much] about the people of the American continent; the question is why they did not.

Jesus told his Old World disciples about his New World disciples when he said:

"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, [and] one shepherd." (John 10:16)

There is evidence that the Lord purposely witheld detailed information from them due to the hardness of their hearts.  In speaking to his New World disciplines, the Savior said:

"Ye are my disciples; and ye are a light unto this people, who are a remnant of the house of Joseph..... .And not at any time hath the Father given me commandment that I should tell it unto your brethren at Jerusalem..... And now, because of stiffneckedness and unbelief they understood not my word; therefore I was commanded to say no more of the Father concerning this thing unto them.  But, verily, I say unto you that the Father hath commanded me, and I tell it unto you, that ye were separated from among them because of their iniquity; therefore it is because of their iniquity that they know not of you. .... And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.  And they understood me not, for they supposed it had been the Gentiles; for they understood not that the Gentiles should be converted through their preaching.  And they understood me not that I said they shall hear my voice; and they understood me not that the Gentiles should not at any time hear my voice--that I should not manifest myself unto them save it were by the Holy Ghost.   But behold, ye have both heard my voice, and seen me; and ye are my sheep, and ye are numbered among those whom the Father hath given me." (3 Nephi 15:12-24)

It's possible that his chief disciples (e.g., Peter, James, and John) knew more information, but it has not been captured in the present Bible.  Many "plain and most precious" parts of the original apostolic records have been lost (See 1 Nephi 13:26). After all, Peter held the keys of the Melchizedek priesthood at that time and the Book of Mormon priesthood holders were subordinate to him.  Therefore, it's seems unlikely that Peter did not know anything about these other sheep.  It's also possible that Jesus told them, but it was not recorded.

"And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written." (John 21:25)

822:  On 04/10/99, Eugene asked:  Was there evil before Lucifer became satan? If so, can you describe?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:

"As far as men on this earth are concerned, evil had its beginning in pre-existence." (Mormon Doctrine, p.245, emphasis added)

However, we know that our earth was not the first inhabited world in creation. (See Worlds)   It is quite possible that evil, defined as rebellion against God, existed prior to Lucifer's fall (i.e., on these other worlds).  However, we have no specific record or knowledge of it.  Our Heavenly Father has chosen not to give us detailed accounts of these worlds because they bear little on our individual salvation.   We have so much to learn before we are fit to dwell in the Celestial Kingdom that God tries to focus us on what's most important.  The Book of Moses states:

"But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them." (Moses 1:35)

Once we have been saved in the Kingdom of God, we shall undoubtedly have the opportunity of learning more about these other worlds and the events associated with them.

(See Evil)

821:  On 04/10/99, Jeffrey asked:     I've been asked to put together a list of entry-level positions, as it were, for newly baptized members.  The list is to be presented at stake missionary correlation April 11.  The stake missionaries are to take the list to the councils of their respective wards to supplement discussions on retaining newly baptized saints.   President Hinckley has reminded us that new members need friends, jobs and nurturing.  So my assignment is to focus on the jobs.  I'm sure this is a wheel that does not need reinventing.  Does anyone have such a list to share?  Or can anyone suggest where I might look?

I am not aware of a list.  As far as callings, I think it depends upon the person.  Some new converts could handle almost any calling, while others need something more foundational.  It's important not to be condescending and give someone a "busy work" type of assignment like passing out hymn books. President Spencer W. Kimball said:

"Jesus was not afraid to make demands of those he led.  His leadership was not condescending or soft was selfless.  He put himself and his own needs second and ministered to others beyond the call of duty, tirelessly, lovingly, effectively.  Jesus gave people truths and tasks that were matched to their capacity.  He did not overwhelm them with more than they could manage, but gave them enough to stretch their souls." (Ensign, August 1989, p. 6)

(See Activity in the Church home page)

820:  On 04/10/99, Robert asked:  When was the priesthood totally lost on the Earth? I believe that the prophets in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon had priesthood authority?

Both the believers in Jerusalem (e.g., Peter, James, John, Paul, etc.) and the Book of Mormon peoples (e.g., Mormon, Moroni) had priesthood authority.   Regarding the loss of priesthood authority, President Joseph F. Smith taught:

"When in consequence of transgressions, apostasy from the true order of the Priesthood and Church of Christ, the innovations of priestcraft and paganism, the true order of God was lost, the Holy Priesthood was taken from the earth, and the Church of Christ ceased to be among men, so far as we have any knowledge by revelation or from the history and records of the past." ( Gospel Doctrine, p.191)

The Church in the old world lost priesthood authority shortly after the death of the original apostles, when the membership turned away from the teachings of God and towards the philosophies of men. (See Which Church is Right?)  The Church in the new world lost priesthood authority after Moroni sealed up the plates and ended his days upon the earth.

In one sense, the priesthood was never completely lost from the earth since several translated beings have ministered unto the children of men, even after the great apostasy.  In addition, we do not know when the lost tribes of Israel lost their priesthood.

(See Restoration of the Gospel home page)

819:  On 04/10/99, Robert asked:  Are there any scriptural references that shows how prophets are  appointed for the Church? From my understanding, Joseph Smith thought  there would be several possibilities of who would become the next
prophet, namely his son. That is one of the reasons why the RLDS church  was formed. Could you give me some references as to the differences in  beliefs (etc.) in the LDS/RLDS churches?

See Succession in the Presidency; RLDS Church

818:  On 04/10/99, Rod asked:  Again I have probably missed something, but do you hold a doctrine I have heard of called 'Eternal Progression', that is 'As man is, God was; as God is man can be"?  Is there any proof in the Bible and/or the Book
of Mormon?

See Biblical Support for Deification; Eternal Progression

817:  On 04/10/99, Rod asked:  Baptism for the dead confuses me.  I know it's one of the things which is unique to the LDS and I am probably missing the point but Jesus says "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved", Mark 16:16.  How can a dead person believe?

Death is not the end, but simply a transition to another form of existence.  After we die, our spirit bodies leave our physical bodies and emerge in the spirit worldSpirits are capable of intellectual advancement, love, hate, happiness, sorrow, obedience, disobedience, memory, and other personal characteristics.  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."

While a spirit can obey a gospel principle (i.e., believe), he or she cannot be baptized.   This ordinance requires a physical body.  To meet this need, our Heavenly Father allows his other children to enter holy temples and stand as proxies in gospel ordinances for their deceased kindred.  By doing so, both the laws and the ordinances have been obeyed.

(See Teachings About the Afterlife home page; Teachings About the Temple home page)

816:  On 04/10/99, Rod asked:  Latter Day Saints claim that their elders have direct revelation from God.  Other churches such as the Jehovah's Witnesses also claim direct revelation from this same God.  Malachi 3:6 says that God does not change so why do churches such as yourselves and the JW's have different teachings?

While Latter-day Saints do believe that our Church leaders receive revelation from God, we also believe that every member is entitled to receive personal revelation to assist him in his daily life.  President Joseph F. Smith taught:

"It is the right of individuals to be inspired and to receive manifestations of the Holy Spirit for their personal guidance to strengthen their faith, and to encourage them in works of righteousness, in being faithful and observing and keeping the commandments which God has given unto them" (Gospel Doctrine, p.41)

Why do other Churches have different teachings from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?  We share common beliefs with many Churches because they have accepted a portion of God's word, as revealed through the Bible or the Light of Christ, which God gives to all men.  Whenever the doctrines and practices are different, it is because we teach the truths revealed from heaven and they have accepted the falsehoods of men.

(See Prayer, Fasting, and Revelation home page)

815:  On 04/10/99, Rod asked:  If the LDS are the reestablished first century church, why do they need the Book of Mormon, D&C etc?   Jesus and the apostles ran their church with just the Old Testament, much of which Christ fulfilled and they then wrote the New Testament under God's inspiration.   There was never, as far as I know, no need for anything else then so why now?

See Is the Bible Sufficient?

814:  On 04/10/99, John asked:  I have researched the Book of Mormon and the Holy Bible.  The Book of Mormon is stated as the perfect translation of the Bible.  Could you please explain this verse to me from the Bible and how the Book of  Mormon is justified? I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If  anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues  described in this book.  Revelation 22:18

The Church does not consider the Book of Mormon "the perfect translation of the Bible."  While both are the "word of God" (Articles of Faith 8), they were written by different authors about the experiences of different people.  In other words, the Book of Mormon is not a revision to the Bible.   It is a complete and separate work.

As far as adding to the word of God, see Adding to the Bible - Rev 22:18

813:  On 04/10/99, Tessy asked:  Where can I find an application for employment provided by the LDS church?

The most visible components of the Church employment system are the thirty-six employment centers staffed with full-time professionals and the fifty-one centers operated by Church service volunteers. These are located in the United States in areas of membership concentration, with a few abroad. The volunteer-run centers function as satellites under the direction of the professional centers. However, the bulk of the employment activity occurs at the ward and stake levels. Each ward and stake has an employment specialist who contacts ward officers to identify any employment needs and job openings of which they are aware. Possible matches are made, and unfilled job openings are reported to the stake specialist, who disseminates the information to other wards and to the employment centers. Employment specialists are expected to be familiar with the workings of local labor markets and to counsel jobseekers on improving their job search skills and their employability. Professionals from the employment centers hold periodic seminars to train the stake and ward specialists and provide them on an ongoing basis with lists of current job openings. The specialists are encouraged to refer needy people to an employment center for career counseling, training in job search skills, information on the local and national labor markets, and referral to community job agencies.  If you don't know the identity of your employment specialist, ask your Bishop and he can refer you to the right person. (See Welfare Services)

812:  On 04/10/99, Keith asked:  if a person became a member pf your church and later decised he or she wanted to change back to thier perious church which is not LDS ,. How does LDS feel about this. And does LDS feel about a LDS member lying about someone that has change out of the LDS religion ( from first question) saying this person is a drug pusher and big time drugie which the person is not. and their children or into drugs and one is a petty theft and you tell them, they deine it. thier   are children are perfit. I have a friend is venting his anger so he ask me to contact you for his info.

Members of the Church vary in their levels of participation or belief (see Activity in the Church). Latter-day Saints who have seriously contravened or ignored cardinal Church teachings (publicly or privately) are considered apostates, whether or not they have officially left the Church or affiliated with another religion. By not participating in Church meetings one is not considered apostate. However, when individuals ask to have their names removed from Church records, policy requires such requests to be honored. 

Church membership is an individual’s choice. If a member decides to leave the Church, he has the complete freedom to do so. However, as long as a person is on the membership rolls, he will continue to be contacted by a member of the Church, whether or not he attends regularly. If someone's home teacher stops by to bring a gospel message occasionally, despite the fact that the person has not attended in years, it is because he has not removed his name from the membership records. Latter-day Saints have a responsibility to love and care for each other regardless of a person's present status or activity. (See Why Do Mormons Hound People?)

Does the Church encourage it's membership to tell lies about former members?   Certainly not.  The Church stresses honesty in all of our dealings.  The Book of Mormon teaches:

"Wo unto the liar, for he shall be thrust down to hell." (2 Nephi 9:34)

Furthermore, the Church encourages its members to avoid gossip, even if the information imparted is true.  Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:

"Gossip ordinarily consists in talebearing, in spreading scandal, in engaging in familiar or idle conversation dealing personally with other people's affairs. Frequently the reports are false; almost always they are so exaggerated and twisted as to give an unfair perspective; and in nearly every case they redound to the discredit of the persons under consideration. It follows that gossip is unwholesome, serves no beneficial purpose, and should be shunned." (Mormon Doctrine, p.336)

811:  On 04/10/99, Michael asked:  Do you know geographically where the Nephites lived?  In other words, where is the      Land of Neph?

See Book of Mormon Geography

810:  On 04/10/99, a visitor asked:  Is it true that you there will be a temple built 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)

809:  On 04/10/99, Abby asked:  Hi, I am a student at Michigan State University and I am writing a paper on Mormon theology pertaining to the second coming of Christ.  I was wondering if you could please tell me what those beliefs are, and if you believe that the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints is setting up the kingdom of god on earth in preparation for Christ's return.  Any thoughts on the second coming would be greatly appreciated.  I was also wondering if you have any thoughts on the role of polygamy in the New Jerusalem?  Thank you very much for your time.

Latter-day Saints affirm that there is an actual Messiah, that he will come at some future time to the earth, and that only through his coming and the events associated therewith will a millennial age of peace, harmony, and joy begin.  We believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Kingdom of God on earth, personally restored by the resurrected Savior himself to help prepare a people for his Second Coming.

Latter-day Saints believe that plural marriage will be restored to the earth at the Second Coming, if not before, and we look forward to that day with anticipation.   Elder Bruce R. McConkie stated:

"Obviously the holy practice [of plural marriage] will commence again after the Second Coming of the Son of Man and the ushering in of the millennium." (Mormon Doctrine, p.578)

(See The Second Coming of Jesus Christ home page; Restoration of the Gospel home page; Overview of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; The Last Days home page; Plural Marriage home page)

(See Question and Answer home page)

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