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Question and Answer 27

"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.

922:  On 04/25/99, Lewis asked:  [Doesn't your belief in becoming Gods go against the Bible?]

See Biblical Support for Deification

921:  On 04/25/99, a visitor asked:  What is the church's stand of vaccination?  I have heard some say that it isn't right and others say that there is nothing wrong with it.  Which is it?

Latter-day Saints are advised to seek medical assistance from competent licensed physicians, generally believe that advances in medical science and health care have come though the inspiration of the Lord.  Vaccinations are generally believed to be useful and are encouraged.  (See Attitudes Towards Health, Medicine, and Fitness home page)

920:  On 04/25/99, Karen asked:  I am wondering why so many people question your faith.   I myself  consider myself to be a devout Christian, and I do not understand why so many people have a problem with you.  Please give me your insights on this question.  Thank you.

A major reason for hostility against the Church has been its belief in extrabiblical revelation. The theological foundation of the Church rests on the claim by the Prophet Joseph Smith that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and angels appeared to him and instructed him to restore a dispensation of the gospel.  Furthermore, we claim that the leaders of our Church are prophets and apostles of God, who carry his authoirity today.  The significance of this claim cannot be overstated.  If God the Father and Jesus Christ really did appear to Joseph Smith, then all of the other churches are operating without divine sanction.

(See Persecution; anti-Mormon Publications; Restoration of the Gospel home page)

919:  On 04/25/99, Karen asked:  I have a couple of questions concerning the Mormon faith.   One of my good friends is Mormon, and I am not exactly sure everything that she believes.  Could you please sent me a list of your core beliefs.  Thank

See Basic Beliefs home page

918:  On 04/25/99, Kelly asked:  I would also like to know what's involved in an average Sunday church procession, and a Fast and Testimony service.

See Meetings And Conferences home page

917:  On 04/25/99, Kelly asked: I am also curious as to why female missionaries are older than males, and why they serve as missionaries for a shorter period of time?

In the Church, men and women have different responsibilities.   While every young man is asked to serve a mission, young women are encouraged to make marriage and family their top priority.  If no marriage opportunities present themselves during their prime dating years (18-21), young women are allowed to serve missions, although they serve for a shorter period of time than men (18 months versus 24 months).

(See Missionary Work home page; Teachings About Motherhood and the Role of Women home page; Teachings About Fatherhood and the Role of Men home page)

916:  On 04/25/99, Kelly asked:  I am very curious about the Mormon religion. I have an overwhelming number of questions. I have read a lot of the information on the computer but am still puzzled.  For instance, I am wondering why Sunday school classes are separated by age for one hour, and then by gender for the second hour?

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)

915:  On 04/25/99, Michael asked:  [What is the Church's stand on organ donation?]

See Organ Transplants and Donations

914:  On 04/25/99, Sharon asked:  I have family coming at next week who are of the Mormon faith.  Can you tell me of any Mormon law regarding dietary restrictions?  I am unfamiliar and any information you could pass along would be helpful.

See Word of Wisdom

913:  On 04/25/99, Kevin asked:  .......why were Cains descendants cursed throughout time, while other sinners' iniquities were only for a short duration? I have in mind the commandment that says, "...for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, showing mercy unto the thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments." I think that's how it goes, I was writing it from memory. I don't own a Bible, so if I got it wrong, please excuse me. Anyway, you should be able to see what I am getting at. Why was Cain so hated of God that he had to be punished forever? And the second part of the question: Why would God save one of Cain's descendants in the flood with Noah? One LDS member explained that one of Noah's sons married a woman who was a descendant of Cain, and that's how black skin continued from the flood to this day. I have trouble buying that, but that is only secondary. I mean, it does intrigue me, but I don't lose any sleep over it. Actually, I don't lose sleep over any of it, but I do think about it from time to time, me,.

It's true that the decendants of Cain were generally not allowed to hold the priesthood for a period of time.  While the Lord has never revealed the reason for the restriction, we can say it was not because of Cain's sins.  Latter-day Saints believe that "men will be punished for their own sins, and not for [their parents'] transgression." (Articles of Faith 2)  Therefore, any punishment issued for Cain's sins were issued to him and him alone (See Agency; Accountability).   Cain received the appropriate punishment for his crimes.  One of Cain's descendants was saved in the flood because she obeyed the Lord and listen to Noah, a prophet of God.

(See Blacks home page)

912:  On 04/25/99, a visitor asked:  What is the official ruling about whether a mormon woman married to one husband in the temple can then, after his death be sealed for time and eternity to another husband. Can a woman be sealed to more than one husband, if her first husband is dead and she desires to remarry

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:

"When a man and a woman are married in the temple for time and all eternity, and then the man dies and the woman marries another man, she can be married to him for time only. When a man marries a woman who was married previously to her husband in the temple but who has now died, he does so, or should, with his eyes open. If the children are born to this woman and her "time" husband, he has no claim upon those children. They go with the mother. This is the law. Certainly a man cannot in reason expect to take another man's wife, after that man is dead, and rear a family by her and then claim the children. If he wants a family of his own, then he should marry a wife that he can have in eternity. This is in full harmony with the patriarchal order. What was the law anciently? Was not the second husband supposed to raise up seed for his brother?" (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, p. 78-79)

(See Eternal Marriage)

911:  On 04/25/99, Adam asked:  What is the difference between a remission of your sins and sanctification?

While "remission of sins" and "sanctification" are very related terms, each one carries its own special nuance.  "Remission of sins" is a passive term that means to receive God's forgiveness and pardon (i.e., what he does for us in the salvation process).  There is no connotation of active righteousness, only a lack of condemnation.  Sanctification is the process of becoming a saint, holy and spiritually clean and pure, by purging all sin from the soul.   The term has an active nuance and suggests dynamic righteousness.

910:  On 04/25/99, John asked:  I  have traveled  Northwest  Missouri   and happened upon this beautiful spot called Adam Ohmen  Amen.     What is the derivation of the  name  and how does it play a part in  Mormonism? I  have also visited  Nauvoo and understand  the position in Mormon History of that place.

See Adam-ondi-Ahman; Nauvoo

909:  On 04/25/99, a visitor asked:  You say you believe in a heavenly mother, Where in the bible does it speak of a heavenly mother When It has never been written that Jesus was married.

Latter-day Saints believe that our Father in Heaven is married to our Mother in Heaven and together they live in a state of perfect happiness and joy. As Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained:

"An exalted and glorified Man of Holiness (Moses 6:57) could not be a Father unless a Woman of like glory, perfection, and holiness was associated with him as a Mother." (Mormon Doctrine, p.517)

While the Holy Bible is the word of God, it does not contain all of God's words.   The Lord has revealed a number of things that are not contained in either the present Catholic or Protestant Bibles (which are different from each other). The doctrine of a Mother in Heaven is not clearly taught in today's Bible, but is explained in detail in Latter-day revelation.  (See Is the Bible Sufficient?; Was Jesus Ever Married?)  

(See Prayer, Fasting, and Revelation home page)

908:  On 04/25/99, Shannon asked:  i converted less than a year ago and am already inactive, mainly due to things i am having a difficult time accepting. maybe you can help me with one  issue by answering a question for me. according to lds belief, to enter into the celestial kingdom one must be baptized by someone holding the priesthood and be married in the temple. someone like Mother Theresa dedicates her whole life serving God, helping the sick and the poor, doing his work. If she does
not accept proxy baptism and marriage for whatever reason she'll spend all of eternity in a telestial or terestrial kingdom? i have a hard time understanding that. if you could help out i'd appreciate it. 

The Book of Mormon teaches:

"And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good.....And if their works are evil they shall be restored unto them for evil. " (Alma 41:3-4)

We should have absolute faith and confidence that every man, woman, and child will receive a fair and impartial descision at the judgment bar of God.  No one will be unfairly rewarded or unfairly punished. Good people, like Mother Theresa, will receive all that is due to them.

However, to inherit the fullness of salvation, a person must obey all the laws and ordinances that the Lord has ordained as prerequisite for such salvation.  Each part of God's plan has been carefully crafted to prepare us to live in the celestial kingdom.   If we fail to follow it, we shall not be prepared for such glory.  One cannot say to the Lord, "No, I reject that part of your plan" and expect to receive the same blessings as those who show complete obedience.   Partial obedience to the commandments of God will only yield partial salvation.

For example, in the celestial kingdom, men and women are united in eternal marriage and continue to beget and raise children after the resurrection (See Eternal Lives, Eternal Increase)   To ensure that his children are prepared for these events, our Heavenly Father has commanded us to marry and raise children in mortality. (See Teachings About the Family home page)  If someone chooses not to marry and have children in mortality, then they will not be prepared for marriage and children in eternity.

907:  On 04/25/99, Kevin asked:  I get confused when someone tries to explain lineage to me.  If one is "of the tribe and lineage of Ephraim who was the son of Joseph whose brothers sold into Egypt" then how does this take that person back to Abraham?  Is there a reason that Mormons have to know which tribe they came from?  And also, I thought it was supposed to tell you which tribe of Israel you are from, not which tribe of Joseph.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, who was the father of Jacob (called Israel), who was the father of Joseph, who was the father of Ephraim and Manasseh.  President Joseph Fielding Smith noted:

"Jacob also blessed the two sons of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, and adopted them as his own sons, and they were blessed as founders of tribes in Israel." ( Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol.1, p.112)

In other words, even though Ephraim was a grandson of Jacob, he was still given a full inheritance as though he were one of Jacob's sons.

Latter-day Saints believe it is very important to know your family history for at least two reasons.   First, we have a solemn responsibility to person temple work for our deceased family members to ensure they have the opportunity for salvation. (See Salvation for the Dead)  Second, each descendant of Israel has specific responsibilities in fulfilling the work of the Lord.  For example, one responsibility of the tribe of Ephraim is to gather the other tribes of Israel into the gospel covenant. (See Ephraim)  Knowing your tribe is the first step in understanding your responsibilities.

906:  On 04/25/99, Ruben asked:  I just was at you web site I like to design.  I went to your FAQ page and I looked at the link "Are Mormons Christian?"  and the replay was "Yes, Latter-day Saints are indeed Christians."  If the Mormon Church is truly Christian wouldn't you follow the Holly Bible.  Not the King Jams version? King Jams wanted to get a divorce but the Pope would not grant him the divorce so he started his own Church The Church of England.  I am not trying to be mean.  I just want to know how the Mormons can say they are Christian when you believe in the Church of England's Bible?  I also live in Utah so I mislead by a lot of people. 

First, Latter-day Saints are indeed Christians.  Second, the test of one's Christianity is not which Bible a person uses, but his or her faithfulness in trying to follow and emulate the Savior.  The Holy Bible teaches:

"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 17:3) "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." (1 John 2:3)

Latter-day Saints acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Lord, our God, and our King.  We try to follow him and try to keep his commandments.  Therefore, we are Christians.   (See Are Mormons Christians?; Teachings About Jesus Christ home page)

As far as the King James Version of the Bible, after studying many modern English translations, President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., a counselor in the First Presidency, said in 1956 that the KJV was "the best version of any yet produced" (Clark, p. 33). For example, he felt that the KJV translators clearly portrayed Jesus as the promised Messiah and as the Son of God, and accepted the gift of prophecy, the reality of miracles, and the uniqueness of the love of Christ; whereas modern translations have tended to promote naturalistic explanations for divine action, preferred the word "sign" instead of "miracle," and used "love" in place of "charity," and "appoint" instead of "ordain." His views have been influential among most Latter-day Saints. Not all alternative translations, of course, suffer from the problems identified by President Clark.  The King James Version of the Bible is also widely used by many Protestant Christians. (See The Holy Bible home page)

It was King Henry VIII, not King James, who started the Church of England.

905:  On 04/25/99, a visitor asked:  I was wondering what the Mormon church's beliefs were about evolution and life on other planets.

Latter-day Saint prophets and scripture teach that other worlds similar to this earth have been and will be created and inhabited in fulfillment of God's eternal designs for his children. As explained in revelations to the Prophet Joseph Smith, God has in operation a vast plan for the eternal progress of his children. In a vision given to Moses, the Lord said, "Worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose,…there are many (worlds) that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man" (Moses 1:33, 35). This same many-worlds view is echoed in other scriptures (see Heb. 1:2; D&C 76:24; Moses 7:30; Abr. 3:12). (See Worlds)

The Church teaches that all mankind are descended from Adam and Eve, our first parents.   (See Evolution).

904:  On 04/25/99, a visitor asked:  I have heard that the leaders of the LDS church receive living allowances. Is this true and is it comparable to an income from a secular job?

Some General Authorities of the Church receive living allowances, depending upon their personal financial condition (i.e., need based).  For example, a General Authority who is a retired business executive and independently wealthy would receive no allowance.  On the other hand, a school teacher called into service before retirement age, might receive a small stipend to allow him to feed his family.  Unlike local leaders, who maintain their normal vocations while serving in Church assignments, General Authorities set aside their careers to devote their full time to the ministry of their office. The living allowance given General Authorities rarely if ever equals the earnings they sacrifice to serve full-time in the Church.

903:  On 04/24/99, Amie asked:  I was also wondering why the Mormons in every service I have been to as I was growing up used the book of Mormon instead of the bible? I also was wondering why in the bible it says do not add to this book and you have by adding the book of Mormon? I would like so back ground on all this if you can??

Latter-day Saints use both the Book of Mormon and the Holy Bible.  Neither one takes precedence over the other in our canon.  We believe in living prophets and apostles who receive continuing revelation.  We have a larger canon of scripture than is used by either Protestants or Catholics (who have different canons of scripture from each other).  Latter-day Saints accept, in addition to the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. These four scriptural collections are called the Standard Works.  

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

902:  On 04/24/99, Amie asked: is it true that when you die that man and women are separated in to different heavens and if so why?

No, Latter-day Saints believe the highest degree of glory is a place where a man and wife live together, forever united in marriage and love. (See Eternal Marriage; Celestial Kingdom)

901:  On 04/24/99, Amie asked:  Hi I was wondering if and why are you not allowed to drink caffeine

While there are no official teachings against caffeine, many Church leaders have considered it a violation of the spirit of the Word of Wisdom, a heath code faithful Latter-day Saints obey. Caffeine is considered to be addictive and harmful to the body.

900:  On 04/24/99, a visitor asked:  I would like to know if you believe in eternal progression.  And if so do you believe that if you lead a good enough life you can become better than God. Also do you believe that there is more than one God and that the God that watches over the Earth is the lesser of them?  This is what I've been told by some Mormons.  Yet others say that this is not true.

Logically and naturally, the ultimate desire of a loving Supreme Being is to help his children enjoy all that he enjoys. For Latter-day Saints, the term "godhood" denotes the attainment of such a state—one of having all divine attributes and doing as God does and being as God is. While we believe that the faithful will enjoy a life similar to our Heavenly Father, we also believe we will still be subject to and worship the God of Heaven, which is represented as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. We will never be at the same level as them or stop worshipping them, but we will be like them and enjoy a quality of life similar to theirs. (See Godhood; Eternal Progression)

Our Heavenly Father became God at some time before "the beginning" as humans know it, by experiencing a mortality similar to that experienced on earth. There has been speculation among some Latter-day Saints on the implications of this doctrine, but nothing has been revealed to the Church about conditions before the "beginning" as mortals know it. (See Overview of Beliefs About God the Father)

899:  On 04/24/99, Lori asked:  I think I understand the church's stand on homosexual behaviour.  What guidance would the church give to someone who proclaims to be homosexual, or is confused about their feelings?  Thank you.

See Same-Gender Attraction

898:  On 04/24/99, Mimi asked:  1)  Where in the Bible ( not the Book of Mormon) does it say that God asked for a volunteer to save the world? 2)  Where in the Bible does it say you have to commit so many "good deeds" to make it to Heaven? 3)  Where in the Bible does it say that there are 3 areas of Heaven? The reason I am asking you to give me Bible references is because I am not a Mormon and therefore don't believe in the Book of Mormon.  I am however curious of the religion and wish to learn more about it.  These questions are not asked in a condescending or accusatory way.....I am merely interested in the foundation of these beliefs.  Please write me back with an answer.

Latter-day Saints believe in living prophets and apostles who receive continuing revelation.  We have a larger canon of scripture than is used by either Protestants or Catholics (who have different canons of scripture from each other).  Latter-day Saints accept, in addition to the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. These four scriptural collections are called the Standard Works.   Many Latter-day Saint beliefs are taught more fully in these other works.

1)  The Book of Abraham, part of the Pearl of Great Price, teaches that the war in heaven started when Satan rebelled against our Father in Heaven because Jesus Christ was chosen as the Savior of the world:

"And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first.  And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him. (Abraham 3:27-8)

2)  Latter-day Saints don't believe "you have to commit so many "good deeds" to make it to Heaven?"  We do believe you must do your best to emulate the example set by Jesus Christ.  The unrepentant do not enter into the celestial kingdom.    (See Grace vs. Works)

3) A careful reading of the Bible reveals the concept of different degrees of glory.  For example, the apostle Paul said:

"I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. " (2 Corinthians 12:2)

However, the doctrine is explained in much greater detail in Doctrine and Covenants Section 76.

(See Scriptural Writings home page; Following the Prophets home page)

897:  On 04/24/99, Ralph asked:  The Scripture, "God created man in his own image", seems to indicate to you, that God was/is flesh and blood, since part of man is flesh and blood.  In looking at some other Scripture it might indicate something other than flesh and blood.  First of all, if you look at Genesis 1:26, the conversation is "Let us make man in OUR image".   (my capitals, of course).  That would seem to indicate the Holy Spirit was/is a part of that "image".  Obviously the Holy Spirit is not flesh and blood. Scripture also indicates that "God is Spirit, and they that worship Him, must worship him in spirit and in truth".
Colossians 1:15 indicates that the Son is the image of the INVISIBLE God.  (Capitals are mine, again)  Might that convey the thought that "in the image of" might mean something other than mere flesh and blood?

The Holy Bible is the word of God, but it does not contain all of God's words.  If we were dependent upon the Bible alone, we might draw many different conclusions about what the phrase "God created man in his [own] image" (Genesis 1:27) meant.   However, because of Latter-day revelation, we have an in-depth understanding of the relationship between God and man.

All individual human spirits were begotten (not created from nothing or made) by the Father in a premortal state, where they lived and were nurtured by Heavenly Parents. These spirit children of the Father come to earth to receive mortal bodies; there is a literal family relationship among humankind. Joseph Smith taught, "If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves" (TPJS, p. 343). Gods and humans represent a single divine lineage, the same species of being, although they and he are at different stages of progress. This doctrine is stated concisely in a well-known couplet by President Lorenzo Snow: "As man now is, God once was: as God now is, man may be" (see Godhood). This principle is clearly demonstrated in the person of Jesus Christ, a God who became mortal, and yet a God like whom mortals may become (Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18). But the maxim is true of the Father as well. As the Prophet Joseph Smith said, "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret" (TPJS, p. 345). 

Elder James E. Talmage taught:

"'Mormonism' claims an actual and literal relationship of parent and child between the Creator and man--not in the figurative sense in which the engine may be called the child of its builder; not the relationship of a thing mechanically made to the maker thereof; but the kinship of father and offspring. In short it is bold enough to declare that man's spirit being the offspring of Deity, and man's body though of earthy components yet being in the very image and likeness of God, man even in his present degraded--aye, fallen condition--still possesses, if only in a latent state, inherited traits, tendencies and powers that tell of his more than royal descent; and that these may be developed so as to make him, even while mortal, in a measure Godlike.

But 'Mormonism' is bolder yet. It asserts that in accordance with the inviolable law of organic nature--that like shall beget like, and that multiplication of numbers and perpetuation of species shall be in compliance with the condition "each after his kind," the child may achieve the former status of the parent, and that in his mortal condition man is a God in embryo. However far in the future it may be, what ages may elapse, what eternities may pass before any individual now a mortal being may attain the rank and sanctity of godship, man nevertheless carries in his soul the possibilities of such achievement; even as the crawling caterpillar or the corpse-like chrysalis holds the latent possibility, nay, barring destruction, the certainty indeed, of the winged imago in all the glory of maturity." (The Story and Philosophy of "Mormonism", p.108)

(See God the Father; Is the Bible Sufficient?; Is God a Spirit?)

896:  On 04/24/99, Lewis asked:  Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. Isaiah 44:8 How could God be all knowing and omnipresent and yet claim ignorance of other gods or Gods being all around Him, and claim that his is alone?  Your help would be appreciated.

See Do You Believe in More Than One God?

895:  On 04/23/99, Josh asked:  My question is about serving a mission. I'm a new convert to the church and my parents are anti. So If I serve a mission can they call me and talk to me on the phone? Or if I don't like serving a mission am i free to leave? How can I assure them about me serving a mission since there non-lds? get back to me thanks!

Missionaries are allowed to write their families and are allowed to call home on Christmas and Mother's Day, depending upon the specific mission's rules.  Some missions allow email, if writing and calling aren't feasible.  Missionaries are allowed to go home at their discretion, if they decide not to finish their mission.

The best way to reassure someone about the Church is have them get to know us better.   Invite them to Church with you so they can see for themselves what we are all about.  Regarding missions in particular, I suggest you have them read the articles on our Missionary Work home page.  Also, it may be helpful to have them meet some full-time missionaries who are serving in your area.  You could also invite them to talk to some returned missionaries in your Ward.

894:  On 04/23/99, Melanie asked:  I am doing research on different beliefs of the end times.  I would really appreciate it if you would send me a summary of what events you will believe will lead up to the end times. It would help me greatly.

See The Last Days home page

893:  On 04/23/99, Sara asked:  If Eve was created in the image of the Heavenly Mother, why didn't the Bible just say so?

While the Holy Bible is the word of God, it does not contain all of the words of God.  There are many doctrines and principles that are not fully explained in the present Protestant or Catholic Bibles.  For this reason, the Lord has given us additional scripture and modern prophets and apostles. (See Is the Bible Sufficient?; Prayer Fasting, and Revelation home page)

892:  On 04/23/99, Sam asked:  Is it true that a Mormon male can have more than one wife?

No, Latter-day Saints can presently be married to only one woman at a time. However, during the nineteenth-century, LDS men were allowed to marry more than one wife under certain conditions. (See Plural Marriage home page)

891:  On 04/23/99, Jennifer asked: I attend Fred Kirby Intermediate School in Newfoundland. I'm in the process of completing a religion assignment on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As a part of our assignment I need to ask a few questions: 1. If possible please send your church emblem to us with a brief explaination. 2. Does your church have regular services? 3. How many members are there in your congregation? Thank-you These answers will be greatly appreciated.

1.  Latter-day Saints don't have a specific religious emblem.  We consider Christ-like lives to be the ultimate symbol of our faith.  2.  We have worship services every Sunday.  3.  the Church has over 10 million members.

(See Activity in the Church home page)

890:  On 04/21/99, a visitor asked:  How does anyone have freedom of thought and action if God knows everything they will do before they are born? This concerns me.

While God knows the future, he does not cause it.  When a child is born, a parent may know that the child will eventually walk and talk, but he or she does not cause the child to learn these skills.  Likewise, an astute teacher may know a student well enough to know that the student will not write a quality paper, but the teacher is not the one who causes the poor result. (See Foreordination)

889:  On 04/21/99, Sara asked:  Hi.  I have another question.  If the events in the Book of Mormon take place in America, with the Indians, why do Indians have a whole bunch of gods, and not one of those gods is the God?  Thanks!

While the Lamanites and the Nephites were taught the true gospel, both people fell away into wickedness and apostasy and started worshipping other gods. The best way to see how these events occurred is to read the Book of Mormon.

888:  On 04/21/99, Ben asked:  How can Joseph Smith see God face-to-face when Moses saw God's in His veiled nature and even then Moses was never the same?

Transfiguration for mortals consists of a temporary physical and spiritual change, allowing them not only to behold the glory of God but to enter his presence.  At the opening of the present dispensation, Joseph Smith was spiritually quickened in a manner similar to Moses so that he could see both God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ and receive instruction from them. After seeing a transcendent brilliance descend upon him, the Prophet wrote: "When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air" (JS—H 1:16-17). (See First Vision)

887:  On 04/21/99, Ben asked:  What about the statement "anti-mormons" state, Joseph Smith was not sane?

See Did Joseph Smith Suffer From Temporal Lobe Epilepsy?

886:  On 04/21/99, Ben asked: Where can I find infomation regarding holy marrige cerimonies?

See Eternal Marriage

885:  On 04/21/99, Ben asked:  Where can I find information regarding the 7 layers of Heaven?

Latter-day Saints believe in three degrees of glory. (See Teachings About the Afterlife home page)

884:  On 04/21/99, Walter asked:  I am working with missionaries at my ward, and one of them told me that in the MTC an instructor said that Joseph Smith was dreaming whe He saw the Father and the Son. That's the reason because he was on the ground when the vision ended.

The person who told you that Joseph Smith was dreaming during the First Vision was giving his opinion and one that is inconsistent with the statements of Joseph Smith, the person who actually received the visitation.  To my knowledge, no Church leader has ever taught that the First Vision was a dream, instead of an actual visitation by resurrected personages.  The best way to understand the First Vision is to read the words of Joseph Smith himself at Joseph Smith:  A Modern Witness of Christ.

883:  On 04/21/99, Christopher asked:  Could you tell me where I could find out about Joseph Smith's Masonic
affiliation? I am not a Mormon, but a humble Mason that always wondered about it.

See Freemasonry in Nauvoo

882:  On 04/21/99, Bob asked:  What are your positions on christianity in today's world?

See Christians and Christianity

881:  On 04/21/99, Bob asked:  What are the major beliefs of the mormon church?

See Basic Beliefs home page

880:  On 04/21/99, Gretchen asked:  if an ordained mormon preacher can marry a couple? I am not even sure if he was ordained. He was a military CMSgt in the AF and he married my now ex-husband and I back in 1990. I have recently been told that our marriage wasn't truly recognized because neither my ex and I are or were mormon.

Certain LDS Church leaders, like Bishops, have the authority to perform marriages for both members and nonmembers.  For a marriage to be legally valid, you need to have follow all the necessary legal procedures required by the area in which you wish to marry (e.g., license, blood tests, etc.)

(See Teachings About Marriage home page)

879:  On 04/21/99, Erin asked:  Can nonmembers recieve patriarchal blessings?

No, patriarchal blessings are one of the benefits of Church membership.

878:  On 04/21/99, a visitor asked:  I belong to the Church of Christ.  I use a NIV Bible.  Is this the same translation that the Church of Latter Day Saints uses?

In various lands where the Church has been established, it uses a translation of the Bible in the local language. In English-speaking areas, the Church uses the King James (or Authorized) Version (KJV), mainly because it was the basic English text used by the Prophet Joseph Smith and because subsequent Church leaders have approved its use. (See The Holy Bible home page)

877:  On 04/21/99, Stacy asked:  My husband and I had a discussion about caffeine.  In section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants it states that we should not drink coffee or tea.  So is it okay to drink coca cola and pepsi, because it doesn't say that we should not drink tea and coffee because they contain caffeine.

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)

876:  On 04/21/99, Elizabeth asked:  i am doing a report of what people have to do in relion about braking the law. what do the mormons have to do when the brake the law like theft. thank you

The Articles of Faith state:

"We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law."

As a people, the Latter-day Saints are committed to sustaining constitutional government as the best instrument for maintaining peace, individual freedom, and community life in modern society. Latter-day Saints who violate the laws of the country in which they lives may be subject to Church disciplinary procedures.

(See Teachings About Law home page)

875:  On 04/19/99, Sara asked:  Hi.  I was just wondering.  In Genesis it says that man and woman put together are the image of God.   So how can God be one gender?  I'm really interested in this religion, so I'm trying to find out all I can.  I was just wondering what you have to say about that.   Thank you for your time!

It's important to understand how the Lord teaches us gospel principles.  The Book of Mormon states:

"For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have." (2 Nephi 28:30)

The Lord teaches us much like we teach our small children.  He starts off with simplistic explanations, and as we grow in spiritual maturity, he gives us deeper explanations.  For example, you might teach a small child that that the baby growing in his mother's womb came from God.  While this is true, the child will need to understand other aspects of procreation as he grows older.

Let's now discuss the doctrine.  While it could be said that Latter-day Saints believe that God is male, this would be an incomplete explanation.  Latter-day Saints believe that our Father in Heaven is married to our Mother in Heaven and together they live in a state of perfect happiness and joy. As Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained:

"An exalted and glorified Man of Holiness (Moses 6:57) could not be a Father unless a Woman of like glory, perfection, and holiness was associated with him as a Mother." (Mormon Doctrine, p.517)

In other words, if Heavenly Father did not have Heavenly Mother at his side, he would not be our Heavenly Father.  The Holy Bible states:

"So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." (Genesis 1:27)

The deeper meaning of this scripture is that Adam was created in the image of Heavenly Father and Eve was created in the image of Heavenly Mother.

(See The Creation home page)

874:  On 04/18/99, John asked:  I am trying to understand the Book of Mormon from the LDS church viewpoint and why I am not a Christian in their eyes.  I believe a person in the LDS church is a Christian.

While Latter-day Saints believe our Church alone teaches the fullness of the gospel, we do believe other Churches have portions of the truth.  In addition, we consider members of other Christian Churches to be Christians.  If any member of the Church told you otherwise, then he was mistaken. (See Interfaith Relations home page)

873:  On 04/18/99, Mike asked:  Where is a good source to find how to consecrate oil, dedicate graves, give a
name & blessing etc?  Is there something on the Internet - i.e., a site, etc.

The General Handbook of Instructions contains detailed instructions on all of these ordinances.  In addition, priesthood manuals developed by the Church give instructions for many of the most commonly used ones.  These manuals can be purchased through the Church Distribution Center, which can be reached at 1-800-537-5950 for U.S./ 1-800-453-3860, ext. 2031 for Canada.

872:  On 04/18/99, a visitor asked:  ok i was wondering, according to the Bible or your own knowledge who were the direct decendents of adam through the old testement?

All members of the human family, both men and women, are descendants of Adam. (See Mankind)

871:  On 04/18/99, a visitor asked:  And, what exactly happened in Nauvoo?

See Nauvoo

870:  On 04/18/99, Preston asked:  [It seems like all small children will be saved in the Kingdom of God.] Because an early death is not indiscriminant but applies to only a certain type of spirit, some sort of divine control over deaths of this type of seems  necessary. It appears then that Heavenly Father is responsible for the death of these children.  I don't find that concept comforting at all. I would appreciate any help you could offer to resolve this.

Heavenly Father ensures that all people will receive the necessary life experiences that will prepare them for exaltation in the celestial kingdom.  While he is not responsible for the evil actions of people, he will manipulate the circumstances around them for his own eternal purposes.  For example, Heavenly Father does not cause someone to kill a young child.  However, Heavenly Father does ensure that the young child who is killed is one who only needed a body before he was qualified for eternal life. (See Salvation of Children)

869:  On 04/18/99, Margarat asked:  Hi, I have a school paper to write about the mormons. I was curious as to whether or not you could answer a few questions about the religion for me. I'm a senior in High School and this is for my World Religions
class. What are the origins of the religon? Who is the founder? Where and when was the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day saits founded? What are the major teachings and doctorines of the Chrurch? Is there a heirarchy? Who are the religious specialist? I greatly appreciate you being able to help me with my paper. Any information that you can tell me will be extremely helpful.

What are the origins of the religon?    See First Vision
Who is the founder? -- See the Prophet Joseph Smith home page
Where and when was the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day saits founded? -- On April 6, 1830, at Fayette, New York (See Overview)
What are the major teachings and doctorines of the Chrurch?  See Basic Beliefs home page
Is there a heirarchy? See Church Organization and Priesthood Authority home page
Who are the religious specialist? See Lay Participation and Leadership

868:  On 04/18/99, Robert asked:  Is the president supported by the church? Does the church have him live in one place, and are his exspenses paid by the church?

Some General Authorities of the Church receive living allowances, depending upon their personal financial condition (i.e., need based).  For example, a General Authority who is a retired business executive and independently wealthy would receive no allowance.  On the other hand, a school teacher called into service before retirement age, might receive a small stipend to allow him to feed his family.  Unlike local leaders, who maintain their normal vocations while serving in Church assignments, General Authorities set aside their careers to devote their full time to the ministry of their office. The living allowance given General Authorities rarely if ever equals the earnings they sacrifice to serve full-time in the Church.

For safety and security reasons, the Church has maintained a small apartment near Church headquarters for the use of the President of the Church.

867:  On 04/18/99, Ruth asked:  Do you know if the church has a stand on egg donation or being a surragate mother? My sister, who is a non member has asked about these possibilities from me and personaly I think it would be a gift from me to her that could all be staightened out in the millineum if she never converts.She said to find out if there was an official policy.

The Church discourages surrogate motherhood.  In vitro fertilization using semen other than that of the husband or an egg [from anyone] other than the wife is discouraged. (See Policies, Practices, and Procedures)

866:  On 04/18/99, a visitor asked:  A friend of my husbands told him that the church owned the Marriot hotel chain.  Is that true?   He was also told that the church owns one of the largest cattle companies in the United States, is there any truth to this
either?  If so, are there any other major companies, corporations, etc., that the church owns and what are they-(f that information is available)?

The Church does not own the Marriott hotel chain.  However, the founder of the business, J. Willard Marriott, was a member of the Church.  For information on Church business interests, see Church Participation in Business.

865:  On 04/18/99, Brenda asked:  I am looking for a church.  No religious background.  Almost none.  Am missing
something in my life. I live in Mesa, Arizona. What can you tell me.??

I used to live in Tempe, Arizona and believe Mesa is a beautiful town.  The Arizona temple is located in Mesa and has a visitor's center next door.  At the visitor's center, you can talk with some people in person about the Church.  There are numerous LDS congregations in Mesa which can be found using   I suggest you visit one of the Mesa congregations next Sunday and get a first hand feel for what we are all about.

Obviously, I believe that we have the answers which give happiness, both in this life and eternally.  Otherwise, I would not be a member of the LDS Church.  I would be happy to answer any specific questions that you have, but your best bet is to visit during Sunday services to see your yourself.

(See Why Should I Convert?)

864:  On 04/16/99, a visitor asked:  If God knows all things from the beginning, does he know the future with certainity? If God knows the future with certainity, is the fate of all men predetermined?

President Joseph Fielding Smith remarked:

"Surely the Lord knows the end from the beginning, and no matter what the actions of men may be the purposes of the Lord will prevail." (Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol.4, p.114-115)

While our Heavenly Father knows the future, he does not cause it to happen.   Instead, the Lord simply plans around our choices to ensure that his righteous purposes will be fulfilled. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rejects the belief in predestination—that God predetermines the salvation or the damnation of every individual. The gospel teaches that genuine human freedom and genuine responsibility—individual agency in both thought and action—are crucial in both the development and the outcome of a person's life.

(See Predestination; Agency)

863:  On 04/16/99, Thomas asked:  I am doing a report about the mormons. Its called the "mormons move west" if   you have any in formation about this i would really be gratefull for your   time and help.

See Church History c. 1844-1877, Exodus And Early Utah Periods home page

862:  On 04/16/99, Jen asked:  I have been a member for 7 years and still do not understand why women cannot hold the preisthood.  I mean we do nothing in this church except help the men "Fill their role" I mean I think it is kind of unfair and I hate not knowing why because then I get mad @ the church because I think it is prejudece towards women and I know this church is true but I never get a straight answer to why can't we hold the preisthood....

See Why Don't Women Hold the Priesthood?

(See Question and Answer home page)

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