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Question and Answer 29

1029:  On 05/26/99, Ashley asked:  Who is the founder of the Mormon church?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded by Joseph Smith, after receiving instructions to do so by the resurrected Jesus Christ. (See Overview)

1028:  On 05/26/99, Daisy asked:  Regarding two scriptures: Alma 34:36 Then, D&C 130:3 These two scriptures seem to contradict themselves, could you shed some light in the matter for me?

The Book of Mormon states:

"And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell; yea, and he has also said that the righteous shall sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out; but their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb." (Alma 34:36)

The Doctrine and Covenants states:

"John 14:23--The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man's heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false." (130:3)

There is no contradiction in these scriptures, once you understand the context in which they are given.  When Alma says that "in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell", he is using metaphoric language to teach an important principle.  It follows that we must be worthy in order to receive the Spirit. We must prepare by faith and repentance and righteous living. We must forsake our sins and have a firm determination to serve God and keep his commandments. Then and then only will we be fit recipients of the Holy Spirit.   He is not implying that God literally dwells in our hearts. 

And this gets to the heart of the Doctrine and Covenants reference.  The Doctrine and Covenants is teaching it's correct and acceptable to say that "God dwells in the hearts of righteous people" as long as you mean it metaphorically.  If you mean it literally, then you have misinterpreted the scriptures.

(See Teachings About the Godhead home page)

1027:  On 05/26/99, Linda asked:  I am in a relationship with a Mormon man and I am a Catholic woman.  We have been together on and off for the majority of ten years.  I want to know the church's view of mixed marriages.  Neither one of us wishes to change the others religious practices.  Well i shouldn't say that, but neither has tried to or has ostracized the other for this difference.  We believe in a great many things together and share almost the same values and morals.  We are about to have a child and are struggling with what to do.

Since a major component of the gospel is the concept of eternal marriage, Latter-day Saints are encouraged to only date and marry faithful members of the Church. This is because only faithful members of the Church can enter a holy temple and be married for time and all eternity. In other words, Latter-day Saints believe that when two people enter into temple marriage (i.e., eternal marriage) and are faithful to their covenants, then they will rise in the resurrection as a married couple and live together forever in the married state. Members are encouraged to stay away from any path which might take them away from this great blessing.    (See Dating and Marrying Nonmembers)

However, if you are about to have a child, then the Church teaches that you should marry and give the child a loving home with two parents.  Elder John A. Widstoe taught:

"If the parents are Church members and unmarried, they should right the wrong as far as possible by marrying." (Priesthood and Church Government, p.353)

In other words, the Church teaches (1) that we should marry within our own faith; and (2) we should abstain from premarital sex.   However, if someone has engaged in premarital sex and created a child, then the higher principle is to marry the person, even if he or she is a nonmember.

1026:  On 05/26/99, Daisy asked:  I am curious as to how Saints feel regarding how close so many of their temple practices are with Mason Temple practices.

Actually, any similarities are immaterial and incidental.  For example, the LDS endowment ceremony lasts for approximately an hour and a half.  Yet, there are at the most about 5 minutes of similar material.  Therefore, about 95% of the LDS ordinance is completely distinct from Mason rites.  And even the few similarities that do exist are used in totally different contexts. (See How can you explain the resemblances between Masonry and the LDS temple?; Teachings About Temples home page)

1025:  On 05/25/99, Reed asked:  Do Mormons believe that entry into heaven is through good works or through the grace of God (that is you believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and is his only son Jesus Christ, who was born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, and was dead, buried, and rose from the dead on the 3rd day).

The Articles of Faith state:

"We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost."

Jesus Christ is the central figure in the doctrine of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained that:

"the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it" (TPJS, p. 121).

Latter-day Saints believe that complete salvation is possible only through the life, death, resurrection, doctrines, and ordinances of Jesus Christ and in no other way.(See Teachings About the Godhead; Are Mormons Christians?)

For a full discussion about the relationship of grace and works in salvation, see Grace vs. Works.

1024:  On 05/24/99, Daisy asked:  Does the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS believe in the Rapture of the Church?

The Church does not use the term "rapture" in our theology.  Latter-day Saints do affirm that Jesus Christ will come again at some future time to the earth, and that only through his second coming and the events associated therewith will a millennial age of peace, harmony, and joy begin. (See LDS Glossary and Vocabulary; Second Coming of Jesus Christ home page)

1023:  On 05/23/99, a visitor asked:  Could you please declare or reiterate the Church's official stand, if any, on
the use of school uniforms.  Does our Church endorse or prohibit them?

With the exception of Modesty in Dress issues, the Church has never issued any statement on school uniforms. 

1022:  On 05/23/99, Steve asked:  I was reading about gender and the importance of it in relationship to God. The question was posed where do transvestites stand with God. It was mentioned that God was a better judge of gender then man was, and  that we as humans should not attempt to change our sex. However, what about people who are born as hermaphrodites, and the parents need to choose a sex for them to be raised as? How does God view this ailment that they are afflicted with, when the choice of sex is not available to them.

Latter-day Saints believe that all people are born as spirit children of our Heavenly Father before they are born into mortality. (See Spirit Body) In this spirit birth, they are born with gender.  The Family:   A Proclamation to the World states:

"Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."

This means that all people including hermaphrodites have an eternal gender which is recognized by God, even if their mortal bodies carry some genetic defects.  All people will rise in the resurrection with perfect bodies, which have had all their imperfections removed. Our Heavenly Father feels sympathy for all the pains and afflictions which we suffer in mortality, especially those which were not caused by our behavior.

1021:  On 05/23/99, a visitor asked:  why is it that the apostles don't talk more about D&C 89:13.  It seems to me that as church members, the majority of us are eating way to much meat. 

Church leaders devote their time to emphasizing those gospel teachings that are most needed today.  Once we obey what they are presently teaching, they will switch to other topics.  For example, once we are truly a temple worthy people, they may start discussing the meat aspect of the Word of Wisdom more closely.

(See Does the Word of Wisdom Require Latter-day Saints to be Vegetarians?; Follow the Prophets)

1020:  On 05/23/99, a visitor asked:  But then in a general conf. while Pres. Young was prophet, the word of wisdom was brought before the members to be sustained a commandment.  I thought commandments came from God directly to his prophets and then there would be no need to vote upon it. 

As a manifestation of the principle of agency, the Lord often invites his people to vote on prophetic revelations as well as changes in Church leadership.  By doing so, the people are not really voting whether the revelations or callings are valid, but simply publicly acknowledging their acceptance of them as binding upon themselves.   Such a public acknowledgment often inspires people to more diligently keep the commandment or follow the counsel of the leader.  Obviously, a revelation or calling issued by God is still valid even if the people reject it.

(See Oaths; Follow the Prophets home page)

1019:  On 05/23/99, Mike asked:  Why don't we drink coffee?

See Why Are Certain Things Forbidden In the Word of Wisdom?

1018: On 05/23/99, Mike asked:  It seems to me we (LDS) as a people do not understand D&C 89:13&15 very well.  To me it says when there is other food to eat we shouldn't eat the  animal.  Do you have any references of General Authorities discussing the subject of meat-eating 'only in times of famine and excess of hunger?'

See Does the Word of Wisdom Require Latter-day Saints to be Vegetarians?

1017:  On 05/23/99, Robert asked:  I understand that the four standard works constitute the source for doctrine. But where can one find doctrinally approved teachings from the LDS. Can they be found in "The Ensign," for instance?

See What is Official Doctrine?

1016:  On 05/23/99, Kent asked:  My question concerns a statement made by my institute teacher which is All children born under the covenant will go to the Celestial Kingdom.  My research indicates the following all children born under the covenant have access to all the Gospel, the priesthood and all of the ordinances of salvation.  It is my thought that we all become the children of the covenant only after we accept and life the new and everlasting covenant.  The fact that a child is born under the covenant does not grant them acceptance into the Celestial Kingdom. It would seem to me they have the same obligations i.e. accepting and living the Gospel.  Can you please clarify this.   

Your institute instructor probably meant that all children who die under the age of accountability (i.e., age 8) are automatically saved with the fullness of salvation. For an understanding of this doctrine, see Salvation of Children.

All accountable persons must obey the laws and ordinances of the gospel to be saved.  President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:

"Those who keep the full law and obey all the commandments of God are heirs of full salvation in the celestial kingdom, the glory of which the sun is spoken of as being typical.......

The higher ordinances in the temple of God pertain to exaltation in the celestial kingdom…. In order to receive this blessing, one must keep the full law, must abide the law by which that kingdom is governed; for, "He who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory."

So being ordained an elder, or a high priest, or an apostle, or even President of the Church, is not the thing that brings the exaltation, but obedience to the laws and the ordinances and the covenants required of those who desire to become members of the Church of the Firstborn, as these are administered in the house of the Lord. To become a member of the Church of the Firstborn, as I understand it, is to become one of the inner circle. We are all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by being baptized and confirmed, and there are many who seem to be content to remain such without obtaining the privileges of exaltation." ( Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, p.21, 41-42)

(See Difficult Doctrinal Teachings; Teachings About the Afterlife home page)

1015:  On 05/23/99, a visitor asked:  [I believe the Bible to be complete] I guess Mormons believe the book of Mormon to be Scripture, but He never mentions it. He never says," I will send you more Scripture when you need it." If they didn't need it before Joseph Smith then why do we need it now?

See Is the Bible Sufficient?

1014:  On 05/23/99, Robert asked:  If a couple did not get married in the temple, but civilly, and later on they were sealed with their children, does that count as a Celestial marriage?

See Is it OK to Choose a Civil Marriage Over a Temple Marriage?

1013:  On 05/23/99, Daisy asked:  I have been researching LDS doctrine and find the subject of Eternal Marriage quite fascinating.  I understand that Saints believe if a woman's husband dies and she remarries then she is married to her second husband only in this time and any children that she has go with her.  Does this work the same way for widowers or does he have two wives in the afterlife?

See Why Can Men Have More Than One Wife In Eternity When Women Can Only Have One Husband?

1012:  On 05/23/99, Rowan asked:  I know that Moses was married but she was hardly if ever mentioned in the bible. I have some questions regarding this, firstly was his wife Egyptian or did he marry an Israelite and did she go with him willingly, secondly because Moses was not allowed to enter the promised land does that mean his wife and family were not allowed to enter as well (if he had children) and lastly did Moses taste physical death or not.

(1) After fleeing from Egypt to Midian (Ex. 2:15), Moses married Zipporah. His father-in-law, Jethro, ordained him to the Melchizedek Priesthood that had come down through generations of prophets (D&C 84:6-17). Known as "priest of Midian" (Ex. 3:1), Jethro descended from Midian, son of Abraham and Keturah. There is every reason to believe that Zipporah willingly married Moses since Jethro was a righteous man and would have been unlikely to marry his daughter to someone she disliked.  Since Moses did save Zipporah and her sisters from the shepherds, it's likely that she developed at least some affection for Moses. (See Moses)

(2) President Spencer W. Kimball taught:

"Moses failed to realize that the recorder was turned on when he said to the continually complaining children of Israel, crying for the fleshpots of Egypt: "Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?" He was reprimanded: "Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them." (Numbers 20:10, 12.)  Moses had integrity in great measure, but in that unguarded moment he had presumptuously taken credit for the Lord's miracle and was forbidden to enter the Promised Land."

Since there is no reference to the penalty applying to Moses' family, we can assume that they were able to enter the Promised Land with the other children of Israel.

(3) Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught:

"Both Elijah and Moses were translated beings on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17) and appeared later as resurrected beings in the Kirtland Temple (D&C 110)." (Plain and Precious Things, Footnotes 3)

Regarding the transition from a translated state to a resurrected state, President John Taylor taught:

"Translated bodies cannot enter into rest until they have undergone a change equivalent to death." ( Mediation and Atonement, Ch.9) (See Translated Beings)

1011:  On 05/23/99, a visitor asked:  Somewhere in the bible I read that when we die our soul is not a man or a women, is just a soul. So I think it doesn't matter if you love someone from the same sex because their soul is not a male or female. what do you think?

While some denominations may interpret the scriptures to say that we will become sexless beings in the afterlife, Latter-day Saints know that our gender is an essential part of our nature.  The Family:   A Proclamation to the World states:

"All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of Heavenly Parents. And, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."

When two people of the same sex join in using their bodies for erotic purposes, this conduct is considered homosexual and sinful by the Church, comparable to sexual relations between any unmarried persons.  Our Heavenly Father desires all of his children to find happiness in marriage, including procreating and rearing a family with their spouse.  In fact, the highest degree of salvation can only be received by a man and a woman who have been sealed into an eternal family unit for time and all eternity.  (See Homosexuality; Same-Sex Attraction; Eternal Marriage; Teachings About the Family home page)

1010:  On 05/22/99, a visitor asked: I have a question about the book of Mormon. I thought that God said He had put his entire word in the Bible.

While the Bible is the word of God, it does not contain all of God's words.  Some denominations believe the Bible is the complete message of God to man and also infallible, but the Bible does not make these claims for itself.  In reality, God is always teaching his people new truths and giving them more scripture.  (See Is the Bible Sufficient?; The Holy Bible home page)

1009:  On 05/22/99, a visitor asked: I have heard that Joseph Smith became a very different person after his writing the book of Mormon and not for the better. I have heard it said that he was a drunk and a very vulgar person the rest of his life. I believe that God can used anyone, but I'm not sure about this. Please help clear up my of your religion.

Joseph Smith was a good and noble man until the very end of his life, when he was martyred for his testimony of Jesus Christ.  (See Are LDS Church leaders the most evil men who ever lived?; The Prophet Joseph Smith home page)

1008:  On 05/21/99, a visitor asked:  I've been looking into the church lately. I'm 18 years old. I am currently dating an active member. I'm in the process of learning about the religion. I have so many questions. It just so happens that her father is the bishop at her ward. You can imagine the level of uncomfortness i'm facing. Well, to get to the point, my question is about masturbation. Is it against the religion? why? This is a serious question.

The For the Strength of Youth pamphlet states:

"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."

Masturbation is wrong because it feeds base appetites, develops an animalistic view of sexuality, and and may lead to other sinful conduct (e.g., fornication).

(See Teachings About Sexuality home page)

1007:  On 05/21/99, Kim asked:  does the Deseret book club have a web site or e-mail?


1006:  On 05/18/99, Gemma asked: I am interested in the Mormon religion can you tell me more about it.

See Overview

1005:  On 05/18/99, Paul asked:  My mother divorced when I was about 6 months old and I want  to know if we (Me, my Mom, and my Brother) can be sealed together as a family. My brother and I are 16 years of age and we are all active members.

Present Church policy requires children to be sealed to two parents (a married couple).   In eternity, all righteous people will be sealed in family units.  Those righteous people who did not have the opportunity for temple marriage in mortality will be given that opportunity in eternity.  (See Temple Sealings)

1004:  On 05/18/99, Luke asked:  How does the church answer critics who point to changes in the revelations in the D&C?

See Preparing Early Revelations for Publication, Melvin Petersen 1985 Ensign article, summarizes the differences between the Book of Commandments and the Doctrine and Covenants.

1003:  On 05/18/99, Cy asked:  Is there any way to send an email to the first presidency? If not perhaps a way to send a letter? Please let me know of either address.

I don't have a public listing of email addresses for the Church. However, the Church may be contacted at the following mailing address:  50 East North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150 USA.  Just address the envelope to the person or department you want to reach (e.g., Missionary Department, Office of the First Presidency, Elder Richard G. Scott, etc.)

1002:  On 05/18/99, a visitor asked:  I am a young girl who frequently consults with members of the LDS church. I am non-denominational, and I have read the bible my whole life. When asked a question. Most of my friends answer from the Book of Mormon and not the Bible. Why is this? Doesn't the Mormon religion believe that the Bible is the highest reference?

Latter-day Saints do not derive all of our beliefs and doctrines from the Bible.   While Latter-day Saints consider the Bible to be the word of God, we do not consider it to contain all of God's words.  We accept, in addition to the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price as true scripture. These four scriptural collections are called the Standard Works.  In addition, we believe in continuing modern revelation and believe that Joseph Smith and all subsequent presidents of the church were and are prophets and representatives of Jesus Christ.

(See Scriptural Writings home page)

1001:  On 05/17/99, Spencer asked:  I am taking "Teachings of the Living Prophets" at BYU.  We have been assigned to wrote two papers discussing the position of the church on current issues of our choice.  We are to use official statements from the First Presidency.  Do you know of any comprehensive lists, or other efficient means of locating such official statements?

Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1833-1988, edited by James R. Clark, is a 6 volume set of official statements by the First Presidency, and published by Bookcraft.

1000:  On 05/17/99, a visitor asked:  I am currently an active and very happy member of the church, but was not always.  I received my patriarchal blessing 12 years ago, and some of the blessings promised I missed because of my choices.  Is it possible to get an "updated" version or a new blessing? 

The Church rarely gives permission for a person to get a second or updated patriarchal blessing.  Instead, the person is counseled to appeal to the Lord for a restoration of the promises mentioned in the blessing.  Using a hypothetical case, suppose a person was promised a temple marriage, but became ineligible to enter the temple due to personal unworthiness.  Upon his or her true repentance, he or she might be able to have the promise of a temple marriage restored, even though it may not be received under the conditions of the original blessing.  While the forfeited blessing may have been a temple marriage opportunity in college, the restored blessing of a temple marriage might be granted later in life. (See Patriarchal Blessings)

999:  On 05/17/99, a visitor asked: I have a child born out of  wedlock.   Will she ever be able to be sealed to me for eternity?

Yes, if you have completed the repentance process, it is possible for you to become clean and approved of God.  The Holy Bible teaches:

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18)

Your Bishop can tell you the specific things you need to do to enter the temple and be sealed to your child in an eternal family.  It should be noted that present Church policy requires children to be sealed to two parents (a married couple).  In eternity, all righteous people will be sealed in family units.  Those righteous people who did not have the opportunity for temple marriage in mortality will be given that opportunity in eternity.   (See Temple Sealings)

(See Remission of Sins; "Come Back", an Invitation of the First Presidency; Temple Sealings)

998:  On 05/17/99, a visitor asked:  [Aren't there discrepancies on the Church's teachings on plural marriage.  Haven't different prophets taught different things?] Regardless of what the breathing prophet says, don't you think that there should be some sort of doctrinal continuity from prophet to prophet?

See Is Plural Marriage Necessary to Exaltation?

997:  On 05/17/99, Cynthia asked:  Can excommunicated members ever be re-baptized?

Yes, excommunicants may later qualify for rebaptism after lengthy and full repentance and still later may apply for a formal restoration of their original priesthood and temple blessings. (See Disciplinary Procedures; Rebaptism)

996:  On 05/17/99, Colette asked:  Does the Church have an official statement, conference talk etc., concerning Holistic medicine, The ancient Chinese Art of Reiki, Holographic reprogramming, Rapid eye technology, Neuro-linguistics or naturopathic medicine or related subjects?

Latter-day Saints are advised to seek medical assistance from competent licensed physicians, and generally believe that advances in medical science and health care have come though the inspiration of the Lord.  The Church promotes the reality of healing through faith in Jesus Christ, which might be designated an "alternative medical practice." However, the Church has never issued any statement on alternative medical treatments in general, leaving their use to the discretion of the individual members.  (See Medical Practices; Blessing the Sick)

995:  On 05/17/99, a visitor asked:  Why did He died on the cross?

Crucifixion was the form of execution suffered by Jesus Christ on Calvary as the necessary conclusion to his voluntary infinite atoning sacrifice begun in Gethsemane. By performing this atonement, Jesus made the salvation of men possible.  (See The Atonement of Jesus Christ home page)

994:  On 05/17/99, a visitor asked:  Is Jesus the Son of God?

Yes, Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and the Savior and Redeemer of the world. (See Teachings About Jesus Christ home page)

993:  On 05/17/99, John asked:  My mother is a member but my father is not nor do I think he will ever join (he is 67 and of deteriorating health). My two sisters, a brother and I (all members and recommend holders) would like to be sealed to her. Is this possible?

Present Church policy requires children to be sealed to two parents (a married couple).   In eternity, all righteous people will be sealed in family units.  Those righteous people who did not have the opportunity for temple marriage in mortality will be given that opportunity in eternity.  (See Temple Sealings)

992:  On 05/17/99, Ruth asked:  I came across your website and read your information with great interest. Though I did not read all the pages I wonder where to find some articles on how your church deals with the Jewish Religion and in which way you maintain the contact with other churches. I had my first contact with your church in Italy where I did parts of my studies. my own feeling was that is must be very difficult to establish any new church in the country of the Pope, especially in Rome.

See Jewish Interfaith Relationships; Judaism; Interfaith Relations home page

991:  On 05/17/99, Gary asked:  If Mormons support the bible as their foremost scriptural reference, how come you ignore Christ's and Paul's teachings regarding marriage:  that there is no marriage in heaven, and that it is of no particular consequence, in any case? 

See Is There Marriage in Heaven?; Are all Latter-day Saint beliefs fully explained in the Bible?

990:  On 05/17/99, David asked:  I a practicing Catholic and went to the Mormon website out of genuine, non-critical curiosity.  I am fascinated by your Mormon belief that there is a "Heavenly Mother" as well as a the Heavenly Father.  The statement said that Mormons have a biblical basis for this belief.  Can you help me by telling me the reference to this in the Bible?

I would be surprised to see an article by an LDS author stating the teaching of a Mother in Heaven is openly taught in the Bible.  To my knowledge, this unique LDS doctrine is not found in the Bible.  It is taught in some plainness by modern Church leaders.  (See Mother in Heaven home page; Are all Latter-day Saint beliefs fully explained in the Bible?)

989:  On 05/14/99, Debra asked:  Also one more question about children with special needs.  I have 2 daughters with special needs, ages 12 and 17.   They have no need to be baptized at this time. I have heard that parents of children who die before age 8 will be able to raise them in the resurrection.  Will we able to "raise" these girls too, since we weren't able to raise them mentally and spiritually?

The Church teaches that all children who die before they reach age 8, without exception, are automatically saved in the celestial kingdom with the fullness of salvation.  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 her: '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.)

Likewise, mentally deficient children are automatically saved.  Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:

"What about the mentally deficient? It is with them as it is with little children. They never arrive at the years of accountability and are considered as though they were little children. If because of some physical deficiency, or for some other reason unknown to us, they never mature in the spiritual and moral sense, then they never become accountable for sins. They need no baptism; they are alive in Christ; and they will receive, inherit, and possess in eternity on the same basis as do all children. After revealing that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through the atoning sacrifice of Him who died to save us all. and after specifying that Satan has no power to tempt little children until they begin to become accountable, the Lord applied the same principles to those who are mentally deficient: "And, again, I say unto you, that whoso having knowledge, have I not commanded to repent? And he that hath no understanding, it remaineth in me to do according as it is written." (D&C 29:49-50.)" (Ensign, April 1977, p. 3-7)

It is likely that that the mentally deficient will be "raised" in a similar way as little children.  When we are resurrected, all of our imperfections will be removed. While the mentally deficient will have their mental faculties restored and perfected, they will not have all the knowledge which is necessary to receive eternal life.  Certainly, their parents will be given the responsibility and privilege to help their newly awakened children in this regard.

(See Salvation of Children; Resurrection)

988:  On 05/14/99, a visitor asked:  Firstly, I would like to thank you for your answers from the past.  You have been very helpful and have been able to strengthen my testimony (which I feel is pretty strong as it is) and my knowledge of the gospel and its principles.  My question is this: I have been taught that Adam and Eve could not have procreated until they had fallen.  That they needed to have knowledge from the tree in order to fulfill the commandment of "multiply and replenish the earth".  Did the Lord really give two commandments that could not be fulfilled?  Does the Lord not give commandments where he will prepare a way for us to accomplish it?  I believe he does.  So I have difficulties accepting that the two commandments given to Adam and Eve were contrary to each other.  Is it not possible for Adam and Eve to have children while still in the Garden?  If not, why must they have first partaken of the fruit?  Thank You.

The Lord gave Adam two conflicting commandments so that Adam was forced to use his agency to determine what was truly most important.  Elder Bruce R. McConkie noted:

"Having thus shown why men must be endowed with agency, Lehi bears his own witness that such is, in fact, the case. "There is a God," he says, "and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon. And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter. Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other." (2 Nephi 2:11-16.)  Thus we see why the Lord gave two conflicting commandments -- one to become mortal and have children, the other to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil out of which mortality and children and death would result. The issue is one of choosing between opposites. Adam must choose to become mortal so he could have children, on the one hand; on the other hand, he must choose to remain forever in the garden in a state of innocence. He chose to partake of the forbidden fruit so that the purposes of God might be accomplished by providing a probationary estate for his spirit children. Adam must needs fall so that he would know good from evil, virtue from vice, righteousness from wickedness. He could not have done this without breaking a law and becoming subject to sin. He chose the Lord's way; there was no other way whereby salvation might come unto the children of men." (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.91)

God tests each one of us in a similar way today.   We are given far more responsibilities than we can possibly fulfill.  The demands upon our time and resources are greater than our capacities.  By forcing us to prioritize and use our agency, we learn from our own experience to choose the good from the evil.  While these lessons are not always pleasant to receive, they are essential for our eternal growth and development.

(See Fall of Adam home page)

987:  On 05/14/99, Russ asked: I am a member of the church.  I was recently in my institute class that was about some of the deeper doctrine of Mormonism.  We were talking about different things about the garden of Eden and Adam and what not.  One thing that really caught me was that my teacher told us that Adam and Eve weren't really "naked", but that the term naked meant that they were unashamed.  He told us that they were wearing "garments of light".  I found that fascinating.   Then that night I went home and went to the temple and read the accounts in Genesis and in the Pearl of Moses and some in Abraham too.  The more I have read and thought about it, the more I wonder if he was right.  I have a feeling he isn't.  He said the information came from a talk that was given by Bruce R. McConkie's daughter or something.  I don't know.  Just tell me what you think... or know.

The Institute instructor was referring to a lecture entitled Mother Eve and Father Adam by Vivian Adams, the daughter of Bruce and Amelia McConkie.  It's one of my favorite talks and I have often listened to it while traveling to the temple.  It is available at Deseret Books (See -- You may have to order using the 1-800 number on their home page)

For a discussion of the allegorical nature of the Eden story, see The Garden Story:  Literal vs. Figurative

986:  On 05/14/99, Walter asked:  I was wondering, How much of the Creation narrative in Genesis is literal? I mean, Adam and Eve actually ate a fruit that change their bodies? Or is it figurative? Were they naked literally before the Lord? Are there literal trees that gave us knowledge of Good and Evil and Life?

See The Garden Story:  Literal vs. Figurative

985:  On 05/14/99, Sara asked:  How can you be sure that the end will arrive with the millennium if in the Bible it says that no one, not even Christ Himself, knows when the end will be?

The Holy Bible states:

"And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.....But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."  (Matthew 24:30, 36)

The verses in question deal with the timing of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, not the end of the world, which occurs after the Millennium.   While no one, except our Father in Heaven, knows when the Second Coming will occur, our Heavenly Father has told us to watch for signs that indicate it is close at hand. (See Signs of the Times)  We know that the earth will die and be resurrected after the Millennium due to the teachings of the prophets and apostles.  President Joseph Fielding Smith noted:

"This earth is living and must die, but since it keeps the law it shall be restored through the resurrection by which it shall became celestialized and the abode of celestial beings." (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.1, p.73)

984:  On 05/14/99, a visitor asked:  I am majoring in Physical Therapy and have to give a presentation to my peers on Mormonism.  I found your web site very useful, but I am still wondering what the Mormon beliefs are on modern medicine?  I was also wondering if there is anything that I should tell my peers to keep in mind if treating a patient of the Mormon faith?

See Attitudes Towards Health, Medicine, and Fitness home page

983:  On 05/14/99, Robert asked:  I am not a member, but I am seriously investigating the church. What will happen to a person if he or she doesn’t find the right person to marry in this life? Do you think they remain alone for all time and eternity as stated in D&C 132:15-17? Thank you so much for your time and consideration!

If someone does not have the opportunity to wed a worthy companion in this life, then they will receive that opportunity in the world to come.  President Lorenzo Snow taught:

"I desire to give a little explanation for the comfort and consolation of parties in this condition. There is no Latter-day Saint who dies after having lived a faithful life who will lose anything because of having failed to do certain things when opportunities were not furnished him or her. In other words, if a young man or a young woman has no opportunity of getting married, and they live faithful lives up to the time of their death, they will have all the blessings, exaltation and glory that any man or woman will have who had this opportunity and improved it. . . . People who have no opportunity of marrying in this life, if they die in the Lord, will have means furnished them by which they can secure all the blessings necessary for persons in the married condition." (Millennial Star, August 31, 1899, p. 547.)

President Spencer W. Kimball taught:

"However, as important and necessary as it is to be married in the celestial order here on earth in mortality, provisions will be made to take care of this matter for those who, through no fault of their own, failed in this sacred requirement. ... They will not be deprived of any blessings which they might have received if they had lived up to all of the commandments with which they could comply. " (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.542)

It's important to note that any two righteous people can make a happy, celestial marriage if they both are willing to make the Lord the center of their lives.  Those who are too picky may find themselves alone for eternity, as well as mortality.   Elder Richard G. Scott noted:

"I suggest that you not ignore many possible candidates who are still developing these [celestial] attributes, seeking the one who is perfected in them. You will likely not find that perfect person, and if you did, there would certainly be no interest in you. These attributes are best polished together as husband and wife." (See Receive the Temple Blessings)

(See Teachings About Marriage home page)

982:  On 05/14/99, a visitor asked:  I'm kind of confused about something, so please help me!  If Joseph Smith had a revelation that plural marriage was acceptable, then why did the Church some years later decide that it was not acceptable,just because the government was upset about it?  If it really was true, wouldn't the Church have just stuck with this principle,and not backed down from the government?

See Why did the church's prophet get rid of polygamy, was it because of a revelation or was it just to appeal to the laws of man?

981:  On 05/14/99, Walter asked:  I would like to know about using white shirts in church meetings. Is it an obligation? Do the young men need to use them while preparing and serving the sacrament? Can we use colored shirts in Church meetings?

There are no official dress guidelines for either attending Church or administering the Sacrament.   In other words, the Sacrament would not be invalidated if it is is blessed or passed by someone wearing a colored shirt.  However, Church leaders have suggested that white shirts adds to the sacredness to the occasion.

The First Presidency has said:

"It is very pleasing to see the young men who pass the Sacrament dress with white or light shirts and dark ties." (Messages of the First Presidency, Vol.5, p.307)

President David O. McKay taught:

"I am not going to say much about the dress. We are not a people who look to formality, certainly we do not believe in phylacteries, in uniforms, on sacred occasions, but I do think that the Lord will be pleased with a bishopric if they will instruct the young men who are invited to administer the sacrament to dress properly. He will not be displeased if they come with a white shirt instead of a colored one, and we are not so poor that we cannot afford clean, white shirts for the boys who administer the sacrament. If they do not have them, at least they will come with clean hands, and especially with a pure heart.  I have seen deacons not all dressed alike, but they have a special tie or a special shirt as evidence that those young men have been instructed that "you have a special calling this morning. Come in your best." And when they are all in white I think it contributes to the sacredness of it. Anything that will make the young boys feel that they have been called upon to officiate in the Priesthood in one of the most sacred ordinances in the Church, and they too should remain quiet, even before the opening of the meeting." (Conference Report, October 1956, p.89)

However, Church leaders have also warned against trying to add additional aspects to the ordinance.  President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:

"[Speaking about additional aspects added to sacred ordinances] These changes and innovations are innocently adopted, but in course of time there is the danger that they will become fixed customs and considered as necessary to the welfare of the Church. For example, let us consider the ordinance of the Sacrament. It became the custom in many wards throughout the church to have the young men who passed the Sacrament all dressed alike with dark coats, white shirts and uniform ties. This could in time lead to the established custom of dressing them in uniform, such as we see done in some sectarian and other churches. Then again as they passed the Sacrament they had to stand with their left hand plastered on their backs in a most awkward manner. The priests or elders who administered these holy emblems had to stand in a certain way as the one officiating in the prayer knelt at the table. In some instances the Bishop stood in the pulpit with raised hands in an attitude of benediction. Other customs among the quorums and in the services of the wards were introduced. Members of the Church were instructed that they must not touch the trays containing the bread and the water with their left hand, but must take it in their right hand after partaking as their neighbor held the tray in his or her right hand. In the Priesthood in the wards, we now have "supervisors" directing the activities of the deacons and the priests. How long will it take before these supervisors are considered as a regular part of the Priesthood and it will be necessary to set them apart or ordain them to this office? So we see that we, if we are not careful, will find ourselves traveling the road that brought the Church of Jesus Christ in the first centuries into disrepute and paved the way for the apostasy." (Church History and Modern Revelation, Vol 1, p.103)

980:  On 05/14/99, Walter asked:  why Church keep a copy of Patriarchal Blessings?

The Church keeps copies of Patriarchal Blessings because (1) record keeping is a commandment of the Lord; and (2) members who lose their copy can request an additional one from the Church.

979:  On 05/14/99, Mike asked:  I'm active in the church and I came across your site.  I've also had a chance to read other information available on the internet relating primarily to church history, etc....  As part of that research I've come across a significant number of inconsistencies between the doctrines taught in the early church and the doctrines of today.  A lot of those controversial doctrines came from the Journal of Discourses, which at the time were considered to be "like scripture" -- why is it important not to refer to the Journal of Discourses today???

The Church does not discourage anyone from referring to the Journal of Discourses.   In fact, present Church leaders often quote from the Journal of Discourses in their teachings.  In addition, the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church:   Brigham Young manual, the Priesthood/Relief Society Manual for use in 1999 and 2000, uses extensive quotations from the Journal of Discourses.

However, to benefit from the Journal of Discourses, a person must recognize it for what it is:  mostly a collection of impromptu second-hand remarks made by various Brethren over a long period of time.   It is not scripture and has never been considered a source of official LDS doctrine. It is useful and educational, as are all the private publications of Church leaders, even if it does not represent the official position of the Church.

Finally, you will not find any inconsistencies between what the Church taught in its early days and what it teaches today.  However, you might occasionally find a difference of opinion among Church leaders on certain subjects, especially those areas of the gospel which have not been fully revealed by the Lord (e.g., how a prophecy will be fulfilled). 

(See Journal of Discourses; The Seer and the Journal of Discourses; Are Prophets Infallible?)

978:  On 05/14/99, Sara asked:  Could you please tell me about seminary?

See Seminaries

977:  On 05/14/99, a visitor asked:  How are the Mormons so successful? And what explains your continued rapid growth?

See Why Should I Convert?

976:  On 05/14/99, Bill asked:  During my studies I quickly discovered many inconsistencies with the Mormon
religion. ...... I have yet to find inconsistencies with my Catholic faith regarding matters of DOCTRINE. I know that the Mormon Church actively studies other religions to help missionaries convert others to the Mormon faith. Can you point out some Catholic inconsistencies that I might research?

If you "quickly" discovered inconsistencies with the LDS faith, then you have undoubtedly heard only one side of the discussion.  The reason why the Church has not only survived for 169 years, but is one of the fastest growing denominations in the world, is because our beliefs are very robust. (See Response to Criticism home page)

Since missionaries receive absolutely no training in the teachings of other religions, you have been misinformed.  Instead,  because we have such a good program to offer the world (i.e., the Lord's true plan of happiness), Latter-day Saints are encouraged to spend all of their efforts on presenting our own beliefs, instead of disparaging the beliefs of others.  If at all possible, missionaries will try to avoid discussing the merits of any other Church during their lessons.  (See Missionary Work home page; Interfaith Relations home page)

975:  On 05/14/99, Jeffrey asked:  I had an affair with a married Mormon man.  He told me that horrible things would happen to him by the church if his wife ever found out.   I'm trying to find out what these horrible things would be.  I forced him to tell his wife 7 weeks ago.  So far I know he is still living with her.  I feel he was lying to me so that I wouldn't make him confess.  Can you tell me what happens to a Mormon man when adultery is found out?  Thank you.

See Adultery

(See Question and Answer home page; Question and Answer 28)

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