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Question and Answer 30

1082:  On 06/17/99, Sara asked:  Hi.  I just read the page about Patriarchal Blessings, and I'm not sure that I fully understand what they are.  Who gives them?   Could you explain any more?  Thank you so much!  Your site is so helpful.

While priesthood blessings given to members by their earthly fathers are a type of patriarchal blessing, the term is used most often in connection with a very special blessing given to members by his or her Stake Patriarch.   This blessing is a once-in-a-lifetime blessing received by Latter-day Saint youth normally during their teenage years.  Converts can receive a patriarchal blessing within their first year of membership.

The patriarch lays his hands upon the recipients head, attunes himself to the Holy Spirit, and makes pronouncements about the individual.  The recipient might receive instruction about spiritual gifts and promises unique to him or her, as well as warnings and counsel about his or her specific life.  Latter-day Saints normally consider their patriarchal blessings to be sacred and share them only with those close to them.   (See Patriarchal Blessings)

1081:  On 06/17/99, Sara asked:  I just read another posting, and it said that the missionaries are not allowed ot be alone with a member of the opposite sex.   I'm a 17 year old female who is very interested in converting, and I would really like to meet with some missionaries.  Would there be any problem in meeting with them in a somewhat public place, such as a library?  Our library has an outdoor patio where people can talk and not bother anyone inside.

When you make your appointment to visit with the missionaries, they will make arrangements that will accommodate your specific situation.  For example, the missionaries who visit may be young women or an older couple, or they may arrange to have some women from the local congregation present during your visit, or they may arrange a meeting in a public place.  There are various methods which can be used to resolve the issue.  (See Missionary Work home page)

1080:  On 06/17/99, Linda asked:  This is probably a one of a kind situation and question.   We currently have a
trial in progress here in AZ in which a man admittedly murdered his wife (quite brutally), but his defense is that he was sleepwalking.  Whether he is convicted of murder or not is immaterial to my question as he has admitted to being the murderer.  My question is this: would his wife be required to spend eternity with him, given that he killed her?...... Does the church have a mechanism by which her family, for example, could sever those ties? 

Since I don't know what really happened or why, I can't comment on this specific situation.  However, let's make a few comments about gospel principles in general.   First, no one is ever forced to spend eternity with their spouse.  If either a husband or a wife were in the least degree dissatisfed with their spouse, then that marriage would be null and void in eternity.  Now, this doesn't mean that someone has to think that their spouse is perfect in mortality, as none of us are faultless.   Elder Richard G. Scott noted:

"I suggest that you not ignore many possible [marriage] candidates who are still developing these [godly] 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)

However, in eternity, we shall be perfect and free from all error and sin, through the power of the redemption of Jesus Christ.  President Brigham Young taught:

"Those who attain to the blessings of the first or celestial resurrection will be pure and holy, and perfect in body. Every man and woman that reaches to this unspeakable attainment will be as beautiful as the angels that surround the throne of God. If you can, by faithfulness in this life, attain the right to come up in the morning of the resurrection, you need entertain no fears that the wife will be dissatisfied with her husband or the husband with the wife, for those of the first resurrection will be free from sin and from the consequences and power of sin. This body is 'sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.' 'And as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.'" (Journal of Discourses 10:24.)

If a man mistakenly killed his wife by accident, then he is not accountable for her death.  In which case, it would be very unlikely that the wife would harbor any ill feelings and both will be happy to be reunited in eternity.  However, if a man murders his wife, then he cannot escape the damnaion of hell and forfeits any home of a celestial life with his family in heaven (See Murder).  In which case, all of his temple sealings are unratified by the Holy Spirit of Promise.   His wife will be able to choose another, more worthy husband, in eternity and her children will have her new husband as their eternal father.

1079:  On 06/17/99, a visitor asked:  ....on your Web site you also write: "While many Christian Churches teach portions of the gospel, we alone offer all the knowledge necessary to become Christlike and receive the fullness of salvation. There is no such thing as a partial truth.  A religion either knows the plan of salvation or they don't.  It is rather hard for me to believe that the God that create this world and all that is here along with our universe would limit the truth to just yourselves.  Why would you believe such a thing.

It is certainly possible for people to know some things without knowing all things.   In a gospel context, many Churches teach portions of God's truth, but not the fullness of what the Lord has revealed to man.  For example, many Catholic and Protestant teach that sexual relations outside of marriage is contrary to the will of God.   This is correct.  (See Teachings About Sexuality home page) Yet, these same Churches may teach many things which are not correct (e.g., God no longer works through prophets and revelation has ceased -- See Following the Prophets home page).  To say that someone, including a Church, is wrong in some things does not mean they must be wrong in all things.  (See Truth)

1078:  On 06/14/99, Barb asked:  I am a lifelong member of the church. Recently I came across the Kinderhook plates on a ex-mormon website. I had never heard of them before and read what their explanation was of them. That it was a hoax (joke) on Joseph Smith to "expose him as a false prophet"...... If this is true, then how can you explain what Joseph Smith said about the plates when given to him? It is found in History of the Church volume 5 page 372. He claimed to have translated a portion of them and claimed they were a history of the person with whom they were found. And that he was a descendant of Ham through the loins of Pharoah. This is driving me crazy.   Please respond and I will seriously consider what you have to say.

See Kinderhook Plates

1077:  On 06/14/99, Laurel asked:  My father in-law just married a wonderful Mormon lady from California.  They are scheduled to visit us in August.  In a conversation she mentioned she does not drink any beverages with caffeine because she is Mormon.  We would like to make her visit with us a comfortable and memorable experience.  We plan to take a visit to Philadelphia's Independence Hall and would like to dine with them at a restaurant called "City Tavern."  Would the "tavern" aspect offend her sensibilities or beliefs?

Since every person is unique, it's often difficult to tell what will be offensive to a particular person.  Latter-day Saints don't drink alcohol (See Alcoholic Beverages and Alcoholism) and try to avoid "smoke-filled bars."  The easiest way to know whether a particular place would be consistent with LDS values is probably applying the "kid test."   If it would be acceptable to take a teenager into the establishment, then its probably ok for a Latter-day Saint.  On the other hand, if a well behaved, well-dressed teenager would not be welcome, it might be wise to try and find another place.

1076:  On 06/14/99, Andrew asked:  On what basis do you believe that there is a Heavenly Mother?

Latter-day Saints believe that God reveals truth to man through prophets.   These divine messengers have taught us that we have a Mother in Heaven.  For example, 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."

(See Following the Prophets home page; Do You Obtain All Your Beliefs from the Bible?)

1075:  On 06/13/99, Sara asked:  Can non-members attend baptisms?

Yes, nonmembers are welcome to attend all Church functions, with the exception of temple ordinances, which require a temple recommend. (See Baptism)

1074:  On 06/12/99, a visitor asked:  It seems to me that you do not beielve that Jesus Christ dying on the cross is the way to true salvation.  Why would you even recognize Him if you beleive that good works is the way to heaven?

Latter-day Saints believe men cannot earn salvation through good works.  The Book of Mormon teaches:

"I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another--I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants." (Mosiah 2:21)

Instead, we are redeemed by the righteousness of Jesus Christ and the atoning sacrifice that he made.  The Book of Mormon teaches:

"....Wherefore, I know that thou art redeemed, because of the righteousness of thy Redeemer; for thou hast beheld that in the fulness of time he [Jesus Christ] cometh to bring salvation unto men."  (2 Nephi 2:3)

Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, offered his life, including his innocent body, blood, and spiritual anguish as a redeeming ransom from sin, death, and hell for the children of men.

(See Grace vs. Works)

1073:  On 06/12/99, Claire asked:  What is the difference between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of latter Day Saints?

See Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (RLDS)

1072:  On 06/12/99, a visitor asked:  What is the Churches' position on the subject of cremation?  Is it against church doctrine?  Thanks for the info.

See Cremation

1071:  On 06/12/99, Dwight asked:  Is there a scriptural basis or direction from the First Presidency for the practice of burying church members in their temple clothing? We have a home teaching family that has asked us to research this question and we have been unable to find anything.

The body of a deceased member of the Church who has received the temple Endowment should be dressed in temple clothing. Relief Society sisters dress deceased women, and priesthood brethren the men. When it is not possible to clothe the body, temple clothing may be laid over it. Your Bishop can give you more specific information from information he has received from Church headquarters. (See Burial)

1070:  On 06/12/99, a visitor asked:  Why, until the late 70's, has the Mormon Church excluded blacks from becoming priests.

See Blacks home page

1069:  On 06/12/99, Cesar asked:  Hello, My name is Cesar and I am a Teacher in the Lewisville 3rd ward in Texas. I have a girlfriend that is a non-memeber and she constantly tries to find something wrong with the church! Just recently, she showed me some verses in the Bible (which is the only source she relies on) Malachi 3:6 "For I am the Lord, I change not..." and Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ (is) the same yesterday, and today, and forever." And then she told me that our church is wrong because we HAD plegamy and then stopped it to conform to the worlds view.. And she said that God doesnt change his mind so we cant be right. What can I do? Please e-mail me back ASAP Thank you

See Have Your Doctrines Changed?

1068:  On 06/12/99, a visitor asked:  I have a history question.  What were the circumstances behind John Whitmer's excommunication?  Some one asked me a question about that and I have no idea. Also, I just wanted to thank you for the amount of time you spend on this web site.  It is just full of information that I normally would not have access to.  Thanks.

See John Whitmer

1067:  On 06/12/99, Brad asked:  A friend of mine, who is from Utah, but is not a Mormon, told me that in order to become a Mormon you have to be circumcised.  He said that this is because the Mormons are descended from the lost tribes of Israel.  He told me that he had many Mormon friends, and that they were all circumcised.  Is this true?

No, in modern times, Joseph Smith affirmed the perpetuity of the Abrahamic Covenant and defended the integrity of Judaism. Today, however, if Latter-day Saint males are circumcised, it is for cleanliness and health, not religious, reasons.  (See Circumcision)

1066:  On 06/06/99, Steve asked:  In the inner circles of the church,    is it considered to exist in reality  6 books to be included as "scripture"? When I was in the mission home  in Salt Lake City 20 years or so ago, the first week of my mission---    some of the G.A.'s taught us and one thing we were told was: We are to consider Jesus the Christ   and    Articles of Faith   (both by J.E. Talmadge)  as  scripture  and study them right along with the other scriptures;   essentially there really are 6 scriptures  and these 2 additional books are included  because they were both written completely IN the Temple.  

It's important to distinguish between "scripture" and "official doctrine."  The books Jesus the Christ and The Articles of Fath by Elder James E. Talmage do not meet the test for official doctrine.  However, both works are considered "scripture" by many Latter-day Saints.  For more discussion on the difference between "scripture" and "official doctrine", see What is Official Doctrine?

1065:  On 06/06/99, Brandt asked:  How do I know that feelings of the spirit are not psychological fabrications made up in my own head?

A true witness of the Holy Spirit is such a powerful expression that it leaves no doubt it is from God.  (See Teachings About the Holy Ghost home page)

1064  On 06/06/99, Paul asked:  In Gospel Doctrine class this past Sunday the Instructor taught what she claimed was doctrine of the church, and I wondered if you have any additional information on the subject.  She indicated that before the fall of Adam, the Earth was in another orbit, near to Kolob and that as part of the process of the fall, the Earth fell from that orbit into its present orbit around our sun.  I thought this was an idea that someone once proposed, but not actually church doctrine.  I couldn't find any scripture reference, so I was hoping you might have some insight.  The reason I'm interested is that I'm fairly sure our current knowledge of Geology, Astronomy, Physics, Paleontology, etc. would rule out the possibility of such an event, at least within the past several million, if not several billion years.

The Church has no official teaching on this subject. (See What is Official Doctrine?)   There are several comments in LDS literature that support the view that the earth received its present orbit in connection with the Fall of Adam.  The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:

"This earth will be rolled back into the presence of God, and crowned with celestial glory." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Four 1839–42, p.181)

Some Quorum of the Twelve meeting minutes state:

"President [Brigham Young] gave it as his opinion that the Earth did not dwell in the sphere in which it did when it was created, but that it was banished from its more glorious state or orbit of revolution for man's sake" ("Record of Acts of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles," 1849 Record Book, p. 41, Church Archives as quoted in Ehat & Cook, Words, 5 January 1841 Note, p.84)

Elder Orson Pratt taught:

"[In connection with its' death and resurrection], the earth will doubtless be rolled back to the position it formerly occupied." (Journal of Discourses, Vol.18, p.315 - p.316)

Most scientific theories regarding the creation of the earth start with a known physical law and extrapolate backwards.  As long as the physical laws work the same way through the entire period under study, such studies may lead to valid assumptions.   However, if the physical laws are not constantly the same during the entire period of study, then no concrete conclusions can be drawn using these techniques.  Since the universe operated under different physical laws prior to the fall, any scientific theory based on present physical laws is meaningless.

(See The Creation home page)

1063:  On 06/06/99, Mike asked:  Did Brigham Young ever say that an unmarried 27-year-old male Church member is a "menace to society"? I have heard this from various members, but I have never been able to find a reference for it.   

In 1963, BYU President Ernest L. Wilkinson said:

"As to the single men, I need merely to repeat the admonition attributed to Brigham Young, "Every man not married and over twenty-five is a menace to the community." I asked Dr. Lyman Tyler yesterday if he would document this for me, but he said he had been trying to document it for years; he had given up, so you will have to accept it either on faith, or as apocryphal." (Commencement Exercises May 31, 1963 BYU Speeches of the Year, p.1)

Like many other Latter-day Saints, I know that I have read the quote attributed to President Young, and like many others, I am presently unable to document it.  I remember it made a strong impression on my mind because I was 27 and single at that point in my life.

(See Teachings About Marriage home page)

1062:  On 06/06/99, a visitor asked:  I feel a little dumb, asking this. But, here goes. I was raised LDS, in SLC Utah.  I fell away from the church. That is, until we had Children. Our Son, is being baptized.  What does he wear? Do we need to buy a white suit?

When a child is actually being baptized (i.e., in the water), he wears special white clothing which will be provided by the local congregation.   For the rest of the baptismal service, he will wear normal Sunday attire.  For more information, please discuss the service with a member of the Bishopric in your ward. (See Baptism)

1061:  On 06/06/99, Kisti asked:  I have been a member for quite some time now, but never had the purpose of polygamy in the early days fully explained to me. Since this topic seems to come up frequently in the secular world, could you please give me a thorough explaination, what was the purpose of it?

See What is the Purpose of Plural Marriage?

1060:  On 06/06/99, Loren asked:  [The Book of Mormon has several different editions.  Which do I follow?]

The present edition of the Book of Mormon is the one closest to the original manuscripts.  (See Book of Mormon Manuscripts)

1059:  On 06/06/99, Kristen asked:  I was wondering how the Book of Mormon can be justified as a Holy book when in The Bible, Revelation 22:18 (KJV) it states: "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book".  Isn't the Book of Mormon an addition/supplement to the Bible?

See Adding to the Bible - Rev 22:18  

1058:  On 06/06/99, David asked:  I have a question for your alleged Prophet of God! Cite me one scripture in which Christ said anything, let alone anything that condemns homosexuality!

The Family:  A Proclamation to the World states: 

"The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity."

(See Homosexuality; Same-Gender Attraction by Elder Dallin H. Oaks)

1057:  On 06/06/99, Alessandra asked:  I was wondering if a member already having a patriarchal blessing could have another if he/she felt wasn't actually ready when it was given the first one.

The Church very rarely gives permission for a second patriarchal blessing.  Instead, Latter-day Saints are encouraged to make any issues a matter of individual prayer and revelation.  (See Fasting, Prayer, and Revelation home page)

1056:  On 06/06/99, Erin asked:  Also why are all your missionaries male for the most part? I would appreciate in answer thanks.

While single sisters and older, retired married couples also serve missions, our 60,000+ missionary force is comprised primarily of single young men, ages 19-21, mainly due to the division of responsibilities.  In the Church, men hold the priesthood and have a sacred responsibility to teach the gospel.  A woman's primary responsibility is the bearing and nurturing of children.  If women delayed their marriage opportunities to serve a mission, it would negatively impact their opportunity for achieving their most important eternal mission (i.e., motherhood).   Therefore, every young man is encouraged to serve a mission, but women are encouraged to make marriage their first priority.  (See Why Don't Women Hold the Priesthood?; Teachings About Motherhood and the Role of Women home page)

1055:  On 06/06/99, Erin asked:  I have a question concerning an argument my friend I were in. It says in the Bible that one shall not press religion on any other one, however if this is so than why do you have missionaries to recruit?

Jesus Christ commanded his faithful servants to offer the gospel to every person in the world:

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (The Holy Bible, Mark 16:15)

Latter-day Saints take this charge very seriously and proclaiming the gospel is considered one of the major missions of the Church.  We intend to offer the teachings of Jesus to every person.  However, unlike some other denominations, we do not force our beliefs on anyone.  While we invite people to come unto Christ, we do not compromise their freedom to choose for themselves. If a person tells our missionaries "go away and do not come back," they will do so and move on to the next house. We believe that every person has the right to hear the gospel and then accept it or reject it for themselves.

(See Why Do Mormons Hound People?; Missionary Work home page; The Gospel of Jesus Christ home page)

1054:  On 06/06/99, Loren asked:  Why has the Book Of Mormon been changed so many times? The 1837 is different than the 1830, and the 1888, 1920, 1964, 1981. Thank you very much

Some minor errors, mainly spelling and grammatical, in the text have been perpetuated in past editions of the Book of Mormon. The current edition contains corrections that seem appropriate to bring the material in conformity with pre-production manuscripts and early editions edited by the Prophet Joseph Smith.   These corrections are similar to the typographical errors that have been corrected in many editions of the Bible, especially in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, when typesetting was also done by hand. (See Changes to the Book of Mormon)

1053:  On 06/06/99, a visitor asked:  I am a Christian but I was just wondering what your faith was about. Because I have a friend who is Mormon and I want to understand what she believes

See Overview

1052:  On 06/06/99, a visitor asked:  So, do you guys believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins or not?

Latter-day Saints believe Jesus Christ offered his life, including his innocent body, blood, and spiritual anguish as a redeeming ransom (1) for the effect of the Fall of Adam upon all mankind and (2) for the personal sins of all who repent, from Adam to the end of the world. (See The Atonement of Jesus Christ home page)

1051:  On 06/03/99, Jacquelyn asked: [Can you tell me about the financing of the church and welfare and humanitarian services provided by the church for the members.]

See Financial Contributions; Welfare and Humanitarian Assistance home page

1050:  On 06/03/99, Jacquelyn asked: I was also wandering if you could explain how if president Hinkly were to die or resign who would take his place and then who would take there's and so on?

Upon the death of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the senior apostle in the Church's governing quorums (see First Presidency; Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) becomes presiding officer of the Church (see President of the Church; Succession in the Presidency).

After President Gordon B. Hinckley, the seniority is as follows: Thomas S. Monson,   Boyd K. Packer, L. Tom Perry, David B. Haight, James E. Faust, Neal A. Maxwell, Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks, M. Russell Ballard, Joseph B. Wirthlin, Richard G. Scott, Robert D. Hales, Jeffrey R. Holland, and Henry B. Eyring. (See Church Leaders home page)

1049:  On 06/03/99, Jacquelyn asked: What is Endowment? I know that it is done in the temple, but that is all I know about it.

See Endowment

1048:  On 06/03/99, Bibi asked:  A colleague of mine at work is a Mormon and his father passed away a few days ago.  Are we permitted to send flowers and a card of sympathy?  We would obviously like to do so but are unsure as to whether or not this would be frowned upon.  

Latter-day Saints normally appreciate such thoughtfulness during times of trial. (See Death and Dying)

1047:  On 06/03/99, Matthew asked:  Your religion poses alot of concerns to me because you profess to believe in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, yet you [seem to have different beliefs than me]

Latter-day Saints certainly believe in Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world.  For a complete understanding about LDS teachings concerning the Savior, see Teachings About Jesus Christ home page.

1046:  On 06/02/99, Jill asked:  Recently, a mother of one the members of my son's little league team would not allow her son to play in a game because it was a Sunday, and she was a latter-day saint. Instead, she chose to watch the game with her son. Her son was very upset, but under no circumstances would she allow her son to play. Why did she do this? Do you feel she was right in doing this?

Since I don't know the full details of the specific situation, it would be inappropriate for me to say whether her method of handling it was either correct or incorrect.  In general, Latter-day Saints are specifically counseled not to engage in recreational activities on the Sabbath, which is set aside for the Lord's business.  President Heber J. Grant taught:

"I am opposed to Sunday baseball, and have been so from my boyhood days. When a young man, I was passionately fond of the game. Today I am happy in contemplating the fact that, much as I loved to play it, I never played a game on Sunday. I am grateful to know that I also persuaded more than one young man from playing on Sundays." (Gospel Standards, p.249)

Most faithful Latter-day Saint families neither engage in recreational activities nor watch them on the Sabbath.

(See Teachings About the Sabbath home page)

1045:  On 06/02/99, a visitor asked:  Where can I get a list of all the past prophets?

See Who Were All the Past LDS Prophets (Church Presidents)?

1044:  On 06/02/99, a visitor asked:  i'm a 21 French man and i want to search my genealogy tree , about my family. I heard about one site made by you but i haven't it. Can you help me and send back the address please.


1043:  On 06/01/99, Chandra asked:  You all believe that the Bible is not sufficient. .....If man can't be trusted to interpret the scriptures correctly, then how can man be trusted to add to the Bible which is already flawless.  How can one be sure that those people who add to scripture are really getting it from God.  When people quote the Bible they are saying God's word. But when people quote other books are they quoting God's word or words from man?  The Bible warned us of signs but not of further scriptures.  Please explain.  Thank you for your time.

See Is the Bible Sufficient?; Doesn't the Bible Teach Against Modern Prophets?; Is the Bible Complete and Inerrant?

1042:  On 06/01/99, a visitor asked;  Hi, we have recently moved to a prominently LDS community.  We are Catholics with no pre-conceived ideas of the LDS, but I would like to know if the children of the LDS church are discouraged to play with children of other faiths?  My daughter who has never had a problem making friends, seems to be shut out from the LDS children.  I would like to know so that she doesn't have to suffer the embarrassment of trying to be friendly and being made to feel sad, without any explanation.  Thank you for providing this forum for fellow Christians.

Latter-day Saints, who are generally very warm and friendly people, are encouraged by the Church to be good neighbors to everyone, including those not of our faith.   President Gordon B. Hinckley has said:

"Let us be good neighbors and good friends, loving and reaching out to those not of our faith as well as those who are of our faith." (See Benediction)

I suggest you discuss your daughter's situation with some of the neighborhood parents.   They may be able to help their children find ways to make your daughter feel included.

(See Interfaith Relationships home page)

1041:  On 06/01/99, Nancy asked:  What have church leaders said about suicide?  I can not find much information in the scriptures. Your knowledge on this subject would be much appreciated.  

See Suicide

1040:  On 05/31/99, Daisy asked:  I have a question regarding some scriptures: 3 Nephi 30:2, D&C 42:18. These scriptures seem to contradict themselves.  Could you help me understand them better. Thank you :)

The Book of Mormon states:

"Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways; and repent of your evil doings, of your lyings and deceivings, and of your whoredoms, and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and of your murders, and your priestcrafts, and your envyings, and your strifes, and from all your wickedness and abominations, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel." (3 Nephi 30:2)

The Doctrine and Covenants states:

"And now, behold, I speak unto the church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come." (D&C 42:18)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:

"'Thou shalt not kill.' (Ex. 20:13.) 'Thou shalt do no murder.' (Matt. 19:18.) Murder, the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought or under such circumstances of criminality that the malice is presumed, 'is a sin unto death' (1 John 5:16-17), a sin for which there is 'no forgiveness' (D. & C. 42:79), meaning that a murderer can never gain salvation. 'No murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.' (1 John 3:15.) He cannot join the Church by baptism; he is outside the pale of redeeming grace. The call to repentance and baptism which includes murderers (3 Ne. 30) has reference to those who took life while engaged in unrighteous wars, as did the Lamanites, because they were compelled to do so, and not because they in their hearts sought the blood of their fellow men. On the other hand, the Jews on whose hands the blood of Christ was found were not invited to repent and be baptized. (Acts 3:19-21.)

(See Murder)

1039:  On 05/31/99, a visitor asked:  Can you tell me about the 2000 stripling warriors!?   I'm curious and can't get the whole story,  Thanks a  lot!!!

The Book of Mormon recounts the history of 2,000 righteous stripling warriors who were able to accomplish great things and receive great blessings because they believed in what they had "been taught by their mothers" (Alma 56:47-48; 57:21). To read this story online, visit our Scriptural Writings home page, follow the "Read the Scriptures Online!" link, and read the chapters referenced above in the Book of Alma.

1038:  On 05/31/99, Scott asked:  I am a Latter-day Saint with a question concerning prayer.  When we pray to God, are we speaking with Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, or both?  I know that Jesus addressed Heavenly Father in the Lord's Prayer, but as mentioned elsewhere on your site, all affairs between God and mankind are administered by Jesus Christ.  So, is it considered inappropriate to address Christ in prayer?   In 3 Nephi when Christ appeared to the Nephites on the American continent, it seems clear to me that they were praying to Jesus as their God.  I have observed that several other denominations pray to either the Father or the Son.  Can you shed some light on this issue?  Thank you.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:

"[Prayers] are to be addressed to the Father; should always be made in the name of Jesus Christ; must be reverential and worshipful in nature..." (See The Language of Prayer)

"Prayer and faith are perfectly united in the instructions of Jesus to the Nephites. "Ye must always pray unto the Father in my name," he told them, "And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you. Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed." (3 Ne. 18:20-21.) Explicit instruction to this effect abounds in the Nephite record. (2 Ne. 32:8-9; 33:12; 3 Ne. 18:30; Moro. 2:2; 3:2; 4:2; 7:48; 8:3.) Indeed, Jesus himself, as a mortal among the Jews (John 17) and as an immortal among the Nephites (3 Ne. 17), prayed in persuasive power to his Father. And for that matter the angels of God in heaven both speak and pray by the power of the Holy Ghost and in the name of that same Savior who is also our Savior." ( The Promised Messiah, p.559 - p.560)

"On that Pentecostal occasion when the Nephites received the gift of the Holy Ghost, they offered approved prayers directly to Jesus and not to the Father. But there was a special reason why this was done in this instance and on a one time basis. Jesus had already taught them to pray in his name to the Father, which they first did. "They knelt again and prayed to the Father in the name of Jesus," the record says. And they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them." Thereupon the heavens opened, they were circled about with fire, angels ministered unto them, and Jesus commanded them to pray again. They did so. But this time "they, did pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord and their God." Jesus was present before them as the symbol of the Father. Seeing him, it was as though they saw the Father; praying to him, it was as though they prayed to the Father. It was a special and unique situation that as far as we know has taken place only once on earth during all the long ages of the Lord's hand-dealings with his children. It is analogous to the fact that the true believers in Jerusalem did not receive and enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost as long as Christ personally ministered among them, although the receipt of that member of the Godhead as a gift, and the enjoyment of the companionship of the Holy Spirit, is essential to salvation." (The Promised Messiah, p.560 - p.561)

(See Fasting, Prayer, and Revelation home page)

1037:  On 05/31/99, Michelle asked:  I saw on TV this week that you have a free genealogy search site.  How do I locate same?  Thank you.

See Family History home page

1036: On 05/31/99, Damon asked:  I understand that the LDS church meets for 3 hours each Sunday.  Was the decision to attend church for 3 hours a revelation, or has it just been a general guideline to meet the requirements of Sacrament, Sunday School, and Priesthood/Relief Society?  Also, has the Church considered going to a 2 hour time allotment?  I have found that many people don't like the 3 hour system, and it would appeal to a greater group as well as give more usefulness to existing buildings if a 2 hour block were used.

In 1980 the Church meeting schedule was consolidated into a single three-hour block on Sundays, replacing the traditional schedule of priesthood meeting and Sunday school in the morning, Sacrament meeting in the late afternoon or evening, and auxiliary meetings during the week (see Meetings, Major Church). The move simplified transportation challenges for many members, but Church leaders emphasized that the central objective was to allow more time for families to study the scriptures or engage in other appropriate Sabbath activities together. (See Church History c. 1945- Present, Post World War II International Era Period home page)

1035:  On 05/28/99, Alanna asked:  I saw a [Lamb of God] video ad on TV and would like to get the ad but didn't have time to write the # down.  Would you have the missionaries come by as I am interested in taking the discussions and would like to see this video.

The Lamb of God, a free video, takes viewers into the midst of the last week of the life of Jesus Christ, allowing them to feel the emotion, the reality, and the wonder as the Son of God atones for the sins of the world. For a free copy, call (U.S.) 1-800-788-3800.

1034:  On 05/28/99, Sarah asked:  I've attended a Mormon church once, and I wore a long dress.  Would it be inappropriate to wear a dress that was to or right above my knees? Are pants suits o.k.?

While there are no specific guidelines about what to wear for Church, Latter-day Saints are encouraged to be modest in their dress.  A general rule of thumb that many female members follow is to have their skirts and dresses cover the knee.  Most women wear dresses to Church, but the Church has no guidelines against pant suits. (See Modesty in Dress)

1033: On 05/28/99, Sara asked:  If two members are married in the temple, but one member's parents aren't Mormon so they're not allowed to be at the actual wedding ceremony, is it possible for someone present to videotape the ceremony for the parents?

No, since it detracts from the sacredness of the experience, the Church does not allow any of the temple ordinances to be photographed. The Why is a Temple Recommend Necessary to Enter the Temple? article states:

"At this point, I would like to make a few comments regarding temple marriages, the most common source of strife on this issue. While some people can understand why only Latter-day Saints can participate in most temple ordinances, they do not understand why an exception cannot be made for marriages. Usually, these people assume that temple marriages are similar in form and purpose to those of other religions. However, this is simply not the case.

A temple marriage is not a public celebration [as with the weddings of most other religions], but the most private and sacred of all religious events in the life of a Latter-day Saint. It is the culmination of all the other temple ordinances. There are no large crowds, bridesmaids, parties, or joyous outbursts. In a temple marriage, while kneeling at an altar in a temple, a man and woman make covenants with God and each other in a marriage ceremony that is to be binding both in mortality and in the eternal world. Since the endowment ordinance is necessary to understand the religious nature of the marriage ceremony, the only witnesses allowed are those members of the Church who have completed it. In temple marriages, it is very common for siblings and close friends to not be invited to the marriage ordinance because they have not yet been endowed. For example, at my temple marriage, my bride's only sister [a faithful Latter-day Saint] waited outside until the marriage ordinance was completed because she had not been endowed. To summarize, a temple marriage is not a public celebration, but a private religious experience only shared with spiritually mature members of one's own faith.

The sacredness and solemness of the temple marriage ordinance does not mean that an LDS wedding is not a festive occasion. However, all the festivities occur outside of the temple. While LDS wedding receptions are often more reserved than non-LDS ones, it is here that the public celebrations will occur. It should be noted that all friends and family members, including nonmembers, can be invited to the reception to participate in the public celebration of the day."

(See Teachings About Temples home page)

1032:  On 05/28/99, Shannon asked:  We are looking for the meeting house locator.  Can you help?

To find the ward or branch nearest you (in the U.S. and Canada), search at

1031:  On 05/26/99, a visitor asked:  I am doing research on Christian religion and women.  My question is can women hold the highest position in your church?  If so how many do and why do you feel they can?  If not, why can they not?  Can women participate at all in your church service?

In the Church, all callings (i.e., positions, jobs, responsibilities, etc.) are considered equally necessary. No calling is higher or more important than another calling (i.e., it is not the practice of the Church to "promote" persons from one position to another).  Regarding the position of women in the Church, Latter-day Saints believe that all members, both male and female, are equal in the eyes of God.  The Book of Mormon teaches:

"[Jesus Christ] inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile." (2 Nephi 26:33)

In fact, a cardinal LDS doctrine is that the fullness of salvation can only be achieved by a man and a woman together, as a married couple (See Eternal Marriage).

However, equality does not denote sameness.  Latter-day Saints believe that men and women perform different, but equal roles, in the Church and in the family.  President Spencer W. Kimball taught:

"We had full equality as his spirit children. We have equality as recipients of God's perfected love for each of us. ... Within those great assurances, however, our roles and assignments differ. These are eternal differences—with women being given many tremendous responsibilities of motherhood and sisterhood and men being given the tremendous responsibilities of fatherhood and the priesthood—but the man is not without the woman nor the woman without the man in the Lord (see 1 Corinthians 11:11). Both a righteous man and a righteous woman are a blessing to all those their lives touch." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.315)

Elder James E. Talmage noted:

"It is a precept of the Church that women of the Church share the authority of the Priesthood with their husbands, actual or prospective, and therefore women, whether taking the endowment for themselves or for the dead, are not ordained to specific rank in the Priesthood. Nevertheless there is no grade, rank, or phase of the temple endowment to which women are not eligible on an equality with men. True, there are certain of the higher ordinances to which an unmarried woman cannot be admitted, but the rule is equally in force as to a bachelor. The married state is regarded as sacred, sanctified, and holy in all temple procedure; and within the The House of the Lord the woman is the equal and the help-meet of the man. In the privileges and blessings of that holy place, the utterance of Paul is regarded as a scriptural decree in full force and effect: 'Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.'"

(See Why Don't Women Hold the Priesthood?; Teachings about Motherhood and the Role of Women home page)

1030:  On 05/26/99, Reed asked:  according to the Church of Latter-day Saints, the works of a man has nothing to do with salvation.   Is this true?  I had always thought that according to the Mormon church, salvation was a combination of good works AND belief in God and Christ.  I know that my Christ says that salvation is by grace alone so that no one can boast of his good works.

See Grace vs. Works

(See Question and Answer home page; Question and Answer 29)

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