Return to About Mormons home

Question and Answer 34

1355:  On 10/09/99, Noelle asked:  I am a member, and I know the church is true, but I have a hard time explaining to nonmember friends about the plan of salvation. They always ask how I can believe in a God that does not want all of his children to return to him, just the members of our church. I don't know how to answer. I know the Lord loves all his children, but why didn't he make a plan where we could all return to him?

Our Father in Heaven did make a Plan of Salvation where everyone can return to him, if they so desire.  Every person will get a fair chance to accept the teachings of the gospel and live in the Celestial Kingdom.  The only people who will not live in the Celestial Kingdom will be those people who demonstrate by their actions and attitudes they they do not really desire to live there.  In other words, if someone is excluded from the Celestial Kingdom, it will be by their own choice.  It is important to note that while our Father in Heaven does strongly desire for all of his children to choose to return to live with him, he will not compromise our agency and force us to live by his laws.  To live in the presence of God requires us to be holy and pure.  If we are not spiritually clean, then it would be uncomfortable for us to dwell there.  In other words, a person tainted by sin would not wan tot live in heaven,  The Prophet Isaiah taught us this truth when he related one of his visions:

"In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.   Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, [is] the LORD of hosts: the whole earth [is] full of his glory.  And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.  Then said I, Woe [is] me! for I am undone; because I [am] a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." (Isaiah 6:1-5)

If a holy man like Isaiah felt uncomfortable in the presence of God because of his imperfectness, then how would murderers and those guilty of great wickedness feel?   They would not want to dwell there.  The entire purpose of the plan of salvation is to help prepare a people who can feel conformable dwelling in the presence of God.  It is our Heavenly Father's sincere hope that all of his children will take advantage of it, but he will not force us.

(See Teachings About the Afterlife home page)

1354:  On 10/09/99, Noelle asked:  What exactly are masons, and is the church linked to them as much as we are accused as being? I was told that Joseph Smith was a Mason before he had the first vision, and that our church is founded primarily on the ideas of Masonry. I have also been told that our temples have Mason things in them. If this is true, is it as bad as it sounds? I have done some research on masons, but all the research was given by Christian ministers that pronounced masons as non-Christians that took all the glory of God for themselves. I want to know the Churches position on them and if we are

See Freemasonry and the Temple; Why Did Joseph Smith Become a Mason?

1353:  On 10/09/99, a visitor asked:  is the Mormonism exist in the middle east ?if yes where?

See The Church in the Middle East

1352:  On 10/09/99, Scott asked:  A dear friend of mine is about to be Baptized into The Church.  I am an Episcopalian.  Will his new found faith mean the end of the friendship?

No, Latter-day Saints are encouraged to enjoy friendships with nonmembers of our Church. (See Interfaith Relations home page)

1351:  On 10/09/99, Scott asked:  What is The Church's position on a committed, MONOGAMOUS union of two people of the same gender?  I am not speaking in any way of salacious, promiscuous, reckless, anonymous, or loveless behavior.

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 of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, comparable to sexual relations between any unmarried persons.  (See Homosexuality)  Since Latter-day Saints believe that the principle purpose of sexual relations is to form eternal family units  through the creation of children, any sexual activity performed in contradiction to this teaching is condemned.  President J. Reuben Clark taught:

"Remember the prime purpose of sex desire is to beget children. Sex gratification must be had at that hazard."  (See Birth Control)

1350:  On 10/03/99, a visitor asked:  When and who said we should not drink caffeine?  

See Cola Drinks

1349:  On 10/03/99, Steve asked:  Ok, I've been a member of the church for about 1 year now and have followed the "Word of Wisdom" very strictly. Some of my LDS friends tell me that since I drink Coke from time to time, then I'm breaking the "Word of Wisdom" because of the caffeine involved. I'm frustrated here. Can I have a coke from time to time? The "Word of Wisdom" says nothing about "caffeine" or "Colas".

See Cola Drinks

1348:  On 10/03/99, a visitor asked:  Is the Adam-God Doctrine true?

See Adam-God's Last Stand

1347:  On 10/03/99, Bill asked:  What happened to the gold tablets that Joseph Smith found on the hill Cumorah?  I've searched and so far cannot find the answer to this question.

The Gold Plates were returned into the keeping of the Angel Moroni after Joseph Smith translated them into the Book of Mormon and presumably taken back to Heaven.  (See Why Don't You Have the Gold Plates?)

1346:  On 10/03/99, a visitor asked:  Is it plausible that a convert might receive the Melchizedek Priesthood in less than one year from the time of baptism?

Worthy adult males who demonstrate a maturity in gospel scholarship, testimony, and behavior may be ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood as soon after baptism as local church authorities may deem appropriate. (See Melchizedek Priesthood home page)

1345:  On 10/03/99, Skye asked:  Is tithing 10% or 15% of a persons income? I seem to have heard both.

See Tithing

1344:  On 10/03/99, Joanne asked:  Hi, I was using your search engine to find info. on when the spirit enters the unborn baby.

See When Does the Spirit Enter the Womb?

1343:  On 10/03/99, a visitor asked:  I am in a discussion with an anti-Mormon about the supposed discrepancies between the Bible and the Book of Mormon. He cites that the Book of Mormon states that Jesus was born in Jerusalem (Alma 7:10) while the Bible states that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:4). I would appreciate your insights on this matter.

See On Alma 7:10 and the Birthplace of Jesus Christ

1342:  On 10/03/99, a visitor asked:  At a wedding in the temple may all family members attend?   Must they be of the Mormon faith to attend the wedding?

Only faithful Latter-day Saints holding a temple recommend may attend a temple sealing.  Even faithful members of the Church who have not received the Endowment ordinance themselves do not attend the ceremony.  (See Why Is a Temple Recommend Required to Enter the Temple? for a discussion of nonmembers at temple weddings)

1341:  On 10/03/99, a visitor asked:  On one of the email lists I belong to someone posted that she was going to go to the temple and have her children sealed to her alone because her husband is not a member.  I wasn't aware that this could be done.  Can it?

No, the Church only allows children to be sealed to a couple who are themselves sealed to one another.  (See Temple Sealings)

1340:  On 10/03/99, a visitor asked:  What's a mormon? Are you guys some kind of a cult or something like that?

See The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Are Latter-day Saints Cultists?

1339:  On 10/03/99, Carol asked:  I would like to know your viewpoints on hygiene practices and also on Gender roles and expectations and Family roles and expectations.

See Attitudes Toward Health, Medicine, and Fitness home page; Teachings About the Family home page

1338:  On 10/03/99, Julie asked:  Is there somewhere we can go on this site to help us research our family tree?

See Can You Help Me With My Family History Work?

1337:  On 10/03/99, Skye asked:  Are missionaries allowed to use the internet for informational purposes? Are thay allowed to have access to computers at all?

It depends upon the rules in the mission to which they are called.  (See Missionary Work home page)

1336:  On 10/03/99, Spence asked:  Most psychiatrists I have encountered are atheists.  How do Mormons feel about psychiatry?   Are any Saints in the field of psychiatry?

See Mental Health

1335:  On 10/03/99, Louis asked:  Hi, I am member of the church and serve in the young men presidency as 1st counsler. The question was ask if God the Father sinned. My comments were that he did not sin. However our 1st counsler in our branch seems to think that he may have sinned. Do you have any info on this subject. I'm sure this question has been asked before.

See Is God a Reformed Sinner?

1334:  On 10/03/99, Gary asked:  I have a question concerning the treatment of blacks in the Mormon Church in the past.  I would like to know if blacks were accepted in the Mormon Church prior to 1960's and how has the role of blacks in the Mormon Church Changed in the present Mormon Church. I have been told that Blacks were not allowed in the church because of thier spirital status with god.  Also, recently I have been informed that blacks have always been accepted, but they just were not allowed to become priest.

See Blacks home page

1333:  On 10/03/99, Kathleen asked:  I am a YW president. Our ward is having a Halloween carnival and "trunk and treat" activity this year. We have a member who says that Halloween is not a "proper" activity for Latter Day Saints. The idea of trunk 'n treat came from the FRIEND magazine years ago. Is there any official word to the appropriate thing to do here?  Your quick response would be most appreciated.

See Halloween Advice

1332:  On 10/03/99, Kara asked:  i am a student at BYU writing a paper for my american heritage class on communism vs. consecration. i was excited to find your website but was unable to find the specifics i was looking for as far as the church's doctrine on consecration, etc. can you help?

See Law of Consecration home page

1331:  On 10/03/99, a visitor asked:  Is there something somewhere about tithing and the last days?  And not being burned?   If so, where?

The Doctrine and Covenants states:

"Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming." (D&C 64:23)

(See Tithing)

1330:  On 10/03/99, a visitor asked:  what can you tell me about Patrialchal Blessings? We had a fireside Sunday night and I was lost. I just joined the LDS Church in Jan 99. So any thing you can tell me or what site I can go to would be very helpful.

See Patriarchal Blessings

1329:  On 10/03/99, Linda asked:  I am doing a report on cultural differences and was wondering if the Mormon Church has any spiritual or religious considerations that the Medical Community needs to aware of.

See Attitudes Toward Health, Medicine, and Fitness home page

1328:  On 10/03/99, Debi asked:  About a year ago a very good friend of mine passed away; he was Mormon. His family had some silk flowers at his crypt for the first full year and then took them away without replacing them.  It really bothers me because it looks like no one cares.  I sometimes leave flowers.   I wanted to know if there is some reason for this; I don't know his family well enough to ask them if this is some sort of Mormon tradition. Please let me know, as I don't want to upset the family.

The Church does not have either a doctrine or a policy concerning flowers on grave sites.  Such matters are left to the personal discretion of the family.   Therefore, if the family had the flowers removed, it was for personal reasons, not Church-related ones.  (See Death and Dying)

1327:  On 10/03/99, a visitor asked:  What is the current church membership and how many missionaries does the church currently have in the field?

See Statistical Report, 1998

1326:  On 10/03/99, Mae asked:  I am a college student at the University of Central Arkansas.  I am in an Honors class which is doing a study on the Mormon faith, and would like to know more about the apocalyptic and end  times beliefs of the church.  Thank you for such a service, your website truly is a good and informative one.

See The Last Days home page

1325:  On 10/03/99, Mark asked:  I was wondering if you could answer a question. Can you tell me the official stance that the LDS church has on this; does the spirit enter the unborn child, or after it is born.

See When Does the Spirit Enter the Womb?

1324:  On 09/21/99, Sara asked:  Hi.   I was wondering if you knew, and could give me a website where the information is at, how many members joined the church during 1998-1999. Thanks!

See Statistical Report, 1998

1323:  On 09/21/99, Michael asked:  We were in a discussion about the quotation "Man is what God once was".  Some of the debaters were saying that since God was a man he sinned.   I see no scriptural reference that says he sinned.  I believe he was perfect as Christ was perfect.  Can you expound?

See Is God a Sinner?

1322:  On 09/21/99, a visitor asked:  I was doing a report on mormons and one of the things that i told about was the mormon temple in Utah.   I read that to get into the temple u have to be a mormon.  I was wondering how do they check to see if you are a mormon or not?

See Temple Recommend

1321:  On 09/19/99, a visitor asked:  I was wondering what LDS's view on healthcare was.  I have a case study in which the client is a council member in the local LDS, and I was wondering if there were any cultural differences that i would need to consider.

See Attitudes Toward Health, Medicine, and Fitness home page

1320:  On 09/19/99, Andrew asked:  If you would send me so info on the way Mormons look at the use of caffeine.  I have heard conflicting information.

The Church has no official teachings on caffeine.  However, many Church leaders have counseled members to avoid caffeine as an unhealthy substance and a violation of the spirit of the Word of Wisdom.  Elder John A. Widstoe taught:

"Whenever a drink is advertised to "give you a lift," the "lift" is likely to be caused by the drug which it contains. Such soft drinks are decidedly harmful and habit-forming, even though sold by the millions. Such caffeine-containing drinks, offered by every soda fountain and most eating places, and consumed in large quantities, should be known and avoided." (The Word of Wisdom: A Modern Interpretation, p.97)

(See Cola Drinks)

1319:  On 09/19/99, Mike asked:  Why are there some 3000 changes in the original 1830 Version of The Book of Mormon, and the new revised edition?

See Changes to the Book of Mormon

1318:  On 09/19/99, Debbie asked:  Does anyone out there know of any talk or quote about how the rumor got started that mormons do not drink caffinated drinks?  I know the scriptures tell us that coffe and tea are against the WofW, but I have always been told by leaders and missionaries that we should be careful with soft drinks with caffine, since they can be addictive. (or anyhing else)  Just curious if anyone has anything else. 

See Cola Drinks

1317:  On 09/19/99, Monica asked:  What method of Baptism method is used? (Immersion?)

See Baptism

1316:  On 09/19/99, Monica asked:  Do the Mormons believe in any symbolism? (Descending dove, tongue of fire, etc)

Yes, Symbolism plays a major role in LDS beliefs.  (See Symbolism)

1315:  On 09/19/99, Monica asked:  What are your "churches" referred to as?

Local congregations are called Branches, Wards, and Stakes.

1314:  On 09/19/99, Monica asked:  What type of attire does your religious leader wear? (Suit, robe, etc.)

All members of the congregation wear the same standard of dress.  No one wears any special ecclesiastical outfits for normal Sunday worship services.  (See The Visitor's Guide for a description of dress standards)

1313:  On 09/19/99, Monica asked:  What is your religious leader called? (Pastor, priest, etc.)  What type of dwelling does your religious leader reside in? (Parsonage, etc)

See Lay Participation and Leadership

1312:  On 09/19/99, a visitor asked:  I have married a man who is an inactive member of the church.  He introduced me to the Book of Mormon as we were dating.  In 1996 I was baptized.  At the time we were dating he talked of how much he wanted to rejoin and participate.  I later found out that he was ex-communicated 10 years ago  because of infidelity.  His former wife and he were sealed in the temple. After their divorce she quit attending church and went back to her former religion....Catholic.  She mentioned to me that she wants to know how to get a temple divorce as she feels she was really never converted and   married him because of his insistence of marrying within his religion. She asked me find out for her of what needs to take place to get the sealing dissolved.  My husband and I have not been sealed yet, I pray everyday that he find his way back. 

The sealing was automatically disolved when he was excommunicated.  (See Disciplinary Procedures; Cancellation of Sealings)

1311:  On 09/19/99, Sue asked:  I live in England and am having 2 Mormon ladies to stay with me next week.   Is there any type of food or drink which I should not serve ?  Which foods and drinks are taboo ?

See The Word of Wisdom

1310:  On 09/19/99, a visitor asked:  What is Kolob?

See Kolob

1309:  On 09/19/99, Jared asked:  I am a strong, faithful member of the Church, and I was wondering if there were any good sites to explain the Adam-God doctrine and the changes in the endowment ceremonies.  Such things do not shake me in my faith, but they do cause some wonder, as I have been asked about them before by non members. Any help would be well appreciated.  Thank you.

See Adam God's Last Stand and Changes to the Temple Ceremonies

1308:  On 09/19/99, Fabio asked:  and I need a completly list of the all time's presidents general...

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

1307:  On 09/19/99, Anand asked:  I don't think there is any information about the endowment ceremony on your huge website if there is, please give me the URL so I can find out what is done in this ceremony.

See The Endowment

1306:  On 09/19/99, Tami asked:  My grandparents are Mormons.  I have been curious about their sealing ceremony, it is my understanding that they now must wear a type of body stocking as a result of the sacred sealing process. Do you have any information or pictures of this body stocking? I know this sounds odd, but I am reluctant to ask them directly about something so personal.

See Sacred Garments

1305:  On 09/19/99, Adam asked:  How are you going to get to heaven? I'd like to know everything that needs to be done for a person to be admitted into heaven in the LDS religion.

The Articles of Faith state:

"We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel."

See The Gospel of Jesus Christ home page for detailed explanations of the various steps in the process of obtaining salvation.

1304:  On 09/19/99, a visitor asked: If a husband who has been sealed to his wife dies and the woman wishes to remarry can she be sealed in the temple to another spouse.  If so, will it affect the first sealing? 

A woman may only be married to one man in eternity.  Therefore, a woman may only be sealed to one man in the temple (where eternal marriages are contracted).  In the vast majority of cases, widows who remarry do so for time only with the full and happy expectation that the second marriage is only a temporary companionship.  These women look forward to being reunited with their eternal companion (i.e., their first husband) after they die.  This second marriage for time only is usally performed at their regular meeting house by a local eccesastical leader (e.g., Bishop, Stake President).  It is not performed in the temple. (See Eternal Marriage; Temple Sealings)

1304:  On 09/19/99, Kevin asked:  I would be interested to know of anything describing church policy on the observance (on non-) of Halloween.

See Halloween Advice

1303:  On 09/19/99, a visitor asked:  How can you get the belife of having a second book to the bible? I because in my BIBLE it teaches that "if anything shall be added unto these things then, God shall add unto him the plagues written in this book" that means there is no other book than the HOLY BIBLE!

See Adding to the Bible - Rev 22:18

1302:  On 09/06/99, Stephen asked:  I am looking for any references from recent general authorities regarding the attendance at r rated or inappropriate movies... could somebody help...

See Rated R Movies and Other Inappropriate Media

1301:  On 09/06/99, Anne asked:  I am trying to locate some information on baptism from the LDS perspective.  Can you direct me to any good sources?  Thank you

See Baptism

1300:  On 09/06/99, Cindy asked:  Please could you give me some information about how the church feels about gambling.

See Gambling

1299:  On 09/06/99, Steve asked:  I don't mean to be offensive by this question, but how does the church view masturbation?

President Spencer W. Kimball taught:

"Masturbation, a rather common indiscretion, is not approved of the Lord nor of his church, regardless of what may have been said by others whose "norms" are lower. Latter-day Saints are urged to avoid this practice. Anyone fettered by this weakness should abandon the habit before he goes on a mission or receives the holy priesthood or goes in the temple for his blessings." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.282)

(See Teachings About Sexuality home page)

1298:  On 09/06/99, Sterling asked:  Why have words in the Book of Mormon been changed if it is a perfect book?  What words have been changed?  What are the scriptural references?  How many times has this been done?

See Changes to the Book of Mormon

1297:  On 09/06/99, Charlie asked:  I had an article which listed 10 reasons why LDS should love Anti-Mormons Do you know of this? I have lost my copy and would sure like another one-If you do I would certainly appreciate you sending it to me.--

See Top 10 Reasons to Love Anti-Mormons

1296:  On 09/06/99, Jason asked:  O.K. Let's say a non-member husband and LDS wife are killed in a plane crash together.(not sealed)  When they get to the spirit world, does this mean they cannot be around each other? Are they no longer a "couple" or is it that they remain in-love but cannot have children in the eternities? What is the actual difference in those who are sealed vs. those who are not in the world to come? 

What is the difference between those who are sealed in the temple and those who are not?   In the temple, Latter-day Saints marry "for time and all eternity." (See Eternal Marriage)   This means that their marriage is binding beyond death and they will live in the married state forever. The marriages of those who marry outside of the temple are no longer valid once one of the partners die.  They will not be reunited in marriage after death.  There will no longer be a family relationship between them or their children.  Since the most common phrase used in non-LDS weddings is "until death do you part", this state of affairs should not be surprising to couples who make this arrangement.  At death, they part and their union is dissolved forever.  They are no longer a couple and no longer associate with one another.  The LDS belief in eternal marriage and eternal families, unique in the Christian world, is one of the most attractive truths that we teach.  (See Teachings About Families home page)

1295:  On 09/06/99, a visitor asked:  please explain what goes on in a temple wedding, how is it different than a church wedding?

See Eternal Marriage

1294:  On 09/06/99, a visitor asked:  Could you please explain the endowment ceremony? 

See Endowment

1293:  On 09/06/99, a visitor asked:  What is the Church's view on capital punishment?

See Capital Punishment

1292:  On 09/06/99, Chris asked:  Ok, we just had a vigorous discussion about The conception of Jesus.  Everything eludes to the fact that God the Father, By the power of the Holy Ghost, overshadowed Mary.  We know that he is not the son of the Holy ghost. In plain, simple human biological terms; does this mean that God the Father and Mary were in actual direct intimate contact in the same way that we join to procreate children?  Was it actual intercourse between an eternal being and a mortal being?  How is this proved and where are the sources?

Official LDS doctrine states that Mary was a virgin until after the Savior was born (See Virgin Birth).  She may have conceived children by Joseph after Jesus was born (i.e., half-brothers and sisters to Jesus), but it is a fundamental LDS doctrine that Mary was a virgin at the Savior's birth.  Elder Bruce R. McConkie noted:

"Modernistic teachings denying the virgin birth are utterly and completely apostate and false." (Mormon Doctrine, p.822)

How did the virgin birth occur? We don't know.   Heavenly Father has never revealed how Jesus was conceived or even what procreative processes are used by exalted beings in general.  We do know that any explanation of the conception of Jesus which would mean that Mary was not really a virgin is false.   For further discussion of this topic, please see Was Mary a Virgin?

1291:  On 09/02/99, a visitor asked:    I have a question about John Whitmer.  What were the reasons that he was he excommunicated?  Any information would be appreciated.  Thanks.

President Joseph Fielding Smith said:

"He was excommunicated by the high council at Far West, March 10, 1838, for persisting in unchristian-like conduct." (Church History and Modern Revelation, Vol 1, p.63)

1290:  On 09/02/99, Derek asked:  I'm a member of the Church. And I'm 18 years of age. I'm steadily approaching the decision of whether or not to serve a mission. To be honest, I'm not really sure what my decision will be. But it will come in time I'm sure. I was talking with a friend of mine on this subject about how since I was young the idea of serving a mission as a young man had never appealled to me. I'd always imagined myself serving my mission as an old man along side my enternal companion. I just always thought it'd be absolutely awesome to serve that sort of a mission. But then she told me that only return missionaries can give a girl a temple marriage. Is this, in fact, true? And to what extent?

No, you are not required to be a returned missionary to apply for a temple marriage.  However, Church leaders have requested every young man to serve a mission as part of his priesthood responsibilities.  President Ezra Taft Benson taught: 

"As a young man, are you earnestly preparing to serve a full-time mission? The Lord needs every young man between the ages of nineteen and twenty-six, worthy, prepared, and excited about serving in the mission field." (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.178)

Most worthy LDS young women would not consider marrying a man who refused the call to serve a mission.  They often consider such refusals evidence of a lack of commitment to the Church and gospel living.  Therefore, such men are often considered by young women as an inappropriate choice for the patriarch and spiritual leader of their home.   Therefore, while the Church has no rules in this area, young men who do not serve missions may have a much greater difficulty obtaining a temple marriage, as a matter of practice.

Your Bishop is the best person to advise you further in this area.

(See Missionary Work home page; Teachings About Marriage home page)

1289:  On 09/02/99, Aaron asked:  i am a member of the church, and my wife and i had a discussion about eternal increase.  How exactly is this increase to come about?  Are we going to reproduce in the same way we do now?   Will we have sexual relations in the eternities? 

Eternal Increase refers to the ability to have children after the resurrection.  The Lord has never told us specifically how the procreative/conception process will work in eternity.  It is unknown whether men and women will reproduce in eternity in exactly the same way as they do in mortality.  It may be the same process or it may be somewhat different.  Undoubtedly, regardless of the method used, it will be an enhancement of what we now experience (e.g., no more labor pains).  Elder B. H. Roberts noted:

"Will the resurrection return you a mere female acquaintance that is not to be the wife of your bosom in eternity? No; God forbid; but it will restore you the wife of your bosom, immortalized, who shall bear children from your own loins in all the worlds to come, and that without pain or sorrow in travail. This, sir, was couched in the promise of Abraham; this makes the promise great." (Defense of the Faith and the Saints, Vol.2, p.276)

(See Eternal Lives, Eternal Increase)

1288:  On 09/02/99, Peter asked:  Why does the Church treat homosexuals so shabbily, excommunicating and condemning a group which is a much maligned minority?  Has the Church not learned any lessons from its own history of persecution and intolerance suffered because of polygamy?

The Church considers homosexual activity to be sinful and a violation of the commandments of God, comparable in severity to sexual relations between unmarried heterosexuals.  Those guilty of homosexual behavior are not treated any differently than heterosexuals who have sexual relations outside of marriage.  Both groups are subject to Church discipline, the severity of which is dependent upon the particular circumstances and contrition exhibited.   (See Same-Gender Attraction; Homosexuality

1287:  On 09/02/99, Arthur asked:  my mother became morman 2 years ago and my uncle and his family have been morman for over 20 years now, i was thinking about becomming lds my but i have some question i served 6 years in the Marine corps and the past 6 years now in the califorina national guard, the bible says thow shall not kill . but i love my county and freedom and wish to remain free so i have 8 more years to serve. my question is can i be a true morman true to the faith and god but still serve my country.always trainning to go to war some day and maybe taking another man life?

Although the Church is opposed to war and recognizes that going to war is a very poor alternative in resolving conflicts, tens of thousands of Latter-day Saints have served their countries' armed forces, sometimes even fighting in opposing forces, especially in World War II. The Church considers being loyal citizens to be a duty of its members, irrespective of nationality. Responding to a call for military service is one appropriate manner of fulfilling this duty of citizenship. Latter-day Saints who choose military careers have no restrictions on either their fellowship or their callings in the Church. (See Military and the Church home page)

1286:  On 09/02/99, Meg asked:  could you explain the age/duration difference between men and women going on missions? why must women wait until they are 21(rather than 18), and only for 18 months are they to serve(rather than 2 years)?

See Women and Missionary Service

1285:  On 09/02/99, a visitor asked:  I was baptized when I was 17.   The missionaries asked for a note signed by my parents saying it was okay with them that I got baptized.  But I forged the note.  My parents didn't know then that I had joined the church, but now they do and they never had any misgivings about it.   Things are going great now.  What I wonder is since I did that, does that make my baptism and confirmation "not count?"  Since it started out deceitful did it still work, or do I need to do it all over again?  Thanks for your help.

Since you lied to receive your approval for baptism, the Holy Spirit of Promise did not seal the ordinance as effective.  Once you have truly repented of your transgression, then the Holy Spirit will seal the ordinance as valid.  There will be no need to be baptized again.  Your Bishop can help you understand what is necessary from you to gain complete forgiveness (See Remission of Sins).

1284:  On 09/02/99, a visitor asked:  is it true that a missionary cannot go on a date while on a mission

Yes, missionaries may not date while on their missions.  They are required to spend all of their energy in serving the Lord.  They will have plenty of opportunity to date when they return from their mission.  (See Missionary Work home page)

1283:  On 09/02/99, James asked:  I have heard that the church has officially endorsed an anti same sex marriage campaign in California.  I understand, and support, our position on this issue, however, is the church actually delving into politics? 

No, the Church has every legal right to address moral issues of the day.  (See Same-Gender Attraction; Homosexuality

1282:  On 09/02/99, a visitor asked:  I was told that the Prophet was a vegetarian, abstained from eating animal flesh.  Is there any historical documentation of this?

While Joseph Smith counseled members of the Church to eat meat sparingly, there is no historical evidence to suggest that he was a vegetarian.  In fact he often ate meat in the company of other members of the Church.  For example, the History of the Church records the following:

"I [Joseph Smith] called on Brother Zebedee Coltrin, our cook, and told him to be quick and fry some ham, as I had not had my hunger fairly allayed for forty-eight hours. He immediately commenced cooking the ham, and for once my company feasted to their full satisfaction." (History of the Church, Vol.2, Ch.5, p.80)

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

1281:  On 09/02/99, Gary asked:  How can you call your minister a Bishop when he has no background like a priest.  I find this very insulting to the roman Catholic Church.

When Jesus called his apostles, he did not choose from among the educated religious men.  Instead, he chose common, simple men (e.g., fishermen) who were considered "unlearned and ignorant" (The Holy Bible, Acts 4:13) by the people of the day.  Like Jesus, Latter-day Saints believe in lay participation and leadership and do not select our leaders based on formal training for the ministry.  Instead, we depend upon inspiration from the Holy Ghost to tell us who the Lord would have serve him.   And we have found that the Lord qualifies those whom he calls.

1280:  On 09/02/99, David asked:  I was wondering, in the LDS religion, if you felt compelled to spend all of your time preaching the word of god, and not working a regular "laymen" job, is that possible?  Would the church support a person who wanted to dedicate his life working within a temple etc.?

No, the Church espouses lay participation and leadership.  We do not have professional ministers who are supported by the rest of the congregation.  Members are responsible for their own financial support.  People who have achieved financial independence (e.g., retirees) often work full-time in serving missions, working in the temple, and serving God in similar capacities.  Latter-day Saints believe there are many personal growth opportunities that occur when people are constantly faced with the conflict of "being in the world, but not of the world." 

1279:  On 09/02/99, Peter asked:  I herd also that in Mormon's religion a man can have more than one wife.

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

1278:  On 09/02/99, Peter asked: I also read that Mormons believe that God was a man like us, and in the eternal life we will be gods like Him.

See Godhood

1277:  On 09/02/99, Peter asked:  I read that the Mormons believe that Jesus is, or was brother with Satan.

See Is Jesus the Brother of Satan?

1276:  On 09/02/99, Dennis asked:  Great site! Here's a question I've had, maybe you can help. I can understand how it was possible for Jesus Christ to suffer the pains and sicknesses of all men, but how was he able to suffer the pains of women since he was a man?

Likewise, one can ask:  Since Jesus was a Jew, how was it possible for him to suffer the pains of all Gentiles?  Since Jesus was crucified when he was in his early thirties, how was it possible for him to suffer the the pains of all those 40 and above? Many similar questions could be asked.  President John Taylor wrote:

"The suffering of the Son of God was not simply the suffering of personal death; for in assuming the position that He did in making an atonement for the sins of the world He bore the weight, the responsibility, and the burden of the sins of all men, which, to us, is incomprehensible. As stated, "the Lord, your Redeemer, suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffereth the pains of all men;" and Isaiah says: "Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows," also, "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all," and again, "He hath poured out his soul unto death, and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sins of many;" or, as it is written in the Second Book of Nephi: "For behold, he suffereth the pains of all men; yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women and children, who belong to the family of Adam;" whilst in Mosiah it is declared: "He shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be the anguish for the wickedness and abominations of his people." (Mediation and Atonement, Ch.21)

As President Taylor said, there are many aspects of the crucifixion which are presently incomprehensible to us.  We understand very little about how the atonement occurred.  But, through the testimony of the Holy Ghost, we can gain assurance that it did occur and that it is personally meaningful to us.  Millions of women have borne and will yet bear witness that they have an absolute assurance that Jesus did atone for their sins and does offer them peace and redemption.  (See Atonement of Jesus Christ home page)

1275:  On 09/02/99, a visitor asked:  Why so you say you don't discriminate against people when homosexuals can't
go on a mission, simply because they are gay?

One of the prerequisites for serving a mission is obedience to the law of chastity, which forbids all sexual relationships outside of marriage.  Those who engage in homosexual behavior violate the law of chastity and are ineligible to serve a mission.  Likewise, anyone engaging in heterosexual relations outside of marriage are also ineligible to serve a mission.   The Lord expects those who serve in his name to be free from the stain of sexual sin.  (See Same-Gender Attraction; Homosexuality

(See Question and Answer home page; Question and Answer 33)

All About Mormons