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Question and Answer 6
133: On 10/3/97, J. Gentry wrote: I am doing a report on sexual practices of different religions, but I am focusing on beliefs and practices after marriage. I understand the law of chastity says no perverse sexual actions. I am wondering what actions would qualify as perverse. I hate to ask for specifics, but specific examples would help tremendously. Thank you.
The Church does not give specific examples of perverse and unholy practices. Instead, each member is encouraged to obtain the companionship of the Holy Ghost, which will enable couples to know exactly what course they should follow. In general, the Church teaches correct principles and allows members to govern themselves. A married couple's intimate relationship is between themselves and God. (See Teachings About Sexuality home page)
132: On 10/2/97, Jessica asked: When two church members get married, can they have two ceremonies (to appease a disapproving parent) -- meaning, can they be "married" in a civil ceremony for all to see, either before or after they are sealed in the temple?
Since having two ceremonies shows a lack of faith and a disregard for the sacredness of the temple ceremony, the Church does not approve of this practice. Therefore, Latter-day Saints who marry in a civil ceremony cannot be sealed in the Temple for at least one year. The only exception is where local law requires a civil ceremony to be conducted for a valid marriage.
Also see But I Always Wanted to Give Her Away for an article discussing the issue of non-recommend holding parents.
(See Dating and Courtship home page; Teachings About Temples home page; Teachings About Marriage home page)
131: On 10/01/97, Robert asked: Don't non-members often mistake salvation in the lowest degree of the celestial kingdom (granted when we become members of Christ's church) and basically non-works oriented, with exaltation in the same kingdom, given as a reward to those who continue in good works?
All degrees of salvation are dependent upon the grace, mercy, and love of Jesus Christ and the gift of his marvelous atonement. Likewise, each degree of glory is reflective of the lives that we lived upon earth. All degrees of salvation involve the interactive process of grace and works. (See Grace) The Book of Mormon teaches:
"[God] hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and he hath given unto you that ye might choose life or death; and ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you." (Helaman 14:31)
No accountable person can enter the Celestial Kingdom without being baptized a member of the Church. (See The Gospel of Jesus Christ home page) However, baptism alone is insufficient to qualify a person for Celestial Glory of any degree. Before we can enter the Celestial Kingdom, we must be "sanctified from all unrighteousness" (D&C 88:18). "For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory." (D&C 88:22)
(See Teachings About the Afterlife home page)
130: On 10/01/97, David asked: Can you email me a list of famous Mormon athletes? My friend and I are very curious about this topic. Thank you very much.
Unfortunately, I really don't have such a list available. In the NFL, Steve Young (QB - San Francisco 49'ers), Scott Mitchell (QB - Detroit Lions), Ty Detmer (QB - Philadelphia Eagles) are Latter-day Saints. In the NBA, Shawn Bradley (C- Dallas Mavericks) and Danny Ainge (Coach - Phoenix Suns, former Guard Boston/Phoenix) come to mind. In Major League Baseball, Dale Murphy (retired) of the Atlanta Braves is the only one I can remember. If anyone knows of additional names, please email me and I'll post them!
129: On 10/01/97, a visitor asked: I am 19, if I join your church, do I have to go on a mission?
President Spencer W. Kimball taught:
"Your faith and knowledge of truth are the result of missionary work of days gone by, which you can repay only by giving to others the same opportunities. Hence it is well for every worthy and prepared young man, as he grows up, to desire mightily to fill a mission. Of course, there is no compulsion. Each person makes up his mind on this matter as he does in receiving the priesthood, paying his tithes, marrying in the temple, serving in the Church. He ought to do all these things, but has his free agency. " (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.544)
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)
128: On 10/01/97, Tom asked: what is your Church's goal?
Our goal is to help every member of the human family pass the tests that will enable them to return home to live with their Heavenly Parents (See Purpose of Life). All of our endeavors can be summarized by the three-fold mission of the Church: (1) proclaim the gospel (2) perfect the saints [members] , and (3) redeem the dead. By proclaiming the gospel, we help those people who have not heard even the basic lessons yet. By perfecting the Saints, we help those people who have heard the basic material, but need more advanced instruction to reach perfection. By performing temple ordinances, we help our kindred dead with ordinances they can no longer perform for themselves. Combining these earthly ordinances with their own personal faith and worthiness allows them to also have eternal life.
127: On 10/01/97, Lindsay asked: What exactly is the Church's view on organ donation?
"Whether an individual chooses to will his own bodily organs or authorizes the transplant of organs from a deceased family member is a decision for the individual or the deceased member's family. The decision to receive a donated organ should be made with competent medical counsel and confirmation through prayer" (General Handbook of Instructions, 11-6). (See Organ Transplants and Donations)
126: On 09/30/97, Leslie asked: I have an extra credit project for school. How many rights are there in Christology??? if you know the answer or have any idea who might could you please be in contact with me. thank you
Christology is the theological study of the human and divine natures and roles of Jesus Christ. Depending upon the religion you are studying, you will get different answers. For example, while Catholics have 8 sacraments, Lutherans have 2. Latter-day Saints (a.k.a. Mormons) have many different Priesthood Ordinances.
Also, in the context of religion, try using the spelling "rites" instead of "rights" The misspelling might cause difficulty with search engines and really picky teachers.
125: On 09/30/97, Elyse asked: I am having a hard time finding the prophecies of JS. I know about D&C 87, but I'd like to find others--I'm particularly interested in the prophecies that have already come to pass, though I am interested in all the rest. Can you help me out here?
Horizon Books carries a book by Duane Crowther entitled The Prophesies of Joseph Smith. (Horizon Order Number: 1016 -- ISBN 0-88290-221-0) According to Horizon,
"This unique volume lists l41 prophecies and their fulfillment made by the Prophet Joseph Smith, 40 prophecies and their fulfillment made by others about him, 184 scriptural prophecies and their fulfillment about the restoration of the gospel, and 52 related supernatural experiences. This book is rich in historical data. Maps detail all the major events in the Prophet Joseph's life, and rare photos are included. Its greatest value is its witness that the Lord truly has spoken through Joseph Smith. A Mormon classic, this book is an inspiring and convincing refutation to those who claim that Joseph Smith was not a true prophet of God. $19.98 "
124: On 9/30/97, Jason asked: If you consider yourself Christians, why then do you try to convert people who are already Christian? Isn't that redundant? If they are baptized and are members of another denomination, it doesn't make sense to try to convert them to your church, if indeed you worship the same god... it would seem to me that the missionaries time would be better spent trying to take the message of Jesus to people who have not yet come to know Christ.
Latter-day Saints are certainly Christians. (See Are Mormons Christians?; Do Latter-day Saints believe in a different Jesus?) Why do we proselyte members of other Christian denominations?
First, it should be noted that the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ appeared personally to the Prophet Joseph Smith, called him as a Prophet, and instructed him to organize The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints as His kingdom on earth. (See Joseph Smith: A Modern Witness of Christ) Afterwards, Jesus sent a number of angelic messengers who conveyed sacred priesthood authority to Joseph and others. We proselyte other Christians because Jesus instructed us to do so.
Why does the Lord care about our church affiliation? Why is there "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (The Holy Bible, Ephesians 4:5) To answer this question, it is important to understand the doctrine of Salvation.
Salvation is the greatest gift of God (D&C 6:13). The root of the word means to be saved, or placed beyond the power of one's enemies (TPJS, pp. 297, 301, 305). It is redemption from the bondage of sin and death, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Some degree of salvation will come to all of God's children except the sons of perdition. The Latter-day Saint concept of salvation derives from the teachings of Jesus Christ and the revelations given to ancient and latter-day prophets. It is evident from such teachings that there are different degrees or levels of salvation in the afterlife (see Degrees of Glory).
The gospel of Jesus Christ comprises fundamental principles and ordinances that must be followed to obtain a fulness of salvation. The first steps are faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and the laying on of hands by one who is in authority for the gift of the Holy Ghost. Additional ordinances are administered in the temple. And finally, "he only is saved who endureth unto the end" (D&C 53:7).
While members of other Christian denominations may be just men and women who live morally clean lives, they are ineligible for the fulness of salvation since they have not obeyed all of the principles and ordinances of the gospel [as summarized above]. Latter-day Saints want all men to have the opportunity to return to our Heavenly Father and enjoy the blessings of eternal family relationships. Therefore, we send the fulness of the gospel to the ends of the earth, including to those who may already have a portion [but not the fulness]. (See Missionary Work home page)
(Also see Teachings About the Afterlife home page; Interfaith Relations home page]
123: On 09/30/97, Humbard asked: What is Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) and Official Declaration (OD). Is that sacred scriptures within your church?
Yes, the Doctrine and Covenants is a compilation of revelations, most of which were received by the Prophet Joseph Smith for the establishment and governance of the kingdom of God in the latter days. It is a standard work of the Church and functions as its open, ever-expanding, ecclesiastical Constitution. The Doctrine & Covenants contains 138 sections and two Official Declarations. (See Scriptural Writings home page)
122: On 09/30/97, a visitor asked: What is the LDS position on homosexuality?
Church leaders declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife. (See The Family: A Proclamation to the World)
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; Teachings About Sexuality home page)
121: On 09/25/97, Shauna asked: Is baptism an effective way to wash out sins if sincere repentance has not taken place First? Or would it be an "empty ordinance"?
Without faith in Jesus Christ and sincere repentance, baptism offers no benefits to the recipient, especially remission of sins. Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:
"Mere performance of the formal rite or ordinance of baptism, standing alone and without full compliance with the law on the part of the converted persons, does not put the Lord's cleansing power into operation. No blessing ever accrues to men except as a result of full compliance with the law upon which its receipt is predicated. (D. & C. 130:20-21.) Accordingly, Moroni counseled: "See that ye are not baptized unworthily; see that ye partake not of the sacrament of Christ unworthily; but see that ye do all things in worthiness and do it in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God; and if ye do this, and endure to the end, ye will in nowise be cast out." (Morm. 9:29.) Ordinances and performances are performed in worthiness when the recipients of the blessings have so lived that the ratifying seal of the Spirit attends what is done. (D. & C. 132:7.)
Thus baptisms performed for worthy persons and in accordance with the revealed law, actually cleanse the baptized persons. Their sins are washed away in the waters of baptism; they are burned out of their souls through the baptism of fire. The revealed law governing baptismal worthiness is this: "All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church." (D. & C. 20:37.)" (Mormon Doctrine, p.296)
President Joseph F. Smith taught:
"[Baptism] is a symbol of the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and must be done in the likeness thereof, by one commissioned of God, in the manner prescribed, otherwise it is illegal and will not be accepted by him, nor will it effect a remission of sins, the object for which it is designed, but whosoever hath faith, truly repents and is "buried with Christ in baptism," by one having divine authority, shall receive a remission of sins, and is entitled to the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands." (Journal of Discourses, Vol.19, p.191)
120: On 09/22/97, Brian asked: I am new to the LDS faith and am a very curious person. I already have my own copy of the articles of faith and the Book of Mormon, but I would like to be able to receive a copy of the Doctrine and Covanants. If you could send me a copy or notify on how to obtain one, it would be greatly appreciated.
You can obtain an imitation leather "triple combination" (about $7), which includes the Doctrine and Covenants (as well as the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price) by visiting any LDS congregation on Sunday and contacting the ward librarian who should have several copies in stock. You can order a more expensive binding (leather/fine paper) from Deseret Book at http://www.deseretbook.com. You can also call the Church distribution center at U.S. 1-800-537-5950 to inquire about both expensive and inexpensive bindings. The Holy Bible is also available in both bindings. A "quad" is also available which includes all LDS scriptural writings in one binding.
119: On 09/22/97, Tom asked: What is the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of LDS?
For more information on the RLDS Church, I suggest you read our article entitled The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. You can also visit their web site at http://www.rlds.org
118: On 09/22/97, Larry asked: Are there any archaeological discoveries that validate the Book of Mormon. I'm familiar with some of the Biblical evidence, but seem to be running into road blocks when examining the Book of Mormon. I'm not a mormon, but I am trying to examine the Book of Mormons claims in an un-biased manner. Can you help me in this endeavor?
I would suggest you contact FARMS (Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies) at http://www.farmsresearch.com. FARMS has published many scholarly papers and books on this subject.
117: On 09/21/97, a visitor asked: I have this friend, and she believes that the Bible is the only true book of God. She says that all you need is to read the Bible and follow its teachings and you can be saved. She does not believe that there is one true church, and that it does not matter what church you go to as long as you live your life right. How can I convince her that this is not the right way?
The LDS principles of tolerance are rooted in the teaching that all who have lived, now live, and will yet live on this earth are spirit children of God and are responsible only to God for their religious beliefs and practices. The LDS Articles of Faith state "We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship, how, where or what they may." (See Interfaith Relations home page)
You cannot force your friend to accept the teachings of Jesus Christ. She must make that decision for herself. However, there are things that you can do to assist her in the process. The Savior taught us:
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (The Holy Bible, Matthew 5:16)
If you truly want your friend to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, then show her something that you have in your life that she is missing within her own. You can do this by maintaining the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. If she can sense that companionship, then she may decide that she wants it for herself as well.
116: On 09/21/97, Robert asked: Some investigators I know have asked me: How did Joseph Smith become involved in polygamy, when the Book of Mormon specifically condemns it?
The Book of Mormon states:
"Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none; For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts. Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes. For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things." (Jacob 2:27-30, emphasis added)
Please note that while critics often claim the Book of Mormon condemns plural marriage, a careful reading of the text shows that this interpretation is incorrect. The Lord condemns plural marriage when the practice is used to gratify lustful desires for sensuality. Such perversion of a sacred doctrine violates the Lord's standards on sexuality. However, at times a divine commandment is given to "raise up seed unto" God. In such cases, the practice is not only approved, but the necessary prerequisites (e.g., patience, love, humility) leads the practitioners into deeper sanctification. (See Plural Marriage home page)
115: On 09/21/97, Steve asked: Does the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint own Pepsi, Pizza Hut, or Kentucky Fried Chicken?
No, the Church does not own any of these organizations. I believe that Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken are both owned by Pepsi, which is a publicly held company. (See Church Participation in Businesses)
114: On 9/10/97, Lastbuck asked: Who is Jesus Christ?
Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God who was crucified for the sins of the world. He is our Lord, our God, and our King. (See Teachings About Jesus Christ home page)
113: On 9/9/97, someone asked: I am a new member of the Church.... I understand the law of chastity and have accepted it. But, I am kind of confused as the extent of the law of chastity. I am not married and I am just wondering what can I do with my girlfriend sexually that would not be in contradiction to the law of chastity. I have looked thru your email site and I kind of get the impression that I can barely even touch my girlfriend at all. Is this right?...
Latter-day Saints are taught that you should not do anything in private that you could not also do in front of your parents. President Spencer W. Kimball taught:
"Even if timely courtship justifies the kiss it should be a clean, decent, sexless one like the kiss between mother and son, or father and daughter." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.281)
(See Teachings About Sexuality home page; Dating and Courtship home page)
112: On 9/9/97, Don asked: I understand that it is customary (required) for Mormons to use the archaic, old-English "Thou" instead of the contemporary "you" in prayer. This works in English, but most other languages don't have this distinction. The French, for example, use the familiar form "tu" when addressing family and close friends. This is the very same word they use in prayer (after all they are speaking to their Heavenly Father). So why is this form required only in English even though it can't be done in other languages?
English-speaking Latter-day Saints are encouraged to use the personal pronouns thy, thine, thee, and thou when addressing deity to show reverence and respect. Most languages have words that carry connatations that are intimate, familiar, and honorific. Latter-day Saints who speak in other languages are encouraged to use these words. For example, French-speaking Latter-day Saints use the words tu, ta, and ton. In modern English, we do not have words that carry these same familar, yet honorific connatations. Therefore, we revert back to the older pronouns.
When I first learned to pray, I used the more formal [but more frequently used] pronouns (i.e., you, your). After becoming a Latter-day Saint, I was taught to use the less formal, more intimate language. At first, it was awkward. However, as I grew more accustomed to it, I found that using the more intimate language did indeed add to my feelings of reverence towards my Heavenly Father. While our Heavenly Father will always accept a sincere prayer, I found that my love and appreciation for him increased when I started using the more intimate terms. (See Reverence; Prayer, Fasting, and Revelation home page; The Language of Prayer)
111: On 9/9/97, Don asked: Protestants and Catholics (?) teach that The Angel of the Lord as recorded in the OT refer to appearances of the premortal Jesus, e.g., Jehovah. What is the LDS teaching on this?
Latter-day Saints believe that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (i.e., God of the Old Testament) was indeed the premortal Jesus Christ. (See Jesus Christ is Jehovah) In some cases, the Angel of the Lord may refer to the premortal Christ. However, the references in the New Testament obviously do not. In those cases, the messenger is an angel sent as an ambassador from the Father who carries the Father's authority.
110: On 9/9/97, Frogger69 asked: If I die, and my husband outlives me by ten years, gets re-married, and has children with his second wife, then who becomes my (eternal) family in the kingdom of Heaven and why?
If you were not sealed in the Temple, then you would not have an eternal family. If you were sealed in the Temple to your husband, and both you and your husband were individually faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ, then you would form an eternal family with your husband and your children. (See Teachings About Temples home page; Teachings About the Family home page)
It is possible for a man to be sealed to more than one wife. Widowers sealed to their wives may be remarried and sealed to the new spouse. Such a sealing in no way alters or disrupts the sealing and family relationships of the first marriage. (See Plural Marriage home page)
109: On 9/7/97, someone asked: Did Joseph Smith kill or wound anyone at the time of his martyrdom?
Elder John Taylor, an eyewitness to these events, states that he later heard stories that two members of the attacking mob had been killed. However, this is hearsay testimony and I am not aware of any authoritative documentation.
(See Martyrdom of Hyrum and Joseph Smith for the actual record of these events as written by Elder Taylor; Was Joseph Smith a Martyr?)
108: On 9/7/97, Angel asked: Do Latter-day Saints believe in using medicine?
Today, many LDS women and men are involved in health care practice and research. Church members, who are advised to seek medical assistance from competent licensed physicians, generally believe that advances in medical science and health care have come though the inspiration of the Lord. (See Health and Medicine home page)
107: On 9/1/97, Istas2 asked: Do LDS use the Apocryphal books?
The Apocrypha is not part of the Church curriculum. Our standard works are the King James Version of the Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. (See Scriptural Writings home page)
Concerning the Apocrypha, The Doctrine and Covenants teaches:
"Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you concerning the Apocrypha--There are many things contained therein that are true, and it is mostly translated correctly; There are many things contained therein that are not true, which are interpolations by the hands of men. Verily, I say unto you, that it is not needful that the Apocrypha should be translated. Therefore, whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth; And whoso is enlightened by the Spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom; And whoso receiveth not by the Spirit, cannot be benefited. Therefore it is not needful that it should be translated. Amen." (D&C 91:1-6)
106: On 9/1/97, someone asked: Does a woman lose her eternal family if her husband is unrighteous?
Unlike most non-LDS Christians, Latter-day Saints believe that marriage and family are the key to both happiness and salvation. In fact, we believe that if we will follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and keep the laws and ordinances of his gospel, then we will form eternal families that will continue forever. While non-LDS Christians marry "until death do you part," Latter-day Saints marry for time and all eternity. (See Teachings About the Family home page)
What happens if a husband or wife is not obedient to the teachings of Christ? Does that mean that he or she will lose these choice blessings? No. Under the principles of agency and accountability, every person is responsible for their own salvation. While the poor choices of another may bring negative earthly consequences, no person can deprive another of eternal blessings.
At the final judgment, Jesus Christ will determine who is worthy of the blessings of an eternal family and who is not. In the wisdom and mercy of God, worthy spouses married to unrighteous partners will be allowed to choose a new partner who is worthy. Jesus Christ will address all wrongs and all will receive their just rewards.
105: On 9/1/97, someone asked: Do Mormons teach that King David, the author of Psalms went to hell?
President Joseph F. Smith taught:
" ... for the crime of adultery with Bathsheba, and for ordering Uriah to be put in the front of battle in a time of war, where he was slain by the enemy, the Priesthood, and the kingdom were taken from David, the man after God's own heart, and his soul was thrust into hell. Why? Because "the Holy Ghost spake by the mouth of David"or, in other words, David possessed the gift of the Holy Ghost, and had power to speak by the light thereof. But even David, though guilty of adultery and murder of Uriah, obtained the promise that his soul should not be left in hell, which means, as I understand it, that even he shall escape the second death." (Gospel Doctrine, p.434)
(Also see Damnation)
(See Question and Answer 7; Question and Answer home page; Question and Answer 5)
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