Why did it take so long for the Negroes to receive the Priesthood?

            Even though we are told that “His ways are higher than our ways” and  “it is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power” we can trust that the Lord will always reveal his will to his servants the prophets.  And so it has been in these latter days, prophets from Joseph Smith to Spencer W. Kimball have spoken of the day when the blessing of the priesthood would come to the blacks.

(Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 4, p. 213; Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7, p. 260; Wilford Woodruff, History of W.W., p. 351.)

            Sometime in God’s eternal plan, the Negro will be given the right to hold the priesthood.  (David O. McKay)

            The Negro will achieve full status.  We’re just waiting for that time.  (President Harold B. Lee, October 1972.)

            The things of God cannot be understood by the spirit of men.  It is impossible to always measure and weigh all spiritual things by man’s yardstick of scales.  Admittedly, our direct and positive information is limited.  I have wished the Lord had given us a little more clarity in the matter.  But for me, it is enough.  The prophets for 133 years of the church have maintained the position of the prophet of the Restoration that the Negro could not hold the Priesthood nor have the temple ordinances which are preparatory for exaltation.  I believe in the living prophets as much or almost more than the dead ones.  They are here to clarify and reaffirm.  I have served with and under three of them.  The doctrine or policy has not varied in my memory.  I know it could.  I know the Lord could change his policy and release the ban and forgive the possible error, which brought about the deprivation.  If the time comes, that he will do, I am sure.  These smart members who would force the issue, and there are many of them, cheapen the issue and certainly bring into contempt the sacred principle of revelation and divine authority. 

            (Spencer w. Kimball, Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball,  June 1963., p. 448.)

            Blacks and Priesthood:  I am not sure that there will ever be a change, although there could be.  We are under the dictates of our Heavenly Father, and this is not my policy or the Church’s policy.  It is the policy of the Lord who has established it, and I know of no change, although we are subject to revelations of the Lord in case he should ever wish to make a change.

            (Spencer w. Kimball, Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 449.)

            Official Declaration #2 – D&C

 

Every time finals week comes around, I have to put my name on the temple prayer roll.  It seems to help.  Is it right to do this?

            The responsibility for each person’s social, emotional, spiritual, physical, or economic well-being rests first upon himself, second upon his family, and third upon the church if he is a faithful member thereof.

            (Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, February 1983.)

            The prayer roll is a special, sacred way to give extra help to persons in need.  It is for sickness and other afflictions.  He suggested that the prayer roll is often abused by lists of names of movie stars, presidents, etc.

            Afflictions can be emotional and physical.  He suggested that the “optimal” way is to enter those names of persons who have requested it; not entering everyone who might have trivial needs.  (President Provo Temple)

How does one make his calling and election sure, and what does it mean?

            After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, which is the first comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, son, thou shalt be exalted.  When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and election made sure.

            (Teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith, p. 150.)

            Those members of the Church who devote themselves wholly to righteousness, living by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God make their calling and election sure.

            (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 109.)

            Joseph Smith to an associate who had obtained the guarantee of having his calling and election made sure… “Your life is hid with Christ in God, and so are many others.  Nothing but the unpardonable sin can prevent you from inheriting eternal life for you are sealed up by the power of the Priesthood unto eternal life, having taken the step necessary for that purpose.”

            (History of the Church, Vol. V., p. 391.)

            The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood.  I would exhort you to go on and continue to call upon God until you make your calling and election sure for yourselves, by obtaining this more sure word of prophecy, and wait patiently for the promise until you obtain it.

            (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. V., p. 389.)

            Making one’s calling and election sure is an ‘addition’ to celestial marriage and results from undeviating and perfect devotion to the cause of righteousness.  Those married in the temple can never under any circumstance gain exaltation unless they keep the commandments of God and abide in the covenant of marriage which they have taken upon them while they are yet in this life.

            Those members of the church who devote themselves wholly to righteousness… that is, they receive the more sure word of prophecy, which means the Lord seals their exhalation upon them while they are yet in this life.

            (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 109, 118.)

            Now, Peter talks about making our calling and election made sure, and all in the world that means is that we pursue the appointed course to the point that we get a guarantee that we will receive the things to which we have been called—that we inherit the promised foreordained blessings.  And so, what is involved is three things: one is baptism, two is celestial marriage, and three is then so living that in fact our calling and election does become sure.

            For some individuals who pursue a course of righteousness and devotion, the day of judgment is in effect advanced so that sometime along the line, as they are pursuing the course leading to exaltation, the Lord says unto them: ‘Son, thou shalt be exalted.’  And at that time, they then have their calling and election made sure; they have for all practical purposes worked out their salvation; they have the assurance of eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

            (Bruce R. McConkie, March 25, 1969.)

            “The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy through the power of the holy Priesthood.”

            (Doctrine and Covenants 131:5)

 

Is it true that we will all walk back to the Missouri when we establish Zion?

            Zion will extend, eventually, all over this earth.  There will be no nook or corner upon the earth but what will be Zion.  It will all be Zion.  Are we going back to Jackson County? Yes. When?  As soon as the way opens up.  Are we all going? Oh no!  Of course not.  The county is not large enough to hold our present numbers.

            (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 9:137-138.)

            When God leads the people back to Jackson County, how will he do it?  Let me picture to you how some of us may be gathered and lead to Jackson County.  I think I see two or three hundred thousand people wending their way across the great plain enduring the nameless hardships of the journey, herding and guarding their cattle by day and by night…  This is one way to look at it.  It is certainly a practical view.  Some might ask, what will become of the railroads?  I fear that the sifting process would be insufficient were we to travel by railroads.

            (Joseph F. Smith, Journal of Discourses, 24:156-157.)

            (Grahm W. Doxey, Missouri Myths, Ensign, April 1979.)

            We are building up the strength of Zion—her cords or stakes—throughout the world.  Therefore, we counsel our people to remain in their native lands and gather out the elect of God and teach them the ways of the Lord.  There, temples are being built and the saints will be blessed wherever they live in all the world.

(Ensign, November 1978, p. 76.)

            The place of gathering for the Mexican Saints in Mexico… and so it goes throughout the length and breadth of the whole earth.  Japan is for the Japanese; Korea is for the Koreans; Australia is for the Australians; every nation is the gathering place for its own people.

            (Ensign, July 1973, p. 5.)

 

Was Eve actually created from Adam’s rib?

            The taking of the rib out of Adam’s side is only symbolic of the everlasting covenant between Adam and Eve and also for all mankind who are married into the everlasting covenant.

            (Milton R. Hunter, Pearl of Great Price Commentary, pp. 145-146.)

            Eve coming from the rib of Adam is considered symbolic of her role as a companion to the man.  She is to stand at the side of man to be the joint-inheritor with him in receiving a celestial reward.

            (Victor L. Ludlow, Unlocking the Old Testament, p. 7.)

            Then in each of the accounts (Moses and Abraham), the story of the creation of Eve, which is symbolic of marriage, is presented.  The church looks upon the story of the creation of woman as symbolizing the unity of man and woman under the holy covenant of celestial marriage.  The man was appointed by the Lord and foreordained to be the head of his household; hence the symbolism in the creating Eve from Adam’s rib and his flesh.

            (Milton R. Hunter, Pearl of Great Price Commentary, pp. 145-146.)

           

What is the Church’s strand on hunting and the killing of wild animals?

            And not less with reference to the killing innocent birds is the wildlife of our country that live upon the vermin that are indeed enemies to the farmer and to mankind.  It is not only wicked to destroy them, it is a shame, in my opinion.

            (Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, November 1978.)

            I do not believe any man should kill animals or birds unless he needs them for food, and then he should not kill innocent little birds that are not intended for food for man.

            (Joseph F. Smith, Ensign, November 1978.)

            Men must become harmless, before the brute creation; and when men lose their vicious dispositions and cease to destroy the animal race, the lion and the lamb can dwell together, and sucking child can play with the serpent in safety.

            (Joseph Smith, HC Vol. 2, pp. 71-72.)

D&C 49:18-21

 

Did we choose our mates in the pre-mortal existence?

            We have no revealed word to the effect that when we were in the pre-existent state we chose our parents and our husbands and wives.

            (First Presidency Letter to Joe Christensen, June 14, 1971.)

            It is possible that in some instances it is true, but it would require too great a stretch of the imagination to believe it to be so in all or even in the majority of cases.

            (Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection, p. 44.)

            We have not revealed word on this matter.  And in this and many similar matters church leaders have counseled us to avoid teaching doctrines that are not clearly defined in the scriptures or by current prophets.  This is good advice even for members who feel that they have personal revelation on this subject.

            (Harold B. Lee, Address to seminary personnel, July 1966, pp. 6-7.)

 

I heard that members of the Church are cremated in Japan.  What is the Church’s stand on cremation?

            ATTITUDES OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS TOWARD CERTAIN MEDICAL PROBLEMS.

Provided by Dr. James O. Mason, Commissioner of Health Services

Cremation:  The church has never encouraged cremation as a method of disposing of the remains of the dead.  It believes it is proper to consign them to mother earth, which has always been the custom.  Although cremation is discouraged, the local laws must be observed and the final decision left with the family and the loved ones.

            The church does not encourage cremation of the dead.  However, in some countries, the law requires cremation.  The family of the deceased must decide whether to cremate the body, taking into account any laws governing burial of cremation.  The body of a deceased member who has been endowed should be dressed in temple clothing when it is cremated.  A funeral service may be held if the ashes are buried or deposited in a mausoleum.

            (General Handbook of Instructions, 1983, p. 78.)

 

Where is heaven?  Is it true that those who have already died are actually here on earth unseen by us?

 

            Heaven is where God dwells, it is not on earth as clearly indicated by the scriptures (Rev. 12:7-9; D&C 29: 36; Luke 10:18) otherwise Satan and his angels could not have been “cast down” to earth.

            Scriptural usage applies the term heaven to the atmospheric heavens that surround the earth or planet on which man lives.  In an infinitely broader sense heaven, the area surrounding our globe, is expanded to include the sidereal heavens which fill the immensity of space.

            (Mormon Doctrine, p. 347.)

 

            Concerning resurrected and translated beings it is true that they do exist and are somewhere on the earth unknown to us unless they so desire.  But these people are few as the scriptures only give us a few examples such as the Three Nephites (3 Nephi 3:28) or the apostle John (John 21:20-23, Mark 9:1).  They are also referred to in D&C 49:8.

The place where translated beings dwell is called heaven although they are not in the presence of God (D&C 110:13, 2 Kings 2:11).  Their place of habitation is the terrestrial order where they perform certain assigned duties pending the time when they shall be taken into the presence of God and into an eternal fullness.

            (Mormon Doctrine, p. 347.)

 

            When we begin to understand that, beyond sight, as Brigham Young said, is the spirit world right here around us.  If our spiritual eyes could be opened, we could see others visiting with us, directing us.  If we will learn not to be so sophisticated that we rule out that possibility of impressions from those who are beyond sight, then we too may have a dream that may direct us as a revelation.

            (Harold B. Lee, October 15, 1952.)

 

Is the spirit world here?  It is not beyond the sun, but on this earth…

            (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, p. 372.)

 

            They are not far from us, and know and understand our thoughts…

            (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 326.)

 

            The spirit that enters the body before birth, leaves it at death, and immediately finds itself in the spirit world.  That world is upon this earth.

            (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 762.)

 

            As we approach this sacred hour when we will dedicate a new temple in a year or two or three, we expect that there are unseen visitors here, as one of the Brethren suggested.  I expect that every one of the presidents of the Church, all twelve of us, have been dreaming glorious dreams about a temple in Tokyo.  This world is not so far from the world of those who have passed on.  We feel certain that they are permitted to visit the earth at times, and I think that Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and all the presidents, including Heber J. Grant, are surely not far from us this day.

            (Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 42.)

 

Should one offer a blessing o the food when eating in a restaurant or cafeteria?

 

            Prayer is also a very personal expression and it would seem that private prayers should be just that- private.  But I also know that, on occasion, a more obvious indication of a personal prayer, perhaps by a bowed head for an instant, has opened up a gospel conversation with a companion.

            (Glade F. Howell, Ensign, January 1976.)

 

            Individuals or groups of Latter-day Saints when eating in public places, if conditions are sufficiently quiet and reverential, may with propriety offer a blessing on the food.  If circumstances are such that it does not seem appropriate to do so, however, the food is eaten with a thankful heart and it is considered that the private prayers of the individuals concerned have already asked for all of the blessings needed for that particular day.

            (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine.)

 

Is it true that if a mother loses a child in infancy, she will still be able to raise the child in the millennium?

 

The Lord has also revealed, through the prophet Joseph Smith, that in the resurrection we will receive our children who have died in infancy and will have the privilege of rearing them to manhood and womanhood… the above has reference to conditions during the millennial reign of the Lord for a thousand years upon this earth.

            (LeGrand Richards, A Marvelous Work and A Wonder, p. 196.)

 

As concerning the resurrection, I will merely say that all men will come from the grave as they lie down, whether old or young; there will not be ‘added unto their stature one cubit,’ neither taken from it; all will be raised by the power of God, having Spirit in their bodies, and not blood.  Children will be enthroned in the presence of God and the Lamb with bodies of the same stature that they had on earth, having been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; they will there enjoy the fullness of the light, glory and intelligence, which is prepared in the celestial kingdom.

            (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 200.)

            The body will come forth as it is laid to rest, for there id no growth or development in the grave.  As it is laid down, so will it arise, and changes to perfection will come by the law of restitution.  But the spirit will continue to expand and develop, and the body, after the resurrection will develop to the full stature of man.  This may be accepted as the doctrine of the Church in respect to the resurrection of children and their future development to the full stature of men and women; and it is alike conformable to that which will be regarded as both reasonable and desirable.

            (Joseph Fielding Smith, Improvement Era, June 1904.)

 

            Because they will receive a celestial inheritance, they will come forth in the first resurrection.  President Joseph F. Smith said: “Joseph Smith taught the doctrine that the infant child that was laid away in death would come up in the resurrection as a child; and, pointing to the mother of a lifeless child, he said to her: ‘You will have the joy, the pleasure, and the satisfaction of nurturing this child, after its resurrection, until it reaches the full stature of its spirit.’  There is restitution, there is growth, and there is development, after the resurrection from death.  I love this truth.  It speaks volumes of happiness, of joy and gratitude to my soul.  Thank the Lord he has revealed these principles to us.”

            (Gospel Doctrine, pp. 455-456.)

 

What is the Church standing of those who participated in the Mountain Meadow Massacre?

 

            A Church investigation was held and church court was held.  Three church leaders were excommunicated:

            John D. Lee

            Brother Haight- Stake President from Cedar

            Clinger Smith- Bishop

            Some feel that other leaders were involved, but there must have been something that showed their innocence.

            John D Lee was tried by a government court and found guilty and executed.

            John D. Lee’s family in Southern Utah supposedly suffered much for what happened to his ancestor.  In the 1950’s, they petitioned the First Presidency to have his church blessings restored, and it was granted.  They (the First Presidency) didn’t say this restoration proved he was innocent.  Brother Perkins said this restoration could have been done to ease pressures that had been put on John D. Lee’s posterity.

            (Keith Perkins, BYU Church History Professor)

 

My mom was divorced and then re-married.  I love my folks very much.  Does Luke 16:18 mean my mom is living in adultery?

 

            Even in the Church today the saints do not abide b the full and perfect law.  It is somewhat as it was in the days of Moses: divorce is permitted because of the hardness of the hearts of the people, and the Lord permits his agents to exercise the power to loose as well as the power to bind.  Under our circumstances, divorced persons who remarry are not always guilty of the crimes they would be if the highest gospel standards were in force.

            (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 203-204.)

 

Referring again to Elder McConkie, he has said, “When the day comes that men live again- as they did in the golden era of Nephite history- the perfect law of marriage, then “whoso shall marry her is divorced” shall be guilty of adultery.

(Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine p. 24, 204.)

 

Though we today have the gospel, we have yet to grow into that high state of marital association where marrying a divorced person constitutes adultery.

(Bruce R. McConkie, The Immortal Messiah, p. 139.)

 

In this day the divorces are permitted in accordance with civil statutes, and the divorced persons are permitted by the church to marry again without the stain of immortality, which under a higher system would attend such a course.

(Bruce R. McConkie, DNTC, 1:546-47.)

 

Lord’s penalty for divorce, “If you want to know how serious it is to seek a divorce I want you to read what the Lord says in the Sermon on the Mount, which is repeated in the Book of Mormon in a similar sermon that was given to the Nephites.  If we understood, if we comprehended what the Lord says there, I want to tell you, people would be frightened rather than to seek a separation on some trivial matter- they would be frightened.  When that covenant is broken, it will bring eternal misery to the guilty party.”

(Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 2, pp. 83-84.)

 

Was the earth really created in six days?

 

            “… one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  Here is the information which throws light upon the days of creation…”

            (Man, His Origin and Destiny, p. 463.)

 

            There is not revealed recitation specifying that each of the ‘six days’ involved in the creation was of the same duration.

            (Bruce R. McConkie, Ensign, June 1982.)

 

            It is said in this book (the Bible) the God made the earth in six days.  This is a mere term, but it matters not whether it took six days, six months, six years, or six thousand years.  The creation occupied periods of time.  We are not authorized to say what the duration of these days was… However God created the world.

            (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 18, p. 231.)

 

Was Jesus Married?

 

            If a man gets fullness of the Priesthood of God he has to get it the same way the Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord.

            (Joseph Smith, Teachings, p. 308.)

 

            Joseph F. Smith… He spoke upon the marriage on Cana of Galilee.  He thought Jesus was the Bridegroom and Mary and Martha the brides.  He also referred to Luke 10:34-42.  Also John 11:2-5, John 12:13.  Joseph Smith spoke upon these passages to show that Mary and Martha manifested much closer relationship then merely believer…

            (Journal of Wilford Woodruff, July 22, 1883.)

 

            Jesus was the Bridegroom at the marriage of Cana of Galilee… if Jesus was not the bridegroom on that occasion, please tell who was.  If any man can show this, and prove that it was not the Savior of the world, then I will acknowledge I am in error.  We say it was Jesus Christ who was married, to be brought into the relation whereby he could see his seed, before he was crucified.

            (Taken from Journal of Discourses, 2:82.)

 

            Jesus Christ never omitted the fulfillment of a single law that God had made known for the salvation of the children of men.  It would not have done for him to have come and obeyed that law and neglected or rejected another.  He could not do that and then say to mankind, “Follow me.”

            Joseph F. Smith, Millennial Star, 62:97.)

 

Scriptures:

            Matthew 22:11-14; D&C 131:1-3; 1 Peter 2:21

 

I’ve heard that around the year 2000 A.D. the Savior will come and usher in the millennium.  Will it really happen in 17 years?

 

            At any rate, not anyone in this building knows when the end is coming or when Christ will come, any more than did the ten virgins.  But there were five who were wise, and they were prepared… and so the time is coming.  I do not know when it will be.

            (Spencer W. Kimball, BYU Stake Conference, January 1957.)

 

            The time of Christ’s return is affected by your conduct.

            (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 441.)

 

            Although there have been those who have stated that the Millennium will begin the very first minute of the beginning of the seventh thousand year period, there are others who have their opinions.  The references given support the opinion that the Second Coming will not occur until some time after the seventh thousand year period begins.  D&C 77:12 seems to indicate that the Lord may come sometime within the beginning years of the seventh thousand year time period.  In Journal of Discourses, Orson Pratt says that Christ will not come right at the beginning of the “7th Millennium of time,” but it will come some time after that.  Bruce R. McConkie says in his Doctrinal New Testament Commentary that there are some great signs of the times (involving plagues, catastrophes, and calamities) that will take place after the seventh thousand year period begins, and before our Savior returns.  Of course, the Millennium could still last a thousand years, due to the little period of time after the seven thousand years end.

 

References:  D&C 49:7; Matthew 24:36; D&C 77:12

                  Journal Of Discourses, Vol. 15, p. 262      

                  Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Vol. 3, pp. 498, 501

 

What is the Church’s stand on the origin of man and organic evolution?

 

            On the subject of organic evolution the Church has officially taken no position.  The book, Man, His Origin and Destiny was not published by the Church and is not approved by the Church.  The book contains expressions of the author’s views for which he alone is responsible.

            (David O. McKay, Personal letter to Professor William Lee Stokes, Feb. 1957.)

 

            It is held by some that Adam wasn’t the first man upon this earth, and that the original human being was a development from lower orders of the animal creation.  Theses, however, are the theories of men.  The word of the lord declares that Adam was the “first man of all men” (Moses 1:34), and we are therefore duty bound to regard him as the primal parent of our race.  It was shown to the brother of Jared that all men were created in the beginning after the image of God, and whether we take this to mean the spirit of the body, or both, it commits us to the same conclusion:  Man began life as a human being, in the likeness of our Heavenly Father.

            (Statement by the First Presidency, Improvement Era, Vol. 13.)

 

            Do you think that Adam, this great and important prince and the archangel before the presence of God, was a half-breed monkey?  In other words, that he had just developed gradually from the animal kingdom (?). . . I say most emphatically, you cannot believe in this theory of the origin of man and at the same time accept the plan of salvation as set forth by the Lord our God.

            . . . This world, however, is not now as it was in the beginning. . . In the beginning of our creation, the earth was very fair, quite different from what it is now.  There were no children of mortality upon it, no animals that were mortal upon it, no birds, nothing wherein we observe life in this creation existed in its mortal state; but everything that had life was immortal. . .

            (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation.)

 

References:

Formal pronouncement issued by the First Presidency in 1909.  (Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, Anthon H. Lund)

            Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrine of Salvation, Vol, I, p. 103.

            Kent Nielsen, Ensign, 1981

            Genesis 1:26-27, 5:1; 1 Corinthians 15:45; 1 Nephi 5:11; Moses 1:34, 3:7

            “Our Roots in God”, Church News, February 25, 1978.

            “The Strong Delusions”, Church News,  January 14, 1978.

            “Darwin’s New Place”, Church News, January 13, 1973.

            “How is the Old Man?”, Church News, January 6, 1975.

            “Our Eternal Identity”, Church News, March 23, 1974.

 

            … it is a decree of the Lord that every tree, plant, and herb bearing seed should bring forth of its kind, and cannot come forth after any other law or principle.

            (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 198.)

 

            “Yea, verily I say unto you, in that day when the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things—

            Things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof—

            Things most precious, things that are above, and things that are beneath, things that are in the earth, and upon the earth and in Heaven.”

            (D&C 101:32-34.)

 

As a woman, I would like to pursue a professional career and postpone marriage and family.  How does the church feel about professional women?

 

            President McKay said:  “The home is the first and most effective place for children to learn the lessons of life: truth, honor, virtue, self-control; the value of education, honest work, and the purpose and privilege of life.  Nothing can take the place of home in rearing and teaching children, and no other success can compensate for failure in the home.

            (Family Home Evening Manual, 1968.)

 

            We must never forget that one of woman’s greatest privileges, blessings, and opportunities is to be a co-partner with God in bringing his spirit children into the world.  With this honor comes the tremendous responsibility of loving and caring for those children so they might learn their duty as citizens and what they must do to return to their Heavenly Father.

            (CR October 1973.)

 

            It is a misguided idea that women should leave the home, where there is a husband and children, to prepare educationally and financially for an unforeseen eventuality.  Too often, I fear, even women in the Church use the world as their standard for success and basis for self-worth.

            (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, November 1981, p. 105.)

 

            We have often said, “This divine service of motherhood can be rendered only by mothers.  It may not be passed to others.  Nurses cannot do it; public nurseries cannot do it.  Hired help cannot do it.  Only by mothers, aided as much as may be by a loving father, brothers and sisters, and other relatives, can the full needed measure of watchful care be given.

            The mother who entrusts her child to the care of others that she may do non motherly work, whether for gold, for fame, for civic service should remember that in Proverbs we read, “A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”  (29:15)

            (Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, March 1976, p. 73.)

 

We must never forget that one of woman’s greatest privileges, blessings, and opportunities is to be a co-partner with God in bringing his spirit children into the world.  With this honor comes the tremendous responsibility of loving and caring for those children so they might learn their duty as citizens and what they must do to return tot heir Heavenly Father.

            (CR, October 1973.)

 

We believe that the place of the woman is in the home as a general rule.  We realize that some women may need to be employed when their children are grown, or when there have been problems in their home and the breadwinner has been taken from them.  The most sacred privileges that a woman could have are in the home.  You are to become a career woman in the greatest career on earth—that of a homemaker, wife and mother.

            (Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball)

 

            I also recognize that not all women in the Church will have an opportunity for marriage and motherhood in mortality.  But if you in this situation are worthy and endure faithfully, you can be assured of all blessings from a kind and loving Heavenly Father—and I emphasize all blessings.

            I am aware that many of you find yourselves in circumstances that are not always ideal.  I know this because I have talked with many of you who, because of necessity, must work and leave your children with others—even though your heart is in your home.  To you go my love and sympathy for your present, and I hope temporary, situation and my prayers that you will be blessed by our Heavenly  Father to compensate for a situation that is less than you desire.

            (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, November 1981, p. 105.)

 

Additional articles and speeches:

President Spencer W. Kimball, “The Lord’s Plan for Men and Women” address given at June

 conference, June 27, 1975.

            N. Eldon Tanner, “No Greater Honor:  The Woman’s Role” Ensign, January 1974, p. 7.

            President Spencer W. Kimball. “The marriage Decision”, Ensign, February 1975, p. 4.

            Neal A. Maxwell, “The Woman of God”, Ensign, May 1978, p. 10.

 

            It was never intended by the Lord that married women should compete with men in employment.  They have a far greater and more important service to render… You are to become a career woman in the greatest career on earth—that of a homemaker, wife, and mother.

            (President Spencer W. Kimball)

 

One of her greatest privileges, blessings, and opportunities is to be a co-partner with God in bringing his spirit children into the world.

            (N. Eldon Tanner)

 

Scriptures

 

Genesis 1:19                 Proverbs 12:4               I Timothy 5:14              D&C 83:2

Genesis 1:28                 Proverbs 31:10-31       Mark 10:14                              D&C 93:36

Genesis 3:16                 I Timothy 2:15  Mosiah 10:15                           Moses 2:28

 

 

In light of D&C 107:22, why have there been more than two counselors in the First Presidency?

 

 

            President Lee further states:  “…had you ever thought that what was contrary to the order of heaven in 1840 might not be contrary to the order of heaven in 1960.  When Joseph Smith died, many people died spiritually with him… they were following a dead prophet.”  (Address to religious Educators.)

           

If we sustain the prophet as one who receives revelation, then those extra counselors were called of God via his spokesman the Prophet.

 

Wilford Woodruff said:  “Hear it, ye Israel, no man who has ever breathed the breath of life can hold these keys of the Kingdom of God and lead the people astray.”

(Millennial Star, 51:546-647, 1889.)

 

What is the Son of Perdition?  How much does one have to know to become one?  How many will there be?

 

            All sins shall be forgiven, except the sin against the Holy Ghost; for Jesus will save all except the sons of perdition.  What must a man do to commit the unpardonable sin?  He must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened to him, and know God, and then sin against him.  After a man has sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance for him.  He has got to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it; he has got to deny Jesus Christ when they have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it; and from that time he begins to be an enemy.  This is the case with many apostates of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

            You cannot save such persons; you cannot bring them to repentance; they make open war, like the devil, and awful is the consequence.

            (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 358.)

 

            The sin against the Holy Ghost requires such knowledge that it is manifestly impossible for the rank and file to commit such a sin.

            (Spencer W. Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 123.)

 

To commit this unpardonable crime a man must receive the gospel, gain from the Holy Ghost by revelation the absolute knowledge of the divinity of Christ, and then deny “the new and ever-lasting covenant” by which he was sanctified, calling it an unholy thing, and doing despite to the spirit of grace.

            (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 128.)

 

Speaking of how many sons of perdition there will be; the Prophet Joseph states, (refer to Mormon Doctrine, “Unpardonable Sin,” p. 817, last par.)  Elder Bruce R. McConkie concludes by saying, among other things, this statement from the Prophet explodes forever the mythical fantasy that the sons of perdition are so few they can be numbered on the fingers of the hand.

            The Prophet Joseph Smith states, “Evidently many among us have made a dreadful mistake, but not unpardonable, in thinking that the sons of perdition will be very few.  We have heard it said at times that they would be so few that they probably could be ‘counted on the fingers of one hand.’  Where this thought originated we may not know.  Fro the reading of the scriptures it appears that there will be a large number; far too many even if there were but one, for their punishment is most severe without any question.”

            (Answers to Gospel Questions, 1:78, par 2.)

 

Scriptures:

 

D&C 76:1-49              II Peter 2:20-22           Luke 12:10                   Jude 1:6

D&C 29:27-30            II Nephi 2:17-18          Mark 3:28-30              Mosiah 16:4-6

Heb. 6:4-8                   Moses 5:18-25             Matthew 12:31-32       D&C 84:41-42

 

I heard that chocolate had caffeine in it and was worse for us that coffee.  What is the church standard on cola drinks?

 

            The Word of Wisdom, section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, remains as to terms and specifications as found in that section.  There has been no official interpretation of the Word of wisdom except that which was given by the brethren in the very early days of the Church when it was declared that hot drinks meant tea and coffee.

            (The First Presidency, Feb. 1972, p. 4.)

 

            I was over in England a while back and a bishop asked me, “What is the Church’s stand on cola drinks?”  I said, “Well, I can’t remember the exact wording of the bulletin, but I remember seeing the bulletin when I was a stake president.  The Church, of course, advises against them.”

            He said, “Well, I have read the Priesthood Bulletin, but that isn’t what it says to me.”

            And I said, “Would you get your Priesthood Bulletin?  Let’s read it together.”  And so we found under the heading “Cola Drinks”: “… the leaders of the Church have advised, and we do now specifically advise, against the use of any drink containing harmful habit forming drugs…”  (Priesthood Bulletin, Feb. 1972, p. 4.)

            He said, “Well, you see, that doesn’t mean cola.”

            I said, “Well, I guess you will have to come to your own grips with that, but to me, there is no question.”  You see, there can’t be the slightest particle of rebellion and in him there is.  We can find loopholes in a lot of things if we want to bend the rules of the Church.

            (Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone, April 1972 General Conference.)

 

            There is no current Church policy that would preclude a bishop issuing a temple recommend to a person who consumes cola beverages.  However, cola beverages contain caffeine in amounts that are approximately one-half to one-fourth the amount in a cup of coffee, depending upon the size of the bottle.  Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that certainly tends to become addictive in its use, with the attendant side effects of nervous-system stimulants.  Frequent use of cola beverages can lead to an addictive pattern similar to that observed in coffee drinkers.

            (Questions and Answers, Ensign, January 1981, pp. 15, 16.)

 

            Whenever a drink is advertised to “give you a lift”, the “lift” is likely to be caused by the drug it contains.  Such soft drinks are decidedly harmful and habit-forming…such caffeine-containing drinks…should be known and avoided.

            (John A. Widstoe and Leah D. Widstoe, The Word of Wisdom, A Modern Interpretation.)

 

            When interviewing for temple recommends, for instance, or for advancement in the priesthood, or for baptism, or for any other purpose, Bishops never inquire as to whether a person drinks cocoa or eats chocolate candy.  If the use of cocoa and chocolate were against the doctrine of the Church such inquiry would be made, but it is not.

            (Church News, May 5, 1962, p. 16.)

 

I know it was a commandment, but why did God have the Church practice plural marriage?  Is it a Celestial Law? And I heard that the Church revoked plural marriage because of public and government pressure.  Is that so?

 

            On the topic of plural wives, Joseph Smith said that the standing law with the Lord is that a man have only one wife, “I have constantly said no man shall have but one wife at a time, unless the Lord directs otherwise.”  The Manifesto was a result of the Lord inspiring President Woodruff to return tot hat principle.

            (Joseph Smith, Teachings, p. 324.)

 

            From such fragmentary scriptural records as are now available, we learn that the Lord did command some of his ancient saints to practice plural marriage.  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, among others, conformed to this ennobling and exalting principle; the whole history of ancient Israel was one in which plurality of wives was divinely accepted and approved order of matrimony.  Those who entered this order at the Lord’s command, and who kept the laws and conditions appertaining to it, have gained for themselves eternal exaltation in the highest heaven of the celestial world.

            In the early days of the Church, as part of the promised restitution of all things the Lord revealed the principle of plural marriage to his prophet…obviously the practice will continue (commence) again after the Second Coming of Christ and the ushering of the Millennium.

            (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 578.)

 

            After Brigham Young led the saints to the Salt Lake Valley, plural marriage was openly taught and practiced until the year 1890.  At the at time conditions were such that the Lord by revelation withdrew the command to continue the practice, and President Wilford Woodruff issued the manifesto directing that it cease. 

            (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine.)

 

            We warn you against the so-called polygamy cults, which would lead you astray.  Remember the Lord brought an end to this program many decades ago through a Prophet who proclaimed the revelation to the world…it is wrong and sinful to ignore the Lord when he speaks.  He has spoken—strongly and conclusively. 

            (Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, Nov. 1974.)

 

            But I want to say this:  I should have let all the temples go out of our hands; I should have gone to the prison myself, and let every other man go there, had not the Lord of heaven commanded me to do what I did do; and when the hour came that I was commanded to do that it was all clear to me.   I went before the Lord and I wrote what the Lord told me to write. 

            (Statement by President Woodruff concerning the Manifesto.)

 

            Five of the brethren (Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith, Lorenzo Snow, and Anthon Lund) declared the following five points to be true concerning plural marriage:

1.      The Manifesto was a result of God’s inspiration on the mind of President

 Wilford Woodruff.

2.      Plural marriage was a violation of the law.

3.      Plural marriage was abandoned without expectation of renewal as long as the present order of the world lasted.

4.      The prohibition of polygamy was universal, i.e. valid both in the United States and in foreign nations.

5.      Anyone violating the Manifesto was liable to excommunication. 

(B.H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History, pp. 224-246.)

 

Jacob 2:30  “If I will…raise up seed unto me I will command.”

Official Declaration 1, p. 291 (D&C)

Experts from Three Addresses by Wilford Woodruff regarding the Manifesto

 

            Celestial marriage, that is, marriage for time and eternity, and polygamous or plural marriage are not synonymous terms.  Monogamous marriages for time and eternity, solemnized in our temples in accordance with the word of the Lord and the laws of the Church, are Celestial marriages.

            (Heber J. Grant, Anthony W. Ivins, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Official Statement from the First Presidency, June 17, 1933.)

 

Circumcision—what’s that?  What did it mean?

 

            Abraham was specifically commanded by the Lord to institute circumcision upon himself and all the males of his household as a token of the covenant made with God.  (See Genesis 17:9-14.)  In the Joseph Smith Translation of that passage, we learn that circumcision was instituted as a token of the covenant; but the token was given because the people were in a state of apostasy, had lost sight of the true meaning of the ordinance of baptism, and were washing their children and sprinkling them and sprinkling them with blood so that they would be free from sin.  Circumcision reminded the people that while children were born in the covenant they were not to be held accountable until they were eight years of age.  (See JST, Genesis 17:4-11.)

            From other scriptures we gain additional insights about circumcision, which make it clear that it was not the act itself but what it stood for that gave it its greatest significance.

            In many places the Lord speaks of true circumcision as being the circumcision of the heart.  The heart that is circumcised is one that loved God and is obedient to the Spirit.  The “uncircumcised of heart” are the wicked, proud, and rebellious.  (See Deuteronomy 10:16; 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4; Ezekiel 44:7; Acts 7:51; Romans 2:25-29; Colossians 1:11).

            Though a person may have the token of circumcision in the flesh, unless he is righteous the covenant is invalidated and the circumcision becomes profitless.  Thus, circumcision was only a sign or token of what needed to happen to the inward man.  If the inward change had not taken place, then circumcision was virtually meaningless. 

            Following the atonement of Christ, the token of circumcision was no longer required of God’s covenant people.

            Note how often the Abrahamic covenant makes reference to one’s seed.  (See, for example, Genesis 17:6-12).  The organ of the body that produces seed and brings about physical birth is the organ on which the token of the covenant was made.  However, the organ of spiritual re-birth is the heart.  (See 3 Nephi 9:20).  Thus, when a person was circumcised, tit signified that children are to be born into the covenant, but need not be baptized until they became accountable before the Lord.  But spiritual circumcision, or the circumcision of the heart, must take place once one becomes accountable, or one is not considered as true Israel.  As Pail said so aptly, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:  but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”  (Romans 2:28-29)

            (Dr. Lowell R. Tingey)

 

            Circumcision comes from the Latin words meaning, “to cut around.”  It was a token covenant for the seed of Abraham.  It signified that children were not accountable before the Lord until they were eight years old (Old Testament Manual p. 69).

            True circumcision as taught by the Lord is the circumcision of the heart.  The “circumcised” heart is one that is obedient to the Spirit and loved God.  “Though a person may have had the token of circumcision in the flesh, unless he was righteous the covenant was invalidated and the circumcision became profitless.  Thus, circumcision was only a sign or token of what needed to happen to the inward man.  If the inward change had not taken place, then circumcision was virtually meaningless” (Old Testament Manual p. 69).

            The Abrahamic covenant makes frequent reference to one’s seed.  The organ of the body that produces seed and brings about physical birth is the organ on which the token of the covenant was made.  The organ of spiritual rebirth, however, is the heart (see 3 Nephi 9:20).  Thus, when a person was circumcised it signified that while he had been born into the covenant, he need not be baptized until he became accountable before the Lord.  But spiritual circumcision, or the circumcision of the heart must take place once one becomes accountable. 

 

When is it acceptable to date- or is it?

 

            Kissing has been prostituted and has been degenerated to develop and express lust instead of affection, honor, and admiration.  To kiss in casual dating is asking for trouble.  What do kisses mean when given out like pretzels or robbed of sacredness?

            What is miscalled the soul kiss is an abomination and stirs passion that result in the eventful loss of virtue.  Even if timely courtship justified a kiss, it should be a clean, decent, sexless one, like a kiss between a mother and a son or a daughter and a father.  If the soul kiss with its passions were eliminated from dating, there would be immediate upswing in chastity and honor, with fewer illegitimate babies, fewer unwed mothers, fewer forced marriages, and fewer unhappy souls.  With the absence of the soul kiss, necking would be greatly reduced…petting would be totally eliminated.  Both are abominations of their own right and kind.  The persons who have indulged in such practices need a purging to cleanse themselves and should seek assistance from bishops to whom they go and confess their sins.

            (Spencer W. Kimball, Sydney Australia Area Conference.)

 

            During the time of courtship, always be emotionally honest in the expression of affection.  Sometimes you are not as careful as you might be about when, how, and to whom you express your feeling of affection.  You must realize that the desire to express affection can be motivated by things other tan true love.

            …Save your kisses-you might need them someday.  And when any of you-men or women-are given entrance to the heart of a trusting young friend, you stand on holy ground.

            …You must be honest with yourself- and with your friend-about love and the expression of its symbols.

            …One step overpoweringly leads to another…

            (Bruce Hafen, Ensign, October 1982, pp. 64-69.)

 

Kissing is okay on a date as long as it doesn’t go into necking.  The stimulation principle is:  “The more sexual stimulation a person experiences, the stronger his sexual appetite (drives or motivation) becomes.”

            (Creating a Celestial Marriage, p. 87.)

 

            As for the number of dates it takes before it’s appropriate to kiss the person you’ve been dating, it depends.  You have to review the feelings you have for this person.  Make sure the conditions are such that would be conductive for angels to sing in your ears as you melt in his arms (or visa versa).

            (Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 281.)

 

            “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.”

            (Titus 1:5)

 

            A kiss is an evidence of affection.  A kiss is an evidence of love, not an evidence of lust-but it can be.  Don’t ever let a kiss in your courtship spell lust.  Necking and petting are lustful; they are not love.  You do not get your arms, your hands, or your lips in forbidden places.  After you become quite well acquainted and have a fairly good idea that this is the one that you want to promise, then your evidences might increase a little.  But always use restraint.  Remember what I said about the kiss.  If when you start kissing your sweetheart, you kiss her as you would kiss your mother, there won’t be any petting, adultery, fornication; there won’t be any broken lives.  Will you remember that?  I don’t mind your kissing each other after you have had several dates but not he “Hollywood Kiss,” not the kiss of passion, but the kiss of affection, and there won’t be any trouble.  Now remember these things.

            (Spencer W. Kimball, Address Delivered to Missionaries)

 

 

What is the Church’s stand on birth control?

 

            So as to the number and spacing of children, and other related questions on this subject, such decisions are to be made by husband and wife righteously and empathetically communicating together and seeking the inspiration of the Lord.  I believe that the prophets have given wise counsel when they advise couples to be considerate and plan carefully so that the mother’s health will not be impaired.  When this recommendation of the First Presidency is ignored or unknown or misinterpreted, heartache can result.

            In searching for what is important, I believe that we are accountable not only for what we do, but for why we do it.  Thus, regarding family size, spacing of children and attendant questions, we should desire to multiply and replenish the earth as the Lord commands us.  In that process, Heavenly Father intends that we use the free agency he has given in charting a wise course through study, prayer, and listening to the still, small voice within us.

            Thirty-four years as a practicing Gynecologist and as an observer of LDS families have taught me that not only the physical well-being but the emotional well-being must also be considered.  Some parents are less subject to mood swings and depression and can more easily cope with the pressures of many children.  In addition, parents do owe their children the necessities of life.

            (Dr. Homer Ellsworth, Gynecologist and former member of the Melchizedek Priesthood General Committee.  Ensign, August 1979, p. 23-4.)

 

The First Presidency is being asked from time to time as to what the attitude of the Church is regarding birth control.  In order that you may be informed on this subject and that you may be prepared to convey the proper information to the members of the Church under your jurisdiction, we have decided to give you the following statement:

We seriously regret that there should exist a sentiment or feeling among any members of the Church to curtail the birth of their children.  We have been commanded to multiply and replenish the earth that we may have joy and rejoicing in our posterity.  Where husband and wife enjoy health and vigor and are free from impurities that would be entailed upon their posterity, it is contrary to the teachings of the church artificially to curtail or prevent the birth of children.  We believe that those who practice birth control will reap disappointment by and by.

However, we feel that men must be considerate of their wives who bear the greater responsibility not only of bearing children, but of caring for them through childhood.  To this end the mother’s health and strength should be conserved and the husband’s consideration for his wife is his duty, and self-control a dominant factor in all their relationships.

It is our further feeling that married couples should seek inspiration and wisdom from the Lord that they may exercise discretion in solving their marital problems, and that they may be permitted to rear their children in accordance with the teachings of the gospel.

(Official Statement of the First Presidency given on April 14, 1969.)

 

The Lord has commanded man since the days of Adam to “multiply and replenish the earth.”  This commandment is still binding today.  Birth control, however, has been thought to promote disobedience to this commandment; this widespread belief is not entirely true.

While the Church has said that it is contrary to its teachings for a man or woman to curtail or prevent the birth of children while the husband and wife enjoy good mental and physical health; it has never said that birth control should not be used by those who are not emotionally or physically prepared for child-bearing.  If a couple uses birth control for entirely selfish reasons then this is wrong.  Birth control for the well-being of a husband or wife is a decision that may be made by the couple themselves.

The Lord has given us free agency to choose and determine the course of our lives.  This must be done by study, prayer, and listening to the still small voice inside.  Couples then must decide for themselves what is best and what will bring them peace and happiness.

Lester E. Bush Jr.,  “Birth Control Among the Mormons:  Introduction to an Insistent Question.”  Dialogue 10(2): 12-44 Autumn 1976.)

See also Handbook of Instructions, 1983.

 

 

I’ve heard that the Garden of Eden was in the United States.  Is that true?

 

… not too many centuries after Noah had landed at Ararat, the entire land of the earth was changed and divided, and what had previously been one grand continent was broken up into many continents and islands.

            (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol. 2, pp. 94-95.)

 

In accord with the revelations given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, we teach that the Garden of Eden was on the American continent located where the city Zion, or the New Jerusalem, will be built.

            (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3, p. 74.)

 

            Eden, Garden of – the home of tour first parents, Adam and Eve…Latter-day revelation confirms the biblical account of the Garden of Eden, and adds the important information that it was located on what is now the North American continent.

            (Bible Dictionary, LDS King James version.)

 

            Though there is no uniform belief among Christian scholars as to the geographical location of Eden, the majority claims that it was in Persia.  The Latter-day Saints have more exact knowledge on the matter, a revelation having been given through Joseph Smith, at Spring Hill, MO., May 19, 1838, in which that place is named by the Lord “Adam-ondi-Ahman because, said he, it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet. (D&C 116)  From another revelation we learn (D&C 107:52-53) that three years before his death, Adam called together in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman those of his sons who had been made high priests, together with the rest of his righteous posterity, and there bestowed upon them his patriarchal blessings, the event being marked by special manifestations from the Lord (see also D&C 177:8).  There is no authentic record of the human race having inhabited the eastern hemisphere until after the flood.  The western continent, called now the New World, comprises indeed, the oldest in habited regions of earth.  The West not the east is the “cradles of nations.”

            (The Articles of Faith, p. 474.)

 

            The early brethren of the Church taught that the Garden of Eden was located in what is known to us as the land of Zion, an area for which Jackson County, Missouri is the center place.

            (Mormon Doctrine)

 

            D&C 107:53-56 discusses a great gathering at Adam-ondi-Ahman of Adam and his posterity.  At that great gathering Adam offered sacrifices on an alter.  On May 19, 1838 Joseph Smith and a number of his associates stood on the remainder of the pile of stones at a place called Spring Hill, Daviess County, Missouri.

 

For what things should we fast? How often? What is a complete fast and can I drink water? Why a fast day?

 

            The law to the Latter-day Saints, as understood by the authorities of the church, is that food and drink are not to be partaken of for 24 hours ‘from even to even’ and that the saints are to refrain from all bodily gratification and indulgences.  Fast day being on the Sabbath, it follows, of course, that all labor is to be abstained from.

            (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th Ed., p. 243.)

 

            Extended fasts are proper on some special occasions.  Moses, Elijah, and Christ each fasted for 40 days and nights.  But ordinarily 24 hours should suffice, and those called upon to fast should be of such an age and in such a sound condition of health that no impairment of mental or physical well-being will result.

            (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 276.)

 

            Observance of the law of the fast is one of the surest ways of preparing ourselves to be spiritually in tune with the Spirit of the Lord.

            (Victor L. Brown, ACR 8/71:69.)

 

            A man may fast and pray till he kills himself; and there isn’t any necessity for it; nor wisdom in it.

            (Joseph F. Smith, CR 10/12:133.)

 

            The Lord can hear a simple prayer if offered in faith, in half a dozen words,and he will recognize fasting that may not continue more then twenty-four hours, just as readily and as effectually as he will answer a prayer of a thousand words and fasting for a month.

            (Joseph F. Smith, CR 10/12:134.)

 

            Proper observation of the monthly fast consists of going without food and drink for two consecutive meals, attending the fast and testimony meeting, and making a generous offering to the bishop for the care of those in need.  ‘Without drink’ applies to water as well as other liquids.

            (Priesthood Bulletin, August 1971, item 1.)

 

I heard that capital punishment satisfies the blood atonement doctrine and that the Church supports capital punishment.

 

            The proper earthly penalty for the crime is clearly set out in the scriptures and applied to all ages of the world.  This penalty is the prerogative and responsibility of governmental authority, since no unauthorized person may take the law into his own hands and slay a fellow being.

            (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 130.)

 

            …the true doctrine of blood atonement is simply this:

1.      Jesus Christ worked out the infinite and eternal atonement by the shedding of his own blood.  He came into the world for the purpose of dying on the cross for the sins of the world.  By virtue of that atoning sacrifice immortality came as a free gift tot all men, and all who would believe and obey his laws would in addition be cleansed from sin through his blood.   (Mosiah 3:16-19; 3 Nephi 27:19-21; I John 1:7; Revelations 5:9-10.)

2.      But under certain circumstances there are some serious sins for which the cleansing of Christ does not operate, and the law of God is that men must then have their own blood shed to atone for their sins.  Murder, for instance, is one of these sins; hence we find the Lord commanding capital punishment.  Thus, also, if a person has so progressed in righteousness that his calling and election has been made sure, if he has come to that position where he knows “by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood” that he is sealed up unto eternal life (D&C 131:5), then if he gains forgiveness for certain grievous sins, he must “be destroyed in the flesh.” And “delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God.”

This doctrine can only be practiced in its fullness in a day when the civil and ecclesiastical laws are administered in the same hands.

(Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 92, 93.)

 

Sources:

            Deseret News, “Scriptures,” November 30, 1974, p. 16.

Journal of Discourses, Vol. IV, pp. 219-220.

            Joseph F. Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol III, pp. 104-106.

Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 92

            Joseph F. Smith, Doctrine of Salvation, Vol. I, pp. 133-138

 

 

Are there animals in heaven?

 

            I suppose John saw beings there of a thousand forms, that had been saved from ten thousand times ten thousand earths like this- strange beasts of which we have no conception:  all might be seen in heaven.  The grand secret was to show John what there was in heaven.  John learned that God glorified Himself by saving all that His hands had made, whether beasts, fowls, fishes or men: and He will glorify Himself with them.

            Says one, “I cannot believe in the salvation of beasts.”  Any man who would tell you this could not be, would tell you that the revelations are not true.  John heard the words of the beasts giving glory to God, and understood them.  God who made the beasts could understand every language spoken by them.  The four beasts were four of the most noble animals that had filled the measure of their creation, and had been saved from other worlds, because they were perfect: they were like angels in their sphere.  We are not told where they came from, and I do not know; but they were seen and heard by John praising and glorifying God.

            (Joseph Fielding Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph, pp. 291-292.)

 

            A Saint, who is one in deed and in truth, does not look for an immaterial heaven, but he expects a heaven with lands, houses, cities, vegetation, rivers, and animals…

            (Orson Pratt, Millenial Star, Vol 28:722.)

 

            As to where the beasts, birds, and fish and all other creatures will go after the resurrection we can only express an opinion.  John saw many of them in heaven in the presence of God.  It is very probable that they, like mankind, will be distributed in the various kingdoms, celestial terrestrial, and telestial.  We may well believe that in each of these kingdoms such creatures will be assigned.

            (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol. 2, p. 51.)

            At the second coming, when the earth is taken back to its edenic state, “every corruptible thing, both of man, or of the beasts of the field, or of the fowls of heavens, or of the fish of the sea, that dwells upon all the face of the sea, that dwells upon all the face of the earth, shall be consumed…And in that day the enmity of man and the enmity of beasts, yea the enmity of all flesh, shall cease before my face.  (D&C 101)  Then finally, all these forms of life will come up in the resurrection.

            (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 38.)

 

Scriptural Sources:

            Revelations 4:7-9                      The four beasts

            Revelations 4:11                       Created for God’s pleasure

            Revelations 5:9             Animals can sing

 

 

Explain Revelation 13:18

 

            Whenever God gives a vision of an image or beast or figure of any kind, he always holds himself responsible to give a revelation or interpretation of the meaning thereof, otherwise we are not responsible or accountable for our beliefs in it.

            (Teachings, p. 291.)

 

            It will be interesting-interesting?  Nay, fascinating!  To see what the future holds as the full meaning of this passage unfolds the identity of the actual “beast” is revealed.

            (DNC, Vol. 3, p. 524.)

 

            This verse, probably as much as any other in the Bible, has prompted speculation, theories, and conjectures as to its meaning.  Much of the controversy arises because in the ancient world there was a practice known today as gematria.

            Gematria was the practice of assigning the numerical value to each letter in a word or phrase, adding them together, and finding a total.  There is some evidence that the ancients loved such number-word play and sometimes constructed names on that basis.

            It is because of this practice of gematria that many readers have assumed that John’s admonition to “count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six” is really a suggestion that the man’s name will have the gematric equivalent of 666.  Unfortunately, no one can seem to agree as to whom the 666 applies.  Down through the centuries it has been variously worked out to “fit” such varied and diverse persons as Nero, Vespasian, Domitian, and the Roman Empire itself, as well as various other political and religious leaders.

            If John’s mystic number is to be applied to some individual, the only thing that is assured is that we do not have any idea as yet as to who it is.  But it should be remembered that Revelation is deeply symbolic and that numbers play an important role in that symbolism.  As we have already seen, seven is deeply symbolic and signifies perfection or completeness.  Six falls short of seven.  Thus a triple six would be an appropriate and powerful symbol of imperfection.

            (Church Educational System, Ye Shall Be Witnesses Unto Me, p. 262.)

 

 

As I pray about a mission, the Lord says to me not to go.

 

            In the first place a man does not initiate his mission call.  In light of this, it is not his prerogative to choose or not to choose to go on a mission.  His bishop and stake president recommend him, and he may state his desire to them.  The call comes from the President of the Church, and the young man may then accept or reject it.

            There are circumstances under which the young man should frankly tell his bishop that he should not be considered for a mission:

1.      If he feels himself unworthy…because of immorality or failure to live the standards of the

Church.

2.      If he has health problems that would make it difficult or impossible for him to stand the rigors

 of missionary service.

3.      If he is seriously in debt or has serious financial problems he should candidly counsel with

 his bishop on these matters.

4.      If he has a critical attitude concerning the Church, if he is unwilling to go unselfishly where

 he is called and devote himself wholeheartedly to the work.

            (Gordon B. Hinckley, Answers for young LDS, p. 39.)

 

Let us make this the rule, every young man ought to go on a mission.  There may be some who cannot but they ought to go on a mission.  Every boy.

            (Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball.)

 

Every boy in every country in all the world who has been baptized and received the Holy Ghost will have the responsibility of bearing the message of the gospel to the people of the world.

(Spencer W. Kimball, CR Oct. 1974, p. 117.)

 

The question is frequently asked:  Should every young man fill a mission?  And the answer has been given by the Lord.  It is “Yes”.  Every young man should fill a mission.

(Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, Oct. 1974, p. 8.)

 

Many people can’t go on missions or maybe they are not supposed to go.  He states that, “The Savior stands with His hands extended, offering us blessings if we will serve Him.

(William R. Bradford, “Sanctification Through Missionary Service,” Ensign, November 1981.)

 

I heard that there are similarities between our temple ceremony and the Masonic temple and that Joseph Smith was a mason.  Did I hear right?

 

            …That there are similarities in the services of the temple and some secret organizations may be true.  These similarities, however, do not deal with basic matters but rather with the mechanism of the ritual.  Moreover, they are not peculiar to any fraternity.  They are used and have been used by people throughout the centuries.

            The temple ritual is essentially symbolic.  Its ordinances are not only ancient but also represent profound truths.  They may be widely used by others than Latter-day Saints, but they do not have the same meaning in all organizations.

            (John A. Widtsoe, Improvement Era, February 1950.)

 

            Brother Joseph says masonry was taken from priesthood but has become degenerated but many things are perfect.

            (Letter from Heber C. Kimball to Parley P. Pratt, 17 June 1842.)

 

Other Sources:

            Anthony B. Ivins, Mormonism and Freemasonry, p. 254.

Mervin B. Hogan, “What of Mormonism and Freemasonry?” Research Lodge of Utah, 1976.

            Hugh W. Nibley, “No man that’s not History”, 1946.

            Cecil E. McGavin, Mormonism and Masonry, 1947.

            B.H. Roberts, Improvement Era, August 1921.

 

            Yes, there may be some similarities in the rituals of the Mormons and the Masons, but those few likenesses in a vast realm of ritual cannot be explained by the fact that Joseph Smith attended a few meetings of the Masonic fraternity.  In the light of the evidence supplied by Masonic historians, the conclusion is forced upon us that some of the features of the ritual once administered in Solomon’s Temple have persisted in Masonry.

            (Cecil McGavin, Mormonism and Masonry, p. 192.)

 

            Current thought seems to indicate that Masons were organized during the cathedral building period, 900’s to 1600’s.  “At that time, masons (stone workers) formed associations called guilds in various European cities and towns…they has organizations, sometimes referred to lodges.  With the decline of cathedral building in the 1600’s many of the mason’s organizations became purely social societies.”

            (World Book, Vol. 13, 1977.)

 

            From the time of his first heavenly manifestation, Joseph Smith was persecuted, reviled, ridiculed and hated.  His only friends were the few devoted men and women who recognized him in a chosen instrument, raised up by God our Father for the accomplishment of a divine purpose.

            Charged with offenses against the civil law he was never found guilty of an unlawful act.  Accused of perverting the word of the Lord as it is contained in the Bible, it cannot be shown that he ever taught a doctrine which is not on harmony with the teachings of that sacred volume.  He was imprisoned and condemned to death when he had committed no offense against God or man.

            If ever a man was in need of sympathy and the friendship of good men, that man was Joseph Smith.  It was under these circumstances that Joseph Smith became a member of the Masonic Fraternity.  He hoped to find there the friendship and protection which he so much craved, but which had been denied him outside of his few devoted adherents.  The sequel proved that he was mistaken.

            (A.W. Ivins, Mormonism and Freemasonry, p. 79.)

 

 

What is the Church standard on abortion?  If someone had an abortion, can they be married in the temple?

 

            Abortion, the taking of life, is one of the most grievous of sins.  We have repeatedly affirmed the position of the Church in unalterably opposing all abortions, except in two rare instances:  When conception is the result of forcible rape and when competent medical counsel indicates that a mother’s health would otherwise be seriously jeopardized.

            (Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, November 1974.)

 

            A woman who has submitted to an abortion or a man who has encouraged, consented to, or arranged for an abortion may be baptized only if the stake or full-time mission president approves.  When considering requests for baptism from such persons, the president should be guided by Doctrine and Covenants 20:37, 68, and 69.

            (General Handbook of Instructions 1983, p. 31.)

 

To reaffirm the policy of the Church concerning abortion, the First Presidency is publishing the following official statement on this subject:

“The Church opposes abortion and counsels its members not to submit to, be a party to, or perform an abortion except in the rare cases where, in the opinion of competent medical counsel, the life or health of the woman is seriously endangered or where the pregnancy was caused by forcible rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the victim.  Even then it should be done only after counseling with the local bishop or branch president and after receiving divine confirmation through prayer.

Abortion is one of the most revolting and sinful practices in this day, when we are witnessing the frightening evidence of permissiveness leading to sexual immorality.

Members of the Church guilty of being parties to the sin of abortion are subject to the disciplinary action of the councils of the Church as circumstances warrant.  In dealing with this serious matter, it would be well to keep in mind the word of the Lord stated in the 59th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 6, ‘Thou shalt not steal; neither commit adultery, nor kill, nor do anything like unto it.’

As far as has been revealed, the sin of abortion is one for which a person may repent and gain forgiveness.

(Ensign, July 1976.)

 

Dear President Featherstone:

You inquired about a woman who had been involved in an abortion thirty-four years ago.  From the way you describe her, it sounds like she has long since repented.  You may tell her on behalf of the Church she is forgiven.

            After a thorough and searching interview, you may issue this sweet sister a temple recommend so she can go to the temple and be sealed to her present husband.”

            If the Savior had been sitting where the woman sat, I would not have felt any closer to him.  I believe that is exactly what he would have done.  It was as though a two thousand pound burden had been lifted from the heart of this good woman.  She wept great tears of relief and joy.  To this day, I do not remember who the woman was.

            (Vaughn J. Featherstone, “Forgive Them”, Ensign, November 1980.)

 

 

Where are the Ten Lost Tribes?

            Whether these tribes are in the North or not, I am not prepared to say.  As I said before, they are ‘lost’ and until the Lord wishes it, they will not be found.  AL that I know about it is what the Lord has revealed, and He declares that they will come from separate and apart from the scattered Israelites now being gathered out.

            (Joseph Fielding Smith, Signs of the Times, p. 186.)

 

            The tribes shall come; they are not lost unto the Lord; they shall be brought forth as hath been predicted; and I say unto you there are those now living-aye, some here present-who shall live to read the records of the lost tribes of Israel, which shall be made one with the record of the Jews, or the Holy Bible, and the record of the Nephites, or the Book of Mormon, even as the Lord hath predicted; and those records which the tribes lost to man but yet to be found again shall bring, shall tell of the visit of the resurrected Christ to them, after He had manifested Himself to the Nephites upon this continent.

            (James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, p. 513.)

 

If war is morally wrong am I obligated to serve my country?

 

            It is one of the sad heresies of our time that peace will be gained by weary diplomats as they prepare treaties of compromise, or that the Millennium will be ushered in because men will learn to live in peace…We must do all we can to proclaim peace, to avoid war, to heal disease, to prepare for natural disasters-but with it all, that which is to be shall be.

            (“Stand Independent Above All Other Creatures,” Ensign, May 1979.)

 

            Some may use the example of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies as an excuse not to participate in war.  This would be a false interpretation of the scriptures.  Let’s look at the circumstances that existed then. 

            The Anti-Nephi-Lehies had been guilty of shedding blood before their conversion.  Because of this, along with their other sins it was all they could do to repent.  Consequently, they had extreme fear that if they were to take up arms again to shed blood that they may be found guilty and not be able to repent a second time.  Because of this fear, they covenanted never to take up arms, or their weapons of war, again.  They never did break this covenant, but were a means of support to Captain Moroni and his army during the Lamanite-Nephite wars at that time and by no means desired an excuse not to serve their country.

            (Book of Mormon, Alma 24:11, 13.)

 

            Along those same lines President Ezra Taft Benson said, “…our stand for freedom is a most basic part of our religion; this stand helped get us to this earth, and our reaction to freedom in this life will have eternal consequences.  Man has many duties, but he has no excuse that can compensate for his loss of liberty.

            (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1966, p. 122.)

 

            Paramount among these reasons, of course, is the defense of man’s freedom.  To deprive an intelligent human being of his free agency is to commit the crime of the ages.

            (David O. McKay, Secrets of a Happy Life, p. 76-77.)

 

            I still say that there are conditions when entrance into war is justifiable, and when a Christian nation may, without violation of principles, take up arms against an opposing force.  Such a condition, however, is not a real or fancied insult given by one nation to another.  When this occurs, proper preparation may be made by mutual understanding, apology, or by arbitration.

            Neither is there justifiable cause found in a desire or even a need for territorial expansion.  The taking of territory implies the subjugation of the weak by the strong-the application of the jungle law.

            Nor is war justified in an attempt to enforce a new order of government, or even to impel others to a particular form of worship, however better the government or eternally true the principles of the enforced region may be.

            There are, however, two conditions which may justify a truly Christian man to enter-mind you, I say enter, not begin, a war:  (1) An attempt to dominate and deprive another of his free agency, and (2) Loyalty to his country.  Possibly there is a third, viz., Defense of a weak nation that is being unjustly crushed by a strong, ruthless one.

            (Jerreld L. Newquist, Prophets Principles and National Survival, pp. 475-476.)

 

            When it becomes necessary for a righteous people to take arms against their enemies who are the aggressors, in protection of their lives and in defense of their possessions, the Lord has approved.

            (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol. 3.)

 

            “Behold it is time, yea, the time is now at hand, that except ye do bestir yourselves in the defense of your country and your little ones, the sword of justice doth hang over you; yea, and it shall fall upon you and visit you even to you utter destruction.”

            (Book of Mormon, Alma 60:29.)

 

            A message of the First Presidency April 6, 1942, “The Church is an must be against war…It cannot regard was as a righteous means of settling international disputes; these should and could be settled-the nations agreeing-by peaceful negotiations and adjustments.

            But the Church membership are citizens or subjects of sovereign ties over which the Church has no control.  The Lord himself has told us to ‘befriend that law which is the constitutional law of the land…’

            …when, therefore, constitutional law, obedient to these principles, calls the manhood of the Church into the armed service of any country to which they owe allegiance, their highest civic duty requires that they meet the call.  If, harkening to that call and obeying those in command over them, they shall take the lives of those who fight against them, that will not make of them murderers, nor subject them tot the penalty that God has prescribed for those who kill…D&C 98:5,6

            Surely no individual will be excused for any wanton act of brutality, wickedness, or destruction.  Nevertheless, this statement confirms…’He will not hold the innocent instrumentalities of the war, our brethren in arms, responsible for the conflict.  This is a major crisis in the world-life of man.  God is at the helm.’

            Though all the issues of conflict are anything but clear, the matter of citizenship responsibility is perfectly clear…To you who have answered that call, we say: Serve honorably and well.  Keep your faith, your character, your virtue.

            While war permits stomping out of a man’s heart the reverent and tender virtues that exemplify true manhood, military service does not require it.  You can serve and yet be exemplars of righteousness.

            (Boyd K. Packer, Improvement Era, June 1968.)

 

 

Should I pay tithing on gifts? Inflationary increase? What is an honest tithe?

 

            If the Lord requires one-tenth of my ability to be devoted to building temples, meeting houses, school houses, to schooling our children, gathering the poor from the nations of the earth, bringing home the aged, lame, halt and blind, and building houses for them to live in, that they may be comfortable when they reach Zion, and to sustaining the Priesthood, it is not my prerogative to question the authority of the Almighty in this, nor of his servants who have charge of it.  If I am required to pay my tithing it is my duty to pay it. In the days of Joseph, when my circumstances were very, very straitened, I never had $500, $100, one dollar, fifty cents or twenty-five cents, but what, if it were wanted, it went as free as a cup of water from a well—Joseph was welcome to it. Was I tried in this? Yes, for many and many has been the time in my poverty, when if I had a dollar or fifty cents in my possession I have thought, “I can buy a pint or a half pint of molasses for my children to sop their bread in,” but it was called for, and it went as free as the water of the river here would be to the thirsty person.  And as for my time, from the day that I entered this Church until now, I have paid no attention to any business except that of building up this Kingdom.  The question may be asked, “Do you not attend to your private affairs  and business?”  yes, when I can, but I do not know that I have ever spent one minute in attending to business belonging to Brigham Young, when the business of the Church  and Kingdom of God on the earth required his attention. Yet I would not say that this is any excuse for not strictly paying my tithing. I have paid a great deal of tithing, more perhaps than any other man, or any other tem men who were ever in the Church, and yet my tithing is not paid.

            Here is a character—a man—that God has created, organized, fashioned and made, every part and particle of my system from the top of my head to the soles of my feet, has been produced by my Father in Heaven; and he requires one-tenth part of my brain, heart, nerve, muscle, sinew, flesh, bone, and of my whole system, for the building of temples, for the ministry, for sustaining missionaries and missionaries’ families, for feeding the poor, the aged, the halt and blind, and for gathering them home from the nations and taking care of them after they are gathered. He has said, “My son, devote one-tent of yourself to the good and wholesome work of taking care of your fellow-beings, preaching the Gospel, bringing people into the Kingdom; lay your plans to take care of those who cannot tae care of themselves; direct the labors of those who are able to labor; and one-tenth part is all sufficient if it is devoted properly, carefully and judiciously for the advancement of my Kingdom on earth. 

(Discourses of Brigham Young, p 174-177).

 

            One tenth of the interest or increase of each member of the Church is payable as tithing into the tithing funds of the Church each year. Salaries, wages, gifts, bequests, inheritances, the increase of flocks, herds and crops, and all income of whatever nature are subject to the law of tithing. (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966).

 

Scriptures:

 

Genesis 28:20-22                     3 Nephi 24:8

Genesis 14:20                           D&C 85:3

Leviticus 27:31-33                    D&C 97:11-12

Malachi 3:8,10             D&C 120

Malachi 4:1                              D&C 119

Numbers 18:21-28                   D&C 88:21-22

Alma 13:15                              D&C 64:23-25

 

            Tithing is a tenth of income. Inquiries are received at the office of the First Presidency from time to time from officers and members of the church asking for information as to what is considered a proper tithe.

            We have uniformly replied that the simples statement we know of is the statement of the Lord himself, namely, that the member so the Church should pay ‘one-tenth of all their interest annually’ which is understood to mean income (see D&C 119:4).

            (Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign¸ November 1980, p.  77)

 

            While a tithe is one-tenth of one’s income, the computation of one’s income can differ depending upon how he obtains the income.  The Lord expects each person to be honest with him.  Consequently, each person must determine whether his tithing is an honest. One.  President Joseph F. Smith said:  “Now, you are at liberty to do as you please in regard to this matter.  You can choose whichever course you wish.  But let me say to you that as we measure out so will it be measure back unto us again.  When we go to dickering with the Lord, probably He will dicker with us; and if He undertakes to do so, we shall get the worst of it.”

            (Conference Report, April 1944, p. 45.)

 

            The First Presidency has written:  “The simplest statement we know of is the statement of the Lord himself, namely, that the members of the church should pay ‘one-tenth of all their interest annually,’ which is understood to mean income.  No one is justified in making any other statement than this.”

            (First Presidency letter dated March 19, 1970; see D&C 119.)

 

            Elder John A. Widtsoe explained that “tithing means one-tenth.  Those who give less do not really pay tithing; they are lesser contributors to the Latter-day cause of the Lord.  Tithing means one-tenth of a person’s income, interest, or increase.  The merchant should pay tithing upon the net income of his business, the farmer upon the net income of his farming operations; the wage earner or salaried man upon the wage or salary earned by him.  Out of the remaining nine-tenths he pays his current expenses, taxes, savings, etc.  To deduct the living costs, taxes, and similar expenses from the income and pay tithing upon the remainder does not conform to the Lord’s commandment.  Under such a system, most people would show nothing on which to pay tithing.  There is really no place for quibbling on this point.  Tithing should be given upon the basis of our full earned income.  If the nature of a business requires special interpretation, the tithe payer should consult the father of his ward, the bishop.”

            (Evidences and Reconciliations, 2:86.)

 

 

Will the President of the Quorum of the Twelve always become the next prophet?

            The President of the Twelve is really the President of the Church by virtue of his office as much while presiding over the twelve apostles as while presiding over his two counselors. . . it takes the majority of the twelve apostles to appoint the President of the Church, and it is very unreasonable to suppose that the majority of the quorum depart from the course marked out by inspiration and followed by the apostles at the death of Christ and by the twelve apostles at the death of Joseph Smith.

            (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pp. 91-92.)

            As the twelve assumed the presidency and I was the President, it placed me in a position of President of the Church.

            (John Taylor, Gospel Kingdom, p. 192.)

 

            At that moment he passed, Brother Romney in harmony with the system and the established tradition and custom of the Church, stepped aside, and President Spencer W. Kimball was then in complete charge and total direction. . . and as the last heartbeat of President Lee ceased, the mantle of leadership passed to President Kimball whose next heartbeat was that of the living oracle and presiding authority of God on earth.

            (Bruce R. McConkie, Church News, March 23, 1974.)

 

            Each of the apostles when he is ordained has conferred upon him all the keys and authorities, which were given by Joseph Smith to the apostles before his death.  These brethren, however, cannot exercise these authorities except when the occasion arises that they come to the presidency.  Before that time the powers lie dormant.  This is the reason why they are sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators in the Church, but there can be but one revelator for the Church at a time.

            (Row W. Doxey, The Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants, 1:viii.)

 

            Grandfather, suppose that the president of the Church should die, and suppose that the next in line of authority was not prepared to carry on after his death.  The President impatiently said, “Stop that supposing, there is no supposing with the Lord; he knows who he wants to preside over the Church.”

            (Harold B. Lee, Speeches of the Year, 1958, p. 6.)

 

            At President John Taylor’s death, the keys of the sealing ordinances, with their powers and limitations, passed by regular devolution, in the way and manner prescribed by the Lord and in accordance with the custom of the Church, to President Wilford Woodruff.  At the latter’s death they similarly passed to President Lorenzo Snow; and upon his death, they similarly passed to President Joseph F. Smith; and at his death the same keys passed in the same way to President Heber G. Grant.  There has been no change in the law of succession of the Priesthood and of the keys appertaining thereto, nor in the regular order of the church.

            (Messages of the First Presidency, 1971.)

            Occasionally the question is asked as to whether or not one other than the senior member of the Twelve could become president.  Some thought on this matter would suggest that any other than the senior member could become president of the Church only if the Lord reveals to the president of the Twelve that someone other than himself could be selected.

            (Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, April 1970, pp. 123-24.)

 

            That which a living prophet tells us will always be in harmony with the standard works, but this is not to say he is limited by them.  Although a prophet speaking under the influence of the Holy Ghost will never contradict principles found in the standard works, he will expand, or even go beyond them.  A prophet may also give or take away principles or programs, according to the spiritual readiness of the people.  The President of the Church is the only man on the earth authorized by God to go beyond or add to the scriptures.”

            (Harold B. Lee, “The Place of the Living Prophet, Seer, and Revelator,” in CHARGE, p. 111.)

 

            President Ezra Taft Benson taught the important principle that we must look first to the living prophet.  He said, “Many people in our own time also revere prophets of the past but refuse to accept the prophet the Lord ahs sent to guide them today.  The most important prophet, so far as you and I are concerned, is the living one in our day and age to whom the Lord is currently revealing His will for us.”

            (Ezra Taft Benson, Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet, Speeches of the Year, 1980, p. 27.)

 

 

What is the Church status of Pancho Villa?

           

            On February 25, 1966, Doroteo Arango (Pancho Villa) was baptized by proxy in the Arizona Temple.  Brother James Elbert Whetton did the endowment work for General Villa a few days later.

            (Church News, “He Remembers Preaching Gospel to Pancho Villa, November 11, 1967, p. 5.)

 

            The Story:

            Because of the revolutionary upheavals the Church was forced to close the Mexican Mission.

            Brother James Elbert Whetton and Joseph T. Bentley were transporting supplies to the town of Narniquipa when they were stopped and held by Villa’s men.

            With Villa at his camp was Felipe Angeles who was a highly trained military officer and was instrumental in having Brothers Whetton and Bentley meet Pancho Villa.

            Villa had this to say about Mormons at the time:  “They don’t interfere.  They are good people are mind their own business.”

            Brothers Whetton and Bentley used the opportunity to discuss the Church with Villa and Angeles and these were their comments according to Whetton.

            Angeles:  “I am going to join the Church if there is an opportunity for me to do it.”

            Villa:       “Why haven’t any of your people explained these things to me before?  This is the first time I have known anything about your teaching.  If I had known these things earlier, this would have been a different Pancho Villa. . . Is there any chance for a man like me to join the Mormon Church?”

            Sometime after this, both Angeles and Villa were killed.

            Brother Bentley, because of the apparent sincere acceptance, persuaded the First Presidency that the temple work should be done for them.  No action was taken at the time.

            Some years later Doroteo Arngo (Pancho Villa) appeared to Elder Whetton, telling him, “You are the only one who can help me.  I want you to do my temple work...”

            Elder Whetton wrote the Church Offices in Salt Lake City for permission and received approval.

 

Scriptures that could apply:

D&C 6:16     “Yea, I tell thee, that thou mayest know that there is none else save God                  that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of they heart.”

Mark 4:12     “That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.”

 

 

Does the earth actually have a spirit?

 

References:

Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 48

Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 301, 302

Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. II, p. 281

 

The earth, as a living body, will have to die and be resurrected, for it too has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.

            (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1.)

 

            Spirit Earth—We may suppose, as is the case with all other forms of life, that this earth was created first as a spirit, and that it was thereafter clothed upon with tangible, physical elements.

            (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 210-211.)

 

Earth’s plan of salvation—

            Baptism:    We are of the earth, earthly and not only will the portion of mother earth which composes these bodies get a resurrection, but the earth itself.  It has already had a baptism.  You who have read the Bible must know that that is Bible doctrine.  What does it matter if it is not stated in the same word that I use, it is none the less true that the earth was baptized for the remission of sins.  The Lord said, ‘I will deluge (or immerse) the earth in water for the remission of the sins of the people.  The Lord baptized the earth for the remission of sins, and it has once been cleansed from the filthiness that has gone out of it, which was in the inhabitants who dwelt on its face.

            (Brigham Young,  Journal of Discourses, 1:274.)

 

Holy Ghost:     Not only man but the earth itself, which is a living creature, must undergo this ordinance—this dual baptism, and Jesus. . . will deluge the earth with fire and the Holy Ghost.

            (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 26:266.)

 

            Obedience:     And again, verily I say unto you, the earth abideth the law of a celestial kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation, and transgresseth not the law—Wherefore, it shall be sanctified; yea, notwithstanding it shall die, it shall be quickened again, and shall abide the power by which it is quickened. . .

            (D&C 88:25,26)

 

            Death:     We read about the earth’s dying and that it shall be quickened again.  What is it that will make the earth die?  It will be withdrawing of the spiritual portion from it, that which gives it life. . .

            (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 21:201.)

 

            Resurrection:     The Lord will make the earth one of the most glorious habitations inasmuch as the people will prepare themselves for it, one of the most glorious habitations that can be given to man.

            (O. Pratt, Journal of Discourses, 20:155.)

 

 

How do you correlate the age of the earth scientifically with the scriptural timetable of Adam living 6000 years ago?

 

            A sanctified, millennial worlds, or a glorified celestial worlds, or a pre-fall paradisiacal world obviously functions under a different order of nature.  Its order-perfectly “natural” to it would seem “unnatural” to our mortal world.  Imagine, for instance, the biology of a world in which there is no death.

            The gospel gives us a reminder that time will change the order of nature—even in our present, mortal world.  When the earth was “new,” before the Fall, it was in a paradisiacal state.  (Read II Nephi 2:22 and Article of Faith 1:10, D&C 77:12.)  This coming sanctification of our sphere will not result from the present natural order uniformly continuing its course.  Instead that order will change drastically because of the direct intervention of its Creator and Maintainer.  (Read D&C 101:24-25.)

            It is therefore helpful to remember, when pondering the millions of years secularists postulate to explain the formation of the earth, that all current geological dating processes are based on the assumption that the present order of nature preceded us and will continue uniformly hereafter.  This secularist view also holds that God, if he exists, never has and never will interfere.

            Once the truth is known, all conflicts arising form part truths will vanish.  IN the meantime, scientists can continue to supply us with helpful knowledge about our present, mortal sphere, or even with ideas about how thins might have occurred in the past if the processes under consideration really were uniform over the necessary length of time.

            (F. Kent Nielsen, “The Gospel and the Scientific View:  How Earth Came to Be,” The Ensign, Sept. 1980, pp. 70-72.)