Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mormon Questions

To Correen who asked some great questions. I think Jenny did a super job answering. I will have some of those answers up on my profile page but until then I thought I would add a bit to what Jenny said.

1) Do we use birth control? Like Jenny said, this is a personal decision and one the church doesn't have a position on. However, we do believe that the commandment to Adam and Eve to "multiply and replenish the earth" is still in effect and applies to us today. Families help us learn and grow. Having children teaches us so much about the love Heavenly Father has for us. And we believe there are spirits in heaven waiting to come to earth to get bodies. So we are encouraged to have children. How many and how quickly -- that is totally individual and must be decided between husband, wife and their feelings from God.

I think you would find the overwhelming majority of Mormons do use birth control of one form or another.

2) How does Joseph Smith compare to Jesus? I would just add to Jenny's answer that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God. We believe that in its literal truth. We worship Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer. He is the Jehovah of the Old Testament and he is more than just a prophet. He is our Lord and our God.

Joseph Smith was a prophet like Moses or Noah of the Old Testament.  We believe he was instructed of the Lord to reestablish the church Jesus Christ founded when he was living among men in the flesh. We believe this original church and the authority to run it and receive revelation for it died off with the apostles. Joseph Smith was the man the Lord choose to be the prophet to restore that gospel. But he was a man with flaws and imperfections just like you and me. We do not worship him. We revere him but we do not worship him.

There really is so much more to say about Joseph Smith and who he was and what he did in his life. But if you want to learn more about how he came to be the prophet and his experiences you can visit mormon.org and find lots of information about him or you can hit the "Chat online now" button to ask anything you like.

3) Are there certain rituals that occur inside the temple? Yes as Jenny said there are. I would just add that while we don't talk about the specifics of temple ceremonies because they are sacred, they are not some crazy thing we don't want everyone to know. We want everyone to know. We are a proselyting church right? As soon as a person gets baptized we try to focus them on preparing themselves spiritually to make further covenants with God at the temple. The "rituals" are just all ways we make covenants with God just like baptism is. We also perform marriages in the temple.

4) Are there varying degrees of observance? I loved Jenny's answer on this. I think the short answer is yes. We are all imperfect and I think most of us are trying to live according to the things we feel are true. That being said there are always some who do not act in accordance with their beliefs. I think that is true of all beliefs (religious or otherwise) so yes there are varying degrees of observance. But I think you would find that most devout Mormons are trying their best to act in accordance with their faith.

5) What does sealed mean? To seal is to bind. Peter in the New Testament was given the power to bind on earth and have it be bound in heaven (Matthew 16:19). This authority is what we feel was lost and has been restored. We are able to use it in temples to bind families together as family units together forever. So if we are sealed in the Temple, when we die our husbands will still be our husbands and our children will still be our children.  I think most people feel in their heart that this is an obvious truth but I don't know of another religion that teaches this as doctrine.

Thanks for the questions Correen. And thanks for the quick answers Jenny. Again you can find great answers by chatting online at mormon.org. Happy Sabbath everyone!

10 comments:

Jane said...

I am not Mormom, nor am I religious, but I find the subject of religion fascinating.

I love reading the questions and the answers, and over the past couple of years I have certainly moved well away from the common misunderstandings that seem to reign about Mormons. That is in great part because of you Stephanie.

Interestingly, I read 8 blogs on a regular basis and 4 of them are written by Mormon women. All of you write beautifully and honestly, and I think the encouragement your Church gives you to write down your history and thoughts is a great win for me!

Keep it up, Stephanie. I am a fan. But you probably already knew that!

Love to you,

jane

Stephanie said...

Thank you so much Jane. There are so many myths and misconceptions about Mormons out there. I am so glad I have helped clear a few up for you. Feel free to ask if you ever want to know if something you heard about us was true or not.

much love,
stephanie

Kristen in TX said...

Thank you very much Stephanie for being willing to share more information about your beliefs.

If a couple is sealed in the church and children are born to them I understand they are a forever family. However, if one parent or the other passes on to eternity and the other parent re-marries and has children with the new spouse, what happens then? Is the new family sealed together also? If everyone lives on earth as they should and they all are united with Heavenly Father, what happens with the "mixed" family? Does this question make sense?

I've been wondering about this for a long time and really appreciate that you are willing to answer questions.

Stephanie said...

Kristen,

There are so many "mixed" families these days that it is hard to even enumerate the possibilities here. Quite frankly, I don't KNOW the answer to every situation. I will tell you what I do know.

If a couple is sealed and the wife dies and the husband remarries, he may be sealed to the second wife if she is not sealed to another man. Their children would then be sealed to them.

I believe a woman can also be sealed to more than one man but I am not sure if she can do this while living or if she can only be sealed by proxy after everyone is dead. And I am not sure what the living situation in heave is going to be like in any of these "mixed" family situations.

But I do know and trust that God will sort all of this out in the here after and that we will be happy with how it turns out if we have lived worthy of the blessing of Christ's grace and are able to be once more with our Father in Heaven.

Sealing ordinances bind you up to heaven and the most important thing is that you are sealed (to parents, to a spouse, to your children, to SOMEONE.)

If parents are temple going worthy people who have been sealed at one time or another to some spouse, the children will be sealed to the parents in the end.

Sorry I can't be more specific. I just don't have this situation in my own family or close friends so I haven't ever had to know.

Stephanie

All American Family said...

Thank you very much Stephanie for taking the time to respond to my question. I very much admire and respect the lady that you are.

Kristen in TX
(sorry - didn't sign in with my other account earlier)

a.k.a. Jack said...

Kristin-
I received a similar question yesterday on my blog (http://discussitwithamormon.blogspot.com/), only it related to divorce rather than death of a spouse. I will be addressing the issue hopefully today (if my kids allow me the time). Just thought I would let you know in case you are interested.
-Jennifer

All American Family said...

Thank you Jennifer. I'll head over to your blog.

a.k.a. Jack said...

O.k., I got my post up on sealings. It should now be available for you to view and will answer your questions as well as provide more information on sealings to help clarify what exactly they are and why we have them. Hope it helps!
Jennifer

Anonymous said...

my question is this. do mormons believe that prior to passing through the veil you have agreed to live through the experiences so that you can enter back into the celestial kingdom? i guess i would really want to know that my child who has been abused didnt agree to be abused prior to becoming my child in the womb... horrific things happen by monsters i find it hard to believe that our father in heaven would ALLOW such things to happen.

i love your blog stephanie and it has truly been a blessing in my life. while you were healing i was healing. the words you wrote were a true inspiration... thank you

Hollie said...

I have a question, but you probably don't know this, as I can't find anything that deals with this. Say someone went to the Celestial Kingdom, but their family members can't go ... if families are sealed shouldn't they be together? And how is it really heaven if you're separated from your spouse or child who may be in another kingdom? I just want to be with my family, no matter what level of kingdom we're in.

I read your blog everyday Stephanie. When my stepsister died a few weeks ago in a car accident, I pointed her mother to your blog, hoping she can find comfort in the trials you've been through. You have impacted so many people!