In the last post I confirmed to you how I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. In part, it was because he translated and brought forth The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
As a prophet, Joseph did so much more. He also received numerous revelations from Jesus himself. Christ gave him the absolute truth as to how His church was to be organized, and what His people must do to obtain eternal life.
We know that Joseph was martyred at the young age of 38. Did prophets once again leave the earth, leaving us without answers? No, there have been many prophets called since Joseph Smith, and there are prophets and apostles on the earth today.
|Thomas S. Monson, President and Prophet of the LDS Church|
The members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that prophets speak directly to Christ, and receive counsel and instruction from Him for the benefit of His people, and for the world. That is why we love, sustain, and follow the counsels of the Lord’s prophets and apostles.
That is also one of the reasons why we so look forward to General Conference twice a year.
One of our church’s Articles of Faith is: We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
Yes, God is still speaking, and will continue to speak and give instruction until He comes again.
All of the doctrines, beliefs and practices in the LDS church come from this revelation to the Lord’s prophets. I think I owe each of you the answers to the questions I asked in Part 2 of this blog series.
As you read the answers I write, imagine that there are prophets on the earth, and they are in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If this is true, the answers below are the absolute truth as prescribed by Jesus Christ.
1. Keep the Sabbath Day holy (Exodus 20:8) – The Sabbath Day is the Lord’s Day. We should attend church, yes, but we should also make the Sabbath a day of rest, a day of service, and a day of spiritual feasting. We should avoid causing others to have to work on the Lord’s day.
2. Be baptized of water and of the Spirit (John 3:5) –
a. Baptism of water: Baptism is essential to enter into the kingdom of God, as it shows our commitment to keeping God’s commandments and trying to become like Him. It must be done by someone with priesthood authority. Baptism must be done by immersion. Babies and young children do not sin and do not need to be baptized. Only when they reach the age of eight or older are they tempted by Satan and sufficiently know the difference between right and wrong.
b. Baptism of the spirit: This means receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, an ordinance performed by the laying on of hands by one with priesthood authority. Once baptized, one receives this gift, which is a constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, dependent on one’s faithfulness.
c. Baptism for the dead: Baptisms for the dead were performed during Paul’s time, and are done in the LDS church in temples. Since all people must be baptized to be saved, baptisms by proxy give the deceased an opportunity to have that saving ordinance, and then choose to take upon them the name of Christ.
3. Do not commit adultery and flee fornication (Exodus 20:14, Matthew 5:28, 1 Corinthians 6:18) – It is still a commandment to remain sexually pure until marriage, and then to maintain full loyalty to your spouse after marriage.
4. Love one another (John 13:34)- Love one another means that we are kind, tolerant and nonjudgmental, and that we serve others. It does not mean that we condone or advocate for sinful behavior. Loving God means keeping His commandments. We should never purposely break commandments, or encourage others to break commandments in the name of loving one another.
5. Let your light so shine (Matthew 5:14-16) – We should set good examples, and also share the gospel of Christ with others. Those of us who have been baptized have covenanted to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places. We should defend our beliefs, and declare them in love.
6. Throw away the things that make you sin (Matthew 5:29-30)- The abominations spoken of in the Bible are still abominations to Christ. His higher law is still valid today. Modern day prophets have revealed to us the Lord’s will regarding what is and is not sin as new technologies and practices are created. The definition of sin is not based on society’s acceptance of any practice.
7. Pray to the father (Matthew 6:5-13)- You should pray to Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ. There is nobody else that you should pray to. Prayers should be done as a family and individually morning, night, and before meals. Prayers can be said aloud or in silence. They can be said anytime, anywhere. There are no prayers that need to be recited, except for prayers done for sacred ordinances, such as the Sacrament or baptism. Heavenly Father wants us to speak from the heart in sincere prayer. He wants us to talk to Him, to thank Him for our blessings, tell Him our fears, and ask Him questions.
8. Partake of Christ’s body and blood in remembrance of Him (Luke 22:19-20) – When partaking of the emblems, you are not literally eating and drinking Christ’s body and blood. It is symbolic. When you partake, you are promising to remember Christ always. It does not matter what is used for the emblems, so long as you remember Christ. Mormons use bread and water. The emblems should be blessed and passed by those having priesthood authority. Only those who are worthy should partake.
1. The truthfulness of the Bible – The Bible is holy and true. It contains the word of God as given to His prophets and apostles. The Bible is one book with the word of God. The Book of Mormon is also the word of God, and the Lord still speaks truths to prophets today to bring peace and clarity in a changing, and increasingly wicked, world.
2. The nature of God – Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are three separate and distinct beings. Heavenly Father and Jesus have bodies of flesh and bone, while the Holy Ghost is a spirit. They are all one in purpose and mission, and they all love us, but they are not one being.
3. Salvation – The Lord commands that we follow Him and be baptized in His name. However, to be saved, this is not all we must do. When we make mistakes, we must repent. We must also keep God’s commandments, and work hard to become more like Him in word and in deed throughout our lives.
4. The Second Coming – Jesus will come again in power and great glory. Nobody knows when it will happen. When He comes, the righteous will be caught up to meet Him.
5. Life after death – When a person dies, his body and soul separate. Only little children who die will go straight to Heaven. Everyone else will go to the Spirit World to await the Lord’s second coming, the resurrection, and final judgment. Instruction occurs in the Spirit World. Those who did not have a chance to learn about Jesus Christ and His gospel will be taught it, and be given the opportunity to accept Him. After the final judgment, the Lord will assign each of us to a kingdom of glory in Heaven based on our faithfulness, or to Outer Darkness for the most wicked. Paul saw a third Heaven because there are three degrees of glory in Heaven (the many mansions Jesus spoke of).
6. The priesthood – The priesthood is the authority to act in God’s name on the earth. Worthy males may be ordained to the priesthood, and receive it through the laying on of hands.
Though not everyone holds the priesthood, everyone is blessed by it.
1. Abortion – Human life is a sacred gift. Abortion should not be promoted or encouraged. In most cases it is a practice contrary to the will of God, and is only acceptable in the rarest of circumstances. Even in cases when deemed acceptable, counseling and prayer should precede the decision to have one.
2. Suicide and Euthanasia – Because of the sanctity of human life, suicide and euthanasia are both wrong. However, in the case of suicide, only the Lord can judge if a person is responsible for his/her actions.
3. Contraception – Husbands and wives who are physically able have the privilege and responsibility to have children and rear them in righteousness. However, it is up to the spouses to determine when they wish to have children and how many they wish to have. Birth control is not discouraged, so long as children are not being postponed for selfish reasons.
4. Death penalty – This is a matter that should be decided by civil law.
5. War and military service – Peace is always the ideal. However, sometimes war is necessary to preserve life, liberty, and family. Citizen should follow the laws of the land regarding war.
6. Eating of meat – For health reasons, meat should be eaten sparingly, but it is not wrong to eat it. In fact, animals were created for the use of humans, for food and for clothing.
7. Marriage – The family is central to Heavenly Father’s plan. All children deserve to be born in a family with a mother and a father, and marriage should be between a man and a woman. Priests are not forbidden to marry.
8. Divorce – Marriages are sacred contracts, and should not be taken lightly. Divorce, though not encouraged, is sometimes a necessary action. One who is divorced is able to remarry, and still remain in full fellowship in the church.
As you read these answers, some may have made perfect sense to you, though you didn’t have a previous stance. Some you may already agree with because you have also been taught it. Others you may totally disagree with because of political/social views. There may be some that you just don’t understand or think are too complicated.
Mormons feel very strongly about the safety and peace that comes from following the prophet. If prophets truly do speak to the Lord, then they will always convey the Lord’s will and truths. However, it is not always easy to understand or accept all doctrines and practices.
That is where faith comes in. Heavenly Father has given us free agency. The truth is revealed, but it is up to each individual person to exercise faith in that truth, and find out through study and prayer if it be right. Nobody in the LDS faith is forced to do anything. Everyone is encouraged to build their own convictions, and doubts and questions are normal.
I am grateful to have choice, but also to know the consequences of actions I may take and positions I may hold.
I don’t understand everything, but little by little, my faith and testimony grow as I am prepared and willing to receive more light and knowledge.
I have a strong testimony that Heavenly Father and Jesus love us. They love me and they love each of you. They wish for everyone to have eternal life. All we must do is follow the doctrines and commandments that Jesus has set forth.
I share the gospel as I know it so passionately and lovingly because it means the world to me, and I am such a better person because of it. I would love to clarify anything I have written about thus far, or talk about something you have heard about Mormons that I haven’t addressed. I am here to help.
I am a Christian and a disciple of Christ.