What Can’t Mormons Do? Part 1: The Word of Wisdom

by
April 27, 2008

The Lord encourages us to eat healthy foodsIf you’re not familiar with the faith, it can be awkward knowing what your Mormon friends can and can’t do. For instance, is there anything you shouldn’t serve them at a dinner? What can they do on Sundays? If you’re looking into joining the church, what lifestyle will you be expected to live?

Most commandments of the church coincide with basic laws of goodness that are common to all churches: don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t do drugs, don’t split infinitives, etc. So I’ll just discuss some major commandments which may be different from other churches, starting with the Word of Wisdom:

Mormons don’t use alcohol, tobacco, coffee, or tea. This is definitely the one people most want to know about. It comes from a much more general law of health given by the Lord to Joseph Smith in 1833. The entire revelation can be found here. We call it the Word of Wisdom because it was given as “a word of wisdom…for the benefit of the saints in zion.” In addition to some guidelines on eating healthy, it says that strong drinks (alcohol) and tobacco are not for the body, and neither are “hot drinks,” which was later clarified to mean just coffee and tea. (And by “tea” I mean green or black tea.)
coffee
So after I tell people about the Word of Wisdom, almost everyone follows up with the question: “Why?” Everyone knows that smoking will give you cancer. But isn’t a little bit of alcohol okay, even beneficial? And what’s so bad about coffee and tea?

There are 7.3 million studies and 2.02 trillion opinions about “what’s so bad about alcohol/coffee/tea.” Most people want some scientific proof of exactly which compound does exactly what, but honestly, it all just boils down to faith. The Lord doesn’t often provide a clear why with His commandments. If you believe the Lord said it, then you’ll just have to trust Him. Frankly, He would know. In 1833, when this revelation was given, everyone smoked and chewed tobacco, and there was absolutely no evidence that anything was bad about that. People living the Word of Wisdom just had to take it on faith for 150 years, and lucky for the ones that did. No doubt one day we will know why, but until then it’s just a desire to do what the Lord wants.

And the Lord promises all kinds of great things for living the Word of Wisdom. Things like “health in their navel and marrow in their bones” (an interesting way to put it) and “wisdom and great treasures of knowledge.” And look, it works! According to studies by Dr. Enstrom of UCLA, active Mormons live 8 to 11 years longer than the national average, with about half the mortality rate from cancer and heart disease.

It’s also important to note that health is not the only reason the revelation was given. It was given “In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days…” In that sense, it’s a warning against addiction. There are plenty of drug traffickers and companies that make a lot of money by creating and preying upon the addictions of others.

Coke contains addictive caffeine, but is not explicitly forbidden to Mormons.Can Mormons drink caffeine? I thought you’d never ask! There is actually no commandment or prohibition against drinking Coke, Pepsi, or any other caffeinated soft drink. However, there are quite a lot of Mormons who don’t, just out of a personal conviction. Many consider any addictive substance like caffeine to be implicitly against the Word of Wisdom. Among my devout Mormon friends, there is a pretty big range, from people who have never had a Coke to people who can’t live without Dr. Pepper. So it’s something to be aware of.

<<Part 2: The Law of Chastity>>                   <<Part 3: The Sabbath Day>>

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50 Responses to “What Can’t Mormons Do? Part 1: The Word of Wisdom”

  1. Anonymous

    Green tea? Really? Where is it written or spoken that green tea is against the WoW?

    Howard

  2. Jan

    I like this post– it is a great example of how the commandments really bless our lives by helping us live the way we are built to live. Heavenly Father knows how our bodies work the best, since He created them, so it follows that He would provide us with a little instruction on how to take care of them. The blessings come in living the commandment! Not just anticipating some future reward for arbitrary obedience.

  3. dave

    Good question, Howard. When Brigham Young clarified what was meant by hot drinks, he said “coffee and tea.” (Discourses of B. Young pg 182)
    So standard “tea” is derived from the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. Both black and green (and other teas) are made from the tea plant; they’re the same thing. They’re both “tea,” by anyone’s definition. The only difference is that black tea is more fully oxidized.

    The reason I mentioned it is that we have a tendency to call anything floating in hot water “tea” whether or not it’s actually made from the tea plant. And my understanding is that those herbal-type teas are not against the Word of Wisdom.

    Though I think it’s pretty clear that green tea is definitely “tea,” It’s hard to find an official statement. The best I can do is Victor Ludlow’s Principles and Practices of the Restored Gospel page434: “‘Tea’ refers to the standard tea derived from the tea plant, sometimes called black tea or green tea.” If anyone has a better source, feel free to post it.

  4. Diana

    although I have grown up in the church, I still think it is good to have a reminder as to why we do the things we do. I’ve kept the word of wisdom my whole life, and I knew that this was good for my body. I’ve never had a desire to smoke/drink etc…, and after reading this post, it has caused me to reflect as to why I keep the word of wisdom.

    I think your idea of faith is definitely key. And I think obedience to the law also builds faith. Anyway, I’m not as good of a writer as you, but l wanted to post a comment anyway.

  5. sunlize

    Most people want some scientific proof of exactly which compound does exactly what, but honestly, it all just boils down to faith. The Lord doesn’t often provide a clear why with His commandments. If you believe the Lord said it, then you’ll just have to trust Him.

    I think that’s the most important thing to remember. I always want that scientific proof, but sometimes we need to realize that we need to trust in the Lord and follow his commandments out of love and faith in Him.

  6. Anonymous

    What do Mormons believe about intermarriage?

    My friend is Catholic. He recently started dating a Mormon. They’ve been dating for a year, and seem great together. But she’s an actively participating Mormon, and he doesn’t want to convert from Catholicism.

    But how would that work? Can you be sealed forever to a non-Mormon Christian? If your children are raised a little of “both” (with Catholic and Mormon worship), is that acceptable to Mormons? Or is it all Mormon or nothing? (I know, this is a really contentious issue for all faiths, so I’m not specifically putting blame on the Mormon half of the relationship. I just know Catholic beliefs better than I do Mormon.)

    And while we’re at it…what about the apostasy? Is there any “extra leeway” in the afterlife for sincere, non-Mormon Christians in your beliefs?

  7. Megan

    Let me try to answer your questions to the best of my ability and knowledge.

    What is the LDS view on interfaith marriage? I’d summarize that it is not encouraged. It is discouraged because it makes for a very difficult marriage. That certainly doesn’t mean that a Mormon would be shunned for marrying outside the faith, however.

    What it does mean, is that they would not be able to be sealed forever in a temple wedding. That is simply because only members of the church who have gone through the ordinances of baptism and the temple endowment are able to partake of the temple sealing ordinance.

    It also means that the LDS member would have to attend church meetings on his or her own and that is a very lonely, sad prospect to face week after week. The couple would also be trying to have scripture study and prayer incorporating both faiths, I assume. I’ll be honest with you; I don’t know how well that would work. In theory, it seems they don’t have to be mutually exclusive, but in practice…? I’ll put it this way: A couple is urged to become one when married and that’s extremely difficult to do when such an important, personal and eternal conviction is not united.

    My mother and father were married by my mom’s father, who was a Lutheran minister. My father was a new convert to the church at the time. A few years later, my mother joined the LDS church as well. I would assume, in most cases, that the hope and prayer, perhaps for many years, would be for that unity. I would hope that anyone considering an interfaith marriage would go into it without the expectation that his or her spouse will get baptized or “see the light” in a year or so. You can’t enter a marriage expecting to change someone. Sometimes it works out that way, eventually, and sometimes it doesn’t and it can be a long, lonely road to travel, hoping constantly in vain.

    As for children being raised with both religions, I would say that would be accepted but only to a point. That is to say, I would think that as the children grow they would be expected to choose somewhere down the line. I don’t know that it would hurt, for example, to have been baptized and christened as a newborn in the Catholic faith and then baptized at 8 years old as a Mormon, but I think at some point a choice would have to be made. It would be so emotionally and spiritually (and probably physically!) draining to be trying to please both parents and participate actively in both religions.

    Perhaps someone else has further commentary or insight on this topic, but that’s what I have to offer in way of an answer. I hope it clears things up a bit for you.

  8. Megan

    I forgot your last question!

    Throughout time, there have been many good people on this earth who did not have the opportunity to hear about and accept the LDS faith. In the afterlife, missionary work continues and the gospel is preached to all those souls.

    This is why the LDS church performs ordinances by proxy in our temple: it provides the opportunity for all those who have died to accept the gospel and those ordinances.

  9. sunrisetantalize.com

    I think when considering an interfaith marriage where one partner is LDS and the other is not, it is important to realize that everyone’s situation is unique. I would suggest that your friend and his gf be very open and honest with each other about how they feel about being in an interfaith relationship.

    Since I am in a similar situation, I’ve come up with several possibilities for making an interfaith relationship to work. I would be very happy if my bf decided to join the LDS church, but I only want him to convert if that’s what right for him. And I try to focus on not pressuring him. Another solution is to attend on church service in the morning and another in the afternoon. Or they could attend their respective services for the first 2 weeks of the month, then on the third week go to her church, and on the fourth week go to his church. They could choose to raise the children primarily in one church or expose them to both. There’s so many options. My bf (non LDS) would prefer that we only go to one church service together and that it not be LDS. I would rather all attend one church service in the morning, and then I could attend my own church service in the afternoon without the family. The bf has also said that he will attend services with me but he probably won’t convert.

    Sometimes I do feel lonely in church. I feel sad that I won’t be able to be sealed to my future husband and my children. (Children must be sealed to a couple, not one parent.) However, I feel hopeful that I will be able to be sealed to my family after death – and I expect the bf would accept the baptism by proxy as well as our sealing in the spirit world.

    Sorry this comment is so long! Anonymous, if you’re interested, I wrote several posts about my situation on my blog at http://www.sunrisetantalize.com. You can find them by clicking on “relationships” on the categories section. Or you can shoot me an email by leaving a brief comment on one of my posts and I can email you back.

  10. Dr.Gray

    You should also include white tea, since it is also derived from Camellia sinensis (just younger leaves).

  11. Jamy

    I just wanted to say how much I appreciated this post. I was going to work for a company who distrubutes vitamin supplements until I found out it contains green tea. How can I put that into my own body and then encourage others to do the same? I’ve read so many surprising things from people who say they are active members of the church. Many justify and defend green tea. I was so glad to find this site. Thank you for your strength, truth, and honesty.

  12. Bob

    I’m glad I’m agnostic!

  13. Thaddeus

    Bob, what does agnosticism mean for you? What do you believe in? And how have you found it to be rewarding?

  14. Joshua Jones

    Alcohol not for the body? Yet Jesus turned water into wine,…humm

  15. Thaddeus

    The Lord gave the revelation “In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days” (D&C 89:4).

    In unwise hands, alcohol has always had the capacity to do harm (to spirit, to body, and to society), but it wasn’t until this modern era that the Lord deemed it so potentially damaging as to explicitly forbid it.

    This is what’s great about modern revelation through a prophet. God can tailor his instructions to us at this time and to our needs. Our foundation of commandments from the Bible and Book of Mormon can be augmented with the words of living apostles and prophets.

    Thanks for your question, Joshua!

  16. I am really struggling with the green tea answer. to just generically say it comes from the same plant seems to suggest that because grapes come from the same plant that wine is created from we shouldn’t eat grapse either. fermentation is how black tea is created and the only thing I can find from any revelation clarifacation is on black tea and not green tea. I really could care less if I can drink it or not, but it seems to me we are creating another law to live by.

  17. Dave

    Neil,

    Thanks for the comment. I think it’s a point that many people take issue with. I’d love to hear what specific revelation clarification mentions that black tea is against the word of wisdom, but green tea isn’t. The only revelation clarification that I could find didn’t clarify the kind of tea, only statements to the effect that “hot drinks” means tea and coffee. (The exception was the aforementioned quote by Victor Ludlow indicating that tea means black or green tea. Hardly official, but the best I could find.)

    I like the grape analogy, but it should be noted that with grapes and wine, fermentation actually creates the alcohol, which is the reason why we don’t drink wine. On the other hand, the preparation of tea leaves, while often called “fermentation,” is not really fermentation at all, but rather simple oxidation. Especially considering that we don’t know what exact compound (if any) is the reason we don’t drink tea, there’s no reason to assume that the oxidation is what makes the tea bad.

    In general, the problem with interpretation of restrictive laws is that to the people with the narrower interpretation, the broad interpretation seems like, as you put it, “creating another law,” while, to those who take the broad interpretation, the narrower seems like discarding half the law for convenience sake. For the sake of this post, I take the broad interpretation because I see it as the most widely accepted, the most logical, and the closest to what little clarification that I could find on the subject.

  18. J.R.

    I am a Christian (follower of Christ). I do not belong to any religion. Japanese people drink green tea almost everyday and they are the healthiest people on the planet. I believe this is a clear case of how dangerous religion can be. Time is being wasted on the topic of tea…instead all of you could be learning more about the Lord Jesus Christ. You could be extending love to someone. Religion creates separation among people…God’s people. We are all His children. Religion makes people look down on others who are not in their religion. How can religion be good??? There is only one true God and He died for everyone. Why is it that Mormons cannot allow fellow believers in Christ…who follow the same Bible…to enter in to their sacred temple or be married together? Whats the real reason? Its because a MAN said so…not God. Bible clearly says put no trust in man. Only God can make a blind man see. I thank God for giving me my sight January 4, 2009. May the Lord bless you all.

  19. J.R.,

    Thank you for your comment. I’m always glad to meet another disciple of the Savior. Tell me more about your conversion in January. How has it changed your life?

    I agree with you, that discussing the minutiae of the letter of the law can distract us from what is really important. Green tea is not the pressing issue. It is our willingness to listen to and follow Jesus Christ.

    I don’t believe the problem with religions is how organized they are. Peter certainly attempted to have an established religious body with a hierarchical structure. The problem is with authority, and I invite you to read more about it here.

  20. J.R.

    I still didn’t receive an answer to my question: Why is it that Mormons cannot allow fellow believers in Christ…who follow the same Bible…to enter in to their sacred temple or be married together?

    And the Bible is what ALL Christians should live by. Why do mormons add the book of mormon?

    Thank you and God Bless

  21. Every person who has properly prepared to enter the temple may enter, but having faith in Christ is just the first step in this preparation.

    They must be found worthy to enter the Lord’s house by repenting of their sins and turning away from them. Then, make a covenant with God through baptism and seal that covenant by receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. With this preparation, anyone can enter the Lord’s holy temple.

    We do hold the Bible as authoritative scripture. We also follow the Book of Mormon. Both books testify of the mission of Jesus Christ. The Bible is His word originally given to the people of the Middle East. The Book of Mormon is His word given to Native Americans hundreds of years ago. And they are perfectly compatible.

  22. J.R.

    The Bible Versus the Book of Mormon
    by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

    Similar to the insecure person who hangs around the rich and famous for the sole reason of establishing himself, the Book of Mormon has attempted to make a name for itself by “cozying up to” the Bible. The very first line in the “Introduction” to the Mormons’ revered text states: “The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible.” Even the Book of Mormon’s subtitle (“Another Testament of Jesus Christ”—emp. added) lends credibility to the Bible. Obviously, the Mormons have attempted to give credence to their scripture by comparing it to the Bible. Furthermore, a crucial element of the Mormon religion found in their Article of Faith #8 says: “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God” (emp. added). If both the Bible and the Book of Mormon are inspired by God, then reason demands that they must never contradict one another. No book from God’s hand will contain factual mistakes because He does not make mistakes. By definition, He is omniscient and perfect in all His ways (cf. Psalm 139:1-6; 1 John 3:20). The truth is, however, they do contradict one another.

    The Book of Mormon contains numerous passages that contradict what the Bible says. The following examples are conspicuous instances of such contradictions.

    * Rather than God confusing “the language of all the earth” at the tower of Babel as the Bible records (Genesis 11:9), the Book of Mormon contends that the language of Jared, his brother, as well as their friends and family members “were not confounded” (Ether 1:33-37).
    * Contrary to the Bible prophecy concerning the Lord’s birth in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), and the fulfillment of that prophecy in Matthew 2:1, the Book of Mormon reads: “And behold, he (Jesus) shall be born of Mary at Jerusalem” (Alma 7:10, parenthetical comment and emp. added). The writer of the Book of Mormon was simply wrong.
    * The Bible tells us that at the crucifixion of Jesus, darkness covered the land for three hours (Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44). However, the Book of Mormon states three different times that there was darkness “for the space of three days” (Helaman 14:20,27; 3 Nephi 8:3, emp. added). Of course, this is a big difference.
    * Finally, whereas the Book of Mormon has people wearing the name Christian in about 73 B.C. (Alma 46:13, 15), the Bible clearly reveals that the disciples of Christ “were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26, emp. added). This was in approximately A.D. 40, and thus represents a difference of over 100 years. Which account are people to believe? After all, according to Mormons, both books are inspired.

    The fact that there are numerous disagreements between the Bible and the Book of Mormon does not disparage the Bible in any way. In fact, a Bible believer would expect there to be contradictions between the two, since the Bible never gives any legitimacy to the Book of Mormon, but actually condemns it (cf. Galatians 1:6-9, Revelation 22:18-19, 2 Peter 1:3, and Jude 3). On the other hand, the Book of Mormon easily is exposed as fiction when compared to and contrasted with the Bible, which Mormons claim is “the word of God.”

    Simply put, if both the Bible and the Book of Mormon were inspired by God, then they never would contradict each other. However, since they do disagree with one another (in a number of places), the Book of Mormon is obviously a fraud, written by con men, not inspired men.

  23. bfrancisco

    Dear JR:

    It saddens me that from time to time people post comments on our website aimed at trying to discredit our faith, because it does not agree with how they view Christianity. The reason for our website is to foster a community of understanding, not contention. Also, we have this website, to avoid this very issue–trying to give the correct view of our belief, rather than letting people who really know very little about what we believe, inform others about us. We would hope that you would respect us in a Christ-like way.

    I believe that God loves his children just the same as he always has and thus, he will always use the same pattern of teaching us as he always has–through prophets receiving revelation and them distributing this knowledge to the world and also through receipt of personal revelation. God has never said there will be no more scripture, nor will revelation ever stop. The Book of Mormon is simply revelation given to some of God’s children who were not in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas.

    Please don’t discredit our beliefs based on what Eric Lyons or any other person says, rather find out for yourself, come to the source of the knowledge. If you want to really know, ask a sincere question and you will get a sincere answer. Please don’t antagonize or try to discredit us, because that doesn’t really accomplish anything. Thanks JR.

  24. Thaddeus

    J.R.,

    Please view our comment policy. If you are sincerely interested in our position with respect to those alleged contradictions, we will be happy to oblige you with a response.

    But if your only interest is putting our faith down, please visit a forum more appropriate for that purpose.

  25. J.R.

    I have been researching many different religions. I feel I have a right to ask questions. I am simply trying to get the truth. I dont think that is wrong. It seems like I never get a straight answer to my question…even when I give examples of what I am asking. So yes, I am sincere about my question and I would appreciate a straight answer. I am not trying to cause trouble or disrespect the mormon faith. Just seeking truth. Thank you and God bless.
    bfrancisco- If you really believed in your faith you would welcome any questions or concerns people had. You shouldnt take it as me trying to discredit your faith. I am asking questions. Im trying to ask instead of assume. But when you react like that it makes it worse.

  26. J.R.

    I want to apologize, I didnt mean to put the first paragraph of Mr. Lyons article because I felt it was unnecessary. I just noticed it. Now I see where you would be offended. I apologize.

  27. bfrancisco

    Dear J.R.

    I am happy to hear that you want answers to questions and that is why we are here and you do have the right to ask questions, but please think about the way you word things and what you post. I know that it is hard to decipher sometimes exactly what the intentions of the author are, but please realize that when you say things like, “bfrancisco- If you really believed in your faith you would welcome any questions or concerns people had.” you can be misinterpreted. I am not offended, nor does any of the other contributors take offense; we just don’t tolerate those whose purpose it is to antagonize and try to discredit collective and personal faith and beliefs. Like Thaddeus said, for those that want to do that, we invite to find a forum which supports that type of conversation.

    Therefore, what questions do you have about what we believe? I would be happy to answer them, as would the other contributors to this site. Thanks JR for your understanding and I hope to hear back from you.

  28. J.R.

    Ok. Thank you. I have three questions for now:

    1. How come I cannot be sealed in marriage with a Mormon woman in your temple? I am a follower of Christ just like you are. I am saved by the grace of good, believing in His word. I know I am saved because I have a new relationship with sin. I am blind no longer. I live a life of repentance. I have been baptized. Everything you have done to be saved I have done too. The only difference is I dont call myself Mormon.

    2. Do Mormons believe the father, son, and holy spirit are three separate gods?

    3. Do you believe the Mormon church is the only faith that will enter heaven and everyone else will go to hell?

  29. Thaddeus

    J.R. Thank you for your cooperation. I am happy to answer your questions, knowing you are willing to hear our perspective.

    Remember that there is no pancake so flat it has only one side.

    Let me just address this one for now:

    * Contrary to the Bible prophecy concerning the Lord’s birth in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), and the fulfillment of that prophecy in Matthew 2:1, the Book of Mormon reads: “And behold, he (Jesus) shall be born of Mary at Jerusalem” (Alma 7:10, parenthetical comment and emp. added). The writer of the Book of Mormon was simply wrong.

    The key thing to remember here is that the people of the Book of Mormon lived over 7000 miles away from Israel and across a huge ocean. They were also separated by a huge time gap. Lehi’s family left the land of Jerusalem about five centuries before Alma made the above prophesy about Jesus’ birth, at least 20 generations later. Jerusalem served as an approximate location, the same way a German might tell me he’s from Berlin when he was actually raised in Potsdam, 22 miles away. Bethlehem is a suburb of Jerusalem, only about 5 miles from the heart of the city.

    It seems like the writer of 2 Kings had the same idea in mind: “And they brought him [Amaziah] on horses: and he was buried at Jerusalem with his fathers in the city of David [i.e. Bethlehem].” (2 Kings 14:20).

    Finally, Joseph Smith knew very well that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not Jerusalem. If you believe he wrote the Book of Mormon, and successfully perpetuated an elaborate fraud then why did he make this silly goof?

    For more information on this topic, see this.

    The other contradictions you brought up follow the same sort of logic to people who have put time into studying the Book of Mormon. When they are presented with no context the way that Mr. Lyons does, it can lead to misunderstandings.

    I invite you to learn the context through your own personal study of the Book of Mormon, and through prayer to your Heavenly Father.

  30. Thaddeus

    1. How come I cannot be sealed in marriage with a Mormon woman in your temple?

    You are very close if you follow Christ, you are living a repentant life and you are willing to make covenants with God. I would start by reading about our position on baptism.

    I’m sure that article will clear up some things, and introduce more questions. Go ahead and ask them in the comments below that post.

    2. Do Mormons believe the father, son, and holy spirit are three separate gods?

    Yes. We believe they are three individuals who form one united, eternal Godhead. God the Father reigns supreme; we pray to Him. Jesus has the necessary roles of Savior and Lord over the earth, and the Holy Spirit is sent to comfort, teach, and testify.

    Does this teaching make you uneasy? What is it that you believe? Why is it important to you?

    3. Do you believe the Mormon church is the only faith that will enter heaven and everyone else will go to hell?

    No. Absolutely not.

    My sister is actually writing an article on this very topic that I hope will be published on this site within a few weeks. I’ll let you know when it comes out.

  31. Dave

    J.R.,

    I would also just caution about the general approach that if you can find contradictions in things, they must not be true. I just think that’s the wrong way to go about things. A cursory google search on “biblical contradictions” would convince you that even the bible doesn’t agree with the bible.

    And you’ll also find that for every contradiction that someone proposes–whether in the Bible or in the Book of Mormon or anywhere else–someone else will be able to show why it really isn’t a contradiction. (Check out fairlds.org for examples of answers to the ones you copied to your comment earlier).

    Looking for contradictions is just a slippery slope.

  32. J.R.

    “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is today the only church with the power to authoritatively baptize anyone for the remission of sins”

    Mr.Thaddeus, this was written in the article on baptism you lead me to. Is this not like saying that the LDS church is the only church one can be saved? You told me before that the Mormon faith did not believe that. Please clarify.

    It also referred to the book of Mormon first a couple of times, before the Bible. Is the book of Mormon more important in the eyes of the Mormon?

  33. J.R.

    Thank you Mr. Dave. I appreciate your advice. Although I do think its a good idea to challenge everything you believe. It doesnt make sense to believe in something that you have not searched thoroughly…which means you have to ask questions…tough questions. I am not just looking for contradictions, Im looking for truth. I am doing this because I have a friend who is a female Mormon, and we are trying to see if we can be married without any problems. So I am researching what she believes in so that it does not go against what I believe in. If we both believe in the same God then I see no reason why we cant be married. But, if it turns out that she worships a different God, then I cant. Mr. Dave and Mr. Thaddeus, do Mormons and Christians of other denominations worship the same God? I did notice in Gen 1:26 that God said He made man and female in “our” image. Which would explain the 3 bodies the Mormon faith acknowledges. I had an open mind and researched that. The rest is just religious practice, which I believe is just preference of how you structure your worship. Basically a man directs the people.

  34. Dave

    J.R.

    I was just writing a post about this topic, so I’ll endeavor to answer the first part for Thaddeus. It’s critical to understand that we don’t believe in “hell” in the way you’re probably picturing it. We don’t believe that if you do not accept the full truth in this life you are going to burn forever in some everlasting punishment.

    We do believe that, with very few exceptions, everyone will eventually accept salvation. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess. We allow for accepting baptism in the spirit world after this life, and before the final judgment. We also believe that, with very few exceptions, everyone will be raised by the atonement of Jesus Christ and inherit a glory that “surpasses all understanding.”

    This doesn’t mean, however, that everyone will receive the same glory. Also, those who have always rebelled against God and never repented will still pass through a great deal of guilt and pain and anguish.

    To better understand our view of the afterlife, you should read Megan’s two part articles on “Life After Death.” I really love the doctrine of the afterlife. God is just and incredibly merciful.

  35. Dave

    Hah! JR, it looks like we’re commenting at the same time, so my response is out of order.

    Regarding the God we worship, I will say that we definitely worship the same God. That is, the God of Israel. Jehovah of the Old Testament. Jesus of Nazareth. The Creator of the world.

    Now, as to our beliefs about what God is like, that differs widely among all of Christianity, and Mormons believe very differently that most other Christians in that, like you said, we don’t believe a lot of what came from the Nicene creed in terms of the Trinity. I have met a lot of Christians who will say something like “if you believe that God is like that, then we don’t believe in the same God.” I think it’s just kind of semantics. The way I see it, disagreeing about God’s attributes and general plan for the world is not the same as believing in different Gods (because where do you draw the line, and how are you sure you understand God 100%?). That may be just my opinion. What do you think?

  36. Is the book of Mormon more important in the eyes of the Mormon?

    Is the Book of Luke more important than the epistle of James?

    The Bible and the Book of Mormon are both important. If we quote more out of one than the other in an article, it’s probably because the one has more to say on the subject.

    Take a look at an article I wrote called Jesus the Christ.

  37. J.R.

    Hello Mr. Thaddeus, it seemed like you forgot to answer my first question:

    “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is today the only church with the power to authoritatively baptize anyone for the remission of sins”

    Mr.Thaddeus, this was written in the article on baptism you lead me to. Is this not like saying that the LDS church is the only church one can be saved? You told me before that the Mormon faith did not believe that. Please clarify.

  38. J.R.

    Mr. Dave, it is my strong opinion that you are going against Mathew 7:13 by saying almost everyone will be saved. What is your opinion?

  39. Thaddeus

    Mr.Thaddeus, this was written in the article on baptism you lead me to. Is this not like saying that the LDS church is the only church one can be saved? You told me before that the Mormon faith did not believe that. Please clarify.

    Sorry, I thought that Mr. Dave’s response to that question was terrific.

    First, along with Dave, I suggest you read our views about Life After Death.

    We believe that the grace of Christ is great enough even to save those in Hell, but not until they exercise faith in Him and repent of their sins. If they will not repent, they will be there for eternity.

    The road to hell is still wide: many many people will go there, and the wicked will suffer punishment for their own sins until they yield to the Savior’s outstretched hand.

  40. Thaddeus

    J.R., my sister Jan published the article I mentioned that addresses your question. Please take a look.

  41. What a fascinating discussion! Oh, I just now saw it’s been awhile since a post. Maybe the discussion is closed. I hope not. I’m enjoying being a spectator.

  42. GL

    I know that this is an old post but I hope I can shed some light on this:

    1. How come I cannot be sealed in marriage with a Mormon woman in your temple?

    You can if you become Mormon. It’s a rule set forth by the LDS Church, not necessarily God.

    I am a follower of Christ just like you are. I am saved by the grace of good, believing in His word. I know I am saved because I have a new relationship with sin. I am blind no longer. I live a life of repentance. I have been baptized. Everything you have done to be saved I have done too. The only difference is I dont call myself Mormon.

    That’s great. I personally am a follower of Christ too. I just happen to Mormonism a nice fit for my way of worship. I feel inspired by many of the teachings. I love the teachings I learn about Christ from the Mormon point of view. However, God will direct you based on your relationship with him, not what religion you choose. Mormons that think that don’t know their own gospel. But no surprise, many people are cultural followers of any given religion, not authentic in their understanding and relationship with God.

    2. Do Mormons believe the father, son, and holy spirit are three separate gods?

    Separate beings, same goal. Example a Car has several pieces to it: The Engine etc. But they are still part of the same vehicle. Heavenly Father, Christ, and the Holy Spirit have the same goal but have specific purposes. Only Christ can forgive us of our sins. We feel Christ’s comfort through the holy spirit. We are children of our Heavenly Father.

    3. Do you believe the Mormon church is the only faith that will enter heaven and everyone else will go to hell?

    Mormon doctrine and what Mormon leaders and culture say are two different things. The only true doctrine the Mormon Church has stamped are the Bible, Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, banning polygamy, and allowing all worthy Mormon (race) men to share in the priesthood. The rest is a matter of opinion and interpretation in my honest opinion.

    1) 1830 Bible and Book of Mormon were officially accepted with the organization of the
    Church
    2) 1835 Doctrine and Covenants, first 103 sections were officially accepted
    3) 1880 Doctrine and Covenants additional 32 sections were accepted along with the Pearl
    of Great Price
    4) 1890 Polygamy was repealed (Official Declaration, p. 291)
    5) 1976 D&C sections 137 & 138 were officially accepted
    6) 1978 The priesthood was made available to all worthy males regardless of race.
    (Official Declaration 2, p. 292)

    Mormons believe in the free agency of wo/men to choose:

    http://www.lds.org/library/display/0,4945,106-1-2-1,FF.html

    11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

    Though sometimes we make mistakes we eventually correct it. We are encouraged to pray for ourselves and gain personal inspiration and witness to all truths. I like to look at it as building a personal relationship with my Savior.

    Regarding going to heaven. I think that heaven would be very dull and boring if it only had Mormons in it. I think your question may be better suited to ask God directly and receive a personal witness for yourself. Joseph Smith did play a significant role in the establishment of the Mormon Church and here is his take on it:

    In a Sermon on Sunday, July 9th 1843, Joseph Smith proclaimed himself a friend to all, having “no enmity against anyone.” He asked, “Why is it this babbler gains so many followers, and retains them?” He explained his secret simply: “Because I possess the principle of love.” Offering the world “a good heart and a good hand,” he declared himself “as ready to die for a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or any other denomination” as “for a Mormon.”

    Narrowing the gap between Latter-Day Saints and those of other denominations, the prophet asserted, “we do not differ so far in our religious views.” He declared the Saints’ faith ready to receive the truths of all others: “One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from where it may.”

    In a popular book written by a Mormon called Rough Stone Rolling Joseph Smith was in Washington D.C. fighting for redress for the Saints from the Missouri Wars, “Joseph insisted more than once that “all who would follow the precepts of the Bible, whether Mormon or not, would assuredly be saved’.” –pg 395, RSR, by Richard Bushman.

    So that should clear up that question. I realize there are Mormons that are caught up into culture and pride. Well so are members of other religions. I have seen it in people of all faiths. I have also felt the spirit in churches outside of my own. I also think that your baptism is very personal and special. I know Christ has acknowledged many people baptized outside of Mormonism. That is between you and God, not any religion.

  43. Mark

    Long story short. I was Mormon but not practicing at the time I met my wife. She was Christian.After we married, I attended the Christian church. We had a child and divorced. I have found my way home and and regularly attend church at my ward. My ex has begun to take our child to a Christian church. We share every other weekend. My ex wants is going to have our child baptized in a Christian church, I have legal no say in the matter. Here are my questions:

    How will this affect our child in the Mormon church?

    The child is 7 and about to be baptized in a Christian church. Will this stop a baptism in the Mormon church next year if they are still attending a Christian church?

    Since a child has to be sealed to a ‘couple’, if I remarry a Mormon, can the child be sealed to us in thier mothers stead?

    Any other advice/information would be helpful. Thank you in advance.

  44. Thaddeus

    Mark, thank you for your questions. Your bishop will be better able to assess this situation, so I hope you will take the matter to him.

    I have three suggestions to help you make your decisions:
    1) Talk it out with your ex-wife. Keep communication open and civil. DON’T try to sneak a Mormon baptism in behind her back.
    2) Discuss the matter with your bishop and with the Lord.
    3) Listen to what your child wants. Be a mentor, not a warden.

    If you marry a Mormon, you may all be sealed together (it may require your ex-wife’s approval), but again, your bishop is the one to advise you here.

  45. Hi, non-mormon here. Just wondering why there’s no talk of sugar content? Sugar is by far more addictive and damaging than caffeine (and more pervasive), I’m speaking particularly of white refined sugar. If the teaching was more about being healthy then woudn’t it include sugar as well, especially as we now know how damaging it can be? Just curious, thanks!

  46. Jan

    Hi Julie,
    Thanks for stopping by. I think you ask a good question, and my answer may not be doctrine (since there is no official sugar position by the church), but its how I see it.

    Doctrine and Covenants 89 (the Word of Wisdom) says in verse 3 that it is given for a principle with a promise–adapted to the capacity of the weakest of Saints. As I understand the Word of Wisdom, the principle involved includes both physical health and spiritual freedom–abstaining from addictive substances and harmful habits. As well as creating the good, healthy habits that help our bodies (and spirits) work the most effectively.

    So, as members of the church, we take that principle and apply it as we see fit (the minimum standard is the Word of Wisdom) and the Spirit directs. For some people, sugar may not be that big of a deal at all, but for others, it may be really addictive. The Spirit tailors our lessons and experiences to each of us individually, based on the principle outlined in the scriptures and complete with a promised blessing for obedience.

  47. Jared

    Julie,

    Your question was posted months ago, and Jan answered you splendidly, but being a bit of a fitness & health nut, I couldn’t help but toss in my two cents…

    In addition to the list of things that are set apart as being BAD for the body and spirit, the Word of Wisdom includes a section of what is GOOD for the body and spirit. We are told to eat a diet full of wholesome herbs, grains, fruits, vegetables, as well as meat, sparingly. What an outstandingly healthy people we’d all be if we all followed this and stayed clear of lots of sweets and greasy/fatty foods.

    While refined sugars, LDL cholesterol, transfats and other substances found in high quantities in “unhealthy” foods aren’t outright banned in the Word of Wisdom, the type of diet outlined in it clearly (to me, at least) leaves little room for a lot of unhealthy food choices. Certainly the spirit of the law dictates that we try to avoid those foods which we know will do our body and/or spirit harm.

  48. alessia

    What is the words of wisdoms

  49. cheek this out, it might exsplain why.

  50. Adrian

    I remember in the 1990′s, the Elders wouldn’t allow a group of visting Native American’s to set foot in the temple in Utah and that same night, a large Tornado (God’s Wrath) touched down and it went clockwise around the Temple destroying everything green, windows shattered, it was said to be a warning from Our Holy Father that we must respect the all people, especially ones that were here before us and ingenious to the land. Respect all people.

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