Question from the box: “I have a mormon friend and he doesnt like to talk about what goes on when he goes to church. Is there a secrecy code or something? Once you are a mormon can you “un-become” a mormon??”
We try to practice the teaching of Christ when he said “hold up your light that it may shine unto the world… I have commanded that none of you should go away, but rather have commanded that ye should come unto me.” Most faithful members of our church are more than willing to share their beliefs with any soul who shows even a little interest. Try letting your friend know that you really are curious, and ask specific questions. Hopefully he’ll open up.
We certainly have no secrecy code. That being said, if an experience is very sacred (e.g. temple worship), it “must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit” (D&C 63:64).
Members can be removed from the church in one of two ways. They can request that their names be removed, or they can be ex-communicated. The latter is usually due to willful disobedience of major commandments.
See also: 2 Nephi 26:27-28, Moroni 6:7-8
What do Mormons believe about illness and causes of illness?
Simply put, Mormons seek to know, understand and believe anything that is true. We are encouraged to seek truth from all good sources. By-and-large, the origin of disease is not something specifically addressed by doctrine revealed through the priesthood. That leaves it up to individual members to decide what they believe personally, with the injunction to “seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (D&C 88:118)
Mormons tend to accept well-established scientific truths, including truths about pathogens, genetics, nutrient deficiencies and other well-established causes of disease. Throughout recorded history, a common belief has been that disease is a punishment for sin. This idea isn’t entirely refuted by revealed doctrine, but it isn’t completely accepted either. Because many of the natural consequences of sin lead to poor health or disease, it can be said that disease is a punishment for certain sins. For example, illegitimate sex is against the the teachings of Jesus Christ and His servants. Such behavior can lead to sexually transmitted diseases that one would avoid by righteous living. In this sense you can say somebody is “punished” for illicit sexual behavior when they contract genital herpes. However, most Mormons would simply say that the disease was a natural consequence of sin, and not that the sin “caused” the disease.
This post comes from the following question: “What do mormans [sic] believe about original sin?”
This question is most simply answered by a statement Joseph Smith gave about our beliefs: “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.” (AoF 1:2)
We also believe that “every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning” (D&C 93:38). Additionally, men are “free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil” (2 Ne 2:27). In short, this means that we are not inherently evil because of an “original sin”. Rather, we are created innocent with the freedom to choose good or evil and are accountable for only the choices we make and not for the choices Adam made.
That being said, the fall of Adam did introduce the possibilities of sin and death to his posterity (i.e. us). Thus, while not being directly accountable to God for a decision we never made, Adam’s transgression does nonetheless affect us (Alma 42:5–9, 14).
For more information, see the following:
I read an interesting quote the other day, about how people in our church “need to know how to use the Book of Mormon to arouse mankind’s interest in studying it, and they need to show how it answers the great questions of the soul” (Ezra Benson).
That quote made me think: what are the great questions of the soul? I thought of several and I want to show you how the Book of Mormon answers them. Many of the questions I thought of are below, along with a specific passage in the Book of Mormon to help answer that question. There are many more questions and many more passages, but this is just a small glimpse into the book I love so much. I hope this helps some of you orient yourselves to the Book of Mormon, which has helped me answer my own soul’s greatest question.
Is there a god? (2 Nephi 2:14; Alma 30:43-44)
If so, how can I know? (Alma 22:16-18)
What is God like? (2 Nephi 26:23-24, 33, 27:23)
Does life have a purpose? (Alma 42)
Can I know that purpose? (Mormon 9:21, 27-28)
Is there life after death? (Alma 11:45, Alma 40)
I know that although this site is targeted to people who want to know more about what Mormons believe, it is frequently visited by members of our church. I encourage all of you who have read this far to leave a comment in this section. Tell about a great question of your soul, or simply ask it here. If you have found your answer in the Book of Mormon, put the scriptures that helped you. If you know of any scriptures to help anybody out, put them there. We can all gain something from this experience if you share your thoughts in the comments right now, and we need your contribution.
When Jesus Christ was on the earth, he was criticized for eating with “publicans and sinners” (Matt 9:10-11). His opponents felt that he was being too friendly with people whose choices were not those of righteousness. However, Jesus consistently taught love for those whom we are not inclined to love (Matt 5:44). He showed us the example by his love for Roman invaders, thieves, harlots and other people whom he had every apparent reason to despise. An important aspect of the Savior’s example is that even though he loves all with an incomprehensible love, he “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance”. As members of His church, we seek to emulate this characteristic, which is summed up in the oft-quoted maxim “hate the sin, love the sinner.”
Of course this phrase isn’t strictly doctrinal, but it serves as a simple reminder of some very Christian practices. In our quest to emulate the savior we seek to become as he is: perfect, just and merciful (Alma 42: 15). Of course, we know that all men sin and “come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). Yet we still cannot, as disciples of Christ, condone sinful practices, either in ourselves or others. For this reason we strive, as individuals, parents, friends, voting citizens and in all other capacities, to promote measures that encourage righteousness and discourage practices that go against the revealed will of God.
I personally find that understanding a person’s motives allows us to sympathize with them as individuals even though we do not condone their behavior. I think of Dostoyevsky’s novel “Crime and Punishment”, in which the protagonist is a murderer and another main character is a harlot. Throughout the novel you discover that the murderer and the harlot are both very human—almost pitiable. They are motivated by such common emotions as individualism, helplessness, despair and caring. This understanding does not justify them for doing wrong nor does it exempt them from punishment (as shown in the end). However, committing ourselves to treating all people as humans with human motives and desires allows us to love them more fully.