Q: Do Mormons believe in organ donation?
A: We certainly do. We wrote some posts about organ donation and cremation a couple of years ago. Check them out.
Last week in Primary, I was trying to teach the children in our ward about how our spirits and bodies interact, and I discovered that Marvel had described it pretty well.
Our spirits are the eternal parts of us–they hold our personalities, our flaws, our potential, our divine nature. Our bodies are simply outer shells that amplify our spirits. Think of Iron Man. His suit allows him to do amazing things–fly, shoot lasers, swim down deep in the ocean. Things that his body, alone, could not do. But his body is controlling the show. Tony Stark is a moderately good person, and he mostly uses his suit to do good things. But think if Captain America got in that suit?! He would use it solely to do good. Not to be a show off, not to profit for himself. Now think of if that crazy red-faced villain got the suit. He would use it completely for evil. We don’t want him to get the suit.
Our spirits enter our bodies and get to do things that they haven’t ever been able to do before: eat (oh, I’m sure that when I get a body, I’ll just eat healthy and moderately), sleep (I bet on earth I’ll sleep exactly 8 hours a day), have a family (I’ll wait till marriage! Of course!), exercise (every. day.). And the list goes on. Our spirits didn’t have the same physical experiences without a body, and they were anxious to get one. And now we cruise around earth in these suits that amplify our spirits– if our spirit has a lot of pride, we use our body for vanity, we seek wealth, we put other people down. If our spirit has a problem with anger we have the equivalent of laser guns with our muscles, arms and legs. We are capable of so much destruction in these suits, but also so much good. If our spirits are full of faith, we can show it by physically attending church, giving compassionate service to people in need, hugging our children. If our spirits are thirsty for knowledge, we can incorporate information and wisdom much more quickly in the physical world–touching, experimenting, reading, trying things out. And that is the real wisdom in having these bodies–we can smooth out our flaws, overcome our evil tendencies by mastering our bodies–the cool features that they have that we should use appropriately in the proper time and place.
On a related note, sometimes Tony’s suit malfunctions. Pieces fall off deep in space, aliens shoot him down. Our bodies, too, can be imperfect–physically and mentally. But that doesn’t mean that the spirit driving the operation is faulted. And in the resurrection, everything will be made whole.
“Modest are hottest” was a popular saying among the young men at my high school. They used the slogan to encourage the young women to live and dress in a way that showed that they respected themselves and those with whom they associated. My girlfriends and I totally bought in to what those guys were advocating because they were the guys who were worth being around.
This was especially true when we would help each other get ready for school dances and other group dates and social events. In accordance with the standards in the For the Strength of Youth Pamphlet, we didn’t wear strapless gowns, low cut necklines, belly shirts, short skirts or short shorts, etc. Instead, we covered our shoulders and cleavage, and avoided tight-fitting and sheer clothing. This freed us up to dance or do other activities and enjoy the company of our dates and friends. We cared about looking fashionable, but also emphasized being comfortable and sufficiently covered.
I loved being modestly dressed on dates in high school because I didn’t have to constantly readjust my outfit. I could simply go from mini-golf to dinner to the dance without worrying about exposing myself. It kept the dates fun and engaging without any embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions.
While it is sometimes difficult to find modest clothing, it is definitely possible. There are all sorts of ways to modify current fashion trends to keep them cute and modest. We have to be creative sometimes! There are some trends, however, that will require personal judgement on whether or not it is acceptable. In those cases, consult with your friends, parents and the Lord to know if following the style would measure up to His standards.
While these guidelines seem targeted mostly at women, men should also keep from wearing clothing that is too tight or too baggy. We have also been counseled by the Latter-day prophets to stay away from tattoos, extreme hairstyles and piercings (one modest pair of earrings for women is fine). Modesty in speech is also important. We are counseled to avoid swearing, gossiping and inappropriate jokes and anecdotes.
I dress and speak modestly out of respect for myself, the people I’m around and for God, who created my body in the first place.
See Prophetic Prophets for more on modern counsel
Question: I was curious if we believe in self harm (cutting and slapping yourself) and I was also curious to know if we believe in having eating disorders?
A: I don’t fully understand the question. I think we believe that these are problems and we should be treating our bodies as sacred gifts from our Heavenly Father given to us to house our spirits while we are on this earth. So…don’t do self-harming. Keep your body healthy and strong so you can serve others and your Heavenly Father. We understand that these problems do exist, and we fully support getting therapy or other needed help. We don’t look down on those that struggle with these problems, but we care about them and encourage them to get the help they need to overcome these problems. If you’re not sure where to stop, visit your Bishop for some advice and counsel.
“The Word of Wisdom, found in Doctrine and Covenants 89, is the Lord’s code of health and was revealed to Joseph Smith in 1833. It teaches that we should eat nutritious foods and avoid harmful substances. Apostles and prophets have since taught that we should shun all substances or practices that abuse our bodies or minds and that could lead to addiction.” 1
“Our physical bodies indeed are temples of God. Consequently, you and I must carefully consider what we take into our temple, what we put on our temple, what we do to our temple, and what we do with our temple.” 2
“Regular exercise can prepare us physically, mentally, and spiritually to function better, whether it’s in our relationships with others or in our all-important relationship with our Heavenly Father.” 3
For more information, see the Physical Health section of providentliving.org.
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