Question Box: Adopted Sealings

Q: If a Mormon couple adopts children, can they be sealed into an eternal family?

A: Absolutely! Any child legally adopted can be sealed to their family in the temple. I know of families who have all adopted children and some who have adopted one and added to their other children. It’s wonderful that our earthly families can be our eternal families.

Is the LDS Church just another Christian Church

The following is my own opinion, but it is what one Mormon believes, so I think it can still be posted on this website.

We recently got a nice comment from a woman who used to be a member of our Church, but has since becoming involved in another, more mainstream Christian Church.  She wrote about her “new eyes and strong desire to help others come unto Christ [the same way that she has].”  It was really nice to read, actually. And I’m grateful that she commented because it gave me a chance to think about what she is advocating.  As a member of a church that proclaims to be the “only true and living church on the face of the earth” (D&C 1:30) it is sometimes hard to wrap my head around the fact that someone could leave this “fully true” church for a “partly true” church.  (Don’t get all offended, I’ll explain my labels).

There are at least two parts to our church:  the human part and the inspired part.  The human part is honestly just like any other Christian Church.  There are fellowship meetings, get-togethers, sermons by people who have some pet virtue they want to beat into the parishioners heads.  Sometimes the church is amazing in this realm.  Sometimes people reach out to new people and bring them into their warm circle of friends and fellowship.  Sometimes seven different people come up to you during the first 14 minutes of church when you are visiting just to introduce themselves (thank you, Abilene Texas 3rd ward!  You guys were awesome!).  Sometimes there are incredible choral programs for Christmas and Easter.  Sometimes someone’s sermon changes your life for good.  Sometimes you find your closest friends through the Home or Visiting Teaching programs.

And sometimes, honestly, the human parts stink.  People are flawed.  And they bring those flaws to the church–especially in the LDS Church where everything is run by the members–a lay clergy, volunteers in every single role from the tiniest nursery tots all the way to the High Priests Group nodding off in the back row.  So that means that every person’s flaws and weaknesses are somehow incorporated into the functioning Church body (as well as their good qualities, but that observation belongs in the paragraph above).  And so, for people like the woman I mentioned above, visiting a warm and welcoming  congregation, perhaps with a social following the service and all sorts of ancillary programs to sign up for, may seem like a shocking difference (especially if her LDS ward was the opposite of the Abilene Texas 3rd Ward).  And it might seem like that church is more true.  More full and lively.  And it probably is more full and lively.  As far as fellowship and sociality goes, the Mormons don’t claim to have a monopoly.  Other churches are simply outstanding at uplifting and professional sermons, providing like-minded friends, urging people to lead honest and moral lives.   I don’t think any Mormon would argue otherwise; and if the human part of our church were the only part, then the answer to my post title is Yes.  It is just another Christian Church.

But there is another part to the church: the inspired part.  And this is the part that separates it from the “partly true churches” that have great human components.  God the Father and Jesus Christ really did restore the Church of Jesus Christ back to the earth through Prophets.  The Prophet really does speak to deity.  That’s an important distinction.  The organization of the church below them with Apostles, Seventies, Elders and so on is truly inspired.  It works on a small scale and it works globally.  I don’t think that Joseph Smith could have come up with that one on his own. The temples are also inspired.  Probably the most important element of the inspired part–that which makes it the true church–is the performance of saving ordinances:  Baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost, the Sacrament, Temple Endowment, Temple Sealing.  These things are HUGE.  It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t been to an LDS temple why they are so important, but it’s like having the map back to heaven, printed in your own language.  The temple is the point of having the Church back on the earth at all.  This is what makes the LDS Church the “only true and living church on the face of the earth.”

However, sometimes even members of the LDS Church miss this.  They see only the human parts and if they aren’t comparable to the other Christian Churches around their neighborhood  then it only makes sense to switch.  Being a member of the LDS church matters if those saving ordinances like baptism and temple ordinances are important to you.  They are important to me.  They give me security and increase my faith in Christ.  I know that He will do what He has promised to do because I’ve covenanted with Him to follow Him and He is always true to His covenants.  Those ordinances mean that I have a constant companion all the time: the Holy Ghost.  He leads me, comforts me and corrects me.  My temple marriage means the world to me because my little family means the world to me: if my road cycling husband were killed in an accident, I have God’s promise that we will be together again in the next life.  And I trust that.  I won’t even start to imagine losing one of my cherubic children because its too painful to contemplate, but we will be together for eternity too.  And when I die, because of what I have learned in the temple and covenanted to do, I have full confidence that I’ll be privileged to meet my Savior.  That is so important to me.

Way more important than how successful the ward party was and if today’s sermon wasn’t given as tactfully as I would have liked it. But that is my preference.  Everyone is entitled to their own priorities and I won’t condemn you for yours if you don’t condemn me for mine.


How Many Children Should Mormons Have?

Q.  Do Mormons believe in the use of birth control or only mass producing children?

A. Only mass producing children.  That’s why so many Mormons are going into engineering. . . there has got to be a more efficient way.

Ha.  There are a LOT of shades of grey between those two options.  This post by Megan addresses some of those issues.  For the record though, there are Mormons with no children and Mormons with 15+ children.  For everyone, it is a personal decision between the husband, wife and the Lord; not a mandate from the Church.

Family Proclamation

Question: What is so special to you about The Family A Proclamation to the World? I would like to hear some ideas from you, to help me understand.

Picture of a Family Smiling TogetherI’d like to start with a brief summary of our relationship to God. Because in my opinion, that relationship is the key to understanding the purpose of life. One of our basic beliefs is that we are children of God. Before life began on the earth, we all lived with God as His spirit children. Our Heavenly Father presented a plan to us there. This plan was an opportunity to help all of us, His children, to learn, grow, and eventually become like Him. To quote a church article written several years ago, “We were given laws. We were commanded to walk in paths of truth and light and of virtue and integrity so that we could advance and progress. The ultimate goal held out to us was that if we were obedient in all things, eventually we would become like him. We would live in the eternal family unit as he lives in it, and we would have might, power, glory, and the omnipotent creative ability that he possesses. The name of the kind of life he lives is eternal life.” (“Households of Faith”, Ensign, April 1971, 4).

If our purpose in life is to eventually live as families as God does, then the need of the Proclamation to the World is clear. Families are the fundamental units of society. They are what children look to, to understand what is ‘normal’. They are what God has given us to understand what life will be like after we die. Since the definition of families in our world is becoming more obscure and confused, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made a statement clarifying the definition of family. In my opinion, The Family: A Proclamation to The World provides an answer to a lot of the confusion children are growing up with now. Below are nine issues in the world today that I think the Proclamation addresses.  You may click here to read The Family: A Proclamation to The World in its entirety.

  1. In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life…The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave.” (3rd Paragraph)  “The family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” (1st Paragraph)
    • Are families important?  Yes.  We lived as part of God’s family before we were born.  We live in families here.  We can live in families in the next life.  If we lose focus of what constitutes a family, then we lose focus of what we are aiming for in the next life.
  2. “All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents…Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose. (2nd Paragraph)
    • Did God mess up?  Was I supposed to be male/female instead of female/male?  No.  We were either a son or a daughter (male or female) when we lived as part of God’s family before we were born.  We were born on earth with that same gender, and that gender is essential in our family.  I want to point out that we’ve also been given varying talents and abilities. We are not limited in what we can do.  There are men who love music, art, dancing, etc.  Good.  There are women who love science, math, sports, etc.  That’s fine too.  Talents don’t constitute gender.
  3. “The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife…We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.” (4th Paragraph)
    • Do I need to be married?  I want to have a child.  Can’t I just make arrangements on my own?  No.  The very first commandment that God gave on earth was to have families.  In my opinion that shows just how important families are.
    • A man and a woman should be married before having intercourse or starting a family.  I’ve unfortunately seen two different shows in the past year or two where successful women have good careers and decided that they now want to have a child. So they ‘shop’ around for good genes.  Then they raise the child on their own.  What kind of family is that?  Poor kid.
  4. “We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.” (5th Paragraph)
    • I’m not ready for a child.  Can I get an abortion?  Getting an abortion is a serious matter.  Please read the Church’s official statement below (found here).
      • “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in the sanctity of human life. Therefore, the Church opposes elective abortion for personal or social convenience, and counsels its members not to submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for such abortions.  The Church allows for possible exceptions for its members when:
        • Pregnancy results from rape or incest, or
        • A competent physician determines that the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy, or
        • A competent physician determines that the fetus has severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.

        The Church teaches its members that even these rare exceptions do not justify abortion automatically. Abortion is a most serious matter and should be considered only after the persons involved have consulted with their local church leaders and feel through personal prayer that their decision is correct.  The Church has not favored or opposed legislative proposals or public demonstrations concerning abortion.”

  5. “Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children…Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.” (6th Paragraph)
    • What does being a good mother/father mean?  Children look up to their parents’ example.  Parents are the most influential teachers children have.
    • Families are important to God.  He sends us innocent children who look to us for guidance.  He will hold us responsible for how well we fulfilled that trust.
  6. “Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.” (7th Paragraph)
    • Children don’t get to pick their families.  But they deserve good ones.
  7. “Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation.  Extended families should lend support when needed.” (7th Paragraph)
    • While fathers are given the responsibility to provide for their families and mothers to nuture their children, we adjust to make things work.
  8. “We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God.” (8th Paragraph)
    • Once again, families are really important to God.  If we abuse or neglect family members, He will hold us accountable.
  9. “Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.” (8th Paragraph)
    • Families are what God has given us to teach us about what kind of life we can have after we die.  If we destroy that perspective, our children will have a much harder time finding their way back to God.  Should we be surprised that  calamities will come as a result?

There are many different questions and answers that can be found by reading the Family Proclamation, but these are the ones that stood out to me the most.  I hope they help.  Our Father in Heaven loves us and wants to help us return to live with Him.  He has given us the Family Proclamation to clarify the importance of families in His plan for us, and the role they play in our lives and on into eternity.