The source of these questions and answers can be found in the first installment of this series. It bears repeating for newcomers that the person(s) answering these questions is/are not identified, and that the answers given here are not necessarily current teaching. The chief value of these columns today is in seeing what issues were on the minds of ordinary Church members 60 years ago, and in noting what has changed since then, or what issues we consider modern concerns were being discussed that long ago.
Q. Are hiking and camping trips by Boy Scouts on the Sabbath Day approved by the Church? – M.O.L., Farmington.
A. Hiking and camping trips by Boy Scouts and other Latter-day Saint groups on the Sabbath Day are contrary to the teachings of the Church and not approved by the national program of Boy Scouting. Scouts should not travel to or return from camps on Sunday, and when they are in camp on this day all activity should conform to the teachings of the Gospel. Church services should be held, and the proper Sabbath spirit observed. There should be no hikes, games, or sports which are not in keeping with the Sabbath. Bishops and MIA officers who are responsible for ward activity should endeavor to abide by these rules.
Q. Is it true that in the early days of this dispensation the Church was called the Church of the Lamb and not the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? – E.D.H., Arkansas City.
A. No. The only formal name ever given by the Lord to the Church in this day is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. See D. & C. 115:3-4.
Q. Is it necessary to hold the priesthood in order to dedicate a grave following a funeral service? – W.E.B., Meeker, Colo.
A. some have offered merely a graveside prayer and asked the blessings of the Lord upon the burial spot. In the new handbook issued by the General Melchizedek Priesthood Committee of the Church, with the approval of the First Presidency, instruction is given that graves are to be dedicated by the authority of the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood and in the name of the Savior. Inasmuch as this is the instruction, naturally one holding the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood should perform the ordinance. Dedication of graves is considered one of the ordinances of the Church.
Q. If a person comes into the Church by baptism and is really converted, how will he know whether he is descended from one of the tribes of Israel or not? – J.G., Louisiana.
A. One of the purposes of a patriarchal blessing is to allow an individual to know what blood line he is in. Patriarchs in giving their blessing declare the lineage of the persons to whom the blessing is being given.
Q. Do the General Authorities sanction debates between missionaries of our Church and the clergy of sectarian churches? – R.B.S., Yuba City, Calif.
A. It is the policy of the Church to discourage the Elders from debating publicly with other people. It is not felt that public debates accomplish anything. Real conversion to the Gospel does not follow heated arguments, but comes through the peaceful Spirit of the Lord and friendly discussions.
Q. Does our Church teach that the Sons of Perdition will be resurrected? – J.A.H., Salt Lake City.
A. Our Church teaches that all who live in mortality will be resurrected through the power of God. As Paul said in I Cor. 15 – “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
Q. Did the Prophet Jeremiah live at the time Lehi led his colony to America? – M.P.E., Los Angeles, Calif.
A. It is believed that Jeremiah received his call at approximately 600 B.C. Jeremiah was very prominent in the history of the Jews at about 600 years before Christ and during the reign of King Zedekiah. It was during this period of time that Lehi was warned to flee from Jerusalem and take his family with him eventually to go to the promised land. Jeremiah suffered greatly at the hands of the wicked Jews who rejected his teachings and imprisoned him in a dungeon. There is nothing to indicate any particular connection between Jeremiah and Lehi although both were prophets and both of them lived in Jerusalem at approximately the same time. The first chapter of the first book of Nephi indicates that at the commencement of the first year of the reign of King Zedekiah as king of Judea, Lehi, who had dwelt in Jerusalem all his days, was greatly disturbed because of the wickedness of the people. In that very year many prophets came among the people prophesying that they must repent or the great city of Jerusalem would be destroyed. Subsequently, Lehi was warned to take his family out into the wilderness to escape captivity which was to come to Judah. It was obvious therefore that there were other prophets than Jeremiah crying repentance to the people in that day. Lehi himself went forth among the people predicting the destruction of Jerusalem and declaring the things that he had seen in a vision. The Book of Mormon continues, “And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them for he truly testified of their wickedness and of their abominations and he testified that the things which he saw and heard and also the things which he read in the book manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah and also the redemption of the world. And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even so with the prophets of old whom they had cast out and sinned and slain. And they also sought his life that they might take it away.” When we compare this with the writings of the book of Jeremiah showing how wicked the people were and how cruel they were to Jeremiah, you will be struck by the parallel drawn in the two records. The fact that Jeremiah was imprisoned in Jerusalem about the time of lehi’s departure is referred to in I Nephi 7:12.
Q. Why do we not use the Joseph Smith inspired translation of the Bible as one of the standard works of the Church instead of the King James translation of the Bible? – R.W., Portland.
A. The prophet never did complete his revision of the Bible. It has been felt wise not to use any incomplete translation or revision.
Q. Some non-members of the Church quote Is. 26:14 and try to prove that everybody will not be resurrected. Quote scriptures in the bible to prove that everybody will be resurrected. – H.J.B., Salt Lake.
A. There are many scriptures referring to the resurrection of the dead. The scriptures are very clear in showing that the resurrection will be universal. Paul in I Cor. 15:22 says, “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” From the reading of the chapter referred to, you will see that Paul is referring to the resurrection. He makes it clear that all who die as a result of Adam’s bringing death into the world shall receive a resurrection through Christ. John, in Revelations, indicates that there are two general resurrections. The righteous were to come forth first but, “the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” Rev. 20:5. for other references we suggest you read the Ready Reference used by the missionaries, also the “Articles of Faith,” by Doctor Talmage, the book entitled “The Way to Perfection,” by Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, and other books of similar character.
Q. Are the ordinances of the gospel required of persons going into all the three degrees of glory or are they just required of candidates for celestial glory? In other words, does man have to be baptized in order to enter into any degree of glory? – P.V.S., Tucson, Ariz.
A. All ordinances of the gospel are for entrance into the Celestial Kingdom. They are not required for admission for the other degrees of glory so far as the revelations indicate.
Q. How long is a generation? I am referring to Section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants saying that the temple in the new Jerusalem would be built in the generation in which that revelation was given.
A. Elder Joseph Fielding Smith in his book entitled “the Way to Perfection’ explains that a generation is not limited to any particular number of years and certainly not to a hundred years. He gives the interpretation that a generation extends from any given date until the time of death of the person who lived the longest of all who were alive at that given date. Many people have lived to be more than 100 years old.