Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Questions from the Grass Roots, 1948 (3)

Questions from the Grass Roots, 1948 (3)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 24, 2010

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.



  1. Whatever was on the minds of church members in those days, there are some interesting lessons:

    Nice dodge on the second question. The answer is true, but doesn’t address the issue of what the church was called in those 8 years before section 115 was given.

    People couldn’t write precisely then either. H.J.B. of Salt Lake says some “try to prove that everybody will not be resurrected.” I presume that those people meant “not everybody will be resurrected.” In either case, of course, they’re wrong.

    Comment by Mark B. — August 24, 2010 @ 7:39 am

  2. Section 88 was revealed in 1832. I doubt anyone alive then is alive now… :) I asked the same question as a teen and was told it meant “dispensation,” which struck me as rather meaningless considering this is the last dispensation. Any other explanations floating around?

    Comment by Ariel — August 24, 2010 @ 7:46 am

  3. er, section 84.

    Comment by Ariel — August 24, 2010 @ 7:47 am

  4. I thought the answer to the first question was a nice dodge, too. It is contrary to the teachings of the church to camp on Sunday, BUT IF YOU DO, make sure you hold church meetings. The doublespeak continues to this day, and is a real source of frustration to people in the YM programs of the church.

    Comment by Mark Brown — August 24, 2010 @ 8:35 am

  5. I am shocked — shocked, I say — that regular Keepa readers could be so critical of the unsourced answers provided by an anonymous editor who might — *might* — have been a general authority, or who at least might once have stood in a shopping line behind someone who had attended a stake conference where a general authority spoke. Please stop speaking ill of the brethren. BUT IF YOU DO, make your comments as interesting as the ones left so far.

    Honestly, what you’re calling a dodge in these answers is, it seems to me, the kind of failure of candor that contributes to what we’ve called “whitewashing.” It seems different from what I’ve read from earlier in the century — it’s one thing, I think, when people over-romanticize history and glorify Saints of the past out of love and respect, and another when people “answer” questions in a way that seems outright deceptive. People really wanted to know, or they wouldn’t have asked.

    Another dodgey answer seems to me to be the one about why we didn’t use what was called the Inspired Version in 1948 and called the Joseph Smith Translation today.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 24, 2010 @ 8:54 am

  6. Dedication of graves is considered an ordinance of the church? Is that one of the reasons that some members of the church feel that cremation is not an option? I don’t mean to be silly, but if the final resting place is being dedicated, should the urn be dedicated? The mountaintop where the ashes are spread? (Etc.) Especially considering a subsequent answer: “All ordinances of the gospel are for entrance into the Celestial Kingdom.”

    Since it seems like I spend a lot of time in the nursery, someone who has attended Sunday School or other church classes more recently might need to remind me whether there are essential and non-essential ordinances.

    Comment by Researcher — August 24, 2010 @ 9:08 am

  7. I also took note of the sketchy answers. I thought the answer about the Inspired Version was much different than our current policy. There’s an interesting article in the latest BYU Studies about Robert Millet and the IV that indicates that we now use it and give it more credibility than the CoC (RLDS) church.

    Comment by kevinf — August 24, 2010 @ 9:14 am

  8. All of the really good questions got used up in the first installment…

    Comment by Clark — August 24, 2010 @ 9:19 am

  9. I happen to be working on Grave Dedication right now, actually. So this is timely. The practice began in Utah and was open to anyone to perform. I’ve narrowed its transformation to a priesthood ordinance to 1945 or 46.

    Comment by J. Stapley — August 24, 2010 @ 9:26 am

  10. Oh, no, they didn’t, Clark — I’m going to bore you with 18 installments over the next six months. There are some doozies to come.

    Researcher, we have a man in our ward who is very conscious of the two types of ordinances and very often makes the distinction between salvific ordinances (necessary for salvation/exaltation) and other acts performed by authority of the priesthood that are not necessary to salvation. Salvific ordinances are baptism, receipt of the gift of the Holy Ghost, ordination to the Melchizedek priesthood for men, and the temple ordinances (all of them, including sealings). Acts that are still ordinances because they are performed by the priesthood with formal authority, but which are not essential to salvation, include the blessing/naming of babies, the administration and partaking of the sacrament, blessings for healing, receipt of patriarchal blessings, and dedication of graves.

    What have I missed?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 24, 2010 @ 9:29 am

  11. I was told growing up that the non use of the IV had as much to do with our poor relationship with the RLDS (now CoC) at the time, and our lack of access to the original manuscript, as it did with its incompleteness. Of course, that relationship has improved and that we now have access to the manuscripts.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — August 24, 2010 @ 9:54 am

  12. I’m under the impression that those ordinances which are preformed in the temple are the saving ordinances–i.e. Baptism, Holy Ghost, Priesthood, Washings/Anointings, Endowments and Sealings. It an ordinance is nor performed in the temple it’s not a saving ordinance–i.e. blessing of babies, dedication of graves, etc.

    Comment by Steve C. — August 24, 2010 @ 10:14 am

  13. What have I missed?

    Father’s blessings, blessings of counsel and comfort, consecrating oil, setting apart. One church manual places the sacrament in the first category.

    Comment by Justin — August 24, 2010 @ 10:24 am

  14. I was surprised to read that the writer thought that not only did the Church disapprove of Sunday camping, but also “the national program of Boy Scouting.” I have my doubts whether that statement is accurate, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the case of the BSA today.

    I was completely surprised by J. Stapley’s comment that the dedicating of graves didn’t become a priesthood ordinance until so late as approximately 1946! This was news to me.

    Comment by David Y. — August 24, 2010 @ 10:43 am

  15. As recently as the 1980s, the General Handbook of Instructions said that “the Church discourages cremation.” That was changed in the next edition to “does not encourage,” and I believe that newer editions have been changed to remove any hint of disapproval.

    I wouldn’t know about dedicating a mountaintop, or the ocean, or all of the High Uintas. Maybe the next Keepa reader who is called on to dedicate a grave can pronounce a general dedication of the whole earth as a final resting place for those who have died or who will die without a “proper” burial.

    The same concerns about “this generation” have puzzled Christians for centuries. A verse like Matthew 24:34–Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.–has led a bunch of people to conclude that all the prophecies in that chapter have been fulfilled and that the Second Coming has occurred. I suspect that the safe answer about its meaning is “we don’t know.”

    Comment by Mark B. — August 24, 2010 @ 11:03 am

  16. Bruce,

    I think you are correct in that it took Robert Millet Matthews about ten years to get access to the original manuscripts of the Inspired Version, along with Joseph Smith’s Bible with his notes in it. Part of the delay had to do with the RLDS not wanting to give access to the manuscripts because of the very poor quality, and the deterioration that had occurred in a rather short time. The RLDS church historian’s office was actively seeking a photography/copy process that would make high quality images that would be satisfactory for scholars to use, and was unable to find one for some time.

    Also, as the RLDS church was reviewing the original manuscripts themselves, they discovered some things that were different from what they believed was in there, and it created a bit of a theological crisis. The end result was that they found a process to make good images sometime around the 1970s, and finally got a release from their first presidency to allow Millet Matthews access to the manuscripts at about the same time. Interestingly enough, this also corresponded to a reversal of the RLDS policy on the Inspired Version as the authorized version to be used in their services, to a policy that it could be one of several versions used, but no longer the preferred text. Now, I hear, you are as likely to hear the RSV or NIV or other translations as the IV in their services.

    Prior to Dr. Millet Matthews making his requests for access to the manuscripts in the 1960’s, you are correct that the relationship was strained at best. Dr. Millet’s Matthews’ scholarship appears to be one of the contributing factors to a better relationship between the churches.

    Comment by kevinf — August 24, 2010 @ 12:31 pm

  17. Kev, if you switch Matthews for Millett, then you got it. The recent BYU Studies has an article on precisely this for those interested.

    Comment by J. Stapley — August 24, 2010 @ 12:45 pm

  18. What have I missed?

    “Dusting of Feet,” of course. (I seem to be channeling my smart aleck husband this afternoon.)

    Comment by blueagleranch — August 24, 2010 @ 12:48 pm

  19. The last two handbooks have stated that normally, cremation is not encouraged, while recognizing that it is required in some countries. It ultimately leaves the matter to the family to decide, taking laws regarding burial and cremation into account.

    Comment by Justin — August 24, 2010 @ 1:02 pm

  20. J, yes, Matthews, not Millet. I was referring to that BYU Studies article. Doh! That’s what happens when I’m trying to be coherent on the blogs and still be productive at work.

    Comment by kevinf — August 24, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

  21. 18: *snicker*

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 24, 2010 @ 1:08 pm

  22. What have I missed?

    Dedication of a home (non-salvific).

    Mark, my mother-in-law is not long for this world, shall I ask my husband to do the honours when she departs? 😉

    Seriously, though, she’ll probably be cremated. We’ve never come across the procedure for dedicating the final resting place of cremated remains (urned as opposed to scattered); if anyone can shed light on that I’d be grateful.

    Comment by Alison — August 24, 2010 @ 1:17 pm

  23. The dedication of homes is not a priesthood ordinance. Anyone can do it. One of my single-sister home teachees moved into a house and asked that I dedicate it. I read over the priesthood manuals and they stated that one does not have to hold the priesthood to dedicate homes. Maybe in the future it will be considered a preisthood ordinance much like the dedication of graves brought up earlier in this post.:-)

    Comment by Steve C. — August 24, 2010 @ 3:38 pm

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