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Questions from the Grass Roots, 1948 (4)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - September 06, 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. Our Church seems to make more of a point of upholding the laws of the land and being patriotic to our government that other churches. Why is this so?

A. It is one of the Articles of Faith of our Church to uphold the laws of the land. Article Twelve says, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” The Lord in a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith on August 1, 1831, said, “Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land. Wherefore, be subject to the powers that be until he reigns whose right it is to reign, and subdues all enemies under his feet.” At a later date on August 6, 1833, the Lord again spoke on this matter saying, “And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them. And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me. Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my Church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land.” (D. & C. 58:21-22 and De. & C. 98:4-6.) You also are familiar with the fact that the Lord declared in Section 101 of the Doctrine and Covenants that he himself raised up wise men to write the Constitution of the United States as a basis of the preservation fo the free agency of men. Doctrine and Covenants Section 134 is a declaration of beliefs regarding governments in general, and we suggest that you read it.

Q. What scripture do we have which indicates that the name of Jesus Christ is also Jehovah?

A. In Exodus, chapter six, verse 2 we read, “And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the Lord: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah was I not known unto them.” In Section 110 of the Doctrine and Covenants, in which Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery had a vision of Jesus Christ, in their description they write: “his eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying: I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father.” You recognize of course that it is only Jesus who is the advocate with the Father and was slain for the sins of the world. Other things could be said on this point, but the scriptures should suffice.

Q. What is the object of Christ’s reign on earth of a thousand years? What will be the nature of the work during that time?

A. This subject is discussed at length in various books already published by the Church. we recommend that you look this subject up in some of these books. Brigham Young in his “Discourses” goes into some discussion on it, and a number of other books written by General Authorities touch upon this subject.

Q. Why is not the Church section of The Deseret News available as a separate publication in Utah? – G.C.P., Provo.

A. Because it is an integral part of The Deseret News just as much as the Society Section and the sports Section; and neither of those sections are made available separately in our paper or in any other newspaper. We believe members of the church should take The Deseret News in their homes every day. It is an outstanding newspaper and will fill your newspaper needs in addition to bringing you material to assist you in your Church work.

Q. Should the song “The Rosary” be sung in LDS gatherings?

A. The use of a rosary has nothing to do with Latter-day Saint worship. Rosaries are used in the Roman church but have nothing to do with our form of worship. Why should we sing about it? Can you imagine a sectarian church singing “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet”?

Q. In a recent discussion, the question came up about heaven. Could you explain where heaven is and whether it is a place or a condition? – W.A., Lyman, Wyo.

A. Heaven is both a place and a condition. People going to the Celestial kingdom will dwell upon this earth which eventually will become a celestial globe and will be heaven. So heaven is a place. (DC 88:25-26; 130:7-9.) A heavenly or a celestial condition will exist there and only persons suited for celestial glory will be able to abide it. Therefore heaven is also a condition.

Q. What are we to understand by the expression in the Doctrine and Covenants “And this shall never again be taken from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness”? It refers to the priesthood restored by John the Baptist. – L.J.P., Salt Lake City.

A. We do not believe that the priesthood will ever be taken from the earth again. We believe it will remain in the hands of the truly authorized servants of God right on into and through the Millennium. This reference in the Doctrine and Covenants is merely a statement that it will not be taken from the earth and that it will remain on even until the sons of Levi offer their offering. It does not say that it will be taken away at that time.

Q. If loyal and faithful old Latter-day Saint people are unable to work for their complete support and their families are unable to help them, should they take old age government pensions and pay tithing on it? – A.B.H., Alameda, California.

A. If loyal and faithful elder Latter-day Saint people are unable to support themselves and their families are unable to help them, there is provision in the Church Welfare Program by which they may be supported without their going to the government for help. We prefer that Latter-day Saints cooperate with the Welfare Program and that they decline government assistance. It is the Lord’s plan that the Church should care for its own. So far as paying tithing on money received under the above conditions, may we say that persons who are not supporting themselves are exempt from paying of tithing.

Q. Does our Church own the temple lot in Jackson County, Missouri? – L.L.R., Blanding, Utah.

A. The Church owns considerable property in Independence and Jackson County, but it does not own the particular parcel of ground on which the Saints a hundred years ago had planned to erect the temple.

Q. Is it permissible for a father holding only the Aaronic Priesthood to assist in blessing and naming his child? – J.L., Rupert, Idaho.

A. It is permissible for a father even if he holds no priesthood to hold his child while the elders of the Church bless the child. You will understand that a person not holding the Melchizedek Priesthood would not actually be assisting the elders in the blessing and naming because that is the work of the Melchizedek Priesthood. But if it seems best in the interest of the child or in the interest of the family, the father, even though he holds no priesthood at all, may be invited to hold the child while the elders perform the ordinance.

Q. When the president of an organization is released are the counselors and the board members usually released also? – M.H., Baker, Ore.

A. When a president is released, counselors are always released and board members are often released also. The counselors are automatically released because the release of the president dissolves the presidency.

Q. Who gave Alma the first authority to baptize and organize the Church? Was it the Prophet Abinadi or was it because he had once been a priest with the wicked King Noah? – U.C.N., Salt Lake.

A. The Book of Mormon does not make clear the manner in which Alma received his authority. For that reason to discuss it is merely speculation. Scripture, however, does make it clear that authority was had by him from the Almighty and that it was by that authority that he both preached the Gospel and baptized persons believing in his word. The essential fact is that Alma did hold the Priesthood. See Mosiah 18:13, Alma 5:3.



9 Comments »

  1. Interesting comment on welfare. I could not image the church today telling members not to take Social Security, not to pay tithing if they did take Social Security, and instead rely upon church welfare.

    Comment by kew — September 6, 2010 @ 7:28 am

  2. Yep, the church now encourages people to take advantage of all government assistance, when in need.

    I happened to be looking recently and the bit about fathers holding the baby is pretty close to what was written in the general Handbook at this time. It would be interestng to compare some of the other answers to that source.

    Comment by J. Stapley — September 6, 2010 @ 9:31 am

  3. We believe members of the church should take The Deseret News in their homes every day.

    Ah, yes, the missing 14th A of F. It might do the DN good to republish this little arm twisting guilt trip mantra under its masthead in an effort to save itself from, well, itself.

    Comment by Paul Reeve — September 6, 2010 @ 11:00 am

  4. It is one of the Articles of Faith of our Church to uphold the laws of the land.

    There were still polygamists living in 1948, were there not, who knew of a much more complicated relationship with the 12 A of F than the answer indicates?

    Comment by Paul Reeve — September 6, 2010 @ 11:13 am

  5. Paul, as I was typing these (the whole series, not just this entry), I was struck again and again by the “flattening” of complex historical and doctrinal matters. If it’s possible to pin down the generation of the phenomenon that we have all complained about as sanitizing or whitewashing or watering down, I think we have a good candidate in the late 1940s. In the early 20th century we have people who make mistakes in narrating history because they are a generation removed from what they’re writing about, but it still feels to me like they’re trying to get it right. In the late ’30s and during the war, church writers are still willing to tackle difficult social issues (like welfare, unchastity, and the sources of government power) in a straightforward, candid way. But beginning about now (1948), it feels like church writers begin to treat members as children, giving simplistic answers that are misleading in their incompleteness or in their failure to acknowledge differing opinions and practices from only a few years before. I think you’re pointing to a couple of examples of that flattening, gloss-over-the-variants attitude that is taking over in the writing of manuals and and magazines at that time.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 6, 2010 @ 11:31 am

  6. I found this set of answers a little less friendly than others in previous sets. For example:

    Other things could be said on this point, but the scriptures should suffice.
    Or
    This subject is discussed at length in various books already published by the Church. we recommend that you look this subject up in some of these books.
    I thought the questions were straight forward, but the answers less than useful.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — September 6, 2010 @ 11:50 am

  7. Can you imagine a sectarian church singing “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet”?

    No, but then I have a hard time imagining anyone singing it. Have you looked closely at the words lately? : )

    Comment by Mark B. — September 6, 2010 @ 4:09 pm

  8. I’m late to the party, but these are some very interesting answers. I also noted the simplistic and condescending tone of the replies. The most grating, to me, is how timeless scripture is used to support temporary policy.

    Speaking of which, does anyone know what current church policy is regarding non-Melchizedek priesthood holding fathers and baby blessings?

    I suspect the change on accepting government welfare is a function of tax rates. But I know that as recently as the Teton flood (1976) Church authorities were still discouraging members from accepting gov’t assistance.

    Comment by Clark — September 8, 2010 @ 11:09 am

  9. I suspect the change on accepting government welfare is a function of tax rates. But I know that as recently as the Teton flood (1976) Church authorities were still discouraging members from accepting gov’t assistance.

    As far back as 2000, using government assistance and resources was a core part of the Church’s welfare and employment plan…

    Comment by queuno — September 11, 2010 @ 9:14 pm

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