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. Why is it that only two in a family have the blood of Ephraim? – E.N., Phoenix.
A. It is not true that only two in a family have the blood of Ephraim. You have been misinformed on this subject. The greater number of Latter-day Saints of the Caucasian race are of Ephraim, not only whole families, but also generation after generation. You may have misunderstood the scripture which refers to some of those who accept the Gospel in the world, “one of a city and two of a family.” It would not be correct to suppose from this scripture that only two of a family are of the blood of Ephraim.
Q. Will any people who have joined the Church be placed in the terrestrial kingdom? – A.P., Springdale, Utah.
A. We suggest you read the description of the three degrees of glory given in Section 76 of the D. & C. Note particularly that among those mentioned as being assigned to the terrestrial kingdom are those who “are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus” (verse 79). Membership in the Church is no guarantee of celestial glory. We must obey the commandments and be faithful to the very end in order to assure ourselves of this blessing.
Q. From my genealogical study I have learned that descendants of Israel settled in England, and later came to America. Why then does the Book of Mormon refer to those who settled America, as being Gentiles? – C.C.W., Salt Lake City.
A. Israelites who centuries ago moved into the European countries intermarried with the Gentile nations, and therefore were lost as to their separate identity by name. They were rightfully called Gentiles because of their mixture with the Gentile nations. They are to be distinguished from the pure blooded descendants of Israel such as the Nephites and Lamanites, who are referred to in the Book of Mormon.
Q. Jeremiah 16:16 speaks of the hunters and fishers of men. Inasmuch as fishers of men are first mentioned, and then hunters of men afterward, are we to understand that we have had the fishers of men already, in the form of our missionaries, and that the call of the hunters is yet to come? – R.C.W., Bergen, Norway.
A. We do not read any such distinction into the scripture you mention. The fishers and hunters of men undoubtedly refer in a general way to the missionaries sent out by the Church, and none of them are segregated from any others, being called either fishers or hunters. The prophet most likely was merely speaking in a general descriptive way.
Q. If a mother of a child by a previous marriage were to remarry, would it be possible for her to have her child sealed to her and the second husband? – V.T., Idaho.
A. Yes, under certain circumstances. We suggest you contact the president of the temple in the district where you live. He will gladly discuss the matter with you.
Q. Is there or is there not a definite and specific number of spirits assigned to come to this earth before the final end of mortal existence here? – M.H., Nephi.
A. There is no revelation on this subject.
Q. A man in our stake is teaching that Satan will sometime be permitted to repent and come under the saving influences of the Gospel. Is this true? – H.V., Ogden.
A. There is nothing in the scripture to indicate that this will be the case. We suggest you read D. & C. 76:25-38.
Q. If a priest has memorized the sacramental prayers, is there any reason why he should have to read them, and not say them from memory? – R.D., Salt Lake City.
A. No. But the prayer should be said correctly.
Q. If a couple has adopted infants, under the law of the land, is it possible for them to have these adopted children sealed to them for eternity? – H.D.S., Salt Lake City.
Q. Is there any place in scripture to prove the idea that Shem and Melchizedek are the same person? – W.M., Springville.
Q. Where is the Ark of the Covenant that Moses carried through the wilderness? – R.J., Idaho.
A. We do not know.
Q. If we attend all the Church services on Sunday, is it wrong for us to take a little auto ride in the afternoon, or take our lunch to a nearby canyon, between meetings? – Mrs. F.F., Spanish Fork.
A. The Church has not set down any list of “thou shalt nots” as pertaining to the observance of the Sabbath day. The general principles with reference to this law are given us in the scripture. We are told that the day should be kept holy, and so when we attempt to determine what we should or should not do, we should ask ourselves whether what we do is in harmony with the spirit of the law and the day. Read D. & C. 59:7-15.
Q. When performing a baptism, is it permissible to add additional words to the prayer given in D. & C. 20:73, or must that wording be used? – S.C.W., Ogden.
A. The new Melchizedek priesthood handbook on page 86 points out that there are only three prayers in the ordinary procedure of the Church, the exact wording of which is given by revelation; they are the two sacramental prayers and the prayer to be used performing baptisms. The prayers as given should always be used.
Q. If a couple has been married, and then divorced; and afterward remarry, are they guilty of adultery? – D.S., Honolulu.
A. There is no sin in legal matrimony.
Q. Is the practice of washing of feet, such as the Savior instituted in his day, a part of our procedure today? – B.P.W., Ogden.
A. Both washings and anointings have been made a part of the modern Gospel dispensation.
Q. What proportion of the present population of the American Indians is believed to be descendants of the Book of Mormon peoples? – S.L.C., Salt Lake City.
A. Likely all of them.
Q. In the event a newly sustained president of the Church does not choose for counselors the same two men who served with the former president, into what positions do these two released counselors go? – J.I.P., Salt Lake City.
A. If the counselors happened to be apostles with places of seniority in the Twelve, they would resume their former positions in the Twelve. In case the counselors were merely high priests, and not apostles, they would simply be released and would go back into the quorum of high priests. Counselors in the First Presidency are not necessarily apostles, and may be chosen from the Church at large if the president so desires. Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, Hyrum Smith, William Sow, in the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith, were not ordained apostles, nor were John W. Winder and Charles W. Nibley, formerly the presiding bishop of the Church. President J. Reuben Clark Jr. was chosen as a counselor by President Grant, and served for some time, without being ordained to the apostleship. However, subsequently, President Clark was chosen, sustained and ordained as an apostle, and given a place of seniority in the Twelve. Upon the death of President Grant, both Presidents Clark and McKay, the two counselors, took their own places of seniority in the Council of Twelve, and remained there until chosen to be counselors to President George Albert Smith.