Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » I Have Even More Questions, 1894

I Have Even More Questions, 1894

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 21, 2011

Q. Is it a requirement of the Church that new members presenting themselves for baptism must be placed under a covenant by the Elder or person officiating? In some of our foreign missions the practice seems to be to thus place the candidates for baptism under a covenant at the water’s edge, while in other parts of the world, where our Elders are laboring, this custom has never been introduced.

A. The practice generally has been to ask the candidates for baptism, before administering the ordinance to them, concerning their willingness to repent of their sins, to take upon themselves the name of Jesus, and to serve Him to the end of their lives. This is in conformity with the 37th paragraph of the 20th Section of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, which says:

And again by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism, all those who humble themselves before God and desire to be baptized and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the Church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his Church.

This also agrees with the course taken by the first Alma at the waters of Mormon as recorded in the Book of Mosiah, 18th chapter, 7th to 10th verses.

Q. Did the devil take the Lord up bodily and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, as recorded in the 4th chapter of Matthew, 5th verse.

A. No, he did not.

The Prophet Joseph explained that verse in this manner: “Then Jesus was taken up into the holy city, and the Spirit setteth him upon the pinnacle of the temple; then the devil came unto him, etc.”

In the 8th verse of this same chapter, in King James’ translation of the Bible, it is stated, “Again the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain.”

Joseph gave us the proper version: “And again Jesus was in the Spirit, and it taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and the devil came unto Him again, etc.”

We may rest assured that the devil had no power to take the Savior anywhere, if He did not choose to go.

Q. Is it right for members of our Church to take part in masquerade balls, or would the Editor of the Juvenile be willing to attend one of them, though only as a spectator?

A. There are many things in this world that in and of themselves are very innocent, but which can be made mischievous and productive of great evil. We can imagine that under certain circumstances, and with certain people, masquerades might be conducted in a way to furnish considerable amusement and no harm result therefrom. But they can be made agencies of great evil; and much wrong-doing can be committed under cover of a masquerade. Therefore they are not proper for Latter-day Saints to indulge in or patronize.

Q. Inquiries have been made as to the propriety of administering the sacrament to those who are sick and unable to attend the sacrament meeting.

A. There can be no impropriety in the Teachers or other officers of the Church administering the sacrament to the sick at their own homes, when they are unable to attend meeting. Of course, if the sickness were a slight one, or for a brief period, there is no necessity for this; but in protracted cases of sickness, it is a comfort and a blessing to the afflicted ones for the sacrament to be administered to them.

Q. If a family joins the Church in any country and then emigrates to Zion; the parents get their endowments, and afterwards the children, one by one, get married in the Temples and get their endowments, whereby their names and the names of their parents are recorded in the books, and none of them have any desire to be adopted in any other family, is it then necessary that such children shall all go together at one time and be sealed to those who by nature hold the only right of ownership to such children?

A. Undoubtedly it is necessary they should do so, unless they are born in the covenant – that is, after their parents have been sealed for time and eternity by the authorities of the Priesthood.

Q. Would any work done by such children in the Temple for any relative of their parents, such as baptisms or sealings for the dead, be valid, or would it be void – that is, before they are sealed to their parents?

A. It would be quite valid.

Q. Is it not to be understood that when a daughter marries she then leaves her father’s family and goes to the family of the man whom she marries, and will belong there through all time to come? If so, what good does it then do for her to be sealed to her parents?

A. It is necessary that children should be sealed to their parents, the object of the law of adoption being to connect the family of our father Adam together by those ties which are formed and sanctioned by the Priesthood, which is the authority of God on the earth. Marriages which have been performed outside of the Priesthood, the Lord has said are not recognized by Him in eternity. therefore, to have the family organization maintained, there must be an ordinance by which that can be reached, and that ordinance is the law of adoption. By means of this ordinance the human family will be connected from generation to generation, clear back to our father Adam. of course, the generations that have had the marriage ordinance administered unto them by the authority of the Holy Priesthood are not under the necessity of receiving the ordinance of adoption; for the sealing power by which husbands and wives are united, makes the offspring legitimate in the sight of heaven. The law of adoption, therefore, is for the benefit of those who are born of parents who have not been united by the authority of the Holy Priesthood. In the case that is mentioned, the fact of a daughter being sealed to her husband belonging to another family, does not relieve her from the law of adoption. If she is born out of the covenant, she must of necessity, if she would be properly connected, obey the law of adoption, and that law will bind her to her parents.

Q. Will men be judged and rewarded according to their works, whether they receive the Gospel or not?

A. Men will be rewarded, if they have done good, even before they receive the Gospel in the spirit world. Such we believe will be the condition of many in the telestial glory; the revelation on the different degrees of glory, given to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, conveys that impression to our minds.

While in that condition they will be ministered to by beings from the terrestrial glory, and have the privilege of receiving the message that those ministers bear.

Q. We have received a number of inquiries, from time to time, concerning the character, the mission and the personality of the Holy Ghost, and we have been requested to answer these inquiries through the columns of the Juvenile Instructor.

A. We do not think it prudent, in view of the limited amount of knowledge which has been revealed concerning the personality of the Holy Ghost, to attempt to write replies to these questions.

It is impossible for the finite mind to comprehend the infinite. Yet there are many things connected with this great subject that can be understood; and in private conversation much light can be thrown upon it which would satisfy the minds of many. We will suggest, however, that it is not wise to enter upon a discussion of questions concerning which the Lord has not seen fit to give full knowledge.

There have been many things shown to servants of the Lord at different times that have not been lawful to write, and it is left for men to exercise faith and to inquire of the Lord themselves to obtain understanding concerning many heavenly things.



  1. It is interesting to see the answer pertaining to the Law of Adoption. In April of the same year (1894), President Woodruff effectively repealed the Law of Adoption, ending the practice of members being sealed to Church leaders instead of to their own parents. It seems that this answer was given after President Woodruff’s declaration.

    Comment by CurtA — July 21, 2011 @ 9:34 am

  2. I seem to be the odd one out on this issue, Curt. J. Stapley and Sam Brown would agree with you, I think, based on their recent work. I, however, am not convinced that the “law of adoption” was ever anything truly distinct from the present practice. I think the label “law of adoption” applies to our current practice, because we each need to be adopted into the family of God either through being born in the covenant or through a later sealing to parents. Rather than being a separate ordinance or law, the practice of sealing someone to a church leader was merely an early, imperfect attempt to practice an incompletely understood principle. We understand it better since Wilford Woodruff’s correction, but it’s the same ordinance. We just call it “sealing” now instead of “adoption” — its purpose is identical.

    Read that way, this answer would be equally valid ten years before it was given, or ten years after.

    But read as if the “law of adoption” were something other than the sealing practice, read as if it were something that ended in 1894, this is a peculiar reference.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 21, 2011 @ 9:53 am

  3. Thanks for the context. I knew about WW’s revelation, but didn’t know where it fell chronologically in relation to this series of questions.

    Comment by The Other Clark — July 21, 2011 @ 10:56 am

  4. Re: adoption vs. sealing, I think you are right on, Ardis. I submit for illustration my own example, where I not having been born in the covenant, was later sealed to my mother and step-father–effectively a spiritual adoption.

    Comment by Tom O. — July 21, 2011 @ 11:24 am

  5. I think it was George F. Richards who spoke in General Conference about having to raise his right arm to the square and make a covenant before being baptized.

    RE: Adoption, I don’t think we are as far a part as it might seem, Ardis. You are absolutely right that frequently all child-to-parent sealings, even for biological kin, were called “adoptions.” It is just that before the 1894 revelation, they didn’t perform child to parent sealings for dead people who didn’t belong to the church (beyond one generation).

    Comment by J. Stapley — July 21, 2011 @ 11:36 am

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