I Have a Question


Was a temple site ever dedicated at Adam-ondi-Ahman?

Dr. Leland Gentry, curriculum specialist, Department of Seminaries and Institutes Adam-ondi-Ahman has been identified as the area where Adam will preside again over his posterity, and as the site of ruins that early Church leaders identified as Adamic and Nephite altars of worship.

There is no doubt that the Saints, even though they were only at Adam-ondi-Ahman for a few months, hoped that a temple would be built in that city.

The best evidence that we have about the dedication of a temple site comes from Elder Heber C. Kimball:

“While there we laid out a city on a high elevated piece of land, and set the stakes for the four corners of a temple block, which was dedicated, Brother Brigham Young being the mouth; there were from three to five hundred men present on the occasion, under arms. This elevated spot was probably from two hundred and fifty to five hundred feet above the level of the Grand River, so that one could look east, west, north, or south as far as the eye could reach: it was one of the most beautiful places ever beheld.” (Cited by Orson F. Whitney in Life of Heber C. Kimball, Bookcraft, Inc., 1967, p. 209.)

At least two maps indicating plans for Adam-ondi-Ahman have been found. The first is a drawing from the original survey plat; it indicates a two-city-block public square in the center of the city, but no temple site. The second, recently found among some old papers in the St. George Temple, is a crude, hand-drawn map that indicates the temple lot and the location of early residences and other significant sites.

The Saints occupied the area for only a few months in 1838 before they were forced to flee because of persecution by nonmembers. Only a few homes were built before this exodus.

Today the area is again farmland. It is located in Daviess County, Missouri.

Many of my nonmember friends have seen or heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They have asked how one can become a member of the choir. Are only members of the Church permitted to belong?

Richard P. Condie, choir director In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord says:

“For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.” (D&C 25:12.)

The blessings of listening to and singing with the Tabernacle Choir have always been sought by good people, both members and nonmembers. We are often asked how a singer may participate in the choir.

Since the Tabernacle Choir performs an important missionary service, it is important that choir members be members of and active in the Church.

The choir has a seating capacity of approximately 375; therefore, new members must wait until there is a choir vacancy.

Members are chosen from among those who have auditioned with the conductors to determine the quality of their voices and their level of musical ability.

Another important factor is the availability and schedule of the singers. Choir members must attend rehearsals, broadcasts, general conference sessions, recording sessions, and other performance commitments.

The singers are not paid for performing; they pay all of their own expenses to and from rehearsals.

The Tabernacle Choir is best known for its Sunday morning broadcast and for its record albums. In addition, it has traveled throughout North America and Europe to give concerts. In 1973 the choir sang in Germany, France, and England, in addition to engagements closer to home.

My wife and I want to fully obey the Lord’s commandment to pay tithing, but we are confused as to what figure we should base our tithing on. Can you help us?

Bishop Victor L. Brown, Presiding Bishop of the Church Since we learn in the Book of Mormon that Abraham paid his tithing to Melchizedek, we know the law of tithing was lived in ancient times. This law was reestablished in the Church in this dispensation through a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith at Far West, Missouri, on July 18, 1838, as recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 119, verses 3–4:

“And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people.

“And after that, those who have been thus tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord.”

On March 19, 1970, the First Presidency sent the following letter to presidents of stakes and missions, bishops of wards, and presidents of branches in answer to the question, “What is a proper tithe?”

“For your guidance in this matter, please be advised that we have uniformly replied that the simplest statement we know of is that statement of the Lord himself that the members of the Church should pay one-tenth of all their interest annually, which is understood to mean income. No one is justified in making any other statement than this. We feel that every member of the Church should be entitled to make his own decision as to what he thinks he owes the Lord, and to make payment accordingly.”

At the close of each year, each member of the Church has the responsibility of attending tithing settlement with his bishop. At this time, each member has the opportunity to declare whether he is a full, part, or non-tithe payer. The payment of tithing is a matter between the individual and the Lord. The bishop is merely the Lord’s servant who receives and accounts for the contribution.

The Lord has promised that he will open the windows of heaven to those who pay their tithes and offerings. We read in Malachi:

“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

“Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Mal. 3:8–10.)

When one has been completely honest with the Lord, a feeling of peace and tranquility enters his heart and he knows that he is a full tithe payer.

Pay your tithing on the basis on which you wish to be blessed.

In Ether 3:15 we read, “And never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast.” What does this imply about Adam and other earlier prophets who walked and talked with God?

Jeffrey R. Holland, manager, Melchizedek Priesthood MIA The scriptures clearly indicate that the Lord appeared to Adam (see Moses 3; Moses 4) and to Enoch (see Moses 7) prior to the time he appeared to the brother of Jared. However, Adam walked and talked with God in the Garden of Eden before the Fall, and that must be considered an atypical circumstance by any standard. So Adam’s was a special case in which the virtues attributed to the brother of Jared (belief, faith, knowledge, etc.) were not yet fully operative.

But that still leaves Enoch and the other prophets who lived before Babel. Let me suggest some possible meanings for the Lord’s declaration to the brother of Jared.

Perhaps the Lord never revealed his complete bodily image to any prophet before the brother of Jared. It might be one thing to speak with the Lord “face to face,” as Enoch did, but it would be quite another to have the veil lifted and hear the premortal Jesus say, “… this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; … and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh.” (Ether 3:16.)

Perhaps this was the first time Jehovah had said to a prophet, “Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son.” (Ether 3:14.) Surely this “showed” Jehovah to be much more than was traditionally understood.

Perhaps there is specialized meaning in the word “man” as it is used in the line, “… never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast …” (Ether 3:15.) Maybe man, as man, will never see God as the brother of Jared did. Paul said, “… things of God knoweth no man, but by the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:11), and the Lord said in this dispensation, “For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God. Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind” (D&C 67:11–12).

Perhaps no prophet before the brother of Jared has ever, by the sheer impact of his faith alone, burst through the veil without invitation. In that sense, the Lord would be saying, “Never have I showed myself unto man in this manner—.” The Lord himself said, “… Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.” (Ether 3:13.)

When the brother of Jared confessed he had seen the finger of the Lord, the premortal Jesus said, “Never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast. … Sawest thou more than this?” (Ether 3:9.) The record goes on to explain that because of the magnitude of his faith, the brother of Jared “could not be kept from within the veil” (Ether 3:20) and “the Lord could not withhold anything from him” (Ether 3:26). Perhaps this was the first prophet whose faith was so compelling he simply could not be restrained from entering into the presence of God.

These possibilities have been suggested in answer to the question posed. But for me, a different query comes to mind when reading the brother of Jared’s experience. It is the question of our own faith, our own belief. What “perfect knowledge of God” may be at our fingertips? To you and me directly the Lord declared, “… in that day that they shall exercise faith in me … even as the Brother of Jared did, that they may be sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations. …” (Ether 4:7.)

What is the Church policy on elders quorums purchasing and selling storage goods?

Junior Wright Child, managing director, Church Welfare Services The Church policy is easily stated by the following quotation of former President Harold B. Lee:

“… wards and stakes are not to enter into a buying and selling program to their members, and certainly it is not to be done by the Relief Society, the priesthood quorums, nor any other Church units. … We can get into more trouble with our local grocerymen, with our taxing authorities, and with the public generally by entering into a buying and selling program of this sort, which is but competing with the corner groceryman who is struggling to keep a little life in his business. Now I think there can be more harm done than the small good that will be accomplished. We teach the principle of putting aside for the ‘rainy’ day.” (Welfare Conference address, October 6, 1966.)

There are many other implications to this wise counsel. Taxes, both sales and income, play an important part in our lives today. The Church asks us all to comply with these regulations.

When Church units enter into buying and selling programs, invariably they circumvent the paying of some taxes, generally sales tax, and nearly always income tax. The Church cannot and does not condone this circumventing of the law of the land.

Many instances have been reported where Church groups, in their zeal to promote storage, tend to pressure members to support various programs by purchasing items they normally do not use. Because these items are not rotated, spoilage may result. Because of this, some people may have difficulty in supporting and sustaining Church food storage programs.

Because storage is first an individual and second a family responsibility, storage items are very personal, and the family food storage should be tailored to meet the members’ needs.

Recently a program was used that both encouraged Church members to participate in the storage program and also complied with taxation laws. Priesthood quorum members contacted local merchants who stocked the items they desired for storage. Arrangements were made with these merchants for the quorum members to purchase from them the desired items. It was further agreed that if a sufficient volume was ordered, the merchant would make a percentage donation to the quorum, which in effect was a price reduction for volume purchasing.

To locate sources of supply and recommend these to quorum members and to leave the purchasing decisions to the individuals would seem a reasonable and logical approach. This avoids buying and selling arrangements that compete with merchants, and also avoids circumvention of the taxing authorities, which is prohibited.