Q&A: Questions and Answers


Answers are printed to give help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

“How do I get my roommate to take her turn with the dishes without making her angry?”

Answer/Elder Marvin J. Ashton

“ … without making her angry” is perhaps the phrase that needs the attention, and not the dishes. Maybe what we are asking is, “How can I get my roommate to do her share?” or “How can I control my roommate’s emotions?” or “How can my roommate and I understand one another’s values in a way that is pleasing to both of us?”

Which of the following possible solutions would you prefer if you were the roommate at fault?

1. Break a dish over her head to remind her that the dishes are still dirty. She won’t be angry, she’ll be unconscious!

2. Say to her, “If you promise not to get angry, I’ll tell you something.” Then tell her about the dish situation. She, of course, will be furious, but she will have to choke on her words because of her promise.

3. Post a sign on the kitchen door:

CLOSED BY ORDER OF THE CITY HEALTH DEPARTMENT— ENTER AT OWN RISK

4. Place the dishes on the kitchen floor, so as to discourage getting to the refrigerator or cookie jar. This procedure does not ensure a calm mind on her part, and you may have to learn to deal with hostility—real hostility.

5. Bring your concerns to her attention after prayer and a good family home evening lesson on “cleanliness is next to godliness” or “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” or “you are a good roommate and I enjoy living with you, and because of my feelings for you, I thought you might want to know of my discomfort and concern for the way we manage our apartment—mainly dirty dishes in the sink.” Then, under the influence of the Spirit and your love for her, work out a satisfactory solution that is comfortable for both of you. Honest evaluation and sharing of ideas in the spirit of helping is generally successful.

Assistant to the Council of the Twelve and managing director of Unified Social Services

Should we ever aspire to leadership?

Answer/President Paul H. Dunn

In determining whether or not it is right for an individual to aspire to leadership, it is necessary to first define just what is meant by the word aspire. Webster defines aspiration as the desire to achieve something high and great. It becomes essential, then, to discern the motive involved before deciding if the aspiration is legitimate. Hopefully, few would sanction a desire for power, fame, and recognition for these merits alone. However, I see nothing inconsistent with a genuine ambition to improve the existent self and eventually, our society.

The word aspire seems to carry, at times, a negative connotation. It is true that if one aspires to a position merely for self-gratification, with no ambition to serve his fellow beings, he is doing himself and his fellowmen a great disservice. I consider it worthwhile to aspire to something better than we are if it is done with the proper motives and purposes in mind.

It is certainly healthy to want to make something useful of your life. It is the object and design of the gospel for us as God’s children to become more like him. The Lord has admonished us to “be ye therefore perfect.” We are expected, then, to act upon and strive to obtain that objective.

The oft-quoted couplet, “As man is, God once was—as God is, man may become,” suggests that we develop a desire to achieve something high and great. I do not consider this wrong. In fact, it is our prime purpose in life. The various organizations and programs of the Church are designed and aimed at the realization and fulfillment of that divine injuncture.

Obviously, if we are aspiring to improve ourselves or a program, either in or out of the Church, we must prepare to be a leader. There is a principle in life that suggests “there is no all at once.” We should recognize and endeavor to develop good characteristics and qualities that are evident in our leaders today. I would hope that all young people would want to emulate the example of a wonderful parent, stimulating teacher, motivating missionary, spiritual stake patriarch, capable stake president, good bishop, or warm, wonderful home teacher.

One must seek out his motives and intentions in order to determine the validity of his endeavors to aspire to leadership.

of the First Council of the Seventy and president of the New England Mission

How do you know when you are becoming a fanatic on a principle and getting things out of balance?

Answer/Brother Rodney Turner

Satan is a horizontal extremist. That is one of the chief methods he employs in fighting against God, as he tries to pervert every true and righteous concept by tempting us to become unbalanced in its application. Depending on the individual, Satan will either strive to have the concept repudiated and abandoned or carried to the opposite point of possible obsessive involvement. Thus, he would have us love too little or too much, feel remorse for sin too little or too much, be concerned about physical health too little or too much, and so forth.

Therefore, we are becoming fanatical when we exalt one principle at the expense of all others, when we become a respecter of principles in that we make too much of one and therefore too little of others. We then lack spiritual symmetry; we are distorted, unbalanced, and false.

We are getting things out of balance when our commitment causes us to alienate ourselves from our fellow saints and mortals, when we find ourselves sitting in judgment on those who do not share our magnificent obsession with a certain point of view (probably on a point that has elements of speculation in it), and when we reject others because we disagree with their views.

We are out of balance and becoming fanatical when we feel a pride in our own presumed deeper comprehension of God’s true will, and in an assumed spiritual superiority that we enjoy over our nonmember brothers and sisters. We are losing perspective when, like some of the Pharisees, we care, so to speak, more about the Sabbath than man and more about some principle that supposedly divides us than about the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man that were meant to unite us.

Professor of Religious Instruction at BYU

What is salvation?

Answer/President Bruce R. McConkie

Salvation is exaltation. That is the sum and substance of the whole matter.

Salvation is eternal life. It is an inheritance in the highest heaven of the celestial world, the only place the family unit continues. It consists of the continuation of the family unit forever in glorious exaltation in the kingdom of God. It consists of the fullness of glory of the Father and of a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. It is not a lower or lesser state than that reserved for those who become as God is. It is godhood.

I know of only three places in all the revelations where salvation is defined to mean something less than the fullness of eternal glory in the presence of the Father and the Son. These instances, and their consequent limited usage of the term, have been given to us so we will have an overall perspective of the whole plan of salvation. All other scriptural passages use salvation as a synonym for eternal life or exaltation to hold up before us the high reward promised those who love and serve God with all their hearts.

Although salvation means eternal life, we have such special usages as the following:

1. Unconditional or general salvation.

This salvation is immortality. It means to be resurrected and go to any of the kingdoms of glory. It refers to being saved from death, hell, the devil, and endless torment. And it comes to all men except the sons of perdition.

2. Conditional or individual salvation.

By this is sometimes meant salvation in the celestial kingdom, which is reserved for those who obey the laws and ordinances of the gospel, although in the full sense it is limited to those who gain exaltation in the highest heaven of the celestial world.

3. Salvation by grace alone.

This is the same as unconditional or general salvation, the added name signifying that the salvation involved comes by the grace of God, gospel obedience not being required; that is, it comes through the love, mercy, and condescension of God.

4. Salvation by grace coupled with obedience.

All men are raised in immortality by the grace of God; those who believe and obey his laws are raised also unto eternal life.

5. Celestial, terrestrial, or telestial salvation.

These refer to inheritances in these respective kingdoms of glory.

However, almost without exception, when the scriptures speak of salvation, they mean full salvation; they mean eternal life or exaltation; and all of these terms are completely, totally, and wholly synonymous.

Eternal life is the name of the kind of life that God lives. Hence, the revealed statements: “… eternal life … is the greatest of all the gifts of God” (D&C 14:7); and, “… there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation” (D&C 6:13), for there is nothing greater than God and the life that he lives.

Exaltation is an inheritance in the highest heaven of the celestial world, where the family unit continues and where those who so obtain receive the fullness of the glory of the Father and have a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. (See D&C 132:19–24.)

Joseph Smith defined salvation by saying, “Salvation consists in the glory, authority, majesty, power and dominion which Jehovah possesses and in nothing else; and no being can possess it but himself or one like him.”

Speaking of the nature of salvation, the Prophet taught that it was to be “like unto” Christ, “and he was like the Father, the great prototype of all saved beings; and for any portion of the human family to be assimilated into their likeness is to be saved; and to be unlike them is to be destroyed; and on this hinge turns the door of salvation.” (See Lectures on Faith, pp. 63–67.)

These teachings of Joseph Smith are in thought-content the same as the Book of Mormon pronouncement wherein the resurrected Lord says of saved beings: “… ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one.” (3 Ne. 28:10.)

Thus, in the full, true, and accurate sense of the word, salvation, eternal life, and exaltation are all one—they mean to go where God is and to be like him!

of the First Council of the Seventy