Q&A: Questions and Answers

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    Answers are for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

    “Is it true that before a temple marriage is eternalized it must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise? Who may seal it?”

    Answer/ O. Leslie Stone

    Every marriage performed in a temple for time and eternity is sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise if entered into worthily. Sealings by this Spirit are not limited to marriages, but also apply to every other ordinance performed by the priesthood.

    Marriages can be performed in a temple only by one who has received the sealing power from the prophet or president of the Church or from someone who has been given the keys to confer this authority. Other than General Authorities, this sealing power is limited to the particular temple to which the sealers are assigned.

    What does the Holy Spirit of promise mean? It simply means that every sealing performed in the prescribed manner by one having the authority has the “stamp of approval” and promise of our Heavenly Father—subject only to the faithfulness of the individual receiving the blessing.

    “And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments. …” (Mosiah 2:22.)

    “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” (D&C 82:10.)

    “For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world.” (D&C 132:5.)

    President Joseph Fielding Smith has written:

    “I will make an explanation of the expression, ‘Sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.’ This does not have reference to marriage for time and all eternity only, but to every ordinance and blessing of the gospel. Baptism into the Church is sealed by this Spirit, likewise confirmation, ordination, and all ordinances as well as marriage for time and all eternity.

    “The meaning of this expression is this: Every covenant, contract, bond, obligation, oath, vow, and performance, that man receives through the covenants and blessings of the gospel, is sealed by the Holy Spirit with a promise. The promise is that the blessing will be obtained, if those who seek it are true and faithful to the end. If they are not faithful, the Holy Spirit will withdraw the blessing, and the promise comes to an end.” (Doctrines of Salvation [Bookcraft, 1957], vol. 2, p. 94.)

    The Lord always keeps his promises! Every sealing bears his promise that we will receive the blessings if we do our part and keep our covenants with him; otherwise, we won’t.

    President, Salt Lake Temple

    “What attitude should we have about applying our talents professionally when the result may not reconcile itself with gospel standards?”

    Answer/ Robert F. Brunner

    Fortunately, in my present employment I have never found any conflict between assignments given me and my Church standards. I realize, however, that this isn’t the case in much of the entertainment industry.

    When I was working as a group singer, I used to receive calls to sing on radio and television commercials. I was always hopeful that I would not get a call for a commercial promoting cigarettes, cigars, alcohol, tea, or coffee. Fortunately, I never did receive such a call. I know that I would have turned it down even though, due to the highly competitive nature of this business, those who do not accept almost every job offered them are soon thought of as “not available” and are numbered among the ranks of the non-working.

    As a priesthood holder, I would not feel right about lending my God-given talents in the creation and promotion of an R- or X-rated film, were I called upon to score one for another studio. I would not even feel right about going to see one of these films, much less taking a date to one. Elder Richard L. Evans has said, “Part of the reason why evil is possible is because it is made to be profitable … and if we patronize or partake of anything that isn’t good for people, we are helping to expand it by helping to make it profitable.”

    By not viewing R- or X-rated films, I have made my reconciliation between my field and the Church standards. I may miss some interesting musical scores, but it seems to me that there is so little time in which to improve ourselves and in which to work toward the promotion of those things that are pleasing to our Heavenly Father that I see no purpose in implanting in my mind, nor in lending my talents to help implant in anyone else’s mind, those things that we know through gospel principles are injurious to the soul and the spirituality of man.

    Southern California Regional MIA Music Chairman and one of four composers at the Disney Studios.

    “How do women share the priesthood? How does it apply to an unmarried girl?

    Answer/ Hortense H. Child

    President Joseph Fielding Smith has said that the priesthood is the power and authority of God, delegated to man to act in all things for the salvation of men. It is for the benefit of all members of the Church, men and women, children and youth, married and single.

    Latter-day Saint women have always shared in its glorious blessings and privileges. The following are some of the more apparent ways in which I have shared in the blessings of the priesthood (1) in my parental family, (2) with my husband, and (3) now that my husband is no longer living.

    1. My ancestors were taught the gospel through the power and authority of the priesthood, and that made it possible for me to have the life in the Church I now live.

    2. I received a name and a father’s blessing to identify and bless me throughout my life.

    3. I was baptized for the remission of my sins, and thus the door to my Heavenly Father’s kingdom was opened to me.

    4. I was confirmed and received the gift of the Holy Ghost through which I can discern truth from error and be guided throughout my life.

    5. Through the sacrament administered by priesthood bearers, I have the privilege of renewing my covenants with my Father in heaven and having his Spirit with me.

    6. I received, at the hands of priesthood authority, a patriarchal blessing that, predicated on my faithfulness, gives me special knowledge as well as direction and comfort.

    7. I have received counsel and advice from inspired priesthood bearers, such as my bishop and home teacher.

    8. I have been blessed and comforted and even healed when I have been sick and sorrowing and suffering.

    9. Through priesthood power, I can have my sins remitted with the sanction and blessing of God.

    10. I have been called to serve God by priesthood authority, and my soul has been greatly enlarged by such opportunities.

    11. I have witnessed the thwarting and dispelling of evil forces by priesthood power, and this gives me a reassuring peace and security.

    12. My home is blessed by home teachers who give me special service as I live alone.

    This is only a partial list of the many ways in which I have shared in priesthood blessings. All of these privileges and more can come equally to men and women, married or single. Marriage is not necessarily the only medium through which women share the priesthood. Celestial marriage and the establishment of eternal homes and families are, of course, the highest blessings of the priesthood on this earth, but marriage alone does not insure such blessings.

    Women who are married to bearers of the Melchizedek Priesthood can and must look to their husbands to bless them and perform the necessary priesthood ordinances for them. Single women and those whose husbands do not have the authority to perform priesthood functions have the right to request such blessings from brethren who have authority—namely, their fathers, their home teachers, and their priesthood leaders.

    Priesthood bearers are under solemn obligation to respond to such requests. What a responsibility for men to bear—to be worthy at any time to receive inspiration, for the “rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and … the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.” (D&C 121:36.)

    Every girl looking forward to the time when all things will be perfected should prepare herself, take advantage of and be blessed by the sacred and holy priesthood functions.

    Member, Adult Correlation Committee

    “Why can’t we have a youth movement in the Church, campaigning for causes that the Church espouses or permits us to espouse?”

    Answer/Bishop Victor L. Brown

    The Church has causes for which the youth of the Church campaign—but even more than campaigning, Latter-day Saint youth do something about these causes. To suggest that Latter-day Saint youth do not espouse a cause indicates a lack of understanding of the Church youth program, which enlists its youth in many causes—from missionary work to the pursuit of education. No one should be espousing the cause of Jesus Christ more than we who have taken his name upon ourselves. But it is essential to understand the difference between many of the campaigns of the people of the world and the campaigns of Latter-day Saint youth under the direction of Church leadership. The Lord’s house is a house of order. All of the activities of the members of the Church, if carried out through Church organization, must of necessity be carried out in an orderly manner.

    It is also important to recognize that the Church is a church of action, not just words. An example of how the youth of the Church can function in espousing good causes was demonstrated in 1970 in the Salt Lake Valley. A black congregation had great difficulty in completing their chapel. They approached the leaders of our church for assistance. It was felt that this was a wonderful opportunity for our Aaronic Priesthood-age young men and women to band together and raise funds for others in need. Literally thousands of young Mormon men and women engaged in projects from washing cars to babysitting to mowing lawns in order to raise thousands of dollars to assist their neighbors. At the conclusion of the drive, a wonderful banquet was held with representatives from the various bishop’s youth committees and the black congregation. There was no marching, carrying of banners, or loud oratory; but rather, in an orderly, enthusiastic spirit, under the direction of their own organizations, these Latter-day Saint youth demonstrated how other Mormon youth can go about espousing a good cause—this one appropriately designated as “Operation Good Samaritan.”

    Society today seems to center its attention largely on the group that makes the loudest noise, overlooking the quiet group that gets things done. I would hope that the youth of the Church will not be concerned with the recognition of the world but rather will carry out in a quiet, orderly, dignified, effective way the injunction of the Savior to be “anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness.” (D&C 58:27.)

    The bishop’s youth committee and the stake M Men and Gleaner council are the two councils that span the youth of the Church (twelve through twenty-six). Turn to your representatives on these councils and voice to them your desire to be involved in some good causes. I don’t know of a single representative who would not welcome your participation.

    Second Counselor, Presiding Bishopric

    “How far does Sunday rest go?”

    Answer/ Russell C. Harris

    Perhaps every concerned person has asked that question, if only to himself. And well he might, for no commandment has been spelled out more specifically, emphasized more consistently, or been ignored more generally: “… the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work. …” (Ex. 20:10.)

    It would be healthy to admit that among those who want to obey the Lord’s commandments, there is wide and honest divergence of thought. Such divergence is understandable. There are legitimate areas for interpretation—but we need to interpret in the light of scripture!

    You can rationalize, justify, or quibble with your conscience, or you can listen to the Lord: “If thou turn away … from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

    “Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isa. 58:13–14.)

    The import of this and other scriptures is that the purpose of the Sabbath is to nourish the spirit. What nourishes my spirit may not sustain yours, but if we both have an eye clearly on the purpose of the Sabbath, a mobile measuring rod is adequate and relatively accurate. Does the admonition “not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure” suggest anything about golf, skiing, movies, baseball, and like pursuits? It does to me.

    Writing to her son John, Susannah Wesley said, “Would you judge the lawfulness or unlawfulness of pleasure, then use this rule: Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, takes off your relish of spiritual things, increases the authority of your body over your mind; that thing to you is sin.”

    Using this standard, each person may decide for himself what may best be done on the Lord’s day. This puts the burden where the Lord intended—on the shoulders of the individual.

    Apply this rule to the many activities of your Sabbath day, for spiritual decay may result in you as surely from your carelessness as from willful design. The higher joys of life require self-discipline and training.

    Activities that would impede spiritual growth in my thirteen-year-old son were not a problem when he was younger. Added maturity requires a finer interpretation.

    We have been directed to study and to learn, but wouldn’t the best learning for the Sabbath be about things spiritual? Some college students maintain that they get better grades when they study six days of the week and use Sunday to be refreshed. This is not happenstance—it is the Lord’s way. Try it! “… the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” (Ex. 31:17.)

    In this temporal world we must be concerned daily with material needs and wants. An all-wise Father anticipating this set aside a special day lest many of us not take time to nourish the spiritual part of us—that which ultimately matters most. William E. Berrett has said, “God is not waiting to whip us or to punish us for breaking the Sabbath day. What we are will be reward or punishment enough.”

    This, then, is the heart of the matter. The Sabbath was made for our good—not to enslave the spirit, but to feed it. And when the spirit is fed, the Sabbath day becomes the remarkable blessing that the Lord intended it to be.

    The Lord has said: “Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary … and I will … establish my covenant with you … and I will walk among you and will be your God and ye shall be my people.” (Lev. 26.)

    Bishop, East Mill Creek Ward; attorney

    “Should college students and other single persons get involved in food storage programs?”

    Answer/ Winnifred Jardine

    Food storage is not only a protection against emergencies; it is also a sound principle from an economic and time management point of view. Regularly used foods (as well as other essentials, such as toilet articles and notebook paper) bought in quantity can mean a savings to the purchaser not only in money but also in time.

    If based on and used in day-to-day living, not just stored away to keep one alive in an extreme emergency, food storage is a sound principle for students and single people as well as families. Obviously, amount of storage space and permanency of tenure would have to be qualifying factors.

    As with all counsel from Church leaders, this advice to keep a reserve supply of food and other essentials on hand brings added joy to him who obeys it by providing added security, better money management, and increased convenience. The counsel is not just for survival; it is also for a more practical and satisfying day-to-day life-style.

    Food Editor, Deseret News