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Old Jan 25, 2010, 09:31 AM   #1
Eran of Arcadia
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Ask a Mormon, Part 4

A new thread where you can ask any question about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Things to remember:

1. Any and all LDS posters on CFC are welcome to contribute - I know there are a fairly good number who popped in to say hi on the last few, I would encourage them to contribute this time as well.

2. Neither I, nor anyone else who answers any questions, is doing so in an official capacity. I will try to make it clear what is my opinion and what is Church doctrine.

3. We do not claim to be able to prove our faith. In real life, we believe it for a variety of reasons that we can't simply explain to someone so convincingly that they will instantly join the church. On the internet, that would be even harder.

4. We (at least I) will try to answer every question posed here. I realize that some people have not gotten answers that they considered satisfactory, but I will explain everything to the best of my ability. If I don't, most likely I overlooked the question, feel free to ask it again.

Previous threads:

Matt's Mormon Thread

Eran's All-New Mormonism Thread

Ask a Mormon, Part 3
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 09:32 AM   #2
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Does the prospect of having to answer these threads ever make you consider converting?
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 09:33 AM   #3
Eran of Arcadia
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Does the prospect of having to answer these threads ever make you consider converting?
What do you mean?
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 09:34 AM   #4
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How is your Mormon Marriage going?
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Ansar - I ask you, CFCers, because as I recall, the Singaporeans on this board (particularly aronnax) seem to have a particular dislike for the Singaporean government and even call it an "Orwellian nightmare"

I am proud to be referenced in hating Singapore.
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 09:34 AM   #5
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What do you mean?
Just a joke
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 09:38 AM   #6
Eran of Arcadia
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How is your Mormon Marriage going?
Good, so far. Based on my limited experience, it does seem like having a similar view on religion with your spouse (whatever that view is) makes things a lot easier. My wife is a nanny for a family with a lapsed-Catholic mom and a Jewish-turned-semi-devout Christian dad, and they are trying to figure out how to raise their kids; meanwhile, my atheist older brother and his atheist wife don't seem to have that problem. It may not be an absolute factor but it helps.

Unless you meant something else entirely.

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Just a joke
Aww, depending on your answer I was prepared to give a serious answer. If you mean "do any of the questions raised here cause you to doubt or question Mormonism", well, I have heard lots of objections or criticisms of it, and some are much better than others. Some of the best I have seen here, but none that actually convince me I am wrong.
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 09:41 AM   #7
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Aww, depending on your answer I was prepared to give a serious answer. If you mean "do any of the questions raised here cause you to doubt or question Mormonism", well, I have heard lots of objections or criticisms of it, and some are much better than others. Some of the best I have seen here, but none that actually convince me I am wrong.
Nonono (I now see how ambiguous I was) I just mean you might get so exhausted having to asnwer 300+ posts that you decide to convert to avoid it!
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 09:44 AM   #8
Eran of Arcadia
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Nonono (I now see how ambiguous I was) I just mean you might get so exhausted having to asnwer 300+ posts that you decide to convert to avoid it!
Oh, I see.

Well, I could just stop posting here; that would probably be simpler, but I am not sure I could bring myself to do it . . .
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 09:44 AM   #9
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So how do you plan to raise any little Eran of Acadia's?
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Ansar - I ask you, CFCers, because as I recall, the Singaporeans on this board (particularly aronnax) seem to have a particular dislike for the Singaporean government and even call it an "Orwellian nightmare"

I am proud to be referenced in hating Singapore.
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 09:47 AM   #10
Eran of Arcadia
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So how do you plan to raise any little Eran of Acadia's?
What do you mean? We will take them to church with us, and teach them the precepts of Mormonism, so I hope that they will stay Mormon, but what with free will and all that is no guarantee. I mean, I will love them no matter what.
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 09:51 AM   #11
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Are there any names that are more common among Mormons than in the general population?
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 09:54 AM   #12
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Are there any names that are more common among Mormons than in the general population?
Among last names, Jensen is very common. I view it as the stereotypical Mormon last name. Anything Scandinavian, but especially Jensen.

Among first names, certain themes emerge. Any name from the Book of Mormon is pretty much unique to us (except "Alma", the difference being we use it as a boy's name rather than a girl's name). Giving all your sons a name starting with the letter "J" seems to be a common thing (at least a cliché), and there is a unique Utah thing that I can't quite describe but ends in men's names like "LaVell" (former BYU football coach).
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 10:15 AM   #13
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Nonono (I now see how ambiguous I was) I just mean you might get so exhausted having to asnwer 300+ posts that you decide to convert to avoid it!
Wouldn't it be even easier just to, you know, not bothering to answer here?

@Eran: Did you notice how much extra work there is to quote a post from a closed thread?
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Well, I . . . sort of understand why it bothers people, but not really. There would be nothing for me to do in Mecca besides satisfy my curiosity.

Well, it's a building.

Do you feel that way about offices and other workplaces? Because a lot of what we are doing is "work" in a real sense, except it is a kind of work that has no meaning to non-Mormons pretty much by definition.

It is a commandment, yes. Again, since what happens there is meaningless in the eyes of non-Mormons and all, I don;t see the attraction.
Yeah... this is kinda the reasons why it shouldn't upset me. As I said, if I was allowed in anyway, I probably wouldn't have bothered even thinking about it. I haven't exactly bothered to set my foot in a single mosque or synagogue until now. Though I have visited several famous churches because of their architectures. Is there any constructional/ornamental wonders to gaze upon in a Mormon temple?

Simply put, I guess it's just human nature in that "It's not allowed/possible, so then I want/have to do it" kind of thing.

Oh, and of course that I lack information about it! It's a bit mystical, and I'm not allowed to partake. It's actually information withheld, in a sense - since I'm not allowed to enter to verify for myself, and that usually makes people more interested.

Offices and other building doesn't have that same allure I suppose, because they are so general - I already know what I might expect to find. Though offices of some (in)famous company could be interesting to visit of course, but generally, I also know what a company does...

Now after thinking about it, I actually think it is just simply that I don't know what goes on in the temple! (I suppose I have some very vague ideas of some general Christian religious ceremonies going on.)

Could you care to give some answer to satisfy my curiosity?

Also, completely unrelated to what I have been asking already: Mormons consider yourselves as Christian, right? So when I (as a non-Mormon) write "some general Christian religious ceremonies" did you read/interpret that so as to mean Mormon ceremonies or Christian-like ceremonies (i.e. that I implicitly say Mormonism is not Christian)?

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We are not saying that non-Mormons are unrighteous people.
Well, technically, aren't you in some way? By denying access both for non-Mormons and for Mormons not in good standing, isn't that to say that we and those Mormons aren't "worthy" (or something similar) to enter?

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To the best of my knowledge, no. Temples have been "rededicated", but that is usually only done after extensive renovations (which have been done on several older temple).

Well, I would say it is needed - if not, there might be all sorts of people (not anyone here, but people who really dislike us) showing up just to make a scene. There have been people who show up at all sorts of Church-run events just to protest.
Hm. I guess that could happen.

But how do you control it anyway? Are there guards? Are the doors locked and only good-standing-Mormons have keys? How do the guard know who is who? Do they have to look up every person who wish to enter? What if guest-Mormons from far-away places come visiting? Is a recommendation from someone who knows the guards enough?
Is there anything I could offer you for letting me in?

And about people making a scene anyway, I understand that Mormonism is looked down upon by some people, but do other churches in the US need guards to stop people from entering?
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 10:17 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Eran of Arcadia View Post
Among last names, Jensen is very common. I view it as the stereotypical Mormon last name. Anything Scandinavian, but especially Jensen.

Among first names, certain themes emerge. Any name from the Book of Mormon is pretty much unique to us (except "Alma", the difference being we use it as a boy's name rather than a girl's name). Giving all your sons a name starting with the letter "J" seems to be a common thing (at least a cliché), and there is a unique Utah thing that I can't quite describe but ends in men's names like "LaVell" (former BYU football coach).
Oooh - don't you have any Olsen or Hansen too then?

But where did all the Scandinavian first names go?
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 10:30 AM   #15
Eran of Arcadia
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Wouldn't it be even easier just to, you know, not bothering to answer here?
Neither abandoning Mormonism, nor abandoning OT, nor avoiding posting in this thread seem like satisfactory answers to me.

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@Eran: Did you notice how much extra work there is to quote a post from a closed thread?
Yes, I know . . .

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Yeah... this is kinda the reasons why it shouldn't upset me. As I said, if I was allowed in anyway, I probably wouldn't have bothered even thinking about it. I haven't exactly bothered to set my foot in a single mosque or synagogue until now. Though I have visited several famous churches because of their architectures. Is there any constructional/ornamental wonders to gaze upon in a Mormon temple?
Well, I think they look nice, but hardly breathtaking I suppose. Typically, before a temple is dedicated for use, it will have an open house for a few weeks before where anyone who wants can go through the building and take a look at it. Also, the Church has put pictures of rooms in the temple online, I don't know where (and I am sure that Google Image Search would mostly show pictures that disgruntled soon-to-be-ex-Mormons posted).

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Simply put, I guess it's just human nature in that "It's not allowed/possible, so then I want/have to do it" kind of thing.
Forbidden fruit, I understand. In real life I suspect you would find it dreadfully boring.

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Now after thinking about it, I actually think it is just simply that I don't know what goes on in the temple! (I suppose I have some very vague ideas of some general Christian religious ceremonies going on.)

Could you care to give some answer to satisfy my curiosity?
Well, the basic stuff - we perform baptisms on behalf of the deceased, they are probably similar to any baptism by immersion that anyone does. We also perform other ordinances, both for ourselves and for the deceased. Now, here is the tricky part - it is full of symbolism, that we consider too sacred to discuss outside of the temple, even among ourselves, so that I cannot answer directly.

Which will no doubt only compound the problem.

Quote:
Also, completely unrelated to what I have been asking already: Mormons consider yourselves as Christian, right? So when I (as a non-Mormon) write "some general Christian religious ceremonies" did you read/interpret that so as to mean Mormon ceremonies or Christian-like ceremonies (i.e. that I implicitly say Mormonism is not Christian)?
Well, yes we consider ourselves Christian, but a very specific kind of Christian - and among all other denominations there is a wide diversity of rituals and practices. So yeah, there are things that we do that no one else does, but that is true of, say, the Catholics as well (I think).

Quote:
Well, technically, aren't you in some way? By denying access both for non-Mormons and for Mormons not in good standing, isn't that to say that we and those Mormons aren't "worthy" (or something similar) to enter?
Sort of. "Unworthy" in a particularly narrow sense, that there are certain things that you haven't done (and no doubt, you aren't following all of our rules and commandments, because why would you?) I mean, I at least wouldn't consider you a less morally upright person.

Quote:
Hm. I guess that could happen.

But how do you control it anyway? Are there guards? Are the doors locked and only good-standing-Mormons have keys? How do the guard know who is who? Do they have to look up every person who wish to enter? What if guest-Mormons from far-away places come visiting? Is a recommendation from someone who knows the guards enough?
"Guards" is a strong word, but . . . there is a front desk. Those who hold a temple recommend show it to the people at the front desk (they recently computerized the process) and enter the temple itself. The recommend is a Church-wide thing, so someone who has one could enter any temple in the world.

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Is there anything I could offer you for letting me in?
Sure. Offer me anything. It doesn't matter, the answer will be the same.

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And about people making a scene anyway, I understand that Mormonism is looked down upon by some people, but do other churches in the US need guards to stop people from entering?
Well, temples are different from our regular meetinghouses or chapels, and people often feel differently about them. When a temple was built near where I live, some people (presumably fundamentalist/evangelical Christians) were at the front gates passing out literature.

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Oooh - don't you have any Olsen or Hansen too then?
Yeah, some, but for some reason "Jensen" always stands out to me.

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But where did all the Scandinavian first names go?
Replaced, first names are far more dependent on culture.
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 10:40 AM   #16
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How strong is the pressure to have more than one child? Does overpopulation come up in church discussions?
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 10:53 AM   #17
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How strong is the pressure to have more than one child?
Officially, none. The Church says that it is between a couple and God how many children they have, and that no one should speculate on why another couple has a certain number of kids. In practice, I suppose it depends, there might be peer pressure. I have never observed or been a part of it, but I don't doubt that it exists for some people.

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Does overpopulation come up in church discussions?
Never that I have seen.
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 10:56 AM   #18
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Do you wear your magic underwear and do you think it magically protects you?
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 10:59 AM   #19
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Do you wear your magic underwear and do you think it magically protects you?
Why do you use the word "magic"? We don't believe it has magical powers (it is primarily symbolic) and presumably neither do you, so there is no reason to call it magic. This has always bugged me. But whatever.

To expand on the question, Mormons who have been through the temple do where clothing - specifically, underwear - as a symbol of the promises we have made. Insofar as wearing it shows our devotion to those promises, we believe that God will protect us. (According to His will and all.)

But we don't expect it to stop a bullet or anything.
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 11:08 AM   #20
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Neither abandoning Mormonism, nor abandoning OT, nor avoiding posting in this thread seem like satisfactory answers to me.
Then what about the final solution? Kill all potential question-makers!

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Well, I think they look nice, but hardly breathtaking I suppose. Typically, before a temple is dedicated for use, it will have an open house for a few weeks before where anyone who wants can go through the building and take a look at it.
Bing! See there? I just need to find a newly constructed temple and I might be able to look around! So now I'm not really that interested anymore! You just fixed the problem!

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Also, the Church has put pictures of rooms in the temple online, I don't know where (and I am sure that Google Image Search would mostly show pictures that disgruntled soon-to-be-ex-Mormons posted).
Huh. Are there any way disgruntled ex-members could show pictures that would make any of it look bad?

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Forbidden fruit, I understand. In real life I suspect you would find it dreadfully boring.
Yeah, especially now that you told me that there are actually possibilities of going into a temple. So what's the point?

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Well, the basic stuff - we perform baptisms on behalf of the deceased, they are probably similar to any baptism by immersion that anyone does. We also perform other ordinances, both for ourselves and for the deceased. Now, here is the tricky part - it is full of symbolism, that we consider too sacred to discuss outside of the temple, even among ourselves, so that I cannot answer directly.

Which will no doubt only compound the problem.
...

Okay, now you broke it again. And I feel that this time it's going to be even harder to come up with a solution.

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Well, yes we consider ourselves Christian, but a very specific kind of Christian - and among all other denominations there is a wide diversity of rituals and practices. So yeah, there are things that we do that no one else does, but that is true of, say, the Catholics as well (I think).
I'm not sure if you completely understood what I was asking. Wasn't a very well formulated question either I suppose.

If I, as a non-Mormon, talk about something relating to Mormonism, and describing it as Christian-like, would you then, as a Mormon, get the understanding that I know that Mormons think of themselves as Christian, or that I consider Mormons to not be Christians?
Actually, do you ever describe yourselves as Christian, either internally or externally, or just as Mormons?

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Sort of. "Unworthy" in a particularly narrow sense, that there are certain things that you haven't done (and no doubt, you aren't following all of our rules and commandments, because why would you?) I mean, I at least wouldn't consider you a less morally upright person.
Well, I know neither you nor any other Mormon actually hold it against me, but, and I feel I'm getting a bit philosophically sidetracked here,

if access to the temple is seen as a good,
and only certain people have the property of necessary qualities that allow them access to that good,
then by not being granted access to the good,
it is implicitly stated that one does not have the necessary qualities,
and to lack certain qualities that allows access to a good must then be a negative property of a person,
and a person with a negative property must by necessity be less valued than a person with a positive property,
thus it can be said that a person not granted access to the temple is less worthy than a person who is granted access.

... If this just looks like rambling from a tired student at 3 am, then just ignore it.

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"Guards" is a strong word, but . . . there is a front desk. Those who hold a temple recommend show it to the people at the front desk (they recently computerized the process) and enter the temple itself. The recommend is a Church-wide thing, so someone who has one could enter any temple in the world.
A front desk is included in what I thought of while writing "guard", so it wasn't meant that strong actually.

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Sure. Offer me anything. It doesn't matter, the answer will be the same.
Oh, don't be so worried about the rules. Even Adam ate of the apple, and look how well that turned out!

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Well, temples are different from our regular meetinghouses or chapels, and people often feel differently about them. When a temple was built near where I live, some people (presumably fundamentalist/evangelical Christians) were at the front gates passing out literature.
Hm. So you have temples, chapels and meetinghouses? You have something between temples and chapels/meetinghouses though, right? I visited one during a project in high school, but that was a church I believe.
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