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Thread: Ask a Mormon

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    Honorary Supporter Dez's Avatar
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    Ask a Mormon

    As you guys know, I'm currently undergoing a rather dramatic change in personal beliefs. However, I was born and raised Mormon, the daughter of a Seminary/Institute teacher (Latter-Day Saint equivalent of a Youth Pastor), and the decedent of people who knew Joseph Smith, crossed the plains, and practiced polygamy during the Brigham Young years.

    If you have any questions, please, feel free to ask!

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    Supporter Raphaeline's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a Mormon

    What's a priesthood holder? Is it just any adult male? Any male head of a family?

    Also, I've heard a reference to a husband "laying a blessing" on a wife. What does that mean, how is it done?

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    Honorary Supporter Dez's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a Mormon

    [quote author=Raphaeline link=topic=219.msg1758#msg1758 date=1286911483]
    What's a priesthood holder? Is it just any adult male? Any male head of a family?

    Also, I've heard a reference to a husband "laying a blessing" on a wife. What does that mean, how is it done?
    [/quote]

    Gag...I just printed up a whole response and lost it :P

    There are multiple levels of priesthood, each of which are allowed to do different things. The first level of the Aaronic priesthood is when a boy is 12 years old (which, technically, makes him outrank his mother in modern LDS culture). There are different "keys" that a boy is given at the ages of 14, and 16. Then, at 19, before leaving on his mission, he is initiated into the temple, and given the Melchizedek priesthood. After that, there are a whole bunch of levels of authority, leading clear up to the Twelve and the Prophet.

    When a man gives a blessing, he lays his hands on the person's head, and starts and ends with a set "form", however, the middle is open for him to communicate what he feels he is being guided to say by the Holy Ghost. Blessings are given when someone is having a particularly tough time, or in preparation for events, such as children getting ready to start a new year of school. If someone is ill, then usually two Priesthood holders participate, one placing consecrated olive oil on their head, and the other offering the blessing. Some things, like a baby blessing in church, or a baptism allow more then two.


  4. #4

    Re: Ask a Mormon

    I was waiting for this to pop back up

    My questions are about the missions young men go on. Now as I understand it the family of said missionary is responsible for the cost of the mission. How does this effect families who are going through hard financial times? Is there an assistance program so that their son(s) can go and the church helps pay their way? Or does the church allow you to do the mission later on in life? If the mission is done at a later time in a young man's life how does it effect their standing within the church?

    I would also like to know how it is decided where a missionary is sent to? Does the missionary and his family get to choose or is it done by the church?

    I guess that's it for now

  5. #5
    Honorary Supporter Dez's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a Mormon

    [quote author=kilrane link=topic=219.msg1798#msg1798 date=1286918350]
    I was waiting for this to pop back up [/quote]

    Yay...someone missed it That makes me happy to know that people actually read my blather on this thread.

    [quote author=kilrane link=topic=219.msg1798#msg1798 date=1286918350]
    My questions are about the missions young men go on. Now as I understand it the family of said missionary is responsible for the cost of the mission. How does this effect families who are going through hard financial times? Is there an assistance program so that their son(s) can go and the church helps pay their way? Or does the church allow you to do the mission later on in life? If the mission is done at a later time in a young man's life how does it effect their standing within the church?[/quote]

    Well, first of all, I want to back up a bit. When the church first started sending men on missions, it wasn't young, unmarried guys. It was married men, who left behind a wife and kids, often for a couple of years (given the time it took to travel), and went without "purse or scrip", like the apostles in the New Testament.

    In my own family history, my maternal great-grandfather got called on at least 4 missions that I can think of. He and his wife got married in May or June, then had a March baby each year for the first three years they were married (the second was my grandmother). Then, he was gone on a mission for a couple of years, and nine months after he got home, she had twins! Those missions were very hard on my great-grandmother...she believed very strongly in the church, but my grandmother said that when she was 10 or so, her mother went to the stake president and begged him to stop calling her husband on missions...he said he'd love to, but her husband kept volunteering.

    Now, things work a little differently(obviously). Young men go on their missions at the age of 19, and it's a cultural expectation. While they might wait a year or two, that's a very unusual situation, and if there is any reason why they might not be considered worthy, they are not allowed to go. Some young women also go on 18 month missions, starting when they're 21 or 22.

    About ten years ago, they changed the system so that there's a "pool" of money, rather then some missions being so much more expensive then others. One issue with that, though, is that now many missions end up needing some help, anyway, because their church stipend doesn't take into account inflation, or more subtle differences in housing and food costs within, say, a state. For families that can't afford to send their son, there is a mission fund, that people can donate to separately from tithing. Depending on the situation, though, the family may need to make smaller payments, or pay the fund back.

    There are also retired couples who serve missions, also out of their own pocket. They will help run the mission office, or serve on temple grounds.

    [quote author=kilrane link=topic=219.msg1798#msg1798 date=1286918350]
    I would also like to know how it is decided where a missionary is sent to? Does the missionary and his family get to choose or is it done by the church?

    I guess that's it for now
    [/quote]

    Each day, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles sits down with a list of missionaries who have sent in their papers, and a list of missions that need more missionaries. They pray about where each Elder or Sister should be sent. Often it comes as a surprise, but other people find interesting syncrosities.

    For example, my younger brother always had a love for Germany, and got German names whenever the family went to do baptisms for the dead. No one was surprised when he served his mission there...he even began learning German in anticipation of being sent there(even though he had no way to know if that would be the case). My other brother is currently serving a mission in Provo, Utah, which caught him totally off-guard.

    In my husband's family, everyone who served a mission has gone somewhere in Asia. His mother served in Japan (the same mission as my husband did), his father in Korea (he served late--he was in the military first), and his older brother served in The Philippians.

  6. #6

    Re: Ask a Mormon

    [quote author=Deseret link=topic=219.msg1869#msg1869 date=1286926428]
    Yay...someone missed it That makes me happy to know that people actually read my blather on this thread.[/quote]

    Yes, the old threads were a big help to me. My in-laws are mostly Mormon and I really didn't know much about Mormons till I met my wife.

    I'm a bit of a lurker and I try not to ask questions that have been asked before. I originally wanted to ask that question a while ago, but I was lazy. With the old forum gone I figured now would be a good time to get off my butt

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    Honorary Supporter Dez's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a Mormon

    [quote author=kilrane link=topic=219.msg1955#msg1955 date=1286936466]
    Yes, the old threads were a big help to me. My in-laws are mostly Mormon and I really didn't know much about Mormons till I met my wife.

    I'm a bit of a lurker and I try not to ask questions that have been asked before. I originally wanted to ask that question a while ago, but I was lazy. With the old forum gone I figured now would be a good time to get off my butt
    [/quote]

    "Mostly-Mormon" eh? So culturally....? No good advice with that, but if you have any other questions you want to throw my way, feel free

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    Re: Ask a Mormon

    How do most Mormons feels about polygamy? If I understand right, it was mostly gotten rid off in the early 1900's but some sects have kept it up. What are the feelings about these groups and how they affect the Mormon image?
    We are what we are. Nothing more, nothing less. There is good and evil among every kind of people. It's the evil among us who rule now. -Anne Bishop, Daughter of the Blood

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    Honorary Supporter Dez's Avatar
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    Re: Ask a Mormon

    [quote author=Shahaku link=topic=219.msg2131#msg2131 date=1286985006]
    How do most Mormons feels about polygamy? If I understand right, it was mostly gotten rid off in the early 1900's but some sects have kept it up. What are the feelings about these groups and how they affect the Mormon image?
    [/quote]

    Now that's a pretty complex topic. Yes, it was gotten rid of with The Manifesto in 1890, but that did not immediately get rid of the practice. There were some secret sealings which still took place, since at the time, the church leaders felt that it was a forced concession to the American Government. There were also families, like mine, who ended up in Canada or Mexico, since the governments in those locations didn't care. In Mexico, in particular, the practice continued quietly almost until the 20's.

    Now, the church does not practice polygamy, and any member who does so is excommunicated. However, while women are only sealed to one man for eternity in the temple (meaning that a woman who divorced remains sealed to her husband until she wants to marry another temple-worthy man, and petitions to have herself and her children sealed to him, requiring proof of a serious offense on the part of the first husband), a man can be married multiple times in his lifetime, and sealed to all his spouses, with the implication that they will all continue to be married to him in the next life. Brigham Young stated many times that polygamy was a requirement for the highest portions of heaven, to be like God himself, so you can imagine the interesting implications of that.

    The polygamous groups are viewed with a great deal of dislike and distrust. There are some muddy waters, too. It's not unheard of for a girl to marry into what she thinks is a regular, but large, Mormon family, only to find out that her spouse's father is an underground polygamist. More then anything, at this point the church seems to want the whole issue to just go away. References are being removed from lesson manuals, and the church recently supported a film about the life of Emma Smith, Joseph's wife, which made only a passing reference to the entire issue. Long-time Mormon families, like my own, still raise their children with an expectation that polygamy will be reinstated eventually, though.

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    Re: Ask a Mormon

    I just wanted to put this in the new thread too...

    PBS has a 6 hour special on LDS, as well as a website @ http://www.pbs.org/mormons/
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