Guide Witness of a Mormon Dad

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Men generally receive their endowment before going on a mission and women before they marry, but it is not a one-time ceremony like baptism. Saints are encouraged to return to the temple throughout their lives to continue growing their faith by experiencing the rituals of endowment. Before Latter-day Saints can go to the temple to receive their Endowments, they must obtain a Temple recommend, a card signed by a church leader to certify that the bearer is in good standing within the church.

Good standing, ascertained by an interview process, includes having a strong testimony of the truth of the Gospel, keeping up with the law of tithing, following the 10 commandments and the Word of Wisdom, and otherwise proving one's faith and commitment. Inside the temple, men wear all-white suits and women wear floor-length white dresses.

Non-Mormons and Mormons without a temple recommend are not allowed into the temple. The church says this is to preserve the sacred nature of the practices that take place inside and to avoid potential distractions and disruptions. Non-Mormons are, however, welcome to attend the Latter-day Saints' chapels, where weekly Sunday services and meetings take place.

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The general public are also allowed to tour newly-constructed temples during the brief window of time before they are officially dedicated. The most common and visible target for charges of suspicious secrecy in the Mormon religion are the temples. After dedication, these buildings are closed to the public and church members do not talk openly about the rituals that take place within. The church holds that the temple and its rituals are sacred and therefore private, not secret.

They maintain that early Christianity featured similar special practices and bodies of knowledge that were kept quiet to preserve their sacred nature. Church finances are also kept confidential, provoking criticism that there is no way for church members or outsiders to know where money from tithing and other revenue goes. And the church has also been questioned about the secrecy surrounding their defense of doctrine. Latter-day Saints can face excommunication if, after being warned, they continue to publicly discuss problematic or provocative elements of Mormon theology that the church chooses not to draw attention to.

Because disciplinary councils that can lead to excommunication are always private, the process of gathering information and the closed meetings that consider the fate of a disciplined member add to the perception of Mormon secrecy. The rituals of the Mormon faith include ceremonies performed in the temple -- endowment, baptism of the dead, celestial marriage and family sealings -- plus several ceremonies that take place in Mormon chapels.

The naming and blessing of infants -- performed by a priesthood holder, often the baby's father -- takes place in the chapel. Baptisms are held in the chapels when Mormon children turn 8 years old or when an adult converts to the faith. Family and friends generally attend both of these rituals.

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The Latter-day Saints also have a practice of annointing and blessing the sick if an ill individual so desires. Like other Christians, Mormons celebrate Christmas and Easter as their two most important religious holidays. It is around the time of this holiday that the church presents its elaborate history pageant at the Hill Cumorah in Palmyra, N. Mormons also observe the Sabbath each week.

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On Sundays, they attend a sacrament meeting at their chapel, which includes readings, hymns, prayers, communion and testimonies from a few speakers from the congregation. The rest of the Sabbath is observed by spending a quiet day at home, visiting friends or family, or performing charitable works. Latter-day Saints believe that the body is a gift from God to be cared for and respected, not to be polluted or abused.

In their daily lives, Saints follow a set of health guidelines Joseph Smith received from God in called the Word of Wisdom. As interpreted today, this code states that Mormons should abstain from coffee and tea, alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs. Over time there has been dispute and changing mores within the church regarding exactly what the Word of Wisdom disallows. For example, the original document warned against drinking any hot beverages, but over time this has come to be interpreted as only hot beverages containing caffeine.

Some debate remains over whether cold caffeinated beverages like colas should also be avoided; the church's official policy is to leave it up to individuals to decide. Mormons are advised not to get tattoos and to limit body piercings to a single pair of plain earrings for women. They also follow a general dress code that teaches that modest dress not only shows respect for one's own body and for God, but also has a positive effect on spirituality and behavior. Mormons believe that the family is an eternal unit and central to God's plan.

In fact, eternal progression toward Godhood is limited to those who marry for time and eternity celestial marriage in a ceremony conducted by a properly ordained member of the LDS priesthood in a Mormon temple. Church President Hinckley has also stressed the importance of the family during mortal life, saying, "If you want to reform a nation, you begin with families, with parents who teach their children principles and values that are positive and affirmative and will lead them to worthwhile endeavors.

That is the basic failure that has taken place in America. And we are making a tremendous effort to bring about greater solidarity in families. Parents have no greater responsibility in this world than the bringing up of their children in the right way, and they will have no greater satisfaction as the years pass than to see those children grow in integrity and honesty and make something of their lives, adding to society because they are a part of it.

The Mormon interest in genealogy is closely linked to their doctrine of baptism for the dead and their belief that the family unit will continue to exist beyond mortal life.

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Mormons trace their family trees to find the names of ancestors who died without learning about the restored Mormon Gospel so that these relatives from past generations can be baptized by proxy in the temple. Once baptized, if the ancestor's spirit has accepted the Gospel, they will be able to be together with the rest of their baptized Mormon family in the celestial kingdom.

For the Saints, genealogy is a way to save more souls and strengthen the eternal family unit. Mormon marriages are different from most marriages because they are considered eternal. If a husband and wife are sealed together in the temple, they can be together on into the celestial kingdom. However, the church does have a process for annulment and sees divorce as an unfortunately necessary evil. I am not one to say that it is never justified. But I say without hesitation that this plague among us, which seems to be growing everywhere, is not of God, but rather is the work of the adversary of righteousness and peace and truth.

Just as a civil marriage does not automatically translate into a temple sealing for a Mormon couple, a civil divorce does not unseal them. If a divorcing couple wishes to become unsealed, they must receive a cancellation of sealing, which requires approval from high-ranking church officials.

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A Mormon woman must receive a cancellation of sealing prior to remarrying if she wishes her next marriage to be sealed in the temple. However, because men are permitted to be sealed to more than one woman, they do not have to cancel a previous sealing in order to remarry in the temple. Are Mormons Christians? Why is the temple so central? What happens there?

Is it a secretive religion? Living a Mormon Life What are some rituals and restrictions of the faith? Why is family key?

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Why the interest in genealogy? Are Mormon marriages different?

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Witness of a "Mormon Dad" email twitter. By John Barnard. Witness of a "Mormon Dad" begins as a summary of the author's life that includes becoming an evangelical Christian while in college, moving across the country and struggling with his own identity crisis. At the age of thirty-three he marries a Mormon, an event which precedes many daunting challenges the couple would face on a daily basis.

The balance of his personal account discusses in an upbeat but frank manner how a born again father and LDS mother make their family relationships work, particularly when the two children are raised from the mother's point of view. With the author's particular story setting the stage, the balance of the book divulges his extensive research regarding the broad spectrum of LDS issues. In so doing he examines the pitfalls, inconsistencies and fallacies of Mormon thinking, history and doctrine, while comparing them to the standard of traditional Christianity.