Mormon missionary age change may promote equality between women, men

AP Jeffrey R. Holland gives a news conference at the church office building about the change in missionary age during … Continued

AP

Jeffrey R. Holland gives a news conference at the church office building about the change in missionary age during the 182nd Semiannual General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Oct. 6, 2012.

On Saturday morning, LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson announced a change in the age requirements for young Mormon missionaries that may change the size and composition of the global LDS missionary force. Men can now serve at age 18 (instead of 19), and women can serve at age 19 (instead of 21). This change will likely increase the number of missionaries serving – young men will have less opportunity to “go astray” between high school and a mission, and young women will have an increased opportunity to serve before marrying.

This change in policy may also promote equality between Mormon men and women. Men and women will serve together as peers (though female missionaries are excluded from the majority of mission leadership positions) and will return home at around the same age. If more LDS women have the opportunity to devote their lives to gospel study and proselytizing on a mission, men and women may increasingly see each other as spiritual equals. Additionally, if more women choose to serve missions at age 19, the age discrepancy between married couples may decrease.

Such a substantive change in LDS Church policy is relatively rare, but these changes are often preceded by questions about existing practice. For example, Mormon historians tell us that the end of the ban on blacks holding the priesthood came after church leaders asked God whether the ban could be lifted. This move toward racial equality was welcomed by members and groups who had long petitioned church leaders for a change.

LDS Church members are encouraged to ask questions and seek personal answers as they gain a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but members are also reminded in Mormon scripture that “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken.” Church members who question or critique church policies encounter criticism from other members and, though less frequently now, church discipline. But asking questions is important; God has also said, “Ask and you shall receive; knock and it shall be opened unto you.”

Allowing more similar missionary service opportunities for men and women is a wonderful step toward increased gender equality in the LDS Church. As a young Mormon woman, I am grateful for the women who demonstrated a desire to be more included in missionary service. I am grateful that our church leaders asked the question and listened for the answer that led to this change. But there are more questions that need to be asked. A group of women organizing themselves under the heading “All Are Alike Unto God” recently reminded us that there are many, many areas within the church where policies could be changed allowing women to be more present in decision-making and service. I, too, believe in a God who loves all of his children equally and wants them to have the same opportunities to lead, serve, and learn. I echo their suggestions, including the one to allow female missionaries to serve in leadership positions over other missionaries (male and female). I hope that church leaders will continue to ask how women can be brought in to have a more visible and substantive role in the church.

Catherine Jeppsen, an adjunct sociology instructor, lives in Provo, Utah, with her family.

  • StanZman

    WTF WaP:o, your reporter lives in Provo, UT and she can’t tell the difference between two Apostles, Nelson and Holland?
    They’re not just ordinary dudes on the street, they’re PRofits, seers and revelators, according to LDS beliefs. You’d think your LDS reporter would know the difference.

  • It wasn’t me

    Still no gays allowed ?

  • m&mkuhn

    It’s really too bad that the LDS church pushes missionary practice. If a person wants to believe a particular dogma, then that’s fine. However, it is an offensive condesencion to go out proselytizing to others (who often have a perfectly good dogma of their own).
    Therefore, I fail to see how it is a good thing that the missionary age has been lowered. It is also laughable that some 18-year-old is going to go off to “teach”, say, the Catholics in Brazil, most who are likely older and wiser, what the true religion is.
    On a related topic, I also fail to see how Romney’s donating millions of dollars to the Mormon Church, which likely uses much of it to fund such missions, is the least bit comparable to paying a fair tax rate.

  • m&mkuhn

    It’s really too bad that the LDS church pushes missionary practice. If a person wants to believe a particular dogma, then that’s fine. However, it is an offensive condesencion to go out proselytizing to others (who often have a perfectly good dogma of their own).
    Therefore, I fail to see how it is a good thing that the missionary age has been lowered. It is also laughable that some 18-year-old is going to go off to “teach”, say, the Catholics in Brazil, most who are likely older and wiser, what the true religion is.
    On a related topic, I also fail to see how Romney’s donating millions of dollars to the Mormon Church, which likely uses much of it to fund such missions, is the least bit comparable to paying a fair tax rate.

  • AZreb

    You’re kidding, right? Where are women in the hierarchy of the LDS? I asked that question of two young women missionaries when I lived in UT and their answer was that a woman was head of the Relief Society – not a voice in the decision-making groups of the Mormons.

    Any women in the Quorum? NO! Any chance of a female prophet? Not in anyone’s dreams! Women are subservient entities in the LDS and will continue to be just that.

  • pierrejc2

    “This change in policy may also promote equality between Mormon men and women.”

    A truly idiotic conclusion.

  • RickH4

    Women make up the majority of mormons, tend to be more religious, and are by far the bigger half of the faith. It’s surprising that more young women don’t go on mission trips like the young men; I would think that they would eclipse them as they have in other areas.

  • Old Abe

    You are right. My wife mentioned to a mormon woman that she was preparing to serve as assisting minister in our Lutheran church. She was appalled that a woman would be allowed at the altar. Another mormon woman acquaintance was excommunicated in her own living room as her son was gay. But when people, not just women, acquiesce in their own belittling what can you expect.

  • CypressSteve

    Old Abe, Your anecdotal experiences are not reflective of the experiences I’ve had as a Mormon for over 50 years. Most Mormon women preach in church and serve at many altars. And the story about a Mormon woman being excommunicated in her own living room because her SON was gay is either untrue or in complete contridiction to church doctrine or policy. It doesn’t work that way, I assure you.

    There is plenty to criticize about the Mormon church (or any organization, for that matter) without making stuff up. Whenever you hear things that stretch the bounds of reason, I encourage you to step back and a deep breath. Mormons are not crazy, stupid, evil, etc. We’re here to help; unfortunately we’re only human, just like you.

  • CypressSteve

    m&mkuhn, I understand and appreciate your concern about overt proselyting but this is not a uniquely Mormon/LDS doctrine. This is a commandment from Jesus Christ given in the KJV of the Bible to all Christians.

    Mormons honestly believe that what they believe is of great benefit to mankind. They want to share it because they think it will help others lead rich and rewarding lives. If you don’t want anything to do with it, just say, “No, thanks” and they’ll leave you alone.

  • FredJ1

    “Mormons honestly believe that what they believe is of great benefit to mankind.”

    Mankind however, has learned that grandiosity of belief authenticates nothing.

  • A Voice of Reason

    First, I would rather have no misconceptions about my contribution on here. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    The LDS Church in practice and belief treats men and women equally. If there is any inequality, it is in our praising of women and the wonderful work they do for their children, for each other, and for the commitment women have to men. I’ll never forget when Gordon B Hinckley talked about his wife just after she passed away. I don’t think anyone could attend an LDS General conference and walk away feeling like a lack of respect or equality existed.

    As for the “ban on blacks holding the priesthood”, this was not a matter of treating anyone unequally either. The belief in freedom and equality is central to our doctrine. The gospel of Jesus Christ doesn’t change. People change. My grandfather may not have ordained a black member of the church with the priesthood. Go back into the history of other religions and you will find the same past. Was that the past of God? No, it was the past of men. We believe that all of us learn line upon line, precept upon precept. It might take us a while to break a bad habit, but the more we improve the closer to God we get. I know people of all faiths who don’t like Mexican immigrants (legal or not) even today. Should we hate them or judge them? No. But if we help each other toward a higher purpose then we come closer to God and further from the errors of men. It’s no different for any race, any judgement, any mistake that anyone can make. At least that’s how I see it.

    The entire point of the LDS belief is to help others. That’s why we build temples. It’s why we try to be charitable. Temples are meant to uplift everyone, seal families together for eternity. and do service for our ancestors. The entire point of all of that is helping each other. I’m not trying to say we’re perfect, we’re not at all. But God’s plan IS perfect and that’s all we’re trying to do. If you take a good look at what we believe,

  • julianoone

    Real “progress” would be for all to realise that religion, God, and an “afterlife” are fairy tales made to confuse the gullible. The Bible and the Book of Mormon are just fantasy stories like Alice in Wonderland or Harry Potter.

  • sfcanative

    This is precisely why there has to be polygamy in the next life. There will be more spiritually qualified women in the celestial kingdom than men. Since all winners of the Mormon heaven must be married, those worthy women (in excess) will be hooked up with the scarce men who made it to the finish line.

  • Quaesitum

    When I was a missionary in England in 1984-1986, there were many outstanding women missionaries — called “Sisters” — in our mission. One in particular stood out for her work ethic and leadership qualiities. The mission president, a progressive thinker in many areas, essentially gave this Sister the same responsibilities and role that he gave his male leaders, without officially calling her to one of the established leadership positions. Together with another Sister missionary (Mormon missionaries always travel in pairs), this Sister would travel the mission area in one of the few cars available to missionaries, conducting training with other Sisters and sometimes male missionaries (Elders). She was responsible for many baptisms.

  • omahkohkiaayo1

    How deos this ago change promote some kind of “equality” between Mormon men and women? Do women now get to be gods with their own planet top occupy with sealed plural husbands who crank out little spirit beings to be sent to earth to occupy bodies like Ivasion of the Body snatchers? Do women of color now get to be seen as of color that is not ugly and a “Mark of Caine” (Blacks) or a “Mark of Ham” (American Indians or “Lamanites”)? Do women get to join the Apostles or Quorum of 70 or even get to become a Seer, Prophet and Revelator of LDS?

    Why is it that Mormons who spend so much money for missionary outreach, refuse to discuss the specific tenets of the group? Why not lay out the story of how Jesus and Lucifer are spirit brothers, born of Mary through an act of sexual intercourse with Elohim, a god or “Heavenly Father”, once a mortal man, while and as Mary was also his daughter and betrothed to Joseph?

  • jeremyp

    Notice how this article is written with “obedience to authority” as it’s main theme. She is careful to “thank” them for considering gender equality and is “grateful” for it. “Grateful” is an oft used word in LDS public sayings. Ponder what it means for a woman to be so “grateful” to men. I guess Ms. Jeppsen is still in the kow tow position.

  • jeremyp

    In my experience (as a therapist in Utah) the LDS church almost always treated women far harsher than men when it came to infidelity. If they want true equality give women the priesthood.

  • GodzillaGodzilla

    The prohibition against blacks in the Mormon church lasted for a long time based, I think, upon the leaders direct instruction from God and yet they go and “ask” God if they can change his directive? I read that they made the change so that BYU could participate in the NCAA as their racist stance kept them from competing. Same thing goes for plural marriage. They wanted to get into the Union but couldn’t until they changed a basic tenet of their religion. Strange religion.

  • Bob S.

    I’d be grateful if in the future, you correctly spelled “kowtow” as one word.

  • new0400

    Your NCAA stance is terribly incorrect. We had many black members before the 1978 statement allowing those of all races to hold the priesthood. Polygamy was never a basic tenet of Mormonism, Marriage is, but not plural marriage.

  • new0400

    Actually in my history with friends who have committed infidelity, Most of the males I have known have been excommunicated, most females I have known have been disfellowshipped.

  • new0400

    No one will be forced to marry. You cannot force someone to do anything dealing with their salvation.

  • new0400

    As one who has a mother, wife and sisters who are all strong and active members of the church I would hardly call them subservient at all. Just because people are put in positions of authority does not make one a leader. I have watched all my life as my mother has lead from many positions. The most important ones I have seen? Teaching the little children in sunday school and primary every week, where most of the teachers are women, because their righteous example is so vital and important in helping children grow. To say that my mother has been subservient ever would be laughable. I never once heard my father tell her to obey him, nor did I ever hear her give in. She is a strong willed woman who has a keen mind and strong intellect. She doesn’t let anyone think for her. We believe that man and woman are one flesh when they are married. I would never tell my wife what to do. We counsel together, we disagree and compromise.
    Some of the greatest leaders I have known in my life are women. My mother, as I have said, my mother in law, my wife, and my sister. All of these are strong voices in society and are strong examples of wonderful women. To ever even suggest that such women would be subservient would be preposterous.

  • ca123

    oh goodie.. aren’t we lucky..more missionaries!… please, mormons, ask your god if you can do your ‘missionary’ work in the less advantaged areas.

    i live in a well to do neighborhood.. very nice..we don’t need any ‘help’..we are doing just fine..we all have our own religious heritages.. plenty of churches to choose from in the area.

    why don’t you do your missions in the more ‘disadvantaged’ areas..they look like they could use your help..you could inform them of your ‘bishop’s storehouses’ for their food insecurity???

  • mark (lehi)

    Your polygamy stance is also terribly incorrect. Many of the earlier prophets of the LDS church taught that polygamy was a necessary for salvation. That sounds basic to me.

  • SODDI

    As long as it allows them to dodge the draft when Mitt Romney starts the war against Iran…

    That’s the Romney way. His daddy George did it in WWII – agitate for war, but skeeze off when it time to go fight. Same for Mitt.

  • mormonpatriot

    We do. The Church does a lot more than bishop’s storehouses for food security. We ship vast amounts of food and other support to any disadvantaged area we can. But, respectfully, I think that you don’t understand our motivations for missionary work.
    We believe that the Gospel of Christ is the best thing that we can give people, for if you change the man, the man will change his surroundings. And this inner change will do far more good for him than any physical help we can offer, though of course we offer that too.
    So it doesn’t matter how well off you are, or whether you have churches in your area to choose from. We believe that we preach the absolute truth, and that the doctrines of the Church come directly from God through inspiration. Thus there is a difference between our church and other churches. It is the difference between truth and error, and between all and only part. We invite all men to bring all the good that they have, and we promise that we will only add to it.
    Now. I would ask you how you can pass judgment on something you have not tried. You are, whether you mean to or not, reviling something which you do not understand, and you have no right to do so. But all we have been doing for about 200 years now is trying to get people to understand. So here’s what you do if you want to make an informed comment. You find out something of what we believe: http://www.mormon.org or http://www.lds.org. Read from the Book of Mormon. Try something that it tells you to do (Like Moroni 10:3-5), and tell me if it blesses your life. Then we can talk about whether or not you can use the help it offers. “For ye shall know them by their fruits.” I am being very blunt here, because frankly that’s Christ’s way, and I want no misunderstanding. But I say to you that only good will come from your investigating those beliefs which you are implying that you understand. And nothing good will come from ignorance.

  • mormonpatriot

    Find me the context of that quote, mark. And find the exact quote. And then we can talk about what the meaning of it is. But let’s not start telling other people what they believe.
    Where do you, FEDup, get that information? With respect, it certainly didn’t come from anyone who knows.
    I don’t know if you are Christian, but I’m going to use the Bible as a reference so you understand the way that revelation works in the Church. We believe in revelation to prophets as God’s way to guide his Church. Many times, as in Moses’ time and under his leadership, revelation and divine help comes in response to a problem brought before the Lord. There is also the pattern that the Lord usually allows us to do as much work and thought and study as possible before he provides the help or information we need to complete the solution. That’s for our growth and benefit. So there’s no need to be surprised when his Church operates that way now.

  • mormonpatriot

    I think it’s time we defined “equality’ better. I think it was frankly misused in this article. It’s not “being the same.” It is perfectly natural and good that men and women have different roles, with the same opportunity. But the purpose of the structure of the Church and the leadership positions within it are to serve, no to gain power. There’s a saying in the Church that says, “If a man wants to become a bishop, he deserves to become one,” meaning that leadership in the Church means long and sometimes thankless hours of service, and not the kind of authority that you find in a company, for example. Rather we follow this counsel, “…but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister,” – Matthew 20:26. And the structure of the Church is defined by God and not by man, for his reasons.
    So I disagree completely with some of the things said by Ms. Jeppsen. There is no way to change the policy of the Church by appealing to the earthly leaders of the Church. It has to come from God, which sentiment was conspicuously lacking here.

  • mormonpatriot

    jeremyp – I respectfully but firmly tell you that you are missing the entire point of the priesthood. And you are using anecdotal evidence regarding the harshness of treatment of women. You can’t appeal to anyone’s sense of logic that way.
    So let me state again what I have stated above regarding the priesthood. It is not for man to give. I respect your right to believe if the Church has the authority of God or not, but it wouldn’t make sense to deny us the right to believe that it does. So when you say, “give the priesthood to women,” you must be thinking of churches like the Catholic church, where decisions on doctrine and policy are made by men in committees. We cannot and do not change policy simply on our opinion or the opinions of others. No such decision is made by the highest governing body of the earthly Church – the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve – unless it is unanimous. And they receive that consensus by revelation. Furthermore, the priesthood is specially designed for the betterment of those who hold it, and its duties are specifically tailored to what men need to learn. It’s always been that way. And women do have leadership roles within the Church, just not within the priesthood. So you can understand how it offends my sense of reason and goodness when I hear someone suggesting that we “give the women the priesthood.”

  • mormonpatriot

    new0400 – I appreciate your comment. The reason we’re having all this confusion about women’s roles in the leadership of the Church is because Christ’s form of leadership is so different from what people are used to seeing and hearing about.
    Women and men are to be (learn to be) equal partners in leadership and in making decisions. We may be sure that the First Presidency and the Twelve make decisions with the input and counsel of the female leaders in the Church. It is just hard for people to believe, I think, that one can be outside the priesthood and still have such a profound effect on the leadership of the Church.

  • mormonpatriot

    Alma 37:6 – “Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.”

    So you see, m&mkhun, we don’t believe that the intelligence or the experience of the messenger matters. God speaks through those missionaries. If you were to ask them how they teach, they would say, “By the Spirit,” meaning by inspiration and revelation from God. The source of knowledge has always been God. It only remains for us to be humble and teachable enough to hear Him. I testify to you that I have seen miracles performed through me and through other missionaries for the teaching of those who were ready to hear the Gospel. So ask yourself if you believe in miracles, and then you might see why we send 19-year-olds (and now 18-year-olds) out to represent God. Remember how Samuel was only a boy when God first spoke to him. Remember how David was chosen to be a king when only a boy.
    And you may call if offensive to try to share the most precious things we have with others, but we will continue to do so, because it doesn’t matter with the world thinks of us. We are commanded by God to share it, who is the source of all that we have. So try to understand that we make no claims of superiority ourselves, but in the doctrine that we have that we are trying to share with the entire world. You wouldn’t call a man who tries to give away money left to him in his inheritance “offensive” or “condescending.” Love and a desire to serve God and man is our motivation.

  • julianoone

    EVERY religion claims to be the true one. Which one has the proof?

  • julianoone

    The Mormon faith is pretty silly. A magic angel came and “proved” himself to one man, when noone was around, and some people were stupid enough to believe this bogus story. If God wanted to prove a point, wouldn’t he select a highly populated area full of intellectuals who could empirically verify God’s truth by testing? And the Chosen People idea is pretty fallacious, too. History is full of groups using that in the first person, but never in the third. If God wanted to communicate with humans, which have the same biology everywhere, he would communicate with all groups at once, and there would be no need for missionaries to trudge around the world without even a godly transporter-beam to speed up the process..

  • mormonpatriot

    Well, God has the proof. And you can ask him for it. This is something that I guess not everybody believes, but I believe that God answers prayers, and the Bible clearly teaches this. Something else that Christ said, in the context of being able to detect which prophets are true and which are false, is that “you shall know them by their fruits.” This means that you can tell by what the prophet or doctrine produces if it is true or false. Good brings forth good, and evil brings forth evil. So God is teaching that he doesn’t want people to just take the word of his prophets. He wants them to know from Him and His Spirit, which he sends in the answer to prayer. Look at Moroni 10: 3-5 in the Book of Mormon for an excellent example of this invitation to pray for knowledge. Also James 1:5 in the New Testament. You can find either under “Scriptures” on lds.org.

  • julianoone

    The problem with that theory is that many religions have “answered prayers” and “fulfilled prophecies” which crumble when tested by scientific methods and statistics. Now if prayer could regrow amputated limbs, and the prayer test results could be repeated and confirmed empirically, that would be another matter.

    In the interest of fairness, Mormon missionaries who asked people to study Mormon, should spend an equal amount of time studying the religion of the person they are preaching to. A book I recommend is The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins. It’s kind of like an atheist Bible. Since it’s written at children’s level, you might want to ask your children to read it and report on it to you.

  • mormonpatriot

    Well, julia, have you ever tried to force someone to believe something? Have you ever been forced into doing something you didn’t think was a good idea? God respects our right to choose to believe and to act on those beliefs. He cares so much because it is by choosing to believe and acting on those beliefs on our own that we learn and grow. Joseph Smith saw the angel because he was willing to do what the angel instructed him to do. He had the faith and dedication necessary for God to reveal himself to Joseph. But is it surprising, really, that everyone needs to come to that kind of relationship with God on their own? It’s not that God wants everyone to just know that he is there. He wants them to come to know. And this invitation to “come and see” is all throughout the scriptures. God wishes to change men, not to create a massive following of people who just do what they’re told.

  • julianoone

    What about the miracles that God supposedly made for mass audiences in the times of Moses, Elijah, Jesus, Paul, Fatima de Portugal, etc? Didn’t this blatant obstentation on God’s part deprive these people of the “free will” necessary to choose whether to believe in God? Surprisingly, none of these supposedly momentous events left tangible evidence that can be examined today. I think it most likely that the miracle stories of the Bible and other holy books are just stories that people made up, like the Odyssey or Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or the life of Harry Potter.

  • julianoone

    Many Bible and/or Mormon stories have been proven to be factually inaccurate. The Hebrew slavery in Egypt and the Jewish colonisation of the “Lamanite” lands have been debunked as pious fictions. There will always be some areas of science that will be unknown and can be attributed to God, but they have already become so miniscule that such a God is pretty silly and unworthy of worship. 4000 years ago, primitive people saw each natural disaster as a direct and literal act of God (which is probably how the Noah’s Flood and Sodom+Gomorrah legends came to grow), but today with so much of science mapped out with no God found behind the curtain, this “God of the Gaps” is essentially reduced to pushing microscopic atoms around in some remote corner of space. I predict that in 200 years or so, religion and superstition will have died out in most places, and Yahweh and Jesus will be regarded as fun fantasy figures of ancient mythology alongside Zeus and Odin.

  • mormonpatriot

    Well, you seem to have some pretty firm opinions. But I’m just asking you to remember that every science that we claim to understand has gone through massive paradigm shifts. You’re essentially predicting a paradigm shift in one direction, while I am predicting one in the opposite.
    You will find information to support opposing sides on any hypothesis (assuming you’re beginning completely without bias, which none of us are). There are Joseph Smith’s translations, many of which mention names and places which were unknown (in the Middle East, etc.) at the time that Joseph Smith translated them, and have now been either uncovered physically or have been mentioned by name in other recently found ancient writings. The city of Nahom for one. But that’s not the point. When it comes down to it, if someone wants to find an alternate explanation for these things, they will find one. Because there will always be multiple theories on any given subject until men are perfect. And when will that be? I see the same evidence that you see, but I interpret it differently.
    Realize something else. You have offered me no proof of your claims, just as I have offered you no proof of mine. Except that I have offered you a way to find your own proof of what I am saying. The question is, do you care enough to try it? All it requires is honesty with yourself, some study, and some prayer. The remarkable thing about what I have offered you is that the combination of study and pondering with prayer to God will work for everyone. And if you think about it, it’s the only possible way to know, if what I am saying is true – to go to the One who knows. So there you are. If you want a way to level the playing field, I have given you a way.
    All the best, julianoone.

  • mormonpatriot

    They always had their free will, even in those cases. The scriptural answer you’re looking for is that while usually miracles (just another name for God working within our perception) come from God as a consequence of the faith of those who experience it, there are also times in which God chooses to perform miracles to the condemnation of some of those present. Any of these types of miracles can happen in the presence of multiple people.
    You see, God would rather that we follow a pattern of 1. Exercising faith, and 2. Receiving blessings, which leads to exercising greater faith. But for those who refuse to see Him for what he is, and acknowledge him, he sometimes reveals his power to their destruction. But he withholds that until there is no better way. Have you ever heard of the idea that the best kind of obedience is through love (and faith), the second best through duty, and the least desirable is through fear? That’s the concept here. But God will never force anyone to believe anything. Our ability to choose is sacred to him, because we learn by choosing. And there are a great many people with all the reasons in the world to believe in a benevolent Maker that do not. Will you read these scriptures and tell me if they make sense to you? I want you to know that conversation like this is stimulating, and helps me define what I believe. I appreciate honest responses. Take a look at Jacob 7: 1-21 (The story of a man in the Book of Mormon named Sherem who demanded a sign or miracle from a prophet, to his own detriment), and Doctrine and Covenants 63:11 – “Yea, signs come by faith, unto mighty works, for without faith no man pleaseth God; and with whom God is angry he is not well pleased; wherefore, unto such he showeth no signs, only in wrath unto their condemnation.”

  • julianoone

    Many people thought the places in the Iliad and the Odyssey were fictions until Heinrich Schliemann discovered these places were real. Does this mean that the Iliad and Odyssey are divinely inspired?

    I have tested out prayer and found it to be utterly ineffective. Usually this took the form of praying for every amputee I saw on the street (including a lady sunbathing topless on the beach for everyone to see her partial mastectomy) and then observing the failure of each missing body part to regenerate, or for there to be a news story in the media about such a regeneration. If prayer were as effective as the Bible claims it to be, the news would be filled with stories of amputated body parts regenerating, firefighters flying like Superman to save people from the top floors of burning buildings, and cases of late-stage cancer cured by a single prayer. Since this does not happen, we can only conclude that God does not answer prayers.

  • mormonpatriot

    In response to your first paragraph, no, the places in the Odyssey being proved to be real places does not make the Odyssey true. My only point was Joseph Smith had no way of knowing that these people and places even existed, much less where, or details about them, unless he was inspired. But that information was more of a curiosity for you to think about, and not meant to be proof in itself for what I was saying.
    When you described your efforts to try out prayer, I think I discovered that we were talking about two different ideas.
    I ask you this: what is the purpose of prayer? There are many ideas about this today, and probably most of them are fallacies or not completely understood. I will tell you what prayer means to me, and how it is (respectfully) different from what you have described. I will also show you what I mean by “trying out prayer.”
    The purpose of prayer, first of all, is to communicate with God and bring our will more in harmony with his. It is possible, during prayer, to secure blessings through exercise of your faith and reliance upon God; most often, the blessings will come as you receive inspiration or revelation to guide you, and then act on it. The blessings are a natural consequence of obedience to God.
    But here is a big point I want to be perfectly understood. Prayer never changes the will of God. As I mentioned, though, we can plead for blessings in prayer, and we can receive answers if we have faith that he will answer, and we watch and listen for them. Because God’s will is constant, however, sometimes his answer is “No,” or “Not yet,” or “I have something better.” What kind of Parent, after all, would only answer “Yes,” to all his children’s requests? Suffering, which we often pray to shorten or minimize, serves a great purpose in us, after all. A world without suffering is a world without learning or progress. Christ, the greatest of all, also suffered the most.
    Those blessings we can receive through prayer are blessings that the Father

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