What do we know about the form of angels?

What do we know about the form of angels?

Question

 

Gramps,

What do we know about the form of angels?  Cherubims are described in some detail in the scriptures as having multiple wings.   What have the prophets said on the form of these cherubims?  Is their form symbolic or literal?  When Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith, no description mentions Moroni as having wings.

Steven

 

Answer

 

Dear Steven,

There is much about this topic that we don’t know, but there have been some interesting things revealed to us.  Perhaps my answer will create more questions than it answers, but here is what I can tell you.
‘The word cherubim usually refers to guardians of sacred things. While the exact meaning of the word is not known, most scholars agree that these cherubim represented “redeemed and glorified manhood” or “glorified saints and angels” (Wilson, Old Testament Word Studies, s.v. “cherubim,” p. 75). Since Latter-day Saints do not believe that angels have wings, as they are often shown in religious art, the commandment to form wings on the cherubim may raise some questions. Another revelation indicates, however, that wings symbolically represent the power to move and to act (see D&C 77:4). Between these cherubim on the mercy seat, God told Moses, He would meet with him and commune with him. Latter-day revelations state that angels stand as sentinels guarding the presence of God (see D&C 132:19).’
“Though little has been revealed about such things, the Restoration does confirm and expand on the basic idea that angels function within a structure or order of heaven. The Lord even revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that the archangel Michael is Adam and stands at the head of a heavenly organization (see D&C 27:1178:16107:53–56).”

 

It is also interesting to consider-while we are discussing angels- that in D&C 13, we are told that holders of the Aaronic Priesthood are given “the keys to the ministering of angels”. Exactly what this means has long been discussed, but one possibility is that it means that those who hold the Aaronic Priesthood have the keys of acting as ministering angels. That is, they are authorized to be representatives of God in performing service to others, just as angels are supposed to do.  Note this is just my opinion; the Brethren have not offered an interpretation on the meaning.
As I said, this may create more questions than answers, but it is certainly an interesting topic to study and ponder.

 

Gramps

 

 

In the world of copyrighted material, what’s the difference between libraries and uploading to the internet?

In the world of copyrighted material, what’s the difference between libraries and uploading to the internet?

Question

 

Dear Gramps,

I really, REALLY need you to answer this question, and not shy away from it.

What is the difference between a library (city, county or school) that offers access of copyrighted works to the general public, and an individual who uploads copyrighted works to the internet for the general public?  In both cases, the original work was paid for once, but later enjoyed by many without compensation to the original creators.  How is the one okay, and not the other?

Robert

 

Answer

 

Dear Robert,

Libraries purchase a finite number of copies–even of digital works.  Borrowers borrow the work and at some point they return it. If they want to have the work in their collection permanently–they have to buy it.  Thus libraries can be a form of marketing. Many authors and artists like to have their material in the library for this reason.  Publishers generally strive to get their books into the magazines like Publisher’s Weekly that librarians use to make purchasing decisions.

Bootleg copies are different.  Someone who does not care about the law or their own integrity could make a copy and share it on the Internet resulting in innumerable copies.  So IF your question was an attempt to rationalize illegally copying CDs, movies etc, remember to rationalize means to bring your standards down to meet your actions. Don’t do it.

The Golden Rule also applies here.  If you were an author or artist, how would you want your work treated?

As an individual, you are welcome to lend your books/CDs/movies to friends, family, even strangers if you wish.  There is nothing prohibiting that.

 

 

Gramps

 

 

Did James E. Talmage live in the temple as he wrote the book “Jesus the Christ?”

Did James E. Talmage live in the temple as he wrote the book “Jesus the Christ?”

Question

 

Gramps,

I understand that Elder James E. Talmage, under the direction of the leaders of the Church was asked to compile a series of lectures about the life of Jesus Christ into a book. And that he did this work in the Salt Lake Temple, on the fourth floor. I have been told that he actually lived in the temple for the duration of time that it took him to complete this work, is this true?

Jim

 

Answer

 

Jim,

There is a lot of interesting information available about the publication of Jesus The Christ, and what Elder Talmage had to do to complete it. My main source for my answer comes from the publisher’s preface to the book itself as published in the 1983 edition of the work. I’ll try to be brief, but here are some of the more interesting bits I learned.

1. The book was, as you said, to be based on a series of lectures that then Professor Talmage had been giving at the new Latter-day Saints University campus, in Barrett Hall on Sunday evenings in 1905. The First Presidency requested that they be written in a book, but by so doing they put Professor Talmage in a tough spot. His own journal entry on the matter sums up his predicament;

“Compliance with the request will require much time as not half the lectures have been delivered, and not a line of them written, except as class notes.”

2. He also had responsibilities as a professor at  the University of Utah, as well as several other standing writing assignments from the Church demanding much of his time. Some of the works included The Story of Mormonism, 1907; The Great Apostasy, 1909; The House of the Lord, 1912, and The Philosophical Basis of Mormonism, 1914. None of these books are a light read either.

3. To top it off, he was ordained a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles on December 8, 1911. So work on Jesus The Christ had no room in his schedule at all for some time.

All of these points relate to your question, I assure you. Finally, the request was issued again from the First Presidency on September 14, 1914. In explanation of the difficulties he yet faced in completing the work, he declared this in his journal;

Experiences demonstrated that neither in my comfortable office nor in the convenient study room at home can I be free from visits and telephone calls. In consequence of this condition, and in view of the importance of the work, I have been directed to occupy a room in the [Salt Lake] Temple where I will be free from interruption. I began the work in the Temple today [September 14, 1914] and hope that I shall be able to devote necessary time thereto.

The room Elder Talmage used to prepare the initial text was the council room of the Twelve Apostles on the fourth floor of the Salt Lake Temple, and the entire manuscript was written in that room, in longhand, or word for word.  The room known as the Talmage Room on the fifth floor was not given to him for use until June 30, 1916, at which time the book itself was in its third printing. The reason for this was that he yet required isolation for the editing and revising of the text. However, again quoting from his own words;

Today, [June 30, 1916] I entered into use of a room in the Temple, which I am to occupy as occasion may require in my studies and writing. At the time I began the writing of the book “Jesus The Christ”, I was given the use of a desk in the Council room of the Twelve. That room, however, opens directly from a passageway in common use, and practically all parties permitted to inspect the Temple are brought into the room in question. In the interest of securing for me greater privacy and freedom from interruptions, the Presidency invited me to use the room now placed at my disposal. This is the room immediately back of the stand in the large assembly room on the fifth floor. It has been carpeted and furnished in the manner at once attractive and convenient. I greatly appreciate the facilities thus placed within my reach.

Elder Talmage went on to state that he spent many long days working on the book, sometimes extending into the late hours of the night. I cannot find a record of him actually living within the temple during the writing of Jesus The Christ. I have little doubt, however, that were he to have been asked at the time if he lived at the temple, He would have likely agreed to the sentiment of feeling as though he did.

Thank you for a wonderful question, and may God be with you always.

 

Gramps

 

 

Does the interpretation of dreams still exist on earth?

Does the interpretation of dreams still exist on earth?

Question

Gramps,

Is the gift of interpretation of dreams still on the earth (like Joseph)?  Is it as dispersed and common as things such as the gift of tongues, prophecy, etc?  Are there specifically people called with the ability?  I’ve a had a recurrring dream that I’ve had at least 5 times a year for my whole life.  Do you know a good source for interpretation of dreams (online or other)?

Spencer

 

Answer

Dear Spencer,

It is true, that the dreaming of dreams and the interpretation of those dreams is one way the gift of prophecy manifests itself.  Scriptural examples include Joseph in Egypt, Daniel with Nebuchadnezzar, and Lehi leading his family out of Jerusalem.  I am also reminded of the prophesy that old men would have dreams and young men would have visions (Joel 2:28).

At the same time, we know that not all dreams are given to us by the Holy Ghost.  Some seem to be just random bits of thoughts and memories. There are some dreams that are common such as falling, teeth falling out, being chased, flying, and meeting celebrities; to name a few. Those who study psychology consider dreams to be one of behavioral sciences’ “greatest unanswered questions.”  However, some psychologists and therapists have found that dreams can have therapeutic value offering insights into the subconscious.

While it can be entertaining to read websites and books on dream interpretation, the best person to interpret your dreams is your own prayerful exploration.   In my personal experience, reoccurring dreams are symbolic and tend to be a “message from my subconscious”.  I unlock this symbolism through pondering and prayer. I know when I have found the answer because the dreams cease.

All people are entitled to converse with God through the Holy Spirit, and some are given the gift of prophecy. To understand whether your dreams are random bits of memory, symbolic messages from your unconscious, or a spiritual gift of prophesy, is not something you should ask of men, but do as Nephi did (1 Nephi 11:11) and go directly to Heavenly Father for direction.

Sweet Dreams!

 

Gramps

In the Princess Bride, should Wesley have pursued a married woman?

In the Princess Bride, should Wesley have pursued a married woman?

Question

Dear Gramps,

Was it appropriate for Wesley from the Princess Bride to pursue a married woman?

Fezzik

 

Answer

Fezzik,

The question is not whether Westley was acting appropriately in pursuing a married woman, since Buttercup clearly [snicker] wasn’t married to Humperdinck yet. Rather, the real question is whether Westley tithed, or indeed would have been allowed to tithe, his ill-gotten piracy “increase.” Alas, such questions exceed the limits of even Gramps’s vast wisdom.

Congrats on winning the Stump Gramps Competition! Now go pop some popcorn while Gramps checks Netflix for The Princess Bride.

 

Gramps

What is an apologetic site?

What is an apologetic site?

Question

 

Gramps,

What is an apologetic site?

Debby

 

Answer

 

Debby,

I am going to make an assumption that your question was triggered by this one Why Does the Prophet Rely on Apologetic Sites to speak for the Church?

If we look up the word apologetic in the dictionary we get a few potential definitions.  Given that you are asking about an apologetic site, the definition that I think fits the best is Serving as or containing a formal justification or defense.

An apologetic site could be set up to answer the criticism and complaints leveled to just about anything, but it is most commonly used in a religious context–defending a religion’s practices and beliefs from those that do not believe and are attacking it.

Apologetics use logic, reasoning, science and other man-made tools to defend and justify whatever position they have.

Apologetics can be useful and helpful if you find your faith under attack and want to find some support.  But do understand the Lord’s way of learning truth is through spiritual witness, so that one can gain a testimony and act on faith.

Apologetics can be a useful tool for those with faith and testimony.  But without that, it is more of the “Arm of the Flesh”, and the apologetic’s arguments and reasoning should not alone be the basis for ones belief.

 

Gramps

 

 

Why do so many Mormons have trampolines?

Why do so many Mormons have trampolines?

Question

Gramps,

Why do so many Mormons have trampolines? There are a lot of Mormons in my hometown and it’s something I’ve always wondered about. I’ve been told two totally different theories. One, jumping on a trampoline is just good clean fun, and because Mormons have tons of kids, it’s a good way to keep them all busy, fit, and tired. Second, that there’s some kind of quasi-spiritual benefit of “jumping” closer to God. I would really appreciate any insight or information you could provide on this topic!

Natalie

 

Answer

Dear Natalie,

Weird myths about the Mormon Church and the Mormon people never cease to circulate. I thought that I had heard them all, but this idea of jumping on a trampoline to get closer to God is one that I had never heard before, and it tops the list of ridiculous, unfounded concepts attributed to the Mormon people.

It’s true that the Mormon people have a strong affinity for the home as being the foundation of society, and adhere strongly to the traditional notion that one of the sacred purposes of marriage is to bring children into the world and provide for them a healthy, happy and productive home life. But the idea that Mormons have “tons of kids” is, of course, stretching things a bit. Mormon families are indeed somewhat larger than the average U.S. family, but that difference stems much more from the limitation that modern society has put on bearing children and raising them in a traditional family setting than it does on any supposed undue size of Mormon families. The average household size for the U.S. in the 2000 census was 2.59. We can compare that household density with that of a typical small Mormon community in central Utah. The population of Manti, Utah in the year 2000 was 3,042. The average household size in this typical Mormon community in the year 2000 was 3.25–slightly more than half a child per household more than the national average. That difference would hardly qualify for the description of “tons of kids.”

Now back to the trampoline. It is obvious that with an average household density not that much higher than the national average, trampolines are not used by Mormon families as an energy outlet because of an inordinate number of children in the family. However, there may be a reason for a higher number of trampolines in Mormon families that is related to their culture. Sports activities are part of the youth programs for both the young men and young women in the Mormon Church. Basketball leagues are sponsored for young men between the ages of 16 and 18, and also for young adults. Volleyball leagues are sponsored for the young women. So the youth of the Mormon Church are rather sports oriented, and trampolines are nothing more than an additional recreational activity that would appeal to any sports oriented youth.

 

Gramps

What is the Mormon belief regarding the Spear of Destiny?

What is the Mormon belief regarding the Spear of Destiny?

Question

Gramps,

What is the church’s understanding or belief in regards to the spear of destiny. Do we believe in its existence? I’m pretty sure we don’t believe in its “power.”  Please enlighten me.

Court

 

Answer

Dear Court,

Like many objects in sacred history, there was a physical, tangible, real spear that pierced our deceased Lord’s physical, tangible, real side (John 19:34). In this respect it joins the ranks of such religious artifacts as the ark of the covenant, the Liahona, the brass serpent, or the Urim and Thummim. All of these objects have wonderful histories associated with them that sound more like fantasies. The ark circled the city of Jericho and brought the walls down. Although it’s sometimes called a compass, the Liahona pointed the direction Lehi’s family needed to go, regardless of magnetic north or even the ultimate destination. The brass serpent healed on mere sight (how’s that for medicine?). The Urim and Thummim give the viewer the ability to translate ancient records regardless of language. And the spear of destiny purports to bend people’s wills and events to the bearer’s favor.

And that’s about as far as the similarities go. Looking over the list, you’ll note that only the spear of destiny lacks scriptural documentation of miraculous power. The holy record testifies only of its role in the Crucifixion. One other stark contrast between the legend of the spear and the other relics is what happens when the object falls into the wrong hands. In the hands of Israel’s enemies, the ark of the covenant became a curse (and it certainly didn’t aid them in times of disobedience). And poor Uzzah learned that it was not to be treated lightly. The Liahona left Lehi’s seafaring family at the mercy of the waves when they became riotous and raucous. Joseph Smith learned that the Urim and Thummim would not work for a hostile or agitated mind. “One morning when [Joseph] was getting ready to continue the translation, something went wrong about the house and he was put out about it. Something that Emma, his wife, had done. … He could not translate a single syllable. He went down stairs, out into the orchard, and made supplication to the Lord; was gone about an hour–came back to the house, asked Emma’s forgiveness and then came up stairs where we were and then the translation went on all right. He could do nothing save he was humble and faithful” (David Whitmer, interview by William H. Kelley and George A. Blakeslee, Sept. 15, 1881, Saints’ Herald,Mar. 1, 1882, p. 68).

In contrast, the spear of destiny is rumored to leant strength to such notorious conquerors of that past as Charlemagne, Alaric, and even Hitler. Claims are made that the mere possession is sufficient for conquest. That sounds nothing like the items I just listed. The closest you get to it is the brass serpent, which required only a look to claim its miraculous benefits. And that’s where a cautionary tale comes to us about this spear.

The brass serpent was a mere foil. By looking at it, you were really tacitly acknowledging Moses’ authority as prophet for the Lord who created all things: even serpents; even yourself. As such there was an implied faith in the Lord’s power. Years later, this lesson escaped the Israelites, and they came to see the artifact as something of power in and of itself. In the reign of Hezekiah, “the children of Israel did burn incense to it“, so he broke it up. The Israelites had forgotten that their God who would one day be raised up like the serpent was the real healer. The Man is greater than the shadow.

In this light, it’s probably best to refer to it as Longinus’ spear (the traditional name of the soldier) rather than the spear of destiny (which comes loaded with superstition). The lesson from the brass serpent should remind us that the pierced God is greater than the lacerating instrument. The atoning blood of Jesus has greater power for changing the world than any lance that spilt it.

 

Gramps

Page 1 of 512345
Copyright © 2015 Ask Gramps - Q and A about Mormon Doctrine. All Rights Reserved.
This website is not owned by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon or LDS Church). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. The views expressed by individual users are the responsibility of those users and do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. For the official Church websites, please visit LDS.org or Mormon.org.

Pin It on Pinterest