Welcome to Ask a Mormon, a World where you can ask any questions relating to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, more frequently known as "Mormons." In a way, the purpose of this World is similar to that of Tsubu[a]sa no Neko's "Ask a Catholic Schoolgirl." Keeping this in mind, this site is not meant to convert anyone, but to dispel ignorance about the Church, its leaders, and its people.

My answers will be based upon reasearch using scriptural texts, conference talks, and other reliable sources of information, along with personal first-hand knowledge or experience. If you happen to also be a member of the Church and would like to be a Guest Poster for this World, please PM me and it's likely you'll get in.

Feel free to ask questions, but please keep it civil.

Q: Why Don't We Date Until Sixteen?

From elricbrothersfan, today's question is: I guess going along with the "what's it like?" question, I'm curious as to why Mormons aren't allowed to date until they're sixteen.

This one can be answered with an appeal to a little pamphlet called For the Strength of Youth, which is a handy guide directed toward young people in the Church from the ages of 12 to 18 outlining in layman's terms some of the basic standards we are to uphold in varying topics such as what defines modest dress, etc. ... It's not as weird or authoritarian as it sounds, I promise. On dating, it says this: "Developing serious relationships too early in life can limit the number of other people you meet and can perhaps lead to immorality."

Even when we do begin dating at 16, youth are encouraged to date in groups rather than one-on-one and not to date anyone exclusively (i.e. no boyfriends or girlfriends) initially. It's never quite spelled out when is an acceptable age to start one-on-one dating and dating one person exclusively, though 18 seems to be a generally accepted rule of thumb. The early years of dating from 16 until that point, and even beyond, are about developing social skills and getting to know the people we date as friends before anything gets serious.

I hope I answered your question to your satisfaction! ^^; You can read more on the subject in the source link before.

Source: For the Strength of Youth: Dating

Q: What's it Like?

From kisskiss-bangbang, I received this question: What's it like being Mormon? You may want to sit down for this one, it's a bit lengthy. This is a question that can't be answered simply, nor can I answer for the entire Chur...

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Debating

Since no one has submitted any questions in a while, should I change this World to a general "Mormon blog" (some examples can be found by checking mormonlife.com's "best of LDS blogs" section) and blog about general Mormon things, or should I leave things the same, while keeping it updated by, say, posting a gleaning or two from some of my church meetings every Sunday afternoon/evening (may be evening because I have an afternoon church block and stake choir practice starting as of tonight)? And/or other spiritual thoughts that I have throughout the week, akin to the weekly Spiritual Thoughts offered by the bloggers on deviantART's LDS group?

(Also, if any of my new subscribers see this post and happen to have a question that hasn't been answered in the past, feel free to shoot me a comment, or a PM if you wish to remain anonymous. ;D /advertisement)

Q: Mormons Pray to Who?

Hello, hello!

Yet again, we have a question that wasn't really a question, just a life experience that addressed a point that I thought I should cover in this world, since some people still have misconceptions like this.

To protect the identity/privacy of this particular person, a theO member as well as an IRL friend, I'll just post the dialogue that occurred at a party due to someone else there being particularly annoying:

"If he does anything worse, so help me..." - me
"Kill him; I'll pray to Joseph Smith to forgive you."
"Ano... we don't pray to Joseph Smith."

So the end of this rather short post is simply this: we do not pray to or worship Joseph Smith in any way. We respect him as a prophet, but by no means do we worship him. It even states in our first Article of Faith, "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." Furthermore in the fourth Article of Faith, "We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in te Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentalce; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost."

Case and point: we pray to the same God that other Christians pray to.

Source: Articles of Faith

Two Questions in one Post

Okay, there haven't been any new questions from this site so far; however, there have been a few asked of me in the past few months, one IRL and through an IM conversation. So I'll answer both those questions here in one post.

Our first question for the night, the easiest to answer, was asked of me by my study partner for Japanese through IM (or... we're supposed to be study partners anyway. We've both been procrastinating in our studies... a lot): What is the difference between the Book of Mormon and the Holy Bible?

When I first answered this, I didn't want to go into deep specifics, so I said doctrinally there wasn't much difference; we believe both to be a testament of Jesus Christ. Well, in some ways I'm right, but in others, there's more to it than that. As quoted in the following, the Book of Mormon is described as “a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fulness of the everlasting gospel” (Introduction to the Book of Mormon). That's just about the simplest way to put it, and for the sake of brevity, we'll move on to the second question, which I'll have to do a bit more digging and maybe pulling out some scriptural references to answer.

This question was asked by one of my friends from school a little over a month ago: "I heard that you guys believe that when you go to Heaven, you become gods, but the Bible says there is only one God, and always will be."

My initial answer was that I couldn't explain it to her right then and there. My answer now, hopefully, should give this a bit more clarity.

I think what she was talking about was some of the doctrine discussed in Doctrine and Covenants section 132, verses 19 and 20. Chapter 19, which I only included the relevant parts here since it's extremely long, states the following: "And again [...] if a man marry a wife by my word [meaning in the Temple] [...] [it basically goes on to say as long as they keep their covenants and don't murder anyone, their marriage will still be in full force in the eternities]. In verse 20, it continues to list the blessings of those who remain faithful as well as this: "Then shall they be gods [in the Celestial Kingdom, the highest glory of Heaven], because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue [...]"

I guess it's the "Then shall they be gods" part that throws most people off. You see, part of the plan of salvation, at least as we've been taught, is that if we keep our covenants and abide by the Lord's commandments, we will be able to return to our Father in Heaven (God) and become like him. This still isn't probably a very good explanation, but hey, I did what I could. I also found something else to more clearly explain this on Mormon.org, a Church-run site that expounds upon our basic doctrine for those who are interested in learning more about the Church; the scriptural reference quoted therein is from the New Testament:

"Those who are worthy to return to the presence of our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ become 'heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ' (Romans 8:17) of all that the Father has. They will return to live with Heavenly Father and with their families in His eternal glory." Source: link

If you had the patience to read through this, then you get a virtual cookie (I realize this was a bit lengthy and probably irrelevant). If you have any questions, as explained in the intro to this World, just post them in a comment and I'll try to the best of my ability to answer it with what resources I have. My apologies for any spelling errors within this post.

Sources I used to answer these questions: Mormon.org and my set of scriptures here at home.