Questions of Orthodoxy

These questions can only be answered Yes or No. Yes must be unqualified; if your answer is “mostly, but there are exceptions,” then for the purposes of this exercise the answer is No. What questions to you say yes to? What does it say about your level of orthodoxy?

  1. Is it against God’s will to shop on Sunday?
  2. Is membership in the LDS church and completion of LDS temple ordinances necessary for salvation?
  3. Is homosexuality immoral?
  4. Is it important to attend church every week, with exceptions for illness and occasional vacations or travel?
  5. Is it God’s will that only men should have the priesthood?
  6. Is the Book of Mormon a historical document describing real civilisations in the ancient Americas?
  7. Were Adam and Eve literal people and the only progenitors of humanity?
  8. Is it God’s will that only priesthood-holding men be permitted to act as witnesses for LDS rituals such as baptism and marriage?
  9. Should tithing be a prerequisite for temple worship?
  10. Should women with young children who are not yet in school refrain from working outside the home?
  11. Was it the will of God that black men should have the Curse of Cain (no access to the priesthood) until 1978?
  12. Did God want the Israelites to engage in genocide of Jericho, including soldiers, citizens, women, children, babies and livestock?
  13. Were Columbus and the Founding Fathers inspired by God to establish the United States so that the LDS church could be founded?
  14. Is it impossible for the LDS Church to ever fall into apostasy?
  15. Should funerals for LDS people be used mostly as a missionary opportunity?
  16. Should travel and online shopping be avoided on Sundays?
  17. Should abortion be outlawed?
  18. Is it possible to be LDS in good standing and a registered Democrat?
  19. Is oral sex an impure and unclean practise?
  20. Should divorced people, regardless of the reason for their divorce, be prohibited from marrying again in the temple until a one-year period after a civil marriage has passed?
  21. Is homosexuality a form of mental illness?
  22. Is it important to only partake of the sacrament with the right hand?
  23. Do you believe The Three Nephites and John the Beloved are still alive today?
  24. Is the earth 6,000 years old?
  25. Can demons be ordered out of your presence by invoking the name of Jesus Christ?
  26. Should all four sessions of General Conference always be attended or watched?
  27. Do you believe you can tell an angel from a demon by shaking his hand?
  28. Is it acceptable to cut off social contact with apostates?
  29. Should married women refrain from working outside the home?
  30. Should people who advocate prayer to a Heavenly Mother be subject to church discipline?
  31. Should all secular entertainment including music, television, and books be avoided on Sundays?
  32. Can wearing garments protect you from physical harm?
  33. Will exalted couples produce literal offspring in the Celestial Kingdom?
  34. Should homosexual behaviour be criminalised?
  35. Does birth control violate God’s will?
  36. Should abortion be criminalised?
  37. Do you believe that polygamy will be practised at some future time on Earth or in the afterlife?
  38. Is sex only for procreation?
  39. Do you believe that Zion will be established as a literal city in Missouri?
  40. Should Mormons with same sex attraction be required by Church leaders to undergo reparative therapy?
  41. Is it acceptable to cut off contact with family members who are inactive or apostate?

9 thoughts on “Questions of Orthodoxy

  1. 1. No. Matt. 12:1–14. We should observe the Sabbath in the way that helps us grow spiritually. A strict legalistic interpretation is against the point of having a Sabbath in the first place, an institution that Jesus insists is for man–not the other way around.

    2. No. Following the Golden Rule is necessary for salvation. Jesus explains this explicitly in Matt. 25. Salvation comes not from membership in any one organization, but from the choices we make about how to treat other people.

    3. No.

    4. Yes.

    5. No.

    6. No–any more than the Bible historically describes the creation of the Universe.

    7. No.

    8. No.

    9. Yes.

    10. No. I think *one* of the parents should stay home, but there’s nothing wrong with a stay at home dad.

    11. No.

    12. No. We can’t speculate on what God wants. If He’s beyond our understanding, then our morality is, essentially, meaningless to Him–at least, in the way we understand it. His vision is too grand.

    13. Yes.

    14. No. It’s a church of MEN, and only one man was ever perfect–and none of us are Him. It’s ridiculous to suggest that a group of imperfect people, however divinely inspired, can’t make a mistake. We’re none of us Jesus, and we shouldn’t pretend otherwise.

    15. No. Then again, I don’t see discussing the plan of salvation as a missionary opportunity. Hey, I’m sappy, but the idea that death isn’t forever makes me happy. It’s comforting, to think that when you lose someone, it’s not forever. If not the plan of salvation, what *should* funerals focus on? The bottom line is, funerals stink, no matter what.

    16. No. See #1.

    17. No. If free agency means anything, then it means the right to truly and honestly make the decision that you believe in your heart of hearts is right for you–and **** what everyone else thinks.

    18. Yes.

    19. No. And, my understanding of the church’s actual position–as opposed to the drivel certain members spout–is that oral sex, much like birth control, is a decision between husband and wife.

    20. Yes.

    21. No. Homosexuality is just a condition of birth. It means nothing.

    22. No. From my terrorist-studying days, I learned an awful lot about how focusing on the minutiae of religion (the right/left hand distinction is a big deal for fundies) is not only non-productive, but can really, really screw you up. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it leads to terrorism, but maybe…

    23. No. I believe they’re “alive” in the same way Elijah is “alive”–they’re alive in God.

    24. No.

    25. Yes.

    26. No.

    27. No. If demons (literal or metaphorical) were obvious, then they wouldn’t be very effective. Our “demons” are, for the most part, the things we’re attracted to, that we know, in our heart of hearts, are wrong–anger, self righteousness, etc. Whether literal demons exist, who knows, but having seen atrocities, I think they do. Am I parochial and crazy? Maybe. But I’ve seen things that left me with an unshakable conviction that there is true evil in this world.

    28. No. It’s all about the Golden Rule.

    29. No.

    30. No. Personally, I think God transcends gender. The original Hebrew actually describes God as an “it”; semitic languages use genderless terms differently than romance languages, and it’s not considered insulting to be an “it” the way it is in English. God became a “He” when the Bible was translated into Latin.

    31. No.

    32. No.

    33. Yes.

    34. No.

    35. No. Quite the opposite. Bringing another life into the world is a huge responsibility. God wants people to treat it with respect–and sometimes (in fact, often) that means using birth control.

    36. No.

    37. No. I don’t think it’s part of “God’s plan”, but I do think it should be legal. All forms of marriage should be legal, so long as they involve consenting adults.

    38. No.

    39. No. “Zion” is a state of mind.

    40. No. Their marriages should be recognized, at a bare minimum, the way civil, non-Temple marriages are. Eventually, I believe the church will adapt to a more modern understanding of human nature. It’s still a young church, and, compared to many other denominations and religions, it’s come a long way in a fairly short time.

    41. No. The only “acceptable” choice, according to Jesus–and to common decency–is to love and accept people, the way God loves and accepts you.

  2. I thought about answering this, but as I don’t believe in god and don’t believe that gods exist, it seems kind of pointless.

    For what it’s worth, the only one I’d say “yes” to is 18.

    • I’m with you, Graig, on that one. No god, the list is irrelevant.

      However, as for #18, if one follows the Gospel of Jesus Christ then yes, if they follow the gospel of Dallin Oaks, Boyd Packer and that ilk, then it’s not possible at all.

  3. How is “orthodoxy” defined? Based on this quiz Thomas S Monson or Boyd K Packer wouldn’t be unusually orthodox if they understood Church policy (which we assume they do).

    There’s a lot of cultural silliness out there, but I don’t blame SLC directly for all of it any more than I blame the Vatican for some Catholics’ tendency to see the Virgin in random patches of refrigerator mold. It could be churches could do more to discourage such silliness, but I understand the urge to not gratuitously piss off the faithful.

    • Orthodoxy is usually a pretty comprehensive measure. There are some things that act as a catechism, such as the Temple Recommend Interview. You must answer all the questions in the prescribed manner or you are not permitted to enter. This will mean that (unless you lie) you need disassociate yourself with those who are not friendly to The Church, you must believe Joseph Smith was the prophet, you must pay a full ten percent of your income with no interest in how that money is spent, and so on. It takes lots of questions to see how close to the bulls-eye someone falls.

      And I do agree that churches tend not to discourage superstition, embellishments and silliness because it would irritate the core group of orthodox practitioners who love their icons, myths, and sightings of the Virgin or The Three Nephites.

      • That the thing though, it’s a lot less black and white than a lot are wont to believe. Few of the questions above are temple questions. There are some behavioral expectations – paying tithing, word of wisdom, law of chastity – and a few general belief questions, basically do you believe in Christ and accept the premise of the restoration. A lot of “believing” people have temple recommends while believing Joseph Smith is a prophet in the same sense as Moses, Elisha, and Paul, which is to say, best taken with a grain of salt. The recommend interview questions, by design, allow lots of latitude.

        Even within the wider culture, look at CJ’s answers. Is she orthodox? She’s not outside the norm of the rank and file within my experience. I think the more extreme and conservative types tend to be more vocal, and we’re so used to being surrounded by wingnuts a lot of the moderates and liberals just roll their eyes instead of speaking up. That needs to change, and perhaps it is but ever so slowly.

        • I think her feminist views are outside the norm, but otherwise, she fits in with most of the people I went to BYU with – which I think is a pretty good indicator of orthodoxy. Certainly though the vocal orthodox minority in the church would be pretty horrified by answering “no” to most of these questions.

        • I’d have to say that most of the people in the congregations I’ve attended would say yes to a clear majority of questions like this.

  4. I’ve always been open about my beliefs and concerns, as well as my “association” with so-called apostates. I’ve never been denied a Temple Recommend. For the most part, though, I’ve lucked out with really great bishops. I know, however, that, sadly, not everyone has had my experience. Which, honestly, makes me sad. In church or out, I hate the idea of people twisting God, and His teachings to suit a personal agenda.

    One question I have is, I wonder how much where you live has to do with it. My experiences are limited to two pretty clear areas: southern Utah, and coastal Massachusetts. Both are areas with their own specific issues and, by and large, both seem to be filled with people who don’t have too much time for nonsense. Or, at least, not the “does God care if I wear pants?” type nonsense. Other than that, I’ve practiced my religion during my travels, which has been, for the most part, an individual experience. Religion “in the field”, as it were, is utilitarian: your relationship with God boils down to the essentials.

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