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Ask A Mormon: Is cremation acceptable?

Editor’s note: This post originally ran in 2013.

Do you have a question about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Submit it online or fill out the form below. 

Q. Do you believe in cremation after death?

A. Yes, Mormons definitely believe that after death is the only acceptable time to be cremated. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

Seriously, though, the final disposition of a person’s mortal remains is a personal matter for the family of the deceased to determine, and I’ve known Mormons who were buried and Mormons who were cremated. That said, there does tend to be a cultural (not doctrinal) bias toward burial rather than cremation, particularly in the United States.

The official handbook of the church states: “The Church does not normally encourage cremation. The family of the deceased must decide whether the body should be cremated, taking into account any laws governing burial or cremation. In some countries, the law requires cremation.”

Latter-day Saints believe that our physical bodies are gifts from God, temples even (see 1 Corinthians 3:16), and should, therefore, be treated with great respect and care. Some people feel full body burial is the best way to show that respect; others feel cremation is more respectful or it simply fits their needs better. Cultural and personal preferences, not doctrine, determine which a Mormon family will choose.

Thanks for the question!

Do you have a question about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Submit it online or fill out the form below. 

 

Emily Geddes

About Emily Geddes

Emily H. Geddes was born to two physicists and grew up as a Navy brat. Born-and-raised as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she holds a bachelor's degree in theatre from Brigham Young University, and earned an MBA from Eastern Washington University.

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  • Eric Blauer

    Ok…I’m snoozing on these questions and answers…this seems like softball.

  • Laura Stembridge

    Thank you Emily, for taking what is notably some time in hosting this forum and responding to questions. They might not seem to be the most scintillating for some, but the person asking is interested and deserving of your perspective to which you graciously give. I found this question, and all in fact, interesting as the Mormon church is vilified 99% of the time in America. No matter how “snoozing” these questions might seem to be, they are pertinent in deconstructing mainstream perspective of Mormons as “crazy”, and are interesting since people have varying theological stances on issues. I look forward to more questions and answers since mainstream Evangelicalism/Christianity is most of what I’ve heard tenets about my whole life.

  • Diane Kipp

    Eric, did you mean to be insulting to the questioners? Some people are actually interested in these questions – I’ve been asked the same questions in the past. Hopefully no one will be deterred in the future from asking genuine but non-exciting (non-provocative? non-controversial?) questions.

    Emily, your little cremation joke made me laugh out loud.

  • Eric Blauer

    Sorry if that was insulting, ill sweeten it up. Hope to see more good questions coming.

  • Diane Kipp

    Thanks, Eric : ) I’m looking forward to more questions, too – I think Emily is doing a great job responding.

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