Is the Mormon Church the Restored Church?
The Mormon doctrine concerning the church is a maze of confusion and contradiction. According to Mormon teaching: “When Jesus Christ lived in mortality he established a Church” (Petersen 1974, 1).
It is contended, however:
[W]ith the passing of the so-called apostolic age the Church gradually drifted into a condition of apostasy, whereby succession in the priesthood was broken; and that the Church, as an earthly organization operating under divine direction and having authority to officiate in spiritual ordinances, ceased to exist (Talmage 1968, 18).
Accordingly, to remedy this situation Joseph Smith was raised up by God to bring “forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:30).
The Establishment of the Church
Mormons claim the church was established by Christ when he lived “in mortality” (see above). This assertion is erroneous, however, for the church was not established until Pentecost, ten days after the Lord’s ascension to Heaven from the realm of mortality (Matthew 16:18; Mark 9:1; Acts 1:8; 2:4).
On the other hand, The Book of Mormon has “the church of God,” in existence some seventy-three years before Christ was even born (Alma 46:13-16). Contrast this with Luke’s affirmation that “disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26).
The Perpetuity of the Church
Though Mormonism asserts that the church “ceased to exist” after the apostolic age, the Bible teaches otherwise.
- When Daniel foretold the establishment of the kingdom (church) in the days of the Roman Empire, he declared that it would “never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:44).
- In the first century Paul announced that God would be glorified “in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations for ever and ever” (Ephesians 3:21).
- Those early recipients of God’s grace were in the process of receiving a kingdom “that cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28).
- Wherever the gospel exists, the church can exist, for the Word is the seed of the kingdom (Luke 8:11). But the gospel is “eternal” (Revelation 14:6): “[T]he word of the Lord abides forever. And this is the word of good tidings which was preached unto you” (1 Peter 1:25).
- Certainly it was prophesied that “some” would depart from the faith (1 Timothy 4:1), but this does not indicate that all would.
- The persecuted church of the post-apostolic era did not cease to exist; rather, she “fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God” (Revelation 12:6). Remember, in the days of Elijah, Jehovah had seven thousand who had not bowed to Baal, though the prophet knew not of them. A studious examination of historical documents reveals various bands of genuine Christians in the dimness of antiquity (see Grimm n.d.).
The So-called Restored Church
Joseph Smith restored nothing. He founded the Mormon Church. “On April 6, 1830, six men met in the home of Peter Whitmer, Sr., in Fayette, New York, and formally established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Temple Square in Salt Lake n.d., 17). Prior to this time, the Mormon religion is a perfect stranger to all literature, both sacred and profane.
Since it is an undisputed principle that no structure is stronger than its foundation, an examination of the faulty base of the Latter-day Saint movement is a commentary upon the corrupt system as a whole.
Mormon writers concede: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has its foundation in the revelations he [Joseph Smith] received, the sacred truths he taught, and the authority of the Priesthood restored through him” (Joseph Smith Tells His Own Story n.d., 24).
Joseph Smith’s “Revelations”
If the restoration of the L. D. S. Church is based upon Joseph Smith’s revelations, it is in deep trouble. For instance:
- Smith prophesied that the Civil War conflict between northern and southern states would be so intense that “war shall be poured out upon all nations” (Doctrine and Covenants 87:1-3). It wasn’t!
- On February 14, 1835 he foretold, concerning “the coming of the Lord,” that “fifty-six years should wind up the scene” (Roberts 1902, 182). It didn’t!
- He suggested that the Mormon Temple would be erected in Independence, Missouri (Doctrine and Covenants 57:1-3). That “prophecy” failed also.
By the criterion of Deuteronomy 18:21-22, Joseph Smith Jr. was a false prophet.
Many of Joseph Smith’s teachings were both morally and religiously corrupt. In The Pearl of Great Price, Smith has Adam and Eve exultant over the fact that they fell into transgression that they might know the joy of redemption (Moses 5:10-11).
Too, while The Book of Mormon affirms that God approves of only “one wife,” and polygamy is characterized as whoredom, sin, etc. (Jacob 2:27; 3:5; 1:15; 2:23-24; Mosiah 11:2), Joseph Smith received the “revelation” of plural marriage as “a new and everlasting covenant” which could not be rejected without the penalty of damnation (Doctrine and Covenants 132:3-4).
These are but a sampling of the degenerate teachings of Mormonism’s “prophet.”
A Restored Priesthood?
The significance of the priesthood to Mormons is revealed in the words of Mormon writer Mark E. Petersen: “Without a divinely approved ministry there can be no Church of God on earth” (Ibid., 15). There are two priesthoods in the L. D. S. Church from which all authority results—the Melchizedek and the Aaronic (Doctrine and Covenants 107:1-3, 5). Concepts regarding both are entirely false.
No Aaronic Priesthood Today
There can be no Aaronic priesthood today for:
- That priesthood was a part of the law of Moses, which was permanently “taken” away by Christ’s death (Colossians 2:14). (Note: the Greek,
erken, in the perfect tense denotes the permanent abolition of the law of Moses [Robertson 1930, 494].)
- Only descendants from Levi could administer those Aaronic priestly functions (Hebrews 7:5), and, as all tribal records were destroyed in
A.D.70, a lineage determination is impossible.
The priesthood of Christ “after the order of Melchizedek” was an anti-typical “likeness” (Hebrews 7:15) of the former. It is heavenly, not earthly, in its nature (6:20). And it is “unchangeable” (7:24), the meaning of which is “perpetual, spoken of Christ’s priesthood as ever remaining to him inviolate, never passing from him to another” (Robinson 1855, 68).
That genuine Christians are “priests” in a spiritual sense, we do not deny (1 Peter 2:5; Revelation 1:6), but there is no earthly, physical priesthood authorized by God today.
From the foregoing it is patently evident that the Mormon Church is not “The Church of Jesus Christ,” nor is it composed of “saints.” Rather, it is a cult founded in the delusions of Joseph Smith and others.
It is our devout prayer that sincere Mormons would candidly examine the evidence, renounce this false system, and in true obedience, turn to the Lord.
- Choate, J. E. 1968. The Great Apostasy. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co.
- Grimm, Hans. n.d. Tradition and History of the Early Church of Christ in Central Europe. Austin, TX: Firm Foundation.
- Joseph Smith Tells His Own Story. n.d.
- Peterson, Mark E. 1974. Which Church is Right?
- Roberts, B. H. 1902. History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Vol. 2. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret News.
- Robertson, A. T. 1930. Word Pictures in the New Testament. Vol. 4. Nashville, TN: Broadman.
- Robinson, Edward. 1855. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. New York, NY: Harper & Bros.
- Temple Square in Salt Lake. n.d.
About the Author
Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.