And..the church…had peace…save it were a few contentions concerning the points of doctrine which had been laid down by the prophets… (Hel. 11:21-22)
And it came to pass that after there had been false Christs, and…after there had been false prophets, and false preachers and teachers among the people… (Words of Mormon 1:15-16)
…and their mouths had been shut, and…all these having been punished according to their crimes… (Words of Mormon 1:15-16)
…there began to be much strife. But it came to pass that…many of [the] brethren who knew concerning the true points of doctrine, having many revelations daily, therefore they did preach unto the people, insomuch that they did put an end to their strife… (Hel. 11:23)
In other words, for this post, in addition to the scriptures, I’m going to use my own revelations to correct the errors promoted by false teachers currently found among the saints.
There have only been three known churches of Christ
The first church of Christ was founded by Alma Nephi, when he baptized Helam (and also himself) in the waters of Mormon, followed by the subsequent baptism of the rest of the group. This church was formed about 147–145 B.C. and began with about 204 people. The account of its establishment is found in Mosiah 18.
The second church of Christ was founded by Jesus Christ during his ministry among the Jews.
The third church of Christ was founded by Joseph Smith, Jun., which was organized and established in Manchester, Ontario County, New York, USA, with six people, on 6 April, 1830.
Three verses of scripture mention an ancient church
Here is the first part of the entry of “Church” from the Bible Dictionary:
From the Greek, Ecclesia, meaning “an assembly called together.” The church is the organized body of believers who have taken upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ by baptism and confirmation. To be the true church it must be the Lord’s church and must have His laws, His name, and be governed by Him through representatives whom He has appointed (3 Ne. 27:1–12; D&C 115:4).
This is true. God Himself must recognize it as His church, it must bear His name, have His revealed word as its foundational text, be built upon His gospel and rock, and possess His priesthood. Every latter-day saint understands this definition of the church. So far so good. Now let’s look at the next part of this Bible Dictionary entry:
In this sense, the church began with the days of Adam and has been on the earth among mankind whenever there were a group of believers who had the priesthood and revelations of heaven.
This is false. If you take up the Standard Works, and look at the Old Testament (whether you look in the King James Version, or in the Joseph Smith Translation, it doesn’t matter), you will find no mention of any church during that period of time. This is because there was no church of Jesus Christ during those times. Prior to the establishment of Jesus Christ’s church in the Old World, and to the establishment of Alma Nephi’s church in the New World, the laws and ordinances of God were administered to the people tribally. Continuing on with this BD entry:
This is true. This is because Jesus organized and established a church among the Jews and it continued after His resurrection under the direction of His apostles.
The Old Testament uses the term congregation for church.
This is false. The Old Testament uses the term congregation to mean “an assembly of persons” and more specifically, “an assembly of persons met for the worship of God, and for religious instruction.” An assembly of persons, belonging to a tribe or tribes, meeting together to offer sacrifice to their God (to worship God) or meeting in a synagogue for religious instruction is not a church. Nor does it constitute a church of Christ. Such assemblies need not have entered into any covenant with God, witnessed by baptism, nor received any laying on of hands, etc., to congregate and worship or to receive and give religious instruction. Thus, the Old Testament uses the term congregation, not church, for these gatherings. More of the BD entry:
The word kingdom is often used in the scriptures to mean the church, since the church is literally the kingdom of God on the earth.
This is false. The word kingdom means kingdom. (Duh!) A kingdom is “the inhabitants or population subject to a king.” The kingdom of God, then, are the people that submit to the law of God as administered by His priests, whether it is administered tribally, or via the church of Christ. Thus, in the Book of Mormon, we find that the Nephites, when they were established under kings—from the reign of first Nephi, who consecrated his brothers Joseph and Jacob as priests and teachers, all the way to the last Nephite king, Mosiah, who also had his consecrated priests—all Nephite kings had priests, for these patriarchal orders were patterned after the kingdom of God, and God Himself, who is the King of the Universe, has priests. And these priests, in pre-Alma days, or in pre-Jesus days, operated tribally, administering the ordinances and laws of God to the people under a tribal protocol. These tribal orders, then, were as much the kingdom of God as were the churches of Christ, which also had ordained priests to administer the gospel ordinances and laws. Kingdom, then, can apply to both the tribal and church protocols, and does not automatically mean or indicate that a functioning church of Christ is present.
Here’s more of the BD entry:
The first part is true and the second part is a supposition. It is true that Joseph Smith translated the Egyptian word found in 1 Ne. 4:26 into church, but this did not mean a church of Christ, but merely “an assembly of believers.” In other words, a “congregation of believers.” The Jews in the land of Jerusalem at that time cast out, killed by stoning and other means, or tried to kill all those who believed in this prophesied Messiah that would suffer and die for the sins of the world. They in no way, shape or form belonged to any church of Christ. But they certainly professed a belief in Moses and his law, and also the prophets (the ones that didn’t prophesy of Christ or of the Jews’ destruction, that is), therefore, this was a congregation of believers in Moses and the law and the prophets, but not in Christ, who attended the Jewish synagogue. Joseph translated it as church, for a church is an Ecclesia, meaning “an assembly called together,” and that’s what this congregation was. But this wasn’t a church of Christ, but merely a gathering under tribal authority and protocols. Here is the scripture in question:
And he spake unto me concerning the elders of the Jews, he knowing that his master, Laban, had been out by night among them. And I spake unto him as if it had been Laban. And I also spake unto him that I should carry the engravings, which were upon the plates of brass, to my elder brethren, who were without the walls. And I also bade him that he should follow me. And he, supposing that I spake of the brethren of the church, and that I was truly that Laban whom I had slain, wherefore he did follow me. And he spake unto me many times concerning the elders of the Jews, as I went forth unto my brethren, who were without the walls. (1 Ne. 4:22-27)
Now look at the Bible Dictionary entry for Synagogue:
A Jewish meetinghouse for religious purposes. The furniture was generally simple, consisting of an ark containing the rolls of the law and other sacred writings, a reading desk, and seats for the worshippers. Its affairs were managed by the local council of elders, who decided who should be admitted and who should be excluded (Luke 6:22; John 9:22; 12:42; 16:2). The most important official was the Ruler of the Synagogue (Mark 5:22; Luke 13:14), who was generally a scribe, had care of the building, and superintended the various services. There was also an attendant who performed clerical duties (Luke 4:20). The Sabbath morning service was the most important in the week and included a fixed lesson (Num. 15:37–41; Deut. 6:4–9; 11:13–21) and two lessons for the day, one from the law and the other from the prophets. A sermon was generally preached in explanation of one of the lessons (Luke 4:17; Acts 13:15). The existence of synagogues in every town in which Jews were living, both in Palestine and elsewhere, was a great help to the spread of the gospel, early Christian missionaries being generally able to get a hearing there (see Acts 13:5, 14; 14:1; 17:1, 10; 18:4), and the synagogue worship provided in many respects a model for early Christian worship.
Okay, so hopefully that explains the use of the word church in 1 Ne. 4:26. So now to address D&C 107:4. Here are the first four verses of that section:
There are, in the church, two priesthoods, namely, the Melchizedek and Aaronic, including the Levitical Priesthood. Why the first is called the Melchizedek Priesthood is because Melchizedek was such a great high priest. Before his day it was called the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God. But out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name, they, the church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek Priesthood.
The Bible Dictionary author supposes that this mention of a church in ancient days in “the Doctrine and Covenants speaks of the church in Old Testament times,” but that is just an assumption, a supposition, a mere guess. There is no evidence, whatsoever, that any church of Christ was found in Old Testament times, whether before Melchizedek, during his times (and he was a contemporary of Abraham, who likewise mentions no church), or after him. As the most ancient church of Christ established on this earth was the one formed by Alma Nephi on this American continent, this D&C verse may be speaking of Alma’s church. It need not apply to anything more ancient than that.
Stephen’s testimony in Acts 7 also mentioned a church in the times of Moses, but again, this wasn’t a church of Christ, but a congregation of the tribes. Non-KJV bible translations use assembly or congregation, instead of church. Here are his words in the KJV:
This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel,
A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.
This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: to whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, saying unto Aaron,
Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. (Acts 7:37-40)
So there you have it. There are only three verses in all of the scriptures that speak of a church in pre-Jesus or pre-Alma times, and two of the verses (1 Ne. 4:26 and Acts 7:38) are really talking of a tribal congregation or assembly, while the other passage (D&C 107:4) is speaking, in all likelihood, of either Alma’s church or Jesus’ church. That is the extent of all the “evidence” for the existence of a church of Christ before Christ and Alma.
Nonetheless, as latter-day saints know absolutely nothing about the gospel administered tribally, to deal with the apparent operation of God’s priesthoods in antiquity, they have taken the church model and protocols and applied them to the past. Even though there is no church mentioned or found in the ancient text, they, nevertheless, using their “church filters,” cause their eyes to see an ancient church everywhere, in every time period. “It’s there, in the word congregation! Or it’s over there, in the word kingdom! Lo! The church of Christ is everywhere! It has been here since the very beginning! This isn’t a restoration of the church of Christ that was established in Jesus’ day, but a restoration of the church of Christ from Adam’s time! Our religion is that ancient!” And so the sayings go.
How the false teachers use Abinadi and Alma
False teachers, working from the same false church-from-the-beginning reference point, have crafted a false narrative by superimposing the gospel as administered tribally upon the gospel as administered by the church. Specifically, the application of Abinadi’s prophecy to Noah and his priests and people, by false teachers and false prophets—who attempt to use it as an example that God can, and does, use outsiders to correct and call the ministers of His church to repentance—is a misapplication. Where these false teachers err is in their assumption that Abinadi and Noah and his priests and people were actually in any church of Christ. They weren’t. They weren’t living under church protocols, but under tribal protocols, which are different.
The only model that can be applied to the current church of Christ, founded by Joseph Smith, is a church model. In other words, you must use a church example, not a tribal one, to show how the church of Christ is supposed to function. So, we’ve got three churches: one founded by Alma the Nephite (the most ancient one), one founded by Jesus the Jew, and one founded by Joseph the Gentile of Ephraimite lineage. You can look at the Nephite church, which begins with the baptism of Helam, or at the Jewish church, which begins with Jesus’ church, and apply those to the Gentile church, but you cannot turn to Abinadi and Noah and his priests and say, “See? Abinadi wasn’t in the priesthood hierarchy and yet God used him to call them to repentance!” So what? There was a tribal protocol in place during that time that provided for that and Abinadi followed it precisely.
Tribal rights are passed on through literal lineage
Not all tribal functions have been revealed, as yet, but we do know a few things. For example, lineage played a part in tribal priesthood. Therefore, Aaron and his firstborn sons had (and still have) a right to the bishopric, by birth. That’s a tribal protocol which is currently found in the church of Christ. There is literal lineage (father to son) and priesthood lineage (priesthood father to priesthood son.) In other words, priesthood rights can be passed on tribally, through literal seed (father to son, or for Aaron and all his firstborn sons), and that is a tribal operation, but also they can be passed on via the laying on of hands, from one unrelated man to another unrelated man. The first man becomes the “priesthood father” of the second man, who becomes the “priesthood son.” Thus, this conferral of priesthood by the laying on of hands is spoken of as having a lineage and seed. So, I can trace my Aaronic “priesthood lineage” from the man who ordained me (who is my priesthood father), to the man who ordained him (my priesthood grandfather), and so on, back to Oliver Cowdery, and thus back to John the Baptist. And so forth with the Melchizedek priesthood.
An example of the two kinds of seed (literal and priesthood) can be seen from the following scripture:
And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee above measure, and make thy name great among all nations, and thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed after thee, that in their hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations; and I will bless them through thy name; for as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father; and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee (that is, in thy Priesthood) and in thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood), for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal. (Abr. 2:9-11)
Another example is of evangelical ministers, which is a tribal office that is currently found in the church (since we need it here until the tribal functions are fully restored) :
It is the duty of the Twelve, in all large branches of the church, to ordain evangelical ministers, as they shall be designated unto them by revelation—the order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made. (D&C 107:39-40)
And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant William be appointed, ordained, and anointed, as counselor unto my servant Joseph, in the room of my servant Hyrum, that my servant Hyrum may take the office of Priesthood and Patriarch, which was appointed unto him by his father, by blessing and also by right; that from henceforth he shall hold the keys of the patriarchal blessings upon the heads of all my people, that whoever he blesses shall be blessed, and whoever he curses shall be cursed; that whatsoever he shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever he shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (D&C 124:91-93)
Not only were priesthood rights transmitted by birth under the tribal model, but so were gifts. In the Nephite society, it was the seed of Jacob, all the Jacobite sons, who had a right to the gift to prophesy. As such, any male Jacobite, filled with the Spirit, was duly authorized to preach repentance to anyone, including priests, teachers and kings. As they were Jacobites—their surname being Jacob-Nephi—they were within the Nephite tribal congregations, therefore they weren’t from the outside. Also, as they were Jacobites, they had a right to prophesy.
Abinadi was likely a Jacobite, descended from Abinadom. Thus, he was fully within his rights to call these people to repentance. The whole thing followed tribal protocols, but not church protocols, for under church protocols, we are not to command him who is at our head.
But thou shalt not write by way of commandment, but by wisdom; and thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church; for I have given him the keys of the mysteries, and the revelations which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead. (D&C 28:5-7)
Also, the elders of the church are not to be taught by others, but are to be the ones who do the teaching.
Again I say, hearken ye elders of my church, whom I have appointed:
Ye are not sent forth to be taught, but to teach the children of men the things which I have put into your hands by the power of my Spirit; and ye are to be taught from on high. (D&C 43:15-16)
So, God will not use outsiders to call any of the church elders to repentance. God will only use church ministers to call them to repentance. (This means that if you’ve been excommunicated, repent and come back in. If you start calling any part of the church to repentance, that is evidence that you do not have the Spirit of God.)
Additionally, the record states that “there was a man among them whose name was Abinadi” (Mosiah 11:20), so Abinadi was actually a part of Noah’s people and kingdom. So, he was in no way an outsider.
An affront to the king’s right to judge
After Abinadi gave his prophecy to the people, they were livid, and when king Noah learned of his words, he also was fuming mad, and he said,
Who is Abinadi, that I and my people should be judged of him, or who is the Lord, that shall bring upon my people such great affliction? I command you to bring Abinadi hither, that I may slay him, for he has said these things that he might stir up my people to anger one with another, and to raise contentions among my people; therefore I will slay him. (Mosiah 11:27-28)
The reason for all this anger was two-fold. The first reason was because, under tribal prototol, it was up to the kings to judge the people. King Mosiah later would say,
Therefore, if it were possible that you could have just men to be your kings, who would establish the laws of God, and judge this people according to his commandments… (Mosiah 29:13)
Also, when there was iniquity in the church, Alma went to the king to have him judge them, according to tribal protocol:
And he said unto the king:
Behold, here are many whom we have brought before thee, who are accused of their brethren; yea, and they have been taken in divers iniquities. And they do not repent of their iniquities; therefore we have brought them before thee, that thou mayest judge them according to their crimes. (Mosiah 26:11)
Secondly, it was the prerogative of the kings to call upon the prophets, priests, teachers and other leaders, as helps, in their mission of judging the people and establishing peace:
…behold, it came to pass that king Benjamin, with the assistance of the holy prophets who were among his people—for behold, king Benjamin was a holy man, and he did reign over his people in righteousness; and there were many holy men in the land, and they did speak the word of God with power and with authority; and they did use much sharpness because of the stiffneckedness of the people—wherefore, with the help of these, king Benjamin, by laboring with all the might of his body and the faculty of his whole soul, and also the prophets, did once more establish peace in the land. (Words of Mormon 1:16-18)
This was the tribal protocol for just kings. And in the whole history of the Nephite people, there had only been just kings. Jarom said, “our kings and our leaders were mighty men in the faith of the Lord; and they taught the people the ways of the Lord” (Jarom 1:7.) But Noah was an anomaly. He was an iniquitous king. In the case of an iniquitous king, judgment reverted to the LORD under tribal protocol, but this had never happened before, for Noah was the first wicked Nephite king.
This is why Noah’s question is two-fold: “Who is Abinadi, that I and my people should be judged of him, or who is the Lord, that shall bring upon my people such great affliction?” When Noah asks, “Who is Abinadi?” it isn’t because Abinadi is an unknown person, some passerby that happened to enter into the land, and it isn’t because Abinadi isn’t a part of the priests of Noah, like many of the false teachers like to assert. No, what Noah is saying is, “Is Abinadi king, or am I king? Who has the right to judge this people, him or me?”
Assuming that Abinadi was, indeed, a Jacobite (and if so, his name would have been Abinadi Jacob-Nephi), Abinadi had the right to prophesy, but this always happened with the king’s advance notice and approval, and under the king’s guidance, not out-of-the-blue, without any notification whatsoever to the reigning king. So, king Noah felt affronted.
Additionally, the prophecy of Abinadi went contrary to what the king and his priests were saying. They proclaimed celebration and prosperity, while Abinadi’s prophecy was of affliction and bondage. Noah assumed, therefore, that as the people appeared to be prosperous and content, and they gave their common consent to all he did(!), that he must be a just king, and therefore Abinadi must be the one out of sorts. Therefore Abinadi must be a false prophet. And also the name of “the Lord” that Abinadi invoked must not be the real Lord, but a false god. (This is why king Noah asks, “Who is the Lord?”) Abinadi, then, was the obvious guilty party, under tribal protocol (assuming a just king, that is.) And so he and his people did not believe the prophecy. They thought it was all made up:
And it came to pass that they were angry with him; and they took him and carried him bound before the king, and said unto the king:
Behold, we have brought a man before thee who has prophesied evil concerning thy people, and saith that God will destroy them. And he also prophesieth evil concerning thy life, and saith that thy life shall be as a garment in a furnace of fire. And again, he saith that thou shalt be as a stalk, even as a dry stalk of the field, which is run over by the beasts and trodden under foot. And again, he saith thou shalt be as the blossoms of a thistle, which, when it is fully ripe, if the wind bloweth, it is driven forth upon the face of the land. And he pretendeth the Lord hath spoken it. And he saith all this shall come upon thee except thou repent, and this because of thine iniquities. And now, O king, what great evil hast thou done, or what great sins have thy people committed, that we should be condemned of God or judged of this man? And now, O king, behold, we are guiltless, and thou, O king, hast not sinned; therefore, this man has lied concerning you, and he has prophesied in vain. And behold, we are strong, we shall not come into bondage, or be taken captive by our enemies; yea, and thou hast prospered in the land, and thou shalt also prosper. Behold, here is the man, we deliver him into thy hands; thou mayest do with him as seemeth thee good.
So none of this has anything, whatsoever, to do with Abinadi not being a part of the body of Noah’s priests, but this is how the false teachers would like to spin it.
Okay, so my point is that Abinadi acted under proper tribal protocols.
A brief aside
It is not my intention to fully expound this Abinadi episode, but I will point out a couple of things, before moving on to Alma’s actions.
First, Noah, priests and people were focused on the law of Moses, thinking that salvation came by it, and they discarded the Ten Commandments, whereas Abinadi pointed to the Ten Commandments, saying that those who obeyed those commandments would be saved.
The people essentially broke every single one of the Ten Commandments. They all “became idolatrous” (Mosiah 11:6-7.) That broke the Second Commandment. The king and priests spoke “vain words” (Mosiah 11:7,11) to the people. That might indicate that they broke the Third Commandment. The king and priests did not work, but were “supported in their laziness” (Mosiah 11:6.) That broke the Fourth Commandment. King Noah “did not walk in the ways of his father” (Mosiah 11:1.) That indicates that he broke the Fifth Commandment. The people “did delight in blood, and the shedding of the blood of their brethren” (Mosiah 11:19) and also they consented to the death of Abinadi. This broke the Sixth Commandment. They had “many wives and concubines” (Mosiah 11:2,4,6,14) and spent time with harlots and committed whoredoms. That broke the Seventh Commandment. They returned from war with the Lamanites, “rejoicing in their spoil” (Mosiah 11:18.) That might indicate that they didn’t just get their own stuff back from the Lamanites, but took (stole) additional things that the Lamanites possessed. That would break the Eighth Commandment. The high priests would “speak lying” (Mosiah 11:11) words to the people. That would violate the Ninth Commandment. Finally, king Noah levied a tax upon the people (see Mosiah 11:4,6,13.) This would violate the Tenth Commandment (per the post, Thou shalt not “covet”.)
Second, despite breaking pretty much every single commandment of God, notice that Abinadi does not say to them that their priesthood was now null and void, that they had no more keys, that because of their apostasy and sinful ways, the “church was no longer true,” etc., as the false teachers like to spin it, but instead, Abinadi continues to recognize the authority of these corrupt priests to the very end, ending his sermon in this fashion:
Therefore, if ye teach the law of Moses, also teach that it is a shadow of those things which are to come—teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father. Amen. (Mosiah 16:14-15)
So, this was not a case of “Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man!” that the false teachers would like it to be. Now, let’s look at Alma.
Alma, the priest of Noah
Alma repented of his sins, ran away when Noah tried to kill him, wrote the words of Abinadi, and then began preaching in private.
Keep in mind that the tribal protocols were still intact under Noah and his priests. But Alma couldn’t return, because they would just try to kill him again. He was now an outsider, but he still had priesthood authority. He was also under the obligation to teach the people the truth of Abinadi’s words. He couldn’t teach them tribally and then tell them to go back and submit to the tribal authority of Noah as believers in Christ, because once it came out that they believed as Abinadi did, they would likely be killed, as well. So, what was Alma to do?
The answer is that he used his priesthood to form a church of Christ. Noah and his priests operated under the tribal model, so Alma used his faith to have his converts operate under the church model. This would protect them from the oppressions of king Noah, for they could meet in secret, be baptized in secret and so forth. On the one hand, they would still participate in tribal functions, under Noah and priests, as well as in church functions, under Alma.
The church rises, the tribe goes away
But notice that once the church comes into existence, Satan inspires the king to destroy it, so they run away. Then they are found by the Lamanites and finally escape to king Mosiah. King Mosiah, a seer with his own tribal priests, seeing that Alma’s immense faith has caused a church of Christ to be formed before Christ had come to establish it(!), starts to set in motion the cessation of the priesthood within the tribal protocols. He turns the monarchy into a system of judges without priests, gives Alma full authority over the church and the ordination of priesthood, and hands all sacred items to Alma’s son Alma. Alma the younger then becomes first chief judge, high priest of the church, and all priesthood is now centered in the church. From this point on, the priesthood no longer operates tribally, but within the church of Christ, exclusively. The church of Christ has full sway over which ordinances are salvific, and which are not.
This pattern follows with the other two churches, too. The church established by Jesus had exclusive authority. The church established by Joseph Smith has exclusive authority. No ordinances are salvific without church authorization, for either of these three churches. All those who claim that they can baptize without church authorization, using Mormon priesthood, and that those baptisms are legitimately salvific in the Lord’s view, are wrong. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints possesses the keys over all the ordinances of salvation, exclusively.
Three published revelations given to me
Okay, hopefully that covers the Abinadi-Alma point that is always brought up by false teachers.
As the cry of false teachers and false prophets is always the same—the church is apostate, the keys are no longer valid, the practices of the church no longer conform to the revelations, etc.—I am going to use Abinadi logic to deal with these assertions:
And it came to pass that after Abinadi had made an end of these sayings that he said unto them:
Have ye taught this people that they should observe to do all these things for to keep these commandments? I say unto you,
for if ye had, the Lord would not have caused me to come forth and to prophesy evil concerning this people. (Mosiah 13:25-26)
Joseph Smith organized and established the church of Christ on 6 April, 1830. I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 19__, at the age of nine. About a month before my baptism, I received a revelation from the Holy Ghost, in which the Spirit said to me:
“This [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] is the ONLY true church!”
This revelation was received while I was attending a Mormon church service for the very first time, and it was accompanied by a baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. The meaning of the revelation was that the members of this particular church had valid ordinances of salvation. In other words, that their priesthood authority was the only priesthood which was valid and authorized by God.
Now, all those who say that this church is apostate, or that the priesthood is no longer here, or some of it is missing, or the ordinances have changed, or that the keys are not valid, etc., and point to any point of time between 1830 and 19__, the year I received this revelation, are in error. I say to them like Abinadi said to those priests:
Did the church become false at any time during this period from 1830 to 19__? I say to you,
No, it didn’t;
for if it did, the Lord would not have caused me to receive a revelation that the church was true in 19__.
Now, either the church was true in 1830, and then became false, and then was restored back to true by 19__, or it has remained true the entire time, from 1830 to 19__. As we have no record of any restoration that has occurred after Joseph Smith’s death, and, in fact, no such restoration will occur, except by the hand of the Josephite, then the church must have been true during this entire time.
So, that covers the period from 1830 to 19__, but what about the period since 19__? Could there have been an apostasy since then? Could the keys have been lost since the year I received that revelation?
No, because there is also this revelation, which I received in 2014:
Behold! Thus saith the Lord:
Thou shalt shut thy mouth, for none of my saints shall be authorized to speak against the leaders of my church, to criticize and correct them publicly, unless I send them. And thou shalt be sent, but the time is not yet, neither for thee, nor for any others, therefore, thou shalt heed these words and hold thy tongue.
Notice in particular that the Lord says, “the leaders of my church.” Again,
Did the church become false at any time during this period from 19__ to 2014? I say to you,
No, it didn’t;
for if it did, the Lord would not have caused me to receive a revelation that this was still His church in 2014.
So, this Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is still the Lord’s church, as of 2014. And since 2014, there has been no indication from the Spirit, whatsoever, that the church has ceased being the Lord’s church, therefore, it’s still true, the keys are still here, the priesthood is still valid, and the Lord still recognizes it as His.
Anybody, then, who goes around saying this church no longer holds the keys, or is apostate, or does not have the priesthood (or not all the priesthood), or the ordinances have been changed or corrupted, or the Lord has rejected the church, and so forth—anyone who teaches such doctrine is a false teacher, because they go against these revelations of mine.
There is only one response that a false teacher can say to this, and that is, “These revelations are not true.” But they are true, and this can be demonstrated by anyone praying to God about them. God will tell any earnest seeker of truth that the above two revelations are true, and as they are true, these other phonies are false teachers.
Now, before I address the final point that false teachers always bring up, which is the fact that the practices of the church do not match the revelations of Joseph Smith in a great many instances, I will put up the third revelation, which is the tribal revelation, to show that this tribal doctrine and protocol, in which the kingdom of God was administered to the people tribally, is not something I made up on my own, but which was revealed to me by the Holy Ghost in 2010:
Be of good comfort, for verily, thus saith the Lord:
The priesthood existed before the organization of the church and is to serve both church and tribe. Although the tribes of Israel are not gathered, yet they are known to me, along with all the tribes of the earth.
For the Lord beholds no man alone, but sees the lineage of all families, of all the children of men, and of these lines form tribes.
I have yet to restore tribal functions,
saith the Lord,
nevertheless, the church ordinances of baptism, confirmation, administration of the sacrament, and priesthood ordinations, may be performed within a tribe, as tribal ordinances, under tribal authority or keys. Thus the priesthood may operate within a tribe, independently from the church, and within the church, independently from a tribe.
Nevertheless, thou shalt not substitute the church for the tribe, nor the tribe for the church.
Yet thou mayest establish thy tribe using these priesthood ordinances, and conform your tribal practices to the revelations of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun.,
saith the Lord.
¶ Because thou fearest to sin, thou shalt not administer of the sacrament at home to thy family, as a church ordinance, unless the bishop permitteth it.
For it is not meet nor right to establish a home church, apart from the body of the saints; nevertheless, thou art permitted to administer of the sacrament, as a tribal ordinance, to those that pertain to thy tribe.
For I require the saints of my church to meet together often, to worship me as a group, and thou shalt also worship me at all times, and the church is ordained and established unto this end,
saith the Lord.
Likewise the tribe is to worship me, as a group and individually. Wherefore, establish thy tribe, if thou wilt, using the priesthood, that ye may worship me as a group, in conformity to my revelations, given to my servant Joseph, that I may pour out my Spirit and gifts upon thee and thine, that thou shalt have no more cause to mourn and murmur concerning the meetings of my church. But take care not to go beyond the bounds I have set, until I have seen fit to reveal the tribal functions. Amen.
This shows that the priesthood “is to serve both church and tribe,” which means that before the churches established by Alma and Jesus, the kingdom of God was administered tribally, for that is what existed back then: tribes of Israel and tribes of the earth.
Two published revelations given to Joseph Smith
There are also two revelations which were given to Joseph Smith that show that the church still has all of its keys. The first is:
Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness. (D&C 13:1)
Those are the words of John the Baptist to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery when he gave them the Aaronic Priesthood. Notice that he says that that priesthood will remain on earth until the sons of Levi offer a sacrifice to the Lord in righteousness. Have the sons of Levi done this, yet? No, they haven’t. Therefore, this priesthood and all its keys are still here in the Lord’s church.
Here is another revelation of Joseph Smith:
Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers—for ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God—therefore your life and the priesthood have remained, and must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began. (D&C 86:8-10)
This does not refer to the literal seed, but to the priesthood seed and priesthood lineage and priesthood fathers. So, the fathers of Joseph and Oliver were John the Baptist and also Peter, James and John, and Joseph and Oliver were lawful heirs, according to the flesh, for these priesthoods were conferred by the laying on of hands, of flesh and bone people, therefore it was done “according to the flesh.” Some people go way out in left field and think this scripture is speaking of the literal seed, or that Joseph and Oliver had priesthood rights by birth, from their mortal fathers, etc., but no such imaginary scenario exists, for they were Gentiles and had no right by birth to the priesthood, but via ordination by the hand of these resurrected personages. And so the lineage spoken of here is not the literal seed of Joseph and Oliver, but their priesthood seed. For example, owing to my priesthood lineage, Oliver Cowdery is one of my priesthood fathers. And I am one of his priesthood sons. And so forth. I am a part of his priesthood posterity.
Now, this priesthood (which includes both priesthoods) was to remain “until the restoration of all things.” Again,
Has the restoration of all things occurred, yet? I say to you,
No, it hasn’t;
therefore, this priesthood and all its keys are still with the church.
There is no getting around these revelations, neither mine nor Joseph’s. If the false teachers are teaching correct doctrines, then both my revelations and also Joseph Smith’s are false. If Joseph’s and my revelations are true, then the false teachers are in error. It can’t be both ways. As all these revelations are true, everyone can expect these two priesthoods, and their keys, to remain in this church until the restoration of all things.
These are the keys
As for what keys they have, this is what the Lord says about that:
For unto you, the Twelve, and those, the First Presidency, who are appointed with you to be your counselors and your leaders, is the power of this priesthood given, for the last days and for the last time, in the which is the dispensation of the fulness of times, which power you hold, in connection with all those who have received a dispensation at any time from the beginning of the creation; for verily I say unto you, the keys of the dispensation, which ye have received, have come down from the fathers, and last of all, being sent down from heaven unto you. (D&C 112:30-32)
So, it is to the Twelve and First Presidency that we should look as key holders. Now, notice what they have done with their keys since the death of Joseph Smith:
The church is out of order
According to the law of expediency, the church leadership must operate according to what is expedient. In the absence of the revelations of a seer (Joseph Smith or Joseph-Nephi) they are to use this law and their keys, to keep the work moving forward, building up the church upon the foundation Joseph Smith laid, until the next seer (Joseph-Nephi) arrives to add to the body of revelation and restore the rest of all the things.
Because of hinderment, and especially if the hinderment is continual, things can quickly get out of order. So, let’s say you start with 10 numbered blocks, from 1 to 10, which Joseph Smith restored, and let’s say that there are, in total, 1000 blocks to be restored. Those 10 blocks represent the foundation of the restoration of all things, as well as the foundation of the church, which was accomplished by Joseph. The order is from 1 to 10, but even in Joseph’s time, there was hinderment, so, for example, the law of consecration and stewardship had to be put on hold, and we got a new revealed block, which was the law of tithing. After Joseph’s death, the leadership, holding the keys, had to move the work forward as best they could, under whatever inspiration they could get.
But again, hinderment comes, for Satan opposes this work, and maybe the order must be changed a little, so that there is no halt in the work. Maybe blocks number 4 and 5 get swapped. Later, there is more opposition, and the law of expediency requires that to keep the work moving forward, blocks 2 and 7 must be swapped. Maybe with so much opposition, block 10 must have its practice ceased, but the block must remain, so it is hid under block 9. And so on, as time goes on the blocks get more and more out of order. Yet they are all still there.
The uninspired man, and in particular the false teachers and false prophets, will say that this is not the true church, for look at all the blocks. They are out of order! They no longer conform to the revelations of Joseph Smith! But remember, these are uninspired, false teachers. They cannot see the hand of God if it was placed right in front of their blind faces.
And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God; while that man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning. (D&C 85:7-8)
This prophecy cannot be fulfilled unless the house of God first gets out of order. This is really, then, two prophecies: one of the house of God getting out of order, and one of the house of God being set in order. Those who say: “That the house of God being out of order, or it not conforming to the revelations of Joseph Smith, is evidence that it is no longer the house of God” are false teachers, for this prophecy of Joseph Smith prophesies that the house of God will first get out of order, yet it still will be the house of God, for later on it (the house of God) will be set in order. It never ceases to be the house of God during this process. Therefore, all those who seek to “steady the ark of God” to restore order to it, are the ones who are uninspired. The house of God getting out of order is a state which conforms to the revelations of Joseph Smith. And the leadership, acting under the law of expediency, and getting this house more and more out of order, are acting under inspiration of God.
It was always the intention of God to have the house get all jumbled up, and then one day He had always planned that this guy, called a mighty and strong one, would come and set the whole mess right. So, if you want to follow a false teacher out of this church, do it with the understanding that these people haven’t got a clue as to the workings of the Spirit.
A key to discerning the time of apostasy
When did the most ancient church of Christ (the one established by Alma Nephi) go into apostasy and cease to exist? The answer is when God took away His twelve disciples. (Later, under Mormon, it was when He took away all of His disciples.) And when did the church established by Jesus among the Jews go into apostasy?
Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants, concerning the parable of the wheat and of the tares:
Behold, verily I say, the field was the world, and the apostles were the sowers of the seed; and after they have fallen asleep the great persecutor of the church, the apostate, the whore, even Babylon, that maketh all nations to drink of her cup, in whose hearts the enemy, even Satan, sitteth to reign—behold he soweth the tares; wherefore, the tares choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness. (D&C 86:1-3)
Once again, the answer is when the apostles were taken away. (The tares had been sown in the church while the apostles were still ministering, but only when they were taken away did the tares become capable of choking the wheat and driving the church into the wilderness.) And in our day, when will the church go into apostasy?
Now, I say unto you, and what I say unto you, I say unto all the Twelve:
And again, I say unto you, that whosoever ye shall send in my name, by the voice of your brethren, the Twelve, duly recommended and authorized by you, shall have power to open the door of my kingdom unto any nation whithersoever ye shall send them—inasmuch as they shall humble themselves before me, and abide in my word, and hearken to the voice of my Spirit.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face.
Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth,
saith the Lord.
And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth,
saith the Lord;
first among those among you,
saith the Lord,
who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house,
saith the Lord. (D&C 112:14,21-26)
Again, the answer is the same: the day of vengeance, wrath, burning, desolation, weeping, mourning and lamentation will begin first among the Twelve apostles. (And this day has not come, yet.) So, when the Lord removes the twelve Gentile apostles, that is the day when the tares, which are already sown among the wheat of this church, will begin to choke the wheat. But as long as we have the twelve apostles among us, the church is not apostate, it still has the priesthood, the keys are still here, the ordinances are still valid, and so forth. Even my prophecies concerning the breakup of the church and of the descent into wickedness (by the tares of this church) bear out this principle, for the church breakup and wickedness of the tares only occurs when the quorum of the Twelve are taken out of the picture. So, all of this shows that a key to know whether this church is still valid in God’s eyes, is the existence of the quorum of the twelve apostles. If that quorum exists, the church is still true. And since we do have the Twelve among us still, this (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) is still the Lord’s church and believe it or not, all the expedient disordering that is being done with their keys is under inspiration of God. So, hopefully this post will do something to help shut the mouths of the false teachers who are spreading lies among the saints.