Restoring the Lost Priesthood Keys — Rich Kelsey

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Rich Kelsey

Kolob

 

"Prior to the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith received priesthood authority at the hands of John the Baptist, Peter, James, and John who received that same 'power and authority' from Jesus Christ Himself (Luke 9:1). These men appeared as angels and bestowed the priesthood upon Joseph Smith. The prophet today, Thomas S. Monson, is the authorized successor to Joseph Smith. He and the Church’s other Apostles trace their priesthood authority back to Jesus Christ in an unbroken chain of ordinations." (Restoration of Jesus Christ’s Church, Authority to Lead His Church Restored, Mormon.org, 2015)

 

How Church Members Establish Truth:

Latter-day Saints are encouraged to bear testimonies; such as:

"'I know the Church is true.' And/or, 'I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.'"

On this subject Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said:

"... We gain or strengthen a testimony by bearing it. Someone even suggested that some testimonies are better gained on the feet bearing them than on the knees praying for them.

A personal testimony is fundamental to our faith. Consequently, the things we must do to acquire, strengthen, and retain a testimony are vital to our spiritual life." (April 2008, General Conference, Testimony, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles)

 

Yet, bearing testimonies, or, praying about whether Joseph Smith's claims are true, with the only acceptable answer being,

"Yes,"

may not be the best way to determine what is true.

In this study, the reader is encouraged to use sound methods of reasoning, backed up with evidence, to establish truth. 

 

Apostasy:

The LDS (Mormon Church) maintains that after Jesus Christ's apostles died, the Christian movement plunged into "apostasy", and remained in "apostasy", with not even one man on earth having proper authority from God to administer baptisms, for over 1,000 years:

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints affirms to the world that after the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the subsequent death of His Apostles, there was a falling away—an altering or a rejecting of His revealed word. The long night of apostasy lasted well over a millennium." (Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual, (2000), 59, Chapter 22: The Apostasy, Introduction)

(LDS Statement on "Total Apostasy")

 

Then, according to the story, on May 15, 1829, John the Baptist visited Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery ordaining them to the Aaronic Priesthood.  In 1831 the Apostles Peter, James, and John visited Joseph Smith and his scribe Oliver Cowdery bestowing the,

"high priesthood of the holy order of God," (Alma 4:20)

upon them; also known as the Melchizedek Priesthood.  Today, these two orders of priesthood authority are found exclusively in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), founded by Joseph Smith. [1]

 

When Was the Priesthood Doctrine Introduced?

The LDS statement at the top of the page reads:

"Prior to the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith received priesthood authority at the hands of John the Baptist, Peter, James, and John ..."

Compare that with what Book of Mormon witness David Whitmer[2] wrote:

"In no place in the word of God does it say that an Elder is after the order of Melchisedec, or after the order of the Melchisedec Priesthood. An Elder is after the order of Christ. This matter of 'priesthood,' since the days of Sydney Rigdon, has been the great hobby and stumbling-block of the Latter Day Saints. Priesthood means authority; and authority is the word we should use. I do not think the word priesthood is mentioned in the New Covenant of the Book of Mormon. Authority is the word we used for the first two years in the church -- until Sydney Rigdon's days in Ohio." (An Address To All Believers In Christ, David Whitmer, p. 64).

David Whitmer went on to explain:

"This matter of two orders of priesthood in the Church of Christ, and lineal priesthood of the old law being in the church, all originated in the mind of Sydney Rigdon. He explained these things to Brother Joseph in his way, out of the old Scriptures, and got Brother Joseph to inquire, etc. He would inquire, and as mouthpiece speak out the revelations just as they had it fixed in their hearts. As I have said before, according to the desires of the heart, the inspiration comes, but it may be the spirit of man that gives it.... This is the way the High Priests and the 'priesthood' as you have it, was introduced into the Church of Christ almost two years after its beginning—and after we had baptized and confirmed about two thousand souls into the church" (An Address To All Believers In Christ, David Whitmer, p. 64).

 

Also, there is considerable evidence to support David Whitmer's claims.  < (see documentation)

Another thing to consider:

The LDS Church teaches that,

"John the Beloved will live until the Lord comes..." (Doctrine and Covenants, 7, Introduction)

Because: In a revelation which Joseph Smith supposedly received in April, 1829, the Apostle John asked the Lord:

" ... give unto me power over death, that I may live and bring souls unto thee." (Doctrine and Covenants, 7:2)

The Lord answered:

"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, because thou desirest this thou shalt tarry until I come in my glory, and shalt prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and people." (Doctrine and Covenants, 7:3)

Based upon LDS Scripture: The Priesthood keys of power and authority were in effect on earth since the time of Christ, through the Apostle John's un-dying ministry. 

One might also consider the ministry of the Three Nephites from Book of Mormon tradition:

Third Nephi, Chapter 28

Introduction:

Nine of the twelve disciples desire and are promised an inheritance in Christ’s kingdom when they die—The Three Nephites desire and are given power over death so as to remain on the earth until Jesus comes again—They are translated and see things not lawful to utter, and they are now ministering among men. About A.D. 34–35.

...

4 And when he had spoken unto them, he turned himself unto the three, and said unto them: What will ye that I should do unto you, when I am gone unto the Father?

5 And they sorrowed in their hearts, for they durst not speak unto him the thing which they desired.

6 And he said unto them: Behold, I know your thoughts, and ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me.

7 Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven.

8 And ye shall never endure the pains of death; but when I shall come in my glory ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality; and then shall ye be blessed in the kingdom of my Father.

9 And again, ye shall not have pain while ye shall dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow save it be for the sins of the world; and all this will I do because of the thing which ye have desired of me, for ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand.

 

Also, doesn't it seem a bit odd that Heavenly Father would allow Jesus Christ's gospel message to fail; and then, refuse to get involved in matters essential to man's salvation, for over 1,000 years until a teen-age Joseph Smith prayed vocally for the first time in his life? 

 

The Record Gets Worse:

The LDS statement at the top of the page goes on to say:

"These men [John the Baptist, Peter, James, and John] appeared as angels and bestowed the priesthood upon Joseph Smith. The prophet today, Thomas S. Monson, is the authorized successor to Joseph Smith. He and the Church’s other Apostles trace their priesthood authority back to Jesus Christ in an unbroken chain of ordinations."

The words:

"... in an unbroken chain of ordinations...",

are noteworthy, because, a more than one thousand year gap in ordinations hardly seems like an unbroken chain! 

And, if John the Baptist, Peter, James, and John, had been given the ability to appear to men as ministering angels; then, what were they doing all those years?

 

In reality, there never was,

"... a complete falling away from the gospel ..."[3]

Jesus Christ's words testify to that:

 "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18)

Bible passages which do speak of people departing from the faith never express total apostasy.

Here is an example:  

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (1 Timothy 4:1).

 

Other articles of interest:

■  Restoring The Lost Priesthood Keys — Part II

■  Restoring The Lost Priesthood Keys — Part III

■  Joseph Smith and the Treasure Guardian

■  Book of Moses Changes / Anachronisms

■  Book of Mormon Changes — The Fall of Mormonism

 

 

LDS Series    LDS Subpages


Endnotes:

1.

■  "No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith...every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are... [Joseph Smith] reigns there as supreme a being in his sphere, capacity, and calling, as God does in heaven. Many will exclaim–"Oh, that is very disagreeable! It is preposterous! We cannot bear the thought!" But it is true." Brigham Young, (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p.289-91)

■  "If we get our salvation, we shall have to pass by him; if we enter our glory, it will be through the authority he has received. We cannot get around him [Joseph Smith]" (Apostle George Q. Cannon, as quoted in 1988 Melchizedek Priesthood Study Guide, p. 142)

■  [There is] "no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith. If Joseph Smith was verily a prophet, and if he told the truth...no man can reject that testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p.190)

■  "If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation Vol. I, p. 190)

2.

"David Whitmer, like Joseph Smith, Lucy Mack Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and Martin Harris, has greatly influenced our perceptions of Mormon beginnings. Interviewed on more than fifty occasions, Whitmer related over and over again what he knew about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, the organization of the church, and his experience as a restoration witness." (David Whitmer and the Shaping of Latter-day Saint History, Kenneth W. Godfrey, Provo, Utah: Maxwell Institute)

3.

“If the Savior had come back to earth at the beginning of the fifth century A.D., I doubt whether he would have recognized the Christian Church as the one that claimed descent from that which he had established, so far had it gone astray. Christianity had actually become a composite of Christian beliefs, practices, and doctrines; Jewish teachings and rituals; Greek, Roman, and Egyptian pagan philosophies; and pagan religions of various brands. The Holy Priesthood had been withdrawn from the earth. The power of godliness was no longer present in the Christian Church. Thus there was a complete falling away from the gospel which had been established by the Son of Man. The Church lay in darkness, and the darkness enveloped the earth. This spiritual darkness continued for hundreds and hundreds of years” (Milton R. Hunter, “The Missionary Assignment,” Improvement Era, Dec. 1951, 920).