LDS Articles of Faith, Part XXV
Article V, Authority in Ministry
The fifth LDS Article of faith says, “We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands, by those who are in authority, to preach the gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.” Our last two blogs should be read with this one to understand that LDS claim they are the only ones who have authority to baptize, ordain or do anything else that God requires. LDS Apostle James Talmage wrote The Great Apostasy, a small book that explains the LDS belief that the original church Jesus established ceased to exist soon after His apostles all died. He said after the original New Testament Church went into universal apostasy there was no true church or authority on earth to act in His name for hundreds of years. LDS teach that Joseph Smith restored the true Priesthood authority in 1829 and the true Church in 1830. But in order to believe what LDS teach about a universal apostasy of the Church, one has to deny Jesus statement in Matt. 16:18 where He said, “I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” LDS teaching implies that Jesus lied or was incapable of building His Church which He said was indestructible. But Acts 2:47 says, “The Lord added to His Church” after He ascended into heaven! And He is still the only One who can add to His Church! He is the Builder of His Church. In Matt. 28:18-20 Jesus said, “All power (authority) is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.” Notice that Christ has ALL authority in heaven and earth and He didn’t lose it in a “great apostasy or give it to anyone else! That ought to settle the question of who has the authority. And with His authority Jesus commanded His followers to preach the gospel and teach believers His Word. That is what believers are to do! No New Testament text says that believers need special authority to baptize, ordain etc. in order for God to accept it! Those LDS teachings show that the LDS Church is not a restoration of the New Testament Church as they claim, but it is a poor substitution for it!
LDS Apostle James Talmage also wrote The Articles of Faith, and on p. 182 of that book he said “Ordination of men to the ministry, as sanctioned by scriptural precedent and established by direct revelation of God’s will, is to be effected through the gift of prophecy and by the imposition of hands by those who are in authority. By prophecy is meant the right to receive and the power to interpret manifestations of the divine will. That the laying on of hands is usual as a part of the ordinance is seen in several instances already cited; nevertheless the scriptures record numerous ordinations to the offices of the Priesthood without specific statement concerning the imposition of hands or any other details. Such instances do not warrant the conclusion that the laying on of hands was omitted.” And on p. 189 Talmage said, “No man receives the Priesthood except under the hands of one who holds that Priesthood himself; that one must have obtained it from others previously commissioned; and so every bearer of the Priesthood today can trace his authority to the hands of Joseph Smith the Prophet, who received his ordination under the hands of Peter, James, and John; and they had been ordained by the Lord Jesus Christ.” Our last blog showed that the story of Peter, James and John giving the Melchizedek Priesthood to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery is full of problems and contradictions. The New Testament records “laying on of hands” for various reasons, but there is no command to “lay hands on men to give them priesthood.” In fact there is no New Testament reference where priesthood was given to anyone! LDS still claim they have the only true authority to do what God commanded. Talmage admitted that laying on of hands is not mentioned when “numerous ordinations” were performed but he said not to conclude “that laying on of hands was omitted.” So, he wants readers to conclude that laying on of hands was done even though it doesn’t say it was just because it is an LDS belief! He also said, “Every bearer of the Priesthood today can trace his authority to the hands of Joseph Smith the Prophet.” LDS claim that God only accepts LDS Priesthood authority, but that isn’t in the New Testament and it is not Christian doctrine!
Milton R. Hunter, an LDS General Authority and Seventy wrote The Gospel through the Ages for the LDS Priesthood. On p. 61 he said, “Priesthood is probably the most important single item in the Gospel…The Priesthood was first given to Adam; he obtained the First Presidency, and held the keys of it from generation to generation. He obtained it in the creation, before the world was formed…He is Michael, the archangel, spoken of in the scripture. Then to Noah, who is Gabriel; he stands next in authority to Adam in the Priesthood.” Nothing Hunter said is Biblical! If “Priesthood is the most important item in the gospel,” why didn’t Jesus or the apostles say so at least once? LDS try to support their beliefs of Priesthood and laying on of hands by using John 15:16 which says, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you…” LDS claim that text says Jesus “ordained” His apostles by laying His hands on their heads and giving them the Priesthood. But neither that text nor any other New Testament text says Jesus “laid His hands on them and ordained them to the priesthood.” The word ordained simply means to appoint and it does not require laying on of hands to do that! Many modern translations of John 15:16 have the word appointed instead of ordained. LDS scripture even uses the word ordain to mean appoint in D. & C. 89:10, 12, & 14 where it says wholesome herbs, flesh of beasts and fowls, and grain are all “ordained” for the use of men. It would be absurd to think that meant that hands were laid on those things to give them the LDS Priesthood! LDS also use Heb. 5:4 to teach their Priesthood. It says, “No man taketh this honor unto himself but he that is called of God as was Aaron.” Then they use Ex. 28:1 to say Aaron was called of God by Moses. But before that, the Lord spoke to Aaron personally in Ex. 4:27! But neither of those texts nor any other Old Testament text says that Aaron was ordained by “laying on of hands!” In LDS scripture in D. & C. 132:59 Jesus said, “Verily if a man be called of my Father as was Aaron, by my own voice and by the voice of Him that sent me and I have endowed him with the keys of the power of this priesthood…” That LDS scripture says Aaron was called by the voice of God and Christ, and “laying on of hands” isn’t mentioned! In the Old Testament the only priests who were “ordained” were idolatrous priests as seen in II Kings 23:5 and in II Chron. 11:15. All Old Testament priests in Israel had to be Israelites and from the tribe of Levi and the family of Aaron as Num. 3:5-12 shows. They weren’t “ordained” to the priesthood because God appointed them to inherit it. Some think when Aaron and his sons were “anointed” it means they were ordained to the priesthood. But Exodus 40:9-15 says that when they were anointed, so was the tabernacle and everything in it! If that anointing meant ordained to the priesthood then the tabernacle and everything in it received the priesthood!
Next time we will discuss the 6th LDS Article of Faith concerning church organization.