LDS Articles of Faith, Part XXIX
Article VI, Church and Organization cont’d
The sixth LDS Article of Faith says, “We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, viz., apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc.” After quoting that Article of Faith in his book entitled the Articles of Faith, LDS Apostle James Talmage said in the first paragraph on page 198, “In the dispensation of the meridian of time Jesus Christ established His Church upon the earth, appointing therein the officers necessary for the carrying out the Father’s purposes. Every person so appointed was divinely commissioned with authority to officiate in the ordinances of his calling…those who had received authority ordaining others to the various offices in the Priesthood. In this way were given unto the Church, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, high priests, seventies, elders, bishops, priests, teachers, and deacons.” Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the four gospel records which have the only contemporary eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry. In those four gospel accounts Jesus only mentioned the Church in two verses: once in Matt. 16:18 and twice in Matt. 18:17 and He said nothing about “Church offices.” Anyone who has read the four gospel records with basic understanding should be able to see what Talmage said is not true! Jesus chose twelve apostles, but He didn’t say they were Church offices. Acts 1:20-22 states the qualifications and purpose of the Twelve Apostles. They had to accompany Jesus in His earthly ministry from the time He was baptized until He ascended into heaven and then be eyewitnesses of His resurrection! No one today is old enough to have done those things! John the Baptist was a prophet but he died before Christ’s atonement and before Christ’s Church was established, so he was not an officer in the Church. As we mentioned in Part XXVII of this series, John the Baptist was the last Old Testament prophet. Jesus did not name any prophet as an officer in the Church nor did He even mention any of the other offices Talmage and the sixth LDS Article of Faith list as Church offices!
Our last blog quoted from three of Joseph Smith’s revelations which contained false prophecies. That is not just our opinion, but the facts are self-evident for anyone who checks the records. Even the 13th LDS President and Prophet, Ezra Taft Benson said, “The ultimate test of a true prophet is that when he speaks in the name of the Lord, his words come to pass” (Message given at the LDS semi-annual LDS Conference in Oct, 1981). That should be evident to anyone with common sense! When Benson’s words are applied to the three revelations quoted in our last blog it shows that Smith was not a “true prophet.” But centuries before Benson said that in 1981 it was in the Bible. The Bible says in Deut. 18:22, “When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not (or doesn’t come to pass) that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken, but that prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” Deut. 13:1-5 also says if a “prophet” or a dreamer of dreams predicts something that seems to come to pass but he teaches people to serve a different god than the God of the Bible, he is still a false prophet! Joseph Smith taught about gods that are different than the God of the Bible, so he qualifies as a false prophet on that basis too. Parts one, two and three of this series of blogs show the difference between the Biblical God and the gods that Joseph Smith taught. In the Doctrine and Covenants (D. & C.) and elsewhere Smith predicted many other things that did not happen in addition to the three false prophecies cited from the D. & C. in our last blog. In Old Testament days Deut. 13:1-5 and 18:20-22 both state that the penalty for false prophecies was death. Jeremiah 23 says the Lord is against those “prophets” who claim He gave them their message when they really spoke out of their own hearts and He will punish them as a result.
The LDS Church claims to be a “restoration” of the New Testament Church but it did not have all of the offices that Talmage listed in his book entitled the Articles of Faith on pages 198-199. Some of those “offices” are not even in the Bible and nowhere does it say they are “offices in the Priesthood.” Many LDS say that is because the Bible has been corrupted and is incomplete. However, there is far more evidence that the Bible is an accurate history of real people and places than there is for the Book of Mormon (B. of M.)! The B. of M. is called “the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ” in D. & C. 20:9 and 27:5 but most of the “offices” Talmage listed aren’t in it either! So, is the B. of M. a record of a false church? LDS sometimes claim that the Lord revealed those offices to Joseph Smith because they were lost out of the Bible. Using that logic one could claim almost anything was lost out of the Bible and then restored by revelation! That is one of those unprovable arguments from silence! The LDS Church is not like the New Testament Church so it is not a restoration of it but is a substitution for it! A “Restoration” restores things back in their original condition, not a different condition. I Tim. 3:1-13 and Philip. 1:1 mentions only two offices in the Church: deacons and bishops. A bishop is the same office as elder or pastor as Titus 1:5-9 shows. The LDS Church claims to have the offices listed in their sixth Article of Faith, but they don’t have offices called “pastor” or “evangelist.” When asked about those offices they usually say, “Our bishops are pastors and our seventies or patriarchs are evangelists.” But if someone in another church says our pastors are prophets and our missionaries are apostles, LDS reject that so they are inconsistent!
Hebrews 7:11-28 says that Jesus Christ is now the only High Priest after the order or manner of Melchizedek. Heb. 7:17, 21, 24-25, 28 says He (Christ) lives forever and His Priesthood is forever, so there is no need for another High Priest! Heb. 7:24 says Christ’s priesthood is “unchangeable” and the original Greek word means it can’t be passed on to anyone else! Heb. 7:11-12 also shows that the Levitical or Aaronic Priesthood was replaced by Christ. The primary purpose of the Aaronic priesthood was to offer sacrifices and offerings and care for the tabernacle or temple. Christ was the sacrifice that fulfilled God’s requirement for sin so there is no need for a temple or Aaronic priests now! There is more about priesthood in our last two blogs. Christ is the only High Priest for Christians. Other High Priests in the New Testament were part of the Old Testament sacrificial system. All true believers in Christ are part of the holy or royal priesthood mentioned in I Pet. 2:5 and 9 and it includes both males and females of all races. Modern versions of Rev. 1:6 say that believers are a kingdom of priests. “Priest” is not a Church office to which Christians need to be ordained by the laying on of hands like the LDS Church does. LDS claim to have both Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood, but Hebrews 7 refutes that claim. The holy or royal priesthood of believers in Christ is neither Aaronic nor Melchizedek but it gives them direct access to the Lord as Heb. 10:19-25 says.
Next time we will discuss LDS offices not mentioned in the 6th Article of Faith.