LDS ARTICLES OF FAITH, Part XXX

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.” LDS Apostle James Talmage said on page 198 of his book The Articles of Faith, “Jesus Christ established His Church upon the earth, appointing therein the officers necessary for carrying out the Father’s purposes.” Our last blog pointed out that the four Gospels in the New Testament contain the only contemporary account of Jesus’ life and ministry. In those four Gospels the word “church” appears in only two verses and both are in Matthew. In Matt.16:18 Jesus said, “I will build My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The word “will” refers to what He will do in the future after His resurrection. The only other time Jesus mentioned the church is in Matt. 18:17 where He told believers what to do if they see a believer sin. They are to talk to him personally but if he doesn’t listen they are to take a witness or two and go talk to him again. If he still doesn’t listen, they are to take it to the Church and if he still doesn’t listen he is to be treated as an unbeliever. That is all that Jesus said about the Church in the four gospels and He didn’t even mention church offices! After He ascended into heaven the Apostles and early disciples mentioned just two offices in the Church in the book of Acts and the Epistles. Those offices were deacons and elders and an elder is also referred to as a bishop or pastor according to Titus 1:5-9 and I Tim. 3:1-7 and Eph. 4:11.

Our previous blogs discussed the LDS Church “offices” mentioned in the sixth LDS Article of Faith and by LDS Apostle James Talmage in his book The Articles of Faith on pages 198 and 199. But Talmage listed other LDS offices on pages 204 to 212 of the Articles of Faith which aren’t mentioned in the Bible and were not in the New Testament Church nor are they mentioned in the sixth LDS Article of Faith. So, the sixth LDS Article of Faith is misleading when it says LDS believe in the “SAME ORGANIZATION” that existed in the Primitive Church.” On p. 204 of the Articles of Faith Talmage said, “The Latter-day Saints declare their high claim to the true Church organization, similar in all essentials to the organization effected by Christ among the Jews. This people of the last days profess to have the Priesthood of the Almighty, the power to act in the name of God, which power commands respect both on earth and in heaven.” There is no text in the Bible where Jesus said, “Priesthood in the Church is necessary to act in the name of God.” Doctrine and Covenants 20:9 and 27:5 says the Book of Mormon (B. of M.) contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel but the B. of M. doesn’t say priesthood is necessary to act in the name of God either! Joseph Smith said, “The Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 194). Alma 13 in the B. of M. mentions Melchizedek the man, and says he took upon him the high priesthood forever, it also says many were ordained as high priests in the high priesthood. Priests are often mentioned in the B. of M. but it doesn’t say whether they were Aaronic or Melchizedek Priests, so it is impossible to identify the two LDS priesthoods in the B. of M. The LDS Church has many offices which they say are necessary in the true Church but the B. of M. doesn’t even mention most of them. Was the B. of M. Church a false Church? Or, is the B. of M. incomplete or has it been corrupted?

In his book the Articles of Faith Talmage said on p. 204, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognizes two orders of Priesthood, the lesser called the Aaronic, the greater known as the Melchizedek order.” The sixth LDS Article of Faith says, “We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive (N. T.) Church.” The Bible contains the only contemporary record of the New Testament Church so those two Priesthoods should be clearly stated in the Bible if the LDS claim is true. But you will look in vain for those two Priesthoods in the N. T. Church! The Aaronic Priesthood was part of the Old Testament sacrificial system that ended with Christ’s sacrifice of Himself on the cross! While Melchizedek was a man to whom Abraham paid tithes (Gen. 14:17-20), the Old Testament doesn’t say anyone else had the “Melchizedek Priesthood.” In the New Testament, Christ alone has Priesthood “after the manner or likeness of Melchizedek” and He has it eternally as Heb. 7:24-28 declares.


Talmage says the Aaronic Priesthood offices are deacons, teachers and priests. In the LDS Church deacons are ordained at the age of 12. But in the New Testament I Tim. 3:8-13 says, “deacons are to be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” So LDS deacons are not like N. T. deacons! LDS ordain teachers at the age of 14, but there is no “office” called “teacher” in the N. T. Church. Christ gave “teachers” along with other gifts to “some,” not all (Eph. 4:11). Every church didn’t get all the same gifts. LDS ordain priests at the age of 16 but there was no office called “priest” in the N. T. Church. All true believers in Christ are part of the holy or royal priesthood according to I Pet. 2:5 & 9. The only other priests mentioned in the N. T. are part of the O. T. sacrificial system. Talmage next mentions the offices in the Melchizedek Priesthood. They are elders, seventies, high priests, patriarchs or evangelists, apostles, and prophets. Elders in the LDS Church are ordained at the age of 18. which does not meet the Biblical qualifications for that office. Biblical elders are the same as bishops or pastors and the qualifications for them are in I Tim. 3:1-7. They are not to be novices but are to be blameless, able to teach, the husbands of one wife and rule their own children and houses well. Not many 18 year olds meet those standards! Seventies and patriarchs are words used in the N. T. but not “offices” in the church!

Talmage also said on p. 209 “The Lord has directed that the bearers of the Priesthood shall be organized into quorums.” So, every office in both the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods of the LDS Church are organized into quorums of various sizes and each quorum is presided over by a president. The President of the LDS Church is also a Prophet and he has two counselors and those three men are a quorum of the Presidency of the Church or First Presidency. The Twelve Apostles are also a quorum. There are several quorums of seventies and each quorum is presided over by seven presidents. The seven presidents of the First Quorum of seventies presides over all quorums of seventies. The Presiding Bishop and his two counselors preside over all other bishops. The LDS Church is divided up geographically: Branches are smaller than Wards; Wards are local congregations; Stakes are made up of several Wards. So, there are Stake Presidencies, Ward Bishoprics; Standing High Councils etc. None of the things mentioned in this paragraph were in the N. T. Church or even in the B. of M. Church!

Next time we will discuss the seventh LDS Article of Faith concerning spiritual gifts