The LDS (Mormon) Church, Part 5: The Great Apostasy

I'm back! And I'm ready to talk about another unique LDS teaching, the "Great Apostasy". To be honest, my first reaction when I heard of this teaching went something like, "The Aposta-what?" After reading about what it means, I sort of brushed it off. I didn't think of it as a core teaching that I should dig deeper into.

And then...there was this series of posts. I've been praying a LOT in the past week or so, trying to figure out which topic I should cover next. And every time I opened my Bible, I was brought straight to passages that addressed the idea of the Apostasy. So here I am, and this is what we're talking about. Let's jump in...


(If you want to catch up on this conversation, click HERE to see everything. Or you can scroll to the bottom of this post to find itemized links to past posts.)

Section 1 - What the LDS (Mormon) Church teaches about the Great Apostasy:

"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it." (Amos 8:11-12 )

"When individuals or groups of people turn away from the principles of the gospel, they are in a state of apostasy. One example is the Great Apostasy, which occurred after the Savior established His Church. After the deaths of the Savior and His Apostles, men corrupted the principles of the gospel and made unauthorized changes in Church organization and priesthood ordinances. Because of this widespread apostasy, the Lord withdrew the authority of the priesthood from the earth. This apostasy lasted until Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son appeared to Joseph Smith in 1820 and initiated the restoration of the fullness of the gospel." (lds.org)

"During the Great Apostasy, people were without divine direction from living prophets. Many churches were established, but they did not have priesthood power to lead people to the true knowledge of God the Father and Jesus Christ. Parts of the holy scriptures were corrupted or lost, and no one had the authority to confer the gift of the Holy Ghost or perform other priesthood ordinances." (lds.org)

"And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away." (1 Nephi 13:26)

"Therefore say I unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." (Matthew 21:43) (Used on LDS.org as a proof text when explaining the teaching of the GA.)

"But wickedness did prevail upon the face of the whole land, insomuch that the Lord did take away his beloved disciples, and the work of miracles and of healing did cease because of the iniquity of the people. And there were no gifts from the Lord, and the Holy Ghost did not come upon any, because of their wickedness and unbelief." (Mormon 1:13)

"The deaths of the Apostles meant the loss of what Paul had called “the foundation” (Eph. 2:20) of the Church. This loss allowed false brethren to drive the true Church “into the wilderness” (Rev. 12:6)"

"History shows, in fact, that after the first century, church leaders, in order to decide important issues, could not (and did not) appeal to heaven for authoritative direction because they did not possess the keys of the kingdom. There were still honorable people on the earth who received personal inspiration for their individual lives. But the church was run largely by men who gathered in councils and held debates, letting their decisions rest on the collected wisdom of mortal beings." (lds.org)

"The messenger who visited us on this occasion and conferred this Priesthood upon us, said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which Priesthood, he said, would in due time be conferred on us, and that I should be called the first Elder of the Church, and he (Oliver Cowdery) the second. It was on the fifteenth day of May, 1829, that we were ordained under the hand of this messenger, and baptized." (Joseph Smith History 1:72)

"I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet." (Joseph Smith, History of the Church 6:408-409)

Section 2 - What the Bible says about the Great Apostasy:

God's Son will be worshiped and respected as long as the sun and moon endure. Indeed, throughout all generations. (Psalm 72:1-7)

Jesus' dominion is an everlasting dominion, and will not pass away or be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14)

Jesus is our great high priest, and he continues forever because he lives forever. His priesthood is unchangeable. (Hebrews 7:22-25)

The word of the Lord endures forever. (1 Peter 1:25)

Jesus is the foundation of His church. Yes, the Bible says that the apostles and the prophets are the foundation as well, but Jesus is the chief cornerstone. (Ephesians 2:20, 1Corinthians 3:11, 1 Peter 2:6)

If the gospel is hidden, it is only hidden to the lost who have been blinded by the "god of this world" (Satan) to God's Truth. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)

Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth. He is with us always, until the very end of the world. (Matthew 28:18-20)

Regarding Amos 8:11-12 (the proof text that the LDS church uses to show that God warned of the "Great Apostasy"...please read the entire chapter. When read in proper context, it is clear that chapter 8 is referring to end times...the end of the earth, the day of God's judgement. Amos 8 also speaks of dead bodies everywhere, the sun going down at noon, and the earth turning dark on a clear day. This time has yet to come, and does not refer to the time between the deaths of the apostles and the rising up of Joseph Smith.

And Matthew 21:43 is also taken out of context. If you read the surrounding text, say, Matthew 21:42-45, you can easily see that Jesus was speaking of the priests and the pharisees of that time. It may also very well apply to individuals since then. But there is no indication that it refers to 1800 years of believers between the time of the death of the apostles and Joseph Smith.

The LDS church teaches that, "During the Great Apostasy, people were without divine direction from living prophets. Many churches were established, but they did not have priesthood power to lead people to the true knowledge of God the Father and Jesus Christ."

But the Bible says something different about "Divine Direction":

1. When we become believers in the true Christ and ask him to come into our hearts, we are given the Holy Spirit to dwell with us always. (Luke 11:13, Acts 2:4, Acts 2:15-18, Acts 2:38, Acts 15:8-9, 1 Cor 3:16, 1 Cor 6:19, 2 Cor 13:5, and many more)
2. We do not need a human being to give us divine direction because the Spirit in us will guide us in God's way.(1 Cor 2:12-14)
3. Jesus is our great High Priest, and the only one who holds "priesthood power". (Hebrews 7:22-25)

Section 3 - My thoughts on the LDS teaching of a "Great Apostasy"

The heart of the GA teaching lies in the following assumption (from lds.org, full quote listed above): "...no one had the authority to confer the gift of the Holy Ghost or perform other priesthood ordinances."

I take issue with this teaching because of what it means about who Jesus is. Jesus is alive. Jesus is our great high priest. God does not need a human being to give out the gift of the Holy Spirit! There has not been a time since Jesus' resurrection that he has not been fully active and in control of his precious church...the body of believers.

So why does the LDS church teach this? It's certainly not because of any overwhelming Biblical evidence! I believe that they teach it because there's simply no other way for them to explain the fact that they've changed every core belief and doctrine of Christianity including who Jesus is, who God is, why there is sin in the world, how and why we are here, who we are in God, what Heaven is like, what Hell is like, who Satan is, and how to get to Heaven.

There's no other way to explain why all those beliefs are so radically different...the only way to explain it is to make the claim that everyone but the LDS church is in a state of apostasy.

Now, if I understand this correctly, I would be considered an apostate by the LDS church. I reject Joseph Smith as a prophet of God, I reject the LDS teachings on God, I reject the LDS "gospel". According to the LDS church, I am a member of an "abominable" church - one that does not know or accept or believe the truth about God and his gospel (as the LDS church teaches it). According to their definition of being in a state of apostasy, the following would apply to me (full quote above in section 1):

"...the Lord did take away his beloved disciples, and the work of miracles and of healing did cease because of the iniquity of the people. And there were no gifts from the Lord, and the Holy Ghost did not come upon any..."

I've heard it said that it takes much repetition to prove something true, but only one case to prove something false. For example, let's say that someone claims that "all women are shorter than 6 feet tall". They count, and measure, and it seems that their theory is going to hold up....until a woman walks in who is 6'2". At that moment, they must take out their big red marker, and write "NOT TRUE" across their theory. They've proven it to be false. One case blew the whole theory out of the water, even though they'd seen 3,000 women who were shorter than 6".

So keeping that in mind, my LDS friends, what to you make of me? I have personally been a witness to and been the blessed recipient of miraculous healings and gifts that can only be explained as coming from the Holy Spirit. And yet, I'm not LDS. In fact, I actively research the beliefs of the LDS church and FIRMLY reject those beliefs. How can this be?

And I am not the only example to be found! There is an abundance of examples to show that the Lord's church is (and has been) alive and well...all from during the time of the LDS church's Great Apostasy.

Section 4 - Questions to consider

1. If you believe in the LDS teaching of the Great Apostasy, how do you reconcile it with Jesus saying he would be with us until the very end of the world?
2. What does it mean to you that Jesus is the great high priest?
3. What do you make of the fact that I am not LDS, in fact I actively reject the LDS church's teachings, and yet I have benefited from God's blessings and miraculous healing?
4. Do you believe than men hold God's church together, or does God hold his church together? Did Joseph Smith have reason to boast?
5. What if the teaching of the Great Apostasy is simply not true? What would that mean for you as an LDS believer?

**************************************************************

Previous posts in this series:

1. Introduction & Intent
2. Format
3. Part 1: Joseph Smith
4. Part 2: God and Jesus
5. Part 2: Followup
6. Part 2: Another Followup
7. Part 3: Determining Truth
8. Part 3: Determining Truth Followup
9. Part 4: The Fall & Original Sin
10. Part 4: Followup
11. Taking a Break

Vansmom  – (10/07/2008 12:49:00 AM)  

CB-
I am glad that you are back in this capacity. Thank you for sharing your studies with us!

Kate  – (10/07/2008 12:12:00 PM)  

You're doing such a great job, Daiquiri. I am so impressed by the depth of your study and the firm grasp you have of Mormon Theology. So many who think they know what the LDS church teaches miss many of the nuances that you seem to really get.

You're exactly right in why the church needs their teaching on the Great Apostacy. If their theory isn't true, then Joseph Smith and the Restoration wouldn't be necessary, and where would that leave them?

I don't know that there's any more to say than that at this time. You've done an excellent job of recapping church doctrine on the subject and I'll wait to see what current members have to say about it before I add anything else.

Summer  – (10/07/2008 02:17:00 PM)  

Yay, you're back!

I thought I detected a kind of hurt/offended tone. I hope someone hasn't come across as judgemental toward you! (I hope that someone wasn't me, too.) Yeah, you are considered to be in a state of apostasy. (Which I actually looked up because it sounded so harsh the way you described it.) It doesn’t mean we believe you are condemned automatically to hell and a demoralized life. It just means there’s more out there, and you haven’t accepted it. I'm sharing my knowledge with you because that knowledge makes me happy- happier than I would be without it, not because I’m worried you aren’t happy. Like I've said before, I think you are great! I don't read these thinking- "Oh, boy. More blasphemy from the apostate..." Of course I care for you. I'm not "worried" about you.

Personal stuff aside.

Amos and Matthew passages were used in the definition of apostasy in general. So they were talking about the end of the world. Must mean there will be some apostatizing going on then. We also believe in the end of the world.

Read this about the difference between the light of Christ and the Holy Ghost.

The Prophet Joseph Smith explained: “There is a difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized, which was the convincing power of God unto him of the truth of the Gospel, but he could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost until after he was baptized. Had he not taken this … ordinance upon him, the Holy Ghost which convinced him of the truth of God, would have left him.”

Of course people who aren’t LDS can feel the Holy Ghost. Before they were baptized, Cornelius and company felt it. They needed that witness to know that the gospel of Christ was true. The necessity of ordinances of the priesthood, and priesthood holders is illustrated in this scripture. Instead of telling those people to say they accepted Christ, Peter baptized them. Right after telling them he was only a man. He was just a man. But he was a man with the authority of God to baptize.

I’m not going to quote a bunch of scriptures, but these illustrations are everywhere. It’s kind of pointless to quote them, because every scripture you quoted is, again, one I use to enlarge my understanding of an entirely different theology. (Yes, in context. ;)

I believe men of God hold His church together. The church itself is for men, God doesn’t need it. It’s just an organization He gave us to help us learn and demonstrate our dependence on Him for our direction. As an organized body we make a finer-tuned instrument to get His work done.

There's more, but I'll stop here... getting too long.

Rob  – (10/07/2008 02:31:00 PM)  

Hi Daiquiri, glad to see you’re back tackling these deep subjects. Before I say anything from the LDS perspective, could you provide a little clarification on how you would like the discussion to go? I want to try really hard to avoid the frustration and miscommunications that seemed to creep in during the prior discussions. In these comments, are you looking for additional clarification and support from us on the points of doctrine you outline above and our understanding of why we believe what we believe? I think another way of putting it is whether you’re looking for these comments to be a continuation of the research you’ve done for the main post (which is commendable and considerable, by the way) or if you feel the comments should focus on other areas.

I also wonder if you wouldn’t mind clarifying one other thing, it’s a bit more personal so I completely understand if you’d rather not. You are a Protestant, correct? Are you also a member of a particular denomination within the Protestant “world”? When you refer to Bible-based Christians, does this refer to (potentially) all Protestants, only members of certain Protestant denominations, or a separate denomination apart from other ones? Please forgive my ignorance on this and, again, if this is too personal, just say so.

Thanks!

Daiquiri  – (10/07/2008 08:56:00 PM)  

Okay, sorry it took me so long to respond to your questions, Rob. My little one has been running a 103 degree fever this afternoon, and needed his mommy more than the blogging world did :)

But he's down for the night now. (BIG relieved sigh!)

To quickly answer your questions, here it is:

1. How do I want this conversation to go? Oh, I don't really know. My point with this series is to clearly and plainly state what the LDS church teaches. The main input that I'm hoping to get from the LDS community is to point out if I've made any errors. This isn't about me or my being "right"...this is about the Truth of God. I don't believe that the LDS church teaches the Truth, and I want to shed light on that. That being said, I VERY much value conversation with you all...my new LDS friends :) I care about you...more than I'd like to sometiems, to be honest! I'm hoping that this series of posts will both help you to see through deception, and to help me understand why you believe as you do.

2. Your second question...I am not Catholic...I guess that makes me Protestant? I am not associated with any particular denomination. The church I go to is simply a Bible teaching church. We worship, we fellowship, and our pastor reads and teaches from the Bible. Does that answer your question? And no, it's not too personal. I think it's a very fair question considering the fact that I'm looking so critically at your church through this lens of my beliefs. I'm an open book :)

It seems to me though, that you might be getting at something? Is there a point you were trying to get at...or were you just curious? I guess I'll find out soon enough!

And Summer...no. No one has hurt or offended me. Thanks for caring :) To be perfectly frank? Digging into the LDS faith is often upsetting to me. I find many of the LDS beliefs to be...disturbing,for lack of a better word. Maybe my tone reflected how I was feeling.

Oh. I'm fried after an afternoon of comforting a sick baby, getting homeworks done, and doing the dinner, dishes, bedtime routine. Hubby gets back into town tonight, so this single mom thing will finally come to an end! Until next week, that is...

See you all tomorrow.

Rob  – (10/07/2008 11:54:00 PM)  

Thanks, Daiquiri. I hope your little one is feeling better soon.

When we talk about the Great Apostasy, we refer to a loss of leadership and of church organization in the world. It is a loss of prophets and apostles chosen by God to lead His people.

I was asking whether you were Protestant, other than just to better understand where you’re coming from, because I believe thus far, we have the same belief. If we don’t believe that, at some point in the past, the leadership and organization of the church fell away from Christ’s true Gospel, we would be Catholics (or, I suppose, Eastern Orthodox).

I think our difference comes in on (1) when we believe things got back on track, and (2) who got them back on track.

To be clear, God will always have a personal relationship with any of his children that will accept Him. And, of course, this relationship includes miracles and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in all aspects of our lives. God will listen to and answer the prayers of all His children, regardless of where or when they are born, or what formal church organization exists on earth.

However, to say that no formal church organization is required now is to deny the whole history of the Bible. All throughout the Old and New Testament, God chose righteous men as his prophets and apostles to lead and instruct his people. In Amos 3:7 He states that he will always work through prophets.

Even when Christ himself was on the earth, he chose 12 apostles and gave them the authority to lead His church after His ascension. The apostles themselves understood that this position was to continue beyond the original chosen 12 since they replaced Judas with Matthias after the crucifixion.

I see no biblical foundation for the idea that the organization that God used throughout the Bible can now be ignored. When did prophets and apostles stop being the foundation of Christ’s church? When was it that anyone who wanted to (or who attended a theological seminary, or who simply felt inspired) could perform baptisms or other ordinances in the name of Christ? I think the story in Acts 19:13-16 is a good (and, I must admit, kind of funny) example of the requirement to go through the leaders and the organization established by God. “No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (Hebrews 5:4).

Patrick  – (10/08/2008 02:31:00 AM)  

Ok, let me play the devil's advocate for a second and assume that Joseph Smith was really a prophet. When he died, he failed to leave clear instructions as to his succession & thus, 3 main factions of the LDS church broke off. Was this another 'Great Apostasy'? All 3 new leaders, Joseph the III, Sydney Rigdon, and Brigham Young, were leaders in the church and held the proper priesthoods etc. They each now have a claim to apostolic succession. What's my point? Well, it just goes to show how quickly church organizations fall apart when in the hands of men.

Now, to respond to Rob a bit. Apostles and Prophets were never the foundation of Christ's church... Christ has always been. This is where the Catholic church strayed & it appears the LDS church followed. We know that God is a God of order. Therefore church (notice the small 'c') organization is required. But as long as the worship is organized and the message being preached is truth, Christians don't care who is behind the pulpit. Mark 9:38 points to this pretty clearly.

True, God has made roles in the Church - which Christians today still follow. Apostles, yup, we've got them - just not 12 & we tend to call them missionaries, but 'apostle' would be correct by definition (messengers sent out to tell people about Jesus). Prophets - yup, got those too... however, it's typically not a full time job, but rather, as the Spirit provides the gift. (BTW, even in the Old Testament, there wasn't just 1 prophet at a time) Teachers, yes. Miracle workers, yes. Healers, yes. Bishops, deacons, pastors etc. etc. etc.

Now, can I just go out and pastor my own "church" (notice again the small 'c') - No, I haven't been called to do so. But if I do receive this calling in the future then, not only can I, but I'd better! By what authority? By order of the King Himself!

All this is not to say I have ANY problems with the hierarchical setup of the LDS church (or Catholics for that matter). If it works for you folks, then have at it. I just wanted to point out the difference in where our 2 groups are coming from, respond to the fallacy that we don't believe in church organization, and respond to the "by what authority" question.

Sorry for the rant, it's past 2:00AM, so what I typed may be incoherent. :)

Thanks for picking a new topic Daiquiri, I missed it!

Rob  – (10/08/2008 03:33:00 PM)  

Ok, so I’m having some difficulty seeing where we disagree on the idea of a Great Apostasy. Here’s a quick summary of my understanding of the LDS position on this:

1. When Christ was on the earth, he called 12 apostles to lead his church.

2. At some point, these apostles died or were killed and stopped being replaced (or at least stopped being replaced with righteous followers of Christ).

3. We then entered an extended period of time without apostles (or other righteous leaders) leading the church. We call this period The Great Apostasy, but we don’t have to call it that. We can call it something different. How about The Dark Ages?

Are we not in agreement on these points? Are any of these points not biblical?

Now, I know we have deep and fundamental differences in our beliefs concerning when and by what means this period in history came to an end. But, surely we agree that this period happened.

Regarding the current organization of the church, I don’t see a lot of difference on our principles there either. Christ is the head of His church. All authority to teach doctrine and perform saving ordinances come through Him. He is a God of order and so He has prescribed an organization for his earthly followers. We are organized with a Prophet and 12 Apostles.

If I can take a stab at what I think a main difference is between us, it’s that you don’t believe a church organization is needed for anything (or, more specifically, anything involving salvation and the life hereafter) and we believe that there are some things that can only be done within an organized church by those that have been given proper authority from God to do them.

We certainly believe, as do you, that there are many things for which an organized church is unnecessary. These would include:
- Praying to your Heavenly Father and receiving answers from Him.
- Receiving and witnessing miracles in your life
- Feeling the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in your life guiding you closer to Christ
- Having a personal relationship with your Savior and feeling His love and guidance in your life.

It is only within the church and through one that has been given proper authority, however, that one can receive the required ordinance of baptism.

I think I’ve rambled on enough for one comment. Maybe, I’ll add more thoughts later if you’re not completely sick of hearing from me.

Angela Williams Duea  – (10/08/2008 04:48:00 PM)  

Daiquiri, thank you for your thoughtful research of these subjects. I have learned more about LDS doctrine from you than I ever knew before (which was a very small amount of knowledge). I have to say I am shocked and saddened by the doctrine I've read.

In this topic, I can not understand how intelligent and well-informed people could completely dismiss 1800 years of church leadership. Granted, not all church leaders, regardless of denomination, have been good leaders, but there have been amazingly effective leaders throughout the years. All I can conclude is that people accept Smith's teaching and then do not bother to research the lives of the great Christian leaders since Christ.

There was a quote from Smith that also surprised me - and raised a red flag. It was the quote about how he had more reason to brag than anyone. The apostle Paul himself said he had less reason to brag than anyone. And the bible states, "What does God require of us? Do do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with the Lord." Smith's comment shows a less-than-humble attitude.

Finally, I'm offended that someone else would presume to judge whether I'm actually guided by the Holy Spirit or just "feel" the Holy Spirit. God alone fills us with the Holy Spirit, and he does not limit the gift to only one denomination.

Angela Williams Duea  – (10/08/2008 04:52:00 PM)  

I forgot to respond to something in Summer's comment. According to the bible, God does not only give the gift of the Holy Spirit to people who have been baptized. There were many faithful people in the Old Testament who received the Holy Spirit and manifested its gifts - and this was before the Jews started up the practice of baptizing.

Daiquiri  – (10/08/2008 09:22:00 PM)  

Rob - I'd like to address some of the points you touched on in your last comment. You said the following:

"1. When Christ was on the earth, he called 12 apostles to lead his church.

2. At some point, these apostles died or were killed and stopped being replaced (or at least stopped being replaced with righteous followers of Christ).

3. We then entered an extended period of time without apostles (or other righteous leaders) leading the church. We call this period The Great Apostasy, but we don’t have to call it that. We can call it something different. How about The Dark Ages?

Are we not in agreement on these points? Are any of these points not biblical?"


My answer to your question is

#1. Yes, we are in agreement here

#2. No, we disagree here. What Biblical evidence is there that the church, as it was structured in the early stages of Christianity, ended? As far as we can tell from the Bible, churches were meeting in homes...what evidence is there that that trend did not continue? (Romans 16:5, 1 Cor, 16:19, others)

#3. No, we disagree on this one too. Yes, there was a "Dark Ages" - there was a time of moral struggle. But a total apostasy? Total apostasy means 100% in my understanding.

And it seems that you are saying something slightly different than the LDS church teaches. You seem to be suggesting that only the (supposed) absence of church organization or structure is the definition of the Great Apostasy. The LDS church definition is more wide-spread. It refers to not only the church organization itself, but to the moral and spiritual condition of all mankind...a "turning away from the priciples of the gospel"..."All flesh has become corrupt...":

"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." D&C 112:23

According to LDS doctrine, what was left was nothing more than an "abominable church".

I don't take issue with the idea that the LDS church believes that their church structure is the only way to structure a church.

I take issue with the idea that, for approximately 1800 years, the earth was void of Godly men and women of true and saving faith...men and woman who went to their viscious deaths for their faith in Jesus (although not ALL of them did). Those men and women were the church body...the body of Christ on earth.

Since the death of Jesus, there has not been a time on this earth when His church was not alive. Weakened? Yes. Persecuted? Yes. But gone? Lost? Abominable? Void of the Gospel truths? Absolutely not.

Sam and His Girls  – (10/09/2008 10:12:00 AM)  

hello! I was blown away by the heart of you to describe you LOVE for fellow mormons. My husband and I experienced 5 years of, well, I'll call it an inner conflict while being surrounded by many mormons in AZ while we lived there for a short time.We too know Jesus and have attened many denominations in our marriage together(calvary and harvest) And I always had so much wonder and q's to boot for my girlfriends of that faith but always felt ill equiped to ask or even challenge some of their doctorine at times. I felt liked I failed them in a way. But at the end of the day, I chose to Love them and eventually try to learn more. So when I happened upon your blog it really gave me hope and insight. Thank you for that. And for that you are considered RAD in my book! God Bless your heart. Zoe Phillips

Summer  – (10/09/2008 02:33:00 PM)  

Daiquiri, it seems in the D&C scripture you quoted, he was taking about all flesh being corrupted in the same way he was saying it in Genesis 6:12 "And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them cwith the earth."

Obviously he didn’t mean Noah. And obviously he didn’t mean Joseph.
We do believe there were people who were influenced and directed by Holy Ghost during the Great Apostasy.

Here’s a bit of one talk that illustrates what I’ve been taught:

"Can ministers of other churches call forth blessings from God upon their people? Most assuredly they can and do. We revere the effort and service of such great men as John and Charles Wesley in the forefront of the Methodist movement. Martin Luther, John Huss, John Wycliffe, Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin, and many others who were influenced by the Spirit of God to bring light and truth to a world in spiritual darkness.
We know from Chapter 13 in 1 Nephi [1 Ne. 13] that Columbus was influenced by God’s power to accomplish a work of discovery to which he was foreordained and prepared.
The Lord did this well before the days of Joseph Smith.
Does the Spirit of God bless people who are not members of the Church? Of course, when they seek him in faith and righteousness. “For,” as our doctrine states, “the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
“And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.” (D&C 84:45–46; italics added.)
Does the Lord answer prayers of nonmembers? Millions have given testimony that he does."

Summer  – (10/09/2008 02:46:00 PM)  

Also- you asked "What Biblical evidence is there that the church, as it was structured in the early stages of Christianity, ended?"

This is full of many examples- I learned a lot reading it.

Daiquiri  – (10/09/2008 11:27:00 PM)  

Summer-

I had a chance to read through the link you provided. Oh man.

How can I say this delicately, when I feel like ripping my hair out with frustration?

The "prophesies" of the Great Apostasy listed in that article were so upsetting to me. Scripture all taken out of context...the vast majority referring to "end times"...not a great and total apostasy like is taught by the LDS church.

Maybe the most upsetting thing I read was under the "Evidence of the Apostasy in the New Testament" section, where it said:

"The end of the New Testament essentially heralds the end of the Church."

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And then, in that same section, it introduces the "evidence" in terms like, "we can assume...", "could have...", "perhaps...", etc.

The entire article begins with a statement about how important the GA teaching is to the LDS faith:

"This [the GA] is a fundamental belief of the LDS. If there had not been an apostasy, there would have been no need for a restoration."

I could not agree more passionately!

But, my dear friends...please, there was NOT a total apostasy!

The LDS claim is that during the GA, "Many churches were established, but they did not have priesthood power to lead people to the true knowledge of God the Father and Jesus Christ."

The Bible tells us that Jesus is our great high priest.

To claim that there was ever a time where there was no "priesthood power" is to remove Jesus himself from the scene for a time. There has never been a time when he was not guiding his Church...his precious believers in Truth and Power.

"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the world."

Always. To the very end of the world!

Summer  – (10/10/2008 12:32:00 PM)  

Aaaahhh! Keep your hair in tact!! ;D

Priesthood power does not equal Jesus' position as head of His church. We believe He was watching over everyone, sending the Holy Ghost to confirm truth- doing everything he does now for people who choose to come to Him. It just was a period without the organization, and blessings of that special authority to act in God's name.

I'm curious, what have you been taught is going to happen to people who never once heard of Christ, and die ignorant of His existance?

Angela Williams Duea  – (10/10/2008 06:23:00 PM)  

I'm curious, Summer. What is your evidence that "It just was a period without the organization, and blessings of that special authority to act in God's name."?

And how does that square with the very real historical and biblical evidence of holy, devout and clearly God-led organizations within Christianity in the past several thousand years?

By the way, though you did not direct the question to me, I have been taught, and believe, that God makes himself known to people who have not been taught by other humans about the salvation through Christ. At that point they have the same decision as the rest of the world: what to do with that knowledge.

Summer  – (10/10/2008 08:10:00 PM)  

Angela,

Thanks for answering my question, I put it out there for anyone, really. I just wondered. So you believe that everyone in the world has the opportunity to accept or reject Jesus Christ before they die? Babies? I'm not asking for more than a yes or no (more is fine, though ;) and I don't want to get into "evidence"- I'm seriously just wondering.

I wish we could hear each others' tone of voice, because I'm sure we all sound really feisty to the other.

As for your appeal for evidence- I've said before, I'm not here to convince anybody anything. Whether you believe what I believe is an entirely different matter than how you portray what I believe. I'm just here to clarify my beliefs, and have found a lot of clarification to do. Things are being said here that cast a false light on certain doctrines of my church. I feel I'm here as a representative of sorts. I notice people reading Daiquiri's posts and saying they have learned a lot about what I believe. A lot of the time it seems to me that after reading her posts they've learned almost the exact opposite of what I believe. (No offense Daiqiri- just one gal's opinion.) So I'm just here doing what Daiquiri asked the LDS people to do.

Anyway. I don't know if it sounds like I'm bailing on a serious discussion or whatever. I'm not here to provide evidence, to back myself up, to win points, be right-you know? This isn't a contest or mission for me. I just believe in "the truth" as much as you do, and want to lend a hand where I can. We get into evidence- things turn contentious, you know?

Oh, and in answer it the "how does that square" question, I talked about that five or six comments up. The long one with "Daiquiri-" at the beginning.

Summer  – (10/10/2008 08:16:00 PM)  

Daiquiri, I probably should just e-mail you my questions about your faith- I just realized I said I'm here to do what you asked, but my question is kind of off-topic. Anyway- I won't make it a habit. Sorry!

Patrick  – (10/10/2008 08:53:00 PM)  

Summer,
That's a legitimate question to ask.

When asked about those who may not have ever heard of "Jesus", my church teaches this:

Where the Bible speaks, we may speak. But where the Bible is silent, we are also silent.

So, the Bible does not speak directly to that question, therefore, I'm not in any position to give an answer. That being said though, the Bible does teach of the nature and character of God. And we know that God is Just and God is Righteous. So, whatever happens to those souls, I know it will be Just and Right.

Hope that helps.
Pat

Daiquiri  – (10/10/2008 09:17:00 PM)  

I've noticed something that I think is contributing to confusion on this issue.

It seems to me than many LDS folks believe something different about the Great Apostasy than the LDS church teaches.

The general idea I get from reading comments here is that the GA was about church organization, and about special authority and blessings that come from that organization. Folks still believe that God was communicating with those who sought him earnestly, and he was working in their lives if they chose him and loved him.

Is that a fair summary?

Okay, now compare that with:

"But wickedness did prevail upon the face of the whole land, insomuch that the Lord did take away his beloved disciples, and the work of miracles and of healing did cease because of the iniquity of the people. And there were no gifts from the Lord, and the Holy Ghost did not come upon any, because of their wickedness and unbelief." (Mormon 1:13)

No miracles. No healing. No gifts from the Lord. No Holy Ghost in people's lives. For anyone. The language is pretty specific!

My point is this...I am considered an apostate by the LDS church, and I have first hand experience that the teaching in Mormon 1:13 is false.

And many LDS believers also seem to believe something different than what is taught in Mormon 1:13.

My LDS friends...do you believe that the earth was filled with "wickedness and unbelief" for 1800 years? Do you believe that God stopped all miracles and healing for 1800 years?

Help me out here. It seems pretty cut and dry to me...do I misunderstand?

Summer  – (10/11/2008 06:02:00 AM)  

From what I can tell, reading that chapter in Mormon, he's talking about the land where the Nephites and Lamanites were, and that specific time period. Does it say anywhere he is talking about the whole world? When I've read all of Mormon, he was specifically talking about the history of his people.

Daiquiri- of course you disagree with that scripture- you conveniently misinterpreted it. I know it helps the "argument" for your case if we Mormons seem like we have some callous, non-sensical belief that God left everyone hanging during the Apostasy. I'm tellin' ya- that's not what we believe. I've more than explained it- can you just accept what I'm telling you about our beliefs? You're trying to prove to me that I don't believe what I believe at this point.

I think we've just covered the topic, and it didn't "prove" how awful Mormons are to your liking, so you keep pushing, is that what's going on?

Patrick- cool, thanks.

Kaye  – (10/11/2008 01:51:00 PM)  

Daiquiri--
I was just getting ready to start a study regarding the LDS church and Sheila pointed me in your direction. You're going an awesome job. I hope I can be somewhat as concise as you are!

God bless you!

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