Sunday, August 19, 2018

It’s Not Mormon’s Church

This week President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asked the members of the church and the media to no longer refer to the church as the Mormon Church or LDS. In the new Style Guide – The Name of the Church it states:

While the term "Mormon Church" has long been publicly applied to the Church as a nickname, it is not an authorized title, and the Church discourages its use. Thus, please avoid using the abbreviation "LDS" or the nickname "Mormon" as substitutes for the name of the Church, as in "Mormon Church," "LDS Church," or "Church of the Latter-day Saints."

People inside and outside The Church have used the terms Mormon Church or LDS Church since the beginning of the church so why the change now? Individuals that were not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints started calling it the Mormon church because of Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon. It did not take long for the members of the church to adopt the term as well. Many people believe that The Mormon Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are two different churches, not the same church.

After Christ’s death and resurrection he appeared to the people living in the Americas and established his church there just as he did in the old world. When the people asked Jesus what they should call the church he answered:

Have they not read the scriptures, which say ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is my name? For by this name shall ye be called at the last day;

And whoso taketh upon him my name, and endureth to the end, the same shall be saved at the last day.

Therefore, whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name; therefore ye shall call the church in my name; and ye shall call upon the Father in my name that he will bless the church for my sake.

And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses’ name then it be Moses’ church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel. (3 Nephi 27:5-8)

And in a revelation given to Joseph Smith the Lord said: “for thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Doctrine and Covenants 115:4)

The Savior made it clear that there would be two things that would distinguish His Church from all others; first – it would be called the Church of Jesus Christ. The true Church of Jesus Christ would not bear a man’s name like Lutheran, Calvinism, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, St. Teresa of Calcutta, or Mormon. It would not be called by the name of the country like Greek Orthodox, Roman Orthodox, the Church of England, etc. Some churches are called after an event such as the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

The second way we would know if it is the true Church of Jesus Christ is that it would be built on His Gospel and have his authority. In other words it would teach the same things that the ancient apostles taught, have the same organization as they did, and have the priesthood authority to administer the saving ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Speaking the members of the Church of Jesus Christ in his day, the Apostle Paul stated that they

are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (Ephesians 2:19-20)

When Christ established his church in the meridian of times he called 12 Apostles and gave them the priesthood authority to cast out devils, heal the sick, baptize, and preach the kingdom of God (Luke 9:1-2 and Mark 3:14). After Christ’s death, resurrection, and assentation into Heaven, the remaining eleven Apostles needed to fill the vacancy left by the apostacy and death of Judas. One of the qualifying characteristics was that the new Apostle needed to be a witness of Christ’s ministry and resurrection (Acts 1:22). The authority to act in the name of Jesus Christ can be traced from the head of the Meridian Church which was Peter, James, and John to Jesus Christ who called them and ordained them

As already established in an earlier post (“Why Do Mormons Believe in a Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ?”) – see even I am guilty of using the word Mormon to describe The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I need to repent and change as our prophet has asked, the priesthood of God that was given to the ancient apostles was lost due to apostacy. There was no continuation of that authority once the apostles were no longer on the earth. The Catholic church claims that there was a continuation of the priesthood from the Apostle Peter to the Pope; however due to the facts already established The Catholic Church does not bear the name of Jesus Christ nor is it built on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. No other church (that I am aware of) claims to have a restoration of the priesthood of God except The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints.

On May 15th 1829, John the Baptist appeared to the prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and gave them the Aaronic Priesthood (Doctrine and Covenants 13), later that month Peter, James, and John appeared to Joseph and Oliver and ordained them to the Melchizedek Priesthood (Doctrine and Covenants 27:12), and again on April 3, 1836 Moses, Elias, and Elijah all give Joseph and Oliver other priesthood keys for the gathering of Israel and the sealing ordinances of the temple.

Since the calling and ordination of the Prophet Joseph Smith, there has not been a break in the priesthood authority of each of the succeeding prophets to President Russell M. Nelson, the Lord’s prophet and mouth piece to the world today.
The Lord through his prophet has asked the members of his church to refer to his church as outlined in the Scriptures and according to his commandments. We are not the church of Mormon, nor are was the LDS Church; we are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Lord himself has stated that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth (Doctrine and Covenants 1:30). You can recognized it is the true church because we have the same foundation of apostles and prophets as the church that Jesus Christ established, we have the restored priesthood of God, and we teach the same Gospel of Jesus Christ that has been established since before the foundations of this earth.

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