Mormon church refers to the Church of Christ restored in the latter days. The name was later changed to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. Although the term Mormon has been used for religious discrimination, most latter day saints do not object to the term; as Mormon means "more good."
The Bible and history attest to the apostasy of the Christian church. The basis of this church is divine revelation (testimony of Jesus); and a restoration of the divine authority and the gospel of Christ. It is a unique American Christian church; with all beliefs parallel to the Apostolic Church of Christ. It was organized by Joseph Smith on April 6, 1830 (1260 years after Papal Rome was established).
Mormon beliefs are unique among Christian churches. This "Mormonism" page will describe some of those differences. Other pages with links include:
The "True & Living God" page describes some of the differences in their beliefs concerning the character and attributes of God.
The "Gospel of Christ" page describes some the differences in their beliefs concerning the principles and administration of the gospel.
The "Divine Priesthood" page describes their beliefs concerning the necessity of divine authority to act in the name (authority) of God.
The "Gospel Restoration" page discusses dispensations of the gospel, apostasy from the gospel after Christ, and restoration of the gospel.
The "Ten Commandments" page offers the original Ten Commandments given to Moses; and explains how the second most important law given to man was lost in the Old Testament.
The "Eternal Life" page describes the existence of man as spirits from before the foundation of the earth, through mortal life, death, the resurrection, the Millennium, and eternity.
The "LDS Prophets" page describes significant differences in the beliefs of the three main branches of the Mormon church.
The "Church of Christ" page describes the existence and organization of the Church of Christ from Jesus to James J. Strang. It tells of the apostasy; when the unbaptized, pagan Roman Emperor Constantine reorganized the church and stood as its absolute head. It also tells of the restoration of the Church of Christ, its demise, and the coming restoration with the gathering of Israel.
The "Book of the Law" page describes the restoration of the Book of the Law of the Lord that was one of the most important books of Scripture; as translated by James J. Strang.
The "End Times" page uses Biblical prophesy to prove most of mankind will soon die from plagues more horrible than man can imagine. Fire goes before, pestilence follows, decease is rampant, and famine destroys many who remain. The desolation is to begin with the falling of a "mountain on fire" and "there fell a great star from heaven, burning." There was another near miss of an asteroid in June, 2002. Here is the story of the beast of Revelations, the image of the beast, the mark of the beast, the number of the beast, Mystery, Babylon the Great, and antichrist. Discover the only Escape From Armageddon.
The "Mormon Books" page includes pamphlets for a more in-depth study of particular subjects (e.g. history, faith, God, immortality). Documents are regularly being added to this page.
Original Mormon Church
The Mormon Church is truly an American Christian institution. It originated in America and was organized without claiming any association with any other church after the Apostolic Church organized by Jesus Christ. It was founded on April 6, 1830, by Joseph Smith with six of the original members in attendance. The original name was the Church of Christ. It was also called The Church of the Latter Day Saints. The final name was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The term Mormon came from acceptance by this people of the Book of Mormon; which is believed to be a record of the early habitation of the Americas by a branch of the House of Israel. It is believed that many of the Native Americans are a remnant of that people. Mormon, translated, means more good. The Book of Mormon was never believed to replace the Bible; but, was accepted as another testament of Jesus and the gospel.
The first gathering of this people was in Kirtland, Ohio. Later they settled in Independence, Missouri; which they called Zion; which they believe will be restored when Jesus returns, as the city of Zion. Religious persecution became so severe by Missouri mobs (of which the Governor had been a part) that it culminated in Governor Boggs issuing an extermination order against the Mormons on October 27, 1838. Some of the blackest pages in American History were written in Missouri. The Mormons were tortured, killed, and driven from their homes in the middle of winter, with only the clothes on their backs.
They fled to Nauvoo, Illinois; where they established a thriving community. The Missouri mobs followed them. Joseph had been arrested numerous times in Missouri on trumped up charges that were dismissed in court. They managed to have Joseph, his brother Hyrum, and about ten others arrested and held in Carthage Jail. Governor Ford issued an order that they should be protected by state militia. The word spread around Carthage, that there was nothing against these men that the law could reach; but, powder and ball would!
The Governor was made aware of the situation. On the morning of
June 27th, 1844, he disbanded the militia and sent them home. About six
o'clock a mob of about 250 men, painted red, black, and yellow stormed the jail
and murdered Joseph and Hyrum. Innocent blood stained the constituted
authorities of the United States. Another black page of American history
Mormon Churches Today
After the murder of Joseph Smith, the church divided into two groups. The first group was organized by James J. Strang at the very moment of Joseph's martyrdom on June 27, 1844; although 400 miles away in Wisconsin. Mr. Strang claimed to have been ordained at the hands of angels; and later received a letter of appointment from Joseph. Both the appointment and the divine ordination were required by their laws, included in their Doctrine and Covenants, to stand at the head.
This group first gathered to Voree (near Burlington, Wisconsin); and then to Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan. These became known as the Strangite Mormons. Mr. Strang was assassinated by two apostate members on June 16, 1856, was returned to Voree, and died on July 9th. He left no successor, the people were scattered, and only a remnant of that people remain.
One group, under the leadership of Vernon Swift, reorganized their church in 1961, into a corporation. Every corporation is a "fictitious" entity that exists only in the mind of civil law. They organized a new order of the priesthood to rule their church; and use the corporation by-laws to govern their church. These have been referred to as the Swiftites.
Many of the original members retained their original identity, priesthood, and laws of God. I was ordained an elder, in this extension of the original church, on July 8, 1956. Biblical prophecy foretells that only a very small remnant of the people of God will be on the earth when Jesus returns. Click here to read more about James J. Strang as a prophet of God.
The second group was organized by Brigham Young, President of the Twelve Apostles. On August 15, Brigham announced that Joseph's place would never be filled by another; and that the Twelve Apostles had authority to govern all the affairs of the church. These were known as the Twelvites.
On December 24, 1847, they admitted their church needed a prophet, like the Strangites. Brigham Young was elected by a vote of the people to be their prophet. Without appointment by Joseph, and without divine ordination, he stood as their First President.
While migrating west to remove themselves from the United States, they learned of California joining the union. Brigham stopped their convoy; and established their organization in the Salt Lake Valley. They have been referred to as Brighamites.
Other groups have been organized and some have disappeared. The third major group began in 1856; when two former Strangites, Jason W. Briggs and Zenos H. Gurley, went to Joseph, the son of the Prophet, and advised him that he should succeed Joseph. In 1860, Joseph Smith III accepted leadership of this Reorganized church. Having no claim to divine priesthood themselves, Briggs and Gurley ordained young Joseph to be their prophet.
The church was again reorganized in 1985; and divided over doctrinal issues. The main body changed their name to the Community of Christ, became ecumenical, and joined the NCC and WCC. The other group has tried to maintain their original doctrines. Both are headquartered in Independence, MO.
Doctrinal differences between the various groups remain in Mormonism today. As an elder of the Strangite group, I can speak only for the teachings of that group; which were taught by Joseph Smith and James J. Strang.
All Mormons believe in God, the heavenly Father, in His son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. They all accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Savior of mankind; and in the gospel of Christ. They "believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men." (Joseph Smith) The word "man" used on this site generally refers to both men and women.
The word Mormon has been used in derogation against the latter day saints for their belief in the Book of Mormon; even as the word Christian was used against the former day saints. The meaning of the word Mormon was actually an omen of its contents. Joseph Smith wrote, "we have the word MORMON; which means, literally, more good." The Book of Mormon was never held to replace the Bible. It is accepted as information concerning the people ("other sheep" mentioned in the Bible--John 10:16); who lived on this continent from 600 BC to 400 AD, their beliefs in Jesus Christ, and Christ's ministry among them after His crucifixion. It also includes an abridged history of a people that migrated to this country at the time the language was confounded in the days of Pelig. It is accepted as another part of Scripture, more good, to use in understanding God's relationship with man, his duty to Him, and his duty toward his fellow man. It is another testament of God's work in offering eternal life to man.
This Web site will specifically address the Mormon Beliefs of the group known as Strangites. Although the beliefs discussed on this site are noted as Mormon beliefs, they do not necessarily represent the beliefs of either the Brighamite (Utah) church, or the Reorganized (Independence) church (Community of Christ). Specific differences in the beliefs between Mormon groups are addressed on the "LDS Prophets" page. Additional information on the organization and rise of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints may be found in the "Church of Christ" page and in the "Mormon Books" page.
A basic Mormon tenant is the pursuit of truth. The mind can imagine a thousand things to be true. Among the thousands of different doctrines in Christianity, only one can be true. The requirement to honor the Sabbath is an absolute law of God. It is a sign between God and His people that was to be obeyed forever. (Ex. 31:17) Yet, the majority of Christian churches honor Sunday as the Sabbath. Only one of these doctrines can be true.
The Bible never honors any day; except the seventh. In 321 AD, Constantine, an unbaptized, pagan Roman Emperor, who worshipped the sun god, issued an edict making Sun day the day of rest; as it was "the venerable day of the sun." Sylvester, who was then bishop of Rome, officially changed the Christian Sabbath to Sunday. The Jews continued to honor the seventh day.
Truth represents an established or verified fact that is in agreement with a standard. Every science has its verified facts; as established by standards recognized by each discipline. Theology is that revealed science that deals with spiritual truth, the relationship between God and man, man's duty toward God, and man's duty toward his fellow man.
Mormons believe in truth regardless of its source. "And do thou grant, Holy Father, that all those who shall worship in this house may be taught words of wisdom out of the best books, and that they may seek learning even by study, and also by faith." (Doctrine and Covenants, 109:14) History may often be used to clarify a question; as in the Sabbath issue.
A basic requirement for gathering information is the use of a standard. The standard for measuring the validity of a particular doctrine has generally been the Bible. Mormons believe in the Bible to the extent it has been translated correctly and use the King James Version as a standard. They also use all Bible translations and informational sources as references (e.g. N.E.T., Language Dictionaries, Book of Jasher, Dead Sea Scrolls, etc.).
The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants are used as reference sources among Mormons. Among Strangite Mormons the final basis for resolving most doctrinal questions is the Book of the Law of the Lord. It is included with notes by James J. Strang on the "Book of the Law" page.
A basic principle of truth is elimination of bias (error); which can result by either the use of an inaccurate source, or an improper evaluation of information. There is no original text of the Bible. There have been numerous changes, lost books, books that are of questionable authenticity, and mistranslations. Mormons, therefore, accept the Bible to be the word of God to the extent that it has been correctly translated.
Use of the Bible as a standard requires using as many references that address a concept that are available. A single reference is generally considered as insufficient evidence. The law of God requires at least two witnesses to establish a fact. Almost anything can be proven by the Bible using references taken out of context, "now I know that there is no God in all the earth." (2 Kings 5:15)
The standard of truth becomes the law of God and the testimony of His holy prophets/apostles. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isa. 8:20)
Many believe tradition assures truth. Tradition only appears to support truth. Tradition makes Sunday appear to be the Sabbath.Only true tradition is truth. "3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Tim. 4) "O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit." (Jer. 16:19)
Opinions offer no objectivity. Increasing the number that believe a particular doctrine has no bearing on its truth. How many hundreds of millions have believed the basic creed of the Catholic church, "Which faith, except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly." Yet, the Bible teaches that all men will be saved by the resurrection. "22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming." (1 Cor. 15)
The voice of the people is not the voice of God. Remember the words of the people, "Crucify Him." Only the words from a prophet/apostle of God represent the voice of God.
Actually, the greater the number that believe a doctrine the smaller is the chance the doctrine is true. "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matt. 7:14) There is to be only a "very small remnant" (Isa. 1:8) of Gentiles holding to truth when Jesus returns. "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8)
Another error that leads many into improper evaluation of information is testimonials; and the concept that "I have the spirit" and therefore what I say must be right. These fail to realize that others feel they, too, have the spirit. Even aboriginal tribes have the spirit. Joseph Smith taught to "try the spirits." There are many great and powerful spirits loose upon the world; but, not necessarily true. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21)
Many believe doctrines because that is what they want to believe. This is what their personal associations believe (friends, relatives). People want to be part of the crowd; and receive their recognition. Their is also an illusory security felt belonging to a large group. Fish use this tactic; but, are often all consumed by a large predator. The fact that others believe Sunday is the Sabbath does not make true. It only makes it permanent in closed minds.
An understanding of truth begins with an earnest desire for truth; and an appreciation that any doctrine that we accept could be in error. An open mind, like a little child, is the door to learning. "But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 19:14)
When there are opposing doctrines, both can be false; but, only one can be true. Each doctrine must be clearly defined and tested against a standard. As an example, let us presume that baptism is not an essential ordinance of the gospel of Christ. Now for the test using the standard. Baptism is mentioned 75 times in the Bible, baptize 52 times, and baptized 187 times. If the ordinance was not essential, one must ask why it was given so much attention. Jesus taught, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3) Jesus explained, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:16) Using the Bible as a standard there are sufficient quotations to establish that baptism is a required ordinance of the gospel of Christ.
Truth is established only by investigation. "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." (1 Thess. 5:21) Truth has no fear of investigation. The more truth is examined, the clearer it becomes established as fact. False concepts, on the other hand, suffer by close examination. A danger sign of false doctrine is the use of quotations out of context. "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Acts 2:21) Calling "on the name" means calling on the "authority;" as "in the name of the Governor."
Cornelius was told to call for Peter. Why? Peter held divine authority; and could act in "the name of the Lord." What did Peter do? He baptized Cornelius. Peter held authority to act in the name of God. "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matt. 16:19)
Another danger sign of false doctrine is change. Neither God, the gospel, nor the law of God ever change. "For I am the LORD, I change not." (Mal. 3:6) "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." (Gal. 1:8) "18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5)
The spiritual laws of God are, like Him, unchangeable. They are the same yesterday, today, and forever. Whatever it took to save men in the days of Adam will be the same today and forever. If the plan of salvation was changed, no one could have confidence in any one plan; as it would demonstrate a defect in the God. As long as there is a living God and an obedient and faithful people, there will be revelations, new knowledge, and a basis for additional valid testimony.
The Sabbath was changed by Constantine three hundred years after Jesus. The Protestant Reformation introduced a new doctrine to Christianity: salvation "by faith only." Yet, the Bible consistently teaches that no man can be saved without obeying the gospel; and then remaining faithful and obedient the rest of his life. "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." (Matt. 24:13) John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Apostles all taught the necessity of repentance. "14 Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand [among you]: repent ye, and believe the gospel." (Mark 1)"5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5)
God is the source of all light and truth. The fountain of knowledge flows from Him. "He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he." (Deut. 32:4) "Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth." (Psalm 31:5) "God of truth" is noted five times in the Bible. The Spirit of Truth is noted sixteen times, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." (John 16:13) "...the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Rev. 19:10)
Mormons do not believe in creeds; as they limit God's work among men. God has always spoken to His people when they would obey His voice. "1 Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear." (Isa. 59) "Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7)
God has promised to make a new covenant with the House of Israel and gather them from the four corners of the earth. Once again, they will be God's covenant people. "34 And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. 35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. 36 Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD. 37 And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant." (Ezek. 20)
Among Mormon beliefs are those noted in a letter of Joseph Smith on March 1, 1842; which have been termed The Articles of Faith. This was not intended as a creed. Joseph Smith always spoke against creeds created by the hand of man.
1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus
Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.2. We believe that men will be punished for their
own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.
Mormon beliefs parallel those of the Bible and the Apostolic church. These will be discussed on the various pages of this site. Some of these beliefs include:
(1) We worship the only living and true God - the God of
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
(3) We believe in a priesthood called and ordained by the will of God.
(4) We accept Christ (the anointed) as the only path to eternal life.
(5) We believe in the gospel of Christ as taught in the Bible.
(6) We believe the seventh day of the week is the Sabbath of the Lord.
(7) We believe all ten commandments; as given by Moses and our Lord Jesus.
(8) We believe that unless men are faithful and obedient to the end of their lives, they can have no hope of eternal life.
Mormons are truly Christians in their belief in God and His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ as their Messiah and Savior. They differ in their beliefs concerning the salvation of mankind. The basic creed of the Catholic church declared, "Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic faith. Which faith, except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly."
Mormons believe that all men, not just those that accept either the Catholic faith, or any other religion will be saved; but, that all mankind will be saved. All men were first created as spirits, second as mortal souls, and then as immortal (resurrected) souls. "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Cor. 15:21) "For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe." (1 Tim. 4:10) "Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference." (Rom. 3:22) "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." (John 1:12)
Not all enjoy either the same opportunities in the flesh, or inheritance after death. Most never hear the gospel in the flesh. Jesus was the first fruits of our spiritual creation. "1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." (John 1)
Through Jesus, according to the will of the Father, came all the rest of the spiritual creation. "4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." (Jer. 1) Jesus was the spiritual creator and the mortal offspring of David. "I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star." (Rev. 22:16) "Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh." (Rom. 1:3)
We all lived together as spirits; since the beginning. The plan of salvation existed before man walked on the earth. Lucifer rebelled against God, was cast down, and took a third of the spirits with him. They can never receive either a mortal, or an immortal physical body. After the resurrection of Jesus, Lucifer and his followers were cast out of heaven to the earth (Rev. 12:9). During the Millennium they will be chained in the bottomless pit. After the second resurrection, they, and the sons of perdition from mortal life, will be cast out for eternity.
Our works, from the beginning, affect our life during this mortal existence. Men are not created equal in this life; because their works were not equal before this life. Only those that were worthy are called of God to hear the gospel in the flesh. "4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." (Eph. 1)
This election does not assure salvation; but, only provides the opportunity to know God and obey the gospel. Those who do not have that opportunity in the flesh are given that opportunity after death in the spirit. After Jesus died, His spirit went to hell. Hell is like a holding pen for those spirits that were not faithful and obedient during mortal life. "By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison." (1 Pet. 3:19) "For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit." (1 Pet. 4:6)
Man is held responsible for his works in the flesh; according to the laws of God, established before the foundation of the earth. Jesus taught three sets of laws. "37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matt. 22)
The third set of laws address mans obedience to the gospel. "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand [among you]." (Matt. 4:17) "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5)
No man can presume that all men receive the same knowledge of the will of God and man's duty toward God; and himself. But, man is responsible for the laws of God that he either understands, or has the opportunity to understand. "...where no law is, there is no transgression." (Rom. 4:15) The responsibility for obeying the gospel was given to the Gentiles after the resurrection of Jesus. Gentiles ("goi," heathen) had been pagans since the days of Noah. Nimrod, the grandson of Noah, was the father of idolatry and paganism. "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent." (Acts 17:30)
Jesus commanded, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15) Yet, the pure and simple gospel of Christ was adulterated with paganism from its earliest of days. Those who knew God and the gospel, and yet perverted such knowledge, have the blood of all men after them on their skirts.
The loss of the gospel and divine authority is a subject of importance both in the Bible and in ecclesiastical history. Their inequity caused the Church of Christ to be taken from the earth for 1,260 years (Rev. 12:6). Rome, the beast of Revelations, was given power, "to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." (Rev. 17:7) "And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the [beast] woman sitteth." (Rev. 17:9) There has always been only one city known synonymously as the city of seven hills.
This beast and image of the beast have assured that most men will never understand the gospel in the flesh. But, all men are given an understanding of their duties toward their fellow man. Even the remotest tribe, appreciates duty toward their fellow. Every culture recognizes such responsibilities (love for his fellow, honor toward parents, killing, adultery, stealing, lying, and seeking the property of others). The Ten Commandments originated with Adam. Had there not been a law against killing, Cain would have come under no penalty. There are good and honorable men in every society and every religion. The attribute of justice in God demands their works be rewarded in eternity.
Man's reward in eternity depends on his faith and obedience during mortal life. This is the proving ground for spiritual development; having no memory of our prior existence. We are truly the masters of our own destiny in eternity. Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2)
Jesus gave the command, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5) After death, the spirits of those who have not obeyed this law are taken to the spirits in prison. The spirits of the faithful and obedient are taken to the bosom of Abraham. The parable of the rich man and the beggar is a similitude. "22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom." (Luke 17)
Here is the heaven and hell that exists from the death of man; until his resurrection. After death, each man's spirit is taken back to God for judgment. Jesus, Abraham, and all the saints of God are together in this heaven; while they await the first resurrection. These are Christ's and are to be with Him when he returns for the Sabbath of Creation, the Millennium. "4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years...6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." (Rev. 20)
All others are taken to hell, a "hidden" place, with the spirits in prison. The only torment men will experience is their own remorse for what could have been theirs. Hell, itself, Jesus described to the thief that was next to him on the cross. "And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43) After death, Jesus went to this hell for three days to preach the gospel. "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matt. 12:40)
What merciless kind of God would create man in such diversity; only to have most of them die and "perish everlastingly"? Truth is one sided and not all men either believe in the same God, or believe in the same plan of salvation. God must have prepared a plan to offer salvation and judge all men according to their own choices. Those who neither know God, nor obey the gospel of Christ in the flesh have no claim to the benefits of those that were righteous and have been promised to live and reign, "with Christ a thousand years." Those honorable men who accept the gospel, after death in the spirit, are to be, "judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit." As these also abide in the word of God, they, too, have the same right to live and reign, "with Christ a thousand years."
All others, who do not accept the word of God while with the spirits in prison, are to be resurrected with the unjust, "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished." (Rev. 20:5) It is not by the capricious will of some unknown God that condemns them to such a fate. It is their decision not to abide by the will of God. Christ opened a gospel dispensation to the spirits in prison and spent three days preaching to them. Is it not most likely that many of them accepted His words? "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?" (1 Cor. 15:29)
After the Millennium, "7...Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea." (Rev. 20) Here is that great and final battle many call either Armageddon, or the Apocalypse; when all mortal man will die. Then comes the final judgment and Satan is cast out into the pit for eternity. "10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
Then, those that do not obey the word of God, are judged only according to their works in the flesh. They cannot receive the grace of Jesus given to those that obey the gospel. "12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works."
After the judgment, time is no more and immortal man enters eternity. There are many glories and kingdoms in eternity. "2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14)
Those who know God, obey His commandments, endure faithful to the end, and are found worthy will inherit the Celestial Glory. A glory so wondrous that it can only be compared as the sun is to the stars. "40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory." (1 Cor. 15) Here, men are sons of God and enjoy companionship of their families in mortality and live in the presence of the Father and the Son. "For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." (Matt. 12:50) These become ministering angels to the lower Terrestrial Glory (glory of the moon).
Those of the Terrestrial Glory are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men, and who accept the gospel in the spirit. They are entitled to join immortals in the Terrestrial Glory. This glorious kingdom is compared as the moon is to the stars. These become ministering angels to the Telestial Glory (glory of the stars).
Those of the Telestial Glory did not accept the gospel of Christ in either the flesh, or in the spirit. They are judged according to their own works in the flesh. Every man will receive a dominion based on those works. They have no part in the first resurrection. They were cast down to hell (spirits in prison) until the fullness [end] of times. They are resurrected with the rest of the unjust after the Millennium. The kingdoms within this glory are as numerous as the stars in the sky; as the works of man are as diverse as the stars. Every man will receive a reward that is appropriate to his nature. Here are liars, sorcerers, adulterers, whoremongers, and every one that loves and makes a lie.
A knowledge of God and an opportunity to worship Him and obey the gospel of Christ in the flesh are the most prized possessions of this life. The first principles of the gospel are very simple. The first key is faith, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Heb. 11:6) Certainly Jesus fulfilled this requirement. He walked in faith all the days of His life.
There is a principle that many do not understand concerning gospel faith. It is a gift from God to those who were chosen before the foundation of this earth; as a reward for works during their first estate as spirits. "3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." (Eph. 1)
Only those chosen of God have the opportunity of understanding the gospel of Christ in the flesh. Gospel faith can be realized only through a minister of God that has been called, ordained, and commissioned by Jesus Christ to perform gospel ordinances "in the name" of Christ. A person could read the Bible all the days of their life and never find gospel faith. "14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Rom. 10)
The second key to eternal life is repentance. "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt. 4:17) "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3) This repentance is fully realized only through baptism which washes away previous sins. (Only mortal sins cannot be washed away, e.g. shedding of innocent blood) "John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." (Mark 1:4) Repentance, then, is not complete without baptism by water.
The third key to eternal life is baptism of water. The example of the path to salvation was given through the life of Jesus. What was the first thing He did when beginning His ministry? "13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matt. 3)
Christ went to John for baptism; as John held the Aaronic priesthood. Through this priesthood he held authority from God to baptize with water. The only orders of the priesthood recognized by God are the Melchisedec and Levitical (Aaronic). Here is the gate into eternal life. "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." (1 John 2:6) "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5)
The fourth key to eternal life is baptism with the Holy Ghost. Some have claimed that the gift of the Holy Ghost was done away after the Apostles. Not so! "38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." (Acts 2)
An in-depth study of the gospel of Christ is found in the "Gospel of Christ" page.
A fundamental Mormon belief is in the necessity of a divine priesthood, called of God. A person must be called of God and ordained by one holding at least as high a priesthood. "And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron." (Heb. 5:4) Aaron was called by a revelation of God through Moses who held that priesthood. "And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons." (Ex. 28:1) When a dispensation of the priesthood was given through Jesus to the Jews, the Apostles were commissioned, "These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not." (Matt. 10:5)
After the Jews rejected the priesthood of God, it was withdrawn and a dispensation of the priesthood was given to the Gentiles. "14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. 15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16) Later, Jesus commissioned Paul to preach to the Gentiles. "17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee." (Acts 26)
Paul noted the relationship between a dispensation and the gospel, "a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me." (1 Cor. 1:17) A gospel dispensation includes divine authority. Paul was ordained to divine authority, like the other Apostles, by which he was authorized to preach and administer the saving ordinances of the gospel. "And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach." (Mark 3:14)
The necessity of being called of God is found throughout the Bible. "14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Rom. 10)
No one can minister "in the name of" (authority of) God without being called by Him. "Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection." (Acts 1:22) The saving ordinances of the gospel are of no consequence; unless administered by one called of God. Only one holding the Melchisedec Priesthood has divine authority to baptize with water and the Spirit.
Even Jesus was subject to this command. He was ordained a High Priest, Apostle, prophet, and Son of Man (Messiah) at the hands of the Father. "5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec...10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec." Heb. 5) "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus." (Heb. 2:1)
Jesus called and ordained the twelve Apostles. "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you." (John 15:16) They called and ordained elders in every city. "23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed." (Acts 14:23)
The Bible teaches that man must be "born of water and the Spirit" to be saved. It also teaches that only one called of God and ordained by one holding divine authority can administer those ordinances. If a man claiming to be of God cannot present evidence of a direct lineage of the Melchisedec Priesthood to the throne of God, he cannot baptize in the name (authority) of God. "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." (Ex. 20:7)
Those properly called and ordained have their administrations recorded in heaven. "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Mark 16:19)
In the latter days there were to be many false prophets (ministers) called by the voice of man. "3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Tim. 4)
More information on a ministry called of God is on the "Divine Priesthood" and "Gospel Restoration" pages.
Man is responsible to himself, his family, and to his neighbors. Men must care enough for themselves to assure they abide by the will of God. Salvation must be a subject of the greatest importance.
The first law given to man was the law on spiritual marriage: to be "fruitful, and multiply." (Gen. 1:22) All of nature obeys this command. "6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife." (Mark 10)
When boys reach manhood, they are to take a wife. What a simple way to prevent many of the evils that befall men. Man is not complete without woman. "Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord." (1 Cor. 11:11) Through their children they become one flesh; and fulfill the law. The Biblical history of man from Adam to Abraham is told through their first born sons.
The law of God on spiritual marriage is different than the law of man (and other Christian ministers). The first requirement for marriage is love. In Israel the man and woman were often first joined by a betrothal (espoused). It was a civil contract of marriage; granting all the benefits, duties, and responsibilities of marriage. Spiritual marriage is administered by one holding the Melchisedec Priesthood. These have divine authority to bind on earth and in heaven. Such a marriage unites the family in death, the resurrection, and for eternity. Those not holding divine authority can only marry "until death do us part." How sad!
Many in the Bible had both spiritual and civil marriages. Wives of civil marriages are referred to as concubines. Abraham had two civil wives (Hagar and Keturah) and one spiritual wife (Sarah). Although Ishmael (father of the Arabs) was the first born son, Isaac was the first born son by his spiritual marriage. Isaac inherited the spiritual blessings given to Abraham; and the bulk of his property. "5 And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. 6 But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country." (Gen. 25)
God chose the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and his son Jacob to be His elect people. The House of Israel is composed of the twelve sons of Jacob (named Israel by God); and the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh. All of the promises in the Bible are made to this people. Gentiles are adopted as Abraham's seed through baptism. "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Gal. 3:29)
Gospel dispensations provide the required divine priesthood to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel; and others like spiritual marriage. The Jew's were given a gospel dispensation under Jesus. This was the first half of the Dispensation of the Meridian of Time (middle of time). During this time the Apostles were told not to preach to the Gentiles. "5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matt. 10)
But, the Jew's rejected Christ; and the gospel dispensation ended. Exactly forty years later they were almost totally destroyed by the Roman Army. After Jesus was resurrected, a gospel dispensation was given to the Gentiles. "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15) This was the second half of that dispensation.
After the resurrection of Christ, Satan was cast out of heaven to the earth with all his angels. " Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." (Rev. 12:12)
The apostasy of the Gentile church is documented by the Bible, history, and church leaders. They agree that the Gentiles would also reject the gospel. "21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, IF thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off." (Rom. 11) "3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Tim. 4)
The gospel and Church of Christ were to be withdrawn completely from the earth for a period of 1,260 years. John, in chapter twelve of Revelations, prophecies of this event; comparing the Church of Christ with a woman "1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars." As soon as her child (the authorized priesthood), came into the world under Jesus, Satan (as "a great red dragon") was prepared to devour the child. The priesthood was then "5...caught up unto God, and to his throne." The woman, representing the Church of Christ, "6...fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days."
The woman, the Church of Christ, fled into the wilderness for 1,260 years. In chapter 13, John tells us, "7 And it was given unto him [Satan] to make war with the saints, AND TO OVERCOME THEM: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." The second half of the Dispensation of the Meridian of Time was closed; and the gospel and Church of Christ was taken from the earth.
" 11 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: 12 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)
"O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit." (Jer. 16:19)
The Apostles wrote the apostasy had already begun in their time. "3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [of the Lord] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God... 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way." (2 Thess. 2)
Who is this son of perdition? He must be a world church leader who presents himself as God. A papal decree stated, "I do make holy and unholy; I do justify the wicked; I forgive sins; I open and no man shutteth. All the world is my diocese, and I am the ordinary of all men, having the authority of the King of Kings upon subjects. I am in all and above all... If these things that I do be said to be done not of man, but of God, WHAT DO YOU MAKE ME BUT GOD?... I being above all prelates, seem by this reason to be above all gods; whereupon no marvel if it be in my power to CHANGE TIMES AND ABROGATE LAWS, to DISPENSE with all things, yea, THE PRECEPTS OF CHRIST." (Bolton's, The Great Antichrist, p. 48)
In 325 AD, Constantine reorganized the Christian church. He was an unbaptized, Roman Emperor that was loyal to the sun god. Constantine changed the God of Israel to the Trinitarian god of the pagans. He established the civil power of Rome in place of divine authority; and stood as the absolute head of the Christian church. He changed the Sabbath from the seventh day to the "venerable day of the sun." He turned Christianity into paganism with Christian names.
John Wesley, one of the founders of Methodism, understood why the gifts of the Holy Ghost were lost. "It does not appear that these extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit were common in the Church for more than two or three centuries... This was the real cause why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were no longer to be found in the Christian church-- because the Christians were turned heathens again, and only had a dead form left." (John Wesley's Works, Vol. 7, 89; 26-27)
The Church of England admitted of this apostasy in the Homily Against Peril of Idolatry. "So that laity and clergy, learned and unlearned, all ages, sects, and degrees of men, women, and chilren of whole Christondom--an horrible and most dreadful thing to think--have been at once drowned in abominable idolatry; of all other vices most detested of God, and most damnable to man; and that by the space of eight hundred years and more."
God spoke to His people 4,000 years from Adam to John the Revelator. Why did God become silent? God didn't change. "For I am the LORD, I change not." (Mal. 3:6) The only reason God ceases to speak with people on the earth is because of sin and disbelief. God does not separate himself from man. Man separates himself from God. "1 Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear." (Isa. 59)
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Matt. 33:37)
After the 1,260 years, there was to be a gospel restoration; and the Church of Christ would return in the first half of the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. John foretold of this restoration in Chapter 6, "6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." The first half of this dispensation was to go to the Gentiles.
All Mormon groups believe in this restoration of the divine priesthood, gospel restoration, and Church of Christ by Joseph Smith. He has been the only one to make such a claim; and establish the same church order. He gave his life for his faith.
The Church of Christ has a immutable organization. Unless we have become perfect and are in unity of the faith, the structure of that organization remains unchanged. "11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." (Eph. 4)
Christians have been told that revelation, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost, ceased with the Apostles. Why? The same reason God stopped speaking to the Gentiles. Christians had returned to paganism.
The principle of continuing revelation and prophets of God is a basic teaching in the Bible. "Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." (Acts 3:7)
The Bible is a history of God's relationship with His people. Every book of the Bible was written by a prophet/apostle of God. He walked with Adam (Gen. 3:8), spoke with Noah (Gen. 6:13), feasted with Abraham (Gen. 18), wrestled with Jacob (Gen. 32), conversed with Moses face to face (Ex. 33:11), appeared to Ezekiel (Ezek. 1:26, 27), and spoke and ordained Jesus (Heb. 5:5).
An angel of God was to restore divine authority, and the gospel, to the earth after the 1,260 years (Rev. 14:6). God will speak again when He gathers Israel from the four corners of the earth. "34 And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. 35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. 36 Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD." (Ezek. 20) "And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God." (Jer. 30:22)
Mormons also believe in the opportunity of men to receive personal revelations from God. Joseph Smith was a poor farm boy with a third grade education, who at the age of fifteen, was confused about all the different doctrines being distributed by the churches. One day he read the Epistle of James, "5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." (James 1)
The rise of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints began with Joseph Smith. After considerable deliberation, he decided to ask of God. He retired to a woods, kneeled down, and offered up the desires of his heart. A powerful and dark force came upon him. After being overwhelmed by this power he again called upon God with all his strength. After the force of darkness left him, he saw a pillar of light above his head. "I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other--This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!" (History of the Church, Vol. 1, p. 17)
He inquired of them which of the religious sects was correct. He was told to join none of them; that they were all an abomination in His sight. After discussing this vision with local ministers they persecuted and reviled him. But, like Paul, he knew that he had seen a vision and that the personages were real.
At the age of about eighteen, the angel Moroni appeared to him three times in one evening and twice the next day. He taught young Joseph prophecies from the Old Testament and told him about a record of the ancient inhabitants of this continent that had been buried on a hill nearby. He went to the place shown to him by the angel and found the records buried there; but, was instructed that the time had not yet come for them to be delivered to him. He went to the same place at the end of every year, for four years. He received the records and Urim and Thummim on September 22, 1827. A small part of the translation began with Martin Harris on April 12, 1828. It was not until April 7, 1929, that the full translation began with Oliver Cowdery as scribe. The Book of Mormon was finished in early 1830; and the first edition was published. Eleven reliable witnesses testified to the validity of the plates. The plates from which the book was translated were given back to the angel Moroni on May 2, 1838.
On April 6, 1830, Joseph Smith organized the Church of Christ with six members in attendance. The church was organized as an unincorporated church according to the laws of the state of New York and the freedom of religion provision of the United States Constitution. The name was later changed to the Church of Latter Day Saints and finally to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In 1919, the followers of James J. Strang added the word "True" to distinguish them from the other Mormon groups.
The story of the rise and progress of the latter day saints remains both a unique and one of the blackest in American history. They first settled in Kirtland, Ohio. After severe persecution they left and gathered in Jackson County, Missouri. In 1833, several were murdered, one whipped to death, a number shot, and others whipped until they were literally cut to pieces and left to die. Many of the saints fled to Clay County, Missouri. In 1836, they were informed by the citizens of Clay county, Missouri that they could not dwell there any longer. In 1838, the mobs again began to harass and disturb them by stealing their cattle and hogs, burning their houses, and shooting at their men.
Governor L. W. Boggs was well acquainted with the operations of the Missouri mob; having been the leader of it, once, himself, at the time it raged in Jackson County. For no other reason than religious discrimination, he ordered, "The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated, or driven from the State, if necessary for the public peace." With the assistance of Governor Boggs, 12,000 residents of the state of Missouri were driven from their homes, their property confiscated, about 60 cast into prison, and many men, women, and children murdered.
The latter day saints fled to Illinois where they established the city of Nauvoo. The town flourished. But, the Missouri mob followed. A trumped up warrant of treason was filed based on the oaths of H. O. Norton and Augustine Spencer. On the morning of Monday, June 24th, 1844, Governor Ford pledged the faith of the state that Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum, and others would be protected. That evening the Justice made out a mittimus without an investigation, and committed the Smith's and associates to jail in Carthage "until discharged by due course of law."
When a mob gathered in Carthage on the morning of the 27th, the Governor disbanded the troops that were used for protective custody; leaving the Smith's and three or four friends to be guarded by only eight men. At about 6 o'clock in the afternoon the guard was surprised by an armed mob of more than 200; painted red, black, and yellow. They busted into the jail and in a tornado of bullets killed Joseph and Hyrum and wounded John Taylor. The martyred blood of Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith stained the soil of Illinois by mob violence; while under the pledged faith and protection of the Governor. Their murderers were never convicted of that hideous crime.
On June 18th, Joseph Smith wrote his last revelation from God: a letter appointing James J. Strang as his successor in the prophetic office (in accordance with the law of the Church). "4 But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him; for if it be taken from him he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead. 5 And this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments." (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 43; 35:17, 18; 28:2, 7; 90:3, 4)
At the very moment of Joseph's death, some four hundred miles away, James J. Strang claimed to have been ordained to the prophetic office at the hands of angels. On July 9, the letter arrived by regular course of mail in Burlington, Wisconsin (the residence of James J. Strang), through the distributing office in Chicago and bearing the Nauvoo post mark of June 19. This letter is in Yale University Library. It was open for examination during the ministry of James and has been proven to have been written by Joseph Smith and mailed from Nauvoo. A copy of this letter and the principles of prophetic succession may be found in the "Mormon Books" page under "Prophetic Controversy."
James J. Strang gathered about a third of the latter day saints to Voree (near Burlington, Wisconsin). Later, Beaver Island was designated as a stake of Zion; and the place of gathering for the saints. Here, James established the kingdom of God on July 8, 1850; as a dominion on the earth spoken of by the prophet Micah and others. "And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem." (Micah 4:8)
In 1855, James J. Strang wrote, "As First President, I have regularly presided over the Church and took the direction of its affairs in all the world, according to the law of God.
"As prophet, I have foretold in the name of God, the ills that were coming on men, and directed all who received the word of the Lord how and where to come out from among the wicked, that they receive not of their plagues.
"I have obtained covenants and promises of God and at his hand obtained an everlasting inheritance for the Saints, which I have divided among them by lot, without cost or price. God is our God and we are his people forevermore.
"As a Seer, I have seen the visions of the Almighty, and as a Revelator have received knowledge of his purposes and commandments, and made them known among the children of men. As a translator, I have brought forth hidden treasures, and revealed the old record to all who love the truth, and seek unto it. The visions of the past and the hidden lore of future ages are laid by the side of present hopes and future knowledge.
"As an apostle I have borne a faithful testimony of the kingdom and the coming of the Lord Jesus. I have fought a good fight. I have kept the faith. I have not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God. In the treasure-house of the Almighty there is laid up for me a crown of glory richer than all diadems of earthly kings.
"Of all that dwell on earth, God has made me the most happy. From men I fear no evil. May God bless you abundantly with the same blessings, and especially with the love of the truth. Truly and sincerely, JAMES J. STRANG."
In 1856, Thomas Bedford and Alexander Wentworth, who had been punished for sexual harassment of church women, organized a mob to kill James. Their plot involved using the U. S. Iron Steamer Michigan. On June 16, 1856, Captain McBlair sent the Pilot to James' house requesting him to go on board the man of war. As they stepped upon the pier, Bedford and Wentworth closed hastily behind them. Wentworth fired a revolver at the back part of James' head. James fell to the ground and Wentworth shot him again. As James rolled over, Bedford fired a marine pistol into his back. They quickly fled back on board the Michigan and claimed protection of the officers. The Captain refused to give custody to the local sheriff. The boat's surgeon came ashore and pronounced the wounds mortal. Bedford and Wentworth escaped under U. S. protection, were taken to Mackinac, held in jail about five minutes, and then released.
James J. Strang was taken from the island on June 28, to the home of his parents in Voree, Wisconsin. His followers were driven from their homes and their possessions confiscated. James died on July 9, 1856. The people were left without a prophet and no successor. Apostle Chidester was with him when he died. He wrote Apostle Post, "You inquire what to do. His direction was for every man to take care of his family and do the best he could till he found out what to do. You will understand when you receive this how to act, as well as any of us; you have it second hand, I had it from his own mouth." (Record of the Apostles of James, p. 31)
On February 10, 1857, five of the remaining twelve Apostles met about six miles west of Racine, Wisconsin, "and there prayed and communed with each other all night. We became satisfied, that the Twelve could not lead the Church without a Prophet; and concluded to take care of ourselves & families; and when occasion offered; minister to the necessities of the Saints, according to our abilities, until we have the word of the Lord to guide us on to other duties. This is truly a time of mourning, & fasting; for God has chastened us sorely for our sins, & we know not the extent of our sins, for God has not shown them unto us. The faithful among us are determined to wait upon the Lord, and trust in his Mercies: for his mercy endureth forever." (Ibid., pp. 45, 46)
Through Joseph Smith and James J. Strang, the Gentiles were offered the same blessings and curses as Israel under Moses and Jesus. In general, they were disobedient. The Gentiles killed prophets of God; even as Israel before them. Joseph Smith was murdered on June 27, 1844, while under the protection of the Governor of Illinois. James J. Strang was shot by assassins, died on July 9, 1856, and his assassins were set free.
In 1961, one group of the Strangites, under the leadership of Vernon Swift, reorganized their church into a corporation. Every corporation is a "fictitious" entity; existing only in the mind of the law of man. They established a new order of the priesthood to rule them; and use their corporation by-laws to govern them. They have been called the Swiftites.
The rest of us have remained true to the dying words of James. We have spent our tears, wait in prayer, live by faith, journey by the laws of God, and fear the awful judgment that is near. We are only a few; but, that all prophesy offers. "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8) "8 And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9 Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah." (Isa. 1) "Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies." (Micah 4:10)
The 2,000 year time of the Gentiles ended. The hopes of billions were lost with the martyred blood of the latter day prophets. There are many prophecies that address the loss of the final Gentile dispensation. "The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant." (Isa. 24:5)
The exact time of this last apostasy was given by Jesus, "And they [Jews] shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." (Luke 21:24) This was fulfilled in 1967, after the six day war; when Jerusalem was no longer "trodden down of the Gentiles." This evidently marked the beginning of the final forty year generation of mankind before the return of Jesus, "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled." (Luke 21:32)
The time of Israel, when they will be gathered and once again become the people of God is only a few years away. The time for the destruction of most of mankind is so close that people are feeling it all over the world. Two-thirds of Israel are to die; and about 90% of the Gentiles. Before the dreadful day of the Lord, the fullness of the gospel/priesthood will return to the House of Israel in the last half of the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. In 1997, exactly thirty years after the times of the Gentiles was fulfilled, the same comet that marked the birth of Abraham, comet Hale-Bopp, revisited planet earth. Could this be only a coincidence? Or, is the dispensation to the House of Israel at hand?
"1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, 2 And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; 3 That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee. 4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: 5 And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers." (Deut. 30)
"34 And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. 35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. 36 Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD. 37 And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant." (Ezek. 20)
The gathering of the House of Israel, in the last days, is a subject that fills most of the prophesy in the Bible. It was a favorite subject of the prophets. It is the hope of all people. "2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. 3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. 4 Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. 5 Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee." (Isa. 60)
A very small remnant of the Gentile dispensation is to remain and be delivered shortly before Jesus returns. Maybe the fact that only a remnant remains of the original Strangite Mormons is our greatest asset. Before every major dateline event, there have always been only a few. Remember Jesus words, "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8) "And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man." (Luke 17:26) Only eight souls escaped the flood. "28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot...30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." (Luke 17) How many escaped the destruction of Sodom? Lot, his wife, and his two daughters.
After Jesus was crucified and the gospel dispensation passed to the Gentiles, how many of the disciples gathered to hear Peter? "...the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty." (Acts 1:15) How long was the House of Israel left in the wilderness under Moses? How long was it after the Jews rejected Christ before they were destroyed? Exactly forty years. Could this be the approximate time of the last generation? Forty years has been the length of Biblical generations. When David wrote of the return of Jesus, he recalled the forty years that Israel wondered in the wilderness (Psalms 94-96).
Maybe the greatest witness of the truth of our beliefs is in that "very small remnant" that remains. "13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matt. 7) As long as there remains one who was "called of God, as was Aaron" (Heb. 5:4) and holds the priesthood to administer the ordinances of the gospel, there is hope for anyone who earnestly seeks spiritual truth and eternal life. "12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Rom. 10)
You have the first keys to unlocking the mysteries of eternal life. Only by knowing God and obeying the gospel of Christ is there hope. "8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." (Gal. 1)
Eternal life (Celestial Glory) is possible only through gospel faith, knowing and worshipping the one true God, obeying the gospel of Christ, and enduring in obedience to the law of God until the end. A detailed discussion of the gospel of Christ is found on the "Gospel of Christ" page.
Time may be our most scarce resource. The forty year generation will end in 2,007. People all over the world are expecting a dramatic change on the earth in the near future. The July 1, 2002, Time magazine noted that "59% believe the prophecies in the Book of Revelation will come true." Soon that time known popularly as the Apocalypse, Armageddon, and the End Times will overtake us.
The people of the world were baptized by water, without repentance, in the days of Noah. They are to be baptized by fire, without repentance, in the day of the Lord. "Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it." (Isa. 13:9) "For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates." (Jer. 46:10) The islands of the sea spoken of in Scripture is North and South America. This is the land of Zion. The north country is North America.
Some have sung the song "All is well in Zion." "21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well--and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell...25 Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well! 26 Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost! 27 Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more!" (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 28)
All is not well in Zion (North America). The Gentiles have murdered the prophets, rejected the priesthood of God, and turned from the gospel of Christ. The times of the Gentiles has been fulfilled (ended). "7 And I will make her that halted [the few from the Gentile dispensation?] a remnant, and her that was cast far off [seed of Joseph?] a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount [kingdom of] Zion from henceforth, even for ever. 8 And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem. 9 Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? is thy counseller perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail. 10 Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies." (Micah 4)
The land of Zion is North America; spoken of in the Bible as the "north country." The "daughter of Zion" is the remnant of the last Gentile dispensation of the gospel people in this land. The "tower of the flock" was James J. Strang; through whom the first dominion on earth was established in the last days. The kings and counselors were to be lost and the people scattered to (spiritual) Babylon; which is wickedness and confusion. Surely, that is an accurate description of our people, the followers of James J. Strang.
The day of the Lord is not an event to anticipate with joy; but, with dreadful anticipation and hope of a final deliverance. Destructions beyond all imagination are coming upon the world. Many TV programs have announced that the earth will (eventually) be struck by a large asteroid/comet. John described this event. "8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; 9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed. 10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; 11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter." (Rev. 8)
They have predicted major earthquakes. "7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matt. 24
Note that the gospel is not to be accepted by the world; but, to be preached "for a witness" against the world. Man will have no excuse before God. "7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Thess. 1)
This land of Zion will share in the destruction. "16 Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: 17 Therefore the LORD will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts. 18 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, 19 The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, 20 The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, 21 The rings, and nose jewels, 22 The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, 23 The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails. 24 And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty. 25 Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war. 26 And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground." (Isa. 3)
"9 Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity. 10 They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity. 11 The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us. 12 Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest." (Micah 3) All is not well in Zion!
James J. Strang wrote, "23. Paul assures us that the coming of Christ shall be "in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord." (2d Thess. i, 8, 9.) Isaiah says, the earth shall be made empty, and few men left. (Isa. xxiv, 1, 3, 6.) Those days are days of vengeance, when Christ shall tread the wine press of the wrath of God, and the blood shall flow unto the horses’ bridles. (Rev. xiv, 20.) As those times are approaching, the judgment is pronounced on Babylon, "Reward her as she hath rewarded you, and double unto her double, according to her works." (id. xviii, 6.) Then shall the Saints execute vengeance on the heathen. (Ps. cxlix, 6, 7.)" (Book of the Law, p. 213)
God promised a gathering of the House of Israel from the four corners of the earth and the establishment of a kingdom that shall never fall. With the gathering of the people comes a gathering of all their books and records. "19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. 20 And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. 21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: 22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all." (Ezek. 37)
The stick of Joseph is a book (record) of the seed of Joseph. Joseph Smith was of the tribe of Ephraim, the youngest son of Joseph, the son of Israel (Jacob). He translated an abridgment of the Book of Mormon; a record of the seed of Joseph that had migrated to the Americas-- the land of Zion. They left Jerusalem in 600 BC and lived until 400 AD; when they were destroyed by their enemies (a remnant of which are the Native Americans). James J. Strang was of the tribe of Judah. He translated the Book of the Law of the Lord-- a book of Judah. Note that the stick of Judah was to come forth after the stick of Ephraim. The works of Joseph and James are united into one work. Next comes the gathering of the House of Israel-- the harvest dispensation.
When reading prophecy, we must note whether the description is either literal, or symbolical. Mountains mean kingdoms when used symbolically. The "mountain of the LORDS's house" is the kingdom of God. This is the kingdom of God on earth, with Jesus reigns as King of the earth. Again, note that the Book of the Law is to go out from Zion.
"1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain [kingdom] of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains [kingdoms], and it shall be exalted above the hills [other governements]; and people shall flow unto it. 2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it. 5 For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever. 6 In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted." (Micah 4)
The fact that the Lord will "bring again Zion" reveals that the land of Zion must first fall. Afterwards only those found worthy will survive the dreadful day of the Lord. "7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! 8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion." (Isa. 52; Mosiah 12:22, 15:29) "17 And then the words of the prophet Isaiah shall be fulfilled, which say: 18 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing, for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion. 19 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem." (3 Nephi 16)
If you have read and understood my report, you may be among those few who were chosen to receive the gospel of Christ during the last days before the dreadful day of the Lord. "3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." (Eph. 1)
My Melchisedec Priesthood is only four generations removed from James J. Strang; who claimed his was from God. Every claim must be verified by investigation. The scale for weighing truth has always been, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isa. 8:20) Weigh the teachings on this site with those in the Bible. The kingdom of heaven is at hand [within your reach].
Come with me.
Samuel E. West