A true Mormon is a devout and true Christian. They believe their lives should perfectly agree with the will of God. The term “Mormon” when properly translated means more good. It has been used in derision against the followers of Jesus under Joseph Smith; even as the name Christian was used against the followers of Jesus under Peter. Christian is defined as a person professing belief in Jesus as the Christ. Joseph Smith taught, “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.”
is a term applied to the collective beliefs of the latter day saints.
What is a Mormon is explained in their unique beliefs, demonstrated by
their devout life style, and evidenced by their persecutions. The term Mormon
originated with the Book of Mormon published
by Joseph Smith in 1830. Joseph
Smith claimed that through angelic calling and revelation he recovered and
translated a record of the former inhabitants of the
The term Mormon is not a proper term because they are not followers of Mormon; but, of Jesus Christ. The most proper name for the true followers of Jesus under Joseph Smith and James J. Strang is latter day saints; even as the followers of Jesus in all ages of the world have been called saints. The term LDS or latter day saint will be used in this work. The term “saint” is used 97 times in the Bible to describe the followers of Jesus. “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12)
The latter day saints believe in the
admonition, “seek ye first the
Two opposing doctrines can be false; but, only one can be true. No one can claim to be in possession of truth without an open mind and an insatiable desire for truth. Truth has no fear of investigation. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15) “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thess. 5:21) We must be willing to lay our beliefs on the table and examine them; because before we can claim our beliefs are true, we must admit there is always the possibility of error. “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) If you have an open mind and an earnest desire for spiritual truth, follow me through an examination of the beliefs of Catholic, Protestants, and Mormons.
Table Of Contents
Different Mormon Groups
Before we can understand succession in the Prophet Office claimed by the heads of the various churches, we must first understand the office of Apostle. In the office of Apostle there are four degrees. Only first and second degree Apostles are Prophets. Moses and Jesus were first degree Apostles. Joshua succeeded Moses as a second degree Apostle.
(1) Apostle and Prophet, Lawgiver,
Seer, Revelator, and Translator,
Several were ordained second degree
Apostles and Counselors under both
Joseph Smith and James J. Strang. With
the First President they formed the First Presidency. Sidney
Rigdon and others stood as Counselors in the Presidency.
These were Prophets; but, were Counselors and administrators;
and not Lawgivers. In the event of
an interim between Lawgivers, the senior second degree Apostle can stand at the
head; but, cannot give laws and commandments to the people.
When James J. Strang was ordained a first degree Apostle and Lawgiver,
Sidney Rigdon lost any right to stand at the head.
Only the First President is empowered to stand at the head and
give laws and commandments from God. The
body of Christ (
The twelve Apostles were Ambassadors
to the nations of the world. They
held no ruling authority over the church in
Joseph received four revelations that provided in the event he was to die that he would appoint “another” in his stead. “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; 6 And this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me. 7 For verily I say unto you, that he that is ordained of me shall come in at the gate and be ordained as I have told you before [at the hands of angels], to teach those revelations which you have received and shall receive through him whom I have appointed.” (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 43). See also D&C 28:2, 6, 7; 35:17, 18; and 90:3, 4)
were the first group that was organized after the death of Joseph Smith.
have long felt that my present work was almost done, and that I should soon
be called to rule a mighty host, but something whispers me it will be in the
land of spirits, where the wicked cease from troubling and the bands of the
prisoner fall off. My heart yearns
for my little ones, but I know God will be a father to them, and I can claim
face to face the fulfillment of promise from him who is a covenant keeping
God, and who sweareth and performeth and faileth not to the uttermost.
wolves are upon the scent, and I am waiting to be offered up, if such be the
will of God, knowing that though my visage be more marred than that of any, it
will be unscarred and fair when archangels shall place on my brow the double
crown of martyr and king in a heavenly world.”
Almighty came from his throne of rest. He
clothed himself with light as with a garment.
He appeared, and moon and stars went out.
The earth dissolved in space. I
trod on air, and was borne on wings of Cherubims.
The sweetest strains of heavenly music thrilled in my ear, but the notes
were low and sad as though they sounded the requiem of martyred Prophets.”
now behold my servant James J. Strang hath come to thee from far for truth when
he knew it not, and hath not rejected it, but had faith in thee, the Shepherd
and Stone of Israel, and to him shall the
gathering of the people be, for he shall plant a stake of Zion in Wisconsin,
and I will establish it; and there shall my people have peace and rest, and
shall not be moved, for it shall be established on the prairie on White River,
in the lands of Racine and Walworth.”
The Letter of Appointment arrived by
regular course of mail on July 9, 1844; twelve days after the death of Joseph.
It was properly recorded by the Post Office in
1854, James 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.
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.
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.
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.
Sidney Rigdon had been ordained a second degree Apostle and Prophet under Joseph; as was Joshua under Moses. This office is one of administrator; and is not permitted to give laws and commandments to the people. He usurped the office of First President; and his followers became known as the Rigdonites. If James J. Strang had not been called and ordained of God to succeed Joseph in a higher office, Rigdon would have had a legitimate claim to stand at the head. He was not called of God through Joseph; and was not properly ordained to any higher office than Counselor. His followers later turned against his teachings and followed Bickerton.
and half months after Joseph’s murder, Brigham
Young claimed that Joseph would never have a successor; and that the twelve
(lower order) Apostles held authority to stand at the head.
Twelve were known as the Twelveites.
They were not Prophets; but, were Ambassadors whose duty was to preach the
gospel to the world. They held no
ruling authority in
At a general conference in Council Bluffs, on December 24, 1847, Brigham admitted the Church of Christ had to have a Prophet at its head, “in our unorganized state… they had to select a First Presidency and they would admit the first argument of the apostates (viz., that the organization was not complete) was correct.” How did they resolve this deficiency? “It was moved and seconded that Brigham Young should be our First President. It was carried unanimously.” James J. Strang later wrote, “To pretend that such an election is a fulfillment of that law which requires the leader of this Church to be called by the voice of God, and ordained as Joseph was, by the hand of Angels, is so utterly bald that it needs only to be stated, not answered.” (Prophetic Controversy, p. 6)
J. Strang labored with Brigham Young for almost two years; but was finally
forced to summon those of the twelve who followed him to appear before a High
Council (like a spiritual Supreme Court) on
Brigham made a slight change in the name of the church to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brigham Young was never appointed by Joseph as his successor; and was never ordained at the hands of angels; according to the law of God. Although Brigham was elected by the voice of man to be Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Translator, there is no record of his ever fulfilling that office. He saw nothing, revealed nothing, prophesied nothing, and translated nothing. Brigham Young later commented on several occasions that he was not a Prophet. “I do not profess to be a Prophet. I never called myself so; but I actually believe I am, because people are all the time telling me I am." (Journal of Discourses, 5:177)
Brigham Young departed from the
original doctrines of the church, developed many new doctrines, and fell back
into some of the false doctrines of the Catholic Church.
Brigham taught that Adam was actually the Almighty Father and that Eve
was a wife from another planet. A
later Apostle clarified one of his basic teachings on God:
as man now is God once was, and as God now is man may become.
It requires little knowledge of the Bible to understand the error of this
doctrine. “For I am the LORD, I
change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Mal. 3:6)
The doctrine that God was once a man like us is to bold an error to be
worthy of a reply.
later group was organized by two apostate Strangites claiming that Joseph
Smith’s son had a right to stand at the head because of his lineage; and
organized a new church in
In 1985, this group divided. The main stream group changed their name to the Community of Christ and joined the National Council of Churches (NCC) and the World Council of Churches (WCC). This caused a dramatic change in their doctrines. They were no longer strictly tied to LDS beliefs. Richard Price has attempted to hold members of the original RLDS church together. Other Mormon groups splintered off from these three original groups.
author accepts James J. Strang as a
Prophet of God and successor to Joseph Smith.
Of all those who claimed to succeed Joseph, only the teachings of James
are in full agreement with those of Joseph and the Bible.
All references to LDS doctrine in this article are to those of Joseph
Smith and James J. Strang; but, not necessarily to those of the other LDS
Unlike Catholic and Protestant churches, Mormon Beliefs originated with revelations from God. Their doctrines on God and Jesus are diametrically opposed to Catholic and Protestant doctrines that are based on the Babylonian Trinity. Their beliefs on living according to the will of God go far beyond those of catholicity. It is the only Christian religion that perfectly agrees with the Bible (to the extent it has been translated correctly). Its doctrines conform entirely to those taught by Jesus, the Apostles, and the Prophets of old. Before we can fully understand the doctrines of the latter day saints, it is requisite to understand what happened to the original Christian religion.
Rather than the Gentiles accepting the gospel after Jesus, there was to be a great falling away. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [return of Jesus] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” (2 Thes. 2:3) The Bible, ecclesiastical historians, and church leaders have all recognized this falling away. It had begun even in the days of the Apostles, “7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work. …11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth.” (2 Thess. 2)
Jesus gave the Gentiles a final warning, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works [baptism]; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Rev. 2:5) They did not; and after John God no longer spoke to the Gentiles. Why? “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. 59:1)
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 days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a
famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they
shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.”
(Amos 8:11, 12)
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)
John the Revelator gave us the best description of how this falling away would be realized. “1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun [Church of Christ], and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars… 6 And the woman 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 [1260 years.” (Rev. 12)
The sins of the Gentiles caused God
to give Satan dominion over the saints. First,
he destroyed the
Few realize that the Christian
church was completely reorganized by the unbaptized, pagan Roman Emperor,
Throughout Scripture no man acted in
the name of God without being called of God by prophecy and by ordination by one
holding the holy priesthood. This
principle is so inclusive that not even Jesus could take the priesthood upon
Himself. He was ordained to the
Melchisedec Priesthood under the hands of the Father.
“And no man taketh
this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also
Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he [the Father] that
said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.” (Heb. 5:4, 5)
“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 [minister] with us of his
“Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by
prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” (1 Tim. 4:14)
Jesus then organized the kingdom with all of the officers of the Melchisedec Priesthood. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists [High Priests]; and some, pastors [Elders] and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 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. 4:11-13) This priesthood was required “for the work of the ministry;” and “for the perfecting of the saints.”
The loss of this priesthood is the
most glaring evidence that the Gentile Christians fell away from the gospel; and
became destitute of the divine power required to baptize and confirm people into
He changed the identity of the Biblical God into the pagan sun god. “As seen in Constantine’s originating piety, that supreme deity would have been associated with the sun, and pagans would have recognized, with reason, their own solar cult in such Christian practices as orienting churches to the east, worshipping on the ‘sun day,’ and celebrating the birth of the deity at the winter solstice.” (Constantine’s Sword, p. 183)
Consider the source. “In the unity of that one Only God of the Babylonians, there were three persons, and to symbolise that doctrine of the Trinity, they employed, as the discoveries of Layard prove, the equilateral triangle, just as it is well known the Romish Church does at this day. In both cases such a comparison is most degrading to the King Eternal, and is fitted utterly to pervert the minds of those who contemplate it, as if there was or could be any similitude between such a figure and Him who hath said, 'To whom will ye liken God, and what likeness will ye compare unto Him?" (The Two Babylons, pp. 16, 17)
He changed the true identity of Jesus
into that of a demigod. Belief in
gods begetting children upon virgin females was a common pagan doctrine.
It did not fit Jesus; as the law required Him to be of the seed
of Abraham, the seed of
Matthew gave the genealogy of Jesus
from Abraham to Joseph his father. Joseph
was of the tribe of
This mystery of
Mosheim, the noted ecclesiastical historian, wrote of the fourth century, “The rites and institutions, by which the Greeks, Romans, and other nations, had formerly testified their religious veneration for fictitious deities, were now adopted, with some slight alterations by Christian bishops, and employed in the service of the true God.” (Mosheim, Ecclesiastical History, Century 4, Part 2, chap 4:1, 4)
John Wesley, one of the founders of Methodism, writing about the loss of the gifts of the Holy Ghost, commented on the loss of the Christian faith. "The cause of this was not, as has been supposed, because there was no more occasion for them, because all the world was become Christians. This is a miserable mistake; not a twentieth part of it was then nominally Christian. The real cause of it was that the love of many, almost all Christians, so-called, was waxed cold. The Christians had no more of the spirit of Christ than the other heathens. The Son of Man, when He came to examine His Church, could hardly find faith upon earth. 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 in the Homily Against Peril of Idolatry, first published about the middle of the sixteenth century, admitted of the great Christian apostasy. "So that laity and clergy, learned and unlearned, all ages, sects, and degrees of men, women, and children of whole Christendom-- a 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."
Martin Luther was the first to realize a Reformation of some of the evil practices of the Catholic Church. He could not, though, turn a piece of clay into gold. He could improve it; but without revelation from God, without the holy priesthood, it remained the work of man. Others could do not better. Some understood that none had been baptized for hundreds of years after baptism was changed to sprinkling. Others understood the true Sabbath. But, none could restore the original priesthood of God and the gospel.
John the Revelator told us that the
John saw the end of the
Restoration of the Melchisedec
Priesthood by Joseph Smith is a corner stone of LDS beliefs.
When Joseph Smith was only fifteen years old (1820), there was a great
excitement and controversy among the various churches.
Joseph had only about a third grade education; but, had read the Bible
and the admonition of James (1:5) to “ask
of God.” He retired to a
field and called upon God to answer which of all the churches was true.
“I saw a pillar of
light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended
gradually until it fell upon me.
no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me
bound. When the light rested upon me
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!
object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was
right, that I might know which to join. No
sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak,
than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the
sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all
were wrong)--and which I should join.
was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the
Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his
sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: ‘They draw near to me
with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the
commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power
thereof.’" (History of the Church, Vol. 1, p. 16)
In May, 1829, while translating the Book of Mormon, Joseph and Oliver Cowdery went into the woods to pray concerning baptism. A heavenly messenger appeared to them and ordained them to the Levitical Priesthood. “The messenger who visited us on this occasion and conferred this Priesthood upon us, said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which Priesthood, he said, would in due time be conferred on us, and that I should be called the first Elder of the Church, and he (Oliver Cowdery) the second. It was on the fifteenth day of May, 1829, that we were ordained under the hand of this messenger, and baptized.” (Ibid., 1, p. 71)
Joseph claimed that he was later
ordained under the hands of Peter, James, and John; who stood at the head of the
Melchisedec Priesthood successively after Jesus.
He was ordained an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver of the Melchisedec
Priesthood the same as Moses and Jesus before him.
Holding this highest office he was empowered by God to preach the gospel,
administer its ordinances, and organize the
Joseph Smith taught the
fountain of spiritual life is revelation.
Joseph wrote, “We
believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe
that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the
The Bible is a compilation of
accounts of God’s communication with man from Adam to John the Revelator.
There is no “thus
saith the Lord” in
The critical importance of
revelation is demonstrated in at least four ways. First,
it is impossible to have faith in God and know God without personal revelation.
“For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the
spirit of man which is in him? even
so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” (1 Cor. 2:11)
Without faith in the God of Israel, no one can enter the
Saints of God throughout the Bible enjoyed revelation; and many other blessings from God. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you [by revelation] 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) “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.” (1 Cor. 14:1)
Without revelation man is no better
than the beasts of the field. He
knows not what tomorrow brings. Why
was there no warning from God of the great Indian Ocean Tsunami?
“24 And they [the
Jews] shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into
all nations: and
Direct Revelation from God will soon
I will bring you [house of
Joseph Smith restored a correct knowledge
of God and Jesus. There can be
no subject of greater importance than this understanding—it is the foundation
of all doctrine and the greatest law given to man.
The unbaptized pagan Roman Emperor Constantine, in 325 AD, adopted the
doctrine of the Trinitarian sun god as the foundation of catholicity.
Those who believe this doctrine declare it to be a mystery.
It is more of a mystery how anyone who reads it can imagine that it could
be true. This mystery originated
with the King of Babylon, Nimrod; and was brought into the mystery religions
The Creed of St. Athanasius
declares, “The Father
incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost
Bible teaches, “And this is
life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ,
whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3) Without
a correct knowledge of God, man cannot have faith in God.
“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)
Jesus was the “…brightness
of his glory, and the express image of his person.” (Heb. 1:3)
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Ex. ) is a living God. Man was made in the image and likeness of God. If you want to know what God looks like, just look in the mirror. Although man lost his divine character, the resemblance is still reasonable. God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Abraham mistook Him for a man and invited Him into his tent to eat; and offered to wash His feet (Gen. 18).
Jacob worshipped the same God.
After wrestling with Him, he tells us that he saw God face to face (Gen.
32:24, 28, 30). Moses conversed with
God face to face, as a man converses with a friend (Ex. 33:11).
Moses wanted to see God in all His glory.
God told him that no man can look upon the face of God in all His glory
and live. God did allow Moses to see
his back parts in all His glory (Ex. 33:22, 23).
Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders of
Some say that we must know the name
of God. Various expressions and
words have been used in place of the name of God.
The term Jehovah came into use by a Catholic Priest in the sixteenth
century. His secret name was only
written in that copy of the Law kept in the
Joseph Smith was visited by this
same God. There was great religious
strife when Joseph, only fifteen, had an earnest desire to know which of the
churches was right. He took his
prayers to God. He later wrote that
while praying, “I saw a
pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which
descended gradually until it fell upon me… When the light rested upon me 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!”
There were two personages—the Father and the Son. Man was no longer left in the dark about the character and identity of God; and the fact that God speaks to man when he is worthy. A similar event occurred at the baptism of Jesus. “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17) At the transfiguration of Jesus we are told, “And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.” (Luke 9:35)
The Creed of St. Athanasius defines to whom the Trinitarian creed was directed, “Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary he hold the Catholic faith.” This Trinity makes such declarations as, “we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity. …The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible. …So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. …The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. …And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other; none is greater, or less than another. …He therefore that will be saved, must think of the Trinity.” This creed makes the Father the first entity, the Son second, and the Holy Ghost third; and yet declares none is afore or greater than another. Let us test this creed against the Bible.
The Bible leaves no doubt the Almighty
Father stands alone as GOD; and is above Jesus in immortality, authority,
and perfection. GOD is one and not three. “And
the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there
is one God; and there is none other
but he.” (Mark
“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one
Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all
things, and we by him. Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for
some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto
an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.” (1 Cor. 8:6, 7)
“For there is one God, and one mediator
between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim. 2:5)
the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I
am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and
from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall
stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” (Isa. 46:9, 10)
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down
from the Father of lights, with whom is no
variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17) “For I am the
LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons
of Jacob are not consumed.” (Mal. 3:6)
Jesus always spoke of God as an identity separate from Himself. “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Cor. 11:3) “Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28) Clearly God and Jesus are not the same identity.
God alone has immortality. He has neither a beginning, nor an end. “That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” (1 Tim. 6:14-16) Eternities to us are as moments to Him. A thousand years is as a day. Jesus had a beginning; and was the beginning of this creation—the only begotten of the Father in this creation. Jesus lived as a spirit like us before His birth into the world, He died, and He was raised from the grave by the Father.
God alone has omniscience. Only God has perfect knowledge of all things and all times. He never sleeps. He is light and there cannot be any darkness before Him. “I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning.” (Isa. 46:9, 10) Only God knows the exact hour of Jesus’ return. “But of that day [return of Jesus] and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” (Mark )
Through perfect knowledge, God is able to save every one of his creatures. “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matt. 10:29-31) Without a perfect knowledge of God, man cannot exercise perfect faith in Him to salvation.
God alone has omnipotence. God is the superior and governing force over the entire Universe. “Which in his times he [Jesus] shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.” (1 Tim. 6:15) Jesus has dominion over only a speck amid all the worlds and creations in the Universe.
had a beginning; and WAS the beginning of this creation.
Jesus told John, “17
…Fear not; I am the first and the last:
18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore,
Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Rev. 1)
All men, including Jesus, were first created as spirits.
“And no man hath
ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even
the Son of man which is in heaven.” (John 3:13)
Jesus was the only spirit brought forth by God. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9) He is not Almighty GOD; but, He is the God of this creation.
The rest of creation was the work of Jesus in liaison with the Father. “In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God [of this creation]. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1-3) It is obvious that GOD and Jesus are separate persons. “And God said, Let us [God and Jesus] make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Gen. 1:26) “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” (Heb. 1:1, 2)
Although God cannot change, Jesus did change many times. He began as the only begotten spirit of the Father of this creation in the spiritual beginning. Through Him and God came all of the rest of creation. Like Adam, His spirit was united to a physical body with the breath of life; as a newborn baby. “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” (Heb. 2:17, 18) Jesus was raised from a helpless infant. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” (Heb. 5:8)
was born in the flesh alien to the kingdom of God, the same as all other
men. He had to be brought into the
kingdom according to the law of God. “Except
a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the
Some have been led to believe
through the doctrines of
After His Baptism and fasting for forty days, Jesus was tempted of Satan. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” (James 1:13)
was ordained to the Melchisedec Priesthood BY THE FATHER.
Jesus was given authority from God
to act in the name (authority) of God. After
being tempted of Satan and before Jesus began His ministry, “angels came and ministered unto him.” (Matt.
4:11) What did they minister?
“And no MAN taketh
this honour [of the priesthood] unto himself, but he that is called of God, as
was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but
he [the Father] that said unto him, Thou
art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou
art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 5:4-6)
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he
[the Father] hath anointed [ordained] me to preach the gospel to the poor;
he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the
captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are
bruised.” (Luke 4:18)
God holds all authority in the Universe. The Father “is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.” (1 Tim. 6:15) It would certainly not be necessary for God to receive authority from anyone; much less Himself.
Jesus became the Son
of God in the flesh through
ordination to the Melchisedec Priesthood.
“Thou art my Son, to
day have I begotten thee.”
He was ordained an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver like unto Moses;
and was therefore a High Priest after the order of the Sons of God.
truly said unto the fathers, A
prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like
unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto
died and went to hell. God
cannot die, “Which in his times he [Jesus]
shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and
Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality.”
(1 Tim. 6:15, 16) Jesus was
mortal; He suffered, was crucified, died, spent three days with the spirits in
prison (hell); and was resurrected by the
Father. “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) “I
came forth from the Father [as a spirit], and am come into the world [as a
living soul]: again, I leave the world,
and go to the Father [as the first fruits of the resurrection and holding
the keys of the resurrection for all others].” (John 16:28)
“Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you.
If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I
go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28)
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison [hell].” (1 Pet. 3:18, 19) He opened a dispensation of the gospel to the spirits in prison that they, too, might hear and obey the gospel. “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) Those who accept the gospel must then be baptized according to the law of God. They cannot be baptized in the spirit; so a mortal must be baptized for them. Do Christians today baptize for their dead? “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)
Jesus became the Son
of God in eternity through the resurrection; and holds this priesthood
for eternity. “And declared to be the Son
of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by
the resurrection from the dead.” (
Jesus is subject to the Father, who holds superior authority. “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Cor. 15:28) “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” (John 5:30) “And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.” (Matt. 20:23)
Jesus was resurrected by GOD, given all power in this creation by God, and sits at the right hand of God. He received of the grace of God at His baptism, at His ordination to the Melchisedec Priesthood, at the transfiguration, and at His resurrection. Only GOD had power to raise Jesus from the dead. “But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.” (Acts , 15)
For the first time, Jesus had an
immortal, physical body. He became
the first fruits of the resurrection. Was
it God or Jesus that appeared to the disciples after the resurrection of Jesus?
“39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle
me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”
(Luke 24) He received all power from
the Father. “And Jesus came
and spake unto them, saying, All power is
given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Matt. 28:18)
“I am he that LIVETH [from
the beginning], and was DEAD [spend
three days in hell]; and, behold, I am ALIVE for evermore [as a resurrected Savior], Amen; and have
the keys of hell and of death.” (Rev. 1:18)
Who [Jesus] being the brightness of his
glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the
word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat
down on the right hand of the Majesty on high… 9 Thou hast loved
righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore
God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy
fellows. 10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the
earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: 11 They shall perish; but
thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; 12 And as a
vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the
same, and thy years shall not fail. 13 But to
which of the angels said he [the Father] at any time, Sit on my right hand,
until I make thine enemies thy footstool? 14 Are they not all ministering
spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”
J. Strang wrote, “20. It is
no wonder that those who preach this doctrine declare it a mystery.
It is a greater mystery, that men have been found to believe it.
Well did John the Revelator name the Church in which it originated,
“21. She was once the Apostolic Church; the Lamb’s
wife; but when she lost the Apostolic Priesthood, and went off in an unholy
union with the Kingdoms of this world as her Lord, she became what the Angel
declared her to be, a whore; as all her daughters, prostituting themselves to
the various national governments, without ever being lawfully joined to Christ
are only harlots.
“22. To make their Creeds as ridiculous as they are
infidel; false as they are heathenish; Catholics teach that Christ’s mother is
the “Mother of God;” as though God was begotten by himself, on a creature of
his hands, that he might be eternally begotten.
“23. And Protestants, not willing that Catholics
should monopolize all the folly and all the falsehood, have invented, or
borrowed from their mother, the doctrine of an infinite atonement, by means of
infinite sufferings in the crucifixion of one of these three gods.
“24. And, as by their faith, these three gods are
one and the same god, it follows that the Lord God Almighty, uncreate,
incomprehensible, and eternal, became a Priest unto himself, and offered himself
a sacrifice unto himself, to make propitiation unto himself for sins against
himself, and became a mediator between himself and his rebellious creatures; and
has risen from the dead, though he alone hath immortality, and ascended on high,
where he has received all power from himself, and sat down at his own right
hand; where, with his human body, flesh and bones, and all that pertains to the
perfection of man’s nature, raised to immortality and everlasting life, he
‘is the express image of the invisible God,’ (Col. i, 15. 2d Cor. iv, 4,)
‘and the express image of his Father’s person,’ (Heb. 1, 3,) who has not
any such body or any part of it, and is nevertheless the same identical person
“ 25. This is not the God of Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob. Ye shall not bow down to the
God of Babylon, for the God who spoke in Sinai, said, ‘Thou shalt not bow down
unto, nor adore anything that thy imagination conceiveth of; but the Lord thy
“26. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, was not the
offspring of adultery; nor was he born of woman; he was not carried about in a
nurse’s arms, nor dependent on his mother’s milk for sustenance; he never
died, nor did he cry to himself, and find no helper. (Matt. xxvii, 46. Mark xv,
34.) Eternal ages are but pulsations
in his lifetime, and his might is omnipotence.” (Book of the Law, pp. 57, 58)
Compare the teachings of the Bible and the true
identity and character of God and Jesus with those of the pagan Trinity.
Through the teachings of Joseph Smith and James J. Strang you can have a
correct knowledge of God. You have
only to ask of God; and call upon His holy ministers.
“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? 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! But they have not all obeyed the gospel.
For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith
cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (