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The Only True Church

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ declare, without arrogance and with
full confidence, that they belong to the only true and living church upon
the earth. What is meant when members make this bold statement?

                This position is basic to the doctrines of the Church.  It
is a doctrine that was not devised by man; for it was declared by the Savior
himself, as he gave instruction to the early members of the Church wherein
he declared that the church was ".the only true and living church upon the
face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased ."
(Doctrine and Covenants 1:30)  Members of the Church have not accepted
membership simply because it is the most believable, or convenient, but
rather because they believe the teachings of the Church in their entirety,
and have received a witness of the Holy Ghost that it is true.  They are not
so arrogant to say that the organization or programs are perfect, nor that
the members are perfect.  But they affirm in the strongest possible terms
that it is the only true church on the earth and invite all to come unto the
welcoming arms of the Church, its members, its doctrines, and most
importantly its Priesthood authority.

The members also make this declaration because they have been commanded to
take this truth to all the children of a loving Father in Heaven. When it
becomes clear what is meant by this statement it may be easier to understand
and accept. It has two elements.

First, the Church is true because it was organized under the direction of
God himself, and it thereby has the priesthood authority here upon the
earth.  Joseph Smith speaking on the occasion of the organization of the
Church on April 6, 1830 said that;  "The Church of Jesus Christ," [has been]
organized in accordance with commandments and revelations given by him to
ourselves in the last days..."[1] Marion G Romney, a former member of the
Church's First Presidency, added the following to our understanding of
Joseph's statement;  "Not only did Joseph Smith receive through divine
revelation knowledge, . he was also divinely commissioned to organize, and
again establish upon earth, the Church of Jesus Christ. To enable him to do
so he was endowed with the Holy Priesthood which is delegated authority to
act in the name of God."[2]   Alvin R Dyer, formerly of the First
Presidency, summed it up; "The simple truth exists: "The Prophet Joseph
Smith did see God and received the divine commission that he was to be the
instrument in God's hands, after the receiving of proper instruction and the
conferment of the Holy Priesthood to organize and establish the Restored
Church of Jesus Christ in these latter days...."[3]

Secondly, it is the "living" church" because it has a living prophet at its
head upon the earth, and as a result it is a growing, developing
organization.  Why do we need a living prophet? This might best be answered
by asking:  If a man were to come among us with the wisdom, power, and
knowledge of Moses, why would people of faith and judgment object? Or if God
were going to speak today, as he once did from Sinai, wouldn't we want to
listen? Why would anyone who loves scripture and hungers for truth object to
the idea of a living prophet?  Should we not be concerned with those who
refuse to listen to the voice of God in this day? Some would say that God
has chosen to speak to us only through scripture and not through prophets,
but no prophet has ever suggested that.

"Elder LeGrand Richards, a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, stated:
"No one can look for a work here upon this earth that isn't headed by a
prophet. The Lord has never done a work that he has recognized without a
prophet at its head." Elder Mark E. Petersen, also an Apostle, taught, "When
there are no prophets, there is no divine direction, and without such
direction the people walk in darkness. It is an infallible sign of the true
church that it has in it divinely chosen, living prophets to guide them, men
who receive current revelation from God..." He also testified of Joseph
Smith by quoting Revelation 14:6-7 and Amos 3:7, and then reasoning:  Then
what would God do about the angel bringing the gospel back to earth in
modern times? There were no prophets on earth to whom he could come. The
world no longer even believed in them. If the Lord would do nothing-not even
send his angel to earth to restore the gospel-without the services of a
living prophet, how could He accomplish his divine purpose? How could the
angelic visitation predicted for the latter days be consummated if there
were no prophets to receive it.  God could only do one thing, and that was
to raise up a new prophet for this particular purpose, and this he did in
the person of Joseph Smith Jr."[4]

"In the scriptures the prophet was the covenant spokesman. This means he had
the authority to say, 'Thus saith the Lord.' Scriptures are a great blessing
to us, but they do not replace the need for a living voice to interpret them
and to ensure that we make appropriate application of them. He has the
authority to teach scripture, to interpret scripture, and to speak new
scripture, thereby keeping the gospel as relevant to us as the ancient
prophets did to those of their day."[5] The Prophet Joseph Smith noted:
"That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right
under another. God said, "Thou shalt not kill;" at another time He said,
"Thou shalt utterly destroy." This is the principle on which the government
of heaven is conducted-by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which
the children of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God requires is right..."

The Apostle Bruce R McConkie wrote that; "The saints cannot be perfected and
therefore cannot be saved unless living apostles and prophets minister among
them. Why? Because apostles and prophets are the ones to whom the doctrines
of salvation are revealed, and, as holders of the keys of the kingdom, they
are the ones appointed to perform or authorize the performance of the
ordinances of salvation."[7]

Prophets have an obligation to call the people to repentance and to insure
that the proper doctrine is taught to all the children of God.  "Son of man,
I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel," the Lord told the
prophet Ezekiel, "therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them
warning" (Ezekial 3:17). His singular entitlement to inspiration from the
Almighty, coupled with his experience of living and leading in the world,
allows him to perceive and then warn us of dangers that may threaten our
happiness, stifle our spiritual progress, and  [insure that we find
ourselves on the] "strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life" (2
Ne. 31:18).

"In this dispensation the Lord has reiterated what he declared to Ezekiel
(Ezekiel 33:17) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 6:17) in Old Testament times and to
the Book of Mormon prophet Alma the Younger (Alma 6:1): that the prophets
serve as God's watchmen, not only to his church but also to the world." [8]

Every serious seeker for the truth needs to ask what a testimony of a living
prophet would do in their lives? How would it help them in their daily
struggles? How would it change and bless their life? The answer to this
question tells why a prophet is so important as part of the ".only true and
living church upon the earth."

It does not mean that this is the only church on this earth that has truth.
All churches have some truth-many of them a great deal. Many of the clergy
and members have great dedication to the teachings of the Savior. Speaking
of other churches and other faiths,  the Apostle Boyd K Packer in a
conference of the Church said: "Now we do not say they are wrong so much as
we say they are incomplete. The fullness of the gospel has been restored.
The power and the authority to act for Him are present with us. The power
and the authority of the priesthood rests upon this church. The Lord
revealed, in Section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants: 'And this greater
priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of
the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God. Therefore, in the
ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest. And without the
ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of
godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh."[9]

Sidney Rigdon was an early leader in the latter-day Church. His service as a
Campbellite minister was described by the Lord as a great work, preparing
for a greater work. Without knowing it, Sidney had prepared his congregation
to receive the restored gospel. Sec 35:4 of the Doctrine and Covenants
suggests that he had labored in the same spirit as John the Baptist, who was
sent to prepare the way for the coming of the Savior. Still it was necessary
for Sidney Rigdon and his followers to join the only true Church. The
contrast between his past work and his future opportunities was suggested in
the following verses from Section 35: "[Without priesthood authority] thou
didst baptize by water unto repentance, but they received not the Holy
Ghost; but now I give unto thee a commandment, that thou shalt baptize by
water [having authority], and [therefore] they shall receive the Holy Ghost
by the laying on of hands, even as the apostles of old."

Perhaps as a result of his preparation, Sidney Rigdon received two specific
assignments to work with Joseph Smith: First, he was to act as scribe for
the Prophet, who would have the scriptures unfolded to him by the Lord's
power, and second, he was to use his training as a minister to prove from
the scriptures the truth of the words Joseph Smith would receive through

It is clear from this example that there is much truth to be found in other
churches, and that all, like Sidney Rigdon, are invited to bring all the
good they have received when they join with the restored Church of Jesus

This attitude toward other faiths is not a new idea or doctrine, having been
taught and believed since the time of Joseph Smith. He said, in a Discourse
given on Sunday, July 23, 1843 in Nauvoo, "Have the Presbyterians any truth?
Yes. Have the Baptists, Methodists, &c, any truth? Yes. They all have a
little truth mixed with error. We should gather all the good and true
principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true

And in an official declaration issued on 15 February 1978, the First
Presidency of the LDS Church issued a statement to the world regarding God's
love for all mankind. In part that statement says: "Based upon ancient and
modern revelation, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gladly
teaches and declares (that) .. The great religious leaders of the world such
as Muhammad, Confucius, and the Reformers, as well as philosophers including
Socrates, Plato, and others, received a portion of God's light. Moral truths
were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher
level of understanding to individuals....

Consistent with these truths, we believe that God has given and will give to
all peoples sufficient knowledge to help them on their way to eternal
salvation, either in this life or in the life to come...."[12]

And from our present day prophet, Gordon B Hinckley, we learn from a talk
given in General Conference, October, 2002, that: "This must be our great
and singular message to the world. We do not offer it with boasting. We
testify in humility but with gravity and absolute sincerity. We invite all,
the whole earth, to listen to this account and take measure of its
truth. .To these we say in a spirit of love, bring with you all that you
have of good and truth which you have received from whatever source, and
come and let us see if we may add to it. This invitation I extend to men and
women everywhere..." [13]

Furthermore we learn from Alma in the Book of Mormon: "For behold, the Lord
doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his
word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; .
according to that which is just and true." (Alma 29:8)  And in 2 Nephi: "For
behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line
upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; ..for
they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more." (2
Nephi 28:30)  We suggest that in the Church of Jesus Christ is found the
"more" that is to be a gift from God to those who have received much and who
desire to receive more.  And again in 2 Nephi: "Know ye not that there are
more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created
all men, .and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon
all the nations of the earth? .And when the two nations shall run together
the testimony of the two nations shall run together also." (2 Nephi 29:7-12)

You can see from these statements by Prophets of the Church, and from the
scriptures, that the principle has been consistent from the early days to
the present.  The statement does not mean other churches are all wrong,
rather that much good is being done by righteous people in all faiths and
all denominations.  It is basic to members of the Church that truth is made
available to all men.

A current church leader, Elder Featherstone, summed up the position of the
Church when he said:  "Imagine with me the magnitude of the cause in which
we are engaged. We have been given the keys, the priesthood, and the program
for the greatest cause in eternity. We alone of all God's children have the
keys of knowledge of salvation and exaltation. All the myriad souls who ever
have or do now or will walk the earth must be taught the gospel of Jesus
Christ. They must, if they desire exaltation and are accountable, accept
that gospel and be baptized into His only true Church."[14]

When, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we say
we are the only true and living church on the earth, we mean we have the
authority to administer His Church on the earth, to perform those ordinances
necessary to return to our Father in Heaven, and we have a living Prophet to
speak for God in matters of importance to all of the children of our Father
in Heaven.

Further information can be found at www.fairlds.com. You can submit
questions to this site and receive answers from volunteers, or information
is available for you to study.  The official website of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints is found at www.lds.org


[1] Milton V. Backman, Jr., Eyewitness Accounts of the Restoration [Salt
Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 189.

[2] Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, October 1958, Third Day-Morning
Meeting, 96.

[3] Alvin R. Dyer, The Meaning of Truth, rev. ed. [Salt Lake City: Deseret
Book Co., 1973], 126.

[4] Monte S. Nyman, Farres H. Nyman, The Words of the Twelve Prophets:
Messages to the Latter-day Saints [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1990], 51.

[5] This section is adapted from: Joseph Fielding McConkie, Answers:
Straightforward Answers to Tough Gospel Questions [Salt Lake City: Deseret
Book Co., 1998], 26.

[6] Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate, Jr., eds., First Nephi: The
Doctrinal Foundation [Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1988], 86.

[7] Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt
Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 2: 510.

[8] Brent L. Top, Larry E. Dahl, and Walter D. Bowen, Follow the Living
Prophets [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1993], 23 - 24.

[9] Boyd K. Packer, Conference Report, October 1969, p. 37.   Doctrine and
Covenants 84:19-21.

[10] This section is adapted from: Richard O. Cowan, The Doctrine and
Covenants, Our Modern Scripture [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1984], 67.

[11] Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints, 7 vols., introduction and notes by B. H. Roberts [Salt Lake City:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1932-1951], 5: 517.

[12] Spencer J. Palmer, ed., Mormons and Muslims: Spiritual Foundations and
Modern Manifestations [Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1983], 208.

[13] Gordon B.Hinckley, Conference Report, October 2002

[14] Vaughn J. Featherstone, The Incomparable Christ: Our Master and Model
[Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 114.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "George Cobabe" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Saturday, November 01, 2003 5:45 PM
Subject: Re: [ZION] Catholics & Mormons unite

> Thought you might like to read a short paper I wrote which may have some
> application to the question.
> George
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Harold Stuart" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> Sent: Saturday, November 01, 2003 4:47 PM
> Subject: Re: [ZION] Catholics & Mormons unite
> >
> > On Nov 1, 2003, at 8:08 AM, Paul Osborne wrote:
> >
> > > What is going on here? What about the two churches spoken of in the
> > > Book
> > > of Mormon, i.e. the Church of the Lamb and the Church of the Devil? I
> > > guess no one believes it anymore. The Church sure has changed.
> >
> > Paul, I'm not convinced that much has changed.  Let's take a look at
> > some examples:
> >
> > 1:  The land on which the Cathedral of the Madeline in Salt Lake stands
> > was donated by the Church.  The same goes for a Jewish synagogue.
> >
> > 2:  The LDS Christmas Carol "Far, Far Away On Judea's Plains" was
> > written for a Catholic mass held in the Saint George Tabernacle.  The
> > choir was LDS, and their director trained them to sing the Latin mass
> > and composed the carol for the occasion.
> >
> > 3:  Before the advent of LDS Humanitarian Services, the Church worked
> > with Catholic Charities to help alleviate famine in Africa.
> >
> > There are many more examples, as well.
> >
> > Harold Stuart
> >
> >
> //
> > ///  ZION LIST CHARTER: Please read it at  ///
> > ///  http://www.zionsbest.com/charter.html      ///
> >
> /
> >
> >
> >
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> ///  ZION LIST CHARTER: Please read it at  ///
> ///  http://www.zionsbest.com/charter.html      ///

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

///  ZION LIST CHARTER: Please read it at  ///
///  http://www.zionsbest.com/charter.html      ///
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