WHAT CHURCH DO YOU BELONG TO?
2nd NEPHI 28:3-27
2nd Nephi 28:3-6
Many of those who profess to believe the Book of Mormon hold to the belief that the condemnations in Nephi’s Isaiah of the Abominable Church are directed primarily to the Catholic Church. What they fail to recognize is that those condemnations also apply to their Gentile Church and that although the LDS church and the Catholic church may differ in beliefs, they are almost identical in structure and the method in which they administer their religion.
The LDS church has adopted the belief that the Catholic Church is a false church because they don’t have “keys” or a direct line authority. They make this claim because they believe that the apostles of the original church were killed and that the “keys” were not passed on and were lost. However, history shows that the Apostles did in fact continue to call leaders including Linus, the priesthood leader from which the Catholics trace their authority. The modern LDS church says Linus didn’t hold enough “priesthood” despite the fact that this situation is almost identical to the succession of Joseph Smith to Brigham Young. Joseph did not appoint Brigham as his successor, but in a junior office of the “priesthood”. The LDS church does not have any superior claim to the priesthood than do the Catholics, yet both claim to be the Lord’s true church.
“For it shall come to pass in that day that the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, when the one shall say unto the other: Behold, I, I am the Lord’s; and the others shall say: I, I am the Lord’s; and thus shall every one say that hath built up churches, and not unto the Lord”
(2 Nephi 28:3)
Any claim to being the “Lord’s” church should be contingent upon whose church conforms to the Doctrine of Christ and the teaching’s of the dispensation head. How closely does the Catholic Church conform to the Bible and the words of the 12 Apostles in the New Testament? How closely does the LDS Church conform to the Book of Mormon and those revelations contained in the Doctrine and Covenants that remain unchanged, unmanipulated, and un-doctored from the Prophet Joseph Smith’s original accounts?
The Great Apostasy didn’t come as a result of “keys” being lost. It came because church leaders made doctrinal changes based on the decisions of a committee instead of receiving revelation directly from God. They disregarded what was taught from the dispensation head, did not ask God for direction, and instead substituted their own ideas and wisdom as revelation from God. (See “The Great Apostasy by Tallmage)
“And they shall contend one with another; and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance. And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel..”
(2 Nephi 28:4–5)
“…and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men Behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work.”
(2 Nephi 28:5-6)
|Look at that man! He'll get you somewhere|
He's has a key!
All you have to do is be some keyhole!
A church that would fit this description would say things like, “Follow us, follow the ‘prophet’, obey our rules, or precepts of men. We can NEVER lead you astray. The restoration was completed by Joseph, therefore the Lord has done His work in establishing the church. He hath given us the ‘keys’, or in other words His power unto men, so follow us - we have keys! And if anyone claims to have received miracles by being ministered to by angels and have actually received a witness Jesus Christ, don’t believe those darn apostates because we have keys, and we are ‘righteous’ and yet we have never received such things, so they must be deceived!”
Consider the two following statements:
The first is from the “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet”
“I remember years ago when I was a bishop I had President Heber J. Grant talk to our ward. After the meeting I drove him home … Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said: ‘My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it.’ Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said, ‘But you don’t need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray.’” (Conference Report, October 1960, p. 78.)
“Keep your eyes riveted on the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. We will not lead you astray. We cannot.” (M. Russell Ballard, October 2014 General Conference) “Let me remind you to stay in the course chartered by the Church. It is the Lord’s Church, and he will not permit it to be led astray. If we take the counsel that comes from the prophets and seers, we will pursue the course that is pleasing to the Lord.” (Bruce R. McConkie, “Our Relationship With the Lord,” BYU Devotional March 2, 1982.)
Now consider the following quote from Ignatius of Antioch, a man who played a significant role in institutionalizing Christianity and Catholicism. Before him, Christians were mostly worshiping in small home fellowships without much leadership, at the time which many considered the entire world to be in apostasy.
“You must all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles. Reverence the deacons as you would the command of God. Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop, or by one whom he appoints. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. Nor is it permitted without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate the agape; but whatever he approve, this too is pleasing to God, so that whatever is done will be secure and valid.” (St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr; Letter to the Smyrneans § 8)
Both the Catholic church and the LDS church hold as fundamental the principle that their members must submit to their authorized leaders in order obtain salvation. Both churches believe that God has given His power unto men and that we must obey them in order to achieve exaltation. However, Joseph Smith states the following about submitting to priesthood leaders.
“We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who preside over them (even) if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God would despise the idea. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the saints were told to do by their presidents, they should do it without any questions. When the Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves.”
(Joseph Smith, Millennial Star, 14:38, pp.593-595.)
Obedience to the authority of mortal men is not supported by scriptures. When talking about their church leaders, the Latter-Day Saints love to recite Amos 3:7, D&C 1:38, and D&C 21. However, they cite them completely out of context. Before you assume these scriptures apply to your church leaders, read the entire chapter or section and ask yourself: What is a servant? What constitutes someone as a prophet? Who is receiving this revelation and to whom is it directed? Perhaps this why you will always hear church leaders quoting other church leaders, who quote other church leaders, when talking about how they can NEVER lead you astray. Because they can’t quote the words of Christ to support this belief system because Christ never said that men could not lead you astray. God has never said that we must trust and submit to man. The only being God has ever commanded us to submit to is His son Jesus Christ. We are condemned if we trust in man.
“Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
Instead trust and rely wholly upon Him who is mighty to save, Jesus Christ( 2nd Nephi 31:19)
"O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm."
(2 Nephi 4:34)
2nd Nephi 28:7-12
“Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us. And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.”
(2nd Nephi 7-8)
How often do you consider yourself, or members of your church, “saved” because you belong to the “true” church? Do you believe that “Odds are You’re Going to be Exalted” because you have been through a temple? Do you believe that as longs as you remain worthy of a temple recommend you can just go about your merry little life, and somehow expect to inherit salvation next to those who have offered their all in sacrifice unto the Lord? (see Lectures of Faith 6:7-8)
“Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark. And the blood of the saints shall cry from the ground against them. Yea, they have all gone out of the way; they have become corrupted. Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up.”
(2 Nephi 28:7–12)
Is your church lifted up in the pride of their hearts believing that they are THE true Church? After what manner does your church teach? Do they teach by the spirit of truth? (D&C 50:14-25) Or do they teach by some other way? Is it possible that your emotions and psychological insecurities are manipulated, thus causing you to receive spirits you cannot understand, mistaking them to be of the Holy Ghost when they are in fact evil spirits. God doesn’t communicate to us through emotions. His form of communication always consists of information which is why it is given to us through words or by His voice. (JST John1:1-4, Alma32:23,Moroni 8:8 D&C98:11) We have emotional reactions to the Spirit of Truth, whether it be negative or positive. Emotions are independent of the Holy Ghost. So don’t mistake “warm-fuzzies” and goose bumps as truth. Don’t mistake heavy upset stomachs (cognitive dissonance) as lies.
False teachers, as opposed to expounding upon the ugly truth of the sins and iniquity of the people, seek to make their audiences feel good about themselves by reassuring them that they a chosen people and that they are in the right boat. They proclaim that ALL IS WELL! The Nephites loved false teachers because they always made them feel goody inside about themselves.
“Behold ye are worse than they; for as the Lord liveth, if a prophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil.
But behold, if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth—and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet.
Yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that ALL IS WELL, then ye will not find fault with him.”
Leaders who set themselves up as a light unto the world instead of consistently pointing to Jesus Christ, will always proclaim how elect, chosen, and great are the people who are in their organization. Then they will proclaim how their organization is amazing and cannot be lead astray.
Compare Helaman’s words to Nelson’s and Holland’s .
“My beloved brothers and sisters, you were born to be True Millennials! You are a chosen generation, fore-determined by God to do a remarkable work—to help prepare the people of this world for the Second Coming of the Lord.
Now, as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I bless each one of you, as though I had my hands upon your heads, with the ability to become the True Millennial you were born to be. I bless you to have the desire and ability to learn your true identity and purpose, that you will expect and prepare to do “impossible” things, that you will be undaunted in your efforts to learn how to access the powers of heaven to help you solve your problems and answer your questions. And I bless you to follow the prophet with exactness, to feel peace in your heart as you do so. I bless you to know and feel how much the Lord loves you and how much confidence He has in you. I love and sustain President Thomas S. Monson in this sacred work of Almighty God. Jesus Christ is our Savior. This is His Church. We are His people! I so testify in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.” (Becoming True Millennials, 01/10/2016)
“…Nothing—not anything, not anyone, not any influence—will keep this Church from fulfilling its mission and realizing its destiny declared from before the foundation of the world. Ours is that fail-safe, inexorable, indestructible dispensation of the fulness of the gospel. There is no need to be afraid or tentative about the future.
Unlike every other era before us, this dispensation will not experience an institutional apostasy; it will not see a loss of priesthood keys; it will not suffer a cessation of revelation from the voice of Almighty God. Individuals will apostatize or turn a deaf ear to heaven, but never again will the dispensation collectively do so. What a secure thought! What a day in which to live!” (Jeffery R Holland Facebook post May 27th 2015)
"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."
(2 Nephi 28:21)
"Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion! Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well! 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!"
(2 Nephi 28:24–26)
Don’t put your trust in the vain words, empty promises, and commandments of men. Instead seek to obtain God’s word for yourself. If you want to know your standing with God, come unto Christ with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ by baptism. Trust wholly in the merits of He who is mighty to save, Jesus Christ