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Preach my gospel - The Great Apostasy

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Lesson 1: The Message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

After the death of Jesus Christ, wicked people persecuted the Apostles and Church members and killed many of them. With the death of the Apostles, priesthood keys and the presiding priesthood authority were taken from the earth. The Apostles had kept the doctrine of the gospel pure and maintained the order and standard of worthiness for Church members. Without the Apostles, over time the doctrine was corrupted, and unauthorized changes were made in Church organization and priesthood ordinances, such as baptism and conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Without revelation and priesthood authority, people relied on human wisdom to interpret the scriptures and the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ. False ideas were taught as truth. Much of the knowledge of the true character and nature of God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost was lost. Important parts of the doctrine of faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost became distorted or forgotten. The priesthood authority given to Christ’s Apostles was no longer present on the earth. This apostasy eventually led to the emergence of many churches.

Why do members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe the priesthood keys and presiding priesthood were taken from the earth? 

1)  Not all apostles were killed, John an apostle who held Apostolic keys was granted "apower over bdeath, that I may live and bring souls unto thee. " according to D&Cov7 Joseph and Oliver use the seer stone and receive a vision of a parchment of John and given power to translate it that they may obtain an answer to their question.   https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/7?lang=eng

2)  Paul teaches immortal church that the gospel of Christ Jesus would be upon the earth "throughout all ages, world without end." Ephesians 3:21

3)  The letter of 1Clement (first century dated 80 - 140AD) says the Apostles themselves instructed the bishops and ordained them with power to call and ordain other bishops to retain succession and authority.  1Clem 44:1 And our Apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife over the name of the bishop's office. 1Clem 44:2 For this cause therefore, having received complete foreknowledge, they appointed the aforesaid persons, and afterwards they provided a continuance, that if these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed to their ministration.

4)  Brigham Young teaches robust quorum succession in the event of catastrophe (see Wilford Woodruff journal July 28, 1860) that if either the first presidency or the twelve or both are killed the seventy can recreate the church and can re-organize the higher quorums - which matches the letter of Clement. 

Quote:  "The President of the Church holds the keys of the sealing powers & his Council act in Concert with him [in] all things.  Should the Presidency die The Twelve Could organize another Presidency & should the Presidency & Twelve all be slain the Seventies being Equal in power & Authority to the Twelve or first Presidency Could organize both Quorums.   He also taught that a high priest is a primal seed and can re-organize the church if all authorities are dead (nuclear holocaust, alien uprising, voyages to new planets etc). Quote: "The High Priest Could organize the Church in all its parts if all other Authorities were dead for they have the Melchizedek Priesthood out of which grow all of the Higher offices of the Church."

5)  John Taylor teaches of revelations received during the time of "darkness" which coincides with Ephesians 3

John Taylor, 7-Sept 1873 "Say some—'Oh, we are so enlightened and intelligent now. In former ages, when the people were degraded and in darkness, it was necessary that he should communicate intelligence to the human family; but we live in the blaze of Gospel day, in an age of light and intelligence.'  Perhaps we do; I rather doubt it. I have a great many misgivings about the intelligence that men boast so much of in this enlightened day. There were men in those dark ages who could commune with God, and who, by the power of faith, could draw aside the curtain of eternity and gaze upon the invisible world. There were men who could tell the destiny of the human family, and the events which would transpire throughout every subsequent period of time until the final winding-up scene. There were men who could gaze upon the face of God, have the ministering of angels, and unfold the future destinies of the world. If those were dark ages I pray God to give me a little darkness, and deliver me from the light and intelligence that prevail in our day;"

Just to be clear I believe in restoration - these points arose as I studied the matter more closely when I served as a ward mission leader and the update of Preach my gospel released. 

Edited by blueglass
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17 minutes ago, blueglass said:

Why do members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe the priesthood keys and presiding priesthood were taken from the earth? 

1)  Not all apostles were killed, John an apostle who held Apostolic keys was granted "apower over bdeath, that I may live and bring souls unto thee. " according to D&Cov7 Joseph and Oliver use the seer stone and receive a vision of a parchment of John and given power to translate it that they may obtain an answer to their question.   https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/7?lang=eng

2)  Paul teaches immortal church that the gospel of Christ Jesus would be upon the earth "throughout all ages, world without end." Ephesians 3:21

3)  The letter of 1Clement (first century dated 80 - 140AD) says the Apostles themselves instructed the bishops and ordained them with power to call and ordain other bishops to retain succession and authority.  1Clem 44:1 And our Apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife over the name of the bishop's office. 1Clem 44:2 For this cause therefore, having received complete foreknowledge, they appointed the aforesaid persons, and afterwards they provided a continuance, that if these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed to their ministration.

4)  Brigham Young teaches robust quorum succession in the event of catastrophe (see Wilford Woodruff journal July 28, 1860) that if either the first presidency or the twelve or both are killed the seventy can recreate the church and can re-organize the higher quorums - which matches the letter of Clement. 

Quote:  "The President of the Church holds the keys of the sealing powers & his Council act in Concert with him [in] all things.  Should the Presidency die The Twelve Could organize another Presidency & should the Presidency & Twelve all be slain the Seventies being Equal in power & Authority to the Twelve or first Presidency Could organize both Quorums.   He also taught that a high priest is a primal seed and can re-organize the church if all authorities are dead (nuclear holocaust, alien uprising, voyages to new planets etc). Quote: "The High Priest Could organize the Church in all its parts if all other Authorities were dead for they have the Melchizedek Priesthood out of which grow all of the Higher offices of the Church."

5)  John Taylor teaches of revelations received during the time of "darkness" which coincides with Ephesians 3

John Taylor, 7-Sept 1873 "Say some—'Oh, we are so enlightened and intelligent now. In former ages, when the people were degraded and in darkness, it was necessary that he should communicate intelligence to the human family; but we live in the blaze of Gospel day, in an age of light and intelligence.'  Perhaps we do; I rather doubt it. I have a great many misgivings about the intelligence that men boast so much of in this enlightened day. There were men in those dark ages who could commune with God, and who, by the power of faith, could draw aside the curtain of eternity and gaze upon the invisible world. There were men who could tell the destiny of the human family, and the events which would transpire throughout every subsequent period of time until the final winding-up scene. There were men who could gaze upon the face of God, have the ministering of angels, and unfold the future destinies of the world. If those were dark ages I pray God to give me a little darkness, and deliver me from the light and intelligence that prevail in our day;"

Just to be clear I believe in restoration - these points arose as I studied the matter more closely when I served as a ward mission leader and the update of Preach my gospel released. 

Some immediate thoughts:

1. There was no presidency (presiding council) for John to work with (see D&C 107:24, 29), and this is a necessity for the Church organization.

2. Refers to the post-resurrection ("world without end") Church of the Firstborn.

3. Convenient but controversial--someone else may provide this detail. If bishops were appointed to keep things together, it would be largely a temporal responsibility relating to the lesser priesthood. Some will say that the lesser priesthood was still on earth but dormant in some respect (if the holders knew nothing of the sacrament for example) through the lineage of Aaron but once there was no presiding high priest to this fell away also until the Restoration (D&C 107: 16, 17).

4. This pertains to the Restored Church, preventing what happened to the Primitive Church. John 12:24 indicates that the apostasy in the meridian of time had to occur before the restoration in the fulness of times in order for greater things to come of it. The lack of this "robust quorum succession" in a way was a guarantee of death, which of course Christ would overcome in the last dispensation.

5. See #1 – an inspired man does not require keys, and one man does not a presidency make.

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You raise some good questions, and we all need to consider exactly what was the "great apostasy" and what went on during that period of time.

1 hour ago, blueglass said:

Why do members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe the priesthood keys and presiding priesthood were taken from the earth? 

1)  Not all apostles were killed, John an apostle who held Apostolic keys was granted "apower over bdeath, that I may live and bring souls unto thee. " according to D&Cov7 Joseph and Oliver use the seer stone and receive a vision of a parchment of John and given power to translate it that they may obtain an answer to their question.   https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/7?lang=eng

Joseph Fielding Smith had something to say relevant to this question:

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"According to the Pearl of Great Price, when Enoch was translated, the inhabitants of the city Zion were also taken and were also translated. How many others have been given this great honor we do not know, but there may have been many of whom we have no record. Prominence has been given to the case of Elijah as well as to Enoch, and the purpose of granting to prophets this great blessing is that they may minister upon the earth. Moreover, the Lord, of necessity, has kept authorized servants on the earth bearing the priesthood from the days of Adam to the present time; in fact, there has never been a moment from the beginning that there were not men on the earth holding the Holy Priesthood. Even in the days of apostasy, and apostasy has occurred several times, the Lord never surrendered this earth and permitted Satan to have complete control. Even when the great apostasy occurred following the death of the Savior's apostles, our Father in heaven held control and had duly authorized servants on the earth to direct his work and to check, to some extent at least, the ravages and corruption of the evil powers. These servants were not permitted to organize the Church nor to officiate in the ordinances of the gospel, but they did check the advances of evil as far as the Lord deemed it necessary. This truth is made manifest in the statement of the Lord in the D&C wherein the following appears: 

"Wherefore, I will that all men shall repent, for all are under sin, except those which I have reserved unto myself, holy men that ye know not of." D. & C. 49:8."

(Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol.2, p.45)

 

1 hour ago, blueglass said:

2)  Paul teaches immortal church that the gospel of Christ Jesus would be upon the earth "throughout all ages, world without end." Ephesians 3:21

The verse reads as follows:  Eph 3:21  "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."

The question we should be asking ourselves is whether or not this statement implies that the church itself would be preserved intact on earth in all periods of time, or not.  I don't think it does.  Revelation chapter 12 describes the "woman" (Israel or the church), and she is carried into the wilderness for a period of time.  The "woman" is preserved, but not necessarily on earth or at least not among men in general.

1 hour ago, blueglass said:

3)  The letter of 1Clement (first century dated 80 - 140AD) says the Apostles themselves instructed the bishops and ordained them with power to call and ordain other bishops to retain succession and authority.  1Clem 44:1 And our Apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife over the name of the bishop's office. 1Clem 44:2 For this cause therefore, having received complete foreknowledge, they appointed the aforesaid persons, and afterwards they provided a continuance, that if these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed to their ministration.

If you keep reading from Clement's letter from the point you left off, it addresses the question.   Clement saw the rebellion at Corinth as a fulfillment of prophecy as foretold by revelation to the apostles (i.e. Acts 20:28-31).  He also knew that the dissent and apostasy would continue, for he says that the leaders who are martyred or otherwise die are "blessed", for they will not have to endure the contention of men who seek to overthrow their office.  He continues (from where you left off):

Quote

We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole Church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that ye have removed some men of excellent behavior from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honor." (1 Clement, Chap. 44)

Clement was facing the apostasy head on.  

1 hour ago, blueglass said:

4)  Brigham Young teaches robust quorum succession in the event of catastrophe (see Wilford Woodruff journal July 28, 1860) that if either the first presidency or the twelve or both are killed the seventy can recreate the church and can re-organize the higher quorums - which matches the letter of Clement. 

Quote:  "The President of the Church holds the keys of the sealing powers & his Council act in Concert with him [in] all things.  Should the Presidency die The Twelve Could organize another Presidency & should the Presidency & Twelve all be slain the Seventies being Equal in power & Authority to the Twelve or first Presidency Could organize both Quorums.   He also taught that a high priest is a primal seed and can re-organize the church if all authorities are dead (nuclear holocaust, alien uprising, voyages to new planets etc). Quote: "The High Priest Could organize the Church in all its parts if all other Authorities were dead for they have the Melchizedek Priesthood out of which grow all of the Higher offices of the Church."

I think the quote that I provided from Joseph Fielding Smith (above) addresses this issue.  Also, in the early church the political and cultural environment was not right for the church to continue.  It wasn't the right time.  

In the Book of Mormon, in Nephi’s vision of the tree of life, Nephi is also shown the life of Christ and many future events.  After being shown the crucifixion of the Savior, Nephi saw “the multitudes of the earth, that they were gathered together to fight against the apostles of the Lamb”.  In chapter 13 of 1 Nephi, Nephi saw that the great apostasy came about because Satan was the founder of “a great and abominable church” that “slayeth the saints of God, yea, and tortureth them and bindeth them down, and yoketh them with a yoke of iron, and bringeth them down into captivity.”  Now this is not a “church” as we might think of a church, but it represents all those who are against God and who fight against Zion, in all periods of time (2 Ne. 10:16).  They “destroy the saints of God” and they do it for “the praise of the world”, so that they can “bring them down into captivity” (verse 9).  They also “pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men (verse 27)”.  These statements accurately describe the forces that brought about the apostasy and the attitude of the governments and religious organizations of the world for many centuries thereafter.   It just wasn't the right time.

 

1 hour ago, blueglass said:

5)  John Taylor teaches of revelations received during the time of "darkness" which coincides with Ephesians 3

John Taylor, 7-Sept 1873 "Say some—'Oh, we are so enlightened and intelligent now. In former ages, when the people were degraded and in darkness, it was necessary that he should communicate intelligence to the human family; but we live in the blaze of Gospel day, in an age of light and intelligence.'  Perhaps we do; I rather doubt it. I have a great many misgivings about the intelligence that men boast so much of in this enlightened day. There were men in those dark ages who could commune with God, and who, by the power of faith, could draw aside the curtain of eternity and gaze upon the invisible world. There were men who could tell the destiny of the human family, and the events which would transpire throughout every subsequent period of time until the final winding-up scene. There were men who could gaze upon the face of God, have the ministering of angels, and unfold the future destinies of the world. If those were dark ages I pray God to give me a little darkness, and deliver me from the light and intelligence that prevail in our day;"

I like this quote, because it shows that the Lord worked through men and women, even in the period of "darkness", to bring about events that would provide an environment when the restoration of the gospel could take place.  There are many examples in history of when this happened.  But that is not the same as saying that the Lord's church was on the earth.

 

Edited by InCognitus
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I wanted to add something to my response to #1, because something similar happened on the American continent when three of the Nephite disciples were allowed to "tarry" the same as the apostle John.  Mormon wrote about them in Mormon 8:10-11, and he explains their role in the Lord's plan in times of apostasy:

Quote

10 And there are none that do know the true God save it be the disciples of Jesus, who did tarry in the land until the wickedness of the people was so great that the Lord would not suffer them to remain with the people; and whether they be upon the face of the land no man knoweth.  11 But behold, my father and I have seen them, and they have ministered unto us.   (Mormon 8:10–11)
 

 

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On 10/12/2019 at 5:00 PM, CV75 said:

Some immediate thoughts:

1. There was no presidency (presiding council) for John to work with (see D&C 107:24, 29), and this is a necessity for the Church organization.

2. Refers to the post-resurrection ("world without end") Church of the Firstborn.

3. Convenient but controversial--someone else may provide this detail. If bishops were appointed to keep things together, it would be largely a temporal responsibility relating to the lesser priesthood. Some will say that the lesser priesthood was still on earth but dormant in some respect (if the holders knew nothing of the sacrament for example) through the lineage of Aaron but once there was no presiding high priest to this fell away also until the Restoration (D&C 107: 16, 17).

4. This pertains to the Restored Church, preventing what happened to the Primitive Church. John 12:24 indicates that the apostasy in the meridian of time had to occur before the restoration in the fulness of times in order for greater things to come of it. The lack of this "robust quorum succession" in a way was a guarantee of death, which of course Christ would overcome in the last dispensation.

5. See #1 – an inspired man does not require keys, and one man does not a presidency make.

1.  No presidency isn't a problem, Brigham Young taught that "Should the Presidency die The Twelve Could organize another Presidency".  John was a member of the first apostolic presidency and our own scriptures say he escaped death.  Perhaps you're saying that John was not taught that he could do this?  Therefore the blame goes on Jesus for not teaching a proper succession plan in his post-resurrection 40-day ministry? 

2.  New International Version
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
NRSV

21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

3.  Not sure how to see these eccelsiastical structures as they pertain to the early christian church as pertains to the office of episkopos and peter and the church in rome or james in Jerusalem. 

4.  Something which is dead, doesn't continue to grow and grow across the world, deliver to us a canon of scriptures in 367AD with the 39th festal letter, or produce such a rich history of theology, culture, music, schools of learning, or art. 

5.  John who never died lost his keys? 

 

Edited by blueglass

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On 10/12/2019 at 5:41 PM, InCognitus said:

would continue, for he says that the leaders who are martyred or otherwise die are "blessed", for they will not have to endure the contention of men who seek to overthrow their office.  He continues (from where you left off):

Quote

We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole Church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that ye have removed some men of excellent behavior from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honor." (1 Clement, Chap. 44)

Clement was facing the apostasy head on.  

 

Honoring the departed, doesn't connect complete foreknowledge as referring to apostasy.  Clement speaks of providing a continuance not of predicting the death of the church itself.  In 1Clem 57:1 Clement still encourages repentance and the authority of an intact church leadership to exercise church discipline, "Ye therefore that laid the foundation of the sedition, submit yourselves unto the presbyters and receive chastisement unto repentance, bending the knees of your heart." 

Edited by blueglass

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On 10/12/2019 at 6:23 PM, InCognitus said:

I wanted to add something to my response to #1, because something similar happened on the American continent when three of the Nephite disciples were allowed to "tarry" the same as the apostle John.  Mormon wrote about them in Mormon 8:10-11, and he explains their role in the Lord's plan in times of apostasy:

 

Stories on the ministry of the three nephite apostles are certainly some of my favorites!

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15 minutes ago, blueglass said:

No presidency isn't a problem, Brigham Young taught that "Should the Presidency die The Twelve Could organize another Presidency".  John was a member of the first apostolic presidency and our own scriptures say he escaped death.  Perhaps you're saying that John was not taught that he could do this?  Therefore the blame goes on Jesus for not teaching a proper succession plan in his post-resurrection 40-day ministry? 

John is not "The Twelve".  They were all dead, save only John.

18 minutes ago, blueglass said:

John who never died lost his keys? 

Jesus told Peter, that he and James and John, were given the keys "until I come" (D&C 7:7).  John didn't lose any keys, but he was just not authorized to use them.  Presumably, he was instructed to do the same thing as were the three Nephites in the Book of Mormon, i.e. " the wickedness of the people was so great that the Lord would not suffer them to remain with the people" (Mormon 8:10).  The church and keys and authority were withdrawn from among men.  This is exactly the same idea conveyed in Revelation 12:14, where the "woman" (the church) is said to have been taken "into the wilderness":  "And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent."   And in a revelation given to Joseph Smith in March, 1829, the Lord says "this the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my church out of the wilderness—clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners." (Doctrine and Covenants 5:14)

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10 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

John is not "The Twelve".  They were all dead, save only John.

Jesus told Peter, that he and James and John, were given the keys "until I come" (D&C 7:7).  John didn't lose any keys, but he was just not authorized to use them.  Presumably, he was instructed to do the same thing as were the three Nephites in the Book of Mormon, i.e. " the wickedness of the people was so great that the Lord would not suffer them to remain with the people" (Mormon 8:10).  The church and keys and authority were withdrawn from among men.  This is exactly the same idea conveyed in Revelation 12:14, where the "woman" (the church) is said to have been taken "into the wilderness":  "And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent."   And in a revelation given to Joseph Smith in March, 1829, the Lord says "this the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my church out of the wilderness—clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners." (Doctrine and Covenants 5:14)

I really like this imagery of zion coming forth out of the wilderness.  Especially the use of female pronouns in the revealed answer to Elias Higbee.

7 Questions by Elias Higbee: What is meant by the command in Isaiah, 52d chapter, 1st verse, which saith: Put on thy strength, O Zion—and what people had Isaiah reference to?

8 He had reference to those whom God should call in the last days, who should hold the apower of bpriesthood to bring again cZion, and the redemption of Israel; and to put on her dstrength is to put on the eauthority of the fpriesthood, which she, Zion, has a gright to by lineage; also to return to that power which she had lost.

What are your thoughts on Young's teaching that a single living High Priest can serve as a restoration primal seed to regrow the church? 

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36 minutes ago, blueglass said:
On 10/12/2019 at 2:41 PM, InCognitus said:

Clement was facing the apostasy head on.  

 

Honoring the departed, doesn't connect complete foreknowledge as referring to apostasy.  Clement speaks of providing a continuance not of predicting the death of the church itself. 

The full context of the quote from Clement gives the whole story regarding Clement's foreknowledge referring to the apostasy:

Quote

Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole Church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that ye have removed some men of excellent behavior from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honor. (1 Clement, Chap. 44)

The "perfect fore-knowledge" referred to here would obviously include Paul's instructions to the bishops at Ephesus, in Acts 20:28-31, where he gave them the same council as that given by Clement (above), to watch and be ready for these things to happen, but also warned "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock", and of the bishops themselves "shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."   Clement was witnessing the fulfillment of these very things.

And Clement wasn't merely honoring the departed, he was saying they were more "blessed" because they no longer should "fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them".  There was a legitimate fear that the authorized bishops were to be "dismissed from the ministry" and replaced by those who were striving to obtain the office of bishop.

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6 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

The full context of the quote from Clement gives the whole story regarding Clement's foreknowledge referring to the apostasy:

The "perfect fore-knowledge" referred to here would obviously include Paul's instructions to the bishops at Ephesus, in Acts 20:28-31, where he gave them the same council as that given by Clement (above), to watch and be ready for these things to happen, but also warned "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock", and of the bishops themselves "shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."   Clement was witnessing the fulfillment of these very things.

And Clement wasn't merely honoring the departed, he was saying they were more "blessed" because they no longer should "fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them".  There was a legitimate fear that the authorized bishops were to be "dismissed from the ministry" and replaced by those who were striving to obtain the office of bishop.

You are still interpreting Clement's Epistle as warning of the death of the church when he's sending this very epistle to the intact structure of presbyters dealing with the infighting.  I don't see Paul teaching a structurally brittle and weak church without the strength to call and ordain authoritative presbyters to deal with the contention.  How can we believe in a bible produced by an apostate church if this church curated and protected the writings of the apostles when none of the JST has correlation with the earliest greek manuscripts discovered today?  The restored church also dealt with massive apostasy and infighting in kirtland and nauvoo with the apostles and members of the first presidency and migrated to the wilderness of the mountain west for refuge.  After passing through a near death experience and financial collapse it adjusted, threw off the doctrine of polygamy holding it back and re-emerged powerful and vibrant.  What specifically did the restoration restore concerning the doctrine of the atonement of Jesus Christ?  Not penal substitution, not christus victor - what?  As Elder Renlund compared with the priesthood as a rocket delivering the payload of the atonement, we're not looking at Christ building the Challenger to just blow it up on a cold morning 100years after his death and resurrection. 

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if people think the apostasy didn't happen try organizing something and see how many million questions you get of stuff you literally just went over, literally. just. went. over. I can't even imagine trying to keep together a fledgling Church spread all over the place, I have no problem believing the apostasy happen. 

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John could have reorganized everything but did not, presumably by divine command. In the same way the Three Nephites could have called replacements but did not. Their ministry continues but is not an administrative one. The current church acknowledges their authority but they do not report to the First Presidency and the First Presidency does not report to them.

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14 hours ago, blueglass said:

You are still interpreting Clement's Epistle as warning of the death of the church when he's sending this very epistle to the intact structure of presbyters dealing with the infighting. 

Did I say that Clement was warning of the death of the church?  I don’t think I said that because I don’t believe that’s what he was doing. Clement begins his epistle like this, "THE Church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the Church of God sojourning at Corinth", he was writing as one bishop to another, a peer to a peer.  He was responding to a letter they had sent. The apostles were gone and he had no authority over the other bishops, but was doing his best to follow the order established by the apostles and honor their appointments.  I said that he “saw the rebellion at Corinth as a fulfillment of prophecy”, and that “he also knew that the dissent and apostasy would continue”, which is all true.  He was “facing the apostasy head on” because he was confronted with the dismantling of the order of authority and organization established by Jesus.  Bishops have no authority to call and appoint other bishops unless they are given the keys by the Lord to do so.  So his epistle really gives us a clear picture of what went on in the church after the apostles “departed”.  It documents the apostasy in action.  The appointed leadership was being taken out, and even Clement himself died as a martyr a short time later.

14 hours ago, blueglass said:

I don't see Paul teaching a structurally brittle and weak church without the strength to call and ordain authoritative presbyters to deal with the contention. 

We could speculate on what could have happened, but the question would always remain:  Would it be done under the Lord’s direction, or by the will of men?   It is clear from the Revelation 12 description of the church going into the “wilderness” for a time that the Lord knew this would take place and he protected the church in his own way.  As I mentioned in a previous post, the Book of Mormon wrote of this part of history as a period of “captivity”.  There was simply no place in this part of the time line where the church could take hold and be free from political disruption or corruption.  So any attempt at doing that would likely produce the same results.  But there were some who faithfully tried to retain and perpetuate the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, and their good work in this area planted seeds for shaping of the world to come.

Revelation chapter 12 describes what happened after the woman (the church) was taken into the wilderness as follows:

"14  And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.   15  And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.  16  And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.  17  And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."  

The "war" that followed was against the "remnant" of the offspring of the woman, and it included the removal of the God appointed leaders, and the martyrdom of many faithful saints.  Clement of Rome became one of those martyrs.

14 hours ago, blueglass said:

How can we believe in a bible produced by an apostate church if this church curated and protected the writings of the apostles...

How can we believe God inspired scriptures that were preserved by apostates?  I’ve never understood the logic of this argument (it is illogical).  The divinely appointed prophets and apostles, when they were alive, produced the writings of the books of the Bible (not a church).  The fact that other people later on recognized the worth of these writings and tried to preserve and compile them is not an indication of their legitimacy as a group in the eyes of God.  God uses all kinds of people for his purposes, even pagan rulers. But I am just as certain that God’s hand was in the preservation of the books of the Bible that made it into the canon as I’m certain that God had a hand in the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek by the request of Ptolemy.  Does the desire of Ptolemy to have the scriptures of the Jews in the Alexandrian library legitimize Ptolemy’s other works?  I don’t think so.  But the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek had a huge impact on the spread of Christianity.  And so it is also with the preservation of the texts of the apostles and prophets that we have in our Bible canon today.  

14 hours ago, blueglass said:

...when none of the JST has correlation with the earliest greek manuscripts discovered today? 

This really isn’t the purpose of the Joseph Smith Translation in my view, so I wouldn’t expect there to be corroboration by earlier texts.  However, you may want to reconsider your argument in light of some studies done on that topic, such as this one:  https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/selected-articles/quest-origins-joseph-smith-translation-and-latin-version-new-testament

14 hours ago, blueglass said:

The restored church also dealt with massive apostasy and infighting in kirtland and nauvoo with the apostles and members of the first presidency and migrated to the wilderness of the mountain west for refuge.  After passing through a near death experience and financial collapse it adjusted, threw off the doctrine of polygamy holding it back and re-emerged powerful and vibrant.  What specifically did the restoration restore concerning the doctrine of the atonement of Jesus Christ?  Not penal substitution, not christus victor - what?  As Elder Renlund compared with the priesthood as a rocket delivering the payload of the atonement, we're not looking at Christ building the Challenger to just blow it up on a cold morning 100years after his death and resurrection. 

The presence of disagreements between individuals (including leaders) and schisms from the church are very different than a struggle to overthrow the God appointed leaders themselves.  So your description of what happened in Kirtland and Nauvoo bears little resemblance to the degree of apostasy going on at the time of Clement of Rome.

As for your comparison between Christ’s intentions in building the church resulting in the apostasy to the Challenger disaster, I would say your characterization of the apostasy is way too harsh.  Even though the church was withdrawn into the "wilderness" during this time of apostasy, some essential seeds were planted and many of the basic Christian teachings and scriptures were spread across the world.  This, over a long period of time, provided the means to prepare the minds of men both spiritually and politically for the restoration of the gospel, making the field white and ready for harvest.  

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On 11/3/2019 at 9:53 PM, blueglass said:

1.  No presidency isn't a problem, Brigham Young taught that "Should the Presidency die The Twelve Could organize another Presidency".  John was a member of the first apostolic presidency and our own scriptures say he escaped death.  Perhaps you're saying that John was not taught that he could do this?  Therefore the blame goes on Jesus for not teaching a proper succession plan in his post-resurrection 40-day ministry? 

2.  New International Version
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
NRSV

21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

3.  Not sure how to see these eccelsiastical structures as they pertain to the early christian church as pertains to the office of episkopos and peter and the church in rome or james in Jerusalem. 

4.  Something which is dead, doesn't continue to grow and grow across the world, deliver to us a canon of scriptures in 367AD with the 39th festal letter, or produce such a rich history of theology, culture, music, schools of learning, or art. 

5.  John who never died lost his keys? 

 

Yes, and Jesus is to “blame” for His own death as well. (see my point #4). But it could also be that John had no peers to work with (see my point #5).

The INV seems to point to the post-resurrection life as well.

I think the ecclesiastical structures were disrupted, both in the higher and lesser priesthoods, and certainly the quorum of three presidents was disrupted since one was never reconstituted from the remaining twelve or the bishops.

A dead body can retain its form and yet lack the power thereof. In this case, whatever remained did not produce another council of three presidents. The council of three presidents, the power of the body, was dead. Otherwise like the obliterated corn of wheat, it would have given rise to a new council and perpetuated the Church. Instead, the apostate church without this council was a dead body and served as a substrate for other good (but lesser) things that fell within the form of godliness but denying the power of godliness.

John who never died, and who retained the keys and restored them to Joseph Smith with Peter and James, did not lose the keys. With the initial keys, Joseph received what was necessary to restore the Church, which rolled out over time. The remaining earthly body of the Church lost them. Other keys were subsequently restored and will yet be restored.

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On ‎11‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 8:51 PM, Duncan said:

if people think the apostasy didn't happen try organizing something and see how many million questions you get of stuff you literally just went over, literally. just. went. over. I can't even imagine trying to keep together a fledgling Church spread all over the place, I have no problem believing the apostasy happen. 

Ultimately we must rely of faith with some objective evidence.  During Joseph Smith's time there were many Christian sects.  This alone gives pause, because obviously the doctrines of the original Church had been corrupted.  All these churches couldn't be correct.  Even the Catholic church had undergone serious doctrinal change, giving rise to the Orthodox sects in the East. 

The Pope certainly claimed authority, but was he even correct considering the schisms that occurred in the Catholic church in the middle ages?

I don know this:  If you go into any Catholic church you will be confronted with a chart of a Line of Authority beginning with Peter.

So, we must fall back on doctrine.  And given modern revelation we can see that all Christian sects give lip service to Christ, but the doctrines are far from the original ones in the beginning.

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24 minutes ago, mrmarklin said:

Even the Catholic church had undergone serious doctrinal change, giving rise to the Orthodox sects in the East. 

Just to clarify, both the Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Church recognize the valid priesthood of the other. Neither says the other is "apostate" in the way LDS use the term. Catholics recognize the validity of Orthodox sacraments (ordinances) and vice versa.

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2 hours ago, CV75 said:

Yes, and Jesus is to “blame” for His own death as well. (see my point #4). But it could also be that John had no peers to work with (see my point #5).

The INV seems to point to the post-resurrection life as well.

I think the ecclesiastical structures were disrupted, both in the higher and lesser priesthoods, and certainly the quorum of three presidents was disrupted since one was never reconstituted from the remaining twelve or the bishops.

A dead body can retain its form and yet lack the power thereof. In this case, whatever remained did not produce another council of three presidents. The council of three presidents, the power of the body, was dead. Otherwise like the obliterated corn of wheat, it would have given rise to a new council and perpetuated the Church. Instead, the apostate church without this council was a dead body and served as a substrate for other good (but lesser) things that fell within the form of godliness but denying the power of godliness.

John who never died, and who retained the keys and restored them to Joseph Smith with Peter and James, did not lose the keys. With the initial keys, Joseph received what was necessary to restore the Church, which rolled out over time. The remaining earthly body of the Church lost them. Other keys were subsequently restored and will yet be restored.

Two points worth noting here.

1. The President of the Church is the only one who has all of the keys and the authority to use those keys that God has given to mankind on this planet, with the other apostles then living having those keys but not the authority to use them except to appoint another President when the President dies.  They may act as a quorum of apostles with all of those keys until they appoint another President, but to restore the Church as it should be organized they need to appoint 1 of the apostles as the new President of the Church.

2. When the apostles (who are still living after a President dies) appoint another President, they must act as a quorum and, as far as I know, are not able to appoint themselves as the President even if they are the only apostle still living.  So John could not have done it, alone.

I hope I used enough words to explain why the Church was not able to continue.  After the Romans killed all of the apostles who didn't die on their own, until only John remained as the last living apostle, there weren't enough living apostles left to appoint another President of the Church.

The Catholic Church(s)  just tried and still tries to use the reasoning that no more apostles were needed, thinking they could get by well enough with only the bishops that the apostles had appointed while the apostles were living.  But we know it doesn't really work that way.

Edited by Ahab

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"After the death of Jesus Christ, wicked people persecuted the Apostles and Church members and killed many of them. With the death of the Apostles, priesthood keys and the presiding priesthood authority were taken from the earth. The Apostles had kept the doctrine of the gospel pure and maintained the order and standard of worthiness for Church members. Without the Apostles, over time the doctrine was corrupted, and unauthorized changes were made in Church organization and priesthood ordinances, such as baptism and conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost. "

I don't see this to be accurate to what happened.  The apostles tried hard to keep the gospel pure and maintain order but there are many places in the New Testament that indicates they were having a hard time with this.  Individual and group apostasy was already widespread.   For example Galations 1:6: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel...

The gospel did not begin to become corrupted and changed after they were gone.  It was being corrupted and was being changed while they were still around.  They were fighting a losing battle and it only got a lot worse once they were gone.  Once they were gone,  there was nothing to stand in the way of apostasy being complete. 

 

 

.

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34 minutes ago, carbon dioxide said:

"After the death of Jesus Christ, wicked people persecuted the Apostles and Church members and killed many of them. With the death of the Apostles, priesthood keys and the presiding priesthood authority were taken from the earth. The Apostles had kept the doctrine of the gospel pure and maintained the order and standard of worthiness for Church members. Without the Apostles, over time the doctrine was corrupted, and unauthorized changes were made in Church organization and priesthood ordinances, such as baptism and conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost. "

I don't see this to be accurate to what happened.  The apostles tried hard to keep the gospel pure and maintain order but there are many places in the New Testament that indicates they were having a hard time with this.  Individual and group apostasy was already widespread.   For example Galations 1:6: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel...

The gospel did not begin to become corrupted and changed after they were gone.  It was being corrupted and was being changed while they were still around.  They were fighting a losing battle and it only got a lot worse once they were gone.  Once they were gone,  there was nothing to stand in the way of apostasy being complete. 

I think the point is that the living apostles kept things in check in the sense that they were there to point out when false doctrines were being introduced into the church.  They "kept the doctrine of the gospel pure" by their continued correction to the deviations.  And it was hard for the new church because nearly everyone was a convert, and they all brought with them ideas and teachings from previous beliefs.  The early restored church had similar issues.  And today the same thing continues to happen, but on a smaller scale.  

So when the apostles were gone there was no longer the same degree of order maintenance, and as time progressed there were different ideas on what kinds of things were out of order and what was a true or a false doctrine, or even on who was authorized to make that call.

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43 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

And today the same thing continues to happen, but on a smaller scale.  

And easier to correct due to improved communication.  Probably the organized aspect where it isn't as much meeting in homes, but in larger groups with property attached to a central location helps with stability.  Not so easy for a charamastic local leader to take over a congregation perhaps.

Edited by Calm
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4 hours ago, Ahab said:

Two points worth noting here.

1. The President of the Church is the only one who has all of the keys and the authority to use those keys that God has given to mankind on this planet, with the other apostles then living having those keys but not the authority to use them except to appoint another President when the President dies.  They may act as a quorum of apostles with all of those keys until they appoint another President, but to restore the Church as it should be organized they need to appoint 1 of the apostles as the new President of the Church.

2. When the apostles (who are still living after a President dies) appoint another President, they must act as a quorum and, as far as I know, are not able to appoint themselves as the President even if they are the only apostle still living.  So John could not have done it, alone.

I hope I used enough words to explain why the Church was not able to continue.  After the Romans killed all of the apostles who didn't die on their own, until only John remained as the last living apostle, there weren't enough living apostles left to appoint another President of the Church.

The Catholic Church(s)  just tried and still tries to use the reasoning that no more apostles were needed, thinking they could get by well enough with only the bishops that the apostles had appointed while the apostles were living.  But we know it doesn't really work that way.

Yes, this is why Peter, James and John had yo work as a council of three presidents to reverse the Apostasy, something John could not do alone and something they could not do together until the Lord ordered it sometime after Peter's (the principal anyway, not John) and James' resurrection.

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On 11/5/2019 at 4:05 PM, Calm said:

And easier to correct due to improved communication.  Probably the organized aspect where it isn't as much meeting in homes, but in larger groups with property attached to a central location helps with stability.  Not so easy for a charamastic local leader to take over a congregation perhaps.

I meant to comment on this further...   One of the key components to the appointing of bishops anciently that Clement of Rome mentioned in his letter was that it was to be done "with the consent of the whole Church" (Clement, Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 44) .  Latter-day Saints can certainly relate to that procedure (the law of common consent).  For a bishop, I don't take "whole church" to mean all around the globe, but certainly all that would be covered under the leadership of that bishop.  I also would think that would include the leaders who preside over the bishop being called, since they would need to approve of the appointment.

I also wanted to add that Clement of Rome isn't the only one who wrote about the strife over the office of bishop.  James E. Talmage and B.H. Roberts (and probably others) quote Hegesippus as reported by Eusubias.   Only fragments of Hegesippus' Five Books of Commentaries on the Acts of the Church have been preserved.  

Here are a couple of oft quoted portions of his writings:

Quote

Up to that period the Church had remained like a virgin pure and uncorrupted: for, if there were any persons who were disposed to tamper with the wholesome rule of the preaching of salvation, they still lurked in some dark place of concealment or other. But, when the sacred band of apostles had in various ways closed their lives, and that generation of men to whom it had been vouchsafed to listen to the Godlike Wisdom with their own ears had passed away, then did the confederacy of godless error take its rise through the treachery of false teachers, who, seeing that none of the apostles any longer survived, at length attempted with bare and uplifted head to oppose the preaching of the truth by preaching "knowledge falsely so called."

And:

Quote

Therefore was the Church called a virgin, for she was not as yet corrupted by worthless teaching. Thebulis it was who, displeased because he was not made bishop, first began to corrupt her by stealth. He too was connected with the seven sects which existed among the people, like Simon, from whom come the Simoniani; and Cleobius, from whom come the Cleobiani; and Doritheus, from whom come the Dorithiani; and Gorthaeus, from whom come the Gortheani; Masbothaeus, from whom come the Masbothaei. From these men also come the Menandrianists, and the Marcionists, and the Carpocratians, and the Valentinians, and the Basilidians, and the Saturnilians. Each of these leaders in his own private and distinct capacity brought in his own private opinion. From these have come false Christs, false prophets, false apostles-men who have split up the one Church into parts through their corrupting doctrines, uttered in disparagement of God and of His Christ....

Of course he talks about some known heresies from that time, but it is clear that there was somewhat of a struggle to keep things pure.

I wish we had all five of his books preserved, it would be interesting reading.

Edited by InCognitus
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On 10/12/2019 at 2:31 PM, blueglass said:

Why do members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe the priesthood keys and presiding priesthood were taken from the earth? 

1)  Not all apostles were killed, John an apostle who held Apostolic keys was granted "apower over bdeath, that I may live and bring souls unto thee. " according to D&Cov7 Joseph and Oliver use the seer stone and receive a vision of a parchment of John and given power to translate it that they may obtain an answer to their question.   https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/7?lang=eng

2)  Paul teaches immortal church that the gospel of Christ Jesus would be upon the earth "throughout all ages, world without end." Ephesians 3:21

3)  The letter of 1Clement (first century dated 80 - 140AD) says the Apostles themselves instructed the bishops and ordained them with power to call and ordain other bishops to retain succession and authority.  1Clem 44:1 And our Apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife over the name of the bishop's office. 1Clem 44:2 For this cause therefore, having received complete foreknowledge, they appointed the aforesaid persons, and afterwards they provided a continuance, that if these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed to their ministration.

4)  Brigham Young teaches robust quorum succession in the event of catastrophe (see Wilford Woodruff journal July 28, 1860) that if either the first presidency or the twelve or both are killed the seventy can recreate the church and can re-organize the higher quorums - which matches the letter of Clement. 

Quote:  "The President of the Church holds the keys of the sealing powers & his Council act in Concert with him [in] all things.  Should the Presidency die The Twelve Could organize another Presidency & should the Presidency & Twelve all be slain the Seventies being Equal in power & Authority to the Twelve or first Presidency Could organize both Quorums.   He also taught that a high priest is a primal seed and can re-organize the church if all authorities are dead (nuclear holocaust, alien uprising, voyages to new planets etc). Quote: "The High Priest Could organize the Church in all its parts if all other Authorities were dead for they have the Melchizedek Priesthood out of which grow all of the Higher offices of the Church."

5)  John Taylor teaches of revelations received during the time of "darkness" which coincides with Ephesians 3

John Taylor, 7-Sept 1873 "Say some—'Oh, we are so enlightened and intelligent now. In former ages, when the people were degraded and in darkness, it was necessary that he should communicate intelligence to the human family; but we live in the blaze of Gospel day, in an age of light and intelligence.'  Perhaps we do; I rather doubt it. I have a great many misgivings about the intelligence that men boast so much of in this enlightened day. There were men in those dark ages who could commune with God, and who, by the power of faith, could draw aside the curtain of eternity and gaze upon the invisible world. There were men who could tell the destiny of the human family, and the events which would transpire throughout every subsequent period of time until the final winding-up scene. There were men who could gaze upon the face of God, have the ministering of angels, and unfold the future destinies of the world. If those were dark ages I pray God to give me a little darkness, and deliver me from the light and intelligence that prevail in our day;"

Just to be clear I believe in restoration - these points arose as I studied the matter more closely when I served as a ward mission leader and the update of Preach my gospel released. 

A few points:

(1) The apostasy occurred from a falling away of the truth. A result was that the priesthood was taken from - not off - the earth. It existed with John and others, but was hidden. 
 

(2) Was Clements quote about ordaining Bishops before or after he quit the job?  And even if before, what evidence is there that he held the keys of the same?

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8 hours ago, PacMan said:

(1) The apostasy occurred from a falling away of the truth. A result was that the priesthood was taken from - not off - the earth. It existed with John and others, but was hidden. 

The falling away from the truth part of the definition of apostasy is another interesting historical study.  But obviously this didn't happen instantly, it happened over a long period of time and through the introduction of competing doctrines, some of which eventually took the place of the true doctrines.  (And we should be clear that some true teachings were never really "lost", although many have been obscured or debated).  It is informative to study the writings of the earliest Christians, those from the first three centuries, to see what they taught and believed.  The earliest ones (like Clement) knew the apostles and were taught by them, so they can give us viewpoint on how some biblical teachings were understood in early Christianity.  A lot of it sounds very much like LDS doctrine.  It is very different than what you find in Protestant churches, however.

8 hours ago, PacMan said:

(2) Was Clements quote about ordaining Bishops before or after he quit the job?  And even if before, what evidence is there that he held the keys of the same?

Clement, in his letter, described the procedure that was given by the apostles for how bishops were called.  I don't find him advocating that anyone ordain new bishops, but he was laying out the way that it should be done.  Corinth was facing the problem of people in strife over the office bishop and they were trying to remove the current bishop from his office.  Clement was fighting for the retention of those who were called by those who had authority to do so. 

Clement never quit his job as bishop.  Apocryphal writings say that he was banished from Rome during the reign of the Emperor Trajan, and died as a martyr in approximately 99 AD.   As a bishop, he was the real deal.  He is believed to be the same "Clement" mentioned by Paul in Philippians 4:3.  

Edited by InCognitus

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      So the parallels instead of being something "weird" suddenly became very comforting to me, and I could not wait to get to the temple to get my very own "garment"
      But I know that many here are not aware of scapulars, though I have mentioned them in passing before and since we have some Catholics who visit here,  I thought it might be fun to discuss.   No Protest-ants please.  (Just kidding  )
      Catholics also believe that scapulars offer a kind of spiritual protection for wearing them, which also parallels a Mormon belief about garments.
      http://m.ncregister.com/daily-news/put-on-our-ladys-protection-with-the-brown-scapular#.WkwHvtWnHrd
       
       
       
       
    • By kiwi57
      It is something of a truism among Christians generally, and Latter-day Saints more specifically, that martyrdom has frequently been what Hugh Nibley (who the Church's enemies love to hate) called "a prophet's reward." The cases of Zechariah, Abinadi, Stephen, James the Just, most of the original 12 Apostles, not to mention Jesus himself, demonstrate that the world - not excluding the religious world - has little tolerance for any who have the temerity to remind them that God expects something better than the mere polite navigation of societal currents.
      While it is easy, with hindsight, to respond to such events with platitudes like "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church," in every case that I know of, those who followed a martyred prophet regarded the prophet's death as nothing less than tragic, if not outright disastrous. Authentic martyrs don't go out of their way to court martyrdom, and the followers of authentic martyrs don't seek to throw their prophets to the lions.
      We do not live in a time when the message delivered by the Lord's prophets is at all popular. As usual, that message runs counter to prevailing cultural winds. But we are blessed to live in a time - and long may it continue! - when they are able to deliver their message in relative safety.
      But as dreadful as the martyrdom of a prophet is, it isn't irrecoverable. After the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, a few dissenters and ambitious individuals left the Church, in some cases taking some followers with them; but the body of the Church recovered from the emotional shock, picked themselves up, and followed the legitimate leadership of the Twelve. And the Church, despite often-fierce opposition from various quarters, has survived and even thrived ever since.
      What is - and always has been - far more disastrous to the Church than the death of any leader, is the spectre of apostasy. Not apostasy from the Church - that always happens - but apostasy of the Church. Nibley, again, in arguing that the primitive Church was always expected to be taken from the earth, pointed out that its demise wasn't expected to be brought about by destruction, or even defection, but by the Church abandoning its faith. As he put it, the Church in that generation was faced with a choice between "saving its soul by remaining true to the faith, or saving its skin by coming to terms with the world." (Quoted from memory.)
      To those who see the Church as faced with the same choice in our generation, the lesson is clear. The martyrdom of Joseph the Prophet was in every sense a disaster - but a recoverable one. But if the Church in the latter days were to surrender to the world on matters of faith and morality, as the Church in former days did, then that would be a disaster from which the Church could never recover.
      That is why I, along with many others, am so frankly bewildered by those who claim to be Latter-day Saints, but who seem to be urging just such a surrender on a currently fashionable issue.
      There may be some who will interpret this as some kind of "slam" or insult. I assure you that it is no such thing. It represents my sober, calm and considered position. I have held it for a number of years now, and I have never been presented with any arguments that might make me reconsider that position.
      So the question for discussion is this: why should the Church's abandoning its doctrinal position on conjugal marriage, if such an abandonment were to happen, not be seen as a mere surrender to the shifting fashions of a fallen world?
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