Signs of the True Christian Church
Just as in New Testament times, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Mormons) is the one true Church which points the way to eternal life through the teachings of the Savior Jesus Christ and incorporates all that the Savior incorporated over 2,000 years ago.
The Priesthood as a Sign
When the Savior established His Church in Israel, he called twelve apostles who would teach the gospel and testify of the Savior. When the Savior died, Peter became the head, or the prophet of the Church. Today, a living prophet leads the Mormon Church and under him are twelve apostles who have been called by God through revelation. These twelve apostles, along with the Prophet, possess the same power and authority that Christ gave his twelve apostles.
Just as in the days of the Savior, the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood is given to male members of the Mormon Church to act in the Savior's name. Priesthood holders can trace their line of authority directly back to the Savior Jesus Christ. When the Lord restored his church to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, He sent Peter, James, and John. Through the laying on of hands, they ordained Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to the priesthood, which gave them the authority to act in God's name.
Revelation is another key factor when identifying the true Christian Church. The Mormon Church is guided by continuous revelation through its living prophet. 'Revelation is identified as communication from God to His children. This guidance comes through various channels according to the needs and circumstances of individuals, families, and the [Mormon] Church as a whole.'2
Correct Doctrine and Practice
The Mormon Church teaches that, "We believe in God the Eternal Father and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." These three beings are the members of the Godhead, God being the supreme member. Jesus Christ is the Father's Son and does the Father's will in all things. Each is aware of the other; they communicate, and work in perfect harmony one with another. The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. The Godhead is composed of three separate divine persons, each of whom is a divine being in his own right.
Another factor in identifying a true Christian Church is, that Jesus Christ was literally resurrected and lives today. When the Savior was resurrected, His spirit was reunited with his body, which was glorified and perfected. Just as it teaches in the New Testament, He is a real person with a glorified physical body.3
Just as in ancient times, tithing is observed in the Mormon Church. The Bible teaches that the true church will practice this divine principle, whereby members donate a tenth of their earnings to the Church for the building up of the kingdom of God on the earth. The Bible teaches in Malachi 3:10 that great blessings await those who are obedient to this commandment.
The official, canonized scriptures of the Mormon Church are: the Holy Bible, the [[Book of Mormon], the Pearl of Great Price, and the Doctrine and Covenants. These four books are often called the standards works in the Mormon Church. The coming forth of the Book of Mormon was predicted by ancient Israelite prophets and was brought forth through the prophet Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon is a history of God's dealings with the people in the ancient Americas. It teaches us about the Savior's dealings with his ancient covenant people in the New World. The Bible teaches about God's dealings with his covenant people in the Old World,
As in the Savior's Church in ancient times, missionary work is a major part in the Mormon Church. There are over 60,000 missionaries working world- wide to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to all of God's children.
The Mormon Church does not employ its leaders. Each member that is called to serve does without pay – this is referred to as 'lay ministry'. The service rendered is done on their own time and where each, has normal employment outside of church service. The Savior's church as well, had unpaid local clergy. It was only after the true gospel began to be removed from the earth that the practice of paying local leaders was practiced.
Baptism is essential in achieving eternal life in the Lord's kingdom. It is the first saving ordinance of the true Christian Church. Through baptism and confirmation by priesthood authority, it is then that a person can become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Savior set the example to follow in being baptized. Even though He was perfect, he too needed to be baptized to enter His Father's kingdom.4
Just because we are baptized, it does not guarantee our salvation into eternal life. We are not saved strictly by grace alone – we must do more. The Mormon Church teaches that our thoughts and actions play a major role in our salvation. We must strive each day to keep ALL the commandments to the best of our ability. The Church teaches that not one person can be saved without the atonement of Jesus Christ; He will make up the difference after we have done everything we can. The Savior taught that we must live righteous lives in order to return to live in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 7:21 teaches that "Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." The New Testament reiterates numerous times that our actions are vital and those that choose not to keep the commandments will not return to live with Heavenly Father.
Vital Questions Answered
Probably the most vital part of finding the true Christian Church would be the three questions that all mankind ask: "Where did I come from?" "Why am I here?" and "Where am I going after death?" The Mormon Church can answer all three of these questions! Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord revealed His divine truth that we did not suddenly exist. We lived with God the Father as spirits in the pre-mortal life prior to coming to earth. As members of the true Church, members know that they are on this earth to gain experience, to be tried and tested, to live the best lives that they can possibly live according to the knowledge that they possess, and to receive a physical body. After death, the teachings are that each will go to the spirit world. Those who die without having the opportunity to learn of the gospel on the earth will have the opportunity in the spirit world, where they will still have the choice whether to accept or reject the gospel of Jesus Christ. All will be resurrected, wherein the spirit will reunite with the body, and where the body will be glorified and perfected. Each will be judged according to his works in relation to the knowledge and light that each possesses. After which, each will be assigned to one of the three kingdoms: the celestial, the terrestrial, and the telestial.5
- "True to the Faith", 2004, pg.79-80
- "True to the Faith", 2004, pg.140
- "Holy Bible"; I Corinthians 15:23
- "Holy Bible", Matthew 3:13-17
- Doctrine and Covenants 76