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Hi I'm Greg

I'm a husband, father, grandfather, writer, musician, computer geek, and judo student--and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I have been a member of the Church since 1978. I was the first member in my family. My wife and I have been married since 1983. We have five wonderful children and a rapidly-growing number of grandchildren. I work in the Information Technology field, teach guitar, study judo, and I'm the author of several LDS-oriented books. I also write for the Examiner. I'm grateful to be a member of the Church and to have the restored gospel in my life. 

Why I am a Mormon

I joined the Church after spending time investigating the beliefs of other Christian denominations as well as Eastern religions. During that period of seeking, I briefly declared myself to be an atheist because of my frustration at being unable to find the truth. The thing that proved most important to me was the Book of Mormon's promise that a person can know the truth for himself, by the Holy Ghost. In the summer of 1978, a co-worker gave me a copy of the Book of Mormon and told me it was true. I tried to maintain a healthy skepticism at first, but I was amazed at the clarity and the power of the book. I read the testimony of the Three Witnesses and the Eight Witnesses and I was impressed by their earnestness. I found Joseph Smith's testimony of his First Vision and the subsequent visits by heavenly messengers to be startling and inspiring. The sincerity of his testimony was extraordinarily moving. As I read the Book of Mormon, the words of Joseph Smith rang true to my ears. There was no way I was going to know the truth by applying man's wisdom alone. I realized I had to ask of God and trust in him alone for my answers. I prayed about the Book of Mormon and received a clear, unmistakable answer that it is of God. This caused a wave of realizations as the Holy Ghost linked related truths. I understood that, because the Book of Mormon was true, that there truly was a God. I knew that Jesus Christ was his Son. I knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that his testimony was true. Thus I knew that he had seen and conversed with our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus. I knew angels had come and spoken to Joseph Smith. I knew I had to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior and that I must follow him. It seemed that, in a matter of seconds, the whole world transformed amazingly from darkness of not knowing to the light of noon-day and certainty borne of the Spirit of God. Since that time, wonderful blessings have come into my life. I have had many amazing experiences as a result of the personal witness I received that day over thirty years ago.

How I live my faith

I love my Heavenly Father. I do my best to follow the Savior Jesus Christ and to live his teachings. I pray daily and I love to study the holy scriptures. The Book of Mormon has great meaning for me, because that is how I came to gain a testimony of Christ. I live my faith by striving to keep God's commandments and teaching my family. My wife and I teach our children gospel principles in weekly family nights. We teach them to read and understand the scriptures. We follow the counsel in Deuteronomy 6:7 to "...teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." Casual moments together often become the best times to answer questions and teach the gospel. We also show them the importance of serving others by including them when we help or serve others. When I was a new convert, I was single. The Young Single Adult activities strengthened me and prepared me to serve a mission. I served a mission in France and it was a great blessing to me. Later, after I was married, my wife and I continued to serve in the Church and to teach our children the gospel. There is great joy to be had in building an eternal family. What peace it gives us to know that the family is eternal! Today, I serve as the branch president on Virginia's Eastern Shore. I enjoy counseling with the members, participating in service projects, and in helping others.

Who was Joseph Smith?

Greg
Joseph Smith was a prophet of God like Noah, Moses, or John the Baptist. He was a mortal man who received a special calling and sacred knowledge from God. He was given a mission to perform. That mission was to restore the fullness of the gospel in the last days in preparation for the Lord's return. Joseph began life as a humble farm boy. He came from a family that believed in Jesus Christ. He earnestly sought to draw closer to his Heavenly Father. He attended the Christian churches near his home. He found a contentious rivalry between the pastors and members of the various denominations. The ill-feelings between these believers was troubling. Joseph knew that this spirit of contention could not be of God. As he searched the scriptures, he came to understand that men interpreted important passages differently, resulting in confusion. As he wondered how a mere farm boy could possibly know the truth when so many respected doctors of religion differed on the Bible's meaning, he came upon a passage that moved him profoundly. In James 1:5-6, he learned that God would give wisdom to anyone who lacked it, if he were to ask with unwavering faith. Joseph Smith decided to ask of God to find his answers. His answer came in the spring of 1820, when he went into the woods near his home to pray. Joseph received a glorious vision of the Father and the Son, who appeared to him and taught him. In particular, in response to his question as to which church he should join, he was commanded to join none of them. The churches did not have the fullness of the gospel and they lacked God's authority. The Lord promised that these things would be restored in due time. Joseph was only a 14 year-old boy at the time. The Lord allowed him time to be tested and to mature. At the age of 17, he received a remarkable visitation of a heavenly being named Moroni. Moroni instructed Joseph further as to his mission and disclosed the location of an ancient record. Over the next four years, Joseph received preparatory instruction. Joseph was entrusted with the engraved plates and given the spiritual gifts to translate it. The translation was published as the Book of Mormon in 1830. While translating the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and his scribe, Oliver Cowdery came upon a passage that contained powerful teachings about the necessity of baptism. They knew that they did not possess authority to perform this ordinance. They retired to a secluded spot to pray and inquire of the Lord about baptism. In response to their faith and prayers, the Lord sent another heavenly messenger. John the Baptist appeared and conferred the Aaronic Priesthood upon the two men. He gave them authority to baptize and told them to baptize one another. Some time later, the Lord send Peter, James, and John--the ancient apostles of Jesus--to confer the Melchizedek Priesthood, apostolic authority, and the keys of the kingdom. This authority had been absent from among mankind for centuries. In the years to come, Joseph Smith and his associates received additional heavenly messengers who bestowed keys, powers, and authority that had been lost. Moses, Elias, and Elijah were just a few of these messengers. The authority they brought back and conferred enabled Joseph and his successors to legitimately act in God's name. These events, the First Vision, the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and the restoration of sacred authority constitute the "Restoration." In the past, prophets were sent to call the people to repent and to believe in God. They also came with special missions to perform. Noah came to save people from the flood. Moses came to gather Israel and bring them to a promised land. John the Baptist came to prepare people for the Lord's first coming. Joseph Smith was called to warn mankind of coming calamities, to gather God's people to a new "promised land," and to prepare people for the Lord's second coming. The Lord's promise is that he would always send prophets to tell us his plans. (See Amos 3:7) Joseph Smith was a witness of Jesus Christ. He taught gospel principles. He gave us a significant body of true scripture. He restored teachings that had been lost for centuries. He transmitted authority and power to others to carry on the work after his ministry was completed. He demonstrated prophetic gifts and spiritual power that could only come from God. Like many of the prophets before him, he laid down his life as a testament of the truthfulness of his message. I obtained a testimony of Joseph Smith by the power of the Holy Ghost. I studied the Book of Mormon and pondered its teachings. I felt the sincerity of his own testimony about his experience. I considered the testimony of the witnesses who saw the gold plates. Like Joseph, I had seen the contention and contradictions among Christian denominations. I was impressed that his solution was to go to God for answers. It encouraged me to do the same. I prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet. I received a clear, unmistakable answer by the Holy Ghost. I knew for myself it was true. Before that time, I could not say that I was a Christian. Because of Joseph Smith and particularly, the Book of Mormon, I gained a personal faith in Jesus Christ. I learned that God is real, that he loves us, and that he can guide us today. Latter-day Saints do not worship Joseph Smith. We revere him as a prophet of God and a witness of Jesus Christ. In a day when many people question the validity of the Bible, whether Jesus was the Son of God, or whether God exists at all, Joseph Smith's testimony is a powerful statement to the world that they can have faith. Joseph Smith restored the Church of Jesus Christ in its purity, as it was anciently when Peter, James, John, and Paul lived. I am grateful for this knowledge and testimony. If you'd like to know more about Joseph Smith's ministry and teachings, please visit www.josephsmith.net. Show more Show less

What is a ward/stake/branch?

Greg
A stake is an ecclesiastical unit of the Church similar to a diocese. Stakes have specific geographical boundaries. The term "stake" comes from Isaiah chapter 54:2 where the Lord told Israel to "Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes...." The visual image of the tabernacle, a large tent, was used to portray the growth of the Lord's kingdom. As the stakes provide strength and stability to a tent, so the stakes of Zion in the Church strengthen the members and spread the Church far and wide. A stake is administered by a stake president, two counselors, and a high council consisting of twelve high priests. Each stake is organized into several wards, which the equivalent of a parish. Each ward is organized into geographical districts. A bishop and two counselors preside over a ward which consists of several hundred members. In remote areas or in areas where the Church is new, branches are often formed. These smaller congregations are presided over by branch presidents and may fall under the administration of a stake or a mission. One unusual thing about the Church is that, when a ward grows to a certain size, it will split. The geographical boundaries will be divided in two and they may share a building, holding their meetings at different times. The same thing when a stake becomes so large that administration by lay members and volunteers becomes difficult, the stake will split and become two stakes. New buildings may be constructed in the process. The result is that the ecclesiastical leaders and other volunteers can visit the members and care for their spiritual needs more effectively. The organizations maintain a family-like feeling where every one knows each other and everyone has the opportunity to contribute their time and talents to help the Church accomplish its mission. Show more Show less

Why do you have 12 Apostles? They were just meant to be around for the time of Jesus Christ, not to be replaced with new apostles.

Greg
Mormons respect the will of the Lord as expressed anciently in the Bible. Jesus called twelve apostles and gave them authority. He gave them the "keys of the kingdom" Matthew 16:19 He gave them authority to bind on earth and in heaven Matthew 18:18 and even to "remit sins" or "retain them." John 20:23 We believe that the office of the apostleship was intended to remain in the Church until certain conditions were to occur. Those conditions are described in Ephesians chapter 4, verses 11 through 14. "And he gave some, apostles and some, prophets and some, evangelists and some, pastors and teachers For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive...." We should ask ourselves if we have met the conditions Paul listed. Have we come to a "ünity of the faith?" No, there are over a thousand Christian sects and denominations that disagree on important doctrines. Has mankind come to "the knowledge of the Son of God?" The answer again is no. There are still millions of people who are ignorant of the gospel of Christ and his saving grace. Have we come "unto a perfect man" like Christ himself? No. There never has been and there never will be another person like Jesus Christ. Thus, there will always be a need for living apostles and prophets to guide Christ's church. We see in the ancient Church that the remaining eleven apostles fasted and prayed, and cast their lots for Matthias to become one of their number. They acted to replace a vacancy in that quorum of twelve special witnesses of the Lord's resurrection. Some time later, James was killed on Herod's order. The Lord appeared to Paul. In time, he was added to the apostles' number. There is clear scriptural evidence of an intent to maintain a quorum of twelve apostles. The unity of the Church, of which Paul spoke, in Ephesians 4:5 depended not only on the the presence of the key-holders, but on the acceptance of those officers appointed by Jesus and the revelations he gave the Twelve. There came a time however, when even the Church rejected them. We read in the third Epistle of John, about a man named Diotrephes, who sought to usurp power and authority in the ancient Christian Church. He rejected the authority of the apostles and excommunicated those who opposed him and his ambitions. "I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church." 3 John 1:9-10 It seems unimaginable that a Christian man would defame "with malicious words" one of the chosen servants ordained under the hand of Jesus himself. Yet, it was the case. This is one of the symptoms of a general, widespread apostasy that led to the Lord removing the apostleship from among mortal men. Before the Church was organized in 1830, it was necessary that the apostleship, with its keys and authority be restored as it was in ancient times. Without those keys, the Church of Jesus Christ does not exist. When they are present, and those who hold the keys are accepted by even a small group of believers, God's power rests upon the Church. That power is demonstrated, in part, by unity. Today, there is "One Lord, one faith, one baptism..." just as there was in the time when Paul dictated those words. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has twelve living apostles who hold those keys. The senior apostle, President Thomas S. Monson, is empowered to exercise them. The blessings of this authority and its presence in the Church are too many to note in this post. I testify that they are real and supernal. Show more Show less

Why do Mormons perform baptisms for the dead?

Greg
Like other Christians, Mormons affirm that faith in Jesus Christ is essential for salvation. Yet many millions, perhaps even billions of souls have been born, lived, and died on this earth who never had the opportunity to hear the gospel preached. They died in ignorance of the sole means God provided to save them. Would an all-powerful God create billions of human beings for the purpose of sending most of them to hell? Mormons believe that God has an ordered, logical, and authoritative plan that offers salvation through Jesus Christ no matter when in time or where on earth one lives. The Bible teaches: Isaiah 61:1 - Jesus would set free the captives bound in a spiritual prison. John 5:25 - That the dead would hear the voice of the Son of God When Jesus was resurrected, Mary went to embrace him and Jesus said, "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." (John 20:17) Question: If Jesus had not yet ascended to the Father, where had his spirit gone for three days while his body lay in the tomb? Answer: He went to preach to the dead in the spirit prison. 1 Peter 3:18-19 - "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;" 1 Peter 4:6 - "For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit." Thus God the Father sent Jesus Christ into the spirit "prison" to teach the gospel and proclaim liberty to the captives as Isaiah prophesied. In that realm today, a massive missionary effort continues among the spirits who die in ignorance of the saving Gospel message. Jesus also taught that baptism is essential to salvation (John 3:5). Would it be fair to preach the gospel to spirits and provide no way for them to receive baptism? Are not the requirements for salvation the same for everyone or does God arbitrarily elect certain people for salvation regardless of their faith and obedience? In 1st Corinthians 15:29, Paul refers to an ancient Christian practice in which the Corinthians were engaged. He used this practice as justification for the belief in a literal resurrection of the dead. "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?" Consistent with this Biblical teaching and modern day revelation, Latter-day Saints have authority to perform proxy baptisms. Latter-day Saints research their family histories and identify those who died without having the opportunity for baptism by proper authority. One can then be baptized in behalf of the deceased person in the name of Jesus Christ. If that individual in the spirit prison accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior, the baptism performed in their behalf is valid for them as if they had been baptized in person. If that person rejects Jesus Christ, the baptism has no merit for them. It is within their agency to accept or reject it. Thus, God has provided a way for all his children to know and understand the fulness of the Gospel message and the salvation offered by the atonement of Jesus Christ. This demonstrates God's justice and fairness. He does not create anyone with the intent of condemning them to hell. The tidings of salvation will be offered to every human being before the last judgment and the resurrection of the dead. Baptism for the dead was practiced by ancient Christians and is one of the characteristics of the true Church of Jesus Christ. Show more Show less

What is the Book of Mormon?

Greg
The Bible tells us that, before the destruction of Jerusalem by the the Babylonians in 600 B.C., the Lord called many prophets to call the Israelites to repent of idolatry and wickedness. One of those prophets was a man named Lehi. Lehi preached repentance and the people in Jerusalem tried to kill him, like they did with the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah. Lehi was then commanded to take his family and flee Jerusalem. God promised to lead him to a land of promise, one choice above all other lands. The Lord led Lehi and his family to the New World. So begins the story of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is another witness of Jesus Christ, similar to the Bible. It is a testimony that God remembers the scattered tribes of Israel and will fulfill his covenant with them. It is a testimony that Jesus Christ is the Savior of mankind and that salvation and exaltation depend on placing faith in him alone. The Book of Mormon contaiins the writings of many prophets over a 1000-year period that were compiled by a man named Mormon. He is the editor who abridged these writings and added his own commentary. Mormon engraved the book on gold plates so that they would endure for centuries and could not be altered. The Book of Mormon teaches that Jesus Christ appeared to his "other sheep" who were of the house of Israel in a distant land. Jesus Christ taught these Israelites, ordained 12 disciples among them, and taught them how to live in peace and harmony. It contains the marvelous account of this visitation by the Resurrected Lord to these people. The Bible says that all things shall be established by the mouth of two or three witnesses. The Bible is the first written witness of Christ. The Book of Mormon is the second witness. It carries the subtitle, "Another Testament of Jesus Christ." It is the "sealed book" of Isaiah 29:11-14, the Stick of Joseph described in Ezekiel 37:16-20, and the gospel restored by the angel in Revelation 14:6. The last prophet to write on the gold plates buried them in a hill in what is now upstate New York, near Palmyra township. The plates were revealed to the young man Joseph Smith, who translated them by the power of God into English and published them. Joseph Smith is regarded as a prophet by Latter-day Saints. The Book of Mormon is considered a "proof" of his Divine calling. Joseph was an uneducated farm boy, yet he translated the Book of Mormon by the Spirit of God in approximately two months time. Joseph was permitted to show the gold plates to eleven witnesses after he had translated them. If you are a Christian, you will find teachings that will inspire you and bring you closer to Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon teaches in great plainness the need for faith in Christ, repentance, baptism, and obedience to God's commandments. It clarifies the Bible, helps you discern the teachings of men from the teachings of Christ, and shows you the Lord's plan in the last days. It testifies of the resurrection, explains why God permits suffering and misfortune to befall mankind, and how we can live to be truly happy. Its passages will touch your heart and help you live the gospel more fully. It teaches you that God still speaks to mankind and that he is a God of miracles today, yesterday, and forever. If you are not a Christian, the Book of Mormon provides a second witness that Jesus Christ lived and that he was truly the Son of God. It confirms the testimony of the Bible in an age when many find reason to doubt the Bible's veracity. The Book of Mormon is for the convincing of men that Jesus is the Christ. The Book of Mormon comes with a promise that you can know for yourself that God lives, that Jesus is the Savior, and that he can speak to you through the Holy Ghost. The Book of Mormon invites you to know for yourself, independent of anyone else, that it is true. Moroni, the last prophet to write upon the gold plates of Mormon invited us to ask God if the book was true or not. He wrote: "Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would aask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the gtruth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." When you read the Book of Mormon and ask God if it is true, with sincerity and real intent to follow the answers you'll get, God will speak to you through the still, small voice of the Spirit. At that moment you will know that God lives, that Jesus is real, that he died for us and rose from the dead. You will know that God calls prophets in our time and that Joseph Smith was one of them. When you know that Joseph Smith was truly called of God and that he translated the Book of Mormon by God's power, you will know that God is real and that his Church is on the earth once again. Show more Show less

Why is authority to perform a baptism important?

Greg
I'd like to begin with a true story that will help illustrate why authority to perform a baptism is so important. When I was eleven years old, I wanted to become a boy scout. I learned that the custodian in our school had organized a small scout troop. I began going to weekly scout meetings and, after a few weeks, I passed off the requirements to earn my Tenderfoot rank. My mother took me to the scout store to purchase a boy scout uniform so I could wear my Tenderfoot badge after I received it. We encountered an unexpected problem. The cashier asked me for my Boy Scouts of America membership card. I didn't have one because my scoutmaster had never given me one. I was disappointed because we couldn't buy my uniform without one. I asked my scoutmaster about it and he didn't give me a good answer about why I hadn't received one and when I would get one. My mother called the scout district and discovered that my scoutmaster was not registered as an official boy scout leader. He did not have authority to operate a troop, hold meetings, or award boy scout ranks and merit badges. He was simply a well-intended man with a scout book, trying to run a scout program with any authority from the Boy Scouts of America. My parents searched for a real scout troop for me to join. This scoutmaster had proper authority. Even though I possessed the knowledge necessary for my Tenderfoot rank, I still had to meet with the scoutmaster and pass off the Scout Law, the Scout Oath, and all the other items necessary. Because this scoutmaster had proper authority, I could legitimately receive my Tenderfoot badge. This example can be applied to the necessity for authority from God to baptize someone. In the Bible, we read that no man can take this authority upon himself. He must be called of God as was Aaron. (Hebrews 5:4) Aaron was the brother of the prophet Moses. Through Moses, God called Aaron and gave him priesthood authority. Jesus also gave priesthood authority to the twelve apostles. This authority had the power to "bind" in heaven the actions they performed on earth. (Matthew 16:19) The apostles baptized believers. They healed the sick, cast out devils, and did many miracles by virtue of this authority. This authority is always conferred by the laying on of hands. (Numbers 27:16-20, 1 Timothy 4:14) It cannot be purchased with money and you can't get it by going to an earthly college. (Acts 8:18-21) Even an earthly king cannot take this authority upon himself. In the Old Testament, we read about the prophet Samuel and King Saul. Saul wanted to offer a sacrifice to the Lord before going into battle and he grew impatient waiting for the prophet to arrive. Samuel the prophet had authority to offer sacrifice to the Lord because he held the priesthood. The king did not have this authority. Saul offered the sacrifice himself and this displeased the Lord. As a result, he lost his kingdom. (See 1 Samuel 13.) In Numbers chapter 16, we read of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram who challenged Moses and sought to take upon themselves the duties of the priesthood without being called by the Lord. This also displeased the Lord. Merely desiring to do good is not enough. To do good, one must receive priesthood after being called by prophecy and by the laying on of hands. Several months ago, non-Mormon acquaintance of mine shared a problem her church was having. Her pastor had left her congregation to accept a position with another church. While they were still looking for a pastor, a debate arose among the members of her church. Some of the members said that only a pastor could perform baptisms for some new believers. Others said a deacon could do the baptisms. The arguments became quite contentious. To resolve the disagreement, they turned to the Bible for guidance. Unfortunately, the Bible did not answer their questions. These well-meaning Christian believers had inadvertently stumbled into one of the most enduring and important controversies that divides Christian sects. Unfortunately, almost all of the apostles of Jesus met with violent deaths. The people rejected their testimony and their authority. Without the foundation of apostles and prophets (Ephesians 4:11-14) the primitive Christian Church fell away and lost the authority that Jesus had given the apostles. Without that authority and the spirit of revelation, many errors and false teachings entered into the Church. One of those false teachings was that authority was no longer necessary or that all believers have this authority by virtue of their faith. In the New Testament, in the Acts of the Apostles, we learn why being baptized by proper authority is important. When one repents of his sins and is baptized by proper authority, baptism brings a remission of sins. The person baptized can then receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. In chapter eight of Acts, we read about Philip who preached the gospel and baptized believers. Philip had authority to baptize. The apostles were summoned and they came and laid hands upon the newly baptized Christians and they received the gift of the Holy Ghost. In another instance, found in Acts chapter 19, we learn that Paul found some believers as he passed through the city of Ephesus. He asked these Christians if they had received the Holy Ghost since they had believed. They seemed confused by this question. Paul asked them "unto what then were ye baptized?" They answered, "unto John's baptism." Paul discerned that they had been baptized by someone who did not have proper authority. He taught them that John the Baptist had baptized believers unto repentance, instructing them to have faith in Jesus Christ. Paul then re-baptized all of these people. Once they received baptism by proper authority, the Holy Ghost came upon them and they experienced the wonderful gifts of the Spirit. The Book of Mormon prophet Nephi taught: "And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father? "And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son. "And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do. "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, 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—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel." (2 Nephi 31:10-13) The authority to baptize that had been lost for centuries was restored to the earth in 1829. John the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and conferred upon them this authority by the laying on of hands. Some time later, Peter, James, and John--the ancient apostles of Jesus Christ--appeared and ordained Joseph and Oliver to the holy apostleship. There are many churches, pastors, and believers who seek to serve Jesus Christ to the best of their knowledge. Like my first "scoutmaster" from many years ago, they are well-intentioned men with a book. They mean well, but they do not have authority from God. They cannot "bind" on earth and in heaven. They cannot bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost. I invite you to carefully study of the Book of Mormon and to give consideration of this testimony. I encourage you to ask God if these things are true. The Lord has called living apostles and prophets in our day. He has sent heavenly messengers to restore authority that was lost. It is important that you be baptized by proper authority. It brings the promised blessing to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost into your life. This wonderful blessing is one of the greatest gifts a person can receive in mortality. Show more Show less

What is being a Mormon like?

Greg
Being a member of the Mormon Church is like having a large, extended family. I joined the Church in 1978. As a new member, I discovered had literally millions of new brothers and sisters who cared about me and had an interest in my well-being. I traveled to a foreign country as a missionary and I discovered that I felt the same kinship with the Mormons in every city where I served in my mission. I later joined the Air Force, which led to me living in Colorado, California, Texas, Germany, and Alaska. In each place, I was not a stranger. I found a place where I fit in, where I belonged, where caring people joined together in faith to serve and help one another. The apostle Paul said that members of the Church are not "strangers and foreigners" and that we are "fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God." Ephesians 2:19 I''ve found that to be very true. One of the things that has always impressed me is the lack of "classes" or cliques in the Church. Of course, we are all very human and we have our weaknesses. We have to constantly be aware of the dangers of gossip, backbiting, etc. Yet we are lovingly corrected by the Lord's Spirit. We receive teachings that remind us to be charitable to everyone. Every man and woman is our brother and sister--our equal. Several years ago, there was a family in Alaska whose roof was severely damaged in a winter storm. The same night, their well pump froze solid. I received a call early in the morning asking if I could come over and help. I'm not much of a handyman, but I agreed to come over and do what I could. When I arrived, there were about 30 men from the Church. These men came from all walks of life. A couple were doctors. There was a lawyer. There were teachers, truck drivers, computer technicians, electricians, merchants, commercial fishermen, you name it. Some were on the roof putting on new shingles. Another member, who was a plumber, contacted another member who owned a construction business. He brought over a backhoe from his company. They were already at work digging up the frozen ground to get to the part of the well that needed repair. At lunchtime, the Relief Society sisters brought over hot soup and sandwiches for us. In four or five hours, the roof was fixed and the well pump had been replaced. We had saved the family hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in labor. Another incident that stands out to me as a testament of the fellowship in the Church was when we moved to Germany. As you may know, we have an unpaid clergy. We have authority from God, but no one is paid to preach or to serve in Church positions. We were in a congregation of American servicemen and their families. Our first week there, after sacrament meeting, we went to take our young daughter to the nursery. We were greeted by a friendly "middle-aged" couple with graying hair who was in charge of the nursery. "Hi, I'm Stan," the man said as he shook my hand. After the introductions, we went to our Sunday School class and picked up our daughter later. I noticed in the following weeks that all the little nursery children just loved Stan and his wife. Our bishop in that congregation was an Air Force mid-level enlisted man who worked in the base dental clinic. He was kind and full of the Spirit. He made everyone feel welcome. A few weeks later, I heard another member with whom I worked refer to Colonel Bailey. I asked, "There's a colonel in the ward?" He replied, "Yeah, Stan Bailey. He and his wife run the nursery." I discovered that the nice, gray-haired man who so lovingly cared for all the small children in the nursery was the commander of a nuclear cruise missile wing. I was amazed. He had been a bishop before. He had years of faithful Church experience. He also was a high-ranking military officer with his finger on the button of enough power to destroy half of Europe. He had never asserted himself as such in Church settings. Yet he humbly served the Lord as the nursery leader with his wife while a low-ranking enlisted man presided over the congregation. It made me reflect on the words of Isaiah: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9 I have had members come and help me unload a U-Haul truck when moving into a new place. I've had members show me acts of kindness when I've had misfortune. I have felt supported during trials and times of sorrow. When my son was in the hospital, hundreds of people prayed for his recovery. When I was flat broke after a business failure, the Church stocked my pantry and helped me to not lose my home. The members of the Church, like all of us, are not perfect, but they try to do the Lord's work, to be his hands on earth. I have tried to repay those acts by serving others and helping them. Wherever I have traveled, it has been the same story everywhere. When you're a member of the Church, you're a member of God's family. That's the reason we call each other "Brother so-and-so" or "Sister so-and-so." It's a recognition that regardless of class, social standing, employment, profession, or whatever, we're all one family. It's wonderful to know the Church is true. It's also wonderful to know the Church is wonderful! Show more Show less

Are there restrictions based on race or color concerning who can join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have the priesthood?

Greg
Mormons believe that all people are God's children. We believe that we must strive to love all people, as Jesus Christ taught us. All are alike and God is no "respecter of persons." People of all races are welcome in the Church. I am the branch president of a small congregation that includes white, Hispanic, African-American, Asian, and Haitian members. We fellowship together in unity born of the Spirit of the Lord. I lived in Alaska for many years. Alaska is truly a "melting pot" for Mormons. Our stake included Tongans, Samoans, Hawaiians, Koreans, Cambodians, Vietnamese, Germans, and Native Americans along with white and African-American members. The same sort of harmony prevailed among us. There was a time when not all men were eligible to hold the priesthood. The priesthood can only be obtained "by prophecy and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority...." For reasons we don't fully understand, there was a time when the priesthood was not made available to all people. Similar conditions occurred in the Bible in times past. The Lord selected Levites, the descendants of Aaron, Moses' brother, to be priests. No other Israelites could aspire to the priesthood. See Numbers 16 We don't know the reason why the Lord restricted the priesthood to Levites, but it is his priesthood, not ours. It would not be proper for man to counsel the God of Heaven on "fairness" or "equality." When Jesus walked the earth, he sent his apostles out to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel," instructing them to avoid preaching to Samaritans or Gentiles. Matthew 10:5-6 Again, this might seem unfair to us, because we don't know all the reasons behind this restriction. The story of this particular restriction is instructive, because we see how the restriction was lifted. It came by revelation to an apostle of the Lord, Peter. Peter saw a vision and learned that the time had come for the gospel to be preached to the Gentiles. See Acts 10 In 1978, a living prophet--the senior apostle of Jesus Christ--received a revelation from the Living God. That revelation instructed him that the time had come for all men who could meet the requisite qualifications of faith in Christ and a godly walk, to have the opportunity to receive the priesthood without additional restrictions. This revelation brought great joy to the entire Church and it has led to rapid expansion of the Church, particularly in Africa. The Church is the Lord's. The priesthood is his go give or to retain. We cannot presume to act contrary to this reality. The reality of revelation is certain. The Church is connected to the "home office" in heaven. It is a blessing to be a member in the Lord's earthly kingdom that receives direct revelation and inspiration to guide it. The unity of the Church is directly linked to the authority we recognize in the Lord's living prophet. In ancient times, when there were living apostles, there was one Church. When they were killed off, there became many competing sects. The key to unity, including racial harmony, is to be found in the revelations of God to his servants, the prophets and in the Holy Ghost which he pours out upon his Church. These revelations teach of the Divine Fatherhood of God and his love for his children. Today, members from every race and ethnicity find themselves to be "no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God." Ephesians 2:19 Show more Show less

How can we come to know our Father in Heaven?

Greg
As a young convert to the Church, I gave this question a lot of thought. I wanted to know my Heavenly Father and to be close to him. I spent a lot of time praying and studying the scriptures. Then one day, it hit me. The answer was very simple. Jesus told Philip, "he that hath seen me hath seen the Father." Jesus wasn't saying that he was his own Father. He was saying that he had, in every situation he ever encountered in his mortal life, done the very thing that the Father would have done. The Father would have had compassion on the sick and healed them. He would have shown mercy to the sinner. He would have raised Jairus' daughter and brought Lazarus back from death. He would have fed the 5,000 with a few fish and loaves of bread. He would have forgiven the adulterous woman and convicted her accusers of their own sins. Most especially, he would have laid down his own life to save us. The way we come to know the Father is by studying the life of Jesus Christ and doing what he did. Jesus said to the ancient people who wrote the Book of Mormon, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do..." (3 Nephi 27:21) When we do the works that Jesus did, it draws us closer to the Father. Jesus willingly gave up his life to bring us back to the Father. He showed us how much the Father loves us. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) I am grateful to be able to learn about the Father by learning about Jesus Christ. It draws me closer to him and helps me understand more about him and what he would have me do in my own life. Show more Show less

Why don’t Mormons have paid clergy?

Greg
In the Bible, we read how Jesus called men of various backgrounds to come and follow him. They left their professions and devoted their life to his service. They did not earn salaries or obtain their livings from preaching the gospel. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, "For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God." 1 Thessalonians 2:9 He reiterated this sentiment saying, "Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you...." 1 Thessalonians 3:8 Peter wrote, "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind..." 1 Peter 5:2 This sentiment is expressed very simply in the Book of Mormon. In Alma, chapter 1 we read: "And when the priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And when the priest had imparted unto them the word of God they all returned again diligently unto their labors and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers, for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength. Like the ancient Christians, the Mormon Church is led by living apostles and prophets. They are called to serve for the remainder of their lives. They forsake all and follow Jesus Christ. Like the ancient apostles, these men do not receive salaries for preaching the gospel. Other officers in the Church, such as bishops or stake presidents are appointed for limited periods of time, typically five to nine years. They serve without monetary compensation and they stay in their chosen professional careers. When their service is completed, they return back to their congregations as lay members. Full-time missionaries who preach the gospel all over the world also serve at their own expense. The missionaries, their families, and sometimes their congregations provide financial assistance to help them defray their expenses. During their two years of missionary service, they do not attend college or work, focusing their entire efforts of building the kingdom of God. Great blessings come to those who are called to lead the Church. They are blessed with a closeness to the Lord and the opportunity to serve others. As the Savior taught, they esteem themselves to be servants first and foremost. Leadership in the Church is a humbling experience that teaches the one called how much the Lord loves and cares for his children. The blessings are worth more than any monetary compensation or salary could ever be. Show more Show less

What is a “testimony” that Mormons speak of?

Greg
In the Gospel of John, chapter 3 Jesus told Nicodemus, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3) The process of being "born again" begins with "seeing" the kingdom of God. This is what latter-day saints call a "testimony" of the gospel. A testimony consists of a few basic truths that are transmitted into our hearts and minds by the Spirit. Those elements include these elements: 1. A personal conviction that God is real, that he is mindful of you, and that he is our Heavenly Father. 2. The conviction that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Redeemer, and Savior of the World. 3. A personal realization that Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet of God. 4. A spiritual affirmation by the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true. 5. That the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true Church, containing the keys, authority, and powers pertaining to the kingdom of God. Why are these elements part of a testimony? How does one "see" the kingdom of God" when he obtains a testimony? Let's look at the points one by one and how they amount to "seeing the kingdom of God." As you might figure, many people already have a testimony of the first two elements. Most people in the world believe in a Supreme Being, but they differ on what and how they worship. Jesus himself defined eternal life as "knowing the only true God...." (John 17:3) Christians make up a subset of these believers who also have faith in Jesus Christ. However, there are many Christian denominations that teach conflicting principles. They lack the unity that comes from having prophets and apostles to guide them. Perhaps you will notice that there was only one Christian church when there were living apostles and prophets among the ancient saints. When there were no more apostles or prophets, division and disunity became the norm. Paul taught that there should be no divisions among Christ's followers. (1 Corinthians 1:10) The Lord said he would always speak through prophets, (Amos 3:7) The Holy Ghost bears witness that Joseph Smith was called as the Lord's messenger to the world in the latter-days. This truth links the fourth and fifth elements of testimony. The Savior taught that we can know a true prophet by his fruits. (Matthew 7:15-20) The Book of Mormon is the "fruit" of Joseph Smith's ministry. Reading it, we can feel the witness of the Holy Ghost. The Lord promises that if we will read it with "a sincere heart, with real intent" he will tell us it is true by the Spirit. When you come to the realization that God has spoken again to prophets in our day and that the Book of Mormon is true, you have found the kingdom of God. You have found a Church that's connected to the "home office" in heaven. You come to realize where the gifts and blessings that were enjoyed by the ancient saints can be found today. This is when you "see" the kingdom of God." Jesus also told Nicodemus, in John chapter 3, once a person has "seen" the kingdom of God, he enters it by the water and the Spirit. Baptism is how we enter the kingdom of God. The process of obtaining a testimony generally comes after a period of soul-searching, studying the Book of Mormon, living gospel principles, and asking God humbly for wisdom. Often a testimony comes by degrees. It comes distinctly, through the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. A testimony of the gospel is real. It is unique to each individual. It is life-altering. It is transformative. It becomes your anchor through the trials of life. Our missionaries go out into the world to share their testimony. They are not theologians. They help people to recognize the voice of the Spirit. I know it's possible to find the kingdom of God and know for yourself--to obtain a testimony from the Holy Ghost--that the kingdom of God is on earth today. What blessings await you as you search, ponder, and pray! Show more Show less

Why are only some Mormons allowed into temples? Is there something secret going on in Mormon Temples? What goes on in Mormon Temples?

Greg
Throughout history, almost all religious traditions have made distinctions between the sacred and the profane. Bible readers will be familiar with the various rituals of the Tabernacle and the Jewish temples. These temples had various courts, some of which were open to all people and others which were reserved to the faithful believers. There was a sanctuary in the temple into which only the high priest could enter to make offerings. Jesus taught his disciples to honor sacred things and to not permit them to be dishonored by skeptics or those who would demean them. Matthew 7:6 On certain occasions, he told others to keep certain sacred events secret for a time. When he took Peter, James, and John onto a high mountain where they beheld the transfiguration of Jesus, he told them to keep the vision secret and to "tell no man" until after he was risen from the dead. Matthew 17:9 He even told the disciples to "tell no man" that he was the Christ after he confirmed Peter's testimony that he was "the Son of the living God." Matthew 16:20 Certain sacred spiritual occasions require special preparation on the part of the believer. For example, many Christians still light candles or have special observances for the days of Advent before Christmas or they observe times of self-denial for Lent. Such preparations show respect and reverence by observing a time to separate oneself from the profane world and enter sacred premises. Mary waited until "days of her purification" were passed before she brought the infant Jesus to "present him to the Lord" in the temple. Luke 2:22 Paul also observed the "days of purification" before entering the temple in Jerusalem. Acts 21:26 For many Christians, this separation between the sacred and the profane has been forgotten in this modern world. Nevertheless, the apostles, ancient Christians, and the early Church Fathers wrote of teachings that were reserved for those who were more mature spiritually. The apostle Paul wrote: "Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:" 1 Corinthians 2:6-7 "Perfect" in the Greek also means "mature" or "initiated." The word "mystery" above means mystery, secret, or a secret rite. Thus Paul speaks of a secret or secret rite that was conducted among those who were mature Christians. In 1 Corinthians 3:1-2, Paul says he has been feeding the new converts in Corinth "with milk" because they were not yet ready for the "meat" of the Gospel. The fact that he withheld it from them makes this information, by definition, an esoteric teaching, which was not publicly taught. In 2 Corinthians 12:4 Paul talks about a vision of the "third heaven" where he heard "unspeakable words, which is not lawful for a man to utter" because they were too sacred to be shared with the uninitiated Corinthians. Saint Clement of Alexandria, the most influential theologian of his generation speaks of "the secret knowledge of the profoundest truths of the Christian faith to which the elite were initiated. Eusebius of Caesaria quotes him saying: "James the Righteous, John, and Peter were entrusted by the Lord after his resurrection with the higher knowledge. They imparted it to the other apostles, and the other apostles to the Seventy." G.A. Williamson, "Eusebius: The History of the Church," Harmondsworth, Penguin 1965 p.72 Clement often refers to the public Christian message as "the common faith," "the foundation," or "the milk." The esoteric teaching he refers to as "the higher knowledge," "the secret things," or "the gnosis." Clement explains: "The Lord did not hinder from doing good while keeping the Sabbath but allowed us to communicate of those divine mysteries, and of that holy light, to those who are able to receive them. He did not certainly disclose to the many what did not belong to the many but to the few to whom He knew that they belonged, who were capable of receiving and being moulded according to them. But secret things are entrusted to speech, not to writing, as is the case with God." "Stromateis 1.1," See Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds., "The Ante-Nicene Fathers," Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1975 2:302 Saint Cyril of Jerusalem mentioned an esoteric rite of initiation, the details of which were to be kept strictly secret: "When the instruction is over, if any catechumen tries to get out of you what your teachers told you, tell nothing, for he is outside the mystery that we have delivered to you, with its hope of the age to come. Guard the mystery for his sake from whom you look for reward. Never let anyone persuade you, saying, "What harm is it that I should know as well?". . . Already you stand on the frontier of mystery. I adjure you to smuggle no word out." Cyril, "Procatechesis," 12. Translated by W. Telfer, "Cyril of Jerusalem and Nemesius of Emesa London: "Library of Christian Classics, 1955 Saint Basil the Great wrote of secret teachings that were handed down from the apostles, separate and distinct from the written gospel. "Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or publicly enjoined which are preserved in the Church some we possess derived from written teaching others we have received delivered to us 'in a mystery' by the traditions of the apostles and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force. . . . For we are not, as it is well known, content with what the apostle or the Gospel has recorded, but both in preface and conclusion we add other words as being of great importance to the validity of the ministry, and these we derive from unwritten teaching. . . . Nay, by what written word is the anointing of oil itself taught? . . . Does not this come from that unpublished and secret teaching which our fathers guarded in a silence out of the reach of curious meddling and inquisitive investigation? Well had they learnt the less that the awful dignity of the mysteries is best preserved by silence. What the uninitiated are not even allowed to look at was hardly likely to be publicly paraded about in written documents." Basil, "On the Holy Spirit," 27 66: see Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, eds., "A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church," Second Series 14 Vols. 1952-1957: reprint, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 19838:40-42 There are many more passages of this nature that come to us from Christian antiquity. Again, let me reiterate, the quotations above are from historical Christian sources--orthodox saints and Church Fathers who are unimpeachable in their acceptance by Christians today. Like the ancient Christians, do Mormons have teachings which are not taught to the world? Yes. These are reserved, as the passages above describe, to those who prove themselves to be spritually mature, who are capable of receiving them. They cannot be understood by those who are not prepared. See 1 Corinthians 2:14 As in ancient times, the silence we exercise of these things is to protect their sacred dignity. New members of the Church prepare themselves by staying morally clean, being honest, serving the Lord and their fellowmen, being actively engaged in the Church, studying the gospel, paying tithes and offerings, and observing a simple code of health. The ordinances of the temple teach of Christ, his role as our Creator, Savior, and Redeemer. They teach us to be faithful to him, to strive to follow his example. They teach us to put the Lord first in our lives and inspire us to live the gospel with greater devotion. They teach of the plan of happiness and the eternal purposes of our mortal existence. The temple ordinances are rich in symbolism, inspiring, and ennobling. The temple is a piece of "heaven on earth" and we go there to more fully commune with the Lord's Spirit, away from the distractions of the secular world. If you could somehow transport an ancient Christian from the first century into a Mormon temple, he would recognize the ordinances performed there and find them familiar. The possession of these esoteric teachings by ancient Christians and modern Mormons is no coincidence. We are the restoration of the ancient Church of Jesus Christ. We possess knowledge and light from God which is not contained in any other Church. The lack of these esoteric teaching among modern Christian churches, which Saint Clement, Eusebius, and Saint Basil described, is a sign of how far removed they have strayed from their ancient roots. The fullness of the Gospel is available today in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Show more Show less

Why was a Restoration of the Gospel needed? Haven’t we always had the Bible?

Greg
The Bible is an inspired work of scripture. Mormons wholeheartedly believe it and seek to live its teachings. The first Bibles, as we know them today, did not exist until the fourth century. Even the canon of the Old Testament was not formalized until the Council of Jamnia in 90 A.D. With that in mind, we come to understand that the Lord has always guided people who believed in him through living prophets. There was no book that told Noah how to build an ark. There was no book that told Moses how to get the Israelites out of bondage. There was no book that told the apostles how to lead and direct the Church. These men guided the Church by revelation. The prophets and apostles of old didn't have the Bible to guide them. We are blessed to have the Bible today, but like the scriptures that were present in the time of Peter, James, and John, they are not an instruction manual on how to operate the Church of Christ. For example, Christians are divided today on whether baptism is an essential saving ordinance, how baptism is to be done, and who has authority to baptize. The details of this important ordinance are not contained in the Bible today. Without further revelation from God on the subject, modern Christians will always be in disagreement about baptism. A book can always be interpreted different ways and the Bible is no exception. A thousand Christian denominations cannot agree on many important points, yet all of them use the Bible as the justification of their beliefs. The apostle Paul taught that there was "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" Ephesians 4:5 He also said: "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." 1 Corinthians 1:10 Throughout the ages, many uninspired errors crept into Christian traditions. These were reflected in the creeds that are the basis of modern Christian sects. This was the result of apostasy--a falling away that was prophesied by the apostles. Reformers like Martin Luther tried to return to Biblical teachings, but they could not restore that which had been lost: the authority and revelation of God. Some of the notable historical figures in American Christianity recognized the need for a restoration to occur. Roger Williams, pastor of the oldest Baptist Church in America at Providence, Rhode Island, refused to continue as pastor on the grounds that, "There is no regularly-constituted church on earth, nor any person authorized to administer any Church ordinance: nor can there be, until new apostles are sent by the great Head of the Church, for whose coming I am seeking." Picturesque America, or the Land We Live In, ed. William Cullen Bryant, New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1872, vol. 1, p. 502. Williams also said, "The apostasy... hath so far corrupted all, that there can be no recovery out of that apostasy until Christ shall send forth new apostles to plant churches anew." Underhill, Edward, "Struggles and Triumphs of Religious Liberty", cited in William F. Anderson, "Apostasy or Succession, Which?", pp. 238-39 Our testimony is that God did fulfill the scriptural promises to bring to pass a "restitution of all things." Acts 3:21 The Lord has called new apostles and prophets, brought forth new scripture, and has opened the heavens again. The Church of Christ has been restored with all the blessings enjoyed by the ancient saints. Show more Show less