The following declaration can be found on the official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints:
“We now live in a time when the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored. But unlike the Church in times past, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will not be overcome by general apostasy. The scriptures teach that the Church will never again be destroyed” (see D&C 138:44; see also Daniel 2:44).
The above declaration is a very bold claim of institutional church infallibility which is based on two “scriptures”.
The first “scripture’ cited is actually taken from a recorded vision that Joseph F. Smith claimed to have had on October 3, 1918. President Smith stated:
“..Daniel, who foresaw and foretold the establishment of the kingdom of God in the latter days, never again to be destroyed nor given to other people…” Daniel 2:44
The revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants that the Lord brought forth through the instrumentality of Joseph Smith makes no such claims. The above passage was canonized many years after the death of Joseph Smith.
According to the above citations given by the institutional church, the declaration of institutional infallibility is referring to the following passage in the Book of Daniel:
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” Daniel 2:4
The above passage of scripture from the Book of Daniel does indeed state that God would set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed and that it shall break in pieces and consume all other worldly kingdoms.
The question is, did God’s latter day kingdom that is spoken of in Daniel actually begin rolling forth and breaking in pieces and consuming the kingdoms of the world back during Joseph Smith’s ministry?
Has the restored kingdom of God on earth been breaking down and consuming the kingdoms of the world ever since the restoration four generations ago?
Interestingly, the Lord addressed this topic and made an conditional promise to the saints regarding the above passage in February of 1834 .
5 But verily I say unto you, that I have decreed a decree which my people shall realize, inasmuch as they hearken from this very hour unto the counsel which I, the Lord their God, shall give unto them.
6 Behold they shall, for I have decreed it, begin to prevail against mine enemies from this very hour.
7 And by hearkening to observe all the words which I, the Lord their God, shall speak unto them, they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world are subdued under my feet, and the earth is given unto the saints, to possess it forever and ever.
8 But inasmuch as they keep not my commandments, and hearken not to observe all my words, the kingdoms of the world shall prevail against them.
9 For they were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men;
10 And inasmuch as they are not the saviors of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. (D&C 103:5-10)
According to that conditional promise, beginning from that very hour, 185 years ago, either the saints would either begin to prevail over the kingdoms of the world, or the kingdoms of the world would begin to prevail over saints.
So which of those scenarios took place?
Was the restored church faithful in keeping the commandments and observing God’s words and thus, begin to prevail over the kingdoms of the world? Or did they become as the salt that has lost its savor?
One approach in answering this question would be to evaluate which of those scenarios actually took place based on the current state of affairs in the church and in the world.
Another would be to study the history of the church to see if the saints had collectively been faithful in obeying the commandments of the Lord.
However, there is an even easier and more definitive way to ascertain the answer. It is found in the Book of Daniel by doing a simple keyword search using the word “Prevail” that shows up in the above promise of the Lord.
Doing so takes us to the following prophecy in the Book of Daniel:
21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them
22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. Daniel 7: 21-22
According to the book of Daniel, the horn makes war with the saints and prevails over them until the Ancient of Days returns.
According to the book of Daniel, the kingdoms of the world would prevail over the saints of the latter days right up until the final events of the last days when the Ancient of Days returns. Clearly, the rolling forth of Gods kingdom does not take place until the Ancient of days returns.
Indeed the saints will be overcome by the kingdoms of the world when the Ancient of days comes into the Lord’s vineyard. It is AFTER the final work begins and the Ancient of Days returns that the kingdom of God goes forth in power and destroys the kingdoms of the world.
Is this scenario consistent with other prophesies about the last days?
Could it really be that we latter day saints are in a state of darkness despite the fact that we believe we are the most enlightened of all Christians?
The Old Testament is filled with ominous proclamations about the global apostasy of God’s people in the last days.
Isaiah makes the following observations about latter day and her leaders:
10 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Isaiah 56:10-11
8 For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean. Isaiah 28:8
Countless Old Testament prophesies observe that ancient and modern Israel refused to live the law of God
6 ¶ My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. Hosea 4:6
Notice how the rejection of knowledge leads to the rejection of the Lord when he comes. That is the same sequential narrative given in Section 45. First, God’s people are blinded by the precepts of men. Because of this, they will reject the light when it shines forth.
Modern revelation confirms the fact that God’s people will be sitting in darkness and captivity when the light of the last great work shines forth.
And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel;
But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men.
First, God’s people are overcome by darkness. Because of this, they will not accept the truth when it is presented to them again. They perceive not the light because they have been overcome by the precepts of men.
A contextual reading of the narrative reveals that the prophecy is speaking about the last generation, not Joseph Smith’s ministry.
And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land.
But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die. D&C 45:28-32
According to the Joseph the Seer prophecy in 1 Nephi 3 and JST Gen 50, when God’s last great work begins, the saints will be in darkness.
“shall bring them out of darkness into light; out of hidden darkness, and out of captivity unto freedom.”
There we have yet another prophetic witness that the latter day saints are in a state of “hidden darkness” and “captivity” when the last great work begins.
According to those passages we latter day saints will be collectively sitting in darkness when the last great work begins even though the darkness is hidden and we are deceived into thinking that we are a highly enlightened people.
Will this darkness prevent us from recognizing the light when it breaks forth?
Will we be unable to perceive the light because of the “precepts of men“?
A keyword search of “precepts of men” leads us into the Book of Mormon where a scathing rebuke is directed at the latter day saints in 2nd Nephi 28:
9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.
10 And the blood of the saints shall cry from the ground against them.
11 Yea, they have all gone out of the way; they have become corrupted.
12 Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up.
13 They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up.
14 They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.
Mormon 8 also prophetically identifies the latter day saints as having perverted the true doctrines by transfiguring the holy word of God:
32 Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be churches built up that shall say: Come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins.
33 O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls? Behold, look ye unto the revelations of God; for behold, the time cometh at that day when all these things must be fulfilled.
34 Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.
35 Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.
36 And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.
37 For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.
38 O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?
Is it really possible that the saints of the restoration are so clearly being condemned by the very scriptures that Joseph Smith brought forth?
Notice how the Book of Mormon explains that the things revealed to the Brother of Jared will be withheld until the day when the Gentiles finally “repent of their iniquity” and become clean before the Lord:
6 For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord.
7 And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are.
8 And he that will contend against the word of the Lord, let him be accursed; and he that shall deny these things, let him be accursed; for unto them will I show no greater things, saith Jesus Christ; for I am he who speaketh.
9 And at my command the heavens are opened and are shut; and at my word the earth shall shake; and at my command the inhabitants thereof shall pass away, even so as by fire.
10 And he that believeth not my words believeth not my disciples; and if it so be that I do not speak, judge ye; for ye shall know that it is I that speaketh, at the last day. (Ether 4)
According to those passages, we are currently in a state of iniquity.
Latter day Saints that believe that all is well in Zion would do well to carefully and prayerfully study 2nd Nephi 28, Mormon 8, and Ether 4 as they provide a very sobering commentary on the state of the modern church.
But what about the New Testament Apostles? Are their prophetic statements congruent with the above passages in the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon?
Paraphrasing passages from the Old Testament, Paul make the following observation that a partial blindness would be upon Israel right up until the final fulness is ushered in when the deliverer will come forth out of Zion to take away the sins of God’s covenant people:
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. (Romans 11)
The Lord revealed to Joseph Smith that latter day saints are members of the house of Israel. According to the above passage, Israel will be partially blind until the fulness of the Gentiles comes in for the last time.
In a visionary look at the latter day church, Paul exclaimed that they would not be able to endure sound doctrine:
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2nd Timothy 4)
We latter day saints have not been able to endure sound doctrine. We have truly been turned over to fables. Most of the so-called doctrine that is preached from the pulpits are really fables that originated from the precepts of men.
One of the more revealing prophecies in the New Testament is found in 2nd Peter 2 because it strongly implies that the latter day apostasy would be caused by “false teachers” that bring in “abominable heresies“. Because their followers would follow after their “pernicious ways“, “the truth shall be evil spoken of”.
1 …..even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in abominable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
Other translations change “pernicious ways” to “sensuality“.
In other words, some of the abominable heresies of the false teachers have to do with corrupt doctrines relating to human sensuality. Could that be referring to the adulterous polygamous relationships that emerged in the restoration?
All of this may seem unfathomable to main-stream members of the church that have been indoctrinated to think that we are living at the time when God’s church can no longer go into apostasy. However there are revelatory warnings that have been covered up by the sanitized history of the church. One of them is the following warning from God that was given before the church was even formally organized:
Here is what God said in BofC 5:19 before the revelation was revised in 1835.
And thus, if the people of this generation harden not their hearts, I will work a reformation among them, and I will put down all lyings, and deceivings, and priestcrafts, and envyings, and strifes, and idolatries, and sorceries, and all manner of iniquities, and I will establish my church, like unto the church which was taught by my disciples in the days of old.
And now if this generation do harden their hearts against my word, behold I WILL DELIVER THEM UP UNTO SATAN, for he reigneth and hath power at this time, for he hath got great hold upon the hearts of the people of this generation: and not far from the iniquities of Sodom and Gomorrah, do they come at this time: and behold the sword of justice hangeth over their heads, and if they persist in the hardness of their hearts, the time cometh that it must fall upon them.
We have been delivered over to Satan
The Book of Mormon prophesies that when the final restoration takes place in word and POWER, God will take away our stumbling blocks if we will hearken to the Lamb of God:
1 And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks—
One of the definitions of stumbling blocks is the preaching up unto ourselves of our own wisdom and learning instead of holding on to the iron rod of the word of God:
20 And the Gentiles are lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and have stumbled, because of the greatness of their stumbling block, that they have built up many churches; nevertheless, they put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain and grind upon the face of the poor. 2 Nephi 26:20
We latter day saints have been overcome by false narratives that come from the precepts of men. When the Lord’s true servants return to the vineyard, they will put down all contentions and bring those of us that are repentant and teachable into a unity of the faith.
In preparation for this last great work, one of the most important things we can be doing is to search the scriptures and begin identifying and correcting the false teachings that the modern church has indoctrinated us with.
That is the purpose of this series.
Each new post within this series will highlight and expose a false doctrine that is currently being taught in the modern church. We will review how the false teaching creates a false context that prevents people from gaining further light and knowledge.