2- The Truth About Biblical Christianity and God’s intention to establish His church as it was anciently, including the law of having all things common.
The first notable revelation of the restoration that we reviewed in the last installment reviewed a prophecy that was embedded in the very first “thus sayeth the Lord” revelation that Joseph Smith received. The prophecy foretold that Joseph would eventually stumble and fall from his calling (during his first commission) and that someone else would be called to oversee the oracles (many revelations) that Joseph would be instrumental in bringing forth.
That foundational little tib-bit provides historical context and answers a whole slew of otherwise confusing and disruptive events. It may also explain why so many people were quick to accuse him of being a fallen prophet at various times during his ministry.
Using prophets as Object Lessons
There is, however, a deeper story behind the story regarding Joseph’s fall. God often uses prophets to enact things.
God commanded Ezekiel to eat and digest a scroll.
He commanded His servant Isaiah to walk naked and barefoot for three years.
He commanded Hosea to marry a prostitute.
All of his bizarre instructions and dealings with his prophets had deep significance yet seemed ridiculous and extreme to the worldly.
It is remarkable to realize that many of the motions and enactments that Joseph went through represented the whoredoms of latter day Israel, not Joseph’s.
Restoration of Ancient Christianity
The 2nd notable historical topic the Lord covers in his emerging revelations to Joseph Smith (that I want to address in this microcosmic historical summary) has to do with God’s intentions of restoring New Testament Christianity.
In another early revelation that takes place before Joseph Smith begins his public ministry, God informs the saints that he will be re-establishing His church the same way it was set up anciently.
Below is a comparison of this acknowledgement between the revelation as it reads in the 1833 Book of Commandments and the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants-
Major inspired contextual alterations of the above revelation had to be made between 1833 when the Book of Commandments was prepared to be published vs 1835 when the D&C was published.
Notice how the original revelation informs the saints that a reformation would need to take place among them in conjunction with the re-establishment of the ancient church. In another part of the series we will zero in on a historical search on that topic of reformation and the historical implications thereof.
Notice also how the declaration that the ancient church was going to be re-established, was deleted from the revelation two years later in the inspired revision of the text.
Because within those two years, the ancient church was restored and the Lord was in the process of bringing forth the fulness of the gospel. Hence, the prophetic passage was no longer a prophecy. It has become a historical fact.
All of the necessary authority and the associated foundational saving ordinances of the church had been restored.
It may seem odd and disconnected that an ominous warning about a future desolating scourge replaced the original text about the re-establishment of the ancient church.
This seems a curious topic for insertion. Is it possible that the Lord is giving clues about the eventual apostasy of the restored church which will result in tribulations upon the world?
The passage reveals that the desolating scourge goes forth only after the servants have returned and warned the nations to repent. How else could they repent? The desolationg scourge in the above passage appears to be the desolation that God’s servants warn us about when the return as documented in section 84
The topic of the future apostasy of the restored church will be covered later in greater detail in a future episode. For now we are simply highlighting and focusing on the fact that the Lord restored New Testament Christianity through Joseph Smith.
This may seem like a rather obvious event that does not need to be addressed, however it has profound implications.
One can parse through the Book of Acts to find descriptives of the ancient church. Luke was inspired to provide this information so that later generations would be able to identify how his true church is set up and the practices of the true saints.
Using this amazing resource provided by Luke, one can create a bullet point listing. It includes the principles of faith and repentance. It documents how the church meets together often to be instructed and break bread. It reveals that they had all things in common and had become one in body and soul. The narrative informs us about the “promise of the Father” and the baptism of water, fire and the holy ghost.
It comes as no surprise that the exact same bullet point listing can be created from the descriptives that are found in 3rd Nephi when Christ visits the Nephites and establishes his church among them.
Finally, the Lord would re-establish the same New Testament church that was taken to the gentiles back then, among the latter day gentiles.
Why is it so important to acknowledge that Christ established the same organization in the New Testament, among the Nephites and among the latter day Gentiles?
Because it gives us a very significant yardstick with which to measure how faithful the modern church has been to the original organization, teachings and ordinances that Christ established through His New Testament apostles.
How can we know if we have left the path if we don’t know what the path is?
Why is this significant enough to cover in our Microcosmic Summary?
Here are a few reasons relating to different demographics:
Many years after having my awakening regarding the apostate condition of the modern church, I had an epiphany as to why I, and so many others have been deceived.
It is because I and others have been raised in an apostate church that has changed the ordinances and broken the everlasting covenant. We have cursed ourselves by placing our trust in the arm of flesh and become a cult.
Shortly after the saints of the restoration rejected the fulness, heresies entered into the church while the original truths and saving ordinances became perverted. The restored church eventually morphed into a cult that no longer looks anything like the ancient church found in the New Testament. We have been reduced to a tribe of people that participate in idolatry and esoteric masonic temple rituals and wears funny underwear.
Yet this is not obvious to most Mormons because we were raised in the cult and do not have a strong foundation in New Testament Christianity.
Without a knowledge of what true, biblical Christianity looks like, how can someone realize that the saints have departed from the strait and narrow path?
I suspect that my missionary experience in the Bible Belt may have been a blessing to me because I was forced to dig much deeper into the New Testament narrative than most missionaries in foreign missions.
I had countless discussions and debates with protestants of every major division about New Testament theology. Ultimately, it is only by the grace of God that any of us begin to come out of our sleepy and drunk condition and became converted to New Testament Christianity.
It is essential for orthodox members of the modern church to become familiar with and converted to Biblical Christianity. This is necessary in order to understand that the priesthood order and nature of the saving ordinances of the ancient church are not outdated and obsolete. They continue to be relevant until the saints are perfected.
Another demographic that needs this information are those that have bought into the new narratives offered by historical revisionists.
It has become fashionable for some revisionist historians to claim that Joseph was never supposed to restore the New Testament Church. They blame people like Sidney Rigdon and Parley Pratt for hijacking the LDS restoration and forcing Joseph Smith to conform to their perception of what Joseph was supposed to be doing.
Clearly Sidney and Parley were looking forth for the restoration of Biblical Christianity before they were approached with the LDS restoration movement that they had been waiting for, or attempting to recreate.
But they were not the foundational influence behind the movement, God was. That is why that passage in the Book of Commandments is so profound with regarding the true historicity of the restored church. It established the fact that God had His own agenda of restoring Christianity long before Sidney and Parley came along. They were late to the party with regard to the foundations that were being laid by God.
A further witness to the intent of God is the fact that he acknowledges in revelation multiple times that his ancient church was coming forth out of the wilderness and that it had come out of the wilderness.
Another demograic that desperately needs to accept biblical Christianity are the LDS Fundamentalists that are steeped in the gospel of Brigham Young and all of the heresies that he taught.
One of the best ways for LDS fundamentalists, including the person who inspired this blog, to pull themselves out of the perverse cult of fundamentalism, is to start with the basics and become a true Biblical Christian. We all need to quit wasting time studying the Journal of Discourses and get into the New Testament.
We need to gain a true foundation in Biblical Christianity. Once a person has converted to Biblical Christianity, the Book of Mormon can greatly enhance gospel study.
It is important to view the Book of Mormon through the eyes of the Bible. One of the mistakes that Mormons make is in viewing the Bible through the questionable commentaries on the Book of Mormon.
The reason for this is that we have all grown up interpreting Book of Mormon passages through the distorted commentary provide by the modern church. This is why you need to completely empty your wheelbarrow of false scriptural interpretations and begin fresh with the Bible.
A textbook example of this is 2 Nephi 25:23 which means the opposite of how most Mormons have been indoctrinated to interpret it.
It is interesting to note that God refers to the Bible as the “holy scriptures” (D&C 33:16)
This may seem contradictory since God also acknowledges that there were corruptions in the text of the Bible. How is this apparent discrepancy resolved?
It is resolved in the definition of scripture given by Christ.
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (JST John 5:40)
It is not necessarily the entire text of the Bible that is scripture, rather it is anything that testifies of Christ.
Interesting nuance don’t you think?
The Bible is not perfect and there are textual mistakes in it, however, even before Joseph Smith began making some corrections in it, it still contains historically accurate passages that testify of the birth, ministry, crucifixion, and atonement of Christ.
All of those passages are what Christ classifies as “scripture”. Even in it’s imperfect form at the time of the restoration, it had everything necessary to testify of Christ and to provide a foundation for the additional testimony contained in the Book of Mormon.
If LDS fundamentalists will return to basics and become focused and skilled in the New Testament church and gospel, the folly of the Gentiles will be made manifest them.
Protestantism/ Evangelical Christians
I have come to love Biblical Christians. In many ways I relate to them much more than I do to my fellow Mormons. The reason for this should be obvious. Biblical Christians are much more founded in true Christianity than modern Mormons are. NEVERTHELESS, there is a big huge elephant in the room that New Testament Christians can’t see because of a blind spot that they have. It has to do with their own apostasy from true Christianity.
It is called the law of having all things in common.
The Book of Acts makes it crystal clear that having all things in common was not just a cultural thing nor was it something that only pertained to the saints of that period. It represents the essence of the gospel. It is an extension of the spiritual rebirth that makes all members of the body of Christ equal with each other both spiritually and temporally.