Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Church of Jesus Christ

                The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches, “We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth” (Articles of Faith 1:6).

                Jesus Christ established His church in the dispensation of the meridian of time and appointed the officers necessary to carry on the work of the Lord.  The members of His church were called Saints.  The resurrected Lord appeared to some of the inhabitants of ancient America and established His church among them.  He named His church the Church of Jesus Christ.  (See Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 3 Nephi 27:8.)

                After the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Apostles and disciples carried on the work of the Lord.  The leaders of the Church were persecuted and killed, and the priesthood authority was taken from the earth because of the general wickedness of the people.  The world was in a state of apostasy for hundreds of years.

                God had foreseen that the world would fall into apostasy, and He made preparations for the restoration of the gospel.  Peter spoke to the Jews of this restoration: “He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:  Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:20-21).

                John the Revelator also foresaw the restoration of the gospel:  “I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (Revelation 14:6).

                The Church of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth once again and is called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
The Church today contains all of the offices and functions that were present in the Church in the days of Jesus Christ.  The following features are always present in the Church of Jesus Christ:

                Revelation:  While Jesus Christ was present on earth and established His Church, He instructed and directed its leaders personally with instructions from Heavenly Father.  The Church was directed by God in those days and not by men. (See Hebrews 1:1-2.)  Jesus Christ told Peter that He would build His Church upon the “rock” of revelation.  (See Matthew 16:16-18.)

                Authority from God:  The priesthood is necessary in order to administer the ordinances and to teach the principles of the gospel.  Heavenly Father gave priesthood authority to His Son, Jesus Christ, and His Son ordained His apostles and gave them the authority and power of the priesthood.  The pattern of appointment and ordination continued after Jesus Christ ascended to heaven until this authority was taken from the earth.  (See Hebrews 5:4-6; Luke 9:1-2; Mark 3:14; John 15:16.)

                Church Organization:  Jesus Christ organized His Church carefully; He compared His Church to a perfectly erected building which was “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20).

                First Principles and Ordinances:  As the apostles went forward teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, they taught two basic principles:  faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentance.  After new converts had faith in Jesus Christ and had repented of their sins, they received two basic ordinances, baptism by immersion in water and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.  These were the first principles and ordinances of the gospel, and they applied to every person who desired to become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ.  (See John 3:5.)

                Ordinances Performed for the Dead:  The Church of Jesus Christ provided for every person to accept the gospel, whether in this life or after death.  While the body of Jesus Christ was in the tomb for three days between His death and resurrection, He went among the spirits of the people who had died.  While He was there, He appointed righteous messengers and gave them authority to preach the gospel to all the spirits of men and to give them the opportunity to accept the gospel.  (See 1 Peter 3:18-20; 4:6.)  Ordinances for the dead must be done on earth; they are performed by living members of the Church.  (See 1 Corinthians 15:29.)

                Gifts of the Spirit:  Gifts of the Spirit are available to all members of the Church of Jesus Christ and are given to them according to their individual needs, capacities, and assignments.  Spiritual gifts are always present in the true church of Jesus Christ; they include:  faith; prophecy; visions; power to heal, and power to be healed.  Jesus Christ told His disciples that these signs or spiritual gifts always follow them that believe.  (See March 16:17-18.)

                I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth.  I also know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only Church of Jesus Christ upon the earth today.  I know that Jesus Christ stands at the head of His Church and reveals His will to His living prophet, even President Thomas S. Monson.  I am grateful for my knowledge and testimony of the truthfulness of these things.  I encourage you to search for this same knowledge and testimony because I know it will bless your life.

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