This video specifies the details surrounding the loss of Priesthood Authority in the early Christian Church, the erroneous claim that priesthood succeeded from Peter through Bishops rather than Apostles, and how this claim is not scripturally based. Also shown is the erroneous Protestant view, based on a misinterpreted scripture, that the Priesthood is held by all believers and that no direct line of Priesthood succession was needed. Very clear scriptures are shared testifying that this isn’t the case. The viewer should come away with a deeper understanding of why authority mattered, how it was given, why and how it was lost, and why a restoration was needed.
Okay. So in this Evidences video, I want to talk about the restoration of the priesthood as a powerful witness of the latter-day restoration and the critical nature of that in the world of Christianity. But I do want to mention something first. I keep forgetting to do this at the beginning of each video.
I have transcripts for all the videos that I have done and they’re available. I set up a website with the same name of this YouTube channel. It’s called latterdaysaintsqa.com. You can go and under the section called “Read The Blog” are where you find all the transcripts for the videos, organized by the names of the videos. And I’ll put a link below each video. I’ll have to go back and do this on all the videos. But just so you’ll have the links there, so you can go and get the transcripts.
So had a lot of people asking me for that. And so I’ve put it together now. Hopefully, that’ll help you if you want to read after the fact. So I just actually did an answering critics video on the priesthood restoration on just some of the fairly ludicrous critical arguments around this, the historical record. But this specific video I think is very critical for a foundational aspect of the restoration and that’s authority. In fact, let me read this. If you’ve read the book A Marvelous Work and A Wonder from LeGrand Richards, you’ve probably heard this quote before. But he was citing Elder Orson F. Whitney. And it gets to the heart of some of the things that I wanted to talk about.
He says here, “Many years ago, a learned man, a member of the Roman Catholic Church, came to Utah and spoke from the stand of the Salt Lake Tabernacle. I became well-acquainted with him and we conversed freely and frankly. A great scholar with perhaps a dozen languages at his tongue’s end, he seemed to know all about theology, law, literature, science, and philosophy. One day he said to me: ‘You Mormons are all ignoramuses. You don’t even know the strength of your own position. It is so strong that there is only one other tenable in the whole Christian world, and that is the position of the Catholic Church.'”
“‘The issue is between Catholicism and Mormonism. If we are right, you are wrong. If you are right, we are wrong and that’s all there is to. The Protestants haven’t a leg to stand on. But if we are wrong, they are wrong with us since they were part of us and went out from us; while if we are right, they are apostates whom we cut off long ago. If we have the apostolic succession from St. Peter, as we claim, there is no need of Joseph Smith and Mormonism; but if we have not that succession, then such a man as Joseph Smith was necessary, and Mormonism’s attitude is the only consistent one. It is either the perpetuation of the gospel from ancient times, or the restoration of the gospel in latter days.'”
Very well said. Okay. So the priesthood is the power of God. It was founded in the original Christian church, and a key aspect of it was, and we’ll see some scriptures here in a minute of the critical nature of it in performing ordinances, but particularly, in directing the affairs of the Church. The big picture that the apostles, the keys that they had to preside, that was part of the priesthood that was held by those apostles to organize and appoint new bishops, and to conduct the overall for the Church as a whole. The bishops had small geographical authority. But the apostles were over everything. And they held those priesthood keys for that.
And that’s going to be a key distinction I need to really focus on in a minute. Okay, so let’s look at some critical scriptures about how important it was about having these apostles. 1 Corinthians 12, as it talks about God setting up in the church first apostles. And they says, “Are all apostles?” Question mark. Ephesians 2 says that you’re, “… built upon the foundation of apostles.” All right. And then Ephesians 4 talks about he gave some apostles. And look at how long this is to last. “Until we all come in the unity of the faith.” We’re certainly not there at this point. “And of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man.” We’re far from perfect. So very interesting scriptures.
And then how about this one? This is showing the replacement of Judas. There was this critical nature there was supposed to be 12 apostles. So with Judas’ death, this in Acts 1, you can see on the screen here, 22 through 26. This shows how Matthias was called. How they sought the Spirit to guide them about who to choose. And it was Matthias so, and he was ordained there. So I think that was a powerful example. Okay.
Now for some keywords. Now, Alexander Morrison, this is a fantastic book, Turning From Truth: A New Look at the Great Apostasy. You may remember Alexander Morrison, who was a Seventy for quite a while. A great biblical historian. Wrote a great book on this. But in his book, I wanted to share this from what he mentioned here. “Ignatius of Antioch, martyred probably in Rome in 107 A.D., recognized that bishops, of which he was one, are not apostles.”
This is going to be so important in a minute, you’ll see. “In his epistle to the Trallians he wrote, ‘Let all reverence the deacons as Jesus Christ, and the bishop as the Father; and the presbyters [elders] as the Sanhedrin of God, and college of the apostles. Without these, there is no church.’ Then tellingly he wrote, ‘I will not write any more sharply unto you about this matter, lest being a condemned man, I should seem to prescribe to you as an apostle.’ Ignatius, though a bishop in Antioch, was careful not to overlap the bounds of his authority. He was no apostle and he knew it.”
Love that. Okay, now another very early example. This is Clement of Rome, a bishop of Rome from 88 A.D. to 99 A.D. according to the early Christian writer, Tertullian. “The apostles have preached the gospel to us from the Lord Jesus. Therefore, sent forth by God and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments then were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, they appointed the first-fruits of their labors having first proved them by the Spirit to be bishops.”
So the apostles were going around and appointing bishops. So that was one of their responsibilities. Bishops could not appoint their successors. Understand that was a critical point because that’s where things started to change and that became the way it happened later. But in the beginning, it was the apostles who had that responsibility and those keys there. And they were to do it by the Spirit. Alright. So they were to seek out, not the other way around.
Clement of Alexandria, one last example here, 150 to 215 A.D, here speaking of John the apostle directing the overall church and appointing bishops in smaller geographical areas. He says, if you look there, “From when after the tyrant’s death, he returned from the isle of Patmos to Ephesus, he went away upon their invitation to the neighboring territories of Gentiles to appoint bishops in some places, in other places to set in order whole churches, elsewhere to choose to the ministry someone of those that were pointed out by the Spirit.”
So once again, there it is. There it is, black and white. It was the apostles’ responsibility to go and find the bishops and appoint them as directed by the Spirit there, not any bishops doing this. Okay. Now, I wanted to focus, like I said, on the apostles versus the bishop because the Catholic claim to authority is actually a succession of the bishops, not the apostles. Okay. And that’s how they’re able to get around the apostolic succession problem. And to point this out, very clearly in my mind, is a beautiful book and I highly recommend is, Catholic and Mormon, a debate between a Latter-day Saint and a Catholic. So it’s Alonzo Gaskill and Stephen Webb, A Theological Conversation. And it’s really fascinating.
But let me share what Alonzo Gaskill shares here. He says, “There is no denying that bishops continued to exist after the death of the apostles. And for Catholics, this resolves the crisis of apostolic succession. But for Joseph and for Mormons, the continuity of the office of the bishop still left a void of religious authority in the Church because the New Testament records bishops existing at the same time that the apostles existed. Latter-day Saints see those two priesthood positions or offices as distinct from each other.”
“Thus, while Roman Catholics would trace their apostolic authority or succession through the bishops of Rome, the Latter-day Saints hold that John was the last of the apostles and that apostolic or universal authority was lost at the end of the first century. Bishops continued to run local congregations and had authority to do so. But the apostles were gone. And Christianity, from a Mormon perspective, was run on a local level until around the time of the pontificate of Pope Leo I, 461 A.D., when a degree of universal authority was reintroduced into the Church by Roman Catholicism. So the view of the Roman Catholicism has traditionally been that apostles and bishops are synonymous, that there has been an unbroken line of bishops since the days of Peter. Each of them held apostolic authority.”
“For Latter-day Saints on the other hand, the view has been that apostles and bishops are two different offices within the Church, and that the apostolic office was lost at the end of the first century leaving bishops to run their individual stewardships, but leaving the Church without a universal head. From the perspective of Latter-day Saints, Leo the Great sought to reintroduce a sense of universal authority into the Church through his pontificate, something not consistently present after the death of the Twelve and prior to the fifth century. In Joseph Smith’s understanding, the various offices of the priesthood, the various vocations with the Church, each hold a different level or type of authority and stewardship.”
“In LDS ecclesiology, the highest level of priesthood authority or power is resident in an apostle. Peter was given the keys of the kingdom of heaven by which he had the power to bind on earth and in heaven. Mormons do not see their bishops or bishops in any denomination as having that level of power. They certainly acknowledged that the apostles of old had it. But in LDS thinking with the death of the last apostle, that power to bind or seal on earth and in heaven was lost. Part of what those keys represented, Latter-day Saints believe, is the ability to receive revelation for the entire Church, the universal Church. Peter had that ability, along with his brethren in the Twelve. The bishops upon the earth at the same time as Peter did not.”
So kind of long. But, oh, that is, I thought that was so great. Okay. Now, I do want to share just a brief bit about this exact same thing from Alexander Morrison, Turning from Truth. Okay. So he says, “The idea of the unique role of bishops as successors to the apostles is the only defense available to churches that must assert a episcopal succession to provide their own validity. Thus, it is claimed that in such churches, bishops perform the functions of the apostles [they do not]; their commission goes back to the apostles [there is no evidence of such]; they succeed each other in the same geographical areas occupied by the original apostles [there is no evidence of such]; and they inherit from the original apostles the transmission of the Holy Ghost which empower them for the performance of their work.”
“Frankly, all of these claims are unverifiable, and do not hold up to even superficial scrutiny. There is no hint of bishops in anything said by Jesus in the Gospels. Claims of an unbroken line of succession from the current pope to Peter, supposedly the first Bishop of Rome, for example, are highly suspect, to say the least.”
“In fact, this supposed chain of episcopal succession does not exist, or at least cannot be proved to exist, before 175 A.D.” Okay, and then he goes on, Morrison goes on to say, “It’s telling that the claim of validity offered by the generation of leaders after the apostles was not, ‘I was ordained by one who had authority from God’, but rather, ‘I knew the apostle so-and-so’. By the third century, it had become politically advantageous for Orthodox Christians to promote the idea of an unbroken line of leaders to an illustrious early founder. Doing so provided a pedigree of orthodoxy.”
And then he concludes this section, “If priesthood authority was lost by the early church, as it assuredly was, and if that lost dealt the infant church a fatal blow, as it did, when did the insult occur? We don’t know precisely, but the fact that the scriptural and historical record goes completely dark for the better part of a century after about 90 to 100 A.D. suggests that the damage was done early on.” Okay. Now, a few more nuggets here from Morrison.
So he mentions this guy, Hegesippus, the second-century Jewish-Christian writer, says that, “Until the time of the Emperor Domitian, 81 to 96 A.D., the church had remained a virgin, pure and uncorrupted, since those who were trying to corrupt the wholesome standard of the saving message, if such there were, lurked somewhere under cover of darkness. But when the sacred band of the apostles had in various ways reached the end of their life and the generation of those privileged to listen with their own ears to the divine wisdom had passed on, then godless error began to take shape, through the deceit of false teachers, who now that none of the apostles was left, threw off the mask and attempted to counter the preaching of the truth by preaching the knowledge falsely so called.”
And there were no apostles running the overall church, right, to set the wrongs right from a doctrinal perspective, a teaching perspective. And then what about behavior? Okay. Now here, Alexander Morrison mentions this from a behavioral perspective is, “Johann Lorenz von Mosheim, a famous ecclesiastical historian whose work has been characterized as exhibiting unprecedented objectivity and penetration, has chronicled the excesses of third-century bishops that seemed incompatible with retention of the gift of the Holy Ghost or of approbation from the Almighty.”
“He wrote: ‘Though several yet continued to exhibit to the world illustrious examples of primitive piety and Christian virtue, yet many were sunk in luxury and voluptuousness, puffed up with vanity, arrogance, and ambition, possessed with a spirit of contention and discord, and addicted to many other vices that cast an undeserved reproach upon the holy religion, of which they were the unworthy professors and ministers.” And again, no apostles to again, right the wrongs and set things. Nobody was running the top of the ship here with battling all these different bishops there.
And then to finish this, this aspect of it, Morrison finishes saying, “I aver that personal apostasy in the early church characterized by contention, disunity, power-grabbing, pride, and all the other sins of mortality, led to a loss of priesthood authority. And that doomed the church insofar as divine approbation is concerned. The Apostle Paul noted that the priesthood foundation of the household of God includes apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone. In other words, where the kingdom of God is found, there will be found apostles and prophets. The reverse is also true; a church without apostles and prophets is not, whatever else it may be, the church of Jesus Christ.”
So those keys of direction were so critical in the flow of the authorized use of priesthood power. And then the wickedness and things also led to the fallout of priests in general. So that was part of the apostasy. Now some will say, “But wait. Didn’t Christ tell Peter that the gates of hell will not prevail here?” And so, how could this have happened? How could there really have been an apostasy? And in that scripture it says Christ is asking, “Who do men say that I am?” And then Peter says, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
He says, “Blessed art thou Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood have not revealed unto thee, but thy Father in heaven.” And he says, “Thou art Peter. Upon this rock, I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.” And so that scripture is looked at again, as there couldn’t be an apostasy. But let’s look at this. And I love there was a great article in the November 1986 Ensign from James Carver. And I want to share a couple of thoughts on the word use of Peter and the rock in here, okay.
So he says, “A textual analysis of this passage clearly demonstrates that although the keys of the kingdom were given to Simon Peter, the church was not built upon him. It was built instead upon Christ, the ‘rock’ of revelation. The Greek text, for example, makes it clear that the rock in verse 18 was not Peter. The Greek word used for Peter is petros, a masculine noun meaning a small rock or stone. The Greek word for rock (upon this rock) is petra, a feminine noun meaning bedrock.”
“Thus, the Greek texts reads like this: ‘Thou are Peter (small rock), and upon this rock (bedrock) I will build my church.’ Who is this petra, this large rock-mass? The answer is given explicitly in 1 Corinthians 10:4.” And it says right there, “The spiritual rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. The Greek word for rock in the passage above, as in the verse in Matthew, is petra (bedrock) in this verse. There is no question that Christ is the ‘rock’ the church was to be built upon, rather than Peter.”
“But what is the importance of the relationship between the bedrock and the stone? And what part does revelation play in the relationship? The small rock (Peter) was to become a seer, who would receive revelation from the large rock (Jesus Christ), the Rock of Revelation. He would be the one to hold the keys of the kingdom and represent the Lord upon the earth. Jesus did not say to Peter that there would always be a seer upon the earth to hold the keys of the kingdom, but that the gates of hell would not prevail against this rock (petra) or the Rock of Revelation.”
“‘In this instance’, wrote Elder McConkie, ‘Jesus is telling Peter that the gates of hell shall never prevail against the Rock of Revelation. That is, as long as the saints are living in righteousness, so as to receive revelation from heaven, they will avoid the gates of hell and the church itself will remain pure, undefiled, and secure against every evil. But when, because of iniquity, revelation ceases, then the gates of hell prevail against the people.”
Now, I thought it was important to share just some important words that I thought Alonzo did a great job sharing about the Catholic Church in this book that I mentioned earlier, Catholic and Mormon. And the role the Catholic Church has had. I thought this was really very well said. I just wanted to say it exactly the way Alonzo said it. He said, “The Catholic Church has played a role in God’s plan. During some of the darkest days– between the first century and the Reformation– it was largely the Roman Catholic Church that preserved for us biblical texts, truths about Jesus and His divine mission and ministry, and many of the rights of the ancient church.”
“Consequently, I would not argue, as some unfortunately have, the Catholics are the church of the devil or that the Pope is the anti-Christ. From my perspective, such claims ignore history and evidence a real absence of Christian civility and love. Setting aside the handful of unrighteous rogues who have occupied Peter’s See, or also known as the Pope’s chair, Christianity and the world are decidedly better because many righteous popes have presided over the largest Christian denomination. And much would have been lost had such men not sacrificed and served as the presiding figure for the majority of Christianity.”
“All that the Latter-day Saints are arguing is that some things were lost after the close of the New Testament era, and these things have been restored by God in recent days.” Which is very critical and important. By the way, I’d like to add something. So not only did the Catholic Church preserve the Bible, but diligent, faithful parish clerks from the Catholic Church and all old-world Christian religions painstakingly preserved birth, christening, marriage, and burial records that allow us today to vicariously perform temple ordinances for our deceased ancestors.
I would say they were definitely playing a role in God’s plan. And I do, I love, if you remember President Nelson met with the pope, Pope Francis, when he was there for the dedication of the Rome Temple. And it was very interesting the interaction that they had, and what the prophet said after the meeting. Let me just share this with you. This was in the Deseret News, this quote. This is President Nelson.
He says, “‘The differences in doctrine with the Catholics are real and they’re important,’ President Nelson said afterwards as he stood just outside St. Peter’s Square, ‘but they’re not nearly as important as the things we have in common. Our concern for human suffering, the importance of religious liberty for all of society, and the importance of building bridges and friendship instead of building walls of segregation.’ The two world religious leaders share a belief that faith in God brings morality and stability to society.”
So I thought that was beautiful. Also, it’s important to add just like the Catholics and Orthodox played a role in God’s plan, we also want to acknowledge the critical role the Protestants played in God’s plan. Without the Reformation there would be no Restoration, if you think about it. In fact, there was a great article. Here’s a couple of paragraphs from an article written by President Ballard in January 2020 in the Ensign. The article was entitled, How the Lord Prepared the World for the Restoration.
And you can just pause, if you want to read it on the left hand side. On the right hand side are a few other quotes from a 1999 Ensign article on the same topic. Look at the bottom quote on the right from Elder Peterson. He called the work of the Reformers, “a significant prelude to the great events in which the Prophet Joseph Smith was the primary figure.” Okay. So now, to address the common view from many Protestants that the priesthood really doesn’t matter. The priesthood of all believers, right, if you’ve ever heard that phrase.
It’s not surprising in their cutoff state that they would use that position. But is it scriptural? Let’s take a look at some scriptures here. To start out, so here’s in Mark, Christ ordained 12. In John 15:16, he’s talking about, “I have chosen you and ordained you.” Key one, Hebrews 5:4, “No man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” So, “The Lord’s authorized servant, Moses, learned by revelation that it was God’s will that Aaron serve. Accordingly, Moses called and consecrated him.”
Okay. Now, I love this one. Look at Acts 8. There are a number of lessons we can learn about the priesthood from this that are very important, especially with the Protestant view we just discussed. So think about this. So here it is. “Then Simon himself believed also. And when he was baptized, he continued with Philip and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.” So we learn here that priesthood is required for ordinances like baptism. And 14, “Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John.”
So Philip could not give them the Holy Ghost. He could baptize. But they actually had to send Peter and John from Jerusalem. So there were different levels of authority within the priesthood. So then they come and they laid hands on them to verse 17, “Their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” So there is an ordinance after baptism involving laying on of hands to confer the Holy Ghost done by a priesthood holder.
And then Simon, verse 18, interesting, he sees through the laying on of hands the Holy Ghost has given, he offered them money. Saying, “Give me also this power. On whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.” So not every baptized member holds the priesthood. Remember, Simon was a believer and he was baptized. So most Protestants would say that would qualify him for the priesthood. No. He did not have the priesthood. And he was trying to buy it with money. And then Peter says, “Thy money perish with thee because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.”
You can’t buy the priesthood power with money. There’s lots of applications we could think of that today and in different ways. But okay. So Clement of Rome. This is at the end of the first century. He talked about a distinction between those who were ordained versus the general membership. And he says, “Peculiar services are assigned to the high priest. Proper place is prescribed to the priests. Layman is bound by laws that pertain to layman.”
And he further said, “Neither do we permit the laity to perform any of the offices belonging to the priesthood. For no one taketh this honor to himself, but he that is called of God. For such sacred offices are conferred by the laying on of the hands of the bishop.” This is at the end of the first century A.D. So this is very clear what was happening. Okay, Tad Callister of the Seventy, he did do a great book, The Blueprint of Christ’s Church. And in it, I love one section he had in there where he talked about can sincerity substitute for priesthood power?
And there’s just a couple of paragraphs I pulled out of the book there. So, “Paul asked certain disciples who had been baptized if they had received the Holy Ghost. They responded, ‘We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.’ No doubt surprised by their response, he further inquired, ‘Under what then were you baptized?’ They replied, ‘Unto John’s baptism.’ But Paul knew this could not be correct, for John’ and his disciples always taught that their baptisms would be followed by the Holy Ghost. Recognizing they had been baptized by someone without the proper authority, Paul re-baptized these disciples in the name of the Lord Jesus and then laid hands upon them so they might receive the Holy Ghost. As sincere as these former disciples may have been who baptized in John’s name, Paul knew that sincerity alone was not sufficient. It was no substitute for being called and ordained to the work.”
And if you look down below, “I know and recognize the power of Jesus, which power was also given to Paul.” This is the when they’re casting spirits out. “But where is your power? Your priesthood? No doubt these men were sincere. But that was not enough.” This evil spirit communicating that. So you can read the rest on that side. I thought that was really good from his book. Okay, now, sorry, there’s one more book I’ll recommend, Barry Bickmore. This is fantastic to get into really a lot of meat of stuff, Restoring the Ancient Church:Joseph Smith and Early Christianity.
Lots of great stuff in here. So one little piece I pulled out of there on the two levels of priesthood that we see in the early Christian Church. He said, “While the surviving early Christian documents make no mention of the two priesthoods within the church, it is at least clear that there was a hierarchy of authority, at least roughly corresponding to the distinction made by the Lord to Joseph Smith. That is, certain officers in the church were authorized to perform only the outward ordinances, while others were also able to administer in spiritual things.”
“For example, Philip, who was one of the seven ordained by the apostles to take on the work of caring for the needy in the church, was able to baptize quite a few people in Samaria,” like we just read. But we had to have the apostle sent down to do the Holy Ghost. “Likewise, members of the Aaronic priesthood among the Latter-day Saints performed temporal functions and ordinances, including baptism, but cannot perform the higher ordinances, such as the laying on of hands.”
Okay. And then he also, in Bickmore’s book, he also talked about just today where we see in the Restoration, we’re actually told that it was a bringing forth of all dispensations into one. So he said one caveat is to not compare line item by line item looking for perfection necessarily because there were some differences because of that. Here’s what he said. “This dispensation includes the priesthood and power given in all other dispensations.” And then he shares that D&C 112.
And then also D&C 128, “It’s a welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories. Therefore, since different variations on the basic organization of God’s kingdom have existed during the various dispensations, it should not be expected that the organization of the Restored Church would necessarily correspond exactly to that of the early Church. For example, the offices present in the Church in ancient America after the advent of the Savior are included in the present Church organization, but the Restored Church also includes many additional priesthood offices.”
And like President Nelson tells us, the Restoration continues to unfold. So we see adjustments being made continually forward to the priesthood organizations as things, as the church continues to grow, and expand, and needs develop. Okay, so I did want to share a very critical thing that I loved. FairMormon did a great piece called, Priesthood of All Believers or it was called, Is There a Priesthood of All Believers? I’ll link to it so you can see it. But I picked out a few pieces from this that I thought were very, very helpful there that you can read about.
This first page says, “Many modern Protestants reject the idea of priesthood authority as necessary for the performance of ordinances such as baptism. Instead, they hold to the concept that all true believers in Christ are automatically authorized to baptize and perform other ordinances and that no exceptional authority from God is necessary beyond acceptance of Christ as Savior. This idea was unknown until the time of the Reformation. Having broken away from the Roman Catholic Church, reformers were naturally cutoff from priesthood authority claimed by that and other Christian churches.”
“The Protestant claim to authority came from the Bible alone, not from a chain of authorized ordinations. Still, most Protestant churches continued the practice of ordaining ministers, and the Lutheran Church and the Church of England still have both ordained bishops and priests. This is ironic since Martin Luther himself introduced the concept in his 1520 address. Then two months later in his address, he said, ‘We’re all equally priests, as many of us are baptized.’ John Calvin, who broke away from the Catholic Church to become one of the early Reformers, also taught the concept of a priesthood of believers.”
“So John Wesley, the co-founder of the Methodist Church, 1784, laid hands on Thomas Coke and James Creighton and ordained them deacons. The following day, he ordained them priests, evidently considering Coke’s prior ordinations as priest in the Church of England to be invalid. He then ordained Coke as Bishop for America. Wesley’s brother Charles, shocked by these events, published a rather famous poem that reads, ‘So easily are bishops made by men’s or women’s whim? Wesley his hands on Coke hath laid, but who laid hands on him?'”
Love that. So very good question. Okay. Now, before I go through, there are a couple other pieces from that FairMormon piece I want to share. But I want to interject with a couple of really interesting Reformers though that did struggle with this question of authority tying back to the apostles and really seeing almost no way out without new apostles essentially. And so one of the two, the first one is fascinating with his tie with Joseph Smith and that’s the Reverend John Lathrop.
Okay. So he was the vicar of the Egerton Church in Kent, England. And one of his descendants was Joseph Smith, Prophet Joseph Smith. So, “In 1623, the Reverend Lathrop resigned his position because he questioned the authority of the Anglican church to act in the name of God. As he read the Bible, he recognized that apostolic keys were not on the earth. In 1632, he became the minister of an illegal independent church and was put in prison. His wife died while he was in prison and his orphan children pleaded with the bishop for his release. The bishop agreed to release Lathrop on condition that he leave the country. This he did, and with 32 members of his congregation, he sailed to America.”
And how cool is that? That’s part of the way that Joseph got to the land of religious freedom. So I thought that was really special one to share. And then Roger Williams. I love this, “Seventeenth-century pastor who founded Rhode Island refused to continue as pastor in Providence on the grounds that there was no regularly constituted church on earth, nor any person authorized to administer any church ordinanc;, nor could there be until new apostles were sent by the great Head of the Church, for whose coming he was seeking.”
And if you read the Bible very closely, that’s a great conclusion that you can come to. Alright. Now, continuing on with that piece from FairMormon. Is There a Priesthood of All Believers? So the scripture in 1 Peter 2:9 is the one that most choose. This is what Martin Luther pointed to for how to justify that you don’t need any ordination, you just need to be a believer. It says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
So, “This was the principle passage cited by Martin Luther in defense of his idea. What he failed to note is that Peter was actually referring to an Old Testament passage in which the Lord told the Israelites through Moses, ‘Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for all the earth is mine; and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.’ Yet of the Israelites present at the mount of revelation, only the Levites were chosen for priesthood service, while throughout Old Testament history, the office of priest and king were separate.”
“One must also note that from the point-of-view of most modern Christians, none of the Israelites in Moses’ day had acknowledged Christ as Savior. So they did not meet Luther’s criteria in the first place.” Okay, and then if you look at the very bottom, another passage there also again, “This passage clearly refers to the Lord’s words in Exodus, which as we have seen, did not make all Israelites priests and kings.”
Okay. And how I wanted to finish the video though is with a great quote from David O. McKay when he was the prophet. So President McKay talking about the confusion that would come without authority. And it’s the confusion we see in the Christian world today. So look at the last two paragraphs here. He says, “Herein lies one secret of the strength of this great latter-day work. It’s origin consists not in the whims, the desires, or the aspirations of man, but in the order and the will of Christ himself, the Author of our eternal salvation. If one man could assume the right to speak in the name of the Lord, other men would have that same privilege. Many men, all presuming to say, ‘Thus saith the Lord’, yet not seeing eye-to-eye on important elements of God’s kingdom.”
“The inevitable result would be confusion, and sincere men and women would be driven from, not attracted to, Christ’s Church, yet eventually would be made to suffer for not having obeyed the principles of life and salvation. Yet, the real cause of their failure to accept these eternal principles would be the fact that unauthorized men arrogated to themselves the right to officiate in things pertaining to God. Herein lies the explanation of this discordant condition existing among jarring creeds in the so-called Christian world today. Men who have no right to do so are officiating in the name of Christ. The result, of course, is confusion. Whatever else may be said of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the strength of his position in regard to divine authority must be recognized.”
And then 1 Corinthians 14, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints … let all things be done decently and in order”, which is why the priesthood matters, and priesthood keys to direct the work, and why an actual Restoration was needed, not a Reformation. So hope you enjoyed the video. Subscribe for more. Thanks.
Turning From Truth: A New Look at the Great Apostasy by Alexander Morrison
Catholic & Mormon by Alonzo Gaskill and Stephen Webb
The Blueprint of Christ’s Church by Tad Callister
Restoring the Ancient Church: Joseph Smith and Early Christianity by Barry Bickmore
Elder Ballard’s article in the January 2020 Ensign, How The Lord Prepared the World for the Restoration https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/s…
FairMormon article on ‘Is There a Priesthood of all Believers’ https://www.fairmormon.org/archive/pu…
James Carver’s article in the November 1986 Ensign, How do Latter-day Saints support the doctrine of Melchizedek Priesthood authority form the Bible? https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/s…
Latter-day Saints’ Q&A is a video series not produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but by me, an ordinary member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an independent voice, with a passion for studying Church history and defending the faith. In this series, I provide evidences for the restoration, and address tough questions posed by critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, offering faithful answers based on accurate research and historical references which will be posted at the end of each video.