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WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR AUTHORITY?
by Hal Hougey.
One of the publications that one might receive if inquiring about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a book titled GOSPEL PRINCIPLES.
This book stresses the importance of the Priesthood to the Mormon Church. During our many discussions with the Mormon Missionaries the topic has sooner or later turned to the question of authority.
Chapter 14, titled "PRIESTHOOD ORGANIZATION" opens with the statement
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is governed by the priesthood."
Further down in this same opening paragraph we read:
"Men young and old are baptized into the Church, and when they are judged worthy, they are ordained to the priesthood. They are given the authority to act for the Lord and to do his work on the earth."
(Gospel Principles, l978, Revised l979 edition, page 79)
Page 81, under the title DEACON we find that,
"when a boy has been baptized and confirmed a member of the Church and is worthy, he may be ordained to the office of deacon when he is twelve years old."
This is one of the offices of the Aaronic Priesthood.
Along with the Aaronic Priesthood, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also believes in the greater priesthood, called the Melchizedek Priesthood. Those who hold the lesser priesthood, the Aaronic Priesthood,
"have authority to administer the outward ordinances of faith, repentance, and baptism..." (Gospel Principles, page 79)
We can see from these brief statements that the authority of the Priesthood is important to the Mormon Church. It is not the intention of this tract to discuss the various aspects of the two priesthoods of the Mormon Church, but we would like to take a close look and see if the authority of the priesthoods ever really existed in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Now we will turn to page 124, Chapter 20, titled BAPTISM. Here we read that baptism "is the first ordinance of the gospel."
On this same page is the statement
"WE MUST BE BAPTIZED FOR THE REMISSION OF OUR SINS' and "If we repent, and are baptized, our sins are forgiven through the atonement of Jesus Christ."
Along with the priesthood, baptism is important in the Mormon church, and we are told in Gospel Principles, page 127, that we must be baptized: to become members of the church, before we can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, to show obedience and to enter the celestial kingdom.
The following statements on page 128 clearly show the importance of baptism and authority in the Mormon Church:
"Our sinful life ends when we are baptized." "After baptism we start a new life." "Baptism by immersion by one having the proper authority is the only true and acceptable way of being baptized." "Every person who has reached eight years of age and is accountable, or responsible, for his actions should be baptized."
Now we will turn to the reference titled PRIESTHOOD RESTORED found in the pamphlet THE PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH'S TESTIMONY. (Pages 16 & 17, 1984 edition)
John the Baptist, as a messenger from heaven, descended and conferred the Priesthood of Aaron on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and then commanded them "to go and be baptized" and gave them directions that Joseph Smith should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and that afterwards Oliver Cowdery should baptize Joseph Smith.
The story continues after they were baptized in this manner, then Joseph Smith ordained Oliver Cowdery to the Aaronic Priesthood and afterwards Oliver Cowdery ordained Joseph Smith to the same Priesthood.
What's wrong with this story?
Why did "John the Baptist" neglect to baptize Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery? Surely, if it was John the Baptist, he as a messenger from heaven under the direction of Peter, James and John (according to the above-mentioned Mormon tract on Joseph Smith's TESTIMONY) would have known that an unbaptized person could not hold the Priesthood.
Even today, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would NOT bestow the Aaronic Priesthood on an unbaptized (and therefore "unsaved") person. Surely, John the Baptist would have known that - after all he was John the BAPTIST!
Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery washed away their priesthood conferred on them by "John the Baptist". Joseph Smith, an unbaptized person, baptized Oliver Cowdery and therefore Oliver Cowdery's baptism was invalid and so was Joseph's baptism invalid. Consequently, neither had the authority to ordain each other to the Aaronic Priesthood.
All this confusion could have been avoided IF "John the Baptist" had baptized them and then conferred the Aaronic Priesthood on each of them if "John the Baptist" had the authority to do so in the first place. This makes one wonder who this "messenger from heaven" would have been if the story was true. II Corinthians 11:14 comes to mind at this point.
"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." KJV
In summary, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not have the power of the Priesthood and therefore their authority is not Scriptural authority.
According to GOSPEL PRINCIPLES, page 128, we are told that,
"Baptism by immersion by one having the proper authority is the only true and acceptable way of being baptized."
Because Joseph Smith's and Oliver Cowdery's baptisms were invalid, the priesthood authority was also invalid. If the "priesthood" that Joseph Smith "received" has been handed down throughout the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as they claim, then they operate today under the deception of an invalid priesthood.
It is our sincere desire to see that the Mormon people hear the true Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and come to a saving knowledge of Him rather than continuing in this deception.
"Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is." Jeremiah 17:5-7. KJV.
"He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." I John 5:12,13. KJV.
GOSPEL PRINCIPLES, published l978 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Revised l979.
THE PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH'S TESTIMONY, pamphlet published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,l984.
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