The Church of Jesus Christ
Discerning Christ's True Church
The Bible teaches there is but "one Lord, one church and one baptism." It is not uncommon for those seeking Christ to wonder why there are so many different denominations of Christianity. Though they all teach of Christ, they often differ in doctrines, believes, ordinances, and argue a variety of ways to salvation. Could Christ be the author of so much confusion? The scripture discribe some important elements of Christ's Church anciently, and prophecy of its future. Though there is a lot to be learned by the scriptures about Christ's church, it is important to pray and ask God which church is His True Church.
Scriptural definition of the word "Church"
Is the Church in our hearts or is it an organization?
Among the differing doctrines of Christian denominations is the definition and purpose of the church. To some it is an organized body of believers who share common doctrines of Christ. To others, the church is in your heart to be guided by the Spirit of God. Though these ideas contradict one another, they are not necessarily all that different. To those who believe in organized religion the idea that God guides the hearts of individuals in far from being believed as blasphemous or foreign. Likewise, those who accept that God's church is in the heart of individuals do not dismiss that fact that organized religion helps lead many to Christ. But the question we wish to answer here, is whether or not Christ intended to establish a body of believers as an organized Church or left mainly to the hearts of the individuals.
The word church is found several places in the New Testament. In most of its uses it is clear that an organized body of believers was intended as its meaning. For example, Ephesians 5: 25 taught, "Christ loved the church and gave his life for it." Church in this passage is singular. Furthermore, it is not in reference to any or all churches, but specifies "the" church, or Christ's true church. disagreeable to all sects would be the assertion that Christ died for a single soul-or one church of someone's heart. Irrefutably, He died for all. This agreement, however, may reveal my shallow understanding of church of the heart. One could reasonably argue, that when God Spirit dwells in one's heart, that person becomes joined (spiritually) to other believers. Yet, 1 Corinthians 14: 4 distinguishes between self and church, when it points out that speaking in tongues only edifies one's self, while prophesying edifies the church.
Other uses of the word church remains ambiguous and could be understood as a church of the heart, such as in Matthew 16: 18, "upon this Rock shall I build my church;" and in Acts 9: 30-31, "the churches rested." The former example of Christ talking to Peter, could imply that he may build His church in Peter's. However, its interpretation could also support that of an established church organization, placing Peter in charge after the death and resurrection of Christ. Or loosely interpreted, his organized church would be built on, not just Peter, but all the Apostles as well (Eph. 2: 19-20).
The latter example uses church in the plural, possibly indicating many "people" rested. But it is equally plausible to conclude that members of many churches (rather members of the church of Christ, in many locations [see Rev. 1: 4]) rested.
Defining "Church" (continued)
Revelations 2: 23 states, "all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts." Again, this verse may be ambiguous, alluding to Christ's church, in the heart. Still, an organized religion could fit with no grammatical error of the sentence, while supplanting church of the heart to other verses (e.g. Matt. 18: 17; Acts 2: 46-47; Acts 8: 1; etc.) would perplex the most intelligent English expert. Though arguably allusive, no single verse clearly indicates a church of the heart doctrine.
Another verse vague in definition, states, "likewise greet the church that is in their house" (Rom.16: 5). Because church is singular, one could argue its meaning to say, "greet a believer in his home or dwelling place." But, more clearly it would read, "greet the church [body] that is in their house [of worship]." This notion may be supported by the verses found in 1 Tim 3: 15 "Behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God."
Not only did Christ establish His church on earth, but also formed it as a replication of the Kingdom of Heaven. John the Baptist, the forerunner and preparer of Christ's first coming, told the people to repent, "for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand" (Matt. 3: 2). Later, Christ taught his disciples in the Lord's Prayer, "Thy [God's] kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6: 10; see also Luke 11: 2). Isaiah, prophesying of the birth of Christ, prophesied that His coming was for "increase of government," and "His Kingdom, to order it and establish it" (9: 7).
Arguments may arise contesting the Kingdom of God upon the earth, because of Christ's words to Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18: 36). However, note that Christ did not say His kingdom is not in the world. The use of the phrase, "of this world," is similar to the old Sufi saying, "Be ye in the world, but not of it." His words to Pilate continued, "If it were of this world, I would have servants to fight, that I would not be delivered to the Jews" (John 18: 36). But Christ did have servants, ye they were not political followers, trained for physical battle for earthly power, "for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness' (Eph. 6: 12). In his last line of the same verse to Pilate (John 18: 36), Christ said, "But now is my kingdom not from thence." He does not say it is not on earth, but that it is not from here. It is God's Kingdom from Heaven, replicated on earth.
To simply define the Church of God, is not enough. Christ taught that the Gentiles seek worldly treasures, then commended "but seek ye first for the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness" (Matt. 6: 31-33). How can we seek for the Kingdom of God if we do not know what it is we are looking for?
The Organization of Christ's Church
How did Christ establish His church anciently?
During His earthly ministry, Christ organized a church by calling and ordaining Apostle, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth. Such an organization would exist today in a church that claims to be of Christ.
It is clear that Christ established an organized Church, first calling Apostles, then prophets and teachers (1 Cor. 12: 28). Christ was, is, and has always been the head of his church (Eph. 1: 22). His counsel to His people has, from the foundation of the world, always been revealed to His prophets (Amos 3: 7). Like Moses, prophets speak to God face to face (Ex. 33: 11), who instructs the people in God's ways. The prophet acts as a mouthpiece for God (Ex. 4: 14-16; Heb. 1: 1). Truly with such an organization as this, Christ can still function has head of His church through revelation, though He is not on the earth to lead it (Eph. 5: 23).
With the church's chief cornerstone being Christ, its foundation is nexted laid with prophets and Apostles (Eph. 2: 20). These leaders of Christ church are not required to lead alone, for such a task would be too great a burden (Ex. 18: 13-26). Others are called into positions to aid the church and its leaders: Quorum of the seventy, Evangelists, High Priests, Elders, Bishops, Priests, Teachers, and Deacons. Such organization reflects the teachings of Christ when he said, "Let all things be done decently and in order" (1 Cor. 14: 40).
Such order provides each person a specific responsibility in the church, as well as clear and effective means of instruction. Each person having a duty, knowing his or her role and that the calling comes from God, is accountable to God. Furthermore, this structure, properly followed, insures care and support to those newly baptized into the body of the church (1 Cor. 12: 13, 25; Eph. 2: 19-20).
The most important purposes of God calling prophets and Apostles, is to witness of the resurrection of Christ (Acts 4: 33; Acts 10: 41). If such a role was important in the days of Christ, how much more is the testimony of a prophet and twelve Apostles in a day when secular doctrines attempt to make a myth of the important mission of Christ? Prophets and Apostles, teachers, pastors, and evangelists, have been given us by God,
"...[F]or the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love may grow up into him in all things which is the head, even Christ." (Eph. 4: 11-15).
This great organization was prophesied from the days of Daniel, who, speaking analogously, called it a stone cut from the mountain without hands to fill the whole earth (Dan 2: 35). Such a prophecy could be fulfilled if the organization ended with Christ's original twelve.
The fact is, there were more Apostles called after the original twelve. After Christ's ascension into heaven, Peter led the church as the prophet (Matt 16: 18) making them short two Apostles (don't forget, they were already lacking of one after the betrayal and death of Judas). The Twelve Disciples gathered and elected Barsabas and Matthias (Acts 1: 23-26). These names are not mentioned as the original Twelve (Matt. 10: 2-4 [see also Mark 3: 16-19; Luke 6: 14-16]. As the Apostles were killed off, others were called such as Barnabas and Paul (Acts 14: 14).
Many Christians believe that Christ was the last prophet, and that there will be no continuation. Such an accusation would be blasphemous in the strictest sense. For God does not change (Mal. 3: 3). For if He did, either He was not yet perfect before the change, He fell from perfection after the change, or never He never has been perfect-thus He would cease to be God. But God is perfect (Matt. 5: 48) and so are His works (2 Sam. 22: 31; Psalms 18: 30). Thus neither God nor his works will change-or they cease to be perfect.
Furthermore, if God had no need of a prophet, his doctrines would have been changed. If they changed, there is need of new instructions from God telling us so, and tell us what the new doctrine is. In which case a prophet would need to be called to tell us thus. And what good is the old scripture if His word and will has changed? If God had no need for prophets where did He say so? He has not. In fact, in chapter 7 of Matthew, Christ warns us not of prophets in the last days, but only of "false prophets" (verse 15) alluding that there must indeed be real prophets to follow. Otherwise, he should have warned against all prophets.
But what was the purpose of continuing to call Prophets and Apostles? Moreover, what happened to the chain of Prophets Christ called to lead His church?
Christ Chooses 12 Apostles to Preach and Bless Others
This video depicts Jesus Christ ordaining His Twelve Apostles, and giving them authority to preach, minister, perform miracles and act in behalf of Christ.
God Gives Man Authority to Operate His Church
As a earthly king might grant authority to a man ruin the affairs of his kingdom while he is away, so does God give authority to man to act in His name.
A man professing to teach God's words-be it from inspiration, visions, even simply interpreting scripture-or conducting ordinances such as baptism, must be called of God and given property authority.
As previously stated, God called prophets throughout time to instruct the people of His will and commandments (Amos 3: 7), that they may not be deceived by the doctrines of man (Eph 4: 11-14) and eventually perish (Proverbs 29: 18). But a prophet has other roles as well. After Christ said to Peter, "Upon this rock I will build my church," he said further, "And I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matt. 16: 18-19). These "keys" are the power and authority to have charge over God's Kingdom on Earth, until the day that Christ should return, reclaim the Keys, and rule and reign on the Earth (Micah 4: 7).
A king, having all power within his kingdom, can, at his request, grant other persons a portion of that power and authority. With that authority, they may act on behalf of the king. In Matt. 8: 9, a man coming to Christ seeking blessings of healing, disclosed, "I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me." This man acknowledges his worldly authority to command a branch of soldiers, granted to him by a king, or perhaps a captain whose authority came from a king or a nobleman. The principle here, however, is that the authority come from someone who originally had authority and not simply self-proclaimed.
The authority to minister in God's kingdom is similar. Jesus explained in the 11th chapter of Mark that worldly authority allows one to rule, but among His believers, authority is given as a means to serve others, not rule over them (42-45).
To obtain this authority, a man must, first be called by God-as Jesus Himself was called and send by his Father (Acts 11:38; John 20: 21). Then, after being called by God, he is ordained and grant authority to act on behave of Jesus, just as the Apostles (John 15: 16). Just as a man could not self-proclaim authority to act in civil positions in an earthly kingdom, Paul taught the Hebrews that the same principle applied in God's Kingdom: "No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron." (Heb. 5: 4). A brief study of how Aaron acquiring his calling, according to the Bible, would shed light on the methods in which Christ's Church would call a man today.
Moses, having authority of God, was commanded by God to call Aaron. (Ex. 28: 1). Aaron did not go to Moses claiming God called him, but God worked through his prophet who already possessed the proper authority to call and ordain others. Moses was then commanded to anoint Aaron with a portion of priesthood authority, known as the Aaronic priesthood (Ex. 40: 13). Aaron and his sons were anointed to serve God in the particular service in which they were called (Num. 3: 3). With the proper authority, Aaron and his sons served in the tabernacle of God.
Without a prophet, there would be no person left on earth with authority to teach God's word (Amos 3: 7), lead the people (Eph.4: 11-15), and even interpret the scriptures with authority (Mark 1: 22; 2 Peter 1: 20).
What Has Become of Christ's Church?
Does a church exist today with the same organization that existed anciently?
The Bible prophesies the future of Christ's church and believers. According to these prophesies, there will be a "falling away" from the truth; a world wide hunger and thirsting for spiritual knowledge. But in His infinite Mercy, God promised to restore his church and the proper priesthood authority in the last days, by a modern day prophet.
THE GREAT APOSTASY
Surely that was the reaction of the Jews after receiving the word of Christ. Johann Lorenz Von Mosheim (1694-1755) German Lutheran divine and Church Historian, once wrote: "There is no institution so pure and excellent which the corruption and folly of man will not in time alter for the worse, and load with additions foreign to its nature and original design. Such in a particular manner was the fate of Christianity." (Talmage, James E. The Great Apostasy. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1994. p.113). The Apostle Peter say foresaw this tragic event, and pleaded to the Christians to avoid such a sudden fate; yet, still the Jews, "As the dog is turned to his own vomit again" (2 Pet. 2: 22), turned away from Christ's doctrines. Thus was the fatality of the Christ's Church, Apostles, and priesthood authority.
Not long into the establishing of the church (Gal. 1: 6), the Christians began retreating to past traditions, pagan worships, or adopted false teachings by misconstruing doctrines (Rev. 2: 6, 15,). With their mouths, they professed to be Christian, but their hearts were far from God (Isa. 29: 13; Titus 1: 16; 2 Tim. 3: 5). As Isaiah prophesied, the members of the church began to change the ordinances, and break covenant (24: 5).
The new doctrines, divided the people. As Christ himself warned that a house divided against itself cannot remain standing (Matt. 12: 25; Mark 3: 25; Luke 11: 17). Contentions over doctrine arose. People argued over authority, over revelations, over who where true prophets (1 Cor. 3: 3; 1 Cor. 11: 18; 1 Cor. 1: 11; James 4: 1). In Revelations, John the Beloved wrote God's words to the people, calling them "lukewarm" because they were not fallowing God's will (Rev. 3: 16).
Besides the internal pressure from members, intense external precautions arose (Acts 8: 3; Acts 11: 19; Acts 14: 19; Acts. 26: 10 2 Cor. 11: 25; Gal. 1: 13; Philip. 3: 6; Rev. 6: 9). The people, from nearly the beginning, began to slay the Apostles (Acts 8: 55-56). As Christ's chosen leaders where slain, false prophets began to lead more members from the church (Matt. 13: 25; Matt. 24: 5; Matt. 24: 11; Matt. 24: 24; Acts 20: 29; Gal. 3: 1; 1 Tim. 4: 1; Titus 1: 10; 2 Pet. 2: 1; 2 Pet. 3: 17; 1 Jn. 2: 18; 1 Jn 4: 1; Jude 1: 4; Rev. 2: 2). And the people rejected truth and fallowed fables (2 Tim. 4: 4).
The falling away from Christ's church is not a new phenomenon. The bible is full of accounts where Israelites abandoned the truth, slain the prophets, and apostatized. (see Exodus). And this falling away was no surprise. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians who asked when Christ shall return. "That day shall not come," Paul wrote, "except there come a falling away first" (2 Thes. 2: 3). Darkness and a famine of God's word covered the world (Isa. 60: 2; Amos 8: 11).
And so the Kingdom of God was taken from the Earth.
The Dark Ages and the Reformers
For years, people suffered under the Theocracy of Catholic Church. Finally, God saw fit to lead inspired men to break the bonds that bound them to false ideologies of character and doctrines of God. The earliest of these reformers was Martin Luther. As a trained clergy, Luther was allowed to read the Bible. In so doing, he recognized several doctrines in which the Catholic Church erred. Though today he is thought of as the founder of Lutherism, he in fact never sought to form a new church. In his own words he claimed,
"I have sought nothing beyond reforming the Church in conformity with the Holy Scriptures. The spiritual powers have been not only corrupted by sin, but absolutely destroyed; so that there is now nothing in them but a depraved reason and a will that is the enemy and opponent of God. I simply say that Christianity has ceased to exist among those who should have preserved it." (In Galat  Weins IX P.l. 293, 24-27, p. 50; Luther and His Times, p. 509. Martin Luther, p. 188).
Other reformers emerged shortly after. Among them was John Wesley. He, like Luther, acknowledge that the true church of Christ was no longer on the earth. But he further insisted that the Holy Ghost has been lost for among them as well.
"It does not appear that these extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were common in the Church for more then two or three centuries. We seldom hear of them after that fatal period when the Emperor Constantine called himself a Christian; From this time they almost totally ceased. The Christians had nor more the Spirit of Christ than the other heathens. This was the real cause why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were no longer to be found in the Christian Church; because the Christians were turned Heathens again, and had only a dead form left." (Wesely's works, vol. 7, Sermon 89, pp.26-27).
When Roger Williams came on the scene, he too was convinced of the total decayed doctrines and authority of true Christianity. As far as he was concerned no person alive had authority from God to perform the necessary ordinances to regulate a living church through revelation,
"There is no regularly constituted church on earth, nor any person authorized to administer any church ordinance; nor can there be until new apostles are sent by the Great Head of the Church for whose coming I am seeking." (Picturesque America, p. 502).
Even to the founding of America, religionists and intellects could plainly see the changed teachings and misguided claims of religions when contrasted with Bible teachings. Thomas Jefferson was one such.
"The religion builders have so distorted and deformed the doctrines of Jesus, so muffled them in the mysticisms, fancies and falsehoods, have caricatured them into forms so inconceivable, as to shock reasonable thinkers.... Happy in the prospect of a restoration of primitive Christianity, I must leave to younger persons to encounter and lop off the false branches which have been engrafted into it by the mythologist of the middle and modern ages." (Jefferson's Complete works, vol. 7, pp 210, 257).
But God did not leave us in despair for long.
From early on, God revealed through His prophets that there would be a restoration in the last days. To Isaiah, God proclaimed, "I will proceed to do a marvelous work" (29: 14). To Daniel it was explained, a kingdom would he establish upon the earth, "which shall never be destroyed" (2: 44).
The scriptures reveal that much more must happen before Christ returns. Because God does not lie (num. 23: 19; 1 Sam. 15: 29; Heb. 6: 18), He must call a modern day prophet before these things come to pass (Amos 3: 7; Rev. 11: 3). At the very least one to prepare the way for the Lord's second coming, (Mal. 3: 1) as did John the Baptist, at His first.
Other great secrets of God still need to be unfolded to the world. These last day are to be "the dispensation of the fullness of times" (Eph. 1: 10) when all things are restored (Acts 3: 21). He shall bring forth an everlasting covenant (Jer. 31: 31), and pour out his Spirit upon the inhabitance of the earth (Joel 2: 28). The Lord's house shall again be established (Isa. 2: 2; Micah 4: 2), and the Lord promises to recover the remnant of his people. (Isa. 11: 11). These are just a few of God's great and marvelous works. But how are they to be revealed without a prophet?
In the early 1800's, a young farm boy from Upstate New York sought out to find Christ's true church. He marveled at how so many churches could claim to be God's true church, yet be so different. To one, baptism by immersion was the only way to be saved; to another sprinkling; and yet, to another, no baptism at all. Later in his life, this young man recorded the contention that stirred among the people over religion. Priest against priest and convert against convert. Not to mention the mental conflict within his own mind. In his own words he wrote:
"During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong.
"My mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all the powers of both reason and sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in error. On the other hand, the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others.
"In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?
"While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
"Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.
"At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to "ask of God," concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture."
In the Spring of 1820, he journeyed to a nearby grove of trees and knelt in prayer. His heart was filled with faith that God would make good his promise and answer his prayer. As he knelt and prayed, he had this great experience:
"I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me... When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other-This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"
This young man was called by God to be a prophet. God used him to restore His Church upon this earth again. This young man's name is Joseph Smith.
In partial fulfillment of Biblical prophecy (Rev. 14: 6), an angel appeared to the Joseph, giving him an ancient record of one of the lost tribes of Israel (Gen. 49: 22-24) to be translate by the power of God. An interesting occurrence transpired during the translation. The record-written on plates of gold, of which a portion was sealed-was not seen by anyone until the work was completed. Joseph Smith copied some of the symbols and their corresponding translation given to him by inspiration of God. Martin Harris, Joseph's scribe at this time, took the symbols and their translation to a scholar in New York City, Professor Charles Anthon. Dr. Anthon confirmed that that symbols were indeed Egyptian styled and true characters. He asked Martin where he had obtained the writings. Martin told him that an angel delivered them to an unlearned farm boy. The Dr. dismissed the idea of visions in our day and asked if he may translate the plates. Martin denied him, saying they were sealed, to which Anthon replied, "I cannot read a sealed book."
These plates were eventually translated into what is known today as the Book of Mormon. Of this book, Isaiah had prophesied 2400 years earlier, saying,
"And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned."
Other prophesies of the Book of Mormon were fulfilled, including one from Ezekiel who first, mentioning the writings of the Jews, or Bible, which was written by descendents of the Jews. He went on to explain that the Bible would be joined by the "stick" (or book) of Joseph-even the stick of Ephraim. As the writers of this recorder are descendents of Ephraim, Ezekiel's prophecy was fulfilled that the two witnesses of Christ would be joined. With the testimony of two nations, God has established his word (2 Cor. 13: 1).
With a prophet called of God, proper authority had to be given to him to organize the church. In May of 1829, John the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, and gave them the priesthood of Aaron. This priesthood granted the authority to baptize in the manner Christ Himself was baptized (Mark 10: 39). Later, the apostles Peter, James, and John would appear, bestowing upon them the higher, or Melchizedek priesthood. These three were ordained Apostles and given the same authority under the hands of Jesus Christ (John 15: 16). This allows the priesthood of any man today, ability to tract their line of authority back to Jesus Christ.
April 3, 1836, during the Jewish Passover, other ancient prophets appeared blessing Joseph with keys of the kingdom from their dispensations, as Oliver witnessed. Moses, Elias (Matt. 17: 11; Mark 9: 12), and the long awaited Elijah who came to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to their fathers as prophesied in Malachi 4: 5-6. In a similar fashion Christ received the same keys (Matt. 17).
Immediately following the restoration of Christ's church the sacred day of April 6, 1830, missionary work began, beginning the fulfillment of the gathering of Israel (Isaiah 18: 1-2; Matt. 24: 14).
Countless other prophecies have been, and are being fulfilled since that glorious vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ to Joseph Smith. To have Christ true and living church upon the earth again is an amazing blessing. These are the final days. We have been called to prepare and gather in God's elect children, just as Christ instructed the church of His time (Matt. 28: 19; 1 Peter 2: 9). God's long silence has been broken and the heavens are open once more. God continues to work miracles. Christ leads his Church once more through revelation to prophets. Men once more are ordained with his authority to perform saving ordinances. Prophets and Apostles, and all other offices of Christ's original church are again on the earth.