According to LDS Teachings there was a Great apostasy, a falling away from the truth. A time where the early Christian church disintegrated into nothing , and therefore according to LDS doctrine, leaving no priesthood authority upon the earth and leaving Christianity in a fallen state with no authority.
LDS Apostle B. H. Roberts wrote, “Saddening as the thought may seem, the Church founded by the labors of Jesus and His Apostles was destroyed from the earth; the Gospel was perverted; its ordinances were changed; its laws were transgressed; its covenant was, on the part of man, broken; and the world was left to flounder in the darkness of a long period of apostasy from God… a universal apostasy from the Christian doctrine and the Christian Church took place” (D.H.C., Vol. I, Introduction, pp. 39 and 41).
Apostle James Talmage said… ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaims the restoration of the Gospel and the re-establishment of the Church as of old, in this, the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. Such restoration of re-establishment, with the modern bestowal of the Holy Priesthood, would be unnecessary and indeed impossible had the Church of Christ continued among men with unbroken succession of Priesthood and power since the ‘meridian of time.’ The restored Church affirms that a general apostasy developed during and after the Apostolic period, and that the primitive Church lost its power, authority, and graces as a divine institution, and degenerated into an earthly organization only… The evidence of the decline and final extinction of the primitive Church among men is found in scriptural record and in secular history (The Great Apostasy, by LDS Apostle James Talmage, Preface).
The LDS backs up its claims of apostasy with these verses, Amos 8:11-12, Isaiah 60:2,
Acts 20:29-30, Gal 1:6-9, 1 Tim 4:1-3, 2 Timothy 1:15, 2 Tim 3:1-5, 4:2-4, 2 Peter 2:1-3, Rev 3:14-17. None of these verses say there will be a total apostasy in the New Testament Church.
Let’s take a closer look at a couple of them,
Acts 20:28-30 28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them
I’ve added in verse 28 here for context, and so that we can see that Paul is clearly speaking to the overseers of the church. In these verses Paul was speaking to the Ephesian Church which a decade or so later was indeed being ravaged from within by false teachers, even from among the elders themselves.
We can see this in these verses from Timothy…
1 Timothy 1:19-20 19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: 20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
2 Timothy 2:17-18 17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
Lets look at another…
Galatians 1:6-9 6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
First off here, Paul is specifically talking to the Church in Galatia. Verse 7, ‘there be some that trouble you’ speaks of visiting preachers who had tried to persuade the Galatian church of the need for circumcision and obedience to the whole law as a means of Justification.
Galatians 4:17 17 They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them
Galatians 6:12 12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
Take the time to look at the other scriptures for yourself, looked at in context, are any of these verses speaking about a complete and utter apostasy of the Christian church? Looking at all of them together, do the sum of what these verses say, spell a total apostasy? Another verse Quoted by the LDS Church to say that there was an apostasy is:
Acts 3:20-21 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
21 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.
Verse 20, clearly speaks of the second coming of Christ, when Jesus shall be sent. Verse 21, says Heaven receives Jesus until the restitution of all things, again a clear reference to the second coming when Jesus will return.
What is the restitution of all things? Christ’s kingdom established upon the earth, even the earth itself being renewed.
Isaiah 65:17 17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
Romans 8:20-21,“For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
Also see Isaiah 11:6-9
FAIR (The Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research) uses these verses to explain that a restoration must come here.
Matthew 17:11, 11 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. neglecting to add… 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.”
Acts 1:6-7 6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.
neglecting to add… 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Jesus said he would build his Church upon a rock
“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it,” (Matt. 16:18).
Who is the rock?
‘First of all, when we look at the Greek of Matthew 16:18 we see something that is not obvious in the English. “…you are Peter (πέτρος, petros) and upon this rock (πέτρα, petra) I will build My church…” In Greek nouns have gender. It is similar to the English words actor and actress. The first is masculine and the second is feminine. Likewise, the Greek word “petros” is masculine; “petra” is feminine. Peter, the man, is appropriately referred to as Petros. But Jesus said that the rock he would build his church on was not the masculine “petros” but the feminine “petra.” The feminine “petra” occurs four times in the Greek New Testament: (http://carm.org/is-peter-the-rock)
*Matthew 16:18, “And I also say to you that you are Peter (petros), and upon this rock (petra) I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.”
*Matthew 27:60, “and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock (petra); and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away.”
*1 Corinthians 10:4, “and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock (petras) which followed them; and the rock (petra) was Christ.”
*1 Peter 2:8, speaking of Jesus says that he is “A stone of stumbling and a rock (petra) of offense”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.”
We can clearly see that in the three other uses of the Greek word petra (nominative singular; “petras” in 1 Cor. 10:4 is genitive singular) we find it referred to as a large immovable mass of rock in which a tomb is carved out (Matt. 27:60) and in reference to Christ (1 Cor. 10:4; 1 Pet. 2:8). Note that Peter himself in the last verse referred to petra as being Jesus! If Peter uses the word as a reference to Jesus, then shouldn’t we?
If the Church is built by Jesus with himself as the foundation, how can it fall?
Some other foundation verses…
Ephesians 2:20 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
Isaiah 28:16 16 Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
1 Corinthians 3:11 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 2:19 19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
Luke 14:28-29 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
Would Jesus set out to build his Church and not first ‘count the cost,’ surely Jesus knew that if he set up his church and gave the priesthood authority, (see the previous post on this) to all the apostles, then they would eventually die out and he’d have to come and set his church up again! It says in this verse that those who set out to build and do not finish, (or what they have built is insufficient), are then mocked by all who behold it.
Look at this parable, spoken by Jesus himself! Surely we are to accept that Jesus is a wise builder, as we have already seen in Matthew 16:18, Jesus said he built the church upon a rock. In this parable Jesus is saying that when you build upon a rock, a sure foundation, when the floods come the house (or church) will stand.
Matthew 7:24-27 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
By saying that the Christian Church fell into a total Apostasy, the LDS Church is basically calling Jesus a fool, not able to adhere to his own teaching.
Ephesians 3:21 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
For the Church to have fallen into Apostasy, Pauls prayer here must not have been answered. Jesus also must not have received an answer to this prayer…
John 179-23 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of[b] your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.
15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by[d] the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — 23 I in them and you in me–so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Jesus says’s here, ‘as you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world!’ How was Jesus sent into the world? With power and authority!
He also says in verse 20, that he is praying not just for them, (the believers of that time) but for those who will believe in him through their message! Who are they? They are the people who the believers directly witness to, but they are also those who read their message in Gods word and believe, they are the Christians of today.
Jesus in his prayer repeatedly speaks about Gods word…
6 “I have revealed you[a] to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.
7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.
John 17:14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.
John 17:17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
We come to know God through the word he has given us, believing in the message of Jesus, accepting the sacrifice that he made for us, and trusting in this alone to save us. Being sanctified, through the truth, which is his word, resulting in good works.
2 Timothy 3:16 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Jesus has given us his word, the Bible, through which we are to attain truth, he says so himself in his prayer as we have just seen. He doesn’t speak of giving us his priesthood authority, but his word, his truth. This being the case would God alow the bible be distorted, loosing many precious parts as the LDS church teaches?
What authority do Christians have?
Matthew 28:16-20 16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Was Jesus only speaking to the eleven? ‘Teach all nations’! How would this be possible for the eleven? The only way for this verse to make sense is to say, that this verse applies not only to those who were present but to those who they would reach with Gods message, and so on, even applying to Christians today. In verse 20 Jesus says…and lo, I am with you even unto the very end of the world. Again clearly Jesus is not speaking only to the eleven or how would this be possible. Jesus is with his people, his Chuch, even to the very end of the world!
Our authority comes not of ourselves but through Jesus! He says in Verse 17, All power is given unto me….Go ye therefore! As Believers we have power and Authority through His name, not an authority apart from him. As a Father with a family Business would allow his Son to use the authorithy that His name carries. So Our Father allows his Children, those saved through trusting in the name of Jesus Christ to use the authority that that name carries.
Mark 16:17 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Acts 4:10,12 …It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth…  Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Jesus says to the 70…
9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you
17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
Verse 20 is an interesting verse, Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you! Many of teachings and Ordenances of the LDS church are simply not in the Bible. The LDS Church is believed to be the ‘restoration of all things’. The church restored to how they were in the times of Jesus. But is it? Did the early Christian church have wards and stakes? Temples and Temple recommends? In order for the LDS church to be true, there would simply have to have been an apostasy, and if there wasn’t, then the LDS Church can’t be true.