The Unauthorized Investigator's Guide to
The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints

Lesson 1

The Great Apostasy

The Missionaries Will Teach...

After the death of Jesus Christ, the apostles kept the doctrines of the church pure and maintained order and standards of worthiness for the members of the church.  But wicked people persecuted the apostles and church members and killed many of them.  After the apostles all died, the authority of the priesthood was taken from the earth.  Without the apostles, unauthorized changes were made to the organization, priesthood ordinances such as baptism were changed, and doctrines were corrupted.

Without revelation and priesthood authority, people had to rely upon human wisdom in order to interpret the scriptures.  False ideas were taught as truth.  Much knowledge of the true nature of God the Father, his son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost was lost.  The doctrines of faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost were distorted or forgotten.  And the authority of the priesthood was no longer on the earth and the earth was in a state of spiritual darkness for centuries.

Eventually, truth-seeking people protested against the practices of the false religious practices.  They recognized that many of Jesus' true doctrines and practices had been lost or changed.  They searched for greater spiritual light and sometimes talked about the need for a restoration.  But they didn't claim that God had called them to be a prophet.  Rather, they tried to reform the teachings that they believed were in error.  These efforts lead to the formation of many Protestant denominations.  These efforts resulted in greater religious freedom, which was necessary for the final restoration.

Jesus' apostles prophesized of an apostasy.  And they prophesized that God's plan of happiness for families.

Some Additional Thoughts...

Mormonism's first prophet was killed by wicked men.  The subsequent leaders changed the doctrine and ordinances.  If the establishment of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was, in fact, the restoration of Christ's true church, how can we be sure that it hasn't since fallen into apostasy?  If the  gates of hell could have prevailed against the church that Jesus originally established, why couldn't they prevail against the church that Joseph Smith restored?


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