Evangelism & Apologetics, Religious Movements, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Witnessing to Mormon Missionaries – Joseph Smith’s testimony, the priesthood authority, false prophet or true prophet?

 

Joseph Smith

Want to know how to be able to know how to witness to Mormon Missionaries? I would encourage you to look this information over, study it, and talk about it with others you know are knowledgable in the Christian faith.  When you are confident about this information I encourage you to share this information with those you know whom are Mormons or any Mormon Missionaries you come in contact with.

It is always important to demonstrate respect and love when witnessing to anyone, and that goes a long way when encountering those in the Mormon church.  It is also very important to know what you believe as a Christian and what some of the main differences of the Christian faith and the doctrines of the Mormon church.

One of the main differences of the Christian faith and the Mormon church is the testimony of Joseph Smith as a latter day prophet of God.  The foundation of the Mormon church (also known as Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints) hinges on Joseph Smith’s testimony, which claims that in 1820 God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him in order to establish the restoration.  Mormonism teaches that from the death of the first apostles the Lord’s church went into apostasy, and that the priesthood authority and the gospel was lost.  According to Mormonism a latter day prophet named Joseph Smith restored the gospel and priesthood authority, and restored the church back on earth in 1830.

  • Why is the testimony of Joseph Smith so important?

The testimony of Joseph Smith is the foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints.  Joseph Smith is either a true prophet of God or Joseph Smith is a false prophet of God, there is no middle ground.  If what Joseph Smith claimed and taught is true then it should be trusted, but if what Joseph Smith claimed and taught is false it is to be rejected.

“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.” (Galatians 1:6-9 KJV)

According to Jesus He would build His church and that it would not be destroyed or lost.  Even the apostle Paul taught that the Lord’s church would be here through all generations and would bring glory to God.

“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18 KJV)

“20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21 KJV)

The testimony of Joseph Smith and the doctrines of the Mormon church are in confliction with the teachings of the New Testament.  It is true that there are Scriptures that talk about people falling away and apostasy, but there are no Scriptures that state the church would be lost or destroyed.

  • The testimony of Joseph Smith is false according to the revelation of Joseph Smith

When witnessing to Mormon Missionaries it is important to have some basic knowledge of their doctrines.  It is also important to quote from Mormon resources in order to be able to provide unbiased information when asking questions on what they believe and teach.

The following quotes are from the official LDS website of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints concerning the testimony of Joseph Smith. (LDS means Latter-Day Saints/ an official site lds.org)

“Joseph Smith was the first prophet of our day. He saw and spoke with God the Father and Jesus Christ. Through the Prophet Joseph, the Lord restored the true Church and the fulness of the gospel. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:9–19.)” (Joseph Smith Saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ from lds.org)

“17 It no sooner appeared than I found myself adelivered from the enemy which held me bound. 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!” (Joseph Smith History 1:17 from lds.org site)

“As early as 1823, Moroni promised Joseph Smith that the priesthood would be revealed to him by the hand of Elijah. (See D&C 2:1.) Priesthood restoration began on 15 May 1829 when John the Baptist—by then a resurrected being of glory—appeared to the young prophet and Oliver Cowdery to confer the Aaronic Priesthood upon them. (See D&C 13; JS—H 1:68–72.) Shortly thereafter, the Apostles Peter, James, and John came and conferred upon them the Melchizedek Priesthood. 3 (See D&C 27:12–13.)”(footnotes #3 states see Larry C. Porter, Ensign, June 1979, pp. 5–10/ from lds.org site article called The Restoration of Major Doctrines through Joseph Smith: Priesthood, Word of God, and the Temple – Ensign Feb. 1989)

What we learn from these official LDS teachings concerning the testimony of Joseph Smith.

  1. According to Joseph Smith’s History God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him in 1820
  2. The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints affirms Joseph Smith’s testimony of seeing the Father and Jesus in 1820
  3. Joseph Smith’s testimony and Mormonism teaches that he received the priesthood authority (Aaronic priesthood & Melchizedek priesthood) in 1829 from a promise given by an angel named Moroni.

In Doctrines and Covenants (Mormon revelations) section 84:18-22 we read the following:

“1 A revelation of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and six elders, as they united their hearts and clifted their voices on high…18 And the Lord confirmed a priesthood also upon Aaron and his seed, throughout all their generations, which priesthood also continueth and abideth forever with the priesthood which is after the holiest order of God.  19 And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.  20 Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.  21 And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;  22 For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.” (Doctrines and Covenants 84:18-22)

According to the revelation of Joseph Smith we learn the following.

  1. This was a revelation from Jesus Christ to Joseph Smith
  2. The priesthood authority (Aaronic and Melchizedek) holds the mysteries of the kingdom and knowledge of God, the ordinances (instructions)
  3. It is through the ordinances that the power of godliness is revealed, which is by someone having the priesthood authority.
  4. The power of godliness is not manifest to men in the flesh without the ordinances and the authority of the priesthood.
  5. No one can see the face of God, even the Father, without having the power of godliness.

According to Joseph Smith’s revelation in D&C 84:18-22 his testimony would be false.  According to Mormonism, Joseph Smith did not have the priesthood authority or any ordinances in 1820, that happened in 1829.  Since Joseph Smith did not have the priesthood authority, and he did not have the ordinances thereof, and he did not the power of godliness, he could not of seen God the Father and live as he claims.

Mormons may say that there were people who saw God in the Old Testament and lived, which is true.  However, according to Mormonism each of those people in the Old Testament who saw God and lived had the priesthood authority.  This is important to understand when witnessing to Mormons.

Conclusion

The testimony of Joseph Smith is false, and this information demonstrates that Joseph Smith was not a true prophet of God.  Our purpose for this information was to help Christians to know how to witness to Mormons, and to help lead Mormons out of Mormonism into a saving faith in Christ Jesus.  If you are a Mormon and would like to ask some questions please contact us.

Check out for more information:

Examining President Gordon B. Hinckley on Joseph Smith testimony link

What do Mormons believe about God? Was God once a man? link

Irrefutable Proof Joseph Smith was a false prophet link

Discussion

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