ONE MAN TO LEAD AND RECEIVE REVELATIONS FOR THE CHURCH, NOT ACCORDING TO THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST.
When Christ came into the world, the doctrine of a one-man leader to the church was not taught by him, and we are under his teachings in the written word. In the old covenant in the Book of Mormon is a prophecy that a “Choice Seer” is to come forth — of the seed of Joseph, of the seed of Lehi — who is to bring forth the word of the Lord from the sealed records of the Nephites, and convince the Lamanites, and restore them and the house of Israel; his work is not defined any farther than this. We suppose his work will be defined in the records which he will hereafter bring forth. We are told in 2 Nephi ii:17, Ether i:11, that the sealed records are not to come forth in the days of wickedness and abominations of the people. Then the more wicked part of the people will be cut off before they are brought forth. It may be as it was when Christ came to the people on this continent. We are told in Ether i:11, that the sealed records “shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord,” and have faith in him even as the brother of Jared did. Again, it says this “Choice Seer” will do strictly according to the commandments of God. This means that he will be a holy man. We have seen from a revelation given to Brother Joseph, that he broke the commandments of God from the beginning. Now, as the wicked will be cut off, the people being clean before the Lord, and this Choice Seer being a holy man, the people in this condition will be fitted to give heed to him, and they will not be led astray by him, because the Word of God says so. At the present time we are under the teachings of Christ in the written word, and his teachings to us, the Book of Mormon plainly tells us, are to be made known in the records of the Jews (the Bible), and the Nephite records.
“All men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved; AND THEY MUST COME ACCORDING TO THE WORDS WHICH SHALL BE ESTABLISHED BY THE MOUTH OF THE LAMB: AND THE WORDS OF THE LAMB SHALL BE MADE KNOWN IN THE RECORDS OF THY SEED (THE NEPHITE RECORDS), AS WELL AS IN THE RECORDS OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES OF THE LAMB (the Bible); wherefore they both shall be established in one.” (1 Nephi iii:43.)
All men must come to Christ according to the words which shall be established by Christ, AND HIS WORDS SHALL BE MADE KNOWN IN THE NEPHITE RECORDS AND THE BIBLE. So the book of Doctrine and Covenants must be laid down. Brethren, this scripture is very plain, and I hope that none of you will attempt to wrest it to uphold the book of Doctrine and Covenants. Then let us heed only the teachings of Christ which we have, and discard the teachings of Joseph Smith or any other man or angel which conflict with Christ’s teachings in the Bible and Book or Mormon: and when more of the words of Christ come forth in the way that it is appointed to come, from the sealed records, then we will heed it also.
There is nothing in the New Testament part of either the Bible or Book of Mormon concerning a one-man leader or head to the church. Whoever claims that such an office should be in the church to-day, goes beyond the teachings which Christ has given us. As I have stated, we were strictly commanded in the beginning to rely upon that which was written; and he who goes beyond that which was then written, to the revelations of Joseph Smith to establish any order or doctrine in the church, must come under the head of those whom Christ spoke of when he said, “Whosoever teaches more or less, etc., is not of me.” This alone should satisfy anyone who is not trusting in an arm of flesh. Who was “Prophet Seer and Revelator” to the church at Jerusalem? They had none. Who was “Prophet Seer and Revelator” to the church upon this land? They had none. And we had no such an office in the church in these last days for the first eight months of its existence, until Brother Joseph went into this error on April 6, 1830, and, after unwittingly breaking a command of God by taking upon himself such an office, in a few years those revelations were changed to admit this high office, which otherwise would have condemned it. They were changed to mean something entirely different from the way they were first given and printed in the Book of Commandments; as if God had not thought of this great and important office when he gave those revelations. Yet in the face of the written word of God, and in the face of all this evidence, the majority of the Latter Day Saints will still cling to the revelations of Joseph Smith and measure the written word of God by them, instead of measuring Joseph Smith and his revelations by the written word. Speaking after the manner of Paul to the Galatians, so say I to you: O foolish Latter Day Saints … I marvel, that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel; which is not another, but the same gospel which some have perverted; and though we, or an angel from heaven, or Joseph Smith, preach any other gospel unto you than that which Christ gave us in the beginning, receive it not. (See Gal. i:6-9).
In the Church of Christ at Jerusalem, and upon this land, the members all received the revealed will of God for themselves, through the various gifts of the Holy Ghost; by dreams, visions, the visitation of Angels, the gift of prophecy, through themselves or any brother; and the Holy Ghost that was in them always discerning whether the revelation was of God or not. They had no Prophet Seer and Revelator to go to when they desired to know the will of the Lord concerning them; they went to the Lord themselves; sometimes alone, and sometimes several of them together in fasting and prayer. Of course I believe that God reveals his will to his servants in these last days, just as in days of old, but I believe in it according to the scriptures of divine truth.
In the Church upon the Eastern continent, after Christ had ascended to His Father’s throne and left the work with his disciples to carry on, they went to God for themselves, each and all of them receiving the will of God by the various gifts of the Holy Ghost. Paul, Peter, Barnabas, Philip and others went here and there preaching, every one receiving revelations from God for themselves, by dreams, visions, the gift of prophecy, etc. They had no head of the Church on earth to go to. Christ told them that the Holy Ghost — the Comforter — that would abide with them and with all his disciples, would guide them and lead them into all truth and show them things to come. If any man lacks wisdom, and desires to know the will of the Lord concerning himself, let him ask of God for himself, not ask of the Prophet Seer and Revelator to inquire of the Lord for him.
Just after Christ had established his church upon this land and ascended into heaven, there were disputations among the Nephite brethren on one point; that was the name by which they must call the church. The brethren did not go to a Prophet Seer and Revelator to get him to inquire of the Lord about this matter; Christ had not so instructed them. They had no such an officer in the church. They went to God in prayer and fasting, and received an answer to their prayers, and it was not through any head or leader to the church, but Christ himself.
Brethren, this high office as you have it, is of far more importance than any other office in the church. Now do you not suppose that if Christ meant for such an office to be in the church to-day, that full instructions would have been given in his teachings about it? As you know we were commanded in the beginning to rely upon that which is written. Such an office in Christ’s teachings in either book is not even mentioned; but I need not rehearse the matter. I cannot make it any more plain. As I have said, you have the scriptures before you, and if you will wrest them it shall be to your own destruction. This matter of a one-man mouthpiece of God to the church, has proven the great curse of the work of God in these last days. It is through this instrumentality that Satan has many thousand souls deluded. A man who was weak and unstable from the time God called him, set himself up as Prophet and Seer to the church, and the church to receive his words as if from God’s own mouth. Such a thing is contrary to the Spirit and truths of our Lord Jesus Christ. Look at the one hundred and fifty thousand deluded souls in Utah, believing in a revelation given through this man that we are to exalted to the highest glory in the world to come, through spiritual wifeism; also the twenty thousand or more souls who are blinded to believe in the revelations of this man who has introduced doctrines into the church that conflict with the written word of God. As it was in the days of ancient Israel and in the days of the Apostles, so it is in this day. “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.” Jer. xvii:5.