The Book of Mormon contains many keys and truths within its pages and when carefully considered and honestly assessed, it overturns the false doctrines and precepts of the Mormon belief system. It also exposes Joseph Smith and the fraud he perpetrated known as the so-called restoration. This blog has noted numerous times the text of the original revelation from the Book of Commandments that later became the much-revised D&C Section 5. The original revelation stated that Smith was told he only had “one gift” to translate the Book of Mormon and not to pretend to any other gifts. This paper will demonstrate that a fraud was committed regarding his claims of authority to baptize.
Let’s begin by examining what the Book of Mormon has to say about the law of Moses prior to Jesus’ life:
27 And now ye have said that salvation cometh by the law of Moses. I say unto you that it is expedient that ye should keep the law of Moses as yet; but I say unto you, that the time shall come when it shall no more be expedient to keep the law of Moses. (Mosiah 13)
3 Yea, and the people did observe to keep the commandments of the Lord; and they were strict in observing the ordinances of God, according to the law of Moses; for they were taught to keep the law of Moses until it should be fulfilled. (Alma 30)
13 Therefore, it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice, and then shall there be, or it is expedient there should be, a stop to the shedding of blood; then shall the law of Moses be fulfilled; yea, it shall be all fulfilled, every jot and tittle, and none shall have passed away. 14 And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal. (Alma 34)
These verses above amply demonstrate that the time would come when the old law of stringent rules and blood sacrifice according to the law of Moses would be fulfilled by Jesus Christ the Son of God. Nephi provides the most detailed description of this condition regarding the law of Moses and how it will be fulfilled by Jesus:
24 And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled. 25 For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments. 26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. 27 Wherefore, we speak concerning the law that our children may know the deadness of the law; and they, by knowing the deadness of the law, may look forward unto that life which is in Christ, and know for what end the law was given. And after the law is fulfilled in Christ, that they need not harden their hearts against him when the law ought to be done away. 28 And now behold, my people, ye are a stiffnecked people; wherefore, I have spoken plainly unto you, that ye cannot misunderstand. And the words which I have spoken shall stand as a testimony against you; for they are sufficient to teach any man the right way; for the right way is to believe in Christ and deny him not; for by denying him ye also deny the prophets and the law. 29 And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out. 30 And, inasmuch as it shall be expedient, ye must keep the performances and ordinances of God until the law shall be fulfilled which was given unto Moses. (2 Nephi 25)
Let’s turn to the words of Jesus himself regarding the fulfilment of the law of Moses as he spoke to the Nephite people:
15 Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name. 16 I came unto my own, and my own received me not. And the scriptures concerning my coming are fulfilled. 17 And as many as have received me, to them have I given to become the sons of God; and even so will I to as many as shall believe on my name, for behold, by me redemption cometh, and in me is the law of Moses fulfilled. (3 Nephi 9)
2 And it came to pass that when Jesus had said these words he perceived that there were some among them who marveled, and wondered what he would concerning the law of Moses; for they understood not the saying that old things had passed away, and that all things had become new. 3 And he said unto them: Marvel not that I said unto you that old things had passed away, and that all things had become new. 4 Behold, I say unto you that the law is fulfilled that was given unto Moses. 5 Behold, I am he that gave the law, and I am he who covenanted with my people Israel; therefore, the law in me is fulfilled, for I have come to fulfil the law; therefore it hath an end. 6 Behold, I do not destroy the prophets, for as many as have not been fulfilled in me, verily I say unto you, shall all be fulfilled. 7 And because I said unto you that old things have passed away, I do not destroy that which hath been spoken concerning things which are to come. 8 For behold, the covenant which I have made with my people is not all fulfilled; but the law which was given unto Moses hath an end in me. (3 Nephi 15)
After the time of Jesus’ ministry, the Nephites no longer lived by the law of Moses:
12 And they did not walk any more after the performances and ordinances of the law of Moses; but they did walk after the commandments which they had received from their Lord and their God, continuing in fasting and prayer, and in meeting together oft both to pray and to hear the word of the Lord. (4 Nephi 1)
11 Wherefore, by faith was the law of Moses given. But in the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way; and it is by faith that it hath been fulfilled. (Ether 12. The words of Moroni.)
The apostle Paul taught the same doctrine regarding the old law:
4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. (Rom 7)
1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. (Rom 10)
16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified…. 19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (Gal 2)
Our evidence above should clearly establish the fact that the law of Moses and EVERYTHING to do with the law of Moses was FULFILLED in Jesus. This brings us to the fraud of Joseph Smith claiming he was given authority to baptize by the priesthood of Aaron. The reader is reminded that the original Book of Commandments published in 1833 by W. W. Phelps, contained no revelation regarding authority to baptize nor did the subsequent heavily revised Doctrine and Covenants published in 1835. If the transfer of angelic power to baptize had actually occurred on May 15, 1829 as later claimed, why was the record silent on this matter until the 1842 Times and Seasons and then much later in the 1876 edition of the D&C? Smith’s 1838 history (quoted below) provides many details on this point, but nothing was included in his revelations.
For those readers wishing further information on the matter of revisionist priesthood claims, a meticulous account of the revisionist history of the period including the fabricated inventions claiming priesthood authority can be read in Michael Quinn’s “The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power” on pages 14-32 which are beyond the scope of this paper. https://www.amazon.com/Mormon-Hierarchy-Origins-Power/dp/1560850566/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1486829753&sr=8-2&keywords=the+mormon+hierarchy
For our purposes, we are interested in the language of the claimed transferal of authority. Because it’s within the actual words of Smith’s purported revelation that he exposes the fraud of his claim:
1 Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness. (D&C 13. These words were first written in an 1839 history and published by Joseph Smith in the 1842 Times and Seasons. Later they were added to the 1876 D&C.)
Did you see it? Can you recognize the fraud? Please recall our earlier discussion about the law of Moses being fulfilled. Who was Aaron? He was the brother of Moses. Aaron and his descendants were the priests who offered blood sacrifices under the law of Moses. (See Lev 1: 1-17 and Lev 16:1-34.) Jesus himself fulfilled the law completely, therefore, God would NEVER send an angel to the earth to reestablish any so-called authority via a “priesthood” which had been an addendum or appendage to the law of Moses— The law of Moses was dead! Beyond that egregious error in Smith’s revisionist revelation, it is laughable in its further claims that the “priesthood of Aaron” held the keys of the ministering of angels claimed in D&C 13, as though mortal priests of blood rituals had the authority to command angels— The authority to baptize by water certainly did not come from these priests with blood stained hands. You will not find support for this idea anywhere in scripture outside of Smith’s D&C.
On this point alone the case is closed because Smith claimed authority to baptize from an appendage of the law of Moses. Would Jesus announce an end to the law and state that he himself fulfilled the law and then eighteen hundred years later send an angel to restore an appendage of the law he fulfilled? It makes no sense whatsoever! One can, however, sense the cunning of the devil at work here! Were Smith and Cowdery visited by a being as they claimed on May 15, 1829? Perhaps! But if they actually were visited, it most certainly was a false messenger deceiving them with things attributable to the Law of Moses. The same can be said today for all modern claimants of Smith’s crown who assert authority and claim angelic visitations granting them power based on the same delusional doctrines and practices and priesthoods which originated with Smith. You can know of a surety that anyone claiming a new dispensation based on the ideas and doctrines of Smith has their source from below and not from the regions of light! The Holy Scriptures are clear on matters regarding the doctrines of Christ. Joseph Smith promoted the misleading doctrines of the devil and NOT the doctrines of Jesus Christ set forth in the Bible and Book of Mormon!
In a subsequent revisionist revelation rewritten and published in the 1835 D&C we read:
7 And also John the son of Zacharias, which Zacharias he (Elias) visited and gave promise that he should have a son, and his name should be John, and he should be filled with the spirit of Elias; 8 Which John I have sent unto you, my servants, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery, to ordain you unto the first priesthood which you have received, that you might be called and ordained even as Aaron; (D&C 27. Note that nothing about “John” was written in the original revelation published in the Book of Commandments in 1833. These verses are revisionist history to support Smith’s growing claims of priesthood.)
In the last line of verse 8 above it states they were, “… called and ordained even as Aaron.” That’s twice that Smith claimed authority hearkening back to the priests who killed the blood sacrifices under the law of Moses. There is absolutely no link in the Bible or Book of Mormon between baptism and the priests of Aaron.
Regarding D&C 13 and its claim of authority to baptize with the “priesthood of Aaron,” how is it possible that in all the years since that revelation was published that no one has recognized this obvious fraud regarding the claim of authority to baptize? The Book of Mormon gave us the true pattern for how authority to baptize was granted by Jesus himself:
21 And the Lord said unto him: I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people when I am again ascended into heaven.22 And again the Lord called others, and said unto them likewise; and he gave unto them power to baptize. And he said unto them: On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you.23 Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them–Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them.24 And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying:25 Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.26 And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water.27 And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.28 And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been. (3 Nephi 11)
This is so clear and simple. Jesus gave authority to his Nephite apostles to baptize. That’s a far cry from Smith claiming authority from an ancient relic of the law of Moses and the supposed appearance of John the Baptist in D&C 13 and 27.
Then somehow, Smith contorts his ideas further into what Oliver Cowdery originally composed for the rules and regulations of the church known as the “Articles and Covenants of the Church of Christ.” Smith later adapted Cowdery’s document and modified it with his own inclusions in what became D&C 20. (See the Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volume 1, Appendix 3, pages 368-374. The Church Historian’s Press, 2013.) Suddenly we have Smith claiming “authority from Jesus Christ to baptize” and he has the officiator of the baptism saying, “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ,” when neither Smith or the officiator have ever received anything whatsoever directly from the hands of Jesus Christ regarding baptism. Here are the words in question:
72 Baptism is to be administered in the following manner unto all those who repent–73 The person who is called of God and has authority from Jesus Christ to baptize, shall go down into the water with the person who has presented himself or herself for baptism, and shall say, calling him or her by name: Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. 74 Then shall he immerse him or her in the water, and come forth again out of the water. (D&C 20)
If all of this isn’t revolting enough, then we have Smith exercising his creative writing skills in 1838 to contrive more flamboyant details of the decade old event. By this point in his career, Smith’s proclivity or tendency to invent counterfeit history and fraudulent details was well established. After all, he already changed nearly every legitimate revelation he had received through the seer stone during the period of translating the Book of Mormon. Those original revelations had severely limited and restricted his activities and authority. This blog has previously discussed the now infamous transition from the restrictive and restraining Book of Commandments to the D&C with newfound carte blanche freedom and authority for Smith. (http://greatandmarvelouswork.com/the-book-of-commandments-vs-the-doctrine-and-covenants-part-1/) Therefore, it was an easy step for Smith to manufacture whatever he saw fit to bolster his ascending preeminence in Mormondom.
The man Joseph Smith can’t tell a story the same way twice. If you still have doubts, just look at the various dissimilar and contradictory accounts of his so-called First Vision. Which version are you going to believe? Liars have the distinct problem of not being able to remember their lies, thus the details are in constant flux. Smith’s various versions of the “First Vision” are causing the church no end of trouble these days as they scramble to manage the hemorrhaging within the ranks of membership via their typical damage control. Little do they recognize the flood of trouble headed their way because of the D&C and its numerous fraudulent revelations. The “Joseph Smith Papers” project of the church plays right into the hands of those who have awakened to the fraud that is Joseph Smith. Below is an excerpt from Smith’s 1838 history, which he wrote nine years after the events in question. You can see for yourselves his inclination to aggrandize and enlarge the details of the story and create excuses to cover his lapses in rewriting his revisionist history with details missing in all the early, original documents.
68 We still continued the work of translation, when, in the ensuing month (May, 1829), we on a certain day went into the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respecting baptism for the remission of sins, that we found mentioned in the translation of the plates. While we were thus employed, praying and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light, and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us, saying: 69 Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness. 70 He said this Aaronic Priesthood had not the power of laying on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but that this should be conferred on us hereafter; and he commanded us to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and that afterwards he should baptize me. 71 Accordingly we went and were baptized. I baptized him first, and afterwards he baptized me–after which I laid my hands upon his head and ordained him to the Aaronic Priesthood, and afterwards he laid his hands on me and ordained me to the same Priesthood–for so we were commanded. 72 The messenger who visited us on this occasion and conferred this Priesthood upon us, said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which Priesthood, he said, would in due time be conferred on us, and that I should be called the first Elder of the Church, and he (Oliver Cowdery) the second. It was on the fifteenth day of May, 1829, that we were ordained under the hand of this messenger, and baptized. 73 Immediately on our coming up out of the water after we had been baptized, we experienced great and glorious blessings from our Heavenly Father. No sooner had I baptized Oliver Cowdery, than the Holy Ghost fell upon him, and he stood up and prophesied many things which should shortly come to pass. And again, so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy, when, standing up, I prophesied concerning the rise of this Church, and many other things connected with the Church, and this generation of the children of men. We were filled with the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced in the God of our salvation. 74 Our minds being now enlightened, we began to have the scriptures laid open to our understandings, and the true meaning and intention of their more mysterious passages revealed unto us in a manner which we never could attain to previously, nor ever before had thought of. In the meantime, we were forced to keep secret the circumstances of having received the Priesthood and our having been baptized, owing to a spirit of persecution which had already manifested itself in the neighborhood. (Joseph Smith History, 1838. Pearl of Great Price.)
If Smith had known all of these details above from his 1829 experience, they would have been included in the original revelations of the 1833 Book of Commandments, rather than showing up in the heavily revised 1835 D&C and his 1838 revisionist history. (See D&C 27:7-8 quoted above where Smith names “John” as the angel who brought the first priesthood. None of that wording was found in the original revelations of the Book of Commandments). However, as is typical with Smith, it wasn’t until a few years later that he suddenly conjures these details out of thin air for his 1838 historical exposition quoted above. In this same manner, the words which eventually became D&C Section 13 were not written until Smith drafted an 1839 version of his history (See The Papers of Joseph Smith, Vol 1, page 290. Edited by Dean C. Jesse. Deseret Book, 1989. Also See the Joseph Smith Papers, Histories, Volume 1, pages 292-297. The Church Historian’s Press, 2012). Smith’s 1839 history which included the wording that eventually became D&C 13 was not published until 1842 in the Times and Seasons (Times and Seasons 3:865-866).
Section 13 was finally added to the 1876 edition of the D&C during Brigham Young’s administration. This seems very suspect that a purported revelation claiming authority upon which the pillars of church priesthood rest did not see the light of day until 1842 in a church newspaper, and was not included in the canonized Doctrine and Covenants until 1876. Of course the chapter headings to D&C 13 do not inform church members of these irregularities. Likewise the chapter heading to D&C 27 does not inform members of its revisionist nature. Furthermore, the church ignores the fact that none of Smith’s close associates in the early church ever heard of John the Baptist coming to him and Oliver Cowdery. Even in Cowdery’s own October 1834 account of the event found in the Pearl of Great Price on pages 58-59, there is no mention whatsoever of John the Baptist. Don’t you find that a little strange?
If this personage announced in 1829 that he was John the Baptist, the excitement would have been impossible to keep quiet. The entire church would have known about it and celebrated the glorious event. Things just don’t add up when it comes to the versions of history regarding this claimed encounter. Cowdery was out of the church by 1838 when Smith composes his history above with all of the heretofore unknown details. If a messenger actually came, that messenger came as an “angel of light” and deceived Smith and Cowdery by introducing an appendage of the lower Law of Moses as described above. You can clearly see Smith’s habit of aggrandizing details and expanding the scope of his stories. Of course, the issue of the Law of Moses rooted in D&C 13 nullifies this entire discussion. Joseph exposed his fraud. Enough said!
Continuing to Build Smith’s Kingdom Based on the Law of Moses
One thing we must clearly point out here is the fact that after the ministry of Jesus to the Nephites, the old law was not taught or mentioned by the Book of Mormon prophets in their writings except to say it was dead among them. The “Ten Commandments” were never mentioned again in the Book of Mormon because if you haven’t realized it, the Ten Commandments are part of the old law. We should NEVER teach the Ten Commandments as part of our religious dialogue because Jesus fulfilled that law! Those Ten Commandments and the hundreds of other rudimentary requirements of the law of Moses are all part of the lesser law, yet the Mormon church teaches and promotes the lesser law in its doctrines, lesson manuals, and the sermons of the general authorities. That should tell you something about the source of Joseph Smith’s revelations!
Jesus gave us the higher law in the Beatitudes and The Sermon on the Mount (3 Nephi chapters 12-14, as well as Matthew chapters 5-7), yet the so-called restored church promotes the old law of Moses and the stringently inflexible Pharisaic rules to govern our lives. (See the church General Handbook of Instructions.) If you carefully search Jesus’ teachings to the Nephites following his resurrection, you will realize he NEVER teaches any part of the old law. Exercise your critical thinking skills and ask yourself the hard questions about what Jesus does and does not teach. Then review the following so-called revelations of Joseph Smith and decide for yourselves if they meet the requirements of the higher law Jesus gave us or whether they revert to the old law— In some instances, you will see a clever but deceitful mixture of the old and new law in Smith’s writings. The adversary has been cunning indeed.
18 And now, behold, I speak unto the church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come. 19 And again, I say, thou shalt not kill; but he that killeth shall die. 20 Thou shalt not steal; and he that stealeth and will not repent shall be cast out. 21 Thou shalt not lie; he that lieth and will not repent shall be cast out. 22 Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else. 23 And he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her shall deny the faith, and shall not have the Spirit; and if he repents not he shall be cast out. 24 Thou shalt not commit adultery; and he that committeth adultery, and repenteth not, shall be cast out. 25 But he that has committed adultery and repents with all his heart, and forsaketh it, and doeth it no more, thou shalt forgive; 26 But if he doeth it again, he shall not be forgiven, but shall be cast out. 27 Thou shalt not speak evil of thy neighbor, nor do him any harm. 28 Thou knowest my laws concerning these things are given in my scriptures; he that sinneth and repenteth not shall be cast out. (D&C 42)
5 Wherefore, I give unto them a commandment, saying thus: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him. 6 Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Thou shalt not steal; neither commit adultery, nor kill, nor do anything like unto it. 7 Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things. 8 Thou shalt offer a sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in righteousness, even that of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. 9 And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day; 10 For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High; 11 Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times; 12 But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord. 13 And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full. (D&C 59. A mixture of the new and old laws combined in this section.)
29 And the inhabitants of Zion shall also observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy. (D&C 68)
Let’s pause here and discuss the commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy. It was definitely part of the law of Moses which Jesus fulfilled. The Nephites kept this law regarding the Sabbath day until Jesus ministered to them. Look at the following verses:
5 And now, behold, two hundred years had passed away, and the people of Nephi had waxed strong in the land. They observed to keep the law of Moses and the sabbath day holy unto the Lord. And they profaned not; neither did they blaspheme. And the laws of the land were exceedingly strict. (Jarom 1)
Even the Zoramites who “apostatized” from the Nephite religion still met one day a week seemingly to keep the law of Moses:
12 Now, when they had come into the land, behold, to their astonishment they found that the Zoramites had built synagogues, and that they did gather themselves together on one day of the week, which day they did call the day of the Lord; and they did worship after a manner which Alma and his brethren had never beheld; (Alma 31)
23 Now, after the people had all offered up thanks after this manner, they returned to their homes, never speaking of their God again until they had assembled themselves together again to the holy stand, to offer up thanks after their manner. (Alma 31)
During the Savior’s ministry to the Nephites when he overturned the law of Moses, he simply tells them to “… meet together oft” which they did. There is NOTHING said about keeping the Sabbath day holy with a list of rules about what is appropriate Sabbath day worship. You can throw out Spencer Kimball’s list of appropriate Sunday activities. The “Sabbath Day” was done away with in preference to simply meeting often with other believers. The Christian and Mormon tradition of meeting once a week on Sunday to worship God is more in line with the Zoramites than with the teachings of Jesus and the practices of the Nephites following the death and ministry of Christ among them.
22 And behold, ye shall meet together oft; and ye shall not forbid any man from coming unto you when ye shall meet together, but suffer them that they may come unto you and forbid them not; (3 Nephi 18)
12 And they did not walk any more after the performances and ordinances of the law of Moses; but they did walk after the commandments which they had received from their Lord and their God, continuing in fasting and prayer, and in meeting together oft both to pray and to hear the word of the Lord. (4 Nephi 1)
5 And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls. 6 And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus. (Moroni 6)
While discussing the old law we must briefly address tithing. The oldest references to tithing in both the Bible and the BOM are regarding Abraham paying tithes to Melchizedek. The Old Testament contains numerous references to tithes as part of the old law which the ancient Jews observed.
In the New Testament however, there is not a single reference to tithing being mentioned by Jesus in a positive light. He only speaks of it in a negative way regarding the Pharisees. In the BOM, Jesus is silent on tithing except for quoting Malachi and we recognize that Malachi is saying that a man is robbing God by paying tithing rather than living by the higher law where everyone shares all things in common as practiced in Acts chapters 2 and 4, 3Nephi chapter 26, and 4Nephi chapter 1.
Tithing was obviously practiced anciently as part of the old law, but no where do we find any reference to tithing being a part of the gospel as taught by Jesus in either the New Testament or the BOM. Joseph Smith’s D&C reintroduced tithing from the Law of Moses into the theology and theocracy of his church where he robs the poor and the widow to fill his pockets and the church coffers. Tithing and keeping the Sabbath day holy were obviously not a part of the new order of things taught by Jesus and yet the precepts of men in the Mormon church continue to control the lives of the Mormon people with regard to these relics of the law of Moses.
Returning to Smith’s version of the law of Moses veiled as Mormonism and the obsolete priests of Aaron we read:
14 There remain hereafter, in the due time of the Lord, other bishops to be set apart unto the church, to minister even according to the first; 15 Wherefore they shall be high priests who are worthy, and they shall be appointed by the First Presidency of the Melchizedek Priesthood, except they be literal descendants of Aaron. 16 And if they be literal descendants of Aaron they have a legal right to the bishopric, if they are the firstborn among the sons of Aaron; 17 For the firstborn holds the right of the presidency over this priesthood, and the keys or authority of the same. 18 No man has a legal right to this office, to hold the keys of this priesthood, except he be a literal descendant and the firstborn of Aaron. 19 But, as a high priest of the Melchizedek Priesthood has authority to officiate in all the lesser offices he may officiate in the office of bishop when no literal descendant of Aaron can be found, provided he is called and set apart and ordained unto this power, under the hands of the First Presidency of the Melchizedek Priesthood. 20 And a literal descendant of Aaron, also, must be designated by this Presidency, and found worthy, and anointed, and ordained under the hands of this Presidency, otherwise they are not legally authorized to officiate in their priesthood. 21 But, by virtue of the decree concerning their right of the priesthood descending from father to son, they may claim their anointing if at any time they can prove their lineage, or do ascertain it by revelation from the Lord under the hands of the above named Presidency. (D&C 68)
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. (D&C 84)
30 And again, the offices of teacher and deacon are necessary appendages belonging to the lesser priesthood, which priesthood was confirmed upon Aaron and his sons. 31 Therefore, as I said concerning the sons of Moses—for the sons of Moses and also the sons of Aaron shall offer an acceptable offering and sacrifice in the house of the Lord, which house shall be built unto the Lord in this generation, upon the consecrated spot as I have appointed— 32 And the sons of Moses and of Aaron shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, upon Mount Zion in the Lord’s house, whose sons are ye; and also many whom I have called and sent forth to build up my church. 33 For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies. 34 They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God. (D&C 84)
1 There are, in the church, two priesthoods, namely, the Melchizedek and Aaronic, including the Levitical Priesthood. 2 Why the first is called the Melchizedek Priesthood is because Melchizedek was such a great high priest. 3 Before his day it was called the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God. 4 But out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name, they, the church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek Priesthood. 5 All other authorities or offices in the church are appendages to this priesthood. 6 But there are two divisions or grand heads—one is the Melchizedek Priesthood, and the other is the Aaronic or Levitical Priesthood. (D&C 107)
13 The second priesthood is called the Priesthood of Aaron, because it was conferred upon Aaron and his seed, throughout all their generations. 14 Why it is called the lesser priesthood is because it is an appendage to the greater, or the Melchizedek Priesthood, and has power in administering outward ordinances. 15 The bishopric is the presidency of this priesthood, and holds the keys or authority of the same. 16 No man has a legal right to this office, to hold the keys of this priesthood, except he be a literal descendant of Aaron. 17 But as a high priest of the Melchizedek Priesthood has authority to officiate in all the lesser offices, he may officiate in the office of bishop when no literal descendant of Aaron can be found, provided he is called and set apart and ordained unto this power by the hands of the Presidency of the Melchizedek Priesthood. (D&C 107)
69 Nevertheless a bishop must be chosen from the High Priesthood, unless he is a literal descendant of Aaron; 70 For unless he is a literal descendant of Aaron he cannot hold the keys of that priesthood. 71 Nevertheless, a high priest, that is, after the order of Melchizedek, may be set apart unto the ministering of temporal things, having a knowledge of them by the Spirit of truth; 72 And also to be a judge in Israel, to do the business of the church, to sit in judgment upon transgressors upon testimony as it shall be laid before him according to the laws, by the assistance of his counselors, whom he has chosen or will choose among the elders of the church. 73 This is the duty of a bishop who is not a literal descendant of Aaron, but has been ordained to the High Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek. 74 Thus shall he be a judge, even a common judge among the inhabitants of Zion, or in a stake of Zion, or in any branch of the church where he shall be set apart unto this ministry, until the borders of Zion are enlarged and it becomes necessary to have other bishops or judges in Zion or elsewhere. 75 And inasmuch as there are other bishops appointed they shall act in the same office. 76 But a literal descendant of Aaron has a legal right to the presidency of this priesthood, to the keys of this ministry, to act in the office of bishop independently, without counselors, except in a case where a President of the High Priesthood, after the order of Melchizedek, is tried, to sit as a judge in Israel. (D&C 107)
Joseph Smith built his kingdom of priesthood authority on the crumbled foundation of the law of Moses!
There are only Two Commandments
Near the end of Jesus’ life and ministry in Jerusalem, he gave us these salient and sublime words below as recorded by Matthew and Mark. The Savior was about to give his life and fulfill the old law; he taught there are ONLY two commandments, NOT ten commandments which must be observed. When these two commandments are lived properly, they subsume and swallow the old law and the need for the old law. The Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount teach us to understand and live the two great commandments which are the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. When you carefully study Jesus’ words in Matthew Chapters 5, 6, and 7, and 3 Nephi Chapters 12, 13, and 14, and incorporate those teachings into your life, then the higher law will resonate within you. This was the purpose of Jesus’ ministry — to overcome the old Law of Moses and man’s Pharisaic rules. Jesus’ teachings bring freedom to everyone in the world to worship God in the WAY, the TRUTH, and LIFE as put forth in the Sermon on the Mount.
34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matt 22)
28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? 29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. 32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: 33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question. (Mark 12)
Now is the time and season to expose the lie and deceit surrounding Smith’s “Aaronic priesthood” restoration and the supposed authority to baptize that accompanies it. Smith’s “priesthood” claims stand firmly on the ashes of the Law of Moses, and the Book of Mormon and Holy Bible expose with full transparency, the confirmation and proof that Smith was indeed a fraud.