Joseph Smith himself recorded in June of 1831 that “the authority of the Melchizedek priesthood was manifested and conferred for the first time upon several of the elders” (D.H.C. I bear a sacred testimony and would do so with my life, if necessary, that he was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true. Or are they so “system dependent” when it comes to the LDS church that they are blinded to the truth of God’s Word in this matter? After all they had a perfect right to call authority in their church “priesthood” if they wanted to. My friends, think back on the Book of Mormon. THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS Dear Brother Featherstone: Deon and I thank you for your letter of June 30. And in point of fact Joseph Smith was cut off – killed in the very prime of his life – even though he issued prophecy immediately preceding his death in which he has the Lord promising that he will live many additional years. Why did the Lectures on Faith (which were employed to instruct the early LDS church in doctrine, and included in every edition of the D&C from their insertion in 1835 by vote of the conference of the church, to their removal in 1921 without a similar vote) say what they did about God if in fact Joseph Smith actually knew better years before they were first written and used to instruct in the Kirkland LDS School of the Prophets? 29:38-44 & Heb. He said Joseph Smith could have produced the book on his own given his demonstrated native intelligence, his knack for storytelling, the access he had to the wealth of “common knowledge” surrounding the native inhabitants of these lands, and the doubtless access he had to Ethan Smith’s “View of the Hebrews,” the earlier volume that so closely parallels, in ways not attributable to mere chance, the Book of Mormon. My special witness to you and to the world, Brother Featherstone, is that Jesus Christ alone is Savior and Lord, and I’ve come to know Him as I never did before, through the witness of God’s word and the testimony of the Holy Spirit of Truth. Since Mormons generally claim to be of the tribe of Ephraim or Manasseh they are not qualified even by supposed lineage to hold the Levitical Priesthood. We recognize that the concern you express, reflecting that of your informant, is genuine and prompted by what you view as the highest of motives. The letter is addressed to twenty-first century members of the Church and is written with the expectation that these future Saints will have been alive for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Our religious experience and training until 1978 had consisted of current surface level LDS orthodoxy, and nowhere in this training had we been prepared to deal with controversy of substance except for the admonition that we not permit ourselves to be influenced by what “others” might say. Now, to the possibly less simplistic questions I would ask myself if I were you: 1. — This is the same book the LDS church uses to show that Whitmer never denied his testimony of the Book of Mormon. Opening my heart to the saving Truth of God’s word, I ask Christ into my life as Savior and Lord. Grant said, “If you get on a hobbyhorse it will ride you right out of the Church.” It doesn’t matter whether it is the Lectures on Faith, the Word of Wisdom, the Equal Rights Amendment, or any other hobby. Is your life free from transgression? Isaiah 29:4 & 11-14 The Angel Moroni delivering the Book of Mormon. Although Aaronic priests functioned until 70 AD, when God allowed the Roman Army to destroy the Jerusalem Temple, their priesthood actually ended at the time of Christ’s crucifixion when “the veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom” (Matt. There are now 7 temples in the South, 4 in locations he named. D&C 20, which originally was chapter 24 of the 1833 “Book of Commandments,” mentions nothing about high priests in its original form, nor did it mention high priesthood. “And you may say in your heart; ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’ When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD; if that thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing the LORD has not spoken. Yet even if the LDS were to offer such Levitical sacrifices today, they would be of no value because the Levitical or Aaronic Priesthood was replaced or superseded in the Church by Jesus Christ, the Great Eternal High Priest. He said, “I pled like I never had before in my life. This letter serves as Montemayor’s final piece of evidence for an imminent second coming. However when we go back to the Book of Commandments, where the revelation was originally published in 1833, we find Peter, James and John nowhere mentioned in these original verses. We had no idea there were other earlier accounts which differed in critical detail from the 1838 “official account.” The earliest known account, which surprisingly proved to be the only one actually written by Joseph Smith himself, was dated 1831-32, some six to seven years nearer the event in question than the so called “official account” that Joseph caused to be written in 1838. 3:18; Acts 10:34; Rom. Instead you suggest that we might somehow benefit by a rereading of the Book of Mormon. We had been taught that Joseph had given only one account of this key event, the one found in the Pearl of Great Price. Title page for the 1825 edition of “View of The Hebrews” by Ethan Smith. We finally ventured to ask a few questions, limiting ourselves to things such as the Lectures on Faith, the “first-vision,” and the Book of Abraham, to local LDS authorities whom we felt might be able to point us towards the answers we sought. Every page confirmed that it was divinely inspired and I had regained my testimony.” Then the Lord revealed to this bishop that a change was being made in the stake and he would be the new stake president. Were you regularly attending meetings in the Mormon Church? As such it is forever stamped a product of nineteenth century America, “Author…, Joseph Smith, Jr.,” as B. H. Roberts clearly demonstrates. There are many Mormon sources from which to draw evidence weighing on the truthfulness of Joseph’s story. In a moment the light was out. The knowledge that Joseph Smith either wrote or caused to be written various versions of his supposed “first vision” between 1831 and 1838, each differing in such a manner from the others that one is hard pressed to tie them together – except in the sense that when put in order of production they show a definite evolutionary development of the story line now subscribed to in the “official account” – caused us to discredit the actuality of the 1838 “first vision” story as it is now dutifully taught as ultimate truth. The Mormon church teaches that baptism is essential to salvation (John the Baptist’s name clearly bespeaks his mission), so why do we not see John baptizing Joseph and Oliver prior to the confirmation of the Aaronic priesthood? Salt Lake City, Utah 84150. Beggars sharing the bread that they've so freely and graciously received. As I have already explained, we have no intention of joining the Church of The Nazarene or any other church at this time, nevertheless I view the questions you ask as legitimate spring boards to worthwhile dialogue, and in that spirit will address myself to one or two of them at this point. The exclusion of Negroes prior to 1978 and the continuing exclusion of women from the LDS priesthood says plainly enough that the Mormon view of mankind is not the same as God’s view. 2:5; Heb. What a tragedy it would be to remove the prophets and teachings of the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price from my life or from yours. Ask your minister about the doctrine of the Nazarene Church regarding the myriads of souls who lived in ages past that have died without ever hearing of the Nazarene Church, or even of Christ. Have your minister explain what you already know: I called, explaining what we were looking for, and was told by the young man who answered the phone that they knew of “a man in Mesa” who made it his task to help people such as ourselves, people who were honestly troubled with the charges the Tanners had made about the church and who were seeking honest answers. After a number of such experiences we made the mistake of asking the local Mission Office for assistance with our questions.