The Mormon Church & Black Folks
Question #57

Q. If we already have Jesus and the Bible, then why do we need Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon or this Priesthood?

We need whatever the LORD says we need. Joseph the Seer was nothing more, nor less, than the Latter-day John the Baptist. Just as God sent a Prophet to prepare the way for Jesus’ First Advent, so He sent another Prophet to prepare the way for Jesus’ Second Advent. LDS Apostle Mark E. Peterson wrote:

“Since the Creation the most significant message ever given to mankind were those proclaiming the coming to the earth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through the ages the prophets have spoken of two such advents, one in the meridian of time when he would take upon himself mortality and accomplish the Atonement; the other His glorious second coming which will usher in the millennial reign. For each advent a prophetic messenger was assigned to go before Him and prepare the way. One was John the Baptist, of whom Jesus said there was no greater prophet born of woman (see Luke 7:28). The other was Joseph Smith, Jr., designated in modern scripture as having done more for the salvation of mankind than anyone else on earth, with the sole exception of our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. (see D&C 135).

Both advents have been foretold by the prophets throughout the ages. The people were amply forewarned concerning the Lord’s first coming: for as Peter told Cornelius the Gentile:

To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.’ (Acts 10:43)

For each advent, however, a forerunner was chosen to prepare the way. Each coming would require its own particular kind of advance preparation. Hence, each was given its own forerunner, specially chosen for the work. John the Baptist prepared the way for the first coming. Joseph Smith, Jr., was the forerunner of the second, and his word has been and is now being sustained and furthered by each succeeding prophet called to lead the Church. This will continue until Christ Himself shall come as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to reign on earth with His Saints for a thousand years.” (The Forerunners, pp.7-8)

*John the Baptist & Joseph the Seer

The Prophet Joseph Smith is sometimes referred to as Joseph the Seer; because his calling was to receive visions and revelations from the LORD; in preparation for His Second Advent. John Bar Zechariah is called John the Baptist; because he was called to baptize for the remission of sins in preparation for the First Advent of the LORD. Neither man is a Savior, but both are Prophets of God and sent from God, and therefore are His authorized agents. If we reject either of them, we ultimately reject the One who sent them; whether we know it or not. The Jews who rejected John the Baptist ultimately rejected Jesus as well; although they believed they were followers of the coming Messiah. Christians who reject Joseph the Seer are also in fact rejecting the One who sent him (Jesus Christ); although they are as ignorant of this fact as were the Jews who rejected both the Prophet John and the Messiah Jesus.

*Jesus Christ NOT Joseph Smith

The Mormon Church isn’t about the man Mormon, nor about Joseph Smith, it’s all about Jesus Christ! Joseph Smith once said:

“The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.121)

*The Elect Church

One can be a Mormon and a Christian at the same time just as one can be a Lutheran and a Christian, or a Baptist and a Christian, or a Presbyterian and a Christian at the same time. One need not believe in Joseph Smith or The Book of Mormon to be a Christian, and be saved from death (resurrection) and Hell (redemption). But one must be a faithful Latter-day Saint in order to be saved from sin (exaltation); because to be saved from sin is to become perfect, and the perfection of the soul can only come through keeping (obeying) all the laws and ordinances that Jesus has commanded, and they only exist in total in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They only exist in total in this Church because the LDS Church is nothing more, nor less, than the Divine Restoration of Original Christianity. It is the divine restoration not of the Universal

Church, but of the Elect Church; the Assembly of the Saints. Jesus sent His Apostles 2000 years ago to preach the Gospel to “all nations”. This is still going on today. But Jesus restored His Church and called latter-day Apostles to “gather his elect” from the four corners of the earth. This is the purpose of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

*For The Perfection Of The Saints

The Priesthood is not necessary for Redemption; to be saved from Hell-fire. But it is absolutely necessary from Exaltation; which is also referred to as Immortality and Eternal Life. Jesus commanded His Saints:

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48)

If accepting Jesus as Lord and becoming a Christian was all that was necessary for perfection, as Jesus here commanded, then there would be no reason for Jesus to command His disciples to “be ye therefore perfect”. If they had already accepted Jesus, which they had, they did not need to do anything further; since, in Evangelical theology, all they needed to do was accept Jesus to go to Heaven. Since Heaven has no varying degrees of reward, as Evangelicals believe, then there would be no reason to become perfect!

Of course, the Catholic and Evangelical beliefs about Heaven and Hell come mainly from the traditions of men, and not from the Bible itself; which clearly teaches varying degrees of rewards in Heaven:

Perfection is salvation from sin; or 100 fold salvation. It is the third degree of salvation. It is the highest form of salvation. Only true Saints will receive this level of salvation, and the rewards entitled for those who achieve it. When we say “Saints” we don’t mean Catholic “saints”, but rather the kind of “saint” that the New Testament refers to: a Christian who “overcomes” their sinful nature; who “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 3:12)

Achieving perfection does not mean a perfect body or perfect intelligence. It does not refer to human perfection, but the perfection of the soul. Divine perfection comes from obeying all the laws and ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the fulness of one’s ability. It has to do with humility and sacrifice; with worthiness and obedience. It means to become a perfect servant of the LORD. The perfect servant of the LORD is humble, and bows his ego before His LORD in complete subjection. That perfect servant is the Elect of God, and shall become an Adam or an Eve upon other worlds; world without end.

*The Latter-day gathing of the Elect of God

The very purpose of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can be summed up in the words of Jesus when He said, referring to the latter-days:

“And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:31)

On the top of most Mormon Temples is a statue of an angel blowing a trumpet; which symbolically represents the latter-day gathering of the Elect of God from the four corners of the earth. The literal fulfillment is the missionaries (messengers) who carry the message of the Restored Gospel to all the nations of the earth, and gather those who are converted into the Stakes of Zion.

The Prophet Joseph Smith said:

“Man and angels are to be co-workers in bringing to pass this great work, and Zion is to be prepared, even a New Jerusalem, for the Elect that are to be gathered from the four quarters of the earth, and to establish an holy city, for the tabernacle of the Lord shall be with them.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.84)

The term “Zion” means “The Pure-in-Heart”. The Elect of God are the ‘pure-in-heart’; of whatever race, color, lineage, or nation they are. The very purpose of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to fulfill Jesus’ words in Matthew chapter 24 verse 31.

*Summary of the Curse of Cain Doctrine

1. Adam was given the Priesthood; the power and authority from God, given to men, to offer sacrifices and perform divine ordinances on earth.

2. Cain, the firstborn son of Adam and Eve, had the birthright to this Priesthood. He and his posterity were supposed to receive it first. However, because he offered a sacrifice to the LORD in a state of unrighteousness (unworthiness) his offering was rejected, and the birthright fell to Abel; the second-born son. In an effort to get his birthright back, Cain killed Abel.

3. In response to the murder of Abel, the LORD placed a curse upon Cain; called the “Curse of Cain”. It included a loss of the Priesthood for Cain and his posterity (descendants). Instead of receiving the Priesthood first, they would receive it last. The LORD also placed a ‘mark’ upon Cain (either this refers to Cain the man or Cain the people, or perhaps both). The Cainites became black-skinned; to distinguish them from the Sethites (to discourage intermarriage so the Sethites would not fall under the curse), and as a protection.

4. The Cainites and Sethites were all killed in the Flood; except for Noah (a pure Sethite), his three sons, and their wives. The wife of Ham was Egyptus; a Cainites woman. So the Cainite bloodline (lineage) survived the flood. The Hamites were thus also Cainites (as well as Sethites), and settled in Canaan (now Palestine) and Northeastern Africa. The Hamitic bloodline was passed from the Egyptians to the Nubians, and from the Nubians to native African tribes; until, over thousands of years of migration, the Hamitic bloodline was diffused throughout Africa.

5. There is evidence (Coptic Church, etc.) that the early Christians did not, as a rule, ordain black men to the Priesthood. There were exceptions in cases of exceeding faith. With the Restoration, Elijah Abel and his male descendants were granted the Priesthood; as an exception to the rule. In 1978, passed upon the pleadings and supplications to the LORD of President Spencer W. Kimball, his Counselors, and the Twelve Apostles, in response to the exceeding faith of the Negro and Mulatto Saints of Brazil, and of the other faithful Negro Saints in Africa and America, the LORD revoked the Curse of Cain, and the Priesthood was no longer banned from worthy males of the Hamitic lineage. Since June 8th, 1978, Mormons of Hamitic lineage have the exact same blessings and opportunities as any other lineage in the LDS Church.

Please feel free to e-mail Darrick Evenson

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