The proclamation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes nicknamed the Mormon Church) is that the heavens are open, that God speaks to His children and always has, and always will. Some accuse Mormons of adding to the Bible, citing the “curse” in the Book of Revelation. Mormons have not made any changes to the Bible, but the Bible itself refers to many prophets and scriptures we don’t have access to today, so we know that what is contained in the Bible is not all the Lord has caused to be written.
Chapter 29 in 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon explains,
And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my workis not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever. Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.
For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.
For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it (vs 9-12).
The words of God that have been canonized in the Church of Jesus Christ are those that have been recorded by prophets among Israelites on two continents. Those writings allude to others we do not yet have—the records of the Ten Lost Tribes, who will bring them when they return; the writings of John the Baptist; the writings of Joseph, who was sold into Egypt; the full account of the events on the Mount of Transfiguration, recorded by John the Beloved; the sealed portions of the Book of Mormon not yet entrusted to man.
The religious history of the earth has been divided into what we call “dispensations” of time. Each dispensation has begun with a sort of beginning or restoration of lost or misunderstood gospel principles, or with the initiation of some important movement within God’s plan for us. Adam was the prophet of the first dispensation. Others have been led by Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and His apostles. After Jesus and the original apostles organized Christ’s gospel on the earth, there was a gradual falling away from the truth. There is only one gospel, and one truth. The falling away is evidenced by the difference in today’s Christian orthodoxy from Christ’s primitive church, and the plethora of churches that have sprung up in opposition to orthodoxy in an attempt to reform it.
Reformation has not been enough to end confusion, but has only multiplied it. Instead, a new dispensation had to be ushered in, which would completely restore the doctrines, power, and authority of the original gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Adding to the importance, is the fact that the Second Coming of Christ is at the door, and the fullness of His gospel must be established to receive Him. If not, the world would be “utterly wasted at His coming” (Doctrine and Covenants 2:3).
In order to accomplish the restoration of the fullness of His gospel, the Lord has again called prophets, and through them, He has revealed and continues to reveal plain and precious truths that have been lost or corrupted. To many friends of other faiths, looking from the outside in, these revealed truths seem strange, but they were had anciently and were the foundation of Christ’s church when He and the Apostles lived. Some of them are as follows:
- The power and authority to act in the name of God and perform His miracles was lost from the earth, is called “priesthood,” and has been fully restored. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:69.)
- God’s house is a house of order, as found in the organization of the priesthood and its offices now on the earth.
- We have always existed and lived before our mortal sojourn on this earth with God in a spiritual realm. All things, even the earth, were created spiritually before they were created physically. (See Abraham 3:21.)
- The purpose of God is to help us to progress to become more like Him; thus the spiritual realm in which we progressed as much as we could as spirits; then the physical realm, a place of testing, where we could form families and use our agency (freedom of choice) to choose good or evil). (See Pearl of Great Price, Abraham 3:25.)
- Resurrection is a free gift to all living things through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Salvation comes to nearly all people into a kingdom of heaven. Exaltation into the very presence of God can only be attained through righteousness and participation in higher covenants and ordinances.
- Those who are exalted will be like God. This doctrine, called theosis in the primitive church, was thoroughly understood. We were created to become like God, and that is the point of our existence. (See Doctrine and Covenants, Section 76.)
- Turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers means to seal family members together in holy ordinances in holy temples, so that they can be together eternally. Those so sealed who endure to the end in righteousness will also be sealed to the Father and the Son. Baptism for the dead, spoken of by Paul, is one ordinance performed in this great work. The ordinance became corrupted through the years of early orthodoxy, and was finally abandoned, now restored. (See Doctrine and Covenants, Section 110.)
- Men cannot be saved nor condemned in ignorance. People of all faiths and no faith will be saved in a kingdom of heaven, and those who knew not the gospel of Christ will hear it in the “spirit world” as they await resurrection. (See Doctrine and Covenants, Section 138.)
- Little children cannot sin or understand how to repent. Therefore, the baptism of infants is a wrong doctrine. Children who die before the age of accountability (8 years old) will be saved to the highest kingdom of heaven, having died in innocence and having been covered by the loving atonement of Jesus Christ. Some handicapped people never reach the age of accountability and have no need of saving ordinances. (See Moroni 8.)
- When the Bible speaks of Zion and Jerusalem in the same verse, it refers to two great capitals that will flourish during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ (whose Second Coming is near)—ancient Jerusalem in Israel which will be cleansed and renewed as a holy city, and Zion in the center of the United States. There will however, be only one continent, as the earth will return to its original condition (Doctrine and Covenants 45:66)
- The idea of a pre-tribulation rapture is a false idea and non-biblical. The righteous will barely escape the destructions that will be unleashed upon the earth. (See Doctrine and Covenants 63:34).
Mormon prophets have not only foreseen the coming trials, they have foreseen the coming glories of the earth and those in heaven. You can read some of them at the following links:
- The vision of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon — the kingdoms of heaven.
- The vision of Joseph F. Smith, the spirit world.
- The restoration of the gospel in preparation for the Second Coming.
- The last days.