Mark is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He served a 2 year mission in East Tennessee and the surrounding areas.
What is the Purpose of Modern-day Prophets?
We believe that Jesus Christ leads the Church through a prophet today. People need faith to hear a prophet speak. We look at the whole picture, being the Old Testament, New Testament and the Book of Mormon.
To talk about Joseph Smith, the first modern prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints… The first vision (of God the Father and Jesus Christ) was when he was 14 and the church was organized when he was 25. What did he have to gain by being a prophet? People gave him a hard time for the rest of his life, which ended when he was martyred.
I know from the fruits of his work as the prophet. His accomplishments: Joseph Smith taught truth and prophesied like the prophets of the Bible. He spoke like a prophet, lived and died as one. He saw that God the Father and Jesus Christ were separate and have bodies of flesh and bone, so he was persecuted.
My belief in this was strengthened because when I have used quoted Joseph Smith’s experience to describe the First Vision, it brings a powerful, peaceful spirit. Also, the phone would ring, so that tells me that Satan does not want people to know that it is true. Joseph Smith taught that Jesus was one with God in every way except physically. God organized the restored Church of Jesus Christ through him. He helped to translate and bring forth the Book of Mormon. If you knew the Book of Mormon, you would know that its teachings do not contradict the Bible. It is a second witness that clarifies confusion. If you have questions or concerns about the Book of Mormon, have you ever read it?
I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet because of his teachings. I know because what he revealed and taught clarified Christianity and through him the true church was restored. Many things taught in the Bible are not discussed by any other denomination. It is open to interpretation otherwise. He did not claim to be the Messiah. If so, that would have made him a false prophet. If you want to understand my belief in him as a prophet, see Matthew 7:16-22. Matthew 12:35, Luke 6:43, John 3:20, John 7:17., John 12:35-36. Acts 5:38-39. 1 Cor. 1:27. We believe as part of our church, there was a restoration of all things. I know that revelations of Joseph Smith are of God because they have helped me to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and come closer to God.
It is a challenge if you focus on actual, physical experiences instead of spiritual or religious experiences. I just want to reiterate that I have closely examined my beliefs. Much of the smut that was published about Joseph Smith was from early leaders that got kicked out of the church such as early apostle William Earl McLellin. If I were to read "anti-Mormon" literature, it would be like me looking at pornography to make sure that it is bad. I already know it is. I don't need to look at it to know for sure. What books have you read about Joseph Smith? I am not aware of objective books about him. They are either for or against him. I have not followed my church blindly, but I have been able to find answers whenever I have questions through study of scripture and prayer. If you have not read the Book of Mormon, you cannot know the good that is in it. I would caution you against listening to “Anti-Mormons” and other preachers who feel threatened that they will lose their flock to this faith.
We all have a right to our opinion in terms of what we choose to believe. I know that I follow the teachings of scripture (Bible included) as part of how I live my life. God knows my heart. I have faith in Christ, so by common definition of a Christian, I am saved. I choose to follow the ten commandments and follow Christ in more than word only. When Jesus invited the apostles to follow Him, did they just waive and tell Him they were saved? Consider Matthew 15:8. I am not trying to work my way to Heaven or build myself up, but to pay back salvation and to choose the right because I love God and His Gospel.
In other words, no, I am not saved by my works, but I believe in living the gospel. Not just reciting a few lines so I can say that I am saved and not have any accountability for my actions. Is God just to allow someone to go to Heaven who murders or fornicates, then just professes to believe in Jesus Christ in word only? The Pharisees held to tradition and could not see the good in Jesus's teachings. It IS all about love. But keep in mind...Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Also consider Romans 6:15 in terms of sin and grace: What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. For sincere Christians, I do not think they want to sin all they want, but there is no justice or accountability. Christians realize that God is merciful and that is clear with Grace. But mercy cannot rob justice. Is justice served by God to allow murders and child molesters into heaven who have gotten saved?
Something to consider…how would someone know that they are truly saved and accepted Christ in their heart? Human nature or the natural man would have us not do the works of Christ. If what I believe is so bad, where is the bad fruit? Can Satan cast out Satan?
© 2020 Mark Richardson