In an article describing the way leadership vacancies are filled within the LDS Church, a recent issue of Church News explained,
“On the Mount of Transfiguration in the incident recounted in Matthew 17:1-11, Peter, James and John received those keys, defined as “the rights of presidency, or the power given to man by God to direct, control and govern God’s priesthood on earth” (‘Keys of the Priesthood’ in Guide to the Scriptures). Thus ordained, Peter, James and John filled the role that the First Presidency does today in directing the affairs of Christ’s Church on earth following His death.
“In this, the latter-day dispensation, the three apostles came to earth as resurrected beings and conferred the keys of the kingdom upon the Prophet Joseph Smith, thus restoring priesthood authority to the earth (see Doctrine and Covenants 27:12-13). The organization of the Church soon followed, on April 6, 1830” (Church News, October 6, 2007, pages 8-9).
According to the Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual Religion 324-325,
“The future of the Apostle John, sometimes called the Beloved or the Revelator, is a mystery to the Christian world. Confusion comes because of the statement in John 21:20-23…
“From this statement questions naturally arise: Did John die? If not, what is his status? If he did, why did Jesus make the statement? The issue has been debated for centuries among the various Christian sects…
“Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery finally solved the issue through an appeal to the Lord…
“The result of their inquiry is given in the heading of [Doctrine and Covenants] section 7” (page 17).
According to Doctrine and Covenants section 7, John never died. So I was surprised to see him described as “a resurrected being” in an official LDS Church publication.
If John never died, he could not now be a resurrected being, could he? Does the designation of John as a resurrected being signal a change in LDS doctrine?
Apparently the mystery continues into these latter days.