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.
Here is Another Mystery, The BoM in 3 Nephi teaches the 3 apostles never tasted death, so if they did not Die how could they be resurrected beings? And then it begs the question, how could their be A TOTAL Apostasy? of the Church if the 3 Disciples never died and stayed on the earth to preach the Gospel?
Now I will quote the chapter of 3 Nephi 28.
7 Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven.
8 And ye shall never endure the pains of death; but when I shall come in my glory ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality; and then shall ye be blessed in the kingdom of my Father.
9 And again, ye shall not have pain while ye shall dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow save it be for the sins of the world; and all this will I do because of the thing which ye have desired of me, for ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand.
25 Behold, I was about to write the names of those who were never to taste of death, but the Lord forbade; therefore I write them not, for they are hid from the world.
26 But behold, I have seen them, and they have ministered unto me.
27 And behold they will be among the Gentiles, and the Gentiles shall know them not.
28 They will also be among the Jews, and the Jews shall know them not.
“Does the designation of John as a resurrected being signal a change in LDS doctrine?” What difference does it make? In the LDS world, things are fluid and could change at any time. And there is absoulutely no embarrassment about it. That’s the beauty of the religion. Doctrine can contradict doctrine. Prophets aren’t held to any type of standard and can contradict each other. Look, if it doesn’t bother these folks that Joseph Smith had 33 wives, including women that were already married (and at least one teenage girl) what do they care about the apostle John’s resurrected status? That’s just part of the fun of being Mormon. Slap that smile on your face and keep doing the program.
Spiritual death or physical death?
For the sake of discussion..
Michael asks a very important question that begs the need for distinction on this subject.
But I’d like to see the non-mormon’s on this site answer your question since they seem to know more about what the restored gospel teaches, than those who have studied it their whole lives. 🙂
The first quote above is from The Church News. Since when has that been considered as doctrine? Never, as far as I know. Only the Standard Works (ie Book of Mormon, Bible, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) and the Conference issues of The Ensign.
However, if you look at the Doctrine and Covenants refered to (27:12-13) or even all of Section 27 it says nothing about John (or even Peter and James) as being resurrected beings. As the second quote from the study manual states – we believe that John did not die and will not until Jesus’s Second Coming.
So there is no remaining mystery nor contradiction there if the writer and editor made a mistake when proof reading – they are only imperfect human beings. It would only be if you can prove any doctrinal teachings that state that John was a resurrected being.
Rick B – There is nothing at all written about the 3 Nephites being resurrected beings so I don’t know how you went off in that tangent. We believe that they were given the same promise as John as you pointed out. So why then do you make a false statement, just to prove it wrong? We already know its wrong.
What does the passage from 3 Nephi mean then? It sounds pretty straightforward. So I guess the LDS church believes that John is still alive, and if that’s the case, how could there be a total apostasy? Where is John now, anyway? Could I have some straight answers, LDS posters? No funny business, please.
Megan, we do believe that the 3 Nephites and John will live until The Second Coming, then they will change from being mortal to being immortal without the pain of death (as quoted by RickB above). This means that they will be translated, like Enoch and his city were.
As for where they are now, only God knows. If you read the last couple of verses that RickB quoted it will tell you that. No one knows who they are or where they are, only God.
Lastly, if a basketball game was final score 152 – 10, it would be described as a total walk-over; even though the other team had scored 10 points. Again, in a war situation, if a town was totally destroyed, it does not mean that there is nothing left of it. There will still be ruins and maybe a small handfull of people surviving (eg Hiroshima). With fires, in the paper when it says they totally destroyed the building, yes the building cannot be used again, it would need to be bulldozed and rebuilt, but there can still be walls standing, stairwells intact, etc. Now look at the General Apostasy, 4 men vs millions of people. I think that can be described as a total apostasy.
BTW I have never heard of it being referred to as a total apostasy until now. Whenever I have heard of it its always “The Apostasy” or “General Apostasy”. So is this written in LDS literature as such or is this just a term that Mormon critics like to use? No joking, just a serious question – maybe I’m missing something.
The apostasy has been referred to as “universal,” “complete” and “total.” Here are a few LDS quotes:
Thanks, Sharon, I knew I had heard of the apostasy referred to as “total” and “complete”. Any thoughts, Ralph?
Another question: doesn’t resurected infer death?
Because of my humorous but respectful nature, I have been trying to hold back on saying John is with Elvis and Tupac, but I can’t take it any longer! :o) there, I said it.
On a more serious note though.. well, I don’t have one because I don’t know much about this.
Another question though, might be, is there any scripture or teachings of the LDS Church which say why John is in hiding? If he will survive forever until the 2nd coming, why isn’t he made prophet of the Church, I’m sure he has a thing or two to teach at General Conference. Also, is his age not known to the public? I would imagine that anyone who he is in contact with would start to think, man your living a long time. You outlived many generations of people…
I think you better re-read this,
Your Church taught they left the Earth and came back as resurrected beings, Yet Your Scripture The BoM teaches Jesus said they will never taste death. Which one is correct? What did I say that was false? You accused me of Saying a false Statment, what exactly was it? Rick b
The quote you have written is talking about the 3 APOSTLES – Peter, James and John, NOT the 3 Nephite DISCIPLES (I think you had better read all of the above article again as well as Doctrine and Covenants 27:12-13). Peter and James did die and came back as resurrected people – the discussion is about John. As I said in my first message – The Church News is NOT doctrine. The editor and/or writer of the article made a mistake. It has nothing at all to do with the official doctrine or belief of the LDS church about John. Thus there is NO contradiction on church doctrine, just a mistake by an imperfect person.
The false statement you made was about the 3 Nephites being resurrected beings. There is nothing written in the above article nor in official church doctrine that they are resurrected beings – we believe that they will live until The Second Coming, which you pointed out. But I thought you did it on purpose which is why I pointed it out, but from the looks of things you misunderstood the article. So sorry if I caused any offense.
Megan and Sharon – I have heard of ‘complete’ and ‘universal’ being used in context to the Apostasy, but not ‘total’ – I know they basically mean the same, its just interesting that I’ve never heard it. As I said earlier, 4 men amongst countless millions, at least to me, is still able to be classed as complete and/or total Apostasy.
Ralph, your comments about “complete/”universal” remind me of Bill Clinton’s famous statement, “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is”. So I went to dictionary.com, and I looked up some words that are used to define complete, total, and universal.
complete: total, entire, thorough, full, finished, conluded.
total: complete in extant or degree, absolute, unqualified, utter.
universal: present everywhere, applicable everywhere or in all cases, affecting, concerning, or involving all.
4 left vs. millions is still not total, complete, or universal. And besides, these 4 received the Great Commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel. Why on earth would they hang around incognito and not tell people about the risen Christ?
But the fact is, I don’t depend on any human for the endurance of the Church. I depend on Jesus himeself, the chief cornerstone for its endurance.
Here are some verses, in random order:
Matt: 16:18 “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Hades was another word for death, in other words, death would not overcome the Church).
Matt. 28:18-19 speaks of the Great Commission, where Jesus says, “And surely I am with you always, even to the very end of the age.”
Ephesians is a wonderful book for describing the spiritual heritage and power we have in Christ. Eph. 1:22-23 says, “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”
Eph. 3:21 implies the church’s endurance: “to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever”.
Here’s a good one to end with: Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that CANNOT BE SHAKEN, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:28)
From what I read and can tell, the 3 Nephite Disaples and the 3 Apostles are the same. If I am wrong then please explain the Difference.
In D and C 7 it says John never died. In D and C 27:12-13 it again Mentions John, then in the BoM it mentions John. But yet in
It says John IS A RESURRECTED BEING, but the LDS scripture teaches He had power over Death and HE NEVER DIED. So Did John Die or not? Simple Question, but no easy answers as of yet. Rick b
RickB, Jesus only appointed 12 APOSTLES on the earth at that time, and they were in Jerusalem, and are named in the Gospels. When He visited the Nephites and Lamanites He appointed 12 DISCIPLES with a special calling different to the other disciples on the American continent. As you have quoted from the Book of Mormon, these were NOT NAMED – so we do not know who they are. Thus they cannot be Peter, James or John, as these 3 were in Jerusalem, not America, and these 3 were named. That is the difference between the 2 groups. Peter and James were not given the promise to live until the Second Coming – only John was, amongst the 12 APOSTLES. The 3 Nephites you refer to were the only 3 out of the 12 Nephite/Lamanite DISCIPLES that were given the same promise. So there are 4 people who were given the same promise, and this article is only talking about Peter, James and John, of which only John would live until the Second Coming.
Just to clarify things a bit about apostles and disciples – Apostles have a separate and special calling to be witnesses of Christ, whereas disciples are just followers of Jesus. So in this case, the 12 APOSTLES in Jerusalem are analogous to the 12 Apostles we have at the head of our church today. The 12 Nephite DISCIPLES are analogous to a High Council within a Stake.
And again, as for DOCTRINE – The Church News IS NOT DOCTRINE. So this does not indicate a ‘change’, ‘contradiction’ nor a ‘continuing mystery’ of the ‘doctrine’ about John the Beloved. What this is is a mistake made by the writer and/or editor of the article, and its being blown all out of proportion.
As for the ‘simple question…easy answer’, I have answered the question many times. John did not die and will not until The Second Coming. Same with the 3 Nephite disciples.
Ralph, can you find any Biblical evidence that God would have allowed a complete and total apostasy?
Ralph, I see this still as a big deal and here is why. Even though you say or believe the (Church News, October 6, 2007,) is not Church Doctrine, well here is the Problem I see, They say John Returned to earth resurrected being.
How is this possible if he never died? So If he never died then is this true? If so how can it be true if he never Died? But if he did die to make this possible, we still have a problem, who do we trust? Either way we cannot trust the LDS church to know what truth is. See what I mean? Then you said, their is a difference between the 12 Disaples and the 3 nephites, But the BoM Nephi 28 does not call them the 12 Nephites, in fact in Verse 1 it calles them the 12 disaples.
OK RickB, this is the last time I answer this question – either you are not understanding what I have written or you are not trying to understand so you don’t have to admit you are wrong.
FIRST – The written remark in The Church News is a mistake made by the writer and/or editor. Because it is JUST a news letter, it does not impact on Church Doctrine nor does it have anything to do about the LDS church as a whole being true or not, so it is no big deal. Go through any scientific journal, including the big names like ‘Science’, ‘Nature’ and ‘PNAS’ and you will always find erratta published. it happens because we are only human.
SECOND – I stated in my last message that Jesus called 12 DISCIPLES while he was amongst the Nephites and 3 of these were given the same promise as John – ie to live until the second coming. So I did call them DISCIPLES – I at no time or in no way say that the 3 Nephites chosen to live until The Second Coming were different from the 12 Nephite Disciples – I said that they came from the 12.
I also said that the 12 Nephite DISCIPLES were different to the 12 APOSTLES in Jerusalem, from which Peter, James and John originated. It was this John that was given the promise to live until The Second Coming. It was these 3, NOT the 3 Nephite Disciples, who came and restored the Melchezedik Priesthood to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdrey.
I cannot think of any other way to put it as simple as that. Either you are mixing up the two groups of 12, or you are not wanting to admit that you are wrong in your first message.
Seth, I think this applies to you,
I said before I understand the Church news is not Church Doctrine, But what evidence do you have to show the Church news articles was a mistake? Was their are written statment saying so? If not, then it leads me to believe who ever wrote that thinks they know what their taking about. LDS simply do not buy the Church news and say to them selves and others, I must take this with a grain of salt, I cannot fully trust them, If they do do that, then why Should we trust your Church to know what they are talking about. It seems they cannot admit they made a mistake in something they published, so that tells me they truth what they put out. So if they trust what they put out, then they are wrong, what else are they wrong about?
You guys get your info from many sources, like, Prophets and apostles and LDS leaders, if their wrong in a published Article, yet do not admit it, maybe they feel they are correct and your wrong. So who can I trust? Or should I chalk this up to the “Fluid beliefes” That people seem to feel Mormonism has. Rick b
First of all, I am Ralph, not Seth.
Second, where do you get the idea that …LDS simply do not buy the Church news and say to them selves and others, I must take this with a grain of salt? Can you read their minds? I don’t buy The Church News and most other members I know don’t buy it. The First Presidency recommend the Church magazines (Ensign, The New Era, and The Friend) to be in every household, but not The Church News. So that is the ‘importance’ given to The Church News. Also, do you buy a newspaper believing that everything in it is true and correct? I certainly don’t.
As for an errattum published, I have not checked if there was or not, but the issue (if you read the date) was 6th October 2007. So when this web article was written, there had been no time for an errattum to have been published, so that argument cannot be used.
Finally, your original mistake, which I have commented on and tried to help you understand, is that Peter, James and John, who are referred to in this article and who bestowed the Melkezedic Priesthood on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdrey, are SEPERATE to the 3 Nephite Disciples, which you refer to in your first statement, and believe to be the same as Peter James and John. This is where I am asking are you reading to understand or are you just not willing to admit you made this mistake.
Ralph, I’m sorry about confusing you with Seth.
When you said
Where do I get the Idea? I do not know, I just figure since your Church Teaches the LDS seem to never give out in correct information and are never wrong that this would not be wrong either, and since your Church teaches the Prophet cannot lead the Church Astray, I figure if He read a copy of it and saw an error it would get corrected. But since you feel the Time line was to short to be corrected, then let time tell.
If in the years to come it is never corrected, then we shall know the Church holds it as correct, if the Church corrects it, then I was wrong, But Honestly I really doubt they will correct it as I believe they think they were correct.
And as far as reading the newspaper, I tend to believe them unless they admit they made a mistake as they have a section for just correcting the mistakes, If they tell me a guy was killed in a car crash, why would I read it and say, I do not believe them about this issue?
When you tell me I am wrong About the 3 Disciples verses the 3 Nephites, I guess I do not see yet where I am wrong, every time you tell me I am wrong I seriousl;y go back and re-read every thing over again.
I see John Never Dying, so that alone poses a serious Problem, 1, your church was wrong, and 2 their could not have ever been a total Apostasy of the Church, so if their was not, then your church is false and wrong on many accounts. But then about the 3 nephites, in chapter 28 verse 1, it says,
From Verse 1 is where I get my Idea from. But if I am wrong, I really see it as no big deal since their are bigger problems like I pointed out, But this topic is not about a total Apostasy of the Church. Rick b
The total apostasy described is that of a complete loss of the church Jesus Christ established on the earth. The 3 Nephites who remained and the Apostle John, who also remained, did not perpetuate the church of Jesus Christ. They could have, had they been commanded of God to do so, but they did not hold all of the keys, nor were they commanded so to do. The living prophet and head of Christ’s church on earth is the only one who holds all of the keys needed to perpetuate all aspects of the Church of Jesus Christ. A couple thousand years ago, there were multiple people on the earth who held these keys. Because the technology of Peter’s day did not allow him to travel and minister to other members of the House of Israel who were across the globe, the Lord called a prophet and established his Church in the Americas, and quite possibly in other locations across the globe as well, though there is no written history that describes this last possiblity that is at this time recognized by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as valid doctrine. Because of our technologically advanced global society today, the Lord only needs to call one prophet to minister to the entire world. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints recognizes this man to be Gordon B. Hinckley. He is about 95 years old and he travels all over the world consistently, ministering to, uplifting, and educating the inhabitants thereof. In the days after Christ’s earth life, Peter was the last living prophet and head of Christ’s church who held all of the keys necessary to perpetuate Christ’s Church in it’s entirety in the Middle East. As far as has been recorded and/or revealed, he did not pass these keys on to John, which might explain why Peter showed up to confer them on Jospeh Smith. In the America’s, a prophet named Moroni was the last to hold these keys, and according to records, he did not pass them on to the aforementioned three Nephites. (this is my understanding)