As I read the New Testament, I try to visualize Simon’s and Andrew’s reactions to the Savior’s Apostolic call to them in Mark 1:17-18. “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.”
James and John reacted similarly. “And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him” (Mark 1:20).
The calling of Apostles by Jesus Christ began the official organization of His Church in the meridian of time. Prior to this, the Savior initiated His ministry by being baptized by immersion by the only person with proper authority at the time, John the Baptist, and preached His doctrine to ever increasing throngs of people.
Eight additional Apostles were called. As their ministry continued, Jesus singled Peter out as the chief Apostle and Peter, James, and John as the head, or presidency, of the entire Church after His death and resurrection.
Paul taught the Ephesians about the organization of Christ’s Church and said there were “apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11).
The Church of Jesus Christ—The Same Organization as the Ancient Church
The Savior Jesus Christ re-established His Church’s doctrines and organizational structure when He organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often inadvertently called the “Mormon Church,” in 1830 through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Mormons call this the “restoration” of the gospel, and it was done to prepare God’s kingdom on earth to receive the Savior when He comes the second time.
The First Vision: God the Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ
The restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ in modern times commenced with an event known to Latter-day Saints (Mormons) as The First Vision. After studying the tenets of religion and wanting to obey God’s commandment to be baptized, Joseph Smith read James 1:5. “If any of you lack you lack wisdom, let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not.” Emboldened by God’s promise to answer his sincere prayer, Joseph knelt alone in a grove of trees to ask God which church he should join.
I saw a pillar of light, exactly over my head above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. … When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other–This is my Beloved Son. Hear Him! (See Joseph Smith-History 1:16-17.)
God the Eternal Father and His Beloved Son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith! They told Joseph not to join any church, that the Gospel in its fulness was not found on the earth and needed to be restored.
The Savior Established the Foundation of His Church
The Lord commanded Joseph to organize His restored Church on April 6, 1830, and to call it The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (See Doctrine and Covenants 115:4.)
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ, I believe that Jesus Christ revealed His doctrine and principles to Joseph Smith and other Church leaders and that The Church of Jesus Christ functions today with the Priesthood, the power and authority of God, to act in an organized manner in His name on the earth today.
As members of the Church, “[we] believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth” (6th and 7th Articles of Faith). The Church has a First Presidency, like Peter, James, and John, and a Quorum of Twelve Apostles who are all prophets, seers, and revelators. Each of the other offices in the Primitive Church are found in The Church of Jesus Christ.
Mormon Doctrines Testify of Jesus Christ
The doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ affirm to me that it truly is the restored Church of Jesus Christ.
The Church’s 1st Article of Faith states, “We believe in God the Eternal Father and in His Son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost” (1st Article of Faith). Knowing that the first declaration of our faith centers on the existence and divinity of the Godhead emboldens my desire to pray and really communicate with God. It reminds me that only through the Grace of Jesus Christ can I approach the throne of God and that living worthily enables me to receive the peaceful companionship of the Holy Ghost who testifies of Christ and inspires me to do good.
Every tenet and doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ reflects the mission and atoning sacrifice of the Savior Jesus Christ. The Savior Himself revealed commandments, covenants (two-way promises of an obligation fulfilled by man and a promised blessing by God) and ordinances (ritual acts, like baptism, that teach literally and metaphorically of man’s journey back to God’s presence).
“The first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are first, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, repentance; third, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost” (4th Article of Faith). As I have obeyed God’s commandments, I have seen His hand and blessings in my life. True faith in Jesus Christ enables me to know who and how to worship Him. Repentance is a turning away from sin or error, by confessing that wrong to God. As I cast that burden on the Lord, I feel His forgiving power. My conscience is free from guilt and shame. I can stand with confidence again in the presence of God. Baptism physically and symbolically is being born again. Partaking of the Sacrament each Sunday reminds me of promises I made at baptism to follow Christ and remember Him. The Holy Ghost testifies of Christ. The Savior described the Holy Ghost in John 14:26. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the restored Church of Jesus Christ on the earth today. The Savior patterned it after the same organization of His Church during His ministry on the earth, with the offices and power of the Priesthood and the same spiritual gifts and doctrines.
To learn more about the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ, contact the Mormon missionaries. They would love to share with you the joy and hope available through the Gospel of Jesus Christ!