The foundation of the authority of the Mormon church rests on the existence of modern, living Prophets and Apostles. The truthfulness of the church, then, boils down to one very simple question:
Are these men REALLY Apostles or not?
This to me is the most important question anyone can ask about the Mormon church. I spent two years on my mission testifying that the Mormon church had something special, that it was led by real Prophets and Apostles today. I believed it with my whole heart. According to the bible dictionary:
The calling of an Apostle is to be a special witness of the name of Jesus Christ in all the world, particularly of His divinity and of His bodily resurrection from the dead. (emphasis mine)
An apostle is
- a special witness
- in all the world;
- of Jesus’ Divinity; and
- of Jesus resurrection from the dead
These then are the 4 questions we should ask.
- Are the Apostles special witnesses? What makes their witness special?
- Do the Apostles witness in all the world?
- Do the Apostles witness of Jesus’ divinity? How is their witness of Jesus’ divinity special and how do they share that witness?
- Do the Apostles witness of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead? How is their witness of Jesus’ resurrection special and how do they share that witness?
My entire faith was based on the reality of Jesus Christ as testified by His special witnesses. I used to skim through conference talks until I got to the most important part, the testimony at the end. To me, that was the whole point.
After doing this for some time I noticed that where the Apostles were supposed to testify boldly of the Lord Jesus Christ, they mostly practiced what started to look like hedging and obfuscation. I had no idea if the Apostles really were special witnesses. I had no idea what made them special witnesses; they wouldn’t tell anyone. If asked if they had seen Jesus, they would always respond that such a question is too sacred to talk about. But it wasn’t too sacred for Peter or Paul to talk about! Why so much careful wording and avoidance of the most important thing to the church and our lives – the reality of the resurrected Lord? The testimony that the Apostles gave was no different from any testimony I had heard from Stake Presidents, Bishops, and even the testimonies I would give as a young missionary. I knew it was true because of the Holy Ghost.
But I consecrated my time, talents, and even my life to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because I thought it was led by living Apostles, men who had a special witness of Jesus Christ.
After much searching I have come to the conclusion that the modern Apostles are not special witnesses. If they are, I hope that they would share that witness and at least explain to me how that witness is special. Maybe they haven’t seen Jesus. That’s fine. What makes their witness special, then? I don’t know, and neither do you.
And for some reason, it seems that they want to keep it that way.
- Episode 26: Interviewing Bill Reel
- Episode 27: What we convinced ourselves to believe