Is Mormonism Built to Last?

HawkgrrrlMormon 41 Comments

Christianity is generally considered a “successful” religion because it is still flourishing after 2000 years.  Eastern religions, which are generally much older, have flourished for thousands of years, although their communal success seems to be declining.  Islam, a highly successful religion, is a relative newcomer at just over 1400 years.  What are the indicators of success, and how does Mormonism stack up against those indicators?

Christianity’s success as a religion is generally attributed to three main factors:

  • Apostle Paul.  Paul took Christianity out of Judaism, broke ties with old practices like circumcision (a major drawback for 50% of potential converts), and articulated the theology in a new and compelling way, all without having met Jesus personally and without benefit of the New Testament (which was still largely in his head at the time).  Without Paul, Jesus left a small band of scattered, inarticulate personal friends all of whom came from Judaism and had no rights as citizens.  Paul transcended that.  Dude rocks.
  • Pax Romana.  Because of the Roman empire’s reach, it was possible for the first time for missionaries (like Paul) to extend the influence and preaching of Christianity across the Western world.  Yet, had the Roman empire not ultimately embraced Christianity, it would have likely been dead in the water.
  • Theological Upgrade.  As Valoel said (sang?), “Anything you can do, we can do better!”  Predecessor religions did not present as compelling a vision of the purpose of life.  In Greek (and Roman) mythology, souls of the dead were essentially dumped into a non-corporeal stew.  Even Judaism was beginning to split over matters of resurrection and nature of the soul.  Christianity presented a more compelling view with rewards and punishments for one’s life choices.  Eastern religions (with more compelling theologies such as reincarnation) were not as susceptible to conversion to Christian dogmas.

So, how does Mormonism stack up?

  • New Scripture.  Instead of Paul, we had the contributions of both Joseph Smith and then Brigham Young to clarify the new, eschew the old/irrelevant, and to even add to the requirements (WoW chiefly, consecration & plural marriage briefly).
  • Missionary Work.  Initially, this also included gathering due to persecution, but missionary work has been a constant focus in the LDS church, from the very beginning to the present day.  The shift from gathering to building the stakes of Zion across the world has further enhanced the effectiveness of missionary efforts.
  • Theological Upgrade.  New (or restored) doctrines like eternal progression, theosis, universalism of three kingdoms/plan of salvation, corporeal and living God and Jesus, pre-Christ Christology, and most importantly ongoing personal and prophetic revelation.  As a contrast to contemporary (meaning 19th century Protestant) churches, these are pretty significant upgrades, many on par with the deeper theologies of Eastern faiths (e.g. reincarnation).

So, by these indicators, Mormonism is built to last as well as original Christianity was (if not better).

The wrench in the works is that we believe Christianity DIDN’T last; according to Mormon doctrine, the Great Apostasy crept in pretty quickly, in fact.  So, do these indicators mean that Mormonism will go the way of Christianity?  Or is this just temporary anyway (end of days stuff)?  Or are these the wrong indicators?


Comments 41

  1. The Church is a preparatory institution, I think. It will last until it’s done its job, which is to prepare mankind to the Second Coming. I would assume that the Saints will be the ones to be called to teach the Law to all others who have not gone the way of the beast. I could see many agnostics as well as sincere believers of all kinds among those.

    The Ten Virgins in the parable are quite naturally Saints, who have a commitment, but some fail to live up to it (they try to get by on borrowed light). When the Groom comes, it’ll be a different kind of party and many things will be rearranged. We only know of general stuff that’s going to happen, not very much specific.

    I am curious to see what happens when we get some new revelation. In this dispensation, major new revelation has always meant apostasy of some individuals, too (degrees of glory; polygamy both coming and going; priesthood ban, both pre and post the 1978 revelation). Could that be a way of interpreting the oil in the lamps?

    Sorry, this is just a temptingly speculative subject. In the Scriptures “the saints also shall hardly escape” (D&C 63:34).

  2. There are those who would argue that the LDS church fell into apostasy very quickly after the death of Joseph Smith, just as the early Christian church fell into apostasy with the death of the early apostle. Some of Smith’s early followers felt HE had apostacized and led the church away with him.

    The modern church bears very little resemblance to the church Smith restored.

  3. A people will be taken out of the church to live the gospel as taught by Jesus and the prophets. This will not include most people. Joseph Smith will be on earth again to lead the gathering of this remnant. Nobody knows who will be in it. The LDS church as it stands now will no longer exist.

  4. 4: Amen, and I’m grateful for this fact. The difference being that those who made the changes in the years following the restoration had the authority to make the changes they made, and likely most of those changes were inspired. (And those that possibly weren’t, e.g., blacks and priesthood, were corrected by prophets who followed.) Many of the smaller breakaway groups that have stayed with JS and BY’s teachings about polygamy and consecration are doing a good job of unwittingly demonstrating why it is the Lord’s call whether we are sufficiently prepared to understand the application a given principle or whether we are called upon to follow it now or ever again — and why following a living prophet is more crucial than following a dead one. (I realize there’s plenty of fuel there that I hope doesn’t turn into a threadjack! Great post Hawkgrrl, I won’t divert any farther.)

    5: Considering I have never heard this before, I can’t imagine this is a mainstream LDS belief or teaching. Am I going out on a limb to infer that you don’t consider yourself mainstream LDS?

  5. I consider myself pretty well read and fairly familiar with much of the speculation in regard to the future destiny of the Church in preparation for the second coming of Christ, but the comments on today’s post are bringing up stuff I’ve never heard of! Seriously folks, are your comments facetious, coy, or otherwise disingenuous? We shouldn’t forget Wilford Woodruff quoting JS as having said “it is only a little handful of Priesthood you see here tonight, but this Church will fill North and South America; it will fill the world.” When JS said this, was he thinking “it will fill the earth, then dwindle into oblivion before the coming of the Lord, but I’ll just leave out the dwindling part because it doesn’t sound good.”? Or was his prophetic vision obscured to that aspect of the Church’s destiny?

    Rather than think that one quote can be used as the final word on the nebulous future, I wish rather to call to everyone’s attention that there are tons of speculative and often contradictory quotes by LDS prophets and apostles (and pseudo-scholars and crackpots) floating around out there. Who knows what will happen?

  6. Dan—It is a combination of several prophecies. Revelations 13:7 mentions “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them”. Matthew 24:24 discusses anti-Christs and that “if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Daniel (7) speaks of those who will “speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws” (emphasis added). Isaiah 30 prophesies of the winnowing of the Church in these times, warning “one thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one . . . . till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain, and as an ensign on an hill.” As mentioned already, D&C (63:34) claims that “And the saints also shall hardly escape” and 1 Nephi 13:9 reads “also for the praise of the world do they destroy the saints of God, and bring them down into captivity.” Not only will many of those who are most faithful be killed, but many of the self-called faithful will also be destroyed in their faith. Lehi’s dream and Nephi’s subsequent vision also warn that “after [some] had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed,” and left. The bulk of Book of Mormon is a book for our day because the story it tells will mirror our story. These are not all the scriptural prophecies and references to the thinning of the Church before the Second Coming, but I hope they suffice, particularly when read in context. I don’t think they constitute as “one speculative quote”.

    All that being said, I don’t think we talk about it much because it is not important to the mission of the Church. The mission of the Church is to help gather those who will be gathered. There is little point in dwelling on the difficulty and challenges ahead.

    And besides, this is just what I understand from what I have read and heard the prophets say. I’m no prophet. I may be wrong!

  7. 6. I am LDS and more or less mainstream. I agree with George Q. Cannon:

    ““There will be a people raised up, if we will not be that people—there will yet be a people raised up whose lives will embody in perfection the revelations contained in this book…and such a people will have to be raised up before Zion can be fully redeemed, and before the work of our God can be fully established in the earth. In this book, as I have said, is the pattern of the Zion of God. Here are embodied the doctrines, precepts, laws, ordinances,—everything in fact that is necessary in order to make us a perfect people before the Lord.”” JD 24:143

    I always naturally assumed Joseph would return to guide the Saints. At any rate, I agree with 8. that these things are not talked about because they are complex, uncertain, and would probably make the church look bad.

  8. There were lots of Eastern Mystery cults like Christianity that offered eternal life. Christianity was successful primarily because it converted the imperial family and became a state religion. Likewise Islam’s quick rise (initially even more rapid than Christianity’s) was accomplished because it became a state religion earlier in its development than Christianity did.

    Mormonism has been a regional state-like religion but it continues to be less and less of one. There is effectively zero chance it will become the religion of the majority of Americans — something probably necessary to insure the major religion status and staying power of a Christianity or an Islam. The great period of Mormon irrational exuberance in the 1980s — betting Mormonism would grow and fill the world — was based on faulty extrapolation of faulty numbers. The actual growth rate will most likely continue to slow; then the religion will reach a general stasis before it ultimately slowly declines.

    However, it should be noted that small movements often have the capacity to maintain themselves for centuries and even millennia — look at the Samaritans and Zoroastrians. Whereas there is effectively zero chance that Mormonism will be a major religion in 500 years, there is a very, very strong chance it will continue to exist in some form or other.

  9. Silver Rain (8) and Tommy D (10),

    Suffice it to say, I have a very different take on the scriptures and quotes you offered. And I have a very strong knee-jerk skepticism toward any interpretation of anything that suggests the Lord will perform some great work by way of members who operate outside the mainstream of the church because they have someone been more righteous and unlocked the “secret codes” within a select group of scriptures and G.A. quotes. Sorry to sound so harsh — I’m not suggesting that’s where you’re going, but some of what you’re saying sounds far out of the mainstream and doesn’t ring true for me. I’ve known people who were very fond of “doctrines for the extra elect,” and they’ve gone way overboard, up to and including forming their own sects. Apologies if it looks like I’m grouping you with them — I’m not. But like SteveS (#7), some of these future scenarios are a bit too esoteric and left field for my comfort in a discussion of the mainstream church.

    Again, Hawkgrrl, if it isn’t clear from my previous two posts, I think we’re in a great long-term position because we have not only individuals capable of receiving personal revelation but prophets capable of receiving general revelation, with personal revelation batting clean-up. We’ve been told that there will never again be a general apostasy, but only on the individual level.

  10. Hypothetically: If the mainstream LDS church were in a state of “general apostasy”, thus meaning the highest leaders were in apostasy, would anyone expect them to recognize and admit that? Wouldn’t they believe and say that they are not in apostasy?

    I’m not trying to say the church is actually in apostasy. My point is that I don’t know how you would tell the difference. If the church leaders say there will never again be a general apostasy that just seems like a no-brainer. What else would they say?

  11. Clay (13),

    “My point is that I don’t know how you would tell the difference.”

    Hence, my penultimate sentence: “We have not only individuals capable of receiving personal revelation but prophets capable of receiving general revelation, with personal revelation batting clean-up.”

    I think church members are treading on thin ice when we don’t take seriously enough our obligation to seek out revelation for ourselves whether what we’re hearing is of man or of God. Not that you didn’t already know this. It’s actually a lot of work and personal responsibility in practice, kind of like what Velksa was getting at in #3.

  12. Post

    John Hamer brings up an interesting point about freedom of religion being the enemy of religious “success” (in a roundabout way). The more direct way he said it was that theocracy (often through corporal and capital enforcement) is what determines the scale of a religion’s long-term success. If there were freedom of religion in more countries, would people choose Mormonism or not? And if there were no societal compulsion toward religion, would people simply choose a non-religious lifestyle?

    European countries would indicate a trend toward a non-religious lifestyle. Yet, in the US, many have chosen a stricter religious lifestyle as there is a trend toward fundamentalism and evangelicalism. Where are the religious moderates in our free society? Are they less vocal or are they really just agnostic churchgoers?

  13. Lorin: “I think church members are treading on thin ice when we don’t take seriously enough our obligation to seek out revelation for ourselves whether what we’re hearing is of man or of God.

    I totally agree. For me, this process has legitimately led me to drift from the prophets in some sense. Its all I can do and I feel like it is the right thing in God’s eyes. I don’t believe I’m motivated by pride on this one, because I still live a very typical active Mormon lifestyle, temple-worthy, etc. Is this possibility even acceptable in the world-view of most Mormons? It seems like its not. If my personal revelation doesn’t align with the prophets, then I must be doing it wrong.

  14. Lorin—I don’t really see my thoughts as extremist or esoteric, and fully acknowledge that they may be wrong. I am a little confused at being grouped with Tommy and with the groups you mention, since I don’t think of my thoughts as elitist. I take it more as a personal warning than a “hah-hah, I’m in the special group.” I have been too close to leaving the Church myself on occasion to ever take pride in my membership or to feel that it means anything other than that I am trying to be a disciple of Christ. If elitism is the feeling you got from what I said, I didn’t say it very well.

    I think it is completely mainstream and rational to say that being faithful is going to get harder and harder, and most will leave the Church. According to some, most already do when you take activity rates into account. I was only saying that I have the feeling, based on prophecies, my understanding of them and the scent in the air, that the rate of individual apostasy will not diminish as we wind towards the Second Coming.

  15. Some may suppose I am a schismatic and member of a group outside the church. I am not but my view of scripture and revelation is that a group will be drawn of out of the church. An elitist would automatically include themselves in that group which I have not. 17. is a thoughtful post – most will leave the church and many have in spirit if not in body. If we are not careful we can find ourselves in that category, no – “if we will not be that people”? Then what is left will be taken out of the church structure to something better and I think Joseph will be at the front of it. That is why I said that the LDS church “as it now stands” will no longer exist. Then I think the second coming will take place since something will exist that justifies it, something “built to last….”. No secret codes, no fictitious ordinations, nothing like that at all 🙂

  16. Post

    I’m as baffled as Lorin about some of these theories, and I think I know our doctrines pretty well. I’m surprised so many seem to think that we teach there is going to be a massive falling away before the second coming. Perhaps I was snoozing that week in church (I suppose that means I’m one of the bad ones). Although that was really just a peripheral question in my post (peripheral to me anyway).

    I do think the viability of Mormonism as a competing world religion is clear if based on these criteria. John Hamer suggests these criteria are not the whole story, and he makes some very valid points.

  17. I, frankly, am surprised at all the surprise. Although the doctrine of the gospel is said to eventually fill the whole earth, I have never had the impression that the numbers of the Church would be many. A “massive falling away” is already happening, depending on whom you talk to. The saints are few, and many stray into forbidden paths and are lost.

    I think the surprise comes from a differing image of what the winnowing of the Church might look like. In my mind, it is not some great, Mosaic exodus; it is a quiet falling away, one by one, as individuals cease to heed the words of the prophets. It is not done in some great and flashy excommunication like the September Six on steroids, it is done in the quiet loss of faith that perhaps does not even result in a loss of activity in the Church. It comes in a slow trickle, when people decide they know better than God, when they cease to listen to the Spirit; when they cease to be humble.

    To me, although I FREELY ADMIT I may be wrong in my interpretation of the scriptures, as it is only a feeling I have, not an official declaration, contemplating a large falling away before the end does not seem out of comprehension because it is only an acceleration of what is already happening.

  18. I had an institute teacher teach what SilverRain is saying, but it was based in a similar way on his interpretation of several scriptures. I haven’t heard that for awhile, but I sure did enjoy and respect that teacher’s insights to things.

  19. Let me clarify my last comment. The teacher that I remembered was theorizing that Christ would delay His Second Coming and that very few would still believe in the Second Coming when it actually happens. That is not quite was SilverRain was saying.

  20. SilverRain,

    “I think it is completely mainstream and rational to say that being faithful is going to get harder and harder, and most will leave the Church. According to some, most already do when you take activity rates into account. I was only saying that I have the feeling, based on prophecies, my understanding of them and the scent in the air, that the rate of individual apostasy will not diminish as we wind towards the Second Coming.”

    I do agree that we can’t expect easier times ahead and that many will leave the path or the Tree of Life and make their way to the Great and Spacious Building — it’s happening now and will continue to happen. I don’t think it follows that the church will be a shadow of what it is now. As the contrast between us and the world continues to widen, we can gain new interest as well as lose souls. The most difficult times in church history have prompted not only apostasy but have also laid the foundation for further growth.

    I’m just not familiar with the “MOST members will leave the church” doctrine, and at first glance I’m not especially warm to it. Apologies if I treated you and Tommy D’s comments as if they were equivalent. While I find your suggestion new to my ears and overly speculative, it doesn’t ring odd like the notion of a resurrected Joseph Smith coming back to lead a small group to usher in the Second Coming.

    However, in both cases, the “stone cut out of a mountain without hands rolling forth until it fills the earth,” plus a number of other fundamental quotations, strike me as much more authoritative. A large percentage falling away for a time isn’t out of the question, however.

  21. Think about Matthew 24. “…that evil servant beginneth to say, my master delayeth his coming”. Servants who start misbehaving when the master is delaying his coming; virgins invited to the wedding not making sure that they have the light needed to attend the feast; the tares among the wheat etc. are all talking about saints. They are warnings to those of us who think that just being LDS on the record and on Sundays, with an occasional visit to our HT/VT assignment will assure our safety. We have to bear our crosses, have our private Gethsemanes, prove to ourselves as well as to the Lord we are truly converted. And have that personal revelation.

    The Church will stand, but only a part of the members will actually form the Church of the Firstborn. And there will be other sincere people besides saints.

    The Church will continue growing – not always at the same rate, but growing. However, to my knowledge there is nothing in the Scripture that would give the impression that the true Church will ever be a majority religion. If I have missed something, please point me to it. Salvation (exaltation) is not cheap (it requires sacrifice) and many are not willing to pay the price.

  22. The prophecy states that in the latter-days the christian church will be restored and that evil will not prevail against it. So yeah – mormonism must prevail.

  23. Lorin—”I don’t think it follows that the church will be a shadow of what it is now.” I don’t really think it will be a shadow of what it is now, either, exactly. I would fully agree with you that my interpretation/understanding is speculative (and not doctrinal), which is why I don’t think it is that important to discuss or worry about, other than on a personal level. I think the term “most” is a little overly vague, too. I’m having trouble trying to express what I mean, but I think I’m slowly getting there. (I’ve had a head full of cotton lately. Too much to think about and not enough energy to do so.) I really think of the stone cut without hands as the doctrines of the gospel, not the numbers of those who believe it.

  24. Is Mormonism built to last? Yes, because it has a centralized leadership structure with a heavy emphasis on authority and obedience. There will always be a core of people who are attracted to any such organization.

    The question I keep asking myself is whether Mormonism is built to cover and fill the Earth (as several prophesies have said it will), when, despite some impressive growth over the past few decades (at least on paper), the LDS Church still comprises only a fraction of one-percent of the world’s population. Moreover, the fact that the Church’s highest leaders are consistently from the oldest living generation, combined with the light speed at which each generation is evolving culturally, philosophically, etc., means that the gap between LDS leaders and the rest of society will be ever-widening. In addition, LDS leaders are evidencing their willingness to offend/upset half the population in places like CA in order to take a stand on issues like same-sex marriage. Given these factors (the aging leadership, rapidly-evolving society, and the willingness to take a stand on controversial political issues), it’s hard to imagine a day when the LDS Church is accepted by even 5% or 10% of the world’s population. That being the case, it’s difficult for me to see how Mormonism is built to cover and fill the Earth.

    So will Mormonism last? Yes. Will it become popular enough to cover and fill the world? I’m not seeing that happen, but we shall see . . .

  25. Maybe it will ‘cover and fill the world’ via the web and ad campaigns, just like a political party does before an election.

    But actual members should always be only 5% or less, since they are preparing Gods, male and female. One would expect only the very few and very best to make the cut. Maybe that’s whats behind the churches stand on some political issues, it does help to separate those active and faithful who are just short of the mark.

  26. “But actual members should always be only 5% or less, since they are preparing Gods, male and female. One would expect only the very few and very best to make the cut. Maybe that’s whats behind the churches stand on some political issues, it does help to separate those active and faithful who are just short of the mark.”

    Isn’t this, more or less, the point of view of most conservative/fundamentalist religions — that they are among the righteous 5% +/-, and the rest of humanity are the lost/screwed/fallen ones? Seems so enthocentric and “small.”

    Wikipedia: Ethnocentrism is the tendency to look at the world primarily from the perspective of one’s own culture. Ethnocentrism often entails the belief that one’s own race or ethnic group is the most important and/or that some or all aspects of its culture are superior to those of other groups. Within this ideology, individuals will judge other groups in relation to their own particular ethnic group or culture, especially with concern to language, behaviour, customs, and religion.

  27. Well then, both of you guys (plus many more who don’t comment) will think that masses of people will be exalted with God.

    Although ethnocentrism mostly refers to a view through one’s race or ethnicity. I accept that there will be many ex jews like Peter & James or ex gentiles like Utchdorf or ex Asians like Kikuchi who will reach exaltation. And they will probably keep some of their cultural identity when they do so by saying ‘I was German during mortality or I was Jewish during mortality’. So ethnocentrism may not be the correct term here. (Myopic may though)

    You see, I’m on about were the road that leads to the top level of God’s kingdom is located and only 5%, and probably less than this, from many different cultures and races will actually find it and even fewer seem to be able to stay on that road.

  28. “Well then, both of you guys (plus many more who don’t comment) will think that masses of people will be exalted with God.” What if through eternal progression (including after this life) that is exactly the case? What about the possibility of multiple mortal progressions? (Now we’re speculating!)

  29. I doubt that due to what is written about the resurrection. The implication there is that people will resurrect with a body that can or can’t be exalted after going through the millennium and any other requirements. But I may be wrong, this is an area of Mormonism that I keep thinking about.

  30. Several times during his tenure, President Benson reminded us that the church was still under the condemnation described in D&C 84:55-57. I find it odd that no one who followed Pres. Benson has declared that it was over. I have to assume we are still under condemnation to this day.

    President Hinckley declared several times that the condition of the church was very positive pointing to building temples and temple attendence. He even cited the reconstruction of downtown Salt Lake in one of these narratives. According to 3rd Nephi 27:10-11, in order for the church to belong to Christ, it must be built on the works of God rather than the works of men. The accomplishments cited, in my mind, represent the works of men.

    Who, may I ask, are the Gentiles described in 3rd Nephi 16? We first find them in verse 6 blessed because of their belief in Christ through the Holy Ghost. We find the ‘unbelieving’ of the Gentiles scattering the House of Israel in verse 8, and finally we read of the Gentiles rejecting the gospel in verse 10. And you wonder why Robert Millet called these passages ‘scary?’ The short answer is that they prophesy of the apostasy of this latter day church.

  31. John Hamer seems right. I think in countries where we have achieved a critical mass (U.S., Mexico, Brazil, Philippines, Tonga, maybe some of the West African states), Mormonism will be around for hundreds of years.

    In thoroughgoing secular societies like Germany, Japan, and Russia, and in the Islamic Belt (from Morocco to Indonesia) Mormonism doesn’t currently stand a chance. It will continue to wither in the secular societies and never get a toehold in the latter.

    Secularism and Islam are two languages Mormons have not learned to speak fluently. Using biblical language and talking about restored Christianity and the Great Apostasy is not only meaningless in those two contexts, it is embarassingly parochial, like introducing the medieval controversy of nominalism versus accidentalism in the middle of a contemporary presidential debate.

  32. “One would expect only the very few and very best to make the cut.”

    Add me to the list of people who don’t view the Celestial Kingdom as an exclusive club in terms of total numbers. I’ve met far too many impressive people from all sorts of backgrounds who cleave to every bit of truth and light they encounter. People who I sense are “on the team” whether they know it or not, and who to me appear to be the kind of people who would gladly make and keep covenants with God were they to recognize them for what they are.

    Maybe if I could see into people’s hearts the way the Lord does I would be less optimistic — but maybe more so. I think we’ll see a pretty impressive cross-section of humanity choosing a celestial existence by the time this mortality thing is all over.

    Sorry — that’s pretty far outside the scope of this post, ain’t it?

  33. I like post 36 very much, don’t think it is beyond scope and, I agree completely. There will be a LOT of surprises in the gathering and CK and, as Jesus said, “MY Sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me….” As sheep usually come in flocks this could be a good amount of people.

    On a side note, I am surprised that so few seem to believe that Joseph Smith will return – Brigham Young described Joseph Smith’s role in the millenium and also implies that there will eventually be a lot of people in the Kingdom of God too…

    “I am going to stop my talking by saying that, in the millennium, when the kingdom of God is established on the earth in power, glory and perfection, and the reign of wickedness that has so long prevailed is subdued, the Saints of God will have the privilege of building their temples, and of entering into them, becoming, as it were, pillars in the temples of God, and they will officiate for their dead. Then we will see our friends come up, and perhaps some that we have been acquainted with here. If we ask who will stand at the head of the resurrection in this last dispensation, the answer is—Joseph Smith, Junior, the Prophet of God. He is the man who will be resurrected and receive the keys of the resurrection, and he will seal this authority upon others, and they will hunt up their friends and resurrect them when they shall have been officiated for, and bring them up. And we will have revelations to know our forefathers clear back to Father Adam and Mother Eve, and we will enter into the temples of God and officiate for them. Then man will be sealed to man until the chain is made perfect back to Adam, so that there will be a perfect chain of priesthood from Adam to the winding-up scene.
    This will be the work of the Latter-day Saints in the millennium. JD 15:138-139

    This also shows me that LDS church as it stands now will not be around – I see something better. Will there be “Mormonism” – I say surely.

  34. The LDS Church is built to last, like a Tonka Truck from my childhood. It’s a little rusty in spots and sort of banged up, but it’s still there. I still enjoy playing in the sandbox with my friends with my good ole trusty Tonka Truck. Oh. I just looked up the website for Tonka toys. They are all plastic now. Forget the rust comment.

  35. Is Mormonism built to last?

    My guess is that it is not.

    I had the same thoughts as Clay in #13, but came to a different conclusion. Since we have a centralized first presidency and prophet, our church is just one testimony away from total meltdown. I feel that at some point, whether right or wrong, one of the prophets will decide that the church is all bunk and the church will break up into a dozen or more splinter groups. It will then slowly shrink into extinction. I believe that this will happen at some point whether it takes 50 years or 500 years.

    Secondly, the keystone of our religion is the Book of Mormon. Scientific data that “disproves” this book already exists and may become much more widespread, researched, public, and convincing. This may become more of an issue especially with the Church’s decision to get involved in the political process.

    I hope that my crazy guesses are wrong. It’s hard to imagine a better institution on Earth.

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