The Essential Joseph Smith
Foreword by Marvin S. Hill
“The Rise of the Church of Christ in These Last Days,”
A Revelation to the Church of Christ, circa June 1830
(from The Evening and the Morning Star [Independence, Missouri] 1 [June 1832], 1:[1-2])
[p.2]The rise of the Church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in the flesh; it being regularly organized and established agreeable to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God in the fourth month and on the sixth day of the month, which is called April: Which commandments were given to Joseph [Smith], who was called of God and ordained an Apostle of Jesus Christ, an Elder of this Church; and also to Oliver [Cowdery], who was also called of God an Apostle of Jesus Christ, an Elder of this Church, and ordained under his hand; and this according to the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to whom be all glory both now and for ever. Amen.
For, after it was truly was manifested unto this first Elder, that he had received a remission of his sins, he was entangled again in the vanities of the world, but after truly repenting God ministered unto him by an holy angel, whose countenance was as lightning, and whose garments were pure and white above all other whiteness, and gave unto him commandments which inspired him from on high, and gave unto him power, by the means which were prepared, that he should translate a Book, which Book contained a record of a fallen people, and also the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles; and to the Jews also, proving unto them, that the holy Scriptures are true; and also, that God does inspire men and call them to his holy work, in these last days as well as in generations of old, that he might be the same God forever. Amen.
Which Book was given by inspiration, and is called The Book of Mormon, and is confirmed to others by the ministering of angels, and declared unto the world by them: Wherefore, having so great witnesses, by them shall the world be judged, even as many as shall [p.3]hereafter receive this work, either to faith and righteousness, or to the hardness of heart in unbelief, to their own condemnation, for the Lord God hath spoken it, for we, the Elders of the Church, have heard and bear witness to the words of the glorious Majesty on high; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Wherefore, by these things we know, that there is a God in Heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting, the same unchangeable God, the maker of Heaven and earth and all things that in them is, and that he created man male and female, and after his own image, and in his own likeness created he them; and that he gave unto the children of men commandments, that they should love and serve him the only being whom they should worship, but by the transgression of these holy laws, man became sensual and devilish, and became fallen man: Wherefore the Almighty God gave his only begotten Son, as it is written in those Scriptures, which have been given of him, that he suffered temptations, but gave no heed unto them, that he was crucified, died, and rose again the third day, and that he ascended into Heaven to sit down on the right hand of the Father, to reign with Almighty power, according to the will of the Father. Therefore, as many as would believe and were baptized in his holy name, and endured in faith to the end, should be saved; yea, even as many as were before he came in the flesh, from the beginning, who believed in the words of the holy Prophets, who were inspired by the gift of the Holy Ghost, which truly testifies of him in all things, as well as those who should come after, who should believe in the gifts and callings of God, by the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and of the Son, which Father and Son and Holy Ghost, is one God, infinite and eternal, without end. Amen.
And we know, that all men must repent and believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and worship the Father in his name, and endure in faith on his name to the end, or they cannot be saved in the Kingdom of God: And we know, that Justification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, is just and true; and we know, also, that Sanctification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, is just and true, to all those who love and serve God with all their mights, minds, and strength, but there is a possibility that men may fall from grace and depart from the living God. Therefore let the church take heed and pray always, lest they fall into temptation; yea, and even he that is sanctified also; and we know, that these things are true and [p.4]agreeable to the Revelation of John, neither adding to, nor diminishing from the prophecy of his Book; neither to the holy Scriptures; neither to the Revelations of God which shall come hereafter, by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost; neither by the voice of God; neither by the ministering of angels, and the Lord God hath spoken it; and honor, power, and glory be rendered to his holy name both now and ever. Amen.
And again, by way of commandment to the Church, concerning the manner of baptism: Behold whosoever humbleth himself before God and desireth to be baptized, and comes forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnesseth unto the Church that they have truly repented of all their sins and are willing to take upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him unto the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received the spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, then shall they be received unto baptism into the Church of Christ.
The duty of the Elders, Priests, Teachers, Deacons and members of the Church of Christ. An Apostle is an Elder, and it is his calling to baptize and to ordain other Elders, Priests, Teachers and Deacons, and to administer the flesh and blood of Christ, according to the Scriptures, and to teach, expound, exhort, baptize, and watch over the Church, and to confirm the Church by the laying on of the hands, and the giving of the Holy Ghost, and to take the lead of all meetings. The Elders are to conduct the meetings as they are led by the Holy Ghost. The Priests’ duty is to preach, teach, expound, exhort and baptize, and administer the Sacrament, and visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret, and attend to all family duties; and ordain other Priests, Teachers, and Deacons, and take the lead in meetings; but none of these offices is he to do when there is an Elder present, but in all cases is to assist the Elder. The Teachers’ duty is to watch over the Church always, and be with and strengthen them, and see that there is no iniquity in the Church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying nor back-biting nor evil speaking; and see that the Church meet together often, and also see that all the members do their duty; and he is to take the lead of meetings in the absence of the Elder or Priest, and is to be assisted always, and in all his duties in the Church by the Deacons; but neither the Teachers nor Deacons, have authority to baptize nor administer the Sacrament, are to warn, expound, exhort and teach, and invite all to come unto Christ.
[p.5]Every Elder, Priest, Teacher, or Deacon, is to be ordained according to the gifts and callings of God unto him, by the power of the Holy Ghost which is in the one who ordains him.
The several Elders composing this Church of Christ, are to meet in Conference once in three months, to do church business whatsoever is necessary. And each Priest or Teacher, who is ordained by a Priest, is to take a certificate from him at the time, which when presented to an Elder, he is to give him a License, which shall authorize him to perform the duty of his calling.
The duty of the members after they are received by baptism. The Elders or Priests are to have a sufficient time to expound all things concerning this Church of Christ to their understanding, previous to their partaking of the Sacrament, and being confirmed by the laying on of the hands of the Elders; so that all things may be done in order. And the members shall manifest before the Church, and also before the Elders, by a godly walk and conversation, that they are worthy of it, that there may be works and faith agreeable to the holy Scriptures, walking in holiness before the Lord. Every member of the Church of Christ having children, is to bring them unto the Elders before the Church, who are to lay their hands upon them in the Lord, and bless them in the name of Christ. There cannot any one be received into the Church of Christ, who has not arrived to the years of accountability before God, and is not capable of repentance.
And baptism is to be administered in the following manner unto all those who repent: Whosoever being called of God and having authority given them of Jesus Christ, shall go down into the water with them, and shall say, calling them by name: Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. Then shall he immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water. And it is expedient that the Church meet together oft to partake of Bread and Wine, in the remembrance of the Lord Jesus; and the Elder or Priest shall administer it, and after this manner shall he do, he shall kneel with the Church, and call upon the Father in mighty prayer saying: O God the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O, God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always [p.6]remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen. The manner of administering the Wine: Behold they shall take the Cup and say, O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this Wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it, in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them, that they may witness unto thee, O God the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his spirit to be with them. Amen.
Any member of this Church of Christ, transgressing or being overtaken in a fault, shall be dealt with as the Scriptures direct. It shall be the duty of the several churches, composing this Church of Christ, to send one or more of their Teachers to attend the several Conferences, held by the Elders of this Church, with a list of the names of the several members, uniting themselves with the Church since the last Conference, or send by the hand of some Priest, so that there can be a regular list of the names of the whole Church, in a Book kept by one of the Elders; whomsoever the other elders shall appoint from time to time: and also, if any have been expelled from the Church, so that their names may be blotted out of the general Church Record of names. Any member not removing from the Church where he resides, if going to a Church where he is not known, may take a letter certifying that he is a regular member and in good standing; which certificate may be signed by any Elder or Priest, if the member receiving the letter is personally acquainted with the Elder or Priest, or it may be signed by the Teachers or Deacons of the Church.
Behold, I say unto you, that all old Covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing, and this is a new and everlasting Covenant: even that which was from the beginning. Wherefore, although a man should be baptized an hundred times, it availeth him nothing, for ye cannot enter in at the straight gate by the law of Moses; neither by your dead works; for it is because of your dead works, that I have caused this last Covenant, and this Church to be built up unto me; even as in days of old. Wherefore, enter ye at the gate as I have commanded, and seek not to counsel your God. Amen.