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FIVE REASONS WHY I BELIEVE MORMONS ARE CHRISTIANS – PART 4: LDS PROPHETS AND APOSTLES TESTIFY OF CHRIST


            In addition to the testimony of Christ found canonized LDS scripture, the prophets and apostles of the LDS Church have testified of Christ since days of Joseph Smith.


Prophets Testify of Christ

            Just as the ultimate purpose of scripture is to testify of Christ, so the ultimate purpose of those who write scripture – the prophets and apostles – is to teach and testify of Jesus Christ. Jesus said that “Moses…wrote of me” (John 5:46), He also said that “father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” (John 8:56) Paul taught that one purpose of having apostles and prophets in the Church was to give the saints, “the knowledge of the Son of God” (Eph. 4:13). He also said that to preach of Jesus Christ was “saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come.” (Acts 26:22) Zacharias said that the coming of Christ was in fulfillment of what all the “holy prophets” had said “since the world began.” (Luke 1:70; also see Acts 3:18, 21) The purpose of those in the apostleship was for each one “to be a witness…of [Christ’s] resurrection.” (Acts 1:22)

            All of this accords with the declaration of the angel to the Apostle John, that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev. 19:10) Thus, for Christians, there exist an intimate connection with having a testimony of Jesus Christ, and the powers of a prophetic calling.
  
Testimonies of Christ from LDS Prophets and Apostles

            In accordance with this New Testament principal, Joseph Smith declared, “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”[1]

            Since the establishment of the LDS Church, prophets and apostles have been fulfilling that fundamental responsibility by testifying of Jesus Christ and His divine mission. I can’t quote every apostle and prophet since 1830, but here are a few examples from a variety of those who have served as either prophet or apostle in the Church, with some emphasis on the present leaders:

Joseph Smith

I believe in the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and that He died for the sins of all men, who in Adam had fallen.[2]

And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father – That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created (D&C 76:22-24).

Russell M. Nelson

I testify that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. He is our Creator, Savior and Redeemer, Advocate with the Father, Deliverer, and Jehovah of the Old Testament. He is the promised Immanuel, the anointed Messiah, and our great Exemplar.[3]

Boyd K. Packer

Upon Him was the burden of all human transgression, all human guilt. And hanging in the balance was the Atonement. Through His willing act, mercy and justice could be reconciled, eternal law sustained, and that mediation achieved without which mortal man could not be redeemed… Humbly I lay claim upon the Atonement of Christ. I find no shame in kneeling down in worship of our Father and His Son. For agency is mine, and this I choose to do! [4]

Orson F. Whitney

I know that my Redeemer liveth. Not even Job knew it better. I have evidence that I cannot doubt; and this is why I am found among those who tonight unfurl the slogan for which we stand, possessing and proclaiming an individual testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ. [5]

Harold B. Lee

I came to know as a witness more powerful than sight, until I could testify with a surety that defied all doubt, that I knew with every fiber of my soul that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, that He lived, He died, He was resurrected, and today He presides in the heavens….I bear that testimony humbly and leave you my witness.[6]

Richard G. Scott

Jesus Christ lives. He is our Savior, our Redeemer. He is a glorious, resurrected being. He has the capacity to communicate love that is so powerful, so overwhelming as to surpass the capacity of the human tongue to express adequately. He gave His life to break the bonds of death. His Atonement made fully active the plan of happiness of His Father in Heaven.[7]

Heber J. Grant

Jesus is the Redeemer of the world, the Savior of mankind, who came to the earth with a divinely appointed mission to die for the redemption of mankind. Jesus Christ is literally the Son of God, the Only Begotten in the flesh. He is our Redeemer, and we worship him.[8]

Marion G. Romney

Jesus lives; he is the Son of God. He came to earth as the Only Begotten of the Father. He conquered death, raised his own body from the grave, and implemented the power of resurrection for all men.[9]

Jeffrey R. Holland

I testify that the living God is our Eternal Father and that Jesus Christ is His living and Only Begotten Son in the flesh. I testify that this Jesus, who was slain and hanged on a tree, was the chief Apostle then and is the chief Apostle now, the Great High Priest, the chief cornerstone of His Church in this last and greatest of all dispensations. I testify that He lives, that the whole triumph of the gospel is that He lives, and because He does, so will we.I declare Him to be the Savior of the world, the Bishop and Shepherd of our souls, the Bright and Morning Star. I know that our garments can be washed white only in the blood of that Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world. I know that we are lifted up unto life because He was lifted up unto death, that He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows, and with His stripes we are healed. I bear witness that He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities, that He was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief because upon Him were laid the transgressions of us all.[10]

Bruce R. McConkie

I feel, and the Spirit seems to accord, that the most important doctrine I can declare, and the most powerful testimony I can bear, is of the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. His atonement is the most transcendent event that ever has or ever will occur from Creation’s dawn through all the ages of a never-ending eternity.[11]

Gordon B. Hinkley

But of all the things for which I feel grateful this morning, one stands out preeminently. That is a living testimony of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Almighty God, the Prince of Peace, the Holy One….He, the Son of the Father, came to earth. He condescended to leave His royal courts on high—where He stood as Prince, the Firstborn of the Father—to take upon Himself mortality, to be born in a manger, the humblest of all places, in a vassal state ruled by the centurions of Rome. How could He have condescended further?[12]

Like the polar star in the heavens, regardless of what the future holds, there stands the Redeemer of the world, the Son of God, certain and sure as the anchor of our immortal lives. He is the rock of our salvation, our strength, our comfort, the very focus of our faith.[13]

            These are only a few of the endless examples that could be given here, from any of the many men which have severed as prophets and apostles in the LDS Church. There can be no doubt that these men felt they must sincerely testify of  Christ as a part of their prophetic and apostolic mission.

The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles

            While all have borne witness individually of the divinity of Jesus Christ, in January of 2000, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued an official statement, bearing their collective testimony of Jesus Christ.  The following are the opening and closing paragraphs of that official testimony:

            As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth.            We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.[14]
Conclusion of Part 4
           
            As these several testimonies demonstrate, LDS apostles and prophets have testified of Jesus Christ, as is their personal and collective responsibility. This is in harmony with the New Testament, which teaches that prophets and apostles have always testified of Jesus Christ. Thus, I affirm that Mormons are Christians.

Other Reasons


[1] Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, pg. 49
[2] Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, pg. 52
[3] Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Faith in Christ,” Ensign (March 2008), pg. 24-30
[4] President Boyd K. Packer, “Who is Jesus Christ?” Ensign (March 2008), pg. 12-19
[5] Orson F. Whitney, “The Divinity of Jesus Christ,” Ensign (December 2003), pg 6
[6] President Harold B. Lee, in “He Lives! The Witness of Latter-day Prophets,” Ensign (March 2008), pg. 8-11
[7] Elder Richard G. Scott, “He Lives! All Glory to His Name!” Ensign (May 2010), pg. 75-78
[8] President Heber J. Grant, in “He Lives! The Witness of Latter-day Prophets,” Ensign (March 2008), pg. 8-11
[9] President Marion G. Romney, “Easter Thoughts,” Engisn (May 1975), pg. 82
[10] Elder Jeffery R. Holland, “Missionary Work and the Atonement,” Ensign (March 2001), pg. 8
[11] Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “The Purifying Power of Gethsemane,” Engisn (May 1985), pg. 9
[12] President Gordon B. Hinckley, “My Testimony,” Ensign (May 2000), pg. 69 (emphasis in original)
[13] President Gordon B. Hinckley, “We Look to Christ,” Ensign (May 2002), pg. 90
[14] The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles

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