By Eric Johnson
Photo: Apostle Norm Lyles with church members in Africa
One of the three largest non-polygamous splinter groups in Mormonism, The Church of Christ with the Elijah Message was founded in 1930 by Otto Fetting after he broke off from the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) in 1929. The religion places great emphasis on eschatology (end times teaching) and claims that the Tribulation has already begun, with the Second Coming and Millennium set to come very soon. The main scriptures are King James Version of the Bible, the “Record of the Nephites” (Book of Mormon), and a series of “Messages” that have been delivered personally by John the Baptist, as the church leaders believe in continuing revelation for today. The church is led by a group of men called apostles. Today Apostle Norman Lyles from Grand Junction, CO appears to be the church’s main leader, as he claims to have met several times with John the Baptist beginning in 2018.
|Church Name||The Church of Christ with the Elijah Message|
|Founder||Otto Fetting (1871-1933). He was followed by William A. Draves (1912-1994)|
|Date of Founding||Officially leaders claim the church was founded in 1829 when Joseph Smith received the priesthood and restored the authority of the church; realistically the founding of this particular church took place a century later (1930).|
|Membership||12,500 (estimated, fewer than 2,000 who live in the United States)|
|Main places of faith||Africa, Europe, U.S., India, Philippines|
|Scripture||Mainly the Bible (KJV), the “Record of the Nephites” (the “1836” edition of the Book of Mormon), and a series of continuing revelations from John the Baptist (Elias) called “Messages.” A total of 129 “Messages” have been recorded at the time of this writing but many more will certainly be added in the upcoming years.|
|Location for headquarters||“Church World Headquarters” are based in Independence, MO–Apostle Terry Laws says the church should not be considered a “splinter group” from the LDS Church but instead is the “one true church”|
|Top leaders||Apostles (12, although there were only 10 in 2020). Since 2018 Apostle Norman D. Lyles claims that he receives direct “Messages” from John the Baptist.|
|Church periodical||The Assured Way (monthly)|
|Church’s Main Focus||End Times / Eschatological and direct revelation from John the Baptist|
|Salvation||Faith, repentance, baptism, and the laying on of hands along with obedience|
In the introduction page of its website, the leaders write:
We are the Church of Christ with The Elijah Message and we proclaim the Midnight Cry spoken of in Matthew chapter 25. Our Church has been established of God to proclaim the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to warn the world that the second coming of Christ is near at hand. We are a world Church with local churches throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, India, and the Philippines. We claim the same Holy Priesthood Authority as the old Jerusalem Church of the new testament. We proclaim to the world that the promised Elias has come as the Lord has promised according to Malachi 3:1. Source
The church regularly adds new revelation to its written canon. Elias mentioned in the paragraph above is “John ‘The Baptist’ (Resurrected)” who so far has brought 129 divine directives to three different leaders known as apostles; the first 120 written were compiled in a book titled The Word of The Lord (brought to Mankind by an Angel), which the church makes available.
Several biblical verses are used to support the teaching that John the Baptist communicates with church leaders today. The first is Matthew 17:11 where Jesus said, “He has come as Christ said he would, ‘Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.’” This as well as Malachi 3:1 refers to John the Baptist and the first coming of Jesus. Never did Jesus or the apostles teach that John the Baptist would be involved with the world after the time of Jesus.
Another popular verse is Amos 3:7. It says, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealth (sic) his secrets unto his servants the prophets.” This verse is used by LDS leaders, but it has nothing to do with this church since its top leaders are apostles, not prophets. In addition, Revelation 14:6 is utilized. It says, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” Over the years, LDS leaders have used this verse to support the coming of the Angel Moroni who provided the Book of Mormon’s gold plates to Joseph Smith; however, this church uses this verse to support John the Baptist’s visits to one of three apostles who have lived since 1929.
Otto Fetting (1871-1933) (pictured at the right) was an American realtor and editor from Port Huron, Michigan who was originally baptized into the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS, later changed to Community of Christ). After getting baptized in 1891, he became a priesthood holder in 1899. He left the RLDS organization in 1925 and joined the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), being ordained as an apostle the following year. On February 7, 1927, Fetting claimed to be visited by John the Baptist, who told him that this church should begin construction of a temple on the Temple Lot property just across the street from the property owned by the Community of Christ. It was Joseph Smith himself who in 1831 originally had prophesied a temple to be built on this very spot.
The Temple Lot church published Fetting’s messages in their monthly magazine Zion’s Advocate and even had a groundbreaking ceremony on April 6, 1929, with the building scheduled to be finished in seven years. John the Baptist became involved with the project, dictating that the markers should be moved ten feet to the east.
While the Temple Lot leaders accepted the first eleven Messages given to Fetting, they did not accept the Twelfth Message he claimed to have received on July 18, 1929. In verse 4, John the Baptist commanded that the church leaders get rebaptized for their unfaithfulness as directed “from the word of the Lord.” The admonition reads:
Behold, the Lord has rejected all creeds and factions of men, who have gone away from the word of the Lord and have become an abomination in his sight, therefore, let those that come to the Church of Christ be baptized, that they may rid themselves of the traditions and sins of men; preparing themselves, that they may be fit and worthy for the Spirit and power of the Holy Ghost, and as the greater power shall come, that they may be ready to receive it with joy
In verse 8 the Messenger further criticized the leaders:
Remember, the priesthood was not and will not be taken from the earth since I conferred it on Joseph Smith; but the greater power of the priesthood has been withheld because of the transgression of those who have been entrusted therewith. Source
Fetting was thereby rejected by the Temple Lot church leaders. He left the church in October 1929, taking close to half of the church’s members with him, including several of the church’s apostles. He then founded the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message on April 8, 1930.
The Messages are written very similarly to Joseph Smith’s Doctrine and Covenants. For instance, in the final communication (#30) given on January 28, 1933, Fetting quoted God in verse 2 as saying, “I have given the plans for the temple, but my people are not worthy or cannot enter therein.” Verse 3 went on to say,
Thus says the Lord, I will not leave my people if they will keep my commandments and serve me as I have instructed you; yea, my Spirit touches the hearts of many who have no understanding of my law. I have heard the prayers of my people and all is in my hands.
The last part of verse 3 sounds informal: “At this juncture the Messenger left. He said he would be back and spare me a little longer.” Then, “He returned and gave what follows,” with another six verses added. At the end, Fetting wrote,
This was presented to me by the Messenger and I read it as the Messenger unrolled the roll which he had shown me the previous night on which was written, “The Word of the Lord.” (Signed OTTO FETTING)
There was a ” testimony of four witnesses to the Thirtieth Message as delivered by the Messenger sent from God” at the end, with a notarized statement provided by a notary public from Michigan. The witnesses were W.R. Bexter, Roy E. Fetting, Jennie M. Fetting, and Eliazabeth M. Mills. Otto Fetting died an hour after this last message.
William A. Draves: The New Leader
Four years after Fetting’s death, William A. Draves (1912-1994)—a former RLDS and LDS Church member from Nucla, Colorado—claimed that the very same John the Baptist had appeared to him. He said he received his first Message (number 31) given on October 4, 1937. In the preface to the vision, Draves described the scene:
I had awakened several times in the night and went back to sleep praying. I awakened with a start, hearing footsteps on the ground floor. I raised up in bed and looking toward the staircase I noticed a light coming or beginning to shine up the stairway. I was somewhat astonished to think someone would be walking in my house, when I knew I had locked the doors. Immediately I saw it was a man dressed in a white robe, and with no light in his hand as I had supposed. A light seemed to radiate from him, lighting the whole room, while immediately around him it was much brighter. His beard was radiant, his eyes which shone like neon light, though piercing and bright, were gentle and pleasant, his looks kind. I was somewhat afraid, but his smile helped to drive away my fear. I thought perhaps it may be an angel of God. When he appeared on the top stair he seemed to float quickly to my bedside, I trembled and pulled the covers to my chest while sitting up in bed. He smiled and began to speak kindly. His tone was convincing and his voice slightly heavier than that of an ordinary man. When he spoke I seemed to be lifted in space, yet I knew I remained on the bed. Although this happened so very quickly, all fear had left me and I set my faculties to give attention and listen carefully. (This was first reported as a dream or vision but later events proved it to be neither a dream nor vision but a reality.) Source
While some members left the church, most of Fetting’s followers accepted Draves’s claim that he was authorized to receive these new Messages. However, there were several other church splits that came from Fetting’s church. One is the Church of Christ (Restored) under the leadership of A.C. DeWolf, who organized new churches in Louisiana and Mississippi at the time Draves took over. In 1943, The Church of Christ (Fettingite) was formed when some followers rejected Draves and the Messages he provided. A split from this church took place in the 1950s when some from the Church of Christ (Fettingite) commanded Saturday (Sabbath) worship under Apostle S.T. Bronson. A new church called the Church of Christ (Restored) was created, which today has fewer than 500 members. The Church of Christ (Fettingite) has about 2,000 followers.
Draves wrote 90 Messages (31-120) for the church before he died in 1994. No Messages were published from 1995 through 2017. After close to a quarter century of silence, it is believed that John the Baptist reappeared on September 29, 2018 to one of the apostles, Norman D. Lyles, who has been a church missionary beginning in 1979; he has a college degree in mathematics (1969) and has worked as a truck driver and journeyman lineman. He described his initial visitation this way in the “One-hundred Twenty First Message”:
I was sitting on a rock writing in my journal the events of the past few days of our missionary effort in Uganda and Kenya. It was just becoming slightly light enough for me to see and write, when suddenly the Angel, John the Baptist, stood before me. I, at first thought it was a vision, until he reached in my pack, which was beside me, and handed me a writing pad and another pen and commanded me to write the Message that he had brought unto me from the Lord Christ Jesus. All my doubts and fears vanished and a great peace came over me, as he moved his hand to my head. He wore a robe of white, and appeared to be about six foot tall (sic), and perhaps 30 years of age, with a beard and hair down to his shoulder (sic). Most noticeable were his eyes, which seemed to pierce my very soul and his appearance seemed to radiate light. His voice was deep and seemingly kind. Source
As of June 2020, there have been a total of 129 Messages; Lyles authored the nine Messages from 121 through 129, even though his name does not appear on each one.
Lyles’s Vision of the Pandemic
In the “One-hundred Twenty Eighth Message,” Lyles said that he was awakened by the Spirit of the Lord before 3 a.m. on March 20, 2020, so “I went upstairs to my living room to pray for my brothers who were laboring in Europe for the Lord. My concern was great for these brothers due to the Pandemic, which had become crisis level in Europe and really world-wide.”
While he prayed, the “Messenger of the Lord” appeared in the room and laid his hand on Lyles’s shoulder, saying, “Behold, the Lord is mindful of thee and knoweth the needs of thy brothers.” Lyles explained,
He said the Lord had told us of the pale horse had been let upon the earth and now we were witnessing the power and destruction, sickness and death of this plague. Let the brothers return to their homes for a time and then return on their journey, as it becomes more safe. Let all know the time of the Lord is not the timing of man. The Lord has opened doors, however the destruction of the pale horse must awaken the people and have his hour as well. Source
Then Lyles claimed that he received a direct message from the Messenger. In verse 6, he said,
Many in this nation are trembling in fear and falling into division, as they seek to entrust men with responsibility to lead and direct the political fortunes which seem to control the nation; however failing to seek the Lord to rule and over rule in such matters. Men are running to and fro, seeking their own will and ideas, and failing to place all in the hands of the Lord.
It is typical for these Messages to include a number of imperatives such as “keep His commandments and observe the ordinances of the Lord,” as verse 7 does here. In verse 8, Lyles said he took the Messenger’s hand and was led into a vision that seems oddly familiar to those who are familiar with Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Verse 9 references the sin of abortion:
We were lifted immediately upward from my home, from the earth. As we were lifted I was aware of thousands of souls moving all around me toward the heavens. We traveled eastward away from the American nation. We paused briefly as the thousands continued toward heaven. I asked the Messenger who are these that have passed us toward heaven. The sadness within his eyes was deeper than I have ever witnessed anywhere. He said these are the souls of the unborn ripped from their mother’s womb. As he spoke I witnessed an Angel descending unto earth with a large vial in his hands. I heard audibly a voice saying: behold the wrath of God coming upon the earth.
Lyles was next taken to Africa where he could see the Middle East and Europe as well as Russia and China. He went on to describe a Revelation-like scene in a modern setting. Verse 18 describes the setting:
The Messenger said, you see the results of Sin, Greed, the false prophet, and men without mercy. Soon the armies shall move and when it ends sorrow shall be multiplied upon sorrow, and the strength of the armies shall be no more. See what men have brought upon themselves, failing to humble themselves before the Lord. Horror and sorrow shall abound in everyplace I have shown you. The wrath of the Lord shall know no bounds and men shall beg for the mercy of death, but yet the end is not yet; for following the Great Tribulation, shall the Lord come with His Armies from heaven and destroy the armies of Satan and the false prophet and Satan shall be cast into prison for one thousand years.
When he saw the United States, he was shown “the Angel of the Lord poised to pour out the contents of the vial upon the American nation” for shedding “innocent blood,” “whoring after strange flesh,” and having ministry and sanctuaries that were not part of the “Lord’s House.” Verse 21 reads:
The cries of those below reached unto the heavens and my tears flowed like a river, as my heart felt as if it would burst. Never had I felt such pain, dreamed or thought of such a sight or sound. I wept bitterly as I cried unto the Lord for the people of my nation.
All of these things, the Messenger says, will come to pass so church members can prepare themselves for the imminent Millennium.
The Most Recent Message Given to Lyles on June 12, 2020
Apostle Lyles claimed to receive yet another message on June 12, 2020. He describes it this way:
I had laid my head down to rest a bit in the afternoon; when the Messenger of the Lord touched me (SIC) right shoulder and startled me, saying Awaken! He wore the same robe he had worn all along, His entire being had a glow about him and he handed me a tablet and a pen commanding me to write. He paused several times allowing me to complete writing the words he had spoken. Correcting me when necessary. Several times my emotions overcame me as his spirit and words were so very strong. He would smile and allow me to gather myself, then continue to speak. His eyes seemed to almost have a glow to them, looking into my very soul, and I could feel a deep joy within him as he delivered the Message unto me. For a short time he spoke unto me words of encouragement and helping me to understand events transpiring in our nation. Those I have not written, as they were simply for my personal understanding and preparation. He was with me for just under an hour and the peace that filled my soul I cannot began to express. Source
The 38 verses of this particular message are filled with admonitions for the church leaders located throughout the world.
Current Apostles of the Church
The office of Apostle is the highest office in this church. Here is the current (2020) list of the Quorum of the Apostles:
- Darrell Bellamy (Pleasant Hill, MO)
- Terry Laws (Leoti, KS)
- Norman D. Lyles (Grand Junction, CO)
- Larry Gosier Williams (Boston, GA)
- Timothy Gosier (Roxbury, MA)
- Edward Coffey (Memphis, TN)
- Frederick Mikangi (Kenya, East Africa)
- Peter Wakesa Simiyu (Kenya, East Africa)
- Robert Beck (Burladingen, Germany)
- Roger Simpson (Cagayan De Oro, Philippines)
The church also has bishops who serve as biblical deacons. They are made up of these four men:
- John Githinji (Kitale, Kenya, East Africa)
- Gary Doudy (Grand Junction, CO)
- Chris Lewis (Chantilly, VA)
- Norris Purifoy (Harvey, IL)
Doctrines taught by the Church
On the church’s website is “The Articles of Faith and Practice” describing some of its beliefs. Source Among other things, the church believes:
- In God the Eternal Father who is unchangeable
- In Jesus Christ as the “manifestation of God in flesh”
- In the Holy Ghost as the “medium by which we receive the revelation of Jesus Christ”
- That “men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression”
- That “all men may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel”
- In the “literal second coming and millennial reign of Jesus Christ” and that “men will be rewarded or punished according to the good or evil they may have done”
- Word of Wisdom (dietary law), with no tobacco, alcohol, and drugs
- In the sign gifts, including healing, miracles, prophecy, and tongues
- In the Bible as the Word of God
- In the Book of Mormon
- In an incomplete canon of scripture, as God can speak “when, where, and through whom he may choose”–this leaves room for Messages from John the Baptist
- That when there are six or more regularly baptized members—one of whom is an elder—the “Church exists with full power of church extension when acting in harmony with the law of God
- A man must be called and ordained in order to preach the gospel and administer the ordinances
- The same church organization exists just as it did during the time of Jesus
- Highest office is apostle, of which there are up to twelve men who hold this position
- The church does missionary work while building up the kingdom of God
- Remarriage is only for the innocent party and is not available to the guilty party
- In the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the ten lost tribes
- The New Jerusalem will come to America–the nation of Zion–and a temple will be rebuilt in Independence, MO where Christ will return
- The King James Version of the Bible along with the “1836” edition of the Book of Mormon that they call the “Record of the Nephites”)
Differences between the LDS Church include:
- no belief in the three kingdoms of glory
- no Aaronic or Melchizedek priesthoods, just the “priesthood”; no prophet/president as the top leader or First Presidency
- no work done on behalf of the dead, so no genealogical work is required (although a future temple will be built in Independence, Missouri)
- no Doctrine and Covenants or the Pearl of Great Price.
To support its teachings, the church generally utilizes biblical verses and rarely references the Messages or the Record of the Nephites. For those trying to effectively share their faith with anyone involved in this religion, it is recommended to use the Bible since there is no Article 8 (“as far as it is translated correctly”) stipulation attached to it.
An Interview with Apostle Terry Laws
Because the church is not very clear about the particulars of its doctrines, I reached out to a church apostle (using an email address provided on the church’s website) to get additional information on this church. I interviewed Apostle Terry Laws over the phone for an hour during the afternoon June 21, 2020. Apostle Laws lives in Kansas and joined the church in 1985. He became an apostle in 1993, a position he continues to hold today. He was very cordial and tried his best to answer my questions, as he apparently thought I was an investigator–he did not ask me until the end of the interview why I had asked so many questions about his church, so I told him about how I wanted to verify the details I have provided in this article.
He said it is hard to know how many people belong to this 90-year-old church. In the table above, I use the membership number of 12,500, which comes from an outside source. However, Apostle Laws claims that this church has 75,000 members in Africa alone and he claims that it is growing by leaps and bounds during the past five years. That’s an incredible number that seems impossible to be true, especially since he admits that the church in the United States is made up of fewer than 2,000 people! In fact, he says that the vast majority of the American church members (himself included) don’t have a local site where they can gather and worship as a community. (During the COVID-19 virus, an online two-hour Zoom service originating in Independence, MO took place each Sunday where all members could join.) According to Apostle Laws, there is a local congregation in Grand Junction, Colorado–a city where two apostles live–but other than that, there doesn’t seem to be a place where members can worship in person on any given Sunday. No information about local gatherings is provided on the church’s website, and several voice messages and emails that I sent to the church went unanswered.
The church teaches that Joseph Smith restored true Christianity to the earth, which had gone into apostasy sometime during the 7th century AD. In 1829, he says, Smith received the priesthood, although neither one could be classified as the Aaronic or Melchizedek priesthoods as taught in Mormonism. Even though Joseph Smith claimed that John the Baptist came to him and Oliver Cowdery in 1829 to bring the Aaronic priesthood, Apostle Laws said this is not true. “John the Baptist did not come back until 1927,” he said, referencing “Message 1” and the supposed appearance to the church’s founder Otto Fetting. Instead, it was the Book of Mormon character Nephi who appeared to Smith. As far as Peter, James, and John restoring the Melchizedek priesthood, Apostle Law again insisted that only Nephi came; none of these apostles ever appeared to Smith. The integrity of Smith’s claims are apparently not held in question, so somehow it appears Smith couldn’t tell the difference between Nephi and these other four beings!
The church calls the Book of Mormon the “Record of the Nephites” and, officially, uses the “1836 edition,” even though the second edition was not published until 1837. When I asked him about this discrepancy, Apostle Laws said that their church owns a special edition of the Record of the Nephites and that it is dated 1836. There is no additional information on the church’s website about this special edition, and I have not been able to find a copy of their scripture.
I inquired as to when Joseph Smith became an apostate and he insisted that this took place after 1836. I reminded him about the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible in 1833, the Book of Commandments compilation in 1833, the Doctrine and Covenants reorganization in 1835, and the Book of Abraham translation in 1835, all of which were written before 1836. “I am not a historian nor am I a trained theologian,” he told me at least a half dozen times during our interview. Still, he said, all of these other writings were not authoritative.
While the church denies the doctrine of polygamy that was taught by Smith, Brigham Young, and other LDS Church leaders–everyone leading the LDS Church after Smith are considered apostates–it is documented that Smith had extramarital relations with Fanny Alger within a few years after the creation of the church. Apostle Laws could not provide specific reasons how a person could know when Smith was acting with divine authority and when he was foolishly doing things that were tainted by his apostasy. Apostle Laws does not see any contradiction that there was no church or authority on the earth from the mid-1830s (when Smith went into apostasy) through the 1920s when Otto Fetting came on the scene. “What about the nine decades from 1836 to 1927?” I asked. “Shouldn’t you consider this as a time of the second apostasy?” He could provide no evidence why this wasn’t the case.
The church believes that a temple will be built one day in Independence, MO at just the “right time.” When asked about Otto Fetting’s attempt to build a temple on the Temple Lot in 1929, he said that the project was not completed because the people “got caught up building a temple and the preaching of the Gospel stopped.” The Great Tribulation period talked about in the Bible began sometime in the late 1980s/early 1990s when the “Pale Horse” talked about in the sixth chapter of the book of Revelation was released at that time. The Tribulation according to this church has already lasted longer than seven years, although leaders do teach in the imminent return of Christ. The Millennium will take place in the future, although Apostle Laws is not sure how long the Millennium will last. It will begin with the return of Jesus to the earth. He expects the temple will be built during this time on the Temple Lot in Independence, MO.
Concerning salvation, I asked Apostle Laws if he could summarize the “Gospel” in a few sentences, but he said this is not easy to do. Then he explained how people are “saved by grace through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ and His atoning mercy as well as through obedience. Jesus took our sins, and we have the opportunity to be redeemed.” He also believes that “once saved always saved” is a false doctrine and eternal life depends on one’s obedience in addition to having faith and getting baptized. When it comes to baptism, his church is the only one to baptize with authority. Thus, if someone wants to join the church from another religion, the first “baptism” from any other church was not authentic and therefore doesn’t count.
The church teaches in a traditional heaven and hell, as there are not three kingdoms of glory. People from other churches who are sincere and don’t know about his church can go to heaven. Still, he said, hell is also a possibility for those who are evil. Both heaven and hell should be taken literally, not figuratively. However, those who have learned about the teachings of the Church of Christ With the Elijah Message yet deny its teaching are more responsible and could find themselves headed to hell. I told Apostle Laws that I did not know about the church before 2020, but after my study, I knew much more.
“Will I go to hell if I believe in Jesus but reject your church and its teachings?” I asked. He said he couldn’t judge me, but he did say it (hell) was possible and a better possibility for someone (like me) who knew enough to reject the teachings of the church. (A sidenote: Perhaps this responsibility now falls on the shoulders of anyone reading this article–join the club!) If knowing about this church now makes a person accountable then, perhaps the best thing that the church leaders could do is not share their faith by taking their message to other nations and just let people remain in their ignorance. It would seem plausible that the more people who remain ignorant, the better a chance they have to go to heaven.
According to Apostle Laws, there are multiple miracles taking place in East Africa during the past five years. He claims that hundreds of people are having their sight and hearing restored as well as having demons cast out through exorcisms, with people even getting raised from the dead! Because those in poorer countries such as Kenya and Uganda have great faith, Apostle Laws says that God is pouring out his Spirit on these peoples and miracles are commonplace. I asked him why these miracles are not discussed on the church’s website. (When I typed the word “miracle” on the website’s search engine, only scriptural verses come up.) He explained that those in the United States and England would too easily “dismiss” these miracles because their affluence causes them to be blind. The claim seems highly suspect! If these miracles are happening, it would be logical that reporting these would be a way to excite potential converts and create great growth in this church!
While Apostle Laws did his best to present a case and support the authenticity of his church, I was not impressed.
10 Reasons to Reject This Church’s Claims
- Acceptance of Joseph Smith’s restoration of Christianity, even though the church claims he became an apostate–with no explanation how there was not a second apostasy from Joseph Smith to Otto Fetting when there was no authoritative church leader
- Belief that Elijah (John the Baptist) has made regular visits to three of the church’s apostles since 1929, bringing messages that, quite frankly, are bizarre–and the Bible never talks about John the Baptist returning after his death
- The church accepts the validity of the Book of Mormon (“Record of the Nephites”), which has many problems both historically as well as archaeologically
- The church teaches in the validity of the Bible but only as the church’s interprets it
- The church adds to scripture through “Messages” given to church leaders by John the Baptist
- The need for “obedience” to be added to “salvation by grace”–the question is, how much obedience is needed?
- No Trinity is taught–and the Holy Ghost is considered to be just a medium and not a Person
- The Great Tribulation started three decades ago–how do the church leaders know this?
- A temple will be build in Independence, MO–the Bible does not teach this
- The priesthood is available through the church but is not available to others outside the church
To the right is the “Seal of the Church” logo. This is supposed to represent Revelation 7:1, which says that a “great wonder in heaven” appeared with “a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” The woman represents “The Church of Christ” and the sun represents the Gospel of Jesus.”
She was clothed with the sun, the greatest light of Heaven, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which provides “visions, dreams, prophecies, tongues, and personal ministration of angels.” The moon “represents the lesser lights of religion, particularly the Mosaic law,” while the twelve stars represents the church’s twelve apostles.
The phrase “there is nothing new under the sun,” originally stated by Solomon in Ecclesiastes, is certainly appropriate when describing the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message. Having studied other splinter groups of Joseph Smith, what this religion claims is not much different. It appears that most of the church’s membership can be found in Third World countries where the people do not have easy access to information to disprove the claims made by this church. (Let’s be honest, having John the Baptist visit the church leaders and provide direct revelation is nowhere close to orthodox.) Thus, when white American “Christians” come to their countries and offer a religion that sounds very American, many poor people become susceptible to receiving a message that cannot be considered “Christian” by any stretch of the imagination.
To see articles on other splinter groups of Mormonism, click here.