In the fourteenth chapter of John, Jesus told His disciples that He would be leaving them but that they should not be troubled. “If I go,” He said, “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
Jesus’ statement puzzled Thomas, who asked how it was possible to know how to get where Christ was going. To this Jesus replied, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Christians throughout the centuries have pointed to Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation. If you desire to spend eternity in the presence of the Father, you must come to faith in Jesus Christ. It is imperative to understand that, as a sinner, you cannot possibly work your way into His presence. Jesus likened salvation to passing through a narrow gate and declared that few were going to find themselves passing through it (Matthew 7:14). Despite Jesus’ clear affirmation, Marion Romney, a former member of the LDS First Presidency, perverted the words of our Lord when he said, “This Church is the ensign on the mountain spoken of by the Old Testament prophets. It is the way, the truth, and the life” (Conference Report, April, 1961, pg. 119).
Jesus warned that others would come proclaiming that salvation could be obtained by some other means. He warned that thieves and robbers would come who would claim that salvation can be obtained by “some other way” (John 10:1). He added that only those who enter through the door of the “sheepgate” are truly His own.
Any individual, group, or church claiming that salvation can be found only within their little circle must be viewed with suspicion. Mormonism certainly qualifies. What is amazing is that LDS leaders don’t even try to hide the fact that salvation can only be secured through their organization. In the words of 13th LDS President Ezra Taft Benson,
“This is not just another Church. This is not just one of a family of Christian churches. This is the Church and kingdom of God, the only true Church upon the face of the earth…” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pp. 164-165).
In a conference speech delivered on April 8, 1973, LDS Apostle Mark E. Petersen proclaimed that salvation
“comes only through the Church itself as the Lord established it… Therefore it was made clearly manifest that salvation is in the Church, and of the Church, and is obtained only through the Church.”
The problem with Petersen’s assessment is that salvation comes by faith in Jesus Christ, not membership in a church. It is our faith in Christ which makes us a member of Christ’s Body, or in other words, the Church. This church is not, nor ever has been, an organization. Rather, the Church, or Body of Christ, is made up of individuals throughout the world who have placed their total trust in Jesus Christ for their salvation. Despite this biblical truth, Joseph Fielding Smith, Mormonism’s tenth president, went on record as saying that there is “no salvation without Joseph Smith.” (Doctrines of Salvation 1:189).
In his article entitled “Joseph Smith Among the Prophets” printed in the June 1994 issue of “Ensign” magazine, Mormon writer Robert L. Millet quoted second LDS Prophet Brigham Young, who, in 1859, stated, “From the day that the priesthood was taken from the earth to the winding up things of all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are — I with you and you with me. I cannot go there without his consent” (Journal of Discourses 7:238. See also Search These Commandments, 1984, pg. 133).
Along those same lines Brigham Young also taught, “How are you going to get your resurrection? You will get it by the President of the resurrection pertaining to this generation, and that is Joseph Smith Jun. Hear it all ye ends of the earth; if ever you enter into the kingdom of God it is because Joseph Smith let you go there. This will apply to Jews and Gentiles, to the bond, and the free; to friends and foes; no man or woman in this generation will get a resurrection and be crowned, without Joseph Smith saying so. The man who was martyred in Carthage Jail, State of Illinois, holds the keys of life and death to this generation. He is the President of the resurrection in this dispensation, …” (An unpublished discourse given October 8, 1854. Also found on page 99 of Eugene E. Campbell’s book titled The Essential Brigham Young“).
George Q. Cannon, a former member of the First Presidency, also said that Joseph Smith plays a pivotal role in the salvation plan.
“If we get our salvation, we shall have to pass by him; if we enter into our glory, it will be through the authority that he has received” (Gospel Truth, pp. 199, 200).
These statements remove all doubt that if true salvation is to be gained, Joseph Smith must play a part in it. Such teachings are an offense to the Christian who holds the Bible dear. John 5:22 declares, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” It is the righteous judgment of Jesus Christ the Mormon must fear, not Joseph Smith.
Millet compared Joseph Smith’s death to that of Jesus Christ when he wrote,
“…the life of Joseph Smith was in some degree patterned after that of his Master, Jesus Christ. That pattern holds true even when extended to its tragic conclusion. Like his Master, Joseph Smith shed his blood in order that the final testament, the reestablishment of the new covenant, might be in full effect” (pg. 22).
Millet went on to quote LDS President Harold B. Lee who said,
“Many have belittled Joseph Smith, but those who have will be forgotten in the remains of mother earth, and the odor of their infamy will ever be with them, but honor, majesty, and fidelity to God, exemplified by Joseph Smith and attached to his name, will never die” (ibid., pg. 23).
Such comments should be expected given the fact that Brigham Young labeled those who do not recognize Joseph Smith as anti-christs. On July 13, 1862, Young declared,
“…he that confesseth not that Jesus has come in the flesh and sent Joseph Smith with the fulness of the Gospel to this generation, is not of God, but is anti-christ” (JOD 9:312).
When one considers the words from an old LDS hymn entitled “The Seer, Joseph the Seer,” the above comments come as no surprise. This song, written by third LDS President John Taylor, contains remarks that are uncomfortably close to those attributes ascribed to the Savior. The song speaks of Joseph Smith dying for the saints as well as pleading their cause in the “courts above.” Prior to his death at Carthage Jail, Smith likened himself to the Savior when he said, “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter” (D&C 135:4). The big difference, of course, is that while Jesus went peaceably to his death, Smith died in a gun battle (History of the Church 7:101-103).
The above comments illustrate the inordinate affection Mormons have for Joseph Smith. Such comments unfortunately ignore the fact that Joseph Smith failed to meet the biblical requirements of a true prophet of God. When one takes the time to closely study Smith’s character and teachings, it becomes apparent that Joseph Smith was not called by God to be His prophet.