PROVO — A frequently cited passage in LDS scripture identifies The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (see Doctrine and Covenants 1:30).
“What does this mean?” asked Elder Tad R. Callister of the church’s Presidency of the Seventy during a devotional for college-age church members Sunday evening.
“It does not mean that other churches do not have some truth, for certainly they do,” he said. “It does not mean that other churches do not render good, for they render much good. What it does mean is that this is the only church that has all the truth that has been revealed thus far in this dispensation — the only church that has the ordinances necessary for exaltation, and the only church that has the priesthood of God to perform those ordinances with divine validity.”
The Church Educational System devotional originated from the Marriott Center on the campus of Brigham Young University and was broadcast live over the church satellite system, the Internet and other media.
Drawing an analogy from the construction blueprint for a house, Elder Callister said, “In a similar way, Christ built a home to best accommodate the spiritual needs of his children. It was called his church.”
Occasionally, Christ’s blueprint requires a “change order” in accommodating changing needs, and that is provided for in the principle of continuing divine revelation, Elder Callister said.
“If one desired to discover Christ’s church today he would want to match the spiritual blueprint found in the New Testament against every Christian church in the world until he discovered a church that matched the blueprint — organization for organization, teaching for teaching, ordinance for ordinance, fruit for fruit, and revelation for revelation,” he said.
“In so doing he might find some churches that had some similarities — a teaching or two that overlapped, an ordinance that is the same, some offices that bear common names, but he will only find one church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that matches the blueprint in every material respect.”
He said the current Church of Jesus Christ should have the same organization that existed in Christ’s original church, subject to revelatory changes. “Therefore, each of these offices is present in our church today.”
Christ’s blueprint, he said, is very specific regarding ordinances that are to be performed in his church, particularly baptism.
“Once someone crosses the doctrinal bridge and acknowledges that baptism is essential for salvation (which it is), then logically he is led to believe in baptism for the dead — there is no escaping it,” Elder Callister said.
“Otherwise, how does one answer the difficult question: What about those who died without the opportunity to be baptized?”
Elder Callister suggested that the fruits of Christ’s church are an element of his blueprint. Among those fruits, he said, are being healthy as a people, miracles and gifts of the Spirit, and divine visions and visitations from angels.
“The question should not be, ‘How can The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints be the true church with its alleged angels and visions?’ ” he said. “Rather the question should be, ‘How can any church today claim to be Christ’s true church unless it has angels and visions — just as was the case in Christ’s original church, just as it is revealed in his blueprint?’ ”
Missionary work, morality and being family-centered were other fruits Elder Callister identified.
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