Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Why Did Christ Tell Joseph Smith to Join No Church?

Just quick thoughts this week, but I wanted to remember something that struck me as I was reading "Saints" this last week after our trip to Palmyra.  ("Saints" is the new history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that you can read right here.)

While we were in Palmyra last weekend, the sister missionaries were telling us stories that I didn't remember or don't often hear.  I thought, 'where are they getting this?'  My answer came upon starting to read Saints.  There are lots of stories in there that aren't the same ones we've heard over and over.  Very enlightening.

Speaking of enlightening, one thing struck me this time around, when we were hearing the story of Joseph Smith's 1st Vision, and also when I read the account in Saints.

It reads:

“Joseph,” the Savior said, “thy sins are forgiven.”

His burden lifted, Joseph repeated his question: “What church shall I join?”
“Join none of them,” the Savior told him. “They teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”
Of course, I've heard that account many times before, but this time the question entered my mind, "Why did Christ tell Joseph Smith not to join any church?"  And then the answer suddenly  made sense to me.  Not only were the other churches teaching false doctrine, and God wanted Joseph to establish His true church again on the earth, but history would reflect differently on God's true church if Joseph Smith had joined a different church and THEN started a new church.  History would then say that Joseph Smith's church was an off-shoot of some other religion.  By not joining himself officially to a certain religious sect, he was free to establish The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ in the latter days under the direction of the Savior, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, without any ties to other organizations.  
I just thought that was a neat thing to learn through the spirit.

PS - Here was one more passage from Saints that caught my attention, the use of the word "command":
Joseph and his friends were young and lighthearted. Sometimes they made foolish mistakes, and Joseph found that being forgiven once did not mean he would never need to repent again. Nor did his glorious vision answer every question or forever end his confusion.1 So he tried to stay close to God. He read his Bible, trusted in Jesus Christ’s power to save him, and obeyed the Lord’s command not to join any church.


  1. great insights, i just started to read saints and am enjoying it for new views on traditional mormon historical events...