3

Based on the accepted answer to this question, it looks like Mormons believe that

  1. A wide-scale falling away from first century Christianity (the "Great Apostasy") had happened before Joseph Smith's time, and that
  2. Instead of directing Joseph Smith to join one of the denominations available during his time, God directed him to found a church

Based on this, do Mormons believe that the LDS church is a pure restoration of first century Christian liturgy and beliefs?

(I want to emphasize "pure restoration" as I am curious if Mormons view the church as having the same liturgy and beliefs as the first century Christians.)

Or is the LDS church a modification of the first century Christianity because God wanted some things to be done differently?

Or has the LDS church accepted man-made additions (out of necessity, tradition, or other reasons) that were not part of first century Christianity?

7

Yes the LDS believe it is a pure restoration of first century Christian liturgy and beliefs.

True to the Faith specifies what was lost during the Apostasy:

After His Crucifixion and the deaths of His Apostles, the fulness of the gospel was taken from the earth

About the restoration, the LDS specifically believe:

When Jesus Christ was on the earth, He established His Church among His followers. After His Crucifixion and the deaths of His Apostles, the fulness of the gospel was taken from the earth because of widespread apostasy. Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, our Father in Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ restored the fulness of the gospel. The true Church of Jesus Christ is on the earth again. Because of the Restoration, the teachings and ordinances necessary for salvation are available to all people.


The 'fulness of the gospel' is defined in Mormon Doctrine (not an official LDS source) as:

The phrase "fulness of the gospel" refers to the whole doctrine of redemption demonstrated and taught in the ministry and life of Jesus Christ. It "consists in those laws, doctrines, ordinances, powers, and authorities needed to enable men to gain the fulness of salvation"

This is reinforced in part from Joseph Smith History 1:34 in reference to the Book of Mormon:

He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;

President Ezra Taft Benson explained this by saying:

That does not mean [The Book of Mormon] contains every teaching, every doctrine ever revealed. Rather, it means that in the Book of Mormon we will find the fulness of those doctrines required for our salvation. And they are taught plainly and simply so that even children can learn the ways of salvation and exaltation1

1 Benson, Ezra Taft. A Witness and a Warning.

  • Another point worth noting is that True to the Faith states "After His Crucifixion and the deaths of His Apostles, the fulness of the gospel was taken from the earth..." indicating that the belief is that the LDS church has the gospel as Peter the apostle and first pope believed them. This would then be a pure restoration of first century Christian liturgy and beliefs - or at least until the doctrines of First Ecumenical Council were codified. – James Shewey Dec 5 '17 at 19:41
  • @JamesShewey thanks for that source, updated with that part of the answer – depperm Dec 5 '17 at 20:55
  • I'm not sure this answer is really answering the question (Is the church a pure restoration of first century Christian liturgy and beliefs?). This would imply that all of our programs, practices, doctrines, structure, etc. are exactly the same as existed in the 1st century. Did the saints of the 1st century have Beehives, tithing settlement, etc.? Do our missionaries still go about without purse or script? Were their "sacrament meetings" structured just like ours ours? What about the notion that all the dispensations from Adam to Christ are restored in the latter-days? – irrational Dec 6 '17 at 5:20
  • @irrational the church also believes in continued revelation. So it is a restoration of the first-century liturgy and beliefs with continued revelation but the LDS is founded on the 'fulness of the gospel' which was lost and then restored through prophets. – depperm Dec 6 '17 at 13:14

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