The following according to LDS teaching is what happened to the Catholic/Universal Church (made up of people) that prompted Joseph Smith to restore or give us "Another Gospel of Jesus Christ," The Book of Mormon.

"What Happened to the Church? The Apostles were killed during a time when the entire Church was being persecuted. Nero, a Roman emperor, was the first to make laws to exterminate Christians, in about A.D. 65. Under his reign, thousands were cruelly killed. A second round of persecutions began in about A.D. 93 under Emperor Domitian. Succeeding emperors continued torturing and killing Christians. As a result of these persecutions, thousands of Christians were martyred. Many others apostatized.

In about A.D. 324 Constantine became the emperor of the Roman Empire. He made Christianity a legal religion, stopping centuries of persecution. His actions linked the church to the government, and corrupt church leaders began seeking power and the honors of the world.

Teachers within the church began to adopt false religious concepts from Greek philosophy and pagan religions. Gospel ordinances were corrupted, and false ceremonies were introduced. Even though the church still taught some truth, the true Church of Christ and the priesthood were no longer on the earth. And as Christianity spread to various parts of the world—including to Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas—new churches were formed and grew. None of these churches, however, was the true Church, since the Lord had already taken priesthood authority and priesthood keys from the earth.

What Happened to the Scriptures? The eighth article of faith says, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.” We know from the Book of Mormon that the scriptures that came from the Jewish people had many plain and precious parts taken from them (see 1 Ne. 13:23–29).

During the time of the Apostasy, precious doctrines were lost from the Bible through carelessness, uninspired translation, or deliberate efforts to erase the truth. A restoration of that lost doctrine and truth was necessary. The Book of Mormon and other scripture revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith brought back many of those plain and precious parts of the gospel.

A Light out of the Darkness The Lord knew the Great Apostasy would take place (see 2 Thes. 2:3), so He prepared a way for His gospel to be restored. In the centuries leading up to the First Vision in 1820, various translations of the Bible became widely available through the newly developed printing process of movable type. Because the church did not want people to read the word of God, many were imprisoned or martyred for reading or owning scriptures. But during this time, the Lord inspired people to begin fighting against the abuses and evil they saw within the church. This period is called the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation eventually created an environment in which the Lord could restore His authority and truth to the earth.

Today we can be members of “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (D&C 1:30) because the Lord restored His gospel and conferred priesthood authority to the Prophet Joseph Smith to organize His Church (see D&C 27; D&C 65; D&C 128:18–21).

We are blessed to live in this time, when the gospel in its fulness has been restored—a time when you can go to church, bear your testimony, and read the scriptures."

Keep in mind that according to Joseph Smith's own testimony he was told by Jesus Christ Himself not to join any "sect/church" because they were all corrupt, therefore it had to be restored.

Yet, Jesus Christ stated that the "gates of hell will not prevail against it." The Apostle Paul states at Galatians 1:8, "But even though we or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel "contrary" (or another one) to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed."

Also, Hebrews 8:6-13 explains clearly that the Lord made a new covenant starting at vs6, "But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises." That is, vs10, "I will put My laws into their minds, And I will write them upon their hearts."

Since there is a better covenant that has with stood all attacks upon the Church which according to Jude 3, "which was once for all delivered to the saints," how can the LDS church claim to be, "the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth?"

  • See John 11:25-26.
    – user46876
    Sep 18, 2021 at 18:59
  • Since there is a better covenant that has with stood all attacks upon the Church IMO needs expounding. What is the Church in reference to (catholicism?, some other denomination, 'Christianity faith')?
    – depperm
    Sep 19, 2021 at 0:54
  • Since there is a better covenant that has withstood all attacks upon the Church... What makes you think that's true? When you get right down to it, what we know as Catholicism today didn't exist when those words were written. The term "Pope" wasn't even restricted to a single person until 1073 A.D. Considering that you're basing your question on a belief that's unsubstantiated, it's equally possible for me to legitimately answer, "because you're in error, sir."
    – JBH
    Sep 20, 2021 at 19:22

2 Answers 2


The apostasy is foretold/warned about in the bible.

Matthew 16:17-18

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The rock that he is referencing is revelation, not Peter in particular or the church at the time.1

Galatians 1:8-9

8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

The LDS do not believe we are preaching any other gospel.2

Hebrews 8:6-13 does mention a new covenant but covenants can be unfulfilled by man (such as apostatizing).

When we choose not to keep covenants, we cannot receive the blessings, and in some instances we suffer a penalty as a consequence of our disobedience.

The LDS believe in the new and everlasting covenant.

The LDS believe there is One Lord, one faith, one baptism and that because there was a falling away a restoration was needed, which Joseph Smith started (including restoration of the priesthood on the earth).

* This chapter has various interpretations, one of which foretells of an apostasy

1 Upon This Rock, Bruce R McConkie

2 Unofficial LDS source, that has several LDS responses to this claim

  • "The rock that he is referencing is revelation, not Peter in particular or the church at the time." Not so. Not revelation in general but a very specific confession, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." This is not some new revelation, for all the Scriptures speak of Him (John 5:39) but it is a revelation unavailable to flesh and blood. It is a revelation of faith and it requires a new birth to see the Kingdom, thus it is given by the Father and will never contradict what has already been given. "My word will never pass away." Sep 19, 2021 at 12:14
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    @MikeBorden This Question: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/35756/… addresses it in a bit more detail
    – Gisheri
    Sep 19, 2021 at 21:04

The Bible is clear that apostates would creep into the first century Church that Christ builds, but that that would not mean virtually the whole of it becoming so corrupt that it would need to be replaced in latter days, as the LDS teaches. Please note also, that other denominations teach the same thing, but claim their denomination is the one God has raised up to replace 'apostate Christendom'. We can compare LDS theology (already stated in your comments and in LDS answers given) with what the Bible says (as opposed to Joseph Smith's annotated version of it; other similar denominations also claim their writings give 'proper understanding' to the Bible.) Also note that the LDS phrase, "the fulness of the gospel" is intended to teach that only a partial gospel had been given to all the Bible apostles and saints. Claim that some parts of the Bible have been removed or corrupted, and then offer your divinely-guided 'truth' about that, and in no time at all there will be a following, believing you've given them the 'true, full gospel'.

First, Jesus himself warned of wolves in sheep's clothing sneaking in; he warned of false prophets claiming to do wonders in his name; he stated that religious hypocrites both abounded in his day, and would, in days to come. In all cases, he was clear that they would not succeed in stopping the growth of his Church.

Certainly Jesus did speak of problems in his Church in his last words, given to the apostle John when that old saint was on the Isle of Patmos. Jesus detailed seven churches that had seven 'sets' of problems, but also that they were still owned by him. He lovingly warned them of what he saw was wrong with them, and encouraged them where they remained faithful, loving, and steadfast in the faith. But he was also clear that unless the sins being tolerated in some of them were not repented off, judgment would come. "For judgment begins with the household of God" (1 Peter 4:17).

In every century, in every generation since Revelation chapters 2 & 3 were written. the Christian Church has experienced the truth of such matters, building up to the finale when Christ will finally and completely judge everyone, including those in his Church. However, at no point did Jesus ever say that he would have to completely discard his Church, and set up a new one. As the LDS denomination knows this, that is why they are so keen to claim they are descended from the 1st century apostles, with apostolic authority, ministry and gifts. Unsurprisingly, most of the other denominations with similar claims to being a 'restored, true church' loudly claim to being the only 'thin red line' going all the way back.

Of course, a 'thin red line' of faithful Christians does not square with Church history through the centuries. Only those who think they can judge and condemn billions of people over the centuries (without knowing hardly anything about them, individually, or even collectively as groups) would dare be so presumptuous as to call them basically 'corrupt' and disowned by Jesus bar a tiny handful.

That is why LDS theology cannot square their theology with Matthew 16:18 and with Jude verse 3. In the first century, the Church adhered to the teaching of the apostles in that first century (Acts 2:42) - yet some would claim that it is the teaching of modern-day 'apostles' that must be adhered to, which is a foundational LDS doctrine. Jude spoke of the teaching of the first century apostles, not about any future doctrines presented 1,700 years later by new claimants to the title. The simple, biblical test of having received the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints, is that we continue to believe, and to promote, all the apostolic teaching of the first century, and not any 'latter day' ones. The minute any group claims they have received 'special revelation' or 'new light' on biblical doctrine, beware.

  • 1
    Many may disagree with LDS doctrine and beliefs. However I must insist that comments remain civil. If you would not speak in front of respectable individuals in a particular manner, please do not do it here. Comments are open to general viewers. Be Nice - A Simple Reminder Do not not label individuals as anti-this or anti-that as it does not reflect on the post, but rather the individual concerned. This goes for both sides of the equation. Pax
    – Ken Graham
    Sep 21, 2021 at 3:33
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    Sep 21, 2021 at 5:17

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