Did God fail at preserving His word and church until Joseph Smith fixed it?
Restoration Claims Examined
What About Denominations?
The Reliability of the Bible
The key issue that Mormonism uses to justify its existence is the idea of restoration.
According to Mormon teaching, Christ set up his church with the apostles holding the authoritative priesthood, but most of them were killed. This foiled God’s plan and left his church to flounder in apostasy until Joseph Smith restored it. But a look at the Bible will show these claims to be false.
Nowhere in the Bible exists the idea that there must always be apostles, nor that apostles hold a special priesthood necessary for the church. Right after predicting his own death, Jesus told the apostles that they would drink the same cup. The apostles established the church, left their instructions on how it should be run, and never mentioned appointing replacements.
There are frequent warnings of apostasy, but it could never wipe out the church. Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against his church, that he would always be with them and that he would care for his church like a husband cares for a wife, and that the Holy Spirit would keep them in the truth.
Another factor in the Mormon restoration is that the Bible as God’s word has been corrupted, and anyplace it happens to contradict Mormonism, it is because plain and precious truths have somehow been lost. But the internal and external evidence flies in the face of this groundless speculation.
Externally, there are thousands of ancient texts attesting to the Bible, none of which show any evidences that truths were lost, and no variations or errors change any point of Christian doctrine.
The internal evidence for the integrity of the Bible comes from God himself. The Bible says that the word of God will stand forever, it lives and abides forever, and Jesus said his words would never pass away. These assurances are meaningless if God’s words and church were corrupted within a few years after being established.
And this is the main problem with restoration; it denigrates the character of God. God says he never lies and always accomplishes his will, in spite of the will of man. He says he will give salvation to men and he will preserve his people, and he chose the written word as the means of doing this.
Saying that God is unable or unwilling to preserve His own words and church, is tantamount to calling God a liar about the promises he made and about who he is. It enslaves the holy ruler of the universe to the sinful whims of his own creatures.
Furthermore, examining Mormonism will reveal that by definition, it is not a restoration of anything. It uses many of the same terms found in the Bible, but the meaning and function its apostles, priesthoods, scriptures, doctrines, and temples, etc., have nothing to do with anything found in Christian or Israelite history. It is not, in fact, a restoration, but a perversion of the Christian faith.
The true church of Christ is any body of believers that submits to the Bible alone as the sufficient and infallible rule of faith and practice. Check out our references at ldsvideo.org.