Struggles of the Early Church

After Christ’s death and resurrection, He left the leadership of His church under the apostles. Peter was the prophet, head of the 12 apostles, followed in authority by James and John. They served as special witnesses of Christ and received revelation from Him for the churches established in different cities. Hence, they wrote the Epistles as guides and instruction to those members.

Unfortunately, these cities needed the direction because the church members were falling away from the original teaching. The epistles directed the people back towards the truth.  Many people were led astray by their personal desires and the cunning words of men during the days of the apostles, creating an apostasy.

An apostacy, or falling away from truth, can be both personal and universal. As individuals fall away from the truth, they fall into a personal apostasy while when a group as a whole falls away, they create a general apostasy. Such was the case during these days.

Along with the false teachings the apostles warned about, many nations and cultures persecuted the Christians. By 64 A.D. Nero was emperor in Rome and the persecution became organized. John, the prophet at that time, was exiled to Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelation.

Persecutions continued until the days of Constantine around 325 A.D. who made Christianity the empirical religion and declared himself the head of the church. They called the Church universal, or catholic, and it was led by a man not called of God, but self-appointed.

And the Dark Ages began. Men believed the heavens were closed; God had ceased to speak. The doctrine of the church was decided by councils of men rather than revelation from God and many plain and precious truths were lost, prophesied by Isaiah, Amos, and Malachi.

Learn more at Mormon.org

The Church Christ Began

Christ knew that His time on earth would be short, but wanted the truth to be taught to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. He set up an organization that would continue to teach the people here. As He is perfect, the church He set up is also perfect. If Christ began only 1 church, why are there so many today? Truly, there is only supposed to be one true Church because that is what Christ began 2 millenia ago. We need only find which church is the one Christ began.

A Prophet and 12 Apostles

As in ancient times, the key to teaching the people is a prophet. He continued the direct connection between God and His people through a prophet called by him to lead and guide others. From among His followers, or disciples, Christ called 12 men as apostles: Peter (called Simon Peter) the prophet, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Judas (also known as Lebbeus or Thaddeus), Simon Zelotes (the Canaanite), and Judas Iscariot.

These men were called or chosen to testify of Christ as the Son of God, acting as His special witnesses to the people. Christ ordained them to this position, making them different from the other disciples (see also Mark 3:14). He gave them a portion of His power in that ordination and sent them forth to teach by the Spirit.

Power to Act

Through the ordination Christ gave them, they had power to “heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils” (Matt. 10:8). They also had the authority to lead the people after Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. They continued to teach the people and called Matthias to fill the vacancy left by Judas Iscariot’s apostacy and death.

This power given to the 12, through the calling and ordination of God, is called the Priesthood. Such priesthood gave them the authority to lead the people here on earth. They were not called, nor chosen by the voice of men, but through the inspiration of God.

This is the church that Christ set up on the earth. He always intended for truth to come from God to the people so we need never doubt what is true nor what is the right way. Christ’s church must be led by men called by Him and holding this same authority (see Eph. 2:20). Without it, the church would be led by men, trying their best to find the way on their own.

There is a church today that has a Prophet, 12 apostles, and the authority to teach, heal, and lead the people of the earth.

Find more about them at Mormon.org.