Elder Callister Teaches Spiritual Blueprint of True Church
By R. Scott Lloyd, Church News staff writer
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living church on earth.
- The Church is the same Church Christ established during His earthly ministry.
- Accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God goes hand in hand with accepting Church doctrine.
“If one were to match the blueprint of Christ's original Church against every church in the world today, he would find that point for point—organization for organization, teaching for teaching, ordinance for ordinance, fruit for fruit, and revelation for revelation, it will only match one: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” —Tad R. Callister of the Presidency of the Seventy
The spiritual blueprint of the Church of Jesus Christ was the subject of remarks by Elder Tad R. Callister of the Presidency of the Seventy on Sunday, January 12, as he addressed this year's first Church Educational System devotional.
Early in his talk, he cited a well-known scriptural passage that identifies The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (D&C 1:30).
“What does this mean?” asked Elder Callister. “It does not mean that other churches do not have some truth, for certainly they do,” he said. “It does not mean that other churches do not render good, for they render much good. What it does mean is that this is the only church that has all the truth that has been revealed thus far in this dispensation, the only church that has the ordinances necessary for exaltation, and the only church that has the priesthood of God to perform those ordinances with divine validity.”
The devotional originated from the Marriott Center on the campus of Brigham Young University and was broadcast live over the Church satellite system, the Internet, and other media.
Drawing an analogy from the construction blueprint for a house, Elder Callister said, “In a similar way Christ built a home to best accommodate the spiritual needs of His children. It was called His Church.”
Occasionally, Christ’s blueprint requires a “change order” in accommodating changing needs, and that is provided for in the principle of continuing divine revelation, Elder Callister said.
“If one desired to discover Christ’s Church today he would want to match the spiritual blueprint found in the New Testament against every Christian church in the world until he discovered a church that matched the blueprint—organization for organization, teaching for teaching, ordinance for ordinance, fruit for fruit, and revelation for revelation,” he said.
“In so doing he might find some churches that had some similarities—a teaching or two that overlapped, an ordinance that is the same, some offices that bear common names, but he will only find one church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that matches the blueprint in every material respect.”
He said the current Church of Jesus Christ should have the same organization that existed in Christ’s original Church, subject to revelatory changes. “Therefore, each of these offices is present in our Church today.”
He said Christ’s blueprint is very specific regarding ordinances that are to be performed in His Church, particularly baptism. “Otherwise, how does one answer the difficult question: what about those who died without the opportunity to be baptized?”
Elder Callister suggested that the fruits of Christ’s Church are an element of His blueprint. Among those fruits, he said, are being healthy as a people, miracles and gifts of the Spirit, and divine visions and visitations from angels.
He said, “The question should not be, How can The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints be the true Church with its alleged angels and visions? Rather the question should be, How can any church today claim to be Christ’s true Church unless it has angels and visions—just as was the case in Christ’s original Church, just as it is revealed in His blueprint?”
Missionary work, morality, and being family centered were other fruits Elder Callister identified.
“If one were to match the blueprint of Christ’s original Church against every church in the world today, he would find that point for point—organization for organization, teaching for teaching, ordinance for ordinance, fruit for fruit, and revelation for revelation—it will only match one: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” he said.
Moreover, “If one rejects this Church after studying the blueprint, then it will likely ruin him for any other church because he knows too much,” he said.
“If someone turns from the Church, where will he go to learn about the restored truths concerning the nature of God as revealed in the Sacred Grove, the preaching of the gospel to the dead, the three degrees of glory, and eternal families?” he asked. “Where will he go to get the ordinances that can save and exalt him? Where will he go to have his wife and children sealed to him for eternity? Where will he go when he wants a priesthood blessing of comfort or healing for a family member? Where will he go to find a prophet of God? He will look in vain for those doctrines and those ordinances and those powers and those prophets, as they are unique to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
Elder Callister asserted, “One cannot have the doctrines and ordinances as restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith without accepting Joseph Smith and the underlying history that is the basis for such. They are inseparable. They go hand in hand. You cannot call the fruit good and then call the tree bad.”
Regarding criticisms that some make against the Prophet and the work he accomplished, Elder Callister said, “The historical or social concerns that some may have, the alleged scientific conflicts—these are the sideshow; the center stage is the doctrines, ordinances, priesthood power, and other fruits of our Church, many of which have been discussed tonight.”
He noted that in responding to such criticisms, “questions go both ways.”
“First,” he asked, “how did Joseph Smith know to restore the doctrines and ordinances from the Bible, such as the doctrine of the premortal existence, the true nature of God, the gospel being preached to the dead, baptism for the dead, and many others discussed tonight, when such doctrines and ordinances were not being taught by other contemporary churches of his time? Why was Joseph Smith the only one to discover them and restore them? Even when he is considered a theological genius, were there no other such geniuses in the 1,800 years following the Savior’s ministry who could likewise follow the blueprint with precision?”
He also asked why this Church has the same fruits as Christ’s original Church if it is not Christ’s Church.
“Certainly,” he said, “many more questions on cross-examination could be asked. There are certain questions, however, that trump and transcend all others—in essence, they form the crux of an issue. Suffice it to say, some questions are simply more important than others in discovering the truth. If you come to know that Joseph Smith restored the biblical teachings and ordinances referred to above, if you come to know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the same fruits as Christ’s original Church, or if you come to know that the Book of Mormon is of divine origin, then you know that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and if Joseph Smith is a prophet then this is the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth. All other questions pale in comparison.”