Q&A: Questions and Answers


Responses are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

Q&A: Questions and Answers

What do we mean when we say this is the only true church?

New Era

  • The Savior’s Church, priesthood, and gospel were lost during the Apostasy but were restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

  • Ordinances must be performed by the proper priesthood authority for Heavenly Father to accept them.

  • The Church is a true and living church because the Lord guides us through living prophets and apostles.

The Lord Himself said that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church. When Joseph Smith prayed to know which church was right, the Savior told Joseph that he “must join none of them, for they were all wrong” (JS—H 1:19). Eleven years later, after the Church was organized, the Lord testified that the Church is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (D&C 1:30).

The Church is true because it is the restored Church. The Lord taught His gospel, delegated His priesthood authority, and organized His Church when He was on the earth. But these blessings were lost through apostasy. The Apostles were killed, early Church members fell away from the truth, and doctrines and ordinances were changed. Fortunately, the gospel, priesthood, and correct Church organization were restored through Joseph Smith.

The gospel. The scriptures and latter-day prophets teach us the fulness of the gospel. They teach us about the Savior, His Atonement, and the doctrines, ordinances, and covenants we need to return to Heavenly Father.

The priesthood. This authority to act in God’s name comes from the Lord. It is only given to worthy men in the Church by the laying on of hands by those who hold the priesthood. Ordinances, such as baptism and temple marriage, are valid in this life and in eternity only when performed by the priesthood.

Church organization. Today we have the same Church organization that the Lord set up in His day with apostles, prophets, patriarchs, missionaries, and so on (see A of F 1:6). The prophet has the authority to lead the kingdom of God on earth.

Only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can we receive the true teachings, essential ordinances, and opportunities to serve that help us return to Heavenly Father.

Because Heavenly Father loves His children wherever they are, He inspires them as well. Other churches have some, but not all, truth. But the Lord has only one true and living church.

One reason The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a “living church” is that the living God reveals His will to living prophets and apostles. They give us guidance suited to our times. Think of general conference or the proclamation on the family. These inspired messages from the prophets remind us that we are members of a true and living church.

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“This work is true. Never doubt it. God our Eternal Father lives. Jesus is our Redeemer, our Lord, the Son of the living God. Joseph was a prophet, the Book of Mormon is of divine origin, and this is God’s holy work in the earth.” —President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Closing Remarks,” Ensign, Nov. 2004, 105.

Readers

This topic is brought up often in the mission field. Our statements shouldn’t be offensive but need to be bold. I like to mention that churches in general are beneficial. Being continually led by Jesus Christ is what sets our church apart. We have the fulness of His gospel. This Church has the authority, doctrine, and ordinances necessary for us to return to Heavenly Father. Elder Nathan Le, 19, Colorado Colorado Springs Mission

We mean that this Church is the church that has the fulness of the gospel. Other churches have some correct principles but lack others that we have. We do not believe that we are better than members of other churches, but we do believe we have received all the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Kristi Dow, 16, La Verne First Ward, La Verne California Stake

Over time the pure teachings of Christ were changed in other churches to fit the desires of men. Although some truths remain, others have been lost. Ours is the only church that truly and fully reflects the will of the Lord as revealed to living latter-day prophets. Michael Arnell, 16, Chesterfield First Ward, St. Louis Missouri Stake

We mean that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church that Jesus Christ gave authority to. We are the only church that has the authority to baptize, bless, and receive doctrine from the Lord. No other church has the authority ours does. Carrie Davis, 15, Draper Sixth Ward, Sandy Utah Hidden Valley Stake

The Church is the same as it was in ancient times. It is the Church the Savior established in Bible and Book of Mormon times. It was established in these latter days by the Savior Himself through Joseph Smith. We also have the fulness of the gospel, and prophets are continually receiving revelation pertaining to the Church’s organization and the truths of the gospel, for the Lord has said He “will do nothing, until he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (JST2 Amos 3:7). Michael Holman, 17, Covina Ward, Walnut California Stake

When we say that we are the only true church, it does not mean we are the only church with truth. Most religions around the world have part of the truth. The Jews, Christians, and Muslims accept parts of the Old Testament. Some Christian churches have some of the organization of the primitive Church. Most members of other churches are good people, and we should respect them and their choice of religion. Seth Lloyd, 18, Broomfield First Ward, Boulder Colorado Stake

Although other churches might have parts of the truth scattered throughout them, our church is the only church on the earth that contains the full truth. We are also the only church that has the right to officiate in the roles of the priesthood. Dianna Boren, 16, Westchester First Ward, Westchester New York Stake

When I share with people that I know that this is the only true church, I am letting them know that religion is not just a matter of preference—it is a matter of truth. The Lord Jesus Christ organized His Church when He was on the earth, and that same Church has been restored. This true Church holds the authority of God and is directed by revelation from Jesus Christ Himself. Sister Kristine Joy Iwamoto, 23, Philippines Quezon City Mission

We have things other religions don’t, such as the priesthood and Book of Mormon. We hold priesthood keys and have the only true prophet. We have been blessed to receive other doctrines through Joseph Smith. Ben Smith, 14, Vista Peaks Ward, Mesa Arizona Alta Mesa Stake

[photo] Photograph by John Luke; The Restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood, by Del Parson