The of the agreeable to the will and of God. The rise of the Church of Christ in these last days, being 1830 years since the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the flesh, it being regularly organized and es tablished agreeable to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God, in the 4th month, and on the 6th day of the same, which commandments were given to Joseph Smith, jun. who was called of God and an of Jesus Christ, an of the church, and also to , who was al so called of God an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church, and ordain ed under his hand, and this according to the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be all glory both now and ever— amen.
For after that it truly was manifested unto the first elder that he had received remission of his sins, he was entangled a gain in the vanities of the world, but after truly repenting, God visited him by an holy angel, whose countenance was as lightning, and whose garments were pure and white above all whiteness, and gave unto him commandments which inspired him from on high, and gave unto him power, by the means of which was before prepared that he should a book; which book contains a record of a fallen people, and also the of Jesus Christ to the and also to the Jews, proving unto them that the holy be true, and also that God doth inspire men and call them to his ho ly work in these last days, as well as in days of old, that he may be the same God forever— amen.
Which book, given by inspiration, is called the Book of Mormon, and is con firmed to others by the ministering of an gels, and declared unto the world by them. Wherefore, having so great witnesses, by them shall the world be judged, even as many as shall hereafter receive this work, either to faith and righteousness, or to the hardness of heart in unbelief to their own condemnation. For the Lord God hath spoken it, for we elders of the church have heard and bear record to the words of the glorious Majesty on high, to whom be glory forever and ever— Amen. Where fore, by these things, we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God. the Maker of heaven and earth, and all things that in them is, and that he is all power, and all wisdom, and all understanding, and that he created man male and female af ter his own image and in his own likeness created he them, and that he gave unto the children of men a commandment that they should love and serve him the only being whom they should worship; but by the transgression of these holy laws, men became sensual and devlish, and became fallen man— wherefore the Almighty God gave his only begotten Son, as is written in those scriptures which hath been given of him, that he suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them, that he was cru cified and died and rose again the third day, and that he ascended into heaven to sit down on the right hand of the Father, to reign with almighty power according to the will of the Father, that as many as would believe and were into his holy name and endured in faith to the end should be saved; yea, even as many as were before he came in the flesh, from the beginning, which believed in the words of the holy prophets, which were inspired by the , which truly testified of him in all things, as well they which should come after, which should believe in the gifts and calling of God by the Holy Ghost which beareth record of the Father and of the Son, which Father and the Son, and the Holy Ghost is one God, infinite and eternal, without end.— Amen.
And we know that all men must repent and believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and worship the Father in his name, and endure in faith on his name to the end, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God. And we know that justification through the grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is just and true. And we also know that sanctification through the grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is just and true to all those who love and serve God with all their mights, minds, and strength. But there is a pos sibility that men may fall from grace, and depart from the living God, therefore let the church take heed, and pray always, lest they enter into temptations; yea, and he that is sanctified also. And we know that these things are true and agreeable to the revelations of Jesus Christ which was signified by his angel unto John, neither adding nor diminishing to the prophecy of his book; neither to the holy scriptures; neither to the revelations of God which shall come hereafter by the gift and pow er of the Holy Ghost, neither by the voice of God, neither by the ministering of angels. And the Lord God hath spo ken it— and honor, power, and glory be rendered to his holy name both now and ever.— Amen.
And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism, behold whosoever humbleth him self before God and desireth to be bapti zed, and comes forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnesseth unto the church that they truly repent of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Christ, having a deter mination to serve him unto the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received the gift of Christ unto the remission of their sins, then shall they be received unto baptism into the church of Christ.
The duty of Elders, , , and , and members of the church of Christ:— An apostle is an elder, and it is his calling to baptize and to ordain oth er elders, priests, teachers, and deacons, and to according to the scriptures, and to teach, expound, and exhort, and to baptize and to watch over the church, and to the church by the laying on of hands and the giving of the Holy Ghost, and to take the lead of all meetings, &c.
The elders are to conduct the meetings as they are led by the Holy Ghost.
The priests’ duty is to preach, teach, expound, and exhort, and baptize, and administer the sacrament, and visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret, and also to attend to all family duties, to ordain priests, teachers, and deacons, and to take the lead in meetings; but none of these offices is he to do when there is an elder present, but in all cases is to assist the elder, &c. The teacher’s duty is to watch over the church always, and be with them and strengthen them, and see that there is no iniquity in the church, nor no hardness with each other, nor no lying nor backbiting, nor no evil speaking; and see that the church meets together oft, and also see that every member does his duty, and he is to take the lead of the meetings in the absence of the elder or priest, and is to be assisted always and all his duties in the church by the deacons. But nei ther the teacher nor the deacon has au thority to baptize nor administer the sa crament; but are to warn, exhort, expound and teach and invite all to come to Christ. Every elder, priest, teacher, or deacon, is to be ordained according to the gifts and calling of God unto them by the pow er of the Holy Ghost, which is in the one who ordains them. The several elders composing the church of Christ are to meet at each of its meetings to do church business, whatsoever is necessary, &c. and each priest or teacher who is ordain ed by any priest is to take a certificate from him at the time, which, when shown to an elder, he is to give him a , which shall authorize him to perform the duty of his calling. The duty of the church members after they are received by baptism:— The elders or priests are to have a sufficient time to expound all things concerning this church of Christ to their understanding previous to their partaking of the sacrament, and being confirmed by the laying on of the hands of the elders, so that all things shall be done in order; and the members shall manifest before the church and before the elders a godly walk and conversation that they are worthy of it, that there may be works and faith a greeable to the holy scriptures, walking in holiness before the Lord. Every mem ber of this church of Christ having chil dren, are to bring them unto the elders before the church who are to lay hands on them in the name of the Lord, and bless them in the name of Christ. There can not any one be received into this church of Christ who have not arrived to the years of accountability before God, and are not capable of repentance. And the manner of baptism & the manner of administering the sacrament are to be done as is written in the Book of Morman. Any member of this church of Christ transgressing, or being overtaken in a fault, shall be dealt with according as the scriptures direct, &c It shall be the duty of the several church es composing this church of Christ to send one of their priests or teachers to attend the several conferences held by the elders of the church with a list of the names the several persons uniting themselves to the church since the last , or send by the hand of some elder, so that there can be kept a regular list of all the names of the members of the whole church in a book kept by one of the elders whomsoever the other elders shall appoint from time to time, end also if any have been expelled from the church so that their names may be blotted out of the general church record of names; any member removing from the church where he belongs, if going to a church where he is not known, may take letter certifying that he is a member and in good standing, which certificate may be signed by any elder or priest—if the person receiving the letter is personally acquainted with the elder or priest; or may be signed by the teachers or deacons of his church. [p. ]