Last Dispensation, part 2

As soon as the Lord called Joseph Smith to establish a new dispensation, other characters began to advance claims to be noticed for having similar spiritual encounters. One of those is enough to illustrate the point. A fellow named Francis Gladden Bishop spent a decade in the church. He claimed to have spiritual experiences dating to 1826, publishing his claims twenty-five years afterwards.

He claimed that when 16 years old a number of heavenly personages visited him, one of which was the Ancient of Days mentioned in the Book of Daniel. He purported to have been given gold plates with the Book of Mormon text, the sword of Laban, and two crowns. And in 1832 a being “of God-like majesty” ordained him a high priest promising that he would “yet lead the church.” JSP Documents, Vol. 13, pp. 123-124

He was ultimately excommunicated in 1842 for having “written & published or taught certain Revelations & doctrines not consistent with the Doctrine & Covenants of the Church.” JSP Journals Vol. 2, p. 43. He wrote to Joseph Smith on September 26, 1843 inquiring about rebaptism. He said, among other things, “I express my deep conviction that my work is not yet finished in Zion.” JSP Documents, Vol. 13, p. 126

His letter goes on to expound on his understanding of various prophecies involving the last days and prophets spoken of in Daniel, Zechariah, Ezekiel and Revelation. He ultimately organized a schismatic movement called “Kingdom of God” in 1842, participated in eight different religious movements beginning in 1847, and in the end settled in Salt Lake City, where he died.

His zeal overcame his willingness to support God’s work through Joseph Smith. He would have been better served to follow Paul’s advice to the Corinthians: “If any man think himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” NC 1 Cor. 1:60 That is, if he thought himself a prophet or spiritual to have acknowledged and supported God’s work through Joseph Smith.

Oddly, today the churches founded by Joseph Smith (now numbering over one-hundred) fail to acknowledge that the things Joseph wrote, taught, denounced, preached against, or preached for are the commandments of the Lord. Instead they oppose Joseph’s teachings, claim there are ‘secret’ matters that glaringly contradict his public sermons and writings. They make Joseph a liar, which would consign him to hell: “Woe unto the liar, for he shall be thrust down to hell.” RE 2 Ne. 6:10

The dispensation God founded through Joseph Smith failed, and the professors of the various church factions are all corrupt. They are all wrong, all their creeds are an abomination in God’s sight, that the professors were all corrupt, that, They draw near to God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him; they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. They remain as if no restoration occurred at all, having robbed from it claims to authority which rejecting the actual doctrine, teachings, commandments and Spirit of the restoration.

Nephi not only saw, but wrote about our day, declaring: “in that day that the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, when the one shall say unto the other, Behold, I, I am the Lord’s — and the other shall say, I, I am the Lord’s — and thus shall everyone say that hath built up churches and not unto the Lord. And they shall contend one with another, and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the holy ghost which giveth utterance. And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel. And they say unto the people, Hearken unto us and hear ye our precept, for behold, there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men. Behold, hearken ye unto my precept. If they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work. Yea, and there shall be many which shall say, Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die and it shall be well with us. And there shall also be many which shall say, Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God, he will justify in committing a little sin. Yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor, there is no harm in this. And do all these things, for tomorrow we die. And if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God. Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner false, and vain, and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord. And their works shall be in the dark, and the blood of the saints shall cry from the ground against them. Yea, they have all gone out of the way, they have become corrupted; because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride, they are puffed up. They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing, and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart because in their pride they are puffed up. They wear stiff necks and high heads, yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray, save it be a few who are the humble followers of Christ. Nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.” NC 2 Ne. 12:1-2

Another dispensation is necessary.