The Pentecostal Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...To answer your question concerning the scripture used by this church, we use The Holy Bible (various versions, officially the KJV), The Book of Mormon (the 1908 and Utah editions). We don't accept the Doctrine and Covenants or The Book of Commandments as scripture, but we do believe that there are many spiritually edifying subjects written within these volumes. Of the two, we consider The Book of Commandments to be the most true to the original and restored Church of Christ in 1830...
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Statements of Belief and Practice of The Pentecostal Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- We believe that God is one, and that he is the only Supreme being who governs the universe.
- We believe that Jesus Christ is the manifestation of God in the flesh, that is, God the Eternal Father, took upon Himself a body of flesh and bone and suffered and died at the hands of His own people so that our sins may be forgiven, giving us eternal life. Our sins have not simply been atoned for, or covered up, but we have been washed clean by His precious blood.
- We believe that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, or God Himself. The Holy Spirit is the mind and power of God. He is the Comforter, Revelator, and the Executor of God's eternal plan.
- We believe that there are two personages which make up the Godhead: the Father and the Son; the Holy Spirit is the mind of God which proceeds from the Father and the Son. Hence we believe that the Eternal Father, the Son, also eternal, and the eternal Holy Spirit IS the one Eternal God in substance and purpose, who is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.
- We believe the Holy Bible to be the infallible and inerrant Word of God. The Holy Bible is the mind of Christ and it is God's personal means of communication to His people via revelation. The Word of God is true and sufficient for doctrine, reproof, exhortation, and edification. Because we believe in a God who is active today as he always has been, our canon of scripture has no end. We believe in all that God has revealed and shall reveal throughout time.
- We believe in the apostasy of the New Testament Church of Christ which in turn demanded a restoration, or restitution, of His Holy Church. We believe that this restoration is continuing and began with the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr in these latter-days.
- We believe that as a result of this restoration, God has revealed many great and marvellous insights concerning His Gospel and the purpose of life never before revealed to man. Most important of these revelations is the aforementioned Book of Mormon which is the word of God and an added witness to the Gospel of Christ as revealed in the Holy Bible.
- We believe that the Book of Mormon is the fulfillment of many biblical prophecies which state that the Book of Mormon and the Holy Bible will become one book. Hence, the Bible and the Book of Mormon make up the standard works of The Pentecostal Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- We believe in the organization of the Church as instituted by Christ, namely apostles, pastors, bishops, evangelists, elders and deacons. An apostle is the highest office, of which there are ideally 12, but the church can function with more or less. We also believe that all true believers on the person of Christ are all members of a holy priesthood, the priesthood after the order of Christ. This is what Peter calls a "royal priesthood" and can be held by all believers regardless of race, sex, or national origin.
- We believe concerning the priesthood offices that they are not held by those who desire it, but by those who have been chosen and set aside by God and ordained into such an office. No man can choose to hold a priesthood office at his own volition. Only God can offer the priesthood offices to a man, and if he accept, will be preserved in that position through encouragement. All church officials are deemed worthy through qualification, scriptural evaluation, and ordination.
- We claim direct authority and divine inspiration from God. Our church is built upon the teachings of the Gospel, which is the rock upon which the church is built. Our church is not built upon any man: not Peter, Paul, Joseph Smith. Only Christ and his word.
- We believe that the one only true church on the face of the earth is not a physical institution but a spiritual. The true Church of Christ consists of all those who obey the principles of the original church of Christ and its Gospel. Church branches are autonomous and independently governed according to the scriptures and the Statements of Belief and Practice. Salvation is made available to all true believers through the work of Jesus Christ regardless of race, nationality, and denomination. We believe that there are many that belong to restoration groups who are very sincere in their faith who are sincerely wrong. We believe that the greater majority of these churches' members have a correct understanding of the early teachings of Brother Joseph. Salvation is available to all who believe and obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These are they whom we accept as brothers and sisters, or fellow saints in Christ.
- We believe that all men have been separated from God as a result of Adam's transgression in the Garden of Eden through which the sin nature was passed down to man. The veil between God and man is removed when a man is "born-again" or having true repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
- We believe that a man cannot be saved unless he accepts Christ as His personal Lord and Savior, thereby accepting his Gospel as the fruit of salvation.
- We believe that a man must first be "born-again," turning away from and putting-off the old man and becoming a new man in Christ. This is signified in baptism for the remission of sins. After a man is baptized, he receives the laying on of hands for the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
- We believe that today is the time for salvation in these latter-days. There are two destinies for man: heaven, eternal fellowship and communion with God in His Kingdom; and hell, an eternal place of torment and punishment, and an eternal separation from God in His Kingdom.
- We strongly believe in the eminent and soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ to complete the work of the restoration. We believe that many generations shall not pass away before the Second Coming of Christ.
- We believe that the unification of all of the latter-day saint, or restoration groups is eminent, and that this church shall be instrumental in fulfilling this through the power of God. In so doing this, the latter-day saints will form the United Order necessary for the preparation of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We further state that Christ will not return to a broken Church but to a church united under one Shepherd, who is Christ and his Gospel. We believe that we should continue in this effort until as Paul wrote "till we come in unity of faith..." Because of this, we strongly believe in that we must possess a strong and effective evangelism effort to help catalyze the formation of the United Order.
- Finally, we affirm that this church is not an offshoot, splinter, faction, or protest group from any existing or non-existing restoration group. This group was not formed by any man but was founded in direct obedience to revelation from God to restore the original teachings espoused by the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr.
A Brief Background History of the Pentecostal Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsIn 1994, Mike Bethel, along with nearly 30 others, formed an independent study group called "LDS Scripture Readers." The members of this group came from various backgrounds, including various restorationist groups, such as RLDS members, Temple Lot members and Bickertonites. Bethel, at the time not an official member of any restoration group but having a strong and unshaken testimony of the Book of Mormon, founded the group to discuss peacefully and without contention matters of doctrine within the various restoration groups. Bethel and the other members of the "cell-group" deemed it wise and apprpriate to discern the truth from error through diligent study in the scriptures. Other topics discussed within the group included current events, Biblical and apocolyptic prophecy, the importance of Christ in the Christian walk, and family edification.
According to Bethel, the group was formed in response to inspiration after a group study in the Book of Acts 17:11, "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whither those things were so." The "LDS Scripture Readers" concluded that it made perfect sense that all new revelations from God should be thoroughly researched according to extant scripture to determine if they were valid, for God remains the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8; Mor 4:68,69; Moroni 10:7, 14).
Soon after many regular meetings in which the Holy Spirit was beckoned for guidance, their diligent search was rewarded through Christ with unity among one another. It became apparent that their studies in the scriptures through the guidance of the Holy Spirit had united them, for the word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword (Eph 6:17; Heb 4:12), so sharp, that it cut through the ungodly confusion (I Cor 14:33; III Nephi 5:30) and replaced it with unity and peace in Christ Jesus. From that point on, there was no contention or disputations among them because of their unity in faith in Christ (IV Nephi 1-19; Acts 3:44).
Some conclusions that were reached after their studies were attained with the help of David Whitmer's "Address to All Believers in Christ," the author being one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon. Brother Whitmer, through analysis of the scriptures, covered many subjects such as polygamy, the Melchizedek and Aaronic priesthoods, the office of the first presidency, and changes in prior revelations to Joseph Smith, Jr., the prophet of the restoration. As a result of these scripturally based conclusions, only the Bible and the Book of Mormon were accepted as the standard works. According to a revelation to the prophet, "the only gift" Joseph Smith was given was the gift to translate the Book of Mormon. It later states that he "should pretend no other gift" because "I will grant him no other gift." Later in the Doctrine and Covenants, still accepted by some restoration groups today, this revelation was changed to read that the gift of translation was "the first gift" espoused on Brother Joseph. The priesthods were not mentioned in the Book of Commandments (1833), the predecessor to the Doctrine and Covenants (1835). The same section from the Book of Commandments was expanded in 1835 in the Doctrine and Covenants to contain many details concerning the two priesthoods. Polygamy, emphatically condemned by the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants (1835), was declared a commandment of the unchangeable God (LDS D&C 132). In editions after 1835, a statement concerning the condemnation of polygamy was expunged from modern editions of the Doctrine and Covenants. These are only a few of many areas which the scriptures cleared up for the "LDS Scripture Readers."
In March of 1995, the Lord worked within the "LDS Scripture Readers" in a most marvellous and exciting way. During a study meeting which began with the usual praise and worship prayer and song, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was extremely powerful. As a result, the members of the group were spiritually revived as the disciples of Jesus were revived on Pentecost (Acts 2). They spoke in the tongues of angels, some prophesied, some experienced dreams and visions, some attained wisdom in Christ, and some were healed physically and emotionally according to their need in Christ (I Cor 12; Acts 2:2-6; Moroni 10:10-12). Also, many experienced God's unspeakable joy and became "drunk" in the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:13-21).
Three months after this remarkable and exciting experience, during a meeting, one of the members of the "LDS Scripture Readers" received a revelation from the Lord, with which the Spirit gave him utterance with the gift of tongues. When interpreted by another member, the Lord revealed that He recoginzed the "LDS Scripture Readers" as part of His remnant, and ordered that the name of the group be changed to The Pentecostal Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Lord said, "...for I shall revive this Church as it was in the day of Pentecost..." (A Revelation to the PLDS Church). The Lord also appointed Michael Bethel, who was not present at this meeting, as an apostle of the Lord and commisioned the PLDS Church to unite all latter-day/restorationists. Many present testified to truth of this revelation which was also accompanied by miraculous events. The following week, Mike Bethel had a vision in which an angel had ordained him an apostle of God, and set aside other leaders for the PLDS Church, thus again adding testimony to the truth of this revelation.
Today, the PLDS Church has international correspondance through virtually every means of communication possible: mail, telephone, radio, electronic mail, and the internet. Many members are still members of their home churches and there is no pressure to convert or belong to the PLDS Church. The PLDS Church is actively involved in discussion of as many restoration groups possible, with the primary focus of returning to the original doctrines which God restored through Joseph Smith, the Prophet, in 1830.
May God Bless you All, and continue in your walk upright in the Lord's eyes.
Added: 27 September 1996
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