Acts 1

Acts 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus

'The former treatise' is the gospel of Luke. Referred to by Paul as 'the beloved physician' (Col. 4:14), Luke began his gospel with the following introduction, 'It seemed good to write unto thee...most excellent Theophilus' (Lu 1:3). It is because of this introduction that the book of Acts is attributed to Luke. We know almost nothing of Theophilus, but we can surmise that he did not fully appreciate how important-indeed how priceless-were the letters he received from his friend Luke.

Doctrinally, the book of Acts is priceless. Christ did little to set up his church until after the resurrection. Therefore, the ordinances, sacraments, practices, and their administration would be anyone's best guess without this one-of-a-kind document. Even with it, there has been vast confusion within Christianity, but clearly Acts teaches us of crucial doctrines: Apostolic authority and continuity of the Quorum, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, the offices of the priesthood, the necessity of being properly called of God, worship on Sunday as the Sabbath, the law of consecration, the relationship between the law of Moses and the gospel of Christ, etc.

"The compilation known as the book of Acts presents our first glimpse of the Church after the departure of Jesus. It is generally understood to have been written by Luke, and is in reality a sequel to the book of Luke...Acts picks up the story where Luke and the other Testimonies end, and is in fact a testimony of Christ in and of itself. It is more than a simple recitation of historical information, for it is a presentation of facts so arranged as to tell a dramatic and moving story. It makes use of particular events in the early Church that effectively illustrate how the outreach of the Church (which was at first almost exclusively offered to none but Jews) was extended to include active missionary work among the Gentiles."

"The complete title of the book of Acts is The Acts of the Apostles, and while it is true that all of the twelve Apostles are mentioned at least once, it is not a record of the 'acts' of all of the apostles, but of only a few: a little of James and John, somewhat more of Peter, and a great amount of Paul." (Robert J. Matthews, Behold the Messiah [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 310.)

"Acts is a dramatic and moving story about how the early church taught the gospel of Jesus Christ first to the Jews, next to the Samaritans, and then to the Gentiles. Considerable preparation, conditioning, and struggling were required of many Jewish members of the church before they were willing to accept Gentiles by virtue of the gospel without the law of Moses. Many Jewish Christians vigorously insisted that a Gentile had to become a Jew before he could become a Christian. The whole matter of gentile converts had to be dealt with not only in terms of doctrine but also in terms of culture and emotion.

"Acts and the writings of Paul are firsthand accounts of how this was done gradually, a half step at a time, within the framework of the established authority of the priesthood and the administration of the church. We also get an insight into the cultural and emotional resistance that had to be overcome within the church in order for the gospel of Jesus Christ to be extended to the Gentiles, specifically to the Greeks and the Romans." (Robert J. Matthews in Studies in Scripture, Vol. 6: Acts to Revelation, ed. by Robert L. Millet, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 24 - 25.)

Acts 1:3 being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God

How could there be a subject of more value than the 40-day message of the resurrected Christ to his most trusted followers? Forty days? Well, what did they talk about? Why didn't anyone bother to record such an important event? Where's the transcript? The scriptural silence is an enigma-truly an enigma to all but the latter-day saints. While we cannot ascertain with certainty the exact nature of these teachings, we have a good idea from the model given in the Book of Mormon (see 3 Ne. 15-28) and from our own latter-day temples, where the doctrines and ordinances 'pertaining to the kingdom of God' are set forth.

"The world is hard pressed to give any meaningful explanation as to what took place during the forty days that Christ ministered to the Twelve following his resurrection (see Acts 1:3). In fact, their attempts at commentary are embarrassingly poor. To Latter-day Saints the matter seems most teach the nature of vicarious ordinances, and to instruct the Apostles in the fulness of the temple ceremony." (Robert L. Millet and Joseph Fielding McConkie, The Life Beyond [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1986], 159.)

"It would appear, therefore, that the powers of the priesthood necessary to perform eternal marriage-that is, to establish the patriarchal order-were on earth during the Savior's ministry...Following his resurrection, the risen Lord 'shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God' (Acts 1:3). Though scripture is relatively silent, New Testament apocryphal writings ('forty-day literature') abound in teachings on washings and ritual cleansings, holy garments, new names, sacred marriages, etc. We know that the Master organized his church, but that with the death of the apostles the keys of the kingdom were taken. And thus for seventeen centuries the world was without sufficient power and understanding to comprehend the glory of the priesthood and the ordinance of eternal marriage." (Robert L. Millet, Selected Writings of Robert L. Millet: Gospel Scholars Series [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2000], 284-285.)

Hugh Nibley

"The theme of the 40 days has always been a disturbing one. For many scholars the possibility of such an event as that indicated in "Acts 1:3Acts 1:3 is not even to be discussed, for others such things are tolerable only as myths, while some are frank enough to admit that they simply don't like the story. It is astonishing how many writers on the resurrection pass by the 40-day interval in studied silence... In short, if anything like 'The Great Forty Days' occurred, the enormous portent of it, which Luke puts at the very root of the Christian faith, quite escapes the commentators, who view it as an odd and rather 'interesting' interlude, but admit that in the end we do not know what Christ did or said during the 40 days but can only conjecture.

"...But is it not remarkable that nothing has come down to us from that wonderful time when the church is supposed to have received all its knowledge and training?...Those early apocryphal writings which purport to tell the rest of the story may not be ignored by the serious student...All the 40-day teaching is described as very secret, delivered to a closed cult group. There is no desire to intrigue and mystify...but rather the clearly stated policy that knowledge should be given always but only to those who ask for it, with the corollary that the higher and holier a teaching the more carefully it should be guarded. As 'the last and highest revelation,' the teaching of the 40 days was top secret, and has not come down to us. Since Irenaeus, churchmen have strenuously denied that there ever was a secret teaching or that anything really important has ever been lost. To profess otherwise would be perilously close to an admission of bankruptcy; yet Christian scholars do concede that the Apostles had information that we do not have, allow the existence of an unwritten Apostolic tradition in the church, and grant that there was a policy of secrecy in the early church...Plainly things have been lost." (Mormonism and Early Christianity, edited by Todd M. Compton and Stephen D. Ricks [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1987], 10-15.)

Hugh Nibley

"Recently I collected all the references I could find-I have twice as many now-of the forty-day mission of Christ. Whenever you find a very early Christian text, it almost always has a title referring to 'the secret teachings of the Lord to the Apostles during the forty days.' The fifty texts available to me then had four things in common

"The first was secrets, what the Lord taught the apostles after the forty days. When he came after the resurrection, he visited them and taught them. This was the really important thing, we're told. They didn't understand anything until then, yet in the Bible we are told hardly a word of what he taught them. Why not? It was secret.

"The second point is that they all asked the Lord, 'What's going to happen to us? What's going to happen to the Church?' And he tells them that it is going to be on earth for two generations; these things are not going to be handed down; they are to be buried; they are to be kept secret. They are not to be passed on to the world. That's why we didn't get them. We are just finding them now.

"Third, he taught the strange doctrines the Christian world did not like at all, the things we have been talking about: other worlds, things like that. That was out of bounds to the Christian doctors, because it wasn't Aristotle.

"The fourth was the main thing he came to do. He took them through the temple, he taught them temple ordinances. Only the apostles and the general authorities, the seventies, were instructed in these-things to be handed down, not divulged to the public. Though they were very carefully kept from the public, we have these ordinances now as they are described here, and this I have talked about in the temple on occasion. I just mention here these generalities, the importance of these documents, what they meant to those people. The person who receives these becomes a son. He both gives and receives...the signs and the tokens of the God of Truth while demonstrating the same to the Church, all in the hopes that these ordinances may some day become realities." (Hugh Nibley, Old Testament and Related Studies, edited by John W. Welch, Gary P. Gillum, and Don E. Norton [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1986], 159-160.)

Acts 1:6-7 It is not for you to know the times or the seasons

'Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?' The question the disciples are asking is "Lord, when will you come again?" for this is when the kingdom is restored. How reminiscent of Joseph Smith's earnest prayer, 'I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man.' The answer for Joseph was, in essence, 'trouble me no more on this matter' (DC 130:14-15). For the meridian apostles the answer was, 'It is not for you to know the times or the seasons.'

"It is only natural that since that time nearly every generation of Christians has earnestly hoped that theirs would be the generation in which this promise would be fulfilled. The mind thrills at the thought that one might actually see the realization of the millennial dream come true in his own life. And so from the earliest history of Christianity, there have been those who earnestly believed that Christ's second coming was imminent." (Gerald N. Lund, The Coming of the Lord [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1971], 13-14.)

Scriptural evidence seems to indicate that some of the early apostles thought that Christ's coming would be in their lifetime. John wrote, 'even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time' (1 Jn. 2:18). Similarly, Peter wrote, 'the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer' (1 Pet. 4:7, see also Acts 2:16-21). Ironically, these great apostles, who were given great visions of the glory of Christ's second advent were unclear on only one thing-the time of his coming.

Paul's writings were clearer on this subject. "Within twenty years of the death of Christ, the Apostle Paul had to rebuke the saints in Thessalonica for being deceived as to the closeness of the return of the Master. Evidently, some of the saints had even quit their occupations to await the great event, and had become little more than 'busy bodies.' (2 Thes. 3:11) Therefore, Paul clearly explained that such a day could not come before a great falling away had come first. (2 Thes. 2:2-3)" (Gerald N. Lund, The Coming of the Lord [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1971], 13-14.)

Acts 1:8 ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you

Orson Pratt

"All the teachings which [the Apostles] had heard from the mouth of the Savior while He was present with them, were not sufficient to qualify them for their duties in His absence. As soon as He left them, He began to give them commandments and revelations through the Holy Ghost (see Acts 1:2). And without continued revelations, they, like their Lord and Master, could do nothing. It mattered not how much human wisdom or learning they might have acquired, nor how many revelations had previously been given; such things would in no wise qualify them for the ministry; it required constant revelation." (Orson Pratt's Works [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1945], 146-147.)

Sterling W. Sill

"We have recently discovered the power of atomic energy. But there are greater forms of power in the universe that need to be discovered. The greatest of these is the power of God. Just before the Lord ascended into heaven, he said to his apostles, '. . . ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.' (Acts 1:8.) The New Testament declares that to as many as received the Lord, 'to them gave he power to become the sons of God.' (John 1:12.) When an individual properly conditions his mind to the Spirit of the Lord, the healing power of the Lord will be with him. We ought to understand our Heavenly Father in his role as the God of power, and if he can create us, he can recreate us.

"About Jesus the scripture says, 'In him was life; and the life was the light of men.' (John 1:4.) When we go to church in the right spirit and are relaxed in body, clean in mind, and active in spirit, his power of life and light permeates our minds and bodies. It is a thrilling thing to hear a great choir, to see the beauty of the place of worship, but it is even more thrilling to feel God's spirit vitalizing our lives." (That Ye Might Have Life [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974], 239.)

Ezra Taft Benson

"In the Church today a leader...should assure those to whom he gives assignments that in the service of the Lord they have even greater powers than in ordinary responsibilities. There can be no failure in the work of the Lord when men do their best. We are but instruments; this is the Lord's work. This is his church, his gospel plan. These are his children we are working with. He will not permit us to fail if we do our part. He will magnify us even beyond our own talents and abilities when necessary. This I know. I'm sure many of you have experienced it as I have. It is one of the sweetest experiences that can come to a human being.

"In the last solemn interview with the eleven before his ascension, Jesus said: 'But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.' (Acts 1:8.)" (God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974], 139.)

Acts 1:8 ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth

Spencer W. Kimball

"Our work is to preach the gospel to the world. It is not self-imposed. We are under divine commandment. The Prophet Joseph Smith preached, 'After all has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel.' All the other programs are extremely important but, of course, we cannot influence people much by those programs until we get them in the Church.

"After his resurrection the Lord took his eleven apostles to the top of the Mount of Olives and said: 'And ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.' (Acts 1:8.)

"These were his last words on earth before he ascended to his heavenly home. What is the significance of the phrase 'uttermost part of the earth'? He had already covered the area known to the apostles. Was it only the people in Judea? Or those in Samaria? Or the few millions in the Near East? Where were the 'uttermost parts of the earth'? Did he include the hundreds of thousands or even millions in Greece, Italy, around the Mediterranean, the inhabitants of Central Europe? Did he mean the millions in what is now America? Or did he mean all the living people of all the world and those spirits assigned to this world to come in future centuries? Have we underestimated his language or its meaning? How can we be satisfied with 100,000 converts out of 4 billion people in the world who need the gospel?" (President Kimball Speaks Out [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 33-34.)

Acts 1:9 while they beheld, he was taken up

The doctrine of the Godhead as understood by most of Christianity is that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one personage without body, parts, or passions. Yet, at the same time, most ministers believe in the literal resurrection of Christ. Certainly, the scriptures clearly demonstrate that Christ ministered among the Apostles with a tangible body of flesh and bones, capable of being touched and held (Matt 28:9). The greatest evidence of all was that he ate honeycomb and fish, declaring 'handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have' (Lu. 24:36-43).

But if God is without body, parts, or passions, we must ask what happened to this glorious, resurrected, and very tangible body. In Acts 1:9, the apostles witness Christ's ascension into heaven. But what did he do with his body? Certainly, he could not possess such a body in heaven for the Nicene creed has denied him the possibility of a body. Are we to conclude that he disposed of it in some celestial garbage can? Did he divest himself of this glorious body so that he could live as one spirit with the Father? If so, we must imagine that when he returns to earth, he stops by this celestial depository, puts his body back on, and comes to earth in power and glory. How else could this work?

LeGrand Richards

"I should like to tell you an experience I had while laboring as a missionary in New Bedford, Massachusetts some years ago. We were approaching the Easter Sunday, and I had a discussion with a minister of the gospel about the mission of the Redeemer of the world. I had him explain to me the God in whom he believed. Naturally, in keeping with the ordinary orthodox Christian view, he explained how God the Father, and God the Son and God the Holy Ghost were one God, and then he went on to indicate their work and said, in substance, that they were so large that they filled the whole universe, and so small that they could dwell in our hearts; that they were the life of the plants and flowers and everything around us. And then I interjected this question, 'What are we celebrating this week?' And he said 'The Easter.' I said, 'What does that really mean?' 'Well,' he said, 'it's the resurrection of Christ." I said, "Just what do you mean by the resurrection of Christ?' Then I led him to explain. I said, 'You mean that the stone was actually rolled away and that when the women came to the tomb that the angels proclaimed that he was not there, that he was arisen, that the very body that was taken down from the cross and laid in that tomb had arisen?' And he admitted that that was true.

"And I said that in that body he appeared to his disciples... And then I led him on through the experience of the Savior in ministering among his disciples for forty days until in the presence of five hundred of the brethren he was carried away in the clouds of heaven, and two men dressed in white apparel stood and said, as the brethren gazed into heaven to watch him ascend, ' . . . Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.' (Acts 1:11.) And he agreed that that actually happened.

"And then I said, 'My friend, where is the body that Jesus took out of the tomb, if he and the Father are one and an essence everywhere present in the world? Would you say that Jesus died a second death and laid his body down again?' And he thought for a few minutes. He said, 'I am afraid I can't answer that. I have never thought of it before in that way.'8488" (Conference Report, April 1953, Second Day-Morning Meeting 71.)

Acts 1:11 Jesus...shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven

In Joseph Smith's day, the Shakers taught that Christ had come again in the form of a woman (see heading for DC 49). Today there are some religious groups that preach that Christ has come again and that the millennial era has already commenced. When pressed about the details, they say that Christ has come in spirit and that the transition to millennial peace and joy is gradual. Are such conclusions justified?

Jesus taught, 'if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe it not...if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not' (Matt 24:23, 25). 'And again, verily I say unto you, that the Son of Man cometh not in the form of a woman, neither of a man traveling on the earth. Wherefore, be not deceived' (DC 49:22-23). The question remains, "how will he come?" The answer is found in Acts 1:11. He will return from the heavens in the same manner he ascended, attended by angels, power, and glory. He will be plainly visible, for 'all flesh shall see me together' (DC 101:23). 'For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be' (Matt 24:27).

Acts 1:12 from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey

"A 'sabbath day's journey' was the distance allowable to walk on the Sabbath, a rabbinical restriction based on the Mosaic injunction 'Let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.' (Ex. 16:29.) The maximum distance specified was two thousand cubits (three thousand feet). It was about that distance from the city wall of Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives. (See Acts 1:12.)" (D. Kelly Ogden, Where Jesus Walked: The Land and Culture of New Testament Times [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 4.)

Acts 1:15 Peter's leadership role among the Apostles

By this time, Peter's leadership role among the twelve apostles had been established. It was not long ago that the brethren had wondered who of them should take the lead, disputing 'among themselves, who should be the greatest' (Mark 9:34). Peter's divine tutorial-three years of being schooled by the greatest teacher of all time-had now come to an end. The coarse, and impetuous fisherman now stood up among his brethren to lead them in humility according to the pattern of the Master.

Spencer W. Kimball

"When Christ chose this fisherman for his first and chief apostle, he was taking no chances. He picked a diamond in the rough-a diamond that would need to be cut, trimmed, and polished by correction, chastisement, and trials-but nevertheless a diamond of real quality. The Savior knew this apostle could be trusted to receive the keys of the kingdom, the sealing and the loosing power. Like other humans, Peter might make some errors in his developing process, but he would be solid, trustworthy, and dependable as a leader of the kingdom of God." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], 470.)

Joseph F. Smith

"Never is there but one appointed at a time to hold the keys of the kingdom of God pertaining to the earth. While Christ remained on the earth he held them; but when he departed, he committed them to Peter, he being the president or chief of the apostles; and it was his right to direct and to receive revelation for the Church, and to give counsel to all the brethren." (Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith, compiled by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], 43.)

Acts 1:20 Peter quotes from Psalms

Peter was not a Pharisee or a scribe. He had not been schooled in the Law of Moses or the Talmud. During Christ's ministry, none of Peter's questions revolved around the scriptures. At times, it seemed that his understanding was in its infancy. But now, even before receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost (see Acts 2), Peter correctly interprets some subtle passages from the Psalms, choosing two separate passages (Ps. 69:22-28 & Ps. 109:6-8) which prophesied of Judas' treachery.

"Would these verses have been seen as anything more than a recital of David's complaints against his enemies and his hope that they be rewarded according to their works? Could anyone living at that time independent of the spirit of prophecy hear these verses read and know that they were messianic? If we did not have the testimony of the Gospel writers, would any of these verses be clear to us? Thus the book of Psalms, our Bible within the Bible, establishes the principle-it takes prophets to understand prophets and scripture to understand scripture." (Joseph F. McConkie, Joseph Smith Translation: The Restoration of Plain and Precious Things, ed. by Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate, Jr., [Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1985], 118 - 119.)

Acts 1:18 falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst , and all his bowels gushed out

"Death of Judas Iscariot. In the King James Version two accounts are give on the death of the betrayer. Matthew indicates that Judas hanged himself (Matt. 27:5) whereas Peter is quoted as saying that Judas, 'falling headlong, burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.' (Acts 1:18)

"As presented in the Inspired Version, Matthew makes this significant statement of Judas' death: 'He went, and hanged himself on a tree. And straightway he fell down, and his bowels gushed out, and he died.' (Matt. 27:6) This addition thus has the effect of harmonizing the two accounts of Judas' death." (Robert J. Matthews, Joseph Smith Memorial Sermons 9.)

Acts 1:20 his bishoprick let another take

"In the early years after the resurrection of Jesus, the apostles added members to their number as vacancies required. It appears that the first item of apostolic business after Jesus' ascension was the selection of one to take the place of Judas (Acts 1:21-26). This action establishes the principle, which is confirmed by the practice today of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that apostolic succession was to be continued and that the ancient apostles intended to replace members of the Twelve each time one died. In addition to Matthias, three others we are aware of became apostles after Jesus' ascension: James (Acts 12:17; Gal. 1:19), Barnabas (Acts 14:14), and Paul (Acts 14:14). These three were called early in the Church's history-before A.D. 50. But neither scripture nor other historical evidence gives us any indication of the calling of others. It thus seems reasonable to suggest that near the middle of the first century, the calling of apostles came to an end and the apostleship died out. As far as we know, by the 90s only John remained. When he left his public ministry around A.D. 100, apostleship ceased, and the keys of the kingdom were taken." (Kent P. Jackson, From Apostasy to Restoration [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996], 20.)

Acts 1:21-22 Wherefore of these men...must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection

'By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?' (Matt. 21:23) was the question asked in derision by the chief priests and elders. However, the underlying principle is true-one cannot presume to teach and preach religion unless he has received authority by one who is recognized as God's representative. Therefore, all of today's religious leaders should be able to answer this crucial question. If they have decided of themselves to preach religion, if they 'preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world' (2 Ne. 26:29), we declare 'no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron' (Heb. 5:4).

Peter, an ordained apostle, understood immediately that his quorum of 11 Apostles was incomplete. As his first administrative duty, he took immediate action to restore the quorum according to the pattern set by the Master. His actions in filling this vacancy declare this universal truth to all of Christianity-that 12 ordained apostles are necessary to lead Christ's church. Mark E. Petersen stated, "There was a great significance in this action. It demonstrated beyond all doubt the fact that it was the plan and purpose of the Lord that the Quorum of Twelve should continue to be a Quorum of Twelve and not a Quorum of Eleven, or a Quorum of Ten, or Nine, finally to disappear...It gave encouragement to the Saints. It proved to them and to all men that the Church organization as provided by the Savior was to go on without change as long as men were willing to hear and accept the true gospel." ("Which Church is Right," Latter-day Tracts [Pamphlets], 6.)

Where in all the world can one find a church established according to this pattern? Where are there 12 apostles, organized in a quorum, which is replenished upon the death of one of its members? Where is there a religious organization whose leaders can unabashedly answer the question, 'By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?'

A Roman Catholic thinker once said:

"You 'Mormons' are all ignoramuses. You don't even know the strength of your own position. It is so strong that there is only one other position tenable in the whole Christian world, and that is the position of the Roman Catholic church. The issue is between 'Mormonism' and Catholicism. If you are right, we are wrong. If we are right, you are wrong, and that's all there is to it. These Protestant sects haven't a leg to stand on; for if we are right, we cut them off long ago, as apostates; and if we are wrong, they are wrong with us, for they were a part of us and came out of us. If we have the apostolic succession from St. Peter, as we claim, there was no need of Joseph Smith and 'Mormonism;' but if we have not that apostolic succession, then such a man as Joseph Smith was necessary, and 'Mormonism's position is the only consistent one. It is either the perpetuation of the Gospel from ancient times or the restoration of the Gospel in latter days." (LeGrand Richards, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, 3)

George Q. Cannon

"Nothing more clearly sustains the position that the Latter-day Saints take and the testimony that they bear concerning the establishment of the Lord's Church in these last days than the diversity of sects and of doctrines that are taught in the so-called Christian world. What possible hope could any earnest seeker after truth receive from these different denominations when the lack of authority is so apparent? It is not to be wondered at that sincere Protestants turn their eyes toward Rome and many of them take refuge in that church because there is a consistency in the claims of the Church of Rome to Apostolic succession. But those claims are not supported by the facts of history. That church lost the authority of the Priesthood through transgression. The Priesthood was undoubtedly taken back to God. The men who bore it were slain and none were left to continue its succession.

"Hence, the position that our Church occupies is the only logical position...We are relieved, therefore, as a people, from the necessity of discussing Apostolic succession and from contentions whether it is necessary for men to be ordained by proper authority in order to become ministers of Jesus Christ. All doubt and uncertainty concerning these points were swept away by the knowledge that the Apostleship has been restored to the earth from a source which leaves its validity without question. The position of this Church on these points is impregnable." (George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, selected, arranged, and edited by Jerreld L. Newquist [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 172.)

LeGrand Richards

"Since apostles were essential in the church that Jesus Christ established in the meridian of time, why should they not continue to be necessary wherever his recognized church is upon the earth? To a thinking person it should be obvious that as the church grows, the need for apostles to direct the work would be even more essential.

"Even with the limited information the Bible gives on this subject, it is very apparent that had the church that Jesus organized in person continued among men, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles would have been kept complete to direct it." (A Marvelous Work and a Wonder [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1950], 164.)

Acts 1:24 Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen

Spencer W. Kimball

"Is there a difference between the organization of the Church today and anciently?

"Since I was ordained an apostle on October 7, 1943, I have participated and assisted in the call of a great many General Authorities. How were they called? May I assure you that every one of those men was called by God, by prophecy and by revelation. There was a process of elimination through much fasting and prayer. Many people may have been considered, but finally, one man from the entire Church was nominated by the Prophet of the Lord, approved by his counselors and by the members of the Council of the Twelve, sustained by the people, and ordained by the Prophet of the Lord. This is comparable to the same operation in the days of Peter following the ascension of the Christ, when the remaining apostles, with Peter presiding as the prophet of God, combed the area for great men and by the process of elimination brought it down to two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. Peter took leadership and explained the qualifications necessary, stating that the appointee must have been associated with them during the entire ministry of the Christ from his baptism to his ascension, thus being a special witness of the Christ.

'And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen.' (Acts 1:24.)

"And Matthias was called and was numbered with the eleven apostles." (Faith Precedes the Miracle [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972], 45.)

Elder Charles A. Callis

"The Lord is the searcher of the heart. He knows the qualifications, the most secret purposes and intentions and dispositions of all men. Every man whom we have sustained by our vote this afternoon, in the position to which he has been appointed, that man, I testify, has been chosen by the spirit of revelation, by the Holy Ghost, which, as I have stated is the genius of the Priesthood. While this spirit remains in the Church and it will remain forever we need not be afraid that we will be led astray, for God loves us. He loves the men whom he has appointed and he will move upon them, by the Holy Spirit, to select men whom he has chosen to be overseers of the flock, 'to feed the Church of God.'" (Conference Report, April 1938, Afternoon Meeting 101.)