Frequently Asked Questions

Who are we and what do we stand for?

Here are answers to some of the most common questions about The Church of Jesus Christ.

What do the scriptures reveal about other records or books coming forth in the latter days?

 

Because Jesus spoke of other sheep who He visited and heard His voice (see What We Believe), The Church of Jesus Christ understands that the following records or books will be revealed:

 

Plates of Brass

Described in 1 Nephi 5, the plates of brass contain the early history of Israel and the writings of several Old Testament prophets (such as Isaiah) as well as the writings of other prophets who are not mentioned in the Bible (such as Zenos and Zenock). Lehi stated that “these plates of brass should never perish” and “should go forth unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people who were of his seed” (1 Nephi 5:18-19).

 

Plates of Nephi

The plates of Nephi are the source material for much of what is written in the Book of Mormon. However, our abridged book contains not even the hundredth part of what was recorded on these plates. In particular, Moroni notes in 3 Nephi 26 that much of what Jesus taught the Nephites is recorded on the plates of Nephi but the Lord instructed that it not be included in the abridgement. Instead, just a small amount of information was to be given to the people “to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them” (3 Nephi 26:9).

 

Record of the Brother of Jared

The Lord revealed many great things to the Brother of Jared, from the beginning of the earth until the end, which he recorded in his own record. However, the Lord instructed him to seal up these records and said, “they shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord. And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, even as the brother of Jared did, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations” (Ether 4:6-7).

 

Records of Other Tribes of Israel

Just as the descendants of Joseph (the Nephites) and the descendants of Judah (the Jews) kept records, so did the descendants of the other tribes of Israel. “And it shall come to pass that the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel” (2 Nephi 29:13).

 

Other Books

In Nephi’s vision, he saw “other books, which came forth by the power of the Lamb” that will convince all “that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true. These last records shall establish the truth of the first and shall make known to all people that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved” (1 Nephi 13:39-40).

Names & Definitions

Why is the Church named The Church of Jesus Christ?

Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20), and the Apostle Paul adds, “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17).

We believe that a Church named after the man belongs to that man, but that a Church named after Jesus belongs to Him, as long as it is founded on His precepts, and bears evidence of His gifts and love.

Jesus proclaimed if it is His Church then call it in His name. (3 Nephi 27:1-8)

What Christian denomination does the Church identify with?

We are a restoration church and are not affiliated with any other denomination.

What is the "restored gospel" or the "restoration of the gospel"?

Before the restoration was the apostasy. This was a departure from the true doctrine established by Jesus Christ, requiring God to retract His priesthood authority from the earth. The Restoration restored the Church as a facsimile of doctrine and ordinances as established by Jesus Christ, with the return of the priesthood authority. (Revelation 14:6-7)

What is the "Divine Commission" of the Church?

The Divine Commission of the church is to bring the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, which includes God’s promises to recover the House of Israel from their long dispersion. (Matthew 28:19-20)

What does the Church mean by the "twelve tribes of Israel" and "the Seed of Joseph"?

Jacob had twelve sons who are scripturally referred to as the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Joseph was the favored son of Jacob, and his descendants are referred to as the Seed of Joseph.

What do you mean when you refer to "Zion"?

Zion refers to the kingdom of God fully established upon the earth, while men and women are still in the flesh. This will be a time of unparalleled peace even among the animal kingdom. (Isaiah 2:1-5, Isaiah 11, and Isaiah 65:18-25)

What are "Gentiles"?

“Gentile” refers to anyone who is not an Israelite.

Why are members called "Brother" or "Sister?"

We are all part of the family of God and “affectioned one to another with brotherly love” (Romans 12:10), so the titles “brother” and “sister” are certainly appropriate.

Jesus showed preference to His followers over His own natural family when He announced, “Whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in Heaven, the same is My brother, and sister” (Matthew 12:50, Mark 3:35). If Jesus was willing to call His followers brothers and sisters, then we will do the same.

I've heard a lot of acronyms, but I don't know what they mean. Help!

The Church of Jesus Christ (TCOJC), has two auxiliary groups with ministries focused on women and youth. The General Ladies’ Uplift Circle (GLUC) is the worldwide women’s ministry, and the General Missionary Benevolent Association (GMBA) is our youth ministry. As well, our major outreach efforts include the Native American Outreach Committee (NAOC) and the International Missionary Outreach Committee (IMOC), in which missionaries service native people in North and South America and international works throughout the world.

The Book of Mormon

What are the scriptures that the Church uses?

The Church of Jesus Christ accepts the Bible (King James Version) and The Book of Mormon as divinely inspired holy scriptures.

If you believe in The Book of Mormon, doesn't that make you a Mormon?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions about the Church. If someone believes in the Old Testament, that does not automatically make that person a Jew. Similarly, if someone believes in the Bible, that does not mean that person is Catholic, Baptist, or Pentacostal. The Church of Jesus Christ has no affiliation or connection with Mormonism. Many aspects of Mormon doctrine are not supported by The Book of Mormon, nor are they part of our beliefs.

The Book of Mormon is a record of Jesus Christ in the land of North, Central, and South America. Its scriptures go hand in hand with the Bible, as Christ set up His Church the same in Palestine as He did in the Americas.

Why do you accept The Book of Mormon as the Word of God but not the other texts specific to Mormonism?

The Bible prophesies of the Book of Mormon (Ezekiel 37:16-20). The other Mormon texts are comprised of various revelations of Joseph Smith that do not coincide with either the Bible or Book of Mormon.

Who wrote The Book of Mormon?

As with the Bible, holy men wrote as they were directed by the spirit of God. They wrote on metal ore plates that had the appearance of gold, and were translated by Joseph Smith by the power of God.

Church Leadership

Who are the men who lead Church meetings and deliver the sermon?

These men are elders (ministers), responsible for the spiritual well-being of the Church. In Acts 14 and 15, Paul traveled throughout the Church, ordaining elders in different locations to look after the Church’s needs in each area. Our elders serve a similar purpose.

Do you ordain female elders?

Women play an important role in The Church of Jesus Christ. In addition to the ordained office of deaconess, women serve the Church through Sunday school, the Missionary Benevolent Association, and the Ladies’ Uplift Circle, and they hold various operational offices at the local and national levels of these support organizations.

As stated, The Church of Jesus Christ follows the example of Christ in setting up the Church. Our Lord and Savior did not call women into ordained offices such as apostles, elders, or teachers, and we adhere to that order.

Do elders prepare their sermons in advance?

While the elders of The Church of Jesus Christ prepare for sermons by studying scripture and going to God in prayer, they speak from no prepared text. Rather, our elders speak under the inspiration of God, allowing the Spirit to direct their words, such that the congregation may be fed spiritually. Paul wrote to Timothy, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Do the elders of the Church get paid?

The elders are not paid any money. Each holds a regular job to make a living for himself and his family. Jesus said, “Freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). Paul faced this situation with the Corinthians, “Have I committed an offense in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely? I robbed other Churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man” (2 Corinthians 11:7-9).

How does someone become an elder?

A man does not choose to become an elder. Only those who are called by God are ordained into the ministry. “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God” (Hebrews 5:4). God reveals to the priesthood of the Church who should be called and ordained into the priesthood.

Elements of a Church Service

What can I expect when I attend a Church meeting on Sunday?

We welcome you to The Church of Jesus Christ! This article explains what to expect when you visit us for a Sunday service.

Who is being prayed to in Church?

We pray to God the Father, but we do so through Christ, His Son. As Jesus said, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Jesus instructed His disciples how to pray: “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in Heaven” (Matthew 6:9).

What is the purpose of testimony?

The testimony portion of the meeting gives the congregation the opportunity to praise God openly for what He has done for them. As David wrote, “Praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! Let them exalt Him also in the congregation of the people, and praise Him in the assembly of the elders” (Psalms 107:31-32).

We make time for testimony on a regular basis because God blesses us continually and should be praised as often as possible. “I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more” (Psalms 71:14).

Are only members of the Church allowed to testify?

Everyone has a reason to praise God, so all are given the opportunity to testify. “Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud Him, all ye people” (Romans 15:11).

Why don't you pre-plan your Church services so that they go more smoothly?

We believe in allowing our services to be led by the Spirit of God. (Moroni 6:9)

Baptism & Membership

How does someone become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ?

A person becomes a member of The Church of Jesus Christ by obeying the words of Jesus, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Anyone who wants to join the Church must have faith and believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, repent of his sins, and be baptized (born of water) for a remission of sins, after which the elders pray that the baptized person receives the Holy Ghost (born of the Spirit).

How is baptism performed?

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ are baptized in the same way Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.
They are completely immersed in an open body of water. The candidate is first asked at the water’s shore, if they repent of their sins and if they promise to serve the Lord Jesus Christ all the remaining days of their life. After affirmatively responding, they are led into the water by the elder. The candidate and minister face the congregation (witnesses), the elder raises his hand above the head of the candidate and calling them by name, says “Having the authority of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. The candidate is then immersed in the water and led back to the shore. John the Baptist said, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance” (Matthew 3:11). “And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and lo, the heavens were opened unto Him” (Matthew 3:16). See also Acts 9:26-39.

Why do the elders say a prayer for the baptized person to receive the Holy Ghost?

The scriptures instruct that the ministry lay hands on the convert to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Moroni 2:2, 6:4)

Communion (The Lord’s Supper)

What is the purpose of communion?

The purpose of communion — also referred to as sacrament or The Lord’s Supper — is to remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, that His body was broken and His blood spilt to atone for our sins and give us the opportunity to gain eternal life with God. When Jesus set the example at the Last Supper, He stated the purpose very simply: “This do in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19).

Why are bread and wine used?

Jesus used bread to represent His body and wine to represent His blood, so we use bread and wine as well. We see no reason to deviate from the example Jesus set the night before His crucifixion: “He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is My body which is given for you” (Luke 22:19). “And he took the cup and gave thanks and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the Kingdom of God shall come” (Luke 22:17-18).

Why do you use a common cup for communion?

Jesus used a common cup at the Last Supper (Matthew 26:27) and reinforced this when He addressed the disciples on this land of America (3 Nephi 18:8).

Why is communion served only to members of the Church?

The elders serve the bread and wine only to active members of The Church of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote, “He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body” (1 Corinthians 11:29). None are worthy of themselves; Jesus makes us worthy. Until a person becomes a baptized member of The Church of Jesus Christ under our priesthood authority, they cannot receive communion from our elders. We do not mean to cause any offense among our visitors.

Anointing With Oil

What does it mean to "anoint" someone?

In the Church, it refers to when an elder applies a small amount (drop) of blessed oil (olive oil that has been blessed and only used for this purpose by the ministry) to the top of the head of a sick person. The elder places his hands on the top of the head of this sick person and offers a prayer for a healing. We model this on James 5:14-15: “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the Church; and let them pray for him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick; and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” Elders can anoint someone at any time (day or night), not just during a Church meeting.

What determines whether or not oil is used during the prayer?

Oil is used if the person is physically ill. James 5:14-15 explains how the early apostles used oil when praying for the sick, and we follow this example. If the prayer is for spiritual uplifting or anything other than sickness, then oil is not used. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).

Feet Washing

What is the purpose of feet washing?

By washing each other’s feet, we demonstrate humility and our feeling that one person is not better than another. We follow the example set by Jesus at the Last Supper: “He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded” (John 13:5). When He was finished, He told them, “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you” (John 13:14-15).

When Peter, at first, refused to participate, Jesus answered him, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me” (John 13:8).

How often do Church members perform feet washing?

Each congregation performs feet washing four times per year. This is done in conjunction with a Sunday service.

How is feet washing performed?

Feet washing is typically performed on a Sunday afternoon with the active, baptized members of the Church. While visitors are welcome to observe, they do not participate. Men wash men’s feet, women wash women’s feet, by dividing into two groups in the sanctuary. A member kneels, takes one foot at a time and offers a prayer as each foot is washed in a basin.

Gifts of the Spirit

What does it mean when someone stands and speaks in a tongue that cannot be understood?

When someone speaks in an unknown tongue, this is known as the “gift of tongues,” and it is generally followed by an interpretation in the language that is native to the person who is given the interpretation. The gift of tongues and the interpretation are listed among the spiritual gifts in Paul’s writing to the Corinthians: “To another [is given] divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:10). The gift of tongues communicates a message from God, which generally comes in the form of instruction, admonishment, or encouragement to His servants.

What does it mean when someone stands and speaks in the Spirit?

When someone stands and speaks in the Spirit, they are speaking under the influence of God. Many of the Bible’s prophecies came while prophets were speaking in the Spirit. Isaiah said, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me” (Isaiah 61:1).

What does it mean when someone says they've seen a vision?

A vision is something seen while in a conscious state. It could mean seeing a heavenly being or a present or futuristic event. (Joel 2:28)

The Church’s Position

Should Prophets Be Ordained?

It is likely that this question arises from reading Ephesians 4:11-12 – And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Of this list, The Church of Jesus Christ ordains apostles, evangelists, and teachers. With no other scriptures for support, we might infer that all of these were meant to be ordained offices. But we already know of many, many prophets in the scriptures without finding a single report of any prophet being set aside by the Church. Therefore, ordaining prophets would be an ordinance without scriptural support.

Both scriptures are replete with accounts of prophets – Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elisha, Lehi, Nephi, Abinadi, Samuel the Lamanite and Mormon, to name a few – who were chosen directly by God. We also find many New Testament examples of prophets, such as those who traveled from Jerusalem to Antioch including one named Agabus, Judas and Silas, the four daughters of Philip, and others including John the Revelator. None of these examples include reports of having been ordained as prophets, although some of them had other, ordained callings.

Referring to gifts of the Spirit, Paul provided a similar list to the one above in 1 Corinthians 12: 28 – And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul further reinforces prophecy as a valuable gift to the Church and alludes to the potential for many to prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:1-6). An important point to take here is the potential for MANY prophets, i.e.: MANY who speak the Word of the Lord. It seems that Paul refers to all who prophesy (all who speak the Word of the Lord) as prophets in the context of his discussion. It follows then that, at the moment one manifests the gift of prophecy, he/she would be deemed by Paul to be a prophet … at that moment.

So, there is plenty of evidence that prophecy is a great gift of God that may be manifested in one who is ordained as well as in one who is not ordained. It may be given to a person one time in his/her life, a few times, many times, or even frequently and reliably. Whenever a message is manifest by the Spirit of God, it is prophecy. When a person is gifted with prophecy frequently and reliably, he is likely to be referred to as a prophet. If the gift ceases to manifest in that same person, reference to him as a prophet is not likely to continue. Rather some would say something like: “He used to be a prophet,” or “He used to prophesy”, or “He used to have the Word of the Lord.” Man cannot ordain the gift upon man, it is only bestowed by God who gives gifts unto mankind severally as He will.

Accordingly, as we worship the Lord and experience the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, we should expect to experience prophecy and, from time to time, those who we might regard as prophets because of their frequent and reliable manifestation of the gift. God may ordain someone for life, and it would be evident in the fulfillment. But it is a gift of God – not an ordained office of the Church – although it may be given to one who has been ordained as well as to one who has not.

 

What is The Church's position on human sexuality?

The stated Purpose of The Church of Jesus Christ is to fulfill the plan of God by bringing salvation through Christ to all people. In order to do this, we stand firmly on the Word of God as opposed to the ever-changing standards of society. It is expedient that every individual prepares their soul to meet the Lord – this carries a much higher priority than any desires, concerns, or conflicts we may have relative to our physical bodies. We invite all people, regardless of their sexual lifestyle preference or perceived gender identity, to seek a life-altering relationship with Jesus Christ in The Church of Jesus Christ.

It is the position of The Church of Jesus Christ that homosexual behavior does not align itself with the fundamental tenets set forth by God to humanity since the creation. The Bible and Book of Mormon (Scriptures) state that God created man and woman as companions for each other. Further, this relationship was established for the purpose of procreation. Therefore, The Church of Jesus Christ does not condone homosexual behavior.

From the Scriptures, our understanding of gender is that God created two (and only two) genders: “…male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:27, Genesis 5:2). God’s model for us is that marriage should consist of one man and one woman and that sexual relations should only occur within the marriage covenant—anything else is considered sin (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 5:27-28, Jacob 2:23-24).

It follows that gender is a biological assignment at birth; therefore LGBTQ+ does not align with the word of God, and sexual orientation is not a matter of choice. We believe lives can be changed through the salvation that Jesus provides, even when there are biological/physiological factors involved. There is hope for everyone because of God’s love, strength, and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

No one is forbidden from attending church worship services – all are welcome.

People who experience or identify as LGBTQ+ may become members in the Church if they abstain from sexual relations (outside of marriage between a man and woman) and do not practice these behaviors, consistent with the word of God.

Scripture References: Genesis 1:27, 2:24, 5:2; Matthew 5:27-28, 19:12; Romans 1:18–32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-20; Jacob 2:23-24

What is the Church’s position on the rapture?

The Church of Jesus Christ does not believe in or accept the doctrine of “rapture”, defined by some to suggest an end-time event before any tribulation, when all Christian believers who are alive, along with resurrected believers, will rise “…in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air…” (or be raptured / physically taken up). We believe this interpretation to be incorrect both in the understanding of I Thessalonians 4:15-17 and what will occur before the tribulations prophesied in the Book of Revelation.

Additionally, the term “rapture” isn’t found in the Bible or Book of Mormon, rather, the ideology was developed in the 1830s by John Nelson Darby and the Plymouth Brethren (the religious group he was associated with).

The Church of Jesus Christ does believe in the glorious return of Jesus Christ. This event will occur after all earthly prophecies have been fulfilled including the natural gathering of the House of Israel into the Kingdom of God on earth and the Gospel of Christ is preached in power and truth throughout the world. At the end of this peaceful reign, Jesus Christ will return in righteousness with the resurrected righteous to reign for 1,000 years upon a new earth. This is referred to as the millennial reign.

The Book of Mormon also clearly states that during any time of tribulation prior to the second coming / return of Christ, the Lord will protect the righteous and that they “need not fear”:

Wherefore, he will preserve the righteous by his power, even if it so be that the fulness of his wrath must come, and the righteous be preserved, even unto the destruction of their enemies by fire. Wherefore, the righteous need not fear; for thus saith the prophet, they shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire. Behold, my brethren, I say unto you, that these things must shortly come; yea, even blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke must come; and it must needs be upon the face of this earth; and it cometh unto men according to the flesh if it so be that they will harden their hearts against the Holy One of Israel. For behold, the righteous shall not perish. (1 Nephi 22:17–19).

For additional details, please see What We Believe and the Collection of Messages from the Quorum of Twelve Apostles (specifically ‘The Last Dispensation of Time,’ pages 5-9) or download the PDF.

Learning More

How do I decide if The Church of Jesus Christ is the right Church for me?

We invite you to go to God in prayer and ask Him to direct you in regard to decisions about the Church. James said, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). Many of our members came to The Church of Jesus Christ in this way. God will not mislead you. Put your trust in Him!

What literature can I read to learn more about the restored gospel and the history of the restoration?

Visit our online bookstore, read What We Believe, and see The Essential Guide for various readings about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Get an Overview of What We Believe