Question: What criticisms are put forth regarding the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood?

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Question: What criticisms are put forth regarding the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood?

Historical documents do not give an exact date for the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood

One critic of the Church claims that "Although the priesthood is now taught to have been restored in 1829, Joseph and Oliver made no such claim until 1834." [1] Common questions asked include the following:

  • Was the restoration of the priesthood was "back dated" later by Joseph Smith to justify a desire to dominate the Church?
  • Does anyone know "when or how" Joseph Smith received the Melchizedek priesthood?
  • Why did several years pass before Oliver talked about the priesthood restoration?

If Joseph was making the story up, why not just pick a date and stick to it? The uncertainty of dates is typical of real world events; any one clever enough to "fake" the restoration and organization of the Church could certainly pick a date off the top of his head. Who could argue with him?

The approximate time of the Melchizedek priesthood' restoration can be plausibly narrowed down

When all the circumstantial evidence is studied, the approximate time of the Melchizedek priesthood' restoration can be plausibly narrowed down. Although historical documents do not give an exact date for the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood we can pinpoint its occurrence to a 17 day window between the 15 and 31 of May, 1829. The window that is known is small enough to preclude a later fabrication of events by the Prophet to "increase his authority."

There are non-Mormon accounts that indicate that Joseph and Oliver had received visits from apostles and angels

Some have claimed that Joseph only began to mention apostolic ordination to the priesthood several years after the Church's organization. Contrary to this claim, there are clear references to Joseph Smith stating he had seen Jesus Christ. Joseph’s ‘conversations’ with the Apostles could be a reference to having seen, spoken to, and been ordained to the Priesthood by the early Apostles Peter, James, and John. Having received that Priesthood Joseph Smith was now qualified to perform healings, and other ‘miracles’.

Notes

  1. Jeremy Runnells, Letter to a CES Director. www.cesletter.com