Thursday, 4 March 2010

have lds apostles and prophets seen jesus christ like apostles of the new testament?

in his talk An Apostle’s Witness of the Resurrection, President (why wouldn't they write Prophet instead?) Howard W. Hunter says:
Paul bore his apostolic witness of the Resurrection again in his letter to the Saints at Corinth:

“Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? … For the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 9:1–2.)

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept … in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:20, 22.)

I humbly testify of my privilege to bear the holy apostleship and to work daily with a modern Quorum of Twelve Apostles who are disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to go forth as “special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world.” (D&C 107:23.) And so have the Apostles always testified.

In our own day, Apostles and prophets are carrying on the work of bearing witness to the world of Jesus Christ.
you would expect Hunter to say something like:
I humbly testify that I too have seen Jesus Christ. Am I not an apostle? (Am I not the prophet of jesus christ's one and only true church?)

the lds institute program teaches that all apostles and prophets have knowledge of jesus christ (the church also teaches that knowledge is different from faith):
Remember that Amos had seen the Lord and received His message. All the prophets through the ages have had a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and have testified of His mission

read also this thread: have the mormon apostles seen christ?

i also just found this in the primary literature:
Explain that even though we have not seen Jesus Christ, we believe he is there. We see evidence of his existence everywhere as we look at the world that he created, as we see the stars in the heavens, and especially as we read the scriptures. We also have prophets who have told us that they have seen him. Tell the children that today they will learn of someone from the Book of Mormon who had such great faith that he actually saw Jesus Christ.

"such great faith that he actually saw Jesus Christ". interesting. this implies that if an apostle/prophet today has not seen jesus christ, it is because he has not great faith.

Q. can someone please send me a link to where an lds apostle (or even a prophet) after/besides joseph smith testifies that he has physically seen jesus christ, as paul testified and as the book of mormon prophets testified?

i cannot find any evidence of this on by searching for the following phrases:
seen jesus christ
seen jesus
seen the lord

read also have you ever seen the lord? there are references to persons in ancient scripture who say they have seen the lord and also joseph smith, but no mention of anybody after joseph smith.

the same example is also found in the seminary program:
Ether 12:38–41 . We should “seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written.” (10–15minutes)

Write Nephi, Jacob, Isaiah, brother of Jared, and Moroni on the board and ask what they have in common. Have students search 2Nephi 11:2–3 ; Ether 3:7–8, 13 ; 12:38–39 to find the answer. Display a picture of the Savior. Ask:

* Why is it important that there be people who are witnesses of the Savior?
* Who are some others who have seen the Lord? (Answers might include the Nephites who survived destruction [see 3Nephi 11:8–10 ] and the Prophet Joseph Smith [see D&C 76:22–24 ].)
what?! no mention of the current prophet and apostles? there is no mention of anybody outside of ancient scripture or ancient lds church history (joseph smith).


  1. In the April, 1991 Ensign Magazine Ezra Taft Benson is quoted as sayimg: "There have been many in this dispensation who have seen Him. As one of those special witnesses so called in this day, I testify to you that He lives. He lives with a resurrected body. There is no truth or fact of which I am more assured or more confident than the truth of the literal resurrection of our Lord.". Sounds to me like he is saying he has seen him.

    1. the words here seem to be carefully chosen, as to imply he's seen jesus, without literally saying it. lots of church officials have done this.

      this claim/testimony is vague enough, that it could be claimed by any church member in a sacrament meeting (apart from "As one of those special witnesses so called in this day,").

      besides, statements like these are, and will always be, anecdotal.

    2. what are some other examples of the "lots"?

  2. Hello there! I think your question is a great one, and your assessment is completely valid. I believe there is a romanticism to some degree with members and the prophets. Don't we all want to believe that our prophet is talking to God on any given day? Because if it is true, then our testimony is true (that's generalizing, but you get my point).

    The real question is, for what reason does God appear to man, and in what way are our current GA's prophets? I would ask you how many prophets in the OT and NT saw Jesus Christ (at least after he had ascended). We have Paul. That is the only one i know of in the NT. when Peter receives the revelation to take the gospel to the gentiles, it comes in a round about vision, not as a visitation from God. In the OT, we have moses that talks to God, and as a mormon, I would believe Moses saw him. The brother of Jared saw him. Other than that, I can't think of many others that actually saw God in order to prophecy and lead. In many instances in Judaic history we find these periods of small apostacy, and then a prophet is called by vision or voice, but this seems to be a different case than what we find today, with an organization that is set and our leaders called.

    We have a handful of instances where biblical or mormon prophets saw christ. And in fact, it is hard to say many of those saw Him, as it is more or less usually described as in vision more than as the idea that God actually stood face to face with any of them. My point being, it would be incredibly rare.

    The question is, when did this romanticism begin? Joseph smith says he saw Him. Beyond that, I dont know of any other prophet claiming such a thing. Just as we find in the OT, hundreds of years, thousands of years in some instances, pass without any visitation from God that we know of, even when there are prophets on the earth.

    I have no problem accepting that God does not appear to man regularly. NOT even to a prophet. There is need for faith, even from prophets, and what need have we for visitation at this time? Did he appear to the Jews when they were ripe for destruction? He didnt even appear to the prophets that we know of, but commanded them through revelation. So it is today I would assume. I can't imagine any prophet or apostle since JS has seen God. If they had, I do not think they would have need to keep it secret. No prophet I know of in the OT or NT kept it secret, and neither did JS.

    I think the real issue here is one of trust. You probably felt betrayed when realizing that the church is led by imperfect men praying for inspiration and revelation, instead of visitation. Yet, that is how it has been done 99.99% of the time throughout the bible and book of mormon. So are the leaders misleading people to aid faith? I do not think so. Has anyone seen Him since JS? I do not know. Perhaps, but I doubt it's necessity, not its possibility. I do understand the feeling that some members may feel if they discover something contrary to what they have built a testimony on. I completely understand that, as I have felt it too. But is it a fault or problem that a current prophet has not seen God? Or is only a problem that someone believed it and then questioned it? And is anyone being misled, or do we all just mislead ourselves all the time about many things (outside of faith too) so as to create a psychological environment in which we can feel comfortable?

    1. not sure of the relevance of "after he had ascended". it should be enough that people have claimed to meet him "after he was crucified" (*dead*). if you set the bar there, then there are lots more examples.

      "There is need for faith"
      i think THIS is the really interesting question: why is there a need for faith (other than "it says so" in "scripture")?

      i can understand "faith" as being a temporary, transitional asset, but not as a defining, life-long "virtue" and requirement, applied to everything. why should the mere existence of a god be limited to faith?
      even if a god revealed himself physically to everyone, everyone would still have to choose to obey him, even though they know for a fact that he exists--just like it is with parents and children, laws and criminals, etc.

      "do we all just mislead ourselves all the time about many things (outside of faith too) so as to create a psychological environment in which we can feel comfortable?"

      i would phrase it more like "we all make temporary conclusions/assumptions about things, so we can act/live". a general difference between theists and atheists then (generalizing), is that it appears to be more common that atheists go back and reevaluate their conclusions and change them if they appear to be wrong, based on new evidence. mormon theists are taught to not question the conclusions that have already been made for them (ref. Boyd Packer, Dallin Oaks, etc).

      suggestions for further reading:
      cognitive dissonance:


  3. Lorenzo Snow said Christ appeared to him in the Salt Lake temple. See this year's manual Teachings of the Prophets Lorenzo Snow lesson 20.

    1. thanks for your comment Debra.

      i read some of it here:

      from what i can see, the account was written by his daughter.
      did Snow write his own account of it anywhere?
      did Snow ever tell this story and make the exact claim in a general conference?

      i found this statement particularly interesting:
      "the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to me at the time of the death of President Woodruff. He instructed me to go right ahead and reorganize the First Presidency of the Church at once and not wait as had been done after the death of the previous presidents, and that I was to succeed President Woodruff.’"

      in effect, Snow appointed himself president of the church, claiming jesus told him to do it, deviating from the previous practice (presumably set up by jesus)