How many members
do you have? This is one of the most frequent questions that we are
Few, but stable
in size for 150 years.
First of all, twelve million Mormons
did not reject James Strang. Instead, twelve million Mormons never
heard of him, because the information is suppressed, and because they
would rather grow than be right.
There are scriptures that predict that the
true church would be a small number of Saints. This does not mean
that God wanted it this way, but just that he foresaw it. Our size
does not make us right, but it does mean that we are worth a closer
look. Conversely, though, you can automatically reject any church that boasts
about its size:
D&C 45:28-30: "And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall
break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness
of my gospel; But they receive it not; for they perceive not the
light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of
men. And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
Jeremiah 17: 5-6:
"Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and
maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he
shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good
cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt
land and not inhabited."
2 Nephi 28: 31-32:
"Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his
arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts
shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost. Wo be unto the Gentiles,
saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out
mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me."
Smith’s most astounding prophecy is the one that
the 1847 hymn of William Clayton when he led the Mormons from Nauvoo,
which descendants of those Mormons still sing:
2 Nephi 28:21:
"All is well in
Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth
their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell."
2 Nephi 28:13-14:
"They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the
poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the
poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up. They wear
stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness,
and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be
a few, who are the humble followers of Christ."
3 Nephi 14: 13-15:
"Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is
the way, which leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in
thereat; Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which
leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false
prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are
Mormon scriptures, then, false prophets will have "many" and
true prophets will have "few."
Even Christ had
only 120 members after his resurrection.
Acts 1:15: "And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples,
and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and
twenty) . . ."
D&C 6:32: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, as I said unto my disciples, where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, behold, there will I be in the midst of
them—even so am I in the midst of you."
There is no
scriptural evidence that every prophet would have a successor, or that
God would send more than two prophets to the Gentiles or America. We
were only promised that Joseph would have one successor, and that the
Aaronic priesthood would never again be taken from the earth, or at
least not until the Sons of Levi offered a sacrifice again. If Joseph
and James were both prophets, then two prophets were killed by this
nation. Both killings involved former church members and members of the
government. In the case of Joseph, it involved first presidency member
William Law, and possibly others, plus the government of Illinois. In
the case of James, it involved former elders, plus the federal
government. In that sense, the gospel was rejected by the
Gentiles. Since the gospel includes repentance from sin, and sin
is transgression of commandments, the gospel includes the commandments,
which have been rejected by this nation.
We believe that in
former days the gospel was given first to the Jews who rejected it, and
given last to the gentiles who accepted it. In the latter days, the
gospel was given first to the gentiles who rejected it, and will be
given last to the Jews who will accept it. There is ample
scriptural proof of this, including the allegory of the olive trees in
the book of Jacob from the Book of Mormon. Historically, we have
been the friendliest Mormon group to the Native Americans. We believe
that Native Americans are Israelites, included with Jews. When Brigham
Young was killing them, we were building school houses for them and
feeding them on Beaver Island, Michigan, in the 1850s. Our prophet,
James Strang, was the chairman of the committee on Indian affairs in
Michigan. In this recent century we have had several prominent Indian
chiefs join our church, such as Jacob Greensky and Andrew J. Blackbird,
both in Michigan. Our church is very small now, but one of our oldest
elders, Steve Barany, 86, in St. Petersburg, Florida, is doing
missionary work among the Native Americans.
More broadly, Native
Americans throughout the Americas have accepted Christianity, and in
South America especially the Book of Mormon is being accepted by many
of those with native heritage. They have accepted the Bible and Book of
Mormon because of the larger Catholic and Mormon churches, which does
not mean that either church has the priesthood.
Many Mormons use
the scripture below to say that church members will grown in number until
the numbers fill the whole earth. This scripture does not say that
at all, it says that the gospel will fill the whole earth.
"The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the
earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the
earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall
roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth."
The gospel is contained in the
Bible and the Book of Mormon, but printing one hundred million Books of
Mormon does not make a particular church any more correct than printing
a billion Bibles makes another church correct. Otherwise, this scripture
would contradict the scriptures of Joseph Smith quoted at the top of
this page. So the gospel is to fill the earth, but be rejected.
If you reject the scriptures at the top of this page, you demonstrate
how this happens. The gospel is available everywhere, but nobody
wants to accept what it says.