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LUCY - Joseph Smith said that all churches were wrong and corrupt (JSH 1: 18-19). How do I explain what he said to those of other faiths that might take offense to such words?
JOEL - Here are the scriptures in question:
18 My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong) and which I should join.
19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: "they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof." (JSH 1: 18-19)
First of all Joseph Smith did not say this. The above scripture is quoting what Jesus Himself said to Joseph about the local ministers. By reading it carefully and in context, we find that the Jesus was referring only to that particular group of ministers in the Prophet Joseph Smith's community who were quarreling and arguing about which church was true. The Savior (not Joseph Smith) said that they were drawing "near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof." (JSH 1:19.)
God had plans for Joseph and did not want him getting involved with that particular collection of local ministers.
Also, according to the dictionary a "creed" is defined as "a system of belief principles". Therefore all the different "creeds" might be considered an abomination because within each creed exists some beliefs and doctirnes that have been corupted. Since Joseh Smith's expereince the Church of Jesus Christ has never taught nor stated that all teachers of other religions are corrupt. The Church believes that most Christian denominations teach and live many good and correct gospel principles as found in the Bible, but that over the centuries some of the doctrines have become lost or corrupted by mistranslation of Bible scriptures or by the philosophies and opinions of man.
In fact Joseph Smith himself once said:
"Have the Presbyterians any truth? Yes. Have the Baptists, Methodists, etc., any truth? Yes. They all have a little truth mixed with error. We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up" (History of the Church 5: 27)."
Because of the error that is mixed in, God appeared to Joseph Smith and through him, returned to the earth the fullness of the Gospel and priesthood authority.
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