What happened to the Church that Jesus Christ established during his ministry on Earth? Why are there so many different churches today?
The Great Apostasy by James E. Talmage answers these questions and many more discusses the historical and scriptural events regarding the actual existence of "the" Church that Christ established and what happened to it after the death of His Apostles.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaims the restoration of the Gospel, and the re-establishment of the Church as of old, in this, the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times. Such restoration and re-establishment, with the modern bestowal of the Holy Priesthood, would be unnecessary and indeed impossible had the Church of Christ continued among men with unbroken succession of Priesthood and power, since the "meridian of time."
The restored Church affirms that a general apostasy developed during and after the apostolic period, and that the primitive Church lost its power, authority, and graces as a divine institution, and degenerated into an earthly organization only. The significance and importance of the great apostasy, as a condition precedent to the re-establishment of the Church in modern times, is obvious. If the alleged apostasy of the primitive Church was not a reality, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not the divine institution its name proclaims.
The evidence of the decline and final extinction of the primitive Church among men is found in scriptural record, and in secular history. In the following pages the author has undertaken to present a summary of the most important of these evidences. In so doing he has drawn liberally from many sources of information, with due acknowledgment of all citations. The little work has been written in the hope that it may prove of service to our missionary elders in the field, to classes and quorum organizations engaged in the study of theological subjects at home, and to earnest investigators of the teachings and claims of the restored Church of Jesus Christ.
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