One of the many attractions of the CoJCoLDS is it’s claim of continuing the same organizational structure as that found in the early Church. In the Articles of Faith, we read:
"6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth. "
Is there evidence that the current Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does continue the same organization that existed in the ancient Church?
Prophets and Apostles
One of the hallmarks of the LDS Church is that they have people called prophets and apostles in the Church. I’m pretty sure that no traditional Christian church has offices of prophet or apostle (at least in name). But do LDS prophets and apostles continue the traditions of such offices from Biblical and early Church times?
Both Catholics and Latter-day Saints believe that Peter had primacy among the Apostles. Catholics believe that he was the first Pope, Bishop of Rome. LDS believe that he was the first Prophet. Did Peter choose anyone else to succeed him as Prophet? Who was the next prophet after Peter? Also, were prophets seen as the head of the Church? Were apostles not higher than prophets in New Testament times, and also, were there any apostles that were also prophets, and thus head of the Church? How much prophesying do current prophets do? I know that there is Official Declaration-2 by President Kimball, but what about after that. Some consider The Family: A Proclamation to the World to be a revelation, but it seems that it doesn’t reveal anything new, just reaffirms the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, which is a wonderful message.
Was there a First Presidency in the Primitive Church?
Is it right to say that the LDS Church has 12 Apostles, just like the Primitive Church, when it really has 15, including the First Presidency? Is the Quorum of Twelve Apostles supposed to be a continuation of the office of the original 12? If so, were they not supposed to be witnesses of the Resurrection? Also, 2 Corinthians 12:12 seems to say that apostles should show signs and wonders and mighty deeds, yet there seems to be a difference between the first 12 and the current LDS 12.
Pastors and Evangelists
The 6th Article of Faith says that the LDS Church believes in the same organization as the Primitive Church, including pastors and evangelists. Yet these offices don’t actually exist in the current LDS Church. Instead, there is the Patriarch. This seems to be a departure from that same Primitive Church structure that the LDS Church claims to follow in Article 6. It is claimed that the Patriarch is an Evangelist.
In the New Testament, we find that Jesus Christ sent seventy men two by two to preach. In the LDS Church, there are various quorums of the seventy, and there aren’t actually seventy people in them! This doesn’t seem to continue the same organization of the Primitive Church. Also, only the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy have sealing power. I guess this is more of a latter-day revelation or addition. It’s interesting that the binding and loosing power given to the apostles in the New Testament, and what the LDS Church bases the belief in sealings on, is now also given to Seventies.
These are just some of my observations, and it is interesting that although the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaims a continuation of the organization of the Primitive Church, this continuation in many cases is moreso one of name than actual function.