“Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed.” – Joseph Smith
As a child, I was taught that The Gospel needed to be restored because it was corrupted over time. That, like the game of telephone, the prophets and apostles accidentally distorted the message of Jesus after the resurrection and His ascent to heaven. The point being, that without being written specifically down, the Gospel could change and be corrupted from the original version.
Where is The LDS Endowment ceremony written down? It’s not in the Book of Mormon. It’s not in The Bible. It’s not in The D&C. It’s not in The Book of Abraham, or Moses. And, in fact, it has changed many, many, many times – but never by scripture. It merely changes in practice. One day, you’re signing blood oaths and penalties as part of the temple ritual. The next, you’re not. One day, you’re being literally washed and anointed. The next, you’re merely “symbolically” washed and anointed. How are members of The LDS Church to know that their current prophets and apostles aren’t corrupting The Gospel in the same way as those prophets and apostles of old?
The Book of Mormon has had hundreds of changes made to it since it’s initial “translation.” The Church leaders don’t announce these changes as being made due to divine revelation. In fact, many members don’t even know that The Book of Mormon, Temple rituals, etc. routinely change. If they did, shouldn’t they worry that, perhaps, The Gospel is once again being corrupted by worldly men and false prophets?
My guess is that the answer is “modern revelation”, but how are members to trust that these changes are what Heavenly Father wants, but the changes made by the prophets and apostles of old were not?
In fact, not only the Book and Mormon and Endowment Ceremony have changed. Also, the very “revelations” received by Joseph Smith, supposedly directly from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and recorded in The Doctrine and Covenants have been massively modified. Why would the direct words of a god need to be modified and updated? If God Himself is telling the prophets and apostles to change these texts, why are these changes and revelations not announced from the pulpit during General Conference?
“Apostate Churches have changed many of the ordinances. For instance, they no longer baptize as Jesus was baptized when he went to John to be baptized of him.” – Apostle LeGrand Richards
“…there is vast evidence and history of an apostasy from the doctrine taught by Jesus and his Apostles, that the organization of the original Church became corrupted, and sacred ordinances were changed to suit the convenience of men.” – Apostle David B. Haight
“Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.” – Joseph Smith, The Book of Commandments