The Restoration of the Priesthoods: True or Revisionist History?

In other essays on this website, we have argued that Mormonism’s teachings were in error in teaching that the only true church had to be run by high priests holding the priesthood of Melchizedek, in that this doctrine is completely at odds with Bible and Book of Mormon teachings. Some of those essays can be read here, here, and here. We have also argued that the priesthood held by the descendants of Aaron was solely a relic of the Law of Moses, and that when Jesus fulfilled and brought to an end the Mosaic law following his resurrection and appearance to the Nephites, the priesthood of Aaron also ceased to exist and was not to be revived. See, e.g., The Righteous Offering of the Sons of Levi–2000 Years Ago elsewhere on this website. This essay will focus, not on the doctrinal problems of Mormonism’s belief in the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods in our time, but on whether the historical evidence demonstrates the authority of the Aaronic and Melchizedek “priesthoods”, as Mormons called them, were restored by resurrected heavenly messengers to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. In other words, does purely historical analysis show that these events actually occurred, or not?

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