There is simply no question in my mind that Joseph Smith did not expect his “work” to continue into the future. He left no meaningful mechanism for the continuance of that work in reference to its leadership, resulting in the initial split right after his death. But the immediate leadership of the group that went to Salt Lake came up with no better ideas, and surely the system they established which continues to this day is a horrific one. By elevating the longest-serving apostles to the heights of power the LDS Church finds itself constantly led by extremely elderly men in the very twilight of their lives. Normally these men have severe physical limitations and can hardly provide what would be called dynamic leadership. This has surely played a part in the decline of Mormonism—not a decline in sheer numbers, but in its growth rate and surely its cohesiveness. Mormonism is a religion wandering about without guidance and direction, its past catching up, its future uncertain. The back door has become as large as the front, to be sure.
When you think of someone like Thomas S. Monson, who just passed away, you cannot help but feel a deep pain at a life lived in service to falsehood. False religion is a judgement from God, and Monson’s life is a testimony to the enslavement that false religion brings. Outward morality is insufficient before a holy God, and surely the doctrinal system to which he was dedicated precluded him from worshipping the one true God the founder of his religion specifically denied existed. It should bring deep sadness to our hearts to consider how many times he uttered the name “Jesus Christ” and in each and every instance he was referring to a fictional character who does not and never did exist.
Oh the impact of false religion! It is not that Monson did not know the deep secrets of Mormonism—he surely did. He fully knew its theology, its teaching that God was once a man, and that men can become gods. He was responsible for his following of such teachings. But he was trained to do so from his mother’s knee, and we are truly left to weep for those many millions who walk the same path. If Monson’s death does not sober you and cause you once again to pray that God would bring the gospel with power to the LDS people, you may well have a major problem in the motivations department of your soul.
Pray for the Mormon people, and pray for those brave souls who minister to them faithfully, not just in Utah (though those up there surely need our regular prayer support!) but around the world. May God be pleased to draw many unto Himself in a true knowledge of the one true God who is not an exalted man living on a planet circling a start named Kolob, but is the eternal, unchanging God, maker of all things.