Why do you believe the Mormon religion has been growing? What is the appeal of the religion?
That is a simple and interesting question with profound implications! The simple answer is that the Mormon religion has been growing at a rather astounding rate because it is true! It was revealed from heaven to the prophet Joseph Smith by the God of Heaven, who appeared in person to the boy Joseph, together with His only begotten Son, the Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. They restored to the earth the fulness the gospel, with every doctrine, key, ordinance and covenant necessary for men to overcome the world and return to the presence of God after this mortal life.
There have been many dispensations of the gospel down through the ages, all of which have ended in apostasy. But the present dispensation, formalized as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is called the dispensation of the fulness of times, and is designed by God never to be overcome by apostasy, but to remain and grow until the Savior appears to initiate his great millennial reign. Paul spoke to the Ephesians of the dispensation of the fullness of times in this manner—
Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself;
That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him (Eph 1:9-10).
An analogy of the dispensation of the fullness to times was given to King Nebuchadnezzar in a dream which was interpreted by Daniel, as recorded in Daniel 2:44-45—
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
Here is a revealing testimony of Elder John Longdon, an Assistant to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, given in the October 1966 general conference of the Church—
“This is my testimony of the subject. I testify in the name of the resurrected Redeemer that God has spoken from the heavens in this age of the world that Jesus Christ is the son of God, the Redeemer of the world; that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Most High and received the revelations of God for the benefit of mankind; that angels and ancient prophets visited him and delivered to him the keys of the dispensation of the fullness of times; that Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, Joseph F. Smith, Heber J. Grant, George Albert Smith-each in his time has been the successor of the Prophet Joseph Smith and that David O. McKay is now such successor. I also testify that all who receive this gospel with honest heart shall know that the doctrine is true, and if they are faithful unto death they shall come forth in the resurrection of the righteous, to live and reign with Christ a thousand years.”
Elder Longdon touches on a key to the growing success of the Mormon Church, stating that “all who receive this gospel with honest heart shall know that the doctrine is true.” When a person joins the Mormon Church by being baptized by immersion, as was the Savior, for the remission of his sins, he receives by the laying on of hands of those with priesthood authority the gift of the Holy Ghost. One of the functions of the Holy Ghost is to reveal to those who obey the principles of the gospel that they are indeed true and from God. That revelation comes as a sense and sure feeling that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is in very deed the kingdom of God on the earth. That abiding testimony gives to one the strength to overcome evil and to devote himself to the building of the kingdom. Hence there is a devotion to the Mormon Church among its members that is unique and is not found in any other church in the world.
The structure of the Mormon Church is such that it promotes faith in the Lord and a knowledge of the principles of the gospel. People learn much more by doing than by hearing, hence the old phrase, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.” The Mormon Church is structured with a lay ministry. There are no paid ministers who earn their living by “caring for the flock.” Any worthy male member may be called to preside over a congregation for a relatively short period of time, in order to give others the same opportunity for service. When I attend a protestant church what I perceive is a congregation watching a minister trying to work out his own salvation. The Mormon Church is so organized that there are positions of responsibility for nearly everyone in the congregation. This deep involvement produces faith, increases learning and promotes increased devotion to the cause. One of the keys of the Mormon religion is that opposed to the scientific procedure that demands proof before believe and acceptance, the Mormon religion demands belief, acceptance and practice before proof. The Lord said with regard to the payment of tithing for instance,
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house; and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it (Malachi 3:10).