This is a claim that the LDS Church makes about itself in numerous places. For example, D&C 1:30 talks about “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth with which I, the Lord, am well pleased.” Years ago, when I first started talking with Mormons, this was something many stressed. They didn’t want to be identified with non-Mormons. Many reflected the thoughts of Bruce R. McConkie who wrote: “a perverted Christianity holds sway among the so-called Christians of apostate Christendom.” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 132) Note how in this brief statement he has three quite strong negative characteristics of Christianity and Christians: “perverted”, “so-called”, and “apostate”.
In recent years, however, most members of the LDS Church have used much milder terms. I can’t count how many have told me that, yes, I have the gospel, but I don’t have “the fulness of the gospel”. Instead of characterizing me as belonging to a perverted and apostate Christianity and describing me as a ‘so-called” Christian, they see me as someone just lacking. I just need a little something more.
But what approach is more faithful to LDS Scripture and its repeated statement that the LDS Church is the only true and living church? The word “only” in that statement is very exclusive. It rules out every other church. No other church is true. No other church is living.
If I say I am the only living person in the family, would it be appropriate for you to think that I have some family members who are sick, who just are lacking some medicine to get better? That would be ridiculous. The only way to take my statement is to think that the rest of my family is dead.
In the same way, by saying that the LDS Church is the only true and living church, LDS Scripture is saying that every other church is dead. Therefore McConkie seems to be the one who is more faithful to LDS Scripture.
Here’s a question for my LDS readers. I am a pastor in a conservative Lutheran church. Am I a pastor of a false and dead church? If not, please reconcile your statement with D&C 1:30.