Here is the story behind a list made by John Vincent Dunbar, I don’t know who told the story.  I remember hearing it told first hand on a recording however, probably from Floyd Weston.

Floyd Weston was one of five students listening outside a lecture hall where Albert Einstein was lecturing to the faculty of the California Institute of Technology.  Dr. Millikin was the president.  They listened for almost three hours and were most interested in Dr. Einstein’s last statement to this learned group.  He said: “Gentlemen, the more I delve into the science of this universe the more firmly do I believe that one God or force or influence has organized all of this for our discovery.”

One of these five was a genius, John Vincent Dunbar, extremely high I.Q. and a photographic mind.  He could glance down the page of the Bible, close the book and quote the page verbatim.  They went to Dunbar’s room in the dorm and he took the Bible and read in Ephesians that there shall be One Lord, One Faith, and One Baptism.  They decided that if Dr. Einstein’s last statement was true then ONE of the more than 800 churches on earth must be GOD’S TRUE CHURCH.

Dunbar, the genius, brought into their apartment a 16 foot blackboard on casters, cleaned it off with their wash cloths and went through the New Testament page by page listing all the qualities that God’s church according to the New Testament standards, should have.  Their research was completed in 8 weeks and they went over all the researched points and after careful study retained 17 of the important features and had them typed up on 5×7 cards — one for each.

Before parting company these five, Weston, a Methodist; Dunbar, a Catholic; Stonehocker, a Presbyterian; Williams, an Episcopalian; and Glassy and Atheist visited many different churches with their criteria uppermost in their minds.  Weston immediately became disenchanted with his Methodist church and Dunbar’s Catholic church was also eliminated.  Before their search was completed they all went to various branches of the armed services.  Glassy was shot down over North Africa and never returned.  Weston, in his service work came in contact with 8 or 10 L.D.S. boys who took him to a church — one which met all 17 requirements.  There was no contact with the others until after the war was over.

After the war Weston went to a Stake Conference in Burbank, California and on looking across the chapel saw his friend, Dunbar.  After the meeting was over they were overjoyed to greet each other and Weston said: “Dunbar, what are you doing here?”  Dunbar replied: “I, too, have found the church that met all 17 requirements and have joined the Mormon Church.”  After this happy reunion they decided to contact Stonehocker and Williams and found they, too, had joined the Mormon Church because it met all 17 requirements.

The speech I heard mentioned more about when his friend was advocating for a true church and that it was a bald proselyting effort.  He also mentions when he first met some Mormon service members after watching someone die when their parachute failed to open during a training jump.  He was somewhat shocked to find out that their church was the Mormon church.  It was a fun listen.

Here is the list of 17 requirements:

  1. Christ organized the church.  (Ephesians 4:11-14).
  2. The True Church must bear the name of Jesus Christ.  (Ephesians 5:23)
  3. The True Church must have a foundation of Apostles and Prophets.  (Ephesians 2:19-20)
  4. The True Church must have the same organization as Christ’s Church. (Ephesians 4:11-14)
  5. The True Church must claim divine authority.  (Hebrews 5:4-10)
  6. The True Church must have no paid ministry.  (Isaiah 45:13; 1 Peter 5:2)
  7. The True Church must have baptism by immersion.  (Matthew 3:13-16)
  8. The True Church must bestow the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.  (Acts 8:14-17)
  9. The True Church must practice divine healing.  (Mark 3:14-15)
  10. The True Church must teach that God and Jesus Christ are separate and distinct individuals.  (John 17:11, 20:17)
  11. The True Church must teach that God and Jesus Christ have bodies of flesh and bone.  (Luke 24:36-39, Acts 1:9-11)
  12. The officers must be called of God.  (Hebrews 5:4, Exodus 28:1, Exodus 40: 14-16)
  13. The True Church must claim revelation from God.  (Amos 3:7)
  14. The True Church must be a missionary church.  (Matthew 28:19-20)
  15. The True Church must be a restored church.  (Acts 3:19-20)
  16. The True Church must practice baptism for the dead.  (1 Corintians 15:16, 29)
  17. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:20)

These are all on a card, on sale at  Deseret Book, if you are interested.

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