Defense of the Faith and the Saints

Complete Edition (Vol. 1&2)
 
 
e-artnow (Verlag)
  • 1. Auflage
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  • erschienen am 29. August 2020
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  • 812 Seiten
 
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'Defense of the Faith and the Saints' in 2 volumes is a collection of miscellaneous writings by one of the main authorities in Mormon history and theology Brigham Henry Roberts. In this work, the author devoted his energy to doctrinal and historical themes, and one circumstance after another arose which called him to the defense of the Mormon faith and the Mormon people. The second volume features the analysis of the origin and validity of the Book of Mormon, a foundational work of Mormonism. Volume 1: Position and Defense: Mormonism The Relationship of the Church to the Christian Sects: the Doctrine of Two Churches Only Some Recent Literature on Mormonism A Brief Defense of the Mormon People Which of the Sects Has Persecuted Mormonism Most? How! Relation of Church and State, Religious Liberty in America Conditions in Utah - 1905 Book of Mormon Controversial Questions: The Manner of Translating the Book of Mormon A Brief Debate on the Book of Mormon 'The Fifth Gospel' Mormon Views of America Historical and Doctrinal Papers: The Lord's Day Anglican Orders - Decision of Leo XIII Considered - The Protestant Dilemma Reformation or Revolution? Revelation and Inspiration Volume 2: Origin of the Book of Mormon: Schroeder-Roberts' Debate The Origin of the Book of Mormon by Theodore Schroeder The Origin of the Book of Mormon by Brigham H. Roberts Recent Discussion of Mormon Affairs: An Address Review of Address to the World Answer to Ministerial Association's Review Joseph Smith's Doctrines Vindicated: The First Message of Mormonism Vindicated Other Doctrines of Joseph Smith Vindicated by the Colleges Miscellaneous Discourses: The Spirit of Mormonism; a Slander Refuted Erroneous Impressions about the Latter-day Saints - Some Things They Do Not Believe The Things of God Greater Than Man's Conception of Them Mormonism as a Body of Doctrine Peace The Mysterious Harmonies of the Great Republic

Brigham Henry Roberts (1857-1933) was a historian, politician, and leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He published a popular six-volume history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and also wrote Studies of the Book of Mormon - published posthumously - which discussed the validity of the Book of Mormon as an ancient record. Roberts wrote two biographies, a novel, eight historical narratives and compilations, and another dozen books about Mormon theology.

II.
THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE CHURCH TO THE CHRISTIAN SECTS: THE DOCTRINE OF TWO CHURCHES ONLY.

Table of Contents

Among the things important for the Saints of God to understand, among the things important for the world to understand respecting the Latter-day Saints, is the relationship that we sustain to the religious world; and I do not know that there is anything to which I could devote the few minutes at my disposal to better advantage than in pointing out that relationship, if I can obtain, through your faith and mine, the liberty that comes from the possession of the Spirit of the Lord.

The first revelation that the Lord gave to the Prophet Joseph Smith had a bearing upon this subject. You remember that the Prophet went to the Lord to ascertain which of all the sects of religion was his church, desiring, of course, to unite himself with that church which the Lord would designate as his. In reply to that question the Lord, in substance, said that all the sects were wrong; that he did not acknowledge them as his church; "their creeds were an abomination in his sight; those professors were all corrupt;" [1] and the Prophet was told that he must join none of them, but was promised that in due time he would be used as God's instrument in the establishment of the Church of Christ in the earth.

Because of this great revelation, by which the errors of ages were swept aside and the ground cleared for the re-establishment of the Church of Christ among men, it has placed us, in a way, in an attitude of antagonism to the religious world. We have been resisted to some extent because of this attitude of antagonism; and it is quite possible that we ourselves have not understood the true relationship in which we stand to the religious world, by more or less of misapprehension respecting this great revelation. I rejoice in the plainness and emphasis of this revelation, because from it I am made to realize that there is a very important reason for the existence of the work with which we are identified. I am glad to know that "Mormonism" did not come into existence because its founders chanced to disagree with prevailing notions about the form or object of baptism; that it did not come into existence through a disagreement as to the character of the government of the Church. From the revelation referred to I learn that "Mormonism" came into existence because there was an absolute necessity for a new dispensation of the gospel, a re-establishment of the Church of Christ among men. The gospel had been corrupted; its ordinances had been changed; its laws transgressed its truths so far lost to the children of men that it rendered this new dispensation of the gospel of Christ-miscalled "Mormonism"-necessary. I say that I rejoice in the fact that "Mormonism" came into the world, and exists in the world today, because the world stood and stands in sore need of it. But does this re-establishment of the Church of Christ, this new dispensation of the gospel, which we have received, make our relationship to the children of men one of unfriendliness? I answer, No. On the contrary our relationship to men is one of absolute friendliness, and we are anxious to do the world good. We ought to understand that. We do understand it. And it is important that the world should understand it, that they may come to regard us in our true light, as friends of humanity, and not enemies.

If you will look through some of the revelations given in the early history of the church, you will find that from time to time the Lord was under the necessity of correcting the ideas of the brethren respecting their attitude towards religious world. The Lord said to Martin Harris, by of correction:

"Thou shalt declare glad tidings, yea, publish it upon the mountains, and upon every high place, and among people that thou shalt be permitted to see. And thou do it with all humility, trusting in me, reviling not against revilers. And of tenets thou shall not talk, but thou shall declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sin by baptism and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost."

The Prophet also from time to time found it necessary to correct the Elders of the Church in respect of their attacks upon other churches. At Kirtland, in 1836, when many of the Elders were upon the eve of taking their departure for their fields of labor, he instructed them as follows:

"While waiting [for the Sacrament] I made the following remarks: The time that we were required to tarry in Kirtland to be endowed would be fulfilled in a few days, and then the Elders would go forth, and each stand for himself?. to go in all meekness, in sobriety, and preach Christ and him crucified; not to contend with others on account of their faith or systems of religion, but pursue a steady course. This I delivered by way of commandment; and all who observe it not, will pull down persecution upon their heads, while those who do, shall always be filled with the Holy Ghost; this I pronounced as a prophesy." [2]

In other words, because the Lord has opened the heavens and has given a new dispensation of the gospel, it does not follow that his servants or his people are to be contentious; that they are to make war upon other people for holding different views respecting religion. Hence this caution to the Elders of the Church that they should not contend against other churches, make war upon their tenets, or revile even the revilers.

At an earlier date still, the Lord had said to Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer:

"If you have not faith, hope and charity, you can do nothing. Contend against no church, save it be the church of the devil. Take upon you the name of Christ, and speak the truth in soberness." [3]

"The church of the devil" here alluded to, I understand to mean not any particular church among men, or any one sect of religion, but something larger than that-something that includes within its boundaries all evil wherever it may be found; as well in schools of philosophy as in Christian sects; as well in systems of ethics as in systems of religion-something that includes the whole empire of Satan-what I shall call "The Kingdom of Evil."

This descriptive phrase, "the church of the devil," is also used in the Book of Mormon; and while in attendance at a conference in one of the border stakes of Zion, a question was propounded to me in relation to its meaning. The passage occurs in the writings of the first Nephi. An angel of the Lord is represented as saying to Nephi, "Behold, there are save two churches only: the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil." The question submitted to me was, "Is the Catholic church the church here referred to-the church of the devil?" "Well," said I, in answer, "I would not like to take that position, because it would leave me with a lot of churches on my hands that I might not then be able to classify." So far as the Catholic church is concerned, I believe that there is just as much truth, nay, personally I believe it has retained even more truth than other divisions of so-called Christendom; and there is just as much virtue in the Roman Catholic church as there is in Protestant Christendom; and I am sure there is more strength.

I would not like; therefore, to designate the Catholic church as the church of the devil. Neither would I like to designate any one or all of the various divisions and subdivisions of Protestant Christendom combined as such church; nor the Greek Catholic church; nor the Buddhist sects; nor the followers of Confucius; nor the followers of Mohammed; nor would I like to designate even the societies formed by deists and atheists as constituting the church of the devil. The Book of Mormon text ought to be read in connection with its context-with the chapter that precedes it and the remaining portions of the chapter in which the expression is found-then, I think, those who study it in that manner will be forced to the conclusion that the prophet here has in mind no particular church, no particular division of Christendom, but he has in mind, as just stated, the whole empire of Satan; and perhaps the thought of the passage would be more nearly expressed if we use the term "the Kingdom of Evil" as Constituting the church of the devil, in proof of which I submit the following passage from the Book of Mormon-covering both the text and the context on the subject:

1. And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks;

2. And if they harden not their hearts against the Lamb of God, they shall be numbered among the seed of thy father [Lehi; an Israelite]; yea, they shall be numbered among the house of Israel; and they shall be a blessed people upon the promised land for ever; they shall be no more brought down into captivity; and the house of Israel shall no more be confounded;

3. And that great pit which hath been digged for them, by that great and abominable church, which was founded by the devil and his children, that he might lead away the souls of men down to hell; yea, that great pit which hath been digged for the destruction of men, shall be filled by those who digged it, unto their utter destruction, saith the Lamb of God; not the destruction of the soul, save it be the casting of it into that hell which hath no end;

4. For behold, this is according to the captivity of the devil, and also according to the justice of God, upon all those who will work wickedness and abomination before him.

5. And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me, Nephi, saying, Thou hast beheld that if the...

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