Ronald D. Dennis, trans. and ed., Defending the Faith: Early Welsh Missionary Publications (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003).
D14 DAVIS, John. Ymddyddanion. (Conversations.) Merthyr Tydfil: Printed by J. Davis, Georgetown, .
4 pp. 17 cm. Welsh Mormon Writings 46.
There are three divisions to this publication, all of which had been published previously in Zion’s Trumpet. The first section is entitled “The benefit of Bibles to the pagans and consists of a conversation between William (a Protestant) and Thomas (a Mormon). At the outset, William reports enthusiastically to Thomas of his church’s effort to distribute the Bible to nonbelievers. Thomas counters with the observation that Jesus had requested the gospel, not the Bible, to be taken to the world. Furthermore, continues Thomas, even if the pagans were to read the Bible they would simply continue as nonbelievers once they saw the discrepancies between the Savior’s teachings and the teachings of the Protestants. Thomas’s explanation of the close alignment of Church doctrine with Bible teachings has such an impact on William that William’s closing comment is that he will soon be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ himself.
The second section is entitled “The reverend and the pagan,” and is a conversation in which a pagan challenges a reverend about the discrepancy between the characteristics of Christ’s church, as mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:28, and the characteristics of the various Protestant sects. When informed by the reverend that such things as apostles, prophets, miracles, and the gifts of healing are no longer necessary in the true church, the pagan says that he will continue with his gods of wood and stone.
“The creed of the Latter-day Saints” is the title of the third section; the contents are what now comprise the Articles of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The eleventh one, included in this 1850 printing of fourteen statements, is no longer part of the modern-day thirteen Articles. It reads as follows: “We believe in the literal resurrection of the body, and that the dead in Christ will rise first, and that the rest of the dead live not again until the thousand years are expired.”
William—Good morning to you, Thomas. I would have been glad to have you in our chapel last night, when our minister talked about sending Bibles to the Pagans. Oh, how I felt as I listened to him. I am certain, had you been there, that you would not stay any longer with the Saints.
Thomas—Well, let me hear what he said; perhaps he had something worth listening to. I myself used to listen to the Independents talking about the pagans.
William—He said that Christians of this country have a great responsibility to send the Bible amongst the pagans, in their own language, so they may know, as do we, about the way of life. He told of the thousands that are swept each year to the other world, deprived of the sacred volume; and he said that we should appreciate our blessings, for we have so many Bibles, and sympathize with the pagans.
Thomas—Is that what he said, then? The Bible is good and useful to everyone, indeed, but where did you receive the commission to translate, publish, and distribute the Bible to the pagans, or anyone else? A commission was given to preach the gospel to all the nations; it was given to the twelve apostles, not to you. Furthermore, no commission was given to anyone to translate and distribute bibles! If you wish to follow the apostles, leave the whole matter alone, and just preach the gospel. The Bible is not the gospel, for long after the gospel began to be preached were most of its contents written. The Bible cannot save anyone; only the gospel, which is the “treasure” that is in “earthen vessels,” can save. The Bible is certainly a large obstacle to your missionaries and others among the pagans.
William—How in the world can the Bible be an obstacle?
Thomas—Because it says the complete opposite to almost everything your missionaries say. While the missionaries say that baptism is not very important, and is not for the remission of sins, and is performed by sprinkling from a vessel, on babies and everyone else, the Bible testifies, “And they were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins,” something children could not do; and “except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” While the missionaries say that it is foolishness to lay on hands after baptism, the Bible testifies that two of the apostles had to go down to Samaria to lay on hands, before the people there could receive the Holy Ghost. While the missionaries say that signs do not follow anyone but the apostles, the Bible testifies, “And these signs shall follow them that believe.” While the missionaries say not to expect the spiritual gifts, the Bible testifies that they should be “desired.” While the missionaries say that the Spirit is not given now as before in its enlightening gifts, the Bible testifies that the promise of that is “to all that are afar off,” and also, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man.” While the missionaries say there is no need for apostles and prophets, &c., the Bible testifies that those are set in the church “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith.” While the missionaries say to send doctors to the sick, the Bible testifies that the elders of the church should be called for. In fact, whatever the missionaries say, the Bible is certain to contradict them; and the pagans, if they can read, are more foolish than animals if they believe the missionaries and the Bible. It would be better for the missionaries to print their profession of faith and leave the Bible to the Saints, the only ones who are in accordance with it in everything.
William—Well, indeed, Thomas, meeting you was the best fortune I have ever had. Farewell now; we shall be brothers before long.
Reverend—Well, friend, what do you think of our religion now, for I see that you have read much from the Bible?
Pagan—Well, indeed, sir, I must admit, that from what I have read in the New Testament, that every word you have said is true, that the church of God is far better than anything I have ever heard. There are many of us, black men, who are grateful for receiving such light, and we have decided to leave the wooden and stone gods, and accept your God.
Rev.—Which parts have you been reading?
Pagan—The twelfth chapter of 1 Corinthians; verse 28 says that God set in the church, “first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” Such things are excellent.
Rev.—But remember, dear friend, those things are not in the church now.
Pagan—Are the apostles in it?
Rev.—No, for there is no need for them in this age.
Pagan—Are there prophets in it, perhaps?
Rev.—No; those also have been taken from the church.
Pagan—But certainly there are many miracles in it; for your God is very powerful, and can do great things.
Rev.—Miracles, indeed! there is not one. You had better go to Britain to the Mormons, if you want that kind of foolishness.
Pagan—Well, perhaps there are gifts of healings in it, then. Those are sure to be very useful.
Rev.—No, those are not in it now, and they are no longer necessary.
Pagan—Well, what about the diversities of tongues, &c.: you must have some of those.
Rev.—Dear friend, all those things have truly ended.
Pagan—Well, sir, you are the one that knows best about that; but I know this: if all the things your God placed in his church have been taken out of it, or have ended, it is quite clear that the church has ended also. Take this back, here is your Bible; either you are a great liar or it is. I had thought of burning my idols last night, but I am glad I did not; otherwise, I would be without a god or a religion in the world.
We believe in God the Eternal Father, in his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
We believe that through the Atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
We believe that these ordinances are—1st,—Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. 2nd,—Repentance. 3rd,—Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. 4th,—Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. 5th,—The Lord’s Supper.
We believe that a man must be called of God by inspiration, and by the laying on of hands by those who are duly commissioned to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, &c.
We believe in the powers and gifts of the everlasting Gospel, namely the gift of faith, discerning of spirits, prophecy, revelation, visions, healings, tongues, and the interpretation of tongues, wisdom, charity, brotherly love, &c.
We believe the word of God as recorded in the Bible; we also believe the word of God as recorded in the Book of Mormon, and in all other good books.
We believe all that God has revealed, all that he does now reveal, and we believe that he will yet reveal many more great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God and Messiah’s second coming.
We believe in the literal gathering of Israel, and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion will be established upon the western continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth a thousand years, and that the earth will be renewed and received its paradisiacal glory.
We believe in the literal resurrection of the body, and that the dead in Christ will rise first, and that the rest of the dead live not again until the thousand years are expired.
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our conscience, unmolested, and we allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how or where they may.
We believe in being subject to kings, queens, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, and in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law.
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, temperate, benevolent, virtuous, and upright, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul; we “believe all things,” we “hope all things,” we have endured very many things, and hope to be able to “endure all things.” Everything virtuous, lovely, praiseworthy, and of good report, we seek after, looking forward to the “recompence of reward.”
[From ZION’S TRUMPET]