A Voice of Warning and Truth
Fred Woods, “A Voice of Warning and Truth,” in Fire on Ice: The Story of Icelandic Latter-day Saints at Home and Abroad, (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2005), 243–365.
The missionary tract A Voice of Warning and Truth was written by Þórður Diðriksson, who was born March 26, 1828, in Austur Landeyjar in Rangárvallasýslu, Iceland.  He embraced the restored gospel in the mid-nineteenth century and emigrated from Iceland in 1855 and after a few months’ stay in Copenhagen, moved to Utah, where he made his home in Spanish Fork the following year. His family was known for their kindness and hospitality, especially in assisting other Icelandic immigrants who settled in Spanish Fork in the latter half of the nineteenth century. 
In 1875 he returned to Iceland to serve a mission among his people and returned to Spanish Fork two years later. Following his return, he wrote A Voice of Warning and Truth, which Latter-day Saint missionaries began to use in Iceland in 1879. Niels Wilhelmsen, president of the Scandinavian Mission headquartered in Copenhagen, arranged to have two thousand copies printed, which were proofread by a local Icelandic student.  A quarter of a century later, Loftur Bjarnson, who was presiding over the Icelandic Mission, wrote, “The precious truths this book contains have been the cause of many accepting the Gospel and emigrating to Utah, where they are to-day staunch and faithful Latter-day Saints. Those who have received this book in this country and have . . . embraced its doctrines, value it so highly that they would not part with it for many times its price.” 
It has probably resulted in the conversion of more Icelanders than any other written item. In fact, when the Icelandic Mission was reopened in 1975, President Byron T. Geslison had his missionaries use this same tract as their main proselytizing tool, as had been done the previous century. The text is reproduced below.
A Voice of Warning and Truth about the Fundamental Beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Written by Þórður Didriksson
Translated from the Icelandic by Darron S. Allred 
Some men write for entertainment, some for money, some for edification and blessing, both in a spiritual and physical manner; my object will be for the reader to judge after having read the following pages.
About the law of the kingdom of God and the gospel, and how a man can become blessed after this life, have I chosen to write; that is the thing that has encouraged most good and God-fearing men to think and speak about it, from the beginning of the world, of God’s word, of Jesus’s word, of his holy prophets and apostles’ word. I want to prove and show what it is.
I hope to be able, with the help of God, to give explanations to those who, with a sincere heart, wish to know the will of God to their salvation, and who believe on his word. And if I should show and prove the learning and doctrines of man to be false, by comparing it with the word of God and the truth, then would all know that I am not at odds with man or men, rather with that which is at odds with those holy writings; for, they are a foundation, a rule, a measuring stick which I build upon now and again.
If I might become a tool in the hand of God through these few lines to show the law of the kingdom of God and the redemptive work, then should it gladden me both in time and eternity; and that many might see and believe the truth, which God has revealed through Jesus Christ, is my prayer in Jesus’s name, amen.
To the Reader
It is my purpose by publishing this voice of warning  to allow all to know what the gospel of Jesus Christ is, and that it is again given to the earth in its fulness, according to the prophecies and promises, and to show what we build our faith and learning on and whether that which those scribes, and some of the newspapers, say about the Latter-day Saints is true, and to show that those prejudicial judgments are not built upon the correct foundation. No reasonable man or woman wants to condemn something which they cannot speak against with reasonable grounds, or proofs from the word of God or scripture; otherwise, it is foolishness, exceptional and malignant. Therefore is the reader willingly bidden to try and prove all things, and hold fast to the good and true, and forget not to pray to God for wisdom, which he giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not (James 1:5).
About faith and conversion
Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33). For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Matthew 16:26). What is the gospel of the kingdom of God? It is his decrees and commands, heavenly proclamations and laws, which all God’s children must obey, just as it is spoken and written in those holy scriptures, to receive freedom and elevation into God’s kingdom.
Immediately after Adam was placed in paradise, God gave him a commandment, which was that he may not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for then he should surely die. Sorrow, sickness, toil, and death—with many other things—were the consequences for breaking the commandments of God. But the serpent came and said to the woman that God did not mean what he said; viz., that ye shall not die but shall be as God by knowing good from evil. They do the same who have altered those laws which he gave. They say: It ought not to be understood as it is written, and that God does not mean what he says, just like the serpent said to Eve, that they would not die. But God meant what he said. When God commanded Noah to build the ark, for he intended to have a flood come over the earth, he meant what he said. God’s word is the one saving teaching; it is a perfect law of liberty (James 1:25). It is a law of liberty indeed perfect to liberate the sinner if he obeys in the same manner as it was taught by Jesus and his apostles. It is the everlasting gospel (Revelation 13:6). It is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth (Romans 1:16). It is, first, to believe God’s word and Jesus Christ’s teachings and be obedient to them in the same manner as the apostles taught them; second, to turn oneself away from all evil; third, to be baptized by immersion for the forgiveness of sin; fourth, the laying on of hands for the receipt of the Holy Ghost. All must obey these commands who want to receive salvation in God’s kingdom. These are the glorious gospel’s first fundamental principles, which Jesus instituted in his Church. It is the everlasting gospel’s truth. It is the law of the New Testament. It is the power of God unto salvation, and the perfect law of liberty, as James said.
The first and greatest fundamental principle of the gospel is faith; it is the assurance of things not seen; it is the driving force of those things that men do.
Faith is the confident expectation of those things which a man hopes and an assurance about that which he cannot see. By faith we feel assured that the world was created by God’s word in such a fashion that the seen was brought into existence by the unseen. By Abel’s faith, God accepted his sacrifice, when he brought it, over Cain’s. By his faith, Enoch was taken up that he should not see death. Without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who will come to God must believe that he exists, and [he] rewards all those who seek him.
Faith had the effect that when Noah was warned by God concerning that which he could yet not see, he feared God and built the ark to the salvation of his house. By faith he condemned the world and became a partaker of those justifications which come by faith.
By his faith, Abraham was obedient and then was told to travel to a certain place which would become his inheritance; and he went, though he did not know where he should go. By faith Sarah obtained the power to conceive, though she had passed her childbearing years. Because of his faith, Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac. Because of his faith in the future, Isaac gave a blessing to Jacob and Esau. Because of his faith, Jacob, on his dying day, blessed both the sons of Joseph. Because of his faith, Joseph, on his deathbed, spoke about the exodus of the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. Through their faith, the parents of Moses hid him for three months after his birth. Because of faith, Moses left the land of Egypt. Because of faith, he held the Passover and smeared the blood of the paschal lamb over his doorway. Because of faith, the people of Israel walked over the Red Sea. Because of faith, the walls of Jericho fell after being encircled for seven days. Because of faith, the harlot Rahab was not destroyed together with the other unbelievers. Need I go on? I would have little time left if I went on to discuss Gideon, Barak, Samson, Japheth, David, Samuel, and the prophets who because of their faith conquered kingdoms, established righteousness, obtained promises, closed the mouths of lions, extinguished the power of fire, eluded the edge of the sword, became strong after sickness, became powerful in battle, and put the armies of enemies to flight.
It is clearly apparent that faith comes into the heart through the testimony of a witness whom God raises up and sends out to preach his word and witness of the truth. All faith has its foundation in conviction, either right or wrong, whether it is regarding earthly or heavenly things.
Jesus likens the gospel of the kingdom to a good seed which a certain man sowed in his field. Let us, therefore, use the example of an individual seed to explain the fundamental principles of the faith. When the Indians in America saw the grand effects of gunpowder among the European men who had settled among them, they sought fervently to gain the use of it for themselves. A number of less-than-principled European men told them that [the gunpowder was] seeds, which were sown in the earth and gave a rich harvest. Some of these unknowing men believed this and bought a great deal of it and sowed it with great care, but the fruit was—as it is for all false faith—to no effect.
Faith is to a great degree—as has been said before—built on the proofs and testimony which come through sight, hearing, and our own experiences, habits and practices, superstitions and more. For example, all the inhabitants of the earth for many hundreds of years were deceived with the belief that the sun, moon, planets, and stars revolved around the earth until Copernicus said that it was the earth that revolved [around the sun]. This was not a false belief that impeded the salvation of man. All the inhabitants of the earth were destroyed for false belief and unbelief in the days of Noah even when eight souls had the correct and liberating belief. In the same fashion, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for their false beliefs and unbelief, but Lot and his two daughters were saved by their correct belief. Nineveh was saved by its correct belief.
One false belief in relationship to many temporal things is not so detrimental and condemning in and of itself as not believing the message which God has sent for the liberation and salvation of man. Death and destruction have always been in store for such. That written above confirms this. When one false or true belief is strong enough, it leads to works. Paul’s [false] faith that Jesus of Nazareth was an imposter led him to oppress His followers. Afterward, his faith led him to endure chains, prison, and death for His name. The faith of many led them to take the lives of the apostles and then justify themselves, believing it was an agreeable service to God. The faith of others led them to give up all of their possessions and endure prison and death. These both had faith and works; the aforementioned, incorrect faith and evil works; the latter, correct faith and good works.
That testimony which God gives to confirm the divinity of his revelations is sufficiently powerful to awaken the faith in all those hearts who search it out in the correct way, as God has commanded. Therefore, they who have learned wisdom but follow it not will be punished.
Some will say, If the testimony were strong enough we would be forced to believe. But this is not true. Most acknowledge that the testimony and proofs which Jesus gave were powerful enough to convince all that he was sent from God, but they believed him not, even though he gave signs and miracles. The testimony can be strong enough, but if men refuse to search God’s word and are afraid that it is true because it goes against the custom and habit of the time, or they are afraid that they will lose their reputation and the friendships of the world and become despised and ridiculed and cut off from human companionship, these then become the obstacles which prevent them from investigating the word of God and the truth, along with other things.
Some have investigated it for the purpose of condemning it, though they find that it is the truth. Others investigate it and find that it is true. And though their conscience then condemns them if they do not accept it, they fear being an outcast in the world and subsequently reject it. The first act of a true faith is to turn away from all sin; next, to be baptized by immersion for the remission of sins and for the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. No one has that liberating faith or can enter Christ’s kingdom without believing this. It is to no avail to ask God for forgiveness of sins in some other fashion. If a man does not believe this, he is pitiably deceived and will lose his salvation after having an opportunity to hear and obey the same.
What does it profit, my brothers, though one says he has faith but has not works? Will his faith save him? If faith has not works, then it is dead by itself. But now one says: You have faith, but I have works. Show me therefore thy faith without thy works and I shall show you mine by my works. You believe that God is one, and in that you do well. The devils believe such also, and tremble. But, unlearned man, you shall know that faith is dead without works.
Did not Abraham, our father, justify himself because of works after having laid his son Isaac on the altar? Do you not see that faith was working in unison with his works, and that faith is made perfect with works? And thus is the scripture fulfilled which says: “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness,” and Abraham was called God’s friend. Ye see, therefore, that man is justified by works, and not by faith alone. For just as the body is dead without the spirit, so is faith dead without works (James 2:14–26).
When a man believes the revealed word of God, or the law of the New Testament, which the apostle James called a perfect law of liberty, then a turning away from all evil, in word and deed, is the next fundamental principle of the gospel which a man begins to obey. Then, and not before, the man has correctly repented of his sins and has a humble and contrite heart before God, though his repentance is not fully acceptable until there is forgiveness of committed sins, just as faith by itself is not enough. But this makes it possible to obey the third fundamental principle, which is baptism for the forgiveness of sins by those who have full authority from God to perform this solemn ordinance.
It was not the intention of the Savior when he atoned for the sins of the world to save mankind in their sins or to forgive them their evil deeds or crimes without faith and repentance. It was with the stipulation that sins are forgiven through baptism.
When the apostle Peter, on the day of Pentecost, preached the risen Jesus and lay clear the revelations which had literally been fulfilled concerning the Savior, they believed that he [Jesus] was the true Messiah who had been spoken of in the writings. He [Peter] said unto them: Repent and then be baptized for the remission of sins, in the name of Jesus Christ, and thereafter receive the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38). None could become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ in those days without obeying this liberating law of the New Testament. The innocent being—or dumb child—which has done no sin cannot repent. None can who cannot know their sin. To sin against God is to violate his commands, which those without knowledge cannot do. But sin cannot exist unless a law exists, says Paul in Romans 5:13. But no law will be given those who are not come to the age of accountability.
About Christianity, baptism, the laying on of hands, and more
The Catholic religious denomination is the largest in the world. Russia, France, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, and Austria [are all Catholic countries]. Some [of these people] are Roman Catholics, some are Greek Orthodox Catholics. These total approximately two hundred million, but all Christians together total approximately four hundred million, or about a third of the inhabitants of the world.
The Roman Empire was the fourth [empire] which would rule over the earth, or the iron feet of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue. Augustus was a Roman emperor, and from him went forth the command that all the world should be taxed.
The chief captain did not dare scourge Paul, for he was Roman-born, especially since he [the chief captain] had purchased that expensive right with a great price (Acts 22:25–29).
The Jews were afraid of the Romans. “If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation” (John 11:48), which they actually did forty years later and overran the people of God.
The apostles were crucified, beheaded, stoned, burned, and denied their lives in many ways. The saints were treated as wild beasts and were destroyed, some being forced to give up their faith to remain alive. The priesthood, or the power to bind and release which Jesus gave his apostles, was taken away.
The Church of Jesus Christ was the woman who had around her a ring of sunlight, the light of the truth of God’s holy word. The crown on her head with twelve stars was the twelve apostles, elders, and the headpiece of the Christians. She cried with the pains of childbirth; that is, she felt oppressed and was in a deadly struggle. She gave birth to a boy who would rule over all nations with an iron rod. The boy is the power and authority of the priesthood. The rod is the truth, knowledge, and fundamental principles of the faith by which all nations should direct themselves through the boy (or the priesthood). The boy was suddenly carried away and brought before God and his throne. The Church was destroyed. The power and authority of the priesthood, along with the souls of the saints, was taken to God and his throne. The woman fled into the desert. The dragon, or the devil, that Roman power, the pope, that is the beast. He promised to fight against the saints and overcome them. He was given power over all kindreds, nations, tongues, and peoples (Revelation 12; 13:7). The apostles speak of the Apostasy, as do the prophets. The apostle [Paul] speaks about that godless son who rose up against all which could be called good and holy, who set himself in God’s temple and made as if he were God (2 Thessalonians 2:4).
In Paul’s last epistle: But the Spirit says assuredly that in the last days many would deny the faith, make fast their faith on an evil spirit and devilish knowledge. [They], through deceit, teach lies and are branded in their conscience, prohibit marrying and deny the use of certain foods which God has approved (1 Timothy 4:1–3). The pope sold forgiveness of sins, banned the priests from marrying and from eating meat during the fast, and I think that this is his clear mark, though he considers himself a representative of God, the head of the Christians, in the place of Peter here on the earth. If he were such, then he would teach the same knowledge as Jesus and his apostles. But he will be that great whore who sits on the many waters, which means nations, tongues, and people, or those lands and countries which were previously enumerated.
The Catholic Church has long clothed itself in false ecclesiastical vestments red with innocent blood of the thousands it has killed, holding in its hands the power and respect of human honor, meaning it has the keys of heaven and hell, and which has trodden under its feet many vows of freedom, both spiritual and physical, and which will find in its heartless breast the knife of slaughtered protestors or Protestants, though they themselves are descendants of that great whore who sits upon the many waters, and with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth are drunken with the wine of her fornication (Revelation 17:2). The woman was drunken with the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus (v. 6). “And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues” (v. 15). Come up hither and I will show thee things which must be hereafter (Revelation 4:1).
He [John] was in prison on the isle of Patmos; some say he died there, but we believe as the disciples. Jesus said, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? (John 21:22). And this saying went abroad among the disciples that this disciple would not die. The angel said unto him, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and many kings (Revelation 10:11).
But let us look at the Christians a little more. [There are] five million of the so-called Christian soldiers, which each year are taught the methods of war or to kill their fellow Christian brothers. The nations sigh and groan under this yoke of oppression to pay the tax to uphold this waste. The world is full of fortified cities [skönsum] and castles. The harbors are full of warships and cannon boats to destroy as fast as possible those most necessary and best of men which the nations have. Each year many millions are employed to this end. The beggar may pay a tax to fund preparation for this war of Christians. Is this the Church of Jesus Christ? I say no. Is there no way to reform the Christians? Is this “to love God with all thine heart and thy neighbor as thyself”? It is written: Thou shalt not kill. Thereby shall all know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another. Without such ye are alone, ye are not mine. He who says he loves God but hates his brother is a liar. Wondrous towns and magnificent cities which have taken men’s lives and many centuries to build up and which have cost millions and hundreds of millions to build are in a few days laid in ashes.
A frightening group of handless and footless and in all respects maimed men lies in the hospitals, multitudes live with maimings and suffering all their lives. Many have wives and children. The blood cries from death, and the sound is heard from every nation. Widows wail, with no assistance, as the children cry for peace, help with the blessing nowhere to be had; hell, it seems, is next. Are these the beautiful flowers and magnificent fruits of Christianity? Jesus said: A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, but these are bad. By their fruits ye shall know them. Thus it is with the Christians of today. If they were good, then their fruits would be good.
I do not say that the Catholic and Protestant churches have done no good. They have sometimes fed the body, but never the spirit. They have many murders and martyrs. They are full of charity for the robber and the beggar—a promiser of gifts to warring kings, having many false teachers. They have built many houses for the rich, but few for the poor. They have made thousands of widows and millions of fatherless [children]. They pass the plate with one hand while holding a sword in the other. Most of the ecclesiastical laws are instituted by the magistrates but are violated as if it little mattered; and if blame is not accepted by others, sin is assigned and death meted out.
Well has the apostle Peter said: And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you (2 Peter 2:3), speaking of false teachers who shall come.
Christians sent priests and missionaries to China and other Gentile nations. They sent the Bible and Testaments to the east but swords and cannons in all directions to kill their own men. Read the histories of the world and the religious wars and the Christians will become terrible in your eyes. The more we look at this terrifying monster, the more we shudder at it.
Now let us look at the Lutheran faith and church a little, for our forefathers have lived and died upholding it. So have all the heathens and idol worshipers done, living and upholding their faith, so it is no proof that the faith is correct.
Luther, 1,500 years after the birth of Christ, begins to fight against the pope and show those great evils that he had instituted. [Luther] received adherents and established a religious organization, which since that time has remained. And it is a fact that he did much good, and [did it] the best that he knew how.
The baptism of children was introduced in the third century to a small degree (see Thomas Vestlek, p. 52). Salmasius, who bears witness to the remarkable nature of the master storyteller and historical writer, [says]: We and thou believe the Bible, and it is the grounds, rules, and the norm which all Christians think they build on and follow.
The grace of God comes to light in his word, which may be read in those holy scriptures. And in another place: It is assured, that all those commands of God which men are concerned with can be found in the Bible. These things the youth are taught, which are good, that Jesus has introduced, [are] laws and rules—or fundamental principles of the faith—which both we and thou believe. But do you have anything in the Lutheran Church which Jesus did not teach?
It was the custom in the New Testament to bless children. Aged Simon took Jesus up into his arms and blessed him. Jesus took small children into his arms and blessed them. This was not baptizing them. Barbellius has said that the baptism of children [babies] was not known until the third century, and was introduced outside of the direction of Jesus. The baptism of children by immersion was first introduced in Africa by an evilly educated and ungodly people who worshiped secretly and sacrificed to Saturn, the blacks being sacrificed most of all.
Once, when war seemed imminent, they said that their God was angry. The sacrifice was not good, meaning the black children. They then killed two hundred white children from the most honorable of men that they had. The idol was made out of iron, or copper, with a large fire in the front. The priest was clothed in red; the child, in blue. The child, or the sacrifice, was laid in the idol’s hands and then dropped into the fire. Great noise and music were used to drown out the cries and pains of those who were burned. And then some began to baptize their children by immersion (since no other baptism was known) before they were sacrificed. And these called themselves Christians.
You will perhaps say that these were heathens. But we may as well say that Israel had been heathen, for Aaron constructed the golden calf by the consent of Israel and they worshiped it while Moses was up in the mountain.
The year AD 251 was the first recorded account of baptizing by sprinkling. Novatian contracted a terrible illness and was “sprinkled” in his bed, and this was called baptism (Thomas Vestlek, p. 43). Thus began this doctrine of men, and in the fourth and fifth century more took up this blasphemy (namely, African Catholics). The Roman Catholic Church, the pope, and various kings gave out laws to obey this evil doctrine. And if they were not obeyed, they were painfully put to death, which is awful to read (see Thomas Vestlek, p. 87).
The word baptism is a Greek word, and it is surely so that it means “immersion” if the Greek know their own language at all. And from the first, upon becoming Christian, and until this day, they have baptized by immersion in water. The German New Testament says (Matthew 3:1): In those days came John (that is, the Baptist) and in English [and Þórður writes this next part in English], John the Dipper, or in other words, John the Baptist. The Baptist Church has baptism by immersion—the correct way.
Josephus, the historian, in his second volume, page 905, talks about his journey to Rome and his shipwreck and how he survived with eighty others. “Our ship,” he says, “was baptized, put under or buried under the water.” Homer, the Greek poet, said, “When the blacksmith tempers iron, he baptizes it, dips it in water.” When Josephus speaks about Jonah the prophet when he fled from the presence of the Lord, that the ship was “skírt, baptized, dipped down in the water till they cast him out.” Dr. Kompell says that “the word baptism means ‘by immersion.’” Tertullian, the highest of the Latin fathers, says, “‘Tingari’ was employed when speaking about colors, specifically the color of the clothes worn to dip them down according to the law” (Thomas Vestlek, p. 17; emphasis added).
This baptism of babies will not be upheld by God’s word or the scriptures. Lutherans have for a long time had witnesses when they have baptized their [little] children. Priests baptize or dip their hands in the water in place of the child. And so are their hands baptized but not the child. They ask the child: Do you believe in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, deny the devil and all his works and acts? The child is silent, unless it should cry. It has no ability to believe. It does not know its mother tongue; therefore no law is set. It is helpless and can do neither good nor bad. The witnesses say yes, though they lie. You believe that the child cannot come into the kingdom of God unless so many say these untruths. God knows that the child cannot believe before it comes to the age of wisdom and accountability and claims therefore no faith or obedience to his commandments without knowledge.
Each who believes and is baptized shall be saved. But each who believes not shall be condemned. It is first to believe. If you believe with all your heart, then it is possible, said Phillip to the eunuch, and he answered, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Acts 8:37). But, dear reader, they have taken this verse away in the most recent edition of the Bible. But you find it in all the old [editions]. There exist, in spite of this, many proofs against the baptism of babies. They have changed the next verse into two to have forty verses in the chapter. From this it is apparent that all must believe the first. See verse 38, “And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.” This was not to give a name or to wash his head, rather baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, just as Jesus introduced it in his Church. He, himself, was baptized in the river Jordan and said that he began through this act to fulfill all righteousness. He gave us an example, that we should follow in his footsteps, or in other words, obey those teachings, laws and regulations which he instituted in his Church.
This baptism by immersion is that which Jesus calls rebirth. This is the thing that Nicodemus did not understand when he came to Jesus by night and asked: How can a man be born when he is old? He was thought one of the greatest in Israel or a learned man [but] did not know this. Jesus answered: Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Being born of water means being buried in it. To be born of the Spirit was by the laying on of hands for the receiving of the Holy Ghost, which all received after being baptized.
When Peter the apostle, on the day of Pentecost, full of the Holy Ghost, preached the resurrected Jesus and the people believed, they said to Peter and the apostles: Men and brethren, what shall we do? Peter said to them: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:37–40).
These fundamental principles of the faith were the first, i.e., faith, repentance, baptism by immersion for the forgiveness of sins, and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them; they came and prayed for the Samaritans that they might receive the Holy Ghost, for as yet he had fallen upon none of them. All had been baptized to the name of the Lord Jesus. They laid their hands upon them and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that the Holy Ghost was given by the laying on of hands, he wanted to buy the power with money, so that over all those whom he laid hands, they might receive the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:14–20).
From this it is clear to understand that the Holy Ghost was given in this fashion [by the laying on of hands]. And the apostle says: Ye obey the covenant and your children also, as will those in the future. What covenant? [The covenant of] the forgiveness of sins through the correct baptism and of the Holy Ghost with the laying on of hands and by obeying these laws which Jesus instituted in his Church. All these shall receive these gifts and blessings; Those too who in the future will be obedient. That is to say: [the blessings will be] to the end of the earth to all who obey the teachings of Christ. But no one can believe until he hears. Therefore they are not all responsible until they hear the true gospel.
When the apostle Paul traveled into the land of Asia, he came to Ephesus and met a number of disciples to whom he said: Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? They said no: We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? They said: Unto John’s baptism. Paul answered: John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve (Acts 19:1–7). This shows that baptism was imperfect without the Holy Ghost being given by the laying on of hands. And therefore were they rebaptized in the correct way. John baptized the converted with the baptism of repentance. Young children cannot repent. Those who are without the ability to understand cannot become converted.
He told the people to believe on him who should come after him. Which people? Those whom he had baptized. Young children could not. John baptized in the river Jordan those who confessed their sins. Young children could not do that either (Matthew 3:6). I baptize you to the betterment of life (v. 11). To baptize in water means by immersion. To baptize with water means by sprinkling. “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). To be buried in baptism unto death. What death? The death of sin; for their sins were dead or forgiven and blotted out by being buried in the water or baptized by immersion.
And after having received the laying on of hands for God’s Spirit were they in a position to walk in a newness of life? But [little] children cannot do this though they are baptized, or their heads are moistened, and are given a name. Baptism does not take away the filthiness of the body; rather, it is a covenant of a good conscience before God with the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:21). That is to say; though the body is immersed in water in baptism, then it is not a fact that it washes its filth; rather, [it provides] a covenant of a good conscience with God, which little children don’t know how to do.
What is a covenant of a good conscience? It is a peace agreement with God, the forgiveness of sins and a hope of eternal life, by obeying and believing those main principles of the faith, or those new and everlasting covenants, those saving laws which Jesus ordained in his Church. Jesus says: Except a man be born of the water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5). The apostle Paul calls it being reconceived in Christ.
There is no command or example in all the holy writings to baptize young children or to confirm this teaching of man.
About the Atonement and God’s reality, the officials of God’s church, those spiritual gifts, and more
But now let us say a few words about the redemptive work which Jesus provided to all those with his death, and speak first about the atonement for original sin.
We believe in God the Eternal Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, who bears witness of the Father and the Son from eternity to eternity. It is certain that death came over all men because of the original sin, but not because of our own sins. And thus all men were cast out of God’s presence spiritually and physically. The body [was left] to eternal sleep in the earth and never more to rise up; but the soul, to an eternal prison under the power of Satan. And in these circumstances, all were lost and knew not how to free themselves therefrom.
It is also certain that with Jesus’s death and Resurrection, all men are without exception perfectly, and in all ways, redeemed from the fall of Adam, both soul and body, so that the terrible consequences of original sin do not eternally separate God and his children. And this is given to all without covenant or condition. That is to say, whether we believe or not, whether we are Christian or Gentile, bad or good, it makes no difference in regard to original sin. For its curse and consequence come equally over all the best men of God as over the worst evildoer without their willingness or agreement to such. And they become equally redeemed from its curse, or death, whether they know or believe that God exists, whether they do his will or not. For as in Adam, all die, so shall all be made alive in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:22). And this happens in the Resurrection. Then, some rise up to everlasting life; but some, to everlasting shame and disgrace (Daniel 12:2). Therefore, as by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so, by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life (Romans 5:18). This means the inherited sin and the resurrection of all flesh. This is the reason that all men’s spirits will be given bodies and are made free from this first death. This is the reason that Jesus said: If I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me (John 12:32). In this way, Jesus has paid for all Adam’s descendants, or for original sin. He has made of no effect the power of death and has won a victory over the grave and has freed all the prisoners which death had taken captive and has brought them into the presence of God to live eternally with him.
If they themselves have done no sin, then no one will be called to account for the sin of Adam, for nothing could be done with it.
You will perhaps say, dear reader, that we may, though, suffer a great deal for Adam’s sin, which is sorrow and toil and death, and it is true. But we would have been eternally dead, and soul and body separated, had not Jesus paid the debt. Therefore, Jesus said: Suffer the little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven. They had done no sin themselves; therefore the kingdom of heaven was theirs. For Jesus had paid for the original sin.
All men, after coming to the age of accountability and having known the gospel of Jesus Christ and God’s commands, are answerable for their own words and deeds. And if their deeds are evil, they will be cast out of God’s presence a second time, or die the second death. For that servant who knows the will of his master and does not follow it will suffer the sore consequences. Depart from me, all ye men who do evil works. God cannot save his people in their sins. Thus they will go away into everlasting punishment; but the good, unto eternal life (Matthew 25:46). But these wicked servants ye shall cast into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:30). Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire, and so on. The way unto life is strait, and few there be that find it. Many are called, but few are chosen. This shows that many will be lost.
What then shall we do, dear reader, to obtain eternal life since we have all broken God’s commands to a greater or lesser degree and have misused our agency in word and deed. And our conscience accuses us that we have poorly used that light and knowledge which we have received.
Is it enough to call, Lord, Lord, and read long family prayers and to pray? No. Is it enough to obey the Ten Commandments? No. Is it enough to fast two times a week and give tithing of all that we own? No. Is it enough to distribute all our possessions to the poor as though we had charity? No. Is it enough to do well unto others as we would have others do unto us? No. Is it enough that our prayers and almsgiving ascend unto God in heaven? No, though this is all good and pleasing unto God. Is it enough to go to the altar and receive forgiveness of sins from the priest? No.
Have we, then, no chance to become saved from our sins? Yes, assuredly. The same Jesus who has freed us from the original sin, without covenants, has also saved us from our own sins, with certain conditions, or through a certain way. It is by obeying certain edicts and commands, which are these: First, to believe in God, the Eternal Father, and his Son, Jesus Christ, and his suffering and death for mankind, and the Holy Ghost, which is given to all who obey the true gospel. Second, to repent and turn away from all sin. And if we have committed a wrong against our fellow man, then correct it as much as possible. Third, to be baptized by immersion in water for the forgiveness of sins by those who have authority to do so, or [by] the holy priesthood, otherwise it is invalid before the Lord. Fourth, [to receive] the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, which leads to all truth, to know the will of God. All who obey these teachings and fundamental principles of the faith receive forgiveness of sins as in the ancient Church.
The first Christians were in this way born of water and Spirit and know no other way to enter into the kingdom of God. Jesus says: They are then initiated into the kingdom of God as his sons and daughters, lawful heirs of the kingdom of God and joint heirs with Christ; so, where this knowledge and these fundamental principles of the faith are not, the Church of Jesus Christ is not.
Dear reader, is it wise to think that we can employ and take advantage of Jesus Christ’s offering, [and receive] eternal salvation in his kingdom without obeying those first, fundamental principles which all had to obey in the first Christian religion? Is it wise to say you believe in Jesus Christ but then not acknowledge those teachings which he taught to be necessary? Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away [Matthew 24:35]. Jesus says: All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth [Matthew 28:18]. And in another place: I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by me [John 14:6]; that is to say, through that knowledge which he gave and instituted in his Church, which will stand though heaven and earth pass away.
Some will say: Can you forgive sins like God by baptizing people or burying them down in water? Could the apostles and those who came after them who had the holy priesthood atone for the sins of the people by baptizing for the forgiveness of sins according to those rules and in the way that Jesus set up in his Church? Yes. Or could the priests of God—who had the Aaronic Priesthood—atone for the sins of the people with those sin sacrifices which God had appointed, which were in the similitude and a model of the Savior? Did not God forgive sins in this way? We answer, yes, assuredly. In the same fashion God forgives sins with his holy priesthood and authority, which he gave to the earth in these last days, by obeying those laws and fundamental principles of the faith which Jesus instituted in his Church.
When the sons of Aaron took each of them ember vessels, and put therein strange—or unholy—fire, and over that, incense, and bore it before the Lord contrary to the Lord’s will, then fire went out from the Lord and destroyed them (Leviticus 10:1). This strange fire—which is spoken of here—means that they did not take the fire from the holy altar which sanctified the fire to burn their incense as the Lord had commanded. And is this enough to frighten and judge those who have altered the laws of the New Testament in like fashion? They have taken strange fire to burn their incense. They have had the command of man with which to sanctify it. They have not taken the fire from that holy altar of Jesus Christ to come before God with. And if they had had the holy priesthood, then [it] would have occurred just so with them. If today’s teachers and Christians are ashamed to acknowledge the teachings of Jesus Christ, then will he be ashamed to acknowledge them before his Heavenly Father. Then he comes in power and glory.
But let us go back, dear reader. I said that baptism of children came first in Africa, in the year AD 251—or approximately 1,267 years before Luther’s Reformation. And in the fourth and fifth centuries, many young children were baptized by immersion. Many doctrines of men were introduced by the Catholics, such as prayers for dead persons, incense in their houses of worship, crosses in official acts, candles burned in their churches by day, lamps burned in the path of martyrs. Communion was given to young children and those who were come near unto death and to some who were dead (see Thomas Vestlek, p. 68). And I believe that the Catholic Church has borrowed to some degree from its mother, with regards to the baptism of babies, lights in churches and crosses, and in giving communion to dying and old persons. After the priests, monks, kings, and the powerful in the land had signed and approved these idiotic ceremonies, the common person was forced to go along by the sword and threat of death, and many thousands were killed.
In the sixth century were found 2,100 in England and Wales who held fast to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Bishop Gregorious in Rome sent a monk there by the name of Augustine, who, in the end, destroyed them with the sword and by fire. Among them was one woman which would not give up her faith. This woman was pregnant and was in bonds a long time. And when she bore the child, it had the marks of the bonds on its hands. Later she was put in the stocks and from there taken by night and placed in a sack and submerged under the ice. Another woman, who was burned, gave birth to a child in the fire before she died (Thomas Vestlek, p. 72). Many were burned and tortured unto death who spoke and wrote against the baptism of little children. And after Luther’s Reformation not just a few were killed for the same (see Thomas Vestlek, 3rd edition, pp. 88–105). He published one book in 1814 in London in England which is a small part of the historical and instructive books concerning the teachings of Christ. Eight learned men signed the book to confirm the truthfulness of it.
John Arason, born in 1448, was chosen to be a bishop in 1522, was ordained in Norway, and came again to Iceland in 1525. He remained true to the papal religion and was, together with his son, Ari (a lawyer), and Reverend Björn, beheaded in Skálholt in the fall of 1550 (see Joseph Hoster, p. 250). Was this not done thirty-two years after the Reformation by Luther’s followers? They killed the highest authorities of the land, both of the spiritual and secular classes. Where or when has that great whore, the Roman Catholic church, received the authority to kill those who don’t want to follow her laws and teachings? Where have the many Protestant churches—her daughters—received the authority to do the same? They can’t take their example from Jesus or his apostles to have acted thus. Quite the contrary. Jesus says, Bless them that curse you, do good unto them that hate you, and pray for them which . . . persecute you [Matthew 5:44]. They deny all godly revelation, so they cannot have it from God, but rather from the devil, who was a liar and murderer from the beginning.
Some will say, God commanded the people of Israel to destroy the people in the land of Canaan. But who can argue what is right or wrong with God? Is it not the same whether he destroys by flood, famine, disease, or the sword? Does he not have the right to punish in the manner that he wishes? Yes, assuredly.
There are thousands of proofs to confirm that the baptism of little children was not known before the third century, because all needed to understand their faith before they were baptized, just as children in our day are not confirmed before they can know their so-called Christian religion. So, none were taken into the congregation of Christ before they knew and believed the teachings of Christ. After the so-called godparents—or the mother of light—have convinced the priest that the child will believe in the Trinity—or the Godhead—and renounce the devil and all his evil by saying yes for the child, are they, though, not more answerable for the instruction and upbringing [of the child] than others, though the parents depart this life?
What then are children taught when they reach the years of accountability? That God is a spirit; for ought not they who worship him do it in the right spirit? And that is right. The word of God says the same. But you add on “unseen being” and say, “He has neither body nor limb and could not be seen with natural eyes, neither depicted in any picture.” Why then is it asked in churches and in households in the words of blessings that he would allow his countenance to shine on us or lift up his gentle face over us if he has no countenance or face? Then it is the greatest foolishness and error to ask God for that which he cannot give, so you destroy and make into nothing that which you yourselves teach—on the one hand that he has no form; on the other hand that he has both countenance and face.
God encourages us to know him through his words, which may be read in the holy scriptures. But what do they say about God? God said, We will make man in our own image and likeness. And God created man in his own image (Genesis 1:26–27). This is the genealogical history of Adam. When God created man, he made man after his own image (Genesis 5:1). Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel (God’s face). “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” (Genesis 32:28, 30). “They saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink” (Exodus 24:10–11). “And [. . .] while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: and I will take away mine hand, and thou shall see my back parts” (Exodus 33:22–23). “And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his [friend]” (Exodus 33:11). “With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold” (Numbers 12:8).
When God told Moses to say to Aaron how he should bless Israel, he said, The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace (Numbers 6:24–26). The Lord says that he himself has a face and a countenance though you teach that he has them not. Do you know better than the Lord? Can you receive any better proof than his own word that he has no body? If not, then is your knowledge false. And the Lord appeared unto Abraham as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day. And Abraham washed his feet and gave him food to eat. And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do (Genesis 18). “And upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it” (Ezekiel 1:26). “An hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein” (Ezekiel 1:26; 2:9). Stephen saw the heavens opened and the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:56).
The apostle said that Jesus was ascended, and sits on the right hand of the Father; In the right hand of him who sat on the throne I saw a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals (Revelation 5:1). Jesus says that he is the Son of Man. He was so like his Father that he said to Phillip, when he asked him to show unto him the Father, he who sees me, sees the Father. Jesus said, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” [Luke 23:46]. There is nothing clearer or more obvious to understand from the scriptures than that God has a body, and it is perfectly shown and proven through his own word.
Is it possible that those learned Christian theologians could be teaching the people that which is expressly against the scriptures? Have the customs and habits of the past centuries blinded the eyes of their understanding that they consider the conjecture and notions of foolish men—which have no foundation—to be more reliable than those holy scriptures? It seems to be so regarding that true God, who created man in his own image.
But let us turn our attention to additional doctrines and laws of the Lutheran church. Children are not called Christian before they are confirmed. Confirmation is not a teaching of Christ, nor of Luther. Rather, [it is] a royal decree and is 134 years old. The king Christian VI established it on January 9, 1736, and it would have been established as law in Iceland eight years later on May 27, 1744 (see the report of the eighteenth century, p. 203). It reads thus: I consider the most noteworthy [examples] available of his reign to be the following decrees and royal letters about confirmation of children. Such is the inexperience of the Christianized concerning the obeying of royal decrees. The Christian takes his name from Christ, but if he does not have the teachings of Christ, then it is nothing more than the name of Christ. These doctrines are employed in place of baptism by immersion for the forgiveness of sins and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, as it was before in the first Christianity.
Has Jesus slackened and recalled these fundamental articles of his holy Church? No; how then are they become of no worth? Does it take other doctrines and laws to save man in the kingdom of God in our day than it did in the days of the apostles? No. Have not those Catholic religious villains confused the sentences, confused the commandments, and made nothing of the new and everlasting covenants? Yes, assuredly; have the men of the Lutheran faith taken up and obeyed those first laws of the Church of Christ? No. Jesus says to his apostles: Teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you unto the end of the world [Matthew 28:20]. That is to say, if they (specifically the Jews and Gentiles) had held fast to his teachings, then would the same blessings and bounties have been in Christianity in our day, as earlier. But the beast promised to [wage] war on the saints and overcome them and therefore was given power over all kindreds, tongues, and nations (Revelation 13:7). That is to say that the true Church of Jesus Christ was destroyed.
After children are confirmed, and they have obeyed this royal command, then their sins are forgiven them—as with all others—with the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, which Jesus instituted for the remembrance of his body and blood. When Jesus said, “This is my body which is given for you,” he also said, “this do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). He, without doubt, meant his body, or himself. For, if the bread and wine had been for the forgiveness of sins, then Jesus would not have needed to suffer death. For, this is to prefigure; for all know that it is not the Master’s flesh and blood which they receive. As well might Moses have said that offerings and sacrifices in olden times were the body and blood of Jesus. Or that the fiery serpent was Jesus Christ which was a symbol of Jesus Christ—or that great offering—just as the Lord’s Supper was to remind, but not to forgive sins. But this is an abominable distortion and [is] backwards. Jesus said: My blood is shed for the forgiveness of sins, for many. So it was not bread and wine. You say: It is real flesh and blood. But I say the tasting of bread and wine causes this in no way; that is, the forgiveness of sins.
Many have, without doubt, thought to ask as Pilate, what is truth? Bread and wine are symbolic representations of his body and blood. Symbolic representations of that new covenant of peace—or the New Testament—which are the laws and regulations which he gave his apostles.
The Old Testament is those laws and contracts for peace which God gave Moses and was a great prefiguration of the Savior. But Jesus was not come to destroy the law, but to perfect and fulfill it. He did not destroy the ten commandments but perfected the prophets who had spoken of him.
Though sacrifices in Moses’s day were for the remission of sins and were a prefiguration of Christ, we have no right to employ the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper for that purpose. Is this not treating the blood of the covenant as common—or useless? Is it not the blood of Jesus which cleanses us of all sin? [Yes], by obeying those first laws, which are faith, conversion, and baptism, which are the only remission-of-sins remedies, with the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost.
The saints came together often in the days of the apostles to partake of the bread and water, [but] not for the forgiveness of sins. For the Apostle Paul says: As often as ye eat of this bread, and drink of this cup, ye do proclaim the Lord’s death till he come (1 Corinthians 11:26). Jesus says: Do this in remembrance of me. He says in another place: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. Without being born anew of water and spirit ye cannot enter into the kingdom of God. It is not [simply] each who receives bread and wine in remembrance of the body and blood of Jesus who will be saved, or enter into the kingdom of God. Well has Viddalin said: Thus do men bring this blind currency before the altar of the Master to eat and drink judgment unto themselves. But people don’t know any better; they are taught it. And therefore they have an excuse before God until they hear the truth. Paul says: And God was patient at this time of ignorance, but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30). And the same may be said of today. God has again given the same gospel to the earth which we find in the holy scriptures. You say: That is correct, that all of God’s wishes which human beings obey are found in the Bible and are therefore called the word of God. Baptizing [little] children, confirmation, the Lord’s Supper [being used] for the forgiveness of sins, cannot be the will of God as men obey it, for there is no command or example in passages of holy scripture to establish these doctrines of men. When the scriptures teach us perfectly and clearly all that we need to know for our true welfare, then you ought not to have other teachings than those the scriptures teach. He who believes or teaches differently than the word of God requires, he it is who profanes the name of God.
The Apostle says: For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (2 Timothy 4:3–4). Jesus said: Every plant which my Heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up (Matthew 15:13). That is to say, that these teachings which cannot be found in the Bible are plants which shall be pulled up by the roots. It is these superstitions which the apostle speaks of. And the so-called Christian has thus, with his personal views, destroyed the laws of God. “This people [. . .] honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8–9). If the worship of God was in vain in the olden days by teaching the commandments of men, so it may be the same in these days, for God is the same yesterday and today, and [is] unchangeable and constant.
After the person has obeyed these doctrines of men, they are then compelled to swear oaths in matters and according to regulations, even if they are disinclined. But Jesus said: You should never swear, but let your communication be, yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil (Matthew 5:37). And the Apostle James says: But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation (James 5:12). They who are doctors of theology—can they not heal this? Can they not see this as a terrifying evil? Is not this one of the snares which the devil has inspired evil and foolish men to lay for hardened and unprincipled human beings to imprison them in the net of damnation. Multitudes of people have been destroyed in this fashion and are eternally lost. Is not this spoiling the message of Jesus and forcing people, like the pope and that Roman power, to break God’s commands and commandments? “We ought to obey God rather than men” [Acts 5:29].
The so-called Christian admits to the ten commandments being from God, though Sundays are sold, two hours excepting. It was the word of God that sanctified the Sabbath day and not Sabbath day services.
Some who labor on the Sabbath day wish to justify themselves by saying that God has not insisted on Sunday. Then they ought to keep holy Saturday, the seventh day of the week which God himself established among the people of Israel, if they want to have a day of rest. Sunday, or the first day of the week, is established and accepted by Christians as a day of rest and of the Sabbath. Jesus rose up on the first day of the week. On the first day of the week, then, the apostles were gathered together to break bread. Paul spoke to them, for he planned to leave the next morning, and he stretched out the talk until midnight (Acts 20:7). This was the day of gathering—or of the Sabbath—for the saints. Jesus said that he is the Lord of the Sabbath day.
He was with his apostles for forty days after his Resurrection and taught them those things that pertained to the kingdom of God. Jesus ascended to heaven on the fifth day and on the tenth day—which was another Sunday from then [on]—the Comforter, that Holy Spirit, came upon the apostles (Acts 2).
I said that Sundays were sold, excepting two hours, and we see that such is the case. One little part remains of the holy day of rest and the Sabbath. Does not this resemble that which the pope did, selling forgiveness-of-sins letters? Only those who have purchased these empty promise letters know whether or not the legal authorities give out forgiveness-of-sins letters, for if they need to pay both in this and the life to come, then would it clearly become too expensive. For I am certain that this sin is not atoned for before God by purchasing these empty promises. It is written, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” [Exodus 20:8]. And in another place, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:19). “I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them” (Ezekiel 20:12). “But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass,” and so on (Deuteronomy 5:14). This is the will of God which humans understand, completely and clearly by reading in the scriptures, which is acknowledged of those so-called Christian through words, but not through deeds. But faith without works is dead [James 2:20].
But now let us examine the officials from the Lutheran church and compare them with officials in the first Christian church. In the so-called Christian church, the highest person, so to speak, is, first, the pope, then cardinals, archbishops, bishops, archdeacons, and priests. In the Church of Jesus Christ, first apostles, next prophets, then teachers, then those who do miracles, next those who have gifts to heal, lead, and speak a diversity of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:28). In another place: The same has made some apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors, and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ—namely his Church. Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive (Ephesians 4:11–15). This shows that all these were necessary and indispensable to the leaders in the first Christian church. If Christians have not come to a unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, then these leaders—namely, apostles and prophets—are necessary unto the perfecting of the saints, for the edifying of the body of Christ, to no longer be children tossed about by the false commands of men or winds of doctrine, their craftiness or cunning, their shrewd deceptions.
For the body is only one body though it has many parts. That is, the true and correct Church and faith is one, though it has many leaders and members. But all these limbs of this one body—which are many—are one body, just as all the leaders and members in the Church—which are many—are one Church. The eye may not say unto the hand, I have no need of thee, or the head unto the feet, I have no need of thee. The apostle cannot say to the missionary, I have no need of thee. The prophet cannot say to the evangelists and pastors, I have no need of thee. “For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will” (1 Corinthians 12:8–11).
The Spirit is given by the laying on of hands, but the Spirit gives different levels of gifts. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery (1 Timothy 4:14). Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:19–21). These gifts and religious officials, with all these laws and regulations, are marks, or signs, of the true Church of Jesus Christ.
The first limbs on this body (that is to say of the officials of the Church) are apostles and prophets, which we can call the mouth and eyes of the Church, or the body. The apostles were as the mouth of God to deliver his will to the people, and as his representatives to unloose and bind on earth. [They] had the Spirit of God to search into and know all things, even the hidden designs of God.
The prophets foresaw things that were to come. They saw the past and the present and the future and warned the people of God of his coming wrath and chastisements.
The so-called Christian church has never had eyes to see with and has wandered in darkness ever since the apostles and prophets were taken away; and the gift of the Holy Ghost and those first laws were no longer to be found. It had, rather, no mouth to speak of the hidden designs of God, and just as the natural body could not live without a mouth through which all nourishment must pass, [the Church could not be nourished]. Neither can the body of Christ—or the Church—live without eyes and a mouth—that is—apostles and prophets, which have the holy priesthood and power to give the Holy Ghost. Your church has never had the natural movements of life and the glorious gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is dead and does not have the most necessary sensory organ, or the before mentioned religious officials [or representatives].
One of the spiritual gifts was healing the sick. “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him (James 5:14–15). These were the laws among the saints in those days. But if someone is sick among the so-called Christians today, they send for the doctors, which give them poison-blended medicines in their own names. Dear reader, there are none of Jesus’s teachings that are taught in the same way or with the same meaning as we read it in the scriptures. Those who do not acknowledge the gifts of the Spirit, the officials, and those first commands and commandments as being necessary today, just as in the first Christian church, those have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof.
Paul says, “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end” (Hebrews 3:14). This shows that we cannot take part in Christ’s service unless we hold fast to those first principles of the faith or those apostolic teachings. “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed” (2 John 1:10). Jesus said unto John, “But that which ye have already hold fast till I come” (Revelation 2:25). “[He who] abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1:9).
Concerning the Apostasy and those false teachers, and how God gave the holy priesthood
Let us now say a few words about the Apostasy and those false teachings. “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant” (Isaiah 24:5). “And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him” (Isaiah 24:2). When men break the new and everlasting covenant and the commandments of God, then it shall be the same with people as with the priest. All have gone astray from the truth, and if the blind leads the blind, both fall into the pit. “The heads [of Zion] judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the Lord, and say, Is not the Lord among us? none evil can come upon us. Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest” (Micah 3:11–12).
If God punished the Jews thus in olden times for altering his commands and confusing the scriptures, and the priests taught for hire and the prophets divined for money, then it is likely that he does the same today, after the people have been warned. It will be proven true which the Apostle [Peter] says: For if God has not spared the natural branches (meaning the Jews), then it is likely that he will not spare the modern-day Christian or those who have altered the commandments and sell their knowledge for money, just as others were [not spared]. “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not” (2 Peter 2:1–3). These doctrines of men are the deceiving teachings which are sold for a price. “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. . . . But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:11, 13). But endure in what? In the superstitious and deceptive rules of men? No, rather in the apostolic doctrines. “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29–30). The Apostle [Paul] calls them grievous wolves which arise with perverse doctrines. He is speaking of the apostasy and those false teachers to come in the later centuries.
When the Apostle is speaking about the dreadful day of the Lord, he says, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. . . . And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:1–4, 6–8). This is to say that the Catholic church—and the pope—which is the largest religious organization in the world, it is he who the Lord Jesus will destroy and bring to nought with the brightness of his coming. Yea, with the spirit of his mouth, with the bitterness of the sword of truth and his holy words will he bring them to nought. The Apostle says: They have destroyed his apostles and church and broken the new and everlasting covenant. He says in the same chapter and in the fifteenth verse, Brethren stand therefore firm and hold fast to those doctrines which ye have received, whether by our teaching or by letter. None ought to call themselves Christian who has other doctrines than this. “From which some having swerved (says the Apostle) have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm” (1 Timothy 1:6–7). “Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake” (Titus 1:11). “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15–16). If they teach the commandments of men for a price, or teach that which they ought not for filthy lucre’s sake, as the Apostle says, then might ye know them by their fruits. It should be easy to tell which is which. [The ravening wolves] are all those religious groups’ teachers who don’t have the doctrines of the apostles.
Jesus said to his apostles when he sent them out to preach, “Freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). Paul therefore says, “These hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me” (Acts 20:34). He says in another place, “For we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you” (2 Thessalonians 3:7–8). If it is true that all of God’s will, which human beings concern themselves with, can be found in the Bible, then it teaches perfectly and clearly how those false teachers would come, as well as about the apostasy. And though the Apostle be resurrected, he couldn’t put it any better. If you, dear reader, want to know more about the apostasy, read 2 Timothy 3–15; Titus 1:15–16; Revelation 13:1–8; 17:1–6.
But where have the modern-day teachers received their priesthood and authority to preach their doctrine which they themselves have invented? When God has needed an instrument to send out his will, then he has revealed it unto his servants, the prophets, and unto them whom he has called. He called Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, with revelation to spread his will and wisdom-filled direction. Moses and Aaron were called to the priesthood by the Great Jehovah; the seventy elders, by revelation to help Moses. Joshua was called by the word of the Lord—through Moses—to lead Israel; the judges, by visions, revelations, angels, and inspiration of the Holy Ghost; Samuel, by the voice of God. And all the prophets by the word of God. Men were called in a similar fashion, all until the last, Malachi, in the first Church.
John the Baptist was called before he was born by the spirit of prophecy by an angel of God who appeared to his father, Zachariah (Luke 1:11–18). Jesus was chosen by God to be a high priest. As it is written, “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 5:6). Paul calls him “the Apostle and High Priest of our profession” (Hebrews 3:1). It is very meaningful that Jesus had received the priesthood when he was transfigured on the mountain and Moses and Elias appeared to him.
Jesus, who was an apostle and high priest, chose the Twelve Apostles and said unto them: I have chosen you. When Judas fell, the apostles chose two men, Barsabas and Matthias, and prayed to the Lord to show which of them should be chosen. And the lot fell upon Matthias (Acts 1:23–26). After that, the Lord chose other seventy and sent them out (Luke 10:1). Paul and Barnabas were both apostles (Acts 14:14). They were selected unto the authoritative service by a new revelation, by [the] inspiration of God’s Spirit, by prophets and learned men who were among the saints in Antioch (Acts 13:1–4). That the elders were called by revelation is apparent from that which Paul says, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers” (Acts 20:28). Timothy, the first bishop in Ephesus, was selected by prophecy and the laying on of hands (1 Timothy 4:14). Titus, the first bishop among the Greeks in Crete, was commanded of Paul to ordain elders in all places that the saints were (Titus 1:5–9). Therefore, says the Apostle, “But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches” (1 Corinthians 7:17). “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron” (Hebrews 5:4). This shows clearly that all the representatives (or apostles) of the Church of God must be called of God. For none can take this honour unto himself (namely the priesthood) except he be chosen by God.
But where have the modern-day teachers received their priesthood? From the pope? No. [For] he is without any authority [and without] apostles and prophets and has no gifts of the Spirit or any semblance of the Church of Christ. Where have the many Protestant (and other various religious groups’) teachers received their authority? The echo cries out where, but then does there come no reply? Yes. They are all called of men to preach the commandments and superstitions of men, which I have seen and proven by the scriptures. Such is their worship of God—vain and useless. For they teach the commandments of men which they themselves have been taught.
It is shouted among the people, that the Mormon faith is the worst in the world, without having any fundamental reasons or proofs from holy writ to confirm [such a claim]. Solomon says: He who judges before he knows is not wise.
If the Mormon faith is foolishness and error, then the priests and powerful teachers ought to show and confirm it by the word of God and the scriptures. Do they do it? No. But they allow the lying and fearful attacks of anger thunder in all directions. This is the only remedy they have to protect themselves, and thereby scare the people from hearing and examining our doctrines. They don’t want the Mormons to speak or preach so that the shame of their nakedness be not revealed by presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ and the apostolic doctrine. They would rather lose their reward because of their nonsensical and deceptive teachings, [of] which the Apostle says: Therefore do they hold fast to the lies, just as the Jews in former days.
When Jesus rose from the dead, the men of the guard were paid to lie to hinder the work of God. So it is with the true gospel today. Jesus says, “For [the devil] is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44). First, he is the father of lies. Then, the lie is his daughter, and she has done harm to all, both spiritual and physical.
Priests give talks and sermons and have as their subjects, “Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” (Revelation 3:11). God’s Spirit, in place of Jesus’s words, told John what he ought to write to the congregations, which meant those first (and all those) commandments and rules of the Church of Christ that they ought to hold fast. This cannot mean the disgraceful commandments of men which were instituted some centuries later—the same which is now taught by the so-called Christian faiths. John and the saints could not hold fast to that which did not exist and to that which no one knew of in their day. But [this] is enough to say unto all those who allow others to think and speak for them and who are blinded by customs and habits.
This shows clearly that if the saints had allowed themselves to be deceived away from the doctrines of the apostles, then they have lost their crown, that is, their exaltation and salvation in the kingdom of God; so all who do not have the apostolic doctrines have no crown to hope for, and can therefore lose nothing. If they say, “Hold fast unto nonsense and the doctrines of men” so that the priests don’t lose their parishioners and their income, then they are saying what they truly mean. It is possible to know the true and correct faith from the wrong if we believe the word of God which we have in holy scripture. For God’s word brings sight and proof [of] what we are allowed or banned [from doing]. It is our leading light.
Dear reader, was it the doctrine of Jesus Christ that the apostles taught? Was [the doctrine] necessary and the only way to salvation? [Were] faith, repentance, and baptism by immersion for the forgiveness of sins, and laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost [necessary]? Apostles, prophets, and all the glorious blessings and signs, which were found in the first Church, were they necessary or were they not? If you confess them to being necessary, then I must ask, “Why do you not have such now?” If you do not confess that such is necessary, what are you then? Are you not a religious villain and a heretic and not better than the heathen? Or the New Testament lies and means all together something else than it says, and it is then not holy. Or is it not clear to understand that you—and the so-called Christian—have strayed so long from the path of truth and are become blind so that you view nothing else as necessary except reading the Lord’s Prayer and calling Lord, Lord. But everything else which Jesus taught and instituted [is considered] to be unnecessary. And that which men have instituted will suffice in place of the commands and doctrines of Jesus, which are now set aside. Jesus says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
The Apostle exhorts the saints to hold fast unto those doctrines which he taught, where he says, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him” (Hebrews 2:3). In another place, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8–9). He repeats these words and says, “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11–12). Those blessings which belong to the Church of Jesus Christ, in this life, are wisdom, knowledge, joy, the gift of healing, miracles, the gift of tongues and the interpretation of such, revelations, visions and dreams, the ministry of angels, the gift of prophecy, the casting out of devils, and all others which are spoken of in the scriptures—or the New Testament. These signs shall follow them that believe (see Mark 16:17–18). Those who believed in the apostolic doctrines and accepted them, believed this. For, wherever the holy priesthood and authority of God are, these signs will be found. But wherever they are not, the Church of God is not. No one need be unsure about whether or not he is in the Church of Christ. For these signs show and confirm it perfectly. For the natural, great and eternal law is that the same causes and reasons have the same consequences and results. By your fruits ye shall know them.
And so it is with the Church of Jesus Christ. If these signs have not sufficiently shown themselves among the Latter-day Saints—which the world calls Mormons—then so many thousands would not have—of all nations and tongues—received our doctrines. The Apostle says: Seek after spiritual gifts, but above all else, the gift of prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:1). But you deny all those spiritual gifts, just as all others who were in the first Christian faith.
Jesus says: The word which I spoke will judge them at the last day. [Those words] are the laws and doctrines which he gave when he dwelt with us here in the flesh. They [the words] will judge all who don’t want to believe and obey them, after having been given them (2 Thessalonians 2:10–12). [They are] the same today as yesterday. God’s word is the truth. It is the sharp, two-edged sword which went out of his mouth (Revelation 1:16). It will put to death, with the second death, all those who have not repented after having known his will and the path which leads to his kingdom.
I have now shown what the gospel of Jesus Christ is—or that apostolic doctrine—and compared it with today’s teachings, creeds, and customs which men have invented which is clearly shown and proven from the scriptures. I have done the same with the Apostasy and those false teachers, and the mark [they have made], and how they are called of men to preach the doctrines and inventions of men. For no one who has his full senses will allow himself to consider that the 666 (more or less) different religious groups are [all] the true Christian faith and Church. For the Apostle says, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). This shows that there is not but one faith and baptism which are right or efficacious before God. Jesus says: the way is strait which leads to life and few there be that find it (Matthew 7:13–14). If the 666 religions are [the] way unto life, then it would not prove true what Jesus says: The way is strait and few there be that find it. If they were born and raised in the way of life and taught the doctrines and commands of Jesus Christ, then they have found the right way. They all cry out and say: Here is the right way. Come. But Jesus says: If ye are not one, ye are not mine. Are these many religions one in faith, hope and charity? No. They contend one against another and find fault with one another’s creeds and faith. And therefore they cannot be the Church of Jesus Christ.
Some will say: I cannot bear looking at it in this way because it makes the whole of Christianity look immature and as charlatans, and it is true. But I say: It is better to know the truth in time to be able to repent, than to fall from the glorious throne of hope and joy in judgement down into the depths of damnation, which all must fall into who don’t obey the doctrines of Jesus Christ after having had a chance to hear it.
The learned who is proud and full of worldly knowledge, who is puffed-up by his learning, who makes himself drunk upon worldly excesses, has locked himself out of heaven’s doors, as well as all those who they have led astray from the way of truth by pointlessly worshiping God through the false teachings of men, which are in vain except to gather unto oneself wrath in the day of wrath. When and where has God recalled and made void the doctrines of the apostles? To whom has he revealed it and where is it written? If they don’t show and prove it, they bear witness of themselves, who they are—the blind. Blind leaders, having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof. They pretend to be learned in the law, though they neither understand themselves what they are saying, nor that which they teach others (1 Timothy 1:7). It is written that they worship him in vain, by teaching the commandments of men, which they themselves had been taught (Matthew 15:8–9). All religions that don’t have the apostolic doctrines do this. There are none who acknowledge its necessity, excepting the Latter-day Saints. One faith and one baptism, says the apostle.
Some sprinkle water over the one being baptized. Some only moisten the crown of the head or the forehead of young children to give them a name, and they call it baptism. But baptism means immersion, as before has been said, baptism by immersion, or being buried with Christ in baptism, foreshadowing the grave and death, as well as the death of the sins, to rise up out of the water and live anew, foreshadowing the resurrection and eternal life. This is the one “indulgence” remedy or sin-offering in connection with the suffering, pains, and death of Jesus Christ. He gave us these laws, as well as himself, and each is equally necessary and indispensable.
The so-called baptism for young children is one of those false commandments of men which has caused the nations to be heedless [of God] and has become a custom and a habit. It was because of Adam’s disobedience that all the earth became fallen. Sin, sorrow, difficulty, death, and all evil came into the world. It is through obedience to the doctrines of Jesus Christ, the apostolic doctrine—faith, repentance, and baptism by immersion of those who have authority from God—that sins are forgiven and God’s Spirit is given by the laying on of hands, as has already been stated.
So as you can see, dear reader, all that was lost by disobedience has been returned by obedience to those fundamental teachings which have so often been spoken of. These four laws, or fundamental principles, are the doors to the Church and kingdom of God. Jesus says: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin if we obey these laws together with all others that he has commanded. The Apostle says: “We are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end” (Hebrews 3:14). To be made partakers in the grace of Jesus we must hold fast unto the first principles of faith, which are the main principles of our faith, in Jesus Christ’s true Church.
What then shall we do, dear reader? Shall we hold fast to the commands of men which we have been taught, which have no foundation in God’s word and thereby make nothing of the words of Jesus and set aside the apostolic doctrines and trust in worldly wisdom unto salvation? No. “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord” (Jeremiah 17:5). Their hearts depart from the Lord who do not believe his words and those laws which he gave after having had a chance to hear the true gospel, which now is preached wide and far in the world.
It would be good, dear reader, if you would build your faith on your own research as did they in Berea anciently [Acts 17:10–11]. We need to search the scriptures to see whether or not that which we have been taught is right and ask God through his Spirit to understand correctly.
The gospel in the last days, Joseph Smith being sent from God, the Book of Mormon, truth about the Godhead
But let us be mindful, dear reader, of how the gospel should be preached in the last days. When John the Apostle was on the isle of Patmos, the angel told him he would show him that which would later come to pass (Revelation 1:1; 4:1). One of the glorious things that he saw was an angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel unto them that dwell on the earth, to every nation, tongue, and people. He called out with a loud voice and said: Fear God and give glory unto him for the time of his judgement is come (Revelation 14:6–7). This is spoken in clear words and not as a parable. Jesus came with the true gospel when he came to dwell here on earth. But thereafter an angel should come with it. And this should be in the last days. For the angel says: The time of God’s judgement is come. But if the true gospel—that Jesus came with and that he taught and preached—had been on the earth, then God would not have needed to send it to the earth. For the gospel which the angel came with shall be sent to all nations, tongues, and people. Thereafter shall another angel cry out that Babylon is fallen and become the habitation of devils and the prison for all kinds of abominable spirits. “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her” (Revelation 18:3). Babylon means godlessness and discord. The wine of her fornication means the sins, the damage caused by false faiths and the commands of men, through which all nations have become drunk and which kings and leaders have established.
But before Babylon is destroyed, the people of God are called out from her. “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4). So there will be a gathering together of the people of God at that time, as the angel comes with the eternal gospel.
Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (see Matthew 24:14).
And it will be a symbol of his coming and of the end of the world. So when the angel comes with the everlasting gospel—if it is the same as Jesus taught—then all may know that it is the same as John saw and the same [gospel], about which Jesus said it would be a testimony of his coming. For the gospel which Jesus taught has not been openly taught in its fulness in 1,700 years even if the Church of God was not fully taken from the earth and the saints [were] not in all ways destroyed before the sixth century, as has been stated.
Was Joseph Smith sent from God? [That] is one question which all ought to know and to be in a position to prove or stand against with facts and perfect reasoning. He says that one angel from God has revealed himself and given [the gospel] to his emissary in its fulness and the message to all nations and tongues, to follow it in the same way that Jesus taught it, and we read it in the New Testament. How could Joseph Smith—if he was a heretic and a false teacher—bring forth the true gospel? Was he wiser than all the heretics and founders of religious groups for the last 1,700 years? And being uneducated, could not Svedenborg, Irving, Vestle, Calvin, Hvitfield, Luther, and many others come forth with the true gospel? No. Why not? There was one angel who would come with it to the earth, and the time had not come yet.
So there are two great proofs Joseph Smith was send from God. First, that an angel revealed the gospel in its fulness to him. Second, that it was the same as Jesus taught. He was also [commanded] by the angel to gather together all who received this message, which is the third proof that he was sent from God.
Come out of the city, my people. That is, out of the false denominations. The gathering of Israel in the last days is so clearly discussed by the prophets (see Isaiah 11:11–16; Jeremiah 16:14–17; 31:8–11; Ezekiel 20:34–35).
The Apostle Paul says, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:25). In the scriptures, “Gentiles” refers to all those who are not of the house of Israel. The Jews, to some degree, have experienced a blindness, until the fulness of the Gentiles—or the gathering—be come in. What blindness have the Jews experienced? Namely, not believing in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world and the building up of old Jerusalem, which they will do in the last days (see Zechariah 12–14). This will happen through all the prophets, both great and small. But before this happens, the Gentiles will gather together.
Thirty-eight years have passed since they began to gather together under the name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from all nations, tongues, and corners of the earth. And it is they who have believed the gospel of Jesus Christ which the angel brought to Joseph Smith, according to that which David says, “to loose those that are appointed to death; to declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem; when the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord” (Psalm 102:20–22). The people and the kingdoms should come together to serve the Lord. And this is the second reason; therefore, they were called out from Babylon, to loose the children of death. David says: If they had received the plagues of Babylon, then they were the children of death. But he says to release them, so they might live and serve the Lord. And therefore they were called out of Babylon. It is an ungodly world.
Fifty years have passed since the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was given to Joseph Smith and [since] he was tutored by the angel of God concerning the holy history—or record—which the Book of Mormon is translated from, which contains the gospel of Jesus Christ, as can be read in the New Testament. And in the same manner [it contains] a history of the ancient Jaredites, who fled to that westerly continent—namely America—approximately 1,867 years after the creation of the earth. [It] also [contains a record] of the ancient Israelites who came from Jerusalem six hundred years before the birth of Christ.
People think this is a great, wondrous event. It is something that the greater part of human beings did not expect, something that our forefathers had no idea concerning—that God would send an angel from the heavens. What? An angel from the heavens in the last days! Yes, even though the people consider it a wondrous event. How unlike our forefathers’ opinions over the last 1,700 years.
If people today are told that God has sent an angel and revealed his will to man, they are quickly willing to make light of and disdain it. They have already settled on the opinion in their hearts that angels will no longer serve man, and that no additional messages from the heavens would be sent; that no voice from God would again be heard speaking to man on the earth; that no additional revelations would be given; [and that there would be] no more prophets, seers, or revelators to share with and reveal God’s will to the people. Such were our forefathers’ opinions. Such are the views which the two to three hundred million beings espouse who call themselves Christians. Talk to them yourselves today and tell them that more of the word of God has been found which has been given to man, and the general outcry from the Christian nations will be, “Our books of canon are perfect.” Who told them that? Where have they received such information? Did God reveal it to them sometime? No. Is this not the fruit of their own imagination? Have you heard any man, yea even the most learned and wisest among them confirm this out of the Bible? Have you heard that any preacher or priest has proven this to be the consensus and the rationale? Never. No man shall find such no matter how learned or educated he is in the holy writings, or who can come forth with any proof to confirm this opinion.
The Latter-day Saints first came forward forty-eight years ago and bore witness that God had sent an angel from the heavens, however amazing it seemed to the people, however unusual an event for the time. They say, though, when Jesus Christ’s true Church was on the earth, angels were sending out a part of the blessing which he gave his people, but now we don’t need such things. Why not? Because we are so enlightened. We have read the scriptures and know so perfectly their contents [that] we need no further guidance from the Almighty. We don’t need prophets in our day to tell us what will happen. We don’t need revelation as a method to know the word of God and the truth, for we are so enlightened. The light of the gospel shines so brightly before us that we can get by with human knowledge without revelation from the heavens. This is their opinion.
Let us now leave the holy scriptures and see whether or not their contents confirm the angel’s message or not. History teaches us that before the flood, angels spoke to the people, just as one man speaks to another, so that Abraham and Enoch and many others spoke with God. After the flood we find that God gave great and glorious promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—promises concerning heavenly and earthly things. And these men were “God’s friends” and were perfect in their time. Angels came to them and enlightened them about the words of eternal life. They had revelations and enjoyed God’s goodness.
And so, too, we can follow Moses and the children of Israel in the land of Egypt through time. Did the Lord bless them? Yes, he did. In what way? By speaking to them and by sending angels to minister among them and by giving revelations. While the children of Israel traveled in the wilderness, they were taught by revelations concerning all their ceremonies. And through revelation they raised a sanctuary in the wilderness, so that when the Lord said unto them to put up their tents in one place they remained there until another revelation was given. Angels enlightened them concerning God’s will after they had arrived in the land of Canaan. Thus, God continued to send angels to his people; one prophet came after another among them to reveal God’s will.
Such was the way of things among them until some time before the birth of Christ. Then came a time when no angel was sent, no revelation, no prophet like before. Why? Because of the wickedness of the people. And the consequence was such that when the Savior came and preached the gospel unto them, they were so wicked that they stained their hands with his blood.
We find further that after Jesus had established his Church, in that day, that angels were sent to reveal God’s will. And one of the apostles exhorted the saints to be hospitable in the process, for in that way some had unknowingly entertained angels. We find that in the first hundred years of the Christian church angels were often sent to the saints and revelations were given to direct the church by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, which rested upon the apostles. Paul speaks about the angels and says, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14). This is a clear proof that these holy and glorious beings from the heavens—they who lived in the presence of God—were sent as fully commissioned servants of God to those who lived on the earth and who ought to inherit salvation. But after the first hundred years had passed, the heavens again began, little by little, to close over their heads. The power of the Holy Ghost stopped working among the people, and the ministration of angels was no more. Neither visions nor revelations, but darkness shall fall upon them as a consequence of their disbelief and apostasy from the teachings of Jesus Christ. Their understanding became darkened so that they could no longer view the glorious future.
The age-old condition existed, up until about fifty years ago, that the priests—which the people had deemed as spiritually enlightened and wise—have all held that the Bible was perfect, that their canonical books were enough, that it wasn’t necessary for angels to speak again to men, and that the gifts and blessings which can be found in the Church in earlier days [need not] continue today. The people have been comfortable with this truth, even if there was not the least proof or evidence that it was so. And this has been propagated as the accepted view and tradition which has nothing to support it.
But the long silence has been broken. The voice of angels has again sounded to mortal man on earth, and this in fulfillment of the prophecy that John gave while in exile on the isle of Patmos. The Lord showed him in a vision what events would occur on the earth, among other things, and after a specific time period, the heavenly gospel [would be returned] to the inhabitants of the earth. In the fourteenth chapter [of Revelation] we are enlightened as to how this would occur. John says, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters (Revelation 14:6–7). However wondrous this may seem, it is an angel that is spoken of, who comes to the earth with the eternal gospel. And God has given authority to man to preach it before all nations and people. And this same gospel has been preached now for fifty years, unto many nations and people, so that all would be given the opportunity to hear the message of freedom and warning.
But you will say, “This is only your belief. You say that an angel has come, but we know not whether it is true. You say that he has come with the eternal gospel, but we know nothing of this. What proof can you give us so we can be assured of this, that an angel from heaven has come with this message?”
I will tell you how you can know for a surety, how all who now live can know, whether or not the godly message, namely, the eternal gospel, has been sent by an angel to the inhabitants of the earth. Do the will of your Heavenly Father, call on his name and pray unto him, saying in your hearts, “O, Lord, hast thou verily sent thine angel from the heavens with the everlasting gospel to the inhabitants of the earth? Hast thou commanded him to preach unto all people, nations, and tongues under the heavens?” And if you do this with a sincere heart, you will receive an assurance for yourselves.
Perhaps some will say, “What? Will God give us wisdom in our day by calling on his name in prayer?” Why not? Has not Jesus himself said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7). If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering (James 1:5–6). Has not God, from the earliest times, revealed knowledge of the truth to his children? Assuredly he has done so. The same God who directed his people in olden times wants also to give you knowledge if you will pray to him concerning such and commit to doing his will.
Some will perhaps say, “For the purpose of being able to turn ourselves with such questions to the Lord, it would be good if we could receive such a strong witness that it would encourage us to do such.” I don’t know how much you require; for as outward evidences were concerned, God gave enough of them before his Church was established. He did not allow the Book of Mormon to be sent unto the nations to be declared before all people before he had given a testimony to certain witnesses. How many? First, four men: the translator of the book, Joseph Smith; Martin Harris; Oliver Cowdery; David Whitmer. We have here four witnesses. What does Jesus say? With two or three witnesses shall all things be established [2 Corinthians 13:1].
But you ask, “Is it not possible that these four witnesses are mistaken?” Let us consider their testimony and see whether such is possible.
Joseph Smith, one of these witnesses, says that an angel came down from the heavens, whose face shown like a light, and the glory of God surrounded him. And this angel commanded him to travel to a hill called Cumorah, not far from his father’s house in the town Manchester, Wayne County, in the place New York. There he would find the ancient records, plates of gold, containing the everlasting gospel as it was taught anciently to the inhabitants of this land (namely, America). He obeyed his command and went to this place and found the records in the same place that he was told to look by the angel in the revelation. Was it possible that Joseph was deceived? The angel told him also that with these plates was an “instrument,” or tool, called the Urim and Thummim, with which he would be able to translate these records into the English language.
Perhaps some will say that Joseph Smith was uneducated and could not have translated the Egyptian writings and language which the most learned could not translate, and that is true. He could not have done it had not God given him the holy tools, the Urim and Thummim! And if you wish to ask what it is, it is the holy tool which the Lord has possessed to reveal his will to his servants and which listens to the holy priesthood, and he gave an answer to these things (see Exodus 28:30; Leviticus 8:8, where it is called “the light and the truth”; Numbers 27:21; 1 Samuel 28:6; Ezra 2:62–63). This holy tool was given to Joseph Smith to translate the writings that were on the plates, but this is mocked and belittled by modern teachers and the so-called Christians. They compare it to a telescope or magnifying glass or some such [thing], but they may as well mock God who has made holy and [has] prepared this tool.
Joseph Smith was fifteen years old when he received the first revelation and God called him by an angel. You would perhaps dispute this, dear reader, and say that it is unbelievable that God should call so young a man (or boy) to erect his Church. But it is no more strange than when he called David—who was a shepherd boy—to be king over all Israel; or Samuel, who was a servant boy in the Lord’s house under the care of the priest Eli; or when he called Jeremiah, who excused himself because of his youth from spreading God’s errand and being the prophet of the nations (Jeremiah 1:6). (There are many [other examples] that show this.)
Let us now refer back to Joseph Smith. He perfected the translation from the year 1827 to 1830 by employing that holy tool, the Urim and Thummim. Could he be deceived when he had the plates in his own hands with the greatest gift of sight being used to ponder over the wondrous text that was on them? Any man with his reason intact can see that under such circumstances it would be impossible to be deceived, but instead know that the witness is true, and the message, of God.
Now with regard to the other three witnesses. They witness that, in the year 1829, after the plates were translated, an angel of God showed himself unto them clothed in light and glory and held the plates in his hands, and turned the pages one by one, and showed them the writings which were thereon. And they witness further that while they pondered over this glorious thing, they heard a voice from the heavens which said that the writing on the plates had been correctly translated by the gift and power of God, and that they should bear testimony of what they saw and heard.
Allow me to ask, was it possible that they could have been deceived? We could say as well that all they in earlier days who said they had seen angels have been deceived. But I cannot see how anything could be more true and reliable. The promise was brought forth that three witnesses should come forth to bear witness of these things. The Lord, in reality, sent his angel. They saw him come down from the heavens. They saw the light and the glory which shown from his face. They saw the plates in his hands and could understand the writing which was on them. And they heard the Lord’s voice commanding them to bear witness before all people concerning all they had seen and heard. To have been deceived under such circumstances is impossible.
Here are the four witnesses, who all bear witness of the divinity of this work, as I too have claimed. Jesus says out of the mouth of two or three witnesses shall all things be established. Therefore the Lord did not establish his Church before he had given enough proofs to the men he had chosen to bear witness of the truth.
Joseph Smith was further commanded of the Lord to show these plates to eight other men—besides those already mentioned—who were also witnesses to these things. And their revealed testimony is that they saw the plates and touched them, and they saw the curious writing which was on them. Even though some of them have fallen away and are removed from association with the Latter-day Saints, not even one of them denied the testimony which he had borne concerning this.
Here are twelve witnesses. Are they not enough proof to bring peace to all men whose hearts are humble before God?
But I would direct you to even greater witnesses. When this book (namely, the Book of Mormon) was published, the Lord called these men to go out among the people to preach the gospel which they had received, promising them that all they who would show obedience to it should receive the Holy Ghost and he should confirm the testimony of the believer. And when the Holy Ghost came upon people, they received a witness for themselves that these men were the living servants of God. And the power that rested upon them was the Holy Ghost of whom they have read in the scriptures. But how did they know this? Because the Holy Ghost shared with them marvelous gifts. He gave them power to lay hands upon those who were sick and to [cast out] evil in the name of Jesus. And the sick were made immediately well.
Perhaps some will say that positive thinking had the most to do with it. The ill person had imagined to themselves that they were better. But I bear testimony before you in the name of the Lord that young babies—who can’t engage in positive thinking—are healed in the same way and by the same power, which is the power of the Almighty God displayed through his servants. The servants of God in this way have been in a position to convince the people and lead them unto a knowledge of the truth. And those who have taken our faith can of themselves bear witness of the divine truths. They have received a sure knowledge by the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of God’s mysteries. Thus people have received a knowledge of these things, which they bear testimony of, and this testimony is in power before the whole world whether each human being will accept it or not.
I have now laid before you proofs which are enough to awaken the belief in your hearts. It is the testimony of twelve men, [aside from that] of many thousands of men and women, who have received the Holy Ghost which gives them knowledge of this latter-day work and power to witness of its truths. And the testimony of these people speaks with a loud voice to the nations that God has spoken from the heavens and sent an angel to the earth with the everlasting gospel.
If the powerful testimonies of these twelve men—in conjunction with a great multitude of men and women—is not enough to awaken a belief in you hearts that God has verily begun his great and unique work in our day, what then can awaken the people to a knowledge of these things? There can be no excuse for them that hear and reject these testimonies of elders. They have lifted up their voice for many years, which can have a striking effect on the hearts of all honorable men. For the promise is that if you have faith to call on the Lord in prayer, you shall receive a witness for yourselves; yea, you will receive an assurance in your hearts that the Lord has assuredly come to the earth by his angel in these last days, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the living God, and our doctrine is not of men, rather of God and will become a sweet savour of life unto life for all who receive it, but the savour of death unto death for those who reject it (1 Corinthians 2:15–16).
Therefore, as I said, one great, glorious, and joyous event has occurred in our day. The heavens are no longer closed; a prophet’s voice can again be heard among the people. The work and power of the Holy Ghost rests upon the servants of God, and his strength is made known among the various nations, as in days of old. The sick are healed, the lame walk, the blind see, the deaf hear, and the Spirit of God is given unto the children of men, just as in the world in olden times.
Is this not enough to awaken those who have a humble heart before the Lord? If it is not enough, then I know nothing that can do it. Will it [be enough], through fulfillment of prophecy, when the Lord’s punishing hand shall fall upon the nations and his terrible anger be revealed to destroy all who are disobedient and ungodly? When none but the just be left on the earth, it will become a testimony which they cannot oppose, but such a testimony does not provide freedom in and of itself. It is the testimony of judgement which shall fall upon them at a time when they cry peace and security. Then swift destruction is at their door, and thus the scripture is exactly fulfilled which says, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” [Matthew 24:37]. When the unfortunate, disobedient, and godless people began to be destroyed in the flood, then they could say: We know that Noah was a prophet and that the message which he declared to our ears is from God. But it was too late. They rejected the message and treated it with disinterest and disdain. They did not want to call upon God with a sincere heart but chose, rather, to consider Noah a deceiver, and the consequence was such that they were destroyed by the great flood.
The reader will perhaps ask, “Do you have any proofs from the Bible or the prophecies to confirm this?” We answer that the proofs that God has given, namely, the testimony of twelve men, are great enough to convince any rational man or woman. In Noah’s day they had no books of the prophets to tell them of things in the future or of the great flood which should come. If they had, their condemnation would have been much greater. They had the testimony of no more than four men, nonetheless they were destroyed for their disbelief. How much more does the modern Christian need who already has these and other examples and prophecies, as well as the testimonies of twelve men to confirm the truth of God’s revelations.
The prophet Isaiah, in 29:1, speaks of distressing a nation—or Ariel—like Jerusalem. In the fourth verse he says, “And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust” [Isaiah 29:4]. Here a nation is discussed that will be destroyed but will speak out of the ground. Her story—or record—was taken from out of the earth by Joseph Smith and is called the Book of Mormon after the last prophet, Mormon, who wrote most of their history which he gave to his son, Moroni, who wrote the end of the book.
This book speaks of people in America who were destroyed more than 1,400 years ago—or around four hundred years after Christ—because of their disbelief and godlessness. The wild Indians are their descendants. They are of the blood of Joseph who was sold into Egypt. This book also speaks of the destruction [in the Americas] when Jesus was crucified. And there was darkness as in the land of the Jews and earthquakes. So many places sank, and some were burned by fire from heaven. They had internal wars from the beginning, and the ungodly were destroyed with the judgement of the guilty suddenly, in a twinkling of an eye, as [it] says in [1 Corinthians 15:52].
Jesus, after his Resurrection, set up his Church in this land and chose twelve apostles. Therefore, said he unto the Jews, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring” [John 10:16]. This didn’t mean the Gentiles, for they were not of Israel; for he said to the Canaanite woman, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of Israel” [Matthew 15:24]. This meant the house of Joseph—or his sheep’s house—the ancestors of the Indians in America.
The prophet says in the eleventh verse [of Isaiah 29], “And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: and the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.” Here is the voice that speaks from the earth, become a book. And the words of this book are given to a learned man, which happened exactly when Martin Harris, Joseph Smith’s scribe, went with a sample of the letters that were on the plates to this famous man of languages in New York, Professor Anthon, who knew many languages both new and old. But it was sealed and hidden from him. But the Lord says that this people—meaning those who live on the earth when the book was given—draw near unto me with their mouth but their hearts are far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men, in all ways the same as it stands today among the nations, in spiritual things and matters of faith. The fourteenth verse [of Isaiah 29 says,] “Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” The wisdom of Anthon perishes, and his understanding is hidden.
But God raised up his servant, Joseph, and sent angels unto him, gave him the Urim and Thummim to begin this great, latter-day work. The eighteenth verse [says,] “And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.” This is perfectly fulfilled, both spiritually and physically. There are many thousands of our people who are witnesses thereto and know that the blind have seen, the deaf have heard, the lame have walked by anointing them with holy oil in the name of Jesus, by prayer and the laying on of the hands of the elders who have full power from God for such—it is the holy priesthood—and there are many who are not of our faith or church who know that this is true and are eyewitnesses thereto and have given their written testimonies to confirm these things. Again in the nineteenth verse: “The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.” The meek shall increase their joy in the Lord when they hear the everlasting gospel message and see that the blessings and bounties which were before in God’s Church are again brought to the earth according to the prophecies and promises. And then the poor of the saints of the God of Israel rejoice. They have always been more receptive to the word of God than the rich. Jesus says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24). He told John the Baptist that the poor received the gospel. They are humble and [are], as the Lord calls them, his sheep. They heard his voice and followed after him. It was they who knew that the kingdom of God was not to be found in food or drink or the physical sensations of this life, rather, in the peace and joy of the Holy Ghost. The meek and poor shall increase their joy when they hear the words of the book which speaks from the earth and which contains the same gospel we read about in the New Testament. David speaks of the same when he says, “Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven” (Psalm 85:11). The prophet Ezekiel says, “Thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions” [Ezekiel 37:16]. This means the Jews, the Bible and the history of the house of Israel. “Take another stick, and write upon it” [v. 16]: This stick is for Joseph, which is to be understood for Ephraim and all the house of Israel, which means Ephraim and Manasseh, who were the sons of Joseph, and for their descendants. “Join them one to another into one stick,” the books, “and they shall become one in thine hand” [v. 17]. “Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph,” meaning the Book of Mormon, “which [has been] in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows,” meaning Manasseh and his descendants, “and will put them with . . . the stick of Judah,” meaning the Bible, “and make them one stick,” or book, “and they shall be one in mine hand” [v. 19]. (Read the blessing of Joseph in Genesis 49:22; Deuteronomy 33:13–18.) Joseph is a branch of a fertile bough, a branch of a fruitful tree by a spring; his branches grow up over the wall. His branches—that is, his children—grow over the wall, over the hard places and impediments and the great sea to the land of America, where they established themselves six hundred years before Christ’s birth.
Daniel, as well as Isaiah, speaks of the sealed book. “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4). “And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end” (v. 9). Many have asked God for wisdom to examine the book and become more certain of the truth. He says further that none of the wicked will understand this but the religious—or the correctly religious—will understand it (see v. 10).
Habakkuk says the same as Daniel. “And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:2–4).
The Testimony of the Three Witnesses
Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. And it is marvelous in our eyes. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. [Amen.]
Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, Martin Harris
In the same manner: The Testimony of the Eight Witnesses
Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen. And we lie not, God bearing witness of it.
Christian Whitmer, Hiram Page, Jacob Whitmer, Joseph Smith, Sen.,
Peter Whitmer, Jun., Hyrum Smith, John Whitmer, Samuel H. Smith
As many as have received this message with humility and a faithful heart are blessed with the signs which were before promised the faithful. And we can bear testimony that God is the same, the faith is the same, the gospel message is the same, and all gifts and blessings are the same. And the faithful receive these blessings now as in days of old.
Allow me to seriously ask you, dear reader, to put aside all your sins and humble yourself before your Father in Heaven and ask him if that which you have read is true. If you do this with humility and a pure heart the Lord will declare the truth by the power of the Holy Ghost.
About revelation in the last days, the fulfillment of prophecy, the Jews’ and Gentiles’ condition and apostasy, and Nebuchadnezzar’s dream
Dear reader, you will perhaps say, as it stands in the book of knowledge, though someone says that he has received a new divine revelation, we ought not to believe it, for God has nowhere promised to send new prophets to make declarations unto mankind. But that is not found in the Bible. It is as the other false ideas and conjecture which they themselves have created. This deceived the evil ones in Noah’s day and they did not believe the new revelation. Perhaps God has not promised to give revelation, or the people have been taught, as today, that they should believe none such. But Jesus says that it will be the same in the last days as it was in the days of Noah. That is, they will become evil and unbelieving. But “the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:17; Joel 3:1–2). God said unto the prophet Joel: Your sons and daughters shall prophecy, your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams. It is with prophecies and visions and dreams that God has revealed his will unto mankind. The revelations of John were visions. Nebuchadnezzar had dreams concerning the Lord’s kingdom unto the end of the world. The wise men and Joseph [of Egypt] had dreams. Joseph dreamed that the sun, moon and eleven stars bowed down to him. The prophets have already told us of the future and God’s will, for they have revealed it unto his servants the prophets. And [God] has promised to do the same in the last days. It was not the last days when Jesus established his Church, for those days were more than 1,800 years ago. But it shall happen in the last days, God says.
You say that no one should believe this and teach the people to reject the promise of God and say that he has not promised to send new prophets for the enlightenment of mankind. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, that they become prophets and prophetesses in the last days. And they will prophesy with the spirit of God to bring forth the revelations. “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24:25). Will not the scriptures, of necessity, be fulfilled and the prophecies come to pass which the men of God prophesied of the Holy Ghost?
But how should the prophecies be understood? All that is spoken in plainness [should be understood] as it is written. But that which is spoken by proverb or parable must be made plain, whether by visions, dreams, prophecies, or revelations. And as it is spoken by the Spirit of God, it ought also to be made plain by the same Spirit.
[In John’s vision in Revelation,] the sea of glass before the throne means the new earth, this earth. She is redeemed then from the curse, and Satan is bound and all is as it was on the morning of the Creation when [the earth] was baptized—or cleansed—by fire. Then will God be her light, and she will no longer borrow her light from the sun for she will then be a sun and give light unto other globes.
The four animals that were full of eyes round about and within represent the animal kingdom. The eyes represent the light, wisdom, and knowledge which God has given them. The wings represent the power that they have to move and to act, the same with birds as with the fishes; all show and glorify the might and power of God night and day.
The twenty-four elders are holy men who were dead and were in the paradise of God (Revelation 4). The book with the seven seals represents seven thousand years—or ages of the earth—[and contains] the mysteries, will, and revelations of God concerning the earth and her inhabitants, which Jesus would proclaim and reveal. He broke the seals of the book and gave all access to his glory with his death and renewal if we obey the teachings which he gave and established in the Church (Revelation 5). The little book which John ate, which was sweet in his mouth but bitter in his belly (10:10), represents the will and commands of God unto him, which he was pleased to perform and which were sweet unto his soul, but [also represents] the afflictions and tribulations of this life, [which are] bitter to pass through. The angel said unto him, “Thou must prophesy again before [many] peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings” (10:11). He was then very old, nearly 100, but we believe, as the disciples, that which Jesus said unto Peter: “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die” (John 21:22–23). And in another place, “Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power” (Mark 9:1). Is this, then, not enough to show that John should live on until the Savior came [again]?
Some say that he is among the ten tribes, who fell from obedience in the time of Rehoboam and were captured by King Shalmaneser of Assyria and later taken away by the Lord’s hand, no one knows where. If this is not so, then where are those peoples, nations, and many kings which he will prophesy before? For the ten tribes will come forth in the last days with wonders and miracles, for so it is written. “Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land” (Jeremiah 23:7–8). This clearly shows that it will be a much greater miracle when the Lord gathers Israel in the last days than when he parted the Red Sea and led them from the land of Egypt. This doesn’t mean the Jews alone, but all of Israel, for so it is written in another place. “I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men. The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them” (Micah 2:12–13). They shall live in their land, Palestine, the land of the Jews, to which the Jews are now gathering.
But the lost tribes shall come from the lands to the north, and the Lord shall be at the head of their hosts. Someone will have to break the gate before them—or lead them. If John will be alive till the Lord comes, then could he be this man? This we do not know. But there is one thing for sure, that they shall come from a northern land and the Lord will do wonders and miracles before them.
But now let us turn our attention to a number of the prophecies that have been literally fulfilled as they were spoken. Noah prophesied concerning the flood according to the Lord’s word. “And, behold . . . I do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die” (Genesis 6:17). This occurred just as it was spoken. The truth was not made invalid, though no one wanted to believe it. “And he (the Lord) said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in the land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance” (Genesis 15:13–14). This occurred and did so precisely.
Moses was sent by God to free [the Jews] from the bondage of Pharaoh. If you don’t remember, dear reader, how often the Lord punished and destroyed (more or less) his people Israel, as a whole nation, this was the first [time], as the Lord said unto Abraham. The second was the king Shalmaneser of Assyria who took the ten tribes into prison and there they fell into disobedience during Rehoboam’s time (1 Kings 12). The third time was when Nebuchadnezzar nearly destroyed Jerusalem and the Jews and led them off into captivity for seventy years. The fourth time was when Antioch, king of the Greeks, took six hundred thousand Jews into slavery after they had returned from their Babylonian exile. The fifth time was when Titus destroyed Jerusalem, whose siege lasted 146 days, and 1,100,000 died in Jerusalem from hunger and by the sword. Ninety-five thousand were sold like sheep on the streets in Rome. Read Deuteronomy 28 and see what Moses told them [would happen] if they did not obey the word of the Lord, and you will admit that it has been fulfilled precisely.
The children of Israel have often been under the yoke of oppression, both to the Philistines and [to] other nations. In the same vein, Jesus said, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judæa flee to the mountains,” and so on (Luke 21:20–21). And in another place, “There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” [Matthew 24:2]. When the Jews saw that the place would be overrun, they placed their silver and gold within the walls, which was discovered, and for this reason no stone was left upon another. Josephus, the historian, received permission by the Roman military commanders to take some of the writings out before they burned the temple.
Elias prophesied that it would not rain for three years and six months, which happened according to his word.
Hazael the Syrian went to Elisha to ask him concerning his lord, the king of Syria, who lay sick. The prophet looked upon him seriously and wept! Hazael said, why weepest thou? He answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the men of Israel. You will burn their cities, kill their young men with the sword, crush their children and cut up their women with child. He answered, What is thy servant? A dog that this should happen? And Elisha said, the Lord hath shewed me that thou shalt be king over Syria (2 Kings 8:9–14).
Read chapter 12 of 2 Chronicles. All this happened as the man of God said. When Joshua had destroyed the place Jericho he said, “Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it” (Joshua 6:26). The place lay destroyed for a long time because no one dared to rebuild it and thereby lose their oldest and youngest sons. This was precisely fulfilled (see 1 Kings 16:34). It would take a whole book to write those things which have precisely been fulfilled of the prophets.
Let us now consider a number of prophecies about the Savior. “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Bethlehem shall be his birthplace, as it is written by the prophet Micah in 5:1. From the land of Egypt I called my son (Hosea 11:1). “And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene” (Matthew 2:23). He rode into Jerusalem, for the prophet had said, “Behold, thy King cometh unto thee: . . . lowly, and riding upon . . . the foal of an ass” (Zechariah 9:9). In him “there is no beauty.” “He is despised . . . of men.” “We hid as it were our faces from him.” “He hath borne our griefs.” “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities.” “He made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death” (Isaiah 53:2–5, 9). They broke not his bones. They parted his raiment and cast lots for his clothing. They gave him gall and vinegar to drink. He was sold for thirty pieces of silver and rose from the dead on the third day from the grave. If the Jews had believed this as it was written, then they would have known who it was they crucified. They have either not believed the prophecies or locked their hearts to them spiritually, as have the modern-day teachers. And therefore they have erred and [have] not understood the scriptures and [have] not known the time of their visitation. And the common man believed the learned and chief priests and caused [Christ’s] blood to come upon themselves and their children. Thus, much has been fulfilled precisely as it was spoken.
Is it not then sensible and appropriate to believe the other prophecies exactly as they were spoken? Therefore, when the angel came with the true gospel to Joseph Smith it was according to what John saw on the isle of Patmos [which prophecy was] exactly fulfilled as it was spoken. It is the same with the gathering of the people of God in the last days, having begun to be fulfilled exactly as predicted, both through the Jews coming to Palestine and the Gentiles to Zion.
We see that the Jews, for 1,800 years, have been scattered throughout the world, without prophets, the Spirit of God, inspired priesthood, or kings or priests to lead them to a knowledge of God. No voice from the burning bush, no thunderclaps from Mount Sinai, no inspiration from the Holy Ghost to know the way unto salvation. No pronouncements from the eternal throne. No revelation through visions with angels or through dreams to lead them in the way of life. They are hated and despised by the Gentiles. Their temple lies in ruins; their sacrifices are fruitless; their priesthood, powerless; their place and land, as a desert.
We say to the Jews, “Why are all these things as they are? Is it not possible that your ancestors have put to death the true Messiah and his prophets and the Lord’s anger and vengeance have come upon you?”
“No,” say the Jews. “We are Abraham’s children, the people of Israel, God’s true Church. Prophets and revelations were necessary in days of old but are no longer needed.”
We say unto them again, “You have gone astray. Your forefathers crucified the true Messiah and the prophecies about him are completely fulfilled through your fathers. You have strayed from the way of truth. It will be unto you as it was unto your people in the days of Eli. The Lord gave no revelation, for the sons of Eli the priest stole the offerings and committed adultery with the women who came to pray (1 Samuel 2). King Saul received no visions or dreams. He received nothing from either the Urim and Thummim or the prophets for he did not obey the Lord’s word, and the kingdom was torn from him. The kingdom of God has been torn from you also, and therefore he reveals and answers you nothing.
There was no prophet for approximately four hundred years from Malachi to John the Baptist. And when he came they had to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. They were godless and had put to death the prophets and stoned those who were sent to them. Therefore John said, when he saw many come to his baptism, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matthew 3:7). When Jesus came, they had seized a place in the temple, which men Jesus called “a den of thieves” [Matthew 21:13]. They were separated into two religious groups, the Sadducees and the Pharisees. The latter believed in the resurrection and that angels and spirits existed. Therefore Paul cried out in the council, “I am a Pharisee,” to cause confusion when they intended to tear him apart. They were prideful hypocrites, despising publicans and Samaritans, ignoring the homes of the widow and the fatherless, the blind leading the blind. And Jesus said, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:33). And they made a great noise and their chief priests took over.
They asked Pilate to place guards at the tomb, for this deceiver had said that after three days he would rise up. And when they knew that he had been resurrected, they paid the guards to lie and would not give God the glory and admit the truth. And after seeing all the signs of his death and the prophecies coming to pass completely, they were still so hardened and void of conscience that it is difficult to imagine. They were little better than the modern-day Christian in believing in new revelation.
When Paul talks of his journey to Damascus and how the Lord revealed himself, that he should be his witness unto all men concerning that which he had heard and seen, then the Jews cast off their clothes and threw dust into the air and said, “Away with such a fellow . . . for it is not fit that he should live” (Acts 22:22).
When Stephen saw the heavens opened with Jesus sitting on the right hand of the Father, they stoned him for it. When Jesus said, “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of” the Father “and coming in the clouds of heaven,” then the high priest rent his clothes and said, “He hath spoken blasphemy. . . . What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.” And they spit in his face and smote him (Matthew 26:64–67).
Thus the revelations were rejected in the days when Jesus came to his people. And thus they are rejected today when Jesus has revealed the glorious message of the kingdom to all nations, tongues and kindreds by sending an angel with it as he had promised.
Jesus asked his disciples, “Whom do men say that I . . . am?” They answered, “Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. . . . And upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:13–19). The rock that Jesus was speaking of is revelation.
Some try to show it as a truth that the power of hell got the upper hand because the apostles were killed and the Church of God was destroyed. But the opposite is true. Their souls were taken unto God and his throne with the holy priesthood and authority which they had received.
We say to the Catholic church: The Church of Jesus Christ has not ceased to govern, neither has the existence of Peter come to no purpose. But both the Church and Peter are in heaven where the power of hell and the papacy can no longer prevail against them. The power of hell has [predominated] and will predominate over the Catholic whore and all her daughters.
But as far as Jesus’s apostolic Church is concerned, she will rest securely in her peaceful abode, where she will remain until the apostate Catholic church, with all her popes and bishops, together with all the daughters of that whore, have suffered the punishment which their wickedness has brought upon them.
God has from the beginning of the world, during all times, declared and made known his will through revelation. Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto them but my Father in Heaven. And upon this rock will I build my Church. He did not say he was speaking of himself, “but [of] the Father which sent me, [who] gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak” (John 12:49). God revealed unto Jesus that which he should say. Jesus revealed those things unto his apostles and disciples, and after he ascended into heaven, [revelation came] through the Holy Ghost, visions, dreams, angels, and prophecies. God declared his will unto the Jews—or the people of Israel in olden times—in the same way, through revelations. But the Jews did not believe the revelations, or that the prophecies were fulfilled completely—just like today’s Christian does not.
They (the Jews) are the natural branches which were broken off, but the Gentiles were the wild limbs, or branches, which were grafted onto the true vine. They accepted the word of God and became Christians through the teachings of the apostles. And signs followed those who believed as the New Testament bears witness.
The reader will understand that nearly forty years after Christ’s Ascension, the Jews lost their power and the authority of Christ when 1,100,000 died of hunger and by the sword in Jerusalem. Ninety-five thousand were carried away captive to Rome, as was before said. Gentiles were the ones who killed the apostles and destroyed the Church of God. They are drunk with the blood of the saints. They changed the times, the laws, and the fundamental principles of the faith. They stopped their ears to the truth and turned instead to fables. They will not endure the wholesome teachings but gather unto themselves those teachings which please their itching ears. They have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. They are the great Babylon, the mother of all adulteration and abominations in the earth. The Gentiles have deceived all nations by changing the doctrines and fundamental tenets of the faith which Jesus instituted in his Church. The Gentiles hold power and judgment to this day, and these Gentiles claim membership in mainstream Christendom.
The kingdoms of Rome were the feet of iron on Nebuchadnezzar’s statue, or the fourth beast which Daniel saw. It had ten horns, which means ten kingdoms, or the same as the ten toes on Nebuchadnezzar’s statue. And a little horn came up among them, “before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots. . . . In this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things” (Daniel 7:8). And this horn made war with the saints and prevailed against them (v. 21). It is certain that the pope is this horn who, in the end, made war with the saints and overcame them (Revelation 13:1–8).
John saw a beast, unto whom the dragon (or the devil) gave his power and great authority, which was the Roman Empire. They were prophesied to make war with the saints and overcome them. They were given power over all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. He saw another beast which had two horns (Revelation 13:11), which seems to be the Greek and Roman Catholic churches which came of the Roman power and the papacy.
The second beast behaved in the same manner as the first. It led away the inhabitants of the earth. It changed the declarations, confused the commandments, and broke the new and everlasting covenant. Have not the Catholic churches confused the law of the New Testament, which means the everlasting covenant, the doctrines which Jesus established in his Church? They have destroyed the Church of God.
The number of the beast is 666, which some say represents all religions which do not have the teachings of Jesus, which men know to total more than six hundred, who all cry Lord, Lord, who neither know his will nor want to obey him when they hear him.
It is said that by AD 100, all the apostles had been killed. And from that time to AD 323 many creeds, ceremonies, superstitions, and doctrines of men were introduced into the Church. But notwithstanding all this, there were many humble and faithful followers of Jesus Christ who held fast to the apostolic teachings and enjoyed the glorious gifts and blessings of the gospel which belong to the true believers. So long they have been persecuted and hated. So long this has been the daily lot of the saints before God.
But in the year 323 Constantine the Great came into power. He got the religious leaders to agree and to become one, increased the compensation for the priests, and gave them nearly unlimited power. He took unto himself the title of bishop. And from this time forward, we see the Christian beliefs and doctrines set aside.
In this same year, 323, the great assembly in Nicea was called together. There were 318 bishops, priests, and deacons, 2,048 altogether. At this great assembly there was not enough of the Spirit of God or of inspired men to break down the disputations of men concerning the doctrines and principles of the faith. Human wisdom was all they had to rely on. This then was the setting in which the Nicenean faith and creeds were established. And all were compelled to abide by these declarations or be excommunicated in the first place and judged worthy of death in the second. Leaders of the Church then became the highest authorities, with Satan over them all in the place of apostles and prophets, pastors and teachers. So the saints began to be very creative at carrying out their religious duties, for the edifying of the church—or the body of Christ. They had prison, the sword, fire, being cast into boiling oil, being cast before wild beasts, and many other things as the savage consequences [of their faith] or whatever other methods of cruelty that could be imagined or carried out. And thus the so-called Christian became adept at following these commandments of men (see Hoster, p. 126). This confirms the words of renowned historian Dr. Mosheim in his book: “In the year 570 all spiritual gifts and blessings which were in the ancient church and which belonged to the true church, could no longer be found among the so-called Christians.”
In the year 606, Boniface III was installed as the “Universal Bishop” of the church. All historians and historical writers have borne the same testimony that from that time until Martin Luther’s Reformation, which is over eight hundred years, many false doctrines, superstitions, fornications and idolatries entered into the so-called Christianity. Nothing is clearer than that there was a great apostasy. Christianity lost its official representatives, its doctrines, its gifts of the Spirit, and its authority and was no longer recognized by God.
But let us now consider it [the church] after Luther’s reformation. [Luther] was born in 1483 in Eisleben, Mansfield County, Upper Saxony in Germany. One big reason that the reformation occurred was because Tetzel was selling letters of indulgence. Luther, on the tenth of December 1520, before a gathering of people, burned the letter which Pope Leo X had written against him, which stated that he was then excommunicated from the Catholic church.
But now comes the question. Where did Luther receive his authority and priesthood to preach his doctrine? He could not have received any authority from the Roman church or the papacy, for it had none but from Satan, and he was excommunicated from that church. From where, then, did he receive his authority, or the holy priesthood?
Some say that it came from God, but that cannot be for two reasons. First, he claimed no revelation from God, or inspiration from the Holy Ghost. And this is the only way God reveals his will unto men. “The Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).
Second, he did not establish his own church—or congregation—in the same way the apostles did. He had no apostles or prophets, pastors or teachers. He denied the spiritual gifts and revelations. He did not baptize for the forgiveness of sins those who had attained the years of accountability. He did not use the laying on of hands to give the gift of the Holy Ghost. He did not lay hands on the sick, [but] rather sent for doctors. And you must admit that all this is sin and not according to God’s will. This shows that he was not sent by God.
Thus we can see that he, as well as the Roman church, taught another gospel than the apostles and will come under Paul’s curse where he says, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8).
Does John Calvin improve upon the matter? No. Rather, as the great whore the Roman power did, he forced his doctrines forward by the sword and by fire. Thus we see that Servetus and Rodgeir were burned and many [were] killed who would not follow the new gospel.
The differences between the fundamental principles and the leaders in the Protestant churches and Christ’s Church are these: Christ’s Church has apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers which lead the Church by inspiration of the Holy Ghost and revelation. The others have learned men who preach the understanding and commands of men. In place of the Holy Ghost to lead them into all truth about God’s will, they have a college to learn the various suppositions and ideas of man concerning the true doctrines and the best way to discover all things spiritual and that which the people would prefer to hear. Instead of teaching as the servants of God did in the early church without purse or scrip, they receive 200 to 50,000 Danish crowns per year. Instead of the gifts of the Holy Ghost, they have seats of meditation and prayer benches where they say that the spiritual gifts come over them. In place of light and knowledge, wisdom, prophecies and revelations, they have “maybe,” “I think,” “that could be,” and so on.
Well has the Apostle Paul said, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3–4).
Now let us consider Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. He received a vision concerning the kingdom of God unto the end of the earth. He, himself, was the head of gold on the image; the breast and arms of silver were the Median and Persian empires. The belly and thighs of brass were Alexander the Great. The legs of iron, the Roman Empire. His feet and toes were some of iron and some of clay (Daniel 2:33). This kingdom will be somewhat strong but somewhat weak, too. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another (v. 44). “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” (Daniel 2:44–45).
The toes on the image are the kingdoms which came out of the Roman power, or empire. Some of the kingdoms are strong and some weak, as the iron and the clay portray. They will mingle themselves together but will not cleave one to another. We see the descendents of royalty blended through marriage, more or less throughout the world. If, dear reader, you would see how the Danish royal line [has been mingled with the world], read a page from your almanac, though they are not compatible one with another. Just as Daniel said, neither England nor Russia helped Denmark in the last war though they were blended by marriage.
It is in the days of these kings that the God of heaven will raise up his kingdom, which will stand for eternity. First, you see that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands. One stone from the mountain. One little people of all nations, [cut out of the mountain] without hands. They will say, “When God erected his Church by sending an angel with the everlasting gospel, it was not established with swords, guns, or wars, but rather through divine revelation.” Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” The kingdoms of our day were established by war and the shedding of blood and are upheld in the same manner. In the days of these kings will the God of heaven raise up his kingdom. What kings? The ones whose families have been mixed through marriage. You will say that they have been mixed through marriage in this fashion for a long time, and it is true. And therefore the time is come that the God of heaven has begun this great work. The stone is cut out of the mountain.
The Church of God was established in 1830 with Twelve Apostles and all other officers, blessings, and glorious gifts which are spoken of in the New Testament. The kingdom of God is begun on the earth and shall be transferred to no other people on earth. The stone will grow until it strikes the toes of the image that are near the stone, as well as the whole image. But the stone which broke up the image became a great mountain and took over the entire world, which will occur precisely during the thousand years.
The seven seals are seven thousand years; and the seventh thousand years is the millennium, of which I will speak a few words later.
Let us now consider how much of the first six thousand years has passed before the coming of Jesus. From the beginning of the world a total of 5,846 years have passed, lacking just 154 for a total of 6,000, if our reckoning of time is correct. The Jews have one reckoning, the Muslims another, and the Christians a third, to say nothing of a variety of other groups with other reckonings. From this we see that no one has the correct reckoning of time though it is clear we are further along in time than we have calculated or think. But however it is calculated, the kingdom of which Daniel speaks is begun. And this dream (or revealed prophecy) is as precisely fulfilled as the other prophecies of which I have spoken.
I have therefore shown you of the apostasy and wickedness of the Jews and of the Gentiles: the first from the law of Moses, and the second from the doctrines of Jesus Christ. Also, that neither Luther, nor any of the Protestant churches have the correct gospel or doctrines.
Concerning the temple of God and the Tabernacle,the Millennium and the restitution of all things
There are many who condemn the Latter-day Saints because they are building temples to the Lord, their God. They call it a heresy and the worst kind of vanity (like they consider many other things the Lord has commanded). The Lord commanded Moses to set up the tabernacle, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And the cloud hid the tabernacle. They did not continue their journey until the cloud was taken up (Exodus 40). “The Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat” (Leviticus16:2).
When David wanted to build a temple unto the Lord, the Lord said he [himself] had been traveling in a tent as his home (2 Samuel 7:6). When Solomon completed the temple, the Lord said he would put his name there forever, “and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually” (1 Kings 9:3). When Stephen rebuked the Jews he said that the house that David wanted to build unto the Lord, Solomon had built. But he says in the next verse that the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands. As the prophet says, “Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord” (Acts 7:46–50; Isaiah 66:1). God does not dwell in houses made with hands. This means that [the temple] has not been his permanent abode at all times, but he comes there to make known his will to his servants. His glory is there, and his Spirit, angels, and power.
Jesus did not live in the temple in Jerusalem. But he taught there daily and performed God’s labors. He told those who sold and bought in the temple, “Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise” (John 2:16). The priests do not live in the meeting houses, but they go there to speak to the congregation. I could bring forward many examples to show that the Lord appears in his tabernacle. “And the Lord came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle” (Numbers 12:5). “And the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the congregation” (Numbers 16:19). “And thou shalt lay them up in the tabernacle of the congregation before the testimony, where I will meet with you” (17:4). Some will say that God did not give the ten commandments in the tabernacle, and that is true. But he could not reveal himself there for it did not exist at that time.
“In the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Micah 4:1–2). In the last days, or before the end of the world, the Lord’s house, or temple, shall be built in the mountains. And the nations shall flow unto it, which means the gathering of the people of God in the last days. And many nations shall prepare for the journey to the house, or temple, of the God of Jacob, to know his will that they might walk in his paths. For from his house shall the law go forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
The word and law shall be given from the temple of God in the last days. Isaiah speaks of the same in [chapter] 2:2–3. “My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people . . . when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore” (Ezekiel 37:27–28). “And I heard [someone] speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me. And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever” (Ezekiel 43:6–7).
All these show, in addition to many others, that God has and will come into his temples and dwell in them and there give his laws so that many gentile nations will gather therein (namely, unto Zion). This is the same as when Paul said that the fulness of the Gentiles be come in, unto Zion (Romans 11:25–26).
What is Zion? Mankind has gone astray and has not understood the scriptures with reference to Zion. Zion means the pure in heart; and the land of Zion, the place where they dwell.
The scriptures speak of three places which are called Zion. The Zion that was in Jerusalem in ancient days, the Zion that will be in Jerusalem when it is rebuilt by the Jews and the lost tribes when they come from the lands of the north (Jeremiah 23:8) and David shall be their king and head eternally (Ezekiel 37:24–25), and that Zion which is being built in the western hemisphere unto which the Gentiles shall gather as Paul has said, “And the Gentiles shall come to thy light” (Isaiah 60:3).
Therefore, wonder not though the Latter-day Saints build temples. For we are in the last days says the prophet. And they are built with the gathering of the Gentiles who have gathered unto Zion in the last thirty-eight years, which is the time to prepare before the Millennium and the coming of Christ. Jesus confirms that the will of God dwells in his temple. There he said, “And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein” (Matthew 23:21).
“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. . . . [He] bound [the devil] a thousand years . . . that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled . . . and after that he must be loosed a little season” (Revelation 20:1–3). This chain and sealing which the angel had is the full power of God’s priesthood to loose and bind. “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them” (v. 4). This is the same as what Jesus said, that the twelve apostles shall sit upon twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). And Paul says that the saints shall judge the world and angels (1 Corinthians 6:2–3). “And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” [Revelation 20:4]. This image of the beast appears to be the Protestant churches. “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection” (v. 5).
There are three resurrections of which the scriptures speak. The first, when Jesus rose from the dead and the graves opened and the saints entered the city and [he] appeared unto many. John speaks of two [additional] resurrections which are yet to occur. The earlier will occur when Christ comes to begin his thousand-year reign on the earth. All, both alive or dead, who have obeyed his teachings, and those who were killed and beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and the word of God, shall reign with Christ for a thousand years. But others of the dead will not rise up until the thousand years is passed. This is the first resurrection. “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (v. 6). This is in harmony with that which John says in chapter 5, “And has made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:10).
Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). This happens just as it is spoken. It needs no expounding. The seventh verse [of Revelations 20] removes all doubt from this. “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth” (Revelation 20:7–8). This will not occur up in heaven, but rather down here on earth. So when he is released, then he will lead the nations astray as he has done before and gather them unto battle.
But let us now consider the conditions that will exist during the Millennium, when Satan is bound and peace is over all the earth, and all is as it was on the morning of creation before Adam fell and the devil received dominion over the earth and the curse came over all, men animals, birds, fish, grasses, and reptiles. And it shall be as Isaiah says, “And he (the Lord) shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4). Then “the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:6–9). Then that which Joel said will be completely fulfilled when he said the that the Spirit of God will be poured out upon all flesh (Joel 3:1; Acts 2:17). And there will be peace and harmony among all living creatures which move upon the earth. It will be a rebirth of all things. Then “there shall be a root of Jesse (meaning Jesus Christ), which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest (temple) shall be glorious” (Isaiah 11:10). He says in another place, “There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 65:20–25). Read chapter 60 which addresses the same subject. These things are not spoken in parables and need no explanations. They need not be understood spiritually for they are apparent and tangible on the earth.
How much the world changed during the flood is not precisely known, even though it is found in the scriptures that it did separate into continents and islands, mountains and valleys. But after the flood, the world was divided in the days of Peleg (Genesis 10:25). Also, when the Christ was crucified, all the world was changed by earthquakes. But all will be again, at the beginning of the Millennium, or when Christ comes, as it was on the morning of creation, for so it is written. “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain” (Isaiah 40:4). “I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 13:13). Then when the seventh angel pours out his vial into the air then every island shall flee away and mountains will not be found (Revelation 16:17, 20).
These are the glad tidings which are called the restitution of all things, or as the Apostle says, “When the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19–21). From this it is easily understood that Jesus will not come before this time, for he will remain in heaven till that time, and then he will have his priesthood on the earth and his temples come forth. The prophet says (which states the same thing), “Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest” (Isaiah 32:15). “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (prosperity). “For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off. . . . For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off” (Psalm 37:11, 22, 28). Therefore, as has been said before, the angel with the everlasting gospel has come and has said that the day of God’s judgment is come, meaning his chastisement, plagues, and destructions over all those who have been warned concerning the true gospel of Jesus Christ in this day, but who have rejected and cast off the testimony of God’s servants.
But, the last, universal judgment will not occur until after the Millennium and the resurrection of all flesh, where all the dead, both small and great, stand before the throne and the books are opened up and all will be judged therefrom according to their works (Revelation 20:12).
This is the eleventh hour in which the Lord has hired laborers to work in his vineyard. And they who come in the eleventh hour receive as much as the first (Matthew 20). They all receive the Holy Ghost, eternal life and immortality, and all the blessings of the kingdom of God which eye hath not seen nor ear heard, and which have never come into any heart or mind. These are they who obey the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is in this way, and in no other, that we can make white our garments in the blood of the Lamb. This is the proper marriage garment, to obey all the tenets of the faith which were spoken of before. They are come out of great affliction, and have made white their garments in the blood of the Lamb. This means that they were, and are, hated, ridiculed, oppressed, put to death, despised, and cast out to purify the world. This means to take upon oneself the cross of Jesus and follow him. This is what makes the way strait so that few find it. This is the sword and the war that Jesus said would come and be sent over the earth, which is happening precisely, when the people disobey the gospel. Then the son will be against the father and the daughter against the mother, and in a man’s house he will find his enemy.
And thus have they come out of great affliction, or as the Apostle says, through many afflictions we begin to walk unto life. And though many are called, few are chosen, for they fear the contempt and enmity of men more than God.
But how can they make clean their garments through the blood of the Lamb when they do not have the teachings which Jesus gave and established in his Church in the same manner and with the same meaning? They will never be held accountable to God except they be reborn of the water and Spirit in the manner that Jesus taught. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).
How then can we escape the punishments which will come if we ignore such liberating doctrines as those our Lord first began to teach and later were confirmed unto us from those who he heard? (Hebrews 2:4).
I have now finished speaking about the Millennium and the restitution of all things in the last days, as well as about the temples of the Lord and that he will come and dwell in them.
Isaiah chapter 18 speaks of a land which is like two wings, by the rivers of Ethiopia. It ought to read “beyond” the rivers of Ethiopia. The Danish, German, and English bibles say beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, for the prophet had been in Jerusalem (or near Jerusalem) when he said this. There is no land that is like two wings except North and South America. And it is beyond the Nile River, which is in Egypt and which flows into the north and into the Mediterranean Sea and which was called the river of Ethiopia in those days. In the 3rd verse the prophet says, “All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye.” All those who inhabit the earth are warned to give heed when the ensign is lifted up on the mountains, which means over the edifices of the kingdom of God, his assembled people, and the temple which shall be built. The sound of the trumpet refers to the everlasting gospel which is sent unto all nations, tongues, and people.
The prophet saw in the Spirit a land which looked like two wings. He saw mountains and God’s temple built upon them and the nations flowing unto them and said that it would be in the last days (Isaiah 2:2–3).
Malachi said in chapter 3:1–2, “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth?” The Lord shall suddenly come to his temple. But how can he come to his temple without a temple being built and prepared for his coming?
Those who wonder over the fact that the Latter-day Saints gather together tell me: Where is there a house of the Lord (or a temple) built unto which the people of all nations flow to learn to know the will of God except that which the Latter-day Saints build in the valley of the mountains, which the prophet calls Zion? It would be sensible for all who condemn these and other things to think before they speak and know before they judge.
But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? We answer: Only they who repent of their sins and accept the message that the Lord has declared before the nations in this day. Only they who will put aside their false opinions, customs, and habits and renounce those doctrines which teach the commandments of men to get gain, for this is the evidence of false teachings as the apostles have said (see 2 Peter 2:3; 1 Timothy 6:5).
Concerning the agency of man, baptism for the dead,Rationalism and more
It is foolish and improper to assign to fate those things which we can control. We would never be held accountable for acts that were fated. Therefore, we must accurately consider and understand the free agency of man and the things that man is responsible for. You will perhaps say, dear reader, that your fellow men do you an injustice, that they are the cause of the evils that you do, and that you must take vengeance on them or they will entice you and lead you into divers temptations, and this is true. But it would be better that a millstone were hanged about their necks than that they do so. But Jesus said, “It is impossible but that offences will come” (Luke 17:1). I’m afraid it would turn out the same for you as for Adam and Eve. He gave her the blame, and she, the serpent; but they all received a punishment. It would be the same for you whether you were provoked or not.
God has given his children light and knowledge, wisdom and reason, to distinguish good from evil, both in spiritual and temporal things, both by their own experience and through his holy word. He has also given us agency to accept or reject, to do evil or good, and therefore we are answerable to God for words and deeds.
Jesus said to the Jews, “How often would I have gathered [you] as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!” (Luke 13:34). He didn’t take their agency from them but rather predicted their punishment and destruction. They would not obey his word but employed their agency in making light of it. You will perhaps say, with the apostles, that the will to do good you have, truly, but not the power to accomplish any. The Apostle, without a doubt, meant those things which he had not the means or the resources to accomplish, like giving alms and helping the distressed. For otherwise it would make God’s righteousness to no effect, for he rewards one and all according to his works (Romans 2:6). And if their works be evil, and they can do nothing about it, then a righteous God will not punish them for it.
But men will call themselves righteous and lay the debt upon the Lord. Evil words and deeds are no one’s fate, rather, an abuse of this agency. Some accidents, unlucky happenings, illnesses, and many unforseen things which are outside of man’s power to control, we may call fate. There would be no blessing or exaltation in the kingdom of God for martyrs, apostles, and preachers, who went gladly unto death for the word, testimony, and truth of God if they could not have done otherwise. The devil can influence us with evil thoughts and urge us to commit all manner of evil, but he cannot force any man to commit evil unless we give up our agency, becoming imprisoned by his power.
So you see that God will not take our agency from us, and the devil cannot. Therefore, we are accountable to the Lord for our words and deeds and thoughts for the most part.
Jesus said, “Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?” (Matthew 9:4). “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). “Out of the heart . . . proceed evil thoughts” (Mark 7:21). Therefore may we watch our thoughts, for they come first, and then works and actions.
You may perhaps say, dear reader, that you can’t do anything about what flies into your mind, and that is true. But you can cast out evil thoughts and need not entertain and encourage that which is evil in your heart. You cannot stop a bird from flying over your head, but you need not let it build its nest in your hair, lay its eggs, and hatch them out. And so it is with the enticements of the devil and evil thoughts. If we desire to do the evil which comes into our mind and wait for an opportunity to do it, then that is sin. Even though we don’t do it because we can’t, God, who sees the thoughts and intents of the heart, counts the desire as an action and punishes according to his righteousness, thereby satisfying the demands of justice.
It is the same with righteousness. God will look upon the heart. When we desire to do good, but cannot, then he will treat the desire as an action. For if we don’t have the power to direct our words, deeds, and thoughts, then we could not be held accountable for them, neither to man here on earth or to God in his court. And thus we shall be judged by our words and actions.
Jesus said to Job, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth . . . when the morning stars sang together, and . . . shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4, 7). Where were we then, dear reader? If we are God’s children, then were we there? For all of God’s children rejoiced, and the morning stars sang a song of joy, which means the Firstborn of the spirit, the prophets of God, heroes, apostles, and martyrs, who lived and died and fought for the will and work of God here on the earth.
But why did the children of God rejoice so much? We were imperfect without bodies and could not be exalted in the kingdom of God without coming forth in a mortal body and fighting against Satan and sin and all evil. We knew that we could overcome all the evil that fights against the will of God if we used the light and knowledge and free agency that God wanted to give us to choose the good. We would then become eternally at peace. It stands within our power, with God’s help and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, to obey his words, laws, and commands as I have before said, and then to live a holy life. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation” (1 Peter 1:15).
Should we then be perfect, like God? We ought to use the light and knowledge which God has given us to bring about much good, in word and deed. This means we are becoming holy, if we reject the evil. This is the reason that all of God’s children rejoiced when the foundations of the earth were laid. We knew that free agency would not be taken from us, so we could choose the right, as clearly as we knew it. We knew that the word of God and the Holy Spirit would be our guide through the experiences of life here on earth and that we would have everything necessary to support us if we would use it righteously.
But we didn’t know precisely the many and terrifying afflictions that mortal man would face here on earth, nor the enticing and appealing allurements of the flesh and lusts of the eyes. But we can only know these things by our own experience and then make ourselves fit for eternal joy or punishment, according to how we employ our free agency and that light which God to us has given. And therefore all the children of God rejoiced when the earth was created.
But didn’t God know beforehand what his children would do here on earth? Of course. But he punishes no man before he has made himself unworthy of the blessing which he had the opportunity to receive. On the other hand, he exalts or saves no man before he has made himself worthy of it.
You will perhaps say that we will be saved by grace, without works, for thus it is written. But is it not through grace that God sent his Son to overcome pain and death and to free us from the second death? If we follow the fundamental principles which Jesus established in his apostolic church. Is there greater grace than this? No. That is why all of God’s children rejoiced when the earth was created. And thus it was necessary that God send his Son down here to earth to try them and give them laws and rules to live by; To give them wisdom and knowledge to know and understand the laws, and free agency to accept or reject; and later set before them the good and the evil and reward them according to their works. Is it, then, any wonder that a holy and righteous God rewards those, with an eternal blessing, who believe his words and obey them, and do his will, and are willing to turn away from all evil, and take his cross upon them and follow him thereafter, which means to be hated and despised of all men and to be considered outcasts and strangers in all the earth. But all must endure such who desire to live in Christ, says the Apostle (2 Timothy 3:12).
No one ought to think that they who are come of age with a full understanding are without understanding when they do evil. That would be like when the poet says that “when we travel the road of the criminal, true joy hits the road, too. And then I consider that I shall stand before the judgment seat distressed and trembling with fear.” As the poet said, “Through my conscience my peace I find, and rejoice in the eternal Lord who’s mine, because of the price he paid, divine.” This is a foretaste of the peace of heaven.
On the other side is a gnawing conscience, which would become the greatest hell which any man can experience, which is a consequence of the misuse of this free agency. Otherwise there would be no pangs of conscience if a man could behave no better. Adultery was punishable by death in Moses’s day, along with many other [sins]. If people could not (or cannot) stop themselves from committing sin, where then is God’s righteousness? In punishing them unto death? Is God not righteous? Of course! But, if we can overcome evil then it is very clear that mankind must suffer for breaking the commandments of God.
There are many who don’t consider the extent of their wickedness, like the drinking man who takes this precious gift [of agency] from God and tramples on it from morning till night, often encountering the dangers of life, hungry and cold. He uses this unusual nourishment to make himself half, and sometimes completely, insensible. He takes the bread from his wife and child, who may work hard and both go hungry and suffer from his disdain for work, sometimes weeping from his unkind words and actions. He creates an earthly hell for himself and them. He blinds the eyes of his soul and runs out into a thousand mortal dangers. He damages his health. He destroys the greatest joy here on earth, which is a good conscience.
Many pay dearly to be healed of their pains and illnesses, but these types pay dearly by becoming mentally diseased and insane. Is not this a misuse of this free agency? It is a problem in all nations and a confirmed testimony that nine tenths of all the most fear-producing, detestable acts and terrible language, and all evils are committed by men and women who have drunk away the greatest of God’s gifts, a sound mind. Can Jesus Christ save, or make whole through his Atonement, those who will not use their free agency to obey the teachings and commandments which he established in his apostolic Church after having made them aware of his will and [having] given them a chance to obey him? I say, no. If he could, or had done so, what then would become of the law of the New Testament? Will Jesus destroy his own words, or the new and everlasting covenant? No. That would not be in accord with his wisdom and righteousness. For the word of the Lord endureth forever (1 Peter 1:25).
The punishment for evil cannot be as severe for those who have not had the opportunity in this life to hear the true gospel. Though the light which they have and consciousness of the law shows them what right and wrong are, they still did not know the commands of God perfectly, nor the consequences for breaking them. So, to some extent, they have excuse.
When a king or an emperor has given out laws in his kingdom, he cannot then alter them of his own accord. For example: If it is a crime punishable by death to kill a man and the king’s son has committed such an evil deed, the king cannot save his son from punishment or take back his word. Mercy cannot rob justice of its right.
When the Gibeonites by their cunning obtained a treaty of peace with Joshua, and he said that they should live, he could not cancel his oath or take back his words, though they had both lied and deceived him (Joshua 9).
When Jephthah defeated the Ammonites and took twenty cities, he then made an oath that whatever came out of his house to meet him first when he returned should be the Lord’s own or offered as a burnt offering. It was his only daughter who met him, but he could not take back his word (Judges 11).
King Darius could not free Daniel from the lions’ den, though he willingly would have. But the king’s word was law (Daniel 6). How then can God take back his word? Can he be merciful unto those who break his commandments? Can he be merciful unto one who has committed a great crime and condemn another for the same? No. God will reward each and every one according to their works. He is no respecter of persons and is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
So we see that God’s grace and mercy cannot override justice. The sea, death, and hell delivered up those which they had claimed, and each was judged according to his works (Revelation 20:13). Some may say, “Where then does the grace of God come in?” His grace is apparent when we understand that he has given us his holy word, wisdom, knowledge, and free agency, to obey, to choose the right, and to reject the evil of our own free will. He has given us Jesus as Savior and Redeemer if we obey the teachings which Jesus gave, in the same way and with the same meaning that he established.
You will say, “Did not Jesus extend his grace to the thief on the cross?” I say, yes. But he was killed and his blood shed for [the thief’s] sins. That was the reason that so many were killed in Moses’s day among the children of Israel, because of great sins. But there are many who believe that the thief went straight to heaven. Be we don’t believe this, for when Jesus rose from the dead and came to Mary and told her not to touch him for he had not ascended unto his Father (John 20:17), the thief was not with him. And we don’t believe that he had sent him ahead. His body would have still been where it was laid. Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.” The thief had already believed but had not been baptized. I will conjecture that the living provided baptisms for the dead anciently. The Apostle says, “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:29). From this it is clear to understand that the living are baptized for the dead (those baptized may have been those who didn’t hear the true gospel in the flesh and were not baptized with the correct baptism. They therefore would have heard it in the spirit prison).
Jesus went into the spirit prison and “preached unto the spirits in the prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah” (1 Peter 3:19–20). Jesus undoubtedly preached the same message before the spirits as he preached here. But they who were dead could believe, but not be baptized. And therefore the living would have to be baptized for them. For a spirit may have his free agency to obey God’s commands whether he has his mortal body or is in the spirit prison. This is the way Malachi puts it, that Elijah would be sent “before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:5–6). This is fulfilled precisely when the living are baptized for their forefathers and ancestors throughout the centuries, and they accept in the spirit that which their children have done in their behalf. The Apostle Peter confirms this when he says, “For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit” (1 Peter 4:6).
When Paul is speaking about the witness of the faith that the saints received to make it through afflictions and death [he said], “These . . . received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:39–40). Why are they not made perfect? They didn’t have an opportunity to obey the teachings of Jesus fully. And though they had been baptized by water, they were not baptized by the Holy Ghost. No one can enter into the kingdom of God without it, said Jesus. It is so with the thief. Someone had to be baptized for him. “And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau” (or his descendents) (Obadiah 1:21). These saviors are they who have been baptized for the dead and extended unto the saints this important part of the faith who belong to the kingdom of God. They will judge the sons of Esau and witness against those who will not make use of the gospel message. Paul said, “The saints shall judge the world,” and “we shall judge angels” (1 Corinthians 6:2–3). So we see that the saints will judge and witness against those who have rejected the glad tidings that they had been given.
From this it is clear to understand that the gospel reaches unto all of God’s sons and daughters from the beginning of the world. And therefore it is called the everlasting gospel (Revelation 14:6). It is therefore a “perfect law of liberty,” (James 1:25) because it saves all who obey it and condemns those who reject it. Jesus said, the words which I spoke will condemn them at the last day. “For it is the power of God unto salvation unto every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16). “But faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).
About 17 billion have died in 1,700 years who didn’t have the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Many thousands of these hosts, both Lutherans and [those] of other religious groups, have lived here for a time as well as mortal man can live without the gift of the Holy Ghost, who leads men into all truth concerning the will of God, both in spiritual and temporal matters.
Now, all those who have died in the last 1,700 years are in the spirit prison, each with his varied beliefs, superstitions, customs, and habits, both heathens and the so-called Christians. Now come God’s prophets and apostles upon their deaths, clothed in the holy priesthood and with power into the spirit prison to preach the same gospel that Jesus taught. And if they believe them (which is really all they can do), then the living must be baptized for them. And in this way, all of God’s sons and daughters, who are, have been, or will come to this earth, will have a chance and the ability to hear the true gospel so that they have no excuse on the judgment day.
It is said that it is too late to repent after death, but I cannot find that in God’s word. If it is, why did Jesus preach to the spirits in the spirit prison if they had no ability to believe it? Is not the Spirit the same whether in the body or in the spirit prison? Yes, each has his free agency. The body is the house and tool of the Spirit, that he may accept and reject according to his will. This means those who didn’t have a chance to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
From this it is easy to see the justice, grace, and wisdom of God which he offers to all his children as the saving formula, “that they all might be damned who believed not the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:12). Therefore, it is a sin to rob the spirit of its free agency through infant baptism. That is like making a covenant with a sleeping man and forcing him to keep it when he is awake. This can be seen more clearly [by noting] that there are many religious groups with both young and old changing their religion and switching from one to another.
There are many men in our day who believe in nothing, neither the word of God or anything else that leads to salvation. Instead they are followers of naturalism. They say that there is nothing except nature, and all that can be seen in heaven and earth is a consequence of her handiwork. They say that the numberless solar systems and all that moves within the vast expanse of space is like a clock that never needs to be wound and carries on from eternity to eternity. If we ask, “Did anyone create these or set them in motion?” they say no. Did these things come into existence on their own without a cause or a reason? They believe so. They admit that the world could not have come into existence by itself and that all things have their cause or [reason] why they came into existence. In another place [they teach] that God in the beginning created heaven and earth from nothing. You know not, dear reader, though you are taught false doctrines. You are bound by the chains of custom. You look neither to the right nor to the left. And the teachers are no better.
The Apostle says, “Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm” (1 Timothy 1:7). Man, with all his learning and knowledge, cannot create anything from nothing. Man can also not cause anything to completely cease to exist, not one hair, straw, or drop of water, or any other thing. There would be ash, smoke, or a vapor going out to blend with the other elements.
If nothing exists but nature, how then did the sun stand still in Joshua’s day? (Joshua 10:12–15). Why didn’t the fire burn the three Hebrews? (Daniel 3:20–27). Why didn’t the lions eat Daniel when he was cast into the lions’ den? (Daniel 6:17–24). Why was there darkness when Jesus died and the veil of the temple rent? Why didn’t nature act like it always had before? What interrupted its normal pattern? Why did the Red Sea part? (Exodus 14:21). Had there not been a hard eastern wind the whole night before, and did it not dry up or part the sea? This all would be unnatural if there were no God who directs all within the heavens and on earth.
They say these things never happened. Others admit they occurred but know not the cause. Where are these guesses coming from? And how did they come into being in the first place? They came from the devil and lead to disbelief in God and his word and then to damnation. Satan would shut out, hide, and otherwise make unintelligible God’s unspeakable wisdom from the understanding of man, so that they will stray from the truth and not acknowledge the hand and direction of God in the kingdom of nature. The fool and the ungodly say in their hearts, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). They deny the Lord who has purchased them, and sudden destruction hangs over them (2 Peter 2:1).
The so-called rationalists are very similar to those just mentioned. They deny all miracles, both in the Old and New Testaments, as having come from God or from his power. They call it witchcraft and sorcery. Some of them admit that God exists but say he can’t do miracles or wonders according to their judgment. Here we see how powerful Satan is with the disbelievers. And they call this rationalism.
They say that there is no enemy to the soul and no punishment for evil and no reward for goodness, either. All witchcraft and wonders are accomplished by the wisdom of mankind and are therefore more than God is able to do according to their belief. All these things point to the same thing: the disdaining and devaluing of the power and dominion of Almighty God. They express gratitude for the wisdom of mankind, for mills, machines, and the steam engine. Man can travel over the pathless sea, through stream and wind, without losing his way, and with the birds can travel above the land and through the mountains. He can travel in air machines among the clouds. He can breathe and work under water. He can send his thoughts and words over all the earth in a few moments. He can control the lightning in the air that it cause no damage. He can control the seas, fire, and the winds and make them work for him. He combines the elements of nature to do wonders and miracles. And he praises the wisdom of man and gives not the glory unto God.
But where did all these things come from? Are not these sparks and rays from the Almighty’s grand font of all wisdom? Is it not the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, which is sent from the Lord and Master of nature and the elements down to mortal man here on the earth?
Solomon received his wisdom from God. The Lord chose Bezaleel, the son of Uri, and gave him the Spirit of God, skill, knowledge, and understanding to build the tabernacle and all things that belonged unto it (Exodus 35:30–35). God gave them this wisdom. God has also given wisdom in our day to discover machines and wonders, whether [the creators] recognize his hand therein or not. They say with great arrogance, as Nebuchadnezzar, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30). They know not that they are poor, blind, and naked without the help of God (Revelation 3:17). He is the giver of all good gifts. And all these helpful discoveries and mysteries of nature, the Lord has known from the beginning of the world but did not reveal them until these last days. For he will use them to gather together his people from the four corners of the earth to build up his Church and kingdom before his coming.
But the wicked would use this agency to spread death and destruction over lands and kingdoms and destroy one another from off the face of the earth, and [to] create a hell for themselves, and [to] condemn themselves for the misuse of their free agency and the light and knowledge which God has given them. This ought to awaken us to use well the gifts of God, both spiritual and temporal, for we will be called to account for the talent with which we have been entrusted, or those gifts which God has given us.
If evil had not come into the earth, God could not have tried his children. No one could have done anything but be good. Free agency then would have been of no use, for there would have been nothing to choose between. Joy would have been unknown, for sorrow did not exist. The wisdom of God would have been hidden to a great degree. No saving atonement would have been necessary and no savior. All would have lived from eternity to eternity and the world could not have supported the terrible masses if no one had died from the beginning of time; for there would have been (at least) from forty to fifty times more people on the earth than there are now. From this we see the great wisdom of God that the evil and the good are here on the earth and that he has given us all the strength and help that is required to lead us back to him. God has given us his word and Spirit, angels, the Atonement and intercession of Jesus, wisdom and knowledge to know good from evil, and free agency to obey the saving principles which the Lord has instituted and revealed to save his children.
Some will say, “I don’t think I’d be much better off by getting baptized in the way you’ve talked about.” Naaman of Syria didn’t think he’d be better off either by obeying the word of God when the prophet Elisha told him to dip himself seven times in the river Jordan (2 Kings 5:14). Each command of God has its associated blessings, both spiritual and physical, if they are obeyed in the proper fashion.
Some will perhaps say, “I haven’t committed any great sins and don’t need to repent myself or be baptized.” And that may be true. But then you are no better than Cornelius, for though his prayers and alms had ascended up to God, it was not enough for salvation. He was told to send for the servant of God, who had the holy priesthood. He was to obey the teachings of Jesus Christ and be baptized in the right way, for Jesus has said, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).
Some will say that he was a Gentile and therefore needed to be baptized, and that is true. But the Jews, who were the people of God, needed to do the same. Jesus himself confirmed [the importance] of this divine and solemn ordinance by going down into the river Jordan and showing the manner and fashion of his baptism. And they who will enter into God’s kingdom must obey this commandment, for the words which Jesus has spoken are firm.
There is no greater ignorance than to think that we can be saved by obeying the commandments of men which are against the teachings of Jesus and the fundamental principles of the faith. Man might just as well plant and sow on the waves of the sea and hope for a good harvest. Man might as well convince himself that he is able to sail over the Atlantic Ocean to some specific harbor without compass and rudder. It would be as sensible to go before the king with counterfeit coins to pays one’s tax, or tin in place of crowns, after the king had warned his police and servants that no other coin should be accepted in his kingdom.
Can he then forgive and allow to go unpunished those who trod under their feet and despise his laws? Would that not compromise his godhood and righteousness and be against those laws which he had before established in his kingdom? Therefore, God allows the everlasting gospel to be preached unto all nations, tongues, and people so they can have no excuse when they are called up to make an accounting of their stewardship, or their use of that free agency which God has given them.
It is not sensible or Christlike or in any way just to find fault with, hate, or dishonor any man, though he has sinned or done something he shouldn’t have if he (or she) confesses the evil and repents of his sin and does it no more. We see that even the greatest of God’s servants have done wrong. Adam fell from his holy state in paradise. Noah and Lot drank one time too many. Moses killed a man and hid him in the sand. He struck the stone two times and therefore could not enter into the promised land. Aaron made the golden calf. David was a man after God’s heart, though he committed sin. Solomon was the wisest man though he fell from the truth. Peter had power to seal and release on earth that which was sealed and released in heaven, even though he denied the Savior. Paul put both men and women in prison but was chosen as the Lord’s tool to spread the gospel and was taken up into the third heaven.
All these men committed sin, but they repented and changed, and therefore God claimed them and gave them eternal life. It may appear that Paul committed the most [sin], but it was during a time when he knew not the will of God and didn’t have the holy priesthood. He confirms this himself when he says, “[I] was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief” (1 Timothy 1:13). That all men can cause offence is confirmed by the following story.
When a famous man who was condemned to death for his misdeeds was brought to the place of execution, he said that he had something important and private to tell the king. He was then taken before him, and the king took him aside with his chief advisors who were over both spiritual and temporal matters. He told the king that he had the seed of a fruit tree that would always bear endless amounts of fruit. But it had to be planted by the hands of one who has never done wrong. Therefore, “I thought your Majesty could plant it,” he said.
“I can’t do it,” answered the king. “I am no more perfect than any other man. I may give decrees and commands and be the final judge in the most serious matters, but I dare not say that I have always done exactly the right thing. I will give the seed to the chief justice of my kingdom.”
The chief justice said, “You know, my Lord, that I dispense justice unto sultans and generals in your army and judge in many matters. Some bring money to the proceedings and want to bribe me. I know not whether I have always done exactly the right thing. I will give [the seed] to the bishop.”
The bishop answered, “You know, judge, that I have set up pastors and teachers, completely unsuitable to God’s service, for my friend’s and relation’s sake. And for riches and for my reputation I have sent out monks, with the approval of the pope, to destroy some of the Christians. I have also been so drunk at times that I hardly knew what I was doing. I will give the seed to the priests.”
The priests answered with one voice, “We have never disclosed unto the people what our income has been, and most have paid us many times more than we should have allowed. When anyone has asked us about it, we have said that it is normal to pay such and such an amount, which was much more than we should have allowed. We stand, then, clearly guilty before God and man. And our priestly brothers are killed thousands at a time in the same condition. We cannot plant this seed.”
When the condemned heard this he laughed and said unto the king, “I think it would be best for the people if we were all hanged, for there is no honorable man among us who can justly condemn me to death for my crimes.”
The king smiled and saw then the shrewdness and cunning of the man, and no man could justly confirm his death sentence.
It is written, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” [Romans 3:23]. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” [1 John 1:8]. Therefore, the word of God is the same today as anciently. “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38) and obey the same gospel which is again given to the earth in its fulness. For we cannot make use of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ unto salvation unless we obey the law of the New Testament in the same manner and understand the same meaning as Jesus and his apostles taught it.
The Lord has prepared the way for his word in these last days by inspiring kings, politicians, and legislators with his Spirit to give religious freedom unto the nations so that there can be no excuse for the people that they could not obey the true gospel. This is the reason that God has provided for religious freedom in this century, which is a time of preparation for the Millennium. But men are bound by the chains of habit and custom with regard to religious matters, so that they dare not look to the right or left, but trust rather unto convention and habit and human wisdom to save them.
Let me seriously remind you, dear reader, to ask God for wisdom, light and knowledge, and his Spirit to understand and know whether these things ring true according to his word and are the only way to salvation. Jesus has said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7). I do not doubt that the reader will believe that this is true. If Jesus, who was the Son of God, needed to pray to his Father for power and help to withstand temptation and to do his will, how much more ought we who are weak and imperfect [pray]. And if we do not pray to the Lord, we have no claim on the promise that he will give us his Spirit to lead us into all truth. Therefore, give heed unto these things and know for a surety that the truth is mighty and will come off victor.
When Adam fell from his holy station and the curse came over all, Satan received dominion over the earth. We are told that “there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world” (Revelation 12:7–10). “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (v. 12). “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (v. 17).
Therefore, it is not surprising that the Latter-day Saints are dishonored, hated and oppressed, and killed, for the devil is in the earth and fights against the descendents of the woman, her offspring, or the true Church that protects the word of God. This heavenly war may sound important, but I see just-as-important things happening here on earth. There are the spirits who fight in bodies with guns and swords. Men also fight here without tools by their disputations and arguments, which are a type of spiritual war where some victories are won. “And (the devil) drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth” (Revelation 12:4), which were a third of the spirits who followed him, which are called his angels.
From this we can see that the spirits in their first estate had their free agency, as well as in the body and in the spirit prison. But they were punished for the misuse of their free agency. We read in Job that Satan had been going to and fro in the earth (Job 1:7). “Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Paul calls him the “god of this world,” who “hath blinded the minds of those who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ . . . should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Jesus calls him the “prince of this world” (John 16:11). Jesus says, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).
When the devil took Jesus up onto a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, he said, “All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it” (Luke 4:6). Jesus didn’t argue with him about whether or not he had power over it, for he had said that [Satan] was the prince of this world.
Jesus cast out a legion of devils from the possessed man who had been dwelling in an area of tombs (Mark 5). Hallgrímur Péturson says the number of devils was 6,666. All this shows, along with other things, that Satan and his angels are here on the earth and that he has dominion over the earth.
Let us briefly turn our attention to where the evil is, [to see] whether it is in this world over which Jesus said Satan is the prince. Where are the murders, the adulterers, the robbers, the envy, the lies, the backbiting, the deceivers, the intemperate men? Here on the earth. Where is the witchcraft, the shameful villainy, the drunkenness, the blasphemy, the idolatry, the profane language, the destruction, sin, and sorrow? The toil and death, the gnawing and torturous conscience? These are all here on the earth, as is a misuse of free agency, which all men will be called to give an accounting of with each one judged according to his words and deeds.
Where are the serpents, vipers, lions, bears, noxious weeds, thorns and thistles, volcanic fire and earthquakes, storms, hail, thunder and commotions on the seas, burning heat and searing cold? Isn’t there enough brimstone in the earth? Isn’t there enough in the air? These are not governed by mortal power. What is the evil, and where is it that we could not find it here on this earth?
In previous chapters I have spoken of the terrible acts of Christians and the consequences thereof. All this together shows that the evil is here and that Satan has great power here on the earth, on the seas, and in the air, or as Paul says, “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2).
Do not think, though, dear reader, that it is impossible to enter into the kingdom of God, for it is through our afflictions that we begin to enter into life. Narrow is the way, and few there be that find it. But everyone who wants to use his free agency to obey the teachings of Jesus Christ can find and walk on the path. Verily I say unto you that those who don’t obey his teachings—or the law of the New Testament—will be condemned by the words which Jesus spoke at the last day.
I hope that all they who believe (or think they believe) the scriptures will admit that enough proofs have been given to confirm the things that have been spoken. If they don’t believe the word of God, then they are not Christians and have no right to call themselves such. I speak alone to those who believe the word of God and rely upon the doctrines and promises of Jesus Christ. May the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the unity of the Holy Ghost be with you all. Amen.
 Biograpical Sketch of “Thordur Didriksson,” in possession of author. Gratitude is expressed to Fred Dedrickson (great-grandson of Thordur) for bringing this document to the attention of the author.
 “Autobiographical Sketch of Theodur Didrickson,” Church Archives, 7.
 Manuscript History of the Icelandic Mission, 1879, Church Archives. “The Gospel to the Icelanders,” Millennial Star, September 15, 1879, 587.
 Lofter Bjarnason, “The Work of the Lord in Iceland,” Millennial Star, March 10, 1904, 146.
 Darron Allred translated this text from Icelandic primarily during the year 2001 and finished in January 2002. He grew up in St. George, Utah, and then served a mission to Iceland from 1984 to 1986. He works at Brigham Young University in the Financial Aid Office and currently resides in Spanish Fork, Utah, home to the descendants of the early Icelandic Latter-day Saint immigrants who came to Utah.
 The title of the tract is clearly taken from Parley P. Pratt’s well-known work Voice of Warning. Pratt’s tract was the first time a book had been used for Mormon proselytizing, beyond the LDS standard works. It was written in only two months and is considered one of the most important noncanonical books in Mormonism (see Peter Crawley, “Parley P. Pratt: Father of Mormon Pamphleteering,” Dialogue 15, no. 3 [Autumn 1982]: 14-15).