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Saints Mormon Reformation Part 2

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
November 9, 2020 8:48 pm

Saints Mormon Reformation Part 2

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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November 9, 2020 8:48 pm

This is the second week of a series on the LDS Church history book “Saints: On Unhallowed Ground.” This week we dedicate ourselves to the Mormon Reformation.

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Viewpoint on Mormonism, the program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from a Biblical perspective. Viewpoint on Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism Research Ministry. Since 1979, Mormonism Research Ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now your host for today's Viewpoint on Mormonism.

The Bible teaches that you can be forgiven of your sins if you were to shed your own blood. Welcome to this edition of Viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism Research Ministry, and with me today is Eric Johnson, my colleague at MRM. Yesterday we began looking at chapter 17 in the book Saints, No Unhallowed Hand. This is the second volume among four, two more to be released in years to come, that is going to give us an account of the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Chapter 17 deals with the subject of what is called the Mormon Reformation. So today we begin looking at page 245 at the top of the page, and there's a lot of information in these three paragraphs, Eric, and I think it's important that we read all of it just to get an idea of what is being said to the Latter-day Saint who is reading this history book. It says, By the spring of 1857, Brigham Young and other church leaders were pleased with the saints' reformation and reinstituted the sacrament throughout the church. Brigham said time and again that the saints were a God-blessed people. Now for the benefit of our listeners, perhaps we need to give a concise definition of what this Mormon Reformation really is about and what it entails.

I don't think the book gives us enough information that explains this clearly. We do know that there were some members who were being lax in their faith, but it doesn't really give us a concise definition of what the Reformation is. However, there was a history book that was written several years ago called The Story of the Latter-day Saints, and in that book the authors give us a concise definition, and I think it's important that we read that so we all understand what is being spoken of when it talks about the saints' reformation. Just to note that this was written by James B. Allen and Glenn M. Leonard, they are LDS historians, and it was published in 1976. So that's a first edition. There has been a second edition since then, but this is coming from the first edition.

And this is what it says on page 279. So, as we mentioned yesterday, this was a call on members of the Church who felt that they had been lax in their duties to the Lord. That's how they would obviously understand this. And so they would be re-engaging in doing works that they had not done before. One of those works that had to be re-done would be baptism, because in Mormonism they do believe in baptismal regeneration. In other words, baptism is important if you hope to have the forgiveness of your sins. But this preaching goes a little bit past that.

Maybe not even a little bit. It goes pretty far past that. So this is what we're going to read about today. So this is what it's talking about in the first paragraph on page 245 of the book Saints. It goes on.

What does it say? Now, the question that comes to my mind as you read that paragraph, Eric, is where it says leaders had spoken harshly of apostates and locals who were not members of the Church. Feeling intimidated, some people left the territory. What would you be hearing that you would feel so intimidated that you would pack up your family and move away from that area? I mean, if I had a neighbor that I knew was listening to some preacher telling them how they need to repent and get right with God, I don't know if that would have that kind of effect on me. Do you think it would have that kind of an effect on you?

No, I don't think so. But what was it then that was intimidating these people? Could it be the preaching of violence being done against you if you did not conform to what the Church was telling you at that particular time?

This book doesn't say that. But you have to ask yourself, what would intimidate you in such a way that would cause you to leave? It says, feeling intimidated, some people left the territory. Obviously, they are hearing something, even as non members, that it appears is frightening them to the point that they don't want to hang around this place any longer. And so they are going to go through the difficulty of packing up their family and their livelihood and getting out of this area.

I think that's a fair question to ask. What was it? Well, it's going to give us a little bit of a hint in this book as we go on. The next paragraph reads, Church leaders typically use moderate and uplifting language in their sermons to encourage the saints to do better. The Book of Mormon provided clear examples of how forceful preaching could inspire people to reform, however, and church leaders had often used extreme language that winter to call the saints to repentance. At times, Brigham and others had even drawn on Old Testament scriptures to teach that certain grievous sins could be forgiven only through the shedding of the sinner's blood. Now, at the end of that paragraph, there's an end note number 15. Now, when I saw that, I thought, Oh, this should be good.

I can go back to end note 15. And no doubt, it's going to give me a list of some of those Old Testament scriptures that teach that certain grievous sins could be forgiven, but only through the shedding of the sinner's blood. Well, needless to say how disappointed I was to find that there was no such list there. There can't be any such list there, because there are no Old Testament scriptures that teach that certain grievous sins could be forgiven only through the shedding of the sinner's blood. Now, in the Old Testament, you had the sacrifice of animals, but you're not going to find anywhere in the Old Testament that supports that sentence right there. Sins could be forgiven only through the shedding of the sinner's blood. And when you do study the Old Testament and you do see what the animals were for, they put all of their sins upon those animals. And what does the book of Hebrew say? It says that Jesus fulfilled all of the sacrificial animals, and so now all the sins are put onto him. He is the perfect sacrifice.

So you're right, Bill. Nowhere in the Bible, especially the Old Testament, does it say that a person had to give his own blood in order to receive forgiveness of sins. That's blasphemous. Well, but look at it this way, Eric. When it says here that certain grievous sins could be forgiven only through the shedding of the sinner's blood, and it mentions that some of those who were intimidated were not only apostates, those who were members of the LDS Church who had left the church, but also those who were not members at all, perhaps never even joined.

Is this what they're hearing? Because if I heard that the people I lived among were being told that the only way you could be forgiven was if the sinner's blood be shed, and I knew myself to be a sinner in the eyes of those people I live among, that now might make me a little bit nervous. And I'm not sure I can trust the people that I live among at this point if they think that they're going to do me some favor by shedding my blood in order for me to be forgiven. We need to understand, too, that while Brigham Young was a big proponent of blood atonement, it is not something that he or Jedediah M. Grant got on their own. This goes all the way back to Joseph Smith, and this is found in History of the Church, Volume 5, page 296. It says in debate, George A. Smith said imprisonment was better than hanging. I replied, I was opposed to hanging, even if a man kill another, I will shoot him or cut off his head, spill his blood on the ground, and let the smoke thereof ascend up to God.

And if ever I ever have the privilege of making a law on that subject, I will have it so. Bill, there are several phrases in there you're going to be hearing in these next few shows that we're going to do when we cite from Brigham Young and Jedediah M. Grant, including the idea of spilling blood on the ground and also let the smoke thereof ascend up to God. So these guys are repeating what the founder of Mormonism originally taught. Now, could you say that perhaps a verse like, without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins? The Bible does say that.

No argument there. But you can see what happens when a verse is ripped from its context. And in this case, we find that, well, the blood that needs to be shed for the remission of sins is not the blood of the animal sacrifice. Perhaps not even, in this case, the blood of the great sacrifice, Jesus Christ, that shed his blood for the church.

No. When they say the shedding of the sinner's blood, they've gone beyond what that verse is saying, even though that verse may have been cited on a number of occasions. They're taking it out of context. And yet you have a people here who are trusting men like Jedediah M. Grant. They're trusting men like Brigham Young to lead them in all truth.

Why? Because they've been told that these men are called by God to give them God's gospel truth. And they're not even allowed, technically, to question what's being told to them. Even in today's context, modern Latter-day Saints are supposed to believe what their leaders tell them. They have no right to really contradict what they have to say. They naturally assume that they're going to be telling them the truth. Bill, the next paragraph on page 245 does not point to Smith as being the origination of this idea, but rather it points to Christians.

Listen to what it says. Such teachings hark back to the hellfire and brimstone language of Protestant revival preachers who tried to frighten sinners into reform. And then it goes on and says this, Brigham understood that he sometimes let his fiery sermons go too far and he did not intend for people to be put to death for their sins. Do you think that's a truthful statement? No, not at all.

Not at all. And this is why, folks, because in tomorrow's show, we're going to read to you some of the statements made by men such as Jedediah M. Grant and Brigham Young and even some more modern leaders if time permits. And there's no way that you would have understood this to merely mean, well, it's hyperbole.

They're just going a little over the top in their language. They really don't mean that. I can't imagine how any Latter-day Saint listening to some of the statements that we are going to look at tomorrow could walk away and shrug their shoulders and go, boy, I'm sure glad Brigham really didn't mean what he said.

You're not going to get that understanding at all when you hear these comments. To say, well, that hark back to hellfire and brimstone language of Protestant revival preachers, I can't recall one Protestant revival preacher. Maybe they're thinking of even someone like Jonathan Edwards, sinners in the hand of an angry God. Certainly they talked about the just punishment of sinners who refused the gift of Jesus Christ. But there's nowhere in any of those teachings of these Protestant revival preachers, as it says, that taught anything like what Brigham Young and others taught during the Mormon Reformation. For more information regarding Mormonism Research Ministry, we encourage you to visit our website at, where you can request our free newsletter, Mormonism Researched. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint on Mormonism.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-29 02:32:14 / 2024-01-29 02:37:22 / 5

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