This video is part 2 showing how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a restoration of original Christianity
Okay, so on this video, it’s part two in the Evidences of Restoring Original Christianity. So I would highly suggest please watch part one. It’ll make more sense for this video as well, but I would like to start actually with a quote from Bishop Caussé at the April, 2018 General Conference. I’m going to play it at 1.25X speed. Just a little over two minutes. Here you go.
While preparing for the construction of the magnificent Paris, France temple, I had an experience I will never forget. In 2010, when property for the temple was found, the city mayor asked to meet with us to know more about our church. This meeting was a critical step in obtaining a building permit. We meticulously prepared the presentation that included several impressive pictures of Latter-day Saint temples. My most fervent hope was that their architectural beauty would persuade the mayor to support our project. To my surprise, the mayor indicated that rather than reviewing our presentation, he and his team preferred to conduct their own investigation to find out what kind of church we were.
The following months, we were invited back to hear a report given by a city counselor, who also happened to be a professor of religious history. She said, “Above all else, we wanted to understand who the members of your church are. First, we attended one of your sacrament meetings. We sat at the back of the chapel and carefully observed the people in the congregation and what they were doing. Then we met with your neighbors, those who live around your stake center, and we asked them what kind of people you Mormons are.”
“So, what are your conclusions?” I ask, feeling a little bit of anxiety. She replied, “We discovered that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the closest to Jesus Christ’s original church than any other church we know of.” I almost objected by saying, “That’s not completely accurate. It’s not the church that is closest. It is the Church of Jesus Christ, the same church, the true church,” but I restrained myself and instead offered a silent prayer of gratitude.
The mayor then advised us that based on their findings, he and his team had no objections to the construction of the temple in their community. Today when I think about that miraculous experience, I feel grateful for the mayor’s wisdom and spirit of discernment. He knew that the key to understanding the church is not to see it through the outward appearance of its buildings or even as a well-organized institution, but through its millions of faithful members who strive each day to follow the example of Jesus Christ.
So “by their fruits, you shall know them,” right? And I love how he talked about the people, and I mentioned this in the last video, but I’ve done some great videos on the people. I’d love to suggest the welfare program, the one on a missionary program, tithing observance, religious health of the people, and then the very recent one on volunteerism that we did. The Saints volunteer nine times the number of hours, if you will, in their service versus the average active volunteer in the United States.
So, again, talking about doctrine, I recommend part one of this video, but also I did one on the preexistence, pre-mortal life teachings, also on baptism for the dead, how that solves the Christian dilemma, who can be saved, and then also on becoming like God. These would really fit in restoring original Christianity as well. I have a couple of others, maybe even some others I haven’t thought of yet, but a heavenly mother, I’m going to do a video on that and then also on the temple and some of the ancient temple parallels as well, that, again, could all fit into this general category.
But let’s get started here. I thought, actually, I decided to add something just from teaching this thing with my gospel doctrine class here on the blood that was shed by Christ in Gethsemane, and if you actually look here, I thought this was a good tie-in to this topic. In Luke 22:43 and 44. This is The New Testament: A Translation for Latter-day Saints, Thomas Wayment. I highly recommend this as a study guide. I love it for his notes, and I want to share the note he has for these two verses in Gethsemane. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought like I have, the Latter-day Saints view Gethsemane in a very different way than a lot of Christians do.
I think part of it is because we’ve been told that Christ did bleed from every pore, Mosiah 3:8, King Benjamin did. The Lord Himself, in first person, in D&C 19 says that He did bleed from every pore, but in the New Testament, we only have one verse that talks about this. Three of the gospels don’t. Luke does, but it also talks about it in a way that it’s very confusing. It says, “And there appeared an angel from heaven strengthening Him, and He was in agony, and He prayed more intently, and His sweat became as if it were large drops of blood falling to the ground.” So almost like maybe it’s not clear if it even was blood. Now, I will say, there was a great piece that Book of Mormon Central just put out on this. It talked about this a condition. It is a rare medical condition, but it is possible to bleed from your pores. It’s called hematohidrosis, and it causes an individual to sweat blood. It’s caused by, among other things, extreme levels of stress and excessive exertion.
Now what does this have to do with restoring ancient Christianity? Well, in the note here, going back to the actual manuscripts, it says here these two verses, so the verse about the angel strengthening Christ and then also about him bleeding as sweat, as though possible blood, “These two verses are greatly disputed, and a number of important ancient manuscripts omit them. Other early important manuscripts include these versus. Given the current evidence, it is unlikely that the question of their omission or inclusion can be resolved. However, the evidence is strong enough to suggest that they may be original to Luke’s gospel but were perhaps omitted over doctrinal concerns.”
Doctoral concerns, what would those be? So, a couple of quick snippets here. The professor down at BYU, Kent Brown, the religious professor, talked about he believed that these doctrinal concerns are why they are not in the other gospels here, and they barely survived in Luke. In fact, scholars suggest it began to be a omitted halfway through the second century, and that’s where we see that this was completely removed, but the earliest ones we do see it there in other translations. In fact, it really would suggest that this may have been the literal blood bleeding from every pore.
So another professor down at BYU in ancient scripture, Lincoln Blummell, he actually has this quote. He says, arguing why early Christians may have removed this, and it goes back to Greek philosophy, which we talked a lot about in the first part, part one, he says, “They seemingly depicted Jesus in a rather feeble light and were the target of a growing anti-Christian polemic. Consequently, some Christians felt it was easier to simply excise this problematic material.”
Here’s a non-Latter-day scholar, A. von Harnack, who argued that, “The texts were removed because it seemed weak for Jesus having to be comforted by an angel.” Remember the Greek gods were powerful, right? They wouldn’t bleed. They wouldn’t need to be strengthened by an angel. They were void of weakness. In fact, the Quran, actually, kind of makes fun of, criticizes Christianity in a sense with this verse in the Quran, 17:11, “Praise to Allah, who has not taken a son and has no partner in his dominion and has no need of a protector out of weakness, and glorify him with great glorification.” That’s quite interesting. I thought this would be a great thing just to share a tidbit there related to that. So now let’s go into creation.
So if you look, creation, there are two ways that creation are looked at. Creation out of preexisting matter, called creatio ex materia, and that’s what the Latter-day Saints believe. We’re taught that from from modern-day scripture, creation of preexisting matter. Mainstream Christianity believes today and creatio ex nihilo. Creation out of nothing.
There are some critical reasons as to why they believe that, but let’s first look at Joseph Smith’s teaching here. He says, “You ask the learned doctors of theology why they say the world was made out of nothing, and they will answer, ‘Doesn’t the Bible say God created the world?’, and they infer from the word ‘create’ that it must have been made out of nothing. Now the word ‘create’ came from the Hebrew word ‘baurau’, which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize; the same as a man would organize materials and build a ship. Hence we infer that God had materials to organize the world out of chaos, chaotic matter, which is element.
Okay? Now let’s look at a couple of quotes here from biblical scholars, Peter Hayman. He said, “Nearly all recent studies on the origin of the doctrine of creation ex nihilo have come to the conclusion that this doctrine is not native to Judaism, is nowhere attested in the Hebrew Bible, and probably arose in Christianity in the second century of the Common Era, in the course of its fierce battle with Gnosticism.” Remember the Gnostics believe that all matter was evil there, so in that battle there.
Now Jonathan Goldstein in his piece, “The Origins of the Doctrine of Creation Ex Nihilo”, he wrote, “We have to wait until the second half of the second century A.D. to find unambiguous Christian statements of creation ex nihilo.” Now, it wasn’t just a battle against the Gnostics, it was also Greek philosophy that came into play. Theophilus of Antioch, he was eager to show that the Christian God was even more superior than the Greek gods because he created everything out of nothing.
But also, a key philosophical concept that came into play in the second and third century with Christian theology is if God created everything out of nothing, then Jesus Christ couldn’t have been a created God and would have had to have always existed with the Father. This helped to lead really into the doctrine of the trinity as well. We talked about it in part one video.
Okay, now let’s look at Joseph’s teachings on this subject. They’re supported by the scriptures, by Jewish documents, and by early Christian texts. So if you look at Colossians 1:16, “By Jesus Christ were all things created that are in heaven and that are in the earth, visible and invisible, all things were created by Him.” The Greek word behind created here is ‘ktizo’, and it means “to fabricate”.
Now look at this here. This Jewish apocryphal document, Wisdom of Solomon, still considered scripture today by the Catholics, says “Your all-powerful hand … created the world out of a formless matter.” Now two early Christian Fathers, Justin Martyr. He said that was the Christian doctrine of his day, that “in the beginning God created all things out of unformed matter.” Then Clement of Alexandria taught, “The universe was created out of a shapeless mass of matter and the ordered sphere of the earth was formed from a confused heap.”
Now let’s talk about grace versus works and I love how James puts it in James 2 about how, “I will show thee my faith by my works,” and I love verse 19 where he talks about the devils. He says, “The devils also believe and tremble.” It’s fascinating to think that devils know. They don’t just believe. They know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, but it’s doing nothing for them. And he says, “Faith without works is dead being alone.”
So if you look here at grace versus works, “The doctrine of salvation through faith alone, sometimes called solafidianism is not a biblical doctrine. There are no instances in the New Testament of the phrases ‘grace alone’ or ‘faith alone’. The New Testament records 541 scriptural statements by over 16 different biblical personalities, that pertained directly or indirectly to the way salvation is achieved. The preponderance of evidence is clearly in favor of statements that indicate that man will be held accountable and judged on the basis of his works, deeds, acts, fruits of obedience and so forth. Of the 541 New Testament versus, 418, or 77%, are supportive of works as a criterion for final judgment.”
Then I love the way we have it in the Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 25:23, “It is by grace that we are saved after all we can do.” Grace is how we are saved. There’s no other way, but our works do matter. I just wanted to share this because I just thought of this today to share this, add this in here. I love D&C section 45:3-5. “Listen to Him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before Him saying, ‘Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin and whom thou wast well-pleased. Behold the blood of Thy Son, which was shed, the blood of Him who gave us Thyself might be glorified. Wherefore Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name that they may come unto me and have everlasting life,'” and it’s because of His sacrifice that we are spared unto salvation.
Now, how do works fit in then? This leads us actually to this next topic of heaven and hell versus degrees that heaven. Mainstream Christianity today believes there is a heaven and a hell. We know that Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon had this amazing experience, this massive vision that went on for about an hour or so with a dozen witnesses or so in the John Johnson upper room, and they saw the vision of the three degrees of glory, had that experience there together, the dual witness of this experience as D&C 76 now, today.
Now let’s look at the early Christian Fathers and some of the scriptures. So if you look at the early Christian father, Irenaeus, in the late second century wrote “Then those who are deemed worthy of abode in heaven shall go there, others shall enjoy the delights of paradise, and other shall as the splendor of the city … They say moreover, that there is this distinction between the habitation of those who produce an hundred-fold, and those that produce sixty-fold, and of those who produce thirty-fold: for the first will be taken up into the heavens, the second will dwell in paradise, the last will inhabit the city … The Elders, who were the disciples of the apostles, affirm that this is the gradation and arrangement of those who are saved.”
Now look at this one from Clement of Alexandria. It is also from the late second century. “There are various abodes in heaven. These chosen abodes, which are three, are indicated by the numbers in the gospel of Matthew.” Matthew 13:8. “The thirty, the sixty, and the hundred.” It’s fascinating, and I love that Paul in 2 Corinthians chapter 12, he talks about being caught up to the third heaven. How can you be caught up to a third heaven if there’s not a first and a second? I love that.
And then Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:40-42, he talks about the resurrection, and there are bodies celestial and terrestrial, as he says, and then he says that he compares the resurrection to three degrees of light, essentially. He says there will be a resurrection that will be like the sun and then like the moon and like the stars. So, it’s just a fascinating … so in the scriptures as well there.
Now let’s talk about original sin for a minute. Our Article of Faith number two, “We believe men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression.” Mainstream Christianity today believes that we are born in sin. “The notion of original sin, as it is usually understood today in traditional Christianity, is a distinctly late invention that evolved from the controversies in the fourth and fifth centuries. Tertullian, in second century A.D., who was very concerned with the idea of sin, says nothing of the doctrine of original sin. Indeed, very few of the Church Fathers up to the fourth century show any interest in it at all. It was not clearly enunciated until Augustine, 4th/5th century A.D., needed it in his battle with the Christian Pelagians, who denied the doctrine, and it came to be associated with the Council of Carthage in 418 A.D.
Now let’s talk about infant baptism. So we believe, the Latter-day Saints believe, from modern day revelation that is critical that we have some age and maturity to exercise faith and repentance unto baptism, and that’s been defined as age eight. If you look in Mark, when Christ is brought the little children, He says, “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for a such is the kingdom of God.” And then verse 16, he says, “And He took them up in His arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them.” So look at Christ’s example, He’s not baptizing the children. He’s blessing the children.
Okay, now I want to share this from gotquestions.org. It’s a very fascinating website of nondenominational Christians that have come together to answer … they’re biblical experts of various kinds to answer questions from the Bible and with history. On infant baptism, this is what they say. “There is much confusion about baptism in the various Christian denominations. However, this is not a result of the Bible presenting a confusing message on baptism. The Bible is abundantly clear of what baptism is, who it is for, and what it accomplishes. In the Bible, only believers who had placed their faith in Christ were baptized as a public testimony of their faith and identification with Him. Look in Acts 2:38. Romans 6:3-4. Water baptism by immersion is a step of obedience after faith in Christ. It is a proclamation of faith in Christ, a statement of submission to Him, and an identification with His death, burial, and resurrection. With this in view, infant baptism is not a biblical practice. An infant cannot place his or her faith in Christ. An infant cannot make a conscious decision to obey Christ. An infant cannot understand what water baptism symbolizes.”
“The Bible does not record any infants being baptized. Infant baptism is the origin of the sprinkling and pouring methods of baptism …” I’m going to talk about that in a minute … “as it is unwise and unsafe to immerse an infant underwater. Even the method of infant baptism fails to agree with the Bible. How does pouring or sprinkling illustrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Many Christians who practice infant baptism do so because they understand infant baptism as the New Covenant equivalent of circumcision. In this view, just as circumcision joined a Hebrew to the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenant, so baptism joined a person to the New Covenant of salvation through Jesus Christ. This view is unbiblical. The New Testament nowhere describes baptism as the New Covenant replacement for Old Covenant circumcision.” Thought that was well said.
Okay. Now, lastly, the form of baptism being by immersion. And again, I want to use a non Latter-day Saint to just show this here. As you know, the Latter-day Saints believe in full immersion and believe that this is how it was done in the scriptures.
So here’s the Christian theologian John Piper, using several parts of the New Testament to support full immersion, submersion, as the intended symbol. Number one, “The meaning of the word baptizo in Greek is essentially dip or immerse, not sprinkle. The descriptions of baptism in the New Testament suggest that people went down into the water to be immersed rather than having water brought to them in a container to be poured or sprinkled. Matthew 3:6, ‘in the Jordan’, 3:16, ‘He went up out of the water’, John 3:23, ‘Much water there’, Acts 8:38, ‘went down into the water’. Immersion fits the symbolism of being buried with Christ.” See Romans 6 and Colossians 2 there.
Then he goes on to and continues with … He asserts that, “Baptism refers to the physical lowering into the water and rising in faith in part because of the reflection of this symbol in Colossians 2:12, which says, ‘having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in the newness of life.'”
I hope that these, part one and part two and the other videos I mentioned, help also to just shed light on the Restoration, how it really is Christianity restored, the original Christian doctrine and teachings. Hope you enjoyed the video. Subscribe for more.
Book of Mormon Central article – Did Jesus Bleed From Every Pore: https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.or…
Things As They Really Are blog article – Bleeding From Every Pore: Christ’s Blood Deleted By Early Christianity https://www.thingsastheyreallyare.com…
Latter-day Saints’ Q&A is a video series not produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but by me, an ordinary member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an independent voice, with a passion for studying Church history and defending the faith. In this series, I provide evidences for the restoration, and address tough questions posed by critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, offering faithful answers based on accurate research and historical references which will be posted at the end of each video.