The dichotomy of Latter-day Saint interfaith commentary: a way forward.

Introduction

Mauss has noted that throughout their history Latter-day Saints have struggled with the tension between retrenchment and assimilation (Mauss, 1994: 5). This article argues that this dichotomy is exemplified in the Church’s relationship with, and writings about, other faiths. As a structure each of these positions and their validity will be explored in detail, and with particular reference to LDS eschatology. Building out of this exploration I then hope to construct a paradigm with which to engage other faiths from a Restoration background.

Retrenchment

The first instance of interfaith commentary in this dispensation was in the Sacred Grove:

I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof (JSH 1:19).

This attitude would be what Mauss would characterise as “retrenchment” where there was a tendency “towards greater separateness, peculiarity, and militance” (1994: 5). Latter-day Saints had a desire to separate themselves from all other forms of religions­− they were different from any other organisation of religion, not least because the Lord had told them that they belonged to “the only true and living Church” (D&C 1:30). Latter-day Saints defined themselves not only by the unique beliefs they held, but also by recognising the beliefs they did not. The First Vision is an example of how this worked in practice: the belief of separate beings in a Godhead being a (somewhat) unique belief asserted, while at the same time rejecting a belief in the creeds of Christendom. Millet (2005) has observed that the major difference between ‘mainstream’ Christians and Latter-day Saints is that their worldviews are formed through separate pairs of spectacles. Mainstream Christianity uses the spectacles of the creeds, whereas Latter-day Saints view them through the spectacles of the revelations of Joseph Smith. For this article, the important point is that however other faiths are engaged with or viewed it must be against the background of the First Vision. Any paradigm of interfaith relationships or dialogue that seeks to be truly Latter-day Saint must do so retaining the validity and importance of the First Vision as a benchmark.

The characterisation of non-LDS faiths as ‘other’ has continued throughout the history of the Church­− both in terms of writings and a members own experience. To borrow a metaphor from outside of the Church: “I am holy, the argument says, and you are holy but the ground between us is unholy ground and we will contaminate each other through harmful mingling of blood if we meet” (Hull, 1991). The purpose of this paper is not to argue that the evidence used to form this view is invalid; indeed, there is a plethora of evidence within the LDS canon that can be used to support such a position. The resultant attitude towards other faiths will be questioned; but the evidence cannot, and perhaps, should not.

Eschatology and Retrenchment

In a discussion of the inheritors of the telestial kingdom some are:

they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas. These are they who say they are some of one and some of another—some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch; But received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant (D&C 76: 99-101)

 

This suggests that those who belong to faiths that are not based on Christ and his gospel will be found in the telestial kingdom. “The telestial kingdom is full of religions and priests and ministers of every kind. It is a battleground of ideas and ideologies. Professing Christians there will include self-claimed disciples of Paul declaring the gospel of grace alone; those loyal to Apollos, or the learning of men, as articulated by the suave and sophisticated; and those claiming to follow Peter (Cephas) and the church of Rome in thoughtless submission” (McConkie and Ostler, 2000: 538). As a commentary on the religious beliefs of millions of people worldwide and throughout the ages this is perhaps as condemnatory as is possible. However, these are not isolated cases; in The Book of Mormon the world in the Latter-days is seen to be split into two camps: the Church of the Lamb of God and the great and abominable church (or Church of the Devil) (see 1 Ne 13 and 2 Ne 28). Latter-day Saints believe that any organisation that is in opposition to the Church belongs to the great and abominable Church: “it is every false religion, every supposed system of salvation which does not actually save and exalt man in the highest heaven of the celestial world” (McConkie, 1973: 551), This would include adherents to the teachings of Paul and Peter (though Latter-day Saints would argue that these are not Paul and Peter’s teachings– rather a misinterpretation of them). Which in turn suggests people who are supposed Christians: “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“ (Matt 7:21). This view of other faiths needs a greater unpacking to enable a Latter-day Saint paradigm of interfaith dialogue to be constructed.

It seems as though the negative view of other faiths reaches its zenith in the description of these inheritors of the telestial kingdom. Through the atonement of Christ the most these faiths can hope for is to the lowest degree of glory. They are in complete opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no salvific power in any organisation that is outside of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. No matter how well meaning it is, no matter how much truth it contains it still falls short of the knowledge and ordinances of Christ that are necessary for exaltation, and can only be found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Religion as unbelief

There is, however, a discrepancy in that some of the adherents of these faiths will be found in the Terrestrial kingdom. It seems as though, this will not be because of their beliefs, rather because of the honourableness of their lives. Although in a Latter-day Saint eschatology all will receive a gradation of salvation there is a denial of exaltation to all but Mormons.[1] The assignation of other religions to a meaningless position in Heavenly Father’s plan suggests that all non-LDS religions are man made. In his hierarchy of belief systems McConkie places religions of the world alongside humanistic organisations such as the temperance society. This view is Barthian in nature; Barth suggests that only God can reveal God (see Barth, 1956: 307). In the revelation of Christ, God “replaces all the different attempts of man to reconcile God to the world, all our human efforts at justification and sanctification, at conversion and salvation” (ibid:  308). All of the attempts of humankind to build a relationship especially a salvific relationship are wrong and an example of making images of God for themselves. The true image of God is that which God bestows upon people through the incarnation and anything else in opposition to this is wrong. “On the contrary, we lock the door against God, we alienate ourselves from Him, we come into direct opposition to him” (ibid: 309). It is this conclusion that leads Barth to the statement “that religion is unbelief” (ibid: 299). The revelation of Christ

formulates the judgment of divine revelation upon all religion… Revelation encounters man on the presupposition and in confirmation of the fact that man’s attempts to know God from his own standpoint are wholly and entirely true… From the standpoint of revelation religion is clearly seen to be a human attempt to anticipate what God in His revelation wills to do and does do. It is the attempted replacement of the divine work by a human manufacture. The divine reality offered and manifested to us in revelation is replaced by a concept of God arbitrarily and willfully evolved by man… In religion man bolts and bars himself against revelation by providing a substitute, by taking away in advance the very thing which has to be given by God (ibid: 301-303).

This paper does not challenge the basis for this view− it is a logical outworking of the teachings that can be found in various places and times of the Church. The implications for attitudes towards other faiths are not so clear cut. This ‘religion is unbelief’ is based on only half the evidence− and does not, surprisingly, have completely negative connotations.

Assimilation Eschatology

Within a Latter-day Saint eschatology people are assigned to a kingdom of glory based on the works performed in this mortal life and more specifically on their response to the commandments of God. In light of this, and that this “the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labours“ after which “there can be no labour performed” (Alma 34:32-33), how can a person who has lived ‘without the law’ be expected to receive the standard necessary for exaltation? It is on this point that Latter-day Saints see a person’s religion and beliefs begin to have an influence on their afterlife:

But while one portion of the human race is judging and condemning the other without mercy, the Great Parent of the universe looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard; He views them as His offspring, and without any of those contracted feelings that influence the children of men, causes “His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” He holds the reins of judgment in His hands; He is a wise Lawgiver, and will judge all men, not according to the narrow, contracted notions of men, but, “according to the deeds done in the body whether they be good or evil,” or whether these deeds were done in England, America, Spain, Turkey, or India. He will judge them, “not according to what they have not, but according to what they have,” those who have lived without law, will be judged without law, and those who have a law, will by judged by that law. We need not doubt the wisdom and intelligence of the Great Jehovah; He will award judgment or mercy to all nations according to their several deserts, their means of obtaining intelligence, the laws by which they are governed, the facilities afforded them of obtaining correct information, and His inscrutable designs in relation to the human family; and when the designs of God shall be made manifest, and the curtain of futurity be withdrawn, we shall all of us eventually have to confess that the Judge of all the earth has done right (Smith,  J, 1980: IV:595-6).

Latter-day Saints believe that people will be judged according to the light they received in this life− reiterating the point within Latter-day Saint teaching that all people receive the light of Christ. This is not to suggest that the light of Christ is sufficient to save only that living a life in accordance with it is an indication of how well a person would have lived the Gospel. It is on this basis that a person is assigned to a kingdom of glory. Not all of those who accept the Gospel after this life will inherit the Celestial Kingdom– only those who meet the initial requirements set out in Doctrine and Covenants 76.[2]

Smith’s view of a wise lawgiver does not minimise the importance of this life for those who do not hear of Christ while alive. On the contrary, he affirms that all men will be judged according to how they responded in the flesh to whatever law they had access. This will then play a significant factor in their judgement. What Smith’s position makes clear is that all men will hear the gospel and have access to its saving ordinances; thus, as Peter says, they will be able to be ‘judged according to the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit’ (1 Pet 4: 6). This combines a hopeful eschatology with an embracive plan for all to be judged (rewarded and damned) according to the same standard.[3] The judgement of works performed according to the light received does, however, raise important questions for interfaith dialogue: if a person is judged according to the light and knowledge they receive what part does a system of religion or ethics contribute to this light? If religions contain ‘light’ are they, therefore, helpful mechanisms on the way to exaltation? This belief certainly seems to suggest that how a person lives their own religion will affect their inheritance of a kingdom of glory?

Light in other religions

The Law of Moses provides a case study for the possible helpfulness of a different belief system.  While Latter-day Saints believe “that the doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ were taught and practiced in the time frame of the Old Testament”[4] (Ogden et al, 2009:viii) they do believe that for the majority of the people of Israel the fulness was removed from the earth and replaced by the Law of Moses. This is particularly interesting for this work as it shows an ‘incomplete’ revelation as coming from God; as such does adherence to the law of this revelation provide opportunities to receive exaltation? If this is so it may have implications for other ‘incomplete’ revelations.

In Latter-day Saint belief:

the Lord revealed the fulness of the everlasting gospel to Moses, and (he)… sought diligently to persuade his Israelitish brethren to believe its truths and llive its laws. They refused. They hardened their hearts and chose to walk in carnal paths. The eternal fulness was more than they could bear. As a consequence, God in his mercy− lest they be damned for rejecting that which they could not live, and as a means for preparing them and their seed for the higher standards which all saved beings must eventually live− the Lord in his mercy gave them the law of Moses. It did not replace the Gospel, which had been offered to them in the first instance; rather, it was added to the more perfect system, for as we shall see, there were times when the ancient and chosen seed had both the fulness of the gospel and the preparatory gospel, when they had all of the saving truths and yet kept the terms and conditions of the law of Moses (McConkie, 1981: 405-6; see also Hebrews 7:11–12, 19–22; D&C 84:24–25; Sitati, 2009).[5]

This suggests that God, for Latter-day Saints, accepts a person living a lesser law in order for a person to have a greater chance of a more hopeful judgement (perhaps even exaltation after the reception of ordinances). Could this mean, that if religions and their laws are inspired by the light of Christ then those belief structures are an evidence of a loving God who wishes to give all the opportunity to receive exaltation?

The First Presidency in 1978 issued an Easter Message which highlights important points to extend this argument:

The great religious leaders of the world such as Mohammed (sic), Confucius, and the Reformers, as well as philosophers including Socrates, Plato, and others, received a portion of God’s light. Moral truths were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals.

The Hebrew prophets prepared the way for the coming of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, who should provide salvation for all mankind who believe in the gospel.

Consistent with these truths, we believe that God has given and will give to all people sufficient knowledge to help them on their way to eternal salvation, either in this life or in the life to come.

While imperfect this suggests that people of every faith are not the “anonymous Christians” suggested by Rahner (1999: 300) but rather “embryonic Mormons” responding to the light of Christ as a prelude to the reception of the Holy Spirit. If the light of Christ in these religions is followed it will lead people “to a knowledge of the truth and the possession of the greater light and testimony of the Holy Ghost” (Smith, JF, 1939: 68). This indicates that, for Latter-day Saints, post mortem evangelisation is merely a continuation of the process begun in mortality by the light of Christ (and by association, other religions).

Implications for an Interfaith Dialogue

For Latter-day Saints Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14: 6) and the Church is “the only true and living Church upon the face of the whole earth” (D&C 1:30). These truths and the validity of the Restoration are the basis of any starting point for interfaith dialogue. These can be seen to be arrogant claims to make , however, for Latter-day Saints to begin from another position would base the dialogue on dishonesty.

To sit at the inter-faith table without this fact, painful as it may be in face of the other, is to engage in a dishonest dialogue dishonestly. Our very need to sit together is grounded not only in what we share but—and herein lies the rub—in the differences we have. A number of very real dangers can arise from various quarters if this is ignored. There is, first, the danger that we sit down not as the other but as the same and thus do not sit down as religious people wishing to engage in dialogue at all. By this is meant that if we gather together around shared values (perhaps associated with one of many shades of social liberalism), we do not gather together primarily identifying as people of particular faiths but only secondarily so: we can run the danger of actually gathering together as people who are united by a (for all of the vagueness of this term) liberal agenda, through which we then see our own faith….)

This leads to a second danger. This is that we do not engage in dialogue but in mutual agreement and “head nodding.” Without confronting the painful reality of the exclusive ultimates that we have (however inclusive these may be), we run the risk of entering into the kind of universalizing in which modernity has engaged in its understanding of religion—seeing ourselves as all the same and not, therefore, presenting the at times problematic elements of the coexistence of our faiths in the religiously and socially heterogeneous communities of which we are a part (Greggs, 2007: 81-82).

There is a growing use of the term “ecumenism” within the membership of the Church to describe interfaith dialogue. I cannot be more emphatic in saying that this is incorrect− ecumenism has as its goal the bringing together of Churches (for example recently in the UK the Church of England and Methodism have announced plans to merge). This is not the purpose of interfaith dialogue for Latter-day Saints. We must be honest about this.

If members of the Church are to understand their role and purpose in engaging in interfaith dialogue they need to understand their exclusive starting point. MacIntyre argues “Such a person is confronted by the claims of each of the traditions which we have considered as well as by those of other traditions. How is it rational to respond to them? The initial answer is: that will depend upon who you are and how you understand yourself” (MacIntyre, 1988:393). People are only prepared for interfaith dialogue when they are confident in their position and recognize the resultant view of other faiths.

From a Latter-day Saint perspective this means recognizing that there is error and falsity in other religions that are in direct contradiction to the Restored Gospel. As much as a Muslim shares common values with Latter-day Saints they still deny the divinity of Christ. Similarly, Latter-day Siants share many beliefs about God with fellow Christians, but he is not triune. Elements of other faiths, at best, are philosophies of men; at worst, the inspiration of the devil. In interfaith dialogue these areas would need to be engaged with rather than passed over; in this way a Latter-day Siant could be seen to be standing “as a witness of God at all times and in all things” (Mosiah 18:9).

However, it also means recognizing that there is truth in other faiths; that those following these faiths are not other but fellow children of God at a different point in their eternal progression, these faiths are providing their adherents with the opportunity to respond to the light of Christ.

If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way. Do you believe in Jesus Christ and the Gospel of salvation which he revealed? So do I. Christians should cease wrangling and contending with each other, and cultivate the principles of union and friendship in their midst; and they will do it before the millennium can be ushered in and Christ takes possession of His kingdom. (Smith, 1938: 313)

This also means that a member of the Church recognizes the value and purpose of such dialogue­ and not see it as a diluting experience. Hinckley suggested that in such encounters members should “Look for their (those of other faiths’) strengths and virtues, and you will find strengths and virtues in your own life” (cit Dew, 1996: 576). This will, in no small part, come from defining oneself as other− in asserting and defending unique and divergent beliefs with those taught in other faiths as evidenced in the First Vision. However, it will also come inn the encounter between people and faiths “it is the space between us that constitutes holy ground, holiness being discovered through encounter” (Teece, 1993: 8). In genuine interfaith encounter people can develop strength and faith as they are open to learn from each other: “When our hearts and minds are properly focussed, our dialogues with one another, however impassioned they may be, become the means by which we lovingly help each other appreciate aspects of God’s work we might otherwise overlook or fail to understand” (Boyd, 2000: 20). Participants are able to learn things about their own faith as well as another person’s: “One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may” (Smith, 1938: 313).

Although missionary work is an important part of a Latter-day Saint’s life (see D&C 88:82) it is not the only purpose of interfaith dialogue. The missiological imperative of the Church cannot be completely ignored. A further purpose, as already highlighted, is to provide a space for understanding and encounter where people can feel strengthened in living their own faith:. This could be on a personal or community level as evidenced through the assistance that such collaborations offer to moral or social issues. Is this at odds with the Restored Gospel? Joseph Smith taught :

The Saints can testify whether I am willing to lay down my life for my brethren. If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a Mormon, I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denominations who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves. (1938: 313)

A person is truly living the Gospel as they help others live their faith without fear of condemnation. “and thus to treat those with differing views with the dignity and respect they deserve” (Millet, 2005: 172) From a Latter-day Saint perspective if this is the attitude members adopt then the light of Christ followers of other religion recognize will lead ultimately to fulfillment in the Gospel either in this life or the next.

 

Summary

  • Be honest about the exclusive position and teachings we hold.
  • Be true to the First Vision its legacy.
  • Appreciate the truth found in other religions.
  • Help others live their religion.

Select Bibliography

Barth, K. (1956). Church Dogmatics Volume I. The Doctrine of the Word of God. Edinburgh: T&T Clark.

Dew, S. (1996). Go Forward With Faith. A Biography of Gordon B. Hinckley. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book.

Greggs, T. (2007). Bringing Barth’s Critique of Religion to the Inter-faith Table. Journal of Religion, 88(1), 75-94.

Hull, J. M. (1991). Mishmash: Religious Education in Multicultural Britain – A Study in Metaphor (Birmingham Papers) . Birmingham: CEM.

MacIntyre, A. (1988). Whose Justice? Which Rationality? . London: Duckworth.

Mauss, A. (1994). The Angel and the Beehive: the Mormon Struggle with Assimilation . Illinois: University of Illinois.

McConkie, B. R. (1973). Doctrinal New Testament Commentary Volume III: Colossians- Revelation. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft.

McConkie, B. R. (1979). Mormon Doctrine. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft.

McConkie, B. R. (1981). The Promised Messiah. Salt Lake City: Deseret.

McConkie, J., & Ostler, C. (2000). Revelations of the Restoration. A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants and other modern revelations. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book.

Millet, R. L. (2005). A Different Jesus? The Christ of the Latter-day Saints. Grand Rapids: William B Eerdmans.

Ogden, D., Muhlestein, K., Ludlow, J., & Valletta, T. S. (2009). Preface. In D. Ogden, K. Muhlestein, & Ludlow, The Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. The 38th Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B Sperry Symposium (pp. vii-x). Salt Lake City/ Provo: Deseret/ BYU Religious Studies Centre.

Rahner, K. (1999). Christianity and the Non-Christian Religions. In R. Plantinga (Ed.), Christianity and Plurality. Classic and Contemporary Readings (pp. 288-303). Blackwell.

Sitati, J. (2009, November). Blessings of the Gospel available to all. Ensign, pp. 103-105.

Smith, J. (1938). Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft.

Smith, J. (1980). History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (B. H. Roberts, Ed.) Salt Lake City: Deseret Book.

Smith, J. F. (1939). Gospel Doctrine. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book .

Teece, G. (1993). In Defence of Theme Teaching in RE, Westhill Occasional Paper 2. Birmingham: University of Birmingham.

The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (1978). Statement of the First Presidency, February 15, 1978. In S. Palmer, The Expanding Church (p. 1). Salt Lake City: Deseret Book.

 

[1] There is a debate in Latter-day Saint writings about the nature of salvation and its relationship to the degrees of glory and the concept of exaltation. McConkie has spoken of three different usages of the term salvation:

  1. Unconditional or general salvation, that which comes by grace alone without obedience to gospel law, consists in the mere fact of being resurrected. In this sense salvation is synonymous with immortality; it is the inseparable connection of body and spirit so that the resurrected personage lives forever. This kind of salvation eventually will come to all mankind…
  2. Conditional or individual salvation, that which comes by grace coupled with gospel obedience, consists in receiving an inheritance in the celestial kingdom of God…
  3. Salvation in its true and full meaning is synonymous with exaltation or eternal life and consists in gaining an inheritance in the highest of the three heavens within the celestial kingdom. With few exceptions this is the salvation of which the scriptures speak. It is the salvation which the saints seek (1979: 669-70 emphasis added, italics in the original).

However, the Encyclopedia of Mormonism suggests that “Some degree of salvation will come to all of God’s children… It is evident from such teachings that there are different degrees or levels of salvation in the afterlife” (Burton, 1992: 1256-7).[1] Recently, this multiplicity of use has been reemphasised in the Church’s General Conference (see Oaks, 1998; Nelson, 2008) and to some degree maintains the possibility of misinterpretation.

That through him all might be saved whom the Father had put into his power and made by him;  Who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands, except those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him. Wherefore, he saves all except them… (D&C 76: 42-44).

The word “might” in this passage taken out of context could be used to suggest a limited salvation− in the sense that Christ has offered salvation to all but that might not be accepted by all. However, the qualification that “he saves all except them” (meaning the sons of perdition) suggests that salvation is a general gift given to all. Thus, there being gradations of salvation aids this work in understanding the fate of those outside of the highest degree (exaltation). It is on this basis that exaltation and salvation will be differentiated in the language of this chapter.

[2] Those who accept the Gospel in the Spirit world after rejecting it in mortality will receive the Terrestrial Kingdom (see D&C 76: 74).

[3] Whether it can be said to be the “same” standard when the ethical standard differs for all is a moot point for Latter-day Saints when considered alongside the parable of the vineyard (Matt 20: 1-16). In this all receive the same reward if they worked according the time given to them.

[4] In further detail some of the doctrines believed to be outlined are: “the first principles and ordinances of the gospel; the pillars of the Creation, Fall and Atonement; the ordinance of celestial marriage and subsequent importance of children, posterity, and family history work; the covenant and the mission of holy and chosen people; the sacrament; tithes and offerings; patriarchs and patriarchal blessings; names and titles of God, Jehovah, Jesus Christ; the appearance of God and angels; the role of prophets and prophecies; revelation, dreams and visions; premortal life; the spirit world; worship practices; record keeping; miracles; observance of holy days, and Sabbaths; priesthood functions and administrations; Temples and Temple worship; clothing and sealing power; laws of health; scattering and gathering of Israel; apostasy and restoration; missionary work, or raising the warning voice to individuals and nations; human deification(theosis, or the doctrine of humans’ potential to become like Heavenly Father); signs of the last days; the Second Coming; the Millennium; and Zion. All these things were known and taught in Old Testament times” (Ogden, Muhlestein, Ludlow, & Valletta, 2009: viii-ix).

[5] References to those who had the fullness and practiced the law of Moses refers to all of the prophets in the Old Testament: “Some say the kingdom of God was not set up on the earth until the day of Pentecost, and that John [the Baptist] did not preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. But I say, in the name of the Lord, that the kingdom of God was set up on the earth from the days of Adam to the present time, whenever there has been a righteous man on earth unto whom God revealed His word and gave power and authority to administer in His name”  (Smith J. , 1938: 71; see also Jacob 4: 5) and the Nephites in the Book of Mormon (see for example Mosiah 4: 6-8; 2 Nephi 5:10; Jarom 1:5; Mosiah 2:3).

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