Wednesday, March 23, 2016

How great thou art February 8,2016

So this week was really good. We did a lot of service this week. We helped a member moved from a different apartment on friday. That took all day. We also helped a lady clean up her back yard. It was really nice to be outside. We have also been helping more people do family history. We have seen some amazing miracles as we have found people. We helped a member who is trying to get back to the temple with family history. For district meeting I helped all of the members of the district to find a name so they can also help others in the branch to find names to take to the temple. On Saturday we had branch temple day so the whole district took the names to do initiatory and endowment session. It was awesome! I also saw Sister Ortega from the West Bank there so that was awesome to see her. The film was the old film. That was my first time seeing that one.

This week we had a ton of appointments with investigators but a lot fell through. We still were fairly busy with service. We were able to manage to see Wendy Mejia a less active. We also saw Alfonso we taught him family history. It was still a busy week. We also had our english class we taught. Yesterday we were able visit a couple of investigators.

So for my spiritual thought is on the apostasy. One talk that I really like was a devotional given at Ricks College. This is not done by the church but it is a great devotional.

 Now will you record some dates very quickly. I’d like to build a historical case for why I believe why 1820 was the only time the gospel of Jesus Christ could have been restored and survive on the planet.

Start with the year 0 in your notes. Just write these very quickly. The year 0: the Savior was born. It wasn’t really the year 0. Five centuries later, they decided it ought to be the year 0 because that was a significant event, so it is now, in our calendars, the year 0.

30 A.D. is the next date you need to write. The Savior is now a grown man. We don’t know a great deal about His first thirty years. We have a scripture in Hebrews that says He grew in stature and wisdom and that sort of thing, but we don’t know a lot about His first thirty years.

33 A.D., third date. Three years after His ministry He had established a church. Called and established a specific form for that church. Rejected by the people and He was crucified. 33 A.D. At that point, it was the charge of the apostles and the organization of the church at that point to go throughout the world, strengthen and build the church.

The next date you need to write is 42 A.D. In 42 A.D., Peter went to Rome and established the Church in Rome. He ordained a bishop in Rome by the name of Linus. Linus is the man to whom the Catholics retrace their historical lineage.

In 43 A.D., the next date you need to write, Paul, performing the function that apostles still perform, went back to Rome to see how the church was doing. Discovered that in one short year, the church under the Bishop Linus had completely apostatized from what Peter had established. Read the first chapter of Romans in the New Testament, understanding that that chapter was written upon Paul’s return from Rome and described what he found there. As a result of this apostasy that had taken place in Rome, Paul established a new leader of the church in Rome, a deacon by the name of Linus as well. History kind of gets messed up here between the two Linuses  but understand the deacon Linus was the authorized leader of the Church of Jesus Christ in Rome. Bishop Linus was an aberrant church already.

The next date you need to write is 64 A.D. In 64 A.D., Nero, then in charge in Rome, a little screwy, but he had Linus the deacon killed. When Linus the deacon was killed, the Church of Jesus Christ – the authorized, sanctioned Church of Jesus Christ – disappeared from Rome. The Christian church under the Bishop Linus was still there and surviving.
The next date you need to write is 70 A.D. In 70 A.D., the Roman Tenth Legion came down through the Armagaeddon Valley under the direction of General Silva (?). Destroyed the city of Jerusalem. Between 70 A.D. and 1948, the Jewish people had nowhere to call home. They were spread throughout the world. No homeland for the Jews until 1948. That’s when the Massad Experience  took place. They made a movie about that. You might remember the movie.

The next date we need to write is about 78 A.D., about I say because we’re not sure of the actual date – it was about 7 or 8 years after the destruction of Jerusalem. The Bishop Linus – at that point, the church was called the Church of Rome – received a letter from one of his people, and in this letter the person said, “You know, we really are a universal church.” And Linus thought about that and said, “You know, we really are a universal church. We are trying to appeal to everyone in Rome. Why don’t we call ourselves the universal church?” At that point, they became known as the Roman Catholic Church.

The next date you need to write is 96 A.D. In 96 A.D., John, the Revelator, banished to the isle of Patmos. Understand that up to that point it was the role of the apostles to go out through the world and build the church. They had some success but not a lot. All of the apostles, save John, were killed, many of them in ugly ways. Peter, for example, was crucified in Rome. Didn’t feel worthy to be crucified the same way the Savior was so he asked if they would mind turning him upside down. They graciously accommodated him and he died on his head on a cross. 96 A.D., John is the last one left. He goes to the isle of Patmos. Between 96 and 101, the Book of Revelation is written and John disappears. Until latter-day revelation, no one ever knew what happened to John.

But in 101 A.D., the apostasy was complete. No one on the earth now authoritatively capable of saying, “Thus saith the Lord” because no one on the earth was speaking to the Lord. The apostasy now complete.

The next date you need to write: 320 A.D. In 320 A.D. – understand that between 101 and 320 A.D., life for the Christians was an ugly experience, even the Christians under the Bishop Linus. The Christians you read about in the catacombs of Rome were not the Christians that Paul had established, but they were the apostate group. They had an ugly time. In 320 A.D., Constantine, now in charge, he had an interesting problem. He had a nation of people of all different kinds of religions. He was bugged by that, and so he sent some of the learned people, about 380 of them, over to a place called Nicea and the first Nicene council was held. The charter was given to these people by Constantine and it was, “I want you to describe God. Define God. You tell me what God is all about and that’s the way everybody will believe.” They went away for several weeks and came back and presented Constantine with a document that is known as the Nicene Creed. Brothers and Sisters, if you have not read and are familiar with the Nicene Creed, you ought to be. Read it this week. In essence it says: “God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are one. They’re not really one, but they’re sort of one, because they’re kind of one, we think they ought to be one, therefore they are one.” Read it. You need to understand it. That document is the basic document now that is accepted by most of the Christian faiths in the world as a description of God. We find now, the beginnings now, the Roman Catholic church now becomes the formal church of state. Up until this time, it was just trying to survive. Now it becomes the church and this is the way people are going to believe. A period of history begins now called the Reign of the Popes. Was this a religiously tolerant time, brothers and sisters? No. The popes were not just ecclesiastical leaders. They became emperors and kings as well.

The next date you need to write is 785 A.D. 785, Empress Irene was in charge. She had another council in the same place. She sent her learned people off to Nicea. In the Second Nicene Council, the canonization of saints takes place. Idol worship enters into the Catholic Church. Understand, brothers and sisters, that you cannot read European history and Catholic history as two separate histories. They are the same. Who wrote history back then? The only ones who could read and write were primarily the clergy, and a few wealthy.

The next date you need to write is 1100 A.D. In 1100 A.D., there were three popes. They broke off from each other, three different European cities. They all excommunicated each other and then went to war to prove who was the only true and living pope. I’m not here making fun of Catholic history. I’m here helping us understand. We need to understand the fact that the Apostasy was very real. The next date we need to write is 1200 A.D.

In 1200 A.D., two significant events took place. First, the advent of the printing press. Up until 1200 A.D., how many people could read? Not many. The printing press surfaces and has a major impact on the culture in Europe in the next hundred years. We’ll talk about that in a moment. The next event, the man in charge in Rome: Pope Innocent III. Pope Innocent III was known in history as The Boss Pope. He was fighting wars all the time. He was fighting on three fronts. Started to run out of money. Decided he needed a creative way of raising money for his wars. And so he initiated in the church a money-making program called the Sale of Indulgences. This was a significant event 300 years later; we’ll discover why in a moment. The Sale of Indulgences simply means you can pay to have your sins remitted. I’ve often wondered why we don’t do that. We could build lots of chapels. It even got to the point where you could prepay sins. “I’m going to Vegas for the weekend, Bishop. Here’s a thousand bucks. Cover me.” “You’re covered.”

The next date you need to write is 1300 A.D. 1300 A.D., revolution begins in Europe, not a revolution of knives and swords, but a cultural revolution. That revolution is known and we refer to it now as The Renaissance. European culture turns upsidedown. One of the reasons was the advent of the printing press. More people had more information. Questions started to be asked that never had been asked before and the culture turns upside down.

The next date we need to write is 1492. Surely, what happened in 1492. You got that right. Columbus, a product of the Renaissance, was part of a growing number that said, “You know, this is not a flat world. It’s round.” And so he conned the queen out of three boats and he finds the New World.

The next date we need to write, very few short years later, 1515 A.D. Martin Luther surfaces. 1515, Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk, one of the highest orders in the Catholic Church, a product of the Renaissance, he had access to many of the ancient documents. He had a major problem. His problem was the Sale of Indulgences. He said, “I don’t think that’s right. I can’t find anything in the ancient writings that the Savior said anything about the sale of indulgences.” Ultimately, he developed 95 questions that bothered him a lot. He nailed these questions to the door of the cathedral in Wuttenburg, Germany. That’s how he communicated. Took several weeks for people to wander by and see the questions. It bugged the church a lot. He was then pulled before several church courts and told, “Back off with your questions or you’ll be excommunicated.” Understand that excommunication in the 14th, 15th centuries was tantamount to death. Martin Luther did not want to destroy the Catholic Church. He loved the Catholic Church. He wanted to get back to what was being taught at the time of Christ. The next several years were not a good experience for Martin Luther. He would not back off from is questions.

Next date you need to write is 1523. In 1523, Martin Luther was excommunicated from the church and the church put out a proclamation, saying, “We will not consider it murder to kill Martin Luther.” They put out a papal hit on Martin Luther. He had to go into hiding. He was protected by a group of wealthy German princes. The German princes, quite frankly, I don’t believe were particularly interested in his theology, but they were not interested in paying tribute to Rome any more. And so they created a church. Finally they talked Martin Luther into heading that church. He didn’t want to at first, but when they started trying to kill him, he decided he would. He became the head of the Lutheran Church. Brothers and sisters, if there is a people on the planet today that have a testimony of the Apostasy, it’s the Lutheran Church. That’s why they exist. They have documented it very carefully.

The next date you need to write is 1534. In 1534, King Henry VIII in England had a problem with his wife. He wanted to unload her. And so he went to the pope and said, “I want to divorce my wife.” The pope said, “You can’t do that. There is no divorce in the church.” He looked over at Germany and said, “You know, Luther’s doing all right. I think I’ll create my own thing.” And so he created the Church of England and it breaks from the Catholic Church. Was that a popular decision in England? Really wasn’t. Many wars resulted. Ugly, terrible battles as a result of that decision. He was able then to get rid of his wife. No revelation. No saying, “I talked to somebody in heaven.” But he said, “I want to get rid of my wife.” A church starts. What church in America today is the Church of England? The Episcopal Church.

The next date you need to write is 1540. I’m just mentioning a couple of the major reformers. By the way, go back to 1515 – the Reformation starts. There had been some earlier reformers but the major beginning of the Reformation really goes through Martin Luther. The reformation begins. 1540. Man by the name of John Calvin in Switzerland and France starts an organization called the Huguenots. He was a disciple of Martin Luther. Didn’t agree with everything that Luther was doing, but he said, “I think he’s on the right track. Something’s wrong.” The Huguenots begin. Presbyterians in America today.

Next date is 1560. 1560 in England, John Knox. John Knox, a disciple of both Calvin and Luther, says “You know, I think they’re on the right track but they’re not totally on the right track. Think I’ll start my own thing.” And the Puritans begin.

The next date you need to write is 1575. 1575, an event took place in Paris, France, called Bartholomew Day. This was not an isolated incident, but I plug this in here to give you an idea as to how the Reformation was being received in Europe. Bartholomew Day, a pogrom took place in Paris, France. The Catholics rose up and destroyed every Protestant they could find. There was a bloodbath in Paris. Bartholomew Day. The Reformation was not a popular movement.
The next date you need to write is 1620, not too many years later. What happened in 1620? The Puritans come to America. Fed up now with the lack of the freedoms that they wanted, they came to America. 1620, a nation is invented. It was discovered by Columbus. It was invented by the Puritans. The United States of America has its humble beginnings. Between 1620 and 1776, a nation is born.

The next date you need to write is 1776. 1776, we’d had enough. We wrote a letter to King George. It said something like this: “We’re tired of your taxes. We don’t like your troops over here. In fact, we don’t like you. Will you take them home. We’re going to be our own thing.” Now that paraphrases the Declaration of Independence a little bit, but that’s basically what it said. An ugly war began. George was not very excited about that and for the next six years, a war. The Revolution. For some, miracle. May I suggest to you, having done a military study of the Revolution, there is no way that war could have been won without the direct intervention of God. I believe that with all my heart.

1781’s the next date you need to write. The war ends.

1785 is the next date. A meeting begins in Philadelphia. They discover the Articles of Confederation are not working. We need another document. It took two more years, until 1787, to finish the Constitution. For the first time, in the incorporating papers of any nation on the planet, a guarantee of the freedom of religion was written into the constitution. 1787, it is signed at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

The next date you need to write is 1805. How many years between 1787 and 1805? Not very many. Who was born in 1805? Joseph Smith. Now, maybe – maybe – the Church can survive again on the planet. The Prophet is born in upstate New York.

The next date you need to write is 1812. A significant war was fought in 1812. What was the name of that war? That’s good. The War of 1812. That’s a significant war. Why? This time, we beat the British with some definite win. We had our own navy now. The USS Constitution had been commissioned in 1797. We had a major win. They came up the Potomac River, levelled the White House, we didn’t like that very much and we won soundly this time. We threw them off and we said, “No one will ever fight a war against us again on our own land.” That was the last war fought with an external force on American soil. We had a little family trouble in 1860, but that was internal. Last war with an external force.

Next date you need to write is 1820. What happened in 1820? Joseph Smith, the boy prophet, goes into a grove of trees, wanting to know: “Something’s wrong. There are a lot of people teaching different things. What church should I join?” And the Lord and Jesus Christ appear to him and the Restoration begins.

The next date you need to write is 1830. 1830, the Church is formally established on the earth. You might be interested to know that in 1830, in Washington, DC, the patent office, the US Patent Office, was closed. You can read in the congressional record for that year, “We’ve decided to close the patent office because everything has been invented that could possibly be invented.” 1830. It’s been opened since. More progress on this planet since 1830, brothers and sisters, than in all 5,000 years past.

Now I’m going to ask you a question. Why was the gospel restored in 1820? Why didn’t the Lord appear to a young man in a grove of trees in Europe in 1512? If Martin Luther had come out of a grove of trees and said, “I just talked to God and Jesus Christ and you know that they said? We’re all messed up.” How long would he have survived? Twenty minutes, maybe? Not very long. I would suggest to you, brothers and sisters, that the reason the Lord restored the Church in 1820 is because that is the only time that it could possibly have survived on the planet. And it almost didn’t survive then. Was there religiou s freedom in America in 1830? No. Was Joseph Smith welcomed with “You talked to God and Christ? Boy, that’s exciting. Tell us what they had to say.” No, they weren’t excited about that. Ultimately, they had to leave the confines of the United States and come to a God-forsaken place called Salt Lake City to survive. Brigham Young did not say “This is the place.” He said, “This is the place?” No, that’s a joke. That’s a joke. That’s a joke. They had to come out here to survive. There is another date we need to write in your notes. The date you need to superimpose, you need to go back to 1817 and write in the birth of another person over in Europe. A man by the name of Karl Marx. You know who Karl Marx was, I trust. Is there any coincidence that the opposition raised up its leader the same time the Lord raised up His? I don’t think there was a coincidence.

I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and for the blessings and the guidance of the gospel. I know this church is true! The Church has been restored to the earth. The book of Mormon is a testimony that God is the same yesterday today and forever. It came forth by revelation and is a testimony that God still reveals his will to us in these Last days. It is a second Witness that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the almighty God. It is a testimony that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true and only true church on the earth and his the Lords kingdom established in preparatory for the Lord's Second Coming. I miss yall so much and I am so grateful to be serving a mission. YALL HAVE AN AMAZING WEEK!!!!
Elder Richardson

Make yourself at home.

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