Gospel Doctrine 2015 – Lesson 28 – “We Are Witnesses”

  1. The Lord ascends into heaven. Matthias is called to be an Apostle.

Acts 1: 4 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

“The world is hard pressed to give any meaningful explanation as to what took place during the forty days that Christ ministered to the Twelve following his resurrection (see Acts 1:3). In fact, their attempts at commentary are embarrassingly poor. To Latter-day Saints the matter seems most obvious…to teach the nature of vicarious ordinances, and to instruct the Apostles in the fulness of the temple ceremony.” (Robert L. Millet and Joseph Fielding McConkie, The Life Beyond [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1986], 159.)

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

This verse is the keynote for the whole of the book of Acts.

Acts 1:10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

‘This address was designed to comfort the disciples. Though their master and friend was taken from them, yet he was not removed forever. He would come again with similar majesty and glory to vindicate his people, and to tread his enemies under his feet.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

Acts 1:21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,

22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,

25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.

26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Mark E. Petersen stated, “There was a great significance in this action. It demonstrated beyond all doubt the fact that it was the plan and purpose of the Lord that the Quorum of Twelve should continue to be a Quorum of Twelve and not a Quorum of Eleven, or a Quorum of Ten, or Nine, finally to disappear…It gave encouragement to the Saints. It proved to them and to all men that the Church organization as provided by the Savior was to go on without change as long as men were willing to hear and accept the true gospel.” (“Which Church is Right,” Latter-day Tracts [Pamphlets], 6.)


“Is there a difference between the organization of the Church today and anciently?

Since I was ordained an apostle on October 7, 1943, I have participated and assisted in the call of a great many General Authorities. How were they called? May I assure you that every one of those men was called by God, by prophecy and by revelation. There was a process of elimination through much fasting and prayer. Many people may have been considered, but finally, one man from the entire Church was nominated by the Prophet of the Lord, approved by his counselors and by the members of the Council of the Twelve, sustained by the people, and ordained by the Prophet of the Lord. This is comparable to the same operation in the days of Peter following the ascension of the Christ, when the remaining apostles, with Peter presiding as the prophet of God, combed the area for great men and by the process of elimination brought it down to two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. Peter took leadership and explained the qualifications necessary, stating that the appointee must have been associated with them during the entire ministry of the Christ from his baptism to his ascension, thus being a special witness of the Christ. (Spencer W Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972], 45.)

2. On the day of Pentecost, the Apostles are filled with the Holy Ghost.

Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

The Feast of Pentecost was the Jewish feast which attracted the most visitors from foreign lands.

2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

The rushing might wind is a symbol of the powerful force of the Spirit.

3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

An audible symbol is followed by a visible symbol.

4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The outward manifestation of the ability to speak with other tongues was a sign of the greater and more marvellous gift that had been bestowed upon them.

Acts 2: 5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilæans?

‘Galileans – Inhabitants of Galilee. It was remarkable that they should speak in this manner, because:

(1) They were ignorant, rude, and uncivilized, John 1:46. Hence, the term Galilean was used as an expression of the deepest reproach and contempt, Mark 14:70, John 7:52.

(2) Their dialect was proverbially barbarous and corrupt, Mark 14:70; Matthew 26:73. They were regarded as an outlandish people, unacquainted with other nations and languages, and hence, the amazement that they could address them in the refined language of other people. Their native ignorance was the occasion of making the miracle more striking.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

Acts 2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judæa, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,

10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

“‘They shall speak with new tongues.’ (Mark 16:17.) So said Jesus of those who would believe his gospel. And now amid this Pentecostal outpouring of divine grace, the purpose of this gift of the Spirit is dramatically set forth. It is to preach the gospel, to make known God’s saving truths, and to do it under faith-promoting and testimony-inspiring circumstances. Peter and the others spoke and people of all languages and tongues understood, thus showing forth the power of God and foreshadowing the apostolic ministry which would take the gospel to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.

“In speaking of the purpose of the gift of tongues, Joseph Smith said: ‘The gift of tongues by the power of the Holy Ghost in the Church, is for the benefit of the servants of God to preach to unbelievers, as on the day of Pentecost.’ (Teachings, p. 195.) Also: ‘Be not so curious about tongues, do not speak in tongues except there be an interpreter present; the ultimate design of tongues is to speak to foreigners, and if persons are very anxious to display their intelligence, let them speak to such in their own tongues [that is in the tongues of the foreigners].’ (Teachings, pp. 247-248.) (Bruce R McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 2: 33.)

Acts 2:14 ¶But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judæa, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

17 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:

“Because Peter, referring to the Spirit that was then resting upon the Twelve Apostles, said, ‘this is that which was spoken by the Prophet Joel,’ etc., the very general opinion prevails that Joel’s prophecy was then fulfilled; and hence the last days were come. This is an entire misapprehension of the purpose of Peter in making the quotation; as also of the quoted passage itself. Beyond all controversy Peter meant only: This Spirit which you now see resting upon these Apostles of Jesus of Nazareth, is that same Spirit which your Prophet Joel says will, in the last days, be poured out upon all flesh. Obviously he did not mean that this occasion of the Apostles receiving the Holy Ghost was a complete fulfilment of Joel’s prediction. To insist upon such an exegesis would be to charge the chief of the Apostles with palpable ignorance of the meaning of Joel’s prophecy. On the occasion in question the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the Twelve Apostles, who were given the power to speak in various tongues; Joel’s prophecy for its complete fulfilment requires that the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Ghost, shall be poured out upon all flesh; and undoubtedly refers to that time which shall come in the blessed millennium when the enmity shall not only cease between man and man, but even between the beasts of the forests and of the fields; and between man and beast..” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church)

Acts 2: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

“…the angel of the Lord declared to John that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy; and the Prophet Joseph Smith has declared that every man who has come into this Church; and every woman, for that matter, who has received the testimony of the Spirit of the Lord, is a prophet or a prophetess; that every man should be a prophet, because every man in the Church should have the testimony of Jesus which is the spirit of prophecy; and he should declare the truth, teach the principles of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, call upon the people to repent of their sins, and instruct them in the things of the kingdom.” (Elder Joseph F Smith Jr, Conference Report, April 1918, Second Meeting Outdoors. 158 – 159.)

Acts 2:19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:

Blood, fire and smoke are all symbols of war.

Acts2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

“This is called the great day of the Lord, because on that day he will be signally manifested, more impressively and strikingly than on other times. The word “notable,” ἐπιφανῆ epiphanē, means “signal, illustrious, distinguished.” In Joel the word is “terrible or fearful”; a word applicable to days of calamity, and trial, and judgment.” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

“That is the kind of teaching that introduced the gospel of Jesus Christ in the ancient day. There is no equivocation, no temporizing, there is no dodging of the issue. There is the straightforward declaration that this man who had lived among them was recognized of God, that they had taken him in foul hands and had destroyed his life, but that he was raised up and had become and was recognized of God as both Lord and Christ.

That is our religion. That is what we believe. Wipe that out, and we have nothing left upon which to rest our faith. It is basic to every principle that is acknowledged in our teaching.” (Elder Albert E Bowen, Conference Report, April 1952, Afternoon Meeting 64.)

Acts 2:37 ¶Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

“Ever since, this very question has been asked by people all over the world, by people like you and me. Daily we are confronted with decisions concerning our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of those around us. Our decisions are based upon our understanding of what is good and right for us, and we try to avoid pitfalls and mistakes. We hope for happiness, and we wish for comfort.

In my own life, this hope and wish for a happier and more meaningful life causes me to evaluate my daily decisions more carefully. And never do I feel the need for some guiding principle more than when I come to a crossroad, for without some direction I feel incapable of pursuing my course consistently.

But it is one thing to know the way, and another to take it. Some of us probably struggle to find guiding principles, some sort of foundation on which to build, and others have designed the perfect plan but never find the motivation, time, or courage to use it. In one way or another, we are paralyzed by the lack of understanding that true happiness comes from realizing our plans, beliefs, and hopes.

I believe that the foundation and guiding light for all our decisions is the gospel of Jesus Christ and His message to the world. The teachings of Christ must be embedded in our desire to choose the right and in our wish to find happiness. His righteous life must be reflected in our own actions. The Lord not only teaches love, Heis love. He not only preached the importance of faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, He lived accordingly. His life reflected the gospel that He preached. There was and is total harmony between His thoughts and His actions.” (Hans B Ringger, General Conference, April 1990)

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto 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.

“By this we learn that the promise of the Holy Ghost is made unto as many as those to whom the doctrine of repentance was to be preached, which was unto all nations…We discover here that we are blending two principles together in these quotations. The first is the principle of repentance, and the second is the principle of the remission of sins; and we learn from Peter that remission of sins is to be obtained by baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ; and the gift of the Holy Ghost follows inevitably, for, says Peter, ‘you shall receive the Holy Ghost.’

“Therefore we believe in preaching the doctrine of repentance in all the world, both to old and young, rich and poor, bond and free…But we discover, in order to be benefitted by the doctrine of repentance, we must believe in obtaining the remission of sins. And in order to obtain the remission of sins, we must believe in the doctrine of baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And if we believe in baptism for the remission of sins, we may expect a fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Ghost, for the promise extends to all whom the Lord our God shall call; and hath He not surely said, as you will find in the last chapter of Revelation-‘And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely’ (Rev. 22:17).” (Joseph Smith, History of The Church, 2: 256 – 257.)

Acts 2:41¶Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

“The apostle’s exhortation was not given in vain; many were awakened and savingly brought to God by it; for the influence of the Holy Spirit accompanied it, and wrought wonders thereby. Many of the same persons that had been eye-witnesses of the death of Christ, and of the prodigies that had attended it, and were not at all influenced by them, were now effectually wrought upon by the preaching of the word, and found it the power of God to their salvation.” (Benson Commentary)

Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;

45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

“The scriptures speak about an interesting religious practice that has sometimes been used over the ages to promote the economic welfare of people. This program has been known by various names, such as the United Order, the Order of Enoch, the Law of Consecration. It is based on the philosophy of an ideal economic order in which everyone works to the full limit of his ability, and each member has the privilege of withdrawing from the total accumulation according to his need rather than according to his ability to contribute. In the ideal operation of this program, no one has that which is above another, and those who are sick or have large families or other kinds of problems share in the total-not according to any equity, but according to what their needs may be.

“We hear of this unique arrangement first in the days of Enoch, one of the greatest prophets who ever lived on this earth…He gathered his people together in the city of Enoch, about which the scripture says: ‘And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.’ (Moses 7:18.)

“We might try to imagine a society in which there were no poor, no slums, no idlers, and no sinners. Apparently this idea worked pretty well in the entire city of Enoch, for all its people were eventually translated and taken up into heaven.

“This economic order was also practiced for a time in the days of Jesus. In Acts 2:44 we find this reference: ‘And all that believed were together, and had all things common.’ The scripture also says: ‘And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things common.’ (Acts 4:32.)

“There was also a period of great righteousness among the Nephites. Of them the record says: ‘And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.’ (4 Ne. 1:3)

“This program would mean a utopia among us if we had the righteousness and self-control to make it work…But because of human weaknesses, this system has never seemed to work very well for very long. We have too much selfishness and too many idlers to make any common program work very well. There are too many people who want to take more out of life than they put in.

“To make this higher law really work, everyone would need to be ambitious, virtuous, and love his neighbor as himself. It would be necessary for each one to live as near to the top of his condition as possible. Because we haven’t been able to qualify for the United Order, the Lord has instituted some lesser laws, including tithing, fast offerings, and other welfare programs. However, because of our personal weaknesses and lack of faith, even these lesser laws are not obeyed very well.” (The Wealth of Wisdom[Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977], 208 – 210.)

  1. Peter and John heal a lame man by the power of Jesus Christ.

Acts 3:6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

“’Such as I have.’ All of us need to ponder those words. Do we, too, have something we need to share? Yes! We have the gospel of Jesus Christ, the gospel of peace, the gospel of joy. We have truths that can make any person better and more fulfilled, any marriage happier and sweeter, any home more heavenly. We have the priesthood power of God to bless our homes and lives and the lives of others. Yes, it is to ourselves, our homes, our quorums, our classes, our Church assignments that we must carry more energetically those things that we have received. And it is to our nonmember neighbors and associates that we are now asked to also “give such as we have.” The Lord has commanded us to do so. We must lengthen our stride and must do it now.” (Spencer W Kimball, “Always a Convert Church: Some Lessons to Learn and Apply This Year,” Ensign, Sept. 1975, 2)

from The Very First Christians Concordia Publishing House
from The Very First Christians
Concordia Publishing House

Acts 3: 12 ¶And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?

13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.

“As if it were a singular fact, the like of which you had never seen? Why do you wonder at what has now happened, when so much greater miracles have lately been performed among you? The fact was indeed marvellous, and they justly wondered at it, but it was no more than what Christ had done many a time. It was but a little before that Christ had raised Lazarus from the dead: nay, and he had lately risen from the dead himself; why did they not marvel at these facts, and why were they not convinced by them?” (Benson Commentary)

Acts 3:16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

“The gist of this verse is a reference to Jesus Christ as a source of miraculous power, not merely because He wrought miracles when on earth, but because from heaven He gave the power of which Peter was but the channel.” (MacLaren’s Expositions)

Acts 4:1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,

2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.

“Hitherto the Jewish authorities had let the disciples alone, either because their attention had not been drawn even by Pentecost and the consequent growth of the Church, or because they thought that to ignore the new sect was the best way to end it. But when its leaders took to vehement preaching in Solomon’s porch, and crowds eagerly listened, it was time to strike in.” (MacLaren’s Expositions)

Acts 4:4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.

As with the feeding of the 5000, this number does not include the number of women and children.

Acts 4:10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

 “The boldness of the declaration was startling. He does not shrink now from confessing the Nazarene as the Messiah. He presses home the fact that, though Pilate had given the formal sentence, it was they who had crucified their King. He proclaims that He has been raised from the dead, and is still as a Power working to heal as when on earth.” (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

Acts 4:13 ¶Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

14 And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,

16 Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.

“Of course, the tidal wave of conversion that swept Jerusalem under Peter’s direction aroused the anger and fear of both Sadducee and Pharisee. But Peter’s compelling declarations could not be silenced. In prison he overwhelmed his accusers with a piercing testimony of Jesus and found himself set free by angels as well as mortal men. Such powers stunned Jewish lawyers, who marveled at these ‘unlearned and ignorant men.’ (Acts 4:13.) They did not understand that in the gospel of Jesus Christ those have never been synonymous terms.” (Jeffrey R Holland, However Long and Hard the Road [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 96.)

Acts 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

“We stand in awe before the great Peter, who had so completely received his total assurances and who had so graciously donned the robe of leadership and the mantle of authority and the courage of the inspired and assured. What strength he had come to have as he led the saints and faced the world with all its persecutors, unbelievers, and difficulties. And, as he rehearsed over and over his absolute knowledge, we glory in his stamina as he faced mobs and prelates, officials who could take his life, and as he boldly proclaimed the resurrected Lord, the Prince of Peace the Holy One and the Just, the Prince of Life, the Prince and Savior. Peter certainly now was sure, impregnable, never to falter. We should gain much sureness by his certainty.” (Spencer W Kimball. General Conference, April 1969)

Acts 4: 29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,

30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.

“Now is the moment in the timetable of the Lord to carry the gospel farther than it has ever been carried before-farther geographically, and farther in density of coverage. Many a person in this world is crying, knowingly and unknowingly, ‘Come over … and help us.’ He might be your neighbor. She might be your friend. He might be a relative. She might be someone you met only yesterday. But we have what they need. Let us take new courage from our studies and pray, as did Peter, ‘And now, Lord, grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word.’ (Acts 4:29.)” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], 593.)

  1. The Apostles continue to preach and heal with great power.

Acts 5: 17 ¶Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,

18 And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.

The high priest was probably Caiaphas.

“They were not merely kept in custody, but dealt with as common criminals, compelled to herd with ruffians and robbers and murderers.” (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

Acts 5:19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,

20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.

“Hereby God evidently showed how impotent the rage of the priests and rulers was against those whom he determined to support.” (Benson Commentary)

Acts 5: 33 ¶When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.

34 Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;

“The grandson of the famous rabbi Hillel and famous in his own right, Gamaliel was a member of the Sanhedrin and a distinguished scholar of the Jewish law during the time when the early church was first getting underway. Paul states that he was ‘brought up at the feet’ of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), an idiomatic expression meaning that he was tutored by the famous master of the law. Gamaliel had a reputation for being tolerant and kindhearted, emphasizing the humanistic considerations of the law, relaxing the demands of Sabbath observance so they were not so rigorous, and encouraging more humane treatment of the woman in divorce laws.” (Institute Manual, The Life and Teachings of Jesus & his Apostles, 2nd ed., p. 245)

Acts 35 And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.

36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.

37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.

38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:

39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.

‘But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.’

“So I would say to all. Refrain from the spirit of condemnation and bitterness against the work of Joseph Smith. If it be of man, it must assuredly fail. If it be of God you cannot destroy it, and it is a terrible thing to be found fighting against God! I am not speaking on this occasion with intention of argument, but merely to bear witness to what I know to be the truth.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, The Restoration of All Things [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1945], 88.)


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