Monday, December 06, 2004


Two nights ago my wife and I watched Luther, a spectacular, moving film starring Joseph Fiennes as Martin Luther. For those unacquainted with religious history, Martin Luther was one of the first of the religious reformers of the 16th century. This movie is truly a masterpiece, and gives a glimpse into Luther's life and his personal and public trials. The film also serves to give the viewer a greater understanding of the time period and of the origins of the Reformation.

It also made me think a lot about Joseph Smith, the prophet of the Restoration. Had it not been for reformers like Luther, who helped open people's minds to thinking about the gospel for themselves rather than accepting doctrines and practices that had no scriptural basis, it may have been much more difficult for a restoration of the gospel to occur. I am reminded of a statement given by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1978, quoted by President Faust in the March 2002 Ensign:
"The great religious leaders of the world such as Mohammed, 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. . . . We believe that God has given and will give to all peoples sufficient knowledge to help them on their way to eternal salvation" ("Statement of the First Presidency regarding God's Love for All Mankind," 15 Feb. 1978, qtd. by James E. Faust)
President Hinckley, the prophet who leads the Church today, has frequently and openly invited those of other faiths, "You bring all the good that you have and let us see if we can add to it" [1][2][3]. Latter-day Saints respect the work of the reformationists, and are even more grateful for the restoration of the gospel for our time. To learn more about the Restoration, you can get a completely free video from that depicts the First Vision and the beginnings of the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith. You can choose to have representatives bring it to your home at no cost to you. Or if you prefer you can watch the video online first.

And again, if you're at all interested in the history of postbiblical Christianity or the Reformation of the 1500s, I highly recommend that you rent Luther starring Joseph Fiennes from your local video store.