Letters: Got it wrong in Vail Daily column
Vail CO, Colorado
In response to Van Ens’ “No religion test for candidates”:
I was intrigued by the history Rev. Dr. Van Ens presented of evangelical opposition to the “atheist” Jefferson, but I would have appreciated a more accurate characterization of the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To us, Jesus is indeed God, by divine investiture from his Father.
In every edition since 1830, the title page has declared its purpose, “to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL God, manifesting himself unto all nations.” (Emphasis is in the original).
Consider also the words of Nephi, almost six centuries before Christ: “And as I spake concerning the convincing of the Jews, that Jesus is the very Christ, it must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced also that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God;
Again, Benjamin, more than a century before Christ, declared: “And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.”
It is true that Latter-day Saints believe that the Father and the Son have tangible bodies of flesh and bone, but we rely not only on the testimony of Joseph Smith, who saw them; we rely also on the Bible and the Book of Mormon. The resurrected Christ himself said to his disciples, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”
Again, we believe the testimony of the angels to his disciples, after they saw him ascend to heaven in that body: “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.”
We also believe the testimony of the martyr Stephen, who saw Jesus after his ascension, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”
Finally, we also rely on the testimony of about 2,500 souls in the Book of Mormon who obeyed his command, “Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.”