Friday, October 17, 2014

The Great Division: The 1845 Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles

Nephi spoke of a great division in the latter-days before the return of the Son of God to reign as King of Kings.

For the time cometh, saith the Lamb of God, that I will work a great and a marvelous work among the children of men; a work which shall be everlasting, either on the one hand or on the other--either to the convincing of them unto peace and life eternal, or unto deliverance of them to the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds unto their being brought down into captivity, and also into destruction, both temporally and spiritually, according to the captivity of the devil, of which I have spoken (1 Nephi 14:7).

In 1845, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued an official proclamation that was widely circulated. In 1841 Joseph Smith had been commanded by God to "make a solemn proclamation" of the Gospel addressed to "all the kings of the world, to the four corners thereof, to the honorable president-elect, and the high-minded governors of the nation in which you live, and to all the nations of the earth scattered abroad." The Lord said, "Let it be written in the spirit of meekness and by the power of the Holy Ghost, which shall be in you at the time of the writing of the same; for it shall be given you by the Holy Ghost, which shall be in you at the time of the writing of the same" (D&C 124:2-4). Leaders of the world were to be invited to give heed to the restoration of the Gospel in the Latter-days and to lend support to the building up of the Lord's Kingdom. Other demands and difficulties and his murder in 1844 prevented the Prophet from completing this assignment, although in November 1843 he had directed several Apostles to proceed with the work. In 1845 the Quorum of the Twelve finally published the document in fulfillment of the earlier commandment. This remarkable document, notable for it's boldness, was published under the title, Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: To All the Kings of the World, To the President of the United States of America; To the Governors of the Several States, and To the Rulers and People of All Nations (Liverpool: 1845). The entire sixteen page document is worth reading, but in light of the passage cited above from Nephi, I find the following reference to be interesting:

"As this work progresses in its onward course, and becomes more and more an object of political and religious interest and excitement, no king, ruler, or subject--no community or individual will stand neutral: all will at length be influenced by one spirit or the other, and will take sides either for or against the kingdom of God and the fulfillment of the prophets in the great restoration and return of his long-dispersed covenant people. Some will act the part of the venerable Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, or the noble Cyrus, and will aid and bless the people of God; or like Ruth, the Moabitess will forsake their people, and their kindred, and country, and will say to the Saints, or to Israel--`This people shall be my people, and their God my God,' while others will walk in the footsteps of Pharaoh or a Balak, and will harden their hearts and fight against God, and seek to destroy his people."

[Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles, 1845, 6. Emphasis added).

As Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, "All the easy things in the Church have been done. From here on out its all high adventure."

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