LATTER DAY SAINTS MUST REMEMBER THEIR HISTORY
By Henry H. Goldman,
Remnant Church Historian
Within the Judeao-Christian World, only three major religious organizations are tied to their histories: Jews, Catholics, and in particular, Latter Day Saints (of all persuasions and beliefs). We are holders of this point of view. The Saints hold a very specific role in Christian history and, in fact, unknowingly, in the “Christian Interpretation of History.” Saint Augustine (A.D. 354-430), in his Confessions, suggests that Christian history runs a straight course, unswerving, from Genesis to Revelation. History does NOT repeat itself. There have always been events that seem to be similar to prior events, but they are always unique. Augustine argues that Christ was in the beginning and will be with us at the end. Zion is not just a biblical concept, it DOES exist. That idea underscores Augustine’s “straight line of ‘Christian History.’ ”
Modern Protestant theologians have largely moved away from the straight line view. Some hold that history repeats itself, others have settled on a cyclical historical perspective. Latter Day Saint history reaffirms Augustine ancient concepts. Biblical scholars and those who read the writings of the “Christian Fathers,” agree with him. He continued to develop the “straight line theory” in his final book, The City of God. Quoting from Paul in the New Testament, Augustine publically acknowledges that Christ is the only vehicle to salvation. He writes, in part, “I embraced the mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus, who is over all. God blessed forever, who calleth me and saith, ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life,’. . . .”
Augustine’s prayer “For the Love of God,” is still applicable to us, today, sixteen hundred years later. The prayer reads as follows:
Hear, O Lord, my petition and suffer not my soul
to faint beneath Thy chastisement. Suffer me not to
faint in confessing to thee the loving kindness, whereby
Thou didst rescue me from my evil ways. Be Thou sweeter
to me than all the allurements which I once pursued, that
I may love thee with all my strength, and clasp Thy hand
with all my heart, so that I may be delivered from all
temptations even unto the end . . . .
Those of us who believe in Joseph’s experience in the Grove, the veracity of the Book of Mormon, and the revelations as given in the Doctrine and Covenants, can readily see the need for a full understanding and appreciation of our history and how that history replicates Augustine’s straight line view. While our particular religious perspective dates only from 1830, the Restoration is, in of itself, a testimony to the “Christian Interpretation of History.” And it thereby follows that the Remnant Church is the true successor of the 1830 Restoration Gospel.