|The Name of the Church ....||Joseph Luff|
Text: Whatsoever ye do, in word or dead, do all, in the name of the Lord Jesus.
-- Colossians 3: 17.
Contend against no church, save it be the church of the Devil. Take upon you the name of Christ, and teach the truth in soberness, and as many as repent, and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ and endure to the end, the same shall be saved. Behold, Jesus Christ is the name which is given of the Father and there is none other name given whereby man can be saved; wherefore all men must take upon them the name which is given of the Father, for in that name shall they be called at the last day. --Book of Commandments, Revelation June, 1829; also Doctrine and Covenants 16:4.
I have never before handled this subject In a public way, never having considered it of vital or sufficient importance, in relation to the difference between the claims of the Church of Christ, across the road, and the Reorganized Church, to necessitate any public discussion of it. During the last few months, however, a number of persons whose minds have been stirred up by recent events have come to me and requested an explanation or defense of the use of any other than just the four words, The Church of Christ, as a title for the church, and have crowded upon my attention the position and arguments of the Church of Christ, over the way, as reasons for their demand. Go, whatever is important enough to disturb the minds of my brethren and sisters becomes of sufficient importance to me to discuss it; hence I am here to do it.
As long as I am a minister of the Reorganized Church, I feel committed to the defense of everything within or connected with it that was part of it and indorsed by me when I entered it, and my effort now will be to present what I have always accepted and approved as regarding the name it bears.
Not a New Question
I have lived in Independence for over forty-six years. When I came here in 1879, 1 met and became intimately acquainted with Doctor William E. McLellin (one of the original twelve apostles of the church) and his excellent wife, who was a member of the Reorganization. From them I learned considerable regarding the movements of the early church. I visited David Whitmer at his home in Richmond, Missouri, and had a very brief interview with him. I also had interviews with William B. Smith, another member of the original Quorum of Twelve. I was just entering upon my general missionary career, as a quite young man, and was keen and ambitious to store up in my mind all I could for future use in my ministry, so I dug into and investigated everything everywhere opportunity offered regarding church history.
The Church of Christ had perhaps half as many or more members here as the Reorganization when I came. I met Elder Granville Hedrick and had quite an interview with him here at one time, and on my invitation he preached in our brick church, east of town, during (I think) the last conference of his church that he ever attended here.
Among the local stalwarts here at that time were Richard Hill, Adna C. Haldeman's family, Alma Owens, the Frisbie's, Brethren Daniel Bauder, George Cole, J. W. Brackenbury, George Pilgrim and wife, Pap Clemenson, Stephen Hogue, the Blatts, and F. C. Warnky --- very one of them brim full of enthusiasm and zeal to defend the claims of their churches, and we seldom ever met, indoors or on the street, but the name of the church would be earnestly and often loudly discussed. We had it for breakfast, dinner, and supper, and lunching between meals, nearly every day when I was around. The more I heard of it, the stronger became my conviction that our brethren of the Church of Christ (whom I love as much as I do you) were not justified in their claim that those four words, The Church of Christ, alone should be employed and that no church having more or less than those identical words in its title could or would be recognized of God as his. I also became convinced that the name, Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was fully within the divine requirement of the Scriptures, and approved of God.
I had and have no objection to the more limited designation by those desiring it, but my contention is that any words or number of words which clearly indicate that it is God's or Christ's and not man's church are as fully justified by the Scriptures our opponents depend upon in their arguments as are those four words. I read from the Book of Mormon, now, the statements upon which our Church of Christ friends depend absolutely for their attitude. Turn to the third book of Nephi, large edition of the Book of Mormon. chapter 12. and you will find that Jesus appeared among the people, and they asked him, to settle the disputations among them by telling them what should be the name of the church. Beginning with the fifteenth verse, we have his answer in these words:
Verily, verily I say unto you, Why is it that the people should murmur and dispute because of this thing? Have they not read the scriptures, which say, Ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is my name? For by this name shall ye be called at the last day; and whoso taketh upon him my name and endureth to the end the same shall be saved at the last day; therefore, whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name; therefore ye shall call the church in my name; and ye shall call upon the Father in my name, that he will bless the church for my sake; and how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses name then it be Moses' church; or if it be called in the name of a man, then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel. Verily I say unto you that ye are built upon my gospel; therefore ye shall call whatsoever things ye do call in my name; therefore ye shall call upon the Father for the church, if it be in my name, the Father will hear you.
Objections to Our Name Examined
Before going into the question of the right or wrong of the name chosen for themselves by our brethren of the Church of Christ, I will try to dispose Of the objections they urge to our name, and every name held by the church since 1834 or thereabouts, which uses different or more or less words than the four exact words they themselves have adopted, namely, The Church of Christ. I want only to be fair and just. I do not care a rap for victory in the matter. I understand and have for forty-six years understood that what I have stated is their position and from that point of understanding I discuss it.
There is no question as to the church having been called the Church of Christ for the first four years of its existence. That is everywhere admitted, hence needs no discussion. It is also admitted that during and after 1834 it. was called the Church of Latter Day Saints, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and, later, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is said by a number, and is so recorded in our history, that some of these and other names were used by different members prior to 1834, but we will not trouble ourselves about that now.
It is a recorded and undisputed fact that in May, 1834, at a meeting of elders, it was resolved that the name of Latter Day Saints should thereafter be employed. This was the first official action regarding the matter; but that does not prove it had never been used before, nor is there any proof that the name, Church of Christ, was the only name which had been used before. It leaves it an open question. There may have been, as many claim, several names used. The question now before us is, Why was the change made, if it was a change, and did it vitiate the church's name as authorized in the Book of Mormon, or do violence to the obligation imposed in that book as witnessed in the verses I have read and which constitute the basis for the objection of our Church of Christ friends? To the second part of this question I promptly answer, NO, and to the first part I submit a host of reasons which will also explain why I answer the second part so emphatically. Let me here inject a little history into the program, before giving the reasons I refer to.
Misunderstanding of Action of 1834
Just how many elders were present and voting at that meeting when official action was taken on the name of the church, I do not know; but from the records I learn that their action caused, with other things, a furor in Kirtland, and for a couple of years dissatisfaction continued, which of itself proves that it was a long way from having been a unanimous church action. Just as at the present time, some thought it meant a discarding of the name. of Christ; but it is certain that such a thing was not contemplated by the action.
A long letter by Thomas B. Marsh, president of the Quorum of the Twelve, published in the Elders' Journal for July' 1838, deplores and condemns their disputings, and witnesses that there was no intention of discarding the former name of Church of Christ by the action, and also includes defensive arguments for the addition of the words, Latter Day Saints. A careful search of the records of those days proves the statement of Thomas B. Marsh to be true.
A long document, headed "An appeal," was published in the Evening and Morning Star, volume 2, page 361, dated July, 1834, and published August, 1834 - three months after the above official action was taken. It begins with these words, "Whereas The Church of Christ, recently styled, The Church of the Latter Day Saints, contumeliously called Mormons or Mormonites." This document is indorsed by the editor, Oliver Cowdery, who commends its truths to all. It is signed by W. W. Phelps, David Whitmer, John Whitmer, Edward Partridge, John Corrill, Isaac Morley, Parley P. Pratt, Lyman Wight, Newell Knight, Thomas B. Marsh, Simeon Carter, and Calvin Beebe. In the body of the document, the church is also referred to as the Church of the Latter Day Saints, so there was no thought in their minds that the one name meant a discarding of the other. Please notice carefully the names there attached.
In the Messenger and Advocate, in a lengthy editorial written in defense of the name Saints as properly belonging to Christ's church members, in referring to the early church, "Church of Christ" and "Church of God" are both used on page 331 to support the claim of identity of names for the same church in this age.
In his report, Elder Harrison Burgess in Messenger and Advocate, page 381, uses the name Church of Christ. On page 331 it is editorially referred to as the Church of God. In the issue of the same book for February, 1836, page 266, it is called the Church of God, Church of the Lamb of God, and Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints.
On February 26, 1836, quorums met in the temple to ordain officers in the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints.
In a letter by W. W. Phelps, June, 1835 page 131, Messenger and Advocate, he calls it the Church, of Christ of Latter Day Saints; again also on page 114.
In the same volume, page 27, in an editorial, "Church of Christ" and "Church of God" are both used without any addenda.
All these, which were published subsequently to the said action, go to show there was no thought of abandoning the name of Christ when the explanatory words were adopted.
William B. Smith and William E. McLellin, Testify
William B. Smith and William E. McLellin, the former a brother of the Seer, and both of them members of the original Quorum of Twelve Apostles, with whom I conversed, said there never was any thought of discarding the name of Christ or Church of Christ, and that the Church of. Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was, among them, very commonly used before, during, and after 1834, together with other names. With this, William B. Smith's deposition agrees, as given in the Temple Lot Suit in 1893. He says, further, that when it became necessary to place a permanent inscription on the tablet of the temple it was decided to have it read,. "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,',' and that was in 1834. The inscription is yet there and bears that date. He said the walls of the temple were not finished at the time.
Kirtland Temple Inscription Not Changed
Bishop E. L. Kelley, under whose direction and supervision the Reorganization restored the temple, has always affirmed and does today, by his affidavit now in my hands, that not a word of the inscription was changed. It was renewed in painting, but nothing changed that was in the original as he found it. Below the old inscription, however, they added a statement regarding the restoration by. the Reorganized Church. That his statement is correct is evidenced by a letter written by Mrs. Sarah Harvey, while living in Kirtland, in which she scores the old church for changing the name. She says they did wrong in adding the words, Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and that they did wrong in putting that new name on the front of the temple. Remember she wrote that in Kirtland, with that inscription "Built by the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" – 1834 right before her eyes, and her letter was written in 1860, and you can read it on page 39 of the first volume of the SAINTS' HERALD. She was born October 22, 1838, and belonged to the old Kirtland, Branch, according to the records. Fourteen years after writing the above letter (in 1874), she was baptized by J. F. McDowell and became a, member of the Reorganization. She died December 21, 1881. This makes it clear that the inscription was as above shown when she went there, and it was the reason for her complaint.
Elder Joseph F. McDowell, who for years was in charge and operating there about that time, says in a letter received from him by me today, "There were no changes made in the wording of the inscription." What occurred under the Brooks regime is not clear in this matter. The building became dilapidated and was sold by the sheriff to Russell Huntley through whom it came into the hands of the Reorganization.
The first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants was printed in Kirtland in 1835. On the title page it reads: "Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Latter Day Saints"; but in the article on marriage on page 25, we read, "This Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints" in paragraph 1, and in paragraph 4, "This Church of Christ." In section 2 it is called Church of Christ throughout. All this subsequent to the action of 1834. Does that look as though the adoption of the words Latter Day Saints by them meant a discarding of the name of Christ?
But notwithstanding the final agreement there remained dissatisfaction on the part of some over that and other matters. I presume that was one of the reasons why the revelation of April 26, 1838, was given, which was published in the Elders' Journal, August, 1838, which, among other things, contains the following:
The elders and people of my church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, scattered abroad in all the world. For thus shall my church be called in the last days, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
It has been said in public that I had to go to Brigham Young's Millennial Star to get that revelation. That I deny. I got it just where I have stated, in the Elders' Journal of August, 1838; and I presume it is still there. At least it won't hurt to look. The name of the Elders' Journal was changed by the addition of the words needed to conform to this revelation in the very next issue.
No Reason Exists for Dropping Name of Christ
Personally, of course, I do not know what occurred and why, and can only judge from history and testimony; but to me it sounds like the refinement of absurdity to suppose that that group of intelligent and God fearing men, whose sole object was to establish Christ's church on earth, would deliberately and without cause or reason get together and amuse themselves by changing the name of Christ's church, if it was intended as a change.
There is always a reason that seems to them justifiable for what intelligent and honest men do. They do not handle things associated with God's work indifferently or without prayer and study, and I believe those men in Kirtland in 1834 and 1838 were both intelligent and honest as well as devout.
William B. Smith and William E. McLellin have said in conversations that they found themselves forever running up against difficulties while the church was being called the Church of Christ, for they were forever being confounded in the minds of the people hearing them preach with "' another church which also called itself the Church of Christ; and then came the question of holding title to church property, when two or more churches were holding the same name. There had to be a distinguishing phrase attached to make them secure.
A Distinctive Title Necessary
The truth of this is shown to be likely by the following:
In Grafton's life of Alexander Campbell, published by the Christian Publishing Company of Saint Louis, on pages 131 to 137, it appears that for a long time (from 1830 on) the promoters of the movement which Mr. Campbell was prominent in were in dispute over the name their new church should bear. And indeed no final settlement was reached regarding the matter. On page 137 we find this comment:
It was unfortunate that these good men could not have come to an agreement and saved the interminable confusion that has since resulted from the interchangeable or local use of the names "Disciples of Christ," "Christian," "Churches of Christ," etc.
In the government document entitled, Religious Bodies, published in 1916, the Disciples of Christ are lengthily reported as to origin and development, on pages 244-249. This same discussion and dissatisfied faction among the leading ministers over naming the church is mentioned, and, it shows that no definite action was then taken to settle it, and "Christian Church" and "Church of Christ" were with other names continued. It says truthfully that of recent years, the Year Book, published by the Missionary Society, has used the name "Churches of Christ" (Disciples). Further on we read that later a split or dissension developed, and the two bodies were listed as "Progressives" and "Conservatives"; and again it informs us in the report for 1809 the latter are listed as "Churches of Christ."
In a work published by the Christian Literature Company, New York, in 1894, entitled, A History of the Disciples of Christ, and three other bodies, it refers to the necessity for organizing an independent "Church of Christ," and on page 74, after telling of the discussions among them over naming the church, some favoring "Christian," some "Disciples," it finishes by saying: "Usually, however, the LEGAL title of any local church is simply "The Church of Christ" at such a place.
Now, as every well-posted person knows, the promoters of this Disciple movement were always on the alert for an opportunity to measure arms with every differing doctrine or organization they came in contact with, and probably more debates have been held with them by our church than any other one church in existence. Like our ministers, theirs were ready for a signal to enter the arena and discuss any time. That kept the name they were using and defending forever before the people Their name in common use was "Church of Christ," as the quotations from their own works show. Nearly every time, therefore, that our church ministers preached, they were asked what church they represented, and on making answer, "The Church of Christ," were immediately confounded with the other new church which held that name. This fact, together with the unsafety to property titles under such conditions, precipitated the apparent necessity for adopting distinguishing or explanatory addenda.
Now, our friends of the "Church of Christ" have done the same thing, as the Circuit Court records of Jackson County, Missouri, clearly prove. In some of their deeds a long string of qualifying words are employed, lest the mere name "Church of Christ" or even the name Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints) or "said Church of Christ" separately or combined, might not make the title perfectly secure in them. So also in appointing trustees, as the forthcoming evidence will convince you.
But as those men I have mentioned claim, and as the documents afterwards issued clearly attest, there never was the least intention of eliminating the, name of Christ, neither did their action do it, and that is the only fact I wish here to establish. When the name of Jesus was added, it did not expunge the ,other, it only indicated what Christ their church belonged to; and furnished the distinguishing feature that made their identification easy and their legal title to property safe. So with the words Latter Day Saints. Whether those additions were in violation of the Book of Mormon requirements, I will deal with later when examining the claim of the other church. Even as late as the date of the Braden and Kelley debate, this point was confirmed. One of the objections urged by Mr. Braden against our church and in favor of his own was that his church bore the title, "Church of Christ," and ours had additional words. This evidences what I have claimed, viz: that another church bore that name and was ready to defend it anywhere - in law or elsewhere. There are at least four churches in Missouri bearing the name Church of Christ, and in Independence today there are at least two institutions called by the name, "The Church of Christ," but one attaches the word "Scientist" and the other, as shown in court records, adds in parentheses, "Latter Day Saints." This is both wise and safe, and unfavorable criticism of 'it is worse than foolish.
The Attitude of Granville Hedrick
Granville Hedrick, who was president of the Church of Christ for many years, published a book entitled, The Spiritual Wife System Proven False and the True Order of Church Discipline, in 1856, of which a copy is in my hands at this time. In that book, in which, by the way, he indorses the Book of Covenants of 1835, the First Presidency of three members and the office of high priest in unequivocal terms and writes, lengthily in their defense, he used the words: "The Church of Jesus Christ" sixteen times and "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" four times, and the "Church of Christ Jesus" once, in giving the church's name. He also uses the words, "The Church of Christ," fourteen times, but mostly in quotations, evidently indorsing all of them. He concludes by declaring:
Although I have written these things in the defense of God's truth, for the truth's sake, it is not my own fiction. It is the identical plan which is given in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants ... and if I did not know BY THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH that the things in that book were true, I would not give myself the trouble to defend them at so great odds, for I have to meet opposition in the church as well as out of it . . . but I am willing to suffer all - all things for Christ's sake.
He says also that the Church of Jesus Christ was established on the 6th day of April, 1830.
The Truth Teller was the official organ of the Church of Christ people - published in 1864-65. It contains the revelations given through Granville Hedrick, and the major part of its, contents throughout are from his pen. After publishing some of his revelations in which changes from God's order are condemned, he writes, following these, defensively, on page 8, of the church, using the words: "Church of Jesus Christ" and "Church of Christ" intechangeably.' He indorses absolutely the 1835 edition of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. In all his articles he refers to church members as "Latter Day Saints" and "True Latter Day Saints." He condemns Joseph Smith as a fallen prophet, using the second edition of Doctrine and Covenants as evidence and extols the first edition as the divine standard. Yet that edition, on its title-page, reads, "Church of Latter Day Saints."
On page 14, editorially, he warns against false doctrines which have been imposed upon the "Church of Jesus Christ (of Latter Day Saints)." This notice is republished on pages 32, 57, 96, and 160. He uses these words, "All these doctrines are false and form no part of the Church of Jesus Christ in the primitive order.''
On page 17, August, 1864, immediately under the title headline of the paper in bold lettering, clear across the page appears the following: "The Truth Teller will advocate the primitive organization' of 'The Church of Jesus Christ (of Latter Day Saints) which was organized on the 6th day of April, 1830. ' " This leading headline appears at the head of every following issue of the paper, and the title-page of the whole volume announces the same thing exactly.
The Record of the Temple Lot Church
On page 26, in controversy, the writer challenges Isaac Sheen to show. that Granville Hedrick and his coworkers are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ. In the next article, in defending his church he says: "The government of the Church of Jesus Christ (of Latter Day Saints) as established by Joseph Smith, is Republican," etc. He uses that name also on page 27. On page 42, in denying some statements in the SAINTS' HERALD, it is positively asserted that the Church of Christ with which he was connected had "NEVER RECEIVED THE BOOK OF COMMANDMENTS, EITHER IN PART OR AS A WHOLE, BUT HAD ENDORSED THE FIRST EDITION OF THE BOOK OF COVENANTS FROM THE BEGINNING AND RECEIVED THAT AS THE STANDARD OF THEIR FAITH." This is repeated in substance by Granville Hedrick on page 66.
On page 97 he starts out by calling his church "The Church of Jesus Christ (of Latter Day Saints)" and uses that name interchangeably in the article, with the name "Church of Christ (of Latter Day Saints)."
On page 133 he calls it the Church of God, and uses the Apostle Paul's words (Acts 20: 28) in connection.
On page 145 (April, 1865), appears a revelation which was given through him, which starts out with these strange words.:
"Hear, O, ye people, WHO CALL YOURSELVES the Church of Christ. Hearken to the counsel of your Lord and Savior - JESUS CHRIST." Was that a divine revelation? If so, was the wording of it intended as a rebuke or a correction?
In taking title to a portion of the Temple Lot on November 12, 1869, as trustee, he wisely makes the deed read, "To Granville Hedrick, trustee for the Church of Christ (Latter Day Saint).`, I say "wisely" for reasons I have given.
In taking title to the other - the main - portion of the Temple Lot, November 5, 1877 - eight years later - he has the deed made to read "To Granville Hedrick, President of the Church of Christ (of Latter Day Saints) the trustee in trust for the said Church of Christ." Then in the body of the deed it is referred to four or five times as the "said Church of Christ"; but the further precaution is taken to state that it "Pertains to no other church of the same name or similarity of name than that specified therein, and over which said Granville Hedrick' is now at this date the president." Then, lest that is not enough, it provides that persons dissenting from said church or being excommunicated or separated in any way, shall forfeit any claims upon the property.
I knew William Eaton, who made those deeds. His wife was a member of the Reorganization and one of the most intelligent and spiritual women I ever knew. She was a daughter of John E. Page, one of the original Twelve Apostles of the old church. Brethren Eaton and Hedrick were shrewd men, and they knew that where two churches or more bearing about the same name existed, a careful discrimination was necessary in conveying title lest legal complication might arise and result in some one else getting the property. They were ;wise, I said, and I repeat it. But what I want to add here is, that the objection to the Kirtland or Nauvoo churches or the Reorganization employing similar methods for safety and convenience' sake, comes with ill grace from those who are themselves steeped in the practice. What is wise and essential for one ought to be equally so for another under similar circumstances.
In appointing J. R. Haldeman a trustee, on the 9th day of May, 1911, George P. Frisbie, James A. Hedrick, George D. Cole, W. A. Hartley, Daniel Bauder, Thomas B. Burrus, Cary C. Frisbie, Alma D. Frisbie, John M. Malone, and Charles R. Haldeman appeared and declared that they represented the "Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints).
In appointing George D. Cole a trustee for their church March 3, 1913, the records show that J. M. Hartley, Powell Himes, Floyd Denham, A. L. Hartley, George P. Frisbie, and C. C. Frisbie presented a petition declaring themselves to be members of the "Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints.)."
The records of the same Circuit Court for June 19, 1909, show that eleven of their leading men (names given) appeared and declared themselves to be representatives of the "Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints)."
The court after investigation declares that it found that said men were members of the "Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints)" and they were appointed by the court as trustees for SAID church. The Temple Lot is also described and identified by deed from William Eaton to Granville Hedrick as trustee for SAID church.
The declarations in each were filed and supported by these men whose names appear, and probably by their affidavit. The court found on their testimony that they were members and some of them officers of the Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints) and granted their petition. These indisputable records cover their history from 1856 to 1913 - only twelve years ago, as we have shown.
Now, why did these good men in each case solemnly affirm that they were members of the Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints) before a court of the land? Why did they parenthetically append the name "Latter Day Saints" to their church title? Was it true or a falsehood? When they have explained that, they have probably explained why the church in Kirtland and Nauvoo did the same thing, and their objection to our name is shot to pieces by a charge from their own gun. Consistency surely is a jewel, but you may sometimes have to go afield from the Temple Lot to find it.
In, Using the Words "Latter Day Saints," Did They Discard Name of Christ?
I ask further, in all candor, did they, by adding the words "Latter Day Saints" to their name "Church of Christ," want the court and the world to understand thereby that they had discarded the name Church of Christ? If not, why insist that such action on our part means that? Or do they want us to understand that they swore to a falsehood in giving the name as above shown, and had some covert or sinister purpose in view? I believe those men were honest, intelligent, and devout, and that those documents represent the truth as they intended to declare it. I believe the same in regard to the action of those elders in Kirtland in 1834 and thereafter, as well as in Illinois by the Reorganization. There is a saying about sauce for the goose being sauce for the gander, however.
Joseph Smith on Name of the Church
According to the history of Joseph Smith published in the Times and Seasons, volume 3, pages 944, . 945, the first elders of the church -- Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery -- were ordained elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It has been said against this that Joseph Smith wrote that history in Nauvoo after the name of the church had been changed; but the record says he copied from his journal. He had kept that journal from the beginning and had recorded things, doubtless, as they happened. What object would he have had in changing his Journal entry regarding the matter?
In Mother Smith's History, she says that on the very day on which the church was organized (April 6, 1830), her husband was baptized, and as he came up out of the water Joseph seized his hand and with tears of joy exclaimed, "Oh, my God! have I lived to see my own father baptized into the true Church of Jesus Christ!" This testimony is questioned by some, because written later than the date of the happening and published by the Utah people. It might be well to remember, right here, that that is exactly where our objectors went a few years ago to get testimony in the Temple Lot Suit and at a much later date than our evidence bears.
Reorganization Made the Name Fair
After the name of the church had been defiled in the Closing days of Nauvoo and by the Utah Church abominations, until it became a stench in the world's nostrils, the very words "Latter Day Saints' Church" were taken everywhere as a synonym for rottenness and constituted a barrier against any word being uttered in its favor or defense among decent people. But hundreds of intelligent, righteous members, who had never consented to any feature of the apostasy, were bleeding at heart over the situation and longing for the day of deliverance for the church as they had found and known it at the first. In answer to their prayers they were directed to get together and reorganize the church among and of those who had not defiled their garments. This they did in 1852; but no sooner had they done it than they were confronted with the former difficulties. To take upon them, or 'the church, exactly the same name as before would make the holding of property unsafe, especially with the Utah Church as a bitter enemy; and worse than all, it would, in the minds of the whole country, identify them with those in Utah. There was but one thing to do for safety , and for reputation's sake, and that was to connect some distinguishing word or words with the name which, while not changing it as to character and not interfering with the words which declared it to be God's creation, would nevertheless make the holding of property safe and distinctly reveal it to be a separate institution from the' one in Utah. For a very brief period it was, therefore, called the New Organization; but later was changed to the Reorganized Church, to represent the actual fact that it was not a new organization, but a re-organization of elements formerly disorganized.
Under this name it was incorporated and continued its work, or the work assigned the original church. Yet even with this pronounced word of discrimination, our hardest work as a reorganized church has been to convince the world that we are not the same as the Utah Church. If the Reorganization had discarded all of the former name, its work of proselyting would have been made a thousand times easier, but they could not conscientiously, in loyalty to God, strike out the name he had given. Nobody knows this from actual experience better than some of those who are now decrying our name. They have been "through the mill" and felt the grind.
In 1860 Joseph Smith the Seer's oldest son, by direction of God, as he declared, and by the unanimous vote of the Reorganization was made president, and for over half a century held that place and, with his associates, labored to redeem the reputation of the name "Latter Day Saints." It was a struggle, but God was in the count, and the effort succeeded. Then, when that name became honorable and the members were increasing and the Reorganization began to carry the laurels it had, earned, some men who were prominent in the Kirtland days, but had fallen out of the ranks during the Missouri struggles and had spent their time in a livery stable, smoking their pipes and playing cards for on to forty years, gave their name and influence to an effort to deprive the Reorganization of the glory it had won. (In this, however, no reference is made to our Church of Christ brethren of those days.) The men referred to are being quoted and extolled and their writings and utterances used to make the name "Reorganized Church" appear as evidence of apostasy. So far as any effort on their part is concerned, the church might have gone to eternal smash. If anybody was interested enough to hunt them up and ask what they knew about the church, they would bear a testimony as to their one-time experience; but beyond that they acknowledged no obligation to take up their God - intrusted weapons and help rescue the precious and divine treasure from the grasp of its crucifiers. Others were left to do that; but as soon as the others had done it and the redeemed institution began to take on a goodly measure of its former beauty and fragrance, they suddenly became aware that it was their solemn duty to uncork the knowledge they had kept under nicotine for on to forty years and turn the fumigated stuff loose to poison the influence and retard the further progress of the church whose sweat and blood had been expended in effecting the rescue.
If, as claimed, God told them to drop out, it must have been because he had men whom he would rather trust to do the needed work-men who would not desert the ranks in the time of direst necessity and extremity. Be that as it may, the Reorganization did the work, and the very achievement itself under the God-blessed name, "Reorganized Church," made it the victim of jealousy and elicited very little from those persons but that which indicated enmity rather than approval and friendship.
Church Composed of Latter Day Saints
If the church IS the Church of Jesus Christ, as we shall clearly prove, and that name is retained, how can there be anything vitiating or unwarranted in using the words which indicate that it is composed of Latter Day Saints or has been reorganized? Both of these are absolutely true, and neither of them indicate that the church is theirs. It is the Church of JESUS CHRIST, (composed) of Latter Day Saints. That is exactly, as we have shown, what our opposing friends themselves have done.
In that wonderful vision in revelation of February 16, 1832, it reads, "The General Assembly and Church of Enoch and of the First Born." This is there said to be the highest glory of all. Does that discard Christ because it refers to the "Church of Enoch"? Was it Enoch's church or the Church of the First Born, made up of people in Enoch's day? Was the First Born not Christ? Is "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" any worse than that? Our critics are in hazardous business when they make and throw a bomb which in order to fulfill their purpose against us must first blast the entire Godhead into eternal disrepute for flagrantly violating its own ordinances. As those who believe in and proclaim the perfection of the Godhead, we protest against such audacity. The Godhead knew more about its own ordinations and their meaning and purposes in one minute than our critics have learned in a century.
When Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:33 wrote of "all the churches of the Saints," or when writing of "the churches of Galatia" 16:1, did he corrupt the name of the church of Christ? When Christ himself spoke of the "Church of Sardis" (Revelation 2:1), or the "Church of the Laodiceans" (Revelation 3:14), was he prostituting the name of his church in each case? Or did he simply mean the churches located in those places and made up of the people known by those names?
Complaint That Name of Church Is Too Long
I lately heard a man who had recently united with the Church of Christ after many years of splendid work as a missionary of the Reorganized Church, say in public, when decrying our church's name, "I had to stretch out and take a long, deep breath every time I uttered the name 'Reorganized-Church-of-Jesus-Christ-of-Latter-Day-Saints.'" I wanted to remind him that long, deep breathing in a healthy atmosphere, according to the best authorities in the matter, contributed to health, and as I looked at him the fact was evident in his robust appearance. His spiritual health, too, had been acquired and developed while engaged in that deep-breathing exercise, until his name had become almost a synonym for both wherever he was known. He has now relieved himself of the necessity for that awful strain of deep breathing, and can name his adopted church now without stopping to catch his breath at all. It remains to be seen, however, whether this freedom from that trying exercise will be as conducive to the health which is most desirable as was the exercise itself and what involved it as a necessity. The future will have a voice, and there will be ears to catch and pens to record its testimony.
So much in explanation and justification of our name. Now let me turn my attention to their claims or to their name for their church.
Who Originated This Discussion?
Let it be clearly understood that this discussion has not originated with us. It grows out of an attack made upon our church name, repeatedly, by those who claim that Christ, according to the Book of Mormon, limited the title of the church to four words -- "The Church of Christ." So the whole issue depends absolutely on whether they are right or wrong in that assertion. If they are right in that, then, as we have shown, they are as deep in the mud as we are in the mire in violating the obligation, and we both need to repent and reform. If they are wrong in the assertion, then what does it matter if our church has been from Dan to Beersheba in selecting and adopting names, so far as their criticism is concerned? The criticism by which they have been judging, being wrong, it leaves the whole field as if uncanvassed, and a proper decision as to what is right impossible. We mayor may not be wrong, but the standard of judgment has yet to be determined in this discussion, viz: Does the text under consideration support them in their claim? Does it teach that in naming the church we shall confine ourselves to those four words? Everything hinges upon that. If it be established that it does, then they win, as to argument; but they, with us, stand scripturally condemned for flagrant violations.
Our critics place their own interpretation upon certain words and then proceed to judge everybody by that interpretation. It would be much more sensible to prove rather than merely assert, their interpretation to be correct, first, before making it a standard for judgment. Can they do that? We say no. Herein, then, lies the crux of the whole matter-the only vital point now at issue. We now proceed, therefore, to analyze that question and their claim regarding it, believing that both their interpretation and their application of it are wrong.
You noticed, doubtless, in the reading of these verses from Third Nephi and which form the chief if not the sole basis of our opponents contention:
First, that there were disputations among the people over naming the church. Jesus clearly intimated that if they had read the scriptures on the subject, they could have avoided the contention. In simple substance he said: '"Whose church is it -- mine, or some man's?" Give it a name that clearly indicates whether it is an earthly or a heavenly -- a human or divine institution. If you call it in Moses' name, that will indicate that it is his church. So of any man whose name you use. But if it is my church, call it in my name; for my scriptures which you have, require that my church shall be called in my name, and the church that is called in the name of Christ is Christ's if "built upon my gospel."
Ye Shall Call the Church in My Name
Second, it is clearly stated that in Christ's name they are to be called in the last day, hence whoever would take upon them that name now and endure to the end would be saved. So he says, whatsoever ye shall ye do, do ALL in my name, therefore, (because this is required) ye shall call the church in my name.
Now if that statement means anything, it means that the naming of the church was but part of a program, including praying, baptizing, ordaining, and offering oblations, and that because all the rest must be done in the name of Christ, therefore that must also. There could be no exception. The church as an institution was to take upon it the same name that the people had taken upon them in baptism and were to use in praying, and administering ;and the resurrection itself, or the final calling unto celestial life is to be in the same name. In other words, Christ, as he once said, is to be the Alpha and Omega of the entire program, and his name's attachment throughout was to indicate that fact. Whatever words, therefore, are appropriate, necessary, or sufficient in the doing of one are equally so in every other one. Whatever is in the NAME of Christ in one is in his name in all the others-there can be no distinction. To leave out or add a word in one instance is as vital or as immaterial as in the other. !fit is wrong to add the name of Jesus to the word Christ in naming the church, then it is equally wrong to use it in administering the sacrament, and if it is necessary to use it in the sacramental service, then it is equally obligatory to use it in naming the church. The command or exhortation in these scriptures is "Do all things -- whatsoever ye shall do, in the name of Christ." If this obligation does not require the same words in giving the name of Christ to the church as in applying it in other ordinances, then but one conclusion remains, and that is that some other Christ is meant in naming the church; and we ask in all solemnity, if it be not the church of JESUS Christ, WHAT CHRIST IS IT? We are told that. many false Christs would arise, but God gave to his Christ the name of Jesus, and authorized that name to go wherever his Christ was named.
Exact Words of Title Not Given By Commandment
I know our objectors will remind me that Christ himself gave the words to be used in the sacramental service: "In the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ"; therefore their use is absolutely essential. If, then, all things, in word or deed, whatever we do are to be done in the same name, and this is one sample of the exact wording in doing it as Christ desired it, then what comes of the argument that the word Jesus must not be included in naming the church? I am only here applying the objector's argument and not for a moment admitting that either of these exact words are absolutely essential in naming the church, for I do not believe it. My contention is that any word or words that mean exactly what these words mean, in any language, is all that is essential.
Take, for instance, the baptismal service. The actual words to be employed in our language, except in announcing where our authority or commission came from, do not include either the words Jesus or Christ. They are, "I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost," just as directed by Christ in the Bible. See Matthew 28:20. In these words God and Christ are indicated, and that is sufficient. To deny this is to Say that Jesus Christ himself commanded that everything should be done in his name, meaning only the word Christ, or Jesus Christ, and then gave an other command in which we are told as ministers to announce at baptism that Jesus Christ authorized us to perform the ceremony and leave out that name entirely, and only refer to him by saying "The Son." Would not such conduct present Christ as a pretty unreliable leader, having himself violated one of his most sacred ordinances or commands? If I am reminded that in this service the announcement of the source of our authority or commission includes the word Christ, my answer is that it includes the word Jesus also: "Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ," is the phraseology given.
The Testimony of the Book of Mormon
Before bringing further evidence as to what is the name of Christ, I want to examine those scriptures which Jesus said would have settled the matter for them and prevented disputations over the subject. Bear in mind that there is nothing in the Old Testament bearing on the subject, and our New Testament was not there. The only scriptures touching upon it, in their possession, therefore, were those given on this continent prior to the time of this contention. So to those scriptures we turn to find how they would have settled the question.
Go back to the eighth chapter of this same book of Nephi and read verses 40, 41, 42, and 46, and there you will find Christ himself telling the people to do all things -- pray, baptize, administer the sacrament -- "always in my name" -- just the same as in this instance under discussion. Now turn over one leaf and see how they understood and obeyed him. The chosen twelve there are administering and baptizing, and all are praying, and in chapter 9, verses 6, 7, 9, and others, you will find that right under the immediate observance of the angels and Christ himself they did all these things in the name of JESUS. That was the only word used according to the records, and in the 9th verse it distinctly states that they ministered those same words which Jesus had spoken -- nothing varying from the words which Jesus had spoken, and behold they knelt again and prayed to the Father in the name of Jesus.
Then notice the conduct of Jesus and his declaration that he had never witnessed such faith even among the Jews. Note the fact that he gave them bread and wine. Though no bread and wine were furnished for him, he miraculously created it in their presence; then read his interpretation of scripture to them and his prophecies regarding the future of the generations of the Jews, and particularly note his prediction as given in the 63d verse of chapter 9, wherein he said "they shall believe in me that I am Jesus Christ, and shall pray unto the Father in my name."
History has no record of divine favor being heaped upon a people as an evidence of Christ's approval more lavishly than in this instance. This being true, it is evident that when they prayed and ad ministered in the name of JESUS they fulfilled the divine requirement to do it in. the name of Christ; and if that be true, then if the church were to be given the name of Christ just as the ceremonies were to be performed in his name, how can the word Jesus be excluded when naming it?
Turn now to Moroni, chapter 3, and read very carefully. In ordaining officers, "They prayed to the Father in the name of Christ." Then in chapter 4, verses 3 and 4, "They did kneel down with the church and pray to the Father in the name of Christ, saying: O God, the eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son JESUS CHRIST," etc. What have we here? Proof conclusive that when they said, "In the name of Christ," they meant in the name of Jesus Christ, and that they used these phrases interchangeably. It is proof further that when they wrote that a thing was done or to be done in the name of Christ they meant that it was done or to be done in the name of Jesus Christ. Apply this discovery to the meaning of the passage under discussion, and you get the idea we are contending for, and our case is made.
If not, how can a baptismal ceremony, performed in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, or even of Jesus Christ, induct us into a church which does not allow the name or the word Jesus or any other word than Christ to be included in its name? The name of "the Son" or of Jesus Christ, used by the authority of Jesus Christ, in baptizing can only be a passport into the church of the Son or of Jesus Christ, or where those words fully signify, in God's sight, the accepted title it bears. Where would the clamor of our opponents lead us in this matter, as judged by their very favorite book? In 1 Nephi 3:132 we read of the angel of God telling Nephi that there are but two churches; "the one is the church of the Lamb of God and the other the church of the Devil, wherefore whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God, 00longeth to that great church which is the mother of abomination, and she is the whore of all the earth."
Which of these two churches do our opponents belong to? Surely not to the one which God named "The Church of the Lamb of God," unless those seven words mean identically the same in God's sight and are equally approved by him as those precious four words, "The Church of Christ," which our opponents contend are the only approved ones. To deny this is to destroy their whole argument for name. Not one of these exact denominating words of one is found in the other, yet Christ gave them both, notwithstanding his declaration that unless the church carried the name of Christ it was not his. Intelligence leads to but one conclusion here, viz, that any words, embodying the same meaning, are fully within the purpose of that requirement.
Either the "Church of Christ" is the Church of the Lamb of God or it is not, notwithstanding the difference of phraseology. If they claim that it is, away goes, forever, their strong argument and contention for exact words. If they do not claim or admit this, then there is but one conclusion left, viz: their church is a part of the "whore of all the earth," because it is not named the Church of the Lamb of God.
If our position on this matter is not correct, how can Christ have a church in any country where those four words are not to be found in their language? It will not do to say that any word in their language which means the same thing to them will answer, for if that argument can be applied properly in China or Japan or Hindustan, why not in England or America, where we have twenty or more words which are identical in meaning?
What Were the Words Christ Gave?
One of the contenders for those four chosen words said once to me: "Don't you know, Brother Luff, that those words were given of Christ and therefore should alone be adopted?" I have heard that stated since many times, and I take the opportunity here and now to deny it flatly. Jesus never used those words at all in talking to the Nephites. If he had, they would not have understood one of them. He spoke to the Nephites in their own language, and those four words are not to be found in that language. But again I am told, These words were given because they contain in English the exact meaning of the words which he did use. Exactly! We can shake hands on that. But instantly that point is conceded, they wipe the whole ground for contention from under their feet, as I have shown. I do not know whether it required four, six, or twenty words to express the meaning of those four in the Nephite language; but I do know that those exact words were not used, and I repeat that if any other words that contain exactly the same meaning were sufficient then, why not in the English language also?
In Daniel 5: 25 we have four words, "Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin," written by a divine hand, and it required twenty-nine words to interpret them in our language. The Scriptures bear me out, however, in claiming that words, synonymous in meaning, and purpose, have been used interchangeably throughout the ages by God and Christ and their angels in instructing and directing man as to divine service.
When the angel ordained Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, he did not use the word Christ, or Jesus Christ. He said, "In the name of Messiah." Did not God know when he sent that angel, or had that angel forgotten, that everything in that line was to be done in the name of the Lord Jesus or of Christ? Or did the word Messiah fulfill that requirement? Whatever answer to this is correct, is equally correct in naming the church. If not, then Joseph and Oliver were not properly ordained and the restoration movement shows a blundering on the part of God from the very start, and what kind of a religious mess, then, have we been plunged into by God himself? As they say in Missouri, "Where are we at?"
In 2 Nephi 11: 13,19 we are told of the coming of the true Messiah, and it is said that according to the words of the prophets and the angel of God his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In Mosiah 1:62 we have it, "He shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God."
The Church to Be Called "in the Name of Christ"
It is not anywhere commanded that the church shall be called by the word Christ, but in the NAME of Christ. The whole question then resolves itself into this: What is the name of Christ? If, therefore, we can ascertain what name God wished Christ to be known by among us, that is the name he meant for the church, and in the above quotations I have shown that Jesus was the name given of God by which he wished Christ to be known. among men. It might be mildly interesting to note right here, though in repetition, that in the very sentence upon which our Church of Christ friends base their chief argument for naming the church, it does not say it shall be called by the name of Christ, but in the name of Christ.
In Matthew 1:23 we read: "They shall call his name, Immanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."
The angel of the Lord said to Joseph (Matthew 1:20,21), "Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins."
In Isaiah 9:6 and 2 Nephi 9:59 we read, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."
These names were announced of God by which Christ was to be known. If, then, not the word Christ, but the name of Christ is to be attached to his church, which of these will be less acceptable than the other, all having been given of God himself? Who shall decide? "The Church of the Prince of Peace" would cover all necessities as fully as any other.
If a final word to clinch our position as to this is needed, it will be found in the revelation in June, 1829, and contained in the Book of Commandments and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants which says, as given in our heading text, "Take upon you the name of Christ ... my name, which is Jesus Christ ... Behold Jesus Christ is the name given of the Father." Who was he talking to? Was it not the church? Surely he did not mean that the people as individuals were to take Jesus' name for their own. It evidently meant the institution -- the organization -- the church, composed of individuals. It was to bear the name of Jesus Christ, the name given of the Father.
In Philippians 2:9-11 we read, "God has given him a name that is ABOVE EVERY NAME, that at the name of JESUS every knee shall bow, of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth; and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Listen, right here, my friends, "The basic text upon which our friends depend says, "By Christ's NAME shall ye be called at the last day, THEREFORE, do all things" (including naming the church) "in that same name." Note carefully-not by the WORD Christ, but in the name of Christ. Now, what is the name which, when announced, at the last day will call the universe -- things in heaven, things on the earth, and under the earth -- to their knees, confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God? Let it soak in deeply, my friends, that name is JESUS, if this scripture is reliable. If that, then, is the name by which the universe shall finally be called to its knees and the scripture says therefore you shall call the church in his name, are we not safely within the name Christ when we include the word Jesus in naming our church?
Paul, in Acts 17:3 declares, "This Jesus whom I preach unto you is Christ." If this be so, then to give the name of that Jesus is to give the name Christ to anything.
The preface page of the Book of Mormon presents an excerpt from Moroni's record, in which he declares that the object in making and preserving that record was, among other things, to convince the Jew and Gentile that "Jesus is the Christ." It has always, therefore, seemed a most anomalous spectacle to me to see a church that clamors so loudly for the divinity of the Book of Mormon, divorcing the name Jesus from Christ in naming their church and claiming that that very book was their authority for doing it. A queer way, surely, of executing that mission of convincing the world that Jesus is the Christ. The people (members) must take upon them the united name -- Jesus Christ. The church is composed of the people; yet the church so composed must not do it. Don't smile, friends, please; it is too serious a matter. It looks to me like an ideal way of trying to impress the world that Jesus is NOT the Christ: to declare, first that THE CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST, and, second, that UNDER NO CONDITIONS MUST THE WORD JESUS BE ATTACHED TO ITS NAME.
So much for that. Now let me take up my thirdly and prove what I said, viz: that in referring to Christ's church names or words were used interchangeably in the Scriptures.
Beginning with Paul, I use Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 10:32; 11:16,22; 15:9; Galatians 1:13; 1 Timothy 3:5, and 1 Thessalonians 2:14. In everyone of these instances, he calls it the Church of God. In Romans 16:16 he refers to it as the Church of Christ. In Hebrews 12: 25, the Church of the First Born. In Colossians 4:16, Church of the Laodiceans. In 1 Corinthians 14:33, the Churches of the 'saints. In Romans 16 :4, Churches of the Gentiles. (Is Church of Latter Day Saints more Christless than that?)
In Mosiah 9 :4-42 it is said that Alma as a minister of God, and under the Spirit of God, baptized, ordained, and formed the church which was called The Church of God or the Church of Christ, and it is further shown that this was by the power and authority of God. In the same book, 11:75,77,79,116,120,125,126, and 127, it is called the Church of God, and the entire chapter bears witness that they ranked high in God's favor. Verses 99 and 100 say the Lord pronounced blessings upon Alma because he had established the church among that people, and he blessed the people, because, as it says, "They are willing to bear my name." He further says "They are mine," and in verse 104, "Behold this is my church." Remember this church was named the Church of God.
Turn now to the book of Alma, 1:16, and you will find in plain words that those who took upon them the name of Christ belonged to the "Church of God." Turn to Alma 1:30; 2:2,8; 3:2,4; 21:31; 29:50, and in every instance the church under Alma's distinguished spiritual operation was called, without exception, the Church of God. And in 21:31 it is positively stated that they all took upon them the name of Christ. In all these instances the fact is revealed that they were continually in communion with Christ.
It is a fact worth noting right here that different ministers of Christ used different words in recording the same event, as in Alma's and Moroni's cases. In the New Testament we have Matthew using the words "kingdom of heaven" and Mark using the words "kingdom of God" in reporting the same event. See Matthew 3:2; 4:17 and Mark 1:14,15. But both are identical in meaning, and that fact silences objection in the minds of intelligent readers.
As I have already intimated, the name Christ signified "the Anointed" and related more to office and the person who by divine appointment functioned in that office -- more at least than to the name of an individual. The name Jesus (Savior) was given of God to our Lord to indicate that his service in that office would mean salvation to man-"He shall save his people from their sins" was the reason stated.
For a long time the word Christ was used to express that fact. Jesus the Christ was the form of expression, but later in common usage the connecting word was dropped, and it was made a part of his personal name among the disciples ; and according to the revelation of June, 1829, the Savior said that Jesus Christ was the name given him of the Father. For support of what is here said, let me refer you to the following scriptures:
Tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. -- Matthew 26:63.
If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. -- John 10: 24.
I believe thou art the Christ, the Son of God. -- John 11:27.
That ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ. -- John 20:31.
Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Blessed. -- Mark 14:61.
Is not this the Christ? -- John 4:29.
We know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world. -- John 4:42.
Jesus, as shown before, was the name given, and the whole difficulty at that time was to convince the people that this man whose name was known to be Jesus was indeed the expected Christ, the anointed Son of God. The name Jesus was as we have shown, given of God, through the angel, to be attached to the anointed Son of God, and it would be well to remember right here the words of Jesus, regarding another matter, but as fully applicable here: "What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Wherever the word Christ belongs, the word Jesus also belongs, whether in a marriage ceremony, a baptism, or in naming the church.
If there be any virtue in the claim of the Church of Christ in this exclusive naming business, then the very names given to Christ by God and announced by angels and Christ himself become barriers to the acceptance by him of the very church he sent Christ to establish, if they be attached to it. This being true, it must have some undesirable quality connected with it, surely. If the name Jesus was given to Christ, of God, because he would "save his people from their sins," then there can be no just reason for divorcing that name in designating any church that ministers in his name authoritatively for the remission of sins. Where the name Jesus does not properly belong to a church, sins cannot be remitted unto those who join it. Only recently it was admitted to me by a defender of the Church of Christ that it is necessary for the members to take upon them the name of Jesus as well as Christ, but that was different from naming the church. But think, if you can, of a more glaring inconsistency than that. The member must take upon him the name of Jesus in order to be accepted of God; but the church that he joins by so doing must, in naming itself, strike out that name in order to be acceptable to the same God.
The real church of Christ is a divine institution, to effect a world's redemption. In it the divine and human are to meet and blend with that object in view. That holy blending and its significance was exhibited in Christ. Part of Him came from heaven and part was produced on earth. The name, Christ, representing the heavenly, and the name Jesus representing the human, were given of God who sent him. The combination represents in name: "God manifest in flesh." The church is "The body of Christ." It was "builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit." That is exactly what Christ's fleshly body was builded for, and to-day the former stands in the stead of the latter, with the same characteristics, purposes, and services-they are identical in all of these and should be identical in the blended name they bear -- "Jesus Christ" -- or its full equivalent in signification. Whatever name implies these facts and directs human thought to them and fastens it there, is acceptable and has full warrant of the Scriptures.
God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself." "God was manifest in the flesh;" "I and my Father are one"; "These three are one"; "Thou in me and I in them," are wonderfully significant statements and when carefully analyzed give us as clear a picture of the true church as they do of Christ and God and their whereabouts. Wherever this combination exists, salvation and celestialization is guaranteed. Whatever name fastens the reader's soul on that combination is an all-sufficient name. I do not and have not claimed that the words "The Church of Christ" are not acceptable. I believe they are in so far as they identify Jesus as the Christ meant; but when they are used, the word Jesus properly belongs with them to indicate what Christ they refer to. There is no benefit or joy or glory for the world in the Christ's existence or a church of that name, if there be no Jesus significance connected with it. It is the Jesus feature that links it to humanity and spells salvation, resurrection, and celestialization for you and me. If, therefore, the exact word Christ be essential, it must be equally essential to indicate what Christ is meant, inasmuch as the Scriptures inform us that many false Christs would arise.
It is a wretched reflection upon divinity, and to me seems much like an insult to God, to pick out one word from a host of God-given names and declare that all the others if applied to his church would constitute, an offense and deprive that church of his favor or acknowledgment. The very fact that Jesus referred the people to their former scriptures, intimating that those scriptures could have settled the matter, proves that anyone of the names given the church there, under divine direction or approval, would have been acceptable. It was only to be known as his church and not that of man, hence any name the scriptures assured them was Christ's name was appropriate.
It is as absolutely certain as is anything supported by the Scriptures that churches were established and named "the Church of the. Lamb of God," the "Church of God," the "Church of. Christ," the "Church of God or Christ," and the. "Church of the Firstborn," and other names, and operated under the immediate blessings of Christ and were called by him as his or "my church," as it is that Christ came into the world. It is equally. certain that their members all bore the name of Christ. And to now say that the same words, or their equivalent in meaning, will not answer the divine requirement, is tantamount to saying that the claimed unchangeability of God is a falsehood, and the word of God is no longer a "lamp to our feet and a light to our path."
Elder Daniel Macgregor, who for many years was one of the most successful proselyters on the missionary list of the Reorganized Church, in his excellent book, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, issue of 1911 and page 8, has this to say:
The kingdom of God has all these features. It has citizens, commonly called Saints, made so not by canons and decrees, but by reason of their citizenship in. the kingdom. This is their common name by which they have ever been known. The name Christian originated at Antioch and was used in derision by those not of the faith. It is found but thrice in all the Bible, while "saint" is referred to some ninety-nine times. Personally we prefer the appointed name rather than a nickname.
A hundred amens! to that, Brother Dan, and then some. Paul called the churches in his day "the churches of the Saints," and our Brother Dan has with as much clearness, force, and justification defended the name "Reorganized" scores of times, and God was with him in doing it, according to his own testimony. A change of mind and procedure now marks our brother's course, but his present or future testimonies will never reveal truer credentials than he furnished when bearing these former ones to the world. Eternity' will never reveal God's seal affixed to two sides of a controverted issue. Such attachments always spell changeful man in capital letters. In the Scriptures, as he states, the name Saints appears ninety-nine times; and if ever you see God's or Christ's name inscribed on the opposite side of what that clearly indicates, you may know some unauthorized man wrote it there. Don't hold Christ accountable for it.
In some instances, according to the King James translation, Paul's epistles were addressed to those "called to be Saints"; but the words to be are in italics, which indicates that they were not in the original, but were supplied by the translators to make the text read as they thought it should. Leave those words out, and you have it as in the original, "called saints." That was in the former days, and the words "latter day" now attached signify to all intelligent people who want only the facts that they refer to the time of the church's existence when used. Like the other words, they are explanatory and do not annul or vitiate the title to which they are appended. The primary and all important appellation stands unaffected -- It is the Church of Jesus Christ and that only, but it is composed of Latter Day Saints, who after being disorganized were reorganized, hence, properly and intelligently, the present church may be called the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. There can be no reasonable objection urged against these distinguishing or explanatory addendas; but if there could be, the Temple Lot people should be the last on earth to raise it, in the light of their own history from which we have herein formerly drawn instances.
Before dropping the subject, we present here verbatim an announcement published in the Truth Teller, volume 1, number 1, July, 1864, page 112, over the initials of one of the brightest men ever enrolled among our Church of Christ friends, Adna C. Haldeman.
I commend it for their rereading, as being sensible and true:
NAME OF THE CHURCH
We have received several communications from brethren who object to the church being called the Latter-day Saint Church, etc. These objections are well founded. We have never understood that the church should be called by any other name except by the name of its author, who is JESUS CHRIST. The words Latter-day Saints used in connection with the name of the church, forms no part of the name. These words, as we understand, are used for the purpose of designating the age in which the saints lived of which the church is composed. In accordance with that understanding we have generally inclosed the words Latter-day Saints in parentheses, thereby showing that they form no part of the name, but are used expressly for the purpose to designate the saints of the latter days from the saints of former days. All members of the church of Jesus Christ are saints, no matter whether they lived in former days or in latter days, hence, where there are no saints there is no church. Some brethren claim that the word Jesus ought to be omitted. It may. be done, yet it is not absolutely necessary, for we find that our Savior is sometimes called in the New Testament, "The only begotten of the Father," "The Son of God," "Jesus," "Jesus Christ." There might be much said on this subject, but we hope that the above is sufficient. A. C. H.
My final word, though in repetition, is this: "If the church assembling on the Temple Lot is the church of Jesus Christ, it ought to be so designated and announced. There is nothing to be ashamed or afraid of in the name Jesus to those who are acting by his authority. If theirs is the "Church of Christ" yet not the "Church of JESUS Christ," then by all the obligations of righteousness they ought to answer our question and tell the world, WHAT CHRIST IS IT?
Let me, in closing, repeat that as a people, so far as my acquaintance extends among them, the members of the "Church of Christ" lie as close to my heart as do any people on earth. Hence this discussion is without personal ill-will. I believe their interpretation of the scripture under consideration is wrong, and their application of it does an injury (so far as it affects at all) to the churches against whom it is directed; hence as a minister of the .Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints -- believing that name to be fully within the divine intention and favor -- I have undertaken this defense. The name of the church is my subject, and regarding that only I have herein declared my attitude. Let no one take offense or misapply the effort.