Friday, December 16, 2011

Flooding the Earth with the.... Bible.

I've written before that my mission president, over 25 years ago, sent my companion and I to Chinese restaurants with Chinese copies of the Book of Mormon. No baptisms resulted, but we had some "Hmmmm" moments. I forget if we paired them with Spanish copies or not.

I still attribute that as my main inspiration for this Book of Mormon distribution project. Here is another item which I believe influenced my thinking on the importance of scriptures.

I've recently given thought to a book that I read in my youth, God's Smuggler, by Andrew van der Bijl, a.k.a. "Brother Andrew."

Starting in the 1950's Brother Andrew smuggled Bibles and other religious literature into communist countries. He started an organization called "Open Doors" that currently ministers to persecuted Christians worldwide, and distributes millions of Bibles annually.

The LDS church owes much to various other churches and denominations that have prepared most of the undeveloped world to receive the fullness of the restored Gospel. Although LDS missionaries went to Latin America early on (prior to 1850), serious efforts to establish a presence did not begin until the 1970's. Yet the Catholic church had a presence that coincided with the arrival of the Europeans. And, Protestants (especially Evangelical denominations) made considerable inroads in Latin America starting in the 1950's.

In the African continent, the LDS church had a presence only in the country of South Africa prior to 1978, and actively proselyted only caucasians prior to the revelation on priesthood. Again, the presence of Catholics and Protestants long pre-dated the LDS church's effort.

Many peoples and nations who had little or no knowledge of Christ in their culture were given a basic understanding of God, Christ, the Atonement, the principles of repentance and forgiveness, redemption, and resurrection, by our brothers and sisters in other churches.

Therefore, those who later received the Mormon missionaries had already received the basics. Those other churches did a lot of the ground-work, infusing significant swaths of many cultures with a basic knowledge of Christianity, which essentially saved the LDS church decades of time and effort, and made the one-on-one preaching and teaching as done by individual LDS missionaries much easier and quicker. Most of the hard work of cultural transformation had already been done, compared to the "pre-Christian" state of those peoples and nations.

Other Bible societies of which I am a fan are:

International Bible Society, now called Biblica. (Sells non-English Bibles.)

American Bible Society. (Sells Bibles in many languages here.)

United Bible Societies.



At 12/24/2011 10:38:00 PM, Blogger bkbsmiles said...

On the BYU Channel, I've watched a Documentary on the early translations of the Bible into English. It was considered such a scandal that it had to be smuggled into England. People were thirsty for the word. I may have told the story before of when I was a missionary and teaching a man who was from Russia who seemed rather agnostic. He did want to take the Book of Mormon back to Russia as religious text had been forbidden for so long. Have a blessed Christmas!


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