4 thoughts on “George Wishart and the British Pageant by Jim Gourlay”

  1. This will be a tough one for many Christians to get their heads around, but let me try to express an LDS viewpoint, accepting of course that I am no longer a believing Mormon… but I have been there, thinking and feeling as believing Mormons do.

    Firstly, I would thank you for expressing so feelingly and so gently your sense of brotherhood with George Wishart, and your sense also of spiritual continuity and unity with him. As a Mormon believer I would have responded by syaing that IF Joseph Smith really was the instrument through which the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the Earth in 1820, then it becomes irrelevant what George Wishart believed in his day; the argument would be that along with Wycliffe, Huss, Tyndale, Luther, Knox, Wesley and others he was a man inspired by God in his time to bring into being the Protestant Reformation which prepared the minds of mankind to receive the fullness of the gospel as revealed through Joseph Smith when God saw fit.

    You see, to Mormons, it really doesn’t matter that there are major theological differences, only that there was an unfolding plan, and in their minds that trumps whatever your position may be on the matter. You, after all, are part of the great apostasy, and a follower of those professors of religion who are an abomination in the sight of God. Likewise, the fact that you call upon the Bible to support your argument, counts for little IF the Book of Mormon was God’s word revealed through Joseph Smith. After all the Book of Mormon prophesies that men will say “A Bible! A Bible! We have a Bible, and we need no more Bible!” It also informs its readers that many plain and precious things were removed from the Bible before it went forth from the Jew to the Gentile. So again, to an indoctrinated Mormon, you can quote the Bible all day long, and it will remain meaningless if at the same time you are taking a position of challenging his belief system. He will only pity you that you don’t know in your heart that Joseph Smith was called of God.

    The key is always Joseph Smith. Either he was a prophet, or he was not, and either God restored the fullness of Christ’s gospel through him, or he did not. Until you make Mormons stop and consider who Joseph Smith really was, and what he actually did, you will not penetrate their understanding. You have to show them the real Joseph, and the real Brigham, and encourage them to taste the real past. That requires sharing real, unsanitized history. Then some will open their eyes. Then they will learn for themselves that recorded history is against them, and they will start to realise that their position is not unassailable as they had once believed. Then they may listen to the other things you would like to say to them. But not until… except possibly out of politeness.

    You are absolutely right in pointing out that we cannot claim history unless it is rooted in evidence. The problem is that members of the LDS church are spoonfed year upon year so much semi-fable passed off as their spiritual heritage. It becomes addictive to them. It is spun and skewed and slanted history, and it is ultimately dishonest history. It has always been the practice of the LDS church from the start to deal in such goods, as many examples attest.

    There are so many good and honest members of the LDS church who are unaware of all this. They may only be reached by those who understand how they are thinking and feeling. May God bless your efforts to understand, befriend and succour them. The day is coming when the dam will burst.

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    1. Thanks. What would still be causing me to scratch my head is this: how can Wishart etc be “a man inspired by God in his time to bring into being the Protestant Reformation which prepared the minds of mankind to receive the fullness of the gospel as revealed through Joseph Smith”
      and (like me) a part of the ‘great apostasy’ – how does that work?
      Perhaps an LDS can explain to me.

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      1. As I said, it’s a tough one for many Christians to understand. The answer to your question is that the worldviews of Mormonism and Evangelical Christianity are really quite different. To a Mormon there would be no contradiction in the question you pose. The idea is that the world was more or less in spiritual darkness from about 100 AD until 1820 AD. If this had been so the question arises, what happens to all those truth-seeking people who lived during those centuries of apostasy? Were they lost for ever? Not according to Mormonism because of vicarious saving ordinances.performed in the temples. Living one’s life according to erroneous doctrine is not necessarily a permanent impediment to spiritual progression, because a way has been provided for all.

        A man like Wishart, therefore, could be led during his lifetime by the Spirit of Christ, (conscience), out of one degree of darkness towards a lighter version of darkness, and still be completely awry with his theology, but nevertheless perform a useful action in preparing the way for a full restoration three centuries later. And when taught the true gospel in the spirit world after this life, Wishart, it is conjectured, might understand that he had had only limited understanding of things after all, and could then choose to avail himself of the saving ordinances administered for him by the LDS.

        Now compare that with a Christian worldview. What is the destiny of gnostics, and popes, and those who live or have lived without hearing of Christ, and those who put their faith if false prophets? What hope do they have according to Christian theology? Is there a divergence of worldviews? It seems to me that there is.

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  2. Thanks a lot for that Chris thats excellent feedback. I think what Jim said is valid and true and very much stands, however I can see from a Mormon viewpoint how this could go.

    Thankfully not all Mormons think the exact same way so this may get through to some, and if nothing else this is one of the few Christian reviews of the British Pageant out there.

    Thanks a lot appreciated!

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