Soon after arriving in Germany I was chatting with my neighbor about sights to see. She and her husband (in their late 60’s) have been all over the world so she is a good source of information on all things travel. This was their first time living in Germany, however. At the top of her list of places to see while here was Worms (pronounced “Vorms”). She explained a little of its significance to me. That’s when it became a “must see” on my list.
We didn’t go until yesterday, however. But it worked out perfectly because it was only recently that I have been studying a little more about the Reformation as well as the difference between the words “reformation” and “restoration”. Without this study, our visit to Worms wouldn’t have had quite the same effect on me.
When we, in the LDS church, speak of a Restoration we’re talking about the church being restored to the pattern that Jesus Christ established during his ministry. We believe that Restoration took place after Joseph Smith prayed to know which of the many churches of his day he should join. He prayed after reading the Bible, in James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Joseph’s answer came that he should join none of them. God and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph, in person to tell him this and other significant things.
Today, there are over 14 million members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All because a young man studied the word of God in the Bible. That Bible came out of the tight clutches of the early Roman Catholic church by great sacrifice. There is a new BYU documentary about those who are responsible for the translation of the Bible into languages that the common man could understand, many of them who were martyred because of their efforts to help the commoners understand the word of God. (Until that time only the church or wealthy and educated could read Latin.)
One of these men was Martin Luther. He was a monk in Germany in the 1500’s. His study of the Bible helped him to see that the Roman Catholic church was abusing their powers in the name of religion. He named 95 theses or principles he wished to address and nailed them to the doors of the church. And he didn’t quit spreading his beliefs. So the Pope excommunicated him.
Here’s where the city of Worms comes in. After Martin Luther made his protests known throughout the region, the common man began to understand and became enraged at the Catholic church. The church was not happy, of course, and called Martin Luther to appear before the Diet (“summit meeting’) in a palace attached to St. Peter’s cathedral in Worms. He refused saying,
“I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.” (Martin Luther)
Martin Luther was sentenced to death, but was able to escape, go into exile and continue translating the Bible into German. Martin Luther is credited to have changed the course of Christianity because he would not back down.
William Tyndale was also from this era. He translated the Bible into English which then was accepted by King James as a standard scripture.
It is because of men like Martin Luther and William Tyndale that we have the Bible. It is because of the Reformation that we have seen a Restoration through the prophet Joseph Smith.
That’s why I chose this as my Photo of the Weekend: