Question: How did Paul respond when people spoke against the Savior and His Church?
Answer: Like the Church in Paul’s day, the Church today is often “spoken against.” Despite the opposition Paul faced, he continued to teach whoever was willing to listen. The Church today continues to send out missionaries who continue to teach anyone who will listen to their message.
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Acts 28:22-24, 30-31
22 But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest (we would like to have you talk to us about your beliefs): for as concerning this sect (the Christian Church), we know that every where it is spoken against we have heard nothing but bad about the Christians).
23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging (many Jews living in Rome came to Paul’s quarters); to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God (and he taught them and testified of the kingdom of God), persuading (teaching) them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets (using the teachings of Moses and the other Old Testament prophets), from morning till evening.
24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.
30 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired (rented) house, and received (welcomed) all that came in unto him (who came to visit him),
31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.
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Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church
The Church has become one large family scattered across the earth. There are now more than 13 million of us in 176 nations and territories. A marvelous and wonderful thing is coming to pass. The Lord is fulfilling His promise that His gospel shall be as the stone cut out of the mountain without hands which would roll forth and fill the whole earth, as Daniel saw in vision (see Daniel 2:31–45; D&C 65:2). A great miracle is taking place right before our eyes.
I take you back 184 years to the year 1823. The month was September—the night of September 21–22, to be exact. The boy Joseph Smith had prayed that night before going to sleep. He asked the Lord for forgiveness of his light-mindedness. A miraculous thing then happened. He says:
“While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside. …
“He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God … and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people” (Joseph Smith—History 1:30, 33).
The boy must have been stunned by what he heard. In the eyes of those who knew him, he was simply a poor, unlearned farm boy. He had no wealth. His neighbors were in the same condition. His parents were struggling farmers. The area where they lived was rural and largely unknown. They were simply ordinary people trying to survive through hard work. And yet an angel of God said that Joseph’s “name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues.” How could it be? That description fits the entire world.
Now, as we look back 177 years to the organization of the Church, we marvel at what has already happened. When the Church was organized in 1830 there were but six members, only a handful of believers, all residing in a largely unknown village. Today, we have become the fourth or fifth largest church in North America, with congregations in every city of any consequence. Stakes of Zion today flourish in every state of the United States, in every province of Canada, in every state of Mexico, in every nation of Central America and throughout South America.
Congregations are found throughout the British Isles and Europe, where thousands have joined the Church through the years. This work has reached out to the Baltic nations and on down through Bulgaria and Albania and other areas of that part of the world. It reaches across the vast area of Russia. It reaches up into Mongolia and all down through the nations of Asia into the islands of the Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand, and into India and Indonesia. It is flourishing in many of the nations of Africa.
Our general conferences are carried by satellite and other means in 92 different languages. And this is only the beginning. This work will continue to grow and prosper and move across the earth. It must do so if Moroni’s promise to Joseph is to be fulfilled. This work is unique and wonderful. It is fundamentally different from every other body of religious doctrine of which I know....
Following the Savior’s death, the Church He had established drifted into apostasy. Fulfilled were the words of Isaiah, who said, “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant” (Isaiah 24:5)....
The Bible had stood for centuries. It is a precious and wonderful book. Now there was a second witness declaring the divinity of Christ. The Book of Mormon is the only book ever published, of which I know, that carries in it a promise that one who reads it prayerfully and asks concerning it in prayer will have revealed to him by the power of the Holy Ghost a knowledge that it is true (see Moroni 10:4).
Since its first publication in a rural print shop in Palmyra, New York, there have been more than 133 million copies produced. It has been translated into 105 languages. Not long ago it was named one of the 20 most influential books ever published in North America....Through all of these years critics have tried to explain it. They have spoken against it. They have ridiculed it. But it has outlived them all, and its influence today is greater than at any time in its history.
In this series of events came next the restoration of the priesthood, bestowed by resurrected beings who held it when the Savior walked the earth. This occurred in 1829, when Joseph was only 23. Following receipt of the priesthood, the Church was organized on the 6th of April, 1830, when Joseph was a young man not yet 25. Again, the organization is unique and different from that of traditional Christianity. It is largely operated by a lay ministry. Voluntary service is its genius. As it has grown and spread abroad, thousands upon thousands of faithful and able men have directed its efforts.
Today I stand in wonder at the marvelous things which God revealed to His appointed prophet while he was yet young and largely unknown. The very language of these revelations is beyond the capacity of even a man of great learning.
Scholars not of our faith, who will not accept our singular doctrines, are puzzled by the great unrolling of this work, which is touching the hearts of people across the earth. We owe it all to Joseph the Prophet, the seer and the revelator, the Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was foreordained to come forth in this generation as an instrument in the hands of the Almighty in restoring to the earth that which the Savior taught when He walked the roads of Palestine.
To you, this day, I affirm my witness of the calling of the Prophet Joseph, of his works, of the sealing of his testimony with his blood as a martyr to the eternal truth. Each of you can bear witness of the same thing. You and I are faced with the stark question of accepting the truth of the First Vision and that which followed it. On the question of its reality lies the very validity of this Church. If it is the truth, and I testify that it is, then the work in which we are engaged is the most important work on the earth.
I leave with you my testimony of the truth of these things, and I invoke the blessings of heaven upon you. May the windows of heaven be opened and blessings showered upon you as the Lord has promised. Never forget that this was His promise and that He has the power and the capacity to see that it is fulfilled. I so pray as I leave my blessing and love with you in the sacred name of our Redeemer, even the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.
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Sources: Come, Follow Me–For Individuals and Families, p. 120; The New Testament Made Easier, Part 2, Volume 3, by David J. Ridges, 82; Excerpts from General Conference, October 2007, “The Stone Cut Out of the Mountain,” by Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church.