The Book of Martyrs, by John Foxe, documents the persecution and suffering endured by faithful men and women from the 1st to early 16th centuries for their faith in Jesus Christ. Commonly known as Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, one fuller title is Actes and Monuments of these Latter and Perillous Days, Touching Matters of the Church.
Teach your children the true history of the lives, sufferings, and triumphant deaths of the early Christian martyrs. May it never be said that the blood of the saints has been spilled in vain and their testimonies forgotten. “And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11).
Taken from They Knew the Prophet
During the fall of 1834, the Prophet Joseph Smith paid a visit to the home of Edward Stevenson, a faithful member of the Church who would later become a prominent missionary and one of the seven presidents of the Seventy. While there he noticed a copy of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by the sixteenth-century English cleric John Foxe. Brother Stevenson recorded the Prophet’s remarks in reference to Christian martyrs massacred during the Dark Ages:
“While looking over our copy of a large English Book of Martyrs, he expressed sympathy for the Christian martyrs and a hope for their salvation. He asked to borrow the book, promising to return it when he should meet us again in Missouri.
On returning it he said, ‘I have, by the aid of the Urim and Thummim, seen those martyrs. They were honest, devoted followers of Christ, according to the light they possessed. They will be saved.’” 1
What did Joseph Smith see? Who were these martyrs?
The Reformation was the fuel for the colonization of America and a study of this period brings a deeper appreciation for scripture. To understand this era of persecution, is to appreciate why the Lord established a government of liberty in America. To comprehend this era of “rebirth” in civilization through sacred scripture is to envision how Christians in the 21st century can rebuild a broken world and fragmented society. To remember the Reformation is to remember the captivity and deliverance of our fathers. (Alma 36:2, 29, 29:11-12, 60:20)