- “This a profound and profoundly important book, one of the most compelling in the history of modern Mormonism. . . . If I had the power, I would make And There Was No Poor Among Them required reading of every local, regional, and general leader of the Church.” — Robert A. Rees, co-founder and vice-president of the Bountiful Children’s Foundation
- “Innovative, forceful, and thoughtful. . . . This book reveals that the richness of the gospel lies not merely in piling up treasures in heaven, but in working with God to liberate the world.” — Margaret Olsen Hemming, co-author of The Book of Mormon For the Least of These
- “Persuasively argues that the Latter-day Restoration is also a call to return us to the societal salvation exemplified in the Hebrew Bible and Christ’s ministry. . . . This is an invaluable resource for improving and directing our Christian ministry in the world today.” — David B. Ostler, author of Bridges: Ministering to Those Who Question
- “In And There Was No Poor Among Them, prophetic imagination is integrated and redefined with insights that explicate the meaning of building the kingdom of God on earth, here and now. . . . This is a great book.” — Warner Woodworth, author of Radiant Mormonism: Using Our Faith in Christ to Power World-changing Service
- “What if the Restoration was a divinely offered response to the very injustices that have spurred liberation theology? It’s a good question, and Ward gives some provocative answers to it.” — Joseph M. Spencer, author of For Zion: A Mormon Theology of Hope
While The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has expanded many fundamental Christian doctrines, salvation is still understood as pertaining exclusively to the next life. How should we understand salvation and what does the timing of the Restoration reveal about God’s vision of salvation for a suffering world?
To answer these questions, author Ryan Ward traces the theological evolution of salvation from the liberation of Israel from oppression to the Western Christian development of salvation as an individualistic, transactional atonement. This evolution corresponded with the shift of Christianity from a covenant community to an official state religion aligned with imperial power structures. Ward also explores the economic and social movements in the centuries leading up to the Industrial Revolution, which solidified the power of propertied elites at the expense of the poor, plundered entire continents, and killed millions.
Synthesizing these theological and historical threads, And There Was No Poor Among Them: Liberation, Salvation, and the Meaning of the Restoration asserts that the Restoration is God’s explicit rejection of social and economic systems and ideologies that have led to the globalization of misery. Instead, Ward shows how the Restoration and the gospel of Christ is an invitation to a participatory salvation realized in Zion communities where “there are no poor among us.”