And There Was No Poor Among Them: Liberation, Salvation, and the Meaning of the Restoration
by Ryan D. Ward
Available Summer 2023
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.”
About the Author:
Ryan D. Ward received his PhD from Utah State University specializing in experimental psychology. Following postdoctoral work in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Columbia University in New York City, he accepted a position at the University of Otago, where he is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology. His research focuses on the neural basis of learning, animal models of psychiatric disease, and motivations for drug use. He teaches courses on drugs, behavior, addiction, and policy, and research methods. He lives with his wife and five children in New Zealand.