The Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ shares the experience of Jesus Christ visiting ancient America after His resurrection. The Nephites knew that the Savior had died because a prophet named Samuel, a Lamanite, had given them signs of both Christ’s birth and His death. They saw the signs and knew that both events happened just as Samuel had prophesied. They experienced the upheaval of nature on the fourth day of the first month of the thirty-fourth year and endured three days of darkness that marked the death of the Savior.
Approximately eight months later near the end of the thirty-fourth year, the Savior appeared to them. (See
3 Nephi 10:18.) He taught the gospel to the Nephites for several days, sometimes in general meetings and sometimes with just the priesthood leaders. He was speaking to the twelve disciples on one occasion and told them “Ye are my disciples; and ye are a light unto this people…. this is the land of your inheritance; and the Father hath given it unto you” (3 Nephi 15:12-13).
The Savior continued, “And not at any time hath the Father given me commandment that I should tell it unto your brethren at Jerusalem.
“Neither at any time hath the Father given me commandment that I should tell unto them concerning the other tribes of the house of Israel, whom the Father hath led away out of the land.
“This much did the Father command me, that I should tell unto them:
“That other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd….
“But, verily, I say unto you that the Father hath commanded me, and I tell it unto you, that ye were separated from among them because of their iniquity; …
“And verily, I say unto you again that the other tribes hath the Father separated from them; …
“And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; ...” (3 Nephi 15:14-21).
Jesus Christ continued His instructions to his priesthood leaders: “And verily, verily, I say unto you that I have other sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister.
“For they of whom I speak are they who have not as yet heard my voice; neither have I at any time manifested myself unto them.
“But I have received a commandment of the Father that I shall go unto them, and that they shall hear my voice, and shall be numbered among my sheep, that there may be one fold and one shepherd; therefore I go to show myself unto them” (3 Nephi 16:1-3).
I have read those words many times and have wondered about those “other sheep” that Jesus spoke about. Who were they? Did they keep any records? When can we know of His visit with them? Then I discovered an article titled “Did Jesus Visit Russia after His Resurrection?” that was written by Mark J. Stoddard and published by Meridian Magazine on January 6, 2016. I found this article very interesting.
Assuming the author is being truthful, there is “an ancient Russian folk tale about how Jesus came to visit the Russian people after his resurrection.” A “great painter” named Mikhail Nestorov painted a picture about 1900 that is known as the “Holy Rus” and hangs in the Russian Gallery in Leningrad. The author saw a copy of the painting, began to ask questions, and learned about the folk tale.
In 1992 the author had the opportunity to visit with “the highest authority of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. “I asked him if he knew of a painting where Christ seemed to be appearing to the ancient Slavic people. He said that he did…. I asked him where the artist got the idea of such a scene.
“He replied solemnly that it was `inspired by an ancient folk tale that said after Christ’s death he visited the Slavic people, ancestors of the Russians, to bring his gospel. The people who listened to Christ were the humble and lowly in the farms and countryside. They took upon themselves his name which when written phonetically in our characters rather than Cyrilllic is Kristiany. The word for peasant in Russian is Kristiany. Those who believed in Him took upon themselves His name.’
“I asked [him] if he believed that Christ actually came to the lands of present day Russia and Ukraine. He nodded, stroking his beard.
“It could very well have been…. It could have been exactly as the painting shows.’”
I first read this story when it was published and have shared it with several people. I am fascinated at the possibility of one or more witnesses to another appearance of Jesus Christ after His resurrection.