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The Jesus Christians had adopted a strong doctrine of pacifism and a great respect for Gandhi long before they ever knew that Gandhi had received much of his inspiration from Leo Tolstoy. When they read Tolstoy's testimony in 1996, they were rapt. They identified with him instantly and claimed him as one of their own.

We are pleased to announce that we have discovered a fellow Jesus Christian who lived a hundred years ago. His name is Leo Tolstoy.

Tolstoy was famous for writing such books as War and Peace and Anna Karenina. However, in his mid-forties he went through a period of deep depression which caused him to stop writing for several years. It eventually led him to seek God.

He joined the Russian Orthodox Church, and in his sincerity he started to believe and even practise the teachings of Jesus.

Because of this, he was excommunicated from the church, and his writings about Jesus were banned in Russia. They had to be printed secretly or smuggled in from outside of the country, and then secretly passed from person to person.

What Tolstoy learned, and what he experienced as a result of it, mirrors our own experiences; or perhaps we should say that what we have experienced has mirrored his experiences, since he came first.

It was Tolstoy's writings about nonviolence in particular, which so deeply influenced Gandhi, and it was Gandhi who so deeply influenced Martin Luther King.

History books would have us remember Tolstoy for having written War and Peace, remember Gandhi for having driven the British from India, and remember Martin Luther King for having won civil rights for African Americans. We are not certain about how the last two would want to be remembered, but it is clear from his writings that Tolstoy would have wanted to be remembered for his Christian faith, and in particular, for his faith in the teachings of Jesus as being the Word of God.

Having read some of what Tolstoy wrote, it is now going to be difficult to say that what we teach is original. We have translated some of Tolstoy's writings into Easy English; in doing it, we found that our influence caused us to sharpen up some of what he said, and his influence caused us to sharpen up what we have said. We feel spiritually one with him in wanting people to rediscover the Son of God and His relevance to the world today.

In the future, we expect that we will be restating in our own words a lot of what we are presently getting from Tolstoy, and so it is appropriate that we give some recognition to our source before hand. Of course the amazing similarities between what he said and what we say is really because we both have made our revelations by following the teachings of a common Teacher, who is Jesus himself.

At the time, Tolstoy said that it astounded him that he should be merely restating what Jesus said and yet be regarded as something of a novelty in his own country despite its claims (at that time) to being a Christian country.

He said that this was so because there had been some very deliberate efforts to hide and distort the teachings of Jesus. And those efforts continue to this day.

What Tolstoy discovered is not widely read, and is hardly taught today, least of all by those professing to be followers of Jesus. What he says is so powerful that the Church has no answers for it. Because it has no answers, and because it is unwilling to accept it, there is no other choice but to bury it in the dustiest corners of their libraries. We find that they do the same thing with what we have written.

It is only the fact that he had achieved international recognition as a writer before he discovered Jesus that his Christian writings have been preserved at all. We can only guess how many other fellow Jesus Christians there have been throughout the centuries who have, like ourselves, been totally snubbed by the churches in an effort to silence them or to minimise their influence.

(See also A Confession, and What I Believe, by Tolstoy)

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