A Catholic Priest reflects on the Book of Mormon


#1

americamagazine.org/blog/entry.cfm?blog_id=2&entry_id=5407


#2

Is there a question in this?

What are you wanting to discuss?


#3

A heavy overlaying of Catholic belief and understanding over a Mormon text. The same sort of thing that Mormons do with the Bible, only, they apply a heavy overcoat of Mormon belief and understanding.

While the good Father has good intentions of understanding LDS belief, he hasn’t understood anything at all.


#4

This priest is wasting his valuable time.


#5

The Priests words in his first blog capture some insight.

I bravely, and more than a bit foolishly, promised a series of reflections on the Book of Mormon. I am not a scholar of the Latter Day Saints

And why would a Catholic Jesuit say this, despite his obvious interest in inter-faith dialogue? Because he knows scripture, both in English and Greek and likely some Aramaic and Hebrew.

Galatians 1: 8. “But even if we, or an angel (Maroni) from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed”

My insert on Moroni above.


#6

An LDS contrast here…

Revelation 14:6 And I saw another angel (Moroni) flying through the midst of heaven, having the eternal gospel, to preach unto them that sit upon the earth, and over every nation, and tribe, and tongue, and people.

My insert on Moroni above


#7

:rolleyes:

No, this passage is not referencing Moroni.


#8

The priest may indeed reach this conclusion in hindsight, but anyone who refuses to consider a faith on their own, and instead relies on the opinion of another, is selling his or herself short. A Catholic should conclude whether or not Mormonism is a waste of time, and a Mormon should conclude for his or herself whether the Catholic faith is a waste of time by doing exactly what this priest is doing: taking the time to look into it for himself.


#9

Gazelam -

Is this verse part of LDS teaching or did you find it on your own? I simply don’t know the answer but I am curious. The verse above is out of context. Here is the whole passage before and after. There was not one angel but 3 angels (were there 3 Moroni’s?) and the angel in verse 6 was limited in what he said. He was pronoucing that God’s reign is about to begin. He was not pronouncing a new gospel on earth.
The Three Angels.6 Then I saw another angel flying high overhead, with everlasting good news to announce to those who dwell on earth, to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people.
7 **He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, for his time has come to sit in judgment. Worship him who made heaven and earth and sea and springs of water.” **
8 A second angel followed, saying:

[INDENT]“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great,that made all the nations drink the wine of her licentious passion.”
9 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice, “Anyone who worships the beast or its image, or accepts its mark on forehead or hand,
10 will also drink the wine of God’s fury, poured full strength into the cup of his wrath, and will be tormented in burning sulfur before the holy angels and before the Lamb.
11 The smoke of the fire that torments them will rise forever and ever, and there will be no relief day or night for those who worship the beast or its image or accept the mark of its name.
12 Here is what sustains the holy ones who keep God’s commandments and their faith in Jesus.
13 I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” said the Spirit, “let them find rest from their labors, for their works accompany them.”[/INDENT]

Are there any other verses that you believe Moroni appears in the OT or NT? :confused:


#10

The priest clearly does not think he is wasting his time as he is very engaged in inter-faith dialogue. I noticed that he recently wrote an article having to do with the Moonies. He’s are his words:

Reading can get you quite far in interreligious learning, respect, and wisdom — and hence in being a better Christian too.

In fairness to the LDS church, I think many Catholics on this website have a lot of respect and admiration for the focus on the family found in the LDS church. I believe this is also true in the Catholic church. And I know many have a sense of admiration on how LDS members go on mission trips when they are young. What would be the affect on the world if Catholics did the same? That said, there are significant theological differences between the two faiths. Differences that are not raised or discussed in any depth on the Priests’ blog.


#11

RebeccaJ,
What in your opinion does it reference?


#12

I’m nowhere near being a LDS scholar but it is generally accepted that the angel in Rev 14:6 in the Angel Moroni. In fact there is an LDS hymn titled “I Saw A Mighty Angel Fly”.

The lyrics are here: lds.org/churchmusic/detailmusicPlayer/index.html?searchlanguage=1&searchcollection=1&searchseqstart=15&searchsubseqstart=&searchseqend=15&searchsubseqend=ZZZ (This URL seems to open up to a music player so it might take a few seconds to see the lyrics.)

Thanks for pointing out the reference to the angel I referred to is one of three. Hopefully I take note of that next time I wade through Revelation.

I personally am unaware of other Bible verses that the LDS believe specifically reference Moroni.

Here are some Bible (KJV) verses that the LDS believe reference the Book of Mormon.

Genesis 11:9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

The book of Mormon includes an account of a people that the Lord guided/scattered to the Americas after the Tower of Babel incident. (See the Book of Ether.)

Psalms 85:11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

The Book of Mormon came from golden plates hidden in the ground for centuries until Moroni gave them to Joseph Smith.

For this next one you just need to know that the golden plates included a sealed portion that Joseph Smith did not translate

Isaiah 29:11 And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed.

In Joseph Smith’s own words… Sometime in this month of February, the aforementioned Mr. Martin Harris came to our place, got the characters which I had drawn off the plates, and started with them to the city of New York. For what took place relative to him and the characters, I refer to his own account of the circumstances, as he related them to me after his return, which was as follows:

“I went to the city of New York, and presented the characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Professor Charles Anthon, a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments. Professor Anthon stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac, and Arabic; and he said they were true characters. He gave me a certificate, certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct. I took the certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when Mr. Anthon called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him.

“He then said to me, ‘Let me see that certificate.’ I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such thing now as ministering of aangels, and that if I would bring the plates to him he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them. He replied, ‘I cannot read a sealed book.’ I left him and went to Dr. Mitchell, who sanctioned what Professor Anthon had said respecting both the characters and the translation.”

Ezekiel 37:15-17 The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,
16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:
17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.

LDS believe that the Bible is the stick of Judah and the Book of Mormon is the stick of Joseph referenced here.

John 10:16 And 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.

The people of the Book of Mormon are included as some of the other sheep Jesus referred to in this verse.

I hope this helps.


#13

Why? Why shouldn’t a Catholic hold their own churches teachings as truth? Why can’t a Catholic base their opinion that other religions are a “waste of time” based on their belief in the teachings of the Catholic church. Must a Catholic (or any other believer) study all the works of every other religion before they can accept the teachings of their own religion?


#14

[quote="gazelam, post:11, topic:301556"]
RebeccaJ,
What in your opinion does it reference?

[/quote]

"Three angels appear, each bearing a message that offers a kind of commentary on the vision just seen. The first of these is the most important. Like the eagle of the three woes, this angel is said to fly "in the mid heaven" (RV and NRSV; ESV has "directly overhead"), the zenith where he can be easily seen and heard (cf. 8:13). But instead of crying woe, the angel proclaims "an eternal gospel": Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgement has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water." To whom does he announce this mesage? Not to the Lamb's followers. These have already heard the gospel and are living its consequences. Rather, the message is spoken "to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe, and son. In Rev. 7, however, it is clear that the countless multitute are the eschatologically redeemed, whereas the present passage the hearers must still become this.

On a first hearing, this "gospel" may not sound terribly gospel-like. The form of speech is not the promissory language so beloved by the Reformers. It is not a declaration of God's unconditional pardon of the sinner. Rather, it comes in the form of a command: fear God and give him glory. Law and obligation would seem to trump deliverance and release.

Yet to accept this distinction too readily would reflect a rather thin understanding of what the gospel itsel is. What makes the gospel liberating is not simpy that it delivers us from the oppressive voice of the law, but that it liberates us for God. The gospel is liberating because it is true; it is the Creator's own word to his creatures. And because it is true, it inevitably makes a claim upon us. That is why the gospel can at times take the form not only of outright declaration ("Christ is risen") or of promise ("this is my body, given up for you") but of law or command ("love your neighbor as yourself"). As Karl Barth put it, the law itself is a form of the gospel. The claim it makes on us is a gracious claim.

But the content of the gospel is Jesus Christ. What makes the gospel more than simply law is its being based on the reality of God's apocalyptic action in Jesus. Thus the angel's message says that because the hour of his judgment has come, therefore fear God, give him glory, and worship him as the giver of all good gifts. Already as our Creator, God has made us and set us within a habitable world, "heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water." All this is good news. There is no one to whom this good news does not apply. It is remarkably, good news for "those who dwell on earth," a phrase that so often has negative connotations is in the Apocalypse. Here it is used in a hopeful ways. The gospel announced by the first angel is not only eternal, it is universal." ("Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible: Revelations", Mangina, Joseph L., p. 174)

Just for clarity, "gospel" means "good news". The good news the first of the three angels proclaims: “Fear God and give him glory, for his time has come to sit in judgment. Worship him who made heaven and earth and sea and springs of water.”

This has nothing to do with Mormonism. Zero. Zip. Nada.


#15

:clapping:


#16

I think you may have misunderstood me.

I don’t believe a person of faith should set aside their convictions in order to learn about a different religion. An individual can learn about other faiths while remaining Catholic, Mormon, or whatever faith to which they might adhere. They can learn for learning’s sake, in order to understand another’s beliefs so they can better evangelize, etc.

What I think is important to point out is that one cannot know something is a waste of time until they learn about it, since you have to know the attributes of something in order to make any judgments about it. I think my experience is a good example. I was raised a member of the LDS faith, being taught that Catholicism was a corrupt version of Christianity and it wasn’t necessary for me to learn about it because I already had the truth. If I had never been open to looking into the Catholic faith for myself I never would have discovered that it is not the faith I was taught it was. Likewise, if a Catholic person never takes the time to get at least a rough idea of what else is out there how can they really appreciate what they have? It is easy to think you have the best product around when you don’t take the time to see what else is out there.


#17

I learned to appreciate my Catholicism better by studying Mormonism.

Mormonism does not have a consistent, disciplined theology. Mormonism does not have a universal, recognized authoritative compendium of its beliefs. Catholicism has the CCC, founded on the Bible. Much of Mormonism is not founded on the Bible. The BoM is a parody of the Bible. Mormonism, as currently practiced, is in apostasy from the best of the BoM.


#18

RebeccaJ is on target.


#19

I don’t understand how this could reference the BoM? This was written + or - 3,500 years ago.

Psalms 85:11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven

Pslams is prophesizing about the coming of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 29:11 And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed.

Read the verses before this. It’s addressing that the Jewish people were not listening to their prophet “as the words of a book” that is sealed. Isaiah is making a comparison to their not listening to him. Key word is “as”.

In Joseph Smith’s own words…

Joseph Smith’s own words betray him as a false prophet.

Ezekiel 37:15-17 The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,
16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:
17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.

LDS believe that the Bible is the stick of Judah and the Book of Mormon is the stick of Joseph referenced here.

Ezekiel is prophesizing that Judah and Israel shall be united as one.

John 10:16 And 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.

The people of the Book of Mormon are included as some of the other sheep Jesus referred to in this verse.

Jesus was preaching to the Jews. His other sheep are the gentiles. The Mormons did not exist at this time.

Hope this helps. You can google “catholic commentary” on any of the verses and get a more detailed answer.


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