An Introduction and an Invitation


#1

Hello,

I am a student at the University of Notre Dame and a fan of Catholics everywhere. I have many Catholic friends and I attend mass on a regular basis and find it very uplifting and beneficial. The oddity most people find in this is that I am an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons, by nickname).

Despite our membership differences, my Catholic friends and I enjoy a profitable association and uplifting discussion of our mutual faith and trust in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We benefit not only from our agreement but also from discussion of the principles on which our differences are founded. It is often in discussing our differences that we come to a better mutual understanding of the truths of the Gospel and an appreciation for our common understanding and eternal goals.

In the spirit of that mutual benefit, my most esteemed and well versed Catholic associate has encouraged me to post a thread on this website to answer questions regarding the LDS faith and its relation to Catholic doctrine. While I am no LDS scholar, I am reasonably well versed in LDS doctrine and am qualified to discuss items generally. I do not speak on behalf of the Church officially. However, I am an active member in good standing and have years of Church study, teaching, and leadership experience. I believe in open and honest dialog and am happy to answer any questions that I can.

While I wish to answer every question as completely as possible, please understand that time is a factor and I may not be able to answer every question with the length and depth that I would like to. Also, I will not waste valuable time entertaining bloggers who are just looking for a fight. This post is meant to invite questions and progressive discussion, not pointless debate and argument. I appreciate your cooperation in this manner.

That being said, I throw this offering into the pile and hope to hear from you soon. May God bless you in your lives and bless our discussions with His Spirit.


#2

Welcome, I know LDS theology relatively well as I spent a good year studying it when I was away from the Catholic Church. I just wanted to say hello, and you’ll get a lot of difficult questions here. We have quite a few ex-Mormon Catholics here.

Welcome.


#3

welcome, welcome! You will find very good company here!


#4

Welcome to the forums!


#5

I don’t ordinarily post in this forum since the regulars are so well informed about other faiths. I often don’t even know what questions to ask. But, since you seem so friendly, I’ll ask two questions:

The Book of Mormon seems to be unsubstantiated from archeological and historical evidence. In fact, contradicted by it: how can a thinking person buy into it?

How much time does a typical Mormon spend in actual Bible study versus studying the book of Mormon? In other words, does a Mormon study the book of Mormon or study the Bible? And, if both, how does the Mormon interpret the books: The book of Mormon in light of the Bible or the Bible in light of the book of Mormon?

Thanks. Leonie. :wave:


#6

Can I add, how do you know that the book of Mormon is inspired?


#7

I used to be a Notre Dame Mormon. Now I’m a Notre Dame Catholic. I came here from BYU. I’ve studied both the LDS Church and the Catholic Church extensively for over 15 years and wound up joining the Catholic Church last April. Good luck.


#8

Hi NDM,

Welcome to our forums! I was born and raised in the LDS Church, served a mission and had many church callings. I am now Catholic. I have a few questions for you.

  1. In the LDS Church I was raised in we were taught that God the Father was once a man like us, who is now exalted. He has a resurrected body, is part of our three dimensional universe. and is inside of time. Is this still being taught?

  2. I was taught that we should pray only to the Father even though Jesus and the Holy Spirit are part of the Godhead. The lds.org website now says that LDS “worship Jesus”. I was taught that we should only worship the Father. I understand that LDS are still forbidden from praying to Jesus. Is this correct and how do you worship Jesus if you can’t pray to him? What form does this worship take?

Thanks


#9

hi NotreDameMormon,

Welcome to our forums :slight_smile:

My question is …

Why do you not think that the Catholic Church is not the true church, and not the church that Jesus founded?

Thanks


#10

Leonie and Atreyu:

Thank you for your questions. Like the Bible, there is just enough physical evidence substantiating claims of the Book of Mormon to inspire and confirm faith and just enough questionable facts to require it. This is how God operates with respect to our obedience and worship. It is more important to God that we exercise faith and free will than be convinced by signs and wonders. This is the only way we will come to fully love and trust Him over our own wisdom and limited vision.

The Book of Mormon is a companion to the Bible and all other inspired writings. Its central purpose was to prove that the Bible was true, that Jesus Christ is in reality the Savior of the world, the literal Son of God, and the only path to God’s mercy and salvation. It is one thing that a handful of followers made the claim in Israel, it something more that an entire nation on the other side of the planet also testified of the Savior and His mission. It proves the Bible is true.

We use the Bible as much as we use the Book of Mormon. Myself, I have probably read the New Testament straight through about a dozen times. I love it. There is nothing more inspiring than the testimony and counsel of those who sat at the feet of Christ. We do not interpret one over the other or in light of the other. We use them as equal companions, equally testifying of the divinity of the Savior and the importance of His mission. Where there are disagreements it is usually merely the result of different expression of the same eternal truth. They are perfectly compatible when viewed in the whole light of truth.

As with any testament, its truth can be known through study and prayer. “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine…” and “by their fruits ye shall know them.” The Holy Spirit is the vehicle by which truth is conveyed and testified of. If you read scripture with pure intent to know and draw nearer to God, you will know through the Spirit and the things you learn and wisdom you gain that they are true. The same principle applies to the Book of Mormon and any other testimony.

Great questions! Thanks, again. I hope these answers are helpful.


#11

Esteemed and well versed? It’s a sin to lie, you know… :wink: Seriously, though, thanks for accepting the invitation.

I invited NDM here because there are a number of misconceptions people have about the LDS faith, and error aids no one in fruitful dialog. NDM is an intelligent man and an assiduous student of Scripture, who truly wants to serve God. Further, he’s an active Mormon who actually takes the time to read what his church has to say. Please be nice.

This is not as nicely framed a question as I would have liked to see, but I’ll assume that your intention was not to offend. It would help in the future to give some “historical/archaeological evidence” which is in dispute. Is this what you were thinking of?

According to the Smithsonian Institute, the following items (which, according to The Book of Mormon, existed in the Americas between 600 B.C. and 421 A.D.) have absolutely no evidence for existing in the America’s during the time in question:
[LIST]
*]
*]Silk - Alma 4:6, Nephi 13:7, Alma 1:29
*]Horses - Enos 1:21, Alma 18:9, 3 Nephi 3: 1, Nephi 18:25
*]Steel - Jarom 1:8, 2 Nephi 5:15,16, 1 Nephi 4:9, 16:18
*]Iron - 2 Nephi 5:15, 20:34, Jarom 1:8, Mosiah 11:8
*]Coins - Alma 11:5-19
*]Donkeys - 1 Nephi 18:25, Mosiah 5:14, 12:5
*]Cattle, Cow, and Oxen - Enos 1:21; 3 Nephi 3:22, 6: 1 Nephi 18:25
*]Pigs - 3 Nephi 7:8
*]Grain and Wheat - Mosiah 9:9; Helaman 11:17[/LIST]

Or perhaps this?

The genetic challenge centers on the claims of the Book of Mormon that the Lamanites, descended from Lehi, are a “remnant of the House of Israel” and the “principal ancestors of the American Indians”, as is stated on the book’s title page. Therefore, a literal reading of the Book of Mormon suggests that modern-day Native Americans are descended from the party of Israelites that migrated to the New World around 600 BC from the Jerusalem area. If this were the case, according to the challenge, then it would reasonably be expected that the DNA of Native Americans would show strong correlations with Semitic genetic markers, consistent with Hebrew descent…It is well accepted that Native American genetic markers are dominated by indicators of descendancy from peoples of SiberiaAsia, with a remainder consistent with genetic admixture after European contact in 1492. Some genetic researchers such as Thomas W. Murphy and Simon Southerton emphasized that the substantial collection of Native American genetic markers now available are not consistent with any detectable presence of ancestors from the ancient Middle East, and argued that this poses substantial evidence to contradict the account in the Book of Mormon.

Just trying to be helpful.

God Bless,
RyanL


#12

I became a Mormon because I liked the people. However, after reading the Book of Mormon and the Bible I was convinced that the Mormon faith was not true. It was so obvious. It is like looking at a genuine $20 bill and looking at a bad forgery. Another thing was Joseph Smith. After reading about him it was obvious he was a fake. The Catholic Church is the pilar and foundation of truth.


#13

I found nothing in the Book of Mormon that adds anything important to the Biblical testimony. I found that entering into Catholic spirituality actually brought me closer to God than the works of Mormonism. Attending Mass everyday, spending time in Eucharistic Adoration, and praying the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet all bring me closer to Christ. Since being baptized, partaking of Christ’s body and blood daily and entering into reconciliation have strengthened me immensely in my struggles to live a Christian life. I never found anything even close to it in my 33 years as a Mormon.


#14

These are two great questions, Todd. Thank you.

For the first question, I know that Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and other early Church leaders are reported to have made speeches and comments to that end. There are certainly a number of people who adhere to that idea. Officially, the Church does not teach it. The fact is, a lot of early church teachings and public records were kept and published by enemies of the Church and we don’t really know what was truly said or what was intended when it comes to these sources. The official publications of the Church and scriptural revelations are the only true source of doctrine for the Church.

However, assuming it is true and that all that is written in the King Follett Discourse, etc. is accurate, it is not all that incompatible with LDS understanding of the nature of God and eternity. For Catholics, “eternal” is existence in current form without beginning or end, time or space, etc. For LDS theology, “eternal” is having always existed in “some” form and always progressing. That is the key distinction and the cause of most of the discord. For the LDS, God is eternal and infinite because His knowledge and power are infinitely expanding at an infinitely increasing rate.

For the LDS, eternity is not linear, it is circular, an “eternal round.” Like a ring, it has no beginning and no end unless you pick an arbitrary starting point. If the above teachings are accurate, then God, in His own perfection, has existed eternally and has knowledge and power that are infinitely expanding and an infinitely expanding rate, and it is the same for all his creations. Our ultimate end is to follow the same path. As Christ says, we are eventually to “sit with [Him] in [His] throne, even as [He] also overcame, and [is] set down with [His] Father in his throne.” Rev 3:21.

It is kind of hard to explain in a short time, but I wanted to give you what I could. I hope it is somewhat helpful. I think the most important thing to understand is that the Church does not teach it, nor is it concerned about it. The nature of God is a mystery and something we will never fully comprehend in this life. The only concern we have is to follow His will and try to become more like Him in every way.

As for the second question, “worship” means to love and serve, so in that respect, you might say that I worship my wife, but only in the manner that God asks me to. In that respect I am actually worshipping God. We love and serve Christ because that is what God asks us to do. It is the key to our salvation. At the same time, in worshipping Christ we are only worshipping God, since Christ only loves and serves God. Christ taught us to pray to the Father and that is what we do. We do not pray to Christ, but through Him to our Father and Creator. We address God in prayer and close the prayer in the name of Christ, the only means by which we are worthy to approach and ask anything of God.

Thanks, again, for such great questions! I hope the limited answer is helpful.


#15

In an effort to keep things running smoothly, and to NOT overwhelm our new friend, NotreDameMormon, please consider posting your questions for them in a new thread. You might place an indicator in the Title of the thread, indicating that it is a question for Mormons.

NotreDameMormon, a hearty WELCOME! to the forums, and we hope you find this an intriguing and enlightening forum.

God bless-

Rachel


#16

Thanks for the additional info. Although I don’t agree that my question was framed unkindly. :slight_smile:


#17

Fair enough - I’m probably over sensitive, since I typically get (slightly) offended when atheists ask me the same question – “How could a thinking person buy into it?”

God Bless,
RyanL


#18

Welcome NDM and Thanks. I hope you don’t find too many pointless debates here, although you will find some. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say we appreciate your participation.

I am particularly curious about LDS and the thoughts of someone like you. I’m not afraid to tell you (I’m sure it won’t be the first time you’ve heard it) that I find many things odd about Mormon beliefs. Of course, being a cradle Catholic, we’re in good company.

My personal thought is that it might be a good idea to start different threads on different points of doctrine so people can jump to the ones they’re interested in. - Just a suggestion.

Again thanks…and welcome.


#19

Do the Mormon still have a practice of baptism for the dead ?


#20

Welcome to the Forums NDM…any friend of Ryans is a friend of mine!

I just have a couple of easy stupid questions…

Are Mormons allowed to dance or listen to secular music?


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