Apostasy was there one? part 1


#1

I have started this one here because I think it will easier to keep track of the topic as the Book of Mormon thread was just getting full of many side questions

my opening comment is in answer to a question posed on the other thread and then I deal with the issue of an apostasy and prehaps the moderators could ask the posters to refrain from personal insults or questions calling into question my indentity or my country of orgin when I have already stated them other wise I will just withdraw from the forum I’m here to debate not to trde insults.

   Firstly  I really don’t have heroes  religious or not I see all people as children of God and in a path that hopefully will lead us all to eternal life. Heroes are best kept to comic books and in the mind of children, I know that most Catholics like their religious heroes and saints if you so like and look up and revere them almost to the point of worship which type of worship is not uncommon in today’s world. 

It is indeed central to the LDS beliefs that there was indeed an apostasy and it falls into basiic camps

  1. There was an apostasy , and a restoration was nesscery

  2. There was not and a restoration was not needed.

I don’t think anyone can agrue with that basic concept . And this idea leads us to only to two points worth debating the LDS Church is true and is what it says The restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints .

Or it is built on lies and deceit and a great many people have been fooled… And since I don’t like being fooled I’m open to something better a more complete religion or faith so this will be your chance to help me on my journey.

But first it is important to look at a few facts

People think that this is a made up lds doctrine which is not so we need to look at the biblical evidence for an apostasy as taught in the bible by the apostles of Jesus themselves.

Now if we establish that an apostasy was indeed taught in the bible , which I think we will . There is only one route that we can take well there are a few , but only one honest one and that is that Joseph Smith saw what he said he saw. That he did indeed translate the Book of Mormon and the restoration has indeed happened, but first things first…

As was asked in another post why would Jesus let his church fail?. Which logically leads to another question if the church failed does that make Jesus a failer.

But if we deal with the latter first its not a matter of failure on His part that there was an apostasy rather a blessing that men are free to choose for themselves

Therefore cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.
2 Nephi 10-23


#2

God allows us to choose even if that choice is a rejection of his plain and simple gospel or more to the point even if men wish to corrupt his plain and simple gospel as is the case.

Some will say that God would have stepped in to prevent this apostasy from happening, and it is indeed that it was possible for him to do that after all God is all powerful and all seeing, but I really don’t think it’s in the nature of God look what Jesus said about Jerusalem

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

"Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."

Even the stoning of Prophets was allowed, he allows us freely to reject him. I could go on setting how and why an apostasy was possible and how it would have been allowed to happen and why God would not step in to protect hi teachings but I think I have made my point on this.

But a burning question on the minds of people is was it taught in the bible that an apostasy was indeed going to happen? Well the simple answer is yes it was but to find those verses we must look into the book itself.

It is clear that an apostasy was predicted by Jesus Christ and his apostles. Jesus taught that, “many shall come in my name, saying ‘I am Christ’, and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:5).

Paul declared, “Be not soon shaken in mind, or troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, not by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by many means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first.” (2 Thessalonians 2:2-3).

A falling away from what ? Is it the Gospel will The Christ only return after a falling away , that’s what it is saying. In simple terms an apostasy will happen before the second coming.

Matt 17-11
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.

Restore all things meaning things that have been lost.

In Acts we see

Repent ye therefore, and be converted that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you

21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began

You don’t need a restitution of things that you have Ephesians 1:10; and Revelation 14:6 confirm the LDS belief that a restoration of the gospel was prophesied to occur in these latter days.

As I don’t like reading long drawn out post I think that we have established that an apostasy was indeed taught in the bible we will stop there and then continue on how it came about

sorry was not ware that there was a limit on words …


#3

Perhaps Joseph Smith was the predicted apostasy.

I can’t see how you can conlude that if an apostasy ocurred, Joseph Smith must have saw what he said he saw. That isn’t logical reasoning.


#4

montague, it would be helpful if you’d build your sentences more clearly. If you’re going to argue, precision of language is important. The way you write, it is difficult to follow. Also, if you’re going to quote Scripture, it helps if you give full references chapter and verse, which as you see in the quote above, you did not.

Now, as to your interpretation of these verses from Acts 3, why should we accept your interpretation of these verses? What authority do you have to interpret these verses the way you do? And BTW I’m not sure exactly how you’re interpreting them, but am assuming that you’re using them to back up your claim of an apostasy and the coming of Joseph Smith. If I’m wrong about that then let me know. But if I’m right, then please lay out your authority for having this interpretation and expecting the rest of us to believe you on it. After all, the Catholic Church interprets the Bible quite a bit differently than you do. Considering that the Catholic Church wrote, collected, and ratified the Bible, and protected it for 1700+ years, and claims authority over it, wouldn’t you say that the Catholic Church retains proper authority to interpret what it means? Montague is coming to a different conclusion about the meaning of the Bible, and if I understand correctly, Montague doesn’t even really believe in the Bible. He, like all Mormons, believes the Bible is suspect, corrupted, unreliable. So, let’s first establish the authority of Montague to interpret Bible differently than Christians do, and have him tell us why we should listen to his interpretations and believe them.


#5

Apostasy is a theme that I am sharing with one JW. And there is no much to argue. The moral values are decreasing as more and more critics attack our catholic faith, but the fact of the matter is that after the Reformation all of this new doctrines appeared. All of them clamiming to have the true gospel of Christ. But what they have done so far is nothing but help in the decrease of the moral values set by two thousand years of Catholic Cathecism.


#6

Total Apostasy Presumption Violates Mormons’ Own Doctrine and BOM.

The LDS church was founded on the very premise that a total or complete apostasy occurred very early on in the church and there was no true church in earth until it was reestablished by Joseph Smith in 1830. All Mormons must believe this in order to justify a need for their church. In fact B.H Roberts an LDS Seventy wrote in the “History of the Church” that, “Nothing less than a complete apostasy from the Christian religion would warrant the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints” (vol. 1:XL). If this is the case, then the D&C and BOM are false.

John 21 (KJV) states the following:
[20] Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
[21] Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
[22] Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
[23] Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?

Now what most logical people would see as a mild correction from Jesus to Peter, Joseph Smith misinterpreted as being a promise from Jesus that John the Apostle would never experience earthly death. ** In fact Joseph Smith went so far as to claim that John walked up to him one day in Pennsylvania in 1829 and handed him a testimony to this**:

THE
DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS
OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
SECTION 7
Revelation given to Joseph Smith the Prophet and Oliver Cowdery, at Harmony, Pennsylvania, April 1829, when they inquired through the Urim and Thummim as to whether John, the beloved disciple, tarried in the flesh or had died. The revelation is a translated version of the record made on parchment by John and hidden up by himself. HC 1: 35–36.
1–3, John the Beloved shall live until the Lord comes; 4–8, Peter, James, and John hold gospel keys.
1 AND the Lord said unto me: John, my abeloved, what bdesirest thou? For if you shall ask what you will, it shall be granted unto you.
2 And I said unto him: Lord, give unto me apower over bdeath, that I may live and bring souls unto thee.
3 And the Lord said unto me: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, because thou desirest this thou shalt atarry until I come in my bglory, and shalt cprophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and people.
4 And for this cause the Lord said unto Peter: If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? For he desired of me that he might bring asouls unto me, but thou desiredst that thou mightest speedily come unto me in my bkingdom.
5 I say unto thee, Peter, this was a good desire; but my beloved has desired that he might do more, or a greater awork yet among men than what he has before done.
6 Yea, he has undertaken a greater work; therefore I will make him as flaming fire and a aministering angel; he shall minister for those who shall be bheirs of salvation who dwell on the earth.
7 And I will make thee to minister for him and for thy brother James; and unto you three I will agive this power and the bkeys of this ministry until I come.
8 Verily I say unto you, ye shall both have according to your desires, for ye both ajoy in that which ye have desired

Furthermore, Third Nephi in the BOM states that the resurrected Jesus appeared to three Nephite disciples and promised them that hey would not experience earthly death:

*7 Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven.
8 And ye shall never endure the pains of death; but when I shall come in my glory ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality; and then shall ye be blessed in the kingdom of my Father.
9 And again, ye shall not have pain while ye shall dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow save it be for the sins of the world; and all this will I do because of the thing which ye have desired of me, for ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand. *

Continued…


#7

Jesus explains they will bring many souls to Him:

  • 29 And it shall come to pass, when the Lord seeth fit in his wisdom that they shall minister unto all the scattered tribes of Israel, and unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, and shall bring out of them unto Jesus many souls, that their desire may be fulfilled, and also because of the convincing power of God which is in them. *

Wouldn’t the people converted by these men be a part of the “true church” and therefore NO total apostasy?

They will perform great and marvelous works:

31 Therefore, great and marvelous works shall be wrought by them, before the great and coming day when all people must surely stand before the judgment-seat of Christ;

This is how it will happen:
*
36 And now behold, as I spake concerning those whom the Lord hath chosen, yea, even three who were caught up into the heavens, that I knew not whether they were cleansed from mortality to immortality—
37 But behold, since I wrote, I have inquired of the Lord, and he hath made it manifest unto me that there must needs be a change wrought upon their bodies, or else it needs be that they must taste of death;
38 Therefore, that they might not taste of death there was a change wrought upon their bodies, that they might not suffer pain nor sorrow save it were for the sins of the world.
39 Now this change was not equal to that which shall take place at the last day; but there was a change wrought upon them, insomuch that Satan could have no power over them, that he could not tempt them; and they were sanctified in the flesh, that they were holy, and that the powers of the earth could not hold them.
40 And in this state they were to remain until the judgment day of Christ; and at that day they were to receive a greater change, and to be received into the kingdom of the Father to go no more out, but to dwell with God eternally in the heavens. *

**It pretty difficult to tout a total apostasy claim when your own founder, doctrines and scripture say otherwise. Are the converts of John and the Nephites part of the true church or part of the “church of the devil” the Mormons describe? **

**Based on the LDS theology this leads to one of three conclusions:
The efforts John and the Nephites in fact yielded no fruit thus making the D&C and the BOM false accounts.
Or
No total apostasy ever occurred because there was always the existence of the “true church” through John and the three Nephites and the people they converted.
Or
Jesus has already returned, John and the three Nephites died and nobody even noticed it.

Either the D&C and the BOM are false accounts or Joseph Smith was never needed to establish the “true church”. So which is it??**


#8

Or, (the most likely option) you’ve cherry picked the only options you think should be considered.

Alma


#9

Where did you get the idea that Joseph Smith ever claimed such a thing? While it’s certainly LDS doctrine that section 7 of the D&C is a translation of the writings of John (the Baptist rather than the apostle) I’d be interested in you providing a citation that indicates Joseph Smith claimed it was delivered in person.

Alma


#10

We’ve heard from other Mormons on this forum that the Great Apostasy had “taken effect” by the end of the first century. You’re saying it wasn’t until around the 5th century. Is that correct? If so, doesn’t this illustrate a wide range of opinion among Mormons about the Great Apostasy? In fact, some don’t seem to hold very strongly to it at all, based on comments I’ve read here, and heard elsewhere.

BTW I am not familiar with the BoM. Could you direct me to the area of it that specifies the historical point at which “He took those ministers away from the people.” Thanks, Alma, and BTW welcome back, long time no see.


#11

Certainly there’s a wide range of opinion among Mormons as to the precise date of the finality of the apostasy–probably because no one in authority has ever given a specific date for the apostasy in the old world. I think that those who place it as early as the end of the first century have it too early because John probably didn’t write his gospel until about 99 A.D. While Paul could write that “all they which are in Asia be turned away from me” might indicate a localized apostasy, what LDS see as a point of completion would be when every last person appointed by an apostle had died as well as all those ordained by them. For example, assume that John appointed a bishop in 125 A.D. In LDS theology, a bishop can function until he is released or dies; but he cannot select his replacement. That means that a bishop ordained in 125 might live as long as say 190 A.D. but anyone he ordained might live another 60 or 70 years. We’re talking Jerusalem/Rome/Greece/Egypt. However, in the New World, according to the Book of Mormon, the last prophet there(Moroni) wrote as late as 421; but we don’t know when he died. That means that world-wide the apostasy wouldn’t be complete until sometime after 421 A.D.

BTW I am not familiar with the BoM. Could you direct me to the area of it that specifies the historical point at which “He took those ministers away from the people.” Thanks, Alma, and BTW welcome back, long time no see.

“Those ministers” I referred to were the 3 Nephites that “Enoch” had claimed ruined the LDS concept of apostasy. In Mormon 1:13, it says, “But wickedness did prevail upon the face of the whole land, insomuch that the Lord did take away his beloved disciples, and the work of miracles and of healing did cease because of the iniquity of the people.” (Note: “Mormon” is also one of the sections within the Book of Mormon."

It’s nice to drop in occasionally and to see what’s happening.

Alma


#12

OK Alma, I think I follow you on the succession theory. Of course, I don’t see how there could possibly be anything resembling a universal and complete apostasy of the entire Christian world. Surely there have been apostate people at all times and places, but never a thoroughgoing apostasy such as many Mormons claim. I note in reading a few articles here and there, perhaps some linked by you earlier, that not all Mormons believe in a total apostasy, saying that true Christians have always existed, but that only the validity of the Apostolic succession we hold so dear was lost, or taken away by God.

Would you say that this apparent softening of approach is the result of the mainstreaming of Mormonism that, I understand, began around the time of Utah statehood?


#13

No, I don’t see it as a softening of approach, just that you’re understanding it better. When Mormons speak of an apostasy they have always intended it to mean that the apostolic authority did not continue, not that there were no Christians. While some harsh things were said about Christians in early days of Mormonism, that’s largely due to the fact that Mormons were murdered, driven, plundered and raped by professing Christians. I don’t think that any Mormons at any time of our history have thought that when they converted to Mormonism from Catholicism, or Protestantism that they were becoming Christians. They would have maintained that they were always Christians, just entering into a better understanding with restored authority.

Alma


#14

So, there were Christians, but no Apostolic authority guiding them. Going back to the time when you say the Great Apostasy was complete, which as I recall you said early 5th century, can you start giving examples, from history, of the effects of this loss of Apostolic authority on the Church? How would we recognize it? Are there things that Mormons can point to in history and say, aha! there we see the Great Apostasy in evidence?

While some harsh things were said about Christians in early days of Mormonism, that’s largely due to the fact that Mormons were murdered, driven, plundered and raped by professing Christians.

What part do you think the words of Joseph Smith, that “they are all an abomination” played in bringing on this persecution? After all, this vision preceded the birth of Mormonism by almost a decade. Also, what about certain other practices of Mormons, such as polygamy, which Christians found outrageously sinful? Wouldn’t these, and other features of Mormon lifestyle, tend to aggravate the Christian inhabitants of lands the Mormons traveled to?

I don’t think that any Mormons at any time of our history have thought that when they converted to Mormonism from Catholicism, or Protestantism that they were becoming Christians. They would have maintained that they were always Christians, just entering into a better understanding with restored authority.

OK, I thought I had read somewhere that Mormons of the past did not consider themselves Christian. Maybe this was just isolated Mormons rather than teachings from the leadership.


#15

can you start giving examples, from history, of the effects of this loss of Apostolic authority on the Church? How would we recognize it? Are there things that Mormons can point to in history and say, aha! there we see the Great Apostasy in evidence?

well I think you could easily recognize that the apostasy or the loss of apostolic authority was when the early christian church started to change the simple doctrine as taught by Jesus and his Apostles,

you could start with the true nature of God being turned into something that cant be explained ie the modern christian version ( the trinity) or infant baptisms, I mean how many changes in the teachings does it take before we say Ok we now have an apostasy? is it one , two, three ?

What part do you think the words of Joseph Smith, that “they are all an abomination” played in bringing on this persecution?

I know that you did not mean it as it reads above so I’ll just take the time to correct you so you don’t make the same mistake again.

it was Christ that declared to Joseph Smith,

“their [Christian churches of Smith’s day] creeds are . . . an abomination, . . . they teach for doctrines the commandments of men.”

I know that it’s only a slight mistake on your part but non the less one that needs to be corrected. So that we are all clear on whos words some are not believing.


#16

So Is the Apostle John is still alive or not?

Doctrine and Covenants 7:1-3 states,
“AND the Lord said unto me: John, my beloved, what desirest thou? For if you shall ask what you will, it shall be granted unto you. And I said unto him: Lord, give unto me power over death, that I may live and bring souls unto thee. And the Lord said unto me: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, because thou desirest this thou shalt tarry until I come in my glory, and shalt prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and people”

BYU Professor Robert Millet noted that not only was the Apostle John still alive, but that “Three “Nephites” mentioned in the Book of Mormon were also living today in a translated state.

“We know from the Book of Mormon (see 3 Nephi 28:6) and from modern revelation (see D&C 7) that John was translated-changed to a terrestrial state so as to no longer be subject to the effects of the Fall, including physical suffering, bodily decay, and death. Like the three Nephites, he is still ministering among the peoples of the earth and will do so until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, at which time he and they will be changed from mortality to immortality (see 3 Nephi 28:8, 27-30)” (Selected Writings of Robert L. Millet: Gospel Scholars Series, p.85).

Jesus never made such a promise. Clearly such a conclusion is based on a misunderstanding that the Gospel of John corrects in John 21:22, 23.

If John and the three Nephites are still alive today and brought many to the faith as stated, no total apostasy ever occurred. If no total apostasy never occurred which mormons state is the only way to justify their faith, then mormonism is a baseless religion founded by a false prophet. Nothing personal, but the truth is the truth.

Listen, I’ve gone round and round with many mormons in my day and when I show them how baseless their faith is the response is always, “Just read the BOM, pray to Heavenly Father. and see what is revealed to you”

Well I’ve read the BOM, prayed and was told, “ The Catholic Church is the fullness of truth, and if you won’t take my word for it check out the Bible, history, science, archeology, and sociology. All of which are in accord with the one true Catholic faith”.


#17

The largest case of Apostacy is Josephy Smith.


#18

I would say that there are many indications of an apostasy–primarily the fact that no apostles continued to direct the Church and that instead, bishops took their place. Apostles were called to replace those who died as evidenced by the presence of James, Paul and Matthias. The fact that there were prophets during the early days of the Church, that God gave his leaders visions and revelation to direct the Church and that later, no one could say as Paul did that Jesus had appeared to him and stood by him. The fact that these elementary gifts of prophecy and revelation ceased to be given to Church leaders is instructive.

What part do you think the words of Joseph Smith, that “they are all an abomination” played in bringing on this persecution? After all, this vision preceded the birth of Mormonism by almost a decade.

Very doubtful for several reasons. The specific language that “they are all an abomination” wasn’t made public until 1842 (recorded in 1839 but not published till later), long after Mormons had been driven out of three other states and only three years before being evicted from the USA. Protestant animosity against Mormons is well documented, and their publications don’t even bring up this facet. They do, however, consistently hammer away at the believe in modern revelation. Also, I believe that Joseph Smith’s statement about what God told him relates specifically to the creeds rather than to Christians or their specific worship. “The Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight.”

Also, what about certain other practices of Mormons, such as polygamy, which Christians found outrageously sinful?

Mormon polygamy was mostly an internal issue, and not publicly condemned except by a few ex-Mormons. Again, the newspapers of the day didn’t express any outrage about polygamy. Even the government was disinterested enough in it to re-appoint Brigham Young as territorial governor after polygamy was announced as a tenet of Mormonism.

Wouldn’t these, and other features of Mormon lifestyle, tend to aggravate the Christian inhabitants of lands the Mormons traveled to?

I’m late for a meeting right now, but when I get a chance, I’ll dig up a list of complaints published by residents of Missouri detailing why the Mormons had to be expelled. I think you’ll be surprised.

OK, I thought I had read somewhere that Mormons of the past did not consider themselves Christian. Maybe this was just isolated Mormons rather than teachings from the leadership.

That has come only from critics of Mormonism. We have always considered ourselves Christians and part of Christianity. I’ll write more about that later as well.

Alma


#19

We should go more deeply into these supposed “changes” in doctrine. It isn’t enough for you to just say, “they were changed” without qualifying the changes in detail. For instance, the issue of infant baptism is well-defined in Catholic theology. Have you ever explored the Scriptural and other theological foundations of it? I believe that such an exploration will reveal that nothing was “changed” but rather “understood.” Kind of the same thing about “true nature of God.” In the first place, the true nature of God cannot be comprehended by a man. I’m fond of the analogy of man to ant. An ant can’t comprehend a man anymore than a man can comprehend God. We know some things about God, but they only give us a rather dim view of Him, similar probably to the dim view an ant has of a man standing over his mound. From Scripture, we are told about the Father, about Jesus, and about the Holy Spirit. We know that they can’t be three separate beings, because if they were then the Hebrew monotheism would be rendered incorrect, and we know that God never changes. So this idea of three persons emanating from one being is what we’ve come to describe as Holy Trinity. That is nowhere NEAR a comprehensive description of God, but it is sufficient for us, because God has given us sufficient knowledge of Himself unto our salvation.

I know that you did not mean it as it reads above so I’ll just take the time to correct you so you don’t make the same mistake again.

Thanks, I was paraphrasing, not having the exact quote in front of me at the moment.

it was Christ that declared to Joseph Smith,

“their [Christian churches of Smith’s day] creeds are . . . an abomination, . . . they teach for doctrines the commandments of men.”

I know that it’s only a slight mistake on your part but non the less one that needs to be corrected. So that we are all clear on whos words some are not believing.

First, there is no qualitative difference between what I paraphrased, and what you quoted. The effect is the same: It is a charge against Christian people that they are an abomination to Jesus. This is an unacceptable charge, because it is untrue, and because it isn’t accompanied by any evidence. If you make an accusation against your neighbor in a court of law, you’re expected to bring evidence to support the accusation. Absent the evidence, the charge is thrown out by the judge. We don’t see the **concrete evidence **of this accusation Joseph Smith made against Christianity. It is a theory, one with enough spurious evidence that ill-informed people can be led to believe in it, but not one which can be believed by people who examine the evidence thoroughly, with an unbiased eye, an eye that isn’t intent on proving the claims of a boy-prophet.

Second, it cannot be true that Jesus appeared to Joseph Smith. We can know this because Smith went on to teach doctrines that are clearly out of line with ancient Christianity, as well as all Christianity that existed between ancient times, and those more modern times in which Smith lived. If Jesus had truly appeared to Smith, and spoken to him, and revealed to him, then nothing would have been revealed that contradicted what had gone before. So when we disbelieve these supposed words of Jesus, it is on firm ground that we base our unbelief. Jesus did not appear to Joseph Smith, and Jesus never spoke these words. You, by believing in this error, are being deceived, not only by a man dead 163 years, but by your own pressing need to find truth in falsehoods.


#20

First about the Apostles as a sign of apostasy. I don’t follow this argument at all. Acts of the Apostles gives the definition of Apostle, and from this we can know why there would be no further Apostles after the deaths of the originals. Matthias is a perfect example of one who was not originally called to that office, but who had the qualifications, ie one who had been a physical witness of Jesus. Since Jesus didn’t return during the lifetimes of the Apostles, and since it couldn’t possibly be that Jesus intended his Church to die out after their deaths, it is obvious that a succession was needed, and then come bishops, who are the successors to the Apostles. A bishop couldn’t be an Apostle, because he wasn’t a physical witness to the life, ministry, and death/resurrection of Jesus. But he still possesses the same Apostolic authority, which is passed down through ordination, according to Biblical standards.

Second, about visions and revelation. Where do you get that Churchmen and -women ceased to have visions and revelations? The history of the Catholic Church has been full of mystical manifestations of God, Jesus, Mary, and the Saints. In modern times there is such as Fatima, and Padre Pio, the stigmatist. Lourdes. Guadalupe. A comprehensive list would fill many pages. Visions, there are many. Revelation is an area where we apparently disagree, because while we do have revelation, it is tested up against Scripture and Tradition. God never changes, so we can know that revelation which contradicts long-standing sound doctrine is untrue. We test these visions and revelations according to standards, otherwise we are subject to being misled by other spirits. It can’t be accepetable that a man stands up and pronounces visions and revelations, and then finding these to contradict Scripture and Tradition, even in tiny matters, be thought true. My understanding is that Mormons test their revelation according to feelings, and against materials thought to be “scripture” but which couldn’t possibly be. That is flimsy test procedure. Catholics demand test standards that are far more stringent, because we don’t want to be led by demons, we want to be led by the Lord. I am not saying that Mormons are led by demons, but I don’t see how the methodical Cathlic test standards of revelation and vision can be compared to the feelings-based standards of Mormonism. Time and again I hear Mormons claim that Jesus said this or that to Joseph Smith, yet they have no shred of evidence that such a thing took place. In fact, when you look at the fruits of these visions a revelations, you find a church out of communion with historic Christianity in fundamental ways. True revelation would lead Mormons into communion with historic Christianity. False revelation would not, because it is in the devil’s interest to fracture Christianity and thereby damage its witness to the world.


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