Conflicted Mormon

I’ve been conflicted for a very long time and I feel I need to figure this out. I’ve gradually drifted away from Mormonism (although I go to church with my wife every Sunday) but not sure where the truth lies. I see a lot of problems with Mormonism, but one of the biggest is that the “great apostacy” doesn’t make sense to me. Why Christ would establish his church and then have it fall away so quickly only to be restored nearly 2000 years later seems illogical.

But on the flip side, what was Joseph Smith’s motivation for all the hell he put himself and his family through if he was a fraud? My only answers for that are possibly power and fame. But if that was the case, I would think his family, his brother Hyrum, his father and others, who knew him best would know he was a fraud, or at least suspected it, and would not have followed him. And then there are the witnesses who were visited by the angel and saw the plates and never denied it. I have a hard time saying they were all deceiving people with evil intent. What do you think?

For me, it comes down to the Catholic church that Christ established, the Mormon church that restored Christ’s church back to the earth after the apostacy, or none of the above as far as Christianity is concerned (I know most of you don’t consider Mormons Christians).

By the way, I was visiting a Catholic bookstore a while ago and saw a little statue of a saint that was for burying in your front yard that is supposed to make your house sell fast or something. That totally turned me off and I left repulsed. Seems like superstition to me.

~Dee

Hi Dee,

Catholics believe that God’s Church has always existed on this earth. God never took away the priesthood, and His Church has continued on this earth for 2000+ years. The Catholic Church has continued the same beliefs for 2000 years. We may come to a a more expanded knowledge of those beliefs (indeed, the “Deposit of Faith” did not just fall out of the sky fully formed), especially when the Church deals with heresies through Ecumenical Councils, however we have never changed our doctrines.

Who knows what Joseph Smith’s motivation was. What was Mohammed’s motivation? What was Ellen G. White’s (the Prophet and Founder of the Seventh Day Adventist Church) motivation? What was Charles Taze Russell’s (the Founder of another Restorationist church, the Jehovah’s Witnesses) motivation? What was L. Ron Hubbard’s (founder of Scientology) motivation? Who knows. What I have noticed is that throughout the ages, there are always people that claim to be prophets, bringing some “new” understanding to Christianity (or any religion) that was unknown in the past, requiring a reorganization of the Church. These people most likely fervently believed in their work. In many/most of these cases, the family of the founder was also involved. Would I say they were “evil”? No. But that does not mean that they were all motivated by the Spirit.

You should research early Christian history and beliefs, and see how they compare to both the LDS Church and the Catholic Church. Read LDS sources and Catholic sources. Always reference with the Bible. How much have you read on the Catholic Church? Do you have any books? Read these tracts as a brief introduction if you’re considering becoming Catholic:

catholic.com/library/How_to_Become_a_Catholic.asp
catholic.com/library/pillar.asp

Also, for an overview of the beliefs of the Catholic Church, you should have a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. If you aren’t at the point where you feel like you need to purchase one, feel free to browse it online:

usccb.org/catechism/text/

The statue you saw in the bookstore was of Saint Joseph, the husband of Mary, Jesus’ mother. The tradition goes back hundreds of years, and says that you bury the statue, ask St. Joseph for his intercession (i.e. ask him to pray for you), and many that have done this say that their homes are sold “faster”. This is what we call a sacramental. Sacramentals are objects and things that point towards the sacraments. They are things that help “prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it”. So, burying statues to get your house to sell faster is superstitious if one believes that the power is in the objects. It is not. The power is only in God. Sacramentals always point us to God’s grace (they point to them, but do not confer grace, like the sacraments do(baptism, confirmation, eucharist, etc)). Other sacramentals are holy water, medals, candles, icons, blessings, the sign of the cross, etc. Note that you do not have to use sacramentals. You do not have to bury statues of St. Joseph if you do not want to. That’s perfectly okay.

Have you gone to Mass? Many Catholic parishes have Mass during the week, and if you live near a metro area especially, you should be able to find a “daily Mass”. There are also other devotions throughout the week at many Catholic parishes, including the Rosary, Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament (we believe that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Other churches that believe this include the Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, many Lutheran Churches, many Anglican Churches, etc. This is something that you should also think about on your journey), Vespers (evening prayer), Matins/Lauds (morning prayer), etc.

Feel free to ask any other questions about Catholicism here!

Both churches are good churches. If you feel more at home in the catholic church, by all means go to mass and learn about the catholic faith. I consider myself mormon and catholic and I see nothing wrong if you attend to attend both until you make up your mind. You can attend Mass on Saturday.

But I think that the apostacy is an interesting question. Was there an apostacy or not. If one gets down to the word truth…it is either the catholic church or the mormon church. At this moment, I just prefer a mixture of both.

However, on this catholic forum you may be getting a lot of negatives about mormonism from catholics. You will need to expect that the lds church will not get a positive reception here. You may also want to head over to MAD www.mormonapologetics.org and post on the social forum. There is a ‘social hall’ section where mormons can help you iron out any problems.

Or you can go to www.lds.net for some discussion too.

Greetings friend.

My faith journey as an adult began when two young Mormon missionaries left me a Book of Mormon for a week. Until that point I had never possessed a book I had not ‘devoured’. Without knowing Mormon thinking at all, I put the book on top of my piano, which I passed several times a day, and said a quasi-prayer; “If this is true, let me have a burning desire in my heart to read it”.

One week later I gave it back unread.

But it was a turning point in my life. I had a burning desire in my heart to know the Truth.
You can read my story here
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If this doesn’t open I will be happy to send it to anyone interested.

Dee,

Converting is a difficult thing to do. Many times people feel they are betraying their heritage, their family, etc. (been there, done that)

My suggestion is to take it slow. God knows what is in your heart, and he will guide you to where you need to be.

Many parishes are starting their RCIA programs about now. RCIA stands for Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. The first stage of the process is called the pre-catechumenate, or inquiry stage. This would be a good chance for you to get some of your questions answered, meet with members of the clergy, or religous orders. (Depending on that particular parish) This would also be a good place to get research material. If by chance your local parish doesn’t have an RCIA program starting, call you local Catholic Church, and meet with a member of the clergy. They will be more than happy to answer your questions, and work with you.

One thing to keep in mind, is that if you do start RCIA, that doesn’t mean you HAVE to join. You can stop at any time, and part friends. I haven’t seen anyone forced into joining the Church.

I would also caution you against reacting to some of the comments on an internet forum. Some people show their obvious prejudices one way or another. Some well intentioned people don’t convey their messages very well, and can be misundersttod. Some people like to just stir the pot. That sort of thing.

As far as the statue you saw. That was more than likely a statue of St. Joseph. Some people believe that if you bury that statue in your yard, upside down, and say the accompanying prayer, it will help your house sell. Personally, I am not big on the idea, but some people who have done it report excellent results. :shrug:

I wish you the best in your journey, I know it

One last thing. If you do attend Mass to learn more about the Catholic faith, you are more than welcome to participate in all aspects of the Mass that you are comfortable with. (praying, kneeling, etc) However, being that you are not Catholic, you should not receive the Eucharist during communion. You can however go up and receive a blessing from the Priest, Deacon, or Eucharistic Minister. (lay person commissioned to assist in the distribution of Communion)

Again, God Bless, and we wish you the best.

Mormonism and its various sub-sects IS the Great Apostasy.

IT is described in their own Book for Morons as “great and abominable above all the churches”.

Among other precious promises and convenants the Mormonoids reject are the Apocrypha and Tradition of the Fathers.

I’m sure that you’ve read many of the Mormon arguments in favor of their beliefs. If you have not, there are many websites available to help you with that, such as:

en.fairmormon.org/FAIRwiki:Table_of_contents
fairlds.org/
jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/index.html

Now, here are websites that look at these issues from perspectives that Catholics would support (i.e. denying that there was a Great Apostasy, the claims of the various Mormon scriptures, etc).

irr.org/mit/Doubt-LDS-Membership-page.html
irr.org/mit/lds-doctrine.html
irr.org/mit/joseph-smith.html
mormonthink.com/moroniweb.htm
mormonthink.com/
mrm.org/

I agree.

But on the flip side, what was Joseph Smith’s motivation for all the hell he put himself and his family through if he was a fraud? My only answers for that are possibly power and fame.

Who knows for sure. He wound up owning a lot of land in Nauvoo, under his scheme to sell land to his mormon flock. He had a good thing going with the whole, God said that I should have lots of women in my life. Some people do a lot more for less.

But if that was the case, I would think his family, his brother Hyrum, his father and others, who knew him best would know he was a fraud, or at least suspected it, and would not have followed him.

Why would they not have followed him?

And then there are the witnesses who were visited by the angel and saw the plates and never denied it. I have a hard time saying they were all deceiving people with evil intent. What do you think?

Deceiving people yes…some have posited the theory of “pious fraud”, though, I think that is a stretch.

In addition, the Catholic Church teaches that private revelations are for the individual who received them. Why would you accept them as for you?

For me, it comes down to the Catholic church that Christ established, the Mormon church that restored Christ’s church back to the earth after the apostacy, or none of the above as far as Christianity is concerned (I know most of you don’t consider Mormons Christians).

It doesn’t even come down to that. Either you believe what Christ taught, or you don’t.

By the way, I was visiting a Catholic bookstore a while ago and saw a little statue of a saint that was for burying in your front yard that is supposed to make your house sell fast or something. That totally turned me off and I left repulsed. Seems like superstition to me.

~Dee

Should we bury a statue of St. Joseph to obtain a home?

I would add “The Continuity of the Catholic Church”, an apologetic book written by Bishop Duane Hunt, the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City.

And, I recommend this bibliography.

Er…you are coming to a Catholic website/forum for advice as to whether you should stay LDS?

Really?

Isn’t that a little like walking into a Laker’s locker room and asking them their opinion of your Celtic T-shirt?

I’m just sayin…

I think he’s saying he’s conflicted, and is wanting to learn more about the Catholic church.

I don’t seem him asking for advise as to whether he should stay LDS.

I’m just sayin…

Why would they not have followed him?

Because, I wouldn’t believe my younger brother if he claimed to have been visited by God and Jesus Christ. And I most certainly would not have given my life for a religious thought up by him (knowing that he is often not truthful).

Excellent reply, thanks. I went to Mass one time many years ago with an old girl friend. Also, there is a Catholic Grotto not too far that I’ve been to many times, but never to Mass. I listen to Catholic Answers Live and the Journey Home quite often so I’m familiar with many of the Catholic teachings. I’d like to go to Mass now, but I admit I’m chicken. I wish I had a Catholic friend to go with :mad:.

What got me thinking about this again was my recent visit to Spokane, WA to the Ganzaga University Cathedral. I was very moved by that Cathedral, stunningly beautiful. The funny thing is that the most recent Journey Home program last week had a guest on there that mentioned that Cathedral and the effect it had on him. Interesting.

He did say that he’s considering Catholicism, and we have given the Catholic perspective. If he desires the Mormon perspective, there are always Mormon forums, as why me posted.

I know, you’re right. But I was curious on how Catholics would explain Joseph Smith’s motivation for doing what he did knowing it was all fake. I’m not asking Catholics whether I should stay in the church. I’m also looking for persuasive arguments on why one should think that the Catholic church has the fullness of truth over other religions.

It appears to me that the entire Smith family was obsessed with get rich quick schemes. No real surprise that they followed Joseph Jr.

No problem!

It’s wonderful that it seems like you are immersing yourself in Catholicism. Do not be afraid to go to Mass by yourself! We are very welcoming of visitors! If you are nervous, feel free to sit all the way in the back, and follow along. I have done this when I have visited other churches. Daily Mass would be easier to attend if you have time during the week, since there will be less people. If you need help finding a church, feel free to let us know your city, or PM someone if you are uncomfortable with that. If you are near Gonzaga University, they have daily Mass throughout the day, as well as Eucharistic Adoration.

So, just pray, and read. Let us know if you have any questions or need help understanding anything.

It was Joseph Sr. who taught Jr. how to scry with seeing stone, and charge others for this “service”.

I think we actually see the precedent for this in various churches and religions. L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, is one such example. There are quite a number of people that have claimed to be visited by God, and have said that they are a prophet, and were supported by their family and friends. The Seventh Day Adventist Church is a prime example, and is also Restorationist. Islam is also another example.

Here is some information on the witnesses of the BOM from a non-Mormon perspective (and one from an ex-Mormon):

mormonthink.com/witnessesweb.htm
exmormon.org/file9.htm

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.