I’m a convert to the LDS church and I’ll be a faithful member for a year in about two months, then after that I plan on going on a mission for my church like many young people around my age do in the Mormon church. However, I have a very good Catholic friend and a fascination with the Catholic church. I attend a Rosary prayer group every Monday to understand the Rosary better and have great respect for what Catholics believe as I continually look to Catholic resources to know what the church believes.
Is it considered disrespectful for me to continue to study the Catholic church and understand it better, but choose not to join because I believe in what the LDS church teaches?
No, it wouldn’t be wrong. I didn’t plan on joining when I first started learning about it and I decided to join after a couple of months of studying and praying about it. I understand what you meant, though.
I find that this happens when a group knows that their position is weaker than it might appear on the surface. Does the Temple Lot group discourage the study of other faiths?
Concerning the faith of our OP, @Ogie_Reeves , the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which I am also a member, this study of other faiths is fine and many folks study of other faiths. BYU university requires study of other faiths, and attendance of their services too, for some of its classes.
Concerning the faith of our hosts, Catholicism, there are volumes of similar encouragements to study other faiths there too. I am a former Catholic and I have seldom heard anyone council against the study of other faiths. in fact, the presence of a “Non-Catholic” religious forum on a board hosted by Catholics would suggest your assertion is untrue for Catholicism too.
From my experience Lutherans are also quite open to such inter-religious study. I will plug the 3 tools for inter-religious study from Lutheran Bishop (he died a few years back) Krister Stendahl:
Following these rules often leads to wonderful learning and greater faith, even when it doesn’t lead to changes in faith traditions.
Certainly! Neither you nor I are finished products. We have a lifetime of little illuminations and inspirations lying ahead of us. It is in how we respond to those graces that defines the finished, or completed “us.”
I don’t think they would. The Temple lot group has a few congregations scattered around the US. There are no congregations near me so when I began investigation the Edgar Cayce material they didn’t even know so I can’t give any personal experience. The reasons I say they wouldn’t is:
It isn’t a part of their teachings that God wants everyone to be members.
There isn’t the power structure that would give anyone the incentive to go out of his way to attempt to bring anyone back into the fold.
There is no pope or prophet guiding the church so individual beliefs can vary quite a bit.
You are a free spirit in the universe. No religion should try and stop you in your spiritual search for God in your life. You are on a journey. The Holy Spirit is calling you. Follow His voice.
In Christ’s Love
I think there are two ways of viewing your “power structure” ideas.
Human leaders of a faith are prone to protect their power and thus they teach that all should join and none should abandon the faith. This facilitates their enhanced and continued power.
Those who follow God and believe that His truth enhances their lives AND who also have learned to genuinely love their fellow man, desire all to enter into a right relationship and right understanding so they too can feel the joy of mutual divine love.
I am a LDS so perhaps it goes without saying that I subscribe to #2 and believe LDS leaders do as well. I am an ex-Catholic so perhaps when I say the following it will mean even more. I believe the majority of Catholic Popes and Catholic leaders throughout history also subscribe to #2.
The SINS of Popes and LDS Presidents are collected and celebrated by critics. I have read pages and pages about such things. And yet at the end of the day I think the vast majority of Catholic and LDS leaders subscribe to #2 and encourage folks to enter into communion (or remain in communion) with them because to do so is to be in communion with God.
While I admire your interest in exploring our Catholic religion, as a very new Mormon considering going on a mission to convert other people to Mormonism, I think your time would be better spent getting to know your own religion better. What I can tell you with absolute certainty is that the faith formation you have received thus far from the LDS church is far from the complete story, and before you go out on a mission to convert people, which has life-changing and potentially eternal consequences for your investigators, I think it would behoove you to learn a lot more than your typical 19-year old missionary who is quite clueless about the real story of Mormonism and yet is sent to convert other people.
I’ll give you one hint, which is also a difference between Mormonism and Catholicism BTW: As a Catholic I have never been told or taught to avoid reading things that may be considered to be ‘anti-Catholic.’ I can promise you, however, that if you haven’t been told already, you will be told many times as a Mormon not to read anything that could be construed as anti-Mormon. There is a reason for that, one every LDS should take the time to explore.