2 Thes 2:3 is one of the most common proof-texts the Mormons use, I think because they view it as one of the strongest passages they have … which reflects very badly on their overall case. Your post indicates that you understand already how they are misusing it, but for the record, I will give a flushed-out refutation. The text in question and its immediate context read:
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
The texts deals with a man who presents himself as God and asks to be worshipped. When, pray tell, has a such a person taken power over the Christian Church? This is obviously a reference to the Antichrist, who will appear in the end times before the “day of Christ.” Moreover, Paul presupposes that faithful Christina will be arond as witness when the prophecy comes to pass. He tells the Thessalonians not to be concerned about the endtimes until a particular sign becomes apparent; hence it will be a recognizable event that Christians will be able to see and interpret - otherwise it would not be a sign. Thus for the prophecy to be fulfilled, true believers will be there to interpret it. Even more problematic for the Mormon position is that Paul is sharing this information with the Thessalonians, in order to strengthen them in resisting the man of sin’s deception. Only a few verses later, Paul says this about the Thessalonian Church:
But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
If Paul knew that the Church was going to fall away three to four years after his death, how much sense would this statement make? Paul is confident, because of God’s election of the Church, that the true believers will be able to stand fast in times of apostasy, and he gives an exhortation to encourage them. If Paul were predicting a total apostasy, then this would be a false hope. Thus to read a total apostasy into Paul’s words is to demand of the prophecy something that Paul himself does not see as following from it. For this reason, the Mormon reading is not only unlikely but impossible. It is not at all the doom-and-gloom prediction that mormon.org takes it to be.
This kind of shabby, opportunistic exegesis reflects a grave disrespect for Scripture on the part of the Mormon leadership. This in itself is a significant evidence against their divine authority or mere moral leadership.
Here is my question:
If a Great Apostasy happened as Mormons believe,then why is it not ONE Christian writer or pagan writer even wrote extensively on the subject? Something so huge against Christ Church goes unwritten with little to no information?
Mormons will answer this by asking us: Why, if authority was passed down, do we have no record of it? To whom did Philip pass his authority? Or James? Of course, this misunderstands the whole point of Catholic teaching here: we don’t believe that authority was successfully passed on because we have notarized records of each transmission, as demanded by the skeptical standard that Mormonism applies to every religion but itself, but because we believe the unambiguous teachings of Scripture about the perpetual victory of the Church. The unanimous opinion held by the Fathers that Apostolic authority was passed on through the episcopacy corroborates but is not the primary basis for our position.