LDS--Why do you believe in the Great Apostacy?


#1

I tried a similar thread a little while ago but got no LDS response. There are a couple of more LDS posting now so I want to pose this question to them. I would like to limit this discussion to the Great Apostacy issue between Mormons and Catholics. If you want to go outside of this, please start another thread.

I would like to know why LDS believe in the Great Apostacy–why, when, how it happened, etc.


#2

This is right from www.lds.org:

“After the Apostles and many righteous Church members were killed and other members departed from the truth, the Lord took the priesthood authority and His Church from the earth. Without God’s priesthood authority, the Church no longer functioned as Christ had established it. The ordinances were changed and many plain and simple truths were lost. While many good people and some truth remained, the original Church was lost.”


#3

[quote=Tmaque]This is right from www.lds.org:

“After the Apostles and many righteous Church members were killed and other members departed from the truth, the Lord took the priesthood authority and His Church from the earth. Without God’s priesthood authority, the Church no longer functioned as Christ had established it. The ordinances were changed and many plain and simple truths were lost. While many good people and some truth remained, the original Church was lost.”
[/quote]

How could priesthood authority be taken from the earth with the apostle John still alive? “You are a priest FOREVER in the order of Melchizedek” the Bible says, and John held (holds) the Melchizedek priesthood, did (does) he not? I’m under the impression that LDS believe that the apostle John is still alive and ministering on this earth. Well, if John never died, and a holder of the Melcheizedek priesthood is a priest forever, how did priesthood authority get taken from the earth?

And how could the Church be lost when Christ promised that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”?

Alisha


#4

From an LDS member (NOT MY BELIEF): The gates of hell did not prevail because God took the keys/authority away.


#5

Okayyyy…and where is the DOCUMENTATION that the keys and authority were taken away by God?

LDS, please respond.:ehh:


#6

The major flaw of LDS and other churches teaching that the original church apostasized is logic. They have to teach this doctrine for them to be recognized as credible and authoritative.

However, if they believe that it was Jesus Christ that saved the world and that Christ was the perfect man, then this theory does not hold. How can they say He was perfect when he failed miserably in founding a church?


#7

I usually ask them to give me the specific date of the apostacy, what engendered it, and who was the main protaganist. I ask for specific historical answers. I have yet to get one.


#8

[quote=Aris]However, if they believe that it was Jesus Christ that saved the world and that Christ was the perfect man, then this theory does not hold. How can they say He was perfect when he failed miserably in founding a church?
[/quote]

The LDS believe that Jesus failed twice - once with the Church in the Old World and again with the Church in the Americas as recounted in the Book of Mormon. According to the LDS, both Churches fell into total apostacy within a generation, making the Mormon Jesus a two-time loser.

But never fear. Joseph Smith claimed that he was able to do what Jesus could not:

“I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam…Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” (History of the Church, Vol. 6:408-9)

God bless you,
Paul


#9

I don’t think it is likely that you will ever get an answer from a member of the LDS church to your question.

This is just something that is assumed on thier part to be true (like sola scriptura is accepted by Evangelicals) without deeply looking into the truth or proof for it.

BTW, I have asked Mormons just what exactly was “Restored” instead of invented in the 19th century by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and where there is proof for these teachings to have existed prior, in order to be “restored”.

I have gotten silence to that question as well.


#10

I never was very good at self-discipline.

So here goes my top 10 reasons for believing in the apostasy:

  1. God said so (as reported by Joseph Smith).
  2. Hugh Nibley said so in his “40 variations on an unpopular theme”, “The World and the Prophets”, and other works.
  3. Barry Bickmore said so in his book on “Restoring the Ancient Church”, and debates with Steve Clifford.
  4. James Talmage said so in his book " The Great Apostasy".
  5. I interpret the scriptures as containing a history of apostasy/restoration cycles.
  6. I interpret the Bible as predicting an apostasy: 2 Thes. 2 ish, etc., etc. and ignore the counter proof-texts.
  7. The fruits of an apostasy are evident in every church besides (insert church title here).
  8. I am un-impressed with all the counter-arguments (so-far).
  9. I selectively use quotes of apostolic fathers and company to support my position :).
  10. My philosophy about God is that He is powerful enough to grant his children free (moral) agency and that they are free* to cafeteria style reject some of His gospel. And at the same time He is merciful enough not to condemn any one who does not have an opportunity to accept His whole gospel.

I will have to get to how, when, and (more of) why it happened later. Some nice questions and observations have been made that I will have to get to later. If I write too much about the apostasy, will I get in trouble with the moderators? I am sure you all can refute me, but I don’t want to be disrespectful. I listed the references in answer above if anyone really wants to see an articulate presentation.

*free to decide what they will do but not free to decide the consequences.


#11

[quote=PaulDupre]The LDS believe that Jesus failed twice - once with the Church in the Old World and again with the Church in the Americas as recounted in the Book of Mormon. According to the LDS, both Churches fell into total apostacy within a generation, making the Mormon Jesus a two-time loser.

But never fear. Joseph Smith claimed that he was able to do what Jesus could not:

God bless you,
Paul
[/quote]

Thanks, Paul. I have not heard this boast before. It just affirms their status as the Anti-Christ.


#12

[quote=mormon fool]I never was very good at self-discipline.

So here goes my top 10 reasons for believing in the apostasy:

  1. God said so (as reported by Joseph Smith).
  2. Hugh Nibley said so in his “40 variations on an unpopular theme”, “The World and the Prophets”, and other works.
  3. Barry Bickmore said so in his book on “Restoring the Ancient Church”, and debates with Steve Clifford.
  4. James Talmage said so in his book " The Great Apostasy".
  5. I interpret the scriptures as containing a history of apostasy/restoration cycles.
  6. I interpret the Bible as predicting an apostasy: 2 Thes. 2 ish, etc., etc. and ignore the counter proof-texts.
  7. The fruits of an apostasy are evident in every church besides (insert church title here).
  8. I am un-impressed with all the counter-arguments (so-far).
  9. I selectively use quotes of apostolic fathers and company to support my position :).
  10. My philosophy about God is that He is powerful enough to grant his children free (moral) agency and that they are free* to cafeteria style reject some of His gospel. And at the same time He is merciful enough not to condemn any one who does not have an opportunity to accept His whole gospel.

[/quote]

Quite a tongue in cheek response :)…I wonder how many will realize that.

I’m curious Mormon Fool, does it disturb you in away that there have been many doctrinal changes in your church? Looking simply at the evidence there have been many more doctrinal changes in LDS theology in just 174 years than there has been in Catholic theology in almost 2000 years. We know what the first century christians believed, taught and practiced. We know what sacraments (ordinances to you) they had, we know how they conducted themselves. I would think it difficult to claim that the changes were due to continuing revelation when God hasn’t used it in the manner the LDS church claims…ever…until now? It’s an entirely new phenomenon then. It doesn’t add up.

Anyway, what I’m saying is that the church Joseph Smith restored doesn’t much look like the LDS church that exists today. There are literally dozens and dozens of break offs. The doctrines and practices have changed…drastically. In fact, it’s fair to say it’s quite a mess, mass confusion actually, with all the different groups believing different things and claiming their own authority and revelation. A person that believes in the restoration could justifiably claim that the restored Gospel is not here in it’s original form and God’s restored church is in a state of total apostasy. In fact, I know many people who believe that very thing. I’m related to some fundamentalist LDS. What would be your rebuttal to their claim?

You yourself said in point #5 “I interpret the scriptures as containing a history of apostasy/restoration cycles.” Maybe that cycle continues today. If I believed in the restoration I would have to come to that very conclusion.


#13

[quote=Aris]Thanks, Paul. I have not heard this boast before. It just affirms their status as the Anti-Christ.
[/quote]

Aris, why would you say something like that? You should be ashamed of yourself. Mormons are no different than you or I. We believe differently on a few issues, but that’s where our differences end. Catholics don’t have the market cornered on kindness, charity, hope, hard work, love, devotion, prayer, etc. In fact, we could learn from the Mormons in many respects. Particularly in the way we conduct our day to day lives. I’m PROUD of my LDS heritage. My LDS upbringing has served me well in life. You can question the validity of a person’s beliefs but please don’t question their motives! Most Mormons I know want more than anything to simply do what’s right. How could you say something so hateful and mean? That was a very un-Catholic and un-Christian thing to say. Shame on you. You should apologize.


#14

[quote=Tmaque]Quite a tongue in cheek response :)…I wonder how many will realize that.

[/quote]

So someone else noticed that it might be somewhat joking. I was looking at some of the answers wondering “is this really serious??”


#15

[quote=mormon fool]I never was very good at self-discipline.

So here goes my top 10 reasons for believing in the apostasy:

  1. God said so (as reported by Joseph Smith).
  2. Hugh Nibley said so in his “40 variations on an unpopular theme”, “The World and the Prophets”, and other works.
  3. Barry Bickmore said so in his book on “Restoring the Ancient Church”, and debates with Steve Clifford.
  4. James Talmage said so in his book " The Great Apostasy".
  5. I interpret the scriptures as containing a history of apostasy/restoration cycles.
  6. I interpret the Bible as predicting an apostasy: 2 Thes. 2 ish, etc., etc. and ignore the counter proof-texts.
  7. The fruits of an apostasy are evident in every church besides (insert church title here).
  8. I am un-impressed with all the counter-arguments (so-far).
  9. I selectively use quotes of apostolic fathers and company to support my position :).
  10. My philosophy about God is that He is powerful enough to grant his children free (moral) agency and that they are free* to cafeteria style reject some of His gospel. And at the same time He is merciful enough not to condemn any one who does not have an opportunity to accept His whole gospel.

I will have to get to how, when, and (more of) why it happened later. Some nice questions and observations have been made that I will have to get to later. If I write too much about the apostasy, will I get in trouble with the moderators? I am sure you all can refute me, but I don’t want to be disrespectful. I listed the references in answer above if anyone really wants to see an articulate presentation.

*free to decide what they will do but not free to decide the consequences.
[/quote]

Not sure how to take this post since part of it seems to be a joke. Let me point out a few things though. Your first 4 reasons are based on third-person perspectives some 1800-2000 years after the fact. I would suggest that there is enough contained within the Bible and early church history to keep the discussion focussed there. If there was an apostacy, it should be evident from scripture and early church history. I don’t think God would let us go on for 1800 years in total apostacy and then tell us about it later.

For #5, I think what you’re talking about is called dispensationalism, in which one looks at salvation history as a series of failed attempts of the church to faithfully live out the gospel. Whereas we Catholics look at salvation history as a gradual preparation for the coming of Christ and the establishment and growth of his church. For us, the bible contains many stories that are part of one continuous story.

For #6, I think if you reread all these verses in context, you will never find the prediction of a total apostacy. Of course, we also believe that apostacy occurred from the very beginning, but we have no indication that it forced the removal of authority from the earth. Christ tells us that the wheat and the chaff will exist together until the very end, but no one ever says that the church will disappear from the earth. I challenge you to find one verse that says this.

For #9, if it’s not just a joke, there is no way anyone can make a credible argument from the church fathers that there was a total apostacy. I think you’re referring to the online debate between Barry Bickmore and Thomas Smith. Mr. Bickmore does just what you mentioned–he takes selective quotes from church fathers and uses them to fit his argument. That’s the problem with taking things out of context. If you’re going to use quotes from the church fathers as proof in an argument, you can’t ignore the other 99% of their writing as if it didn’t exist. For goodness sakes, if any of the church fathers believed in a total apostacy, they wouldn’t have continued to fight for the church.

And no, you won’t get in trouble if you write about the apostacy. That’s what this forum is all about.

Here’s an article written back a Cathlolic on this issue. Give it a read and let us know what you think.

ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/MORMON2.HTM


#16

This writing below is of the great Apostasy and it is real. I have had no Mormon response to it and do not expect one. It is very clear who said it and who inspired it. This is the great Apostasy. An angel created good, but fell out of envy of Jesus. The Mormon Church exist to show the world that it can do a better job than Christianity, than Christ, our God. But is does so in the perceived light of Christ and it is a cult… There was a post, can’t remember where that said that as long as the LDS members honestly search out Christ they will, according to Catholic teaching be saved. The problem as I see it is this. If they do not know the Shepard’s voice and mistake it for an exalted humanity they will be lost. The door of the Ark does close sooner or later, this is fact. I am speaking about the fall of mankind, mankind that search’s for its own glory apart from God’s. This is the Devils gain. He has many good people fooled.
Not to be mean. It’s just real. Something to really think about if you are Mormon. The Catholic faith is so different, so humbling. The opposite of pride and self gain, where the first will be last and the last will be first.
“Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet…When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go.” (History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 408, 409) - Joseph Smith: founder, prophet, seer, and revelator of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


#17

One of the best treatments of this issue is in Beginning Apologetics 2 from San Juan Catholic Seminars (catholicapologetics.com/). I had heard this from many people claiming that the Catholic Church went totally apostate after the death of the last apostle and never had an answer because it’s so historically ludicrous and factually inaccurate. This great 40 page study booklet covers it from the JW/Mormon perspective but also serves really well with our friends from the SDA. I highly reccomend it to you. :smiley:


#18

[quote=Tmaque]Aris, why would you say something like that? You should be ashamed of yourself. Mormons are no different than you or I. We believe differently on a few issues, but that’s where our differences end. Catholics don’t have the market cornered on kindness, charity, hope, hard work, love, devotion, prayer, etc. In fact, we could learn from the Mormons in many respects. Particularly in the way we conduct our day to day lives. I’m PROUD of my LDS heritage. My LDS upbringing has served me well in life. You can question the validity of a person’s beliefs but please don’t question their motives! Most Mormons I know want more than anything to simply do what’s right. How could you say something so hateful and mean? That was a very un-Catholic and un-Christian thing to say. Shame on you. You should apologize.
[/quote]

Sorry, if you felt offended. However, I am saying that if a certain religion claims that Christ failed in His Mission, to build his Church on Earth, then that religion is not being true to its belief that Christ came down on Earth to save the world.

This religion is in fact saying that its human founder (not Christ) is the actual saviour of the world since he is the one that established the True Church. So this Church by its basic belief in apostasy of the Church Christ established can not be rightly called Christian.

So if LDS is not saying that the first Church apostasized, then I apologize. So is LDS church not teaching that the Church Christ established apostasized?


#19

[quote=Chris-WA]I tried a similar thread a little while ago but got no LDS response. There are a couple of more LDS posting now so I want to pose this question to them. I would like to limit this discussion to the Great Apostacy issue between Mormons and Catholics. If you want to go outside of this, please start another thread.

I would like to know why LDS believe in the Great Apostacy–why, when, how it happened, etc.
[/quote]

There won’t be an LDS member that would have some new history to reveal as a clincher or even an enterpretation of history that would sinch it up either.

The reason they believe it is because it’s what their current prophet believes. If he were to utter a new word from god for these, our modern times ( as they say ) that contradicted the teaching of the apostacy, well…mormons wouldn’t believe it anymore.


#20

[quote=Chris-WA]Not sure how to take this post since part of it seems to be a joke.
[/quote]

Not a joke, just a some degree of subtleness, which I intended people to pick up on, hence the smiley and verbal cues. I presented reasons for my belief while at the same time anticipated criticism to it.

Let me point out a few things though. Your first 4 reasons are based on third-person perspectives some 1800-2000 years after the fact.

Well I don’t expect that Catholics should put any weight on #1, but I do. Because of #1, I lower my standards of proof found in other sources to maintain my belief. In regards to the biblical and historical record, I don’t demand that the apostasy should be evident, but it should be plausible.

As for #2-4, these mormon scholars examine the records to form their arguments. Since I don’t claim to hold a degree in patristic studies, I tend to rely on experts. I have yet to see a scholarly review from the Catholic camp on their books (doesn’t mean that they don’t exist, though). I didn’t know Bickmore debated Thomas, but a quick google on Bickmore and Clifford will bring up their lengthy debate.

Here’s an article written back a Cathlolic on this issue. Give it a read and let us know what you think.

I actually remember reading this article a number of years ago. Patrick Madrid is a pretty smart guy and I agree with him on many points. My only problem with the article is that because it is so short, we don’t get to see the mormon side of the discussion with all its nuances. I will leave it open whether I more fully engage his viewpoint later on.

later,

fool


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