Mormon/Catholic debate with bro-in-law... Advice?


#1

I have been engaged in an in-person and e-mail debate about Catholicism. Specifically, in ways it varies with the Latter-day Saints and just general anti-Catholicism. It’s too long to post here, but I have posted it on my website at the following address: starrspace.com/debate.htm.

Take a look and let me know what you think. Do I just need to shut my mouth? Also, since I am not yet a baptized Catholic, I may need some correction in my understanding of some things.

Thanks,

DAN


#2

I have been engaged in an in-person and e-mail debate about Catholicism. Specifically, in ways it varies with the Latter-day Saints and just general anti-Catholicism. It’s too long to post here, but I have posted it on my website at the following address: starrspace.com/debate.htm.

Take a look and let me know what you think. Do I just need to shut my mouth? Also, since I am not yet a baptized Catholic, I may need some correction in my understanding of some things.

Thanks,

DAN


#3

If you search www.envoymagazine.com you can read some older articles on Mormons (for free!) There are at least three issues with some good stuff, including Mormor rebuttals.

Also, www.ewtn.com will have some articles worth looking at.

It comes down to the basic… “What is your authority for that?”. The elders I have had come to visit will admit to the KJV, but rarely have one with them. They depend on the Book of Mormon, and their message is simply that God reveals Himself through the prophets, and the only one that matters is Joseph Smith. I tend to press them on what they claim to say about Jesus, and what is and has been true for 2000 years.

I remember asking one about any historical or archeological proofs for Joseph Smiths claims about the Golden Plates, or about the great war that left behind zero evidence … to which they simply reply “We just believe that, we don’t need proofs.”

And, why does Mormon doctrine change to meet the times (racism and pologimy for examples)?

It will take some work to discuss the Trinity. And I got a real reaction to “Christian”. We agreed on what a Christian is, and what is expected of a Christian. I responded that it would require them to believe all that the prophet Jesus taught (regardless of whether they accepted Him as God).

So they must believe in John 6 or they are not truely Christian … and I was “offended” that their nametags used the Name of Jesus Christ when they infact don’t believe all. They did not dispute the inconsistency, but instead said that they would rely on their bishop for leadership. So now their bishop was their authority, and he got his authority either by election or from their president … who could change doctrine at will. - hardly a comforting position.

I also tend to repeat: "… if you can show me one doctrine in the Catholic Church that has changed or been “invented” without basis … I will leave the Church.

We often touch on Baptism (for the dead… gain souls… become a god in their own universe… etc) So far, none have every admitted to being allowed into the inner “circle” of the temple, or being privy to what secrets are held their. Yet none deny that something exists.

Read a lot… both sides. It will take little time to realize that a practicing Catholic is the true Christian, Mormonism is more a cult than a religion… and their position is faulty and built on sand.

Do not guess at an answer, if you have any doubt at all, make a note of the question and get the answer down pat first. They will appreciate that and your credibility will remain intact.

God bless


#4

puts on apologist hat

Relax, you’re fine. Your brother-in-law is mistaken. For instance, and these will probably be out of order:

  1. Catholics do not worship Mary and/or other saints. Think about Mothers’ Day. We honor and revere our mothers, but I have yet to bring Mom breakfast in bed and bow down and sing hymns to her while she does. We revere Mary like we revere our earthly mothers, just a little more so since she has the power to intercede for us with Christ. And the saints, ditto. We ask for their help or protection; we don’t offer incense, worship or pray TO them. It looks like it sometimes, but we’re actually asking THEM to pray TO Jesus FOR us. The whole idea is that they can ask better than we can.

  2. Original sin is there. Your brother-in-law needs to reread Genesis about the fall of man.
    "Cursed be the ground because of thee! In toil shalt thou eat its yield all the days of thy life. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth unto you as you eat of the plants of the field. By the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat, until thou returnest unto the ground from which thou wast taken; for thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return."
    If that’s not a declaration of original sin, what is? God is pretty clear about this. He is demoting Adam from the former idyllic state of happiness to mere humanity and fallibility. Adam and Eve are still under His protection, but now they get to feel pain, know evil, et cetera. Adam’s race has now become inherently sinful; the legacy is one they cannot escape. All men since then have had to sweat and toil and so on. That’s a fact.

  3. The Pope is not a Nazi. There is a difference between bowing to the compulsory attendance rules of the Hitler Youth and becoming a ranting, fire-eating fanatic. A Nazi is someone who espouses the doctrines of Hitler and takes them to heart. Everyone else is just coasting along. And really, how can you expect a kid to stand up and say “This is wrong?” when everyone is telling him to do it? Pius XII was not a Nazi. He did not protest openly (there are a bunch of threads on this already) but under the table he saved thousands of Jews, Catholics, and others. This was against the laws of the Party; Pius risked his own neck to do what he thought was right. He should be commended for what he did do, not reviled for something he didn’t do that would have been suicide and led to even more deaths. If he had spoken out, there would have been no CHurch to hide Jews. THere is a rather good movie about this called “In Scarlet and In Black,” Gregory Peck I think, that makes this point wonderfully. I’d recommend it.

  4. A lot of people ask why Alexander VI was elected, if the Pope is supposed to be holy. I usually respond that the papacy of Alexander VI, alias Rodrigo Borgia, was to demonstrate that the CHurch can survive anything. 2000 years and counting! Show me another religion that’s lasted that long unchanged.

  5. Adam’s sin was not God’s plan. The serpent had to convince them, right? God was not the serpent. In fact, he cursed the serpent pretty thoroughly afterwards (“Upon thy belly shalt thou crawl and dust shalt thou eat”) so it’s likely that he wasn’t exactly happy with Fang-and-scale-Boy for messing things up.

  6. Repetitious prayers are (I hesitate to use this comparison, but oh well) like mantras in Hinduism or Buddhism. You repeat them to clear your mind so you can meditate on the mysteries of God, or to talk to Him. They’re not the only way to pray.

I hope that helps. Good luck with your brother-in-law next time! :thumbsup:


#5

Original Sin:

The sin of Adam was not like the sin of any other person in the history of humankind. God did not create man to die. God created man in His own image and likeness, and it was after the first sin that evil entered the world, along with pain, sickness, death, and all manner of suffering. All of humankind since then is burdened by this entrance of evil into the world. Original sin recognizes that we are all born “into” sin, just as we are “reborn” into salvation through Jesus Christ. Romans 5. Verse 12 says that “sin came into the world through one man and death through sin.” Verses 18 states that “one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men.”

Further Reading from This Rock

As for the divinity of Jesus and his oneness with the Father, John 1:1 is very clear: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Reading on Catholic Prayer from This Rock

My advice to you is to go to the Catholic Answers home page and use the search box any time he brings up an area with which you’re not familiar enough. It contains answers to most of the questions your brother-in-law is raising. That’s what the site is for.

Good luck and God Bless!


#6

In general, I would advise changing your strategy . . . instead of defending the Church, attack Mormonism! There is not a shred of historical, archeological, anthropological, or genetic evidence to support one word in the Book of Mormon. You can find a lot of assistance in debunking Mormon beliefs here:
catholic.com/library/noncatholic_groups.asp

But if you must defend the Church, take the aid of this online Bible cheat sheet: geocities.com/thecatholicconvert/biblecheatsheet.html

For example, on the subject of repetitious prayers, you can find explanation and support in these Bible verses:

1Kgs 18:25-29 - example of vain repetition: call Baal for hours
Mt 26:44 - Jesus prayed a third time, saying the same thing again
Lk 18:13 - collector kept beating breast & praying: be merciful
Rev 4:8 - repeat day & night, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord"
1Thess 5:17 - pray without ceasing
Ps 136 (24X ‘his steadfast love endures forever’)
Mt 6:9-13 Our Father


#7

Thanks for all the advice. I think I will let things simmer for a while until I am stronger in knowledge and spiritual resolve. This whole thing, in addition to eating up a good portion of my work day, has been really draining. Maybe I will give up my armchair apologetics for the time being…

There have been some updates since the first post: starrspace.com/debate.htm.


#8

The Book of Mormon is utter lies. Lies. LIES LIES!!! I was thinking of converting to Mormonism(STUPID,DUMB, idiotic thought by the ay that i asked forgiveness for) , untill I found out the truth (and how EXCURTIATINGLY BORING the Book of Mormon is).

Here is what the people all in their grand little old temple in Utah DONT tell you:

  1. The Book of Mormon claims to be a record of Jews who migrated from Isreal to North America. It claims that all Native Americans are desendants of the Jewish Isrealites. However, recent DNA testing has proven this not to be the case. Over 99% of Native Americans tested for a link have shown to be Asiatics from Siberia. — Mormons attempt to explain this away by saying that Native American DNA was mixed with another race of Native Americans, however, this race is not mentioned in the "Book of Mormon, and besides, the only other race mentioned in the BOM was said to be from Iran. And there is no link there either.

  2. The “Book of Mormon” mentions many cities, valleys, coins and animals. Archeologists have failed to descover any city mentioned in the Book of Mormon. The same goes for the valleys and coins mentioned. The Book of Mormon says Elephants and horses were in North America between 600 B.C. and 421 A.D. However, you do not have to be a scholar to know that these animals were not in the New World until Europeans came over 1,000 years later.

  3. The Book of Mormon insists that the Pre-columbian Indians knew about the Jewish Bible. However, no evidence turned up to support that.

  4. The Book of Momon cites the KING JAMES VERSION of the Bible. If the BOM was indeed a translation of an ancient record as Joseph Smith the “Prophet” claimed, you would expect some variations. But no, the BOM takes numerous sections of the King James Bible word-for-word, plagiarizing it. I seriously doubt the pre-columbian Indians would posses the KJV 1,500 years before British scholars translated it for the first time.

  5. There are two theories as to who wrote the Book of Mormon. Some say it was Joseph Smith, but others found many identicle features between the BOM and a manuscript written by an unpublished author named SOLOMON SPAULDING. Spaulding’s manuscript is years older, giving the conclussion that Joseph Smith plagiarized it.

  6. There are a lot of Greek words in the Book of Mormon. For example: Alpha; omega; Jesus Christ; Christian, etc. If the Book of Mormon was authentic, you would expect that it would contain Native American varients of these words. It is very doubtful that the Native American Indians could speak Greek. They wouldn’t know what they were unless they were translated for them.

  7. Mormons claim the BOM was written in the “Reformed Egyptian” language. Native Americans knew the Egyptian language? That would be a revolutionary archeological find.

  8. The Book of Mormon says that the Nephites (a tribe of Ancient Indian Jews) were to have white skin, because they accepted God. While the Lammanites, another Jewish tribe, was to be dark skinned because they rejected God. But whoever accepts God will become white, it says. In the Book of Mormon, God judges by skin color. The Book of Mormon is RACIST!!! If you don’t beleive me, read it for yourself. You will find it.


#9

If you talk to him anytime soon do me a favor and get him to answer this question. In 2 Nephi (book of mormon) there is a quote “Bible, Bible, we’ve got Bibles”. The funny thing about this quote is it was supposed to have been written 600 years before Christ. Now a Cathlic knows, or should no that there was only a pile of scrolls and nothing that would be called a Bible for nearly 1000 years. So can he explain this dilema? There’s some other problems with the BofM like horses and cattle in America.


#10

The doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) are very interesting. Most of the ‘odd’ ones are not initially taught to potential converts. But they should be. Instead, “they are are revealed later as one matures and gains the ability to accept them.” The LDS Church tries to make its official doctrines appear Christian but what underlies those Christian sounding terms is far from Christian in meaning.
Following are the teachings of its officials throughout the years. Please note that these teachings are documented from Mormon writers, not anti-Mormon writers.
Finally, many Mormons respond that most of the the citations below are not from official Mormon writings, as if that disproves the doctrines they teach. If they are not official, fine. But, if not, then why have the Mormon apostles and high officials taught them, written them, and why are their books sold in Mormon bookstores? The truth is, the following is what Mormons are taught.

Atonement
"Jesus paid for all our sins when He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane," (Laurel Rohlfing, “Sharing Time: The Atonement,” Friend, Mar. 1989, 39.)
“We accept Christ’s atonement by repenting of our sense, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and obeying all of the commandments,” (Gospel Principles, Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1979, pg. 68.)
Baptism
Baptism for the dead, (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. II, p. 141.) This is a practice of baptizing each other in place of non-Mormons who are now dead. Their belief is that in the afterlife, the “newly baptized” person will be able to enter into a higher level of Mormon heaven.
Bible
"We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. . ." 8th Article of Faith of the Mormon Church.
“Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.” (1 Nephi 13:28).
Book of Mormon
The book of Mormon is more correct than the Bible, (History of the Church, 4:461.)
Devil, the
The Devil was born as a spirit after Jesus “in the morning of pre-existence,” (Mormon Doctrine, page 192.)
Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers and we were all born as siblings in heaven to them both, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 163.)
A plan of salvation was needed for the people of earth so Jesus offered a plan to the Father and Satan offered a plan to the father but Jesus’ plan was accepted. In effect the Devil wanted to be the Savior of all Mankind and to “deny men their agency and to dethrone god.” (Mormon Doctrine, page 193; Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, page 8.)
God
God used to be a man on another planet, Mormon Doctrine, p. 321. Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons, Vol 5, pp. 613-614; Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol 2, p. 345, Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 333.)
“The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s…” (D&C 130:22).
God is in the form of a man, (Joseph Smith, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p. 3.)
“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!!! . . . We have imagined that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take away the veil, so that you may see” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345
God the Father had a Father, (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 476; Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 19; Milton Hunter, First Council of the Seventy, Gospel through the Ages, p. 104-105.)
God resides near a star called Kolob, (Pearl of Great Price, pages 34-35; Mormon Doctrine, p. 428.)
God had sexual relations with Mary to make the body of Jesus, (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, p. 218, 1857; vol. 8, p. 115.) - This one is disputed among many Mormons and not always ‘officially’ taught and believed. Nevertheless, Young, the 2nd prophet of the Mormon church taught it.
“Therefore we know that both the Father and the Son are in form and stature perfect men; each of them possesses a tangible body . . . of flesh and bones.” (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 38).
God, becoming a god
After you become a good Mormon, you have the potential of becoming a god, (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pages 345-347, 354.)
“Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them,” (DC 132:20).
God, many gods
There are many gods, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 163.)
"And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light: and there was light (Book of Abraham 4:3)


#11

God, mother goddess
There is a mother god, (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 443.)
God is married to his goddess wife and has spirit children, (Mormon Doctrine p. 516.)
God, Trinity
The trinity is three separate Gods: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. “That these three are separate individuals, physically distinct from each other, is demonstrated by the accepted records of divine dealings with man.” (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 35.)
Gospel, the
The true gospel was lost from the earth. Mormonism is its restoration, (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 182-185.)
Consists of laws and ordinances: “As these sins are the result of individual acts it is just that forgiveness for them should be conditioned on individual compliance with prescribed requirements – ‘obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.’” (Articles of Faith p. 79)
Heaven
There are three levels of heaven: telestial, terrestrial, and celestial, Mormon Doctrine, p. 348.
Holy Ghost, the
The Holy Ghost is a male personage, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, (Le Grand Richards, Salt Lake City, 1956, page 118; Journal of Discources, Vol. 5, page 179.)
Jesus
The first spirit to be born in heaven was Jesus, (Mormon Doctrine, page 129.)
Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers and we were all born as siblings in heaven to them both, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 163; Gospel Through the Ages, p. 15.)
Jesus’ sacrifice was not able to cleanse us from all our sins, (murder and repeated adultery are exceptions), (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, p. 247, 1856.)
“Therefore we know that both the Father and the Son are in form and stature perfect men; each of them possesses a tangible body . . . of flesh and bones.” (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 38).
“The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood - was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8: p. 115).
“Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers” (Mormon Doctrine," by Bruce McConkie, p. 547).
“Christ Not Begotten of Holy Ghost …Christ was begotten of God. He was not born without the aid of Man, and that Man was God!” (Doctrines of Salvation, Joseph Fielding Smith, 1954, 1:18).
“Elohim is literally the Father of the spirit of Jesus Christ and also of the body in which Jesus Christ performed His mission in the flesh …” (First Presidency and Council of the Twelve, 1916, God the Father, compiled by Gordon Allred, pg. 150).
Joseph Smith
If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation [the context is the full gospel including exaltation to Godhood] outside the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 670.)
Pre-existence
We were first begotten as spirit children in heaven and then born naturally on earth, (Journal of Discourse, Vol. 4, p. 218.)
The first spirit to be born in heaven was Jesus, (Mormon Doctrine, page 129.)
The Devil was born as a spirit after Jesus “in the morning of pre-existence,” (Mormon Doctrine, page 192.)
Prophets
We need prophets today, the same as in the Old Testament, (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 444-445.)
Salvation
"One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation." (Miracle of Forgiveness, Spencer W. Kimball, p. 206.)
A plan of salvation was needed for the people of earth so Jesus offered a plan to the Father and Satan offered a plan to the father but Jesus’ plan was accepted. In effect the Devil wanted to be the Savior of all Mankind and to “deny men their agency and to dethrone god.” (Mormon Doctrine, page 193; Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, page 8.)
Jesus’ sacrifice was not able to cleanse us from all our sins, (murder and repeated adultery are exceptions), (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, p. 247, 1856.)
Good works are necessary for salvation, Articles of Faith, p. 92.)
There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God, (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, p. 188.)
"The first effect [of the atonement] is to secure to all mankind alike, exemption from the penalty of the fall, thus providing a plan of General Salvation. The second effect is to open a way for Individual Salvation whereby mankind may secure remission of personal sins (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 78-79.)
“As these sins are the result of individual acts it is just that forgiveness for them should be conditioned on individual compliance with prescribed requirements – ‘obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.’” (Articles of Faith p. 79).


#12

Trinity, the
The trinity is three separate Gods: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. “That these three are separate individuals, physically distinct from each other, is demonstrated by the accepted records of divine dealings with man.” (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 35.)
“Many men say there is one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are only one God. I say that is a strange God [anyhow]–three in one and one in three. . .It is curious organization… All are crammed into one God according to sectarianism (Christian faith). It would make the biggest God in all the world. He would be a wonderfully big God–he would be a giant or a monster.” (Joseph Smith, Teachings, 372).

Does your Brother-in-law really want to beleive these pagan liars?


#13

My brother-in-law has been a Mormon for seven years or so now, is married to a Mormon, etc. No one else in his family is a member. I was a member from November 2003 'til March 2004. Though I studied that faith for months before deciding to be baptized, afterward I soon grew troubled by certain issues of doctrine, contradictions, and the dubious character of Joseph Smith.

However, since I was an active member for a while, and since I made an extensive study during that short time, I can understand the way the assimilation process works.

The post that talked about how Mormons don’t tell you all the less-than-Christian-sounding doctrines up front is true. “Milk before the meat” is what I’m told they say. The basic process is to convince the potential convert of the closeness with Christianity, the emphasis on family and seemingly logical theology, and, primarily, the authenticity of Smith as a prophet. Once one has chosen to believe in JS, everything else falls into place.

My concern is in drawing a fine line between making an effort to refute the Mormon faith and not crossing over into the same arguments that others try and use to refute Christianity proper.

I’ll admit, looking back in retrospect, the Mormon beliefs seem really odd, and I’m surprised I believed them. But I did. In a way, it all congeals into a curiously appealing and logical system, once one has taken a leap of faith with JS. Now I’m just surprised that I was able to look past all of the glaring problems and shut my eyes tight to the truth that, soon enough, would lead me away.

Anyway, thanks for all the comments.


#14

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.