Mormons and authority

Mormons don’t believe in Catholic authority because they are at root radical Protestants who believe the Catholic Church fell into apostasy. Arguing about apostolic succession with Mormons is useless since they start from a 19th century Protestant understanding which rejects Catholicism’s authority completely.

Back before they tried to become mainstream and present themselves as just another Christian denomination the LDS didn’t make any bones about referring to the Great Apostasy by which they meant that the entire Christian world had fallen into error in all things important pretty much by the end of the Second Century. Even now Joseph Smith is called the Prophet of the Restoration. This means that he restored the Church of Jesus Christ to the world because it nowhere existed prior to his mission. So, apostolic succession doesn’t mean much to them other than a sign that their opponents have perpetuated the same errors for many centuries.

Indeed it is, because we believe an apostle is not a bishop or a pope. Apostolic succession vanished from the earth with the deaths of the apostles a long time ago, and was only restored when a resurrected Peter and James along with John, who was translated, placed their hands on Joseph Smiths head and restored the priesthood. If this truly happened as I have said, then there really is not point in arguing further.

But, don’t Mormons also believe that the Apostle John is still walking the Earth, and didn’t die?

Kind of shoots that in the foot doesn’t it?

Huh? If Apostolic succession disappeared then the
Holy Spirit disappeared as well therefore it doesnt
matter who messed with Smiths head it would be

Well, this thread could become interesting…

It’s true that the LDS don’t believe in the authority of the RCC; nor does it believe the claims of any other Church that claims an unbroken succession back to Peter and the other Apostles (as I assume the Orthodox make). But it’s incorrect to state there’s a Protestant root or aspect to it’s founding. LDS routinely hear in Sunday School that if the RCC is true then the Protestant churches must be false because they broke away from the true church, and that if the RCC is false then the Protestant churches must be false since they broke away from a false church. (See Joseph Smith quote further down.) Also, the claim of Joseph Smith is that he was told by Jesus Christ to not join any sect because they were all wrong.

LDS believe we have a Biblical understanding of an apostasy (see Acts 20:29, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, Galatians 1:6, 1 John 2:18, 19, 3 John 9, etc.) and subsequent restoration (Acts 3:20, 21)

Regarding apostolic succession, LDS believe that John the Baptist, and later Peter, James, and John appeared to Joseph Smith to restore Priesthood authority on the Earth, which along with the apostasy verses cited earlier are the main reasons that claims of authority by other churches are rejected by the LDS. I’d say a majority of devout LDS are unfamiliar with the term “apostolic succession” as used by orthodox Christianity. The similarities between LDS and Protestants regarding the Catholic Church probably start and stop with the agreement that the RCC didn’t have authority. Did 19th century Protestants believe that authority needed to be restored? Isn’t there a “priesthood of believers” concept in Protestant faiths?

Joseph Smith did say these things about the Catholic Church…

*"The old Catholic church traditions are worth more than all you have said. Here is a principle of logic that most men have no more sense than to adopt. I will illustrate it by an old apple tree. Here jumps off a branch and says, I am the true tree, and you are corrupt. If the whole tree is corrupt, are not its branches corrupt? If the Catholic religion is a false religion, how can any true religion come out of it? If the Catholic church is bad, how can any good thing come out of it? "

“I testify again as God never will acknowledge any apost[ate]: any man who will betray the Catholics will betray you–& if he will betray one anoth[e]r. he will betray you”*

I don’t know the full context of the second quote, except that there probably were very few Catholics near Joseph Smith in his day.

And finally, just because there was an Apostasy in the LDS view doesn’t mean that no one found God. John Taylor (successor to Brigham Young) wrote:

“I have a great many misgivings about the intelligence that men boast so much of in this enlightened day. There were men in those dark ages who could commune with God, and who, by the power of faith, could draw aside the curtain of eternity and gaze upon the invisible world. There were men who could tell the destiny of the human family, and the events which would transpire throughout every subsequent period of time until the final winding-up scene. There were men who could gaze upon the face of God, have the ministering of angels, and unfold the future destinies of the world. If those were dark ages I pray God to give me a little darkness, and deliver me from the light and intelligence that prevail in our day; for as a rational, intelligent, immortal being who has to do with time and eternity, I consider it one of the greatest acquirements for men to become acquainted with their God and with their future destiny.”

Of course not, priesthood is conditioned on following the will of the Lord. Apostolic keys were not restored until Joseph again received them. There is no contradiction here.

So for around 1800 years or so the Church was in apostasy until a dubious confidence trickster and phildanderer arrived on the scene? Forgive me for been somewhat sceptical. I also prefer the earlier quotes from Mormons I’ve seen on this site and eslewhere, they show their enmity to Catholicism openly instead of engaging double talk and playing at been false friends.

No, the Holy Spirit still strives with man, but the greater portion is reserved for those who receive his ordinances.

Your scepticism is understhood. I don’t believe there has been anyone more maligned in these days then Joseph Smith. Was he a prophet of God or a lust laden liar of the most vial sort. We’ll the two are at opposite extremes. There is little room for middle ground. Having heard almost all the “history” I believe he is a prophet of God.

[quote=JharekCarnelian] I also prefer the earlier quotes from Mormons I’ve seen on this site and eslewhere, they show their enmity to Catholicism openly instead of engaging double talk and playing at been false friends.

I have found many Catholic’s quite sincere and wanting to do good and extend love to those not of their faith. I don’t feel enmity towards such people, how could I?

The evidence is of course contrary to your claims. But we’ve been over this before.

The fact is, as stated by the OP, Mormons begin from a place.that denies the Holy Spirit, and Jesus’ commitment to His bride. It is the Protestant claim that Christ cannot be found in His own Church. Mormons never present anything that does not support the Protestant roots of Mormonism.

Bald assertions in regards to Jesus and the Apostles failing may fly in Mormon circles, if doesn’t with Catholics.

it is irrational to believe Peter, James and John didn’t appoint successors while alive, but did so from the grave. All based on your belief that Bishops.are.not successors. Well, the pillars of the Church appointed successors while living is much more reasonable than believing they didn’t, but came back from the dead to get it right.

Actually, there is. If John had the priesthood, AND if the three Nephites had the priesthood, then there was no need to restore. It is another of the plethora of inconsistencies with lds doctrine that proves it is false

Since arguments about apostolic succession don’t carry any weight with Mormons the only way to evangelize a Mormon is by undermining his/her beliefs in the restoration they claim was accomplished by Joseph Smith. Their entire argument finally rests on their acceptance of dubious scriptures such as the Book of Mormon and the Book of Mormon which have been shown to be historically problematic. My own departure from Mormonism came when I realized that Mormon scripture is completely empty of any validity. That led me eventually to evangelical Protestantism and finally to an understanding of the necessity of Catholic authority. Catholics have always had the fruits of the spirit in abundant evidence. Authority is absolutely necessary, but the Mormon claim to authority falls flat because of the invalidity of their unique scriptures.


Hmmm. And you know this how? The Holy Spirit was a useless
unfruitful thing for several hundred years until Smith
was born and took up a gun to defend it? Is that
what you are saying?

I’m 58 years old. As such I remember very well the
actual reality of Mormonism as it was promulgated before
it developed new PR sensibilities.
Catholics very bad people. The worst.
Good Mormon men will inherit their own planet
near the planet Golub which they will populate
with their own families who remain loyal.
And still today well in 2011, our Mormon contractor
threatened us all with a shotgun in a dispute over
whether my family dead should be baptized by proxy
by him. He denies there is anything written about
Golub in Salt Lake City.
My father in law bailed from learning about Mormonism
when he, a white man, discovered in 1965 that no
black man could ever be an elder, deacon or Bishop.

Please explain how ANY of the above is evidence of
the Holy Spirit?

I also don’t understand why if Smith was an actual apostle
filled with truth and the Holy Spirit how he could get
the date of the Second Coming so wrong? 1891? What happened?
Did this mistake on Smiths part have anything to do
with the Mormon claim that God Himself was originally
nothing more than an imperfect man? Like Smith?

And is that why Smith had to kill so many people?
Because he is a true successor?

If Smith is of actual apostolic succession, why do Mormons
reject and/or contradict Scripture including King James?

I have found that most, if not all, of the verses cited by LDS in relation to a complete apostasy and loss of authority either refer to partial/personal apostasies (and not an apostasy of the Church), or something unrelated in the Old Testament. I find much more Biblical support for the continuation of Christ’s Church, His Kingdom, after He establishes it, which He did anciently.

Further, when LDS speak of a restoration, it is difficult to actually point to a cohesive body that believed similarly to the LDS. For example, was there a Church anciently that can be pointed to that believed in baptism for the dead, the necessity of temple ordinances for eternal life, “Seventy” as a priesthood office name (and not just seventy men), an embodied God the Father (let alone one that progressed to/achieved Godhood), etc? Where is there evidence that the LDS really restored these things that were supposedly lost? This is a question that helped lead me back to Catholicism.

The one area that I will grant makes more sense to me in the LDS world is the issue of authority to perform sacraments/ordinances. LDS believe that only the priesthood in the true Church has the authority to validly perform ordinances. Therefore, only they have that authority (in their view). This makes more sense to me than viewing, for example, Orthodox as having valid apostolic succession, valid orders/priesthood, and valid sacraments, despite them not being in full communion with the Catholic Church.

Interesting, never seen it put that way. I like it. :slight_smile:

All based on your belief that Bishops.are.not successors. Well, the pillars of the Church appointed successors while living is much more reasonable than believing they didn’t, but came back from the dead to get it right.

We see this in Acts 1:20-

For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.

This is said in the context of Matthias being chosen to replace Judas as an Apostle. Very relevant to the point that the Apostles appointed Bishops as their successors.

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