Question for Catholics and Mormons

I was reading up on the founding of the Mormon church, Joseph Smith claimed to have had a couple divine interactions with Jesus, John the Baptist, and of course Moroni, the angel who told him where to find the golden plates to translate. Now I find this story ridiculous and think Mormonism is totally founded by a fraud, but the basis of my question isn’t about that. The Mormon church claims and apostasy occurred and Smith was the first to interact with Christ to restore the true church, thus he is a prophet in their doctrines. However studying the Catholic church history, why do they believe even if this occurred that this makes him a prophet? Many saints in the Catholic church claimed divine communication with Christ, Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, and many others claimed Christ interceded with their lives to change the church. So are they prophets as well? And seeing as divine intervention never stopped, what makes Smith all that special to begin with?

The huge problem with Smith is that he rejects what Jesus taught when HE was here with us. Namely HE did not hand us the Bible. He gave us the Church.
And furthermore HE promised HE would remain with us until the end of the world.

Smith obviously did not do a good job of finding out who was Jesus and the story of the few hundred years after His ascension. How was the ancient Church organized, what did they believe, etc.
Instead he decided to make up his own church separate from what he knew at the time, mainly protestant doctrines, he tweaked them to sound similar but separate himself from the mainline churches of his time and live relatively prosperous life.
I doubt he gave much thought to truth, salvation economy and other important items, in other words not much thought on the big picture.

Look at the other example of the era. The JW the founder believed that only 144,000 souls would enter Heaven. Does that not show you how narrow minded their theology was?
I mean how many JW exist today on the world. They had to rethink their salvation theology in order to explain away and justify a man made doctrine.

That is a good question. Regarding prophets, Moses said this in Number 11:29 (KJV):
Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!*

Joseph Smith himself said that anyone who predicts the future, such as, a preacher who warns the wicked that they’ll go to Hell is engaging in a form of prophecy.

To answer your question, Latter-day Saints believe that Joseph Smith is different because he was given the Priesthood Keys which are required by God to direct the affairs the Kingdom of God on the Earth. Latter-day Saints believe these Priesthood Keys were conferred on him by divine messengers. Latter-day Saints believe these Priesthood Keys today reside reside with the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles. These are the same Keys given anciently to Peter in Matthew 16:19. For more information regarding the LDS understanding of Priesthood Keys go to:

Christ very well could have appeared to others as you suggest, but if Christ did not confer Priesthood Keys to them, they would not have Christ’s authority to direct His Church on the Earth.

I hope this helps…

Interaction with God is likely to give your spirituality a mystic flavor to it— an odd term to use in conjunction with great scholars like Thomas Aquinas— but used in the sense of being granted the grace of an understanding of Divine Mysteries.

What sort of change did Francis of Assisi bring to the church? He encouraged an abandonment of worldliness and an imitation of Christ’s love. Revolutionary, and difficult, but recognizable, and nothing contrary to what had existed before.

What sort of change did Thomas Aquinas bring? He brought scholarship and philosophy, and attempted to instruct beginners in the points of Christian theology. He was revolutionary, too, and difficult— but his work was recognizable. In general, you have to work hard to find stuff that’s objectionable.

What sort of change did Joseph Smith bring? Women have to depend upon their husbands’ rank in the priesthood for their place in heaven-- of which there are three, and almost everybody except for really awful people get to go to one of them. The most devout people who rank highly enough get their own worlds (planets? earths like this one?) and reign over them as Gods. They’ll continue to have spirit-children even in the afterlife. There is no Trinity-- there are three separate and distinct Beings who are united in one goal.

Is anything of Joseph Smith’s teachings recognizable in the writings of the Early Church Fathers? If, as they state, the current Bible is corrupted, and Christianity is a corrupt form of what was taught previously, you should be able to find elements like “celestial marriage” or “baptism of the dead” and so on in the earliest writings.

His ego and desire to dominate a group of people. Those you mentioned aside from Smith only enhanced the original teaching & doctrines of the Church. They did not call her the “whore of Babylon”.

Pretty big difference. The keys to the kingdom have safely been in the hands of the Church Christ founded some 2000 years ago.

What year did Joseph Smith receive the keys and who were the divine messengers?

John the Baptist 1829 - keys of the Aaronic Priesthood

Peter, James, and John 1829 - keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood

Moroni (date unknown by me at this time - Moroni appeared several times to Joseph Smith) - keys of the record of the stick of Ephraim (“stick of Ephraim” would be another name for the Book of Mormon)

Moses 1836 - keys of the Gathering of Israel

Elias 1836 - keys of the restoration of all things

Elijah 1836 - keys of the sealing power

I don’t think this is an exhaustive list, but don’t have time for additional research. I hope this helps…

I thought the First Vision occurred in 1832?

He was born in 1805 and received the First Vision in 1820.

I don’t find quoting lines from a book Smith wrote to be convincing evidence the LDS is a true religion. Now if you could come up with something from the early Catholic Church proving there was the “great apostasy”…:shrug:

What did he do between The First Vision and the next vision?

made up more visions :smiley:

That’s a lot of different keys!

Where are all the witnesses who saw him given these different keys, and where are their writings?


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit