Talk about the faith w/ Mormons


#1

Hello everyone! This would be my first time posting anything on these forums. Here is my question. I have some very close friends who are Mormon and I am struggling to find a way to explain the truth of Catholicism to them. Anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks,

Nick


#2

On the Mormon side of things: Read three books by James Talmage: The Articles of Faith, Jesus the Christ, and The Great Apostasy. These would be available in cheap paperback editions and since Talmage’s writings are considered to be classics–his “Jesus the Christ” is considered by some to deserve status as a 'Standard Work;–you will be well aware of LDS assumptions. See if you can also get ahold of Hugh Nibley’s, “An Approach to the Book of Mormon”. This is NOT available in paperback and might be rather expensive to buy new.

If you’ve never read the Book of Mormon, struggle through it. If you can’t manage it, get the Elders to see if the Ward (parish) library has a copy of Book of Mormon Stories: you’ll want the version for pre-teens, with 170 pages, and not the one for pre-schoolers which has about 95 pages. It’s like a comic-book abridgement of the BofM. It’ll get you through the storyline of the BofM. You won’t pick up on much of the theological passages of the BofM but you’ll have some idea of what it’s about. Try also to get a copy of the Doctrine and Covenents and the Pearl of Great Price–the Elders will likely be willing to give you one. Also read Gospel Principles, which the Elders will also likely loan or give you if you ask them. Finally: read some sort of official LDS church history. “Truth Restored” is very short and easily read in an afternoon. It’s another ‘giveaway’ book which the LDS Church likes for ‘Investigators’ (prospective converts or catechements) to read. Sorry to dump so much LDS stuff in your lap but IMHO the first mistake folks often make is not gettng some good background on the subject before trying to convert someone.

Once you’ve read this stuff, the first thing you’ll need to ask yourself is: why would my friends want to leave Mormonism and choose Catholicism? What about Catholicism is likely to appeal to them more than their own Chuch? Don’t answer this vaguely or abstractly: if you tink they should be Catholics out of an interest in ‘truth’–you’ll lose sight of the fiact that they currently believe that Mormonism has the ‘truth’. As well as the fact that they probably are well aware there are multiple non-Catholic/non-Mormon alternatives to their current beliefs. You not only have to find ways to ‘debunk’ Mormonism BUT establish Catholicism as a better source of truth. And if your friends are not primarily interested in Mormonism as an expression of truth–well, then debunking Mormonism might not be the best tactic to take. Mormons don’t assume that the best way to evangelize is by procaiming their own truth: they also look for people who are concerned for family values, for example. They look for people who are proud of their heritage, or who value self-reliance, etcetera. Frankly, though this isn’t explicit, they evangelize people with at least an element of spiritual ambition and pride: the LDS Church is a hierarchical entity which one can scale rather readily if one says and does the right things with some measure of diligence.

So: how does Catholicism measure up against Mormonism in terms of appeal? What are your friend’s ‘felt needs’ to borrow a phrase I actually loathe? If you can’t start by reaching them on this level, your refutation of their beliefs will leave them cold. You might well lose your friends.


#3

So far as good books to read which debunk Mormonism: while it has numerous problems, Richard Abanes’ book, “One Nation Under Gods” is a review of Mormon history from the point of view of an opponent of Mormonism. Gerald and Sandra Tanner have photocopied and published a wide variety of LDS historical documents which show the degree to which Mormons have deliberately mystified their own history and covered up a great many ‘inconvenient’ or embarrassing facts. Both are worthwhile to read–just be certain you recognize that these are very biased authors. Ron Rhodes’ “Reasoning From the Scriptures with Mormons” is quite a good read. All of these are Protestant writers–I’m Anglican and not Catholic so read more Protestant than Catholic works.

Mormons have counterparts to forums such as Catholic Answers; they have their own LDS apologists. Be very sure that your friends will know how to contact such resources if your efforts begin to strike ‘home’. The dialogue could go on for many years before you see any fruit in your efforts to persuade them to leave Mormonism. And if you come off early as an uninformed ‘anti’–you might well harden them and confirm them in their beliefs rather than pursuade them. Hopefully some others will post with some specifically-Catholic literature to suggest. Hope this helps!


#4

I think that flameburns623’s approach is the way to go. It may take some time to pour over all of that material, so in the meantime I would also recommend praying for guidance and wisdom.

You might also want to engage in some conversations (or healthy debates) with them on religious matters. Defending your faith will help you grow stronger in it, and will hopefully begin introducing thoughts to them that you can build upon later.


#5

If they are black (and I kind of doubt it) you could bring up the fact that there have always been African priests, bishops and even 3 African popes in the church. Meanwhile, the Mormons refused to give the priesthood to anyone of African descent (i.e. from the line of “Ham”) the priesthood because according to their theology, anyone born with black skin (or flat nose) was cursed by God.

Brigham Young had some very bad things to say about black people. They remain in their “sacred writings”, but are glossed over these days (with good reason).


#6

THANKS for the advise! I have read several documents both for and against the Mormon church, and have made it about 1/3 of the way through the Book of Mormon. I have also been doing A LOT of reading about our faith, because I know I need to know that REALLY well to be able to explain it to someone, especially someone who disagrees with Catholic beliefs.


#7

[quote=Salvo]If they are black (and I kind of doubt it) you could bring up the fact that there have always been African priests, bishops and even 3 African popes in the church. Meanwhile, the Mormons refused to give the priesthood to anyone of African descent (i.e. from the line of “Ham”) the priesthood because according to their theology, anyone born with black skin (or flat nose) was cursed by God.

Brigham Young had some very bad things to say about black people. They remain in their “sacred writings”, but are glossed over these days (with good reason).
[/quote]

Brigham Young’s (second prophet, president, and leader of the LDS Church) comments about blacks are NOT found in LDS ‘sacred writings’, which are the King James Translation of the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. Getting facts wrong like this is exactly the wrong thing to do, since it will shut down a conversation doggoned quick.

I have no doubt that one could find some unsavory comments by Young in an unabridged copy of Journal of Discourses. However the Journal of Discourses is not deemed an ‘authoritative’ document. Some Mormons would be shaken by some of the off-the-cuff remarks and speculations which Young and some other early Mormon leaders indulged in, but others might feel you are Mormon-baiting and counter with some of the disreputable things which some of the more-venal Popes said and/or did. I’m not declaring such things entirely ‘off-limits’ but I would suggest that one be careful of introducing into the conversation too early things which might be perceived as inflamatory. Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and several other prominent LDS leaders are looked upon with a high degree of reverence by Mormons. I will concede this is undeserved, but an too-early broadside against such figures might be ill-advised.

The exclusion of blacks from the priesthood is not an unfair topic. First of all, it suggests, like the 1890 Manifesto which banned the practice of polygamy, that the Mormon Church will alter established doctrines to suit the culture. Second, the whole notion that it was dark skin which represented the ‘curse of Ham’ was based upon really bad exegesis of Scripture. Thidly, even after Smith received the revelation restricting ordination of blacks, he is believed to have ordained several blacks to the priesthood. It is widely believed that Smith excluded blacks at all to placate neighbors of Mormons in Missouri, most of whom were pro-slavery. (Most Mormons at the time were Northerners and tended to be anti-slavery, which is thought to have been part of the reason for tension between Mormons and Missourians).

Again: one needs to be certain that an issue like this will really ‘strke home’ to the LDS friends you are seeking to persuade. If it’s a non-issue for them, you might have some interesting debates about the matter but never really cause them to consider the possibility that Mormonism might be a false church. I suspect that in many cases a positve presentation of what Catholics believe–one which answers some questions about why Catholics ‘do’ or ‘believe’ certain things–might be more helpful. Especially something which stresses the continuity of many Catholic practices from very ancient times. After all, Mormonism exists largely because Joseph Smith asserted that true Christianity was entirely lost from the Earth and had to be restored.


#8

This is a part of St. Augustine’s writing on humility and being Mormon as a child, this one quote is very, very powerful.

“And much good it did me! Indeed, it was harmful, because it encouraged me to think of You, O Lord, as if you were part of what you had made, (Mormon Theology) instead of being its essence and origin.” (Catholic Theology)
St. Augustine
catholic-rcia.com/pages/cHumility_page.html

You need to first know who Jesus is, In order for you to show them who Jesus is. You need to speak about Him. Show them Scripture on who Jesus is (I can help) and who Jesus claims to be, even though they will claim it is flawed it will be these scriptures that may help pierce a heart. You need to know what it is that you could help give. What can you give them that they do not already have? And why? How can you help them find something better in their lives?
Talk about sin and how we as Catholics take the blame, each one of us for the death of our Savior. That by seeing, knowing our own sin makes the gift that he gives so much sweeter. That he loves us in spite of ourselves. The Pope, the Priest and us all satnd in the line of confession together, this is very humbling, tell them that. Talk about the fall, the garden of eden, what was really offered in the garden? It was our self center. To be our own God, that which dies apart from God. The LDS are taking what was offered in the garden as a good thing. It is the wrong choice. The fall of man was not a good thing. But it was bound to happen because we are not God. This is a good place to study up on, the fall and who Christ is. That he is saving us from ourselves. It is either attaining our own glory -“death” Our attaining (engrafting upon Him) His Glory “Life”. I could go on. Hope this helps.
Go to the link below and Print it out, give it to them, this will help! Our Lords Interest
catholic-rcia.com/pages/cLords_interest.html

Here is a real Indian story
catholic-rcia.com/pages/cJouges_page.html
as they have none documented. This is real and it will make them think. After they read his story ask them if they are allowed to read about the early Christians? That there are thousands like this one that gave their lives to Christ, for Christ, for others. If you know the Mormon story you will know how this will help a lot! If not e-mail me.

You can visit my site at www.catholic-rcia, a Utah Mission. At the Utah Mission you will find the tools you need, there are three. they will help.

You have to pierce their hearts, this is where conversion will take place.

God Bless
You can e-mail me anytime
I was once blind and now I see
Rich


#9

Hey I was a Mormon, and and and am now converting to Catholicism…so it is possible. I am 18 and hope to become a priest. I know fairly well about some Mormon doctrines since I was one, so if you need any help, ask me. I’d be glad to help. My goal as a priest, is like that of St. Maximilian Kolbe’s; to bring all souls to Christ, especially the quasi-Christians such as the Mormons–St. Maximialian Kolbe once saw an anticatholic Freemasons gathering and has had a place in his prayers for them since. The original prayer for his foundation, Militia of the Immaculata, spoke of brining souls to Christ through Mary, and paticulary prayed for the Freemasons. Just replace the Masons–who by the way have many common characteristics with Mormons–with Mormons. Also, Mormons are very big on the idea of the continuation. Perhaps you are at an advantage…tell them of the Catholic dogma of prophecies. Tell them of Marian apparations and the prophecies of St. Joan of Arc. If you need access to such information, please contact me at bearzceltsncars@aol.com.


#10

Isaiah Bennett was a Catholic priest who left the Church and became Mormon. Later, he returned to the Catholic Church. He has written two books, of which I can’t remember the names(!). Both of them deal with how to talk with Mormons about religion. In one of them, he actually goes through the training procedures the Mormon missionariesreceive, because their evangelizations efforts are very well programmed. I think these books might be helpful to you, also.

Peace,
Linda


#11

[quote=mater_dei]Hey I was a Mormon, and and and am now converting to Catholicism…so it is possible. I am 18 and hope to become a priest. I know fairly well about some Mormon doctrines since I was one, so if you need any help, ask me. I’d be glad to help. My goal as a priest, is like that of St. Maximilian Kolbe’s; to bring all souls to Christ, especially the quasi-Christians such as the Mormons–St. Maximialian Kolbe once saw an anticatholic Freemasons gathering and has had a place in his prayers for them since. The original prayer for his foundation, Militia of the Immaculata, spoke of brining souls to Christ through Mary, and paticulary prayed for the Freemasons. Just replace the Masons–who by the way have many common characteristics with Mormons–with Mormons. Also, Mormons are very big on the idea of the continuation. Perhaps you are at an advantage…tell them of the Catholic dogma of prophecies. Tell them of Marian apparations and the prophecies of St. Joan of Arc. If you need access to such information, please contact me at bearzceltsncars@aol.com.
[/quote]

Wow, may God bless you and guide you in your journey towards serving Him. We should all be blessed with such a calling as you.


#12

:thumbsup: God Bless you for trying to talk to Mormons about religion. I was raised Mormon & am now Catholic. In fact my entire family left the Mormon church. I wrote an article for ENVOY magazine - published July 2002 - I think you can still find it on-line. Try www.envoymagazine.com. It covers a lot of basics about the religion - the info. could help you as a starter course - before you delve into all the details of the books suggested by others. (it does not focus on the conversion to catholicism, just the mormon stuff). The article is called “From Joseph Smith to Jesus Christ.”

Feel free to contact me for any specific questions… jjhistory@sbcglobal.net.

Ciao & God Bless, J. Jumper


#13

WOW! Two former LDS church members in the same thread! that is awesome! I confess that I have not seen nor heard of many LDS people coming to the Catholic faith. It’s great to know that God is working on the hearts of so many people. If I might ask those who are formerly LDS…What was it that brought you out of the Mormon faith and into the Catholic faith?


#14

[quote=tkdnick]WOW! Two former LDS church members in the same thread! that is awesome! I confess that I have not seen nor heard of many LDS people coming to the Catholic faith. It’s great to know that God is working on the hearts of so many people. If I might ask those who are formerly LDS…What was it that brought you out of the Mormon faith and into the Catholic faith?
[/quote]

I am not Roman Catholic. I dunno if you were referring to me.


#15

[quote=flameburns623]I am not Roman Catholic. I dunno if you were referring to me.
[/quote]

Sure…What was it that led you to leave the LDS faith and become Anglican?


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