The Apostasy according to Joseph Smith


#1

In his “First Vision” Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, claims that when he inquired of God which church he should join he was told

" I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof."

According to Smith, God said that the Catholic Church was not the Church of Jesus Christ (since no church existing in 1820 was true). That somewhere in history the Rock of Peter had failed.
Coming from a Catholic experience we can point to documentation through history, including an unbroken succession of Popes, a consistent theology and religious practice which is in harmony if not identical to writings describing the earliest practice of Christians. And yet the claim is made that authentic worship of Christ ceased sometime early in Christian history.

-D


#2

do we really want to start this discussion again? there have been a number of threads discussing this already and there have been no converts on either side. we should not argue just for the sake of argument. discussing things to learn is good, but to just start an argument is not. i am not saying that you are doing that, my point is to let you know that this has been gone over again and again in other threads.


#3

I don’t think it has. I think it has been referenced by both sides, but the key issue has not been discussed in a meanful way as the other issues keep getting thrown in.

-D


#4

Concerning their creeds are an abomination:

As I have pointed out both on the internet and to LDS with whom I interact, I reject your interpretation.

I ask what of “their creeds were an abomination” and what is it that there professors say (or perhaps do) that warrants the label corrupt?

Is it the creedal statement that state that Jesus is divine that is an abomination? Is it the creedal statements that state the Jesus died for our sins an abomination? Is it the creedal statements that state we much believe on his name that are an abomination?

This could not be.

Instead, I suggest that it is the usage of creeds that is an abomination. Christianity has separated, declared folks heretics, and rejected groups of believers based on uninspired professor (ie intellectual) developed creeds. After Arius spoke for the first time at the council of Nicea it was obvious that his position would be rejected. Athanasius and his followers spent much time defining a creedal confession that could forever close the door on Arius. Eusebius proposed some ideas including a purely scripture based declaration, but these were rejected when it was determined that they left room for full-Arianism. Creeds have been written as non-scripture for the purpose of rejecting the heretic and better defining the orthodoxy. This is not the way of the CoJCoLDS (generally we have on a few occasions sunk to this practice). The CoJCoLDS has 13 articles of faith that are effectively a creed, but we believe they are God-breathed and are not the professions of the intellectuals.

To me the above is the only way to interpret those scriptures. My interpretation is not LDS doctrine. To my knowledge there is no modern statements nor binding doctrinal statements that preclude what I have inferred. This means that I am free to believe this. I am also passionate enough about this that I share it with LDS who have no interest in the finer points of anti-Mormonism.

The apostasy spoken of by LDS is an apostasy of authority. It is not as a Catholic would define the term. There are some things that a LDS would suggest are heretical developments, but it is apostasy the apostasy of authority that is complete.

Here is one of my favorite Joseph Smith quotes to back up much of the above.

Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Six 1843–44, p.313:[font=Arial][/font]

If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way. Do you believe in Jesus Christ and the Gospel of salvation which he revealed? So do I. Christians should cease wrangling and contending with each other, and cultivate the principles of union and friendship in their midst; and they will do it before the millennium can be ushered in and Christ takes possession of His kingdom.[font=Arial][/font]

Charity, TOm


#5

If you like, later I can put together a list of ways that I see an apostasy. You can choose which you would like to discuss.

Charity, TOm


#6

TOm,

You’ve convinced me of something I knew all along. That the testimony of a New York sales man is true. That, in spite of the complete lack of evidence, all the contradictions, Joseph Smith’s proven forgery of the BOM, and his adultary, moromonism is truth. Even if it contradicts reason, it is true. Even without historical veracity, I still believe. How could a church who resides in Salt Lake City Utah be wrong? I always knew caffine and dark-skin was evil. Thank you for showing me the light.

And I use to think that the Moonies were right - what was I thinking!


#7

[font=Times New Roman][size=3]As I have pointed out both on the internet and to LDS with whom I interact, I reject your interpretation.

[/size][/font]

That makes no sense to me. What are you trying to say there? There is very little resemblance between the Catholic and LDS churches. To claim that only authority vansihed presumes the pratice and teaching remained in tact. This can not be so.

The entire LDS doctrine hinges on the idea that the true church of Jesus Christ disappeared in a “Great Apostasy”. If you like I can find numerous citations attesting to the fact that the LDS church believes it is the one true church of Jesus Christ restored in these Later Days.

The temple ceremony for one, both the old version and the new “movie” version are explicit in this teaching.

But for the LDS claim to be true then it would have to be shown where the apostasy occurred and when. Please… supply your list.

-D


#8

Sorry, the part you quoted was not intended to be part of my message.

Apostasy in authority and heresy in beliefs. I did say there were developments that I consider to be heretical.

Charity, TOm


#9

TOm’s Apostasy Paradigm:

I believe Peter was given authority to lead the entire church on earth and receive revelation for the entire church on earth. This authority could have been passed on were things to be different, but it was not passed on. What was passed on was the authority held by all the apostles (not for revelation or inspired writing of scripture), but for binding and loosing of ones limited flock as their Bishop. One should follow the Bishops who where established and who seemed to have the authority to appoint their successors who should also be followed.

At a very early stage certainly before the end of the 1st century, conflict began to develop among those who claimed to be Christians (this actually happened during the Apostles lifetime too). Letters where sent, extortions where made, and people where told to follow their Bishops. These efforts did not prevent large heretical teachings to develop. By the end of the 2nd century treatises on avoiding heresy where written; continued efforts where employed to argue one position over another; but with no definitive authority to point to, the situation was quite difficult (whose Spiritual promptings where true? – sounds like a common problem).

At this point in time (last quarter of 2nd century or first few years of 3rd) the concept that the Bishop of Rome was the head of the church developed. It had been generally true that the Roman Church and its Bishop where strong faithful Christians. At times they were afforded great respect. But prior to this nobody pointed to the Primacy of Rome as a product of the Primacy of Peter, and that they had authority to decide in matters of faith. As a product of arguments focused on the Primacy of Peter (perhaps), probably obvious righteousness generally contained in the Roman Church, and likely some political maneuverings; over the next many years (even centuries) the Roman Pontiff emerged as the leader of all Christians.

This is a problem because it was not an authority passed down from Peter. Instead of protecting the totality of the faith as was certainly intended by some pious men, this resulted effectively in the same thing the Apostles and God intended from the point they decided not to pass on Peter’s authority. That is that the basics of Christianity, the Bible, and the witness of Jesus Christ would be maintained on the Earth. The stage would be set for a future Restoration. God’s plan was not be frustrated even when the Catholic Church claimed authority it did not have.

The Reformation occurred and set the stage for the creation of a country where the Restoration could occur. In 1830 the Restoration occurred/began. The lesser authority was (and is? ***) passed down among Catholic Christians, but the Restoration returned the authority of Peter to the earth such that the Prophet = Peter, leaving the lesser authority in the same place Caiphus was when Jesus gave Peter the authority.

*** I would say the acceptance of the Baptism of heretics (St. Cyprian vs. St Pope Stephen) resulted in numerous non-authoritative baptisms. Since I believe that Baptism requires an authority (although a lesser authority than confirmation), this would result in many folks without valid baptism and consequently without valid Holy Orders.

More to follow.

Charity, TOm


#10

Why did this happen?

It is a combination of two things.

  1.  It was part of God’s plan.
    

Christ the fulfillment of the old testament was crucified and then resurrected.

The church or “Bride of Christ” that replaced the Old Testament Jewish Church was to be crucified and then resurrected. (Note: Pacumeni is writing a book on this. He has some interesting ideas that may or may not fit exactly with what I have put together here.

  1.  The times dictated it would happen.  
    

Just as hinted to above, the Restoration came forth at exactly the time and place God intended for it to come forth. In a country that had a constitution that protected the personal expression of religion, the restored church was brutally persecuted. Were the restoration to have occurred in a less free country, the divine intervention required to sustain it, while not an impossibility, would have created wonders that were not in accordance with Gods plan.

The perfect time and place for the Restoration was similarly in its perfection to the perfection of the time for Christ’s coming. The millennial time was perfect for the Birth of Christ, the Birth of his Bride, the Death of Chirst, the Resurrection of Christ, and the Death of his Bride (but the survival of his record).

This time was unique in all of history (just as the Restoration time was unique). God became man and mankind killed their God. This in itself makes for a unique time.

Without Pax Romanus, the Apostles would not have been able to roam the world teaching of Christ (it wasn’t safe for them then, but previous and subsequent times have enjoyed much greater boarder disputes). This huge Jerusalem thing might not have made it out to the world (God could do all, but he usually does it through willing and sometimes unknowing humans who are part of his divine plan).

The initial persecution of the church by the Jews was harsh. The rule imposed by the Romans probably afforded the Christians with a little protection (remember capital punishment was reserved for the Roman government).

The ultimate acceptance of Christianity by the Roman Emperor protected the Bible and Christianity effectively forever. This is a divinely chosen time.

One could either argue that this perfect time had a side effect associated with the Apostasy or as I would say this perfect time included the perfect time for an Apostasy also.

Persecution of Christians was intense. Christians died, Christians denied, and Christians sat silently rather than teaching the glorious truth. Converts where had, but sometimes at the cost of perverting the gospel. And without the advances of modern communications, it was easy for gospel truths to drift. All these things lead to the apostasy. It was all part of the perfect time and place.

List to follow.

Charity, TOm


#11

What evidence exists to support the above scenario?

[list]
*]The first Bishops, Clement (the 4th Bishop of Rome) included, had no concept of the primacy of Rome.
*]The primacy of Rome was put forward around 200AD and Tertulian left the church.
*]The authority initially proposed in 200AD solidified into an authority fundamentally different than the authority possessed by the person pointed to as the source of the authority. Peter unequal to Pope.
*]The early Christians who where truly close to the Apostles knew the church was to become less than what the Apostles established. They were taught that one could die as a devout Christian or one could wait around until the gospel was perverted and die as part of a lesser organization. (Martyrdom was not necessarily required, but it seems to have been important to some).
[/list]

The above 4 things are apostasy as evidenced by history. There are also apostasy as evidenced by the restoration.

[list]
*]There is evidence that a number of early church beliefs were restored by the CoJCoLDS.
[list]
*]Authoritative Baptism
*]Men may become gods
*]Creation from eternal matter.
*]Subordination within the Trinity.
*]Anthropomorphic God
*]And ….
[/list]
*]Non-doctrinal restoration miracles also lend to the thought that there was an apostasy.
[/list]

I can elaborate upon some of the above it is interesting to you. I do not think that I will PROVE there was an apostasy, but BIASED as I am, I do see good reason to see an apostasy in history both ancient and recent.

Charity, TOm


#12

Ah, the “gospel” of Joseph Smith according to TOm.

Don’t take Joseph Smith at his own word – take TOm’s word for what Smith REALLY meant.

What changes did Joseph Smith Jun. make to the KJV to “correct” it to make it agree with his new religion? Has an analysis of the “corrections” and restoration of the “omissions and deletions” that allegedly occurred in the KJV been made, and is it available? Is it for sale in LDS bookstores? (The “corrected” KJV is there, but are the changes Smith made documented?) Do any of the “corrections” or “restored deletions and omissions” pertain to Smith’s claim of the “great apostasy”?

If Jesus Christ couldn’t get it right and make it stick and His Church fell into apostasy shortly after it was born, and Jesus Christ was God, why would I think a 19th century church founded by Joseph Smith Jun. got it right? **Actually, the LDS church “fell into apostasy” while Joseph Smith was in the process of inventing it. Go ahead, prove me wrong. **

If I were not convinced of the Absolute Truth of the Catholic Faith, I would never be a Protestant or a Mormon – I’d be a Jew.

Judaism and Catholicism are God-made. Protestantism and Mormonism are man-made.

Ave Cor Mariae, Jay


#13

[quote=Katholikos]Ah, the “gospel” of Joseph Smith according to TOm.

Don’t take Joseph Smith at his own word – take TOm’s word for what Smith REALLY meant.

What changes did Joseph Smith Jun. make to the KJV to “correct” it to make it agree with his new religion? Has an analysis of the “corrections” and restoration of the “omissions and deletions” that allegedly occurred in the KJV been made, and is it available? Is it for sale in LDS bookstores? (The “corrected” KJV is there, but are the changes Smith made documented?) Do any of the “corrections” or “restored deletions and omissions” pertain to Smith’s claim of the “great apostasy”?

If Jesus Christ couldn’t get it right and make it stick and His Church fell into apostasy shortly after it was born, and Jesus Christ was God, why would I think a 19th century church founded by Joseph Smith Jun. got it right? **Actually, the LDS church “fell into apostasy” while Joseph Smith was in the process of inventing it. Go ahead, prove me wrong. **

If I were not convinced of the Absolute Truth of the Catholic Faith, I would never be a Protestant or a Mormon – I’d be a Jew.

Judaism and Catholicism are God-made. Protestantism and Mormonism are man-made.

Ave Cor Mariae, Jay
[/quote]

Katholikos,

This thread is about the apostasy. I have found that Catholics frequently think that those who are apostate have lost all belief in Christ. And that those who still believe in Christ, but have incorrect views are actually heretical. I also quoted from Joseph Smith to back up my ideas.

That being said, this thread is about the apostasy and perhaps it would be best to address what I said or post on another thread. First you seem to be mocking me with your “take TOm’s word for it.” I am not sure how a possible apostasy of the CoJCoLDS has bearing upon the apostasy of the Catholic Church.

Concerning the “translations” of the KJV of the Bible, I do not think that we can say that this is necessarily a product of the apostasy. The JST footnotes for the Bible are not LDS scripture. We use the KJV and just reference the JST for whatever reasons. I have only on one occasion referenced the JST during apologetic discussions and my point was, “Can’t you see this in … and isn’t it even more clear with the JST?” Anyway, I do not expect anyone to see in the JST evidence for the apostasy so I do not rely on this.

Charity, TOm


#14

Ok… I am not going to deal with the “history” that you tried to set forth in the first post.

But as to your four points.

You really need to read the articles at Catholic.com about
Peter and the papacy. You have some very mistaken ideas.

Tertullian did not leave the church over The primacy of Rome

Would you care to cite evidence for either your 3rd or 4th point?

-D


#15

The “restoration” can not in an of itself be evidence of an apostasy. So those points are useless unless you can show that they were practiced by early Christians.


#16

[quote=darcee]Ok… I am not going to deal with the “history” that you tried to set forth in the first post.
[/quote]

But as to your four points.

You really need to read the articles at Catholic.com about

Peter and the papacy. You have some very mistaken ideas.

Tertullian did not leave the church over The primacy of Rome

Would you care to cite evidence for either your 3rd or 4th point?

-D

I have read that essay and a number of others at Catholic.com. I also read one of the main source books for that essay

Jesus, Peter & the Keys Scott Butler, Norman Dahlgren, and Rev. Mr. David Hess

The issues I bring up have nothing to do with the primacy of Peter. They revolve around the primacy of the Bishop of Rome. Did you know that the Bishop of Rome was not the only Bishop who is tied to Peter?

Did you know that nobody spoke of the primacy of Rome until Irenaeus at the end of the second century? And but a few years after this Tertullian said that this primacy was a usurpation.

Your essay, the one titled Peter and the Papacy, addresses a point I clearly agreed upon which is the primacy of Peter.

My ideas are not mistaken in any way. They are just not Catholic. Suggest a point that you do not think I can defend and I will defend it.

I will develop the third point later on tonight if you would like or I will develop the fourth or others. But the first are equally defendable. The first Bishops made many statements that indicated that they had no clue that the Bishop of Rome was an authority church wide. And Irenaeus was the first to suggest that the Bishop of Rome was prime (even though a number of Protestant scholars try to excuse his statements as not saying this). A few years latter Tertullian said that this was a usurpation (or something like this).

That Tertullian latter left the faith is true. That he was less embracive of forgiveness than I think Christians should be is also true. But Tertullian was a contemporary witness to what I say happened who at the time was still a member of the church and had not become a Montanist.

[quote=darcee]The “restoration” can not in an of itself be evidence of an apostasy. So those points are useless unless you can show that they were practiced by early Christians.
[/quote]

If I could not have shown evidence of the doctrines I spoke of I would not have mentioned them.

Charity, TOm


#17

Don’t just say you can do something. If you have sources show them.

-D


#18

When I was a Protestant, Mormonism was a hot topic to discuss because we all knew the Mormons were just clueless about certain scriptural passages. But all of that rested on our own interpretation of these passages, versus their interpretation. There was no real traction against them since we were using, as our foundation, the bible and our own interpretation. This is probably the most frustrating thing about being a Protestant believer is that our witness depends on our ability to convince others that our interpretation is correct.

But as a Catholic our witness is strengthened by centuries of apostolic teaching intertwined with scripture. It is a very powerful combination that in my view easily refutes Mormonism cold.


#19

The authority initially proposed in 200AD solidified into an authority fundamentally different that the authority possessed by the person pointed to as the source of the authority. Peter unequal to Pope.

For this it is important to examine a defining moment in Peter’s period as the head of the church and compare this to the authority claimed by the Pope.

In Acts 10 and the follow on Council of Jerusalem, Peter guided by the Holy Spirit, expands the gospel to the Gentiles. This is a radical departure from tradition. For 1000’s of years the Jews have been the Lord’s chosen people. Now Peter has changed this. Peter is behaving like an old testament prophet would behave. Through Moses came the 10 Commandments and many other beliefs. Through Peter came the gospel to the Gentiles.

Peter received a vision. He received supernatural public revelation that changed the status of the gospel and gentiles, and he put it in effect for the Church of Christ. The Pope does not receive supernatural revelation and he does not introduce something new to the deposit of faith.

More on the Pope shortly.
Charity, TOm


#20

What authority does the Pope claim? The Pope claims that when he DEFINES Dogma from the chair of Peter, concerning faith and morals, AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH TRADITION, he is infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit. To be in accordance with Tradition was not a restriction placed on Peter. Here are some evidences for this restriction on the Pope.

First Vatican Council, Session 4, Chapter 4:

The Roman Pontiffs moreover, according as the condition of the times and affairs advised, sometimes by calling ecumenical councils; sometimes by particular synods, sometimes by employing other helps which divine Providence supplied, have defined that those matters must be held which with God’s help they have recognized as in agreement with Sacred Scripture and apostolic tradition.

He is defining and he is doing so in agreement with tradition handed down from the apostles.

First Vatican Council, Session 4, Chapter 4 (continued from above):

For, the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that by His revelation they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the apostles and the deposit of faith, and might faithfully set it forth. Indeed, all the venerable fathers have embraced their apostolic doctrine, and the holy orthodox Doctors have venerated and followed it, knowing full well that the See of St. Peter always remains unimpaired by any error, according to the divine promise of our Lord the Savior made to the chief of His disciples: “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren” [Luke 22:32].

NO NEW DOCTRINE to be put forth by the Pope.

Continued…


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