The supposed "Great Apostacy"

Ok. So, I have a question that I’m sure has been asked, but the more I look into it (and the more I read these Cathloic vs Mormon threads), the more I wonder.

When exactly did this Apostacy occur? If it truly occurred after the last apostle died, then theoretically, the Church would have been abandoned by Jesus very soon after He created it. My whole life, in my naïveté, I just assumed this Great Apostacy was a more recent thing.

I just have a hard time believing He would leave His church for so long. Especially since, correct me if I’m wrong, we were told He would not abandon His church.

I’m hearing different theories on it and would like to know the forum’s take on things. Is there anything showing an approximate time of this Apostacy? And if there is, doesn’t it contradict what we read in the bible?

The Apostacy will occur at the end of the age not the beginning. As I understand, there is a period of time when Gentiles would join the Church (the gospel is effective), then there is a period of time when Gentiles leave the Church (the gospel is ineffective). The Apostacy (stand apart from) occurs when the gospel is ineffective at changing lives, when truth becomes personal not divine. When the world focuses on man and what he can do rather than focusing on God and what He can do.

This absolutely makes sense, but growing up, I was taught it had already occurred. Which is why I’m so confused now that I’m finding that most likely is not true.

Edit: I should clarify. The LDS version of the great Apostacy.

You’re on the right track, I believe, and it’s precisely your way of thinking that led me to first lose belief in the Great Apostasy. The Mormon position is entirely untenable for a couple reasons:

  1. The LDS position is that apostasy of entire churches involves the loss of priesthood authority. It isn’t per se the individual turning away from sound teaching or behavior, but an actual loss of the Christ given authority to administer (what Catholics would call) the Sacraments.

For this to have occurred universally, and in such a quick amount of time as you noted, nearly every priesthood holder would’ve had to simultaneously abandoned the priesthood somehow (be it through corruptible sin or improper ordination of successors). Bishops from Rome, to Antioch, to Jerusalem, to Babylon, to India… the whole world over all “losing priesthood authority” within a span of say 100 years. I find it very unlikely that these many men would simultaneously choose such a thing, lest Jesus was in error when he said that the gates of Hades would not prevail against his Church.

  1. Mormons use as evidence of the Great Apostasy the “introduction” of “false teachings” such as infant baptism, the Trinity, the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, etc. If the loss of priesthood authority is the cause of the Apostasy, and these allegedly false teachings are its effects, then the Apostasy necessarily must precede the teachings of such false ideas. In other words, within the Mormon framework you cannot have men with true priesthood authority teaching such things, lest their connection to God through “continuing revelation” be the cause of such teachings and so these teachings couldn’t be deemed “false”!

Given that it’s a matter of historical record that many of these teachings were explicitly taught by Christians so very early on in the history of the Church (and so universally in the Church despite geographical near isolation in many cases), this confines the alleged Great Apostasy to an even smaller, and more abrupt time frame. This brings us right back to the first problem I enumerated: How likely is it that such would occur? Since it’s nearly impossible for a “gradual apostasy”, as so many Mormon apologists would have us believe while speaking out of both sides of their mouths, do you really think that the rank-and-file Christians of the day wouldn’t have noticed the abrupt loss of the priesthood? Would they have not noticed the sudden introduction of false teachings? Would Christ’s sheep no longer recognize their Shepard’s voice?

Then that would put us both in the same boat xpirategrrlx. I also grew up in a church that taught the Apostacy occured historically instantly. It was like the early Church couldn’t wait for the last Apostle to die, so that the rest of the Church could unanimously usher in a broad spectrum of lies. I was also taught that the people who withstood the early teachings of the Church (the ones who are actually heretics) were in fact the ones holding the truth (the heretics were the good guys).

The Apostacy is not the early Catholic Church CHANGING doctrine (which it didn’t it simply defined its position when required against heresay), the Apostacy is LEAVING the Catholic Church, big difference. Jesus Christ will be with the Catholic Church until the end of the age, whether people leave the Church or not.

It took me quite a few years to overcome that false teaching I had been raised with, but it is like a breath of fresh air and a burden lifted once I did.

Gee, that kind of sounds like it’s happening now. At least here in the good ol’ USA… :shrug:

Not just in the good ol’USA, but all of North America and Europe.

Except the LDS church believes that John is still present on the earth and never lost the priesthood, along with the 3 nephites so what exactly were these 4 people doing during the 1800+ years of apostacy? why weren’t they converting people, or keeping alive the sacraments? Or better yet, keep the church afloat.

I completely forgot about them! I always wondered if I’d bump into some misplaced immortal as I was growing up. Lol

By yes, what WERE they doing? Aren’t we told to spread the good word? If they were doing their jobs, maybe there wouldn’t have been a great Apostacy!

Which totally shoots down the answer I got from a Mormon Pamphlet a few years back that said the Apostasy occurred after the last Apostle died…

To me that is the real problem…The fact that not even the Mormons themselves can really “pin down” when this supposed apostasy occurred and this is essential to the whole Mormon structure because…

No Apostasy - no need for restoration…:shrug:

You’d think that since it is so important - they would have if more firmly defined.

Of course - I can see where this would be a non-issue when a Mormon missionary is talking to some protestants as they would already agree that the Catholic Church is Apostate and so wouldn’t question this.
However for Catholics - and for certain other protestants - the supposed “great apostasy” is the place to start any discussion…


The answer of “when” is different depending to whom you talk to.

of course, it is bogus. Forget that Jesus and Mary were seen by people in visions, etc, something that would not have happened if there was an apostasy…

but Mormons believe the Apostle John AND the three nephites were walking the earth…and still are…I guess they believe the Apostle John had no authority, huh?

But even more important…for there to have been an apostasy, Jesus would have to be a liar, weak, AND cruel.

I can never accept that about my Lord…it saddens me that Mormons can

Rather frightening, as it sounds like the very age we are living in!

Frankly, I do not overly concern myself with the end times, as Jesus was specifically unclear about it. This is as it should be, I think, as our job is to focus on proclaiming the Gospel until the end, while keeping an eye on the clouds of heaven. For the 100 or so generations that have claimed Christ and watched for the end times, that end time actually occurred at each individual’s last breath.

I agree! Growing up, I was told I would see the last days, they were upon us and it was seriously implied I may not even have children before it happened. The way they made it sound was, if I was not perfect, I would burn. This is terrifying to a kid!

Now, I understand, He will come when He comes and no one will know until it happens. We just need to do our best in this life so we can return to Him, whether it be in heaven, or during His return.

However if they reason that the Apostle John fell away, it could fit that he lost his authority, but wouldn’t that cause him to be stripped of the benefit to still walk the Earth? If I remember correctly the 4 who still walk the earth were given the privilege for their faithfulness. I think if they lost the authority, that would make them part of the apostasy…

I do believe somewhere in the New Testament there is a prophecy explaining that the
Church which Jesus Christ established would see good times and bad times, though
never anywhere does the Bible suggest a “Great Apostasy.” There is even a promise
given to us by Jesus himself for when he established his Church:And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon
this rock I will build my church, and the gates
of Hell shall not prevail against it.

  • Matthew 16:18
    In order for Joseph Smith to have his religion, he would have to override Christianity
    by saying like “Look, as we can see, Christianity is in shambles, so many religions
    out there, the Bible has failed us, let’s start fresh with a new book (BoM), a new rel-
    igion (Mormonism), another new book (D&C), still another new book (PGP)…,” then
    things kinda got stark crazy.

Can’t speak for Europe, only been there twice for a lay-over en route elsewhere. :slight_smile:

Here’s the problem with the ‘when the last Apostle (ie John circa 100ish AD) died’ timeline: Clement of Rome and the Didache were already on the books (as legit, not heresy).

And then do you think that Ignatius who sat on Jesus’s knee as a kid, who with Euodius was appointed bishop in Antioch is gonna jack up the faith?

So if Ignatius is legit, and Polycarp is legit, and Clement is legit, and the Didache is legit and they are all Catholic in theology…well…then I guess it’s time to swim the Tiber. :wink:

Bingo - It becomes a “catch 22”…


I’ve always wondered why having to walk the earth for 2000 years would be considered a privilege or a blessing. I’d rather be in heaven.

The LDS teaching about John and the 3 Nephites presents a difficulty to claiming that the apostasy occurred but the LDS claim is that it was the church that lost the priesthood, not that John and the 3 Nephites and it was the church that began to change the plain and precious truths of the gospel, not that John and the 3 Nephites did. While John and the 3 Nephites would have had the necessary priesthood authority to restore it to the church or to start another church as Joseph Smith did, they didn’t do so for whatever reason.

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