[quote=BJ Colbert]Thank you for your post, I too have been following these Catholic vs LDS posts for a while and find them to go in circles mostly.
Rightly so, because each of us believes our own religion to be the true religion and nothing said here is going to sway either of us if we truely believe. It is interesting and informative nevertheless to read what others believe, and I have learned a few things about my own religion. I have questions about the Catholic religion that have recently risen and I guess I should really start a thread for that purpose.
I returned from Cuzco, Peru this past Saturday, where I toured the Catholic Cathedral there, Santa Catalina(I believe it is called). It is built over the top of an Inca temple and the gold plate which completely covered the Inca temple, and the solid gold statues and adornments of the Incas were melted down and used to adorn the Catholic church. The statues and all of the wooden carvings, alters etc. in the Cathedral are completely covered in pure gold. There are no books showing the inside of this Cathedral and no photos allowed, because they said the Mafia might come and steal the gold. I wonder about this immense wealth, obviously stolen from the Inca Indians and used in such a way. The Peruvians are extremely poor and would benefit from this gold if the church would melt it down and give it back to the people. I have also toured the Sistine Chapel and the wealth there is unbelievable, why with all of this treasure are Catholic Diocese allowed to go bankrupt, and Catholic people allowed to starve? I do not understand this. My husband is a very devout Catholic and he is disturbed by this also. Is there anyone who can answer my question? I do not mean to be offensive, I just truly wonder why the gold is not returned to the Peruvians and why a Christian church would steal it in the first place?
My my my…where to begin. It’s so ironic to me that this question comes from a member of the CoJCoLDS. The LDS Church (the Church itself, not the members) has more wealth per member than any other major religion in the world. Not only that, it requires a full 10% tithe(as I’m sure you know) from even it’s poorest members if they are to receive all the “blessings” the faith has to offer. Time Magazine did a feature article on the Church in 1997. Here’s one excerpt:
"The top beef ranch in the world is not the King Ranch in Texas. It is the Deseret Cattle & Citrus Ranch outside Orlando, Fla. It covers 312,000 acres; its value as real estate alone is estimated at $858 million. It is owned entirely by the Mormons. The largest producer of nuts in America, AgReserves, Inc., in Salt Lake City, is Mormon-owned. So are the Bonneville International Corp., the country’s 14th largest radio chain, and the Beneficial Life Insurance Co., with assets of $1.6 billion. There are richer churches than the one based in Salt Lake City: Roman Catholic holdings dwarf Mormon wealth. But the Catholic Church has 45 times as many members. There is no major church in the U.S. as active as the Latter-day Saints in economic life, nor, per capita, as successful at it."
The LDS Church has most of it’s money dedicated to making more money. The Catholic Church has most of it’s money dedicated to serving God. I’m not saying that the LDS leaders are trying to enrich themselves. I’m sure their motives are well placed. But, the evidence speaks for itself.
You say "I wonder about this immense wealth, obviously stolen from the Inca Indians and used in such a way."
Obvious to whom? The Church was built in the 17th century. Almost all of the natives were Catholic at that time. Throughout history, men and women of faith have given their best in material goods to God. Is there a better place for gold adornment than in a house where God dwells? These beautiful buildings are monuments dedicated to worshipping God and for God to dwell in. Was there a more beautiful building in ancient Israel than Solomon’s temple? Did Christ condemn the extravagant architecture of the Jewish Temple? No, he drove the moneychangers out of it…he understood it’s value completely.
Should the Vatican give up all it’s historical treasures? Absolutely not. Should we sell everything in the Smithsonian to the highest bidder? No, those items are far more valuable in their meaning and history than they are monetarily. Should we sell the White House and all it’s adornments to feed the poor? No, because we understand the importance of the symbolism. Our President represents our country, he represents an ideal. We want our country to be represented properly and respectfully. Should we do any less for God?
Finally, one could also say that the Mormon Pioneers “stole” most of their land from the Ute, Paiute and Navajo Indians. Why don’t they give back the land they took to help the impoverished Native Americans?