Who is this talk designed for? What are its goals?
Charity for Mormon missionaries, family members, friends and neighbors
My experience with Mormons Different Scriptures Different Theology Same Terms, Different Meanings Modern Day “Tower of Babel”
Mormon Background Information
Mormon Great Apostasy “In the spring of 1820, a 14-year-old boy named Joseph Smith went into a grove of trees near his home in Palmyra, New York, and prayed to learn which church he should join. In answer to his prayer, God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to him, just as heavenly beings had appeared to prophets like Moses and Paul in biblical times. Joseph learned that the Church originally organized by Jesus Christ was no longer on the earth.”
Mormon Restoration “Joseph Smith was chosen by God to restore the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth. During the next 10 years, Joseph was visited by other heavenly messengers, translated the Book of Mormon, and received authority to organize the Church. The Church was organized in Fayette, New York, on 6 April 1830, under the leadership of Joseph Smith.”
Effects of the Mormon Apostasy and Restoration
Because of the Apostasy and Restoration Different Scriptures Different Theology Same Terms, Different Meanings Modern Day “Tower of Babel”
A Catholic Response to Mormonism Evangelization Four Step Plan
Step One Focus the discussion on the Great Apostasy
“The significance and importance of the ‘great apostasy’, as a condition precedent to the re- establishment of the Church in modern times, is obvious. If the alleged apostasy of the primitive Church was not a reality, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not the divine institution its name proclaims.” Why? James E. Talmage, The Great Apostasy, Preface
The thesis of my presentation is “If the alleged apostasy of the primitive Church was not a reality, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not the divine institution its name proclaims.” No Apostasy = No Mormonism James E. Talmage, The Great Apostasy, Preface
You may ask, “What is the Great Apostasy?” Apostasy - a renunciation or abandonment of a former loyalty (as to a religion). In search of…
Our search for the Great Apostasy will include
How to focus the discussion “My understanding is…. Can we agree to talk about the Great Apostasy?” No agreement, no dialog!
Summary Step One Focus the discussion on the Great Apostasy
Benefits of Step One Clearly defined objective Eliminates part of the Tower of Babel
Step Two Remove Mormon literature and teachings (Mormonism) from the discussion
Explore the Question Was there a Great Apostasy?
Ask, “Does this make sense?”, “Right?”, etc. No Mormon ChurchNo Book of Mormon Great Apostasy? Restoration NeededYes No No RestorationNo Joseph Smith No RestorationNo Joseph Smith No Book of Mormon
Final check in: “Does this make sense?” If yes, then you are ready to move on If no, start over again
Until the Great Apostasy can be proven, Mormon literature and teachings cannot be used to prove the Great Apostasy What follows from this?
Was there a Great Apostasy? No Mormon ChurchNo Book of Mormon Great Apostasy? Restoration NeededYes No No RestorationNo Joseph Smith No RestorationNo Joseph Smith No Book of Mormon
No Mormon Church No Book of Mormon Great Apostasy? Restoration NeededYes NoNo Restoration No Joseph SmithNo Restoration No Joseph Smith No Book of Mormon S u s p ec t Backwards Thinking
Get the Mormon to agree that Mormon literature and teachings are not relevant to the discussion and will be left out of the discussion from now on
Mormon Reactions Challenge – Go over the chart again Agreement (sometimes skeptical) Tirade
Summary Step Two Remove Mormon Literature from the discussion
Do not allow Mormon literature back into the discussion
Benefits of Step Two You do not need to have knowledge of Mormon literature or beliefs Eliminates another aspect of the Tower of Babel by eliminating Mormonism from the discussion
Step Three Remove Sacred Scripture From the Discussion
Three Causes of the Great Apostasy 1 - Death of the Apostles 2 - Biblical Prophecies 3 - Problems with the Faithful
Cause # 1 The death of the apostles caused the Great Apostasy What does the New Testament tell us about the lives and deaths of the Apostles?
Judas dies (Matthew 27) - 11 Apostles Jesus calls 12 Apostles (Matthew 10) Matthias called (Acts 1) - 12 Apostles Paul called (Acts 9) - 13 Apostles James martyred (Acts 12) - 12 Apostles
Conclusion #1 Twelve Apostles are alive according to the New Testament Scripture does not provide any evidence of a Great Apostasy resulting from the death of the Apostles!
Cause #2 Biblical Prophecies
Mormons appeal to Old Testament prophecies about a “Great Apostasy”
Isaiah 24:3-5 Where is it fulfilled? The earth shall be utterly laid waste and utterly despoiled; for the LORD has spoken this word. The earth mourns and withers, the world languishes and withers; the heavens languish together with the earth. The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant.
Example of Scriptural Fulfillment Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel. Matthew 1:22-23 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Mormons also appeal to New Testament prophecies about a “Great Apostasy” Ask for Scriptural Fulfillment
2 Timothy 4:3-4 Where is it fulfilled? For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.
The Book of Revelation is full of prophecies that have not been fulfilled
Prophecies are statements about future events. They are not proof of anything happening. Where in the Scriptures are the prophecies fulfilled?
Conclusion #2 There is no Biblical evidence of the Great Apostasy actually happening
Cause #3 Problems with the Faithful
False Teachings / Teachers From which [the faith] some, having swerved, have turned aside into vain discussion; desiring to be teachers of the Law; understanding neither what they say, nor what they affirm. 1 Timothy 1:6-7 (Past tense) For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 (Future tense)
Immorality Google Search = 4
What did the Christians do that was so bad?
Falling Away From the Faith
Conclusion # 3 Problems with the faithful did not cause the Great Apostasy
Is there Scriptural evidence of the Great Apostasy actually happening? There is NO Scriptural evidence of the Great Apostasy actually happening!
Summary - Step Three Remove Sacred Scripture from the Discussion
Do not allow Sacred Scripture back into the discussion
Benefits of Step Three You do not need to be a Biblical expert You have eliminated the “Scripture-slinging contest” and personal interpretation
Step Four Stick to the historicity of the Great Apostasy
2,000 years is a lot of history Narrow the scope of the search using the Council of Nicaea as an end point Mormons sources would lead one to conclude that Great Apostasy happened at or before the Council of Nicaea, 325 AD
Notwithstanding the numerous New Testament witnesses of the Savior as a resurrected being following his crucifixion (see, for example, Luke 24:36-48), there still persists the fallacious doctrine formulated at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325 that God the Father, his Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three personages of spirit—three personages in one. Spencer J. Condie, “The Fall and Infinite Atonement,” Ensign (Jan 1996): 22.
Gordon B. Hinckley, “What Are People Asking about Us?” Ensign (Nov 1998) 70. “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost” (A of F 1:1). This first article of faith epitomizes our doctrine. We do not accept the Athanasian Creed. We do not accept the Nicene Creed, nor any other creed based on tradition and the conclusions of men.
The Great Apostasy must have occurred on or before 325 So anything after 325 is irrelevant: The Crusades (1000) The Western Schism (1400) The Spanish Inquisition (1400) The Protestant Reformation (1500) The Priest Scandal (2000)
Apostolic Succession Peter (33-67) Linus (67-76) Anacletus (Cletus) (76-88) Clement I (88-97) Evaristus (97-105) Alexander I ( ) Sixtus I ( ) Telesphorus ( ) Hyginus ( ) Pius I ( ) Anicetus ( ) Soter ( ) Eleutherius ( ) Victor I ( ) Zephyrinus ( ) Callitstus I ( ) Urban I (222-30) Pontain (230-35) Anterus (235-36) Fabian (236-50) Cornelius (251-53) Lucius I (253-54) Stephen I ( ) Sixtus II ( ) Dionysius ( ) Felix I ( ) Eutychian ( ) Caius ( ) Marcellinus ( ) Marcellus I ( ) Eusebius (309 or 310) Militiades (311-14) Sylvester I (314-35)
Where does it break down? Peter (33-67) Linus (67-76) Anacletus (Cletus) (76-88) Clement I (88-97) Evaristus (97-105) Alexander I ( ) Sixtus I ( ) Telesphorus ( ) Hyginus ( ) Pius I ( ) Anicetus ( ) Soter ( ) Eleutherius ( ) Victor I ( ) Zephyrinus ( ) Callitstus I ( ) Urban I (222-30) Pontain (230-35) Anterus (235-36) Fabian (236-50) Cornelius (251-53) Lucius I (253-54) Stephen I ( ) Sixtus II ( ) Dionysius ( ) Felix I ( ) Eutychian ( ) Caius ( ) Marcellinus ( ) Marcellus I ( ) Eusebius (309 or 310) Militiades (311-14) Sylvester I (314-35)
Mormonism is not the rule of thumb Backwards Thinking Lost or invented? Vice Versa. Infant Baptism Mormons believe Early Church believes
No Mormon Church No Book of Mormon Great Apostasy Restoration NeededYes NoNo Restoration No Joseph SmithNo Restoration No Joseph Smith No Book of Mormon S u s p ec t Backwards Thinking
Where is “The Smoking Gun?” Where are the historical records that ask: –Where are the apostles? –Where are our prophets? “The writings were destroyed!” We have the writings of Gnosticism, Ophitism, Adoptionism, Sabellianism, Monarchism, Montanism, Arianism, etc.
Questions about historical “proof” How does this prove the Great Apostasy? What is the source?
Summary Step Four Stick to the historicity of the Great Apostasy
Benefits of Step Four Levels the “playing field” Tower of Babel is almost completely eliminated and now true dialog may occur Clears the ecclesiastical “smoke”
Odds and Ends
Why do Mormons accept the Bible? Scriptures written btwn 40 and 110 Council of Nicea 325 Councils of Hippo 393 and Carthage 397 King James Bible 1611 and 1885
Can you prove the Trinity? Theological Belief vs. Historical Event
Can you prove the Resurrection? Extra-Biblical historical evidence for the life and events of Jesus Christ’s life, and the “movement” he left behind
Appeal to Catholic Teachings If there was a Great Apostasy, then the Mormon Church may be the true church of Jesus Christ. This would mean that the Roman Catholic pope is a false leader and the Roman Catholic Church is not the divine institution it claims to be.
The Great Apostasy was a process and not an event Example - building of a house.
The Mormon “Golden Parachute” Sharing of his/her testimony 9/11/2001 I believe the Mormon believes his/her testimony is true. I, however, do not believe what s/he is testifying to is true.
Should I read the Book of Mormon?
Accusations of Anti-Mormonism I have not said anything negative about: Joseph Smith Book of Mormon Mormon Church and her teachings
Why is it important to dialog with Mormons? Mormons are not Christians ~ 60,000 Missionaries Worldwide Mormons do not have the sacraments
Pop Quiz - 4 Step Plan 1. Focus discussion on the Great Apostasy 2. Remove Mormon Literature 3. Remove Sacred Scripture 4.Stick to the historicity of the Great Apostasy
BE CAREFUL !!! You are dealing with friends and neighbors Your job may be just to plant a seed Jesus is the Savior of the world
Br. Jerome Cudden, OP St Albert Priory 5890 Birch Court Oakland, CA Contact Information
A Catholic Response To Br. Jerome Cudden, O.P. Mormon Evangelization