30 August, 2009

Discussion with "St Alan servant of Jesus" about justification

(St Alan servant of Jesus) At the very moment the Roman Catholic Church condemned the biblical doctrine of Justification by faith alone, the Roman Catholic Church ceased to be a legitimate church by denying the gospel.

(Cristoiglesia) You are starting from a false premise which is what leads you to false conclusions. Justification by faith alone is not a biblical doctrine and denying the veracity of faith alone is not denying the Gospel but instead defending the Gospel against false teachers. The Catholic Church does not deny the Gospel but instead we spread the Gospel of our Lord throughout the world.

Jas 2:24 Do you see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only?

(St Alan servant of Jesus) Martin Luther declared that justification by faith alone is the article upon which the church stands or falls.

I think I know from what writing you are paraphrasing but it would be helpful to provide a link so that we can see all of what Luther wrote in context. Many people who quote Luther out of context do not know the entirety of his teaching on justification. Although his interpretation and conclusion was wrong in regards to justification he was certainly not as great a heretic on this issue as some suggest.

Some conclude from the teaching of Luther on Sola Fide that all that is required for justification is a one time intellectual assent of faith but Luther himself denied this from his Large Catechism:

"But our know-it-alls, the new spirit people, claim that faith alone saves and that human works and outward forms contribute nothing to this. We answer: It is of course true that nothing in us does it except faith, as we shall hear later. But these blind leaders of the blind refuse to see that faith must have something in which it believes, that is, something it clings to, something on which to plant its feet and into which to sink its roots. Thus faith clings to the water and believes Baptism to be something in which there is pure salvation and life, not through the water, as I have emphasized often enough, but because God’s name is joined to it.... If follows from this that whoever rejects Baptism rejects God’s word, faith, and the Christ who directs us to Baptism and binds us to it (1978, pp. 101-102).

[I] affirm that Baptism is no human trifle, but that it was established by God Himself. Moreover, He earnestly and solemnly commanded that we must be baptized or we shall not be saved. No one is to think that it is an optional matter like putting on a red coat. It is of greatest importance that we hold Baptism in high esteem as something splendid and glorious. The reason why we are striving and battling so strenuously for this view of Baptism is that the world nowadays is full of sects that loudly proclaim that Baptism is merely an external form and that external forms are useless.... Although Baptism is indeed performed by human hands, yet it is truly God’s own action (1978, pp. 98-99)."

(St. Alan servant of Jesus)

1. Justification is an act of God whereby He declares unjust sinners to be just after He has imputed to then the righteousness of Christ.

(Cristoiglesia) It seems as if you are saying that initial salvation does not create a real change in a person’s soul with sanctifying grace but instead ones sinfulness remains and is covered by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness so that one’s filthy, depraved soul can be smuggled into heaven regardless of its state of true sanctification. It seems that you believe it to be a legal act instead of a true cleansing of the soul through the eradication of sin and a disguise to enter heaven. The Catholic view is that the soul is renewed to its pre-fall state and is pleasing to God in its purity and goodness. Justification takes away sin and does not cover sin:

Joh 1:29 The next day, John saw Jesus coming to him; and he saith: Behold the Lamb of God. Behold him who taketh away the sin of the world.

The covering of sin from a scriptural standpoint only applies when we forgive another’s sin because only God can truly forgive sinfulness

(St. Alan servant of God)

2. No one can earn justification by good works.


From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1993 Justification establishes cooperation between God's grace and man's freedom. On man's part it is expressed by the assent of faith to the Word of God, which invites him to conversion, and in the cooperation of charity with the prompting of the Holy Spirit who precedes and preserves his assent:

(St. Alan servant of Jesus)

3. Faith is the necessary condition to receive the imputation of the merits of Christ.

(Cristoiglesia) From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1994 Justification is the most excellent work of God's love made manifest in Christ Jesus and granted by the Holy Spirit. It is the opinion of St. Augustine that "the justification of the wicked is a greater work than the creation of heaven and earth," because "heaven and earth will pass away but the salvation and justification of the elect . . . will not pass away.

"43 He holds also that the justification of sinners surpasses the creation of the angels in justice, in that it bears witness to a greater mercy.

1995 The Holy Spirit is the master of the interior life. By giving birth to the "inner man,"44 justification entails the sanctification of his whole being:
Just as you once yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification. . . . But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life.45

(St. Alan servant of Jesus)

4. Justification requires a living and real faith, not a mere profession of faith.

(Cristoiglesia) What does this statement mean to you? If it means that we will cooperate with the Holy Spirit to do God’s will as a result of our regenerated souls being more inclined to respond to the law written on our hearts then I would agree. Here is what the Catechism says:

2001 The preparation of man for the reception of grace is already a work of grace. This latter is needed to arouse and sustain our collaboration in justification through faith, and in sanctification through charity. God brings to completion in us what he has begun, "since he who completes his work by cooperating with our will began by working so that we might will it:"
Indeed we also work, but we are only collaborating with God who works, for his mercy has gone before us. It has gone before us so that we may be healed, and follows us so that once healed, we may be given life; it goes before us so that we may be called, and follows us so that we may be glorified; it goes before us so that we may live devoutly, and follows us so that we may always live with God: for without him we can do nothing.51

2002 God's free initiative demands man's free response, for God has created man in his image by conferring on him, along with freedom, the power to know him and love him. The soul only enters freely into the communion of love. God immediately touches and directly moves the heart of man. He has placed in man a longing for truth and goodness that only he can satisfy. The promises of "eternal life" respond, beyond all hope, to this desire:

If at the end of your very good works . . ., you rested on the seventh day, it was to foretell by the voice of your book that at the end of our works, which are indeed "very good" since you have given them to us, we shall also rest in you on the sabbath of eternal life.52

2003 Grace is first and foremost the gift of the Spirit who justifies and sanctifies us. But grace also includes the gifts that the Spirit grants us to associate us with his work, to enable us to collaborate in the salvation of others and in the growth of the Body of Christ, the Church. There are sacramental graces, gifts proper to the different sacraments. There are furthermore special graces, also called charisms after the Greek term used by St. Paul and meaning "favor," "gratuitous gift," "benefit."53 Whatever their character - sometimes it is extraordinary, such as the gift of miracles or of tongues - charisms are oriented toward sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. They are at the service of charity which builds up the Church.54

2004 Among the special graces ought to be mentioned the graces of state that accompany the exercise of the responsibilities of the Christian life and of the ministries within the Church:

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.55

2005 Since it belongs to the supernatural order, grace escapes our experience and cannot be known except by faith. We cannot therefore rely on our feelings or our works to conclude that we are justified and saved.56 However, according to the Lord's words "Thus you will know them by their fruits"57 - reflection on God's blessings in our life and in the lives of the saints offers us a guarantee that grace is at work in us and spurs us on to an ever greater faith and an attitude of trustful poverty.

!A pleasing illustration of this attitude is found in the reply of St. Joan of Arc to a question posed as a trap by her ecclesiastical judges: "Asked if she knew that she was in God's grace, she replied: 'If I am not, may it please God to put me in it; if I am, may it please God to keep me there.'"58

God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

28 August, 2009

Final discussion with Laurel W about mormon claims of being the true church after Christ's Church fell into apostasy

(Laurel W) OK, once more Christ never said that about the Catholic Church. The term "Catholic" never even showed up until around 100 A.D. So you are very much extrapolating what he said, hoping that it was talking about the Catholic Church when it really was not. Along those lines, the rock that Christ said he'd build his church on is the rock of revelation, which is indeed how Peter got his answer about who our Savior was.

(Cristoiglesia) The Church established by Jesus and the apostles was first called Catholic by St. Ignatius of Antioch. He was the disciple of St. John and St. Peter. He was the third bishop of Antioch with St. Peter being the first. St. Ignatius was ordained to his bishopric by St. Peter himself. There was no other Church for this first century. In fact there would not be another Church calling themselves Christian for another 1400 years. How could he have been speaking of another Church when there was no other. As I have asked you many times if there was to identify it and you have been silent in our several discussions and unable to support your claim. Certainly Simon was the “rock” Jesus spoke of as he described all of the disciples as foundation stones. No house built on sand here as you and your sect proclaims.

(Laurel W) And again, there is very much proof even within the Catholic Church itself, and how far away it is from the church that Christ set up.

So with the pockets . . . I doubt there was any priesthood authority after the last apostle was killed, and so in that sense the apostasy had already happened when that occurred. However, I believe there were several groups or individuals who remained close to the truth. Indeed, every religion has some form of the truth even today, just not the fullness of it.

(Cristoiglesia) Where is this proof? If there was I am sure that you would produce it but you remain only accusatory without substance. Are you afraid of your sect being exposed as a fraud for its false teaching? It appears as such.

Jesus did not found an enduring Church that would be left without leadership or authority after the disciples died. That would hardly be establishing a Church on a strong and enduring foundation. So, in a real sense your sect supposes Jesus to be an incompetent builder with a foundation of sand. If there were these groups or individuals with the truth who were they and what makes you think that there were? The truth is this is just prejudicial speculation designed to support your heretical views. Jesus promised that His Church would have the fullness of truth and the Bible states about His Church that it is the “pillar and foundation of the truth.”

(Laurel W) So with the Council of Nicaea, the doctrines of the Catholic church were established. Those who disagreed were cast out. So many of the ordinary truths, which were plain and simple to understand, were lost then.

(Cristoiglesia) No, you are starting with a false premise that cannot be supported. The doctrine of the Trinity was not established at Nicaea but instead they were confirmed against heresy. The heretics were asked to recant or be found in anathema. They refused and suffered the fate of all heretics and were removed from leadership. No “ordinary truths” were lost but instead the truth was confirmed through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit guiding the Church to all truths as Jesus promised.

(Laurel W) By president, I mean the main prophet. We call him the president to distinguish him from the other prophets, seers, and revelators (who of course the entire quorum of twelve apostles are).

(Cristoiglesia) I just found it odd that you would use a secular name for your leadership. I guess it points to the worldly nature of your sect.

(Laurel W) I do not think that God would allow an evil man to lead his church. A man who isn't perfect, yes. But not a man who is obviously a follower of the adversary. Because, as the scriptures say, no man can serve two masters (Matt. 6). The leader of the church is to be a man of God, striving to do what is right and one who is in tune with what the Lord wants and with his spirit. Alexander served the devil, not the Lord. There are no "buts" about that. And yes, he was pope many centuries afterward the apostasy. But if your church was true, the leader of it would still be a man of God even many centuries after the passing of Christ. Time would not make a difference.

(Cristoiglesia) The reason we see these accusations most often is to besmirch the Church in such a way that it is somehow evil and not the Church authorized by Christ to have all authority by God on earth. These same people believe that the true Church is free from sinners and that those within the Church cannot make errors or even are evil lest all credibility of the Church is destroyed if sinners are found. So no matter how hard one tries to besmirch the Church still remains based on the veracity of Christ and not on the veracity of those within the Church who sin. The commission of the Church remains true despite the errors and evil within individual sinners.

Why do you not use the same standards for your Church? Was not Joseph Smith known for taking away other men’s wives for his own? Was Pope Alexander really any worse? Be careful throwing those stones.

(Laurel W) As far as the first century, I do not think that there were many who blatently rebelled against the truth. No, what happened more or less was that they combined what they had learned with Christianity, with what they had known in their own lives and religion beforehand. This can once more be proven by what is in the Catholic Church. Much of what is in your church was actually from the Roman religion, not from what Christ taught. Among these are the burning of candles, much of what goes on during mass, even the clothing that the pope wears and the items he holds. These were not taught by Christ and indeed are very far from his teaching. And yet they are common practice in the Catholic church, not because it is Christ's church, but because much of what the Catholic Church is comes from the pagan Roman/Etruscan religions, not from what Christ taught.

(Cristoiglesia) What Roman religions, as there were many? You should know that there are no proofs of your claims, don’t you? Historically your claims have no merit as Rome is only one of the bishoprics yet the Church had a unity in teaching and practice. There is nothing that the Church teaches that is contradictory to Scriptures or to any of Christ’s teaching. You have not been able to identify a single contradiction is our several discussions. All you do is make unsubstantiated accusations based on fanciful assumptions.

(Laurel W) Again, I never said nor ever will I say that Christ was incompetent. On the contrary, our church teaches that he is, was, and ever will be perfect. Your twisting of words really is rather annoying. Joseph didn't correct the errors of Christ, as Christ had no errors. But the early Christians did have errors, and they fell further and further away as time went on. Because of that, Christ himself needed to come down and correct them. He had done that several times through his prophets before that. He called a prophet now.

(Cristoiglesia) Really, it sure does appear from your statements that you indeed believe Jesus to be incompetent in founding His Church and a liar for not keeping His promises. You believe that the Church He said would endure did not and the Church that He said the gates of hell will not prevail against did indeed fall into apostasy. How is that not calling Jesus an incompetent and a liar?

(Laurel W) AND AGAIN, Jesus did not mislead anyone! The misleading came from those after him. His religion was perfect, but it had been SEVERELY distorted by the time of Joseph Smith. Catholicism is still distorted, and is not the church which Christ taught.

(Cristoiglesia) Are you being serious? Jesus made promises that you say were not kept and you now claim that that was somehow not misleading. How can anyone take such statements seriously? If Christ’s Church fell into apostasy His promise of an enduring Church was a lie. If the solid foundation of the 12 disciples and the cornerstone of Jesus was not strong enough to last until the Parousia then Jesus lied. He either lied to deceive or was incompetent. If His Church was perfect then it would not have failed as you say. The truth is Laurel is that Jesus was guilty neither of these things that you declare but instead His Church has been the ongoing testimony to the truth of His promises for 2000 years. His Church is testimony that your sect is a fraud and a counterfeit.

(Laurel W) We believe that anyone can have the gift of prophecy as well, but only for themselves and those they are responsible for. The only ones who can receive revelations for the entire world are the prophets called of God--since they are responsible to the Here are a few of the many prophecies which have been fulfilled by the restoration of the gospel and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon:
The entire chapter of Isaiah 29. Verses 11 and 12 were word for word when Martin Harris went to Charles Anton with a copy of a page of the manuscript of the Book of Mormon.
Ezekial 37: 15-17 (The stick of Judah is the Bible, the stick of Joseph is the Book of Mormon since the Nephites and Lamanites were descendants of both Ephraim and Manasseh).
Psalms 85: 11 (the Book of Mormon came literally from the earth)
Revelations 14: 16 (angel with the everlasting gospel)
John 10: 16 (Christ's other sheep were the Nephites. They were of his fold and had his true religion at that time as well.)
Isaiah 2; 2 (The Lord's house is the temples. Literally.)
Acts 3:21 (note this restitution is after Christ)
Rom 11: 25 (the fullness of the Gentiles is now, when the gospel was restored through the Gentiles in our day. Also in Matt. 20: 16 and the others similar to it where it talks about the first being and the last being first, that's talking about the Jews and the Gentiles. Now, with the restoration, the Gentiles are first. The Jews will be last to have the true and restored gospel).
Eph 1: 10 (again, it made it pretty clear that the dispensation of the fullness of times wasn't happening then, but it was a future event). There are many others. But I'll let you search those out for yourself.

(Cristoiglesia) Nonsense!

(Laurel W) Not Gods--gods. There is a difference. We will never replace God. I do not know if we will be worshiped, or it it will be our God who is worshiped. To be honest, the official church doctrine doesn't go too deeply into this. We do preach that we will be able to become like our Heavenly Father, so I suppose it would make sense that we would be the ones worshiped. But in truth, I do not know.

(Cristoiglesia) Does your sect still follow the teaching of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young that God was once a man? Hinckley seemed to have ambiguous teaching on this doctrine that the founding leaders taught.

(Laurel W) There are many sources which state this. I've looked for the ones you're claiming and, besides those who clearly have an agenda and are willing to say anything without any source whatsoever in trying to debunk the LDS church, the "evidence" that you suggest is circumstantial at best. There could have been times when Sidney Rigdon traveled through that area between those years. However, he was very much preaching his own religion, and I doubt he had anything to do with Joseph Smith. And once more, as a preacher and one who obviously enjoyed being in charge, why would he do something to put a young farm boy in charge of a church, instead of coming up with the stuff and saying he did it himself? That would make no sense.

(Cristoiglesia) OK, but the truth is that the evidence is stronger for them knowing each other before 1830.

(Laurel W) Whoa, you use the new version of scriptures, instead of the King James version, which is more correct. Let's read it from the KJV:
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.

(Cristoiglesia) New version? I quoted from the DRB which was published in 1582 and the KJV was not published until 1609. The KJV is far from one of the most correct translations. Surely you are not serious. All translations have errors and that is why we refer to the original languages. He was telling them not to suppose that the time was imminent but to continue the work of God. The falling away better describes the heretical sects like your own than Christ’s own Church. Do you think your sect is the fulfillment of this prophecy in the end time? Or perhaps the prophecy that some will not be able to endure sound doctrine and will gather around those that satisfy their itching ears.

(Laurel W) That is talking about the general apostasy, as well as Satan, the Speaking of the trinity, there is nothing in scripture that uses the word "trinity." Indeed, when Christ speaks of being one with the father, he asks his diciples to become one as he and his father are one (John 17:21). The entire idea of the trinity is based on a scripture which in originality was very simple. It was speaking of unity. But the idea of the Trinity being one literally very much distorted this. The Trinity is not the doctrine of Christ, it is the doctrine of the Council of Nicaea.

(Cristoiglesia) The Trinity is the teaching of the Church from the beginning at Pentecost. It did not suddenly appear at the Council of Nicaea. The Council protected the orthodox teaching against heterodoxy which was Arianism. Satan would like nothing better than to deceive humanity about the nature of God and especially Christ. If Christ is not God then He was not the perfect sacrifice prophesied and is an imposter and a liar as the Messiah. Satan is the father of such lies.

(Laurel W) There were no Catholics until at least 100 years AD. The first century Christians were not Catholic Christians. There were many Christians who believed many different things until the Council of Nicaea.

Cristoiglesia) There were nothing but Catholic Christians in the first 100 years. The teaching was consistent in the Church with an occasional challenge by heretics like Arius and groups like the Gnostics but the Church never fell into apostasy and Christ’s promises to humanity and the Church remain true.

(Laurel W) Our church is not founded by Joseph Smith. Christ himself came down and visited him, and the church was restored because of and only because of that visitation. Joseph, before he went to pray about the correct church, was seriously considering joining another religion. He did not think that none of them were correct at that time. It was only after Christ appeared to him and told him that none at that time were correct. Through time, he received many more revelations as he asked the Lord more and more questions, and only as a result of revelation--literally coming from the Savior Jesus Christ--that this church was founded.

(Cristoiglesia) Really, yet he joined the Methodist Church after his revelation. It sounds like he did not even believe in his own prophecy. He sounds a lot like Mohammad who liked young girls also.

(Laurel W) We shall see. And yes, I am absolutely willing to wager it, because it is true. Calling Joseph Smith prideful and on a quest for powerful and wealth is one of the most absurd things you have said. If you knew anything of the history about Joseph Smith, you would realize how false your claims are. Joseph Smith only did what he did because it was what the Savior wanted him to do, and it was the right thing. He certainly never made any money off of it. In fact, the gospel and administering the gospel actually made him a rather poor man physically. Research his life and you will see. Not only that, he had received several warnings when first he saw the plates (when he was 17) to not seek worldly wealth. He was not allowed to touch the plates until his heart was pure and had only the desires to do as the Lord wanted, instead of desiring to sell them to help his family in their destitute circumstances.

(Cristoiglesia) I guess legend does not match reality. He defrauded his own people in a banking scandal. His arrogance was legendary and He lived out his quest for power taking other men’s wives.

(Laurel W) With the temptation of Eve, Satan wasn't trying to tempt her to replace God. He was using a form of the truth and twisting it to his own purposes, as he often does.

(Cristoiglesia) No, as I said before your logic is greatly flawed and is in fact whimsical in its absurdity.

(Laurel W) We will always worship our Father, and our desire is not to be worshiped. We desire to constantly serve him and to be perfected in Christ. How better to serve the Father than to literally serve him, creating things and working with him, instead of just sitting there singing praises to him?

(Cristoiglesia) Serving Him is not served by usurping His sovereignty.

(Laurel W) God does have emotion. The scriptures testify to that over and over. Taking away the personal nature of God is one of the evils which the Council of Nicaea has done.

(Cristoiglesia) Protecting the truth of the teaching of Jesus and the disciples is not taking away the personal nature of God,

(Laurel W) In summation, I would like to bring out a few of both of our points.

You believe that your church was the original church. We believe that there was an apostasy, but that Christ himself personally came down and restored the true church of Christ, by visiting Joseph Smith.

We have differing views of angels. You believe them to be creatures completely different from man. We believe them to be resurrected (or premortal) beings. Your view on this is as ridiculous to me as my view on this is to you, but so be it.

We definitely have differing views on the Godhead, and on the nature of God. I think these differences are almost too numerous to explain here.

We have differing views on who we are, who we will become, and how best to worship God.

We have differing views on the availability of salvation to all men. The LDS view is that those who did not have a chance in this life will get one in the next (though those who did may not). Your view is that there is no such thing.

There are several other differences. But we do have some similarities.

We both believe that a man must hold the priesthood to have the authority to act in God's name.

We both believe (I think) that God continues to speak to man (I'm not sure if you believe that. If not, I'm sorry).

Most importantly, we both believe that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, that he is the only begotten of the Father, and that he is the only way we can gain salvation.

It has been fun. This will be my last.

(Cristoiglesia) Thank you for the discussions and the inspiration for defending the teaching of Christ and the disciples through His Church. You taught me things I did not know about Mormon teaching. May the Lord be with you. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

27 August, 2009

Discussion with Laurel W about the Mormon claim as the true church and their doctrine of deification

(Laurel W) Why should chronological order matter so much? My church is my church, your church is your church. Chronological order doesn't change the truth

Our teaching regarding the apostasy is that there were pockets who still had the basic truth and ideas left. So yes, it fell away after the last apostle died. But it was made official with the Council of Nicaea.

(Cristoiglesia) The reason that chronological order matters is because of your claim that the Church fell into apostasy immediately after the death of the last disciple. If there is any veracity of your claim there should be some proof, otherwise it is just idle gossip.

There is only one Church founded by Jesus and the disciples and Jesus promised that this Church called the Catholic Church would endure for all times free from apostasy. So according to Jesus, your “church” must be a false Church as it is certainly not the original Church founded by Jesus. Making an unsubstantiated claim does not make a truth either but if you make a claim of a specific time in history then chronological order does matter and needs to be substantiated.

Who exactly were these “pockets” who still had the basic truths and what do you allege were the basic truths and ideas that were lost? How and why were they lost? What was “made official” at the ecumenical Council of Nicaea and who are the officials?

(Laurel W) One leader who remained a leader, yes. Now, there are a few who apostatized. Those of course were not the actual presidents of the church, like Alexander was. That man was absolutely evil.

(Cristoiglesia) We do not have “presidents” in the Catholic Church. Such terms for leadership are secular and worldly and not of the leadership established by Jesus. I agree that this man was probably evil, at least the Church teaches that he was but in what way is this the cause of or evidence that supports your claim of apostasy of the Church. You do realize also that he was Pope many centuries after you claim the Church fell into apostasy. Who are the few that apostatized? Do you have any in the first century when you say this occurred?

(Laurel W) Now, regarding Joseph Smith, you have a tendency to place him in the position of Christ for us. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our veracity is on Christ, but Joseph Smith was his prophet, like Moses and Abraham. And just as Moses and Abraham pointed forward to Christ, but led the church in their day, Joseph Smith pointed back to Christ, but led the church in his day. God intended prophets for the earth when his son was not on it. God did not give Adam the instructions for the ark, but intended that for Noah and his day. The same holds true. God has prophets today who are meant to lead for today. Many of the problems we face now are not the problems faced by the people Christ taught. He has called prophets to lead the church in this day. You really like to twist words, don't you. Of course Jesus is not evil.

(Cristoiglesia) It was you that suggested that Jesus was incompetent in establishing His Church and instead of His Church enduring for all times, remaining free from apostasy and continuing as the “pillar and foundation of the truth” you claim that Jesus failed in all of these promises and that Joseph Smith corrected all of the errors of Jesus and restored what was lost as a result of Jesus’ incompetence or lies. Is that not the position of you and the Mormon sect? That is my understanding from your statements and the statements of your Church in regards to the supposed apostasy.

Isn’t this the logical conclusion as to yours and Mormon claims and not the twisting of words? If Jesus really did mislead the first century Church as you claim and give them false promises why would this not be evil? Why would this be a false conclusion to your claims?

(Laurel W) And as far as sinners, I'm not talking about sinners in the church. Everyone is a sinner. But the exceedingly gross sins which Alexander had were sheer evil. If he had even been a bishop, that would have been understandable to some degree. But he was the actual head of the Catholic church--the one you have replaced prophets with.

(Cristoiglesia) We have not replaced prophets with anyone. We do not see or teach that the Pope is a prophet. Anyone can have the gift of prophecy whether lay or clergy and many have throughout the 2000 year history of the Church.

(Laurel W) Our church can claim to be Christ's church. We have scripture, both ancient and modern. God has not ceased to speak to man.

(Cristoiglesia) You can claim anything but you must have some proof either Scriptural, Patristic or historical. You have none. Jesus founded only one Church and it is the Church which has endured for 2000 years the Catholic Church.

(Laurel W) Regarding gods and being the children of God, there are many, many scriptures: Deut 14: 1, Psalms 82: 6, John 10: 34, Acts 17: 29, Rom. 8: 16 . . . there are others if you'd like.

(Cristoiglesia) Yes, and they refer to the familial relationship that we have with God but in no way suggest that we can become Gods ourselves. We are created creatures as are the angels. God is uncreated. We cannot become God’s regardless of what Satan told Eve in the Garden and Joseph Smith tells the Mormons.

(Laurel W) Once more, you are twisting words. I guess I shouldn't get surprised with that by now. No, we will never become God. We will become gods (lowercase g), not by disobeying him, but by following him. However, we needed to exist in person for that to happen. That could not have happened if Adam and Eve stayed in the garden. Also, we do need the experiences of learning the good from the evil. That of course comes most often through experience.

(Cristoiglesia) How am I twisting words? I understand that you teach that one does not become “the” God that you call Father but that one progresses to become a God exactly like our Father and populate our own world where we are worshipped like our Father was worshipped. Is that about right? How did sin make it possible for man to exist in your doctrine?

(Laurel W) Again regarding Sidney: the "evidence" that you are suggesting is completely fabricated. I actually have gotten this evidence from multiple sources: church history, and even secular things. Look it up. Even on the internet, the story is clear. Your sources are made up. They did not know each other since 1820. If they had, Sidney would have absolutely not conspired to set up a 14 year old farmboy as a religious leader. He would have led himself. So this "evidence" is not only false, it makes no sense whatsoever.

(Cristoiglesia) Actually I did look it up and there is more than one source that supports an earlier acquaintance between the two than 1830. There is only one source, a Mormon leader that refutes the other testimony.

(Laurel W) There is scriptural evidence suggesting the apostasy. My favorite one in in 2 Thes 2: 3. He is talking about the everlasting church. But there will be a falling away first. That prophecy is in the New Testament. There are many others, much of which talks about the breakup of the church.

(Cristoiglesia) Here is the verse that you say supports your view:

2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for unless there come a revolt first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition

This is speaking of the coming of the antichrist. St. Paul was speaking to believers trying to assure them to continue in their faith and their mission to preach the Gospel and that those who claimed that the coming of the antichrist was imminent were false teachers. It was not in any way a prophesy of an eminent apostasy but instead it was the opposite teaching being an assurance of the truth taught by the Church and that apostasy was not imminent. This verse actually speaks against Mormon claims to the contrary. This verse speaks of unity and not division.

(Laurel W) There is evidence. Read Joseph Smith's account of the first vision, as well as the many other accounts given. There is evidence by many prophets, not just him. You can call us anything you want, but that does not take away the veracity or the fact that we are in very deed Christian in the truest sense of the word.

(Cristoiglesia) The visions of a false prophet mean nothing to Christians. Christians believe in the Trinitarian God and that we serve God instead of becoming Gods. We are monotheistic instead of henotheistic.

(Laurel W) The New Testament was not written by the Catholic church. By Christians, yes. By Catholics, no. You have a tendency to mix those two up, when in reality they are very different. Catholicism is simply a sect of Christianity, as is Mormonism. Now, the monks of the Catholic church did copy and pass down the scriptures. But you cannot claim authorship of the New Testament.

(Cristoiglesia) Well yes, it was written by the Church as all the Church in the first century were Catholic Christians. It is written about the Catholic Church in formation, faith and practice. Since there were no other Christians how can you say that we did not write the New Testament Scriptures? It seems as you are the one mixed up unless you can find some other Christ followers outside of the Church in the first few decades of the Church. For us to be different thee has to be something that we are different than but reality is that we were the only ones. Unless someone else wrote them unknown in history it is reasonable to claim that we are the one wince all Scriptural, Patristic and historical evidence points to the fact that we are the only Christians at this time.

(Laurel W) We have every claim as Christian, and as the true church. We are no man-made pretenders. Our claims are to angels and to the appearance of Christ himself. Joseph Smith has never taught any of our doctrine except through revelation. He was a very humble man and a follower of Christ, as shown by him recording the revelations which chastened him specifically, and that he had seen him and been led by him.

(Cristoiglesia) Your Church is founded by Joseph Smith. That makes your sect a man made church. There is not Scriptural, Patristic or historical evidence that proves your sect to be the true Church. Instead all the preceding evidence points to the Catholic Church as the true Church. You tacitly acknowledge this but claim that the true Church founded by Jesus fell away contradicting His promises to humanity.

Let us be sensible, if I claimed to have been visited by angels, the disciples and Jesus would you believe me just on my testimony? If I claimed to be a prophet would you automatically believe my prophesies? Nowhere in his teaching is Joseph Smith a follower of Christ but by founding a counterfeit to Christ’s Church he makes himself a enemy to Christ.

(Laurel W) Lets say this. When we die, if you realize Moroni existed and find that he indeed was an angel and that he was sent down to earth to Joseph Smith, you will recognize the error of your ways, and will join my church. If I die and find no such person existed, I will do the same only vice versa. Can you agree to that? Of course, since Moroni did exist and was an angel, there is no contest there.

(Cristoiglesia) Your claims are theologically impossible. I will be judged as all persons by my faith. There will be no second chance for you or I. You deny what Christ created for a man made counterfeit which is the epitome of the false teaching warned against in Scriptures. It has all the marks of being from a satanic source as it parallels the first temptation of Eve yet you believe in the false teaching and reject Christ’s only Church. So no agreement is possible as God is a God of Justice and we are judged according to our faith and if that faith is not true then our eternity is in great doubt except for God’s mercy. Are you willing to wager your eternity on the prophecies of one man who by his teaching denies the very veracity of Christ? That is the question that you need to continually ask yourself and not on some after death revelation or realization that what you have been taught is false. Believe Christ in what He taught about His Church and not in what Joseph Smith taught out of pridefulness and a quest for power and wealth.

(Laurel W) The same goes with being exalted. I do not think that our only purpose is to worship, unless by worship you include progress, create and work with the Savior.

(Cristoiglesia) I know you do not believe that we are to worship and serve God only. You have made this clear that you believe that we are to be exalted and become Gods ourselves. I realize that we do not replace God in your view but that we become another God and our sons become another God and so on through countless progressions. I understand. I just do not find any support for such a teaching in Scriptures, Patristic teaching or history. In fact such teaching is opposed to the evidence from these sources.

(Laurel W) Satan wanted to actually replace God, there lies the difference.

(Cristoiglesia) Here is what the Scriptures say:

Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle tha any of the beasts of the earth which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman: Why hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of paradise?

Gen 3:2 And the woman answered him, saying: Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat:

Gen 3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die.

Gen 3:4 And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death.

Gen 3:5 For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.

Genesis 3:5 clearly says that what Satan promised was that we would have the same knowledge as God making man and specifically Eve God’s equal.

Satan never tempted Eve by saying that she would be God’s replacement.

(Laurel W) By being exalted through the Savior, we do not replace him, but add to his glory. An example which I can use since I believe in a very real sense that God is our Father, but having a bunch of grandchildren only adds to the glory of a person. It does not take away from it. Now, if someone wanted to actually take over and replace the father, that is a completely different story (evil, not to mention impossible). That is what Satan wanted. That is a huge difference from what we believe and teach that we can become. What we do will add to the glory of the Father, not take it. To be honest, I believe that is the form of worship he would prefer. I know at least with me, I wouldn't want my children (if I had them) to hang around my home praising me their entire lives. I would want them to make something of themselves, and to have families of their own.

Again, God bless.

(Cristoiglesia) Of course you defense is adding worldly attributes and feelings to God. We were created to serve and worship God and for no other reasons Revealed to man. According to the Scriptures the highest one can be exalted is to serve the Lord on earth or in heaven.

Rev 5:13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard all saying: To him that sitteth on the throne and to the Lamb, benediction and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever.

What is desired is a carnal and worldly desire coming from the deepest and most decadent depths of ones soul. It is truly the fruit of a reprobate soul to desire such exaltation and to become the worshipped instead of the worshipper or the Lord instead of the servant. May the Lord have mercy on those so deceived. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

25 August, 2009

Discussion with Laurel W who claims the Catholic Church is apostate

(Laurel W) We will have to simply disagree about the angels.

(Cristoiglesia) OK

(Laurel W) Now you're using emotional language, which is clearly not true. I do not believe in fantasy. I believe in God, and that he speaks to man. To state that my view is fantasy is not true.

(Cristoiglesia) No, I was not using emotional language but simply pointing out that the facts show that your beliefs are imagined or fanciful. There is absolutely no evidence of any apostasy.

(Laurel W) Let me point out a few things which show that there was indeed an apostasy. First, even the organization of the church shows that. Christ had apostles. Where are yours?

(Cristoiglesia) Every bishop is a descendent of an apostle through apostolic succession. But, using the definition that encompasses all who are sent to preach the Gospel all of the members of the Church are sent at each Mass to preach the Gospel so all Catholic Christians are apostles. When you see a Catholic Christian you are seeing a apostle whether sacerdotal or lay.

(Laurel W) Christ went to temples, where are yours?

(Cristoiglesia) The Jewish temple was destroyed in 70AD. I will give you the same explanation as St. Paul:

1Co 3:16 Know you not that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

1Co 3:17 But if any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which you are.

(Laurel W) Peter was a prophet, not a pope. Christ never had a pope. Surely the church of Christ would have the same organization which he himself established?

(Cristoiglesia) Wrong, St. Peter was chosen by Jesus as the leader of the disciples and in so doing established the papal office:

Mat 16:18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Where in the Scriptures does it say that Joseph Smith is a prophet.

(Laurel W) There are other things. For instance, I doubt that Christ would ever condone the selling of indulgences.

(Cristoiglesia) You just jumped ahead of yourself about 1400 years after you said the Church fell into apostasy. Let’s try to keep your accusations chronological and topical instead of jumping around over the continuous 2000 year history of the Church which actually supports my view of the enduring Church. But for the record….why are you opposed to indulgencies.

(Laurel W) His ministry was a lay ministry.

(Cristoiglesia) No, Jesus is the high priest:

Heb 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly vocation consider the apostle and high priest of our confession, Jesus:

Heb 4:14 Having therefore a great high priest that hath passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God: let us hold fast our confession.

Heb 4:15 For we have not a high priest who cannot have compassion on our infirmities: but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin.

(Laurel W) Nor do I believe that sin is forgiven by simply saying "Hail Mary" a certain number of times, and then going and doing whatever you please. True repentance includes a change, and a change of the heart.

(Cristoiglesia) What made you think that Catholic Christians believe or that the Church teaches that one is saved by saying prayers or quoting Scriptures which is the Hail Mary statement of St. Gabriel to the blessed mother? What is this about doing “whatever you please”? Catholics believe that true contrition is required for forgiveness and not prayers of oneself or others or the recitation of Scripture. Confession is to the Catholic Christian a reconciliation back into the family of God after repenting with a contrite heart of a sin that has separated one from the familial relationship with God.

(Laurel W) No, the Catholic church is not the one that Christ established.

(Cristoiglesia) I am easy to convince if you can show me from the Scriptures, history or Patristic evidence that there was a Church other than the Catholic Church founded by Jesus and the disciples in the first century.

(Laurel W) It has fallen far from his truth.

(Cristoiglesia) Please show me the same standard of proof to your claim …..Scriptures, Patristic or historical evidence please and not just fanciful speculation.

(Laurel W) Many of our differences lie in what you say is the "Miracle of Nicea." To us, that is where the apostasy took full swing. Those who had the truth about the nature of the Godhead were cast out, and instead of the plain and simple truth, men were led to believe in a very impersonable diety which is completely beyond the capabililty of man to comprehend.

(Cristoiglesia) I thought that Mormon teaching is that Christ’s Church, the Catholic Church fell into apostasy immediately after the death of the last disciple. Am I incorrect in this understanding? Do you teach instead that it occurred at the Council of Nicaea?

The Council of Nicaea was convened to discuss the Arian heresy that denied the divinity of Christ and thus the veracity of His salvific work. If Jesus was not divine then He could not have been the Lamb of God or the Messiah prophesied making Him an impostor and pretender as the Messiah. Athanasius the young deacon, inspired by the Holy Spirit, successfully defended the ongoing teaching of the Church as God being the Trinitarian God protecting the orthodox belief that Jesus is God. The original teaching of the Church as to the nature of God was preserved at Nicaea instead of being cast out. Arius represented heterodoxy and heresy.

I do not know what you mean by defining the Trinity as an impersonal deity but indeed, fully understanding the creator of all things is beyond the capabilities of man. The Athanasian Creed is a great explanation of the Trinitarian Godhead.

(Laurel W) Many of the leaders of your church, such as Pope Alexander VI, are proof that the Catholic church had fallen from the truth. How could the leader of Christ's true church behave in such a way? Simply put, because it had indeed fallen into apostasy. Now, the Catholic church still had some truths. The very fact that they believed in Christ was certainly better than not believing in him. But the Catholic church is very far from Christ's true church.

(Cristoiglesia) What truth did He fall from specifically? He was probably an evil man and there were probably others. So, are you willing to hold your sect to the same standard. If I were to find one leader or more in your sect that has done evil things then does that destroy the veracity of your sect? Your sect is based on the veracity of one man Joseph Smith your founder. The Catholic Church is based not on the veracity of any mere man but on the veracity of the God/man Jesus. Show me that Jesus is evil and you will have evidence for your apostasy but since He is God then you cannot use a sinful man and then say that he represents the veracity of the Church which is Christ’s Church and not mans. Why are you even surprised that there are sinners within the Church? Show me a man that claims no sin and I will show you an egregious liar. Christ’s Church the Catholic Church contains the fullness of truth. Again, show me another Church that can claim to be Christ’s Church with Scriptural, Patristic or historical evidence.

(Laurel W) Now, as far as our beliefs. We believe that we were not only created by him, but that we are literally his spirit children. That is not "uncreating" as you say it is. It is glorifying. In the same way that a boy can grow to be a man, a righteous man, through the Savior, can become a god. Now, that being said, God will always be our God. We will always worship him and have a good relationship with him. A father does not loose the fact that he is a father simply because his son had a child of his own.

(Cristoiglesia) No, this is not the teaching of Jesus, the disciples or the Church. The teaching of the Church and Christianity is that the Trinitarian God created all things. It does not teach anything about “spirit children”, becoming deities (Satan’s original lie in the Garden that deceived man and caused the fall). These beliefs are totally contrary to the teaching of Scriptures or the disciples. This is just fanciful theology with no basis in factual teaching.

(Laurel W) There is another discrepancy between our faiths, in whether what happened in the Garden of Eden was necessary or not. We believe it was. If that had not happened, we believe that we ourselves would have never existed. The fall of man was a necessary step in our coming to earth and gaining salvation. True, Eve was deceived by Satan. As well as using lies, Satan takes truths and twist them into half truths. Or even to take truths and twist them to his own purposes. This is what happened in the garden. He used a truth, or half-truth, to accomplish what he thought were his own purposes and designs. But try as he might to frustrate the plan of God, he unwittingly actually brought about some of God's purposes, in making it possible for us to come to earth.

(Cristoiglesia) This is one of the most amusing of the false teaching of the Mormon faith. Let’s see the logic here; God used Satan to teach the Mormon “truth” that we will become God if we disobey God. Do you really expect people to believe this?

(Laurel W) Once more, you are wrong with Sidney. It is possible you could be confusing him with Oliver Cowdry, who served as a scribe to Joseph Smith for part of the time he was translating the Book of Mormon. But Sidney definitely did not know Joseph prior to 1830 as you claim. The evidence is all pointing to that. He was a renowned Cambellite minister. In 1821, he was in Pittsburg. In 1826, he was in Ohio. Joseph Smith was in New York the entire time. Sidney was introduced to the church by Parley P. Pratt, who was then going to preach to the lamanites. Sidney read the BoM and was converted. He then traveled to NY to meet Joseph Smith. And besides, why would a renouned preacher like Sidney Rigdon fabircate something to make a 14-24 year old the head of a church? No, someone like Sidney would have put himself in charge.

(Cristoiglesia) You get all of this from the testimony of one Mormon. But the evidence suggests strongly and somewhat convincingly from several witnesses that they knew each other at least from 1820.

(Laurel W) You know I am not placing Joseph Smith on the same level as Jesus. Joseph Smith is on the same level as Peter, or Moses, or any other prophet. He is a prophet that was called. Just as any prophet was called. Christ made no errors. He never has, nor will he ever. He is the only begotten of the father, and the only perfect person on the face of the earth. He is our Lord and Savior. He is perfect, but those who followed him were not. They were the ones who fell, not him. You are once more twisting my words to make them sound like I am saying something which I am not. Because I believe the Catholic church to not be true, you say that I do not believe Christ to be true. Well, clearly you are lying there, and I think you know it.

(Cristoiglesia) You seem to be trying to talk out of both sides of your mouth at the same time. On the one hand you claim that the Church founded by Jesus fell into apostasy despite what Jesus promised about that Church which was that it would endure until the Parousia, never fall into apostasy and remain for all times the “Pillar and foundation of the truth”. Either Jesus told the truth and made no errors or the Church is apostate. You cannot have it both ways. He either told the truth or He is an incompetent liar. Reading Scripture as evidence clearly it is your Church that lies.

(Laurel W) Our "sect" is not manmade. Christ personally leads it. I believe that the leaders of our church are visited by Christ personally, and that he guides this church, not as an absentee, but as its actual head. The very name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, shows that we are indeed the church of Christ, and of his people. This is the church which Christ founded. It is closer to his church than yours is, that's for sure. It has the same organization which he set up. It follows his teachings. You cannot claim that about the Catholic Church.

(Cristoiglesia) Yes it is, your founder is Joseph Smith. There is no evidence that Christ leads your sect or has visited your leaders. You can call your Church anything you want but that does not give it veracity or make it Christian. There is absolutely no evidence that Christ founded any Church except the Catholic Church. Do you realize that the New Testament Scriptures are written by the Catholic Church and are about the Church? It is , so denying that the Catholic Church is the Church founded by Jesus is denying the written Word of
God. Your sect vaguely resembles the true Church and is simply a counterfeit church created on the doctrines of devils. You have no claim as Christian must less as the true church.

(Laurel W) We will have to disagree about if there was an Angel Moroni and gold plates. Clearly I believe it, clearly you do not. As the LDS, we believe that God continues to reveal his wor

Your church may disagree with me, but the bible does not. Many parts of it point to there being more of the Word of God out there. Many prophecies, particularly those from Isaiah and other prophets (let alone Christ's own prophecies), point to Christ ministering to other people, point to other prophets and prophecies being joined with the bible to further ones testimony of Christ.
And truth be told, why would God limit his word to one book, or even to one people? He had people on the earth other than the Jews. They deserved to hear his word just as much as the Jews did.

(Cristoiglesia) We do not have to disagree, I am a reasonable man show me the Scriptural, Patristic or historical evidence for your claims.

Jesus gave one teaching authority on earth and that is His Church and not a man-made pretender. If you have evidence show it and I will respond to specifics and not vague generalities.

(Laurel W) In conclusion, I know that Christ lives, physically as well as spiritually. I know he is our Savior, and the only means wherein we can gain exaltation. I know that God loves us, enough that he sent his son down to atone for our sins. He loves and knows us personally. I have felt Him in my life, and I know he is real. I see every day proof of his tender mercies. And I know that he has shown me so many more mercies which I haven't seen or recognized. Every moment we live in his debt. He loves us deeply. I'm sure he often weeps at what he sees his children doing. He wants so much for us. But he loves us enough to let us become who we are, to prove to ourselves who we are and where we stand. To give us the agency to choose who we will follow. Me, I will follow him.

God bless you in your quest for truth.


Laurel Jean Wilder

(Cristoiglesia) Thank you for your commentary. I take a few exceptions to your last paragraph. Man was created to serve and worship God and not to be exalted. Being exalted is the teaching of Satan in the Garden and not of God. It is not enough to just follow Him after your own desires but instead within His will and His Church. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

24 August, 2009

Discussion with Laurel W about the Mormon claim of the fall of the Catholic Church into apostasy

(Laurel W) Angels: We are not the same creatures NOW. Even you stated that Christ became man, lower than the angels. We become angels, not are them.

(Cristoiglesia) No, it is impossible for us to become angels as the Scriptures I have already provided attest. Angels are separate and different created creatures from us. We can never become angels nor can they become us anymore than we the created can become a God or the uncreated. It is not the nature of the order that God created.

(Laurel W) It was necessary due, once more, to the apostasy. Clearly you don't believe in it, but to me what has transpired shows how obvious it was that a restoration was needed.

(Cristoiglesia) I am a practical person. I do not believe in fantasy which is clearly your view. As I said before, there is no Scriptural, Patristic or historical evidence to support your claim. In fact all of the evidence denies your claim. Have you ever read the works of the ante-Nicene fathers? They stand in direct opposition to the nonsensical claims of Joseph Smith, et al. It is not only not obvious that there was needed restoration as I stated before; but such a belief destroys the veracity of Christ completely. It makes Jesus an incompetent liar and is blasphemy. Such teaching is a direct attack on the fathers of the Church, the disciples who ordained them into apostolic succession and Christ. May the Lord have mercy on those so bold as to lie so egregiously and deceive so many away from His one true Church.

(Laurel W) I do not believe that the Catholic faith is the one that was established by Christ. The example of many of the popes in past is proof of this, as well as the great divisions of the church before Constantine. Those were prevalent even during the days of Paul, as he often wrote about in his epistles.

(Cristoiglesia) Of course you do not believe the testimony of Christ’s Church because if you did your belief in the Mormon sect would fall like the house of cards that it is. But I challenge you like I have many others who make similar claims that the Catholic Church was not the Church founded by Jesus and the apostles to show me another Church that has endured for 2000 years as Jesus promised. There is no other, never has been and never will, of that fact humanity can be confident. There is only one Holy, Catholic and apostolic Church and the world will never see another.

I am a historian of the early Church and I have not found any evidence to support your view of great divisions in the Church after the disciples died. We see their disciples continuing the faithful teaching given to them at the foot of the disciples such as St. Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp and even Barnabas who learned directly from the Lord. They show evidence of being faithful servants even into their martyrdoms. Certainly St. Paul speaks of the Gnostics whose heresies plagued the first four centuries of the Church and the Arian heresy of the fourth century. But we see the Church always being victorious against these heresies. There was the miracle of the Council of Nicaea where a young and inexperienced deacon named Athanasius went up against the powerful bishop Arius and prevailed despite the support of Arius from the Emperor Constantine. This is proof of God raising the weak to show His glory before the might of man. There are other examples like this through the history of the Church. These great divisions in the Church before Constantine did not really exist but were instead threats from outside the Church similar to the Mormon threat that preys on the weak in faith and knowledge. Your claim is a gross exaggeration but even if it was true it would simply testify to the veracity of what Christ founded on the disciples and the power of the Paraclete in guiding and inspiring the leadership of the Church.

(Laurel W) To the LDS, there are several degrees of glory exaltation. The middle one is like what you say. Higher, we through Christ become deified. The bible itself talks about us being gods.

(Cristoiglesia) Yes I am aware of the Mormon teaching on deification. The Bible does not teach that we will become God’s but that we will share in the attributes of God in heaven. To say that the creature or created can become the uncreated or God is a doctrine of devils. In fact this was the cause of the fall of man when Satan tempted Eve saying that by eating the fruit in the middle of the garden that she would become as God. The Mormon Church tempts man with this same lie. It is nothing new for Satan but just packaged as a teaching of a new counterfeit church to what Jesus founded. Isn’t it interesting that Mormonism makes the same promise as the great deceiver and father of all lies. The Mormon sect stands in testimony of the power of Satan to deceive mankind. He becomes as an angel of light and appeals to our perverse nature of the flesh. We desire to be what we can never attain out of pride and arrogance. Such is the nature os Satan’s snares.

(Laurel W) Once more, you are wrong with Sidney Rigdon. In 1820, Joseph Smith had his first vision. He was 14. Sidney Rigdon joined the church in 1830, after he had read the Book of Mormon which had recently been published(on a trip to New York from Ohio). He did not know Joseph Smith prior to that.

(Cristoiglesia) There is a lot of evidence and testimony to the contrary and very little evidence to refute the claims. It is highly doubtful that they made acquaintance post 1830 and it is more likely that they knew each other at least 10 years before.

(Laurel W) Joseph followed Jesus and what he said. That is how our church came about. We don't need to choose between them.

(Cristoiglesia) Your statement is the most interesting of all the statements I have heard from a Mormon from the standpoint of how revealing it is of the Mormon devotion to Joseph Smith. It is as if you are placing the status of Joseph Smith on the same level with Jesus. You just opened up my eyes as to how Mormons can believe by implication that Jesus was an incompetent liar. You actually seem to believe that Joseph Smith came to the rescue to correct the errors made by Christ in founding His Church. You actually believe that your manmade sect has more veracity than what Christ founded and that Joseph Smith has saved the Church from the errors and incompetence of Jesus.

(Laurel W)The Urim and Thummin is all over the Old Testament. (e.g. Ex. 28: 30, more, Rev 2: 17 refers to it).

Moroni took the plates back. But not before at least a dozen witnesses saw them.

(Cristoiglesia) Nonsense, there never was any gold plates, Urim and Thummin in the possession of Joseph Smith. Nor has there ever been a messenger from God named Moroni although Moroni if not a figment of Joseph Smith’s and Sidney Rigdon’s imagination, could be an angel of the dark as the one that gave the Quran to the other counterfeit church, Islam. The parallels are striking.

(Laurel W) The Catholic church was not created by Christ. Don't twist my words.

(Cristoiglesia) The Bible disagrees with you as does the Church fathers and history. My challenge stands show me another Church that has endured for two thousand years as testimony to Christ’s promises and I will believe your allegations. Otherwise, your sect is a false church and from a source other than God. Jesus prayed in the garden before His crucifixion that we all be one in His Church and not in a counterfeit to His own true Church. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

Ongoing discussion with Laurel W about the Mormon claims against Christ's Church

(Laurel W) I am glad we are having this discussion. I will attempt, in the limited space I have here, to refute some of your claims and to clarify some of the things we as Latter-Day Saints believe.

(Cristoiglesia) I am always pleased to contend for the faith.

Jud 1:3 Dearly beloved, taking all care to write unto you concerning your common salvation, I was under a necessity to write unto you: to beseech you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.

(Laurel W) First, to the LDS people, every person is capable of becoming a saint through the atonement of Christ, not just a select few.

(Cristoiglesia) Christianity teaches the same except some Calvinist sects teach predestination which says that God predestines some for heaven and some to hell. This is not orthodox Christian teaching. Christian teaching is that all are given the chance to exercise their free will to come to faith and receive God’s salvific grace.

(Laurel W) We will be resurrected and become heirs of eternal glory with him.

(Cristoiglesia) What does that mean to a Mormon. To a Christian that means that we are given the gift of eternal life where we live with the blessed Trinity in eternity in worship and devotion to Him.

(Laurel W) Peter, James, and John are the very Peter, James, and John who ministered with Christ. These are resurrected beings, which is what angles are. They laid their hands on the head of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdry, and conferred the higher priesthood to them (the lesser was given by John the Baptist at an earlier time).

(Cristoiglesia) No, angels are not resurrected beings. Here is what the Bible says about angels:

"What is man, that thou art mindful of him? ... For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour." (Psalm 8:4,5)

Men and angels are obviously different creatures according to Scriptures. Angels according to Scriptures can never die but man in His fallen state does die:

Even Jesus becomes a man lower than the angels:

Heb 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour: that, through the grace of God he might taste death for all.

So obviously, St. Peter, St. James and St. John are not nor could they ever have been angels and they have never returned to earth to lay hands on anyone. This is pure fantasy and totally lacking in any evidentiary support. Besides, why would this be necessary since the original priesthood of Jesus was still there as He promised it would be forever and enduring? There is absolutely no Scriptural, Patristic or historical evidence to support your implausible theory. Where was it prophesied in Scripture that the priesthood or the Church would be in need of restoration or that it would fail completely for 1800 years. The fact is that the Scriptures say the exact opposite of your claims.

Luk 1:33 And of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Jesus based His kingdom on the Church He established that will endure forever without end.

Mat 7:24 Every one therefore that heareth these my words, and doth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built his house upon a rock,

It is based on the firm foundation of Himself as the cornerstone and the 12 disciples as the foundation stones. This foundation we find in the book of acts is built upon by apostolic succession. It is durable and lasting and not subject to failure leaving the Church without leadership for 1800 years as your sect claims. Jesus would have been an incompetent according to this Scripture if indeed what He founded failed and needed to be restored. He would have broken His promise as recorded by St. Mathew and that would make Him a liar. Is that the position that the Mormons want to take as there is no other explanation. If so you are attacking the very veracity of Jesus.

Mat 16:18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Mat 16:19 And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

What Jesus is saying here is that it is necessary for the enduring Church to have enduring leadership in which He placed all authority with St. Peter and the disciples. They, in turn passed that same authority to their successors. The Church will never lack leadership in need of restoration. There would never be a great apostasy that would destroy the Church creating a need for restoration either as the previous Scriptures clearly state. The same authority remains for all time without interruption or restoration.

Joh 14:16 And I will ask the Father: and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever:

Mat 28:19 Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

(Laurel W) Apostasy: 2 Thes. 2: 3
Of course I am not calling Christ incompetent or a liar. However, as with all dispensations, it is the people who fell away. Looking back the the Catholic church itself,

(Cristoiglesia) Yes you are calling Christ a liar unless you ignore the preceding Scriptures that truly state that the Church will endure without apostasy. There is no Scriptural, Patristic or historical evidence that the Church fell away and that apostolic succession failed after the death of the disciples. It is the Scriptures that prove the veracity of the Church and the fallacy of Mormon claims. Either Joseph Smith is right or Jesus. Christians choose Jesus.

(Laurel W) Sidney Rigdon was definitely not the author of the Book of Mormon. He wasn't even a member of the church when it was published. Joseph Smith was not the author, either. It was an ancient record, given to Joseph Smith by another angel (Moroni), translated by revelation through the Urim and Thummin.

(Cristoiglesia) Actually the Book of Mormon was first published in 1830 and by that time Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith had known each other at least ten years. There is very strong evidence that Sidney Rigdon was the author and no evidence of it being given by an angel named Moroni. There is also no evidence of anything called a Urim or Thummin being in existence or used by Joseph Smith or anyone else. Where are the plates golden plates? Where is the Urim and Thummin?

(Laurel W) I do believe the Catholic church is apostate. However, I believe it has many good people in it who have sincere desires for the truth. That is why I respect it.

Matt 7: 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits.

Read and pray sincerely about the fruit and you'll know.

(Cristoiglesia) Thank you for your honesty in admitting that you believe the Church created by Jesus and the disciples to be apostate and in so doing that Jesus is indeed a liar in your view. After all is this not the logical conclusion to such a speculation? Catholic Christians are not only made up of good people but those faithful to Christ’s Church. By good people I am referring to the fact that they are on the narrow path to salvation in Christ’s own Church. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

23 August, 2009

Discussion with Laurel W about the legitimacy of the Mormon priesthood

(Laurel W) Just to let you know, I did like your answer. But I do want to clarify something about the LDS beliefs.

The LDS church does have a legitimate claim to the Priesthood authority. Peter, James, and John, came to the earth and personally (as resurrected angels) and gave the priesthood to Joesph Smith. We do not get the priesthood from nothing.

(Cristoiglesia) Thank you for your comments in regards to my statement that the Mormons have no legitimate claim to the priesthood established by Christ or legitimacy for their sect. No, the Mormons have no claim to priesthood authority. Only those who are in apostolic succession from the original disciples have this authority given by Jesus Himself. There never were any angels named Peter, James or John but there were three disciples named St. Peter, St, James and St. John who were not resurrected as angels or anything else. They have died and are in heaven on the twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. So, any claim that the three disciples changed into angels and came back to earth is total nonsense.

(Laurel W) In our view, there was a need for it. There was a great apostasy (as stated in 2 Timothy), and thus a time on the earth where there was no true church.

(Cristoiglesia) This is not stated in 2 Timothy at all. No where in all of Scriptures is it stated that there will be a time when there would be no true Church? Such a belief is a direct attack on the veracity of Christ who stated that He had built an enduring Church that would last until the end of time. He stated that the gates of hell will never prevail against His Church. He further promised that His Church would be the “pillar and foundation of the truth.

Jesus said that He is the cornerstone and the disciples are the 12 foundation stones of the Church which apostolic succession is built upon. This is a firm foundation on stone and not one built on sand as you suggest. This is the leadership of the enduring Church that has lasted continuously for 2000 years and will last as Jesus said, until the Parousia. You have just called Jesus either an incompetent at best or a liar at worst in His promises about His Church. Such talk is blasphemy.

(Laurel W) The Catholic church was establihed by Constantine. Before that, there had been many sects which had fallen away from the truth. He did the best he could to bring the beliefs together, and he established a church based on what he thought was the truth.

Constantine was an Emperor and never a leader of the Church. At the Edict of Milan he stopped the persecution of the Church which allowed freedom of worship of any religion within his empire. Certainly before his time there had been heretical groups like the Gnostics and Arians and one of these the Arians were condemned during his reign as emperor at the Council of Nicaea. The Church had fought off heresies that threatened the Church successfully. But, Constantine had nothing to do with the Church as he was a secular leader and not a member of the Church. Jesus is not a liar and the Church still prevails to this day as it has uninterruptedly for 2000 years just as Jesus said it would. It still has the unbroken leadership through apostolic succession. There is absolutely no historical evidence that supports your supposition.

(Laurel W) I will let you know that I do respect the Catholic church. I am glad you know the need of Priesthood authority. You may not agree with my views of the LDS church. That's OK.

(Cristoiglesia) Why would you respect a church that you believe is an apostate church or as you seen to allege a counterfeit of an apostate church. I do not agree with the Mormon sect because they by implication make Jesus into a liar in establishing His Church and what they do is not OK but is false teaching from the depths of hell.

(Laurel W) Frankly, I think we are the only two Christian churches which have a leg to stand on: the Catholics believe they were the original church, and the LDS believe the priesthood authority was taken from the earth for a time, but brought back personally by those who had the proper priesthood authority (other keys were restored as well). Other Christian churches are break-offs. I do not expect you to convert or believe my religion or anything. I just want you to know that our stand on the priesthood is legitimate.

(Cristoiglesia) The Mormons have no legitimate priesthood or authority. Jesus established only one enduring Church of which the Catholic Church is testimony to His veracity in His promises to humanity about His Church. The Catholic Church is the only Church established by Jesus and the apostles and is the original Church. It was not founded by a Roman emperor as you claim but Jesus as the Bible claims. The leadership of Christ’s Church has been continuous and the Church has never, nor will it ever be without the same leadership established by Jesus. Other ecclesiastical groups calling themselves “Christian” did come from the Catholic Church. Even your group came out of the Protestant movement and originated with the Campbellite heresies. Sidney Rigdon the believed author of the Book of Mormon was a Campbellite. But, your group has departed so far into apostasy that it can not make a legitimate claim as a “Christian” sect in that you deny the very foundation of Christian belief which is God being the God of the Trinity. Yours is a false Gospel and your Church is described in Scriptures thusly:

Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

What you described in 2 Timothy is prophesying the coming of the Protestant and subsequently Restorationist movements like yourself and not the fall of the one true Church. It is speaking of those who fall away from the vine.

2Ti 4:3 For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers having itching ears:
2Ti 4:4 And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables.

I say these things in the spirit of St. Paul who instructed us to endure in the truth:

2Ti 4:2 Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine.

The Catholic Church and its priesthood established by Christ still stands as a shining city on a hill as testimony to the veracity of Christ and that He is everything He said He is. The Church will forever testify to the truth in Christ. Yours is the counterfeit church doing the work of Satan and separating some from the truth in Christ. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

22 August, 2009

Discussion with "saved by faith" about the Protestant heresy of eternal security

(Saved by Faith) Twisting scripture as you all see fit seriously your barking up the wrong tree, most Christians won't argue with Catholics but i am the exception.

(Cristoiglesia) I would not think of “twisting Scriptures” or using eisegesis which is so common with Protestant apologists. I am always amazed at how bold they are in ripping verses out of context to support their presuppositions and heresies.

I am afraid that if you are looking for an argument then you are having a discussion with the wrong person. I will simply explain to you how orthodox Christian teaching is different from your beliefs. You can accept the teaching of Christ and the disciples as taught by the teaching authority of His Church or reject the teaching for your doctrines of men, the choice is yours. Hopefully if this does not change your point of view it will be beneficial to others who are deceived by false teaching. As for you I can only pray that the seed that is planted will grow on fertile ground and that you will be encouraged to study and respond to the Holy Spirit which calls you to His Church.

(Saved by Faith) To teach that men can lose salvation is to place the responsibility of salvation upon man's self-righteousness, i.e., if I do something wrong than I can forfeit my salvation. Nothing could be further from the truth.

(Cristoiglesia) First of all you start off with the wrong premise by believing that one can be self-righteous. All righteousness comes from God through His grace. Salvation is God’s work in us which is why He gave us the Paraclete to guide and inspire the Church as a community and to guide us individually to truth. Our initial salvation begins a journey that if we continue on the path to the narrow gate it will result in sanctification and final salvation.

Mat 7:13 Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat.

Mat 7:14 How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!

If we do not endure in our faith and fall away we will lose the race. We must continue to believe. (Note: In the Koine Greek the verb is subjunctive mood and means continues to believe)

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting.

There are dozens of other Scripture references that teach that we must endure and St. Paul said:

Php 2:12 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only but much more now in my absence) with fear and trembling work out your salvation.

Here is what the prophet Ezekiel says about a righteous man and see if it sounds like the righteous are guaranteed eternal security……

(Eze 3:20 DRB) Moreover if the just man shall turn away from his justice, and shall commit iniquity: I will lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die, because thou hast not given him warning: he shall die in his sin, and his justices which he hath done, shall not be remembered: but I will require his blood at thy hand.

(Eze 18:24 DRB) But if the just man turn himself away from his justice, and do iniquity according to all the abominations which the wicked man useth to work, shall he live? all his justices which he hath done, shall not be remembered: in the prevarication, by which he hath prevaricated, and in his sin, which he hath committed, in them he shall die.

The same teaching is repeated by St. Paul in His letter to the Romans lest one say that this prophecy only applies to the OC……

(Rom 8:13 DRB) For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die: but if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live.

(Rom 6:16 DRB) Know you not that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are whom you obey, whether it be of sin unto death or of obedience unto justice.

St. Paul’s teaching is full of warnings against lawlessness and false security regarding our salvation as well as the teaching of St. James…….

(Gal 5:19 DRB) Now the works of the flesh are manifest: which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury,

(Gal 5:20 DRB) Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects,

(Gal 5:21 DRB) Envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God.

(Gal 6:8 DRB) For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh of the flesh also shall reap corruption. But he that soweth in the spirit of the spirit shall reap life everlasting.

(Gal 6:9 DRB) And in doing good, let us not fail. For in due time we shall reap, not failing.

(Jam 1:14 DRB) But every man is tempted by his own concupiscence, being drawn away and allured.

(Jam 1:15 DRB) Then, when concupiscence hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin. But sin, when it is completed, begetteth death.

(Jam 1:16 DRB) Do not err, therefore, my dearest brethren.

We know that both St. Paul and St. James were speaking to and about believers as St. James confirms in the following verses lest there be any doubt….

(Jam 5:19 DRB) My brethren, if any of you err from the truth and one convert him:

(Jam 5:20 DRB) He must know that he who causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his way shall save his soul from death and shall cover a multitude of sins.

Jesus taught of the necessity of keeping the Word and of the consequences of not keeping the Word once received…..

(Joh 8:51 DRB) Amen, amen, I say to you: If any man keep my word, he shall not see death for ever.

(Joh 11:25 DRB) Jesus said to her: I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live:

(Joh 11:26 DRB) And every one that liveth and believeth in me shall not die for ever. Believest thou this?

(Luk 8:13 DRB) Now they upon the rock are they who when they hear receive the word with joy: and these have no roots: for they believe for a while and in time of temptation they fall away.

Now, those teaching the false doctrine of OSAS will defend their views with saying that those who continue in lawlessness never were saved to begin with and it was a false eternal security that they received. The Bible clearly contradicts such a belief because it states that those who fell away were believers……..

(Act 17:11 DRB) Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, who received the word with all eagerness, daily searching the scriptures, whether these things were so.

(Act 17:12 DRB) And many indeed of them believed: and of honourable women that were Gentiles and of men, not a few.

Even St. Paul recognized that the righteous were in danger of falling away when He said:

(1Co 9:27 DRB) But I chastise my body and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway.

St. Paul clarified his view and teaching in the following ……

(Phi 2:12 DRB) Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only but much more now in my absence) with fear and trembling work out your salvation.

Even in the salvation chair passage of John 3:16 and also John 11:25-26 we find that in the Greek that a continuing tense is used in the word believe which clearly shows that we must “continue to believe” and not a one time belief for eternal security.

Here are a few more verses that emphasize our continuing belief and sanctification and warnings that the faithful can and often do fall away…..

(Rev 3:2 DRB) Be watchful and strengthen the things that remain, which are ready to die. For I find not thy works full before my God.

(Rev 2:10 DRB) Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer. Behold, the devil will cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried: and you shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful unto death: and I will give thee the crown of life.

(Rev 2:11 DRB) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches: He that shall overcome shall not be hurt by the second death.

(1Jo 5:16 DRB) He that knoweth his brother to sin a sin which is not to death, let him ask: and life shall be given to him who sinneth not to death. There is a sin unto death. For that I say not that any man ask.

(Saved by Faith) When the prodigal son deliberately left home, and went into sin--carefully notice that the father didn't disown him. The son was still loved and missed by his father. No matter what crimes the son may have committed, he was still a son. Do you think God is less righteous? Shame on those who teach that God casts out His children.

(Cristoiglesia) Of course God is righteous and charitable but you are forgetting that He is also the God of Justice. God expresses His love not only in continuing to draw us to Him and providing us with grace but also by allowing us free will to continue in our faith to Him or to reject Him as the previous verses indicate. If the Prodigal son had not returned to his father, his father would have never stopped loving him but would not have gone to him and forced him to return either. The prodigal son was not cast out by his father but left freely and returned freely to his family. God allows us to leave by choice and through sin and allows us to return and reconcile back into the family by contrite confession.

(Saved by Faith) It is true that, as Christians, we do sometimes walk away from God; but He is still faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1st John 1:9). There is no depth of sin to which a person can go, but that God will still forgive them if they SEEK it (Isaiah 1:18). What a wonderful Savior!

(Cristoiglesia) Yes but if we do not confess our sins with a contrite heart we continue to be separated from the familial relationship of our initial salvation by that sin.

(Saved by Faith)If we see that the scriptures exclude works in any form as a means of our salvation, then logically, we are saved by faith alone. Let's take a look at what the Bible says about faith and works. Then, afterwards, we will tackle James' statement about "faith alone".

Rom 3:28 For we account a man to be justified by faith, without the works of the law.

Rom 3:29 Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? yes, of the Gentiles also.

Rom 3:30 For it is one God that justifieth circumcision by faith and uncircumcision through faith.

Rom 3:31 Do we then, destroy the law through faith? God forbid! But we establish the law.

(Cristoiglesia) St. Paul is teaching the Jews that they are not saved by the law of Moses. St Paul makes it clear that one cannot be justified by the virtue of faith alone as this is the opposite of the of the Gospel and the teaching of the apostles. In verses 20 and 28 he says that man is justified without the works of the law. What he is teaching is that the works of law and any other works are insufficient for justification by themselves unless joined to faith and Gods grace. No where does he teach faith alone as a means of justification. In chapter 2:6 of this epistle that God judges man according to our works and in 2:13 that not just the hearer of the law are justified but those who do the works. In Chapter 5:6 that our faith must be working in charity and repeats this same theme in 1 Cor 7:19. St. James tells us also that works with our faith are dead works.

God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

20 August, 2009

Discussion with Joshsy about the veracity of the Book of Mormon

(Cristoiglesia) I did not see any marks of Christ but instead the inspired work of Satan.

(Joshsy) A very bold statement!

I'll go on the record defending the Book of Mormon; Over one-half of all the verses in the Book of Mormon refer to our Lord. Some form of Christ’s name is mentioned more frequently per verse in the Book of Mormon than even in the New Testament.

He is given over one hundred different names in the Book of Mormon. Those names have a particular significance in describing His divine nature.

You're not the first Catholic clergyman I've spoken to about this; Sister Domenica Patienza in Rome, linguistic assistant to John Paul II felt differently. Padre Roberto Bossi in Trieste found the words moving enough that he left his position as a priest and was baptized into the LDS church. Several other priests spoke with me often, read with me, and spent time with me. All were offered, and most accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon; aside from Roberto all retained their faith in the Catholic church yet spoke highly of my faith.

I'm wondering what's so different with you?

I would never dare claim your church to be inspired of Satan; nor would I point to a book that has increased faith in Christ among so many as devilish.

Do you have any possible justification for calling it inspired by Satan. What horrible notion do you think comes from it to negate 4000 references to Christ and a lot of teachings that you know inspire people to be Christ-like?

(Cristoiglesia) I have a copy of the Book of Mormon in my bookcase above my desk as well as the D&C and The Pearl of Great Price.

What is so different with me is that by the grace of God I am not so easily deceived into the snare of Satan.

It is time for you to be honest and quit trying to be deceptive. You have no respect for the Catholic Church. Your founders proclaim that the Church founded by Jesus fell into apostasy despite the promises of Jesus that the gates of Hell will NEVER prevail against His Church. He called His Church an enduring Church until the end of the age, referring to the Parousia. His Church is built on a solid foundation of Himself as the cornerstone and the disciples as the 12 foundation stones which we see built on by apostolic succession. Your Church says by implication that He was incompetent in founding His leadership and that the Church founded by Christ and the disciples fell into apostasy immediately after the death of the disciples. This is a direct attack by your founder and leadership on the veracity of Christ’s promises. You further claim that the Church remained apostate for 1800 years until your founder Joseph Smith and his corroborator Sidney Rigdon restored the Church and usurped Christ’s name. How does one restore something that Jesus said would always endure? One cannot! You claim authority that Jesus gave only to His Church. You claim a counterfeit Gospel. You are false teachers whom the Bible describes as ravaging wolves preying on those weak in knowledge and in faith. The Bible describes Mormons and other heretics as those unable to endure sound doctrine and promises that their continuing in their heretical ways will result in an eternity in the lake of fire as the unknowns to God. You claim to increase the faith in Christ but your teaching is of a false Christ than the one of Scriptures who you claim in the BoM created his own counterfeit church by implication to the one He originally created in Jerusalem. It is the devil that appears as an angel of light to deceive the world. He did it first with Eve and did it also with Mohammad and does it again with Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. Truly all teach doctrines of devils. Being Christ-like is to do God’s will and not to be deceived into believing that one can be a God also but instead to serve the one true God of the Trinity which is the source of our divine unity. This is the original temptation of Satan in the Garden appealing to human desire and ambition instead of selfless devotion. Satan keeps using the tried and true tricks to deceive men and man continues to be tempted by the same Satanic promises. Even Satan is not so bold as to attack directly Christ’s Church but uses gullible men to prove to some that Christ is a liar. He is not!

1 Timothy 3:15 (King James Version)

15But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph