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

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