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

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