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

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