A Friend Meets Mormon Missionaries

by Steve Ray on June 24, 2011

Fr. Tom Smith, from a long line of Mormons back to Joseph Smith, tells why he converted to the Catholic Church. Read it HERE

A friend wrote about Mormons below:

I was doing a little shopping that day. Since I was in the neighborhood of a friend, I thought, I will stop by for a little visit. When I rang the doorbell, she came to the door and appeared unusually welcoming.

I walked in and off to my left I saw a couple of suits sitting in the living room and I’m thinking, oh boy, the Mormons are here. I was hungry and I wasn’t in a Mormon talking mood! And so I mentioned that I couldn’t stay long I was just stopping by and I was on my way to get something to eat. I didn’t know anything about Mormons; I was just trying to get out of there.

It is kind of like the Jonah and the whale thing, God was calling me one way and I was trying to go another. No, I was not swallowed by a whale! How could I, she wouldn’t let me out of the house. She said; “I have some nice warm rolls for you!”

mormon03So anyway, now I am sitting in her living room. One Mormon was sitting on the couch and the other was sitting on the floor. I asked them who was they’re founder? They said, Joseph Smith. I asked them, when was their church founded and they told me 1830. I then asked them what happened to the church between the death of last Apostle and 1830 when your church was founded. They said that the church had apostatized and there was no true Church in all of those centuries.

This came as a surprise to me because I had never heard anyone say there was no true church lasting for centuries, up to the point of the foundation of their particular Church. I mentioned to them that it was Jesus who said, the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church. “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church and THE GATES OF THE NETHER WORLD WILL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven” (Mt. 16:18-19).

If the Church had apostatized and there was no one true Church for all those centuries then the Bible was wrong. This would mean that the gates of hell did prevail against the Church and Jesus is either a liar or sadly mistaken and that I could not accept either of these scenarios. So then I asked them, what they had to say about this. The Mormon sitting on the floor looked up at the other and said; “You can answer this one!” Of course they didn’t have an answer. Afterward my friend admitted she had said a prayer that I would show up.

The point is this; there has to be ONE true Church established by Jesus Christ in every century or the gates of Hell did prevail against it, in those centuries and the Bible and Jesus are wrong.

In the Apostles Creed it says; “I believe in ONE holy catholic and Apostolic Church.” This is the same creed that is said in Catholic, Lutheran and some other Protestant Churches. But, was the Church really ONE as we say in the Apostles Creed? Or was the Church an abstract invisible reality that embraces a multitude of contradictory theologies? What does the Bible say?

Jesus said; “May they all be ONE, just as, Father, you are in me and I am in you, so that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me. I have given them the glory you gave to me, that they may be ONE as we are ONE. With me in them and you in me, may they be so perfected in UNITY that the world will recognize that it was you who sent me and that you have loved them as you have loved me” (Jn 17:21:23).

The Apostle Paul said; “Take every care to preserve the UNITY of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together. There is ONE Body, ONE Spirit, just as ONE hope is the goal of your calling by God. There is ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, and ONE God and Father of all, over all, through all and within all” (Eph 4:3-6).

I can believe Jesus and Paul who say the Church must be ONE or I can believe those who say the Church is a multitude of contradictory theologies. The Church was and is ONE; and it has been ONE in every generation up to the present.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Alma June 24, 2011 at 1:18 PM

“If the Church had apostatized and there was no one true Church for all those centuries then the Bible was wrong.”

Another possibility is that you’re relying on a mistaken interpretation of the Bible. That’s the problem with either/or scenarios. They only allow one of two possible options when in reality there are generally more than two. Usually, when someone quotes Matt 16:18-19 they do so from the perspective that the gates would be attacking the Church rather than the other way around. Gates aren’t offensive weapons; they’re designed to keep out attackers. The apostles (especially Peter) were given the ability to overcome those gates; but that was not a promise that there would be no apostasy. Subsequent scripture and events demonstrate that the apostles warned about, and expected an apostasy. Those missionaries were simply spreading the news that God has extended his hand again to restore His kingdom again on the earth–with apostles and prophets as in ancient times.

Jim June 24, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Joseph Smith was a Mason. It has been said that there are similarities between the rituals of the two
organizations. Masonry is contrary to Christianity. So is mormonism.

The Catholic Church gave us the Bible. The first affirmation of the canon was in 382 in the Council of Rome.

There was NEVER an apostasy. If you don’t look at the HISTORY of the Catholic Church through the ages,
then you can’t prove anything.

Dr. Eric June 24, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Alma is assuming that the Book of Mormon is true. The Book of Alma 7:10 states that:

“And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.”

Hmmmm, where was Jesus born?

Contrast the above passage from the false prophet Joseph Smith to the Holy Scripture:

“When Jesus therefore was born in Bethlehem of Juda, in the days of king Herod, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem. Saying, Where is he that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to adore him. And king Herod hearing this, was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And assembling together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where Christ should be born. But they said to him: In Bethlehem of Juda. For so it is written by the prophet:

“And thou Bethlehem the land of Juda art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come forth the captain that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, privately calling the wise men, learned diligently of them the time of the star which appeared to them; And sending them into Bethlehem, said: Go and diligently inquire after the child, and when you have found him, bring me word again, that I also may come to adore him.” -St Matthew 2:1-8

Lisa June 24, 2011 at 5:48 PM

Since Alma is using an interpretation of a Bible verse for her argument, I have a few questions:

1. Do you believe the Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God?

2. Do you believe the Bible has all the correct books?

3. When do you believe the Great Apostasy occurred? Most people who accept this idea place it at around 100 A.D. with the death of the last apostle or no later than 200 A.D by which time all the Christians who had been followers of the apostles had passed away.

4. Who spiritually led the Church after the Great Apostasy?

5. How and when was the Bible canonized? Most Christians accept this occurred at Church councils in the late 4th and early 5th centuries.

6. Finally, if you believe the Church had fallen into apostasy well before this time, why do you believe the Christian Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God if it was formulated by a Church led by someone other than God?

Just wondering…

Thank you to Catholic Digital Studio and its videos for helping me to formulate this comment. :)

Alma June 24, 2011 at 10:14 PM

Dr. Eric:

Much has been written to explain the comment of my namesake claiming about 100 BC that Christ would be born “at” Jerusalem, “the land” of their forefathers. For anyone interested in a lengthy and erudite treatment of the subject, I recommend http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/transcripts/?id=37

For those less inclined to wade through four or five pages, I suggest that you consider the fact that Alma said “at” Jerusalem rather than “in” Jerusalem. In English, “at” is less specific than “in” and denotes general vicinity and direction towards. Bethlehem is, (from the perspective of the New World) in the region of Jerusalem (5 miles distant). Just as Peter could stand and warm himself “at” the fire and not be “in” the fire, (Mark 14:54) Jesus was born in the “land of Jerusalem” though not in the city.

Alma June 25, 2011 at 12:14 AM

Lisa:

(I’m a guy, most Mormons named “Alma” are.)

1. Yes I believe the Bible is divinely inspired.
2. Not entirely; and I’d have to qualify that by asking “which Bible?”
3. The precise date is unknown; but certainly was complete by 350 AD.
4. The premise of an apostasy is that God withdrew his leaders from the earth. At that point, there was no longer a church recognized by God as His, so there was no Church after the apostasy.
5. The collection of sacred literature was largely accomplished by the councils–but the canon never was firmly established for all Christians. The Protestants do have a different canon than the Catholics and the Orthodox (and Copts for that matter.)
6. The concept of an apostasy does not preclude God’s continued direction and inspiration in many matters–including the selection and preservation of a canon. I don’t doubt that many Catholic saints and Protestants were directed by God in many matters.

I hope that my answers were satisfactory.

Alma

The Sarge June 25, 2011 at 8:48 AM

Whether the answers were satisfactory or not, I couldn’t say, but the reasoning escapes me.

Tom Govern June 27, 2011 at 11:45 PM

Dear Alma,
The most direct anser that I have ever received about where the “Church” went was “up to heaven” for about 1800 years. Also, most Mormons say that the apostasy was complete with the death of the last Apostle. However, since John never died (D &C 7) that date has not yet ocurred. Anyway, the Mormon Church is not a Christian Church as it seperates itself intentionly from the teaching accepted as Christian.
I would welcome a discourse if you like. My direct Email is tgovern@comcast.net..
God Bless you in your journey.
Tom Govern
PS. What is your real name?

Alma June 28, 2011 at 6:50 PM

It seems that my answer that the Church ceased to exist is at least as direct the claim that it went to heaven. I have a little difficulty answering for “most Mormons;” but as you see by my answer above, I wrote that the apostasy was complete when God withdrew his leaders from the earth. Since I’m aware of the LDS teaching that John and 3 Nephites were translated, I could hardly have claimed that the last apostle died.

The idea of what constitutes a “Christian” Church largely is in the eye of the beholder. I generally appeal to scripture for definitions rather than theological constructions–which is probably why you don’t think Mormons are Christians and I think they are (as well as Catholics, JW’s, Baptists and Methodists). I don’t really care what someone’s theology is if he claims to be a disciple of Christ. Probably you see the term as signifying more than designating a disciple, and probably extend it to mean someone you have fellowship with or believe is saved. If that’s your definition, and I were to employ it, I’d say you aren’t a Christian either. However, I don’t think that we can appropriate definitions of words to match preconceptions. If you don’t think I’m saved and recognize that we don’t share religious fellowship, that doesn’t necessarily fit under the rubric of the word “Christian.”

I’ll drop you a line. My real name is Alma Allred and you can also email me by clicking on the email link at my rarely used blog. I don’t post my email because that’s one way to get spam as bots troll through sites looking for email addresses.

Steve Ray June 28, 2011 at 9:35 PM

From a long line of Mormons back to Joseph Smith, Fr. Tom Smith explains why he became Catholic here http://whyimcatholic.com/index.php/conversion-stories/mormon-converts/item/76-mormon-convert-thomas-smith

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