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For LDS only...some tricky questions

Discussion in 'Latter-day Saints DIR' started by Truth_Faith13, Feb 27, 2016.

  1. Clear

    Clear Well-Known Member
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    POST TWO OF TWO


    APOSTASY AMONG THE CHRISTIANS
    I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.(gal 1:6-7)

    Individuals quote (and often mis-use) Gal 1:6 as only regarding latter day apostasy when it applied to the Galations themselves and apostasy among the earliest Christians themselves. However, the same pattern of innovation and apostasy that became prominent among the Jews became a pattern within Christianity.

    For example : Clement discusses this same unrelenting tendency to conflict, schism and apostasy among the earliest Christians in the very early text of 1st Clement : “Why is there strife and angry outbursts and dissension and schisms and conflict among you? Do we not have one God and one Christ and one Spirit of grace which was poured out upon us? And is there not one calling in Christ? Why do we tear and rip apart the members of Christ, and rebel against our own body, and reach such a level of insanity that we forget that we are members of one another? ...Your schism has perverted many; it has brought many to despair, plunged many into doubt, and caused all of us to sorrow. And yet your rebellion still continues!(1st Clement 46:5-9)

    Such schisms were not simply the hypocrites who did not live the law, but they often resulted from Christians who think they know the “real” Christianity and wanted to teach their interpretations to others. Among these were ones described as “Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.“ (1 Tim 1:6-7) Their motives were NOT necessarily to HARM the Christian religion, but instead They are trying to HELP God by offering their interpretations of religion.

    This apostasy is not simply a phenomenon of our time, but it happened in the early congregations and from the earliest time Christians were given the gospel and, it is NOT the anti-Christians in the main, who changed Christianity from without, but it is the Christian disciples themselves who are changing doctrines from within the christian movement itself as the early text from the Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah reminds us :

    And afterwards, at his approach, his disciples will abandon the teaching of the twelve apostles, and their faith, and their love, and their purity. And there will be much contention at his coming and at his approach. And in those days (there will be) many who will love office, although lacking wisdom. And there will be many wicked elders and shepherds who wrong their sheep, (and they will be rapacious because they do not have holy shepherds). And many will exchange the glory of the robes of the saints for the robes of those who love money; and there will be much respect of persons in those days, and lovers of the glory of this world. And there will be many slanderers and [much] vainglory at the approach of the Lord, and the Holy Spirit will withdraw from many. And in those day there will not be many prophets, nor those who speak reliable words, except one here and there in different places, because of the spirit of error and of fornication, and of vainglory, and of the love of money, which there will be among those who are said to be servants of the One, and among those who receive that One. 29 And among the shepherds and the elders there will be great hatred towards one another. 30 For there will be great jealousy in the last days, for everyone will speak whatever pleases him in his own eyes. 31 And they will neglect (gr) the prophecy of the prophets who were before me, and my visions also...they will make ineffective, in order that they may speak what bursts out of their heart.”(Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah . 3:21-31)

    The difficulty for non-historian Christians is that they are often unaware of "doctrinal shifts" and "evolutions" of "orthodoxy" over time. So much so, that they are often disoriented by early Christian doctrines and traditions. Add to this, the difficulty caused by lack of insight among the religious resulting in the inability to see that all of us interpret according to our bias (myself included), AND, we all have bias, and we all teach according to our own bias. The end result is that we tend to innovate and guess and use imperfect logic in our interpretations of religion and the net result is that we move away from original and authentic religion to our own versions of it. Even if we hold to the most basic text as a "canon", we still tend to innovate and interpret and change that "canons" text to reflect our personal beliefs. It is a very difficult situation.

    The centuries following the death of Christ were described by a logia of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas as follows :

    Jesus said, “The kingdom of the [father] is like a certain woman who was carrying a [jar] full of meal. While she was walking [on the] road, still some distance from home, the handle of the jar broke and the meal emptied out behind her [on] the road. She did not realize it; she had noticed no accident. When she reached her house, she set the jar down and found it empty.

    This logia is one of many sad descriptions of the failed attempt to pass on the doctrines and traditions of the early Christianities to later generations. In the last days, when one looks inside of modern Christian Churches, often, one finds that most of the substance that gave the early Church its’ value, is no longer to be found in it.

    I think this concept that all men (ALL of us) tend to make cognitive and philosophical errors and then adopt them into our religious worldview is important since it is a concept all of us are subject to. Though the vast majority of complaints of apostasy are aimed outward or often drift toward apostasy in the early Roman Religious Movement, still, all individuals within all other movements are subject to the same principle of error. The LDS ought to be reminded regarding how many times their leaders have called them to repentance on some principle or another. This reminder of their own calls to repent ought to tell them that they as individuals, share the same weakness and tendency to get things wrong, to get doctrines wrong, to develop bad habits, to apostatize from an original and authentic principle toward the adoption of incorrect beliefs and / or habits.

    The early Christians were no different in their tendency to come to erroneous conclusions, except that they had leaders who received living, on-going revelation for the religious movement and individuals as Christians were also able to receive living revelation for their own lives. It was living revelation which, to a certain extent, allowed them to more accurately adjust and compensate (“repent”) and change their thoughts and actions on points of importance.


    We are not talking about individuals who are evil, but individuals who may be wonderful and moral and good, but who simply get things wrong and as the errors accumulate, at some point, a repair and reorientation of their ideas and actions needs to take place in the same way that we constantly make adjustments in speed and direction when we drive our car. IF these tiny (and sometimes large) corrections are not made, we will be taken into directions and conditions that will cause us and others, harm.



    2) REGARDING THE CHURCH GUARANTEEING SALVATION THROUGH ORDINANCE
    I very much agree with Katzpur. The church does not and cannot guarantee salvation by a simple ordinance. Outward ordinances, by themselves are of no value, and are NOT independent of the persons relationship to God and other principles.

    For example, when speaking of hypocrites who recieve ordinances but who have not changed their own hearts, the early Jewish documents point out that ordinances do not do anything for them : “
    Ceremonies of atonement cannot restore his innocence, neither cultic waters his purity. He cannot be sanctified by baptism in oceans and rivers, nor purified by mere ritual bathing. Unclean, unclean shall he be all the days that he rejects the laws of God, refusing to be disciplined in the Yahad of His society. For only through the spirit pervading God’s true society can there be atonement for a man’s ways, all of his iniquities; thus only can he gaze upon the light of life and so be joined to his truth by his Holy Spirit, purified from all iniquity. Through an upright and humble attitude his sin may be covered, and by humbling himself before all God’s laws his flesh can be made clean. Only thus can he really receive the purifying waters and be purged by the cleansing flow. 1QS, 4Q255-264a, 5Q11 Col. 3

    Phillip describes in simple logic, those who are baptized without being honest of heart (and who then are not given the gift of the Holy Ghost by God because their hearts are not right)

    If one goes down into the water and comes up without having received anything and says, “I am a Christian,” he has borrowed the name at interest. But if he receives the Holy spirit, he has the name as a gift. He who has received a gift does not have to give it back, but of him who has borrowed it at interest, payment is demanded. The gospel of Phillip;

    Joseph Smith makes a similar point : “You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost” (Hch, 5:499). Smiths' declaration in in agreement with the ancient concept that ordinances themselves are of no value in and of themselves without authentic relationship with and the intervention of a loving and patient God.



    Good luck in your journey True_Faith13;

    Clear
    φιφυσεσιω
     
    #261 Clear, Nov 12, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016
  2. Orontes

    Orontes Master of the Horse

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    Hello,

    I have been reading the posts in this thread, particularly the questions and answers. I think it's good you have settled on questions that are your own, rather than pursuing a taxonomy of other's challenges that can only be curiosities.

    You have a couple replies to your questions, if I may also answer:

    1) Was there an apostasy?

    The existence or absence of an apostasy is a binary choice: it either did or did not occur. Christianity is a revealed religion. It also makes truth claims. Those truth claims have not remained stagnant. Therefore, how does one explain change ( doctrinal, ecclesiastical etc.) from what was the original Jesus Movement to what came after?*


    2) Can the Church declare someone as being guaranteed to attain the highest celestial kingdom?

    No, it cannot. The Church as an ecclesiastical body does not have the power to declare the final state of anyone.


    *A simple example is the concept of the Trinity. Trinitarianism is fundamental to most sects of Christianity. It came to be at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. How is it that from the Apostolic Age to the early phases of the Fourth Century this position did not exist? What is the justification for the change? What revelation was presented? What prophet was involved? Why would a pagan Roman emperor have authority to summon a Church Council? What authority did the convening bishops have to speak authoritatively on the metaphysics of Deity? Why is it that the metaphysical position from the Council would reflect Greek Thought, not anything from the Hebrew mind? The answer to such questions are clear if one understands there was an apostasy. If one opts for there being no apostasy, one must be prepared to explain.
     
    #262 Orontes, Nov 12, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016
  3. Truth_Faith13

    Truth_Faith13 Active Member

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    Thank-you Katz, Clear and Orontes for your replies.

    1) Apostasy! Can we go back to the beginning with this please? (Sorry Katz, I know we have talked about it before). I know LDS believe there are Bible passages which point to an apostasy? Which are these? And why do you believe they mean a total apostasy? I'm still struggling to see how an apostasy can be reconciled with Jesus' promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against his Church.

    Revelation... I know from a Catholic perspective (well at least I think from what I understand speaking to Catholics), revelation in the general sense ie the revelation of the Word (ie Jesus) has been fully revealed and the knowledge needed to obtain eternal life is known and nothing else will be revealed. However revelation in a personal sense is on going and God still speaks to the Church. I think they also believe that while doctrines cannot change, information regarding these doctrines can be brought forth using what has already been revealed so for them the Trinity would be them defining the nature of God using the knowledge that has already been revealed through the Word (Jesus) ie it's not new revelation regarding how one is saved. When new things occur in the world such as Contraception, they also use the knowledge/doctrines already in place which have not changed to determine whether the new issue/idea is in keeping with those doctrines. That's not to say the Catholic Church has never changed a doctrine (they say they haven't), I don't know.

    To give an LDS example, a completely new revelation would be the Temple Ordinances. If I understand correctly these are required to attain exaltation? I think its this type of revelation that the Catholics do not believe happens.

    Therefore I am not entirely sure *changes* necessarily mean that there was an apostasy especially if it's just understanding doctrines that have already been revealed.... nature of God, the atonement, salvation etc. I think they would also say that as Peter has the keys to the kingdom and authority to bind and loose, they would have the authority to interpret the revealed doctrines.

    Does that make sense?

    2) I'm not entirely sure how to ask this without being completely open about the ordinance. I understand my knowledge of the ordinance can only come from ex Mormons since I have never been in the Temple so it is possible they are making it up but I'm not sure if the Church teaches that judgement is for God alone, why they would have an ordinance that would seem to say otherwise.
     
  4. Jane.Doe

    Jane.Doe Active Member

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    LDS don't put revelation into boxes: God may reveal whatever God teams appropriate. This does not contradict the Truth already revealed, though it may change our fallible human perspective on it.

    One could easily argue that these existed in the NT times. Peter received the sealing power, Paul mentioned baptisms for the dead, etc. These were not "new" in this destination, merely the old restored.

    Yes, that is a common Catholic argument.

    I'm sorry I know I'm not the best person to ask about the apostasy-- to me it seems so self evident. For example, the many great abuses of the Catholic church. And the whole Catholic vs Eastern Orthodox vs Oriental Orthodox vs everyone else: these major schemes over doctrine were results of human power hungriness.



    All judgment in God's alone. The Church, the prophets, the priesthood, etc are nothing more that God's servants.



     
  5. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Hey, Truth. I've only got time to address this part of your post right now. The rest, I'll get to later. Don't apologize for bringing up the subject of the apostasy again. It's my favorite topic, and I never tire of exploring it as a critical piece of the puzzle.

    Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints often speak of a "Great Apostasy." What exactly do we mean by this?

    Even in Old Testament times, God's prophets warned that the time would come when the word of the Lord would not be found anywhere in the world.

    In Amos 8:11-12, we are told, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord; And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it."

    Contrary to most other Christian denominations, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints contends that this prophesy did, in fact, come to pass, and that shortly after the deaths of Christ's Apostles, the Church He personally established ceased to exist in its original form -- in other words that there was, for many, many years, a famine in the world "a famine of hearing the words of the Lord" and that, regardless of where one might wander in search of God's word, it could not be found.

    Throughout the New Testament, the Apostles also warned that this was to happen. Paul seemed particularly concerned about the infant Church and frequently voiced his concerns to the early Christians. Among his statements to Christ's followers, are these:

    Acts 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

    2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition…

    Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel…

    2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears…

    Paul made it absolutely clear that (1)the flock would not only be attacked, it would not be spared, (2) Christ would not return to the earth until this universal "falling away" or "apostasy" had taken place, (3) these things were already beginning to take place as he spoke, and (4) the doctrines taught by the Savior would, in time, cease to endure.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds that during the first few centuries after the Savior and His Apostles died, Christianity began to evolve into something quite different than it had originally been. While the Apostles, who assumed leadership over the Church after Christ's death, undoubtedly did everything within their power to preserve and strengthen the Church, there were, unfortunately, other forces at work. Within a matter of just a few years following their deaths, the simplicity and purity of Christ’s teachings had begun to undergo some rather significant changes. Greek philosophical thought corrupted such basic doctrines as the true nature of God and man’s relationship to Him, as learned but uninspired men sought to make this new religion more acceptable to the masses, and especially to the non-Jewish convert. Finally, and probably most important of all, God withdrew His priesthood from the earth. What did this mean? It meant that there was no one left who held the authority to act in His name. With God no longer directing the affairs of His Church, man was on his own. Through debate and discussion, by vote and by compromise, what we now know as “mainstream” Christianity emerged. Religious scholars describe this period of time in the Church as "The Hellenization of Christianity." We call it simply, "The Great Apostasy."

    Well, let me ask you this: How much of an apostasy would be acceptable to the Lord? If you were to add just a few drops of poison to a gallon of the purest water, would that water still be pure? Even if the water were 95% pure, you could no longer claim that it was "pure." So when you ask if the apostasy was a "total" one, try to think of it in those terms.

    When we speak of the "Great Apostasy," we certainly don't believe this to imply that Christianity either ceased to exist entirely or that all of the doctrines taught by "mainstream" Christianity are false. There have been true and devout Christians ever since the time of Christ. But the "fullness" of His gospel was taken from the earth, just as the ancient prophets said it would be. As important as the doctrines is the authority. Roman Catholicism at least recognizes the need for authority; this is one thing I admire about the Catholic Church.

    In Ephesians we read: "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive..."

    In other words, prophets and apostles were an essential part of the Church Jesus Christ established. They were its foundation. It wasn't just the words of the Apostles that would be needed until the Savior's return. It was individuals who held the same authority as the original twelve did and who functioned as they functioned in directing the affairs of the Church. Paul states that without this organizational structure, Christ’s followers would be like children, persuaded first one way and then another, and unable to distinguish between true and false doctrines, being subject to the teachings of those who were crafty and who desired to deceive them. He also pointed out that this organizational structure was to remain in place until we all became united in our faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ. I'm sure you'll agree that we aren't there yet. It was precisely because the Apostles were all killed and that the authority they held ceased to exist. Look what the result is: 30,000+ different denominations of Christianity. Just imagine how different things might have been today if there had been twelve Apostles leading Christ’s Church from the very beginning! We could look to them to for guidance and direction, knowing that they were called by the real Head of the Church to lead it in His physical absence. Bishops and archbishops and cardinals are not and never have been the same thing as apostles. And it is impossible for apostolic authority to exist without apostles.

    When you hear the phrase, "the gates of hell," what do you actually think of? Do you picture something out of Dante's Inferno? Do you picture "the Devil," an evil-faced creature surrounded in flames, horned, with a pitchfork, cloven feet and a long tail? This is not what "the gates of hell" is even referring to. Most Catholics think that "the gates of hell" not prevailing against the Church means that Satan and his followers wouldn't be able to overthrow it. Actually, most even take it so far as to mean, "Nothing will prevail against it!" And by this, they believe that Jesus promised that the Church He would personally establish would exist forever -- exactly as He intended it to.

    This is not what a first century Jewish convert to Christianity (I'm thinking of Christ's Apostles, since it was to them that the verse you are thinking of was addressed), would have thought of when they heard Jesus use the phrase, "the gates of hell." To them, this phrase would have simply meant the "entrance to the underworld/the realm where the dead awaited judgment." It would not have had any of the sinister connotations most Christians read into it today (e.g. "the powers of Satan, etc.). When Christ told His Apostles that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church, I believe He was saying that not even death would keep His gospel from being taught. During the three-day period between His death and His resurrection, He personally visited "the spirits in prison" (i.e. the underworld or realm of departed spirits) and taught them His gospel. I believe it continues to be preached there to this day, so that those who died without having heard it will be able to hear and accept it. The work of teaching the gospel today, however, is not being done by Christ, but by His followers, who have already accepted His atoning sacrifice on their behalf. Those in the spirit prison who accept the gospel when they receive it there will find their spirits released into a state of paradise where they will continue to await the resurrection and their judgment and admittance into Heaven. Thus, the gates of hell have not prevailed against Christ's Church and death does not mean that a non-believer will automatically end up in hell for eternity.

    I hope this helps.
     
    #265 Katzpur, Nov 13, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016
  6. Truth_Faith13

    Truth_Faith13 Active Member

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    Thank-you Katz for this! It does help! I can't see how the verses indicate that God would remove the priesthood from the earth though? Also I know how a Catholic would respond and would like you input if that's OK? They would said that these verses are referring tk a falling away at the end times.... ie when the Antichrist is revealed and Christ actually returns. They say since LDS believe the apostasy has already happened almost 2000 years ago, who is the Antichrist and why has Jesus not yet returned?
     
  7. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    We LDS often speak of the priesthood as being "removed" from the earth. Technically, I don't think that's an accurate way of putting it. Even after the apostles had all been martyred, there would have been other priesthood holders still alive, at least for a period of time. But since no new apostles had been called to replace the original ones, apostolic authority was lost. I know that most Christians will argue that Christ never intended there to be apostles after the original ones. But after Judas' suicide, Matthias was chosen to take his place. Paul was later called as an apostle, as was Barnabas, and James (Jesus' brother) is also mentioned as being as apostle. Clearly, the organization of Christ's Church was intended to include the offices of prophets and apostles. Apostles would have had to be ordained by other apostles, since any ordination can only be performed by someone who already has that degree of authority. In other words, a bishop can't ordain a person to the apostleship, but an apostle could ordain someone as a bishop. The bottom line is that without apostolic authority and leadership, each congregation would have ended up being completely autonomous. Whatever a bishop chose to teach would be accepted as true doctrine. Without apostles around to maintain the purity of the doctrines, sooner or later, the introduction of false doctrines would have been inevitable. And without the established and trusted leadership, you'd have various individuals vying for supremacy. What rationale can anyone come up with to support the idea that the Bishop of Rome was to have any authority over any other bishops throughout the Christian world? That would be like saying that some LDS bishop in London today should be able to dictate to all of the other bishops throughout Great Britain how the scriptures were supposed to be interpreted. So, I'd say that rather than thinking that "God removed the priesthood," what really happened was that it was lost over a period of time. And if that was the case, it could only be restored by the one whose priesthood it actually was -- Jesus Christ.

    Absolutely, although you wouldn't even need to tell me how they'd respond, as I've heard the responses for years and years and years. ;) (I don't like these new smilies. This winking one looks so sarcastic and mean.)

    Well, if you will reread my previous post, and pay attention to Paul's words, in particular, he definitely appears to be quite concerned about the situation as it existed in his day. It doesn't take much effort to sense the urgency he feels about the events he was actually witnessing. By the way, have you ever heard of the book, "The Great Apostasy"? It was written by James E. Talmage, back in 1909. Talmage, incidentally, was an English chemist and geologist. He was called as an apostle in 1911 and held that position until his death in 1933. There have been numerous books written about "the Great Apostasy" (as we call it), but this one remains a sort of LDS classic, kind of the definitive work on the subject. You pick up a copy for next to nothing through Amazon; you might want to give it a read. I believe his book to contain some very concrete evidence that an apostasy did, in fact, take place. It does so from a historical perspective, examining how and when various doctrines were changed over time.

    As to why we believe that if the Apostasy took place almost 2000 years ago, Jesus hasn't yet returned, well, if you will read Revelation (in particular, although other books in the New Testament are also useful), you will see that there are quite a number of events which must take place prior to the Second Coming. Never in the Bible are we told that there will be an apostasy, followed by a restoration, followed by an immediate Second Coming. I've also had people ask me why God would have waited until 1830 to re-establish the original Church. To me, that one's almost a no-brainer. Can you even imagine what would have happened had there been an attempt at a restoration during the Crusades, during the Spanish Inquisition, or even during William Tyndale's day? The Restoration took place when it did because it's the first time it could have happened and actually succeeded.
     
  8. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    I'd say they are essentially correct in believing that the gospel of Jesus Christ was fully revealed. They are, however, assuming that none of the truths He taught were lost or corrupted over time. I mean, that's one way of looking at it, but I think the evidence leads to the opposite conclusion.

    As an example of what I mean, let's look, for a minute, at the Church's canon. In 1740, a list of the canonical books compiled in Rome just prior to 200 A.D. was discovered in the Ambrosian Libary in Milan, Italy. Missing from the accepted canon in 200 A.D. were Hebrews, James, 1 Peter and 2 Peter. Only two of John's letters were considered canonical, not three, but we don't know for sure which two. The Apocalypse of Peter and the Wisdom of Solomon, however, were included. Eusebius of Caesara, one of the most notable Church historians to have ever lived, described (in about 300 A.D.) a canon which included only twenty-seven of the books in today's New Testament. Hebrews, James, and 2 Peter were described as "questionable," as were Jude and Revelation. In the fourth century, St. Gregory of Nazianzus continued to reject Revelation and states, "You have all. If there is any any besides these, it is not among the genuine [books]." The canon he set forth was ratified some three centuries later. The Greek Codex Claromontanus, one of the most significant New Testament manuscripts, contains a list of the canonical books of the fourth century. (The manuscript itself originates in the sixth century, however most scholars believe that the actual list dates back to the Alexandrian Church from two centuries earlier.) That list did not exclude Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians or Hebrews. But guess what? It does include the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas. And what about Paul's epistle to the Laodiceans? Why was it less authoritative than his other epistles? It's mentioned in Colossians 4:16. Obviously, it was considered authoritative at the time it was written. Paul also wrote an additional epistle to the Ephesians and another to the Corinthians. When did his "apostolic authorship" come into question? Jude, too, wrote another epistle. Why was it omitted from the today's canon? Catholics love to point out that it was Roman Catholicism that preserved and compiled the biblical canon. I have no problem with that claim. What I have a problem with is the number of changes that took place in it over time. How does a document go from being "God-breathed" from being "not God-breathed" to once again being "God-breathed"? Had God been involved in the process of establishing the Christian canon, why did it take so long for "the Church" to come to a decision as to what was supposed to be considered doctrinally binding and what was not? If "the Word has been fully revealed" why did it change so drastically, just within the space of two centuries?

    I hear contradictory statements from Catholics as to whether God still speaks to the Church or not. On one hand, I hear Catholics say that revelation ceased upon the death of the Apostles. Then, some Catholic will say, "Well, not exactly." So did it or didn't it?

    The doctrine of the Trinity is an excellent example. Let's look at my "favorite" :rolleyes: of the various creeds set forth by the Catholic Church, the Athanasian Creed. It dates from a couple of centuries after the Nicene Creed. Apparently, the Nicene creed wasn't "clear" enough for the general Christian populace. When you read it, note the lines I've underlined below:

    Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith;
    Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
    And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity...
    He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.
    This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully, cannot be saved.


    As to the idea that "it's not new revelation regarding how one is saved," it seems to me to be exactly that! One cannot claim that the creeds don't add anything to what the Bible has to say (about the nature of God) and that they merely "clarify" what the Bible has to say, and then turn around and in the next breath insist that accepting what the Bible has to say isn't good enough, that it's necessary to not only believe what the Bible has to say, but what the creeds say as well. If the creeds have truly added nothing to what the Bible says, they cannot be said to be essential to salvation by a Church that claims revelation to have ceased at the end of the apostolic era. And if a person must believe the creeds in order to be saved, Christ's apostles have got to be in a world of hurt. As hard as you may search, you will find nothing spoken by the apostles that even approaches what the creed I just posted says.

    And we haven't even touched on the councils that established these creeds. I don't know much about how the Athanasian Creed came to be established, but I know quite a bit about how the Nicene Creed came to be, and it's not a story that doesn't come close to being able to convince me that God was even remotely a part of the proceedings. Just for starters? Doesn't it strike you as just a little bit odd that it wasn't even the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, who saw the need for an authoritative statement on the nature of God? Since when should a pagan emperor's political aspirations even be a contributing factor? Constantine was sick of the divisiveness between the Christians in his empire and wanted to put a stop to it once and for all. That is the only reason why the first council of Nicaea was even convened. As to how it unfolded, best not get me started.

    I can see why, to you, the temple ordinances would appear to be "a completely new revelation." We don't, however, see them that way. We believe that the ordinances themselves are ancient. This doesn't necessarily mean that the way in which they are presented to temple-goers is exactly the same as it was anciently. It just means that the doctrines that are taught in the temple were known and believed by Jesus Christ's disciples in His day. You must keep in mind that these doctrines have always been esoteric in nature. Even in the beginning, they were not preached to the masses, but only to those who were spiritually ready to accept them. (Some LDS scholars believe that it was during the 40 days following His resurrection that these ordinances were introduced to a select group of people. That makes sense to me, but the Church has taken no official stand on the matter.)

    Yes and no. Yes, in that there is no reason to assume that the Lord has stopped providing us with guidance today. Your example of contraception would fit into that kind of revelation, as would the Word of Wisdom. But when it comes to the nature of God? Well, I think I've already pretty much made my position on that topic clear. As for salvation, I think that the Catholic Church definitely has a better idea of what was initially taught in terms of what one must do to be saved than Protestantism does. But I don't think their knowledge even comes close to being complete. What I mean is, if the Bible says that a person must accept Christ in order to be saved, and if it also says that God is love, what is to be the eternal destiny of the millions of people who never had the opportunity to accept Christ in their lifetimes? Mormonism answers that question (while not contradicting anything the Bible has to say on the subject -- which isn't much) in a way no other Christian denomination does. With respect to those billions of people who were apparently born in the wrong place or at the wrong time, we don't just say, "Well, tough for them. They didn't believe in Christ so they'll be tormented forever." We also don't claim that the Bible says, "God will simply choose to turn a blind eye to this requirement when it's time for these people to be judged." We believe that each and every one of them will have a chance to actually make the decision for themselves whether to accept Him or not?

    Only if the first Pope received the authority Christ gave Peter. I find the evidence that this was the case pretty underwhelming.

    And what about "Original Sin"? How can a person say that Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of all mankind and yet believe that newborn babies are still bearing the guilt for Adam's and Eve's decision? Didn't Jesus' Atonement do anything at all to absolve Adam? And why would God damn someone who lived thousands of years after that decision was made? I'd say a whole lot of doctrines have been changed over the years. The fulness of the gospel really was lost and really has been restored.

    (As you can see, I had plenty of time on my hands tonight. Please forgive the rant, but there are a few things I really do feel strongly about, and the Apostasy is one of them!)
     
    #268 Katzpur, Nov 13, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016
  9. DeepShadow

    DeepShadow White Crow

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    Exactly. We believe that a person who does the will of God will have their answers come to them in time. Live the law in order to learn it.

    Whenever I get into the various wives of Joseph, I ask for specific names, birth dates and marriage dates before going very far. There are some complicating issues that have made for a lot of scandalous sound bites, but the devil is always in the details.

    Off the top of my head, I know that the doctrine of eternal salvation of the family was still being hammered out at the time of Joseph Smith's death, and it was not clarified until much later that a person ought to be sealed to their own parents and spouse, regardless of those other people's status within/feelings about the Gospel. In those early days, folks were worried that if their parents/spouse did not accept the gospel in the next life, then the living person's exaltation was in jeopardy by being sealed to them. To hedge their bets, folks sealed themselves to prophets or other church stalwarts, who they knew would not reject the gospel.

    I can't say that's actually what happened in the case of the married women you are citing above without any specifics, but I know that quite a few women were hastily married to Joseph via proxy immediately after his death, and that the list of such marriages is easy pickings for someone looking to make a scandal.

    If you have a specific name, I'd be happy to research it for you.
     
  10. Truth_Faith13

    Truth_Faith13 Active Member

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    I wish the apostasy (or lack there of) was self evident to me! The problem is I tend to be able to see both sides and what one person sees in a verse, I may see something completely different.

    The verses that Katz quoted along with Jesus' promise: When I read them what I currently see is that individual men may fall away from the church, make mistakes, many won't follow the true faith etc but I can't see that the Church as a whole fell? Does that make sense?

    Take this following quote given to me by an LDS member over in CAF

    Thus wrote Paul, and now is the falling away. For men have fallen away from the right faith; and some preach the identity of the Son with the Father, and others dare say that Christ was brought into being out of nothing. And formally the heretics were manifest; but now the Church is filled with heretics in disguise. For men have fallen away from the truth, and have itching ears. It is a plausible discourse? All listen to it gladly. Is it a word of correction? All turn away from it. Most have departed from right words, and rather choose the evil, than desire the good. This therefore is the falling away, and the enemy is soon to be looked for… (Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture 15:9, in NPNF Series 2, 7:106-107)

    He suggested this meant that there was definitely an apostasy but I highlighted the sentence where it talks of "for men have fallen away from the truth". To me this message means that individual fell away from the truth but not the Church as a whole. The Church still stands although contaminated by heretics.

    However I can see your perspective also and how it could fit that there was an apostasy.

    :/
     
  11. Truth_Faith13

    Truth_Faith13 Active Member

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    Thanks Katz, I always enjoy reading your responses! I wish I could have yours and Jane's confidence that there was indeed an apostasy!
     
  12. Truth_Faith13

    Truth_Faith13 Active Member

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    There is one list here....http://wivesofjosephsmith.org

    I'm not sure if that link is a critical site or not though. I couldn't remember a name so just did a Google search for JS wives. It lists the women who had a living husband at the time of marriage to JS though
     
  13. Jane.Doe

    Jane.Doe Active Member

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    It makes perfect sense. There's a sense of "safety in majority". But there are plenty of example of entire cities/people turning away from God in the Bible. And honestly, it doesn't have to be the majority of the people who fall away, but the people in power to fall away. If the Earthly head turns away from Christ, the rest of the body will follow.

    Perhaps trying a different angle: does the Holy Spirit tell you that the totality of Catholic or LDS teaching is His Truth?
     
  14. Orontes

    Orontes Master of the Horse

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    a

    Per 1) the idea of apostasy. I focused on the idea of change. I gave two areas where this occurs. One was doctrinal. The other was ecclesiastical. Let me see if I can clarify the issue a little further.

    Christianity makes truth claims.
    Christianity has not remained stagnant. There have been changes.
    If change involves truth claims, then the justification of that change is critical.

    1) A doctrinal view: Christianity asserts:

    -A (Jesus is the Christ), First Century position
    -A + B (Jesus is the Christ) + (The Trinity is the cosmology of God: Fourth Century position)

    Where did the B come from? What justifies the claim? The core of the Bible's content is taken as revealed. This is why it is scripture. The Trinity (per the Nicene Creed) is not in the Bible. Yet, the Trinitarian stance is a fundamental claim about the nature of Deity. Is the Nicene Creed revelation? If we say yes, where is the revelation? If we say no, why credit the view as true?


    2) An ecclesiastical view: (I'll use Roman Catholicism as that seems to be what you are most familiar with)

    -A The Pope is held as the leader of the Catholic Church
    -B The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, this is his base title

    Independent of the claim of a Petrine Commision (from Matt. 16:16-19), how does the office of bishop, that was originally taken as a ecclesiastical local jurisdiction, come to have a universal jurisdiction over other bishoprics?

    Further, why is it that the other large Classical Bishoprics of Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria have never and do not accept the claim of Roman Supremacy? Why is it, say at the previously mentioned Council of Nicene, with traditionally 318 Bishops in attendance, the Bishop of Rome did not call the Council, was absent, and did not have any representation present, and yet the decision of the Council is taken to apply the Bishop of Rome as well? This indicates that the Pope must also bow to Ecumenical Council decisions, which undercuts the assertion of being head of Christendom. This leads to an addition:

    -A The Pope is held as the leader of the Catholic Church
    -B The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, this is his base title
    -C The Pope is bound and constrained by Ecumenical Council decisions (a la Nicene)


    A and B are in tension as it is problematic how a local title becomes a universal title
    A and C are in tension as the leader of Catholicism is yet bound by Ecumenical Councils decisions.

    In both examples there are doctrinal and ecclesiastical changes that are problematic if one assumes no apostasy.

    Per 2) and whether the Church can guarantee via an ordinance a person's final state: there is no such ordinance. Best not to rely on anti-Mormon assertions that are most typically full of animus. The notion is antithetical to core Mormon claims about free agency. No ordinance can remove one's free will or the possibility of choice.
     
    #274 Orontes, Nov 14, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2016
  15. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Well, that would certainly make your decision a lot easier. I am honestly glad that I am not in your shoes. I think that sometimes you just have to go with what you want to believe. There is no way you are going to prove to yourself that either Catholicism or Mormonism is true. At some point, you're going to have to ask yourself, "What resonates with me as being true? What can I believe without having to jump through all kinds of philosophical hoops? How many questions am I going to be satisfied just shrugging off as 'That's a mystery. I'm not supposed to be able to understand that.' Who do I believe God to be? What is His relationship to Jesus Christ and what is my relationship to them? How can I best grow spiritually? Which Church is going to be able to best answer my questions and help me make sense out of the trials I'm going to experience in my life? Which Church is going to make me a better person?"

    I'm sorry, but It really doesn't to me. I think it almost goes without saying that "many won't follow the true faith." From my perspective, there would be virtually no need to even state such an obvious fact. I'm still not sure if you're understanding what we mean when we speak of a "universal" apostasy. We're not saying that Christianity would cease to exist entirely or that all of the doctrines which were taught for nearly 2,000 years were simply false. We're just saying that once Christ's appointed Apostles died, the events Paul described in Ephesians began to unfold. The foundation of the Church -- which was the Apostles and the Prophets -- had crumbled. There was no one left to receive continued revelation from the Lord. Men were on their own.

    And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.

    Yes, "men have fallen away from the truth" because, over time (please understand that this did not take place overnight), there was no one left to make sure correct doctrines were being taught. Those who fervently believed what they were taught were not to blame. In many cases, even those who were doing the teaching were not to be blamed. You can only teach someone else what you've been taught, and after a few hundred years of the purity of the doctrines having been tampered with, it's no wonder people were "tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine."

    I'm not trying to be flippant or sarcastic here, but why would you even consider joining a Church that has been contaminated by heretics? I'm not saying (trust me, I'm really, really, really not saying) that the LDS Church's leaders haven't made mistakes over the years. As long as mere mortals are at the earthly helm of the Church, that's going to happen. I just don't see doctrines having changed to the degree that the Catholic Church has changed them. The Trinity is the biggie, but it's just the tip of the iceberg. Ask Clear to explain what the earliest Christians believed about various doctrines, and then compare those things to both the Catholic and the LDS Church.
     
    #275 Katzpur, Nov 14, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2016
  16. Clear

    Clear Well-Known Member
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    POST ONE OF TWO

    A) The evolution from a single christian movement with simple doctrines towards multiple christian movements proclaiming multiple conflicting doctrines is evidence of apostasy
    I would think the mere fact that there are many, many different Christian movements having conflicting doctrines, would be itself, evidence that they cannot all be correct. Some of them must be incorrect and therefore, the incorrect ones represent some degree of apostasy and evolution away from early authentic and pure religion. If you believe that there is any single religion that has not evolved away from or lost or contaminated the earliest religion given them, perhaps you could name a single one. Catholicism does not qualify, as I will discuss later.



    B) TIMELINES and APOSTASY

    Concerning the future return of Christ and the concept that “that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first…” (2 Thess 2:1-3), ; and “in the latter times some shall depart from the faith (1 Tim 4:1-3) we do not know what they meant by “the latter times”, since, in their own worldview, they occasionally expressed their view that they were already in “the latter times”.

    For example, John tells them, “Little children, it is the last time” and he explains that they “have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. “ (1 Jn 2:18). Even this point is related inside the context of apostasy since : ”They (the false Christs) went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 1Jn 2:19;


    Certainly, the leaders of this Christian movement felt that this process of evolution away from the gospel principles was already happening during their own time period and to their own gospelFrom which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; 7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. (1 Tim 1:6-7)
    In some instances, the time had come for condemnation regarding how the gospel was mishandled, ( i.e. the time had already come.) “For the time is come” that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (1 Pet 4:17) Certain changes are already happening among the earliest Christians whose apostates are already being decribed as “Spots” and “blemishes” who are sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; 14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: 15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray,… (2 Pet 2:12-17)


    It is clear from the early historical record that there are already disagreements and doctrinal evolutions among the early Christians and their leaders. 24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: ...28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well. (Acts 15:24;28-29)

    Though the Christians who taught that circumcision was required may have been acting from their conscience and out of good faith, some of the individuals teaching conflicting doctrines were not acting in good faith. Paul describes these who, after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (Acts 20:28-30) . And though there are the “wolves” who teach “perverse things” to gather disciples, there are also those who simply abandon the early Jesus movement and return to prior habits, thus it is said : “after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? “ (Gal 4:9) It is not simply that some are abandoning Christianity, but they are breaking into various schisms and arguing. Thus Paul writes that “I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. (1 Cor 11:18-19), and often, these divisions are being justified by an allegiance to a famous Christian “For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? 1 Cor 3:1-4;

    It is not merely that the Galatians who “have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed. (2 Cor 12:20-21) but the evolution of doctrines, the apostasy, the abandonment of the gospel and the moral problems were happening at an early stage. In fact, it is such an early stage of the Jesus movement that Paul says “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel. 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. (Gal 1:6-7) We are not merely speaking of the future “antichrist” and what will happen in the end times, but Paul said there already were antichrists and these sorts of divisions and schisms among the Christians.

    While certain doctrines and practices has long been believed in and done among the Jews, still they did not represent the earliest and most authentic doctrines. So, even while Moses allowed men to abandon (απολυσαι / apolusai – apostasy) their wives, Jesus tried to tell them “but, from the beginning it was not so” (Matt 19:8). It was an apostate practice. It had been long practiced, but it was not original.

    By the time that Jesus comes on the scene with his own restoration of earlier and correct doctrines, the Jews had already evolved away from pure religion and were teaching apostate religion. He calls them “hypocrites”, saying “well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:7-9)

    This slow evolution from doctrines of God toward man-created religion undermined the quality of worship to the point that Jesus says “in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Mrk 7:7), and in fact, Jesus’ attempt to repair and correct their worship is met with rejection. “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. (Mrk 7:9)

    51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. 52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: 53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not maintained (guarded) it. (Acts 7:53) The word here, φυλασσω in the negative is one description of how apostasy happened.

    post two of two follows
     
    #276 Clear, Nov 14, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2016
  17. Clear

    Clear Well-Known Member
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    POST TWO OF TWO

    C) NOT ONLY WERE THERE ADDITIONS AND SUBTRACTIONS, BUT KEYS TO KNOWLEDGE WERE TAKEN AWAY
    It was not simply that the Jewish lawyers and rabbis did not maintain the original gospel, but they damaged it and created hinderances for others to learn principles that would have helped them to understand what God was trying to do with mankind. Jesus says : “Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. (Lk 11:52)

    The comparison between “from the beginning” of the Judeo-Christian movement, to later doctrines represent a stark change that demonstrate the damage that happened to later theology when the “key of knowledge” the Rabbis and Lawyers were taken away. The Catholics are also a good example of one Christian movement that suffered because the Catholics also lost one of the early and important doctrines. The effect of this loss effected the Protestants because they could not take with them what the Catholics had already lost to their own religious consciousness.

    D) ONE KEY OF KNOWLEGE - The prohibition of doctrines and inquiries concerning pre-existence
    First, lets discuss one “key of knowledge” rabbinical Judaism took away and then Secondly, lets discuss the effect of this loss. It is not simply that the Jews were adding to the biblical tradition, but by the rabbinical tradition which took away principle doctrines, they have kept their followers from learning truth.

    In Gen Rabba, the rabbis teach the Jews : IT is forbidden to inquire what existed before creation, as Moses distinctly tells us (Deut. 4. 32): 'Ask now of the days that are past which were before thee, since the day God created man upon earth.' Thus the scope of inquiry is limited to the time since the Creation.–(Gen. Rabba 1)

    This prohibition prohibited all inquiries into pre-creation conditions, the reading of all texts having inquiries and discussions and the teaching of any “old doctrines” concerning prior Jewish teaching regarding Pre-Creation themes.

    Such prohibitions against inquiring regarding conditions that existed in heaven before the creation create barriers to learning many, many of the most profoundly important truths concerning God; concerning his plan and his motives and conditions that allow mortality to make much more sent.

    It is no wonder then that the earliest textual traditions that discuss and describe conditions before creation are relatively unknown among Jews who inherited such prohibitions to knowledge about such themes. It is just such prohibitions to knowledge that reminds me of Jesus’ trying to teach the Jews regarding conditions leading to ignorance of God.

    Jesus said : "Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering." Luke 11:52
    This same tradition existed in other Christian traditions : The Gospel of Thomas also refers to this same condemnation of Jewish leaders, saying : “Jesus said, “The Pharisees and the scribes have taken the keys of knowledge and hidden them. They themselves have not entered, nor have they allowed to enter those who wish to….” THE GOSPEL OF THOMAS vs 39;

    Messianic Jews themselves were aware of this systematic problem and describe it in almost the same words : “They hold back the drink of knowledge from those that thirst, and for their thirst they give them vinegar to drink, that they might observe their error, behaving madly at their festivals and getting caught in their nets.” Dead Sea Scrolls 1QH, 1Q35, 4Q Col. 12:10-11

    IF, at some point, the Gospel of Salvation was contaminated by man-made traditions so that it could no longer be recognized and delivered to mankind in sufficient clarity among the Jewish traditions then it only makes sense that such truths would be cleaned up and delivered through another group (at least until the next group abuses and contaminates them in the same way the Jews did).

    When Jesus prophesies to the Jews that “... The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. (Matthew 21:42-43) This prophecy was no different than that which the Prophet Ezra had predicted : “... You would not obey me, O Judah. I will turn to other nations and will give them my name, that they may keep my statutes. Because you have forsaken me, I also will forsake you. 25 When you beg mercy of me, I will show you no mercy. 26 When you call upon me, I will not listen to you; for you have defiled your hands with blood, and your feet are swift to commit murder. 27 It is not as though you had forsaken me; you have forsaken yourselves, ... (The Fourth Book of Ezra 1:24-37)

    The concept that all spirits existed in a pre-creation existence with God and Jesus (and all other important players) is important.

    E) THE RESULT OF LOSS OF IMPORTANCE OF KNOWLEDGE REGARDING THE PRE-CREATION CONDITIONS AND MANKIND

    Pre-mortal existence of Souls was one of several authentic early doctrines whose abandonment has caused endless headaches, confusion and arguments among philosophers and theologians that the Christian Saints of the earliest days were not subject to before the doctrine was abandoned.
    Though all historians of early judeo-christian texts such as the enochian literature will be aware of the doctrine of pre-mortal existence, I do not think many Christians fully understand and appreciate the immense contextual value of a return to this doctrine and what sort of theological compensatory distortions occur in it's absence for Christianities who've abandoned it.
    Many of the greatest existential questions concern the pre-mortal period of time. Without a knowledge and understanding of THIS time period, one cannot understand in context many of the greatest controversies and the most profound and sublime doctrines of Christianity.

    For example an understanding of what went on before the creation of the earth concerns such things as :

    1) The original purpose and plan of God and conditions under which he decided to initiate his creation have to do with this time period. Modern Christian theories that have no contextual knowledge of such events will have less contextual understanding of such things. However, the ancient christianities HAD some knowledge of what was going on and how it related to current creation and it's conditions.

    2) The most profound considerations concerning the origin of evil relate to conditions Prior to creation of the earth. Simply put, philosophers ask "Why did God Create such Evil" and suffering if he could have accomplished the same purpose without evil? (i.e. if he "omnipotent"). This is important since the critics of religion have legitimate curiosity regarding such issues and are unsatisfied with many modern theories regarding this subject. The critics of religion often have legitimate reason for their criticisms.

    3) The nature of the devil and his fall from “heaven” has to do with the Pre-mortal time period. The origin of evil and it’s manifestations by another powerful agent having free will (lucifer) produces profound questions for anyone trying to understand why God allows Lucifer such rein on earth.

    Even the prophet Sedrach asked God “If you loved man, why did you not kill the devil, the artificer of all iniquity? ” (Apocalypse of Sedrach 5:1-7) Abraham also, asked God “How then, since he [Lucifer] is now not before you, did you establish yourself with (him)? “ (The Apocalypse of Abraham 20:5-7). Agnostics have a right to have authentic answers to such questions as well. The best contextual answers are to be found in pre-mortal/pre-earth creation conditions.

    4) The nature of and issues underlying the “war in heaven” have to do with the pre-creation period. Virtually ALL of the facts surrounding this this controversy and the reasons underlying it are found in early Judao-christian texts that begin their considerations with the time period in which the controversy took place; the pre-creation/pre-mortal time period.

    5) The role of the Fall of man in God’s plan has much to do with events PRIOR to Adam having been placed in the Garden. Modern christianities who have little understanding of pre-mortal issues often view the fall of Adam as Gods’ initial plan “gone wrong” and the necessity for an atonement from Adams fall as a “plan B”, necessitated by a crafty Lucifer who scuttles God’s “plan A” for Adam in a Garden of Eden. The ancient christians, having a more complete understanding that the fall of Adam WAS part of the pre-mortal/pre-creation plan did NOT feel that God was "duped" by Lucifer, but that all had proceeded according to the original plan of God as they understood it.

    6) The underlying reasons why some individuals are born into apparently arbitrary and unjust life scenarios are placed into a more understandable context by the greater data provided by conditions during the pre-mortal existence. Arbitrariness, capriciousness and unjustness are consistent complaints that some individuals make about God since the world God created is not fair (if there are no other conditions which justify it). If God creates men ex-nihilo at an instant, and places some into conditions where they live happy lives and hear of Jesus and are ultimately “saved” and yet creates other men and places them into terrible and torturous conditions where they die before hearing of Jesus and ultimately suffer eternal punishment for not living laws they were never exposed to is seen as arbitrary and unjust. Without a consideration of events PRIOR to life, then some lives cannot make proper sense. It’s like coming into a movie that is more than half-over.

    Knowledge of the pre-existence gives us much greater insight into controversies which have plagued non-pre-existent Christianities for over 1700 years. Many of these millennia-long debates are neatly answered, simply by a return to the early doctrines. This is part of the immense value of a knowledge of early Christian Salvational doctrines.


    F) THE GENESIS OF NEW DOCTRINES WAS ALSO A COMMON AVENUE FOR APOSTASY AND NEW RELIGIOUS THEORIES.

    A good example in the Catholic context would be the creation of the Myth that Peter, the apostle, was the standing Bishop of Rome and that he gave an obscure and relatively unknown bishop of the Roman congregation his authority over all other Bishops. In the early stages of the Roman religious movement, this myth could be supported by shear repetition. However, in the age of the historian, the myth could no longer be supported.

    Thus, in this day and age, the claim that Peter was a standing bishop who gave Linus his authority is no longer a viable historical claim. However, the creation of this religious belief has affected millions of individuals over a long period of time and over large geographical space.


    Clear
    φιακφυσεω
     
  18. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    I've also considered how unlikely it really is that Peter would appoint his own successor while he was still living. I don't believe that's how it has ever worked. It certainly doesn't even work that way in the Catholic Church today. It's also worth noting that the book of Revelation was given to John, who was exiled on Patmos, instead of to Linus, who was Peter's successor. Why, if Linus was the living head of the Church (and living in Rome rather than on some remote island) would God not have given this revelation to him?
     
    #278 Katzpur, Nov 14, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2016
  19. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Truth_Faith,

    Have you ever considered taking a couple of years and taking turns going to both a Catholic Church and and LDS Church for that long a time? I wouldn't suggest that you switch off every week, but maybe go to Catholic services every Sunday for three months, then to LDS services for four months, and then repeating the process again and again? Do it for two years -- that would give you a total of a year at each church. At least that way you would really get a good feel for which church really seems to you to be most like the one Jesus Christ established. I believe that's what you're really trying to decide, isn't it? Of course, you would want to stay very close to your Heavenly Father through daily prayer the entire time, but I have a feeling that at the end of this little experiment, you'd have pretty much come to a conclusion you feel good about.
     
    #279 Katzpur, Nov 14, 2016
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  20. Clear

    Clear Well-Known Member
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    Katzpur said : "I've also considered how unlikely it really is that Peter would appoint his own successor while he was still living. … Why, if Linus was the living head of the Church (and living in Rome rather than on some remote island) would God not have given this revelation to him?"

    In the earlier periods, the claim could be made that Peter had given Linus all authority. The problem in later periods became the greater access to historical information and the protestant schizmatics started asking historical questions that revealed problems with the Roman claim to authority.

    Since there are no authentic early texts nor historical support for Peter, ever having transferred his Presiding Apostolic Authority to Linus, the myth of having authority crumbled. Duschene and other great catholic historians dedicated their lives to finding the connection between Peter and Linus, and could never find the connection. Once the protestants realized the Roman Catholic Christian movement never had the authority it claimed, this only added fuel to the protestant fires.



    Katzpur said : "Truth_Faith, Have you ever considered taking a couple of years and taking turns going to both a Catholic Church and and LDS Church for that long a time? I wouldn't suggest that you switch off every week, but maybe go to Catholic services every Sunday for three months, then to LDS services for three month, and then repeating the process again and again? Do it for two years -- that would give you a total of a year at each church. At least that way you would really get a good feel for which church really seems to you to be most like the one Jesus Christ established. I believe that's what you're really trying to decide, isn't it? Of course, you would want to stay very close to your Heavenly Father through daily prayer the entire time, but I have a feeling that at the end of this little experiment, you'd have pretty much come to a conclusion you feel good about."

    I actually like this concept a lot. The promise in the book of Mormon that you can study out any religious doctrine or principle; then come to your own conclusion and then seek confirmation from God by revelation through the spirit applies just as easily to Catholic Theology as it does to restorational theology. In Truth-Faith13s’ current state of indecision, I do NOT think it would be a good idea to simply "join" either the theology of restoration OR Catholic theology, but instead, should take whatever time is necessary. Attend both, compare the spiritual experiences inherent to both theologies and slowly, over time, make comparisons, conclusions and then seek spiritual confirmation.

    Clear
    φινεειδρω
     
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