Monday, February 27, 2017

The Mormon Church is a young Catholic Church

A new religion rarely appears in history. When one does, it presents a unique opportunity for us to study the process. Religions begin with an inspired leader, called a prophet, whose confident vision and direct connection to God opens new light and truth into the world. Prophets ask God questions and get direct and specific answers.  If there is no new vision, then the religion won’t survive. But an original, inspired leader is difficult to replicate. Within a short time, the founder’s work is overtaken by others. Doctrine once thought to be part of the foundation of the church is replaced with new doctrine based on changes in public opinion and pressures put upon the church by governing bodies.
                As a church struggles to survive in the absence of an authorized servant, church leaders gather in councils and deliberate about doctrine and current issues. Perhaps the most notable gathering of this kind was the Council of Nicaea, 325 years after the death of Christ. Many of the original texts were altered, rearranged or removed entirely to place all interpretation of scripture squarely in the hands of the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. These councils established doctrine, which they called “proclamations” and “creeds” that were completely foreign to God’s true church.
                 Mormonism was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith who claimed that he had been visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith claimed to have direct connection to heaven, that when he asked God a question, God answered him. Whether you believe Joseph Smith’s claims or not, he and his followers give us a unique opportunity to witness how founding a religion sets in motion a series of predictable events that happen every time a new religion begins. Perhaps the best way to decipher the transition of Christianity from the original Primitive Christianity to its replacement, Historic Christianity, is to study Mormonism. The Primitive Christian church passed away after the death of the apostles. Mormonism has passed away following the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.
                Mormons teach today that the introduction of church councils in Christianity is generally seen as a sure sign of Apostasy. In their Ensign magazine December 1995 it states: “All historical Christian churches agree that revelation for the direction of the church ceased with the last of the apostles”. History shows, in fact, that after the first century, church leaders, in order to decide important issues, did not appeal to heaven for authoritative direction. Instead they relied on men who gathered together in councils, letting their decisions rest on the collected wisdom of mortal beings.
Twelve years later, on 4 May 2007, the official Mormon Church website,, stated: “With divine inspiration, the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors) and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second-highest governing body of the Church) counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications.”  The Mormon procedure is eerily similar to the one practiced by historical Christianity.
                No longer are statements by Mormon Church leaders considered doctrine, even if the Church leader happens to be the president of the Church. A new method has been substituted wherein doctrine is to be established not through revelation, but through a council that meets together and deliberates by weighing the scriptures, the teachings of Church leaders, past practices, and the current social climate, or in other words TRADITION.
                There is nothing wrong with a group of people who believe the same things issuing statements of belief. When well-meaning people come together with good intent (especially when they involve the Lord through prayer) they are entitled to inspiration from God for the benefit of those whom they serve. The problem comes when those statements of belief are substituted for the word of God and placed on the same level as scripture. Many of the Christian Creeds which the Lord called “abominable” prior to the restoration contained truth and light yet “lacked the power of godliness.”
Primitive Christianity as well as Mormonism set out to change the world. Over time their success diverted attention from saving souls to managing people and property. The apostle Paul stated: “the love of money is the root of all evil.”[1] The first believers are persecuted, they sacrifice their lives and property to follow what they believe to be God’s burden laid on them. Because of their sacrifices, they have faith and know they please God and are able to obtain the faith required for salvation.  Successors enjoy the fruit of the founders’ sacrifices.
Over time, the founding church gives way to popular approval. Churches are just as vulnerable to the “love of money” which leads to “all evil” as men are. People can have the gifts of the Spirit, or they can acquire riches in this world, but they cannot have both.
Catholicism grew wealthy from the offerings of its members and the original religion was lost. It became cold, corrupt, violent and cruel as it owned more and more of Europe and ruled over all people within the Roman Catholic boundaries. The transition from persecuted minority to tyrannical majority took three centuries.
History repeats itself; revealing patterns we can identify and learn from. Church councils of Mainline Christianity once decried by the LDS Church as a trademark of apostasy are now the accepted method of establishing doctrine in the modern Church. Official “declarations and proclamations” that are now issued from the LDS Church councils as well as other Christian faiths appear to closely resemble the old Christian creeds we used to condemn.  At the very inception of Mormonism, Jesus Christ told Joseph Smith that creeds were an “abomination” in his sight, and the professors of those creeds were “all corrupt”–that they have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof.
Mormonism has followed the same path as the primitive Christian Church, better known as the Catholics, and achieved the same end in less than half the time. If a Christian wants to know how Primitive Christianity was lost to apostasy, the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is where it can be found.  One author recently wrote….“The only difference between the LDS Church and the Catholic Church is 2,000 years.” As it turns out, the LDS Church may be ahead of the curve.

[1] 1 Tim. 6:10