I’m Not a Mormon — Here’s Why

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  • Raymond Suda

    Really enjoyed this one, Father. I usually think of the Mormons as thinking and intelligent people. After viewing this documentary I have to question my thinking. It would be like modern discoveries that disavowed all that Catholics have learned from the early Church Fathers and still try to claim the faith authentic.

  • SteveD

    The evidence discrediting the contents of the Book of Mormon from DNA, linguistics, archaeology, zoology and anthropology is irresistible to any outsider but not apparently to most LDS members, even some very intelligent ones. The LDS advice against reading anything that is not ‘faith building’ seems to work fairly well though they do now have a growing problem with member loss presumably caused by the amount of information available on the internet. Many LDS members could win gold for mental gymnasics such as the one who told me that there is no DNA relationship between native Americans and the Jews (though the BoM states the former to be the lost tribes of Israel) because God removed it in order to test the faith of LDS members!

  • http://none Elizabeth Braun

    I had read of life of Joseph Smith, (not much of Young) and found the founder of LDS to have many areas that truly stretched credibility. He appealed to a young nation that was looking for something in which to believe. Thank you for this information.

  • Scott W

    This video is a model of how to evangelize those who have a firm resistance to the Gospel. The makers of the video show great patience, charity, exhaustless research, and they use the research of the secular academy to great effect. It sure beats the more typical approach: “Did you know that the religion you were raised in is totally stupid, full of frauds, at odds with libraries full of research in various fields, and that only a donkey would believe it?” The video also reminds us that once the extraordinary social cohesion/solidarity of the Mormon community splinters (for this is the primary reason for their past success), then the current trickle of “apostates” will become a deluge. Witness the post Vat II church: once the Catholic ghetto opened up and the Council caused many to wonder, “Now who are we really?”, the exodus began.

  • Gilo

    Interesting video; one of many I have seen regarding the LDS church… I have cousins who are LDS members, and I have always wondered about how to approach them with the Truth of faith and religion. But it seems too troublesome at times. I hope and pray God grants me the wisdom to speak if the opportunity arises and, guided by the spirit, teach them of the church even though they were Catholics way back when. Thanks and God bless!

  • Nick

    Could you enable “follow up comments” or “subscribe by email” for people who comment in the comment box? this will allow people to better keep track of new comments.

  • Matthew the Wayfarer

    Good presentation on The Book of Abraham. Although never LDS myself, I have studied it and researched aspects of it and although I like the people I never was convinced of its Truth. They are well meaning and do a lot of good for their own people which other groups should emulate. The only problem I have is that non-Mormons think they can ‘intellectually’ convince Mormons that they are wrong. Lots of people don’t care about the intellectual voracity of the theology but only the goodness revealed in their actions. Going after Mormons like going after Jews or Muslims will accomplish very little without lives that witness to a greater Truth. I’m not seeing it, not among Catholics or Baptists or Methodists or any other group. Only the Holy Spirit will be able to sort it all out in GOD’s Good Time.

  • Jim from Utah

    I am going to view the video and let you all know my impression when done.

    In the meantime, read about Nathaniel Wood and the Wood Scrapers the New England transcendentalists, the god-father of Mormonism.

  • Raul

    I’m not going to lie to you, this makes me cringe. How can so many good people believe in this? Am I the same, when it comes to Catholicism?

  • Jan from Utah

    Holy guacamole! That was the best 56:31 I’ve spent in a long time…
    Here’s the thing – as information like this disseminates over time, the LDS church will peter out – that’s just a given. But if I were to use this as an evangelical aid with an active, temple-recommend-holding Mormon, I would fail…just as all the anti-Catholic propaganda out there today has no impact on me. There is too much riding on being LDS in Utah – politically, professionally, socially, etc. It’ll be a couple of generations before anything significant happens; but I’m assuming that since the faith is relatively a pyramid scheme, the mandatory tithing from all the poor that are coming in from around the world is not going to be able to hold up the hierarchy.
    What do you think, Jim from Utah?

  • Lenore

    Excellent points. As we go through rocky times, I have been so impressed with the Mormons ability to take care of each other. My mother used to say that Catholics “certainly took care of their own”. What happened?

  • Rob

    To start with: I don’t have any animosity to modern Mormonism, I actually think they’re a bunch of great people, and I wish more people on Earth were like them. Live and let live is my religious motto — I’ll leave the missionary work to those called to, and trained for that vocation. Joseph Smith on the other hand, he and his “linguistic ideas” are fair game, IMO.

    I say this as one who has studied Latin, Ancient Greek, as well as a little bit of Egyptian Hieroglyphs and an assortment of other Ancient tongues: “The Book of Abraham” is something that should make Mormons everywhere stop and think about their whole system of belief, and maybe face the very uncomfortable idea that Joseph Smith made the whole thing up.

    Joseph Smith’s “interpretation” of that papyrus is nothing short of an embarrassment. He doesn’t even get the names of basic Egyptian Gods right in that thing. He mislabels and misidentifies so many things, that there is just no other conclusion, other than he made the whole thing up, that can be taken away from this.



    Don’t even get me started on the nonsense that is “Reformed Egyptian”.

  • http://causa-nostrae-laetitiae..blogspot.com Leticia Velasquez

    Very informative, thank you for posting it Father. Joseph Smith must have been a charismatic man to convince so many others to follow him and believe he had miraculous powers as a prophet. I wish all Mormons would see this documentary and then watch Fr Barron’s “Catholicism” series. The Church Fathers were martyrs, not self-aggrandizing opportunists.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    No you are not the same, because Catholicism stands up to historical scrutiny

  • Jan form Utah

    Not only did they follow him, imagine “marrying” already married women, and getting fathers to agree to give over their very young daughters to him.

  • Jim not from Utam

    Ludacris. But such has it been for most organized religious groups. The Catholicism, Mormonism, Islam, Scientology …etc. require faith. Great deals of faith. Mormonism requires a bit more than many but is fundamentally no more unbelievable and just as asinine as any other. Faith is a powerful and wondrous force. Faith in a book, or a man, or some word prescribed as doctorine can be a powerfully stupid thing. It is a shame one can subscribe to a particular brand jibberish and slander and belittle another. Such petty tribalism.

  • Chardin

    I don’t think as many Mormons believe this as folks think. I work with a great number of LDS men and I can tell you, very few will talk about their faith as the Catholics and Protestants will. The reason they stay with the faith, in my opinion is that their entire social structure and stability exists in the matrix of LDS life. Their spouses, kids, their kid’s cousins, friends, classmates, team mates, neighbors, almost everyone is LDS. From work to recreation to worship, others in the faith make up each others ENTIRE life. And to be fair, they’re nice folk, good citizens, good neighbors with very clean cut, nice (mostly) kids. Leaving over doctrinal doubts is not in the culture. Kind of a smile and wave type situation. If they leave, they might as well be dead.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Not true. Christianity stands up to the scrutiny of its historic claims in a way that Mormonism never can.

  • Jim from Utah

    Q: Holy guacamole! That was the best 56:31 I’ve spent in a long time… Here’s the thing – as information like this disseminates over time, the LDS church will peter out – that’s just a given.
    A: As you know, Jan, I am not from Salt Lake City… I am living in the Mormon Corridor which incidently has it’s own recognised dialect in the English language. Certainly, the LDS thing will event snuff out, but when she breathes her last hiss nobody knows. We know that God tolerates great evil for the greater good. Only God knows the big picture. Mary gets a pretty good look at the big picture too, so let’s invoke Her aid. If lynch-pins the Cache Valley (for instance) were converted, Mormonism would flounder on it’s own noose.

    Q: But if I were to use this as an evangelical aid with an active, temple-recommend-holding Mormon, I would fail…just as all the anti-Catholic propaganda out there today has no impact on me.
    A: I’d say yes and no. There is a world of difference. I presume that you are validly Baptised and try to stay out of the grip of death. The Baptised Christian who is in a state of grace has a huge advantage over the non-validly baptised person who looks toward Christ. When you see anti-Catholic sentiments, you actually can learn from it. As Catholics we believe that all men are in the Image of God. This is one of the reasons why it is holy to heed the words of our overseers while we slave away in this world. The difference with the Mormon is this: they are generally not-validly baptised, and even if they were, they are apostate, whether they intended to or not. Also, although many Mormons seek Christ and admire Him greatly, they must rely upon a supernatural grace to read the signs of the world. Their minds are literally shut. Their minds are polluted by syllogism. A Baptist or a Method can enter into the Fullness of the Faith quite frankly because they are already in the fold. All validly-Baptised persons are Catholic in that their Baptisms are Catholic. The non-validly baptised on the otherhand have a much larger obstacle to overcome. They are not in the fold, so to speak. Do yourself a favour and read the fragments of Aristides the Philosopher (you can find him at New Advent.Org in the ‘Church Fathers’ section) on this in regard to the distortions of worship. The Mormons commit error number four (if my memory serves me well). They have reduced themselves to ancestor worship by way of their hyper-dulia for family-lines and their purely-human marriages.

    Q:There is too much riding on being LDS in Utah – politically, professionally, socially, etc. It’ll be a couple of generations before anything significant happens; but I’m assuming that since the faith is relatively a pyramid scheme, the mandatory tithing from all the poor that are coming in from around the world is not going to be able to hold up the hierarchy.
    A: You are absolutely correct. There is loads riding upon their adherence or at least regular association. In plain words: It is plainly good for business and stability. I have asked. I do not know a single man who has apostated in Mormonism who has ever admitted to actually believing a single lick of it. In every circumstance the rationale was: I met a beautiful (more beautiful than I could otherwise ever get) and she is really polite and nice and is willing to have children when I want. That is the rationale nearly every time. I do know some fellas that have been tempted in by way of women dangling the carrot of sex. Covert and marry me, and you’ll get all of this. It really is a snake in the garden, hissing. Mormons cannot leave. It is plainly simple. To do so means utter destruction, to lose business, to lose friends, family, to lose their homes. Most Mormons I know who have converted have left or seriously contemplated it. It is just too difficult. And, as you know Jan, they are relentless. The weather will soon be nice again, and the knocks on the door will begin to become incessant until October (at all hours of the day).

    Q: What do you think, Jim from Utah?
    A: You got my answer. The Catholics around here need to stop pussy-footing around. I run into Mormons who would convert but they are taken aback at the discordance, especially the lack of orthodoxy. Mormons crying for Jesus want, nay, I say need, Christo-centric liturgy and prayer. The Catholics here do nothing, absolutely nothing to aid Mormon seeking conversion. Catholicism in Utah is the least philosophical, the least orthodox, the least evangelical, the least historical… alas, She is the least potent, and perhaps that is the great blessing. Mormonism greatest defeat will come not due to discussions or debate, but to the fact that they will contracept, abort, and euthanise themselves out of existence. Mormonism is officially, like it’s sister Seventh Day Adventism, afterall… not pro-life in any-way.

  • MH

    To kind of spin what Chardin said, I think many people are attracted to the Mormon faith, not because of the teachings, per se, but the practice of charity and brotherhood. They really help each other out. I wouldn’t mind having Catholics do the same!

  • Jim not from Utah

    Ludacris. But such has it been for most organized religious groups. Catholicism, Mormonism, Islam, Scientology …etc. require faith. Great deals of faith. Mormonism requires a bit more than many but is fundamentally no more unbelievable and just as asinine as any other. Faith is a powerful and wondrous force. Faith in a book, or a man, or some word prescribed as doctorine can be a powerfully stupid thing. It is a shame one can subscribe to a particular brand jibberish and slander and belittle another. Such petty tribalism.

  • Phillip

    I, after four years of investigating The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, self referred myself for baptism. I have been an active member ever since (over 30 years). The point all of you miss is that the LDS Church was founded in 1830 and has now grown to over 14 million members because of the patent goodness in the lives of the members. Jesus said in Matthew 7:17 “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”. The LDS Church has always been clear that it is a hospital for sinners and not a museum of saints. It truly reaches out to the whole world (over 50,000 missionaries serving worldwide) – Why because: “We have come not to take away from you the truth and virtue you possess. We have come  not  to find fault with you nor to criticise you. We have not come here to berate you because of things you have not done; but we have come here as your brethren…. and to say unto you: “Keep all the good that you have, and let us bring you more good, in order that you may be happier and in order that you may be prepared to enter into the presence of our Heavenly Father.” 
    - George Albert Smith, Sharing the Gospel with others, compiled by Preston Nibley (Salt Lake City: Deseret  Book 1948) pages 12 & 13.
    If you have an open mind you could go to an LDS (not official Church site) which is run by apologists of the Church and look at this on the Book of Abraham LINK: http://en.fairmormon.org/Criticism_of_Mormonism/Video/Search_for_the_Truth_DVD/Book_of_Abraham
    I would conclude by saying how much I genuinely admire Father Longenecker; as Catholics you are truly blessed in the Catholic Church to have such a powerful apologist for your own faith – His journey from born again evangelism, Bob Jones University, Anglicanisim in England to his spiritual home in Catholicisim is wonderful – add to that his unique attributes in being a husband and father of children give you IMO (the pun is not intended by the way) a “latter-day” G.K.Chesterton of your own!

  • Pattie, RN

    Just like tobacco companies are getting their profits from the less educated in Asia and South America (now that Americans are quitting smoking)…The LDS is getting their new members and money from the same easy-to-con illerates in third world countries. If you have a second grade education and no access to books or the ‘net, then being Mormon looks like a ticket to paradise instead of the ramblings of a professional grifter and con-man.

  • Pattie, RN


  • Pattie, RN

    Philip, that’s just it….Mormanism WAS founded in 1830, by a man convicted of being a grifter, based on no more evidence that what he “saw” in secret that no one else could.

    Christianity in general and the Catholic Church in particular were founded by a person who was GOD Himself. He was a servant-king and sent His followers to do the same.

    Sorry, sir, but your “religion” is a poorly written science fiction story, without a single shred of credible evidence anywhere for its claims. Even those who do not follow Christ cannot dispute His existance or the actions of His followers, who followed Him to death in sharing the Good News.

  • Phillip

    Pattie, I spent a year in the Catholic catechesis programme attending mass no less than 22 to help me understand your beautiful Catholic faith [I loved learning about the rose vestments that were used, where it is the practice, on Gaudete Sunday (Third Sunday of Advent) and on Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent) – Frankly throughout my 30 years in the LDS Church I have encountered members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encouraged to respect and try to understand other faiths – our principle of tolerance and understanding is best shown by the following story:

    This is a story, familiar but always worth repeating, about the prominent New Testament scholar Krister Stendahl, the former dean of Harvard Divinity School. While he was serving as Lutheran bishop of his native Stockholm, Sweden, in the early 1980s, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced plans to construct a temple just outside of the city.

    As commonly happens when Mormons build a temple, there was complaining, puzzlement, and some opposition among the local people. The now deceased Bishop Stendahl, who had Latter-day Saint friends and had visited Brigham Young University, reacted dramatically and quite unexpectedly.

    He called a press conference, and he held it in a Latter-day Saint stake center. There, among other things, he outlined to the Swedish press three principles that, he thought, should govern our discussions of the religious beliefs of other people.

    (1) If you want to know what others believe, ask them. Don’t ask their critics or their enemies.

    (2) When looking at the religious faith of others, compare your best with their best, not their worst with your best.

    (3) Always leave room for “holy envy.”

    Some explanation and examples will make these three principles clearer.

    The first should be fairly obvious. Enemies of a religious faith are unlikely to present it as its believers would. They are, in fact, quite likely to distort it and caricature it — unwittingly if they are honest, deliberately if (as all too often happens) they are unscrupulous and seek only a cheap and easy victory. This does not necessarily mean that there is no place for critics, or for listening to them. But if we really want to understand another religion, they should not be our first resource.

    The second principle is “When looking at the religious faith of others, compare your best with their best, not their worst with your best.” We commonly hear Christians contrast the loving ethics taught by Jesus in the New Testament with the acts of self-proclaimed Islamic terrorists. But it is not at all fair to compare the seldom-achieved Christian moral ideal with horrid crimes that are, despite their prominence in the newspapers and on television, still relatively rare among the world’s hundreds of millions of Muslims. The butchery of the “Christian” crusades would be a more appropriate comparison to Islamic terrorism. And the death decree against Salman Rushdie should not be compared to Mother Teresa of Calcutta, but to the Inquisition and the burnings of heretics that punctuated the history of the West and lack real parallel in the Islamic East.

    Stendahl reminded his Swedish audience of the human element that unavoidably affects even the most pure beliefs. If a religion is revealed, it is nonetheless revealed through fallible mortals. Alluding to the explanation on the title page of the Book of Mormon that “if there are faults they are the mistakes of men,” this eminent Lutheran theologian commented that such frankness increased his confidence in the book, rather than decreasing it.

    Finally, Stendahl counseled his audience to leave room for what he termed “holy envy.” We can learn greatly from faithful practitioners and believers of other faiths. The loving, joyous reverence of Orthodox Jews for the Sabbath — far from the cold, mechanical legalism of the stereotype — challenges us whose observance of the Lord’s day is often routine and perfunctory. Likewise, we can profit by reflecting upon the Jewish passion for religious learning, the simplicity and service of the Mennonites, the heroism of Protestant missionaries under terribly difficult conditions, and the social idealism of Dorothy Day and her Catholic Worker movement.

    Regarding Mormons and their temples, Stendahl suggested baptism for the dead as an object of “holy envy.” We Lutherans do nothing for our dead, he said. It is as if we have forgotten them. In contrast, he observed, the Latter-day Saints seek to bring the blessings of Christ’s atonement even to the dead.

    At a minimum, observing Krister Stendahl’s three principles would eliminate much of the religious strife in a world that is growing ever smaller and more interdependent and that can no longer afford such conflict.

    For my own part attending Catholic Catechesis for a year filled me with a great love of your liturgy it is the “Holy Envy” I have of Catholicisim; the priests and all I came in contact were wonderful ambassadors of your faith.

    Joseph Smith sums our feelings up as Mormons in our 13th article of faith: “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul — We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”

  • Phillip

    Pattie, Sorry my reply should have read at the beginning: “I spent a year in the Catholic catechesis programme attending mass no less than 22 [times] to help me understand ……

  • Bruce

    Philip, that is all hogwash. All of it. Mormonism is nothing but a fantasy which does not hold up to ANY historical scrutiny. Your religion could only be true if God is not Who He said He Is and were completely irrational, which is not possible. Your eternal salvation is at risk. Get out while you still can.

  • Phillip

    Elizabeth – Regarding your “I had read of life of Joseph Smith, (not much of Young) and found the founder of LDS to have many areas that truly stretched credibility. He appealed to a young nation that was looking for something in which to believe.”

    I wonder what the Jewish Sanhedrin two millennia ago thought about Jesus Christ, a itinerant rabbi wandering around trying to found a “new” religion…………..

    I think we know what the Sanhedrin thought!

    A famous Latin anagram was an answer made out of a question asked by Pilate. The question was: “QUID EST VERITAS?” (‘What is the truth?’), and the answer: “EST VIR QUI ADEST” (‘it is the man who stands before you’).

  • Ismael

    Catholicism does NOT claim that the scriptures were given through angels to men and that were translated in miraculous ways.

    Catholicism allows even for minor errors in copies of the scriptures (e.g. spelling errors), since it is the meaning of the scripture that has to remain intact, not the exact words (and indeed 99% of the discrepancies in various documents are irrelevant for the meaning and do not even show in translations).

    Catholicism acknowledges that scripture is a work done by man, even if under guidance by God (inspiration of the scriptures).

    For Catholics scriptures are infallible when it comes to theological and moral teaching, and it is not to be considered as a perfect historical chronicle (or at least not all books of the bible… also there are NO perfect historical chronicles even in non biblical documents…) , nor should the bible be considered a book of science.

    That is why a catholic can fully accept modern science without it conflicting it with faith. That is quite different from fundamentalist Christians who hold the scriptures as some kind of ‘e-mail from God’.

    So the approach to scriptures by Catholics (and Orthodox and also Jews) is quite different from the one applied by Mormons and many so-called ‘bible-only Christians’.

  • Patricia Cornell St. Louis, MO

    Adding to what Patty.N said just above in reply to Phillip’ scomments re Mormonism: The Catholic Church educates more children around the world than any other institution . It is responsible for developing the laws of evidence and financially supporting the research on the stars and planets. They care for more AIDs patients, living and dying than any other oganization. What the Mormon church does not have is the Holy Trinity which ties together the Father, Son and Holy Spirit from which the virtues, following the lives of the saints and praying for the living and dead come from.

    I am a Catholic Convert. If I move from one city to another, my whole structure does not die….I find a new community and a loving Church..Latin Mass, and I try to spread the love of Christ, not a man who made up some dream and starting marrying lots of women…. As Father said….our Church holds up to historical scrutiny. We promote Natural Family Planning, saving babies and permitting people to die a natural death. What I just said Phillip is the whole Truth..what you have submitted in this blog is NOT the Truth. Come back and do some more research into the Catholic……We are not a Cathedral of saints…we are truly a hospital of sinners! Did I mention Confession, the great sacramen! Carl Menninger said before he died that among the thousands of persons with mental illness, he could count less than 5 people who were practicing Catholics and he referred to the Sacrament of Confessioin. So there you have it….the Savior of the World wrapped up in one Holy Catholic and Apostolate Church! Patricia in St. Louis, MO

  • http://anorthodoxcatholic.blogspot.com deMOAOC

    Re: Phillip, “…because of the patent goodness in the lives of the members. Jesus said in Matthew 7:17 “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”

    The Jehovah’s Witnesses also use this passage to “prove” they are the true faith. To the LDS I ask do you consider it “goodness” not to unconditionally value and protect the most vulnerable? (The Catholic Church is the only faith who have unwaveringly valued and therefore protected the most vulnerable at every stage of existence since Christ founded her–the Catholic Church–2000 years ago! That stands up to historical scrutiny.) Do the LDS consider it “goodness” to live and teach falseness?

    Further, the passage you cite is from a larger passage about false prophets and, in light of the indisputable evidence in the video, actually discredits the LDS founder and, therefore, the religion he started:

    15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit, and the evil tree brings forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that brings not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. (http://newadvent.org/bible/mat007.htm).

    I invite you to read the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, those who were taught by the apostles themselves. You will find that they are Catholic. (1 John 4:6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.)

  • Phillip

    DeMOAC re your: “I invite you to read the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, those who were taut by the apostles themselves”. I have, and and you make a fair point, what did the Apostolic Fathers teach about the nature of God? – By this I mean pre Nicea in A.D. 325. Mormons are not creedal Christians.
    So any criticism that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not hold the contemporary Christian view of God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost is not a comment about our commitment to Christ but rather a recognition (accurate, I might add) that our view of the God head breaks with post–New Testament Christian history and returns to the doctrine taught by Jesus Himself. Now, a word about that post–New Testament history might be helpful.

    In the year A.D. 325 the Roman emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea to address—among other things—the growing issue of God’s alleged “trinity in unity.” What emerged from the heated contentions of churchmen, philosophers, and ecclesiastical dignitaries came to be known (after another 125 years and three more major councils) 4 as the Nicene Creed, with later reformulations such as the Athanasian Creed. These various evolutions and iterations of creeds—and others to come over the centuries—declared the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to be abstract, absolute, transcendent, immanent, consubstantial, coeternal, and unknowable, without body, parts, or passions and dwelling outside space and time. In such creeds all three members are separate persons, but they are a single being, the oft-noted “mystery of the trinity.” They are three distinct persons, yet not three Gods but one. All three persons are incomprehensible, yet it is one God who is incomprehensible.

    We agree with our critics on at least that point—that such a formulation for divinity is truly incomprehensible. With such a confusing definition of God being imposed upon the church, little wonder that a fourth-century monk cried out, “Woe is me! They have taken my God away from me, . . . and I know not whom to adore or to address.”5 How are we to trust, love, worship, to say nothing of strive to be like, One who is incomprehensible and unknowable? What of Jesus’s prayer to His Father in Heaven that “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”?6 

    It is not our purpose to demean any person’s belief nor the doctrine of any religion. We extend to all the same respect for their doctrine that we are asking for ours. (That, too, is an article of our faith.) But if one says we are not Christians because we do not hold a fourth- or fifth-century view of the Godhead, then what of those first Christian Saints, many of whom were eyewitnesses of the living Christ, who did not hold such a view either?7

    We declare it is self-evident from the scriptures that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are separate persons, three divine beings, noting such unequivocal illustrations as the Savior’s great Intercessory Prayer just mentioned, His baptism at the hands of John, the experience on the Mount of Transfiguration, and the martyrdom of Stephen—to name just four.

    4. Constantinople, A.D. 381; Ephesus, A.D. 431; Chalcedon, A.D. 451.
    5. Quoted in Owen Chadwick, Western Asceticism (1958), 235.
    6. John 17:3.
    7. For a thorough discussion of this issue, see Stephen E. Robinson, Are Mormons Christian? 71–89; see also Robert Millet, Getting at the Truth (2004), 106–22.

  • http://anorthodoxcatholic.blogspot.ca deMOAOC, Tiber Swimmer

    Re: Philip, “We have come not to take away from you the truth and virtue you possess.”

    I offer you what God teaches us in the Bible to see if LDS beliefs truly do not lead away from truth, notwithstanding the sincere motivations of its members (emphasis mine):

    Genesis 3:4-5 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened AND YOU WILL BE LIKE GOD….” [the evil one is always tempting us to make ourselves God]

    Deuteronomy 11:16 Take care, or you will be seduced into turning away, SERVING OTHER GODS and worshiping them

    Ezekiel 13:2-23 …say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: “Hear the word of the LORD!” Thus says the Lord GOD, Alas for the senseless prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! Your prophets have been like jackals among ruins …. They have envisioned FALSEHOOD and LYING divination; they say, “Says the LORD,” when the LORD has not sent them, and yet they wait for the fulfillment of their word! Have you not seen a false vision or uttered a lying divination, when you have said, “Says the LORD,” even though I did not speak?
    Because you have uttered falsehood and envisioned lies, I am against you, says the Lord GOD. My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations; they shall not be … enrolled in the register of the house of Israel …. Because … they have misled my people, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace …. you have encouraged the wicked not to turn from their wicked way and save their lives ….

    Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

    Matthew 24:11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.

    2 Corinthians 11:14-15 …Even Satan disguises himself as an ANGEL OF LIGHT. So it is not strange if his ministers also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness….

    Galatians 1:8 But EVEN IF WE OR AN ANGEL FROM HEAVEN should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed!

    Ephesians 4:14 We must no longer be … tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.

    Ephesians 6:11-12 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places

    1 Timothy 4:1-2 Now the Spirit expressly says that IN LATER TIMES some will renounce the faith by paying attention to DECEITFUL SPIRITS and teachings of demons, through the hypocrisy of LIARS whose consciences are seared with a hot iron.

    1 John 4:1 Beloved, DO NOT BELIEVE EVERY SPIRIT, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world

    1 John 4:6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

    2 John 7-11 Many deceivers have gone out into the world….Be on your guard….Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God….Do not receive into the house or welcome anyone who comes to you and does not bring this teaching, for to welcome is to participate in the evil deeds of such a person.

    Revelation 22:14-15 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and MURDERERS and IDOLATERS, and everyone who loves and practices FALSEHOOD.

    Phillip, I ask you what I’ve asked the Mormons who I’ve spoken with (all very pleasant people): as we are told in 1 John 4:1, please show us proof that Joseph Smith obeyed what God teaches us through the Bible and “tested the spirit” he claimed to have seen. In all these years, not one LDS has known what to do about my request (I’ve told them they are welcome to come back/contact me if they can provide any proof, but not one in all these years has done so. Very telling.)

    In contrast, the Catholic Church, in all her 2000 years since Jesus founded her, has had the practice of “testing the spirits,” as she is doing regarding the phenomena that has been reportedly happening in Medjugorje, and as she has done for the visions of the angel and the Blessed Virgin to 3 peasant children in Fatima, Portugal in 1917 (the angel’s and the Blessed Virgin’s prophecies have come true in specific, not general, ways). The continued piousness and virtue of the children further attest to the authenticity of the message they were given. Even when threatened with death by the communist government, the children did not waver in their testimony. See http://www.ewtn.com/fatima/index.htm for info. There is also St. Bernadette of Lourdes, France whose visions of the Blessed Virgin stood up to “testing the spirit,” and so very many more. It must be mentioned that most reported visions the Church investigates do not stand up to the “testing the spirit” test, and are therefore not condoned by the Church.

    Philip, I invite you to take another look at the Catholic Church and at the fullness of truth that is in her. We need you to come home, you are missed!

    Love and peace,

  • Joe M

    Mormons take a vow of intellectual poverty. This protects them from having to think about the tenets of their cult. Once that vow is broken, they are on the path to apostasy. The intense communal bonds are meant to keep them on the reservation.

  • San Miguel

    St. Thomas Aquinas speaking of the Muslim faith indicated that human reason could deduce that it was a false religion. I have found his test works very well for all false religions, including the Protestant prosperity-gospel craze. St. Thomas indicated that humans due to their fallen nature must fight concupiscence (lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life). Any religion that excuses, encourages, or advocates an indulgence in any of these, rather than assistance in fighting them, is a false religion; however, that religion will be enthusiastically embraced by humans drawn to that type of disordered self-love.

  • http://catholicsacristan.blogspot.com Wendell

    When Catholics know and live the Faith in full, others see Christ. If we put obstacles in the way of seekers who need Christ, especially by our lax or indifferent behaviour, then we rob others of the opportunity to encounter the joy of salvation found only in Jesus Christ.

    To be sure, there are people of goodwill among the Mormons (muslims, sikhs, buddhists, etc.). However, no one gets to heaven without Christ. No one gets to heaven merely because they are nice.

    Most people who visit this blog seem literate enough to know that the god of Mormonism, while it may sound a lot like the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is most certainly not the True God. That is, Mormons worship a false god, a god they claim was like us once, a man (they refer to as the Father) who became God. That Mormon god is not Almighty God of the Bible and the Creeds which define orthodox Christianity.

    Christ warned us about the rise of false prophets. Given the evidence arrayed against Joseph Smith and his false religion, for the sake of their souls we Catholics should do more to promote the True Faith among Mormons. What do the Mormons (protestants, muslims, etc.) have which can compare to Christ wholly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, at every Catholic Mass?

    Thanks for posting the video.

  • http://questionsformrromney.blogspot.com/ Victoria Sethunya (@UtahHumanRights)v

    Thank you for the video and healing for those like me who have been harmed by Utah Mormon leaders who chose to harm an African family instead of relying on the truth, even truth that I was taught guides the leadership of the church.

    I am also thankful to President Romney’s candidacy because the burden to carry white collar crime of Mormon leaders at Weber State University , which is a Utah state were unbearable. No one can imagine the psychological and emotional trauma borne by actions of dishonest leaders in Utah.

    Thank you Fr. Longenecker, for shedding light and bringing justice closer to our homes!

  • Chris

    This is all well and good, but you have not addressed the question of the veracity of the claims of Joseph Smith regarding the Book of Abraham, the subject of this post. You have succeeded in drawing your interlocutor off course by focusing on a single line of scripture “by their fruits you shall know them”. The Catholic Church is the source of the Bible. How can you accept it if you reject the councils of Nicea, Constantinople, etc? This post is about the veracity of the claims of Joseph Smith regarding the Book of Abraham. Mormonism is a house of cards, 100% of which is easily explained by an examination of the influences on Joseph Smith. I won’t bring in that extraneous material to the discussion. The goodness of many Mormons is not in dispute–as a traditional Catholic I believe in a limbo of virtuous pagans that is populated by similarly virtuous who responded, like Mormons, to the natural law that is written on every human heart. What is your defense of Joseph Smith’s claims to have translated the Egyptian Papyri? If this claim of his is so completely debunked, what is to recommend any of his other claims?

  • wineinthewater


    Those are standard apologetics about the Trinity; however, they present a skewed picture. When the Council of Nicaea was called, it was not called to address an emerging idea of the Trinity. It was called to address the emerging Arian concept, that Jesus was divine, but of a distinct and lesser divine nature than God the Father. Arianism was the new idea, the one that departed from the well-established notion of a Triune God. Trinitarian theology was ratified by the bishops present (who were mostly Eastern and felt the influence of Rome very slightly) by 315-3 (of the 3 that rejected Trinitarianism, 2 later recanted). The bishops declared that the definition offered at Nicaea was the teaching handed down from the apostles. So, though it is presented otherwise in these standard apologetics, Trinitarianism was the standard belief leading up to Nicaea, a Jesus who was distinct and of a lesser divine nature was the new idea that broke with the faith of the apostles. The Trinitarianism of Nicaea was not “imposed” on the Church by Nicaea, but the belief of the Church ratified by the Council.

    The quote you offer is also a standard one, but I don’t think the person who came up with that apologetic ever read anything more of the incident. For starters, the poor old monk Serapion was not reacting to the Nicaean definition of the Trinity. He had fallen into the Anthropomorphism error (that God has a body) that was common in his area. His outburst was because the Deacon Photinus refuted Anthropomorphism through appeals to reason, and the overwhelming traditional teaching of the whole Church, and Serapion had been convinced by this refutation. The same account goes on to say: “Abba Paphnutius and the rest of us felt great joy at his assent; joy that the Lord had not allowed a man of such age and goodness, who had erred in simple ignorance, to end his days unorthodox in the faith.” It was only after he had had his error corrected that he made his lament. Serapion was convinced that he was in error, but in losing his error, he also lost his long-held and comfortable personal notion of God. That is quite a loss.

    We see this quote from Serapion a lot when Mormon theology comes up. But it is a bit of a bait and switch. First, it isn’t about Trinitarianism, but Anthropomorphism. Second, the monk who cries it out actually has become convinced of the error of his Anthropomorphism.

    I appreciate your respectful tone. But the comments that you’ve been leaving have been, for the most part, cut-and-pastes of a body of standard apologetics that tend to take quotes out of context and miscast history. They exemplify the good Father’s point in the following post: when held up to historical and archaeological scrutiny, they do not stand up.

  • http://ideasaboutgodandtheworld.wordpress.com/ Alejandro

    The Book of Abraham is hardly the worst part of Mormonism. They believe the indians were descende from the jews. Look, even back then I think they could have easily compared jewish traits with the indigenous people of the USA and conclude that the indians were definetly not descended from the tribes of Israel. Though to be fair, back then it wasn’t that unreasonable to believe that they were, even if their traits didn’t match up, because people didn’t know biology and genetics. So you could say it was reasonable to be a latter day saint in the 19th century but definetly not in our modern time given historical and genetical facts.

  • Lisa

    If you come across something similar regarding Jehovah Witnesses please post it! My brother left the church to be a witness like his wife. It has caused much grief in my family. My once close brother doesn’t even talk to me anymore. Thank you for the post.

  • http://ideasaboutgodandtheworld.wordpress.com/ Alejandro

    But Islam is a religion that is similar in many aspects to Christianity, including lust of many kinds. I actually do held the Quran as divinely inspired and is a very good thing the Catholic Church is trying to see middle ground with the muslim world.

  • http://ideasaboutgodandtheworld.wordpress.com/ Alejandro

    There is a problem with that “no one gets to heaven without Christ”, because there are many people that haven’t and will never hear of Him. You get to heaven because you behaved good, not because you believe in Christ. Conversely, just by believing in Christ you don’t get to heaven, which is called “Sola Fide”, only faith, something the catholic church doesn’t teach. If you got to go to heaven solely by believing in Christ, then that means alot of awful people will go there, something that is definetly not possible and not true.

  • Luke Togni

    This is pelagian. Behaviour does not “get us into heaven”. Salvation is transformation into Christ, which may happen through extraordinary means in the case of those who have not heard of Christ in this life.

  • SteveD

    Phillip, the 14 million member claim is a myth. Strangely no other religion seems to have followers who mention their numbers every time they have anything to say about their religion. The LDS is obsessed with numbers and massages them to a ludicrous degree. Non-active members are included in the count until their 110th birthday! Many local wards include non-baptized spouses and relatives who occasionally attend services and SLC include these on the polls. A brief comparison between LDS figures and the census records of those countries (including the US) where religion affiliation is recorded shows that the LDS figures are enormously inflated, in some countries by four times. A believing LDS statistician recently estimated worldwide active LDS membership as no more than 5 million, and falling.

  • SteveD



    Using the Mormon rationale for the existence of God, I have decided that this version of God must be an inferior God. Having been a man at one time, he must have had his own God to worship. In turn, that God would have had HIS own God to worship and so on. I would prefer to worship the original God and not his underlings. Thank God that there has been and only will be one God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) so I will not be faced with such a dilemma.

    Another belief of the LDS is that Jesus and Satan are brothers. As Catholics, we know this is a false teaching. “In the beginning was the Word. The Word was God and the Word was with God.” To claim that a fallen angel, a created being is an equal with the God of all creation who has no beginning or end is a deadly tenet to hold.

    I have a brother who is lost in the LDS, but I pray daily that he will come back to life, a life in the church.

  • William H

    It is very hard to hold the Quran as divinely inspired when it completely messes up what Christians thought was the Trinity at that time in history.

  • Fr. Frank

    I want to thank Phillip for his gracious responses. I know many Mormons and I believe they are utterly sincere when they testify of their great love for Jesus. And yet, they are not allowed to pray to Him. On a purely emotional level this seems unspeakably sad to me. I ask this question in all sincerity: How does one cultivate a personal relationship with the Savior if one is not allowed to speak with Him?

    Again, thank you Phillip for the charity of your responses. I hope you are still checking the combox, and will respond.

  • http://ideasaboutgodandtheworld.wordpress.com/ Alejandro

    Just because they deny the Trinity, a concept that is not explicit in the Bible anyway, does not mean the Quran cannot be divinely inspired.

  • http://ideasaboutgodandtheworld.wordpress.com/ Alejandro

    So an atheist that behaves exactly like a catholic doesn’t get him Salvation?

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    That’s right. Catholics do not believe in salvation by works. It is necessary to have faith in Jesus Christ and be baptized. However, it is impossible for an atheist to behave exactly like a Catholic because one of the behaviors of a Catholic is that he is baptized, confirmed, goes to Mass every week and confession at least once a year. An atheist wouldn’t do that.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    A book cannot be inspired by God if it teaches what is false. God doesn’t inspire error.

  • Robert

    I was born and raised in the Mormon church. Mitt Romney and I have the same great-great grandfather, namely Miles Park Romney (1843-1904). My great-grandfather Romney came from Miles Park Romney’s fourth wife, Annie Maria Woodbury. Mitt Romney’s family comes through Miles Park’s Romney first wife, Hannah Hood Hill.

    I was about sixteen years old when I completely lost faith in Mormonism. I had come across Fawn McKay Brodie’s masterful No Man Knows My History. This biography was the first scholarly biography of Joseph Smith. I read and re-read the damning material Brodie had unearthed. I came to see that she was right. Joseph Smith could have written the Book of Mormon and the revelations.

    Around that time, I spent a summer with my grandmother. I met Sandra Tanner and bought some of the books she and her late husband wrote. I was stunned to see how the revelations were changed. Basically, I had been raised to believe that God spoke directly to Joseph Smith and Joseph Smith wrote what God told him too.

    Around that time, I went inside a Catholic church just to see what it was like inside. I felt a presence unlike any other. While I did look at some other churches, eventually, I felt that the Catholic Church was where I most felt at home. Protestantism reminded me too much of Mormonism. Anglicanism was attractive, especially since I’ve been a life-long Anglophile. However, I saw that the Episcopal Church was adrift, even then in the early ’90s. I looked into Orthodoxy. However, the Greek Orthodox parishes were mostly enclaves of Greek ethnicity. The Antiochians were nice, but by the time I had come across the Eastern Orthodox churches, I was well on my way to Rome.

    As for Mormon intellectuals, while I do keep with some of the amazing (and I do mean amazing, though in a sarcastic meaning) of the Maxwell Institute (former known as FARMS), I’m still amazed at some of the explanations, couched in scholarly language, they keep up with. I reccommend Professor Bushman’s book on Joseph Smith. Professor Bushman, formerly a history professor at Columbia University, is a very erudite man. In his book, he admits to many of the same problems that were brought up by Brodie. If one dialogues with Mormons, I reccommend using the Bushman book rather than the Brodie book, which is facilely dismissed as “anti-Mormon”. Professor Bushman still remains a believer despite knowing all that he knows about the flawed character of Mormonism’s founder. However, for me, knowing what I know about Joseph Smith, it all comes down to the credibility of Joseph Smith. I, for one, do not find him credible.

    Mitt Romney and I do have a Catholic relative in common. I never met her, but I’ve often prayed to her. Sister Mary Catherine Romney Cheney, OCD was an extern sister of the Carmelite Monastery in Salt Lake City. Her brother, Marion G. Romney, was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency of the LDS church. She was the first Carmelite to make her solemn profession in Salt Lake City. Interestingly, the bishop who received her profession, Bishop Duane G. Hunt was himself a convert to Catholicism from the Methodist Church. Bishop Hunt was a brilliant apologist in his own right. You may wish to read his defense of Catholicism against the Mormon claims by clicking here:


    I thank God for giving me the gift of faith. God gave me a treasure in my Catholic faith. It is nothing I could have merited, but something which, thanks be to God, I was open to.

  • Bokonon

    “Mormons take a vow of intellectual poverty.”

    Very well put! As a former LDS I can attest that that is true.

  • Jan from Utah

    Robert – this is a really lovely comment – thanks for writing it.

    I agree with you about the Brodie book – it’s marvelous!

  • SteveD

    The LDS is an American founded ‘religion’ along with several others and there are now several American saints. I live in the UK but sometimes wonder why someone doesn’t write a prayer /novena/litany to the American saints to intercede for the many members of the US founded cults such as Mormons, JW’s, SDA’s and Christian Scientists etc. It’s reassuring to know that there is a Carmel in Utah, they should have a beneficial effect with St. Therese’s help.

  • http://anorthodoxcatholic.blogspot.com deMOAOC, Tiber swimmer

    Re: Phillip, “re your: ‘I invite you to read the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, those who were taut [sic] by the apostles themselves’….what did the Apostolic Fathers teach about the nature of God?–By this I mean pre Nicea [sic] in A.D. 325.”

    You seem to be confusing the group of Early Church Fathers (covering approx. to A.D. 800) with the specific sub-group Apostolic Fathers. As I had stated, and as you acknowledge in your reply quoted above, the Apostolic Fathers are the ones who were taught by the apostles themselves; for example:

    St. Clement of Rome – taught by Peter and Paul; martyred c.A.D. 97/100; third Pope of the Catholic Church; mentioned in the Bible in Philippians 4:3

    St. Ignatius of Antioch – disciple of John (d. 100); martyred A.D. 117; in his writings he called the Church Christ founded the Catholic Church and in such a way that shows it had been called thus for some time prior; an example of his writings:

    “Heretics abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ.” St. Ingatius of Antioch, “Epistle to the Smyrneans,” c. 105

    My point was that what the Apostles taught their contemporary followers, specifically the Apostolic Fathers, was Catholicism. This is a matter of history. I find it interesting that instead of answering to any of my points, you brought up something completely irrelevant. What are you afraid of? what can’t you let yourself acknowledge about LDS teachings? The truth is not something to be feared, it is something to be welcomed, embraced, and NEVER let go! (“…and the truth shall make you free,” John 8:32.) Your eternal salvation depends on you allowing yourself to see and accept the truth!

    I will keep you in my prayers. Love and peace in truth.

  • http://ideasaboutgodandtheworld.wordpress.com/ Alejandro

    Father, with all due respect, you’re actually wrong with that remark. The Bible has promoted discrimination, a bad interpretation of the bible, yes, but it still has. I does, can and has inspired error. Also, again, the trinity is not a concept explicitly stated in the Biblel

  • http://ideasaboutgodandtheworld.wordpress.com/ Alejandro

    I find that to be a rather fundamentalist way of thinking. Christ would love more an atheist that does good deeds than a catholic that goes to mass and confession like he or she should but doesn’t follow His teachings in everything else.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Good deeds don’t save you. Christ does. Faith in Christ is necessary. You should read your catechism more.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    You should read your catechism more. There is no error in the Bible–only erroneous interpretations.

  • http://anorthodoxcatholic.blogspot.com deMOAOC

    Re: deMOAOC, “St. Clement of Rome…third Pope of the Catholic Church”

    Oops! That should have been FOURTH Pope of the Catholic Church. I apologize for the confusion.

  • Robert

    The Brodie book was a bombshell in its day. She was the niece of a then-member of the Quorum of the Twelve, future church president David O. McKay. Needless to say, she was excommunicated. However, her work pretty much set the benchmark for Joseph Smith biography.

    You’re more than welcome. I like and admire the Mormon people. Some of my closest friends are Mormons. However, when I hear family members talk about how great Joseph Smith was, it is very difficult for me. Yes, Joseph Smith was a major figure in American history, but he was a deeply flawed and tragic figure. I do believe that he was eventually consumed by his own excesses.

    There is such a need to help those struggling with their faith in Mormonism. Unfortunately, when these facts become known, quite a few do end up as atheists or agnostics. My sister is one, which has put me in the strange position of being the good kid again.

  • Joy

    Is this a serious video? I couldn’t stop laughing.

  • Mark

    Fr. Longenecker you sound a little confused. What will be your 4th choice of religions? Maybe you should pray about it first so you can receive inspiration to make the right choice and become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Thank you for your comment. You sound a little confused. I have only ever followed one religion–the Christian one. By God’s grace I was led from truncated forms of that one religion to the fullness of the faith in the Catholic Church.

  • Nelson Chung

    As a Mormon and with all due respect, Father,

    1. You still have an Evangelical Christian impulse, as I rarely see Catholics post that video.
    2. I think we’ll keep the Book of Abraham and the Catholic Church can keep its problems. Wouldn’t want to trade right now.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Or you could examine the truth claims of both religions and make an educated choice.

  • Nelson Chung

    I have, Father. And though I recognize the Catholic Church’s contributions in history, especially in science, there is a lot more in the Catholic Church’s past (not to mention its current problems) that would make me ache to believe God authorizes your church, than this Book of Abraham issue ever did for my own faith.

  • Danielle

    I would say that the “current problems” (which really aren’t that currant) are really just proof of how VERY MUCH we need Jesus, and the Sacraments, and the Spirit to guide us, and the fullness of the faith. Maybe by comparison, the historicity of one of your books does seem silly. But then again, 20-40 year old scandals being cleaned up and corrected shows that there is Someone guiding His Church, as opposed to a bunch of people (any people) blithely ignoring a factually wrong book (any factually wrong book). It tends to make me wonder what else are they ignoring.

  • Nelson Chung

    Well, since much of the Bible was written pseudepigraphically anyway, a 4-chapter book in our massive canon incorrectly attributed to Abraham is no big deal, so long as the theology is correct.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    A book ascribed to Peter by one of his disciples recording his teachings is not really the same thing as a guy who says he is translating from ancient the stories of Abraham and Joseph from ancient Egyptian. The question here is not whether it was really written by the person who’s name is on it, but the intentional, outrageous fraud that Joseph Smith was. How can you trust a guy who ‘translates’ Egyptian manuscripts which turn out to have nothing at all to do with what he wrote? Who cares if the ‘theology’ is correct if the whole thing is based on a hoax?

  • Nelson Chung

    I’m not talking about Peter using a secretary, surely you don’t believe Abraham was an actual person. The patriarchal narratives in the Bible are mostly origin myths anyway, and we still accept them as inspired scripture.

    Most scholars do not believe it was a deliberate hoax. William Albright, the father of Biblical archaeology, for example, concluded that Joseph Smith really believed he had the ability to decipher those writings, and that Smith was really gifted. And the cosmology revealed in the Book of Abraham fits squarely with the ancient near east (Biblical, Canaanite, and Babylonian), with stars representing divine beings. Whatever medium Joseph used is secondary to what was revealed.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker


  • Chaitea

    Most scholars who are LDS you mean lol. The Rosetta Stone that sits in the British museum is all that we have to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs. Good luck trying to convince me otherwise.

  • Noel

    The Book of Abraham was the major issue that started my exodus from the LDS church. The chief apologist for the Book of Abraham is John Gee from Brigham Young University, His PHd was obtain from the University of Chicago, one of his examiners being Dr Ritner. I am not sure what reason Ritner not longer wanted to serve or if he was asked to leave. However Ritner articles have appeared in a new book The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri: A Complete Edition, (Signature books). a complete translation of the papyri returned to the LDS church. Suffice it to say he finds nothing to support Smith’s “translation”.
    Dr Gee now argues that there were instance where documents were included with the material meant for the deceased person. Now it is the “still missing Book of Abraham papyri” theory. Cook and Smith have responded to his “wrap theory” https://dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Dialogue_V43N04_13.pdf
    I suppose there is a lot at stake when you might have to admit a major scripture in your religion is a fraud. You have to end up thinking what else is there that is questionable about LDS scriptures?

  • LMA

    Oh, good. “Hogwash.” Now there’s a theological argument for you.

  • LMA

    As a Mormon convert with a post-graduate degree, who has had a love for reading, studying and thinking all his life, before and after LDS baptism, I can attest that that is a nasty, unfounded smear. You folks can make all the arguments you want to and we can discuss them, but at the end of the day, all you’ve got is your own self-satisfied sense of your own superiority. THAT is intellectual poverty for you.

  • LMA

    That’s interesting. Mormonism passes that test, happily enough.