About

Welcome to my blog!

This blog will basically be about my spiritual journey home to Catholicism, as well as my thoughts on various theological and historical issues as related to Catholicism and Mormonism.  A little background about myself:

 

I was born and raised Catholic.  I was baptized, confirmed, and received first communion.  I was pretty active as a Catholic, volunteering as a Lector and Eucharistic Minister during high school and college, as well as helping out with Catechism classes.  Although I loved Catholicism, I was still curious about other religions.  When I found out about Mormons, I was genuinely curious, especially since they claimed to have scriptures in addition to the Bible, as well as living prophets.

I began as a critic of Mormonism, since surely The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints couldn’t be the “one true church”, since the Catholic Church was it, in my view.  However, the more I read LDS apologetics, the more I felt that Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of the LDS Church, was on to something.  In my mind at the time, Joseph Smith and/or his associates could not have made up the Book of Mormon and the unique LDS beliefs.  To make a long story short, I decided to contact the LDS missionaries, and they asked me if I wanted to be baptized at our first meeting, as they were utterly surprised at how much I knew.  Two weeks later, I was baptized into the LDS faith.

I enjoyed my life as a Latter-day Saint, though there was always familial pressure to come back to Catholicism.  I enjoyed the friends I have made, the community, the plethora of events throughout the week that I can participate in with people with similar morals to mine, etc.  I have served in a few callings in the LDS Church in my 2 years as a member, including Ward Missionary, Elders Quorum Presidency Secretary, and Elders Quorum President.  I am ordained an Elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood, and received my temple Endowment, and hold a current recommend.  I have taught many classes in Gospel Principles, Gospel Doctrine, Elders Quorum, etc.  I’ve given many talks in Sacrament Meeting, as well as talks at firesides and regional conferences.

Lately, for various reasons, I have found myself thinking about Catholicism more often, especially the Eucharist.  I have wondered if I made a mistake.  There are many troubling issues within LDS history and doctrine which have caused me to do more research and prayer.  Thing such as restricting blacks from being ordained to the priesthood until 1978 (and the various statements made by Church leaders, including the First Presidency and the Prophet), the historicity of the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham, how the arguments of many LDS scholars are placed above statements by various LDS prophets and apostles, etc.

However, the fundamental issue is whether a Great Apostasy really happened.  The Apostasy has always been something that I had difficulty with, something that the missionaries didn’t really provide a good answer to, but which I placed up on the “mental shelf”, along with other things over time.  After reading many arguments on both sides, I am slowly coming to accept that the Great Apostasy was not predicted in the Bible, and that the Bible and history point to Christ establishing His Church, and various promises, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, were given as to its perpetuity.

I have also found that many of the things that I found attractive in Mormonism, such as prophets, continuing revelation, church guided by God, temples, being with my family for eternity, etc are found right in the Catholic Church that I left.  I have not yet reverted back to the Catholic Church, for various reasons, however I do feel like it is inevitable, and could happen soon.  This blog will talk about my thoughts on various issues related to the LDS Church and the Catholic Church, why a Mormon should consider Catholicism, as well as the various problems found in LDS history and doctrine that many average Latter-day Saints may not be aware of, with the goal that they come to see, as I have seen, that Jesus Christ established His Church anciently, promised to be with His Church, promised the Spirit to guide it into all Truth, and that the Old Testament prophets predicted that this Kingdom would never fail or have to be restored.  The Lord’s Church, the Catholic Church, still exists today, with the same priesthood given by Jesus Christ to His apostles anciently.

Enjoy!

10 Responses to About

  1. Gene Fadness says:

    Hello, I am fascinated by your blog and your story. I am a former Mormon who converted to evangelicalism, then to Lutheran and, finally, to Catholicism in 1999. I would love to e-mail you my story if you would like to read it. Thanks and God bless you in your journey, Gene in Boise, ID, USA.

  2. Danielle says:

    You are really making me think. I love my church and I truly believe that the Catholic Church was the church established by Christ himself on Earth, when he told Peter that he was the “rock,” upon which he would build it. But there is a curiosity in me about this LDS church and I can’t sate it until I have read every single document. And in so doing, I am wholeheartedly hoping to discover some new things about my faith. I wish you the best of luck as well!

    • I understand. The LDS claim of apostasy and restoration is directly opposed to the Catholic claim of continuity (and vice versa of course). While it’s certainly admirable that you are aiming to read all of their scriptures (i.e. the Standard Works), that will take some time! Also, as I mentioned in another comment, I do hope that you are not lessening your Catholic devotional practices to include reading LDS scriptures.

      I think that the Gospel Principles manual would provide you with the information on the LDS faith that you’re looking for, at least for a start (and I note that there are different editions of the manual, where some place more emphasis on certain things than others, such as previous versions explicitly stating that God the Father “became God”, a belief (that the Father was not always God, and progressed to Godhood, and we follow His example) that various LDS prophets and apostles have taught, but that statement is taken out from the latest version). But anyway, you should take a look at it if you’d like to know what Mormons believe.

  3. Danielle says:

    Oh definitely not! I pray my rosary and reflect on the Gospels everyday, I don’t miss Mass, because without the Eucharistic celebration my week is all off! But for some reason I do feel the need to get to know the LDS and you know, from what I’ve read in the D&C, you’re right, it is not like the catechism. It’s just every time I research a question, that’s where they lead me to! Ha. Thanks for that link, I’ll definitely check it out instead of the D&C. I wouldn’t say it’s admirable, I think it’s a Christian duty to understand the people Jesus himself told us to love. Can I ask a question? A rather a bundle of them? Were you unhappy with the church when you left or did the curiosity just get the better of you? And also, what’s been the hardest thing to wrap your head around with the LDS church?

    • Ok great, glad to hear!

      No, I wasn’t unhappy with the Catholic Church. I think my curiosity got the better of me, plus I found various things advanced by LDS missionaries and the LDS Church in general attractive, such as the concept of living apostles and prophets, continuing revelation, an embodied God (i.e. God the Father has a body just like Jesus Christ), temples (that was probably more curiosity than anything, as I was curious about these “extra” ordinances/sacraments that they had), no infant baptism (I didn’t really like the lack of certainty in the Catholic understanding of what happens to unbaptized infants), and the general LDS understanding of only the “true Church” being able to perform the ordinances/sacraments (while Catholics accept that valid baptism can be performed by anyone, including an atheist or pagan in cases of emergency, and various churches in schism, such as the Orthodox, have valid sacraments, The LDS view seemed simpler and more organized).

      As for the hardest thing, that would most likely be the concept that God the Father was once a man that progressed to Godhood. I simply couldn’t wrap my head around a theology that could entertain the idea that God wasn’t always God, and that He became God at some point. The Incarnation of Christ isn’t the same thing, since obviously He was God prior to that. But yeah, I could appreciate believing that the Father has a body, but not that He has that body because He was once a man that lived a life like us, and progressed to the state of Godhood that He now enjoys (and of course this is viewed as an example that we follow).

      The Apostasy also was always problematic for me. Also, being African American, the priesthood restriction was also a problem. And lastly, while the “concept” of living prophets and apostles sounds nice, I realized, as I mentioned in one of my blog posts, that the LDS prophets today (15 men sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators) don’t really function like the Biblical prophets, nor do they function any differently than the leaders of other Christian churches, i.e., non-prophets. To me, Mormonism seems nice in theory, but upon examination, it doesn’t hold up.

      • Danielle says:

        I think you have explained exactly what’s drawing my attention to the LDS church and also what’s keeping me from it. I will save my long spiel of a comment and just nod my head in agreement because that just clarified a lot for me. The last month or so I was afraid that maybe I was judging them too harshly and perhaps they were seeing something I wasn’t but now, seeing that I am not the only one who finds it nice in theory, I am actually sated, that curiosity is over. I must thank you really, had you not sent me to the Gospel Principles, I would have wandered for weeks trying to wrap my head around it all.

        About the restriction on black men in the priesthood the justification for that is similar to the belief that black people are the cursed descendants of Cain, right? Bah humbug.

        And, after mass I plan to speak with my Priest and see what I can do to contribute, obviously I am not doing my part and taking the initiative to act on the grace God has gifted me with.

        Thanks.

      • No problem.

        As far as the priesthood restriction, you may be interested in reading the Wikipedia article:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_people_and_Mormonism

        Yes, the curse of Cain was among the things brought up in relation to the priesthood restriction, as was the alleged pre-mortal conduct of blacks (that they/we were less valiant in the war in Heaven than everyone else).

      • No problem.

        As far as the priesthood restriction, you may be interested in reading the Wikipedia article:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_people_and_Mormonism

        Yes, the curse of Cain was among the things brought up in relation to the priesthood restriction, as was the alleged pre-mortal conduct of blacks (that they/we were less valiant in the war in Heaven than everyone else).

  4. carlosbyu says:

    I just read your amazing story about how you became a Mormon.

    I was also born and raised in a Catholic family. Later when I was 12, and after reading the New Testament I came to know by a spiritual experience that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the Christ and that He is my Savior and Redeemer.

    Also after studying the Bible for three and a half years I learned about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from its missionaries and decided to join that church. I came to the conclusion that an apostasy of the original church of Jesus Christ really happened and that the true church of God was restored on earth by the Prophet Joseph Smith.

    Since that time it has passed more than 30 years and over the years I have studied a lot about Mormon theology and history and I have received spiritual confirmations over and over that the LDS Church is the true church of God with the true priesthood restored by the Prophet Joseph Smith.

    In this discussion, there are only two valid positions: Either,

    1) The perpetuation of the original church and priesthood of the original apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ or
    2) The restoration of the true church and priesthood by Joseph Smith

    The reformation of the church started by Martin Luther is a fact that shows that an apostasy took place in the original church of the apostles. Luther wanted the church to go back to the original teachings and practices. Luther identified at least 95 issues in the church that needed to be addressed. None of them were and he was excommunicated. Consequently, a reformation in the Catholic Church never took place and it continued in its state of apostasy until the current date.

    Therefore, an apostasy in the original church of Jesus Christ took place, then a restoration was needed. In the worst case scenario, if Joseph Smith was not a true restorer of the original church of Jesus Christ and priesthood of God, then, neither of those exists on the earth today and still a restoration is needed.

    However, I know Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and the restorer of the original priesthood and church in these latter days.

    During my time as an active member of the LDS Church, not only I have studied its theology and history, I have also served in different callings in wards and stakes in different leadership positions. I have also served a full-time mission of two years for the church and a part-time welfare mission. Throughout those leadership experiences I have seen first hand how the church is run in different levels and in different ecclesiastical units.

    Currently I am a Church employee working at the Missionary Training Center in Provo. I know what Mormonism is from different angles: as a member, as a leader, as a teacher, as a missionary, and as an employee.

    I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the re-established original church of the Jesus Christ and his apostles and that we hold the true priesthood of God.

    If you have any questions for me, please feel free to ask me. In the meantime, you are cordially invited to read my story at http://www.carlosbenz.blogspot.com

    The Good Lord Jesus may bless you.

    • Thank you for your comment Carlos, and Happy Easter!

      Your testimony sounds exactly like what I used to say when I was a member of the LDS Church. While I appreciate that you hold fast to your beliefs, I find many logical fallacies and problems with the statements made in your testimony:

      -A total apostasy of Jesus Christ’s Church, which is His Kingdom, is simply not supported by the Bible. None of the verses cited by Latter-day Saints in support of the Great Apostasy actually support a loss of the priesthood from the earth, nor that the Church would fall away and not exist on the earth. Instead, we find plenty of verses in support of the perpetuity of the Church of Christ. Indeed, we find plenty of verses that demonstrate that Jesus Christ is the Head of His Body, that He guides the Church, that the Spirit will guide the Church into all Truth, and Old Testament promises that the Kingdom, once established, would never be taken away. Again, a total apostasy of Christ’s Church simply is not tenable based on the Bible.

      -While your spiritual confirmations may be good for you personally (and I have no say in what you have and haven’t experienced), they are not convincing to anyone else, except yourself. Similarly, I have had a number of powerful spiritual experiences and confirmations through the Spirit that led me back to the Catholic Church, and confirmed to me that it is the Church that Jesus Christ established anciently, continuing for 2000 years with Christ’s priesthood and the sacramental mysteries that guide us on our journey to the eternal presence of God. But again, that’s my personal experience.

      -I don’t agree with your either/or proposition of two valid positions. While this is a common LDS outlook, it is not logically sound, and demonstrates some unfamiliarity with the Christian landscape. Besides Joseph Smith, there have been a number of people throughout Christian history claiming to either reform or restore the true Church. Indeed, there are a number of churches today that claim such a thing, besides the LDS Church (and the various other LDS-related denominations), such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Further, even if the Catholic Church is not the continuation of the original Church, the Orthodox Church (the second largest Christian church, with 250 million members) has a valid claim as well. So, quite simply, it isn’t as black and white as you claim (either Catholicism or Joseph Smith).

      -No, the reformation of Martin Luther does not demonstrate that an apostasy of the original church occurred. Firstly, I highly doubt that Luther would agree with what LDS claim “apostasy” is referring to, namely, a loss of the priesthood authority of the Church of Christ. Secondly, you seem to not be familiar with what actually went on surrounding the Reformation (as well as the so-called Counter-Reformation). The Catholic Church recognized that there were some issues that needed to be addressed, and addressed them, within and by its own Christ-given authority. Many of Luther’s grievances actually would have taken the Church away from its Apostolic origins, as we can see in today’s Lutheran denominations. Luther was excommunicated for teaching heresy. Thirdly, throughout Catholic history (2000 years), there have been numerous people and groups claiming issues with the Church, and subsequently claiming a reformation or restoration, and that they know the truth. This is nothing knew for Catholics. Heresies have been known since ancient times, and the Church has held fast to the doctrines given to it, guided by the Spirit, for 2000 years.

      -No, if Joseph Smith was not a truth restorer of the original Church, then perhaps it is one of the other claimants of the same thing. Remember, Joseph Smith is not unique in that claim. The Catholic Church has seen many of these claims throughout its history.

      My take:

      I do appreciate many wonderful things about the LDS Church. I still have a number of friends that are LDS, we still are friends. I appreciate the missionary program of the LDS Church, as well as the various social activities (I believe I wrote a blog post about things I like about the LDS Church).

      However, I simply don’t see how it is what it claims to be: a restoration of the original Church. Firstly, I don’t see a loss of the priesthood of God predicted anywhere in the Bible. Instead, I see numerous promises for the perpetuity of the Kingdom of God. As well, the perpetuity of Christ’s Church emphasizes the love and mercy of our God, who knows that we are sinners, and still loves us. God established the Church to be a hospital of sinners. He knows that we sin, make mistakes, etc, but He provides, and maintains, the Church as a way for us to access the atonement of Christ and be forgiven of our sins. I am grateful for that.

      Many of the things that LDS claim were lost were never actually lost. The Catholic Church teaches that Heaven has always been open. God speaks. We can receive inspiration and guidance from Heaven. The Spirit guides the Church. Miracles happen. Catholic history is literally filled with the miraculous, including Heavenly visions and visitations. We have numerous prophets and prophetesses throughout our history. Heaven was never closed, and we did not need Joseph Smith (or any other person) to open it. The doctrine of deification, or theosis, was never lost. The Catholic Church teaches that through God’s grace, we can partake of the divine nature. Temples were never lost. Every Catholic Church is a temple, a sacred space where the presence of God is, and a sacrificial priesthood ministers. We are actually more in continuity with the Old Testament temple and tabernacle than the LDS temples are (I was Endowed and am familiar with all temple ordinances).

      And finally, various historical issues abound in the LDS faith which point away from it as the true Church. The prophets, seers, and revelators do not do anything. There are no new prophecies, visions, or revelations. The priesthood/temple restriction of blacks makes no sense within the context of Christ coming for all, and for us to baptize “all” nations. The LDS Church didn’t do this until 1978. Further, the prophets and apostles taught many horrific, racist things during that time period. The Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham have many historical issues and anachronisms. You can read more about these issues here: http://mormonthink.com/.

      In the end, after much study and fervent prayer, I came to the conclusion that the LDS Church is not what it claims to be, despite how much I loved being LDS, and that the Catholic Church really is what it claims to be. I am grateful for the knowledge that Jesus Christ has guided His Church throughout the ages. I am grateful that the priesthood of Christ was never lost, and is here today. Bishops carry on the authority of the Apostles, as given to them by the Apostles. The doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is not only Biblical (and in continuity with numerous Jewish practices and beliefs), but historical (and it is very interesting that the doctrine can be found in the most ancient churches, whether in Jerusalem, Rome, Greece, Antioch, Ethiopia, India, etc). The LDS understanding of Communion is found nowhere in ancient Christianity. I am grateful for the knowledge of an eternal God, and not in a God who potentially progressed to or achieved Godhood, as various LDS prophets, apostles, and Church manuals and magazines have taught, including Joseph Smith (who “refuted” the idea that God has always been God from all eternity). I am grateful for Christ’s priesthood, and the blessings and sacramental mysteries I have received at their hands, which strengthen me and confirm to me that God’s priesthood is found in the Catholic Church. I am grateful to know that God never stopped speaking, and that Heaven has guided the Church for 2000 years, and has provided wondrous visions and visitations by Heavenly messengers to Catholics throughout its history, contrary to LDS popular belief. Although many have claimed to have the Truth, Joseph Smith being one of many and hardly unique, I am grateful to know that the Catholic Church remains as the steward of the mysteries of Christ, and that no matter what heresy has arisen, the Church that Christ established, His Kingdom on Earth, has remained, and has been the custodian of Truth throughout the ages.

      Once again, thank you for sharing your beliefs, and I hope that you have a blessed Easter with your family and friends.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: