10 Reasons You Should Be Mormon-A Response

So I was reading an LDS-related forum, and saw a thread about this blog post.  At the outset, I should say that I certainly appreciate the zeal and love that the poster has for her faith, which motivates her to want to share the things that she loves about it (coupled of course with the instruction from church leaders to be “member missionaries”, as well as utilizing technology to share the LDS view of the Gospel).  I thought I’d comment on a few of the points from my perspective (and of course I’ll shortly share a 10 Reasons You Should Be Catholic!):

1) ” Jesus Christ is the center of our faith. A lot of people believe we don’t worship Jesus Christ…but we do! (Just check out the church’s full name.) We believe in the same Jesus Christ that other Christian faiths believe in. He is the Son of God and died for our sins.”

My response: I do agree that Mormons love Jesus Christ, believe that He is the Son of God, and suffered and died for our sins.  Mormons believe that we are to follow His example.  However, I wouldn’t necessarily say that they “believe in the same Jesus Christ that other Christian faiths believe in”.  Primarily, the Divine origins of Jesus Christ are fundamentally different.  Latter-day Saints believe that we are all sons and daughters of Heavenly Parents-God the Father and His spouse, Heavenly Mother.  Jesus Christ, known as “Jehovah” in the pre-mortal existence, was the literal firstborn spirit son of our Heavenly Parents (the Holy Ghost is also a spirit son of our Parents).  In contrast, Catholics and other traditional Christians believe that Jesus Christ is God the Son, but is also the eternal Son of God.  The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are believed to be in an eternal relationship, and the Son did not have to be spiritually born.  He is eternally the Son of the Father.  There never was a time when God did not exist as God, and there never was a time when Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost were not members of the eternal Trinity.   Also, God the Father is not married to a Heavenly Mother, therefore there is no reference to “Heavenly Parents” (an idea found nowhere in the writings of the earliest Christians, including the New Testament).  Latter-day Saints therefore see a “beginning” of sorts with Jesus in the pre-mortal existence, just like with all of us (noting of course their belief in an eternal, uncreated “intelligence” that we all have), while Catholics believe that Jesus has eternally existed as the Son, and did not have to be spiritually begotten at some point (He is said to be “eternally begotten”).

Another interesting difference is that traditional Christians are generally okay with praying directly to Jesus Christ.  Since Jesus Christ is God, is Divine, we can worship and pray to Him.  In contrast, Latter-day Saints believe that you can only pray to the Father, in the name of the Son.
2. “God still speaks to the world through a prophet. Remember in the Bible when God called prophets? Well guess what?? He still does! There is a living prophet today named Thomas S. Monson, and there are also 12 apostles. Joseph Smith was the first modern-day prophet who was called by God to restore the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth after years of people creating their own faiths. The only way you can know there’s a prophet is through listening to what he has to say and praying to know for yourself.”

My response: Catholics agree that God still speaks to prophets.  Catholics don’t believe that God has ever stopped talking to His children, contrary to LDS beliefs about the Heavens being closed until they were reopened in the 1800s.  Catholic history is filled with wondrous and miraculous visions, Heavenly visitations, miracles, etc.  Indeed, these have happened, and still do, and are talked about, much more frequently in Catholicism than Mormonism!  Walk into any Catholic church, and you’ll most likely see a statue or painting/icon of Mary, the mother of Christ, depicting one of her many miraculous visitations around the world, throughout Catholic history.  There are many examples of Catholic visionaries and prophets.  Catholics believe that we can all receive inspiration and guidance from God, and also that the Church itself has Jesus Christ at its Head, and is protected by the Holy Spirit from ever failing, being corrupted, and its leaders are guided in Council, and the Pope individually, by the Spirit when they formally expound on Divine truths.  I find that the Catholic Church regards the guidance of God to His children in His Kingdom on earth much more highly than Latter-day Saints; so much more highly that an apostasy of the Church is an impossibility to Catholics, since God is a merciful God, despite our sins and human failures (the Church being a Divine institution, not a man-made one).

As mentioned in other posts, I also am troubled by  the 15 men sustained as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators in the LDS Church.  I know others have expressed similar views.  They simply don’t function as prophets!  In my view, they don’t do or say anything different from the leaders of various Protestant churches.  Gone are the days of talking about Heavenly visitations for LDS (indeed, when asked if the leaders have actually seen Christ, we are often told that it is too sacred to talk about, which contradicts how the early leaders, including Joseph Smith, viewed such things).  Gone are the days of discovering ancient texts and translating them.  The last time the D&C was updated, in 1978, it was to open the priesthood to all worthy males, when blacks were restricted from holding the priesthood until then (they were also restricted from entering temples).  And even in that case, it is not an actual revelation that is found in the D&C; it’s only an official declaration that a revelation was received.  Where is the canonized text of the revelation, just like we can read in the rest of the D&C?  For that matter, where is the text of the revelation ending plural marriage?  In my view, the LDS prophets, seers, and revelators today do not function like the Biblical ones, let alone like Joseph Smith.   See these posts for more:

Is The Prophet a Prophet-Two Interesting Articles

The Heavens Are Closed?-LDS Misunderstanding of Orthodox Views on Revelation

6. Death does NOT separate families. God put us on this earth in families so we can learn and grow together. We all have a need for a family unit where we can learn how to avoid the evils of this world and become strong. Satan is constantly attacking the family today because it is the most important thing in our lives. But would God put us here in families just to break them apart at death?? Of course not! That’s why when we are married it is not til death, but for all time and eternity. This is done in the 141 temples around the world, where families are being united every day.”

My response: This is something that I thought about a lot.  Generally, we love our families, and want to be with them forever.  LDS claim to be able to seal families together for eternity, and that traditional Christians believe that families end at death.  Fortunately, as a Catholic, I can say that the LDS criticism does not hold water, and also that you have nothing to worry about.

I like beginning discussing this issue with a brief thought exercise:  the LDS view on sealing ends up with exactly how traditional Christians view life in Heaven.  When you hear about eternal families, it’s often explained and imagined as you being with your spouse and children forever.  However, here is how I see it ending up: I am sealed to my wife.  We are also sealed to our children.  I am sealed to my parents, and my wife is sealed to  her parents.  Our parents are sealed to their own parents.  Our children become sealed to their spouses (and remain sealed to us), and their spouses are already sealed to their own parents, who are sealed to their own parents.  So, how does this eternal families concept really work?  What ends up happening is that everyone is sealed to everyone else.  There is no eternal nuclear family unit, since we’re all sealed to others outside of our nuclear family (and our children will start their own nuclear families).  This is similar to the Catholic view on life in Heaven.  For Catholics, God does not break up families in Heaven.  Rather, He expands them!  In Heaven, we are all one Family, members of the family of God, united in Christ.  In Heaven, we love the way God loves, and He loves all of us.  If our spouses and children are in Heaven, we can be with them.  We’ll have all of our earthly memories.  There won’t be some sort of amnesia where we forget who our wife was, or who our children were.  So, while the LDS claim of eternal families is certainly attractive, it doesn’t end up working out how it is imagined, and the Catholic view of Heaven is much more expansive and demonstrative of God’s universal love for all His children.

7. Temples!!!!!!!!! You’ve probably seen a temple in a picture or real life, but they aren’t just pretend castles. In ancient times, God commanded His people to build temples to perform sacred ordinances, like marriage which I mentioned above. With the restoration of His church through the prophet Joseph Smith, temples became a commandment once again. They are beautiful and the House of the Lord on earth. You can feel the peace there even just walking around the grounds.

My response: As I’m sure you know, I love the temple and the temple concept.  The temple was probably my favorite thing about being a Latter-day Saint.  I loved going, and at one point, I went once a week.  Coming from a Catholic background, the temple was something I needed, especially when compared with the more bare and noisy meetinghouses.  So, I’ve read a lot about temples, ancient and the modern LDS ones, and have extensively read the LDS-related apologetics on the matter (I actually just bought the book “Ascending the Mountain of the Lord-Temple, Praise, and Worship“, composed of articles from the upcoming BYU Sperry Symposium).

Yes, in ancient times God commanded His people to build a tabernacle and temples.  However, no, marriage was not performed in those sacred edifices.  Nor were proxy baptisms and confirmations.  The primary ritual that occurred there was sacrifice.  Interestingly, as I’ve read about the temple and ancient rites (Margaret Barker especially), I have been strengthened in my belief in the authenticity of Catholic liturgical practices, finding them to be in direct continuity with ancient Israelite practices, including those related to temples.  Indeed, Catholic churches, basilicas, chapels, and cathedrals are all regarded as temples, being the literal House of God, where His presence dwells (i.e. the Real Presence).  Sacred rituals are performed there, including sacrifice (the Eucharist is regarded as a real propitiatory sacrifice offered by the priesthood), washings, anointings, the singing of psalms, sacred feasts and festivals, sacred vestments, blessings, incense, bread and wine offering, the presence of angels, altars, a division of the building into three major parts, etc.  As much as I loved the LDS temple, I found the Catholic equivalent to be more temple-like, and more in continuity with the ancient Israelite tabernacle and temples.  And as mentioned, the ancient Biblical temples did not involve the performance of marriages.

8. Authority from God. No one can just stand up and decide they have authority from God to start a church. That’s what people thought in the days after the death of Christ and His apostles. Many churches were formed and people had this idea that they could start a church however they wanted. Some had good intentions as well. But that authority that was given by God to baptize, preach the gospel, basically run His church on earth, was brought back! Now it lies in our church, because God restored it through a prophet just as He always has.-

My response: Catholics agree.  Catholics believe that authority comes from God, from those in authority from Him.  While there were people in the days after Christ that thought they could just decide for themselves that they have authority and start a church, the Catholic Church maintained the true authority from God to baptize, preach the Gospel, and run God’s Church.  That authority remained after Christ gave it, and it did not disappear (since Christ maintains His own Body, His own Kingdom).  A restoration was not necessary, since the authority was never gone.

10. HAPPINESS FOREVER! I am in no way going to say that being a Mormon means no trials. FALSE. Sometimes our trials are even greater because we have the whole truth. But, we can handle our hard times and our struggles so much easier with the knowledge we do have. Happiness is so much more abundant when we follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and try to be better everyday. People often ask me how I can be so happy all the time, and it’s because I know where I came from, why I’m here, and where I’m going.-

My response:  Happiness isn’t limited to those in the LDS faith.  Indeed, since leaving the LDS faith and returning to my Catholic faith, I have literally never felt happier, including when I was LDS.  I do agree that happiness is much more abundant when we follow the teachings of Christ and try to be better everyday.  Indeed, by following His teachings, we can have eternal happiness.  However, people of many faiths would claim the same thing, including the Catholic faith.  What I find that is most important is what is eternally saving, and while LDS believe that is found in their faith, I believe that it is found in the Catholic one.  As a Catholic, I also know where I came from, why I’m here, and where I’m going (God willing).

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Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist

One of my favorite topics to study is how ancient Judaism relates to Christianity.  As a Latter-day Saint, I was attracted to the writings of various LDS apologists and scholars attempting to connect ancient Israelite beliefs and practices with current LDS beliefs and practices, in areas such as a plurality of gods, God the Father married to Heavenly Mother, priesthood, and temple worship.  While some arguments seemed more tenable than others (for example, I never was convinced by the arguments about the Old Testament peoples believing in multiple gods.  While they may have fallen into false beliefs in worshipping more than one deity, the Old Testament records are clear on God always chastising them and calling them back to worshipping the one God), the area that I specifically was interested in was how the ancient Israelite temple practices compare to the LDS temple practices.  I think I’ll devote a separate post to that topic specifically later on, but for now, I’d just say that after awhile, the LDS apologetics on that topic seemed less convincing.  Indeed, when I read the works of non-LDS temple scholar Margaret Barker (praised by many LDS apologists and scholars), I actually became more convinced of the ancient Israelite temple origins and connections of the Catholic and Orthodox liturgical rites and church architecture.  For more on that from Barker, I highly suggest reading her Temple Themes in Christian Worship.  Her website also has various papers she’s written on related matters.   Catholic and Orthodox readers may be interested in: Our Great High Priest: The Church as the New Temple, Temple and Liturgy, The Holy Anointing Oil, Belonging in the Temple, and Temple Roots of the Liturgy, if you don’t read all of the articles (there are a lot!).  It is clear to me, and many others, that Catholic and Orthodox churches, cathedrals, basilicas, etc not only carry on architecture and practices related to the Jewish synagogue, but also architecture and rites associated with the temple.  Eastern Catholics and Orthodox even refer to their churches as “temples”.

One practice that relates to the temple quite explicitly is the Eucharist, the consecrated bread and wine.  Catholics and Orthodox believe that their church buildings are sacred ground.  Each church is regarded as a literal House of God, where His presence literally dwells.  This is typified in the Eucharist, which is reserved in a tabernacle.  Catholics and Orthodox believe that during the liturgical rites of the church, we join with the Heavenly angels, as well as the deceased saints, in worshipping God.  They worship God in the Heavenly liturgy (as we see in Revelation.  For more on that, please see Dr. Scott Hahn’s popular book The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth).  In the church, Heaven and Earth join together, and we are in the presence of God, clearly tying to the Old Testament temples.

One book that is relevant to this topic, and which I highly recommend, is Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper, by Dr. Brant Pitre (Professor of Sacred Scripture at Notre Dame Seminary, PhD in New Testament and Ancient Judaism from University of Notre Dame).  Quite often, Evangelical Protestants, as well as Mormons, who do not share the belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist with the most ancient Christian churches (i.e. Catholic, Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, etc), attempt to demonstrate that it is not only contra-Biblical, but is not found anciently, and goes against the Jewish context that Christianity developed in.  Dr. Pitre not only demonstrates that this is false (and countless Catholic/Orthodox apologists and scholars have demonstrated not only its ancient origins, but how it comports with the Biblical record as well, for centuries), but connects the Eucharist to three ancient Jewish practices:

  1. The Passover
  2. The Manna
  3. The Bread of the Presence in the Temple

I highly recommend this book to all Catholics, Orthodox, and LDS readers interested in understanding how the belief in the Real Presence not only is Biblical, but is tied quite significantly to ancient Jewish beliefs and practices, including temple practices, and that it was not invented centuries after Christ, after corruption by Greek philosophy, as some LDS and Evangelical apologists would have us believe.  Here is some information about the book:

In recent years, Christians everywhere are rediscovering the Jewish roots of their faith. Every year at Easter time, many believers now celebrate Passover meals (known as Seders) seeking to understand exactly what happened at Jesus’ final Passover, the night before he was crucified.
  
Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist shines fresh light on the Last Supper by looking at it through Jewish eyes. Using his in-depth knowledge of the Bible and ancient Judaism, Dr. Brant Pitre answers questions such as: What was the Passover like at the time of Jesus? What were the Jewish hopes for the Messiah? What was Jesus’ purpose in instituting the Eucharist during the feast of Passover? And, most important of all, what did Jesus mean when he said, “This is my body… This is my blood”?

To answer these questions, Pitre explores ancient Jewish beliefs about the Passover of the Messiah, the miraculous Manna from heaven, and the mysterious Bread of the Presence. As he shows, these three keys—the Passover, the Manna, and the Bread of the Presence—have the power to unlock the original meaning of the Eucharistic words of Jesus. Along the way, Pitre also explains how Jesus united the Last Supper to his death on Good Friday and his Resurrection on Easter Sunday.           

Inspiring and informative, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist is a groundbreaking work that is sure to illuminate one of the greatest mysteries of the Christian faith: the mystery of Jesus’ presence in “the breaking of the bread.”

You can also view a lecture Dr. Pitre gave on the same subject.

Discovering the temple nature of Catholic and Orthodox sacraments, liturgies, devotions, beliefs, etc helped me realize that an apostasy of the Church didn’t happen, at least as related to understanding the Eucharist/Communion/the Sacrament.  The most ancient Christian churches did not invent this belief, and instead find continuity with the Judaism it fulfilled.  Further, Catholics and Orthodox continue offering to God bread and wine, just like Melchizedek did (having the same priesthood that he did), but they also have a sacrificial priesthood, just like we read about in the Old Testament, and just like the priesthood that functioned in the ancient temples (which LDS do not have).  Today, they re-present (not re-do) the once and for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ to the Father, in the Sacrifice of the Mass and Divine Liturgy.

Latter-day Saints considering Catholicism or Orthodoxy don’t have to be worried about losing the temple.  The temple is found in Catholicism and Orthodoxy, was never lost, and you can join in many of the same practices found anciently, together with the angels and saints worshipping God in the Heavenly temple, in the presence of God on the sacred ground of the church.  The Eucharist is manna from Heaven, and God is waiting to feed you with Himself through His holy mysteries.

A later post will explore the concept of a temple further.

Changing the Ordinance?-The Fallacy of the LDS Argument Against the Mode of Baptism

The Church of Jesus Christ of  Latter-day Saints purports to be the Restoration of the original Church established by Jesus Christ anciently, as we read in the New Testament.  It claims to have the same priesthood authority and organization, as well as the same ordinances (what Catholics refer to as “sacraments” or “mysteries”) necessary for eternal life, including baptism, confirmation, priesthood ordination for men, the temple Endowment, and the temple Sealing.  The priesthood of God is necessary to perform these ordinances, and they must be performed in a correct way, with the correct words, matter, etc.  A similar principle is also found in the Catholic Church.

But what happens when we change the words or change how the ordinance is performed?  Latter-day Saints frequently refer to such a thing as an evidence of apostasy.  A popular example of this thinking is on the mode of baptism.  Mormons believe that baptism was originally performed by immersion.  Because the Catholic Church performs baptism by pouring water on the head three times, this is a change in the ordinance, and is a sign of apostasy, an example of man changing the things of God.  LDS further believe that God provided latter day revelation as to immersion being necessary for baptism.  Various LDS prophets and apostles have also taught the importance of not changing the ordinances, as they were instituted in Heaven.  Here are a few relevant quotes:

“Following the deaths of the Savior’s Apostles, the principles of the gospel were corrupted and unauthorized changes were made in Church organization and priesthood ordinances. Because of this widespread wickedness, the Lord withdrew the authority and keys of the priesthood from the earth.”-http://seminary.lds.org/mastery/basic-doctrines/dispensation-apostasy-and-restoration?lang=eng

“Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. All must be saved on the same principles.”-Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (1976), 308.

Through time and apostasy following Christ’s Resurrection and Ascension, however, the divine authority of the priesthood and the sacred ordinances were changed or lost, and the associated covenants were broken. The Lord revealed His displeasure over this situation in these words:

“For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;

“They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god.” 8

This situation required a restoration of knowledge pertaining to the importance, significance, and appointed administration of sacred gospel ordinances, both live and vicarious, as well as the divine authority of the priesthood and priesthood keys to administer them.”-Ordinances and Covenants

“The corruption of the necessity of immersion in the form of baptism came fairly early as the 2nd century “Didache” (the so-called “teaching of the twelve apostles”) shows”-http://www.boap.org/LDS/Apostasy.pt2.html

“During the Apostasy, many ordinances were altered or added without proper authority. The church allowed infant baptism and baptism by sprinkling or pouring, instead of by immersion.”-What Happened to Christ’s Church?

“During the Great Apostasy, the pure doctrines and ordinances of Christ’s Church became corrupted.”-Doctrine and Covenants Manual

“The Apostasy (falling away from Jesus’ true church) happened after Jesus Christ was crucified and Peter and the other Apostles were killed. Without living prophets or apostles the Church no longer received revelation. Teachings that were not true were added to the Church and some of the truths Jesus Christ had taught were taken away. The priesthood (the authority to act in God’s name) was lost from the earth. People were baptized by methods such as sprinkling instead of being immersed as Jesus was.”-Primary 5: Doctrine and Covenants and Church History

As we see, Latter-day Saints believe that after the Great Apostasy, Christians did not have the pure doctrines of the Gospel, the priesthood authority to perform ordinances, nor were the ordinances, such as baptism, performed the way they originally were.  The Catholic Church performs baptism by pouring, therefore they introduced a change in the ordinance that was not sanctioned by God.

The problem with this argument is that it is not only circular, because it depends on the LDS understanding and latter day revelation from God on the necessity of immersion, but it only condemns the practices of the LDS Church itself.

When a Mormon goes to the temple for their own Endowment, they  first participate in what is known as the Initiatory, or the Washing and Anointing.  In this ordinance, they are symbolically washed and anointed, and are then authorized to wear the garments, or “Mormon underwear”.  Although the covenants of keeping things “sacred” or not divulging something only are related to very specific components of the Endowment ceremony, many LDS refrain from talking about the ordinances at all, outside of very vague references.  Therefore, I will try not to go into too specific in detail.  What I am talking about is readily available if one searches the Internet with a simple Google search.

When I went to the temple for my Endowment and was ready for the Initiatory Washing and Anointing, not too long ago, I sat in a chair, and the temple ordinance worker put some water on my forehead, pronounced blessings on specific body parts (such as my eyes, ears, back, loins, legs/feet, etc).  This blessing was sealed by another worker, then we went into another area, oil was put on my head, and the same blessings were pronounced, then sealed on various body parts.  The Initiatory really was my favorite part of the Endowment, mostly because of a specific reference to ancient Old Testament practices at the beginning of the ordinance, and that we perform those ordinances.  I felt a connection to the tabernacle and OT temple, and felt that because the ordinances are unchangeable, we were doing the same things they did.  This is quite a common understanding, as I’ve gathered from LDS I’ve talked to in real life, and online.

The problem is, if you talk to LDS and ex-LDS that went through the temple ordinances prior to certain dates, you’ll find out that the mode of these ordinances have changed!  There are books written on the topic of the changes of the temple ordinances, such as “The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship” and “The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000: A Documentary History”.

Talking specifically about the Initiatory Washing and Anointing, this ordinance has changed in mode more than once in LDS history, most recently in 2005.  In the earlier days of LDS temple worship, patrons would wash their whole bodies, naked, and each body part would be anointed as it was mentioned in the blessing.  In more recent times, prior to 2005, each body part was touched with water and oil as it was mentioned in the blessing.  After 2005, in the Initiatory as I experienced it, only the head is touched with water and oil, and the body parts are only “symbolically” washed and anointed, as mentioned in the ordinance itself.  This change is documented quite well, and a Google search on “LDS Initiatory 2005” will turn up multiple resources.

So as we see, the LDS Washing and Anointing has gone through quite a significant change in mode.  Previously, it involved a full bath and anointing of each body part.  Now, only the top of the head is touched with water and oil, and the rest are washed and anointed symbolically.  This sounds like a change in the mode of the ordinance in the same way that Mormons accuse Catholics of changing the ordinance of baptism.  If the Catholic Church changed the ordinance of baptism, it’s clear that the LDS Church changed the ordinance of the Initiatory.

But how would faithful LDS look at this issue?  In researching the matter of changing the mode of baptism, it seems as if the issue is that it was an “unauthorized” change (that word is even specifically used in some instances), and the changes in the temple ordinances would be assumed to have been authorized.  LDS do not believe that God authorized the change in the mode of baptism.  However, it’s clear that Catholics, who believe that Church leadership has the authority and keys of the Kingdom to bind and loose, certainly could have been, and was, guided and authorized by God to introduce pouring as a valid means of baptism, along with immersion (which is still practiced in Catholicism).  If the LDS Church itself has the power to actually change how an ordinance is being performed, quite dramatically, then I fail to see how the Catholic example would be an example of apostasy, while the LDS changing of the mode of the Initiatory isn’t.  I wonder if there is a revelation somewhere authorizing the LDS leaders to change the Initiatory.

So, whenever I read of a Latter-day Saint referring to pouring baptism as an evidence of apostasy, I immediately think of the symbolic temple washing and anointing as another evidence of apostasy, if we accept their reasoning.  Or, we can simply accept that the ancient Church, like the LDS Church claims for itself, had the authority to allow for pouring as an acceptable form of baptism, and that they had the authority to make such a “change” (or addition, more accurately).

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

http://www.ldsendowment.org/timeline.html

http://www.i4m.com/think/temples/temple_ordinance.htm

http://packham.n4m.org/endow05.htm

http://www.mormonthink.com/temple.htm#initiatories

http://mormanity.blogspot.com/2007/05/love-revised-initiatory-system-in.html (a faithful view on the Initiatory changes, viewing them as “inspired adjustments”, which again, could be an equally valid way to look at the adjustments made to the mode of baptism anciently to also accommodate pouring).

Why This Blog?

Hi everyone!  My name is Jason.  Please see my “About” page for some of my background story.  The purpose of this blog is to share my thoughts, as well as the thoughts of others, on topics related to Mormonism (i.e. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), as well as Catholicism (i.e. The Catholic Church).  Specifically, as a revert from the LDS Church back to the Catholic Church, I’d like to share some of my thoughts and experiences so that others considering such a conversion/reversion will be empowered with quality information to make a fully informed decision.  I also envision this blog as providing further enlightenment as to the beliefs and practices of Latter-day Saints, as well as those of Catholics.

At the outset, I should say that although I do believe that the Catholic Church is the Lord’s Church, established by Jesus Christ Himself anciently, as we read in the New Testament, and that His Church and priesthood have continued uninterrupted to this day, and that many of the posts here will emphasize the reality of that point, as well as my belief that the LDS Church is not the Lord’s Church (and I’ll offer critiques of various uniquely LDS beliefs), it is my goal to maintain this blog as a charitable space where thoughts may be shared.  “Anti-Mormon” or “Anti-Catholic” comments will not be tolerated, nor will I make such statements (though I will certainly offer my critiques of the LDS faith).

So, welcome to my blog!  In the spirit of evangelical Catholicism, I hope that Latter-day Saints that find this blog will consider my thoughts and experiences, and one day come to know (as I have), not only through scriptural and historical reading, but through the witness of God through the Holy Spirit, that the Catholic Church is True, that Jesus Christ established it, that it is founded on the Apostles, that the priesthood of God has continued down through the ages offering the sacraments, the sacred mysteries of God to His children, through which we become sanctified by God’s grace, experiencing the cleansing and renewing power of Christ’s atonement, and that Christ maintains His Church through the ages, and that no human misdeeds could overthrow the Body of Christ or cause it to cease to exist, necessitating a restoration.