Thursday, April 9, 2020

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the diminishing relevance of “the Great Apostasy”: part 2 – the 'First Vision’ and the teachings of Joseph Smith


The second post of this series concerning the issue of “the Great Apostasy” as understood within the LDS paradigm, will focus on the ‘First Vision' and what Joseph Smith taught.

In the first post of this series, I provided a number of examples indicative of an ongoing paradigm shift concerning the interpretation/understanding of “the Great Apostasy” as expressed by many contemporary Latter-day Saints. Towards the end of that post, I wrote:

This ‘trend’ to diminish the relevance of “the Great Apostasy” amongst many Latter-day Saints, stands in stark contrast to the importance portrayed in the unique LDS scriptures and the writings of a consensus of LDS authors who have written on the subject throughout the 19th and 20th centuries—e.g. Joseph Smith Jr., Orson Pratt, Parley Pratt, John Taylor, Joseph F. Smith, James Talmage, B.H. Roberts, and Bruce R. McConkie.

The Latter-day Saints mentioned above all believed and taught that if “the Great Apostasy” was not in a very real sense ‘total'—i.e. a complete loss of essential teachings and ordinances necessary for salvation—there would be no need for a ‘restoration'.

With this in mind, I would like to add another key aspect of the Great Apostasy/Restoration/”two churches only" triadic paradigm: the First Vision. Folk who have an interest in Mormonism/CoJCoLDS are likely cognizant that the year 2020 marks the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith’s First Vision. As such, it has been anticipated by many that the 190th Annual General Conference held this last weekend (April 4, 5) would be placing a strong emphasis on the FV. Personally speaking, I was wondering if the speakers of this conference when addressing the FV would retain the more traditional LDS understanding of the Great Apostasy/Restoration/”two churches only" concepts, or incorporate aspects of the emerging paradigm shift which diminishes the extent and/or relevance of those three inextricably linked motifs.

Having taking in most of talks delivered at the 190th Conference, it sure seems to me that the speakers leaned heavily towards “the more traditional LDS understanding of the Great Apostasy/Restoration/”two churches only" concepts”. The following are a few selections which support this assessment:

Joseph added, “No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right.”

He recalled: “They told me that all religious denominations were believing in incorrect doctrines, and that none of them was acknowledged of God as his church and kingdom. And … at the same time [I] receive[d] a promise that the fulness of the gospel should at some future time be made known unto me.” [Link]

Sisters and brothers, what a wonderful time we live in. As we celebrate the beginning of the Restoration, it is also appropriate to celebrate the ongoing Restoration that we are witnessing. I rejoice with you to live in this day.The Lord continues to put in place, through His prophets, all that is needed to help us prepare to receive Him...

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest cause in the world. President Ezra Taft Benson said: “We are commanded by God to take this gospel to all the world. That is the cause that must unite us today. Only the gospel will save the world from the calamity of its own self-destruction. Only the gospel will unite men [and women] of all races and nationalities in peace. Only the gospel will bring joy, happiness, and salvation to the human family.” [Link]

Today we celebrate restoration and resurrection. With you, I rejoice in the ongoing Restoration of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As began 200 years ago this spring, light and revelation continue to come forth through the Lord’s living prophet and His Church called in His name—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—and through personal revelation and inspiration by the supernal gift of the Holy Ghost. [Link]

My dear brothers and sisters, I am honored to speak at this historic general conference commemorating Joseph Smith’s First Vision of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, in what is, without question, a Sacred Grove. That vision was a magnificent beginning to the Restoration of the gospel and all that unfolded, from the Book of Mormon to the return of priesthood authority and keys, the organization of the Lord’s true Church, temples of God, and prophets and apostles who lead the work in these latter days. [Link]

Last October, President Russell M. Nelson invited us to look ahead to this April 2020 conference by each of us in our own way looking back to see the majesty of God’s hand in restoring the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sister Holland and I took that prophetic invitation seriously. We imagined ourselves living in the early 1800s, looking at the religious beliefs of that day. In that imagined setting, we asked ourselves, “What’s missing here? What do we wish we had? What do we hope God will provide in response to our spiritual longing?” [Elder Holland provides numerous examples that pointed to the need of a restoration, which by implication demands a total apostasy - Link]

Though more examples can be provided, I shall end this section of the post with a link to President Nelson’s Sunday morning discourse which included, “The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World” [Link]

Moving on, the next section of this post examines what Joseph Smith had to say concerning the triadic paradigm of intertwined concepts. Joseph related the following from his 1820 "First Vision':

18 My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.
19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight ; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof." (Pearl of Great Price – Joseph Smith—History, p. 49)

From the book, Scriptural Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, we read:

Some may pretend to say that the world in this age is fast increasing in righteousness; that the dark ages of superstition and blindness have passed, when the faith of Christ was known and held only by a few, when ecclesiastical power had an almost universal control over Christendom, and the consciences of men were bound by the strong chains of priestly power: but now, the gloomy cloud is burst, and the Gospel is shining with all the resplendent glory of an apostolic day; and that the kingdom of the Messiah is greatly spreading, that the Gospel of our Lord is carried to divers nations of the earth, the Scriptures translating into different tongues; the ministers of truth crossing the vast deep to proclaim to men in darkness a risen Savior, and to erect the standard of Emmanuel where light has never shone; and that the idol is destroyed, the temple of images forsaken; and those who but a short time previous followed the traditions of their fathers and sacrificed their own flesh to appease the wrath of some imaginary god, are now raising their voices in the worship of the Most High, and are lifting their thoughts up to Him with the full expectation that one day they will meet with a joyful reception in His everlasting kingdom! (pp, 48, 49)

What is the reason that the Priests of the day do not get revelation? They ask only to consume it upon their lusts. Their hearts are corrupt, and they cloak their iniquity by saying there are no more revelations. But if any revelations are given of God, they are universally opposed by the priests and Christendom at large; for they reveal their wickedness and abominations.25 (April 10, 1842.) DHC 4:588. (p. 217)

Because faith is wanting, the fruits are. No man since the world was had faith without having something along with it. The ancients quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, women received their dead, etc. By faith the worlds were made. A man who has none of the gifts has no faith; and he deceives himself, if he supposes he has. Faith has been wanting, not only among the heathen, but in professed Christendom also, so that tongues, healings, prophecy, and prophets and apostles, and all the gifts and blessings have been wanting. (p. 270)

Now for the secret and grand key. Though they might hear the voice of Go and know that Jesus was the Son of God, this would be no evidence that their election and calling was made sure, that they had part with Christ, and were joint heirs with Him. They then would want that more sure word of prophecy, that they were sealed in the heavens and had the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of God. Then, having this promise sealed unto them, it was an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast. Though the thunders might roll and lightnings flash, and earthquakes bellow, and war gather thick around, yet this hope and knowledge would support the soul in every hour of trial, trouble and tribulation. Then knowledge through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.

Compare this principle once with Christendom at the present day, and where are they, with all their boasted religion, piety and sacredness while at the same time they are crying out against prophets, apostles, angels, revelations, prophesying and visions, etc. Why, they are just ripening for the damnation of hell. They will be damned, for they reject the most glorious principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and treat with disdain and trample under foot the key that unlocks the heavens and puts in our possession the glories of the celestial world. Yes, I say, such will be damned, with all their professed godliness.” (pp. 298, 299)

What is the secret—the starting point? “According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” How did he obtain all things? Through the knowledge of Him who hath called him. There could not anything be given, pertaining to life and godliness, without knowledge. Woe! woe! woe to Christendom!—especially the divines and priests if this be true. (p. 305)

The old Catholic church traditions are worth more than all you have said. Here is a principle of logic that most men have no more sense than to adopt. I will illustrate it by an old apple tree. Here jumps off a branch and says, I am the true tree, and you are corrupt. If the whole tree is corrupt, are not its branches corrupt? If the Catholic religion is a false religion, how can any true religion come out of it? If the Catholic church is bad, how can any good thing come out of it? The character of the old churches have always been slandered by all apostates since the world began.

I testify again, as the Lord lives, God never will acknowledge any traitors or apostates. Any man who will betray the Catholics will betray you; and if he will betray me, he will betray you. All men are liars who say they are of the true Church without the revelations of Jesus Christ and the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which is after the order of the Son of God.

It is in the order of heavenly things that God should always send a new dispensation into the world when men have apostatized from the truth and lost the priesthood, but when men come out and build upon other men’s foundations, they do it on their own responsibility, without authority from God; and when the floods come and the winds blow, their foundations will be found to be sand, and their whole fabric will crumble to dust. (pp. 375, 376) [A PDF copy of this book available online HERE]

Hope to have Part 3 up soon…


Grace and peace,

David

10 comments:

leeseykay said...

Hi David, what follows will be my understanding of what you have quoted from Joseph Fielding Smith's compilation:

A man who has none of the gifts has no faith; and he deceives himself, if he supposes he has. Faith has been wanting, not only among the heathen, but in professed Christendom also, so that tongues, healings, prophecy, and prophets and apostles, and all the gifts and blessings have been wanting.



Compare this principle once with Christendom at the present day, and where are they, with all their boasted religion, piety and sacredness while at the same time they are crying out against prophets, apostles, angels, revelations, prophesying and visions, etc.


It seems clear from the context that Joseph in criticizing "Christendom", must mean the Protestant Reformers. It could not apply to the Catholic Church.

If the Catholic religion is a false religion, how can any true religion come out of it? If the Catholic church is bad, how can any good thing come out of it? The character of the old churches have always been slandered by apostates since the world began.

I find this to be refreshing. It is kind of a backhand compliment to the Catholic Church. I would have to ask Joseph, since "old churches (Catholic in this case) have always been slandered by apostates since the world began," does he have a different reason than the "the apostates", for saying the Catholic Church is false?

Above, Joseph is critical of the Protestants because "they are crying out against prophets, apostles, angels, revelations, prophesying and visions, etc." Catholics will join him in that criticism, with the exception of their LDS claims to have Apostles. So why doesn't Joseph Smith explain why we should believe the Protestants were correct in judging the Catholic Church, to be false in the first place?

He already understands that the Catholic Church has been slandered. Are historical allegations of Catholic misdeeds historically reliable and indefensible? If so, would it even prove that the Catholic Church is apostate?

The Catholic Church has never ceased insisting upon the continuation of gifts of the Holy Ghost or the literal ministration of angels that he mentions. I have several books in my library, bearing episcopal imprimaturs that show that even if all of the claims of post-apostolic prophecies, and miracles down through the ages are false, the Church has always believed in the living presence of the Holy Ghost in her midst through prophecy and miracle.

There are two places for LDS to go based on the principles of their founder:

1) Suppression of the office of Apostle proves a Catholic apostasy.
2) Catholic visions, prophecies, raising of the dead, and sundry other miracles are hoaxes, as the Protestants believe (since they think the gifts have ceased).

Rory

David Waltz said...

Hi Rory,

Thanks much for your weekend post. You wrote:

==It seems clear from the context that Joseph in criticizing "Christendom", must mean the Protestant Reformers. It could not apply to the Catholic Church.==

I would say the descendents of the Reformers given the context—i.e. “Christendom at the present day”.

And yes, the criticisms could not be applicable to the RCC unless one limits “apostles" to living, contemporary apostles.

==…Joseph is critical of the Protestants because "they are crying out against prophets, apostles, angels, revelations, prophesying and visions, etc." Catholics will join him in that criticism, with the exception of their LDS claims to have Apostles. So why doesn't Joseph Smith explain why we should believe the Protestants were correct in judging the Catholic Church, to be false in the first place?==

Once again, as you have now pointed out, of the criticisms leveled against non-Catholic Christendom, only the rejection of the concept of living apostles could be leveled against the RCC. As to the , “why we should believe the Protestants were correct in judging the Catholic Church, to be false in the first place”, Joseph Smith, to my knowledge, never provided solid reasons. However, some of the early LDS apostles that Smith appointed did so. My next post in this series will provide examples, the Lord willing.

== There are two places for LDS to go based on the principles of their founder:

1) Suppression of the office of Apostle proves a Catholic apostasy.
2) Catholic visions, prophecies, raising of the dead, and sundry other miracles are hoaxes, as the Protestants believe (since they think the gifts have ceased).==

That is pretty much my understanding too; except that in addition to the “hoaxes” explanation, they could—and in the past have done so—appeal to Satanic origins.


Grace and peace,

David

leeseykay said...

Dave, hi.

I appreciate your analysis of my last post and look forward to hearing apostasy apologetics from the early LDS Apostles.

In succeeding the Old Covenant under Moses, the the New covenant reveals a dozen ways that there was no gap of time, between the Old and New Covenant. Christ had been circumcised the eighth day. Christ's parents had fulfilled their duties according to the law of Moses in bringing the firstborn to the Temple for the sacrifice to be offered. When Christ healed lepers, they were instructed to go to the priests of the law for the prescribed ceremonies for affirming cleansings of lepers. Christ Himself even insisted that the high priest who sought His death sat in Moses' seat!

When Old Testament Judaism had finally lost its authority, God revealed it to the whole world, but especially to those residing in the holy city. Earthquake and darkness followed only hours after the priests of Moses cried out to Pilate that they had no king but Caesar. Upon the death of the Son of David, the veil of the Temple was torn in half and many bodies of the saints came out of their tombs, and appeared to many.

What magnificent prodigies accompanied the loss of priestly authority of the sons of Aaron!

Rejecting King Jesus, and imploring the release of a notorious criminal, they cried out for the crucifixion of Him who was the Promised Son of David and King of Israel. "His blood be upon us and our children", was shouted when Pilate cleansed his hands of the death of their Messiah.

"And the governor answering, said to them: Whether will you of the two to be released unto you? But they said, Barabbas. [22] Pilate saith to them: What shall I do then with Jesus that is called Christ? They say all: Let him be crucified. [23] The governor said to them: Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying: Let him be crucified. [24] And Pilate seeing that he prevailed nothing, but that rather a tumult was made; taking water washed his hands before the people, saying: I am innocent of the blood of this just man; look you to it. [25] And the whole people answering, said: His blood be upon us and our children."

---Mt. 27:21-25

What unified wickedness accompanied the loss of priestly authority by the sons of Aaron!

---to be continued

leeseykay said...

"And Jesus again crying with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
And behold the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top even to the bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent. And the graves were opened: and many bodies of the saints that had slept arose, And coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, came into the holy city, and appeared to many."


---Mt. 27:50-53

Both Testaments clearly demonstrate how God is longsuffering towards the children of Israel. With notable exceptions, the history revealed in the Old Testament is a record of sordid and faithless behavior on behalf of priests, kings, and people. Israel retained the priesthood through almost two millenia up to the day they finally called for the crucifixion of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

Perhaps one might think that my description of the near constant spiritual adultery of the nation of Israel towards their God is exaggerated? What about the description of our Lord?

"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered together thy children, as the hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldest not?"

---Mt. 23:37

The "Apostles" appointed by Joseph Smith have two choices in their apostasy theories. They must show that a similar pattern of evil occurred under the New Covenant, accompanied by miracles showing the people why they must come out of the "New Harlot". Or they have to explain why God would be so patient with Israel, and so impatient with Christ's Church, the Bride of His Son. Why were the promises given under the New Covenant more easily revoked than those under the Old? Where in the New Testament do we discover God's mercy if the wrath and impatience of the God of the New Testament is so much more quickly provoked than under the Old?

We have seen above what had to happen before God scotched the Old Covenant to be immediately followed by the New. I do not see how the Apostles of Joseph Smith can possibly explain to a Catholic why he should recognize that His Church fell away in some dark and ugly
past. For one thing, it isn't that dark. We have already talked about miracles in other posts. Nor is it anything ugly, of which to be ashamed. We have not really talked about the communion of the saints and the miraculous and heavenly holiness of that great number who fully lived the Catholic faith. The lives of the saints reveal an unmatched selfless charity that is documented down through the ages.

I agree Dave, that Mormons could invoke the devil as being the source of Catholic miracles. But unlike Christ and His Apostles who replaced something they knew and understood, the LDS has not the requisite knowledge and experience to be able to be theorizing about the Catholic Church. I don't think many Catholics really grasp the scope of Catholic miracles, her holy ones doing greater works than those of the Son of God for century after century. Few Catholics know the evidence in their favor! It is hard for me to believe that the "apostles" appointed by Joseph Smith knew of the evidence which is against them. To suggest that the devil has been doing it affirms a belief in all the thousands of documented cases of healings, visions, fulfilled prophesies, raising of the dead, and prodigies of every sort associated with Catholic saints. It seems fantastic to assign that to Satan.

---to be continued

leeseykay said...

As a Catholic I have admitted for sake of argument, that as with Mohammed and the Koran, so with Joseph and the Book of Mormon. I only assume that neither book was possible humanly speaking because their adherents and many students cannot comprehend otherwise. Because neither party gives me a reason to doubt my Catholic faith, I respectfully suggest demonic activity to be a part of the process of the writings in question only. With all due respect, it does not appear that I need to invoke the devil as the source of thousands of well documented miracles by either party who would say my Church is fallen away from God.

I do not want to distract from an analysis of the erratic and unexplainable way in which the LDS God so quietly broke His Son's betrothal to an adulterer. God leaves Him without a prospective bride for at least a millenium and probably much more while the "adultress" enjoys an inexplicable career of conquering souls in the name of Jesus Christ that continues its growth and expansion even during the times of the second Bride of Christ (CoJCoLDS). That is what I question today. I do not think those questions will be answered. If they should be, we might proceed to analyze evidential miracles performed by imam and apostle in the centuries that they have existed. I suppose we could reverse our studies and study claims of the miraculous first. But I would encourage that we visit one or the other question and not both at once.

Dave, that is only a suggestion. It is a free for all here except for your hand. I do not presume to dictate how anyone must look at this. I could wish Tom would chime in some more. It seems certain he would have some objections, and usually unique insights to the questions I am raising. I would rather hear them early than later.

Hey Tom, if you are reading, I could not in good conscience write of LDS Apostles without quotation marks. I thought about it, and I pray about it. I could still remove two of them as I conclude this post. I do not see the signs of an apostle in them, but furthermore, the Apostles are celebrated with great solemnity in the Catholic Church. I feel obliged to make a distinction, and I trust you know I mean no disrespect to you or your leaders.

Rory

David Waltz said...

Hi Rory,

Thanks much for yesterday’s thoughtful and provocative posts. You wrote:

==The "Apostles" appointed by Joseph Smith have two choices in their apostasy theories. They must show that a similar pattern of evil occurred under the New Covenant, accompanied by miracles showing the people why they must come out of the "New Harlot". Or they have to explain why God would be so patient with Israel, and so impatient with Christ's Church, the Bride of His Son. Why were the promises given under the New Covenant more easily revoked than those under the Old? Where in the New Testament do we discover God's mercy if the wrath and impatience of the God of the New Testament is so much more quickly provoked than under the Old?==

The above brings to mind the in depth and lengthy discussion we had with Scott and others concerning the issue of apostasy in the OT vs. the NT at the now defunct message board ZLMB. You and I provided numerous Scriptural accounts of the incredible dark periods in history of God’s chosen people, from the institution of the Mosaic Covenant up to the rejection of their promised Messiah, Jesus Christ. Child sacrifice, temple prostitution, blatant worship of pagan deities and other perverse behavior fill the pages of that period of Israel's history. And yet, as you have pointed out, God did not remove the priesthood from them until their rejection of the Messiah and the subsequent institution of the New Covenant and the Church—the Son of God’s Bride.

LDS folk are nearly unanimous in their belief that the priesthood was removed from the NT church by the time of Constantine. But—and this importantly—what atrocities did Jesus’ followers commit in the first through the early fourth century that approached the depravity of OT covenant people?

The above lends support for the following you so eloquently penned:

==I do not want to distract from an analysis of the erratic and unexplainable way in which the LDS God so quietly broke His Son's betrothal to an adulterer. God leaves Him without a prospective bride for at least a millenium and probably much more while the "adultress" enjoys an inexplicable career of conquering souls in the name of Jesus Christ that continues its growth and expansion even during the times of the second Bride of Christ (CoJCoLDS). That is what I question today. I do not think those questions will be answered.==

Even with my finest LDS ‘thinking cap’ on, I am unable to provided substantive answers to those questions. Perhaps Tom can do so…


Grace and peace,

David

Dennis said...

Hi David,

Good to see you have others joining you !

I would like to respond to this from a few angles.

Firstly, it doesnt seem God works through "dispensations".  The OT through to the New was an unveiling of revelation as the understanding of who He is developed.  When Israel followed sin & fell away various times, God never started a new revelation under a new prophet with a new priesthood. He kept revealing Himself to Israel continuing the forms, commands and revelation they already knew.

Next the prophets were used to call Israel back to the path they were given and foretold of the coming kingdom with hints of a Messiah being the fulness of Gods plan for Israel.  They called Israel to repentance, not to dismiss a corrupt Covenant and to start again !

On top of this, the NT role of prophet had changed.  No longer did prophets point to an ushering in of Gods kingdom it was already there.  In Acts prophecy becomes an immediate foretelling of ones future circumstance, like Paul's upcoming danger.  1 Cor 14 shows it now becomes a revelation of ones heart or circumstance, like Jesus' exposition of the woman at the well.

Thus the whole prophetic office of J. Smith is a Satanic fabrication.  He tries to usher in a restoration when restoration isnt required but repentance !

If the Church completely fell away then Christs word that the "gates of hell" would not prevail, is a lie.

It is the Holy Spirit who leads the Church in the remembrance of Christs words and actions and in confirming that upheld tuth is in line with Apostolic lineage.

1 John 2:18-22 shows the Holy Spirit teaches His own to recognise the Christ in conformity with Apostolic authority.  There never was a time when the Apostles thought of God in the flesh along with His Son.  There  never was a time the Holy Spirit was just the mind of God ( http://mit.irr.org/holy-ghost-of-mormonism-evolution-of-lds-doctrine-of-holy-spirit)

Whatever the First Vision was in the beginning, it wasnt the same at the end.

Cheers
Dennis

leeseykay said...

There is one phenomenon that unites all the sects of Christianity against the Catholic Church. All of them are united in the belief that no true church possesses rights above any false sect or even non-Christian religion. It seems strange that few of the sects even claim to be the one true Church. They make Christ into a polygamist. Even if the LDS or Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to be one and true, they do not claim the implications. They fail to even understand the necessary rights and privileges of being the true Church of Christ. They can not possibly be the betrothed bride of Christ who will not claim their exalted dignity and rights before all men. They too, are false brides.

Over the past year, I have argued that the Liberty of Christ's Church as understood and taught for nearly 2,000 years in the Catholic Church is misrepresented by the Vatican II document on the subject, Dignatis Humanae. The very title of the document, which translates as Human Dignity, focuses on the psychological requirements necessary for the human person to make a free decision regarding religion. The Catholic Church disagrees with this Vatican II document, because the Council Fathers misunderstood human psychology and the “dignity of the Human Person”. But worse, Vatican II ignored the dignity of the Bride of Christ, and the Holy Spouse of the King of Kings. They removed from their considerations what is implied if the moral authority of Christ's true church may be legitimately disregarded by every state constitution. The result of ignoring God’s authority on earth is societal chaos.

The common good requires that states recognize the authority of the true Church to define what it means for man to be made in the image of God, and to suffer from the wounds of original sin even after regeneration. Without a working understanding of what a man is, and how vice and virtue and flesh and spirit present a constant war in a man's soul, the State cannot be intelligently equipped to deal with law breakers. Nor will the State be inclined for the common good, protecting all her citizens, who are so prone to sin, from the evils of impure entertainments. The State also needs the Church to establish that its citizens are creatures, wholly dependent on God for their very existence. Lacking the insight of the Church, the State cannot know if it is ever morally legitimate to aid someone to commit an act of self-murder. The State cannot enact laws that recognize when human life begins if it is forced to blindly consult its own intuition apart from the guidance of Christ's Church. There is also the important question of when marriage is valid or invalid and who may have an impediment to marriage. A properly regulated society can never exist where the State ignores the teachings of the true church.

Therefore, equality of religious status is abhorrent to the Catholic faith. She is called to be the visible city set on a hill that cannot be hidden, bidding all nations to enter. Unlike the sects which only want equality, the Catholic Church can never be content to be categorized as one of thousands of other religions. She boldly proclaims her authority as the single Spouse and Queen of Jesus Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father. She can not lie about herself even if the sects can legally lie about her. The Catholic Church must ever demand of the State the liberty to declare her divine mission and authority without the legalization of public calumny and slander when it comes to matters of faith and morals.

Up coming I hope to look at some snapshots of three heroic Catholics of the 11th, 12th, and 13th Centuries which might give us a better idea of what it means to proclaim the Liberty of the Church, and how deeply entrenched it is in Catholic Tradition.

Rory

leeseykay said...

"Christ would not have his Spouse to be a slave; there is nothing in this world that God loves more than the liberty of his Church."

Strong words, no? Who is this man who presumes to say what God loves most in this world? These are the words of St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, and doctor of the Church. I suggest that this is what we pray for when we recite the vocal prayer that Jesus told His disciples to recite when they asked Him to teach them to pray.

"...Thy kingdom come, They will be done, one earth as it is in heaven..."

God is not satisfied, when this poor earthly dwelling of our mortal pilgrimage is unconformed to the image of Christ. The Fathers of the Catholic Church, and the faithful who have been taught by them, can never allow that it is God's will for which they pray in the Lord's Prayer, that any human institution should be detached from the authority of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Church, and most particularly the State. With this in mind, I would demonstrate from the words of of Dom Gueranger in his Liturgical Year, how far Christians have been influenced by modern novelties completely at odds with Catholic Tradition.

"There was a time when the Son of God allowed himself to be fettered with bonds in order that he might loosen us from the chains of our sins; but now that he4 has risen in triumph from the dead, he wills that his Spouse should be, like himself, free. She cannot otherwise exercise the ministry of salvation confided to her by her divine Lord; and yet there is scarcely a single hundred years of her existence in which she has not had to fight for this holy liberty. The rulers of this earth, with very few exceptions, have ever been jealous of her influence, and have sought to lessen it by every possible means..."

At first the kings wanted to meddle in church appointments. Why? Because all of the subjects of the earthly city of the king are also subjects of the heavenly kingdom of God. He sees a divided loyalty that he would have all to himself if only he could appoint weak and vain ecclesiastical officers that would be flattered by the friendship of the king. Enjoying the rich pomp of the life at court, he could find prelates that never challenge the policies of the king if they should encroach upon the Church's liberty to correct him. In this way, he could enact laws or wage war for his own personal reasons that might not be in accord with the doctrines of the Church...

No more time today. But this is a good start toward seeing that even if one disagrees with it, the set tradition of the Catholic Church is certainly out of conformity with a doctrine that only pleads for "equal opportunity" with any other religious cults that there might be...

---to be continued, quotes are from the Liturgical Year, by Dom Prosper Gueranger, Vol. 8, p. 321, St. Bonaventure Publications (2000), entry for the Feast of St. Anselm of Centerbury, April 21.

Rory

David Waltz said...

Hi Dennis,

So good to see you back. Over the weekend, you wrote:

==Firstly, it doesnt seem God works through "dispensations". The OT through to the New was an unveiling of revelation as the understanding of who He is developed. When Israel followed sin & fell away various times, God never started a new revelation under a new prophet with a new priesthood. He kept revealing Himself to Israel continuing the forms, commands and revelation they already knew.==

Could you define a bit more precisely what you mean by the term “dispensations"?

For my part, I have understood the term in relation to the covenants that God made with His earthly representatives—e.g. Noah, Abraham, Moses—as such, I would identify the Noahic, Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants as “dispensations”.

==Next the prophets were used to call Israel back to the path they were given and foretold of the coming kingdom with hints of a Messiah being the fulness of Gods plan for Israel. They called Israel to repentance, not to dismiss a corrupt Covenant and to start again !==

Agreed.

==Thus the whole prophetic office of J. Smith is a Satanic fabrication. He tries to usher in a restoration when restoration isnt required but repentance !==

Interestingly enough, many of the older LDS apologists clearly affirmed that if Joseph Smith was not what he claimed to be, one must then deduce that the entire LDS movement was of Satanic origin.

==Whatever the First Vision was in the beginning, it wasnt the same at the end.==

I think this issue could go either direction—i.e. development of the actual event vs. expansion of the details.


Grace and peace,

David