The Catholic Response to Mormonism

(Apologetics in Action)

  • Always focus the discussion toward these two points
    1. Demonstrate that Joseph Smith is a false prophet
    2. Disprove "Great Apostasy" (no total apostasy, no restoration, no Mormonism)

    Mormons claim that Joseph Smith was visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ near his home in New York in 1820. Joseph Smith relates that he is told that the world has been living in a total apostasy from the gospel.

    See the listed tracts at the end of this article for some additional helpful information in understanding and refuting Mormonism.

  • Integrity of the Church

    Scriptural prooftexts (RSV translation)

    Matthew 16:19-20: And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

    Matthew 28:19-20: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."

    John 14:16-18, 26: And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you. "I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

    John 16:13: When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

    These verses show that God protects the Church from total apostasy that Mormons claim happened some time in the early Church.

  • Be ready for these "proof-texts" that Mormons will use

    Matt. 24:4-12; Mark 13:21-23; Luke 21:7-8; Acts 20:29-30; 2 Thess. 2:1-12; 2 Tim. 3:1-7, 4:1-4; 2 Peter 2:1-3; Jude 17-19. (Most mention a "great" but not "complete" apostasy)

    Use context! It is your most useful Biblical tool as a Catholic apologist/evangelist.

  • Church is Christ's Body

    Pat Madrid comments: "Since Christ is the mind and head of his Church (Eph 4:15-16), animating the body, the members enjoy and organic spiritual union with him (John 15:1-8). It's inconceivable that he would permit his body to disintegrate under the attacks of Satan."

    Romans 12:4-5: For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

    1 Corinthians 12:12-27: For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ .....

    Ephesians. 3:4-6: When you read this you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that is, how the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

    Ephesians 5:29-30: For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. (see also verses v21-33)

    Colossians 1:18: He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent.

    Ephesians 4:15-16 (Christ is mind and body of Church): Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love.
  • Christ is greater than Satan

    1 John 4:4 (Christ is greater than Satan): Little children, you are of God, and have overcome them; for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

    Don't deny that individual Christians will succumb to immorality and heresy. The wheat and the tares will continue to coexist in the Church until the end. (Matt. 13:24-43, 47-50)

    Acts 5:38-39 (Mormons may try to use this passage, but it actually backfires on them): So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!"

  • Apostolic Authority

    Matt. 18:18, John 20:21-23, John 21:15-17, Luke 10:16 (Christ gave His Apostles power to preach, teach, and even forgive sins in His name)

  • Transmission of that Apostolic authority and office
    Acts 1:20, 25: For it is written in the book of Psalms, 'Let his habitation become desolate, and let there be no one to live in it'; and 'His office let another take.' And they prayed and said, "Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two thou hast chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside, to go to his own place." (see verses 15-26 for context - the Apostles elect an apostolic successor to Judas)

    1 Timothy 4:14: Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophetic utterance when the council of elders laid their hands upon you.

    2 Tim. 1:6: Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands;

  • The Church is the pillar and bulkwark of truth and protected by God

    1 Timothy 3:15: If I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.

    Matthew 12:29: Or how can one enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. (also Mark 3:27)

    (Jesus is the strong man protecting his house, the Church)

  • Was a Great Apostasy foretold?

    A quick look at Amos 8:11-12:

    "Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord GOD, "when I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the LORD, but they shall not find it.

    This apostasy was in Israel, not in Church (not after NT time), and it wasn't total.

    Amos 9:8-10: Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the surface of the ground; except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob," says the LORD. "For lo, I will command, and shake the house of Israel among all the nations as one shakes with a sieve, but no pebble shall fall upon the earth. All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, who say, 'Evil shall not overtake or meet us.'

  • Biblical Evidences against a total apostasy
    Daniel 7:13-14: I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

    Ephesians 3:20-21 "Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

    Total apostasy impossible for even one generation.

    Matthew 18:15-18: "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

    The true Church must be there always.

    John 17:20-21: "I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
    Jesus Christ's prayer and protection extends to not only the Apostles, but all generations of believers.
  • Christ's Divinity

    John 17:5: and now, Father, glorify thou me in thy own presence with the glory which I had with thee before the world was made.

    Jesus Christ wasn't a man who was elevated to the status of God, but He always was God. He wasn't a created being. All created things were made in the creation event described in Genesis, but Christ had God's glory before all created things were made!

    John 14:13-14: You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.

    Christ identified as the Father. God the Father and God the Son are one.

    Colossians 2:9-10: For in him the whole fulness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fulness of life in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.

    Divinity wasn't something that Christ attained, but rather something that is His nature.

    John 13:19: I tell you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.

    This is the name of God that God told Moses.

    John 14:8-11: Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.

    Jesus Christ and God the Father are one.

    Acts 3:14-15: But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.

    Jesus Christ was always divine. His divinity He had even before the Crucifixion.

    John 10:18: "No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father."

    Romans 8:11: If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you.

    Christ again identified as God. He and the Father are one.

    Matthew 28:19: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

    The Trinity

    Romans 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

    1 Corinthians 1:18, 22-24: For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

    The message of the Cross is the very Gospel itself.

    Galatians 1:8-9: But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.

    Beware of different "gospels" preached by "angels.

     

    Helpful tracts for more information on Mormonism

     

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