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Preach my gospel - The Great Apostasy

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6 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

Clement never quit his job as bishop.  Apocryphal writings say that he was banished from Rome during the reign of the Emperor Trajan, and died as a martyr in approximately 99 AD.   As a bishop, he was the real deal.  He is believed to be the same "Clement" mentioned by Paul in Philippians 4:3.  

I agree. How does he (and early Christian bishops) fit into the LDS ecclesiastical structure? As I understand it, from the LDS point of view he would have had another authority over him, the stake president, right? Who would that have been in early Christianity? Or do LDS believe it was apostles then bishops with no middle authority? How did aaronic priesthood and melchizedek priesthood interact in early Christianity?

 

 

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1 hour ago, InCognitus said:

Clement never quit his job as bishop.  Apocryphal writings say that he was banished from Rome during the reign of the Emperor Trajan, and died as a martyr in approximately 99 AD.   As a bishop, he was the real deal.  He is believed to be the same "Clement" mentioned by Paul in Philippians 4:3.  

Thanks for your comment.  The history suggests that Clement did, in fact, resign.

The Catholic Encyclopedia states: 
Further, St. Epiphanius says (loc. cit. 😞 “Whether he received episcopal ordination from Peter in the life-time of the Apostles, and declined the office, for he says in one of his epistles ‘I retire, I depart, let the people of God be in peace’, (for we have found this set down in certain Memoirs), or whether he was appointed by the Bishop Cletus after he had succeeded the Apostles, we do not clearly know.” 

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59 minutes ago, MiserereNobis said:

I agree. How does he (and early Christian bishops) fit into the LDS ecclesiastical structure? As I understand it, from the LDS point of view he would have had another authority over him, the stake president, right? Who would that have been in early Christianity? Or do LDS believe it was apostles then bishops with no middle authority? How did aaronic priesthood and melchizedek priesthood interact in early Christianity?

Really good questions.  I'm not aware of anything resembling a stake organization in New Testament Christianity, although that organization is based on biblical principles regarding the "stakes" of Zion, symbolically like those of the ancient tabernacle extending out upon the world (i.e. Isaiah 33:20, 54:2).  But even from a modern Latter-day Saint perspective, the stake president acts under the direction of the First Presidency of the church by assignment when calling and ordaining a bishop.  The bishop's name is presented to the General Authorities of the church (the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and First Presidency) for clearance and approval.  This is just as it would have been done in New Testament times.  A bishop in early Christianity would have been called under the direction of the apostles and have the apostles in authority over them.  It is possible that one of the "seventy" or others may have been delegated to act on behalf of the presiding leaders.  And certainly the apostles sought recommendations from local leaders or companions in the ministry for possible candidates to be called to that office (I think that's exactly what Paul was doing with Titus in Titus 1:5-9). 

As for the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood, I think that would have functioned then just the same way it does today, although I'm not aware of any young men being ordained at an early age as we do it today.  

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1 hour ago, MiserereNobis said:

I agree. How does he (and early Christian bishops) fit into the LDS ecclesiastical structure? As I understand it, from the LDS point of view he would have had another authority over him, the stake president, right? Who would that have been in early Christianity? Or do LDS believe it was apostles then bishops with no middle authority? How did aaronic priesthood and melchizedek priesthood interact in early Christianity?

I  think there is some conflation of priesthood office and Church calling going on.

We know the early Church had Bishops over certain geographical regions (Bishop of Rome for instance). 

I may need clarification on the Catholic hierarchy but the Catholic church has several offices between Pope (President of the Church) and Bishop doesn't it?

Perhaps there is an Catholic church equivalent to Stake President, Seventy, etc.

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37 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

may need clarification on the Catholic hierarchy but the Catholic church has several offices between Pope (President of the Church) and Bishop doesn't it?

Perhaps there is an Catholic church equivalent to Stake President, Seventy, etc.

The three orders (or offices, to use your term) of priesthood in Catholicism are: bishop, priest, deacon. There is nothing above bishop. The pope is the pope because he is the bishop of Rome and thus has supremacy over the other bishops. Think of him as the first among equals.

There are cardinals but that is not a special order/office. They help run the various congregations (departments) in the Vatican and, obviously, elect the future bishop of Rome.

The ordination of a bishop, by canonical law, requires the permission of the pope. This is because bishops can ordain priests and other bishops. This allows the pope to keep a handle on schismatic groups. A illicit ordination of a bishop results in automatic excommunication for all involved.

There is not, as far as I understand LDS hierarchy, a Catholic equivalent to what is above a bishop. @mfbukowskii made the argument to me before, if I remember it correctly, that that is because the Catholic Church runs on the aaronic priesthood model so all the melchizedek priesthood roles are absent. Of course we don't believe in 2 different priesthoods.

I hope that helps.

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58 minutes ago, PacMan said:

The Catholic Encyclopedia states: 
Further, St. Epiphanius says (loc. cit. 😞 “Whether he received episcopal ordination from Peter in the life-time of the Apostles, and declined the office, for he says in one of his epistles ‘I retire, I depart, let the people of God be in peace’, (for we have found this set down in certain Memoirs), or whether he was appointed by the Bishop Cletus after he had succeeded the Apostles, we do not clearly know.” 

The Catholic Encyclopedia doesn't say that as absolute fact as to what happened, but only after speculating on different possibilities stated among various ancient Christian writers.  For it goes on to say:   "The 'Memoirs' were certainly those of Hegesippus. It seems unlikely that he is appealed to only for the quotation from the Epistle, c. liv; probably Epiphanius means that Hegesippus stated that Clement had been ordained by Peter and declined to be bishop, but twenty-four years later really exercised the office for nine years. Epiphanius could not reconcile these two facts; Hippolytus seems to have rejected the latter." 

The sources are contradictory, and I have been unsuccessful in finding some of the original sources to check them out in their original context.  I don't like relying on someone else's editorials to draw my own conclusions.

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56 minutes ago, MiserereNobis said:

The three orders (or offices, to use your term) of priesthood in Catholicism are: bishop, priest, deacon. There is nothing above bishop. The pope is the pope because he is the bishop of Rome and thus has supremacy over the other bishops. Think of him as the first among equals.

There are cardinals but that is not a special order/office. They help run the various congregations (departments) in the Vatican and, obviously, elect the future bishop of Rome.

The ordination of a bishop, by canonical law, requires the permission of the pope. This is because bishops can ordain priests and other bishops. This allows the pope to keep a handle on schismatic groups. A illicit ordination of a bishop results in automatic excommunication for all involved.

There is not, as far as I understand LDS hierarchy, a Catholic equivalent to what is above a bishop. @mfbukowskii made the argument to me before, if I remember it correctly, that that is because the Catholic Church runs on the aaronic priesthood model so all the melchizedek priesthood roles are absent. Of course we don't believe in 2 different priesthoods.

I hope that helps.

So if everyone from the Pope and college of Cardinals are all Bishops why claim Peter's authority?  An Apostle even in basic NT terms would be higher than any Bishop.

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20 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

So if everyone from the Pope and college of Cardinals are all Bishops why claim Peter's authority?  An Apostle even in basic NT terms would be higher than any Bishop.

Well as I recall Catholic Bishops are seen AS successors of the Apostles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostolic_succession

Quote

Apostolic succession is the method whereby the ministry of the Christian Church is held to be derived from the apostles by a continuous succession, which has usually been associated with a claim that the succession is through a series of bishops.[1] This series was seen originally as that of the bishops of a particular see founded by one or more of the apostles. According to historian Justo L. González, apostolic succession is generally understood today as meaning a series of bishops, regardless of see, each consecrated by other bishops, themselves consecrated similarly in a succession going back to the apostles.[2] 

 

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Edited by mfbukowski

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21 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Well as I recall Catholic Bishops are seen AS successors of the Apostles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostolic_succession

Quote

Apostolic succession is the method whereby the ministry of the Christian Church is held to be derived from the apostles by a continuous succession, which has usually been associated with a claim that the succession is through a series of bishops.[1] This series was seen originally as that of the bishops of a particular see founded by one or more of the apostles. According to historian Justo L. González, apostolic succession is generally understood today as meaning a series of bishops, regardless of see, each consecrated by other bishops, themselves consecrated similarly in a succession going back to the apostles.[2] 

 

I've been presented with this view before and I have a hard time seeing the difference between "apostolic succession" and the Latter-day Saints view of our "line of authority".  I need some help to see the differences if there are any.   So I don't get this line of reasoning.  The fact that I can trace my line of authority back to Peter, James, and John, and even Jesus, does not make me an apostle, nor does it mean that I have the same duties and keys as the apostles.  So I am not a successor of the apostles in filling their exact role in the church.   I hold the same priesthood, but I don't hold the same office in the priesthood.  A bishop is an office (1 Tim 3:1), and a deacon is an office (1 Tim 3:10,13).   Romans 12:4  "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office".  How does apostolic succession differentiate the leadership hierarchy?   I'm sure I am looking at this through my LDS tinted glasses :)   So please help me (someone?)

 

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1 hour ago, JLHPROF said:

So if everyone from the Pope and college of Cardinals are all Bishops why claim Peter's authority?  An Apostle even in basic NT terms would be higher than any Bishop.

The idea is that all 12 were apostles but Peter was prime and supreme among the apostles. The bishops are the successors to the apostles -- the apostles ordained the bishops -- so the bishop that was the successor to Peter is prime and supreme among the bishops, like Peter was among the apostles.

The LDS and Catholic view of bishop differs greatly. An LDS bishop is more like a Catholic priest. A Catholic bishop is more like an LDS stake president.

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5 minutes ago, MiserereNobis said:

The idea is that all 12 were apostles but Peter was prime and supreme among the apostles. The bishops are the successors to the apostles -- the apostles ordained the bishops -- so the bishop that was the successor to Peter is prime and supreme among the bishops, like Peter was among the apostles.

The LDS and Catholic view of bishop differs greatly. An LDS bishop is more like a Catholic priest. A Catholic bishop is more like an LDS stake president.

I get all that.

But did the Apostles ordain the Bishops to be new Apostles?  Why call them Bishops if they're Apostles?

And Cardinals are the same Apostolic authority as any Bishop?  Just a higher administrative calling?

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5 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

I've been presented with this view before and I have a hard time seeing the difference between "apostolic succession" and the Latter-day Saints view of our "line of authority".  I need some help to see the differences if there are any.   So I don't get this line of reasoning.  The fact that I can trace my line of authority back to Peter, James, and John, and even Jesus, does not make me an apostle, nor does it mean that I have the same duties and keys as the apostles.  So I am not a successor of the apostles in filling their exact role in the church.   I hold the same priesthood, but I don't hold the same office in the priesthood.  A bishop is an office (1 Tim 3:1), and a deacon is an office (1 Tim 3:10,13).   Romans 12:4  "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office".  How does apostolic succession differentiate the leadership hierarchy?   I'm sure I am looking at this through my LDS tinted glasses :)   So please help me (someone?)

 

The bold is the key. In Catholicism, apostle is not an "office" that was meant to be passed on. The apostles ordained (consecrated is our more commonly used term) bishops to be their successors. They didn't ordain/consecrate future apostles. Apostle was a special case.

So, an ordained clergy member tracing his lineage back to the apostles doesn't make him an apostle. It makes his priesthood valid. A priest (theoretically) could trace his lineage back to the apostles, via the bishop that ordained him, but that doesn't make him a bishop.

I think that's in agreement with what you are saying about your own priesthood? If I understand correctly.

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2 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

I get all that.

But did the Apostles ordain the Bishops to be new Apostles?  Why call them Bishops if they're Apostles?

And Cardinals are the same Apostolic authority as any Bishop?  Just a higher administrative calling?

No, bishops were not new apostles. The apostles were a separate and unique case. Their job was to go out and establish the Church: the word apostle comes from the Greek words "to send out" and "messenger." Wherever they travelled, they established the Church and ordained/consecrated bishops to be the stewards of those local churches.

Cardinals tend to be administrative. They don't have authority over other bishops. Each bishop has full jurisdiction in his own diocese, superseded only by the pope, who has universal jurisdiction.

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1 hour ago, InCognitus said:

I've been presented with this view before and I have a hard time seeing the difference between "apostolic succession" and the Latter-day Saints view of our "line of authority".  I need some help to see the differences if there are any.   So I don't get this line of reasoning.  The fact that I can trace my line of authority back to Peter, James, and John, and even Jesus, does not make me an apostle, nor does it mean that I have the same duties and keys as the apostles.  So I am not a successor of the apostles in filling their exact role in the church.   I hold the same priesthood, but I don't hold the same office in the priesthood.  A bishop is an office (1 Tim 3:1), and a deacon is an office (1 Tim 3:10,13).   Romans 12:4  "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office".  How does apostolic succession differentiate the leadership hierarchy?   I'm sure I am looking at this through my LDS tinted glasses :)   So please help me (someone?)

 

I was actually having the same problem, I think you are right regardless of what glasses you were looking through!  ;)

 We have the one Priesthood with kind of higher and lower divisions but I think those divisions are largely based on their own internal history- the Aaronic Priesthood is clearly Jewish and the Melchizedek P. is the order of the Son of God- and so Christian.  So that parallels the temple and is kind of explained in the endowment, symbolically.  Prophets and Apostles are spoken of as "Elders"- the same title as one just ordained to the same Priesthood and waiting for a mission call.   And the office of Bishop is really strictly administrative, and rather low level compared to Apostles.  But then we have the Presiding Bishopric.

I dunno.  It really doesn't correlate very well with administrative positions the way Catholicism does.  GA's are still "Elders" and former Bishops might be Primary workers- former Stake Presidents too theoretically!

I think that is good and makes us all "equal" and keeps our spiritual status separate from our administrative calling.

 

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1 hour ago, MiserereNobis said:

No, bishops were not new apostles. The apostles were a separate and unique case. Their job was to go out and establish the Church: the word apostle comes from the Greek words "to send out" and "messenger." Wherever they travelled, they established the Church and ordained/consecrated bishops to be the stewards of those local churches.

Ah, missionaries!  And they can be called as branch presidents....

The parallels really just don't work very well.

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2 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

The bold is the key. In Catholicism, apostle is not an "office" that was meant to be passed on. The apostles ordained (consecrated is our more commonly used term) bishops to be their successors. They didn't ordain/consecrate future apostles. Apostle was a special case.

So, an ordained clergy member tracing his lineage back to the apostles doesn't make him an apostle. It makes his priesthood valid. A priest (theoretically) could trace his lineage back to the apostles, via the bishop that ordained him, but that doesn't make him a bishop.

I think that's in agreement with what you are saying about your own priesthood? If I understand correctly.

Thank you.  That's what I would think (that apostolic succession and priesthood line of authority are the same basic concept).  I think my doubts on that originated from a couple of discussions I have had with Catholics who I thought were trying to tell me that bishops and apostles are the same office and it was passed on.  But we were discussing Ephesians 4:11-14 and examples in the New Testament of when new apostles were called as a replacement to others (like Paul and Barnabas), so there may have been other reasons they were taking that position.

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33 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

 We have the one Priesthood with kind of higher and lower divisions but I think those divisions are largely based on their own internal history- the Aaronic Priesthood is clearly Jewish and the Melchizedek P. is the order of the Son of God- and so Christian.  So that parallels the temple and is kind of explained in the endowment, symbolically.  Prophets and Apostles are spoken of as "Elders"- the same title as one just ordained to the same Priesthood and waiting for a mission call.   And the office of Bishop is really strictly administrative, and rather low level compared to Apostles.  But then we have the Presiding Bishopric.

I dunno.  It really doesn't correlate very well with administrative positions the way Catholicism does.  GA's are still "Elders" and former Bishops might be Primary workers- former Stake Presidents too theoretically!

Thank you for your response.   And I guess that's where I get curious and confused with non-LDS views, because it seems to me that the apostles in New Testament times were operating the same as apostles are today (but with a huge difference in global scope, transportation, and technology).  And the bishops in the New Testament and in the earliest Christian writings (like Clement of Rome) seem to function exactly the same as the way we see the offices today.  

But alas, I never could find Beehives, Mia Maids, and Laurels in the New Testament.  (Wait, that's a thing of the past now, never mind :) )

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14 hours ago, InCognitus said:

The Catholic Encyclopedia doesn't say that as absolute fact as to what happened, but only after speculating on different possibilities stated among various ancient Christian writers.  For it goes on to say:   "The 'Memoirs' were certainly those of Hegesippus. It seems unlikely that he is appealed to only for the quotation from the Epistle, c. liv; probably Epiphanius means that Hegesippus stated that Clement had been ordained by Peter and declined to be bishop, but twenty-four years later really exercised the office for nine years. Epiphanius could not reconcile these two facts; Hippolytus seems to have rejected the latter." 

The sources are contradictory, and I have been unsuccessful in finding some of the original sources to check them out in their original context.  I don't like relying on someone else's editorials to draw my own conclusions.

Careful - the Encyclopedia is discussing a timing issue (and the analysis doesn’t make particular sense).  For whatever it is worth, the citation still stands that Clement resigned. How that plays into the ordering of the popes is a different issue of whether he quit. 

If we’re going to dive into the realm of antiquity, you’re often only going to have someone else’s editorials. 

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2 hours ago, PacMan said:

Careful - the Encyclopedia is discussing a timing issue (and the analysis doesn’t make particular sense).  For whatever it is worth, the citation still stands that Clement resigned. How that plays into the ordering of the popes is a different issue of whether he quit. 

If we’re going to dive into the realm of antiquity, you’re often only going to have someone else’s editorials. 

Well in this case it's all based on someone else's editorials (Epiphanius and Hegesippus), and we can glean only a few fragments of what Hegesippus wrote from other sources.  I was trying to find the original source of the "I retire, I depart, let the people of God be in peace" quote, because that by itself (out of context)  isn't very helpful in telling us when and where that was written and what he meant by it.  And since people have obviously been debating the meaning of it, I'm pretty sure it won't answer my question if I find it anyway.  If you know where to find it then please let me know.

But back to one of your original questions regarding Clement's letter to the Corinthians, you asked if he wrote that "before or after he quit the job".  What is your view of the timing of that letter?  In saying "I retire, I depart", do you think he stuck around to write a letter that opens with: "The church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the church of God sojourning at Corinth"? 

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On 11/9/2019 at 12:53 PM, InCognitus said:

Well in this case it's all based on someone else's editorials (Epiphanius and Hegesippus), and we can glean only a few fragments of what Hegesippus wrote from other sources.  I was trying to find the original source of the "I retire, I depart, let the people of God be in peace" quote, because that by itself (out of context)  isn't very helpful in telling us when and where that was written and what he meant by it.  And since people have obviously been debating the meaning of it, I'm pretty sure it won't answer my question if I find it anyway.  If you know where to find it then please let me know.

But back to one of your original questions regarding Clement's letter to the Corinthians, you asked if he wrote that "before or after he quit the job".  What is your view of the timing of that letter?  In saying "I retire, I depart", do you think he stuck around to write a letter that opens with: "The church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the church of God sojourning at Corinth"? 

If a Bishop was actually a temporary stint and geographically limited as it is today in the CoJCoLdS, then sure. Why not?

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43 minutes ago, PacMan said:

If a Bishop was actually a temporary stint and geographically limited as it is today in the CoJCoLdS, then sure. Why not?

I had multiple questions in my comment, so I'm confused on which one you are answering here.  Are you saying that Clement resigned as bishop, and wrote his epistle to the Corinthians with the authoritative opening statement, "The church of God which sojourns at Rome" while not holding the office of bishop?

It is true that the term of office of a bishop is only for a period of time (and not for life), but historically bishops served in the church for a much longer period of time than they do these days.  (I remember my grandfather serving as bishop for quite a long period of time, but of course I was measuring those in kid years, not adult years). The Encyclopedia of Mormonism states that "The average length of service for all nineteenth-century Utah bishops was eleven years, but 15 percent served for more than twenty years."  It's a recent change to limit the time of service for a bishop to five to seven years. 

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4 hours ago, aussieguy55 said:

One of the arguments Nibley makes is the ceasing of missionary work in the early church. See his  https://byustudies.byu.edu/content/passing-church-forty-variations-unpopular-theme

Michael Green in his Evangelism in the Early Church gives a different picture.

Missionary work never ceased in the early church AFAIK, and the Catholic Church has an active program today. 

The Apostasy argument is a difficult one to make. Only in light of modern revelation is it convincing.  

Every picture, statue, portrait or other depiction of the Apostle Peter shows him holding keys. The LDS are not the only people who talk about this (keys). The Catholic view is that Peter passed those keys on to his successors, the bishops of Rome. 

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Wesley P Walters had a look at Nibley's paper and offered a few comments on his arguments.. Geee I will have to break the file up. It was 7 typed pages

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    • By kiwi57
      It is something of a truism among Christians generally, and Latter-day Saints more specifically, that martyrdom has frequently been what Hugh Nibley (who the Church's enemies love to hate) called "a prophet's reward." The cases of Zechariah, Abinadi, Stephen, James the Just, most of the original 12 Apostles, not to mention Jesus himself, demonstrate that the world - not excluding the religious world - has little tolerance for any who have the temerity to remind them that God expects something better than the mere polite navigation of societal currents.
      While it is easy, with hindsight, to respond to such events with platitudes like "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church," in every case that I know of, those who followed a martyred prophet regarded the prophet's death as nothing less than tragic, if not outright disastrous. Authentic martyrs don't go out of their way to court martyrdom, and the followers of authentic martyrs don't seek to throw their prophets to the lions.
      We do not live in a time when the message delivered by the Lord's prophets is at all popular. As usual, that message runs counter to prevailing cultural winds. But we are blessed to live in a time - and long may it continue! - when they are able to deliver their message in relative safety.
      But as dreadful as the martyrdom of a prophet is, it isn't irrecoverable. After the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, a few dissenters and ambitious individuals left the Church, in some cases taking some followers with them; but the body of the Church recovered from the emotional shock, picked themselves up, and followed the legitimate leadership of the Twelve. And the Church, despite often-fierce opposition from various quarters, has survived and even thrived ever since.
      What is - and always has been - far more disastrous to the Church than the death of any leader, is the spectre of apostasy. Not apostasy from the Church - that always happens - but apostasy of the Church. Nibley, again, in arguing that the primitive Church was always expected to be taken from the earth, pointed out that its demise wasn't expected to be brought about by destruction, or even defection, but by the Church abandoning its faith. As he put it, the Church in that generation was faced with a choice between "saving its soul by remaining true to the faith, or saving its skin by coming to terms with the world." (Quoted from memory.)
      To those who see the Church as faced with the same choice in our generation, the lesson is clear. The martyrdom of Joseph the Prophet was in every sense a disaster - but a recoverable one. But if the Church in the latter days were to surrender to the world on matters of faith and morality, as the Church in former days did, then that would be a disaster from which the Church could never recover.
      That is why I, along with many others, am so frankly bewildered by those who claim to be Latter-day Saints, but who seem to be urging just such a surrender on a currently fashionable issue.
      There may be some who will interpret this as some kind of "slam" or insult. I assure you that it is no such thing. It represents my sober, calm and considered position. I have held it for a number of years now, and I have never been presented with any arguments that might make me reconsider that position.
      So the question for discussion is this: why should the Church's abandoning its doctrinal position on conjugal marriage, if such an abandonment were to happen, not be seen as a mere surrender to the shifting fashions of a fallen world?
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