Jump to content

Hoffer, Exclusivity and a Luther Quote Worthy of Ahab!

Recommended Posts

9 hours ago, Navidad said:

Your kind response deserves a reply. We do enjoy the ward. We have never ever tried to sway members away from their own faith. We work very hard never to do that. There is much wisdom in what you say. Thanks for that. I think however we are probably done with our journey into the LDS world. I for one, am not sure it is any longer spiritually healthy for us. Thanks again and very best wishes.

Hello Navidad. And greetings to all.

As a Catholic, I have an interest in the "LDS World" as it exists here at this website. The reason is that along with very few other religious communities, Christian or not, they are exclusive in the same way as the Catholic Church. 

If the Apostolic church needed replaced, as all these Anabaptist/Mennonite/Protestant churches by their existence imply, then how does it not also show a belief that the Apostolic Church which was also identified as Catholic and Orthodox, had become apostate? But the Protestant/Anabaptist/Mennonite communities have never replaced the Apostolic church. To this day, they continue splintering into thousands of "churches" (smaller units) with their exclusive little ways of keeping the post-Reformation Christians from being able to go to church together other. This crowd, with their unsettled, ever-shifting points of view, lay the groundwork for a Restoration movement because the Restorationist recognizes why these splinter communities existed. It was because they believed that the splinter communities were right about the Catholic and Apostolic Church, but wrong about how it might be replaced. 

Unless the Catholic Church is apostate, all must join it for the sake of unity. If the Catholic Church is apostate, all must join a church, that like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, claims Restoration, or declare yourself a Restorationist-in-Waiting. I have never known anyone to choose the latter. It seems to me like disaffected Mormons ought to give it consideration before they just give way to full blown atheism. Be that as it may, to be a Restorationist-in-Waiting would be a more reasonable option than putting oneself under the authority of somebody who is not under any authority (Protestant/Anabaptist/Mennonite). It is an awful responsibility to stop short of declaring the Catholic Church apostate, as most of these "churches" and members do, and then have the audacity to think you are called to support or start some other fellowship that is distinctively non-Catholic, but in open denial of being the one true church. I keep an eye on the LDS, because they do not make that fundamental mistake. 

I graduated from a Baptist school called Hyles-Anderson College. Around the mid-80's, when I graduated, there was a need to build new dormitories and other facilities. They were built of the very cheapest materials. The President of the college and pastor of the church which helped support the college explained why. He said it was because he knew that when he was dead, that the place would become liberal (apostate). He didn't want to give anything permanent to the liberals (apostates). He didn't even believe in the perpetuity of the "church" of which he was the pastor! This is what comes of "church" starting without any authority beyond one's own subjective ambition. And yup, he was right. In my lifetime, that place has completely lost its way from the reason for which it was founded. Its okay with me. I left that movement to eventually find the Catholic faith. Many former zealous classmates are now the liberals and unbelievers that Jack Hyles saw as inevitable.

So it goes today, you have a zillion "churches", maybe there is a huge congregation, just like Jack Hyles' church, but with no practical or doctrinal stability. You can go to one of these today being pretty confident that it will be gone by the time your great grandchildren are your age. The Catholic Church, troubled as She appears to be, will never go away. And I would suggest that it would be only natural if the CoJCoLDS should have a long shelf life, if you will. One of the two churches is wrong, but adherents on both sides believe and trust that the one true church will exist visibly until "Kingdom come." We both build more permanent structures, monumental structures which testify to this belief.

Navidad, I know you disagree with me about the visibility of Christ's church. As a way of nudging you to consider the necessity of proper authority for doctrine and discipline in a visible setting, I would ask you to consider the need for one true visible church because God commands us in the letter to the Hebrews to "obey them that have the rule over you". Would you think this is speaking of invisible authority, or visible? This is one consideration that helped me to see the need to discover who God's appointed officers were, so that I could obey them. Instead of looking for officers that agreed with what I believed, I began to search for the officers themselves, who would tell me what I should believe. It was a new, and easier way, with less temptation to pride, of arriving at the truth. I had to admit that I was not expected by God to figure out the Bible by myself. I was only expected to identify God's visible representatives on earth. It was much easier than you would probably imagine. It was certainly easier than poring over a dozen clever systematic theologies to discover which one to accept so that I could take instruction from one of their teachers. No, the systematicians have to be dismissed. It is not the duty of the sheep to figure everything out. It is enough for the sheep to recognize the true pastors. There are not very many qualified applicants for that position.

God bless you on your journey, Navidad,


  • Like 4
Link to post

Having read this thread so far, I'm hoping it's okay for me to chime in my with my thoughts and comments from my own perspective  (which is very similar to that of Navidad).  I too am a non-LDS Christian with a very wide background of Christian ministry and experience (now part of a Mennonite church community), who believes that eternal life is equally available for anyone, irrespective of church affiliation, as Jesus alone sees and has the ultimate authority to judge our hearts.

I hear the protestations from LDS folk that they are not exclusive, and yet I believe you are, as I understand your belief to be that only your priesthood authority and only your Church-sanctioned ordinances are efficacious in providing what's necessary for eternal life with God.  I understand that you believe this is not about you and your Church, but it flows from Jesus Christ whom you believe instituted your Church and gave exclusive authority to it.

For me, that's the bottom line in this discussion.  I accept that those are LDS beliefs and that LDS believers are bound by them.

I get the sense that LDS folk think that believers like myself lack any system or roots or anchor or way forward.  Not at all.  Jesus Himself is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Being committed to Him and His Way is all encompassing and requires the utmost devotion and obedience.  Believers like me take the Sermon on the Mount very seriously.  The two great commandments ("Love the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul ... and your neighbour as yourself") are not simply nice words, but demand my all!  As do Jesus' words in John 15 about "abiding in HIm", and His prayer for unity in John 17 about "being one, as my Father and I are one."

I get Navidad's pain and disappointment when his wife was "jumped upon" as opportunity to question and challenge (and yes, it seemed like mocking to me) her Christian faith.  Like others here, I've read enough of what Navidad has written, to know that his dear wife (with current health challenges) is incredibly dear to his heart.  She's his wife and a huge part of his life, but she's not here in person as part of this discussion.  It just seemed bad form to me, lacking sensitivity and decency, to ask point blank questions about her faith (that's obviously so very real and precious to her).  It reminded me of how there's a decent and compassionate protocol that prevents people from "going after" the family (spouses and children) of people in the public eye.  For me, challenging the beliefs of Navidad's wife crossed that line of decorum and respect.

Edited by Paloma
  • Like 1
Link to post
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...