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New Book about the Apostasy. Any thoughts or comments?


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1 hour ago, Amulek said:

Um...in the sacred grove...by Jesus:

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.”


If I were looking to trace the origins of the "whole LDS apostasy concept," that seems like a pretty good candidate.

Or is there some other "apostasy concept" not relating to all of the other sects being wrong that you are trying to hunt down?

In light of the overwhelming significance of what the Savior testified to Joseph during First Vision, it’s a wonder that the apostasy would be even a slightly controversial topic among the Latter-Day Saints. For Latter-Day Saints themselves, what else needs to be said in order to ascertain whether there was or was not an apostasy that required major restorations of lost essential gospel truths, sacred gospel ordinances, and the Lord’s priesthood authority.  But it also simultaneously needs to be understood is that the Book of Mormon’s authors don’t say that as a consequence of the apostasy there was a total loss of all gospel truth, but what they do say is that the loss was so devastating that it would require the Lord starting over again with a completely new Church organization in the latter-days.

Edited by teddyaware
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2 hours ago, Amulek said:

Um...in the sacred grove...by Jesus:

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.”


If I were looking to trace the origins of the "whole LDS apostasy concept," that seems like a pretty good candidate.

Or is there some other "apostasy concept" not relating to all of the other sects being wrong that you are trying to hunt down?

 

There is a huge, humongous, gigantic difference between saying someone is wrong and saying someone is apostate, is there not? Do you really accept that Christ said that "all creeds" are an abomination to Him? How many of the individual tenets of the Nicene Creed are an abomination to Christ or to the Father? Or, we could put it another way, which of the tenets of the Nicene Creed do you think are an abomination to Christ or to the Father? I would love to see the list. I don't agree that baptism is for the remission of sins (found in the current version of that creed), but I would never suggest that thought is an abomination, would you, would Christ? If so, don't you have to reconsider your position on baptism?

Was it not the same man who as a teenager had received this vision who later in his life said, "“I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist or a good man of any other denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular.” I understand that Joseph Smith would disagree with those folks, but still defend their rights, correct? If he thought they were apostate and their words an abomination to the Savior, would he have defended their rights to expound them in the same way and with the same verbiage? If so, then why didn't he defend the rights of those at Kirtland who he declared to be apostates?

Amulek, are you willing to declare that all other Christian churches today are apostate and their creeds an abomination to you and to Christ? If not, then you have answered your own question at the end of your post. If so, perhaps you would offer a definition of what you mean by "apostate?"

There is a huge difference between thinking they are wrong and proclaiming them as apostate, is there not?  I can't think of any word in the English language that would be worse to call someone than an "apostate." That is a far cry from suggesting someone is wrong, is it not? If I suggest that the Saints are wrong in their claim of having the only priesthood authority on earth, that is not the same as deeming them apostate, is it? I would suggest that they are wrong abou that and fully Christian at the same time.

The word apostate is only used once in the New Testament (the Acts 21 reference certainly has a different significance) to refer to anyone or anything. We cannot know for sure, but I believe that it refers to a rebellion at the end time that is directed by Satan himself and is based on his (Satan's teaching and influence). II Thess 2 contains a number of difficult thoughts, but it doesn't refer to anything other than an overt rebellion against the gospel, directed by Satan and led by some "man of sin or lawlessness." The end times weren't in II Thess. They weren't in the 300s, the 500s, the 800s, they probably are not today. We can only look back with some provisional certainty; we certainly cannot look forward with any degree of certainty, especially that of time. It is relevant that in verse 13 Paul uses the exquisite word "but" to switch gears. He then proceeds to thank God for the Thessalonians, his brothers and sisters "loved by the Lord" who by sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth (the gospel) have been called to obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. The online concordance of the The Book of Mormon reveals no instance of the use of the word apostasy in the Book of Mormon. Apostle Widstoe in his concordance to the D&C equates apostates with the sons of perdition in 76:34-48. Would you agree with that? A church cannot be apostate unless the folks who are members of it are apostate. Doesn't that make sense? Was Apostle Widstoe right in connecting the two groups? (I have his concordance to  D&C online and would refer you to page 8).

This is all very complicated and very important. I know the apostasy is a foundational truth of the LDS church at this point in time. I find it very perplexing and one of the teachings that would keep me from ever being a member. I simply know too many Godly people in the non-LDS world and have read too many wonderful spiritual and gospel teachings from those who lived and were active in the church between 400 and 1800. Take care.

 

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3 hours ago, Tacenda said:

You understood? Went over my head, sorry @Navidad.

I am not sure what you are saying? Did you mean to reference MiserereNobis?

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2 hours ago, teddyaware said:

But it also simultaneously needs to be understood is that the Book of Mormon’s authors don’t say that as a consequence of the apostasy there was a total loss of all gospel truth, but what they do say is that the loss was so devastating that it would require the Lord starting over again with a completely new Church organization in the latter-days.

Pardon my ignorance . . . where does the Book of Mormon refer to the apostasy of the church from 300 to 1800 AD, and that after that, the Lord had to create a completely new Church organization and "start all over again?"

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9 minutes ago, Navidad said:

Do you really accept that Christ said that "all creeds" are an abomination to Him?

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that Christ said this to Joseph Smith.

 

10 minutes ago, Navidad said:

How many of the individual tenets of the Nicene Creed are an abomination to Christ or to the Father?

He didn't say.  We also believe that Christ and the Father are of one heart and one mind, so what is unacceptable to one is to the other.

 

12 minutes ago, Navidad said:

Was it not the same man who as a teenager had received this vision who later in his life said, "“I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist or a good man of any other denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular.”

We believe that all have the right to worship as they will and defend religious liberty.

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2 hours ago, ksfisher said:

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that Christ said this to Joseph Smith.

 

He didn't say.  We also believe that Christ and the Father are of one heart and one mind, so what is unacceptable to one is to the other.

 

We believe that all have the right to worship as they will and defend religious liberty.

No one has answered my question yet, perhaps you would? Do you (individually or collectively) believe that all non-LDS Christian churches today remain in a state of apostasy as they were in the early decades of the 1800?  Are all members, pastors, leaders, bishops, etc. of those churches apostates? If not, then what changed for them since 1830? How has the doctrine of apostasy changed in the LDS canon over the years?

It seems that Apostle Widstoe believed that apostates were the same as sons of perdition. See his concordance of the D&C where he points the future destiny of apostates, page 8 as being the same as what the text in 76:34-38 refers to as the sons of perdition and the destiny as the Lake of Fire? If that is not the current perspective of the church, then something has certainly changed in LDS doctrine since 1906 when he published his concordance of the Doctrine & Covenants. Or, I am simply not understanding something. I am trying to understand a coherent doctrine of the apostasy in LDS thinking and doctrine, from the time of the First Vision to today.

 

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43 minutes ago, Navidad said:

I am not sure what you are saying? Did you mean to reference MiserereNobis?

Actually I didn't understand Saint Bonaventure's Domino Pizza reference, haha. Sorry about that.

Edited by Tacenda
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On 11/9/2022 at 3:09 PM, Navidad said:

Good afternoon my friend. Sorry for not replying to your post yesterday. I was traveling in the states. On my trip, I did stop by and pick up my mail and got the new book on the apostasy. It looks like a quick read. I will begin that tomorrow.

Thank you for the thoughtful response my friend (and you are indeed that to me too).  I am glad you acquired the new book, I'll be looking forward to seeing your thoughts on what it says.  I've been holding back on what I think about it (except for the one time earlier where I slipped) because I don't want to ruin it for everyone else.  

On 11/9/2022 at 3:09 PM, Navidad said:

I appreciate your response. I find your first statement to me to be interesting. I am "missing the point of the great apostasy." I didn't know there was a point to it, except that its existence and a subsequent restoration of the true faith has the point of increasing the uniqueness of the LDS church. That might be the "point." 

The "point" that I felt you were missing is the difference between people who fall away (or apostatize) from a particular group (like the many splinter groups from the New Testament Christian church that I referenced earlier) and the falling away of the group itself.  What is considered "apostasy" for an individual depends entirely on what group is making up the rules.  One man's orthodoxy is another man's heresy.  And there isn't a single apostate splinter group on this planet that would admit they are apostate. 

Like the people in the church at Galatia (referenced in my post), they would likely go on believing they were orthodox if it wasn't for Paul's attempt at correcting them (and of course some of them might even try to say Paul was in the wrong).  There has to be a measuring stick to determine what is orthodoxy and what is heresy.  In New Testament Christianity, it was the apostles that made those calls by revelation from Jesus Christ.  It wasn't based on which group had the most power or by popular opinion.  There was no sense of a "do it yourself" church in those days.  It was Christ's church, and he was the head of it, and he directed it through his divinely appointed leaders.

On 11/9/2022 at 3:09 PM, Navidad said:

I think we have different understandings of the word apostasy and how it applies. That is ok. The root word apostasia is only used twice in the NT. The first reference in Acts 21 it refers to Jews leaving Moses as a result of Christian teaching. That only leaves one time - the verse in II Thess. where the word is even used in the NT. In both cases it refers to individuals who walk away - turn away from.

Don't forget about the Septuagint usage of the word.  Nearly three years ago (I can't believe it's been that long) I made a post (here) on all the uses of apostasia in the Septuagint and Greek New Testament.  The verse from Joshua 22:22 is notable to this discussion (using the Brenton translation of the verse) :

Joshua 22:22, "God even God is the Lord, and God even God himself knows, and Israel he shall know; if we have transgressed before the Lord by apostasy, let him not deliver us this day."

In this case it is a question of the "apostasy" of Israel, of an entire people group, turning away from the Lord.  And there are cycles of apostasy and relative degrees of the restoration of Israel throughout the scriptures.  In the book of Joshua, Israel was on the verge of forsaking the LORD to serve other gods.  

So even though apostasy can refer to individual apostasy, it also has application for an entire people group. 

On 11/9/2022 at 3:09 PM, Navidad said:

In II Thess. it applies to an individual influencing others, doesn't it? Not an entire group or church. 

I see verse 3 as referring to two separate and distinct events: (1) the great apostasy, and (2) the man of sin being revealed.  But I think it is true that the great apostasy is instigated by a single individual (Satan), for he is the one that enticed others to seek to overthrow the church, and he was behind the great persecutions against the church and was responsible for the shifting of authority within it as well (i.e. grievous wolves entering in among the overseers, not sparing the flock, and the overseers themselves speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them - Acts 28:28-31). 

I think who this individual is is made clear in Doctrine and Covenants section 86, which is the Lord giving the meaning of the parable of the wheat and tares:

Quote

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants, concerning the parable of the wheat and of the tares:
2 Behold, verily I say, the field was the world, and the apostles were the sowers of the seed;
3 And after they have fallen asleep the great persecutor of the church, the apostate, the whore, even Babylon, that maketh all nations to drink of her cup, in whose hearts the enemy, even Satan, sitteth to reign—behold he soweth the tares; wherefore, the tares choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness.
4 But behold, in the last days, even now while the Lord is beginning to bring forth the word, and the blade is springing up and is yet tender—
5 Behold, verily I say unto you, the angels are crying unto the Lord day and night, who are ready and waiting to be sent forth to reap down the fields;
(Doctrine and Covenants 86:1–5)

The reference to driving "the church into the wilderness" in verse 3 is alluding to Revelation 12:6 and 14, where the "woman" (Israel or the Church) "fled into the wilderness" for a period of time.  I also think this makes it clear that there is still "wheat" out among the tares ready to be harvested in the great gathering of Israel in the last days.

As for the meaning of the word apostasia in 2 Thes 2:3, I don't see how Paul could possibly be referring to individual apostasy from the church, since that was something already happening all around them in that period of time (as I noted in my prior post).  I know I'm repeating myself somewhat, but it just doesn't make sense (to me) that Paul would use that as a reason that the second coming was not going to happen "soon" if it was already rampant (as it was).  Paul doesn't refer to it as an individual apostasy.  In many translations, it is called "the apostasy", making it a significant event of some kind.  It has to be more significant than individual apostasy in my view.

On 11/9/2022 at 3:09 PM, Navidad said:

Verses 10-12 have confounded scholars for years. For every individual pope, bishop, lay Catholic who walked away in two thousand years, there were thousands who remained faithful.

I have no doubt that there were thousands who remained faithful to try to find the best way they could follow Jesus Christ in that period of time.  But faithful to what?  Faithful to what was being taught in the church of Galatia, before Paul wrote to them to correct them?  Faithful to the doctrines according to the Nicolaitans?  Faithful to the doctrines according to Arius?   And how would they know?  

Whether there was an apostasy of Christ's church is really a different question than individual salvation.  Ultimately, each and every one of us is going to be judged according to what is in our heart and how faithful we were to the truths that we had available to us during our lives.  

On 11/9/2022 at 3:09 PM, Navidad said:

I don't want to belabor the point. I think too much of you and of the LDS church. I think the whole LDS apostasy concept is a confirming device. I actually don't know the first time it was used in LDS history or who used it. Maybe the new book will tell me. But it caught on and expanded to a meaning that implied that the entire world-wide Christian church apostatized (with the exception of a few faithful). It got to the point where God removed his "priesthood" from the earth. Wow! That is quite an expansion!

I'll elaborate on the question of how the apostasy concept was used in LDS history down below.

On 11/9/2022 at 3:09 PM, Navidad said:

The middle ages is painted as "dark" as are most current non-LDS Christians painted as creedal. Recent medievalists have thoroughly eviscerated the negative image of the "dark" ages. I believe the "church triumphant" worldwide (of which the LDS is an important part) is doing well. One cannot normalize the apostasy of individuals and even of groups as reflecting an apostasy of the entire community of Christ world-wide. As long as there are true prophets, there will be false prophets against which that truth is measured. So it has been and so it will be.

I agree with you that there is a "church triumphant" worldwide.  As I said earlier in this thread (I think it was this thread) referring to the distinction between "two churches" mentioned in 1 Nephi 14:10:  the "church of the Lamb of God" and the "church of the devil".  The church of the Lamb of God is not limited to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, nor are some whose names are on the records of that church excluded from the "church of the devil".

But there is also a "Church" that Christ established that has the priesthood authority and covenants and ordinances that bring about the salvation and exaltation of those who choose to partake of those blessings.  That church existed in New Testament times.  And I believe it has also been restored in the latter days.

On 11/9/2022 at 3:09 PM, Navidad said:

BTW, I don't believe the word apostasy was used in the Book of Mormon, am I wrong? Some read it into certain texts, but I don't remember it in the text itself. I believe the few times that Joseph Smith used a form of the word apostatize, he used it to refer to individuals in the church, am I wrong? So individuals within the LDS church apostatized, agreed? Individuals within the world-wide Christian church have apostatized, agreed?

I am not sure how the word became so much broader in its utilization in the LDS Church? It would be fun to study the use of the word over the 190 some years of the church. Certainly in Kirtland and in those early years it was used to refer to individuals, as my post mentioned. Am I wrong? I am not sure how it came to be applied to the church over the first two thousand years. That certainly was an expansion of the use of the word over time.

Joseph Smith did refer to individuals who were "apostates" or "apostatized" from the restored Church.  But there was also a general understanding of the great apostasy in the earliest teachings of the Church as well. I'll point out two early references that I'm aware of, but there may be others.

The first is from an early history of Joseph Smith written in 1832.  In that history he says:

Quote

[T]hus from the age of twelve years to fifteen I pondered many things in my heart concerning the sittuation of the world of mankind the contentions and divi[si]ons the wicke[d]ness and abominations and the darkness which pervaded the minds of mankind my mind become excedingly distressed for I become convicted of my sins and by searching the scriptures I found that mankind did not come unto the Lord but that they had apostatised from the true and liveing faith and there was no society or denomination that built upon the gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in the new testament and I felt to mourn for my own sins and for the sins of the world for I learned in the scriptures that God was the same yesterday to day and forever that he was no respecter to persons for he was God

And another early reference is in this Letter of Joseph Smith to Noah C. Saxton, 4 January 1833:

Quote

Christ said to His disciples (Mark 16:17 and 18), that these signs should follow them that believe:—“In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover;” and also, in connection with this, read 1st Corinthians, 12th chapter. By the foregoing testimonies we may look at the Christian world and see the apostasy there has been from the apostolic platform; and who can look at this and not exclaim, in the language of Isaiah, “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances, and broken the everlasting covenant?”  (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 15, from Letter to Noah C. Saxton, 4 January 1833)

Note that in both of these references there is said to be an apostasy from something.  In the first it is "from the true and living faith", and the second it is "from the apostolic platform" (the original organization and teachings of Christ's church).

This usage of the word apostasy in is not limited to Latter-day Saint views of Christianity.  Roger Williams (pioneer of the First Baptist Church in America) is reported to said to have said, "The apostasy… hath so far corrupted all, that there can be no recovery out of that apostasy until Christ shall send forth new apostles to plant churches anew.”  I supply this quote not as evidence for his view of the apostasy, but as evidence of the usage of the word in application to a big event in the history of Christianity.

On 11/9/2022 at 3:09 PM, Navidad said:

Take care and best wishes. Tonight I will begin reading the book. I hope it tells me more.

Best wishes to you too, and please let us know your thoughts on the book.

Edited by InCognitus
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8 hours ago, InCognitus said:

Thank you for the thoughtful response my friend (and you are indeed that to me too).  I am glad you acquired the new book, I'll be looking forward to seeing your thoughts on what it says.  I've been holding back on what I think about it (except for the one time earlier where I slipped) because I don't want to ruin it for everyone else.  

The "point" that I felt you were missing is the difference between people who fall away (or apostatize) from a particular group (like the many splinter groups from the New Testament Christian church that I referenced earlier) and the falling away of the group itself.  What is considered "apostasy" for an individual depends entirely on what group is making up the rules.  One man's orthodoxy is another man's heresy.  And there isn't a single apostate splinter group on this planet that would admit they are apostate. 

Like the people in the church at Galatia (referenced in my post), they would likely go on believing they were orthodox if it wasn't for Paul's attempt at correcting them (and of course some of them might even try to say Paul was in the wrong).  There has to be a measuring stick to determine what is orthodoxy and what is heresy.  In New Testament Christianity, it was the apostles that made those calls by revelation from Jesus Christ.  It wasn't based on which group had the most power or by popular opinion.  There was no sense of a "do it yourself" church in those days.  It was Christ's church, and he was the head of it, and he directed it through his divinely appointed leaders.

Don't forget about the Septuagint usage of the word.  Nearly three years ago (I can't believe it's been that long) I made a post (here) on all the uses of apostasia in the Septuagint and Greek New Testament.  The verse from Joshua 22:22 is notable to this discussion (using the Brenton translation of the verse) :

Joshua 22:22, "God even God is the Lord, and God even God himself knows, and Israel he shall know; if we have transgressed before the Lord by apostasy, let him not deliver us this day."

In this case it is a question of the "apostasy" of Israel, of an entire people group, turning away from the Lord.  And there are cycles of apostasy and relative degrees of the restoration of Israel throughout the scriptures.  In the book of Joshua, Israel was on the verge of forsaking the LORD to serve other gods.  

So even though apostasy can refer to individual apostasy, it also has application for an entire people group. 

I see verse 3 as referring to two separate and distinct events: (1) the great apostasy, and (2) the man of sin being revealed.  But I think it is true that the great apostasy is instigated by a single individual (Satan), for he is the one that enticed others to seek to overthrow the church, and he was behind the great persecutions against the church and was responsible for the shifting of authority within it as well (i.e. grievous wolves entering in among the overseers, not sparing the flock, and the overseers themselves speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them - Acts 28:28-31). 

I think who this individual is is made clear in Doctrine and Covenants section 86, which is the Lord giving the meaning of the parable of the wheat and tares:

The reference to driving "the church into the wilderness" in verse 3 is alluding to Revelation 12:6 and 14, where the "woman" (Israel or the Church) "fled into the wilderness" for a period of time.  I also think this makes it clear that there is still "wheat" out among the tares ready to be harvested in the great gathering of Israel in the last days.

As for the meaning of the word apostasia in 2 Thes 2:3, I don't see how Paul could possibly be referring to individual apostasy from the church, since that was something already happening all around them in that period of time (as I noted in my prior post).  I know I'm repeating myself somewhat, but it just doesn't make sense (to me) that Paul would use that as a reason that the second coming was not going to happen "soon" if it was already rampant (as it was).  Paul doesn't refer to it as an individual apostasy.  In many translations, it is called "the apostasy", making it a significant event of some kind.  It has to be more significant than individual apostasy in my view.

I have no doubt that there were thousands who remained faithful to try to find the best way they could follow Jesus Christ in that period of time.  But faithful to what?  Faithful to what was being taught in the church of Galatia, before Paul wrote to them to correct them?  Faithful to the doctrines according to the Nicolaitans?  Faithful to the doctrines according to Arius?   And how would they know?  

Whether there was an apostasy of Christ's church is really a different question than individual salvation.  Ultimately, each and every one of us is going to be judged according to what is in our heart and how faithful we were to the truths that we had available to us during our lives.  

I'll elaborate on the question of how the apostasy concept was used in LDS history down below.

I agree with you that there is a "church triumphant" worldwide.  As I said earlier in this thread (I think it was this thread) referring to the distinction between "two churches" mentioned in 1 Nephi 14:10:  the "church of the Lamb of God" and the "church of the devil".  The church of the Lamb of God is not limited to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, nor are some whose names are on the records of that church excluded from the "church of the devil".

But there is also a "Church" that Christ established that has the priesthood authority and covenants and ordinances that bring about the salvation and exaltation of those who choose to partake of those blessings.  That church existed in New Testament times.  And I believe it has also been restored in the latter days.

Joseph Smith did refer to individuals who were "apostates" or "apostatized" from the restored Church.  But there was also a general understanding of the great apostasy in the earliest teachings of the Church as well. I'll point out two early references that I'm aware of, but there may be others.

The first is from an early history of Joseph Smith written in 1832.  In that history he says:

And another early reference is in this Letter of Joseph Smith to Noah C. Saxton, 4 January 1833:

Note that in both of these references there is said to be an apostasy from something.  In the first it is "from the true and living faith", and the second it is "from the apostolic platform" (the original organization and teachings of Christ's church).

This usage of the word apostasy in is not limited to Latter-day Saint views of Christianity.  Roger Williams (pioneer of the First Baptist Church in America) is reported to said to have said, "The apostasy… hath so far corrupted all, that there can be no recovery out of that apostasy until Christ shall send forth new apostles to plant churches anew.”  I supply this quote not as evidence for his view of the apostasy, but as evidence of the usage of the word in application to a big event in the history of Christianity.

Best wishes to you too, and please let us know your thoughts on the book.

Wonderful reply. Thanks so very much. Why don't your write a book or article on the apostasy? After reading pages 50-52 of the book under discussion, I have some comments as well, but feel I better read the whole thing first so as to get the author's entire conceptual stream on the topic. Methinks what he said on those pages isn't going to make anyone happy! I can relate to that!

Thanks again for your time and thoughtfulness. After reading your quotes from Joseph Smith, I would like to figure out how to find the common understanding of the word "apostasy" in the early 19th century. On several occasions I gave the invocation at the presidential banquet of the MHA. On one occasion, a friend told me that a lady at his table said "they" shouldn't let "apostates" pray. On another, I was told directly by someone (maybe the same person in another year, I don't know) that she wished they wouldn't let "non-members" pray. I sure would rather be characterized as a non-member than an apostate - given my understanding of the word! Roger Williams was quite a character. I would say more about him, but that would get us off track! I think he saw his work as creating a restoration of the church as well. The Landmark Baptists use his writings a lot to prove their crimson (or scarlet - depending on the author) thread theory. Of  course the Anabaptists also saw themselves as restorational instead of reformational. The idea that there was an total apostasy is different in my mind from claiming a great apostasy from claiming an apostasy, from claiming a partial apostasy. I have personally heard contemporary Saints use all four terms. Wherever humans are gathered together in any supportive group, there will be apostasies. My son is a huge Tampa Bay Bucs fan. He is now upset at all who are currently "jumping ship." I am not sure that "jumping ship" is a very good definition for apostasy. I think it is something more permanent and sinister than that. In the terminology of my youth, it may be "the unpardonable sin." Go Bucs! How about providing us an official LDS definition of the word apostasy? Maybe that would help!

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18 hours ago, Navidad said:

There is a huge, humongous, gigantic difference between saying someone is wrong and saying someone is apostate, is there not?

Depends on what you mean by the word "apostasy."

If someone is wrong because they have turned away from that which is right then yes, that sounds very much like apostasy to me. 

 

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Do you really accept that Christ said that "all creeds" are an abomination to Him?

Yes.  

 

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How many of the individual tenets of the Nicene Creed are an abomination to Christ or to the Father? Or, we could put it another way, which of the tenets of the Nicene Creed do you think are an abomination to Christ or to the Father?

As someone else noted, Christ didn't provide Joseph with a detailed list. Following his theophany though, I would say the whole concept of God the Father and Jesus being consubstantial (as affirmed by the Nicene Creed) seems pretty sus. 

 

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I don't agree that baptism is for the remission of sins (found in the current version of that creed), but I would never suggest that thought is an abomination, would you, would Christ? 

As applied to infants, yes. 

 

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Was it not the same man who as a teenager had received this vision who later in his life said, "“I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist or a good man of any other denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular.” I understand that Joseph Smith would disagree with those folks, but still defend their rights, correct? If he thought they were apostate and their words an abomination to the Savior, would he have defended their rights to expound them in the same way and with the same verbiage?

Yes. And unless you want to go back to the days of having state religions, freedom of worship is a principle that people of all faiths ought to champion.

That being said, just because one believes people should be free to chose error doesn't mean that they ought to do so, which is why we continue our proselytizing efforts to the world to this day. 

 

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If so, then why didn't he defend the rights of those at Kirtland who he declared to be apostates?

I'm not sure what you are talking about here. Could you provide me with an example of Joseph saying that these individuals shouldn't have a civil right to worship as they please? 

 

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Amulek, are you willing to declare that all other Christian churches today are apostate and their creeds an abomination to you and to Christ?

Well, the creeds aren't an abomination to me, specifically, but as a general rule I do find them to be riddled with falsehoods. 

As for all other Christian churches today, yes, I am perfectly willing to affirm my personal belief that they all are in a state of apostasy - one that cannot be remedied by a mere reformation (or a bunch of different reformations), which is why a full restoration by Christ himself was needed. 

 

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There is a huge difference between thinking they are wrong and proclaiming them as apostate, is there not?  I can't think of any word in the English language that would be worse to call someone than an "apostate."

Perhaps it would be helpful if we were to add a layer of nuance here and try to distinguish between institutional apostasy and individual apostasy. 

If an individual belongs to an institution which fell away from the truth centuries before said individual was ever born I don't think I would characterize that person as being an apostate, but merely someone who happens to be pat of an apostate organization. If that person were to then accept the fullness of the gospel and turn away from it, then I would then feel comfortably calling said person an apostate. 

 

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Apostle Widstoe in his concordance to the D&C equates apostates with the sons of perdition in 76:34-48. Would you agree with that?

Probably. Those who have known the truth and then turn away from it and actively fight against it are, indeed, likely bound for that fate. There is no such thing as once-save-always-saved in the real gospel of Christ. 

 

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A church cannot be apostate unless the folks who are members of it are apostate. Doesn't that make sense?

Not really. An institution can be placed into a state of apostasy due to the actions of prior members while those who are adherents currently - those who never knew the truth originally and had no part in the church's falling away - are merely the ignorant inheritors of an apostate religion, not apostates themselves. 

 

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This is all very complicated and very important. I know the apostasy is a foundational truth of the LDS church at this point in time.

You keep saying this as though the notion of a general apostasy is a novel invention in LDS thought. It isn't. It's a foundational truth of the Church today because it has been around since the foundation of the church itself. 

 

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I find it very perplexing and one of the teachings that would keep me from ever being a member.

Well, when you die and the missionaries still show up at your door, I suspect you'll be able to find a way to get over it. 

 

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I simply know too many Godly people in the non-LDS world and have read too many wonderful spiritual and gospel teachings from those who lived and were active in the church between 400 and 1800.

And I don't see anything inconsistent with that and the notion of the great apostasy. 

 

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Take care.

Same.
 

Edited by Amulek
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18 hours ago, Navidad said:

No one has answered my question yet, perhaps you would? Do you (individually or collectively) believe that all non-LDS Christian churches today remain in a state of apostasy as they were in the early decades of the 1800?  Are all members, pastors, leaders, bishops, etc. of those churches apostates? If not, then what changed for them since 1830? How has the doctrine of apostasy changed in the LDS canon over the years?

By the today's dictionary definition I would say no, we don't believe the groups you refer to are apostate.  I can't speak to how to word was used and/or defined in the past.

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On the question of creeds and abomination, it is first important to be careful with the original statement, and then to consider Joseph Smith's own remarks on the implications.

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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.”

Of creeds, and the specific problem that makes them an abomination:

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Joseph Smith opposed creeds, not because they are false teachings (“all of them have some truth”), but because “creeds set up stakes, and say, ‘Hitherto thou shalt come, and no further’; which I cannot subscribe to.”55 Joseph Smith also explained that “the most prominent difference in sentiment between the Latter-day Saints and sectarians was that the latter were all circumscribed by some particular creed, which deprived its members of the privilege of believing anything not contained therein, whereas the Latter-day Saints have no creed, but are ready to believe all true principles that exist, as they are made manifest from time to time.”56 The real problem with creeds is not their content57 but their function. When in place, creeds place a person and a society beyond repentance, beyond change. Creeds box a person in and throw away the keys to further light and knowledge. If that is not abominable, what is?

For sources, see page 137 here: https://journal.interpreterfoundation.org/sophic-box-and-mantic-vista-a-review-of-deconstructing-mormonism/

The reference to "those professors" is local, Joseph's immediate options, not an absolute through all time and space.  The notion that some professors draw near to God "with their lips, but their hearts are far from me" is not all that hard to demonstrate in human history.  But remember that Joseph is also told in D&C 1 that "I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;" and also that "also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world;"  The "others" are not specified, and Joseph's own statement on how we are judged relative to our mortal circumstances, not according to which group we are in, should count.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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2 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

which deprived its members of the privilege of believing anything not contained therein,

Since Joseph Smith said the above quote and this - "When in place, creeds place a person and a society beyond repentance, beyond change. . . . Creeds box a person in and throw away the keys to further light and knowledge," wouldn't you agree that he was wrong or greatly exaggerated? I know of no creed of any church that is exhaustive and forbids either additional or in most cases, different beliefs. I would include Scriptures in that as well. The Nicene Creed is a couple of hundred words at most. It certainly is not complete when it comes to beliefs anymore than the LDS Articles of Faith are complete. Neither the Nicene or the Athanasian creed have been modified in years, while their adherents have diversified greatly in beliefs that go way beyond what is contained therein. Just as have the Saints gone way beyond the Book of Mormon in the scope of their beliefs, as have Mennonites for example gone beyond the Bible, especially in interpreting it.

Edited by Navidad
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3 hours ago, Amulek said:

You keep saying this as though the notion of a general apostasy is a novel invention in LDS thought. It isn't. It's a foundational truth of the Church today because it has been around since the foundation of the church itself. 

I don't think it is a novel invention; I think it is a evolving and changing invention. Did you read some of the quotes from the old timers (in the LDS church), either on this thread or the other,  about the apostasy and those involved in it? One of our own forum members commented that they are glad the Saints don't talk that way today. I was once told by a knowledgeable member that I am not apostate because I never joined the LDS church and then left it. I didn't press him on whether or not I am apostate because I continue in the churches that were and I guess still are declared apostate. This is one of those things where I find that Saints teach one thing as doctrine, but really hesitate to use the same language about a specific person, especially someone who they have personally known for year. Take care.

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I believe that Joseph Smith recorded the Articles of Faith of the LDS Church in 1842. I just reviewed them again and found no reference to the apostasy therein. Curious.

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The answer to all questions about the Great Apostasy revolves around the keys of the Priesthood. 

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7 minutes ago, Navidad said:

I believe that Joseph Smith recorded the Articles of Faith of the LDS Church in 1842. I just reviewed them again and found no reference to the apostasy therein. Curious.

3 We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
4 We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
5 We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

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1 hour ago, Navidad said:

Since Joseph Smith said the above quote and this - "When in place, creeds place a person and a society beyond repentance, beyond change. . . . Creeds box a person in and throw away the keys to further light and knowledge," wouldn't you agree that he was wrong or greatly exaggerated? I know of no creed of any church that is exhaustive and forbids either additional or in most cases, different beliefs. I would include Scriptures in that as well. The Nicene Creed is a couple of hundred words at most. It certainly is not complete when it comes to beliefs anymore than the LDS Articles of Faith are complete. Neither the Nicene or the Athanasian creed have been modified in years, while their adherents have diversified greatly in beliefs that go way beyond what is contained therein. Just as have the Saints gone way beyond the Book of Mormon in the scope of their beliefs, as have Mennonites for example gone beyond the Bible, especially in interpreting it.

John Welch has a very good article giving a broad historical perspective on what happens with creeds in Christianity over time, in relation to what Joseph Smith said.  Joseph's own comments on creeds include his observation/experience that the Methodists and other denomentation he knew had creeds that a person must believe or be kicked out of the church.  For example, the minister who told Joseph Smith that all revelation had ceased with the death of the apostles, and there would never be anymore was making sola scriptura a creed.  Over time, sure, creeds break down, but as Welch shows, what began as simple testimonies over time become more elabobrate attempts to define and nail down and permanently settle what to think.  Joseph's personal comments on creeds are instructive and directly undercut the interpretation that the content is the problem ("all of them have some truth") and focus the attention where is should be, recognizing that since none of us know everything yet, we are in no position to make permanent creeds.

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As time progressed, the early Christian leaders and councils adopted creed after creed, slowly adding points of deviating doctrine until eventually a considerable number of odd and incorrect doctrines had been intermingled with the originally valid and truthful elements. Beginning around A.D. 200, Christians began to espouse and require of each other adherence to particular creeds, demonstrating and propagating their belief in Jesus Christ. Such creeds seemed needful because many people were teaching a wide range of doctrines about Jesus. Indeed, some of these heretical groups were way off the mark. Creeds functioned in many ways that, taken at face value, must have seemed salutary: They could serve as baptismal interview questions to be asked of an initiate before baptism; they could also serve as catechisms to prepare converts for baptism, as general guidelines for personal belief, as expressions of testimony, as collective declarations of belief, and as the texts for unifying speech acts that bound congregations together. At first, the main purpose of these creeds seems to have been more a matter of self-definition and admission, rather than anathematization or exclusion. Early Christians were mostly interested in encouraging and allowing people to join the church, and accordingly the variety and informality of the earliest creeds manifests little interest in imposing uniformity on all believers or in making exclusive truth claims that one formulation was orthodox and any other was heterodox.

But as these statements developed, the tendencies of creedal formulations went too far in the direction of definitive absolutism, taking away the liberty of the pure and simple spirit that had prevailed in the apostolic era (as seen above) and prescribing and imposing extensive definitions and boundaries on the faithful. Especially when Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century, the permissive and admitting roles of creedal statements became less relevant: Joining the church was taken for granted. Thus, the church changed its emphasis to regulating the internal affairs of the church and formulating rules that could be used to require consistency of belief among all members. As the following discussion demonstrates, this trajectory became increasingly extreme as time went on. What began in the second and third centuries as fairly straightforward and unproblematic declarations in the Old Roman, Apostles’, and Caesarean Creeds became more and more arcane, philosophical, and delimiting as the fourth and fifth centuries played themselves out. This process of accretion, adding phrase on phrase, from creed to creed, is readily visible on the accompanying chart.

https://rsc.byu.edu/prelude-restoration/all-their-creeds-were-abomination

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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2 hours ago, Navidad said:

I don't think it is a novel invention; I think it is a evolving and changing invention. Did you read some of the quotes from the old timers (in the LDS church), either on this thread or the other,  about the apostasy and those involved in it? One of our own forum members commented that they are glad the Saints don't talk that way today.

I don't read every comment in every thread. If someone has already posted something that you think is reflective of this, please feel free to share a link.

 

2 hours ago, Navidad said:

I was once told by a knowledgeable member that I am not apostate because I never joined the LDS church and then left it. I didn't press him on whether or not I am apostate because I continue in the churches that were and I guess still are declared apostate. This is one of those things where I find that Saints teach one thing as doctrine, but really hesitate to use the same language about a specific person, especially someone who they have personally known for year.

Do you not accept that there is a difference between institutional apostasy and individual apostasy?

 

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1 hour ago, Navidad said:

I believe that Joseph Smith recorded the Articles of Faith of the LDS Church in 1842. I just reviewed them again and found no reference to the apostasy therein. Curious.

I don't think anyone would consider the Articles of Faith to be and complete list of all doctrine.

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On 11/10/2022 at 1:09 PM, teddyaware said:

In light of the overwhelming significance of what the Savior testified to Joseph during First Vision, it’s a wonder that the apostasy would be even a slightly controversial topic among the Latter-Day Saints.

I would think that but given that quite of few people are having issues with other things like SSM, it does not surprise me.   It is said that the path to eternal life is narrow.  Some members would like to put that narrow path under construction and make it more broad.  I can see the appeal.  Why drive on a narrow one lane road when one can construct a 6 lane freeway in its place?

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