How Not To Share Your Faith With a Mormon | Mark Brumley | October 11, 2005
I'm convinced that Catholics and Mormons usually talk past one another when they get into religious discussions. Often the arguments they use aren't on point. Heres a fictitious example of how such discussions can go:
Catholic Guy: So I don't belong to the true Church, you do, right?
Latter-Day Saints Guy: That's right.
Catholic: And what evidence do you have for this?
LDS: Well, there is the testimony of Joseph Smith and I testify as well that--
Catholic: No, I mean evidence. Show me, historically speaking, where Christianity went off the tracks. Show me where there is serious evidence of all that the LDS Church claims about ancient Christianity and about North America.
LDS: Well, there were the Gnostics who believed
Catholic: I'm not talking about Gnostics. We know what they were and they weren't Mormons.
LDS: Have you ever read the Book of Mormon?
Catholic: No. Have you ever read the Summa Theologiae?
LDS: The what?
Catholic: The Summa Theologiae. By St. Thomas Aquinas. I just happen to have a pocket edition of the whole thing right here. Here's volume 1. Volume 2. Volume3. Volume 4. Volume 5. Volume 6. Volume 7. [A bit later.] And this is Volume 27.
LDS: As I say, I have never read it. But the Book of Mormon is a lot shorter.
Catholic: I don't know that the smallness of a book inversely correlates to the largeness of its truth.
LDS: Say what?
Catholic: Just because your book is shorter doesn't mean you're right.
LDS: Good point. But we have a lot of other Scriptures you don't have.
Catholic: And we have seven Old Testament books that you don't have, so don't start pulling this, "Our holy books have more pages than your holy books" argument. It's quality that counts here, not quantity.
LDS: True. But having lots of books is still important. Have you ever read Orson Scott Card? Look at all the books he's written. Only the true Church could produce such a great science fiction writer. He's a Mormon. Therefore, the LDS Church is the restored Church of Jesus Christ. Q.E.D.
Catholic: I admit that Orson Scott Card is cool. Did you read his column praising John Paul II?
LDS: He praised him but he didn't say the Catholic Church was right.
Catholic: Fine, but have you ever read G.K. Chesterton? Only the true Church could produce a mystery writer like that. And Chesterton was a Catholic.
LDS: Yes, but Chesterton wrote most of his great books before becoming a Catholic.
Catholic: So? God knew that he was going to become a Catholic and so enabled him to write those great Father Brown mysteries even before becoming a Catholic. You'd better try another argument because that one just got blown out of the water, my friend.
LDS: Well, my church building is cooler than your church building. We've got this spike tower that pierces the heavens. And we've got the angel Moroni blowing his horn in front of the church. Your church building looks like a converted gymnasium.
Catholic: It's only the temporary church.
LDS: It's been the temporary church for 25 years!
Catholic: What's a quarter of a century to the Catholic Church? We think in terms of millennia. What about St. Peter's Basilica? Chartres? Ever see them?
LDS: Impressive, most impressive.
Catholic: You sound like Darth Vader.
LDS: Count Ibli.
LDS: Uh, nobody.
Catholic: Did you say Count Ibli?
LDS: Uh ...
Catholic: From the old TV show "Battlestar Galactica"?
LDS: Uh ...
Catholic: And you have the audacity to claim to belong to the true Church when your religion inspired such a cheesy thing as "Battlestar Galactica," that Star-Wars-wannabe-Mormons-in-Space show!
LDS: Uh ...
Catholic: Yeah, well, I think I have refuted Mormonism once-and-for-all with that argument.
LDS: Okay, but what about the new "Battlestar Galactica"?
Catholic: The what?
LDS: The new, updated show. The re-envisioned show. You know, more violence, exploitive sex. Better scripts. Storylines that require an I.Q. over thirty.
Catholic: This is a Mormon show?
LDS: Not exactly. I'd call it "Mormon-inspired". The good guys believe in many gods and the bad guys in one God and no others.
Catholic: Haven't seen it. We home school and don't watch anything on TV but videos and DVDs of old TV shows and old movies. Did you know that "Kung Fu" has just come out on DVD? You should like that. It's pagan, just like the LDS.
LDS: That's a lie. The LDS isn't pagan.
Catholic: You believe in many gods. That's polytheism. Pagan. Pagan. Pagan.
LDS: You mean like your Catholic worship of saints? Actually, Mormons are henotheists, not polytheists. Many gods, yes. But a main God for us, heavenly Father. But I notice you have subtly changed the subject from TV shows to theistic stances. Was that, perhaps, because the Catholic Church has yet to inspire a truly great sci-fi TV show?
Catholic: Well, I ...
LDS: And maybe you should fully investigate a religion and the TV shows and movies it gives rise to before you diss it. I mean, you don't see me making fun of the "Father Dowling Mysteries" or "Going My Way", do you? I admit that Catholicism is better at mystery shows and light comedy.
Catholic: At least we agree about something.
LDS: Look, this is really getting to be a heated discussion. Perhaps we should give it a rest for now and come back to it when we're both a little calmer.
Catholic: Good idea. Then I can tell you my idea for settling this Catholic/Mormon issue. I think we'll both be better disposed to consider it.
LDS: At least give me some idea so I can start to think about it.
Catholic: Okay. Here's the deal. We have this wrestling match between the Mormon President and the Catholic Pope. Winner takes all. Seven rounds, in the Roman Colliseum...
LDS: Why in the Colliseum? That's in Rome. Why should the Pope have the hometown advantage?
Catholic: And where would you have it, Salt Lake City?
LDS: Why shouldn't it take place on the continent where God restore his Church? I mean
[Knock at the door.]
Catholic: Who's that? The Legion of Mary?
LDS: Probably those pesky Baptists from down the road. They're always going door-to-door trying to peddle their religious wares.
Other IgnatiusInsight.com articles by Mark Brumley:
Kinsey and What's Normal
The Eucharist: Source and Summit of Christian Spirituality
The Blessings & Curses of the Beatitudes
Can Catholics Be "Real Americans"?
Some Political Issues Should Be More Important Than Others for Catholics
Why Catholicism Makes Protestantism Tick
Mark Brumley is President of Ignatius Press.
An former staff apologist with Catholic Answers, Mark is the author of How Not To Share Your Faith (Catholic Answers) and contributor to The Five Issues That Matter Most. He is a regular contributor to the InsightScoop web log.
He has written articles for numerous Catholic periodicals and has appeared on FOX NEWS and other television and radio programs.
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