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  • Faith and False Prophets

    by Howard Kainz

    Joseph Smith

    A rational person, in view of the innumerable contradictions emerging from religious spokesmen, will conclude that false prophets indisputably exist. And one wonders: if one’s personal encounters are primarily with such false prophets, can faith still be activated, and operate constructively?  Of course, even the worst charlatans can be catalysts to further exploration for “seekers,” but social pressures, cultural norms, and dogmatic incrustations can offer obstacles to such exploration.  And the obstacles are formidable.

    So it is important to be able to recognize true prophets, if they exist, and avoid the false ones.  Do we have guidelines for this?

    A thought-experiment is in order: An extraordinary charismatic individual comes on the scene, claiming to have visions and revelations, with what seem to be lofty messages, and claiming to start a new religion or give a new direction and new life to an established religion.  We hear his/her messages, and, along with others, face the choice of placing faith in this person, or not.  What should be our criterion?  Should we look for miraculous signs?  Or focus on personal morals, integrity, absence of personality disorders?  Or check for consistency of the messages with prior revelations to which we have given credence in the past?

    At the minimum, we might insist on the personal fidelity of the prima-facie divine messenger to the primary natural laws. (I discussed the natural-law relevance in a 2009 article in the Heythrop Review.)   But obviously something more would be required to certify someone as a bona fide prophet sent by God.

    In the New Testament, Jesus offers some criteria to his disciples for avoiding false prophets:

    Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.  By their fruits you will know them.  Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?  Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit (Matthew 7:15-18).

    If we would ask for further clarification about how to discern which prophets fit into the category of “ravenous wolves,” and/or what is the “bad fruit” that we should watch out for, the revered prophets of the Old Testament, dealing with the false prophets of their own milieu, go into considerable detail about who and what to look for:  The false prophets characteristically lie about being sent by God (Isaiah 23:32; Jeremiah 14:14, 28:15); they promote their own visions and predictions of the future (Jeremiah 23:16; Ezekiel 13:2-4); they often plagiarize the ideas and expressions of true prophets, in order to get credence from their hearers (Isaiah 23:30; Jeremiah 23:30-31); they are personally immoral, and condone immorality in their followers (Isaiah 23:17: Jeremiah 23:14); and/or they use religion greedily to increase their own wealth (Ezekiel 22:25).

    Possibly the best modern example of plagiarizing by a reputed prophet is the creation of the Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) in the 19th century.  Smith claimed to receive golden plates at the hands of the angel Moroni, from which he translated the Book of Mormon, with the help of two “seer stones,” later called Urim and Thummin.  The Book of Mormon on publication was replete with passages from the King James version of the Bible used at that time, including the mistranslations and misspellings that have been later discovered and corrected.  These passages were used to develop  a history of Hebrew tribes who, in spite of a complete lack of anthropological evidence, came to America under the leadership of Jesus Christ, after the Christian church founded by Jesus “apostatized” soon after the era of the Apostles.

    Fantastically imaginative tales are another production of false prophets. Elijah Muhammad, the founder of the Nation of Islam, offers us an egregious example of this idiosyncratic creativity.   According to Muhammad, blacks came into existence trillions of years ago, attained tremendous progress, but were obstructed by a mad black scientist, Mr. Yakub, who created the white race, the members of which would reign for six thousand years, until blacks finally regained their rightful place in the year 2000.

    Unbridled sexual desires have been the hallmark of numerous “prophetic” personalities.  Joseph Smith, advocating polygamy and promising eternal salvation to “celestial” wives who were married to him, took approximately 48 wives in addition to his first wife, Emma, who was often unaware of the other liaisons.  David Koresh, prophetic leader of the Branch Davidians, claimed that he was divinely entitled to 60 wives, but was joined to only 20, including some teenagers, before the tragic assault of the FBI on the Waco headquarters of the sect in 1993.  Elijah Muhammad had thirteen children by seven different mistresses, and also exemplified a lavish and greedy lifestyle, traveling around in a private jet, wearing a jeweled fez, and emptying the coffers of the Nation of Islam in prodigal gift-giving to his own family.

    The personal characteristics and teachings of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam—if they had been known by the prophets of Israel—would have set off a series of “flashing red warning-lights.”  According to his 8th-century biographer, Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad participated in 27 battles and 38 raiding parties. Various verses in the Qur’an sanctified the taking of booty and slaves (8:41, 8:69), and decreed that one-fifth of the booty should be given to himself for distribution as he sees fit (8:41).  Allowing his followers to have four wives, he received a divine exception to this rule (33:50), and maintained a harem of 15 wives, including a child-bride, Aisha; and Zaynab, the wife of his adopted son, Zayd, to whom he was attracted (Zayd, in response to Muhammad’s perceived interest, divorced Zaynab, and Muhammad subsequently received special permission from Allah for the new arrangement [33:37]).  Special permission was also granted by Allah for Muhammad’s relationship with an Egyptian slave girl, Mary the Copt, after some of Muhammad’s other wives had protested (66:1-3).  Lying, in order to avoid physical or mental injury, and to preserve the faith, is allowed to Muslims, according to the principle of taqiyya (dissimulation) (2:22, 3:28, 5:89, 16:106); and, according to the precedent of Hudaybiyya (named after a battle with that name), Muslims can break treaties with unbelievers, if and when they are strong enough to prevail against them (2:217).  The messages and patterns of behavior of Muhammad differ so radically from the guidelines given by the prophets of Israel, that the traditional meaning of “prophet” and “prophecy” is completely abrogated.

    But seduction by false prophets is not necessarily a dead-end road.  In psychology and the social sciences, studies are sometimes conducted of “invulnerables”—underprivileged children or adolescents who have been raised in oppressive or abusive environments, and nevertheless not only survive but excel, thus challenging the predictive powers of social scientists who assess probable influences of environments.  It is estimated that “invulnerables” are found in about 10% of such difficult situations.

    If the case of people of faith under the spell, or the jurisdiction, or the social pressures, of a false prophet, is somewhat analogous to such dysfunctional spiritual environments, we may speculate that a percentage even higher than 10%, in spite of all prima-facie obstacles to spiritual development from self-absorbed or perverted “prophets,” can rise to the level of true faith. In pursuit of salvation, they can utilize the elements of spirituality and transcendence existing in every religion, and assiduously follow the dictates of conscience—i.e., respecting life and the rights of others, furthering human and humane interests, and seeking the truth about God and salvation at all costs.  This is a well-worn ladder that has been providentially provided for well-intentioned seekers even under the influence of charlatans.

    Editor’s note: This essay is excerpted from Dr. Kainz’s recent book, The Existence of God and the Faith-Instinct (Associated University Presses, 2011). The image above is of Joseph Smith painted by an unknown artist in 1842.

    The views expressed by the authors and editorial staff are not necessarily the views of
    Sophia Institute, Holy Spirit College, or the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.

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    • Dan

      Good article, and I agree. I wonder how many death threats the author has received so far? After all. he dared to show Muhammad to be the false prophet he was.

    • jaymis

      Great article. Proves the wisdom of the old southern axioms that: “Ya can’t fix stupid” and “Dumb is forever”. What is one suppose to say about professional religious flim-flam, con artists? They grow like weeds.

    • hombre111

      Hmm. I come from Mormon country, with Mormon relatives in every direction. For Mormons, the proof for their faith comes from something called a “testimony,” a warm feeling or strong conviction that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and his teachings were revealed by God. Mormons consider this a personal revelation from God, stronger than any other evidence. But along with this, Mormons provide solid family values and the experience of a loving, caring community. Every worthy male is part of the power structure with a God-given responsibility for the physical, moral, and spiritual welfare of his family. These are the things that attract people to this church. As a priest with almost fifty years in Mormon country, I am well aware of the negative side, but testimony and the experience of a solid loving community is what keeps the Mormons going.

      • Howard Kainz

        I come from a Mormon family also, on my father’s side. You are right about the solid family values — largely based on Mormons’ conception of heaven as an massive continuation of family life. But there are strong cultic aspects. Sometimes, I wonder, if a “seeker” was confronted with Joseph Smith and Muhammad, both of whom said they had revelations from an angel about the religion to replace a corrupted Christianity, how would he or she choose between the two?

        • tom

          Aside from the occasional “jack” Mormon, the Mormons have a lot to teach America’s 21st. century Catholics. They have better family values, help each other with jobs and educational opportunity, and believe that charity begins at home. They keep building their church, while Catholics seem intent on dividing our House of Worship, misspending the $$$ and preferring charity to Baptists over fellow Catholics. They like candy, too, lots of it. Hard truths and hard candy.

      • Rachael

        Mormons naturally have better family values than Catholics as a result of their theology. It is impossible for Catholics to learn from Mormon family values without completely changing Catholic theology. Mormonism has a higher view of marriage and families than Catholicism. Catholics may not like it, but reality is reality.

        BTW, I am a Catholic.

        • hombre111

          I am not sure I would call it a higher view of marriage. First, it is a strongly patriarchal system with the man cast in the role of an emerging god who will be partnered forever with a woman who will never be a goddess, but only an “eternal companion” whose role is to be eternally pregnant, bearing her exalted spouse perhaps billions (as is the case with our “heavenly father”) of spirit children.
          See “momofcase” below.
          But it is difficult for the so-called pro-family Catholic Church to proclaim lofty family values when her leadership is compelled to celibacy. I know, I know. This “frees” the priest. But it also makes the proclamation of family values a little fishy. As one old woman famously said after hearing a sermon glorifying marriage, “I wish I knew as little about the subject as he does.”

          • Howard Kainz

            An interesting question to ask a Mormon is about Mt. 22:25, Mark 12:23, where the Sadducees asked Jesus about marriage in the afterlife, and Jesus responded that there would be no marriage, but those who were saved would be like the angels. But apparently the doctrine of heavenly marriage helps bolster stability in marriage for Mormons in this life.

            • hombre111

              Mormons teach that the Bible has been corrupted by evil priests. They also believe that what their prophet says is scripture, which can trump the words of the New Testament itself.

              • cestusdei

                You believe the same thing. Your argument about celibacy is an example and ignores the evidence. You don’t take what Jesus says about it seriously.

                • hombre111

                  Hail, mouth-smashing tool of a kind and loving God. Jesus had nothing at all to say in favor of mandatory celibacy. He did say that some people were called to celibacy by the Holy Spirit. But the Western Church in its wisdom does not respect the idea that there should be some kind of call, and not some kind of obligation imposed by the powers that be. That was more the way of the pagan world, where men were made eunuchs by castration and then put in charge of either the harem or the royal finances. In both cases, their emasculation guarded the king’s possessions. Historians show that the imposed celibacy forced on diocesan priests in the 1000′s had the same purpose: to protect Church property from men who might try to find a way to hand some portion of said property on to their kids.

                  • msmischief

                    Whenever has the Church not respected the notion that priests should be called to their role? When have they ever drafted priests? Which is necessary for your little fantasy of “mandatory celibacy.”

                  • Bono95

                    Last I looked, the Catholic Church does not castrate its priests, and it makes it plenty clear to discerning young men that the priesthood involves celibacy. Nobody is forced to become a priest and thereby remain celibate.

                    And about these historians you cite, are they faithful Catholics, priests or otherwise? According to a Catholic book I read, celibacy was admired and quite often voluntarily practiced by aspiring Eastern and Roman rite priests even before the 11th century. Yes, the Roman Church used to allow married men to become priests and the Byzantine Church still does, but neither Church allows men to marry after being ordained.

                  • cestusdei

                    In fact he did mention celibacy. Priests are not forced to be ordained. It is voluntary. The Church actually forbade the ordination of eunuchs. Paul was celibate. Ambrose was married, but when ordained he lived in continence for the rest of his life. You are a tool of the Catholic smashing propagandists whose talking points you eagerly lap up.

                    • hombre111

                      Dear spiked clad leather fist of a merciful and loving God. If someone discerned a call to the priesthood, but did not discern a call to celibacy, he would not be ordained. This was the bargain: In love with the priesthood? Then you must be celibate. Over and over again, I have seen men in love with the priesthood who accepted celibacy as the price they would have to pay. But in this era, men scorn priesthood because they also discern a call to marriage.
                      Ambrose went from being a layman to being a bishop in a single bound, with priesthood a momentary stop along the way. He had many married priests under him, and he did not demand that they do what he did. Neither did Augustine. The first bishops to demand celibacy of their priests were in Spain, years later.

                      • Bono95

                        How could a man discern a call to the priesthood without realizing that it would call for celibacy? Priesthood and celibacy are clearly shown going hand-in-hand in all Catholic books on the subject, and that fact is made more obvious by simple observance of the celibate priests on every Sunday and holy day. Men scorn the priesthood in the age because of the great loss and weakening of faith we’ve witnessed since the Protestant Revolt and especially in this past century, and as you’ve no doubt noticed, true marriage isn’t being given much respect or serious thought either.

                      • hombre111

                        The modern seminaries are helping seminarians do this well, thank God. But as for priests ordained earlier? I was aware of the obligation to celibacy, but I did not really try to discern whether I was called by God to do such a thing. My spiritual director finally got around to the subject of hearing a call from God to celibacy a month before I was ordained to the subdiaconate, which was the time you made a promise of celibacy.
                        But is a newly ordained priest, even in today’s world, really celibate? He promised celibacy, but he has to face it and struggle with it and pray with it and trust God for it. Takes a while.

                      • Howard Kainz

                        “pray with it and trust God for it.” You’ve answered your own question, and it’s the best answer — for all of us.

          • Bono95

            Unfortunately, there are far too many Catholics who aren’t serious about or are downright hypocritical about marriage and family life, but the Catholic Church as a whole has always been serious about and embraced true marriage and true family, and all truly faithful Catholics embrace that too.

            Catholic priests, bishops, etc. do not marry because the Church (the Bride of Christ) is their bride/wife (perhaps this is part of the reason why women can’t be priests. If the Church is a bride, women priests would be clerical gay marriage), and a parish priest’s congregation is his spiritual children, a bishop’s children are all the Catholics in his diocese, and the Pope’s children are all the world’s Catholics.

            • hombre111

              The Church as Bride was a justification that appeared after parish priests were forced into celibacy during in the middle of the ten hundreds. Priests had been happily married to human wives for a thousand years. I once did an historical survey on the origin of celibacy. 1) To follow Christ in the most literal way. Traditionally, men and women who do this are monks and nuns. 2) A dualistic neo-platonist suspicion of the body and especially, gasp, anything that had to do with sex. As Augustine said, If married people take pleasure in sex without children in mind they commit a mortal sin. If they have children in mind and take pleasure, they commit a veniel sin.
              3) A suspicion with marriage because the arranged marriages of that day were preoccupied with passing on and preserving property through marriage. 4) Bad scriptural exegisis which equated a Catholic priest with the Levite of the Old Testament. The Levite had to abstain from sex when he was offering sacrifice in the temple, maybe a few times in a lifetime. The Catholic priest was offering Mass every Sunday and, eventually, every day. Ergo, he had to forego sex permanently. 5) Efforts such as the Cluny Reform to straighten out the Church. Some Cluny monks became pope, and they forced monastic celibacy onto diocesan priests. 6) Around one thousand and all over Europe, only the first son was permitted to marry. The object was the preservation of property. The Church, to preserve its property, forbade diocesan priests to marry.

              • Howard Kainz

                You are omitting the other side of the story — St. Paul’s recommendation that preachers remain unmarried so as to be devoted more fully to the Church (1 Cor. 7:7, 9:5). Also the existence of nepotism and accumulation of Church property in families among married priests in the early Church. Also, the recommendation of Christ (Mt. 19:12) about making oneself a eunuch for the kingdom of heaven. Celibacy is a great gift. Those who think that married priests, women priests, etc. will cause an onrush of people to their flocks should consider the example of the Anglicans. The answer is not that simple.

                • Bono95

                  Yeah, and even from a purely practical/pragmatic standpoint, celibacy makes more sense than marriage for priests. Most of a priest’s small income comes from the donations of his parishoners. It’s (hopefully) enough to cover his needs, but it would most likely not be enough to support a wife and children. And that’s for just 1 married priest. There’s almost no way a parish that had 2 or more priests with wives and kids could afford to take care of them, even if every parishoner gave the full 10% or more. If they gave too much more, they would be hard-pressed to take care of their own families.

                  • hombre111

                    There, Bono, you make the point. Priests are cheap labor. It is purely practical, just something the Church demands because Catholic parishioners, unlike Protestand parishioners, famously don’t come up with the bucks. And you wonder why there is a vocation crisis?

                    • Bono95

                      Priestly celibacy has been encouraged since the Church’s beginning (as you point out above with St. Paul), even if it was not always mandatory. According to your post about your study on this subject, celibacy wasn’t mandatory until the 11th century, but that was also the height of Catholicism in Europe, meaning that Catholics then as a whole were more generous than they generally are today. And in that case, I don’t believe modern stinginess (though certainly a problem) is the main reason for required celibacy or dropping numbers of vocations. The crisis stems more from our godless society, whose roots can be traced back through the New Age Movement and Enlightenment all the way back to the Protestant Reformation. To doubt the Catholic Church is to ultimately doubt God himself.

                      And while modern Protestants are more generous tithers than their Catholic counterparts, the lack of generosity also goes back to the Reformation. Prior to the Protestant Revolt, the Catholic Church ran most of the schools, universities, hospitals, orphanages, and homeless shelters, and most of the money that funded these came from lay Catholics. But when Calvin taught that people should not give away their money (One sign of being among the Calvinist “elect” was material prosperity) and Henry VIII went on his rampage destroying and looting Catholic Churches, monasteries, and Church foundations, the poor people suddenly had nowhere to go and nobody to look after them. To make up for this, Elizabeth I and other Protestant rulers had to introduce welfare states to prevent the peasants from revolting or starving. Welfare is problematic because it basically involves taking money from people who work hard and using it to pay other people not to work or improve their lives, which is not true charity.

                      That doesn’t excuse misers of any denomination of course, but 10% tithes from every Catholic alive today still wouldn’t be enough to cover the needs of priest’s families if every Catholic priest alive today was married and had at least 1 child. Young Catholic men are indeed faced with a tough choice when it comes to choosing a vocation. They can either marry a human wife and have biological children, or they can marry the Catholic Church and have spiritual children (or they can become consecrated singles). Both lifestyles are good, holy, and beautiful, but unless a man becomes a priest after his wife dies and his children are all grown up, he can’t choose both. That’s why thorough prayer, consideration, and study are so important for discerning the right vocation.

                  • msmischief

                    One notes that Protestant ministers are far more likely to leave the ministry than Catholic priests, and the reason they cite is that it’s too hard on their families.

                    Celibacy is a voluntary sacrifice made by the priest. Suffering because your father is a priest — now, there’s a mandatory sacrifice.

                    • Bono95

                      Good points, Msmischief. Thanks for sharing them. I did not know that about married Protestant ministers.

                  • http://profiles.google.com/ruthjoec Ruth Curcuru

                    The average Protestant church is far smaller than the average Catholic parish yet they offer their clergy a living wage. My parish has about 500 registered families. The collection is about $7,000/week or about $14/week/family. This is a parish where I’d estimate average family income to be about $60,000/year. If parishioners gave 4% of that average income, it would be $46/week/family or a total collection of over $23,000/week. That extra $16,000/week would pay a lot of salaries.

                • hombre111

                  St. Paul thought Jesus was going to return in his lifetime, so why waste time with marriage when we should be getting ready. And you are right, celibacy is a great gift. A charism from the Holy Spirit. So why make in mandatory? Does this respect our freedom in the Spirit? Does the person have the gift? Seminaries are finally helping their men decide if they have the charism. But before, it “just came with the job.”

                  • msmischief

                    Is there a particular reason why you are lying and lying and lying? We all know that there is no clerical draft, that no one is required to become a priest, and therefore it was mandatory for NO ONE.

      • Gilbert Jacobi

        hombre,
        I live in an all black neighborhood of a major city; it has one of the highest crime rates in this violent city. Yet I see the black-suited Mormon guys on their bikes or on foot, paying calls here. Do you have any idea if they make any converts?

        • hombre111

          Interesting. Mormons believe that their missionary assignments are handed out through divine revelation. Don’t know how successful the missionaries are in such a neighborhood. Those boys must have some stories to tell.

    • cestusdei

      I always consider what did the “prophet” get out of it? Did they get sex, power, or money? If so then they are probably a false prophet. Even Joseph Smith was not martyred in the traditional sense. He shot back and was trying to escape.

      • Bono95

        And apparently his “Seer Stones” weren’t up to snuff either, because my Dad said a kindergartener could have written better Latin than he did.

    • brian162

      I always chuckle when folks talk about the Book of Mormon “plagiarizing” the Bible, when the Book of Mormon itself makes clear that it is quoting passages from the Bible.

      • Howard Kainz

        Some examples in the Book of Mormon would include 1 Nephi 22:15 (compare to Malachi 4:1); Alma 5:52 (compare to Matthew 3:10); and Mosiah 5:15 (compare 1 Corinthians 15:58). Of course, Joseph Smith also produced an “Inspired Version” of the Bible, which was more favorable to Mormon tenets (that may be what you are referring to).

      • cestusdei

        It doesn’t say it is quoting the Bible. It puts the exact same words in a different context. That is plagiarism.

    • momofcase

      As a convert from Mormonism to Catholicism (the only Catholic in the family… all are Mormon or agnostic) I can only say… “stick to the one true faith”. False prophets abound. There is no truth in Mormonism as warm, fuzzy and family oriented as it appears. Truth doesn’t lie in community bonding. The truth is a “somebody” and his name is Jesus Christ…. not Joseph Smith or his made up version of who Jesus is.

      • tom

        For sure, yet, Mormons are infinitely better organized than Catholics who flit around the world throwing $$$ at problems, hiring Buddhist lecturers in our university, and bringing in Baptist b-ball players for a few cheers. The Catholic Church should be for the benefit of Catholics. We can’t afford the silliness of our bishops anymore.

        • hombre111

          Hola, Tom. Hate to discount your answer, but it adds nothing to the discussion. As an old priest, I used to wish I was a Mormon bishop. Mormons believe that all their authority figures (including the father in the family) are able to receive the revalations they need to fulfill their tasks. And so a Mormon bishop simply takes his church list, prays about it, and names people to the 125 tasks that are involved in making a Mormon ward run. Nobody says no, because that would be to deny the power of revelation. Mormons often give 3-12 hours a week to their church.

          And so, the Mormon Church does not depend on volunteers. If somebody does say no to an important “ward calling,” the church will get its revenge by denying the culprit a “temple recommend,” thus denying him the ability to go to the temple and warning him that he will not reach full salvation in the Mormon 3 level heaven.

          In the Catholic Church, in the meanwhile, we beg for volunteers. But only ten to twenty percent of the parish really get involved. What a power-house we would have if every single adult in a parish was willing to play a role. By the way, Tom, when was the last time you volunteered, or gave 10% of your income to your church.

          • Bono95

            This is a minor point I know, but the Mormon concept of levels of heaven is a misinterpretation of the original Scripture passage. In the Jewish tradition, 1st heaven was the sky/atmosphere, 2nd heaven was outer space, and finally, 3rd heaven was the home of God, the angels, and the righteous.

            • hombre111

              Probably you are right. Smith was struggling between the Presbyterian God of his mother, who dooms most to hell, and the unchurched Universalist faith of his father, who believed everybody goes to heaven. He buried three children shortly after they were born. I think his three heaven concept, in which nobody but the “sons of perdition” go to hell, was an effort to soften the harsh faith of Protestants.

          • tedseeber

            You’re getting 10-20%? I’m currently reading the Four Marks of a Dynamic Catholic by Matthew Kelly- his research indicates 7%.

        • Bono95

          There’s no Buddhist lecturers at TMC.

        • msmischief

          Wheat and tares, tom, wheat and tares. Getting too worked up about how they are growing together until harvest is folly.

    • Bono95

      If blacks existed for trillions of years (BTW, most scientists estimate the universe to be only about 14 billion years old), and whites were created only 6000 years ago by a mad scientist, as Mr. Muhammad claimed, where did all other races come from?

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    • Alecto

      I have much respect for Mormons, having lived with them during years at university. I had to attend classes (basically conversion attempts) taught by “missionaries”. Thanks to excellent catechism I didn’t have any trouble refuting their beliefs and the experience actually strengthened my own faith and practice. I thank them for that.

      The Mormons I knew were extremely disciplined, and faithful to their credo, they live exemplary lives and encourage people to support families and communities by being prepared. They do not engage in sinful activities like excessive drinking, drugs, hook-ups. I attended some Sunday services which I found overwrought with emotion: people stood up in front of the congregation and tearfully spoke about the “prophet” and how the LDS church saved them. Personally, I am not one for emotional rituals and prefer silence, and the kind of profound worship at certain masses, but even I can see the attraction for lost people looking for a home, a family, a community of believers. Catholicism does not offer that and hierarchy could learn from the organizational and personal responsibility aspects of Mormonism. There is much good in that church.

      I recall seeing something about DNA studies of the Cherokee people. It seems they have different DNA from every other U.S. native tribe. The theory is that they actually are descendants of Jews who sailed here during ancient times. Apparently, most of the Cherokee have only tangential genetic connections to their ancestors, therefore it’s difficult to prove. However, it’s an interesting story. After all, if the Maori sailed thousands of miles to what is now New Zealand, why couldn’t the Jews have come to America?

      • cestusdei

        There is no evidence for Jews in the America’s before Columbus. None.

        • hombre111

          Correct, iron fist of a tender loving God Jesus called Abba. DNA studies of thousands of Indian people from all over North and South America show no genetic connection to Mediterranean people. This has caused some Mormons to leave the church. Church leaders now change the story about their Jewish origins to accomodate this new research.

      • hombre111

        Shop around for a parish where you can find that sense of home and family. But parishes are so huge because of the priest shortage. Some parishes solve this by forming smaller communities within the larger parish, but we are not very skilled at this. Mormons keep the family aspect by making sure their wards are small. If they grow past a certain point, they are forcefully split, with members having no choice about what ward they will belong to. Unlike finding a priest to lead a parish, Mormons can pick any worthy male to serve as their bishop. He will not have a deep education. Mormons pride themselves on the non-professional nature of their clergy.

    • http://twitter.com/anthonymarks5 anthony marks

      If a Prophet is known by his fruit, Joseph Smith planted a decent seed. I don’t live in Mormon country, but the ones I’ve met have all been good, honest people with a deep respect for family and a strong faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. I consider them brothers in Christ.

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    • DavidWoggins

      That False Prophet reveals himself on Halloween:

      http://www.falseprophet-hq.com/

      His name is Frank. Could be Pope Francis?

      Also some group calling themselves the Cult of Saturn has been hijacking the anonymous movement, blatant satanist organisation:

      http://boards.420chan.org/tinfoil/thumb/1380962826121s.jpg

      This stuff has been going on for a while:

      http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread813112/pg1