Monthly Archives: July 2014

Three Mormons and I

Part 17 – Part the Last

If the claims presented by these three Mormons are indeed real claims of Mormonism, then reason demonstrates that Mormonism is a false religion.

For no true prophet can under the prophetic charism speak what is demonstrably false or absurd or impious.

It is impious to fail to show honor where honor is due. Now, the god of god the father is due honor. But these men presented a view of the world according to which they are “not interested” about such gods but only on the one on whom they presently depend. This is a utilitarian and insufficiently pious attitude for a true religion.

It is absurd to suggest that God the Father becomes omnipresent through the ministration of another agent. It is absurd to suggest that he depends on another agent. But in order to be omnipresent, these Mormons said, God the father depends on the Holy Spirit.

It is in the end atheism to deny that there is one ultimate God that depends and depended on no one and nothing, that is himself the Source of All Good and lacks nothing of the range of perfection. And, if Mormonism is as these men says it is, it is itself Atheism. Granted, it is a “religious” atheism in a very extended sense, given that it calls for a way of life that is not simply dedicated to pleasure and money. However, the question remains what is the nature of this “experience” that is so dearly prized. If and insofar as it occasions one to abandon gluttony and pleasure for a life of the mind, then it is a step in the right direction. I recall the lyrics of Pink Floyd waking me up to the meaninglessness of a life of pleasure and greed. I recall that to have been a step in the right direction. But only because it led to the step to the one true God. In fact, for me to return to that captivating music would be to slide to eternal ruin.

Our conversation was so earnest and respectful that we were all moved by it. I was, and I believe they were. We said so, and I have every reason to believe each of us.

Before we parted, they asked me if they could pray over me. I kindly refused, judging that it would be a scandal for them and a dishonor to the One True God if I accepted the invitation of those who are yet searching for the True God, presently lost in the shadows of mythology and darkness, of the lack of a true moral compass, to pray over me. Since I did not want to give any credence to their false superstition and since I did not want to do the True God any dishonor, I told them that I would pray for them after we departed and would know that they would pray for me.

That is what I did, and I still bear them in my heart. If I am blessed enough by God to have found the One True God and his One True Religion, which He established and which he therefore sanctions alone out of all the world’s religions, I know that this is not my doing but his calling. And I know from the documents of Vatican II, but this truth is already embedded in the Tradition, that this One True God calls all human beings in the entire world to abandon their false religions and to believe in him and follow him in the one true religion, that which is practiced alone in the Holy Roman Apostolic and Catholic Church (Lumen Gentium, chapter 2).

Marriage

Tomorrow is the last post on Mormonism. But first a brief note.

After I return from vacation, I will commence a series of posts on the Sacrament of Marriage. This sacrament is a touchstone of so many truths so sadly lacking in the culture and in the minds of many Catholics these days. We will study from the greatest document on marriage of the Church’s history, Pius XI’s Casti connubii.

Three Mormons and I

Part 16

Now, in a series of per se ordered causes, every cause lower in the chain depends for its causal efficacy on what is higher. So much is this the case that if the higher cause does not cause, the lower cause does cause. To describe this fact, we can call each of the causes that itself depends an “instrumental” cause.

We have drawn our definitions. Now, here is the argument. If there is no non-instrumental cause, then no instrument can act. That is, there must be a non-instrumental cause. There must be a cause that is not itself dependent on a higher cause. If there is no non-instrumental cause, then it would be impossible for any instrumental cause to have its instrumental agency. Just as if my arm were not moving, neither could my hand be moving. If the shaft were not moving, neither could the plunger be moving.

(Even if you allow the per se ordered series to be infinite, there has to be one cause outside that infinite series that is itself not moved, not caused, not instrumental. An instrument works only in virtue of an agent. The whole series of instruments is as “one instrument” in relation to the ultimate agent. No agent, no instrument!)

So, if every single cause were simply an instrumental cause, then there would be no non-instrumental cause. And thus there would be no instrumental agency.

But it is obvious, when we look around, that there is instrumental agency. For the sun moves the flowers to grow, and the wind draws the boat forward, and I am communicating to you.

Therefore, we must come to a first cause that is a non-instrumental cause. And this, all (or at least many) call God.

Part 15 and this part amount to a refutation of the claim of these Mormons, revealed by some “prophet” in the 20th century, that God the Father himself was a man like you or I who evolved into his deity. Thus, reason itself demonstrates the falsity of their claim.

Three Mormons and I

Part 15

Another question is whether God the Father presently depends on the one whom he once called God the Father. If not, then is he absolutely autonomous? If so, then he must be Existence Itself. But we have already shown one cannot become existence itself.

So, he must in fact presently depend on the one whom he called God. And that one on the one he called God. And that one on the one he called God. Etc., unto infinity. And in this chain we never get the True God. Now, this picture contradicts reason.

For, when you have a vertical chain of presently-dependent causes, nothing lower in the chain can act unless enabled to act by that upon which it is dependent. Now, a vertical chain of presently-dependent causes is not a temporally sequenced set but a simultaneous series of causes. Here is a picture example: The water is drawn by the vacuum; The plunger draws a vacuum in the pipe (We are speaking of a well of water); the shaft draws the plunger; the lever draws the shaft; the hand draws the lever; the arm draws the hand; the brain draws the arm; the mind draws the brain; etc. This is a series of vertically or simultaneously dependent causes.

Classical philosophy calls this a series of per se ordered causes. Observe that this chain of causes has absolutely no temporal dispersal. It obtains at the same instant. It has nothing to do with father begetting son, with genealogy, etc. This is not a chain in the backward direction.

Three Mormons and I

Part 14

Another question is whether God the Father presently gives religious homage to the one on whom he depended during his pilgrimage? If not, the is impious. If so, then he is a dependent god. And would he not want us to join him in extolling the higher God? If not, he is irreligious. If so, why are you three Mormons telling me not to worry about that higher God?

 

Three Mormons and I

Part 13

Next, they said that the Holy Spirit would soon get a body.

This I found remarkable.

So you mean that the Holy Spirit will then also be restricted and confined to a body? They said, “Yes, … but it will be a perfect body.”

Well, once again, “perfect body” is a relative expression: Given that you have a body, it may be more or less perfect. But it is impossible that any bodily thing be simply “perfect”.

Further, what of omnipresence!  If every bodily thing is in but one place, Whoever bears a body cannot, qua such, be in all places.

Thus, although the Spirit is omnipresent now, he shall soon cease to be omnipresent? Then, in being promoted to bodiliness, he will be demoted in omnipotence? They did not have a response to this.

Further, how shall God the Father maintain his omnipresence if his one aid in this feat is soon to be constricted to a body? They shall both need a helper. Who shall rise to help our helpless gods? They have arms and cannot be everywhere; they have eyes but cannot see all things — for how shall the eye see around the great planet? They have noses but smell only faintly that which is very far away. They have hands but cannot touch your heart. Whom shall we send from our exalted earth to prop up these weak gods?

Three Mormons and I

Part 12

One remarkable belief was that they held that God the Father had a body. This is, of course, another example of the impossibility that the one whom they call God the Father is True God. Indeed, if God has a body, then he cannot be in all places. For every body is in a place. If my body is not his, there are two places. Therefore, he cannot be in all places.

And since there are many bodies – yours and mine and Pluto’s and that of Mars, etc. – God the Father must be distant from many places. He must not be omnipresent.

But the True God is omnipresent.

So I asked them about these things.

First, about the body. Every body has a limit; thus, whatever is bodily is necessarily limited. They countered, “His body is perfect.” To which I responded, “What do you mean? If I have perfect health that is wonderful for me, who am only a man. But ‘having a body’ necessarily means I am im-perfect in the sense of lacking many pure perfections. I must have parts and thus am not simple and self-identical. I am in time and change. Etc.” They had no response but repeated the bit about the Father’s body being “perfect”.

Second, I asked about God’s omnipresence. The Father cannot be in all places, because his perfect body constricts him to some place. They said that God the Father is present in all places through his Holy Spirit. Since the Spirit is spirit, he is not restricted by a body. Thus, he can be in all places.

So, I asked whether God the Father depends on his Holy Spirit in order to be in all places. They said, “Yes.”

So, I said, the ultimate person of the Godhead (in this universe) is in fact dependent? He is almighty only through the help of another? They said, “Yes.”

Well, if he is dependent, I said, he cannot really be God. He needs his vice-regent in order to effect some things which he could not otherwise effect: Namely, being in all places. Therefore, neither can he truly be a creator ex nihilo, as they had proposed.

They had no response.

Three Mormons and I

Part 11

I gathered from this man’s conversion experience and from their talk about experience and the book of Mormon that the “religious” basis of their being Mormon is this inner experience. Of course, there are other sociological causes of their being Mormon – their tight family and religious and societal connections. But a large part of the draw on the “individual” as a religious agent is this inner experience. I asked whether there were any external signs. They never really came round on this question. Except for two things. First, they pointed to the very translation of the golden tablets. This translation was, they said, a miracle. Second, they pointed to the number of Temples they had built and the number of Mormons worldwide. I did acknowledge that the second item was phenomenal. The first, however, I think begs the question. And the second presupposes the very success it points out. I wanted a miracle from Joseph Smith, and they only gave me his translation.

Now, there were some other remarkable beliefs they had, on which I will spend the last few posts.

 

Three Mormons and I

Part 10

This interest in the here and now is connected to another point, their grasp of the springs of religion. From whence springs religion?

For these Mormons, religion springs from experience. Rather, from an emotional moment. From a very moving emotional moment. They each spoke of the emotional moment of the rites of the Temple.

Also, they asked me to read, and I did, from their Book of Mormon. The passage said something like (to paraphrase), “If you are moved, you know this book to be true.” Then one of them related his own conversion. From being very worldly, he at one point hit rock bottom and asked God if this world was all there was. Since his parents were Mormon, he decided to read from the Book of Mormon. He was deeply moved and began to believe that this world – honor, pleasure, money – was not all that there was. In relating this experience, he began to well up with tears as though he was having that emotional experience, or trying to have it, again.

I do think that he did have some moving experience earlier in his life. I do consider that he did convert to a different way of living. From a brutal, bestial way of living to a somewhat higher, somewhat more rational way of living. From the flesh of the body to the flesh of the emotions.

So, I believe that this was a step in the right way for him. However, I believe he is still laboring under ignorance and has not found that happiness for which his heart longs. Of course, I am a wicked theologian and no saint. Therefore, I could not be of as much assistance as he needs. But I showed sincere respect for him and his experience as well as for the other two. And they for me. We were friendly and courteous the entire conversation. They were sincerely engaged in the conversation. So I shall continue to relate it.

The conversation went on long enough that my wife and then my daughter had to bring us some refreshments of water and peaches.

Modern Delirium in Christianity: Marx’s Definition of Religion Being Made Actual

Christians in the West today are totally delirious. Practically dead of mind. Sleepy. Woozy. Drunk. Even insane.

This delirium has reached epidemic proportions among Catholics. Totally out of touch with revelation, with Scripture and the genuine Tradition. So much so that the fear of hell, the notion of offense against God, the dogmatic fact of original sin, are totally eviscerated from the practical orientation of just about everyone.

What can one do in this situation? Not much. But one can go ahead and repeat the simple words of the Children of Fatima about their terrifying vision of hell.

From the FATIMA APPARITIONS. Over 70,000 persons witnessed the miracle that was to demonstrate the legitimacy of the claims of these children. Their description of a terrifying vision below. But who is not so stupefied any longer that he can hear it?

Then Our Lady opened Her hands, as during the previous apparitions, and the light that was God streamed forth. In this light they were given, on this occasion, a vision of Hell so horrible and gruesome that the children shrieked aloud with fear. After showing them Hell Our Lady said to the children: “You have seen Hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end; if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will beak out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. “To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.” Our Lady of Fatima, 1917

Hell is real. Perhaps at night, when the lights dim and the shadows grow, perhaps then one begins to taste one’s powerlessness. “I am not Lord of Truth” begins to dawn on one. But if not the Lord of Truth then a mere witness to little truths that come and go: I have a house, I have some health, I have some friends, I have a date tomorrow. Plan away. Because it is in my iPhone, it shall not necessarily be.

None of us can make things to be or not to be. “Being Is; that’s all we have” – to quote a dearly loved priest in my area. One can rest with that statement. But “take your hands off my body” or “no we don’t need to be baptized” or “no one’s going to hell” or “marriage is what I want it to be”  – WHO CAN REST WITH THESE STATEMENTS? ONLY THE DELUDED.

For tonight, the sun shall set. Did you make it set? Your heart shall stop some day. When? You know not. Stand behind something you can stand behind. Not false statements that turn religion into an opiate. Indeed, today’s Christianity is run by Marxists who are making religion to be an opiate. They have succeeded.

But I am convinced that Jesus Christ died for sinners, of whom I am foremost. I can rest with that statement. God save us each from the fires of hell and from that slowly boiling pot of stupefied US citizenship, with its investment-think, pleasure-seeking life, don’t-raise-the-topic-of-meaning, that is nothing but mockery to God, wicked tyranny abroad, domestic perversion, the arming of wicked insurgents here and there, the setting of nations at odds with one another, all premised on many a lie.