You Mormons are Ignoramuses

Many years ago I had an interesting conversation with a man who was a member of the Roman Catholic church. He was a great scholar; he must have had a dozen languages at his tongue’s end, and seemed to know all about history, science, law, philosophy, and all the rest of it. We were frank and friendly with each other, and one day he said to me:

 “You ‘Mormons’ are all ignoramuses. You don’t even know the strength of your own position. It is so strong that there is only one other position tenable in the whole Christian world, and that is the position of the Roman Catholic church. The issue is between ‘Mormonism’ and Catholicism. If you are right, we are wrong. If we are right, you are wrong, and that’s all there is to it. These Protestant sects haven’t a leg to stand on; for if we are right, we cut them off long ago, as apostates; and if we are wrong, they are wrong with us, for they were a part of us and came out of us. If we have the apostolic succession from St. Peter, as we claim, there was no need of Joseph Smith and ‘Mormonism;’ but if we have not that apostolic succession, then such a man as Joseph Smith was necessary, and ‘Mormonism’s position is the only consistent one. It is either the perpetuation of the Gospel from ancient times or the restoration of the Gospel in latter days.”

 “Doctor,” said I, “that is a very clear and concise statement, and I agree with it in almost every particular. But don’t deceive yourself with the notion that we ‘Mormons’ don’t know the strength of our own position. We know it better than you do. We know it better than any other people can know it. We haven’t all been to been college, we can’t all speak the dead languages, and we may be ignoramuses as you say; but we know we are right, and we know you are wrong.” I was just as frank with him as he had been with me (Elder Orson F. Whitney, Conference Report, April 1928, 60.).

The idea of priesthood authority is vital to the concept of the apostasy and the restoration. If priesthood authority is necessary to perform saving ordinances as LDS claim, then there are only a few possible places that such authority could be found.

I recognize that today Catholicism denies the necessity of priesthood for salvatioon. I recognize that Protestantism largely has always denied such, but the necessity for priesthood to perform saving ordinances is absolutely clear in the scriptures, not to mention that it is logical and reasonable. I think the following explanation is very appealing and rational:

Is it to be wondered at, that from the sixteenth century onward, churches of man’s contriving have multiplied with phenomenal rapidity? Churches and churchly organizations professing Christianity as their creed have come to be numbered by hundreds. On every side is heard in this day, “Lo, here is Christ” or “Lo, there.” There are sects named from the circumstances of their origin-as the Church of England; others after their famous founders or promoters-as Lutheran, Calvinist, Wesleyan; some are known by peculiarities of doctrine or plan of administration-as Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Congregationalist; but down to the third decade of the nineteenth century there was no church on earth affirming name or title as the Church of Jesus Christ. The only organization called a church existing at that time and venturing to assert claim to authority by succession was the Catholic church, which for centuries had been apostate and wholly bereft of divine authority or recognition. If the “mother church” be without a valid priesthood, and devoid of spiritual power, how can her offspring derive from her the right to officiate in the things of God? Who would dare to affirm that man can originate a priesthood which God is bound to honor and acknowledge? Granted that men may and do create among themselves societies, associations, sects, and even “churches” if they choose so to designate their organizations; granted that they may prescribe rules, formulate laws, and devise plans of operation, discipline, and government, and that all such laws, rules, and schemes of administration are binding upon those who assume membership-granted all these rights and powers-whence can such human institutions derive the authority of the Holy Priesthood, without which there can be no Church of Christ (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, 698.)?

If you accept this as even a possibility, it should give you reason to consider carefully the idea of the restoration of the gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith.



6 thoughts on “You Mormons are Ignoramuses

  1. Oddly enough, such clear reasoning is often entirely insufficient to even give people pause for thought, let alone convince them that they might be mistaken in their understanding.

    Thanks for the article. It was an excellent read.

  2. The scholar was wise. Everything rests on the Great Apostasy for which LDS followers have not given sufficient evidence or backing to assert properly. Thus the Catholic position still remains the only tenable one.

    Catholic Bishops can trace their bishopric back all the way to the Apostles, Peter, and Christ. Historians have a record of all 265 Popes starting with Peter. Catholics have proof of their claims while LDS does not.

    Of course, this argument ignores all the other problematic theology inherent in the LDS theology. But before any of that needs to be addressed seriously, the Great Apostasy must be proven sufficiently. It has not, and so the other issues do not warrant serious merit.

  3. Chad,

    I think there is sufficient evidence for the great apostasy. There is too much information for me to digest here on the topic, but let me point you to a few good sources for your consideration.

    Nibley, Hugh. The Passing of the Primitive Church: Forty Variations on an Unpopular Theme.

    Reynolds, Noel. Ed. Early Christians in Disarray. (2005).

    Bickmore, Barry R. Restoring the Ancient Church: Joseph Smith and Early Christianity

    Respectfully, Andrew

  4. I mean this Chad person no harm.

    And, in stating a view ON his statement above I must add that I’m not looking for an argument. Nevertheless, it’s sometimes good to call a spade a spade even if it wasn’t intended… so here goes:

    I read YOUR response, Andrew, and I thought,

    “Why did Chad find it necessary to be so blunt and rude. If he is right then rather than perpetuate the rudeness of the words from the Catholic Scholar and the rudeness of Orson F. Whitney, why not set a new tone… why NOT be more Christlike rather than ‘I’m right and you’re wrong… (tongue out) neener-nanner’? It’s SO freaking childish, and, contrary to previously held views, does NOT invite the Spirit of God into or discussion. Hence, is it NOT in our best interest to figure out how to live as part of the body of Christ no matter what our views? Hence, is it NOT in the best interest of those who think they are RIGHT to be the ‘greatest servants’ rather than the most arrogant? Yes. It is. So, I found it odd that ‘Chad’ was rude in his assertions–And, arrogantly ignorant–when he had the opportunity to take the upper hand demonstrating that HE was the REAL Christian. So, IF he is right might it not prove to his advantage to be just as kind and fair minded as you, Andrew?”

    It’s this kind of attitude in our “other brothers and sisters” and even in US sometimes that makes me stare in amazement.

    To all:

    “If you’re really right then show it. Be the better people. Be the better Christians. BE don’t just say.”

    May we so be.

  5. this reasoning is rediculous. 1. it assumes there is a supreme being 2. assumes that being is interested in our affairs. 3. assumes christianity is not at evolved legend. 4. assumes that their is a designated priesthood lineage 5. assumes catholicism has clear priesthood lineage from Jesus 6. assumes that there are no other claims to a restoration. 7. assumes that if mormonism was restored, that it hasnt fallen into apostasy. plus, I am not going to take it at face value that this catholic priests qoute is legit.

  6. plus, how could the catholic scholar be quoted word for word verbatum if the conversation was “years ago” as talmadge claims. made up word for word qoutes from second or third hand sources happens all the time, especially in mormon history.

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