Insights from Mormon-to-Orthodox Christian converts.
Sunday, October 5, 2014
"Was there a Great Apostasy?" A great review from Soul Device
Some kind of “apostasy narrative” is required to explain why a group that did not exist for nearly 2,000 years can consider itself the true expression of Christianity. Obviously, if the Church founded by Jesus did not go into apostasy, there would be no excuse to create a new group or “restore” what was “lost.” Unlike most Christian sects that attempt to locate themselves (in some form) throughout Christian history, the Mormons accept and explain their non-existence by claiming the Church founded by Jesus Christ disappeared from the Earth shortly after its creation.
I wrote previously of the problem of the Latter-day Saint (LDS or Mormon) story of a “great apostasy” of the early ChurchHERE. Now I would like to expose some of the errors of the primary text used by the LDS in support of such an idea: Mormon Apostle James E. Talmage’s book The Great Apostasy: Considered in the Light of Scriptural and Secular History (hereafter: “TGA”). Written in 1909, the point of Talmage’s work was to present “the evidence of the decline and final extinction of the primitive Church” as evidenced by “scriptural record and in secular history.” The reason this alleged apostasy is so important to Mormons is that it under girds their movement’s very existence. This is admitted on the very first page of TGA:
If the alleged apostasy of the primitive Church was not a reality, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not the divine institution its name proclaims. (TGA, Preface – emphasis added)