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Catholic Doctrine

Catholic doctrine on revelation is clearly summarized as the following: “God has revealed himself fully by sending his own Son, in whom he has established his covenant for ever. The Son is his Father's definitive Word; so there will be no further Revelation after him” (Catechism 73)

Catholic doctrine thus asserts that God in sending his son Jesus Christ to the earth, along with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has revealed all that he intends to reveal to the human race. Man can come to know God through Jesus Christ by study and meditation upon the works and words of God the Father as found in nature and the scriptures.

Prior to the coming of Christ, God manifested himself to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He communicated directly with them and made covenants with them. He later manifested himself and made covenants with Noah, Moses, and Abraham in what certainly can be called revelations. But since the coming of Christ such communication has not been necessary. This does not mean there have not been “private” revelations that have been recognized by the Catholic Church as serving to help Catholics live the revelations of Jesus Christ more completely, but these do not add to or take away from anything Christ revealed more than 2000 years ago. See Catechism 50, 67-69, 70 to 73 and glossary.

Latter-day Saint Doctrine

Latter-day Saints believe that the Prophet Joseph Smith, by command from God the Father and his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, restored the Church of Jesus Christ upon the earth in the year of our Lord, 1830. The direction given to Joseph Smith was not to establish a new church, a reformed church, or a breakaway church. It was his direction to restore the church that Christ had established on the earth some 2000 years earlier, a church which had been lost to apostasy as explained in chapter 2.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was established by modern revelation—not revelation improving upon or completing or surpassing or correcting that of Christ, but revelation restoring to men the revelation of which Christ was the fulfillment some 2000 years earlier.

The ninth article of faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints clearly states the Church’s position on revelation: “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God” (The Articles of Faith 9, History of the Church, Vol. 4, 535-541).

In the spirit of Hebrews 1:1-2, the Church of Jesus Christ is to be directed by God, with revelation being the “rock” upon which the Church is to be built (Matthew 16:16-18). Such was the case when Jesus instructed and directed leaders in establishing his Church, while receiving direction from God the Father. Though Christ left his earthly existence, he remains with us always unto the end of the world according to the promise given before his ascension (Matthew 28:20). He is with us through the Holy Ghost (Luke 12:23 and John 14:26).

Christ spoke directly to Saul in a vision (Acts 9:3-6) and to Peter in like manner (Acts 10). These were revelations after the ascension of Christ. Christ gave many revelations to John in what came to be the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. These were given after the ascension of Christ. Prophets and others can have the gift of prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:39), in each case given in its proper order and in agreement with the scriptures.

Bruce R. McConkie, a Latter-day Saint apostle, defined revelation in two parts: personal revelation and revelation for the Church. Personal revelation is given to individuals for their own personal guidance; revelation for the Church is given to Church-appointed leaders for the entire Church body.
See Gospel Principles, 101-104 and 143; and Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56, 1:47–49.

See chapter 5 in Catholic Roots, Mormon Harvest for a more comprehensive explanation and commentary on Revelation


Catholic Doctrine

The Catholic Church accepts as scripture the Bible, including the Old Testament (46 books) and the New Testament (27 books), with an emphasis on the Christ-centered four gospels. There are seven books in the Old Testament that are unique to the Bible used by the Catholic Church: 1 and 2 Maccabees, Ecclesiasticus (also known as Sirach), Wisdom, Baruch, Tobit, and Judith. There are also slight additions made to the books of Daniel and Esther. These seven books and additions to Daniel and Esther are sometimes referred to as the Apocrypha.

The Old and New Testament are in full unity with God’s plan and revelation, are built upon one another as the inspired true Word of God, and should be thought of as one book of Christ. Although the Bible and its saving truth was written by the hand of man, God is still seen as the scriptural author, as the writing was inspired by God and teaches without error.

The Catholic Church teaches that interpretation of scripture must take into account what God intended to be revealed through the author, with an understanding that the Holy Spirit may also provide additional insights to the reader. Church members are urged to read the scriptures regularly.
See Catechism 134-141.

Latter-day Saint Doctrine

The eighth article of faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints states: “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God”

This article helps lay the Latter-day Saint doctrinal foundation for scriptural interpretation. The standard scriptural works of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints include the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. The Church also accepts inspired words of its living prophets to be scripture.

From earliest times, the Lord has commanded his prophets to keep records of events that are both historical and spiritual. Often these records have become scripture. Whenever the servants of the Lord “...speak or write under the influence of the Holy Ghost, their words become scripture” (Gospel Principles, 52).

The Bible covers the period from the creation through shortly after the ascension of Jesus Christ. The 39 books of the Old Testament foretell of the coming of the Savior, while the 27 books of the New Testament provide a record of the life of the Savior, with an emphasis on his public ministry. Geographically, the Bible records the lives of people living in the Middle East. The Bible was authored by several inspired individuals and has been translated from its original Greek and Hebrew text by numerous scholars and organizations into many different versions and languages.

The Book of Mormon compliments the Bible in providing a record of people living in the Americas between approximately 2,200 B.C. and A.D. 400. As the subtitle of the Book of Mormon says, it is “Another Testament of Jesus Christ,” providing in particular a record of the visit of Jesus Christ to the inhabitants of the Americas shortly after his Resurrection. The Book of Mormon was authored by several inspired individuals, abridged onto gold plates, and translated into English from its original reformed Egyptian text by the prophet Joseph Smith. It was later translated from English into many different languages.

The Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) is a collection of revelations given to modern day prophets. It was compiled from 1823 to 1978. The purpose of the Doctrine and Covenants is to prepare the inhabitants of the earth for the second coming of Jesus Christ by providing direction and guidance. Among other things the Doctrine and Covenants gives written details for the organization and operation of the Church and the offices of the priesthood and their ecclesiastical and spiritual functions.

The Pearl of Great Price contains three different compilations: the Book of Moses, the Book of Abraham, and a collection of inspired writings by Joseph Smith. The Book of Moses is a work revealed to Joseph Smith pertaining to visions and writings of Moses that focus on the creation of the earth. The Book of Abraham is a translation from a papyrus scroll originating from the Egyptian catacombs, translated by Joseph Smith, and containing insights and information on creation, the priesthood, the gospel, and the nature of God. The writings of Joseph Smith include a portion of Joseph Smith’s inspired translation of the Bible, a brief history of the Church, and the Articles of Faith (AOF).

Because Latter-day Saints believe that whenever the servants of the Lord speak or write under the influence of the Holy Ghost, their words become scripture, the words of the living prophets are also considered scripture. Such words can come through Church publications, conferences, and other forms of inspired instruction.

Church members are exhorted to study the scriptures every day, as individuals and as families. In doing so Church members are told they can avoid evil and grow closer to God—especially when members read the scriptures in conjunction with pondering, praying, and asking God for further understanding through the Holy Ghost.

See chapter 5 in Catholic Roots, Mormon Harvest for a more comprehensive explanation and commentary on the Scriptures


Catholic Doctrine

God earnestly calls every one of his children to pray daily (even constantly) and through the liturgy, with Jesus exhorting his disciples to do so with great motivation, faith, and a pure heart in his name. The method and mechanics of prayer are many. Prayers should start with the Sign of the Cross, "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen," while invoking Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3). Prayer is primarily addressed to the Father, but can also be addressed to Jesus Christ. Prayer can be done “...in communion with the Virgin Mary,” and through intercession (on behalf of another) with the saints.

The most fundamental Christian prayer is the Our Father (or Lord’s Prayer), entrusted to all of the world by Jesus Christ. The Our Father is the “quintessential prayer of the Church.”

The basic form of prayer includes blessing, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise. There are “three major expressions of the life of prayer”: vocal prayer (the body joining the heart and soul), meditation (thought and imagination), and contemplative prayer (attentiveness)—Catechism 2721.
Other sources of prayer can be the scriptures, the liturgy, and the three virtues (faith, hope, and charity). Prayer is most appropriately conducted in four specific places: personal or family locations, monasteries, places of pilgrimage (holy places), and the church.

The Church calls its members to focus on faith, conversion, and “vigilance of heart” in order to avoid difficulties in prayer—mainly “distraction and dryness.” A lack of faith and certain forms of depression leading to discouragement can be a threat to effective prayer. This can be especially harmful to the process of prayer when there is a feeling that prayers are not heard. Then one must call out to the Holy Spirit for help in offering prayer. See Catechism 2590, 2591, 2621, 2644, 2647, 2662, 2680, 2166, 2681, 2682, 2692, 2696, 2720-2724, 2754-2757, 2773, 2776.

Latter-day Saint Doctrine

Latter-day Saints consider prayer one of the greatest blessings we will have during our journey in mortality. Prayer is “...sincere, heartfelt talk with our Heavenly Father” (Gospel Principles 41). Prayer has been taught and practiced since the beginning of time, affects all of our thoughts and actions, and will bring us closer to God than anything else we can do as humans.

The Church instructs that we are to pray whenever we feel the need to do so, and always “with a sincere heart, with real intent.” The times we don’t feel like praying are likely the times we need it the most. All prayers should be directed to God the Father, only, and can be done in silence or out loud as we feel directed. We are directed to have personal prayers each morning and night (as a minimum), while having a prayer in our hearts at all times. We are also directed to have prayers as a family each morning and night. In addition, we are admonished to have prayers before eating as an individual or as families. All Church meetings and events begin and end with prayers, typically offered by individuals from the congregation.

The form of Latter-day Saint prayer usually includes addressing Heavenly Father, expressing feelings from the heart as if to “confide in him,” asking forgiveness, giving thanks, praying for others, and expressing love for Heavenly Father and for his son Jesus Christ. The highest and most reverent language possible should always be used. In all instances of prayer Latter-day Saints are asked to avoid “vain repetition” and ask for and submit themselves to God’s will, understanding that God knows what is best for us. Latter-day Saints close every prayer in the name of Jesus Christ.
Somewhat unique to Latter-day Saints is the prayer position that some take of having their arms folded. Although not be any means a requirement or suggested action, many use this position as a means of avoiding fidgety hands, especially with children, and allowing one to embrace the prayer from deep within the heart.

The genuine prayers of the faithful are always answered, but not always in the way or timing we desire. We are to accept the influence of the Holy Spirit, which often manifests itself with warm comfortable feelings of confirmation, to understand the answer to our prayers. We are counseled to do all we can to bring about that which we desire and not ask God to do all of the work. God is not our butler; he is our Heavenly Father, and he has given us power to make things happen. Finally, we must be ever aware that answers to prayers frequently come through other people.

See chapter 5 in Catholic Roots, Mormon Harvest for a more comprehensive explanation and commentary on Prayer

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