C.3.7 René Krywult’s Conversion from Catholicism to LDS

Owen,

I read your post about "Lucifer stones" with interest, and I'd like to add a few things. But before I do so, let me introduce myself.

 

I'm a male Latter-day Saint, happily married, 4 children, age 2 yrs to 11 yrs. I live in Austria,Europe. My mother-tongue is German, so forgive any grammatical, spelling or word usage errors. Though I was baptised into Christ and his Church at age 8, I left the Church when I was 9. My father is an agnostic whose "bible" is written by Nietzsche, Schopenhauer and Russell, and I was familiar with their writings at a very young age, since my father (He was 50 yrs old, when I was born) had the habit of hiking with us, and whenever we made a break, he would take out a book and read it to me. He started doing this when I was 3 yrs old.

 

My mother is a an Italian woman, who fought 10 years (from 20 to 30) of her life against her parents to be allowed to become a Catholic nun. Her parents told her that if she would do this, she would not even be allowed to visit their graves. When she was thirty, she gave up. She married my father, who was a widow with two children, and bore him two additional children, one of which is me.

 

One of my four aunts was found by missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ four years before my birth, and her strongly Catholic family opposed her very much. Finally my mother started talking with the missionaries herself and was baptised. The strong opposition from her family, and my father's influence (who had some anti-Mormon literature and has high communication skills) brought her away from church several times, but she kept coming back. In those times she became strongly Catholic, joined the Fokolari Movement and the 3rd order of the Franciscans.

 

I was introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ, when I was 2 years, went to Mormon Sunday services till I was 5, then my mother left the Church until I was 7. At age 6 I had received first communion.

 

In Austria we have religion classes in school (Catholic and Protestant classes), and though I would have had the opportunity not to attend those classes, I decided to attend the Catholic class.

 

From the age of 6 to 10, one of my best friends was a JW. His family and my family lived in the same house, and I was with them very often, read of their literature, but never went to their church services.

 

I was baptized at age 8, and by the time I was 9 my family left the Church again, and it was "all Catholic" again. I also met with the Fokolari without becoming a member of their movement. From 9 to 10 I was a ministrant (altar boy?), and also attended a ministrant class including a final exam which I passed with one doctrinal error (I said that the bread and wine of the Eucharist was a symbol for Christ's flesh and blood. In Catholic doctrine this is wrong, since the bread and wine are considered to be the real flesh and real blood of Christ). In this year I also read the OT from cover to cover for the first time.

 

I went to mass at least every second day in this time, to do my duty as a ministrant. On Sundays I usually attended two masses. After some time I knew the liturgy by heart. I had a desire to become a priest, but I also had the strong desire to marry and have a family, and I was torn between those wishes.

 

Then I was a member of the Vienna Boys Choir (age 10 to 13 yrs), and one of our duties was to sing in the mass every second Sunday. It was not in a normal Catholic church, but in the only chapel in Austria, where there still is a schola and liturgy performed in Latin, while the sermon is in German. From this time I know the Latin liturgy, including the Creed of Nicaea, by heart.

 

Our teacher of Catholic religion in the VBC was a very pious and learned man, whom I admire a lot. He often took the time in our spare time, to sit down with me and talk about religion and theology.

 

After I left the Choir, I still thought about religion a lot, and found the Catholic Church to be a good church, but not the right one. While there was a lot of law and rules and tradition, God did not speak there, despite the very good people I have come to love there. I decided to investigate other denominations and religions. In that time I came to cherish the Talmud, though I had the feeling that Judaism was not the right thing, too. I read the Qu'ran, but though there are valuable thoughts and insights in it, it didn't leave any big impression. theJWs with their narrow minded attitudes, though very friendly people, could not be a harbour for me. Protestantism didn't impress me either, because in those days Austrian Protestants started their campaign for "rights for homosexuals". Against the Bible they also said things like "sex outside the marriage bond is not a sin". And I could not believe a Church that teaches "sola scriptura" only to throw out all its moral teachings.

 

Studying the Book of Mormon, I received a testimony that Christ is my saviour, and I felt the Holy Ghost change my heart. I was born anew. From this time on I also knew that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was God's true church.

 

I continued to attend the religion classes in school, though I switched from Catholic to Protestant classes.

 

I married, when I was 18.

 

Some of my friends are Evangelicals, others Protestants, others Catholics, and one is a Muslim. We often talk about religion, exchange our insights and beliefs and rejoice in our friendship.

 

One of my friends is a Protestant religion teacher, and when she had to write her post-graduate thesis, she asked for my advice, especially concerning the Bible.

 

A Catholic deacon in my mother's parish was from Nigeria, and his German was bad. he asked me to translate his sermons from English to German, knowing that I am a Mormon elder, and he gave those sermons as I translated them.

 

A friend of mine, Dr. David Trobisch of Bangor Theological Seminary (BangorME) (http://www.bts.edu/trobisch ), is a Lutheran. We got to know each other, when he wrote an excellent book about the "Mormons", and I had the pleasure of correcting some of the doctrinal mistakes. [seehttp://members.shaw.ca/mschindler/C/Trobisch.htm]

 

When I wrote a paper about traditional trinitarian beliefs, I asked Dr. theolhabilUrs Baumann, University of Tübingen, one of Europe's most famous universities to check the paper for accuracy, which he gladly did. I am glad for his corrections.

 

I've read some of Calvin's and Luther's writings and try to keep up with current theological research. My favourite author is Dr. Hans Küng. I also studied the Catholic World-Catechism, which was edited by Cardinal Archbishop Schönborn, who also lives in Vienna.

 

The last 6 years I've done apologetics work as a hobby. I've read most of the Church Fathers from Mathetes to Augustine, also some of the two Gregories. I've read Every anti-Mormon material I could get in those time, and where possible I tried to go to the original sources.

 

The DialogAcademy published an essay I co-authored with another member of FAIR (http://www.theonet.net/spirituality/spirit00-13/Mormon_Deification_AK-MWH.html) which was an answer to an orthodox anti-Mormon essay in their magazine "Spirituality in East and West).

 

So, though I am not a scholar of high calibre, I still know a lot and have read a lot. I had 1500 hours of Latin in school, have good reading abilities in French and Italian, which I need to read the theological material I'm interested in.

 

Ah, and by the way: I work as a software developer in Austria's biggest financial institution. That's how I make my living..

 

Having said so much, let me now answer your email.

 

"I took Latin in high school.Actually, Venus IS Latin, in fact that is what ancient Romans called the Greek goddess Aphrodite [See Webster's New World Dictionary, sv:'Venus'].Vespers is simply another Latin name of the 'morning star' [sv:'verspers']."

 

You have your Latin wrong for the morning star and I believe it is for this reason that you fail to see the significance of the use of Star Stones in the Nauvoo temple as symbols of Lucifer.The question here is the origin and use of the word "Lucifer". Isaiah 14:12 makes reference to the bright morning star we now know as the planet Venus. The ancient world used different names for Venus when it appeared as a morning star and as an early evening star. The Hebrew name for the morning star was heylel {hay-lale'} a masculine noun. We don't get Lucifer from the Hebrews but from the Romans, who using Latin called the morning star Lucifer, the evening star was called Vesper. The Greeks called the morning star Phosphoros and the evening star was called Hesperos. "Lucifer" came to the KJV through the Latin Vulgate.The connection with Satan came through interpretations of the early Catholic Church that associated the name Lucifer with Satan.

 

I have to agree, that Vesper was the name of the EVENING star, and not the MORNING star. Further, in early Latin the morning star was called "IOBAR", in later Latin it was "LUCIFER". But since 500 B.C. the Greeks (and from them the Romans also) knew that the morning and the evening star were just one star, which they revered to as "Aphrodite". Rome - according to their legends - named it "Venus".

 

The Bible has stories that are quite similar to other ancient stories about Lucifer (Latin translation of the Hebrew name heleyl - a name of the morning star. For the Chaldeans, the Morning Star was the prince of the demons who was also the seducing serpent. He brings light, but like Prometheus, another "light-bearer", is alienated from the High God. So, while there was no connection between Lucifer and Satan in Rome and Greece until Christian interpolation, surely there was that connection in the ancient middle east.

 

This we also see in Ezekiel 28:1-18, which uses language similar to Isaiah, but without using the name heleyl. Though this is directed to the King of Tyre, please note that he is called a "Cherub", an angel, prior to his fall. I don't say that this chapter primarily speaks about Satan/Lucifer, but rather that it uses similar imagery of an angel who has fallen because of his pride.

 

And finally in Rev 12:7-9 the dragon, the old serpent, which is Satan, falls.

 

It is this background of middle eastern mythology and OT and NT correlations that made Lucifer a name of Satan.

 

Christians (after the bible translation of Jerome) believed Lucifer to be the name Satan had prior to his fall.

 

And the name is proper, especially in the light of the Fall of Adam, since Lucifer, the serpent, brought the light of knowing good from evil, but by doing so alienated Adam and Eve from God. This is similar to the Prometheus legend. In giving Adam and Eve the light, he tried to introduce himself as the source of light and to elevate himself over God, just as he did in the Great Council in Heaven, which earned him his original fall from heaven.

 

Therefore it is wrong to blame post-biblical Christianity for making an extra-Biblical connection between Lucifer and Satan.

 

The article makes a clear connection between Venus, the morning star, and the stars found on the Nauvoo temple.Venus as the morning star has since Roman times been known as Lucifer.Isaiah 14:12 was understood by Tertullian and Gregory the Great as being in reference to the fall of Satan; in consequence of which the name Lucifer has since been applied to Satan.Following the traditional leadership role of the Catholic Church the LDS church also uses the name of Lucifer for Satan in the temple endowment and thus just like the Catholics before them the LDS church has associated the name of Lucifer with Satan.The Nauvoo temple and other LDS temples with the symbol of the morning star are thus displaying "Lucifers".The Nauvoo temple has 6 Lucifer stones on the exterior front and back and 9 Lucifer stones on the exterior sides.In the Assembly Hall it displays 69 Lucifers on both of the long walls and the Lucifer morning star symbol is a major design element used throughout the Nauvoo temple and its exterior windows.

 

This seems to be a big leap of logic. A symbol has to be interpreted according to its cultural meaning.

 

Right, Lucifer is a name of Satan. But please keep in mind, that different names in biblical (and Christian) thought also give different offices. When the fallen Angel is called Satan, this means "accuser" and "deceiver". When Satan came to Adam and Eve, he was the deceiver, while when he came before God in Job, he was the accuser of his brethren, he who delighted in seeing others perish, he who brings them before the court of God. It is in this way that in the endowment the Fallen Angel is called "Satan".

 

When Satan came to Moses (in the PoGP, Moses) to let himself be worshipped, he was in the office of the "light bearer". He wanted to bring light to Moses - his own light. When God addresses (in complete accordance with ancient middle eastern mythology) Satan as "Lucifer" this is, because again Satan tried to bring light to the people - wrong light, because it should lead away from the one true God.

 

But in Mormon thought the "Morning and the Evening star" is an expression like "Alpha and Omega". The start and the end.The first and the last. Christ.

 

This is in accordance to Rev. 22:16, where Jesus calls himself the "morning star".

 

Acts 1:11 gives us the imagery for it: he who ascended to heaven (morning star) will also come down in the last days (evening star).

 

So, when there are "morning stars" on the Nauvoo temple, Mormons associate this not with Lucifer, but with the true bringer of eternal light, Jesus Christ.

 

The temple of Solomon and all of Nibley's writings about it are irrelevant since the word Lucifer was not in use at the time of Solomon and the linkage between Lucifer and Satan happened hundreds of years after the deaths of the Apostles.

 

As I have shown above, this is not entirely true. The connection between Lucifer/Heleyl and Satan did not become scriptural in the days of Solomon, but it was there in Near Eastern lore, and we know that biblical writers often used lore to make their point.

 

Since Lucifer is linked forever now to Satan, the use of symbols for Lucifer, Venus, the morning star should be avoided.

 

So, should we re-translate Revelation to take away the self-designation of Christ as the morning star, because, as you claim, the morning star is "linked forever" to Satan?

 

I would claim that there is a strong link of Lucifer to Satan, but also a strong link of Jesus to the "morning and evening star", and an also strong scriptural link of Jesus Christ to the morning star. The link of Lucifer to the morning star, though, is a weaker one.

 

I think we here face the same problem as with the snake as a symbol for the devil. There can be no doubt that the "serpent" has a very strong link to devil in the Bible.

 

The serpent/devil seduces Eve. The serpent/devil is cursed by God. The serpent is a sign of power of Pharaoh. The phariseans are children of the devil, serpents themselves and generations of vipers The old serpent is Satan in the Revelation.

 

There is only one situation where the snake is portrayed as medium for divine grace (the brass serpent of Moses).

 

And this brass serpent is per se a problem, because it is a serpent on a pole, which is the symbol of the Greek god Asklepios, who is a healer god. Though the brass serpent of Moses probably predates Asklepios, in the times of Paul Asklepios (latinAesculapius) was worshipped a lot. And it is Paul who claims that the brass serpent is a symbol of Christ. He was not afraid to use the symbol that Moses used to heal the Israelites, the symbol that was later worshipped by Israelites along with Ashera (2 Kings 18:4), the symbol that as commonly known as the sign of the false healer-GodAklepios as a symbol of Christ and our salvation! And this though Holy Scripture herself, from beginning to end links the serpent to Satan!

 

Now, does this mean that Paul was a Satanist? Should he not have linked Christ to a satanic and a heathen symbol? Or DID he even do such a thing?

 

Nope. He did not. He used a symbol and explained what he wanted to express with it. The same here: The five pointed star, though used by other groups with different meanings, is, in Mormon symbolry linked to Christ, who is the true morning and evening star, who descended to earth to ascend again and take with him those that believe in him, and who ascended in the meridian of times to descend again in his second coming. He is the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega, the true Morning and the Evening star.

 

Joseph Smith lived at a time when the linkage between Lucifer and Satan was well established.What JS didn't apparently know was that the very stars he built into his temple were by name associated with Satan.Maybe JS should have studied a little Latin along with Hebrew.

 

He did. But why would he do something according to what Satanists or Latin speaking people do, when the Bible clearly links our LORD Jesus Christ to the morning star?

 

In Christ

 

René A. Krywult