Music on This Show on ORTHODOXY
Thanks to Marianna Bartholomew for her continuing participation on Catholic Vitamins with her Missionary Moments. The theme used on this shows MM was VIDENTES STELLAM for A. Gabrieli, and performed by the St. Cecilia choir of the St. John Cantius Church in Chicago.
We played a portion of BRIAN FLYNN’s JESUS IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENT from Brian’s album BORN AGAIN, available through WORLD LIBRARY PUBLICATIONS or Brian’s website: www.brianflynnmusic.com and we thank Brian for permission to play his music on Catholic Vitamins.
And finally, we closed with music from our good friend RUSS RENTLER from Pennsylvania from his album WAY TO EMMAUS, and the fun, mildly irreverent (to those of other beliefs) but true song NICEAN BLUES.
Thomas Smith — Our Feature Guest
I borrowed this information (below) from Thomas’ website, and I do this to share the beginnings of his journey towards Orthodoxy and the truths of our wonderful Catholic Faith. For more on Thomas, go to his website, and look for his testimony and consider bringing him to your diocese or your parish.
Thomas was a former Mormon missionary turned Protestant minister who was received into the Catholic Church in 1996. Thomas lives on his family ranch in southeastern Idaho.
Born a 6th generation Mormon (LDS), I was convinced I was part of the “only true Church on the face of the earth” (Doctors & Covenants 1:30). As we believed that only Mormons had the gift of the Holy Spirit and that the rest of the world was groping in the darkness for truth, I was equally convinced I was responsible to share our faith at every opportunity. Like many 19-year-old men, I was called by the Mormon prophet to be a missionary for two years in the southern United States, the buckle of the Bible belt, and was excited about winning converts to my faith. In the end, my missionary experience, led me to the conclusion that the Mormon claims could not stand the scrutiny of reason and Divine Revelation.
It’s impossible to communicate all the mounting evidence and experiences that led me to abandon the faith of my fathers, but let me relate a few examples. One day, while knocking on doors in a very poor area of Alabama, my companion and I came upon a sagging shack badly in need of repairs. We knocked on the door and were greeted by the bright eyes of an older African-American woman in her 70s or 80s. We told her we had a message about Jesus that we would like to share with her. As someone who loved Christ, she welcomed us into her humble home. As was our practice, we asked if she would like us to begin with prayer or if she may like to pray. As you can imagine, 99% of the time, people would agree to let us offer that prayer. This time it was different. She quietly bowed her head and began to pray.
I remember distinctly, as I heard her praying to God, I thought if I looked up I would see Him sitting next to her on her worn couch. This was not just her God, but also her best friend. Her dearest companion who had seen her through a lifetime of suffering and prejudice. As her intimate conversation continued, I grew afraid, because I knew when she finished, I was expected to share with her a message about Jesus, but I knew that she really “knew” him, while I may only know about him. I wanted that kind of intimacy she shared with her Creator, but for me God was distant and demanding.
This simple experience didn’t square with what I had been taught. Here was a non-Mormon who knew God in a way I could only imagine. It opened the door for me to begin a conscious and careful re-examination of my faith. In other equally important moments, Christians shared with me how Jesus Christ has changed their lives, healed their marriages, and delivered them from drug addictions. I could have argued how to interpret a particular New Testament verse for hours, but I could never argue with them about how the Lord had touched and transformed their lives. Thirdly, Christians took the time to point out verses in the Bible that seemed to clearly contradict Mormon teaching.
For example, Mormons believe in the existence of many gods in the universe, the god of this world being one among many. But the Word of God clearly proclaims there are no gods but the God revealed in Divine Revelation, He is the first and the last (Isa 44:6, 24; 45:5, 18). I heard the scriptural maneuverings that fellow Mormons used to deny the meaning of these verses, but for me they were clearly confirming monotheism.
I remember now these and dozens of moments culminated in me falling to my knees one night in our little missionary apartment and crying out to God, “Heavenly Father, all I want is the truth. If the truth is in Mormonism, I will serve you until my dying day here. If the truth is somewhere else, give me the courage to face what that will mean for me.” That prayer fundamentally changed the trajectory of my life. I was ready to accept wherever truth would lead me.
Ultimately, I left the Mormon Church, but like many fellow Mormons who have ceased to believe the claims of the LDS Church, I floundered. Was there a God at all? Is there an objective truth or is it all subjective? When you have been deceived for so many years, it is hard to trust anyone. Again, I prayed that God would help me find someone to talk to about my crisis of faith.
Would you like to read more of this journey to TRUTH?
Thomas is a repeat guest on EWTN and Catholic radio as well as a sought after parish mission and conference speaker. He is the co-author of “Adventures in Revelation: The Kingdom Yet to Come” and an international presenter for the Great Adventure Bible Timeline. He has taught as an adjunct professor at the St. Francis School of Theology in Denver, and is the former Director of the Denver Catholic Biblical School and the Denver Catechetical School. You can learn more about Thomas and his apostolate at www.gen215.org.