The Paragould Daily Press in Paragould, Arkansas recently published a short Guest Column written by a Mormon/Catholic man from Texas. Interestingly, James Marples wrote:
“I was baptized Roman Catholic as an infant. However, I didn’t ‘convert’ to Mormonism as such. However, I did receive an LDS church baptism as an adult. I made it clear to LDS elders that my second baptism would not negate or nullify my original Catholic baptism. The elders agreed. They even said it would merely ‘add to it.’ …I still attend both churches.”
Mormon leaders, up until the mid-twentieth century, did not mince words when it came to Catholicism (see Mormon-Catholic Tolerance for examples of LDS comments). Proclaiming that the devil was the foundation of the Catholic Church, that it was a satanic organization, that it was filled with errors and evil, etc., LDS leaders have demonstrated a profound lack of respect for the Catholic faith. So I find it odd that Mormon missionaries would agree to a Mormon convert holding on to his Catholic Church membership and Catholic baptism.
Technically speaking, the missionaries were being truthful when they said Mr. Marples’ LDS baptism would not negate or nullify his Catholic baptism. According to Mormonism, a Catholic baptism is wholly invalid anyway because someone holding the proper priesthood authority did not perform it. Therefore, there really was nothing to negate or nullify regarding Mr. Marples’ first baptism. But putting Mr. Marples’ Catholic baptism in the context of Mormon teachings, it seems that the Mormon elders have done a great disservice to the man.
LDS Apostle (later President) Spencer W. Kimball wrote,
“Presumptuous and blasphemous are they who purport to baptize, bless, marry, or perform other sacraments in the name of the Lord while in fact lacking the specific authorization” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, pg.55).
LDS Apostle Orson Pratt taught,
“…all other [non-LDS] churches are entirely destitute of all authority from God; and any person who receives Baptism or the Lord’s supper from their hands highly offend God, for he looks upon them as the most corrupt of all people …The only persons among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people who have authority from Jesus Christ to administer any gospel ordinance are those called and authorized among the Latter-day Saints” (The Seer, 255).
Would Mr. Marples have consented to Mormon baptism if he had been informed that his Catholic baptism was “presumptuous and blasphemous”? Would he be comfortable attending both churches if he understood that his Catholic baptism “highly offend[s] God” and causes God to look at him as “the most corrupt of all people”?
Why do you suppose the LDS missionaries didn’t tell Mr. Marples that if he desires to be accepted by and pleasing to God (according to Mr. Marples’ new Mormon faith), he must leave the Catholic Church or risk being “hurled down to hell” on Judgment Day? Isn’t this something he should know?